Tag Archives: friday

Friday Lessons, Mustaches, and Pandas

It’s Friday already? I mean, awesome, but this week has flown by—which is odd, because I feel like I’ve been moving at a sloth-like pace through it.

Anyways, welcome to the end of the week!

Here is a picture of an adorable panda to get us off on the right foot:

PANDA DON’T BE SO SAD! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET DOWN!?! I WILL HELP YOU! I LOVE YOU!

It has been too long since I included some cuteness in my posts. The shame!

I know I always do Friday Favorites, and I know I’ve been skipping out on it recently in favor of being thankful and talking about existential running jargon, and I PROMISE I’ll start faves again soon….but not this week. Sorry, I know you’re day is probably ruined.

I just have too many other things to say! And since I have limited blogging time availabile…I need to squeeze things in when I can.

So, we all know by now that my race on Sunday went differently than I anticipated. (And if you don’t know, check it out here, because I know your curiosity must be ON FIRE right now). Can you tell I’m caffeinated? I am.

Anyways, there has been a lot of post-race reflecting, pondering, and Nutella consumption going on around these parts, and while I am not ready to dismiss the seriousness of what happened by any means, I am literally unable to not try and find the silver lining and move forward. Eternal optimist—I can’t help it, and I am a big believer that all experience is good experience, even when that experience involves the inability for the nerves in my brain to signal my legs to move.

With that said, I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from this whole ordeal. Truly, the big lessons will probably take a little while to fully emancipate, however I do feel like I’m squeezing all of the personal-growth juice I can from all this.

Ew, sorry, “juice” should not be used to describe anything other than something that comes from a fruit.

You get it though.

So…let’s get a move on. Here are some things I’ve learned, both big and small, through the race that quite literally swept me off my feet (and not in a Ryan Gosling dream sequence kind of way).

-I have “awesome” veins.

After I was removed from the ice bath and my temperature was going down, the nurses/doctors were helping to stop my muscle cramping by using a lot of compression on all my limbs. One of the women behind me was all, “Wow, you have awesome veins!” and although this could mean a) I am easy to stick with a needle b)she was being nice about the spider veins all over my body or c)both, at the time I took it as a compliment.

I might have “awesome veins,” but the lady doc doesn’t really have “awesome IV sticking abilities.” I also have “awesome bruising skills.”

– The pacer stick is not very heavy at all.

One of the things I have always been SUPER impressed by in terms of the people who pace a race (besides the fact, obviously, that they are guaranteeing a certain finish time over 26 or 13 miles) is that they are CARRYING something while running. I can barely handle carrying a handheld water bottle, and I get stressed thinking about carrying anything more than a few gels and my own body weight. You can imagine my horror, then, when the 3:40 pacer (mustache man, if you remember) asked me to hold the pace stick while he went pee in the woods.

Him: “Hey can you hold this for a bit?”

My Brain: “WTF WHO DO YOU THINK I AM I HAVE ONLY RUN ONE MARATHON I HATE YOU!”

Me: “Totally, no problem.”

Surprise! It’s really light, and actually very manageable to run with. And despite my momentary panic, I decided that his decision to offer ME the carrying stick actually translated into:

“You’re such a super star runner, Robyn. My mustache and I respect you and your flawless form and I have no doubt you could take over my pacer job. In fact, you should be a pacer yourself.”

That’s exactly what he thought, and despite the fact that his mind *might* have changed when he saw me being cradled like an infant by the Medical Director, I still think we have an everlasting bond through our 3 minutes of a pace-stick exchange.

BFF photo

– Knowing your target HR=helpful when running a marathon

I’ve said this before, but I don’t own a Garmin. I was always very happy with my little blue Timex, and I actually enjoyed the added freedom of not knowing exactly how far I had gone on a run or how fast I was going. I liked calculating these things afterward instead—meaning that while I can claim to be a “pure” runner while actually out on a run, I do still really care about distance and pace. Something I am not able to calculate too easily without an electronic device is my heart rate, and I believe this knowledge would have been a good indication of how over my limit I was on Sunday.

So, I’m giving in: For both my safety (and the fact that I really, really want one) I’m going to invest in a Garmin, finally. Having one doesn’t mean I need to wear it on every run I go on, however knowing my ideal HR on long runs will help me avoid the situation I got into.

In that regard…suggestions? I just want pace, distance, HR, and a light…for when it’s dark.

– Always have someone you know with you at a race

Certainly, everyone wants supporters to cheer them on at a race—it’s so motivating to know that you have friends, family, or pets out there on the course or finish line, gunning for you to run a stellar race. However, as I have discovered, it is almost equally if not more important to have people there for the bad things that can happen along with the good.

If you remember, I came *this* close to running the Eugene Marathon (and yes I am totally, 100% okay with the fact that I didn’t run the flat, fast course instead of Hill Town Tacompton, clearly). BUT had I run Eugene, I would have been there completely solo, as BF wouldn’t have been able to come, meaning that if something like this would have happened, I wouldn’t have had anyone I knew on the sidelines. No one to drive me home, no one to be there in the medical tent, and no one to report to my family that everything was okay.

When I was coming out of my overheated delirium, all I wanted was for BF to come and be with me, and I can’t imagine how much scarier that situation would have been without someone I knew present.

So sure, I definitely love having people there to cheer me on, but I know now just how important it is to have someone there for a worst-case scenario as well.

Thanks for coming see me “finish” a marathon Corey, you’re the best sister.

– There is such a thing as “marathon peeing”

YOU GUYS, this happened. I couldn’t believe it, and I’m still having a hard time thinking back to it all, but for reals—around mile 22, there I was…a self-sufficient, mature(ish) 24-year-old, peeing my pants on the run.

Now, if you haven’t heard of this before, please don’t click out of my blog out of disgust and shock—because truly, I had no idea I was capable of this. I knew that people did it…instead of stopping at the porta potties, they just straight peed their pants, but I always assumed this was people who had itty bitty bladders and were going for a world record. I NEVER have to pee when I run, but somehow my ample mid-race hydration caught up to me…and there it was.

I was in my cloudy “Make it stop” state when it happened, so it didn’t really register at the time, but when one of the doctors afterward asked me, “When was the last time you peed?” I started cracking up and said, “On the course!” which I thought was absolutely hilarious. At this point, I still had a 105 degree fever, which probably aided my light-headed humor, but now thinking back…it is hilarious, and clearly I have no shame.

Luckily, an ice bath quickly cleanses peed-in shorts, so wearing my shorts afterward wasn’t entirely unbearable.

SEXY. That’s why you date me BF, isn’t it? Cause I’m so “Not  so fresh and not so clean clean.”

After a marathon, your body declares full autonomy over you.

Yes, we should always listen to our bodies. And yes, I hardly practice what I preach in this regard, but when it comes to the week after a marathon, we hardly have a choice.

Every action I’ve been taking this week has been dictated by my body, and anything too difficult for it is quickly stopped in its tracks. I’m able to swim and spin no problem, and both are adding some really helpful blood flow…however running, not so much.

I felt good enough yesterday afternoon to (very slowly) try out my post-marathon legs. So while I said, “Yes! Let’s run!” my body quickly replied with “NOT!” in a very in-your-face Borat kind of way.

After about a quarter mile, my right knee/IT band/fibula/etc started getting really tight, and it was not having it. BF and I were “running” together at the time, and I had to tell him to go on ahead while I waited with a pissed off leg (Not to be confused with a “pissed on” leg, which I also know about…see above). Fortunately, he is a kind soul and quickly returned to walk back to our starting point with me, and I am going to wait a few more days until trying to run again.

I admit that I quickly panicked that I have some long-term injury that will disable me from running the entire summer (rationality is my strong suit), however I know that you cannot trust any post-marathon pains until the race wear and tear eventually works its way out. Truthfully, I think my muscles are just still really recovering, and my foremost goal right now is to listen my body above all else.

Sorry ladies, you’ll have to wait.

And with that said…

– It is okay to back off.

This is perhaps the biggest understanding I’ve reached so far in the reflection I’ve done over this race. I know it is definitely going to take a while to really internalize it, because it completely contradicts the way my brain works—but it’s something I know will make me a much smarter athlete and runner.

My problem during the race (and I suppose in my day-to-day life) is that I refuse to let myself back off from not trying my very hardest. For better or for worse, I hate thinking of myself as someone who doesn’t give their absolute best—because that’s the way I always like to operate. It’s the reason why I love always having a hard, satisfying workout, why I don’t like taking days off, and why I got myself into the circumstances leading up to my collapse on Sunday. I thrive on pushing myself, on knowing that I worked hard, and it’s the way I have and will probably always choose to operate on a daily basis.

Most of the time, this is a good thing. It’s good as a runner, an employee, and just for general productivity. However, as is always the case, it is possible for there to be too much of a good thing. Case in point, the Tacoma Marathon.

