Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Year of Running (and Triathlon)

Miss Zippy has a linkup going on right now asking, "How was your year of running?" I have seen a few responses from other bloggers, and I kind of love this idea, so I decided to join in.

Best race experience?
Hands down, for me this year it was running Hood to Coast. Running my first relay and making new friends from all across the country was an incredible experience. Nuun Hydration really brought together some amazing individuals, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Best run?
I truely had an amazing year with big PRs at every race distance -- taking 8 minutes off my half marathon PR, and 17 off my full marathon PR. I also took 8 minutes off my sprint triathlon time and raced my first olympic distance triathlon, so it makes this very hard to choose. However, I think my best run this year is tied between the Oakland half marathon and my august sprint distance triathlon. The Oakland half was just a great race environment with a huge amount of crowd support, and fun at the finish with friends. The sprint triathlon was great because I think I worked hard to push myself. I didn't slow down and felt fierce! (Which I think is always great on a race day.)

Best new piece of gear?
So, my husband actually purchased this for himself, but I may be "borrowing" it for him often -- best piece of gear this year would have to go to the SPIbelt. I feel behind the times on this purchase. I don't usually run with a water bottle or other belt because I always thought I would hate the bouncing of it. But seriously, the SPIbelt holds my phone and whatever else I may need and I totally forget it's even there! I'd highly recommend it.

Best piece of running advice you received?
I feel like I have had a lot of advice around believing in myself, and confidence this year. I am working on the mental aspects of training and seeing the fun in it. Sometimes this is an area that is easy to forget about, but it is incredibly important!

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
So many fellow bloggers have been inspirational to me this year that this is hard to choose. This year I have been much more immersed into the blogging world and have "met" many amazing people! I hope 2014 will continue to connect me with more wonderful people. You can check out some of a list of blogs I follow here, to find some of these inspirational runners and triathletes.

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be?
Strong. Confident. Happy.

How was your year? What was your best run or race of 2013?

Monday, December 16, 2013


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I did officially pass my PhD defense this week! Very exciting!  Things went mostly smoothly during my presentation (with only a brief computer automatic restart shaking things up in the first few minutes). And I handed in all my final paperwork on Friday morning. It is so strange to be finished with my degree. But, I'm also excited to see wherever life will take me next.

This weekend we had some friends in town visiting, so it has been nice to relax and enjoy some quality time with friends. Plus, soon we'll be traveling home for the holidays too!

Of course, I couldn't miss my weekend run, so I made sure to get up on Saturday morning for a long run (seriously, I think long run Saturday is one of my favorite things ever). My knee has been bothering me a bit this week, so I was taking things easy. So while Ryan went out for a 19-miler, I aimed for something shorter, and then walked for a few miles. I ended up doing some running on trails rather than just the pavement, which was awesome! Total, I ran 9.5 miles, then walked almost 3.25. It made for a solid morning -- plus, how can you not enjoy a beautiful sunrise like this?!

So, how was your weekend? 

By the way, to celebrate the holidays, if you need to stock up on Nuun (a great stocking stuffer!!), you can get the friends and family discount for 20% off one order using the code HOLIDAY13 now through Dec 31!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Tomorrow is a day that I have been working toward for many years. Tomorrow I will be defending my doctoral dissertation work. The last few months have been extra focused and I have been working extra hard to finish all the final details.

 {there's always beauty in nature}

In a way, this is kind of like the many months of dedicated training, then finally arriving at race day. You know you've put in the time and effort. You've been spent the hours on the track or on the bike. Race day is the day to show how far you've come.

 {getting out for a chilly AM run on Sunday -- workouts are saving my sanity}

Tomorrow will be my race day. Today I'm relaxing -- the hay is in the barn, so to speak. I'll be staying busy by going to the gym, baking some cookies, and hopefully getting to bed early. Tomorrow, I cross the finish line. I will be showing the world all that I know in my area, showing all the hard work I completed. Here goes nothin'.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Exercise Lately and Next Goals

I love having goals! And not just for exercise, for everyday life too. They help keep me on track and have a plan for each day, week, month, and year. Goals prevent me from being stagnant.

Now that I'm basically fully recovered from the marathon, I have been trying to get back into a regular workout routine. I don't have a goal race set up yet for the spring, so my goals right now are going to be more about getting in a rhythm and preparing for next year.

1. Work on upper body strength -- I missed working on pushups and pullups over the last few months during marathon training, so I want some of that strength back! Last week I did my first upper body workout in a few months. I knew I'd be sore from it so I tried to keep the weights lighter. Even with keeping it easier, I was sore after for days!!

