About Elise

I am a PhD student, runner, cook, and a blogger I stride to find a healthy balance between studies, healthy eating, exercise and fun. My blog, PhD Strides, is an account of my journey towards earning my PhD.

Run Your Heart Out 5k

I’ve been doing an insane amount of running these past few weeks, and its been showing – in terms of mileage (39 mileage week three weeks ago and another one last week) and in terms of pace and strength.  Definitely feeling the best that I have in terms of health wise body and mind in a very long time.  And as a result of all this running fun, I signed up for PRR’s Run Your Heart Out 5k Sunday, February 9.

Going into the race, I knew I wanted to push myself to see where my fitness was at, to get a good evaluation of my speed and strength as I began week three of theCherry Blossom Ten Miler training program I am doing with CUCB, New Balance & PRR (Its a free virtual training program they offered to all participating runners).  Other than that I had no goals, other than to try to be somewhere around 21:15 (my PR).

Race morning came, and I hopped in the car with my friends from PRR, Ashley, Amanda and Dustin, and headed out to Reston, VA.  It was COLD out, but we grabbed our bibs, hit the INDOOR bathrooms and hung out til race time.  We also saw a few of our other fellow PRR friends there as well (shoutout to Lauren & Becki!).

At 9:01 it was go time and we were off.

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The race starts on the track, and then heads down a huge hill into the woods, where the course winds and turns and goes on lots of little ups and downs before returning the to the huge hill we went down which we had to CLIMB just about a 1/4 mile from the finish.  That hill was HORRIBLE.  It caused me to slow down significantly and to almost lose my breakfast at the top.  And then I felt awful as I had to run into the finish.

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Evidence of Feeling Awful…And Cold.

Then the course finished on the track, and I felt and finished strong – surprised to see the time of 21:07 on the clock, which meant a shiny new PR!

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All in all I was happy with my performance.  I also know that but for the hill at the end, I would’ve likely broken 21:00, which would’ve been amazing and has been my goal for a long time.  Additionally, I learned that in the case of the 5k, I can’t look at my watch.  I looked 1 or 2 times just to see mileage, but I never once looked at my pace and just kept running hard and trying to pick off the person in front of me (which I did quite more often than being passed), and it worked!  I was able to shave 8 seconds off my PR – and am seeing that 20:xx goal come within reach!

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Lauren, Me and Ashley post race

A nice surprise was also placing 2nd in my AG – something I never expected to happen since the PRR races generally have an extremely fast field (hello, the girl who won it ran it in 16 and some change), but it was a nice way to round out a PR race for me!

Next up?  I’m looking for another 5k in about a month or so — hopefully something without the hill of death at the end to make that 20:xx a little easier.  And then I’m training, as mentioned before, for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  My goal for that is to run a consistent race, and hopefully at my 10k PR pace from this fall.  Lofty goals, but something I definitely think is feasible.

What races are on your schedule this spring?  What fitness goals do you have?  I was supposed to run a marathon, but I decided that right now, I don’t have the time or the ability to train and so I am deferring.  I hate doing it, but I know its the right decision for me, especially having been plagued with a series of injuries since fall 2012.  A marathon is in my future, I just need to find the right one and the right time to train properly – I am finally admitting I have too much on my plate.

Brooks Pure Project Fashion Show

I recently had the privilege to get a preview of the Brooks PureProject apparel and see the new Transcend which hit shelves this weekend (seriously crazy shoe!). Potomac River Running hosted one of Brooks‘ fashion shows to introduce the product to the staff and running community. They went all out with goodie bags, food, wine and models.  [There was supposed to be a DJ but he never showed.]

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The goodie bags were filled with premium glass water bottles, a travel case for toiletries and some Brooks soap-on-a-rope (sorry no photos of the goodies inside!)

Next up, Brooks catered the event with delicious food and wine from Whole Foods.  Seriously, the toppings on the toasted french bread were to.die.for.  I didn’t snap any photos of the food directly, but my goodness they were tasty.

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Next up was the main event — the clothes!  Brooks brought in models to wear the new PureProject apparel clothing, which is advertised to be functional for daily life and working out.

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I have to say that for the most part, I love the apparel.  The shorts are adorable and come in some fun patterns (Tribunal, Checkered) and the Seamless Capris are so cute and the material feels soooo nice.

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There are a couple cute tops as well (I really love this LS and this tank) though I do have to admit, I’m a little baffled by the women’s PureProject Jacket.  Love the pattern, love the fabric, but I’m not sold on the fit.  The top half of the jacket looks like it just hangs there, and I don’t think it would be that flattering on someone who is well endowed or a little bigger and un-model like.  I definitely think the jacket could have been designed to be a little more flattering for all body types.

