Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ragnar, Baby!

I am bursting with excitement. And nervous-ment. But mostly excitement. I was invited to join my first ever relay team, for Ragnar Northwest Passage! My friend's employer (well, now former employer, since she has a new job) puts together a team each year and someone dropped out and so she kindly thought of me and offered me the spot. Hooray!

It feels like this is such a big opportunity, but I have to say, I am a wee bit nervous my legs will not be happy with me. Right now I can't run more than one day in a row, so to run three times in less than 36 hours? Well, my legs might revolt against me. My extremities are just going to have to suck it up, though, because I am running Ragnar, baby

I am running legs 2, 14 and 26 of the race with a total of just under 14 miles. Very glad my longest leg is the first one! It's going to be a serious trial-by-fire sort of situation because I won't have practiced running more than once in a day, running in the dark, running in heat (if we have some, which is likely) . . . . but I am not too worried. The worst that is going to happen is that I will have to walk a bunch of legs 2 and 3 because I wrecked my legs on the first leg. Sheesh, a lot of different use of the word "legs" on this here blog tonight!

If you don't know what Ragnar is, then watch this video! 

I've secured a reflective vest from my friend, have a new pair of shoes on order from Zappos, "the stick" on order from Amazon, and will start gathering supplies and shopping later this week. Oh, and cowbells. I've got cowbells! My team isn't in to fancy themes or dressing up or anything, but my friend and I want to paint the van windows. I need paint! 

Have you ever run a relay race? Any suggestions for me? Are you running Ragnar NWP?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

So What Now?

My fitness world has revolved around the Rock-n-Roll half for the last, oh, several months. Now that's it over, what will I focus on? And what kind of workouts should I do today, this week, next month, and beyond to keep moving in a vaguely forward direction?

My personal trainer says no running for a week and to take it easy. Well, I can certainly handle that! My first workout back was a 30 minute easy elliptical session three days post-race. I keep reading about other ladies that ran RnR who are jumping back in to jealousy-inducing workouts and have to check my ego at the door because we are all different. What works for someone else won't necessarily work for me.

Which brings me to . . . how I trained for this race. I made it pretty well known that I did very, very little running in my cobbled together half marathon training plan (based on the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Novice, swapping one running day for strength training). I ran three days a week, all of them roughly the same speed (no speed work, as speed work can equal injuries for me). Two shorter runs and one long run per week, never running more than one day in a row. The short runs were about the same distance each week, inching up in mileage very slowly until they were 5.5 miles at the end. My long run peaked at just over 11 miles two weeks out and that was the only week I ran over 20 miles total. Two other days per week I did strength training and two days per week were either complete rest or active rest.

Was I in peak form on race day? NO. But you know what? Last year I ran many more training miles, including speed work once a week, and even though I ran the same race 8 minutes faster, I killed myself in the process. Who knows if I could have hit that time again, but I wasn't willing to try! So, what I am trying to say is, I was trained enough. Enough to run the distance and enough to make it to the start line-- well, I won't say injury-free, but I will say . . .-- physically able to run the race.

Recently I have been looking up information online about how to run the least amount of miles necessary in training in order to be able to run a full marathon. Consensus seems to be that if you want to be great at running marathons that you need to put in the miles. However, not all of us want to be great, we just want to be good. Even good enough. I just want to be able to finish a full marathon (okay, my pride says finish it around 4:00) in one piece. There are a lot of reports of athletes training in all sorts of unconventional ways in order to run a marathon, often in seriously respectable times. I especially loved this article in Outside magazine about using Crossfit to help train for a marathon. In my mind Crossfit and long distance running don't blend, but apparently they can! 

Could this be my holy grail?

Have you ever trained unconventionally for a full (or half) marathon? How did it work out for you? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

PW and PB at the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

You guys. YOU GUYS. I did it! I finished the race! As I sit here typing, several hours after crossing the finish line, I'm still not sure how much damage I ended up doing to my body in the process, but holy cow. It felt UNBELIEVABLY GOOD to be running a half marathon again! The past year of stress from relentless injury was incredibly tough to handle, but I forgot (almost) all of it out there on the course. I was running again.

Let's see, let's start at the beginning:

I didn't sleep very well on Friday night, but luckily I slept like a baby on Thursday night, so I wasn't too worried about it. I even jumped out of bed at 4:30 on Saturday, half an hour before my alarm went off. A taxi picked me up at 5:45 and. . . . . he got pulled over by a cop on the way downtown. He was driving really fast, even through the race zone where there was, duh, tons of cops. Luckily he got a quick warning and we were left to go. 

