Tag Archives: kara goucher

Eugene Marathon Race Recap

Something funny happens when you finally experience something that you’ve been thinking about and dreaming about for a long time: it doesn’t feel real.

That’s how I feel today about Sunday’s race. Because although I definitely felt the build-up, the pain, and the joy of it at the time, I’m still having a hard time internalizing that it happened. 

And it did happen…that moment that I’ve been focusing on and training toward for months and months; it’s actually a reality.

Spoiler alert:

CaptureSo while it might not have totally sunk in yet, I’m so happy that today I can announce that I did indeed qualify for Boston!

This race had the quintessential makings of a marathon experience: the adrenaline-filled, blissful first half, the scary and lonely middle miles, a head first slam into the wall, and a finish line that felt like the best place in the world.

Let’s go back to the beginning:

I was really confident in my training going into this race. I felt as if I had done everything I could, and I knew that unless disaster struck, I would have a pretty good shot at my goals.

BF and I did a little shake out 4-miler on Saturday, and we headed to the expo which helped crank up my excitement.

There was a little caveat though in terms of my race prep that had me worried. On Thursday night, I slept really poorly, as I did again on Friday night thanks to a late night of driving down to Oregon. Now, I think we all know that the golden rule of marathoning is that you want to get a lot of sleep the night before race eve, as a restless sleep is pretty much a given on the night before any race. So, on Saturday I was already worn out from the two nights before, and couldn’t stop thinking about how important it was that I sleep well that night.

And guess what? When you think about sleep, particularly on a night before you attempt a huge running goal, there is no possible way you can fall asleep. And that’s exactly what happened to me. Despite my fatigue, I spent hours awake attempting every trick in the book to wind down and shut off my brain. When my 5:30 alarm went off, I knew there was no way I had slept more than 3 hours…all of which was in 20 minute increments. Not exactly comforting.

But, I couldn’t do anything about it. And despite feeling exhausted, the race day hype kicked in like clockwork, and I was excited to get going.

I got to the start line in plenty of time for a porta-potty stop and good corral placement. I even managed to see Lora at the start! I was really impressed with the set-up and general energy of the starting area, especially that it was right outside of Hayward field where we would eventually end up.

After the National Anthem was sung and a moment of silence was held for Boston (so beautiful and powerful), it was only a matter of minutes before they let our corral cross the start line. And off we went!

Despite a gradual uphill start, I was filled with energy from the crowds and the general atmosphere. I really internalized that I was in track town, running a marathon, and striving for a goal that felt unattainable just a year ago. Needless to say, I clocked in a wee bit too fast:

Mile 1: 7:36

I knew I needed to buckle in, get it together, and run the race I planned out. I didn’t want to regret going too fast, so I spent a good amount of time in the first few miles getting to an 8 minute pace. I don’t like looking at my watch so often, but in races, I’ve found that a lot of my pacing instincts are thrown off.

Mile 2: 7:55

Mile 3: 8:01

I ran into Sarah just before mile 4, who stood out immediately in her bridal running outfit. She was running the half and gave me some good words of encouragement. Thanks Sarah!

Mile 4: 8:03

Mile 5: 7:49

The “hill” that was promised at mile 4 was barely anything to worry about, and there was a very nice downhill for a while afterward. I try to use downhills to my advantage as much as possible, so I forgave the quicker paces that were showing up.

Mile 6: 7:53

Mile 7: 7:58

Still, I needed to focus on the “slower start” I had promised myself I’d stick to. I knew another hill was coming up in mile 8, which would obviously help.

I saw my cheer squad for the first time also around 7.5, which is where I took my first few Honey Stingers as well. I loved seeing them, and I knew seeing them later on during the race was going to be really helpful. It certainly added that they were wearing these shirts:

My family surprised me with Run Birdie Run shirts!

Surprise! Run Birdie Run shirts!

Mile 8: 7:56

Mile 9: 8:04

Side note: The “hills” in this race aren’t anything to worry about. If you train with hills even a little bit, you wouldn’t bat an eye at this course.

By this point, we were leaving the cute Eugene neighborhoods and heading toward the river. We passed by Hayward and I caught a glimpse of the enormous sign that read: “Believe in the Power of the Run.”

Track town, you cut me right to the core.

I knew we would be splitting from the half-ers around mile 10, and I mentally prepared myself to get into the marathon zone. It’s those middle miles that can feel scary and daunting, so I tried to psych myself up for them.

Mile 10: 7:57

Mile 11: 8:02

Mile 12: 7:55

I was leap-frogging back and forth with a few runners, but it felt like we were pulling each other along instead of competing. Around this point, a shirtless dude with the shortest shorts I’ve ever seen starting matching me stride-for-stride, and it was obvious he wanted to share a pace. Alrighty sir, let’s do it.

