Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: Surf City Half - Week 2

My second week of training has been logged, and I'm starting the third week feeling good! I had one bad run, one good run, and one totally fine, run-of-the-mill run (hah, pun).

Here's how it all went down...

Surf City Half Marathon Training - Week 2

Monday: Strength workout.

Sunset action from my office Monday evening.
  • 1/2 mile warm up on treadmill
  • Dynamic stretching
  • Three sets of 15 reps of four compound movements (squat to bicep curl, hamstring curls on ball, etc)
  • Two sets of incline fast walking
  • Cool down stretching and foam rolling

Tuesday: 6.5 miles (3x2400m) on the local bike/running path.

The mountains never look as big in pictures as they do in real life. They make me so happy.

Woke up absolutely dreading leaving my bed but determined to get this run done. Run went fantastically and I was so glad I did it and didn't have the workout looming over me the rest of the day. 

Dynamic stretching (always! I'm becoming so good about this!) prior to heading out then a nice slow mile to warm up before hitting the mile-and-a-half repeats. The pace felt easy and strong till midway through the last repeat, when my  breathing was off from a short but steep hill and I was running into a fairly strong wind (nothing crazy but by the third mile of running into it, I was over the resistance).

  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 2400m repeats -- (1) 8:58, (2) 8:50, (3) 8:48
  • 1 mile cool-down

Wednesday: Strength with Melanie (Equinox trainer).
  • 1/2 mile warm up on treadmill
  • Dynamic stretching (going to do a post on the routine soon!)
  • Three sets of 14 reps of four lower body exercises (squats, single leg deadlifts, etc)
  • Two sets of 14 reps of core exercises targeting obliques
  • Cool down stretching

Thursday: 5 miles easy (~9:47 avg pace) on the treadmill.
    It was a long day at work again,but I definitely needed the mental break. I listened to Serial while running. If you're at all into listening to things while running, it's a great podcast. Super addictive. Anyone else listening to it? Sourabh and I always discuss it for a good couple hours over the course of the week after each episode is released.

    Friday: Rest.

    Perks of being in the office at 7am = gorgeous sunrises!

    It was the third of three very long days prepping for a deal to close. I was planning on running but Melanie stressed the importance of rest when I wasn't getting much sleep and work was so busy/stressful. Hey, if you insist...

    I was having some major neck/shoulder tightness and pain, so I took advantage of Massage Envy's $49 first-timer special and their 10:00 pm closing time. She also loosened up my legs a bit which was nice!

    Saturday: 6 mile Tempo on the treadmill + Strength with Melanie.
    • 1 mile warm-up 
    • Dynamic stretches 
    • (1) 8:34, (2) 8:27, (3) 8:27, (4) 8:19, (5) 8:19
    • Collapsed in pile of pain from random side ache.
    Argh. This run. I felt SO badass after running six miles at an average 8:24 pace last week. Each mile got easier, oddly enough, so I assumed this run would go smoothly. Hah. I wasn't in a great space mentally -- I was tired from a looooong work week -- but I was still excited to challenge myself again. However, midway through the fourth mile, I started having a side ache. I hopped off, stretched, and kept going. By midway through the fifth mile, the pain had turned stabby.

    I spent the last half mile hopping on and off, continually stopping the treadmill. I really wanted to get to six miles but had to give up at the end of the fifth. I was so bummed at this run, but thankfully I was meeting with Melanie right after, and she reminded me that rest and recovery was much more important than two miles. I suggested I try the last few miles after our session and she asked me what mattered more -- proper recovery or two miles logged eleven weeks out from race day. Obvious answer is obvious.

    I just wanted to curl up and do this after this run. His chubby belly in this picture slays me. 

    The sideache had disappeared by the time we started strength training so we didn't have to adapt to avoid my abs. Which was good because we drilled them in this workout:

    • Two sets of 15 reps of four core exercises (two exercises before and two after, bookending the other strength exercises).
    • Two sets of 15 reps of five total body exercises (squat to press, assisted pull-ups, one-legged sit-to-stands, etc).
    The one-legged sit-to-stand exercise was by far the most challenging but I loved it -- I'd highly recommend it as both a strength and stability training exercise. It's exactly what it sounds like: go from sitting to standing with one leg out, without flailing around to get yourself up (which is what I did the first couple times).

    View from the top of my two mile hike with Mason on Saturday.

    Sunday: 75 minute yoga class.

    I finally made it to a yoga class at Equinox. I didn't love everything about it (I'm extremely picky about yoga classes), but did appreciate how focused on form the instructor was without making us hold poses for eight hours. I felt like I gained some good takeaways on alignment which I always appreciate.