Since I hadn't checked the course map before the race, there were a few surprises of the day, the first of which was that the start line for the race was in a different spot than last year! A quick stop at the potty and I was over at corral 7, where I met Stacie from Skipping in Seattle. We hung out and waited for everyone to show up for the group photo.
With Stacie before the race.

This is our group shot before the race. I don't actually know everyone in this shot . . . please comment if you know who I missed so I can link to them! Top row is Sally, me, and then Lauren from Marathon Lar in the nuun singlet and Tiffany from Musings of a Runner Girl second to the right the black shirt. Bottom row is Stacie from Skipping in Seattle and Zoe from Run Zoe Run. (Thanks Stacie for the photo!) 

After the group photo it was time to jump in the corral with Sally. Sally was my buddy for the race. We didn't chat much today, because if you are chatting while racing, well, you're probably not running hard enough, but it was incredibly reassuring to have her by my side.

With Sally in corral 7.

We started our race just after 7:00 am. The course was different from the start in that it went down 5th Ave this year. Last year it was 2nd, I think? So right off the bat, that was new. This section of course was fun, and shady, which was nice. It was already too warm at 7:00 am! We turned east on to Dearborn, then south on to Rainier, which was just like last year. BORING. The Rock-n-Roll Seattle organizers made some awesome changes to the course this year, but they still need to change that section! It is not pretty! I popped a peanut butter Gu around mile 5.

From Rainier we turned east on to Genesee and headed in to mile 5, where Matt and the girls were waiting. It was fantastic to see them and give them all a hug. I definitely began to lag right before that point and seeing them gave me a huge boost and some confidence that I was going to actually do this thing. We turned north again, and saw Endorphin Dude and his cape right before we ran under this huge blow up rocker dude, which was cool!

Photo from Competitor.

As we made our way along Lake Washington, Sally was starting to fade. She wasn't feeling the best and I walked with her up the ramp to the I-90 tunnel. I appreciated the chance to walk, but was starting to feel my left knee complain every time I stopped running and that made me nervous. After we slogged through the horrible, no good, very bad tunnel, Sally was feeling ready to slow down. I let her know I wanted to plow on (and secretly wondered if I could make a sub-2:00 if I pushed hard) and we said our "see you soons" and I sped up a bit. 

The splits. My fastest mile was 13! Mile 9 was walking up the ramp to the tunnel 
and then stopping for a Gu and water in the tunnel. 

The I-90 expressway wasn't so bad. I appreciated the bits of shade and the moments of breeze. At the end of the tunnel, the start of mile 10, was where I started to realize (pardon my language) holy shit, I really am going to finish this race strong. I did a little math in my head and thought if I ran 9:00 min/mile the rest of the race I would hit a sub-2:00, though I decided not to become a slave to my watch. After I-90 we ran down by the stadiums for a bit before heading north on 2nd Ave. I was again surprised by the course change. Last year we got on the viaduct downtown much earlier, via a steep ramp. This year we ran up 2nd Ave for a few blocks before getting on at much friendlier incline. Though I do think that overall it was nicer this year, the fact is, we ended up at the same place on the viaduct. Whether we got up there on a steep ramp or a long slow incline, we still had to climb. 

It was about a mile and a half from the finish that I realized I wouldn't hit a sub-2:00, but I still kept running with everything I had. I didn't hate the viaduct as much as I did last year, I was in so. much. pain. last year on that stretch. This year I was running hard, but not dying. It was much nicer to just enjoy the view and be present instead of wishing the race to be over. 

And then . . . . the uphill to the finish. Dear god, this uphill finish HAS to go! It's awful! I was looking at the spectators lining the fences as I (didn't really) sprint to the finish. No one was really cheering for the runners, what the heck? Was fun to hear Tall Mom on the Run shout my name as I went past, though! Matt and the girls were at the finish line, but unfortunately I didn't see them. They did catch video of me crossing the line, which appears in the video below. 

After hanging out in the finish area for a couple minutes to see if I could find Sally, I grabbed my food and headed out to find my family. It felt so good to re-unite with them! My little cheering squad. I am so incredibly grateful that they would get up early and drive all over the city through road closures and other nonsense just to be there for me.

We met up with Sally and her boyfriend in the meet-up area and they took off to get on with the rest of their day. When they left we relaxed for a bit and I shared the finish line snacks I grabbed. Then we headed over to grab some ice for my knee from the medical tent and watch Hot Chelle Rae perform. I knew my girls would especially love seeing the band, and you know what? They weren't so bad! It was not crowded at all, so we laid in the grass and listened. Everything about it felt perfect.

With the girls at the finish. Eloise's sign said "Go Mom Go". 

