Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waiting for Tonight Spin Playlist

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke                                   4:23  Warm up
Wild Ones - Flo Rida                                                   3:54  Start adding tension, rolling hills
Waiting For Tonight - Jennifer Lopez                    4:06  Build
Jai Ho! - A. R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls       3:42  Jumps 20"
Till the World Ends - Britney Spears                     3:58  Another build
Get Me Bodied - Beyonce                                          3:26  Jumps (pyramid 20" to 5" to 20")
Jumpin', Jumpin' - Destiny's Child                          3:50  Running out of the saddle
Come Get It Bae - Pharrell Williams                      3:22  Recovery/add tension
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie        4:01  Rolling hills
Where the Wind Blows - Coco O.                            3:51  Seated climb 80/70/80/70 rpm
Work Work - Britney Spears                                    4:08  Standing climb, 2x 15" seated climb
Love Never Felt So Good - MJ & JT                         4:06  Cool down
Pusher Love Girl - Justin Timberlake                    8:02  Stretch

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Run Jen Run's Pet Peeves #1-4

Recently I started compiling a list of my pet peeves as a runner.  I am not trying to sound grouchy, but actually I am a mean girl so let's bring it.  Today I share with you numbers one through four…


“I’m not a real runner.”
There is no speed or distance or amount of runs per week that “qualifies” you to become a runner.  If you run, you’re a runner.  That is all.


Use bike path etiquette.
There is nothing more annoying than a group of walkers taking up the whole lane.  Come on walkers, single file.  Or at least two walkers side by side max.  And please look behind you before suddenly stopping.  I literally ran into someone recently that decided it was a good idea to stop and tie their shoe.  Equally as annoying are walkers or slower runners traveling in the middle of the bike path.  If I pass you on the left, I’m running in the other lane towards oncoming traffic with bikers glaring at me.  I would try to pass you on the right but there is no room unless I want to go off roading.  Follow the signs: Keep to right except to pass.


Acknowledge your fellow runners.
If you run past me, a friendly little nod is nice.  A smile or a wave is even better.  If you don’t have the energy to do that, I’ll even take eye contact.  You may be suffering but we suffer together.  We’re all out there for different reasons with different goals but we all share a common interest and I believe it is absolutely necessary to at least acknowledge those that are out there pounding the pavement with you.


Yield to pedestrians at the crosswalk.
Not only is it a state law, it's rude!  One of the worst places to cross the street is at a crosswalk in front of the church near my house.  I always have to wait for at least a dozen cars to pass for one to stop.  Even at the bike path where runners are “supposed to run” and there are a ton of signs, cars just don’t stop.

To be continued...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"What I can say..."

"What I can say, is when you’re running you find that despite the fact that you are feeling pain, you find that if you try to show the physical appearance of happiness you find this generation of energy inside your body. So, even if you are feeling a lot of pain, try to feel happy."

~Wilson Kipsang, 2014 London Marathon Champion

Monday, May 19, 2014

Race Report: Piggy Trot 2014

Sunday was the 5th Annual Piggy Trot at Dowses Beach in Osterville, MA.  It’s a 3.7 mile road race raising money and melanoma awareness through The Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope.

As always, it was a fantastic event.  This was my fourth straight year and it continues to get better and better every time.  Well-organized, friendly volunteers, beautiful course, the sun was shining, great race day atmosphere.  You can tell that Glenna was a very special girl.

2014 was supposed to be a race between me, my strength coach Eric, and our coworker Drew but this race will have to wait as Drew backed out about 48 hours before.  Eric has been off the roads for a few weeks now but still showed up.  He brought along his awesome cheering squad—wife & 14th month old daughter—and still ran a great time.  I am impressed with his ability to run fast times with so little training.  It must be all that Spinning!!!!! 
[Related Post: Spinning & Running]

My dad signed up for the race for the first time and yesterday was the longest my mom has ever run without walking!  In 2011 & 2012, she did a little run/walk along the course but now I have no doubt she’ll be ready for the Tufts 10k with me in October! :)  It was also the first road race all 3 of us have run together!  I’ve run with dad.  Dad ran with mom.  Mom ran with me.  It was fun seeing the whole family out on the course.  I always say... running is contagious!

Also running this year was Joe & Jon from CCR and family friend, Chris—a road race maniac, who continues to get faster each week of racing.

