Inspiration

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14 weeks of preparation. 500 miles of training. 2 pairs of running shoes. Countless hours spent in anticipation, frustration, and even a mild form of fear. All to run 26.2 miles. That is 1.7 million inches. A race against oneself. Testing limits and mental toughness. The race is the reward…right?

I can honestly say I’ve never found a truer form of happiness than crossing the finish line of a marathon. Every other emotion had been exhausted as I pushed myself those last 385 yards. Purity.

It has already been a month since my marathon. September 14th. And it feels like ages ago. And yet, still surreal. For the sake of reliving it though, let’s revisit.

Marathon Day  (Hagg Lake Hybrid)

5:45 am wakeup time. I got dressed in my already laid out and color coordinated clothes. They say preparation is a key to success. Waking up groggy and before the sun is up, I most assuredly agree. Having everything prepared the night before made my life a lot easier. I ate my pre-race breakfast with a knot in my stomach and a giant grin on my face. A pink lady apple with a few spoonfuls of almond butter and a green goddess smoothie, complete with spinach, protein, banana and mangoes.

7:20 arrival to Hagg Lake. What an unnerving time, waiting for such an event to begin! Observing everyone’s pre-race rituals was quite entertaining. ‘Excuse me, sir, but why are you running before you embark upon a race that will surely help you to meet your mileage requirement for the week? Is 26.2 not enough?’ Or, ‘How can you be stuffing your face with Hostess donut holes right now?’ and ‘Who does push-ups before a marathon?!’ It was all I could do to maintain an upright position.

7:30 — Then came the time to decide: running jacket or tank top? Music or no music? Garmin or no? With many trips back to the car, we settled on Garmin watch, no jacket and no music. I never regretted any of the above.

7:45 — Let’s be honest. A bathroom is a marathon runner’s best friend. Pre-race bathroom trips = 5 times. Glorious. I would venture to say that this is not abnormal. Prior to training for any kind of distance running, I had an irrational fear of port-a-potties and a strong aversion to public restrooms in general. It’s not hard to imagine how quickly those changed. When you gotta go, you go wherever is provided. And you thank the running gods for the invention of hand sanitizer.

8:04 am race start. With less than 100 people running the Hagg Hybrid Marathon, it was a low-key but very energized and positive beginning to a race. I have to say, I love smaller races. There’s something so close-knit, as if you’re running the race with a bunch of family. Regardless, my legs were restless, my heart was pounding out of my chest and my head was positively buzzing. This is really happening! 

Many people have asked me, “If you don’t listen to music, what do you think about while you run?” I think what they mean to ask is simply, ‘how do you make the time pass?’ A very good question that I do not have a straight answer to. If I were to try and think of key moments or actual thoughts I had during my marathon at Hagg Lake, I think the sum of them would amount to maybe 5 minutes. My first thoughts as the race began were, “Don’t start too fast. Am I going too fast? Breathe.” I started composing my blog post in my head, wondering if I would be able to tell all of you lovely readers how splendid the run was, or if I would have to report how miserably grueling it was.

“26.2. Think of how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.” This phrase hit me about mile four, when I still had a smile on my face, and the rolling hills hadn’t taken a toll on me yet.

The rest of the first half was really a blur. It took place on the road surrounding the lake and proved to be a nice challenge with a number of hills. I could not have made it through the first 13 miles without two amazing ladies, TJ and Heather. Between the two of them, they’d run over 70 marathons in the course of 10 years. Their amiable, determined, yet light-hearted attitude was admirable and quite impressionable upon my newbie marathoner mind. Not to mention, their pace was comparable to mine. And so we ran together. I wish I had obtained their info so I could give a proper shout out! Between forcing me to eat gummy bears and a banana at one of the aid station (which were both amazing, by the way) and telling me to “dig in and use as many profanities as needed” when climbing a particularly large hill, I really don’t know that I would have kept going at the pace I did. Thank you, ladies, for answering my incessant list of questions. It kept my mind distracted.

