Tag Archives: Seattle

Attempting to Get My Groove Back

I’m alive! Hello!

Once again, I’ve found myself without much to say…therefore I just don’t say anything at all.

The truth is, running hasn’t been too great. It’s actually been pretty hard. Until yesterday, I hadn’t really had what I would call a “good run” since before Eugene. Not that they were all bad, some were just fine, but for whatever reason recently I have just felt out of my groove.

At first it was lingering marathon soreness, then it was a week of just feeling sluggish, then there was a week of intentionally really slow runs. And now? I don’t know. I’m caught in this weird place of really wanting to run but wanting the runs to feel good and to have that magical endorphin feeling connected to them, which hasn’t been happening.

I was getting impatient. Here I am, pretending/attempting to “train” for this crazy relay business and it just doesn’t seem to be working. The miles are there, but the satisfaction isn’t, if that makes any sense. Maybe it’s a little burnout, but I don’t really think so. I think my legs just went through the grinder during Eugene, and I was too anxious to return to normalcy. Marathons are tough man.

There’s also the issue of my way-too-tight right calf, which has also been annoying. My achilles/foot/calf have just been generally tight, and it’s taken a lot of extra rolling and stretching. I think it’s actually my shoes, which is weird since I’ve never felt that my Pure Connects didn’t have enough support, but maybe it’s time for a new pair. (That sentence sounds awful, sorry, but hopefully you understand). They don’t have a ton of miles on them (compared to others I’ve run in) but I don’t know…they just feel worn out. Have you ever had a faulty pair?

Anyway, this is all kind of leading somewhere.

Saturday was a great example of the whole “not-so-great running” scenario I’ve been facing. My plan was to do a double run day. 12 in the morning, 6 in the afternoon, to help simulate some relay running. The 12 in the morning were fine, but not awesome. Par for the course recently. I finished feeling fine, and looking forward to the slow-and-easy run in the afternoon.

Wrong. wrong . wrong.

Those 6 miles felt like complete garbage. I was wearing compression socks for the first time ever, and both my calves felt like rocks the entire time. Read: so far, NOT a fan of the compression trend. My AM run ended around 11, and my PM run started around 4, so maybe there wasn’t enough time between the two?? I don’t know. Either way, I know for a fact that double-days have worked for me in the past and this one was pure poop. I took my frustration out on a Red Robin burger and that helped, per usual.

I’m being dramatic. But it’s just not fun when running is hard. NEWS FLASH ROBYN, RUNNING IS HARD. I’m such a whiner, sorry.

But I was determined to get back in my groove. So after some yoga-action on Sunday (two weeks in a row, I don’t even recognize myself), I tried my best to orchestrate a good run for Memorial Day.

I picked my favorite 10 mile route, decided on no watch, and pre-determined the brunch spot for afterward. If running wasn’t going to be fun, then damnit…I was going to make it fun.

I opened the front door on a mission to make my lemons into lemonade, and…womp, womp, womp: RAIN. Seattle has really been showing off its aversion to summer recently. And for someone who is typically a forecast expert, this wetness came as a surprise.

I considered the treadmill for about .6 seconds, and finally decided to get over myself and giddy-up.

And wouldn’t you know it…despite the miniscule caveat, I FINALLY had a great run. It felt smooth, it felt fresh, and the rain only helped set the stage for the peaceful running stage.

I finished feeling much more restored than I have in a while. Sometimes going through the motions of running just doesn’t cut it, and when that happens I really need the synchronization of body and mind to remind me of the magic of the sport.

I really hate complaining about when running is “hard.” Every single day I try and be thankful for just the ability to run, as there are many who can’t. It feels so petty, then, to complain about something that most of the time I consider to be a huge gift. But sometimes you gotta let it out. Everything in life ebbs and flows, and running is no different. Per usual, sometimes we need the bad to appreciate the good…and for me, the bad runs also really help me to focus on the other important factors like stretching, hydrating, fueling, etc. All of which should never fall to the wayside, but oftentimes do when we aren’t forced to consider them.

So I guess you can say I’m (hopefully) getting my groove back. I’m going to resist the selfish urge to complain when the going gets tough, and when it does I’ll try to remember that no one is forcing me to do it. And really, running is hard. It just is sometimes, and it’s one of the many reasons why it’s so great.

How was YOUR weekend?

15 Things Friday

You heard that right…FIFTEEN!

Why? Well, it sounded fun and exciting, and I also feel like there’s a lot of randomness going on that I haven’t posted about. It’s all going to be stale before too much longer, so now you get it in a photo/information dump of a post.

