Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Favorites

Favorite outfitLenka's Look at NTC Lincoln Park

Favorite raceGet Fly Nike Chicago Relays

Favorite hike
Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin...see all my photos from the camping trip here!

 What were your favorites this week?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Get Fly Nike Chicago Relays

I know this is my second Nike post this week but I have to tell you about the awesome Get Fly Nike Chicago 4x1600m relays last night! The whole program was to launch the Nike Free Flyknit and improve 1-mile times over the course of a month. I missed the kick-off event a month ago because I had kickball but I was still able to sub on Team M.E.M.E. with some of the other girls from NTC Lincoln Park.

First of all, we got to try on the Nike Free Flyknit for the run. They have a pretty cool stretchy upper that molds to your foot and doesn't require socks. I thought they were ok to run with but my calves were burning, which doesn't usually happen.

There were a total of 17 relay teams. Nike closed down the Lakeshore Park Track and had a stage set up with an MC and DJ and music!

Our heat at the starting line!

Rhoda, not on our team, but a friend from NTC was the only one I could get with my iphone. All the other pics were too blurry!

Our crossfit endurance coach, Jon, took this picture of me running the last leg of the relay. I'm still swinging my arms ways too much...

Our results, courtesy of team captain Eileen. Our total was 27:50 and we came in 7th out of 17! I think we all ran well, around 7 min/mile. I was the last leg so my time was 6:51. I'm pretty sure that's the fastest mile I've done since high school! (My high school PR was just above 6:00.)

Finally, our team! Lauren had already left at this point but Jennah is in the middle and Eileen is on the right. I had a lot of fun doing this event and I hope Nike Chicago and/or NTC LP do more! It really made me miss high school track meets. Are there any amateur adult track leagues??

When is the last time you did a relay race?

What is your 1-mile PR? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Lenka's Look" at NTC Lincoln Park

The Nike Training Club (NTC) in Lincoln Park (Chicago) is featuring runners and their "looks" and I was lucky enough to be chosen as the first one! NTC LP asked me for some of my race bibs, medals, pictures and Nike clothes that I've run in. Then I picked out an outfit that I would wear at a race (which is below). By the way, the color is actually more coral/pink than red, as it shows up the in picture. NTC also sent me a questionnaire, part of which is featured in the display case. I copied it below!

What is your fitness goal?
I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 13th.

What are your training essentials?
The Nike Relay Capri and G87 tanks are my favorites. I always run with my Nike+ iPod Nano too!

What's your favorite class at NTC LP?
NTC with Kate and marathon crew run on Saturdays...I couldn't do those long runs alone!

What music do you like to train with?
Mostly upbeat pop...Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga

How many races have you participated in?
Countless 5k and track races in high school and two Naples Half Marathons.
Then I picked up running races again after college:
2010: Chicago Marathon
2011: Cherry Blossom 10-miler (DC), Miami Beach Rock n Roll Half
2012: Chicago Half, Hot Chocolate 15k
2013: Indy 500 Mini Marathon, Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, Rock n Roll Half Chicago, BTN Big 10k, and Chicago Marathon coming up!

What sports did you do growing up?
Cross Country, Track, and Basketball.

What motivates you?
Ryan, my boyfriend, is one of those people that truly enjoys running. He got me back into it when we started dating at the end of college and we do many races "together," but he's a lot faster than I am. For the Chicago Marathon this year, Team Bright Pink has been my motivation. My blog and the community that I've gained from it also motivate me. It holds me accountable to stay fit and eat healthy.

Who are your favorite athletes or trainers?
Allyson Felix became my inspiration last year when she dominated the track at the Olympics. She was unstoppable and amazing! I also like Maria Sharapova because she proves that you can be both feminine and an amazing athlete.

Thanks to NTC Lincoln Park for featuring me! I should make a display of my race bibs/medals at home as a motivator. Maybe when we get a bigger apartment and have more room :)

Do you have a race display at home?

What motivates you?

Who are your favorite athletes or trainers?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Marathon Training Log: Week 11

I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 13 to support Bright Pink. I'm tracking my progress so you can follow along. I had a great week of workouts even though I missed the long run on Saturday. Ryan and I went camping in Wisconsin over the weekend so we did a nice hike on Saturday.

I'm excited for this journey and please support my training efforts by helping me reach my fundraising goal!

