October 30, 2013

Yoga is Awesome

I'm discovering a new workout routine: I got to Yoga in the morning (usually around 9:30), which lasts for an hour, and then at night I pound it out on the treadmill while JW does strength training.

I'm really, really enjoying Yoga. (I don't know why I'm capitalizing it). I love that the studio is called Get Zen because I really am feeling ~zen~ in the mornings. It's so much more bearable than Bikram- Power Yoga (the class I take the most) is always different because it varies with each teacher. One hour is also so much more manageable than an hour and a half. Plus, the weather is so much better now than it was when I was taking Bikram, that I get to drive with my windows down on the way home and I'm not super cold or super hot.

Also, I'm not exhausted for the rest of the day. I have the energy to run, to go and do things - I don't feel like I need to crawl back in bed. I'm still not convinced that the change is because I'm stronger. I think the change is because the Get Zen studio is more in tune with my wants and needs... as of this moment. Maybe at some point I'll desire the intensity of Bikram... but not right now.

Since running on the treadmill is now the norm (I'll address this later), I realize that a picture of a map and speeds aren't that interesting, but here they are anyways.

I think that might be the first time I've ever achieved negative splits on the treadmill! Basically I started at 6.0 speed, then bumped it up to 6.5 for the second mile, then bumped it to 6.8 for the last. It was intense. JW was running next to me and he said he'd stay running for as long as it took me to run 3 miles - I took pity and decided to run quite a bit faster than I usually do on the treadmill to help him out :)

I'm just thoughtful that way.

It's almost Halloween! We're going to Vegas for a little fun weekend and then I'll be back Sunday night - I'm sure with a lot of stories!

Do you dress up for Halloween? 

October 29, 2013

Thoughts Post-Marathon

(Read these posts before about The Day Before The Race, The Race Morning, The Race, and After The Race)

When I crossed the finish line, I kept expecting a wave of emotion to hit me. That sense of accomplishment and pride. Especially with how emotional I was feeling before the race, surely afterwards I would experience some of those end-of-race-tears?

Well, not exactly. As I approached the finish line, I suddenly remembered the cameras, lifted my arms slightly out to the side and looked off to the side.

It was a strange feeling. Usually I'm all about the camera- hamming it up, vying for attention.. not so much this time. I kind of just wanted it to be over with. I was sick of running in the fog, I was sick of being alone, I was frustrated with my iPhone dying, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to find JW.

It was about 2 seconds after I had crossed the finish line that I heard JW call out my name. You'd think seeing my fiancé right where I hoped he would be (he's the first person to ever line up to see me finish) would entice some emotion out of me... nope. Most of what I was feeling was relief, and curiosity as to what my time was.

So, no tears. No swelling sense of pride. Why?

In the past week of rest, I've been trying to really analyze why I run. It's clearly not for the sport itself. I think I might not really enjoy the physical act of running. It's something emotional about it - Do I crave the race atmosphere? Maybe, but I was slightly annoyed by all the racers. Do I run for the social aspect of it? No, because I run alone. Do I run so I can brag, "I ran x amount of miles today"? Do I run so I can eat? So I have an excuse to go outside? So I'm not confined to a gym?

I'm not really sure.

People keep asking me, "How did you do it?" and I don't know what to say. I trained, I ran. I put one foot in front of the other. I kept going. People also ask me, "How does it feel?" ...again, I don't really know. To the people who aren't runners (and I still struggle to identify myself as a "runner"), I have no idea how to articulate what it feels like to run 26.2 miles. It's hard, it's painful. My legs were tired but my cardiovascular system was still intact, so I wasn't out of breath during the race.

I also don't want to be one of those marathoners that just talk your ear off about it. I'm very aware of the running community and the non-running community - there's that joke, "How do you know if someone's run a marathon? Don't worry, they'll tell you." I mean, I kind of hate that but it's true and I don't want to just brag and brag and brag. So I'll stay quiet for now.

I both feel and do not feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I don't want to scream from the top of a mountain, "I ran a marathon!". Running a marathon was just for me- so that I know that I did it. At the same time, I kind of do want to scream it at the top of my lungs. I mean, I checked something off my bucket list - something healthy and something that not a lot of people can say they've accomplished.

And you know what? I'm proud of myself, and I feel good. And that's all that really counts, right?

If you're wondering whether or not you should run a marathon... just do it. Do it, and see what happens.


Overall thoughts on the Nike Women's Marathon: Lots of hype, not a lot of return on Nike's part. Sure, it was my first marathon and that means a lot to me, but I felt kind of pushed around at the Expo because of all the people, and I hated that the last half of the course was a huge out-and-back. Soooo boring.

They also boasted firemen in tuxedos giving out our Tiffany necklaces - this was just okay. The dude didn't even smile at me when he handed me mine. I saw other runners being picked up by younger looking firemen (mine had white hair), but I thought that was a big let down, especially since that was one of the things that they kept repeating over and over and over again.

