Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adventures in San Francisco

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. I am more than ready for this next chapter!

This trip to San Francisco technically marked the fourth time some of us had met up for a race and weekend of fun, and at least six years that some of us have known each other. Amber, Kyria, Leigh, Lisa and I chose the Berkeley Trail Adventure race to plan our trip around, offering everyone the distance of their choice.

I flew in on Thursday and met up with Lisa who was in early for a work meeting. Kyria (who lives in the Bay Area) was an awesome hostess and let us crash at her place Thursday night and took us to an amazing Korean place. 


I've never had Korean food, but they brought out a ton of pickled items and then our meals, which were huge and included soup, rice and a few varieties of meat, which was cooked at our table. I was glad to have done it because it probably isn't something I would have seeked out on my own and the food was delicious.

Friday morning, Lisa and I left Kyria's to head into the city. We hauled our bags around for quite a while until we found a good spot for breakfast (The Grove). Note to self: buy a good carry on roller bag. My duffle was not so awesome to lug around (hello, infrequent traveler).

After brunch, we made our way to the Mission District where he apartment was that we had rented through airbnb. We unloaded our bags and relaxed on the couch a bit before heading over to Dolores Park for some relaxation in the sun.


Soon enough, Amber and Leigh arrived from the airport!

Leigh, Amber, Lisa

That evening, we ventured out to pick up supplies for a simple pasta dinner at one of the local 'hipster' markets. 

We happened upon this incredible mural on the way there.


Trail Adventure
Saturday morning, we were up early to head to Berkeley to run/hike some hills.

If you ever get the chance to run a trail race in a new area, I highly recommend it. Trail races tend to be much more relaxed than road, a lot of fun and have beautiful scenery!

The Berkeley Trail Adventure offered a 5/10K, 21K (half marathon), 35K and 50K. Amber, Lisa and I chose the half marathon and Kyria went for the 35K as she's running a 50 miler in a few weeks. For the first time, I shocked myself by NOT registering for one of the longest distances. But 13 miles of trail ended up being plenty!

Ready to race some hilly miles (minus the preggo Leigh)

Kyria, Amber, Lisa, me and Leigh

The Berkeley Trail Adventure race started at Tilden Park next to this beautiful little lake. The half marathon distance had 2,800 ft of climbing and the 35K about 3,500 ft.


The race start was casual, friendly and informative with helpful course instructions.


At 9 a.m. we were off. Let the hiking begin!


And oh did we hike. I can't even tell you the number of times I switched from running to hiking, but it definitely made a lot of sense on this course.


But at least we were rewarded with some gorgeous views.




The second half was much more downhill than up, which made it fun to speed along when I could.

I finished the race in 2:30, which was what I had estimated I might run it in. I felt like I raced strong, but didn't go ALL out. Still, I ran hard enough to give myself decently sore quads two days later.

After the race, we headed to this little log cabin restaurant for an awesome brunch.  Then it was back to the city for showers and some down time. 

Eat all the food 
The dinner plan that night was Mission Street burritos and whoa, were they good. These were street style burritos with freshly grilled meat and packed to the brim.


And just when we thought we couldn't eat any more... We walked to get ice cream at Mitchell's. No wonder I gained a few lbs on this trip. ;)

Biking to Sausalito
Our final adventure (before I left) was a bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge ending with brunch in Sausalito.


We rented bikes for $25 for the day from the Sports Basement, which is right near the bridge. The bikes were well maintained and included a helmet and lock.

With the number of times I've been to the Bay Area, I'm a little surprised I had never done this as it was a ton of fun. Luckily, we started our adventure early so that we were really the only tourist cyclists on the bridge. The others we saw were legit cyclists.


The ride over was maybe 6 miles in total. We locked our bikes up downtown Sausalito and walked to Fred's Place (yelp recommendation) for this delicious meal!


Because of my flight time and the logistics of city life, we had to haul it back to the ferry after brunch. We got there just in time and hopped on with our bikes.


And back to the city we went.



We got off at Fisherman's and I sadly said my goodbyes and rode off to return my bike. The rest of the group stayed until Monday, but I had to be back for class.

As trips like these do, I was reminded of how important traveling, trying new things, and hanging out with girlfriends is and how thankful I am for these friendships. 

What's your favorite city to visit? Do you consider yourself a country mouse or city mouse?

