Thursday, December 31, 2015

All aboard the clean eating train!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  Hope you all have some fun plans to celebrate this evening.  I'm being a homebody and having a quiet celebration at home with my boyfriend since I'll be running my first race of 2016 in the morning.  Can't wait to break in my new Altra Torin 2.0's!

Truthfully, I wanted to drop a little post about my dinner last night because 1) I hate cooking and hardly ever do it and 2) It was delicious and I didn't burn the food (or my apartment) down!  I decided instead of waiting for January 1st to start my clean eating journey, I wanted to start this week and ease into it.  I've cooked every day this week but until last night every dish was something that I've made before.  You guys, I detest cooking.  I get so anxious and stressed out when I try to cook something new especially when I'm cooking for someone else.  Cooking scares me but I've decided to embrace my fears for the new year so I went for it.

The recipe I chose to attempt to cook is the chicken parmesan quinoa bake by Fit Foodie Finds.  There weren't too many ingredients and looked relatively easy to make.  Unfortunately, I didn't plan very well so I ended up shopping for most of the ingredients after my run (including the casserole dish because I didn't have one) and by the time I got home I was pressed for time to get dinner together.  For those that don't know, I hate being pressed for time and as it got later and later the more anxious and stressed out I became.  And the more anxious and stressed out I became, the more mistakes I made.  The kicker was when I couldn't open the marinara jar to save my life.  I may or may not have texted my boyfriend and exclaimed that we weren't having this dish for dinner anymore because I was over it.  So dramatic!

Thankfully I have the most patient, understanding, calm boyfriend ever and he assured me that everything was going to be fine and the dish was still going to be delicious.  Turns out he was right!  After he so gallantly opened that dang marinara jar for me, I got all of the ingredients into the casserole dish and popped it in the oven.  While that cooked I whipped together a mixed super greens salad with red peppers, cucumbers, avocado and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and voila!  A yummy dinner for two.  My boyfriend said it was the best meal he's had in a while. And we had plenty leftover for our lunches.  Score!

Gotta work on my food pics.  I'm obviously not a food blogger.
 
There you go.  So far so good with my clean eating.  Starting January 1st I'll be ramping it up and joining some friends for the Whole30 Challenge. For real this time!  We'll see how that goes.  Wish me luck!

Food + Wine = Perfection

What are your New Year's resolutions?  Is anyone else planning on eating cleaner for the new year?  Do you have any easy healthy recipes that you can share with someone who is culinarily challenged like me?

Monday, December 28, 2015

I'm ready for you 2016!

Hello again!  I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season.  Can you believe 2015 is almost over?  I can't!  It certainly wasn't my year from a running perspective as I was plagued with illness, injury and full on burnout but nonetheless I had some amazing highlights such as finally rediscovering my running mojo at the Big Sur Half Marathon, having fun with running again and finding a love for the trails.  Oh yeah, and then there was this:

 SQUEEE!  I can't believe this happened!
 
Suffice it to say, I'm really looking forward to what 2016 has to offer and I have some big goals that I'll be targeting.  Here's what I'll be working towards in 2016:
 
  1. Stay healthy.  My ultimate goal for the new year is stay healthy and injury free.  I'll be focusing on eating clean and cross training to build strength, flexibility and mobility.
  2. Run consistently.  Burnout was my reality this year and I had no desire to really run at all, sometimes going weeks without getting in even a mile.  This coming year I want to focus on running consistently at a minimum of 3 times a week, regardless of mileage or time.
  3. Marathon PR!  I really wanted this to happen this year but it wasn't meant to be.  Next year, I'll be coming out of the gate hungry and ready to make this a reality.
 
As far as races go, here's what my tentative race schedule is looking like for 2016:
 
Rio Grill Resolution Run, Carmel, CA -  01/01/16
Razorback 50k, San Martin, CA - 03/05/16
Hellyer Half Marathon, San Jose, CA - 03/20/16
American River 50, Auburn, CA - 04/02/16
Salinas Valley Half Marathon, Soledad, CA - 08/06/16
Two Cities Marathon, Clovis, CA - 11/06/16
Big Sur Half Marathon, Monterey, CA - 11/13/16
North Face Endurance Challenge SF - Marathon, Date TBD
 
That's my 2016 in a nutshell.  If you're planning on being at any of the races I've listed, please let me know.  I'd love to see you!
 
Hope you have a great New Year and I'll see you in 2016!
 
What are your goals for 2016?  Do you have any fun plans for New Year's Eve?
 
 
 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

So What Had Happened Was....

So...I can't run.  I was in denial for a long time but I've finally have to come to terms with the fact that I'm currently on the injured list.  My right achilles is being a punk and unfortunately it's really impeding my ability to do much more than walk right now.  I've never had an achilles issue before so this has thrown me for a bit of a loop. 

