Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes {Book Review}

goodnight beautiful womenTitle: Goodnight, Beautiful Women
Author: Anna Noyes
Publisher: Grove Press

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

From Goodreads:
Moving along the Maine Coast and beyond, the interconnected stories in Goodnight, Beautiful Women bring us into the sultry, mysterious inner lives of New England women and girls as they navigate the dangers and struggles of their outer worlds. With novelistic breadth and a quicksilver emotional intelligence, Noyes explores the ruptures and vicissitudes of growing up and growing old, and shines a light on our most uncomfortable impulses while masterfully charting the depths of our murky desires.

A woman watches her husband throw one by one their earthly possessions into the local quarry, before vanishing himself; two girls from very different social classes find themselves deep in the throes of a punishing affair; a motherless teenager is sexually awakened in the aftermath of a local trauma; and a woman’s guilt from a childhood lie about her intellectually disabled cousin reverberates into her married years.

Dark and brilliant, rhythmic and lucid, Goodnight, Beautiful Women marks the arrival of a fearless and unique new young voice in American fiction.


My Thoughts:

Before learning anything about this book, I first read that Goodnight, Beautiful Women was set among the mysterious lives of New England women (“moving along the Maine Coast”). Since I’m a New England girl myself, who is infatuated with the Maine Coast, it seemed like an undeniable fit.

Then I started reading the book. I quickly learned that it was a collection of short stories. Stories willed with darkness. The writing is quite intelligent and more literary as most short stories are. Because it’s a snapshot in the characters live, there isn’t time for a beginning, middle and end.Really, presumably, just a part of the middle. There’s no chance for closure in these stories. Just haunting, depressing, real life sadness.

After reading this (in full), I ready through other reviews and many other readers couldn’t get past the darkness and would not finish it.  I got through this book much quicker than any of the most recent other books I have read. Perhaps it was because it was short stories, but I did not find the depressing nature of the stories a reason to stop reading.

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Weekend Update (Kerry)-Jalen is 1!

Happy First Weekend of Summer! Hope you all enjoyed it! The weather here has been perfect! I love weekends with awesome weather! Friday my weekend started with boot camp in the morning. I took this picture before boot camp started. It was so quiet on the field. It makes me appreciate the world at 5:15am!

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On the way home from work, I decided to get my grocery shopping in. I found these at Whole Foods.

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If you haven’t had them yet, I highly suggest you find them—which may be difficult because I had heard a lot about them and this is the first time I found them. They are delicious! They are so sweet and yummy! I bought 2 bags Friday night and they were both gone by Sunday. Saturday morning started with my long run. I got 11 miles in. I passed this little guy on my run.

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The run was good. I was happy with my pace.

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Later in the morning, Jada had gymnastics. I signed her up for this new class for the summer since dance is over. This is her first gymnastics class where I didn’t participate. I watched through the glass though and she did great!

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After gymnastics, we had a 2nd birthday party to go to. Jada enjoyed playing in the water with the other kids.

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Jalen wasn’t interested much in the water. He enjoyed playing with the ball and eating watermelon.

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Saturday night Jay and I decided to start watching Breaking Bad. We haven’t seen it yet and he bought me the whole series for Christmas. I really liked what I saw of it, but unfortunately I fell asleep about half way through.

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Sunday was officially Jalen’s 1st Birthday. It started with him opening gifts.

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Then me putting it together.

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I tried to take his 1 year picture but he kept ripping the sticker off.

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I took him on a run with me. This was his first time riding in the BOB with me. It clearly wiped him out.

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Then Jada and I decided to make him a birthday cake.

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She was a great helper!

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I definitely don’t win any awards for cake decorating–but I tried.

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Doesn’t matter what it looked like anyway–the little guy liked it!

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How do you celebrate birthday’s? 

Weekend Update – It’s All About Family

Hey Hey! How can it be Monday already after such an awesome two days.  The sun is out so long. The weather has been perfection. And all this makes it way too hard to accept a 2 day weekend.  I think I just need a vacation.

