*From the archives*

During a recent conversation about blogging and writing, I realized that I’ve been creating content here in this space for more than two-and-a-half years! While there has been some ebb and flow during that time, I’ve never lost the desire to write and share my story or my love of running.

I’ve been cooking up a project/business that I am hoping to launch at the beginning of 2016 and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime, I’m creating a business plan and researching website templates and pricing and… well, it’s a lot to digest. But while looking over some content I’ve created for Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking (and multiple other sites over the past few years) for my portfolio, I came across an old post and thought: “Damn, I wrote that?” It’s too good not to share again!

So I give you: From the Archives. An occasional, and no-doubt sporadic, post in which I’ll simply regurgitate something I’ve previously written. You’re welcome.

Oh, and just for fun, I might throw in a random picture that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the content of the post I’m sharing. Because I can. ; )

IMG_1729

No crabs were harmed in the writing of this article. Except for the ones I ate.

*Unwanted Running Partners*

We’ve had a major stretch of winter weather this past week. The temperatures have dropped into the low 20’s the past few mornings but each day has been clear and dry. I love this kind of weather when I’m safely snuggled up inside by the fire. I hate being cold.

So before I even set off for what originally was a 10-mile run yesterday morning, I was dreading going outside to run in 20 degrees because I was already cold… (my house is heated by wood so some mornings it takes a little while to get warmed up) which made me a little grumpy.

I layered up and set off but was pretty uncomfortable and decided that I would ultimately cut the 10-mile run to five. Not even a couple of minutes into my run, several self-destructive thoughts started popping into my head.

Enter the unwanted running partners: Self-doubt and negativity. Combating these two bitches was a challenge and will continue to be over the course of the upcoming week if I’m not careful.

With 8 days until the Seattle Marathon, I became acutely aware that there are things that are going to be beyond my control next weekend. I don’t know what the weather will be like… It could be freezing cold with an arctic wind that makes my entire body feel like I’ve been swallowed by a glacier. There might be a torrential downpour soaking through every layer leaving me wet and miserable for hours. I could catch a cold. Or worse: the flu. I could twist an ankle, break a toe or leg… UGG.

That is pretty much what went through my mind for the entire 5.5 miles yesterday.

As I finished up, finally able to feel my toes again, I walked the last several blocks home savoring the fresh air, blue sky, and the warmth of the sun. My spirits began to lift and I left the self-doubt and negativity on the side of the road.

I know that I cannot predict the weather or how I will feel on race day. I do know though that I can do everything in my power to be prepared for whatever challenges I’m faced with. I need to continue to trust that my body is capable and that I’m well-trained and ready. I just need to get to the starting line next Sunday without any unwanted running partners tagging along!

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*Surrendering to a snow day*

While it is still “technically” autumn, winter has taken its hold on me. And I’ve decided to surrender. Even if only for today.

It seems to begin each year around daylight savings. This pull to withdraw a little. To turn inward. To slow down, pause, and savor slower days. I think a snow day is the Universe’s way of telling us to do so. And today I decided to surrender to it.

It is 1:30 in the afternoon. I’m still in my pajamas and about a half-hour-ago, I woke up from a nap. My son and I are sharing the couch but we are each bundled in our own blanket. The fire is oh-so-toasty and I’ve got a glass of wine within reach. This is the view outside my front window.

snow day

A light dusting of the white stuff.

Not every day will I be able to indulge this slower pace but for today I’m embracing it fully without any guilt over a missed run or the fact that I might eat an extra treat or two. (Why on earth am I craving donuts???) Or that I have absolutely no desire to do laundry! I just want to marinate in it as long as I can.

Due to the weather, I cancelled my morning yoga class today, sharing much of what I’m sharing here with my students in the cancellation notice. A student responded back to me with this note that I thought was brilliant and wanted to share:

“I agree with you regarding the daylight hours.  I also believe that our bodies want to be attuned to the rhythms of the sunlight cycle.  During the winter time I notice that I sleep longer hours, go to bed earlier and sleep in longer — wanting not to rise until the beginning of dawn.  Because I have less daylight hours I am under the impression that I am moving slower, doing less.  But that may not actually be the case.  The case may be that I accomplish less as I have less active hours of sunlight.
 
