I’m still here! Reflections and other thoughts during my 3-4 month hiatus.

WARNING: This could be a long one.

Yes, I am still here. Not very active on here because well, I haven’t exactly been active.. BUT I have been (we’ll get to that more in a bit).

So, here is what I think happened. After a long, almost two year straight journey with running, I think I burnt out. That was it. I just became burnt out. After doing the 30 Day Yoga challenge, I did end up getting into yoga more. I still continue to do yoga to this day on days where I just don’t feel like doing cardio. Let me tell you: I have seen some positives while doing yoga more often, particularly in my core area. Yay!

While I got into yoga more, I drifted away from running, although I didn’t completely stop. I really didn’t, I still run. Just.. not as often as I’d like.

I found that with all the apps, the charts, the miles, and the blog posts – let me go back to it – I just got burnt out. I needed a break. Simple as that. I can only keep constant track of my running for so long until I realized that it was stressing me out. I suddenly kept comparing myself in every single workout, and thought I didn’t do my best. Didn’t run fast enough? Didn’t do my best. Didn’t run as much miles? Didn’t do my best. Gotta work harder. Gotta be better. My mind became clouded with so much negativity from within myself that I decided to put running in the back of my mind.

But I stayed active. I swam, did yoga, went on the bike, lifted weights, and did my favorite HIIT running workout on the treadmill. The thing is, I just didn’t work out as often as I liked.

After gaining about 5 lbs. (WHY??), I realized running is what kept me truly active, My workouts were organized, I always made sure I had time. It’s time to get back into shape and get back into the routine. However, I realized I should go about this a whole different route.

Since my hiatus, I’ve come up with some ideas that I will need to, if I have not already, implement:

1) NO MORE KEEPING TRACK OF MY TIMES. This means no more apps. No RunKeeper, nothing. While it was cool to know how far I’ve come when I got back to running, it suddenly became daunting when I’d see my times slip, or my miles go lower. I realized I wasn’t running just to run and have fun, I was running for the stats, and that wasn’t fun. I haven’t tracked a run – or any workout – since April, and it feels damn good to not give a damn how I do every single little workout. Sure, when I sign up for races, I’d still like to place a good time, and I think those are the only times I’d actually post up and compare my progress, but I think my goals at any race would just be to run and finish strong. If I happen to finish at a good time, that’s a bonus! i think I’ve come far enough that I am confident in my abilities – I can run X amount of miles, I can do this – there’s no need to prove to myself otherwise.

2) Watch what I eat. I’ve been eating too much good stuff lately, – that means, easy stuff. I’ve eaten one too many DiGiorno pizzas for dinner because I got lazy. Time to keep that habit to at least only 2x a month! I also need to start bringing lunch to work more often – it’s less tempting to go out and overeat on something when I know I have a good lunch! This means I also need to start being more mindful of what I can bring, so I know I won’t wimp out and just buy something later on.

3) Get back to working out 5x a week. This is where I’ve slipped up and I am now suffering the consequences. While yoga has helped build my core, I can’t do it alone – cardio is what kicks my butt, and helps keep me in shape. I will need to implement short yoga sessions into my short workouts to still reap some of the benefits. Or.. relaxing yoga on my rest days wouldn’t be too bad too. 🙂

I’m writing, once again, in this blog to remind myself that I need to get back to it. It was fun while it lasted, but now, Fall is coming.. which means, races are coming up – and a LOT of them. I initially wanted to do another half marathon this Fall, but because of finances (by the way, I FINALLY GOT A NEW CAR IN MAY!) as well as lack of training, I think I will be sticking to the smaller distances. I’m sure I’ll still get some pretty medals along the way.

So here we go – I’M BACK!

Till next time,

P.

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Week recap!

I’ve been sticking to my routine!

On Tuesday, I did my favorite HIIT workout on the treadmill. Went at a comfortable speed for my fast 30 seconds: 6.0, and then 5.1 for recovery. I felt really good afterwards – a nice jolt of speed was just enough!

Today, I decided to go outside and run after work instead of hitting the gym again (which means Saturday, I can sleep in and go to the gym for my cross training day!). It was such a beautiful day! It finally cooled down, and it was a nice and breezy 75 degrees during my run. Took it nice and easy and maintained my pace: still a good 10:30, my usual “easy” pace.

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I’m not usually an evening, after work runner, but lately, it’s been fitting my schedule better. Since I live a little further, I don’t have to rush during my mornings if I can get my run in at the park right after work!