I am so incredibly blessed that my family came out to cheer me on on race day. Having them on the course and at the finish line meant the world to me. It isn't easy for them to be up early, navigate the traffic and stress over being in the right spot at the right time just to see me for a moment on the course-- but without them it would have been a very different race for me. Love you guys! Thank you for supporting me and believing in me, even when *I* wasn't sure I could do this, YOU were all sure I could! 

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting a few text messages from my physical therapist right after I finished. She had looked up my results online and sent me her support. Her first text said "proud of you!" and then she said my time was good, considering my lack of speed training, and to relax and celebrate my day and then come in to see her so we can make a plan for my running comeback! Honestly, that made me tear up. I LOVE how much my PT believes in me, even when other health care providers don't. And her last text said what an inspiration I am to her. Tears.

My take-home message of the entire day? It feels so good to be believed in. 

Once the band was over I was DONE. I needed to get home immediately, I felt like I had been suddenly struck with the flu. When I got home I showered and snuggled up in bed and didn't move for several hours. It felt nice!

  • A video my husband made for me on Magisto.
    In the first shot of runners going across the finish line I am on the left all in black. 

    So what makes this race my personal worst (PW)? My time. 2:03:02. I just have to suck that up, my first half over 2:00. 

  • Overall: 2846 out of 12367
    Division: 201 out of 1303
    Gender: 1110 out of 7963

  • And what makes it my personal best (PB)? Everything else. 

    Did you run Rock-n-Roll Seattle? How did it go?

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

    Total miles run: 15.6

    Monday: Rest

    Tuesday: At the Gym With My Trainer

    Warm-up with stretches, kettlebell swings and sumo squats.
    Then I went through the clean and jerk progression before doing:
    *30 clean and jerks (3 sets of 10) with a 55# barbell
    *overhead lunges w/ 45# barbell (I don't remember how many, I think 3 sets of 10)
    *3 sets of 5 chest dips w/ the help of my trainer (I can't do one on my own). 

    Wednesday: 2.5 miles

    I ran at the track while my kids played. Tried to average 9:00 min/miles, which felt really hard for some reason. I started out at 10:00 min/miles then worked my way down to 8:00 min/miles to average 9:00. 

    Thursday: Elliptical

    45 minutes of elliptical at the gym.

    Friday: Rest and short walk

    Saturday: Half-marathon!

    13.1 miles, baby! Write-up coming soon! 

    Sunday: Rest

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    One More Sleep!

    In my second year of running the Seattle Rock-n-Roll half marathon I was already feeling over it before I ever ran it. It's a fun race, but my god, the logistics suck. But today, just like last year, the day before the race, I am super excited. Everything feels like it's coming together really well and I am ready

    See, my training calendar even says I am ready! 

    Last weekend I was so fortunate to meet a new friend and she and I ran a six mile loop together in my 'hood. We decided to to run this half marathon together, which basically means that we will start together, and hope to run all of the race together, but it's still every girl for herself.  Either of us is free to split off at any time. I am so happy that I have a buddy to run with this year, as that was definitely the best part of last year's race. I am also excited that the pre-race lady bloggers group photo is happening in my corral! I won't miss it this year!  

    Matt and the girls will be spectating close to where they were last year (last year they were at the top of the Dakota Street hill, but this year the race is going up Genesee, so they will be on Genesee. Be sure to wave if you see them!). They will also be coming to the finish line, which they didn't do last year. I hope it's not too  much of a hassle, but it will be super fun to see them at the end. I bet the girls would like to see Hot Chelle Rae, too (which is the band this year), though we only know that one popular song. 

    Yesterday I brought Iris and our friend, K, to the expo with me. I was originally going to take Iris and Eloise, but was so happy when a friend offered to have Eloise over for a playdate. Trying to bring Eloise anywhere is like trying to wrangle a gaggle of kittens, only way louder. 

    We got to the expo not long after it opened and I was able to walk right up and get my bib and then snag my t-shirt and my swag bag. No problemo. 

    Ready to Rock-n-Roll! 

    The shirts are way cuter than last year, too. I didn't like the white from last year, not a huge fan of the red this year, but the design is awesome. Will keep hoping for a gray race shirt some day. See the gray shirt I am wearing above? It is the free one I got for signing up for RnR at the Seattle Marathon expo. It is so awesome, it says "Rock n' Roll Seattle" on the front in the style of the Pikes Place Market sign. If they made one like this, but in tech material, it would be a PERFECT race shirt. Heads up, RnR peeps. 

    Front on the left, back on the right.

    Then the girls and I headed through the Brooks carnival thingie and played some games. I won a t-shirt, the girls won sunglasses and a bandanna. When we played the skeeball game I got a wee bit excited and totally creamed the three little girls I was playing against. Oops. 

    Modelling the swag. 