In addition, I have been toying with the thought that SAD is not caused by lower sunlight hours available, but rather caused by society’s enforced work schedules that have people rising and going to work in the dark and returning home in the dark.  I remember those days very well and how hard it was to be living in the dark for months.”
 
BINGO!!
 
Sometimes I try to fight what I’m feeling during these darker months. It usually takes me a few weeks of struggling and then I stop fighting and surrender. Once I accept that this is my body’s way, I can allow myself to make peace with it all. (It is a little challenging with the holiday’s thrown into the mix and typically I find that January my slowest of months.)
 
Over the course of the past 9 days, I’ve only run twice. I believe that I am still recovering from the Seattle Marathon and the week of travel surrounding it, so I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m content curled up by the fire with my vino and latest addition of Runner’s World. My soul is happy. Snow day = slow day… er, donut day?  ; )
 

*Unwanted running partners*

We’ve had a major stretch of winter weather this past week. The temperatures have dropped into the low 20’s the past few mornings but each day has been clear and dry. I love this kind of weather when I’m safely snuggled up inside by the fire. I hate being cold.

So before I even set off for what originally was a 10-mile run yesterday morning, I was dreading going outside to run in 20 degrees because I was already cold… (my house is heated by wood so some mornings it takes a little while to get warmed up) which made me a little grumpy.

I layered up and set off but was pretty uncomfortable and decided that I would ultimately cut the 10-mile run to five. Not even a couple of minutes into my run, several self-destructive thoughts started popping into my head.

Enter the unwanted running partners: Self-doubt and negativity. Combating these two bitches was a challenge and will continue to be over the course of the upcoming week if I’m not careful.

With 8 days until the Seattle Marathon, I became acutely aware that there are things that are going to be beyond my control next weekend. I don’t know what the weather will be like… It could be freezing cold with an arctic wind that makes my entire body feel like I’ve been swallowed by a glacier. There might be a torrential downpour soaking through every layer leaving me wet and miserable for hours. I could catch a cold. Or worse: the flu. I could twist an ankle, break a toe or leg… UGG.

That is pretty much what went through my mind for the entire 5.5 miles yesterday.

As I finished up, finally able to feel my toes again, I walked the last several blocks home savoring the fresh air, blue sky, and the warmth of the sun. My spirits began to lift and I left the self-doubt and negativity on the side of the road.

I know that I cannot predict the weather or how I will feel on race day. I do know though that I can do everything in my power to be prepared for whatever challenges I’m faced with. I need to continue to trust that my body is capable and that I’m well-trained and ready. I just need to get to the starting line next Sunday without any unwanted running partners tagging along!

 

*A lesson on hesitation*

Hesitation is a manifestation of doubt and fear.

I was reminded of this a few days ago when a couple of seconds of hesitation blew my mind right open.

For two days prior, I knew exactly what to expect. I was actually excited about it and looked forward to the experience! I had learned from our head XC coach that at Thursday’s practice, the team would be meeting the local high school XC team for a joint practice. If that wasn’t cool enough, the training run that day would take us across a creek.

A local park has a sweet little creek that runs through it with miles of trails on both sides but the only way to get across is to go out to the road, cross a bridge, and then jump back on the trail. OR, run through the creek! Standard XC stuff. Every time we’d been in the park for practice, the kids would ask if they could go in the water so it was a fun surprise for them.

So I’d known for two days that we’d be crossing the creek. We had been instructed to wear shoes we were comfortable with getting wet and I obliged. I thought about it throughout the day, wondering exactly where the great crossing would occur. I was well prepared!

So when we set out Thursday afternoon, boys in one group and girls in a second group, I knew it was coming but didn’t know when. Suddenly we were on the bank of the creek and our fearless leader waded right on through like it was nothing.

What did I do?

I stopped.

Unsure. Doubting. Fearing the unknown. Reconsidering whether I really wanted to get my feet wet or not. Whatever was going through my head, running through the creek, for a split second or two, was not a viable option.

