Tag Archives: Alki beach

The Salty Half-Marathon Race Recap

It seems that the theme of this past summer has carried over into the fall—that theme, being, complete and total race/running spontaneity. I suppose this comes with the territory of not being extra strict with training or having a huge A race on the horizon… two things of which are my typical M.O. 24/7.

My broadly stated goal this fall was the work on speed, and while there is/was a tangible goal time I’m working toward, it’s been fairly loosey goosey around these parts for the past few months.

Which is why, when asked on a Tuesday if I wanted to run a half-marathon (The Salty Half) that following Saturday, it took me all of a few minutes to happily accept. Those who know me wouldn’t think that this was an exceptionally random decision, with the small caveat that I’m running another half this coming weekend, the Snohomish River Run. I couldn’t pass this one up though; not only was it $22 and included the company of these two, the start line was about a half mile from my house.

That said, I knew that I’d have to choose one of the two races to actually race and one to fun run. Since the Salty Half was a last minute decision, less official, and wouldn’t be tapered for whatsoever, I decided to take it easier on this one. Anddd, that actually didn’t end up being the case, but we’ll get to that later.

Saturday morning bright (dark) and early, I trotted down the hill to meet Lindsay and Nicole at the start line. There were just under 100 people running the race, so it was easy and casual—not timing chips or mats. It was super foggy, probably 85-90% humidity, but it was brisk and cold which is always my jam.

I had very little plan in terms of race execution. I wanted to save race pace for the next weekend, but I also know myself well enough to know I would want to compete a little. And considering the size of this race…I knew I could probably do fairly well if I tried. So, upon starting, I decided to just feel out the first few miles and settle wherever I felt comfortable. I knew for sure I wanted to go for a fast finish, so the only plan really was to save some for the end.

I settled into a group of two girls and a dude running a ~7:45 pace, which felt super comfortable. We were continually switching spots in the pack, and it was the first time I really understood to concept of “doing the work” in a pace group. I took the lead a few times, but otherwise I decided to just stick with this group so long as the pace felt manageable.

The course circled around Alki beach to Lincoln Park, which is my normal long run 80% of the time. Needless to say, I knew every upcoming turn and divet in the road, which meant I didn’t need to worry about course surprises.

We dropped one of the girls around mile 5, and then it was primarily another gal and me side-by-side, nearly stride-for-stride. She introduced herself, thanked me for the company, and we kept on like that for nearly 3 miles. It was the perfect silent runner agreement: You keep me going, and I’ll keep you going.

The turnaround in Lincoln Park was right at the halfway point (out and back course) and my legs felt good. I admit, I heard the siren sound of the race atmosphere get a little louder, and I started to think about executing a kick.

As we exited Lincoln Park (~5 miles to go), my new friend fell back a bit, and since I felt great, I kept on at the same clip. To go from having lots of fellow-runner support around me to instantly having no one was weird. Crazy how simply having someone to share the miles, fatigue, and pace with can make such a difference.

I was in a bit of a conundrum at this point. I knew I was the current 5th overall female (they were giving out prizes out to 5th place), and I  (obviously) liked the idea of a top-5 finish. I also knew that the girl behind me could be thinking the same thing, and playing an A+ game of letting me take an early lead. I went back and forth or whether I should slow down, speed up, or stay where I was. It was the first time I’ve ever actively thought about placing strategy in a race. Kind of fun! But stressful. I ultimately decided that since the pace I was at felt good, I would stick with it. If she caught me, I’d let her go by, and I’d save the chase for the final few miles.

Between miles 10 and 11, a familiar face strode up beside me; my friend Charles was out for his weekend long run and I filled him in on the spontaneous race decision and my current position. Charles is faster than me, and when he offered to help me ward off the girl behind and nab a top-five finish, I was 100% on board. He told me to tell him what felt pace manageable, and we’d hold that until the end.

And so we ran. I attempted to chat, but he made me save my breath while he distracted me with his own stories. Around 11.5, I started hurting some, but I was determined to keep stride with Charles and finish the race strong.

