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Summer Running Fun

Eight weeks of 10K training are in the books!

This spring has been an incredible time of falling back in love with running post-injury. My BRF, Nadja, and I have been training for our 10K for 8 weeks now, and I’m loving every minute of it (even the hot and humid ones!). After my injury I was a little leery to start running again, but we’ve taken our time to deliberately build up our mileage, and I’m feeling stronger every day🙂

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After our weekend long run😀

It’s been a blessing to see my BRF meet running for the first time too. We run together on the weekends, and during the week we might be able to fit in one run together, but typically we’re flying solo Monday – Friday. Weekday runs are a good time to build our mental toughness on our own, and on the weekends we build our physical strength together on our long runs!

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My first CSA pick-up from Heritage Prairie Farm from the Wheaton French Market on Saturday mornings. For the next 18 weeks Hubs and I will have more fresh produce than we know what to do with…and I mean that. We pick up more food in two days and I’m still eating my way through last week’s basket! YUM! #eatwholefoods #veggies

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Post-run snack with goodies from the CSA – arugula and microgreens from Heritage Prairie Farm, and I added the tomatoes and mozzarella. Delicious!

Our long runs have been on the Wheaton Prairie Path (thank goodness for water fountains!), and our runs end in the quaint Wheaton downtown where the French Market is held. This week I’m going to remember to pack some extra money in my running belt so I can treat us to fresh lemonade and doughnuts post-run. The doughnuts are made fresh at the market and are still warm when they’re served. I realize they’re not a healthy post-run snack, but goodness, they’re so tasty…and I did wake up at 6am on a weekend to do this after all!

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Millie Pup enjoying a quick dip in the river!

Another perk of running regularly again is that Millie’s getting more exercise. This week she and I went for a 3 mile run, and it was hot and sticky out. We stopped at the water fountain that has a doggy attachment so she could cool off, but I think she liked my second cool down option best. On our way back to the house we ran by the West Branch DuPage River and Millie went for a little dip. This dog LOVES to swim. It was too cute. She kept swimming out a little, looking back for approval, and then swimming out farther. I think she would’ve stayed there all day if I’d let her!

All this love for running has led me to decide…

*Drum Roll, please*

…to run the Naperville Marathon again this year!!

Last year was a successful year of fundraising, and I covered the 26.2 mile distance but it was a brutal, knock-out fight to the end. This year I want to run it strong and finish well🙂

Let the training party continue!

 

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A Metaphor for Life

This week I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and there’s a passage that’s deeply resonated with me. Sometimes folks wonder, “Why run?” Well, Murakami has the answer.

“Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life […]. I believe most runners would agree.”

I’ve always been a goal-oriented gal, and training for an upcoming race fits my personality perfectly. I find satisfaction in pushing the boundaries of my physical body while sharpening my mental resolve (because, let’s be honest, some runs are more a mental exercise than a physical feat), and my entire being feels more alive when I’m running regularly.

It’s been such a gift to start training this spring with my BRF Nadja (for those #anothermotherrunners out there, she’s my Best Running Friend!)🙂 It’s been incredibly rewarding to track our progress in our training journals and see each week how we’ve gone a little farther and a little longer. Making slow, safe progress. Funnily enough, Hurakami has something to say about that too!

“Muscles are like work animals that are quick on the uptake. If you carefully increase the load, step by step, they learn to take it. As long as you explain your expectations to them by actually showing them examples of the amount of work they have to endure, your muscles will comply and gradually get stronger. It doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But as long as you take your time and do it in stages, they won’t complain – aside from the occasional long face – and they’ll very patiently and obediently grow stronger. Through repetition you input into your muscles the message that this is how much work they have to perform. Our muscles are very conscientious. As long as we observe the correct procedure, they won’t complain.”

And with every step we take together, our friendship continues to grow and blossom❤ That’s the true gift of running. The relationship you form with yourself, and the friendships you find with others.