Mile 13: 8:00

I LOVE reaching the halfway point in marathons. Mentally, I start to count down instead of up, and I was feeling pretty good at this point as well, which was encouraging. I had clocked just under a 1:44 half, which made me think that a sub 3:30 might be possible.

Miles 13-17 were probably the least memorable for me. They were in a lonely, residential area that was a little boring. I remembered getting to mile 17 and thinking, “Less than 10 to go!” which helped. I was definitely starting to feel tired at this point, and by tired I mean literally…I could have curled up on the side of the road and fallen asleep.

Mile 14: 7:53

Mile 15: 7:55

Mile 16: 7:49

Mile 17: 7:55

My legs were feeling pretty good, although my right leg was doing a strange thing that it had done on a few training runs where my glute, hamstring, calf, and even foot all got tight. Not painful, just tight. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t run through, but it definitely reminded me that I was running a marathon. We were on a beautiful path along the river at this point, which helped mix up the race and kept things interesting.

Mile 18: 8:00

Mile 19: 8:00

I saw my family again during mile 18, which provided another boost. More Honey Stingers, and my mom ran with me a few paces to check in. I admitted to her that I felt tired, and she reminded me to slow down if I needed to. No worries Ma, I had been thinking that same thing.

It was comforting to know that I’d gained a lot of time in terms of running under 3:35. While I always love the idea of negative splitting, sometimes in the marathon you need to go with the flow and let your body do the talking, so I gave in and let myself slow down a little bit. And much to my dismay, at mile 20, that horrible iPod Shuffle voice came on and said, “Battery low,” which elicited more than a few four-letter words. Probably the worst timing. So I shut it off, saving the final dregs of battery for the end.

Mile 20: 8:02

Mile 21: 8:10

I could feel the pain creeping in, and while it didn’t feel all-consuming yet, I knew it was going to be a long final 5 miles.

“But it’s only 5 more miles! You almost always run further than that on average days.”

Those were the kind of thoughts I kept trying to get in my head, but unfortunately there were other voices shouting a bit louder.

Just before mile 22, the familiar dark feeling from Tacoma last year started the veer its ugly head. I had a hard time telling if it was actually the same type of pain as last year or just the bad memories that got me so unnerved, but either way, I did everything I could to remind myself to be smart. I allowed myself a 5 second walk break to get my bearings, and then pressed on.

Mile 22: 8:24

At this point, my legs were toasted. My feet felt hot, and it didn’t help that the temperature was rising. I stuck to the shady parts of the path as much as I could and dumped water under my hat at the water stations. Most of the fatigue was in my head, which I instinctively knew was from having not slept the night before. I saw my family again at 22, which certainly helped, but I didn’t like the idea of them seeing me in such a bad space.

Apparently though, I hid it well. BF started running with me for a bit and said I looked great, which was nearly impossible for me to believe- but I took it as a sign that my body was doing better than my head.

Mile 23: 8:28

Admittedly, it was comforting to know that I could run up to 10 minute miles and still come in under 3:35. I had already resolved that I would have a huge positive split, and that was okay. As much pain as I was in, it kind of humored me to think, “Oh, this is why the marathon is so hard. This is what the wall feels like, huh? I get it now.”

But, I knew that with such a big goal, a goal that was far below my current PR, this race was going to take a fight. So I fought. The miles felt so incredibly slow. The 8:30 pace I was holding felt like a 7 minute pace, and I could feel every single incline and decline in the road.

Around this point, I spotted Lauren up ahead, who I’d already seen twice earlier cheering like a champ. She started running alongside me and asked how I felt, which I fully admitted to feeling horrible. She gave a lot of words of encouragement,  including offering to continue running with me. While I was incapable of expressing it or realizing it at the time, this was a huge save for me. She distracted me and kept me going when all I wanted to do was stop. I took another short walk break, and as slow as they were…the miles kept going.

Mile 24: 8:39

Mile 25: 8:49

It was excruciating at this point. I felt like my head was crushed into tunnel vision, and it took everything I had to keep the BQ goal in sight. Seeing Hayward come into view was helpful, and while I was still battling the ghost of Tacoma Marathon past, I knew I was stronger this time around. Lauren was a game-changer, and I cannot begin to thank her enough for pulling me through those final miles.

She dropped me right before the entrance to Hayward, where I was greeted with a huge Oiselle cheer group of familiar faces which helped get me excited.

Mile 26: 9:03

Coming into Hayward was surreal. It was something that I’d been envisioning for so long it didn’t even feel real. I was in so much pain, but so happy to be done. It’s actually a little hard for me to remember since I was so foggy and tired at the time, but when I heard my name on the loud speaker and saw the 3:32 on my watch, all those dreadful and slow miles melted away.

Photo courtesy of BF.

Photo courtesy of BF.

I’d done it. I held my hand over my heart and raised my hand in the air. Boston, that was for you.

