June Photo A Day Challenge #30summerdays – DAY 1 IS TODAY!

Reading through my favorite blogs this morning, I saw a post from Carrots ‘N’ Cake about a photo challenge: June Photo a Day Challenge #30summerdays.
I like capturing my life in pictures and sharing them, but because I’m sometimes so busy that I forget to take pictures of the most amazing things, or the simplest things! that happen to me, a challenge is a great way to remember to take my camera out more and freeze a moment.
The same way some people need a fitness challenge to stay motivated, I need a picture challenge to use my camera!

 
I will be doing this challenge and posting the pictures on Instagram daily, and on the blog every few days.
Below Day 1 is the list of what the picture should be about every day, in case you want to do the challenge too!

 
DAY 1: Rabbit, Rabbit! What brings you good luck?

 
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I am not a superstitious person, and I don’t particularly like wearing jewelry, but since seeing a ‘kids’ charm on a friend before I even had any kids of my own, I decided I’d want a charm like that when I had kids.
I had a beautiful charm of a boy after my son was born, and after my girl was born 3 years later I switched to this one.
I take it off to sleep and to work out, but other than that I always put it on, even if I’m going to the grocery store or even staying home. This way I have my kids with me all the time, yes, even when I’m with them.

 
Picture Subject June 1st through June 30th:
1 – Rabbit, Rabbit! What brings you good luck?
2 – Monday, ugh! What’s keeping you going today?
3 – Who made you smile today?
4 – Look up. What do you see?
5 – #TBT Share a photo from a past summer trip!
6 – National Doughnut Day! Snap a pic celebrating! Or, what did you have instead?!
7 – Saturday! What are you up to?
8 – Time to relax before the start of the week. What does relaxing look like to you?
9 – Manic Monday! What’s giving you a case of the Mondays?
10 – Is the sun out? Snap a pic! If not, what’s it like out there?
11 – Get over the hump of the week. How were you productive today?
12 – Treat yourself, it’s almost the weekend!
13 – Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious and ducking for cover, or out and about?
14 – Flag Day! Got one flying in the warm breeze?
15 – Happy Father’s Day! Snap a pic or share one of an awesome dad!
16 – Monday motivation. What motivates you?
17 – Got a pet? Share them with the world!
18 – Stretch those legs mid-week and go outside or for a walk. Snap and share!
19 – #OOTD, what are you wearing? Got your summer clothes on?!
20 – Happy Friday! You made it! Smile and say cheese
21 – HAPPY SUMMER! Take a picture of what summer looks like to you to celebrate!
22 – Sunday Pancakes! Do you have a Sunday breakfast routine?
23 – Got those sandals out? What’s your favorite pair?
24 – What made you happy today?
25 – Are the flowers blooming? Take a picture of your favorite!
26 – Wehew, it’s hot out there. How are you cooling down?
27 – Last Friday of the month, what are you up to?
28 – Is today a beach day? Snap a pic and make everyone jealous!
29 – Go out for a picnic! Make sure to take a picture!
30 – Last day of June, how are you sending it off?

 

Do you believe in luck? Do you have a good luck charm?



 

A Long Run with a 1K Time Trial in Between

I’ve been wondering how fast I can run 1K, so I decided to do a time trial yesterday during my long-ish 15K/9.3M run.

 
A time trial is measuring how fast you can run for a particular distance. Decide what distance you want to run, and run it as fast as you can, keeping in mind that you want to sustain your pace over the full distance.
The main reason to do a time trial is to compare your times, and see how you improve over time. Do a time trial this week, remember the time you ran, keep training, and do another time trial for the same distance in a few weeks.
Sounds kind of like a race, except in my opinion there’s a lot less pressure. You do a time trial when you want, at the time you want. If you are not feeling it today, you can do it tomorrow. If you need another 5 minutes to warm up, take your time, you have it. The results are not official, it’s something you do and measure yourself.

 
Although I didn’t taper or anything of the sort for it, it was a very casual and informal experiment, I didn’t run the day before because it was swim day.

 
My run started earlier than usual, I was going by 5:20, since I had a busy morning and wanted to be back home, showered, and ready to go by 08:00 AM.

 
I ran about 3K at warm-up pace, then made a restroom stop. Unfortunately the restrooms I usually use on my long run route, which are very close to where I park my car and I can use before I start running, are closed this early in the morning. So I had to stop somewhere else, which I don’t particularly like because I don’t like to stop during running, but then at least I had an empty bladder for the time trial, which was good.