I know you're probably wondering what this means for my grand plans for a massive PR at my fall marathon.  Whelp, that's not happening.  After much deliberation (and quite a few tears) I've decided to pull myself from the REVEL Canyon City Marathon this year.  I am beyond bummed as I was looking forward to seeing and running with some of my favorite running friends from other parts of the country but it's the right thing to do.  The last thing I want to do is push through the race and end up causing a worse injury that'll require a much longer recovery time.  I have to keep my long term goal of a lifetime of running in mind!

No worries though!  I still have plans to wog (that's jog/walk in non-running terms) the Big Sur Half Marathon which happens to fall on the same weekend and is a local race so I can literally run (or walk) out of my front door to the start line.  I still get to experience the race atmosphere but from the comfort of my own home and without the added travel expenses.  I consider it a pretty good alternative considering the circumstances.

At the end of the day, I know I'll be back out there pounding the pavement sooner versus later.  This is just a little detour in my running journey.  I'll be back to running happy and stronger and faster than ever.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

I just got through week #1 of the new training plan with Fit Sparrow Training and I can't believe I'm gonna say this but I'm loving it!  Jackie has put together a plan for me that not only takes into account my current running level but also my likes/dislikes and what I'm hoping to accomplish.  Each run has been different with a specific purpose and have all been challenging in very different ways.  By far the hardest one so far was Friday's speed work run which was 3x1 mile repeats with a 1 mile warm-up and cool down with 400 meter rest periods between repeats.  You guys, it was sooo hard!  I haven't done mile repeats in almost two years and I've never done more than two in a row so I seriously thought I was going to hurl.  Thankfully I didn't and I had the biggest adrenalin rush when I finished the workout.  Talk about runner's high!

Post-speed work legs

As much as my runs have been going well lately, surprisingly another aspect of my running has been deteriorating.  I've always considered myself very lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends who encourage and motivate me and cheer me on along the way.  For whatever reason that hasn't been the case this training cycle.  People who I thought cared about me and understood my running have suddenly been a lot more aloof or critical of the decisions I've made this time around and the steps that I've taken to try to achieve a marathon PR.  I've had criticisms about how often I'm running, how far I'm running, where I'm running, how I'm cross training, how often I'm cross training...and the list goes on.  I was shocked, and honestly hurt, that instead of supporting me and encouraging me these people who I cared for were tearing me down.  In their defense, I know they are well intentioned and they honestly want to help me achieve my goal in their own way.  But that doesn't make it hurt or bother me any less.

The reason this is hitting me harder than it probably should is that I've always struggled with the "I'm not good enough" syndrome.  I grew up in a traditional asian environment where being the best was encouraged, if not expected.  For someone who is naturally shy and introverted that made for an atmosphere that fostered a lot of insecurities.  I was never outgoing enough, athletic enough or pretty enough.  The only saving grace for me, in my perception, was the fact that I was smart and successful academically.  That was the only arena in which I received any type of praise.  Now that I've become "the runner" in the family, I've found myself repeating some of the same thought processes and actions that I did when I was younger and comparing myself to others who are seemingly faster, better runners.  It's so silly!

Social media certainly doesn't help the situation.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, Vine, etc. all show the very best of everyone's daily lives.  Mentally I know that what I see is the highlight of everyone's days and oftentimes it's very much staged to maximize the visual impact.  I get it.  But emotionally I can't help but look at all of the beautiful pictures or posts about amazing achievements and internally compare how my life doesn't measure up.  How I don't measure up.


I'm thankful that I'm self-aware enough to know when my thoughts start becoming negative and belittling.  I catch myself doing self harm in the form of comparing my perceived inadequacies to others supposed superiority.  I'm consciously working on rewriting my internal dialogue and changing my story.  I admit it's a struggle.  It's infinitely easier for me to cheer on and encourage others and see the amazing qualities that they have than it is to see it in myself.  It's mentally and emotionally exhausting, not to mention damaging.  I'm a work in progress.

I debated sharing this.  I didn't want this to feel like a ploy for pity.  The last thing I want is people to feel sorry for me.  I ultimately chose to share my story because I know I'm not the only person who goes through this.  I know others struggle with not only the comparison monster but also unsupportive, sabotaging people in their lives.  I wanted people to know that they're not alone.  Above all else, I wanted to make sure people had a chance to know about the real me and my real life, including my daily struggles, and not just my highlight reel.  This is me, imperfections and all, working on becoming a better version of myself.

Do you struggle with the comparison monster?  Have you ever had anyone in your life who criticized you or made you feel as if your effort/accomplishments wasn't good enough?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

FOMO

FOMO - Fear of Missing Out.  According to Wikipedia FOMO is a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.  This social angst is characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing".  In my world, this means I don't want to miss out on any of the running fun which explains why I signed up for a minimum of one race each month for the past two years (with as many as a race every weekend during some months including bicoastal travel).



