Archive | February 2014

My Running Ritual

When I run, I am invincible! I see the world through rosy-colored glasses and feel like I could sprout wings at any moment. Each running experience is at once exhilarating and calming, thrilling and soothing. It’s become such a big part of my life that I feel a little bit empty when I don’t run.

I have a very intricate ritual that kicks off each run. Sometimes it’s rushed if I am crunched for time, but it’s always basically the same.

Step 1: Put on running clothes, and apply glide gel in appropriate places. This time of year, I generally wear fleece-lined running pants, a short-sleeved wicking top, and a long-sleeved wicking top. Or more layers if necessary.

Step 2: Pick out socks. I have the pricey-but-worth-it Swiftwick socks in 5 different colors so I can ensure I don’t lose or overwear any of them. But I’m not so picky that I care if they match the rest of my outfit.

Step 3: Eat and drink something. My favorite pre-run snack is a banana and/or a Chewy bar. But this morning I had a PowerBar. It just needs to 100-300 calories within about 15-20 mins of my start. I don’t drink much, just some water. I also go to the bathroom.

Step 4: Gather supplies. On a run, I have at minimum my SPI belt, headphones, my iPhone (for iTunes and RunKeeper), a key to my house, and a bandana for sweat/snot wiping. In the winter I often add an ear band, duff, and gloves. Other things include sunglasses, 1-3 Trader Joe’s fruit wraps. I tuck my headphone wire under my shirt or bra to minimize movement.

Step 5: Pick out shoes. I have 2-3 pairs going at any given time, and I alternate between them. I leave them by the door to avoid tracking mud on the carpet.

Step 6: Once I am suited up, I step out the door and get set to go. I usually stretch my calves against the wall, and often do dynamic leg raises to the front, sides, and back.

Step 7: Press go! I start my music and then RunKeeper, which has a 25-second countdown. Then I finish putting on my gloves, shove my phone into my belt, and hit the road.

Step 8: Audio cues… Now that I have been running these roads regularly for over a year, I have a good idea of mileage markers, but I still prefer to keep on track with 0.5 mile time/pace updates. It helps me gauge my speed and meet my goals.

My ideal weather is 30s-40s, sunny, maybe a slight breeze. But I am good with anything less than 60, not rainy or blow-me-down windy. That being said, I will have to deal with warmer weather in a few months, and I will do it with a smile on my face.

Step 9: Finish strong: I try to only have the phone out for the final 0.1-,0.2 miles, I like to finish in the middle of my neighborhood (ideally between the sign and the mailboxes), and I absolutely must finish on a round mile marker. (Unless there is a specific reason not to, such as a 10k pacer). There is no 4.78 mile run for me….5.0 or bust! I unlock the phone and watch it in the final seconds.

Step 10: Cool down, stretch, recover: I like to walk a few minutes at least. Then I do some static stretches outside. I also use my foam roller once I am inside. My post-run eating is either the second half of breakfast (eggs and banana bread), a PowerBar, chocolate milk, or fortified OJ. Or some combination of those after a 9+ mile run. I don’t usually wait long to shower.

And that’s it! That’s how most every run goes for me! I love it, live it, breathe it.

In other running news, I just hit triple-digits for my February mileage (with 11 planned for tomorrow). I am also sitting at 9:59/mile for my average pace. And I have remained injury-free so far in 2014! Countdown to my next half-marathon: 16 days!

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The Tale of Five Outfits

I started my day in sweats for comfort during last-minute test studying. Today’s test started off on a bad note when I realized I had forgotten to do a “due before the test” assignment on the drive in to school. But upon arrival, I did manage to rush and get it done with mere moments to spare.

On the plus side, the weather was nice enough for me to wear my new dress with leggings. And I got some compliments. That was outfit number two. After the test, I got some groceries and headed home for lunch.

Then I changed into outfit the third when I went to the hospital for my ED clinical. Saw a few interesting patients and procedures, but it was generally a slow day. Did get a compliment from an ambulance driver that my patient was lucky because I was a “pretty nurse.”

After clinical, I headed over to the Y for an interval run that turned into 5 miles (in 45:45). Hence, outfit number four. It was an absolutely wonderful run! I wore the shirt Regan gave me which reads “this isn’t sweat, it’s liquid awesome.”

Then I came home, walked the dogs, took a shower (outfit five), did some homework, and waited to have dinner with my love. We are finally on the final half-season of Breaking Bad!

Yesterday was also good. Studying, yoga, dog park, and time with James. Tomorrow is clinical at the ED again.

Taking the good with the bad

This week has been great for the most part, but occasionally marred by bad news. Monday and Tuesday I was busy with school, and had a great clinical experience. Wednesday the weather was pretty much perfect, but I had school, errands, and yoga…not to mention test stress. It really bummed me out to miss the dog park, and that James left for home that evening. We had spent almost every night this month together, and the past few days have been our first separation since January. It’s not like I’m falling apart without him, but I do miss him.

I’m also grumpy that my house is still not fixed after the leak was repaired. And that my house is always so messy in general. Can’t I hire a staff of cleaning specialists?