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Snapped this after a beautiful 35 minute run at the Morton Arboretum. The sun, fresh air and new spring leaves were so lovely to behold! Between the gorgeous nature surrounding us and our seamless conversations, I could stay there for hours!

Recently we’ve been running at a local park, and it’s just down the road from where Hubs and I lived for almost 4 years. I’ve run this path literally hundreds of times before. And running there again is like returning to a long lost friend. Maybe one you haven’t spoken to in some time, but when you connect on the phone it’s like no time has passed. I know each and every dip and crack in the pavement, where the nearest water fountain (and more importantly) the next bathroom lay in wait, and my internal pedometer is still accurate. Need to add an extra half mile to your run, I know just where to add a loop!

Hurakami poetically explains the ease of returning to a familiar route:

“Breathing in the crisp, bracing, early-morning air, I felt once again the joy of running on familiar ground. The sounds of my footsteps, my breathing and heartbeats, all blended together in a unique polyrhythm.”

This week had to be shuffled around just a bit on my end. On Tuesday I had one of the worst migraines of my life, and even on Wednesday I was still recovering. I like to describe the day after a migraine as being acutely aware of where my head is and how quickly it’s moving. Meaning, running isn’t really an option😉 I’m so proud of my BRF for doing the scheduled run on that day, and the following morning Millie Pup and I made up for the missed mileage on our local running path.

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Dear Current Self, Continue to track your training. It’s empowering! It allows you to find patterns of what works and what doesn’t, and it keep you accountable. Further note to self, stay away from caffeine, stimulants, and any inhaler that will give you migraines. No matter how badly you may want to breathe easily, find an alternative! With Love, Future Self

I’m learning how to balance my love of running with the physical nature of being a yoga teacher while also continuing my own yoga practice, and last weekend I had the perfect opportunity to bring both together. Wanderlust 108 came to Chicago and three of my close girlfriends and I participated in a “Mindful Triathlon.” It started with a 5K (which we walked and used as an excuse to have time to catch up!), included a yoga practice and wound down with a guided meditation. The meditation must have been good, because I feel asleep, ha. And considering that it was a very damp cold day outside, that’s impressive!

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Snapped a quick Dancer’s Pose in front of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Thankfully the wind cooperated and I didn’t end up soaked!

Here are my Ohm-ies (yoga humor alert!) at the start of the 5K. We were layered up and ready to rock!

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Look at those beauties. I’m lucky to have such great friends! 

Wishing everyone a weekend full of love❤

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Slow and Steady

 

Holy guacamole, do I love running!

It can be easy to forget after an unplanned hiatus (well hello there, stress fracture and bronchitis), but I’m grateful for these experiences because they’re giving me the opportunity to fall in love with running again❤ And it’s been an incredible experience thus far to witness my BRF Nadja meet running for the first time. We’ve already had great runs (runner’s high, how I love you) and challenging ones (why does everything hurt?!), but we haven’t missed a planned run yet🙂

We’re training with a run/walk method that measures 2 weekly runs in minutes not distance, and the weekend long run in miles. I’m excited to be on a plan that’s purposefully taking injury prevention into consideration. The walking breaks give our heart rates a chance to slow down and have been leaving me feeling fresh the day after runs. Win-win!

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Post-Run selfie with my BRF and Millie! Pup dog was in a VERY loving mood and wouldn’t stop giving Nadja kisses!

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Our last 30 minute mid-week run/walk was very consistent, and with a strong finish to boot. Thanks for sharing our stats, Nadja! I have a feeling a new FitBit may be on my wishlist sometime soon😉

This week our new training journals arrived. Psyched to use the Believe I Am Training Journal from Lauren and Ro again this year. It’s less then $20 and includes space to take notes for each day’s workout/run. And I love that at the end of each week we get to tally up our total mileage. It’s encouraging to see our numbers steadily and safely increasing!

