Saturday, July 30, 2011

She's Goin' to the Chapel

Jolyn and her fiance Aaron get married today! I've known Jolyn since kindergarten and it's hard to imagine that someone I've known since I thought my pink hightop Reeboks were cool, is finally getting hitched. At times it felt like we'd all stay young and single together forever.

We've been through a lot of fun times and growing years. It's going to be a blast to get our high school group together again. Some of our adventures in the past few years have included: Nashville Half Marathon, Moab Half Marathon through Arches National Park, The Oregon Jamboree music festival, college football in Seattle, Cannon Beach reunions and more.

Meanwhile, our friend Jessica and her husband Scott will be missing the wedding as they greet their first baby into the world!

I hope you're having a great weekend! Cheers!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cost Per Wear

First up: Food
This week's recipe is brought by the manfriend who requested grilled quesadillas after seeing the recipe in an ad on tv (Applebees he thinks, ha!). All you need is: whole wheat tortillas, homemade guac, grilled chicken and a little pepperjack cheese.

These turned out great, despite the cheese spillage. The only thing I would add are some black beans.

Now the Fashion
Remember when I went on a little shopping spree and hoped the manfriend would like this skirt? Then I wore it to Laura's wedding and now to work! I love when items I splurge on end up being worth it and totally satisfying in the end.

I opted to pay more than I wanted to for this at the LOFT (although I did have a 20% off coupon so that helped) because I thought the pattern and the quality of the material were worth it. I'm thinking this skirt will be one I wear a lot and end up being pretty affordable in terms of cost per wear.

For example, when I buy a pair of Danskos for $100 and end up wearing them oh, 300 times over several years ($0.30/wear) versus a $30 pair of Target wedges I had to donate after maybe five wears ($6/wear) because they were cheaply made and hurt my feet. Do you think of clothing purchases in cost per wear?

And on to Fitness
I thought I would show a little photo of the arms as I think they've definitely started to show more definition in the past month or so with my M/W/F strength routine. My whole body received quite the workout from Jillian's No More Trouble Zones dvd, The Fitnessista's awesome circuits, Lifeforce Fitness, my own cardio/strength sessions and the yoga challenge.

After work last night, I set out to meet the runners and coaches for hills of death. Running hills on a trail at your own casual pace is one thing, but running them fast with high knees and coaches watching is something totally different. In other words, my glutes and hammy's were in for a beating.

After a short warm up and drills, I chose the more complex of the two options. While others were running continuously for 30 minutes up and down a hill loop, a few of us braved a 3 x (300m, :30 sec recover, 200m, :30 sec recover,100m. 2 min recover) option.

Each of the 300m, 200m and 100m efforts were hard. There's so much more to think about on hills:
  • high knees (much higher than you think)
  • looking straight ahead not down
  • driving your feet up and down with small steps rather than trying to propel yourself forward
  • and keeping your whole body straight and relaxed

While this workout was pretty hard on my lungs and legs, it was also a step out of my comfort zone. My psyche wanted to run the continuous 30 minutes because it would be more mileage and less stopping, but I forced myself to go the other route to really work on picking up my knees and puuuuushing my speed up that hill.
Thank you, coaches for always pushing us beyond what we think we're capable of!

Well, I'm off to help Jolyn and her family with wedding preparations and get pedicures! I'm hoping everything goes smoothly. I managed to fit in an early morning 9 miler at 6 am today so I wouldn't worry tomorrow about missing miles. :)

What's everyone doing this weekend? Do you think in costs per wear or some other spending strategy you need to share with us?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seven Links

Thanks to Kristin (one of my Healthy Living Summit roommates) for tagging me in the Seven Links post that has been going around the blogosphere.

The Goal
To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

The Seven Links are:
1. Most Beautiful Post
2. Most Popular Post
3. Most Controversial Post
4. Most Helpful Post
5. A Post Whose Success Surprised You
6. A Post You Feel Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved
7. Most Proud of

Most Beautiful Post
I'm taking Heather's route and going with one of the most physically beautiful filled posts. The manfriend and I's trip to the Redwoods last summer provided for so many beautiful photo ops.

