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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):

photo

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:

image

image

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?

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When It’s Better Not to Run

No, this is not a post about not running while injured, when it’s dark out, when it’s hailing, when you’re burnt out, right after a big race, or when your running shoes resemble flip flops.

Those are all reasons not to run, but this post is about when it’s better not run when you just as easily could run.

I will be the first person to admit that I can over-exercise. I’ve gotten much better about it, and I’ve learned that a rest day can be a bff, but generally speaking I would say that I could loosen the reigns on how strict I am about fitness. I am not in any way saying this to show off or boast about how much I exercise—because frankly, I’m coming to a point where it’s a quality about myself that I’m growing to be less proud of. Which is so contradictory to what Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook/blah blah blah always preaches about “getting it done” and “sweat once a day.”

In a nutshell, after years of constantly feeling the “need” to exercise and beating myself up over any rest I took, I’m beginning to seriously re-evaluate my priorities—and in that process, my death grip on my exercise security-blanket has really started to loosen. And you know what? It feels great.

And yes, I’ve written about this before and I’m sure to write about it again—but hey, I’m a work in progress.

I’m really back and forth sometimes between maintaining my title as a “runner” and just being “normal.” Because let’s be honest…runners are not normal. Admittedly, it baffles me that people who I love and respect are equally as happy and upbeat about their day-to-day lives without running at all. Furthermore, I’ve realized that over time I had become so dependent on running that I’d lost touch with all the other aspects of life that can be just as rewarding.

And I really don’t think I’m alone.

There is a sizable demographic, particularly within the running blog world, that is quite the opposite of lazy. We plan out workouts a week ahead of time, we track our progress, speed, and miles, and we live for the content feeling every day that we’ve logged a good workout. And rightfully so, because there are few better feelings than knowing you’ve poured sweat hours before most people are even at work.

And all of these things are okay…because of course, exercise is so powerfully good for you.

But the fact of the matter is that there can always be too much of a good thing, and exercise is no exception. It’s really hard to see this—because  a) we’re in a country with an obesity epidemic and b) endorphins feel so damn good. But when exercise-induced highs start to take away from other parts of our lives, a red flag goes up.

My red flag went up a long time ago. It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally begun to admit to it, internalize it, and slowly but surely—hold up my white surrender flag.

Which brings me back to the topic of this post—when it’s better not to exercise.

I had the perfect opportunity to practice this kind of decision this weekend. And I use the word practice because it is something that is still very difficult to do.

I spent Friday through Sunday morning in Colorado for a Film Festival that my mom is the Executive Director of. Yes, she’s super badass.

Mommy on stage.

In normal RB protocol, I would have planned out ahead of time exactly which hours I would have available to run. And truthfully, I did pack all my running gear with the intention of keeping on track. But when the hour presented itself to knock out some miles, I simply chose not to. And you know what? It was such a good choice.

Part of being at a Film Festival requires you to watch several movies, literally, all day. You wouldn’t think it—but this requires A LOT of energy and caffeine. When I laid in bed Saturday morning (my intended run time) and thought about the day ahead of me and the option for 1.5 hours of more sleep—the decision seemed ridiculous. I came to Colorado to be at my mom’s film festival…why would I want to inevitably sleep through parts of it for the sake of a run?

Films!

I know this sounds silly…because there are so many people who would have understood this kind of prioritization much earlier on. But for me, it’s hard—and it’s taken a while.

There are so many times when I choose running over other activities (namely sleeping) in order to maintain my sanity throughout the day. In many ways, I love this about myself—but I’m finally realizing that over time, the exhaustion and pressure of uber-prioritizing exercise completely negates the  highs we get from it. In other words…it has the opposite effect of exercise.

Here is what I’m finally getting: missing one run does not make one. little. difference in how complete of a person I am. It’s how I choose to react that makes the difference—and in that sense, I’m choosing to stop reacting so much.

Because as much as I adore running, and as huge of a part of me as it may be, it’s not everything. When we spend so much time building our identities as “runners” we lose touch with all the other elements that make us who we are. And when we drift too far away from those things—it becomes harder to regain a sense of self when, all of a sudden, we can’t run.

