Fartlek Running!

Yesterday morning my run was fun and after a few minutes into it I realized essentially, I was running a fartlek on the treadmill. It makes sense that this then turns into a post about fartlek running.

What exactly is a fartlek? In Swedish it means "speed play" but it isn't the same as intervals. Intervals are way more structured. You can read more about them HERE. In fartleks you move between bouts of faster and slower running without the pressure of hitting x-paces for x-duration. If you are doing that, you are moving towards interval training. Think of a fartlek as this concept - you see a mailbox ahead and say, "Okay, I am going to pick up my pace until I get to that mailbox!". You do, you ease up again and pick your next landmark.

Now how on Earth did I manage that on a treadmill? Easy. And perhaps a bit confusing. Fartleks can be completely unstructured (the mailbox example), a bit more structured (I am going to get into that soon), or a mix of the two. For the structured fartleks you may use minutes instead of landmarks and I say go this route if the landmark, unstructured way, doesn't fit. And play with the minutes, or in my case yesterday, the distance.

To give you an example, I started my run with the treadmill at 6.2. After 0.5 miles I picked up the pace to 6.6 for half a mile. I returned to 6.2 for half a mile. I then went to 7.5 for half a mile and back down to 6.2 for half a mile. If you know intervals you can see this is not running intervals as my speed is going all over the place. There isn't enough structure to be intervals. I switched the pace to 6.6 and ran a mile and brought it down to 6.2 for half a mile. Then it was increase by 0.1 each 0.1 miles to get me another half mile, I repeated the top pace another 0.1 miles and followed the ladder back down and did a half mile at 6.2. Then I got really sporadic with the speed and can't remember point for point what I did but I think you can get the general picture. I ended up running 6.5 miles with an average pace of 9'17". It had areas of work where my heart rate got up there and areas of recovery. It was a fartlek.

Why run fartleks? One, they are fun! But there are other benefits. Fartlek running trains your cardiovascular and muscular systems in oxygen absorption, delivery, and utilization. They improve your endurance at lower muscle stress. They teach you patience during low grade discomfort. Yes, I can do this for just two minutes. I am tired but I can handle two minutes. And they improve your strength, running form, and decrease the chance of injury if done properly.

Who should run fartleks? All types of runners! It is a great way to introduce new runners and run/walkers into faster running. And for those experienced runners, it still lets you work on strength, your mental toughness, and may bring back some of the fun in running during an intense training cycle.

And yes, for me, yesterday's run was indeed fun and hard work. I hit a training pace I hadn't touched in awhile and worked some at my GMP (goal marathon pace). It was a great workout!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for health insurance. I know this may be a touchy subject for some but yes, I am thankful for health insurance.
Daily Affirmation: I can see my weaknesses and admit them. This makes me stronger and more honest.


Blog of the Month

One of my goals in 2014 is to make more connections in the world and spread the love. With that said, I dreamed up Blog of the Month. Yes, I know it is nothing Earth shattering. Monthly features are indeed nothing new and revolutionary but this feature on my blog is new. I put out the idea to fellow SweatPink, Kindrunner, and FitFluential Ambassadors and I am not at a loss of blogs to share. You see, I did it this way so I wasn't just promoting blogs I already read but hoped to find some new gems as well! You would think I would announce these the start of the month but it seems I am just going mid-month to mid-month based on when my first one was announced in January. 

April's blog is another new blog for me...and some young blood! I am loving this!!!

Introducing Passion for Life, Love, and Health! What a wonderful blog name! This blog is written by Ashleigh, who is a 20-something with a degree in Psychology and she loves creating art, music, and writing. Oh my! What a doll! I loved my psychology classes in high school and college. So much fun!

