I Gave Up…

….But I like to think of it as “liberated myself.”

I won’t be able to run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon race on August 18. I already bought the ticket. I was already visualizing myself at the finish line getting my extra medal for completing all three races I’d been training for all year. Even officially typing these words is making me sad again. I thought I’d come to terms with it, but I guess I hadn’t fully accepted it yet.

Point is, there are a lot of factors that have dramatically changed up my life making that race much more difficult than it’s worth.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, the biggest factor is the fact that I don’t quite trust my foot to not give out. It’s a few months away from total recovery- I’m afraid- and I don’t want to lose the headway I’ve made so far by annihilating it during this race.

I have a number of financial and personal commitments that have completely changed since I originally signed up several months ago. Instead of being able to have the weekend to myself to relax and enjoy the race, I’ll be spending the 17th and 18th working all day. Which is just fine, because I’ve got to get in some extra hours before I head home to Indianapolis on the 20th for the first time in almost 2 years.

It was going to be a stretch to be able to do this race as it is. I knew that. I was willing to do it. But now that I will not be running it, I’m trying to see the positives. I can save my foot. I can maybe resell the entry to recover some costs. Instead of getting an extra medal at the end of the finish line for completing the Triple Crown, I get to spend every day now in a brand new shiny pretty car. And in order to be able to afford that car, I need to spend the 17th and 18th working.

Everything happens for a reason. Even plantar fasciitis. I need to remind myself of that.

Sometimes, when we plan months in advance, we can’t follow through. Things change. Situations change. Bodies change. Relationships change. People change.

And that’s ok.

I won’t run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. I am sad about it. I am disappointed. But I’m embracing the fact that all this change around me means there are great things around the corner.

You can’t plant a garden without tilling the soil. Right now, the universe swooped in and decided to till my soil. Maybe the timing is inconvenient, but hey- I’ve been asking for a garden for years so…HERE WE GO.

I’m “liberating myself” from a lot of previous structures I had in place. One of those structures included being able to run this race. Now that I won’t be running it, I can open up the space for new, exciting, inspiring energies.

Plus, I’ll have to just lift extra hard to make up for all the calories I can’t run off anymore. Watch out weight room fellas. It’s about to smell like Bath and Body Works all up in there.

Breaks over, back to running

It’s time again.

I took my wonderful little hiatus from running to focus more on lifting and loved every minute of it. But reality called. And I have a race on August 18th. Of this year. A half marathon. And I haven’t run distance since the last one.

I should give myself 12 weeks to train, but I didn’t. I liked lifting so I wanted to wait to hop back on the running wagon. And I have now officially waited until the last possible moment.

It’s go time. So we go back to running.

I have my little training program up on the wall ready to be highlighted with every successful day finished. If I do all the runs properly, I’ll be totally confident and ready for this race in August. If I don’t, I will have a shit time during this race in August.

I want to do well at the race for three reasons:

1. It will be the first race I run as a 28-year-old (my birthday is 3 days before… you may begin wishing me happy birthday now).

2. It is the third in a series I’ve been running called the Triple Crown, so I will get an extra medal at the end of it and that will be awesome.

3. I’m competitive with myself. I always want to do better. So I want to beat my PR. The race is relatively easy compared to La Jolla. Then again, pretty much anything is easy compared to La Jolla. The elevation chart, though, shows that the majority of the race is downhill or flat, though the last miles is uphill. Not great, but manageable. ย So the only thing I’ll be fighting is the “hotter” weather (which is the main complaint on yelp for this race). It’s hard to tell what “hot” weather is, though, because Southern Californians are pretty sensitive when it comes to weather changes so I don’t know if this will actually be “hot” or if it’s just Southern Californians being pansies. Having said that, I’m kind of a weather pansy so maybe I should listen to their complaints…

Anyway, I ran my first training run yesterday- three miles on a treadmill. I thought it was going to be a lot worse than it ended up being. My body missed running. It likes it. My mind likes the relaxation. I know what I’m doing when I’m going for a distance. I’ve done it before- it’s like I just fell right back into it.

And because I’ve loved lifting, I’m going to try and incorporate both. Yesterday, I ran my three miles and then I went upstairs and did my normal lifting. I didn’t get it all in because of a time crunch, but it felt really good to do both.

So I’m gonna be setting aside a serious chunk of time to get all this done at the gym every day. Which means I’ve got to be more protective of my mornings and my workout time. Which means I have to get better about waking up when I need to.

Which means I should probably go to bed.

Nighty night, pumpkins. Happy training.

I did it! … but ouch

My Runner’s World Quote of the Day was perfectly appropriate for the day after a very difficult race.

Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. – Patti Sue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Basic recap- that thing was extremely difficult. It was, as promised, excruciatingly hilly. But the weather was perfect (no sun, perfect wind, crisp air) and there were plenty of water stations. My knees stopped wanting to hold my body up. I got floppy and sloppy for the last two miles. I managed to dig deep and finish while accelerating, but if there is any truth in the above quote, it turns out I’m made of whiney floppiness with just a hint of stubborn pride. Whatever that means.

