Thursday, February 21, 2013

Greetings from the Mile-High City!!

Apparently I only blog once a week. I'm working on making that better. We'll see. Maybe it will happen. Maybe not.

Anyway, for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to go from this...



 ...and this...

...to this. Hello, Denver!!


As a born-and-raised California girl, I can say with absolute certainty that I am freezing my cojones (if I had any...) off. It's like a giant slushie outside. But significantly less tasty and less fun. (Although I don't mind admiring the snow when I'm snuggled up under the blankets with a hot cup of coffee... :)

Anyway, some pretty crappy personal things have happened in that past day and I was starting to get really worked up over it. I decided hit the treadmill (no way was I going outside!!) not because I thought it would make me feel better, but because I decided that I need to step up my training and be a little more serious about it. Yes, I guess I'm technically coming back from an injury, but I think that having an injured mentality is holding me back. (Or maybe I've been watching too much Biggest Loser and I'm imagining what Jillian would yell at me?? I have very mixed feelings about the BL by the way. Maybe I'll talk about it in another post.) 

As I was running, I was pondering what I would write for this post. What am I grateful for today? I was so grumpy, I couldn't think of anything. Zilch. Nada.

I was really starting to let the crappy personal things get to me. But I always underestimate the transforming power of running. Combined with a few encouraging texts from my friend L, I was beginning to see how the bad things that are outside of my control shouldn't define me. I won't pretend that I'm an island and the things I say and do should have no impact on others, just like the things that others say and do should have no impact on me. But who I am as a person, what I choose to believe, to stand up for, and to fight for are completely up to me. And while I can't change some situations (such as the one I was in earlier today), I can change the way I perceive and the way I react to them. And sometimes that makes all the difference.

Perspective is an incredibly powerful tool. The difference between being in a rut and in a groove is how you see it. So today, I am grateful for my friends and the treadmill that both help me see things in a different light.

-----------------------------------------

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm still alive and I have new socks to prove it.

I went a little MIA for a while. The last couple of weeks have been a little difficult for a variety of reasons. The simplest explanation is probably that I get stuck in my own head a little too much. I missed a few runs in the process, but I have decided that this is a lesson in learning how to not beat myself up. I'm going to keep moving forward.

So to the point: this post is about the people who believe in me, even when I don't necessarily believe in myself. I was having a bummer of a day when a family friend invited me to spend the afternoon with her. Maybe she knew I needed a boost or maybe it was a coincidence, I'm not really sure. We ended up at a store that sells crazy socks (cupcake print, cats, Mona Lisa, Valentine's day - basically things that you didn't know you wanted on your socks until now). She said she was proud of me for finishing the 5k so she bought me a pair of running socks. They are super comfy (breathable, soft, nice arch support without squeezing my feet to death) and I didn't take them off for at least 4 days. My hygiene could probably use some improvements, but my feet don't smell (I promise) so changing socks every single day is pretty low on my priority list.

My feet again. Despite the fact that these socks are called Smart Wool, they are made of merino wool, 
so they are not thick and scratchy like you would expect. They are surprisingly thin and keep your feet cool.

I actually don't own many pairs of running socks. I didn't even know it was a thing until fairly recently. Excuse me while I brag a little - my feet are low-maintenance (besides the whole overpronating thing...). I do not chafe and I do not get blisters when I run (which means I can wear any of my socks when I run - great for being on a budget and simplifying one small portion of my life). I ran a marathon in cotton socks without any problems (related to my feet that is...but everything else from the knees up was a whole lot of ugly...).

Anyway, back to the point - one pair of socks completely turned my day around. And it wasn't even that I got socks out of the deal; she could have given me a hug (or a corgi or a panda) and it would have had the same effect. Knowing that someone was thinking about me and was proud of me without judgments or qualifiers was a huge bright spot in my week (year...) and I am so grateful that I have people like that in my life.

--------------------

Do you run with special tech gear? Or do you try to keep it low-maintenance?

What was the last nice thing you did for someone else?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kaiser Permanente Half-Marathon & 5k race report!

My brother and I ran the KP 5k in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Super Bowl Sunday!! I thought it would be a great excuse for me to eat more Super Bowl snacks ;)

 The race start. I love Instagram. I feel like it almost makes up for my lack of photography skills.

I was a little nervous going into this race. I've been trying to deal with some shin splints for the past few weeks and last weekend I had a flare up. I took the week off from running and went for the elliptical-yoga-strength path instead. I knew I would finish the race in one piece so I wasn't anxious about that. But I was worried about how fast I would be able to go and how well my shin would hold up.

My brother can run much faster than me but he stuck with me the whole way :) We finished in 31:22. It wasn't a true 5k though. The race organizers wanted the 5k and the half to start and finish together and in order to keep the half a certified course, they had to extend the 5k to 3.2 miles. So according to the race organizers (who inexplicably calculated the pace based on 3.1 miles), I ran a 10:XX pace. But according to my calculations, I ran a 9:48 pace. And according to my brother's calculations, we ran a 9:3X pace. He used a GPS app on his phone and apparently we did so much weaving that we actually ran 3.4 miles. There were a lot of walkers that we had to go around. Weaving doesn't usually bug me that much, but it made it harder to stick with my brother.

Overall, I thought it was a nice race. Golden Gate Park is beautiful and the net downhill course was nice. I thought I was going to die during the race, but I didn't. Always a good thing. And then I felt awesome after :) I do like when there are crowds of people cheering for the runners, and there weren't very many crowds at this race. I saw more disgruntled runners and cyclists who were trying to get in their daily workout and were annoyed by the presence of the race than people who were cheering. But it was okay because the 5k is short and just when I was sure I was going to keel over, I was at the finish line.


I decided to try out KT tape on my shin. It's the stuff that the US women's beach volleyball team made really popular a few years ago. There haven't been any studies that say this stuff actually works. But I've spent long enough in the research field to know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The tape has really mixed reviews; some people swear by it, others don't. I decided to give it a shot because I didn't have anything to lose (other than $12 to buy the roll of tape). And now I'm contributing to the mixed reviews. My shin didn't bother me during or after the race. However, I don't know if that's because I took this week off from running or because of the tape. My shin usually doesn't start bugging me until I start doing back-to-back runs, so I think I will use it this week and see what happens.

So today I am grateful for my brother. He's a solid running buddy (even though we don't live in the same city - we still share updates on our training and keep the other person motivated) and we've been having a lot of fun going through the ups and downs of training together. He's interested in some longer distances, so we may have a 10k or half on the horizon!

Lastly, let's have a moment of silence for my headband. I had a purple, stretchy, all-around-fantastic headband from Lululemon and I dropped it some time between leaving my brother's apartment and when I was tying back my hair on the bus on the way to the starting line. It served many purposes, the most important one being that it kept my headphones on my ears. I hope someone picked it up and is giving it a good home...

-------------------------------

Have you run a race recently? Have any races coming up?

How do you calculate pace - do you go with what the race organizers say or what you recorded with your watch/Garmin/phone/whatever? Do you use the length the course is supposed to be? Or do you use the distance you actually ran according to your Garmin/phone/whatever?