Also, I’m feeling chatty and the internet is hilarious today—so deal with it.

1) About three weeks ago, BF and I took a little weekend trip to Canada. And I never wrote about it. So here are some photos for your viewing pleasure, and because we all know that nothing actually happened unless you post it on the tubes. #proof

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It was awesome. I highly recommend Vancouver.

2) Glee did an ‘Nsync and BSB Mashup.

Again, this was weeks ago. But I’m probably the only person left in my age group that still watches Glee, and holy shiz this is like all my pre-teen fantasies come true. When I saw this I felt all the former boy band worshipping tendencies of my 11-year-old self come flooding back.

3) I got crazy and bought different shoes.

No one has ever taken a photo like this ever.

No one has ever taken this picture.

I’m still loyal to my Pure Connects, but I started listening to the masses and thought that maybe I should try and alternate between shoes. So I went up a step and bought the Pure Flows 2. Is this whole theory a myth? Did I just fall victim to a marketing ploy of the shoe industry? Whatever.

Anyway the verdict is still out. I actually think these might be the wrong size…fail…either that, or my feet are just too used to the Connects. I like them, but not in a “will wear regularly” kind of way. They just feel a little heavy.

4) Peter Sagal tweeted to me. And it was about running.

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So basically life is awesome now and we’re getting married.

5) This sports bra might make me reconsider my goal to never ever run without a shirt.

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I felt weird taking this, and posting it, and it’s cropped. Oh well, you understand. Brightness is brighter in real life. I blame the summer for eliciting this fondness for color. I don’t know who I am anymore.

6) Read Allie’s blog post.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

This was shared many times yesterday, but I felt it worthy of promoting myself. It’s not happy-go-lucky Friday reading material by any means, but it’s beautiful. Her narrative is incredible, and her story is worth reading.

7) Breaking Bad, WTF.

imagesRemember how I’m constantly behind the times on everything? Yea, this is no different. BF and I are currently Netflixing galore on seasons of this show. It’s definitely all it’s cracked up to be and really intense. I also feel like I understand the complications/interworkings/consequences of the drug industry now, so that’s…good?

8) Starbucks is getting crazy.

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Actually, maybe I should say that Starbucks is exactly following suit with healthy food trends. I saw these “new” salads today, and I have to say…I’m impressed. They aren’t cheap, but if you want a good salad on the go that’s not filled with iceberg lettuce and sour cherry tomatoes, this is a pretty sweet option.

RELATED: A coworker also reported today that her fritter from good ‘ole Bux was much smaller than normal…as were the other pastries.

I see your evil plan, Starbucks.

9) Running!

Isn’t that what this blog is about?

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lol

I’ve recovered really well from Eugene, and running’s feeling great. Still going slow and Garmin-less, but I’m past the stages of sore–>less sore–>not sore, but tired–> not tired, but slow. I guess I’ve entered back into regular territory. Still, I’m not pushing it, because…who wants to do that? Kidding, kind of, but I am pleased that my bounce back has been more bouncy than not, or something like that.

10) I guess I have to start biking now.

In retrospect, this is more a picture of me than the shoes. Awkward. I guess I should have titled this "A selfie with half a shoe in it." I just wanted to capture my excitement.

In retrospect, this is more a picture of me than the shoes. Awkward. I guess I should have titled this, “A selfie with half a shoe in it.” I just wanted to capture my excitement.

BF got me clip-in shoes for my birthday!!! Oh yea, and my birthday was last week. I’m a horrible self-centered blogger.

I’ve wanted clip-ins for spinning purposes for SO LONG but never felt like spending the money. Now that I have my beautiful new bike, there was even more incentive to buy some…which I never followed through with.

Enter turning 25 years young, and voila, pretty white shoes! I’m so happy but so sad because now this means I have no excuse to not start the “triathlon training” I’ve yammered on about for years.

11) 30 Undeniable Facts That Everyone Knows Are True

14. This is the only way to get upstairs safely after turning off a light:

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God Buzzfeed is so funny.

12) We re-planted our garden.

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Yes I know that picture is terrifying.

We planted a vegetable garden last year and had the highest of hopes for abundant home-grown produce.

Then we watered it all of two times and it died. Except the chard, that shit was a champion. But regardless, we’re trying again…and this time we’re doing it right. I probably should have taken a picture of all the adorable planted seedlings, but I’ll save that shot for when we have bushels of healthy vegetation blooming. That should be in a week, right?

