GETTING BACK INTO IT

Man, you guys. I always have such a tough time with this part of the year. Even though I’m really excited to see what 2017 has in store for me (running and otherwise), I’m suffering from the post-holiday blues—bad. Getting back into office-mode is quite rough after having 2 weeks off.

Thankfully though I didn’t have much trouble getting my butt out of bed early yesterday morning. Maybe because Riley (our 80 lb. lug/dog) was taking up roughly 2/3 of our king sized bed. I think if I had waited another half hour I would’ve ended up on the floor anyway.

So thanks to Riley, I was up and out the door by 7am and was pleasantly surprised by my run. Despite the frigid temperatures (16 degrees, real feel of 10) and the dead race legs from Sunday’s 5k, I felt pretty good! Took it nice and slow and bundled up big time to stay warm.

Check out my neat new hat from Sunday’s race. I wish more races gave out hats instead of shirts.

 

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Averaged 8:41s for just over 5 miles. Perfect for a little post-race recovery run. Then, once I got inside I took a scalding hot shower and made myself a single pancake.

Hungry Runner Girl turned me onto Kodiak mixes, and these little single serving blueberry cups are the absolute best thing. I love how they make the whole house smell like blueberries. The only downside is they’re insanely expensive.

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They’re not the prettiest once they’re “cooked,” but all you have to do is add water, stir, and microwave for one minute. They also have enough protein to keep me satiated for 4ish or so hours. Big win for a breakfast food.

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By the time I hit the road for work it was snowing pretty hard in Boulder. While the commute from Denver to Boulder typically isn’t too bad, it can be pretty rough in traffic/bad weather (luckily we had a bit of both yesterday). So even though I left 15 minutes earlier than normal, I still ended up being a little late. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my workday.

But! I had this beauty to look forward to for dinner. I thank my lucky stars every day that S is a good cook. These meatballs were seriously mind blowing.

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Then we just cozied down, watched Civil War on Netflix, and I read this book before bed. I really like it so far, but man, it makes me wish I would’ve gotten into running earlier in life. I can’t believe collegiate athletes run 80-100 miles per week. It makes me feel equal parts exhausted and jealous.

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And that’s all for today. Fingers crossed the meteorologists are wrong about Denver’s 6-12 inches of snow over the next couple of days. Otherwise, I might be signing up for a gym tomorrow (I’m sure I’ll be the ONLY person there).

 

 

 

 

I’M BACK (ONE YEAR LATER)

Hey, remember me? It’s ok if you don’t. I just disappeared for nearly a year, without a single peep. Sorry about that. I actually have no excuse whatsoever. I just got busy, then lazy, then I fell out of love with running (more on that later). But now I’m back on the train(ing), and I just felt like talking to/at you guys.

So what’s happened since last February (aside from nearly every single super famous person dying)? Well, the biggest news I have is that we’ve relocated. Back in June, S and I packed up our bags and our lives and moved to Denver. It had actually been in the works for a while, but things really just fell together for us last spring and we ended up out here rather quickly.

It’s honestly been amazing. Since arriving out here we’ve spent a ton of time outdoors, I’m seeing my parents more than I ever have since high school, and overall things are going really well. The only thing that’s been tough? Running.

Altitude is a thing, you guys. And it’s been kicking our asses. Pair that with a disappointing performance at Boston 2016 and the heat of summer, and my motivation hit rock bottom. It was the first time in years that I willingly took a long hiatus from running. I signed up for races and skipped them (a nasty, expensive habit to get into—wouldn’t recommend it). I ran when I felt like it and I didn’t worry about pace or distance. I got into barre for a while, we did a ton of hiking, camping, and dabbled in trail running. And while my mind 100% needed that break, my body is paying for it now.

Since November, S and I have ran 3 races and oh my, have they been tough. First was a 4 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Honestly, I went in with ZERO expectations for pace. After taking so much time off from seriously” running and having never raced at altitude before, I had no idea what to expect. And while my time wasn’t awful (30:48)…it definitely wasn’t great. I ran 4 miles at a slower pace than I ran a half marathon back in May. And I wanted to die. Here is a picture of us post-race and I believe my exact words were “Oh my God, that was so freaking hard.”

