Tag Archives: weather

Being Snarky and Sack Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yea, I hate you all.

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

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

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

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

Let’s focus on some positives.

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

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

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

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

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

NOT

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

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

Remember when I gave myself a B+ in stretching?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This didn't make my stomach lurch AT ALL

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites, with a Thankful Twist.

I am riding a wave of overall excitement heading into this weekend. There really isn’t anything particular that’s given me this merry kick-in-the-butt, but I’m loving it—and hopefully you aren’t scared off by my inevitable cheerful banter to come.

Sorry, but actually—I’m not sorry.

I’m generally feeling very thankful recently, and I am a firm believer that a little bit of gratitude goes a long way. Gratitude humbles us, it relieves the stresses of every day life, and it helps us realize that despite all else, we really do have it pretty good.

That’s why this week, for Friday Favorites—I’d like to do a little bit of a spin on my weekly round-up of wonderful things. As inspired by the weekly tradition of one of my favorite running bloggers, Ali on the Run, I’m going to recount some things I’m thankful for recently. It is kind of in the same light as my favorite things, but this week I’m vying to offer up some genuine thanks for some awesome things in my life.

On that note…

I’m thankful for faulty weather reports.

Inaccurate! Hooray!

Wednesday had the promise of rain written all over it throughout the entire day. I was pouty because I was planning on/needed to run that day, and although I have handled the rain before—many times in fact—I was resounding myself to the fate of the treadmill. Alas, no rain came.

And in fact, the weather forecast could not have been more wrong. Apparently “gusts of wind with a 90% chance of rain” actually means “50 degrees and a lovely, windless sunset.” I merrily covered 8 miles in 64 minutes and relished in the weather people’s incompetence for the day.

I’m thankful for the first signs of spring!

I am a liliac! And I smell good! And I'm not a cold, dead tree!

Last week I was on a really early morning run, and all of a sudden a waft of something glorious filled my nose. Because I’m used to the smells of the steel mill and exhaust from the ferries, this took me by surprise. Lo and behold, there were lilac blossoms making their way out of their winter cocoons!

It’s so exciting to see the first buds surfacing for springtime, and coupled with the daylight that has extended both in the morning and at night, I would say we are making our way out of winter folks! Yesterday morning, I was outside at 7 am and I could see everything! It was miraculous!! I think it’s funny how we forget just how light it gets in the summer when we’ve surrendered to the darkness of winter, and vice versa.

Welcome spring, I cordially welcome you to the Pacific Northwest.

I am thankful for homemade trail mix.

chocolate and coconut are totally good for you when you blend them with nuts and fruit

You are looking at the snack that I now have nearly every afternoon. Almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, cranberries, and raisins. I love trail mix, but I never buy it, and then I discovered this groundbreaking idea of combining ingredients I already have in my cabinet to form my own custom made trail mix! Innovation is the name of my game people.

Well okay, maybe not, but I am psyched to have welcomed this fantastic new snack friend into my culinary repertoire.

Note: I have no repertoire, which is why I find joy in simple, new food discoveries.

 

I am thankful for rest days.

This morning, I made the spur-of-the-moment, matter-of-fact decision that today was going to be a rest day. If you regularly read this blog (thanks for doing so, by the way!), you know that I love doing something active nearly every day, and rest days and I don’t normally get along. They stress me out, and I normally prolong having them as much as I can. (This is a fault, please don’t follow this lead.)

But, this morning I woke up at 5:30 am with the plan of going to spin, and my body simple said, “No.” I was feeling a little sore and achy, my head hurt, and due to the heavy exercise-filled weekend I have ahead, I decide to front load it all with a little R&R. I have 20 miler number two coming up tomorrow and a super fun but super long spin session on Sunday, therefore I felt it was best to sleep in, rest up, and focus on hydration.

Good decisions, Robyn. And although I know by the afternoon I’ll be vying to pound some pavement, I’m glad I made the decision to make today a sweat-free day.

I’m thankful for cute dogs. Particularly, golden doodles.

Hey little guy, I know I'm a creeper discreetly trying to photograph you while walking down the sidewalk so your owner won't see, but will you please let me pet you and give me your doodle-filled kisses?

Of this I am sure: I will own a golden doodle. I am quite frankly obsessed with them, and it’s gotten to a point where I will stop in my tracks if I see one so I can say hi (see photo above). There are the perfect combination of fluffiness, sportiness, and cuddliness (WOW, I am 7 years old), and I’ve never really wanted another dog more than these bundles of love.

