Boston is 4 weeks away!

The Boston Marathon is merely 28 days away, and I just took 1+ weeks off running. I’ve been sick with a cold, and it’s been frustrating trying to will my body to heal. I know this is crunch time, and I’m unable to put in the training that I need and crave. It’s been especially frustrating because I’ve just been sick so often in the past 6 months. Honestly, I’ve had 3 colds since November, and it’s HOLDING ME BACK!!!

It’s my goal to stay healthy and illness-free from now (or whenever I get back to 100%) to my birthday in June. I’ve literally written it on a piece of paper and taped it to my wall by my light switch so I will see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

I’ve read that recently – one of the best ways to stay focused on your goals is to write them out on a 1-pager and look at the in the morning and at night. Of course, I have a few other goals on there as well, including some running-related ones :)

I’m getting nervous about the race, and it bothers me how others try to comfort me by saying that I’ll do fine. I know they have good intentions, but I’m not merely trying to finish it. This is one of my best chances of the year to get a PR, and if I miss this opportunity, I’ll need to wait at least another year, and there’s no promise I’ll qualify for next year. Every race I run, I want to put in months of good, solid training and on the day of, to truly give it 100%. How else can you be satisfied?

Here’s another thing: I never really understand when others review a race and say something like, “Not bad given that I only trained x weeks.” Sure, it’s not the WORST thing in the world, but I’d say it’s pretty bad if you didn’t give it 100% in both preparation and performance. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and if you miss an opportunity, you never know when you may get another chance.

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty bummed about this whole thing. I’m going to bed to heal my fragile body and hopefully have a sunnier outlook tomorrow. Kisses to everyone!

Guess who’s back, back again!

Anna’s back, tell a friend. The last “I’m Ba-a-ack!” post was really an 11-month teaser. Suspense builder. Cliff hanger. In all honesty, it’s been so hard to write about running, when you’re on a long and slow path to recovery, and don’t know how long it’ll take. Some days, it’s tough being patient, and I really want to say “Screw it” and go for a nice long 10 miler. It’s even tougher to do all the things I’m supposed to do like massage my foot, ice my heel, stretch, and wear my night splint. Does any of this even work?!

Look at what I wear to sleep. See how comfy it is?

night splint

In May, I went on a 17-day Europe trip to 7 cities in 4 countries, and came back completely healed! I may have come back a few pounds heavier as well…

Anyway, since then, I’ve run a half marathon and a full marathon. While they were certainly hard, I still felt that my plantar fasciitis was gone. It was an amazing feeling.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, when I started feeling the all-too-familiar pain in my left heel. WTF, mate? So I’m back at it again, massaging, icing, night-splinting (whyyy?), and stretching.

All right, let’s do this!!! Speedy recovery, I’m staring you down and coming for you!

 

I’m Ba-a-ack!

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Yikes! It’s been 8 months since my last post. So many wonderful things have happened since then in other aspects of my life, that my running has fallen to the wayside. However, this blog isn’t just about my running successes. I aim to provide a completely honest, no-strings-attached record of my running journey – from the proud moments to the hard-to-swallow losses, and even my boring routines that upon repeating enough times hopefully lead to success.

So that’s my long-winded way of saying sorry. Sorry for the silence and pinky promise to never do it again. Friends forever?

To sum things up, I’ve gotten a new job (hooray!) and developed plantar fasciitis (boo). It’s been very frustrating as I’ve tried icing, stretching, jogging, running, rolling, wearing orthotics, and even drinking cherry juice concentrate. Apparently, it’s supposed to help.

I’ve been out of commission and missing more races than I like to even think about. I can’t help it. Each race is another missed opportunity to qualify for the trials. I know, I know. I need to be patient and do what’s best for my body. And if it’s telling me to rest, then I need to rest. No point in training when you’re not fully recovered. Patience!

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon Tomorrow!

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Quick post tonight before I head off to bed. I’ve been waiting anxiously for tomorrow for a month now. And now that it’s less than 12 hours away, I’m so nervous! GAhh…

I feel: good. I’ve been running consistently all of January. I’ve managed to sneak in a run every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday with just one exception. No injuries other than my blisters. (I developed blisters from hiking the pyramids in Teotihuacan in Mexico in my stupid sandals!) I’ve been stretching and drinking lots of water today.

