Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fartlek Friday

How do you fartlek?! Fartlek is a Swedish word for “speed play” and blends together your typical training with quick burst of intervals. I’ve found it to be a great help in improving my endurance and increasing my speed. A fartlek session is completely variable and dependent on how you feel during the workout. It varies from typical sprints workout since you continue to jog/run after the sprint interval.

I first learned about fartleks while I was playing ultimate frisbee  in college. We weren’t just a casual group, but a competitive team. This means we had a track workout each week on top of our practice three times a week. Our fartleks were timed on the track – 45 seconds jog, 30 seconds run, 15 seconds sprint. Back then I was miserably out of shape and could only manage a very slow jog/walk before my run and sprint. I’m proud to say that I’ve come far since those days!

Using timed intervals is one great way to fartlek, but not the only option. These days I go to the track and use distance to indicate when I should change my pace. The first 200 meters I continue my typical pace, then for 125 meters I pick it up to a quicker run, with the final 75 meters at a full sprint. I’m really enjoying this method because I don’t need any external device to monitor my laps. It also regulates my intervals, which I greatly appreciate, and keeps me honest with  how many I complete each workout.

But some days that isn’t possible. For instance today, as I neared the track, I realized that there was a track meet going on. I was disappointed and realized that I would have to find another method for my fartleks. So I decided to make it up as I went along. While on my route I picked out a pole on the side of the street and decided to sprint from the first pole to another a few behind it.  It wasn’t possible to measure out the perfect distance, but that wasn’t the reason for my workout. After the quick interval I slowed to a jog, catching my breath until I could speed up again. I continued this method of selecting a starting point (usually a pole or tree) then pushing it until one further ahead. Not my favorite method, but I know it was still beneficial.

When it comes to fartleks (or any speed work) It is always a good idea to warm up for 10 minutes and cool down for another 10 afterward. If you go too quickly out of the gate you’re more likely to get injured, and no one wants that! Want other ways to get intervals into your workout? This post explains some other great Fartlek methods.

Do you incorporate intervals into your weekly runs?

Ellie Review and Discount

I first learned about PV.body when I attended Fitbloggin this past year. It sounded like a great opportunity to get high quality workout gear at a great price. I was intrigued, so I subscribed and got excited about my first outfit. A few days after ordering my outfit, I was contacted by PV.body to be an ambassador for their brand and I couldn’t turn them down. There were some issues with the style they sent me, but I was able to exchange some of the items for more suitable options.

After seeing all the great items on the market (and due to some style/sizing issues), PV.body recently decided to start their own line – Ellie. You can bet I was excited when I saw their new line of clothing. Each month Ellie has a new collection, so you have to get items while they last! There are new tops and bottoms to select from. Best of all? You can get two items for only $49.95. Seriously, when was the last time you got a full outfit for that price? You can also buy the pieces separately, they range from $39.95 – $59.95.

Feb Outfit

This month I was sent the After Dark top and My New Obsession leggings. I’ll admit that these were not my initial picks (I can’t typically wear tanks like this), but they are great quality items. The fabric is thick and durable, with great elasticity. At first I was nervous about the leggings, they looked so small, but they stretched and held me snug. (Can you tell I had a slight dance party during the photoshoot?)

Ellie Outfit

Thoughts: I love how snug the pants are.  They make me feel secure and svelt. I wore them during speed training and they never slipped! They have a great wide waist band that is very flattering.  Unfortunately they don’t have a pocket for a key, instead I tied mine to my shoe. I’ll admit I was slightly over heated, but I blame this on the fact that California is getting too nice these days.

The top gives me a great shape. Yes, the straps were an initial concern, but they work well with my new racerback bra. There is a bit of cleavage in the front, but how else am I going to lure in the men folk? I don’t think I’d wear these two items together since I try to avoid wearing two tight items at once. But these would be great with a pair of shorts for a workout in the gym.

