Looking for a Reason

Wanted: Ideal Half-Marathon

Half-marathon race sometime before April and a little after February. Temperatures must be pleasant, with little to no wind at all, preferably in the high fifties to low 60’s. Sunshine would make it ideal, but will settle for partly cloudy. If at all possible, please refrain from raining. High humidity need not be present, but will tolerate a minuscule amount. Course must be flat, but small rolling hills are acceptable. Plenty of portable bathrooms at the start line and if at all possible, throughout the course. Water throughout the course is also a must. Participants must be capped at 300 or less so that there isn’t elbow bumping or back-tracking. Medals, water, fruits, and carbs at the end of the meal are a plus. Tech shirts are okay, but not necessary. Finally, willing to spend no more than $75 on registration fees.

My ad makes me sound like such a fair-weather runner. Speaking of fair-weather though, I have become so much more assertive about facing the freezing temperatures and getting my tropical butt outside the door. While I would like to consider myself an individual who is capable of facing her fears, running in freezing temperatures just scares the heck out of me. I don’t know if it’s the physical discomfort, the fact it is ALWAYS windy where I live (making the discomfort even higher), or the amount of time it takes to layer and head out the door. Whatever the reason, the plunging temperatures have kept me indoors logging countless miles on the mill – that is, until this week. Decided not to overthink my last two runs, layered up, and ejected myself out the door. Strangely enough, despite my fears, both of my runs were absolutely spectacular! There is hope for me yet! Yeah, baby.


Mediocre ninja-runner

Resolutions are not my thing, not only because I am more unpredictable than the seven day forecast, but also because I tend to have ongoing [ever-changing] goals throughout the year given my fickle nature. Even though I have become rather proficient in my running because of my highly useful training journal, I still like to leave my personal life planner EMPTY. Life is already complex enough in my head to have every single one of my weekends completely filled. Nonetheless, despite me saying I don’t do resolutions, I did make two running goals. They are neither exciting nor revolutionary, but they are enough of a challenge for me that they are worth striving for.


Goals for 2016

 Unlike last year, where I questioned the possibility of breaking a 4:20 marathon, this year, I actually BELIEVE my goals are attainable. While I will never be as confident as USAIN BOLT about my running skills, I know with hard work and a solid training plan, I can run or possibly break a 4:00 hour marathon. The half-marathon might be a little bit more challenging, but I am willing to invest time into it and find out just how so.


This Book! Made me cry. It broke my Spirit but also filled me with courage and hope.

The real challenge for me came on Monday, when going back to work after two weeks off was mentally tough. I spent the entire day Sunday WORRYING and playing scenarios of how Monday could go wrong and I was overwhelmed with anxiety. And then I remembered reading The Nightingale, and realized I just needed a little perspective to remind me my life IS good. The story reminded me that going back to work was going to be okay. That I could do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Monday came, I exhaled, I survived, and I made it a memorable day by doing 100 hundred walking lunges with weights right after the work day was done. It’s been three days, and my glutes, hamstrings, and quads are still sore. This is then the perfect opportunity for me to get my butt off the couch and stretch.


This picture of my dog Jake makes me smile like a Cheshire cat.

How is your New Year? Are you a resolutions person? Have you read a great book that gave you the perspective you needed to get out of a funky mood?



No What-Ifs

Four more days! Those are the amount of days that stand between the Marine Corps Marathon and twenty weeks of training. While there are a few runs here and there that still remain, my marathon training for the most part is done.

My last twenty mile run was completed two weeks ago, and like most of my long runs this cycle training, it was arduous. My husband, who is also running Marine Corps Marathon, accompanied me during the run and we both faced headwind going uphill and battled 84 degree temperatures. With the exception of my last long run this past Saturday (14 miles), every single one of my long runs was filled with some form of adversity. If it wasn’t the scorching summer temperatures, it was the smoke-filled skies from burning forests. Thus, while I am completely elated with the upcoming race, I am exhausted and ready to go on a run for the sake of running and not for the sake of training.

It would be disingenuous of me to pretend like I am not stressing about what my performance will be like. There are so many different scenarios playing in my head right now of how the race is going to play out and go to great lengths to reign in scenarios that involve a negative and or self-defeatist attitude. Aside from really having a strong race, I would like more than anything to enjoy the race. Because I have never been to Washington D.C., and because of my service in the Marine Corps, the significance of the this Marathon is more than just completing 26.2 miles. As I sit here and exhale the heaviness of uncertainty, I really would like to look back on this journey years from now and remember it with a sense of fondness that will uplift my spirit.

During the 26.2 miles, I would like to reflect back on just a few of the various moments along my running journey that have lead to the starting line. Hopefully, these moments will help me cross that finish line feeling proud and knowing I gave it my all without ever looking back and saying, “What-if?”

This picture was captured in the Fall of 2013. My second daughter had turned 1, and I was just done nursing. Despite running years prior to this point, I felt like my running journey was starting from scratch. There had been so many life changes up until this point, and I made a personal commitment to start running and put forth my best foot forward.