 
I ran another half KM or so as warm up after stopping, and then did a couple of accelerations, a new concept to me, where I ran about 200 meters at a fast pace, but not going all out, and then a minute or so of easy jogging. I really liked doing the accelerations, it got my legs moving fast, something that a regular warm up doesn’t do, but didn’t get them tired at all since it was a short distance and I only did a couple, which was enough.

 
And then I ran as fast as I could for 1K, well, I wouldn’t say 100% effort because I knew I had another 10K/6.1M or so to finish my run… although I knew I’d be doing them at an easy pace I had to save some strength for them. But I went about 95% effort, and finished in 03:56 (06:20 Min/Mile pace).

 
I was pleasantly surprised to see the final time, but I know with some speed work I can reduce a few seconds off that.

 
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Have you ever done a time trial? How do you measure your running progress?



 

My Mary Poppins Gym Bag and Locker

I always wonder how other people go to the gym and manage to bring only a small bag.
Despite having my own locker where I leave a bunch of stuff, my gym bag always feels like it’s about to explode. I feel like Mary Poppins (or Dora the Explorer for you youngsters) taking stuff and more stuff out of my backpack.

 
I shower at the gym between 3 and 5 times a week, so I like to leave as much as I can in my locker. I buy doubles of a lot of personal items and just leave one at the gym.

 
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What’s in my locker:
* Makeup: makeup case with brushes, foundation, concealer, loose powder, blush, bronzer, mascara, 2 eye shadow cases, and a few eyeliners
* Hair care: shampoo and conditioner, a couple of hair treatments (the kind you leave on for a few minutes and rinse off), and after shower care such as hair oil, hair gel, heat protector, hair brush, hairdryer
* Body care: deodorant, liquid shower soap, body lotion with SPF and without, body spray, face lotion SPF, perfume, razor, Q-tips, sponge
* Pool gear: flip flops, googles, haircap

 
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What’s in my bag:
* Clean clothes, usually work clothes
* Shoes, usually low/comfy sandals to drive around, and I leave my work sandals in my car to put on when I get to work
* My swimsuit if I’ll be swimming
* A big bath towel
* A small towel to have by me when I work out
* IPod
* Hair ties
* NUUN
* Water bottle
* Keys
* IPhone

 
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Do you take a bag with you when you work out? Do you take a lot of stuff with you?



 

Why and How to Run in the Morning, and the Best Swimming Tip

I was up at 3:30 in the morning today. My kids were having a tough night, and by the time they fell back asleep, I was wide awake.
I got up, made myself some coffee, and sat on the computer.

 
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I like to read on my computer while it’s dark and quiet, besides I can never search for enough running/fitness gear online.

 
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After about an hour I was feeling sleepy and thought it would be a good idea to get a couple hours of sleep, since facing a work day after being up at 3:30 didn’t sound like fun. And then I remembered all the reasons while running in the morning is the best, and figured being tired later so I could run would be worth it.

 
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Reasons why running in the morning is awesome:

 
* Endorphins: Running releases endorphins, a chemical that makes us feel happy, and who couldn’t use a free and natural antidepressant?
* Best for losing weight: Jump start your metabolism and burn more calories through the day, need I say more?
* Wake up big time: Running is such an eye opener, you’ll get on with your day bright awake and ready to rumble.
* Get it over with: Some people really enjoy running, for others it’s a chore that serves a purpose, such as losing weight or staying healthy. Either way, knowing it’s behind you and you are free to do other things later in the day is worth waking up earlier.
* Nature and silence: Even if you live in the middle of the cement jungle, the quietness, the birds flying around, the cool morning breeze… it’s a million times better than running later in the day when it’s noisy, there’s a lot more people walking around, and you can smell the car fumes in the air.

 
I am a morning person, so waking up early to run is easy for me. If you struggle with waking up early to go run, here are some tips that might help you manage a run before work/school/other obligations:

 
* Get your gear ready: I leave everything I need on the living room so I have everything handy when I wake up, and so I don’t make a lot of noise looking for my gear and risk waking up my family.
* Mental prep: Even for morning people like me, it’s not always easy to get out of bed and get out of the house, especially when it’s dark and cold (or hot, or wet, or I’m just tired). Thinking about my run and my training the night before, usually gets me motivated enough to go out the next morning. Set your alarms: No matter how motivated you are to run tomorrow morning, chances are when the alarm sounds you’ll try to talk yourself out of actually getting out of bed. Setting a couple of alarms within a minute of each other, and putting them a few steps away so you have to get up to turn them off, could mean the difference between a run and a nap.
* Plan your route: Think in advance where you’ll run, so you can make sure the route is safe and well lighted, and also to avoid running longer than intended and being late.
* Schedule it: Figure out how long you’ll be running, and schedule your times accordingly. Allow yourself plenty of time to shower and get ready for what’s next, especially if you have to be somewhere at a specific time.
* Nutrition/hydration: You might need to try your food/drink intake a few times before you figure out what works best for you. I personally eat and drink before I run, I feel lethargic without some calories and caffeine.