    After we went through the expo and snagged all the free samples we could (OMG, the cinnamon and brown sugar pop chips by Smartfood are crazy good!) we stopped back in the Brooks carnival area for the "live show". We didn't know what it would be, but it was basically a clever marketing pitch. There was a pit of "non-newtonian fluid" in the center of the stage that apparently Brooks puts in some of their shoes. If you ran across it quickly you wouldn't sink in to it, but if you went slowly, you would. The guy on stage asked for a volunteer to come up and run through it, so our friend K raised her hand and got to go up there and give it a try.
    K running through the goo.

    Last night I headed to the gym for my last workout before the race. I planned on doing the elliptical and it felt pretty good. The top of my left foot is really hurting. I am waffling between thinking it's another stress fracture  or maybe it's tendonitis. I have no idea what's up, but I'm ignoring it until after the race (note: clearly this is a dumb choice). I am icing my foot several times a day and last night I dug up an old bottle of hydrocodone I didn't use from my surgery last summer. Giving the hydrocodone a try to see how it feels before I take it before the race. 

    I was thinking I should carb load today with a giant vat of jelly beans, but I couldn't find my favorite ones, so I am on to plan B, which is . . . . basically eating like normal. Turns out I am carb junky 24/7. 

    Stole this from It seemed appropriate! 

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    My Baby is Nine

    My big girl. My fiery red-headed baby, is nine today.

    About five weeks old here.

    This has been a big year for Iris. She went to public school for the first time. It was a big leap of faith, for all of us, to put a kiddo like Iris in to that situation. There were bumps along the way, but also some triumphs. At her birthday party on Saturday several girls from her class came and celebrated with her. It made my heart swell to see Iris so happy with these girls. It's not always easy for her to make friends, so I was extremely grateful that everyone could come and the party was such a huge success.

    About 14 months old.

    This year Iris has gone deeper in to her arts and crafts, especially enjoying working with polymer clay. The stuff she makes blows me away, and she is completely self-taught from youtube videos. She has also been making and editing videos, and we got her a camera for her birthday this year so she can take more pictures and make more videos.

    Almost 2 1/2.

    This was also the first year that Iris got no toys for her birthday. That is certainly a sign of a kiddo who is growing up. She got a lot of books. One of them is "The Care and Keeping of You". It has already opened up lots of questions about how girls' bodies change as they move towards puberty. Yikes. I don't even want to think about that!

    Four years old.

    Iris has started taking tennis lessons, which she loves. It's kind of tricky to find a sport she can do reasonably well at and is also interested in, but I think tennis might fit the bill for now.

    About 5 1/2.

    One of Iris's favorite subjects at school is Chinese. She has loved learning the language and even participated in a Chinese competition this past Spring, singing a song with her classmates. 

    About 7 1/2. 

    I miss doing homeschooling with Iris, but a traditional school setting is clearly the right place for her. At least for right now. Always keeping our options open! Next year she will be a fourth grader. Then it's just a hop, skip and a jump up to middle school. 

    On her last day of school, almost 9 years old.

    This coming year is going to be full of more change, I'm excited to see where we are next year at this time . . . but in no rush to get there. Time is definitely speeding up and I am NOT okay with that! Even when the days are stressful and tiring, I am trying so hard to make time for some connection with Iris. Getting bigger often means pulling away more. I want her to be able to talk to me, to trust me, to always feel protected and loved by me. I don't want her to ever question, for a second, how much I love her and care about her. Iris is a tough kid to parent, and I remind myself every day that the main message I want her to hear is that she is loved, no matter what. I don't want it to be about behavior and discipline and feeling defeated and frustrated, because sometimes it seems like we focus far too much on those thing and there is FAR more to who she is, and what our relationship is about.

    So, to Iris, I promise to you that this year, as you navigate being nine, I will never, ever let you forget how much I love you. 

    Here's to a wonderful year! 

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Five More Sleeps

    In five sleeps, it will be time to run my third half marathon. My second half marathon was a year ago at the same race, the Seattle Rock-n-Roll half marathon. It was an awesome race, but it started a downward spiral of injury for me that I am still battling. The night after the race my knee swelled up because of my IT band, and it hasn't been the same since.

    I'm nervous about this race. For so, so many reasons. I have sort of been putting this race on a pedestal for over a year and a half, and while last year I had an absolute blast with it, this year I am hard pressed to see how the joy of running it will over-shadow how difficult, physically and emotionally, it's been to get to the starting line.

    And now that's it's just five sleeps away, I can say with confidence, I will be at that starting line. It was touch and go there for a while.

    My friend Ray and I last year at the starting line.

    It sucks to still be at a place where every single time I head out the door for a run, I am almost 100% certain that it will be the proverbial nail in my running coffin.

