Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Happiest Race on Earth: Wheelchair Edition

It's about time I finish writing about the half marathon. This is just going to be a stream of consciousness situation, and it'll be more about the aftermath of the race than the race itself, so please don't feel compelled to read it, seriously.


First and most importantly, I need to say that even though the details of our trip are starting to slip deeper into fuzzy memories and the raw emotion of what I accomplished isn't so raw anymore, this is something that I'm going to carry with me forever. I feel like I can accomplish anything now. I have a completely new perspective on myself. I can walk around with my head held high and actually love the person that I am now. That's pretty new. While it's somewhat of a shame that I didn't have this moment until I'm pushing 30, some people never get there, so I feel like one of the lucky ones.

Last time I wrote about the race, I mentioned that the possibility of getting kicked off the course for my slowness was indeed genuine and not just a vague threat by the race organizers. This stressed me out to no end, especially when I started losing the pacers. The last few miles were physically excruciating, but I was fairly certain by that point I'd be allowed to finish, so the pain doesn't feel so bad when I look back. Excuse my candor, but in addition to whatever physical discomfort and fatigue my body was feeling, I had to pee like a mofo. I just kept thinking about that medal, that finish line, and I carried myself to the end.

Andy and I had planned to meet at the New Zealand (our honeymoon destination) kiosk at the Food and Wine Festival after I finished. When I crossed the finish line and got my medal, I was so nauseous, so disoriented, and so unable to take any more steps (I even tried to go to the bathroom and couldn't, that's how wound up I felt after only thinking of finding a bathroom for the past hour) that I sat down next to France, which was just across from the finish. I sat there trying not to throw up next to the nice people enjoying their food and wine until I gathered the wherewithal to text Andy. He made his way over and found me, at which point I promptly burst into hysterical, hyperventilating sobs of relief and happiness.

So happy to see the big white ball:

I tried to get up, but my body just wasn't working. It was the weirdest combination of emotional pleasure and physical pain at the same time. I knew I shouldn't have sat down, I should have walked around, cooled down, stretched. But I was so overcome by the whole thing that none of that occurred to me. Andy mentioned that he had seen medics handing out wheelchairs and asked if I wanted one. All of a sudden, that sounded like the best thing in the entire world.

It was already well after 2 am at this point (the race started at 10), and the party ended at 3 (as did the buses running from Epcot back to our hotel). So if I wanted any chance of seeing the festivities and/or getting back to the hotel that night, a wheelchair was the way to go. While Andy went to find a wheelchair for me (he had run the race too but was feeling fine, such a champ!), I called my mom. It had just started to be her birthday, and I thought I'd share a bit of my elation with her. I was still hyperventilating and sobby but I'm pretty sure she was thrilled that I called, since she kept saying it was the best birthday present ever.

Andy came back with the wheelchair, and after some wobbles I was able to hoist myself from the ground to the chair. We meandered til we found a bathroom, and this time I was successful. I got to see some of the booths and the food and drinks they were serving, but there was no way in hell I wanted to consume anything at that point. I was also freezing. I don't remember if it was actually cold or I was going through a post-race temperature drop, but we found some hot water and it warmed me pretty well. The endorphins kicked in right around then, and catching up with Andy, hearing about his race, and most importantly trying to describe to him how much his gift meant to me made the time fly, and before we knew it, the party was shutting down and it was time to head to the buses. Quickly before we left, we used our food tickets- Andy got a spanakopita from Greece and I got a Nanaimo bar from Canada. The Nanaimo bar was awful, but I didn't care at all, I still hadn't regained any kind of appetite.

Icky Nanaimo Bar: (they're supposed to look like this)
Icky Nanaimo Bar

As we were wheeling around Epcot for those 45 minutes or so, I remember looking over and seeing someone else being pushed in a wheelchair, but this person was slumped over and looking almost like death, while I was chatting animatedly away on my endorphin high. I remember feeling so grateful that I pushed myself just hard enough to finish, and just hard enough to feel like I was at my absolute physical limits, but that my body knew not to go too hard, too far, too fast. My muscles were severely sore, sure. But that's all it was: muscle soreness. I heard murmurings later on about how a lot of athletes pushed themselves too far that night, perhaps because it was at night, who knows. But I was there, I was present, and I was so grateful for that wheelchair and for my husband who would push me anywhere.

The next day, we met up with Jeff and Stella (my friends who surprised me!) at Epcot. I was wearing my medal and my "I Did It!" shirt and a giant smile, still incredulous that I had actually done it. I'm not going to lie, it was really really hard to have fun that day. The whole point of being at Disneyworld is to walk around and see stuff, but walking, even at a snail's pace, was kicking my ass. After Jeff and Stella left us to head back to New York, we had dinner and then went back to Epcot one more time to go on a few more rides and see IllumiNations, the fireworks show.


At that point, I decided that if there was one available, I wanted a wheelchair again. Of course there was one available-- anyone can rent one as long as they're willing to fork over the cash. The nice intern at the rental place saw our medals and comped us the chair, and I was able to really relax and enjoy the rest of the night. I felt sort of silly being pushed around when I was physically capable of walking, but it was just so damn uncomfortable and slow, and Andy was happy to push, so I took him up on it. We stayed at Epcot past closing time that night, strolling around the world and taking it all in.

Feeling awkward and oh-so-comfy:

I think that's all I have on my mind tonight. If I think of anything else as time passes, I'll definitely come back and write it here, and of course I plan on documented my continued fitness efforts here too. To wrap up this post that means so much to me, here are some photos that Andy and I took at IllumiNations that night after the race. These pretty much sum up how I feel about this whole experience. If anyone is actually out there reading this, thank you so much for your support, I couldn't have done this without you.





Sunday, November 7, 2010

Race Against Pulmonary Hypertension 5k

My 10th race was this morning: The 10th Annual Race Against PH on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto.

This race was a first for me: my first race in the rain! It felt familiar, since I was training for months during the never-ending rainy season in the Pacific Northwest last winter, but that didn't necessarily mean that it was the most pleasant.

Fake Starting LIne - Race Against PH
You'd think this was the starting line. You'd be wrong. It's just a giant blowup arch perched on a little hill.

