Friday, March 30, 2012

One Foot in Front of the Other

Happy Friday! Things have been quiet around here. It's just been one of those weeks.

I'm having a hard time with where I am right now and where I want to be in life. Baby steps are much more my style, but sometimes I just feel the need to leap. But leaping is risky and scary and you could get hurt.

Alas, with all the stress I've been putting on myself and marathon training, I'm feeling exhausted. I guess I finally feel like I'm marathon training! Having a plan helps with that too.

As for training, I tweeted last night how the rain and gusts of 35 mph winds weren't exactly making outdoor running easy. Instead of joining our speed group like I usually do on Thursday evenings, I opted to head to the gym to do my speed work on the treadmill.

Before: Still debating whether or not to run outside


After: Very happy to have stayed inside, although it always feels much harder to run fast on a treadmill than it is outside. I was doing some 5k pace at 8.2 mph and it felt like I was nearly going to fly off the treadmill. 

I'm working a half day today and then hanging out with my mom. Looking forward to it, although I wish this downpour would let up a bit.

Weeks to Eugene Marathon: 4! This weekend I'm dropping down and doing a 13 miler or so and hoping to feel refreshed come Monday.

Oh and I almost forgot a song I wanted to share with you guys! I heard this on Pandora last night on the Amos Lee channel. For some reason, I just love sad songs.

 Ben Rector - When a Heart Breaks

Hope everyone is having a Fabulous Friday so far!

Monday, March 26, 2012

McKenzie River Half Meets Long Run

While 13 miles is already a pretty hefty run on it's own, in marathon training land, you've got to hit the 20 mile mark to really feel like you're prepared for race day. 

About a month ago, I signed up for the McKenzie River Half (an inaugural race) thinking it would be a fun race, beautiful course and make a training run go much faster. 

I woke up at 6 am, had some cereal and tea and then drove to the park where the race would finish with my little long run plan. 

Hello, my name is Lauren and I like purple just a bit...

My plan: Park at the finish at 7:30 am, run the 5.5 miles to the start line of the race nice and easy (~9 min pace) and be ready to race by 9 am. 

And that's pretty much what happened! I arrived at the start area around 8:35, ate a mini blueberry larabar, used the bathroom and found Lindsey. We jogged another .5 mile or so and then it was time for the race to start. 

The first few miles weaved through the flat neighborhoods in Springfield and out to Old Mohawk Dr and finally on to McKenzie River View where the small hills began. 

Somewhere around this point we caught a few glimpses of the manfriend who opted to ride his single speed out to the course while his other road bike was in the shop. 

Photo courtesy of Sonny, Lindsey's boyfriend

McKenzie View is a favorite of cyclists - one I even frequent when I actually get my rear on my bike. It's great because it's scenic, has a few small rollers and is close to town. 

By the 8 mile marker (14 miles on these legs), I was really feeling it. I had a few moments of "whoa, I need to stop and walk." But Lindsey and I had stayed together the whole time so it motivated me to just keep the legs moving!

Even on tired legs, we were clocking 7:56-8:15 min miles.

I was so happy to see this bridge and the sign for mile 12. Just one final torturous mile into the park before the finish line!

Aaaand done! According to results, we finished in 1:47:18, which we were both happy with and took 1st and 2nd places in our age group. Thank you, small race. It's likely I will never again receive a prize for placing in my age group. 

Just after our finish, we parted ways and I finished the long run off with 2 slow miles around the park to make it 21 miles total for the day! Long run done. 

On the drive home, I quickly consumed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the second half of this bag of rice chips. These things are amazing! If you haven't tried them, you need to. SO crunchy!

Now where did that weekend GO? I feel like I blinked and Monday is here again. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fashion Friday

To finish of our vacation posts, I thought it would be fun to do a post about some of my favorite things I wore in Puerto Vallarta. As usual, I packed more than necessary, but had plenty of options.

Travel Day from Portland, OR to Puerto, Vallarta - I needed something warm and comfy for the airplane and airports.