    But when I do get out there and run? I feel strong, despite the injuries. I feel like I could be fast (for me), I feel like I could run and run forever. I am so excited to test my determination in another half marathon distance.

    Part of me wants to throw every last shred of caution to the wind and really run this race. The other part of me thinks I need to be extremely cautious on this course. To not push it, especially on the hills and the sections on the interstate and the viaduct. The camber of those sections of road killed my IT band last year, and it will likely do it again this year. If I run with the same level of exertion as I did last year, will I be out of running the whole summer again, like I was last year? That can't possibly be worth the risk, but when you put me at the starting line of a race, reason goes out the window. I go out hard and end even harder, even when it hurts.

    The race hadn't hurt yet at this point. It would soon.

    I should know better, though. I should take it slow. I should be okay with running over 2:00 in a half marathon. Why is my pride overwhelming my common senses? I'm not really sure about that.

    Starting today, which is the first day I have had any mental space to deal with it, I'm going to start figuring out the logistics of race day, and pre-race, too, of course. It's time to figure out what I'm wearing (hello, that's the most important part!), how I'm getting to the race start (probably a cab), and when I'm going to the expo (likely Thursday early afternoon), help my kiddos make their signs and gather up their noise makers, fit in my last three workouts (one session of strength, one of elliptical and one short run), and eat my carbs (Menchie's anyone?) and sleep my sleeps. THEN I will be ready to run. 

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

    Total miles run: 12

    Monday: Rest

    Tuesday: 5.5 miles

    I ran after dinner along Alki and it was just gorgeous out! Such a fun run. I felt strong and fast, hopefully this translates to the half marathon!

    Wednesday: With My Trainer at the Gym

    Warm-up, then:
    *3 sets of 5 35# KB swings and sumo squats
    *55# SDLHPs (sumo deadlift high pulls). I did 21/15/9 reps. I LOVED these. I love barbell lifts that work the entire body and this was definitely one those. 
    *3 sets of 15/8/8 lat pulls. This was a little interesting, they were lat pulls, but I hinged at the waist so my back was about parallel with the floor and then pulled the bar from over my head down to my knees. Superset this with 3 sets of 10 moves I called a goblet sit to stand. You hold a weight as if you were doing a goblet squat, then sit on a bench. Then you stand *straight* up, without swaying forward. 
    *3 sets of 8/6/6 knees to elbow. Okay, I never once touched my knees to my elbows. I was practicing a kipping swing to get myself up there. I have NEVER been so frustrated doing a move with my trainer. I could NOT hold on to the bar, I kept slipping off. I couldn't swing right, I couldn't get my knees up. I hated it. Superset that with a cable squat row. which I think I set 3 sets of 8 at 100# then 140# and 140#.

    How to do knees to elbow. 
    Let me know if you can do this move and if you have any tips for me! 

    Thursday: Rest

    Friday: Elliptical/Rower/Walking

    I needed to run but my IT band was feeling extra sore, so I went to the gym. I did 3 sets of 10 mins elliptical then 5 mins rower. Then I did PT exercises. 

    I also ended up walking 2 miles, 1/2 mile up stairs, 1/2 down, 1/2 mile up, then 1/2 mile down. On the last one I was carrying my 60-some # almost 7 yo on my back the whole way!

    Saturday: Workout at the Gym 

    Warm-up then:

    *3 sets of 8 35# KB swings and sumo squats
    *3 sets of 8 pull-ups w/ the pull-up band (LOVE that thing!) superset w/ 3 sets of 10 50# SLDL (single leg deadlifts) 
    *3 sets of 8 one-handed pistol squats superset w/ 3 sets of 8 25# halos
    *3 sets of 8 cable squat rows at 110# superset w/ a goblet sit to stand (same move as on Wednesday)
    *2 sets of 10 of "Pink's plank" which is a move from Pink's trainer. Tough move, but it was great! 

    Try this! It's "Pink's Plank"!

    Sunday: 6.35 miles Run

    I met up with my friend Sally for a run along Alki and then up and over Admiral Hill. It was such a fun run, and we were so strong on the hill. All ready for RnR! 

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Too Much

    This is a crazy week. 

    The craziness started last weekend, though. Friday night was a camp-out for Eloise's classroom. Sunday was her last soccer game for the season, complete with a trip to see the Seattle Reign (professional women's soccer) play that night.

    Snuggled in to her sleeping bag and playing a game on the Kindle Fire. 
    We know how to rough it! 

