Thinking Out Loud #41

HEYOOOO!  I’m a day late but it’s okay, right?  I spent yesterday catching up on emails and getting things organized since coming back from Phoenix sooo that kind of explains the tardiness.  P.S. if you missed the Coldwater Rumble/Surprise weekend recap, it’s heeeeeeere.

Now Thinking Out Loud Thursday time.  LET’S GO.

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1.  I did something yesterday that is going to become a habit.  I left my MacBook charging on my bed right on the spot where I sleep and when I went to climb in, my sheets were so warm and cozy.  Makes getting into bed that much better.  Are heated sheets a thing?  If they are, I’ve gotta get on that.  I swear even when the heat is on in my house, I feel a draft in my room.  Like legitimate wind.  I’ve been sleeping in a sweatshirt all week.

2.  Do you guys hear about the guy who went and shovelled the Boston Marathon finish line the other day?  (Side note: anyone else notice the Sugar Heaven strategically placed for runners RIGHT THERE?!  Haha!)

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I thought it was pretty cool for him to do that.  When I read the article, I naturally read come of the comments and there were some people complaining that he should have spent the time doing something else like helping someone shovel their driveway/clean off their car.  Other people were saying that they wanted to hear “real” news instead of this uplifting, inspiring act of awesomeness.  Geez.  No one is ever happy.

3.  I didn’t think I had anything in common with Nicki Minaj until I saw this:

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#guilty

4.  I have stuck to my treadmill all week after being spoiled in Phoenix with perfect temperatures on the weekend.  I can’t bring myself to go out in the blistering cold just yet.  Phaedra had me do a speed workout yesterday that nearly killed me/made me vomit/had me questioning her sanity (and my own).  I had to do 10 x 2:00 hard, 2:00 recovery (sandwiched between a warm up and cool down, ALWAYS).  The “hard” intervals were done at speeds I have never even touched on a treadmill — 8.6 – 9.0 (6:40-6:59 pace) — but Phaedra said to go faster than my tempo pace so I figured if I can do tempos at just over 7:00 min miles, then I had to go sub-7 for this workout.

5.  Pretty sure finds humour in my pain and struggle:

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What doesn’t challenge you won’t change you though, right?  Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself…

6.  I’ve never really been one to buy into Valentine’s Day but Huffington Post put together an article called  17 Honest Valentine’s Day Cards For Couples With An Unusual Take On Romance…and there are some gems in there.  Like this one:

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And this one:

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Ahahaha.  Modern day love.

7.  Emily’s mom made us dinner on Sunday and I cannot stop thinking about it (HI KARINE!).  Originally we were going over for spaghetti but once we got there, Emily was like, “get my mom to make you a grilled cheese”.  I’m not even exaggerating when I say this but it was the most insanely delicious grilled cheese I have ever eaten in my life.  I didn’t take a picture but I did take home some tips.

  • Use a white, fluffy English muffin.  Karine used the ones they sell at LGO but I’m sure any will do.
  • Instead of regular butter, oil, non-stick spray (or whatever else you use on you pan) – swap it for GARLIC BUTTER.  HOLY GEEZ.  YOU MUST DO THIS.
  • Don’t just put cheese on the inside.  I know.  Where else would you put cheese, right??  Karine fries a tiny bit on the pan first before she places the bread on it.  The result = crispy cheesy goodness on the outside of the bread, perfectly melted cheese on the inside.

It was like a cheesy garlic bread sandwich.  Also known as a little slice of heaven.

8.  So the Superbowl is this weekend.  Who else is just as UNexcited as me?  Good things DO come out of the Superbowl though (like nachos).  PRO Compression is having a sale – use the code SUPER at checkout for 40% off everything!  This code is good until February 1st so go get yourself some socks!

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Okay, that’s it for me today!  I’ll be back on Monday to tell you all about the 22-miler I am supposed to be running this weekend.  That should be interesting.

BYE.

