On April 28th I ran the GW Parkway Classic. Since moving to Alexandria in July, I had my eye on this race. I had heard that it was one of the most scenic and beautiful local races. The biggest selling point for me was the fact that this race started 7.2 miles from my house.

Packet Pickup was available the entire week before the race at the Pacers in Alexandria, which happens to be just down the street from where I work. so, I walked over during my lunch break on Wednesday. So easy!

Race morning I woke up and didn’t head to the start until 7:20AM for an 8AM start. I loved being able to sleep in a bit later. The hubby was kind enough to offer to drop me off and pick me up for this point-to-point race.

PAC-153-GWPC-Map

The race itself starts at the entrance to Mt. Vernon. Pacers even had George and Martha Washington on site taking photos. It was a fun race vibe. Since I was there a bit early (even after sitting in the car for 15 minutes), I decided to stretch. The weather was slated to be in the upper 60s and sunny, which for most people is fine. However, I am always warm when running and cold when not. So, I started the race in a throwaway, which I promptly shed the moment we started moving toward the start. This smaller race has no corrals, just self assigned waves.

Let me begin with the course… it was beautiful. Almost the entire race is run on the George Washington Parkway. The GW Parkway is a very scenic highway that parallels the Potomac River. The Mt. Vernon Trail also parallels this highway is my favorite place to run in DC. The first 8 miles are gently rolling hills. No really, they were gently rolling. It was equally shady and in sun, so there were nice reprieves from the sun. Pacers had set up photo opps for runners to pop in a get a FREE photo taken.

GWparkway 10mileroverlookAfter Mile 8, the trees begin to part and I begin to see National Harbor across the Potomac as I steadily make our way into Old Town Alexandria. Once in Old Town we come in thru N. Washington Street and make a right towards the water at the Balducci’s. Crowd Support is amazing from here through the end of the race. There are people everywhere! From here, there is less than 1 mile to the finish. We along the closest street to the Potomac and pass through the historic Old Town Waterfront area. I love this cause I’m here everyday, it’s nice to be able to run in areas that are familiar.

GWparkway 10miler

I sprinted into the chute and was overall very happy with the race. It’s very well run, especially for a local race. It was absolutely beautiful. I pushed myself, but not too much. Race entry included a tech tee, medal, and post race snacks. Who doesn’t love the Pacer’s box of goodies they give out at every race?!?

Feel like I'm getting back to normal... Finally!

Feel like I’m getting back to normal… Finally!

What’s your favorite local race? Are you a fan or quiet scenic races or louder race atmospheres? 

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Who’s ready to get crazy with a 2 week recap? 2 weeks ago I planted a garden. Yes that’s right. Early this May, I decided to finally plant that herb garden I’d been talking about since we moved in almost a year ago. Well herb garden turned into backyard makeover. We have a fantastic space and weren’t taking advantage of it until now. I really just wanted to share because I’m obsessed with the space. We place all kind of fresh herbs and plants that will repel bugs. Did you know there’s a citronella plant? Check out the amazing results below.

my mini oasis

my mini oasis

Monday: Barre Class

Tuesday: Barre Class

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: Barre Class

Friday: Spinning Class (Theme Ride to Pitch Perfect…. AcaAwesome!)

Let's talk about amazing... cause this class was absolute perfection

Let’s talk about amazing… cause this class was absolute perfection

Saturday: Quick Run

Sunday: Gardening (it was just as tough as any workout… did I mention we tore out the old garden?)

Monday: Vinyasa Flow

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: At home DVD

Thursday: Barre Class

Friday: Barre Class

Saturday: Heated Power Yoga with weights… (bootcamp)

That’s a lot of Barre. I know. While my knee feels a lot better it’s not totally 100%. Barre has been a HUGE asset in helping build back on my leg strength. All the pulsing and tucking has really enabled me to develop the gluten and leg strength that I had been lacking. My hope is that by focusing so much on strength training and maintaining a solid fitness level I will be able to transition into marathon training in the next few weeks.