No sooner had I jumped on the trails in the second half of the marathon, exalting at my pace and still seemingly large amount of energy, than I stumbled upon my support crew. 5 of them all poring over their phones, trying to track my location. I was elated to see them, and their cheers meant the world to me. They were there for me at every aid station for the second half. Yelling my name, cheering me on and giving me more support than I can ever express in words.

Somewhere between miles 18-20, I started to really feel the fatigue. I began calling in my usual mental distractions. I dreamed up the best food I could think of. If I could eat anything after the marathon, I wanted a giant burger. With bacon. Avocado. Two patties. Pepper jack cheese. No bun. Sweet potato fries. And cupcakes. Glorious cupcakes. When that mental distraction no longer worked, I thought of what would bring me the most joy in that very moment, nirvana if you will (aside from crossing the finish line.) The first thing that came to mind was my huge polka-dotted down comforter. The smell of clean linen, the feeling of wrapping myself up in its fluffiness and curling up for a lovely nap. Nothing sounded better to me. And so I focused on burgers and linens.

I went through an aid station somewhere around mile 20, and all I wanted was electrolytes. That lovely yellow liquid was like magic to my mouth. Delightfully artificial and hydrating. I had high hopes that it was going to cure the dizziness that had started setting in. Post-race, my friends in the support crew informed me that I looked deathly pale. They hardly believed my two thumbs up while still managing a smile as I passed through the checkpoint.

Those last 6 miles kicked. My. Ass. Thoroughly. The ground kept trying to come up and meet my face. I wanted to die. I swore never to run a marathon again. Never in my life have I felt like I did in those last miles. Death would have been preferable to the burning in my legs. Those hills became giant monsters. I walked them and ran the rest. Not even the thought of food could get me through this one.

My Garmin watch said 24.2 miles as I rounded a bend and caught sight of Boat Ramp C and the finish line. That couldn’t be right. Were they going to make us run laps around the parking lot to achieve 26.2? Preposterous. But I steeled my nerves and told myself not to get too excited about the finish line, just in case parking lot laps were in my near future. But no, it really was the finish line, and my watch was off (which it tends to do on trails.) Those last 385 yards were the most exalting. A sudden rush of energy propelled me across those finishing mats, to complete my marathon in 4:45. I was met with hugs as soon as I finished, and I started crying. From sheer exhaustion, from happiness, from elation at being done, who knows.  But, I finished!

To anyone who hasn’t completed a marathon, it is incomparable to anything I’ve ever known or felt before. The feeling of simultaneous disbelief and accomplishment. Pushing one’s own limits. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” TS Eliot’s words have never rang truer.

This is my amazing support crew, cheering me on every step of the way. If nothing else, the thought of them waiting on me at the next aid station kept me going. Hearing their continual quotes of this amazing YouTube video kept a smile on my face:

 

Let me tell you, I did not see Rob Thomas, I did not pants my poop (which is an accomplishment), and those second winds are real! Of all the songs to be stuck in my head on race day though, lines from this kept popping in at the weirdest of moments:

It took less than a day to realize that I would, indeed, sign up for another marathon (Whidbey Island in April!) and the thought of an ultramarathon wasn’t so far-fetched after all (Hagg Lake Mud Run in February!). I’m an addict. Two more half-marathons this year: The Happy Girls Run in Sisters on November 2nd and The Holiday Half on December 15th.

Through these months of training, with my friends and family putting up with my ever-increasing addiction, I would just like to say thank you. I know it’s not easy to understand why I spend hours each week pounding the trail and pavement, but believe me when I say that it makes me the person I am today. It keeps me calm. It keeps me sane. It is my catharsis and my meditation. Join me on a run, cheer me on. Don’t hate me too much when I can’t shut up about running. I truly love it, and am elated if my zeal becomes contagious.

I aspire to inspire before I expire.

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Slacking.

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Portland Waterfront Park

I’m a slacker. I slackline. I walk across a narrow rope and try to pretend that I’m 200 feet in the air and have incredible balance. I’m also an incredible procrastinator who has not written in 5 (five!) months. For this, dear readers, I apologize.

