Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Slowly Inching Toward My Goal...Slow is Objective...Right?

Well, here we are almost 2 months out from marathon race day, and HELLO from the once freezing arctic circle making up the entirety of the bible belt! (Insert any song from Frozen here.) 😋 The last few weeks have been above freezing, and I never thought I'd get to the oddly strange point of bragging that we have a "heat wave" at 45-50 degrees. You all will think I'm out of my mind by saying that- 50% of the "no duh, it's February!" variety, and the other 50% not wrapping your minds around a winter of much below 50 degrees. I get you. I was the latter for the most part, until this year. But enough of my mind-blowing and repetitive "actual" cold weather lament. In other super exciting semi-worthy news...

Race day seems to be creeping up with the ferocity of a hardcore caffeine lover in the Starbucks drive thru on a Monday morning. In less than 2 months I'll be on a plane to Silicon Valley with Yuan, making the short drive down to Big Sur to run 26.2 miles (mostly uphill) until I cry (and keep running, because this race is majorly timed). I've managed to keep my newly discovered (re-discovered?) positivity, and am working on building on that, living in the moment and embracing the uncomfortable aspects of distance running pain versus distraction from it. I also discovered that (thanks to my boyfriend) wireless headphones, a full battery and a good podcast have become my new best friend, and I fully intend on sharing some of those favorites here when I can build up a pretty decent list. I also plan on sharing a Monday(ish) weekly training re-cap, especially since I'm actually getting some decent mileage back in my legs these days.

THIS marathon! (source)
So far I've been able to get a few longer runs in at the park, ranging from 8-10 miles and I'm super happy about that, especially since the park is hilly. I do realize that treadmills have elevation options, and while I use them I truly believe you can't beat the surprise of a good old fashioned hill, especially toward the end of a run when I have a hard time bringing my finger to hover over, and actually press, a higher elevation number on the 'mill. Plus, running outside gets me mini-adventures, such as seeing the coolest white-tailed deer up close and so much else; it keeps those long runs new and ever-changing. Yay for mini-adventures!

Having a mini-adventure last week. Life hack: 
The hand on hip pose can help convey sass and a laid back attitude while in actuality you're gasping for air. 
Remember that one.😎 
Inside, the Woodway is my very best friend, and the way that thick tire-rubber type belt feels underfoot is unparalleled, especially compared to other treadmills. The Woodway puts a pep in my step like no other. When KC Endurance closes for good on March 20th I will be one sad, sad girl, but until then I'm enjoying every moment and living my post college loan-paying version of bon vivance (a.k.a. best life) on what I would NEVER dare call a DREAD-mill. 🙊

I hope you guys are having a good week so far. We are looking forward to some visitors over the weekend, so I'm over the moon about that. I also got about 6 hours of sleep the other day, so I'm happy-tired, my eyes are burning and the matcha-green-tea-super-fancy-latte (with coconut milk) I desperately grabbed after a work meeting at the local Starbucks won't even work. Also, apparently the Starbucks had a scary run-in with a mad customer that almost escalated into them calling the police; this was right before I pulled into the drive thru line, so they were understandably shaken up. If you've ever worked any kind of retail you get how badly some people will act in public. I felt horrible for them.

Tonight's training plan calls for 3-4 easy miles tonight and that's what it's getting, along with a newly burning desire to go to bed at 9 p.m. Who would've thought that would be harder than the mileage?!

We all know this logic.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Well, That De-Escalated Quickly!

For me, as well as many others, the weather can take a direct toll on our emotions. Despite my steely resolve to remain the happiest person on the trails, a consistently harsh, bitter midwestern cold coupled with thoughts of an impending marathon coming up WAY too fast had me freaking the heck out, to be honest. For a little while I was considering dropping down to the half, but having some truly good friends in my corner who selflessly and kindly encouraged me to keep going kept me from doing that. I'm beyond glad to have them in my corner. HAPPY HAPPY BITHDAY to Tiffany b.t.w.! If you're reading this I hope you're having an amazing time in Hawaii. Miss you girl.

Also, the sun came out.

Last weekend the heat rose to a blessed 60 degrees (after so many months of 20 it felt like the world was on a nice, fiery sizzle- and I was LOVING it), so I hightailed it out the door as fast as I could and ran 10 of the most introspective miles I've had in a long time. I knew that on Monday it was going to be close to 70, so I took off a half day at work, went to the park and ran an additional 8 miles on sore legs while listening to one of my favorite podcasts- and it hurt SO good! Those two days of beach-like respite were what I desperately needed to really get it in my head that I could run this marathon. Big Sur, you heard me! I'm coming for you. And your long uneven roads, too....(insert witch cackle here)!