It was so relieving to be done. I was a little off kilter once I crossed the finish line, so a volunteer helped support me a little bit. I got my medal, got my bearings, and headed toward the finisher’s chute. I immediately felt nauseated and steered clear of the food they were offering. I wanted so badly to sit down, actually to lay down, but I knew I needed to keep walking. I have never felt so sick after a race, which was annoying considering all I wanted to do was celebrate, and I knew I needed to find my people.

BF was on the hunt for me, and we spotted each other pretty quickly. Not too long after, I joined up with the rest of my crew, and after a few minutes of my hands on my knees and some deep breathing, I started to feel a bit better and the accomplishment started to register.

image

The whole crew!

The whole crew!

It’s funny how pain can mask other emotions so much. Of course all I wanted to do at the finish line was cry tears of joy and relish the feeling that I’d accomplished my goal, so it’s a little disheartening that hitting the wall so hard took away a bit from that.

However, my wonderful support crew helped draw me back into the light. We visited the foam rollers they had available in a tent (quite convenient), hung out on the turf, and eventually made our way out.

image

Granddad and me...perhaps my new favorite picture.

Granddad and me…perhaps my new favorite picture.

After a heavenly shower and a change into flip lops and stretch pants, I started to feel like myself again. My appetite was no where to be found, my legs were completely shot, and my arm was chafed to the point of a scar, but I knew that it was all worth it. There’s something incredible that happens at the end of a marathon. You are stripped of every last defense and ounce of strength inside of you, and yet you still manage to do what your body and brain are both fighting against. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to hurt. It’s the fight against the pain that makes the marathon so mighty.

And in the end, I don’t care that I had a 4 minute positive split. I don’t care that I can’t walk down stairs today, and I certainly don’t care that I lost so much sleep over this race. I did exactly what I came to Eugene to do, and the reality that I nabbed my BQ is settling in more and more every minute.

And truth be told, something as great and as honorable as running the Boston marathon, especially next year, shouldn’t be easy. It supposed to be earned, to be fought for, and it took a good kick in the butt Sunday for me to truly realize what that honor is all about.

Another new favorite.

Another new favorite.

I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for your words of support and encouragement. This community is filled with an unbelievable kinship, and on Sunday I was reminded once again of how proud I am to call myself a runner. A big congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend! I hope you all celebrated well and are resting properly.

If you need me, I’ll be with my chocolate and my pillow. Probably wearing my medal.

Thanks Eugene! You proved your legacy ten-fold. And here’s hoping that next year’s spring race takes place in another legendary place, on a different coast 🙂

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How I Got to Chicago and Finished the Race

…I took a bunch of steroids.

No, that’s not true.

First things first: some stolen race photos, because heaven knows I will never buy these.

Put me in coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloves are off…I think I can, I think I can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

getting closer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh wait, this is hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love everyone and everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a number of others, all pretty ugly typical race photos—but the theme is really that I’m smiling in almost all of them. Call me a photo whore, but truthfully I didn’t see most of the cameras along the way. I just had that fan-effing-tastic of a race.

Moving on.

I want to talk a bit about the steps I took in order to both a) get myself to the race and b) finish it. I consider myself lucky that I was able to race after a month of injury, and I do think that some good fortune fell into play in regard to my run-ability. (That, and some very powerful wishful thinking/begging the run gods for a break).

However, there were some very deliberate things I did both pre- and during taper to ensure that I would be able to make it to the finish line last Sunday.

Going into taper was really tricky. I’d only been running a week since taking two full weeks off from running—and now I was supposed to cut down as much as possible. As much as I wanted to run to build my confidence to get through the race—I knew that there were no physical benefits that could come from too much running during taper, so I played it safe. In essence, I did exactly what I would have in a regular taper schedule. Here’s how it looked:

Taper Schedule (Sunday-Saturday):

S: 75 minute yoga

M: 5 m slow run

T: 60 min swim

W: 4 m slow run

T: 60 m swim

F: REST

S: 2.5 m shake out with 3, 30-min strides.

This schedule worked perfectly for me. It was enough activity to keep me from feeling too restless, but it lacked a lot of impact—which is exactly what my legs and ankle needed before taking on a marathon.

In addition to the workouts, I rolled my legs essentially every night—like painful rolling. After Thursday night, I stuck to gentler stretching, but I wanted to make sure that all week I worked out any lingering knots.

I also iced my ankle 2-ish times a day, no matter what. When an injury doesn’t hurt (as my ankle didn’t during taper week), it’s really easy to neglect recovery efforts—but I made sure to keep icing even though there wasn’t any noticeable pain.

I also wore my compression socks around the house whenever possible, and wore them on the plane en route to Chicago.

These things, I believe, all really helped in having a successful race—but perhaps the bigger factors were the way I ran the race and the time I took off when I got hurt.

Having a marathon in sight helped me to buckle down in terms of not pushing it with my injury. Like other runners, I’m prone to working out through an injury (which more often than not makes it worse). Of course, I should never do this—but I think that having a race on the horizon forced me to recognize that R&R were the only means of getting to Chicago. So rest I did, and look at that—I finished, PR’ed, and had the best time—without any ankle pain.