Now, the men’s PureProject Jacket?!  That is a completely different store.  Swoonbait – I wish they had a women’s version of this.  Simple and clean.

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Also, for the men I loved this SS top (It also comes in LS).  Especially in the yellow.  Its a workout shirt without looking like a workout shirt.  And the fabric is so soft and comfortable.  I could definitely see lots of men wearing this to the gym and around town.  And I kind of want one of my own, either for myself or for the boyfriend so that I can steal it…

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All in all, I was impressed with the simplicity and functionality of the Brooks PureProject apparel line, something that I was unaware of until recently.  I love the versatility of the clothing — you can definitely wear it for just hanging out or for working out — as well as the feel of the fabric and the definite quality you can see in the apparel.

I’m definitely excited to see this line evolve, especially as the Moving Comfort clothing line is being phased out (DON’T WORRY MOVING BRA AFICIONADOS LIKE MYSELF – THE BRAS ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!!) as I loved a lot of the MC clothing line, and think that Brooks will have great success with this line in the future.

I was excited to be a part of this fun evening, and love that I was able to get a closer look at the products as well as learn about them and discuss future plans with the Brooks Sales Rep for the region as well as some of the higher-ups from Brooks in Seattle.  Definitely a great company with some wonderful people creating great products for runners.

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Brooks Models in PureProject Line.

[Although I was able to attend the fashion show through my affiliation with PRR as a sales team member and assistant coach, it was also open to the public and about 70-75 individuals attended the event.  I received no compensation for this post nor any products, and as always all opinions are my own.]

Running Through Winter

So it’s been a while… Two months to be exact, and I’m not quite sure where to start, so I will start back where we left off with December 2013 and do a little catching up on how I have been running through winter (often times feeling my head has been chopped off).

December 2013

December was on of the craziest and busiest months of my life. It was three weeks of finals for my first semester of law school. It was also the month where my co authors and I presented a white paper at a round table in the middle of finals (that I finished my portion of at 2am the morning of a final – that one hurt). It was also winter vacation back I the frozen tundra and the time I PRed without really being prepared in the half marathon.

So law school exams. They were intense, stressful, and three weeks long. Yes I had about five to seven days between my exams, but when they are law school exams, you need like two weeks between each exam and even that may not be enough. I was mostly happy with my performances on my exams and grades but know there is room for improvement this semester so I am definitely putting the plow in the ground and hitting the books hard.

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Then there was that paper we presented. I had given presentations on research proposals before but had never had a written paper, that professors, scholars and experts in the field had read, thought was interesting and gave feedback on. It was intense but so exciting! And although my co authors and I have a lot of work ahead of us, I know we will have a great paper when we are finished.

I was lucky enough to go home for about ten days after finals. I hadn’t really been in the frozen tundra (MN) since last Xmas, and it was great to have the whole family together. I got to spend time with my parents, siblings and niece all while freezing my buns off. What more could I have asked for?! Oh right, to have had Xmas at my sister’s in Florida where it was 70 not -10. But all in all we had a great time… In our #xmasjammies (oh yes that happened).

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Then there was the winter running. Lots of it happened. And while most of it (admittedly) happened on a TM I did manage a few good runs outside.

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First I ran Run With Santa 5k, and while there were no PRs (it was cold, snowy and slippery) I had a ton of fun with a bunch of my coworkers at the running store. And then I ran a half marathon very last minute. So last minute the name is escaping me, but it was an out and back on a muddy and icy trail…but I still got a PR! 1:44:06! It was by no means my best race (I fell completely apart in the last two miles, but I know that my goals for 2014 are in reach!

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So lots of running happened and life was looking pretty good. And then came January 2014…

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And life got even better. Didn’t think it was possible, but it did.

I gained a super cute study buddy (no, he is not mine, but sometimes I pretend) and my grades came back mostly positive. So here’s to a good outlooks for semester 2!

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And while I have had a minor foot injury that has set me back in terms of marathoning this spring, I am taking it in stride, and instead focusing on Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and hopefully a spring half marathon back in sunny Santa Cruz after finals are over in May! You know what I’m talking about… The fabulous Capitola Half Marathon!

Also, today I discovered I was one of four featured bloggers on Active Life DC for a panel on how to get out of a fitness rut. Check it out for some great Dc blogs and tips on how myself and the other bloggers keep exercising interesting and fun…and how awkward I can be. It’s so incredibly awkward it’s awesome.

So that’s a little update on my life. I have been very busy but am planning a few posts to come in the next few weeks, and I promise it won’t be another two months.

How has 2014 been treating you so far? Set any fitness or running goals?
Mine is to be as uninsured as possible, hopefully be healthy enough to complete a marathon and to get back into triathlons! Already looking at a few in late August/early September!