Archive | March, 2012

And we’re off!

29 Mar

Travis and I are heading out this morning to go visit my oldest brother Jeremy and sister-in-law Jen, and their little baby J.

Who is adorable, might I add:

My parents are coming down too and they’re going to pick us up from the St. Louis airport (which was considerably cheaper than flying directly into Evansville, where J&J&J live).

I’m blessed to have an awesome family – Jen is the one in the pink sitting next to me and Jeremy is behind her in green.

Since Travis and I have been married almost 5 years and I’m one of the few of my friends left without kids, whenever I mention babies or am around newborns, people tell me “You’re going to catch the fever!” I usually just smile and nod. But what I really want to say is that I have already caught the fever and as of last Sunday, am officially done with birth control. My doctor said I should give myself 3 months without BC before we start trying to get pregnant, and since we want to start trying pretty much right after we get back from our Alaska trip on July 6ish, 3 months ended up being now. So there’s that! I am very excited about the next stage of life…

But I have 26.2 miles to run first!

Have a great weekend friends!

Keeping the wheels from falling off

28 Mar

Can you believe it’s almost the end of March? And that Easter is only a little more than a week away? Crazy, I tell ya.

Because of that, I thought I’d give another update on how my eating plan for Lent is going. When I first started tracking my food, I realized that my eating was haphazard. I already knew that I did well until about 4 pm and then ate everything in sight. A couple of weeks ago, I said that I was being more mindful of what I eat, but I was still struggling with emotional eating.

Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the wheels still fall off my eating habits around 4 pm, or more specifically, the minute I walk in the door after work. It probably doesn’t help that I plan what I’m going to eat on my drive home…

The problem is two-fold. The main issue is that I come home from work hungry. That is caused by either not bringing substantial enough snacks/lunch to work, or by eating my afternoon snack too soon after lunch, leaving me hungry by the time I go home. This whole ‘figuring out exactly what I will eat for the day at 8 am in the morning’ thing is tricky. Most days, I get it right. Other days, I totally underestimate (I guess I’m optimistic about my willpower early in the morning).

The other issue that causes the wheels to fall off is that I eat while trying to avoid doing what I know I should do. A couple of days this week, I came home from work and just didn’t want to run. While I was hemming and hawing and talking myself into putting my running clothes on already, I had a snack, almost always in the form of refined carbs. The things I crave the most often usually come in the form of cereal and white grains – bread, buns, tortillas. Usually topped with butter. Mmm…

My remedy to these issues is also two-fold. Stop coming home from work hungry and stop stalling by eating. (duh) To actually make these happen, I need to get creative. I’ve tried the whole “I’ll bring a snack for that afternoon slump” and eaten it at 10 am instead, because let’s face it, it’s the best snack I bring. I would totally be up for a salad then (because I’m still in love with salads right now) but my lungs vehemently disagree that a salad is good pre-run fuel. I’ve also thought about bringing a box of granola bars to stash in my office but that could be dangerous…

Anyway, the good news is that beyond my hunger-induced and distraction-providing eating snafus, I’ve been doing pretty well. Some victories: I went to a baby shower last Saturday, a situation which usually causes me to eat more than I should (I don’t know why, but for some reason, I eat more when I’m around people than I would by myself), and left feeling like I had eaten the perfect amount.

Travis wanted ice cream tonight and even though we went to Dairy Queen to get him something, I didn’t have anything because I honestly didn’t feel like ice cream. Funny how some people just naturally would choose that, but other people (like me) have to make that conscious choice – and it feels good.

And this isn’t a victory, per se, but more of an interesting observation. I’ve been keeping track of my calories since starting this journal (but not changing what I eat based on the number – it’s just for recording purposes) and have seen the amazing power of the body to regulate itself. Consider this: the average calorie intake for my “rough” week that involved quite a bit of emotional eating and made me feel gross was 2,398 calories a day. But that week was followed by a week that averaged 2,008 calories a day. The average for a month (2/27 – 3/25) was 2,203 calories a day. So even though I had a “bad” week, by listening to my hunger cues, my body corrected itself. That’s why I think it’s so easy for me to maintain the weight I’m at – it’s my “happy weight”, as they say.

