Category Archives: Blogging

Ch-ch-changes

…hi

Yep, I fell into a deep pit of not blogging (and not even considering blogging for that matter), and I just now managed to drag myself out of it. There are a million excuses, per usual, but they’re all either not interesting, too personal, or some combination of those two.

The short story of what happened after Philadelphia goes like this: I recovered what I thought was a proper amount, it wasn’t, I was burned out hard, Colorado was super cold and snowy, we moved, more burn out, more snow, and now, at long last, I’ve finally started to feel motivated again. Unrelated (read: completely related) is the fact that my speed reappeared, and in a very encouraging way. I’m actually running faster now than I was during Philly training, which is really exciting given the fact that I’ve generally been a Grinch regarding my speed for the past year. However, I’ve finally started thinking beyond “getting back to where I was,” which is the mode I was stuck in for far too long.

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Mountain-top handstands for feeling BACK!

In this aforementioned year, a lot has changed in regard to my training and running in general. Chalk it up to the Colorado move, boredom, or just natural exercise-evolutionary process, but I’m not really the runner I was when I left Seattle. Most of it’s for the better, at least I like to think, but it’s generally just been a big overhaul. Here’s what has been going on:

I don’t run with music anymore

I don’t know the exact point in which this switch happened, but somehow I turned from someone who listened to music on 90% of their runs to a person who runs almost exclusively without music.

This still kind of blows my mind, considering the amount of panic I used to feel whenever music wasn’t going to be available for a run. When I first started in the long-distance world, plugging into my headphones and hitting the pavement went entirely hand-in-hand. Which I totally enjoyed; particular songs elicited different emotions, several of which I could tie back to either running or however I was feeling that day. My “running music” became the soundtrack to this passion I was building for distance running, and I enjoyed the background noise just as much as I enjoyed the miles.

Exhibit A: First half-marathon ever! Check out that i-pod arm band!

Exhibit A: First half-marathon ever! Check out that iPod arm band! Also, pretty sure I bought that cotton Target shirt exclusively for this race. Totally makes sense.

As most people can probably guess, running (namely, long runs) can get a little boring, which is why a good playlist can be clutch in getting the job done. I was no exception to this line of thinking, and therein spent years ensuring my little nano/shuffle/whatever was as well-prepped for the miles to come as I was.

But then, something happened. Namely, moving to a new city and needing frequent restroom breaks happened.

I run in the morning, and for most of the year, it’s completely dark out when I start. Living in a new place where I was navigating uncharted routes didn’t feel entirely safe with my headphones in. I would use the music on weekend long-runs when daylight was guaranteed, but for my early morning jaunts, I accepted that for the time being, it was safer to stay alert.

At the same time, I realized fairly quickly that my frequent need for potty stops and listening to music did not go well together. It’s a little hard to explain, but essentially it took all of my concentration to keep my digestive system calm and manageable – and even that hardly ever worked. Listening to music when I was dealing with an incredibly unpredictable and temperamental gut just kind of made me more wound up, and I found that when I was in desperate need of a nearby bathroom, having music on did nothing to help keep me calm. That might not make sense, but basically the combination of my irritable stomach and wanting to stay safe on the streets was enough to break my music-listening habits.

And now? I’ve remained unplugged, despite the fact that my location awareness and Crohn’s issues are much better. And I love it! It feels simpler, more purist, and I’ve found a love for the routine sounds that occur on a run: the pitter-patter of my feet, the friendly “hello” from a stranger, and the chirping birds as they wake up. I’ve tried listening to music again as inspiration to get me out the door, but I’ve found I almost have a distaste for it at this point. Even on long runs, when I am indeed bored and ready to be done, music just kind of annoys me when it’s on. Granted, this is partly due to the fact that I have more company now on runs than I ever have before (see third bolded statement below), but even when I’m alone – I much prefer the sounds on the run as opposed to the sounds on the ‘pod.

Look at me! Running a full marathon! No iPod! Booyah!

Look at me! Running a full marathon! No iPod! Booyah!

I don’t go to the gym anymore, and I don’t really cross-train anymore

If you’ve read here for a while, you might remember that I used to be a boss at doing different types of cardio. I would run and train for races, but I always incorporated frequent spin classes, lap swimming, and Body Pump classes. Seriously though, if you compared a week of training for me two years ago compared to a week now, the difference would be kind of astounding. In fact, for fun, here’s one from 2012. Stair stepper, treadmill, spin, swimming, and lifting all in one week?! I don’t really know who that person was, but since then I’ve either become a lot lazier or just less manic about being an A+ exerciser.

