Tag Archives: rain

Snohomish River Run Half-Marathon Race Recap

A lot of the time, you don’t really know who will show up on race day.

This is something I’ve learned time and time again, however I tend to forget how true it is until after I’ve finished a race.

Yesterday, I tried to keep it in the front of my mind from the get-go: It may not have been ideal race-preparedness, but that didn’t mean that big things couldn’t happen.

Backing up. Late Friday afternoon, I decided I wanted to try and run below 1:38. This would mean a PR, but in my mind it was more than that; I’ve felt a little stuck in the 1:38-1:41 range in the half-marathon, and I wanted to set the bar higher. It wasn’t going to be the best pre-race set up as I had a wedding to attend on race eve—which I was fully intent on enjoying as much as possible. But, I didn’t want to use that as an excuse for not trying hard at a race I’d been anticipating for a while. So, I didn’t even let myself have the out, and instead just went with it.

Of course, as always, the will to run well can only go so far—which is why when I prepped for the race on Sunday morning, I kept in mind the above mentality that anyone can show up on race day, and all I could do was the best with what the day gave.

Hotel room selfie. Oiselle jersey, Flyte shorts, arm warmers, and Brooks Pure Connects.

Hotel room selfie. Oiselle jersey, Flyte shorts, arm warmers, and Brooks Pure Connects.

So, I showered (new race day routine must-do!), ate a little, hydrated a lot, and attempted to psych myself up. We had stayed in Everett after the wedding as the race was only about 5 minutes away from the guest-designated hotel, so ease of transportation and convenience was definitely on my side. The weather, however, was not.

I opened the curtains of our hotel room after being 100% ready to go and was greeted with the disheartening sight of huge puddles that were filling by the minute from the incessant rain. It had been so long since we had real rainfall in Seattle (somehow) that I hadn’t even considered it could be an issue on race day. It was also still dark and cold, so needless to say…my gun-ho attitude was waning on the drive to the start line.

However, the show must go on, and after retrieving my bib and chip, I did some warm up drills and tried to get in the zone. There were more people doing this race than I’d anticipated, which helped fuel the pre-race energy. Before I knew it, we were all lining up just as the rain subsided a bit. Score! I saw two teammates at the start line as well, Caryn and Erica, who went on to finish as 2nd and 3rd women overall. No big deal, right? After the race director gave some course instructions and wished everyone good luck, we were off!

All I knew about the course was that it was flat, but otherwise I was a little blind in terms of what to expect. It became obvious pretty quick that we were in for a pretty lengthy out-and-back for the majority of the race, which was a little disheartening, but I tried to not think about it. I do like seeing runners pass on the other side, so this would be a plus. Additionally, we were on the course with the 10k runners who had started at a different time, so there were people around pretty consistently.

Flatty flat flat. I don't know what that was...sorry.

Flatty flat flat. I don’t know what that was…sorry.

For the first 3 miles or so, I tried to stick to the loose “plan” I’d put together. I figured if I started off around 7:30s, I could gradually drop down and still have some left for a kick at the end. Not exactly what happened, but not too far off:

Mile 1: 7:19

Mile 2: 7:28 (my attempt to get back to the plan)

Mile 3: 7:20

Eh, okay, a little fast, but I felt in control and that’s what I tried to focus on the most. I was a little oblivious to everything else aside from keeping myself “comfortably uncomfortable.” Once I get below a 7:30 pace, there are very narrow ranges for what feels okay and what feels like too much, so I paid a lot of attention to keeping tabs on my perceived effort.

I was trying to think of the whole endeavor as a 10-mile race followed by a 5k; keep it steady and controlled for 10 miles, and expect it to hurt in the last 3 miles. In this respect, I was very focused on staying in the mile and letting each individual mile be its own mini effort. It seemed to work, and despite being quicker than I’d planned…I was somehow staying incredibly consistent.

