Running is fun again!

Prior to moving to Colorado I loved running. I did it everyday, down to the beach and along the boardwalk. It was my stress relief during a very rough period of my life, my confidence builder during times I was shaken and one of the only things keeping me healthy. I channeled that love in to training for half marathons, excited to move to a town that was a running mecca.

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This was all before I learned what elevation did to my lungs. My first day here I burst out the door on my first run and barely made it half a mile without gasping for air. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am very sensitive to altitude and moving a mile up into the sky wrecked my endurance. Instead of pushing through it, I allowed myself to make excuses for not training and running fell to the wayside.

About 8 months after moving, I decided to try to pick it up again now that I was adjusted to the altitude, but then I broke my ankle and was benched for 5 months. Ever since then, I would sporadically get the urge to run, strap on my shoes to pound the pavement and find myself so discouraged that my mile splits were almost two minutes slower per mile then when I left LA that I would stop.

Recently I’ve gotten the itch to get back into running and searching for races online. The past week I ran everyday, trying to focus on enjoying the run and not constantly staring at my watch to see what my pace was. Today I went for a trail run, forgetting until I arrived at the trail that it had recently snowed meaning the trail would be icey and muddy.

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This meant that there were portions where I had to tread lightly, balancing over icy rocks and splashing through mud to get to the free space where I could stretch my legs and burst through the woods. My mind was focused on my steps and enjoying the beautiful snowy landscape around me.

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I loved it. I didn’t care about my time, I didn’t care about the distance. I was running for the pure joy of running, for probably the first time in over 2 years. Sometimes its good to leave the watches and measures behind and remember why you love doing something in the first place. Simply because it makes you feel alive.

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Denver Rock N Roll Mini Marathon

Five weeks ago my work sent around an email saying they would pay for anyone to enter the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon or Mini Marathon. Five weeks wasn’t quite long enough for most of us to train for a 1/2, but a good number of us signed up for the Mini Marathon, a whopping 3.75 miles 🙂

The 1/2, Full Marathon and Mini Marathon all started at the same time and I have only one word for this race: CROWDED.  Let’s start with the bathroom lines. This picture was taken as the horn went off for the people in corral 1 to start running. I had already been waiting FIFTEEN MINUTES.  Yes, you are right that you can’t even see the port-a-potties because the line curves around and continues another 10 people or so. Oof.

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I somehow had been placed in corral 13, but snuck into corral 7 near the front. The first 1/2 mile wasn’t too bad, but then it started bottle necking. I went up on the sidewalk and ran there for a bit and, while looking around to see where I could squeeze back into the pack and then nearly flipped over a wall/bridge barrier that seemed to come out of nowhere in front of me. I stuck to the road after that. This race also had some of the worst race etiquette I have ever seen, with people stopping to tie their shoes in the middle of the road instead of moving to the edge. I was very glad when the mini marathon broke off from the 1/2 and Full, because I could not imagine running a full 1/2 like that.

I didn’t go out there trying to PR anything, especially with such a random distance, but I wasn’t too disapointed with my times. Definitely would have been nicer to have a bit more free space and less running into people.

Image We were rewarded with delicious Michelob Ultra’s at 8am. Because that’s exactly what you want at 8am, right?

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Overall, it was a great way to start my sunday morning with some people I like hanging out with ( I’m pretty lucky to have some awesome coworkers). I think doing a physical activity together is a great way to bond with people. I also love the fact that my company was encouraging people to be active and fit. My kinda place!

Do you like being active with friends?

Has your work ever sponsored some type of race/physical activity?

Hot Chocolate 15k (1:25.22)

I’ve been waiting to post this until pictures from the race came out so I could add one of them. Turns out all the ‘hands up victory’ poses I did got missed and one of me dying was nicely captured. Isn’t that always the case? Needless to say, there will be no actual race pictures.

Sunday I decided to go run 9.3 miles with over 2,000 of my closest friends for the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Denver Race. I was incredibly nervous, as I have only ran over 6 miles about 5 times in the past year… and that includes the Tough Mudder last year.  I was scared I was woefully undertrained and my stomach was in knots during my early drive down to the Denver. The 5K started at 7 am, with the 15K starting at 7:50. It was a bit of a chilly start.

