Dopey Challenge Week 2: Planning the Season

Dopey Challenge update: Two weeks down, 27 more to go.

dopey-challenge-copy

Training has been going well. Nothing is off-track yet, although my workload is kicking up into high gear. My stress levels have been negatively affecting my training, but I’ve been aiming to at least get 6-7 hours of sleep in a night. On the nights I achieve that, training isn’t so bad so long that I’m not reading emails in between intervals. It also helps if I’m not ruminating over the amount of work I have on my plate.

I’ve been planning some warm up races for the long road ahead. There are some nice ones in the fall, so I signed up for the Breckenridge Half Marathon in September. It’s at 10,000 feet above sea level. My lungs will probably explode, but luckily there’s a 4-hour time limit.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 9.02.00 PM

In December, when the miles pile up, I was able to find a two-day race in Dallas (called the Texas Double)¬†that will allow me to get in my half-marathon and full marathon over the weekend for my training plan. It’ll be nice to run in the outdoors, rather than slogging out 39 miles on a treadmill. I can’t even begin to imagine what that is like.

In addition to those races, I have a few virtual races in progress too. I love races in general, but over the years I’ve found that they are fairly expensive, since I really enjoy the larger races. I’m now saving the big races for a few times a year at most, and I imagine that when I begin taking up triathlons again my pocketbook will suffer once more. Perhaps when I finish paying off my student loans (another 3 years/$110K later, if I follow my financial planner’s schedule), I can celebrate with an Ironman! Or an international race! Or an international Ironman! ūüėÄ

So, the Pacific Coast Highway virtual race is about halfway complete. I’m really enjoying the email notifications I get for the landmark mile markers! It’s such a neat little service.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 8.45.05 PM

Another challenging race I’ve signed up for is the Amerithon Challenge. I’m using my FitBit to log all of my miles and so far in the first week I’ve logged a little over 25. Not bad!

Amerithon-site-header-1

Milestone200

There’s a few other virtual races I want to sign up for. The Appalachian Trail series looks pretty neat. I’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. There’s a schoolteacher in my parents’ town who hikes it regularly, and the local paper always covers it. Regardless, in the absence of being able to do the trail in person, it’s a nice substitute.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 8.46.31 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 8.46.38 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 8.46.46 PM

My treadmill doesn’t afford a very nice view, but it allows me to run with my husband, who runs considerably faster than me. I’m currently trying to convince him to train to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but one goal at a time he says. (He’s also training for the Dopey Challenge.)

This is my mantra for the upcoming week:

01166ae2096c581b62beae155a905b0d

Since I try to run first thing in the morning, it can get pretty difficult. I usually want to jump right in to my design work, or grading student assignments. However, I know that by taking care of myself first, I can be the best version of me for everyone who depends on me.

Happy training! Until next time…

And the Training Months Tick By…July and mid-August Recap

Hmm. It’s been an interesting month. I don’t have a lot of time to go into too much detail about what’s been going on, but let’s recap:

 

-I went on a weeklong vacation to Waikiki with Erik. By day we hiked, ran, snorkeled, swam, surfed, boogey boarded, and by night we hopped skipped karaoke bars.
-I acquired two gnarly quarter-sized blisters on the bottom of both of my feet that prevented me from racing in Seafair.
-I rejiggered my tri training schedule (rather unsuccessfully) and my marathon training schedule (successfully).
-I’ve added P90X3 to my training repertoire and have been loving it! It’s been helping me a lot with my cardio output on my runs, and strengthening a lot of weak spots in my legs. Reminds me of when I was training with a personal trainer. I’m looking forward to adding some more Team Beachbody DVDs to my collection. They are intense but great!
-I finished out my first semester of grad school. There were tears and fussy nights, but I did it.
-Things at work are moving along.
-Bought a new mountain bike (taking it to Duthie Hill tomorrow with Alex!)
-Trying to get down to race weight on my old two gigantic salads a day diet (with tons of protein and snacks in between).
-I invested in way too many blender bottles.
-I keep exercising my control muscles. Look at all that candy at the office!
-I’m finalizing plans for my awesome ski trip to Niseko next February. Japow hereeeeee I come!

