Friday, February 28, 2014

42 Miles in February!

42 in February

February 2014

Week 1: 10.9 miles run

Week 2: 6.3 miles run

Week 3: 17.3 miles run(!)

Week 4: 7.7 miles run


Hi!  I just wanted to pop in tonight to brag share with you some awesome news: I ran 42 miles in February!  It’s the first time that I’ve ever met a monthly mileage goal, and what a fun goal to meet.

Why, I wonder, are running goals so satisfying to reach?  My best guess is that running is something we do for ourselves.  It’s the best kind of selfishness, because I think most runners would tell you that running is a way of taking care of themselves, which makes each runner better at the other things in his or her life.  Since we do it to take care of ourselves, most of our running goals are positive selfish ones.  Call it a paradox, but I think there is something wonderful about pursuing running goals.  They seem pure to me.  The best prize in reaching a running goal is the feeling of accomplishment, the “I can do ANYTHING!” feeling that always seems to follow.  At least it does for me.

Knowing how hard I can be on myself, I feel utterly justified in celebrating my 42 February miles.  I’m aiming for 40+ miles in March too, and I’ll start that off on a great note with the half-marathon on Sunday.

See you after the race, friends!  Happy weekend!

PS  I voted today.  Did you?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Houston and Pancakes, Plus Some Running

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Tights and Slippers

Lu with Her Twine

Week of February 17, 2014:

Monday:  Long run!  81 minutes total, ran 70.

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Off?  I can’t remember.

Thursday:  Another run!  61 minutes total, ran 46.

Friday: Off (Off to Houston for some friends and fun!)

Saturday: Evening walk

Sunday: Another run!  62 minute total, ran 57.

Total minutes walked/ran: 204.  Estimated miles: 19.4  (Wow!  That’s amazing for me!)

Last weekend, Paul and I took a mini-road trip to Houston for an overnight visit.  It was awesome!  We ran some errands that Paul had on his To-Do list, then we met up with his friend Brandon and family for Italian food at Candalari’s.  From there, we dropped in to visit his sister and her wife for a bit, and finally we joined our friend Courtney at her place, where we spent the night.  Courtney had friends over, so we all stayed up late talking and becoming sleepy-eyed until we snuggled down for the night.

The next day, we all went to brunch at Black Walnut Café.  Paul and I now have a ritual where we ALWAYS go to Black Walnut Café if we are in Houston for brunch time.  In fact, I bribed Paul into staying overnight by offering to treat us to a meal at Black Walnut, which he accepted.  It’s definitely true that the way to Paul’s heart has been through his stomach!  Usually, when we go to Black Walnut, we each order a savory entrée and then split a pancake.  This time, Paul ordered the pancake and then ate EVERY bite of it!  So that left me with a pancake craving so bad that I had to make some when we got home on Saturday.  Pancakes are such comfort food—I’m happy I can make a decent batch at home.  Sometimes you just need a plateful of comfort food, drizzled in maple syrup.

The half-marathon is this weekend, and my training for it has been lackluster at best.  I’m indulging in some blogging today before I head out for a long run.  My goal is a 90-minute run, but I’m going to see how I feel at 70 minutes (which is what I ran last week for my long run).  I am struggling SO MUCH with the “activation energy” for a run—that is to say, carving out the time and then actually getting my butt out and running.  I enjoy my runs once I’m out there, but the thought of lacing up for a long run is so daunting these days.  I’m hoping my running mojo will come back after the pressure of a race is off of me.  Then I can go out for short runs and not worry or feel guilty that they’re short.

I know I’ll finish the race on Sunday.  I also know that it won’t be a PR race.  I think this is okay.  But part of me regrets spending $60 on a race that I didn’t train very well to run.

Have you ever signed up for a race only to regret it later?  How did you talk yourself through the disappointment?

(And on that note, as soon as I publish this, I’m off to run my 7+ miles!  Happy running, friends!)  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thoughts on a Semi-successful Running Streak

Weeknight Sunset

Lu Likes the Recipe File

Patio Sitting

Week of February 10, 2014:

Monday: Evening treadmill run.  21 minutes total, 11 minutes of running. 

