Monday, April 26, 2010

Race Week Overshare

It’s here! The Eugene Marathon is on Sunday. I’m so ready. I just need to stay focused and relaxed this week. I finished up last week with a couple of really smooth and easy runs. Here are those numbers before I move on to pre-race and totally unrelated (edit to add: long-winded, super personal, emotional) ramblings:

Thursday: rest
Yin Yoga (Zach came with me, it was great!)

4.5 miles/n.a.
Super easy run on the waterfront with no watch.

Saturday: rest
Yoga at home

12.0 miles/1:43:51/8:39 average pace
Zach had another 20 miler so we drove up to the Banks Vernonia trail again where I did my 20 a couple weeks ago. This time we started up on the north end of the trail – I did an out and back and Zach ran point-to-point and then I picked him up at the other end. It was fun running a new stretch of trail! The run felt great and easy.

Total miles for the week: 31.5

So, as I said, I’m feeling REALLY great heading into race week. I can’t even believe how smoothly this training cycle has gone. In the past, I’ve been plagued by injuries and fought mental burn-out. I have never made it all the way to race week without feeling “let’s get this OVER with!” This time, I’m genuinely excited. I think there are a few reasons for this:

Perspective- I think attitude this time around and I think that made all the difference. After dealing with some heavy stuff in my personal life the past few months, I wasn’t as obsessed with the running thing. I couldn’t bring myself to be distraught over something as petty as a bad run. I was grateful for the release and freedom I felt when I ran and could not possibly be disappointed by the experience. I was a lot more flexible, a lot easier on myself. I let myself run slow, and I let myself run fast. I ran with friends, I tweaked my schedule. I was just more laid back about it. Don’t get me wrong, I put a lot of effort into it, but I let it be a positive experience. Furthermore, I think the fact that I am “only” (HA!) going for a Boston Qualifying time and not a PR is helpful. I feel like the BQ is a reasonable goal and I feel that a PR would be reeeeeally hard. So letting that go from the beginning has helped me keep a light attitude. Plus, after training and completing the Ironman last year, this seems like a walk in the park at any pace. 

Diet- The last couple of months Zach and I have made a very serious change in our lives by changing the way we eat. We’ve always been aware of our nutrition and even though we indulged pretty often, we tried to keep a balanced diet. Lots of veggies, lean meat, no fried food or junk food (very loose on this rule.. lots of “treats”). However, we never ever thought about where our food comes from. We ate a lot of cheaply made packaged and processed foods full of preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients shipped in from all across the world. We have a lot of friends that talk about eating local and buying free-range meat and stuff, and we always thought they were just hippies (kidding! Not really!). But we were also a little intrigued. Living in Portland and being surrounded by hippies and environmentalists is bound to wear you down. So, long story short, we’re IN. Like, IN IT. We’ve cleaned out our cupboards, we’ve changed our shopping habits (and adjusted our budget), we’re going to the farmer’s market, we’re going to the local butcher. Zach hacked up a free-range chicken and made homemade stock. We simmer beans or grains on the stove for hours most nights. We pay a ridiculous sum for some part of a cow that I have seen a picture of. We buy eggs from a local farmer for 6 bucks a dozen. I’ve eaten barley, whole wheat pasta, spelt bread, and more fruits and vegetables then I thought was possible. It is FANTASTIC. Shopping and cooking and eating has taken on a whole new meaning in our lives and it’s wonderful. It is very fulfilling knowing we’re doing the right thing for our bodies, environment, local economy, and souls. Now who’s the hippie? Also I’m losing weight as my body adjusts- currently at my ironman training weight. My tastes have changed and I don’t crave the foods that I used to. I’m almost never hungry which is very different for me. I feel great and am excited to keep following this path. I could talk about this all day!

