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Signed Up to Run My First Half Marathon!

26 Mar

This weekend I signed up for my first half marathon! This will be the longest distance I have ever run. I’m running the race the last week of June and although it’s still pretty far away I’m a little nervous and excited.

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I’m also excited because my mom plans to run this race too. She has wanted to run a marathon for years so doing this half will be a great way for her to get started toward that goal. I’m hoping before the race we can get a few runs in together too.

I will start officially training April 1, to start the 12 week program on time.

I’m going to try and follow the plan I received from Nike. They emailed me the full plan last week. There are four running days and two strength training days a week. I may have to switch some of the days for the week around to work with my school schedule, but it seems like a good plan. I will give a weekly rundown of my training.

One thing I noticed is that the first month consists of some relatively low mileage compared to what I’m used to, but they have a note right on top of the page that says ” The volume may be lower than you are used to running but PLEASE stick to the recommended mileage.” This is going to be really hard for me, but they are the experts so I’m going to stick to it.

So this last week before my official training starts I’m going to stick to my current routine and stay between 3.5 and 8 miles.

What’s the longest road race you’ve ever competed in?

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Spring Dresses for the Office

19 Mar

I’m loving this weather! This weekend was in the 50s and 60s and today it’s in the 70s, this is crazy.

This weekend Matt and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. It was nice and low key, which was amazing. We went to the movies to see 21 Jump Street, which I thought was hilarious.

Still from 21 Jump Street.

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Matt liked it too, he described it as trippy. There are parts of it that were a little weird, but it’s probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have great comedic chemistry and they seem like they are actually best friends. You get the impression that they had a great time filming this movie together.

Saturday night we roasted a chicken for our anniversary dinner. It was my first time throwing a whole chicken in the oven, but it turned out great. Matt made some delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

When Matt left yesterday I went for a nice long run. The weather was perfect. I was able to wear shorts and a tank top and it wasn’t too hot out. I ran for about 7.5 miles and it felt really good.

All this warm weather got me thinking about all of the spring wardrobe possibilities.

Office Wardrobe Inspiration

Spring Dresses for the Office

Spring Dresses for the Office by the5kfashionista featuring cross earrings

Mango dress, £45, H m dress, £25, Lace cardigan, $80, Topshop boyfriend blazer, $70, Topshop vintage high heels, $100, Calvin Klein low heels, $88, FOSSIL leather flat, $78, Zara shop handbag, $80, Oasis top handle handbag, $70, Dorothy Perkins brown shoulder bag, $59 Kate Spade post earrings, $58, Jones New York cuff bracelet, $50, Gorjana stud earrings, $25, 1928 cross earrings, $18, Forever 21 chain necklace, $13, Dorothy Perkins tall dress, $59

Outfit #1

The first outfit would be great for for a formal office setting where a jacket is required. Without the jacket this is also a great office look. I love this shift dress and the blocks of color on the sides and the slight peplum at the hips. Playing off the blue a great bib necklace and earrings add some added interest to this outfit.

Outfit #2

This outfit would be great for a business casual work environment. I’m a fan of dresses that combine a top and bottom in a way that doesn’t look cheesy. The belt does a great job of cinching the waistline and providing that hourglass shape. The colors are fun and bright, which makes this great for spring. This is paired with some simple gold jewelry and black kitten heels and handbag.

Outfit #3

This outfit would be good for a casual Friday. The print is fun and the bursts of color in the flats and handbag play off the great pattern on the dress. A light cardigan is great for a cold office, or the dress can be worn alone. The earrings are subtle and also play off the pinks and peaches in the dress.

What piece of your wardrobe are you excited to bring back into rotation with the warmer weather?

I have a pair of white trousers that I wear to work in the Spring and Summer. They will be coming out of hibernation very soon.

Save Your Do – Gym Wrap Review

15 Mar

As I mentioned last week I purchased the Save Your Do Gym Wrap online a few weeks ago. I’ve used sweat bands for my workouts and always found that though they kept the sweat out of my eyes during my workouts they just left my hair a sweaty mess, so I haven’t used one in years.

I found out about the Save Your Do Gymwrap on Twitter and thought it was a great idea. It was created by actress Nicole Ari Parker as a way to wick moisture away from your hair and leave hair drier and flatter. She created it also so women would stop using their hair as an excuse to not workout.

