February 17, 2015

Valentine's Week

February 8: 10 Miles, 10'24" average pace - cloudy, 55°. This run surprised me, definitely... I went out wanting to maybe tackle 8 miles, only if I was feeling good. We had just gone to JW's team's Holiday Party the night before and got back pretty late- I wasn't sure how I was going to feel when I woke up. I slept for a while - I got over 9 hours - so I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and pretty much immediately got dressed to run. I didn't have any fuel (stupid), and went out for my regular 4 mile route. When I finished that, I figured I felt okay for another 4 miles, so I completed that... and then realized I just had to do one mile out, one mile back and I'd be at 10 Miles, which was what was originally on my long run schedule anyways, just a day behind. Done and done! The 8th mile was my fastest, at 9'43".

February 10: 4 Miles, 9'26" average pace - partly sunny, 54°. This was an amazing run! It was right after my voice lesson, so it was in a new location through an actual trail for the first and last mile, and on the road for the middle two. I felt really great, like a big weight had been lifted off my chest. The sun was shining, the birds were singing (literally), and I just felt really great!

February 11: 2 Miles, walking. I walked around while I was getting my car looked at, and surprisingly it was quite the workout even though my pace was about 20 min/mil! This day was pretty full - dance in the morning (so I was pretty worn out anyways), getting coffee with Lauren, getting my car looked at, going to Death By Chocolate, and finishing the evening by going to the last hour and a half of choir! I was beat!

Look along the horizon - see the tiny white thing poking out of the clouds? It's the Space Needle, covered in fog!
February 12: 2 Miles walking to Yoga Sculpt, and 2 Miles walking back. This was challenging, as there was a HUGE incline to walk down on my way to Yoga, and then walk back on the way home. Phew! I was pretty tired from the day before so I took this as my "easy" day.

February 13: 4 Miles, 9'24" average pace - sunny! 54°. I thought it was amusing that this run and Tuesday's run were almost identical! I felt pretty good during this run - I was a little hungry so I felt like I didn't have a lot of energy, but the route I ran was pretty easy (no inclines) so that probably helped. The night before, we went out to see my friend Lauren in her play, Matt & Ben! Fun fact: Matt & Ben was written by Mindy Kaling and was her jumping off point into the business!

February 14: 4 Miles, 9'02" average pace - sunny! 55°. Such a great run! This was after a good dance class and Valentine's Day brunch with Jessi and Kevin, pictured above. My run finished with almost negative splits - my last mile was the fastest at 8'38"!

Total Miles for February 8-14: 22 miles, a 175% increase from the previous week. Haha.. oops. That's not including the 6 miles I walked. Eep!

We had a great Valentine's Week- it really felt like a week, starting on the previous Saturday night with JW's work's Holiday Party and ending on Saturday with actual Valentine's Day. JW even surprised me with flowers!

I ended Valentine's Day/Week by seeing my friends perform in Sweet Charity! Not the best feel-good musical of the year, but it was cute all the same. Plus it's always a bonus when your friends are on stage!

This week is Tech week for Death By Chocolate but it hasn't been going so badly so far. We open Friday!

February 10, 2015

The Fair-Weather Runner

Am I a runner at all?

The past week was cloudy and rainy, yes, but even still, I felt no desire to run. I waited til the 5th day of February to run. I hadn't taken that long of a break since my 4 day running break after the Seattle Half Marathon.

Seeing Chelsea in Carousel
So it made me start to think. Can I identify myself as a runner if I don't run a lot? What defines a "runner"? Someone who loves running? Or it is just someone who runs, period? Or maybe someone who has run marathons? Half marathons? 10K? 5K? What if you only occasionally do it, vs. doing it every day? Is it frequency that determines the label? Is it other people who identify themselves as that word, and you identify with them, so you slap the same label on yourself?

getting silly at the Exchange Holiday party
I've often wondered why I've never felt the want to call myself a "runner"- that label has never rang true for me. When I'm asked (which is rare), I usually lessen it by simply saying "I run", or "I'm training for [insert race here], so, yeah, I'm running a lot right now", or "Running is free and I don't have a gym membership...." I've never said with gusto, "Oh, yeah, I'm a runner!" I felt like a fraud. I'm not fast, I've only run one marathon, and I don't do it every day. Actually, some days I really hate it.

Why do I run, then?

The collage I put together of my family's photo session
I've asked myself this question a lot. Is it so I can eat whatever I want? No, because I still usually gain weight when I'm training for a race. Is it to meet people? No, I usually run alone. Is it so I can go to races? Sometimes, but those can be annoying to maneuver and get to. Is it so I can brag that I ran x amount of miles? Not necessarily. Is it for my career? No, running doesn't necessarily help any of my hobbies. Is it for this blog? Well, maybe. Is it just something do to? Possibly.

