Friday, September 28, 2012

Eugene, Pancakes and Roga Shorts..Oh My!

What what?! Did this really just happen?

Well, no, it happened last night. But, it's official! I will be running my third marathon on April 28th in Eugene, Oregon! I am running this one with my CrossFit friend, Beth, and it is going to be her first marathon! I am super excited to run the marathon for myself, obviously, but it will be so fun to experience Beth's first marathon with her. My plan after the NYC Marathon is to keep up my long runs around 15 miles and then just increase them heading into spring. We'll see how that works! I know there are lots of other Seattle area bloggers thinking about registering, so I hope they do!

Back to business. Yesterday's CrossFit workout was my bread and butter. There was running, which means I can beat everyone. Sometimes I think I shouldn't love running as much during Crossfit, because for example, yesterday I had already run 4 miles that morning. You'd think I would want to do something different or work on rowing (did I really just say that?). But I think I look forward to it because I'm good at it. And we always like what we're good at! =)

I actually finished second, but the guy I was chasing was totally spent after our last run. Workouts like these are always such a good confidence booster for me.

We did 3 deadlift, barbell snatches. Which is basically throwing the barbell over your head. Always a good time. Then a 300 meter run and the following set of abs.

I was feeling pretty tired after this workout so I came home and took a lovely nap before heading back to work to teach class. I'm not usually a big napper, but yesterday it was just what the doctor ordered!

I woke up starving and knew exactly what to make. I've been watching Tina at Carrots N Cake make her 2 ingredient pancake for awhile now. They've never really caught my attention before because I'm not a big pancake person. For some reason, yesterday I realized how delicious they looked, and what a great blend of nutrients for an afternoon snack.

Her "recipe" is one banana and one egg mixed together and cooked over the stovetop like a pancake. And, of course, a spoonful of peanut butter after it cooks. I made sure to mush the banana in the peel a bit before adding it to a beaten egg. This made it much easier to mix together. I was patient and waited to turn the pancake until the first side was cooked through. This is such a genius snack and one I may or may not be obsessed with for the next week! I think today I'll add coconut!

I've been hearing such great things about Oiselle, a company based right here in Seattle. I've seen Sarah tweets about how awesome their Roga Shorts are and when I saw them the other day, I just had to pick up a pair to try out!
And I literally haven't taken them of since! Such a good investment! They have so many pockets, are a nice, longer length and are so comfortable! I have run in them almost every day for a week and it really is true love. These may be my NYC Marathon shorts....we shall see how the weather turns out!

Hope you have a great, sweat-tastic weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Workout Recaps and Exciting Things on the Horizon

I am so good at post titles. I know that one really caught your attention!

Let's start with some workouts! I decided to take a rest day Monday. My body desperately needed it, plus I was working a double shift at work. Excuse enough for me! 

Tuesday afternoon we had a very effectual shoulder workout. By "effectual" I mean I could barely wash my hair that evening!

The workout was called: Death By...Push-ups and Pull-ups. You can really do this with any strength exercise, but our coach apparently just wanted to toast our arms for the week! 

Every minute on the minute you work, then rest until the next minute. First minute, you do 1 push-up, 1 pull-up. Second minute, 2 push-ups, 2 pull-ups. And you keep increasing the reps until you get to 20. No one in the class made it all the way to 20. When you "fail" and don't finish before the minute is up, you rest for the round and then cut your reps in half and start again from that point. Does that make sense? Am I speaking English???

Loved this workout. It wasn't challenging on my lungs, but boy my shoulders were spent!

Last night we did a very familiar workout for me: Tabata! I've mentioned it before, but I teach a Tabata class once a week at my gym. I love Tabata's for the intensity of the workout and the short time it takes. Our four Tabata's last night:

Box jumps
Sit ups
Push press

In case you don't know what Tabata is, it is a very specific high-intensity workout where you do 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work, all out, followed by 10 seconds of rest. It may not sound like much, but it's a great workout! Teaching my class, sometimes I forget how difficult it is to do Tabata! When I teach, I do some of the exercises with my class, but not all of them. Doing my own Tabata workout every once in a while definitely makes me more empathetic!

Running-wise, I've had a good, but boring week. I've had several shorter 4 mile runs, which went fine, if not a little slow. Wednesday I had an appointment in Edmonds, so I decided to head up there early and run along the water. I incorrectly assumed the boardwalk along the water stretched on for a few miles. Wrong. It was only about a mile long and I had 8 miles to get in. Doh! At least the view was nice. It was a foggy morning, but it looked a bit like this:

The rest of that 8 miler, I was blindly running around Edmonds trying to keep myself entertained. I ended up listening to some music and tuning out as best I could. And I made it. All was right with the world again!

A few exciting things on the agenda that I'm looking forward to! 