While I love visiting most big cities, I think I really am most at ease when I have mountains and country roads at my fingertips. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

When I graduated with my B.S. in journalism in 2005, I always knew I would be headed back to school someday. I thought I might go back for an MBA, a masters in journalism and communications or marketing, or possibly human physiology.


After a few years of full time work, I knew I wanted something more, but wasn't sure exactly what. Meanwhile, I watched many blogger friends or acquaintances chase their dreams or power through a degree they were passionate about.

And finally, around age 28 I decided that I could keep on waiting and always wonder "what if" OR I could just do the damn thing already. The damn thing being something, anything I was passionate about. While I know I'm a skilled marketer and event planner, I have also known that health and wellness is where my passion lies. On top of that, there isn't a lot of room for growth in marketing in the Eugene area, which has been tough.

Back in the day, I used to watch Oprah religiously and fully embraced her idea that we were meant to do and be something. I knew I had something big to offer, but I just wasn't sure what.

Well, with some soul searching, some research and some serious thinking about what kind of lifestyle I want, I decided that a focus in nutrition would be my goal with a little side of personal training and health writing on the side. It might sound a little lofty or in the clouds, but after sitting at a desk in an office for 8 1/2 years, I'm ready to tell the universe what I want. No, I'm not 100% positive that this is the thing I was meant to do, but I want to help people, I want to help make my community a little bit healthier, and I want to move.

{This is not to say that all 8 to 5 office jobs are bad. It's just that I personally feel a little trapped sitting at a desk all day. Heck, telecommuting one day a week sounds like a dream to me.}

For the past two years, I have been working full time (or nearly that) and going to school part time during the day or at night. I have been slogging through (and sometimes even enjoying) classes I thought I could never succeed at, like chemistry and anatomy & physiology.

This has been a long time coming now, but a few weeks ago I put in my notice at work that I would be leaving my first (and only) place of employment since college to head back to school full time. As I still have another year of full time, challenging pre-requisites (2+ if I continued going part time), it just seemed like the time to jump in with both feet.

See? Both feet. 

After a year of pre-reqs, the program will be two years + an internship. Will I be old? Yes, but I'm over sitting and waiting for something to happen. Will I have to take out student loans? Yes, but hopefully not too much. I am also hoping to do some kind of part time work starting winter term.

While I have been fortunate to work for my alma mater (the University of Oregon) and have had many awesome opportunities, I am so excited for this next step. Starting Monday, I head back to school, but will also be working half time at my office for the next three weeks.

A calming image because I'm going to need a bit of this in the next month 

So, what's on the schedule?

I am dually enrolled at the local community college and the UO's rival University up the road, so I will be driving a bit, but only one day per week for now. My classes include: organic chemistry, microbiology, human nutrition and orientation to nutrition & food management (where they bring nutrition professionals in to talk to us).

Finally, I have to say that this wouldn't have been possible without the support of the manfriend. He has encouraged me to continue down this path when I would have given up on myself a while ago.

My mantra these past two years has literally been "Just. Keep. Going."

Have you ever made a life decision that terrified you? How did you grow or benefit from it? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week(s) in Workouts

It's been a while since I've done a recap of my weekly workouts. Because this weekend is the Berkeley Trail Adventure half, I figured I would catch you up on my workouts since the 50K.

Week of 9/8 to 9/14

Monday - Since the race was Saturday, I took Sunday and Monday off from cardio and stuck to an easy 30 min upper body strength session and a little yoga stretching.

Body was still a little sore, but not nearly as bad as when I race a marathon.

Tuesday - 20 min spin on the trainer, 3 mile run/walk on Pre's Trail to ease back into this whole running thing

Wednesday - a.m. strength {abs, arms, squats}, 4 mile easy run w/ Laurel

Thursday - 3.2 easy a.m. miles, vinyasa yoga

Big fan of the open back on this Under Armour top

Friday - a.m. strength/cardio session including: sweeping + vacuuming as a warm up {Pete was out of town, I wanted to clean}, spin on the bike and a short strength circuit

Saturday - up early to run 6 miles of hilly trail + Lindsey's vinyasa class {legs and hamstrings, the more the better}

Sunday - 9.25 miles on the bike path {+ a pit stop for syrup}

My bum left knee was pretty cranky through the second half of this run making me think I should actually go see a PT.

