Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Last month I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, what I thought was my fifth half, but my race page told me it was my sixth! I think I blocked out that one where I walked a lot of it. Oops.

You know how half marathons always seem like a great idea? I have signed up for races on a post-race high. I have signed up as a way to stay motivated through my training. I have signed up because I got a good deal on the entry fee. Whatever the reason is, there are always a mix of emotions between sign up day and go time.

I had some good training runs, I had some bad training runs, I burnt out on training with just one week to go to the Seattle RnR Half, but overall, I felt pretty ready going into race day. My main concern for a June race (a June race! That’s not even a thing in Arizona!) was last year for the RnR, race day was actually pretty hot. This year Seattle weather has been bipolar, switching between spring and summer weekly. Fortunately race day was looking more like spring – overcast and cool with a chance of rain.

I woke up early and walked to the start line because I live somewhere awesome. I was disappointed to arrive and hear the race was being delayed 15 minutes. Mostly just because I had dressed to run and it was a little chilly just standing around and I was there alone with no one to chat with. I was in the 11th corral, so after the delay plus waiting for my corral to start I was finally off at about 7:30am.

The course: Decently flat and somewhat interesting but with a few “run up this street a ways then run back” to get the mileage in, which I don’t love. I liked that it was different from the Seattle Half, which stayed north of the 90, and that it was through areas I don’t spend much time in.

The RnR: Honestly, the bands were not a huge pull for me, but I’m such a slave to marketing that I really liked the sponsored zones from Toyota and Alaska Air, they just provided something interesting to focus on for those small spots. The beer ticket I got with my bib seemed like a great idea on packet pick up day, but at the end of the race, I never really want it.

My other concern about doing a RnR race is the crowd. These are well-attended races because they are well organized (great aid stations!), but I imagined craziness on the course. Yes, the start was a bit overwhelming but the course was totally fine and I had plenty of space. However, I’m really glad I didn’t have to use the port-a-potties! No patience for those lines:)

I felt good throughout the race and knew I was maintaining a good pace, although my Nike Run app was slightly off in tracking the distance, so I wasn’t 100% certain. I got tired/bored around 10 miles, but the last two were great and super fast. I was able to book it the last quarter mile and came around the corner to see the finish line and also my awesome boyfriend with his daughter on his shoulders cheering me on. Clock time was off because of the corral, but I found out my official time later that day…1:56:40! I FINALLY got my sub-2:00!

I thought I was ready for it at the Seattle Half because I had been running some fast intervals and strength training. That got me close, but what pushed me under was the training I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year – just running consistently faster in my training runs. My standard 10-minute pace now fluctuates between 8- and 9-minute miles.

I took this picture at the finish line and think I look sups cute and like I barely worked out at all, so perhaps next time I push even harder?

RNRphoto

My next time I actually signed up for before this race! It’s going to be the ORCA Running Iron Horse Half in North Bend in August. I joined the ORCA family this year as an ambassador and am excited for my first race with them! If you want to sign up for any of their great races – they just added one at Alki – use the code: PRETTYACTIVE16 to get 10% off!

 

Seattle Half Marathon 2015

Last Sunday, I ran my first race in Seattle! And my first COLD race!

I had my eye on the Seattle Half Marathon for a while…but the last weekend in November in Seattle?! I had my concerns. Also, it was Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. When I decided to stay in town AND found a Groupon for the race, it seemed meant to be so I signed up.

I was feeling like I was in great shape from OTF and regular runs and then, as it usually does, life got in the way. I traveled and started a new job and my routine was knocked off kilter. I still got in my long training runs – a miserable 12-miler in the cold rain two weeks before and a much better 10-miler one week before – plus a few OTF-style sessions in November. My real concern was the weather.

The weather for race day turned out to be pretty great – cold (low 30s) and overcast, but no rain (or snow)! I wore one layer, gloves and an earwarmer plus a throwaway jacket I ditched after about two miles.

The course was great, basically a big loop around central Seattle – through downtown, on the freeway, through a freeway tunnel and on running trails so close to my place that I didn’t even know existed! Plus, minimal hills – score! I started off kind of slow, maybe a combination of needing to warm up, the crowd and awareness that I have a tendancy to start off too fast, so yeah, basically I did the opposite, but then I just kept picking up pace and it felt great.

