Summer Goals – A Mix of the Past and the Present

Boston 2 Big Sur feels so long ago but occasionally, I like to just reminisce on the whole experience and the road that lead me there.

I think about all the strategies I used to pull me out of my down times. 

I think about all the doubt I had.

I think about how I will use this whole experience as a lesson. 

I think about how this will teach me to not overstress. 

But let’s be honest… I still stress….I still worry…. and the thought of Chicago and NYC training being right around the corner makes me cringe a bit.

…Not because I don’t want to train hard but because right now I feel something I haven’t felt in a while.  I feel GOOD. I don’t have to worry about a long run lingering over my head for a week.  I train the way I want. I run when I want.  I strength train when I want.  I go to hot yoga when I want. I rest when I want.

 

IMG_2037
Jumped into Murph with my friend

Lately, I have been doing two workouts a day just because I love not having a schedule and just doing a little bit of everything.  However, my body sent me a friendly reminder that I was starting to overdo it.  I listened, rested and was able to resume training with swapping hot yoga or strength with a massage or yin yoga.

I do love ‘Long Run Sunday’ and the excitement/fear/sense of accomplishment associated with the long run but I have been loving my new Sunday lineup…

IMG_8514         FullSizeRender 19

A short run around my hot yoga studio and end right in time (always a couple minutes late because you can never plan a run JUST right) for some vigorous flow.  I am not sure what sounds appealing about ending a run, walking into a 115 degree room and being suffocated by the heat…but I like the challenge and I try to remind myself that this tactic will help when I am struggling for air in the final mile(s) of a race….or maybe not and this whole thing really is crazy. But I enjoy the fun mix of everything.

This past Sunday, I ran in the Ribfest 5-miler with my running team and we placed third despite the heat and humidity.  You know that whole run/hot yoga tactic I just talked about??…yeahhhh..it didn’t work its magic when I was riding the mile 4 struggle bus in the race haha.

img_2230.png

I wish I could have contributed more to the team and clocked a time much closer to what I ran 3 years ago but I was proud with my 35:08. (I ran 32:24 in 2014!! WHO WAS I??)

My pace was respectable given my recent focus on just having fun with training but it did light a fire under me and got me thinking about some summer goals.  The past 3 years have been very marathon focused.  After a marathon, I would give myself a few weeks to rest/have fun with training but would quickly find another marathon to sign up for and would be back to marathon training.  With NYC and Chicago in the fall, a summer marathon is a definite NO.  The thought of not going back to San Francisco makes me a little sad but I am excited to set summer goals that are not just logging long runs and running a marathon.  Over the last 3 years I have improved greatly in the marathon and 26.2 will always be a favorite because of the dedication and mental strength it requires.  Although I have improved in the marathon over the last 3 years, I have slowed significantly in other distances.  I haven’t come close to my 10k PR of 37:31 that was set over 3 years ago and my half marathon PR of 1:26.34 seems unfathomable these days.

I’ve been scrolling back in my Instagram to see how I trained to get these times and the only significant and noticeable difference is that every run posted had an average pace of 7:10 – 7:30. Anything higher would have been considered slow.  NOTE** I only ran 3 times a week like I do now and did Crossfit and other forms of cross training on the other days.   If you just run everyday then YES…make sure you have easy runs.  For me, having the 3 days of running be key workouts was very important.  When I took the leap of faith into marathon training, the miles took priority of the quality and I drifted away from those key workouts.  However, I DID bring back some of these key workouts in the month before Boston this past year.  To save my hip from the miles, I decided to make my mid-distance run more of a shorter tempo run and found that my overall paces started to improve.  Instead of running 10 miles at an easy pace, I would do 5 or 6 miles at 7:00-7:20 pace (including warmup and cooldown) and I felt much stronger going into a 10k a couple weeks before Boston and then again IN Boston.

Another big difference was my final preparation before these shorter distance races.  I took the half marathon VERY seriously because at the time it WAS far for me and it WAS a big deal.  I tapered in the week leading up to every half and took extra rest days in the days prior to the race.  Ever since I started marthoning, I started to treat half marathons and 10ks difrerently.  I’ve developed a mindset of “It’s just a half so I don’t need to rest or taper.”  Every half marathon that I have run in the last three years, I have trained hard up until a day or two before the race and went into it as a workout or tune up.  Yes – a half marathon may seem short compared to the marathon but it is STILL 13 miles and if I want to run it fast and maintain a sub 7 pace, my legs need to be rested and ready to do so.  If I am not going to give my legs this rest then no matter how fit or well-trained I am, I will not get the times I used to when I tapered and prepared properly for the race.

