Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Race Recap: Peterson Ridge 20 Miler

20 miles of trail is a long way to run on hilly, occasionally rocky terrain at 3,000 ft elevation. This is not necessarily a new revelation, but one that I was reminded of on Sunday morning. 

Oh sure, you've run 20 miles before. In fact, you've run THIS race before. You'll be fine on a few longer trail runs. You're totally going to beat your 2011 race time out of the water. Yeah...


Well, if you're guessing Sunday's race didn't go smashingly well, you'd be correct.

We got to Bend (just about 20 min SE of Sisters, OR) Saturday afternoon in time for me to pick up my bib and check out the running store and then let the manfriend gear up for a little road ride back to Sisters where we'd be staying.

See ya in 30 miles!

Saturday night we met my family for dinner at the nearby Three Creeks Brewing. I had a pear & walnut salad, a side of sweet potato fries and a beer as I had been eating carbs pretty much straight the last few days.

My parents decided to use their gift certificate for Five Pine Lodge that we gave them on our wedding weekend so they could come see the race and enjoy a weekend out of town. We opted to stay at a motel that allows dogs and is just a mile or so from the start of the race. While the bed was not comfy and Jonah Bell was up pacing the room every 20 minutes, it was convenient. 

Sunday morning we left for the race about 40 minutes 'til GO time. I had picked up my race bib in Bend, OR on Saturday, so I just needed to use the restroom and hang out a bit before the race. This time I dressed much better - shorts, tank and a long sleeve (which I promptly threw at my dad around mile 2). 

Finally, at 9 am, a few hundred of us (and about 75 dogs the race director said) lined up and we were off! The first two miles are dusty trail and then the next few are on a rocky road before veering off into another 12 or so miles of trail along the Peterson Ridge. 

On the one hand, I loved how beautiful it was. Geez, is anything in Central Oregon not beautiful? Frankly, it's a major factor in why we got married there. I just love it.

But on the other hand, I did not love having to always be on the lookout for the next rock that would trip me. This happened in 2011 and it happened again in 2014.

So pretty, right?

Last time I fell twice and nearly fell a number of other times, this time I fell just once. Perhaps you could consider that an improvement??

The course meanders up and over the Peterson Ridge a number of times, which requires some short inclines and rocky sections that required walking, but mostly it consists of gentle flat(ish) trail.

The highlights (and a few lowlights): 

Mile 7 I tripped so bad I fell and cut up my left leg decently. I tried to get off the trail so the folks behind me could continue on. Nothing like a bruised ego (leg) to force you to get up and get movin'.

The aid stations were just as good as I remember them. Trail races know how to do an aid station right. They had gummy bears, small PB&J's, goldfish, pretzels, peanuts, Oreos, boiled potatoes, orange slices, water and electrolyte. At the two aid stations where I grabbed stuff (I was carrying my own fuel/water), I had a handful of Goldfish and salted peanuts and a slice of orange. That combo tasted like gold, I tell ya. I didn't end up taking much fuel as I think I ate too much for breakfast and my stomach just didn't want much more. 

There was a 40 miler (which Sweaty Emily ran) that started at 8 am so there were already runners on the trail. About halfway through, we started to see some folks (likely some 20 and some 40 milers) coming back toward us in a section that was supposed to be one way only, so it was clear that some folks got a bit lost. It is easy to do in these kinds of races with multiple distances, even when there are arrows and flags.

It was clear from the start that I overdid it on Saturday. As many races as I've run, you'd think I would have learned. I did an easy 3 miler and yoga on Saturday. I probably should have done none of that and been much better off, but I hate missing out on things I love. My glutes were sore from the get go, which makes running hills for 20 miles a little bit harder. Ha. I will learn... someday.

My cheering squad! My family (the manfriend, mom, dad, youngest bro and his gf) all came to cheer me on. It was really nice to have a whole cheering squad out there, even if I must have looked like a total wreck. I think they saw me at about six points throughout the race. I definitely felt a little bad about not doing so hot in the race with such a fan base. 

