Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Sweataway 2011 Pat IV: Sunday Morning and Afternoon

We slept AMAZINGLY well at the Oxford...a crappy night in Motel 6 plus a half marathon will really knock you out. 

Breakfast was a mix of muffin, pastry, fruit, coffee/tea, and protein-packed chocolate milk.

If you are looking for a good book on racing, Runner's World Guide to Road Racing is a great place to start.  It has everything from nutrition tips and cooldown strategies to motivational quotes from famous runners and lists of the best races in the country.

I loved how quickly my body started recovering from the Bend Half.  My first half found me hardly able to walk during the rest of the day, and still pretty drained the day after.  Not so for this time unexpected pay-off of diligent training!  I always tend to focus on getting faster or going farther or working on my form.  Avoiding injury and recovering quickly make good goals for ANY training program.

Jared planned for us to walk 2+ miles to the liquor store to find a particular local brand (Oregon Spirit Distillers) of gin or rum.  They had the marionberry cordial, but not what he was looking for.  They did, however, have a Whole Foods nearby, and we had a groupon-type thing to use!

It was really sweet that he had us start the day with a long walk.  We fell in love walking and talking for hours at our college campus, and we don't usually get to any more.  (The walking part.  The poor boy will probably never find a way to make me stop talking.)  Romance props to Jared for being so thoughtful!  The view was pretty amazing, too.

When we got back to the hotel, we grabbed some bars for snacks and headed down to take out the complimentary cruiser bikes.  I have a weak spot for all things cute, and these bikes really take the cake.

We rode to the Old Mill District to do some shopping, along the river because it's pretty, up towards the area where we ran on Saturday, and around town a little.  We found a cute tea place that we'd like to try next time we come visit Bend.

It may seem like all we did on this trip was work out together...and that wouldn't be excessively far from the truth.  But we truly enjoy being active and at home in "real life" we are rarely able to coordinate our schedules to do our workouts in tandem.  So we wring every drop out of these amazing Sweataways.  (Plus we don't waste a minute feeling guilty about anything we eat.  Which is a huge perk...since we eat a ton.)

Next on Sunday's agenda was strength-training.  I was totally in need of more than a few reps, since I'd been so focused on running.  And no way would I pass up the chance to get tips on moves and form from my favorite personal trainer.

Jared being focused and me taking pictures. 
This is kinda how we roll.
We decided a full body strength workout would be best, and started with Jared's dynamic warmup, which includes jumping jacks, walking lunges, and hip strengthening exercises, to name a few.

We then did about 10 minutes of abs...and boy could I tell I had been ignoring mine lately.

For the full body workout, we did seated lat pulldowns, pushups, and body weight squats.  15 reps of each going in a circuit, resting between circuits for a total of 3 sets.

Move #1
I really have to watch my form on these, because my right trap always wants to scrunch up and "help."  This is bad for my neck and also does nothing to help strengthen my lats.

Move #2
I am not currently up to "real" pushups, so I go with bench pushups instead of "girl" pushups (pushups from knees instead of feet.  Girl pushups make it hard to have good form, and I don't think they build as much strength.  Using a bench or something equally study makes it a little easier than full pushups but encourages good form.

Move #2 with bad form
Obviously when you get tired your form slacks off.  Having a trainer or even a well-informed workout buddy can help you when you don't realize you are sticking your hips back.

If you want to try real pushups, though, go for it!  They are a great way to get a super speedy workout, any time and any place.

Move #3A

Move #3B
Body weight squats are another do-anywhere kind of move.  All you need to do to make them more challenging is to squat lower without letting your knees go past your toes...or hold the down position for a few seconds before coming back up.

Strength training is serious business.
If you want to jumpstart weight loss or any other fitness goal, strength training is a crucial part of your routine.  It ramps up your metabolism, fights fat, and protects you from injury.  A nice pair of gloves protects your hands...I like the GoFit gloves from Target.

We finished up with a quick yoga routine, which is always a good idea, especially after a day full of moving around.  It's a fun tradeoff, because Jared is great with strength training, but I know more about yoga.  When we workout together, we can both be contributing ideas and learning from each other...which is a pretty useful exercise in marriage, if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Sweataway 2011 Part III: Saturday

After the race, we drove back into downtown Bend and headed straight for the hotel.  Some activities (like yoga) don't necessarily require a post-workout shower.  Other things (like hilly half-marathons) do.