I wasn't trying for a PR today. Just wanted to go out and have fun. Mission (mostly) accomplished. Mile 1 was killer. The course was really narrow, and the fast runners who started at the back of the pack were brutal. I got body slammed from behind by one of them trying to get around a cone. There were also lots of kids on the course. If you know me, you know I'm all for the presence of kids in any context. But these particular kids felt the need to bob and weave around me, and especially to stop dead in their tracks right in front of me. Killed the groove a bit. That, combined with the rain and just feeling sluggish and tired from the start made it a challenge.

Stanford in the Rain
Stanford in the rain. Still beautiful.

Mile 2, though, was amazing. Mostly because I'm 99.9% sure the Mile 2 marker was placed *really* early, resulting in me running an 11-minute mile without even trying. My previous fastest (ever) is/was around 13, so I really don't think it was placed correctly. At the time, though, I wasn't thinking about it, and got a huge boost of energy from my false sense of superwomanhood. I was able to make up some time during the last bit of the course and managed to finish under 45:00, which was the goal I had set for myself today.

Race Against PH
This was the design on the t-shirt. Adding some pastels to the mix finally!

A bunch of Andy's [very fast-running] coworkers also came out for the race, and we ate brunch afterwards together. Food is always my #1 motivator. Most importantly, I got another shirt to add to my collection!

We're trying to decide whether to do a 5k next weekend too. It's in Monterey and sounds like a really fun course. I'm nuts, I know. I just want the damn t-shirt!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley 5k

Another weekend, another race (my 9th!), and a smashing new personal record! The Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley 5k started before the crack of dawn this morning. We took the Lightrail to downtown San Jose at 6 am (owwww) and got there just in time to see the main event, the half and full marathons start.

Look! It's Dean Karnazes, world famous Ultramarathon Man! We've seen his documentary, but it was especially interesting to meet him since I just finished the book Born to Run, which doesn't paint him in the most favorable light.

Amy & Dean

Anyways, we met at the race expo yesterday. Our conversation went something like this:

Amy: I'm still a beginner, but you're quite an inspiration.
Dean: I'm still a beginner too [ha!]
Andy: She made me run a half marathon!
Dean: Oh, so YOU'RE the bad influence, huh? Are you going to run a full now?

This 5k seemed sort of like an afterthought for the race organizers; it was obvious that the full and half were the big deal. Which was totally fine, I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a large local running event. The course was amazingly flat, but the scenery... um... left something to be desired. It weaved through a pretty small section of downtown San Jose, past water reclamation areas, under littered bridges, and down random seedy streets. Again, didn't really mind, it was more about running a race than sightseeing for me this morning.

This part at the very beginning (and end) was nice!

And... wow. I smashed my PR (previously 45:15), and I am so excited about it! I never, ever thought I'd see any numbers like this. I know I claim to not get hung up on times and numbers, but... well.. yeah. I'm really, really happy.

5k PR

For some reason, this race was extremely emotional for me. Watching the half and full runners race past the starting line had me in tears, blubbering to Andy at 7 am about how I love racing and how these people are so brave to take on this challenge and blah blah blah. I don't really know what came over me, but it was there throughout the 5k too. I got teary eyed at least 3 separate times on the course, mostly when a song would come on my playlist that reminded me of our half marathon and trigger some overwhelming emotion. It was the good kind of emotion, though. The kind that made me hold my head up, push myself, and have some crazy fun doing it.


Campbell Oktoberfest 5k

Our first time back at the starting line after the half marathon was the Campbell Oktoberfest 5k. I was a little nervous since it was 2 weeks after Disneyworld and I hadn't done any exercise other than walking from my bed to my car to work and back. I started out way too quickly, something I've always been extra careful not to do. Maybe I was feeling a little too confident after doing 21k? Somehow I recovered and had the best time. Well, figuratively at least (HA!).

My unofficial goal was under-15 minute mile splits using my run/walk interval method, but I was determined to be happy no matter how I did. And guess what! My sprint for the last .1 mile really paid off!

Oktoberfest Results

My endorphin high after this race was incredible. After every other 5k I've done, I've had to will myself to not plop down in the grass and pass out. But I was ready to conquer the world after this one. I think the only other pictures I have of myself looking so genuinely happy are from my wedding day. 5k is my distance.

(photo by official race photographer)

Fun with Race T-Shirts

I'm not quite done writing about the Half, but I have some other fun things to share too! Mostly that I'm hooked on the 5k, I have an ulterior motive, and I'm not afraid to admit that.

A dear family friend of ours makes beautiful t-shirt quilts (you know.. like a patchwork quilt.. made out of old t-shirts). I've always wanted to have her make me one, but have never had a cohesive set of shirts with enough sentimental value to warrant one. I am officially now on a mission to gather enough race shirts to have a quilt made. I have 11 so far (including 3 from Disney) and I probably need at least 20 more (I'm tall, need a big quilt!). Hoping to do that by the end of 2011.

Race Shirts

It's kind of an unusual motivation to keep signing up for races, but it's funny enough and tangible enough that it's genuinely keeping me going. We've done one race since the half marathon, have one tomorrow morning, and another next weekend. I'm certainly not planning on racing every weekend, but it's fun to look forward to one or two per month.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Half Marathon FAQ

I've been stalling. I don't know how to put my experience into words, and I don't quite know where to start recapping the race. I do know that I'm not going to do a linear, mile-by-mile type of recap. I'll most likely just be sharing my thoughts about the race weekend randomly as I think about it.

I thought I'd start with a FAQ. I sent this question and answer series as part of a thank-you email to my friends and family that contributed to Andy's incredible scheme. The most relevant part, for those of you who are curious about how the actual race-running went, is the question about the hardest part of the race. If I was going to tell you one story about the race and how I pulled through (besides, of course, my audio cheering squad), that would be it.

Amy's Half Marathon FAQ

Were you surprised by Andy's scheme?
YES! I had no idea what he was plotting.

How did you find out about the surprise?
Towards the beginning of the race, somewhere in the middle of mile 2. All of a sudden Andy's voice came on in the middle of a song, explaining what he had arranged. From then on, every couple of songs, I was surprised with your messages - he had sprinkled them throughout my playlist without me noticing.

Did you finish?
YES! I crossed the finish line and got a medal that I've been proudly wearing around my neck for about 48 hours straight now. It was one of the most meaningful moments of my life.

A half marathon is HOW long?!
13.1 miles!