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I love, love, love tracking my workouts. Actually, I love keeping a journal about life in general, but it’s extra rewarding at the end of a year to look back at all of the opportunities I’ve had to sweat!

I may have gone a little crazy and decorated most pages of the workout calendar this year. But there’s something I find motivating about a blank page just waiting for my stamp of personality!

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Here’s a look of the first week of training. I’m keeping track of runs as well as yoga classes taken and taught. Teaching isn’t as strenuous as taking a yoga class as a student, but it does take a toll on the body and as someone now very interested in injury prevention, I’m not taking any chances at over doing it this time around!

Millie Pup joined us for our most recent run, and she found a way to run through every single mud puddle (literally…for once I’m not exaggerating!). The header image for this blog post is Millie pouting post-shower. While the pup will find every puddle and pond to swim in, she’s not a fan of getting clean afterwards. Ha!

"Ohana means family." - Stitch

Operation First Marathon, Complete!

Thank you for everyone who supported me this past fall! Together we raised $605 to support A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter in Naperville, IL. I was totally blown away by everyone’s willingness to support this venture – so to all of you, a million thanks!

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And to top it off, I completed my first marathon. Waaahooo!

The race itself was an adventure. I ran the first half with a half marathon pace group, but they were a little speedier than I should’ve been going and I was swept up in the excitement of running together that I neglected to stick to my run/walk plan (which I had used to prep the entire duration of training…rookie mistake!). Around mile 6 my left hip started to act up, and I literally had the thought, “Oh no you don’t. We still have 20 miles to go!!”

Thanks to Hubs, I made it through the second half of the race. I dropped back from the pace group and started my run/walk plan. Hubs had packed his roller blades so he could visit me at different points during the second half of the course, but by that point the roads were still completely clear and there weren’t many runners around. So guess what he did? He roller bladed an entire half marathon with me! I like to say, “We ran a marathon,” because there wouldn’t have been a finish line photo without him. When I was starting to drag he’d encourage me with my running mantras. He’d say, “I get to do this,” and I’d respond with, “I can do hard things.” Even thinking about that now brings tears to my eyes. It was such a special moment of love, raw emotion and a lot of grit.

By mile 20 my hip was pretty painful, and I compensated by landing funny on my right foot. BUT, I made it!! And on that day, that was all that mattered🙂

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It’s a good thing my back was to the camera here (thanks for the shot, Hubs!), because I’m pretty sure there was some ugly crying going on at about this time😉

In early 2016 I hit a mile marker (pun intended!) – half marathon #10! We ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon with one of my favorite running tribes. And obviously, we dressed up as Star Wars characters…a must!

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Half Marathon #10 is in the books!

After the half we spent two super fun days in Disney together. But when we were spending all of that time on our feet I realized my right foot was hurting again the same way it had after the marathon. Lo and behold, meet my first running related injury – the dreaded stress fracture!

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It took a while after I was healed to find all of my right shoes again!

I spent 4 weeks in my super sexy boot, and then four more weeks after that just walking on it again and building back my strength and flexibility. It’s been a process, but I’m finally getting strong again and am training for a 10K and half marathon with a dear yoga friend this year!!

Yesterday we completed our first training run together. We’re using a run/walk method, and together we covered 2 miles. Here’s to many more miles together!

I’m so looking forward to running again, and to running strong😀 Hang out here at Run With Pup to come along for the ride!

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Running Buddies❤ 2 miles, complete!

