Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston Thoughts and Weekend Recap

Happy Marathon Monday!

As a runner and race announcer, I have so many emotions thinking about last year's Boston marathon and the strength that city and the running community has shown in the 12 months since the tragic bombing.  Today I just want to send my well wishes out to those running and my thoughts to those still affected by the tragedy.  A special shout out to Jeff Galloway, Jon Hughes co-owner of Track Shack and WDW marathon race director,  my boss and RunDisney Nutritionist, Tara Gidus, and Michelle from the Mickey Miles PodCast who are all running!

Today I'm guest hosting Emotional Mojo as Tara gets set to run, so I have my DVR taping the marathon.  I'm refusing to look at social media all afternoon, so I can watch the women's race without knowing the winner.  Ah - the excitement!

It's been a while since I did a weekend recap, so I thought I would share a little personal post today.

Friday night Kyle and I went to meet his sister and her husband at a place call Nona Blue in Lake Nona.  Here I continued an unofficial experiment I've been doing called, "Drink 2 Beers Before I Run".  And you know what.....I think the beer helps me run faster.  I'm just sayin...don't read too much into it nutritionally, but those carbs have been helpful.

After dinner the boys and I enjoyed some frozen yogurt before an early bed time for my long run Saturday.
As part of my training for the Vermont Key Bank Marathon Relay with the Cabot Fit Team, I had a 10 mile run on the agenda.  I decided to skip meeting my group and set out on my own around 9am.  Luckily the weather was cool for Orlando and I didn't pay for my late start time.  I started off around a 9:30 pace and kept picking it up to finish with negative splits.  Mile 9 was 8:27 and mile 10 was 8:14.  Mission accomplished.
Saturday afternoon Kyle and I hung around the house and prepped some things for our annual Easter brunch and egg hunt.  Saturday night we tried a new-to-us restaurant called AlFresco in Winter Garden.  The restaurant has a focus on local, fresh foods and even has an herb garden on the roof.  We started out meal with the chef's special appetizer of proscuitto wrapped asparagus, goat cheese tarts, and cauliflower.
The meal was nice, but it didn't blow us away.  The service also was lacking, but the company couldn't have been better.
Then it was Easter Sunday!  How was your Easter?  We celebrated by having the family over for brunch.  I cooked breakfast casserole, eggs, roasted asparagus, biscuits, and had a honey baked turkey.
After breakfast everyone set out on Kyle's "money egg hunt".  We had 8 people hunting for $80 worth of eggs and 10 lotto tickets in our yard.  There were also some eggs you didn't want to get that said "Do 10 push-ups" or "Clean the kitchen".
I don't know who had more fun - the egg hunters or Kyle!
We also played some other very silly games and had a blast.
Now it's Monday and I've got to get focused for a very busy week ahead. I'm filling in on Emotional Mojo Monday - Thursday and I'll be on Home Shopping Network again at 2am on the 26th.  I'm also not eating sugar this week!  I think I overdid it on the Reese's eggs, so I'm going to try to make it 6 days sans sugar.  Wish me luck!

How did you celebrate Easter?
Are you watching the Boston Marathon today?

Love and 26.2 hoppy miles,
Carissa & Kyle

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My First Stitch Fix

What's Stich Fix?  What can you expect in your first Stitch Fix?

If you are a frequent reader of blogs, then you are no doubt an expert on Stitch Fix.  It seems that blogger after blogger is jumping on the Stitch Fix fan train.  You probably already get your very own Stitch Fix or you're so tired of reading about it that you've actually already stopped reading this post....oh..that's sad.