How many people ran the half marathon?
A whopping 12,000! About 2/3 did the entire half marathon, and the other 1/3 did the half marathon relay (split the race between 2 people).

What was the hardest part and how did you get through it?
Mile 5-9ish. As most of you know, the race organizers had announced the possibility of being kicked off the course for being too slow, and I had a lot of anxiety about this. I wasn't sure whether that threat was actually going to be enforced until I saw the evil dudes on bikes. At around mile 5, a guy on a bike in an orange safety vest who looked uncannily like John Malkovich rode up to those of us who were towards the back of the pack and informed us that we had 7 minutes to get to the next mile marker to stay on pace. I took my headphones out and asked him if they were really picking the slowest people off. A really sad look came over his face as he told me that, yes, people who fell too far behind would not be permitted to finish.

He also pointed out 2 volunteers just ahead of me who were running with big balloons. These women were the "pacers." In order to maintain a successful pace, I needed to stay at or ahead of their pace for the rest of the race.

From then on, with a determination I had no idea was in me, I made it my mission to keep up with them. For the next 4 or so miles (which were the most boring part of the course - on relatively dark roads/highways between the parks), I ran with them and chatted with them. And listened to your messages. I was far beyond what I believed was my physical capacity at that point, but I refused to let them slip too far ahead of me, and knowing that another message from one of you would be coming soon helped me keep my head up.

Once I hit mile 10, there was plenty of distraction. I felt like the finish line was in sight, and the sights and sounds of Hollywood Studios and the rest of the course carried me through to the end. I stopped caring about how uncomfortable I was because I knew then that I would finish.

Did you run with Disney characters?
They didn't actually run with us, but they were stationed along the course cheering us on. Some highlights included Rafiki, Timon, Woody, Chip & Dale, Goofy, and the old dude from Up! Mickey and Minnie were also at the start and finish lines. I got a high five from Minnie as I crossed the finish! There was also live entertainment throughout the race.

Really?! You didn't know about the messages?!
Really. It was a complete shock. I wish I could have seen the look on my face when I first heard Andy's voice come through my headphones.

What did you eat at the Food & Wine Finish Line Party at Epcot?
When I was planning to run this race, I was sure that the party would be a huge motivation to finish. But for the last few miles, I got more and more nauseous (not surprising considering I was pushing my body much harder and further than it had ever gone), I couldn't fathom eating or drinking. Especially drinking. My hats are off to the atheletes who went straight for the beer & wine. Just before we left, I used my voucher (for 1 food item) for a Nanaimo Bar from the Canada booth. Nanaimo bars are one of my favorite things ever, and I thought I might be able to stomach it, but it was really disappointing in every way. Just wrong. It was just as well, probably shouldn't have been eating anything, but I was sad to see that Epcot didn't do my favorite treat proud. Andy got spanakopita from Greece and we called it a night. We did go back to Epcot the next day and wandered around the festival booths a bit, but this trip wound up being a lot less about food than I expected. In a good way.

How long did it take you?
A long time. Let's just say it was over 3 hours. But I don't care about the time at all. I just wanted to cross that finish line!

I heard you had another surprise this weekend...!
Yes! One of my dearest friends from college, Jeff, flew down from New York to surprise me at Disney World. He and his best friend Stella (who I was also friends with at Cornell) were waiting for me in front of Cinderella's castle on the first day of our trip!! Andy and Jeff spent months coordinating this.

Are you going to do another one? How about a full marathon?
Not in the plans. I'm really excited to continue running, but I plan on sticking with much shorter distances. 5k is much more my speed. We're already signed up for a 5k race next month!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Best Gift

Before I tell you about how the race went, or how I had the time of my life, or how I feel sort of like a different person now, I want to tell you about the gift my husband Andy gave me the night of the race.

I wanted to write about this right after we got home but it's been hard, nearly impossible, to find the words to do this justice. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that nothing is impossible, and that I'm capable of a lot more than I might believe. So please bear with me as I try.

Andy, with the help of all of my dearest friends and family, pulled off a giant surprise. Somewhere in the middle of mile 2, I heard Andy's voice come through my headphones. He explained that he had rallied everyone I know to record messages for me to hear throughout the race. He had snuck into my playlist and sprinkled these snippets of love after every couple of songs.

As I ran, I heard messages from dozens of people I love and who have supported me throughout my journey. Some were complete surprises, others were the comforting voices of people I talk to every day. Everyone said something a little bit different, but the message was the same: they believed in me and knew I could finish. Andy's voice popped back in several more times to keep me going too.

My body carried me to the finish line, but having that kind of support made it infinitely more meaningful and helped me keep my chin up and a smile on my face even when I thought I might fail. I keep tearing up now as I try to write how much it means to me that Andy gave me this gift. I think that's all I'm going to say, because I've written and rewritten a few more sentences about a dozen times and nothing feels big enough.

I'm just really, really thankful and filled with love.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Did It!

Much, much, much more to come. But for now...


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Time

Tomorrow morning, I'm leaving on a jet plane. Thinking very happy, positive thoughts and knowing that no matter what happens, I've broken every boundary and pushed every limit that used to hold me back. Please send good vibes on Saturday at 10 pm EST. I'll be thinking of you too!

I'm going to DISNEY WORLD!!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm Still In It...

Hi! I'm still here. Life has definitely gotten in the way of having 17 million blogs. It's also gotten in the way of training. I won't go into the details because all it will do is make me anxious, but training hasn't been going as well as I've hoped. I skipped my long runs this weekend and last for various health-related reasons, and I'm not confident that I'm going to be able to finish before I get kicked off the course for my turtle-y pace. But all I can do now, besides keep up with my training/strengthening, is have an exceptionally positive attitude, even when everything in my nature is headed in the opposite direction.

This kind, supportive, encouraging message from my friends at Disney is what has me flipping my lid. I've been hovering around 15+ (with the Gallowalking), and jeez, can a girl take a bathroom break?!?

From the race website:

"Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon & Relay
To compete you must be 14 years of age or older. All athletes entering the Half Marathon or Relay must maintain a 16-minute per mile pace or faster throughout the entire race.

Anyone not able to maintain the pace will be picked up and transported to the finish. You may be picked up at any point along the course for not maintaining pace. If you are transported to the finish line for any reason you will not receive a finisher medal."