13) All of my photos from Eugene suck, except kind of this one:

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I actually look a little excited in this picture. The rest I look like the grumpy cat. Note to race directors: the photographers should be scattered throughout the course and not ONLY between miles 22-26.

14) I got crazy and bought myself a BQ/birthday present:

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I feel so fancy for doing this, and admittedly it helped that I had a few giftcards, but no matter…I LOVE it. Cross-body bags all the way for me; so much easier than hauling a 10-pound sack of crap around (which I’ve also done). This is only the second time I’ve done the post-marathon reward system, but I kind of liked it.

15) This is my life after work, everyday.

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Happy Friday!

Take a Little, Give a Little

…or something like that.

Happy Friday peeps! I wont’ even begin to apologize for all the showboating that’s been going on in the PNW regarding our weather. You better believe that once that big shiny star comes out to play, we’ll be talking about it. And it doesn’t look like it’s leaving anytime soon. Bragging continues!

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my last post, via Twitter, Facebook, texts, telepathy, etc. I put everything I had into my Eugene training cycle and into that race, and while I had hoped it wouldn’t be as painful as it was, I am always comforted knowing that there wasn’t much more I could do.

I do feel like I have a better time in me, if we’re being honest. A better time that also feels a lot stronger, smoother, etc, but that’s a topic for a different day.

Right now, I’m not really thinking about any races in the near future. Running slow and running with friends is sounding a lot more enticing to me right now 🙂

This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of my second full marathon, also known as the Tacoma City Marathon, also known as “The time I unknowingly had a 105 degree fever and was too bullheaded to stop running.” If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Tacoma sucked the life out of me (also the function of my IT band), and it scarred me a bit in terms of the dangers of the marathon.

Obviously, times have changed since then, and it’s hard to believe that it was only one year ago that I was a very different runner. Well, I suppose not that different, but I do feel much smarter and stronger since that incident. Silver lining I suppose.

Anyway, when I collapsed in Tacoma and spent a lot of time in the medical tent, I was surrounded by the most helpful and supportive volunteers. They did everything from carrying me from the finish line, squeezing my cramping muscles, ice-bathing me, and, um, “checking” my temperature. Actually no, I’m not thankful for that part. Besides the point.

The point is that those volunteers made all the difference in the world for me after that race. They cooled me down, put me back together, and saved me from what was a very bad situation. I felt such a debt of gratitude at the time, in fact I almost felt guilty. But that’s what they were there for, and as they said, “It’s our job.”

I wanted to do something to give back a bit to that race. To this day I remain incredibly grateful for those people that helped me, and I decided that I should try and return the favor. No, I am not an EMT and barely remember proper CPR protocol from my days as a lifeguard, but every race needs volunteers.

So I signed up! This will be my first race volunteering, and I’m so glad that I’ll finally be able to provide a service that I’ve used myself in so many races.

I ran the idea by Nicole, as I knew she volunteered last year, and she was in. Becky decided to join in on the fun as well, and after an email to the volunteer coordinator—the three of us will not only be stationed together, we’ll be MEDALING the half-marathon finishers!

I’m so ridiculously excited for this. There are few happier moments than when you receive your race medal at the end of a hard effort, and I love that we get to be the people that drape all those sweaty runners with their award. Nicole already dibsed the winner, but I get the female winner 🙂

Part of me wanted to be handing out water to potentially help another over-heated victim such as myself, but there will be others out there for that.

After this past weekend of running my own race, and with a day that promises clear skies and 75+ degrees, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than honoring runners at a finish line.

Hopefully I don’t get too much stranger-sweat on me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Eugene Marathon Training Week #8

M: Rest

T: 10 mile,s easy

W: 7 miles w/ 6 x 800 in ~3:30s + Maximum Sculpt

T: Spin

F: 7 miles @ hmgp (7:30/mile) + Maximum Sculpt

S: 17 miles

S: 7.5 miles easy

Total= 48.5 miles

Mini step-back week last week. If you consider 17 miles a step-back, which I hardly do. But, it was nice to have a long run ahead of me without a “2” in the front of it.

The two most notable workouts for me were Wednesday and Friday. I decided that I really enjoy 800s as speedwork. They’re long enough to do the work, and short enough to not make me want to cry. The 6 that I did were all at about an 8.5-8.6 mph pace, and I felt great. In control, strong, and probably could have a few more. Afterward, my legs were the perfect amount of tired, and I think I’ll probably try to get in an 8×800 before taper starts.