My Nike app seemed to be running a little short distance-wise so I was not 100% sure where I was in terms of meeting my goal of under two hours, but I had an idea I was close. Spoiler alert, I didn’t make it, but I did beat my last PR by 5:30 and get pretty close to a sub-2:00! I finished in 2:02:15. I think I ran a great race and while I can maybe see a few opportunities where I lost those extra two minutes, I’m happy with that time!

IMG_0373

Nearing the finish line at Memorial Stadium (in black and white).

At the end, I was happy to be done running and a little stiff. I didn’t immediately have the typically runner’s high reaction of signing up for my next one within 24 hours, but this week I started looking at options and training plans to break the barrier!

 

 

My Funemployment List…How’d I Do?

It’s with a bit of a heavy heart I have to announce that funemployment has come to an end. I’m pretty excited about my new opportunity (I started on Monday), but a little sad to be giving up my freedom. I think that’s what they call “being an adult” or something? Or, there’s always winning the lottery.

By the numbers, here are the good things that the last two months brought me:

8 trails hiked (including 3 alpine lake swims and one summit snowfall!): Oyster Dome, Lake Ingalls, Rattlesnake Ledge, Goat Lake, Margaret’s Way, Melakwa Lake, Annette Lake, Green Mountain

IMG_4708[1]

Rainy Sunday at Goat Lake

6 books read: Euphoria, Love with a Chance of Drowning, Swerve, My Drunk Kitchen, Black Eyed Susans, The Santangelos

4 cities traveled to (overnights): Nashville, Phoenix, Bellingham, Hansville

5 series watched: American Horror Story (liked the first season, didn’t like/watch 2 or 3 and still working on 4), Jane the Virgin, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Walking Dead Season 4 (still working on), Law and Order SVU (the handful of seasons available on Netflix)

127.5 miles run

11 items left on the bucket list! Too many, but they’re at least made their way back to my regular bucket list…it’s what nights and weekends are for!

Oh the Places You Will Go: Nashville

In a delightfully hasty decision, I booked a ticket to Phoenix by way of Nashville at the end of October.

First I had to drop off little Rigo at the boarders for the week. He was not as excited about his vacation as I was about mine.

IMG_0067[1]

Then, I flew on a red eye to Nashville. Especially for long distances, this is just the way to go. I was worried I’d be wiped and I didn’t sleep a ton on the flight, but I got to my destination ready to party.

Oh, and yes, I went alone – it’s kind of hard to find someone else who can travel during the week with a few days’ notice – yay unemployment.

Why Nashville? Because I’ve always wanted to visit. Spoiler alert, I was right, it was amazing! Here’s the somewhat quick and dirty of my four-day trip.

DAY 1

Breakfast: Puckett’s Grocery
Coffee, coffee, coffee and eggs and such to fuel my busy day.

Nerd alert: Tennessee State Museum and State CapitolIMG_0074[1]

IMG_0076[1]Get your cruise on: Country Music Hall of Fame MuseumIMG_0084[1]

IMG_0085[1]airbnb: East Nash Room
For the first time, I stayed in a “private room” airbnb, meaning sharing a home with the homeowners. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be, honestly. My hosts were, of course, super nice and the room was great and it was perfect for mostly just sleeping since that’s really all I needed it for. I was out and about most of the time anyway. (Also, a nice money saver when traveling alone!)

Nashville perk: Sam Hunt street concert
Is this real life? In Nashville it is! The concert was announced for Tuesday (the night before I got in) but moved to Wednesday due to weather! What a charmed life I lead!

Yeah, it was pretty crowded. I got close, but mostly got pictures of other people's pictures.

Yeah, it was pretty crowded. I got close, but mostly got pictures of other people’s pictures.

GNO round 2: John Corbett at City Winery
This was my original plan for the night. Yes, he sings. Yes, he sings country…kinda, it’s kinda like Southern rock. Yes, he’s still sexy. Yes, he’s actually pretty funny. I loved the intimate venue.
IMG_0127[1]

Dinner and bed…I was zonked.

DAY 2

My hosts made coffee and blueberry muffins, which totally saved me from the struggle bus so I could start my day.

Local culture: The Parthenon
Yes, a full-scale replica in the middle of a nice, little park with some history.IMG_0139[1]

Local flavor: Loveless Cafe
Just yum. Like holy shit, but yum.IMG_0160[1]

Nerd alert: Cheekwood Botanical Garden (and art museum)
One of my favorites!

