Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekly Work Out Summaries

Since I accidentally spent the bulk of my free time the past couple weeks watching Scandal, I've got two weeks of weekly wrap ups to catch up on! Here's the workouts only (food and fun to come).

June 24 - June 30:
Monday: REST.

Tuesday: 3.5 mi @ 10:58 on the treadmill in the morning. This felt way too hard for what it was.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 4.7 mi @ 10:51 on the treadmill. Followed by an actual strength session (aka I didn’t bail and used heavy weights!). Felt good to knock out a tough workout on a week night.

Friday: 60 min slow flow yoga when I got home from work. This was a Yogadownload podcast and really hit the spot. Some longer, strength-oriented holds, but lots of stretching and not so vigorous that I worked up a sweat. Perfect for a Friday night!

Saturday: Around 5.6 mi outside, but I don’t have any specific data!! Ughh. My stupid NEWish Garmin never picked up the satellites, wtf. I was really annoyed to be slogging out in the heat for over an hour but not have any real data!

Super attractive bathroom selfie demonstrating how I feel about running in the heat.

Sunday: 3.3 mi @ 10:36 on the treadmill. Followed by another strength session--this one was split into some heavy weights at the gym, followed by interval/body weight exercises with Dan when I got home.

Weekly mileage: 17.1 miles
June mileage: 60.8 miles. Not bad!

July 1 - July 7:
Monday: REST

Tuesday: 3.5 mi @ 10:55 on the treadmill in the morning. Followed by a strength session with heavy weights. At night, Dan and I did a quickie body weight strength workout!

Wednesday: 30 minute "lunar flow" yoga before bed, aka guided stretching/rolling around on the ground.

Thursday: 4.7 mi @ 10:47 on the treadmill.

Friday: 3.3 mi @ 10:28 on the treadmill. Followed by a strength session--split between gym and at home with Dan! We did a Crossfit-style "AMRAP" of 5 push ups, 5 crunches, 5 squats for three minutes.

Saturday: 45 minute hip-opening flow yoga at home. This was a pleasantly tough podcast!

Sunday: 5.8 mi OUTSIDE. At a frustratingly slow pace for me currently: 11:27. It was 81* when I left and 90* when I got back. Shocker, avoiding the heat/running indoors is not making me better at running outdoors in the heat. Bleh.

Weekly mileage; 17.3 miles.

In Sum
On one hand, I need to GTFOff the treadmill and get outside. On the other, doing this will inevitably make me hate running with a fiery passion and make me want to skip all my runs, ever, for the rest of the summer. So I am just going to try to get outside once or twice a week, to make sure I can still run hills etc., but not stress out too much about general suckery or pace or losing running fitness. In theory.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

The week of June 17 - June 23.

Weekly Workout Summary
Monday: REST. Trying out rest days on Mondays lately. I typically have a harder time sleeping on Sunday nights, so getting up in the morning for a workout isn't ideal. And Mondays are always long days at work, right?

Tuesday: 4 mi @ 10:39. Outside in the morning. Not as bad as the morning has felt lately--not sure what was different? I wasn't as humid, and I think I wasn't as hungry.

Wednesday: 3.3 mi @ 10:34 on the treadmill. I did a normal-ish treadmill pace with six sprints thrown in. Followed by a strength workout--some at the gym, some bodyweight exercises with Dan once I got back!

Thursday: 60 minutes power vinyasa yoga in the park! That location near me that does the free Sunday morning yoga is starting a Thursday evening session too. It was so awesome--teachers from one of my favorite studios, really good, athletic flow, and a beautiful outdoors setting. Excited to go to this throughout the summer!

Yes I got up after class and took a picture. So cool.

Friday: 4.3 mi @ 10:37. Outside after work. It was warm out (~80*) but not as humid as it could have been, so this actually wasn't so bad.

Saturday: At-home strength session + 30 minutes yoga for runners from Yogadownload. I did another at-home strength session with Dan--I'm liking these! (Though I do know I should keep up heavy, in-the-gym lifting as well). We're doing something loosely modeled after the NYT seven minute workout.

Sunday: 5 mi @ 10:43 on the treadmill. I cut my long run short since this was the first week I returned to 4x per week of running since the end of April (!). So I didn't want to push myself too fast/increase my mileage too much.

Weekly mileage: 16.6 miles.

Felt pretty good about my workouts this week. Hoping to stick with the 4x a week running going forward--I know from past experience that it really does make a difference in my running!

Notable Eats
Nothing super exciting on the eating front during the week--lots of eggs for dinner. Here's a lunch of the week:

Salad with edamame, avocado, and blue cheese; whole wheat English muffin with cottage cheese
Dan and I did one of our wine and cheese nights on Saturday night. We do these probably too much, but whatever, they are delicious and awesome. The spread!:

I was particularly proud of that Caprese salad featured in the front. Made with basil grown on the porch! (attempt #2).

My plate:
Whiskey ginger in the background.  Toes in the foreground.

Life Events
Not a ton on this front. Had another low-key weekend, though not quite as purely fun as last weekend was. Started watching Scandal, which was a mistake. Though it is the perfect summer show--kind of campy, intriguing, and very addictive!

This week I need to start to get serious about doing a self-study economics class to prep for grad school in the fall. The summer is already starting to get away from me!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

Trying to get back into this whole blogging thing...a belated weekly wrap-up of life events from last week! (June 10 - June 16).

Weekly Workout Summary

Monday: 30 min power vinyasa yoga podcast at home (from

Tuesday: Rest.

Wednesday: 3.7 mi @ 11:06 pace. Outside in the morning. Struggling to get outside for my runs recently, so I was glad I got out there, even if it was slow.

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: 3.5 mi @ 10:45 pace on the treadmill in the AM. Followed by a strength session.

Saturday: 60 minute detox flow yoga at home (again Bought a subscription recently--thoughts to come!). This was a really good sweaty flow.

Sunday: 6.2 mi @ 10:48...on the treadmill. Woomp woomp. And honestly, this makes 3/4 of my last "long" runs that I've done on the 'mill. Not ideal. I just don't do well in the heat/humidity and just refuse on principle to run in the rain. Snow and cold? Sure. But rain is miserable and so is the mugginess. Maybe if I was training for something it'd be a different story, but for now, this works!