This injury was obviously less serious than others, certainly, which helped with recovering in time for the race—but I’m really trying to take a hint from this experience: if there is one thing that heals an injury, it’s rest.

I hope other runners can see this as a case study of sorts on how rest is a big part of getting you toward your running goals.

It’s not just about the perfect tempos, the multiple 20 milers, or the weekly yoga.

Let’s take a look back: My last 20 miler before Chicago was on August 25, 6 weeks before Chicago. I completely took off 2 weeks of running during what should have been “peak” weeks, and I didn’t run over 12 miles in the month before the race. In other words, the odds were not stacked in my favor.

I’ll stop soon I promise, but I’m reiterating these points to remind everyone that a missed workout, missed mile, or a missed pace goal during marathon training is not the big deal we make it out to be. Sure, it’s not advisable to miss too many workouts or long runs, but I’m realizing there’s way too much stress put on the day-to-day specifics.

It’s just running. When we remove all the accessories that distract us from the simplicity of this sport (gels, garmins, BQs, Yasso 800s, fartleks, rollers, barefoot, not-barefoot, Dean Karnasez, etc.) all of a sudden it becomes a lot more manageableAll those extra things are important, but they are really just details. Kara Goucher has a great quote that puts it in perspective:

“Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.”

This is how I approached Chicago. All I cared about was feeling the run—enjoying it for the simple act it is, an act I love so very much.

By ridding myself of the stress of perfect training and specific goals, my ankle decided to cooperate with the “go with the flow” mentality and lasted all 26.2 miles in fine condition.

It took me a while to get to this place, have no doubt. I had a lot of anxiety the week before the race about finishing, getting re-injured, etc. It was also very, very hard for me to let go of goals for this race. Admittedly, I know I could have gone sub 3:35 without the training malfunctions—which stings a little. But honestly, I don’t know if a BQ would have felt as good as this “no-goal” race did. By running for the fun of it and instead of obsessing over splits, I remembered just how magical the simple act of running can be.

So am I suddenly a goal-less, no Garmin, hippie runner? Absolutely not. In fact, I have goals that I’m itching to get started on. More on Monday 🙂

However, I’ve realized that running for the love of it can sometimes get you to the finish line just as easily as a flawless 22 miler. Okay, maybe I am turning into more of a hippie, but I truly hope that in a sport that’s full of specifics and details—the basics of putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the ride isn’t lost on you.

Perhaps my favorite race tee yet.

If you couldn’t already tell, a lot of what I write on this blog is as much for myself as for my readers. So I appreciate you reading my somewhat stream-of-consciousness style of blogging.

Maybe someday I’ll have an agenda or a means of drafting my posts. But for now, these self-therapy sessions will have to do. Thanks for sticking around 🙂

Happy Friday!

Mulan music, weekend things, and GOTR love

Why have I not used “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” as my pump up song for every race I’ve ever done EVER???

This is such a no brainer, and when it came on my Pandora station mid-shower yesterday, I decided that it will now be my pre-race anthem forever.

Sure, the title/lyrics of the song are a bit sexist—and by a bit I mean a lot—but in the end, Mulan proves that being a WOMAN is not only good enough—it’s better. So take that.

{Glee Cast radio was the station, in case you’re wondering how you too can hear such an epic song}

Ready for the most random post of your life?

Okay, good.

I just have too many things I want to talk about, but none of them are really worthy of a singular post. Is anything I write really worthy of publication though? Whatever, you’re here…right?

Cool. So, to start out, I want to give some snapshots of last weekend, as it was spent in my most favorite place on Earth with some of my most favorite people on Earth. And I say “some of” because Kate Winslet, Kara Goucher, and T. Swift all couldn’t make it. Next time, girls.

[An aside…I’m obsessed with Kara Goucher. I love Shalane and Desi too, but there’s something about Kara that I just adore. It’s probably the fact that her son Colt is the cutest thing in the world (and he’s probably already faster than me), and Kara’s a runner who isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability. You go KG. And on that note… Runner’s World, why the f didn’t you send me the cover with Kara on it this month? I didn’t want semi-creepy-looking-though-still-fast-as-shit Ryan Hall, which you decided to send me instead.]

Where were we? Oh yes…my weekend.

My brother Scott, my cousin Lily, BF, and myself

In a nutshell, I jammed as much as I could into the 36 hours I spent with my family at our summer house. Some highlights include:

A trail run with BF. We tackled 6.5 miles and some serious rolling hills of a gorgeous forest trail. It’s my favorite trail run in the world, mind you, which admittedly isn’t saying much—because I think I’ve run about 3 different trails in my life. Still, it’s spectacular and it’s actually the trail that inspired me to run outside more years ago. And I’m still tallying…but the mosquito bite count for this run alone is at about 2,500 right now.