2. Get some variety -- I like mixing things up. So for now, I hope to do a lot of different activities every week. So far this is going well -- I have done some running, spinning, walks, and strength. I want to also do some yoga and swimming.

3. Start planning spring races -- I only have one thing officially scheduled so far for 2014 (Ragnar FL Keys!), so I want to start figuring out what else I'll be doing!

Do you enjoy goal setting? What are your goals for this week? Mine are to have fun on my 10k turkey trot on Thursday morning, finish writing my dissertation (yikes!), and decorate for Christmas on Friday! OK, and eat lots of pie too. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rest and Recovery

Thank you all for your congratulations on my big marathon PR! It was exciting to cross another marathon finish line, and I know I will do it again someday in the future.

The past week has been filled with rest and recovery. We spent the week in the Outer Banks after the race. I wanted to share a little and show you some photos of the beauty of the ocean and the shore.

Monday, we checked out some of the sights like the largest sand dune at Jockey Ridge State Park while hobbling around on sore legs. We also played some mini golf, and made bets to run into the ocean. In the end we almost all went in -- even those who won the bets!

The middle of the week was quiet lounging around the house due to some cold and windy weather. But the end of the week and over the weekend, we went on some long walks, went fishing, lounged on the beach, played some card games, and ate a lot.

It was so nice to have vacation time after race day!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Outer Banks Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday, I officially finished my second marathon at the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina!

Race morning was great. We got dropped off at the start about 50 minutes early. With less than 1200 marathon finishers, the start area was small, and easy. We got in the bathroom line right away, and only waited a few minutes afterward before getting into the corrals. It just seemed like a nice hometown race.

I was nervous I was going to be cold for the first few miles, but I actually warmed up pretty quickly. The first few miles of the race were on a heavily tree lined street. Many of the local families were out cheering us on. I loved it. You know how sometimes people talk about getting emotional at the end of the race? Yeah -- I got emotional at mile 3 when there was perfect temperatures, sun streaming through the trees, and a guy had some great music playing on the side of the road. It was amazing.

I felt awesome for the first 9 miles. Running felt easy. I was flying. I decided not stress about looking at my watch, and just go by feel. I made a quick pit stop around mile 6. We went through a split timer at the 10k mark. Based on my watch, my pace for the first 10k was about an 8:50/mi average. Looking back, this is a little faster than I probably should have started....but like I said, I was feeling so good! I loved this first part of the race. there were so many people out cheering...especially around the Wright Brothers Memorial.

{running around the memorial}

Around mile 10, we headed onto the trails (like I mentioned in my re-race post). The first 2 miles of this were on hard packed dirt with rocks. I was nervous about rolling my ankle. The terrain was also rolling hills. My pace slowed, but I kind of expected that to happen during this portion. I tried to keep up my pace as much as possible though.

At about mile 12, we transitioned to single track trail. The ground was softer in this area, with some of it being a bit sandy. I had never really run much trail before. I loved how quiet it made everyone's footsteps. Even though it was difficult, I still kind of loved it. I think I might have to try doing more trail running! (Side note, I read a few recaps before the race that said there was a non-official aid station here that handed out amazing banana bread. I had to get some. It was true. So delicious!)

Finally, right at the half way mark, we were out of the trail. As soon as I was back on the road, I realized how much trying to keep up my pace in the woods had tired me out. I crossed the half way point at 1:58. I was able to pick my pace back up to right around a 9 min/mile for a few more miles, but then things started to break down.

Around mile 16, my stomach was starting to feel off. I was feeling hungry, but the bloks I was eating were not sitting well, making me feel nauseated. At mile 18, I felt a little dizzy, and knew I needed some more calories. I forced myself to eat some more, and that helped. I think the other thing that started to affect me during this time was the heat. The day was actually a great temperature, but the second half the course provided no shade at all. On a day with full sun and 18 miles into the race, I was getting pretty hot!

I started taking some walk breaks at mile 18, but I was able to keep my pace up to 10 min/mile for a couple miles. I tried to keep the walking to a minimum. I started taking extra water at the aid stations to dump over my head.

At mile 21, the course turned into a 20 mph headwind. At this point most of my remaining energy really started to get sapped. I again stopped looking at my watch, knowing my initial goals were out of reach. My new goals were 1) enjoy the rest of the race as much as I could, and 2) to finish ahead of my time from my previous marathon. There was a bridge to go up for about half a mile from 22.5-23. I just kept plugging along with a mostly run, some walk ratio. I honestly don't remember too much about this part of the race...I just tried to keep putting up as much effort as I could and keep my heart in it.

