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! 

Last Week Was Fun and I Never Want to Remember It

I know its only the fourth week of 2018, but so far, I’ve felt a focus and desire to reach my goals more than I ever have before. This has included making it to the gym every day I said I would, making my meal plans and sticking to them, taking my vitamins, etc. But then last Monday happened and although I felt incredibly discouraged by it, today I write this as one last send off to its past.

After a delicious, paleo, in-the-diet-plan, homemade dinner on Monday, I started getting severe but intermittent sharp pains in my abdomen. By about 8 p.m., I had my head in the toilet. And it hardly left there all night. I’ve been through something like this before, which I thought was just food poisoning, and it usually goes away within 12-15 hours, so I decided to stay home from work and get some rest. I hardly moved all day, unless it was to hurl or grimace in pain. I couldn’t drink water or even eat saltines. I couldn’t walk to let my dog outside or feed him dinner. I knew if I went to Urgent Care, they’d send me to the ER. I didn’t want to go to the ER because I’m still paying for my last trip in October 2016. 

More than 48 hours later, it was still happening and this time worse than ever. I finally decided to go to the hospital Wednesday night where I was checked for possible appendicitis. After lab work and a CAT scan, thankfully appendicitis was ruled out. The hospital gave me some heavy pain medication which was worth the trip in itself because I went from “I’d rather be in Hell right now” to “Maybe I can get a decent night sleep!”

My labs did show some things which I’ll be following up with my doctor on this week, and my body has certainly felt weak while in recovery. I was getting winded after simple tasks like doing the dishes. Whether this is related to the mysterious pain I often get, I’m not sure. But it did give me more ideas on what to ask my doctor and hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

It took a few days for me to get back to the gym but I am determined to continue on the accomplished path that I started the year out with. Yesterday, Pawko and I did a well-paced four miler that was a great accomplishment for us both – me after the week from Hell, and he at his farthest distance in quite sometime. We were quite proud of ourselves, and earned our Epsom salt bath and belly rub rewards respectively.

Here’s to a brand new week and here’s a  to last week.

I See You Looking at Me…

That’s it… 112 is officially going on my running playlist.

This weekend I conquered (more like struggled through) six miles. I’m feeling the soreness in my hips from upping my mileage and focusing on my training, but I’m also working on strengthening and stretching that area so it doesn’t become a common problem. Between mile three and four, I had a bit of wreckage with my run and kept having to walk, stretch, adjust my gear and basically avoided getting back on pace. Once I got over that little hump, I stayed focus on the finish line for the remainder of the run and felt great once I reached the end. I made a promise to myself that I could spend the remainder of the weekend relaxing and resting without feeling guilty, and such is what I did.

As I was trying to pass time on my run, I couldn’t help but notice the different type of eye contact and reactions I had from drivers along the way. I often wonder what exactly they are thinking as I run towards them and they drive past me. I’ve gotten smiles and waves and honks and even a few middle fingers. Yep. For whatever reason, multiple assholes have decided giving the girl trying to push herself to be her best, a big ol’ bird from behind the wheel. Like, can you really smell me from there?

So I present to you, driver reactions to distance runners on the road:

  • The woman smiling is rooting me on because she knows how great and healthy I’ll feel when I finish
  • The older woman switching lanes so I can have more room on the road is silently shaking her fist at me and saying “damn kids.” She also apparently thinks I have a sign on that reads “wide load.”
  • Mischievous teens are impressed that a girl my size looks so bad ass in running shoes and a tank top in 50 degree weather
  • Fellow runners honk in jealousy because they wish they were out on a jaunt (I know this one is true from experience).
  • Non-runners are wondering why I am running on the road, in the bike lane, against traffic – no its not because I’m running from a monster, but so I can see you (looking at me).
  • If my dog is with me, EVERYONE is oogling at how handsome he is in his bowtie with his tongue sticking out and freedom blowing his ears back.

To be quite honest, I have a few more that I could list here, but I’ll save those for one-on-one conversations with people I know won’t judge me for them. I hope the above made you laugh, because while I aim to provide you with interesting, motivational and informational content, I also aim to make you smile in the interim. Have a great week!

