Sunday, September 21, 2014

Three Months, One Post


So it's been a while. A too-long while. And while I have plenty of perfectly good reasons why I've been living blog-free since July, they don't matter.

I'm back, and here to give you a freaky-fast synopsis of the ins and outs of July, August, and September.


  • Finished two summer graduate courses and celebrated in the only way I know how, with BFFs and beers.

  • Saw my favorite band perform together after a four year hiatus. These fellas got me through college without going through a nervous breakdown.

  • Hopped on a plane that got me about halfway through the Arctic Circle before August began.

  • Iceland!

  • Scotland!

  • Met up with my REI group and spent seven days backpacking the Scottish Highlands. My mind takes me back there every single day. What a dream.

  • Though I was devastated to leave my group, I was lucky enough to be invited to (and/or invite myself to) my former teacher's home in Blois, France. My heart and mind may have been left in Scotland, but I managed to find ways to love France, as well. :)

  • After five days in France, tackling train exchanges and airports in a non-native language, I made it to England for the final leg of my trip.

Since returning, I've been immersed in my life as a teacher. I'm rocking out with 21 4th and 5th grade learners, this year, and after three weeks we're starting to get the kinks in our routines worked out. :)

So sorry about the hiatus, friends, and here's to the upcoming seasons of reflection and thankfulness!

Up next: a race review for Beat the Blerch. My goal: to post it before three months have passed me by!

What are you all up to?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Last Three Weeks in Photos

Hi friends! Quick update, because I'm finishing my last-minute details before heading to bed. I leave for Scotland, France, and England tomorrow!

Summer quarter at UW: sunshine, studious comrades, and Chaco sandals.
Went into my classroom a few times to make table groups and generally stare at things without accomplishing much.

Anyone miss my #transformationtuesday post on Instagram?

Workin' on that core strength.

In addition to generally accomplishing nothing productive in my classroom, I made a bulletin board of Mount Rainier.

Went on a hike with this coordinated gentleman.

First time attempting a run since my 0.5 mile failure a week after the half marathon of doom.

My college roommate (top left) is not only gorgeous and super smart, but also a dancer. Her dance group killed it, this weekend!

Benefit to housesitting in my parents' neighborhood: driving past this little nugget more often than usual.

First LEGITIMATE run (ie: I planned it, I rocked it) post disaster. Two miles of an awesome knee and way pitiful cardiovascular endurance. Progress.

If you want to listen to music that is ridiculously wonderful, check out my friends The Senate. Spending an evening in their musical company was the best way to say "goodbye" to the US for a few weeks.

If you want to follow along on my adventure through Europe, follow me on Instagram! I'll write up a super excellent and informative post when I return in late August, but do you really want to wait that long to see photos of strangers hiking through the Scottish Highlands?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recovery Reflection: July 7th - 13th

Knee Update:

Last week had a few ups and downs, recovery-wise. By Thursday (my second PT appointment), I was frustrated that I'd have a day where my knee didn't act up at all only to have a really rough day (ie: heck NO I am not walking to campus from the freeway bus stop. 48 bus, you'd better get your rear in gear and pick me up PROMPTLY) right afterward. My PT said this made sense, especially if I pushed myself a little harder on the good days because I felt like I could (which I TOTALLY did).

I've become that person who takes photos of her shadow while waiting for the bus.

Lots of good cardio, this last week, which culminated in what was going to be a 24 mile bike ride to and from the LFP farmer's market after my volunteering gig with See Jane Run. It just so happens, however, that my BFF's mom manages that farmer's market, so I shouldn't have been surprised that said BFF appeared an hour or two into my jam-picking, ice cream tasting, berry inspecting farmer's market adventure and suggested he drive me (and my bike) back to his place to eat freezer pizza and watch a bad (okay, medium) movie his fiance won't watch with him.

Of course I accepted, and yesterday's legs are telling me that that was an okay choice.

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Dog walk. Blood donation (which basically counts as a pound of weight loss until you make it up in tomato juice in 24-48 hours... so it's a lie).

  • Tuesday: Weight circuit (arms, core, upper back), 35 minutes on the elliptical, and a dog walk.
Walking to campus. You can't see it, but Rainier is framed by those trees in the background. Because whoever designed UW is a boss, and created a straight line view from Red Square, through fountain and stadium, to Mt. Rainier. That's a little too much forward thinking for me to even fully comprehend.
  • Wednesday: Weight circuit (legs, core, lower back), 35 minutes on the elliptical, dog walk. 
  • Thursday: Physical Therapy and a dog walk.
  • Friday: 35 minutes on the elliptical and a dog walk.
  • Saturday: Dog walk. Also, I'm standing strong by my decision that packing up your belongings and cleaning someone else's house at the end of a housesitting gig is totally a workout. I was sweating profusely by the time I was ready to leave!
  • Sunday: Volunteered at the See Jane Run half marathon in Seattle from 6am - noon, rode my bike 12 miles to the Lake Forest Park Farmer's Market!