I was feeling all kinds of happy after Friday’s workout as well. I was a little bit anxious about 7 straight miles at hmgp at O-500 on a Friday morning, but I was reminded—again— that I should try and trust myself a little bit more. The miles actually felt easy, which was pretty darn encouraging. I followed the effort up with my favorite lifting class at my gym, which together yielded more sweat than I knew how to handle.

The class instructor started posting the workouts on her FB page before class, so here’s a look at how Friday’s went (which is a good carbon-copy of how most of my Maximum Sculpt classes look):

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It’s a lot like BodyPump. I really, really love this class, and I’m certain it’s helped with a lot of imbalances/weaknesses I have as a runner. I’m not really a class person, but when it comes  to strength and lifting, I’d much rather have an expert instruct me.

Saturday’s long run was fine. Not great, not horrible, just fine. I didn’t wear a watch with the intention of it being an easier effort, but I think this may have had the opposite effect. It didn’t feel top-notch, which I think was due to it being a little too fast. Of course, it could have been to my negligence for ideal fueling/hydrating/etc., but from now on I think I’ll wear the watch on my long runs even for the purposes of staying slow.

But, truth be told, I actually wanted to get a less-than-stellar long run out of my system. I’ve been having a really successful jaunt of long runs recently, which was making me nervous that I wasn’t saving my good mojo for race day. It’s silly, really. But getting in a harder long run actually makes me feel more in-balance with the long-run juju…or something like that.

We all have our running quirks.

A few more snapshots from this weekend. In case you hadn’t heard, Seattle was all dressed up in her springtime finest:

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First roller-blade + taco-truck date of the season. Friday afternoon splendor.

The Easter bunny knew their recipient very well. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

The bunny loves you BF, you’re welcome. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

Easter yesterday was perfect. Run with BF, brunch, Ballard locks to see some boats, reading outside, cooked a ham, Breaking Bad, and lots of chocolate. It couldn’t have gone better, really.

Happy Monday!

How was your Easter? Weekend? Long Run?

Things I Love About Being a Runner (That Have Nothing To Do With Running)

We’ve heard/read/talked about all the 1,000,001 reasons why running is the best. Endorphins! Runners high! Strong legs! Low BMR!

And while all these things are indeed fantastic, recently I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of things about being a runner that I love…that don’t have anything to do with the actual act of running.

Naturally, my favorite parts of the sport revolve around the actual run itself—the feeling I get during an effortless long run, the satisfaction of a hard speed workout, and the joy of crossing a finish line.

There are, however, “bonuses”—if you will—to being a runner. And I’m not even talking about increased pasta allowance or toned legs. There are wonderful little things that you might not even realize…

Here are some of the things I’ve realized I love about being a runner that are simply fun free-bees that come with the sport, all existential ponderings aside.

Decreased care for sodium intake

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Bring on the salt! As someone who is at least mostly aware of all the “do not eat too much of _____” mantras that are preached, I’m always happy that I don’t even bat an eye at the thought that there’s too much salt in something. I’m a very salty sweater, and I can actually feel the difference for the better when I’ve consciously increased the salt in/on my food.

Sure, there are other reasons why you might need to stray away from excess sodium, like if you’re predisposed to high blood pressure, but I say if you’re a runner and you’re in the clear heart-wise, shake it on!

Assistance in commuting

McDreamy had a thing for ferry boats...which is why this photo is applicable. I'm also re-watching Grey's, therefore it is two-fold applicable.

McDreamy had a thing for ferry boats…which is why this photo is applicable. I’m also re-watching Grey’s, therefore it is two-fold applicable. BOOM.

At least once a week, often times more, I need to run to get to various forms of transportation on time. It’s a bad habit, and I don’t intend on it happening, but— because I’m a runner— I can get away with it.

I take the ferry to and from work, which is about a half mile away from my office building. Needless to say, figuring out my timing is crucial. Also, missing a ferry isn’t like missing a bus or a subway during rush hour when there’s typically another one coming right away. No, if you miss the ferry, you have to just sit at the dock for half an hour and wait for the next one. And yes, I know this from experience.

But, BUT! I have avoided this happening numerous times because of my running capabilities.

Exhibit A: The other day, I was bombarded by a chatty group of coworkers while trying to leave the building…delaying my perfectly-timed-out walk commute to the ferry. Needless to say, I was pushing it…and when I realized on my walk I had approximately 1 minute to get to the ferry and too much distance to cover, there was only one option.

Full on sprint. Computer bag, purse, ballet flats and all. But thanks to being a runner, not only was it not impossible to do, but I also made it in the nick of time.

Call it speed work. Running isn’t just for exercise, folks.

