Friday, October 3, 2014

the beer mile

Always late, but worth the wait...well hopefully.

For the sake of my dwindling attention span, I will dive right in to my most recent shenanigans because I know you're all dying to hear about the (dun dun DUN...) beer mile.

Let me preface by explaining what exactly a beer mile is, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of participating in such an event. The beer mile is the ultimate test of stamina and stupidity, an equal playing field for runners of any ability or gender to be crowned the world's fastest alcoholic.

The beer mile is run on a 400m track, traditionally not on a high school campus seeing as how the encouragement of underaged drinking is generally frowned upon. Thankfully (?) Seattle is home to a smorgasbord on independent tracks located in local parks. This way you can drink, run and puke at your favorite family-friendly park instead.

It works like this:

Chug a beer.
Run a lap.
Chug a beer.
Run another lap.
Chug a beer.
Run a lap.
Chug a beer and...you guessed it
Run a lap.

The beer mile even has rules as outlined by the official governing body, Beermile.com. Your beer of choice must be 12oz and have an alcohol content of at least 5%. The race is a true mile, not just a 1600m run, so the track must be marked accordingly. There is a transition zone of 10 meters where competitors must consumed the entire beverage before embarking on the lap that follows. And finally, should you lose your Budweiser at any point before the mile is completed, you must run an additional lap (but no more beers are required). These are the rules of the beer mile, and they are unflinchingly rigid.

I opted to run my event with Schillings Cider, running a whopping 6.5% alcohol,  which I now find will likely disqualify my time from the leaderboard (see "unflinchingly rigid rules" at beer mile.com).

Anywho, there was about a dozen of us who decided to accept the challenge, and about the same number of people who came out to simply watch the show. For the record, I am a staunch non-drinker. Not because I am anti-alcohol, but rather because my body seems to be... a point that was indeed confirmed throughout the evening.

We toed the line, drinks in hand, and the chugging began at the sound of "Go!" I was second off the line, and took to my first lap at an easy pace. Soon as the others had finished their first drinks, they were off like rockets. At least 5 or 6 runners blew by me in the first lap alone. And that was the last time I saw them...

I was third off the line after the second round of chugging, and feeling pretty good. Stomach full but not uncomfortable, I rounded my second lap in confidence. Downing the third beer was admittedly more challenging than the first two, but hearing "Holy crap, go Amanda!" from my peers gave me the fuel I needed to push through the pain. My third lap was one perpetual burp of carbonation. I was starting the feel it, and the reality that I had to force yet another drink down struck fear into my heart.

I boarded the struggle bus at approximately 6 minutes into the run. The fourth beer was reluctant to go down, and in fact almost had a "return to sender" postage before I even left the transition zone. I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe, all I could do was repeat "Keep it down. I will NOT be running another lap." By this time I was feeling the effects of the alcohol. The last turn on to the homestretch became about 6 turns... But I finished, and I finished third overall with a time of 8 minutes 16 seconds! And props to the two gentlemen who beat me, Buck with a time of 7:25 and Reuben with a time of 7:26.

The bragging rights that I earned and am proud to announce:
- I was the third overall finisher in my very first beer mile!
- I was the only woman to complete the mile.
- My time of 8:16 should rank me 25th female ever in the beer mile (but won't because I drank cider, dammit!)

My mother must be so proud.

As much as I tried, I could not evacuate my stomach immediately post-race. And so began the after-effects of the beer mile...an event that keeps on giving long after the tape is crossed.

My one other achievement? I was most-handedly the drunkest participant. Most of my post-race exploits are a blur to me, but I distinctly remember running around and throwing my running shoes over a football goal post and yelling "Mic drop!" What followed were 12 hours of being violently ill. I was THAT drunk person puking in the bushes in front of your house.

Don't worry, mom is still proud.

I got home and passed out, woke up at 3am feeling pretty good...because I was still completely drunk. Another bout of alcohol rejection and I was back to bed, but I rallied and woke up at 10am without a headache. Go figure.