Tech week is almost here!
So, back to my original question. Am I a runner at all? And I think the answer lies within any label creation - does it ring true to the individual? Do they identify with it? If not, no biggie. Just don't slap on that label. It's not them, for whatever reason. And that's okay. Do what makes you happy, don't do something just because you think you're supposed to, or because you think someone will think differently of you if you do or do not do that one thing. People are going to think what they're going to think, regardless of how hard you try to get them to think a certain way, which takes way too much effort anyway.

No, I don't think I'm a runner. If anything, I'm a fair-weather runner.

I think, sometimes, that I enjoy running when the weather is nice. Sometimes, I enjoy sweating it out in power yoga. Every once in a while, I enjoy weight lifting. Most of the time, I enjoy my voice lesson (if my voice is cooperating). I enjoy dancing, if my body is cooperating and I haven't over exerted myself, but I don't do it enough.

the only time I dressed up last week
February 5: 4 Miles, 9'39" average pace - cloudy, 57°.

February 6: 4 Miles, 9'28" average pace - partly sunny, 53°.

Total Miles for February 1-7: 8 miles, a 62% decrease from the previous week. Whoops.

Sure, I have flaws and things I should be working on more. But... it's all okay! Even though I didn't run a lot last week, I got to sleep a lot, still went to a snazzy party, got to dress up, and had a great time dancing. It just sets me up for an even better week coming up, right?

Do you label yourself?

February 4, 2015

Superbowl and Speed

For some reason, I keep reading back to my July-August 2013 entries and seeing how fast I was. I was running so much more than I am now, and my mile splits were almost always in the 8's. Why?!

January 26: 4 Miles, 9'03" average pace - sunny, 51°. This run felt great, but I was really pushing it because I was upset by the above statement. What has stopped me from being fast? No real effort at wanting to be faster? Was it because I stopped listening to music while I ran? Was it because I had turned off the vocal queues at each mile, telling me how fast my average pace was? Well, I turned that back on, and it may have made a difference - it may haven't. This pace is definitely the fastest I've ran this route, anyway.

January 28: 4 Miles, 8'55" average pace - sunny, 51°. Another run where I actively pushed myself to be faster, though admittedly I wanted to make the first mile much much slower than it ended up being (8'55"). I sped up progressively throughout the third mile and then took the last mile as a cooldown at 9'18", still pretty speedy. I guess the old adage "To get faster, be faster" is certainly true. I listened to music this time - Songza's playlist "Performance Enhancing Pop: Cycling" for the last two miles, and it really helped. I forgot how energizing listening to music while running is! I've gotten so used to listening to podcasts...

January 29: 4 Miles, 9'01" average pace - sunny, 49°. I didn't think I'd run this day (Thursday) since I had run pretty hard the day before, but this run felt just a great as Wednesday's run. I tried a new route and was inspired by the new-ness of it, I guess. I had no idea I was going so fast. I started at a "slow" pace of 9'26" and my second mile was the fastest at 8'41". The rest of the miles were in the 8s.

Superbowl fun!
January 31: 9 Miles, 9'15" average pace - cloudy, 42°. Brr. This was a cold one. My second mile was the fastest at 8'48", and the rest of the miles were in the high 9s, except for the last mile, which was at 8'57". What has happened to me?! I actually tried to actively make this a slow run by listening to podcasts but still managed to be more than 15 seconds faster per mile than last week's long run. Maybe running fast for most of the week has really helped.

Total Miles for January 25-31: 21 miles, an 11% increase from last week.

Our group on Superbowl Sunday
It was clearly bothering me that I'm so much slower than I was in 2013. I think I really enjoy running 3-4 days a week. 5 is just a little bit too much for me to handle right now, at least until I build some decent mileage. I like focusing on speed (it makes the runs go by quicker, after all!).

One thing I really wish would stop happening is for cars to stop honking at me as I run by. I know I'm not in the way, I know they aren't honking at anyone else (it always happens right as they pass me), and sometimes it's two short distinct beeps and sometimes it's one longer beep, but it's unnecessary and frankly, a form of harassment that needs to stop. I have as much of a right as anybody to run on the sidewalk, safely, and it isn't right for anyone to honk at a woman attempting to exercise. I don't care if they're actually doing it for encouragement - it's not, at all.

Anyway. I had a great week - it was filled with sunny, fast runs and it ended (started?) with hanging out with great friends. Even though we ended up losing (1 yard...!), I still had a blast hanging out with everybody.

Recognize someone? :D

Some really awesome things with theatre are happening with me, which I'll announce when I can! Basically, I've had some really stellar auditions and I can't wait for the summer. :D In the meantime, the play I'm in, Death By Chocolate, has been really fun. We open in two and a half weeks!

We'll see if I can keep up with running - but since I'm not training for anything specific right now, I think my maximum might be around 20 miles a week. It's quite a struggle to get any more, unfortunately. I honestly can't believe I ran 9 miles last Saturday! Right now I think I might focus a little more on dancing and singing... we'll see.

What's your miles-per-week "sweet spot"?