Tag Archives: spin

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.

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.

 

 

 

Class People

I am going to be completely honest here and tell you that I really never thought much about exercise classes.

I always considered myself self-sufficient enough to take care of my own fitness, and in a completely judgmental and unfair way, I thought the reverse about people who went to classes. I’m a jerk, I know, and all I can plead is ignorance. I preferred keeping myself disciplined and designing my own workouts as opposed to someone telling me what to do. I figured classes were there for people who didn’t know how to exercise and needed encouragement and motivation from an instructor. Asshole, I know.

Fast forward to March 2011 (Or I guess rewind? Go with it):

Injured Robyn: Completely incapable of running, or even walking for that matter. Also, really effing grumpy.

Universe: “HA! Want to rethink judging those exercise classes, or drown in an out-of-shape pile of couch-sitting and Phish Food pints?”

Now, the Phish Food definitely happened, however at this point I realized that despite my aforementioned preference toward solo-cizing, in order to maintain a level of fitness—I would need to surrender at least some of my gym time to a professional instructor.

(Robyn, stop trying to make “solo-cizing” happen, it’s not going to happen. Thanks, Regina George.)

And you know what? I converted (ish). Spinning is a really darn good workout, and it necessitates a killer instructor who is kind of scary. Yoga is one of my most favorite things now, and not only does it make me stretchy and flexible (good for running), but it calms me down.

fyi: I NEED CALMING A LOT OF THE TIME.

Anyway, I am fairly certain that had I not been literally forced off the running-only wagon, I would never have found these other forms of sweating. Even when I was able to run again, I kept rolling on the cross-training bus, much of which included group-exercise classes.

Where am I going with all this? Well, if you haven’t been listening to my incessant blog rants, tweets, and merciful pleas to the universe(joke-ish), I am currently not able to run. I was robbed of a happy IT band in the Tacoma City Marathon, and since then I have had to be creative.

Luckily, thanks to last year’s injury, I was better prepared for how to keep myself in shape. (Dear world, if I must get hurt, let’s go for the winter months next time, cool?) In essence, I’ve been spinning and swimming like a madwoman. You would think I was preparing for a tri. Wait, am I? But, this time I wanted to actually try and take advantage of this temporary loss of my run love.

I committed to focusing the energy that is normally occupied with race registrations, long runs, and PRs on other aspects of my health—like  getting stronger and more bendy. I knew this would entail doing some of the things I normally avoid—such as venturing outside of the familiar spin room to—gasp!—another class. I have the yoga and spinning thing down…I’m a regular, the instructors know me, I’m comfortable with both. However these are the extent of my class experience.

My lack of attendance in other classes was due primarily to two things: 1) No time with marathon training and (honestly, more so) 2) apprehension. When I work out, I like knowing what I’m getting myself into. I like knowing beforehand that it will be worth my time, as in difficult and a good sweat, and I like knowing that I can get through it no problem. I didn’t really think that other group exercise classes would be beyond my physical condition, however as someone who is used to getting along no problem in a group exercise setting, I don’t like thinking of being the newbie who knows nothing.

Yes, I am psychotically competitive.

HOWEVER, I did vow to try. And try I have!

More specifically, I’ve been going to a “Maximum Sculpt” class at my gym, which was the least frightening choice when reading the online description. I knew the instructor, and the paragraph detailing what it included had enough familiar terms that I was comfortable testing it out.

It seems that I was not alone in preferencing this class—because when I arrived at 5:55 for a 6:00 am class, the entire room was full of everyone with their little stations of a step and weights and omg how much crap do we need??. So, obviously I pretended like I had been before, didn’t ask for help, and found the very last spot in the back of the room—which honestly I was grateful for.

And just like that, I was sweaty, tired, and humbled. Despite having a fairly strict routine myself, switching to something new proved that I have things I can definitely work on. My hammies were screaming after that first class, and lifting my arms to shampoo my hair was equivalent to bench-pressing BF.

Yes, you read that right—I do shower.

In essence, I was out of my comfort zone. And you know what? I’m totally digging it. As a creature of habit in all aspects of my life, I rarely stray from my normal routines—and exercise is perhaps the most perfect example. Because I can(could, sad face) run really long distances and lift weights on a semi-regular basis, I gave myself an out on not really pushing my body otherwise. I was so focused on running, and not having too sore of legs, that I was wary of ever doing anything else. And I didn’t care. I gave myself a get-out-of-jail free card and simply refused to try anything else.

