Sunday, July 19, 2015

Triple Lakes Trail Half Marathon Training Week #1

When I train for full marathons, I run four days a week; when I train for half marathons, I only run three days a week. My body doesn't work well on high mileage, and there's no reason (other than runner's greed) to run more if you've found your sweet spot for a certain distance... in my opinion.

I'm also playing it smart as I'm coming back from injury and not trying to increase my mileage or speed too quickly. I told you here that I've picked my next half marathon to be a trail race so that speed isn't a concern - I'm not going to PR on a trail race, let's be honest.

So my approach for halves! Twice on weekdays, I run between three and seven miles, and one weekend day is usually the long run. I'll have one or two rest days, and I'll incorporate strength training at least twice a week. When I strength train, I make sure I do that first, as it's the priority workout.

Sunday 07/12
REST DAY. Mwahaha, the plan begins with rest. Pretty much aced this workout.

Monday 07/13
5.7 miles + squats + bridges with leg lifts. As I stepped outside for this run, I was super happy. It was cool(er) and overcast. Then I started running and realized that it was cool and overcast because it had thunder stormed that night. Needless to say, it took about 0.003 miles in before I realized the humidity was ridic. Like, I could cut the air probably, microwave it, and use it as gravy... ew, what? Then squats on squats on squats with dumbbells. I wasn't shaking by the last set, which means it's time to up the dumbbell weight! Woo!

On MONDAYS, we wear pink - pink shoes, pink socks, pink shorts. Not pictured: pink headband.

Tuesday 07/14
Triceps + chest + 60 minute elliptical. Huzzah, cross training! Tricep cable pull downs, overhead tricep press, tricep/chest press, chest flys while balancing on a stability ball, then an easy(ish)-peasy(ish) elliptical session.

Wednesday 07/15
1 mile "warm up" + 3.5 miles. Yes, the two need to be separated - they were so not the same run. OKAY. So this day, I flew to California. I was up at 1am east coast time (excitement) to leave at 3:30am to catch flight #1 that left at 6am to get to a one hour layover in Chicago... then four hour flight #2 leaving at local time 8:10am, getting me to San Diego at 10:20am west coast time. Body clock was off three hours meaning legs and hunger were off three hours. Joe picked me up, went back to work, and I explored. I set out for what I planned to be 4 consecutive miles, but for the first few minutes, I headed straight into major people traffic. I was awkwardly dodging all sorts of groups of skateboarders and surfers and children and dogs, and I couldn't enjoy it (plus the fact I was wayyyy out of it from my flights and lack of sleep). Then un-ignorable nature called (TMI?), so I thankfully retraced my steps back to Joe's, equaling about a mile. I set out for a successful take two in the opposite direction, which took me to a bike path along the beach - um, YES. However, I was reminded that I am NOT an afternoon (or after-traveling) runner.

Thursday 07/16
Rest day. This was a big decision, actually. Every race that I've ever, ever, ever, ever done has had a plan that incorporated two rest days a week. After getting hurt, exercising differently, and going to physical therapy, I started working out six days a week. Looking back, that contained a lot of yoga (which I'm no longer doing due to my hip/nerve issues). I hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to do this day for a workout, over-analyzing each aspect from "well, I'm still sort of sore in my upper body from Tuesday and from being upright for like, 24 hours yesterday" to "I really don't want to work my legs today because I need to remember I'm coming back from injury..." I felt like I SHOULD workout, but I didn't want to. That whole addiction thing rang in my head, but the memories of months of crying over painful movements and jogging inabilities were louder.

Saw this sign that day on a walk. Fitting, huh?

Friday 07/17
Biceps + planks + 45 minute stair climber intervals. I felt super rejuvenated this day after my rest day (even though we stayed up until ungodly hours hosting a cook out... er, excuse me, a BBQ... stupid west coasters... anyway). I got a two week membership to Joe's gym down the street and did bicep curls and hammer curls separated by some planking. Then I dominated the stairs. I swear, sometimes stair climbing intervals seem more difficult than running 400 meter or mile repeats. I alternated 3 minutes easy and 4 minutes hard, and I was drenched and huffing and puffing by the end. Oh, and if you're wondering how I got a nice 45 minutes out of those numbers, I began and ended with easy segments. Loved it. On an annoying note though, the machines at this gym shut off after 20 minutes. Rude.

Saturday 07/18
7 miles. We woke up to crashing thunder - like, window-shaking, dog-barking, car-alarming thunder. Luckily, it broke for a bit, so I still got a (humid) run in. I was going to run along Ocean Beach's Sunset Cliffs, but given the slippery ground (and the fact that these are cliffs), I thought it would be safer to run on the bike path I found a few days ago. Positive: I ran through the middle of a 5K! Always a nice bout of inspiration/motivation/competition! Negative: Knee woes. I felt a little tingle in my IT band knee (hip side was fine, praise Jesus). I was told by my first PT that since I had ITBS so badly, I'd probably feel some heaviness and pressure in my knee for the next year or so... I'm hoping this was that and not a re-tightening. I'm planning on going easier with the weekday distances and cardio cross training next week just in case.

What's your favorite cross training activity?
Do you get a little upset when fellow runners don't wave back?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lies & Triggers & Bragging - Oh, My!

