Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 2

This was an interesting week on the training front. I started out the week feeling ok, but bad weather and freezing temps drove me inside, and I wound up feeling more frustrated than anything else. I’m hoping a trip to a very muddy dog park and a little easy elliptical or arc trainer work will help me reset today. We both need the mental relief after being cooped up all week!

Hibernation mode

Hibernation mode

What I was supposed to do: 5 miles easy
What actually happened: 5 miles @8:13 (8:15, 8:09, 8:14, 7:58, 8:28)
Let the record show that it was in the teens with a windchill closer to 10 degrees. Not for the faint of heart, and certainly not something I’ll be repeating anytime soon. The last mile was uphill and into the wind because it’s a cruel, cruel world. I think my fingers were in the first stages of frostbite when I got home. Getting the feeling back was so painful that I actually thought I might throw up. All treadmill, all the time until it’s over 30 degrees.

What I was supposed to do: XT or rest
What actually happened: 60 minute HIIT workout
I love HIIT training. Felt great during this workout. Even though it was challenging, it just feels so good to push myself in a different way. Always focusing on getting my core, hips, and glutes strong during these workouts motivates me. I think about how it will benefit me during my race and training runs. Also helps that I do these in my living room, and in a rare crafting moment, I made this and hung it on my wall where I can see it when I workout.

we can do hard things

What I was supposed to do: 
Speedwork! 6 miles total — warm up; 1 K repeats @6:51 – 6:55 pace – jog 50-75% of repeat for recovery; cool down
What actually happened: 
6 miles total — warm up; 1 K repeats @6:53 – jog 50-75% of repeat for recovery; cool down
I did what I was supposed to! Yay for me! So, for those of us who operate in miles, 1 kilometer is about 0.62 miles. I did the K repeats with 0.38 recovery jogs to make them even miles because my brain likes those :)
Honestly, these weren’t super tough physically, but mentally, I really had to talk myself through them. For each one, I imagined I was on an actual track and thought about where in the lap I’d be, focused on driving my arms, and tried to just stay in the interval. I also like to yell at myself when I’m tired. As in, “If you want to quit, then quit!” My head is a fun place to be.

What I was supposed to do:
4 miles no faster than 10:15 pace
What actually happened: 
4 miles @8:34
Four easy recovery miles on the treadmill. My legs felt great, and I actually enjoyed a nice, relaxed run. My only complaint on this day was the abominably smelly dude who hopped on the treadmill next to mine. It was bad enough that I considered moving treadmills. I think I though I was trying to be nice/not offend him in not moving? In hindsight, I should have saved myself. Always save yourself!

What I was supposed to do:
 XT or rest
What actually happened: REST
That’s all I have to say about that.

What I was supposed to do: 
13 miles @8:25-8:35
What actually happened: 13 miles of hell on the treadmill @8:42 average pace
I wasn’t dreading this run beforehand, but maybe I should have been. For the first 7ish miles (until the treadmill stopped itself after an hour–annoying), I felt ok. Not great mentally, but not awful. I followed these Tips on How to Run Long on the Treadmill Without Losing Your Mind from Runners World–not exactly, but enough to give me some variety. I couldn’t get Netflix to load on my iPad to re-watch season 1 of Scandal (WHY DON’T I REMEMBER STEPHEN?!?!), so I just put on a favorite playlist and tried to relax and enjoy. It wasn’t happening.

I tried out a new pair of shoes (just a new pair of the Brooks PureFlow 2s I’ve been wearing for over a year), and that was mistake #1. I should’ve worn an older pair and broken those in. Silly me. I wound up with a very sore right foot and uncomfortable form for the last 6 miles.

Why have you foresaken me?!

Why have you foresaken me?!

The run was so bad that around miles 9, 10, 11, 12, and 12.5, I considered quitting. When I’m out for a run outside, I never want to quit. I can always push through. I even walked for a bit around mile 11. I just And then I felt off for the rest of the day. Just unsettled. Not at all accomplished. Frustrated.

Sunday (today)
What I was supposed to do: XT or rest
What actually happened: Planning on 30-45 minutes on some kind of workout machine at the gym. Elliptical? Arc Trainer? And some core work.

vancouver marathon training week 2

Now I’m wondering how to incorporate strength training while not exhausting myself so much that I struggle through speedwork and long runs. My XT days are always the days before tough workouts, so I don’t want to exhaust myself, but I do want keep up the strength. I’m emailing my coaches today to see what they say, so hopefully I’ll have more to say about this next week.

I’ve also noticed that I am craving protein like crazy, which isn’t surprising at all. I’ve been pretty committed to a mostly vegan diet for over 2 years, but I’ve been craving meat lately. I’m going to try to reintroduce some meats to my diet this week and see how my stomach does with them. Although, I have homemade chicken noodle soup on the stove right now, and the smell is making me nauseous, so there you go. <sigh>

Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 1

I’m not quite as good at blogging as I used to be–i.e., I don’t have the time (or inclination) to post every day–but I’m aiming for at least an update a week. So, here we go!