Now, PLEASE remind me that I said this when I can run again, but I am realizing that we aren’t actually reaching our full potential by doing the same things over and over again. I know every exercise know-it-all preaches this, but I never really internalized it until I realized all the things my body couldn’t do. Naively, I figured that because my endurance was tip-top and I could run 26.2 miles, I had everything else in the bag.

Wrong.

Guess what? Running might be fantastic for many things, however just because you can run for three hours does not mean you have the fitness thing completely figured out. In that same breath, I am hoping to use this whole humbling I-actually-have-room-to-improve experience to teach me that while running might be my numero uno, I still need to focus on strengthening myself in other vacinities.

Running actually leaves a lot of our body parts quite weak, as I’m finding, and it’s due to these imbalances that a lot of injuries occur. Pounding out miles doesn’t always mean we’re getting better, and I’m recognizing the fact that the only way for us to get better is to do things that are uncomfortable. 

In this respect, I’ve sort of admitted to myself one of the biggest reasons I haven’t tried on any other exercise caps. It’s because I was/am afraid of it being hard. I know that sounds funny coming from someone who will willingly run 12 miles before the sun is up, however running is something that I know I can do. When I don’t know that I have the ability to excel at something, I get scared that it will be beyond my physical condition. Hence, the underlying reason why I never wanted to try out anything else.

Sure, it’s really easy for me to say these things when I don’t have the availability to run whenever I want, but it’s something I hope that injured and non-injured runners alike can recognize in their own habits. In running, in all physical conditioning, and in life, it’s the hard things, the things that are outside of our comfort zone, that actually make us better. It’s great to get comfortable…to know that we can knock out effortless miles day after day. But, that’s exactly the time that we should be looking at our weaknesses, and figuring how to improve upon those things. Plateauing is really easy when we stick to one repetitive routine, and it can be one of the fastest ways to injury, boredom, and actually losing our strength. I’m realizing now that I was absolutely plateauing when I was running a lot, and had I been a little less obsessive perhaps I would be in a different spot today.

So, I suppose for now—I am a “class person.” I am really, really enjoying getting my butt kicked by workouts, specifically when it’s facilitated by someone else. It’s good to see that despite having a lot of endurance strength, I have a lot of room to improve. Because despite how humbling it might be, it’s really exciting to see that I have a lot more potential—which gives me a lot of hope for my racing future, whensoever that may be.

I know I will always prefer to workout alone, but a little socialization never hurt anyone—and for someone desperate for another best friend while running takes a time out, a group setting could be just the ticket.

Now, talk to me: Are you a class person? Do you try to shake up your routine? Have you ever hit a running plateau?

Tri-Curious

If you couldn’t tell from my oh-so-clever play on words post title, I’d like to talk about a whole new type of endurance animal, in the form of swim, bike, run.

Triathlons

Now, running has and will always be my first love—I bestowed it with soul mate status in my Valentine’s Day post, in fact.

However, as I’ve mentioned before, I do have some devotion to other sweat-enducing activities, namely—spinning and swimming. I like these two things because they are great supplements to running, as in great cross training, but I also like them because on their own—they’re a whole new physical challenge.

I feel like running gets all the credit sometimes as the most effective way to test and improve your fitness. I admit, I am totally guilty of doing this, because there’s no workout I prefer more than a long run. However, I really don’t think that biking and swimming should be given the shaft so quickly—because these can both be just as, if not more, effective in terms of boosting endurance strength.

Yes I just said that.

But, as someone who is currently out of the running game and needing to push herself otherwise, I’m finding a greater respect for these alternatives. Seriously though. If you haven’t swam laps since you first learned to swim back when you were a kid, I challenge you to get in the pool and knock out some freestyle. I think you will be amazed just how tired you get, even if your running strength is superb.

The other reason I’m a big proponent of these cross training activities is because they help our muscles recuperate from the wear and tear of running. Fact: running is not very good for your joints. Dean Karnazes and all you other freaks who never get injured and have perfect, unbreakable running genes—screw you. These specimens are rare. For the rest of us, running is a constant game of working hard, training hard, and all the while avoiding injury. If there were some magic pill that made running impact-less and perfectly healthy, I’d be first in line at the doctor begging for my prescription. But, that’s not the case—which is one the reasons I’ve steered my marathon brain slightly in the direction of multi-sport events.

As of right now, I am still planning on at least two half marathons and one full this year. One of the halfs is in question with my current asshole of a leg, but otherwise I’m all set for this running schedule. I’m probably definitely going to add more, let’s be honest, I just need to pull some triggers. And by “pull some triggers” I mean “get more paychecks.”

