Sunday, April 27, 2014

Running Reflection: April 21st - 27th

This week started out with missed goals and an aching back and ended with a rough (but complete!) 10 mile run in the rain. I'm glad I was able to get back into a regular running routine (a week off was miserable) AND knock out some excellent paces in the meantime!

When I was puzzling over which class to incorporate into my workout routine (my dietitian wants me to shake things up), I settled on getting back into hot yoga. When I first moved to Issaquah I'd found this new yoga studio that was just a little different from the others. While their Hatha classes incorporated all 26 Bikram postures, they played music during the class, the instructors were funky and helpful, and the atmosphere was just... chill. Relaxed. Bikram yoga can have so many rules that the class can begin to feel stifling.

What if I talk out of turn? What if I can't do a posture? What if I pass out? What if I throw up? 

PS - Totally rocked that last one a few years back in a super humid studio. Not embarrassing at all...

Suffice it to say, my studio is amazing and I'm so glad I'm back. :)

Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Graduate school, rest day.
  • Tuesday: 4.06 miles / 8:38 pace.
  • Wednesday: 65 minutes of Hatha yoga. SO glad to be back in the studio!
  • Thursday: 5.16 miles / 8:32 pace. 30 minute far-infrared sauna after.
  • Friday: Went on a walk with my parents before family dinner night.
  • Saturday: 50 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Sunday: 10.01 miles / 9:18 pace. The weather on this one varied between sunshine and torrential downpour with a headwind. Snuck in a 75 minute Yin Yoga session, which was magical. I fell asleep.
video

Total Distance: 19.24 miles
Average Pace: 8:57 per mile (Wahoo!)


Last Week's Goals:
  1. Try out my new eating plan, a la miss new dietitian. COMMIT to it. Be okay with being a little hungry every once in a while. (Medium. Added in her suggestions, but my weight is in maintenance mode. Still a work in progress.)
  2. Take a class at the gym (yoga? non-core weights?). Does anyone have any ideas for things that won't irritate my lumbar spine? (Rocked it! Rejoined my yoga studio from two years ago, zero regrets.)
  3. Work on accepting that this week is a week of healing. (Done and done. Listened to my body, used heat and ice, took it somewhat easier than usual, feeling MUCH better.)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Run three times.
  2. YOGA YOGA YOGA.
  3. Track calories religiously this week (contrary to dietitian's suggestions). I've got to get past this gain/maintain hump and start losing, again.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

App Review: Rock My Run

A few weeks ago, a representative from RockMyRun contacted me and asked if I'd try out their app on a few of my runs. I was immediately pumped; anyone else who has forgotten to update their running playlist on iTunes for the last six months can probably relate. I think I've heard most of these songs at least 100 times in varying order.



RockMyRun is an app that allows you to download DJ-created mixes to listen to while you're getting in an awesome workout. You can search for mixes by genre, length, BPM, whether or not there are explicit lyrics, and popularity among users. I chose a few different mixes to get a sense of the app, and definitely left impressed!

My first run with the app was going to be a solo half marathon along the Burke Gilman trail in search of beer and pretzels. I opened the app on my phone, found a mix that would be long enough for the duration, and clicked "play."



OH SHOOT. I realized I hadn't downloaded the mix to my phone while it was hooked up to my at-home wifi. Instead, the app started streaming the mix (awesome) which would've cost a bit more on my phone bill than I would've liked (not awesome). I made a mental note to download a bunch of mixes to my phone when I got home and gave my old running mix one last play.

My next run was a 4-miler, and I decided I wanted to make it a tempo run (faster second half). I chose Alternative Power, an hour long mix that would build in BPM to *hopefully* help me increase my pace without thinking too much about it.

Holy wow, it totally worked! Not only was the mix excellent (this girl loves Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Muse, and pretty much every other group featured), but the transitions between songs were seamless and my pace was definitely quicker during the second half of my run. In fact, I was so jazzed during the run that my 4-miler turned into a 5.3-miler with zero mental complaint on my part.


I've also listened to the RunChat Fan Mix and Girl on Fire on shorter runs, and I'll check another out tomorrow on my 10-miler. I maintain that Alternative Power is the best of the bunch; RunChat had some wonky transitions and the song selection just wasn't my fave for Girl on Fire, but the surprise of not knowing what would come next definitely added a little pep to my step.