Not my best week, but fairly typical as of late. Just having a hard time getting motivated lately to really push-push-push every day. But I am pleased I'm getting in some morning workouts!

Notable Eats

Dan and I did loaded baked potatoes for the week--cooked up a bunch on Sunday and ate them all week long. I made tempeh to go along with it (Dan did BBQ pork). Really tasty!

Please note that those chives are from my haven't-killed-it-yet chive plant on the porch.

Saturday's eats were quite notable as well, as featured below!

Life Events

Saturday featured pretty much all my favorite things in life: the farmers' market, the pool, finishing a good book, date night with Dan, and way too many desserts.

I visited the Falls Church farmers' market for the first time--oh man, was it awesome. I had only been to other local smaller markets, but this is the real star of the show in NoVA.

Also, there were fresh, made-right-in-front-of-you doughnuts. Amazing.

With a toppings bar to boot. Oh hello caramel. 
Here's my haul--not a ton, but a lot of veggies and some eggs and cheese! It appears that berries aren't quite in season here yet--only saw one or two vendors with them and they were pricey. I'm hoping it is the case that they aren't quite here yet...hoping I didn't miss the season!

For lunch I cooked up some farm fresh eggs. It was crazy how orange the yolks were.

And the afternoon featured lots of pool laziness, reading on the porch, and sweating it out with that 60 min detox flow referenced above. Awesome afternoon!

Porch chair boat. Please excuse the extremely dorky PJ shorts with words on them.
Topped with an equally amazing night. Went out to dinner at the new(ish) Matchbox in Merrifield. Dan and I had gone once before and loved it just as much this second time. Just a really nice relaxing date night featuring delicious food!

Eager beaver.

Handsome date!

Why yes, we did share that dessert trio featured in the bottom right.
Yes, it features more doughnuts.
No, I don't want to talk about how many doughnuts I had that day. 

I told Dan at the end of the day that it seriously felt like my birthday. It was a day full of relaxing things I love and delicious eats.  Great Saturday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

There Goes May

Ah well
Best intentions, or something, right? I posted a big fat goose egg during all of May. So what have I been up to?

Work. Mostly this. I'm coming off a month+ period where I was pulling ~60 hour weeks (including a fair amount of weekend time too). And I know you lawyer-types are rolling your eyes at those paltry hours, but I found it tough. I think a lot of it was the high-intensity nature of the work--constantly go-go-go, finish the next thing. barking orders, etc. Too stressful. Things are still fairly busy, but feeling a lot more manageable and at a less frenetic pace. I'm glad to be back to normal with my <50 hour weeks (funny what a difference 10 hours feels like!).

Working out. I kept up what felt like a reasonable amount of physical activity during the crazy work period. Sometimes this looked like only two short runs and a yoga session all week. Others it was three runs, two strength sessions, and two shorter, at-home yoga sessions (five days total--combined strength + run on two days). The latter was more typical. It wasn't quite what I had planned, but it gets the job done. A week ago I did my longest run to date since the 10-miler--8.3 miles. I averaged a 10:33 min/mi pace, which is pretty good for me! So I don't feel like I'm losing too much running fitness with this pared down schedule. I've also starting making a concerted effort to workout in the morning. I'm only doing it a couple times a week, but it really helps--both heat-wise and work-wise. I'm hoping to keep this habit up!

I struggled during this phase with vacillating between two minds: 1) Work is hard! Don't make life harder by making yourself workout more. You've had a rough week; sitting on the couch all day is totally appropriate. 2) MUST DO ALL THE WORKOUTS. Because if you miss one workout, you know how you are--all or nothing. Slippery slope back to non-runner-dom and gaining the weight back.

Ultimately, I tried to force my mind to settle on option 3): do what you can, but don't kill yourself. Working out is a great stress reliever, and you know you feel better if you do it--but don't hesitate to give yourself a break. It was harder than I thought to actually achieve this mindset, but I think I was able to act in a moderately even if I still think in extremes.

Eats. More of the same. Proud of myself for not relying too much on eating out/frozen foods/etc. during the time. I relied on lots of repetition--cook one big meal on Sunday night, eat it for dinner through Wednesday. Breakfast and lunch were mostly the same (oatmeal and salad, respectively). Though I definitely accrued more Starbucks stars than usual!

Life. Lots of good stuff here. Family time, Dan time, friends time. Made some progress on cleaning/cleaning out/fixing my wardrobe holes. And some apartment decor improvements assisted by my mom. Made some life decisions (we are going to stay in our apartment for a while longer, got a new phone!), put off some others. But things feel pretty good.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

General summary of life happenings from last week (April 22 - April 28).

Weekly Workout Summary
Monday: REST.

Tuesday: 5 mi @ 10:39. This run felt good--my body felt so stiff from sitting so much at work.

Wednesday: 60 minute hot power vinyasa. Instead of my normal 90 minute class, I went to the studio's 60 minute "power hour" class that starts later (the idea being that those that work later can still make an abbreviated class). I definitely will be back--it's a nice alternative when I can't get out on time.

Thursday: 3.5 mi @ 10:21. Got home from work late and didn't want to do my strength training after, so I bailed. Not good!

Friday: REST.

Saturday: 6.5 mi @ 10:45. I feel like I'm getting slower, but I think I just have bad perspective. More on that soon.

Sunday: 3.5 mi on the treadmill. I tried out some HIIT as my "speed work" for the week. I came across this post when looking into HIIT a while ago, and basically used SUAR's workout modified for a slowpoke like me. It looked like: .5 mile warm up @ 5.2 mph; 60 seconds @ 7.1 mph, 90 seconds @ 5.2 mph, repeat 5 times; 60 seconds @ 7.3 mph, 90 seconds @ 5.2 mph, repeat 5 times; cool down @ 5.4 mph. [I think I could go a little faster next time, but I didn't want to kill myself the first time trying it.] Then I followed it up with a longer strength routine. Really good workout!

Weekly mileage: 18.5 miles

Non-plan plan assessment: Missed one strength workout, but I'll take it! I worked fairly long hours this week, so I was thrilled to fit in most of my workouts.