Received numerous organizational compliments after running bag check for 1500+ runners by myself on Sunday. My new calling?

This is actually the Issaquah Farmer's Market, but you get the idea. I might've gone to two farmer's markets this weekend. Don't worry about it.

Total Distance:  Shh.
Average Pace:  Just stop.

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Weights twice (arms on Tuesday, legs on Thursday). (Yep!) 
  2. PT. Keep up with exercises. (BAM.)
  3. Spin and elliptical at least twice. (I just did elliptical, but we'll count the bike ride as spinning.)
New use for Oiselle's Runfinity Scarf during heat waves: elbow saver while you do planks. Obviously I love planks. Especially side planks.

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Weights twice.
  2. PT. Keep up with exercises.
  3. Spin and elliptical at least three times.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Running - Wait, no, Recovery - Reflection: June 30th - July 6th

Hi everyone! I hope y'all had fun playing out in the sun (assuming your area got some, this week)! The Seattle area had AMAZING weather almost all week, and I have to say that it was a little depressing to realize I wasn't going to get to run along the Kirkland waterfront or tackle a tough hike in this sunshine.

I did, however, get to see YOUR amazing shots on Instagram and live a little bit vicariously through those. Only 25 days till I fly off to Scotland, so here's to the hikes and adventures I'll have in a little over three weeks' time!

Several Silver Linings:
  1. I had my first PT appointment for my knee and it went pretty well. She did the basic tests of strength and range of motion on both legs/hips, and concluded that I had a weak butt (okay, weak gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) which wasn't absorbing enough of the strain put on my knee while running. This is also what caused my ankle pain back in September, so I have got a series of super butt workouts to rock for the next month. Here's hoping my jeans still fit by the end of all of this. :)

  2. The best kind of recovery involves marathoning new television shows (The Night Shift!) and rejoicing in the way your knee feels when it's been taped up by a pro.

  3. I finished my first (of two) summer class! This was an insane two weeks as a full-time student, with three group projects (who does that with just nine days of class?) and some serious presentations. I start my next class on Tuesday and will be done on July 18th, with a little over a week and a half to prepare for jetting off to Europe on the 31st. :)
Welcome to part of my final group project for my multicultural education class. I'm totally using this community campfire in my classroom next year! And no, it does not escape me that I'm paying tens of thousands of dollars for tuition to make cardboard crafts.

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Dog walk.
  • Tuesday: Weight circuit (arms, core, upper back) and a dog walk.
  • Wednesday: Physical Therapy and a dog walk.
  • Thursday: Weight circuit (legs, core, lower back), 20 minutes on a stationary bike, dog walk. Also dinner with my runbuddy Lindsay and her husband, which was the BEST way I could think of to celebrate being done with my first class!
  • Friday: Dog walk... and then a walk to gelato. Because we enjoy Italian desserts on American holidays. FREEDOM.

  • Saturday: Dog walk.

This little guy really wanted to join Lucy and I on our walk.

  • Sunday: Two dog walks and a pasta-making class with my Pops.

Usually this guy has a smile on his face, but making pasta sauce is hard work.

Total Distance:  Shh.
Average Pace:  Just stop.

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Get on the weight machines at the IMA at least once. (Twice! Bam!)
  2. PT. (I don't know how you can fail this goal. Can you rock it?)
  3. Reign in the calorie consumption, girl. (Eehhhhhh medium.)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Weights twice (arms on Tuesday, legs on Thursday).
  2. PT. Keep up with exercises.
  3. Spin and elliptical at least twice.

What's the biggest setback you've experienced (running-related or not)? What did you do to overcome it?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Running Reflection: June 23rd - 29th

This week - my first week of summer - also heralded the beginning of summer quarter classes at the University of Washington.


  • Getting 6 credits completed in one month.
  • School. Obviously I love school.
  • Hanging out on UW's beautiful campus everyday.

Seriously. This is one of our bathrooms. I half expect to run into Moaning Myrtle when I'm in there.

  • THE IMA. Holy mother of goodness, this gym is fantastic and free a required charge on my tuition statement, so DUH I'm going to use it. Especially since running is apparently not an option for a while (I see a PT this week) and I really could use some cross training options. Bless you, elliptical machine.


  • Three more weeks of full-time student status until my summer truly begins.
  • SO. MUCH. WORK. Luckily, as a graduate student I'm of age to study in excellent places.

I'd say the pros far outweigh the cons, though, and I'm psyched for the next three weeks of learning.

