sneaker∙therapy

I talk to God on the road. And He talks back.


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Friday Faves + I Got Over a Food Aversion

Woohoo! It’s Friday :D It’s been a long week because along with the usual work stuff I’ve been cramming for the end of the semester (oh hi, final project I never thought about) but all my assignments are done now and all I have left to do is study for the final next Wednesday. And now that the weather is so gorgeous (it feels like we went straight from winter to early summer this year), everyone is coming out of hibernation and we’ve got some fun stuff on the calendar this weekend! We’re gonna see the Avengers with Mike’s coworkers Jess and Justin tomorrow (at my favorite theater), and then Sushi Jin with college friends for dinner. I’d better get in my long run tomorrow morning to balance out all that eating…

Friday Faves

Running outside again! You know how I said I was going to try to transition back to outdoor running several weeks ago? Yea, that didn’t happen – probably because temps were still often in the 20s and 30s in the mornings and I’m a total wuss this year. But this week has been a different story – all my runs have been outside! After a winter on the treadmill, I was starting to think that maybe I preferred the treadmill and was seriously contemplating becoming an indoor-only runner (if such a category exists). HAHA nope – I did 7 miles outside this morning and was on cloud 9 for hours afterwards. I wasn’t fast (I definitely keep pace better on the treadmill) and the slight wind and varying inclines were definitely more challenging than the flat surface of the t/m, but I felt so alive the whole time and grateful to be running. Can you tell I still have a runner’s high? Lol. I’ve also had a hard time finding a comfortable running shoe lately, so I ordered several to test and I loved the one I ran with this morning. More to follow…
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Castelvetrano olives. Mike and I both love olives so we often get a containerful from supermarket olive bars to snack on. I grabbed some of these light green ones from Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago thinking they were just regular green olives, but realized they were something completely different when we tried them. These olives are creamy and buttery, with very little tang to them, unlike regular green olives (which I find really sour). We’ve been filling big containers with them from WF whenever we’re near one since we can’t find them anywhere else. Another reason to add Italy to the travel bucket list.
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This hairdryer (Babyliss Pro TT I think?) – on our Boston trip, our Airbnb hostess lent me this hairdryer for use and I was blown away (pun intended) at how quickly it dried my hair and how easy it was to style the ends. I’ve been trying to style my hair more often (read: less ponytails at work) and I didn’t know what a difference a good hairdryer makes! I’m swapping out my super-cheap one for the Babyliss for sure.
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On another hair-related note, I finally found a workout headband that keeps my long bangs out of my face and doesn’t fall off my head – the UA Perfect Headband. It has two rubber strips that go all the way around to keep it in place, and the band stretches pretty wide to keep fly-aways away from my face. It’s not really cute, but it gets the job done! I wear this for every workout and wash it with hand soap between wears.
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And finally– cottage cheese! I know this is an odd one, but I’ve had a strong aversion to cottage cheese for ten years – I ate it when I had the flu and got sick right afterwards.  I’ve tried it every couple of years to see if I’ve gotten over it, and nope, couldn’t eat the stuff – until a few weeks ago when I bought a tub for a recipe and found I was able to eat it! I’ve been enjoying it with fresh pineapple for breakfast and snacks.
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Have you ever gotten over a food aversion? How long did it take you?
Any fun plans this weekend? Do share!


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The Race I Didn’t Run

I owe you guys a race recap from the Columbia Half this weekend, and it’s going to be short and sweet – it didn’t happen (for me – the race still went on).   And I’m okay with that.

The long and the short of it is that my legs and body were feeling terrible all of last week. I was a crazy insomniac and didn’t fall asleep till 3 or 4 every night. And for some reason, my legs were so sore that I dialed back my mileage (I think I only ran twice the whole week) and foam rolled a ton. But somehow, the soreness got worse to the point that it compounded my sleeping problem, and Saturday night I was nearly in tears because of the burning pain.

Sunday morning (race day), my legs were still pretty sore, but I got dressed and headed down to the car. But before I started the engine, I sat and pondered for a good ten minutes whether I really wanted to waste 4 hours of my weekend (including driving time) to run a sub-par, painful race. I knew that a PR wasn’t in the cards that day, and I had a feeling that I would be miserable from the start. Don’t get me wrong; I believe that there’s tremendous value in pushing through adversity, but running 13.1 miles with terrible leg pain sounded like injury territory at worst and a stupid way to spend my time at best. Plus, I was so sleep-deprived that I wondered whether I should be on the road at all.