Mile 4: 7:22

Mile 5: 7:24

The course was quite flat as expected and wound along a small county highway. It was pretty, but a tad boring, and I was really glad to get to the turnaround around mile 4.7. At this point, I noticed there was a man about a stride and a half behind me, and he stayed either right there or next to me all the way back to the start of the out-and-back. It was incredibly helpful to share the pace with someone. I was running a little scared since I was running so much faster than I’m used to, and even the smallest mental reprieve of matching someone else’s pace was pretty clutch. I think I would have started hurting a lot earlier if it hadn’t been for the tall dude in the all-black compression clothing. Thank you, sir.

Mile 6: 7:16

Mile 7: 7:18

I ripped open a gel around mile 7, and slowly sucked it down for the next few miles. I also started taking water every ~1.5 miles or so, and I think maintaining this consistency was a big help. I was also starting to hurt around this point, too. My legs were getting a little toasty, and the increased pace was burning my lungs a little. It had also started to rain again, which coupled with a small headwind wasn’t making things better. However, I was able to maintain my “stay in the mile” mentality, and as long as I focused on each individual mile—I was able to push the fears of bonking to the back of my mind.

Mile 8: 7:21

Mile 9: 7:16

Tall man and I seemed to be picking it up at the very end of each mile, as we’d be between 7:20-7:25 throughout the mile and then drop in the final .1 or so. But I went with it. I could always feel it when we dropped below 7:20 (crazy just how noticeable it was), but I’d tell myself, “Okay, the next one can be 7:25,” and it somehow was a mental save.

Mile 10: 7:15

Tall man pulled ahead around this point, and we were passing back by the starting area and heading down to a paved path along the river. This is where I think my real mental battle began: It was time for those final 3 miles that I knew would hurt, and it was just me, alone. Since I was near-ish the front, we had all thinned out just enough that you felt like you were running alone, and it didn’t help that the winding river path obscured any forward looking. It was beautiful though, and I welcomed the change of scenery.

This portion was also an out-and-back, and it was a definite fight to get to the turnaround point. The most defeating part was when I saw the “Mile 11” marker when my watch read “11.2” No!!! The mile markers had been so accurate throughout the course, and it was so saddening to not only think I’d have to run further than I thought…but that I’d be logging another long half-marathon course.

Mile 11: 7:13

But, I kept on, and finally the turnaround point appeared. I’d been able to see the top runners coming back by the other way, and I thought I was probably within the top 10 females. There were two women about 100 yards or so ahead of me, but for the first time maybe ever in a race…I didn’t really care. I was already giving everything I had, and I was completely content letting that be enough.

Mile 12: 7:20

I was thrilled when the mile 12 marker appeared right on schedule with my Garmin, and the thought of “only a mile let to go” was so relieving. I was so excited to finish and anxious to see what my finish time would be…because not once during the entire race did I have the energy to try and compute it myself.

Mile 13: 7:21

I was closing in on the girl immediately ahead of me in the last 1/4 mile, but there wasn’t much more I could do at that point. Even my “kick” wasn’t much more than the pace I’d already been maintaining. Regardless, I was elated to see the finish line come into view, and I dug deep into the dregs of energy I had left and strode my way as best I could to the end.

Last .1: 54 seconds (6:43 pace)

There's a smile on that face!

There’s a smile on that face!

I saw the clock ahead reading “1:36:xx” and I was ecstatic. I figured I’d be below 1:38, but this was better than I could have hoped for.

Smiling big, I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and saw a “1:36:14” flash back.

photo 22

Official time: 1:36:11, 9th female overall (<– lucky number alert!), 2nd in age group

How did that happen?!

I was in pretty immediate need of my space blanket and water (and my medal, duh 🙂 ) and gingerly made my way to the finishing chute exit. Despite the plethora of post-race food (hot soup, cheese samples, bagels, etc) I couldn’t even think about getting anything down. I did manage to grab a bowl for BF though, who’d been dutifully waiting in the rain for me to finish.