I loved every single race that I ran and I am so grateful for the memories that I have and the new friends that I've made.  But if I'm going to be completely honest, I was majorly burnt out in every possible way by the time December rolled around.  Not to mention my bank account took a major hit with all of the traveling to and from the east coast and all over California!  Last year was the epitome of burnout and it was so hard for me to rediscover my running motivation and mojo.

I've been pretty good this year about not getting suckered into registering for more races just because all of my running friends are doing it.  However, now that the fall racing season is rolling around I'm starting to get the race itch again.  I am trying oh so hard to stick to the races that I already currently have on my calendar but man do I feel a pang of jealousy every time I see someone post about a race they just signed up for or a runcation that they're traveling for.

As much as I want to run all the races and join all the training runs that my friends are running, I am trying really hard to focus on my end goal which is to PR at Revel Canyon City Marathon.  I want that PR so bad I can taste it!  So much so that I'm doing things a bit differently this time:

1) I'm actually training!  Shocker right?  In all of the years that I've been running I have never, ever properly trained for a race.  I've kinda sorta followed the training plans that were given to me but I was never consistent.  I'd miss a run or two a week and/or run less mileage than I was scheduled to.  Granted, I only have about 8 weeks for really focused marathon training this training cycle but it's definitely a lot more than I've ever done in the past.

2) I'm working with a coach!  Yes, T is my "unofficial" coach but I needed a professional to break down the training cycle and provide a plan which included cross training days and runs by mileage, type and pace.  I've teamed up with Jackie from Fit Sparrow Coaching for the next eight weeks to hopefully get my body into PR shape.  Boy does she have her work cut out for her!  Hopefully I won't disappoint her.  Added bonus that she's running REVEL Canyon City too so I get to collapse crying into her arms whether or not I get that PR.  I'm sure she'll be thrilled to read that sentence.  HA!

2014 CIM Expo.  That's Jackie to my left.  She's awesome.

3) Speed work.  I absolutely hate speed work.  I mean really hate it.  Fortunately, Jackie listened to my gripes about running around in circles on a track and has formulated most of my speed work so that I can do the workouts while on an actual run. Win-win in my book!

4) I'm working on my nutrition for a change.  Typically I fall into the "I'm marathon training and I ran a bajillion miles so Im gonna eat what I want when I want" trap every training cycle and am completely unapologetic about it.  This time around I want to give myself every advantage to ensure this race goes well so I've been eating fairly clean and minimizing the junk.  So far so good for the most part with the exception of the uncontrollable need for a soda post-long run.  Ultras have ruined me in that regard!

So there you have it!  I'm still battling with FOMO but I'm determined to keep my eye on the prize.  This past Sunday started my first week of coached training so we'll see how it goes.  I promise to keep y'all updated!

Have you ever worked with a coach?  How did it work out for you?  Anyone else running Revel Canyon City?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

To Run or Not To Run

How is it already the end of August?  How did that happen?  Didn't this year just start? 

I thought I'd pop in and give a quick update to assure everyone that I'm still alive.  I'm currently knee deep in marathon training and so far so good.  Last week brought some cooler temps (although the high humidity has still been sticking around) and man what a difference that made with my training runs!  I was so happy and my legs just wanted to go!

This past weekend I got in back-to-back double digit miles just to see how my legs would hold up.  On Saturday I ran 4 miles with Thepinkhatrunner and Therealdealrunner before we joined The Treadmill's 6 mile Palo Corona Fun Run.  Oh man, that mountain kicks my butt every. single. time.  But I'm happy to report that I ran the furthest up that dang thing than I ever had this weekend before having to take a walk break.  And I got in 10 miles with considerably happy legs.  Progress...finally!

On Sunday I tackled 12 miles on some new to me trails on the Laguna Seca side of the Fort Ord trails. At 1:30 PM in the afternoon.  Yeah...not such a smart idea.  I was originally supposed to hit the trails with T first thing in the morning but thanks to a headache and some nausea our run got postponed to the hottest part of the day.  So fun! But not really.

We ran an out and back with the first 3+ miles being fast downhill before we hit some rolling hills and some challenging climbs.  You guys, I thought I was going to die!  Heat is just not this girl's friend and throw in some tummy trouble that popped up around mile 4 and I was one not so happy runner.  I have to give T major props for not trying to kill me or ditch me on the side of the trails 'cuz I'm pretty sure I wasn't an entire joy to deal with.  The man has the patience of a saint I tell ya!  Oh BTW did you know that anything that goes down you inevitably have to run back up on the return trip?  Insert a very cranky little runner here.  But I got it done and T got me a soda at the closest 7-Eleven as soon as we were finished and I was back to my usual happy self as soon as I took a sip of that cold, carbonated deliciousness!  Sidenote: Does anyone else crave soda after a long run? Ever since my first ultra when I had soda on the course I must have soda after a long run now.  Which is really interesting since I don't usually want soda at all normally.
 
