Tag Archives: weather

Bellingham Bay Half-Marathon Race Recap

Lots of things to say about yesterday’s race. For a quick minute in there, I was disappointed that I was (spoiler) only 20 seconds off my PR. I was also disappointed for an instant that my watch (along with those of several around me) read a long course and not a true 13.1. However, after those thoughts subsided and I thought back on the race that I’d run, I landed in the spot I am today: both very pleased and very encouraged.

I went into this race with some trepidation about the conditions (blustery and rainy) but also with a lot of gusto to run a good race. Relatively speaking, I hadn’t raced in a while, and I was ready to see what my legs could do. I rested all day Saturday (a new approach for me), hydrated well, slept well, and treated the run like a real race.

photo 1

Low and behold, race morning comes, and the drive up to Bellingham was…ominous. It was pouring, windy, and the perfect conditions for sleeping in and hot coffee…not running 13.1 miles in spandex and a tank top. But I kept my spirits high, and after an easy bib pick-up and some dynamic stretching, I forgot about the weather and tried to get in the zone. Spotting some fellow Oiselle teammates helped kindle my excitement, and I felt proud to be wearing the same singlet as such fast women.

Before I knew it, the countdown was on, and boom…we were running a half marathon. Tried and true to the start of any race, I a) felt incredible and b) knew I was going too fast. A look down at my watch about a half mile in would verify that my 7:00 “easy” pace was certainly not the way to start off a distance race, so I tried to tug back. Ugh, why is this always so hard? Every time I swear to myself I’ll follow the rules and hold back at the start, and every time I cross a start line I abandon all those good intentions. But, I forgave myself, let a faster mile 1 clock in, and prepared to reel in the reigns.

I felt so good during these first few miles. Like, better than I’ve felt running in a long long time. Isn’t that what we hope to feel during races? Anyway, I alternated between sharing paces with others, pulling back when they surged, and going ahead when they fell behind. Generally, it just felt great to be racing, and I let that mindset and momentum carry me through the early miles:

Mile 1: 7:14

Mile 2: 7:22

Mile 3: 7:23

In terms of pacing for this race, my goal was to stick to 7:30s for the first half and open it up if I could during the second half. So, once I reentered the 7:20s, I considered it okay and just went with it. I also knew that there was an incline coming up in mile 4 which would get things back in line.

That incline came and I already knew that my legs were in for a hard race, should I keep this pace up. My breathing sped up and my HR surged a little, reminding me that I was—in fact—racing. But, per usual after a hill reclines to a flat grade, my legs started turning over again and invited the steady downhill that would come in the next few miles.

Mile 4: 7:47

I knew that miles 5-7 were on a downhill, and I’d planned ahead of time to use those miles to my advantage. What I hadn’t considered, though, was that these miles would also change the direction of the course directly into the forecasted wind. These miles were also pretty exposed, which made the wind even more difficult to avoid, but nonetheless…I tried to gun it a little.

Mile 5: 7:18

Mile 6: 7:06

Mile 7: 7:01

There was a bit in there where my watch read 6:xx, which both horrified and exhilarated me. I’d never seen a pace in the 6s during a half marathon, and it was a definite confidence booster to see that pop up.

The course flattened out after this, and the headwind seemed to take a turn directly into our faces. I tore open my gel around this point too and held it for the next few miles, taking drags from it whenever I felt steady. We reentered downtown Bellingham, and there were a few twisty inclines that definitely slowed me down and reminded me of the miles I’d already logged. My energy started waning a little around miles 9-10, and looking back on the elevation profile of the course, it’s obvious that those mini hills took their toll.

Mile 8: 7:34

Mile 9: 7:45

Mile 10: 7:40

We were on a dirt path along the bay at this point, which was warmly welcomed after all the pavement pounding. Although my watch had been a little off the whole race, it was really off once I got to mile 10, which was a little discouraging. My miles were beeping at least 2/10 of a mile before the mile markers, and a fellow racer confirmed that her Garmin was at the same distance as mine. Admittedly, I fumed about this for a bit, considering I thought a PR was within reach should the course be 13.1, but I put that thought out of my mind and tried to just run the race I was running and enjoy it as much as I could.

Once I got to mile 10.5 or so, I resolved to kick it up in the last 5k, and that mind shift seemed to give me a bit of a second wind as well. I was hurting, but not done yet, and I wanted to finish strong. There was a STEEP boat ramp during mile 11 that felt like I was walking, which took a lot of self-talk to get up and over especially with another hilly ~1.5 miles to go afterward.