It’s why when we’re injured, we panic—without running we’re lost. Of course, I am the guiltiest of the guilty in this regard, which is why I’m choosing to practice a different form of discipline. And in that respect…by relaxing our running and by taking on some more rest, our susceptibility to be injured goes down and we’re left with not only healthier bodies, but more well-rounded senses of self.

I’m not currently injured. I have zero desire to become injured. But if and when it does happen again (and I’m going to go with “when” on that one given the nature the beast), I want to be more armed with experience and amo for getting through it. The experience, in this case, being the familiarity with not running sometimes. And the amo being the ability to let other wonderful things build me up while running might be down.

I am a runner, through and through. I would venture to say that there may never be a point where I am not a runner—because that’s quite unimaginable. I love it, and it seems like the more I do it—the more I love it. But one of the biggest parts of being a runner is respecting the fact that it’s a sport that requires a great deal of discipline—and with that discipline comes the need to rest.

Rest has been my most underrated part of my participation in this sport, and I’m finally realizing that I’m honoring my title as a “runner” more so when I accept rest instead of resisting it.

So sometimes, it’s better to not run. Not because of anything particular, but because when we pair running with the other great things in our lives, it makes the sport much more fulfilling and exciting.

champagne and cupcakes post Friday night gala FTW.

When I got home on Sunday, sleepy and happy from my quick CO trip…I couldn’t wait to slip into  my running shoes. And when I took off on a long, leisurely jaunt around West Seattle, my thought wasn’t “Dang I need to make up for the past two days,” it was, “I loved spending every minute I could this weekend with my family.”

So sweaty. Seattle decided to be humid and hot to kick off November. I forgot BodyGlide also. Mistake.

I’m a work in progress—as we all are. Some days are better than others, but overall I would say that I am finally getting the balance thing.

I encourage everyone who takes their exercise really seriously to continue to do so—but not at the cost of losing your health or all the other great things about you.

Sometimes the better decision as a runner is to not run, and you know what? It’s okay. Running will always be there, so don’t stress out if you take a time out every now and then. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

“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.

Warning: Sparkly Excitement Ahead

You know how you secretly hate those people who are all “Happy Monday!” “Welcome to the week!” “I love life!”? Seriously, pretty much everyone is merely trying to get through this first day of the week, why do you need to shove it in our faces that you are hyped on Prozac and caffeine and unicorns all the time?

Yea, well…today, I am one of those people. So, if you aren’t feeling exclamation points and glass-over-flowing-with-excitement optimism this afternoon, go ahead and quietly scroll your arrow to the little “x” box at the top right corner of your screen and pretend like you were never here. No hard feelings.

Still with me? Sweet! Now let’s make some sweet sweet rainbows and sunshine together.

On Friday, I posted a bit about my hopefulness and hesitation for the fate of my spring marathon aspirations. Due to my knee being a huge a-hole and my training getting thwarted for two weeks, I was coming to terms with the fact that things may not pan out as I’d hoped.

And I was okay with it…I really was.

Then came yesterday’s run. Oh dear, sweet yesterday’s run.

After very grudgingly getting out of bed for an attempted “long run,” I decided that I would be shooting for 16 miles. That was the ideal, and if I had to cut it short, I would accept it. Because that’s the Smart Runner Bird I’m trying to be, remember?

So then, I started to run. And I felt fantastic. And I kept running…and I still felt fantastic.

Call it cortisone, call it rest, call it luck, call it the Aleve I took literally 3 minutes before walking out the door, but no matter what it was…it worked. I kept running, waiting for my bursa sack to inflame and immobilize the rest of my leg the way it had been for the past two weeks.

NADA. NOTHING.

I stopped halfway through to stretch a bit, and while my knee tingled a bit, there was no indication that running was irritating or bothering it in any way. As I started off on the last half, you could not get the smile off my face. It was ridiculous and reminiscent of an elementary school “You Can Do It!” motivational poster…but I just couldn’t help it. The thought, “I’m back!” kept reverberating in my brain, and I relished every moment. It also didn’t hurt that despite a forecast of rain and wind, there was sunshine and {some} wind instead.

So proud of you Seattle, so proud of you knee.