Most Popular Post
Right before I chopped my hair after a vacation in Europe in 2009, I was debating my long scraggly locks. I had some cute hair in Europe and some really ugly hair, but I knew is that I needed a little change. Hence, I bring you some of my best hair days (to come).

Most Controversial Post
I'm not sure this little blog of mine creates much controversy, but I felt like I was really putting myself out there talking about what was holding me back.

Most Helpful Post
After having run a LOT of 15+ milers, I feel fairly experienced in the long run and figuring out the best fueling and recovery tactics.

The Road to Recovery is a compilation of some of my favorite post long run tactics to keep the legs from feeling thrashed the day or two after.

A Post Whose Success Surprised You
It's amazing how much response you get when you ask bloggers for their feedback. This was definitely the case when I asked for your opinions about my options for new glasses.

Oh and my Lululemon All Sport Bra Review still gets a lot of hits each month. I guess ladies out there are still looking for support for their...ahem, ladies.

A Post You Feel Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved
Hmm...that's a tough one. It would take a long time to read through all my posts over the past four years to decide. Skip!

Most Proud of
I don't think I can choose just one for this. I'm proud of my European Adventures series as I recapped our various stops along a three week backpacking trip through Europe with my friend Annie in May 2009.

These posts make me proud because it took a lot of strength and courage to travel to Europe. I'm the kind of girl who's happy staying in her comfort zone, but this, this pushed me beyond my boundaries and I'm better because of it.

And of course running 26 miles in the pouring rain without a functioning Garmin, with a hamstring issue and a huge wrap around my right thigh.

A few extras for fun:
Scariest post of 2011
The post that makes me smile
Makes me wish jean Friday
My favorite healthified comfort meal

Now it's your turn! If you've already blogged your seven links, comment with the link to your post. If not, choose one and give me a post that falls into one of the seven links categories.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Running + Walking = Wunning or Ralking?

As you probably know, I'm a bit of a stickler. I don't like to miss a planned run. Because of an 8 a.m. staff meeting this morning, I was only able to do a little bit of yoga and walk the dog before scrambling to get myself to work. Honestly, I bow down to those of you who make it to work before 8 a.m. on a regular basis.

As a result, I needed to run at lunch so I could go to Lifeforce tonight. After all, a girl can't miss her major strength, sanity saving workout of the week. BTW, I've been diligent about my M/W/F strength circuit routines and a few yoga sessions in addition to my running mileage. Major win! It's amazing what happens when you tell yourself you're going to do something on specific days of the week at a specific time. Done and done.

My good friend from high school is getting married on Saturday and I'm in her wedding. I've known Jolyn since we were five. I can still remember eating chocolate covered cake 'donettes' and orange juice for breakfast at her house when I would sleep over.

But the goal was that from May through July, I would be hitting my arms, abs and legs with some serious workouts so they could be wedding ready. Over the top? Maybe so, but I want to rock that strapless dress.

Okay, back to the wunning or ralking debate. At lunch, I set out for five miles. My legs (calves especially) have been all kinds of sore after this weekend's mileage and a massage I got from a masseuse in training last night.

I decided to ease it back and walk one minute every mile. Surprisingly, my pace wasn't as slow as I would have thought. It's amazing how a little bit of rest allows you to run faster. That can be said in the midst of a run, midweek or mid training plan.

Five miles later, I averaged an 8:32 pace with four, 1 min walk sessions included. I also did a few 1 min pick ups here and there so that probably helped. Someday, I'd love to try ralking a marathon, but it would be a serious internal struggle NOT to run the entire thing.

How do you feel about wunning or ralking? My mentality has always been "I want to see how fast I can run this marathon without walking any of it" but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I allowed scheduled walk breaks? After all, a few wunners have beat me using this method during a 1/2 or full marathon.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Sweet Summertime

Yesterday we woke up early (I don't know if I'll ever sleep in again on a weekend, fyi.) to head to the Tri at the Grove, a local triathlon that several of our friends were racing and the manfriend was working at.
When we got there, the lake was absolutely beautiful. Next year, you can bet I'll be signing up for the sprint distance. The water in the lake was 70 degrees in the top 12 inches!