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Some people went as far as to stand over the sewers so the steam would heat them (I was not that desperate). The first mile went by really quickly as we ran through the Downtown Denver area, including past my office! I saw a man in front of me running with the strangest stride. The best way to describe it is that he looked like he had moon boots on, with his feet super wide and bouncy. But he was around the same “pace” as I was,  so I decided Mr. Moonboots and I were going to be pace buddies.

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This lasted until mile 5, when I tried to be super cool and look like a pro runner, grab a gatorade, and drink it mid-stride.  I then proceeded to choke, stop, sputter and cough When I looked up Mr. Moonboots had gotten quite far ahead. So, I took up following Ms. Peacock-Tights instead. This is how I entertain myself during long runs. I know, it’s weird.

Half way through mile 7 I started dragging, thinking how much I wanted to stop and walk. A long hill didn’t help. I kept thinking about Janae’s slogan “It’s rude to count people as you pass them… out loud” . This was not because I was passing people, but because I kept getting passed and wondered how many of them were counting me. Mile 8, I decided to pick up the pace a bit, I thought I had more in me and I wanted to finish strong. I started pumping my arms, stretching my legs, felt myself getting a little faster….and watched a 90 year old man, half bent over, breeze on by me.

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I had tunnel vision by the time I entered the shoot. I didn’t even look for my boyfriend and coworker (who had run the 5K and had stayed to cheer me on with a sign her adorable daughter had made me!). I was a little bummed I didn’t break the 9 minute mile barrier (my tracker said 9:01), but I hadn’t expected to even get that with my lack of long run training. My GPS recorded the course as 9.49miles, but that was probably due to my bobbing and weaving. Afterwards we got hot chocolate and chocolate fondue, with pretzel, crackers, a banana, and marshmallows to dip in it!

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The race was SUPER well organized, with a wide open course and digital clocks at each mile marker for those who didn’t have a GPS. They had water stations every mile, and I three or four bathroom stations too. I think it may have been the best organized race I have ever done.  My coworker and I are already trying to decide which one we want to do next!  Race fever, baby!

How not to run smart

Today I was an idiot. I will be running in the Denver Hot Chocolate 15k (somehow I thought 5 weeks would be enough time to get in shape) and decided today was my first training run. I proceeded to have the least smart run of my life. So in case you ever were curious this is how not to run smart, please continue reading….

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1. Wake up 3 hours after you planned to get started, so that your run occurs right around the hottest part of the day on a day predicted to be 90 degrees.

2. Even though you know it’s gonna be a hot one, you decide not to bring a water bottle.

3. You also decide you don’t need sunscreen, bc you won’t be out THAT long.

4.  You wear super dorky high socks, so that when you do end up getting a sunburn it’s totally attractive.

5. You go out into the middle of nowhere cow land in the hopes that your Garmin Forerunner can actually get a GPS signal.

6.  That means that you won’t have any tree protection, but instead lots of sun shine and no places to stop and beg for water. 

7. Then not even have charged your Garmin properly so when it does finally find a GPS signal (woo woo!) it dies, so then the fact you are out in the hot waterless sun country doesn’t even matter.

8. When you finally see an apartment complex in the middle of no where, sneak into their gym to try to steal some water. When the water cooler doesn’t have cups, literally stick your mouth under the faucet because you fear you will faint if you don’t get a couple drops in your mouth. 

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9. When you finally get home collapse on your couch in front of the air conditioner and not properly foam roll/stretch it out.

Ya. Don’t do any of that. Unless you enjoy feeling like you are slowly melting into the ground and keep thinking that soon you will be able to identify with people lost in the desert.

Paleo Tangy Chicken with Mango Jalapeño Lime Salsa + Fruit Flies (but not together)

Hey guys! Long time no talk. My bad on that one. I keep thinking about things I should write about, but then don’t have the mental energy to actually do it. But I’m finally well rested and ready for a steady stream of posts on how to foam roll, how to be happy, overpronation, some recipes, and more.

All week I was looking forward to Saturday for the sole purpose of being able to sleep in. You ever have one of those weeks? After a nice long snooze, I decided to get up to the mountains and went for a hike with my friend and my dog (who is 11 lbs and needed to be carried now and then, just adding an extra challenge!).

Image It was overcast and started sprinkling a little on the way back, but was still nice to get out and get some fresh air. That night I watched a documentary on Happiness, which was very interesting and I’ll talk more about in my next post. One hint: exercise was considered one of the best ways to improve your happiness level.