Mile 11: 7:17

Mile 12: 7:58

Alas, up I went, and we turned into the homestretch. Something I really like about this race is that it’s an essentially straight shot to this finish, and it seemed like everyone around me was pulling out everything they had to fire their final canons. I’d been leap-frogging with a few men the whole race, and all of us were straightening up and putting on our best race faces during this final stretch. Lots of fun.

However, things were hurting. This last mile was consistently up and down hill, and I was definitely feeling all the changing elevation, despite how minimal it actually was. When my watch beeped “13” I was nowhere near the mile marker, so I made a mental note to check “my” half marathon time in another .1 miles.

Mile 13: 7:12

Eventually, the finish line came into view, and I dug out my final dregs of speed as much as I could—I’ll be damned if that clock changes to 1:39!

photo

Final .32 miles: 6:37

Official finish time: 1:38:47, 16th woman overall

After a momentary feeling of being punched in the gut, I pulled it together, got my medal and space blanket and regaled on what just happened: Was that the fastest I’ve ever run before?

Technically, no. My official half-marathon PR is 22 seconds faster than that. But, in reality…it actually might be.

I am certainly not someone to play the, “But my watch said xx:xx!” card. I believe we all run the same course, the same race, no matter what, and the numbers we clock individually are secondary. But, .2 miles off is significant enough that I’m inclined to look at my pace according to the distance I logged rather than a 13.1 distance. Furthermore, in the case that I ran 13.32 miles in 1:38:47, I ran a 7:24 pace, which is easily faster than I’ve ever run a half marathon before. Take it or leave it, I realize this is a controversial topic, but I’m having a hard time ignoring that figure.

Despite the could-haves and maybes of the off-distance, I certainly had miles during this race that were both unexpected and mini personal-record breaking. The fact that 6.32 miles were under 7:20s is incredibly encouraging, and it brightens my hopes for a 1:35:xx in the (hopefully) not-so-distant future.

photo 3

I also felt like I was able to handle discomfort during this race much better than I’ve been able to before. One of my goals going into it was to keep my head on and not let the pain shadow my confidence. I tried to keep this in the front of my mind during those tougher miles, and I’m happy that I feel like I was able to stay comfortable being uncomfortable. There were some bleak minutes, certainly, but it felt like my resolve to push through was able to suppress those dark voices—which is something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past.

So, all in all, it was a great race. I’m happy that the rain held off (mostly), and despite the comprised conditions, I ran the best race I could. I have high hopes for what’s to come, and a little more gusto in my motivation to start training a little harder. The half-marathon is a fun and tough distance, and I’m excited to see what the next two this year have in store.

And a huge congrats to the other ladies who ran this race! In case I needed a spoonful of humble stew, the other 4 gals I ran with finish in 3, 4, 5, and 7th. Yes, really. Speedy ladies! Super impressive.

Happy Monday all!

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See Jane Run Half-Marathon Race Recap

Never before in my running career (except in high school) have I raced as much as I have this summer. It was 100% unintentional, but somehow I have found myself at several start lines (with more to come…). It helped that two of these races were free. Actually who am I kidding…that’s more or less the reason I’ve done so many. But free or not, I love racing, and I’m really happy to get the chance to do more of it.

As I wrote in my last post, I like to have intentions behind my races—even if those intentions have nothing to do with time. So with the See Jane Run half-marathon on Sunday, I definitely had some “guidelines.” Including (roughly):

1) Save your energy—conservative start

2) Fast finish

3) Make it hurt (a little)

I’m really trying to use the chance to race in the heat to my advantage, despite how much I dislike it. I’m 100% a cold weather racer, always have been, and I have always felt defeated a little when the temperatures rise and my speed and energy decline. But, I’m trying to turn this into a positive and hopefully by doing the hot work now, it will make the cooler temps all the more luxurious.

So let’s get this race recap started already, shall we?

Pre-race mirror selfie + dirty room.

Pre-race mirror selfie + dirty room.

I did something I have never done before a half before this race—I warmed up. Not far—just a little half mile jog with a couple of strides to get my legs warm and my turnover going. I was a little wary of not storing all my energy, but I actually really liked this and I started the race feeling more ready to go than usual.

After said warm-up, I scuttled my way to the first corral and right at 8 am, we were off.

