Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend: Short but Sweet

As the last few unplanned weekends of the summer tick by, I want to fill them with as much adventure as possible. So this weekend, we set our sights on Central Oregon to hit up a few of our favorite spots in Bend and Sisters, OR. 

First stop: long run / mountain bike ride on the Peterson Ridge Trail (where I ran the 20 miler this April). 

For ultimate safety, I walked through all the rocky sections.

Lookouts encouraging you to run further than your legs request

Bike repair in the great outdoors

Three hours of trail running/hiking done. Knee a little sore and swollen, but manageable.

One of the two good spots we stopped for refueling, Crux Fermentation Project. 

He was saying something like "don't do it." Did it anyway. ;)

Sometimes nature just leaves you with your eyes wide open and your jaw dropped.

A $15 campsite (with showers!) made this one of the more affordable getaways we've had.

Coffee and breakfast at Sisters Coffee Co was pretty much a requirement. I could sit in this country-fied log cabin coffee shop all day long.

A scenic byway home to visit the Dee Wright Observatory

Lava rock as far as the eye can see...

The Three Sisters Mountains make a good backdrop.

It felt really good to cap off the week with what felt like a vacation. Breathing in the smells of pine and sage and being surrounded by epic views, adventurous people and awesome food and drink all make Central Oregon a place that we will continue to come back to again and again. And if it isn't already on your radar, add it to your must-do list!

What makes your weekends feel longer than simply 48 hrs?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Going Easy on Yourself

This topic came to me this week as I was thinking about none other than workouts. Workouts I "should" be doing (to get faster, stronger, more flexible), workouts I want to be doing, and the rest that should happen amongst these workouts.

I was thinking about how often, it takes others to allow us to go easy on ourselves once in a while.

For example, one of my running buddies was complaining of a headache and an overly increased heart rate as we did hill repeats one Thursday and I asked if she'd taken a rest day in the last week or so, to which she said not really unless you count her swim day as rest. I do not, for the record.

And after I told her that she should probably take a rest day, she said she finally allowed herself to take one.

 A pretty sunrise because who doesn't like them? 
Plus, we've been seeing a lot of them lately.

The same kind of thing happens for me. I'll try to schedule hard workouts six days in a week and then realize that some of the fittest people I know (in person and in blog land) take sometimes two to three rest or easy days per week! All of a sudden, I find myself feeling "allowed" to take a rest day or cut my run mileage in half one day because my body just isn't feeling it.

The same can be applied to work and other areas of life. I feel guilty taking any vacation time, but then the second a coworker schedules their vacation I realize hey, we've earned this. I have just as much right to take vacation as him/her.

Anyway, I just find it crazy that again and again, despite knowing what is right in our heads, we often need permission from someone else to give ourselves a break.

Last week's workouts
No surprise here, they were pretty light and modified, but here it is. Luckily, I had just come off a pretty strong week of running and cycling, so my body probably appreciated a bit of down time to only have to deal with healing my knee.

Monday - 10 min upper body via Sarah Fit

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - 15 min upper body + core

Thursday - 20 min upper body + core

Friday - 25 min easy spinning on the trainer

Honestly, I was going a bit bonkers not having got my heart rate up in 6 days (just ask the manfriend), so I NEEDED this. I wrapped an Ace bandage around my knee pretty tight as to give the knee extra support and was very careful. Spinning hurt a bit, but felt good at the same time to get my knee moving in a circular direction.

Saturday - 4 mile run/walk with Laurel on the bark

It was slow and likely awkward looking, but man it felt good to run! Ace bandage saved my sanity again!

6 a.m. runs are always worth it

Sunday - 3 miles easy + 20 min spinning + relax & restore yoga

This class at Mudra Yoga, the new studio in town, was just what I needed after these first few runs back. It was not a flow class at all, which was perfect for me. It was more of a hold this pose for a minute or two kind of class, without being so gentle you feel like you didn't do anything for an hour. I've never taken anything like it, but I can see it being a great part of recovery after a hard weekend of running.

To 50K or not?
So, you may know I'm signed up to run the MRTR 50K again on September 6. Where does this whole knee injury thing put me with the whole racing thing? Well, I'm not exactly sure. I'm trying to take it one day or week at a time. Currently, I'm planning on still racing/running it, but allowing myself to walk as needed and just do what my body tells me. If my body says at mile 20, "you've gotta bail," I just might. What would you do?