Trying to find the words

The last time I posted I said I had big things going on over the weekend but I couldn’t say much more because I had a surprise tucked away in my back pocket.  Remember back in May 2014 when VEGA secretly flew my best friend Emily to Vancouver so that she could cheer me on at the BMO Vancouver Marathon??  Well, I thought it would be a good idea to get her back this past weekend when she ran the Coldwater Rumble 100-miler.

When I went to visit her in Arizona last November she had asked me if I could pace her for one of the 20-mile loops at Coldwater (the race is 5 x 20-mile loops and the last two are in the dark so pacers/people to run with are a good idea).  I told her it wouldn’t be possible because it was so close to the Phoenix Marathon (on February 28th) and there was just no way I could make two trips to Arizona happen in such a short span of time.  WELL, in December I booked my trip and thought it would be a fantastic idea to have it be a surprise.  I knew that she would find her pacers by race day so my plan was just to go for support and to cheer her on.  Everyone loves cheerleaders, right??  Her mom was in on the surprise, as was our amazing friend Shannon (who is from Florida and flew to AZ to pace Emily for 20 miles).

A few days before I was to leave for my trip, Emily told me that one of her pacers (and good friend, Dawn) was no longer able to make it out to Arizona.  I was bummed because I had been wanting to meet Dawn FOREVER (@racingdawn on IG).  Emily started to panic a bit and was asking around for a last-minute pacer.  I knew I could (somewhat) fill Dawn’s shoes and wanted to be the one to run miles 80-100 with her.  Shannon and I asked around to see if we could find someone to make a fake offer just so that Emily would stop asking people.  Our friend Traci told Emily she would do it even though she was already registered to run the Coldwater Rumble 20-miler (they’ve got a variety of distances to race: 4 miles, 20 miles, 52 miles and 100 miles).  Emily bought it and finally stopped asking people if they were available.

Now comes the part where I try my best to find the right words to describe my weekend.

Emily’s parents (Karine and Gordon) came to pick me up from the airport at about 11:30am on Friday morning.  Shannon had flown in on Thursday and was keeping me in the loop about their plans and where they’d be when I landed.  It turned out they were at LGO – one of my favourite restaurants in Phoenix.  Karine walked in ahead of me so that she could spot them first, wave, and have Shannon pull out her phone to record the surprise…and then this happened:

The best.  Ever.

We told her all about the planning and the lying (which was SO hard to do), ate pizza and salad, took a trip to Lululemon, had a night of relaxation, ate Cafe Rio for dinner (thanks to her husband who picked it up on his way home from work), and went to bed nice and early so that we’d be recharged for the crazy weekend ahead.

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Our wake up call was at 5am as the race was about 40 minutes away and started at 7am.  It gave us plenty of time to get ourselves ready and drive to the site.  I had never been to an ultra before so it was a whole new experience for me.  There were less than 80 participants that went out for the 100-miler!  We gave Emily our hugs and best wishes as she went out for her first loop.

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She banged out loops 1-3 like it was no big deal.  Seriously.  60 miles later and it was like she had fresh legs.  She was also pumping after every loop because she has a 5 MONTH OLD.  I know right?  The more you find out about this woman, the more of a superhero she becomes.  We hung out at the home base for most of the day along with Michelle (far left) who was pacing her husband, Nate, in his final loop.  Missy (second from the left) ran the 20 mile race.  There were a whole bunch of other amazing people there running and crewing that I failed to take photos of but everyone was seriously so supportive, in high spirits, and just made the day so much fun.

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Shannon and I were able to nap before it was our turn to run.  They got us a hotel about 10 minutes from the race so we had access to cozy beds which was pretty awesome.  I probably didn’t sleep for more than 3 hours but it was still better than nothing.  Shannon left earlier than me to run loop 4 and I was picked up around 10:45pm to make sure I’d be there for when they finished.

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Got me some sweet bags under my eyes this weekend too.