But anyways.

While I love running training, I am also getting more and more interested in adding some additional challenge into the mix, in the form of triathlons.

Fun fact: I actually did three sprint triathlons long before even considering a running race. They were back in high school, when I somehow magically just whipped out these events despite never doing any of the activities, and they were definitely fun. So, I’m thinking for a starting point—I’m going to register for a sprint tri near the end of the summer (cough Nicole Danskin cough). I should probably put a bit more thought into this, but the fact is that I swim, “bike,” and run enough to where a sprint tri should really be no problem. However, like I said—it’s a starting point.

Now, this is still under some consideration, but as of right now—I am planning on signing up for a half Ironman next summer.

Yikes, just said it. Scary.

I know that the training is hard, but I know it’s exactly the kind of new challenge I’m looking for. I love the idea of block workouts (consisting of two endurance-related activities) and learning how to balance my energy over a long period of time. Additionally, I feel like this will keep my love for running alive and well by mixing up back-to-back marathon training cycles with something different.

Ultimately, I want to reach for something higher. Crazy, indeed, after my brush with casualty in the marathon two weeks ago, but this is honestly the way I operate. Yes, I got knocked down, but I know when I get up again (meaning, fully functioning IT band and absolved fear of running on hills) I am going to be stronger, smarter, and more anxious to challenge myself.

The thing I’ve taken away more than anything from that ill-fated race is that the brain and the body must always work in harmony; even when they’re fighting with one another, battling over pain versus persistence, we must know each of them well enough to know which to listen to. This is something I had lost touch with—and for the first time in my life, my mental game outweighed my physical capabilities. It’s one of the hardest parts of being an athlete, and it’s something I’m looking forward to exercising (pun intended) in my future endurance endeavors.

Oh, and I also took away the fact that I was a cocky little shit and the marathon is really, really, hard…no matter how well your first (or many) may have gone.

So there you have it Internet. This birdie is slotting July 2013 as the month of her first half Ironman, with some warm-up tris beforehand. I’ll write more on my approach to this endeavor when it’s not over a year away, but for now I’m excited to have something different on the horizon. And in the meantime, I’m looking forward to running soon.

Rest, rolling, ice, and froyo people—and your IT band will slowly but surely start to like you again.

Fingers crossed 🙂

Have you ever done a tri? Do you think there’s a difference between tri-people and marathon-people? Do you think I should probably go and buy that road bike already? Yea, me too.

Doing Things I Don’t Normally Do

I’m not going to jump to conclusions, and I’m certainly not one to live life in a “worst-case-scenario” kind of mind set. However, I am starting to internalize the fact that there will not be any running in my immediate future.

I am trying to live this day-by-day, mostly because I get too depressed if I think too far out, but also because I really don’t know how long this IT band issue is going to be, well, an issue. So, without a medically-officiated recovery timeline or any actual doctor advice whatsoever, I am deciding to do two things: take it one day at a time and  find the silver lining.

I will never, ever, be completely comfortable knowing that I’m unable to run. I am a runner, it’s so much a part of who I am, and when I’m unable to partake in my favorite activity, I feel scared and a little lost. I have come back from injuries before, I know I can and will get through them, but there is a stubborn seed planted deeply in my brain that cannot help but long for nothing more than a run. I know I am not alone in this type of thinking, and in fact I think most runners—once the sport gets under their skin—feel exactly the same way. I love running all the time, but nothing makes me really crave a run like being told that I can’t do it. 

So while the yearning and sadness is definitely there, I am finding that instead of drowning in a pit of “I’ll never run again” despair, I’m trying to take this as an opportunity instead of a set back. I think one of the biggest things we feel as injured runners is that all our fitness will evaporate if we take some time off, and we’ll have to start over as slow, wheezing couch potatoes. 

This is not true. Sure, you probably won’t be able to come back to running in marathon shape, maybe not even half-marathon shape, but it is absolutely possible to maintain your fitness and strength when you can’t run. I did not run a single step for three months last year…and four months after I was healed, I was running my first marathon. Please note that three of these months were spent training for the race.

I was certainly intent on keeping up my endurance during my injury period, which made the return to running much quicker, and I think it’s important for runners to remember that while the alternatives may not be as freeing or fun as a long, sweaty run in the sunrise—they will ultimately help you get back in your running shoes. And in fact—they can make your running better.