Donate here!

Monday PM - CrossFit Endurance WOD
Pre-WOD: 4 rounds:
9 sit-ups
6 push-ups
3 burpees
50 m run
Time: 4:05
WOD: 8 x 200 m run on the 2:00 minute
Times: 48s, 42, 46, 42, 47, 42, 46, 42
I don't know how the two parts of the track (400m) were getting different times, it might have to do with the lack of lines on the track. Oh well, I was still quite consistent.

Tuesday AM - CrossFit WOD
3-rep max deadlift: 135# (new PR!)
WOD: 8-minute AMRAP
1 kettle bell swing (35#)
1 burpee
2 KB swing
2 burpee
3 KB swing
3 burpee
Total reps: 107 (almost 10 rounds)
I had to fast this morning because of a physical (blood drawn) at work so I couldn't take my usual  rejuvelac, and Vega Pre-Workout Energizer and drink coconut water during the workout. Therefore I felt quite tired and then even more tired after they drew my blood. I finally got to drink my smoothie around 10:00 am!

Wednesday AM - CrossFit WOD
Max snatch - 60# (failed at 65#)
4 Squat Snatch (35#)
8 Box Jump (20")
4 Minutes Rest
4 Power Clean (55#)
16 Lateral Hops over the bar

Total rounds: 5 and 8+2
I did the lowest possible squat snatch weight and they still sucked. I think the issue is with my flexibility in the overhead squat position. My legs were also sore from deadlifts on Tuesday.

Wednesday PM - CrossFit Endurance WOD
7 rounds:
Run 1 minute
Rest 1 minute
Also did hollow rocks and planks
I'm not sure that I'm a huge fan of this workout because I tend to push myself more with distance than with time. In one minute, I could run about 300 m, but I feel like if the workout was to run 300 m, I would have done it faster.

Thursday AM - Spinning at R3
Felt great to relieve sore muscles!

Friday AM - CrossFit WOD
Pre-WOD: 1 Rep Max Push Press
WOD: 15-minute AMRAP
5 Pull-Up + Toes to Bar
10 Lunges (45#)

Total rounds: 7

Saturday - Hiking!
Ryan and I went to Wisonsin this weekend to camp at Mauthe Lake in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. We did a nice 9.25-mile hike along the Ice Age Trail and other surrounding trails.

Sunday - Rest Day
Drove back home from Wisconsin and then relaxed at the pool for a bit :)

What was your favorite/best workout last week?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Favorites

Favorite workout
16 miles with NTC!

Favorite view
Sunset behind Trump Tower

Favorite article
Ironman triathlete Paula Nilges talking about her plant based diet in Runner's World (blog post)

Favorite new blog

The Four Percent from one of the best trainers in Chicago!

What were your favorites this week?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Healthy traveling

Staying healthy away from home is really difficult because you are away from your own kitchen, gym, and general routine. It's easy for me to at least stay active when I'm on vacation (because my vacation is usually revolves around warm weather and outdoors activities) but business travel is a whole different story. Usually you have an early start (even breakfast with colleagues), then you're busy all day, and afterwards you have to eat dinner with colleagues/clients. You eat out at every meal and it's hard to order salad when everyone else is having steaks. Plus, most restaurant salads are made from lettuce, cheese, and creamy dressing - not exactly healthy. Then, you might get a little extra time to yourself, but you want to explore the sights of a city you've never been to! And your workout/eating/sleeping routine can be completely comprised by a big time change, e.g. international travel.

Don't get down on yourself if you're not the healthiest version of you while traveling. It's not your fault. Hotel gyms suck, healthy restaurant meals are scarce, and time zone changes are unnatural. Instead, there are a few simple things you can do to at least try not to feel like total crap from being unhealthy while traveling. I did pretty well on my trip last week to Seattle so I'm going to share a few healthy things I did!

See the sights AND workout
The easiest way to explore a new place is to run or walk it! Ask your hotel about popular running routes or a tourist attraction you can walk to. Even a 1-2 mile walk after a long day of meetings can do wonders. 

Meet fellow Crossfitters
The great thing about crossfit is that you instantly belong to a global community of people that do the same crazy workouts that you love. Crossfit is now huge in the U.S. and growing internationally so it's not that hard to find a box around where you're traveling. Most boxes charge drop-ins $20-$25 and you get a shirt. They are also usually very welcoming to visitors and excited to show you what they're all about. 
(Picture at Urban CrossFit.)