In addition to being breathtaking, the temps were warm and the race was well organized. It was fun to get to see the sprint and olympic distances coming in and out constantly from one sport to the next. Go Eric!

Lindsey even did the sprint triathlon in the midst of recovering from her stress fracture. And she decided to do it 9 days before the race! Impressive stuff.

Because I get jealous of seeing others sweat, I brought my running gear with me and ducked out to run a loop around the lake (8.5 miles) while most of the athletes were out on the bike course. The legs hurt a bit from Saturday's 20 miler, but not too bad.

I made it back in time to see my friend Dawnetta finish the Olympic distance!
Way to go Lindsey!
With the limited number of bloggers I'm aware of in Oregon, it's nice to have a sweat lovin' blogging friend nearby.

Sunday night after being out in the 80 degree temps all day (this is what Oregonians call hot), all we wanted for dinner was something cool. So we made our own version of Turtles' salad (a local bar and grill w/ deliciously huge salads)..
For dressing, I made a peanut sauce containing: Adam's chunky peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger all in the food processor. Yuuuum.

And for dessert/snackage, I present you Mama Pea's Another Kind of Bar (before adding chocolate)
You must make them - you won't regret it! This is fair warning that you may nibble on 10 chunks that fall into your mouth as you're cutting the bars.

Summertime, thanks for showing up!

P.S. Way to rock Lake Placid Ironman, Emily! I can't even imagine running a marathon AFTER swimming 2.4 miles AND biking 112. Holy unbelievable.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bite of Eugene

Yesterday, after surviving 20 miles of trail, the manfriend and I biked down to the Bite of Eugene festival. The evening included an Iron Chef contest, tasty bites from local eateries (some we hadn't tried before) and some refreshing drinks.

My bites: chicken taco, BLT slider w/ basil aoili, pulled pork sandwich, pinot gris and chocolate caramel crunch ice cream. No pictures of food were taken because they were quickly inhaled in no time at all. :) Some bites were bigger and better than others, but it was a fun night with friends, community and good music.

Friday, July 22, 2011

50 Miles of Random

This week has been another busy one. Summer has barely hit us in Eugene. In fact, so far, we're lucky if the temps even get near 70 degrees. Honestly, I can't WAIT for this weekend's 80 degree weather. It's going to be heaven.

I know some of you are dying of heat, but honestly, I'm getting antsy to put on some shorts and flip flops and just feel HOT.

Despite the torrential downpour we had last weekend, that didn't stop the manfriend from donning Carhartt's and rain gear to plant some things in the front yard. And I finally found the motivation to get creative in the kitchen. Luckily, it didn't take too long and involved fresh local raspberries! I'm still searching for the motivation to make all the recipes I keep starring in google reader...

Black bean, chicken, spinach burritos thanks to Dietician on the Run

Another house project: landscaping the front yard with the plants we bought recently

Berry Bliss no bake tarts thanks to Faith @ Gracefulfitness
Oats, chocolate, raspberries - yum

This week I miraculously made it to a 5 am group run on Wednesday at which we ran 9.5 miles. It was painful and I paid for it later in the day when I wanted to face plant on my keyboard due to a pesky 4:40 am wakeup call. I also got to run with Michelle one afternoon and went to the speed workout last night, which was a fun one.

The workout: warm up, 6 minutes out the bark trail @ tempo-10K pace, 1 min rest, 6 min @ tempo back, 10 x 80-100m sprints on the track, repeat 6 min out and 6 min back, cool down

Long story short, this is a high mileage week for me. I'm hoping to run ~20 miles on trail Saturday and 8-10 on Sunday. Hitting and exceeding 50 miles is something I rarely do even during marathon training. But, my body is feeling strong and all this yoga is helping me stay uninjured!