Fending off illness

MBEDz

This might be just me, and I apologize if it is and I’m just gloating, but being a runner has done wondrous things for my immune system. I hardly ever get sick, or even a cold for that matter, and if I do it seems to be gone within a day or two. I can’t remember the last time I had a fever, or anything worse than a sore throat. I think running has a lot to do with this…and it furthers the notion that exercise is really one of the best medicines.

I can also guarantee I will wake up tomorrow with pneumonia after writing that. Knock on wood, etc. etc.

Convenience

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Running is about 100x more convenient than other exercise. It doesn’t have business hours, it doesn’t close for holidays, it doesn’t require you to pay a membership fee. It’s really just all-around a great thing to have in your fitness repertoire.

Before I was a runner and I’d go on vacation, I knew I wouldn’t have access to a gym so I’d stress out and just condemn myself to a sweat-less couple of days. Running was too difficult an option at that time because I never regularly did it.

But now that I’m a runner, not only do I have the option to exercise on vacation, on holidays, etc…but I love to run in new places. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a new place, and I love the notion that no matter where you go, running is always an option.

Yoga feels so much better

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Seriously. If you’ve ever done pigeon pose after a heavy mileage week, you know what I’m talking about.

I do like yoga, and I kind of have spurts of going, but one thing’s for sure that my incentive to go is directly related to my current running patterns. The more running, the higher the chance I’ll be craving some warriors and forward-folds.

Disclosure time: My desire to go to yoga doesn’t actually have to do with the stretching/flexibility benefits. 

Yes, those things are nice, but I really want to go because it feels so stupid good after my muscles have been shortened and pounded by the pavement. Put my in pigeon while marathon training, and I’ll be giddy and drooling like Drew Brees in those Nyquil commercials.

….

Those are just some of the various bonuses to being a runner. I love that the benefits of this sport seem to be endless…both on and off the road.

Now I want to know: What are your favorite parts about being a runner that have nothing to do with running? Nothing about “mind-clearing” and “sole-cleansing”…let’s get specific here.

Happy Friday!

Holiday Randomness

Despite my lack of having anything very interesting, noteworthy, or glamorous to say—I feel compelled to blog today. Ready or not…randomness at it’s finest coming your way, holiday style!

…..

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

All I have been doing for the past week is eating cookies.

I’m not exaggerating—cookies at work, cookies at home, cookies in bed, you name it. They’re everywhere, and if you’ve known me for .4 seconds, you know that cookies and I have a very intimate relationship. It’s unconditional really—if they are in front of me, under all conditions, I will eat them.

Yes, I feel a bit like a slug when I pass out in a peanut butter/chocolate chip/butter/oatmeal/nutella coma every night…but frankly, I don’t really care. Every night, in my overly-sugared state, I swear I’ll hold off on the cookies the next day, and without fail, I do the same thing again the next day.

I am the living stereotype of holiday indulgence, and guess what…it’s the best. My version of “holiday eating survival” involves hoarding all the offices treats for myself. We’re nearing the end of the world people, don’t you know you need to overload on butter to ensure survival?!

Ok, I do leave some for others, but let’s just say if there were a “most valuable customer” award, it would definitely be mine. I think of it as doing a service to everyone who’s avoiding holiday treats. You’re welcome, America. But good luck when you’re SOL on Friday and I’m giddily licking the chocolate off my fingers.

Peppermint bark, also known as...me pretending to be fancy.

Peppermint bark, also known as…me pretending to be fancy.

……

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I’ve succeeded in watching my two favorite holiday movies: Home Alone 2 and Love Actually, therefore I can breathe easy.

Actually, Home Alone 1 and 2 tie for me…Home Alone 2 just happened to be the one I came across when viewing time ensued. It’s amazing just how many lines I can effortlessly remember from those gems of cinematic genius. Did it ever blow anyone else’s mind that Kevin was 9 YEARS OLD and pulled off all those traps and tricks? More importantly, he went grocery shopping??? I think I was still sleeping with stuffed animals when I was 9. Oh wait, I still do.

And as for Love Actually, just like every other female ages 18-45, I adore that movie. Especially, in no particular order: Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, the story of Colin Firth(Jamie) and Aurelia, Liam Neeson’s son, Olivia Olsen’s version of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” the fact that Billy Bob Thorton plays the U.S. president, and also the fact that Snape is in it.

Plus so much more. Happiness.

……

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In case you haven’t heard, LES MISERABLES THE MOVIE is coming out on Christmas Day. Fun fact: I am obsessed with all things Les Mis. The book, the show, the music, all of it. If Victor Hugo were alive today, he’d have a restraining order against me.