Week 1 of Vancouver Marathon training is done! Before I get into the specifics of my actual runs, a couple of things:

  1. My coaches have me doing this lunge matrix before I run. It takes less than 2 minutes, and I’ve been surprised at how well it stretches out my hips before my runs. It turns out my left gluteus maximus isn’t firing when I run, so I’m compensating by driving forward with my right hip flexor and TFL (my PT has taught me so much!). The result is seriously tight hips, especially on that right side, as well as a painfully tight glute medius on the right. The matrix seems to be helping some. Plus, it gets my legs moving a little before I ask them to run, which is probably a nice courtesy to extend.
  2. There’s also a whole set of post-run exercises they have me doing. What’s interesting to me is that they’re all dynamic stretches. (In the world where I actually stretch before I run) I’m used to doing dynamic stretches before the run, rather than after. I’m going to ask them about that so I can better understand the philosophy behind this approach!
  3. The last addition to my routine is a series of hip raises and bridges. These are good for both core and glute strength, which I definitely need. The one thing I noticed this week was that my hip flexors were feeling really tight and I could really feel these in my hamstrings. My PT corrected me on these by recommending 2 changes:
    1. Squeeze my glutes before I bridge my hips up. This activates the glute and ensures I won’t rely on my hamstrings.
    2. On the single leg hip raises, he said to bring my raised leg in and put a ball there so I’m not holding that single leg up and unintentionally activating those already tight hip flexors. Since you probably have no idea what I’m trying to say here, here’s a (very apologetic) picture of me to demonstrate:
      Yes, my form is off here, but you get the idea. Also, my ball in this case is a dog toy. Whatever works.

      Yes, my form is off here, but you get the idea. Also, my ball in this case is a dog toy. Whatever works.

      God, that is mortifying.

Onto the training portion of the program!

What I was supposed to do:
Easy 4 miles @8:40-9:05
What actually happened: Easy 4 miles @8:16 (8:42, 8:26, 8:02, 7:53), outside
Started off ok, but then got carried away. Moral of the story, I suck at pacing.

What I was supposed to do:
Rest or Cross Train
What actually happened: 48 minutes HIIT – workouts 36 and 38-40; mostly upper body and core work
This felt really good. My core was sore that day and the day after, but it didn’t seem to affect my run the next day at all, which is what I was hoping for.

What I was supposed to do:
Speed Fartlek – 6 miles total. Warm up, then 3 miles of 2 minutes on (7:10-7:15 pace), 1 minute off; cool down.
What actually happened: 6.25 miles total on the TREADMILL. 1 mile warm up at 8ish pace, then  4.25 miles of 3 minutes on (7:08 pace), 1 minute off (8:06 pace); 1 mile cool down
Total fail on knowing the workout before I started. I thought I knew what I was supposed to do, but apparently not. Still, the 3 minute intervals felt manageable. I pushed myself, but definitely wasn’t dying. I forgot to do the lunge matrix beforehand, but I did it after along with some static stretches. I don’t love what the treadmill does to my form since I tend to over stride and heel strike when I’m on it, but it’s been too cold to get outside every day.

What I was supposed to do:
Recovery run – 4 miles no faster than 9:05
What actually happened: Recovery run – 4 miles at 8:46 (8:59, 8:36, 8:33, 8:57)
I was ready for an easy day by Thursday, and I took it. I did my speedwork in the evening on Wednesday, and then ran these miles Thursday morning, so my legs were fairly dead. Good, though, because I needed to take it easier.

What I was supposed to do: 
Rest or Cross Train
What actually happened: 24 minutes of HIIT – upper body and core again, just an abbreviated version of Tuesday’s workout; PHYSICAL THERAPY
I really want to keep up with strength training, so I’m trying to incorporate it wherever I can fit it in. This was a quick workout, just enough to (hopefully) help me get strong. I haven’t been doing leg work to keep my legs fresh for running.

I also had PT on Friday, and he dry needled my TFL and hip flexor, plus the crazy knotted spot I have on my left gluteal/hamstring area. It helped loosen things up a lot. I also did lateral dips, side steps, hip bridges, and a few other things that I can’t remember. Oops.

What I was supposed to do: Easy long run – 10 miles @8:25-8:35
What actually happened: 10 miles @8:21 (8:29, 8:17, 8:29, 8:12, 8:12, 8:31, 8:19, 8:25, 8:17, 8:17)
As long runs go, this wasn’t awful, but wasn’t great, either. It was pretty cold (around 28* with a windchill in the upper teens), and while my legs felt ok, it still felt like a struggle. Not much to say about this except that I was glad when it was over.