Check the app out! There are two tiers of membership, with the 60+ minute mixes requiring a premium membership ($2.99/month). Let me know what you think, friends!

Do you have a go-to running playlist? If so, what song is the one you're always looking forward to?


Whenever the main title from "Game of Thrones" (by Ramin Djawadi) comes on, I pick up the pace just a tad. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Running Reflection: Not Even Close.

Sunday.

Easter Sunday.

Usually the day I sit down and revisit my workout calendar, checking pace, mileage, and whether or not I'm really giving training my all. I look forward to the process, love receiving feedback, and enjoy checking out similar posts by others. Celebrating our own goals, the setting of them, meeting of them, or total obliteration of them, is one of life's greatest joys.

This week, I did not meet my goals.

Not a one.

Not even close.

Remember back when I mentioned tweaking my lumbar spine right before running the Seahawks 12k? In my head I constantly play a mantra of, "It'll get better on its own. It'll be fine in a few days." This is how I deal with most pains, and for the most part, that's really what happens. I heal. I recover. I press on.

Not this time.

This week has been one where I've had to accept that I probably should not be running when I have no idea what is causing this consistent pain. I've been reading Twitter feeds on the Boston Marathon expo, wanting to join the running community in my own way by running along the beach on my family's Easter vacation... and didn't. I could have. I would've felt better emotionally if I had. But I didn't.

Instead, I:
  • Visited my new dietitian (my normal one is on maternity leave) to come up with a new diet/exercise plan since I've been 7-8 pounds above my norm for the past two months.

  • Tried on my new ProCompression marathon socks! I won these during a #bibchat hosted by BibRave and they're stunning (and super comfy). I wore them when I went...

  • Clam digging! Every year, my family drives to the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington for Easter Weekend. Welcome to Washington beaches: rainy, cold, and gray. We love it! One traditional part of our weekend is waking up super early, piling on rain gear, boots, and gloves, and digging clams for chowder. Obviously it's a blast, despite the sand blasting your face. :)

  • Dyed Easter eggs. A friend asked me today if I didn't think I was too old to dye Easter eggs. Is there such a thing as being too old to turn your fingers colors while you experiment with mixing hues?

  • Baked these darling little orange cream cupcakes.
It was a wonderful weekend, a recuperative two days with family on a windy, cold beach. I read, I walked, I visited the most odd little curios store around (Marsh's Free Museum). I didn't run.

While I'm hurting and upset that I can't reach my goals, this week, and while I'm incredibly excited about my doctor's appointment this Friday, I can still say that I spent my time well.


Goals for Next Week:
  1. Try out my new eating plan, a la miss new dietitian. COMMIT to it. Be okay with being a little hungry every once in a while.
  2. Take a class at the gym (yoga? non-core weights?). Does anyone have any ideas for things that won't irritate my lumbar spine?
  3. Work on accepting that this week is a week of healing.


What has been the best way you have coped with an unexpected injury while training? Do you have any advice to help me out with my goals?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liebster Award Nominee!

My buddy Jeremy over at Confessions of an Amateur Athlete is one of those blogfriends who just kills it when it comes to helping people connect with others who have similar interests. Y'all should totally check him out; his blog is upbeat, REAL, and has tons of awesome tips about running in the crazy Arizona heat.

confessionsofanamateurathlete.blogspot.com
Yeah, I think I'll stay in Seattle!

Today Jeremy let me know that he nominated me for a Liebster Award, a super cool award from bloggers to bloggers. Being so new to this blogging world, I'm incredibly tickled that Jeremy thought of me when he created his list of nominees.


As with many things internetically related (that's totally a word), the Liebster Award has several rules that need to be followed in order to perpetuate its awesomeness:

  1. Thank the blogger who presented the award and link back to their blog (done!).
  2. Answer the 10 questions the blogger asked of you (workin' on it).
  3. Nominate 10 different bloggers.
  4. Ask 10 different questions to the nominees.
Time to get down to business!