It was a little hard to determine exactly who around us was running the race and who wasn’t, since it wasn’t a closed course and there were tons of people out, both racers and non-racers. So, when Charles asked if a girl about 200 yards ahead was the 4th place female, I wasn’t sure. He said we could catch her if I wanted, and with a nod, we were on the hunt. Sure enough, once we passed, he verified that she was wearing a bib and I was now in 4th place. There was less than a mile to go now, and I was feeling both anxious to finish and determined to keep on my game face.

I have a fairly instinctual finishing kick, which comes I think from my track days, but also from my ingrained competitiveness. With a half mile or so to go, without even realizing it, we were passing another girl, and Charles turned to me and said the most Robyn-Broker-esque motivation there is: “You’re in third now, and you have to prove it.”

So, with my aching legs and screeching lungs, I officially kicked my “fun run” intentions to the curb, opened my stride, and gutted it out—determined for my first “podium” finish.

(Side note: The nice thing about having a pacer is that they can check and see the progress of the person behind you)

With the finish line in sight, I gave it everything I had, only to be directed into a mini-turnaround and loop to the actual finish line (way to throw off our momentum guys!). Charles took off running on his own, I squawked out a thanks, and ran my way to cinch the 3rd place female spot.

Unofficial finish time: 1:40:06 for 13.2 miles

salty half

Hooray! I was awarded a huge plastic fish with a “Third Place” tag on it as soon as I finished, along with a “Salty Half Marathon” sweat towel. Sweet!

*FYI, the race has self-declared “messed up” the places and timing on their results page, which they promised to fix. Just in case anyone decided to lurk 🙂

After thoughts: Obviously, this wasn’t exactly the relaxed race I intended it to be. Did I shoot myself in the foot though for this upcoming weekend? Not necessarily. Yes, it was a harder effort than I intended, but with the exception of the last three miles, I felt composed and comfortable for the entire race.

This was certainly a small, pick-up race, but I’m glad I was able to actually learn a lot from it. This was a first time for running in a pack, “making a move,” and truly executing a big finishing kick. All of these are valuable training tools, and I feel like they’ll come into play more often now that I have a better feel for them. I was also really encouraged by this race: it was my 5th day of running in a row, my legs were pretty wiped going into it, and yet the 7:35 pace I averaged felt very do-able.

Good things from a small, random race.

I’m excited for this weekend. As has become standard, I’m not sure of my specific goals, other than to log another solid half-marathon. This distance has been really fun to practice recently, and I’m looking forward to seeing how racing 13.1 more often affects my next 26.2 endeavor. On that note: less than 6 months til Boston!!!

And since this race recap is void of any pictures whatsoever (sorry…) here is a picture of Jasper with my fish prize. He is not too impressed.


Thanks Lindsay for the race idea and Nicole for submitting to peer pressure 🙂

Eugene Marathon Training Week #4

Happy Monday folks, how’s your day off to so far?

Time for a little training update. My tail is between my legs a bit as I know my last post was last Monday…and it was also a training update, but it happens sometimes. Ironically, I have a drafted post about how I haven’t been posting/haven’t had time/haven’t had inspiration, but of course, it remains a draft.

No matter, I think you’d rather read about running than my boring musings about not posting anyways.

This week was good. Kind of weird, as in it felt both very easy and very hard, but overall it was pretty quintessential marathon training.

M: 6.6 miles easy PM

T: 10 miles with 5 @ HMGP

This was hard. One of those workouts where I questioned how the f I was able to run 7:30s for 13.1 miles not too long ago. But either way, it happened and here’s how it went down:

2.5 mile warm up

7:27, 7:25, 7:27, 7:26, 7:23

2.5 mile cool down

This kicked my butt, but it was one of those runs where I could almost feel how effective the fast miles were going to be. Good stuff. Learning to appreciate the pain…and appreciate when it’s done 🙂