3 1/2 weeks to go... going to do everything I can to keep myself healthy and finish that race with a medal around my neck!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Butte to Butte 10k, 7.4.10

I finished a 10k!

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 10.54.32 AM

The Butte to Butte has been a 4th of July Eugene tradition for 37 years. Over 5,000 (SO many) people were there this year! It starts at Spencer Butte, the giant hill-y thing on the South end of town, and ends at Skinner Butte, the relatively small hill-y thing on the North end of downtown.

Spencer Butte:

On top of Spencer Butte, earlier this summer:

There's a 4.5-mile walk and a 10k run. The 10k run is notorious. See, there's this giant hill. The first mile, in fact, is straight uphill. The 2nd mile is straight downhill and the remainder is flat. But that uphill is what everyone thinks of when this run comes up in conversation, and I was terrified.

We took a walk a few days before the race to check out the giant hill that we had heard so much about. I'm so glad we did, so I could know what to expect. I took some iPhone shots that evening of parts of the hill:



On the day of the race, almost every house through this residential area had people standing outside in their pajamas, holding their coffee cheering on the runners and waving American flags. Some houses had refreshments set out (I opted out of the free donuts), others were playing music, and a few even had live music of varying types. But my favorite part was the encouragement. I was already emotionally hyped up, but it made me a little teary every time I passed by a stranger cheering for me (I was at the back of the pack, so was usually passing by these houses without others running next to me). Because of that, the hill was by far my favorite part of the race. Who have thunk?!

The downhill was fantastic. I had planned to take it easy to avoid busting my knees, but I felt like I was flying. I had so much energy after conquering the uphill (knowing that I never had to do that again for the rest of my life), that I ignored my training method with walking intervals and ran almost the whole thing. For the 4 remaining flat miles, I also ignored the structured run-walk-run Galloway intervals. Instead, I listened to my body. Ran for a while, took some walking breaks, some much longer than others, and did what I felt like I needed to pace myself and make it to the end, while going as fast as I comfortably could.

This was the first race that I finished without feeling like I was going to die after crossing the finish line. After my last few 5k races, I've had to fight myself from laying down in the grass and passing out. But this was different. I was on cloud 9 from the endorphins (or as we like to call them, endolphins), and knew for the first time that my half marathon goal is actually in reach and attainable. I felt on top of the world and strong. Andy did too, which made it even sweeter.

The soreness set in gradually over the rest of the day, and now 2 days later my shins are still a tiny bit sore. Totally normal. But no back, hip, or knee pain AT ALL, and that is a huge victory. And concrete evidence that my body is getting stronger. When I get lost in the negativity (still working on the not being so hard on myself thing) I can go back to that and know that, against a lot of odds, I just finished a 10k.

No other races planned (for now, at least) until 10/2. Eyes on the prize!

An Update

Things are going well on the running front! Despite one of the busiest times in my life so far, we've managed to keep up with our training schedule, and as much as I try to deny it, I've made really significant progress!

I've finally identified a goal for myself for the half marathon, which is sneaking up on us ridiculously quickly (less than 3 months to go!). I'm really happy with this goal; it's manageable but still at this point will take some work to get there.

My goal: to cross the finish line.

See, they have this rule where if you're at a 16:00 pace or slower, they literally pick you up in a vehicle and cart you to the end, where you don't get a finisher medal. Mean, right? SO not in the Disney spirit. But I suppose it would be around 1 am, so I can't say I blame them. You may be thinking "eh, no sweat, Amy's been training for months and months, that won't be a problem at all..."

But I'm slow. Like, really slow. Still, after all this hard work. My endurance is most definitely improving, but my pace hasn't, which means that I'm still hovering around 15:00 on average. I have days where I'm under 14:00 and days where I'm up around 16:00. But the bottom line is that I'm slow. I'm sure it's the Galloway walking thing, which I still adore and find that I need pretty badly to get through a workout, and I'm not willing to give up.

I'm planning on starting some drills to work on speed and efficiency during my short 30-minute runs during the week.

But here's the bottom line: despite the snail-like pace, I feel great about all of this. While someone who is a natural athlete might have a different perspective and find the 15:00 mile completely unacceptable, I'm totally okay with my slowness. I'm getting out there, getting my body moving, and working towards a really exciting, healthy goal after a sedentary lifetime. Training for a half marathon as a beginner is relatively rare, and I'm cutting myself some slack for that. So while I may be slow, I'm still out there doing it, and at the risk of blowing my humble cover, I'm really proud. So excited for October!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Running in the Rain

I can't even count the number of happy, exciting, huge transitions and changes happening in my life right now. But despite that, I've been struggling with irritability and a little bit of my good old friend depression. It comes and goes a few times each day, and I am not pleased.

It's obvious why. It's June 3rd, and it's raining. It's been raining for at least 2 weeks straight (ok, it was sunny once last week), and not that typical Eugene mist. It's full-on pouring rain. When Andy got home from work this evening, I was armed with excuses about why I wanted to postpone tonight's run. All I had to do was point outside and he knew I didn't want to go.

But something sparked in me when he said he was going out there anyways, and I decided to go too. I really don't know where that fleeting desire came from, but it was there. I put on my shoes, a hat, and my windbreaker, which as it turns out is NOT waterproof, and went out into Waterworld.

I am SO glad I went. As I was running, it occurred to me that I would so much rather be out there treating myself to exercise than wallowing on the couch, feeling miserably sorry for myself for absolutely no reason.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of shots. Like, far worse than the average kid. I'd have a panic attack whenever my mom started driving in the direction of my pediatrician's office, even if she wasn't actually going there. One time, after a particularly dreaded booster shot, I told my mom that it hadn't been as bad as I'd expected at all. She made me write a letter to myself and sign it so she could show me next time.

This post is the adult version of that letter.

Dear Future Amy,

When in doubt, run. Even though you don't believe it, it will make you feel better.

Love, me

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A change

I had a craptastic day at work, have had a migraine on and off for about 36 hours, and I'm dead tired. And all I wanted to do today... the ONLY thing I wanted to do... was come home and run.

That's new.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bark in the Park 5k

Dear Running Blog,

Hi, old friend! I'm so happy to see you today. I have a few important things to tell you. First, I finished my 3rd 5k this morning, the Bark in the Park race to benefit Greenhill Humane Society where we got Ollie from 3 years ago. I am giddy to share that I set another PR. I came in at 45:15, which is over a minute and a half faster than my previous race time of 46:51.