As I start to draft some summer goals, I am planning to adopt some of my old training styles. I want to hit the track more frequently, include more tempo runs, and scale back my longs runs before I need to amp them up toward the end of August for my fall marathons. I want to have some goal 10ks and half marathons that I take seriously and taper properly.  August and September will be filled with miles so while I am free from a set schedule, I want to focus on having fun, building strength and pushing myself when I lace up.  And of course…I want to listen to my body and learn to chill out when the warning signs are being fired.

This can be especially hard in the summer because I have more free time..translation…more time to spend jumping into different workouts.  I love to workout in the morning and have the most energy at that time of day but when 4pm rolls around, I get another wave of energy.  I usually want to use this 4pm energy to get in an additional workout or a short run but I have learned through experience that if I make two-a-days a daily thing, my body will give me the overtraining warning signs.  I need to tackle the summer mindfully and make sure that I don’t go into ‘crazy mode’.

Here’s to a summer of enjoying the sun and time with family and friends, embracing the hot workouts, stepping up my speed work game and learning from my past whether it be from 3 months ago or from 3 years ago!

FullSizeRender (1)

“The past if your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.”

Christmas Craziness

Holy Moly.  I can’t believe my last post was Christmas Eve, 5 days ago!

I am pretty sure today was the first day I actually knew what day of the week it was since then.  The holidays were absolutely wonderful but man, I am excited to get back to a normal schedule.  I am still on Christmas break for another week so I guess MY schedule is not normal but I am OK with that.  I can feel routine simply by having other people’s schedule being back to normal.  SO, I thank all of you who are at work because it makes me feel routined 😉

My workouts may have been the only thing that remained normal this past week.  I think I depended on my crossfit WODS and my Hot Yoga sessions to keep me sane..and to work off those holiday indulgences…

Christmas morning looked a little something like this…

image

The best thing about running is it is always Open, you don’t have to worry about those limited holiday hours.  My 6am Christmas morning run was especially open, the roads were dead….thank goodness because my outfit was ridiculous.  A winter hat to keep my hair dry from the sprinkling rain, a tank top because it was somewhat warm, and spandex pants.  Yup. I think I was sending a sign to Santa to bring me new workout clothes 😉

Despite the perfect running weather, the run was not all that great. It was the first time running after I decided to take a week off for my tibia tendon pain. It felt fine for the first couple of miles but that did not last long.  After mile 2, it went downhill fast. Mile 5 was a fight against my body and my emotions. It was one of those runs where you are fighting to hit your mile goal even though you know that it is not worth it. But of course, I can type the logical thing to do but in the heat of the moment I wanted the miles. So, although I completed 6 miles before Christmas brunch, I knew that it would be the last run for some time.

On a brighter note, Christmas brunch with my boyfriend’s family was absolutely wonderful.  Eggs, bacon, toast, and a delicious fruit platter.  After breakfast and presents we headed over to my parents house for more presents.

image

 

Speaking of presents, check out this bad boy! A Ninja crock pot from my boyfriend’s parents.  We can’t wait to try this out! I have never really used one but have heard so many great things about them and have come across some really simple and delicious recipes using crock pots.  The idea of being able to start dinner in the morning and have it ready by the time I get home from Crossfit sounds pretty awesome.

How adorable is my mom!  She sewed my boyfriend a stocking that looks just like each of the family member’s stocking so he can “feel included”.

image

After some family fun, we were in dire need for a Christmas afternoon, food-induced nap before we were back at it for another family dinner.

One of the many desserts consumed at dinner just happened to be the revealing of the sex of my boyfriend’s sister’s baby!

image

IT IS A GIRL!..and a delicious cupcake.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were just filled with morning workouts/yoga, healthy meals throughout the day, lots of naps, and evening celebrations.  Last night I heard the line, “my waist is expanding like the national debt”…well said, ha ha.  I think many of us can relate to this…me included.