Nope

Nope

I cannot tell you the last time I went to our gym. The thought of going kind of revolts me right now, which is why I’ve somehow managed to do every single run this winter outside, no matter how slow and slippery it may be. Or, I just don’t exercise. It used to be that I wanted to get a good cardio fix no matter the medium (run, spin, pool, etc.), but now my disinterest in anything other than running has forced me to accept more rest days, which I’m really appreciating and enjoying.

Oh, and let’s not forget an important factor here: November Project! In some ways, I do consider this cross-training, considering the plyometric and body-weight emphasis in a lot of our workouts. But more than anything, no matter the conditions – I would always rather be outside with those people than inside either alone or with a bunch of strangers. The workouts are always quality, but the community and the camaraderie are what have really caused me to remove my “gym rat” name tag altogether.

But seriously. Sledding + running up hills with your friends > everything else

But seriously. Sledding + running up hills with your friends > everything else

One thing that I have reintroduced to my routine is yoga, which has taken on an entirely different role than it used to. Before, it was simply a check-list item which I begrudgingly tolerated since I always had running aches and pains, and I knew it would help ward off injury. But, I spent every class with my third-eye focused on the clock in the room, counting down the minutes til savasana.

Now, my practice has entirely transformed – and I find myself sometimes craving an hour in the studio more than an hour on the roads. I’ve been loving the trifecta of spiritual, physical, and restorative elements incorporated in yoga, and I love that classes can emphasize either one or all of those aspects together, depending on the day. Not to mention that I’m certain doing yoga (I’ve been going about twice a week) has been tremendously beneficial in my desire to run most days of the week. The balance between running, NP, and yoga has all my exercise needs entirely filled right now, and then some, so for the time being – I’m going to stay far away from the gym.

*for the sake of not jinxing myself, I wholly acknowledge that being injury-free has helped me avoid the gym

I run with other people now

This is easily the biggest change in my running, and I think the very best one. In fact, it kind of saddens me just how long I jogged along by my lonesome.

There were a few reasons why I never ran with people before, but mainly it was due to the fact that A) I had no running friends within the vicinity of our neighborhood, and B) I didn’t really know how to run with other people. That second point sounds weird, but the only running I ever really did with other people was for a fun run or a run before an event. Does that make sense? Never was it the pavement-pounding, boring grind of just getting a regular run done. I was too conscious of coordinating speeds, schedules (5 am typically doesn’t make you many friends), and logistics to attempt finding a training buddy. And, a big part of me enjoyed running alone. I could choose my own pace and route, and I wasn’t accountable to anyone else’s schedule but my own.

One of those blue-moon times when I would run with other people. Also, hi Seattle peeps! I miss you.

One of those blue-moon times when I would run with other people. Also, hi Seattle peeps! I miss you.

I’m actually going to write an entire post about this, so I’ll try to refrain from explaining more of my thoughts (and there are lots of them!). But, currently I run with someone else maybe 50% of the time, which is a HUGE change. Most of the time, it’s with this girl, who’s been a training game-changer in so many ways. But like I said – that’s a love letter for another day.

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Holy shit this is a long post. I hope you’ve made it this far. In fact, if you even opened up this post – thank you, I know it’s been while. I have to hit publish soon before this disappears into the abyss of drafted posts that are piling high right now. But, I do pinky promise to not let this be my only update until another three months go by. I do have more things to say and some races coming up – so you’ll be hearing from me sooner rather than later.

I’m also going to end with something I haven’t done in YEARS. And generally I don’t love to do this, but I am curious:

What is something that’s done a 180 degree turn for you in your running life?

 

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The Hardest Workout I’ve Ever Done and a Race Weekend

Something crazy is happening, I’m posting three times in one week! This would have been a little light for old-school “I’m a new blogger and need to establish content!” RBR, but for this currently lackluster, unmotivated, very busy person who’s taken over, three times is a big win.

I still love running. I still love writing about running, I still love blogs and bloggers. I just want to live my off-internet life a little more right now.

Which brings me to the topics of today’s post—both of which (excuse my horrid play on words here) are both very topical.

Topic number 1: Today’s workout.

I’ve gotten away a bit from posting the details about all my runs and workouts because…hey-o, that’s boring. The weekly recaps work much nicer for that. However, some workouts jolt your system to the point that you can’t help but gab about it to other running kin.