For now though, I will enjoy walking up to strangers and asking them to pet their doggies. Or, stealthily photographing people’s dogs while they obliviously buy their coffee in Starbucks. That’s not weird, right? Oh ya, it is.

 

LOOK AT THAT HEAD!

Prepare to hear more about golden doodles. I can’t help it.

 

Lastly, I am thankful for blogging. I am so grateful to have a place to come to where I can write out my thoughts on running and life. I feel like my love for writing has heightened, and I can’t say I’ve learned more about myself as a runner as I have through writing down my progress, regressions, and goals. Thank you for allowing me to share this true love of mine with you. I am thankful for you, dear reader.

 

NOW YOU! What are you thankful for today? What are your favorite things?

 

 

Cocoon of Cross-Training

I had the full intention of writing a post today about how I’m feeling lazy, I’m cheating on running too often, and how I’m complaining but I shouldn’t be complaining because my life could be worse and blah blah blahhh.

However, the sun came out, my productivity has been stellar, and just like that my writing has switched gears.

Mostly.

I will admit that I have been cheating on running a bit too much recently, and while cross-training is great— it isn’t necessarily beneficial to increase the XT while decreasing the miles when marathon training. I think my problem is that I’m not actually following a strict running schedule for this bout of training, so I’m taking advantage of the mornings where I’d rather be inside than tromping around in the cold rain.

It’s silly really. I love running, and once I stop being such a baby and get my butt on the road I am always happier than when I decide to sit on a spin bike instead. However, the ability to constantly check the weather report and the promise of a hot and sweaty spin session from my favorite instructor seems to have derailed my undying love for the run.

You see, I live in Seattle. You knew that, and if not…let me fill you in on some of the facts I face on a day to day basis:

-It is dark

-It is rainy

-It is windy

-It is humid

(These are mostly only true for the winter months, but that’s where we’re at, so go with it)

These four factors make my strong willed runner self curl up in a pathetic “I don’t wanna!” fetal position. Okay, I’m exaggerating. I do normally (wo)man up and hit the road, but not without an internal grumble fest every time the temperature is below 40 and there is the potential for a little rain.

These past two weeks I’ve been really bad about it, and I’ve been swapping a few runs for a spin class/stair stepper workout that I (admittedly) love. It’s hard workout, I’m dripping by the end of it, and I can always tell myself that “it’s good cross training.” I also like that with spin, I don’t really have to will myself any further than getting on the bike seat. Once the class starts, I don’t really have to think and I just follow Jeoff’s militaristic screaming encouraging instructions.

However, I’m getting to the point where the only way I’m going to really up my mileage and get into serious marathon mode is by foregoing a bit of my cocoon of cross training. Sure, it is really good to alternate running with some other activities, but not necessarily when those activities are starting to replace runs. I think part of this has to do with the brain games my mind plays on me. If I know I have a 20 mile run on the weekend, I don’t want any part of me to dread doing it, so I save up my “running energy” in order to ensure that I can commit to the long run 100%.

Again, silly. I’m always happiest when I’m running more often. I think I get scared though that there will be a feeling of apathy toward running that I can’t shake. I love to thoroughly enjoy every run I go on, so I think I set myself up to make sure I’m anxious and ready to run every time. This is probably a good strategy for a non-training routine, however it’s time to get down to business.

So, to my mindless spin bike, my sweaty stair stepper, and my calming pool, I need to put you guys aside a bit. I’ll still hang out with you every so often, however running and I need to spend more  quality time with one another if my goals for Eugene are going to happen.

In other news, Lent starts today, and while I’m not Catholic—BF is, and he’s committing to do what I consider the impossible: He’s giving up sweets.

I think the only thing harder for me to give up than sweets would be giving up peanut butter, and I think this yearly practice of Lent just reminds me to hold on even tighter to the things I love. So much for sacrifice, huh? But I don’t like to think of the things I love as vices. I do have self-control, and there have been periods of time when I’ve given up these things for the sake of my health, so I know it’s do-able. Also, BF’s lack of sweets consumption will lower my own just by default, based on the fact that I have zero willpower when someone says, “Let’s get dessert” as my all-knowing, loving boyfriend often does.

So, I’ll look forward to when BF and I can once again go on late-night fro yo dates. But until then…

Girl Scouts are the February equivalent of Santa

Sorry babe. I guess I’ll have to make this a solo mission.

I hope you have a great Wednesday! Remember, tomorrow’s Thursday, which pretty much means it’s the weekend. Right? Good.

Questions: Do you worry about getting in a running rut? What types of cross training do you like to do? What is your favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookie?

Naked Running and other Happy Things

This morning, I ran naked.

