Some Pictures of my Recent Life

Sup y’all.  I’ve been pretty lazy about blogging because I just haven’t felt like writing anything.  I have had several ideas for posts, but as soon as I sat down to write them, I just wasn’t feeling it and shut it down.  I’m still not feeling very up to writing at the moment, but I wanted to share a few pictures from the last week or so.  Enjoy! 🙂

I painted my toenails for the first time since the end of my senior year of high school in 2010.

I painted my toenails for the first time since the end of my senior year of high school in 2010.

Matthew requested that I take a picture of the backs of his legs after our muddy run. He actually said it was for my blog. xD

Matthew requested that I take a picture of the backs of his legs after our muddy run. He actually said it was for my blog. xD

I got in a long run of appreciable length and finally felt good doing it!

I got in a long run of appreciable length and finally felt good doing it!

I visited home and my brother fell asleep on the floor.

I visited home and my brother fell asleep on the floor.

My mom and I went for a walk and vastly underestimated the distance of a detour. This is almost 2 hours in, taking a break. We walked over 2 hours.

My mom and I went for a walk and vastly underestimated the distance of a detour. This is almost 2 hours in, taking a break. We walked over 2 hours.

After the walk, we went to the park's Farm Center. Something pooped on this sheep.

After the walk, we went to the park’s Farm Center. Something pooped on this sheep.



This rabbit was a fluffer.  The sign said he was a Lionhead rabbit.

This rabbit was a fluffer. The sign said he was a Lionhead rabbit.

Matt and I went to Top of the Park, part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. We sat on a blanket, listened to the live music, and read books. :)

Matt and I went to Top of the Park, part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. We sat on a blanket, listened to the live music, and read books. 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been up to in just about as many words as I want to write right now.  I hope you are having a great day! 🙂

I Broke My No-Coffee Streak

Confession: I don’t really like scrambled eggs.

Confession #2:  I will eat them for breakfast anyway because they are a quick and easy source of protein in the morning.  When I can, I would much rather have pancakes, waffles, or even a bagel, but we can’t have everything.  I had pancakes yesterday and the day before that. 🙂

I’m drinking coffee this morning for the first time since Friday.  Today is Wednesday, so that means I went four days without coffee or caffeine of any sort (unless you count chocolate).  The Java Chip Mint Stout I drank the other night miiiight have broken that rule (“It’s the perfect marriage of mint-chocolate-chip-ice cream and roasted coffee.”), but I’m not too sure.  We’ll just say I went four days without coffee. 🙂

I didn’t really do it on purpose.  I skipped coffee on Saturday because I had slept a lot Friday night, then I skipped it again Sunday because “I might as well try going the weekend without coffee.”  Then it just became a challenge of seeing how long I could go.  Four days, apparently.  This morning I decided there was no good reason to continue the streak when coffee would help me wake up and stay awake for my 8am eye doctor appointment.

I didn’t get headaches, which is awesome because I thought I would have.  A couple weeks ago, I noticed I was getting a headache if I skipped my morning coffee or sometimes even if I didn’t have an afternoon cup, so I cut back to one cup a day.  That seems to have helped, given my lack of withdrawal symptoms these last four days.  I’ll probably try to stick to one cup a day, and if I want more, I’ll drink decaf.  That’s what I used to do, until probably last semester when I started drinking comparatively quite a lot of coffee to help me stay awake for my programming projects.

It doesn’t help that I really do love the taste of coffee.  I mean, like I mentioned, I bought a coffee-flavored beer for Pete’s sake.  I’m not some kind of coffee aficionado, but I can tell really good coffee from really bad coffee, which is maybe a start?  I drink it black most of the time, and I have the luxury of having freshly ground beans whenever I want.  My mom and brother both work in coffee and both get a free half pound at the end of every week, so whenever I’m running low, I can just ask one of them.  I’ve only had to buy beans once because I wasn’t going to see my mom for a couple more weeks and I was completely out. xD  Another time, she gave me 15 pounds of beans at once (four 3-lb bags of the beans they use at the cafe, plus another three pounds of various beans they display on the floor).  I’m still going through those after giving two 3-lb bags to my boyfriend.

I’ve finished sipping now, so it’s time for me to clean up and get ready to see the eye doctor.  I’m so excited to be getting contacts again!  I ran out two months ago, but have been wearing the same pair from April, anyway… (only when I run, for the most part!).