Finally, to lighten up this copy-heavy post, here are some adorable pictures of my pooches:

Charlies likes to chew on blankets (naughty!), and she gets the blanket strands stuck in her floppy lips. It’s hilarious.

And Katy hates getting her picture taken. She refuses to look at the camera.

But she’s still cute.

That’s the blanket that Charlie gets stuck in her lips. It’s actually really cute because she likes to adjust her bed with her mouth. When I see her doing it, I’ll just sit there and watch her. If she sees me watching her, she’ll stop right away, like Crap, she saw me.

Do your pets have any quirky behaviors?

Training Recap: 3/19 – 3/25

26 Mar

I spoke too soon yesterday when I said I was back on track with my sleeping schedule… Last night, I went to bed at 9:30 but laid there for 30 minutes with non-stop thoughts running through my head (about running routes and my future long runs, no less). I decided to read for 30 minutes, which usually helps settle my brain. And it did, but I only got 7 hours of sleep instead of my intended 8. And every time I rolled over, I was concerned about smudging my nail polish, since I had just painted my nails before bed. Oh bother.

My training last week wasn’t completely according to plan either. I got all my miles in but only did strength training once and no cross training – unless washing windows counts? BUT the running is the most important thing and I’m still injury-free, having fun and living the dream. And that’s all that matters, right?

Monday: 3.04 mile tempo run (31:51; 10:28/mile)

This was supposed to be a nice, easy run but I ran with Travis, which always makes me run faster than I would alone because I feel so slow next to him! Even though I saw we were running faster than I had planned, I felt good so I just went with it.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5 mile hill/tempo run (58:03; 11:05/mile)

I had only planned to run 3 miles of hill repeats but when that was over, I didn’t want to stop running. I felt great and the weather was perfect – cloudy, cool, slight breeze. And since I was supposed to run 5 the next day anyway, I just decided to go for it while I was feeling good. I ended up having to change my clothes in the car while driving to women’s group but it was still the right call. 😉

For the hill workout, I did a 1 mile out and back warmup. The hill I ran is about .65 of a mile long with a gain of 250 feet. It kills me on the bike and on my feet.

For my first time up the hill, I ran hard for 15 sec and walked for 30, repeated until the top, and ran back down. The second time up, I ran hard for increasing increments: 10 sec hard, 20 sec rest, 15 sec hard, 20 sec rest, 20 sec hard, 30 sec rest. Repeated until I got to the top and ran back down.

Splits were a little off because I was using my Poor Man’s GPS again:
Mile 1 – 10:41
Mile 1.96 – 11:35
Mile 2.56 – 8:16
Mile 3.21 – 5:54
Mile 4.23 – 10:31
Mile 5.23 – 11:06

My legs were pretty tired by the end of the 5 miles but this was an awesome run.

Thursday: 3.24 mile easy-ish run (35:25; 10:56/mile) + Self strength workout

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 9.93 mile long run (1:49:43; 11:02/mile)

Another awesome run!

Sunday: 20 minute walk with pooches + 4.5 hours of cleaning (2 of which were spent washing windows)

I decided that getting my house in order before leaving town on Thursday and being able to see out my windows was more important than doing cross training. And my right arm is now way more defined than my left from all that scrubbing.

Total Running Miles: 21.44 (first time over 20 in this training cycle!)

{Side note: It may sound like I was getting all ambitious by washing our windows but the truth is: I haven’t done this since we moved in. And the majority of our windows have been replaced since then, meaning I had never washed them. It was a little overdue. Kind of like cleaning my oven. Next up: cleaning our carpet. It is DISGUSTING (and really just needs to be replaced, but we’re going to do that right before we try to sell because I know that our dogs – and maybe me – will ruin it between now and then. I just spilled my Mike’s on it the other night and created a nice big stain. Sweet.}


I can’t help but point out the difference in how my legs feel between my training recap a couple of weeks ago and this week’s. That recap, every run was accompanied by “My legs feel like crap.” This recap, every run was accompanied by “My legs feel awesome! Running is awesome! I heart marathon training!” I’m not so naive as to think I won’t encounter some discouraging twinges, cramps, and pangs in future runs, but my mindset is the same as how I’ve approaching this warm weather – I won’t make myself enjoy it less just because it might still snow. I’m going to live it up in the moment and if it snows, it snows.