     But this week? It is the girls' last week of school before summer break. This has meant buying teacher gifts, making cards, attending extra school events. I love it all, but it's draining. Both of my girls have amazing teachers, but my little one in particular, oh, it's breaking my heart for her to be leaving her teacher's classroom. Today I wrote her teacher a letter and ended up in tears. So the end of school means not just a busy schedule, but a lot of emotion, too.

    Of course, we are all so excited about summer. Having everything come to a head this week means that we will definitely need a break from it by next week! And then probably be ready to head back to the safety and schedule of school the week after, haha.

    And because things are never simple, the end of school isn't all that's going on.

    Iris is about to turn nine. That means a birthday party the day after school lets out and her actual birthday the following Tuesday. 

    Oh! And not just that, because Sunday is Father's Day! I am being a lame wife and mother and sneaking in my last "long" run on Father's Day morning, after present opening, but before I return all sweaty and gross to make brunch. There will be no sleeping in for dad this Father's Day, and it's all my fault. 

    Stopped for a selfie on Alki on Tuesday night's run. 

    And why do I need to do a last long run? Well, next week Saturday is the Seattle Rock-n-Roll half marathon! Any bit of space that isn't taken up with emotion surrounding school ending, or getting ready for a birthday party, or wanting to make sure my husband has a nice Father's Day, is taken up anxiety over this half marathon. I will probably be posting all about that very soon. 

    The haul from my garden for tonight's dinner. 
    Did I mention I am trying to garden solo this year? So far, so good!

    I have been great about fitting in my workouts (those are always, always set in stone) but it's been trickier to fit in my PT exercises and other self-care things, like icing, stretching and rolling. I am icing my plantar fascia as I type this (full disclosure). 

    Okay, time to run off to my next obligation! And breathe! 

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

    Total Miles Run: 14.5

    Monday: Rest and PT

    Tuesday: 5.5 miles run

    This started as a very hilly run and ended as a very blissful run. I don't know what happened, but I got faster and faster towards the end, eventually pushing the pace down to somewhere around the 8:00 min/mile territory. It felt wonderful. Like my muscles were all finally working together correctly and my body forgot about it's injuries. I honestly thought for a moment, wow, what if I got some of this stuff under control, would I be able to become a faster, maybe even much faster, runner? 

    Wednesday: Strength 

    I had a sick kiddo at home on Wednesday so I couldn't get to the gym for a workout. No problemo, I improvised! I went through this circuit five times:

    *10 fly bridges
    *10 prisoner squats
    *10 sumo high rows
    *10 push-ups
    *1 minute plank

    Thursday: Elliptical and Rower

    The top of my foot was worrying me, so I decided not to run. I did two rounds of 15 mins elliptical/5 mins row machine then I worked on some exercises my PT gave me.

    Friday: Rest

    Saturday: Strength

    Warm-up, then:

    *4 sets of 15 35# kettlebell swings, superset w/ 35# kettlebell sumo squats
    *3 sets of 12 torso twists on the cable machine at 22.5#
    *3 sets of 10 lat-pull downs on the cable machine at 15#/17.5#/20#
    *3 sets of 10 single-leg deadlifts at 40#/50#/50# superset w/ jumping rope
    *3 sets of 10 Russian twists with 10#/25#/25#
    *3 sets of 10 planks on the bosu ball 
    *PT exercises

    Sunday: 9 Miles Run

    I met up with a friend of mine who was a runner, but I had never run with her before. We had so much fun together! We chatted the whole way and the miles flew by quickly. My friend usually runs at 5:00 am, which is insanely early to me. She agreed to meet me a bit later, at 6:00 am, which wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. In fact, I really enjoyed having my long run done and coconut latte in hand before 8:00 am! 

    Friday, June 07, 2013

    Endometrial Ablation: One Year Later

    One year ago today I had an endometrial ablation. I wrote about it shortly after I had the operation, mostly in hopes that it would put more information out in to the world about how endometrial ablations affect runners. I have gotten a few hits on my blog from people who have searched for the topic, so there is some interest.

    To re-cap a bit, an endometrial ablation destroys the lining of the uterus (there are a few different ways to do this) in women who, well, have a bum uterus. A bum uterus does things like hurts a lot and bleeds a lot and just overall acts like a big jerk. It sucks. I had been affected for a long time by menorrhagia and when enough was enough, and nothing else was working to help, I finally went in for surgery.

    The surgery was kind of a big deal. I wouldn't ever recommend it lightly to anyone. You are under anesthesia, you are in an operating room. The procedure is (usually) pretty straight forward. Mine wasn't, but I don't really need to get in to the gory details of that here. In the end, I came out okay, and one year later, am doing great. 