IMG_0166[1]

IMG_0172[1]

I took a very important phone call here….couldn’t have asked for a better view!

IMG_0175[1] IMG_0176[1]

IMG_0184[1]

Pop culture must do: The Bluebird Cafe
Stood in line for a good chunk of the evening, but loved the intimate show – my favorite of the night was Michaela Anne.

IMG_0186[1]

IMG_0191[1]

Local flavor: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden
I was (kinda) finally hungry again after breakfast and yum! Also, I met not one, but two, bartenders from Washington!

Nashvegas must do: hit the honky tonks, like Tootsies!

IMG_0194[1]

DAY 3

Small town charm: Franklin, Tennessee

IMG_0199[1]

History nerd alert: Carnton Plantation
Another highlight for me!
IMG_0210[1]

Get in my mouth: Red Bull Vodka slushy
Found on tap while afternoon honky tonkin’. Obviously another highlight.

IMG_0213[1]

Dinner #1: Five Points Pizza
Like a snack…don’t judge.

Classic Nashville: Grand Ole Opry
Friday night at the Grand Ole Opry! I saw, among others, Charlie Daniels playing the shit out of his fiddle and Brad Paisley. Brad Paisley! At the Grand Ole Opry!

IMG_0218[1] IMG_0225[1] IMG_0227[1]

Local flavor: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hot chicken is a Nashville thing and Hattie B’s is the place according to friendly locals I met. It was good, but after three days of Southern cooking, I should have just tapped out.

DAY 4

Run it off: Shelby Park
Another perk of staying with hosts…finding out about the local running trails!

IMG_0230[1]

IMG_0232[1]Breakfast: Noshville

See ya later from Bicentennial Park
IMG_0245[1]

I loved Nashville! Everyone’s friendly and there’s a great, creative energy all around. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year to be there and and there’s plenty to do no matter what you’re in the mood for. I’m not always big on vacation repeats, but I will definitely go back to Nashville! I’ve hopefully already talked it up enough to my friends that there may be a girls’ trip in the works!

As for traveling alone, I actually liked it a lot. I’m very comfortable on my own and have done business trips and quiet, recharging road trips solo, but this one was bigger and made me somewhat anxious, but yeah, it was great. I wouldn’t say I necessarily prefer it, but given the option to travel or not, I’ll take travel TYVM!

That Motivation Problem

Last week, I was kind of a rockstar. I ran 22 miles including a 9-miler and 6-miler, did two OTF-style sweaty sweat seshes and went on my longest kayak adventure yet. It’s pretty easy to pull off when you’re feeling great, seeing improvements, oh and have a shit ton of spare time.

This week also started off great. I ran five fast treadmill miles. Who knew Like a Prayer and Turn Back Time could be such great running songs? Then I hopped on the elliptical because reading on it is one of my new favorite pastimes and followed it up the next day with another great OTF workout, a power day this time = lots of sprints!

Then, those fast days, plus probably the jump lunges, caught up to me and I was super sore. AND I saw an article about the importance of rest days and realized I’d been going strong for eight days, so I figured a rest day was probably in order.

My competitive, stubborn spirit usually has me striving for seven days a week and “rest” days are more often “too busy to fit it in” days. But, rest and recovery is important for your body. Not taking rest days can actually inhibit your progress.

If you obsess much, active rest is fine – a long walk with your Rigo perhaps or a good stretch session, a bike ride to dinner.

I obsess much, but I try to shake myself out of that by taking a real rest day and being okay with it. This week, my rest day turned into a lazy, treat yoself day, then a lazy, treat yoself two days. How did I go from 60 to 0 so fast?

I got my butt in gear today with another good elliptical reading session (currently reading: Love With a Chance of Drowning) and everything else was better. My brain clears. My day feels complete. My eating stays on track. I’m more productive. I’m calm. ALL that is so important all the time, and especially so now when I need structure.

Despite knowing that, I still have those days when I have that motivation problem.

Anyone else with me? Any tips to bust through that?

Having a training plan helps me, but then again, it’s flexible and I know it and I can go from hardass to softy real fast.

I like the rule about never going three days without a workout. I think that’s what got me moving today.

Also, those cliche Pinterest phrases: no one ever regrets a workout and an hour-long workout is only 4% of your day.

Lately, the lure of reading is a way to get me moving since I could sit on my butt and do it, or jump on the elliptical and do it just the same.