“The idea for the Save Your Do™ Gymwrap came to me last year when I noticed a common excuse emerge among busy everyday women (myself included) about why they couldn’t work out: their hair. Hair is a serious issue for most of us women because after spending a ton of time and money to have it washed, blowdried, flat-ironed and curled, none of us want to sweat and mess it up all over again.” Nicole Ari Parker

The Gym Wrap comes in 3 sizes and a few colors, a bandana, medium and narrow width.

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I purchased the narrow width, which cost $24.98. The company was having a $5 off deal if you liked the product during checkout. Shipping was $7.20 and the final cost was $27.15, kind of steep but I was willing to spend it if the product worked and some of the proceeds go to a great cause. 10% of the proceeds go to the Sophie’s Voice Foundation. A non-profit created by Nicole and her husband actor Boris Kodjoe that was create in honor of their daughter to further research for Spina Bifida.

I ordered the Gym Wrap on February 21 and it arrived on March 8, about 14 business days.

Before my run

I tried out the Gym Wrap for an in-home strength training/ cardio workout and also out on a run.

After the at home workout I noticed that my hair was pretty dry and the Gym Wrap did a great job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes.

Kind of stylish, I like the simple black color.

The real test though was the run. I went on a 6.5 mile run and was out for about an hour in 60 degree weather. During the run I liked that the Gym Wrap felt airy. Normally with other sweat bands you can feel the heaviness of it, but that is not the case with the Gym Wrap. The only thing that I found a little uncomfortable at first were the ties at the neck. They flapped around during the run so next time around I think I’ll try to find a better way to tie it to avoid that.

After my run I stretched at home. I took the Gym Wrap off and it was soaked through, which I wasn’t expecting since it felt so light during the run. My hair was noticeably drier than it usually is after my runs, I was really surprised. I also didn’t have to constantly wipe sweat from my eyes. My hair wasn’t totally dry (I think that would be unrealistic), but I am very satisfied with the Gym Wrap.

The Gym wrap is also very easy to clean. It says it can be put in the washing machine and tumble dried. I put it on the gentle cycle and let it air dry. I do this with a lot of my exercise clothes that have wicking material to try to extend the life.

I would definitely recommend the Gym Wrap. I feel like anything that keeps my hair in decent shape after a run is worth it. The cost is somewhat high, but I will be getting a lot of use out of it. In the future I might consider trying out the bandana or even the wider width band so I can have a few to transition through between washes.

A Little Free Music To Spice Up Your Workout

9 Mar

You know what I love? Free Music!

I was browsing through Pinterest yesterday when I came across a spring playlist and found a bunch of awesome songs to workout to. They are from the Refinery29 web site and are all mixes from a DJ (hence why you don’t have to pay). So check them out. Just right click on the links and choose “save as.” Pretty easy. You can click on the links if you want to preview the songs before downloading them.

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I ended up adding them to my running playlist yesterday. I haven’t bought much new music lately. The last song I purchased was Beyonce’s Countdown, which I loove, have on replay, and haven’t gotten sick of yet. So it was nice to add some new songs to my current list to mix it up. Some of the songs are great running songs, there are a couple I may end up taking off the list because they are a bit slower. The new music definitely made my run fun and different. Mixing up my playlists always gives me an extra burst of energy.

Yesterday I got in a run outdoors, the temperature was really nice, but it was super windy. There were a few times I thought it might be very possible that I could blow away. I know it’s ridiculous, but these are the random things I think about when I’m running. I’m looking forward to the clocks moving forward Sunday so I can run outside all the time. After my run I stopped at the gym and did legs – lunges, squats, step ups, abductor and adductor machines. I also did some back extensions and some ab exercises.

This morning I did a 15 minute Youtube workout from Zuzana Light. I also tried out the Save Your Do gym wrap, sweat band that I recently ordered. It’s supposed to help wick away sweat from your hair during your workout. I’ll do a full review next week after I put it to the real test and go for a run with it.

What songs get you pumped during your workout?

Hodge Podge of a Week

7 Mar

I’ve had a bit of an all over the place and busy week so far.