Life. Life is my grand excuse. I finished up my associate’s degree, got accepted into a fantastic dental hygiene program (that begins in August), dealt with a whirlwind of family crises, rearranged a living situation, ran another half marathon, injured myself a couple more times…And now, now I have this strange thing called free time and I’m really not quite sure what to do with myself. So here I am, finally writing.

Something clicked yesterday. Not an epiphany. Not a light bulb. It was more like a cog, finally falling into place. There is absolutely no reason why I cannot do a marathon. Absolutely none. I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m relatively injury-free, and god damn it, I can run a marathon. There is not a single person that can stop me. My only hindrance has been my mind, my own self-doubt.

So I did it. I signed up. I committed. I’m running the Hagg Lake Hybrid Marathon (http://www.hagghybrid.com/) on September 14th. That is 107 days from today, and I could not be more ecstatic. Perhaps I won’t feel that way all through training, but I’ll just need to refer back to this:

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Seeing this quote made me realize that now is the perfect time. To run. To breathe. To train. To set a goal. To do something I love. To accomplish something new.

This is a short post, but my running shoes are calling my name. March’s Hop Hop Half Marathon photos will be up in a jiffy. Promise. It’s about time I inundate everyone with my running obsession (minimalist shoes, core strengthening, Born To Run, running without music, mindful breathing…we have so much to catch up on!)

“Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.” – William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar

The Pants Dance

Before I even begin. I’m sorry. I know, I know. It’s nearly a week past the half and I can’t ever make this up to all of you lovely readers.

That aside, I survived! The half is completed, and it’s on to the next one. (More on this later though)
The last 3 weeks of training, for lack of a better word, sucked. er, I mean, was fueled by pure energy and motivation. We all have speed bumps. Right?

Thanksgiving was splendid, as I’m sure was true for most. Too much food, lots of family, and perhaps even some relaxation in there? Pretty sure I ate my weight in sweet potatoes. Yum. I, sadly, had an encounter with gluten. The glutton in me had a momentary takeover and decided pumpkin pie was a necessity….sigh.
On the upside though, I went on two lovely runs while in southern Oregon. A perfect 10k loop along the Rogue river both ways. The second of my two runs, my little brother decided to join me. I suppose the term ‘little’ is relative, considering that he is 16 and 6’2″. The conversation went something like this:

“Hey, mister. Wanna go on a run with me?”
“Hell no! You think these chicken legs ever run?”
“Please?” (I even busted out the puppy dog eyes)
“Okay, okay. But I’m riding my bike while you run.”
“Deal.”
And so we ran/biked.

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Jake waiting patiently while I stopped for the following photo op…
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A view of the Rogue river on my run.

Post-thanksgiving left 3 weeks until the half-marathon. I was nearing the home stretch of my training, I should have been elated…but I wasn’t. At all. The weather was getting cold, the days feeling longer, but daylight hours increasingly shorter. With school projects and finals looming overhead, it was difficult to focus on the task at hand: to build my endurance enough to run 13.1 miles.

What was I thinking signing up for a run in the middle of rainy and cold December, the same week as insanely stressful finals?! I thought it was a brilliant idea. A new and novel goal. Not necessarily a realistic one.

I was running for cupcakes, but grasping at straws. For two weeks, I pathetically only ran a total of 20 miles. I was keeping up with my cross-training, thanks only to a set weekly workout. But, I just wasn’t feeling it. The pessimism had begun.

To be completely honest, the majority of this negativity came from an injury. The pain I’d mentioned in my hip earlier? Oh, it had spread down to my knee. Apparently, I’d injured my IT band. Iliotibial band. It connects from the lateral portion of your hip to your knee. It functions in stabilization during running as well as abduction and medial rotation of the hip. In other words, it’s an important part of one’s body. Especially a runner’s. And it hurt. All the time.

