Runs that end with sunsets are the best

I set out for my run yesterday in time to bask in the last bit of warm(ish) rays of sun.

sunset on the coast of the bay

The moon had already peaked over the horizon and I felt like I was on that Star Wars planet with the weird moons, or weird suns, or whichever it was. It was Star Wars that had that, right?

tatooine

This is the extra week that I added to my half-marathon training plan, and my first stepback week. Ironically, I pushed harder in this run than I have in recent runs. I think calling it a stepback week takes the pressure off, ya know? It’s not a “real” week of training so no need to play it conservative to make sure I don’t fail or miss runs the rest of the week.

Hello, progression run.

progression 3 miler

After I put in my three miles, I was rewarded with this.

sunset

It had been a long day and the adrenaline of work had carried me through my run, just one more thing to cross of the list.  It’s so easy for me to get caught up in and carried along by “busyness”.

But who could call this a sunset to be crossed off a list? So, instead I made a deliberate choice to be in the moment and to reflect on being grateful. Grateful to be running in this place, on this day, at this moment.

Always, Sierra

What are you grateful for?

Are you a Star Wars fan? Excited about the new installments to come? Pro Disney? Anti Disney?

Workout Recap: Half Marathon Training Week 3, 1/6 – 1/12

A day late and a dollar short! Well, several dollars short since I don’t get paid for all this :).

I went to write this post Saturday only to find that my laptop refused to turn on. There had been no blue screens of impending doom, no warning signals. Just a laptop that was dead to the world. I checked to make sure the cord was plugged in, pushed the power button again and again…nada. I stuck it back on the shelf just knowing the battery had gone kaput and that the Mr. would have to work his magic when he got back into town.

Well, he worked his magic this morning all right. Turns out his magic involves making sure that the cord’s not just plugged in but plugged ALL THE WAY in. D’oh. Stupid technologies.

Monday: Stretch + strength

Tuesday: 2.96 miles, 11.14 min/mile average, with 4 x 400 repeats. Clearly I could work on consistency with these repeats! I also think I’m getting out of the gate a bit fast.

First – 0.26 mi in 2:15.3, 8:41 pace

Second – 0.24 mile in 2.07.5, 9:01 pace

Third – 0.25 mile in 2.19.2, 9:15 pace

Fourth – 0.25 mile in 2.09.3, 8:31 pace

Wednesday: lazy rest

Thursday: 2.21 miles, 12.21 min/mile, hills. I had plans Thursday evening to check out Amaluna with the girls, and it was so tempting to skip this run. Work ran late, I wanted to eat a healthy meal at home before I left, I had to factor in time for BART, if I ran I’d have to blow dry my hair, etc. But I resisted all the excuses and just got done with I could do. It wasn’t the three miles I had planned, but it was better than zero miles.

Also Amaluna was great! One of the dancers had the most amazing back and I had some major back envy going on. There was also a sudden urge to take trapeze classes then run away and join the circus. Who’s coming with me?

Amaluna

Friday: 4.10 miles on the treadmill, 12:00 min/mile. Strength.

Saturday: 6 miles, 12.06 min/mile. A long run on a nice overcast morning. We were supposed to get some much-needed rain, but it drizzled for all of two seconds. I was disappointed.

Bay Trail

Sunday: Rest…took a quick road trip to hang with my brother for the day! We had a great time. Between you and me, he is one of my favorite people in the world, maybe even the universe.

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I was beat by the time I got home (8 hours on the road will do that to ya!), but I pushed through and did some food prep for the first part of the week. It paid off when I sat down to lunch today.

meal prep

Running Miles: 15.27

Here’s to another week of good company, good workouts, and yummy food!

Always, Sierra

Workout Recap: Half Marathon Training Week 2, 12/30 – 1/5

Week 2 of training has gone well! The training plan called for my first run at half-marathon pace. I laughed when I read this. It’s my first half, shouldn’t I be happy with whatever pace gets me across the finish line?!

This being the age of the internet and all, I turned to my trusty coach Google. Turns out Runner’s World has a pretty awesome race time predictor, ever used it? I plugged in my fastest 5K time (2013 See Jane Run) and it spit out all kinds of fun geek-out numbers.

race times predictor

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It looks accurate to me! Around the time I hit that 5K PR, I also had my fastest (unofficial) mile at 9:46, and my 10K times were in the same neighborhood as above.

That means, if everything goes well, I’m looking at a roughly two and half hour half-marathon time. Let’s say that again…two and a half hours. 2:30. That’s crazy to me!!! I’m torn between feeling like I should be able to finish faster and feeling disbelief that I’ll be running for that long straight. But I’m in it to win finish it, and can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Monday: 3.01 hilly miles in the hood, 12:14 min/mile.

Tuesday: Strength

New Year's Eve workout

Wednesday: Rest & Recovery (From workouts? From New Year’s Eve? I’ll let you ponder that one…)

Thursday: 3.3 miles on the treadmill, 3 of them at 5.5 mph and 1% incline for an approximate 11:00 min/mile pace. This was my run to be done at half-marathon pace, which would be 11:35ish according to the above, only I did all the googling after the run instead of before. Oh well, we’ll just say I’m ambitious! #notaplanner

Friday: 3.31 evening miles in the neighborhood and strength. The same routine as above, adjusted to two times and minus the jumping jacks and burpees. My intent was to focus on form more than reps since my muscles were already being worked out by the hilly running.

evening run

Saturday: Cross-training day, a leisurely walk with the Pita creature.