Miles run: 26

Week of 9/15 to 9/21

Monday - a.m. strength: squat & lunge focus, leisurely bike ride with the manfriend

Tuesday - 20 min yoga flow + 5 mile Tap & Growler group run @ 7:50 pace

I was already sore from Monday's strength session. Guess I need to do squats and lunges a bit more. Also, 7:50 pace seems very doable when I'm running and chatting with friends, but nearly impossible on my own. Crazy.



Wednesday - 30 min strength circuit fun via Sarah Fit + 7 miles post work hilly trail

Seriously, you need to try this arm workout and the booty burner.

Thursday - 30 min yogaglo flow + SPEED workout {warm up, 6 x 400m, 6 x 300m, 6 x 200m, cool down}

My first speed workout in weeks and it really challenged me. As always, I wanted to stop early, but I didn't.

Friday - 20 min total body Barre strength via Fitnessista

New shoes, I love you

Saturday - 7.5 mile trail run + Lindsey's yoga flow

 Can't complain about starting my day like this

Sunday - 9 mile river loop run + yoga streeeetch &relax class


Miles run: 34

A note about Fridays
I love how making Friday an easy workout day for me makes the day feel more exciting. Yes, I get my workout in, but I don't overdo it because I know I'll be doing plenty over the weekend.

This week, I don't really have a plan other than taking it easy and forcing myself not to run too much.

Next week, classes start so I'm trying not to think about that too much. Life's about to get really hectic again, but I'm trying not to panic.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Things Friday

It's been quite some time since I've done one of these.

1. The mornings around here are really starting to feel like fall. Early morning runs or dog walks require a long sleeve and I'm starting to lean toward my fall wardrobe slowly but surely.


I really loved this spread last week from the LOFT with several fun fall combinations. It kind of reminds me of a capsule wardrobe. My favorite looks are the cream pants with camel sweater and the short skirt with sweater and jean jacket. I always like the way short booties look on others, but am not sure I could pull them off.

But scarves? Scarves I can do.

Thank goodness for scarf season.

2. I finally cooked beets for the first time. For whatever reason (the color or the texture?), I've always been a little freaked out by beets, but have recently had a few bites of them in potluck salads. Well, this week our CSA included a few beets, so I followed the farm's recipe and roasted them with a little olive oil, sea salt, paprika, cumin and chile powder.

3. Speed work is hard. I've missed a few weeks of the Thursday night speed group and boy does it show! Last night's workout included some challenging mile-pace repeats: 6 x 400, 6 x 300, 6 x 200m. The 400s were definitely the hardest. And on that note, I should probably foam roll...

4. Fall term starts in just over a week and I'm already terrified for the difficulty of Organic Chemistry. The instructor required us to purchase about five different things between the book, a modeling set, a lab instruction manual, lab workbook, and a study guide.

5. I am super excited for a girls trip to San Francisco next weekend with blogger friends Amber, Leigh, Lisa and Kyria. Exploring a city I love + catching up with good friends + running a half marathon = close to perfection.

What food has always freaked you out just a little bit? Are there any pieces you're planning to add to your wardrobe this fall?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weekend on the Run

Last weekend I got reacquainted with a few of my favorite run spots. It's crazy how you go a month or two without running a specific route or part of a trail and all of a sudden, BAM! it feels brand new.

Saturday morning I ventured up the Ridgeline for some glute/hamstring work before yoga (did I mention next weekend's half has 2,800 ft of climbing?!).


Insert cheesey life metaphor here (because I sure did)

And yup, I took the UP trail before heading down. 

And on Sunday, I kept it flat and peaceful with 9 sunrise miles, ending with a stop for syrup. I was the crazy girl running a mile home with a glass bottle of maple syrup in her hand. #thethingsyoudoforpancakes

Probably the only time my legs will be a mile long

And only occasionally ventured off the beaten path 


...or stopped to stare.


Eventually, all roads lead to home and after a weekend of fresh air and fun miles, the proper way to close it out is by biking to your favorite patisserie for dessert.



It was a good weekend indeed and I'm feeling recovered from the 50K thanks to my easy effort and a gentle return to running.

For some crazy reason, I decided to go balls to the wall on lower body Monday morning, so I'm experiencing DOMS like nobody's business. This morning I have another at-home weight training session planned and the jury's still out on whether or not I'll do more squats and lunges. Because you know weight training a week and a half before your race is really going to make up for the lack of hill training you've been doing. ;)

How's your week going? What one thing are you looking forward to the rest of this week or weekend?