Nominee Questions:


1. Tell us what your blog is about!  
  • I'm still working on defining my focus for my blog, but it originated out of desperation. This winter, I realized I wasn't dedicated to training, I wasn't motivated to go outside and get miles in, and I was just feeling blah. I thought connecting to other runners would help me out, and holy wow it sure has!
2. What made you want to start blogging?
  • Oops! I kind of answered this one in my first question! That's what I get for not pre-reading the questions. Bad teacher! Checking out other run blogs definitely inspired me; Hungry Runner Girl is one of my favorites because Janae writes in such a colloquial "girlfriends" way. I feel like I know her!
3. What's your favorite way to stay active?
  • Hiking! The Pacific Northwest is just so incredible. I constantly am reminded of how lucky I am to live here.


  • Races of various lengths. I enjoy a 5k fun run as much as I enjoy a half marathon!
4. If you could have dinner with ONE person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
  • My grandpa. He passed away when I was 6, but I remember him as a truly gentle soul. I would love to get the chance to talk with and learn from him as an adult.
5. Waffles or Pancakes?  Favorite topping?
  • Why do I have to choose? I refuse to choose. And the best topping will always be strawberries and peanut butter. NOM.
6. One guilty pleasure of yours after a tough workout/run.
  • A pint and a pretzel. You'll often find me at Redhook Brewery after a long run on the Burke-Gilman Trail. :)
7. What's one fitness activity you haven't tried, or don't do often, that you'd like to try?
  • I want to get more into rock climbing. It's agonizing for your muscles (in a good way) and I've LOVED the few times I've gone, but I've never made it a part of my routine.
8. If you could only eat ONE thing for the rest of your life... what would it be?
  • Pancakes. Okay. I guess I chose.
9. Describe your dream vacation.
  • Anywhere with history! This summer, I'm backpacking through Scotland for a week before flying down to Paris to visit with a former mentor of mine. I love getting a feel for the people and culture by immersing myself in it, and wish I had more opportunities to do so.
10. Favorite blog post?

Now it's my turn to nominate some friends!

  1. Lindsay over at Lindsay On The Go.
  2. Jon and Don at Gametiime.
  3. Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl.
  4. Monica over at Run Eat Repeat.
  5. Paul at Bagtown Blogtrotter.
  6. Crystal at Mommy Runs.
  7. David at Running Because.
  8. Krissy at Shiawase Life.
  9. Amelia at Entirely Amelia.
  10. Michelle at Michelle the Runner.

Your Super Serious Questions:


  1. Do you have a tattoo? If so, is it visible when you run?
  2. What's your favorite during/post-run hydration?
  3. If you could tell every runner this one safety tip, it would be...
  4. What's the funniest thing that has happened to you while on a run?
  5. Do you jump out of bed ready for your long runs, or is it more of a process?
  6. What was the biggest nutrition mistake you made before a run?
  7. Do you want some chocolate right now?
  8. Do you have other places you'd like people to check out you (ie: Instragram, Facebook, Twitter)?
  9. If you aren't running on a sunny day, what're you up to?
  10. What's the last AWESOME book you read?
Thanks again for the nomination, Jeremy! Toodles!

UPDATE:

I was nominated again by Darilyn of Time to Just Get Moving, who is on a quest avoid the dreaded "Accountant flat-butt" (that made me laugh so hard!). Thanks for the nom, Darilyn! Here are questions she posed, and my answers:

1.  Favorite piece of fitness/exercise gear and why?

Ooh, this is a good one! I'm a pretty avid hiker, and as a bit of an "emergency preparedness nut" I always bring way too much stuff with me in a backpack (ie: several liters of water, trail mix that would last me a day if need be, first aid kit, multitool, extra socks, rain slicker, waterproof matches and case, RoadID, paracord bracelet, and on and on). My backpack was always an old school bag, which was no big deal. For my birthday last year, though, my dad gave me this beautiful thing:

Osprey Mira 26
I now understand the amazing capabilities of hydration packs. :) I'm actually taking my pack with me to Scotland this summer for a backpacking adventure!

2.  Do you like to workout in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening?


If I didn't already wake up so early for school, I'd get a workout in beforehand whenever possible. I am a total morning person, and on the weekends I'm usually out of bed by 7:30am to get my morning workout in. :)

3.  What is the goal that you want to reach by the end of 2014?


I'd like to beat my half marathon PR by the end of 2014. I also contemplated tackling my first full marathon, but knowing I'd be out of the country for three weeks this summer made me feel like I'd regress in my training too much to make it. I'm definitely planning on running the Bellingham Bay Marathon in September of 2015, though.