I wanted at least one photo of the pretty river we'd been running along.

I wanted at least one photo of the pretty river we’d been running along.

After a little bit of meandering, I wanted to skedaddle back to Seattle as soon as possible. There were football games to watch after all! I also felt ridiculously wiped; the kind of fatigue that normally only comes after a sleepless night. Needless to say, you can probably guess how the rest of the day played out 🙂

I’m really, really happy with how this race went. I was glad I was able to stay composed and strong despite the intimidating speeds, and I’m satisfied with the consistent pace—probably the most consistent I’ve ever done. Primarily, it felt great to break through the threshold I’d been dancing around for a while. No, the time isn’t the 1:35:xx I’ve been lusting after, but I can honestly say I left nothing out on the course…which in no way can I be disappointed about. This race gives me the motivation that with a little more time, more training, and more practice, there are big things to come.

No running blogger has ever posted this type of picture ever. But look! Consistency!

No running blogger has ever posted this type of picture ever. But look! Consistency!

Running is a fascinating sport, and it was races like yesterday that keep me wanting to discover the mysteries of running even more.

photo 3

I’m tempted to say that this is the end of my racing season for the year, but who really knows. For right now though, I’ll be hibernating for a little while, and I’m definitely looking forward to some rest time.

Thanks all for the good luck texts, tweets, and notes. Your encouragement is invaluable. 

 

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Making a Plan, Changing the Plan

Bad blogger here, poking out from my cocoon of silence…

Hey peeps! Guess what? It’s race week! A race I’ve been anticipating for a while…meaning I’ve already had some nerves and goals running through my head.

As I said last week, I rearranged my sky-high hopes for this race and settled on a “we’ll see” approach. Which is what I was/am still planning on. Essentially, my mission has become:

Race the damn race. Don’t just cruise—get a little uncomfortable. Stay in control, run smart, but make it hurt if I can.

Simplistic. Anddd there might be a few pace numbers thrown in there too. But I won’t bore you with those.

I did determine some good ole fashioned A, B, and C goals. So without further ado…

A) PR: I think this is possible if I have a really good day. Ideal conditions, happy legs, etc. A sub-7:30 pace average (what I’d need for a PR) shockingly isn’t as scary as it used to be, which in and of itself is encouraging. Even so, it would take some luck smart racing.

B) Sub-1:40: I became a member of this club on only one occasion, and I feel like it would be nice to affirm my status a little more considering I tend to feel like a poser with my “fluke” 1:38 PR sometimes. No, I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone…except for maybe myself. It would just be nice to feel those race paces again.

C) Keep my head on. This is better than another “sub xx:xx” goal, right? Here’s the deal: I feel like I’m a good racer, but I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve mastered overcoming the mental hurdles that come with tough conditions. Sure, I can press onward, but I feel like I have a tendency to completely count myself out as soon as I feel fatigued. This is especially true in workouts. I’d really like to use this race as an opportunity to keep my game face on straight…or something like that. Having other people to chase after tends to help with this, so I’m excited to execute some playful competition in the name of building confidence.

So, all that’s well and good. But! Of course….but.

Now, I’m not one to whine and complain about race-day conditions. For the most part, I accept them as they are since I know there’s nothing I can do about them. We’ll all have to run in the same weather, right? Right.

But when a race I’ve been looking forward to and anticipating a strong performance at looks like this, my evil eye tends to come out:

Capture

 

Rain doesn’t really phase me. I’m used to the rain, I’ve raced in the rain, whatever with the rain. But rain + wind? Gross. Talk about my least ideal running/living conditions. And 20 mph isn’t a joke…that will make a difference.

So, I suppose for right now I’m trying to accept that some adjustments may need to happen. Goal adjustments, pace adjustments, etc. All in the name of Mother Nature…that saucy little minx. Am I completely discounting those goals above? Absolutely not. Do I think this adds another important variable to consider? Certainly. We’ll see, friends. Expect a very soggy finish line photo, with a side of yummy thigh chafing.

