Wow! Have I been the biggest blog slacker IN THE WORLD?!?! Now that the new year has started I guess now is just as good a time as ever to catch up. I’ve been busy running, not drinking wine (#SoberJanuary), and awaiting spring by perusing fashion sites and magazines to make a list of my must haves and wishes. Here’s the scoop:
In December, I went on a family trip to Rome. This trip was so full of site seeing and family that I only ran ONE day. The funny thing is that I didn’t stress about not running, which is really not normal for me. I knew that upon my return to the US that it would be full speed ahead for the Boston Marathon in April. On the one day that I did run in Rome, it was through the gorgeous Borghese Gardens. How could you not have a great run when the park is in the shape of a heart?
Once I returned from the trip, building miles was in full effect. My speed sessions included hills… which are “speed in disguise,” so I’m told. I also had some steady state runs which included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes from 6:44-7:03, and a 10 minute cool down. Not going to lie… I knew from the first hill that I had a long road ahead of me after the downtime in Rome. Plus… El Niño was hitting with full force leading to some runs on the dreadmill. By the time my first long run rolled around, my legs were EXHAUSTED, but I had my Sushi Club girls to pull me through since we had plans to take Sushi Club to San Francisco for the Hot Chocolate 15k. RAM Racing‘s Events are always a ton of fun and combining the race with girlfriends that love running and sushi is a combination that can’t be beat.
*** Sushi Club Notes: It is our mission to eat at EVERY sushi place in Santa Cruz County. While we hit nearly all of them in 2015, we weren’t organized. In 2016 we have a rating system and plan to document the awesomeness that is Sushi Club. Sometimes we have a “special guest” join us, but most often, it’s just the 4 of us.***
The plan for the Hot Chocolate 15k was to actually run 13 total miles. My coach didn’t have any speed guidelines, the goal was to just get the long run done. Race morning we took an Uber to the start and hoped for a quick warm-up, but that didn’t quite happen. Claudia and Laura teamed up to run and Marian and I teamed up to run. Marian and I said that we would go out around 8:00 minute pace knowing there were a lot of hills. Wishful thinking… we ended up running in 1:10:39 (7:34 pace). Actually, we were a couple minutes faster, but SF weather is tricky. We didn’t anticipate that the sun would come out and it would get uncomfortably warm. By the time we passed the 5k mark, we knew that layers needed to come off. Since we were in this race for the sole purpose of fun, we stopped to undress… which is the exact reason why my results don’t come up. I stuffed my top into my awesome Oiselle Aero Tights and that was the end of chip timing for me. We had a good laugh at the time that we were pulling such a rookie move, but by the time the race ended, we were happy to have all our layers since it was freezing!
Boston base miles continued through January knowing that each week was better than the week before. In order to keep the training fun, I am planning to jump into some half marathons just to get the miles in. With marathon pace miles starting, this is a great way to simulate a race without all the nerves that come with an actual race. That is exactly what I did on January 30. The Rotary Club in San Juan Bautista puts on the Mission 10 Miler each January, and this year, they added a half marathon. With lots of climbing, I felt it was a perfect opportunity for doing an 18 mile run. My Santa Cruz Endurance teammate, Benoit, is also training for Boston and he jumped at the chance to go with. My plan was to run up to 6 miles at marathon pace (MP) and then settle into a comfortable pace for the remainder. With all the climbs, I decided to do some of the miles at the beginning, go for effort on the hills, and then finish the MP miles. The plan worked really well and between the MP miles, the warm-up and a slower cool down (with the company of Benoit and my pup Rosie) the average was 7:30 pace. I’m really proud of this run for two reasons. First, I executed my plan despite being tempted to be a bit more competitive (old me would have thought more about competing versus looking at the big picture). Speaking of old me, on January 31st, 2015 I ran 6 miles at an 8:19 pace. The doctors said I would probably be able to run 3 miles by the end of January. With hard work, I surpassed that, but remembered the difficulty of that 6 mile run. I seriously finished feeling happy/sad. I was happy that I did 6 miles, but sad thinking that above 8 minute miles was going to be my new normal. What a difference a year makes! Being humbled has it’s perks because it makes you relax and appreciate the present.