This was an especially huge accomplishment because I'm back in physical therapy for a hip strain, and was expecting to have to walk most of the way. And also especially huge because this was my first race using the Galloway method (as my friend Anne says, Gallowalking... HA!), which I swear by more and more every time I go out and use it. As a special bonus surprise at the race, I got to meet my local blogging pal Renee, who was out there running her first 5k (YAY!)... hi Renee, hope to see you again soon!

Bark in the Park 5k

In other news, I just started Week 4 of the 200 situps program; I did just over 150 today. It's actually fun! And finally, probably the biggest thing that's happened is that Andy and I started counting calories. My blogging friend Brooke posted about the LoseIt! iPhone app, and it seems like it's the perfect match for our needs at this point (vs. trying Weight Watchers again or something else). It's made me incredibly mindful of what I put in my body while not feeling like I'm lacking for anything, which is, to me, the ideal eating plan. I had a hot fudge sundae after my Thai dinner the other night and was still under my calories for the day. I've lost almost 4 pounds in less than 2 weeks! If you'd like more info about the app, Brooke's post sums it up perfectly.

I miss you, and hope to see you more regularly now that my school obligations are winding down. Take care, little running blog.

Love always,

Monday, May 10, 2010


Hi! It appears as though life has gotten in the way of my efforts to document my progress here in the last few weeks. I've had lots of posts composed in my head, but haven't been able to get them down on paper (I mean blog editor?). So in an effort to catch up, I have some bullet points to share:

*I love, love, love training with Jeff Galloway's method. More and more every time I go out to run. It's totally for me, and I'm so grateful that I found it. A couple of weeks ago, without even trying, I shaved more than a minute off of my fastest mile time ever. Even with walking 1/3 of the time. Brilliant.

*We were down in San Jose for Andy's cousin's wedding last weekend, and I got to try out a fantastic trail, the Coyote Creek trail. I took lots of pictures with the intention of writing a whole post on it. Oops.

*Yesterday we "discovered" a local trail. It's called Pre's Trail (named after U of Oregon track legend Steve Prefontaine, of course). It's located in Alton Baker Park, which is where most of the local 5ks are held, but we had never actually ventured onto Pre's Trail. Such the best-kept secret! I am completely in love and look forward to doing lots of long runs there in the coming weeks.

*I got a foam roller! Yowwwwch.

Ugh, this post feels really half-assed, but it's all I've got for now. Will just say that things are going relatively well! Slow and steady (and very achy). In a good way.

More soon!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

200 Situps

A key to success in training to run long distances is cross-training. Especially for someone like me who has no strength or tone to build from. To me, that means doing non-running exercise-ish things on days when I'm not running. In addition to my physical therapy exercises (which consist of a lot of ankle weights and some other random lower-body strengthening), I started the 200 Situps program last week.


The program is simply a structured training routine to build up to 200 situps in 6 weeks. It's really similar to Couch to 5k in that way, and like I mentioned in a recent post, that structure makes all the difference for me. I got the iPhone app, because I needed another green app to complete my app color-coding scheme (KIDDING! ...sorta), but it's not at all necessary. The whole plan is laid out on the website.

Today was Week 1 Day 2, and I'm loving it so far.

There's also a 100 pushups plan, 200 squats (WHAT??!?!), and 25 pullups. If this goes well, I'll try pushups next!

I know one bloggie friend is already on board (hi N!), doing both the situps and the pushups... who else is with us??

Friday, April 23, 2010

Climate Change

Hi from Palm Springs! I'm here visiting my dad. It is a stunningly gorgeous day. So I went out for my run this morning, and it pretty much knocked me flat on my ass. I know that the climate is dramatically different, so I've made sure to hydrate extra since I arrived yesterday, and took my jogging pace pretty easy. But ohh boy, is it dry here. The temperature is beautiful, but the sun was beating down on me, zapping my energy. I felt like it was following me around just to torture me. Just a complete 180 from the Oregon moisture that I'm used to.

I cut my 30 minutes a little short because I was feeling so dehydrated. But I still feel really good about going out today. It's hard to find motivation when I'm not in my normal routine, but I mustered enough to get my heart going today. Also? Running around my dad's neighborhood... not too shabby!

Today's Run

I'm curious what the climate will be in Orlando this fall. The race is at 10 pm, so hopefully any weirdness with humidity or possible high temperatures will be mitigated by the late start time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Course, Of Course!

I was just poking around the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon website, you know, because I'm not obsessing or anything... and saw that a detailed description of the course has been posted!

All I knew prior to today was that it was on the brand new half marathon course, being used for the first time at this race. I don't know the geography of the park at all (I'm much more familiar with Disneyland), but I hope that the course includes the Magic Kingdom, running down Main St. USA and through Cinderella's Castle. I'm a little worried that it doesn't, because wouldn't it say if it did? The website says the map will be posted at a later date. Either way, I'm totally stoked about this.

Here's what our friends at WDW have to say:

"Start at the newly re-imagined ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex running down Victory Way and then west on Osceola Parkway toward Disney's Animal Kingdom® Park. Make your way past the Tree of Life, Expedition Everest™, Dinosaur® and then race back to Osceola Parkway and head toward Disney's Hollywood Studios™. You will enter the park in the shadow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, run down Sunset Boulevard through Pixar Place, past Toy Story Mania!, then through the Costuming Tunnel in the Backlot on your way to Lights Motor Action! for your big debut! Race through the Streets of America, past Star Tours and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular on your way to Epcot®! The course will wind through the idyllic village of Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and lead you through the international gateway entrance to Epcot®, where you will pass United Kingdom and Canada before finishing on World Showcase!"



For the last few weeks, since I finished Couch to 5k, I've been floundering a bit. I really liked having the structure of the training program, and without it I had a long series of crappy workouts where I felt like I regressed in my training a bit, or at least stopped making progress.

Although I really want/need to start looking to October now, I'm not advanced enough at this point to start most of the popular half marathon training programs. Many of them require that you're regularly running 3-5 miles several times a week before beginning. Which totally makes sense.

But there is one expert, Jeff Galloway, who has helped about a bazillion people run successful races from scratch with his quirky-ish method. I tried it out last night, and I haven't felt better in a long, long time. I was skeptical, but now, even after 1 workout, I am a complete believer.