Case in point: For my 15-mile long run last weekend, I listened to the ENTIRE show—start to finish. It was heaven. There is nothing quite like Javert’s suicide (the saddest moment in theatrical history, IMO) to get your legs a-moving—or something like that. It was magic you guys, magic.

I realize the movie might not live up to my wildly unrealistic expectations given my deification of the Les Mis genre, but that’s okay…I trust Hugh Jackman to pull off a beautiful “Bring Him Home.”

Sorry to everyone who doesn’t understand my references…like I said, obsessed.

……

I spy...Bernadette the elephant!

I spy…Bernadette the elephant!

By some miracle, our quaint, two-person tree has a lot of presents under it! Thanks, family! I also might have spoiled BF a little bit considering we’ll be without our families.

And since this is my first Christmas without my family/siblings, I’m filling that void with excessive spending on him. And cookies. You’re welcome, BF.

……

Running. Oh yea, that. I’m still running. When I feel like it, which somehow has been a lot considering the whole cold/dark/rain/misery state we in Washington currently face. As I’ve said before, I love me some winter running. I’m also participating in Nicole’s Runcember, so there’s a little accountability factored in as well 🙂

My last race of the year will take place on, literally, the last day of the year. I’m running the Yukon Do It half-marathon with a group of co-workers on New Year’s Eve, and it promises to be cold, flat, and fun. In a perfect world, I would tackle my sub 1:40 half goal…but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m still a little shocked at my Seattle half time, and the thought of running faster than 7:40 miles is a little horrifying at this point. But, who knows. It’s a much easier course than Seattle, and with any weather luck I suppose there’s a chance.

I guess what I’m saying is…I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen, but if there’s a chance, I’ll go for it.

…….

That’s all for now folks. Basically, I’m relishing the cookie-and-winter running filled lifestyle right now. I’ve got approximately 1.5 months left until I hit goal-marathon training HARD, so until then it’s rest days and holiday cocktails galore. I suppose someday I’ll detail all my goal-marathon ambitions for you someday, but it’s been far too long since I’ve had a cookie, so I think it’s time to…as they say…”hit the sauce.”

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails ("candy canes") and this is literally "the sauce." I'm amazing sometimes.

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails (“candy canes”) and this is literally “the sauce.” I’m amazing sometimes.

Tell me things about you!!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?

anything with peanut butter, chocolate, or sprinkles.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Do you love or hate winter running?

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Seattle Half-Marathon Race Recap

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about running, it’s that you can never be too certain how it’s going to go. You can feel unstoppable and strong one day, and the next day you can feel like you’re moving through mud on the exact same run.

In other words, running—for the most part— isn’t necessarily predictable…which is why I’ve learned to not put all my eggs in one basket. I actually like this about running, because it takes a bit of the pressure off…and while sometimes this uncertainty leads to disappointment, it also can also lead to some pleasant surprises.

And Sunday was definitely a surprise.

SPOILER! I finished.

I truly did not know what to expect going into this race, other than it would be cold and there would be lots of hills on the course. I didn’t taper, I wasn’t exceptionally hydrated, and my eye wasn’t necessarily “on the prize.” I definitely have a big fancy dream time for a half-marathon, but I knew that this wouldn’t be the race for it. So, I went into it a little blindly…happy to shake off some of the turkey hangover and simply enjoy a run through my city.

As expected, Sunday morning was freezing…but I was actually excited about this. I know I run better in the cold, and with no rain the only thing that I needed to worry about was keeping my blood moving at the start line.

Bundled up and ready to run!

BF dropped me off with no trouble, and after wandering a little bit to see if I could spot anyone I knew…I decided it was futile and plopped myself in what seemed an appropriate group—near the 1:45 pacer. I thought I might be too close to the start line, but when the gun went off I realized that I probably should have put myself a bit further up. The first quarter mile was one big stop-and-go as people shuffled along, and although it was a bit frustrating, I weaved my way out of the masses and kicked it up.

I loved the first few miles through downtown. These were streets I see everyday, and it was great to see them in a new context—as a race course. There was also a monster downhill right off the bat too, which I used to put some time in the bank.

Let’s play a game called…find the downhill mile.

I questioned my speed very early on. Since I didn’t have a defined goal or plan for this race, I kind of decided that negative splitting wasn’t a necessity, and I would just do what I could. The times on my watch were definitely surprising me, but what surprised me more was just how good I felt.