The Power of Ten

Happy New Year! It’s January 2nd and I’m still suffering from an NYE champagne hangover. I blame it on the fact that from Christmas till NYE, I got whatever cold is going around along with the fact that I need to realize I just cannot drink like I did in my early 20s. Needless to say, January 1st was supposed to be my first official marathon training day, but that did not happen.

Back to that cold thing… man – I thought I got off easy with just a terrible sore throat, but it got worse Thursday night, so I went to bed at 7 p.m. and literally could not leave my bed (except to go to the bathroom) until 9 a.m. Saturday. It was rough and I have never really been happier to breathe fresh air. Between that and a week of bad eating, my body is certainly feeling the repercussions. Everything from a food belly to an awful case of acne is happening, but of course, its time to kick all of that in the ass. As such, I was up dark and early to begin training with a three mile treadmill run and a one mile cool down walk. While it wasn’t my best due to the aforementioned circumstances, it felt a hell of a lot better than laying in bed all day.

As I enter 2018 with a positive outlook and a big goal in mind, I set up a few smaller, attainable goals to help me get there. Ten to be exact. They are daily action items that will keep me focused on the bigger goals ahead. And since you asked, here they are:

  1. No alcohol until Valentine’s Day
  2. Only black coffee or tea (no sweet, sugary coffees)
  3. No eating out unless previously scheduled or necessary for work
  4. Meet 10,000 step goal daily
  5. Go to sleep by 10 p.m., if not earlier
  6. Drink a gallon of water per day
  7. Take vitamins daily
  8. Take an Epsom Salt bath at least once per week
  9. Make extra time for stretching and foam rolling
  10. Make your shopping list on Friday and grocery shop by noon on Saturday

What’s your goal for 2018 and what are you going to do to get there?

Well, I did it…

Marathon number two is official.

In May of 2016, I didn’t think there’d ever be a marathon two. I said, “No way. Absolutely not. Never Again.” The rest of 2016 was spent without mileage boosts. I’d mostly (never) remember to go to the gym. The weight gain was fierce. The insecurities were arise. But no worries, I ran a marathon. That instantly makes me skinny and fit for the rest of my life, right? If only.

Then, come Fall 2017 I started to seldom say that if the right race came along, in the right place, at the right time of year, then maybe… just maybe I’d do it. This turned into, “okay, I think I’m gonna do it.”

A few months back, I happened to stumble upon a tweet from the Rock n Roll Marathon Series looking for bloggers. Thinking I didn’t have much to lose, and that it was likely a long shot, I took my chances and applied. About two weeks ago, the best surprise landed in my inbox in the form of being notified that I had been selected for the Rock n Blog team! As I scoured the list of RNR runs for ’18, the word “marathon” stood out like a sore thumb. It was my sign, my calling, my fair warning of lots of chafe ahead.

San Diego caught my eye and soon after, my ducks were in a row  – I had a good friend I could stay with down there, I could fly in the day before and back the evening after and not miss any work, the weather is seemingly always perfect and the altitude was on my side (seriously… going from running in the Northern Nevada altitude to sea level is always heavenly).

At approximately 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I did it. I made it officially official followed by Facebook official. In 2018, I’ll be running Marathon #2. Training starts 1/2/18.

Dear chiropractor, we’ll see each other monthly. Dear friends, I’m sorry, I can’t go drinking, I have to run 18 miles in the morning. Dear boyfriend, I’m sorry I have to go to bed at 7 p.m. to make my long run in the morning. Dear Pawko, hope you will enjoy the first or last miles of my run with me. Dear everyone else, I’m sorry you’ll have to listen to me talk about this from here until June 2.

#SorryNotSorry

 

Crack, crack goes my neck

Holy crack… I mean crap… I just went to get my hips adjusted only to find out that my entire spine was out of place, from those things that don’t lie all the way up to my neck. I am more sore than leg day, more sore than after a marathon and more sore than food regret on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty good at knowing when I need to go to the chiropractor but thought this time around my body was handling things a little better and I waited a while in between visits. Next time, I’ll listen to the four to six week recommendation.