No, you’re right, this is not a picture applicable to trail running.

Swimming with my Granddad. If there was a lifetime fitness award, it would go to my Granddad. He has been a consistent exerciser his entire life, and even now at the age of 79—he still manages to get out there. Since the only swimming he can do at our summer house is on the lake (aka, open water) I joined him to both try out my own open water abilities and play lifeguard.

Waving from the raft!

I also remembered that I’m terrified of swimming in open water and should probably practice that.

Beach sunset followed by ice cream. Do I really need to explain this one? Here are some photos to prove myself:

Oregon coast love ❤

16 mile long run followed by blueberry pancakes. Emphasis here on the blueberry pancakes…I credit them with my willingness to get the run over with. I’m convinced if you imagine delicious post-run food awaiting you the second you’re done, you’ll actually run faster.

This would, however, not work with imagining a Whey 1000 Maxx Green Soy TurboCharged 50mg protein smoothie. At least…not for me. No. Long run refueling needs to be solid, real food…and while I personally kind of suck at making pancakes, my Uncle Dave is a pro and it was his promise of hot cakes that got me through the hills on Sunday morning. And sorry, there is no photo available as I was too focused on expediting consumption instead of developing my food blogger resume.

This is how close people will get to you for post run photos. It’s okay Uncle Dave, your pancakes make up for it.

Oh yea, back to the whole long run highlight.

I tend to go on food digressions, in case that’s news to you.

Anyway, I ran long, which I was happy about, and it wasn’t too tedious, although the terrain was never really flat the entire time.

Talk about a hilly course. There really wasn’t an alternative though, and in the grand scheme of things—testing my flatlander legs out on some real elevation changes will benefit me in the long run…long run meaning Chicago, which is all flat. I can actually draw their elevation chart for you:

start_______________________________________________________finish

-Wakeboarding. On Friday I said that I needed to redeem myself for my massive face injury that occurred the last time I wakeboarded. And although I was a bit nervous at first, I eventually got into my groove and claimed my redemption over that little board.

Look ma, I still have both my cheeks!

Impressed with how much I was able to accomplish in 36 short hours? Yes me too…BUT when I need to capitalize on time, I make it happen. And the good news is I’ll be heading back this weekend for more lake fun, family fun, and pancake fun.

Although round two of a 6 hour car ride there and back isn’t exactly awesome…

Good thing I capture the on-goings of these road trips:

This is me, in the car. No I will not photograph my ice cream, but I will document the most boring moments of my life for you to see.

To finish up this random post, let me show you what was waiting for me when I returned home Sunday night.

I was giddy with excitement and totally unsuspecting that GOTR would send such wonderful goodies!! I’m actually not sure if the top they sent is supposed to be worn for the actual race, so that’s yet to be determined, but you can bet your britches that I’ll be using every last thing they sent.

What are britches? Are they pants? Underwear? Can someone tell me why I use outdated expressions that I don’t even understand?

A big THANK YOU to GOTR for showing me, and all other Solemates, so much love. It makes me feel even better about raising money for them.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, what a wonderful transition for me to probe you to donate!!!

If you want to learn about my fundraising efforts for Girls on the Run while training for the Chicago Marathon, check out my page here.

If you feel inspired to donate, I will love you forever, as will thousands of excited little girls all around the country.

So, if this were a school essay and it had come time to write a conclusion, I would now realize that this post was about 10,000 different things, and I was probably going to get a D on my essay.

But this isn’t school, it’s blogging—my blog to be exact—and in this world, I think the more haphazard, the better.

I also don’t know why I am continually justifying my lack of continuity today. I don’t care, you don’t care, I’m done.

Oh, and as for the CIM decision…not telling, YET.

Do you have a pre-race pump up song?

What’s your favorite post long run breakfast?

I love a huge bowl of oatmeal 

Is there an age that’s too old to have Glee and Disney music on your iPod?

If your answer is anything but, “NO! NEVER!” kindly get off my blog.

Perspective

Did I blog yesterday? No.

Was I going to blog yesterday? Yes.

So what happened? Well, consider my lack of communication an act of sparing readers from my down-in-the-dumps-ness. Yes, that makes sense.

You see, I had big plans for some positivity, some weekend recap, and some random banter. However, life chose to thwart that plan a bit—and alas, my ability to even fake happiness yesterday was completely zapped away. I didn’t feel I should divulge my feelings to the Internet, so I decided to follow the mantra that Mom always says, “It will be better in the morning.”

And you know what? It is. Sure, things are still pretty damn crappy, but thanks to my unavoidable optimistic hard-wiring, I’m feeling about 700% better than yesterday. And heavily caffeinated, which is a staple in the RB recipe book of creating a good mood.

But let’s back track a bit. Because despite my resentment toward the shit that’s gone down, I cannot leave you hanging like that. Note that I am wary about reporting personal, non-injury related bad news on my blog, however this isn’t so private. So, onward.