It was around midnight when they came through and it was time for the final loop.  I was nervous, excited, and truthfully a bit scared.  A lot of people had gotten lost throughout the day because the markings on the course were slightly confusing (and barely visible) so I was really worried about leading Emily in the wrong direction.  I knew at that point (after running 80 dang miles) she wouldn’t be wanting to focus on which way she was going so it was my job to lead the way.  Well, there were quite a few times where she was more aware of the markings than I was even after being on the course for 20 hours {insert monkey covering eyes emoji}.

Our 20 miles started off great.  I felt like Emily still looked super strong, she was in high spirits, and I was so pumped to just be there running with her.  She mentioned a few times that her hip was bugging her but we shuffled along, walking when needed.  At about mile 8, I got attacked by a freaking cactus.  If you’ve never heard of a jumping cholla, look it up.  If you get too close to this cactus, needles literally fly into you and I got nailed in my Achilles tendon.  I cannot even explain the pain that I felt.  Two women on the trail stopped to help and pulled out the needles for me which was just as painful (if not more) than actually getting hit.  I think there were about 6 or 7 in my skin and one of them just wouldn’t come out so I continued running even though it felt like I was being stabbed with every step that I took.  Eventually the pain went away.  I think my Pro Compression socks pulled it out as time passed.  I didn’t want to complain as I already felt like a huge idiot.  Here Emily is almost 90 miles into her run and voicing no complaint…while I’m almost in tears because I’ve got cactus needles in my leg.  Nice, huh?

Anyway, Emily’s pain seemed to be getting a bit worse as we went along and it was hard for her to stop at all, even through the aid stations because it would make her hip cease up even more and her body would get really cold.  It was best for her to keep  shuffling (even if it was slow) just to stay warm and have her body keep moving.  I had to pee really bad and didn’t want her to have to wait for me so when I saw the light for the last aid station I told her I would run ahead so that I could use the toilet and be done by the time she got there so that she wouldn’t have to wait.  Well that didn’t go as planned.  After I was done, she didn’t show up so I went back out with a volunteer from the aid station to go and look for her.  Turned out she took a bit of a wrong turn.  #PACERFAIL.  I felt horrible and should have known that even though the aid station was visible, it was still so dark and she was not in a good place to be leading herself.  Thankfully she didn’t go out too far so it was only a few minutes…but a few minutes on top of 100 miles sucks big time.

At this point I just wanted to get her butt to the finish line.  Girl wanted to be DONE with this race and I don’t blame her.  Running just 20 miles on this course was so hard for me.  The elevation was insane:

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The course was super rocky and it was incredibly easy to lose your footing and fall on your face.  There was almost no one else out there.  We saw a handful of people over the 6.5 hours that it took us to finish the last loop.  I always knew that what she (and other ultra runners) did was challenging but to actually be there and experience 1/5th of what she accomplished completely altered my perspective.  My respect for ultra runners has multiplied by about a million.

I remember when we just had a few miles to go and Emily said “I need ALL the motivational quotes right now”.  A part of was wondering what the heck I could say to the one woman who inspires SO many people day in and day out.  What words could I possibly have to help her push through and get her to the finish when SHE is the one who inspires ME???  I tried my best to remind her why she was doing this, to think about the smiles that were waiting for her at the finish, and to remind her of the people that chose to be there with her.  I also had her phone for a big part of the day and was able to remember some texts that she got from her friends and family as well as comments she received on Instagram and Facebook.  I knew she was hurting and I don’t know if what I said was enough but we did it.  We got to that finish line with smiles, tears, and hugs.

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She finished 100 miles in 23 hours and 26 minutes, taking home first place female.

In-freaking-credible.

I will never ever forget this weekend.  I am honoured, blessed, thankful, and so inspired.  It was such an amazing experience!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and send messages over the last few days.  I’ve read them all but didn’t have the opportunity to respond as things were slightly hectic.  But I am so grateful to all of you who follow along this crazy journey of mine – whether it’s running my own race or supporting those that are close to me.

And a big, fat CONGRATS to all of you who made it to the end of this post.

Happy Tuesday!

Thinking Out Loud #40

I have so many blogs to catch up on so I was going to skip posting today but then I remembered it’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday and was like HELLLLLL NO.