Friday night after CrossFit, my running buddies and I are headed trail running at night! Although I am most definitely #teammorning when it comes to running, I am excited to run in the mountains in the dark with my friends. It will be a big adventure! I am also going to laugh because we are all going to be sporting some awesome head lamps and reflective gear. One of the trainers at CrossFit said he was going to hide in the bushes in a bear costume and scare us. I laughed, but that would definitely scare the bageesus out of me!

Also this weekend is the Tough Mudder! I have been so anxious about this race for the past few months and I can't believe it is finally here. Eeek! I don't have any goals for this race other than to come out alive and not injured. I am not worried at all about the running part. It's only 10 miles or so and I know some of the guys on our team are going to struggle getting through that many miles. My worry is the obstacles. The other girls and I have decided that none of us need to be heroes and have given ourselves free passes to skip obstacles if we need to.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Seattle Tourist Weekend

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend Kali came in to visit me from Texas this weekend! Kali and I met as dancers in New York. We did several musical theater shows together in Brooklyn and were audition buddies as well. Kali is currently dancing on cruises and had a break in her busy schedule between contracts to come for a visit! She'd never been to Seattle, so I had to show her everything I could!
Making faces.
I got my long run done on Friday so we could spend as much time together as possible.

After I finished my long run, we headed out to my parents' house on the peninsula. We took the ferry out there and I was pretty disappointed because it was a very foggy and overcast day. Not the best way to represent yourself, Seattle!
Tree was too slimy to climb. Stupid moss!
Once we got to my parents' house, we enjoyed a lovely lunch (I was starving from my long run) and then went on a hike in Fort Warden. This is one of my favorite places for a walk and since I know it pretty well, I don't have to worry about getting lost.

Kali and I made sure to take lots of silly pictures in the forest and on the beach. Because it's important. Obviously.
Handstands for the win!

We had dinner with my parents and high-tailed it back to Seattle since I had to work in the morning. Boo!

After I got off work the next day, the weather cleared up (thank goodness!), so I took Kali to the Seattle waterfront and the "Great Wheel".

 I don't know why they call it a "Great Wheel" and not just the Seattle Ferris Wheel, but whatever. They should've asked me to name it. Obviously I would have named it "Rodolfo The Wheel" or something equally as awesome.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the wheel. It was nice and I think it's a beautiful addition to the Seattle waterfront at night, but I think you get a better view from the ferry of Seattle, and the waterfront gives you the same view of the sound. Next time, I think I will just take visitors up the Space Needle, since it is similar in price and so iconic.

Afterwards, I took Kali to Alki Beach in West Seattle. We started at one end and walked a mile or two to the other end. We had a lovely little walk, although it was a bit chilly. I love Alki. It is one of my favorite places in Seattle, especially when it isn't super crowded. You really can't beat the view of Seattle!
Cartwheeling! Love!
Nor of Seattle's very own Lady Liberty. Don't tell me were not classy in the Pacific Northwest!
Lady Liberty, Seattle style.
We had dinner at Cactus on Alki. I love this place. It is so unique and fresh and everything I have tried here is simply amazing! They classify their dishes as Southwest and Mexican. I ended up with the Sonoran Spa Chicken, which had great cilantro flavors and just enough veggies and chicken! Kali ended up with the Butternut Squash Enchiladas, which were fantastic! Neither of us had ever thought of putting butternut squash in a Mexican dish before, but it totally worked! They were very sweet with hints of cinnamon and chocolate in the mole sauce.

After dinner, our waiter brought us their Three Milk Cuban Flan on the house! Holy cow it was so good! We dominated it.

Trying to take a pic of ourselves.  Someone sign us up for
photography school immediately.
After dinner, we walked back to the car along Alki at sunset. It was magical, if not a tid bit chilly!

The next morning, we met my trail running friends for a run around Discovery Park again. The weather was brisk, but it was perfect for running!

Waiting for everyone else to arrive. Perfect time for car photos!
We had another nice trail run! I was still pretty tuckered out from Friday's long run, I think, so I was dragging a bit. It's times like those I love running with friends who can pick you up and assure you that its just one of those days. I always feel so much better commiserating with my runner buddies!

Garmin says 7 trail miles in 1:11. Garmin probably lost signal,
so it was closer to 8 miles.
The rest of the day Kali and I spent downtown. We started at Pike Place Market. Back in New York, Kali and I had spent many an afternoon wandering around and finding great farmers markets and stores. It felt like we were back in New York again and I was just so happy to be wandering around with my friend!

Kali loved watching the flying fish and we made sure to see the pig, the first Starbucks and all the lovely vendors.

No, Sir, I really don't want to kiss your fish!
Afterwards, we meandered over to Pioneer Square for the Underground Seattle tour. The original city of Seattle was actually wiped out by a fire, so when the city rebuilt, they built everything on top of the old city. It was fascinating to hear stories and see the "bottom" of so many buildings in the area. Our tour guide had lots of fun stories to tell us about the crazy people who built the city!