That's "Coach" T.  Isn't he handsome?  I kinda dig him.
 
That brings me to this week where I'm supposed to be tapering for the Toro Park 30k this coming Saturday.  Supposed to be.  Here's the thing: I'm not ready.  I didn't run enough on those trails (and trust me those climbs are killer).  I didn't put in enough mileage.  I just didn't put in enough work.  And I respect that course and the distance way too much to just show up on race day and expect to pull an awesome race out of nowhere.  So here's my dilemma: To run it or not to run it?  I have a really hard time not even trying to run a race that I paid good money to run but it's also not my goal race and I really, REALLY want that PR in November.  Is it worth the risk to attempt to race or would I be better off focusing on getting in a good run that's tailored towards that marathon PR?
 
I'm not sure of the answer yet but I promise to let you all know once I figure it out.
 
Did you ever DNS a race?  Did you regret it or were you glad you opted not to?  Please share your experience.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Don't Call It A Setback!

The 2015 Salinas Valley Half Marathon was a disaster of a race for me and I definitely took a hit to my running confidence because of it.  I was beyond disappointed and more than a little pissed with my performance.  But you know what, bad races and bad runs happen.  It's what you do about it that defines you and boy did that race light a fire under me!  I jumped right back into marathon training and started hitting it hard and fast.

It's been a whirling dervish of cross training (barre and TRX) and running.  The weather has made it harder than usual (anyone else over the heat & humidity or is it just me?) but I haven't given myself any opportunity to skip out or ease up.  It helps that my special someone (let's call him T) has unofficially appointed himself as my training coach and he's been holding me accountable for every single run and workout.  Seriously, I get a reminder every morning and a follow-up text or call in the evening to check on how I did!

Here's a rundown on last week's activities:

Monday:
Cross training day!  I hit up barre class after work and got my behind handed to me as usual.  Loved it!

Barre so hard!
 
Tuesday:
I was scheduled for a 3 mile run and I got a little carried away.  I got my 3 miles in at o'dark thirty with Thepinkhatrunner and therealdealrunner and directly after that joined them in the pool for about 45 minutes of pool running.  After work, I was feeling so good that I meandered over to the barre studio for another killer barre session.
 
Wednesday:
5 miles of running was what was scheduled and thanks to the heat and humidity, that's all I got in.  It was a bit of a struggle and more than once I wanted to quit but I gritted my teeth and got it done!
 
Thursday:
I was scheduled for 3 miles but thanks to cooler temps and overcast, cloudy skies I felt sooo much better during this run than I did the day before and I ended up running 6 miles including some hill repeats.  Oops!  Then I scooted over to the barre studio for an awesome TRX class.  I was on fire! 
 
Hill repeats, beach running and an ocean view.
 
TRX training
 
Friday:
Rest day

Saturday:
This was my scheduled long run day so I joined Thepinkhatrunner and Therealdealrunner for a run at Toro Park.  We have a race at Toro Park at the end of the month so we decided to run part of the race course so that we'd be familiar with what to expect on race day.  There was tons of climbing (I made it to the top of Black Mountain for the first time and didn't die!), climbing over and under barbed wire, and even scooting down steep trails on our bottoms.  It was quite an adventure and we ended up with 12+ miles in the books.

I survived!

Sunday:
T needed to get some miles in for his ultramarathon training so I joined him for a short, easy recovery run.  It was nice to not have to push as hard while getting to explore some new to me trails.  Afterwards, I returned the favor by dragging him with me to his very first TRX class.  He's such a good sport and he did great! 

Recovery trail running

I'm also proud to report that my nutrition has also been on point.  T and I made a pact to clean up our diet so we've been limiting our dining out as well as cooking more.  We've been so good at sticking to eating clean!  We're also challenging ourselves by doing the Whole30 challenge in September.  I'm scared!  However, in all honesty it's been really nice to have someone in my life who not only understands, encourages and supports me but is right there in the trenches with me.
 
So there you have it!  I'm back, I'm focused and I'm determined to not only reach but exceed my expectations for my goal marathon.  I will get that PR and most importantly prove to myself that I can do it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

2015 Salinas Valley Half Marathon - Race Recap

I pride myself on being 100% real and candid with what I share.  It's easy to share the PRs, the good runs, the goals that are met and exceeded, and the days when running feels effortless.  But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't come clean with all of the runs that I struggle through and the races that don't go as planned.  The 2015 Salinas Valley Half Marathon was one of those races for me.