On Sunday, BF, my friend Anna, and I were headed east to do some hiking. BF was driving my car, while Anna and I followed in her own. To make a long story short, BF started going 30 on the highway, pulled over, we screwed around with some engine starting and stopping, and it was concluded that we needed to get the car towed. We still managed to get in our hike thanks to Anna’s vehicle, but at the end of the day BF and I spent our evening getting my beloved Glinda settled at an auto repair shop in West Seattle.

Gooooooooood times.

(Side note: AAA can see right through it when you try to get a membership after you need their services. In summary, get AAA before you need them—it’s worth it.)

Anyway, yesterday I went back to the auto shop with some high hopes for a simple, fixable, not-too-expensive diagnosis for my poor car.

Can you see where this is going?

Take the opposite of those high hopes, and that’s exactly what the mechanic got to tell me.

Essentially, my car needs a new engine, which including the labor involved in installing it, is going to come to oh just a little bit less than I initially paid for the car. Super duper fun times.

So, after a lot of discussion over what to do (you know how those conversations always need to happen in crappy car situations), I decided to bite the very expensive bullet and get my car fixed. It’s really, really not an ideal situation—but that was the best decision to make, and so all I can is move forward.

Other than feeling really bad for my car (she’s my baby!) and being pissed at the blow to my bank account, I was mostly just sad for all the things I wouldn’t be able to do/would need to put on hold due to this super inconvenient circumstance.

In truth, I was really just feeling sorry for myself. I spent most of yesterday alternating between crying and racking up a list of all the things I need to currently buy, pay off, and save for that will have to go to the back burner.

You know, because adding up all those things was really going to make me feel better about the whole thing.

It was a pity party to say the least, and while I’m still wallowing over the set-backs this will undoubtedly produce—the truth is, these things happen…and it’s going to be okay.

Sure, it sucks, and as a young 20-something I’m not exactly the most equipped person to handle the financial blow of it all. But, it really is all about perspective.

I might not be able to buy the road bike I’ve been planning on for a little while longer, but you know what? I’m still healthy, I’m still clothed, I’m still fed (a lot), and I’m going to be fine. There are many people who would have had to cut their losses completely in a scenario like this. And with that said, there are many people who don’t even have a car—nor the means of retaliating from a situation like this. When I can shift my perspective in that regard, it makes the whole scenario a lot more manageable.

Am I going to be paying an extra, hefty monthly bill for a while? Yes. But, it’s not the end of the world.

When I began realizing that this situation is only going to be as severe as I make it, I began to draw the same parallel to my lingering injury. The fact is, I’m still in pain, I’m still not feeling like I’ll be long running for a while, and I’m still in and out of very pissy moods about this whole thing. However, when I can pull out my better-self and think about this injury in the grand scheme of things, much like my car, it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal.

I can’t run right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t run again. I know I keep repeating this (mainly because I have to keep re-telling it to myself) but all runners get injured. You are almost as much a runner when you’re injured as when you’re busting out PRs…it just comes with the territory. When I think about all the professional and Olympic-bound (Kara, I love you) runners whom I admire and look up to, it’s comforting to realize that all of them, at one point or another, has been sidelined—and, obviously, that never stopped them from doing great things.

Being a great runner isn’t about always being able to bust out a marathon on a whim or running fast every single day. It’s not even about times, podiums, or number of medals hanging in our houses. It’s about having the mentality that no matter what situation we’re in, whether sidelined or on the race course, all we can do is our very best. If we do that, there’s nothing to be disappointed in.

The transition from the whole car perspective thing to my injury reflection was a bit janky, I realize, but I think the biggest lesson I’m coming to terms with is that no matter what the scenario…everything will really be okay. In the big picture, hiccups happen, but they are only as big as we make them out to be. Even when we’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, or generally pissed off at the things that have brought us down, it’s so important to remember that we are still in control—no matter our feelings to the contrary. Because we are…we just need to keep the reigns in our own hands instead of letting our emotions and stress take them away.

Okay, enough serious stuff. I will leave you with some pictures from the weekend, instead of detailing all the adventures. As I said on Friday, my friend Anna came to visit me, and we had a wonderful time. Here is some documentation of that wonderfulness in photos. Spoiler, there was a lot of food involved.

Ikea! Please note our new indoor tree. Name yet to be determined.

A trip to Via Tribunali in Upper Queen Anne was the ticket for our Saturday night feeding, and it did not disappoint in the least.

Whole bottle of wine at dinner, check.

…And what goes better with a bottle of wine than a huge floppy pizza? This was all mine, in case there was any confusion.

BF approves.

And obviously after you are full of wine and pizza…the next best move is for…

Molly Moons ice cream! No, both are not mine, this time…

 

So, obviously I have a certain tendency to take pictures at meals. No need to photograph our beautiful hike, or any other activities for that matter apparently…I promise to get better at this!