{love the run...even when its difficult. Great idea, Coeur!}

Just before mile 25 I took my last walk break. When I started walking, another runner came up behind me and convinced me to start running with her. We only chatted for a few minutes before she needed to take another break, but she helped get me motivated to keep going to the finish line. I was able to keep running until finally crossing the line with an official time of 4:14:46.

As you can see, this race didn't quite go as planned for me, particularly in the second half -- not sure if it was that I didn't eat enough, that I started too fast, or just that it wasn't my day. However, I'm still so proud of my accomplishment of finishing those 26.2 miles. Plus, I had a huge improvement over my first marathon with a 17 minute PR! Just like I said when I finished my first marathon, I am so proud and excited to have finished a marathon -- something I definitely never thought I would be capable of doing. Any day that I can finish a marathon is amazing.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Final Countdown

Now that I have that song stuck in your head....enjoy the rest of my post!

I know my posting has been light the last few weeks. I am nearing the end of my PhD, and most of my time and energy has been focused on working. In the meant time, I have been tapering for the Outer Banks Marathon, which is now only 3 days away!!

If you read the November issue of Runner's World, you have probably seen a little taste of this marathon in this article. It made me so excited to see this race featured!

The course is a mostly flat point to point race. Just before the halfway point, there are a few miles on a packed dirt trail, but otherwise the remainder is on the roads. On my training runs, I tried to run a few miles on the packed dirt off to the side of the path I run on as some practice. The only major incline is a large bridge at mile 22-23. It is 82 feet tall, and a 4% incline over 650 feet-- yikes! But at least it shouldn't last too long, and the final few miles will be downhill and flat into the finish.

{photo from obx marathon website}

Right now I'm feeling both nervous and excited. I always get a little nervous before a race, especially after putting so much time and energy into training. Like I mentioned in my last post, even though my training didn't quite go exactly as I planned, I'm just going to go out there and give it my all (by the way, thanks for all your positive energy!). I am so much stronger than I was before last year's marathon, and I think that should translate to a better race. Horray for progress!

I have never been to the OBX, so I am pretty excited to hang out at the beach -- I think we will be trying to catch some blue crabs one day. So excited!

I don't think I'll get another chance to post before race day, so see you on the flip side!!

You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more updates!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ups and downs of the past two weeks

I started to write this post about how my training has been very up and down the last two weeks. And, while it kind of has, starting to write it out made me realize that right now I think things are going alright, and I'm feeling excited about my marathon in less than two weeks. 

After my confidence boosting 20-miler a couple weeks ago, I ran a strong progression run and short marathon pace run before running the Nike Women's half

Following Nike, my lower leg (which I have been dealing with since rolling my ankle nearly two months ago) was really bothering me for a couple days. I was feeling defeated since I had felt great during the half and the week before. Looking back, I think it was mostly some delayed soreness from running the hills. I haven't done any major hill training lately, so I'm sure my legs weren't used to it. 

After taking a few days off running to cross train, I felt good for an easy 6 last Thursday, and a strong marathon pace 15 miler on Saturday morning. 

What makes me more excited is that the past two days I have been feeling great. My soreness isn't excessive, and I am solidly into my taper now. 

So while the last couple weeks didn't quite go as planned (or the last couple months for that matter), I have been hanging on and getting in some solid long runs. After thinking about it, I realized that even though I missed a few run days and some quality speed sessions, I didn't have to just sit and do nothing. I've enjoyed doing cross training with spin and yoga. I'm coming out of this fairly healthy and ready to run the marathon I've been training for so long! I guess sometimes when you're in the midst of it, the frustration can bring you down mentally. Smart training and listening to my body have helped me get through it.

Now that you know how things have been going I'm going to just forget about those frustrating days and focus on the strong long runs I have had. My right leg is still not 100%, but in the next 11 days, I will be stretching, and rolling as much as I can. I am ready.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Nike Women's half marathon in San Francisco. This was my second year running it. You can see my recap from last year's race here.

This year, I decided not to really race was going to be more about having fun and enjoying a big race with lots of women! Plus, Leslie and Kara were also going to be running, so I thought it would be fun to catch up with them.

I didn't attend the expo, since I picked up my packet in Sacramento the previous week.