Can you believe it, tomorrow is Friday again! I felt as if this week went by super fast. I’m excited though: on Saturday, I’ll be having some yummy Korean BBQ with some girlfriends for my early birthday dinner. Next weekend, I’ll finally be visiting my family! I haven’t traveled to see them in a while; the last time I saw them was for my half marathon! I’m so happy to be able to spend my birthday with my family, especially my Mom, who has the same birthday as me! 😀 It’s going to be hard to get a run in, especially after eating so many yummy food, but I’m determined to at least run a mile on the day of my actual birthday. Gotta celebrate another year of being fit!

I hope that everyone’s had a great week! TGIF – we’re almost there!

Till next time,

P.

6.2 miles and getting back in the habit

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So yesterday, I had planned a 10k run in the morning. I promised to take my time, and run just to run. Lately I feel like I haven’t been looking forward to running when I had to run outside, and I think it’s because I always expect myself to go faster than I should.

Which, I shouldn’t.

I mean, I didn’t used to always care. I used to just go out there and run. When I was half-marathon training, I loved my long, slow runs. I could take my time, listen to music or an audiobook, see the sights, and take it easy. What happened?

It was then that I realized I stopped having fun with my longer runs, and it made me not look forward to them anymore. This past January when I was training for my 10k, I felt like I had to be fast: I ran fast uphill even though I knew I shouldn’t, which led me to not want run any route that involved going uphill.

After my run yesterday, I kept telling myself, run slow, don’t worry about the time, and don’t rush. I ran a slow time of 1:08 and took my time going uphill… and guess what? I loved my run! I see now how important it is to remember to have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing, otherwise you’ll just not want to do it! I’ve lost sight of that, but now I remember again.

With that said, I’m going to start my old routine and run / cross train Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun. I’m going to be at the gym during the weekdays (since I just don’t have time since I’ve moved, especially before work), and running outside Sat. and Sun.

I’ve also been planning a goal for myself for this year. Last year, finishing a half-marathon distance was my goal. Now that I have that under my belt, I’m thinking of not just doing the one half-marathon in September, but another one later on the year. That means TWO HALF-MARATHONS. I feel like I’ve done enough smaller races… maybe it’s time to step it up a notch? 😉 I’d definitely have something to train for, now!

Always love seeing this little fishy during my 10k runs!
Always love seeing this little fishy during my 10k runs!

Hope everyone has a great Monday ahead!

P.

Let the tapering begin! (Half Marathon Training Day 92)

Last night, I dreamt of running the Nike Women’s Half… but it was actually more of a nightmare. I kept getting distracted and pulled from all different sides from the race – there was suddenly something that I had to do, so I had to steer off course, for HOURS at a time. I could never finish! I kept getting back on the course only to have to do something again. I was the last person to finish, and the thousands of others were already heading home.

Phew. I think I had this dream because I have been stressing a lot about the race lately. I think I’ve been focusing too much on time, instead of covering the distance.. and I really shouldn’t. Since this is my first half, I should really only do my best and tackle the distance. Master the distance, worry about the time later. Through all my training, I’ve forgotten the main thing I actually trained for: to reach 13.1 miles. Yes, it would be nice to finish in 2:30 with no rest breaks, but if I finish later than that, oh well. What matters is that I finished, right? In these last couple of months, I’ve had a lot of gains. I’ve run so many miles and I would’ve never done so if I didn’t sign up for this half. I need to remind myself to just go with the flow.

When my alarm woke me up from my dream, I was so groggy. I thought it was Monday! It took me a few minutes to realize I had to do my long run. I really didn’t want to. Waking up at 5 yesterday morning and running a fast 5k made me really tired and I didn’t realize it. But, I sucked it up and got ready. By 8, I was out the door.

I slept in a little since I knew the weather wouldn’t be too hot at all during the morning. After my first mile, I started running behind an older woman, and in due time, I caught up with her. At first, I actually frightened her because she noticed my shadow gaining on her – haha! We ended up chitchatting about what we were training for. She was training for a half as well, but her’s was in November! She had told me she was doing 8 miles today; I told her I was doing 11. We talked a little more about how our training was going and just how tired we were from it! I ran her pace until I had to change my course to continue on my 11 mile route and we parted ways. I haven’t ran next to someone since my cross country days; I forgot how nice it was! Talking with the woman only helped me stay focused for the rest of my run.

I reversed my usual, hilly, long run route and to my surprise, I actually ran uphill in good time! With the route reversed, I was going uphill for a longer amount of time. I figured it was good practice for San Francisco. After I went downhill however, I started getting tired. At around mile 9, I stopped at a park to drink some water and use the restroom. I was thinking to myself, how would it be when I’m at the half? I need to learn how to use the port-a-potty as fast as I can.. haha.