Today- the day after- my body is sore and I’m eating a ton and letting it rest.

Tomorrow- the day after the day after- I start a new workout regimen for six weeks. Focus on weight training with only the occasional run. Booyeah. If I made huge body strides, I’ll post pictures. If I don’t, I won’t. Because I’m vain and not in this to look a fool.

Speaking of awesome-looking-ness, check out this picture I took during the race. We climbed that hill in the background. It never ended.

Until, of course, it did.

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Rock on.

I’m nailing those rest days.

Training is fun, folks. And you know what else is fun? Life.

You know what’s difficult? Doing both flawlessly.

I have a little under a month before my next race (the La Jolla Half Marathon. Check out the elevation map. Shoot me now…) and I am trying to follow my Hal Higdon Advanced Half Marathon Training programย as best I can.

I am also working hard to pursue my passion as an actor, comedian, writer, and performer.

I am also working hard as a paralegal to pay bills.

I am also working hard to have a life filled with friends and loved ones I can spend quality time with.

Sometimes, all these things come in conflict. A wonderful, joyous, grateful-for-the-opportunity conflict.

As a result, as I look over the past six months of training (for various races), I’ve come to realize, I’m absolutely nailing the rest days. I haven’t missed one yet. As for the other training runs… there are quite a few weeks where I’ve been less than perfect at my training.

But those rest days, man. I’m absolutely nailing them.

Slow down.

I’m a fast person. I walk fast. I talk fast. I move fast. I drive fast.

So when I run, I (of course) like running fast. Duh.

After reading a book called “The Little Red Book of Running” (which I highly recommend- quick read, great information), one of the tips was not to treat every run like it’s a race. Each run you do while training has a goal behind it- and only sometimes is that goal speed. And for most of your long runs leading up to your next race, the goal is not at all speed. In fact, it’s much more beneficial to your training if you just SLOW DOWN.

I’m not pretending I don’t like to take it easy while exercising. I often most certainly do. But, as I said before, I like to go fast fast fast and I don’t like to slow myself down if my body is feeling good enough to go faster.

But, I figured if this book suggests you do it once in a while and my next race is still a month away…so why not just enjoy the 1 hour 45 minute run by going at a very leisurely pace. And that’s just what I did.

I ran slow. I kept repeating to just relax and run slower than normal. Let my pace be calm and relaxed and maybe my mind will follow. And you know what? It did.

About thirty minutes into my run, I started to really take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the world around me. I smiled at the animals and breathed in the fresh air. I should add I have the benefit of living in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in one of the most gorgeous places in the world (Los Angeles, CA). But the gratitude for this life is not lost on me. I love the fact that I can run to the ocean, took time to look at the waves, and took deep breaths of the salt water air. I work hard for this life. I am lucky. And I know it.

As I worried less about my pace and pushing my body to the limit, I was able to really calm my body down. My normally frantic pace (at life) was forcibly slowed down and my normally frantic mind followed suit. I was half listening to a podcast and half immersing myself completely in the running experience.

I felt such zen.

It was so weird.

I even had a woman pass me mid-way through my run. Normally, I would be extremely annoyed by this. You’d better be sprinting if you’re going to pass me. I AM THE ONE WHO PASSES. (I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS.) Instead of being competitive, though, I took a moment to feel the competitive edge rising within me, breathed, and let her go about her merry way without bothering me at all. Her going faster than me in that moment had nothing to do with me or my run. I don’t know anything about her- how far she’s running, what her goals are, what her normal pace is, if she ever races…nothing. What the hell do I care if at this moment on this day in this place, she’s faster than me? Let it go. Let her be.

As a normally fast (and competitive) person, that realization was absolutely liberating. Other people’s journeys are just that- other people’s journeys. They say nothing about what I’m doing, what my goals are, what I happen to be trying to accomplish that day, where I’m heading…nothing. So let it go and let them be.

Towards the end of my slow run, it began to get cloudy and small water droplets were forming in the air. Not really rain, because this is LA after all. But just a thin layer of mist. And rather than thinking, “OH MY GOD IT’S GONNA RAIN AND I’M GONNA BE STUCK IN IT AND IT’S GONNA SUCK AND I WANT TO RUN HOME FAST,” I thought “Huh. Mist. Feels good. It might be nice to get caught in the rain.”

WHAT WAS THAT VOICE?

And how can I have it in my head always?

I loved my long, slow run. I learned so much about my body, mind, and spirit. And enjoyed every minute of it.

And tomorrow, I’ll go back to my frantic sprinting.