So I went back upstairs, got undressed and got back into bed :D

Some pics from the rest of the weekend:

Tried a new Thai place Friday night – Thai Square! The Washington Post restaurant critic raves about it all the time, so we decided to give it a shot. The crispy fish (pictured below) was unfortunately really dry, but the honey roasted duck with basil and lad na (noodles in gravy) were bomb.

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I feel a little embarrassed posting this on the blog, but we played D&D for the first time with Mike’s coworkers on Saturday! Yes, it was super geeky, but I also had an awesome time :D

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Birthday starbucks drink that the barista kindly let me use 3 weeks past my birthday (apparently you’re supposed to use it within a week…). Green tea latte with soy was the order of the day.  #lipstickstain #keepingitclassy

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Workout Changes This Week

My legs are feeling much better this week; I took Monday off, did a modified speed workout on Tuesday, and hit up BodyPump yesterday – I’m sore today, but a good kind of sore. I’m wondering if the long training cycle was starting to take a toll on my body, so I’m dialing back the intensity of my runs, adding in cross-training and taking rest days whenever I feel I need it. At this point, I think I’m well prepared for my next half (Wine Country at the end of May), so I just want to maintain fitness and not get injured.

Plan for the (rest of the) week:

Mon – off

Tue – modified 4 X 1200 meter repeats (I did two full 1200s, and the other two I completed as 3 X 400s, if that makes any sense)

Wed – Body Pump

Thurs – 4 miles or off

Fri – 6-7 miles @ pace

Sat – 10 miles, easy pace

Sun – 4 miles or yoga

Any time my legs start to feel that painful again, I’m going to reduce the intensity of the workout, swap in yoga, or take a complete rest day as needed. I love running, but at the end of the day, this is still just a hobby and my overall health/ well-being takes priority over running fitness.


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{Training Update} Weeks 15+16

My first big race of the year is coming up this Sunday – the Columbia Half.  I’m nervous for my 1:55 goal, I’m not gonna lie – I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped at the 4 miler and 10K earlier this year.  But I know that I’ve worked hard since January to get my running base back and build up my endurance and speed, and that weather wasn’t on my side (rain, cold, wind) during those first two races of the year.  All I can do now is trust the training! Here’s how the last two weeks went down:

Week 15: April 6-12

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Mon: rest day

Tue: 4 easy on T/M (10:39 pace)

Wed: 3 X 1.5 miles at strength pace on T/M – Warmed up for 1 mile, then did 1.5 miles at ~8:37 pace (averaged 13:58) at 1.0 incline, and finished with 0.75 mile cool down. Followed up the run with a quick weight routine.

Thr: 4 easy on T/M (10:28 pace)

Fri: 7 race-paced miles on T/M (8:44 pace) – I did a short warm-up (0.5 miles) since this was a long run, and then got right to race pace. I tried to throw in some incline every other mile (up to 3 or 4) since so many of my runs have been on flat treadmill surface. I definitely felt it the next day!

Sat: rest day!

Sun: 8 miles outside in Boston (10:21 pace) – This was a terrible run – I was cold and facing headwind for the first 4 miles, so I stopped and stretched my calves frequently (probably took 3 minutes walking break every mile, not reflected in pace time). My legs finally started to better when I turned around for the last 4, but I was glad when this run was done.

Week 16: April 13-16

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Mon: rest day

Tue: rest day

Wed: 2 X 2 at strength pace on T/M – This run felt great – I love my speed/strength run each week! After a 1 mile warm-up, I ran at ~8:37 pace for 2 miles (17:13 average time) with a 0.25 mile recovery walk/ jog in between. I finished it up with 1.25 miles cool down, and did a short weight routine afterwards.

Thr: rest day – allergies!!

Fri: Planned 7 race-pace miles – I ended up cutting this run short at 2.5 miles because my feet hurt (still having issues with my NB 890v4s) and I wasn’t feeling it.