 

 
Since I was up so early, I managed to get an extra long session at the gym.

 
Running:
45 minutes progression run, with intervals thrown in just because:
10 minutes warm up
10 minutes at 05:10 Min/KM (08:20 Min/Mile)
10 minutes at 05:00 Min/KM (08:04 Min/Mile)
6 minutes at 04:47 Min/KM (07:42 Min/Mile)
9 minutes consisting of 3 intervals, each interval was 1 minute at 03:52 Min/KM (06:14 Min/Mile) and 2 minutes easy at 05:20 Min/KM (08:34 Min/Mile).

 
Ab/core work:
About 30 minutes of crunches, planks, push ups and pull ups.

 
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Swimming:
750 meters / 820 yards easy swimming, with last third of the workout being as fast as I could manage, which is really not fast at all.

 
A woman at the gym who used to swim on a competitive level told me the other day that I should try to keep my body a bit higher when I swim, with the back of my head slightly out of the water. She said my swimming technique is good (I took this as a huge compliment), but going to low underwater slows me down.
I really appreciate when people who know what they are talking about give me knowledgeable/useful suggestions like this. I don’t have a swimming or running coach, so sometimes I can be making bad mistakes without realizing it.
I paid attention to this today and tried to stay higher in the water than usual, and felt a big difference on my speed vs effort output, she definitely gave me a great tip.
With that being said, many times people give me unsolicited advice on issues that are personal, or without really knowing what they are talking about, that really annoys me.

 

What is your favorite time to run?

5:30 AM start.

How do you feel about strangers giving you unsolicited advice?

0.01% love/appreciate it (knowledgeable/factual advice), 99.99% hate it.

 

Long Run, TLC, and the Real Reason I Don’t Post Pictures of Food

I know I take bad selfies, but I don’t have anyone to take a picture of me at 06:00 in the morning, especially on the weekend.
I just had to take one to show you my new Mizuno top, I love it. Worked great on my long run today, very airy and fresh, no chafing whatsoever, and the racer back is so cute.

 
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21.3K/13.2M at average pace 05:04 Min/KM (08:09 Min/Mile). Not bad for the morning after a race. I wanted to take it easy, which I did, I am trying to make speed runs not more than 15% of my weekly total running.

 
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I’m good with my average pace for the run, but my pacing wasn’t the best:

 
2KM/1.2M – warm up at average pace 05:45 Min/KM (09:15 Min/Mile)
9KM/5.6M – taking it easy at average pace 05:14 Min/KM (08:25 Min/Mile)
10.3KM/6.4M – loving running, but not keeping the easy pace I intended, at average pace 04:47 Min/KM (07:41 Min/Mile)

 
The pace of the last 10K, that is my “happy” pace. My favorite pace to run, especially when I get there gradually, after a few KMs at an easy pace. My legs are warm and feel strong and I get to that pace so naturally. I feel fast, that is definitely not an easy pace for me, but I feel strong and not winded at the same time.

 
On weekends I usually come home after I run to shower and get ready, during the week I usually shower at the gym. It’s nice to come home and spend a bit of time with the kids before I jump in the shower, and especially not be in the usual rush that is the work week.

 
After getting ready, I hit the fridge big time. By then it had been over an hour since I finished my run, so I was starving. All I had after the run was water with NUUN.

 
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I really don’t know why I used my daughter’s Hello Kitty’s plate

 
Recovery shake with banana, cacao, glutamine (yum), soymilk, flaxseed, and molasses.
The healthiest bread sold in Israel, at least that I have found, and the most delicious hummus, I did scrub that container clean.
A few almonds, my husband likes to soak them overnight, it makes them softer. I prefer them dry but I don’t really mind, I don’t eat them too often.

 
A couple of hours later I had another snack, and this is the reason why you don’t see a lot of food pictures in this blog, I remember to take pictures after I’m done eating.

 
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I ate the whole pineapple, it really wasn’t too big, leftover apple pieces from my kids’ snack, and a Clif bar.

 
I took my knee high compression socks out of circulation for running because it’s officially too hot, but my calves were feeling a bit tight so I decided to use them for recovery. A bit of TLC can’t hurt: freeze spray, foot cream, tight socks, and lying down. Followed by a glass of water with apple cider vinegar, and Grid rolling.

 
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What is your “happy” pace and why?



 

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