On the schedule: 10 miles with 5 x 1000 meters @ 5k pace

I have been scared of this workout ever since I wrote it on my training schedule. You see, I decided to do something stupid late last year and get a new 5k PR, which consequentially lowered my “5k pace” approximately 15 seconds. (I know, I know…I am happy with my 5k time and I’m just being a brat right now). I normally correlate 5k effort with a 7-minute mile for my current fitness. I can handle that. I can wrap my brain around that. But a 6:47 pace? That shit cray.

I have just recently become accustomed to being comfortable in the 7s. I’ve had to be very deliberate in not letting a 7:xx on the clock scare me back into my 8:xx comfort zone. It’s mostly been working—which is good. However, it does not, in any way, further prepare me to face anything with a 6 in front of it.

To this day, I’m still a little shocked by my 5k time. I’m proud of it, but I’m honestly unsure as to if I could do it again. BUT, it is what it is…so when a workout calls for 5k pace, that’s what I’ll stick with.

Back to business. I decided to do this run on the treadmill (cue ominous, threatening music) simply because it was going to be a hell of a lot simpler to watch my splits/time on a self-regulated machine than on my own outdoor route and shoddy Garmin stalking. It wasn’t the treadmill that scared me though…it was the distance. I have never, ever, ever, ever run this far on a treadmill, mainly because I love being outside, but also because the thing that goes hand-in-hand with treadmills (other than boredom) is HEAT. Gyms aren’t ventilated like a 45 degree breeze keeping you cool throughout the run. No, a treadmill run is an unforgiving, unwavering torture mechanism in which your temperature just keeps going up and up along with the distance ticking slowly upward on the dial.

But, convenience won, and off I went on my speedwork endeavor. And by “off I went” what I mean to say is…I very unhappily got out of bed, blindly put on clothing, somehow drove to the gym, and just managed to fully wake up after the first warm-up mile. It wasn’t a pretty morning, folks.

As for the workout? Well, I kind of hated how right I was to be afraid of it. Because this sucker kicked me right in the pants and left me sweaty and beet-red crying on the ground next to the treadmill. <—find the exaggerated part of that sentence.

Here’s how it went. I did a .38 mile recovery between each 1000 meter interval, making each interval an exact mile:

3 mile warm up in 8:20s: Happiness! Easy! Bring on the sprinting!

1st 1000 meter @ 8.9 mph: Um, yea. Okay then. 4 more of those?

2nd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHey! Still super hard! How the effing f did I do a 5k this fast?

3rd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHATE. HATE. Have I ever quit a workout? Okay, I’ll just step off for a few seconds..

(I’m not proud of that one…it was only maybe 5 seconds, but still…not cool Broker)

4th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphIf you’re going to jump off, you can lower the speed a little bit. It needs to be do-able. Okay…this is a little better. Still hate life.

5th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphThis is it…the end. You can finish the workout or you can stew all day about not getting it done. HOW IS THIS ONLY .1 miles through???

2 mile cool down in 8:30sThis run is “never ever ever ever” going to end. I love Taylor Swift.

All said and done, I’m glad I finished the prescribed workout.

I’m not, however, happy with

a) briefly stepping off the treadmill while I was supposed to be interval-ing

b) turning down the speed for the last two 1000s

I realize that using a PR 5k pace may have been overambitious—maybe I was in better speed shape back then? But it still stung a little to feel so wiped by that pace. However, this was a VO2 max workout, which translates into 90% of max effort…which I definitely feel I was at.

It also could have been the longer distance that was spread throughout the run, the fact that this is my 4th day of running in a row, or the fact that I was in a very hot gym. Or it was an off day. Or the Girl Scout cookies have stolen my 5k pace. Yea, that’s it…let’s blame the samoas!

At any rate, this workout was no joke, and it really changed up the medium-long runs and recovery runs that I’ve been so merrily skipping between during the weekdays.

I really do like speedwork, and as difficult as it is, between the wheezing and the “Oh please do not puke” thoughts, I always tell myself that there is progress being made. I try and remember to embrace the discomfort and that it’s only temporary. You know, just to reflect on what every single sports quote of all time tells us.

Topic number 2: This weekend.

Surprise! I’m racing this weekend. Well, not racing-racing, but I will be doing a tune-up race of sorts at the St. Paddy’s Day Run Half-Marathon in Tacoma. Is “racing-racing” the runner’s equivalent of “like-like” instead of just “like” in middle school?