It was beautiful. I wish I had risked my iphone and just brought it on the run with me. Every time we crested the ridge, I took an imaginary photo of the snow covered peaks in front of me. It was friggin' gorgeous out there. A good reminder that even in those moments when everything is hurting, you are LUCKY to be running this damn thing. Amen.

The finish lineThe course was a lollipop, so we were dumped back onto the road and short trail section for the last four miles. I will tell you that the road was rough for me. In my mind, I was saying "you're going to pass so many people because you run roads all the time." But in reality, I was like "I'm so tired and starting to hyperventilate. I need to walk." 

So yeah, I walked maybe 30 sec each a few times before the end of the race, something I HATE to do. But honestly, my breathing was outta control and it wasn't worth shaving off a minute of my already non PR.  


As I ran into the middle school track and finished the lap around the track, I was so relieved to be done. So tired and a little frustrated.

I took a few minutes to stretch and determine if I was going to throw up (I didn't) and then made my way to the aid station to get the grit cleaned out of my leg.

Did some park yoga on Monday to try and stretch away the soreness

How I feel about it
This wasn't by any means my worst or most disappointing race, but it was a good reminder that running any distance is a challenge. Those 20 miles were hard for me and I wanted to be blazing past people I felt I was stronger than. But I also wasn't out there to win any medals and I enjoyed a beautiful course and a perfect day to be running outdoors. 

Overall, it was a win, even if I was reminded that if you want to run fast on trails for long distances, welp, you better be training on them a lot more.

Finish time: 3:20:58 
~10 min slower than previous race

Anyway, I'm not the type to dwell on a less than spectacular race, so I'm moving on and learning from it. This week I'm focusing on recovery and some easy exercise over the next few days. I took a whole two days off from doing much of anything besides a little stretching. 

How is your week going? Favorite thing to do during a recovery week?

Because it's worth repeating...
Even in the moments when everything is hurting, we are lucky to be doing this thing we're doing, whatever IT is. As I write this one year post Boston Marathon bombings, these words never rang more true. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Race Week: Ready to Rumble

I forgot to mention how impressed I was with the fact that several of you plan out your work outfits the night before! This will be motivation for me to someday get my act together (or not - we'll see).

Well, it's race week around here and I'm trying to remind myself not to do anything stupid. It's amazing how easily you forget you're running a race and then next thing you know, you've got sore legs/abs/arms at the start line {been there, done that}.

From experience, I'm reminding myself to keep the miles easy and the weight lifting to a minimum the rest of the week. And 48 hrs prior to the race, I need to keep in mind that fiber is not as much my friend as it is every other day of the year, but carbs are fair game.

This week has been especially awesome on the weather front, so it's no surprise that my mood is following suit.  Monday I headed out after work for 7 miles on the bike path + a few minutes of walking because I just wanted to soak in the scenery and 70 something temps. My legs were going unusually fast for what felt like an easy run.

In an effort to not feel all tight and in pain Sunday morning, I went to Lindsey's yoga class Tuesday night and then did another 25 min of yoga this morning. I opted for Tiffany Cruikshank's 'Open your side body & IT bands' flow, which is awesome for runners with tight everything.

If you haven't tried YogaGlo before, they have a free 15 day trial and then it's $18/month for unlimited online yoga classes taught by amazing teachers. I highly recommend it.

Today's running plan is to do a few easy miles and skip the usual speed work. Friday, I'll likely take as a total rest day and then a short run Saturday morning. And with all of that, hopefully I'll feel ready to rumble on Sunday morning for 20 miles!

I'm also looking forward to this race because we'll be in Central Oregon {which I love} and my parents will be spending the weekend there as well as my youngest brother and his girlfriend. Woohoo!

On the fun front
I tried out a new place in town, Oregon Wine Lab for girls night on Tuesday eve. It's a cool new wine bar with some of the owner's wines that he makes in Southern Oregon as well as other local wines by the glass or flight. The owner was super cool and friendly and the space is really well done inside.

Because it was girls night {and because we were drinking wine}, it was necessary to also order TWO cheese plates. We clearly hated it all...