Please know that with this post, it is not my intention to call anyone out, hurt anyone's feelings, or critique anyone's blog. This is just something I do (or rather don't do) for me, and I wanted to get it off my chest.

There aren't really any numbers here on She's Going the Distance.

Running success is measured numerically - like any sport, really - and primarily with speed. The winner of any race has his or her net time noted, world records require the fastest time, and some races hold speed-related entrance criteria.

Then there's weekly mileage (number), races completed (number), years running (number)... you see my point.

I've noted some distances during my recent return to running from injury, and my Instagram has some Garmin/RunKeeper pics on it (but that one's going to stop).

"And why?" you ask. Comparison. And mostly comparison of myself to myself.

There are many times I want to post my race PRs and my training run stats. I honestly sometimes feel that if I had those numbers documented here, I'd be more respected as a runner and a blogger. I occasionally want to join you who have your personal bests written down the side of your home pages; I want to brag about numeric accomplishments of which I'm proud.

Then I'll have a bad (read: slow, read: THIS IS INJURY-IN-THE-MAKING THINKING) run and be thankful I don't because I wouldn't want to post it. But isn't that a lie of omission? Aren't bad (cough-slow) runs just as important as the good ones and deserved to be included? Runs have feelings, too.

Please know: I don't think being a fast runner is the one and only way to be a good runner... not one bit. This is my own being hard on myself stupid thinking. "Slow" and "fast" are so relative to each, they aren't catch-all words. Again, this is MK's voice to MK.

Also I'll see someone else discuss a faster run or a higher mileage week, and I'll be triggered to compare. I'll sometimes feel lesser and unworthy - and it's no one's doing but my own.

So I keep speeds off my blog. I'll most likely keep talking (briefly) about distances (I mean, I'm "going" it, aren't I?), but I don't want to include times.

Remember this feeling I talked about? That's how I want to differentiate a "good run" from a "bad run." As mentioned, only caring about speed got me hurt and set me out of the game for months. In an effort to remove this unrealistic importance, I'm attempting to refrain from making it an aspect on my blog. The time it takes to run a mile shouldn't determine if you had fun during that mile.

If you post your times, your goals, your bests, I'm so proud of you! I applaud your confidence and your success. I just don't think it's a good choice for me.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tried It Tuesday - Valentine's Day or Halloween?

Tomorrow morning (after a 3:45am wake up, yayyy), I'll be on my way to visit Joe in California! But before that adventure, it looks like I'm linking up with Lake Shore Runner again for Tried It Tuesday! I attempted my first Pintrest-esque feat.

Enter foreboding music.

It went... decently.

I wanted to make this cut out heart t-shirt:

Ingredients (supplies?) were simple enough: chalk, scissors, paper, some sort of upper body clothing. I had the first three, and Old Navy graciously sold me a $4 tank for the fourth.

Let us proceed.

Step 1! Trace the heart, leaving a bit of a space between sides.

Step 2! Draw lines where you will cut.

Step 3! Cut!

Step 4! Pull the fabric so the cuts sort of hang loosely.

Step 5! Try on and realize that you did NOT actually cut out a heart but rather a skeletal rib cage. No longer will this be a Valentine's Day shirt... Hello, Halloween!

Any DIY fails?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Feel Good Post!

Namaste, fools.

I wanted to share some good Internet happiness today!

First up - this amazing video, where strangers meet in a dark room and talk... then the lights come on. "Labels are for cans, not for people."

This hilarious BuzzFeed post about why running is horrible, awful, no good, stay away. Enjoy the virtual giggle.

The fact that my high school cross country teammate Ryan Hill is going to the World Outdoor Championships! (Okay, so this happened a while ago, and I'm just now sharing it, but yay Ryan!) Does this make me famous by association?

A reminder that Ryan's fast is not my fast, my fast is not your fast, and your fast is not my fast. Yeah.

And then this is me as a pumpkin from 2007 during cross country season. Relevant.

And while this isn't an Internet find, another half marathon training cycle started for me yesterday (!) ... with a rest day. Killing it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 10, 2015

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Happy Friday, my dears! Time for a little countdown for the weekend.

5. The number of days until I fly to VISIT SAN DIEGO TO SEE JOE. I'll be there for the majority of July hooray, hooray, hoorayyyy.

Tough Mudder, November 2013. Paint, not blood.

Ohh, the differences in our lives...

4. The number of songs I'm currently obsessed with.

Please note: My blog is a judgement-free zone, thank you very much. And with that...

Skid Row - from Little Shop of Horrors (just smile and nod)
Love Runs Out - OneRepublic (little late on this bandwagon...)
World Championship Finale (2) - from Pitch Perfect 2 (the Bella's winning number ;) )
Platinum - Miranda Lambert (I'm brunette)

3. The number of pairs of shoes purchased recently.

New Balance 775s (left), New Balance Fresh Foams

I'm loving both of these pairs of shoes... which is nice, considering I had a near mental breakdown hoping they were good choices. The 775s took some runs to get used to, but the Fresh Foams felt as if I had been running in them my whole life (in a good way)! Also, I like how this picture makes them seem smaller... cough-I-wear-a-size-10.5/11-cough.