Once we entered the tunnel, I lost satellite reception as expected, which threw off the distance calculations on my Garmin. And now is when we play a new game called “Find the tunnel faulty paces!”

I still felt great, and I loved the course. We had travelled from downtown over to the west side of Lake Washington, and it was lovely. There was a lot of fog, but the conditions were ideal for running and I generally just felt happy.

I crossed the halfway marker at a little over 50 minutes, and it was at this point where I started to get sparkly thoughts about potential finish times. However, I kept myself reeled in, because I knew there was still a fair amount of climbing to do and—as we all know—a fast start can mean scary things for the finish.

The hills picked up a bit, but other than one soul-crushing climb around mile 8, there was nothing too unmanageable. I started to realize during this race that I’m becoming much more confident and comfortable on hills. I’ve developed a climbing strategy/pace that makes hills a lot less daunting, and I’ve actually found myself kind of…gulp…liking them.

My speeds from miles 8-10 were a bit slower. I think it was in part due to the climbing, and it was also at this point that the fatigue of not tapering started to creep in. I could definitely feel the nearly-30 miles I’d already run that week, and I cursed myself a bit for not executing a more conservative race. However, this part of the race was also a beautiful, winding path through the park…so I think I may have been a bit distracted by the scenery.

But we only had a 5k to go, and I knew there would be a bit of a downhill finish. Time to kick into gear. My legs were barking a bit…not because of the distance, but because of the hills/speed. My goal was to grind it out the best I could without leaving much out on the course…because at this point, there wasn’t much to lose. Also, I realized that half marathons are about 1000x better than full marathons in this regard.

Around mile 11.5, I thought it could be possible to finish with a 1:40:xx on the clock…and all of a sudden, the girl without a set time goal became fixated on that number. There was something so even, clean, and benchmark-worthy about that time…and I wanted it to be mine.

So I ran. My legs were heavy and my stomach was getting a little angry, but my pace somehow didn’t falter  I had already decided that I’d condemned myself to a positive-split no matter what, so all I was trying to do at this point was get to the stadium (where the finish line was).

I saw Erika (for the SECOND time during the race!) around mile 13, and she definitely gave me a boost. I straightened up my form, smiled, and booked it.

Photo courtesy of Erika, filter courtesy of Instagram. Thanks Erika 🙂

All at once, we were coming into the stadium, and I can’t tell you how good running on astro-turf felt after pounding pavement for 13 miles. I saw BF right before I crossed the finish line, and despite feeling a little nauseated…I was pumped. My watch showed a 1:40:50 finish, a time that going into the race—I didn’t think was possible.

Distance is off from the tunnel fiasco.

We visited the post-race recovery area for a bit, and despite my best efforts to spot some friends, there were just too many people. We were able to check results right away which was quite convenient, and I confirmed that my finish time was in fact just what I was hoping.

Here are the official stats:

7:42/mile average. And wouldn’t you know it…somehow I did pull off a negative split. 5 seconds still counts…

I’m still a little disillusioned from this race, though quite pleased with it too. I have a big, undisclosed-until-now dream of running a sub 1:40 half marathon, and frankly…I didn’t think this would be possible until maybe next year. I went into this race not even considering that goal because the course was so notoriously difficult.

But the results have changed my mindset a bit. In all honesty, I expected to finish this race around 1:44, maybe 1:43 if I was lucky. And I would have been totally happy with those. But this race (as well as last week’s 5k) have shown me that I need to stop selling myself short.

I have a lot of will and determination, but I don’t necessarily have a lot of confidence. I tend to not believe things are possible until they actually happen, and while I think it’s good to be realistic…I also think that it would serve me well to have a little more trust in myself.

Other than the existential lessons learned during this race, I have to say that this course was absolutely fantastic. Other than the crowding at the beginning of the race, this was perhaps the most enjoyable course I’ve ever run on, and I was really impressed with the Seattle Marathon organization overall.

My best guy.

This race  fired me up. It was encouraging and fun…and while I’m still a little hesitant to hope for anything more, I’m realizing that there’s no harm in trying.

Try I will, and I’m feeling pretty excited for pushing those limits back even further.

Did you run the Seattle Marathon/Half-Marathon? How did it go? How did you like the course?

Taper Fail

Greetings!

A quick pop-in before tomorrow’s half marathon, namely since I’ve been blog-MIA since Monday.

I just arrived back from my Thanksgiving mini-vacation in sunny Southern California, and it was splendid. So much sun, so much food, and so much quality family time. And, unexpectedly, so much running.