Although, I would like to point out that this is the last week of March and it still hasn’t snowed. And if this weather forecast doesn’t say BOOYAH to all the warm-weather naysayers, then I don’t know what does:

Yes, I am very ready for summer.

 Are you ready for summer? What’s your favorite season? In Colorado, my favorite season is spring. There are no puddles or nasty snow to deal with, it’s warm but not hot, and best of all, it’s the season of tulips, Easter, and Russian Olive trees. I told Travis that I’m going to work remotely from a Russian Olive tree once they bloom. Seriously, the best smell in the world.

Back to My Long Run Roots

25 Mar

I woke up this morning at 7 am without an alarm clock, feeling well-rested and ready for the day. I love it when that happens! But I know it’s no stroke of luck – it’s the natural outcome of going to bed at a decent time. I finally feel back on track after a few weeks of hitting the snooze at least ten times every morning with the excuse, “I’m soooo tired.” Early bedtimes are where it’s at.

Yesterday, I did my first double digit long run for my official marathon training – 10 miles. I still feel like mixing things up and not just running my same old trail so for this run, I drove up to Boulder. The loop I ran was almost identical to the longest training run I did for my first half marathon – I adjusted it a bit since I wouldn’t be running to and from our old apartment (though I did still run by it).

I got up at 6:45 and left the house around 7:10, after getting my Camelbak loaded and watered, and eating a breakfast of 2 Kashi waffles with peanut butter and jelly. Since I am a morning runner at heart, I am loving my long runs early in the morning – right now, it’s the only run I get to do in the morning so it’s extra special. It doesn’t hurt that I get to go run in places like Boulder. Hello Flatirons:

I ended up running the loop in the opposite way I had originally planned because right as I parked the car, I realized I needed a bathroom break, now. So I ran to the nearest gas station and instead of backtracking, just continued on that direction.

It had been a fairly cool 45 degrees at my house,  so I was wearing my 2xU compression tights, a t-shirt, and a long-sleeve over that. It became apparent after about 30 seconds of running into the blazing sun that I did not need the long-sleeve. I decided that when I stopped to get my music started around mile 1.5 (when I got out of the high traffic area), I’d also remove my long-sleeve and tuck it into my Camelbak. So that’s what I did.

What I love about Boulder: So many trails. So many people. It’s a chicken/egg situation. Are there so many people out because the trails in Boulder are kick@$$? Or are the trails so awesome because so many people want to use them? I saw at least 5 running groups of 10-30 people out on this gorgeous morning, plus at least 50 other people, if not more. My hand got a little tired from waving (kidding).

Right before mile 2, I saw these sweeties:

I took a picture of them for Lisa from Cow Spots and Tales. Colorado cows! These little babies were so cute. Although they were a little scared of me and my phone. The one on the left was poised to dart away if I moved an inch closer.

I continued on after that picture, feeling great. My legs felt good. My lungs felt good. The weather was perfect. And I was running on the trails that hold so many great memories of moving out to Colorado and training for my first half marathon.

The first 6 miles were downhill and the last 4 were uphill, losing and gaining about 200 feet total. This slightly mimics the Platte River Half Marathon I’m doing on April 15 – it’s mostly downhill with one hill at the end (though that hill is not 4 miles long, thank goodness).