When's the last time you gave yourself a break (on anything, doesn't have to be workouts)? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Things You Can't Do with a Bum Knee

This is a pretty lighthearted post in light of my little knee injury, so I hope you enjoy!

In the last several days, I've become aware of just how many things I can't do well or can't do period with this bum knee of mine. In case you don't know, I tripped on a rock, hurt my knee and had to get five stitches, which has left my knee swollen and painful to bend.

Without further ado, the things you can't do with a bum knee:

Run - The skin is really trying to heal in this area and with plenty of extra fluid around my knee, I'm afraid to chance it and make the swelling or wound worse. Update: I tried jogging just a few steps this morning and it was painful, ugly and not really possible. 

Attempting not to walk like Frankenstein last night. Impossible. 

Jump - Bending deeply hurts so I'm sticking to the ground.

Swim - Usually when you have a running injury, swimming is one of your best go-to options, but when I think of kicking while swimming, it just makes me cringe.

Ride a bike - Okay, maybe you could do this one legged, but I'm positive you'd look like some kind of circus clown. Even so, I've actually played with the idea a few times in my head. Update: this morning I tried out the bike trainer for 5 min after that failed attempt at jogging and it was slow and a bit less painful than running. I might try to use it to help get the fluid out of my knee. 

Go down stairs gracefully - Yeah, stairs are a tricky one. I basically have to go step by step with my injured leg first because it isn't able to bend enough to be the trail leg. It makes taking stairs at work a slow process for sure. I abandoned them and took the elevator after a meeting on the fourth floor yesterday.

Yoga - I'd be fine if we stayed in down dog or forward fold, but any type of flow is out of the question.

All of that said, I know things could have been a LOT worse, so I'm really thankful that for the most part I'm just fine.

As I was leaving Urgent Care Saturday afternoon, I asked the doc how soon I could run. She kindly said I could really run whenever I felt like it as I had done no structural damage.

The next morning, I laughed at my naive self as my knee was quite swollen and throbbing in pain. Running would be out of the question for at least a few more days. The old stubborn me would probably have gone out a day later and attempted to hobble along a mile or two, but the older, wiser more cautious me knows that it would only delay healing.

Meanwhile, you can find me dreaming up ways to get my sweat on with the use of one leg and my upper body. So far, I've done a few very slow dog walks around the block and a few upper body/ab sessions in the garage. It's amazing that you don't realize how much you rely on something until you can't use it.

Perhaps now is the time to work harder than ever to discover that six pack?

Special thanks to the manfriend for taking such good care of my during this gimpy phase!

What are you thankful for this week? 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On the trails: Brice Creek

Saturday I had my mind set on venturing outside of Eugene for my long run. Many of my long runs for the 50K have been along or included at least some of the Ridgeline Trail.

When friend Laurel couldn't make it that morning, I asked the manfriend if he wanted to come along and ride his mountain bike. An hour later, we were on the road headed south to Brice Creek, which is just about 50 min from Eugene.

It tends to work out pretty well when we hit the trails together because we're even paced going uphill and we really only have to wait for each other a little bit here and there on the flats, downhills or when things get technical. 

I had plans for a 2.5 hour run to keep upping my long run mileage/time on feet, so we followed the Forest Service's suggestion and headed up stream {for the best views of the creek}. 

The views on this trail are incredible and the swimming holes are pretty sweet too! I'd love to come back sometime and stay at one of the campgrounds and then hop in for a swim when things get hot.

While we have no shortage of beautiful National Forests, accessible trails and wilderness to explore, it gets me every time I see this stuff. 

I mean views fit for a postcard are around every corner! 

Love my bic band

The trail actually reminds me a lot of McKenzie River Trail in that it is mostly flat with some smaller ups and downs and has its fair share of rocks and roots to look out for.

We ran & rode up stream about an hour before turning around. Mountain bikers weren't aloud, but I got to run a short section up to Trestle Falls, which was beautiful. A little gem in the middle of the forest. 

We got back to Cedar Creek Campground where we had parked with about 1 h 50 min under our belts and I wanted to head south for a bit longer to get my full 2.5 hours in.

At this point, I was a little tired and it was getting warmer out. We stopped to look at this steep drop off and then I started ahead of the manfriend. I took maybe three steps and seriously clipped my toe on a jagged rock and went flying down.