Would you say you are addicted to coffee?  If you are, does it bother you, or do you not really care because it gets you through the day?

HHN1 Week 2 (6/1-6/8)

This morning, I discovered my calling as a Chipmunk Rescuer.  I was running past a house when I saw a cat in the yard holding something in its mouth.  It saw me, got scared, dropped what it was holding, and ran away toward the house.  Then, a chipmunk ran away from the same spot in the opposite direction.  I hope both animals can be happy now.

This is just a quick post about last week’s training.  Last week was Week 2 of Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 (non-)marathon training plan.  I have nothing much to say, except that I felt it went well and I am feeling ready for the plan to start increasing the distance of the Wednesday runs, which it does starting in week 3.  I’m also glad I was able to get real cross-training in on Sunday instead of just taking a walk.  I don’t know how often that will happen because I am still set on saving money by not having a gym membership.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.19 miles

Wednesday: run 3.06 miles

Thursday: run 3.07 miles + lower-body strength training at home with just my bodyweight (I was actually sore the next day!)

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 7.06 miles – I wrote about this here.

Sunday: 30min elliptical + 30min upper-body weights

Total running for the week: 16.38 miles (0.01 more than last week, haha.)

Are you training for anything?  Like I said before, I’m just using this plan in an attempt to safely build mileage and get healthy before training for spring races.  I have a few races this summer, but I’m just running them for fun. 🙂

Thoughts from Today’s Long Run

This morning, the plan said to run 7 miles. On Thursday, I had asked Matt if he wanted to accompany me to a nearby park for the day’s 3-miler. He said he couldn’t make it but offered to run with me Saturday instead. When I said I was running 7 on Saturday, I totally did not expect him to want to come, but he offered! It was very exciting.

We got to the park around 8:30am and set out for the run. I really feel bad that my current comfortable pace is so slow because it’s so below his level, but every time I told him to go ahead if he wanted, he said he wanted to run with me. 🙂

Last week, I ran 6 and I was expecting it to feel short and easy, but it didn’t because of the heat. Today, I had no such expectations. I can tell that I am slowly regaining fitness, but it is going to be a looong process and my confidence has truly been shaken. I am so far from the 8:35-pace 10-miler I remember running nearly two years ago.

Today, as with last week, I found myself questioning whether I would even finish. Honestly, I knew I would finish, especially because there was no way Matt was going to let me cop out, but I still questioned how I would do it. Of course, 7 miles isn’t very far, but I guess I was struggling mentally. Physically, I felt fine and my pace was extremely consistent, but I kept thinking negative things. Things like, “I’m not even halfway,” “I still have X amount of miles to go,” etc.

In the end, I was okay. I finished the distance no problem. My last mile was the quickest by about 15 seconds. I ran the last mile on my own because Matt decided to go ahead after 6 miles, but it seemed to pass quickly and I wasn’t dying. At least, in hindsight I wasn’t dying. I probably felt differently in the moment.

I know it is going to take a long time to get back the fitness I once had. I know it will take patience and consistency. And if my confidence is lacking, I need to fake it till I make it. Because I can’t keep asking myself if I am going to be able to finish my runs. I won’t always have someone there to keep me moving forward. I know I can run these distances and they would not be in the plan if I couldn’t. I need to trust and enjoy the process and the results will come. 🙂

I’m feeling positive looking forward!

A Swing of the Pendulum

Have you ever heard the analogy of the pendulum?  The idea is that things tend to go from one extreme to another before finding a balance.  I first heard it in a Jewish history class when we were talking about the move from ultra-orthodox to ultra-reform, before Orthodoxy and Reform Judaism became less extreme and Conservative Judaism developed.

That’s how I feel about my perception of my body’s aches and pains right now.  When I first started running “seriously” and up until quite recently, I thought of every pain as something to run through.  I only stopped if I couldn’t walk.  While I knew sore muscles, painful tendons, etc. were different, I treated them the same.

Recovery was something I didn’t really understand, having grown up figure skating six days a week, during which time I trained 2-4 hours a day.  I was taught how to work out, how to push myself, how to improve, but not the science of any of it.  I knew I had to take Sundays off from everything, but I didn’t know why.  I knew I needed to do strength training, but no one told me why I needed to train my arms for what I saw as a lower-body sport.  To be fair, I never asked “why” about any of these things.

