*Weekly mileage ~ Oct. 17-23*

Mileage for the week of October 17th – October 23rd

Total weekly mileage: 28.25

Total October mileage: 79.75

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,171

Week in review:

10/17     No run/rest day

10/18     35:16 min./4 mi./8:48 pace

10/19     28:40 min./3 mi./9:20 pace (+hill repeats at November Project)

10/20     36:40 min./4 mi./9:06 pace

10/21     47:24 min.5.25 mi./9:01 pace

10/22     53:07 min./5 mi./10:36 pace (*mostly on trail)

10/23     1:12:15 min./7 mi./10:18 pace (*mostly on trail)

Last week was truly a transition week as I returned to my regular running schedule, began to carefully increase my mileage while keeping the pace easy, and got out on trail for two runs over the weekend. I also did one 30 minute yoga session (on my own), attended a November Project workout, and did a couple of strength training sessions.

I was challenged by some lingering psoas discomfort on my right side but besides that, I’m feeling pretty decent. The two trail runs over the weekend were both really hilly so I’m glad I was feeling good enough to tackle them.

This week will be similar, structure wise, though I’ll up the mileage a tiny bit and hopefully add some form of a speed workout in somewhere. As I mentioned in a post or two back, I’m really feeling the need to incorporate more of both yoga/stretching and strength training. The strength training comes so much easier.

Enjoy the final week of October! (I can’t believe we are a week away from November already!!)

*Ready to go!*

It’s official! My next race will be the Griffith Park Trail 10k on Sunday, November 13th!

I’m really excited to get back to trail running! My intention this year was to make the switch from predominately road running/racing to trail. However, having moved into the heart of the city, it hasn’t worked out the way I’d hoped. While I’m super grateful for the abundance of mountain trails neighboring the urban landscape, it’s been tricky to get out as much as I’d like. The nearest trail is about three miles from my place and while it’s better than nothing, it’s not very long and way too congested for my taste. (The user demographic seems to be primarily twenty-something-year-old girls that are more interested in showing off their latest Victoria Secret Pink “workout” wear than actually working out. But that’s LA for ya.)

Anyway, there are options and I need to make it a bigger priority to get out and explore. Now that I’m not immediately training for any big distances… that could change soon though… ; ) I’m looking forward to switching gears and hitting the trails a bit more frequently!

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Breaking in new trail shoes!

Today was my first day back on the dirt and it went better than I expected! Being just 13 days post-marathon, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been taking it pretty easy the past week but felt pretty good overall and feel like I’m ready to transition back into training mode.

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My fancy training plan.

I’m still tweaking my plan but I’ve got a basic outline. As long as our family schedule works in my favor, I’m hoping to hit the November Project each week. I was successful this past Wednesday and hope I can continue to go on a regular basis. My other cross-training goal is to get at least one solid yoga session in, ideally a class, weekly. Last Monday I opted to hit my mat at home for 30 minutes but I really feel a class would do me some good so I’m going to try to make a bigger effort in the coming weeks.

It’s coming together and I’m ready to go!

*Simplicity in 2016*

S I M P L E

It’s my theme for 2016.

Instead of resolutions, I set intentions. Often times in the form of a single word or short phrase that encompasses multiple aspects of my life. This year I’ve settled on focusing on simplicity with a healthy dose of self-love.

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Less is more and doing more of what I love. My 2016 manifesto.

As far as running goes, as you may see above, I’d like to switch to predominately trail running but still include shorter distance races focusing on speed. Hence, trails and track. Given that desire, I kicked 2016 off with 8 glorious (albeit slightly hungover) miles on one of my favorite nearby trails with my favorite boy.

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Me and my mister.

As we prepare to dive back into the regular routine, which is terribly bittersweet, I’m so grateful for these past few weeks. I had an awesome holiday with what matters most: my family!

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#teamridenour

Whatever your goals, resolutions, or intentions are, I wish you a wonderful 2016! Happiest of New Year’s and let’s kick some ass!

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Starting my year with what I hope to do LOTS of in the coming months!

*Woman Crush Wednesday ~ Susie Stephen*

By now, I’m sure most everyone with any type of social media account is familiar with the term “Women Crush Wednesday.” It has been made popular on sites like Twitter and Instagram. (You might also recognize these widely used hashtags: #womencrushwednesday and #wcw.) WCW posts typically tag a photograph of a woman who the user admires or looks up to.