I even threw in a mile long hill at the end of it all with a 300 ft. elevation gain for some added grunt, and the knee seemed to take it all in stride. I felt as if my knee was like, “Okay Robyn, since you actually did the right thing and laid off me I’ll suck it up and get better. You win.”

Total mileage? 17.22

SO PSYCHED. This was super encouraging, as I’ll {hopefully} still be able to get in two, 20+ milers before taper.

Please excuse my overly enthusiastic Tweet yesterday in which I had miscalculated my mileage before mapping it.

awkward.

No problem. 18 would have been great, but 17 is great too.

Side note: I have this weird thing about running distances that are odd numbers. As in, I am really uncomfortable with it, and I almost always try and run even numbers of miles. Half Marathons are great, but 13.1 is scary numerically to me. Fun Fact Monday. Well, maybe not fun, but maybe it helps make you feel more normal?

I even foam rolled afterwards and stretched! Improvements!

I would like to say this face was exaggerated, but that would be a lie. Self portrait attempts + quad mutilation via hunk of foam + face caked in salt= the essence of beauty.

And if I hadn’t already basked in pain-free running glory enough, I decided to do the wise injury-prevention thing and go to yoga yesterday afternoon. It was definitely not my best performance, and I stuck to all the easier versions of the poses, but my calves and hammies were very happy with all the stretchy attention the got. I think I fell asleep for a minute in savasana also, but that must mean I was really meditative and Zen. Right? Good.

And speaking of meditative and happiness and birdies, this was also a necessary end to the day:

Oh buttery, sugar-coated, pink, bird sugar cookie, I love you.

I am feeling wonderfully sore and sleepy today. After not doing a long run for a few weeks, those miles definitely wiped me out in the best possible way. I’m still on the watch for lingering injury pain, but yesterday was definitely a fat ole’ confidence boost kick-in-the-butt. {I also don’t think you can get more adjectives/descriptive nouns in one sentence. Way to go English major, way to utilize your inability to tone down your detailing.}

Nothing like a little patience to really make a run feel like solid gold.

Shake out run today, and presuming things keep going well, I’m looking forward to continuing on in this [final!] month of marathon training.

____

Now… please let me hear your lovely voices! Did you race this weekend? Long run? How’d it go? Are you as sad as I am that Alec Baldwin is engaged?

Branching Out, Angry Knee, and Minnie Pancakes

This weekend, I did things a little differently.

And I liked it. A lot.

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

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

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

LAME

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

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

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

liquid GOLD my friends

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

{Joke}

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

{insert moans of searing pain here}

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

YOU GUYS. THIS IS SO PAINFUL.

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

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

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

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

However, as mentioned, there was one hiccup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Have a good Monday!

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

 

 

 

 

Impromptu 25k Race Recap

Hello! Welcome to Monday…I’m not sure about you, but it definitely feels like a Monday to me. Starbucks debuted Valentine’s Day cups though, so that’s helping.

Dear world, if you slap holiday-themed decoration on everyday items, I will love it and I will purchase it.

I had a good ole sleep-in day today—7:15 am feels like heaven recently, and I find that quite humorous. I was zonked last night though, and some quality REM was necessary—especially after the long run I cranked out earlier. Despite feeling a bit sore and tired, though, this run was positively great, and I finished feeling very confident in my training.

Let me back track a bit though: I was scheduled to do 18 miles yesterday, which to me is when the real work begins. I’m confident up to about 16 or so miles, but after that it feels like unchartered territory. My first 18 miler last time I was training (which was the furthest I’d ever run at that point in time) was a doozy, and I can remember walking verryyy slowly for the rest of the day afterwards.

So, on Saturday as I was preparing to top off gorge on my fuel supply carbs and cookies, BF discovered that there was an ultra event being held tomorrow…10 minutes from our house…on the exact course I would be following for my own run. Oh, and it was free.

DUH. I was in.

The race was called the Fat Ass 50k (cue irony), and there was the option of doing a 25k, a 50k, or (for the bravest of the brave) a 75k. Obviously I signed up for the 25k (15.52 miles) and planned on just tacking on some miles at the end to reach my scheduled workout.