    The best you can could hope for is that an endometrial ablation completely stops you from having periods. That's what my surgery did for me. Not all women have this happen to them, I think the stats are about half of the surgeries end up stopping periods. If your periods don't stop completely, they should become much lighter. The one huge drawback is that ablations can "wear off". Your uterine lining can eventually grow back and then, depending on the kind of ablation you got, you might not be able to get another one and will be back to square one, albeit with one less option. My doctor told me that my next step would be a hysterectomy. I will be waiting anxiously to find out how this will go in the years to come, but right now I am a happy camper. 

    As you could probably guess, not having a period every month is pretty awesome for a runner. I don't have to deal with it, ever. Going from having it be a huge pain to having it be nothing at all is such a relief. 

    I AM NOT A DOCTOR, but if you have found this blog post because you are considering an endometrial ablation, please feel free to contact me and ask me any questions you might have. I will do my best to answer them! 

    Wednesday, June 05, 2013

    Low Tide

    On Memorial Day the tide along our Seattle beaches was very low, so Iris and I set out on an adventure to do some exploring! There is so much to find at low tide. Sea stars, sea cucumbers, moon snails, herons, urchins, anemones, crabs, clams . . . . it's a lot of fun. 

    The day was rainy and overcast, so the beaches weren't overly full of people.

    The purple sea stars covered the rocks, they were amazing! We also found a lot of tiny crabs. 

    The beach we went to is called Constellation Park in West Seattle. We like this beach for low tide because there is a huge rock wall on it, and that is where a lot of critters like to hang out. There are several other great beaches in Seattle for low tide exploration, too. Lincoln Park in West Seattle is another great one. On very low tide days the Seattle Aquarium sends Beach Naturalists out to certain beaches to answer questions and show people around. They are a great source of information! 

    Tuesday, June 04, 2013

    Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

    Total Miles Run: 21! My highest mileage week in close to a year!

    Monday: Rest/Walk

    I mostly rested, but Iris and I went on a little adventure that required about a mile total of walking. 

    Tuesday: 5 Mile Run

    A good run with no discomfort, but I was very, very sore afterwards. When I laid down in bed that night my problematic IT band seriously hurt. Luckily it felt better the next morning, but not sure what was up with that. Didn't wear my cw-x shorts, nor did I tape my IT band (which I usually do), so maybe that was part of it? 

    Wednesday: Personal Training at the Gym

    This was a good session. Not as difficult as the one I did the previous week. 

    Warm-up: 15 squats, butt to the weighted ball. Then she had me do squats against the wall with my hands on my head to force me to keep my chest open. HARD. Then I used a bar to stretch out my arms and shoulders and back and did some high-leg kicks. Next I did "toy soliders" where you walk and kick your leg straight up and try to touch your toes. Last, I did walking "spidermans" where you drop down in to a lunge but then you try and rest your forearms on the ground next to your front leg, then stand back up, step forward, and drop again on the other leg.

    Then I did part two of the warm-up, which was:
    *3 sets of 15 sumo squats and 15 kettle bell swings w/ a 35# kettle bell

    *2 sets of 12 single-leg deadlifts w/ 2 15# dumbbells and then 1 set of 12 w/ 20# dumbbells. I really liked these, they were a challenge mostly to keep my form and not fall over!
    *3 sets of 8 bench presses. I used a 45# barbell and lowered it slowly, hovered over my chest for a couple of seconds, then "exploded" up. For some reason I couldn't ever find my rhythm on this one, but it was fun trying!
    *3 sets of 18 push-ups. 1 set went like this: push-up with hands close together, then move left hand out wide for the next, then left hand back in to a regular stance for one. Then another close one, then right hand out wide, then right hand in regular stance. These were really hard. Especially the close ones.
    *2 different deltoid exercises. I am not exactly sure what the names are of these, one was similar to a rear delt fly, but the videos I looked up didn't show exactly how I did them. So here's how I did them:
    start with arms pointed to the ground, back flat, bent at the waist. When raising the dumbbells out in a fly, stand up straight (explode up!) and then lower arms as slowly as you can back to your sides. Repeat. I did 3 sets of those (I forget how many) with 10# dumbbells.
    The next ones were interesting. I held the dumbbells again and bent over at my waist like a rag doll. Head hanging, back arched. Then I had to do a rear delt fly from that position. I guess it really isolates the shoulders? Sure felt like it did! I did two sets of 11-13 w/ 10# dumbbells and one set of 11 w/ 12# dumbbells. 

    Single-leg deadlifts. Don't fall over! (And use heavier weights!)

    Thursday: 5 Mile Run

    I am not sure what took me so long, but I FINALLY went to Lincoln Park in my 'hood to run on the trails. I always assumed there really wasn't enough space there for a good run, but evidently there are enough trails to really string together a tough workout. I think I hit almost every trail in the park! There was one super steep hill that I walked up (from sea level to about 300 feet), and stopped for a couple of other walk breaks, but overall it was a good run. My legs were really tired from my strength workout on Wednesday! 