In between all the exercise and gardening, life keeps moving forward. Over Memorial Day I had a fantastic girl’s weekend here in DC.

bridesmaid

Kicked off girlie weekend with wedding details! Guess who is a bridesmaid!! 🙂 Can’t wait to share in Miss C’s special day!

yoga

Rockymtnpearls tricked us into doing a bootcamp class…. but plus side was able to drink all the champs and rose 🙂

champs

The face of bottomless brunch.

girls

Impromptu photo sessions near the Georgetown waterfront. Love my friends ❤

After girlie weekend I crashed on Sunday and went to my sister’s for a Memorial Day get together. We had a fantastic time and explored her neighborhood pool. spoiler alert: I love it. I see many summer pool days in my future. Hubby and I also decided to participate in the Runner’s World streak. It came up when checking Instagram on the way to my sister’s house. I discovered that Runner’s World is challenging runners to run at least 1 Mile a day from Memorial Day – July 4th. We all know I can never resist a challenge, so we’ve committed. It’ll be a great jump start for fall race training and a purposeful reminder daily of the commitment to training that we each have made.

What are your feelings on challenges? Any workouts you’re obsessed with? How’s your training going? Do any thing fun or meaningful for Memorial Day weekend?

Another week in the books! I write this as I enjoy my rest day and a nice glass of white wine (it’s deserved). Some weeks are smoother than others. This week definitely had it’s ups and downs. Some of my workouts were far from strong, but I’m glad I didn’t bail. Isn’t showing up half the battle?

Sunday: REST Day

Monday: Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Tuesday: Barre Class

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: Spin Class

Friday: Stretching and at home DVD

Saturday: 6 Miles at Zooma Training run (this was rough… like so rough)

workout

Just keep going!

Just keep going!

How was your week? Ever have a workout that just kicked your butt? How did you push through without losing steam? 

For the last 8 weeks, I have been taking barre classes. I’d heard amazing things about them so my interest had been piqued. I was told barre classes were challenging, a great workout, and fun. So after signing up for classpass, I figured why not give it a chance. Well…. I’m totally obsessed. However, those who have taken barre know, there’s several stages you go through in class. So I figured why not express the thought process I go through via gifs to fully describe the experience.

1. Excitement?

So Barre? Yeah? Let's do this!

So Barre? Yeah? Let’s do this!

2. Warm Up/ How does everyone already know what’s happening?

How is everyone already moving in unison?

How is everyone already moving in unison?

3. Arms – 3lbs weights aren’t heavy

Yeah, I got this! Let's get ripped.

Yeah, I got this! Let’s get ripped.

4. Arms – 3lbs weights will cause my arms to fall off

Can't keep going. But can not stop! Power through!

Can’t keep going. But can not stop! Power through!

5. Planks – How does everything in my body feel at once?

Not even Wesley could help me now.

Not even Wesley could help me now.

6. abs? Wait that wasn’t abs?

jon-stewart-huh

So is that all the ab work?

7. Thighs… I got this

Pulse, Pulse, Pulse... Tuck, Tuck, Tuck

Pulse, Pulse, Pulse… Tuck, Tuck, Tuck

8. Thighs… AHH Why do we have to do the other side?

Stop shaking legs! Stay strong!

Stop shaking legs! Stay strong!

9. Glutes – Hold up… Have I always had those muscles?

How am I doing that? That's a new muscle.

How am I doing that? That’s a new muscle.

10. Glutes – Are my legs supposed to shake this much?

Come on legs you can do this!

Come on legs you can do this!

11. Abs… oh these are the ab exercises

Obliques, top abs, lower abs... where did all the abs come from?

Obliques, top abs, lower abs… where did all the abs come from?

12. Bridges – Soo close! Do not give up!

Almost done! Bridges mean it's almost over... right?

Almost done! Bridges mean it’s almost over… right?

13. Stretching. Yay!

Stretching! I did it! Yay!

Stretching! I did it! Yay!

14. Everything hurts but I feel amazing! When can I do this again? Tomorrow okay!?!

Stronger

So do you do barre classes? So far I’ve tried Pure Barre, Xtend Barre, and Barre tech. Which one is your favorite? Is there another I should try?

Last week was a success training wise. I’m still learning to listen to my body and still push myself, so training is a work in progress, but I’m very happy with the results thus far. I’ve structured my training to push my through Marine Corps Marathon in the fall. Until then I am very exciting to be training for Zooma Annapolis on May 30th. (Also if you haven’t signed up yet use code SAMANTHA15 for 10% off!)

So let’s chat about this week!

Sunday: GW 10Miler – As my first real race post physical therapy, I was a little nervous going into it. But I was thrilled with I well it went. Also running with proper form is still something I am getting use to. I don’t know if anyone else has ever been so happy to have their thighs and butt sore with NO KNEE PAIN!!

Feel like I'm getting back to normal... Finally!

Feel like I’m getting back to normal… Finally!

Monday: Vinyasa Flow – After weeks of doing the basics course, I graduated to the regular flow! It was a great workout and perfect exercise post race day.