Then came the fun of locating the car. I had to run about 4 miles to grab my wheels since naturally I had a driver for the event. Thanks to my roomie Anthony who chauffeured me and held my coat whilst I took to the shrubs. FYI: The following morning he proceeded to tell all my coworkers that I needed a boyfriend. There's a thin line between love and hate...

And that, my friends, is the beer mile in all its glory. If you've never done it, you need to check it off your bucket list. If you have done it, you'll understand why I'll never do it again.

Cheers!

Day 275.
Alta Peak
Sunrise at Mt. Rainier.

Discovery Park

Monday, September 8, 2014

finding focus and feeling enchanted

I am nothing if not consistent.

Competing in the Women of Wonder 5k brought to my attention a severe lack of focus with regards to my training. After the I <3 Nerds 5k I had set my sights on breaking the 20 minute barrier for the WoW, which was set to run approximately 2 weeks later. Sadly I fell by the wayside at some point during those 14 days and I was met with a disappointing reality check...

Let's get real for a moment and recap the steamy dump that was my WoW 5k yesterday. Going into the race, I suspected that my performance would be sub-par but I didn't anticipate feeling the way that I did - like a salted snail.

The first mile I was sitting pretty at 6:15 and feeling in control while riding comfortably in second place. We curved around the SE corner of Greenlake and headed west, where I clocked a 6:27 second mile.

Queue panic.

Up until now I have been able to maximize my fitness level on race day in the form of even mile splits (and even race means you ran as fast as you could on that given day). Seeing that 13 second gap between my first and second mile meant disaster was imminent, I had bitten off a little more than I could chew. Halfway between mile 2 and 3 holy hell began to rain down upon me. The tank was empty, fumes were barely carrying my legs forward, and to top it all off I managed to continuously wet myself for the remaining half mile. It was a day to make mama proud.

Of course, no one could really tell I was collapsing in on myself like a dying star, aside from the look of exhaustion across my face I'm sure I appeared in good shape. Thankfully my black shorts hid my otherwise very obvious and involuntary public urination, which has now been revealed to all thanks to my complete lack of filter or propriety. Moving on.

So I aim to find some more focus as I have a few more 5ks on the horizon and a 50 miler looming in the not-so-distant future. I find myself in a funk that only the mountains can shake from me. So I take to the trees.

In the weeks leading up to this weekend's race I escaped to the mountains on several occasions, the pièce de résistance being a backpacking trip into The Enchantments. This is Washington's premier hiking zone located about 15 minutes south of Leavenworth and contains peaks of the Stuart Range.

Colchuck Lake - elevation 5,570 ft
We hiked in via the Stuart Lake Trailhead which forks up to Colchuck Lake. There we set up camp and set off for the Enchantment zone shortly after 12pm. From Colchuck Lake you must climb Aasgard Pass, a measly 1 mile stroll with only 2,200 feet of elevation gain.

Aasgard Pass beyond Colchuck Lake
That shit is straight up.

We reached the top of the pass around 1:30pm, which sits at the base of Dragontail Peak. Sadly I didn't get to climb said peak, an ascent for another time. We dropped down into the Enchantments and quickly fell into the fairytale.

Top of Aasgard Pass at the base of Dragontail Peak

Breathtaking.

We only went as far east as Perfection Lake due to daylight constraints (for real though, no one wants to descend Ass-Gaurd Pass after sundown) but what we saw was incredible.

Gateway to the Enchantments

Crystal Lake

Perfection Lake
Coming down the pass was as daunting as I assumed it would be. I found myself saying "Where the f*ck is the trail?" most of the way down and nearly trapped myself on a rock face during one of my off-trail meanderings. Reaching camp was a welcomed sight, followed immediately by Mountain House (a tasty just-add-water meal I adorably nicknamed "Out House") and drink (what can only be described as a volatile mixture of Vodka and Zip Fizz - mostly Vodka - that became known as the infamous "Purple Drank"). It was awesome.

Thanks to Scott, Jill, Megan, Kevin, Casey and Colin for making this an unforgettable trip.