The thing I hated most was crowds. It was so crowded. People were lining up to get their free food in the cold. I know there was something about the government shut-down and that since most of the finisher's area was on federal land, they had to cut it in half. I get that. But still. I wish the finisher's area had at least been inside a huge tent so we could have warmed up more. I also wish that, before the race, we could have waited inside as well.

Would I do it again? Maybe. I'm not sure. I still don't think one week of reflection is enough, so who knows what I'll think less than a year from now. Who knows what my life will be like less than a year from now? I'll be 25 and married - will running still be a big part of my life, or will I have moved on?

I guess we'll just have to see.... :)

Overall emotion: Positive! :D

October 28, 2013

Zero Week

It's been officially over one week since the marathon, so here's what I did for Zero Week and why.

I vacillated a lot on what to do - my ultimate recovery week. Should I get a massage? Should I take some yoga classes? How soon should I start running again?

Monday: Still in San Francisco - rest day. All I did was walk around Haight/Ashbury and into a few of the costume shops. Probably a little less than a mile and a half of strolling. Flight that night, got back to Bellevue around 10:30pm.

Tuesday: Massage early in the morning!

First task of the day was to get up and walk to this massage clinic and then lay on a table. Score. It actually wasn't that relaxing since it was a sports massage, but he got most of the kinks out. He did comment that my right hip (the one that was hurting during the marathon) was like cement. Well, great. He also had to step outside the room to splash some water on his face when we had about 10 minutes left. That was weird. I think I definitely prefer the floofy (his words) massages as opposed to the nitty gritty sports massage - maybe I'll get a deep tissue massage at a nice spa next? I didn't leave feeling totally relaxed, I guess.

I went home and relaxed some, then went off to a meeting for Snowflake Lane for about 45 minutes at the mall. It required some dancing, which was the first real physical activity I had done since Sunday, but it wasn't too bad. I just felt a little stiff, and still fatigued.

That night, we went to a Jazz Club in Seattle to watch JW play trombone in a jazz band, Mach One.

JW in the second row, playing trombone
I was pretty tired after that, and I went to bed feeling refreshed.

Wednesday: All I did was run 2 miles on the treadmill. I was thinking of going to a yoga class, but by the time JW had gotten home, it was too late to eat dinner and then go to yoga... it just wouldn't have been a good idea.

Running felt great, albeit a little slow. I kept checking in with my body on how I was feeling, but everything was feeling fine. The massage definitely helped and gave me confidence that I wouldn't get injured.

Thursday: I activated my Yoga Groupon in the morning, starting off nice and easy with a class called Restore. I'm going to go to as many classes as I can in a 30 day period at Get Zen Yoga, a hot yoga studio here in Bellevue. It's about a 10 minute drive - pretty reasonable.

The Restore class was incredibly easy- I didn't sweat at all. They keep the room cooler than usual for Restore - I didn't really mind it. I've taken Bikram Yoga before and that room was hot, so this was pretty comfortable. We literally just laid in stretching positions for 5 minutes at a time.

The instructor even rubbed what she called China Gel on us - our choice of shoulders or lower backs. I chose shoulders because mine are always a little tight. The sensation was a lot like BenGay. The best part about class was when we were sitting on the ground in a forward fold, and the instructor came around and massaged our necks. That felt sooooo good.

Thursday night, I ran 4 miles outside around 5:30. I let the stoplights guide me and was amazed that I never had to stop! I finished just as the sun was setting. I felt awesome. I was probably running a little faster than I should have been, but it felt amazing and I didn't want to stop. I'm starting to see how people can just run and run and run and go to race after race after race....

Friday: I set my alarm for 5am for a 6am Power Yoga class, but 5am came and my brain said "NO WAY" so I reset it to go to the 9:30am class. Fine by me. I got in some extra ZZZ's and felt great when I woke up.

I wasn't sure what to expect with Power Yoga- I didn't know if it was another name for Bikram, or if it was each instructor's choice as to what they wanted to do in the hot room. I found out it was nothing like Bikram. If you didn't know, Bikram is a set of 26 poses in a room at about 105 degrees and 40% humidity. I took Bikram somewhat regularly in March, but hadn't touched it since then.

Either I've gotten a lot stronger from running, or Bikram is just a lot more challenging than Power Yoga, or maybe a bit of both - but I didn't have that much trouble with Power Yoga. A lot of people were sitting down, and I didn't feel the need to. It was only when, at the end of class, we got into some Bikram poses (Eagle pose, Standing Bow Pose or Dancer Pose) that I felt the intense heart beating and panic of  It's so hot!!, but I didn't give in.

Later that evening, JW and I went to our friend's new house and hung out for a while. We may or may not have went to Safeway for the purpose of getting pastries... and they may or may not have been delicious.

Saturday: Big day. Yoga in the morning, and three and a half hours later running 3 miles, then participating as a seated actor in my Dinner Detective Murder Mystery job.

3 Miles with messed up tracking... the blue is what I actually did, with black direction markers (LOL at my paint skillz)

After Dinner Detective, I realized I had forgotten my wallet, so I rushed over back to my apartment and then went back over to Seattle, found parking, and went to the Microsoft Halloween party that JW was at. We danced and had a great time. It was such a long day - starting at 9 and ending past midnight, constantly on the go.