The trail was pretty much rock and cinder there, so my knee and entire shin got pretty cut up leaving me throbbing in pain. Luckily, we were only 1/4 mile from the car at this point, so I downed the rest of a Picky Bar and a bunch of water and hobbled back to the trailhead.

The manfriend told me to do a thumbs up. Looking happier than I am. 

I made my way down to the river and stuck my leg in the water to ease the pain. Luckily, we also had put a first aid kit in our car a while back, so we had plenty of supplies to clean up the wound a bit and cover the worst part.

For good measure, we swung by urgent care to get my knee checked out. We probably didn't need to go, but the worst part of my knee would have taken much longer to heal, the scar would have healed up pretty ugly, and my tetanus shot was out of date.

Again, looking happier than I am...

A tetanus shot and five stitches later, they sent me home.

The up side: I can run when I feel like it as I didn't do any structural damage and it could have been a lot worse.

The down side: my knee is swollen and painful and I won't do it any favors trying to run right now just because I want to.

The up side: I'll still be able to run the 50K, just gotta get back on the training horse!

Anyway, that was my weekend of adventure! I hope yours was much less eventful. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

It Feels Good to Be Back

It's so true. It feels good to be back in every sense of the word. It was good to be back home after three weeks abroad, it feels good to eat vegetables, it feels really good to be getting back into shape, and it feels great to dive head first into summer.

And with these hot temps we've been having (90F this week), I'm really loving my peaceful, cooler morning runs.

In short, I've run, biked, yoga'd and weight lifted and I'm feeling back to normal!

Last week's workouts

Monday - hike/walk with Lindsey + yogaglo flow

Tuesday - 4.4 a.m. miles + Junior World Championships (spectating)

Incredible view with all the athletes and their countries' flags

When events like these come to town, I have to remind myself how lucky we are to live at the hub of the track & field universe.

Wednesday - a.m. weights + 7 mile p.m. trail run. Reminding myself hills make me stronger. 

Thursday - a.m. yoga + 3.3 mile run + watching Solstice about a woman's first 100 miler w/ a bunch of other sweaty runners. So much inspiration and run love in the room.

Friday - 3.1 a.m. miles + upper body strength

Saturday - 2 hour trail run + 1 hr outdoor power yoga

We rarely get opportunities like this in Eugene, so I jumped at the chance to join a free outdoor yoga class!

Sunday - 2 hrs of marathon cheering + 42 mile bike ride

Mile 20 is definitely a good place to stand to get some perspective on the marathon. People either look really strong or really miserable. Either way, everyone inspired me out there.

Workouts to try 
If you're like me, you like switching up your routine a LOT. Last week, I found two great strength workouts that not only get your heart pumping, but leave your muscles sore, so I thought I'd share. I did both of them M/W and then just the arms on Friday and I was definitely feeling it!

Sarah Fit is a blogger/YouTuber I follow who posts a lot of short, but effective workouts. These two are great to do on their own or together if you have the time.

Ultimate Booty Bootcamp - great lower body & cardio workout in 14 minutes
Wedding Day Arms - effective tricep & shoulder toning in 13 minutes

Want something a little more running focused? These 5K workouts by Coach Jenny Hadfield really do sound fun and effective. I want to give a few of them a try!

Good eats
I'm even more excited it's Friday because our second delivery of our CSA comes today! I signed up with Telltale Farm as soon as we got back into town for the second half of summer and I'm already so glad I did.

Each week for 12 weeks, we get organic fruits & veggies + a dozen eggs delivered to our doorstep.

The owner even sends recipes to make with the items you get each week. Has anyone else tried a CSA before?

The manfriend had another food first last week in that we tried cooking homemade pizza our charcoal grill. I wouldn't say it was awesome, but it has potential to be.

Last night, as I was driving home from beer after speed work, I was met with this view and just had to keep driving toward it. And then I stared at it until the sun went down.

Approx. 10x more incredible in person

Summer, you're my favorite. Also, can you believe it's August already?

What are you doing to celebrate summer this weekend? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Finale: Paris

Bonjour! So, the last time we left off we were in Gerardmer, France for the Tour de France. After a few fantastic days there, we took the speed train to Paris for the last leg of our adventure.

Note: The speed train is fast. It got up to about 310 km/h, or 192 m/h during our trip!

Warning: long post ahead

Our train was about an hour late getting into Paris, so we really hustled to try to get to the flat we rented through airbnb. The hustle was all to catch the second half of the World Cup final that started before our train rolled into Paris, despite the fact that it was 9:00 p.m. and we hadn't had dinner.