Yoga Challenge for the core:

1. Start in high plank, drop gently down one arm at a time,to forearm plank and then return to high plank (repeat 10 times)

2. Hold boat pose for 30-60 seconds

3.. Put hands behind hips w/ legs still at 45 deg angle from boat pose and drop feet to just above the floor and raise them back up (repeat 10 times)

4. Stretch out pointing your fingers and toes. Roll over onto your stomach into superman. Raise and lower your arms and legs with your breath. (repeat 10-20 times - hold last rep)

How was your week? Can you run, work, eat and live on less than 8 hrs of sleep per night? I'm really not good at it I've learned. My body simply prefers 7-8 hrs.

P.S. I've been loving The Kitchen Sink lately. Beautiful photography and some delicious looking recipes. What's your favorite blog of the week?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I've Learned About Trail Running

In the last few months, I've learned a lot about trail running. It's not like I hadn't run trail before then, but I hadn't run them with the intent of training for a specific race. Things change when you have a goal.

As a road racer first, I learned specific rules and techniques that work for me. From those rules and the various distances I have trained for, I also developed a "road mentality."

My road mentality is one that doesn't want to stop and walk ever during a marathon or training run (although sometimes it happens). My road mentality needs minimal fuel in the form of Shot Bloks or Luna Moons every 30 min after the 60 min mark. My road mentality gets cranky when my pace is slower than 9 min/mile.

Thanks to running with other experienced trail runners and simply spending more time on the sometimes mushy, outdoorsy pedestrian freeways, here are a few things I've learned about TRAIL and the attitude that comes with it:
  • Eat early and often - you'll need more than some Shot Bloks and Gatorade to get you through a substantial run. Try pb&j sandwiches, Larabars or homemade protein ballz, baked potato/sweet potato, chips, etc. Accelerade is rocking my world in the realm of hydration.

  • Appreciate your surroundings - When I take a moment to notice the beautiful trees and water I'm running near, my worries seem just a little less important.

  • Groups will take breaks AKA stop running - to refuel, regroup and chat. As hard as it is on my Type A "road mentality", I'm slowly gaining a more relaxed trail attitude.

  • Fuel the beast - While you could survive a 10 or so mile road run without water or food, it's not a good idea on trail. You're working harder and your body is burning a whole heck of a lot o calories running up and down those hills.

  • Walking is okay - Seriously, I didn't think my road mentality in this realm could back down. But I've learned that walking when the hills are really steep or long (or simply when my body demands it), allows me to run further and not lose much time because I saved the energy I would have wasted if I had run up those hills.

  • Invest in trail shoes - I've been meaning to get some for months, but really I need to just bite the bullet. There have been a few close calls where I almost rolled an ankle or I stepped on a sharp rock and could feel it right through the soles of my everyday running shoes.

  • Watch your step and pick up your feet - If you don't, you'll end smack down on the ground as I have a few times before. Rocks, roots and branches are frequent on trails.

  • Run for time rather than mileage - This one has still been tough for me because I can't not go out and do a run thinking "Today I need to run __ miles." And obviously, whether I like it or not, this race is going to be ~31 miles.
Any other tips on trail running or mentality that I've missed? It's so fascinating how different the herd of trail runners are. Seriously, I run with some of the same people I run road and I feel like we operate in a whole new manner. It's a breath of fresh air, literally. What does your road mentality say/think?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Love

I'm one of those people who loves weddings. I love seeing my friends marry each other and share the happiest day of their lives. But I also love the romance in the air, all the couple's family and friends gathered in one place, the special occasion of it all, the excuse to get gussied up, the intricate details, the things that make the event "them."

Saturday, my college friends Laura and Josh married each other after nine years of dating. Here are just a few of the things that made the event so special.

Adorable flower girls (including one who could barely toddle)

Beautiful bride

Amazing views

Good food catered by a place I've been wanting to try

The best company a girl could ask for

Kick up your heels dancin'

Good friends you don't see often enough



Related Post:
Laura's Bridal Shower

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Have Never Been So Wet

Seriously. Crazy wet. Happy July!