I was on a Friday run on the trails near my house. I wasn’t even two miles into my journey, I had rambunctious music blasting, but I couldn’t ignore the increasing pain. I noticed a change in my gait as I winced with every tread on my left side. My breathing started to become labored. And then it hit me- my first asthma attack in months. I had a complete meltdown. Negative mental attitude, hip pain and an asthma attack?! Tears spilling down my cheeks, wheezing like the penguin from Toy Story, and dubstep blasting out of my dangling earphones as I collapsed on the cold, wet ground. Temper tantrum.

I don’t know how long I sat there, but I recovered. Eventually. I wiped away the tears and the smeared snot from my face. Sniveling, I picked myself back up and jogged home. How the hell was I going to run a half-marathon if I couldn’t even run two miles without bawling my eyes out?

I think it’s safe to say that we all have these moments of despair. Or days. It is how we come back from these times, what we do to recover and regain confidence that shows what kind of awesome we are.

The end of term brought about a personal fitness test in my bootcamp class, of which had challenged me the entire term. In 10 weeks time, I’d made improvements. My mile-time went from a 9:47 mile to 8:13. I could bench press more 45% of my body weight and leg press 120%, I had lost 13 pounds and 3% body fat.

Damn. I’d actually accomplished something. I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do this.” Who was going to tell me otherwise?

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The above photo is on the paved Fanno Creek trails near my house. I went on a Sunday early morning run. Let me rephrase that: I went on a run way too early, the morning after a holiday party. Fully feeling the effects of, er, things consumed the night before. Can we say grouchy runner? And then I came upon the image captured above….I couldn’t decide if I should run or swim through. And part of me wished I was still cozy in bed. A little further on the run, water covered the trail for a good 300 feet. It was up to my knees in some places. It is a good thing I love puddle jumping!

Let’s talk about treadmills. I can already hear the groans of avid runners everywhere. Who actually enjoys running on treadmills? Give me pavement or a trail any day, rain or shine. My preferences aside, the late nature of my schedule forced me to run inside for the last two weeks leading up to the half-marathon. I can barely run a 5k on the damned things.

I did learn a thing or two. I learned that I am not coordinated enough to run on the treadmill and watch TV at the same time. Sigh. Yes, I fell off. Twice. And you know that little red button with the cord attached on the treadmill that is used for a very sudden and abrupt stop? Oh yeah, bumped that once too. I also learned that it is actually possible to race someone while running on a treadmill. You look at the guy next to you’s screen. Glance quickly, and see how fast they’re running. Match pace. From there, just see who can run longer. Race on.

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The moment I’d been training 12 weeks for. The goal I was beginning to think was unreachable. The Holiday Half.

The weather: 40 F and precipitating. It was that nasty soaking mist we here in the Pacific Northwest know and loathe love so much.

The outfit: Red Nike running pants (more on these in a moment), green tank top, red Nike zip up long sleeve, black beanie, and some awesome socks that said “Santa’s little runner.” Also, a rad pair of black running gloves that saved my life during the run. If I had it my way, I would have worn enough layers to look like the abominable snowman. Not very conducive to running 13.1 though, sadly. I was as festive as I could get without wearing a tutu.

The music: Upbeat and dubstep. I started my run to The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” and ended my run with “Pursuit of Happiness” by MGMT, Ratatat and Kid Cudi. “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion got me through the hardest part of my run at about mile 8. “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” was a good one too. Thank you, Spotify and your awesome ability to create playlists.

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I. Run. For. Cupcakes. Cupcake Victory pose! Half a dozen cupcakes given to us by the fabulous Bliss Cupcake Shop and a few extras made by an awesome fan. I was nowhere near hungry afterwards, though.

I’ll be honest. The run was not nearly what I expected it to be. It was, dare I say it, easier than I’d imagined. My goal for this first half-marathon was just to finish. Not only did I finish, but I kept a nearly steady pace of 9:28/mile to finish in 2 hours and 4 minutes.

That deserves a cupcake!

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Back to the easier part of things. 13.1 is deceiving. You’re surrounded by thousands of other people doing the same thing you are. They’re dealing with the same obstacles, both physical and mental. This simple fact keeps you going. The one time I stopped running, an older gentleman passed me and said, “great job, runner. Keep it up!” And suddenly, I wanted to start running again.