I immediately felt really happy to be racing a half on such a beautiful day with a bunch of runner gals. Despite how competitive I am (which would be proven later on), there was something great about racing among a (primarily) all-female group. There’s this unspoken sisterhood between ladies who run, and I could definitely feel it crossing the start line on Sunday.

Moving onto the nitty gritty:

Miles 1 and 2:

7:39, 7:40

Well, my “guideline” number 1 was kind of blown, but I figured that this would just make guideline number 2 even tougher and thus make guideline number 3 a success. I couldn’t help starting this way—I felt so good! But eventually, once reality settled in, I dialed it back a bit and focused on getting into a groove.

Miles 3 and 4:

7:48, 7:44

The beginning miles of this race are all along Lake Union and the canal, so there was a lot of shade and a nice breeze. It was very comfortable running, and once the crowds thinned a little I really felt in a groove. There was an out-and-back after mile 3 or so, and I quickly realized that the mile markers were very off. I verified this when I heard some gals around me comparing their own measurements, but I figured it would all settle itself eventually.

Miles 5, 6 and 7:

7:45, 7:50, 8:10

These are the miles where a half-marathon starts to get more real for me—kind of like miles 14-18 of a marathon. The middle miles. The miles you forget about until you’re in them and you realize you’ve already run for an hour or so but you still have the harder stuff left. Luckily, I was still feeling good—a little hot, but luckily we were still reasonably shaded. I was also having a grand ole time targeting and leap-frogging with other runners. I knew I was in the top 30 or so women, meaning that it was safe to assume that everyone around me was down for some racing. I definitely noticed a little sass between runners during this race, especially when I would pass someone— but in a good competition kind of way. Anyway, it made it fun and offered some distraction. Around mile 7 I felt like I was primarily passing people as opposed to getting passed, which gave me some hope that all my goals going into this race weren’t lost. Around mile 7 was the dreaded “super steep” hill on the course. It was definitely steep and slowed me down, but it wasn’t awful.

Miles 8, 9, and 10:

8:10, 7:42, 7:53

This is where the only hills in this race were, but they didn’t bother me too much. With every uphill comes a downhill, and as much as the uphills can drain my energy, I always gain momentum on the way back down. We passed back by Gasworks and the finish line on the way to the final out-and-back, which was a little deflating, however I was prepared for it and didn’t actually mind as much as I anticipated.

I should also note that the mile markers were still off, and I was pretty certain around this point that the course would end up short. Kind of a bummer, although ultimately we would all be running the same distance. Good thing I wasn’t going for a personal best, but this seems like something that should definitely be fixed next year.

I was getting warmer and my stomach started to squirm a little around mile 10. Heat does this too me—especially if my fuel isn’t sitting properly (which it wasn’t). I tried sucking on a Honey Stinger gel packet around 8.5, and despite my best efforts it wasn’t going to happen. I need to get better at fueling somehow.

Nearing mile 11, I was dreading my self-proclaimed “fast finish,” but I was also excited to try and gut it out with a few of the girls around me. This part was also exciting because we were able to see the lead ladies coming back by us, and the first gal (who was crushing everyone) was SO YOUNG. I think she may have been 14-16 years old? Ridiculous. I gave her an obligatory, “You go girl,” as she sprinted by me.

Miles 11, 12, “13”

7:52, 7:31, 6:17 (final .86 mile)

I was happy I was able to punch it up a little in the end. I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t feel completely depleted. It was right where I wanted to be—a little pain, but not all out. The final mile was fun as we entered back in Gasworks with lots of people watching and a nice final path to run down. About 200 meters from the finish line, I was around 1:39:30, and I did all I could to keep that 1:39 on the clock. It was probably the fastest sprint I’ve ever done at the end of a race. Seeing BF and high-fiving him right before crossing the end was fun too 🙂

My watch read 1:40:06 when I finally finished, which was too bad, but since I was sure the course measurement was wrong anyway, it didn’t matter too much. Also, duh, this wasn’t a goal race, so I was mainly just happy to be done and to have (mostly) accomplished what I wanted to.

Half-marathon number #8, check!

The finishing area was fun, with lots of samples and not enough hands to hold it all. My stomach was still waging war, so after one failed attempt at a donut hole I had to refuse all the other goodies. I felt better after two bottles of water, but I just don’t think my system will ever get used to racing in warmer temps.