$8.50 from Old Navy, say whaaa!?

And the above are my other current loves. I don't run in those...

2. The number of salad pictures taken this week.

Spinach, tomatoes, onions, almonds, eggs, Sriracha.

Spinach, peas, corn, green beans, carrots, cottage cheese, tuna, BBQ sauce.

1. The number of months left until I start graduate school.

This has been a very weird time in limbo for me, and I'm ready to be done. If you recall, I graduated from undergrad with a BS in math, worked in DC for two years, then quit my job in May so I can start grad school (sport and exercise psychology, woop woop!) in August. For the time between, I have moved home to live with my parents. I guess in my mind I had this picture that coming home for this summer would be like coming home for some sort of break during college - all of my friends from high school would be around, and we'd play and laugh and la-dee-da forever and ever. Yeah, no, they aren't here. I've had travels to visit family, and I have my aforementioned long ass visit to California, and I've had occasional encounters with some other friends and acquaintances from my past, but I'm so ready to have structure again. Give me classes! Give me papers! Give me tests, exams, stress!

On second thought, keep the stress.

Pick a number and give me a fact! Please.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Back to Basics

I'm more or less functioning without pain now, and so I've been assessing my upcoming training and looking back on past cycles.

I have kept one Excel spreadsheet for many, many years where I collect my training plans for races in different tabs. The evolution of these tabs is enlightening.

My training for my very first half marathon is located in the oldest tab. The cells are color coded to depict running days, cross training days, and rest days. Running days have the mileage number - no pace data, no indication of tempo/interval/recovery/base, zippo. The cross training days show "CT" - I don't know if that day was a cardio cross train (elliptical, bike) or a strength cross train (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest, lower body). I didn't get hurt during the training for this race, and I remember enjoying each workout.

Over the years, that format changed. The first huge jump was made when I started documenting specific cross training. I think that was beneficial; now I'd know when I last did upper body versus lower body to even out my gains. Nobody wants to skip leg day...

Then started the running specifics. I think this is a two-way street. On the one hand, I think it's very important to remember when you do hard workouts and when you do easy workouts. Easy, easy, easy doesn't challenge you, but hard, hard, hard can injure you. The other hand will be discussed further down...

I added the same kind of components to my strength training cells. In addition to "biceps, triceps," I also recorded the number of reps and number of sets for each type of exercise.

In short, my Excel tabs have gone from containing cells that could hold at most 4 characters to containing cells that have novels written in them.

I think this kind of detail can be extremely beneficial if used for good and not evil. Unfortunately, I am a creature of comparison, and if there is past numerical data available, you can bet your ass I'll be reviewing obsessing over it. 

Why was last month's 7 mile base run faster than today's? I did 4 sets of 15 reps of bicep curls yesterday, but I did 5 sets of 17 last week! What gives!?

As my Excel chronicles increased in size, my appreciation of my physical ability diminished

And that's why I'm going back to basics. The comparison has officially driven me crazy; I'm going to keep some record of what I've been doing but nothing that can give me the means to harass and negatively critique myself. I think the KISS principle applies to me and my Excel sheet - keep it simple, stupid. 

What kind of detail do you keep for your running? 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tried it - now what?

I'm relatively new to the actual blogging scene, so I'm not exactly sure how "link ups" work. Do I need permission? Do I just link something in my post to someone else's blog?

Well, I wanted to do a "Tried it Tuesday," (heyyy, Jamie and wonderful creator Sara), and so yeah, I guess I'm linking up...

From last Tuesday night to yesterday Monday morning, I was vacationing with my family. I told you all here about my views on working out while with family, and how I try to get something in, but I'm a lot more lenient with it. So one day, instead of doing my usual 1-2 hour workout in the morning, I decided to try something that I've read a lot about but have never actually tried - splitting it up into segments throughout the day.

I've done two-a-day runs before, but I'm not really talking about that. I'm talking short(er) bursts of energy to sum to a long exercise routine.

There are multiple online sources that discuss the possible benefits of this (like here and here). Let's be honest, I'll always prefer long, grueling distance runs, but in the spirit of trying new things, I experimented.

8:20am - 8:40am 20 Minute No Equipment Workout (printable)

This gave me a great wake up routine! I exchanged the "Frogger" exercise for mountain climbers (because I'm less coordinated and because I wanted to). I also forgot the push up part of the "Push Up and Rotate." Oops. I definitely worked up a sweat... but that might be due to the fact that I was exercising in my grandmother's attic. It's not the most AC-ed area of the house. Morning heart rate up.

The shag carpet helped soak up my drippings perfectly.

11:00am - 11:20am 20 Minute No Run Cardio Workout (printable)

Okay, this one was more difficult. Probably because I had just returned from a very humid, hazy walk with my mom. And because I was hungry. The "Invisible Jump Rope" threw me for a loop (HAHA, I'M FUNNY), and I felt a little awkward... yes, it was already awkward jumping around in my grandmother's attic alone to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, but the additional imagined (or lack of real) jump rope made it more so. Also Bunny Hops will kick your ass. Again, nice heart rate rampage.

So far, I felt as if I had put in some quality exercise time in the AM, and these two sessions kept me entertained and energized throughout the morning.