So, I suppose what I’m mostly realizing is that I don’t need to worry about my mental stamina. I think I’m always worried that I’ll slip in the average, lazy-person mindset of only half-assing things and searching for ways to not give me all. This fear is part of what drives me to always give my best, which is good, however I’m realizing that I’m not a person who will ever not be competitive, not be strong-willed, or not be anxious to do my best. In that regard, it will actually be more helpful for me to realize how to dial back, as opposed to giving more.

I know now that I don’t really have an issue with trying my hardest, and in fact it will be braver and more trying of my natural instincts to tone down my workouts and my do-or-die mentality. Of course I want to keep working and training hard, but something I really want to start to internalize is that for me—the greater way of challenging myself is finding a better balance. This means a rest day, every single week, even when I’d rather not and knowing when I’m on a run or in a race when I need to forego being a winner for the sake of being safe.

Part of being an athlete is understanding both the value of recovery and the value of hard work. I have been very one-sided when it comes to achieving this balance, and it reached a breaking point when I ignored my body’s warning signs for the sake of a certain finish time.

So, to make an already long story short, I have learned that being more cautious and offering my body more rest is ultimately going to make me a better athlete, and I’m happy to have a new kind of challenge ahead of me.

 

Have a great weekend all you lovely people out there! Thanks for following my meaning-of-life journey post-marathon, and I hope that if nothing else, I’ve offered a bit of insight into how pushing through pain only goes so far, and sometimes the harder, gutsier decision is knowing when to stop instead of go.

 

Tell me some marathon lessons you’ve learned! The good, the bad, and the pee-your-pants kind. You’re welcome internet for knowing about that now. Have you ever done that? Please tell me so I don’t feel like a toddler/old person. What are your Garmin suggestions? What are you doing this weekend? Will you help me save that panda from his tree? SOMEONE PLEASE HELP THAT PANDA.

 

 

Thankfulness and Marathon Goals!

Good afternoon!

I hope you all have had pleasant weeks and are ready for the weekend. This week has seen a lot of ups and downs for me—mostly ups, but there were some dark spots in there, and I’m happy to say I think I’ve managed to scuttle away from them. (But don’t let the Taper Beast hear that, one whiff of calmness and he barges back in full force.) So I’m still treading lightly, paying attention to my actions and reactions, but I’m hoping I’ve exited the Crazy Land of Taper-dom and can continue merrily on my way through Nerve City and Psyched Up Forest. Both of these places, though still filled with a good deal of angst and stomach butterflies, are much more do-able than Crazy Land.

I am nervous, there is no doubt about it. I have to very deliberately and consciously get myself to focus on anything other than race day. My thoughts are consumed by race strategy, fueling, avoiding chafing, and making it through without my knee exploding. My knee is much better than when bursitis struck before, and I am confident that I can race on it, however 26.2 miles is a long way for healthy body parts, so needless to say, I’m wary for my persnickety bursa sack. Lots of stretching, icing, and Aleve-ing before then.

In other news, I SUCK at dress rehearsal runs. Apparently all my pacing abilities (limited to begin with) go completely AWOL when I’m tapering, and the whole “GO SLOW” mantra that everyone preaches so vehemently actually registers as “Go ahead and run 30 seconds faster than your GMP.” Yesterday’s 4 mile run would have looked superb in an official race, let’s just say.

Whoops. Maybe I should get a Garmin after all.

For those of you who don’t know, a dress rehearsal run is exactly like a stage dress rehearsal…you gear up in everything you’ll wear on race day to ensure nothing rubs wrong or fits weird, but mainly I think its psychological benefits are the greatest. This run got me pumped big time, and it felt good to be running in my race day attire. Also, it just felt good to be running.

BUT. The good news about this way-too-fast-taper-fail run was that it showed just how many energy reserves I’m garnering. This whole “resting” thing is actually, physiologically benefiting big time, and despite my better efforts to just rid myself of all this lovely rest yesterday, I’m hoping that this is a good sign for how I’ll feel on race day.

The weather report looks superb for Sunday so far, and now commences the time to start carb-filling and hydrating like a serious person.

Moving on, today is Friday, meaning that Friday Favorites is typically the name of the game. As I’ve done a few times, I’m going to switch Friday Favorites to recollecting some of the things I’m thankful for. This week has been filled with a lot of excitement and charged energy, and although some of it can get overwhelming, ultimately I am unbelievably grateful for it all. Many thanks to Ali for reminding us all weekly to give thanks.

And now…GRATITUDE!

I am thankful for boxes of cookies.

Time between opening package and stuffing face with cookie: .7 seconds.

Last week, my beloved friend Katie—who moved to Missoula last year and I miss TERRIBLY—sent me this glorious package of her chocolate cookies for my birthday. Now, unless you have tried these cookies, you cannot fully begin to appreciate a)how big of a deal it was to receive them and b)how kind it really was for her to send them.

These cookies ARE THE BEST. Katie has some crazy secret recipe that she has worked and reworked and the result are the most chewy, buttery, chocolatey, and I-don’t-care-how-bad-these-are-for-me cookies EVER. I lose all sense of fullness, health, and really general sense of reality when these cookies are around, and they have made up the majority of my diet since they arrived. KT, you are the best.

I am thankful for huge great danes.

WARNING: Creepy female dog photographer, stalking puppies all over West Seattle.

I am kind of afraid of great danes, but I kind of love them too. They are as large as a small pony, and it seems like they have been everywhere recently. BF, who is a big dog fanatic, is obsessed (and may have recently bought a book called Giant George which is about a 245 pound great dane who needs his own size queen bed), and recently I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I’m not sure about owning one, but I really enjoy seeing great danes taking their owners on walks all over the place.

I am thankful for the ability to go and visit my family.

I really, really love whenever I get to go see my family. We laugh a lot, we play games, we eat, we watch Jeopardy, and we love each other. It’s a great treat to be able to go home, and I’m very thankful that I have the means and the time to be able to jet off to Colorado every so often. My next trip will be for baby boy’s graduation (sorry Scott, you will never shed that nickname), and I can’t wait. If anyone was every ready for college, it’s my brother, and not only can I not wait for him to experience college, but he’ll be going to Seattle U…a mere 10 minutes from me!! Get ready Scott, you probably won’t make any real friends.

“Sorry guys, my sister is taking me somewhere again and I can’t go to the party.”

That’s totally how it’s gonna happen.

I am thankful for people who will touch feet.

I know you are SO GLAD you have now seen my feet. Can you guess which toenail is actually completely black?

That sounded weird. And truth be told, I actually don’t have the foot paranoia that so many claim to have. But, that doesn’t mean I would ever give a stranger—or even someone I know—a pedicure. And I especially would never give myself a pedicure. I’m scared of my own feet, and I go to all the lengths I can to avoid people looking at my feet. Not only do I naturally have Fred Flintstone-width feet and awkwardly shaped pinkie toes, but the damage done to my toenails from running is somewhat horrifying. As I’ve said before, two of my toenails are close to falling off, and just about every other toe has either a blister or a callous. It’s sexy.

Moving on. I never get pedicures, literally ever, except for right before big races. For some reason back when I ran my first half, I decided to randomly get a pedicure during the week before. Since then, I’ve gotten my toes done before every big race—and it’s a tradition I am mighty pleased with. This marathon taper time was no different, and I got to spend an hour getting clipped, rubbed, painted, and all that fun girlie toe stuff. The woman, despite not saying ONE word to me the entire time, did a fantastic job, and she handled my mangled foots without a blink. Oh, and she had to use TWO extra coats on my black toenails. Literally doubled the amount of color on each. But a job well done, and I am thankful for her.

Wow that was a lot of talk about feet.

I am thankful for Nuun, Aleve, my foam roller, and Yoga On Demand.

All of these things are helping to soothe, both mentally and physically, my angst about the race on Sunday. Sure, I know I’ve done the training and I know there really isn’t anything more I can do to get ready. But the fact that I can count on each of these things to help me feel better prepared, rested, hydrated, etc. is keeping my nerves at bay.


I am thankful for the weather report for race day.

cmoooonnnnnnn Sunday!

I realize I just 100% jinxed the crap out of the happy-sunny forecast, but let’s hope for the best still. As you could probably guess, the weather in Seattle is not exactly dependable…and so everyone, not just runners, treat the forecast like a toddler. They watch it like a hawk, they talk about it with anyone and everyone, and they can be equally irritated and giddy over it within an hour time frame. So, needless to say, I’ve been in full-fledged weather-stalking mode, and as of right now it’s looking pretty ideal. I actually have yet to run a long race in sunny weather (isn’t that nuts?) so I’m hoping for a first this time around.

I am thankful for free cake.

complimentary white chocolate mousse cake + candle=happy birthday girl!

I am thankful that no matter what happens on Sunday, there will be a Lakers vs. Nuggets game and pizza afterwards.

I’m sorry….no matter what you think about the Lakers or basketball, this is adorable.