It works out rather perfectly. I’m supposed to run 20 miles for my long run that day, with 12 of those miles at marathon goal pace. Meaning, I will plan to run the half at the exact pace I’m hoping to run in Eugene. Bonus! I get to wake up hours before the race to run 7 additional miles. That part won’t be awesome, and running MGP for 13 miles afterward won’t be especially awesome either, but it’s going to be a great test to see where I am. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty lucky in the last two halfs I’ve run, so I hope that luck hasn’t quite run out. I mostly care about running a very even-tempo’ed pace the entire time. I’m going to be very happy with even 7:55 splits and a quality race “practice.”

This will be the first time I use a race as a part of a long run, which isn’t exactly ideal, but I like to think I’m killing two birds with one stone. The race environment in general is good practice—IMHO—and I plan on using it as a reference point.

Plus, I have a bad running taste in my mouth from Tacoma, so I’m hoping I can redeem myself a little bit.

Best part? BF’s running the half too! Post-race St. Paddy’s beers for all! Not like that wasn’t going to happen anyway…

So there you have it. A very long-winded post detailing how I almost threw up on the treadmill and how I’m running a St. Patrick’s Day race this weekend. I’m such an original running blogger, sometimes I amaze myself.

Happy Thursday!

Running Quiz!

Holy Monday Batman, today kind of stinks. Cold, rain, tired, cranky, blech.

Not really fair to say before 10 am? I agree. But let’s just say that getting out of bed this morning was about as pleasant as watching The Ring by myself in the dark.

So, since I’m sure I’m not the only person in need of something a little fun this morning, let’s do a little running quiz!

One of my absolute favorite runner bloggers Janae posted this quiz a few weeks ago, and I figured I’d partake. I’ll repost all the questions again at the end, and you should answer them too!

Here goes!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

Honey Stingers! Or, I suppose anything that sounds good in the moment. At Chicago, I had a few orange slices that were being handed out by kind spectators.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

Marathon, but recently I’m really digging shorter races.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

Almost always shorts, sometimes capris.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

Almost always just water—or Nuun! Sometimes Gatorade at races.

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

COLD!!!!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

Brooks baby.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

Banana and a handful of cereal.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

1 per week.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

Either. I used to be all music all the time, but recently it’s back and forth.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Hmm, narrowing it down to one reason…that’s tough. I would have to say my number one reason is because when I run, I feel the most like myself. When I run, I am genuinely and completely 100% me…and I don’t think there are many things in life that can bring out that kind of pure self-recognition.

*****

Now it’s your turn! Answer some or all of the questions in your own blog, or in the comments below!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

The Running Blog Trap

If there were a job that required endlessly reading running blogs hour after hour, I can guarantee I would be one of the most qualified applicants. (And if such a job exists, tell me about it ASAP.)

I adore running blogs. In fact, I no longer go to Facebook or Twitter as my main procrastination resource, I go straight to different running blogs. If the IT department at my job could track my random non-work  internet perusing,  they would notice a very distinct trend. It’s all about running.

It was, in fact, my discovery of running blogs that inspired me to start my own. Of course I have my own personal reasons for having my blog, but a big factor was my desire to be a part of this community of women who were so much like me.

When I first started finding these blogs, it was like all of a sudden I found “my people.” People that didn’t make me feel like a huge running-obsessed weirdo. People who thought the same way I did, people who acted the same way I did, and (perhaps my favorite thing) people who had advice and ideas of all things related to running.

Runners! Runners who blog! In real life!

Having a blog myself has been a great way to be involved in this blogging community, and I truly love being able to follow others’ training along with my own. I am starting to realize, however, that despite how much I love this form of networking and interaction, there’s a definite trap that can happen. It’s a trap that I don’t think many people recognize because this is such a supportive, engaged, and happy community. I myself didn’t realize I had fallen victim to it until very recently, and ever since it’s become more and more obvious.

This trap I’m talking about is the one where you read blog after blog of super fast, never-injured, ultra-running, record-breaking, age group winning runners—and inevitably you wonder, why isn’t that me?

I’m recognizing that while running blogs are indeed inspiring and uplifting, they can sometimes have the opposite effect of provoking the comparison game. Runners of all different levels have blogs, and I read a little of everything, but I also know that I tend to check in quite frequently with runners that are much better than me. This is not to say that I don’t respect, love, or stalk the heck out of people who are more on my level, I don’t want it to sound like that at all. But there’s something fascinating and motivating for me to read about girls who are crazy fast.

I think there is a huge advantage to reading about people who are at a higher level than you. It’s why there are so many books written by professionals for amateurs on various topics; they inspire us to dream of a level above where we’re currently at.