Ready to head underground.
We finished the day off by taking the monorail over to Seattle Center. Of course, we found some random statues along the way and had to stop and take pictures!

Kali and I decided to save our money since we'd already done the tour and the Great Wheel. We didn't go up in the Space Needle, but I made Kali go to the base because I feel like its a must for a first time Seattle visitor!

At the fountain at Seattle Center.
No idea why it was boring and not turned on!
It was such a fun weekend and it was so sad to say goodbye to Kali! Hopefully I'll see her soon!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looooong 20 Miles

This is the story of a long 20 mile run.

The night before, my friend Kali came in to visit from Texas! I was planning to get up at 5am to get my long run done so we could play the rest of the day.

Hi Kali!
I got started right on time. I had my Camelbak with me and packed full of fuel. I started off fairly slow, as I usually do. It typically takes me a few miles to really feel loose and to be able to turn my legs over as fast as I want them to. It was pitch black outside, but I enjoyed the quiet and calm Friday morning.
Pitch black. Thought I'd take a picture for you
in case you were wondering what it looked like.
After about 3 miles, I noticed I was sweating waaaay more than normal. TMI? Probably. Your welcome!

I started feeling kind of light headed and figured I was just dehydrated, so I chugged water out of my Camelbak. By 5 miles, I had completely drained my pack. I stopped in a Starbucks to refill it and had another entire cup of water.

I was confused as to why I was so thirsty and was dragging so badly, but figured it was dehydration because as soon as I started running again, I felt fine.

I ran around Lake Union, which was lovely and quiet and then headed up to Greenlake.

Overcast day in Seattle. Monumental. Call the papers!
Again, about 5 miles later, I had to stop because I was feeling so lightheaded. I chugged my Camelbak and refilled it again. I was also taking in lots of fuel.

First I had some Sports beans that went unpictured. I love the Jelly Belly Sports Beans with caffeine. They are tangy and easy to chew and swallow. I also had a GU. I find that Gu's work really well for me, but they are usual harder for me to choke down mid run. I had also found these Buddy Fruit snacks at my grocery store. They were on sale and they worked very well. Kind of like a Gu Chomp! Plus, they were on sale. All around win.

Hydration break at GasWorks Park.
I managed to keep plodding along, but it certainly wasn't easy.

I've gotten into the habit of stopping a lot during long runs, and I need to be better about that. I have one more 20 miler and a 22 miler left, and my goal is to get through most of them unbroken.

Legs, get moving!

By the last 5 miles, I was just done. I was still lightheaded and out of energy. I was also very frustrated with myself because the rest of my body felt great! For some reason I was just losing lots of water through sweat and couldn't replenish it fast enough. I won't even mention how many times I had to stop to use the bathroom. Good thing it was late enough in the morning at this point that lots of stores were open for me to beg for the restroom!

I finally made the last few miles, after having to stop and walk several times.

Not my best run. Not my best time. Not sure what was going on with my body, but I'm hoping it was a fluke and my last few long runs will be much better.

I recovered with an ice bath. It was extra cold this time, but with a full day of running around Seattle ahead of me with Kali, I knew my legs were going to need all the recovery help they could manage!
I'm cold. The end.
I'll recap the rest of my weekend tomorrow. I had a great time showing Kali around and even got in another trail run! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Workout Catch Up

How is it Thursday already?! I've got lots of workouts to recap!

Lets start at CrossFit! It's been a good week for me. I think my body is getting accustomed to so many workouts in addition to teaching and training. Woo hoo!

Monday we had a nice little circuit workout that I just killed. I loved the short but sweet workout this day.
We did three rounds of kettlebell push press, pull ups and push ups. All this after working 5 sets of military press! Haha, my shoulders were fried, but I owned it! As usual, I loathed the row, but was able to push through it because I knew it would be over soon!

Tuesday was fun as well. I killed "Helen"!

Helen is one of the benchmark workouts that is three rounds, as fast as possible, for time.

 I love "Helen" because it is really about endurance. There aren't any Olympic lifts in there, so I just have to go balls to the wall and hold steady until I can collapse at the end. I think I finished in 8:45, and did everything prescribed except the pullups. I have faith that in a few months, I can have enough unassisted kipping pullups strung together, that I can finish the workout as prescribed!

Our workout last night was another good one! It's been a good week at the box!

After trail running again yesterday (more on that in a second), I was worried I wasn't going to feel very recovered for the afternoon workout, but I felt great!

We started by working on rowing technique, which is always welcomed. Our WOD was a 500 meter row, then 21-15-9 reps of burpees and v-ups. Then a 500 meter run followed by 21-15-9 of double unders (I did singles) and kettlebell swings.

