Tag Archives: lululemon

“Santa, can you hear me?” Running Wish List

First things first. Yes, my title is referencing the magical Britney Christmas song, “My Only Wish This Year.”

It will remain my favorite Christmas song of all time for the rest of my life.

Alright, now that we’re all caught up on my shamelessness, let’s talk about running.

First, THIS:

HA!

An old friend of mine from high school—who I ran with—sent me this the other day, and I got a big kick out of it. I think race photos are very humbling proof that if you think you look hot when you run, you’ll always be wrong.

Anyways.

Today, it happened again. I don’t know what’s going on with me—some sort of brain metamorphosis; I spent about 85% of my run in voluntary silence, and I loved it.

My brain juggled around numerous thoughts on running, writing, blogging, and other miscellaneous wonderful things. While I was playing this fun game of weaving through various thoughts and enjoying the crisp {frigid} morning air, I began thinking about my upcoming running goals. The list is somewhat substantial, both in length and content, and I can only attribute it to the fact that running is my most treasured hobby, therefore it comes with a lot of extraneous planning.

So, today—in honor of the holiday season—I thought I’d share with you my “Running Wish List.” My actual Christmas list is way too far-fetched and idealistic, and obviously I don’t want to be known as the materialistic running girl who wants anything and everything to do with Lululemon and workout gear. No, a “Running Wish List” is not only more plausible, but it offers a lot more potential for self fulfillment than a new pair of fabulously cut running tights.

So, without further ado…

This year in my running career I hope to…

1) Do a 12k in under an hour

Ah I hate saying these things out loud, because somehow it makes me feel much more accountable than keeping them in the back of my mind. However, this wish is due to the upcoming race BF and I are doing called the 12ks of Christmas. However hard I try, I cannot go into a race without a specific number pulsing in my head, and in this case it’s under the 60 minute mark. I will have to run pretty dead even 8 minute miles to do the 7.45 in under an hour, and although I’m confident I have it in me—it’s still pretty fast, and there isn’t much wiggle room

2) Get faster

I have been very purposefully resisting the plunge into integrating speed work into my routine. The fact of the matter is I would so much rather go out for a nice long, leisurely run than spend an hour on the track doing intervals and sprints. Understandable, right?

Unfortunately, I do want to get faster and speed work is the obvious gateway to that wish. Fine, I give in. 2012—you’ll see me on the track. Plus, my local running store West Seattle Runner offers weekly custom speed workouts. I have no excuse. Maybe I can use my old track spikes?

3) Get a BQ

Again, I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. Now it’s real. Affirmed by the officiality of cyber space documentation. (No, officiality is not a work—but it should be and you get it.)

For those of you who don’t know, a BQ stands for Boston Qualifier—meaning you ran a  qualifying time to get into the Boston Marathon.

Okay, I KNOW I have only run one marathon and the loftiness of this goal is completely irrational and far fetched. I know this, trust me. However, the sprinter inside of me cannot help but want to reach the next level. And when your first marathon time is only 7 minutes away from qualifying for Boston, you cannot help but wonder how possible it could be. Those 7 minutes stick in my head pretty consistently, and I know that with some good solid training I can shave off that time. Also, Boston continues to lower their qualifying times, so if I don’t go for it soon the time will only be do-able by the Olympic hopefuls.

BTW…thanks a lot for this, Boston.

4) Get a new half marathon PR

I am seriously convinced that the race I ran my half PR in was a fluke. I ran way faster than I ever do, and I still have a hard time understanding how I was able to pull it off completely unintentionally. Therefore, the thought of breaking this PR is really daunting to me. Just doing the math of how fast those 13.1 miles need to be gives me a nervous stomach.

I haven’t done a half since that PR (mostly due to my injury and marathon training),and since my endurance/weekly mileage is higher than it was before running that race—I’m on a mission to set an intentional PR, no matter how gut-wrenching it might be.

5) Do more yoga, stretch more often, and fuel more appropriately

Okay, so I thought I would put a wish out there that was a bit more easily accessible, and doable on a day-to-day basis. The fact of the matter is that when I take good “running care” of myself, I’m a much happier and better runner. It sounds simple, but I think that all the extras that are required in this sport can easily fall to the wayside. Which is ridiculous, because as I’ve written before—the simple things such as proper stretching, adequate fuel intake, and ample hydration make all the difference when it comes to running performance.

