This week has two of my favorite made up holidays: National Running Day and National Doughnut Day! Unfortunately, my schedule did not permit running on National Running Ray but I am definitely celebrating National Doughnut Day in style…

ImageBack to the running – This week I have lightened up my running in preparation for my 10k Pride Run Race on Sunday. On Tuesday early morning (5:30am!), I did a quick 3 mile run around my house. Even though I was half asleep, it was refreshing to get up with the sunrise. Today, I stuck to my normal running schedule and did my long run around a new area of a Balboa Park/Sepulveda basin. I ended up doing a flat 9-miler around the beautiful wildlife reserve and park. The weather was perfect, I listened to an informative/entertaining/inspiring podcast, and I had a glass of chocolate milk and doughnut waiting to be eaten when I got home!

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Based on the title of this post, you can see how excited I am to have finally bought new running shoes! I love my old Asics but I have had them for 2 years now and have logged close to 450-500 miles on them (in addition to hiking and working out at the gym). From what I have read online about the lifespan of a running shoe* and the look on the employee’s face at the running store when I showed him my worn down Asics, it was about time for a new pair. Since I bought my Asics before I started running regularly, I decided that I should get an expert opinion on what shoes to buy now. I also had a $25 for $50 Groupon to a running store, which didn’t hurt either! It was a great decision to get the expert advice and be open minded with choosing a new shoe because I ended up with a brand/model that wasn’t even on my radar. I ended up getting Saucony Guide 6 and I am so pleased with my purchase! 

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I tried them out for the first time on my 5 mile run today and they felt GREAT! I don’t know if it was the shoes or a combination of factors, but I felt lighter and ran faster than I have been for the past few weeks.

I hate to end this positive update on a downer note but honestly my long run this week was boring. I ended up doing 10 miles with plenty of challenging hills but I was bored for most of the time. I tried to pick a new route that allowed me to enter into the Encino Reservoir for a change of scenery, but that was a major fail. The entrance was padlocked shut and I ended up running along busy residential and commercial streets for the rest of the time.  I love to run but I am not a fan of a boring run that I need to get through for the sake of completing a distance. As for next week, I am really busy and will be running the Los Angeles Frontrunner’s Pride Run 10k in West Hollywood next Sunday so I plan to cut back on the mileage and give my body a well deserved break! 

my long run route: 

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* information on running shoes: http://www.runnersworld.com/running-shoes/running-shoe-faq?page=single

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This morning I woke up feeling like I needed a challenge and conquering some hills fit the bill. I decided to go to Fryman Canyon and try running the trail which has an 463 ft elevation gain in 1.5 miles (I looked this up online). Even though I normally walk/hike Fryman, I thought I could handle running it… I was wrong. It felt like I was running up a flight of really steep stairs and my heart was beating out of my chest. After realizing that I was not going to make it all the way up the incline, I wisely elected to switch to a run/walk combo, which still really challenged me. Running has really improved my cardiovascular strength but this experience kicked my butt! I ended up going up/down the 0.3 mile paved portion twice and then running around the residential neighborhood nearby for a total of 5 miles. I know from listening to  running experts that hill training is an important addition for strength and speed so I am glad that I pushed myself harder than usual (even though I had to walk some segments). My lower body is definitely thanking me now too – foam roller time!

I am adding this Brooks Run Happy picture because 1.) I love doughnuts 2.) I want this doughnut  3.) I approve this message

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Happy Memorial Day!

After my long runs, I normally take a full day off but this weekend I took a hot yoga class on Saturday and my body definitely feels a difference. On Sunday, I did my normal 5 mile run (with my dad on the bike) and a 40 minute strength routine, but this time I felt exhausted later in the day. It was a little beyond that “good” tired feeling and bordering on zombie tired. For me, this was a flashing warning sign that I really needed a rest day – I ended up sleeping 10 hours last night! This morning I woke up and did a yoga youtube video for 30 minutes and foam rolling (OUCH!). I have a really difficult time resting because running/working out is what keeps me grounded. I love the feeling of being active! Even when I know I need to rest to avoid injury and burnout, I cannot turn off my mind and I get so antsy! It is so important to remember that rest and recovery days are just as important as the other parts of training. So my answer is that I am going to channel my excess energy into something productive…cleaning!