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A few short weeks later, we ran the Fa La La 10k and that was definitely worse. BUT it was my first 10k ever so it was an automatic PR me (49:50). Yay. And for reference, my pace for that one was only a few seconds faster than my marathon back in 2015. HUMBLING. I will say though that I was the 5th female overall, so that was neat.

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And lastly, today’s run—the Resolute Runner 5k. Now, I’ll admit, I felt a lot better going into this run than I had the other two. Over the last few weeks I’ve finally been sticking to a regular running schedule and I’ve been watching my paces improve. So while it was still a FAR CRY from what I was running just 6 or so months ago, I was actually pretty happy with today’s race. I PR’ed for starters (22:43), I came in the 5th female overall again, and I was FIRST in my age group, all of which I’m overly proud of.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that this was the first race EVER, where I puked at the finish line. Go, me!

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So that’s where I’m at now. But, despite being wildly out of shape (for me), I signed up for the Eugene Marathon in May. So I hope you’ll stick around to hear more about that and help keep me accountable.  I pinky promise that I won’t ghost on you again.

Happy New Year, guys. It feels good to be back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A VERY BUSY WEEK AND PR #3

So, first I have a bunch of random stuff for you. It was a very busy week! So let’s start with Monday. I got my race pictures back from Run To Remember LA. This is far from the most flattering picture of me (or the man next me), but here’s how I looked right before crossing the finish line. LET IT BE KNOWN that I caught up to that man and we crossed at EXACTLY the same time.

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Then on Tuesday a bunch of us girls went to see John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s “Oh Hello” comedy show. My face hurt from laughing so hard.

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On Wednesday and Thursday Boston surprised us with GLORIOUS spring weather. A shorts run in February! I will take it. Riley is also thrilled about the weather, as you can tell.

We also celebrated S’ birthday once more on Thursday night with some friends and we went to a super small and popular Italian restaurant down the street from us. The two hour wait was definitely worth it. I got four meals out of this beauty!

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Then Friday winter returned and it looked like this outside:

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I’m not even complaining because it was gorgeous, especially when the sun came out to set.

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Then on Saturday I ran 16 miles with the TEAM. It was pretty icy to begin with, but by the time we were finishing up the sun was out in full force and it turned to slush. Overall it wasn’t too shabby. Then when we finally got home, I settled into a nap for several hours and then C came over and Riley got really into our group photoshoot.

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Then Sunday morning came and I was utterly exhausted from the week. My legs felt like they were packed full of sand (I ran 16 miles the day before for crying out loud!) and I had a terrible headache from not hydrating basically at all throughout the week. But I had a 5 miler to race, so S drove me over to Cambridge and we brought the pup to spectate. From mile 1 I thought I was going to die. I ran a 7:07 that first mile and I truly thought that was it for me. I made a promise to myself that I was just going to try to hold onto that pace for as long as I could. My following miles were 7:05, 7:03, 7:14 (oopsies, but to be fair there was a sizable hill in this mile), and 6:50 and that led to me PR by almost a full minute! As I’m typing this I still cannot believe it.

You know how after a hard race sometimes you forget how hard it was like a day or two later and you think to yourself “that was actually pretty good”? That was not the case here. I felt terrible and even now, two days later, I still know that I felt terrible. But it’s absolutely crazy what your body can accomplish even when your mind begins to turn against you. Every single mile was a struggle for me but I just tried to separate my mind from my body and keep my legs moving forward and my arms pumping. I told myself pretty much every step of the way, “just power through this mile and you can take the next one slower.” It’s a fun little mind trick I like to play on myself for shorter races and so far it’s been successful. I’ve never ACTUALLY taken the next mile slower.

After committing to lie down and die around 700 times, I finally crossed the finish line in 35:18. Over a full minute better than the personal record I set on January 1st. And two days later I’m still shocked as hell about it. I have no idea how I powered through to do it, but I do know that this race will stay with me for a long time. And I will absolutely be using it as motivation to push through the harder parts of the Boston Marathon in a few months, where I will undoubtedly want to lie down and die 17000 times in the course of 26.2 miles.