It started with my 4:00 AM wake-up call.  I woke-up with a headache thanks to allergies and 4 hours of sleep.  Not a good sign.  Thankfully I had the foresight to get all of my race gear ready the night before so all I had to do was throw my clothes on, grab my food & water bottle and head out to the race.  The Salinas Valley Half Marathon has an 8:00 AM start time but since I didn't pick up my bib at the race expo the day before, I was making the 1 hour drive earlier than usual to hit up the race day bib pick-up booth.  Of course, about 20 minutes into my drive I realized I forgot to bring body glide for my thighs (thigh rub is real people!).  Awesome...but not really.

The site of the start line

Thankfully, the parking situation at the race start line was extremely well organized and I got a parking spot really easily.  Bib pick-up was also extremely well organized and I got my bib in no time.  SVHM does an incredible job with their start line area.  They have a tent with coffee, water, bagels and fruit for all runners and more than ample porta potties for runners to use.  I spent my time chatting it up with everyone and before I knew it, it was time to line up for the race to start!

It was so awesome to see these two

After a few words from the race announcer (my all time favorite, Mr. Rudy Novotny) and the singing of the national anthem we were off!  Here's the deal...I do not like running in heat. Throw in humidity and I'm not a happy runner.  So when I was already warm standing at the start line before the race in my tank top and shorts I knew I was in for a rough run.  And just as I expected I started getting really warm within the first quarter mile of the race and I could not get my breathing under control.  For those who don't know, I have exercise induced asthma.  Typically, I take a couple preventative puffs from my inhaler before the race and I'm good to go but this time around the humidity was really restricting my ability to breathe (plus I forgot my inhaler at home.  Major fail!).

Then a little over a mile into the race my left shoelace comes undone.  I just stared at it in disbelief for a second because my laces have never come undone in a race before and maybe only once during a training run.  I may have outwardly cursed when I bent down to tie them.  That, coupled with the warm weather & humidity, started the end of my race.

I couldn't for the life of me get things under control after that.  It took what felt like a lot of effort to maintain an easy pace and I could not get my breathing right.  As I struggled more and more with every mile, the deeper down the dark spiral my mind went.  At around mile 7, my mind gave up and I walked...for two miles!  I couldn't even rally myself to take advantage of the sweet downhill a little before mile 8 all the way to mile 9.  I was mentally over it.

Yeah...the entire course was a beast

The rest of the race was basically me fighting with myself to continue moving.  At some point I got myself to run a little bit, only to have my mind bonk and start walking again.  Each time I gave in and walked, the worse my thought patterns got.  I did a lot of self harm in the form of beating myself up for my perceived lack of running ability.  I wasn't good enough.  I wasn't strong enough.  I wasn't fast enough.  I even considered pulling out of my next two races.

Eventually, I put my big girl panties on and at least ran the last mile into the finish.  I crossed the finish line but I was far from happy about it.  But here's the thing about runners...they're truly some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  They wouldn't let me wallow in my self pity.  Between the hugs and the congratulations on finishing and the commiserating on the rough race conditions this year, I started to feel better and within minutes I was back to my happy smiling self.

I'm not proud of my performance at this race.  Any other time I've had a bad race it's because of something physical that I had to overcome whether it be my asthma or cramping or tummy issues or my wonky ankle.  Today it was my mind and that's the part that disappoints me the most.  It was something I should have easily broke through and overcome.  But in the grand scheme of things, it's not the end of the world.  Bad races happen.  My job as a runner is to figure out WHY it happened, learn from it and come back stronger than ever.

As much as this race SUCKED (and oh man did it suck) there were a lot of lessons learned that I know will make my next one a million times better.

1) Respect the distance and come prepared.  You'd think I'd know this by now given how many races I've ran but I think that's exactly what did me in.  In my mind I'm an old pro at this race thing and I didn't give the distance the respect it deserves.  I didn't do the proper speed training, I didn't put in the proper mileage and most importantly I didn't do the mental preparation that I should have done to get into race mode.  I set myself up for failure because I didn't show up to that start line at 100%.

2) SLEEP.  This is my nemesis.  I have horrible insomnia and when I'm stressed it becomes even worse.  Throw in allergies or an asthma attack and forget about it!  I really need to figure out a way to shut my mind down early enough to ensure I get enough sleep before a race.

3) Nutrition.  Again, I should know better but I wasn't as meticulous about my diet this week as I usually am during the week of a race.  Basically I didn't consume enough calories which, coupled with my lack of sleep, left my body completely depleted and with no energy to help me run strong.

4) Get that mental game right!  Here is where I struggle the most.  When I'm on, I'm on and nothing can throw me off my game.  But once I get even slightly off track mentally and into that dark space, it's all downhill from there.  I know why my mental game wasn't as strong as it normally is and that's mostly because of the amount of stress I'm under at the moment.  Unfortunately, I can't control a lot of it but believe you me I'll be working on those things that I can control.

