The Half Marathon That Wasn’t

Last week I was totally prepared to publish a post about my big running comeback, thrilled that I had successfully completed my fourth half-marathon after taking a five year running break. However, nature had other plans.

The night before the race, as my friends and I prepared for a huge pasta dinner in anticipation for running a couple hours in the morning, we received notification that the race was cancelled due to poor air quality from the California wildfires.

It was a crushing disappointment, but we quickly reframed that this was nothing compared to the loss of homes and lives for those directly affected by the fires. We commiserated over our small yet dispiriting let down over the pasta anyway, washed down by a satisfactory amount of wine, and assembled a plan B.

Plan B turned out to be a pretty good substitute: a 10 mile hike at Pinnacles National Park.

It was an absolute gorgeous hike and a beautiful day. I’m pretty sure we found the only spot in California with clear air!

And we went through caves. Like, dark, probably bat-infested, need-a-flashlight caves.

It was so cool. And after hiking almost 10 miles, my legs were shaking as if I ran a half marathon!

Sending lots of prayers and support to the folks affected by the fires and the brave firefighters and first responders working tirelessly to battle the flames and help those in need.

Go make it a great day!

Advertisements

A Tale of a Run

Good morning, friends!

I had a crazy long training run yesterday. Like, ridiculously long and I’m amazed that I can still stand this morning. You know those runs when you set out and are like, “oh, this’ll be fine. I’ll just blast through this and totally have time for my life at the end of it.” completely underestimating how long these miles will actually take? Yeah, it was one of those.

It’s been a goal since I moved to the East Bay to hike around Lake Chabot. The route is 9 miles, and I had always intended to make it a 3ish-hour hike. Once I started half marathon training, I realized that eventually I would be able to run it, and I was sort of excited about that. Because I get excited about weird things.

The opportunity presented itself this weekeend, when I was scheduled to do a long training run. I’m using the Aaptiv app (<– affiliate link!) for my training program, and according to the plan I was supposed to run around 10 miles in 100 minutes. Ha, that’s cute. But I figured I could do 7.5-8 miles in that amount of time. And I thought I could run around the lake until the run time was up, then just walk the rest of the way as a cool-down.

img_2019

It started out like that. But I had never been to the other side of the lake before. I headed out on the Eastside trail as I usually like to do, with no idea what I was in for.

Hills. I was in for hills.

img_2021

And it was a legit trail back there. At some point the paved path turns into dirt, and then it starts switchbacks up and down the ridge behind the lake. I was warned by my friend that there was a beast of a hill around Mile 4, but I was not anticipating all of the rough terrain and climbing. My calves started getting tight and cramping, despite all the water  I was throwing down from my Camelbak. After I passed Mile 4 I did a lot of walking up the hills and jogging back down for quite some time. After Mile 6.5 I was almost walking the entire way. My legs were just done.

img_2023

At some point I realized I was in the trail system, and I wasn’t sure which trail I was supposed to be on. That’s okay, I just need to make sure the lake is always to my left, and I should make it back to the Marina. And the views were getting more and more gorgeous as the sun burned through the clouds.

img_2029

Eventually I made it to a parking lot. And it wasn’t the parking lot I had parked in. In fact, I had no idea this lot existed, or exactly where I was. Crap, I took a wrong trail somewhere. I had been running Strava to track my mileage, and I looked on my map to see what was going on.

img_2030.png

Well double crap. I was supposed to pick up the end of the red line, and I was about a half mile off the trail that took me back to my car. At this point I realized that there was no way I was making it back home anytime soon. I had plans to head up to Healdsburg for some wine tasting, and I realized I was in no way going to be home in time for my friend to pick me up. So I texted my apologies and strategized a new plan for getting a ride as I hiked back to the main trail.

By the time I was done, I had completed 9.6 miles, averaging a 14 min/mile pace. Good lord, I felt so slow. But most of it was because I was walking up every stupid hill for five miles. At least I got some good hill training in?

I finally made it back to my car, my 100-minute run now transformed to nearly 2 1/2 hours of slogging through trails, and I was ridiculously late in meeting up my friend. I blasted back home, boiled some eggs as I took the fasted shower ever followed by a quick cold bath to cool down my legs, slammed the eggs down as I put myself together in some cute “wine tasting tourist” attire, and skipped off to BART to meet up my friend.

