Anchorage Marathon: -2 weeks from race day!

I have not run in 16 days. This has been the longest I have not run since the last time I was injured, which was about three years ago.

This hiatus from running hasn’t been that bad or noticeable since the first week after the marathon, I was still in Alaska doing fun things like looking for sea otters in Resurrection Bay or hiking.

In the first five days after the race, I went on three hikes! Thank goodness my knee/IT injury hasn’t affected the ability to walk/hike. It seems that only running aggravates the injury.

Hike #1 (4 miles, 2 days after race) Bryce and I explored Archangel Valley in Palmer with our friends Alex and Liz. We hadn’t exactly planned on going on a hike when we left the house that day but luckily the rain subsided and we had wonderful views all to ourselves.

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Hike #2 (2 miles, 4 days after race) Bryce and I drove down to the Kenai Peninsula with his mom for a day trip. We made a stop at Exit Glacier and Bryce and I hiked to the Glacier look-out point. (Fun fact: President Obama visited Exit Glacier in 2015 to talk about climate change. This glacier in particular has seen significant shifts in size because it is melting 😦 ). This trail is well-maintained and I did it in my Birkenstocks with no problem.

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Hike #3 (+6 miles, 5 days after race, lots of elevation!) I was foolish to think I could complete an 8.2 mile round-trip hike to Matanuska Peak less than a week after my race. Bryce and I attempted this same hike several years ago in the fall but when we got higher up, there was so much fog, we lost sight of the trail and headed back down due to safety. This hike is no joke though. It’s 5,670 feet of elevation gain over just four miles! We made it up a little over three miles and I just couldn’t go up any more. We were literally climbing straight up a mountain with no switch-backs (like the kinder hikes I am used to back home in Washington state). I was disappointed that we didn’t get to the top. But, third time’s a charm, right?

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My view from where I called it quits.

Then back home, I went on another hike!

Hike #4 (11.5 miles, 15 days after race day) Up in the Central Cascades, Bryce and I went on a hike with Phyllis and Andrew to Dorothy Lake and Lake Bear. The forecast called for rain but we lucked out and had great weather! Overcast with some sun breaks! The mosquitoes and gnats were out in full force so beware if you ever do this hike. We also made friends with a few small frogs.

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IMG_5795Other non-hiking activities done during this recovery and rest period? Canoeing and fishing in Alaska. Hanging out with friends. Reading. Going to work. Lots of walking. And, finally having a drink again. (I tend to opt out of alcohol the month before a marathon).

It’s been really nice having the “extra time” now that I don’t have to focus on waking up at 6 a.m. for Saturday long runs or going immediately home from the office to get a workout in.

IMG_5641Do I miss running? Honestly, I haven’t missed it severely yet. But, in another week I will probably be itching to go out and do a loop of Green Lake or Discovery Park or something. The other day I walked two miles to meet up with friends for dinner instead of taking the bus from work and was envious every time a runner passed me!

But, good news: My physical therapy appointments have gone from occurring twice a week to once a week starting this week! Hopefully they will soon be down to zero times a week!

 

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Road to Anchorage: 7 weeks ’til race day!

I know, I know, I haven’t been good about posting these weekly training updates in a timely manner. Because, again, as you read this, we are less than seven weeks away from the Anchorage Marathon. But, again, bare with me — here’s what happened with training last week.

Monday

Rest day: 0 miles – No running! Core and strength training.

Tuesday

Mid-week long(er) run: 8.6 miles – Ran the long  way home and met up with my friend Smu to add a bit of an out-and-back to my run home. It was nice catching up with her and despite her saying “how slow” she is (because she is pregnant—yay!) but really, she wasn’t slow at all. And, I’m not just saying that because I know she is reading this.

Wednesday

Easy run: 5 miles – Ran my normal direct route home. My legs felt a bit tired and my calves tight for some reason. Maybe it’s because I was breaking into new running shoes?

Thursday

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Photo cred: Coach Tessa

Easy run: 2 miles – This run was supposed to be four miles before work, but my stomach was not having it so I had to end the run early and actually walk home. It was frustrating, but I think I made up for it by walking two miles after work to meet up with Joanna. We went to our Team’s Recommitment Party. So, in case there were any doubts at all, we are officially doing this marathon thing!