I’m still training for the Portland Marathon in October. I also have three sprint tris coming up in three consecutive weekends starting next Saturday. And still planning on a HITS triathlon in Palm Springs in December but I’m still majorly undecided as to which distance. I’m pretty sure I can pull a half IM again if I really focus on cycling and running (and I guess swimming too) after the marathon. Regardless, here’s my training plan for the next 1.5 months:

So, essentially life is full of work, grad school(s), training, fundraising, eating, and sleeping. And not much else. Until next time!

Monday Morning Stand Up: Seafair Weeks 6-7-8 + Portland Weeks 1-2-3 2014 Training

For lack of a better way to combine the concurrent training threads, I’m now officially lumping them both together in the headline. The last few weeks have been insanely bizarre. Not only is my sleeping schedule all over the map, but so is my schoolwork and work-work (because when you say it twice, it’s legit).

So my swimming activities are pretty much nil. Same goes with my biking. I’ve finally switched out all the batteries on my speed/cadence sensors and my heart-rate monitor so things should be paired and working well with the Bluetooth dongle and TrainerRoad. I tried riding to work and making it a habit but I find my messenger bag to be quite infuriating. It’s not really worth riding the few miles to and from at this stage. I think when I was still learning to ride it made more sense. I suppose it would make sense now so that I could get comfortable clipping in and out at stops and stuff, but for most of my races I will be riding long distances between clipping in and out anyways. (Maybe I’m just rationalizing myself out of riding to work?)

Week 6 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 1 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 16: 4.08 mile run, 0.5 mile swim

Tuesday, June 17: Rest day

Wednesday, June 18: 4.06 mile run

Thursday, June 19: Rest day

Friday, June 20: 4.02 mile run

Saturday, June 21: 8 mile run

Sunday, June 22: Rest day

Week 7 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 2 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 23: Rest day

Tuesday, June 24: 4.68 mile run

Wednesday, June 25: 2.05+1.54 mile bike commute, 5.22 mile run

Thursday, June 26: 1.41 mile bike commute, 4.02 run

Friday, June 27: 10.09 mile run…before work

Saturday, June 28: Five Mile Lake Tri, which served as a season dress rehearsal – 0.25 mile swim, 14 mile ride, 3.1 mile run

Sunday, June 29: Rest day

Week 8 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 3 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 30: Rest day

Tuesday, July 1: Rest day

Wednesday, July 2: 4.88 mile run

Thursday, July 3: 5.01 mile run

Friday, July 4: 6.84 mile hike up Mt. Si, probably one of the most challenging hikes I’ve completed this season

Saturday, July 5: Rest day

Sunday, July 6: 5.67 mile run around Green Lake during one of the hottest days of the year

Week 9-10 training resolutions:

-I resolve to use my vacation as a partial jumpstart to my tri training. I would actually argue that it is way too late, but I’m going to aim for it anyways. I’ll continue my marathon training and try to add swimming during my leisure downtime and maybe wake up early to run and jump on a spin bike at the Waikiki 24 Hour Fitness. (I don’t think I’ll be renting a bike this time so this is my next best and free alternative, since I already have a membership.)

-I resolve to do as much swimming in Hawaii 5 out of 7 days, with a half-mile minimum. The clear and shallow water will be good for me. I can practice dodging humans and form while working on my tan. And since I’ll have to swim in open water without a wetsuit, it’ll help me regain some of that alignment I may have lost in all of the time I’ve spent out of the water.

-I resolve to ride on my trainer while doing my reading (as much as it is possible for me to still comprehend my reading and still focus on the workout). I would like to get at least 2 rides in while I am still in town, and to ride 4 times in the early mornings while in Hawaii.

-I resolve to continue with my marathon training plan, but giving myself permission to drop one of the easy/short runs, or to break up the weekly long run with half-run sandwiches (splitting a 12 miler between 2 consecutive 6 milers)

What’s really important is that Seafair will be the weekend I return from Hawaii, so it is really important that I at least get *half* of my resolved sessions in. AT. LEAST. I’m sure I’ll survive. I think I will. I think I can!

Lessons learned from the last three weeks:

-Respect the distance: Just because you’ve done the distance before, it doesn’t mean you can attempt the distance (comfortably) without the training. During my last race/open water swim I seriously thought I was down for the count. I’ve never flagged down a safety kayak but I did that morning. I ended up making it out of the water just fine but seriously…I can’t let that happen again. It’s a safety hazard at that point. I need to get in the training if I expect to be able to finish these races comfortably.