Tuesday: AM at home exercise DVD (I’m doing the Tone It Up Bikini Series Challenge, so I like to incorporate their fantastic workouts a few days a week! Some of their exercises are on DVDs and others available for free on youtube!)

Wednesday: AM Barre Class – Barre is a great exercise for strength training and as a former dancer, I absolutely love it.

get strongerThursday – AM at home exercises – The two I did are available on Youtube! I inserted them below. When I started their DVDs a few months ago side planks and rainbows were so difficult, now they’re still difficult but doable. Maggie (my cat) was especially playful, so i was a bit more exciting than usual.

Maggie can bother me anytime, I mean look at that face!

Maggie can bother me anytime, I mean look at that face!

Friday – REST

Saturday – REST

That’s right, I took Friday and Saturday off, because I was exhausted. I needed to listen to my body and take a little break and it was so worth it. I spent the weekend in New Jersey at an impromptu family reunion for my little cousin’s communion. I had a great time!

Now onto planning this week and prepping for my Zooma training run next week. Join me on Saturday!!

What did you do this week? Any spring races coming up? Do you pets ever join you while exercising purposely or not? Do you ever do challenges? What are your favorites?

Are You Running Zooma?

Hey everyone! Real quick just wanted to let you know about an ongoing promotion for Zooma Annapolis. I am a race ambassador, but only because I love this race. To read my recap of last year’s 10K check it out here.

Use Code SAMANTHA15 to save 10% on the 10K and Half marathon. 

april promo

Register Here! 

This year I am looking forward to completing the half with friends. We’re doing a mini girls getaway, cause why not? Post race I imagine a fantastic brunch with lots of cocktails hopefully somewhere that very Annapolis near the water.

I'll run 13.1 for a mimosa

I’ll run 13.1 for a mimosa

So who’s in? Anyone else running Zooma annapolis? Running a Zooma race? What are you girly weekends like? Does it involve a race?

Happy Wednesday! In an effort to stay accountable for my training, I’ve decide to implement a weekly recap. So let’s talk about March 29th – April 4th. In the future, I hope to do these posts on Sunday or Monday… but eh better late than never.

Oh Julie Andrews...

Oh Julie Andrews…

So let me prefix with, I recently signed up for classpass and have gone class crazy. Really, I love it. I grew up dancing so it truly reminds me of going to my dance classes, and brings me overwhelming happiness.

Sunday: Candlelit Yoga

Monday: REST

Tuesday: AM Barre Class

Wednesday: AM Barre Class

Thursday: Yoga Foundations

Friday: Spin Class

Saturday: Outlet Shopping… which was an exercise in itself.

swanson shopping

Yep, that seems about right

Alright let’s dive in shall we. Candlelit yoga was gentle and restorative. However, do you have any idea how difficult it is to balance in the dark (candlelight…) yeah it made for a very difficult Warrior 3. When I left I felt relaxed and ready to take on the week so that was a plus.

I am relatively new to barre. If you’ve taken it… well you know, it takes a while to adjust to it. So waking up early to attend barre classes was a HUGE step for me. I’m trying to adjust to running in the AM to make marathon training easier this summer. (well that’s an oxymoron, easy marathon training). Both classes were a major challenge, but I’m happy I survived and spoiler alert… I went back to both of them this week.

What the rest of the class looked like

What the rest of the class looked like source Photo Credit: TwentySomethingLiving

Me in my first few barre classes. You want me to what... so when do I put my leg down?

Me in my first few barre classes. You want me to what… so when do I put my leg down?

Yoga has been something that I find myself always coming back to. Thankfully, there’s a few great studios near my office that are on classpass. Right now I’m just doing the intro classes so I can adjust to their style and prepare myself to keep up with the flow classes. I like to think that I’m preparing myself for success and establishing solid building blocks.

Now onto spinning! I loooved the class, mainly because it was a theme ride. The instructor set the entire workout to 90s/dirty pop. Yes, that is correct. We “cycled” to NSYNC, Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, Hanson, Nelly and all those songs I loved in middle school/high school. I had a blast and can’t wait to try out the other classes.

So yes, I went a little class crazy this week, but I loved every second. By Saturday I was fatigued a bit however, I felt so accomplished. Now you may notice there’s no miles there. You’re right. I didn’t run this week and that’s okay.

One of the reasons I’m loving classpass is because I can essentially just take any class I want. It rocks and works out well with my lifestyle. It’s also allowing me to try new things without having to make a serious commitment. I can challenge myself.