So, regardless of the car mishaps, my weekend was certainly fantastic, and I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend who will venture across the state to eat, play, and laugh with me.

 

I hope your week is going well so far! And if it’s not, try taking some control over your situation, and remember that although things could be better, they could always be worse as well. And if all else fails, go find yourself a pint of B&Js, or a puppy to play with. Strangers’ puppies are perfectly acceptable. 

 

Friday Favorites: Girl Scout Cookie Tangent

This morning I ran, and it was excellent.

Well okay back up, pretty much every factor involved in this run was working against me, and I didn’t escape it void of any knee pain…but oh boy, did it feel good to run.

To continue on my bad-blogger theme of talking about the weather, I’ll paint a quick picture of what this morning looked like:

Rain, alternating between heavy sudden downpours and lighter sprinkles. You didn’t really know what you were going to get with the rain this morning, and it delivered a smorgasbord of intensity and directional changes. With that said, there was also my least favorite running element present this morning—wind. I can deal with rain, I can even deal with snow, but let it be known that I hate wind with a fiery loathing passion. So that was neat. It was also quite cold, as demonstrated by the fact that my fingers were completely void of any healthy color once I was done. They were a pale yellow, and I’m pretty sure I could have had someone run over my hand with a bike without me even flinching.

Okay, this is getting boring…maybe weather talk should get the boot. But I am very happy with that fact that I was able to run, and it was only a little bit slower than my normal semi-fast-but-not-too-fast pace. My knee bothered me, but once I was done it felt very normal which was encouraging. I think so long as I keep up my icing and stretching and rolling routine, I’ll be able to pull off runningthrough this bursitis.

It’s nice to have a run under my belt after 4 days of being all Whine Birdie Whine and RICE Birdie RICE. Still being cautious, but feeling optimistic. And let’s get real, who can’t be optimistic on a Friday? Especially when Friday means it’s time for some Friday Favorites!

If you’re new, every Friday I like to talk about some of my favorite things, both of the present moment and of all time. Lots of the time they are about food. Other times they are about Glee songs. However, they are all little parts of life that make me smile, and you should play along to! Comment below with some of your favorite things, I love to read them.

Ready…set…go!

My “Look I ran a marathon” Oiselle T-shirt

It took my forever to work up the gall to buy this pretty blue shirt, but I’m so happy I did—and it’s fun having a piece of “runner” clothing that isn’t actually worn during running. Actually, I suppose you could wear it running, but I’d rather wear my permanently smelling old tech tops instead.

I wore this shirt on Monday, when I was feeling particularly down about my dumb knee, and it made me feel the teensiest bit better. I’ve preached the importance of remembering that you’re a runner, even if you’re hurt or in a rut. Wearing this shirt on a downer-day helped me to remember that even if I couldn’t run right then I will be able to again and I was still able to claim the 26.2 title. Thanks, Oiselle. You ladies are awesome.

The Runner’s World Quote of the Day

I’ve gotten in this 21st century habit of checking through all my iPhone gizmos before my eyes are really open in the morning. I really dislike this habit, and although it actually helps me wake up and I find it oddly soothing, I would much rather spend the first ten minutes of my waking day away from technology.

However, the best part about this routine is that I get to start my mornings with a lovely little email from Runner’s World, featuring the “Quote of the Day.” You can sign up to receive them on their website, and it’s really fun/motivating to wake up to the words of wisdom from various runners. Often times the quotes are about running, sometimes they’re about life. Sometimes they’re from Kara Goucher, sometimes their from your Uncle Buck who happens to love running, but no matter the source or the content they always manage to get me started in the right frame of mind.

Also, if I’m about to go for a run, there’s no better motivation than hearing some Yoda of Running jargon beforehand. Or, if I’m feeling lazy—these quotes can be a friendly kick in the butt. I recommend signing up. I don’t recommend playing Words with Friends when you are still half-dreaming.

{A note to all my iPhone game opponents: if you’re wondering why you receive game updates from me before 6 am…this is why. Nice to start my day with you, and yes…I do consider it a disadvantage that I play my moves while still in sleep delirium. Your welcome.}

Girl Scout Cookies

I know I’m preaching to the choir, and by choir I mean the entirety of the United States, when I say that I effing love Girl Scout cookies. Below are my specific reasons, because listing is fun, and I don’t want to bore you with trying-to-be witty prose about the perfect symmetry of Samoas.

  • They are little

As I mentioned last week, I really love little things. These cookies are no exception, particularly because small cookies=more cookies available to eat. People like how Girl Scout cookies are “portion controlled” compared to the normally over-sized nature of other desserts. Sure, this is great, but when I think of something being small, I think, “Oh, that means I can eat MORE of them.” Dessert is more fun when it is divided into 3 or 4 or 8 miniature parts, as opposed to one whole…don’t you think?