The best part about running bloggers is that most aren’t sponsored or professional athletes—they’re regular people, just like us. Regular people who happen to be great at the sport, meaning they make that higher level seem more accessible than, say, Kara Goucher can. Sorry K, I’m never going to run a 2:24 marathon, I can admit that.

Still love you though ❤

So while this kind of inspiration may help our dreams seem more feasible, I think it can be a slippery slope between feeling motivated and feeling inferior. Maybe it’s just me and my uber competitive self, who knows, but I think that generally when we pay too much attention to the successes of others, it can take away from our own.

It’s as if the fast bloggers/runners we follow become a standard of sorts, and instead of using our own abilities as a benchmark, we start to compare ourselves to all of “them.” I started noticing this about myself when I speak to people outside of the running community about various races I’ve done and my speed in those races. Truly, I know running and running races is something to be proud of, and I am, but I’ve realized that the reaction I get from other people is not a reflection of how I feel about myself.

In other words, while most people are blown away by the mere attempt at a half- or full marathon, I’m normally completely absorbed in how fast or slow or strong the race was, not simply finishing it.

I’m not blaming anyone but myself for this, but I think one of the biggest reasons my mindset has fallen victim to analyzing the specifics instead of looking at the picture is because I’m in the running blog trap. I’m constantly seeing times, distances, splits, etc. that are, at least to me, much more impressive than mine—and while I try to remember that it’s all relative, sometimes I can’t help feeling sub-par.

Again, it may be just me, but I’m bringing this up because if there’s one thing I know about the running blogging community—it’s that we love numbers, race reports, PRs, and finish times. My most viewed posts are always my race reports, and I love whenever another blogger puts up a report of whatever it is they’ve been training for.Some might call it voyeuristic (isn’t that what blogging is about though?), but I think it’s exciting and inspiring to read about the grand finale of our training: race day.

It’s through this kind of attention to someone else’s running experiences, though, that demonstrates how easy it is to start comparing our own stats.

Upon realizing that I’d become a bit too entrenched in this running blog trap, I’ve made an effort to—as the oh-so-wise Nicole puts it—keep my eyes on my own paper. The fact that some random blogger who a) I’ve never met and b)probably never will meet can run a 3:00 marathon does not take anything away from my own current marathon PR. Using the times of runners who are more experienced than me as my own personal standard for what’s “good” is completely setting myself for disappointment. And not only that—it’s taking away from my own experiences that I should, in fact, be very proud of.

This is so true in much of life—but I think it’s easy to forget: the accomplishments of others do not take anything away from our own accomplishments. By learning this through running, and by being in the running community, I’ve been able to find (admittedly) many areas of my life where this comparison trap occurs. By keeping our eyes on our own paper, we are not only able to maintain a good sense of relativity, but we can begin to centralize our focus on our own goals, achievements, and areas for improvement as opposed to dwelling on those of others.

I encourage running bloggers, and everyone else, to continue to use the successes of others as inspiration. Educating ourselves with success stories of feats that otherwise seem impossible are a powerful way to jump start our own journeys. But remember that those accomplishments belong to someone else, and while they should be celebrated—they in no way take away from our own.

When you look at your own paper, whether it be a list of PRs, a resume, or an essay—take ownership for all the work and effort that was put into it. Because it is all worthy of admiration—no matter what “level” you think you’re at.

And let’s face it…in a country with an obesity epidemic on the rise and people who prefer segways to walking tours—the ability to run at all is something to be damn proud of.

What do you think about ‘the running blog trap?’ Have you fallen victim to it? Why do you think we’re so susceptible to playing the comparison game? Is it a simply an athlete thing, or is it in our nature? 

July 4th, Friday Favorites, and Really Attractive Photos

Favorites? You betcha.

But also, some 4th of July fun!

The day started off in (my version of) the best way possible at the First Annual 4th of July Mimosa 10k Fun Run! Also known as the longest hash tag of all time, or one of the best last minute ideas ever.

Thanks to the stellar organizational skillz of Nicole and the enthusiasm of lady runners/bloggers, the logistics came together in a flash and the results were excellent.

After doing a perfectly precise 10k, everyone enjoyed the sun, food, and mimosas. The best kind of 4th of July morning.

Runners are neat. Runners who eat and bring delicious food to social gatherings are even neater.

Literally everything was delicious, and I realized that learning to legit cook would probably make me more friends. See the cut up watermelon in the middle? That was the extend of my contributions.

Runners!

I think the best idea would be to make this a weekly thing. Sound good girls?