Yoga- I’m realizing now this whole post is a can of worms and it is going to be hard to be brief. These aren’t just the reasons my training has gone so great, these are the reasons my life is going great. More than anything, I sincerely believe the yoga has changed my life. I had a very special and memorable introduction to yoga on November 23, 2009 and since that day everything has changed. That was the day after Ironman Arizona, and I was so sore and scraped up I could hardly move. I had just completed the biggest athletic accomplishment of my life and was very obviously turning a page. I had a lot of emotional conflicts going on in my head and didn’t know where my life would be heading next. I no longer had IRONMAN as my reason for living. It was done. And I was scared. That day, my best friend and certified yoga instructor Inga lead me in some reeeeeeally gentle yoga poses and gave me the first glimpse of how yoga isn’t just stretching or strengthening or balancing. It is a way of life, a philosophy. We talked about how it has changed her life and how it seemed like exactly what I needed. It was the exact counterpose to my IM training. It isn’t about goals or training for a future event, it is about living in the present moment. It isn’t doing, it is being. It isn’t about my ego, it’s about my heart. It’s not about what other people think of me, it is finally, truly about what I think of me. It is acceptance. Patience. Stillness.

Sigh. I’m really getting off on a tangent here. Part of me wants to go back and delete that and part of me wants to write a f-ing book. We’ll just leave it for now and keep the book on the back burner. ;) Before I change topics let me actually address how this has helped my training- I know for sure that the stretching has helped, but I think it is mostly that my attitude has changed and I’m better prepared to handle the stresses of training. I’ve joined a studio near my house and am going a few times a week. Plus, I’ve been doing more practice at home and even meditating. Good stuff. Once again, I’m very excited to see where all this leads. I’m especially excited that my awesome friend Emily is preparing to start yoga teacher-training this year. She’s going to be great at it. I’m very lucky to have friends that teach yoga. I’m very lucky to have such great friends.

New topic! Weather. It’s looking pretty good for next weekend. It’s supposed to be rainy and cool all week (upper 50’s for high temps) and then clear up for the weekend with highs in the low to mid 60’s. That would be fine, although I would prefer as little sun as possible. It won’t be very warm at 7:00 am either way, like mid 40’s probably. Perfect!

I only have three runs this week and am going to take them all pretty easy and getting my running buddies involved. I’m planning on running with Deana on Tuesday, Zach on Wednesday, and Emily on Friday. I’m also going to do a lot of yoga this week, again with friends- Emily and Anne tonight, and Amy and Alisa tomorrow night. I’ll do some other classes on my own throughout the week and plenty of meditation and stuff to keep me relaxed. And of course, I’m getting a pedicure- a pre-race ritual!

Final topic, San Jose Sharks. I love me some hockey, and can’t get enough of this playoff action. Zach and I have remained a loyal Sharks fan after moving away from the bay area, investing in the Center Ice cable package and hunting it down when they play on regular cable in the post-season. They were once again the top team in the west in the regular season, and are once again in the playoffs. They beat Colorado in the first round and the second round opponent is TBA but that series will begin this week sometime. They’ve never made it to the Finals and I’m really hopeful this will be their year! I have a history of making playoff hockey a part of my marathon routine and so I’m looking forward to the distraction of watching them play this weekend. Go Sharks!

Allright I think that’s all. This is really long, sorry! I will end with a few pictures from yesterday’s run in Vernonia. I’ll be posting again this week with more specific goals and stuff for my race. Thanks for reading!


 z 20 0  Vernonia 4 25 10 z 20 2z 20 4 25 10


Amy - the gazelle said...

When I actually dedicate myself to regular practice, I totally feel more balanced (both physically & mentally) and it makes a HUGE difference, so preach on! :)

Also, hear you with your new hippie lifestyle. I am buying a deep freeze in the next couple of weeks, so if you need extra storage space for meat, let me know.

I will see you tomorrow! And can't wait to spectate you on Sunday.

aron said...

you are so so so ready girl, i have never heard you sound THIS ready :) i am so excited for you and can't wait to hear how it all goes on sunday!!! i will be sending you speedy vibes from the van. stay calm, relax and bottle up that confidence to let out on sunday! weeeeee :)

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this post! You are ready and I am so excited for you. Can't wait to hear more about your eating too. Sounds like all is going well!

Hockey is awesome. The Bruin/Sabres last night, great game.

Cate said...

You are going to do AWESOME in Eugene!

I love this post - I'm right there with you on the eating thing. I cannot believe what a difference cutting out processed food makes! I'm eating vegan most days (which I NEVER thought would happen), and for the most part, my running has been better than ever.

Can't wait to hear how the marathon goes!

