I've spent the last 8 weeks training for a 5k. It's been relaxed and challenging all at the same time.  

Relaxing - I ditched the Garmin on most of my runs, enjoyed run/walks in the early morning twice a week as true shake-outs, kept up with my strength/core routine, and practiced form drills. Runs happened or they didn't. Paces happened or they didn't. I ran a midnight 5k on a whim while on vacation and was pleasantly surprised with a 20:30 time and first female (I meant to blog about it... I still might).

Challenging - I upped the number of days for 'workouts'. Every Wednesday for the past 8 weeks has found me at the track. Mixing it up with new distances - 200s, 400s, 600s, 1ks. It was fun to have something that looked very different from 800 repeats. More importantly, I took on the challenge to rein myself in on these workouts. It became my goal to learn not to bury myself. That the pace had a point and going faster than pace was actually detrimental. It didn't always work - case in point: seeing the fastest 200 and 400 splits I've seen since I was 18... oops.

Every Saturday found me doing some sort of fartlek style workout on the roads. Four minute repeats, 1ks. These days challenged me like tempo workouts or mile repeats would without the intimidation factor. They helped me build confidence again. I didn't always nail them, they weren't always successful, but at the same time I stopped fearing them.

And lastly, I switched my long runs to Monday after work. This change allowed me to get in two quality workouts AND a long run. It wasn't ideal and with the freak summer heat we have been having in the PNW it was downright hard at times. And to be honest - they didn't always happen. 

To say the past 8 weeks have gone exactly as planned would be a lie. To say that part of me isn't bothered by the fact that I missed more running days than I could count on my two hands is also a lie. (I like when the stars align and a plan falls into place without interruption - it's possible, trust me. At some point I'll get back to that.) But life has to happen too. Finding balance and I guess more importantly acceptance.

So with these weeks behind me I'm toeing the line at a 5k on Saturday. I have no idea what this race is like or what the competition is like. But that's not the point for this race. Saturday is about having a good race. My expectation is to run hard, negative split and to come out around my recent 20:30 or faster.


The Ultimate Run Nerd Weekend

Here's what's going down this weekend in my neck of the woods.

Saturday morning - Rock 'n' Roll Seattle half marathon spectating. Cheering on Sarah Robinson and Andrea Duke. Followed shortly by post-race brunching. I'm really in it for the pancakes, Bloody Mary's and bacon... well and to see a serious throw down of speed by those two ladies. If you need me post race I'm hopeful to have my face buried in something delicious from Portage Bay Cafe. Likely this:

Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon/evening - Cathleen and I are taking this show on the road and heading to Portland to watch really fast people run in circles at the Portland Track Festival. My sights are set on these events with some of the Oiselle elites but I'm also excited to watch the women's 10k and all other high performance events on Sunday.

My goal is to be sufficiently hoarse by the end of the weekend. I'm pretty good at cheering so this should go swimmingly. In case you forgot here's proof that I like to do serious spectating of running events (stolen from this girl's blog of the last EPIC cheer session). Who else is spectating races this weekend?!


Just Because You Gave Up Your Garmin....

Doesn't mean you stop obsessing over numbers and data and miles and, and, and... 

Case in point - THIS.YES.ME.


This, of course, could take me on a HUGE tangent but I want to point out that I've never worn my Garmin to simply track my 'health and fitness' level. I don't run just to say I did my 'cardio' for the day. Yes, I'm somewhat justifying my obsession.

I realized last night that I am now a slave to my Fitbit. Kick one habit, get another? I got rid of the Garmin because I wasn't 'training'. I didn't need to monitor every run - tracking pace/distance. I just needed to run. Yet here I was, checking my overall 'exercise time' when I crossed the known mile markers on my typical route. Pace, noted. Distance, noted. In response, - insert all the air quotes here - I started picking it up because my pace was slower than where I wanted it to be.  I set out to do a long run, no specified distance just a rough range of time. And here I was judging that run one mile in because I happened to look down at my Fitbit.
So then it got me thinking - wearing the Fitbit and using the exercise mode while running is defeating any and all notion I had of just doing whatever I can on that day. Oh, and the kicker for this obviously data obsessed person, the exercise didn't even log once I synced it with my phone post-run. That sh** is just flat out annoying!

Side note aka rant: Dear Fitbit, if you're going to have a mode that tracks time exercising make sure it syncs, ALL THE TIME. This has happened to me on multiple occasions. It makes me unreasonable irritated. It also makes me want to chuck my Fitbit out the window because in reality I don't really give a damn about steps and all the other jazz hands that come with fitness trackers - JUST TIME MY RUN. If it were not for the fact that my work incentivizes (is the plural form a real word?) my activity level I would not be using this thing. Sure, it's motivating on my laziest of days, but let's be honest, there aren't many of those. It was novel at first and I was super dedicated to get ALL THE STEPS but now it's meh.

ANYWHO. There's really no point to this post other than to say quitting run data is HARD. And trust me, I haven't even quit all of it. I still use my Garmin for workouts at the track. And to be frank, I'll use my Garmin whenever I want. Leaving it behind wasn't really about trying to go all Zen on my runs. It was just another way to silence the inner chatter for now.

So, there you have it. Now you know. The Fitbit - just another piece of technology that I'll semi un-use. This was the best story EVER. You're welcome.


Giving Myself Grace

Things in my running life are not going well. That's the plain, simple, and honest truth. I've searched high and low for explanations but have yet to find one. To say I'm discouraged, frustrated, fed up would be an extreme understatement. To tell you I'm finding the silver lining and embracing new adventures would be a lie. This one fraction of my life (and yes, it's a big fraction no doubt) is tearing me down at the moment and I'm trying to find the balance between letting it - allowing myself to feel defeated - and coming out on the other side OK and ready to embrace what comes next. I'm getting closer to the latter. All with a positive attitude... there's work yet to do. ;-)

So what's the deal?! I know you want answers just as much as I do. I am not injured. In fact, at the moment NOTHING even hurts. All of the niggling Achilles/posterior tibialis issues are simply gone. Upside? But my body, my body just does not want to bounce back. And it really hasn't in the past year.