Afterward, BF and I were intent on doing some sort of outdoor activity. In Seattle, you enter into a panic mode when it’s sunny, and all previously made plans are altered to include being outside.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, I am not wearing a huge yellow diaper.

Kayaking it was! We decided to actually take advantage of the geographic location we live in for once and rent a boat to take out on the sound.

I am dating a 24 year old, not a toddler, as this picture might imply.

BF please don’t hate me for posting this picture

It was a little scary, but super fun, although I am disappointed a dolphin or killer whale didn’t majestically leap over our boat. Next time.

A little running, a little boating, a lot of watermelon eating, a little baseball catch, and I had myself one fun tribute to the US of A.

The one glitch in the day was forgetting that when you are out in the sun for 8 hours wearing a tank top, there is a very popular lotion recommended to prevent the sun from eating your flesh. Yea, oversight.

Yes, I have a degree.

What kind of rookie am I??? I admit, I am not a chronic sunscreen latherer, but I certainly know better than this bs. On the shoulders no less—seriously the most painful spot to have a sunburn.

Considering the fact that my mom has had skin cancer more than once due to her teenage baby oil tanning habits and has furthermore ingrained the sunscreen mantra into my brain, I really need to get my act together.

Mom, I hope it’s cool I’m telling the Internet about our family medical history. 


TGFAloe, and for the love of your skin, don’t be as dumb as me.

Now, let’s do something I haven’t done in forever and talk about some favorite things.

My Juicer

I’m just gonna go ahead and overshare by telling you (again) about how my digestive system is a bitch and hates me sometimes. I try to treat her right, but sometimes it doesn’t really matter what I do and my stomach is a wreck. Due to this chronic issue, getting enough F and V is really important for me and can make a world of difference.

This little device which was GIVEN to me by a dear friend has made my stomach and my wallet very happy. I love getting juices, but they are oh-so-expensive at all the legit juicing/smoothie places. This baby allows for some speedy F and V consumption that my stomach really agrees with. The only downside is how long it takes to clean…but otherwise I’m a big fan.

BF is still warming to them. Liquid vegetables are scary for him.

Cam Wow

I know, I know. The whole “Photo Booth,” distorting photos thing is so freshman year of college, but I still can’t get enough of this app! I can actually make myself laugh out loud, yes literally L-O-L, when I do this.

(Note: The purpose of these pictures is mainly to send them to family members or friends. I’m not actually that weird that I sit alone taking weird pictures of myself. Oh, I am? Shit.)

Anyways, enjoy my demonstration of shamelessness, and maybe you will be inspired to download this app.

While at intermission at the sophisticated Seattle Symphony.

While waiting in the car when picking up a friend.

While responding to your sister when she asks how your day is going.

What I’m really trying to say is…I’m really, really pretty.

That last one is probably the worst picture of me ever taken. Which, trust me, is saying something.


Franz Cinnamon Swirl Bread

For lack of any eloquence, this bread is the bees knees. What does that even mean? Are bees knees special? I don’t really think they even have “knees” so to say.

I digress. Run to the store and buy yourself a loaf, toast it up, coat in butter or whatever “version of butter” you use, and consume.

This is actually my first, baby-step attempt at pre-long run fueling. I’ve decided to be normal and smart and try eating something before my long runs. My handful of cereal isn’t going to cut it anymore, and so I’m going to grow up and wake up a little earlier beforehand to get down something real. A delicious slice of this is sure to help in the process.

High Guy Meme

I admittedly have been a meme follower/fan for a while, and I can pretty safely say that “High Guy” takes the cake (and the cookies, brownies, french fries, etc.) for being the funniest.

Seriously, again with the L-O-L. Check out some of the best ones here for a fun Friday chuckle.

Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shampoo/Conditioner

I want to coat my entire life in this stuff and roll around in all its good smelling wonderment.

Does that make sense?

This stuff smells so good, and although I fell off the Organix wagon for a while, a few BOGO deals later and I’m back on track.

Oh, and I think this stuff is good for your hair? I’m really more concerned with the smell and the pretty pink bottle.

Wham bam Friday Favorites in the bag.

Have a wonderful, sunshine-filled, sunscreen-coated, sweaty weekend!

What are your favorite things right now? 

What’s your favorite meme?

What are your plans for this weekend?

100 Posts

Hello!

Thanks to my good friends at WordPress and their stellar programming math skillz, it has come to my attention that I have reached 100 blog posts.

Woo! Big numbers!

I realize in the blog and internet scheme of things, 100 is minuscule. However, it’s all relative…and for someone like me who really just figured out how Twitter and Facebook work,  100 is big.