At the Halloween Party (notice no costumes..)
There was a prop table...
Sunday: Another big day. I wasn't sure how I was going to do everything - I needed to see my friend's play on Bainbridge Island, but I also needed to run 8 miles, and ALSO go to Yoga. Ack. My schedule:

10:30-11:30 - Yoga
1- Leave for ferry
2:05-2:40 - Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island, doing it right.
3-5:30 - See Shrek the Musical with my friend Mary
Rejoicing because we got standing-room only seats.. on the stairs...
6:30-7:05 - Ferry ride back to Seattle
8-9 - Private Acting Coaching
10:30-11:40 Run 8 Miles

Watching Saturday Night Live (I know, I'm switching it up.. who am I??)
Watching The Carrie Diaries. Sue me.
I was exhausted by the end of it. Phew.

Just reading over this week makes me tired! Glad that I'm getting back into having a bit more of a schedule now...

How are you??? How was your week??

October 25, 2013

After the Race and the Rest of San Francisco

(See these three posts before: The Day BeforeThe Morning Of, The Race)

After JW and I finally found a way to walk out (complete with watching someone puke), and I flipped my space blanket around to the correct way, we connected with Cecelia and Steve who were conveniently near the finish line. I got to sit in a warm car with heated seats (Cecelia let me sit in the front, score!) for about 45 minutes while we tried to navigate through San Francisco along with 30,000 other cars trying to get away from the area. It wasn't a bad time; we chatted and I was warm, so I wasn't complaining.

We finally arrived at their apartment around 1:00, where Steve made us some delicious waffles as my first official post-race meal.

Waffles and Chocolate Milk, a winning combination
In my Finisher's shirt and holding my Tiffany necklace
Just reverse the image in your head, but this is a close up of the necklace.

We spent the next couple of hours just lounging around and watching football before we decided to go to dinner at Tacolicious, a WONDERFUL Mexican restaurant about 5 minutes away. We drove because I was in no shape to walk down the hill by their apartment, let alone any other hill we may have encountered.

Hopefully you can tell by the picture  but the hill leading up to their apartment was steep.
We waited about 40 minutes for a table, but it was worth it. We ended up having 10 tacos - 5 for JW and I, 3 for Steve and 2 for Cecelia. JW and I split everything and it was AMAZING.

Taken from their website
If you're ever in the San Francisco area, and you want some DELICIOUS tacos and/or margaritas, go to Tacolicious. SO GOOD.

A well-deserved margarita
We had a great time - we even ended up ordering another pitcher of margaritas and two desserts to share. Of course I didn't take any pictures... :) We had the Choco-taco (exactly what it sounds like) and the Pumpkin Flan. SO GOOD!

Back at their apartment, we watched the new episode of Homeland and then I passed out around midnight with no solid plans of what we would do the next day, our last in San Francisco.

I woke up around 9 and spent most of the morning like this:

Curled up on the couch, with two blankets and a shawl. I was cold.
It was a glorious couple of hours. I was feeling okay standing up and sitting down but still very stiff and sore. I figured it would do me good to walk around some, so I got dressed and looked up a place to have brunch on Haight street.

The Haight/Ashbury neighborhood is definitely extremely eclectic - lots of costume shops and people asking for money. But hey, we found this restaurant - Squat and Gobble - and we are so glad we did.

Mimosas - average, with pulp (?!)

The best brunch I have had in a looong time.
We ordered the Eggs Benedict and the Buttermilk Pancakes (so we had savory and sweet!), split everything down the middle, and consumed it all within 5 minutes. Literally 5 minutes. Again, if you're in San Francisco... go to this restaurant!! It was amazing. We sat there for another hour and just chatted and let our food digest, it was a really nice atmosphere. They had a s'mores crepe that we were dying to try, if only we hadn't eaten so much. Next time, next time!

I'm looking rough, but here's a picture of us with sunny skies.
The stairs I was forced to walk up to get to their apartment.
Beautiful view of San Francisco from the top of the hill
Trying to demonstrate the slope of the street and failing.
I made the same picture 7 years ago when I visited San Francisco with my mom and sister that was much better....

My favorite.
We only had a couple more hours to kill before our flight at 8:30pm, so we decided to go ahead and go to the airport. This is where our trip stopped being fun. Using Uber again was great, but as soon as we got to the SFO airport we quickly realized that we should have gotten something to eat in the city before we left, because the choices were dismal. We ended up going to Firewood Cafe and splitting the chicken fettuccine alfredo, but the chicken tasted like it was cooked on a dirty grill and the alfredo sauce was just bland. Bleh.

The only cool thing about the airport was this sculpture:

JW thought it was pretty good and is convinced we need a set-up like this in our apartment.
We finally boarded the plane and got lucky with just the two of us in the 3 person row. The flight was uneventful, except for some crazy fog as we got into Seattle. I seriously didn't know where the ground was while we were descending, and it seemed like all of a sudden, there was the runway and we were landing 2 seconds later! I mean, way to go, pilots.

Coming up: My thoughts, post-marathon.