I'm not gonna lie.  My confidence took a huge beating.  It's going to take some work to build it back up to where it should be but I can guarantee you that I'll be back out there pounding the pavement and hitting those trails sooner versus later.  My ego may be a bruised but I'm not beaten.  At the end of the day, no matter how ugly it got I still finished.  I got it done.  And that's all that matters.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UPDATE: What Just Happened?

Hi! It's me.  I know you've probably forgotten all about me since my posts have been few and far between this year.  The truth is I haven't really had much to blog about. 

Professionally, I've been crazy busy diving into my new job and learning as much as I can.  Like any job it has it's ups and downs but for the most part I'm really, really enjoying it (the fact that I like my co-workers is definitely a huge plus).  Personally, I've been making a point to spend more time with family and friends that doesn't necessarily involve running.  I don't want to regret not seeing or talking to a loved one because I was "too busy".  I've also met a new special someone whose company I've been enjoying over the last several months.  It's been fun getting to know each other and doing things that we both enjoy.  Major bonus that he's also a runner (and a fast one at that)!

To be honest, it's been really nice to focus on other aspects of my life other than running.  Not that I've cut running out completely but it's been nice to rediscover my love of the sport without the pressure of training for multiple consecutive races.  Running is fun again!

I knew I would want to get some races in before 2015 ended so I had quite a few races lined up for Fall/Winter.  Most of my races were "fun" races with a goal marathon planned in November at the Two Cities Marathon.  I knew I wanted my focus to be on PR'ing the marathon distance but for whatever reason I haven't been feeling it.  Every time I thought about Two Cities I didn't get excited about it.  It almost felt like a chore instead of something that I wanted to work towards.

And then something happened.  While I was talking to our company's tax broker yesterday our business conversation somehow segued into running and races.  She mentioned that she had signed up for this really fast race in November that's supposed to be ideal for PR's.  The more she talked about it, the more intrigued I became.  Soon I was looking up the race website and googling race recaps and talking to fellow runners about their experiences.  My dilemma was that I was already registered for two other races around the same timeframe.  I didn't know what to do!  I deliberated about it and had conversations with my BRFs (best running friends) and my special someone about what I should do.  The next thing I knew I had my credit card out and I was typing away on the registration page.  So now this is happening:



The Revel Canyon City Marathon is a fast downhill course that "takes runners from the forests and canyons of the Angeles National Forest to the foothills of Azusa".  Everyone I've talked to says it combines the feel of a road race with the spectacular beauty of a trail race.  Win-win in my book!  I'm really scared of all that downhill (the first 13 miles are straight downhill before you hit rolling hills for the second half) but I'm excited about taking on the challenge.  I have butterflies in my tummy and it's been a long, long time since I've had that feeling.

So here's what my race calendar for the second half of 2015 looks like:

Salinas Valley Half Marathon         August 1
Run-de-Vous 50k                           August 15
Toro Trail Run 30k                        August 29
Two Cities Marathon                     November 1
Revel Canyon City Marathon         November 7
Big Sur Half Marathon                   November 8
Beat the Blerch Half Marathon      November 14
Honolulu Marathon                        December 15

Let the training begin!

Have you ever hit a slump with your training/racing?  Is anyone else going to be running any of the races I'm running?

Monday, June 1, 2015

What Is Racing Again?

Hello everyone!  Remember me?  I know it's been a while.  This year has flown by!  I can't believe it's June already!  I've been super busy with all things work and personal so I've really taken this "no training" thing seriously.  Maybe too seriously.

Despite the fact that I haven't been training for any races in the last few months, I have been keeping my fitness on point for the most part.  Here's what I've been up to in the form of pictures ('cuz those are always more fun than reading a bunch of stuff): 

Still running!
 
R.I.P.P.E.D.
 
Barre

TRX
 
Stair repeats
 
I've had a blast trying new workouts, focusing on my crosstraining and just running because I want to. So much so that I forgot that I have some races coming up in August (a half marathon and an ultra).  Oops!  Guess I better jump back on that race training real quick and in a hurry!
 
Have you ever taken some time off from racing?  What did you do to keep your fitness level up?


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It's February! - January Rundown

Happy February everyone!  Is it just me or did January seem like it lasted 10 minutes?  The month just flew by!

For those who are interested here's quick rundown of my progress in January:

The good

1) Miles Ran: 85 miles.  I had high hopes of at least breaking 100 miles this month but got derailed a little with work.  It's ok though!  The miles that I did run were quality miles and I'm already showing improvement in both speed and endurance.

2) Cross training like a beast!  I have been uber consistent with getting my cross training in so far.  Every week I get in some combination of R.I.P.P.E.D., barre and TRX.  I am loving it!  I love how much stronger I'm getting and seeing how much I've progressed in just one month.