Fast forward through lunch, some day drinking, and a nap...

Basically me, but not as cute.

2:30pm - 2:45pm 15 Minute Bodyweight Workout (video)

Okay, I'll admit I did not like this one as a workout. There's only a bit of warm up, then like 2 seconds of exercise, then a stretching cool down - but this post isn't supposed to be a review on the quality of these workouts (which it's turning into), but rather my feeling for working out in spurts all day. This DEFINITELY gave me needed energy for the afternoon. I mean, I felt totally rejuvenated after drinking and sleeping, like those two activities didn't even happen. Warning: when thrusting your legs out willy-nilly to the side, make sure there aren't fragile candle holders around you... ahem.

4:00pm - 4:10pm 10 Minute Butt Workout (video)

I'll be honest, I did this one so soon after the last one because I really wanted to finally shower. I should have done this one earlier in the day because it's pretty good.

Concluding thoughts: I probably won't be doing this again unless I absolutely have to. I am all for fitting in different sessions of exercise if you can't get it all in at once, but you know what? I can. I have that luxury, so I'll take it. While the time may add to a usual workout (for me - everyone is different), and the intensity was there, I never got that mental satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment from any particular one. The post-inebriated nap workout DID do wonders for waking/sobering me up though! And I love being active throughout the day. Also, this was the perfect day to do it - we were at my grandma's, and she has a nice backyard and pool. It was an overcast day, so I didn't mind popping away for a bit to do these workouts. Had it been sunny and beautiful, I probably would have resented it.

So there we have it. I tried it, and now it's Tuesday, so I'm telling you about it.

Monday, July 6, 2015


What is PDH, you ask? Pretty. Damn. Happy.

Here are some MK running updates:

Last weekend, I ran my first run without pain. It was 3.5 miles on the treadmill with Joe sitting and watching in a folding chair in my basement. I was ecstatic. And he's an amazing boyfriend.

Like a race spectator, except not.

Tuesday before leaving for my family vacation, I ran 6 miles outside. Now folks, this is the farthest I've run since my BQ in January. And once again, it was WITHOUT PAIN! I don't know what felt better - crossing that finish line or finishing this run... (okay, you caught me, it was crossing that finish line [honest blog]).

After the endorphins wore off, the over-analyzing set in. I had taken Ibuprofen that morning prior to running. I was EXTREMELY concerned that those pills were the reason I felt no pain - not because I was actually healing. Trust me, I know the issues that arise with taking anti-inflammatory meds before working out, including blocking important pain receptors needed to know if you're injured and to warn you to stop. Silly MK.

Well anyway, I decided I was going to run again on Friday and make SURE I did not take any drugs.

Enter second concern: upping distance.

Do I want to run 14 miles right this very minute as I'm typing this? Yes.

Do I need to realize I haven't run these ANY distances in months thanks to nerves, hips, and IT bands, and do I need to increase my mileage slowly? Yes and yes.

Enter third concern: speed.

So, humble brag, I'm thrilled with my speed. Thrilled. I've apparently not lost that much, and even with the addition of summer heat, I'm performing really well. Hmm, okay MK, the reason you got hurt in the first place was because of your tight IT band from always wanting each run to be faster, faster, faster. Cool it on caring about the speed.

Subtract concerns two and three.

Friday came around, and I was nervous as hell. I went out...

...and ran without meds and without pain.

4.15 miles for the 4th of July weekend of 2015 (ha, get it!?)

I'm PDH x 19,020,238,230. And the praise goes to God.

Tell me about your return from an injury!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Therapize Me!

Not a word, whatev.

I've been through physical therapy for longer than some, shorter than others, and I've learned some things - figured I'd share the wealth! Maybe some of these bullet points can save one of you from potential physical and financial pain...

  • Foam roll. Please. Keep things loose and flexible. I don't think you need to roll everyday for 30 minutes or anything, but it helps to occasionally get on that baby and squirm.
  • Some stretches require long holds, other stretches are more active and more "pulsated," if you will. A good rule of thumb in my opinion is that if it is an INTENSE stretch, do repetitive holds for 5 seconds. 
  • An interestingly large amount of discomfort can stem from your lower back. A lot of nerves are attached there, and you can experience tingling, burning, pain, and/or loss of feeling from your hips down to your toes from bad posture. 
  • Girls - weird things happen during our time of the month. We get pressure in our lower backs from menstruation, thus possibly leading to the aforementioned issues.
  • As I said here, a good indicator of a healing injury isn't necessarily the lack of pain during exercise but rather the recovery time afterward.
  • If you have to sit, maybe take a rolled towel and place it behind your lower back. Keep that gap - look like a C pointing away from you; don't form your body into a slumpy forward C!
  • On that note, bean bag chairs are apparently the devil.
  • Recovery isn't linear. You'll have good days and bad days.
  • DO NOT GOOGLE. This is something I'll admit that you should do as I say and not as I do. Googling leads to A) the belief that you're dying, B) stress, and probably the worst offender, C) comparison. Just because so-and-so recovered from IT Band Syndrome in 2 weeks doesn't mean that you will. Everyone's recovery journey is different, and reading message threads about others' adventures (disasters?) could end you in a funk of extreme discouragement and negativity.
  • Trust your therapist. They are trained to help you! 