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For my long run today, I braved the 405 traffic and headed to the beach! I went with the intention of doing 10 miles and, if I felt like going farther, doing 12 miles (my farthest running distance yet). Honestly, I didn’t think today would be a good run because of a very aggravating morning and this feeling continued when I started off down San Vicente. My mind was not fully in it but I figured that any run was better than no run (plus the beach scenery is a good motivator). I started to get into a groove while listening to my podcast and looking out at the ocean, but at around mile 4 the “not feeling it” sensation came back. For the first time since I started running a year ago, I got a side cramp that would not go away. I tried to massage it out while running but I ended up needing to walk intermittently to make it go away. At that point I thought I would barely make it to 10 miles, but I knew I had to get back to my car somehow – and walking back would take a lot longer. In retrospect, I am really glad that I didn’t stress out about it and listened to my body. 

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Of course after finishing my longest run to date (only 0.6 miles away from a half marathon!) I thought about the pizza I would be eating later for dinner! And this is not just any pizza but Pizzeria Mozza pizza…

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Running as a Lifestyle

Within the past year, I have fallen in love with running. I started off barely able to finish 1 mile and now I am right on track to finish 13.1 miles. A year ago, I would have never thought that I would be able to run this far and more importantly love running as much as I do. Running has become a lifestyle for me and now I cannot imagine NOT running on a weekly basis. Even though I am focusing now on training for a half marathon, I need to remind myself that I am in it for the long term.

Yesterday, I ran my usual weekday 5 miler around Balboa Park and tried something new – I listened to a podcast instead of music! I really enjoyed changing things up and learning something new while running, instead of zoning out to Beyonce (no complaints there either).

Also, don’t think I am crazy but I am flirting with the idea of signing up for the Long Beach marathon in October…Okay, I might be crazy

http://runlongbeach.com

ImageThis weekend I was reminded of how thankful I am to be able to run and the joy running gives me. I started my weekend off right with a long run in Pasadena around the Rose Bowl and Arroyo Seco trail. I was apprehensive about this long run because of the hills but I knew I needed to tackle my fear by seeing what Pasadena (where my half marathon will take place) was all about and I am so happy that I did! I loved running along the Arroyo Seco trail/Rose Bowl and I am really pumped for my half now. I ran directly towards the big hills and honestly enjoyed the challenge of getting to the top. Now, I feel like I can actually do this half and finish, which was a real concern for me last weekend. 

ImageToday, I ran 5 miles around Balboa Park and this run was extra special because I had some company – my dad! My dad prefers to ride bikes rather than run, so we split off, did our own thing, and met back together at the end of our workouts. It is always a great motivator having someone there to get you out the door!

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A Growing Fear of Hills

My run on Tuesday was a little slower than normal because my legs were feeling sore and I also tried to incorporate more hills. I knew when I signed up for the Pasadena Half Marathon that it was hilly but I found out this weekend HOW hilly. I looked online at the elevation chart for the route and discovered that a significant portion of the race is uphill (a 350ft change in elevation). I am not going to lie, this has really intimidated me because I have not been running routes that incorporate hills like these. Even though I have reached the 10 mile mark, I have been running on mostly flat routes. I don’t mind running hills that are steep but over with quickly, however I do not like running a long period of time uphill (I mean who would say that they do?). I know I need to start incorporating more hills into my run to be prepared, but that is not something I feel motivated to do.
So for this run I added more hills (approachable ones) and will gradually add more. I need to remember that with an uphill, there will be a downhill…well hopefully there will be one!

ImageI successfully finished my longest run ever and it felt wonderful! I can honestly say that I never thought I would or could be able to run 10 miles. I feel like a “real” runner! When I was finished, I didn’t feel like I wanted to pass out or uncomfortably sore. I think my body is getting used to running longer distances! I also drank 3x more water on this run than my last run and really felt an improvement in my energy levels in the last few miles. Takeaway lesson: DRINK LOTS OF WATER!

ImageToday, I woke up early to get in a 5 mile run before Mother’s Day brunch and I am so happy I did because at 7am it was already hot outside! I am also pleased that I brought water with me because I sweat A LOT!Image

 

Honestly, I was less than motivated to run since I came home from Colorado – To be honest, I felt like spending my days relaxing in bed and watching Tivo’d Bravo shows. I decided to resist this urge and stick to my training plan of 5 miles on Tuesday, which I am very happy about looking back. I decided to try a new out and back route from my house to a nearby park, which amazingly was 5 miles (I only had a rough estimate of the distance). It was a great, flat route and I re-discovered how nice the park looked. The paths are dirt and well cleared, which makes for a great run 🙂 I also ran my fastest 5k pace, which was exciting and motivatingImageImage

Today, I ran a nice 2 miles around my neighborhood before doing a 30 minute strength routine with Jillian Michaels (with a few extra planks + abs and hip/glute exercises). I feel like I am regaining my motivation by establishing a more solid routine but it is still a work in process…