Why the lesson on this social media phenomenon? Because I’m crushing hard on some badass chick athletes that are super inspiring. I’ve been playing with the idea of a bi-monthly WCW feature that introduces you to some of the women that I think are super awesome and after a few weeks of planning and connecting with a handful of them, I’m ready to launch it.

I’m kicking the first installment off with a rad chick named Susie Stephen. Susie is a fellow Nuun athlete and we met when we ran Hood to Coast on a Nuun team in 2014. Riding in a van with a bunch of strangers is a sure-fire way to get to know one another and when Susie and I started to share our stories, the similarities were profound. (Except for the fact that she’s English and a super fast runner! Oh, not to mention gorgeous!) It was fun to learn that she was a yoga instructor and cross-country coach. Both of which I was doing at the time.

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Susie crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. Source: http://www.instagram.com/longrunergy

List five words that describe you?

Um – gosh, how about active, adventurous, compassionate, coffee drinking English woman, runner/yogi.

If you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?

Oh wow this is tough – probably bread! It leaves you satiated, there are loads of different types, it can be eaten for any meal – is easily transportable and doesn’t go off as quickly as say fruit – which would be my second favourite food! 🙂

If you could have a super-power, what would it be and why? 

It would be amazing to be able to breathe under water so that you could explore the oceans and see all the amazing marine life!

What one piece of advice would your adult self give your child self?

Try not to worry about what people think and don’t compare yourself to others!

Tell us your running/racing bio… How long have you been a runner? How many marathon’s, half-marathons, etc.
Upcoming events? Favorite race? 

I started running cross-country as a 7th grader in England age 11 and ran all the way through high school, University in the UK (Newcastle University) and college in the US (Northern Arizona University). Since then I’ve been back and forth with running but have never really stopped completely. In 2008 I ran my first marathon in London, and since then have run 7 more marathons and 3 ultra trail races. Overall I have to say I’m still learning and feel keen to test myself further. Right now I’m preparing for the cross-country season back in England, where I’ll be for the winter – but I’m already looking forward to the trail running season back in Hawaii in 2016.
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Susie practicing yoga in paradise. Source: http://www.instagram.com/longrunergy

Goals for the upcoming year?
I think my biggest goal for 2016 is to create more yoga tools to help runners – especially trail runners.

 Anything additional you’d like to add?
Yoga is awesome 🙂
I want to send a super HUGE thank you to Susie for allowing me to feature her here on Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and also congratulate her on two things: first, her recent first place finish at the Kailua Surfriders Run and second, on her upcoming exhibition, Retracing Routledge. Susie curated the exhibit after retracing the steps of anthropologist Katherine Routledge, who was the only woman a part of the 1914 expedition to Easter Island. (I found this great article about Susie and her journey here.)
You can connect with Susie via her website and social media sites.

*On the rocks*

My relationship with running has been a little rocky lately. Well truthfully, not just lately. More like the last three months. To be even more specific, since Boston.

I wrote about it in depth a few weeks ago, which you can read here. Instead of training, I’ve been maintaining and often times doing the bare minimum just to keep some semblance of the runner I was a few months ago. I lowered the bar. Like really looooowwwww.

After taking 9 days off, I felt physically and mentally ready to dive back in. My first run felt great. The second, third, and fourth ones… they were a struggle. The ailments that have plagued me for months returned with my first stride. The negative thoughts I’ve desperately tried to push aside have started to creep back in. I’ve considered giving up more times than I’d like to admit.

But here’s the funny thing. My heart won’t let me.

I stumbled upon this great quote this morning that put things into perspective for me:

“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.”                    ~ Ralph Marston                 

I’ve been lowering my expectations. Not only physically, but mentally. And I’ve been meeting them, sadly.

So, new game plan! Of course there are a few things that I need to take into consideration and I need to be realistic. You have to start where you are, with what you have, and move forward from there, right?

First and foremost, better self-care practices are in order. I’ve been slacking and I know it. For me, they include:

  • Consistent yoga and stretching
  • Regular baths, both hot and cold (hot tubs whenever an option)
  • Massage
  • Foam rolling
  • Continue to eat an anti-inflammatory diet (Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet most closely resembles how I regularly eat.) and incorporate more foods that have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ibuprofen. I list this because I typically avoid taking it unless I’ve lost hope and am desperate. I guess this is me with no hope and desperate. I’m prescribing myself a regular (albeit temporary) dose of Ibuprofen to hopefully assist with easing the inflammation and soreness I’m feeling while I implement the other strategies.