I might completely blow up on Sunday, or I might exceed all my expectations. I really don’t know, a lot can happen over 26.2 miles, and sometimes no matter how much prep work you put in, things don’t pan out right. I’m prepared for this (and in case I do blow up and cry for weeks afterward, remind me that I said this ahead of time). However, I am thankful for pre-planning. Specifically food pre-planning—and one thing is for sure that PR or no PR, there will be ample pizza and beer consumption on Sunday night, as well as a viewing of the Lakers winning Game 4 of the playoffs versus the Nuggets, after which I laugh in BF’s face a friendly basketball game between two teams that BF and I happen to heavily separately favor.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to run a marathon.

I talk a lot about time goals and PR goals and BQing a lot, but when all is said and done—more than anything all I want to do is run. I am so grateful to have the ability to run, and to run 26.2 miles, no matter how fast or slow it might be. After experiencing an injury scare earlier in this training season and reading all about so many bloggers out there that are currently sidelined by injury, my perspective has become a lot more appreciative and humbled.

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be running my second marathon on Sunday, I would never have believed you. We all know how that story actually ends, and in two days all the hours and weeks of preparation will come to a 3:xx:xx hour finale. There are some very definite times that I have associated with “I would love to get (this),” “I would be alright getting (this),” and “I guess I’ll be able to live with (this).” However, when all is said and done, Sunday is just another day I get to run…and that, despite any PR or not, is something I am very thankful for.

 

And finally, I am thankful for my readers, my family, and my friends who have and continue to support me through the whole training process:

You all inspire me every day, and you all have provided me with so much strength, encouragement, and guidance in both running and life. The people I surround myself with, including those in the blog world, are so much of the reason I am able to continue running, writing, and believing in myself, and I could not be more thankful for everyone of you.

 

Alright, now that I’ve gotten sappy, let’s end on a bit more of a practical note, shall we?

I have been incredibly allusive and non-disclosing about my time goals for this race. And why? Well, I get scared to say them out loud—because if they don’t happen, well that makes it all the more disappointing knowing that other people know I didn’t live up to my expectations. But, I realized that it’s not fair to share every ounce of my training and race information with you without giving you the dirty time details.

So, if you care to know…here’s my plan for Sunday. There are two pacers I have my eye on. 3:40 and 3:35. If all goes well, I am going to stick near the 3:40 pacer for the first half. If I’m up for it and feeling alright, I’m planning on chasing down the 3:35 pacer after mile 13. We’ll see what happens…perhaps something entirely different…but for now that is my race plan.

I promise I’ll stop typing now…and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and have yourself a glorious weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of 26.2 miles!!

Tacoma, BRING IT.


 

 

Friday Favorites: Naughty Books and Cheeseburgers

Hello beautiful people.

How’s it going? Thanks for your thoughts on yesterday’s manifesto on lady issues. Clearly, it’s something I feel strongly about, but there are definitely multiple sides to the issue. I think the most important takeaway is to remember that everyone is fighting a hard battle, and we should all be on the front lines of attack for our fellow gal pals.

But moving on.

Welcome to Friday! I hope your week has been splendid, and you’re getting all Spring-fevery with all the flowers, racing, and sunshine in the air. Had my previous agenda not been changed, I would be gearing up to hit the road tomorrow for Oregon for the Eugene Marathon. And I admit…I’m a little bit sad this isn’t the case. Am I glad I got an extra week of training? Definitely…especially in terms of letting my knee get better. But, I was/am really hoping to do this race—and I’m getting sad with all the emails I’m still receiving about the expo and my virtual race packet.

Oh well, next year Eugene.

As for now, I’m easing into the depths of taperdom. That’s an actual place, I’ll have you know, and it involves a lot of sleep, a lot of eating, and a lot of on-again off-again nervous stomach. I’m wavering back and forth between feeling really amped and really nauseated—which is normal, except that it’s still over a week away and the real taper anxious energy hasn’t even started yet. Be warned, if you come across my path next Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, I might scream at you in a fit of unused-endorphins-induced rage. I apologize in advance for any violent Tweets, blog posts, comments, or general anxious energy I throw into the universe.

Okay, it might not be that bad. But when you put together a unhealthfully competitive person, a hilly marathon, and the potential for a PR—you get a groveling, weepy, bagel-stuffed Bird.

BF, all I can say is I’m glad you’re also racing so if you need to run away from me you have an excuse.

Truthfully, I am feeling pretty good about how things are shaping up. My knee started hurting again a bit, which is annoying, but it seems that as long as I do a lot of hamstring stretching and knee icing, I’m keeping it mostly at bay. At this point though, I’ll be racing no matter what— inflamed bursa or not.

Enough of this banter though, Friday Favorites is the name of the game today, and onward we go!

iPod Shuffle

I recently made the switch to this little baby from my old nano for running, and I cannot believe I hadn’t done so earlier. The nano was fine, but the ease in not having it strapped to my arm and having the cord dangling and flailing about it infinitely more enjoyable. Also, since I’ve been going back and forth between music-running and non-music-running, this makes the transition much easier.

Gossip Girl

CHUCK AND BLAIR FOREVERRRR

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Yes I still watch Gossip Girl, and yes I still love it.

Do I get really pissed at the characters as if they’re people I actually know? You betcha. I’m right there along with the high-school girls who gather together on Monday nights for a “OMG SO SCANDALOUS!” viewing session.

In case you used to watch, and have since given up due to never-ending story lines and Serena being annoying (I don’t blame you), allow me to give you a few snipits of info for what’s currently going down in the “Upper East Side.”

Dan sucks, he really needs to cut his hair, and his pretentiousness has gone up about 1000%. He wrote a NYT bestseller and then basically cried when it went to number 11. GET OVER YOURSELF DAN.

Blair and Chuck aren’t together, and I hate it. They writers know this is all anyone cares about anymore, therefore they are intent on making it not happen, thus ensuring I will continue to watch vying for the next big pent-up sex scene between these two.

Serena really really sucks, which seems to be the case since the first season ended.

Jenny is off the show, so is Vanessa.

Elizabeth Hurley is a guest star this season, which is kind of weird. She and Nate hook up, which obviously I’m jealous of, but the age separation is a bit much. She’s hot, but there’s really only so much you can cover up with makeup and way-too-tight dresses, Liz.

That’s all that matters, which obviously is very little. And yet, my DVR continues to record this show, and I continue to cuddle up with anticipation to watch it.

Maybe I’ll grow up someday, but not now.

xoxo

50 Shades of Grey

I realize I’m way behind the ball on this one, but I do have a funny little thing that happened when I innocently—promise!—decided to start this book.

As I was perusing my Nook’s suggested reads, I came across this book and the title was super familiar. I knew this book was all the buzz among people my age, and obviously it was selling like hot-cakes, so I decided to go for it. Why not? It’s probably decent—and the title sounds like it could be some interesting modern writing, hey…maybe even some innovative prose and highlight-worthy lines.

WRONG.

This is a sex book. I started reading, and while it wasn’t the most cryptic or advanced writing, it was interesting enough. The further along I went, I quickly realized that it was actually the hot-and-heavy, explicitly detailed bedroom scenes that made this book so popular. This is definitely the kind of book I would have hidden from mom—just like Forever by Judy Blume. Did anyone read that?! I credit that book for teaching my 11-year-old self about what sex actually entailed. None of Judy’s other books are like that, and let me tell you—I read that naughty little paperback cover-to-cover at least 5 times.

Moving back to the point, obviously I’m going to finish the 50 Shades of Grey series.

Red Robin

Anyone who says they don’t like Red Robin is lying to themselves. And if you are, in fact, one of these Red Robin naysayers, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog—and you should instead be in confession for blasphemy.

Was that inappropriate?

Oh well, most of this post has been about gossipy teens and dirty sex books, so let’s just continue along that thread.

Now back to the burgers. It is safe to say that I never actually order a burger at a restaurant except for Red Robin. Also, I probably only ever go once or twice a year, because let’s face it—it takes about that long to digest a meal from RR. But oh do I love those few and far between excursions I do get to take.

Red Robin has been a family favorite ever since they plopped themselves down in the center of Colorado Springs (my hometown), and I can remember the sheer joy of hearing we’d get to go their for dinner.

In reality, the food is good, not incredible, but it’s the whole atmosphere that makes RR the Happiest Place On Earth II (obv Disneyland is number 1, do you know me at all?). The bottomless freckled lemonade, the balloons, the french fry baskets, and the super annoying but addicting “Happy Birthday” jingle they sing no less than 10 times per trip are what make Red Robin an amusement park of a restaurant.

____

Okay, we’re done for this week…I hope I didn’t frighten you too much with my tapering, over-the-top GG coverage, and adoration of RR bacon cheeseburgers.

I’d like to say GOOD LUCK!! to everyone racing in Eugene, and Big Sur, and everywhere else this weekend. I know you all will crush it, and remember to run your race and enjoy every minute of it!

TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE THINGS! Or, tell me something from your childhood—either a book, a movie, a tv show, etc.—that made you feel “grown up.”

Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites: Musical Guilt

Let’s briefly recap why I’m glad it’s Friday, shall we?

Well okay, you don’t really have an opinion, because this is my blog. So like, either keep reading or don’t?