Sat: 6 race-pace miles on T/M (8:46 pace) – I decided to complete the workout I planned for Friday, and ended up doing 6 miles at race pace after a mile warm-up. My legs were tired for sure, but I was glad I didn’t have to skip this workout.

Sun: 12 miles on T/M (9:48) – Sunday was pretty windy, so I did my long run on the treadmill. I honestly don’t mind it much; I watch TV on my ipad, vary the speed/ incline every couple of minutes, and stop every 3-4 miles for water or gel. This run went by fast!

My plan for this week included a short speed workout yesterday and now only short, easy runs with lots of stretching till Sunday’s race!


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A Taste of Summer

I can’t believe that it’s Wednesday already. I’ve been riding the strugglebus this week because my insomnia is back with a vengeance – last night was the first night in several days that I fell asleep before 1 (we’re usually in bed by 10 and up by 5 or 6). I think it’s a combination of allergies and warmer weather/ longer daylight affecting my circadian rhythm that’s making it harder to fall asleep =\ But I’ve been trying out white noise videos on YouTube this week, and I think they’re helping. Fingers crossed I sleep even better tonight! Does anyone else have a harder time falling asleep in the spring/ summer?

I’ll take the insomnia to keep the weather we had this weekend though – Friday’s rain (see the rainbow!) cleared up by Saturday and the rest of the weekend felt like summertime.

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I got in a hard pace run on Friday after work, and took a rest day on Saturday because my whole body felt tired. It was my friend Vivian’s birthday, so I took her out to Mint Nail Lounge in the trendy Mosaic District to get manis together!

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Neither of us had been here before, but I picked it because it had great reviews and I liked all the aromatherapy options they had available. We got the orange peel manicure, which came with a full arm scrub, lotion massage, and something else – all wonderfully scented and relaxing. I liked this place a lot – it was clean, bright, and they had a great selection of polishes to choose from; I’ll take more pictures when we go back for pedis in a few weeks :)

I was too hungry to wait for dinner when we got back, so Mike and I went to our new favorite hangout – Lyon Hall in Clarendon – to eat happy hour mussels and bread before Vivian’s bday dinner in Rosslyn. It was a really relaxing evening catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones – now that the winter is over, I think we’re all feeling more social again and we made many plans to hang out!

I mentioned the beautiful weather, right? It was 80 degrees on Saturday, so I decided it was time to pull out the summer clothes and put the warmer layers away. Bright colors make me happy.

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I intended to go out first thing on Sunday for a long run, but after the festivities Saturday night, I didn’t wake up till much later. I ended up putzing about the house for most of the day, and finally did 12 miles on a treadmill in the afternoon while watching a few episodes of Resurrection on Hulu. I’m oddly obsessed and have a feeling the ending/ solution to the mystery is going to be really lame…

Summer weather also puts me in the mood for banh mi, so we picked up a few sandwiches and egg rolls (the beessttt) from the creatively-named Banh Mi D.C. for lunch. Soo good – I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of these this summer.

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It’s been colder and rainier since the weekend, but I think summer is right around the corner!


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Friday Faves: Running Fuel Edition

Hey friends! It’s my third post this week, so I’m feeling really on top of things. Only not really, because I have a homework assignment, final project, and final exam to start studying for, all of which I’ll probably save for the week they’re due. Seriously, my time management skills actually get worse the less I have to do – I was much more on top of things when I was taking two classes instead of one…

But it’s Friday, and I’m looking forward to spending the evening relaxing with these guys (and an unpictured Lucy): 0320151934
Today I wanted switch things up from a normal Friday Faves post and talk about what I’ve been eating lately before, during and after a run. Fueling and hydration are important to performance (and needs can change over time), so if you’ve felt exhausted or out of energy during a run, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re eating. This is what’s been working for me during my half marathon training:

Pre-Workout

-Energy: I’ve been trying to work out in the mornings again, and since I’m less than half-awake before my cup of coffee at work, I mix a half-scoop of this RedLeaf pre-workout energizer (found on Amazon) with a glass of water and down it before heading out the door. I’ve also tried the Pocketfuel Energy Shots (available in a couple places, I bought mine from Running Warehouse, I think?)– these are really tasty, with a watery-gel consistency that tastes like slightly sweetened coffee, if that makes any sense.