This weekend included some RedBox (The Rum Diary and What’s Your Number) and some billiards. Matt and I went to Lucky Strike in Boston to play pool. I’m not awful. I can make direct shots, but it was still a lot of fun. Matt’s definitely a good pool player, he’s going to have to teach me all his tricks to make those weird angle shots.

I also baked this delicious cinnamon swirl protein bread from Jamie Eason on bodybuilder.com. I was impressed with how good it came out. I used organic coconut sugar instead of Xylitol. The bread is fluffy, moist with a nice hint of sweetness.

I’ve been bringing two squares to work every day as part of my lunch/ during the day snack.

I’m on “spring break” this week, so I don’t officially have classes, but I still have work and a lot of school work to do. I was able to go to the gym Monday night after meeting with a group member on a project. I ran for 30 minutes and called it a night since I ended up at the gym a lot later than usual.

Last night I met up with two of my friends in Boston, Alex and Beata, and we went out to dinner at Jacob Wirth. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in Boston. They serve German food and have a large beer list. For an appetizer I got potato pancakes served with this cinnamon dressing and apples. For my entree I ordered grilled Weisswurst (Ground Veal, Pork, and Spices) with Sauerkraut on a sesame seed bun with French fries. I also had Sam Adams Boston Brick Red, which is only sold in the Boston area. It was a tasty dinner and it was great to meet up with my friends. We live pretty close to each other, but don’t see other nearly enough.

I’ve decided that my half marathon training will start April 1st. I haven’t signed up for the race yet, but it’s at the end of June so that should give me plenty of time to prep.

I’ve been starting to slowly increase my distances by setting my goal to run for a set amount of time. Tonight at the gym I ran for 50 minutes and completed 6 miles. I finished off my workout with arms.

I already have my eyes on my next race. I’m thinking about a 5k for St. Patty’s Day. I’ll have to sign up soon, but  this will start my goal of running a road race each month.

It was so warm and sunny today. I can’t wait for spring!

What do you look forward to the most with the warm weather?

Nike 1 on 1 Twitter Personal Training

2 Mar

I just wanted to add a quick update that I’m pretty excited about. I was recently contacted on my Twitter account by Nike to be one of the first people to try out a new one on one Twitter personal training program.

I told them two fitness goals I am currently pursuing for this year. One is to complete a half marathon and the other is to beat my current personal best at the 5k of 22’13”.

It looks like the program will be revving up soon and they sent me this video via Twitter last night.

I will keep everyone updated on how this goes. I’ve always thought of Nike as a high performance company so it’s exciting to get some one on one training from one of their performance experts.

Treadmilling with No Ipod

29 Feb

Happy Leap Day! I received a barrage of emails from retailers the morning with Leap Day sales, really!? I didn’t know this was a retailing holiday. There are some good sales out there if you are looking for them, but I’ll be spending my extra day getting in a good workout and doing school stuff after I get out of work.

Yesterday, was not a good workout day. I went to the gym last night super excited with a goal of just running for 50 minutes straight. No distance goal, but just trying to go for endurance. However, I got changed into my workout gear and took my iPod nano out of my gym bag to only find out it wasn’t turning on. First, I was freaking out hoping there wasn’t something wrong with it, then I realized there was no way I could run on a treadmill without music. I’ve run plenty of times outdoors without music and I enjoy that because you have a change of scenery, but the treadmill is a whole different story.

Without music I had a whole lot of "me time" on my run.

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I changed my running goal to complete 3.1 miles, even this was rough. Here are some techniques I used to keep it interesting.

1. Use varying speeds

Going at just one speed can get monotonous. Switching it up with different speeds or even inclines is a great way to keep the treadmill interesting.

2. Don’t watch the clock

Even when I have music I try to avoid looking at the clock or time on the treadmill. I tend to cover my treadmill with a towel so I don’t fixate on my time.

3. Focus on something

Luckily my gym has TVs. I tend to watch them even when I have music, but I made sure I tried to get in front of one with an interesting channel. I tend to avoid the TV that has the food network, instead I look to see if a sitcom is on or just watch the news. When I don’t have a TV I do some people watching, which is always interesting at the gym. I count other peoples reps or slyly make note of the exercises they are doing to learn some new routines.