In the next year, I’d like to try and do yoga—here goes—3 times a week. I feel so much better when I keep up on a yoga routine, simple as that. So despite my reluctance and excuses (typically consisting of wanting to sit on the couch and watch Jeopardy instead), I am vowing to get on my mat more. Additionally, I could do a much better job of pre and post run fueling and hydrating. I cannot tell you how many times in the middle of a run I think, “Why the F did I not just drink more water yesterday?” And then after I’m done, once again I don’t drink enough water. This is not acceptable as a runner—and I plan on changing this bad habit. Also, I’ve decided to eat more bagels and pasta—because, you know, as a runner I should. I get too wrapped up in getting all my food groups in that sometimes I forget—oh yea, on the night before a long run I should probably up the carbs. Ridiculous, I know. And this is a “wish” that is really freaking easy/awesome to fix.

 

So there you have it. My “Running Wish List” is out there for the “world” to see. It makes me nervous to say some of those bigger goals out loud, as they’ve remained in the depths of my running psyche. However, putting them out into the universe—even just in the sense that I can go back and read that I’ve said them—actually helps motivate me. And ultimately, saying them out loud is the first step to making them a reality.

Now You! What are some of your wishes, running or otherwise?

 

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Training for 26.2

Hi!

Today, I thought I would talk a bit about the marathon training schedule that I followed, as I’m about to start it up again in the new year. As you may know, I was injured for 3 months before I started my marathon endeavor, so as I was deciding on a training routine—I was pretty careful to make sure that running wouldn’t take over all my time.

After recovering from being hurt (bad hip flexor strain) I knew that my body needed lots of different forms of exercise to keep it healthy. Running is a beneficial, fulfilling, and all around glorious sport, however it comes with a hefty “handle with care” caution tag. In order to stay a sane and injury-free runner, there are—in my opinion—three essential things to incorporate into your running routine: Yoga, Cross Training, and Rest.

Yoga

Sure, you can consider this cross training, however I believe that practicing basic yoga at least once a week is essential for distance runners. Yoga offers your muscles a lot of relief from all the heavy impact of running, it helps prevent excessively tight leg/back/core muscles, and it centers your mind in the most deliciously peaceful way. It took me a long time to start liking yoga, but once I finally figured it out I can’t imagine my running routine without it. Plus, if you’re a runner, I can guarantee yoga will feel really damn good.

Cross Training

When I was injured, I learned to love cross training, and I found that once I was out on the roads again, the muscles that I had strengthened from participating in other activities actually helped my running. Developing the smaller muscles around your big running muscles helps prevent injury and it can improve your flexibility and speed. I can honestly say that doing sprints in spin class helped with my marathon finish time more so than my long runs.

Rest

Again, this realization took a while for me to come by, however resting from exercise is not only essential to preventing injury and burnout, but it makes you a smarter athlete. Even the most elite athletes and runners in the world still take a rest day to allow their muscles and minds to relax.

The fact of the matter is simple: if you never rest, you will burn out—and you don’t want burn out to come in the form of a sidelining injury.

 

Anyways, integrating these three essentials were very important in my marathon training. I got my 12 week training schedule off the internet, and tweaked it a bit to match my own timeline and mileage. With that said, a typical week in my schedule looked like this:

m: rest

t: 8-9 miles, lifting/core work

w: cross train and yoga

t: 10-12 miles, lifting/core work

f: cross train and yoga

s: 6 mile “shake out” run

s: long run (ranged 14-22 miles)

 

Now, keep in mind that when I designed my training program, I was already running a decently high weekly mileage (appx. 35-40 miles/week). Therefore, I was able to use a shorter training time frame (12 weeks as opposed to the standard 16-20), and I trained up to 22 miles instead of the more common 20 miles.

This schedule worked really well for me. I felt like I had a great balance of running and cross training, and because I wasn’t running 5-6 days a week (like some programs) I mostly enjoyed all my running days. I was fearful of starting to loathe my long runs, however by sandwiching them between a shake out run day and a rest day, I found that they were a fantastic challenge to look forward to each week. Sure, I had very little social life and they took a good 2-3 hours out of my Sunday, but in the end it was totally worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I am currently in the stages of planning my next few marathons for 2012!

As of right now, I am planning on doing the Vernonia Marathon in April (a small race along a gorgeous course), potentially the Seattle Rock’ N’ Roll in late June, and the Bellingham Bay Marathon in September.

Wow, writing that down seems daunting.

However, I am really committed to establishing a competitive running routine. I’ve been an athlete and competitor my whole life, and running offers a great way for adults to still compete with others but mainly with themselves. I never plan on winning a race, however continuing to push myself, lower my times, and continue improving is incredibly rewarding and gratifying. Does it come without hardship, bad runs, self critique, or all around shitty experiences? Absolutely not. But the bad only makes the good that much better, and I’m a big believer that any experience is good experience.

Yes, even if it’s being forced to not run for 3 months after overdoing it.