I applied some of the same concepts when I started running, namely that I will get better with time and consistency (good thing), and that pain is something to work through and overcome (possibly less of a good thing).  Except for some hip flexor issues in middle school that I treated with stretching and massages while continuing to train, I never had to take time off from skating for overuse injuries.  Acute injuries, yes.  I took a few days off for my several concussions and when I sprained my ankle.  (I sprained it warming up for a competition!  My coach was pissed and made me compete anyway.  I think I placed 10th out of 12 in my flight, which is like a heat.  Then I cried and got a lesson about good sportsmanship and not crying in front of others about my performance.)  However, I never got tendinitis like some of my friends did.  I never pulled my groin, which was a common skating injury.  So, I rarely had to take time off and didn’t really comprehend the concept.  Enter running.

The tagline on my out-of-use Tumblr blog is, “Run till you can’t run no more.”  I think that embodies my outlook at the time.  Keep on running until you literally can’t, then take as little time off as possible and run yourself into the ground again.  Count up all the damn injuries.

Now, my pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.  Every little thing worries me.  Most of the time, I can tell when something is a sore muscle versus a strained or injured muscle, but other things elude me.  I’m in this super-cautious phase, which I guess is definitely better than how I was looking at things before.  Every little ache or pain worries me, but “better safe than sorry” as the adage goes.

This morning, my arches are sore.  Instead of noticing it and wearing the squishy, flat flip flops I have been wearing the last few days anyway, as I probably would have in the past, I put on my supportive Ravennas.  I think that was a good move and not “extreme” by any means.  What got me thinking about extremity is that my thoughts automatically go to freaking out about whether this is going to be an injury.  Is it something to watch and take care of?  Definitely.  Is it something to get stressed and worry about?  Probably not.  Stress does not help anything.

So, my arches are sore this morning.  That’s it.  Statement of fact.  Step one in finding my pendulum’s resting point.

HHN1 Week One

The disease-sounding name in the title (H1N1 anyone?) stands for Hal Higdon Novice 1 and this is my recap of week one of the Novice 1 marathon training program.  As I wrote about here, I’m not planning to run a marathon at the end of this training cycle, but I wanted some structure and this plan seemed to fit my goals.

The first week was really easy and probably exactly what I needed to recover from Bayshore the previous weekend.  It called for rest Monday, 3-mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, rest Friday, a “long” run of 6 miles on Saturday, and cross training Sunday.  Each week has the same rest, run, and cross-training days, so I’m sitting here on Monday of week two feeling ready to run, but reminding myself that I need to rest today.  I’m definitely not used to taking two days off from running in a row unless I am feeling hurt.

On that note, my takeaway from week one is that I really like the amount of rest this plan prescribes.  On Thursday, after having run three days in a row, I was feeling ready for rest and was happy that Friday was a rest day.  In addition, resting Monday after not running on Sunday gives me lots of physical and mental energy to tackle and enjoy the next three days of running.

I was surprised this week by the long run.  I thought 6 miles would be a piece of cake after running a half marathon the previous weekend, but the late-spring heat really got to me and I felt very bad for much of it.  It was approaching 70ºF when I went out at 10am and was already 75 when I finished an hour later.  I sweat easily and saltily, so even though I grabbed water at the halfway point, I was starting to feel nauseous by the end.  That is something I need to figure out how to handle this summer.  I’m hoping some of it will get easier as I get more acclimated to the heat, but I will also be heading out earlier in the day next time, when it hopefully will not be as hot.

I did not buy a spring/summer gym membership from the university gym this year (although I could still buy one if I wanted), so my cross-training this week was simply walking.  I went downtown to cheer the finishers at the Dexter-Ann Arbor run and pretty much walked all around town going into different shops, as well.  Once I get my road bike fixed, I might bike sometimes, but I really do like walking and honestly, my legs were tired by the end of the morning (I was on my feet for three hours), so I felt good about walking as cross training. 🙂

This is what my week looked like in far fewer words:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.03mi

Wednesday: run 3.48mi

Thursday: run 3.85mi (I underestimated the distance of the loop) + hip strengthening exercises after

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 6mi

Sunday: cross training – walked around downtown all morning

Total running for the week: 16.36mi 😀

How was your training last week?  Do you like to follow a plan or do your own thing?