Boulder run elevation – but I ran it backwards

Platte River Half elevation profile

Since I was using my Poor Man’s GPS (mapping the route online and manually tracking my splits at memorized mile markers) and the route was 9.93 miles instead of 10, my first and last splits are about 30 seconds off. But regardless, I was very happy with my pace during this run:

1 – 9:55
2 – 10:25
3 – 10:48
4 – 10:57
5 – 10:26
6 – 11:41
7 – 12:00
8 – 10:59
9 – 11:55
10 – 11:32

Total Miles – 9.93

Total Time – 1:49:43 (11:05/mile)

{Side note: If I run this pace during the half in April, I will PR by about 5 minutes!}

Mile 6 was so slow because I took a Gu right as I finished Mile 5 (the one I tried this time was the Triberry flavor, and it was delicious) and even though gels are easier to consume than Shotbloks, they still make it hard to breathe while running. And then Mile 7 was so slow because…? I was dying? I could’ve used another gel at Mile 9, but with only one mile to go, and the $1.99 price tag for a gel in my mind, I decided that I’d muscle through. But it does give me a good idea of when I’ll plan on fueling during a race.

Even though Miles 6-10 were uphill, they had a lot of entertaining things to look at. For one, I was running toward the Flatirons. For two, there were prairie dogs everywhere. I took a bad picture of them for Heidi at run.around.aroo (I couldn’t get closer because they were also scared of me):

As I ran past their homes, I saw a couple of them wrestling, another one scratching himself, and came upon another one who was dragging some twigs and what looked like moss across the path to his home on the other side. But when he saw me coming along, he panicked and ran back to safety. I looked back a little after I had passed him, and he had made it safely to the other side. I think this is why I absolutely love animated movies, like Up and A Bug’s Life – I love imagining animals like prairie dogs with little personalities, habits, etc. that are unique to them. I mean, dogs and cats have them, so why not prairie dogs?

Right after that, I came upon this tribute to the prairie dog:

This also shows how nice the trails in Boulder are – these murals are in an underpass on the bike trail.

I also saw some ducks, several pretty birds, and lots of pretty flowers:

My excitement at seeing these, though, was tempered by the fear that it might snow again and kill all of them. That would be sad.

I ended my 10 mile run by stretching in the park, then changed out of my sweaty shirt and sports bra into a workout tank (which worked really well and I’m going to keep this in mind for future races), and ate some Pirate’s Booty and 2 clementines on my drive home.

I actually felt great after this run, no Epsom salt bath necessary – I was a little stiff getting out of the car after my 35 minute drive but after I got moving,  I felt great. I even ended up helping Travis with some yardwork (meaning I mostly stood there for moral support while he did the work) before I went to a baby shower. When I got home from that, I took the pooches on a walk and then took a much-needed hour-long nap. We grilled up some elk burgers for dinner and watched 3 DVR-ed episodes of NCIS (we’re so addicted right now), before calling it a night at 10:30. Oh, and I drank two Mike’s hard lemonades – the joy of Saturday night. I think this is going to be a trend.

Embracing my limits.

22 Mar

{source – a great blog that you should check out!}

I’m sure you’ve all heard the popular saying “No Limits.” People don’t like limits. We want to do it all, be it all, and have it all, and no one can tell us otherwise… including ourselves.

My perfectionist personality by definition struggles with this condition. Doing it right means doing it all. If I can’t do it all, I’m failing.

For years, I lamented that I couldn’t attain the standard I was striving for. There was always more I felt I should be doing, ways I was failing, things I should have been better at. Things I didn’t, in actuality, care about, but things I thought I should care about.

And here’s what God has been teaching me: I have limits. And I can embrace them.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be the sum of the character traits and attributes that I admire in other people. The things that I admire most about other people, I admire because I am not like that. For example, I admire people who have big-picture visions for companies, programs, plans, etc. They are doing important things that matter, and because I respect that, I start thinking that maybe I should be more like that. But then I start feeling discouraged and insufficient because… I just don’t think I could do that.

I’m a detail-oriented person. I love focusing on the tactical, how-does-this-actually-get-done kind of details, not the where-d0-we-go-from-here and what-is-our-1o-year-plan kind. It’s where I thrive, where I find my passion. When I’m looking at details, I can get lost for hours and realize I worked through lunch. That’s who I am. So it makes sense that I wouldn’t be a big picture type of person. And you know what? The world needs both kinds. If we were all big picture thinkers, nothing would ever actually get done. And if we were all detail-oriented, we’d all be working but not know what we were working toward.