Friday

Rest day: 0 miles – Oh, sweet rest day that coincides with Friday. Phyllis helped me carbo load by eating pizza with me.

Saturday

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Photo cred: Coach Glen

Long run: 17.4 miles – It was a great day for a run with the Team in North Bend! We ran along the John Wayne Trail (a former rail road). It was an out-and-back that was a slight incline out so that meant a slight decline back! The weather was perfect for a morning run and despite Joanna not being able to make it, I ran with a few other teammates! I had an overall pace that was sub 9 and am happy with that.

Sunday

Ultimate frisbee: 0 real running miles – I didn’t end up doing a recovery run. And, I don’t count my sprinting during ultimate as “running.” My team lost but it was a sunny morning so I couldn’t complain.

Takeaways: Feeling strong! And the sun we’ve been having in Seattle is making me feel happy! Now, to not slack on core and strength training …

Good things on the horizon

Can we just pause for a second.

How are we already one month done with 2016?

I’m afraid to blink for fear that the year will be half over!

But, there are many good things on the horizon.

  • My first ultra in a little over a month! The fact that it is so soon is terrifying to me!
  • My college roommate’s wedding in Hawaii in a month! Bonus that I have family there so I’ll get to visit my own people and it won’t be one of those “Ugh, I’m going to a destination wedding”-type of weddings. You know what I’m talking about …
  • My very dearest Phyllis is getting married in two months — are you sensing a pattern here? — and I have the honor of being her maid of honor. Ahh, I’m so excited!
  • Soccer season will be starting up again very soon! Go Sounders!

I have other things I could add to this list but I don’t want to get too excited as I type this and hear the wind blowing and the rain pouring down outside.

What are you looking forward to on the horizon?

Or, are you just ready to hit pause because you have so much going on right now?

Being busy never hurt anyone.

Gotta run / Not running / Gotta run

When I left work this morning, I knew I would be doing my run (3-4 miles) around our neighborhood with Joanna after work.

When I was waiting for the bus after work in the pouring rain, I started having doubts.

“Why is it always crummy weather when we decide to run after work?,” I texted Joanna as I waited for the now 15-minute delayed bus.

“Ugh I know … it’s horrible out,” she texted back.

Well, she wasn’t making any indication that she wanted to back out of the run.

As the minutes ticked by, I kept telling myself that we were going to run, and that it would not be horrible.

The bus ride took forever.

Seattle traffic is no one’s friend and everyone’s enemy. Why we can’t drive in the rain, I will never understand. Because it rains all the time!

By the time I arrived home it was nearly 6:30 p.m. (If my bus hadn’t been late and the traffic normal, I should’ve arrived home just a few minutes after 6!) The rain continued to pour down.

“Are you going to run,” Joanna asked me?

She was now leaning towards not running.

I was torn.

A large part of me did not want to go back outside. A small part of me wanted to run just to stick to my schedule since I am training for my first ultra and all.

The more I lingered on my answer, the more Joanna was leaning toward not running tonight. Besides, she has a soccer game at 10 p.m. (I know! So late!) so I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to run.

I ate a quick snack and changed into my running clothes. I wore my reflective jacket and put my cap and headlamp on to face the elements.

It turned out to be a short but good run. I only did 3 miles. I added on two laps on a paved loop in a nearby park. At first I was a little “scared” to run in the park since it was dark but once I started on the path, I felt at ease and calm. It was nice to not be directly next to loud cars. I shortened my stride and picked up the pace. (I did look over my shoulder a few time). The loop is just short of 800 meters.

For as much running as I do, I don’t always feel like a runner. But, running on that pathway tonight, I felt like a strong runner. I didn’t even care about avoiding puddles. Also, it had stopped raining!

The main reason I went out to run? Yes, the fact that I have my first ultra next month played a part. But, also the fact that I know my Oiselle teammates are out there working their butts off. The fact that my coworker was run-communting home tonight. The fact that a Twitter-friend posted about going for a run even though it was raining.

I pulled from everyone else’s energy to get out there and run.

You all inspire me so much.

Getting ready to sweep at Orcas

Phyllis and I are expecting to come in last place at tomorrow’s Orcas Island 25K.

It’s not that we aren’t motivated. It’s not that we are out of shape. (I’m sure we could be in better shape, but that’s another story).