Today I had wanted to go tubing, but Mother Nature decided to bless us with 60 degrees and rain, so I did a quick speed workout with some negative splits.

ImageI’m trying to get my speed back up and, as much as I hate short fast runs, it’s the only way to improve my overall speed.  Good thing I had some yummy food waiting for me. I present you with…

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BAKED (or GRILLED) TANGY CHICKEN WITH MANGO JALAPEÑO LIME SALSA

1lb chicken breasts

1 jalapenos

2 limes

1 red onion

1 mango

salt/pepper

1 avocado

1. Dice the onion and jalapeño and stick them in a bag

2. Squeeze juice from limes and lemon into the bag

3. Cut up mango (without skin) and put it in the plastic bag

4.  Put chicken breasts in bag and let marinate for at least 45 minutes in the fridge

5. Put a dash of salt and pepper into the bag and shake

6. Back in the oven on 350* until done, about 25 minutes.

7. Serve with chopped up avocado

Now, since it’s in the title I have to mention the neat little trick I learned to get rid of fruit flies. Pour some apple cider vinegar and a piece of a banana into a water bottle. Take a piece of paper and roll it up, put it in the bottle.

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The flies will fly down, but won’t be able to fly out. Finally an easy way to get rid of the ever multiplying pests! Until next time, friends.

Outdoor Stair Master

Yesterday afternoon I got a call at work from my boyfriend asking if I wanted to go trail running after work. I have begged him to go trail running with me for ages, so I was super excited and immediately said yes, even though I had already lifted that morning.

I always forget that it stays late till at least 8 o’clock during the summer, leaving plenty of time for outdoor activities after work.  We headed to Mt. Sanitas in Boulder, excited to run some trails.

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We probably should have read a description, as what we encountered was more like an outdoor stair master.

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We ran any part that didn’t have stairs, but the stairs were too high/un even to fully run up. Even without running, it hurt my poor sore legs. I definitely had to put my head down and power through towards the end, but we made it to the top in just under 26 minutes.

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And it was all worth it for the great view of our beautiful city.

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We ran down the other side, which is a little longer but far less steep. We made it back just as some dark clouds were rolling in and lightning was dancing in the sky around the mountains. It was a great way to end a stressful day, getting out into the wilderness, pushing any worries out of my mind and focusing solely on forcing my body to its limits.

Earning My Independence (5K Race)

I hope everyone had a fun, safe and indulgent Fourth of July Weekend. I feel like I’ve been go-go-going for the past month so it was nice to be able to have time to sit back, relax and just breathe for a couple days. But not before I earned it…

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I got up at 6:30 on the 4th of July to run a 5K at the Boulder Reservoir to “Earn my Independence”. I had asked my friend, who just happens to be an MMA fighter and is in great shape, to run it with me expecting him to say no and for me to give an “eh, I tried but no one would do it with me” type excuse. To my surprise he was really into it (mainly for the tank top), so I had to haul my butt out of bed bright and early.

This race wasn’t the best. I had never run a 5K race before and definitely didn’t run smart. Since I was running with a friend, I didn’t bring any type of garmin/pace tracker. I made the mistake of trying to keep up with my friend and went out way too fast. Based on his finishing time, I’m guessing the first mile was about 7:10, which is not really my pace right now, even for a 5K. I told him to go ahead and leave me and then proceeded to die the next 2.2 miles. I think I was more happy to see the finish line for this race than for any half marathon I have done, which is pretty pathetic.

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Once again, it made me realize just how out of  running shape I have gotten (well really, poor shape I have stayed in since my ankle injury). Runner Ritsa talked about it as well, but it’s really hard to balance lifting and trying to build muscle with getting the miles in you need to stay in good running shape. I’m still trying to find a good balance. I ran every day this weekend, trying to get back in the habit. I plan on running some, even if it’s just two miles, every day from now on (except rest days).

I also spent a lot of time with friends this weekend, including a BBQ on the Fourth at my boyfriend’s client’s house,. They have horses, so we had to do some late night horse whispering after the fireworks…

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I also spent lots of time by the pool, at the farmer’s market and watching the UFC fights on Saturday with some of my besties.

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Hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to get back into it!

Anyone else find it hard to balance all the different types of fitness you want to do (running and lifting for example)? How do you  find the time and energy to do it all?