Mine's crazy busy, but I'm trying to crank through the to-do list and take deep breaths. Because waking up at 3:30 a.m. to fret about your list doesn't solve much of anything.

And big congrats to Emily who conquered her 100 miler! Serious accomplishment right there. I can't even imagine.

Friday, September 12, 2014

One Year of Marriage

I have been thinking about this topic for a few months now. The Europe trip pushed it back a bit as we were enjoying our one year anniversary at the Tour de France. But as Pete and I are just two months beyond our anniversary, I thought it would be fun to reflect on what one year of marriage has looked like, what I expected, and how it is different or the same.

This is still one of my favorite photos. 

For starters, the past year really flew by. Between work, school, training for races and preparing for our Europe trip, there wasn't a lot of time to just soak in where we were at in life: our first year of marriage.

Don't get me wrong, we were enjoying life, but it wasn't exactly a blissful, relaxing year. Those two things don't seem to come together too often in my lifestyle. ;)


Looking Back on Our Wedding
Over the past year when I've thought about our wedding I've had a lot of happy thoughts as well as a few regrets.

Relief. I've been both relieved that our wedding day is behind us (planning was pretty stressful) and thoughts about how I would change things if I were to go back. It was an awesome, pretty, blur of a day and I wish I could just bottle up those sights, sounds and feelings.


Capturing the moment. With so many friends and family members in town from all over the country, I wish we had given a more specific shot list to our photographers. They were amazing, but I didn't expect not to have the opportunity to take photos with certain family members or friends. Luckily, I have the memories imprinted in my head.

Saying thank you. I still wonder if we were able to show our love and appreciation to all of our family and friends who came to our wedding. Did they understand deep down that we would not have been there without them?

There still remain a few thank you's that never got sent. I should have given myself only a month to do them all, but as the thank you's trickled out, there were certain gifts I lost track of who they were from, or whether or not I had sent so and so a thank you. I feel bad about it and hope they know that we are truly thankful for everything we received.

Taking a breather. I am really glad we didn't head off on a big honeymoon immediately following the wedding. It was a great opportunity to spend extra time with family and just relax. Heck, I spent half of that next week just taking naps!


On Marriage
I think I expected our first year of marriage to feel like an extension of our dating relationship. Since 2009, we've learned a lot about each other and have continued to grow as individuals, work on our relationship, and face new challenges together. While things didn't change dramatically, I definitely feel like we are more a team now than ever. 

What surprised me the most was the way the manfriend took a bit more ownership in the relationship after marriage. In his words, he said he felt more responsible as a married man, which showed up in a number of ways.


What shouldn't have surprised me, but did is just how supportive he has been. It feels pretty awesome to have someone who always has your back, through the good times and the not so good. 

On the other side, I have surprised myself a bit in that I seem to want to be more domestic. I can't help but want to work hard to keep the house fairly clean and organized, cook tasty, healthy meals, while still maintaining a life full of fitness and other adventures. There's something about officially being a team that makes it more enticing to want to say vacuum the floors or organize the closet. #callmecrazy


Growing as a couple
I have always been very independent and have consistently struggled with letting others do things for me or help me out. Although I'm no longer that single girl, I find myself making plans on occasion assuming the manfriend will be fine with it, whether they involve him or not. One area that I will continue to work on is figuring out how to think more about the "us" in these situations than the "I."

While this is only year one, I'm excited about the future and to see how our communication skills and relationship grow over time. A strong marriage isn't easy, but it is something I am committed to fighting for daily.

I love you, manfriend. Happy one year and two months!


Of possible interest: Premarital Counseling: the low down

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Race Recap: McKenzie River 50K, Part III

Well, I did it! I'm sure you thought I would, but honestly, I had no idea what would happen. After all, I started training back in May doing some longish runs on the trail and then I went to Europe for three weeks and barely ran. 

Upon my return, I ran two 12 and 13 milers, fell on Brice Creek Trail and spent the next week and a half recovering with five stitches in my knee. Then I did a whopping three more long runs of 3 hours, 4+ hours and 1 hour before tapering for a week. A strong training plan does not that make. 

So, let's get on with the race report, shall we? 

Friday night I had a work event until about 8:30 p.m. I got home, gathered all my stuff, made my breakfast (overnight oats + pbj toast) and went to bed. 