I ended up finishing the 5k in 24:10, which I thought was impressive considering I was music-less and lacking some motivation. I was also a little uspet because I use my iPod nano to track my runs with the attached Nike+ software, so I wasn’t able to do that and I’m very close to reaching my next level. For any other Nike+ users, I’m currently at green with just over 500 miles and on my way to blue!

When I got home I found out my iPod was ok! I plugged it in and it turned on. I’m thinking I must have left it playing accidentally and the battery died. I made sure I plugged it in last night before bed so I would have a full battery for my run tonight. I’m going to do the workout I had planned on for yesterday and run for a steady 50 minutes, I have my music so I have no excuses.

Do you run with music? Does it help keep you motivated?

A Little Weekend P90X

27 Feb

I left work early Friday and made it into CT early. Matt picked me up from the bus station at 5 p.m. and it was great to have some extra time together this weekend.

This weekend involved some relaxing, which was nice. We made homemade pizza and rented two movies, Drive and Real Steel. Real Steel was so cute and I really enjoyed it. Matt described it as a robot version of Rocky. It was predictable, but just a fun film to watch.

Drive was on the total opposite end of the spectrum, it wasn’t a fun light hearted movie at all. The end of the movie was actually pretty gory, but in terms of directing and cinematic style it was beautifully filmed.

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I completed a film minor with my bachelor’s degree so I love watching well made movies. In my classes we would analyze a range of movies. For one class we had to do a shot by shot analysis of a scene, literally dissecting every element on the screen. These classes gave me a very discerning eye and made me realize a good director has a reason for every camera movement, shadow, and piece of scenery on the screen. The whole time I was watching Drive I was amazed at how much you could interpret from the movie just by seeing what was on the screen. There isn’t much dialogue so I felt that the imagery was really important. Ryan Gosling does a great job as the film’s protagonist and the supporting cast also does a great job. Since I’ve been watching Mad Men I was excited to see Christina Hendricks, but she had a very small role. I would definitely recommend Drive, especially for any film buffs, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Saturday night we did some late night bowling with some of Matt’s friends. I’m not much of a bowler, I’m not very good and I’ve had some carpal tunnel issues (I wear a brace on my wrist at night for it) so I can’t play for long, but this was a lot of fun. It was nice to go with a group of people and the bowling alley had a great atmosphere. They turned down the lights and had blacklights and neon lights around the lanes. They also had a DJ playing music and had music videos playing on screens above the lanes.

Lately on the weekends Matt and I haven’t really done much exercising, but Sunday morning I asked him if he wanted to. We ended up doing one of his P90x videos for chest and back. The video included a lot of pushup, pullups (assisted for me), and some dumbbell work. After the workout there was a bonus ab exercise which was short but tough and effective. My arms shoulders, arms and abs are pretty sore today.

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Matt has the whole P90x series. The other discs I’ve done with him are the plyometrics and yoga workouts and every one I’ve tried has been super tough. I’m always sore after and feel like I’ve gotten in a great workout. It seems like a lot of the discs are interval based with high intensity reps. It’s definitely my kind of exercise routine. I know the set of discs is recommended to be done as a program. I’ve never completed the program, but when I first met Matt he had just finished the series. He recommends it and tells me all the time that it got him into amazing shape. When Matt and I end up living closer together I will definitely be adding these DVDs into my routine more often.

The rest of my Sunday evening was spent on school work when I made it back to Boston. I stayed up late last night finishing up some assignments. I keep reminding myself that it’s almost over, but the end of the semester and my graduate career cannot come soon enough.

This morning, through my soreness, I did this 10 minute workout from Zuzana Light. Now, on top of my arms being tight, I’m sure my legs will be sore tomorrow too.

Has anyone else tried P90x or another long-term training program? What are your thoughts?

President’s Day Weekend Shenanigans

21 Feb

I took about a week off of running because I was experiencing some pain on the top of my foot. I think it may have been tendonitis from wearing some flats that didn’t fit that great. Last week included a lot of resting, ice and ibuprofen. I’m feeling a lot better now, every once in a while I’ll get a little pain in my left foot, but I’m still icing it occasionally.

Speaking of running, I was contacted on twitter by a company called Celliant. They mailed me a free performance pack that consisted of 2 pairs of socks, a sweatband and pair of wristbands.

I haven’t used sweatbands in year, but the socks ended up being super useful and comfy. I wore them Sunday and yesterday on my runs.