I hope you’re still there…

ANYWAYS. This journey toward why this Friday couldn’t come at a better time started bright and early on Monday morning. That’s right, this has been a whole week of Friday buildup. I awoke to a text from BF at 6:15 am (he gets to work at 5:30, it’s intense, you can feel sad for him) and all it said was, “Um…I have your keys.”

In some lazy Sunday night stupor, I had decided to leave my keys inside his car, therefore leaving myself stranded at home. I work from home, so it wasn’t totally catastrophic, but since I normally work from a coffee shop every day in order to avoid sitting on the couch in pajamas all day eating while working, my normal day was somewhat derailed. So my week started in a stranded-all-day-on-the-couch state of blah. Yes I know, why should I complain about this? Well, let me just tell you that you never want to leave the house more than when you HAVE NO WAY OF ESCAPE. It was claustrophobic, and I got nervous.

Yes, I could have walked somewhere, whatever. But I did need to work. And my bike doesn’t have air in its tires, at least I don’t think it does. I’ve ridden it probably 3 times since I bought it last July. Good investment, Robyn.

Moving on. Since then, every single day of this week has felt like a Thursday night. You know, when you’re pumped because the next day’s Friday and you can begin looking at the weekend forecast and plan your weekend Target and Trader Joe’s adventures? I love Thursday nights. But NOT when they are actually a Tuesday afternoon pretending to be Thursday and laughing in your face when you realize you are actually three days away from the weekend.

Fast forward to today, because this whole “why I’m all anxious and thrown off” endeavor is taking too long.

I realized this morning that I had left my computer cord in the outlet at the Starbucks I worked at yesterday. I have forgotten my computer cord all of two times in my life, and this time just happened to occur when I worked from a Starbucks that was far from my home. And my computer was dead. Awesome.

Time wasted, and I felt like I was walking around with “FAIL” tattooed on my forehead.

So with all that random banter over with, I welcome you to the REALITY of it being Friday and my forgetful/distracted week coming to a close.

I’m getting back into Friday Favorites this week, after a brief hiatus last week. Woooo lists of happy things!

This week, I’ve decided to theme the Favorites list according to my own personal music preferences, because recently there’s rarely an hour in my day where I’m not listening to some Pandora, iTunes, Spotify playlist. I like the feeling of sound-tracking my life, even when that soundtrack includes the same songs over and over again.

Now, part of this post about my music comes with a serious disclaimer, and it’s one that I’ve had to internalize for myself.

You know how everyone has a guilty pleasure song or artist that they try and hide within the rest of their “normal” music? It’s the one you never want people to see on your iPod, and heaven forbid it comes on when someone else is listening to your music. Yea, ok. We’ve all got one. Me though? All my music choices are like that.

Okay, maybe not ALL, but A LOT of the music I listen to is definitely on most people’s “no one can know I like this” list, and especially my running music. Am I ashamed? Not really, I know what I like and I’m going to listen to it. But am I slightly embarassed? A little. Several of my music choices are those that 14 year old girls croon to while sharing headphones with their best friend outside of Forever 21 at the mall.

However, I know that a lot of people out there are actually in agreement when it comes to some of these selections. Fact: Every single person, no matter who they are, can find a Glee song they like. There are so many! How could you not? And so, without much further ado (because there has already been a shit ton of “ado”…what does “ado” even mean?), I give you my current musical selections. Some are “normal,” some should be reserved for pre-teen karaoke sleepovers, and some are completely random.

Maroon 5

I need to come out of the “they’re so overplayed and not that talented” closet and admit that I have and will always love Maroon 5. I know a lot of their songs sound the same, and sure they might have a Nickleback-esque to them, but I don’t really care. Ever since “She Will Be Loved” spoke to my 16-year-old hopeless romantic heart, I always find myself enjoying Maroon 5 songs. I’m not huge on “Moves Like Jagger” fan, because the whole context just seems weird, but otherwise it’s pretty safe to say that I always have a Maroon 5 song stuffed somewhere in my musical repertoire.

Taylor Swift

If you’ve read this blog before, this comes as no surprise. I freaking love Taylor Swift. Unlike Maroon 5, I actually don’t think there is one T Swift song I don’t like. The scale of my fondness for her songs goes something like, “Fun and Catchy” to “OMG THIS WAS WRITTEN ABOUT MY LIFE.” I love her, I have Pandora station of her, and I’m a glitter covered t-shirt away from posting a YouTube “I Heart Taylor” video. 

Kidding.

BUT I do love her. My sister and I saw her concert and it was everything your high school self wanted it to be.

Glee Music


Now, I am actually a bit pickier about my Glee selections than you might guess. I really only like about 30% of them (not to be way-too precise or anything), and I typically preference the songs from musicals, the mash ups, and the big belting one-woman-show numbers. BUT, when I do find a gem of a Glee song, I hang onto it with all my might. I still regularly play songs from old seasons while on my runs, and I admittedly find myself favoring them over the original versions. “Faithfully” from the Season 2 finale anyone?

Glee is great to run to though, and I think it’s hard to stay in a bad mood when a group of beautiful and famous 20-somethings pretending to be loser teenagers are singing to you.

Lana Del Rey

This one isn’t a guilty pleasure choice, and she’s actually been overwhelming my playlists recently. I like running to Lana, she makes me feel all “don’t-give-a-crap-bad-girl” about things, because obviously that’s exactly the kind of person I am. I love her voice, her lyrics, and her general style.

Britney, Kelly Clarkson, and Rihanna

I figured these three could be lumped together, because I think everyone has at least a small spatter of these three somewhere in their music collection. They never seem to get looked over, no matter how many new playlists I make or musical phases I go through. In an exercise sense, you can’t really get better than these three for some pump-you-up girl jams that are loud and fast. And the “S&M” remix with RiRi AND Brit? Don’t even get me started.

Croony, Sappy Country Music

There isn’t a particular artist for this one, but it’s a music guilty pleasure I’ve been victim to ever since I discovered Tim McGraw and Keith Urban as a boyfriend-less high school freshman. I’m not huge into country music, but there’s a variety of super cheesy, over-the-top love songs (normally by men) that ignite my desire to belt loudly in the shower. Examples include, “Love Your Love the Most,” “Then,” “Making Memories of Us,” and “It’s Your Love.”

BF, please don’t read this post. And if you do, please stay with me. I promise I’ll never make you listen to Brad Paisley.

The soundtracks to Wicked, Spring Awakening, Les Mis, and Hairspray

I really really sometimes wish that I could go back in time and be a choir/theater/glee club person instead of a softball/basketball/track person. Well, that’s not really true, but I do have a very strong feeling that there is another universe in which I am a Broadway star who can sing like Barbara and dance like Beyonce (yes, interesting combo…just go with it). Something about musicals speaks to me, and I find it highly entertaining to listen to shows all the way through, imagining I’m the lead.

Drama queen? NEVER.

I also believe very confidently that there is an alternate universe in which I’m a 6’8″ NBA star, just to give you some perspective on the variety of my hallucinations  imagination.

Anyways, I love songs from musicals, and I have a dream of running an entire race to the Les Miserable soundtrack. It would be epic, except for the times I’m weeping when Fantine dies and sings to Cosette. Damn you Victor Hugo and Schönberg for tugging at my heart strings EVERY TIME.

So, in addition to some Jason Mraz (new album is SO GOOD), O.A.R., and Sarah Barielles, this is essentially the core of my musical choices, both while running and not.

If you’re still reading and not shaking your head while thinking, “Wow Robyn, maybe you should try growing up or something,” I hope you enjoyed my musical admissions.

The fact of the matter is I love essentially every kind of music. I can find a favorite tune in any and all genres, it just so happens that the songs I keep on repeat are stereo-typically a little “cheesy.”

I hold my head high though, and when you see me mouthing the lyrics to “Circle of Life” while pounding down the sidewalk during sunrise, you’ll know I’m in my happy place.

LONG LIVE MUFASA!

NOW YOU! Let’s hear it, what’s your musical guilty pleasure?

It’s Not Just the Running

Breaking news! And don’t forget, you heard it here first:

Training for a marathon is hard.

I know right…crazy talk! I mean seriously, who knew? Alright, not so much new news, whatsoever…in fact this is probably the most simplistic, fact-of-the-matter truth about training for 26.2 miles of running. Even people who have never even thought about running a mile know that there is nothing easy about marathon training, and actually they probably know better than the rest of us. Once you do bridge the gap, though, between beginning to run and training for the big kahuna, you are humbled and forced to recognize the hard-truth about how difficult all those miles, hours, stretching, icing, repeat actually are.

Something I’ve realized toward the end of this training cycle, other than how truly hard it is, is that I think after competing in multiple races and getting better acquainted with the training process—I tend to forget about the grunt work involved.