-Train before your brain knows what’s going on: Making things dead simple and automatic is the name of the game. You perform what you practice, so take the brainpower out of practice by scheduling everything in advance (as much as possible) so that you can focus on execution. This became apparent to me on race morning when I got my gear ready at the last minute (instead of laying everything out the night before) and then being at a loss of how to fuel before the race (since I’ve made it a habit to train in the morning on an empty stomach). It’s one thing to be self-aware…it’s a completely different story to self-correct.

-If you can’t get the little things right, you can’t achieve the bigger things: Seriously…fueling issues? Can’t get my swim training in? How do I expect to ever finish a 140.6 if I can’t nail the little simple things? 140.6 miles is no joke, and it’s a dream I’ve been chasing for years at this point. If I want to go for it, I’ll need to prove that I can stick to something consistently and get the training in. The more I fumble on these little things, the more the bigger goals are out of reach.

Humble brags from the last three weeks:

-Nailing an A-average across both of my grad school classes, despite my insane schedule

-Getting most of my marathon training in, on point and on schedule

-Still cognizant and self-correcting on my triathlon training mishaps

-Actively trying to make better eating choices, going to begin logging my food intake again

-Still managed to finish a triathlon, even though I had some pretty severe highs and lows during the race

-Raised $215 for my Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser in the first week

2014 Charity Fundraising Announcement: Stand Up to Cancer

Hi folks! It’s that time of year again were I announce my fundraising efforts for the 2014 racing season. Since I have (haphazardly) already finished my first race of the season (with at least seven more to go between now and December) it’s time to unveil my charity of choice this year…

A couple of years ago, I was tested for cervical cancer and received a false positive. The week between receiving the erroneous results and the final results were one of the most nerve-wrecking times of my life. I spent most of that week getting my financial affairs in order, and considering how I’d break the news to people who were closest to me in case the biopsy came back positive. When I received the final negative test results, I felt relieved but I knew deep down inside that not everyone got that second (or third or fourth) lease on life.

Since then, I’ve met a handful of survivors and known of friends and family/friends of friends who have been negatively impacted by cancer. The survivors I know are incredibly resilient and strong people. In honor of those people who are still fighting it today, and in memory of the people who have lost their struggle, I dedicate my 2014 triathlon fundraising season to them. Here are my first 10 people I will be honoring this race season:

  1. Garland
  2. Cardoni
  3. McNamara
  4. McCormick
  5. Repp
  6. Appiah
  7. Kiraz
  8. Schultz
  9. Harvey
  10. Wang

As an added twist to this year’s fundraiser, I will race with the last names of people who are still fighting or have lost their fight to cancer temporarily tattooed to me throughout the season. For each donation, donors can specify a last name to add to my list.

I’m hoping you’ll join me on my triathlon journey this year, and help me fundraise and reach my $2,000 goal by December 6, 2014.

Thanks again for all of your continued support!

Learning To Love The Long Run

So, after feeling a bit lame-o for registering for a full marathon and then downgrading to the half, I’ve decided to do it again.

I’m going to train for a marathon *and* a triathlon at the same time.

Not sure why I like this sort of punishment but for some reason, I can never focus on just one or the other. As I hone in on one race, the sirens of the other race keep calling my name. So this time I’m going to slide my long runs in to my current base training calendar. I’ve already got a decent amount of base mileage behind me. For marathon training, all I really have to do is work on my long runs. The goal is to finish, hopefully just a little bit faster than my last marathon.

70.3 base training and Rock ‘n Roll AZ Marathon training…all rolled into one.

I had a 14 mile training run this weekend on tap. I generally wig out at the thought of any run longer than 10 miles or so on my own, especially in a city as small as Seattle. In Los Angeles I had the luxury of running from my apartment to the beach (10 miles), to downtown and back (16 miles), around West Hollywood and Koreatown (7 miles), or to Beverly Hills and back (6-8 miles). The routes were always really fun and I got to learn different parts of my city. I’ve found that Seattle is much, much smaller than LA — taking a run into downtown is only a few miles, and to Pike Place and the waterfront, around the Seattle Center and back is only 7 or 8 miles. I’ve been running out of cityscape very quickly, which I believe has contributed to my long run demise. It’s also in the rainy/windy season so running along the floating bridge is a bit scary for me as a first timer. I needed something safe.