If you have no idea what Stitch Fix is then I am VERY excited to tell you and share my first experience with it.
Here's the short version of how the online, personal styling service Stitch Fix works:

  • Sign Up and Complete a Style Profile
    • It takes about 10 minutes and you'll tell them your sizes, shape, style profile, and what type of clothes you typically like.  It's really easy, yet comprehensive.
  • Schedule Your First Fix
    • Pick a date to receive your first shipment, which will include 5 items.  It costs $20 to get a fix (it's called a styling fee).  If you keep anything from that shipment, the $20 will be taken off the cost of that item.
    • You don't have to sign up for monthly fixes.  That's an option, but you can sign up for just one too.
  • Try On Your Clothes
    • Try on your clothes and see what you like. You also get a color guide to help styling your outfits.
  • Keep What You Like, Return What You Don't
    • Keep that clothes you like and return the ones you don't.  They give you a prepaid label and bag for shipping.  It's USPS, so I put it right in my mailbox.  You have 3 days to get the clothes you don't want in the mail and then you pay for the ones you keep (minus the $20).  If you keep all 5 items you save 25%.
I am someone who does not like to go shopping.  I like to shop at Target and an entire professional wardrobe should not be from Target.  I thought $20 was worth a gamble and the fun of trying Stitch Fix.  Honestly I had read about 10 bloggers reviews on Stitch Fix, but it took a "real life friend" getting one for me to sign up.  Thanks Megan!
When people say getting your Stitch Fix is like Christmas, it's true.  I was so excited to open up my box and see what was inside.  From my style profile I told them that I was looking for casual clothes that I could wear in the hot, Florida summer.  I also made sure they knew that I was tall.  

In my first fix I received a pair of long white jeans, yellow tulip blouse, green striped Maxi dress, blue fit 'n flare dress, and one necklace.

I was shocked that these jeans actually fit, but I decided not to keep them since I already have white denim capri pants.  
The next piece was the yellow top.  I liked the "idea" of the tulip print shirt, but it just didn't lay right on the top.  I was hoping Stitch Fix would lead me to items that I might not buy in the store.  This is one of them, but the fit wasn't worth the price tag.
I was really on the fence about this dress.  It was cute, loved the color and back detail, and it could work for TV appearances.  But it was wrinkled and would need steaming every wear.  I'm a low maintenance girl and when I thought about it, I have several spring dresses already.  Back it went.
My favorite item was this maxi dress.  The moment I opened the box I knew I would keep it.  Maxi dresses are great in the summer and the embellishment on the top elevates the style a little bit.  I wore it to Epcot with the family this weekend.
I also received  a very ugly necklace in my fix.  I am not a jewelry person, so I asked them to send me a piece, so maybe I could expand my style.  This was not the way to expand my style.  Womp womp.
The Maxi dress I kept was $78, so I paid $58 since the $20 styling fee had already been charged.  I signed up for another fix and am excited to see how the stylists do next time.  I have heard that by the 3rd fix they really nail down your style.

If you'd like to get your Fix on, feel free to use my affiliate link.  Full disclosure: I was not paid or asked by Stitch Fix to write this post, but if you sign up with my link I get $25 credit.  And then I will be very happy and thankful to you for fueling my Fix addiction! :)

Have you received a Stitch Fix?
Would you sign up for an online styling service?
What'd you think of the clothes I received?

Love and #styleMe,
Carissa & Kyle

Friday, April 11, 2014

One Last Thing

Last week while I was reading my People magazine...

....Yes I get People magazine in the mail...yes...I should be spending my free time reading books about nutritional research and trends....but...People is more fun and I get it for free with airline points.....but I digress....

Last week while I was reading my People magazine I noticed a fun article on the last page called "One Last Thing".  I thought it would be fun to do and the blog and see what your "Last things" were too.  I added a few questions of my own for fun too!

Last Thing I lost:
     A really cute, lightweight black Blazer.  I wore it to dinner about 3 weeks ago and I have NO idea where it is.  Probably sitting sadly in the booth where we ate.  Sniff.

Last Time I Cringed:
    During this show...
    Holy awkward city.  This is one of those "train wreck" shows.  You don't want to watch, but you can't look away.  These people come trying to sell items at "X" price and literally within seconds they've dropped their price thousands.  Come on people!  Be aggressive!  It's not every day you try to sell a random pair of WWII binoculars.