After getting cleaned up, we walked around a bit and looked for a place to eat (caloric refueling is pretty much on par with the shower for importance).  We ended up at Cafe Sintra - quiet and pretty with great food.

Salmon and green apple pizza

Brie and mushroom omlette
After lunch, we went to Trader Joe's and bought groceries, since we intended to eat in for the remainder of our meals.  We love grocery shopping together, and have ever since we got married.  We don't always get to go together, so when we do, it's special.

Once we got back, I toodled around downtown Bend on foot looking for a place to get a pedicure, while Jared stayed at the hotel and watched football.  I didn't find anywhere that fit my budget (hey, I'm picky), but I got to go in some cute shops and enjoy the little fall festival that filled the streets.

When I got back from an hour of walking (which seemed to do my muscles a surprising deal of good), I did my own pedicure by scrubbing my feet in the fancy tub, slathering on grapefruit lotion and putting on fuzzy socks.  Jared even came over to bring me homemade mango trail mix.  Such service!

Me and my fuzzy socks!!!

Fancy trail mix

We spent the evening watching episodes of Castle, and eating the yummy pasta Jared made for dinner. 

So pretty - I love this hotel!

They bring you chocolate every night with the forecast

Perfect way to chill out after our race that morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Upcoming Races/Getting My Rear In Gear

Good morning and Happy Monday!

Life gets crazy and running gets ousted.  You go from running 4-5 times a week for 10 weeks to I-ran-to-work-on-Tuesday-maybe-I-should-squeeze-in-some-treadmill-speedwork-since-it's-Saturday-already.  Don't get me wrong...I've still made time for strength training, racquetball, core work, and a delightful yoga conditioning class (review to come), but running is one of those things that I enjoy...but don't love so much that I make it a huge priority.

One of the best ways to get moving is to sign up for a race.

This works for me for several reasons:

1. I am a cheapskate.  Or at least, I like to think I am.  No way am I going to plunk down my dough for a race that I do not intend to run.

2. I have never been what I would consider an athlete.  Some folks are competitve/fit/superman enough that they can do well in a race with minimal training.  My theatre background eschews this sort of improvisational racing.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  I get super nervous doing things on the fly.  I prefer calm to panicked, so I usually train up in order to feel cool and collected (or at least collected since I get hot and sweaty super fast) the day of the race.

3. I love schedules and plans.  If you have a race on the calendar, you can make a spreadsheet showing what training you intend to do when and for how long or at what pace.  I am weird, but this kinda thing warms my little heart.

So, my hubby and I are all signed up for the Winter Pineapple Classic, a crazy little obstacle course 5k that we've done twice before.

This race is awesome.  It's only 3.1 miles, so it doesn't require months and months of training.  The obstacles are fun and challenging (crawling under ropes or climbing over hay bales), but not life-threatening like running through fire or barbed wire.  People dress up (note Waldo next to us) and there's beer and Hawaiian food at the finish line.  Plus, it's a fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Oh, and you run the race as a team.  You've got to help each other over the obstacles because your team time doesn't count until the whole team has crossed the finish line.  Pretty good team-building experience huh?

If you'd like to support our cancer fighting efforts, please visit my fundraising page.  Or if you have super cute costume ideas, please comment below!  We are the "Lava-Lava Lovebirds."

Another great way to get involved in racing is to volunteer!

This is a fantastic option because:

1. You don't have to be trained up at all.

2. It's free.  (Hey, races can be pricey.)

3. It allows you to enjoy all the fun hoopla while serving others!

My sweet friend Jessica invited another friend and me to run the Pumpkin Push for Neighborcare Health last Halloween.  We dressed up as angels and had a great time.

Teammates sans angel get-up and running gear
This year, Jessica and I will be at the Pumpkin Push yet again, but this time we'll be handing out race bibs instead of wearing them ourselves!