More Than Just a Book

Galloway's "thing" is his run-walk-run method. Interval training. When I first was reading his claims that so much walking throughout a run, even for seasoned runners, results in faster times and stronger finishes, I was reminded of Professor Harold Hill's "Think Method." He's the main character in the musical The Music Man, who scams an entire town by selling them on his idea that kids can learn to play instruments just by thinking the notes.

So, like I said, I tried it out last night. For my pace, the recommended interval is run 2 minutes, walk 1, repeat. The results were incredible. I worked out for 30 minutes and walked for 10 of those (intermittently), and finished exactly 2 miles in the same amount of time (30 minutes) that it would have taken me had I been running the whole way. I felt myself able to push so much harder, knowing that I was only running for 2 minutes before I got a break. My increase in pace happened naturally, it wasn't a conscious effort, and it felt good. Really good.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes me. I have a feeling it's going to be my key to success in training for this giant race that's approaching more quickly than I care to think about.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Update: Bridgeway Run for Autism 5k Results

The official results are in! My time for 3.1 miles was 46:51 (minus about 5 seconds before I crossed the start line). I'm not a competitive person at all, but it's pretty cool to be 9/22 in my age group (female 25-29). Granted, it was a run/walk, so lots of people were walking behind me, but still. Pretty cool.

Back to my nap!

Bridgeway Run for Autism 5k

Today was the Bridgeway Run for Autism 5k. I'm so happy to share that I achieved my goal of beating my previous time and setting a personal record!! I'm still waiting for the official results to be posted, but my time was somewhere around 46:48, 2 minutes faster than my only other 5k time.

I've been consistently running around 15-16 minute miles (see? I told you I'm a slowpoke).. so considering that I've still never run a whole 5k without walking a bit in parts (and I took a few really short walk breaks today), I'm really proud of my time.

Bridgeway 5k

The morning could not have been more perfect for a race. Sun shining, temperature around 60 degrees, no wind. The course was familiar, since it was in a city park where every Eugenian has spent a lot of time, but it was fun seeing it through new "race" eyes. Crossing over the river and back on 2 different bridges was especially fun.

Time for a fun little story: the race was small enough that the announcer gave some people shout-outs (by looking up their bib #) as they crossed the finish line. As I came through, he said, "Here comes Amy Isaacson...with a HUGE smile on her face!" It took him pointing it out for me to actually notice how goofily I was grinning. How great is that?

Bridgeway 5k
Learning to multitask, taking iPhone pics as I jog along...

We're signed up to run another 5k on the same course about a month from now. Going to try for another PR. In the meantime, I'm going to start looking more seriously into Jeff Galloway's half marathon training program (originally recommended to me by another local running blogger, Kara!). He has a run/walk interval method that's similar to what I liked about Couch to 5k. I'm sure I'll be writing more about it here if/when I start the program.

Looking forward to spending the rest of the day napping, hot tubbing, cheering on Andy's ultimate frisbee team, and smushing my dog. Happy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another 5k, Please!

We just signed up for a race this weekend!

It's the Bridgeway Run for Autism. I'm running (er... "running"...) the 5k, and Andy signed up for the 8k (so thrilled for him!). It's at the same park, Alton Baker Park, where we ran our very first race ever, the Truffle Shuffle, back in February. It's also the site of Bark in the Park next month, the next race we're scheduled for. That one's a benefit for Greenhill Humane Society, where we got Ollie, and I'm giddy with excitement. He gets to run come with us for that one.

My goal for Sunday is to set a personal record (or as the fancy running people call it, PR). That means beating my only other 5k time of 48:53 (15:47 mile). Barring sudden illness or injury in the next 4 days, I'm feeling very confident about that goal. Even though I'm still struggling to run 2 miles consistently, I'm pretty sure race day adrenaline will help me through to at least get a speedier time, if not run the whole thing.

Sunday's race map: along the river!

I'm really glad we signed up for this. We won't be able to run the 5k I'd been really looking forward to, the one that's in conjunction with the Eugene Marathon in a few weeks (we'll be out of town for a wedding). So...yeah... bring it on! Can't wait to let you know how it went!
p.s. My back's doing a lot better. I've gone out to run twice since my little break, and the first run felt great. The second one, yesterday, was pretty miserable, but I think I just hadn't quite fueled myself properly and it was just one of those days. We all have those days, right?

An unintended [positive] consequence of running regularly is that I'm starting to pay attention to how my body feels at certain times of the day or when I'm feeling particularly stressed, relaxed, well-rested, or not. I'm even beginning to make conscious choices about what I eat in order to increase my chances of feeling good all the way through my evening runs. I've always had this psychological disconnect between my emotions and my body; it made me numb to the pain/guilt of the way I treated my body (eating poorly/not exercising). But now that I'm opening that door a tiny bit, there's a kind of exhilaration that's starting to emerge. It's coming really, really slowly, but I can feel it.

Whew. Heavy stuff.

Friday, April 9, 2010

...Not as Scared

So, a follow-up to my post yesterday where I talked about fear and my back and all that other fun stuff. Andy made a really good point last night that I hadn't thought of during my panicked hours yesterday, and it's helped to put this whole thing into perspective for me.

When I first injured my back, it's likely because there was no support. My infrastructure had no strength. I was an inactive lump whose body was especially prone to ridiculous ailments because of how poorly I treated it.

Now that I've been exponentially more active, there is physical support there. My muscles and joints are much stronger than they used to be. It's an old injury that will flare up from time to time, but I don't need to freak out that I'm going to make one wrong move and have to start my treatment from scratch (or need to think about surgery). I am definitely not as scared now. I'm pretty sure I'd be in the state mental hospital if my husband wasn't around to keep me calm and sane.

p.s. Thanks for the supportive comments yesterday, they mean the world to me, always! xo

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Since my last post was such a downer, I thought I'd share some happy news too!

We are officially registered for the race! Even if they have to pull me off the course (if your pace is slower than 16-minute miles, they literally pick you up and drive you to the finish line where you don't get a medal...ouch), I'm going!

The other fun race-related news is that we just passed the 6 months-to-go mark until the race. Wow, how that snuck up on us! This is interesting for more than just training-related reasons: 6 months is also the furthest in advance that parties are allowed to make reservations at WDW Resort restaurants. You can bet I took care of that quickly!