Now, this by no means was an “official” event. No bibs, no timing chips, no mile markers. There was, however, a fuel station at the halfway point, and plenty of chow and water at the finish, which in my opinion completely made this official. Any run where I receive free Gatorade and fig newtons is completely sanctioned in my mind. It also kind of added to the “ultra” feel of it all. Based on my research of these crazy-person events, they really work with the bare minimum in terms of race support. Runners normally supply their own fuel, there is hardly any finisher recognition, and close to no one even knows the events are even going on. That’s kind of how this race felt, and I loved it: People who just love to run, gathered together for some Sunday morning splendor.

So, 8 am rolls around, and about 75 or so runners are bouncing up and down for warmth, just gunning for the “Ready, Set, Go!” I was having too much fun people watching to focus on being cold. I always read about ultra runners, so it was quite a giddy feeling to be lined up at a start line with them. I would say it was pretty evenly split between those running the 50k and those running the 25k, which was comforting—although I was shocked at the ages of many of the 50k’ers. I was without a doubt the youngest by at least ten years, and there were a lot of 50k runners, clad in their “Marathon Maniacs” jerseys, who were definitely over 60. I was so impressed, inspired, and happy at the thought that running can be accessible to anyone who chooses to take it on.

This was the start line. The start of a spectacular day.

Off we went, and despite the fact that I insisted I would simply be running a casual run, the same as I would if I were alone, the race atmosphere had me all pumped up. My uber-competitiveness got the best of me, and pretty early on I got it in my head that I wanted to   compete. I held onto a 7th or so position for the first 8 miles or so, and I knew that I was the first female—which frankly felt pretty great. I also felt very strong; I was really hydrated and somehow all my fueling and stretching clicked together in symmetry. I was all by myself for the rest of the race, enjoying the weather (45 degrees and SUN) and smiling at everyone I saw. Although the “race course” was the same route I take all the time, somehow it felt and looked different when put in the context of competition.

I finished in 2:03 ish (according to my trusty Timex) which I was definitely happy with. I was the first female to finish…which I suppose means I won? Exciting!

wooo!

I logged my time with the Race Director (who, by the way, was wearing pajama pants with beer steins on them and yellow Crocs), and headed back out for 2.5 (slightly slower) miles to complete 18 for the day.

The whole run (the race part and the after part) was awesome, and I loved the impromptu randomness of it all. Racing made 18 miles go by much quicker (both literally and mentally) and it was really fun to run with some of Seattle’s distance fanatics. My kind of people.

BF finished 12.5 miles himself, and we reconvened after our respective long-runs for Sunday morning bagels and coffee. I would also like to note that BF paid for such bagels as he lost a bet Friday night in which a certain Los Angeles basketball team beat a certain Denver team at their home court. Yea, it happened.

LAL

In the afternoon, we took our homemade appetizers(a task we took very seriously) to a friend’s house for Superbowl  festivities. Neither of us were very partial to either team, however I admittedly love Tom Brady and was sad to see the Pats lose. No matter, I was more concentrated on eating as many various appetizer things as possible, and I definitely came out victorious in that endeavour.

A thing of beauty.

It was a lovely Sunday, and after completing that race/getting 18 miles under my belt, I’m feeling really geared up for my long runs to come.

Also, I changed my expected finish time for the Eugene Marathon, to 10 minutes lower than I originally signed up for. Assuming that it didn’t totally jinx me…I’m feeling good about the decision, and it’s helping motivate in a big way.

Hope your weekends were good, cheers!

Question: What do you care most about for the Superbowl? The game? The commercials? The food?

Sunday Funday

I feel like yesterday’s post was a bit heavy in a Yoda of Running kind of way, so I thought I’d start today with some thoughts on a very important weekly event:

Sunday Funday.

Now, the term “Sunday Funday” was brought to my attention by BF, who would describe this holy day of the week (pun intended) as something like this:

Sweatpants, couch, football, eating, beer, football, beer, nap, football, repeat.

Snuggies are important for Sunday Funday. BF approves.

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

He and his friends have practiced a mean Sunday Funday through the past few years during football season, and while I can’t entirely understand it—I am big on once-a-week sanctioned events. I realized that I actually do have my own version of a Sunday Funday—but instead of the boy-version, mine involves running. Long running.