Find a grocery store
When I first get to my destination, I try to load up on water and snacks at at local grocery or convenience store. Even CVS/Walgreens type stores have fresh fruit now. Get gallon jugs of water to stay hydrated. Fruits like apples and bananas can be left at room temperature. Eats snacks (like nuts) before you go out to dinner so you don't overeat.

Pack your own food
Even better than going to a grocery store when you get there is to pack your own food. Hotel breakfast is not a good idea (stick to the fruit plate if there is one). So, I always pack my favorite meal/energy bar, Vega One. I also packed the new Mark Bars (get 20% off with code HFGFANS) for energy before working out. Having snacks on hand will seriously save you from overeating at restaurants and chowing down on cookies offered at business meetings (although, I still have the hardest time refusing cookies).

Do what you can
Airport eating is the worst and there's no way around it. I usually check out the whole terminal before I pick my meal and then I try to make a good decision on what will make my body feel the best. I usually get a smaller meal like a deli wrap and then some green juice. Store-bought juices aren't the healthiest thing but they can be the best option at the airport.

The best part about travel (even business travel) is getting to explore new or unfamiliar places. Don't stress out so much about working out and eating healthy. Enjoy the local cuisine, see the sights, and you can get back to your routine when you get home.

What's your favorite destination for business travel?

How do you stay healthy on the road?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vegan Ironman athlete featured in Runner's World

In the September issue of Runner's World, Ironman athlete Paula Nilges is featured in the "Breaking All the Rules" story for her vegan diet. I don't follow a completely vegan diet but I wanted to share this story with you because my daily food intake is very similar to Paula's. She proves that you don't have to eat meat every meal to be an endurance athlete. You also don't have to be vegan to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. To get more vegetables into your diet, simply start by replacing your breakfast with a powerhouse smoothie, like the one she describes below.

Here are some of my recipes for the plant-based meals described above!


What's your favorite plant-based meal?

What stood out to you from the September RW issue?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Marathon Training Log: Week 10

I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 13 to support Bright Pink. I'm tracking my progress so you can follow along. Last week I was in Seattle for work so my exercising routine was much lower in volume than usual. However, I did workout three out of five days on travel, which is much better than I usually do!

I'm excited for this journey and please support my training efforts by helping me reach my fundraising goal!

Donate here!

Monday - Run
Ran just over 5 miles around Lake Union in Seattle (pictured right).

Tuesday - Rest Day
I had to prepare for my presentation in the morning and then met people for dinner right after the end of the seminar so I didn't have time to workout

Wednesday - Run
Ran another 5ish miles around Lake Union. The view from Gas Works park is amazing but I didn't bring my phone to take a picture :(

Thursday - WOD at Urban CrossFit
Pre-WOD: 5 rope climbs
WOD: 5 rounds
500 m row
15 wall balls (12#)
Time: 19:22
I was so excited that I got all the way up on my rope climb that I did all 5. However, my hip on my right leg was extremely sore the next day. It felt like I pulled it but it already feels much better today (Monday) so I think I'm going to be fine.

Friday - Rest Day
I was planning to go to spinning after I got home from my flight but I'm always worn out after flights so I just spent the night at home with Ryan and we ordered in was great!

Saturday - 16 mile run with NTC Lincoln Park
Distance: 16.0 miles
Time: 2:21:37
Pace: 8:51/mile
My hip was still sore from rope climbs on Thursday but it didn't hurt that much running, just felt tight. I ran the first half with the 9:00/mile pace group but they stayed back. I think my iPod nano Nike+ is off because it says I ran 16.5 miles so I had to calibrate it because the other girls were using GPS, which should be more accurate. I then ran into Amanda from Team Bright Pink and ran about 5 miles with her until we split off. The last two miles alone were brutal but I made it back! 8:51 pace is still great and I'm satisfied with the run!