I also love that Ashleigh, like myself, has a blog mission. Her mission statement is:

"Passion for Life, Love, and Health aims to be a provider of resources, inspiration, and even encouragement for people who are working on living a healthy lifestyle. A weight loss blog at heart, it chronicles Ashleigh's journey to greater wellness and fewer pounds, while providing a plethora of tips, information, and resources on nutrition, fitness, motivation, mental health, and overall health, especially as they pertain to weight management."

What a mission! 

You see, in life, we are all connected and what I truly cherish in blogging is that you can connect with other like-minded souls and it really doesn't matter how old you are or where you live. We all have a story to tell and we can all learn from one another. This month Ashleigh has been focused on "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" and there is a lot of truth in that. Hop on over to her blog, read about A National Stress Awareness Challenge, and tell Ashleigh Erica G sent you her way. I will definitely be following her journey! How about you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for new friends.
Daily Affirmation: My mind in open to learning.


#bestfoot: Checking In

Mondays. They can be really tough days for me. The weekend is over, the work week begins, and time management becomes a greater issue. Last week I feel I flopped all week due to starting the week off on a bad foot emotionally. This week, my Monday morning hasn't been stellar as I peeked into my full-time job inbox and saw a huge project to work on, which will take me away from the other 500 things I need to do but all is well. I refuse to let that mess up another training week for me...or at least I keep telling myself that. Last week still stings but in all reality, it may not be as bad as I am envisioning.

So let's talk training!

Monday: I ran two miles after work and followed it up with 25 minutes of yoga - my Ab-Defining class. Today I was on target. 

Tuesday: I ran one mile after work. I couldn't get my heart and soul into anything as I was emotionally and physically beat from the challenges of the weekend and lack of sleep. I hoped one day of "rest" would get me back on track. I followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. I am now off target.

Wednesday: My goal was 8 miles before work. I did get to the gym before work but only did two miles and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. I forgot to do my daily plank at the gym and ended up doing it on my office floor before getting to work. At this point, I was beginning to feel down on myself. I really shouldn't let that happen.

Thursday: My determination was kicking in and I ran 4.32 miles before work and followed it up with 15 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Combination. After work I ran another 5.07 miles and followed that up with 15 minutes of yoga - Beginner Flexibility. This was a pretty good day even though nothing was according to plan. I am winging things completely. 

Friday: I ran 5.25 miles after work and this in itself was amazing. At the time I started the idea of a mile seemed daunting so I am happy I stuck it out. I followed it up with 26 minutes of yoga - my Faith class and halfway through remembered I was supposed to do my Ab-Defining class. Oops. Today my plank time was 1:50 and it is getting really hard as I am physically collapsing after each plank. Gotta love #ffaprilabs!

Saturday: I was dragging in the morning and even forgot my bottle of VegaSport hydrator at home. I realized this on our way to the gym and decided to just roll with it. I ran 3.15 miles and couldn't get into my zone. I stopped and did my yoga - 30 minutes for the Intermediate Flexibility class. I was loose and happy with my improvements in some poses and decided to try to do just another more mile of running. Deep down I wanted three. I ran another 3.11 miles. It was an accomplishment but I also knew I was falling short of my weekly goal and that my long run was going to be a flop this week. I tried to not get too hard on myself. When I prepped my drink my goal was to run 10 miles today.

Sunday: I ran 3.13 miles and followed it up with 30 minutes of yoga - Intermediate Flexibility. Then it was time to plank and get everyone fed and ready for church. It was a bit of a battle and I yearned for more yoga time to keep my calm on. Later in the day I ran another 5 miles. 

As of Sunday, I am on day 836 of my running streak, day 106 of my yoga streak, and my daily plank for #ffaprilabs is at 2:00. It is tough adding that 5 seconds on each day and my heart rate climbs during the plank. I am doing the dolphin plank each day for this challenge and have started turning a song on before starting the plank in an attempt to distract my mind. I ended up with 34 running miles. My goal is at least 40 a week so I am a bit shy but in all reality, I think I am too hard on myself.