Jill, Megan and Casey. Part of our party for 7.
My trips to the mountains have become so frequent that I'm working on a new addition to my blogosphere, "views from my shoes", in an attempt to consolidate all my adventures in one place. I will let you, my adoring fans living vicariously though my summits and face-plants, know soon as it is functional.

On an unrelated note, if someone is really adept at the intricacies of blog page design...

Upcoming events include a trip to Sunrise on Mount Rainier, Squak Mountain hill repeats with my new running group, and possibly another trip to the Enchantments...but this time the goal being to run up and over the entire length of the zone (approximately 20 miles) should stamina and time allow.

Additionally I am looking ahead to the next XC race, which will be October 18th at the Emerald City Open.

Until next time, I retreat to the trees.

Views from my shoes: 

Snow Lake - 8 miles at 4,400 ft elevation

Annette Lake - 7 miles at 3,600 ft elevation

Friday, August 22, 2014

my big announcement

My fingers just sit lifeless atop the keys... not for a lack of adventures to tell, but at a loss for a way in which to tell them.

...

I know in my past posts I have focused less on my streak, but to be clear I am still streaking. My failure to acknowledge my running everyday is a testament to the fact that it is no longer a "goal" but simply my new reality. I run every day. Period. And this is day 233.

On to the adventures!

I recently summited Mount Saint Helens, like a boss, and did the round trip in 6 1/2 hours. Only thing missing from the view at the top was...well...the view at the top. Shrouded in misty clouds we saw nothing of the mountain's massive crater or the surrounding picturesque landscape.


Well, shit. 

Not to worry though, just means another attempt is in my immediate future.

My roommate and I had scored the passes for Mount St. Helens last minute. What I didn't factor in was the fact that I had signed up for a 5k earlier this month to be run less than 48 hours after the hike. I figured, "Ahh hell, I hike my far share, shouldn't be too bad." I don't know how many of you have hiked the 8,000+ foot volcano, but if you have you'd know she's a beach. Pause for comedic brilliance to sink in... Many stretches of terrain along the route are the equivalent of walking in a sandy beach angled at a 30 degree incline. Two steps forward, one step back...followed by a slip, fall and face plant. So in effect, she is a b*tch-beach of a climb. It goes without saying that I was quite sore the next morning, and even more so the morning of my 5k.


As for the race. I finished top 10 overall and was first woman (yay) with a time of 20:15 (crap). Back in April I ran a 5k only two weeks after my 50 miler and completed it in 20:38, so to not be far ahead of that is a little unnerving for the start of XC season. In hopes of shaking off a little more rust, I will also be running a 5k at the Women of Wonder held at Greenlake on September 7th. This time I won't be climbing mountains before hand because that is obviously responsible for my sub-par performance and not my lack of speed training.

I <3 Nerds 5k

And finally, the BIG news...

Being the glutton for punishment that I am and the worldly explorer I aspire to be, I have signed up for another...long run. I thought long and hard about this decision (maybe, 6 seconds...) and have signed up for the Antelope Canyon 50 Mile. You read it right, another 50 mile. My resolution has now become a lifestyle?

However, this is not your ordinary 50 miler. This is the holy grail of 50 milers! Words cannot describe, so let these picture do the talking.


That's for real.

Be jealous...

50 miles of breathtaking views. 

4,350 feet of elevation gain and loss.


Not sure how I will afford to get there, but I'm officially signed up so it's happening even if I have to hitch-hike 1,300 miles.



My peaks this week:


Mount St. Helens - 10 miles

Mount Pilchuck - 5 miles


Next up, the Enchantments! Until next time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ragnar, the effects of napoleon, and my weekly peaks

So...it's been a while. But thankfully we are like old friends who, despite long gaps between encounters, can pick up where they left off without skipping a beat. Yes, we are the oldest and dearest of friends.

Time to play catch up.

My Ragnar NWP experience was...interesting. If you've never run a Ragnar Relay, the general premise is that you and 11 other suckers agree to split the burden of 196 miles to be run over the course of 24 hours. Sounds like perfect fun to me!