Marathon Training: Progress Report

Holy smokes, marathon training is no joke! It’s been an exciting summer of reaching new running milestones, and each day I feel more prepared to tackle my first 26.2 mile race. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way these past four months:

  • Completing multiple new distance records is extremely motivating. Tackling mileage in the double digits is thrilling! Tiring, but oh so thrilling🙂
  • Training for half marathons vs. full marathons is very different. The biggest of which, for me, has been the time commitment. For half marathons my weekend long runs were never much longer than two hours. Now I block out a full 5 hours for my 20 mile runs. But coming home to compression socks, a giant water bottle with Nuun and a fire in our living room is pretty much priceless.
  • Potty breaks are essential. When you run for two hours they can be skipped, but with the amount of hydration needed for a few long runs in the heat this summer, it just can’t be avoided. I’ve never been happier than to see the porta-potty at mile 9 of my first 18 mile run. Boy did I need to pee!
  • Chaffing will happen. Anywhere you think it can happen, it will. Vaseline or BodyGlide will be your new best friend. Let’s just leave it at that😉 Just throw it in your running pack and thank me at mile 18.
  • Nuun! If you haven’t tried it yet for your endurance events (or hot yoga too!), then swing by your local Whole Foods and pick up a few tubes. They’re small tablets of electrolytes and vitamins that dissolve in your water bottle (and they’re flavored!). They don’t give me as much instant energy as drinking water mixed with gatorade, but Nuun does a better job of keeping my fueling consistent, without the ups and downs that come with more sugary drinks.
  • While eating three Gu packets during a half marathon is doable, eating 6+ on a long run tastes pretty gross. I’ve learned to add mini pretzels to my running pack to mix things up. I’ve also brought gummy bears, chips, bananas and goldfish. When I load up my running/hydration backpack for long runs it looks like I’m leaving for a long weekend, haha!
  • Cross-training is your best friend! You may not feel like going to yoga after a long run or working out with weights mid-week, but the benefits I’ve seen in my running form this time around have been significant. I no longer look like Quasimodo when I finish long runs. Think, “Shoulders down your back. Don’t wear your shoulders as earrings!”

The most important lesson I’ve learned when running these longer distances is that most of running is mental toughness. Yes, physically you need to train yourself to cover the distance, but there comes a point in every long run when I’ve felt the shift from physical effort to mental determination. Even though my body hurts I know I can continue on. But it takes a lot of willpower to override that voice in your head begging you to stop. My favorite mantra at the end of a run is, “I get to do this. I can do hard things.” Usually with the last few miles of my weekend run I’m telling this to myself out loud. Sometimes you need this reminder. Just keep moving forward😀

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Thank goodness for an emergency Gatorade and water drop-off by Hubs during a particularly hot run. I thought my hydration pack would hold me through, but with 5 miles left I realized I’d need more to drink. Behold the wonders of Google Maps and the ability to pinpoint the exact neighborhood I was in🙂 Thanks for answering my SOS, Hubs!

 

Quick pit stop along the route of my first 15 mile run. You know you're an IL runner when you literally run through corn fields!

Quick pit stop along the route of my first 15 mile run. You know you’re an IL runner when you literally run through corn fields!

My first marathon will be run in support of A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter in Naperville, IL. Want to be part of the fun? Your donation will go towards housing, feeding and caring for pets in need! Contribute to help pets in need here: https://www.gofundme.com/runwithpup1182015.

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Marathon Training: Week 1

Week 1 is in the books. Boom, baby!

The week started off with mine and hubby’s anniversary, and instead of completing the short run on the plan I opted for wine and cheese🙂 But what can I say, anniversaries only come around once a year!

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary, Hubs <3

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary, Hubs❤

I love being a yoga instructor (for oh so many reasons) because I’m able to attend way more classes than ever before, AND I get a killer workout each time I teach yoga sculpt. Physically speaking, I find vinyasa yoga to be perfect for stretching and lengthening, yoga sculpt fulfills my cross training/weight training needs and running is my cardio = a delicious recipe!

This week I taught 4 sculpt classes and ran 10.7 miles. Didn’t get all of my miles in but with the 4th of July, our wedding anniversary, Hubs’ birthday and family in town – I’m still going to count this week as a win🙂

I ran my first 4 miles on my own and then looped back to the house to grab the pups and Hubs for the final 4. We had a grand time, and Rocky used his bookbag (to carry his and Millie's water/tire him out) and it was a success!