3) I am sooo happy to be able to say that I've been sticking to clean eating thus far and I haven't killed anyone!  Meal prep has been pretty consistent and even my cheat meals have stayed relatively clean.  Yay me!

The bad

1) Sleep is still as struggle for me.  On a good night I get in 6 hours of sleep (usually closer to 4-5 hours).  I really need to figure out how to consistently get 8 hours of sleep in.  My body really needs the rest!

2) Water.  I'm still not drinking enough water.  I'm better than I was but I'm not drinking nearly as much as I should given my activity level.

3) Rest.  Although I'm better at this than I've been (like ever), I'm still struggling with wanting to get in all the runs and all the workouts.  I technically have two fully dedicated rest days on my training calendar however the reality is that I usually take only one.  Obviously one full rest day isn't really cutting it considering how much I put my body through.  I don't want to end up injuring myself so I need to get better at sticking to my rest days.

Annnd...that's it!  That's how 2015 has been shaping up for me so far.  I'm determined to make February even better!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm On A Roll!

Heeey everyone!  I've been rocking and rolling over here with the runs and workouts.  I've been hitting the gym and the barre studio regularly and consistently getting my weekly runs in.  I've even been on point with my nutrition and diet which is huge for me.  My body's definitely getting stronger and my runs are getting longer.  I've even been able to sustain a faster pace too! Woohoo!

And just because I don't want to bore you with fifty billion words, here's my last week or so in pictures:

Rocking some crazy Mufasa hair post-barre
 
TRX shenanigans
 
Sweaty hot mess after R.I.P.P.E.D.
 
How can you not love running with this view?

For those who've asked, here are my two goal races for the year:

2015 Salinas Valley Half Marathon - August 1st
2015 Two Cities Marathon - November 1st

I do have a contingency plan since I want that marathon PR so bad I can taste it.  If for whatever reason I don't PR at Two Cities I'll be signing up for the California International Marathon again.  I will get that PR one way or another!

And speaking of being on a roll, I got jolted awake yesterday morning by an earthquake around 5:20ish.  Of course I promptly turned over and fell back asleep. HA!  Gotta love living in Cali!

How are you doing with your 2015 goals?  What are you working towards this year?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Redefining My 2015 Goals

At the end of last year in the midst of my big running funk I started signing up for a bunch of races in hopes that by the time the new year rolled around I'd be all gung ho about running again.  Thankfully, I didn't go as crazy with the race registrations as I normally do!  Now that I'm about midway through January I can already tell that my focus is shifting from what I originally thought and I'm re-evaluating what it is I want to achieve this year.


Here's a quick recap of what my 2015 goals were:

1) Rediscover my running motivation and pure love of the run.

2) Redefine my lifestyle.

3) Run fast. Run far. But run FAST.  Race goals are:

  • Half Marathon PR - the ever elusive sub-2:00
  • Marathon PR - A Goal: 4:15:xx, B Goal: 4:25:xx, C Goal: 4:28:xx
  • 50 mile PR - Anything faster than 12 hours

I am killing it with my first two goals and I'm thrilled about that.  My nutrition has improved tremendously and I can really feel the difference in my energy and how my body feels.  My cross training has also been on point and I can feel my body getting stronger every day.  I've also found that running motivation that eluded me towards the end of last year and I'm loving every single run.  Goal number three, however, is a bit more of a struggle for me.

My original 2015 race goals had me focusing on speed across all distances and in retrospect that was a really tough expectation to set for myself.  I'm not naturally speedy and I tend to be lazy about speedwork which obviously does not lend itself to cranking out PR's.  My current workout/run schedule is beating up my body (in a good way!) but I don't want to push it too hard and risk injury. And to be honest, I really don't feel any desire to run all distances this year.

After much contemplation and some serious internal debate I've decided to cut out ultras this year.  I really, REALLY wanna hit the half and full marathon time goals that I've set for myself and that means not running every single race.  I have to focus on what I know in my heart is best for me so unfortunately I'm not going to be racing the American River 50 this year.  I'm a little disappointed as I was really hoping to see so many of my favorite ultra runners however I need to do what's best for me.

Now that I've figured out what I'll be focusing on, my eye is on the prize.  I am going to work my butt off and do everything that I can to reach the goals that I've set for myself.  I'm determined to make it happen!  And even if I don't, I know that I'll be proud of the fact that I gave it my all.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekly Update and New Adventures

I survived my third week of clean eating and my second week of my new workout regiment without killing anyone! Yay me!  I'm actually having a lot of fun and it's been encouraging to already see changes.  I've got a ton more energy and I'm leaning out while getting stronger, more flexible and building lean muscle.  I'm loving it!  Here's what I was up to since the last update:

Tuesday

Ahhh R.I.P.P.E.D.  This has become my go to crosstraining workout and still kicks my behind every single time.  I was so wiped out that all I had energy for was a picture of my shoes and weights as I sat sweating on the floor.  Sexy right?!