W: 8 miles + Maximum Sculpt <— love love love this class


F: 6.6 miles slow

S: 20 miles in ~2:42

S: 4000 yd swim (~2.2 miles) + yoga

Total= 51.2 miles

Lots of numbers up there to talk about. First of all, I had my first 20 miler on Saturday, and for better or for worse—it was a tough run. Based on the route I chose, I ended up with about 14 miles of headwind—which is perhaps my least desirable condition, especially on a long run. Give me snow storms and pouring rain, but please oh please spare me the wind. Thank goodness for no goal-pace miles. BUT, I firmly believe that it’s the really grinders, the mentally-challenging runs that make the marathoner. 26.2 miles hurts no matter what—so it’s better to train with a little pain sometimes as opposed to simply fairy-dusting our way through each long run. So, once I again, I embraced it. And despite the slug-fest feeling of it all, I finished in a pretty good time. My right leg was super tight/heavy, which I felt was holding me back, but apparently it was more of a brain thing.

Another number to discuss: 50! I broke that barrier this week, and while I could feel the mileage increase, I have to say I’m a little shocked at my recovery times and how much they’re decreasing. I was barely sore after Saturday’s run, and on Sunday my legs felt as if it hadn’t even happened. Really happy about this. It could be that it’s my 4th time doing a full training cycle, or a myriad of other cosmic possibilities I suppose, but at any rate I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m going.

Admittedly, the big 5-0 number is when I start to get hyper-aware of injury possibility. The higher mileage weeks have always been the common denominator for me in terms of when I get hurt, so honestly I have been experiencing a little injury-hypochondria. Better paranoid  safe than sorry though. Again, I’m going to just continue to do what I’m doing and listen to the little aches and such as they come and go.

Oh, and in case you’d like an update…PSJJ is still happening! We’re into the 60s now, and it’s rough. But not rough enough to quit yet. The push-ups are getting easier, which is nice, but the sit-ups are getting tougher. We’ll see.

One last thing I’d like to point to: Yoga! I haven’t been to yoga since probably last October or so, and while I always kind of dread going, I forget how happy I am when I’m done. It’s hard to psych myself up for a yoga class the same way I can psych myself up for a run, but, like running, I’m always thankful after the fact. And let me tell you, there are much worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than a long solo swim followed by an easy yoga class. So rejuvenating and cleansing.

Anyway, this week is cutback week—which feels like perfect timing. Not only will I be out of town (!!!HAWAII!!!), but it feels like the perfect point in time to draw in the reigns a bit.

That’s all for now, I hope at some point I can entertain you with more than just training-reflections and weekly updates 🙂 You can, however, count on an assortment of photos from our Maui trip after we return—as for when we’re there, well, I am hoping to forego all social media as much as possible, so until next week—aloha!

How was your weekend? 

It’s Here!

That’s right folks. Marathon training officially BEGUN! I feel psyched, ready, and admittedly a little nervous.

I kicked off my official training plan this morning with 8 miles, including 10 x 100 meter strides. I didn’t  wear a watch, so both my effort and distance on the strides were all by guess-timation, but they were actually fairly enjoyable! I liked the switch-up in turnover rate. I feel like I have a decent gauge of what 100 meters looks/feels like from my track days, so essentially I just picked objects in the distance and sprinted to them. A little fartlek-y. Ugh, talk about making a gross word grosser. But you get the point. It was a good run.

I really liked doing weekly recaps when I was training for Chicago, so I’ll do my best to get my training weeks up here on Mondays. Some of you might find them boring, so I apologize, but they really help me a lot—so, yea…sorry?

I’m very much equal parts excited and nervous for this marathon training kick-off to begin. Excited  because, as I’ve said before, I’ve never quite had the base like I do now. I’m anxious to apply the  running I’ve been doing these past 3 or so months into a very structured training schedule. My miles won’t end up being all that much higher than what I’ve already been doing, however they will be much more strategic and organized than what I’ve done in the past. I’m releasing the reigns, in other words, and I love it. Letting the expertise of others feels like the right approach this time around, and hopefully the results will reflect that decision.

However, I’m a little ball of worry about this spring as well. Historically, spring has not been good for me training-wise. Two years ago, after a half-marathon and way too much over-training/stupidity, I tore my hip flexor and was out until the beginning of July. I’m not really worried about something that extreme happening again (read: I like to think I am a much smarter/safer runner nowadays), but it’s more the haunting memories that get to me.