As for my race, I won a pig!  I think I was more excited about the pig than I was winning $50 for my 3rd place finish.  Most of the course I was running alone.  I passed a group of runners just before the first mile marker and worked on picking off 3 more runners the rest of the race as no one else was in sight.  I ran about 10 seconds slower than last year but felt very relaxed throughout the whole race.  My average heart rate was 178.  That seems high to me (I try to keep it around 160 bpm for easy runs) but I don't usually race with my heart rate monitor so I didn't know what to expect!  Today was a great test to see where my fitness is at as I prepare for Women Running Wild in 5 weeks where I hope to run a 5k PR.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Decades Spin Playlist #1

Dancing In The Street - Martha Reeves          2:40  1964 - Warm up
Good Lovin' - The Rascals                                   2:30  1966 - Drills, pedal strokes
Soul Man - Sam & Dave                                        2:38  1967 - Build
Respect - Aretha Franklin                                    2:22  1967 - 60-80, seated/standing climb
Y.M.C.A. - The Village People                               4:41  1978 - Drop the tension, build
Turn The Beat Around - Vicki Sue Robinson  3:26  1976 - Down the hill, harder effort 2min in
Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles              3:25  1986 - 80-100, recovery/endurance
Mickey - Toni Basil                                                3:26  1982 - 20" jumps
C'mon N' Ride It - Quad City DJ's                      4:05  1996 - 15" jumps w/ build
We Like To Party - Vengaboys                           3:40  1998 - Fast!
Yeah! Feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris - Usher            4:10  2004 - More jumps w/ build
Temperature - Sean Paul                                    3:32  2005 - Endurance, pacing drills
Timber (feat. Ke$ha) - Pitbull                          3:24  2013 - Rolling hills
Love Never Felt So Good - MJ & JT                  4:06  2014 - Cool down
Marilyn Monroe - Pharrell Williams               5:51  2014 - Stretch

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spinning & Running

Spinning will make you become a better runner.   

There is no doubt about it.

Often times injuries are what forces us on a bike to keep up fitness levels when we can’t run.  But what about adding cycling to your current routine?  How can it benefit you as a runner?

Endurance & Aerobic Base Building

Building a good base is very important no matter what your sport or goals are.  During an Endurance Energy Zone class, riders are encouraged to stay in aerobic heart rate zones to develop slow twitch muscles and stamina which translates well to long distance running.  Training aerobically helps improve efficiency in energy production, fat metabolism, oxygen transport to the muscles, and reduces the rate of lactate formation.

Strength Intervals & Speed Work

After developing a good, solid foundation, riders are ready for strength intervals and speed work.  During hills and fast flats, heart rate will begin to cross over from aerobic to anaerobic.  This is when lactic acid starts to build up and also how to develop fast twitch muscle fibers, which are used in sprinting.  Interval training works to improve overall cardiovascular fitness and endurance with periods of high intensity training (varied times, speeds, and resistance) followed by periods of recovery.  Higher resistance on the bike builds muscle strength while adding speed intervals translates well into quick feet and faster turnover on the roads.  Speaking of turnover…

Cadence & Turnover

In running, quicker turnover means less contact with the group and faster times.  A correlation has been found between cadences in cycling and running.  An elite distance runner takes an average 180 steps per minute.  Most beginner runners take less than 180 steps per minute, which could be due to a variety of factors including over striding and running too vertical.  You can practice quick turnover to improve cadence.  You can also practice leg speed on a bike.   The majority of Spin class, your instructor will have you pedaling at 80-100 rpms, or revolutions per minute.  90 rpms and 180 steps per minute is the same cadence.  Your legs can adapt to that speed to develop a nice smooth cadence and endurance is what will help you maintain it.

Reducing Injury Risk

Running is a very high impact activity.  While high impact is great for keeping bones strong, it also takes a toll on your joints.  Spinning is essentially a non-impact activity.  Spinning also uses muscles complementary to those used while running making you stronger all around with better balanced muscles in the lower body and core.  This doesn’t mean skip out on days in the gym—strength training is very important too!

Active Recovery

Spinning is a great alternative to a run day.  My typical week includes 4 run days, 2 spin days, and 1 day of total rest.  Not only does spinning add variety to my training, it gives my muscles a chance to recover.  An easy recovery ride in aerobic heart rate zones will increase blood flow, decrease muscle stiffness, and also flush out lactic acid.


I love the Spin Room atmosphere: dark room, loud music, singing, woo-ing, high energy, everyone supporting and motivating each other.  I also love the fact that anyone can benefit from an indoor cycling workout.  Class is about working hard and challenging yourself but everyone from an elite athlete to an active senior can modify the workout to their levels and goals.  Everyone is an athlete in Spin Class; it’s all about perspective and progress relative to the individual. 

Another bonus: Spinning can burn 400-700 calories per hour!

Ready to try Spinning?
Make sure to bring a sweat towel and a water bottle with you to class.  It is recommended to drink at least 40oz of water for a 40 minute class.  Most classes range from 40-60 minutes depending on the instructor and fitness center.  Arrive 10-15 minutes early so the instructor can help you set up your bike.  Incorrect settings can increase your change of injury –and we definitely don’t want that!!

Start by incorporate indoor cycling into your routine once or twice a week.  It will only take a few classes to start to notice the effect on your running.