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor or therapist, just a recovering recreational runner with her fair share of medical bills ;)

Hope you all had a great start to July!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two for the Price of One

I had two topics in mind that I wanted to discuss this week, and both have enough weight to them that they could be their own blog posts... but I got antsy, so here's a BOGO deal from me. You're welcome.

First up - vacations and exercise.

Like many of you, I'm traveling for the 4th of July holiday. I'll be hanging out with my family (parents, grandma, cousins, aunts, etc.) for about a week, starting tonight. While I'm basically already on an extended vacation until graduate school begins in August, I'm still excited for a week of tanning, relaxing, drinking, swimming, and being with family in a new location.


You can feel the "but..." creeping up behind you...

This means no accessible gym. No machines. No weights. And all around more difficultly in fitting in exercise.

There was once a time in my life where this would be a SERIOUS problem. While it still causes me discomfort and a little anxiety, I'm much better about going with the lack-of-routine flow. I know I can fit in makeshift circuits when I don't have equipment (like the one here), but sometimes I'm left feeling like I sort of half-assed my workout.

It's so much more important to spend time with your loved ones than obsessing about your fitness. Trust me, I've returned from vacations in a cloud of regret, wishing I had spent thirty minutes laughing and playing cards with my aunts rather than huffing and puffing about "feeling lazy." 

Maybe this is extreme, but think about it - when you die, do you want your tombstone to read "Great Daughter" or "Great Legs?"

Next up - relationship with God.

As I've briefly mentioned, I have a Bible that's sectioned to take you through it in two years. I just finished.

Throughout the whole thing, my daily reading reminded me about His love for us. It reminded me to pray, to always think about Him, to thank Him, and to consider what really matters. I had this thought that as soon as I finished, I'd be struck with such knowledge, such Biblical wisdom, that I would do what was right more often than not, pray hourly, and show my love to others on a much greater scale.

Yeah, not quite.

Actually, the opposite has happened. As soon as I closed Revelation, it's like I closed my relationship with God. My daily reading was my meditation, my habit-former, and in its absence, I've forgotten all that I've learned. Horrible, but honest.

Don't worry, guys - I plan on starting a new devotion program in order to keep up this relationship. I could tell that I was so much happier when I was talking with Him constantly and when I was loving others the way He loves me. I hate that I've forgotten, but I'm grateful that He's reminded me.

How do you deal with traveling and exercising?
For those of you who are religious, do you ever push God aside?

Monday, June 29, 2015

He's going the distance, among other events...

This was a whirlwind weekend full of all kinds of emotions.


Mother and I went to our town's minor league baseball game, and she caught a foul ball! She's the one with the hand-eye coordination in the family; that's why I run.

Though there wasn't much competition - look at those filled seats...

Our team ended up winning in the last inning, which was exciting, but the game was a far cry from my days in DC watching the Nationals.

Friday. Yikes. I ran 5 miles outside (longest distance in six months, whoop whoop!), but unfortunately, I decided to foam roll the completely wrong part of my body. Dear friends, when you have possible nerve damage in your hip/groin area, please do not irritate it by repetitively smashing your body against a cylinder for twenty minutes. Needless to say, I was quite upset and teetered on another "all is wrong with life" moment. Luckily, I realized this wasn't the run's fault (although there was mild pain during it), this was my stupidity, so I didn't dwell for too long thinking I had regressed in recovery.

Then it was early to bed, early to rise, becauseeeeee...

JOE FLEW IN FROM CALIFORNIA. Pardon his squinty eyes. And my ridiculous cowlick.

He traveled the cross country distance to spend one day with me to accompany me to my high school friends' wedding! Most gorgeous. wedding. ever. Because I don't want to be obnoxious and try to get their permission to post pictures or details online while they're on their honeymoon, I'm going to refrain from showing you just how gorgeous - you'll just need to take my word for it. I saw SO MANY good friends from high school that I haven't seen in years. I laughed, I cried, I randomly decided it was a good idea to drink Baileys, I ate too much cheesecake...

Even with his wearing cowboy boots, I was taller.

Sunday made its way to impolitely end my weekend, and something in the back of my mind said, "Run." I tried to shove it off - I ran Friday, and it didn't end well. I was scared. 

But I did it anyway...

Joe has always been my good luck running charm. He has been with me through a ton of races and injuries, and he's sat patiently entertaining himself while I've been off on my long runs.

Sunday I demanded asked him to sit with me as I ran on the treadmill.

3.5 miles and zero pain. None. Nada. It was incredible. I cannot express (ha, you all know) how much I've been wanting and how long I've been waiting for this run - this painless, freeing, emotional, light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel run.

After prancing and screaming and jumping and singing and hugging, we went to brunch with my parents, and then I sadly drove him back to the airport. 36 hours wasn't enough.

I didn't have too much time to mourn because as soon as I got back home, my parents and I went to a downtown symphony concert!

And the weekend ended with a visibly disgusting, yet oddly pleasing salad with cottage cheese and salsa.


How was your weekend? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Being the Middle Man - er - Workout

We live in a world that oftentimes works in black or white.

The answer is yes or no; situations are good or bad.