I definitely suggest checking out their new line. They have plenty of options to choose from and they are quite flattering. April pieces will be out in less than a week and the all black March line promises to be slimming. The material and manufacturing are high quality (things I notice as an engineer). Click on the image below or in my sidebar to get 20% off your first order.

20 percent of Ellie

Note: Ellie reached out to me and sent my outfit free of charge. All opinions expressed in the post are my own.

Down in the Big Easy

This past weekend I spent a few days in New Orleans with some great family friends and my two best friends. It was seriously amazing. I’ve been to New Orleans several times in the past, but I can never get enough of the place. This time of year the weather is perfect, the crawfish are in season, and everyone is a bit too friendly.

Face PaintWe started off the weekend the right way, with drive thru daiquiris, face painting, and a parade. Who knew that New Orleans was so into St. Patrick’s day? It was a rather tame night (I needed my rest), but we tasted some delicious seafood, imbibed a few beers, and got into the N’awlins spirit.

The next day we started off late, as my friends like their sleep, and had a full southern breakfast. Dear goodness I could get used to grits topped with an egg and sprinkled with bacon. Of course our host, Glenn, wouldn’t allow us to leave the house without sampling some crawfish. Breakfast dessert? I don’t see why not! We taught Anastasia how to crack ’em open and downed a few pounds before leaving the house.Kiss at Parade

Our first parade consisted of hundreds of drunkards throwing random items at us. And then there were the lengths of men that gave out flowers with a kiss. At first I didn’t understand the concept, but then we got into it. By the end I had a full bouquet, several new garters, and even a few dollars that were slid into them. Twas quite amusing, but we were starting to get restless and decided to go into the French Quarter.

The evening began with one of the best restaurants in the city, Jacques Imo’s, with some of A’s friends. If you are ever in the area, I suggest checking it out. We were stuffed and oh-so-pleased by the time we left. That night was a mixture of people watching (what else is Bourbon Street for?), great jazz, and some late night munchies. We left the city at 3am (the latest I’ve been up in a while) and were all ready for a rest.

Stirring The PotSunday brought yet another parade. We didn’t spend much time watching as there was no need for beads, but we did devour a few too many pounds of crawfish. They had a forty pound pot going when we arrived. I’d estimate that the three of us consumed at least ten pounds (if not more). It was so spicy that I was constantly wiping my brow, yet that wasn’t enough to keep me away. I don’t know how I lived my life so long without a proper crawfish boil.

Lisa feeding crawfish

We wound up in the French Quarter yet again that night. Had a few drinks at Pat O’Brien’s, a New Orleans staple, before getting the courage to sing karaoke. Right as we stepped on stage, Kenlie walked in to support us. It was great to hang out with her all night. We hopped from one bar to the next, which isn’t tough as they are right on top of each other, and danced our faces off along the way.

With Kenlie

It was a weekend I won’t soon forget. In fact, I’m currently detoxing from all of the amazing eats I had. (It is a rule that you have to try all the delicious food while you are there!) Was great in the moment, but I need to get it out of my system and get back on track. If you haven’t been, I demand that you put it on your list. There are few US cities I would urge you to visit and New Orleans is in the top five.

Have you been to New Orleans? What would you do if you went?

Spring Break Goals

When people hear the words “Spring Break” they typically think of college girls doing inappropriate things on the beach, but (un)fortunately that is not me this year. While I’m a large fan of traveling and doing foolish things*, I’m going to be spending this break focused on my future. To keep myself on track, I’ve set some goals for the next two weeks:

  1. Prepare at least three home cooked, healthy meals – I haven’t been cooking much in the past few months and I sure as hell haven’t been eating as well as I should. I made the decision that this week I’ll get back into the habit of preparing food at home. This morning I spent an hour at the grocery store picking up some healthy items, then this afternoon I managed to cook two great recipes (with only one major flub, hurrah).
    Major thanks to Laura for her delicious bulgur pilaf recipe and to Pinky for getting me hooked on these honey mustard burgers (seriously addictive). I had forgotten how tough it is to make several things in parallel, but it was worth it. Now I’ve got healthy meals for the next few days. Hopefully this is a habit that will last past these two weeks.
  2. Run three times each week – My running has been slacking since I returned from my races Phoenix. I have a half marathon this Sunday (with the lovely Maggie) and I need my body to be prepared. This morning I was able to get in a short run and I’m scheduling another two into this week. Thursday morning I’ll complete at least five miles and Friday is for speed training. Next week I’m hoping I can get four solid runs in so I can get back to my regular pace.
  3. Update my portfolio – As a designer, I need to have a portfolio of the substantial work I’ve done. I have started an online portfolio, which needs to be completely updated, and then I need to create a hard copy. This means I need to take some high quality photos of my work, edit them with Photoshop, and create an attractive layout in Illustrator. All in all it is quite an undertaking. Probably why I haven’t gotten to it yet. But the time is now and it will save me a lot of work in the future.
  4. Look for jobs – The most nerve-wracking of all my tasks. This will require me to scour the internet for positions in the Bay Area. At this point I’m uncertain what type of company I’m interested in working for, but I do know where I want to be. I’m setting a solid goal of finding three viable options and applying before the end of the week. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that it is tough to get a company’s attention through an online application, so I am going to do my best to connect directly with an employee. And of course this means some serious networking…
  5. Network and continue informational interviewing – I have two great connections in the area and I need to set up times that I can meet with both. Hopefully they will be able to guide me. But I also need to find people I’m less familiar with that could assist me in my job search. This means I need to buck up and attend events in the area rather than staying within my comfort zone. I’m incredibly nervous about going to these events, but recognize that it is necessary.

Of course there are a few other items I need to work on as well, like that hair cut I’ve put off for months and doing laundry, but I see these as minor in comparison with the other items. So here is to accomplishing all of the goals on my list and then some! (Wish me luck, I’ll probably need it…)

What are your goals this month? How did you get started on your job search?

*Okay, I got in a few nights of debauchery in New Orleans this past weekend. More information and a few too many photos to follow.

Friend Making Monday – Food Questions

Hey everyone, today it is Friend Making Monday!  This week we’re chatting about food habits and the like. Remember to check out Kenlie over at All The Weigh to link up and learn more about some other great bloggers.

Food Questions

1. What did you eat for dinner last night? Oy, I noshed all day… Then I had some of a small pizza around 5pm and some sushi later in the evening. Overall really healthy stuff (yes, I am being sarcastic).

2. If you could make one food calorie-free for the next year, What would you choose? Cookies. Seriously, I’m a cookie fiend.

3. How often do you go to the grocery store? I typically go at the beginning of the week and try to get all of the items I’ll need. Sometimes I’ll make a quick trip to Trader Joe’s midweek if I run out of fruit.

4. Do you make a list before buying groceries? Rarely. I’m boring when it comes to groceries which means I get the same things most weeks.

5. List three things that can always be found in your kitchen. Carrots, Greek yogurt, and granola.

6. How often do you clean out your fridge? Do not get me started. I’d like to clean it out more frequently, but I have a fairly messy roommate who makes that impossible.

7. Do you ever use a slow cooker? If so, will you share a recipe? I don’t. There is no guarantee if I’ll actually make it home for dinner so I try to avoid preparing too far in advance.

8. How often do you try new recipes? Not often enough! My friend and I used to cook together once a week, but my schedule is too hectic at this point in time. Hopefully I can get back into cooking next quarter.

9. What is the most delicious meal(s) you make? Does dessert count? I’d have to go with that…

10. Share at least one thing that is currently in your kitchen even though you don’t like it.  Leftover food that my roommate has yet to remove from the fridge. You think I’m joking about her messiness, but you have no idea. (In full disclosure, she is a wonderful person who just happens to have different standards of cleanliness.)

Happy Monday!  May all your weeks be entertaining and full of shenanigans!