But until then, let’s recap the weekend.

Unfortunately I won’t be inundating you with pictures because I didn’t keep my phone at me at all for 2 days. I did capture few pics though.

We had employee appreciation day at work this week. We all went bowling. To get everyone excited for it, there was a contest to guess how many atomic fire balls were in the container.  The winner won it all and it even contained a bottle of Fireball cinnamon whiskey.  When the winner was announced, they called my name first but then quickly took it away because there was someone else that guessed closer.  It’s ok though. He’s not a fan of either and happily gave them to me! So that was a fun start to the weekend.image image

With the new marathon training, I don’t run on Friday’s anymore. It’s weird.  I’ve been doing it for years so to change it now is really confusing my body and my brain.

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My body was all too excited to see this on he counter when I got home from work.  Not exactly the donuts – I can take or leave those. But that bag of Swedish Fish!!!

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Saturday started of so early with a 9 miler.

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And then I fell asleep. Which is a bummer because that just set the tone for the rest of the day.  We were heading to my cousin’s graduation party and staying over.  I packed like a jackass and didn’t even need what I brought which I packed differently.  And I just sat by the pool all day.  Not that that’s a bad thing, but i was called no fun more than once all night.  This training is killing me.

Luckily I got a good night’s sleep and got to hang out with my family all over again.  And enjoy this gorgeous weather with an amazing view.  Kayley was loving this swing.image

And I was happy just sitting…again. Even if it was in a bathing suit top and jeans. Such a moron.image

We got home in plenty of time to celebrate this little bugger’s first birthday.image

And I walked home to get in my 30 minute recovery.  It might have been last minute, but it’s still done.  But apparently I wasn’t walking very fast.  Actually I must have been standing still according to snapchat.image

Clearly my weekend doesn’t show how exciting it was based off my pictures, but believe me – I needed to get to be early Sunday night to get a good night’s sleep and get ready for the week ahead.  I love weekends like this. Even if I wan’t much fun on Saturday because this is time when precious memories are made with my family and friends.

Weekly Workout Recap-6/26

The Uptite Mamas are in training mode. Let’s see how we did this week.

MONDAY

Kerry: After my 10 mile run Saturday and 5k race Sunday, I decided to take a break and make today a rest day. My body needed it.

Lara: Today starts my “official” marathon training.  I have been training for a couple weeks, but I switched around my schedule and it was effect this week. I posted it last week. You can follow along here. Today is all focus on yoga, stretching and foam rolling.  Which may be a good thing because I am spending the rest of the day at a local amusement park…for 10 hours!
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TUESDAY

Kerry: I got out for a quick 3 mile run this morning. I had a pretty rough Monday and Tuesday wasn’t shaping up to me much better. I wasn’t in the mood to do much but pushed myself out the door for the run. I had planned on doing 4 miles but decided that 3 was enough once I started. The most annoying part of the run was being stopped so the train could come through. I hate sitting there waiting.

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Lara: Today is newly track Tuesday for me, but that’s scheduled for the evening. I got in a quick lunchtime workout with weights and upper body before taking a beating on the track.
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Track workout started at 6pm and the sun was still out and the air was so thick.  After my first lap (after warm up), I told my husband there was NO WAY I was going to be able to do 4 more.  Well, I did it and it wasn’t pretty. My hips hated the speed so much. Lots of foam rolling in my future.
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WEDNESDAY

Kerry: Today was boot camp for me. We did a AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workout today. We started with 12 minutes on the clock and cycled through these exercises—-5 burpees, 10 squats, 5 burpees, 5 push-ups, 5 burpees, 5 V-ups. We repeated those exercises for the full 12 minutes. I think I did over 100 burpees! Insanity. After that, we did the same thing but with core exercises-crunches, leg lifts, scissor kicks, and flutter kicks. We finished up with a tabata run around the field.