Happy ending time, we got our wine.

img_2037

I would love to hike the lake loop again some day when I have the time and not under the marathon training pressure, but I think for my next (and last!) long run I’ll find a different course so I can try to run the distance instead of having to pepper so many walk breaks in. I’m still not exactly sure where my endurance is for 13 whole miles yet, and race day is looming ever closer. But at this point, the only way out is through! I’ll just show up, run as much as my stumpy little legs can, and see what happens.

Go make it a great day!

Survival Mode Thursdays

Good morning, friends! And it actually is morning over here, haha! I heard my alarm this morning (yay!), and not ten seconds after I sat down to write Buttercup zombied into the kitchen demanding to know why I wasn’t in bed – she had gotten up to come in my room and snuggle with me, and I had already retreated to the kitchen to do my hour of “me-time”. So now she’s snuggled in front of “umizoomi” and I’m snuggled with my coffee. Cheers!

The other day I talked about how I’m approaching the first “5 to Thrive” habit of waking up early and having an hour of time to myself every day (well, most days, haha!), so today we move on to the next habit, exercise at least 30 Minutes every day.

I know what you’re probably thinking. I sort of thought it too – “Uggh. Like, every day every day?”

I’m a pretty active person, but even I don’t think I’ve ever actually consistently exercised daily before. Life just happens. But progress over perfection, we’ll give this a go.

Since I have the Big Sur Half coming up, pretty much any spare time for exercising needs to be running or recovering from running. So I’m putting CrossFit on hold until after November 11th so I can maximize my mileage. I know that some strength training will improve my running, but we’re a bit too close to race day for any real gains so I’m just going to focus on mileage with the goal that I don’t die.

runselfie2018-10-10
(this is me not dying after a weekday run)

But running every day? That is a bit much for my legs to take right now. I just finally finished my Couch-to-5k in August after taking nearly a five-year hiatus from running and I know I don’t have the strength or stamina to take a road beating every day. Right now I’ve worked myself up to 1 long run and 2-3 short runs per week, and that’s after months of working out maybe 1-2 days a week, maybe.

The first few mornings I didn’t run, I ended up starting the Commit30 monthly challenge (yeah, I know, another challenge!) to do 30 air squats, 30 push-ups, and 30 sit-ups every morning for 30 days. I would do it in my living room, then do some stretching/core work/foam rolling. Just 30 minutes, and done!

But I didn’t keep it up every morning. For example, Thursdays are the worst for any activity that isn’t 100% vital. Those are the days I am crunched with both single-parenting and work, and I can barely get my kids and myself fed, schooled, homeworked, and to bed on time let alone squeeze in 30 minutes for myself. For a while that was the sticking point in my week – how do I get everything done on Thursdays? Then it hit me … I don’t! That’s my one day to not do all the things. So I make sure that I crush it the other 6 days a week, and keep Thursdays as strictly “survival mode.” If I can squeeze in a quick walk over my lunch break, then it is a more fabulous day than I had planned.

Progress over perfection, my friends. If I can go from working out for 1-2 days a week to a consistent 6 days a week over the last 90 days of the year, this is going to be such a huge win for me.

Any tips for squeezing in activity into a richly scheduled day? I’m always on the lookout for fun new organization techniques!

Go make it a great day!

 

 

So Done: Rewriting Unhelpful Patterns

So, I treadmilled last night.

img_1497

I didn’t really want to. I mean, who wants to run on a treadmill when there’s the whole outside to run in? But I really, really felt like moving my body in some way, and I had Buttercup with me so running outside wasn’t an option. I also didn’t really want to pay the $5 for childcare at the gym, and it was getting late in the evening and I knew we wouldn’t make it to CrossFit in time. So, I put on my run gear, handed Buttercup her tablet to keep her occupied, and did my run on the treadmill in the apartment gym. We got it done, and treated ourselves to sushi afterwords.

Honestly, I was sort of surprised at myself. Who is this woman?!? Normally I would look at the clock and say, “Whelp, I guess a workout isn’t happening tonight!” and go watch Netflix. But I’m sort of tired of being that person. To be clear, there’s certainly nothing wrong with foregoing a workout for downtime, and I do enjoy those nights where I spontaneously clear my calendar and turn my to-do list over so I can veg out and stop thinking about responsible things for awhile. But I found that “Ignore All the Things” has been becoming less about de-stressing and more about an unhealthy coping mechanism for me. And I don’t like it.