But, no matter the circumstances, I’m excited to run my 9th ( <—lucky number alert!) half-marathon this Sunday. The same half-marathon, in fact, that I ran as my first half 3 years ago. Crazy! This will also be my first official race as a Oiselle team member, clad in the singlet and everything. Let’s hope those new wings know how to sail in the wind!

Who’s racing this weekend? Does weather affect your race-day hype? 

 

A Little of This, a Little of That.

Apparently when I’m not posting race reports, being injured, or training for a race, I have nothing to blog about—hence my absentee-ism last week. I still don’t have much in store today, however there are a few fun/random things to point out from this weekend.

Recently, I feel like I’ve been back and forth between do-everything-possible-in-two-days weekends and do absolutely nothing weekends. This weekend was more of the latter, and it was highly enjoyable.

Seriously, I felt like all I did was workout and veg out. Repeat. Which is just fine, because if there’s anything I love more than a long workout on the weekend, it’s the lazy-session that happens afterward.

So here are some highlights from my stellar do-nothing weekend.

16 Mile Run on Saturday

Month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though...

Lie. This is a month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though…and a braid.

16 is the furtherest I go when I’m not marathon training. And guess what? It’s still hard and still takes a long time.

This run was fine. I felt good, with the exception of the strong headwind for over half the run…not to mention the indecisive rain which would start and stop the entire time. I lucked out though…there were very few non-raining periods of time the whole weekend.

Love you Seattle.

Also, I decided it didn’t matter that I was stupid-dehydrated and completely empty-stomached beforehand. Can someone please show up at my house on Saturday mornings and tell me to not be such a huge asshole about proper running necessities?

Finished in 2:14, 8:18 average. Everybody wang chung tonight.

Saturday night, BF and I ventured into the world of real people and decided to see Argo.

01_argo_ipad

Good stuff. Highly recommended…particularly if you’re interested in our ongoing issues in the Middle East. There’s also a strong presence of early ’80s mustaches in the movie, which is apparently all the rage right now.

#hipsterthings

The movie was not seen, however, before injesting some very important sustenance…

My one true love.

Photo lie #2. This is from a year ago, when I was better at taking photos. But this is what I ate on Saturday. Marry me, Chipotle.

Chipotle > everything else.

Sunday was essentially the same scenario, with a few twists added.

And by twists, I really just mean I went to double spin classes and watched my real TV instead of the big screen. Originality people, have to keep things exciting.

Kidding, I kind of suck.

After spinning for an incredibly boredom-inducing amount of time, I felt a little unsatisfied, so when BF suggested I come along on his run…I changed from one pair of sweaty clothes to another and hopped right to it. 5.4 miles later, and I was a happy little clam. Apparently being outside is always better than being inside, even when “outside” means wind, rain, cold, and dodging little children and skate-boarding teenagers.

We spent a little time reading and people watching at Starbucks afterward, grocery shopped like champs, and returned to the nest for one of my favorite activities of the entire year…

photo

BF: “Do you want an action shot, or for me to smile at the camera?” RB: “BOTH!”

I know every female screams about loving “the most wonderful time of the year,” but I’m very serious when I say I could majorly throw down in a “who loves the holiday season the most” contest.

(pause for amusing image)

I turn into a giggling, jolly mess during Christmas…and that’s on top of my overly-enthusiastic personality.

Needless to say, last night was the best.

 

image (1)

The finished product! I love our tree. Also, I spy…not one but TWO Belle ornaments.

Seriously, the best.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far and have now read all about my hum-drum weekend.

Two final things to add are that we’ve decided to go Monday-Friday this week without spending any money. Exceptions are Christmas presents for OTHER people, and I suppose paying any bills and such.