As a mathematics undergraduate, I loved definitive answers. You knew whether you were right or wrong. Huzzah binary choices!

Ahh, but life isn't this simple.

On the blogosphere, we console each other with "oh, not every run will be a good one..." and congratulate each other with "awesome workout!"

What about when your exercise for the day is neither good nor bad but sort of both? What about when it falls in the middle?

How do you react when your workout is mehh?

I struggle with this from time to time - it wasn't a good workout, but you can't consider it as one of the "bad" ones because it really wasn't crappy. Does that make sense? Sometimes I think that I might as well mark it off as a rest day, but then I consider the fact that it wasn't rest, and believing (or pretending) that it was and nixing a REAL rest day could lead to injury. Then I think I should do more to make it "worthwhile," but that could also lead to an injury from doing too much when your body doesn't want to. Over-analyzing, eh?

Yesterday, my legs were uber sore from mad ellipticalling and squats. I knew I wanted an easier day, preferably upper body, so I did a little makeshift arm circuit workout at home. I didn't have time to go to the gym due to other plans (hello Swedish massage and baseball game!), so it had to be quick.

Side note: That was the best massage I've ever received. Not only did he help work out my kinky hip, but he put a warm eye mask on me that smelled like oatmeal. You all know how much I love oatmeal.

Unfortunately, I ended my workout feeling as if I hadn't done anything at all. I was a little discouraged; I didn't have any endorphin high, and my arms weren't sore.

If only this could be my excuse.

Later, I stumbled upon this BuzzFeed post that quotes:

"Glorifying pain leads to more injuries, inconsistent results, and a very limited understanding of what it really means to harness the body’s power.

Learning how to balance high-intensity workouts with moderate and low-intensity workouts is a crucial skill for creating a balanced, sustainable program.

—Jonathan Angelilli"

I know low-intensity is an important aspect of training. I know that... but what about the mental satisfaction that was lacking from this workout?

My dad has a favorite saying: "It is what it is."

Accept it, learn from it, mark it in your "DO NOT DO" exercise list, and move on.

Easier said than done.

How do you deal with mediocre workouts?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I want these, please.

Let's take a quick break from running, fitness, injuries, and food, and allow me to show you pretty things that I would like to have.

"No questions - get in the banana."

This is bread. This scares me... but not enough to keep me from wanting it.

That pool.

Except you can't have this AND a cat... good thing I don't have a cat.

Half whiskey, half frozen glass to keep it cold but not watered down!

I like all of this.

I never had a tree house, but I think this one would be the one I would have wanted.

Because food.

How adorable would this be hopping around your house!? And oh so flyyyyy.

All photos have been found via the wonderful, amazing, addicting site, theBERRY.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10 Pescetarian Points to Ponder

It's been about a month and a half of pescetarianism (word?), and I'd like to share some insight.

But first!

Shifting your diet is a big move, and I highly recommend doing so with a flexible attitude. Just know that you don't have anything to "prove" - if you choose to give up meat but then decide a few days/weeks/months later it's not for you, you didn't let anyone down, you aren't a failure, and no one can or should judge you.

That being said, allow me to enlighten you on a few things to remember before shooing away the furry and feathery protein crowd:

  1. Realistically assess your favorite fast food restaurants. Chick-fil-A has the word CHICK in it for a reason. There is a void in my life that only a char-grilled sandwich can fill. Alas.
  2. Have a conversation with the members of your household and their olfactory preferences. It's a new rule here that after I make my meals, all the trash goes into the street trashcan, not the kitchen one. 
    Mmm, dat smell.
  3. If asked, you're a vegetarian. It's much easier than saying "pescetarian" and requested to explain.
  4. However, although verbally you're a vegetarian, you can stray from veggie menus. Sometimes those menus won't have shit, but if you look at the normal one, it'll have some delicious seafood option that you can enjoy!
  5. But on the flip side (again), Finding Nemo takes on a whole new meaning when trying to agree on a restaurant.
    We found food options for BOTH of us!? Totally excited.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, you are NOT what you eat. I have yet to find any scales, fins, or gills on my body.
  7. Your wallet will be a little lighter. $ seafood > $ deli. 
  8. Beg ask your boyfriend not to boast about his new and improved buffalo wing sauce that you won't get to try on buffalo wings (not to say spicy tuna isn't a thing).
  9. Obviously, you can get your protein from sources other than fish (cough - eggs, beans, and almonds - cough). 
  10. Lastly, however you choose to classify yourself, don't let others classify you! 
    Did I miss anything? ;)

Monday, June 22, 2015

All Kinds of Crunchy

Crunch [kruhnch]:

1. verb. to crush with the teeth; chew with a crushing noise
2. noun. one of the most common abdominal exercises

1. Used in a sentence: MK loves to crunch almonds.

From my Instagram.

Typically, I'd choose the Sriracha as my favorite flavor, but I honestly think all four of these are really, really good! The Honey Chipotle are a bit more subtle than you'd expect but still excellent. The Wasabi have the most flavor dusting, so if you choose those, be prepared with napkins. At least they don't leave your fingers orange like Cheetos... ;)

Pre-wrapped wrap: spinach, cottage cheese, Wasabi almonds, curry powder.