4.  What is your go-to post-workout snack?


Scrambled eggs, toast, and peanut butter. Usually while that's cooking, I've got fruit or crackers in my hands, too. I like fast, filling and hopefully nutritious.

5.  What has been your hardest training moment so far?


For me, battling injuries has been rough. Every few months I have something that just stops me in my tracks. I'm realizing the importance of assessing my running shoes for wear, and also taking it easy on myself when I'm hurting. Here's to a more body-conscious spring!

6.  How do you find time to fit in training?


Well, I'm single. Done.

7.  How do you train in extreme weather (cold, heat, rain, wind, etc)?


You mean the daily weather span of a Seattleite (sans the "heat")? I learned early on not to try to wear a rain jacket (hello, inside-the-jacket sauna!), and that layers are awesome until you overheat. I'm going to write up a guest blog post sometime this week on my tips for training in the rain, but my biggest tips are: hat, sunglasses, arm layer, long socks, and BodyGlide.

If I was picky about weather, I'd only make it through 20% of my runs!

8.  How do you respond to people who ask you "Why" (i.e. why on earth would you sign up for that event?!)?


"Because I can."

9.  What are you top 3 workout songs?


I LOVE classical music (always have, always will). My running playlist has "Duel of the Fates" from Star Wars: Episode 1, "Concerning Hobbits" from The Fellowship of the Ring, and "Spontaneous Me" by Lindsey Stirling. Oh, and the "Game of Thrones Theme" too. That one makes me feel hardcore when I'm running in aforementioned bad weather.

10. What has been your favorite event so far?


I've enjoyed both races I've run with my dad the most. Signing up to run a race with him, training for it, prepping the night before, and then having a buddy at the race is just so different from my previously-solo adventures. I'm so proud of him, and that pride just makes me float whenever we run together.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Running Reflection: April 7th - 13th, Seahawks 12k Recap, AND Giveaway Winner Redrawn!

This last week has been my school district's Spring Break (thank goodness!), and it turned out to be a bit of a crazy one for several reasons:

1. After six years, I finally buckled down and scheduled an appointment with a new cardiologist. Why?
    • I was born (like many babies) with a ventricular septal defect (ie: a hole between my ventricles). Ain't no thang, and the biggest way it has changed my life thus far is I've gotten real up close and personal with cardiologists and I have to take antibiotics more often than most people to prevent infections moving to my heart.
    • The real impetus behind this appointment (which I'm supposed to schedule every three years) was because every few months (with increasing frequency) my heart has been going into tachycardia (rapid heart rate) at the beginning of a workout/run/etc. Upwards of 210 bpm, not even CLOSE to where it should be based on my perceived effort. It gets up high, stays there for a few minutes (while I just sit down and try to catch my breath), and then suddenly it's back to normal. Super weird.
Anyway, I spent the first few days of my break getting to know my new cardiologist (super great guy), getting an EKG done and then having someone ultrasound my heart (echocardiogram).


All should be fine and dandy, but I don't get to hear the results until Wednesday. I'm hoping my cardiologist prescribes that fancy new Garmin heart rate monitor. :) Think my insurance will go for that?

2. In other news, I ran my second race of the year, the Seahawks 12k in Renton, WA. Before I go into that, though, let me tell you all about how I tweaked my lumbar spine picking up my laundry at 6:15 this morning. I actually spent a few moments (okay, hours) wondering if I'd be able to run the race, and was stressing. Once I picked up my race packet, I spotted a few chiropractors setting up their tents and asked for help and advice. 


They gave me a few stretches to try out, and then my race buddy showed up... and he just so happens to be a physical therapist (lucky me!).


A few more stretches, a chair massage at The Balanced Athlete, and I eventually felt like I'd be able to push through those 7+ miles of Seahawks spirit.

Today was absolutely beautiful, with perfectly sunny weather. The race organizers told us 10,000 people were registered (there was a 5k option, too), and you could TELL. Hello, congestion. 