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1.  I’ve decided to rest completely until my long run this Sunday.  After icing my Achilles over the last two nights, the pain has subsided and it feels almost okay to run on again but just to be safe, no running for a few days.  I did the stairs yesterday and might attempt some sort of cross training later today but if it doesn’t happen, I don’t really care.  I’m more worried about getting back to 100% because that’s what SMART RUNNERS DO.  They wait until they are 100% before they run again.  Right??  Right…

2.  On a related note, when I iced my Achilles on Tuesday, I didn’t put a towel or anything in between my skin and the ice pack sooooo I’m pretty sure I gave myself frostbite.  I left it on for about an hour and when I took a shower the next day, my skin (where the icepack was) felt like it was BURNING.  Lesson learned.  I’m an idiot.

3.  It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when people are too lazy to spell out words in their entirety but THIS MUG THO:

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Saw it on Instagram and kinda fell in love.  I might have to take up coffee-drinking just so I can buy it (you can find it here!).

4.  Ummmm…..

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Is this a JOKE?!?!  Someone please tell me where I can find these and whether or not they are available in Canada.  I can put my sugar strike on hold for red velvet Oreos.  It’s in the rule book.

5.  Did you know today was National Hug Day??  Go find someone to hug!!  Some people get weird about hugs but they are kind of my favourite.

6.  I know I probably talk about stretchy pants on here a lot more than I should but LOOK AT THESE:

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Do those scream comfy or what??  Just when I thought Albion Fit couldn’t get any cooler, they drop these sweatpants that you can actually wear in public and not look like a hobo.  Pretty sure I need both colours and then I need to find a job that lets me wear sweat pants because I know I will not be able to take them off.

7.  Staples Canada sent me a new toy (the Jawbone, not the iPhone!).  I will be talking more about my Jawbone soon but for now I’m just learning how to play around with it.

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It’s pretty cool to see my stats throughout the day.  It tracks activity, sleep, you can log workouts, food, your mood…all kinds of fun stuff!  Once I get the hang of it and learn more about the features, I’ll do a review.

8.  That’s it for me.  I’m off to catch up on some blogs (how do I make a request to add more hours to my day??) and then I’ve got a pretty busy night ahead of me.  There’s a lot going down this weekend…so I probably be back on Monday or Tuesday with an update… ;)

Have a great Thursday AND weekend (we’re almost there)!!

A progressive sandwich

As much as I hate waiting until the afternoon to run, yesterday went a lot better than I anticipated.  Phaedra told me to take it easy with my run if my legs were still sore from Sunday.  I just went out thinking I’d do what I could and although I cut the tempo portion short (was supposed to do 7.5 miles), the run went pretty well!

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I started with a 2-mile warm-up, did 6 miles at tempo-ish, and finished with a 2-mile cool-down.  It ended up being a bit of a progressive sandwich as my tempo miles got a little faster as they went on: 7:49, 7:44, 7:41, 7:39, 7:32,  7:26

I think I just wanted it to be over because it was so cold!!

Random question for runners – do you pause your watch every time you stop?  A reader asked me this a couple of weeks ago because he was wondering what was the “right” thing to do.  I personally stop my watch because I live in the city and tend to hit a lot of street lights during my runs.  I know some people are against this because then you end up “resting” and it’s not a true representation of your pace.  But it’s either that or keep the watch running and STILL not have a true representation of your pace.  Maybe I should just run in circles while I wait for lights to change?  I NEED ANSWERS!

After my run I came home and bought THESE new Pro Compression socks (I love the sleeves too!):

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Bonus: they are 40% off right now with the code JAN (along with all other black socks).  Shipping is free if you live in the U.S. and $7 if you live in Canada!

I spent the rest of my night icing my achilles, eating Skinny Pop, and catching up on The Bachelor.  I’m a bit nervous because I’ve never had any problems with my achilles and it got a bit tender after my run.  I talked to Phaedra and she gave me a few tips so I’m hoping that I should be back to normal in a day or two!!  I’m guessing it’s just because my last two runs were a bit aggressive.