Notable Eats
See above reference to work schedule--not much notable here. Also, they were providing lunch for us everyday (since we were doing long days and were working through lunch). I tried to make healthy choices when available, but since I normally rely on my lunch to be my healthiest meal of the day (big salad + carb, usually), this threw me off a bit. Plus, they made lots of snacks available--and clearly chocolate was the one I reached for the most. Fail! This week (since the "big work thing" is going on for two more weeks, at least) I'm vowing to pack my lunch some days and stick to my own snacks (for the most part). I definitely feel better when I eat better, so I just need to remember that in the moment when chocolate feels like the perfect remedy to a particularly tough area.

Life Events
The aforementioned work ruled the week, unfortunately. But! Saturday did bring a fun event by way of Great Grapes Wine Festival in Reston, VA. We met up with Dan's sister, brother-in-law, baby (!), and some of their friends. Lots of fun was had by all!

But pictures were only had by Dan and I.
The event featured wine from Virginia wineries. I don't know much about Virginia wines (even still) and have negative 7 to offer in terms of intelligent oenophile discourse, but we tried a few tasty varieties. I would recommend all the wineries featured in the photo below, Williamsburg Winery especially (and they were inexpensive too! We went home with three bottles from them).

Thank you to Dan, my hand model in the upper right.
Definitely a great way to spend a Saturday.

Recreating this fantastic photo op.
Actually no we weren't. This is just my go to pose. Awesome!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Goals lately

So I had March goals at some point, right? And it's almost April. Whoops. Really let April get away from me!

How’d I do on my March goals? Well, the fact that I’ve failed to revisit them until now should probably be an indication. Let’s see.

Relationships: this one was actually pretty good! Dan and I had a few really nice date nights and lots of quality time, in addition to fun time spent with both of our families!

Mental: I didn’t do that great on updating the blog more frequently in March, but I’ve been trying to pick it up in April. I really enjoy posting--just hard sometimes to take the time to put words to the page.

Body: Sunscreen. Man, I am so bad at this. I did not do well on this at all in March. In April, it has been a bit better. But the time I always forget to do it is before my weekend runs! They are outside during the day, so it is really the main time I need to actually remember to do it. I think I need to start putting the bottle out and visible the night before.

Home: Work on cleaning out. Well Dan and I did make some progress here. We collected a couple of bags of stuff...except they are still sitting in the trunk of my car, whoops. I need to take those over. But I still need to do another purge of my summer stuff as I rotate out my winter wear and to get my act together with selling some of my nicer stuff.

April Goals?
Well, oops. My main (mental, not actually stated anywhere) goals for this month were to: actually start the sunscreen habit and just generally be more social. As discussed above, the sunscreen habit is still a work in progress. The being more social goal is going okay! I went to an event with my coworkers, went to a few different yoga events and met people, and am exploring running group options in the area to meet runner friends too. And I’ve made upcoming plans with current friends too.

I’m hoping to get back on the goal tracking train for May--to come this week!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

General summary of life happenings from last week (April 15 - April 21).

Weekly Workout Summary
Monday: 5 mi @ 10:35. I remember zero details about this run. 

Tuesday: REST.

Wednesday: 4.5 mi @ 10:35.

Thursday: 60 min vinyasa yoga - went to a fun yoga event put on by my local Lululemon. Details below!

Friday: 3.5 mi on the treadmill at the gym - included 3x800 stretches at 6.2 mph. Then I did a strength training session--which made me so embarrassingly sore for how easy it was. Need to stick with it!

Saturday: REST. I was at work for a while, boo.

Sunday: 7 mi @ 10:42. Though I had to break it up a bit with a pit stop at the local high school for a bathroom break. No fun. Then in the evening, Dan and I went for a ~30 minute walk! This was really nice and something we want to start doing more frequently. 

Weekly mileage: 20 miles. 

How'd I do according to the new non-plan plan? Pretty good--missed one strength training session. And the particular yoga I went to wasn't heated/vigorous, but it was a nice stretch. 

Notable Eats

Dan and I went out for a "fast casual" dinner on Tuesday night at Cava Mezze Grill. I got a delicious rice bowl w/ falafel and a gazillion awesome veggie toppings and spreads. So good.
That pink stuff is pickled onion. Be still my heart.

Boring weeknight meal that can be made in five minutes flat, check:
Put bread in toaster, stick (already cut up) green beans in microwave, scramble eggs. Done.
Slightly less boring weeknight meal. I tried making some roasted chickpeas with leftovers I had from salads, thinking meh at least I'll use them up. Wow was I wrong--these were so good! Just olive oil, salt, chile powder, and paprika--toss them in the oven at 350* for 30 minutes. Definitely worth trying.
Plus sweet potatoes with sunflower butter + green beans. Can you guess what my veggie of the week was?
Dan and I did one of our at-home date nights on Saturday, which is really just an excuse for us to buy cheese/fancy meats (for him) and drink. Winning. Featuring cheese and breads, carrots + hummus, and berries. With a whiskey ginger off to the side.

Clearly the second plate feature more cheese, less produce.
Weekly events
As I mentioned above, I went to the "Om in the Sun" event put on by my local Lululemon on Thursday. 

Oh look whose picture they used again
It was a lot of fun! Not the most vigorous practice in the world, but certainly started to work up a sweat and a fun social activity. I met some new girls in my neighborhood, so that's always good! [Though, sidebar: at the beginning it felt like just a giant Lululemon employees gathering. They came from ALL OVER the DC area, not just the local store, and I felt a little weird that I didn't work for them! But then after it was clear there were others that participated too].

At the end of the session- namaste - Source: Lululemon Tyson's Facebook page.
I'm in the purple in the super distance!
And then after two local food places, Sweetgreen and Cava, fed us with quite the spread of eats! Tasty.
Sweetgreen juices (so good), dips and wraps, and a make-your-own granola bar!
Photos taken after the food was pillaged by hungry yogis.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My non-training-plan plan

After my question on whether or not to do a  half-marathon, Anne Taite gave a very helpful metric: if it is less than 6 weeks away, go ahead and train for it. If not, don’t do it, because you’ll probably get burnt out. I loved the specificity of it! And it turned out the races I had been looking at were about two months after the 10-miler, which is maybe why I was balking at them in the first place. It seemed like so much longer to be training.