  • There are many options

As a cookie savant, my palate is very eclectic…and by eclectic, I mean that I enjoy too many different types of sweets to pick just one. The Girl Scouts of America have recognized this problem, and they have come up with the wonderful solution of providing many flavors that I enjoy, and I consequentially purchase.

If we’re talking specifics…this year I’m into Samoas and Trefoils, although Thin Mints and Tagalongs are long time favorites and have also been purchased.

Also, I hate these new names. When I was a proud GSC seller myself, they were called Caramel Delights, Shortbread, Thin-Mints (no alternative there eh girls?), and Peanut Butter Patties. All kids of the ’90s will agree.

  • They can be stored

I’m actually not a big processed food person, but I do appreciate the fact that you can freeze/store these little gems so that they can be enjoyed for a prolonged period of time.

I think it’s safe to say that for the month-long period of time when Girl Scouts prowl the streets and supermarkets, they are easily the most popular girls in town.

Are you wondering yet why I’m not 200 pounds? Yea, me too.

My “Girl Power” Playlist

I’m into Spotify nowadays, and I like that you can make your own playlists. This past week, I found myself listening to a high number of you-go-girl music and decided to create a femme-centric playlist.

It pumps me up, it keeps me entertained, and it inspires me. Thanks Katy, Lana, and Kelly. You make me want to run and spin and climb Everest and fight the good fight.

Boom! Favorites completed. Sorry for that tangent about my obsession with cookies…that was unplanned, I swear. Maybe I have inspired you to contribute $4 to the adorable badge-clad chickies at your local grocery store next time you’re there. I hear the new lemon ones are all the rage…just rumors though.

Please tell me what you are digging today, and because now I’m curious…what’s your favorite kind of GS cookie? Are you doing a St. Patrick’s Day race? A corned beef and cabbage cook-off? A Guiness keg stand? I don’t recommend this last one…stick to the lighter brews, but if you are doing this…tell me how you accomplished such a feat. You must be Irish.

Running for Fun

I think it was Dean Karnazes who said in one of his books, “Running isn’t fun. It’s too hard to be fun.” He explains that it feels good, it’s refreshing, and the end result is worth the work; however, even for the most devoted runners, “fun” is never really associated with our sport.

As I was on my weekly long run yesterday, I began thinking about this notion of having fun while running. Sure, I often get “cravings” to be out running, and I always feel accomplished and content after I’ve finished a run.

But what about having fun while running?

As I brought this to the front of my mind, I decided that since I spend 2+ hours out of my Sunday running, maybe I should try to focus on the actual time itself instead of the before and after. I find that with running, we can get so consumed with all the things we do before (fueling, hydrating, getting enough sleep, proper attire, etc.) and after (re-fueling, stretching, relaxing) that sometimes the actual act of running itself gets lost. I believe wholly in preparing and debriefing a run properly, however I’m realizing that these specifics lose their significance if we don’t take time during our run to be present.

Kara Goucher, professional runner and all-around bad ass chick, has a fantastic quote that really resonates with me:

“Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running.”

I love this. Running, particularly competitive running, needs to be about numbers and analysis and scrutiny. However, in order for these specifics to be worthwhile and satisfying, we must recognize the momentary joys of running. Sometimes it’s as simple as listening to our own breath and dropping all other thoughts from our heads. I know personally I am prone to concentrating on tons of other things while on runs. My thoughts normally go something like this:

This pace feels fast…I wonder if I should slow down? I’ll see how long I can keep it up. But wait, I don’t want to get injured. Well, let’s see how I continue to feel. A fast run will warrant a good breakfast too. Hmm what should I have? And what should we make for dinner? I should probably go grocery shopping today. What all should go on the list…? Ah list! I have to finish yesterday’s to-do list. If I don’t send that check today it’s going to be late. Why’s that so hard for me to remember? I should be better about staying on top of things. There’s definitely parts of me that are Type A, but I don’t really want to totally be Type A. What do I normally say in interviews again about personality type?

Does this sound familiar?

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong necessarily with these types of mind distractions. Sometimes it’s helpful to concentrate on other thoughts, however I am starting to see this random back-and-forth way of thinking as a waste of a run. It sounds a bit cheesy and perhaps elitist, but I’ve realized that running provides a great opportunity for both mental clarity and serenity. Rarely do we get an opportunity away from our cars, tvs, computers, and smartphones where our only source of stimulation is our brains (and sometimes an iPod). We spend all day sorting through the busy thoughts that constantly fill up our brain space, so why should we let that clutter enter our running time?

I’m starting to think that if I’m able to push aside the heaviness of the daily grind while I’m running and focus on the present moment, the act and simplicity of running itself, then running just may become fun. I think it’s easy for us to simply say that running is our “me” time and our stress-reliever, however unless we consciously make an effort to relish, savor, and bask in our time spent running, we will not be able to fully appreciate the glories a run can hold.