While most of my weekly runs would qualify as “longer,” it is specifically Sunday where I like to test my endurance with a steady high mileage run. I suppose I really started this when I was marathon training, as that’s how my program was set. However, I’ve sort of continued this routine post marathon—and I’ve found that there are innumerable benefits to taking a long run on a Sunday. Below, I’ve listed a top ten list of why it’s the best day of the week to strap on your shoes and hit the pavement:

1) Starting the week off right.

I feel like I tend to forget that Sunday is actually the first day of the week, technically. If I treat Sunday like a jumping off point instead of a slog-around fest where I avoid the inevitable reality of Monday, then I’m much less prone to resenting Monday. If I can jump into the work week feeling like I’ve already accomplished something big, then I’m all the more ready to take on whatever’s next.

2) Evaporating weekend indulgences.

I am a master of eating great throughout the week and then once the weekend hits, all bets are off. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing—reward systems can go a long way—however when my system that is used to fruits and veggies is filled with beer and cheese, I can go a little out of whack. I also have Ulcertive Colitis, which really tends to hate these sudden dietary switches. Sunday is a great day to sweat out the treats of the weekend and clear both your conscience and arteries of that extra brownie, or four.

Yes, that was me Saturday night. I have no shame—worth it.

3) Time.

There is really never another day of the week where you have the amount of leisurely time available to test yourself and see what your legs are made of. I’m personally used to scheduling my workouts between set time frames, and sometimes it’s very freeing to know that I have as much time as necessary to do one simple thing.

4) Saturday carbo load.

As if you needed an excuse.

5) Be with the people!

Tons of people, whether they’re training for a race or not, run/walk/meander around on Sundays, and it’s nice to feel like you’re out enjoying the day with them. If ever I want some entertainment on my runs, people watching and dog watching are among my favorite activities.

6) Be with the runners!

Kind of similar as before, but by seeing other runners out there, you are sure to be encouraged and inspired to be part of such a cool group of people. And I’m not being cocky or exclusive or anything like that, but the fact of the matter is that runners love other runners. Runners love to talk about running, give advice, listen to others, and generally they have a great energy and enthusiasm about them. Perhaps this is why non runners scoff at runners sometimes, but I know that there is really nothing quite like the classic runner-to-runner head nod exchange to keep my spirits high.

7) Be outside!

It’s so easy to stay couch-logged on the weekends; we’re overworked, tired, and just want to relax a lot of the time. But sometimes getting outside is just what we need to clear our heads of all work and stress related burdens. Running offers an opportunity to be outside and get exercise—both integral to regaining our sanity.

8) Good sleep before the week.

If you’ve garnered some extra energy over the weekend, sometimes Sunday night you’re prone to go to bed later, sleep restlessly, and then our Mondays are groggy and slow, which no one likes. If you can burn off some energy on Sunday, you are so much more likely to settle into a restful sleep that night and start the week off right!

9) Enough time for stretching, hydrating, and relaxing.

I cannot tell you how many times I promise myself to stretch more after my runs, or roll out on my foam roller, or do any of the standard post-run necessities. Problem is, once I’ve squeezed in all the minutes I can into my run and get back home, I need to shower and get to work asap…leaving no time for these easy but important things. With the flexible time on Sunday (for the most part), you not only get to take your time on a run, but you can also take ample time afterward to properly stretch all your big running muscles, take an ice bath (if necessary), and prepare a good recovery meal.

10) Football

In honor of BF, I will include football watching as the final reason for a Sunday long run. Once you’ve logged some solid, quality miles—you truly have earned the right to sit on your butt cheering for your favorite team.

There you have it! If you find yourself restless and antsy at the end of your weekend, I really recommend trying out switching your long run to Sundays. While I was in school, Sunday was by far my least favorite day of the week, but now that I am free of homework and able to orchestrate my Sundays more loosely, it might just be one of my new favorites 🙂

16 miles down, and ready for the week with a delicious bowl of chili. Makeup was very unnecessary today, clearly.

When do you do your long runs? Do you change it up every week, depending on other circumstances? What is your idea of a Sunday Funday?