It’s a great exercise…but will be interesting to see the results. I panic if I think I don’t have the ability to buy a snack if needed…

And finally, if you don’t already watch or haven’t heard from the 6,487 people shouting about it…

Homeland.

804_1_0_prm-emmys2012_1024x640

Watch. Now.

If you don’t have Showtime, go buy it and enjoy wasting enhancing the next week of your life watching every episode. Then come and thank me afterwards. Then go and watch all the Dexters while you have the subscription. Best investment you’ll ever make.

Also, where in the world has Claire  Danes been since Romeo and Juliet Leo-style?

Please tell me about the mediocrity in your lives so I can feel that I’m not alone. Argo? Homeland? Run? Rain? Chipotle? If you so much as mention Q’doba…I will find you, and you will regret it.

 

 

 

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.

Being Snarky and Sack Talk

I learned yesterday that apparently it’s a blogging faux-pas to write about the weather. I mean, I realize weather chat is somewhat ho hum and a time filler in real life situations, but really? There are social rules for the internet?

This struck me because I mention the weather somewhat frequently, and it’s actually because it’s relevant…due to the whole running outside thing.

Well, I’ve never fit it much socially anyways. So let’s talk about Seattle’s current atmospheric decision-making, shall we?

To describe this week’s weather, I really don’t think there are two words more fitting than butt and hole.

Sorry, I live with a boy, and my already questionable manners/ladylike habits are going down the drain.

But seriously, this weather BLOWS, and the worst part is that the rest of the country is all, “Ohh! Spring is here!” “LOVE THE SUN” “70 DEGREES OF HEAVEN!”

Yea, I hate you all.

No… but like, a little. Fortunately for me, this is “Thou shalt not run” week, therefore I’m priding myself on my timing skills in getting hurt. Unfortunately, this weather is matching my mood a little too closely, and grumpy gimp-hood + miserable raindrops of sadness= the perfect setup for a depressing Bright Eyes music video.

I have already come up with the details: Me, staring longingly out the car window at my muddy, rain-soaked running path, while the camera zooms out to show Puget Sound, waves roaring and seagulls mercilessly fighting the wind. Next shot: me, rubbing large ice cube after large ice cube over my knee while chugging ibuprofen pills in a “I could be over-dosing on something serious” kind of melancholy way. A depressing song is playing the whole time.

WOW. Okay guys, it’s really not that bad. I’m being dramatic (so weird, right?!) and actually it’s probably a lot better that the rain is choosing this week to stick around 24/7. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if it were—gasp!—SUNNY here this week and I was isolated in an indoor RICE existence.

Pity party over, and can you say First World Problems?

Let’s focus on some positives.

So, I did get a very fast and easy diagnosis when I spoke with a PT the other night. I told her a bit about my mystery knee pangs, she pressed in one spot, I said ow, she said, “Well, I can tell you exactly what’s wrong.”

Which, by the way, is perhaps the best thing EVER to hear from a doctor, especially when you’re an anxious runner ready to get back on the road.

According to Dr. Lora, I have Pes anserine bursitis, which essentially means that it’s not my knee that’s jacked…it’s the little bursa sack where three of my major leg muscles come together. The bursa sack is there to absorb all the impact/tension that accumulates in that part of my knee, and currently mine is all hot and bothered and inflamed. She used much fancier terms than this, and all I really understood was “hamstring” and “you’re going to be fine.”

This bursitis could be due to a number of reasons, however through my incessant research, I’m fairly certain it’s due to one primary cause: Improper stretching/warmup/cool down routines associated with excessive repetitive activities.

Oh, you mean that I should have been stretching more and warming up and cooling down when logging 50 miles a week? GROUNDBREAKING. I am sure this is a case that would have sports scientists flabbergasted and pining to do lab tests on me.

NOT

What am I trying to say? In a nutshell, no shit my knee hurts. I admit, I’ve always been pretty fine without a warmup…or a cool down…or stretching very much. My body has always responded fine without these very basic athletic principles, or so I thought, and therefore I kind of carried along in my training without giving them a second thought.