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Lara:  It was not even 12 hours since my track workout and I was back at it again.  Even though it was super tough to get out of bed, it was a good run.  There were hills but there were also negative splits.  That’s a win in my book!
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THURSDAY

Kerry: I had no desire to do any type of workout today. I have had a pretty rough week and it wasn’t slated to get any better. I knew if I didn’t work out I would regret it so I pushed through a 4 mile run. I really wanted to do a track workout but knew I didn’t have that type of energy in me. I pushed through my 4 miles–slowly. I did feel good once I got it done but it was certainly more effort than my other runs.

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Lara: My shirt couldn’t be more accurate for marathon training.  It certainly feels like I’m running 24/7.  I went out expecting 4 miles but completely overestimated my route for some reason.  I ran for 4.5 and I still had to walk about a half mile home. I could have run it, but it was uphill and I wasn’t in the mood to push it any further.
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FRIDAY

Kerry: Since I skipped boot camp Monday, I made up for it today. Today’s workout was a lot of running and then some strength exercises in between. First round we ran around half of the field 4 times. Once we were done with the run it was 10 tricep dips, 10 push ups, 10 squats, and 10 bicycle crunches. Second round we did 3 laps around the field and increased the reps for the dips, squats, push-ups, and crunches to 12. We kept cycling down until we got to 1 lap of the field and 16 reps of each.  I took this picture at the beginning of boot camp. It was so quiet and peaceful and I was thinking to myself that even though I don’t love getting up at 4:45am, it is nice to enjoy the peacefulness the early morning brings.

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Lara: I’ve been used to running Friday mornings for years now so it felt unusual to not.  Today is meant for a cross training day for me.  I made sure to make sure I pushed it – at least my upper body and core – today because I was feeling guilty not running. (Stupid psycho runner.) I did note that my pushups are improving.  I hate pushups and I’m not afraid to admit it. So to say that I didn’t mind doing them today is quite a step up.
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SATURDAY

Kerry: Today was a long run for me. I got 11 miles in. Like the rest of the week, I was in no mood to run but told myself this would be my “alone” time for the day and I should just go with it. It wasn’t so bad. I was out the door at 5:40am.  The run was good. I felt good and my pace was pretty on point.

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Lara: Long run day. And the weather was perfection early for runners. There weren’t too many out while I was out, but I did hit the road at 5:45. Believe me, I would have rather been in bed if I had the choice.  I set off slow and steady and my legs loved it. They moved along smoothly.  Even my breathing felt consistent and unlabored.  Then about 2 miles from finishing, 2 runners passed me. I tried to ignore it and not let my competitive spirit take hold, but that failed. I stepped it up and increased my speed for the end.  I started to get a serious cramp and stopped 4 times to let it loosen.  I need to start realizing that speed is just not in the cards for me right now.
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SUNDAY

Kerry: I got in a quick recovery run this morning. It was more like a run/walk because I had Jalen with me. This was his first time out in the BOB with me. Pretty funny because it is also his 1st birthday today!! The run wiped him out!

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Lara: Recovery day for me. 30 minutes. I haven’t decided if those will be running minutes or walking minutes – but I’m definitely going to be outside for that time.  I need to soak up all of the summer that I possibly can.

 

 

 

What’s Up for the Week Ahead – Marathon Training Week 2

If you’ve been following along, you will know that I have decided to list my intended workouts for the upcoming week to keep myself honest on Saturdays. Sundays will still be our weekly workout recap highlighting the workouts that just passed.

Because this is my first marathon, I am super paranoid and over-anxious about EVERYTHING.  Food, workouts, fueling, weight gain… Just to name a few.  I hope that adding this piece to the blog will help keep my anxieties a little under control.

You can check out my Week 1 Plan.

But you’ll have to wait to see how Week 1 actually went on tomorrow’s blog post!

