Friday, May 29, 2015

15 of my favorite feelings

Hank Green recently posted the video below describing 15 of his favorite feelings:

And I thought I'd take a crack at describing some of mine. Spoiler alert: he and I have a few in common, starting with this first one I tried to transcribe, because he phrased it best:

1. "Opening up and letting somebody that you love see all your broken bits and then they're like, 'I don't mind, those are pretty cool, here are mine too' and you're like 'Yeah, no, I like those! Those are cool! That's fine! We should hold. And hug.' Knowing that yes, this person that you love loves you back and you can trust that and you can know it forever... yeah."

2. Crossing the finish line after a particularly significant race. Or, a particularly grueling one. Even better, watching other people cross the finish line, and seeing the relief, the exhaustion, the pain, and the pride cross their faces all at the same time, especially if it's their first big race or something.

3. Along those same lines, seeing someone else fall in love with a book or movie or whatever that I already love, and bonding with that person in our love for that thing. I suppose this is a big reason why I became a teacher.

4. That moment of snipping off the yarn for the last time, after binding off/securing the last row of a knitted item. Even if there's a bunch of finishing work to do, breaking that yarn for the last time is oh so satisfying :)

5. When there are characters that you're reading about/watching and you REALLY want them to get together, and then they finally DO. (Same thing also with real life people.)

6. "That moment when you realize that you can now do something very easily that a year ago would have been unthinkably difficult"

7. "Having someone you respect tell you they respect you" 

8. Making someone else laugh (joyously, not derisively)

9. Hugs. Not the merely-polite hugs between acquaintances where you just kinda tap and go, but REAL hugs from people you love where you practically squish each other, and there are real feelings of affection being transferred between you in that personal contact. 

10. The anticipation of seeing a movie adaptation of a book I REALLY love at the first possible showtime. Even if the movie doesn't turn out to be very good, it's that experience of being among the first fans to see it, and you're all sitting in this giant room together because you all love the same thing with a great passion and you're just a FRENZY OF EXCITEMENT waiting for the movie to start. 

11. When you take a nap and you wake up feeling better than you did when the nap started. This doesn't always happen, because sometimes naps make you feel worse, or you realize how much of the day you lost and then you feel depressed because you can't get that time back. But when it's a great, refreshing nap, and you wake up feeling like you can take on the world... that's awesome.

12. When you get really inspired to do something - knit, write, clean, etc - and you're working for hours (but the time passes quickly because you're feeling so inspired), and when it's all done and you finally take a breather and look at the fruits of your labor and see how everything came together

13. When the bell rings at the end of the last class on the last day of school, and then all I'm left with is an empty room.

14. Giving gifts to other people, and watching them open them. I get so excited about this that everyone I know usually gets their birthday/Christmas gifts wayyyyyyy before their birthday or Christmas because I just couldn't wait to give it to them. 

15. Hitting publish on a blog post that took me a long time to write =P

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I got this in my inbox just now (just an email blast from Stephanie at Stupid Easy Paleo), and I felt like it was addressed directly to me. TBH... it made me tear up.

You are good.

-Even if you didn't set a personal best when you tested your lifts at the gym. 
-Even when you decide to be kind to your body and take an extra rest day.
-Even when your diet isn't perfect. (Because nobody's is...not even mine.)
-Even if you decide to back out of a competition because you listened to a gut feeling.
-Even when you struggle to balance life with training and work.

Moments of self-doubt and judgment are so easy in times like these.

You think, "I'm not good / strong / smart / disciplined / fast / resourceful enough."

The truth is that you're living what it's like to be a human being:

The ups, the downs, the moments of ease, the moments of difficulty, and everything in between.

So if your wave has turned into a trough, just keep moving forward without judgment and cut yourself a break. The tide will rise again.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Race recap: The Lantern Run 5k

I've been trying to run for fun, instead of trying to be in intense training mode all the time, in hopes that it will snap me out of this funk I've been in - fewer miles, less pressure, less anxiety. I've been putting so much pressure on myself and setting my expectations so high, that when I inevitably fail to meet them, I am wracked with self-loathing. And I need to stop doing that.

I signed up for this 5k totally on a whim, because it's definitely a "fun run" - to the point where if you'd wanted a timing chip, you'd have had to pay extra. It's an Asian-inspired nighttime run where they give you cheap neon-glowstick glasses to wear and paper lanterns afterward - exactly the sort of run I should do to relax and not put pressure on myself. (I know how jerky that sounds, that I just said I was doing a 5k to relax.)

So I opted out of the timing chip and even elected not to bring my Garmin, because who cares about time, right? I went with my friend Michelle, who is newer to running, and I figured it would be a fun time spent with a friend, at the end of which there would be Mogo's and Scoops (food trucks) and cute little Asian snacks from 99 Ranch.

Well, when we got there, they told us that everyone had been upgraded to a timing chip FOR FREE. Uh... yay? Now that there would be a time attached to my name, I knew I HAD to make an effort. But I wasn't going to leave Michelle behind either, so I would pace with her.

I don't know if this is their first year, but it was a bit of a mess. The packet pickup area was fine enough, but they did a warmup dance thing (why is it always a dance thing???) that finished with one minute to go before it was supposed to start at 7:30. And then everyone kind of headed over to the start line, with no instruction whatsoever about lining up according to pace, and we couldn't even see the start line because it was set up just outside the field at Spartan Stadium, and there is a little hill coming out of the stadium, so those of us who were farther back couldn't see over the top of the little hill. And then the people on the PA system started counting down the seconds (5 minutes late, might I add) and then... nothing. No one moved. We were still standing there, waiting for something, and I was like, "Come on, there MUST be other runners who know what they're supposed to be doing!" It turned out that no one at the very front of the crowd could hear anything that was going on at the very back of the crowd. And then finally someone sounded a horn at the front and we were off.