I’m aiming for: a 1:19. That’s what I secretly want, but I’ll be happy with a 1:22. My PR is 1:24:29, so really, I should be happy with anything faster than that. So it’s actually more like this:

  • slower than 1:24:49 – unhappy
  • 1:22-1:24:49 – happy
  • 1:19 – 1:22 – happier
  • sub 1:19 – happiest!!

My happiness formula is complicated…

Why I’m nervous: Impala girls will be there. And there’s a 50% chance of rain.

Why I’m excited: This race is in Golden Gate Park and Great Highway aka my stomping grounds aka my backyard! I have run these routes countless times, so my familiarity with them will definitely serve to my advantage.

The actual results: We’ll see tomorrow! Good night everyone.

Weekly Check-in: Groovy, Baby

2 weeks away from the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon, and I’m feeling strong. I had a good 2.5 weeks of solid training after my 5-day vacation in Mexico, and now I’m back in the groove. (Groovy, baby) Rest helps refuel my passion for running and prevents me from burning out both mentally and physically. When timed correctly, not running helps me come back stronger.

Here’s my mileage from Strava for this month:

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I started using Strava in December 2013, and I’m still learning the bells and whistles, but it seems like a great tool to track my distance and time spent running. Not gonna lie, I’m looking forward to the end of 2014, when I can see just how much time I poured into this passion of mine. Wouldn’t it be great to end the 2014 year with 2014 miles? So perfect, right?

It’s also super helpful because I get asked quite often, “What’s your weekly mileage?” and being the hippie runner that I am, I have no idea. I do some quick rudimentary calculations and reply with a “40-50 miles??” that sounds less convincing than I’d like to admit. So… now I know, down to the last .1 mile!

This is quite a drastic change from my running habits from around this time last year. I was running on weekends, and squeezing in runs whenever I “had the time” or whenever I “wanted to” during the weekdays. Which meant I never ran on weekdays. :) Now, I aim to wake up at 4:15 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays to squeeze in a morning run before the sun even comes up.

Having a more structured workout plan allowed me to make leaps in my performance and ensured that I was prepared for my races. It’s also boosted my confidence because I know I’ve put in the effort and completed my months-long training. I’ve done everything I could in the weeks before, and on race day, I’m ready for anything.

We’ll see in 2.5 weeks. Eek!

Good night, moon

I was running along the Great Highway earlier this week, doing my usual morning run, when I noticed the moon. A gloriously round, bursting-at-the-seams moon in the clearest of night skies. There was not a cloud nor any fog to obstruct my view, and when I ran past the crashing ocean waves, I couldn’t help but stop and admire.

How lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city.

The next morning, I brought my point-and-shoot camera along to snap a few shots. Perfect timing. I had just taken my first photography class last weekend and was eager to test my new knowledge. I’m still very much a beginner and learning to use my camera features, so please have mercy on my blurry pictures. These were taken around 6 am. Enjoy!

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The moon glistening off the waves.

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Artsy off-center shot, heh heh

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A little blurry, but check out those waves. Here, the moon almost looks like the sun!

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Similar shot, but slower shutter speed = darker. Here you can see the waves more clearly.

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I love the rich, golden colors here.

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Good night, moon.

Top Secret Weapon to Cranking Up Motivation

WWYD

This is part II of my last blog post 3 Secrets to Staying Motivated. Just when you thought I was done…

Here is my top secret weapon to really cranking up the power of motivation:

What would _______________ do?

Yes, admittedly, it’s an adaptation of the “What Would Jesus Do?” motto you remember from bracelets, notebooks, and other teenage girl goodies in the 90’s. But it works. Just fill in the blank with the type of person you strive to be. You know, the person who already accomplished the goals you set out to do.

For me, it’s “What would an Olympic marathoner do?”

Would she hit the snooze button at 4:30 am when it’s time to run? Would she over-indulge in another piece of fried chicken? Would she skip her workout in order to go to happy hour with friends?

Of course not.

And if you want to be in that person’s shoes, you must be willing to do what it takes to get there. It’s getting into the daily habit and the mindset of the person you want to become, coupled with the art of visualization. It’s essentially “Fake it till you make it” or better yet, “Fake it till you become it.”