Additionally, my “big work thing” is finally happening, yikes! It is already digging into my personal time--I was at work for six hours yesterday (a Saturday)--so that further confirmed that maybe right now isn’t the best time to train for a big race.

So, I’m going to forgo the half-marathon this spring. I think it is the right call for life right now--though I am already starting to plan out which fall half I’ll want to do!

Even though I won’t be doing a formal training plan for the next several months, I’m still going to keep working on my running/fitness--getting faster and getting stronger!

I'm also constantly fighting my natural state of laziness...having a (publicly-articulated) plan should hopefully help with that. So I’ve created some general guidelines to take me through these “no plan” months. It basically amounts to a non-plan plan--oh well, there are worse things in the world than being a little neurotic. Here’s my non-plan plan that will take me from April until early August:

Run 4 times a week. I do like my current habit of running 4 times a week. It keeps my endurance up and ensures that running remains a habit. I figure this will be one longer run, one speed work day, and two easy, junk-mileage type of days. I’ll probably average 15-20 miles per week.

...But don’t stress if I miss a run. An important part of this non-plan plan is to allow myself flexibility and to choose living life over exercise! So if going out to dinner with Dan on a random Tuesday sounds better than getting my run in, that’s what I’ll do (within reason, obviously). Not that I didn’t do this while training for the 10-miler--but I won’t feel guilty or like I need to make up the run later in the week.

Do one 8+ mile run a month. For the most part, I’m envisioning weekly long runs to be around 6-7 miles. That seems to be a happy, maintaining-my-endurance/feel-like-I’m-getting-a-real-run place without being so exhausting that it knocks me out for the rest of the day. But! Once a month, I’d like to get out there for a slightly longer run--something 8 miles or longer. They’ll probably be slow and terrible because I’m not doing them consistently, but I know I’ll feel more confident come fall if I sprinkle a few longer runs over the summer.

Strength train twice a week. No excuses! I’ll do them on run days--I’ll probably be running on the treadmill more frequently anyway (DC summer heat, ugh), so I’ll already be at the gym. Just need to make myself do them!

Yoga at least once a week (probably twice). This shouldn’t be hard to keep--I’m loving yoga lately. It is so good for my body and a nice break from high intensity running.

Run a couple local races! I don’t want to do anything too big, but I think running a couple 5ks could be fun and could be a good test of my speed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

I meant to post this on Monday, but obviously got caught up in the coverage of Boston. I don’t have too much to say about it that hasn’t been already said more eloquently elsewhere re: general sadness/anger at what happened, the effects on the running community, and the gratitude for spectators. My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

I want to be better about documenting my eats, workouts, and fun events here regularly, so I’m going to try to start making this a weekly feature!

Weekly Workout Summary: April 8 - April 14
Recovery week from the 10-miler! I took it pretty easy.

Monday: 35 minutes on the elliptical plus some light upper/core strength. I thought this workout would help me “shake out” my legs, but I don’t really think it helped and probably made me feel more sore the next day! Should have been a rest day.

Tuesday: 3.3 mi @ 10:40. This felt ROUGH. It was unbearably hot out (upper 80s), and my legs were still really tired from Sunday’s race.

Wednesday: 90 min hot power vinyasa yoga. Oh dear god was it hot. It was 90 degrees outside--and the studio was way hotter. Truly drenched when I left.

Thursday: OFF. Went to a coworker’s apartment for a fun event!

Friday: OFF. Spent the bulk of the day at my (likely!) future grad school!

Saturday: 6.5 mi @ 10:40. First couple of miles were a little ploddy, but after that things felt good.

Sunday:  60 min outdoor yoga class! That new-ish shopping area near me started offering free weekly outdoor yoga classes like they did last fall. It was a nice, easy class--a blend of hatha and light vinyasa.

Damn, that girl on the end in the lavender top has a really nice butt...
Source for the picture: Mosaic District Twitter feed. I’m pretty sure that picture was taken last fall and that is yours truly on the end in the back. I was looking at it and like...hey, I have those tops. And that brown curly ponytail. And that yoga mat. That’s me!

Weekly mileage: 9.8 miles. Heh, I ran more than that in one day last week!

Notable eats
I really eat a lot of the same things over and over, but I’ll try to feature a few meals here a week.

I'm a fantastic food photographer; I know. I call this: Cheesy Bread Phallus Plate.
I’m sure you’ve seen this method featured on Pinterest--well I will attest to the fact that it works! I’ve made it a few times, and it is definitely tasty and a cute presentation. This was pretty basic interpretation of it: 3 eggs, 3 TBSP cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/3 of a 8 oz. block?), salt, and chives. I used a regular baguette cut in half (with a little saved on the side) to make two servings.

Dan's all cut up (because, full disclosure, some of mine fell apart)
Notable life events:
The aforementioned visit day at *future grad school*! Really starting to look forward to next year, instead of just feeling constantly panicked. Once I put my name on the dotted line, I’ll discuss this more openly!

Going with Dan to get the supplies for a mini balcony herb garden! Well right now it is really just an herb, not an herb garden--Home Depot’s herb selection was picked over, so we didn’t find everything we wanted. We’re working on getting it filled in this week!

Single, sad herb.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

To Half or Not To Half?

I am currently STRUGGLING with the decision to run a half-marathon following the 10-miler or not. I am truly torn. So let’s outline the pros/cons, shall we?

Pros to running a half-marathon this spring:
I can build on my 10-miler training. This is the major reason I’m considering it. I’ve already put in a lot of the legwork for recommended half-marathon training--some plans even have people stopping at 10 miles for the long runs. I’d plan to go a bit farther (I’d like to hit 13), but it would only take a few more weeks of building on my existing base.

I’d check off an item on my fitness "bucket list." I know I will never do a full marathon, but I really want to do a half someday. It would be cool to do it sooner rather than later! Plus, with starting grad school this fall, I worry that I’d be short on time for training for a fall half-marathon. Might be nice to do it now while I have the time!

I like the accountability provided by longer distance training. If I don’t do a half this spring, I won’t really get another opportunity to do one until the fall (DC = too hot for summer races). So I’d pretty much be done with “real” training until fall--and thus would lack the accountability that training for a longer race provides. I could train for a 5k, sure, but it doesn’t provide the same level of “I need to do these runs otherwise I will embarrass myself on race day” that a long race provides--I could (now!) do a 5k with minimal training/ramp up.