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A few other random things:

  • The Phoenix Marathon is officially sold out.  There are a few spots left in the half distance though.  Just a head’s up!
  • I made this butternut squash soup last week and it is so, so good.
  • Have you seen this article yet?? — 24 Must-See Diagrams That Will Make Eating Healthy Super Easy.  The Definitive Guide To Homemade Hummus is pretty genius.  Must. Try. All.
  • Last but not least, I saw a quote on Instagram today that @paceofme posted:

“Keep considering that where you are is where you should be.  Do that and you’ll relax into the journey, instead of feeling like you should be someone else.  It’s all about coming home.”

AMEN.

Have a great Wednesday!

Marathon Monday: Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 Review

Happy Monday!  I always have the intention of recapping my weekends before I get to Marathon Monday posts but I don’t think any of you would find my life very exciting.  I did try two new restaurants though – Tabule on Queen Street West and Karine’s (McCaul and Dundas).  If you live in Toronto I SOOOO recommend Tabule.  It was amazing.  It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant and they’ve got THE best hummus and babaganouj with unlimited PITAS!!  I ordered that as an appetizer and by the time my meal came I wasn’t even hungry!  I had the falafel platter which came with rice and grilled veggies.  I tried to take pictures for you but it was so dark in the restaurant that they didn’t come out…so you’re just going to have to trust me and go try this place okay?

Karine’s is a vegan and gluten-free-friendly spot in a random food court across from the OCADU.  I heard really good things about this place and was excited to try one of their breakfast platters which came with pancakes, garlic fries, toast, salad, fruit, and tofu.

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It was good but I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I had immediate stomach pains just a few bites into this meal.  I don’t know what it could have been to trigger it but it left me feeling horrible for the rest of the day.  The menu had about a thousand things on it though so lots of variety for non-vegans too (eggs, bacon, French toast, etc).

ANYWAY, other than eating all of Toronto, I spent an embarrassing number of hours watching a new-to-me show called Broadchurch.  HAVE ANY OF YOU WATCHED THIS?!?!  It’s on Netflix and there are only 8 episodes in the season but HOLY GEEZ.  I could not let the weekend go by without getting to the end.  Highly recommended.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to this Marathon Monday thing.

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Last week’s workouts:

Monday: 17.5 miles @ 9:14 avg pace
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 8 mile tempo @ 7:56 avg pace
Thursday: 25 mins stairs + strength training (lower body focus)
Friday: 6.2 miles (hill repeats) @ 8:51 avg pace
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 20 miles @ 8:30 avg pace

Yesterday’s 20 miles was a HUGE run for me.  It was the longest training run in my current cycle (so far) and it ended with a 6-mile fast finish.  I went into it knowing I had a lot to prove to myself and that I needed to nail it in order to regain a bit of confidence for Phoenix.  It’s easy to put in the distance at a comfortable pace but to pick it up after already running 14 miles is quite a challenge, both mentally and physically (for me, at least!).

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After running the first 14 comfortably, I was (surprisingly) able to run the last 6 at 7:52, 7:43, 7:36, 7:45, 7:46, 7:54.  I’ll be honest, I wanted to die a little.  It was far from easy but I got it done and feel THAT much better about my marathon.  Less than six weeks to go!!

I have been alternating between my new Mizuno Wave Inspire 11s and Sayonara 2s for my long runs so that I could get a feel of what it’s like to run long distances in both models.  I’m still not sure what I will wear for the marathon but I did run Phoenix and Vancouver last year in the previous Inspire model so I thought I would share my (brief) thoughts on what I like/don’t like about the new ones!

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I am by no means a shoe expert but I have run in a variety of shoes so I know what I like and what works for me!