I’m learning that my schedule also has limits. As much as I would love to be involved and volunteer more, I have come to accept that I can’t right now. That acceptance has been a long time coming. I always thought I should be able to “do more”, like those people who seem to be involved in everything. Over the past month or so, though, I’ve realized that not only am I a person who hates being incredibly busy, I also don’t have that much free time.

Take the typical work day: I wake up at 5:30 and spend an hour and a half reading the Bible and working on my book. Then I get ready for work, eat breakfast and am out the door by 8:30. I get home from work around 5:30, run, stretch, make dinner, watch maybe an hour of TV or read blogs, and go to bed around 9:00. If it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday, there’s a good chance we have a church meeting that starts at 6 or 7 and goes until 8:30. So there’s no bandwidth during the week for “more.”

That leaves the weekends. A month ago, I was still feeling like I wanted to be more involved, so I asked God to show me how I could get more involved at church on my very limited schedule. Not more than a week later, I was asked to do the graphic design for the Sunday morning overhead slides. A huge answer to prayer! I can create the slides on Saturday, when it works for me, and I still get to serve. Things were going well.

Then I was asked if I wanted to design some materials for a conference they’re putting on in April. I thought about it, and even though I wasn’t sure I had the time, I said yes. Ever since then, that project has been hanging over my head and stressing me out. Not because it’s going to be time-intensive necessarily, or because I don’t want to do it, but because I have stretched myself too thin.

I was complaining to God yesterday morning on my drive to work about how stressed and overwhelmed I felt. And as I told Him that, I realized that I felt that way because I had overstepped my limits. I have time and energy for creating the slides, but anything beyond that is adding too much. So I am going to finish designing these materials, but let them know that I can’t help out in the future, unless something changes.

God doesn’t intend for us to do it all. He doesn’t want us to even attempt to do it all, because all we achieve is running ourselves ragged and being stretched so thin we’re ready to snap like a dry rubber band. Why would we want to do that? I know for myself, I do it because I think I “should.” I should be busy, I should be serving, I should be giving.

This is just one more aspect of learning to walk with God through every moment of every day – learning that God will lead us into what we should be doing. We can stop worrying about the future. Stop worrying about the big picture. Focus on the moment. Leave the rest with God. Anticipate His blessing on our lives because Christ won Him over for us on the cross. And rest in His sovereignty in all things, His sufficiency for sin and failure, and His love for the people He created us to be.

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)

Do you accept your limits?

My Work Day in Pictures

20 Mar

I’m out of here, y’all.

What was the highlight of your day? My highlight was my morning coffee. It was especially good (and needed)! I went to bed at 9 and still woke up completely exhausted. Tonight, I’m going to bed right after dinner. No excuses. No exaggeration.

Training Recap: 3/12 – 3/18

19 Mar

Goodness, life is busy right now. All good stuff, but definitely making me look forward to visiting my brother, sister-in-law and nephew next week (and having 3 days off from work)!

I had a pretty good week of training, except that strength training got put on the backburner. I think I’m going to move my strength workouts to Sundays and Thursdays. I just never seem to make Monday happen.

Monday: 3.04 mile easy run (36:15, 11:55/mile)

Legs were exhausted and stiff. Even these 3 slow miles were a challenge.

Tuesday: 4 x 800 w/.5 mile warmup and .5 cool down (37:15 total)

Legs felt stiff and tired for the first .5 mile, then they felt better but still not 100%. First mile time was 9:52 including first 800. I did these 800s as fast as I could go – times were roughly 4:45, 4:44, 4:58, 4:24. After every 800, we walked for 2 minutes.

Got smart and wore my compression tights post-run.

Wednesday: Rest, wore compression tights to bed

Thursday: 3.97 mile tempo run (42:53, 10:48/mile)

Legs felt TONS better – still felt a little slow but overall, great run. Didn’t really push it though – acid reflux showed up.