Last Celeb Crush:
    See about that - I have typically been team "Thor", but this week I saw this picture that might have me converted to the Captain America side.  Hi pecs.
Can't I pick both?

Last Adventure:
     Oh that's hard...I think I need more adventure in my life.  I consider adventure going to a crowded supermarket on a Saturday.  Kyle and I went to a new Indian restaurant 3 weeks ago.  Wow - that's exciting.  Any adventure suggestions?

Last Time I Danced:
    In my car to Florida Georgia Line after my 5k PR.

Last Friday I:
    Made homemade pizza's with Kyle and caught up on our Blacklist watching.  His pizza had tomatoes, pizza sauce, basil, pepperoni, and buffalo mozzarella.
I tried a different twist and my thin crust pizza had sweet onion jam, pear slices, Stilton blue cheese, and arugula.  Both were delicious and we're planning another Friday Night Pizza Date today.
Last workout:
   More speed work.  1 mile warm-up followed my 3 miles at 8:27 pace (7.1mph) on the treadmill.  I stopped at 2.5 for a drink and then pushed on.

Tell me one "last" you did?

Some of you may have seen on Instagram that I received my first Stich Fix on Wednesday.  It was just as exciting at it wasn't, but it  was pretty fun for April.  I'll share a full recap and explain Stitch Fix next week, but for more information check out Stitch Fix online.
Hope you have a fabulous weekend!  Don't forget to post your "lasts" on your own blog or share below.

Love and last looks,
Carissa & Kyle

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Speed Work for a Sub-25 minute 5k

We all have a different version of "fast".  That's what I love about running. We are able to achieve gains and personal bests no matter what our speed.  You're running against yourself.  You vs. the road.
As a race announcer I see first hand that it takes every bit the same amount of effort to finish a half marathon on 1:30 as it does in 3:30.  13.1 miles = 13.1 miles at any pace.

For me I know my pace and I'm happy to say that over the years it has gotten faster.  When I first started I ran/raced/trained at a 10 minute per mile pace.  Then I started seeing 9's.  Now when I can finish a workout with an 8-something average pace it's exciting and when I ran a 5k with a 7:54 average pace this weekend it was a big accomplishment.
Improving your running speed is all about consistency and speed work.  If you're a new runner then you will most likely see improved times as you run more and increase your cardiovascular capabilities.  Once you have a good base of miles built then you can add speed work into your routine.  If you're a running newbie, I caution you to add speed work slowly to prevent injury and to incorporate strength training into your routine.
If you're someone who would like to run a sub-25 minute 5k (8:02 average) pace then here is a speed work progression that I used.  I did 1 speed workout per week on the treadmill with 1 shorter run (3-4 miles) during the week, and one longer run (6-9 miles).

  • Repeat Miles - 1 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile in 8:06 with 800m jogs, cool down
    • Treadmill speed-  7.4 and 1% incline
  • Repeat 800's - 1 mile warm-up, 4 x 800 in 3:50 with 400m jogs in between, cool down
    • Treadmill speed for 800s - 7.8 and 1% incline
  • Tempo run - 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at 8:26, cool down
    • Treadmill speed - 7.1 and 1% incline
    • This was the hardest workout for me
  • Repeat Miles - 1 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile in 8:00 with 800m jogs, cool down
    • Treadmill speed - 7.5 and 1% incline
I like having a plan when I run.  It takes out the guess work and keeps me accountable.  You could do this for 1 month and then if you're training longer then up the speed by .1 on the treadmill.  Don't kill yourself, but the key is consistency.  It was hard for me to do 2 miles at 8:26, but easier to go faster on race day.

What race goal are you working towards right now?
Do you regularly do speed work?

Love and the "dread mill",
Carissa & Kyle

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Zoe 5k and 1 mile race

I have a new 5k PR! Woohooo!
As a race announcer, the weekends I have free to actually run races are limited and I usually opt for longer distance races.  As a result I run very few timed 5k's. My last timed 5k was in April 2013 and I did PR at the race, but it was a hilly trail run and I really wanted a sub-25 5k.  After my race season ended with Best Damn Race in March I have been doing lower mileage and speed work and Saturaday was my chance to bust the 25 minute barrier. I had been close in untimed fun runs at Disney, around 25:10, but never under the 25 minute mark.