What do you use to push through your harder races? Do you have a mantra? Can I steal it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BECOMING A MORNING RUNNER

Since I got injured back last summer, I’ve made a lot of little tweaks in my running regimen. I’ve tried different shoes, different kinds of workouts, I’ve been mixing up my cross training, and I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of different fueling methods. But perhaps the biggest change I’ve made in the last few months is what time of day I squeeze my run in. I used to be an evening runner, without question. The only time I ever ran in the morning would be my long runs on Saturdays. Maybe once a month or so I’d find the motivation and energy to get up and run before work, but it was a rarity. Now, it’s my norm.

So what spurred the change? I’m ashamed to say it was largely FOMO (fear of missing out). I missed way too many impromptu hang out sessions with my friends so I could get a run in in the evenings. So that’s what got me started. But as I made the change I realized there are a bunch of other perks to running in the morning. Here are a few of my top ones:

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1) It really does wake you up. Yes, it is incredibly painful to get out of bed at 5:30am when the world is dark and still asleep, but it only hurts for those first 15 minutes. Once you’re out the door, the pain starts to dissipate and by the time you get back you’re more than ready to take the day on.

2) It not only wakes you up, but it makes you feel 100x more motivated for the rest of the day. You’ve already accomplished this huge thing before you’ve even showered! The rest of the day will be easy peasy. The sense of achievement a morning run can give you is through the roof.

3) If you live in a city, there is significantly less traffic out at 5:30am than 5:30pm. That means less stopping at lights, less likely to get clipped by a reckless driver (a real concern in Massachusetts), and an all around better run.

4) Cake and cheese! Seriously. My office seems to throw a party for every and any reason and there’s a surprisingly amount of cake and cheese floating around the office on any given afternoon. I used to pass on such treats because I was concerned about how my stomach would revolt on my run, but now that I run in the morning, I eat all the afternoon cake I want!

5) Eating dinner before 8pm. Seriously, this used to be a huge problem for me. I’d run after work, commute home, shower, start cooking, and S and I wouldn’t sit down to dinner until 8 or 8:30. And by the time that happened I was so hangry that I was intolerable to be around. It completely ruined my evenings and I didn’t even realize it until I changed it.

6) Showering only once a day. It’s that time of year for most of us when our skin starts to get really dry. Keeping the long hot showers to a minimum (which for me, is once a day) will keep us from scratching our itchy skin right off.

So, now that you know the perks of morning running, (mostly you get all the chocolate milk and cake you want) here are some hacks to get you started:

  • Lay out your stuff the night before. And not just your clothes. Everything. Down to your contacts and your bobby pins. That way you can walk around like a zombie and still manage to get your clothes on and out the door in as little time as possible.
  • Never hit snooze. Ever. Just get up the first time your alarm goes off. If you hit snooze once, you could slide down the slippery slope and never get up.
  • Keep it short at first. Start with 3 or 4 miles, so you don’t have to get up that much earlier than normal. Then build your way up to 5 or 6. I still haven’t tried more than 6 on a workday, so we’ll see how that goes when the time comes.
  • Go to bed earlier. But you’re a night owl! I get it, you can’t go to bed before 1am. That’s fine, so stay up that late and then wake up at 5:30 anyway. You’re going to be really tired all day, so tired in fact, that you’ll probably go to bed earlier the next night. And the next. And the next. Your body will adapt, humans are funny that way.

 

I fully recognize that morning running isn’t for everyone. And for every perk I have for running in the morning, I’m sure there’s another one you can argue for running in the evening. It is completely a matter of preference. BUT if you want to change your running schedule, know that it’s totally possible, even if it’s not totally easy.

Admittedly, it took me months to adapt. And even when my routine was established, my body resisted for a little while longer. My paces weren’t quite as good in the morning as they were in the evening until literally a week or two ago. And full disclosure: I still don’t attempt to do my speed work in the morning. That will likely remain an evening activity for quite a while longer. But for those easy runs when you just need to get the miles in, I recommend giving the morning a try. Then you can treat yourself to cake later in the day!