Green Lake Park is not too far away. I remember running the Iron Girl 10K there and the area is very well maintained. I’m able to access it easily from surface streets. I’ve driven around that path quite a bit so I’ve gotten a good read of the landscape and landmarks, and this weekend, I decided it was a go. The entire route — from my apartment to Green Lake, 3 laps around Green Lake and back to my apartment — was about 15-16 miles. I decided to strictly adhere to my 14 mile limit so that I wouldn’t undo any feel-good warm fuzzies I’d have for inching up my mileage incrementally and packed my bus pass. After having mentally battled the fact that I was going to start long-distance training again for a few days (and saying it aloud to my co-workers), come Saturday morning I procrastinated only a little. Two hours. That’s a record.

To and back…and 3 loops around Green Lake

I also decided to try something new this time. My playlist is very much exhausted and I’m getting tired of sourcing good music to keep me going for my run. I remembered a book that my boyfriend was raving about so I decided to buy it on Audible and load it onto my iPod. It’s called The Defining Decade and it talks a lot about how your twenties is a time for positive change. I generally thought that running with audiobooks would be incredibly boring but I couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe it was the content or the narrator but it really kept my mind off of the distance and focused on something positive. That and the audiobook was a swift kick in the butt. (If you’re 20-something like me, you should definitely check out The Defining Decade!)

So I’m learning to love the long run with a few carrots: some good audiobooks to keep me company on the road, promises of strictly adhering to a training schedule, eating well, and getting adequate rest.

Race Recap: 2013 Zappos Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Las Vegas

To tell you the truth, I started off my race weekend a bit disappointed.

A few months back, I had registered for the full marathon. However, with my lack of training and inability to truly run a full marathon in less than 4 and a half hours, I had settled into the mentality that I was going to just run the same 13.1 I ran last year. I was a bit disappointed at the expo because I had a bib that reminded me of my original registration and started scheming up a plan to somehow manage a full fledged marathon. Thankfully, my boyfriend brought me down to earth very quickly and I tried to put it behind me.

Anywho, let’s start from the beginning.

I flew in to Vegas on Friday evening after work. On my first flight from Seattle to Sacramento, there were a ton of runners talking about “the marathon.” They were mentioning bad weather, like rain and wind and flooding. I naturally thought they were talking about the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas, which was where I was headed. I had a moment of panic and listened closer and realized that we were not talking about the same race. Instead, they were talking about the California International Marathon, which is historically a really nice downhill race that also BQs (for you non-running folks, that’s Boston Qualifying).

After checking Google for the weather reports, I found 0% chance of precipitation on race day. INSTANT RELIEF. I changed planes in Sacramento and ended up sitting next to another Rock ‘n Roller. She was super nice and we chatted the entire flight about running, pacing, racing, significant others, etc. It was great connecting with another runner. Once I got off the plane, I met up with Shant who had been waiting for a few hours for my flight to get in and we headed over to Imperial Palace. By the time we got our room and headed up it was 2am and I was exhausted!

The view from my balcony at Imperial Palace

After doing a quick round of casino hopping, I headed to bed and promptly got up for a 20 mile ride the next morning at the gym. Shant even joined me! After we finished, we headed back to the strip. I had two main missions on Saturday: to grab my bib at the expo, but only after my carboload at lunch! I started off with a salad and then ended with this:

Carboload at the buffet. Snoozefest!

I felt gross and sleepy afterwards. Probably should’ve listened to my body when I was halfway done with the plate and already full. I kept going anyways. DIG DEEPER applies to carboloading, right?

After the race expo, we strolled around the strip. Holiday lights and decorations were in full swing.

The Venetian and Palazzo all gussied up

Ended up watching a ton of people lose a ton of money at Craps. I say, they make it look very hopeful. I can see why people are drawn to it. It’s like an arcade, for adults. With prize money. Who doesn’t like that? I left with my wallet intact since I don’t play.

So many hopeful people!

Headed back for an early night. We were both pretty exhausted, and unbeknownst to me Shant was coming down with some sort of really bad head cold. He ended up sleeping most of Sunday, which was good for him and for me. I ended up getting in a nap after a really late breakfast (which would nip me in the butt later in the race). I prepped to the sound of his sleeping and got my gear together: base layer, long sleeved running shirt, windbreaker, running hat, some tunes, my bib, my timing chip, and a handful of Gu.