A weird thing did happen which is that I didn't have any gels or gatorade (just water) during the run. I usually need something by mile 8 but I seriously was not hungry and my stomach felt good. Before the run I had rejuvelac, blended with Vega Pre-Workout Energizer, spirulina, and a frozen banana, along with a Mark Bar. This seemed to sustain me during the run. It's still weird to me that I didn't need any gels. My theory is that perhaps I ate so much during the week while on travel including a lot of carbs, that I had enough glycogen storage. On Friday I had a spring roll (from the airport) for lunch and sushi for dinner, both with a lot of white rice. So maybe I need to be eating more carbs all the time? I'm not sure, but not taking any of my gels during the run was kind of nice and I hope I can replicate it!

Sunday - Rest Day
A much needed rest day after 16 miles!

What was your favorite/best workout last week?

Have you ever done a long run without needing any gels/sports drinks?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Favorites - in Seattle!

Favorite meal
"Chicken" sandwich at Veggie Grill in Seattle

Favorite workout
WOD at Urban CrossFit in Seattle

Favorite spot
Space Needle!

Favorite reunion
Meeting up with freshman dorm buddies Jessica and Cori!

What were your favorites this week?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Urban CrossFit in Seattle

I'm in Seattle this week for work and I've managed to stay pretty healthy by running and attempting to eat well. I got a little tired of running so I decided to check out Urban CrossFit just down the street from my hotel. Turns out one my colleagues at the offices I was at here also goes there so I joined him for the 4:30 pm class. Everyone was welcoming upon my arrival and Kelsey at the front desk gave me a quick tour of the facility. (Some boxes don't do this for drop-ins and I'm like, where do I put my stuff and where's the bathroom??)

The box is spacious and nicely laid out. It seems like they have all the essential equipment and even a tire! We warmed up on our own and then were split into two groups that did two different workouts.

I really haven't practiced rope climbs very much but I was surprised that I could do them. I did all five all the way to the top (20-25 feet I think). First of all, I've never reached the top of a rope and definitely never done 5 in a row so I'm happy with my effort! I won't hesitate to do them in workouts anymore back at RNCF. Now if only I could have this epiphany with double's embarrassing that I've been doing crossfit for over two years and still can't do more than 10 DUs.

I really put all of my effort into the rope climbs so the 5 round metcon after was tough, and I finished in 19:22, same as the other girl in our group. I have some rope burn on my shin and hands but hopefully I won't be sore for 14 miles on Saturday!

Urban CrossFit charges $20 for drop-ins or you can buy a shirt for $20. I got a nice fitted v-neck that says "strong people are more useful" on the back with the CU logo on the front. Overall, a good deal and very welcoming for visitors! Check them out if you're in Seattle!

Can you climb a rope?

What's your favorite Seattle spot?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

MARK BAR Review + Discount

I'm always looking for new natural food products to try and when I first heard about Mark Bars, I had to contact them for a sample! Mark Bars are all-natural energy bars made out of quinoa and dates. They really combine the best of natural plant-based ingredients for sustained energy for a workout. I've been eating Mark Bars mainly before my long runs for Chicago Marathon training and they're working really well to sustain my energy during the runs, and without making my stomach upset.

Mark Beier, creator of Mark Bar, is a personal trainer in Chicago and you can find him at Shred415 (which I haven't tried myself yet but it's on my list). He's spent years perfecting the recipe of his bars to have to right combination of carbs, protein, and fat to help fuel workouts. The ingredient that sticks out to me that you usually don't find in other energy bars is quinoa. I write about quinoa a lot and have many quinoa recipes so you know I'm a fan. Quinoa itself is an ideal blend of carbs, protein, and fat. It is also one of the only plant-based sources of complete protein.

Other ingredients in the bars include gluten-free oats, dates, honey, and sea salt. Oats and dates are excellent sources of complex and simple carbs, while honey provides sugar for quick energy. Sea salt contains minerals to help replenish what you sweat out while working out. Other ingredients used in the different flavors includcherries, blueberries, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, and dairy-free chocolate. All natural and good for you! You can learn more about the Mark Bar ingredients hereThere are four Mark Bar flavors (pictured above) and I honestly liked them all but I would have to say that my favorite is peanut butter chocolate. 