2. Used in a sentence: MK still wants abs, but she has read that crunches aren't the best way of getting there.

Conventional wisdom says that crunches bend your spine incorrectly, yadda, yadda, yadda. With all of my recent hip problems that are starting to go away, I really want to err on the side of caution with anything I do.

I found this 30 day ab challenge, but I'm making some modifications. I'm replacing the sit ups and crunches with side planks and keeping the leg lifts and regular planks. Sunday began the challenge with a 2:00 minute plank, 1:00 right side plank, 1:00 left side plank, and 20 leg lifts. I also found this site listing alternatives for sit ups and crunches!

Ultimate goal, amirite? I'll let you know how this goes...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hi, I'm MK, and I'm an Over-Analyzer.

If over-analyzing had been a college major, I would have been valedictorian.

I over-analyze everything - from did I really need that second cup of coffee? I don't want to screw up my nervous system! to I can't believe I said "bye" instead of "GOOD bye..."

Recently, I've been over-analyzing my future running and all that comes with it. With the amazing healing that I'm so thankful to be feeling currently, I've picked out three possible half marathons in order to choose my "comeback" race, so to speak. All three are in the same general location, spread out by a few weeks - one is October 10th, one is on the 17th, and one is on the 24th.

I'd need to start training earlier for the one on the 10th. I don't have a base yet! But I didn't really have any sort of base for my very first half... my training was my base, and it was great! But that was before you really did any sort of specific workouts, MK. You weren't concerned with speed or strength, you just ran. 

The one on the 24th is a trail race. You primarily run on streets, MK! You won't be prepared! But the site says it's a good trail race for those who don't do them often... Plus this gives me a way to NOT worry about speed since trail races are slower. I don't need to worry about paces. That's what got me hurt in the first place! 

The frustration is real.

Maybe I should find one in November? No, I want a good mental break from keeping up with a training plan before Boston training. But I don't want to rush into a race! But I want to race!

What if my training plan for this half doesn't work? What if I get hurt again? No, no, I've done many halves using this plan and was fine. Maybe I should add more distance to the three-a-week runs? You didn't for the past several years, if it ain't broke don't fix it. But I did break! But you broke at marathon distances...

I need new shoes. *Insert mother buying me two pair of New Balances here.* But what if I shouldn't be running in NB!? No, I've always run in NB - except this past cycle when I got hurt in Brooks! Well, it's not the shoes' fault you got hurt, it was your "balls to the wall" mindset... But shoes are important!

I sound like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

My precious...

I finally settled on the October 24th trail race - plenty of time to train, and different, slower terrain. Rhymez.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Running Flashback #2

In honor of #ThrowbackThursday, here is yet another running flashback. As with the other flashback, I wrote this a while ago, and here are some snippets from my injured marathon!

" [...] I spiraled downward after that, over-thinking every little twitch in my knee. I spent the hour+ drive up in prayer with my eyes closed. “Please don’t let the pain be that bad…”


The remainder of the night was spent in a jaded, numb stupor. I was so sick of thinking about my knee, so sick of worrying about this marathon; I just wanted to go to bed. So we did, but apparently the rest of the hotel didn’t get that memo. Our lovely neighbors were up until our alarms went off.

[...] I downed some oatmeal and Nature Valley shrapnel and taped up my knee. Naturally, I began worrying if I’d taped it correctly. I was silent the majority of the way to the race. My attitude was almost the exact opposite of my giddy self before the New River Marathon.

Things started to turn around after we parked. The hushed excitement of my fellow pre-dawn runners was contagious, and I began to feel ready. The starting line was extremely well-organized, and the MC did a great job. Joe was beside me until the last ten minutes when I began merging to the middle. I was right by the 3:35 pacer in order to try to qualify for Boston (a still unattainable feat at that point).

The gun went off[.] [...] My knee felt fantastic, and I started smiling.

The next few miles were really good. My knee started acting up, but it was nothing like what happened a few days ago on the treadmill. I knew if it stayed at that dull throb, I could do this. I was behind the 3:35 pacer a bit, but since I didn’t cross the starting line right as the clock started, I knew my real time would be a few seconds behind. I could still sprint ahead at the end if I needed to pass the 3:35 runner. I enjoyed these miles for the sheer joy of running. This part of the race was around a beautiful community situated on a lake. The houses were gorgeous, the spectators were enthusiastic, and the signs were hilarious (ex: Run like someone just called you a jogger!) I felt amazing. I was running outside again! No longer sentenced to a treadmill, this was the kind of running I lived for.

[...] Then all of the sudden the sharpest pain went through my knee. It was fleeting, but it brought up the worry I had been wanting to avoid. If this pain is coming now, will it get worse exponentially throughout the remainder of the race? Nothing to do but push on. The 3:35 pacer and I played tag for a while. He’d get ahead, then I’d get ahead, and it messed with my mind. Could I hold this pace? Did I go out too fast? I started thinking about my fueling. With my music, I couldn’t hear the volunteers calling out either “water” or “Powerade,” so I had to guess at stations. When I had guessed incorrectly (water) too many times, I started to worry about my personal Gatorade supply in my water bottle. I did one of the things that marathon experts advise against – I tried something new on race day. I tried Gu… and it worked like a charm.