So I’ve been noticing all the reasons that inspire me to let my healthy habits slide – a late night, a grumpy mood, an unexpected engagement that throws my schedule off – and how I choose to respond to those stimuli. And so much of it is about just not being prepared. So I’m slowly figuring out what systems no longer serve me, and rewriting them. I mean, this is what I do for a living, guys – process engineering. And yesterday, the first thought system to be rewritten is “It’s too hard to work out when I have the kids home.” Because I totally figured out how to get a decent run in, spend time with my kiddo, and still have a great evening together.

What patterns in your behavior are you so done with? Any thought systems or other systems in your life you want to set out to rewrite?

Go make it a great day, friends!

Catch-up and a Baking Fail

I’ve been blogging a day behind, and my OCD is starting to get on my nerves about this. Let’s see if I can catch it up.

Thursday morning started off with a 5 mi. interval run.

Pre-game: one egg.

20130912-054626.jpg

By the way, I can’t believe I never thought of microwaving eggs sooner. We’ve lived without a microwave for two years before moving here, and I completely forgot it’s an option. Now I’m nuking everything out of novelty and sheer convenience. Plus, they come out of the bowl in a convenient round shape, perfect for fitting on the plate.

Anyway, my intervals were:

  • 1 mile slow (pace ~ 12:00/mi)
  • [1 mile fast, 2 min slow] x 3 (pace ~ 10:30/mi)
  • 1 mile slow (pace ~ 12:00/mi)

Done-zo.

IMG_4192[1]

 

Duke was happy I was back. “IT’S WALK TIME!!”

IMG_4195[1]

 

He never sits correctly.

I had a lot of fun with the WIAW post, so I tracked most of my eats again. Breakfast was bacon ‘n ‘eggs with some leftover sweet tater fries from Wednesday night.

IMG_4196[1]

 

After doing the work thing all morning I came home and threw together a quickie lunch for the Squish and me: sausage and an heirloom tomato caprese salad, minus the basil. I don’t have any fresh basil (sad panda).

IMG_4197[1]

 

I might stop eating sausage just because there’s no way to make it look good in a photo.

The afternoon I was yawning in my meetings, and decided to use my Starbucks treat reward on a pumpkin spice latte.

IMG_4198[1]

Fall is here, y’all! Sorry about the dirty street, I was going for “gritty urban” but didn’t look closely enough and instead I ended up with “who puked here?”

The PSL didn’t do enough, so I had a couple of these too.

IMG_4199[1]

And a few unpictured squares of dark chocolate. My biggest takeaway from my London 2011 trip was ALWAYS have afternoon tea. 🙂

After all my post-lunch snacking, I really wasn’t feeling hungry for dinner. So Squish and I ran a few errands, and I decided to whip up a treat for when Hulk gets home today. I was feeling bread-snacky, so I tried out Carrots ‘n’ Cake’s Chocolate Pumpkin Bread (maybe with a glass or two of unpictured wine). At first it came out heavenly,

IMG_4200[1]

 

So I gave myself a sample slice for breakfast this morning with my eggs, sliced heirloom tomato, and olives.

IMG_4208[1]

 

See? Working on the “pretty” factor.

And coffee.

IMG_4207[1]

 

But on further inspection of the pumpkin bread, I found it was wayyy undercooked. Baking #fail.

IMG_4203[1]

 

Oh well, it’s like chocolate pumpkin lava  cake bread. Still delicious.

Duke was disappointed there was no bacon.

IMG_4206[1]

 

“Seriously, why do I even get out of bed? You’re a terrible human.”

Had an awesome arms/core session in the gym this morning. Due to my back injury and Hulk’s suggestion, I’m holding off on leg/lower body training while I’m running. That’s right, I listened to Hulk. I’ll wait here while you let that sink in. Done? Cool. So, I am doing light stuff with my legs but I’m not trying to push the weights like I was before. However it was my first time in the gym this week, so I felt like touching on a bit of everything:

  • Light warm-up: joint mobility, arm circles, etc.
  • 3 rounds of 10 reps:
    • Shoulder press, 20 lbs
    • Squats, 45 lbs
    • Deadlift, 45 lbs
  • “Regular” sets of 3×10:
    • Bench press, 30 lbs
    • Rows, 30 lbs
    • Lat pulls, 30 lbs
    • Dips, bodyweight
  • Another 3 rounds of 10 reps each:
    • Chest flys, 12.5 lbs
    • Shoulder flys, 12.5 lbs
    • Tricep kickbacks, 12.5 lbs
  • Everybody’s favorite, 1 min plank hold

Time to shower my stinky self, get the Squish going for the day, and go earn my bacon. I’m so, so happy it’s Friday! We have a super-fun weekend planned, I’m so excited! Squeeeee!