Loved it! I finished first in my class of 20! Of course I get ahead on the run, but I've found that I tend to get ahead on burpees, too. This is strange because I still have trouble with my pushups, but I sort of slam my body onto the ground and then explode back up to a squat. It works!

My runs this week have been great too! Both Monday and Tuesday, I took it easy, but ended up speedier than I intended. LOVE it when that happens!

Yesterday I met my friend Jess again for a trail run. SO MUCH TRAIL RUNNING! I'm loving it.
Up and ready for the trails!
 We went back to Cougar Mountain and I find that I love those trails so much better than Discovery Park. The trails are just more beautiful and there seems to be less people, which makes it more serene. The trails also seem to be more "rugged" (the only word I can think of). The Discovery Park trails are paved with dirt or gravel over them, but on Cougar Mountain, it's just the dirt and tree branches to hop over. Jess and I ended up running for about an hour and forty minutes.
Garmin wouldn't connect, so we used Jess's watch.
It is so peaceful being out there on the trails and I feel so lucky to have such a great mentor and teacher in Jess! Of course, she's recovering from an injury and is working her way back up to ultramarathon shape, which means 4-8 hour runs, which I will definitely not be able to keep up on!

After trail running, I came home and made the most delicious "cheesy kale chips" from Emily on Daily Garnish. Darn this stuff was delicious! There really wasn't a recipe, but I wrote it out below in case you want to try it.
Cheesy Kale Chips
Daily Garnish

Olive oil
Nutritional Yeast

Massage kale with a glug of olive oil, until soft. Add salt and nutritional yeast and toss. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reflections on my First Marathon: A Year Later

I wasn't blogging when I was training for my first marathon, but I remember just about everything!

My first go round with marathon training went well, but I was in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed and I was scared and anxiety-ridden before just about every new long run distance.

Every run past about 16 miles made me a nervous wreck for several days prior. Don't get me wrong. I had fun training, but it was unlike anything I had done before!

I remember my first 20 miler, or what was supposed to be a 20 miler. I was struggling from about mile 12 on, and around mile 18 I felt so light headed I literally thought I was going to pass out. I was running on the Queensboro Bridge and remember just wanting to be done. I kept taking walk breaks just so I could make it to the other side. I ended up reluctantly hopping on the subway 2 miles short of 20. I came home in tears and my poor roommate talked me down from the ledge. One thing I specifically remember thinking about was how far I had come. Sure, I didn't hit my 20-mile goal for the day, but I was still on track and had come leaps and bounds since I started marathon training.

My smaller runs during the week were less stressful and I enjoyed them much more without all the anxiety. I was a stickler for not missing any of my scheduled runs.

Obviously, I made through training and got myself to the start line of the NYC Marathon. The race itself I still refer to as the best day of my life. The most challenging? Certainly, but the reward I felt afterwards and the support I felt throughout the entire thing was incredible. Although I make it sound like I am an emotional wreck who cries at the drop of a hat, I am quite the opposite and it is a rare day you will see tears on my face. During the marathon, however, there were several times my body was beyond the point of exhaustion and my mind such a jumbled mess that I literally had to choke back tears.

Trying real hard not to cry!
 I let it rip after I crossed the finish line and was a blubbering mess for about 5 minutes until I pulled it together. Then I called my dad to tell him I finished and lost it again. THEN I saw my friends and burst into tears for the final time as I was received in a group hug.
Give me all the hugs!!
 So much has been different for me this time around regarding training.

After I moved to Seattle, I immediately started doing Crossfit, so I knew I was going to have a base already built that I could continue while I was marathon training. I tried to be smart about it and build up my CrossFit classes as I started training for several half marathons.

SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver
 I never realized how life-changing Crossfit was going to be, and I credit it for building strength, preventing injuries and generally making me stronger! In the several half marathons I have completed since starting classes, I have found it easier to ignore the physical and mental pain when things start getting tough in a race.
This is the CrossFit workout I think back to when I'm in pain.
 Marathon training first time around was strict for me. I am one of those anal people who, when they set a schedule or a plan for themselves, has to follow it to a T. I hit every run and gave myself such anxiety the few times I missed. This time around, I mapped out my long runs and gave myself a goal for one mid-week middle distance run. This gave me more freedom to move my runs around and not stress as much, which is always welcome in my world!

I am hoping that my more laid back approach to training this year still gets me through the marathon on November 4th. I know I can finish, so that fear is behind me.

I feel like a stronger athlete this year, mentally and physically. I think my mindset going in is much calmer, and although I would like to beat my previous time, I will just be glad to be towing the start line of another marathon!

In other news, I have lots of workouts to recap, but it will wait until tomorrow! Don't worry, I'm still being a bada$$ in the gym and on the road!