Aside from self-care, there is the running part. I’ve got a training schedule written out for the next 8 weeks but I’m allowing myself to ease back into it. I will take it somewhat light the rest of this week and not push myself with some unrealistic goal at my race this weekend. It is strictly a training run with a nice medal and finishers shirt at the end. Next week I will begin to ramp it up a bit more.

It’s interesting what a little clarity and shift in mindset can do. This morning I was literally in tears from frustration. (I also had a bad dream in which I had to crawl across a race finish line!) This evening, well, I’m going to make a mojito with those “rocks” and take a bath!

How do you bounce back after a setback, either physically, mentally, or emotionally, when it comes to running?

*Keepin’ it real*

Comparison is the thief of joy.

On any given day, I can open up any of my numerous social media feeds and find images and text from runners, ranging from beginner to elite, that have posted about some great run in which they felt fantastic, flawlessly executed a tempo run, or hit a major mileage milestone.

I am inspired by their stories and their images. On some days, when I am struggling to find my own motivation to lace up and hit the road, I rely on these Instagram feeds to fuel my desire to get out there and make it happen.

But what I’ve been noticing lately is more of a comparison that I cannot live up to. In turn, I feel defeated and frustrated when I cannot match what others are doing. And while I know that each of us are on our own individual journeys, my competitive drive and ambition to push myself makes me think that if so-and-so is out there running 10 miles, then I should be too.

Case in point, earlier this week I came up with a new mantra: get your shit together! (GYST for short.) I’ve been frustrated by my inability to get really focused. I’ve got a fall marathon on the calendar and here it is 10 weeks out, and I don’t really even have a training plan organized. I’ve been beating myself up over the fact that I’m not pushing myself on runs and haven’t hit a sub-8:13 minute mile average run in over a month. (I ran the entire Boston Marathon at an 8:08 pace for crying out loud!) Every run lately has been slow, sluggish, and often somewhat painful. (The usual suspects… grumpy glutes, hamstrings, low back… blah, blah, blah.) The GYST mantra was a feeble attempt to force myself out of the funk I’ve been in for the past few months.

And then yesterday morning, while out for what was originally going to be a 13 mile run but was shortened to 10… then 9 miles, I had an epiphany. I don’t need to push myself harder to break through this barrier. I need a break. Like an entire week off of running kind of break.

The though scares me to death. I haven’t taken more than five consecutive days off in more than two-and-a-half years and that was immediately following the Seattle Marathon in December 2013. But what I fear is, if I don’t take a break, either an injury will force me to take major time off or I hit total burnout. I sense I’m on the verge of one or the other so it seems smart to nip it in the bud while I’m calling the shots!

That is not to say that I’m going to be sitting around on my ass for an entire week eating pad Thai and drowning my sorrows with a Netflix marathon. When I began really considering this break yesterday, I realized that this coming week would actually be good timing… I have family coming to stay with us for a few days, my daughter departs for basic training, I will be traveling towards the end of the week and was already planning on doing some serious hiking… it just seems like a natural time to do it. My intention is at least 7 days but if I’m going absolutely crazy after three days off, then I can decide at that point how I wish to proceed.

My plan is to stay active and cross-train throughout the week by walking, hiking, biking, hitting up my yoga mat, etc. There will be mandatory physical activity each day. (Except for today because I totally blew off my run this morning! So rare for me but my body was screaming for a rest day.) Ideally, I’d like to walk at least 60 minutes most days and then add another activity on top of that unless it’s on those hiking days. Also, I thought it would be a good idea to have something to look forward to after my break is over so I’m going to scrounge up a few bucks and buy myself a much-needed new pair of running shoes and perhaps even a new piece or two of running apparel.

I’ve never wanted to give the impression in this space, or anywhere really, that I’m perfect and I always love running and it always loves me. I have my insecurities about my abilities as a runner and about myself as an athlete in general. I’m sharing this here because this blog has always held a space for me to be accountable. Not to you, but to ME. And I know I’m not alone in these struggles so I find solace in knowing that when I do share things with my readers, we connect even deeper. Even the messy, I-can’t-get-my-shit-together sort of stuff.

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Determined to find my joy again.

Rest assured that I’ll still be posting throughout the week. In fact, I think it will be healthy for me to do so. This may challenge me more than the hard runs and self-doubt I’ve been experiencing lately but I’m ready to find my joy again and run for the love of running, not because I’m trying to keep up with anyone else. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Have a great weekend!