    My route, via my Garmin. 

    Friday: Rest

    Saturday: Strength Training

    This was seriously the most fun workout I have done in a while! My good friend Sarah and I usually work out together on Saturdays but we haven't been able to do a good, tough workout in a little while. I started out with my warm-up of stretches and squats and then:

    *4 sets of 10 KB swings w/ 4 sets of 10 KB sumo squats. 35# KB
    *pull-ups with a band superset w/ squats w/ a 25# plate (These pull-ups were so fun. I was proud we figured out how to use the band all on our own!)
    *3 sets of 8 single leg dead lifts, all sets w/ 2-20# dumbbells
    *1 set of 8 bench presses w/ 45# bar, 2 sets of 8 w/ 55# bar
    *3 sets of 8 stability ball rollouts
    *1 set of 8 medicine ball push-ups
    *1 set of 8 walking planks w/ a bosu ball

    I will definitely do this workout again. If Sunday wasn't a long run day I might have added one more lower body exercise, like pistol squats, but this was great as it. 

    Here's Jess from The Blonde Ponytail showing how to do a medicine ball push-up! I use a bigger, softer medicine ball, but I couldn't find a video of someone using that kind.

    Sunday: 11.15 Miles Run

    The best long run, like, ever. For curious readers, I donned my cw-x capris again. I LOVE those things. 

    Sunday, June 02, 2013

    Longer Than Long

    You guys. I had THE BEST long run this morning. One of my very favorites, ever, in fact.

    One of my BRFs, who has pretty much bailed on running and now does Crossfit almost exclusively, asked me if I wanted to run a few miles with her this weekend. Since I haven't had the chance to run with her in way, way too long of course I jumped at the chance to head out with her again! Unfortunately she injured herself yesterday and couldn't run with me after all. It was disappointing, because I was so excited to spend part of my long run with her, and also because super long runs are kind of daunting alone, especially when that wasn't how you planned to run them. 

    This morning I loaded up my ipod with Another Mother Runner's latest podcasts, strapped on my monster water/gear belt, and headed out for (what I thought was) a 10 mile loop. It was a beautiful sunny morning and everything was damp from an overnight rain. 

    My route today. I highly recommend it if you would like 
    to see a lot of West Seattle with very few hills!

    My first major sight was Lincoln Park (the tip of it is the bottom of my map where the route dips down). I only got to run through the very north end of it so I could stop and use the bathroom. From there it was north on to Beach Drive, which is a along the Puget Sound, but the views are obstructed along most of it by beautiful houses. On the north end of Beach Drive is where it starts opening up to the views. I then turned on to the Alki Trail, which is the runner's paradise in West Seattle. So much fun to even run in to a couple of friends along the way. One of them was my friend Ray, who I ran the Rock-n-Roll half marathon with last summer! I hadn't seen him in forever, since he has been travelling extensively for work.

    Two views from Alki.

    Half way in to my run I realized I had severely under-estimated the distance of the loop I had planned. By over a mile, as it turned out! I ended my planned 10 mile run at 11.15 miles. No complaints here, however, since it was absolutely lovely out.

    Sweaty girl and the Garmin with the stats! 

    Not that it matters that much, but an FYI, I don't stop my Garmin for anything, so my overall time includes a bathroom break, chats with friends, waiting for stoplights, etc. I wear my Garmin when I want to know my distance, and not stopping it helps me stay unconcerned about my pace and overall time.  

    I went in to the run about 50% sure that my body was NOT going to hold up. My foot has been having a weird ache on the top of it, my IT band was pretty upset with me after a run earlier last week . . . . I just wasn't feeling confident about it. My body pleasantly surprised me, however. I felt great the entire time, like I could have kept running, actually! There have been 4 mile runs I have struggled through, but for some reason, this one felt really comfortable for me. It definitely solidified that I so desperately want to be a distance runner. I want to be a marathoner. Now if only my legs agreed, or at least cooperated every day as well as they did today! 

    After I got home from the run I drove down to the store to grab a bunch of bags of ice, and a gigantic coconut latte from the coffee shop. Nothing like an 11+ mile run to make you feel like you earned the largest size latte! I emptied the ice in to the kiddie pool, filled it up with hose water, and settled in  for an ice bath with a plethora of snacks and my latte. It had been a long time since I took an ice bath. They don't really bother me that much and I figured it wouldn't hurt with how injury-riddled my legs are.

    The Seattle Rock-n-Roll half marathon is well within reach now, I can almost taste it! One more long run and then one weekend of a scaled back long run and then it's race day!