Sunday, March 30, 2014

Running Reflection: March 24th - 30th

This was a beautiful week from a runner's perspective. I made it through the registration process for Beat the Blerch, which I've heard was not the outcome for many. I've never tried signing up for a race that has filled up, before, so I had no idea what to expect. Apparently we shut down RaceIt!

That brings me up to three half marathons, this year, which is something I hadn't intended. After my first half in July, I ended up out for the count for about two weeks, so I'm hoping for quick recoveries during my May/June halfs so I rock them both. We'll see.

I also started casually looking through potential marathons I might tackle next year (if you're looking for a race, check out!) and found the Bellingham Bay Marathon. Bellingham will always have a special place in my heart, so it seems almost like kismet that I should pick B'ham as the location of my full marathon in 2015. Good lord, that's a goal I never even imagined I'd write down for others to see.

If anyone ever needs a reason to love Bellingham, Washington, check out the view from my dorm room during Sophomore year:

And allow me to introduce you to Mallard Ice Cream (one of several reasons for my Sophomore 25):

Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Hike up Little Si (North Bend, WA) after school. 4.24 miles of beauty, 1285 feet of elevation gain.
  • Tuesday: 34 minutes on the elliptical. Stopped 16 minutes early; got weak-shaky-low-blood-sugary. Working on this.
  • Wednesday: 4.63 miles / 9:02 pace. Group run from Everyday Athlete in Juanita. It was Asics Night, so they set up each up with a pair of running shoes to try out. Loved 'em!
  • Thursday: 4.00 miles / 9:03 pace. Quick out-and-back on the Sammamish River Trail.
  • Friday: No run, but I bought myself a sweet awesome hardcore backpack for my upcoming Europe Adventure!
  • Saturday: 12.00 miles / 9:24 pace. Torrential downpour. Note to self: don't wear your rain jacket on a run. It gets too hot after a mile.
  • Sunday: 50 minutes on the elliptical before Mom/Daughter day in Seattle!

Total Distance: 20.63 miles
Average Pace: 9:15 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run three times. (Met it!)
  2. Run 20 miles with a long run of 11.5. (Beat both!)
  3. Get to the gym at least once for cross training. (Beat it!)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Run three times.
  2. Run 20 miles with a long run of 13.1. Let's rock a half marathon next weekend!
  3. At least one weight circuit, girl.

Don't forget to see the giveaway post below for your chance to win race registration to any Reebok Spartan Race in the United States!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Giveaway: Reebok Spartan Race Registration

**Giveaway Closed! Congratulations to Jane Thompson, winner of the free race registration for any 2014 Reebok Spartan Race in the continental United States! Email me at for your race code, Jane!**

Running just ain't what it used to be.

I imagine the wiry old grandfather types in my running group saying that, sometimes, while we're gaining serious elevation on Cougar Mountain in a downpour. As a fairly new runner, I can't add much to the conversation, but I have to admit that color runs and obstacle courses weren't featured on my Facebook news feed prior to 2010.

Suddenly, photos of my friends in bright shades of faux Ray-Bans with pigmented cornstarch splotches from head to toe were popping up everywhere.
Completely ruined running shoes were sodden with mud, and my friends' bloodied knees and fierce poses made epic profile pictures. Running was a-changin'.
There's a certain intrigue to running a little different. (Just google "Beat the Blerch"!)

Non-timed color runs (like Color Me Rad) draw in oodles of people who love the idea of a non-competitive fun run. The post-race photo ops make running the 5k seem like a surmountable goal for someone who hasn't attempted a run since the humiliation of the 7th grade fitness test (or is that just me?). Mud runs and obstacle courses take it in a different direction, drawing the daredevils and challenge-seekers who want to be mildly electrocuted while jumping over burning debris and then chased by a moose. I might've added that last one, but moose are freaking scary.

So far in my very short running career, I haven't yet signed up for an obstacle course or mud run. I've said it's because I'm wary of ruining my running shoes (and as a teacher on a budget, I work on making 'em last), but part of me felt like I just wanted to master the basic race before moving onto new challenges.

Well, friends, if you're in the same boat as me, this might be the sign you've been looking for!

In conjunction with the release of their new All-Terrain Series race shoe, Reebok is hosting a tour of Spartan Races across the country. These races come in levels for all athletic abilities, from the Spartan Sprint (3 miles, 10+ obstacles) to their extreme level Death Race. Okay, Reebok. Challenge accepted.

If you've been looking for a nudge to finally sign up for a race that will challenge you physically and perhaps wreck at least one item of your wardrobe, Reebok has generously sent me a giveaway for race registration for any "open heat" (non-confirmed start time) Reebok Spartan Race event in 2014 (in the continental US).

For a list of locations (and the variation of the race hosted at each one), click here.

Want To Win?

All you need to do is comment below with the reason you want to flex your Spartan muscles at a race this year. The winner will be randomly selected from the comments below on Sunday, April 6th (please comment prior to noon, PST). Winner will be posted by 6pm that same day. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Not willing to wait?