At mile 6, I said to myself "This is THE wettest I have ever been" as the rain came pouring down through the trees on to the trail. And then I decided I loved it and finished another 7 miles. My wet socks were sliding around in my shoes, my shorts were sticking to my thighs, water was squishing out of my shoes.

Long trail run in torrential downpour = done.

13 miles in 2 hrs 20 minutes (10:46 pace)

My pace was a bit slower, but I was totally fine with it because I just need to get time on my feet and don't want to risk falling on my face down the trail.

This weekend's runs were done on the Ridgeline Trail around 7:30 am both Saturday and Sunday. It was so nice to run on hills and trail to really challenge my legs. And those early mornings, while painful at first, are so worth it.

It made me think that I'd love to be able to get on the trail at least once mid week, but road runs are just so much easier because you can do 'em anywhere, anytime.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Fashion and a Challenge

Congratulations, you made it to Friday! I have another busy one on deck. My 10 yr high school reunion is tomorrow as well as a college roommate's wedding. It's going to be a lot of fun and a bit hectic.

I'm also hoping to get in two runs this weekend. The schedule I'm following has you run on Saturdays to tire out your legs a bit and then run longer on Sunday so you're used to running on tired legs. Let's hope the strategy works for my upcoming races.

  • T minus 3 weeks until Cascade Lakes Relay!
  • T minus 8 weeks until McKenzie River 50K!
  • T minus 12 weeks until Victoria Marathon!

*Fair warning that I'll probably need to throw in a few smaller fun races in the schedule. I'm getting antsy to race.

Wednesday marked my return to Lifeforce Fitness. Due to illness and a busy schedule, I hadn't been to class in a month or so. After a break, I'm always reminded how valuable classes are. I found myself grinning as we were challenged to sprint faster on our mats or reminded how important setting clear intentions are (in life and your fitness practice).

Friday Fashion:
Dress, cardigan and sandals: Old Navy, Necklace: Jess LC

That Essie nail polish that I'm loving so much is now on my toes.

Weekend #YogaChallenge Sequence:

Did you guys do Heather's crow challenge pose? I did it a few times this week. Crow is fairly comfortable for me, but now I'm working to go from crow to headstand. Let me tell you, there is a LOT of core work that needs to happen before I conquer that one.

Over the weekend, I challenge you to take about 10 minutes out of your day and try to work on just a few poses. I find this helps me think about the pose and all the muscles I'm engaging and my alignment in a more focused way than if I'm just going through a flow.

Start off in low lunge/crescent making sure your front knee doesn't go over that front ankle (bad for your knee joint to load it with so much weight). You can start in high lunge for a modified version.

Take a deep breath and push off that back foot forward to Warrior III. Hold it. Try to think of yourself as creating a T. The goal is to have your back, arms and leg parallel to the ground with your foot flexed pointing down.

As you can see, I need to work on keeping my top foot and leg pointing down. It helps to think of your hip sockets as headlights pointing straight down to your mat.
Modification: If this feels too hard or intense for you, take your arms back and bring them against your sides pointing toward your top foot. This should take some pressure out of the back and make it easier for you to focus on the core and lower body.

After you've held it in Warrior III for 5 to 10 full breaths, take your standing leg arm down to the ground and open up tohalf moon. This is very much a balance pose and a little less strength focused.

If you can, try to look up to that top hand.

After a few breaths, bring the top hand and leg down, shake out the legs and try the whole sequence on the other leg.

Why lunge to warrior III to half moon? I like this move because it's really hard for me. My glutes and hip (especially on my right side) are weak and this is a real challenge for me to not only balance, but try to get my body level and keep my foot pointing down (as you can see).

I still have a lot of work to do to get this pose where I'd like it to be. The good thing about yoga is that there is always more you can do to gain better alignment, add strength or try different variations in each pose.

Did you/will you go to your high school reunion (10, 20 + yr)? If you've been, what was your take away?

Are you all about fun or relaxing Friday nights? Sometimes we're all about fun, but more often we prefer relaxing.