Well, my body has come back to bite my in the butt. Or in the bursa sack. Sure, this might not be the reason for the pesky bursitis, however I would say it’s a safe bet due to my slacking of yoga for the past three weeks and my “post run stretching” consisting of two 10 second quad stretches and bending over to touch my toes once.

Remember when I gave myself a B+ in stretching?

Damn universe, you saw right through that lie. You got me. And I admit, I should have been stretching more…I’ll take back my B+ and give myself a C…okay fine! C-

So what does this mean? Well, I’m currently in an intense relationship with my ice trays, my bottle of pain killers, and my pillow. Why my pillow, you ask? Well, when I told the PT about the pain I was feeling in the morning, she advised I sleep with a pillow between my legs because I sleep on my side. I tried it two nights ago and woke up essentially void of any inflammation. Again, groundbreaking stuff over here: If you’re not jamming your bursa sack into your other leg for 8 hours of sleep, it won’t hurt!!!

But seriously, it is a quick fix that has a huge impact, I recommend it.

Also, doesn’t “bursa sack” sound inappropriate? I don’t think I’ve ever typed the word “sack” so many times at once, and it feels a little dirty.

Anyways, today is {hopefully} my final day off from running. I’m staying completely off my legs today, doing the whole RICE thing, and vying for some miles tomorrow morning. And yes I am planning on waking up around 4:30 am to pop some pain pills before I head out at 6:00 am. Lots of stretching/icing before and after as well, like a good injured bird. This is all very best-case-scenario, because I’m actually not sure how my bursa SACK is going react on the run, but I’m crossing my fingers…and you should too, please? 🙂

I’m feeling optimistic, although part of me is still very wary/afraid for my marathon future. Fortunately, this isn’t a serious ailment, and it can be aggressively treated/dealt with according to Dr. Lora. So here’s hoping that my resting has done some good work, and by continuing the recovery routine and actually doing the whole “stretching” thing, I can nip this thing in the bud.

Also, I would like to thank the people at the Eugene Marathon headquarters for posting this nice little Tweet today.

This didn't make my stomach lurch AT ALL

I like to imagine there is a “headquarters” for this event; full of race paraphernalia in the making, people on the phone with Nike and Gatorade, and Kara Goucher randomly stopping by to say “Hey.” This Tweet probably came from the college house of a social networking intern…but I prefer my headquarters theory.

44 days people. Not quite 7 weeks, a little more than 6 weeks. For now, I’m just going to focus on regaining the ability to run, then hopefully I can start to divulge my super-secret-not-so-secret plans for a finish time.

Hopefully this post wasn’t too overwhelming in terms of shark. Sometimes I can’t control my sarcasm and sass. I blame the sack and Girl Scout cookies.

Happy hump day! If you are in Seattle, stay dry…and to the rest of you, I don’t want to hear about your sun.

Tell me something fantastic about your week OR something you are out-of-control excited about for the near future. Spring break plans? Happy hour plans? St. Patty’s plans? I’m dying to hear some happy voices…so speak loud!

 

 

 

 

Branching Out, Angry Knee, and Minnie Pancakes

This weekend, I did things a little differently.

And I liked it. A lot.

I’m the definition of “a creature of habit,” and it’s rare for me to switch up my routine, try anything new that I don’t already know I’ll love, or extend myself beyond a certain comfort zone. I like to think that I push my limits and that I challenge myself, and I definitely do, but there are certain areas of my life that I tend to keep very even-stevens in terms of their excitement. This is mostly due to the fact that I dedicate myself so wholly to running, that I get concerned with anything breaking up my consistent routine. While marathon training this is understandable, but there are other times when it simply gets in the way of the rest of life, which isn’t good. Therefore, I was very conscientious this weekend of incorporating more fun into my days other than just running.