Thursday I had a double shift at work that went pretty smoothly, but left me exhausted when I finally got home around midnight. Also, that environment is bad for my waistline…I always want to eat everything in sight. And of course I did not have time for a workout. Friday I got back on track with a 7-mile run, some house cleaning, and several hours of quality studying. Then my houseguests arrived for the weekend; Kevin and two of his friends from pharmacy school going to a conference and crashing with me. They took me out to dinner at Baker’s Crust and then we walked over to Menchie’s, which is officially the most adorable fro-yo place I’ve visited.

Today I had a fabulous 10 mile run to downtown and back. Just 3 weeks before my next half-marathon! And February is already my highest-mileage month with almost a whole week left. Now I’ll get down to studying before meeting Regan for a bridal appointment, then Lydia for our annual chili cook-off!

Be My Valentine

So the surprises began on February 13 when he came home with my favorite kind of flowers, which was the most adorable thing ever.

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Then we went to see The Lego Movie, which was totally random, but we enjoyed it because EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

We had a low-key Friday, consisting mostly of cleaning up his new dining room furniture (thanks again, Zach!), cuddling, and just generally being cute. He got me this necklace, and I got him shoes (a la Forrest Gump and Jenny).

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Saturday we faced bad, yucky weather, so I was the Pout-Pout fish and he cheered me up by playing things like EVERYTHING IS AWESOME and being his amazing self.

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Our hijinks included watching Community, Rome, and playing some Tomb Raider…among other things.

Then on Sunday, we got up bright and early for my 14k (aka 9 mile) race! It was just absolutely perfect weather, we timed our arrival perfectly, and he and the puppies delivered lots of support and kisses from the side-lines.

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This is after finishing (just under 1hr30!) and getting my SWAG…medal, flower, windbreaker, and food (my favorite was the tomato and cheese soup in a bread bowl).

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I love James, and it meant so much to me that he was there to share the experience with me.

Then we had a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, with a bit of studying, a bit of not studying, and general enjoyment of the beautiful day.

Bliss

Started off the weekend with an early Friday trip to visit Carlie and David. It was a fun-filled weekend of playing with kids, good food, and a trip to the aquarium.

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That last one of Henry in his super hero costume “Super H” was the morning that we departed.

We drove back to James’s place that day where I went for a run and he got in one of his lifting workouts. It was a very serene evening of good conversation, a new show, and candle light. Oh, and our new habit of cuddling for sleep. It started out as cuddling for warmth at Carlie and David’s, and now it’s much more about closeness.

This week has been nonstop so far! Lots of school, quizzes, clinical hours. The puppies are still getting along. James has been here all week, with no end to our togetherness in sight. Now if only I could get the rest of my life in balance with studying, work, and cleaning, things would be perfect.

Just Keep Running

Sunday I tried something brand new – joining an established local running group. I think often it is comprised of a diverse group of people, but this week I was the only girl and one of only two people not in the “greyhound” category. Luckily, I was able to find a running buddy in Bob. Our run was great, and I was able to push myself faster than ever for a 9-mile distance. It was both humbling and inspiring because Bob is in his late 60s; on the one hand he outpaced me, on the other hand, he is still running at his age!

Later that day, James and I went over to Norman and Rebecca’s to watch the Superbowl. It was a pretty one-sided game, but we still had a good time! Lots of good food and laughs and catching up.

Monday was stress-central with class, pre-clinical hours, and test studying. I did make time for a quick treadmill run as a way to destress. Tuesday was much the same, busy, but made time for a run (with the dogs this time, which was marginally successful).

Wednesday was much better after the test was over! I met up with my nursing school “little sister” Erica for lunch. Then I had a quick doc apt about my two episodes of vision loss last month. Still looking into the cause and scheduling tests. Later that afternoon, I ran some errands, took the dogs for a walk, and then went to yoga with Lara.

As I write, I am waiting to get my blood drawn. I think I was supposed to fast after midnight, so I did and I’m starving! On the schedule for today is lots of reading, a 9.5 mile run, and packing for the weekend visit to Carlie’s. James is meeting me at the dog park after work, and then we’ll go to his place and leave from there tomorrow AM.

Lack of Routine

It really throws me off when my life schedule gets mixed up. I mean, I’m sure it does for everyone…but I am generally so busy that the smallest change requires massive rescheduling. I was able to kick back this week though. I got a lot of studying done while James played Skyrim, but I took plenty of study breaks to hang out with him along the way. On Thursday we actually ventured out to get some of our favorite salsa from a local place. I also finally got out for a 6-mile run that day, which was challenging due to the snow, but felt wonderful. Because it was sunny, dry, and calm, it actually minimized the cold and I even had to take off some layers.

By Friday morning I had to go back to reality and leave my love behind for a few days. It was a very nice day that started with yoga and concluded with a run. In between I went to lunch and got a pedicure with Marty.

Saturday I took things pretty easy. Cleaned, studied, went to the park with Janet and Nic. It’s been a beautiful weather weekend, albeit muddy from all the snow that has still only partially melted.