The usual race getup.

Headed over to the start line via the Monorail with, like, a couple thousand of my best friends. No joke. It was packed! At the start village, I saw the cutest thing ever — people getting ready to get married! I wondered how the woman on the right was ever going to make it 13 miles in a dress as heavy as that. Maybe she would disrobe to reveal running tights later. Who knows.

Runners getting hitched at mile 3

The winds started kicking up as the sun was setting. People started filing in to their corrals, and before I knew it, we were shuffling towards the start.

Start village at Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas

This year’s corrals went a lot smoother than last year. There was more time in between each corral so that the race course wouldn’t get terribly congested like last year. This was a great move on part of the Rock ‘n Roll. Last year I remember being literally next to a huge flood of people. This year it felt like a normal race — lots of participants, but people weren’t tripping over one another. With more time in between each corral, getting to the start took a lot longer. I think there were over 30 corrals. Sheesh! People really like Vegas! It didn’t seem like it was very highly enforced, since I just guessed which corral I was supposed to be in, but nonetheless it seemed to work out better than last year.

So many corrals!

The course itself was great, just like last year. I can’t remember if it was the same course, but it takes you through down to McCarran International Airport and back up the Strip to Downtown Vegas and back. There were a few residential neighborhoods thrown in there but all in all, a great race for people who love to do some touristy sightseeing during a race.

Water and Gatorade was plentiful on the course. I could see the careful attention to detail by bringing potable water trucks parked along the route. There were more medical aid stations this year as well. Some parts of the course were still a bit dark, and they tried to stave off that darkness with ginormous flood lights. A few more would’ve made a difference, in my opinion.

I witnessed a few people tripping over themselves in the dark. The course was also a bit windy, and the sand around the unpaved sidewalks near McCarran kicked up into my eyes. A few runners were having that same problem, but I pulled my hat brim down and rubbed it out of my eyes as much as I could.

There was plentiful Gu on the course as well. Somehow I managed to leave with more than I came with. Marathoners had their own dedicated course, with exception at the end. I saw a half marathoner jump the boundaries and a marathoner swiftly kicked them out. Such poor race manners! Why on earth would you get in the way of someone who just put in 25 miles?!

The finish line was stretched out quite well. No bottlenecks this time. Everyone was moving. Maybe not as fast as I would’ve liked because I think I remember swearing at the sky at one point, but I chalked it up to a bunch of newbies on the course. I was just tired and hungry! I didn’t stick around for the finish line festivities but instead ducked out halfway through the finish chute since my hotel was right next to the finish line. Staying right next to the finish line was probably the best decision I had ever made. The price was right (at around $20-$30 a night) and it was comfortable.

Adding more race bling to my collection

All in all it was a much better race than last year. Thanks to Rock ‘n Roll Marathon for listening to their runners and making the experience much more comfortable for everyone. They put a lot of hard work into all of their races. This one was definitely worth the money! (It’s also the most expensive race on their calendar every year.) I look forward to running it next year!

I hustled and hustled…and then I finally saw the finish line.

This race hurt a bit since I did very little running in between Rock ‘n Roll Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Since I’ve been incorporating more swimming and biking I spent less time on my feet overall. Surprisingly there was only about a 5 minute discrepancy between the two races, but I feel like I worked SO much harder in Vegas than I did in LA.

So much has changed in the one year in between these races. I went from funemployed to working with Amazon. Shant’s still around a year later. I’m in a new city. I’m training for longer distance events. I finished my first and second marathon and am working on my third. All in all, a lot of progress has been made in just 12 short months!

At the end of it all, I made a mental plan to conquer the 26.2 in January. More on that later!

66 Days & $777 in Fundraising To Go Until My Next 26.2

Okay, so I’ve stayed off my feet and tried to relax a bit at work. With only two weeks until my next half marathon and only 66 days until my next full marathon, I want to focus and get my energy levels back.

That said, I actually haven’t made it out the door for my long run. I struggled with my six-miler on Monday and only made it to Lake Union Park before turning around. I was feeling much more run down than usual so I decided to cut things short and just head back home. It was colder than usual out…

I’m slowly learning how to dress for cold weather…

So here I am, having been off my feet yesterday and today. (I biked on the trainer today so hopefully that counts.) I was hoping to make it to the pool tonight but alas the sirens of design sang and I heeded their call, after an afternoon of continued procrastination on an on-going project. (I had to mend that issue tonight, so I stayed a bit late.)