Oh hey there. Sorry that I (yet again) went absent for a while. Last we left off, I was training for the Reno 10 Miler. Well, that went phenomenally and it was the first (and only) time I ran double digits since my 2016 marathon. What a feeling. The sun was shining, the course was hilly and the all-you-can-drink beer afterwards was absolutely worth it all.

I’ve spent the time since then focusing more on strength training than anything, but with the colder weather outside and my work schedule slowing down a bit, I’m working on ramping that mileage back up. In addition to the 10 Miler, I completed my fastest 5K in three or four years, coming in at 30 minutes flat, as well as two consecutive Sundays of 10Ks. The first of which, the Dirty Wookie 10K, is where this post’s featured image comes from. (Side note, I wasn’t going to post this image because I don’t find it to be very flattering, but running isn’t supposed to be pretty). The second of which, Girls on the Run, was six minutes faster than the first and was the final in a series, so I dual-medaled! Getting a series medal is now off the running bucket list.

23331485_10101512283868038_7639121445123841923_oOh, and on an unrelated-to-running note, I also was honored as the 2017 Chapter Member of the Year for the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter for which I got to do a pretty sweet photoshoot with my dog.

Now that I’m done with races for the year, my goal is to keep up with 5-6 mile runs on the weekends until I can pick another half or full marathon that I want to do in 2018. Perhaps something early on in the year so I can slack off for the final 75% of the year and just claim I was an early to bed, early to rise goal achiever. Just kidding.

I’ve also been following along with the Tone It Up 21 Day Challenge in which I’m doing 21 reps of five different exercises for three rounds, four to five days a week. Every once in a while, I’ll join a blacklight spin class that may or may not be becoming my new obsession. Perhaps one day I’ll get used to the soreness in my unmentionable space from the bike seat. And through it all, I still have 10,000-steps-on-my-Fitbit OCD. Moral of the story, I’m doing my best to stay active, even if its not running!

You’ll see that I’m doing more posts on my Instagram (hence why I felt it was due time for a blog update). Please follow along as I do enjoy connecting with everyone.

What have you been up to? What races are you training for?

Until next time, which is hopefully not six months from now.

(PS; my new-found love for the “My Favorite Murder” podcast wants me to end this by saying, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”)

Sacramento Dessert Bar & the Week-Long Migraine

So on July 28, I woke up at the usual 5:15 a.m. and made my way to the gym to work on my upper body. Felt great, kicked butt, yadda yadda. As I’m getting ready for work, my vision started to blur a little. I realized I hadn’t eaten yet so I went and grabbed a quick protein shake and chugged some water. Vision still blurry and head now pounding, I could tell something wasn’t right. As I headed into work, I got nauseous, my mouth and fingers went numb and I was sweating profusely. WTF was going on? Within the first ten minutes of the work day, I was in the bathroom three times throwing up. I was trying to tough it out as I was already taking a half day to drive to Sacramento for my cousin’s wedding, but I couldn’t take any more. I headed for the door and made it home just in time to puke five more times. I did everything I could to toughen up as it was an important weekend and I was so looking forward to spending time with family. Luckily Scott was coming with me and he was able to drive on my behalf but we weren’t even sure I could do a two-hour drive in my condition. Thankfully we did make it to where we needed to be, but the rest of the day, I was constantly sweating and could not shake my headache. That was the absolute worst migraine I’d ever had. And it didn’t go away. For seven days. SEVEN DAYS OF HEADACHES. None as bad as that day, but the lingering pounding sensation meant there was little to no desire to be active.

I did pack running gear, per usual, and really wanted to run along the Sacramento River, but instead I opted for a 1,000 calorie Oreo Cheesecake at Rick’s Dessert Diner with my family and a Punch Bowl at Coin-Op. All the sugar probably made my heart beat just as fast as working out anyway…no? I’d get back to working out Monday anyway, right? Wrong. Whatever, that cheesecake and the other desserts my peeps got was the shit. Despite multiple nights of nine hours of sleep, I did not make it to the gym once. It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally put on my  Mizunos and ran a 5-mile taper run, and last long run, before Sunday’s Reno 10 Miler. Lucky ducky Pawko got to join me for the first mile (sadly, we haven’t been able to get outside much because of said migraine, the heat, and smoke from nearby looming fires). Surprisingly, I felt pretty ok. A little hip pain here and there, but I paced under 12 mins per mile and was even able to sprint to the end and finished in 58 minutes. My quads are paying for it today. Every time I find myself sitting at my desk for more than ten minutes, I instantly regret the moment I have to stand up. I’ll probably squeeze in one more 5K sometime this week and other than that, it’ll be all strength training, foam rolling and active rest days.