Also, last year I got sidelined with bad knee bursitis while training for this very same marathon. Luckily, due to some rest, cortisone, and rearranging, I was still able to run a Spring marathon (though not Eugene)….only to be struck down (literally) by a bad race and a heaping side of IT band syndrome.

In other words, spring has historically not been my strongest months. Which sucks, because the idea of spring running is always appealing to me. More sun! Flowers! Birds! Birthday month!

It’s time to reverse the cycle though. While I definitely don’t like the feeling that bad luck is waiting for me every time the calendar turns to March, I also know that prevention is the best weapon against almost all running-related plagues.

I’ll be switching up just about everything regarding this training schedule, and I’ll therefore also be switching up my dedication to injury prevention. It has always been easy for me to say that I’ll hold off if something hurts, and that I’ll stretch more, roll more, and ice anything that feels “off.” Doing these things is a whole other thing—and if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my bouts of training/recovering, it’s that training for a marathon requires much more than the miles.

So, you can consider this my oath to train both on and off the roads. I will not be brought down by another spring monster, in fact—I refuse it, and I’m trying to internalize the fact that I am actually in complete control of my training.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

And speaking of such, I decided not to run the 25k race yesterday. After receiving the opinions from you lovely people, as well as a scary-tough-love opinion from my dear mother, I realized something: It wasn’t the distance that was an issue, it was the fact that it was a race.

Yes, no matter if it’s a months-in-the-making goal race, or a haphazard, low-key neighborhood run that happens to include bibs, I have a very hard time not racing a race. Even when I decide to “take it easy” or “promise I’m not going to race,” I will always run faster than I would have on a normal long run, and—should the opportunity be available—I will try to perform well. Last year, I won the 25k, and even though I would have vowed to not take this race seriously—I can guarantee I would have tried to win again.

Maybe I’m just a huge asshole. Maybe I’m just too competitive. Either way, I know myself well enough to know that “racing” 15.2 miles the day before marathon training is supposed to start wouldn’t go along with the theme of keeping myself healthy. It probably would have been fine, I probably would have had a great time, but even that ounce of possibility that it would have takne away from my planned training program wasn’t worth the risk.

So instead, I still ran long. I waved at people racing along the way, and although I was a little sad I wasn’t there with them—I was glad that I went against my instincts this time. Again, nothing changes if nothing changes—and if the decisions I’ve made in the past have lead me into injury-ridden corners of sadness, well, I’ll be steering clear of them.

And on one final, somewhat unrelated note, I give you a photo from the weekend:



I cannot tell you how fun it was to spend a weekend day not running, sitting on the couch, shopping at Target, or running around trying to do every errand possible. Those things are good sometimes, but sometimes it’s better to switch it up by spending a day outside in the mountains.

My shins still hurt from my boots and my back still hurts from my bad posture, but Saturday was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. I can completely understand how people abandon all other weekend activities during the winter in favor of heading for the slopes and the snow.

And in a completely apbrupt, non-transitional ending to this post, have a good week everyone!


On a Scale of 1 to Really Stupid…

This week is the calm before the storm.

Next Monday, I’ll be starting a 12 week journey toward the Eugene Marathon. Yipee-kay-yay, I can’t wait. Like, legitimately psyched for this.

16 week programs are always too much for me to wrap my head around, so I prefer to stick to 12 weeks, with a good amount of running base built up. Maybe I just have commitment issues (NOT—I’ve had the same haircut for 10 years), but there’s something so much more do-able sounding about “12 weeks.”

This is the best I’ve felt fitness-wise going into marathon training. I’ve been trying really hard to keep a log and build up mileage in a somewhat systematic way, without being too compulsive about it. I’ve been averaging ~40 miles/week…sometimes more, sometimes less. I’ve also been trying to consistently run 14-16 mile long runs on the weekend, which makes the upcoming 18-22s not as daunting. Kidding, they’re still scary.

I was considering taking this week as a zero-running week altogether, just to reset the system.

Ya…not exactly happening. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t feel it was all that necessary. Instead, I’m “tapering” a bit before actual training starts next week. Tapering, meaning that I’ll run fewer miles and focus on stretching and sleeping. The sleeping part isn’t for the sake of tapering actually—that’s just for fun.