I really don’t want to lose my endurance/run base. This is kind of stupid, but it feels so important to me. I’ve started to mentally identify as this 20+ mile a week runner, and I hate the idea of losing that and going back to struggling through a 5 miler. I worry if I don’t have a longer race on the horizon that my weekly 10 milers will become 4 milers and I’ll be right back to where I started.

Cons to doing the half-marathon this spring:
I’m worried I’d be “tainting” my 10-miler results. Kind of a weird way to put it, but I just feel like I worked so hard during the 10 miler training cycle and was so pleased with the way it ultimately went--it feels like it can only go downhill from here. I did three 10-mile runs in preparation for this race, and several other 8 mile+ runs. Based on the scheduling, I’d only get in a few 11 mile+ runs before a half-marathon, and I just worry it wouldn’t be as thorough of training as I did for the 10-miler. Which maybe would be fine...but I wouldn’t want it to overshadow my 10-miler accomplishment, or somehow water it down if the half-marathon wasn’t nearly as fast. I kind of just want to bask in the glory of a job well done and finishing the 10-miler faster than I ever expected--not set myself up to be disappointed if I don’t do as well at a half.

I could explore other exercise options. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling to fit in all of the cross-training activities I want to do on top of my runs. Well, running less would certainly help that issue. And who knows--maybe some added strength training and cross-training would make me a stronger runner come fall!

I might get burnt out on running. I already started to feel this at the end of the 10-miler training--feeling like I needed to get out there on certain days of every week became mentally fatiguing after a while. Every run became an exercise (pun!) in motivation and mental strength. It wasn’t that I didn’t love being out there once I got going--but I just didn’t want to feel like I had to be out there all the time, you know?

Life has the potential to get crazy. There is this giant, looming work project on the horizon that keeps getting pushed back (6 months and counting!). When it hits, it is going to hit hard, and I will have minimal non-work time for several weeks. I hate the idea of putting my life on pause for a work event--ESPECIALLY one that keeps getting delayed--but it seems a little foolish to be committing to train for a race when this could hit any week! Oh and plus, I already signed up for a preparing-for-grad-school econ class going from April-June. Not a huge deal (I’m taking it for general knowledge background, not an actual grade/requirement for entry), but certainly another time commitment to consider.

THE WEATHER. DC was a god-awful mid-80s this week. If this is what I’m in for with half training, I’m ready to throw in the towel already. Not something I want to be dealing with on 10+ mile runs!

So--what say you? Anyone have any opinions or suggestions? I’m starting to lean one way, but really would appreciate any perspectives/similar experiences!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap

I did it! And I beat my A+ goal! Here's how it all went down. 

My mom and Dan came to the race with me for support! We all camped out at a hotel in DC the night before and definitely did not sleep enough. Oh well. I had made sure to get a fair amount of sleep Friday night in anticipation! I think we were all up when the alarm went off at 5:45 am. 

I ate half a PB&J on wheat (normally I have a piece of toast w/ PB&J pre-run, so this was a good make ahead option for the hotel) plus a banana. Plus coffee of course! 

We took the metro down to the start at Smithsonian. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was--considering this was only my second race ever and my first “big” race, I was really overwhelmed! 

Waiting for metro at 6:30 am. That thumb wins the
supporting actor award for this recap.
First priority upon arrival was BATHROOM. We had a bit of trouble finding them, and once we did the lines were fairly long. But luckily, after learning the challenges of race portapotties at the 10k, we had planned in a good chunk of time for them! I actually made it to my corral on time, whew. 

Waiting in my corral with a nervous smile-grimace.
It was FREEZING at the start of the race, but I knew I had a tendency to overheat while running. So I kept the jacket on until the last minute and then ditched it. So glad I had my mom/Dan there to take my stuff so I didn’t have to screw around with bag check. 

Panic levels (and corresponding manic face) increasing.
And finally the corrals started to move forward (I was in a slower one) and after a fair amount of walking/waiting...we were off!

The Race
I’m having a hard time remembering all the details from the race, but I’ll do my best to document it!

Miles 1-2: Man was it crowded. I was honestly shocked at the amount of people and how packed it felt--was not prepared for that. My first mile pace was almost a minute slower than my others due to the crowd! I also probably was doing some weaving here--I ended up about .2 miles over 10 according to my phone.

I found the 10:30 min/mi pacer and stayed around her for a while. The bridge at mile 2 was nuts--sooo crowded and hard to run. I was having a hard time settling in to a comfortable pace.

Miles 3-4: We ran up to the Kennedy Center and back. I wasn’t super big on all the turnarounds on this course--I think I just prefer a bigger loop. We went under some overpasses, which were like mini-tunnels and kind of fun. I was still hanging around the 10:30 min/mi pacer at mile 3 but still wasn’t really finding my legs. We went down a downhill and she kind of started pulling back, whereas I was ready to kick it in. I decided to pull ahead of her a bit and see how that felt. What a difference! My legs were ready to go a little faster and wanted to hold their own pace (as opposed to following someone else). I was nervous about this decision at the time (going out too fast!), but it ended up being the right call.

Focus face. My on-the-course pictures reveal that I  put my thumb
up when I run, even when I'm not trying to. Perpetual thumbs up!
Miles 5-6: I got a text from Dan telling me they were near the midpoint of the race. I looked and looked and...didn’t see them. Such a bummer! I know they were bummed to miss me too. After that I started texting them intermittently to let them know what mile I was on so I wouldn’t miss them again! [Next time, I’d do this earlier!]

I started to feel the rumbles of hunger at mile 5, which is earlier than normal for me. As I’ve mentioned, I never take in water or fuel during my normal long runs, so I was a little wary of trying anything out on race day. I kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. 

Half-way split: 51:42 (10:20 min/mi pace)
10k split: 1:04:12 (5 minutes faster than my 10k in October!)

Miles 7-8: Hains Point! I was excited to reach it because I had never run along Hains, and I know it is considered sort of a “athletes’ paradise” in DC. I think I’d agree with that! Beautiful, serene surroundings and a flat, long stretch. The only issue with it was the wind coming off the water! It was the only time during the race that I got chilly, but I was still glad I opted for no jacket overall. 