That said, perhaps I can aim for a short 5K tomorrow morning, a 10K on Friday morning, and my long run (15 miles) on Saturday morning. Hopefully this time I don’t push it off until it’s too late. I loaded up my iPod shuffle with some new music. Maybe I should add some more preemptively so that I don’t give myself any excuses. Running along the Burke-Gilman trail is pretty safe on weekends since it’s a dedicated pedestrian/bike path and it cuts through a few towns.

To register or not to register…that is the question. Is it worth waiting another 12 months?!

So I went on a registration extravaganza since I have my TourPass now. I’ve signed up for Rock n Roll Pasadena (half), San Francisco (half), Portland (half), Seattle (full), Montreal (full), Providence (half), Denver (half), LA (half), and Las Vegas (half) for next year. That’s a hell of a lot of races and not a lot of time for triathlons. Maybe I can squeeze in a few sprint tris during the summer! It’d be nice to run a few races in Seattle. I know that IM 70.3 Lake Stevens is in June or so but I won’t be ready by then if my focus is on all of these Rock ‘n Roll races…unless of course, I can duplicate my efforts. Seems risky and I’m not sure if my body can handle it.

Anywho, with 66 days to go and $777 left to fundraise, I absolutely need your help! If you’re thankful for something, like having a job that you get to complain about, you should *definitely* donate to my fundraiser. Some women are not nearly as lucky as you!

Please please please donate to my Dress for Success fundraiser!

Overthinking Is My Downfall

I’ll preface this blog post by admitting that I am about to go on a self-loathing rant.

Remember when she got the silver medal at the Olympics and she was unhappy? Remember how silly that seemed? Well, I kind of sympathize with her…

Feeling lost seems to be more and more normal for me lately. Overthinking is my downfall. The more I overthink my training and my nutrition the more difficult it gets to maintain any semblance of normalcy.

The last week or so I’ve struggled to get myself out the door for my runs. The other day I procrastinated for 2 hours and today, I procrastinated for ten. TEN hours. I did everything in my power to avoid my run today, including a nap. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.

This weekend has been less than stellar. I’m on an incredibly short fuse. I’m torn on a lot of decisions.

Why is it that training for a half marathon or a sprint triathlon is infinitely easier than any other distance? Once I break the 13.1 mile benchmark, why do I end up mentally paralyzed before each long run? I’m trying to get comfortable getting out the door for a 15-mile run and I procrastinate so long that it begins raining. The rain then forces me to run on the treadmill (a.k.a. dreadmill) and of course, it’s harder and much more boring at the gym than it is on the road.

This weekend was supposed to be my victory weekend in Lake Havasu. I was supposed to cross the 70.3 finish line and instead, I spent it moping around and being angry/irritated at everything. I also lost my cool at Shant yesterday during a normal squabble but took it out on the steering wheel of my car and now my wrist and palm is incredibly sore. I feel ashamed for the way I acted. I’m really sorry and I hope that he knows that.

I’m angry at myself in so many ways. I can’t stop stress eating. I can’t seem to get my long runs in without putting up an internal fight. I can’t seem to commit my schedule to IM training. I can’t seem to commit to finishing any of my personal trainer certification goals (which I re-fired up again this week).

/endrant

At the end of the day, I think I’m just really impatient with myself. “It’s all about the journey and not the destination.”¬†Blerg! Sometimes I just want to fast-forward it all!

I mean, can it really be that bad that I can run a half-marathon or a sprint triathlon comfortably? There are plenty of people who would love to be able to do what I do. My mind constantly wants to move on to the “bigger, better thing.”

What I really need is a coach and a dietician (or nutritionist) to help me put together a feasible plan and to keep me on track. I feel lost trying to track every morsel I eat, especially since 1) I stress-eat, and 2) I eat out a lot. I feel lost trying to navigate the plethora of training plans available for 140.6. I feel lost trying to study for my personal trainer certification on my own. I wish I could make friends with someone who was exactly like me, someone who knows exactly what I am going through. You know, someone that can sympathize with a¬†twinge here, a patella out of tracking there, a knot in my hamstrings, some pain in my quads. Someone that understands the pressure I’m under (both self-imposed and metrics-imposed) at work. Someone that truly understands my levels of unhappiness about certain things in my life that I haven’t or can’t quite get over. Someone that knows what it’s like to burn with anger on the inside about something in their past that they can’t help.