I am still wearing my Polar Loop and heart sensor during workouts and do love looking at the data. Here is some of that!

How was your week?

This post will be linked to the #bestfoot link up through Run to the Finish,The Adventures of a Darwinian Fail, and The Sweet Life with Ericka. I love this link up and each week strive to find at least one new lady to support! Jump on over and find some awesomeness and add your own!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful darling daughter got her grouchies out before church.
Daily Affirmation: I can increase my plank each day by 5 seconds. I can do it. I can!


Product Review: CamelBak Relay

This is a sponsored post. I received the CamelBak Relay at no cost to try out at home. It was my choice to write this review. All opinions expressed are soley my own.


We all know it is important. And fortunately, I do love water. In fact at work I crave a nice cup of cold water on my desk at all times. I may not always get the cold part but I have discovered, drinking water makes me feel better. I am less achy and a bit more alert. Yes, my head just feels water.

At home I turn to water quite a bit too and am trying to get darling daughter to do the same. She is pretty good at it but unfortunately dear hubby can be a bad influence. He is not a water drinker. He needs flavor, sugar, whatever. But on a bright note, he is sipping water now through the night! Progress step 1! Now if only I could get him to try some of the water from this pitcher! Perhaps he will taste the difference and be converted for good!

It has been awhile since I used a filter pitcher. I had one years ago, in fact, I went through three of the same brand. The lids broke. I couldn't keep track of when to change the filter and they just took up too much space in my fridge. You see, I need all that room for fruits, veggies, and other nutritional yummies!

What I first loved about the CamelBak Relay is that the lid snaps on...tight. That lid isn't going anywhere and that is helpful when you have a six year old in the house who is trying to do more and more all by herself. Second, I will remember when I need to replace the filter as it has an awesome easy design. Just turn the knob on top to the month you put the filter in and it displays four months with the final being replacement month. Clever!

But is all this filtration worth it? Doesn't it just slow things down? Let's address speed first. There is a smaller lid on top you lift to fill the pitcher back up and a fill line, which is below the 10 cup capacity line. It filters fast. They claim at the speed of your faucet and I agree. But in all reality, we are talking normal faucet speed not super high spray faucet speed. But I have never stood there saying, "Oh I wish this would filter faster!".

Now for the first question, is it worth it? This is a touchy subject and a source of some controversy on to whether filtered or tap water is better for you. Let me tell you where I stand. I drink tap water at work and yes, sometimes at home. I am fortunate to live in a country and a state where it is okay and tastes okay. And for those who care about fluoride, the water in Hawai'i is not fluoridated and CamelBak states their filter does not remove fluoride. But still, when we moved in to our home and the fridge had a filter unit, we used that water. It comes out slow and not all that cold. So I thought, perhaps I will give this pitcher a try.

What darling daughter and I first noticed was it did taste better. Think of it as crisper and more refreshing and I attribute that to its double filter technology. And darling daughter is asking for water more often now so that is a good thing. So for me, is the pitcher worth it? Yes! Is filtered water worth it? Yes! If it can get any one person to drink more water over other drinks I will always say go for it! And for darling daughter, since she is limited to water or milk, and only so much milk a day, she is hydrating more now that she is drinking more water.

The pitcher is streamlined and doesn't take up much room at all in our fridge. It can even fit on the door but I have it on a lower shelf. Darling daughter has easy access to it but right now she can only pour it herself when it is less than half full. It is just a bit too heavy and awkward for her when it is fuller but she will get it all figured out soon enough.

The CamelBak Relay is available at Target or online and retails at $36.99. The replacement filter is $12 for one or $28.50 for a three pack. Not a bad price at all considering I was paying $50 for the replacement filters for our fridge. Each filter lasts four months assuming you drink one pitcher full a day. And don't forget, the CamelBak Relay is covered by the CamelBak lifetime guarantee.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for great tasting water!
Daily Affirmation: I have a beautiful soul.