I started this morning with some upper body and core work. I had a last minute opportunity to go back to Burning Man at the end of the month, which is one of the only times you’ll ever see me in crop top (if you should be so lucky), so now I feel pressure to work on my core. Realistically, I know not much can be done in three-ish weeks, but hey, it’ll make me feel better at the end of the Playa. Planks, crunches and hip dips for days. And on the note of preparing for Burning Man, as I started to pull out all of my costumes and supplies, I discovered I literally have a tutu for every color of the rainbow. This makes my heart so, so, SO happy.

An OMG Embarrassing Gym Moment

I’ve been waiting to write this blog since 5:45 a.m. (it’s now 9:01). I decided to start today’s gym session with a few minutes in the sauna as my quads are sorer than sore from running. I usually sit in the same spot but today I decided to sit there, then scoot over so I could lay out on the bench. Not only did I burn my ass when scooting, but I got caught on a loose sliver of the bench resulting in pulling a big chunk of the bench with me on the scoot and said big chunk impaling into my left butt cheek. OUCH! I couldn’t believe it. I stood up (thankfully I was the only one in there) and began pulling piece after piece out of my butt before realizing the biggest one was all up in there. As I reached in my pants to get it out, I removed my hand and saw that it was splattered with blood. More ouch! I walked out of the sauna to further investigate and was three seconds short of being caught with my pants down in front of the gym mirror staring at my ass. I cleaned up my mess, which included a giant blood stain on my pants in a place that could be confused for a girl who leaked on menstruation. On top of that, I now had a tiny hole in the butt of my $60 Nike pants. This morning started as a fail of epic proportions.

I had arrived at the gym no fewer than eight minutes ago. There was NO way I could just walk back out without feeling like someone would notice. PLUS, I did not wake my now-sore happy ass up at 5:15 in the morning just to turn around and drive back home. As I had spent the first 60 seconds in the sauna determining my work out strategy for the day, I now had to rethink squats and dead lifts to avoid the risk of someone noticing the blood stains when I bent over.

I walked upstairs to spend a longer-than-usual time on the bike because it seemed like a safe strategy and I could hide in a corner of my own embarrassment. When I decided it was time to move on, I got up from the bike, ass extremely sore, tucked my sweat towel in the back of my pants and tried to pull off some cool swagger look — realistically, no one probably noticed my incident or my swagger. I continued to the rower and any other machine that would allow me to sit in my shame. After 50 minutes, I was done.

When I got home, I was finally able to get a good look at my backside (it’s really hard to do so when you’re in a nervous frenzy and in a public space). I was probably in my head about the hole and the blood WAY more than I should have been. Thankfully I only have a small cut, and even more thankfully, I got my tetanus shot updated within the last year.

B. Robb and the 8th Mile

If you’re just tuning in, I’m training for the Reno 10 Miler. My last true race was May 1, 2016 when I completed my first marathon. Since then, I went through fitness struggle after fitness struggle, finding no true motivation and perhaps even losing my lack of love for running. Don’t worry, I read that happens to a lot of runners, I just never thought it’d be me. Signing up for this race, seems to have been just what I needed. However, I’ve been worried about whether or not my body would let me even properly train for it as right hip likes to come at me in all-out war similar to the end of last night’s Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert, only not really).

I’ve been a week ahead of my training schedule as one day I just kept running so on the new schedule for this past weekend, I was scheduled to run eight miles. When I began training, I said that as long as I can get up to an 8-miler, I should be fine. So in essence, this was a make-or-break weekend. I started off broken thanks to some vodka tonics Friday night, which not only derailed my training plans, but also derailed my plans to not drink for a while (see: Portland trip). However, as punishment, I ended up at the gym after a homemade hangover breakfast and treated myself to kettle bell swings, hip thrusters, plie squats and other various booty breakers.