My requirements for a 5k this year?  Had to be chip timed, on pavement, preferably flat.  The Zoe 5k in Oviedo was a small race that fit all those requirements.  It had the option for a 5k and then a 1 mile run for just $5 more entry fee, so I picked that.  Who am I to turn down more miles?
Packet pick-up
My goal for the race was to negative split.  I really wanted sub-8 minute overall pace, so I told myself to start around 8:10 average pace and bring it down from there.

I arrived at the race around 730am for am 8am start.  I picked up my packet in about 3 minutes and took an easy warm-up mile.  Love small races! My friend Coach Krystal was the one who instructed me to warm-up last year at my 5k, so I did 1 mile around 11-minute per mile pace.

Before I knew it the storm troopers (yes, storm troopers) were heading out to the start line and we were ready to go.  The race was an out and back on the Seminole Trail and pretty flat.  They said "Go" and I did. I felt really good the first mile and tried to breathe and keep my pace steady.
Mile 1 - 7:53

Mile 2 still felt good, but I lost some time and the turnaround, because it was literally a 180 degree turn on 6 feet of pavement.  I tried to keep my Garmin's current pace between 7:55 and 8:10 and not push too hard yet.

Mile 2 - 8:08

At this point I knew that I was more than capable of getting my goal.  And I was happy.  I was also starting to hurt.  I passed a water stop and grabbed what I thought was water and threw it on myself.  Yup, I threw blue Gatorade all over me.  #Winning.  I knew that I was the 5th overall female at this point and I saw one of the other women ahead of me take a walk break. I decided that I wanted to pass her and with .15 left to go I did.  #MyFirstTakedown

Mile 3 - 7:47

I threw up my hands and tried to smile as I finished!  I did it!  A 1 minute PR!

3.1 miles - 24:29 - 7:54 average pace
After the race I grabbed water and was handed a bag of jelly beans.  I thought of all the articles I've recently read about artificial colors in Easter candy...and then I thought that I would need some sugar for my 1 mile run to come, so I ate some.  Sugar is sugar. And you can trust me....I'm a dietitian.

About 30 minutes we were lining up for the 1 mile.  How does one pace a one mile race after a 5k?  What's my goal?  I was kinda nervous.
I decide that I would like a 6-minute mile and we took off.  I felt great starting and saw 6:25 pace on my watch.  Ouch- that might hurt.  I slowed to around a 7:00 pace and made it to the half mile turn around.  As that happened I realized one thing...I was the first female. WHAT?  I have never in my life been the first overall anything in a race.  I saw the second female was about 15 feet behind me and I didn't plan on slowing my pace.  I was winning!  I was also noticing how heavy my legs felt.  I just kept on pumping, got into a sprint to the finish with a guy, and finished in 7:04.  First female and 7th overall.  Woohoo!  Note: I am not trying to tell you that I am a championship runner.  7:01 is not that fast, but I was the fastest person who woke up and ran that day, so please don't rain on my parade. :)

I was laughing at loud at the finish.  It's fun to be first and to PR! This was a great day!
I would recommend the Zoe 5k to runners in the Orlando area.  It was well organized, accurately measured, and fun.  You received a tech tee and I got $30 to a local restaurant for my overall mile win and age group 5k win.

Plus the race has a finish line video on YouTube, so if you've been dying to see what I actually look like when I run, well here's your chance:
5k -

1 mile and my attempt to out sprint a man -

I plan to post a few more 5k posts included my "Sub-25 minute speed work" and my 5k playlist. I have one more half marathon in May as part of the Cabot Fit team and then I'll give my body a much deserved rest.  I may be running a 5k next weekend with our gym, but I'll take it easy...I think :)

What's your favorite distance to race?
Small races or big races?

Love and shiny new PR's,
Carissa & Kyle