Use the code "SpartanST" to get 15% off any qualifying race registration.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Running Reflection: March 17th - 23rd

This was a funky week, friends. I was simultaneously motivated to exercise while being completely unprepared (gear-wise) for runs in the cold, windy (and/or rainy) afternoons that presented themselves this week (after sunshiney early afternoons). I missed the majority of my goals but I'm regrouping and ready to rock it out next week.

Treated myself to these puppies this week. I basically lived in them all day yesterday after my Saturday long run!

I also got together with my Gametiime running buddy (Lindsay) to see Divergent last night. It's the first time I've done a social outing with a friend I made via running, and it was a blast. The movie was excellent (for easily-amused-by-films me) and Lindsay and I both were able to catch up during the pre-movie show and previews. Can't wait to fangirl with her again, soon!

Lindsay's in the middle, I'm on the left! October, 2013.

Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: "Just wasn't into it" rest day.
  • Tuesday: 4.0 miles / 10:01 pace. My running buddy ramped up her pace by 17 seconds per mile, despite serious elevation gain!
  • Wednesday: 35 minutes on the elliptical between meetings. I'm kind of surprised this happened.
  • Thursday: 50 minutes on the elliptical. Was planning on a run, but wasn't prepared for the wind chill (only capris and a running tee). Could've done it, but would've been miserable.
  • Friday: 3.4 miles / 9:39 pace. Decided to prep a bit for Saturday's killer trail run by running the trails around my parents' house before dinner. I'm 100% positive the run did not preemptively undo the damage done by Mom's "two pie Friday."
  • Saturday: 11.2 miles / 13:05 pace. During this run I learned the difference between running on flat pavement and running up and down a mountain.
  • Sunday: Weight circuit (skipped legs today!), 50 minutes on the elliptical.

Total Distance: 18.6 miles
Average Pace: 11:48 per mile, and I'm not even sad about it. That's what I get for running up mountains.

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run 20 miles, with a long run of 11. (Hit the long run, missed the total mileage.)
  2. Run four times. (Just three.)
  3. Get to the gym at least once for cross training. (Exceeded; hit the gym twice, though both were days I'd intended to run.)

Goals for Next Week:

  1. Run three times.
  2. Run 20 miles with a long run of 11.5.
  3. Get to the gym at least once for cross training.

How does your calorie intake look after a long run? 
I find myself feeling hungry every hour or so after my Saturday/Sunday long runs, and while I don't eat more than I burn (for the most part) I'm sure not losing weight as quickly as I could if I ignored that hunger pang!

Have any of you heard of the Beat the Blerch race coming up this September? Is anyone planning to run it?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Running Reflection: March 10th - 16th

I'm a particularly pushy motivator when it comes to getting my family members to enjoy the same things that I enjoy. Luckily, my dad is pretty much game for a run whenever I check in with him to see if he'd like to join me. 

For his birthday (November 16th), I got him race registration (lucky Dad!) for the Mustache Dache in Seattle. He was a champ, and totally proud of his first 5k.

For Christmas (and I promise I double-checked with him before I clicked "register"), he got race registration to the Kirkland Shamrock Run.

While he and I didn't train as often together for this run (ski season got in the way for him!), he totally rocked a way hillier course and was talking to me throughout the entire race, rather than gasping for breath. During that last 1k, he was being the ultimate motivator for some unenthusiastic race volunteers, jumping up and down, cheering everyone on (while running), and throwing that fist in the air.

I have to say, while it is super exciting to push myself to run further, faster, and longer, it is WAY more exciting to watch my dad break his own records. I am so proud of him.

Hopping out of the truck, putting on our game faces.

 Look at that fist pump of victory!

Dad's favorite part of this race (he says) was getting passed by a three year old sparkle princess. This girl was rocking it!

Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Grad school class until 8pm, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 2.95 miles / 10:18 pace. I'm joining a buddy who has been trying to get back into a running routine, so Tuesday runs will be buddy runs for a while. I don't mind easing back into the runweek with a nice, easy pace. :)
  • Wednesday: 3.50 miles / 9:19 pace. Making positive life choices by enjoying a sangria for Happy Hour before deciding to run the Kirkland Shamrock Run race preview that evening.
  • Thursday: 4.40 miles / 9:32 pace. I was fighting this run the whole time. Glad I did it, but sure was not a happy runner during this one. Sometimes you just have bad runs.
  • Friday: Family dinner night, rest day.
  • Saturday: 3.10 miles / 10:27 pace. Kirkland Shamrock Run with Pops!
  • Sunday: 10.50 miles / 9:14 pace. I decided to make up for fewer miles and slower pacing by doing a Sunday long run, this week. Furthest distance I've run in a while.

Total Distance: 24.45 miles. Oops, destroyed the 10% goal. We'll see if I pay for this tomorrow.
Average Pace: 9:36 per mile.