So fewer miles, more leg TLC, etc.

Which brings me to my, “Just how stupid am I?” question:

This weekend happens to be the same weekend as West Seattle’s annual “Fat Ass 50k.”

No, don’t worry, I am not going to run a 50k before taking on a strict marathon training schedule.

BUT, there is a 25k option. Some of you might remember, I ran it last year, and had a blast.

I really really really want to do it again. I know a few people doing it, and it’s generally just fun to be out on a Sunday with a bunch of other neighborhood runners gearing up for an afternoon of Superbowl debauchery.

This race is very low key, very casual, but still very exciting. There are even bibs this year! And they have homebrews as prizes!

So here’s my question: How stupid is it to run a 15.2 mile race the day before beginning to marathon train?

Be honest please. I can’t guarantee I’ll obey anyone’s opinions, but I thought I’d throw the question out there. Remember, I wouldn’t actually “race” this race…more like a fun long run with paper safety pinned to me.


Chicago Marathon Training Week #1

Hello! Welcome to Monday. I hope your weekend was stupendous and filled with rest, relaxation, and ice cream.

Here’s how my first “official” week of training for Chicago looked:

M: Rest

T: 10 m run/8:30 avg. page + yoga

W: 10k fun run!

T: Spin + 20 min stair stepper

F: Maximum sculpt class + 80 min swim

S: 16.2 m run/8:45 avg. page

S: Spin + 4.4 m run

Totally weekly running mileage: 36.8 m

I wasn’t going to run yesterday. I had planned on a recovery run from Saturday’s LR, but since my knee hurt a bit from the day before, I decided to opt for spin. However, around 5:30 (and after a lot of beach relaxation) I felt a weird urge to go run in the evening heat. I went with the urge, headed out watch-less for a quick little out-and-back, and wound up feeling better than I’ve felt since I started running again!

It also felt fast, which immediately made me regret not wearing a timing device. But have no fear, because I’m OCD and was determined to figure out just how fast I was going, I tallied up the songs I had listened to on the run and added up their times.

Creativity points?

Anyways, I figured out that I was averaging 7:30 miles, which is much lower than I’ve been clocking recently. It was a little surprising, because like I said—I felt so good on this run and my legs felt happy and pain-free. Looks like I might need to let the chains let loose a little bit more.

This was one of those runs where I decided to listen to my body (not a training plan, not my Garmin) and just GO. And the results were great! It truly is best sometimes to just run by feel. I knew I would have been fine without going yesterday, but something was telling me to head on out. I loved this run, and I loved feeling some speed under me after so much time without.

The rest of the weekend can pretty much be summed up in one word: SUN!

So much sun. So many sunshine filled activities—including the aforementioned one above:

The rain does go away sometimes!

I made friends with a jelly fish yesterday, although I don’t think he was as into following me as I was into following him.

Also, does your face look like this after long runs?

Salty face by way of emo MySpace picture

I was told during my time in the medical tent at the Tacoma Marathon that I’m a “salty sweater” and I was a little surprised because I thought everyone got this salty during long runs. Do you? Just me?

How was your weekend?? What kinds of things did you do in the heat? Did you have to adjust your plans according to the hot weather? Are you a salty sweater?

A Little Sad, but More Happy

Cheerio all you folks out there.

How’s it going?

I’m going to be straight and tell you I had an especially peppy and optimistic post planned for today, however that plan has derailed a bit. There will still be pep, and maybe even some pizzazz, but for now I am allowing myself 60 seconds of bitching. After that, I’ll be done…but I need to shake some anger, so be warned.

After the hardest race ever, and after VERY CAREFULLY resting and recuperating my IT band has decided to be a huge a-hole and all of a sudden develop ITBS in the form of bad knee pain. I can’t really run, I hate it, and it’s ALL I WANT TO DO. I currently want to throw rocks at everyone that can run in the perfect, ideal, OMG SO PRETTY Seattle sunshine, and I get jealous even seeing people in  running clothes.