    Rest of my Sunday was spent lunching and seeing the new Hunger Games movie with a friend (Jennifer Lawrence is too goddamned talented. Stop it.), working to get everything squared away for our deal closing the following morning (which it did, woooooo) and frantic cleaning before my parents arrive today.

    Total Mileage: 17.5 miles (I'm not including half mile warm-ups for strength workouts)

    My parents are visiting for Thanksgiving week and I am super excited! I'm running a Turkey Trot on Thursday and we'll be doing some local traveling. I'm going to be adding in long runs starting this week -- also exciting! There are so many trails and pathways here that I can't wait to explore. 

    Anyone else turkey trotting? Who's training for a winter race?

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Weekly Workout Recap: Surf City Half - Week 1

    "What?" You, the reader, are thinking. "Do mine eyes deceive me? Is this an -actual- training report?"

    Yes! It is! Okay, contain your excitement.

    I will probably continue to illustrate posts with unrelated photos of California for the near future because it's just. so. gorgeous.

    It's been a long time since I was in training mode. It's been a longer time since I cared about training for a race. When Katie told me her diagnosis in January of this year, all motivation to train evaporated. Caring about a time goal seemed so insignificant in the face of my closest friend's terminal illness. I dutifully logged the miles but my heart wasn't in it. And when I PR'd and broke 2 hours at the NYC Half Marathon, all I cared about was that I'd be seeing Katie in a few days when we went to California together. Meeting my goal didn't feel like it mattered at all.

    Being on the other side of a tremendous personal loss, I'm not sure I'll ever care about racing the way I used to -- feeling like the upcoming race day was the most important day in my life (until the next race day, obviously).

    The Chicago Marathon was the best day of my life not because I ran it well (although of course that helped), but because I had almost every person I deeply care about there. I saw my mom, Sourabh and Katie all along the course, cheering for me as I attempted something I never would have thought possible only twelve months prior, all of us wearing Lurie Children's Hospital shirts to support the hospital that continually helped Katie. I was running for a cause I believed in on the streets of a city with special memories of every visit to Katie. Each of the six times I saw my special crew, I could feel their love for me. It was a perfect day.

    I'm not sure when I'll run a marathon again because I'm not sure anything could ever compare. I want to at some point, but it will have to be the right race.

    However, I'm finally ready to focus on training for a half marathon again. The time away has made me realize that while I might not care about the goal itself in the same way I once did, I enjoy the structure and commitment of training. I love seeing a pace I'm scared of hitting and pushing my body to meet that goal. So I'm excited to see where this training cycle will take me, regardless of how the actual race day turns out.

    It's a good thing I'm feeling committed since I realized this week that my targeted half marathon is in less than twelve weeks. I haven't registered for the race yet because I think I'm in a bit of race denial (and I missed the cheaper registration fee cutoff so there's no point in rushing right?). I haven't run double digits since the NYC Half in March.

    So, how did this week turn out?

    Surf City Half Marathon Training - Week 1

    Last weekend involved a fun hike in the Anaheim Hills and a lot of rest, so I felt ready to go as the first week of training started. One odd thing you'll note -- no real long run. The tempo run did double duty as my long run this week.

    Southern California is in the midst of a multi-year drought. It's still gorgeous, but I'm in the odd position of actually hoping it's a rainy winter for the sake of nature!

    Monday: Strength workout with Melanie (Equinox trainer).

    • 1/2 mile warm up on treadmill
    • Dynamic stretching routine that focuses on mobility
    • Four sets of 10 reps of five compound movements (squat to press, anti-rotation pulls, etc)
    • Two sets of incline sprints
    • Cool down stretching

    Tuesday: 4 miles easy on the local running/bike path

    Dynamic stretching prior to heading out then kept it slow and easy on my normal out-and-back four mile loop.

    Wednesday: Strength with Melanie.

    Snagged a shot of these gorgeous cotton candy clouds on my way to the gym Wednesday morning.
    • 1/2 mile warm up on treadmill
    • Dynamic stretching routine that focuses on mobility
    • Two sets of 14 reps of two lower body exercises followed by 2x14 of two different lower body exercises (single leg dead lifts, hamstring curls, kettlebell squats, and weighted hip lifts)
    • Two sets of progressive cardio sprints interspersed with the strength
    • 2x14 core work
    • Cool down stretching

    Thursday: 7 miles (5x1600m repeats)
    • Dynamic stretching warm-up
    • 1 mile warm-up
    • (1) 9:14, (2) 9:10, (3) 9:12, (4) 9:00, (5) 9:03
    • 1 mile cool down
      Melanie wanted me to run five mile repeats at my current half marathon PR pace (9:00-9:15). At first I had a really hard time dialing in to the pace, but by the end of the second repeat, I had it down and the pace felt pretty easy.