We learn this way, and ultimately we become better runners.

Anyways, enough psychological jargon.

As I take on my next marathon, I am planning on actually increasing the distance of my long runs, and will perhaps train (gulp) past 26 miles. This is a training method used by some, and as long as I go slow and build even slower, I am thinking that this technique could work for me. I want to do the Seattle Rock’n’Roll just over 2 months after Vernonia, and I’m thinking the only way to do this successfully is to up my overall mileage.

We will see though, nothing is set in stone—and with the other distance races I have planned, who knows what will happen.

What marathon or half marathon training plans have you used? What were some successful side activities you did to help your training?

 

First Friday Favorites!

Hello! Welcome to my favorite day of the week.

I made a snappy decision this morning that since Fridays are always so magical, and I have an unhealthy amount of gleeful merriment surrounding me, this day of the week on RunBirdieRun will officially be known as…

Friday Favorites!

[Whenever I use the word “gleeful” in describing my mood, 99% of the time it should be translated as “caffeine induced.”]

Since I do not like taking good moods for granted, I decided that Friday is the perfect time of the week to reflect and share some of my favorite things. Some will be very current, some will be things I love all the time but just happen to give frequent accolades to. But no matter what, I will hereby devote some Friday time to proclaiming a few of my favorite things. And the best part? YOU can too! I absolutely adore hearing about the things that people love, and I think it’s a healthy practice to consider the things in your life that make you smile.

Puppies are one of my favorite things. Smiling puppies are even better!

Aside: Please know that the inspiration for this idea came in lieu of my affection for the song, “A Few of My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music, not Oprah.

No, not Oprah…she’s cool, but yea…no.

Also, when you  say “hereby” in any capacity, you are fully committing to whatever decree you are making. So therefore, I’m in!

Moving on…

This week, I wanted to kick off “Friday Favorites” with a little combination of the things I’m currently enamored with and the things that keep me happy day-to-day, just so you can learn a bit more about me 🙂 So without further ado, this Friday, I am favorite-ing…

1) This mash up:

I admit it, I still love Glee. This mashup of “Rumor Has It” and “Someone Like You” hits the nail on the head, and if you love Adele like I do, you won’t be disappointed! I can’t stop listening to it, and it will definitely be making it’s way onto my running playlist soon.

2) Cookie making!

This is a regular past time for me, and it helps me find my happy place. My specialty is chocolate chip, but recently I’ve been experimenting more and trying out all different types of recipes.

OM NOM

My co-worker Leanne and I are competing tonight in a peanut butter cookie showdown. We’re having an annual holiday party, so our colleagues will be voting on who made the better batch. I admittedly have done a lot of shit-talking(I also never said this blog was rated PG), but whatever happens…I got to make cookies, and I will get to eat cookies, therefore I consider it a win.

3) DEXTER!

So BF and I use our Netflix account pretty much for the sole purpose of renting complete seasons of shows and watching them beginning to end. We recently got all caught up on Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother, so we decided something a bit more dark and mysterious was in order.

In a nutshell, this show is awesome. It’s addicting, creepy, interesting, and gives you just the right amount of adrenaline to keep you on your toes (this coming from two people who both dislikes scary movies, I’ll have you know). Highly recommended! I’m hooked.

4) Creeping on Lululemon.com, particularly this section

If websites could have stalkers, I would be on the most wanted list for this place. I cannot stop gawking at literally everything, and my wallet just cries out in horror the whole time. I never really get anything, and when I do it’s after weeks of careful deliberation (I have bad buyer’s remorse), but I can’t help looking at all the pretty things.

5) Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong.

Okay, so I actually finished this book a few weeks ago, but I loved it so much I felt like I had to share. Kristin, yes Lance’s ex-wife, is a contributing writer for Runner’s World and she has now written a few books. This was the first book of her’s I’ve read, and I was so touched by it. She offers so much wisdom on all the things running can offer, especially for women, and her combination of clever personal anecdotes and honest reflections really spoke to me. I tried to read it slowly, because I loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. If you love running, this book will inevitably help inspire and excite you. She also has a blog, check it out!

 

So there you have it!

Five favorites for Friday. So much alliteration, my English major self is all giddy inside.

Looking forward to the weekend…holiday party, seeing Breaking Dawn, long run, and putting up the CHRISTMAS TREE! I should be giggling for two days straight.

Let’s hear some of your favorite things! They can be random, simple, weird, whatever…I’d love to hear, and who knows, maybe it will help widen your Friday smile 🙂

 

Mother Nature and Mental Battles

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

Am I really embarrassing myself right now? Probably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awkward, kinda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

rb