Well, here's to a fantastic Thursday! I hope you're seeing some sunshine in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wardrobe Staples

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this, but lately I've become quite aware how lacking I am in some of the "staples" I feel my wardrobe could use. I think it's the product of years of shopping for too many casual clothes (and let's be honest, a lot of running gear) over investing in nicer stuff, which I need to wear more often.

Casual weekend:

Because who doesn't love jeans and a cozy cotton long sleeve?

Business casual work wear: 

I love these flats. Wish I could buy them in more colors - Audrey Brooke via DSW

You know that feeling, you go shopping one weekend and buy maybe two new pieces of clothing and then you're shocked come Monday when you don't have a bazillion new outfits to wear! I know it happens to me.

In the last few years, I've been telling myself "now when you go shopping, you really need to buy an entire outfit or make sure you have other things to wear with it." Too often, I'll buy a random cardigan over here and then another time a shirt over there without having multiple outfits in mind.

Lately, I've realized I'm in need of a few staples. As spring sales are popping up left and right, I'm going to keep these staples in mind just in case I come across pieces that catch my eye. Sometimes, when you realize you need to make the investment in something, it's just time to do it and quit whining about it.

A few of the things I'm on the lookout for:

  • Blouses/nice tops to go with cardigans, jackets, or on their own (for work or dates, girls night, parties, etc.)
  • Cardigans in multiple colors (currently own a heathered brown, two grey, an aqua and two black cardigans)
  • Black pencil skirt
  • Black flats
  • Jackets - navy blue blazer to be dressed up or down and perhaps a khaki trench coat

Casual Friday

Jacket: Gap scored on sale last year, jeans: Old Navy via Goodwill a few years ago for $5!

And of course, because I'm on a budget I want to find nice things that will last, but are hopefully on sale.

I'm typically on the hunt at LOFT, Gap, Banana Republic and JCrew/JCrew Factory because their styles work with my tastes and they tend to have sales quite often. 

Where do you shop (even if it just means putting the item in your cart and never purchasing)? What are the staples you're looking for to beef up your wardrobe?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Post Work Bike Date

I hope your week's going well! I'm back in school mode as of Monday, but with one class this term and life in general already feels way more manageable. 

Weekend Running Recap
Last Sunday I gathered a group of us to run the McKenzie River Trail. 

Little did I know that the first 10 miles of our run would involve plenty of snow! We ran up along Sahalie Falls and then around Clear Lake where there were long sections of 4-6" thick snow and we even ran as it snowed lightly for a bit. 

After making our way around the lake and back down along the water falls, we fueled up at the cars before heading out for another 7 miles. While it wasn't fast by any means, I definitely feel more prepared to tackle the 20 miles of trail on April 13. 

And because I couldn't resist, I threw my name in the lottery yesterday to run the McKenzie River Trail 50K again. We'll see if I snag a spot...

A Morning Short Cut
I wanted to share a little short cut that's been making my week a little bit easier. The night before, I've been prepping a small salad as part of my lunch (minus the dressing), yogurt (I usually mix berries/bananas and cinnamon into plain yogurt) and a PB&J or something else so that my mornings are a little less hectic.

Because I had picked up ingredients for the greek quiche last week, we still had some of those items on hand. I've really been loving this combo of kalamata olives + tomatoes + feta + artichoke hearts on my salad.

My dream goal is to have an outfit picked out or thought of the night before because picking out a matching, semi-cute outfit seems like a chore every morning. But as I said, it's more a dream than anything...

Bike Date
We have been back to rainy weather in Eugene for the last few weeks, but today was especially nice with 60 degree temps this afternoon. The manfriend and I planned for a post work "bike date" to get some fresh air and cruise the bike paths together.

Not a bad way to end the work + school day.

What I love about bike dates is that they can be free (this one was) and that we aren't distracted, scrolling on our various devices. We seem to notice things we haven't seen before and talk about all kinds of random things. Plus, there's something about just being on a bike that makes me feel like a kid and forget my worries.

Need some stress relief? Hop on a bike, STAT!