From last year, I knew that the streets before the race were going to be packed with people!! 30,000 runners is a lot! If you are in the faster pace corrals, they seem to be a little less least comparing the back of the 8-8:59 pace to the 9-9:59 pace...but maybe the others are too if you are toward the back. I met up with Kara and Leslie about 45 minutes before race start. Bag check and bathrooms were easy to get through and pretty well organized. I didn't check anything, but the other girls did.

{Thanks Leslie for the pre-race pic!}

We started right on time at 6:30am! Check out this photos from Nike of the start of the race. I love seeing images like this!

{Image from Nike Facebook Page}

Leslie and I planned to run together as long as we could. Kara's goal was to run a sub-2 hour half, but she started out by running easy with me and Leslie. It was nice to chat and catch up -- I don't usually get to talk to people while I'm out on a run. It really made the miles fly by! Kara sped up and went on her way somewhere around 1.5 miles. Leslie and I chatted about all sorts of things along our way.

We stayed together through the first few hills, but lost one another around mile 8.5. We had already discussed that if we got separated at some point and couldn't meet back up, we would just run on our own the rest of the way and meet up afterward.

Quick side note: I kind of love running the hills early in the morning in SF during this race. Everyone who was previously talking gets quiet. There aren't really any spectators in this area in the Presido, so it is really quiet. Both last year and this year it was very foggy. It makes for a really cool experience....running with many other people trying to make the same goal of getting up a steep incline....listening to only the breathing of yourself and the other runners around you.

{image from Nike Facebook Page}

Once Leslie and I got separated, I decided to pick up the pace and make the last 4.5 miles a little faster than marathon pace. We averaged the first 8.5 miles at 10:05/mile. For the last few miles, I think I averaged close to an 8:30/mile pace. Another nice thing is this part of the race is also mostly down hill. I had so much fun this entire race! I mean, check out the smiles in my race photos!! LOVE!

After the finish, I met back up with Leslie and Kara, and we picked up our necklaces and shirts. They are pretty!

{Nuun in the background!}

This was a fun way to get in some hilly training and enjoy the race environment with some friends, even if I didn't actually race it. So much fun!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

4 weeks to go!

I am down to less than 4 weeks before the OBX marathon, and I am getting pretty excited! This week I unfortunately didn't get in as much running as I wanted, but I did fit in some cross training instead. Early in the week my ankle was sore following the Rock n Roll San Jose half marathon. Then later in the week I had a few busy days at work so a run didn't work out.

Here's how the week went down:

Monday: rest.
I needed a day off following last Sunday's race.

Tuesday: 35 minute sweat-soaking spin
We bought a spin bike to allow us some more time in the saddle over the winter time without having to go to the gym -- plus it will be good for run cross training. So since my ankle was feeling sore, I did some time on the spin bike instead. It felt great and I watched some Chopped on the Food Network as I went along.

Wednesday: walk + stretch
Instead of our usual leg routine, Ryan and I decided to go for a walk. It is nice to get out and enjoy the beautiful evening weather on a sunny fall day sometimes.

Thursday: AM spin
I had a busy day at work, and I knew I wasn't going to be home until almost 9pm -- nixing my usual afternoon run plans. So instead of a rest day, I opted to utilize the new spin bike again for a quick 30 minute hard spin. I closed myself up in our office and really worked up a sweat while listening to some podcasts.

Friday: rest
On Friday I found out that I had qualified (from my August Olympic distance triathlon) for the 2014 USA Age Group National Championships. I don't think that I will go this year , but I hope that I can qualify and attend again in the future.

Saturday: 20 mile run!!
I was sooooo nervous before this run. I really wasn't sure how my ankle would feel since my last 20 mile attempt I cut short at 16 miles. I decided to just take it slow and steady. My most recent long runs had been at a little faster pace (by about 10-15 seconds per mile), but I decided it would feel much more confident about the marathon if I could finish this run at a little slower pace than not complete it.

In the end, it worked out great. My legs were definitely tired after, and I've been working on recovery / foam rolling / stretching a little extra.

Later in the day, I went to early packet pickup in Sacramento for the Nike Women's half marathon next weekend! Even though there was still an hour long line, it seemed to move along pretty quickly, and was a gorgeous day! I'm excited to run next weekend, and see a few girls from HTC (Kara + Leslie!)

Sunday: walk + rest
After a busy Saturday, we took the day easy. We went to the movies and did our usual Sunday grocery trip. We went for a brisk walk in the afternoon and fit in a little bit of stretching.