I also sometimes tell myself I’m just going to start and after 5 or 10 minutes if I’m still not feeling it, I can throw in the towel, which after 5 or 10 minutes I don’t feel the need to do anymore. I gave myself that out today, but ended up lasting almost 90 minutes.

Sometimes, it’s just taking a shower! After a workout I’ll shower and can start my day instead of procrastinating for no good reason. Just having a schedule usually keeps me on track, so I’m hoping when I do have a schedule again I can keep up with my new level of rockstarness (past two days excluded of course).

Treadmill Sweatfest

After a great 9-mile fall run yesterday, I planned out my second OTF-hack workout and was pretty excited about it…that’s always a good sign! Then my upstairs neighbors kept me up until 5 so I slept in a bit later than usual. When I finally rolled out of bed, I hit the tread for this endurance/strength/power combo day:
Treadmill intervals - Endurance, Strength, Power - OTF-hack

I was a sweaty mess! I had the whole gym to myself until literally my last 30 seconds and then someone came in and got on the tread right next to me. Don’t you hate looking like you’re leaving because of someone else?! I swear, I was finished! The 3.5 miles on the treadmill and my sweaty mess of a body were evidence enough of that! With someone there, I was too self-conscious to do my strength workout in the gym, so I headed back up to my apartment to complete this:

8237111cd0c3f417d84a81bda7419773

I timed each set to match up with the length of the cardio blocks, so I did them for 9 minutes, 8 minutes and 7 minutes, respectively. Since the first block was long-ish and I realized I was now the asshole jumping up and down on my downstairs neighbor’s ceiling (albeit at a REASONABLE time), I added in tri dips on my coffee table (10) and supermans (15).

After the cardio part, I thought, “that was hard, but I did it.” That’s a great feeling! As long as I keep pushing myself, these cardio/strength workouts are definitely going to help me maintain the level of fitness I achieved from six months at OTF.

Oh, but another hard part of at-home workouts is getting on the floor, which I don’t normally do, and seeing the dust situation under my furniture! It was hard to keep going instead of running to get my broom – but you can bet I did that as soon as my timer went off!

My OTF Hack Workout

Today I attempted my first post-OTF (RIP) gym sesh. Actually, I more than attempted it, I crushed it!

I miss OTF, but I kept OTF-style (cardio + strength interval) workouts on my training plan 2-3 times a week.

Today, I did a strength day (aka hills for days):

Slide1

I don’t have access to weights right now, so for the strength blocks, I’m sticking to bodyweight exercises. I used this POPSUGAR circuit routine, doing each circuit continuously for 8 minutes:

0b8bde340d0bc33a137610afcef7cbef

It was a great workout, although having to pay attention to the cardio part instead of just following along was somewhat mentally challenging, but that’s kind of the appeal of this style of workout – it’s tough, but it’s short and you can get through it!

Funemployment, Month One

I remember making a list when I was younger of the things that went wrong on a specific day. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember making the list, looking at it and realizing none of it was really all that bad. That Debbie Downer moment aside, I think I’m a very positive person. I think life is good. I think I’m lucky and that people who think they’re lucky are luckier, so it’s kinda a twofer. I acknowledge that life isn’t all sunshine and glitter, that blips happen, but they don’t really get to me. Kinda something like this:

a0b5582698a6dd1cd98621be17bccfcb

I had a big one recently, but the closed door pretty much immediately felt like an open window.

At the beginning of September, my job was eliminated. I was upset and frustrated and anxious, but I also felt strangely fine with it and completely confident that it was all going to work out – and it has.

Well, I’m still looking for a new job, but finding good opportunities. Oh my goodness, it is so much easier to look for a job when you’re actually living in the city. But, spending all of my time looking for jobs and worrying and stressing out will not get my anywhere, so I’ve been enjoying this “early retirement.”

I’m gettting my fitness on, using the remaining classes from my yoga Groupon and (sadly) using the last month of my Orangetheory Fitness membership. I recently found my two favorite trainers and have been soaking up as many of their classes as I can. I’ve been running routes I’ve been meaning to check out and upping my mileage because why not and OMG the hiking.

IMG_4529

First snow of the season – Green Mountain, September 2nd!