I'm looking forward to the warmer weather and having more opportunities for creative bike dates. The possibilities are endless... Bike to beers, bike around the river path, bike to picnic, bike to dinner, bike to ice cream. You get the drill.

Do you use any tricks to streamline your morning routine? Creative bike date ideas?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Favorite Vacation & Meal of the Week

Happy end of Spring Break! That is, if that means anything in your world. I ended up taking yesterday and today off work, which has been nice. Living in a college town means things are much quieter during breaks, although that's not saying much because Eugene is not much of a metropolis. But it does mean driving anywhere takes about 5 minutes less.

We're not necessarily having beautiful spring weather right now, but I know the sun will be back. Ahem, I arrived home after a 3 mile run this morning completely drenched (made the shower and breakfast that much more enjoyable).

Homemade granola, recipe via Feb. 2014 Yoga Journal

Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of Mexico...

But really, who needs a sunny destination to enjoy a margarita?

For whatever reason, I noticed my Puerto Vallarta post from 2012 has been getting a lot of clicks lately. I'm going to chalk it up to the fact that folks were doing some last minute spring break planning. 

The bit of sun we had and now the rain showers have me thinking of that Mexico trip and wondering when we can book our next beach vacation to enjoy 80+ degree temperatures daily. I'm thinking 2015 will be the year.

I know Europe is an AMAZING trip to look forward to, but very different from a 'lay on the beach and just soak up the rays' type of vacation.

What was your favorite vacation and why?

Favorite meal of the week: Greek quiche inspired by the internet

Ingredients: premade crust, sauteed onion, cremini mushrooms, spinach, plum tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta, local organic eggs, milk, salt, pepper and paprika

And finally, here's a round up of last week's workouts:

Monday - Finals day! Did a quick and sweaty 15 min Nike Training Club workout that required no weights. Got home early from my last exam and headed out for a 3.25 mile celebratory run.

Tuesday - Typically my easy/rest day. Did a 15 min yoga & core workout in the a.m. + 2 mile walk in the sun at lunch

Wednesday - 4.65 morning miles @ 8:23 pace (felt like pushing the pace so I did)

Thursday - 40 min a.m. yogaglo flow + "The predator" workout on the bike path (Running out 3 min, rest, back 3 min, out 2 min, rest, back 2 min, out 1 min, rest, back 1 min & repeat!) The fast people end up running further out and therefore catching others on the way back. 5.6 miles in total.

Friday - Typically also a bit lighter workout day for me. 25 min am strength workout, including tabatas and cardio blasts + 2.5 mile walk with Sarah at lunch.

Saturday - AKA epic exhaustion powered by 75 min power yoga + 14.5 tough miles + 7 miles of bike commuting with the manfriend = 9 hours of sleep that night

Sunday - long sunny walk with the manfriend and Jonah Bell (~1 hr) + 6 miles of bike commuting

Grand total of 28 miles run

Without school these past two weeks, it has been really nice to have a little more time to run, cross train and just walk! But alas, Monday kicks off Spring term.

What are your plans for the weekend? And your favorite meal of the week?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sun Struck + Europe

Whew! Saturday's long run of 14.5 miles after yoga really did me in. I think it was the combination of being sunny and warmer (and my legs already being a little sore prior) that really got to me. Clearly, getting back into this whole long run thing is going to take a while. 

My jaunt around Eugene took me through city streets, up hills, along a few gentle trails and along the river path. 

This look is called "tired."

Afterward, I made a quick stop at Trader Joe's for some groceries before heading home for fuel and a much needed nap. I don't know about you, but I used to resist naps like none other, until I realized how beneficial a short nap can be for my recovery and sanity. After 30 minutes, I felt much better. 

With temps reaching the 60s this weekend, the manfriend and I got out on not one but TWO bike dates! We found a few fun excuses to ride downtown and enjoy beer (Go Ducks!, close game) and pastries + coffee (just because). 

The earnings of the manfriend cashing in his change box on the dresser. 

*In all seriousness, I thought the manfriend might get $10 from all his change, so I was pretty floored when he came out of the grocery store with $50! Perhaps I should start saving my change for something I really want...