This is all I could muster up the energy for
 
Wednesday
 
R.I.P.P.E.D. killed me but despite the fact that my legs were obviously heavy, fatigued and sore I still met up with some friends after work to get in a 6 mile run.  This run was a struggle but thanks to my friend Ben and his fifty foot legs (no lie, this guy is 6'4" and his legs are taller than I am!) I got in some decently speedy miles.
 
Goofballs. I love them!
 
Thursday
 
R.I.P.P.E.D. again! At this point my legs hated me but I still pushed as hard as I could through the workout although I did modify with some lighter weights.  My instructor, Marivel, is 5 months pregnant and she still whooped all of our behinds! 
 
I needed a breather before I tried to stand up

Isn't my R.I.P.P.E.D. instructor adorable?  She is a badass beast!
 

Friday
 
Rest day!  I had a hot date with my foam roller, R8 roller and TriggerPoint therapy massage ball.  It hurt sooo bad but my muscles thanked me for it afterwards.
 
Saturday
 
10.5 mile run through Carmel and up Palo Corona.  This view never gets old.  Never.
 
Trails and gorgeous views make me a happy girl
 
Afterwards me and my friends celebrated by grabbing brunch at a local restaurant where I rewarded my belly with a clean meal of seared ahi, mashed cauliflower, avocado and sautéed mushrooms.  It was delicious!
 
 
 
Sunday
 
For whatever reason I thought taking a barre class the day after a long run would be a good idea.  My legs did not agree with me.  I was shaking the entire time and oh-my-GAWD it hurt so bad!  But it was a good hurt so I'm ok with it.  I do have to take a serious look at my calendar and see when to squeeze barre in.  Once my mileage starts creeping up into the 16+ miles range there's no way my legs will be able to survive an entire barre class the day after a long run.
 
 


How was your week?  How are your fitness and diet goals coming along?



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bring It On 2015

Hellooo 2015!  I'm off to a helluva start.  I'm on my third week of my new clean eating diet (which really isn't a diet at all but more just making sure I'm eating whole, clean foods and cutting out all the processed junk) and I'm feeling great!  I've also been keeping up with my new fitness and running goals and I'm really excited to incorporate new things as the year progresses.

Here's what I've been up to lately:

Thursday

Happy New Year!  I decided to start the new year off on the right foot and participated in our local Rio Grill Resolution Run 10k.  It was so cold that morning but there were a ton of people out which made for a really fun time.  About halfway through the race we were running near the coast and looked over to see dozens of dolphins playing and surfing alongside the surfers.  It was so cool!  I didn't know they actually got that close to the shore.  I enjoyed the sight so much that I actually stopped to take pictures and video.  Yes, I'm that girl!

The pace was slower than I'm used to but I got to spend time catching up with some of my favorite Team In Training teammates so that was a definite plus.  Besides, it wasn't about the time anyway but about spending time with each other.

These girls made the race so fun

Friday
Rest day
 
Saturday

7 mile run on Aguajito with my friend Linda.  It was chilly but no where near as cold as it was on New Year's Day.  The miles flew by and we chatted and caught up on what was going on in each other's lives.

Striking a pose at the summit of the last major hill

Sunday

I promised myself that 2015 was going to be the year of trying new things and conquering my fears.  Barre is something that I had always wanted to try but never got around to checking out.  Somehow I convinced Linda that it was a good idea to join me for a class at a local Barre studio but after we were done I wasn't so sure she'd ever go with me to anything else ever again! 

Barre is a full body workout that incorporates ballet, pilates and traditional exercises.  It's comprised of a lot of small movements and pulses with the option to add light hand weights.  We also used resistance bands and a little unweighted ball.  Holy cow was it hard!  My whole body shook and my muscles burned during the entire class.  I was cursing the puny 2 lb weights that I was using!  Let me tell you though, I was sore as heck the next day so I know I got a great workout in.  I'll definitely be incorporating this into my cross training repertoire.

I'm pretty sure Linda wanted to strangle me

Monday

I met up with my friends Ben and Eric after work for a 6 mile run.  My body was definitely sore and heavy thanks to the barre class I took on Sunday so I was a little apprehensive about how the run was going to go.  The first mile was rough but as my muscles loosened up it ended up being a pretty decent run.  My lungs were taking a bit of a beating thanks to the humidity but I was still able to get some faster miles in.  It felt good to crank that pace down towards the 8:xx's again.  I'm more determined than ever to get my speed back (and get even faster)!
 
 
I have a few more runs and workouts scheduled for the week and I've signed up to try my very first TRX class.  Bring it on, 2015! I'm ready for ya!

What are your favorite clean eating recipes?  What techniques do you use to ensure you stick to your eating plan?