And indeed I did. I spent all day Saturday with my dear friend Kawika, Saturday night with several old college friends at a bar/birthday gathering, and Sunday visiting for a bit with my friend Rose. Oh, and BF and I went bowling Friday night, which doesn’t sound extravagant, but for a couple who is normally so tired on Friday that even watching a full episode of a show sounds daunting, this was HUGE. Also, there was a bet made that whomever had the lowest total two-game score would pay for everything. I’m not saying who won or lost, but let’s just say I think the person who made the wager regretted their proposition by the end of the night…

Also, while all the normal bowling alley dwellers drank their beers, this is what my pre-22-mile-morning-run self was consuming.

LAME

….but perhaps this helped yield a certain final outcome?

Bowling and beer go hand-in-hand. Next time, no water bottle.

And speaking of, 22 miles was completed Saturday morning, done before 10:30 am! It was long, it was tiring, but it was absolutely great. Aside from one wrinkle in the run (which I’ll get to later), I couldn’t have asked for a more confidence-building, satisfying long run. Remember how I said on Friday that I was experimenting with some new long-run tools this time around? Well props to all—especially the new fuel that I tried.

liquid GOLD my friends

No stomach issues! AND I think the caffeine factor definitely helped with my energy overall. Also, I think my soreness was seriously lessened due to the enhanced electrolyte replacement. Good work PowerBar, I’m ready for my sponsorship now.

{Joke}

Moving on, another CRAZY thing about this run was what I did afterwards……

{insert moans of searing pain here}

I finally gave in and decided to give his whole “ice bath” thing a try.

YOU GUYS. THIS IS SO PAINFUL.

I knew it wasn’t going to be all relaxing and soothing, but I seriously was not prepared for just how intense this actually is. I used two whole bags of ice, kept my shorts on, and even bundled up on top like you’re supposed to. I cannot say that I ever really “got used to it” the whole 20 minutes that I was in there, and by the end I was literally counting down the seconds until I could get out. I immediately attempted to warm up in a way-too-hot shower, but after getting out it was clear that my core was still freezing cold. Despite the cranked heater and being bundled in a robe, I could not stop shaking and had to layer up and drink some hot water until I could finally manage to control my temperature.

I’m not sure if I did something wrong…or if my natural poor circulation just got the best of me, but hot damn ice bath, you got me good.

Okay, on the bright side, I need to credit my twenty minutes of Arctic conditions for my lack of soreness on Sunday, and I felt much less stiff after I got out and warmed up.

Overall, good times. And I was proud of myself for trying out some new running related things.

However, as mentioned, there was one hiccup.

My run felt great, however there was a twinge in my knee that I couldn’t seem to shake. My knee felt a little tweaked after a yoga class last week, but nothing too bad and I could run on it just fine. This was the same throughout the 22 miler, but I could definitely feel it. Not pain necessarily, but just an ache that couldn’t go away. The ice bath helped, but I was still feeling the ache throughout the whole day.

Yesterday, it had subsided a bit, and so I decided to go through with a shake-out run which actually made it feel even better. Last night it had all but gone away, which was encouraging, however this morning proved this little knee pang to be a bit more substantial than a tweak.

I was in actual pain when I woke up, and although walking around and getting blood flowing to it helped out, it’s still not feeling awesome.

And, I’ll admit it…it’s bothering me. Both physically and mentally.

I couldn’t help myself and did the whole Google-diagnosis for a while, and decided to quit because nothing was going to be encouraging or conclusive about doing that. See, I do learn things. Instead, I’m deciding to go against my natural instincts and—FINE—not run.

I’m going to give this knee pain a few days to hang out, relax, and hopefully get lost. Honestly, I’m far enough along with my training that a few days off won’t hurt, and it certainly will help if something is acting up from overuse. So while it burns a little bit inside me, I have learned enough and know enough to err on the side of caution.