I left the 3:35 runner in the dust at mile 17. I got a second wind, and I started repeating phrases to myself. “Make it hurt. Make December worth it.” [...] My smile was back.


Then I heard it: the familiar, deafening, bone-chilling beep of lost satellite reception. I looked down at my Garmin, and sure enough, the little UFO icon was blinking. I actually almost laughed to myself. This was a true test. Could I finish this in my time without the aid of the pacer or my watch? My watch timer was still going, so I noted the time as I passed the 20 mile marker. I kept reminding myself to stay in the mile that I was in. Beat the clock. Focus on these seconds… And that’s what I love about running. Beating yourself, pushing yourself to see what you’re capable of. Intense focus on a piece of the whole. Repeat. Mile marker 21 rolled by, and I checked the time. Perfection. I grabbed more Gu and took off.


We made a turn, and the finish line was visible. I started striding, unbelievably happy. [...] My music got soft, and I heard, “MK!” Whipping around, I saw Joe beaming and running toward the finish. I turned again and crossed the finish line with the biggest grin. I did it. Well, God did it. I qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon [...]"

Monday, June 15, 2015

Blessings and Curses

But first! My current top 5 country songs:

Anything Goes - Florida Georgia Line
Cheap Seats - Dallas Smith
Real Life - Jake Owen
Sirens - Lee Brice
Crash and Burn - Thomas Rhett

I tell you these because 1) I'm obsessed with them, and 2) I've put them on my RUNNING PLAYLIST!

Yes, you read correctly, running. I was released from physical therapy last week (!!) and instructed to keep my runs between 3 and 4 miles until the pain goes away completely. Each run has moved me closer to negligible fatigue and farther from leg-dragging pain!

Yesterday, I ran outside at a normal pace for the first time in six months. I smiled the whole time; I felt as if I were flying. I pumped my arms and yipped a bit... I probably looked slightly insane.

You all know this feeling.

A little tidbit I learned from PT (disclaimer: this is one therapist's casual comment, not a medical certainty, but it's something I like to repeat to myself): When recovering and after being cleared to workout, feeling some pain is okay and common. What really indicates healing is how quickly the pain subsides after exercise. Last Monday, I ran three miles on the treadmill and was pretty much out of commission all day. Any movement hurt. Yesterday, I ran three and a half miles outside with much less pain during the run (like hardly any), and it went away in an hour. Progress, not perfection.

Now for the blessings and curses: summer and technology.

We all know summer running is hard. We all know summer running slows you down. I am thankful for these facts - coming back from an injury, I'm going to be slower due to lost fitness... but I can also look at my times and not feel SUPER down, because I know some of it is due to the time of the year! Yay!

The curse part? Summer running is hard, and summer running slows you down.

I use a Garmin and RunKeeper on my phone to track my workouts - sometimes one, sometimes both (I'm a little crazy).

All the gadgets!

I LOVE being able to look back at past runs! I love being able to give myself a little boost of confidence after viewing my stats from a hard run, and I love being able to see progress! But... while it's true that heat can slow me down, I can also look back at runs from LAST June and compare. Yikes.

I'm working really hard on not comparing. I'm pretty sure I've commented on that notion 39,233 separate times on ya'll's blogs. What I want to remember is that feeling I had yesterday - that smile, that mid-run fist pump. Wish me luck!

Any country music suggestions?
Anyone else a victim of comparison?

Mid-June Detail Dump

I have no idea what to write about today.

I don't like workout recaps, I have no spectacular hip news to throw at you that's any different from what you heard here, I didn't cook anything amazing, and I don't have any deep thoughts on a particular subject.

So why not a summary of what I did Friday through Sunday? Sound okay?

Friday morning started off normally. Went to the gym, came home, binged on Gossip Girl (not embarrassed - I never got around to watching it in high school, so yes, 24-year-old me decided now was good). My mom and I left to visit my aunt that evening, and we hit up some delicious sushi. My aunt and I could live off of the stuff, but my mother detests anything that even resembles fish... you can bet she's happy that she's now living with a pescetarian for the summer.

Looking thrilled.

Saturday morning, we all got up to walk the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! I've done this race walk a few times, and my aunt does it a lot since it's in her neck of the woods each year. It's a 5K for breast cancer, and some people do get intense and race it, but we leisurely make our way. The support this race gets is AMAZING. Not only are there 39,423,948,294 volunteers (I'm only estimating here, guys), but the residents of the neighborhoods that it goes through come out and participate too! People set up speakers on their front lawns, some people were having brunch on their porches and toasted the runners/walkers, and some people even brought out sprinklers and squirt guns to help us cool off in the 90 degrees! Some teams also had the most creative names; example: The Treasured Chests! Saving more than just the booty.

Not my Instagram.

The rest of the day, we baked in the sun at my aunt's community pool.

Sunday was spent out on a boat on the lake! I haven't been out on a lake since high school (seems like I'm just reliving my teenage years, huh?), and it was great. Anyone else put life vests on as diapers so you can use them as chairs to float in?

Me, Mother, Aunt... obviously.

Needless to say, I'm sun beat and sunburned, but pretty pleased with my weekend. Happy Monday!