Or maybe I don’t really need any of that. Maybe what I need to do is let go to my attachment to these distances.¬†The attachment to the distance, I think, is what causes me the most grief. Numbers. It all comes down to numbers. 15 mile runs, 140.6 mile triathlon, 26.2 marathons, 50K ultramarathons. All of these lofty numeric goals. All of these lofty numeric goals seem so far out of reach on days where I struggle to even pound out a 3 mile run. These numbers seem even more far out of reach when I can’t get out for a 15-mile run. The more I know about these numbers the farther they slip away.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to try to get up early for a run around the lake. 6-mile runs help me start the week off on the right foot.

It’ll probably rain tomorrow morning too, which should be fun.

Race Recap: Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon Los Angeles 2013

I’ll never again take the sunshine for granted.

I departed from Seattle on a gray, wet afternoon. Up until the race, my runs had been wet and chilly. I packed my warm weather gear — a running skirt and a t-shirt.

69339_10152209299740504_1145872670_n

Arriving on Friday night, my boyfriend and I headed to a great pho restaurant in his area, which was perfect for some healthy carboloading. After all, if I was unable to stick to my runs the week of the race, I might as well fuel up, right?

On Saturday, I had a great time at the expo. They’re pretty much run-of-the-mill expos, which huge product marketing efforts. One product I kind of fell in love with was the Mamma Chia drink. It was refreshing and very hydrating. Loved it! I’ll definitely try to stock up when I find them here in Seattle.

578461_10152209334705504_552311673_n

This time I actually took advantage of the pre-race discussions and even got a chance to get my race bib autographed by Deena Kastor herself! It was pretty neat being able to see her in person. I’ve only read about her online, in magazines, and seen her in documentaries (like Spirit of the Marathon).

69310_10152208948870504_880226356_n

So, after dinner and race prep, I slipped into a fitful night of sleep. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I’ve raced but I still get weird and nervous. Why? I know exactly what to expect and I’ve gone out for 13 mile runs before. For some reason a race atmosphere is exciting but also nerve wrecking, but mostly fun.

I arrived on race day feeling pretty good about my abilities. I didn’t think I’d be very fast (I was right) but I definitely felt prepared. Especially having run the race the year before, I knew what to expect from the course. What was different this year was that my boyfriend was running with me. He had decided to run the 5K since he had done little to no training, and then part way through the race he then decided to do the whole 13.1. It was kind of a bummer to me since I was actually thinking about downgrading to the 5K distance, but since he was doing the half marathon, I decided to stick to it. I was a bit worried that he would hurt himself but things ended up fine. I was happy to have run into my bestie as she ambushed the race to cheer us on. I finally hit my stride after the 10K mark and it all felt great from there.

Z-4

The day was beautiful and a bit warm. It was definitely much different than running in Seattle weather. I passed by all of the familiar parts of town — downtown, USC, the bridge, and more — and it was such a beautiful and clear day that I got to really take in all of the sights (and smells!) of Los Angeles.

522378_10152210670280504_1614987173_n

I’m never sure why but he journey back to the start/finish line always seem much, much faster than the journey away from it! The next few miles passed like a breeze and before I knew it, I had my finisher’s medal around my neck!

Z-1

Along the way, what kept pushing me was the thought of running the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in Arizona in just a few short months. I still have $800 to go for my Dress for Success fundraiser, and many, many more miles to put in.

I really want to get comfortable with distances beyond the 15 mile mark. Now that I had a comfortable 13.1 out of the way, I want to put in the time to get really comfortable between miles 15-25. I think that will definitely serve me when I aim for a 50K next year. (To put it in perspective, a 50K is 31.07 miles.)

Screen-shot-2012-11-05-at-9.14.10-PM

My next race is the Rock ‘n Roll Half in Las Vegas. Can’t wait to run that course again! To reward my awesome happy-go-lucky finish at this race, I splurged on the Rock ‘n Roll Tour Pass so that I could tackle more races for less money in 2013. You’ve been warned!