What I like:

  • The COLOUR.  I know.  Probably not what you were expecting to read right away but it’s true, I’m obsessed with the colour of these.  As much as I love pink (aka the colour of 90% of women’s running shoes), it is nice to have a change.
  • The toe box is roomy but not TOO roomy.  I’ve got pretty narrow feet and find that they slide around a lot in some running shoes.  This happened a bit with the Inspire 10s but I feel like my foot is being hugged a little better in these ones.
  • The cushioning is comfortable.  It’s hard for me to find supportive shoes that don’t feel like something is poking the bottom of my foot.  I know everyone is different but the cushioning on these new Inspire 11s feels like it was basically made for my feet.
  • They are supportive without being heavy (8.6 oz).  The last thing you want is for your supportive shoe to weigh you down and prevent you from performing at your best.  I wore the Inspire 11s during yesterday’s long run and was able to finish fast without feeling like I had bricks on my feet.

What I don’t like:

  • The laces.  If you are a double knotter like me, these laces aren’t very generous.  You end up getting a tiny stub of a bow BUT I haven’t had them come undone yet…so not a huge deal, I guess.  I went by the Mizuno office last week and actually brought this up to Barb in regards to my Sayonaras (which also have very short laces) and was told that there are a handful of styles that are getting a lace revamp.

Yep, that’s it…the laces are the only things I’d change!

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All in all, I love having the Inspire 11s in my shoe rotation.  They will continue to be my go-to shoe for longer runs and easier/relaxed runs.

Thinking Out Loud #39

I just checked the last time I did one of these Thinking Out Loud posts and it was December 11th!!  Let’s not have that happen again, okay??

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1.  I know yesterday I said I wasn’t going to talk about anything to do with running today, but…

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Yup.  I put my name in the lottery for the NYC Marathon yet again.  This is my fourth attempt and I am really hoping that I get lucky this year.  If I don’t get in, I will save myself the outrageous $347 entry fee for international runners…

2.  I realized the other day that I haven’t done any updates on my sugar-free challenge.  You probably don’t care…but things are honestly easy.  I have never really been one to love sugar though…it’s always just been one of those things that I’d eat if it was in front of me or sometimes I’d treat myself to a latte from Starbucks.  Little things here and there.  I can truthfully say that even just eliminating these “little things” makes a difference.  Everything just FEELS good.  Maybe this has to do with the fact that I’ve been making more conscious food choices in general (after realizing my marathon is next month).  Who knows.  I just feel better, both mentally and physically.  Food really does have such an impact on our day to day lives and it’s gotten to the point where I will look at something and if it screams “I will give you ALL the stomach pains and headaches after you eat me!”, then I don’t want it.  I’m still a huge proponent of balance and moderation (helloooo pizza!) but I find myself getting closer and closer to that ‘food as fuel’ mentality and I like it.  A lot.

3.  I still eat chips at least once a week.  Let’s get serious.  Potato chips (and popcorn) are definitely something that humans should not live without.  I found these the other day:

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I know ketchup is not big in the U.S.  I don’t even think they sell ketchup-flavoured chips at all??  Anyway, it’s pretty normal around here and geez, the Doritos did not disappoint.

4.  Funny story – I bought Lena Dunham’s book, Not That Kind Of Girl, a while back based on some recommendations.  I posted a photo of the book on Instagram when I started to read it thinking it was going to be great (it wasn’t, in my opinion) and then went back the next day to edit my post with “UPDATE: Don’t love the book.  At all.”

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It just so happened that Lena stumbled upon that post and “liked” it just days later.  Whoops.  She didn’t leave a comment so let’s hope she didn’t read the caption {insert monkey covering eyes emoji}.  #SORRYLENA

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4.  This graphic (courtesy of Jenny) was pretty much made for me:

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Who’s happy wearing pants?!  Not me.

5.  So I am on this mission to grow out my eyebrows and have them reshaped.  Anyone else try to do this lately??  WHY DON’T EYEBROW HAIRS GROW BACK?!  I was talking about my lack of growth with Danielle (who wins best eyebrows award, btw) and she recommended CASTOR OIL.

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I know…”for relief of irregularity” on your eyebrows doesn’t really make any sense.  This oil is obviously intended for other reasons BUT she swears by it and so do a bunch of other random strangers on the internet.  It’s too early to tell if it’s actually doing anything (I’ve been using it for two days) but I have high hopes.