We also managed to book our Europe trip this weekend! You may recall that we have been planning to go to Europe for our honeymoon/1 year anniversary. I have been nervous to book the trip and honestly, just thinking about the logistics makes me nervous, but the good thing is we can plan as little or as much as we want in those three weeks. 

We are flying into London, then heading to Barcelona a few days later and making a loop around Europe before we fly out of Paris. It was a little tricky figuring it all out because we are also trying to fit in seeing the Tour de France for a day or so, but I think we can make it work. 

Other cities/countries we're thinking about are: Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre or Positano, Switzerland, Prague, Germany. I went to Europe in 2009 with my good friend Annie so there are a lot of places I'd love to see again, but also want to make sure this trip is unique.  

Thoughts? Advice?

For dinner tonight we made Yumm bowls. The local chain Cafe Yumm makes this tasty sauce and a variety of healthy bowls that we like to replicate at home. 

Ingredients: spinach, brown rice, kidney & pinto beans, mushroom, onion, red pepper, avocado, plain yogurt, cheese, salsa and yumm sauce

Not only is this dish simple and delicious, it's also nutritious and easy to adapt with whatever beans, grain or veggies you have on hand. 

What is your favorite food right now? Mine has been either avocado or frozen berries (can't seem to live without them). 

Interesting Reads: 
3 Reasons Why Women Should LiftPeanut Butter Runner

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Long Run: Back at it

Well, I'm happy to say that winter term is finally over! I studied pretty hard for my finals, so it makes these next two weeks of no school that much sweeter. I'm looking forward to having my evenings free and getting out to see the sun a bit after work. 

I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about getting back to the long run because it's been a while since I've needed to run long (early fall). Plus, school has put a cramp in my long run style. 

But because I signed up for two races in April, something has to be done about it. So long run, I will...

Wore green on my long run Sunday to celebrate St. Patty's Day early

For a few weeks in January, I was doing well with heading out for 6-8 miles on the Ridgeline before or after yoga. And then things got busy and I was only able to fit in shorter, flat miles in.

The first of my two April races is Peterson Ridge Rumble, a fairly mild, but trip hazard (read: plenty of rocks and roots) 20 mile race in Sisters, OR, which I also ran in 2011. It was the first "long" trail race and it didn't go so well: I overdressed, tripped and fell a few times and generally didn't love it. I'm determined to make 2014 much better.

So, as of three weeks ago, I began ramping up my weekend long runs. First, it was a hilly 10 mile "Boston simulator" road run, then last weekend I headed out for 12 miles of rainy, muddy trail and this weekend I set out for another 12ish miles, but this time a few more miles of hilly trail. 

The more blur, the better (#artsyfartsy)

During this run, I was testing out a new pair of trail shoes that I bought recently. It was a nice change to not run in bulky trail shoes. *Shoe review below

On Hiking
It should be noted that when I'm running the Ridgeline especially, but any hilly trail, there is hiking involved. While training for my first 50K, the best piece advice I got was about the hills: "Don't run up a hill that you would walk near the end of your race." What this means to me is don't kill yourself trying to run a hill when it's much more efficient to hike it. 

From experience, I've also learned that sure, I can run up a steep section of the course, but all it does is jack my heart rate up and make me have to walk a little bit later. So instead of wasting a lot of energy on a short hill, I hike it. 

When I reached the peak of Spencer's Butte on Sunday, I was greeted with sunshine as I fueled. 

Fuel Factor
The last few weeks I've had a Gu halfway through my run, but on this run I tried a honey stinger waffle that Santa put in my stocking. It was quite tasty, but a little crumbly. 

I liked that the calorie content was a little more than a Gu (160 vs 100), but it reminded me that I also like having real food like Larabars or Picky Bars for longer runs. 

How I Felt
Not gonna lie, getting back into long running isn't easy. My body tells me to stop, but my heart and head are willing, so I keep on trucking. 

After this run, I was pretty zapped. I drove home and made a green smoothie and chips, salsa and cheese slices. It's likely I hadn't eaten enough because I was hungry the whole afternoon and had little energy to study. I clearly have forgot how much these long runs take out of me. Naps + plenty of food and water are always required.