I’m going to be crass. Tune out, or suck it up. I came across the finish line thinking to myself, “Is it over? Is it really already finished?” My friends greeted me with cheers and cupcakes. They were asking how I felt, if I was cold, what I needed. I looked at them and said: “I’ve never had to poop so badly in my life.” and ran to the lovely outhouses. Any other runners had this issue on a run? It’s just not okay.

Anyway. During the half, I kept my mind occupied with reasons why I run. Here’s a smidgen of the list I compiled:

  • It’s cheaper than therapy.
  • I love cupcakes. And all other desserts.
  • I want to look good naked.
  • To be able to say 4 miles is my short run.
  • To be able to outrun the zombies.
  • To get to the point that I turn to running and not food as a stress release.
  • To be someone else’s inspiration.
  • Because endorphins are addicting.
  • I just might like sweating.
  • To feel elated when I cross the finish line.
  • To be happy.
  • Because I’d rather have a drawer full of sports bras than lacey push-up bras.
  • To effect change.
  • To have great lungs…and great legs.
  • To feel alive
  • Because I can.

One more thing before I end this excessively long post.

Even though this blog has been all about this Half-Marathon, about how hard we’ve worked to attain our goals, and how amazing it is to have accomplished this goal, I wanted to mention The Holiday Half’s Facebook post-race post:

The winner of Portland’s Holiday Half Marathon was not the first person to cross the finish line, the true winner was the lady who crossed it last…..Holding last place was an adorable lady. She was wearing a bright pink shirt and a green hula skirt. Even though it was raining & freezing she still had a smile plastered on her face….. She ended up keeping up and finishing the race. She later came and found us at the Viso booth and told us that last year she had a stroke that had caused brain damage and left her unable to walk. The doctors told her she would never walk again. She had made this half marathon her goal and let no one keep her from believing it was possible. She said it was her Christmas present to herself. Never underestimate the power of believing in yourself. Merry Christmas!”

This, this is why I run. To inspire.

Merry Christmas, all. Happy Holidays. Be safe. Run on.

 

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Home is Wherever I Am

Ugh. I’m back.  Isn’t that just the feeling one gets after being on vacation?  One of these days I’ll have to plan a trip to a warmer climate! Who visits Boston during the winter, post hurricane and nor’easter?! Oh shucks!  That would be me.  In my defense, I got a killer deal on airfare!533949_10151169724838601_106503129_nSilliness aside, I hit a wall.  I found myself at that six to seven month mark of not living in Bean-town anymore.  I missed it!  The saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is true.  After being back in Boston for a couple days, I realized that most of the reasons for my leaving didn’t apply anymore.  I had such a positive time there that I’m wondering if  I want to move back?

Sorry folks, I’m incredibly fickle!   Perhaps I just find it hard to say goodbye to the home I created for myself.  There is something very powerful about starting a life where no one knows your name yet. Everything I have in Boston, I earned.  The difficult thing about moving back to live in your hometown (Portland, OR) after that kind of experience is that they don’t know you anymore.  Worse. People tend to not separate the person you are now and the bambi you used to be. Frustrating!

But for now, lets recap- I, Lexi Zenner, have just had the most amazing 9 days in Boston, MA.  I spent time with old pals, made new friends, ate Buffalo Everything, LOBSTAH, and of course- ran.  I went on three runs that is. Oopsie!

Granted I was on vacation and do keep in mind that Boston is a walking city.  I walked a lot.  Heck, I danced a lot!  I have faith that walking in heels over cobblestone must do some wonders for the core. Right?

My first run was on day two- I ran from a Brighton residence over to Boston College for a few loop-d-loops, equating to about 5.1 miles.  Not too shabby.  Here are some pics of that run (me saying hello to my Jesuit pals):

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My Second run was a sad 3.1 miles because it was cold. Portland people, you don’t know this kind of cold!  The tricky part is that it creeps up on you after the run.  Once inside, I’ll be taking deep painful breaths into my dry/hoarse throat.  Not cool.