Dinner that night was cereal and some salt and vinegar chips from the nearby mini market.

One of the things about travel is, you just have to be flexible. I had to throw my usual fruit and veggie requirement out the window because some days I was lucky to even eat 2 servings.

The nice part about renting an apartment however, was that we were able to save money (and not eat croissants every morning), although they are pretty tasty.

Friday (Monday) Fashion
This was one of my Paris outfits for a long day of biking and sightseeing. I tried to keep my outfits semi fashionable, but obviously comfortable seeing as how we were moving or on our feet all day long. 

Top: Zara, pants: Old Navy, flats: Naturalizer 

The next morning, we ventured off and used the local Velib bike system, which was only 1.90 Euro per day. There was a bike check in right near our flat, which made it even easier. And, they have an app that I downloaded so we were easily able to locate a check-in spot wherever we were, without needing internet. 

Velib was a great way to cover a lot of ground without spending plenty of $ on the metro.

First: a quick stop at the Louvre for a look around and then a crepe complete (eggs, ham and cheese). Mmm...

I call this one "Dodging Tourists" because as we rode down the Champs Elysees, which was open for pedestrians only on Bastille Day, we did a lot of weaving to not inflict harm on anyone. 

Arc de Triomphe

For Bastille Day they had a torch lit and guards standing watch over the unknown soldier. It was pretty touching to see. 

And of course, you can't leave Paris without trying some macarons. We stopped by Laduree and stood in line for these spendy (1.90 Euro each) little cookies. I'll admit to never having eaten a macaron before this stop, but they were delicious.

My favorite of the four I picked out was the salted caramel eaten with a cafe crema (coffee with a little foamed milk on top).

In between biking around the city, it was nice to stop for cookies at Laduree and coffee at a nearby bar for a little Tour de France viewing and some rest for the legs. 

Le Petit Palais

Thanks to Lisa's suggestion, we rented a flat in the Marais district, which  is a major center of the Paris Jewish community with cute old buildings as well as modern shops. I loved these two buildings and the restaurant sign. 

Dinner that night was at a great little pizza place within walking distance of our flat. Thanks to Yelp, I found La Briciola in our neighborhood and highly rated! A plus: the waiters were very kind and happy to explain a few French words we couldn't understand. We opted for the chef's special pizza and salad of the day and Montepulciano wine. 

Our second full day in Paris was much the same as the first: biking, stopping, eating and even a little cat nap in the park. By this time in our trip, we weren't in the mood to do many more 'touristy' things and the one museum we tried to go into (l'Orangerie) was closed and I hadn't checked ahead of time.

However, we did head to the Sacre Coeur mainly for the views of the city.

One of the cool (and crazy) things about grocery shopping in Europe is that you often have to visit about five places to get all the goods you might need for your dinner. Fruit and veggies at an open air market, bread from la boulangerie, cheese from la fromagerie, meat from the butcher, you get the idea. 

It seems much more personal and provides for high quality, direct source food, but I have to imagine it is quite time consuming for locals. There are of course occasional grocery stores that do carry everything, but they don't always have the best variety or quality. 

We grabbed strawberries & carrots from a market on our way up to the Sacre Coeur

Later that afternoon, we made our way back to the center of Paris to go inside the Notre Dame before seeking out a few nutella + banana crepes. Must figure out how to make crepes soon!

The afternoon turned out to be pretty nice, so we stopped by the Tuileries Garden to look at the grass you can't sit on (common place around Paris) and then found some chairs to sit in and nap for a bit. 

Are you tired yet? Well, we were too!

For our final night, we opted to pick up picnic supplies and bike to the Eiffel Tower and eat dinner in the Champ de Mars (Thank you, Lisa for the suggestion). A fresh baguette, comte cheese, salami, tomatoes and a bottle of Chianti and we were set!

The next morning, we packed up our backpacks for the final time and headed to the airport for the long trip home. After 20 hrs of travel and little sleep, it felt good to touch down Eugene, OR and return to summer in Oregon.

In a nutshell: the manfriend and I had a blast and loved the opportunity to have three weeks together exploring Europe without the daily stress of work. But we also came home pretty exhausted.

Don't be surprised if our next big vacation includes lying on a sunny beach or an escape to the wilderness. ;)

I hope your Monday is treating you well! 

What was your most relaxing vacation to date? And your most hectic?