– Fuel: Before weekday runs, I’ll eat half a HoneyStinger waffle (lemon flavor is my favorite) or a graham cracker on the way out the door. For longer weekend runs, I just eat more carbs, like an English muffin/ banana with almond butter, and I’ll try to eat it about 30 min before running (any longer and I get hungry again, lol). PicMonkey Collage

On the Run

If I’m running any longer than 7-8 miles, I’ll carry a gel or two. I’m still loyal to the strawberry banana PowerGels – the consistency is thinner than Gus, so I can eat a whole gel pretty quickly, and I like the extra caffeine and flavor. powergels

Post-Workout

I swear that I recover more quickly on the days I have a protein shake as soon as I get home, so after speedwork/ pace/ long runs, I mix a scoop of protein powder and glucosamine powder with some almond milk in my shaker. This Optimum Nutrition protein powder came highly recommended, and it tastes very chocolatey and has no aftertaste (at least to me), but I’ll probably look for one with more natural ingredients next time. Recommendations welcome!0220151535a
Do you tend to eat the same foods before/ during/ after a run, or do you like to switch it up?


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{Training Update} Weeks 13+14

Yikes guys. I’m so behind on my workout logs. The last one I posted was for weeks 11 and 12, and I’m in week 16 right now. It’s a bit daunting, but I’m going to try to catch up by posting weeks 13 and 14 today, and weeks 15 and 16 next week. I like having these recaps to go back to and seeing what I did right and what I could do better next time around.

BTW, if you’re wondering exactly how long this training cycle will last – me too, friend, me too. Right now, I’ve planned workouts to week 22 (end of May), which is the week of the Wine Country Half. I originally intended to start in January and go no further than a 16 week training cycle to get me through 2-3 half marathons, but my early half marathons got cancelled due to weather so I kept pushing the training cycle longer. I’m training for the Columbia Half (in less than 2 weeks, eek!) and the Wine Country Half and hoping to break 1:55 in either/both race(s). I’m looking forward to cutting my running back a bit in June before ramping back up for fall marathon training!

Week 13: March 23-29

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Mon: yoga – this video from Runner’s World. Love the running-specific focus – hello, hips and calves!

Tue: 400-1600 meter ladder (400, 800, 1200, 1600 then back down) on treadmill – I did these all at 8:00 pace, and while the 1600 was tough, I told myself that I only had one of them to do. I took short 0.15 mile recovery intervals to cut down on the length of the workout because this one totaled 7 miles with warm-up and cool-down.

Wed/Thurs: Rest (came home late on Weds, and had bad cramps on Thurs – so fun being a woman)

Fri: 8 miles easy outside (9:36 pace)– I didn’t set out to run 8 miles since I had a race on Sunday, but the weather was gorgeous and I knew my mileage would be pretty low that week, so I ended up going 4 miles out and back on the W&OD trail. I felt great the whole run and followed it up with some yoga at home.

Sat: 4 miles easy on T/M (10:50 pace) – My legs were a little tired from Friday and I was trying to break in my new shoes…more on that later.

Sun: Alum Run 10K (9:20 pace) – recap here.

Week 14: March 30 – April 5

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Mon: rest day

Tue: 4 X 1 mile @ 8:38 on the treadmill – this was my first workout that transitioned from speedwork (something with 400, 800, 1600 meter repeats) to strength work, adapted from the Hanson’s Marathon Method. The idea is that you run slower than speedwork pace but sustain it longer; think of it as a short tempo, done at ~10 seconds faster than your goal race pace. The 1 mile intervals really weren’t too hard, and I took a 0.25 mile jogging recovery between each one. I followed it up with some weights/ core.

Wed: 6 easy miles outside (10:10 pace) – so windy, but it was 70 degrees! Favorite post-run yoga afterwards.

Thr: 7 miles at race pace (8:51) – I first tried this workout before work, and couldn’t get through even a mile at my goal pace. After stopping and starting a few times, I called it quits and decided to try again after work. I knew I was really tired from poor sleep the night before, but I decided to just take it a few miles at a time and take short water breaks between miles 3-4 and 4-5. I was a few seconds off from my target pace (8:47), but given how tired I was, I was just happy I got it done.