Friday: Rest

I was tempted to do some yoga or strength training, but really want to start guarding Friday as a rest day for the sake of my long run.

Saturday: 9.09 mile hilly long run (1:42:49, 11:17/mile)

Sunday: 30 minute dog walk, 20 min bike, 20 min strength

It was really windy here yesterday, so not only was I not able to bike outside, my gym lost power so I couldn’t work out there either! So I set my bike back up on the trainer and then did the killer workout below from one of my old Self magazines. Seriously, I can barely lift my arms above my head and my back is ridiculously sore.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Total Running Miles = 19.14

What’s the last workout you did that made you ridiculously sore?

Another hilly long run.

17 Mar

I was actually looking forward to my long run today, but I kept waking up last night feeling nervous about the route, which looked like this:

The elevation chart says a gain and loss of almost 800 feet. I believed it all last night, and all this morning, until I just checked the lowest and highest elevations. It’s only a gain/loss of 400 feet. But I’m still feeling pretty good about this run. Why? Well, here’s the elevation profile of the Mayor’s Marathon (the race I’m doing):

From what I can tell, the Mayor’s Marathon starts at 200 feet above sea level, climbs to 550 feet over 15 miles, and then ends at about 100 feet – a total gain of 350 feet and loss of 450.

My run today start at 5500 feet above sea level, climbed to 5900 feet over 4.5 miles, and ended back at 5500 – total gain/loss of 400 feet (not to mention the additional 5000 feet above sea level). I climbed 50 more feet in less than a third of the distance. If I keep this up, I’m going to be kicking those hills’ a$$, instead of the other way around (which is the whole goal)!

Since my phone is crap and I still haven’t sprung for a Garmin, I used my husband’s Ironman watch for my run this morning, which allows you to track your splits manually. When I mapped out my route last night, I wrote down on a piece of paper where each mile split was (I didn’t end up needing the paper because apparently, I memorized them). Anyway, here they are:

Mile 1 – 11:42

Mile 2 – 11:27

Mile 3 – 11:38

Mile 4 – 12:00

Mile 5 – 11:46

Mile 6 – 10:18 (hello downhill!)

Mile 7 – 11:26

Mile 8 – 10:55

Mile 9 – 10:33

Mile .09 – 0:53

TOTAL – 1:42:49, average pace of 11:17/mile

For the first half mile, I debated about scrapping the route I had chosen. I was running uphill, into the wind and my legs felt crappy, even though I was wearing my 2XU compression tights (and had worn them to bed last night). I couldn’t see how I was going to run uphill for 4.5 miles and survive. But I didn’t stop and after a mile, my legs felt better.

The rest of the run was actually very enjoyable. I did have a few moments on the way out when I thought “My legs are so tired! I’m so sick of uphill!” But overall, I was distracted enough with remembering where each mile marker was and enjoying the gorgeous weather (60 and sunny!) that before I knew it, I was at the turnaround. The section right before the turnaround was a glorious downhill, so I used that opportunity to take my first gel – a Clif Shot Razz gel. It was good, but a little too tart for my taste (let’s be honest, the Peanut Butter Gu has ruined me). But I liked the consistency and the fact their wrappers come with a “Litter Leash”:

That way, you don’t have to hold on to the top (or drop it). Very smart, I tell ya.

Mile 6 was by far the best mile of the run – my legs felt great and I was running the perfect downhill slope – not too steep to make it hard on the knees, and not too flat to barely be advantageous. The sun was shining and I had that runner’s high moment of “Yes, this is awesome.” I seriously felt like raising my arms in victory and singing along to my music out loud.

Mile 7, my right calf started threatening to cramp up. I’m pretty sure it would’ve actually done so if I hadn’t been wearing my compression tights. I just read this article on muscle cramping that Run, Eat, Repeat posted yesterday, where I learned that cramps mean you’re low on sodium. So I decided to eat the other gel I had brought, the Espresso-flavored Hammer Gel, to see if that would help. The gel was really good – if you like coffee, you’d like that one. It didn’t really help, but I was able to keep running – as evidenced by those last two miles being two of the three fastest of the run! I finished strong and stretched a bit before driving home to an epsom salt bath and egg sandwich (not simultaneously).