Ragnar effectively falls under what I so lovingly label: The Napoleon Dynamite Effect.


Remember that adorably horrendous movie Napoleon Dynamite staring everyone's favorite llama and curly-haired geek with glasses? Of course you do! Chances are you have found yourself (on more than one occasion) chuckling aloud at the thought of voting for Pedro or seeing a Liger in the wild... Ah what incredible jokes arose from that blockbuster hit! But I'll be damned if any one of you can say that you actively enjoyed that movie as you were watching it. You may think you did, but really we all looked on wondering why we had ever agreed to plant our asses in that chair. Ragnar was much like that, tough to suffer through at the time...funny as hell after the fact.



Top 10 Ragnar Take-Aways:

10. Gym floors are for playing basketball, not for sleeping. Sleep in the car, thank me later.

9. You're not going to sleep regardless of where you are.

8. We all mastered the art of the "U-turn."

7. You will either love or hate the people you're stuck in a van with. Thankfully we were the former.


6. Don't pack enormous amounts of food that you probably won't eat. But bring chips, everyone eats chips...


5. Beware the bitch eaten' crackers and understand that the struggle is real.

4. You do you, and I'm gonna do me. Translation: I will get the parking spot that you missed while cutting me off at the transition zone.

3. The legs associated with Van 2 run up every major hill in northern half of the Washington coast.

2. I met "Post-Fontaine." Enough said.


1. Absolutely the most breath-taking views of the Whidbey Island countryside.

Since the completion of Ragnar, my XC training is now in full swing. My weekly mileage has steadily climbed to 30+ miles and workouts have begun.

I've had to combine my passion for running and my love of hiking, resulting in a love child that I've aptly named "Trail Run Tuesday." And yet despite the fact that I ride the struggle bus all the way up the mountain, I find myself falling in love with this sport as well.

Trail Run Tuesday:

7/28/14 Rattlesnake Ledge - 5 miles
8/5/14 Goat Lake - 10 miles
Currently training for the Sundodger Invitational on September 20th hosted by the University of Washington. 

Even more exciting, Mount St. Helens is on my horizon for August 15th! 

I want to give a special thanks to Scott and Jill for being incredible friends and encouraging my hiking endeavors. I should only hope all of you have people in your lives that are as special as these two.

Until next time, get outside!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

saddle up

I stand (currently sitting) a mere 24 hours away from the start of my Ragnar Northwest Passage adventure. Most blog posts that I've read on the matter outline an elaborate packing list full of must-haves and forget-me-nots...but seeing as how I have yet to start packing you will not find any of those helpful hints here.

Ragnar is a new and exciting adventure for me! Though my enthusiasm is not fully evident in my (lack of) pre-race preparation, but I assure you I have been anticipating this event for months.

Bird Machine kick starts their adventure at 10am. I am runner number 7 and will start my first leg at approximately 3pm in Bellingham, WA.

Is it sad that my biggest fear going in to this race is that I might not be able to stay awake?

Follow us along on twitter as #birdmachine takes on 196 miles of the Pacific Northwest! Check out the blog by Oiselle more info on our runners!



Monday, June 30, 2014

here's lookin' at you, kid

It is quite humorous to see the social dynamic between sick people and healthy ones. Having recently spent a week as a mucous-zombie - with my couch as ground zero - it was interesting to see my roommate express his concern from behind a closed bedroom door.

"Do you need anything? How are you feeling?" Or at least that's what I assumed he'd said, though the hinged wooden slab between us proved an effective sound barrier if not only serving as the established germ sanctuary. Needless to say, I didn't really see him for a week. His concern was genuine, and I'm sure he would have done everything within his power to help me feel better from the safety of his room. 

Hiking has been put on hold, but the streak continues! I managed a mile or two the days I was sick and now I find myself at the halfway point for the year! How exciting is that? 180 days and counting.

Heather Lake
I'm also trying new things, or at least toying with the idea of trying news things (baby steps). I don't know where you live, loyal reader, but I come from a conservative town where people stay in closets, shoes and shirts are required, and cowboys abound.