Jess, let's not lose the car again this year, huh?  (Last year saw us wandering around in the rain for about an hour and a half looking for the car.  This was about 3x what it took us to actually do the 5k.  Smart.)

I'm SUPER excited to volunteer because...I've never volunteered at a race before!  I've been running 5ks to half marathons on and off for the last 12 years or so, and never once volunteered to hand out gatorade or safety pins.  Clearly, it's time for me give back, and I can't wait!

Have you ever volunteered at a race?  What was the best part?  Anything you didn't expect about the experience?  Favorite race to help out with?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Sweataway 2011 Part II: Saturday AM/The Race

After a night of less than stellar sleep (yay for noisy neighbors and us not figuring out the AC in our room), we started our race morning preparations! 

Due to the previous week's 5-mile fiasco where I pulled an Ali and spent the whole race looking for a bathroom, I figured the super awesome run cakes were probably not a good choice for breakfast.  Instead, I went with my old standby: whole wheat English muffins with peanut butter and banana, plus a glass of milk.  ("Glass" here is loosely translated from "we drank straight out of the container.")

We had no toaster, so we stuck them in the microwave for a bit.  Nothing amazing, but still pretty yum.  Jared felt we were still probably dehydrated from Friday's drive and mixed up some nuun tabs in our water.  I generally prefer plain old water, but I actually kinda liked the pink lemonade flavor this time.

Then, joy of joys, we got to say goodbye to the creepy motel - forever!  One cool thing about our stay (besides the fact that we were neither robbed nor stabbed) is that Jared met another runner while loading up the car that morning.  Apparently the dude usually races the marathon, but since he rode his motorcycle instead of taking his car, figured he'd compete in the half instead so he wouldn't be too beat to control the bike on the way home.

Good bye and good riddance!
We headed on over to the start line a good hour or more early.  We had no clue how many people might be there and whether parking (or porta potty lines) would be bad.

Turned out, we parked really easily quite close to the start.  There were only about 90 people doing the half, so it was pretty calm and chill compared to most races we've done.  We grabbed our fitness magazines and sat reading and sipping coffee/chai in the local cafe while alternating taking a bajillion bathroom breaks.

Finally, it was time to start!

Since at the 5-mile race, I'd put us almost smack in the front with speed demons and got swept along too fast, I kinda overcorrected and stuck us at the way back.  They started the race...and we realized I'd started us behind WALKERS.  Yes, walkers.  I have a ton of respect for people who want to want anywhere close to a half marathon.  However, while I'm no Kara Goucher, even on a slow day my pace is faster than a 20 minute mile.

We snuck around them before actually crossing the start, but this meant we were weaving around or just plain stuck for the first mile and a half or so.  This ended up kinda sabatoging our ultimate time goal of kicking 2 hours in the pants.

Source: Bend Marathon FB page:!/bendmarathon

Also contributing to our demise was the course itself:

Source: Bend Marathon Page:

You run out for about 6.55 miles and then come back.  Notice that you run downhill AND THEN COME BACK UP 927 FEET OF ELEVATION.

Even with all our prerace potty stops, we had to make use of the porta potties at the first aid station.  This obviously added a few minutes to our time, but by that point, the runners had spread out a bit, and we picked out the first people I wanted to catch and pass.  There was a short uphill at that point, and being from the Seattle area, hills are kinda our strong point.  So we eventually caught and past those dudes.  From then on (mile 3 or 4), we were picking it up and kept picking people off. 

The course was really gorgeous - at least in our minds.  It's always fun to run somewhere out of the norm, and we're used to rain, big buildings, and lots of evergreens.  We got clear blue sky, wide open spaces, funky brush, and horsies.  I told Jared we should swipe the horses and win the race, but he didn't go for it.  I was glad we dressed for warm weather - we were sweating a ton with the combo of the hills and the sun and the 13.1 miles. 

I'm sad to say, even with all our hill training and speedwork, we could not seem to make up for the uber-slow first mile, the bathroom stop, and me wanting to "save it" a little too much in the first half.  Coming up and up and up and up on the way back, we were going much faster than my original "goal pace" but it didn't quite give us what we wanted.

Jared was going a lot stronger than I at the end, so I told him to go ahead and run the last mile or two alone and I'd follow. 