You just gotta love Race pictures. This picture was taken in March of 2014. It was my first 1/2 marathon in over two years. It was such a wonderful experience despite the look of pain painted on my face.

Mother’s Day May 2014. This was supposed to be the race to test whether I could pull off a 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours. I came 26 seconds shy with a time of 2:00:36.


August 2014 and I finally attained my goal of running a 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours with a time of 1:57. This was also my first time racing as part of the Oiselle team.


February 2015. A surprising half-marathon PR! Without even making an effort to PR, I clocked in 13.1 in 1:50 and shaved off 7 minutes from personal best.

If only I understood the importance of strength training at a much younger age, I would have started decades ago. Now that I know how much of a big difference strength training makes in my life, I make sure to do at least two days of heavy lifting throughout the week. Pictured is one of my favorite lifts – front squats.

Rupturing my plantar fascia was less painful than the disappointment of not being able to race Eugene Marathon four weeks out. I remember how hard I cried and the giant tears rolling down my eyes after so much training. It took almost a month for me to shake off the heartache. This feeling of defeat and impotence will be my biggest source of motivation to fight the demons of negativity throughout the race.

Twenty mile run and a culmination of twenty weeks of training. Inhale….exhale….

Tapping into the Unconscious

Something was awry in my marathon training. Not in the marathon training schedule, but in the performance of every single one of my runs. Since my last 20 mile run over the Labor Day weekend, every single one of my runs have been sluggish, laborious, or just straight out unpleasant. There were a couple of long runs where I even questioned whether I wanted to go through with the marathon and couldn’t comprehend why on Earth I was putting myself through this. It wasn’t until this week that it became clear to me why. First though, let’s take it back to where my conscious struggle began.

Seven Weeks Out

After I did my 20 mile run in the Oregon Coast, I had a 16 mile run scheduled for my long run. Woke up on the morning of Saturday September 12th and I had ZERO motivation to run a mile let alone 16. For the most part, I’ve always found the long slow run exciting because there really is a feeling of runners high that occurs within me. On this particular day though, I was apathetic to everything and anything related to running. And so, instead of completing my run early in the morning like I typically do, I waited. And waited. And waited. I found every excuse in the book to postpone my run. It wasn’t until I exhausted every single excuse in the book of runners who procrastinate that I reluctantly put on my running outfit, my running shoes, my hydration vest, sunscreen, and visor. While I have proclaimed many a times how much l love running when it’s hot, the temperature at the time was 90 degrees despite the fact it was already 5:30 PM! I tried to shake off the funky mood I found myself in and thought perhaps it’d be gone after a couple of miles, but the temperature wasn’t dropping and my mood only got worse with each progressing mile. And because my body can’t seem to function properly when I’m in a negative state of mind, my pace got increasingly slower. With both the mind and body being in cahoots to sabotage the run, all I had left was shear will and determination, but it was definitely inferior to the voices of negativity that gained control of my body. Despite the fact I made a strong attempt to move faster and faster, my body felt like heavy lead and the setting sun that accompanied my vexatious run brought darkness in such haste that I felt like I was standing still while everything around me was spinning. It took two hours, fifty-nine minutes and nine seconds to complete this run. At that point, it was the most taxing run I had ever had on my training schedule.

I got to experience this spectacular sunset during my painful 16 mile run.

Six Weeks Out
It should have been a given that my body was not going to be able to complete 18 miles, but I knew that if I at least did not attempt to run them, I would go to bed with the “What if” feeling. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! I should have listened to my body when it said, “I don’t feel good at all. I just want to sleep and rest.” After fighting it out for two hours, thirty-six minutes, and eight seconds and only having covered 12.67 miles, I waved the white flag and accepted my body could no longer continue. While I was disappointed, I was also extremely relieved. This was my third straight day of hacking up a lung on very little sleep and a lower intake of calories from feeling so sick. After my husband picked me up, I ate a light meal, took a warm shower and went straight to bed. I slept for almost ten hours, which is 3.5 hours more than I sleep per night!! Looking back on this, I really should have stayed home and allowed my body the opportunity to recover. Lesson learned.

Not with me the force was.

Five Weeks Out
I was given a second opportunity to complete the 18 mile run I was unable to complete the week before, and while I was still not 100% (because I failed to give my body the proper rest), I was actually able to complete the full 18. I was slower than I cared for, but the goal was distance, so I consider this a win.


I got the opportunity to run a new route and I really liked! There were some pretty amazing views!

Four weeks Out

This week marks four weeks left of Marathon Training. I wrote on my running journal how disappointed I have been with my performance this training cycle and how I am having voices of doubt questioning my ability to complete 26.2 miles within a specified amount of time. So I went back and looked at my previous training runs for Eugene Marathon [ that I never got to fully complete]. That’s when I saw it! It was at seven weeks out that I started feeling an uncomfortable dull pain on the arch of my foot. Thinking it was completely acceptable to feel pain while training for a marathon, I dismissed it and continued with my schedules runs. My last long slow distance mile was an 18 mile run, and I ruptured my plantar fascia five weeks before Eugene Marathon. My next scheduled run was supposed to be a 16 miler, but I never got to it. This is when it became clear to me I was subconsciously worried about the final weeks of marathon training given my previous experience. Because it was such a heartbreaking experience to have trained so hard only to never even make it to the starting line, my mind was in a heightened level of anxiety, and the anxiety manifested itself physically in my runs.