Last weekend I witnessed my first naked bike ride, a Seattle tradition, in celebration of the summer solstice. Donned with body paint, brightly colored people and their privates rode through town in celebration of the longest day of the year. Despite all the sunshine, the many moons of Seattle were out in full splendor. 


I can't wait to participate next year.

I'm reading more, probably in pursuit of enlightenment. Currently lost in the pages of Danny Wallace's book "Yes Man," I'm finding a take-home message that may be worth putting into practice. Say yes more.

Ah, and now for the pinnacle of my last few weeks that effectively made my year. How would you behave if you met a celebrity? We all like to think we won't be that asshat that flips out, rambles incessantly, and manages to snap a candid photo we later set as our profile pic with the caption, "Me and my bff." No, we are cool. Calm. Collected. After all, they are only human. They're just like me. 

I now know that I am a complete and total wanker in the presence of even B-list celebrities. Not quite the stalker photog sort, but admittedly not far from.

I work in a running retail store, running specialty to be more specific while still be adequately vague (when I suddenly find myself a W-list celebrity, I will still be able to live a normal life having kept my personal details out of my media...).

A day like any other, until it wasn't. A man walks in. We're busy as per usual, so another coworker assures this man that someone will be available in just a minute to help him. I stare at this man for a few seconds before making my way to the back of the shop where I corner my coworker. "Is that...is that Bill Nye?" He pauses, "No, no it..." I didn't let him finish. I began bouncing around like beakered water molecules held over a Bunsen Burner.

Bill effing Nye. Bill effing Nye was in this running store, my running store! Life = complete. I didn't even speak to him, but I know what shoe he bought. Kind of a big deal. Real talk? I half expected him to approach me, proclaim that I was the next face of Hollywood, and sweep me back to California for a career in the movers... I'm still waiting for his return.

So...are you jealous of my exciting life? Currently pitching a reality show to MTV, so be on the look out.

Until my next entry, I continue my prep for Ragnar. Run happy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

life, love, and my pursuit of happiness

Hello darling, we meet again.

What day is it? Hell, what month is it? The last few weeks are all a blur, but in a good way I suppose.

Running everyday, working most everyday, and hiking to the outer ends of the Earth at least three times a week...welcome to life in the Pacific Northwest.

The only problem with my schedule is that it left little time for sleep. To answer your next question, a person can last roughly 2 weeks at that pace while neglecting sleep before said person becomes inflicted with the plague. Bummer.

Frankly this is the only reason I found enough time to stop and compose the next installment of my memoirs. But since we've both found our way here all the same - lovely strangers I've probably never met before - I'll take the time and give you the latest scoop.

Hiking
I get around...alot.

*Remove head from gutter*

Annette Lake 
Lake Twenty Two
Talpus Lake
Granite Mountain

Running

Ragnar Northwest Passage quickly approaches. The nerves are starting to set in as I haven't been able to get my weekly mileage up to where I'd like it. I look forward to it though, something to check off my bucket list.

I'm still running everyday. Some days though I have to haul down the mountain to sneak in a mile when I don't get the opportunity to go for a separate run later in the day. Now that I've fallen ill with what can only be described as the viral plague, I imagine getting in that precious mile will be a challenge over the next few days.

Life
Now we get to the good stuff. Those intimate, personal details shared only with my closest group of online strangers...you!

First, I love my job. Want to know the secret to loving your job? Stop chasing dollar signs, illustrious titles, or whatever other accolades you think you need to be happy in your career. I always thought I needed to climb the corporate ladder, jump through hoops (flaming ones) in an effort to makes more money and gain more status...the only formula for happiness, right?

Bogus. 

The things I associated with happiness instead brought me stress and misery. Now my life is simple, and I couldn't love it more. I am surrounded by coworkers who have become my closest friends, I find joy in what I do, and I am able to go on adventures to my heart's content. Life is good.