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Don't worry about distance; my usual Saturday long run time will be spent shamrocking out with Pops for his second 5k. (Okay, I kind of worried about distance and then overdid it today... but it felt so good.)
  2. Enjoy my Tuesday run with a colleague at school. (Done!)
  3. Run three times. (Oops. Five.)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Run 20 miles, with a long run of 11.
  2. Run four times.
  3. Get to the gym at least once for cross training.
How are you spending your Sunday? Rest day? Run day? Trying something new?

How do you feel about alcohol after a run?
I have to say, I was super excited about the champagne flute waiting for me at the finish line of the See Jane Run Half Marathon last summer, but couldn't manage to drink it after the race. I need a good hour or so until I'm ready to make alcoholic life choices, I guess.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Running Reflection: March 3rd - 9th

On Running Apps:

Does anyone else feel super strongly about their running app? As a Garmin-less runner, I'm dependent upon my phone to gather data about each of my runs... and perhaps guilty of whipping out my phone to check out my stats on non-run days more often than I should.

For the first 10ish months of my running life, I religiously used RunKeeper. Every once in a while, though, someone would post a map of their run that just looked so cool. I had to get Nike+. I needed to see the color gradient that changed based on relative pace. That's all there was to it.

After swallowing the fact that I couldn't easily import all of my RunKeeper runs into Nike+ (they're a little more stringent than RK about being able to "prove" you did the run), I decided to give it a try, and boy is it fun to have a new running app. On each of my Saturday long runs so far, I've gotten a neat little selection of banners telling me about how I've just run my farthest/longest run and burned the most calories. It's nice, after so long without this, to see immediate progress. Even if I really have run farther, longer, burned more calories, and done so at a higher average pace.

Here's this Saturday's run in a nutshell:

See that strip of red/orange at the bottom? My running group leader labeled that segment of our run "the five deadly hills." She wasn't kidding, and only three out of twenty of us went for it. I felt like a regular hero walking into the bagel shop for breakfast after everyone else had finished up their 4-7 mile runs.

Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Grad school class until 8pm, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 3.00 miles / 8:51 pace. I ran to make up for the grocery shopping damage I knew I was about to do!
  • Wednesday: Weight circuit and 45 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Thursday: 4.04 miles / 8:45 pace. First time I've ever tried saran wrapping my phone. Worked like a charm!
  • Friday: 1.90 miles / 11:18 pace. Trail run with Pops, getting ready for his second 5k.
  • Saturday: 9.46 miles / 9:23 pace. Third run with ESR, a good chunk of the Mercer Island Half Marathon route. Brutal hills.
  • Sunday: Weigh circuit and 50 minutes elliptical.

Total Distance: 18.40 miles
Average Pace: 9:22 per mile. I even considered pulling Friday's pace out of this (as I was running with a buddy rather than on my own) but woo hoo!

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run 18 miles. (Beat it!)
  2. Average pace below 9:30 per mile. (Beat it!)
  3. Run 3 times. (Beat it!)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Don't worry about distance; my usual Saturday long run time will be spent shamrocking out with Pops for his second 5k.
  2. Enjoy my Tuesday run with a colleague at school.
  3. Run three times.
What's the next race you're planning on? Do you count the pace and mileage of "fun" runs? What's the biggest thing you look for when you're finding your next race?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I am notoriously lazy about updating my running playlist.

No seriously.

I actually harassed my Facebook friends into creating one for me when I ran my first half marathon back in July.

Not surprisingly, some of these tunes ended up putting a little pep in my step throughout the mile markers, and I realized how important it is to have new music to jazz to along the way. I had gotten used to all of the music I'd been listening to throughout my weeks of training, even tuning it out for the most part.

If you were going to make a running playlist for your next race, what would be the top five songs you'd look forward to?

Here's my list:
  1. You F*ckin' Did It - Jason Mraz
  2. Faster - Matt Nathanson
  3. Rain On Me - The Paperboys
  4. Pied Piper - The Senate
  5. Pompeii - Bastille

Share yours in the comments!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Running Reflection: February 24th - March 2nd

Achievement Unlocked: Running in the dark for the first time.
  • Monday: Grad school class until 8pm, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 4.33 miles / 9:19 pace. First run out past dark! Rockin' the headlamp fo sho.
  • Wednesday: Too many meetings rest day. Hooray no Wednesday meeting next week!
  • Thursday: 4.40 miles / 9:26 pace. First run in my new Mizunos. Love 'em so far!
  • Friday: Family time rest day.
  • Saturday: 7.55 miles / 9:47 pace. Trail run with the Eastside Runners.
  • Sunday: Weight circuit and 50 minutes on the elliptical.

Total Distance: 16.28 miles
Average Pace: 9:34 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run 15 miles. (Beat it!)
  2. Average pace below 9:30 per mile. (Close, but no cigar. Elevation during my Saturday run killed me!)
  3. Run 3 times. (Met it.)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Run 18 miles.
  2. Average pace below 9:30 per mile.
  3. Run 3 times.
What are some of your goals for the week (running related or not!)?