Which brings me to my current state of affairs. While I’m not sure how long I’m going to be out, and obviously I’m hoping for a short-term recovery as opposed to an extended period of time, I’m deciding to use this time to work on all the things I typically neglect. 

I’ve been finding myself doing things out of my regular routine recently, particularly exercise wise. And by “recently,” I’m being quite literal…as in, the last few days, seeing as I ran a marathon 9 days ago and only felt fully recovered this past weekend. The most effective “lemons into lemonade” mode of operation at this point is to do all the things I normally don’t do/can’t do when I’m logging heavy mileage. 

Although, Paul Rudd does give a viable option as well…

LOL

Anyways, bailing isn’t necessarily an option. I’ve invested too much money on running shoes, gear, and race registrations. Plus, I couldn’t give up even if I wanted to. So instead I’m focusing on these types of things:

-Leg strengthening

I think the last time I did anything close to a lunge was in high school track. Seriously. I never ever do any kind of weights regimen for my legs because I never want them to be sore for my runs. I always figured that I was getting enough leg strengthening through running, so I totally short-changed myself in the weights room department. NOTE TO ROBYN: Running targets certain leg muscles, but ignores others, leaving you SUSCEPTIBLE TO INJURY.

Okay, I did know this…I just figured spinning was making up for my lack of any hip/leg/glutes strengthening. And maybe it was helping, but nothing beats to power of honest-to-goodness lunges, squats, clams, etc. Give ’em to me baby, and please find someone to lift me out of bed when my legs don’t work afterward.

– Biking

I’m going to address this in an upcoming post, but my interest in taking up biking is reaching a peak. I currently have a nice little hybrid cruiser, which is fine for riding to the grocery store or around the neighborhood, but as for real-deal Lance Armstrong riding? No can do. I need to get a real bike if I want to be serious about this, and it’s something I’m committing to doing before summer really starts.

(This is your cue to keep me accountable!)

(I never ride my bike to the grocery store, or around the neighborhood. It sits by the side of my house 24/7. That previous statement was me pretending like my $300 Craigslist purchase was being used.)

– Arm, core, etc. things

I always like feeling strong, and although I definitely do arm and core strengthening work, my routine is somewhat hum-drum, and honestly…it’s probably becoming ineffective. Essentially, every other day I’ll do the same repetitions of the same exercises, with the same weight used, and I am fairly certain my body has become immune to it. I always loved the idea of really pushing my muscles to their potential and maybe achieving a bit more definition, however when all my exercise time is devoted to running—these things fall to the way-side. 

Look out Muscle Beach, I’m coming for you. Well, no, you’re in California, but you get the point.

-Yoga

I love yoga. I haven’t always loved yoga, and there was a period of time when I scoffed at all the asana-namaste-om-om-om-om-warrior 8 loving people out there. But a few good classes and magical instructors later, I was a born-again yogi, and I would really like to devote some energy into developing both the habit of going regularly and my skills on the mat.

Yoga is one of the reasons I think I’ve been somewhat injury-free for the past year, with the exception of these past two or so months (INTERESTING how the three weeks I didn’t go to yoga were directly followed by my knee bursitis). Frankly, yoga is normally done as a supplement to my other forms of exercise, and it’s really unappealing to go to a class after work when I’ve already spent two hours of my morning sweating. 

However, when I’m there, I love it, and not just for the sweet planks and stretching that happens. If you haven’t already taken notice (and if not I’m assuming this is your first time here—so HI!) I am a wee bit intense and competitive. Yoga takes me out of my “Must plan and get excited for everything that will ever happen ever!” brain for an hour and helps me focus on being in one place. I know this is the very basic level of yoga—being in the moment—but for someone like me, it takes a lot of effort and concentration to really get to that kind of present state of mind. When I do, though, I feel more grounded, centered, and calm—all good things.

Upping the yoga. Also, I stick mainly to level one classes…which is honestly due to laziness.  I know I can keep up with a higher level, and THANKS TO NOT RUNNING<—-did you see me say that??? I’m going to try and focus more energy on being hopped up on Zen.

What am I trying to say? Well, truthfully, I’m warning you that many of my upcoming posts are probably going to be complaining about being sore. That was the whole point of this post—warning you about my up-and-coming whine fest. 

…also a wine fest is something I don’t normally do that I think should happen asap.

Okay, that’s not really my point. Ultimately, I’m trying to spin this running-leave-of-absence into a positive. I know I am not always going to see it that way, and I am certain there will be some complaining along the way, but I’m trying. And for now, that’s really the best I can hope for.