Love
Not much to report in this category, except to say that my world is about the size of a melting ice cube left out in the Fresno sun. All other areas are going exceptionally well for me, so it is cosmic balance that this particular arena be a bloody mess. That's alright though, I expect my phenomenally small world will eventually yield an encounter with Daniel Craig or Robert Downey Jr and all will be made right.

The Pursuit of Happiness
So far, so good. I'll call it a win.

Until next time. Run happy my friends.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

the new lease

It's been a few weeks since we last spoke and I know the world is giddy with anticipation for the next installment of the Amanda Diaries...

In summation: I moved to a new apartment, scored a pretty awesome roommate, and love my new job.

And to answer your next question, yes I am still streaking (the running kind not the naked kind). Day #147 baby and still going strong.

New events have been placed on my radar, so my training will start to shift in the next few months as I gear up for a cross-country season in the fall. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to strap on some racing flats and get back in the world of competition again.

I think what I'm most excited for is the opportunity to try a different approach to training. Historically, my inclination is to dive all in to an aggressive training regimen and emerge the fittest version of my injured self. Not to say that I don't love a good disappointing racing season spent on the bench, but for the sake of changing pace I aim for a slightly different outcome this time.

Those instances where I find myself compelled to push during moments of uncertainty will instead be met with a casual wave as I let them fly on by. "Risk vs reward" will now be a game of strategy and thoughtful contemplation, as opposed to impulse and pure dumb-assery.

This will surely mean some compromise, opting to be a few seconds behind my goal in exchange for a healthy year of racing. I hope to gain fitness over time, shifting my focus beyond the season at hand to the success of my career as a whole.

As such, I've made a list of my common mistakes for the purpose of accountability...plus, I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of these offenses.

1. Too fast, too soon.
Oh, how tempting it is to jump on the track and bust out some 400 repeats...or to push the last few miles of your easy run. Patience. There is so much fitness to be gained from keeping it comfortable and building strength for a little while.

2. Why so serious?
Skipping the beer mile because I have to run 10 the next day? Passing on ultimate frisbee because I'm supposed to do a tempo later? Having fun is part of what keeps the sport from getting stagnant. Don't skip on hanging out with friends, you'll only grow to resent your running.

3. Mileage madness
Probably my worst offense is my obsession with my weekly mileage. I'm adopting a new philosophy, quality over quantity.  What's the point of getting in those 10 miles to meet the weekly goal of 60 if you feel like a steamy pile for 9 of them? Mileage is just a number baby.

A new approach to training that will hopefully yield positive results. When what you would normally do doesn't work, do the opposite right? Makes sense to me! Until next time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

confessions of a sympathy seeker

My life has been such a roller coaster ride the past month that I could open up my own amusement park. <--- I just made that up, I'll be here all week... 

*mic drop*

Just when I think I've got all my ducks in a row, the universe does an impromptu "cup check" that effectively knocks all the wind right out of my sails.

My apologies, I have an analogy dependency that is currently going untreated.

I've found a place of helplessness that I'm extremely uncomfortable with. Nearing the end of my lease, the clock slowly ticks as I scramble to find a new place to call home. Thankfully I found someone willing to be my roommate...yes, I said WILLING. But decent places in Seattle are hard to find, especially when your budget is limited.

Long (complicated and pathetic) story short, we were about to sign a lease when I got a "cup check" in the mail, an outlandish bill demanding 6 months worth of utilities to be paid within the next 2 weeks. I blame all the laundry I have to do because of the running. Running is always to blame.

So now I find myself at the mercy of friends, asking those closest to me if I can be a home wrecker for a few weeks while I sort out my affairs and find a source of income (minor details).

My mother must be so proud.

Amidst all the chaos, I have kept my streak alive. Day 128 and going strong!