So yes, it was DAMN cold and I wanted to cuddle up to the space heater and watch episodes of  Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia; which I did.  I also thought good and hard about creating my own version of CharDeeMacDennis. I’m doing this!

For the third, I ran from the Boston side of the Charles river to Cambridge and back to Boston.  Epic! Beautiful. Epic! Here’s a rough pic of the route: about 11-ish miles! SHAZAM!

 

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I have always wanted to do this run!  When I lived here I would walk this route fairly often.  It’s the absolute most beautiful walk! This is probably my favorite place.  If you live in Boston or don’t, someday go walk or run the Charles river in Boston.  You wont regret it!

Here are some photos from my run along the Charles river in Boston, MA! So Beautiful!

Belated Photos.

This was 2 weeks before Halloween. I’m slow, okay?

We traipsed through the mud together to find our pumpkins. Lexi jumped for joy at making it safely. We won’t discuss the hail that happened on our hay ride back to the barn. We also won’t discuss the fail that was the attempt at carving. Lexi carved a fabulous cupcake. I wanted to carve 13.1. But failed epically. Sigh. We did succeed at roasting some delicious seeds though. Pumpkins are still relevant in November, right?

My friend’s little one insisted on taking photos at the pumpkin patch. I’d like to think I imparted some of my skills to him. Here’s one of his shots:

Definite potential. Terrible model.

This model on the other hand:

Damn. She must be a runner or something.

Addictions.

Hello. My name is Jessica, and I am addicted to almond butter. And gum. And running. And cupcakes.

Handling these addictions is not easy. But I manage.

I once tried to quit chewing gum cold turkey. It lasted 2 weeks. I developed other nervous habits…clenching my teeth, biting my nails, chewing my lip. It was really rather unhealthy. And besides, what reason is there to stop chewing gum? It’s not bad for you. After all, Trident contains xylitol! Xylitol helps to neutralize the pH in your mouth after you eat, preventing your mouth from becoming too acidic (read: it helps prevent cavities!) But, when I realized I consumed an entire Costco size pack of gum in 3 weeks, I knew a had a bit of a problem. 3 weeks = 21 days, Costco container of Trident Original contains 20 packs with 18 pieces in each. 20×18= 360. 360 pieces of gum in 21 days. That’s just shy of a pack a day. It’s like I’m a smoker. I’ve quelled this obsession down to a piece of gum after each meal. You have to remember, I love teeth. And that piece of gum is the fastest way to fresh breath and peace (piece? hah.) of mind.

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Seattle for my lovely Auntie’s birthday. In addition to celebrating with family, I decided to be a complete tourist and traipse around Pike Place Market with a good friend of mine.

Anyone heard of Post Alley with the delightfully disgusting gum wall?

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Isn’t it lovely? 6 feet of sugary bubble tape purchased.

4 1/2 consumed to create this splendid work of art.

Number of times I touched the wall: 37.

Ew.

My next addiction: almond butter.

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The above is hands down the best snack in the entire world. There’s just something so entirely blissful about munching down on a sweet-tart Pink Lady apple and 2 spoon fulls of crunchy, nutty, wholesome almond butter…

A really rather healthy addiction. Unless you consider the fact that each tablespoon contains 100 calories. One hundred calories of bliss. I usually purchase it at the grocery stores that offer the ‘grind it yourself’ type option. That way it’s fresh almonds and no added sweetener. That being said, I have a particular weakness for Justin’s brand Maple Almond Butter. There was this once that I consumed an entire pound in 2 days. Please don’t judge.

My third and newest addiction….running.

 

I think about it, dream about it, talk about it; it’s incessant, really. The half-marathon is less than a month away, and I cannot shut up about it. I want to run every day, but refrain. You see, my left hip was recently replaced by that of an 80-year old woman’s. I’m none too sure what’s going on. It’s encouraging the people I’ve talked to lately that are also runners. Rain or shine, they’re out there getting their run on. No such thing as bad weather they say, only soft people.