We have dinner reservations at 'Ohana and Boma, and for now are leaving the rest up in the air. Not quite willing to commit to what I'm going to feel like having for lunch 5 months and 27 days from now, you know?!



I'm an awful hypochondriac. Before I started running, any tiny little ailment was the first excuse I went to to get out of exercising. Usually it's a headache, but any tiny little ache, pain, or fatigue was the best way to avoid physical activity.

Now that exercise has become something I look forward to, my attitude is different. Feeling hurt or sick isn't a welcome excuse to stay inside on the couch, it's genuinely frustrating.

I'm bringing this up now because I'm scared. Terrified actually. If you know me in person, you know that I suffered a pretty [temporarily] debilitating herniated disc along with crippling nerve problems (no exaggerating hypochondriac there) in the fall of 2008. I chose not to have surgery and recovered to about 95% with the help of my great physical therapist. Of course, when I started running, my injury was on my mind. I knew that running isn't exactly the most low-impact activity, but I've generally felt fine. Until this week.

It's not bad at all, but I feel it. I'm definitely aware of new pain and tightness that I haven't felt in a year, and it scares the hell out of me. I'm doing everything I know how to do, practicing every trick in my arsenal, to try to nip this in the bud. But it's also in my nature to psych myself out, so I'm not only worrying about healing this, but my head also goes to the place of smushed dreams and questioning whether my body was genuinely cut out to do something so great as run 3 miles, let alone 13.1.

Of course I know that's just my insecurities talking, but that's what's on my mind today. Obviously, I'm skipping today's run, taking it easy, and trying like hell to channel my newfound strength to stay positive and calm about all of this.

[End minor freakout!]

Monday, April 5, 2010


I still have miles and miles and miles of work ahead of me (and just under 6 months to go!) before October, so my huge accomplishments so far now sort of feel like a tiny drop in the bucket. So, now that I've finished Couch to 5k, what's next?

My last workout was a struggle. I'm still calling it finished, but I was really dehydrated, feeling sluggish and icky, and stopped to walk 3 times for about a minute. So first, for my remaining workouts this week, I'm going to repeat my 30 minute run. Just to get the confidence I need to move on.

Then, starting next week, this is the plan:

Sunday: Running for distance: a long, slow run (add ~1/2 mile each week or 2)
Tuesday: Running for time: shorter, speedier run (i.e. trying to get further in 30 minutes each week)
Thursday: Recovery run: Not sure how I'm going to structure this one yet, but as of yet there won't be concrete goals involved.

My main goal now is to run a 5k. Not a race, just 3.1 miles on any given day. See, even though I finished the Couch to 5k program, the longest I've ever run so far is just over 2 miles. Couch to 5k should really be called Couch to 30 minutes... unless you can run 10 minute miles (no chance for me at the moment), you're not going to be running a 5k when you're done. I believe the assumption is that once you're able run 30 minutes, you can finish out a 5k on a race day with adrenaline, etc.

I'm still the tortoise, at about 2 miles in 30 minutes. Working on my endurance rather than my speed is definitely the priority at this point. When I think of how far 13.1 is, it freaks the s**t outta me. But I'm hoping that having that speedy run on Tuesdays will help with strengthening to build my endurance as well.

In other good news, I've been doing much better with my physical therapy exercises lately! I know that's key to staying strong on my feet. I can credit this improvement to Andy, who recently started seeing the PT I used to go to and now has similar exercises of his own to do! Doing it together and keeping each other accountable is huge. Works wonders, really.

I'm not sure how my relatively arbitrary training plan is going to work, so I'm definitely planning on flexibility and modifying it along the way. At some point I'm going to have to look at a calendar and see what I need to do over the coming months in order to be ready for October. Eek!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Done and Done

New running shoes: $100
Headphones & iPhone armband: $30
iPhone app: $2.99

Finishing Couch to 5k: Priceless!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back in Action!

I had the best workout of my life last night. I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but I'm serious.

Even though I finished a 5k last weekend, I'm still working on finishing out the Couch to 5k program, which has been lengthened quite a bit because of sickness, injury, and life. Last night was Week 8, Day 2: a 28-minute run. I had had a crummy day. Nothing awful, just busy at work, feeling tension in my neck, back, and shoulders, exhausted from thinking about big life plans, and starting to develop my like-clockwork monthly migraine a little on the early side.

As soon as I started jogging, though, everything went away. The part that was new for me was that it wasn't a struggle in the slightest. It wasn't terribly easy, but for the first time it truly felt great to run. Almost like I was floating. Weird. The stars must have been aligned... it was a cool-ish, dry evening, the music that came through on my shuffle was the best, and most importantly, my body and mind were finally ready to conquer that 28 minutes. I even did an all-out sprint (instead of just mildly picking up the pace) for the last minute.

I've had big lapses of confidence recently around worrying whether I can actually continue to make progress after making so much already, and my ability to push through to run longer and someday maybe even faster. But last night proved to me that it's possible. Because if that felt so great, there's no doubt I can push a little further and a little further after that until someday this Fall I reach 13.1.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lucky Clover 5k, 3.20.10

I did it! I finished my first 5k.


The day could not have been more beautiful, and the challenge could not have been more great (okay maybe that's an exaggeration), but despite feeling really sick this morning (sore throat, coughing, even a little wheezing), I went out there and conquered it.

(first time using one of these doodads)

My goal time that I had set for slowwww-running self when I was feeling perfectly healthy was 45 minutes. This morning I set a new sicky goal: I'd be happy with an hour but would be thrilled with 55.

My time, and official 5k PR (ha!): 48:53!
Screen shot 2010-03-20 at 5.28.27 PM

The course was absolutely stunning. Through forests and hazelnut groves, along the river, sun shining, blue skies. It was a perfect day for a race, and I had the best time. Because I'm Amy, I'm now completely laid up on the couch with miscellaneous injuries and aches, but I'm planning on continuing my training next week as scheduled.

Andy with bagpiper dude. This was the Lucky Clover race, after all.

SO thrilled to have made it past this milestone, and genuinely looking forward to the next one.



Friday, March 19, 2010

Couch. To 5k.

I haven't been making a big deal out of this the last couple days. Didn't tweet about it, or even remind my friends or family, which is ridiculously unlike me.

Our first 5k is in the morning.