Fri: yoga – this Ekhart video for runners

Sat: 10 miles on T/M (9:46 pace) – this was the second workout this week I almost gave up on. I felt tired from the get-go, and 4 miles in, I got a bad side-stitch and had to walk for a good 10 minutes (didn’t count it in my distance or pace). I really wanted to quit, but knew I wouldn’t have time to get it done on Sunday with our Easter activities, so I ate a gel, drank some water and powered through.

Sun: Easter Sunday! Rest day

Lacing Troubles

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I alluded to my shoe troubles earlier in the post, so here’s what I’ve been experiencing. I bought a new pair of New Balance 890 v4, shown above (I have the v3s and love them) and the fit appears to be different from the v3s because they’ve been giving me issues each time I wear them. I was going to try to return them, but then I came across this article on different lacing techniques and realized that could solve my problem. Brilliant. I have wide feet and my heels were slipping out of the heel cups, so I first tried Altra’s lacing technique. It solved those two issues, but I then started having arch pain along the sides of my feet (because I guess the middle of the foot was too unsupported?). So after trying a variety of lacing styles, I sort of made up my own and it seems to be doing the trick:

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In case you can’t tell, the laces go up from the first set of holes (instead of diagonally), then I lace normally until I get to the top.  The laces go from the second-to-top hole to the top hole (usually not used) without crossing diagonally.  I find that the extra space near the toes helps my wide feet, and using the very top hole helps my foot stay in the shoe.

I still feel a little arch pain when I start, but after a mile or two it goes away and the shoe feels pretty comfortable. I wish I could just get another pair of the v3s – they felt perfect from the beginning…

Are you picky about your running shoes? Are you loyal to a particular line/ brand?


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Weekend(s) in Pictures

Woah, can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve posted! Let’s just pretend I’ve been on vacation, shall we ;) Work has been really busy lately, and I’ve been studying hard to finish my spring semester on a strong note. Anyway, here’s what’s been going on here lately on the non-running front…

Easter Weekend

I meant to celebrate my birthday the Saturday of Easter weekend, but I ended up not feeling great and cancelled dinner plans.  But Sunday was beautiful, and after a wonderful Easter service, we went to an amazing brunch hosted by Mike’s coworker Jess!
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My pictures seriously don’t do justice to the brunch – there was an enormous spread inside (everything was sooo good), and a bloody Mary/ mimosa bar set up outside. After eating and chatting for an hour, we hunted around the yard for Easter eggs with lottery scratch-offs inside :)

My birthday fell during the workweek, so we didn’t do much to celebrate – but I was craving Bonchon chicken, so Mike went out and got some.  Still as good as ever.
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Also ate my first macaron (or two…or three)! Such an awesome gift from Vivian – from the popular Olivia Macaron.  I’m a fan! The Lady Gray flavor was my favorite.
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Boston Wedding Weekend

This past weekend, we were in Boston for a college friend’s wedding! Both mine and Mike’s sisters live there, so we got to spend some time with them too.

My sister and I met up on Friday at Dumpling House near Harvard Square – I was craving Chinese food since we haven’t found a favorite place near DC.  The soup dumplings were just okay, but this fried tofu with bean sauce was the bomb.
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To my surprise, most of the snow was gone! I just saw this one dumping ground on the way to J’s place.0411151316
Hotels in Boston/ Cambridge are really expensive, so we decided to try airbnb this time around. So glad we did; the place we stayed at was gorgeous and so comfortable (tempurpedic bed!).  It’s this listing, if you’re curious.  We’ll definitely be using airbnb more in the future!
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We celebrated my birthday with our sisters at Puritan and Co, a restaurant in Cambridge that came highly recommended by Mike’s sister. Everything on the tasting menu was so tasty, but my favorite course was the starter pretzel buns #carbsforeverpuritan and co
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We went running Sunday morning (so chilly!) before getting some food at Hmart and then getting ready for the wedding. Graffiti alley near the Hmart was beautiful:
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Then it was time for Derek and Cecilia’s wedding – we knew Derek from our Christian college group, and we loved Cecilia as soon as we met her! She’s incredibly gracious and warm. The only non-blurry picture I got during the ceremony:
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Weddings are pretty much the only times we’re dressed up, so we take pictures like these a lot, lol.DSC03889
That felt like an insanely long post, so if you made it to the end, you’re probably my sister or other family member =) Running updates coming later this week!

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