 

 

 

 

 

2ND PR OF 2016

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So, perhaps the title of this post gave away my big reveal, BUT I PR’ed in the half marathon this weekend! While this is normally a cause for celebration for me (and anyone else, duh), I can’t help but be a little disappointed in my performance. I didn’t reach my goal of breaking 1:40, which admittedly, has gotten me feeling pretty down in the dumps.

I know a PR is a PR, but I’m 100% certain that I could’ve run better than I did. I went in with a frustrated and disgruntled attitude, much of which was my own doing. I did not prepare for this race in a responsible way. I have a very long list of things I would do differently. Some of which include:

  1. I would not drink alcohol the night before the race, at all.
  2. I would’ve figured out breakfast the night before, because as it turns out, shockingly little is open in downtown LA at 5am.
  3. I would’ve given myself at least one more day to adjust to the time change.
  4. I would’ve checked a dang bag at the race start or I would’ve brought clothes to throw away before the race. I was absolutely freezing and spent a good hour of energy shivering before the race.
  5. I would’ve spent the hour before the race getting myself amped up instead of grumbling about everything that went wrong.

But aside from my own poor rookie mistakes, the race was great. The course was nice and open (unfortunately this meant flying and dying for me), and the water stops were well equipped. Some runners complained that there wasn’t quite enough Gatorade available, but since I’m not a big Gatorade drinker lately, this didn’t bother me.

The weather was also absolutely perfect. I didn’t even think about the weather conditions until someone asked me after the race how it was. There were a few times I dropped water over my head, but I never got uncomfortably warm or uncomfortably cold (once I started running—before the race I was certain I was going to come down with hypothermia).

There were a few hang ups with transportation—a lot of traffic, the shuttles got a little lost, etc, but otherwise I didn’t run into any glaring problems with the race.

Some other fun things from the weekend:

We stayed at the Biltmore in downtown LA which is a super famous hotel. Plus, it was kind of pretty.

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I had most of Saturday morning to myself while S worked and I waited for one of my friends to make her way to downtown. That’s when I stumbled across this delightful little crepe place. It was absolutely delicious, and I even made S go back there with me the morning before we left so I could get the Croque Madame for a second time.

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Later that day, I met up with my high school friend and her beau and they took me through Hollywood. I had never been so it was high on my to-do list this time. The highlight was without a doubt, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. THIS was the door to the bar, and inside it was all 70’s themed. Plus, the cocktails were delicious.

Overall it was a pretty good trip, with a PR, excellent food and good company. Plus, we missed the first “real” snowstorm of the season, so I can’t complain about that. Next race I’ll just work on preparing a little better 🙂

WINTER WEATHER HAS ARRIVED

And it’s really kind of horrible. Far too many of my runs this past week were done in less than ideal conditions. Here’s a glimpse of what my week looked like:

Monday: 6 morning miles, 8:33 pace

Tuesday: 4.62 miles, 9:07 pace

Hill Repeats (4) + warm up and cool down, on Heartbreak Hill, in a blizzard. Woof, this was a tough one. It definitely made me motivated to doing more hill work though. It was much harder than I ever anticipated, and the weather certainly didn’t help. While it was very pretty, the snow was falling so hard and fast that our tracks were covered between every repeat. S and I brought Riley and he seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit, which makes one of us. The rest of us were on struggle street the whole time.

Wednesday: Treadmill morning run, 5 miles at 8:42 pace

Thursday: Off. I really wasn’t feeling well. I had been battling a cold all week (I’m sure the hill repeats in the blizzard only helped me feel better…) and I just needed a break from everything.

Friday: 5 morning miles, 8:26 pace

Saturday: 13.14 miles, 7:51 pace

Another beautiful day. POURING rain to begin with, very chilly and rainy. By about mile 6 I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore and the rain hard turned into freezing rain, which then turned into snow shortly after that. It was really terrible, but it made me go extra fast. This run surprisingly felt great, aside from the bitter weather conditions.

Sunday: 6 miles, 8:19 pace

I’m pretty sure I was asleep for this entire run. S ran with me and we were both so exhausted we barely said 7 words to each other. I don’t think either of us would’ve done the run had we not had each other though.