I know it might feel better tomorrow, but I’m conclusively deciding to wait until at least Thursday to try out running. Running definitely doesn’t make it hurt worse, but I want to ensure that running isn’t taken out of the picture because of excess mileage.

And this is actually good timing, because West Seattle Runner is having a PT come in tomorrow night to do FREE injury consultation. You can show up, have a chat with her about your running ailments, and she’ll offer her expert advice. You can bet I’ll be there, with this knee pain at the top of my “what’s wrong with me?” list.

So, lots of different things happening around these parts—some good, some not so good, but all offering an interesting change of pace. I’m going to enjoy some sleep-in time this week, and honestly…with a weather report like this, running isn’t exactly super duper enticing:

Seattle says, "Oh, you thought it was spring? How silly of you!"

Here’s hoping this ailment goes away with some R and R. I’m doing my best to remain confident and calm (not an easy task, mind you)…and hopefully my new invention of shortbread GS cookies with Nutella on top will help.

Also, on one final note, BF often times reminds me of why we’re good together…but this reminder from yesterday is worth sharing:

 

While making pancakes for himself, BF delivered me this little beauty. A traditional Mickey pancake was too standard, therefore a bow of cranberries were added on top to emphasize the fact that it was Minnie. Creative touch BF, you’re the best!

Have a good Monday!

What’s your favorite pancake shape? Did you do a long run this weekend? A bike ride? A hike? Please share any fun/entertaining activities!

 

 

 

 

Firsts

Today is a Sunday in all aspects of the word. It’s the final day of Thanksgiving “vacation,” it’s rainy and gloomy, and currently there is football on tv and bagels on the table. However, something special has ALREADY happened today.

BF finished his first half marathon this morning!!

He started at the Seattle Center in the dark and rainy morning, and he finished 1 hour and 56 minutes later!! Official finish was 1:56:40, WITH a negative split, and he averaged 8:54 miles. I am so incredibly proud of him, and he has definitely worked hard to get so far. He only started running a few months ago, and to run a half marathon, especially with such a fantastic time, is so impressive!

super star boyfriend!

I love seeing people finish their first significant races, and something tells me this will not be the end of BF’s racing career.

Standing at the end of any race is inspiring for a runner, and personally seeing everyone cross the finish line and receive their medals is the best kind of motivation to keep up training and sign up for another race! Right now, I’m trying to decide on my spring marathon, and at this point it is either going to be Vernonia Marathon on April 15 or the Eugene Marathon on April 29. I’m really keen on Eugene, however another race may conflict with its timing. Stay tuned. I will be signed up by Christmas for one either way, and I am pretty excited to start some serious training again.

Otherwise, BF and I are planning on running the 12ks of Christmas race on December 17th, and I’m planning on a half on January 8th after my holiday trip to Colorado.

Racing is fun. Check out some tips on racing here!

Anyway, to give a brief running/life update since I last wrote (too long ago!), these past few days have been filled with food, family, and relaxation. (I really wanted to find and appropriate “f” adjective there for alliteration’s sake. Oh well.)

My mom and her partner Kate came to our house for Thanksgiving, along with my sister and her boyfriend Grayson. I started the day with a fast 12 miler, and by the time I was done it was time to start cooking! It was our first time hosting Thanksgiving, which included our first experience making a turkey! I was a bit worried, especially when this was how the process started…

We alternated between being horrified by the turkey and finding it hilarious.

In the end, all the food turned out great, and pretty much everything was hot when we served it! Thanks Trader Joe’s for your hard-to-mess-up Thanksgiving dishes and to the internet for ensuring the success of our turkey endeavors. There were also three bottles of wine and two pies, neither of which exist anymore. I love Thanksgiving.

Not too much else to report, as the weekend was pretty much filled with leftovers, lounging, and staying dry. I’ll be making a trek outside at some point today for my Sunday long run, and I’m sure BF will relish basking in his post-race glory.

How was your first big race? What are your best tips for beginners?