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: No workout. Bi-monthly dietitian checkup and dinner with a teacher friend who is wondering why I'm going to graduate school over summer vacation. Me too, friend. Me too.
  • Tuesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical, then hangin' out with Mary Lambert and Matt Nathanson.
  • Wednesday: 50 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Thursday: No workout. But I did do lots of homework! Yeehaw.
  • Friday: 50 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Saturday: Tried for a 3-5 mile run. Made it 0.5 miles, then had to stop. KNEE GET BETTER OKAY? Walked the rest of my 3 mile route.
  • Sunday: 65 minutes of Hatha yoga and a walk with the dog I'm watching for the next two weeks.

Total Distance:  Shh.
Average Pace:  Just stop.

Last Week's Goals:
  1. I didn't write goals because I was cranky. Maybe my goal was to be less cranky?

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Get on the weight machines at the IMA at least once.
  2. PT.
  3. Reign in the calorie consumption, girl.

Describe your dream gym! What kind of machines does it have? What music does it play? Who else works out there?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Race Review: Snoqualmie Valley Half

SPOILER ALERT: I did not PR this race.

By this point, most of the people who sporadically check out my fledgling blog will have sussed out that my race on Saturday (the Snoqualmie Valley Half Marathon) did not go as planned. Unfortunately, I absolutely had all of the information necessary to see this kind of an outcome before I stepped up to that starting line, but as an invincible 25-year-old with a stubborn streak I decided to ignore every single warning bell I heard the week prior to my third half marathon.

Warning Bell 1: Hiking Poo-Poo Point with my family
My family's annual Father's Day hike was six days before the race! Just like I wrote in my last review post, the hike was amazing and so so fun. What I did not include in that post was the fact that as soon as we started descending, my left knee started giving me grief each time I had to bend it as my right foot stepped forward.

I was thanking the powers that be that I'd purchased my first pair of trekking poles the night before; I was leaning heavily on them.

But whatever, right? It was just a one day thing. That pain would go away!

Warning Bell 2: My Taper Week Training Runs
I managed to squeeze out two training runs between the hike and the half. On both runs my knee started acting up again at around 1.5-2 miles into the run. Awesome.

No worries! I'd give myself the day before the race off! It'd totally be all better by then!

The Race:

Honestly, I think I'm even more upset that the race went poorly for me because it was so fabulously run. Porter Bratten (oh, I've mentioned this race demigod before!) and his team rocked out a seamless packet pickup the Friday before the race at a centrally-located Road Runner Sports.

Tolt-McDonald Park, the venue for the race, was bustling when I arrived 1.5 hours early to check it out. People were setting up tents for Zico and the Red Cross, volunteers were peanutbuttering some Seattle Bagel Bakery treats, and everyone was just grooving.

The race was small (500 half marathoners, and I should've remembered how many 10k runners... either way, not a huge race) and on a gravelly trail that went out-and-back through the Snoqualmie Valley. Just as they advertised, it was flat and FAST.

In fact, my starting pace was pretty killer! Had I maintained my average pace from the first half of this race, I'd have PR'd it by about 4 minutes.

And lo and behold... guess what happened about 2 miles into the race?

You've got it.

Knee problems.

Now during my taper week runs, my knee wasn't killing me during the runs. I was just cognizant that something wasn't quite right. I was encouraged, I suppose, to end those runs at 3-4 miles rather than 5-6 miles.

Well. 13.1 miles is quite a bit longer than 3-4 miles. I learned that the hard way.

This was the first race I've run where I seriously considered turning around and walking back. Countless times. In my head, this also wasn't an option: my parents were at the finish line for the first time, and I did not want to be walking wounded as I approached their eager photo-snapping faces! They had given up their Saturday morning to cheer me on, and I wanted to be cheer-worthy when I crossed that finish.

So I made deals with myself. Just make it to that tree. Don't worry that people are passing you. Turn off those earphones. You don't need someone in your ear telling you your pace is slowing down. Walk through the water stations. Eat some of that salted caramel Gu. That stuff tastes freaking ridiculous.

By the end, every single step was agony. I envisioned myself crossing the finish line and bursting into tears of relief at just being done.

My amazing, supportive, so so wonderful parents were just in front of the finish, and despite the fact that I know I shouldn't have run the race (and despite the fact that they still would've been proud if I hadn't finished it), I'm glad I had the chance to run/limp past them and cross that finish line.

I hobbled over to Zico, grabbed some carbs, and smiled with relief when my parents decided to play chauffeur so I didn't need to walk back to my own car. Because apparently that 0.5 miles looked like it'd kill me.

Now I'm looking forward to registering for this race NEXT year, because I am going to kill it on the course.

Final Time: 1:57:49