In honor of 100 posts, I’ve decided to talk a bit about the things I’ve learned through being a part of this cyber blogging and running world. Some good, some bad, some ugly (see: missing toenails), but overall…I’ve gained a whole lot more than I ever thought possible from being a part of you people, and I’m happy for it.

Let’s hope to it then.

I’ve learned that I’m really not that crazy.

Well, okay, yes I’m that crazy.

However, for a while I thought I was alone. I thought that preferring to run many miles on a Saturday morning over a Friday late night bar crawl made me somewhat of a freak. And sure, maybe it does. But there are other freaks out there! Hooray for unity over hydrating and carbo-loading!

Occasionally, I do love a night out, a day off, and generally just being lazy. But, for the most part, I consider my love of consistently being active and ready to run very unusual, and before having a blog…I barely talked about it with my friends and people I knew. I wasn’t embarrassed, necessarily, but I didn’t want to feel like I was “showing off” or trying to get attention. Because that’s never been what my running’s about. Honestly, I would actually downplay my answers when people asked me how many miles I ran every week or how often I worked out, because I didn’t really feel like explaining myself away to people who just weren’t going to get it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with not getting it. But I was happy letting other people do their thing, while I did mine.

I was kind of a secret runner, I suppose you could say, and with this came a tendency to think of myself as a bit of an outsider.

Joining a community of running addicts like myself has really helped me to realize that I’m not all that strange at all, and in fact—marathon training and hard workouts can be something to be proud of. Sure, I do tend to feel gloaty sometimes and I still tend to shy away from discussing my training with other people…but reading about the running other women my age are doing really makes me feel like I’m part of something other than just my own seclusive habits.

I’ve learned that I really, really love to write.

In reference to the above “lesson” I’ve learned, you might be wondering…if I shy away from talking about training, why would I have a blog where all I talk about is miles and cookies and sweating?

Good question.

I actually started my blog primarily because I love to write. My love of writing has existed for much longer than my love of running, and it’s actually the catalyst for why I started my blog.

I began reading lots of books and articles all about running. I didn’t really realize that this literature on running was out there, and all at once it seemed it was all coming at me like wild fire. I loved it, I couldn’t get enough of it, and it made me want to run and train even more.

It was actually a book about running that really jolted me to run my first marathon. Not to sound like every other American recreational runner-turned-marathoner, but it was Dean Karnazes’ book “Ultramarathon Man” that made me think, “Wait a minute, I can do that!”

Not long after I did my first marathon, I somehow stumbled upon some running blogs. In all honesty, I never used to read blogs, and I kind of thought they were a place where people were more honest about their lives than they were in the real world or on Facebook…which, unfortunately, some people think of as “the real world.”

In a nutshell, I thought blogs were for internet shut-ins who would rather spend time in the virtual world than with their friends or family.

I was wrong.

I started finding blogs of girls who were runners, and they were exactly like me. I felt like I was reading my own writing with some of these blogs, and I found myself coming back to them every day. The more I read…the more I admitted the truth to myself: I wanted to start my own. Because if there’s one thing I love more than writing and running, it’s writing about running.

As you can probably tell at this point, I can get a little metaphysical and deep when it comes to talking about running, I will totally own it.

But it’s who I am…and it’s been through writing that I’ve realized that running is so much more important to me than just calorie burning and leg toning. In fact, when it comes down to it, those things are in last place on the list of reasons why I love running. Having a blog has helped me realize that…and it’s through all the writing and reflections that I’ve done about this sport that I’ve really broken down the true essence of why I love to run.

Additionally, I am convinced that having this blog has helped my professional writing as well. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a magazine editor by day, meaning a lot of my job requires writing in all different shapes and forms. Articles, reviews, interviews, press releases, newsletters…you name it, I’ve written it. And I’m finding that the writing is coming easier to me than it used to, and I think that has a lot to do with the more fun, quirky ranting I do here.

Practice makes perfect no matter what it is you’re practicing, and writing definitely qualifies in that regard.

I’ve learned that it’s important to step away from our computers.

It’s not that I didn’t really know this before, but I’ve realized recently that while it’s fun and exciting to check in on our blogging friends via Twitter, new posts, Facebook, etc. whenever they have something new to share…it’s also really important to get away from it all as well.

It’s really easy to get super caught up in the on-goings of the virtual world. And why not? We start to feel like we know the people that we follow, and that follow us, so it’s easy to spend our time procrastinating looking for what everyone is up to. This is all fine and well, however I know I can warp myself into a little black hole sometimes by spending too much time staring at my screen’s reality as opposed to living in my own.