I was feeling pretty good but hungry. I knew I had some time in the bank to work with for my goal, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and try some Gatorade at a water stop. Man did it taste good. I just had a few sips, but it stopped my stomach from rumbling and seemed to give me a boost!

I remember along this stretch having to constantly remind myself that I was racing. My legs kept wanting to fall into a normal run pace of 10:30-45, but I was feeling good and could give more--I just had to remember to do so! I found a girl that was keeping relatively my pace and tried to keep her in my sights for the rest of the race (thank you, off-white long-sleeve girl! Sorry if I was creepy!). Some good crowd support during this leg of the race--loved the drum groups!

Intentional thumbs up. Feeling good!
Miles 9-10: ALMOST THERE. I wasn’t feeling too rough physically, but I was just ready to be done. I started to pick up my pace for the last mile and a half. The hill at the end is a little brutal after a (mostly) flat race. I actually slowed down a bit toward the finish line because Dan and my mom were supposed to be there! I was scanning the faces in the crowd desperate to see them--and finally, 20 feet from the finish line, I saw them! I was so happy to see them and be done:

Dan is a really good photographer! Love this picture.
I ended up finishing UNDER my A+ goal time!! Official time/pace was 1:42:13, for a 10:13 min/mi pace.

Splits according to my phone:
Runkeeper claims it was more like a 10:03 min/mi pace to account for the total distance of 10.2 miles that I actually ran. Either way, I’ll take it. I’m SO THRILLED with how the race went and truly astonished that I finished that fast. That was close to a full minute per mile faster than my 10k just 6 months ago!

The Aftermath
After the race I was so ecstatic about my finish time! I seriously couldn’t believe it. I think I probably annoyed everyone all day with continuing to talk about the race. :)

We wandered around for a bit trying to find me some nourishment. I was fairly famished by that point, but that weird queasy hunger that made me not want to eat a ton of solid foods (I got over that pretty quickly). Gatorade tasted awesome.

So happy!
I wasn’t super in to hanging around at the post-race activities...just wanted to shower and get off my feet. My mom made the executive decision that if we could find a cab we would take it, and we got lucky and found one pretty quickly!

We met up with the rest of the fam back at the hotel. I am normally not a big shower person, but man that shower felt fantastic! After I got cleaned up, we had lunch at the (very nice) hotel buffet. All you can eat brunch buffet (with really really good food) post long run = exactly what I wanted.

And then the fam had to get on the road (sadface), and Dan and I headed back to VA. We rallied to get some groceries, which is where he surprised me with these!:

Beautiful congratulatory flowers! And drying dishes.
And then the rest of the day was spent pretty much like this:

Shirt of success. Pose of awkward.
With a 1.5 hour nap thrown in there too. Even with the nap, I crashed hard at night and slept for 8 hours...I was so exhausted. My legs are hurting quite a bit today (more than normal)--likely because I didn’t really stretch after the run and didn’t ice like normal. Oh well--not a big deal if I need to take it easy this week--I’m not training for anything anymore!

Final thoughts
The 10 mile distance was a lot of fun to run. Long enough that real “training” was required, but not so much that training took over my life. I found it a little challenging to race that distance--I couldn’t figure out how much to hold back--but I think that’s more from general racing inexperience than anything else. 

The Cherry Blossom 10-miler is a great race. Mostly flat (though not QUITE as flat as I expected) and a pretty course (though minimal cherry blossoms during this particular year!). I was shocked at how big it was though--I honestly don’t know if I really love big races. It was so crowded and overwhelming. But then again, it was very well organized, the expo was fun, and the course was well-staffed with support. I think I’ll have to try out a small local race before I decide which I prefer!

Most importantly: I was SO HAPPY that my mom and Dan were able to be there. It really made the day 17 times better to share it with them. They were both so amazingly supportive and proud that it makes me tear up! So a big THANK YOU to them!!! Love you both!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Goals for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

Just a quickie post before Sunday's 10-miler!

Real talk: I'm nervous. Not as bad (yet) as I was before the 10k (my first race)...but considering I was literally in the tub the night before, crying and saying the totally coherent thought of: "But what if I DO BAD" to Dan over and over before the would be pretty hard to match that level of panic.

I just worry that I'm going to embarrass myself or somehow fail to achieve the goals and let other people down. So it is a BIG DEAL that I'm willing to put these out there before the race! My instincts are to keep them private so that I can't feel the public shame, but I think it is important to share both successes and failures in this little running journey of mine. So. Here we are. Be nice if I don't meet them.

My B goal is to finish the race. I will honestly truly be happy if I finish the race (and have fun doing it!)--it is only my second race ever, so finishing is still really exciting., 10 miles is long. This time last year, I was running 2 miles at a time, on the treadmill. Now four miles is an easy day and I'm going to race a 10-miler. Nuts!

That being said...I have finished the 10 mile distance already a few times, and I've put in a good amount of mileage prepping for this race. I feel confident that I can do more than merely finish--it seems reasonable to have a time goal in mind!

So my A goal is finishing under 1:50 (an hour and 50 minutes). This would put me at an 11 min/mi pace, which looking at my recent long run paces, is very doable for me.

My A+ to finish under/around 1:45. That would put me at a 10:30 pace...which I still think is a quasi-doable pace to shoot for too, based on my recent long runs (10:37-10:50 pace). But this is definitely the A+ goal--all of the race day stars will need to align for this to happen!

Honestly, I think it will come down to A) how much race day adrenaline actually makes a difference and B) how much the lack of hills helps me or hurts me. I am used to running in some fairly hilly neighborhoods for my training runs, and this course is amazingly flat in comparison. This could potentially be a good thing (yay no uphills!), but I'm actually worried that I've gotten too used to using the downhills for recovery and that it could hurt me. So we will see.

So that's what we're working with. My plan is to start with the 10:30 pace group and try to hang on. This might be a stupid if you have other ideas, please let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10-miler training

A little late (considering the 10-miler is less than a week away!), but here’s what I did to train for my first 10-miler!