Now that it’s February, I’m back to track workouts and tempo runs. Plus… my first 20 miler is THIS weekend. In regards to races to jump into, my MIL is visiting for most of the month so we have kept the calendar kind of open. The one thing that is for sure in February would be that I am going to LA to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials!!!! This girl is really, really excited to meet up with my Oiselle Volèe teammates to cheer on Elites and the regular folks that are going to kick butt on Sunday at the LA Marathon.
BodyPump 96 was released at my club a couple weeks ago. Holy cow is this a tough release! My favorite track is probably the Lunges, but that may be just because I have a great fondness for Peanut Butter and Jelly. I wish I was joking… in our home PBJ makes many appearances at lunch, dinner and snack time. For the first time in a long time, each track either has a good song or just kicks your butt so much it’s hard to find anything not to like. With New Year’s resolutions in full effect the club has been PACKED! While the regulars always have complaints that their “spot” has been taken or they can’t even get into the class, I hope to provide gentle reminders that we were all once new to Group X. I’m also happy to report that classes are still pretty darn full. Here’s the trailer for BP 96… if you haven’t checked out a class yet DO IT!
In the personal lunge department, I started the year off with a Functional Movement Assessment/Screening at Paradigm Sport. I’m sad to report that I didn’t do so well. Seriously, I made it through grad school not once, but twice with a 4.0. In addition, I somehow managed to exit undergrad with honors despite drinking my weight in Maddog 20/20 and Amaretto Stone Sours each weekend (don’t judge… we all had a dumb college drink). If you haven’t heard of a FMS, here is a little blurb from the internet:
“The SFMA is the movement based diagnostic system, designed to clinically assess 7 fundamental movement patterns in those with known musculoskeletal pain. The assessment provides an efficient method to systematically find the cause of symptoms, not just the source, by logically breaking down dysfunctional patterns and diagnosing their root cause as either a mobility problem or a stability/motor control problem.
This systematic process allows clinicians to clearly match their intervention to the main problem of the patient. This model efficiently integrates the concepts of altered motor control, the neurodevelopmental perspective, and regional interdependence into musculoskeletal practice.”
Here’s the thing… each exercise is worth 3 points for a total of 21 points. This girl scored a 12… yep… a 12! I knew that I’d have some trouble, but I was surprised at just how imbalanced I was. The only exercises that I performed well on happened to be the Reaching and the Push-up. I now have a plan from a trainer to work on these imbalances. The plan includes some great stretching and core work as well as a variety of strength moves that use the TRX, tons of glute activation (bridges, step-ups, deadlifts), and general upper body strength builders (I can do 4 band assisted pull-ups. Give me time and that band will go away!!!) It’s been really motivating to see my weaknesses and know that each rep is getting me one step closer to being a better version of myself. I’m 41 and if I want to run and be active for a long, long time, it’s best to take care of these imbalances before an injury keeps me down. Been there… done that!
Thanks for sticking around this far. Spring items are starting to pop up and there is really just one trend that I am really in love with. Give me time and there will be more, but for now, I’m eyeing the Statement Heel. Color and patterns are everywhere right now and adding a crazy heel is just one way to make an outfit POP! Since my post is getting so long, check out Fashionista’s post on the spring shoe trends. You will also note that sneakers are still in fashion… which is great considering it’s marathon time again. In the meantime, I’ve been in love with the pop of color that a fun heel can add to the simple jeans and tee or the LBD. These blue shoes all catch my eye, but if I had to choose one it’d be the Ruthie Davis’… did you see the spike on the end??? Sexy!
Until next time (and hopefully that next time isn’t 5 months later)… Happy Laps, Happy Lunges, and may your Leather be comfortable!