Going into this training session, I certainly didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I definitely had bit more confidence than when I trained for my first marathon (rightfully so I suppose). I am so used to hard workouts, long runs, and putting in the leg work so-to-speak that I sort of assumed that training is just a way of life for me. Truthfully, I enjoy training. I love the satisfaction of a hard workout, and I love the thought that I’m working toward a very tangible goal. In other words, training really works for me, for the way I like to live each day, which is why I think I may have been a bit overzealous and overconfident when coming into this second marathon training cycle.

I still enjoy it, I know I’ll be back again fairly soon after I’m done with Tacoma, but I’m realizing in these last few weeks  just how brutally and unforgiving-ly hard training for a marathon really is. And perhaps more so, I’m realizing that it’s actually not the running itself that’s so hard.

Sure, the running is the source of all the fatigue and daily number crunching, but I think for me the hardest part of marathon training is the life that surrounds all the running. Obviously, these thoughts have been present at this point in time because I’m nearly three weeks away from race day—however I do feel like have some new insight into the overarching toll that marathon training really takes.

With that said, I thought I’d present you with what I believe are the hardest parts of training, aside from speed work and tempo drills. I know today’s supposed to be Friday Favorites, but this topic just seems too relevant and current to look over. Also, Marathon Monday is next week in Boston, and racing season is in full swing all over the country, therefore marathon talk is inevitable. Favorites will have to wait…perhaps there will be a Weekend Wonders or a Monday Marvels instead?

Moving on, I give you the RunBirdieRun Trials of Marathon Training: Everything Except the Running.

Scheduling

One of the biggest challenges with having such a strict number of miles to reach weekly is there isn’t much room to have, well, any other plans besides running. Specifically with long runs, the planning both before and after essentially takes up a whole weekend. Although this isn’t entirely too inconvenient, it leaves very little room for spontaneous nights out, an extra beer, or going away for the weekend. Sure, sometimes time sacrifices need to be made—I would never give away my life for the sake of marathon training—but that doesn’t mean my social life isn’t hindered when long runs take up three hours every Sunday. And going away for a weekend? I always get stressed about getting in a long run, and although it normally works out somehow it’s annoying to be bugged out by a run when you’re supposed to be enjoying some vacation time.

Sleepiness

I mention this in Tuesday’s post, but marathon training is incredibly taxing on general energy levels. Typically I’m someone who’s pretty upbeat and energized by nature, and I also don’t need much sleep to function at a high level. But with marathon training? It doesn’t feel like I can get enough sleep. I sleep really hard every night, which is a good thing, but I can’t ever really seem to feel really, totally rested. By 2 pm everyday I feel like I’m in a haze and need to take a nap (btw, thanks Nuun for helping alleviate this!). Don’t get me wrong, there’s no more satisfying sleepy feeling than the kind that comes after a long run, but it makes—once again—”real life” a bit more challenging.

Less Options

Now, I think we all know that I would almost always choose running over every other activity. Read: the name of my blog. But, there are days when I would much rather go to a sweaty spin class, go swimming, or you know—just do nothing. While I normally do look forward to my running designated days, there’s less variation and options available during marathon training in terms of a workout routine. I definitely believe in cross training, but I also believe that the most effective way to become a better runner is to run. This goes along with marathon training as well; you run a marathon, therefore the way you are going to get better is to run more. With that said, this leaves little room for error in terms of following a workout/mileage routine.

Food Planning

One of the fun parts about marathon training is the increased food consumption, or at least—I think it is. There’s something really cool about feeling the need for fuel in your body and listening to different cravings. It’s pretty amazing what your body communicates to you when it’s running 50 miles a week. And while I love the extra cookies and pieces of bread, there’s a lot more strategy required to eating than I think most non-marathoners would assume. The basic understanding that you can eat whatever you want, and as much as you want, while training may be true for some people, especially ultra runners, but I have to practice a lot more forethought and planning when it comes to marathon training meals. This is partially due to the fact that I have UC, and digestive issues are a daily battle, but it’s also because I’ve learned that there are things that work and definitely do not work as pre-run or post-run fuel. With that said, meal planning doesn’t come as simply as it does when I’m not marathon training, specifically around long runs.

The Running Accessories (Icing, Stretching, Foam Rolling, Hydrating, etc.)

It is no secret that running is one of the toughest activities on your body. As a runner, your body requires a lot of extra TLC in order to prevent injury and keep your progression smooth and steady. Now, differing opinions aside, we can assume that in order to be safe, stretching, foam rolling, icing, and excessive hydrating/refueling is necessary. It’s not a magic formula, but for the most part you can rest assured that your running will appreciate all of these “accessories.” But the fact of the matter is that all these things take a lot of time, and frankly—sometimes you just don’t want to do them. I can’t tell you how many times I have a checklist going through my head of all the things I need to do both pre- and post run, and it gets exhausting. I’m definitely thankful for my efforts to get them all done, but it’s a lot to keep track of and there are many times when I just rather wouldn’t put a piece of ice on my bare skin three times a day.

The Mental Toughness

Or perhaps I should say, lack thereof. Anyone who has trained for a race, no matter the distance, has experienced a wane and surge in their self confidence regarding their physical shape. There are some days where I can run seemingly forever and feel great about my condition and my prep for race day. Then there are other days when completing just a few miles at a very slow pace feels like hell, and I question how I ever could finish a marathon. Our brain and the effect it has on us is perhaps the biggest hurdle we face when training for a race, specifically a marathon. As runners, we know that running is almost equal parts physical and mental. A run can go two very different ways, all depending on how we approach it mentally. Our brain plays a very active role in our running life even when we’re not running as well, and this is why even weeks before taper begins and race nerves set in—we can through countless emotions and tribulations over the loftiness of our goals.

One of my absolute favorite mantras that was told to my basketball team while running suicides by our coach is, “The body is a lot more powerful than the mind gives it credit for.” I repeat this to myself whenever I’m feeling completely defeated, both while I’m running and when I’m not, as I think it is one of the most absolute truths about athletics, specifically running. Fighting our mental battles, in my opinion, is the absolute hardest part about marathon training—and as the races draw closer and the pesky voices of uncertainty starts to drown out our confidence, our 20 mile  runs start to seem like the easiest part of the process.

 

So, aside from making marathon training sound like an excruciatingly tolling endeavor, what is my point to all this? Well, I have a few points, the first being that it’s important to remember the all-encompassing nature of marathon training. I will be the first person to encourage anyone who wants to take on a marathon. In fact, I’ll be standing at the finish line with your name painted on my stomach and a pom pom shaking in your sweaty face. But, I do think it’s important to remember that marathon training is so much more than just running X amount of miles per week.

I believe that running starts to become the easy part—it’s simple, you know how to do it, and when it’s done, it’s done. It’s all these extra, “bonus!” factors that come from the running that we deal with all the time—and they are what ultimately I think marathon runners should be most prepared for.

I admittedly forgot about these aspects of marathon training. I remembered the weekly big pasta dinners and the epically long weekend runs, and that’s about it. And this makes perfect sense, because I love both of these things. Our brains do this very helpful survival tactic of blocking out troubling or tough memories in favor of the things we would choose to remember instead. However, in the case of marathon training, it can slap you right in the face when you realize the tough stuff that comes along with all the endorphins and baguettes.

Despite it all, though, I think the most important point I would like to make is this:

At the end of it all—weeks, months, and hours of questioning your sanity—it’s all worth it.

If you’ve raced before, specifically a half or a full marathon, you know that there’s no better feeling than crossing a finish line. It leaves you with the most deliciously satisfied feeling in the world; a feeling of pure self-confidence with the goal you just achieved. There’s a reason why runners tear up when they read stories of others’ finish line victories; it’s because we know what it’s like, and there’s nothing else that compares.

And you know what? It feels so damn good because of how hard it is. All those things I listed about how hard marathon training is and how taxing it can be are a big part of why crossing a finish line and being given a medal is such a sense of accomplishment. It’s the best place on Earth, and I can guarantee that no matter how much pain, discouragement, and frustration you may have faced along the way, what you will remember more than anything is the simple fact that you did it.

So, if you’re considering signing up for a marathon (which is AWESOME!), consider all the factors that are going to go into it. It will be a humbling experience, and it’s anything but easy, but if you put in the work it will absolutely pay off in the end.

___

Happy Friday! Have a lovely weekend.

What do you think is the hardest part about marathon training? What advice would you give about training from your own experience?

 

 

Friday Favorites: Nuun and ‘Nsync

Good Morning and welcome to Friday!

I’m currently posting from my bed, which feels both awesome and ironic for a running blog. I got to sleep in until the very late hour of 7 am, so that was a treat. My hammies are hating me for the hills yesterday, but they better shape up their attitude because tomorrow is scheduled with a big scary 20 miler. I’m considering scooting down to Tacoma to do some of the marathon course, which while I think will be helpful I also feel like it might play some mental games. We’ll see.

However, that is not what today is about. Today is about Favorite Things and resting. If you’re new to this blog, every Friday I pay homage to some of my favorite things in life…of which there are many, which is a good thing or else this whole game would have died a long time ago.