It’s all part of the training though. And this race was exactly what I wanted in terms of race practice and getting into a manageable pain place.

Oh and I started wearing sunglasses when I run. LOVE.

Oh and I started wearing sunglasses when I run. LOVE.

Final results:

Time: 1:40:08

Overall: 26/975

Age Group: 6/171 <— homegirls are FAST! The next closest girl to me ran a 1:34.

Pace: 7:38 (if the course was 13.1, if it was 12.86 like I clocked, pace was 7:47)

Overall, I was happy with this race. It felt challenging but not too hard, and while the thought of averaging a pace 30 seconds faster than this in just over two months is still horrifying, I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice racing the distance.

I also know there’s lots of time before Bellingham, and I have some strategies up my sleeve to help my 1:35 goal become a reality. More to follow later on. See Jane Run will, however, more than likely be my last half before that goal race, which I’m hoping will help to kindle some necessary race-day fire.

Special thanks to RoseRunner for my entry to this race!

And now…let’s run some ultra relays!

Did you run See Jane Run? How did it go??

Eugene Marathon Training Week #9

Good morning!

I am certain I won’t be saying this for more than week…but currently (please quote me on this later) I’m definitely ready to taper.

I feel like I’ve packed in all the training I could up until now, and it just feels like time to slow down, smooth out the cracks, and mentally prepare for race day.

Too bad that will be a three week process. But for now, I’m feeling more relived than anxious to be entering taper-phase. Part of that reason could be last week…it was a big one (for me).

M: REST

T: 10 miles fast-ish

W: 8 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt

T: 11.3 miles

F: 3500 yd swim ~80 min

S: 22.4 miles

S: 6.5 easy miles + 75 min yoga

Total= 58.2 miles

That right there would be the most miles I’ve run in this training bout. Most of it felt good…with the exception of some not-so-favorable conditions on Saturday’s long run.

*Edited to add: After some archive snooping, I discovered this is actually the most miles I have ever run in one week!

The truth is that I should be really grateful for Saturday. All the weather apps (yes I have more than one) promised “steady rain” and 10+ mph winds all day on Saturday. I whimpered a little bit on Friday night, but resolved that rain or no rain…the run was going to happen, and I needed to suck it up.

Imagine my euphoria, then, when the 7:00 am alarm went off and not only was there no rain on my window, but there were BLUE SKIES. Nothing will get me out of bed to run quicker than a welcomed fault in weather reporting. This optimism didn’t necessarily carry on through the run, unfortunately.

I’m not really sure if it was the distance, the headwind (they were right about that part), or just the day itself, but I never really fell into a groove during my long run this week. I really dislike when this happens, particularly as it ruins any hope for consistent pacing (my only goal for the run), and I hate having such variance in speed. The second half was infinitely better than the first half (a reprieve from a head wind will do that for you), and my fastest miles turned out to be my final 5 or so. I would upload and post my splits, but I’m a little afraid to look at their lack of symmetry quite yet.

I kind of felt like I hit the wall during this run, which is definitely not awesome during a training run. But. I suppose if I have to take it now or in Eugene, I’d much rather take Saturday.

At one point, I stopped my watch to refill my water bottle (holla for the fountains being back on!), and I forgot to turn it back on for ~.4 miles. Not really a big deal…except that I plum forgot about it until after the run was done, and after I’d completed the Garmin-verified 22.0 mile distance. During a regular run, this wouldn’t have made a difference. But on a 22 mile run, that extra .4 might have been the death of me.

But no matter. I would have liked to finish my longest long run on a more confident note, but you can’t always count on that. I’ve had more than my share of encouraging long runs this training cycle, so those are what I’ll try to focus on.

I spent the rest of Saturday cuddled in a blanket on the couch in the dark. It sounds pathetic, but it was actually rather perfect. And that rain they predicted? It started probably 20 minutes after I walked in the door from my run. I’ll call that a win for the day.

I also slept about 11 hours Saturday night, all of which felt super necessary. Nothing wipes me out quite like a long run, and there is no more delicious sleep than those fueled by miles (and an entire pizza in my stomach 🙂 )

Not too much else from last week is especially note-worthy. Going to yoga yesterday afternoon was one of the best decisions I made all week…and by “going,” I really mean summoning up every morsel of willpower in my being. There is no excuse for why I don’t prioritize going to yoga more, as it never fails to leave me feeling 100% better afterward. It’s just so much easier to choose an hour of sitting on my butt than an hour of downward dog. I can also easily fool myself too into thinking that I’ll just “stretch at home” and it will be just as effective as an expert telling me what to do. Lies.