Do you go to the grocery store once a week? Or more often? We try to get everything on our Sunday trips, but sometimes we have to go buy some veggies on Friday if we are eating at home since they are usually all gone by then.
Anyone else running NWM next weekend in SF?

Friday, October 11, 2013

OBX Marathon Training: Week 14

Sorry this post is a little delayed this week. We're already almost through another week! Life has been seriously busy, but going well. Just may make posting a bit light sometimes. Anyway -- on to the good stuff of training last week...

Wow. I really can't believe how close the marathon is getting. Yesterday was already down to 1 month until race day! Last week I was feeling more back to normal with my ankle. I also had my first race of the fall at the San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon! Here's a little about how it went:

Monday: 1 hour yoga
It felt so good to stretch and move my body this day. Some days I just need some yoga!

Tuesday: 4 fast miles.

Wednesday: P90x legs.
We've been doing a good job of keeping up with leg strength routine this fall, which I think is really helping keep some injuries away.

Thursday: 4 miles easy

Friday: rest

Saturday: 30 minutes easy yoga
We drove down to San Jose for packet pickup and had a nice evening checking out the city and relaxing.

Sunday: race day! check out my recap on my 13th half marathon here.

This weekend I'm looking forward to watching the Kona Ironman! Anyone else watching??

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran my 13th half marathon at Rock n Roll San Jose. Overall, I thought it was a nice race with good music (as is usual for the Rock n Roll series), and I had a great time!

Ryan and I made our two hour drive down to San Jose on Saturday afternoon. We stayed in the Hilton that was connected to the convention center where the expo was held, and was only a couple blocks from the start and finish lines. As soon as we arrived, we went to pick up our packets. Since it was later in the day, the expo was pretty quiet, and we had no trouble quickly getting our things. We spent a little time wandering around to check out some of the vendors including stopping by the Nuun Hydration booth.

Afterward, we wandered around downtown for a bit, and found a great spot for a drink at Farmers Union. It was a pretty cool vibe with lots of good beers on tap! Then we went to Pizza Bocca Lupo for a pizza dinner. We were a little unsure what it would be like when we arrived because it seemed sort of like fast food. But we had a fantastic time sitting out side, enjoying our pizza and some people watching.

{view from the bar at Farmers Union}

{outside Pizza Bocca Lupo. A great dinner spot!}

Sunday morning we got up early as usual for normal morning race prep. The best part was that we left our hotel just 45 minutes before race start because it was so close! When we got to the start, we took a few minutes to check our bags. We had about 20 minutes to find a bathroom before the start time.

Bad news though -- there were NOT enough porta potties near the first few corrals! This led to really long lines that did not move at all. Ryan and I ran all over trying to find one that seemed like we could possibly get through before the start. Nothing. Ryan realized there was a hotel right next to the start and with 10 minutes left to go we ran in and found a reasonably empty bathroom. Success! Honestly, this was my only gripe with the race. It seemed there were plenty of bathrooms along the course, and near the corrals further back though.

The race started right on time with the wheelchair division, then the national anthem, and finally the corral start.

My goal for the race was to start a little slower, and over the course of a few miles build up to near my PR pace. The first couple miles were a bit crowded, but they ticked away quickly. I tried not to weave too much around people and not waste energy.

Mile 1: 8:43
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:23
Mile 4: 8:19
Mile 5: 8:12

Near mile 6, we saw the race leaders on their way back toward the finish line -- they were probably at about mile 11.5. It was a nice boost to see them speed by!

Mile 6: 8:16
Mile 7: 8:15
Mile 8: 8:13

A little before mile 9 I realized I was going to have to take a mid-race bathroom stop. I was bummed because I was right about pace with my PR time. The bad thing was I had just past the bathrooms at mile 8, so I was going to have to wait for over a mile! I tried to keep pushing through and not slow down. I finally found a bathroom just as I finished mile 10, but I had used up a minute of my time in the portapotty.

Mile 9: 8:31
Mile 10: 9:15

After I was done in the bathroom, I tried  to pick up my pace and finish strong. I did well at first, but then ended up with a small stomach cramp and wasn't able to hold on to the faster pace for the last two miles.

Mile 11: 7:59
Mile 12: 8:16
Mile 13: 8:19
Pace to finish: 8:11/mi

My final finish time was 1:51:26.

I was glad to be done running for the day. I was hot and tired. I had a fun race even though it wasn't my best executed one. I always enjoy the race day excitement no matter what my finish time is!