I ended up finishing 11 miles at 2:11:06 – a whole minute faster than my last 11-miler, and this was with a huge hill! I was pretty damn proud of myself, but I was also really tired.. and my right foot was hurting. Darn you, arched feet! Does anyone have any remedies for foot arch pain?

Throughout today, I just pretty much cooked, cleaned, did errands.. most importantly, I managed to watch the Berlin Marathon since I missed it last night. So proud of all the runners, especially the new record holder Dennis Kimetto, and of course, my girl Shalane Flanagan! Although she didn’t beat Deena Kastor’s record, damn did she run that race! I believe she will break records in due time.

Anyway, that’s about it. I hope everyone has had a great weekend! Can you believe it’s already going to be October later this week?!

Till next time,

P.

 

RACE DAY – Saint Paul the Apostle Church’s Harvest Run 5k, 2014. (Half Marathon Training Day 91)

Well, I didn’t PR, but I definitely was in for a surprise!

Today was the day of my first 5k since March of this year! I managed to get up at around 5:50 am this morning to get to where the race was by 6:30. I was surprised I had enough energy this morning: I had gotten dinner with friends last night and did not get home until late. I got ready quick, and grabbed a KIND bar on the go. I had about an hour and a half until the race started, so I had some time to have a little something to eat before.

Everyone was really friendly this morning. I usually go to races myself, since my boyfriend unfortunately works mornings on Saturdays, which is usually when I have a race. I found myself talking to a lot of fellow runners. I swear, I have never met a rude runner. It’s always easy to strike a conversation with anyone at a race! One man had told me that he was finally getting back into running, and that today was his first 5k – after 20 years! After some more small talk, he agreed to take a photo of me before the race started.

Two thumbs up for an awesome race! Little did I know at the time. :p
Two thumbs up for an awesome race! Little did I know at the time. :p

By 7:30, we were off. I already knew to pace myself and not let myself get too excited as everyone rushed past me, so I just took my time. The course was relatively flat, with a couple of hills. It was a beautiful course – the first part of the trail had us go into a lush, green field and some old farm houses. I wish I got to take photos!

Once I reached the first mile’s water station, I yanked a cup off the table and tried my best to drink as I continued to run. A half of a mile later, I started noticing that I had already passed a lot of the people that had passed me in the beginning, to the point where there was a large gap between the people in front of me and the people behind me. The last mile was all flat, and at this point I started passing even more people. Within sight, there was about three people in front, with someone right beside me and someone behind me.

As I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I did my best and sprinted all the way down. I finished in 29:30. I didn’t PR. But WHEW. As flat as the course was, I felt like that was one of the tougher 5k’s I’ve ran – possibly because of the small, unexpected hills.

Had to sneak a pic of the pretty medals!
Had to sneak a pic of the pretty medals!

The after portion of the race included a breakfast. I met one of the runners I finished with and I sat down and ate breakfast with him. I learned that he was just in high school and had ran the race with his sister. When his little sister had arrived, I found out that they were Filipino, which is awesome because I hardly see any fellow Filipinos where I live. It was nice to bond with him and his family, and to be able to speak my native tongue! It’s been a while. I now have a new running buddy, since it was his first 5k race ever! I’m already egging him on to do another race with me soon!

A little bit later, the awards ceremony was up. His little sister ended up placing 3rd in her age range! When his age range came up, we were hoping he’d place too – but unfortunately he came at a close 4th place! By the time it was my age group, I already felt defeated. There was no way I was going to place this time.

3rd place, not me.

2nd place, ha, of course, not me!

1st place, me – WAIT WHAT?!

All of us at the table were shocked and I was so surprised – I HAD PLACED FIRST IN MY AGE RANGE YET AGAIN! I honestly did not expect it since the age range was huge and I thought there would be more women my age ahead of me, but I guessed wrong!

I look like a mess, but it's okay - I got a medal! :D

So, I won another pretty medal! Hooray! And I thought I’d just come home with a new bib and shirt!

I’m so glad I signed up for this race last minute! I got to run a beautiful course, got to work on my speedwork yet again, got to meet a new friend, and I ended up winning a sweet medal!

Yeah!! First place! Woot woot!
Yeah!! First place! Woot woot!

Next on my agenda, time to relax ALLLL DAY. Long run tomorrow, just need to plan which distance I’ll be doing!

Happy Saturday, everyone! Till next time,

P.