From here, I plan to continue bumping up my long runs and hopefully hitting ~18 miles for my longest run a few weeks prior to race day. I'm pulling together a group of local runners to join me on the McKenzie River Trail in a few weeks to head out for a long run, which I'm really looking forward to. I miss that trail and it can get boring running long solo week after week. 

My goal for Peterson Ridge is to run strong and enjoy myself. And then I'll turn my sites to the half marathon a few weeks after. Luckily, it has some rolling hills so I think I'll be set. 

Mini Shoe Review
I wanted to try something a little less bulky and ended up walking away from our local running store with a pair of Nike Zoom Terra Kigers, a minimal drop trail shoe that has a wider forefoot than most Nikes I've tried. So far, I like their traction and light weight and didn't seem to have any soreness related to the new kicks. I'm not a fan of their price tag, but they should last me quite a while.

What fitness or life goal are you working on right now? Did you do anything to celebrate St. Patty's Day? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Week in Review

Hellooo and happy pancake Friday* to you!

*Back in the day (as in before I was running myself ragged going to school and work), pancake Friday was a thing in our house. I often liked surprising the manfriend with a freshly made stack of pancakes for breakfast to kick off the weekend. Now it's more of a weekend only thing.

This week has left me feeling pretty exhausted every day. I'm not sure if I'm not getting enough sleep, or my body is just reacting to the combination of everything I'm throwing at it.

Alas, the theme of the week for me has been getting outside as much as possible while the sun is shining. Frankly, if laptops worked better in the sun, I'd like to figure out how to make an outdoor lounge chair or desk a reality. Ha, wouldn't everyone?

I found myself escaping to run for 20 minutes before class the other night just so I could soak up some Vitamin D and get a little workout in.

Last night, rather than a traditional track workout with our speed group, our coach encouraged us to join the local track club for their first 5K of the year.

If you're a member, these 5Ks are free, which is awesome. Otherwise, they're $5, so either way it's pretty much a win. I renewed my membership again last night, so more free 5Ks are in my future.

I warmed up for a mile and then it was time to GO! I held back a little the first mile, making sure I could hold my pace and then just tried to keep up with a few other runners from my group that are about my speed. I finished in 22:27, which isn't a PR, but is pretty good for me.

A look back at last week's workouts:

Monday - 20 min am tabata strength/cardio routine + foam rolling

Tuesday - 5 miles Tap 'n Growler run with S & D, ran first mile as a warm up so I could sort of keep up with the fasties. Gotta do what you can!

Wednesday - 40 min sweat dripping Fit Tuesday workout thanks to the Fitnessista + am foam rolling. If you want a kick butt strength circuit, I highly recommend this one!

Thursday - Track workout: (missed the warm up), 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m, 1.5 mile cool down. I hopped in for the meat of the workout (which was painful). This one was a little different starting short and fast and gradually tapering off to 10K pace for the mile and then speeding up again as we moved back down the ladder. 

Friday - 3 easy morning miles + foam rolling. Took the day off to study. Hopped into a noon yoga flow, which was challenging and stretchy at the same time. Peak pose was eight-angle pose, which was fun.

Saturday - power yoga class. Told myself I didn't need to do anything else and plus, I had plenty of studying to do. 

Sunday - 12 miles of rainy, muddy trail run solo. Made me want to recruit others for these long journeys once in a while as they can get a little dreary on your own. After errands and more studying, Lindsey taught yoga class and we worked on arm balances, which I really want to improve on. 

And finally, a little Fashion Friday.

There's nothing earth shattering or fabulous about this outfit, but this color combo has surprised me every time I wear it. Orange and aqua. Boom.

What's up this weekend? Well, both of my finals are on Monday, which is pretty pooey, so I'll be studying, but you can guarantee I'll still be squeezing in yoga and a run or two. The weather forecast for Saturday says a high of 66, so I may be searching for a study spot outdoors.

Do you have any fun weekly rituals for yourself or spouse that you like to do?