Suddenly, my thoughts are filled with the next pair of running shoes I’m going to purchase, the GPS watch/heart rate monitor I want and how much waterproof gear I really need (a lot). The Camelbak I want. All those fabulous knee high socks I saw at the running store… Now I know what is going on the Christmas wishlist.

The above are shoes I scored at the Nike Employee Store. LunarEclipse +. Retro and super comfortable. Not recommended for runs longer than 5k.

Filling my thoughts too is what half-marathon I’m going to run next. I’m not stopping at one. And there are so many options. You can go on vacation and run a race? I like this thought. Though, that Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in Las Vegas doesn’t sound too brilliant. Alcohol and athletic achievements aren’t generally synonymous.

Let’s talk about Progress:

Cross-training has been mediocre at best. I’ve been a slacker at strength training. Stretching is becoming my best friend. But, I’ve been a good runner.
I’m up to running 20 miles a week now. 20 miles. Boys and girls, I feel like a badass. I want to shout this aloud. Do a happy dance. Tell anyone who will listen and force those who won’t. Never in my life have I run this much. Sunday, I ran 7 miles without stopping. And it felt good. Who am I and when did I become a legit runner?

My biggest obstacle: my brain. The negative self-talk. ‘Oh, you’ve been running for so long, your legs must be tired.’ ‘Your lungs are hurting…stop’ I’ve just had to give my brain the middle finger (kindly, of course) and turn of whatever obnoxious tunage I have on at the time to drown out that silly little voice.

Don’t worry, I can do this. And I will. Just watch.

My shin splints are immensely better. I’m unsure whether this is due to ice, ibuprofen or incredible compression socks. Let’s just call them the Terrific Trio and leave it at that.

My hip is another story though. Sigh.

What I’ve learned: I love running in the rain. 4 degrees C for a run is absurd not bad once you start moving. Windshield wipers need to be invented for glasses as they tend to fog and obscure one’s field of vision. I hate wearing pants.

All gone.

Happy -Almost- Birthday to Me (Lexi)!

I’m turning 25 next Friday and I can’t say I’m too thrilled about it.  I guess I should be saying “YES! I can finally rent a car without the added fee!” But after that, what’s left? I’ll tell you what’s left…senior citizen discount!  Whomp. Whomp.  The only thing that makes that sting of “another year older” a little better is PRESENTS. Who doesn’t just LOVE presents!

(Me wearing my New Nike Hoodie!!)

Apparently the older we get, the more difficult we are to shop for.  My parents had me pre-select my gifts this year, leaving me super anxious in anticipation the last few weeks.  Naturally I asked for airfare and running gear.  So I got a slew of Nike-running gear and round trip airfare to my lovely BAWSTON (Boston, MA)! I can’t wait to continue my half marathon training by running along the Charles River!

(Look at that pic! It’s legit the most beautiful city run!)

On a more “my current running news”: I’ve been running a lot of tracks this week.  I’ve been dropping by Valley Catholic & some middle school by SE Yamhill for a couple hours with my mom’s dog.  It’s a strange thing to say but I’ve always wanted to go running with a dog!  I never have! Tho, I’ve decided to bench Honey Bear (my moms dog) from any future runs as she completely folds after about two miles.  Giving me a look like “we’re walking now. Actually, sitting is better.” So much for that running partnership.  I’ve also taken to running around the Wilsonville Business Center during my lunch break.  Being a running novice and all, I’m trying to just run a minimum of four miles every day.  If I can run farther, I will.  If my shins give me grief, I call it good.  So far, So good!!

Here’s some of the cool stuff I got:

Nike Vapor Running Jacket! It’s wicked cute! This fully weatherproof and lightweight jacket was an absolute necessity with the Oregon Rainy weather.  Love it!

Nike lightweight waist pack w/four water bottles! This is much more lightweight than I had anticipated.  I don’t feel like it’s weighing me down at all. I can run with it and be completely balanced! A++++++

Nike Air Pegasus 29! Made for running on the pavement- super cushy!  I ran a 10K in these shoes earlier today and it was like running on fluffy clouds and marshmallows. The perfect shoes to run 13.1 miles!