Daggum treadmills

For my training today (which I’m pretending to be all caught up on because I did one long run in one month… yikes), I had to run speed intervals. I’ve actually started to really enjoy these workouts. Maybe it’s because I can channel my inner former-sprinter and because I can talk myself in and out of stuff easier when it’s for shorter periods of time.

Whatever the reason, I was having a grand old run this early morning on a treadmill, when I started noticing that when my treadmill was at the running speed, it was shaking back and forth more than I’m comfortable with.

Quick – but important – sidenote: My gym is notorious for constantly having machines that are broken. At any given point, almost half the machines don’t work. A couple weeks ago I was running on one of the few supposedly “functioning” machines doing intervals only to find out that the belt was incapable of going faster than my jog speed. So…even the functioning machines often don’t work correctly.

Anyway, I’m doing one of my speed intervals and the treadmill is shaking intensely. I got nervous and switched treadmills. Not only was I nervous that the shaking would make the belt do something weird, but it also kind of made me feel fat-like the treadmill can’t handle my weight on it. And I see some BIG people on those things. Didn’t like that shiz one bit.

I stepped on the treadmill just to my right because the two to my left were both “Out of Order.” (See my above tirade.) When I went to do my fast speed on that treadmill, it was barely any faster than my walking speed.

I would like to take this moment to recognize that I could totally go on a badass ramble about how fast I run and how awesome I am to run so fast… but I don’t run all that fast really. It’s nowhere near the supposed capacity of a treadmill. I would love to pretend like “Man, I’m so awesome that even a treadmill can’t handle this speed,” but it’s more like “I run sometimes and sometimes I go faster than slow and any treadmill should be able to handle it because it’s very reasonable.”

To wrap up this epic interval story, I had to move to a treadmill right next to someone running (always an awkward move when there are so many theoretical options- but they were all out of order! It was my only option!) and I had to pick up the intervals halfway through where I had left off.

That treadmill didn’t shake and went what seemed like the right speed (felt very fast and I didn’t like it so I assumed it was the right speed) so I finished my run “successfully.” Technically.

I still felt awkward because I was the girl who kept switching treadmills every five minutes. Blarg.

There May Be Hope…

…and There Will Be Blood.

Actually, there won’t be any blood. It’s just Oscars day here in LA so everything sounds like a movie. There is hope, though! I just finished my first long run in a VERY long time (almost a month!) and I am happy to report I made it!

Sure, I went very slow. Sure, I stopped to pet a few dogs. Sure, it was six hours later than my race will be. Sure, it was absolutely perfect weather. Sure, I barely felt the difference between running and walking- but the point is I did it! One hour, fifty minutes, babies. Run run run. Fun fun fun.

Now it’s time to celebrate with one last Girl Scout cookie before I start my cleanse tomorrow.

Oh god- as of tomorrow I’ve got to exercise while taking supplements and eating a really strict diet.

Oy to the vey.

Let’s hope it’s a miracle diet…

I’ve got a race coming up in less than two weeks. It’s another half marathon. I’m actually really excited about it because I love races and half marathons especially. But I’m more apprehensive than last time because, well, I haven’t gone for a long run in over three weeks.

I took a week off after my last run. Then I skipped a long run because of my schedule. Then I skipped another because of sickeness. Then another because of my schedule. And now we’re at two weeks out, and I have yet to run more than five miles.

I’m starting a pretty serious diet/cleanse on Thursday, so I’m hoping it’s a special magical miracle diet that magically makes me much better at running distances.

Right now, that seems to be my only hope.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Smile for the camera

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Completed my first half marathon of the year (my goal is to do six of these bad boys this year…)

It felt great to finish this at a record (for me) pace (9:17 per mile average)

Despite being tired and focusing hard, I never forgot why I was running in the first place. Because I find it freaking fun.

And since I’m an actress by trade, I can’t help myself when I see a camera…

Motivated Monday.

Alright. I had a few other priorities that started taking over my time. But, even with other priorities on my mind, I did two things that are “cray cray” as the kiddos say.

1. I bought a gym membership.

LA Fitness. Locations all over the country (and city!). Monthly fee. One time signing up fee. I’m stingy. These things are important to me. I bought it a month ago and have been a few times. Not as many as I would like, but that’s because I lacked a goal. I’d go and do stuff and get some muscles sore, but then didn’t see the point. My biggest motivations come from goal-oriented stuff. Which brings us to the second thing I did…

2. I signed up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

I’ve run three half marathons at this point in my life, so it’s not like this is groundbreaking. It’s still difficult when you’re out of running shape (like I am right now!) but it’s a goal (other than expensive- again with the stingy!). I difficult goal I can reach towards, work towards, motivate myself to do.

I like those things. Even though I complain about them endlessly.

Speaking of, this morning I went to the gym to start my half marathon training program. I focused mostly on strength training my legs and some stretching (like the program calls for). I already feel sore from just a few weighted squats and lunges.

Waaaaaahhhh. Let’s do this.