Although I am on vacation and allowed to sleep until late in the day, I decided to go to 7am Crossfit this morning.  I didn’t particularly enjoy waking up at 6:15 but I also did not want to have to wait to workout until the next class at 5:30 and it gives me the possibility to go for a walk or bike ride later in the day. YUP, a bike ride! The weather has been oddly warm, I was able to take my bike out for an afternoon ride on Friday!  One ride and my butt was sore..goes to show how biking activates so many different muscles.

However, that is NOT how this afternoon is being spent.  After a WOD that consisted of 100 overhead squats this morning and the realization that I haven’t taken a rest day since last Monday, I think it is time to rest up a bit.  No doubling up today.

image

Just one workout and one delicious bowl of oatmeal for me today!

Oh and one large Americano of course….

image

 

An Extra Rest Day and an Extra Ugly Sweater

Well hello, lets address some things…

1.  There is 1 day that stands between me and Christmas vacation.

2. I just finished Christmas Shopping

3.  I got to spend Sunday with my parents and relatives while watching my cousin perform in one of the funniest plays I have every seen

…I guess you can say things are going pretty great over here.

Friday’s are usually my rest days, as you can tell from my last post, but sometimes 1 day just is not enough…and the Christmas presents are not going to wrap themselves.

In the last two weeks I do not think there was a day where I wasn’t sore somewhere.  I am all for soreness – I like to associate the soreness with hard work and growth, but it is important to let the soreness alleviate so your muscles have the appropriate amount of time to repair.  Not to mention, you can’t give your workouts 100% if your body is still screaming from your last workout.

Despite the fact that my screaming quads are preventing me from today’s team WOD, I have to say.. it was totally worth it.  Saturday’s workout was brutally awesome. 5 rounds: 10 Bodyweight backsquats,  1 rope climb and 10 burpees.  Once I completed that, I did a little mini WOD of 50-40-30-20-10 situps with 10 airsquats between each round. AND when I completed that, I did a little ‘lay on floor for far too long’ WOD

image

Oh. the coaches are trying to pack up and go..I guess thats my cue

I was really hoping that this amazing post workout meal would work its magic and quickly repair my legs..

image

…no such luck. But it did work its magic on my taste buds.  Nothing like sweet cinnamon and coconut baked chicken, butternut squash and plain broccoli.

I also thought that an early morning 90-minute power hot yoga session would help alleviate the soreness.  Not only was this another “no such luck” response..I think it actually made me more sore. Darn, power yoga is tough.  Every time I am just about to come down from a holding position because my legs or arms are screaming, the yoga instructor spits out a line like, “THE ONLY THING LETTING YOU FAIL IS YOU.“…ugh, stop reading my mind! okay FINE. I’ll stay up and put up the fight.  I want to yell back at him sometimes, but he is so right.  Our minds have a tendency to stop us from pushing further even though our body can handle the fight.  If only we had a travel yoga instructor to carry with us and stop us from letting our mind take over. Oh right, that’s that thing called, willpower.  Anyways, it’s a great reminder for any situation.  Our mind and thoughts often try to get the best of us but it is only YOU who can let it previal.  Put up the fight and breakthrough the negativity.

Speaking of willpower… today I fought the urge to say DUH to every person that asked if I was participating in the school’s ugly sweater day..

image

Yes. Yes I am.

image

Because there is such a resembelence between that and casual Friday’s outfit.. haha

Hope everyone had a great Monday!… and remember WILLPOWER when you are about lose your mind while Christmas shopping 😉 There is much more to Christmas than shopping and gifts.

Running to a Podcast and Some R&R

 Hi!  Let me fill you all in on some things that are pretty great right now…

1.  It is almost Thursday therefore the weekend and Christmas break are getting closer! Awesome

2.  This is my current view/situation as I type this. There is something about Christmas lights that make everything better

image

 

What was not as relaxing as this view was listening to a murder story Podcast on my morning run in the 5am darkness…lets just say I was a little jumpy.

imageimage

There has been much commotion amoungst my friends about this Serial podcast so I figured I would give it a listen on this morning’s quiet run.  I never listen to anything BUT music and often wonder what it would be like to run to a book or story.  When it comes down to it, I never want to give up my 98 Degrees and NSYNC pandora (yup.  My station of choice) for a boring book so I have never tested out my curiosity.  However,  today I gave it a shot and actually really enjoyed it.  The podcast is suspenseful/engaging, you kind of just drift off into the suspense of the murder story and don’t really focus on the miles…or pace. Whoops. Kinda slow.  However, I think I would have enjoyed the run much more if my shin/interior ankle tendon was not hurting…

It is hard to not become immediately frustrated when this ongoing aggrivated ankle tendon just won’t go away.  But of course,  I expect it to go away yet decide to run 9 miles onSunday..smart.