Dramatic? Yes. I know I ran a marathon only 8 days ago, and some pain may be lingering. However, I am currently void of all residual race soreness and aches, and I’m unfortunately thinking that I’ve got a pissed-off IT band that’s here to stay for a while. AND running is literally the only thing that bothers it. Spinning? No problem. Swimming? Piece of cake. But one mile into a run, I’m crippled with knee pain and I have to turn around. I’m pissed, I’m trying to be hopeful, but I would really enjoy going at least a few months without a new injury. DAMN YOU running shoes/form/gods/whatever that is ailing me with issues.

Okay, done.

Can you tell how my morning started out? Yup…a solid 18 minute run in which more than half was spent walk/running. This was the first time I’ve attempted running since last Thursday(when I first felt the pain), and until this morning I have had no knee pain whatsoever. Booooooo.

Sorry, sort of went back to bitching there. Anyways, this is definitely a marathon-ripe injury and completely new to me. Anyone have ITB syndrome issues before? Care to share on your experiences/remedies? My foam roller has been feeling some hot lovin’ these past few days, but otherwise I’m not totally sure how to tackle this.

How about some happiness now?


I spent the weekend basking in the sun. Literally, that’s about all I did…and it was splendid. My skin doesn’t necessarily agree with the whole “splendid” part, but it will get over it once it cools off and accepts its new glow as opposed to its wintertime pasty horror.

After a double-spin class(my favorite!) on Saturday morning, there were few things I did the rest of the day that did not involve drinking a cold beverage, lying on the beach, reading a book, or eating. I wore a dress and everything. Part was spent with friends, part was spent alone, it was all-around a grand ole time.

Coffee! Book! Sun! Beach! Dress! Exclamatory single-word sentences!

Also, if you weren’t aware, the Lakers beat the Nuggets in GAME 7 on Saturday night, and while BF hated me for a while during the game, it was awesome and I will be reaping the bragging benefits for an indefinite period of time.

The sweet taste of victory is even better than a HUGE scoop of ice cream, which also happened this weekend.

Sunday was also spent in the sun, on a canoe! A good friend of mine works at a sleep-away YMCA camp, and she has access to Puget Sound boating galore. In celebration of her birthday, some of us took a massive “tribal” canoe to a tiny island out in the San Juans. Porpoise and bald eagle sightings, beer-on-board, and sunshine—I was one happy camper. And not to mention the scenery was absolutely fantastic.

Mountains and sea, I love you. Yes, this photo needed to be HUGE.

The paddling was about an hour each way, and my back is feeeeeeling it today. I love doing things that are out-of-the-ordinary, and yesterday was one of my favorite days in a long time.

On my drive to the canoe ride, I was traversing along the exact path of about miles 20-24 of the marathon from last week, and just seeing the path made my shudder. I feel like I might develop some PTSD from that race—like seriously—and while I cursed every last hill and turn while running the actual race, I can’t help but want redemption.

In due time though…all I want now is to run. Particularly, I want to do a long run; I’m already ready to rekindle my Saturday morning routine of sweaty miles, but for now…given the whole IT band asshole thing…I’ll settle for baby steps.

Drinking via your medal’s bottle opener counts for redemption, right? Or rebellion perhaps? TACOMA WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

I’m thankful that I can do the other things I enjoy in terms of exercise, and I’m certain—as always—that once this hiccup goes away it will make running all the more sweeter. Because at this point, the only thing that sounds sweeter than running is a pound or two of strawberry shortcake, which will likely happen once or ten times this week.

Now….Tell me what you did in the sun this weekend! Seattle friends, I know you all got your sun-on for sure. And if not, WHO ARE YOU?! Go away. Also, does anyone have advice for post-race IT band issues? Or just ITBS ailments in general? 



The Best Run of December and Gift Exchange

I have an incredibly high level of excitement for the content going into this post, so bear with me and forgive my likely excessive use of exclamation points and ALL CAPS.

No time to mess around with silly anecdotes on life, let’s get down to business.