"Sail Away with Me" Top: Old Navy (on sale for $6.99!), Jeans: American Eagle (from fall on sale for $20!) and shoes: Toms

Hanging out at the resort
Green top (worn a few times): Willi Smith (TJMaxx) purchased just for our trip because I really don't have very many "fun" tops. Most of my tops are either sweaters for work or basic long sleeve or tshirts.

Dress: Horny Toad Amelia dress purchased from Title Nine just for this trip. The fabric dries really fast and it was great to wear to and from the pool or at lunch. 

Dress up for dinner
Red striped dress: Old Navy (a few years old) - headed to dinner at Don Quixote, the Spanish restaurant at the resort

Exploring Puerto Vallarta
White shorts : JCrew Factory, tank: Forever 21, flip flops: JCrew

Comfy Casual
Manfriend's baseball 3/4 sleeve: Old Navy - perfect for our last morning at the resort and traveling home

And finally, probably my most favorite purchase for the trip, the bathing suit!

Bandeau top and hipkini bottoms in got a mint? - Victoria's Secret

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. Dinner with friends, a little yoga and lots of running (including a half marathon as part of my long run on Sunday)! What are you up to this weekend?

Disclaimer: I don't claim to have much fashion sense, but I like to wear cute and comfy clothes and share things I like. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Snow Day? SNOw Way!

I woke up early to go to the bathroom and could tell it was "glowing" outside our windows. Sure enough, I peeked out and saw this blanket of whiteness everywhere!

As I've mentioned before, it's crazy rare that we get snow (especially of this magnitude - about 4 inches now) so the roads aren't cleared quickly and people don't know how to drive in the stuff. 

Alas, I couldn't miss out on the chance to run in the snow. I just love it. Plus, my "plan" called for an easy 6 miler. After returning to the house once for my big snow gloves and another coat, I was good to go.

It was definitely a challenge to run in this stuff, especially because i was paving my own path along the sidewalks, but my Montrail shoes worked great! 

I finished 5.3 miles with a smile on my face (and probably got a few crazy looks from drivers) just in time to take Jonah Bell out for her morning jog/walk in the snow. She loved frolicking in the stuff. 

A snow day calls for jeans, a wool sweater and my rain boots - I've got to purchase some snow boots one of these days. 

Work is closed until early afternoon so I'm happily sipping tea from the couch and contemplating a nap. The manfriend however, was at work at 8 am. The streets were a bit challenging to drive in, but nothing my little Corolla couldn't handle. ;)

What's Cookin' Wednesday 

Last night's dinner was perfect after a cold and wet tempo run for her and a miserable bike ride for him. Tuna melts + salad!

And the best brownies for dessert! 

Belly = satisfied.

Do you plan meals based around workouts or times you know you'll need/want comfort food? Anything exciting on your meal plan for the week? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Plan!

Guess what? I'm going to follow a marathon training plan for the last five weeks of my training! Are you shocked? Cuz I kind of am.

Lately, I'd been feeling like yes, I was getting in the miles, but wasn't really "training for a marathon." So, I went over to the trusty Smart Coach on Runner's World, plugged in my goal time, distance and preferred long run day and poof! out came a plan.

I won't be following it to a T, as I will be doing our coached Thurs night speed work rather than the suggested speed sessions. And I decided that I want to do tempo runs on Tuesdays where it indicates and "easy run" at 9:15 pace just to push myself a bit more.

Sunday, I did an 18.5 miler that was less than stellar. I started around 7:30 am in the cold  (and even a few flakes of snow) to fit in 9 miles before the group run at 9 am. Those first 9 miles on my own were pretty good - 9:25 pace to warm up, then 8:45 min/mi and then 6 miles of marathon goal pace (8:20-8:35) and then eased up a bit until I got back to the running store.

I jogged around the parking lot waiting for the group to start and then headed out on my second 9 miles. I'm not sure if it was because I was now running someone else's pace or the fact that the first half was a bit fast, but the second half just sucked.