3 Secrets to Staying Motivated

A fresh new year also means new years resolutions. If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, it’s overflowing with posts and articles about goals and strategies to make sure this year will be the year.

Uh okay, cool. No pressure.

Now I think that’s all fine and dandy. I’m all for ingraining healthy habits and setting goals, and I strongly and honestly believe it’s never too late to change. There are many reasons to run and just as many incentives to stay fit. Today, I want to share with you how I stay motivated and on track when it comes to running.

  1. Plan out your workout schedule for the entire month. It can be as strict or as loose as you’d like. I prefer a loose set of guidelines (for ex, I plan to run 12 miles this Saturday and again on Sunday) to make sure I hit the right mileage for the week, while still having enough flexibility to make it fun (I get to choose when and where I run). Be sure to schedule breaks or “off days” as well. Recovery is just as important as training hard, and you don’t want to burn out your body or mind. Plus, allowing for off days allows you to push harder (“If I run today and tomorrow, I can take Friday off.”).
  2. Lay out your workout clothes and equipment, so they’re ready when you plan to exercise. Mine is all set up for me when I get home tonight, so I can quickly slip into them and get out the door before I even realize I’m going for a run. This simple but vital step saves you time and energy. You don’t need to hunt for your Belaga socks, your Garmin GPS watch, or anything; it’s all ready for you to take for a spin. Any energy you spend deciding on what to wear, what route to run, or what mileage to tackle means less energy and time for your actual workout.
  3. Trick yourself. We all have those moments where we don’t feel like working out, when we’ve had a long, taxing day and we think we deserve a break. Yes, you’ve already planned out your monthly workout schedule and have your Nike thermal gear eagerly waiting for you, but you think to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just lay on the couch for just a minute and relax?”

WRONG.

You will always feel better after a workout. You will feel more productive, more accomplished, and more proud of yourself. Logically, you know that (of course you do!), but the sofa is just so darn tempting! So here’s what you do: you compromise and tell yourself you will run 1 mile. Just one. Who doesn’t have time for one measly mile?

But let me tell you: 99 times out of 100, I will exceed that 1 mile. I will realize how silly it is to get dressed and stretch and everything for just 1 mile, and oh, what the heck, what is a few more miles. When you get back to your couch, you will realize it wasn’t that hard after all and what were you whining about anyway? And that, my friends, is how you knowingly trick yourself into working out. And if you don’t exceed that 1 mile, that’s perfectly fine too. One mile is infinitely better than 0. Plus, you didn’t break your momentum, so it will be 10x easier to pick up where you left off tomorrow.

That’s it. Those are my secrets. Which really aren’t secrets at all. #1 and #2 are about preparation and #3 is about mustering up a teeny bit of motivation and challenging yourself to take it further.

I also believe that because one technique works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. So I encourage you to give them a try and see what works best for you. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

If you have any tips and tricks to staying motivated, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

2014 Race Calendar

Ahh. New year, new possibilities. It’s amazing to think of how much I’ve learned improved in the past year, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for me these next 12 months.

After CIM, I took a few weeks to relax, get fat, spend time with family, and zip off to Mexico. Now, it’s time to get back into gear. In other words, I’m channeling Britney’s her new song “Work B*tch.” :)

It’s also an exciting time for me because I’ve never planned my races so far in advance before. I’m actually becoming a “real runner!” Without further ado, here are the races I hope to plan on dominating the next few months:

Feb 2: Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon

Apr 21: Boston Marathon

Apr 27: Big Sur Marathon Relay

May 18: Bay to Breakers

Jun 21: Grandma’s Marathon (tentative)

Jul 27: SF Marathon – I’m an Ambassador for this event! Use my code DSC10TSFM2014A6 for a $10 discount

After July, it gets a bit hazy. I hope to get into the Chicago Marathon in October, as it’s one of the flattest (read: fastest) courses in America. Also considering the NY Marathon, which is also pretty high up there, drawing some of the speediest runners around the world. My concerns are that it’s so close after Chicago and so close before CIM (which after what happened last year, I’m determined to make a comeback!!!). We shall see. In the meantime, it’s all about focus. Less than 4 weeks until my next race in my stomping grounds: Golden Gate Park and Great Highway!