A little anticlimactic since I'm still feeling under the weather and it would be silly to try to run the whole thing. But I'm going out there and I'm going to finish, even if it takes an hour. And it's the first 5k of many, many, many. Talk to you after, little bloggie!

My Home Away From Home

Since I so often rave about the running trail where I've been spending a lot of my time, I thought I'd post a little iPhone photo tour here.

The trail is a less than 5-minute walk from our house. Not only is it incredibly convenient, it's also worked out really well for the Couch to 5k workouts that always start with a 5-minute walk. It's a mile loop, and the path breaks up in a few places so there are 2 different ways you can do a mile and a couple of shorter and longer distances too.

I didn't get any pictures of this, but one of my favorite things about the trail is the little ponds and streams where you can see crystal clear reflections of the trees and sky when it's not raining. Oh and the chirping birds and ribbiting frogs. Makes me want to sing zippity doo dah!

Where I Run

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Oh hello little running blog, I didn't see you there!

I've certainly let our time together slip, haven't I? Let me assure you it's not because I've fallen off the running wagon. Things haven't exactly been going at a regular pace, but I'm still very much in the game.

First, the biggest and best news: last week we made hotel reservations for Disneyworld! They finally announced the special race deals/travel packages and I called and booked almost immediately. It's still really far ahead of time, and we don't even know where we'll be traveling from at this point, but we're going, no matter what. If one of us isn't up to running for whatever reason, we'll walk til they pull us off the course. But WE'RE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!

In other news, the training has been coming really slowly. In one of my last posts, I wrote about how my body was having a hard time absorbing all the shock I was giving it for the first time ever. On my next run after I wrote that (inside on the treadmill, it was pouring, ick), I couldn't finish the workout. I fought and tried (stopped and walked a few times, etc.) but my legs just wouldn't go. I felt defeated but also knew unequivocally then that I needed to take a little break to give my legs time to heal. So on my next running day, I walked. I rested a total of 5 days I think, and then last weekend picked it back up again, starting with 8.1.

In preparation for our first 5k this weekend (eep!), we headed out to the race course to get to know it a bit. It was a challenge, but I did my 28 minutes and just over 2 miles. The race is in such a gorgeous spot and I'm really looking forward to it.

In other bumming news, though, I got sick this week so that threw off my training again. I'm planning on going out tonight even though I'm not completely better. Last chance before Saturday's race!

I'm feeling okay about the fact that there's a really good chance I won't be able to run the full 5k, seeing as though I've never even tried to run much more than 2 miles. But my friend (coach?!) Anne said that when she's raced in the past she's gone much farther than ever, so that gives me hope and inspiration. Regardless, just going out there and finishing, regardless of the time, will be a huge milestone and I'm really looking forward to it. And I'll set a really slow personal record for the next time I can actually run a 5k!

So, good things are happening, they're just happening slowly. Yay for staying positive and sticking with it, especially when it feels like it would be much easier to just not.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When You Feel Like Quitting...

When I first started running, Andy taught me a trick that has been so, so helpful. I used it at least 10 times tonight, and it kept me going the whole way. It sounds really obvious, but I wouldn't have ever thought of it on my own.

When you feel like stopping, quitting, walking, going home, just wait. Wait 10 seconds or 30, or wait until you pass that next tree or telephone pole. Re-evaluate. This surprised me a lot at first, but I almost never still feel like quitting by the time I hit that milestone.

Of course, sometimes (like tonight), I have to keep repeating the process, but still. It keeps me going. Maybe it'll keep you going too?

Onwards and Upwards

First, the good news! I finished Week 7 today. Just 2 more weeks to go. Coincidentally, I'm finishing the program on the day of my first 5k. Couldn't have timed it better!

Now, the not-so-great news. Today was the fourth time in a row that I ran for 25 minutes. So you think it'd be easier (or at least I did. Or hoped it would be). Not so much. For the past week or two, my legs have been taking a beating, and they've been getting progressively more tired and achy with each run.

I've been confused about how to handle this. My first instinct is that I need more rest than I'm currently allowed/giving myself on the Couch to 5k plan. But then my brain kicks in and I remember that I'm still slacking on my PT exercises, and that if I do them, my muscles will be strengthened and supported and that also sounds like just what I need.

So instead of resting or strength training, I'm reverting to my old bad habits and doing nothing. Not good Amy, not good.

Here's what I'm sure the issue is: before I started running, it was an incredible mental struggle for me to exercise even once a week for 15 minutes (in my living room, using video games). Now, I'm going out consistently 3 times a week. I'm so thrilled that I've been able to do that regularly, but that might be my max at this point. Having to do strength training on my non-running days means some kind of exercise 6 days a week, and that is a huge leap for me at this point.

When I shared this with my PT a while back, she suggested that I do my strength training on my run days (right after my runs). Until now, I've been too zonked to do it, or promise myself that I'll do it the next day, but that hasn't happened. So tonight, after I got home from my painful, painful run where all I wanted to do the whole time was quit, I got out the ankle weights and did my little routine, including my core exercises.

I'm going to try this for the next week or so and see how my legs feel.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I have a few short and random running related thoughts "running" through my head, so this post will be bulleted (asterisked?) for easy reading.

*First and most importantly, Andy completed Couch to 5k tonight! He was a few weeks ahead of me because he kept going when I hurt my knee. I am so, so, so thrilled for and proud of him.

*After literally months of searching, I finally got a new jacket that I've specifically dedicated to running outside. It meets all of my criteria (lightweight, fits my hard-to-fit body, well-plaed pockets, no hood, waterproof, affordable, designed for exercise), and I used it for the first time tonight with great joy.


*My run tonight was Week 7, Day 1. It was the 2nd of 4 25-minute runs in a row, and it was leaps and bounds easier than Sunday's. It was still a challenge, and there were about a dozen times when I wanted to just stop and go home (that's normal, right?), but I can feel myself improving, and I enjoyed my time on the trail tonight. And as a follow-up to my last post, I was able to push hard, my slow Amy version of sprinting, for the last minute, and I felt great afterwards.

*I bought one of those armband thingies for my iPhone, it should be here in a week or so. Curious to see how it works out. Besides my new jacket, really none of my workout clothes have pockets, so I've been holding my phone as I run, which is obviously not ideal.

That's all for now. Happy to be making progress. Slow and steady!