Running Zen + Running Inspired

Can every weekend be this fun? I got two new books on running that I’m trying to read simultaneously. (It’s really hard to pick just one. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of four books right now…)

The title of the first book caught my eye immediately. Make peace with my pace?! Yeah, I definitely need that. Reading through the book gives you a rather detailed insight to Zen Buddhism as well as to applying zen to your training and running. So far it has been helpful in reminding me why running is such an integral part of my life now. I need to prioritize it because it doesn’t take nearly as much as it gives. It makes me a better person.

Zen and the Art of Running

Then, when the book got a bit too relaxing for me, I decided to browse a few other books. I’ve had 26.2 on my list for almost two years now so I decided to treat myself. Dean always does a great job at motivating me to get out there. This time was no different! After about 30 pages in I was ready to call it a night and hit the road the next morning, bright and early. As usual his personality really does shine through. What’s interesting is that he actually dictates the book into his phone or recorder while he is running across the country. I’ll have to try that sometime! (It’s probably also a really good pacing method.)

Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

So I woke up many times through the night…my cats were hosting their very own 10K apparently around my apartment. So in between the thuds and the hisses and yowling I tossed and turned until I finally woke up for the fourth time and decided that it was time to get out there. And then this happened:

Felix Baumgartner Getting Ready
Felix Baumgartner Standing on the Edge
Felix Baumgartner Jumping Into The Stratosphere
Felix Baumgartner Free Falling

I sat in on a live broadcast of Felix Baumgartner smashing world records. This guy has some serious guts! I watched his balloon carry him all the way up into the stratosphere, and watched has he was troubleshooting his visor…and then was glued to the computer when he prepared for his jump. The second he leapt into the free fall I could just feel the entire world gasp. I stayed glued to my computer until I saw this.

Felix Baumgartner Travels At the Speed of Sound Back to Earth

Victory was clearly his. And, riding on the coattails of his victory, I headed out the door a bit inspired by this man’s actions as well as my weekend readings. I cleared my iPod of most upbeat, peppy music and loaded some meditative tracks — Skye, Robert Miles, Muse, and the like. I ran at a speed that was comfortable and I focused on what was ahead. I packed my phone into my Camelbak so that my hands and attention would be free of distractions.

As I carried on, I could see the clouds moving in and out of the Seattle skyline pretty quickly. I’ve gotten used to staring at the clouds but today they seemed to have been moving quicker than usual. The sky was completely grayed over. I made my way through Eastlake into downtown, and proceeded down my usual route into Pike Place Market. I passed the original Starbucks and saw the cool performers out front. This part of my run was the most crowded with tourists and shoppers…next time I’ll have to avoid this on my route. I took note of a wine tasting room as well as an olive oil tasting boutique nearby.

I kept running along the waterfront until I hit the Olympic Sculpture Garden. I took the trail by the water and as I kept going into Queen Anne, it started getting a bit windy and drizzly. I was prepared with a running hat, a long sleeved shirt underneath a waterproof windbreaker, and waterproof shoes. As I made my way up the foot bridge over Elliot, I landed in Queen Anne and kept running. I saw some familiar landmarks: Easy Street Records, the Seattle Repertory Theater, and the Seattle Center.

From Seattle to West Seattle at the Olympic Sculpture Park

I ran past the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. I could see the Amazon buildings in the distance along Denny and Westlake and ran around South Lake Union a bit. I checked my RunKeeper and saw that I still had a few miles to go to make my distance goal for the day, so I planned on running back home and past it to the University Bridge and back. Along the way, it started drizzling more (not quite raining, but still drippy nonetheless). I couldn’t help but become enchanted by the rain dripping off of my hat brim.

From Eastlake to Downtown to Pike Place Market to Belltown to the Olympic Sculpture Park to Queen Anne to the Seattle Center through South Lake Union to University Bridge and Back to Eastlake…phew!

It was an awesome first wet run of the season. I can remember the run but I can’t remember agonizing over anything. I just remember feeling so calm and at peace.

I can’t wait to continue ramping up the miles. I really want to be super prepared for my marathon in late January. I don’t want to slack during my high mileage training. That’s usually my biggest downfall. If I can keep running fun routes around town and explore my new city, there’s no reason why my 13-20 milers have to be boring or monotonous.

Now if I can keep staying zen and inspired about the whole thing!