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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cranky Amy Writes A Cranky Post

While you might think that someone who has done basically nothing (except go to restorative yoga) all day should be able to gather the gumption to write a weekly review on her blog... it's slow going. Were I to write my weekly review AND sneak in some details about the Snoqualmie Valley Half that I ran yesterday, it'd be poorly written and maybe cranky sounding, but apparently that's how I roll when I'm busy icing a sore knee.

I'll work on that post when I'm feeling chipper and ready to share! Until then, check out my favorite website for finding new races:


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Running Reflection: June 9th - 15th

This time of year is always one of mixed emotions. I said "goodbye" to my last group of kiddos this last Tuesday, and while I am so incredibly ready for a summer of sleeping in past six in the morning, reading books meant for people my age, and getting my workouts done in the morning hours (I am so not an afternoon/evening exerciser!), I already miss my students. By June we've got our routines figured out, we're productive, and we know each other so well. We can share freely and are open to listening to others around us. June students are hard to let go of; you've spent so much time helping them shape themselves into these amazing human beings!

While I can use the excuse of after school meetings and general exhaustion to make me feel better about my lackluster workouts this week, I'm getting to the point where I don't feel like I need to make excuses. On Wednesday, when the only excuse for me to not workout was that my oil change took way too long and I was ready for dinner by the time it was over, I reminded myself that a missed workout was not going to ruin all of the progress I've made over the last few years.

I can survive a missed workout. I can survive an intense workout. My body can adapt.

Here's to a summer "vacation" of exploring this remarkable world and getting a few more workouts in during the week. :)

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: 65 minutes of Hatha yoga
  • Tuesday: No workout, 3 hour meeting after school where I drew this picture of Mount Pilchuck (while listening intently, of course):

  • Wednesday: No workout.
  • Thursday: 60 minutes of Power yoga. I am beyond amazed that I made it to this class after a 9 hour workday and a 3.5 hour CPR/First Aid class. I vote that this makes up for my failure to do any training runs during the week, this week!
  • Friday: No workout. I did, however, pack up all of my things in one of my two classrooms and move them to a different classroom at my school. That counts, right? My arms and back say that counts.

  • Saturday: 9.79 miles / 9:23 pace. My buddy Trevor ran with me, this weekend! This was my last "long run" before next Saturday's half marathon. Feeling good about it, despite the lack of training over the last two weeks.
  • Sunday: Family Father's Day hike up to Poo Poo Point! 7-8 miles of steady inclines, and I got the chance to test out my new gaiters, boots, and trekking poles!

Total Distance:  9.79 miles
Average Pace:  9:23 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Yoga twice (I've got two more sessions to use up by the 14th). (Met it!)
  2. Run 10 on Saturday. (Almost!)
  3. Father's Day hike with my family. (Rocked it!)
  4. STAY AWAY FROM THE CLASS PARTY SNACKS! (I'm actually super proud of myself for this one. The end of the year parties - I host four, one for each of my classes - can be brutal on my waistline!)
Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Try out my new Jaybird Sport BluebudsX headphones on my next training run. (Review to come!)
  2. Kick some serious booty at the Snoqualmie Valley Trail Half Marathon on Saturday.
  3. One 4-5 mile run, one 3 mile run. C'mon girl. Get with it.

If you could receive any one piece of fitness-related gear, what would you choose?

I won this pair of Jaybird Sport BluebudsX headphones last week for participating in The Golden Natives' Instagram contest! I've been eyeing them for a while, but couldn't fathom actually purchasing them for myself. I cannot WAIT to try them out on my next run!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Running Reflection: June 2nd - 8th

Every year, my students and I hold an end of the year event for my entire program (ie: all four of my classes of kids). We invite our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings, principals, teachers; anyone and everyone interested in seeing what the kids got up to in our classroom every week.

The day before the event, I always camp out at my parents' house after school and my mom and I bake 6-8 of our famous jello cakes. These cakes are always by request: my students are in my program for multiple years, so they always ask, "Are you going to make those cakes again, Ms. H?"

The next day, I have parent volunteers (along with my amazingly helpful and generous parents) come to school right after the kids get out to set up the commons. We put up all of the student work (in this case, original invention prototypes/models and a tri-fold posterboard describing the process to create said model). Every year we have over 200 guests at the event, and every year I am so so proud of the work my students share.