I catch myself when I’m out away from my computer and I find myself thinking about something or someone that I only know of because of my internet relationship. This, I am sure, is normal in this day and age, but frankly I don’t like that it takes me away from whatsoever I’m doing, you know, in my real life. I love my internet peeps, don’t get me wrong…but there’s something to be said for getting away from our alternate reality and just being.

It’s the same reason, on a lesser scale, that I like to run without music. Or, how BF and I don’t check our phones when we’re on dates.

Thanks to technology ruling both our working and social lives in the modern world, it is inevitable that we will spend countless hours engrossed in the happenings on a small screen.

This is not how we, as social beings, were meant to live, though.

So be proactive and take some time outs. Everything will be there when you get back, and I promise your Twitter feed is highly more enjoyable when you check it after a weekend as opposed to a couple of minutes.

I have learned that we’re really not alone.

When something good or bad happens, it’s easy to feel we are in a category all our own.

We run our first half marathon faster than we expected? Huzzah! We must be Superwoman.

We get hurt and can’t run for a few weeks? The universe obviously hates us and we were never supposed to be a runner in the first place.

(WTF tense was that? I don’t know. Leaving it. Lazy.)

Here’s the fact of the matter:

If you run your first half, full, or whatever distance faster than you thought…that really is super awesome, and you should consider yourself a Super(wo)man.

If you are hurt and can’t run, that really does suck, and I’m sorry.

But, reality check…there have been and will be many, many, many more people in the same scenario as you. It doesn’t make your accomplishments any less great, or your hardships any less easy, but the fact of the matter is you are far from the first to experience (fill in the blank____), and that’s okay.

Take some comfort in the fact that others can relate to you.

Injured and not sure what to do? The wonderful thing about the internet (and the blogging world) is that there are positively more injured people out there that would love to commiserate with you. They may even be able to help or offer some advice.*

*Take all injury research and advice via the internet with a grain of salt, as you may wind up self-diagnosing leg cancer when you actually have shin splints.

The same idea goes for accomplishments. We should  absolutely feel proud of the things we do that we worked hard for and ultimately achieved. Celebrate. Tell everyone. Go nuts.

But, don’t be disappointed when you read ten other stories just like yours. They don’t take anything away from you, and they don’t make what you did any less spectacular…they are simply a reflection that other people want to do cool things too. Instead, you should celebrate with those people. A party is much more fun when there’s lots of folks involved, so just as other people root for you and encourage you in your training endeavors…pay it forward, and join in on the virtual cheer-leading brigade.

On that same note. Let other people inspire you! I know that while I might be envious of girls my age who have already run Boston-qualifying times or competed in Ironman races, I can turn my jealousy into fuel. These stories inspire me to reach further, dig deeper, and I love getting new ideas for races or training plans from the bloggers I admire and who inspire me.

I’ve learned that following the training and racing of other people can be just as fun as doing it yourself.

I never, ever, thought I would be someone who regularly followed blogs or commented on the ramblings of other people. The extent of my internet exploration ended with Facebook and Gmail, and everything else was for people who were much more tech-savvy and social media smart.

Now, I’m still not tech savvy, nor too skilled at hash-tagging or making YouTube videos, however…I know that something I look forward to each day is reading up on the trials, tribulations, and sweat of the lady runners I follow. (Really wanted that list to be alliterative, dang.) I think it’s really exciting to watch someone’s progression from a 5k runner to a marathoner, or a marathoner to an ultra-marathoner.

No matter the level, I love to read about people who run. Running is the underlying thread that unites us all, and despite the different locations, interests, and ages, I love that the running blogging community is held together through the pure love of putting one foot in front of the other.

My favorite thing about running is the simplicity of it. It’s primal, it’s natural, and it’s the way we were meant to get around. People who write about running get this, and I love connecting, if even just through a comment box, with others who understand the need to run.

So there you have it. Some things I’ve learned through writing about running and a bit of my blogging story thrown in there as well.

After 100 posts, countless miles, injuries, races, comments, tweets, meet-ups, emails, etc. I want to say THANK YOU to every single one of my readers. Your words and feedback make this space so enjoyable and fun for me, and I appreciate all the advice, laughs, and random tidbits you share with me. I’m looking forward to much more writing, running, and reading with you—all with a heaping spoonful of cookie dough and a Nuun-filled water bottle on the side.

Happy Monday!!