Making the climb.
Bandera Mountain.
Iron Horse Trail to Twin Falls.
I took this photo of myself. Boom! Selfie master.
I'm keeping this entry brief because no one likes a Negative Nancy. What will be, will be. Until next time, my streak continues! #streak365

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

big decisions and ticking clocks

Contrary to my original intentions, it seems this blog has become more of an account of the ups and downs of life with a little sprinkle of running if I have time to fit it in. In attempt to bring balance to this ghastly display of personal confession and social appeal, I will leak one of my secrets to running healthy for 120 days in a row (to be taken with a generous helping of salt granules, as I am not yet the reigning authority on all matters running...status pending). Are you ready to receive my wisdom?

1. Stress Less.



Sounds simple enough, yes? No. Life is full of unavoidable stress, so I'm mainly addressing the burden we place upon ourselves with regards to our endurance training.

Does this sound familiar? "I have a mile repeat track workout today, tomorrow I'll do a recovery run at 8 min pace, followed by a long run on Sunday incorporated with some marathon tempo miles..." Stop. Set down the GPS and back away from the running log. I said put it down!

We all have goals, PRs that need breaking and courses that need conquering. Admittedly these things are so much more difficult to accomplish from the bench... Have I got your attention yet?

I am speaking from experience, my ass has left permanent imprints on the benches at my high school and college tracks. In fact, I even had to install a bench at home to handle the overflow of ass-time. Sorry for all the "ass"...perhaps a clever symbol substitution will depreciate the vulgar value. Rewind and replace all with "a$$" and proceed.


We stress too much about our expectations for each run and the subsequent fallout after those expectations aren't met. This places unnecessary burden not only on our delicate psyche, but I believe on our bodies as well. Weak minds yield weak bodies, just in the same way that stubborn minds yield broken bodies. Find a balance.

Don't stress about how far you think you need to run on any given day, and don't put too much stock in any particular pace you think you need to hit.

I leave my house each day and run by the seat of my pants. Get out the door and feel great? Sweet, let's run 10 miles and push the pace. Throw on the shoes and feel like a hot steamy pile? Who cares, drag a$$ for a mile or two then call it a day. One day, or even one week, will not make you...but it can break you. Training for 50 miles, I knew I had to get certain distances in or else I wouldn't be adequately prepared, as is the same for your training I speculate.

Run how you feel, and don't stress. There are times to hold 'em, and times to fold 'em...the more willingness you have to LISTEN to your body, the more appropriately you can respond to any given scenario.

Am I running super fast times? H-E-double hockey sticks no! But I can assure you that I am inching closer to those desired times by running as opposed to sitting. Rigid training programs will work for some - injury-immune folks, profesh runners already in bangin' shape, and those looking to get fast...fast - but for the rest of us we need to practice some patience. I'm the worst offender in the real world, but in the running world I've gained considerable perspective in being patient. Try it.

Now for a sprinkle of real-life updates. It seems I will be staying in Seattle (hooray) and that I have found my niché. "Hindsight is always 20/20", "you never appreciate what you have until its gone", and other clichés that sum up being blissfully ignorant...

Until the next installment of "As Amanda's World Turns" I bid thee farewell and happy running.






Saturday, April 19, 2014

we all need a win sometimes

You know those moments in life where you just need a win? No matter how small? That's been me this week, needing a little glimmer of hope or, if nothing else, some degree of confirmation that I'm heading in the right direction. 

Today is my birthday, and no this is not me making a desperate plea for Facebook well-wishes but if you are so inclined as to venture a birthday post (despite not having actually spoken physical words to me within the last 6 months) who am I to deny you your right to half-ass a friendship... Of course, this is said with utmost sarcasm as I am the quintessential example of low-quality friendship given that I can nearly remember my closest friends' names, let alone recall such notable life events as birthdays or anniversaries. But I digress...


As a gift to myself, I elected to run the Earth Day 5k held at Alki Beach in West Seattle. Let's take a moment to talk about that thing that all runners do when they feel extremely self-conscious about their fitness level. Sizing up the competition. It goes like this...

First, roughly estimate the total number of participants who showed up, and immediately subtract all participants wearing the event t-shirt on race day. For today, that narrowed the already small field by approximately 75%.

Second (with infinitely more snobbish judgement required), scan the remaining participants and gauge general fitness level coupled with chosen racing attire and footwear. 