The reason I'm sharing this prior to my running reflection is that I didn't get my desired number of workouts in, this week. I knew it going into the week, and while past Amy would've gotten stressed about how it would impact my training and my weigh-ins, this year I wasn't worried about it. I'm becoming more confident in my body's ability to adapt and deal with a few missed workouts, and that is something I need to celebrate.

Preferably without jello cake. :)

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Jello Cake Baking Madness! (I always forget to snap a shot before digging in!)
  • Tuesday: Invention Convention

  • Wednesday: Confession: I was so beat after Tuesday's insanity that I went home, watched two episodes of Chicago PD, and fell asleep.
  • Thursday: 4.00 miles / 8:20 pace. Forced myself to finally get moving after hosting  (and cleaning up after) a colleague's retirement party. So glad I got this workout in.
  • Friday: Instead of working out... Mom and I went to "Once" at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.
I pretty much spent the whole time wishing I were back in Dublin. #wanderlustproblems
  • Saturday: Here's where the workouts got impressive! A few friends and I hiked Mt. Pilchuck (5.4 miles, 2200 ft elevation gain) on Saturday morning! The first half was beautiful wooded trails, the second half was a fairly steep snow ascent. Yaktraks were definitely needed.
Typical apple-in-mouth pose!

Panoramic view at the top! We had 360 views from Mt. Baker, west to the Olympics, south to Rainier, and east to the Cascades. Remarkable.

First glissading attempt! For more awesome hiking photos, check out my buddy Keri @hikelikeagirl on Instagram!

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I was constantly coming up with Lord of the Rings references throughout this adventure.

  • Sunday: 12.02 miles / 8:59 pace.
Sent my buddy this selfie halfway through my run, since he was with a group of bikers heading my way. Lucky me, we met for beer and food at Redhook after our workouts.

Total Distance: 16.02
Average Pace: 8:49 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Monday/Tuesday: Focus on preparing for Tuesday's end of the year event. I'm not going to worry about getting my workouts in until Wednesday. (Hahaha... or THURSDAY!)
  2. Wednesday: 5 miles. Thursday: yoga and/or 3-4 miles. Sunday: 10-12 miles. (Close.)
  3. Go on a hike! (Done and done!)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Yoga twice (I've got two more sessions to use up by the 14th).
  2. Run 10 on Saturday.
  3. Father's Day hike with my family.

What happens when life makes you miss your workouts? Do you stress about it or just let it go?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Running Reflection: May 26th - June 1st

This was a week of getting back into the groove! While I've been battling a chest cold, I've still managed to make it out for most of my runs and hit the distance I hadn't been able to work on as much last week. Thank goodness.

That beautiful golden orb in the sky sure hasn't hurt my chances of getting out there and soaking it in.

Here's how my week of training went:

  • Monday: Lazy day. Was feeling too sick for a run, went for a walk instead.
  • Tuesday: 65 minutes Hatha yoga.
  • Wednesday: Ladies Night with Oiselle at Everyday Athlete! 3.28 miles / 8:47 pace

  • Thursday: 4.02 miles / 8:23 pace. This was my ENERGYbits trial run! For a chance to win a free sample of ENERGYbits, check out my giveaway.
  • Friday: Walk after family dinner.
  • Saturday: Group run with Eastside Runners. Somehow I always end up being one of few who choose the longest route, and none of the other distance runners run at my pace, so I tend to run on my own and meet everyone for breakfast. This is especially amusing when I'm lost and need to check a map every five seconds. 9.42 miles / 8:44 pace

Luckily I was able to check my map on Nike+ and compare as I ran. PHEW!
  • Sunday: Hike up Little Si with my dad. 4.8 miles of wilderness.

After our hike, we stopped by one of my dad's friends' houses to check out their grumble of pugs.

Total Distance: 16.72 miles
Average Pace: 8:40 per mile

Last Week's Goals:
  1. Yoga. (YEP!)
  2. Try to hit 10 miles next Saturday. (Close. There wasn't a 10 mile route, and I was pretty much done at 9.4 anyway.)
  3. Go on a hike! (YES!)

Goals for Upcoming Week:
  1. Monday/Tuesday: Focus on preparing for Tuesday's end of the year event. I'm not going to worry about getting my workouts in until Wednesday.
  2. Wednesday: 5 miles. Thursday: yoga and/or 3-4 miles. Sunday: 10-12 miles.
  3. Go on a hike!

Do you run with a group? If so, do you tend to find "running mates" who match your distance desires & pace? If you could describe your perfect run buddy, what would they be like?