After that bit of torture (just kidding, it was actually a GREAT workout), I was determined to prep myself to run tomorrow. Also, the fact that I was neck-and-neck with someone in a Fitbit Weekend Warrior Challenge, really irked my competitiveness so I was determined to kick some cement ass the next day. Just like the old marathon training days, we went out for sushi later that night so I could get SOME carbs in me (still working on that “giving up” thing) and at 10 p.m., I hit the sack. Man, what a wild Saturday night. I normally don’t feel the need to wake up early to run unless it’s a work day, so to set my alarm to 5:15 a.m. on a Sunday was a pretty mean accomplishment. Not the waking up the next morning part, the actual setting the alarm part. I did almost hit snooze, but the thought of running eight miles in 100 degree heat had me on a hop, skip and jump outta bed.

When I realized I hadn’t charged my headphones the night before, I prayed to the running Gods that they would survive at least half way otherwise I’d be miserable without them. Luckily, they survived until I was a half mile away from being done and from there I just blasted New Found Glory at an appropriate “blasting music at 7 a.m.” volume. Hey man, I may be selfish, but I ain’t rude!

Anywho, I felt GREAT on this run. Very minimal hip pain, great stamina, great hydration and high energy levels. Not once did I feel like quitting. Not once did I try to walk… well, not once till the last quarter mile… but, why quit then? When I finished, I let out a big sigh of relief as I not only beat the triple digit weather, but I powered through in a mind-over-matter mentality and conquered my goals for the weekend… and then some.

The 10 Miler isn’t until August 13 so I may try for another eight when I’m in Sacramento next weekend – I do love me some lower altitude running. But we’ll see. I don’t want to push it for fear I WILL injure myself. But, as I sit here writing this, I’m really realizing that my passion is back. I’m focused, determined and ready to rock.

PS; I also won that Fitbit challenge… I apparently even intimidated someone enough to quit before it was really over. Whoops.

A girl has no toe nail 

Title is in honor of Game of Thrones returning and in lieu of my post run scenario. 

Well, I did it. It sure as shit was not easy. I debated holding off until tomorrow but my other half insisted that I should stick to my plan otherwise it won’t get done. Thanks boo. I woke up earlier than planned and did my usual Vaseline in the crack and everywhere else routine. I didn’t have much in the way of fuel so I settled with a Lara Bar (unpreparedness #50). I had to procrastinate till my headphones finished charging but once they did, off I went. I started out slow because I could feel every ounce of beer and donut swish around in my belly. Or that could have been the cookies and kambucha from last night (don’t look at me like that, healthy food routine starts over Monday). After about a mile and a half, I was feeling pretty good and felt time was going by fast even though I was pacing a minute slower than normal.  Once I got to the three mile loop, I had to start really distracting myself. It was getting warmer and my hip and IT were starting to burn. So I present to you my random running thoughts episode … 16. Sounds right. 

  • I prefer running a start to finish vs out and back. I can so just turn around now and still get 5 miles in. No, go. Just to. Stick with the plan.
  • Mind over matter.
  • This is a walking / running trail, not a bike trail. Take your speedy contraption to the streets!! (Seriously, there are signs that say no biking).
  • I should add more *NSYNC to this playlist 
  • Where can we get pancakes later? Wait, dammit. Carbs. No carbs.
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 

As you can see, the further along I got, the more delirious I became. It was hot. I was lethargic. I did a little bit of waking. More than I would have liked to. My hips hurts. My toe is black and blue. My IT band needs a foam roller. And I tried new energy gels that came with my Runner Box that gave me no boost and left my hands a sticky mess. I’d tell you the brand but the wrapper is still in my running pack and I’m far too lazy to walk across the house to get it. Through all this, I can finish the weekend with a sense of accomplishment. I did it. Seven miles. Half way to a half marathon. In a few weeks, I’ll only have to run three more after that. I’ll be sure to have a lot less donuts and beer when that time comes. 

What goals are you setting this weekend?