Get to the ‘Gram!

I hope you’ve been following along with me on Instagram as I’m MUCH better about sharing and conversing on there – definitely better than once every other month.

Training has been going fairly well. I celebrated my 30th birthday earlier this month with a trip to Disneyland and a cruise to Ensenada. I skipped a long run, ate all the churros and drank all the tequila. Worth it. Pre-trip, I was down 12 pounds from January and feeling better than ever. While I’m still struggling to get fully back on a diet plan, I’m at the gym every day and running when I’m not. I’m finally over double digit mileage, running further than 10 miles for the first time since Marathon #1 in 2016. It felt great to accomplish, but was a challenge to complete. I’m doing much better with strength training on my own than I ever have before and can see a real change in the shape of my body, even if the scale isn’t showing that. I’m more confident about my mid-section than ever before and I think I’ve finally shook off all of the gym self-consciousness I previously had. Dead-lifts next to a super fit bikini competitor? No problem. Bench rows next to a hot dude? I’m hotter (joking… you get the point).

What I’ve noticed this training go around is that I’m no longer nervous about those long training runs. I know my body, I know I’ve done it before, I know I can do it again. My biggest obstacle is just to keep my focus, lace up my shoes and get going. Seriously – some days the hardest part is just getting out the door. Yesterday, it took me two hours post-alarm to finally get the ball rolling… or the feet moving rather. I did everything from Candy Crush to laundry to telling my dog how handsome he is (an every day thing of course).

One thing I need to do is to take back control of my nutrition and my carb-loads. The last two long runs, I enjoyed some delicious BBQ from a local restaurant, but woke up with such a sour stomach that I completely messed with my run. On my 10-miler, I had to call my boyfriend to come pick me up and take me to the nearest bathroom. Yesterday, part of the delay was to let my stomach settle so I didn’t have to do that again. While I’ll still eat delicious tri-tip burritos from the restaurant I won’t mention, it’ll have to be when I’ve got no place to go. Or… actually… all the places to go, no miles to run.

The chronological order of this post is all over the place and for that I apologize. Also over the weekend, I tried out my first trampoline class at EZ Air. It was so much fun, it didn’t even feel like a workout! And we were doing BURPEES on TRAMPOLINES! The most challenging part for me was lifting my body out of a foam pit and onto a balance beam. It really tested my upper body strength but made me feel macho by the completion. I’m excited to check out their next class on April 14 and hope that my local friends will join me in on the fun.

Next up, I’ve got a half marathon! I’m super excited to be traveling back to San Francisco in 12 days for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. SF was the location of my very first half so I’m sure it’ll be an emotional race for me as I think back to the runner I was then and the runner I am now. I was bummed that race didn’t go over the Golden Gate Bridge, nor could we even see it from the course (because, fog) but this time, we get to go over and back on the iconic monument and hear some rockin’ bands along the way. Anyone out there racing with me?

Signing Up For Your First Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve officially raced a half marathon (just a little over two years to be exact) but Rock n Roll San Francisco is just around the corner so its time, once again, to suck it up buttercup. While my end goal this year is full marathon number two, believe it or not, 13.1 still makes me nervous. As I pondered the race this morning in the shower (you know, the place where we ALL get our best ideas), I thought back to my very first half marathon, which ironically, was also in San Francisco. What did I do to prepare? What would I have done better? Why did I decide to eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the drive home afterward? (See also: why WOULDN’T I do that?!)

I remember having all of the questions, and none of the resources. Running was still somewhat new to me so I didn’t have too many friends that I could reach out too. Of course, there was the internets, but who reads blogs and trust strangers? Thus, I present you with some helpful tips for preparing for your first half marathon.