Don't look at me with derision, we all do it. And for those of you who do sport your newly acquired race day tee on race day, this is not a dig...sadly this is how a desperate runner's mind works when she's backed into a corner and feels the need to claw - tooth and nail - her way to the top.

The sound of the foghorn sent us on our way and, not knowing how I would feel, I was more than ready to trip, elbow, or piggy-back my competition (no not really, jeez...what you must think of me). 


But to my own astonishment, I felt pretty good. I felt in control, pushing a pace slightly beyond my comfort level. Checking my watch at the first mile brought me encouragement, a 6:44! Nice. 

I pushed past a few other worthy competitors at the turn around and made it into first place. Much to my surprise, my tank did not run empty and I held my position to the end. I felt like I was flying, allowing myself to dream that I might be on pace to break 20 min. Sadly no, I rolled across the line in around 20:38. But that's still amazing for me and it felt incredible nonetheless.


Things haven't gone as anticipated the past few weeks and the next 30 days will undoubtedly bring a new job, home and state of residence...again. I find myself bridging the gap between excitement and complete terror. Still, I remain optimistic.

Today I needed a win. Something that tells me my hard work, my passion, my drive extends beyond just some personal expulsion of entropy lost to the universe as we continue our decent into cosmic chaos.

How's that for mind blown? I think I need a piece of chocolate. 

I feel great about where my running is taking me and am slowly approaching my remaining resolutions for the year. Day 109 and going strong.

To all of you who have been my support system, I can't thank you enough. Adventures are always best appreciated, and better served, in good company. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

so what's next...

It has been a week since my American River trek across the Sacramento back-country, and for the sake of nostalgia I decided to commemorate my achievement with an 8 mile climb to Mt. Si in North Bend, WA. I mean, why not?

For the most part, I consider myself 95% recovered from the ordeal. Although, I will say my joints (knees) are still in an active state of revolt against me and are probably carefully plotting my assassination. In motion they seem to fair alright, but after an extended period of sitting the effort to stand is futile. That's okay, I really didn't want to leave this restaurant anyway...


Enough rambling.

Looking back, the whole event still hasn't settled. The feelings of excitement, accomplishment, agony...they still linger in the air like dust that never seems to settle, eluding me every time I think they've found a resting point. To me, it is almost as if it didn't happen. But the highly coveted jacket, medal, and scars remind me that it did.

This week has been a new adventure all its own; full of ups, downs, and of course...running. Another major geographical move may be on the horizon for me. The fear of the unknown is taxing, yet oddly liberating. I have no idea what my future holds, but all I can do it hold on tight and hope for the best.

Since the Seattle clock is ticking, I will be cramming as much run and fun into the next 30 days as possible. That started today with my hike at Mt Si. My first outdoor adventure since arriving in Washington and it was spectacular!

We had some cloud coverage, but I tell you it felt like we were on top of the world at only 4,500 ft. 
Don't worry...I made sure my sandwich made it to the top too.
This week also ushered in a major milestone...my 100th day of consecutive running. Subsequently on said milestone day, I had a friend inform me that he knew of some runners who were on their 15th consecutive YEAR of running nonstop...sure. Every parade needs a little rain right? Bring your umbrella.

Nothing was going to knock me off my pedestal, not even some super freaks who clearly don't have lives... *She said in bitter jealousy.* Still, this is a pretty amazing feat and we celebrated with delicious carbs at a local Italian hot spot.
 
So what's on the horizon? Next week I celebrate my 26th birthday with the Earth Day 5k at Alki Beach in Seattle. The big seller were the promise of a caravan of food trucks lining the finish area. Sold.

On May 10th I will be running the Hippie Chick Half Marathon in Hillsboro, OR courtesy of @betterseries racing group. I'm tickled by the idea of putting some speed back into my lower extremities and seeing some of the Oregon countryside. 

That concludes my report for now. Life is about to become incredibly unpredictable in the coming weeks, I'm eager to see what path my feet will find. Until next time, my running continues. Cheers. Day 102. #streak365