We’ll be volunteer sweeping the course.

This means we are at the back of all the runners and make sure no one goes off course, gets lost, etc.

No runner will be left behind on our watch!

I’ve never swept before but Phyllis has and she says it’s a lot of fun. So, I’ll take her word for it.

I have no idea what to wear since rain is in the forecast and we will probably be doing more walking than running for a race than I am used to. So, I have packed EVERY clothing option.

I’m not sure what to expect but when you’re running and with your main girl, it can’t be any less than totally awesome, right?

Oh, and I hear Orcas Island is pretty scenic, so get ready for some Instagram’ing overload!

 

Opting to run

I’ve gone beyond “just run commuting.”

Now I’m running to do errands.

I’ve stopped off at the grocery store a few times on the way run home from work. But, that’s not too extreme since there’s a Safeway on the road home, so I literally do not have to go off course.

But, today I brought my running clothes into work for a different reason. (Yes, did you notice how I didn’t say running clothes and shoes? It’s because I recently decided to keep an extra pair of running shoes at work just in case!) I brought the gear so that I could run to my doctor’s appointment.

Sounds a little weird, I know.

Yesterday I looked up the bus route from my office to my doctor’s office. Google told me I would need to take two separate buses and that the entire journey would take 35-40 minutes! (It provided two options, one was 35 minutes, and the other 40). Then, when I mapped the walking route, Google told me it would take 40 minutes …

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Thus, running there and back seemed like the best option, obviously.

It was 1.8 miles each way — going there I had some insane hills, but it was all in good fun, right? Err, all in the name of health?

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That time above was the up-hill battle to the doctor. Running home was much faster! And, I lucked out and didn’t catch any rain at all!

I did however apologize once to the nurse and a second time to my doctor for showing up all sweaty.

“Oh, that’s way your blood pressure is a little high,” the nurse said after checking it. “But, still well within the normal range!”

She also added in a “Good for you!” So, there you have it. Nurse approved.

Always opt to run. You won’t be sorry.

Overflowing with love

Maybe I should wait until February 14 for this type of post, but I just can’t hold it in.

I am overflowing with love.

I hate asking people for help. I’d rather get things done on my own. Most often, it’s that I don’t want to inconvenience others. (Don’t worry, as I have gotten older, I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to ask for help!)

And, right now, I’m in one of those times.

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I’m about three weeks into fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as a member of LLS’ Team In Training and will be racing the Anchorage Marathon in June. My friend Joanna (pictured to the right in that photo above) and I are embarking on this journey together.

I am touched by all of the support I have received from friends and family. In the three weeks of fundraising, I am already at 44 percent of my goal! I have been blown away by how many friends have already donated. I have been blown away by the email responses I have received. I have been blown away by my friends’ willingness to help more even after donating money. (Thank you!)

One of my friends even submitted a donation literally five minutes after I had sent her an email inquiring about it. (Thank you!)

I know that many of my friends are not in the position to give a lot, which I completely understand, but have contributed to my fundraising efforts even while in various graduate programs. (Thank you!)

I met up with one friend the other week and she told me her work messed up big time on paperwork and that she hadn’t received her full paycheck last month. (She is not a new hire, by the way! And, has been working her normal full-time hours! Is this even legal?) My response was, “Oh my goodness! Do you want your donation back?” Her reply was, “I’m sorry I can’t donate more! I will donate more once I get paid fully again.”

Every time I receive an email notification from LLS indicating that a new donation has been received, I feel as if I have won something. But, this money isn’t for me. These donations go directly to blood cancer patients and their families as well as for blood cancer research.

Isn’t it kind of sad that we live in a world where there isn’t ample funding for something as significant as cancer research?

I want to live in a world where my children won’t have to ask their peers to donate to such a cause. Because, the cancer research will be all done.

For now though, I’m having trouble putting into words how thankful I am for my friends and family who support me each and every day on this mission to get closer to finding a cure, and to support current patients. And, it’s not just the monetary donations. (Of course, money is great!) Even words of encouragement and running training miles with me mean so much.

Thank you seems so insignificant.

But, thank you all so much.

I’m overflowing with love.

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To learn more about why I’m fundraising and running with Team In Training, read here and/or here! To learn about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, go here