There's no limit to the fun new experiences I get to have in fitness. wow.. I kind of love it.

There’s no limit to the fun new experiences I get to have in fitness. wow.. I kind of love it.

 So how was your week? Try anything new? Do you take barre classes? What’s your favorite kind of cross training?

Change: When Life Happens

Change is good. Change causes us to grow. What no one tells you is that change is hard, especially if it’s not a change that you initially wanted. However, as that old saying goes, “When a door closes, a window opens,” (or something like that)…. Roughly 3 months ago this desk jockey was let go from her desk. Without going into specifics I will say that it was shocking, unexpected and had nothing to do with me. This happens, apparently. The reason I tell you is because, I lost myself during this time. I didn’t feel like blogging. I didn’t want to share my usual random thoughts, because I was unhappy. I did continue to exercise, because while exercising I wasn’t thinking of applications, postings, or my mortgage. I was just focused on finishing my set or pushing through the workout. It was a welcome reprieve. However, I did feel massively guilty because I wasn’t tuning up my resume or networking; I was pounding the pavement.

Well in only 6 weeks I found a new (better) position, that I’m excited about. It took experiencing a dramatic low to see what was important to me in my life. It also took a shift in perspective to truly appreciate the wonderful friends and family that I have supporting me. This experience has changed me. I think it has changed me for the better though. I am stronger person than I was just a few weeks ago. I know now what is important to me. Enjoying time for myself, my family, my friends, and my fitness goals kept me sane throughout this experience. Life is about balance, and I think sometimes I can lose sight of that.

I do apologize for not blogging regularly but I intend to recommit to blogging. I enjoy sharing my fitness experiences with you and I look forward to many more adventures! The rest of 2015 is going to be exciting and I can’t wait to share it!

Today, I don’t ask any questions, but instead thank you! During my hiatus, I enjoyed reading other bloggers posts, training updates, twitter thoughts, and instagram pics. This is truly a great community and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Cold weather can be a huge deterrent for me to exercise outside. When I say cold I am referring to snowy, icey or general wet conditions when combined with cold weather. I actually enjoy running in the winter, so long as I’m not overwhelmed by trying not to face plant. Therefore, these last few weeks have been a challenge. After finishing PT I’d began to get back into a running rhythm and it felt great! However, snow storms and recording breaking freezing temperatures have put a damper in my plans.

To those that run in blizzards, I want to be you when I grow up.

To those that run in blizzards, I want to be you when I grow up.

This wouldn’t be a huge issue if I didn’t have a race coming up in 3 weeks. So I am doing everything I can to keep my cardio up and keep strength training. Exercising indoors can pose unique challenges. I am fortunate enough to have a great space in my home that allows me lots of room on a hardwood floor with nothing in my way. This space also happens to be in front of a TV. I have been treating my living room as an exercise room. This means my yoga mat, weights, foam roller, and resistance bands are out 24/7. It serves as a constant reminder to get my sweat on for the day.

Each day I focus on doing some type of cardio/movement whether it’s my exercise bike, yoga, dance DVD, running my stairs (I’m in a 3 floor townhouse) or a HIIT workout. After cardio I choose a focus whether it’s arms, abs, legs, or whole body. The combination changes each day which is part of the fun.

#Stronger

#Stronger

That’s been my training for the last 2 weeks. I am looking forward to the ice clearing and logging more miles before Asheville, but until then I’m going to enjoy my indoor routine.

So what have you been doing this winter? What indoor exercises do you do? How do you decide which exercise to do daily? Do you plan out the week in advance based on the weather or do you wing it? 

Ever see a commercial or read an article that seriously pumps you up? I know that I do. Sometimes you see something that just inspires you. My friends have heard me utter the phrase, “Get it Gurl!” way too many times when they are doing something that straight up rocks. It could be running that 5K at under a 10min mile pace or kicking butt in that barre class for the past month. Either way, it’s all about their goals! We can choose to raise each other up or not. I choose to encourage my friends to reach their goals. So…

I stumbled across this internet gem and I couldn’t help but feel pumped, so naturally I had to share.

Here’s the thing. I don’t look cute when I exercise. Like at all. I am sweaty, sticky, and my cheeks get flushed. Does that stop me? NO! That is because I love the way it makes me feel. Exercising is about your individual connection to fitness.

What are your thoughts? Do you have the urge to go exercise as much as I do right now? What are your thoughts on encouraging your friends and fellow fitness fanatics?