I’ve been doing four runs a week, broken down as follows:

  • One long run. The cornerstone of any distance training plan. I was building on a base from a 10k, so I started with a 7-miler. I’ve basically been increasing the distance by a half mile each week. I had planned to peak at 11, but given that I missed a week with a cold, I stuck to around 10 (10.3). I still feel good going into the race though!
  • One mid-week longer run. This started as a 5 miler at the beginning and now I’m doing a 6 miler. These runs, maybe even more than my long runs, really helped me build my confidence for race day. A lot of times I’m feeling tired/not wanting to run for that long on a weeknight, so it is a good mental exercise. And it makes the rest of the weekday runs feel so much shorter!
  • One 4-miler: No frills, just running for four miles.
  • One shorter, usually treadmill run, with speed intervals: I don’t usually have a rhyme or reason to the speed intervals. Usually something like 4x400, but I’ve been doing 800s or tempo style too. It will typically last between 3 and 4 miles. I like doing this on the treadmill for pacing purposes and so that I can get a strength workout in afterwards.

Honestly, for most of the paces (besides the treadmill run), I just run whatever feels comfortable that day. Sometimes pushing myself feels great; other days I’m slogging through. I’m trying to push myself when I feel up to it.

I’ve taken a “cut back” week every fifth week to try to offset the mileage increases and give my mind and body a break. I think these have been helpful overall--or at least not detrimental.

In addition to the running, I try to get in 2-3 cross-training activities a week. I vary these up a bit, but here’s what I choose from::
  • Power vinyasa yoga class. I usually do one of these a week.
  • Easier yoga day--either a hatha-style class the studio or a shorter session at home.
  • Some time on the elliptical (followed by strength training).
  • Strength training. I try to get in at least one full-body session per week, but I really should incorporate two because I’m seeing how beneficial they are. Hard to fit in with everything else! I usually do two “circuits”, with each circuit having one of the following: a leg move (or a compound leg/arm move); an arm move; and a core move. Go through the circuit once, repeat twice. Then do the same for the second circuit. It helps me get it done quickly and not get bored.
  • Core work, if I have extra time after a run--just five minutes worth.

On a good week, I'd get 2 yoga classes and a strength session. And some weeks (ahem last week) I totally drop the ball on cross-training and do a big fat goose egg. I know they are important, but mentally having a hierarchy of what were "must-dos" and "nice-to-dos" was really helpful for making me feel not too overwhelmed by everything. Running (particularly the two longer ones) = must dos; cross-training = nice to do.

Below (behind the cut because it is crazy long), I've listed out a ton of backlogged weekly workout summaries (going back to February!). I figured these would be helpful for showing how I usually fit all of the activities in in a given week. I was writing these as I went but had never gotten around to posting them!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Repeat after me: not the end of the world

Up until this weekend, I was having a really good “training cycle” for my upcoming 10-miler. I think I had literally missed only 1 scheduled run, and it was during a cutback week. I’d miss a cross-training session here or there, but I was getting my weekly runs in, my pace was dropping, and I felt myself getting stronger. (Oh hey, I owe you a post about what my training’s been like/what I’ve been running. Coming up this week!). 

And then my family came to visit two weekends ago, and they both got a cold shortly after leaving. And then Dan succumbed at the beginning of last week. I knew my time was near but kept hoping I could beat it. I ran normally all week, feeling every morning like I was on the brink of sickness (slight ache in the throat, etc.), but nothing too bad. Finally on Friday I started feeling actually sick and woke up Saturday definitely not feeling good. Ignoring logic, I spent some time trying to convince myself I was fine and strapped my sneakers on, ready to bust out my long run. 

I felt like I was running really hard for the first mile or so. “Oh, must be like 10:30 pace at least, let me check my phone to confirm, then I can pull back.” I looked at my phone and saw 11:10. Which is not a bad pace at all--but not one I normally feel like is a “tough” pace these days, especially only a few miles into the run (especially since I had a decent downhill in the first mile!). So I finally admitted I was probably coming down with something and turned around, finishing out only 3 miles as opposed to the 10.5 on the docket. I took yesterday completely off as well, finishing out what was going to be my peak week with 13 miles, instead of the planned 23.5. 

I feel way more panicky about this than I have any right to. I know I can finish the 10-miler (I’ve done two 10 mile runs so far, and a bunch of close-to-10 milers as well). I know it is better that I got sick now two weeks out from the race, as opposed to right before race day. I know that I won’t lose all my endurance in a week and can probably squeeze in one more long run next weekend to give myself a mental boost. And most of all, I know it is just one race and that no matter how the race goes, it doesn't really matter in the scheme of life.

But it still feels like all this training was for naught because I wasn’t able to peak when I needed to peak and that I won’t be in the best condition possible on race day and that I'll embarrass myself in front of everyone when I can't finish. You can say it: I'm nuts.

Luckily, it is only a cold--after the first day or two, it is just more annoying than anything else. I took an OTC decongestant today just to stop my nose from dripping every freaking second and felt well enough to try an easy run tonight. I did 4 miles on the treadmill (DC weather, what is going on??) at a comfortable pace. I didn't feel any worse afterwards, so hopefully this week I can run normally (at slightly reduced paces) and feel good going into the race next week. And even if I don't...going to try to remember that it will be okay!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running Lately

This was a running blog, not just life goals blog, at some point, yes? Some (disorganized) thoughts on how running has been going lately:

Running longer and consistently is making me faster. Which makes completely perfect sense...yet I still didn’t expect it. I assumed I would get more tired or wouldn’t see significant gains since I’m not doing any hard or consistent speedwork. But it’s there: my paces are getting faster; longer distances are feeling easier. Yay improvement! 

That being said...I feel like I’m at a good place, mileage- and frequency-wise, and will probably hold here around 20-25 miles/week. I can’t imagine running more than four days a week--or rather, I can, but I can’t see it being beneficial for me. I feel like I barely have enough time to squeeze in all of the cross-training I want to/should do now, and I think I’d be starting to invite injury. I don’t really have any desire to do a marathon (ever), so I think this is sufficient mileage to stay at for...a while. I could see getting above 25 miles/week for half-marathon training, but beyond that, I’ll probably chill here!