Except that I was wearing clothes, unfortunately.

Actually, I think running naked would be uncomfortable…both physically and socially.

Anyways, I did run sans watch and iPod, and I realized that it may have been the first time I’ve ever done this. Even though I’ve been growing accustom to running without music, I always know the start and stop times of my runs, at the very least. Obviously wearing a watch is essential to training properly in terms of gauging speed and splits and such. However, there is added pressure when wearing a watch—and this morning I found that it can be quite freeing to do some runs without knowledge of time.

I wasn’t too set on running this morning: My legs have been tired recently, I had a very poor performance on yesterday’s run, and I was kinda blah about the idea of running. However, building my mileage right now for Eugene is necessary, and I knew that a slow, short run-around would actually make my legs less stiff. The lack of strictness to this run is what inspired me to throw aside my watch and iPod, and just like that…off I went, naked, into the sunrise.

And it was beautiful; Seattle has been taken over by sunshine (I know, RIGHT?) and although I didn’t feel too fast, it was nice to just be. I also saw two lab puppies, which inevitably helps any situation go from 0 to perfect instantly.

I love puppies, I need one.

Anyways, let’s get to talking about our favorite things, shall we?

– berry veggie Naked juice

I am definitely a smoothie-at-home kind of person, but sometimes it’s quite nice to just buy a pre-made blend of fruits and veggies. This (new?) Naked juice is just the ticket, and I love it. If you don’t like beets or beet juice, I recommend staying away from this concoction, but if so I definitely suggest giving it a try. There’s also not as much sugar in it as other juices, which I appreciate because I prefer my added sugar to come from cookies, not from juice.

See? Like this big beauty.

-Neon Sports Bras

Yes, I realize this is a picture of my boobs. Sorry about that.

Yes, you are looking at that picture correctly. My shorts bra STAINED my shirt via profuse sweating. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is. It’s also disgusting, sure, but like…have you ever seen this happen before?? Remember yesterday how I told you I was super dehydrated from excessive sweat during spin? Here is my proof.

I’m reallllyyy hoping that my shirt isn’t permanently stained, but for right now I’ve determined that not only is this my favorite sports bra, its my favorite piece of clothing. It’s bad ass, and it tells my other clothes whats up.

– Optimistic Forecasts

Is this real life???

See that right there??? That’s SIX days of sunshine predicted for the Pacific Northwest. Not only sunshine, but temperatures that don’t warrant wearing two pairs of wool socks and devoting my paycheck to the heating bill.

LOVE IT.

Sure, it might not pan out exactly as predicted, but I enjoy feeling excited for our weather.

– Scramble with Friends

I’m. Obsessed.

If you have the ability to download this game (it’s free), and you feel the need to procrastinate an excessive amount, I insist you get this game. It’s just like Boggle, but online and less noisy.

Find me, I’ll play you.

– Single-Tone Hair

Awkward self-portrait in the car...but no longer two-tone! And look! Sun!

I have been on a bit of a hair-maintenance hiatus since August, and although I can typically withstand a few months of root-grow out, enough was enough.

I was starting to look a bit like I belonged on People of Walmart, therefore I gave in and finally returned to my pretending-to-be-a-blonde hairdo. And I love it, and fineeee….I guess I don’t need to wear a baseball cap every day of the week.

 

That’s all for Friday Favorites! I’m starting to think I’ll compile a master list of all the random favorite things I recount every week…I feel it would make me happy to read. And happiness is good. Speaking of, if you are looking for a good pick-me-up, I highly recommend this video:

Questions:

Do you ever run/workout without a watch or iPod?

What are some of your favorite things?

 

Magnuson Series MLK 10k Relay

So, Saturday’s race was really, really effing cold.

The combination of snow/rain/wind/frigid temps made running perhaps the least desirable thing for any rational person to go and partake in. BF and I, however, are not rational and decided that despite it all—we would uphold our race day commitment.

The Magnuson Series is a set of races held every month in Magnuson Park, Seattle. The park is 3.1 miles around, therefore each month on race day you can choose to run a 5, 10, or 15k depending on your preference. It’s a great idea, a good course, and an easy way to keep up your racing mojo every month.

As part of a stocking-stuffer Christmas gift, BF signed us up for a 10k relay team, meaning that each of us would run a 5k, and then they would total our times together.

We arrived dressed in somewhat wintery running gear (which means instead of shorts and a t-shirt I was wearing a long-sleeved tech jersey), and we soon discovered that starting a race next to a lake when the wind is whipping in a big snow storm is somewhat equivalent to the definition of misery. We sat in the car until the last possible second, got out for a quick warm up jog, and positioned ourselves at the start line.

ready to run!