Tuesday: Evening treadmill run. 22 minutes total, 11 minutes of running.

Wednesday: Biked to and from campus (no run today).

Thursday: Bike ride for errands + Early evening run outside!  32 minutes total, 20 minutes of running.

Friday: Off (doh—another running streak fail).

Saturday: Late morning run.  34 minutes total, 21 minutes of running + Bike date with Paul.

Sunday: Off (short walk to and from tutoring, did a few push-ups…). 

Total minutes walked/ran: 109.  Estimated miles: 9.4.

As my title indicates, my attempt at a running streak was semi-successful: from last Friday through yesterday (Saturday), I ran on seven of those nine days.  Not too shabby for someone who doesn’t usually run more than three days a week!  In addition, as you can see above, I rode my bike three times for various things, including an absolutely lovely bike date with Paul.

After I started my streak, I wondered to myself, What exactly is the point of a running streak?  I suppose for each person who starts one, the answer might be different.  For me, it was an attempt to lower the activation energy of going for a run.  My problem is always, ALWAYS that it’s hard to get out the door.  I have a good track record for completing runs once I start them.  I think in all my years of running, I’ve only aborted two runs and both occasions were injury-related.  But oh, to get out the door—that takes more energy than it should.  I’d like for it not to be the case.

Now I’m looking forward and HOLY SHIT, I have a half-marathon in two weeks.  I need to crank out some long runs ASAP.  I’ve been lazy about long runs.  Part of that is not wanting to be exhausted when I tutor on Sunday nights.  The other part is just not being in the long run habit.  I’m hoping my fitness level is high enough that I can maybe, MAYBE, squeeze three long runs into my days before the half.  We shall see…keep your fingers crossed.  I’m planning to do my next long run tomorrow in the early evening, as soon as I get home from work.  Hold me accountable, please!

Happy new week, everyone!

Friday, February 14, 2014

All the News that’s Worth Sharing

Scarf from Courtney

Scarf Closer Up

Sleepy Lu

Week of February 3, 2014:

Monday: Evening run.  46 minutes total, 35 minutes of running.

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Biked to and from campus

Thursday: A little DIY yoga

Friday: Another run.  50 minutes total, 37 minutes of running.

Saturday: Short afternoon run.  24 minutes total, 11 minutes of running.

Sunday: Another short afternoon run.  31 minutes total, 26 minutes of running.

Total minutes walked/ran: 151.  Estimated miles: 13.7.

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet readers!  This week Paul and I celebrated our one-year anniversary: it’s been one year since our first date.  We’ve been celebrating for the past few days, mostly with food because that’s our style.  Wednesday night, Paul picked up takeout from Taz, the Indian restaurant in town and one of our favorite places to eat.  I had made ice cream in anticipation of making an ice cream pie for our anniversary on Thursday, but I couldn’t resist the chance to share it with Paul after Indian food.  So I spoiled the surprise, and we ate ice cream while watching 30 Rock and relaxing on the couch.

On Thursday, I made more ice cream (because I am ridiculous) and a giant oatmeal cookie in a pie plate.  For dinner proper, I made another one of our favorites, a vegetarian riff on Melissa Clark’s black bean dish from Cook This Now, which we doctored up with chili-garlic-flavored Cholula.  After we’d eaten our vegetables (and our protein, and our rice), we ate slices of oatmeal cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and some fresh raspberries.  The combination was fantastic—an edible Valentine, made with love.  This morning, I sent Paul home with several slices of cookie.  Feeding him makes me happy. 

In other news, my friend Courtney knitted me the beautiful scarf/shawl you see in the first two photos up there.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  My photos don’t quite capture the depth of colors in the yarn; it’s forest green with blue/pink/violet shades in it.  I’m learning how to pair it with existing pieces in my closet.  So far, I’ve been using white and pink to let the scarf really shine, plus a pink top brings out the pink in the scarf.

In running news, I broke my running streak on Wednesday this week because my day was packed from 6:30 AM to 8 PM.  I was tutoring from 5-8 PM, and I didn’t want to be too tired to be coherent, so I opted for a little more sleep and no running.  I did ride my bike to campus, which was great.  I’m a little bummed to have broken my streak so soon (I only lasted five days!), but I was back in action yesterday.  I’m enjoying this run-every-day experiment.  Running is SUCH a good stress-reliever; even jumping on the treadmill for 20 minutes leaves me feeling happier.