Vancouver Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday (today!)
What I’m supposed to do:
Rest or cross train
What I’m actually doing: REST!
A nap on the couch, catching up on the DVR, and some stretching and foam rolling.


As far as this blog goes, if there’s anything you’re curious about or want me to talk more about, let me know in the comments! Otherwise, I’m just glad you’re here :)

Don’t Get Too Excited.

Oh hey. Long time no talk! If you still follow me on twitter or Instagram, first of all, awwww, thanks :) And secondly, you may or may not know that I finally succeeded in running a marathon. Actually, I’ve run two in the last year and had some success with it, which comes as a slight shock. But, more on that (maybe?) later.

Anyway, I’ve decided to chase 26.2 again, this time in Vancouver on May 3. Rather than simply following the Smart Coach plans I have in the past, I’ve decided to hire a coach. I figure, if I’m able to run a 3:24:51 without any coaching, I’d love to see what I can do with professional guidance!


I feel like this is kind of a noteworthy thing in my life, so I want to have a record of it, hence the “out of retirement” thing. Don’t get too excited.

Here’s the very condensed Reader’s Digest version of what’s been going on in my running life since we last talked. I’ll give you bullet points because we really do not have all day here.

  • I began seeing a physical therapist in the Fall of 2013 and had some success there. She helped get my back and glutes stronger, and by February 2014, I was pretty much pain free. Party.
  • In January 2014, I ran the Celebration Marathon with Paula and Michelle, and it was painful. I hadn’t trained and that damn Florida humidity tried to kill me. Also, my old knee pain came back around mile 9 and was fairly excruciating. So that was fun. I finished in around 1:45 or so and could barely walk.1533781_10151954777251902_766654416_n
  • Because that race went so well, I figured I’d go ahead and train for double that distance. #logic I ran the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in DC last March on 6 weeks of training and finished in 3:38:06. It was basically my most favoritest race ever, and I was stupid happy the whole time. Well, maybe not the last 4 miles which consisted of rolling hills and heard me yelling (literally) obscenities as I crested each one and saw a new one approaching. Still. Loved it.race1
  • Continued running a bit for the next few months and decided to register for Chicago 2014. As I worked on building my base for that, the old back/glute pain came back, so I started going to a new PT closer to my apartment (because of course I moved yet again). He’s done wonders for me. Maybe I’ll write about that at some point, too.
  • I trained for Chicago through the end of summer and early fall, and it was fantastic. I just felt great all the time, was fueling well, strength training, and generally in top shape. Had an amazing race. Again, stupid happy. Apparently, this is my default state when I race the marathon.10979702_1547137235537930_1846208414_n
  • And, finally, I can’t recap the last almost 2 years without mentioning that I got a blister during Chicago which then got infected which then caused me to go into septic shock and spend 6 days in the hospital. They stored me in the oncology ward since apparently infectious diseases doesn’t get its own area. After I was released, I realized there’s a 60% mortality rate for what I had. Close call.

I’m sure I’m glossing over lots, but I guess we’re all up to speed now!

Time to Take It Offline

Hi friends!

I write today with somewhat bittersweet news: this will be my last post.

I’ve loved blogging the last 2 1/2 years, but lately it’s lost its sparkle for me. I feel like I have so much less to say, so much less to share, and I think it’s due in large part to the fact that I’m in a place of acceptance, familiarity, and ease. When I started this blog, it was because I didn’t feel like I knew myself. I wasn’t sure of my likes, my passions, my interests. I was a truly unhappy person, and it makes me sad to think of how long I lived like that. Now, I’m comfortable with who I am. Even if other people don’t like that person, I’m ok with it because I do like her.

No, life isn’t perfect. I’m sure it never will be. And honestly, nothing really has changed. Regardless of where I live or how I earn my money or who happens to be in my life, I’m still the same me. The main difference is that I look for the good and the fun and the positives rather than being bogged down by negativity. I’m confident in my ability to handle whatever comes my way, and I know with absolute certainty that no matter what happens–how fast I run or how much I weigh or who I’m dating or who does or doesn’t want to be my friend–I’ll be ok. I know that I’ll never really finish working on myself and that I really don’t want to. There is always always room for improvement, and I’m sure I’ll never quit chasing ways to be better.

I’ve learned these things through running, writing, and the many online friendships I’ve made through my blog, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now it’s time to take my life offline and just live.

I’ll still be around on Twitter and Instagram, so I hope to keep in touch in some capacity.

Thank you thank you thank you for being such wonderful friends! XO


I made you a workout video. Well, kinda.

{I am so embarrassing.}

OK, so here’s what’s behind this. I do all kinds of HIIT workouts all the time with weird moves that I can’t really describe. The Daily HIIT website is my go-to, but it’s not super easy to navigate or find a video of the exact move I want to share with you. So all the credit goes to them for the idea, but I made my own little video because a). I’m a total dork and b). I really want people to try this stuff, but I know it’s not always easy to figure out what’s going on on that site.