Ryan had a big PR by almost 3 minutes!! He has been working hard, and this was a very exciting race for him!

Following the race, we enjoyed a pint in the beer garden, and listened to the band at the finish line. They were really fun! Since our hotel was so close, we were able to make it back to our room with time to shower before checking out and driving back to Sacramento.

What is your go-to post race meal? On Sunday we stopped at The Olive Garden for soup, salad and breadsticks. Yum!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OBX Marathon Training Week 13: Getting back in the game

Week 13 was a mix of rest and getting back into running. My ankle and lower leg has been starting to feel more back to normal, so I was hoping to get in my long run on Saturday. I still rested a little more than usual, and skipped my Tuesday run. Throughout the week, I also really focused in on ankle strengthening exercises. I think these have been instrumental to my recovery and gaining strength back in my lower leg muscles to support my ankle.

Monday: stretch

Tuesday: 2 mile walk + stretch

Wednesday: P90x legs

Thursday: run 3.1 miles easy

Friday: rest

Saturday: 16 mile long run
On my training plan, I had a 20 mile long run scheduled for Saturday. Honestly, I wasn't really sure how far I would be able to go, or whether my ankle would give me a hard time. After taking two weeks with hardly any running, I was hoping for something good.

Usually for my long runs, I run on a paved bike path. I like to run half the distance in one direction, and then turn around and come back. On Saturday, I decided to aim for a 10 mile out and back first (5 miles in each direction), then see how I felt to do another. After 11 miles when I took a quick bathroom & water break, I noticed that my ankle was feeling tired, but it didn't hurt. At that point I knew I wasn't going to make it 20 miles, but would shoot for 17-18. When I was 3 miles from my start point (13 miles in), I saw Ryan and he encouraged me to just turn around now and cut it to 16. I agreed -- no reason to push it.

Afterward, I actually felt pretty good. My ankle was tired, but still not hurting. It just felt like I had done a hard run. After some legs up the wall and relaxing, I was feeling pretty good. In the evening, Ryan and I went to San Francisco to visit a friend. We probably walked about 2-3 miles over the course of the evening around town. Good to move the legs around for some recovery.

Sunday: 3 mile walk + stretch
Legs felt pretty good, but it was nice to take a walk for extra recovery. It was also beautiful outside, so we had to get out and take advantage of it!

This coming week I am going to try to get back on my official schedule with 3 days of running, some yoga, and strength...and fewer rest days. I will also be running the San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon on Sunday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Some Random Things

Random stuff today... just go with it. :)

1. My ankle and leg are doing ok. Some days feel better than others. Sometimes it just feels tired. Today I am going to try going for a run with the hopes that it feels good this evening and tomorrow, and that I will be ready for a long run on Saturday or Sunday. Thank you all for your encouragement and support! I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes.

2. Today is the first day of the fall quarter. Every year it feels so weird to have the huge influx of students again after the quiet summer months on campus. However, I'm really loving the fall weather that is here at the moment. Riding my bike in the morning with a chilly wind in my face feels wonderful. I'm sure we will have a few more warms days at some point, but right now I'm loving the cooler ones.

3. Over the weekend, I went to Target and tried on this great hat. Happy early Thanksgiving! I didn't buy it because it didn't really stay on and it's too early for Thanksgiving things!

4. I also wanted to announce the winner of my recent giveaway for an Endorphin Warrior bracelet! Congratulations to Riri, who wants a BELIEVE bracelet. I'll be sending you an email soon!

Hope you all have a great weekend! I will leave you with two funny videos I saw this week from Jimmy Fallon that have been going around, in case you haven't seen them yet. Enjoy!

Lip sync competition:

Monday, September 23, 2013

OBX Marathon Training: Week 12

So, remember last week how I mentioned that I rolled my ankle during my long run, but it was feeling a little better? Well, this week it never really seemed to get back to normal, so I spent the week working on rehab and a little bit of cross training instead of my usual running schedule. I only ran 2 miles this week! 

Today it still isn't quite 100% (but getting closer). I think some leg muscles are working extra to keep my ankle stable so I'm having some tightness in my peroneal muscles, hip flexor, and IT band. I am trying to stay positive about it, but I am getting a little frustrated. I am hoping to let go of this week of injury and get back into things this week -- slowly of course to keep that injury away. I have a 20-miler planned for next weekend, so hopefully I can be ready.

Monday: 30 mins light yoga

Tuesday: 45 minute spin on the bike trainer plus a few core exercises

Wednesday: rest

Spent the evening celebrating my friend Matt finishing his PhD!