John said...

Ah, Jen, you sound so happy - you so deserve it. Reading your post made my day.

Good luck this weekend!

teacherwoman said...

You are ready for Eugene! Yay!

Yoga is great, isn't it?!

Marya said...

You are looking really strong going into this weekend. I'm sure you're gonna kick butt!

J and I have also changed our eating habits over the last few months. We even went Veggie for Lent, which was amazing! I never thought I could do that before! I definitely don't crave the crap I used to, and I feel SO good! (I've lost a fair amount of weight, too! :)

I know what you mean about the price tag on "good food". It doesn't sting too much when you think about how much healthier it is for us, and how we're helping the local economy! :) Hippie's unite!

Lisa Eirene said...

Where is that running path you posted pictures of?

Glad you've come over to the "dark side" lol. Yes, there are a lot of hippies in Portland. :)

kristen said...

great post. lots of stuff going on here.

I'm really trying to get into the yoga. I don't have a connection with it like you do. I look at it more as a recovery or a compliment to my other training....mabye that will change some day.

It's funny that I've been eating that kind of stuff for years and I've always been the weird one. It's annoying that people are being pushy about it now, although I do appreciate how much easier it is to find good quality local foods.

I love your mindset right now. In all things.

Lotusphx said...

I'm in full agreement with the rest of the posts - I love this one!! :) Tears are welling up... I am so happy that you have brought these wonderful things into your life - because you are a wonderful person. The most beautiful part is how you share it with the rest of the world! Enjoy your race weekend, hockey, friends, and good food!

PS _ I am 100% on board with you writing a book!

Sun Runner said...

I overhauled my food sources a few years ago and I couldn't be happier. All of my vegetables, pork, chicken, and eggs come from two farms which are no farther than 7 miles from my house, farms I have been to many times, and are owned by people I know by name (and who know me). My third season of my CSA farm share starts at the end of May and I am SUPER excited!

If you haven't ever tried quinoa I highly recommend it. It's a whole grain which is packed with protein.


ShirleyPerly said...

Hey Jen! Just catching up on all that's been going on with you and happy to read how well your running has been going. Best of luck this weekend in Eugene. I'll be thinking of you in Rhode Island!!

Alisa said...

I love your new perspective. I think changing habits to live healthier both mentally and physically is super important. I'm still working on this.

I'm excited about our yoga'ing tonight. I forgot my mat at home, think they will have extras???

I think not putting all the pressure on yourself for a PR or whatever is KEY to successful races, at least for me it is.

I can't wait to be Emily's guinea pig.

Tina said...

Thank you for the Yoga share! I was confused the day after my first Sprint Tri (just a few weeks ago)...I didn't feel anything "big" that was it?? I need a new goal, but I've played with Yoga a bit. I need to get back into it...anyway, I'm glad you didn't delete that part.

Nitmos said...

Your Sharks vs. my Red Wings. Will this be your year?

Amy said...

I loved this post, Jen, and am so glad you didn't delete any part of it. Blogging is like a journal and even though it's public for others to see, it's wonderfully refreshing to write how you really feel sometimes. I can so relate to so many things in this post.

I'd like to know more about what you and Zach do when you're out with friends on the weekend and eating-wise. Since you guys are social, has it changed in that aspect b/c some friends probably won't go to a vegan restaurant. Just curious because I feel like we need to make some changes in my household.

Lastly, GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND. You are going to kick ass, no doubt about it. And, for the record, a BQ is still HARD!

And instead of writing a super long comment I realize I just should have e-mailed you. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I can sense the zen-ness :) Looking forward to your race report! We'll be cheering for ya from the van!

Ewen said...

Jen, try and keep the f-ing swear words to a minimum when you write the book ;)

Good post. The buy local/in season/food miles movement makes a lot of sense. Great for your running too!

Enjoy the weekend. Can't wait to see how you go.

Marathon Maritza said...

I agree with everyone here, you sound incredibly ready and zen and I love it. I am so glad that yoga has brought you so many great things and has helped you feel present and calm. All great things.

I'll be cheering you from the van too!!!

P.S. damn hippies (yes you!) hahaha just kidding. You know I especially love the free-range eggs business ♥♥♥