Speaking of a half-marathon...I’m toying with the idea of doing one after my 10-miler. The 10-miler is in early April, and the half is on June 1. I think it is doable to basically just keep increasing my long run mileage until then. I’m going to hold off on signing up until after the 10-miler, just to see how I’m feeling physically and mentally. I’m inclined to do it because a) I have the mileage base that I’d want for a half currently built up and b) I don’t want to train for a half-marathon in the DC heat of July/August (for a fall half). 

Despite all of my general excitement about getting faster and nice weather, etc., I've been having a little trouble getting motivated to run lately. I always end up getting out the door (with a few helpful "you'll feel better if you do" reminders from Dan!), but I'm dragging my feet not wanting to go. I'm guessing it is related to the fact that I already have done a (spoiler alert!) a ten-miler, but I'm still a month out from my race. I'm mentally ready to start building for the next challenge (half!), but scared physically to move on, fearful that I'll push my body too hard and not be able to finish the 10-miler. So I'm finding myself craving cross-training more, where there are new poses to tackle in yoga and new weights to lift at the gym. Which I suppose is not a bad thing! And ultimately, when I do finally get my butt out the door to run, I do end up feeling great afterwards, and I mostly enjoy it while I'm running too (at least after the first two miles--why do they always feel like death?!).

Other random running things 
Um--I don’t fuel or hydrate while running. It only recently occurred to me that this might be an issue, as I’m starting to run double digits and temperatures will increase soon. The blackhole of internet advice seems to recommend “fueling” (aka taking Gu or something else) for a run anywhere from 60 minutes to only on runs upwards of 18 miles, so...totally unhelpful. I think I probably can skip fueling for now though, since I've been running okay without it. Hydration, however, seems to be generally agreed on as “necessary”, no matter the run length. I don’t know--I drink tons of water all day, and then pound water or Nuun* after a run, and I realllyyyy hate carrying water while I run...sooo I’m thinking I’m going to stick with what I know for now. At least until after the race.

I’m going to miss winter running. As pleasant as the nice temperatures have been, there was something so nice about being out there solo in the cold. My usual paths are starting to fill up again as it warms up. Plus, pockets! Man, I really miss my jacket pockets when I don’t need the extra layer. I guess I need to get one of those belt contraptions to carry my phone/keys/etc. in, but my jacket was so much more convenient! [All of this said with the caveat of living in Virginia--where winter running is not real winter running!]

*I was surprised how much I like Nuun. Pleasant tasting but not so sugary/caloric that it makes me feel ill. Basically just tasty electrolyte water--aka perfect for after a longer run. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oh Hey March

Life Check-In
So I’m done, for real, with all this grad school stuff. I had finished up my applications at the end of 2012, but I finally just finished my financial stuff and fellowship applications, etc. It feels SO GOOD to be done. And even better that: I’ve already been accepted to four schools! I’m waiting for a few more decisions to come in mid-March (and then [hopefully] the $$ offers by early April) before I decide where to go.

It feels SO GOOD not to have any major non-work deadlines or obligations weighing on me. I seriously don’t think I’ve been free from obligations like this since before I started my current job! [job search (because I disliked my old one, not unemployed)-->moving/apartment hunting-->GRE studying-->another move-->school research-->application process-->financial grad school apps]. Life wasn’t particularly bad during those times--I did things mostly slow and steady, so nothing was ever too intense and there were lots of breaks. But I just felt like I constantly had something I should be working on. So it is nice to be free from any major non-work responsibilities for the next few months (and then...GRAD SCHOOL LIFE CHANGES AH). 

So anyway. My main goal for spring is to enjoy myself! Work is getting fairly crazy, so I just want to make it a priority when I’m not at work to relax, have fun, and enjoy time with Dan and my friends. 

That all being said...of course I have some mini-goals for the month. :) I think having a few small things to work on just makes life better! Dorky but true.

Revisiting February Goals
Not too much else to add after my mid-month check-in. I ended up reconnecting (email → video chat) with at least one friend (for the relationships portion), which was fun and not nearly as stressful as I was building it to be in my mind. And hopefully that will stay frequent moving forward. 

Working out in the morning is still hard. I do, at least, feel like I’ve proved to myself that it is possible and not completely painful to do. I can get it done if I need to. But I still definitely prefer to work out at night. I’ll probably keep trying to integrate 1-2 AM workouts into my weekly schedule to accommodate later work hours! 

Reading and 20/10s still going well. So much so that I added the little check boxes (like I had for each task everyday in my planner in February) for March. Checking things off is pleasing, and it is a good daily reminder to do them!

March Goals
Home: Spring cleanout, two-pronged: old magazines and clothes. I always save my old magazines, planning to cut out recipes I like, etc. In February, I got bored one weekend (/procrastinating fellowship acts) and started to make progress on my magazines. I've got a good system set up using Evernote that is allowing me to keep things digitally that I care about and recycle all of the hard copies. Phew! So I want to finish that project up in March, and tackle my clothes. Game plan for that to come.

Body: Use sunscreen daily. Pretty simple. It is such an important task for skin health that I rarely do. I just need to commit! I have a SPF 15 face lotion that I can use for most days, but I need to get something higher for days when I’m running/out a lot. 

Mind: Post twice a week on this blog. I enjoy doing it, and it generally helps keep me accountable to both my life goals and running goals. Plus, with the 10-miler coming up in early April, it will be a big month for running. I want to make sure to document it all!

Relationships: Focus on Dan! Work is getting busy for both of us, and our March weekends are rapidly filling up too. So we are going to try to do 2 date nights during the month (date night = going out for enjoyment, not just sustenance!) and one night of quality time a week at home. We already did a date night this weekend, which was lovely!

Today’s Eats
I made a sweet potato, kale, and goat cheese frittata (recipe from Vegetarian Times Nov. 2012) for dinner tonight. Dan made fun of the fact that pretty much all my dinners are the same, noting that I frequently do some combination of potato/cheese/kale/egg. I suppose this is a fair assessment--but a frittata feels so different than normal! Hah.

The bigger section, since the piece I cut out turned into more of a scramble than frittata.
Also today Dan surprised me with a shamrock shake (McDonald’s annual March thing; they are crack) this afternoon, which deserves public accolades, because shamrock shakes are pretty much the easiest way to this girl’s heart.