Week 2: June 26 – July 2

Sunday: Walk 30-40 minutes

Monday: Stretching/Yoga/Foam Roll

Tuesday: 2 lap warm up, 6 – 8x 400M, 1 lap rest, 2 lap cool down

Wednesday: 3 miles

Thursday: 4 miles, easy

Friday: Crosstrain – 30 minutes

Saturday: 6 miles

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell {Book Review}

girls in gardenTitle: The Girls in the Garden
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.


My Thoughts:

The Girls in the Garden is a story shrouded in dark secrets.  The majority of the book is the development of the storyline and characters.  It’s not easy to discuss without wanting to give away unintended spoilers, beyond the fact that the title is quite an appropriate description.  Let’s just say that the story has a lot to do with being the a thirteen year old girl learning how to be a little more independent, meeting new friends, trying to get used to new personalities and the moms trying to figure out how to handle these new changes in their daughters.
Although there are many characters involved in this story (and it wasn’t confusing to keep them straight), the garden played just as important of a role.  It’s a private garden for the residents who border it.  It’s like their own little secluded community.  A community with many intertwined histories and secrets.  I always thought that living in a community with its own private garden/park was a fascinating concept.  But after reading this story, I think I’ve watched too many romantic comedies that certainly romanticized it.  There’s always another side to every story.
Lisa Jewell is a new to me author.  This book’s description was enough to intrigue me and want to jump right in.  Plus I love London-based novels.  I would find myself getting frustrated whenever I would get interrupted while reading.  That’s certainly a sign of a good book for me!

Melrose Firefighters Father’s Day 5K

I decided to run this race for the first time this year. I think it has only been around for a few years but decided to jump on it this year. It’s always hard to pass up a 5k that is right in your town.

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The race was really kid friendly as well. They had an obstacle course (it was supposed to resemble what a firefighter would do) set up for the little kids. Jada got to the top of the first part and was trying to figure out her next move.

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Even though he isn’t a runner, it was nice that Jay celebrated Father’s Day with me cheering me on.

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The start line had this flag hanging. Kind of cool.

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It was pretty hot at the start of the race. This race course was similar to that of the Mother’s Day race that Lara and I run but just the opposite route. I started out kind of fast. I looked down at my watch after the first mile–7:12. Holy! I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep that up in the heat. I got through the second mile–7:12 again. Whoa! Now on to the third mile–it was horrible. From about 2.25 miles to 2.75 miles it was just one big hill. Totally killer. Then I got a pretty bad cramp around 2.85 miles. It was pretty bad-I almost stopped. I think the cramp came from eating breakfast before the race. I very rarely eat right before a race but I made an awesome Father’s Day breakfast and had half a waffle and two pieces of bacon. I ate it a good 2 hours before the race started but who knows. Mile 3 ended up being 7:50. Still not terrible but you can see how I slowed down quite a bit. Regardless…I finished the race in 22:44. And guess what that is…….

A new PR for me!! Woo hoo!!

I was pretty excited! I came in 37th overall out of 434. I was the 8th woman overall and 3rd in my age group. We stuck around because they were supposed to do age group awards but they only did the top finisher in each group. Either way, I was really happy with the outcome. Jay took this sweet video of me finishing. He’s such a great cheerleader.

 

And of course, a picture with my other favorite cheerleader!

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Such an awesome day! Happy my hubby shared part of his Father’s Day with me!

Weekend Update (Kerry)-Father’s Day & Fenway

What a great weekend! It was jam packed full of fun stuff. Let’s start with Friday. I started the morning bright and early with boot camp. We did an awesome workout with kettlebells and ropes. My arms were feeling it towards the end.

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I came home from work Friday to my surprise grab bag from Jane. Lara and I love these. You basically have no idea what you are getting when you order. We have had pretty good luck with them and they are usually so cheap-$9.99-$12.99 that it really doesn’t matter. This one had 3 items. I got 2 shirts and a pair of leggings (jeggings). I liked the shirt but I am just “eh” with the leggings. They are certainly true jeggings.

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After opening my package from Jane (and of course texting Lara pictures), I made dinner and enjoyed a beverage. Love tomato and mozz salad.