      The gorgeous clouds came out to play again on Thursday.

      Friday: Rest.

      Saturday: 8 mile Tempo + Strength.
      • 1 mile warm-up 
      • Hopped off the treadmill and did my dynamic stretches (best done after a cardio warm-up so the body is warm)
      • (1) 8:34, (2) 8:27, (3) 8:27, (4) 8:27, (5) 8:19, (6) 8:13
      • Two to three minutes of walking and light stretching
      • 1 mile cool down
      Melanie wanted me to aim for 8:15-8:30 pace for six miles with a warm-up and cool down. I didn't know if I could hit those paces, but I thought my best bet was to run them on a treadmill so I didn't have to keep checking my Garmin and could just focus on running strong. The first three miles were tough but the last three went by extremely quickly as I pumped up the volume on my playlist. I went late morning so didn't need to fuel for the run since I'd had breakfast. 

      As for strength, Melanie told me to do a workout from two weeks ago that focused on the upper body, with exercises that had the arms doing the "heavy" work but the legs and core doing stabilizing work. If I was going to double up, it was the perfect strength workout to end the tempo run since my legs didn't have much work to do.

      Capped off with foam rolling and stretching, as you do.

      Sunday: Stretching + 4 mile Recovery Run.

      Recovery Run / Take-Tons-of-Pictures Run

      Spent most of Sunday working and did some of it from my yoga mat, stretching out my legs and back. Got in a gorgeous sunset recovery run along the Back Bay in Newport Beach before I interviewed a high school applicant to my undergrad. Pretty sure nothing will make you feel older than volunteering as an alumni interviewer...

      Total Mileage: 23 miles

      Going into this week feeling strong and excited about training for a half marathon again!

      Monday, October 27, 2014

      First Art: Sedona by Sebastian Alappat

      I've been meaning to write about the wonderful painting that Sourabh and I commissioned from Sebastian Alappat for a while now, but I wanted to do it in the context of a home tour. Unfortunately, it turns out that putting together our apartment has taken much longer than we expected. And by "much longer" I mean, it's kind of fallen by the wayside. Things are more or less put together, but I don't feel like the apartment is 100% settled into or deserving of an apartment tour.

      Since I didn't want to put off posting about the painting forever, I figured I'd share the process and painting now! 

      Sourabh and I both liked the idea of getting some original art that would make our apartments feel more like a home. One thing we both love about my parents' home is how they've filled it with art, and we hope to do the same thing. Sebastian and I discussed the piece of art over the summer, however I had basically no idea of what I wanted or where I wanted to go with a piece. 

      I had some vague ideas, but really no direction. Sebastian helped me narrow down to the travel/journey concept. I wanted to use maps, so we decided to uses pieces of maps from places that Sourabh and I have lived. 

      From there, I talked about the colors I imagined. I wanted to use the palette of the American Southwest -- the vivid oranges, the deep blues. I sent some pictures from Sourabh and my road trip last year, and Sebastian instantly picked up on the snapshots from Sedona. Both Sourabh and I loved Sedona, so it seemed like a natural fit. 

      Sebastian based the painting on this picture I snapped of the rock we hiked/ran around:

      I wanted a more modern/abstract take on it -- something chunky, with an almost finger painted quality -- so the painting is in no way meant to be a mirror image. Instead, it's more of an inspiration point.

      What I realized after we decided on this picture as inspiration was that it's actually Courthouse Rock. Pretty apt since both Sourabh and I work in the legal field!

      Since our cross-country move came together so quickly, there was a bit of a scramble to get the painting completed so that it could be properly shipped. We didn't want to have to worry about taking a 3 ft by 3 ft painting on a plane! 

      On moving day last month, Sebastian dropped off the finished work:

      I was elated to see it, but unfortunately it immediately got packed up and stored on a moving truck for three weeks! 

      In the last week of September, our furniture finally arrived and we were able to permanently unwrap the painting. It's currently hanging above our couch, adding some vibrant color to our living room.

      From far away you can't see the map detail, but if you take a closer look, you can see the maps showing through. There are pieces of maps of places we've lived or, in the case of Chicago, places that are meaningful to us.  

      It was so much fun to collaborate with Sebastian on this piece and see the beautiful finished product. Sebastian also does some really cool yoga and comics-inspired work. Sebastian is married to my awesome former trainer, Amanda, which is how I learned about his work, and it's allowed me to see a lot of his pieces in progress, which has been really neat. I am so excited to watch him continue to build his artwork collection, even if I can no longer see it in person!