When the alarm went off at 4:15 I was groggy, but up and at 'em to change, put on the body glide and fill up my water. The manfriend kindly decided to head out there with me and go on his own mountain bike adventure while I ran. It's always nice to have a driving buddy at that hour and then even more so when you can't really move your legs after running 31 miles. 

It was a beautiful morning at Carmen Reservoir where the race started. I picked up my packet, said hi to my mom who woke up at 4 a.m. to come to the race, and said goodbye to the manfriend. We lined up and were ready to go by 7 a.m.

The first mile or so up to Sahalie Falls is always a lot of hiking with 200 runners heading UPhill all at once. 


My friend Chloe was right in front of me and had an awesome first 50K. She and I ran together and chatted for the first eight or so miles, which was nice.


The race photographer was kind enough to allow us to download our photos with his logo on them for free. That isn't always kosher at bigger races, so it was nice of him to offer this. I'm still thinking of buying one and getting it printed though. 

I'm pretty sure this is what photographers refer to as "the golden hour."


Saturday was supposed to get pretty hot (94F), but luckily, the first few hours of the race were perfect running weather: cool and fairly shady. 

Because of my lack of training and the heat, I had opted to run with a borrowed hydration pack so I could have plenty of water. While it was a bit heavier than my handheld, I think it was a good decision. 


No idea what kind of weird face/smile I'm trying to make here, but hi, mom! Thanks for being out on the course to cheer me on and take photos!

Loving the new Oiselle distance shorts

After hiking up the falls, the course takes you around Clear Lake, which is always so peaceful. For the first few hours I had some great mantras going in my head that I had hoped to hang onto for the entire race. Essentially, I was saying variations on "You're running easy, free (watchless), fast and strong." 

If you've ever entered a serious pain cave during a race or long run, you know how important a good attitude can be. My mantra worked for several hours, but eventually, the happy thoughts just didn't do much.

Clear Lake, you're kinda wonderful.

I want to grab a cup of coffee and sit here every morning.

After several more miles of flat with a few ups and downs, we got to the most technical part of the course that contains a LOT of lava rock. 

And because I've fallen plenty on lava rocks, I walked through every section with any amount of lava rock. Overkill? Probably, but I didn't want to bust up my knee again and I had no intentions of placing. 


Blue pool is one of many gems on the McKenzie River Trail. I've yet to jump in, but someday I will. 


Where the trail meets the river are always pretty incredible moments. It was honestly hard not to stop and look at all the beauty around me.


About 3-4 hours in, racers started getting more spread out, so I listened to a few podcasts to just keep my mind focused on something other than the pain. My brain was pretty fuzzy at this point and my body was exhausted, so it helped a bit. 

Aid stations were spaced at miles 8, 11, 17, 22, 25, and 29.5. My stomach was a little iffy, but I managed to take in about 500 calories throughout the race. It's probably not ideal, but I didn't want to barf. 


My favorite food at the aid stations were: BBQ pringles, an Oreo and orange slices. I also ate a Picky Bar that I had with me. I also had the volunteers fill up my water a few times. 

Bridges-a-plenty


At the final aid station (29.5), I could have sworn I should have already been at the finish, but likely my snail paced jog and exhaustion skewed my perception of how fast I was moving. One of the volunteers dumped icy cold water on my head, which felt pretty great as it was pretty warm by this point.

And finally, about a half mile from the finish, I saw several funny signs that the race directors put out. This was my favorite.


And finally, another very serious running photo as I sprinted to the finish line. I was so relieved to be done.


And I had a little dirt on my legs (and face) to show for it. 


I promptly told the manfriend as we headed back to the car never to let me sign up for one of these 50Ks again. I may already be reconsidering that statement. 


This finisher's shirt definitely wins as the best race shirt I've ever received.


And finally, the stats. They may not be pretty, but it is what it is. For reference, in 2011 I ran a 6:23 and in 2012 a 5:32.

Overall time: 6:22: 48
Pace: 12:19
Female Place: 40/71
Overall place: 128/183
*The fastest woman finished in 4:02 and didn't even carry a handheld water bottle! 

I'm happy I survived without a big fall, but I'm also a bit disappointed knowing what I could have done with better training. This week, I've felt sore, but not super sore like I am when I really RACE a course.  Now it's time to rest up and get ready for a hilly adventure at the end of the month! 

Of possible interest: 2011 MRTR Race Recap & 2012 MRTR Race Recap