What I personally like about the sock is the cushioning throughout the bottom of the foot. There is also some great arch support and the top of the sock offered a lot of breathability. The nice soft cushy feel of the fabric can also be felt on the sweatbands.

What actually differentiates this company is the fabric they use. Their fiber increases blood flow and blood oxygen levels in the tissue of the body. The technology is used in their own branded athletic clothing and some Adidas and Reebok clothing listed on their web site.

Weekend Fun

One of my best friends from home came to visit this weekend. Jill came to visit Saturday and spent the night. It was awesome being able to catch up since we only saw each other briefly during the holidays and this was her first time visiting me in Boston. We walked around Cambridge during the day, then headed into Boston at night with another friend from high school. It was a lot of fun showing her around the city.

Me and Jill waiting for the T.

Jill left Sunday and I basically vegged out on the couch. I bought season 2 of Mad Men a few weeks back and I had a bit of a marathon this weekend. I have one more episode until I’m done with the season and I’m kind of obsessed. I love that it’s about the advertising industry (which I’m interested in getting in to), the fashion from the early 60’s was amazing, and the script and directing is definitely thoughtful and different.

I didn’t just watch TV all weekend though. I went for two runs outside which felt amazing. I really can’t wait for the weather to warm up and the days to get longer. I also went to the gym for a run and a little lifting.

Yesterday I made it out to the mall for a little President’s Day shopping.

Recent Shopping TripRecent Shopping Trip by the5kfashionista featuring slim fit pants

H M top, £3.99, H M top, £3.99, Banana Republic slim fit pants, $90

My trip ended up consisting of mostly basics. I have been searching for a nice ankle length cigarette pant for a while and this one from Banana Republic fit perfectly and came in a petite size. I also grabbed the tanks to act as layering pieces for the cold and they will look great on their own come the spring and summer. Not shown here I also picked up two pairs of running shorts from old navy and an orange pencil skirt from H&M that I can wear for work. I love the color of the H&M skirt and I think it will be great for color blocking.

I have the worst time finding shirts. I’m done buying pants and bottoms for a while, until I can get some decent tops for work and day to day wear.

I had a great weekend and not only had fun, but was able to get a lot of school work done.

Did anyone else find any good deals this weekend?

Valentine’s Weekend Festivities

13 Feb

The weekend was way to short, but I had a great time celebrating Valentine’s Day with Matt. Friday night I got into CT and we pretty much just relaxed. We exchanged small gifts. I got Matt a box of Valentine’s Russell Stover Chocolates and he got me a box of Reese’s Valentine’s chocolates (chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite combination).

Saturday we went to see the Vow.

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I wanted to go see a romantic movie this weekend. I wasn’t expecting much going into this movie, but I was actually surprised how much I liked it. It was incredibly sweet and not totally predictable, which I liked. Matt joked that he had never heard so much crying in a theater. Parts of it were sad but I would definitely recommend it.

After the movie we went for our couples massage! I think I enjoyed the experience a little more than the massage. It wasn’t the typical swedish or deep tissue massage I’m used to. The masseuse stretched my limbs a lot during the massage and it involved some shaking. Some parts were actually a little uncomfortable. I was kind of looking forward to just lying there, but this massage included a lot of movement. I did some searching online and I think we got a thai or shiatsu massage. After the massage we were offered a glass of wine some chocolates. We were able to sit down and just enjoy that. I did feel relaxed afterward and it was great sharing the experience with Matt, but I doubt I would go back to that spa again. I’m going to stick with relaxing massages.

I couldn't resist this picture, too cute.

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For dinner we went to this small pizza place that had amazing fresh bread and the pie we got was fantastic. We grabbed a bottle of wine for home and ended up watching a movie on NetFlix. I have wanted to watch An Affair to Remember for a long time, so we ended up watching that. I love old movies and this one is definitely a classic.

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Sunday I got caught up on Gossip Girl and I’m super frustrated with this season. I’ve been watching the show since the beginning. I love the fashion, but I think I really watch for the Chuck and Blair storyline. Now it’s just getting a little ridiculous, I hate that Chuck’s been chasing Blair for so long. I hope the show develops his character by himself without Blair for a while.

So that sums up my romantic little weekend with the boy.

Did anyone else see any good movies this weekend?