On one final note, if there were ever a time to focus on all the other great things to do besides running, I think it’s right now. After catapulting myself into the ground during the Tacoma Marathon, I think this IT band rubbish may be a blessing in disguise. An opportunity to reconnect with the world outside of running, and to reestablish a healthier, less-medical-tent filled relationship with the sport I love so very much.

So running, you can sit on the shelf for now. And although I am going to stare at you longingly and lovingly, I want you to sit back and relax while I make acquaintances with things like heavy weights, side crow, and drenching every spin bike in my gym with glorious sweat. We’ll be back together at some point, and it’s going to be sweeter than ever. 

If you weren’t running (or perhaps you’re not?) what would YOU decide to focus more energy on? Rock-climbing? Zumba? Channel-surfing? Knitting? Having calves that actually fit into boots? Tell me! 

 

 

A Little Sad, but More Happy

Cheerio all you folks out there.

How’s it going?

I’m going to be straight and tell you I had an especially peppy and optimistic post planned for today, however that plan has derailed a bit. There will still be pep, and maybe even some pizzazz, but for now I am allowing myself 60 seconds of bitching. After that, I’ll be done…but I need to shake some anger, so be warned.

After the hardest race ever, and after VERY CAREFULLY resting and recuperating my IT band has decided to be a huge a-hole and all of a sudden develop ITBS in the form of bad knee pain. I can’t really run, I hate it, and it’s ALL I WANT TO DO. I currently want to throw rocks at everyone that can run in the perfect, ideal, OMG SO PRETTY Seattle sunshine, and I get jealous even seeing people in  running clothes.

Dramatic? Yes. I know I ran a marathon only 8 days ago, and some pain may be lingering. However, I am currently void of all residual race soreness and aches, and I’m unfortunately thinking that I’ve got a pissed-off IT band that’s here to stay for a while. AND running is literally the only thing that bothers it. Spinning? No problem. Swimming? Piece of cake. But one mile into a run, I’m crippled with knee pain and I have to turn around. I’m pissed, I’m trying to be hopeful, but I would really enjoy going at least a few months without a new injury. DAMN YOU running shoes/form/gods/whatever that is ailing me with issues.

Okay, done.

Can you tell how my morning started out? Yup…a solid 18 minute run in which more than half was spent walk/running. This was the first time I’ve attempted running since last Thursday(when I first felt the pain), and until this morning I have had no knee pain whatsoever. Booooooo.

Sorry, sort of went back to bitching there. Anyways, this is definitely a marathon-ripe injury and completely new to me. Anyone have ITB syndrome issues before? Care to share on your experiences/remedies? My foam roller has been feeling some hot lovin’ these past few days, but otherwise I’m not totally sure how to tackle this.

How about some happiness now?

Great.

I spent the weekend basking in the sun. Literally, that’s about all I did…and it was splendid. My skin doesn’t necessarily agree with the whole “splendid” part, but it will get over it once it cools off and accepts its new glow as opposed to its wintertime pasty horror.

After a double-spin class(my favorite!) on Saturday morning, there were few things I did the rest of the day that did not involve drinking a cold beverage, lying on the beach, reading a book, or eating. I wore a dress and everything. Part was spent with friends, part was spent alone, it was all-around a grand ole time.

Coffee! Book! Sun! Beach! Dress! Exclamatory single-word sentences!

Also, if you weren’t aware, the Lakers beat the Nuggets in GAME 7 on Saturday night, and while BF hated me for a while during the game, it was awesome and I will be reaping the bragging benefits for an indefinite period of time.

The sweet taste of victory is even better than a HUGE scoop of ice cream, which also happened this weekend.

Sunday was also spent in the sun, on a canoe! A good friend of mine works at a sleep-away YMCA camp, and she has access to Puget Sound boating galore. In celebration of her birthday, some of us took a massive “tribal” canoe to a tiny island out in the San Juans. Porpoise and bald eagle sightings, beer-on-board, and sunshine—I was one happy camper. And not to mention the scenery was absolutely fantastic.

Mountains and sea, I love you. Yes, this photo needed to be HUGE.

The paddling was about an hour each way, and my back is feeeeeeling it today. I love doing things that are out-of-the-ordinary, and yesterday was one of my favorite days in a long time.

On my drive to the canoe ride, I was traversing along the exact path of about miles 20-24 of the marathon from last week, and just seeing the path made my shudder. I feel like I might develop some PTSD from that race—like seriously—and while I cursed every last hill and turn while running the actual race, I can’t help but want redemption.