6.  One of the exercises I included in my workout today (stability ball hip extensions):

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Source

I haven’t done that one in a while and I love it.  I did that along with cable deadlifts, dumbbell sumo squats, bulgarian split squats, jump squats, and kettle bell swings (3 sets of 15 reps) + 25 minutes on the stairs!  See, I’m not always running! ;)

7.  We are getting sleepy over here so it’s time for bed.

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Hill training in the morning!

8.  One last thing – the Phoenix Marathon is almost sold out.  There are very limited spots left in the full marathon distance so if you haven’t signed up yet and are still thinking about it, GO RIGHT THIS SECOND.  The code XTINA10 will still get you 10% off any distance (full, half, 10K) and I don’t get anything by having you use my code, just offering a discount and trying to get more runners there because I really love this race!  Register here.

Okay…goodnight!!

Today’s tempo and getting my head back in the game!

So since my Sunday long run got pushed to Monday, all of my training runs this week were pushed back a day.  Thank goodness or I would have done a 17.5 mile long run and 8 mile tempo back to back.  That would not have felt nice.  I ended up taking yesterday completely off which worked out well because it was so freaking freezing that you couldn’t even pay me to leave my house.  Today wasn’t much better so I opted to take my run indoors.  Tempo runs suck in the winter no matter where you do them.  If you run outside, it takes forever for your body to warm up enough to actually run fast AND if there’s snow/ice on the sidewalks you run the risk of breaking your face.  If you run inside, you’re stuck on the boring dreadmill which makes tempo runs a million times harder than they really are.  Or is it just me?  Anyone else run way slower on the treadmill??  PLUS the dang things stop at the 60 minute mark so it gets kind of annoying if your run lasts longer than an hour.

Okay now that I’m done complaining…

I had an 8 mile run to do today with 6 miles at tempo.  Here’s how it went:

tempo

I warmed up for the first two miles but still progressively got faster (6.5 –> 7.5 mph) and then from there, increased .1 every mile (until I reached 8.1 mph).  It was like a game in my head.  Don’t ask.

ANYWAY, a part of me was happy with the way things went (I haven’t had a decent tempo run in weeks) and another part of me was a bit disappointed in myself.  I thought back to the summer when I ran my tempos much faster and kept asking myself WHY I was struggling so much with speed.  It’s completely mental.  I looked back at my training log and things have been far from perfect during this training cycle.  I was in Phoenix for the first week (skipped two runs), strength trained to the point where I could barely walk during week 3, and was sick during weeks 5 and 6 (aka barely any running at all).  I just look at that and think that I’m no longer at the same level and am just going to have to deal with it.  So I don’t even bother trying to run as fast as I KNOW I can run.

Is this making any sense??

During today’s run, after each mile I told myself, “I don’t think I can run the next one faster.”  Aaaaand guess what?  I did.  Each mile was faster than the one before it.  Still not as fast as I “used to be” but I broke through the mental barrier and realized once again that I am capable of speeds I thought were “impossible” during this training cycle.

TAKE THAT, BRAIN.

It also helps to see your phone light up during the last mile with this message:

YFGT

So here we go.  I’ve been struggling a bit with my confidence up to this point but I’m ready to make the most of the next 6.5 weeks.  My head is finally back in the game.

Let’s just have a minute of honesty over here.  I think I can count the number of times I have stretched after a run on ONE HAND. It’s really, really sad and I definitely felt it today.  My calves and hamstrings were so tight during my run today because I didn’t even take two minutes to stretch after Monday’s 17.5 miles.

001

I forced myself to do it today and holyyyyy cow — inflexible award goes to ME.  I am committing to 5-10 minutes a day and will include this as part of my training recaps in my Marathon Monday posts to hold me accountable.

Alright, I’m off to make some butternut squash soup for dinner!  I’ll be back tomorrow with a Thinking Out Loud Thursday post (it’s been forever since I participated!) and we will talk about something other than running… ;)