Let’s see, what else is going on?  Yesterday at Kohl’s, I found a pair of pants that are almost as soft as sweatpants but look like grey skinny jeans.  They’re awesome; I’m going to wear them to work today.  And lucky me—they were on clearance for $12!  I had been wanting a pair of grey skinny pants (I love Tania’s grey cords—RIP, favorite style blog), so I’m pretty thrilled to have found such a soft, comfortable option.  If you are on the market for something similar, get thee to a Kohl’s!

And now, it’s after 11 AM on a Friday.  I’m going to head into my lab job for a few hours to make things happen and write a review on DNA polymerase for a $25 Amazon gift card(!).  I buy items from Amazon so often that an Amazon card is as good as cash in my world.

Happy Friday! <3

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I’ve always wanted to streak…

Getting Ready

Have you ever completed a running streak?

A running streak is a consecutive number of days during which you go for a run.  I keep bumping into other people’s stories about their running streaks, and every time I hear one, I think, “I want to do that too!”  So this week I’m doing it: I’m going to run at least a mile (10 minutes) every day for the next seven days.  My running streak started on Friday, so now I’m on day three, but I’m going to keep it up from now until next Saturday.

I’m generally not a run-every-day person, but this week, I aim to break that way of thinking.  This week, I AM a run-every-day person!

Wish me luck.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Running Inspiration: For Your Next Long Run

Happy Friday, friends!  How about some weekend running inspiration from Zen Habits?

16 Surprising Lessons from My First 50-Mile Ultramarathon

That oughta make it easier for me to run the 13 miles I want to run between now and Monday, eh?

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Three Things for Tuesday



New Cuddle Buddy

Week of January 27, 2014:

Monday: Evening run!  58 minutes total, 44 minutes of running

Tuesday: Off (crazy work day!)

Wednesday: Off (another crazy work day!)

Thursday: Finally, a run! 75 minutes total, 60 minutes of running.  Bam.

Friday: Walked around Dallas a little bit, played in a park, enjoyed the balmy weather.

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off (meant to do yoga today, but…)

Total minutes run walked: 133. Estimated miles: 12.3

Hey, hey!  Happy February, everyone!  Check out the icicles on that tree above.  Beautiful, no?  That’s a rare sight in Texas, a sign of how cold it’s been, even down here.

Now, onto my three things.  I was able to run 34 miles in January, falling just six miles short of my 40-mile goal.  I walked/ran more than 44 miles, but for that 40-mile goal, I’m only counting my running miles.  Since February is my last chance to train for the half-marathon in March, I feel pretty confident that those 40 miles will happen.

Which brings me to my next point: why do I run when walking is so much easier?  Walking is good exercise, and it doesn’t involve changing clothes and showering and all that business.  I realize that if I’d converted two of my January walks into runs, I probably would have made my goal.  Honestly, I’m suffering from a bit of a lazy streak these days.  Bad weather, dark evenings, a welcoming kitchen stocked with plenty of chocolate…and yet the answer is simple.  I run because it makes me feel better about life.  It tamps down on my anxiety levels and makes me feel more in control of myself and my ability to navigate whatever comes next.  The new issue of Runner’s World (March 2014) has a wonderful story about the potential to use running as an exercise-based therapy for PTSD.  There are some promising results for it.  The personal stories within the piece make it clear that running may have already saved some soldiers’ lives.  Now, I’m not saying that my garden-variety anxiety is the same thing PTSD.  I’m not saying that at all.  What I am saying is the fact that running makes so many of us feel better is part of what bonds us to the sport and each other.  We may fall out of a running habit; maybe a training season has ended and we shift our attention to other things, like bike rides or yoga.  But we return to running because we long to feel as good as running makes us feel.  That is why I want to run 40 miles in February. 

Finally, I’ve been enjoying the Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields and his many guests.  Today I listened to his interview with Leo Babauta and enjoyed it very much.  For your listening and thinking pleasure…[click!]

 Have a fantastic week, my dears.