Just when I think I’m running out of the little things in life to be appreciative for, something new pops its head around the corner and adds even more joy to the sometimes mundane nature of regular routines. And let’s face it…for someone who gets a major kick out of things like Safeway Club Card deals and little children dressed in cute outfits, it’s not hard to conglomerate a weekly list.

So let’s move onto this week’s Friday Favorites!

Cherry Blossom Trees

These bountiful beauties are in full bloom here in Seattle—and throughout the entire country it seems like. They can make even the most homely, industrial, sketchball-filled neighborhood (Read: Tacoma, Washington) seem like an A-Okay place to be. They bring a smile to my face whenever I drive by them, and I always want to pull over and sit underneath their lovely branches and sing songs about what a wonderful world we live in. But I’m already weird enough, so instead I just take trying-to-be-artistic photos of them.

These blooms don’t last too long, which I suppose is one of the reasons they are so gosh darn lovely.

Nuun

So, because this is a blog about running and sweating and all that (at least most of the time) I think it’s appropriate to mention some exercise-related favorite things, right?

That said, let me introduce you to my newest addiction/fascination, Nuun. If you’re a seasoned runner or endurance athlete, you have undoubtedly heard of this new electrolyte-replenishment supplement—as they’ve been at tons of race expos and running stores all over the country. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of Gels, Gatorade, Gus, etc., etc. Basically, most of this stuff kind of hurts my stomach and I naively just rely on water and sometimes Sport Beans.

In comes Nuun, and I’m a convert.

I’ve only been using this magical little caplet in my water in the afternoons after morning runs, not mid-run, but I’m completely hooked. You know the commercials for 5 Hour Energy? How they turn the “2 pm slump” into a hugely productive and happy-go-lucky party? Well, that is exactly what Nuun in the afternuun does for me. {What I did there…you saw it didn’t you?} It’s sort of like when you drink a cup of coffee after not having caffeine for three weeks—lots of giggling and tingly goodness. I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect or not, but I can actually feel my low electrolyte levels getting filled, and my entire body feels refreshed and ready to go swim the English Channel.

Needless to say, PSYCHED to try this crack fuel mid-run.

13 Simple Steps to Get You Through a Rough Day

Sorry, I’m going to redirect you to this link, but trust me…it will be worth your while. Click it!

 

Done? Okay great.

I find this article HILARIOUS, and I’ve laughed, literally L-O-L, every time I’ve read it. My favorite section is Step 8, “Be happy you are not one of these people”—particularly the baby with the scary self-portrait taking mom and the Chris Kirkpatrick reference. Poor Chris, Justin got all the girls and the long career, JC got Justin’s leftovers and a dance show judging gig, Joey got to be in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Lance got all the Outer Space and coming-out-of-the-closet attention, and what did you get? Well, I don’t even know…which I suppose is the point. Sorry buddy, I still love your very-backup vocals.

And for the record, ‘Nsync was, is, and will always be better than BSB. Don’t agree? Please go away. No, you can stay, but I propose a street fight to the tune of “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Cough Leanne cough.

Drive By, Train

I have always and will always love Train. Somehow, I’ve actually seen them twice in concert, and they put on a great show and are super personable and funny. I think they’re underrated in the pop-music industry, especially since so many of their songs go viral and no one seems to give them much credit after everyone’s moved onto the next Katy Perry or Pitbull song. Love you Katy, but I gotta give this one to the boys.

This song is so catchy, and it’s been on repeat one too many times in the past few weeks. Overplaying songs? Who me? I only do this with EVERY song I start to love, but after a break of two or so days I can jump right back into them. This song is just so happy and has all the right uplifting chords. Good job Train…download now if you’re interested. Or, you know, just listen to the YouTube video over and over again if you’re like me.

This Kitty

He's in there I promise...right by the steps to the porch.

Okay, I realize this picture isn’t entirely ideal, but because this isn’t my kitty the only way to photograph him is by luck and quick phone camera skills. BF took this, by the way, because he knows how I adore this little cat. And that is reason 34566 why I love him.

This little Kitty, which we’ve learned is named Socks (c’mon, how cute is that?), roams around our street and frequently sits atop the hood of cars for warmth. He greets me very frequently when I arrive home, and I think he would agree that we are BFF at this point.

Anyways, I would generally consider myself a dog person—which you could have probably guessed based on my frequent ranting about golden doodles and puppies—but I do have a place in my heart for cats. Yea yea I know…tons of people hate cats, which is justifiable, but I so happen to have owned THE best cat, named Jack, for the majority of my childhood, therefore cats are good in my book. Poor Jackie went to kitty heaven last year, and although I miss him a lot, I like to think that Socks is his reincarnation; they look SO much alike, same coloring and everything, and they have the same “I am way too cool for school but I’ll still let you adore me” attitude about them.

Maybe someday he’ll “forget” to go to his real home and decide to run inside and snuggle with me forever. That’s okay, right BF? Your allergies are probably gone by now, I’m sure.

_______

I hope you have a great weekend!

What are some of your favorite things right now? What are your plans for the weekend? Are you going to go YouTube every ‘Nsync song you can possibly remember for the rest of the workday just like I am as soon as I’m done writing this post? If you do, let’s compare memories/favorite songs.

Friday Favorites: Thankful Thoughts

I’m back!

This morning I returned from sunny Los Angeles to a much less sunny Seattle. I do love this city, but it is a bit tough returning from shorts and flip flop weather to downpours. ‘Tis the name of the PNW game though, and despite having a lovely vacation I’m glad to be back home with my own bed, my routine, and Mr. BF.

Over the past few days, I’ve been feeling particularly grateful for various things in my life, and none of them actually have to do with running. While I’ve taken some steps back in my marathon training, I’ve been able to spend a little more energy on all the other things that are great…and it’s pretty refreshing. Sometimes I can get really consumed with how much focus I put on running, and I tend to forget that there are actually so many different things I enjoy in life.

With that said, I’ve decided to make this round of Friday Favorites another Thankful edition. Because, you know, the universe needs some positive feedback…just like the rest of us.

With that said…

I’m thankful for my siblings

Visits to grandparents' house yields many trips down photo album memory lane. This gem is circa 1998.

My sister and brother are two of my favorite people in the whole world, and whenever we get to spend time together we fall right back into the wonderfully hysterical world of inside jokes, childhood recollection, and quoting old movies we’ve all seen 200 times. Sure, we have our share of banter like any other siblings, but there are few people I get along with more than these two people.

And with that said…

I’m thankful my brother will be going to school ten minutes away from me.

The picture of beauty: Waking up after two days in the desert without mirrors or showers. Obviously the internet deserves to see this.

Although just about every school in the country would be proud to have my brother in their freshman class, he’s decided to attend Seattle University next year…which is quite literally a ten minute drive from my house. I am ecstatic, to say the least, and I hope he is actually able to make real college friends because I plan on being the most clingy big sister/Seattle tour guide of all time. Kidding Scott…but am I?

I can’t wait.

I’m thankful for chocolate bagels.

Chocolate + carbohydrates + cream cheese. GET IN MY TUMMY.

There’s a bagel place in Pasadena, CA called Goldstein’s (I know, could you get more classic?) and my family has been going there since I was born. They are famous for these hunks of chocolate cake disguised as a bagel, and they are seriously one of the best foods on earth. They are dense, they are soft, they are not too sweet, and they are full of flavor. There is no one in my family who will deny the deliciousness of chocolate bagels, and I can guarantee my kids will be fed them as well. That is unless I decide to keep them all for myself, which is more likely.

I’m thankful for my knee getting better.

I’ve been feeling better every day, and although running isn’t feeling superb yet, each run is feeling incrementally better than the one before. I am hoping by next week I’ll be able to hit the road pain-free, and in the meantime I’m enjoying some therapeutic cross training sessions to make up for the lost time.

This mini break has helped settle my feelings about my spring marathon. I’ve come to terms with that fact that although it might not go as I’d hoped…there will be many more opportunities, and I’m grateful to just be able to still run in one (we’re hoping…)

I’m thankful for Anne Lamott

An English major's dream come true! Also, my Grammy is beautiful.

So I know some of you may have heard of Miss Anne Lamott, but you should check her out. She is one of my favorite authors, and I got the chance to hear her speak and “meet her” {take a picture with her for approximately 15 seconds} while on vacay. She’s one of the most honest, graceful, and heart-felt writers I’ve ever read, and if you’re at all in need of an inspiring read I recommend any of her books, particularly Traveling Mercies or Bird by Bird.*

Also, she signed the back of my Nook. Happiness.

*If you are interested in literature about writing, Bird by Bird is a must read! Seriously, drop whatever you’re doing and go buy, download, or borrow it asap!

I’m thankful for vacation, and I’m thankful for coming home.

Number of hours spent convincing mother to let my 18-year-old brother have a beer: 4. Number of hours spent drinking it: .1

Vacation time, I think we can all agree, is fantastic. Whether you’re on a lavish Hawaiian vacation drinking fancy mai tais, wearing a new sun dress, and watching the sun go down, or drinking a gin and soda water out of a paper cup, covered in dirt, and hiding your greasy hair under a baseball cap…there’s nothing quite like a relaxing break from a regular routine.