However, I’m going to try and go at least twice before Eugene. It really is so good for us runners, and when I’m there I can almost hear my pissy muscles thanking me for finally giving them a little TOC.

Other than yoga, there are a few other “running accessories” that I wholeheartedly believe to be effective and helpful, but that’s a post for another day.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Am I The Weirdo?

I don’t really have many running pet peeves.

Runners tend to be some of the friendliest people, and I totally get that a lot of what we do in regard to running is totally personal.

But, and this is a big BUT, there is one running-related annoyance I can’t tend to shake. It’s really silly and ridiculous…considering it doesn’t even remotely affect me. But no matter how hard I try, the more I see it happen, the more frustrated I become.

I’m talking about the way in which people dress, namely the way people overdress, when they run.

I just don’t get it. I’m fairly certain that my internal temperature is no higher or more tolerant than your average person; in fact, I tend to be cold more often than not. So for the life of me, I don’t understand why— when I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt— there are other people not just wearing pants and long sleeves, but also hats and mittens.

This phenomenon is especially noticeable nowadays, as the weather is a little trickier to gauge than the typical “cold” of winter and “hot” of summer. This in-between mode adds a lot of variety to the attire you see out on a run, and while I understand people are going different speeds, different distances, etc…there are some lines that should be drawn, right?

My petty annoyance with overdressers came to a boiling point this past Saturday (in case you couldn’t tell 🙂 ). It was 52-ish degrees, sunny, without much wind. My interpretation of this is shorts and a short sleeve shirt, no question. Although I might have been chilly for the first mile or so, I knew I’d be perfectly happy in this getup in the end.

The wonderful thing about the sun being out is that it summons runners of all sorts. Sunny days in Seattle are flooded with runners and bikers and walkers and elliptic-goers galore, and Saturday was no exception.

With all this running company, I was able to do a thorough survey of what people were all wearing on this fine spring morning.

And, I kid you not, there were at least 20 people wearing black pants, black long-sleeve tops, and some form of cold-weather accessory.

I don’t understand!!!!

I get so warm when I run, as I’m sure most of us do, so why oh why would you want to weigh down your run with unnecessary clothing baggage???

obviously multiple punctuation marks are necessary in this discussion

But really… it’s not like the majority of these people have never run outside before. Most of them are people that I see out regularly, through all seasons, and some of whom are definitely doing long distances with quick paces. And yet, they’re dressed as if it’s below freezing with sideways sleet and 20 mph winds.

So, after the 30th or so overdressed person I judged witnessed on Saturday, I managed to suppress my unwarranted anger and asked myself the real question:

“Am I the weirdo?”

But seriously…am I?

It seems like the vast majority of people out running are, in my opinion, overdressed. And if this is my opinion, maybe I’m actually the minority and don’t follow the standard “what to wear while running” rules.

So I’m genuinely curious here…what are your temperature minimums/maximums for donning certain attire?

For reference (and so you can help justify if I am actually the freak), here is my own scale of what I’ll wear for varying temperatures.

<30°: capri tights, long sleeves, ear-warmer, and probably gloves

30°-35°: capri tights, long sleeves, possible ear-warmer

35°-40°: shorts, thicker long sleeve top

40°-45°: shorts, thin (tech tee) long sleeves

45°-50°: shorts and short sleeves, possibly a thin long sleeve if I’m going really slow

50°<: shorts and short sleeves, tank top if it’s over 65° or so.

So there’s my scale. I’m really hoping that I can either confirm that a) I’m the one that’s loony with my ensemble choices, b) you all agree with my scale and it’s everyone else that’s crazy, or c) eveyone’s a little different and I just happen to chronically see the people who overdress.

What do you wear for running in various temperatures? Do you think most people under-dress, overdress, or do you not care because really…who should care anyways? Any other unique running pet peeves?

A Little of This, a Little of That.

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

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

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

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

16 Mile Run on Saturday

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

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

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

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

Love you Seattle.

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

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

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

01_argo_ipad

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

#hipsterthings

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

My one true love.

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

Chipotle > everything else.

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

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

Kidding, I kind of suck.

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

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

photo

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

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

(pause for amusing image)

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

Needless to say, last night was the best.