I know this isn't the sort of race you run seriously, but having to pick my way through all the people walking, who would not move out of the way, was still really frustrating. But the course widened as soon as we got to the street, so it wasn't that bad.

I didn't have a run strategy. After about five or six minutes of running, I told Michelle that we could walk whenever she wanted to walk, so that's what we did. Still, I suggested that we could try to finish under 40:00, if only so we could hit the food trucks sooner, so that's what we tried to do. The course was flat and straight, and we took up the entire street (for the out and back course), so there was plenty of room, and I began to relax into my pace a little. (Though to be honest, the downside of a 5k is that it takes me almost the whole thing to warm up, and then we're done.)

I loved seeing all the excited kids with their families, all the "non-traditional" runners, and all the fun costumes. When you do longer, "more serious" races all the time, the field of runners starts to become more homogenous. There were more "typical" runners at CIM, for example, than at this race. And you know what? It's all good. That's why all these races exist - to give everyone a chance to run and accomplish something awesome, no matter what your level of experience or athleticism.

So yeah, I'm glad I did it. (And not just because I had the most amazing short-ribs burrito and macapuno ice cream afterward.) It reminded me about the fun, silly side of running, and it gave me a chance to surround myself with people who are laughing and happy and just out there to have a good time without taking themselves too seriously. I need a little more of that in my running life.

We beat our goal, by the way. 38:50. That's the best pace I've run in a while.

It looks like a key, huh? But it's a lantern. Also, it glows in the dark.
Free stuff we got:

Eff yeah Asian snacks! I love that pineapple cake!
That balloon has a little tiny flashing light inside. I don't want to blow it up yet.
And of course, it's not a lantern run without a lantern:

Here's Spartan Stadium at night. I'd never been here before.

Next up? I don't even know. I've decided not to run Vancouver at all, so maybe I'll squeeze in another race somewhere. The next one that I have planned for sure is the Dirty Dozen 6-hour run in July.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tinkerbell Half Marathon #4

It's been a loooooong time since I've raced. My last race was the triathlon on February 28th, and I guess in a way I've been itching for some sort of event, because in the intervening time, I'd gotten really mentally and physically fatigued with my training and then decided to drop 2 of my 3 marathons for this year.

The last couple of years, I've jam-packed my scheduled with races (I actually did five races in January and February of this year alone), and it's usually because they keep me going - when I have an actual EVENT, as opposed to a training run, it motivates me. However, this year, I decided I would cut back on races once I started training for my marathons, just so I could focus more on nailing my paces and such - it was too hard to find races that lined up with my long run schedule in my training plan, and I didn't want to do races that were far above or far below the specified mileage. In hindsight, I think that was the wrong decision. Even when they don't go well, races are exciting and motivating, and it's always great to go home with a token of your achievements. (Never underestimate the power of a really cool finishers' medal.)

The Tinkerbell happened to line up with my marathon training plan, and I would've done it anyway even if it hadn't, since I'm going for a five-year streak. This is the first year the Tinkerbell has been held in May - it was previously held MLK holiday weekend, but Disney decided to hold the Star Wars Half that weekend instead, so Tinkerbell got bumped to Mother's Day weekend.

The fact that it's now in May made a big difference for me. Every year that I've been in Anaheim for a Disney race, it's been quite warm, even though it was January. But since their races start at 5:30am, I could at least always count on knocking out a good 5 or 6 miles before the sun would start to come up, and then it would only start to feel too warm for the last 3 miles or so.

This time the sky was already quite light by the time I crossed the start line, so the sun was out in full force before I even left the park. I mean, it was cool that I actually got to SEE the two parks while I was running, instead of running around in the dark, but still... this course is pretty unforgiving in terms of shade/coverage after the first eight miles, so having more intense sunlight earlier on this time around really didn't feel great.

I will admit that while I've been going to the gym to lift regularly, I haven't been running much these last couple of weeks (I've been in a slump), and I definitely didn't think to hydrate extra in preparation for the climate, so I was not in the greatest shape for this race, and I had quite a pounding headache starting around mile 10. I was waaaay more tired at an earlier point in the race than I would've been otherwise, and I have to say, I was really disappointed in myself :( I finished in 2:59:37, which is my slowest half marathon time since August. I mean, my goal anyway was to go under 3:00, which technically I did, but still, I was ten minutes slower than my Star Wars Half, and I did THAT one the day after running a 10k, on tired legs, so I was extra disappointed in my run this time around. (Even though the weather makes a big difference. Whatever. I'm a self-blamer for everything.)

Well, time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get myself back on track. In the meantime, I was rewarded with a slightly-redesigned medal for finishing:

Four years of pixie dust
Next year will be the 5th anniversary, and you can bet that 1) I'm signing up for the Pixie Dust Challenge (another 19.3), and 2) I'm bringing friends.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Training updates

I've decided to switch to the half marathon for Vancouver USA, and to drop the Portland Marathon entirely. I think it's a telling sign that I feel more relief than grief about it. I don't think I'm in the right headspace to be training for a full right now (let alone three in a period of six months), and this training cycle has been fraught with interruptions and frustration ever since it started. I'm going to take some time to do a few half marathons for fun, start over with the Zombies, Run! app, and maybe even gradually wean myself off intervals a little bit. And then in August, I will start training for CIM with a different training plan (because using the same one for the last three years has gotten monotonous), and hopefully... I will finally finish marathon #4.

Thanks for following my saga. You can now all let out that collective breath I'm sure you've been holding

Pause and reflect

I haven't written a blog post in almost a year. I've had a lot of stuff happen, some good and some bad, and I could've written a...