Thursday: 2-mile run to pick up my bike at an easy pace and 2 mile bike home. Did a few leg exercises at home to keep up my hip strength.

Friday: a little stretching, but mostly rest

Saturday: walked a few miles doing trail cleanup in the area I do a lot of long runs. Then went to the gym and swam 1250 yards. 

Sunday: 30 mile bike ride instead of a long run. 
Since my ankle was still feeling a bit funny, I subbed out my long run for a bike ride of similar time. It was a bit chilly, but a beautiful morning. I had to stop a couple times to take photos because it was so awesome. My ankle and lower leg felt good on this ride. I think I am getting close to being ready to run again. **fingers crossed**

As a reminder, there is still time to enter my giveaway for an Endorphin warrior bracelet! Go check it out and enter!

I also just realized that last Friday was my 1- year blogiversary! :) Happy blogiversary to me! Thank you so much for reading and supporting me and keep working to defy your limitations!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Becoming a Warrior {A Giveaway}

I had seen the Endorphin Warrior bracelets around online for a while. I loved the simple motivational words that they allow you to easily wear on your arm for that extra boost and reminder of why we train hard and push ourselves physically and mentally.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited that Endorphin Warrior generously offered to provide each of us with a bracelet of our choice when running Hood to Coast! I chose the word STRENGTH to remind me that I am strong and powerful, and nothing can hold me back.

Since receiving my bracelet, I have worn it not only during workouts to help encourage me to keep fighting as they get difficult, but also to remember my strength on hard days at work. These powerful words are all daily reminders to stay strong-minded and focused, and to overcome your challenges.

Some of the other words that I really love are:


Endorphin Warrior also offered to give a bracelet to one of my readers! They come in both black and brown bands for a little extra customization. Enter below for your chance to win!

Which motivational word would you want to choose on your bracelet if you won?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OBX Marathon Training: Week 11

I'm so happy with how training went this week. I really tried to stay on track, like last week and have good quality training days.

Monday: 1 hour of yoga using the Yoga Studio app.
Just found this app thanks to Starbuck's pick of the week. It's awesome. Quite a few preset workouts, and you can even make your own! Really enjoyed this as a good stretch.

Tuesday: Speed day -- 5 x 1000m with 400m rest on treadmill for total of 5.5 miles.
The last time I tried this workout, my calf cramped before I could finish. I was due for redemption on this workout! I started conservatively, and ramped up the speed each interval. Ended feeling really good!

Wednesday: The usual -- P90x legs workout. Gotta get in the strength training!

Thursday: 4.4 miles steady state run

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 18 mile long run
This run went really well. I felt stronger and kept almost the same pace as my last long run two weeks ago. My shoes felt pretty good too. I was just so happy to be out there, feeling strong and enjoying the day.

At mile 10.5 I stepped on a big rock and rolled my ankle, but it didn't really hurt badly and did not seem to affect my pace. Later in the day it felt a little stiff, but ok for the 5k on Sunday. I didn't really think too much of this until Sunday afternoon.

Sunday: Lets ROC 5k.
You can see my full recap here. I hadn't run a 5k in almost 2 years, so I was due for a good hard run and a new 5k PR. I'm excited by my time since I ran an 18 mile long run the day before!

Sunday afternoon I spent a lot of time lounging. My ankle felt a little stiff again, so I rested for the day after the race, watching football. Starting out this week, I have been keeping things easy, because I think this rolled ankle actually pulled a little muscle on the side of my leg, so I won't do a track workout this week. (The 5k should count for that, right?!?) It is already starting to feel a little better, so I think in a few more days I'll be back to normal. Gotta watch out for rocks now!

PS. I know this mileage is nothing to some people, but this was my highest weekly mileage ever!! Exciting!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lets ROC 5k: Race Recap

This week I found out there was going to be a 5k held super close to my house! I thought it would be really fun to do, but wasn't sure how I would feel after running an 18 mile long run on Saturday, so it was a last minute decision to register. Even last night, I wasn't positive -- although I was pretty certain I would give a it a try. When I woke up, my legs felt pretty good...definitely some tightness, but I thought that with a short warmup and some dynamic stretches before the race, I would be OK. I ended up running about 1.25 miles for my warmup. I think I would have done more if I hadn't had a long run the previous day.