I ran my first 4 miles on my own and then looped back to the house to grab the pups and Hubs for the final 4. We had a grand time, and Rocky used his new back pack (to carry his and Millie’s water/tire him out faster because he’s so strong!) and it was so much fun…just had to try and outrun the mosquitoes…they were awful today!

After today’s 8 mile long run I finally succeeded in linking my Garmin GPS watch via Bluetooth to my phone which in turn uploads my data to Strava. I’m so excited to be connected with the #AMR community there!

It's a long story, but basically my laptop's software is so old that it's no longer supported by Garmin Connect...so I got crafty with the Bluetooth functions on my phone and Garmin Forerunner. Thank goodness our internet connection was strong today!

It’s a long story, but basically my laptop’s software is so old that it’s no longer supported by Garmin Connect/Strava by proxy…so I got crafty with the Bluetooth functions on my phone and Garmin Forerunner. Thank goodness our internet connection was strong today! I made it through the Bluetooth pairing process by eating a min bundt cake and orange juice with a Lemon Lime Nuun post-run. So tasty!

It’s also possible Hubs sent a picture of my super sexy compression socks + Birkenstock sandal combination to my best friends. God bless them, they’re the only ones who could convince me during college that striped socks and Mary Jane shoes were a fashion no-no. I tried to rationalize this look too, but they weren’t falling for it😉

Oh you know you love compression socks to give your legs some love after a long run...and who doesn't want some extra arch support from Birks too? I may be a fashion emergency ;)

Oh you know you love compression socks to give your legs some love after a long run…and who doesn’t want some extra arch support from Birks too? I may be a fashion emergency😉

I’m really looking forward to training Week 2. Many more miles, yoga classes and sculpt to come – let’s get this body moving!

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I Joined a Running Club!

It’s true, at long last I’ve officially joined a running club. This summer/fall I’ll be joining the Naperville Running Company on Saturday mornings for marathon training long runs. I’m so excited to have a group of folks to run with! While the pups make great buddies for shorter distances (I limit their long runs to avoid overheating), it’ll be nice to run next to someone who can answer me when I talk out loud. It’s possible I talk to the pups while running (“What did you see? Is that a chipmunk? Please don’t lunge that way. Oh, goodness!”), but it’ll be refreshing to hold an actual two-way conversation.

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Hubs is a great running buddy too, but I think the idea of a 14+ mile long run is as alluring to him as walking over hot coals😉 Although he’ll be training for and running his third half marathon this upcoming January, so I’ve started calling him my favorite Reluctant Runner. He maintains that he doesn’t like running, but he sure is a strong athlete for someone who doesn’t enjoy it. Maybe if my friends and I can keep convincing him to sign up for races he’ll one day like it…that may have been my evil plan all along!

The NRC’s first group run is this upcoming Saturday morning, and I have to say I’m a little nervous. I’m not scared of meeting new people or carrying on a conversation (that is if I can still talk and breathe at the same time a few miles in🙂 ), but what if they totally kick my little solo-runner booty? As someone who’s always turned to running for quiet, introspective time – will I like running with a  group?

I’m pretty sure the answer is YES! I’ve been looking for a BRF (Best Running Friend – Thanks AMR for that term) for a while, but it’s really hard to put yourself out there to meet someone new. I practically feel like it’s dating all over again (which I was never really that experienced at seeing as Hubs and I started dating when we were 18). So I’m putting on my big girl running panties (metaphorically speaking, because who really wears anything under compressions shorts anyways, I ask you!) and am taking the plunge. I’m really hopeful a running group will help me accomplish a few things:

  1. Make running friends (you know, someone who doesn’t look at you like you’re crazy when you say you’re actually looking forward to your long run!)
  2. Deepen my understanding of how to run farther than I ever have before (I’m pretty sure my max distance up to this point is 14 miles, and I can’t wait to see how much farther I can go)
  3. Keep me accountable during training (especially given all the rain we’ve been getting this summer!)

Away we go!