Jared finished at 2:03:20 and I finished at 2:05:48...4th in my age group!

While I was pretty bummed about being slower than my first half, I never expected to be 14/42 in any race!!!  And we honestly had a wonderful time.  We talked some during the first half of the race, and Jared encouraged and pushed me in the second half.  We met a really sweet couple afterwards and chatted with them while drinking chocolate milk (best recovery meal ever). injuries!  Pretty amazing with all the downhill pounding and the fact that I felt I'd never run that hard in my life.  Thank you, Jesus, for a super fun run and keeping us safe!

Yay Nike Frees!

Thanks everyone for all your support and prayers and well wishes!  The training and the race were, in my book, a total success.

Part III coming soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall 2011 Sweataway Part I: Friday

As you have probably noticed, I'm married. 

First dance at our wedding

Being married can be really rough or really amazing, and always takes a lot of work and the grace and power of Jesus. 

After 2+ years (I know, we're such sages), we've observed that real life can and will kill romance (and even plain courtesy) in your relationship.  You have to fight to make time to relax and enjoy each other's company.  Ideally, this happens everyday...but like most people, we are busy and stressed and tired often, so we have two ways we combat the real life blues.

1. Weekly Date Night - one chunk of time per week when we focus on each other.  Some people have hard and fast rules about their date night...we don't have as many, since we've found that some flexibility goes a long way.  For us, the key is "weekly."  No need to add stress to your already stressful life by saying, "We MUST eat at THIS restaurant EVERY Saturday at 6:05 SHARP."  Usually, we aim for Friday night to be date night.  However, sometimes things come up, or we're just too beat by the end of the work week to do much of anything, so we'll swap out for Saturday night or even Saturday morning. 

We can go out...but usually we end up staying in (we're homebodies who like saving Jared's a killer chef).  Going out we might see a movie, get dinner, or go shopping.  Staying in, we'll share a meal, watch episodes of our latest favorite crime-solving show, play card games or board games, or build a fire and chat by the fireplace.

We try to dress up a little, whether we're going out or not, because for us, that says, "You are still special to me and I still want to make an effort to look nice for you."  We generally don't take calls or texts, and we try not to talk about stressful or mundane things.  We do talk through things regularly, but date night is meant to be an oasis where we can refocus on what we adore in each other, and continue getting to know one another better.  These nights give us something special to look forward to every single week, and really help me get through stressful and exhausting days.

Husky basketball date night

2. Quarterly Getaways - 2+ days once a season when we focus on each other.  (Notice the trend here?)  These getaways are basically date night on steroids.  Again, the main point is to be consistent and to enjoy each other's company.  That's what we did when we were dating in college, only somehow when you're dating, it feels like it happens naturally.  Later on, you realize it takes some planning and work to continue reaping the rewards of a healthy relationship.

We can go away for the weekend (or week), or we can stay at home.  It depends a lot on our budget and the season.  We usually celebrate things at weird times for two reasons.  If you're going away, everything is cheaper and less crowded.  If you're staying local (especially for holidays and birthdays) you have to factor in families and friends.  Family and friends are a wonderful part of your life...but romance is exclusive.  There's a reason you picked that one person in the world to marry - you are choosing them over everyone else, and sometimes, you need to reinforce your vows with quality ALONE time.

Whether we go away or stay home, we always fuel up with killer eats and then work up a sweat together.  It's the perfect bonding time for us, since they say guys prefer shared activities and gals prefer shared conversations.  Running or biking or lifting or walking lets us move and talk - some of our best conversations are during training runs.

Trail run couple time!

That being said, here's the scoop on our latest adventure: fall sweataway in Bend, OR!

We love Bend.  We went for our anniversary this summer and loved it.  Kinda feels like Kirkland without the waterfront.  Lots of cute shops, good food, fit culture, and a GORGEOUS hotel.  Seriously, if you are ever headed to Bend, save up for the Oxford Hotel.  Every penny is worth it.  Their location is perfect for walking around downtown, and they offer complimentary cruiser bicycles (appearing in a future installment) for toodling over to the outdoor shopping mall (the Old Mill District).  The rooms are beautiful, the staff very kind, and their restaurant is amazing.