*Cutting myself some slack… my HTC recap*

Two weeks ago right now I was traveling down I-5 in Washington state with five of my Hood to Coast teammates, along with our rad driver, heading towards the first major van exchange. Nuun Hydration Team Lemon Lime ready to rock HTC! I can’t believe it has already two weeks. I was just getting to know the awesome people that would soon become some great friends. More like family, really. All of us excited and ready to take on the 200 mile journey from Mt. Hood to the chilly coast in Seaside, Oregon.

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Goofy group shot of both teams and our wonderful Nuun drivers!

There is so much I feel compelled to say and while I wanted to do my HTC recap justice, I have found myself feeling super guilty for not writing anything significant, as of yet. I realized today that I need to cut myself some slack, get out what has surfaced, and move on. Because life is busy, no?  So, I’ve decided to not write up some big, epic recount of my HTC adventure but rather a condensed version that most importantly expresses my deepest gratitude to Nuun and the amazing people that work there.

Even though I’ve run HTC several times, this time was an experience like no other. Being apart of the Nuun team, a company that I believe in and use regularly, was truly more amazing than I even imagined it could be. They took really good care of us and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet many of the employees that make up Nuun. That includes the Chief Electrolyte Officer (CEO) who drove team Lemon-Lime’s van 2, which I was in. He is such a great guy!

The teams were made up of athletes from all over the country. Such a fantastic and diverse mix of like-minded souls. Getting to know my teammates was one of the highlights of the trip!I had plenty of time to get to know my teammates that made up van 2 and they were a fascinating group! We spent a lot of time swapping stories while stuck in traffic. ; )

As far as the running goes, I felt really good about each of my legs. My first leg (#12) was projected at a 7:20 pace. What? Who came up with that??? It was just getting dark when I set off on my first and longest leg which finished under the Hawthorn Bridge in Portland. It was a beautiful night running through the city. One neighborhood was having a block party and even had a balloon arch for runners to pass through as they cheered us along. Very cool, Portland. I ran that leg, 6.25 miles, in 47:59. A 7:41 pace. (I even ran into BFP at the exchange. So cool to see my friend!)

Leg two (#24) was early the next morning. Fortunately, it was light outside. Unfortunately, traffic sucked and we got stuck a mile from the exchange with our runner on the way. I decided to hop out and walk so I’d have time to hit the porta-potty before our runner arrived. As soon as I got the the exchange and took two steps towards the direction of the restrooms, our team number was announced signalling that our 11th runner was approaching. No time to pee. Dang. I used that as motivation to get to the next exchange as quick as I could and it worked. I didn’t get an accurate reading because I didn’t even have time to wait for my Garmin to sync before I had to start running. I missed the first mile but started my watch when I hit the mile marker. I ran the remaining 3.89 miles in 29:10, which was a 7:33 pace. Not bad for having to pee the entire time. I guess that’s what you get when you run for a hydration company!

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What it really was all about: spreading the #nuunlove on the course to keep runners hydrated and healthy!!

My last leg was the final leg (#36). The anchor. It was so, so hot in the mid-afternoon sun. I knew I wouldn’t run at the predicted 7:49 pace they anticipated I would and kept apologizing for it beforehand. Really, I just wanted to finish without feeling like I was going to die. The first mile is really rocky and uneven on an old logging road. Once it meets back up with paved road, there is a short climb before cresting the hill and then two miles or so of steep downhill. When I got to the top and looked out toward the direction of the ocean, all I could see was grey. A misty fog was rolling in. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, it was cool and damp. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so great on my third leg! I gave everything I had left and crossed the relay finish line on the sand in Seaside after running for 40:12, at a 7:48 pace. One second under my predicted pace. Nice.

I immediately spotted my van 1 teammates and was so happy to see their smiling, excited faces. My van had not yet arrived at the finish so we hung out until they made their way to us and crossed the ceremonial finish together. AWESOME!

The rest of the evening was spent celebrating and watching the finish-line festivities from the balcony of the nearby condo Nuun put us up in. There were lots of laughs, stories, beers (and wine!), and even a little yoga. I never wanted that night, or the trip for that matter, to end!

A HUGE thank you to Nuun Hydration for everything they do for the health and well-being of all athletes and allowing me to be a part of it! And to my teammates: I’m hopeful that our paths will cross again in the future. It was an honor and pleasure getting to know you and sharing this experience with you. You all will forever have a special place in my heart!!!