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Saturday morning started bright and early with a 10 mile run. My pace was good and I was pretty happy with the run.

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Saturday afternoon Jay wasn’t feeling to well so we laid low. We took a quick trip to Babies R Us/Toys R Us and I got this new rug for Jada. She loves it in her princess room!

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I needed to get out of the house for a bit so I took the kids to Jamba Juice. I got the Peanut Butter Moo’d. It is pure heaven!

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Sunday was Father’s Day and we had a jam packed day. It started with me running a Father’s Day race sponsored by our local Fire Department.

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It was an awesome race! They had an obstacle course for kids. Jada was contemplating her next move. They also had a kids race that Jada ran a bit of.

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I plan to post a race recap tomorrow with all of the details but just so you know–I did PR. Ran a 22:44 (7:20 pace). I placed 3rd in my age group! Kind of exciting!

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After the race it was off to Fenway to see the Red Sox. That was my present to Jay. It was the first trip to Fenway with the kids too. On the car ride there, Jada decided to put her own sunscreen on. What a mess.

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Fenway is always a great place (even if I am a Yankee fan). The kids had a blast.

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The game wiped Jalen out.

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The fun part….once the game was over, they let dads run the bases with the kids (mom’s could sneak in too for pics!). It was such a cool experience for the kids and of course Jay!

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The day was so much fun! And to top it off, I caught this beautiful picture of the sky.

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Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Did you do anything fun for Father’s Day?

Weekend Update – Happy Father’s Day

Hi All! It’s time for my weekend update. I am totally beat. It’s Sunday night as I type this up and I’m literally laying in bed with the laptop propped at an angle to type.  You’re definitely not going to get much high quality writing out of this post – if I can even keep my eyes open long enough to finish typing!

Before I jump into my weekend, I wanted to let you know two things.

Even though I have been silently training for my first full marathon, I officially start training today.  I have posted my intending workout for the week here if you want to follow along.

ZOOMA Women’s Race Series is putting together a summer challenge.  It’s for 5 weeks starting on June 27.  The cost is $50 and you get some awesome stuff! It includes a 5 week workout and food plan, access to a private Facebook group with amazing support, a finisher’s medal AND a tank top AND a beach bag. Check it out here!
IMG_2951Don’t forget, I can offer you 10% off the remaining two races of the year. Just use code LARA16 when you sign up for the Florida race October 22. Or join me September 24 for the Cape Cod race!! Both Kerry and I will be running the Half that weekend. AND it’s my birthday weekend.  Check out the ZOOMA races here.

You know – just chilling after a killer 4 mile run Friday morning – casually staring up at the sky.IMG_2988

Where did that 8:56 come from?IMG_2987

Summer = Long Nights + Piles of Flip FlopsIMG_2989

Truth! But it’s not just for kid’sIMG_2996

Awkward sweat stain! I think I’m going to make an emoji out of it somehow. We need a series of awkward emojis.IMG_3037

But my long run was on target. And I’m still loving my New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s!IMG_3041Nothing like tailgating with 3 12 year olds before an all day concert (after being up since 4:30).IMG_3048

That line though.  If this is the line to enter, what are the bathroom lines going to look like??IMG_3050

Still kickin it 6 hours later!IMG_3058

We definitely weren’t close enough to the stage for good pictures, but the performances were on point for this years Kiss Concert 2016!IMG_3063

Sign of a successful day!IMG_3073

Because it’s Father’s Day and this just seemed too appropriate for my Star Wars loving husband and daughter.image

Brunch with the fam to start the day.image

Home Depot is doing it right. Loved seeing this sign for Veteran’s parking.image

Because why wouldn’t you put a roll of duct tape around your bun.image

Just a girl and her dog hanging out on the porch of my parent’s house. Barbecuing to close out a successful father’s day!image image

What time is your bedtime on a Sunday night?
Mine is definitely 9pm. My eyes will automatically start drooping even if I’m not in bed in time!