In due time though…all I want now is to run. Particularly, I want to do a long run; I’m already ready to rekindle my Saturday morning routine of sweaty miles, but for now…given the whole IT band asshole thing…I’ll settle for baby steps.

Drinking via your medal’s bottle opener counts for redemption, right? Or rebellion perhaps? TACOMA WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

I’m thankful that I can do the other things I enjoy in terms of exercise, and I’m certain—as always—that once this hiccup goes away it will make running all the more sweeter. Because at this point, the only thing that sounds sweeter than running is a pound or two of strawberry shortcake, which will likely happen once or ten times this week.

Now….Tell me what you did in the sun this weekend! Seattle friends, I know you all got your sun-on for sure. And if not, WHO ARE YOU?! Go away. Also, does anyone have advice for post-race IT band issues? Or just ITBS ailments in general? 

 

 

“Tri” Weekend and Celebrating the Earth

Hello!

I hope you had a great weekend and I hope your week has started off swimmingly. I could be mistaken, but it seems as if everyone is a little bit high on a “it’s getting warmer and sunnier and therefore life is good” kind of mood, meaning there is general cheer in the air. The onset of summer is always an enjoyable time of year, and when you’ve been down-trodden with rain and gloom for several months as we have in the PNW, a little dose of sunshine can go a longgg way.

Case in point: This past weekend.

I normally have a generally good time on the weekend, based on the increase in food consumption, the decrease in computer time, and the amount of running I get to do. However, I can boldly say that I don’t know if I’ve had a better time overall on the weekend as I did this last Saturday and Sunday. Everything was generally perfect, therefore I am going to tell you about it.

Exercise-wise, I was able to do a “tri-series” of sorts over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Essentially, this means lots of swimming on Friday, lots of spinning of Saturday, and lots of running on Sunday. It was highly enjoyable to mix up my workouts, and I love being able to focus a lot of energy on one solo activity at a time.

I find that when I front load a heavy-exercise weekend with some swimming, everything feels better. As you know, I believe swimming is magic, and my body always seems to enjoy the time spent in the pool.

Although, I will admit, I have a difficult time not getting a tad paranoid when I’m doing laps and the “family area” is filled with 50 toddlers learning to dog paddle. I’m not an uber germ-a-phode or a clean freak, but the thought of swimming in tons of urine is really dampering to the whole experience. I think I’m going to tell my children that if you pee in the pool it comes out bright orange and everyone can see it. This should scare them out of it, right?

Anyways, I don’t normally do a heavy spin day before a long run, but since this week’s LR was only 16 miles, I decided to go for it. And despite my quads feeling a bit tired yesterday at the end of those 16 miles, overall I felt great, and I loved spreading my sweat through tons of different activities.

Also, who am I? I just said “only 16 miles.” Okay, 16 miles is still a long run. Fact. BUT, after 22 last weekend, 16 feels a lot more accessible…particularly when it’s done in 60 degree sunny weather on an all-flat course.

Which brings me to the vitamin-D filled glory that was this weekend.

People, I know we’re not supposed to talk about weather in blogging. But when you have not one, but TWO 70 degree days in Seattle, WA it is a BIG DEAL.

I took full advantage of the splendor, and it was nothing short of fantastic.

Aside from the aforementioned endorphin filled activities, allow me to show you some more highlights.

my backyard

While BF did man things on Saturday, I decided to take full advantage of this beautiful land I live in and took myself to the beach. I spent a solid 2 hours with an ice coffee, an Anne Lamott book, and the sun basking in water-front glory. I actually fell asleep laying against some driftwood, and it was heaven. There are few things more calming to me than being by the water, and given the fact that I was already in a post-spinning/caffeinated state of elation, this whole set up was my essence of perfection.

This also happened on Saturday, which is always a party.

See that “Now Open” sign? Yes, TJ’s has come to West Seattle, a mere 7 or so minute drive from my house. Do I talk too much about grocery stores? Yes. Positively. I will own every ounce of that statement. BUT any TJ’s fan out there will agree with me on the general happiness increase that goes hand-in-hand with your proximity to a store.

I think I could get an award for my excitement for the little things in life. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or it means that I shoot too low in terms of my expectations, but no matter. I love you Trader Joe’s and your cheap almonds and whole wheat pizza dough.

Sunday had the promise of all-day sun, and BF and I were ready to take full advantage. Oh, and take it we did. Not only did we take it, but we took every single hour of the day and squeezed as much sunshine-filled activity out of them as we possibly could.