 

image (1)

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

Seriously, the best.

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

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

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

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

Homeland.

804_1_0_prm-emmys2012_1024x640

Watch. Now.

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

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

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

 

 

 

Chicago Marathon Training Week #11 + Weekend

So, there wasn’t much running involved in my workouts last week…you already knew that. I didn’t post my training last week though out of bitter resentment, so here’s a look at how all the non-running training went:

M: 30 min stair stepper, 60 min swim

T: 2 hour spin class

W: 60 min stair stepper + BodyPump

T: 90 min swim

F: 60 min stair stepper + BodyPump

S: 2 hour swim! 5,000 meters

S: 20 min stair stepper + 6 m run!

Total: 6 miles running

Yea, so that number ^^ is very minuscule compared to where I should have been. But, considering my two week injury hiatus from running, I will gladly take any miles over none. And in spite of not being able to run, I was happy with how I managed to keep activity levels high. I am still in love with my BodyPump class, particularly the instructor, and I think it’s been doing really good things for both my strength and coordination.

In other news, after a beautiful rest day yesterday, I was able to run 8.4 miles today! It wasn’t very pretty, and it wasn’t very easy, but hot damn it happened. And guess what? My ankle felt better than it did during Sunday’s first run back! It was still a little cranky, but it seems that this persnickety tendonitis beast may be on its way out the door. It’s really encouraging that my ankle seems to be getting better while still running on it…and it’s making me feel inches closer to making the decision to race. Don’t worry, I’m still going to take it easy and play the super-taper game…but in the mean time it feels great to pound some pavement again.

On my run this morning, I thought a lot about what would happen if I do decide to race. Because when I don’t wear headphones, my entire life—all past, present, and future aspects of it—seems to engulf my brain.

I felt a whole number of things this morning, but mainly encouraged and anxious. I can feel the possibility of doing the Chicago Marathon getting higher, but simultaneously I’m getting scared for just what finishing, (read:surviving), the race will entail.

I need to come to terms with that fact that not only will I be slower than normal and will potentially walk some of the race—there is a good chance I will be in pain during a good amount of it. Pain on top of normal, typical marathon pains. It’s certainly not an ideal scenario—and it’s one that will require perhaps more mental preparation than any other race, should the opportunity come.

Time will tell people. However, I did hear last night that a friend in Chicago is willing to host BF and I for race eve…..and he lives ONE MILE from the start line. We were originally planning on staying out at the airport…a good half hour away. Universe coming together? We’ll see.

In other news, here’s a look at what was a fan-effing-tastic weekend. The weather in Seattle was perfection, and somehow BF and I managed to be way more social this weekend than we have been the entire year.

Spoiler: There was a lot of beer.

Mariner’s Game!

Double dating and baseball night—the Ms even decided to win!

Ferry ride post-game. DON’T WORRY I REPAINTED MY TOES FINALLY. I told you it was a productive weekend.

Seattle skyline via water transportation. Love.

The following morning…

What’s the best thing to come home to after a 2 hour swim? Your boyfriend making pancakes for you. You can’t really tell…but the one underneath is pink. That’s love.

One invite from another couple later…and we were at the Fremont Oktoberfest party ready to cash in our ten tasting tokens. (I only made it to 7…)

Oktoberfest! BF…that mug is just the perfect size for you…you dainty man you.

This was my last beer, I think…and one of 4 attempts at this photo. Low tolerance + high percentage alcohol beer= drunk Robyn.

Right now…I love fall. We are in the perfect phase where it’s not raining, it’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. The leaves are crunchy and the air promises Halloween and cooler temps shortly. And by Halloween, I mean “I’m probably going to buy candy this weekend.” Loving it. In fact, I might break my pumpkin spice latte rule and not wait until October. CRAZY TALK…I rage.

I hope your weeks have started off splendidly!

 

6 Reasons I’m Psyched for Winter Running

I generally consider myself more of a sun-and-warmth person as opposed to a cold-and-snowy person. I really don’t dislike any seasons, in fact I like little things about them all, but there’s something that’s just so convenient about summer. It’s easier to dress for (sun dresses=one outfit wonder!), it’s easier to plan for, and it’s LIGHTER! I love the light, and the darkness of winter really starts to get to me after a while.

But, the one thing I love about the winter—besides Christmas and pea coats, of course—is THE RUNNING!