They released us in four waves, and Trevor and I were weaving through people for the entire race. We probably should've started in an earlier wave, but with my back being all funky I had no idea how fast I'd be able to push it!

The unofficial results are in, and Trevor and I rocked out those 12k in 1:10:20, at a 9:12 pace. This was the first longer-than-a-5k race I'd run since July, and I'm so glad I signed up. It was a blast!

3. I've gotten a few emails about the Spartan Race giveaway, and it's been a week since the winner was announced. Since I haven't heard from her, I've redrawn our race winner - the races are filling up! 

Congratulations to SANNY KIM! Please contact me (runlikeabird@gmail.com) by April 20th (12pm PST) to claim your prize.


Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Weight circuit and 50 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Tuesday: 5.3 miles / 8:50 pace. Rocked negative splits using the RockMyRun App! Look for an app review next week once I have some more opportunities to use it.
  • Wednesday: Double Workout!
    • 50 minutes on the elliptical.
    • 5.5 miles / 8:36 pace. Kept up with the big kids during Wednesday's group run out of Everyday Athlete in Juanita. A Brooks rep came and let us all try out their shoes for the run, which was EXCELLENT.
  • Thursday: Took the pup I was housesitting out on a 3 mile walk. No intense workout after Wednesday's two-a-day.
  • Friday: 8.89 mile hike to Dirty Harry's Balcony with my buddy Keri. It was BEAUTIFUL.

  • Saturday: 50 minutes on the elliptical.
  • Sunday: Seahawks 12k! According to Nike+, 7.7 miles / 9:10 pace.

Total Distance: 
18.58 miles
Average Pace: 8:54 per mile


Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run three times. (Met it!)
  2. Run 20 miles (didn't meet this one) and rock the Seahawks 12k on Sunday (met it!)!
  3. At least one weight circuit. For real this time. (BOOM!)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Run three times.
  2. Come up with a plan with my cardiologist to figure out what's up with my heart rate.
  3. 14 miles on my long run.

Who raced this weekend? Tell me about it!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Running Reflection: March 31st - April 6th AND Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Reebok Spartan Race giveaway over the last week! It was so fun to host the first giveaway on my little fledgling blog, and reading all of your reasons for wanting to flex those Spartan muscles was inspiring.

Using the powers of the internet, the randomly-chosen winner was (and I promise everyone's name was on there, the window only fit the first ten contestants before I needed to scroll to add more):


Jane Thompson!

Congratulations Jane! Email me at runlikeabird@gmail.com for your race registration code. :)


Here's how my week of training went:
  • Monday: Graduate school is back in session! Rest day.
  • Tuesday: 3.01 miles / 10:32 pace. Ran with my teacher buddy again this Tuesday. :)
  • Wednesday: 3.19 miles / 8:55 pace. I led (I LED!) the run group along one of my favorite Juanita routes. Having fun not feeling like the newbie, anymore.
  • Thursday: Was feeling "off," didn't go to the gym liked I'd intended. Realized why when I woke up on Friday with a sore throat. :(
  • Friday: Still not feeling great, went on a walk with my parents before family dinner night.
  • Saturday: 13.11 miles / 9:26 pace. Made it back up to half marathon distance despite still having the crud.

  • Sunday: Solo hiked up to Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain! 7.4 miles of awesome.

Trying out a new fuel. Lauren's Mega Nuts (aka: Peanut Butter Booyah) was the perfect mid-ascent treat to keep me going.


My expression when I got to the top to find myself socked in with fog.

Luckily, the fog cleared enough for some paragliders to take off... and promptly disappear.
Total Distance: 19.31 miles
Average Pace: 9:31 per mile


Last Week's Goals:
  1. Run three times. (Met it)
  2. Run 20 miles with a long run of 13.1. Let's rock a half marathon next weekend! (Almost met the mileage, but definitely hit the long run goal!)
  3. At least one weight circuit, girl. (Oops.)

Goals for Next Week:
  1. Run three times.
  2. Run 20 miles and rock the Seahawks 12k on Sunday!
  3. At least one weight circuit. For real this time.

How has the spring weather (or lack of) changed your training, this week? Do you have any favorite activities you're looking forward to getting into as the weather warms?