I’m thankful that my job allows me to take some time off, and I’m thankful that I have some wonderful people to spend this time with. My family is nothing sort of sensational, and I’m so grateful to be able to see them whenever I can. My grandparents, so lovingly, take our wild clan in with open arms…and I love every instant we all get to laugh and play together. Lots of laughing. It’s magic.

I am also thankful, though, that when I come home I have one of the best people to come back to.

BF, you were missed in the desert. Also, my tongue is longer than your's. Also, one of my eyes is seriously smaller than the other in this picture. Awkward.

Ya ya, this is where I get all sappy. But I am indeed very thankful that despite all the time we spend together, I still get all giddy and excited to see BF when I return home. In all relationships, I think allowing time to miss one another is healthy and important. Also, I think allowing BF some time to hang around our house without my incessant coming-and-goings, enthusiastic “Let’s go do everything!!!!” energy, and eye rolls at certain inappropriate comment might make him want to stick around a little longer. Right boy? Right?!

I’m thankful that I have not shaved my legs in a week.

No, no photo needed here. And yes, this admission might make BF delay coming home to see me, but I don’t really care. I am normally pretty diligent about my personal cleanliness, however on this trip I couldn’t really muster the energy to shave my legs, and I didn’t care whatsoever. It was refreshing, and sure you have ever might to question my feminity (I do all the time), but I’m proud of the fact that I really took the whole “vacation” thing to the next level.

Interesting, I just told the internet about my body hair.

I’m thankful that Easter is next weekend.

You've seen this image before. But it's still appropriate, and still delicious.

Even though I’ve been celebrating Easter by means of eating and purchasing mini eggs for the past month, I’m thankful that it will be here next weekend, and we’ll be able to really get spring going. I always think of Easter as the official start to the second part of spring, which means that my birthday is almost coming, and then summer is almost coming, and then the sun will be around and life will be warm and perfect. Okay, I’m not that glass-half-full, but I do love Easter and springtime.

Also, Easter means that BF will be DONE with his idiotic highly admirable abstaining from sweets. Which means that we can go on dessert trips once again, and I can start making cookies again.

You better believe that I have been a chocolate chip cookie wizard since I was a scrawny fifth grade tomboy.

So there you have it! A thanks to Ali for inspiring thankful thoughts every week, and I hope you all have spectacular weekends. I’m hoping to get in some kind of long run, and if nothing else I’m excited to reunite with my beautiful beach-front running path.

Now please tell me…what plans do you have this weekend? Racing? Vacationing? Lounging? What are you thankful for? Are you planning to load up on as much Easter candy before it’s gone from the shelves like I am? Do tell!

Friday Favorites: I love CAPSLOCK

Get psyched friends, it’s Friday…and not only that, but this weekend we will be setting our clocks forward and crawling our way out of the dark and dreary dregs(alliteration!) of winter.

Boo losing an hour of sleep!

YAY gaining daylight!

I think I speak for, well, everyone when I say that longer days means an overall increase in daily morale. Unless, of course, you are a vampire, an owl, or a serial killer who uses the cover of darkness to make their kills and throw their victims into the ocean, then I’m sorry for the whole daylight savings thing.

(If you’re mega creeped out by the above example, all I can say is you should start watching Dexter.)

And I KNOW I speak for runners when I say that longer days are AWESOME. It’s easier to get up in the morning for an early run, you have more time after work for a late run, and it’s just generally safer/more enjoyable to run when you can actually see things.

Suffice it to say, I was chipper when I woke up this morning— which happened not because of my alarm, but because there was daylight coming through the blinds. I hadn’t even set an alarm because today is a rest day, which is quite lovely. I’ve been hitting it fairly hard recently, and I’m basking in some R and R today, complete with a relaxing lunchtime yoga session later on.

Also, I have never, ever said “suffice it to say.” Not sure why that one popped out…

However, despite my merriment upon a having a chill morning filled with cuddling in my bed and listening to the birdies chirping outside, there is a looming thought that’s beating in the back of my head. It goes something like this.

22 miles.

Tomorrow, long run, 22 miles.

This was the longest mileage I trained to last round of marathon training, and so there’s a definite extreme feel to it. Funny, because next week I’ll “get” to go even further, but we’re not talking about that yet. I have a few goals for this run, all surrounding preparation for the real marathon deal. I’m experimenting with a dinner tonight that I think could be really good for pre-long run fuel, I’m setting a very specific minimum finish time, and I’m going to be trying out new mid-run fuel.

After having a potentially TMI conversation with my friends at the local running store, they hooked me up with some packs of goop that they think could help my sensitive digestive system. They’re called Power Bar Energy, and they’re a lot more liquidy than other gummies and gel, which apparently will help deplete the stomach cramping that every other fuel source tends to give me. Stayed tuned.

Okay, let’s move on to the real reason for Friday blogging shall we?

FAVORITES!

Magazine Day

I am obviously my most beautiful after long runs. Salt on my face and a smell being hidden inside a fleece. Mmmm. Right BF?

I think we can all agree that when you open your mailbox and you see the newest issue of a magazine inside, your day is instantly made. It sure beats getting endless credit card offers from various banks and pleads from your Alma Mater for alumnae money (Sorry UPS, but…really? LET ME PAY MY LOANS FIRST).

I get THREE magazine subscriptions, therefore the beginning of every month is normally riddled with happy mailbox days. Runner’s World day is the best, followed by Real Simple, with Women’s Health in third. I really love to hate that magazine. It always makes me angry, but I still resubscribe.

I digress.

Magazine Day is awesome, and it’s easily one of my favorite things.

Blueberry Bagels

I ate 75% of this bagel before calming down to take a picture. I would be a horrible food blogger.

My sister has adopted the saying “TGIB,” which I believe should probably be made into a bumper stickers. Bagels are really, really good. Anyone who disagrees is lying to themselves, or they haven’t done enough experimentation with all the wonderful varieties available.

I need no experimentation. In fact, my bagel order has remained the same since I had teeth to actually nom on a bagel. I have ordered a blueberry bagel with plain cream cheese and raspberry/strawberry jam since before I could even string sentences together. And it will forever remain my favorite order. A go-to staple that is the perfect combination of comfort food and Sunday ritual.

 

The Les Miserables Soundtrack

Okay, so this favorite should actually say Les Mis in all shapes and forms. It’s my favorite book of all time, and the musical is a part of my personal gospel. I adore everything about Les Mis, and recently I have taken to listening to the entire show while working. It’s fabulously entertaining, and it sends me through all the heartbreaking and empowering moments in the show. That said, I am elated because the traveling Broadway show has decided to come BACK to Seattle this summer after having such a successful show last year. I plan on dragging inviting my musical-hesitant-yet-culturally-experimental boyfriend this time, as I saw the show last summer and loved it all over again. You kill me Javert, every time.

-Ellen, and more specifically: Ellen “on” The Bachelor

I really, really love Ellen. Her comedy, her talk show, and her general sense of humor is just spot-on hilarious to me. Ellen should be a Friday Favorite all on her own. In fact, she might pop up again. However this week, this video wins the favorite spot. I will never actually put The Bachelor on my favorites list….yes because I’m ashamed, but mainly because it’s not an authentic favorite. It’s a guilty pleasure that I hate to love (different than love to hate, mind you), mainly because it’s fun to talk about with my fellow watchers. I gave up this crap for YEARS people, why has it dragged me back in??? I’m hoping this is a one season fluke, but who even knows what the intrigue of free On-Demand will bring about.

Anyway, Ellen does a fantastic job of playfully mocking this show without totally poo-pooing it like every other non-watcher does. And, you know, if Ellen is willing to talk about The Bachelor…it makes me feel better about myself for giving into it. Oh, and my mom watches (sorry Ma, I’m outing you) therefore again…my conscious is slightly less burdened.

That’s all for favorites for today! Post was getting wordy, that never happens right?

Happy Weekend-ing!

What are your favorite things? Weekend plans? Long run? Hot yoga? Jager Bombs?

Friday Favorites: Chocolate Eggs and Little Spoons

Not to mimic the probable ranting of everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter, but seriously…

TGI friggin’ F

This week has felt super long, and I haven’t been this ready for the weekend in a long time. Also, while I’m normally all jazz-hands and sunshine on Fridays, today I’m feeling a little blah. Not too great, not too bad…just sort of mediocre.

Which I hate. As someone who gets kicks out of the simplest things in life (free cookie samples! dogs playing fetch! a cute baby sighting!) mediocrity and I do not get along well.

However, it is in fact Friday, which means that some acknowledgment of my Favorite Things is in order.

Fun Fact: I recently discovered that “Friday Favorites” was not in fact the work of my oh-so-inventive imagination, and actually—just about every blogger and their moms do Friday Favorites (Speaking of, mother—what are your favorite things today?). I actually really enjoyed learning about this, because I think these communal favorite-filled posts create a cyber vortex of internet positive energy.