  1. Picking the race: go with a run that includes some fun! Pick somewhere that you’ll have to travel to, but not too far or tricky to get to. I’d go with a place you are somewhat familiar with, but will still present you with some new scenes to pass the time on your run. That’s why I went with San Francisco – it was a short 3.5 hour drive from home that I had been to a few times, but hadn’t seen enough of. I knew how to get there, could plan a strategy around booking a hotel and the finish line and had a few pre and post race restaurants already planned out.
    • Part two: One thing I love about the Rock n Roll Races is that there’s always a free concert that coincides with it. At my first RNR, I got to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis before the race and was so pumped on the show that it fueled the rest of my run! Find something that has a fun component to it. Tiffany necklace? Beer garden at the end? Running through Disneyland? This just gives you some extra motivation for getting across that finish line.
  2. Pinterest allllll the training plans. Seriously – look at a few and decide which one is most feasible for you. I tend to go with fewer short runs during the week, one long weekend run and three to four days of strength training. Why? Because it better protects my hips and I don’t get burnt out from running as quickly. The best way to figure out what will work for you is to just go for it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plan to better conquer your challenges and Pinterest is there to help you get it done! I guess I am too – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help picking a plan.
  3.  Buy a new pair of running shoes. DON’T be like me and think you can run long distances in $30 sneakers from Payless or classified “running” shoes from the Nike Outlet. Take an hour to visit your local running or sports specialty store and ask someone to help you find the perfect pair. My life (and my feet) changed the second I stepped foot into Reno Running Company for some new kicks. The right store will analyze your running style, narrow down the type of shoe you need and even try and find something that fits your style (hello purple and pink Mizunos).
  4. Make a running playlist. Making a new one of these has been on my to-do list for a while. My personal computer recently died and with it went years and years and years of my favorite songs. What’s left of it, are my iTunes purchases and a very minimal list. Thanks to Spotify, I’ve been able to at least quickly select some playlists made by others (Punk Rock Workout being my favorite). Pick out 20-30 songs that make you dance, smile and move and group them together. They’ll keep you going along the way and help you pace out your miles. Don’t be ashamed to add whatever it is that will get you going – remember, this is for YOUR ears and feet. (queue Esther Dean’s “Drop It Low” in the background of my life).

I’ll never forget that last half mile of my first half marathon. I cried, I pep talked, I even picked up the pace. It helped that a fireman in a tuxedo was waiting at the finish line with a Tiffany’s necklace for me, but that’s not why I’ll never forget it. Me, who at her heaviest was 263 pounds, was conquering the world. My hope for every aspiring runner is to have their finish line moment, there are few things in the world quite like it.

Sign up for Rock n Roll San Francisco, April 8 in the Bay! Use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on registration. See you there! 

Race Week Mantras

This weekend, I’ll be running in my third half marathon. Should be like clockwork by now, right? Nope. You sir, are so wrong. It’s only Tuesday, and my mind has already been to the Grand Canyon and back (You know, like that time Sheldon Cooper channels The Flash). In case you’re wondering, here’s what goes through a runner’s mind just days before a big race.

  • Get OUT of your head.
  • Don’t forget to pack your Glide. Nobody wants to walk around Disneyland for two days with chafed thighs.
  • Drink lots of water… who cares how many times you get up from your desk. Co-workers are NOT, I repeat, NOT judging you, nor keeping track.
  • When can I have a burrito?
  • Put DOWN the wine glass.
  • Be sure to print out your race waiver for packet pick-up.
  • Don’t miss your plane.
  • What time is my flight again?
  • Charge your fitbit.
  • It’s only 13 miles… which at your pace is about two hours. It’s only two hours. Then… churros.
  • Don’t you dare wear high heels this week.
  • Charge ALL THE THINGS.
  • You’ve done it before.
  • Just think… in two weeks, you’ll have to run FOURTEEN miles.
  • In four weeks, SIXTEEN!
  • Do I have enough GU? Maybe I should buy one more.
  • What if my new socks are the wrong socks? Should I bring two back-ups?
  • Do I need a brand new sparkly headband, too? No, Darth Vader would not approve of sparkly things.
  • Maybe I should add this song to my playlist JUST IN CASE it gets stuck in my head. Who wants to run 13 miles with the same song stuck in their head?
  • Ooooh… my foam roller is calling my name. So is an Epsom bath. And spaghetti.
  • May the Force Be With You. Then… churros.

Is this list final? Probably not. Like I said, it’s only Tuesday. But there’s so much to think about for something that I know I can do, something I’ve done before and something I’m excited about. RELAX!