Out there on the trail, I concentrated with the moment, really being present, being there during every jagged breath, every ache, every drop of sweat. I wasn't wishing I was somewhere else or thinking of anything in the future, I was just...there. I wholly decided to work with what I could control, and work around what I couldn't. Having that perspective changed those runs in a way I wouldn't have thought possible just a month ago. For the first time in a long time I was enjoying myself! I wasn't using internal negative talk to put myself down every chance I got. My "you SHOULD be doing.." thoughts transformed into "you GET to do this". Not only did I do myself a favor (this world's tough- we don't need to be tough on ourselves too!), but I even had stretches where I ran faster or longer than I thought I could.

Getting back in shape is challenging, but it's part of the cycle, since rest periods need to be taken. It's back down in the 20's today, feeling like 5 degrees, and my boyfriend and I are SO lucky that we have a studio right now with top of the line treadmills to run on. That means 4 miles tonight! I'm starting to feel okay about slow and steady progress, and I am truly enjoying the process. I'm beyond tired though; 7 hours of sleep a night just doesn't cut it anymore...or really ever for me, lol. Time to adjust and go to bed earlier.

Looking forward to another weekend of warmth (and dreaming of Summer)! Fingers crossed!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Impending Marathon Freak Out Time

I'm officially feeling it - marathon freak out, in ALL its glory. It's gotten slowly better, but still, ugh. As the days and weeks count down to Big Sur, a.k.a. the hardest race I've ever done, and I'm forced to skip yet another long run Sunday due to staying out late at night to make others happy and be a good friend (I know, it was my own decision, and I won't do it again). We had a wedding to go to on Saturday, and one of Yuan's friends flew in from out of state for it. It was so awesome to get to see her, so when it came time to leave the venue for a warm living room, and she wanted to stay out later, I thought that it wouldn't be so nice to say no and go home, so we all walked from the venue downtown to a karaoke bar to hang out and watch the actors from a play that just let out sing a little. It was nice and chill, until we were presented with shots. After declining the first and second shots and not wanting to decline a third, Yuan and I got our Uber and made it back to the house in record time. 

Staying out late was a good change, but it's really not for me the majority of the time. I'm a get to bed early so I can run on Sunday, or just generally function like a non-vampire, type of gal. When we got home I started internally freaking out about all of the training challenges this winter, and started seriously thinking about going down to the half, even to the point of laying in bed staring at the ceiling for an hour. A bit later I ended up messaging my friend Connor, and he gave me the positive encouragement I needed, along with a similar race for him. In the end I felt a lot better about still trying to run this marathon, even though I don't think the stress of it will go away until I'm over that finish line in under 6 hours. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Goals & (Positive) Reinforcement

What's more happy than this cute little dog running across a field??
The other day I took a running class at my absolute FAVORITE place, KC Endurance. Since the weather was pretty cold and it was the last class of the day, I was the only one there (well, besides the instructor)! Class went well, and I got to chat with her a little after too. I told her about how my love of running slowly has gone downhill, and not in a good way.

A little background on my running: In the beginning I had something like a 14 minute mile. I was slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I was SO happy and encouraged. Every time I got to go run was a time that I could smile big and forget about all of the stressors of my new post-college life, brush that dirt right off my shoulder and go. I even made a wonderful friend who ran my first half marathon with me, and I was so very thankful (and still am) to have that friendship. A year later, enter a new, one-upping, overly competitive friend who had to have what I had, plus some. That slowly wears away at anyone, especially when it isn't especially overt at the time. The next year, in an attempt to propel my post-college career forward and get some better experience,  I moved to a new city I wasn't jazzed about and took a job in what turned out to be a highly toxic culture. Sometimes even running can't de-stress me THAT much, lol! Now, with learning what a real winter is and having had some not too positive comments lately, I'm losing my love of what once saved me from everything. I'm extra hard on myself too, and that kind of self negativity will NEVER garner a positive response, amirite??

After hearing my issue, my instructor gave me some of the BEST advice. She told me to go easier on myself, and just have fun with it, no matter what minute mile I'm currently at. She suggested that I go for outdoor runs without my watch. No phone, no watch, just go run and take everything in, and this blew my mind. It's not like I've never heard of that before, but so much emphasis in the running world if placed on data and metrics that I never see anything remotely to the essence of, "Today, I went running. I don't know my exact mileage, elevation, heartrate or mile time, but I had FUN!". Well, when it's warm enough for this ex-Texan to go run outside, I'll be doing exactly that. No only will I be doing that, but I won't be giving myself a hard time for not being good enough. It's going to be tough, but I'm wiling to take it on. Until then, I'll be running on the Woodway tonight! ❤❤