As I stated earlier, the day started with a 16 miler, completed averaging 8:20 miles (very happy about that) and the biggest blister I’ve ever gotten in my life. With two toenails on their death bed and now this beauty covering my entire pinky toe, I think it’s safe to say I’m ready to be done with training and get this marathon show on the road. I’m in a bit of a pickle because I think my old shoes are the reason for all my foot ailments, however my new shoes make my knee hurt, so it’s really just a debacle between which pain I’d prefer.

Post runs (BF did 10 miles), we walked to our typical bagel spot. Walking in shorts and flip-flops mind you. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

Blueberry w/cream cheese and strawberry jam. Perfection.

Bagels should be an essential food group.

Afterwards, we decided to take on an endeavor we’ve only talked about hypothetically in the past: Planting a vegetable garden.

You see, we live in a big house that was turned into 5 separate units, and with the whole “living in a real neighborhood in a real house” scenario comes a 24 sq. ft patch of garden with which we can “do whatever we want,” according to our landlord. We both liked the idea of a vegetable garden, however it required not only the soil and the plants, but we needed to remove all the weeds and various shrubbery that had taken over our plot of garden.

As you can imagine, it was easy to procrastinate taking on this activity.

But not yesterday, when being outside was required, and we had a day to do whatever we chose.

So off to the hardware store it was, and we loaded up on all the things you need to be a green-thumb person. Okay, it was actually more like this:

Me: “Oh! Spinach!”

Me: “Ohhh!! Strawberries! Kale!”

BF: “How about….”

Me: “OHH!! PRETTY FLOWERS!”

Bf: “Check this out..”

Me: “Can we get a big chocolate cookie after this?”

Eventually, we made it out with a large variety of vegetables and a few flowers to plant.

Hooray gardening!! Also, those are my running clothes I'm still wearing. It's fine.

I got my cookie too, don’t worry. So did BF.

Also, in a very “we are a semi-adult couple who lives in a semi-adult home” move, we bought PATIO FURNITURE which was on sale. Again with the little things people. Until yesterday, when BF got all handy-man and set up our new table and chairs, the sole piece of furniture on our porch was a little, lone rocking chair. Now, we can do all kinds of fun things out there, including eat dinner, play cards, and make fun of all the people of segway tours that “drive” by our house.

Seriously. WALK.

Anyways, once arriving home and setting up our new sitting area, we got to work on the garden.

You pour the soil BF, I'll document.

After some pulling, clipping, digging, and planting, we had a final product!

Gardening!! Earth Day!! Not going to Safeway for vegetables every day!!

Into the newly poured soil went: spinach, snow peas, kale, strawberries, beets, chard, mint, basil, rosemary, radishes, and flowers. I’m PSYCHED. Now, let’s just see if this actually produces anything…

To celebrate our “manual labor” we headed to the park down the street to play some catch/whiffle ball. Note: It is not easy to play whiffle ball with two people, though it is highly entertaining, and perhaps more entertaining to the people watching.

It was actually after all these activities that I realized it was Earth Day, which made everything so highly appropriate.

I love the sun. I love running. I productive days. I love convincing BF to buy cookies with me.

Did you know these things?

I’m sorry if you’re tired of reading about me getting excited over and over about the exact same things all the time, but what can I say? I’m easy to please and I know what I like.

 

So, that’s all for now. If you made it all this way through my weekend recap, both thank you and I hope you had a great weekend as well. Today begins the less than two week countdown to marathon day, which will be on May 6. I’ve technically begun tapering, but as you can tell by my recap of exercise this past weekend, the real tapering is yet to come. I’m probably going to turn into a crazy, “I HAVE EVERY FEELING IN THE WORLD” person, and so I can almost guarantee some frightening/entertaining posts in these next couple of weeks.

NOW YOU! Tell me about your Earth Day, your weekend, your long run, your favorite grocery store, your simple pleasures, or ALL OF THESE THINGS! I enjoy comments.

Green Positivity

{No, this is not a post about eco-friendly things or sustainability}

Greetings friends. How were your weekends? How was Monday?

My weekend was filled to the brim with fun activities, and while I was jealous of all the people who were racing—I have to say that this was a weekend for the books. St. Patrick’s Day, particularly, was highly enjoyable—mostly due to the effort put forth by my boyfriend who, while not Irish, is a big fan of any day devoted to beer and shenanigans.

We were traditional, we were green, we were festive. Allow me to share with you our dedication to this holiday…

Green pancakes!