It didn't help that it was getting a bit windy out and my stomach was feeling off, but I just didn't enjoy it like I did the first 9 miles. I couldn't help wonder how the entire run would have been if I had just continued on my own merry way without meeting the group.

As much as I love the company of other runners, in marathon training, I seem to do really well running on my own (minus speed workouts - it's good to have an extra kick in the pants then).

For these last five weeks, my goal is to really think about what kind of race I want to run and tell my legs to do it. No, this probably won't change things drastically, but I'm kind of tired of losing focus at the end of marathon training.

Someday, I want to run a marathon KNOWING I'm going to feel strong and run a specific pace (like a sub 3:40 marathon). So here's to focus and a plan - what a novel idea!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Adventuring in Vallarta

You guys seem to like beautiful beaches, good food and relaxation. I have no idea why... ;)

In sticking with that theme, I thought I'd cover our "adventures" in Puerto Vallarta. In PV and probably several popular travel destinations in Mexico, tourists have options to do "excursions" such as kayaking, zip-lining, swimming with dolphins, etc. 

Because I had done the zip-lining before, I knew it was a blast. It also sounded like the most adventurous and fun for the two of us and luckily, the manfriend agreed. 

We booked the outdoor adventure with Vallarta Adventures (who we HIGHLY recommend) for $94 for the two of us. 

Adventure #1
The next morning at 7:30 am we were dressed, fed and headed out on speed boats with a group of 15 others from our hotel for some fun. 

It was a short (but fast) boat ride over to Banderes Bay where we would take big yellow off road vehicles up to the zip-lining facility in the jungle of Puerto Vallarta.

Once at the location, our guides quickly got us acquainted and harnessed up, wedgie and all.

Things got a little more exciting as we were instructed about how to ride a mule, hopped on them and made our way to the top of the jungle in the Sierra Madre Mountains. There was definitely a lot of laughing during the mule ride!

After a few more instructions (safety is a high priority with these trips, as it should be), we were off, zip-lining at 3,000 ft over the tree tops. 

It was a serious adrenaline rush! We did about 9 different zip-lines, a little hiking and a few rappels (as done in rock climbing). There were a few moments where my heart was beating super fast.

There was even some zip-lining straight into ice cold water that literally took your breath away. 

The adventure portion took about 2 hrs and then we were back at the home front to purchase the professional shots above, eat snacks and wait for a few of the other groups to finish and head back. 

After a bit of basking in the sun, we were taken back to the resort around 1 pm where it was almost time for our couples massage! 

The next afternoon after several hours of laying by the pool, it was time for Adventure #2, heading into the city. The advantage of an all inclusive resort is that you really don't have to spend a lot of extra cash if you don't want to. 

We took a taxi into town and walked around for a few hours seeing Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the malacon walkway and beach, a few flea markets on Cuale Island and general people watching. 

After a few hours of walking around in the 80 degree heat, we were more than relieved to step inside a local bar for $1 Coronas. Beer never tasted better.

Shortly after, we headed back to the main plaza and got a taxi back to our hotel for our last supper at Barcelo.

After spending nearly the entire final day in the sun, I got a major headache and case of dehydration and heat stroke. Instead of enjoying our last night in the cantina sipping on margaritas, I was in bed at 9:30 pm with Advil and lots of water in me.

But overall, a little heat exhaustion was totally worth the fun we had. With our limited time in Mexico, the manfriend and I felt like we got enough adventure in, while sticking to vacation mode and truly relaxing.

Seriously, when at home do I ever lay in one spot for hours at a time? Uh, never! Vacation is good for the soul. We will be prioritizing vacation more in the future now that we've taken this trip together.

What's one adventure on your bucket list? Our major bucket list adventure is to travel to Europe and see the Tour de France in person!!

On the running front: I clocked a 2 hr 44 min run yesterday to complete 18.5 miles. I can't believe the Eugene Marathon is a little over a month away!