Sunday: 5 rough miles, 13.04 min/mile with lots of stopping/walk breaks. You ever have one of those runs where your mind is totally in it, and your body is still in bed? I started out feeling like I was running through quicksand. And not because my legs felt heavy (that came later), but because for the life of me I could not catch my breath and get into a rhythm. Every step felt like 100 steps. It took me about a mile, mile and a half to realize dehydration was the culprit. My mouth was dry, my breath was hot, it was ridiculous. I finally made it back round to a water fountain 3.5 miles in, and water has never tasted so delicious.

Water Never Tasted So Good

Running Total Miles: 14.62

Always, Sierra

What adventures have you been up to this weekend?

Favorite Posts of 2013

Recaps of the year’s favorite/most viewed/best posts are so trendy in blogland, I couldn’t resist. I thought it’d be a quick post to crank out, but I’ve managed to put together a significant body of work for this blog’s first year!

It was fun to peruse the posts, cringing at some of the awkwardness (don’t worry it’s not going anywhere), and taking joy in the year’s memories and accomplishments. Check out some of my favorites below, and I hope you join me in 2014 for more fun and shenanigans!

10. My first blog post has to make the list! Just a little bit about the motivation behind my blog and how I finally made the leap to start writing.

9. We moved! We got a cat! We celebrated Christmas with Mom in the new spot! There have been so many positive changes in my life, I loved sharing them in this post.

8. My purpose for the Run to Feed the Hungry race this year was to spend the morning taking some time out for myself and reflecting on the things I’m grateful for…the loved ones in my life and a body that can carry me through a 10K. The Thanksgiving Feast that followed? A minor bonus :).

7. A girls trip to Cabo San Lucas? Memories to treasure. Planning a trip to Cabo? I included a few travel tips as well.

6. My Fave Newbie Runner Moments. Because we all have to start somewhere.

5. There’s been a lot of hiking this year, but exploring Point Reyes National Seashore was one my favorites. It also inspired another post I liked writing, how to survive a wildfire.

4. Weekly Workout Recaps are one of my favorite category of posts. I’m a geek for numbers, data, etc., anything that helps me see progress over time, and they’re a great way to reflect on the progress I’m making (or not making as the case may be). I chose this one to highlight because it was a great week for balance. I got my miles in, took in a ball game with the Mr., and discovered an amazing new brunch place with the girls. That’s the kind of week I want to have every week.

3. Discovering a new to us camping spot in Lake Tahoe was a blast. Fishing, beautiful scenery, a huge meadow and a creek all to ourselves…what’s not to love? Maybe the bug bites..

2. Race Recap: See Jane Run 5K. A huge PR for me of 32:59, and on a warm day to boot. Next 5K goal? Sub-30!

1. Celebrating my Dad on his birthday, the first since he passed. Go tell someone you love how you appreciate them just the way they are!

Here’s to another year full of many more favorites!

Always, Sierra

Workout Recap: Week 1 Half-Marathon Training, 12/23 – 12/29

It’s official y’all. Come March 2014, I’ll be making my half-marathon debut!

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I had a lot of back and forth with the Oakland Half. I’m vaguely worried of getting bored on the course since it won’t be all that new to me and parts of it are definitely not scenic. I’m also a little dubious after reading about long courses and looking at the course map with its ridiculous twists and turns. But! The Oakland Half has one big thing going for it…it’s close to enough friends and family that I’m sure I can bribe at least a couple to come out and spectate. I’m gonna need it :).

Today was Week 1 of training, also known as get back on the horse week. I’m loosely following Hal Higdon’s plan. I added an extra step back week early on to give myself some time to build up any lost fitness, for 13 total weeks of training. I’ve also added in two days of strength work and 400m repeats on alternating weeks to work a bit on speed. I’ve got it all posted on our refrigerator like a good runner in training, and I’m taking some delight in putting a big fat X through the days when I finish a workout.

Half Marathon Training Plan

Monday: 2.3 miles, 13:15 min/mile. Holy crap there are hills in my new neighborhood! It had been so long since I ran that my poor Garmin was neglected and dead, not that I really needed it. The plan was to run 3 miles, but I made it to about 2.3 miles before I called shenanigans. I finished out the three miles walking with Pita, and took it as a lesson learned about what to expect on future runs.

Tuesday: Stretch & Strength Rest. Mom came up early Tuesday and we promptly kicked Christmas Eve off with a little bit of moonshine, some shopping and failed sugar cookie making. (True Story: whole wheat flour does make a difference when the recipe calls for all-purpose).

Wednesday: 3.07 miles, 15:45 min/mile. After a morning of presents and breakfasting, I snuck out for a run. Lots of new trail to explore, and a little bit of coyote.

Trail Running, coyote

Thursday: Rest. Two to three mile walk with Mom to enjoy the pretty weather and good company.

me & mom

Friday: 3.07 miles, 12:07 min/mile. First run of the week on flat ground, and the goal was to take it easy with all of the hill running to date. Mission accomplished.

Saturday: 4.02 miles, 11:35 min/mile. Did y’all catch the UFC fights? I’ve been getting hooked this year watching TUF, the athleticism they all have is amazing. My heart broke for Anderson Silva and his leg breakage, too shocking.

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And even though she didn’t win, Miesha Tate fought with her heart and looked good in the octagon.

Sunday: Walking around the flea market for a couple hours counts as cross-training right? Right! Found some cute earrings for a dollar, holla! (I couldn’t resist.)

Flea Market Finds

Running Total Miles: 12.16 miles

Overall: Off to a good and excited start. This is the first time I’ve followed a training plan of any kind, and it feels good to go out and run with purpose. Skipped strength because 1) I’m in holiday mode and 2)…yeah, that’s all I got. Making it a priority for Week 2!

Always, Sierra

Are you a UFC fan? Do you think Anderson Silva will be able to recover and come back?

Have you ever followed a Hal Higdon training plan?