First of all, BF and I exchanged our Christmas gifts last night (we needed to celebrate early because we’ll both be getting on a plane on Saturday). The night was wonderful, complete with stockings, chocolate, great gifts and a dinner made by me. Little did BF know, I was secretly planning a mini carbo load for my long run this morning. I think the loaf of bread for two might have given me away…

Anyways, I’ll talk about our gift exchange in a bit, but first I need to detail why this morning’s run was simply—magical.

I wanted to get in a good long run before my lungs must submit to choking on the thin Colorado air (read Altitude Apprehension for more details), and so I made the switch from Sunday to Thursday for this week.

I was on the road around 6:20. The sky was completely dark, however it was incredibly clear, calm and silent. I took out my headphones almost immediately and basked in the stillness of the morning. The stars were shining brightly above, and the water was still except for the splash on the shoreline.

I was completely immersed in how beautiful it was, and I allowed my concentration to only focus on the run itself. I saw so many Christmas lights along the way, which was perhaps the best tour de lights I’ve ever taken.

By the time I reached the end of the run, I’d made it 17.43 miles—a bit further than intended— and the sky was blue and the sun was shining! Not quite what comes to mind when you think about Seattle in December. My legs were tired, but my mood was soaring—and I got a good kick realizing that I feel my absolute best when my face is covered in sweat salt and my calves are tight from the miles they’ve covered. It might sound strange, but truly—the sweat, exhaust, and, yes, smell after a long run is my happiest state.


Okay, moving onto the probably much more interesting part of this post—Christmas presents!

BF and I both did a good job this year if I do say so myself, and we now have more stocking candy than two people should ever have within reach. But don’t worry, we got it covered.

My stocking consisted of a pedometer(which I’ve wanted to play with for SO long!), tons of chocolate, a cookie monster shirt (he knows my true self), and a race registration! BF signed us up to relay a 10k race in January, and the best part is our team name:

Grizzly Bird

He is really a keeper folks.

Lindt truffles and a big blue Cookie Monster shirt. Happy camper

For BF, I got him a book called I Used to Know That (he thinks it will help him with nightly Jeopardy—PSH!), the Stick, and a running watch! He uses his cell phone timer to time his runs, therefore I thought it was time for an upgrade.

check out that Iron Man! oh and the watch is nice too.

YOU GUYS. You are not going to believe what BF got me.

Okay, well, both of my presents were so totally awesome—but this one is very very special to share with you:


Talk about supportive!! BF made these Run Birdie Run bumper stickers as one of my gifts, and I’m seriously PSYCHED. There are 6 of each, and {hopefully} more will need to be made someday! I’m trying to restrain myself from using them up by plastering them on everything I own, but I think for starters my car will wear one of these beauties.

{shameless plug: if you want one for whatever reason (you like stickers, you like to run, you like birds, you enjoy this blog) please let me know and I will seriously hand deliver it to you}


insert childlike giggles when viewing this photo

I warned you about the CAPS, so don’t judge. But seriously, this is an awesome gift especially since we live near 7 miles of flat, paved ocean-view trail AND BF owns his own pair. Alki Beach, you aren’t gonna know what hit you!

Anyways, successful gift exchange, and I’m already excited to eat a few more truffles tonight. Or ten.

I hope everyone is enjoying the heart of the holiday season, and I’ll be back tomorrow for some Friday Favorites!

What are you thankful for this year? What are you most excited to give? What’s the most memorable gift you’ve received? Tell me please, I really enjoy comments.

Mother Nature and Mental Battles

You know that Winnie the Pooh movie about the blustery day, where the characters are flying all over the place and such?

Am I really embarrassing myself right now? Probably.

Yea, that would be the perfect example of the weather in Seattle today.

There is a storm rolling in that has promised snow in the mountains and (possibly!) down in the main Seattle area. I love snow, and although I’m slightly horrified to try driving down the huge hill by my house with any amount of ice present, I appreciate the seasonality of falling snow.

Anyway, for now the day has just been filled with a bitter, blustery(there really isn’t a better word, thanks A.A. Milne) wind and ominous clouds overhead. This lead to some interesting elements during this morning’s run, and it got me thinking about all the weather variables involved in this sport—namely, in the winter.