Moving on.

As mentioned in the video, I’m trying to strengthen my hips and back for running so I don’t get injured again. I realize that I’m not going to spot-strengthen anything, so strengthening everything is the name of the game. This move–the “supergirl”–is a single leg squat to single leg deadlift. Ish. It’s tough because it not only requires strength, but balance as well. The thing I’ve noticed, though, is that when you have to balance, it’s great for that overall strengthening piece. This move will work quads, hamstrings, hips, back, ankles, etc. It’s one stop shopping.

The other thing to note about this: it’s hard. You will wobble. You might fall. I am not an expert, so attempt at your own risk and please try not to hurt yourself. I’d start with no weight or even with light dumbbells until you get the hang of it. Let me know what you think!

Also: is this helpful? Do you like my barely amateur/non-existent video production skills? Should I quit embarrassing myself and never make a video again? Or should I quit my job and become the next Jane Fonda?


1. Listening.


I was just thinking a couple weeks ago that I hadn’t heard any great summer songs yet. Then this popped up on the radio almost immediately, and I can’t get enough. Happy making.

2. Wearing.

Mildly obsessed with these tinted lip balms. I have no idea why I waited so long to hop on this bandwagon, but I’m quite confident it will only be a matter of time before I own the entire collection. So much goodness. Sheer color so you’re fancier than old-fashioned Chapstick and feel like a real grown up. Yep.

3. Sporting.


Yes, I shop at H&M and totes purchased and am sporting this fluorescent skirt ($12.95) and screen printed tiger tank ($5.95). My inner 13 year old loves it. Who am I kidding? My inner 33 year old does, too.

4. Drinking.

Still can’t get enough kombucha. Manfriend showed up with a case of it the other night (buy one, get one free at Whole Foods!). He gets me.

5. Eating.

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with curry. Israeli couscous. Pinenuts. Basil. Lemon. #vegan ;) Seriously could not stop eating this. I wound up eating the leftovers cold over a bed of spinach for added greenness. So yum.

6. Reading.

OK, so it’s not the book in the picture, but how cute is my dog?!? Anyway, it’s Fortune’s Rocks time! I’ve mentioned it before, but I read this book every year around the summer solstice (since that’s when it takes place). If you haven’t read this book, please do. It’s one of my very favorite, most beloved books ever. I want to hug it. For serious.

7. Sweating.

HIIT TabataMore Daily HIIT butt kicking! Loving lots of tabata/interval workouts the last couple of weeks. I’m still running, but far fewer miles. This workout leaves me dripping with sweat, challenged, and only takes 17 minutes! It’s good to feel like I’m getting some of my strength and muscle tone back, too.

Training to Run a Half Marathon PR

You guys.

You need to read this article about training to run a half marathon PR.

OK–maybe those of you who don’t run don’t want to read it.

But! The rest of you: READ IT.

I, for one, am completely smitten by it and immediately want to find another half to train for so I can implement these ideas because I’m a super nerdy runner like that.

So this all started because I came across this article and started rambling to Manfriend about it via gchat.

Manfriend is not a runner.

He’s plenty athletic (he plays all the sports), but my running rambles got stale for him pretty quickly. It was basically this scenario:

It’s Not About the Nail from Jason Headley on Vimeo.

So. I reverted to my usual first reaction: emailing this lady, obvi. But I wanted to talk about it MOAR. And here we are.

My favoritest parts of this read include, but are not limited to:

  1. Long Runs. I wonder if adding a 2 hour run every week would help build aerobic capacity long term? Or does this just work during training and require downtime (ie., non-training time) to be effective?
  2. Strides! Why am I not doing these? I don’t know why I never do strides, but I should, especially given that they take almost no time and very little effort. Same with incorporating fartleks. I used to do intervals fairly regularly, but almost never do now. At least not running intervals. HIIT is a different story.
  3. Hills. I know running uphill is great for training, but what about downhill? The part about running downhill and strengthening quads is so smart, especially for a course like the one I just ran, which is a very gradual downhill course.
  4. Lactate Thresholds.  Funny, I was just talking to my co-worker (who used to be a rower) about this. Apparently, you reach a point in your workout where you start producing lactic acid (you know, the part that really hurts), and you can’t push yourself any further. Your body literally starts to break down. (Yes, literally). I think it’s interesting that you can increase it, though. I want to do that!
  5. Last Miles = Fast Miles. I know you’re supposed to pick up the pace at the end of long runs, but I always go out too fast and then get tired. If I could pace myself better, I know this would help me.

Anyway, the article is written by Greg Strosaker who is a marathon runner, author, and online running coach. I was pretty impressed with the quick look I took around his site. Definitely worth a follow.