Running, in Two Parts

I kept good on my promise to make it to Saturday BoMF and loved it. We ran six miles through a route I never would’ve discovered on my own. 

Since I had twelve miles on deck this morning, I completed the rest as soon as I got home. I ran to the Katy Trail to meet up with a church running group (YCP) and then finished the mileage along the trail. 

Breaking up my run gave me a chance to re-apply sunscreen and re-hydrate, both essentials in Texas. While splitting up a run doesn’t provide the same benefit of building endurance, the effect is the same for the body. I don’t recommend it all the time, but it’s a good idea to try on hot days or when your schedule is full of competing interests. Running to and from work is a similar idea of building mileage with a gap in between. 

My legs definitely know I ran twelve miles today, regardless of how it happened. Of course, what’s a run without breakfast tacos and a margarita? It’s a staple of YCP runs and keeps the attitude social and positive, making running something fun. 

Last Scout Hill

Hills were the first runs I ever did. Growing up in Oregon, I took off from my house right onto hills the whole way. The high school cross country team even proudly sported hoodies with the slogan, “What Hills?”

For these reasons, I’ve always generally enjoyed hills more than others. Surprisingly, hills have been the toughest part of summer training for me. Tonight was a step of encouragement. 

We ran our last workout on Scout Hill at a time limit of 35 minutes, the longest we’ve spent on that hill. Somehow, it felt like the best. I counted my reps and the time flew by–and it felt like such a relief compared to last week’s hill. 

Our coach told us at the end that if today felt even equally tough as a few weeks ago, we were making progress. It was hotter tonight and the workout was longer. I can’t wait to see how my times improve when the weather finally cools down.

Second Time Around

Switching between evening and morning workouts can be a shock to the system. I prefer to work out in the morning, but evening training has made that more difficult. Sometimes the only way to make it happen is by force. 

I made it to 6am yoga today and felt great during class, in part from the sense of accomplishment of making it there in the first place. During our summer fast track training, we recognize that half the battle is making it out in the heat. With running or anything tough, the hardest part is often just showing up. 

Yoga this morning was the same flow as Monday evening, which allowed me to turn off my racing mind and just follow the moves. I could tell a difference in my body, mostly observations on exercise differs when first waking up versus at the end of the day. My focus was stronger but my balance and flexibility had not caught up yet. Because our bodies vary throughout the day, it’s good to also (at least occasionally) vary when when we work out. 

Ladder Workout

Track work has become some of my favorite parts of training. Once you get past the peculiarity of your lungs fatiguing before your legs (strange to a long distance runner), the variation and speed can be exhilarating. 

We did the most fun workout you can do on a track last night. Ladders are great for me because there’s constant variation and the distances get shorter as you start to reach fatigue. I was about to push myself harder than last week but not as fast as a few weeks ago. We ran 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400. 

My last lap gave me confidence as I surged toward the finish with a newly discovered burst of energy. When I’m sprinting, I envision my next race and focus on the feeling of accomplishment I’ll have at the finish. Practicing my kick at the finish line also keeps what I’m working toward top of mind. 

Summer fast track is quickly coming to and end, and this was our last track night. We’ll be running tempo workouts on Tuesdays going forward, and I’ll try not to miss the track too much. 

*photo credit:  Tracy Schrader, Summer Fast Track coach

Accountability

The alarm never comes easy on Monday mornings, but I can’t hit snooze. I am accountable to every one of our Back on my Feet members. One of them asked why I haven’t come out on a Saturday run; I told him I’d be there this week. Accountability will be holding me through the week. 

My tired body wanted to go straight home after work. Last week, Brittany said she missed seeing me in yoga class and I told her I’d be there this week. My promise helped hold me accountable–and I am so glad I made it!

During training, I am also accountable to my body. If I put it through tough workouts and tough runs, I need to nurture it with stretching and yoga. To prepare for running in the hot evenings, I need to hydrate properly.

Accountability builds trust–that I am capable of what I pursue and that I will keep my word. That trust gives us the strength to push through tough workouts and do what we need to even when our minds or bodies say no. 

Long Run, Lazy River

Excuses are plentiful with running, but excuses won’t produce results. I had my first truly long run in awhile early Saturday morning–a battle won against all my best excuses:

  • I went to bed too late last night
  • I slept in an hour so I won’t have time to run the full distance
  • It will be too hot and humid 
  • It might rain
  • I can’t think of a good route 

Even at the last couple miles, I turned and took what I thought might be a shortcut home. It ended up being hillier than the way I’d gone out and the same distance. Despite everything, I made it exactly ten miles at training (long run) pace just in time before it actually did rain. 