So there I was at 6 am: laying in my warm bed, silencing my snooze alarm (for the second time), and listening to the whistling wind outside. Now, wind happens to be my LEAST favorite weather condition. It makes the cold colder, and the rain and snow much more unpleasant. Needless to say, running in the wind is not favorable for me .

Luckily, I was conscious enough to remember I really wanted to do a long run this morning, and I knew it would be much less likely to happen in the afternoon. So, clad in gloves, leggings, and a long sleeve tech shirt—away I went in the dark, cold, and blowing wind.

[An aside to lululemon: mark my words if I had a closet full of your fantastic RUN apparel, getting dressed for runs would be the best part of my day.]

Surprisingly, the only unpleasant part of my run was the strong headwind I faced during the first few miles. My running route follows the edge of a peninsula called Alki beach, and while 99% of the time I bask in how beautiful my training grounds are, this morning I felt quite the opposite. Ocean + wind+ cold= BRRRRRRR. The waves were surf-able(word?), and for anyone living in the area, you know that waves this big are rare. During this blast of headwind, I kept one optimistic thought in mind….tailwind on the way back, please oh please.

My wish was granted, and during the second half of the run, I did begin to recognize how beautiful the radical weather had made the surrounding area. The water looked magical, the sky was a gorgeous sunrise pink, yellow, and blue, and the clouds were smeared across the sky from the higher winds. Yes, even in compromised conditions, running can bring out the beauty in anything. I removed my headphones for the second half and enjoyed the sounds of the blowing trees, my steady breath, and my footsteps.

It’s always comforting for me to recognize how running can bring out an alternative perspective on a seemingly negative situation.

12 miles on the dot, and after some easy lifting/ab work at my gym, I was pretty pumped to jump in my warm shower and get my feet into some wool socks. Yes, I’m wearing two pairs right now—I have circulation issues.

Anyway, winter is indeed upon us—and for runners, this means a whole new strategy for our sport. I’m a little pitiful when it comes to proper weather-appropriate gear. Exhibit A: My gloves are the $2 Target kind that make your hands start to sweat within minutes of any physical exertion.

There are so many fancy cold weather remedies out there, and I get a bit overwhelmed with what I actually need. However, I am a big believer that less is typically more when it comes to running. Yes, in the winter you might be convinced after stepping outside that you need to be wearing sweatpants and a fleece, however in my experience you begin to warm up very quickly once you get going. Rarely have I regretted not wearing enough at the end of a run, and normally when I have layered, I end up removing something pretty quickly.

Running warms your core pretty quickly, and so while your ears and hands might stay cold for a bit, it’s a safe bet that although running shorts may seem unthinkable when you check the 6 am temperature, you’ll probably be happier by the end of those miles. A good rule of thumb: gloves, a hat, and warm socks will get you through any cold scenario. Seriously, you could probably be naked otherwise.

Awkward, kinda.

The hardest part of winter running, however, isn’t normally the actual running. Sure, sometimes there’s ice, snow, and the temperature isn’t ideal, however I’ve found that the mental part of running during these months is much more tolling than the actual act.

Personally, the darkness is the hardest part. Getting out of bed at 6 am when it’s bright and sunny outside is no problem for me during the summer; I pop right up with the enthusiasm of an annoying cartoon fairy, ready to sprinkle my day with sweat and happiness. Then, when daylight savings time hits and the thermometer drops, 6 am starts to feel a lottt earlier. I have to mentally pry myself out of bed in the winter for my usual morning workouts, and until I actual get them started a big part of me wants to scurry back to my pjs and a bowl of oatmeal.

I do appreciate the strengthening of my mental grit, because I feel like my dedication is truly tested when the conditions are less than favorable. I guess what I’m trying to say is that…at the end of the day, I’m thankful to have my commitment tested, because it helps me appreciate the rewards that much more.

I’d love to hear any mental tricks or helpful preparation for taking on winter running!! With a spring marathon in the works, my cold weather training is going to be interesting…

Long post, but I didn’t have time yesterday, so there’s excessive running thoughts stored in my head 🙂

Now, let’s see if I can talk BF into something warm and yummy for dinner….