I adore running when it’s cold out, and I would choose running with tights and an ear warmer over running in a tank and spandos any day. I know there are a lot of differing opinions on this, and it’s not that I dislike running when it’s warm, there’s just something so satisfying about breaking the winter blues with some miles.

When I played soccer when I was younger, I remember preferring the games that were in the cold. Although I had to wear a turtleneck underneath my jersey and the sidelines were freezing, I can distinctly remember feeling faster and more agile when playing in the cold. This feeling is the same way I feel today about running in the cold—clearly something that never left!

Now, I know this isn’t science…according to the running scientists we run faster and more efficiently in cooler temperatures than warmer. And…duh. Keeping our internal temperature cooler helps elongate our exertion and not feel so drained from sweating (as much).

I definitely notice these effects of running when it’s cooler—but the reasons I love winter running have more to do with the overall package itself, as opposed to the physiology behind it.

With that, I give you…6 reasons why I’m PSYCHED for winter running.

1) Thumb holes. Just like nearly every other runner who doesn’t live in So.Cal or Florida…I’m a big fan of the thumb hole shirt revolution.

Just that little feature seems to add a whole new dimension of warmth—and I often can get away without gloves when I wear a thumbhole shirt. My favorite part, though, is actually when I can remove my thumbs from the loops and roll up the sleeves a bit. This part of a run always indicates that I’ve warmed up enough and gotten into a steady-enough rhythm. I love realizing that, and I love having a tangible indicator.

2) Speed. I notice a very distinct difference in my speed once the temperatures drop.

After I ran the Portland Marathon last year, took a few recovery weeks, and got back on the road again, I started realizing that my splits were dropping. I thought this might be a result of recovering and gaining strength from the marathon, but I’m pretty certain it had more to do with the fact that my training had all been done in the late summer, and I was now running in chillier November. Personally, I know I’m a faster runner when it’s a bit cooler—and I’m planning on focusing heavily on speed during the winter months (more on that in another post!).

3) Showers. I adore the feeling of a shower after a good run. In fact, I actually kind of dislike regular showers, because they aren’t as deliciously satisfying as those done post-run (don’t worry…I still take them…sometimes).

The best kind of showers, though, are the ones after a long, cold, run. I love feeling like I’m thawing out after being in the wind and the cold—it’s such a wonderful dichotomy of having experienced the chilly air and then plunging into a warm shower. I love it—this is perhaps one of my favorite things about running, besides the actually action itself 🙂

4) The quiet. This may all be in my head, but I always feel like winter mornings are so much more silent than the summer. You know?

Less birds chirping, less people around. Not that I dislike those things (obviously I like birds) but I l-o-v-e running when it feels completely quiet. No headphones, no traffic, no people. Just feet and breath (the cold air helps emphasize the breath part of this as well). I get the most jazzed and excited about a run when I walk out the door and I can’t hear a thing—quite contrary to a pump up song or war cry—I prefer the silence, which promises a peaceful, cathartic run with just my legs and my thoughts.

5) The oatmeal. You thought I was going to get all mystical for a minute there, didn’t you?

Much like the point about the hot showers—I LOVE a bowl of hot oatmeal after I run. Some people love waffles, some love mimosas, but I myself love nothing more than a huge bowl of oatmeal post-run, complete with all my staple fixings. However, when it’s warm out—hot food is the last thing I want, and for the past few months I’ve needed to reach for a less-than-thrilling smoothie or yogurt. Cold weather=more oatmeal=happy Robyn.

6) The laziness. Let’s get honest…the only thing most of us want to do after a long weekend run is lay on the couch all day.

The only movement we want to make is between the refrigerator and our cozy setup in front of the TV. Also, football season is during the winter—and I can’t speak for everyone on this—but sometimes I really just like hunkering down on a Sunday with BF to yell at the TV. The winter months cater to this type of behavior…whereas summer I don’t want to miss a minute of sunshine. So although typically I love to be out and about doing as much as possible, after a long run, give me my compression socks and my Snuggie. Actually…it’s not my Snuggie…you can guess who I steal it from, though.

So there you have it! A look at the main reasons I can’t wait to run this winter. I’m guessing it’s a little transparent that I’m also associating the winter with a healthy ankle…which I’ll admit, is helping the argument. But, overall, injury or no injury…I love winter running, and I can’t wait to break out my ear warmer and tights soon!

Now…which do you prefer, winter or summer running?