And then a really sweet high school runner, who’s pace had slowed to prepare to cross, looked right at me and said “you can do it”.

I repeated it to her, replacing the “you” with “I”. I can do it! Yes! I CAN DO IT!

So I did. I hopped in and crossed the 12 foot (or so), ankle-deep creek and crossed over to the other side. It was exhilarating.

I spent the remainder of the run contemplating why I stopped. Why, for even those brief few moments, I questioned whether or not I could really go through with it. I’m not sure I ever really came up with an explanation as to why, but I sure as heck walked away from the experience 1.) very grateful, 2.) much more aware of how I approach things in life that I fear, and 3.) ready to, without any hesitation, take on the things that I’ve putting off because I’m afraid.

No more uncertainty and doubt. No more fearing the unknown. No longer will I allow myself to pause to reconsider when I already know in my heart what I want.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we had to cross the creek a second time to get back to where we started. I did not hesitate for even a second!!

*Tapering without 20*

Even though I still consider myself a new marathoner, I can attest to the fact that every marathon training program I’ve seen includes a 20 mile run culminating the end of the training cycle before beginning the taper. In some cases, I’ve seen 22 or more miles. But 20 is pretty much the standard.

I was looking forward to my 20 mile run. However, this whole training cycle was a bit rushed and I found myself really pushing to increase my distance. The last two long runs I did were 16 miles, followed by a 18 miler just 6 days later.

As the weekend began to approach, because I have such a fantastic and active social life (HA!), I began to consider moving my long run to Sunday. That led me to start questioning how smart it would be to run 20 miles, exactly 2 weeks out from a marathon.

So I sought out advice from people I don’t even know in real life. My trusty Facebook followers. This is what I asked:

MARATHONERS: I need your wisdom! I would really appreciate some guidance regarding my last long run before I begin my taper. I’m 15 days out from my marathon. My plan was to run my 20 miler today. (I fell a little behind schedule in August and have been cramming to catch up.) However, I didn’t. I’m considering tomorrow, but I’m also considering not doing a 20 miler at all. Last weekend I ran 18. I… ran my last marathon almost 3 months ago. Do I bag the 20 miles and proceed with tapering or squeeze it in two weeks out from my Oct. 6th race? PLEASE HELP! And feel free to share my plight with your followers.
The responses I got were unanimous. Bag the 20 mile run and follow through with tapering. Here are a couple:
Happy Running Mama said: “Less is always more when it comes to tapering… I’d maybe do a 12-14 miler tomorrow (two weeks out) and add some faster miles in for the last third of the run to give you some confidence.  I would probably aim for your goal marathon pace or faster for those miles.  Good luck and regardless of what you decide, I’m sure you’ll do great in the marathon!”
Nicole shared: “My first marathon program had 2 18 milers and I had a great race. My second race i had 1 18 miler due to injury and rested up and had an awesome race too.  I’d be careful about doing too much too close to your race.  Maybe go easy and begin your taper.  You want to be healthy and energized.  I’d modify and maybe do an easy 16-17 miler- still a long distance without overdoing it.  Have fun!!! :)”
Amy suggested: “I would do a shorter run 2 weeks out & then taper – do an easy 16 or 17 — if you’ve done a marathon already & have run 18 this cycle, the hay is in the barn, so to speak – – I think you’re good. I wouldn’t risk a 20 too close to the race.”
Kelly said: “I would skip the run and have some wine.”
Great advice from everyone. Thank you. Kelly, I especially like your suggestion!
Following my inquiry, I came across a related article in the September issue of Runner’s World. It has not been released online yet, but the article, titled Back on the Plan, offers some great advice for how to resume training after a layoff due to illness, injury or life in general. In my specific case, I’m calling it a life-related layoff with two weeks until the event, this is what was suggested:
“At this point, chances are good that you missed your last long run. Let it go, or risk going into your big day not fully recovered, says (Matt) Forsman (a San Francisco-based running coach). Resume your plan at the point where you’d be if you’d never taken a break, and follow through with your scheduled taper. If you’re set on squeezing in one last superlong effort, break it into two: 10 miles in the morning, 10 in the evening, with a self-massage, an ice bath, refueling, and rest in between. Complete both of these runs 15 to 30 seconds per mile slower than normal.”
So there you have it. No 20 miler. And no, I did not feel a burning desire to squeeze in a last-ditch long run effort. I’m proceeding with my tapering plan, which in all honesty, I’m still strategizing but am not feeling any pressure and most certainly am not freaking out over the fact that I’m running marathon #2 in a mere 12 days. Maybe this more laid-back approach is the ticket. Maybe not. I guess I’ll find out soon!