As an appropriate recovery and reward for yesterday, I relaxed in a lazy river this afternoon. The weather was perfect for pool time and made me grateful that I’d pushed myself yesterday. Getting the run in as scheduled allows time to enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Will Trade Hills for Chocolate

Running hills tonight was the hardest workout of training so far. We ran eight reps up and back down a steep hill that seemed to never end. 

During the first couple reps, I thought there was no way I could do eight; I’d probably barely make it through four. The hill seemed to get longer each time! Once I made it halfway, I figured I could struggle on a little longer but could not even envision myself finishing the workout. When I completed the fifth rep, a switch flipped. I knew that I could make it the rest of the way, and–by some miracle–the hill had hypnotized me into thinking it was getting shorter. 

What made this hill particularly tough was the false end halfway through. After an uphill climb, it almost levels out before a turn and then a steep almost vertical climb the rest of the way. (An easy metaphor for many of the challenges we face in life.) 

I still can’t believe I completed all eight reps, but I knew the first thing I needed at home was protein. I blended up an easy smoothie:  two teaspoons of powdered peanut butter, a cup of almond milk, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and a handful of ice. Recovery tastes delicious!

Lululemon Sale

Two words I never thought I’d see together: Lululemon and Sale. Of course, Sale is just a more explicit way of saying We Made Too Much (the online home of Lululemon discounts). 

Starting at midnight Vancouver time (home of Lululemon headquarters), the Lululemon website transformed into an Online Warehouse Sale. Unfortunately, the selection is identical to what had been on WMTM earlier in the week. My wallet is happy but I’m disappointed not to score some deals on new running and yoga gear. 

If you’re in the market for some new Lululemon, now is in the time to browse at a more affordable price point. The site lists a 25 limit per day, which makes me think they might add more selection tomorrow. 

These are classics and some of my personal favorites if you don’t know where to start when building a Lululemon wardrobe:    

  • Speed shorts (patterns are best and I like to coordinate with my sports bra)
  • Energy bra (great for yoga and running)
  • Wunder Under leggings (the most comfortable classic legging that started it all)
  • Fast & Free Nulux leggings (buttery soft fabric)
  • Hotty Hot LONG shorts (the extra 1.5″ length and extra room in the quads is more comfortable)
  • Swiftly Tech Racerback (quick dry and no-stink technology)

Stil can’t get behind Lulu’s prices? Nordstrom Anniversary Sale early access also began today. It’s in-house Zella line is almost an exact copy of Lululemon. (Zella’s Live In Slim Fit leggings compare to the classic Wunder Unders.)

Surviving the Heat

Survival was my goal tonight. At first, I was really excited for tonight’s workout. Maybe it was because I finalized my #RnRMontreal plans today or maybe because I hadn’t run in a week. Regardless, all that went away with the warmup mile. 

Immediately, my legs resisted me. Lingering soreness mixed with the sun beating down and temperatures near 100 told me it was going to be tough from the start. I tried to reset my mind when we got to the track. 

Tonight was supposed to be 3×1600 (one mile) but I took an alternative route. My workout ended up as 2000, 1200, 1600. I lose count during the first rep and only realized it after I had already started running a fifth lap, so I tried to even out by running only three in the second rep. 

That sub 7 pace from a few weeks ago is still waiting for me at the finish, and I don’t like how running tonight made me feel. What does make me happy is that I survived and can channel those feelings as a motivator whenever I feel like skipping a workout. 

Sore or Sorry

The debate of sore v. sorry resulted in both today. After skipping last week’s speed workouts while travelled, I’ve learned my lesson. 

Running (and fitness in general) is a lot more like making a meringue than it is baking a cake. You can’t just set it and go. If you don’t monitor it and work on it consistently, you’ll either end up overworked or underdone. Either way, you’ll have to start all over. Just like overtraining or taking too long a break. 

Yesterday’s workout has my legs feeling so sore today, I barely powered through our short Back on My Feet run. I’m turning to some of my favorite at-home recovery remedies:

  • Massage Stick (even for a few minutes) to work out the touch spots 
  • Magnesium (relaxes your muscles)
  • Spirulina (contains magnesium, iron and other minerals/vitamins) and is great sprinkled in cereal or mixed in a smoothie 
  • Epsom Salt soak to soothe the muscles 
  • Almonds before bed to give my body the building blocks (protein) to repair 
  • Rest with an early bedtime to heal