I’m tracking my hikes on the Washington Trails Association site since that’s where I scope out all the trails and put links on my PNW Hikes page, which has grown considerably in the last month! Summits and lakes and swims in those alpine lakes, which really just means talking myself into jumping in, dunking and getting out, but hey, I did it!

Yes, even this one on this chilly, foggy day!

Yes, even this one on this chilly, foggy day!

I also visited Bellingham and Hansville. I cheered on the Sounders at CenturyLink. I went kayaking in Lake Union. I went to the Seattle Art Museum and have spent some time wandering around downtown and Pike Market Place. I took Rigo to a dog beach on Whidbey Island and he loved it.

Double Bluff Beach

Double Bluff Beach

I would have gotten around to these things eventually, but filling a potentially unhappy time with things that just make me so happy has been the absolute best.

So, that’s been my first month of “funemployment.” No doubt, more adventure awaits!

My Latest Visitors

I spent this weekend on the Kitsap Peninsula. It requires a ferry ride, so just that in itself is pretty great. Life is a little slower there and it was a great place to seemingly say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Saturday was gorgeous, sunny and warm and we spent the afternoon outside playing lawn games, then enjoying a bonfire long after the sun went down. On Sunday, I woke up to an overcast sky, dropped temps and football!

While the summer here has been amazing, I’m looking forward to a real fall. With sweaters and rain and apple picking and baking and tea and fall foliage, which is already starting to show up on some of my hikes.

IMG_4638[1]

Hike to Melakwa Lake

Before the summer ends, though, I have to share one of my favorite weekends I had this summer, when my parents came to visit me! It’s already been a few weeks since they were here; they came out in mid-August. When in the F does the time go?

They have visited Seattle a few times before – with me when I was looking at schools here and when they traveled through on their Alaskan cruise – so I tried to come up with some outside the tourist box ideas of things to do.

On their first full day, I had to work, so they did some exploring on their own before we went to the Mariners game. I don’t remember who they played, just that there was a second it seemed like they had a chance, then they lost big time! But, everyone stuck around because it was the last fireworks game of the season. It was a ton of fun. If you go to a game, I’d recommend upper level on the first base line, it gives you great views of the field and the city.

IMG_4449[1]

Saturday morning we took the ferry to Bainbridge and walked around the town. They have a great farmers market on Saturday morning and just a ton of cute shops to wander.

11907170_953614501369669_7796197864109882315_n

On their on-their-own day, my parents found the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. It’s really close to my place, but I’d never been there, so we went there on Sunday morning. It’s pretty incredible! The coffee is crazy fancy, which is a little overwhelming, but I love that it’s authentic coffee, not fluffy coffee. I could spend a long morning hanging out there!

Then we made our way to the Seattle Center to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Again, overwhelming! The art is gorgeous and there’s so much of it!

Then we needed a little break. I was calling the days they were here “active rest” because we were hiking all over town and that was plenty of exercise to keep me sleeping soundly at night!

We went to check out the Ballard Locks, which allows large boats to go between the Sound and Lake Union. We were there for a while watching them load up the large locks, then filling it up and letting the boats go through.

IMG_4463[1]

Definitely falls into the unique category for tourists, but I thought it was fascinating. There’s also a salmon ladder to help the little fishies go between, I still want to go check that out soon!

That night, we stayed in and my mom and I made chicken and waffles! Yum. I got to test out my new waffle maker and learn how to make our classic family meal from the pro.

On Monday, I took the day off work to share my love of Pacific Northwest hiking with them. I researched a few hikes to find something lovely and manageable and landed on a 3-mile hike in Mount Rainier Park, Tipsoo Lake and Naches Peak.  It had a little elevation, a lotta awesome views of Rainier and we ran into a handful of PCT hikers heading to Canada! It was also very dusty and a looong drive, but worth it!

IMG_4476[1]

And then, because it’s beautiful and because in Washington, you can go from mountains to sea (Sound), we spent some time at Golden Gardens, a beachy beach in Ballard, where we saw some seals playing not too far out from shore.

IMG_4493[1]

We ended their trip with a tradition started on my last two trips to Seattle before my move – a last meal at Ivar’s on Lake Union. With great views of the city, the lake and of course, seafood, it’s a great way to say goodbye to my city love (only this time, I didn’t have to say goodbye).

I told them we were knocking out everything in the city because next time, I want to take them to the San Juan Islands, or maybe the Olympic Peninsula. There are just so many wonderful options!