*Know when to fold em*

It is never a good sign, when the evening before a long run, you go to bed with a feeling that tomorrows run might suck.

I went to bed concerned that I wasn’t going to feel up for the 15 mile run I had planned this morning. For four days now, I’ve been fighting either an oncoming cold or a very minor head cold that has manifested as a scratchy throat, sinus pressure, sneezing, itchy eyes… you get the idea. It’s not terrible but constant and annoying!

I’ve also been recovering from playing soccer for the first time in at least 12 years. Real soccer on a big field playing against girls half my age! Actually, it was an honor to get to play and though I’m a little beat up from the experience, I had a blast!

The high school that I graduated from hosted an alumni soccer game this past Thursday evening. I was, at age 35, officially the oldest alumni that turned out for the game. The alumni team, consisting of graduates from as recent as this spring to all the way back in the mid-90’s, played against the current high school team. The super cool thing about it is that my daughter and I were on opposing teams and the only mother/daughter duo there. I also feel grateful that I am fit and healthy enough to even consider putting on a pair of cleats and stepping back onto the field after many, many years.

Anyway, back to my run this morning. Things were not looking any better this morning as I began my pre-run rituals but I was determined to get out there and hoped I would feel better once I got going. While I didn’t feel terrible, I knew there was no way I was up for 15 miles. My body and mind had a little heart-to-heart around mile three and decided to forgo the plan to run 15 miles and shoot for 10-12, keeping the pace easy.

I made the right choice. Sometimes you gotta know when to fold em. I ran 11 miles in 1:32:47 with an 8:26 pace.

Training smart means listening to your body and backing off when need be. It is not always about pushing through the pain or discomfort that makes us stronger as runners. We become stronger when we learn how to respect our bodies. Go hard when you feel good, back off when you don’t. Listen to your body and train smart, friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

*Countdown to Hood to Coast*

4 weeks from tomorrow. 29 days.

I’m stoked to see the lineup of my next three races/events on the side bar… to the right… down… there!

Perfectly spaced so that I have Hood to Coast in August, Portland Marathon in October, and Ragnar Las Vegas in November. That leaves September open but I’m pretty sure I’ll be content on just focusing on marathon training at that point. Sadly that also means getting back into the swing of the school year (bleh).

With two relays on my schedule and HTC just four weeks away now, I am starting to begin the preliminary planning and prep work that comes with an event of this magnitude. Not just the training, but logistics, mental preparation, and the necessities to survive the weekend.

To my rescue, Portland Running Company shared an article written by PRC owner Dave Harkin that basically outlines relay survival. A good read and great advice. Check it out here.

I mentioned in previous post that I’ve been battling what I believe is an iron deficiency. I’ve definitely been more fatigued than normal and my runs have suffered. Low iron or not (which I’m supplementing to see if it helps, in addition to an iron-rich diet and getting more rest) I know I’ve asked a lot of my body. While I’m back in training mode, I’m trying to be smart. The last thing I want to do is add too much, too soon. So I’m easing back into it which includes listening to my body, taking (extra) days off when needed, cutting runs short if I feel miserable, etc. Anyway, I came across a Runner’s World article that addresses some of the culprits of low energy in runner’s which I found had some good points. Read that article here.

I’m hoping my efforts to recharge this week work because next week I will be adding a few “daily doubles” to my schedule. Also from Runner’s World, here are a couple of sources of information that I’m using to prepare myself for the day when a second run shows up on my calendar. Here and here.