This run has really encouraged me – not only because it shows that my legs and lungs are able to handle hills better than a month ago, but also because it gives me hope that the hills in the marathon won’t completely slaughter my goal (which I’m still determining). That’s what keeps me motivated during these hard(er) runs – like Sarah OUAL says, “It sucks now, so it sucks less later.” All this hard hill work will make the marathon easier less brutal.

Another long run in the books!

What flavor of gel is your favorite? Definitely the Peanut Butter Gu, but I bought a few more today to try out because they didn’t have that flavor in stock!?!?


16 Mar

The feeling of spring outside has me reminiscing on the good old days when I lived up in Boulder. There were so many wonderful trails to choose from. If I wanted to run by a stream, I could. If I wanted to run on dirt, I could. If I wanted to run by a crazy group of middle-aged hippies, I could.

I had one 4-mile loop that was my favorite. I even labeled the route “My favorite loop on greenway” in MapMyRun. I don’t why it was my favorite – perhaps it was because one early morning, I was just running along and thought, “This is the absolute best feeling in the world.” I can actually remember exactly where I was when I thought that. And still, there isn’t much that beats a great run in the early morning, when the sun is just peeking over the horizon, the ground is wet from dew, and the air is cool. It’s that feeling that reminds me why I’m a runner.

{That picture is surprisingly accurate for how mornings look in Boulder – maybe it was taken in Boulder?}

The thing that made those Boulder runs so memorable was that I was running just because. I decided which route I wanted to run while getting my running clothes on. I ran without a watch. I ran with a watch. I ran alone. I ran with Travis. I ran with music. I ran without. I didn’t have a purpose, or a reason, or a goal. I just ran. 

On my 4-mile run last night, I was thinking about my experience with learning to swim freestyle. I read so much about the correct technique and positioning, and tried so hard to swim “correctly,” that it actually made doing the freestyle stroke harder. Once I stopped overthinking it, though, I got the hang of it.

And I realized that I’ve been doing that with running. I’ve gotten exhausted and stressed out by constantly thinking about running form, cadence, foot strike, pace, tempo, intervals, hills, repeats, miles, training schedule, weight workouts, arm swing. Sure, I’d like to run faster, but am I willing to sacrifice my love of running to do so?

So yesterday, instead of focusing on leaning slightly forward, and maintaining a fast cadence, and running a tempo pace, I just ran. I ran comfortably fast and averaged a 10:48 pace. A good tempo run in the books.

I’ve also been overthinking recovery. Since my legs have felt so tired and heavy lately, I was starting to get worried. “Can my body not handle this mileage? Should I cut out the strength training? Did I do too many hills? Is it because I’m eating too soon before my workout and my body doesn’t have time to convert the food into fuel? Is it because I’m not getting enough sleep? Is this the beginning of the end?”

During my Tuesday night speed work with Travis, I had an epiphany: I should wear my 2XU compression pants for recovery! So I wore them to bed Tuesday and Wednesday, foam rolled an extra time, and my legs felt (almost) great yesterday! Definitely TONS better than they had been feeling. Silly me.

So I’m still plugging along with the plan. This week, I’ve done all my runs on their proper days, although the strength training has been scrapped bumped. Tomorrow, I’ll tackle 9. And instead of overthinking, I’m just going to run.

Run happy.

13 Mar

That’s what my new long-sleeve running shirt from Brooks says! I’ve been wanting another long-sleeve running shirt for a while, because I only have 2 (and no, I have no problem re-wearing 2-3 times before washing, but I’d prefer not to). So when a Brooks closeout email popped up in my inbox, I decided to check it out.

And fell in love with this shirt:

And it was only $24!

I’m definitely going to run happy in this. I have a busy night ahead of me so I’m out!

Hope you had a great Tuesday (and not a Damn Dreaded Tuesday like my friend B)!