The last time I ran a 5k was in October 2011! I know that my speed has improved quite a bit since then. Unless something really bad happened, I should have a PR. My initial goal was hopefully finish in at least 10k pace, but I would have to see how my legs felt.

The race was about 1000 people, with a lot of first time runners and walkers aiming to raise funds for ovarian cancer. It was a well put together event, and their biggest of the 6 years it has been run. After the kids run, the race started right on time at 8:15am.

I started out a little bit too fast, but tried to settle into a good maintainable pace.

Mile 1: 7:23

In mile 2, my legs started to feel more tired, but I just tried to keep pushing as much as I could and keep it hard but maintainable.

Mile 2: 7:29

Mile 3 was tough. My legs were feeling pretty dead by this point, but I tried as hard as I could to keep up with the girl ahead of me. I tried to focus on keeping my leg turnover quick.

Mile 3: 7:31

In the last tenth of a mile I was racing right with two women. I kicked just a bit too early, and they finished ahead of me by only a second or two. I had a lot of fun though. It is fun to work on running faster sometimes!!

To finish: 7:11 pace

Official finish time was 23:19.

I'm pretty excited about my time! I think I'll have to do another 5k at some point when I haven't done an intense long run the day before. But now I have a new PR that is more accurate to my current fitness level!!

My effort was good enough for a 2nd place finish in my age group. The girl I was chasing for most of the run ended up being the first place finisher in the 25-29 age group, and finished ahead of me by only 8 seconds. So close!

Now my legs are pretty exhausted, so I'll be spending the rest of the day relaxing, stretching and foam rolling. And tomorrow will probably be an easy recovery day too.

Anyone else race this weekend? Any new PRs?

What is your favorite race distance?

Friday, September 13, 2013

A shoe update

It has been a little over a month since I got my shoe fit, so I wanted to give you a quick update on how I'm feeling about my Brooks Ghost 6's.

In general, I am enjoying running in them. However, sometimes I think the size feels a little big -- especially when I first put them on -- and I occasionally struggle to tie them right to fit comfortably on the first try. After a couple re-ties they feel good though. The sizing thing seems day to day. Once I get running, I don't really seem to maybe it's ok!

I think I'm also still getting used to the difference between them and the Ravenna. I have been alternating between the two pairs for the last six weeks. Ravennas have been my running shoe for 3 years, so maybe running in a less supported shoe could take a little bit to get used to. What do you think?

This weekend I will be trying them out for my long run (18 miles!), so I'll have a better idea about how I would like them for running the marathon.

If I'm still unsure after this weekend, I'll probably buy a second pair of shoes for the marathon because my old shoes are really getting worn. I think they have close to 450 miles on them!

Have you always stuck with the same brand/style shoes? Or do you switch it up?

What are your weekend plans? nothing major here besides my long run. I'm kind of looking forward to having a quiet weekend. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

OBX Training Week 10

Woo hoo! I'm officially over halfway through my training for the Outer Banks Marathon! This week was a step back week in terms of running mileage, but after a few crazy weeks of running and recovering from Hood to Coast, I really wanted to get back on my regular schedule!

Monday: light yoga

Tuesday: Yasso 800s. Completed 8 x 800 for a total of 7.25 miles.
I felt so much stronger than the last time I did this workout a few weeks ago. I will probably try doing it again in a few weeks and get up to 10 repeats.

Wednesday: P90x legs workout
I had an overwhelming and frustrating work day, but still fit in this workout to get some pent up energy out.

Fun side note: My tomatoes are starting to ripen in my garden. Many many more to come! I picked the first ones this week.

Thursday: 3 miles + core
Hot and sweaty 3 miles after work. My legs started out feeling sore from the last two days. After a mile though, they warmed up and I sped up! Paces were: 9:57, 9:07, 8:11. After letting myself cool down for a few minutes, I did a short core workout.

Friday: yoga
Calves were feeling tight, so I made sure to fit in a little more yoga to keep them loose.

Saturday: 5.25 miles with ~3.5 at marathon pace
I squeezed a few miles in in the morning before Ryan and I went out to celebrate our anniversary by going to Santa Rosa, CA for the day. We checked out Russian River Brewery, took a couple mile walk in a pretty local park, did some champagne tasting at Korbel, and went out for a lovely Italian dinner.

{shared a beer sampler because there were so many to taste!}

Sunday: 1650 yd swim
Straight and easy swim for recovery. I hadn't been to the pool in a few weeks, so it was great to be in the water for a little while.

How did your training go last week? Do you like Yasso 800s? Have you used them to predict your marathon time?
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