In keeping with his new found affection for making pancakes, BF made the decision that Saturday’s batch would celebrate St. Patty’s as well. Unfortunately, the idea only came to him with two pancakes left to make. Thought that counts though!

Green smoothie!

I had to sneak some form of health into at least one part of the day 😉

Green people!

No pinching for us! This was also taken in a bar at 4 pm. We take these holidays seriously…also, BF’s shirt is highly entertaining, if you can read it.

Another St. Patty’s treat for the day…

Spring breakers break-ing for beer.

My sister and her boyfriend Grayson stopped by on their way to California for Spring Break to celebrate some green-filled festivities. It was wonderful to see them both, and I’m excited to see them AGAIN this Thursday for more adventures. More on that later. Thanks for coming, guys!

Green eats! Well, not really...but traditional!

So I’ve never done the whole “corned beef and cabbage” thing for St. Patty’s Day (in fact I never even had heard of it), but BF has and decided to introduce me to the tradition. It was also the first time we got to use our new crock pot, which obviously was an exciting endeavor. And, you can’t eat a traditional Irish meal without…

Guinness!

Survey says? Good choice Irish peeps! I’m not a huge red meat person, but this stuff was definitely good, and even the cabbage was to my liking. BF was quite proud of his work with this meal, and rightfully so!

Needless to say, St. Patty’s Day was a win in this household. Any holiday revolving around beer I can really get behind.

Also, because this post is already super picture-happy, this is how I spent my Friday night:

Hotel room? Robes? Wine? Check, check, and quadruple check!

When it comes to celebrating a birthday, no one does lavish quite like my lovely friend Kawika. Which is why he hosted a wine tasting in a super swanky hotel room in an even swankier downtown Seattle hotel. There were reds, there were whites, there was prosecco, and there was cake. A High School Musical 3 cake. Good times were had by all, although I think it would be hard to find someone who wouldn’t enjoy themselves in such a situation.

So, as you can see, a fun weekend indeed. However, there was one glaring absence from Saturday and Sunday: running.

If you’ve read this blog for more than just this post, you know that my weekend reports are normally overwhelmed with long-run talk. Many of you are probably happy for this new change of pace, and I don’t blame you. The fact is: bad knee=no long run. In fact, no running in general—because this bursitis took over my abilities to train, and condemned my activities to spinning and swimming. Both of which felt fantastic on my inflamed knee, and they are very bonafied cross-training activities.

However, when you are supposed to be peaking in training mileage and can’t run more than a few paces without knee pain, this set-back becomes more than discouraging. Which is why, yesterday, I went to see an orthopedic doc for some answers and solutions.

Truly, I was terrified for this appointment. I was going to post yesterday, but I was too afraid that talking about the upcoming doc visit would only heighten my nerves—so I held off until I had some answers. X-rays, lots of talking(by me), and a cortisone injection later—I am feeling an enormous amount of relief.

This appointment went just about as good as I could have hoped for. X-rays showed that nothing is wrong with my knee besides this bursitis/tendonitis—which was my biggest fear. A lot of the time, bursitis is caused by another injury such as a tendon or ligament tear—which would have sidelined me much longer. Luckily, this was not the case—and the doctor only had to yell at me about stretching more. Noted doc, no problem-o. And when he said, “I see no reason why I shouldn’t give you a cortisone injection to speed up the healing process,” I had to hide my excitement—because this is what I was secretly hoping for.

So, with this fancy medicine deflating the crap out of my knee and a little more rest time—I should be good to run (hopefully!) on Friday. So very relieved, and while I’m still wary, I’m feeling positive that I’ll be able to keep training aggressively until taper time.

Also, when I rolled up my pants to show Doc my knee, he took one look at my calves and said, “Wow, you are a runner, huh?”

I blushed.

So, generally, I’m feeling positive. I know I wasn’t totally expressive about my anxiety about this minor injury, but I was feeling very apprehensive for the fate of my Eugene Marathon dreams (ask BF, he will always vouch for my freak-out modes).  The meds and the clear x-rays definitely lifted a weight off my shoulders, and I’m feeling ready to take on the rest of training. The time off also really made me anxious and excited to run, which is always refreshing.

Happy first day of spring! Race season has definitely started, and I’d like to offer a big congrats to everyone who’s either preparing, tapering, or recovering—you are a rock star!

And now…because who isn’t tired of hearing(reading) me talk…how was your St. Patrick’s Day? Weekend? Are you currently training for a spring race?