I highly recommend giving Mark Bars a try as pre-workout fuel or a snack during the day. And the best part is that my readers get 20% off when purchasing online! Just enter HFGFANS when checking out. You can also buy Mark Bars at gyms and health food stores in the Chicago area, check out the store locator. I hope you try them and then comment and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to follow Mark Bar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Disclaimer: Mark Bar did not sponsor this post but they did provide a sample box for free in exchange for a product review on my blog. All text and opinions are my own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Marathon Training Log: Week 9

I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 13 to support Bright Pink. I'm tracking my progress so you can follow along. At the beginning of the week I felt sick and therefore didn't workout much. I'm traveling this upcoming week but still going to try to run each day.

I'm excited for this journey and please support my training efforts by helping me reach my fundraising goal!

Donate here!

Monday - Rest Day

Tuesday PM - Run
Easy 5-mile run
I felt sick in the morning but better later in the day. An easy run helped wake me up and clear up my sinuses.

Wednesday - Rest Day
We had kickball playoffs in the evening starting at 6pm so I had to get to work early so I could leave early. Sadly, no time for working out! Although, it was still an active day with 3 back-to-back kickball games.

Thursday AM - CrossFit WOD
20-minute AMRAP:
5 pull-ups (started Rx but had to switch to red band after 25 pull-ups)
10 box jumps (20")
15 sit-ups
Total rounds: 10 + 17 reps
Workout felt good and I almost did the whole thing Rx but my hands were starting to rip so I had to switch to using a band for pull-ups halfway through.

Friday AM - CrossFit Endurance WOD
2 rounds:
200 m run
400 m run
600 m run
My legs felt heavy from box jumps but still a great workout!

Saturday AM - CrossFit WOD
Partner 20-minute AMRAP
200 m run
max Curtis-P (clean, 2 lunges, push press) 45#
(one partner does max Curtis-Ps while the other runs)
Total reps: 73
Great partner WOD except that I was bad at using the run as recovery.

Saturday AM #2 - Spinning at R3
After lunges and spinning, my legs were really sore from Saturday's workouts. I could barely walk in the Seattle airport after my 4-hour flight!

Sunday - Rest Day

What was your favorite/best workout last week?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Solo sushi dinner and walk around Lake Union

Greetings from Seattle! I'm traveling for work this week and decided to come to Seattle a little early on Sunday so I would have time to enjoy the city on Sunday afternoon. I was actually supposed to meet up with two friends from my dorm in college who now live here. Unfortunately, they got in a car accident on the way to pick me up! No one was hurt but they had to get Jessica's car towed and although I still got to see them because it happened close to my hotel, we had to cancel dinner plans. It really sucks that her car is messed up and I hope we can reschedule for later this week.

So anyway, I ended up finding a sushi place close to the hotel and on Lake Union. I got a seat on the patio outside and had a nice dinner for one. I used to feel much more self-concious about sitting at a table and eating dinner alone in a restaurant but I think I'm more comfortable now that I travel alone for work a lot. The one thing I can't figure out is what to do with myself while I'm waiting for food. I usually just end up on my phone. Next time I should just focus on sitting there, relaxing, and enjoying the view.

Do you ever eat alone at restaurants? How do you occupy yourself?

What's your favorite spot in Seattle? Lake Union is my new favorite!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Favorites

Favorite outfit
New Nike workout gear!

Favorite workout
Crossfit endurance at the track during sunrise

Favorite game

Favorite view
Down LaSalle St. from my friend's apartment rooftop

What were your favorites this week?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Nike Gear!

I just got a Nike shipment in the mail! I needed to stock up on some Nike workout wear because my little sister is leaving her part-time job at a Nike store to pursue internships related to her major. I mean, I'm happy for her, but I'm sad that I won't have a Nike discount anymore! #FirstWorldProblems

Here's what I got! And sorry for the bathroom selfies...

Nike Epic Run Printed

Nike Legend 2.0 Tight Fit

Nike G87 Training Tank Top
Nike C72 Legend 2.0 Duffel Bag

Nike C72 Legend 2.0 Duffel Bag

Nike G87 Training Tank Top
Nike 2" Rival Stretch Woven

I have the G87 tank in many's one of my favorites and I'm wearing a medium because I like a looser fit. All of the bottoms are a size small. The epic run capris have a compression fit and more pockets compared to my other Nike tights. I also love the shorts and have them in different colors...excellent for running! I've wanted the bag for a while to take to the gym and now I finally have it!

What's your favorite workout gear brand?

What are the fall fashion trends going to be for fitness clothing?