Which leads me to the primary reason for this post: to admit how I’ve done nothing with any semblance to “tapering.”

I ran a shade under 11 miles on Thursday and 8.5 yesterday… meaning that I’m not exactly “rested.” I’ve also been choosing adult beverages over water and Nuun, and I’m convinced I’m still full from our Thanksgiving feast.

In that regard, I’ve done very little to prepare for this race at all.

Admittedly, the Seattle half-marathon was never really a goal race. In fact, I still don’t really know how I’m planning on executing this race. While it might not be a goal race, it’s also not a race that I’m going to do just for fun. I think my effort will be somewhere in the middle of relaxed and puke-inducing. We’ll see…I’d like to go for sub 1:45, but if it’s not my day, that’s fine too.

Other than that loose plan, I don’t really know what I’m going to wear, if my iPod/Garmin are charged, or what time we’re supposed to be at the start.

Super responsible.

But I’m kind of liking this more relaxed approach. If anything, I’m excited to run hard tomorrow around my city with running friends.

So here goes nothing. Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!

 

Upcoming Race Schedule

If there’s one thing I know for sure about myself as a runner, it’s that I love to race.

Racing is the reason I started running in the first place way back when, and once I finally married the ideas of competitive racing and running as a hobby, it was like a match made in RB heaven.

Put me in coach! I’m ready!

Racing makes me feel like an athlete . It makes running more than just exercise or a “calorie torcher” (btw I HATE that expression.) And racing provides a very tangible measurement to log your progress, successes, etc. Sure, some races are just fun—like this one—but for me, I really prefer to actually race when the opportunity presents itself.

When you’re marathon training, spontaneous racing becomes a little tricky. It’s a good way to gauge your fitness, but you don’t want to overdo it or set yourself back in training. I’m currently not training for a marathon, so I’m pretty excited to use this winter to pencil in some short distance races. Sorry paychecks, my Christmas present to myself is coming in the form of registrations and tech shirts.

Here’s a look at some of the races I have on the schedule:

Mustache Dache 5k

Along with every other blogger/runner in Seattle, I’ll me showing my facial hair pride (what?) at this humorous pre-Thanksgiving race. And as silly and fun as the premise of this race may be, I’m having this bug-out issue with it for some reason.

Yes it’s just a 5k, and yes I don’t need to try and run fast every race, but ever since my last 5k where I PR’ed without intending to, I feel this 5k pressure of sorts. 5ks also just scare me because my pace is so much faster than what I’m comfortable with, and we all like to keep our comfort zones within reach. So, I don’t know if I have “goals” for this race per se, but I think I’ll just try to run fast and hold on.

PS: Brunch afterwards bloggers?

Seattle Half-Marathon

Again, I think this is another event where a ton of people I “know” will be running, which makes it exciting. It’s also going to be the first half-marathon I’ve actually raced in nearly a year and a half. My last half was Disneyland, which was really just a for-fun race, and so now it’s back to business.

Sort of.

To be honest, I’m a little scared of this course, and while I’m anxious to go for a very ambitious half-marathon time goal, I’m not sure this is the time to do it. It’s a tough course, and since Tacoma, I don’t underestimate the effect a hard course can have on race expectations. On that note, screw you Tacoma.

So, I think for the Seattle half I may go for a new PR (my current is 1:46) and see how I feel. My half PR was run when I was much slower than I am now (at the time I thought it was a fluke), so I’m interested to see what else I have in me. We’ll see.

Christmas Rush 10k

Nicole let me in on this little $10 secret, and I’m so excited to run another 10k. Fun fact: when I first started running (other than running track), a 10k was my first race. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a blast. I like this distance a lot more than 5ks—less puke-inducing but still fast enough to feel like a race. No goals really yet for this race—but I’m excited for it.

Yukon Do It Half Marathon

This little race in Port Orchard might be the ticket to my lofty half-marathon aspirations. It’s a smaller race, but such a beautiful course and still all the bells and whistles of a race (bibs, time chips, medals, etc.) It’s also on December 30, and I love the idea of closing the year with a half-marathon.

That’s all for now! Who knows, another one might pop up—but for now I’m pretty psyched for this schedule. It seems that November and December have turned into racing season for me, and I love it!

As for this weekend, no racing, but some running and seasonal fun as well. We have a “Family Thanksgiving” feast with some of our friends on Saturday night, and I’m planning a beautiful, cold 16 miles for tomorrow morning. Winter running, I love you so.

 

Now, please tell me which of YOU are running any of these races! Let’s meet-up 🙂