I think it is time to do what needs to be done and take a break from running for a good week…

Though my passion for Crossfit, running AND hot power yoga can be challenging to balance, it has also been my savior when it comes to injuries.  It is great to know that when I need to take a break from one thing, I have something else to focus on and help steer me away from dwelling on the rest.  I may not be running this week but you bet I will be working on my strength at crossfit and really connecting my breathing and muscle movement while at Yoga.  Sometimes you need a break from one thing in order to grow at another.

I cannot stress enough how great it has been incorporating power yoga into my weekly exercise.  My muscles are getting the stretch they need/deserve, I have a space to sweat (profusely) the toxins out my body and I have 90-minutes where I can focus on nothing but connecting with my body and mind. On top of all that….IT IS HARD AS HELL.  For a strong individual like myself, there are many moments where it takes every ounce of willpower and fight to stay in a position.

After a week starting with deadlifts, 300 double unders yesterday and this morning’s run…tonight’s yoga really tested my ability to not let my mind pull me out of certain holds.  The pain was there but the perseverance was stronger!

And on an even better note, I had a delicious meal all cooked up when I got home..

image

I am a pretty lucky girl.

I guess that is what I get for cooking up a delicious stir-fry last night

image

which also served as a wonderful leftover at lunch today. Double win

In case you were all wondering, which you’re probably not…my oatmeal game continues to remain strong.

image image

Just a lovely Cinnamon Maca Chia oatmeal base boiled/cooked with a Sugar Cookie tea bag to add some flavor.  Topped with whatever I feel like throwing on from my shelf full of superfood toppings…goji berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, raw cacao nibs, almond slivers, hemp hearts.

That about sums it all up!  Hope  you all enjoy these last few work days before the Holidays 🙂

Yoga, Running and A Trip Down Memory Lane

How is it already Sunday?  Where have I been??

I am pretty sure today is the first time I am not sore since Tuesday’s front squat WOD.  I have to attribute some of that ease to today’s 90-minute hot power yoga session.  Man did I need that 90-minutes  for many reasons.  1.) I needed a solid stretch after a week of intense workouts and yesterdays 9 miler.  2.) I needed to sweat out the salt from yesterday’s Mexican date night!image

I figured it was obligatory to walk to the nearest juice bar after yoga and order a beet, kale, carrot, Spirulina, and bee pollen juice.  It was not very delicious but it felt good to get some superfoods in me after a not so healthy dinner.

Lets rewind to Friday. Fridays are my rest days so the extent of my workout was encouraging others to kick butt in THEIR workouts.  The track team that I am helping coach had their first meet on Friday night.  I forgot how long track meets are…especially on a Friday night.  Despite the excitement of cheering the team on, I definitely had some emotional moments.  I sometimes miss those high school glory days.  I often wish I could hop in a time machine and go back to my college years and then make a pit stop at my high school years.  My life has been far from perfect but I have a great past to look back on filled with many memorable moments with great people.  BUT the best part of all is being able to sit here today with a great past behind me AND a long road of future accomplishments ahead.  I am stronger, healthier, and faster than ever and this is just the beginning.

Okay that got a little intense.  Time to bring it back down to food and workouts of course.

image

Saturday morning was a perfect sun-shining morning with chilly but comfortable running weather.  My right ankle/calf tendon has been acting up a bit so I was not sure how far I would be able to go.  I stopped to massage it a few times on my run which seemed to help eas some discomfort.  I managed to get just over 9 miles done at a decent pace which was more than I expected but boy was my calf sore later in the day…

It may not have been the smartest move but hopefully with some TLC and today’s yoga, it will all be okay.

image

Post run was this strange hodgepodge of things…egg omelette, Ezekiel toast with banana and goji berries and cacao nibs sprinkled over it all.

image

Can’t help but do a close up on something so delicious

It has been another wonderful weekend and it ended with a perfect family lobster Sunday dinner 🙂 I am ready to take on this work week and then its only two more days until winter vacation!