The race couldn’t have started soon enough. My toes, fingers, and ears were all freezing cold, and I had to have my hat strapped on super tight just to prevent it from coming off in the wind. I really had no clue how fast I was going during the first mile, as I was so distracted by the cold conditions, but when we got to the Mile 1 marker and I saw 6:59 on my watch, I was pumped. Doing the race at 7 minute miles was my goal, although I wasn’t saying it out loud. As I reached the second mile marker, I was still hovering around 14:00, though the pace had slowed down a tad. At the end, I ended up finishing unofficially around 21:57, which in 5k terms means I was running 7:05 minute miles.

New PR!

Not long after I grabbed a water cup and tried to regain control of my winded/frozen lungs, I saw BF finish strongly with a 24:49, giving the “Grizzly Birds” (our obviously awesome team name) a 10k finish time of 46:46!

We both agreed the course was good, the weather sucked, and we’d definitely be doing these races again soon.

Doing 5ks are a great way to practice speed, and I highly encourage everyone, of all racing levels, to sign up for one whenever they can. I know I’ll be bulking up my marathon training with plenty of shorter races, as they’re great practice for racing strategy and general racing atmosphere.

Question: What are the worst conditions you’ve ever run or raced in?

Robyn vs. Universe

Oh universe, you are a funny little devil.

It seems that my decision to publicly proclaim my new-found admiration for running music-less would come to bite me straight in the butt this morning. As you may know, yesterday I admitted that there is a lot of serenity in running unplugged, and that I was no longer afraid of running sans iPod. So to this, the universe said, “Oh yea little missy? Let’s just see about that.”

Let me explain:

I was planning on doing a 12 mile run this morning to log some good miles in the dry weather. I started off feeling strong, and I was psyched to be running on such a fog filled morning. For me, fog really enhances the primal and solo aspects of running, and today Seattle was laden in a thick layer of heavy fog.

So off on my merry way I went, and just when I passed mile 1, kaboom…silence. I checked out my iPod which originally appeared to be half full of battery, and the screen only flashed with that ominous dead battery signal.

You know the one…it’s so sad.

To this, I could only snicker. I actually considered giving out-loud props to whomever controls the karmic circumstances of our world. There I was, proudly proclaiming that music was no longer my running clutch, and to that I received the response, “Prove it.”

Now, I would like to make it known that I did say I do still use music frequently, and I never go a whole run without listening to music at least for a bit. Alas, the universe decided I needed to practice what I preached, and I was hand delivered the opportunity to run 11 miles in the quiet.

So after I shook off my initial humor at the irony of the situation, I was forced to confront the purism of running head-on. I was a bit scared at first; before when I’d turn off my iPod, I always had the decision to turn it back on if I wanted. Not this time, and I recognized this present situation as a test.

Note: Yes, the practical realist would stop me right now and say, “Actually Robyn, your iPod died because it obviously didn’t have enough battery and you were the one that mistakenly didn’t charge it enough for the week.” 

Sure, whatever.

However, I prefer to side with the mystical reasoning behind this coincidence. And that’s why I spent 11 miles having a one-on-one with the universe.

During my quiet run, I realized that if I am going to have a running blog, I am really going to need to meld the thoughts and ideas I share in this space with my own running. No, I never ever intended or intend to fabricate or exaggerate anything I say on here, but I am realizing that if I’m to devote my time and writing to such a specified topic, I am really going to need to embrace it wholly and practice what I preach.

I think we all come across situations where we give great advice or ideas to others, but when it comes to applying them  in our own lives suddenly those great ideas seem daunting.

Why is this?

Personally, I think it’s because the most rewarding and enriching parts of life—the parts we have no problem encouraging everyone but ourselves to take on—are actually the harder routes to take on. For instance: it’s very easy for me to run with music, even though I know that there are so many advantages to using my running time for reflection and quiet. So while it might be easy for me to rant about unplugged running, actually going out and doing it is a whole other ballgame.

I really respect the people who live and act in the same way they advise and teach others to. It shows honesty and a deeper level of empathy and understanding. I’m really going to try and commit to this, within the spaces of my running blog, my running life, and my everyday life.

So there you have it. My attempt at a more light-hearted blog post turned into another philisophical rant about life. Clearly I have had a lot on my mind, and I’m grateful to have  a place to divulge it all. Don’t worry though, the trivial day-to-day jargon will come shortly.

If you’re still there, thanks for reading 🙂

Cheers to December 1st, and the for-real beginning of the countdown to Christmas!