We knew we wanted to come back as soon as we'd arrived in June...we had booked one night and kicked ourselves for not planning a longer stay.

When planning our fall getaway, we decided to try to coordinate the trip with a half marathon.  I'd run my first in the spring, and Jared ended up being too sick to run with we wanted to train up again and finally race together.

Turned out, Bend was having an inaugural half and full marathon on October 1st, so we figured it was perfect.

Apparently, so did half the world.  I signed us up for the Saturday morning race, and as I was making our travel plans, learned that the hotel was booked up the two nights prior.  They were able to book us for Saturday and Sunday night, so I figured we'd come down Friday, crash somewhere cheap, race Saturday morning, and then enjoy the rest of our stay in the lap of luxury before coming home on Monday.

We got a bit of a late start to the fault as always.  "I'm almost ready!" is code for "Thanks, another half hour or so should do the trick."  We believe in packing a lot of mainly healthy food for car rides.  It saves money, extra delays, and makes you feel a little better about spending 6 hours on your butt.  Jared was kind enough to make smoothies to pack along.

Our trip down was really fun.  We listened to (what else) a tale of Redwall, read by dear old Brian Jacques and a full cast.  No need to say which book it was - they're sort of all the same, but so endearing and fun!

Jared helped me get some good scenery shots...I kept getting frustrated and putting the camera away, so he told me to keep it out and would give me a headsup when a good view was coming.

Artic Fox shot for Mom and the fam
We stopped at some little rest stop in the mountains and got to stretch our legs.  NOTE: don't dehydrate yourself on the way to a race in the name of fewer stops.  You will wish you hadn't.  Like we did.

The awesome thing about this drive is the wide variety of landscapes.  Everything from woods to mountains to farmlands.

Kinda weird seeing the smoke on our way...
they were controlled fires, though.
Upon arriving in beautiful Bend, we decided to head straight to packet pickup at Fleet Feet Sports so as not to have unnecessary hassle prior to the race.

The store was so cute!  And they gave us fun swag bags.

Jared also bought a commemorative technical jacket.  The beanies came in the swag bags (along with a first aid kit and some other goodies).

Then, we headed over to the motel to unload before doing our very last training run.

NOTE TO ALL PLANNERS OF TRIPS OF ANY SORT OR KIND: Other travelers do not always share your standards.  Here's how I know:
  • Oxford Hotel is booked Friday night
  • I prefer not to spend a lot of money to stay anywhere but Oxford
  • I look for cheap hotels or motels in Bend
  • I find a good price and positive online reviews for Motel 6 a quick drive from the start of the half
  • We show up on Friday late afternoon to check in
Apparently for everyone who is not me, cleanliness and a good price FAR outweigh the fact that the motel is directly across for a sketchy looking (probably strip-) club and an "adult superstore."

Sketchy club

For all your travel needs
I was so creeped out by all this that I was seriously thinking of forfeiting our money and heading somewhere else.  But Jared said he felt safe enough, so that made me feel better.  (Having your own personal bodyguard is a big perk of being married to a tall, ripped Norwegian who has vowed always to take care of you.)

We unloaded - and the room was, in fact, very clean.  So the reviews were honest about that part, at least.

Then we skeddadled away to run 15 minutes at an easy clip.  It was so good to get moving after sitting ALL day in the car.  We grabbed some groceries at Safeway and then tried to decide what to do for dinner.  We decided we wanted something cheap and easy, but still as healthy as possible.

Enter Baja Fresh.

We have an awesome resource we keep in our car - Eat This, Not That Restaurant Survival Guide

In an ideal world, we all can afford to buy organic at Whole Foods and have the time to prepare every snack and cook every meal at home.  In the real world, we're busy and sometimes eat out.  This book lives in our glovebox and helps us make informed choices when we go out to eat.  It offers some good options at each popular restaurant, along with items to avoid at the same place.

We ended up with some tacos and were actually pleasantly surprised with the food quality.  After that, we returned to the creepy motel for foam rolling, yoga, and a few episodes of Castle before calling it an early night.

Coming next...Half Marathon Recap