Total: 39 miles

Now for some pictures:

Seriously, Tuesday was a blizzard.

I tried my new Nike Lunarglides this week and I absolutely love them. The toe box is way bigger than the 870v4s so they feel nice and roomy. They’re also about the same weight as my Pure Cadences (a little heavier) and have a pretty drastic heel to toe drop (10mm). And let’s face it, they look pretty cool.

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Before our long run on Saturday we had a yoga instructor take us through some poses. I (far left) think I look like a natural yogi. Or, as one of our TEAMmates pointed out, a sorority girl posing for a picture.

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After our long run on Saturday, S made the best damn scramble I’ve ever had. He will be held to this standard for every breakfast moving forward. It was incredible and the perfect meal to make up for such a hellishly cold run.

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And for dinner that night, the best fueling I could muster up.

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Lastly, these two favorites of mine.

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Happy Tuesday and hope everyone enjoys their SHORT WEEK. I’m headed to LA on Friday to run the Run To Remember Half Marathon on Sunday. Next post will probably be on Tuesday again, along with a race recap. Looking forward to some warmer weather and drier conditions.

 

 

NEW YEAR, ALL THE NEW SHOES

Here I am again! Second Monday in a row. I’m totally killin’ this New Years resolution 11 days in.

So last week was a pretty good running week for me, and once again my highest mileage since my injury. Plus, it was my first double-digit long run! Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 6 miles, 8:36 pace

Tuesday: Tempo Run! 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at 7:09 average pace, 1 mile cool down. Average pace: 7:41.

P.S. I was SUPER happy with this run, even though I raced at close to this pace less than a week ago. It just felt MUCH easier this time around. Let’s ignore the fact that it was on a treadmill versus the hills of Western Mass, I’m still very proud it and I’m taking it as a good sign for the rest of my training cycle.

Wednesday: Shake out run. REALLLLY felt that tempo run. My legs were crying to me all day long. 5 miles at 8:38 average pace.

Thursday: 7 miles at 8:26 pace. This was the first running during training where I did not look at my watch ONCE during the run. I was wearing a difficult shirt that was covering my watch so I didn’t really have the opportunity. I think it was very good for my soul to run by feel for once.

Friday: 3 miles, 8:17 pace

Saturday: 10 miles, 7:58 pace. I have no idea what was going on with this run, but I felt like a billion bucks. It was pouring rain, pretty chilly, and the TEAM ran the Newton Hills for the first time. I shouldn’t have felt as good as I did. I love when that happens.

Sunday: Rest

I didn’t cross train this week, which was a bad habit to break. Don’t follow my example. Cross training is important and I’m just dumb. I’ll try to do better this week.

In other news, it was a beautiful week for new shoes. This is what my cubicle looked like on Wednesday:

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I ordered the 870v4s (I trained exclusively in the v3s last year for my marathon and was obsessed) and I was pretty disappointed. New Balance changed the toe box so it rubs a little bit, and overall I just don’t feel like the v4s fit as well. I’ve given them three chances and I’m still pretty unhappy. Unfortunately, New Balance doesn’t have the same policy as Brooks (you can return any of your gear for up to 90 days no matter how much you’ve worn it). So I’m stuck with them and will try to incorporate them occasionally into my training.

I also got the 1500v1s for tempo runs and track workouts. I did a little trial run on Friday in them and I like them! Plus they look pretty badass if I do say so myself (they’re those blindingly orange shoes)

I’m also getting these beauties in the mail tomorrow. It’s my first attempt to run in Nikes, so fingers crossed.

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And if that goes well, I’ll be buying up all the colors because they’re pretty amazing.

 

And completely unrelated to running, I had a gift exchange with some friends this week and made out pretty well. LOOK AT THESE LESLIE KNOPE EARRINGS.

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Also, I’m pretty pleased at the resemblance between me and this fox.

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And finally I rounded out the week “baking” some Oreo balls and with a delicious swordfish dinner (brought to you by S…definitely not me).

Hope you all have a great week!