Happiness is infectious people, it’s science.

Anyways, before I get into some Favorite Things, I’ll update you on my Eugene 2012 training, as well as my 2012 miles goal:

Eugene: I don’t really know what “week” I’m in, but this particular week of training is actually a cut-back week in terms of long-run mileage. My run this Sunday will be 16 or so miles, as I get ready to amp up next week for an over 20-miler. I am allowing myself to get passed Sunday before I go into anxiety-mode over that one.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m being a little more intentional about my goals for each run in terms of my speed, and although I’m Garmin-less (which would make this endeavor much more legit) I’m finding that my Timex and runningmap.com are working just fine.

2012 Miles: This was originally a “just for fun” goal, but I’m realizing it requires some serious tracking! I normally log my miles in the very official location known as my brain, so I think I’m going to have to start logging somewhere like Daily Mile or even just a planner so I can stop doing long math equations over and over. However, the results are in!

Miles Run in 2012: 373.65

Percentage of Goal: 18.57%

Percentage of Year Over: 16.93%

Hoorah! Still on track. Now, I need to actually get some official recording devices. You people and your fancy things…I don’t know how you do it.

Okay, I’m done with numbers…my right brain has had enough. Time for Friday Favorites! Ready….GO

Trader Joe’s

The sun shines for TJs, even when it's raining throughout the rest of Seattle.

Not to get totally stereotypical young-adult-in-Seattle on you, but I really can’t help myself. I adore Trader Joe’s. Anyone who’s familiar can relate; everything from the free samples every time I go in to the insanely low prices for the unique, natural, and fantastic food selections just drives me wild about this place. I go out of my way to grocery shop here (not every time I shop, of course) and it always feels like an occasion.

GO TJS!

 

 

Cadbury Mini Eggs

So, I recently had a bit of a battle royale over Facebook about the debate between Cadbury Mini Eggs and their goo-filled counterparts, Cadbury Creme Eggs. Amusingly, the two people who shunned me the most for choosing the Mini Eggs over the Creme ones were Anna, my best friend, and BF, my…well, you get it.

There may be some domestic disputes erupting shortly, but I’ll hold my ground. These little chocolate eggs are SO much better than the creme eggs. Not that I dislike the creme ones necessarily, but there’s something a little off to me about “creme” that’s been sitting inside something for a likely exceedingly long period of time. Side Note: “Cream” is actually the correct spelling for non-artificial, honest-to-goodness milk cream. I bet you are PSYCHED you know that now.

Also, you can eat more of these little eggs due to their size and packaging, so obviously that makes them better.

Small Silverware

Please note, this is a dramatization.

I have a confession to several restaurants out there: If you are missing some of your miniature silverware, it’s because it is currently sitting in my utensil drawer.

I am in love with cute little flatware, and I use it as frequently as I can. My “little spoon” (as she is so creatively and affectionately named) gets washed more than anything else I own because of her ample usage. I’m someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of eating slowly or pacing myself on a meal, so another benefit of my little friends is that they sort of force me to at least somewhat control my bite sizes.

And yes, I do use proper pronouns when referring to my possessions.

And before you call the Seattle Police Department, I really have only taken three items from restaurants. Wait, four. But once I have a little knife, I’ll be done with my thievery.

Until then, the hunt is on…

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Now that's a hot blonde.

I have to give accolades to this new brew that you have inevitably heard all the hype about already. While I don’t like super sweet coffee, I do think that when coffee is too strong it tastes like dirt—therefore when my customary drink (a soy cafe au lait) is made with a really bitter roast, I huff and puff a bit about how my coffee is ruined.

The blonde roast, however, guarantees a drinkable cup o’ joe for me, and I’m thankful to have something I can count on.

 

 

Glee’s Version of the Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”

So, I actually thought I had previously favorited the original version of this song, and apparently that’s not true. Just so K.Clarkson knows, I adore the original version and think it’s insanely empowering—and I love the fact that Glee decided to cover it with an all-female ensemble.

Girl power is a wonderful thing. Go Glee. Go Kelly.

Alright people, what are your favorite things this week? Long run plans for the weekend? Exciting plans for the weekend? Tell me please!!

Friday Favorites, with a Thankful Twist.

I am riding a wave of overall excitement heading into this weekend. There really isn’t anything particular that’s given me this merry kick-in-the-butt, but I’m loving it—and hopefully you aren’t scared off by my inevitable cheerful banter to come.

Sorry, but actually—I’m not sorry.

I’m generally feeling very thankful recently, and I am a firm believer that a little bit of gratitude goes a long way. Gratitude humbles us, it relieves the stresses of every day life, and it helps us realize that despite all else, we really do have it pretty good.

That’s why this week, for Friday Favorites—I’d like to do a little bit of a spin on my weekly round-up of wonderful things. As inspired by the weekly tradition of one of my favorite running bloggers, Ali on the Run, I’m going to recount some things I’m thankful for recently. It is kind of in the same light as my favorite things, but this week I’m vying to offer up some genuine thanks for some awesome things in my life.

On that note…

I’m thankful for faulty weather reports.

Inaccurate! Hooray!

Wednesday had the promise of rain written all over it throughout the entire day. I was pouty because I was planning on/needed to run that day, and although I have handled the rain before—many times in fact—I was resounding myself to the fate of the treadmill. Alas, no rain came.

And in fact, the weather forecast could not have been more wrong. Apparently “gusts of wind with a 90% chance of rain” actually means “50 degrees and a lovely, windless sunset.” I merrily covered 8 miles in 64 minutes and relished in the weather people’s incompetence for the day.

I’m thankful for the first signs of spring!

I am a liliac! And I smell good! And I'm not a cold, dead tree!

Last week I was on a really early morning run, and all of a sudden a waft of something glorious filled my nose. Because I’m used to the smells of the steel mill and exhaust from the ferries, this took me by surprise. Lo and behold, there were lilac blossoms making their way out of their winter cocoons!

It’s so exciting to see the first buds surfacing for springtime, and coupled with the daylight that has extended both in the morning and at night, I would say we are making our way out of winter folks! Yesterday morning, I was outside at 7 am and I could see everything! It was miraculous!! I think it’s funny how we forget just how light it gets in the summer when we’ve surrendered to the darkness of winter, and vice versa.

Welcome spring, I cordially welcome you to the Pacific Northwest.

I am thankful for homemade trail mix.

chocolate and coconut are totally good for you when you blend them with nuts and fruit

You are looking at the snack that I now have nearly every afternoon. Almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, cranberries, and raisins. I love trail mix, but I never buy it, and then I discovered this groundbreaking idea of combining ingredients I already have in my cabinet to form my own custom made trail mix! Innovation is the name of my game people.

Well okay, maybe not, but I am psyched to have welcomed this fantastic new snack friend into my culinary repertoire.

Note: I have no repertoire, which is why I find joy in simple, new food discoveries.

 

I am thankful for rest days.

This morning, I made the spur-of-the-moment, matter-of-fact decision that today was going to be a rest day. If you regularly read this blog (thanks for doing so, by the way!), you know that I love doing something active nearly every day, and rest days and I don’t normally get along. They stress me out, and I normally prolong having them as much as I can. (This is a fault, please don’t follow this lead.)

But, this morning I woke up at 5:30 am with the plan of going to spin, and my body simple said, “No.” I was feeling a little sore and achy, my head hurt, and due to the heavy exercise-filled weekend I have ahead, I decide to front load it all with a little R&R. I have 20 miler number two coming up tomorrow and a super fun but super long spin session on Sunday, therefore I felt it was best to sleep in, rest up, and focus on hydration.

Good decisions, Robyn. And although I know by the afternoon I’ll be vying to pound some pavement, I’m glad I made the decision to make today a sweat-free day.

I’m thankful for cute dogs. Particularly, golden doodles.

Hey little guy, I know I'm a creeper discreetly trying to photograph you while walking down the sidewalk so your owner won't see, but will you please let me pet you and give me your doodle-filled kisses?

Of this I am sure: I will own a golden doodle. I am quite frankly obsessed with them, and it’s gotten to a point where I will stop in my tracks if I see one so I can say hi (see photo above). There are the perfect combination of fluffiness, sportiness, and cuddliness (WOW, I am 7 years old), and I’ve never really wanted another dog more than these bundles of love.

For now though, I will enjoy walking up to strangers and asking them to pet their doggies. Or, stealthily photographing people’s dogs while they obliviously buy their coffee in Starbucks. That’s not weird, right? Oh ya, it is.

 

LOOK AT THAT HEAD!

Prepare to hear more about golden doodles. I can’t help it.

 

Lastly, I am thankful for blogging. I am so grateful to have a place to come to where I can write out my thoughts on running and life. I feel like my love for writing has heightened, and I can’t say I’ve learned more about myself as a runner as I have through writing down my progress, regressions, and goals. Thank you for allowing me to share this true love of mine with you. I am thankful for you, dear reader.

 

NOW YOU! What are you thankful for today? What are your favorite things?