Weekly Workout Recap-6/19

Big week for the Uptite Mamas this week. Lara started her first week of marathon training and Kerry finally pulled the trigger and signed up for the Runner’s World Classic. Let’s see how we did for training this week.

MONDAY

Kerry: Normally Monday is boot camp day for me. I had family visiting from NJ and they were still here Monday morning so I decided to skip boot camp and I will go Wednesday and Friday this week. I almost skipped the workout all together but as I was sitting home, I realized how nice it was and decided to go for a walk around the lake. It was a 3 mile walk and I was so glad I did it. I was able to fit a little “me” time in.

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Lara: I normally would have run this morning but my hips were telling me that I needed to spend some extra time on them.  My new marathon schedule calls for yoga and stretch so it was perfect timing.  Extra time on stretching and foam rolling was the perfect way to start the week.
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TUESDAY

Kerry: I got out for a 4 mile run this morning. I was definitely not feeling it all this morning. I was still tired from the weekend and would have rather stayed in bed but against my better judgement, I got up and ran.

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Lara: My hips were still super tight. On Tuesdays during training, I’ll be doing track workouts.  I was ok not adding that in today and focusing on strength training.  Actually, I enjoyed the extra sleep time so that I could just workout at lunch time at work.
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WEDNESDAY

Kerry: Boot camp day! Today we did a bleacher workout. We ran the bleachers and then down to the field. Once on the field, we did a series of exercises down the field (lunges, bear crawl, grapevine) back to the bleachers and back up again. I think I ended up running the bleachers 7 or so times. My legs were burning at the end. Here I am trying to painfully smile!

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Lara: My legs were ok this morning and I was up bright and early to finally pack on some miles this week.  I set out for 4 miles.  I tried really hard to use some speed going up hills today but my body was fighting me. Actually, I think it was reminding me that my speed isn’t the focus of this training.  Thanks for the reminder…
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THURSDAY

Kerry: I was at the track at 5:15 this morning (surprisingly not alone) to get a speed workout in. I had 5×400 on the schedule. I started with a 2 lap warm up. Then one fast lap and a recovery lap in between then a 2 lap cool down.  It was certainly a tough workout. My legs were still feeling the bleacher workout from the day before.

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Lara: Today I focused on upper body.  Another lunchtime workout.  My hips were bothering me again and I have been foam rolling like crazy.  It was also gorgeous out so we squeezed in a nice and brisk walk.  I love being outside in this weather.
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FRIDAY

Kerry: I ended up going to boot camp this morning since I skipped Monday’s class. I am so glad I went. There is a different trainer on Friday’s–and it’s always nice to switch it up a bit. Today’s workout consisted of stations. We split up in to 4 groups and did the exercises together at each station. One station was a big rope that we had to do run around the field with but also do burpees with. Another station consisted of kettlebells. We did some core exercises with the kettlebells and did some sprinting with them. It was an awesome workout!

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Lara: I set out super early for a 4 mile run.  Right at the start I felt good! Good and strong.  I let myself run harder than normal because it felt right.  I actually got in a 8:56 min/mile at mile 2. Where on earth did that come from???
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SATURDAY

Kerry: This morning was a long run for me. I got out bright and early for 10 miles. I will admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to it. The first half of the run was fine but the last half, I was so ready to get home. I had some tough workouts this week and I think my body was feeling it. Luckily, I could relax for the latter part of the day.

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Lara: I planned on 8 miles this morning.  At mile 5 I stopped at my parent’s house to check in on their cat while they were out.  Instead of pausing my watch, I stopped it. That was frustrating!! At least the two runs were pretty consistent. I’m just anal enough that seeing two runs for today on my activity is going to be super annoying!
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SUNDAY

Kerry: I am actually running a Father’s Day 5k this morning. I will be sure to let you know how I do.

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Lara: I fully plan on using today as a legit rest day and I’m ok with that! Happy Father’s Day!!
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