For me personally, Spinning is the only form of exercise that produces similar psychological effects as running.  Sweating, an increased heart rate, endorphins flowing – all traits of a great workout.  I see it as my secret weapon—because if it can improve my running performance, I’m in!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my #1 Fan!

Thank you for always being there for me.  You are the best.  I love you mama.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Vegas Recap: Off the Strip

Probably one of the coolest things we did all week was rent a car and venture off the strip.  It didn’t matter what time we went to bed at night, jet lag still had us all up by 7am every morning so we got up, got dressed and ready for an adventure.

Monday morning we visited Red Rock Canyon & Tuesday we went a little further to Valley of Fire.  Both places were totally different experiences and so much fun.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon, part of the Mojave Desert, is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.  Our first stop was the Visitor Center for a map where we learned that Red Rock featured a 13-mile one way “scenic drive” with parking areas for trails off the main driving loop.  We had been warned to bring a snakebite kit on our hikes but failed to get one so we checked in with one of the park rangers about safety on the trails.

The real answer: You're supposed to listen to where the rattle is coming from and run the opposite direction!

Apparently we picked a good day to visit Red Rock Canyon because the ranger told us it gets extremely crowded on the weekends although it was kind of chilly (no one packed long sleeves!) and super windy.

We got back in our car and made our first stop at Calico Tanks, a 2.5 mile round trip hike labeled “Difficulty: Moderate.”  It was one of the trails that featured the famous Red Rocks and if you make it to the end of the trail, there is a great view of the city and natural “tanks” that catch the water during rainy seasons.

We almost turned around early… twice.  The first time we thought the trail had ended even though we were only 0.5 miles into our hike.  A super nice girl from Fresno, California motivated us to keep going by offering to take us to the end.  She had us on our hands and knees climbing rocks but it was totally worth it.  The Skibas and the Stitts are not quitters!

The views at the end were incredible.

The way back was fun.  Lindi Lou took a little digger and Barbie & I thought we were lost and worried we were following people back on a different trail as there was a 5 and 11.4 mile round trip loop from the same parking lot.  After we got back in the car and made a few stops at the other lots for photo opps.  I later pulled out the map and read that there are also scorpions out on the trails..ah!

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire, also part of the Mojave Desert, is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park.  It is located 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas and features red sandstone formations from over 150 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

The Visitor Center is about 15 miles off the main highway.  We barely passed anyone driving down the narrow, windy road.  After we found a map we headed to Mouse’s Tank, a half mile trail that leads to natural basin when water collects after rainfalls.  Along the trail we saw beautiful red rock formations, a few lizards, and prehistoric petroglyphs on the rock walls.

The red/orange sand was so fine we will all be emptying it out of our shoes for months!

Next we stopped at Rainbow Vista and Fire Canyon/Silica Dome for photo opps before making our way to White Domes, a one mile scenic trail with awesome sandstone formations in all different colors.

Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire were both so amazing.  Next time you're in Vegas, I highly recommend making your way off the strip to enjoy nature's beauty.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Vegas Recap

I’m back!!

Old Ladies Trip was a blast!  I don’t want to bore you all with details of our trip so I will just mention some of the highlights:
·      New sneakers… obviously.  Nike LunarGlide+ 5.

·      Watching the Kentucky Derby in the sports betting lounge at Planet Hollywood.  Barb won $55 thanks to a California Chrome victory.

·      Britney Spears Concert!!!  She was awesome.  It was everything I imagined it would be.  90 minutes jam packed with all the classics, dancing, and theatrical performances.

·      KISS by Monster Mini Golf.  An indoor, glow-in-the-dark, mini golf place with all things KISS.  It was hilarious.  We even drank a beer while playing 18 holes.  Linda won.

·      Eating the best burger I’ve ever had… ever… at B&B Burgers & Beer.  We went there after watching Mario Batali on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  It was a cool little restaurant at the Venetian with outdoor seating to watch the gondolas in the canal.

·      Yolos Mexican Restaurant, 15” slices of pizza at Pin Up Pizza, Pinkberry (duh), gelato when in Rome at Caesars Palace, an Asian restaurant at the Bellagio called Noodles with a noodle wall - amazing, and even dessert in Paris.

·      Celebrating Cinco de Mayo Las Vegas-style with a Mexican Bar Tour: La Salsa Cantina, Cabo Wabo, and Senor Frogs.

·      Running into Meb… well sort of... :)

·      Hiking Red Rock Canyon & Valley of Fire.

·      Walking 25,000+ steps every day.  Don't get used to it, Fitbit.

Overall it was a great trip.  I’m glad I was able to tag along and keep up with the old ladies.  A lot of laughs and fun times.  Thank you both for everything!


Before I left, I created a Facebook page so you will never miss a blog post.  Like it to keep up with my training, fitness tips, spin playlists, and more!