A little flexing after a speed workout.

I have made it farther into this training cycle than I did for Eugene Marathon, and while I won’t feel like I will be safe to sing victory until I at least get to the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon, I think it is safe to say I have gotten a monkey off my back. Have you ever experienced anxiety triggered by a past event that has impeded you from performing at your maximum level? How did you overcome your anxiety?


18, 20, 14 and Forgiveness

The 20 mile run, in my humble opinion, is the run that legitimizes marathon training. It is the distance you gradually build up to after you pay the hefty marathon registration fees and begin your 20 (or more) week training plan. Two weeks ago, I ran 18 miles under somewhat erratic conditions. The Pacific NW is experiencing heavy drought and we have had numerous fires throughout the summer resulting in unhealthy air conditions. Two of my long runs (14 miler and 16 miler) were ran under these toxic conditions, and it wasn’t until two weeks ago that the skies began clearing and breathing clean air was a little easier.

Unbalanced 18

My 18 miles were quite an ordeal! I started running under cloudy cool skies which then turned into gray stormy skies with small rain drops briefly wetting the pavement my feet were landing on. Finally, there was crazy wind blowing sideways causing stacks of hay and dirt to roll across the road. At one point, the wind was blowing saw hard, I thought a twister was going to form right before my eyes and then my imagination started going wild wondering what my response would be if a twister did form before my eyes. I looked around and noticed there was nowhere for me to take cover and a picture of me and a cow flying in the air flashed before my eyes. For a couple of seconds, I felt my heart pounding really fast and had to quickly bring my mind back to reality and focus on my run. Once I put my imagination in check, I started chuckling at how easily it is to become paranoid and start thinking all sorts of irrational thoughts.

Coastal 20

My 20 mile run not only took place along the beautiful Oregon Coast, but I also had the companionship of my husband for 4 out of the 20 miles. My husband is also running Marine Corps Marathon, but because of his demanding work schedule, he has not been able to log the amount of miles I have logged, and unfortunately, his training has been pretty inconsistent. Nonetheless, he is determined to cross the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon. His presence during the first four miles definitely helped set a good pace, and I found myself feeling extremely comfortable with a 9:30 pace the first sixteen miles of the run. Then, on mile 17, my hamstrings began screaming, “I’m hurting.” Even though I reminded myself running twenty miles was not supposed to be a comfortable experience, my hamstrings were more sore than the usual. And of course, once the mind receives the message of discomfort from the body, the mental-tug-of-war between quitting and pushing through the pain begins. Yes, I wanted to quit. I wanted to start walking. And I did start walking in order to stretch my legs. Because I know how hard I can be on myself, I had to reign in the negative voices creeping inside my head. I reminded myself this was a training run and that mental training was as critical as the physical training I was exerting into the run. Slowly but surely, I placed one foot in front of the other, reciting positive thoughts.

“The marathon is not supposed to be comfortable. Luisa, you could not run five months ago. People around the world would trade their heartaches and sorrows for your discomfort. You are running the distance people drive to work. I can do all things through Chris who strengthens me.”

The best feeling in the world came when my GPS finally indicated I had finally reached mile 20! I battled it out for 3 hours and 14 minutes and felt victorious despite my bloody blisters and sore hamstrings.

The Oregon Coast in all its Splendor

14 Years of Marriage

On September 8, my husband and I celebrated fourteen years of marriage! We really didn’t do anything to celebrate, so we are planning on celebrating in Washington D.C. and going out as a family to a nice restaurant.


My sweetie who is stuck with me for life.


I mentioned on this post how my mother had finally visited me and I am quite certain my tone came off as rather terse or resentful. I’d be lying if I said my little rant wasn’t filled with some resentment. There have been multiple attempts on my part to write about the conflicting relationship my mother and I had growing up and all the pain it has caused me for at least 22 years. Looking back, I am extremely glad I never wrote that post, because unbeknownst to me, the act of forgiving and self-healing was only possible because of my decision to purchase her the round trip ticket to visit me.


I love my mama!

I don’t want to go into detail about how it happened, simply because it would take away the intimacy of the internal transformation that occurred within my spirit. Furthermore, I don’t know if the epiphany was of any significance to my mother. Thus, I prefer to let the moment permeate my inner being and use it as a force to help me rebuild the relationship I always wanted to have with her. I forgive my mother. I forgive the moments in which she let me down as a child and scarred my heart. I forgive the moments in which she placed her needs above mine and made me feel unworthy. I forgive the moments in which she let herself down and triggered internal fear within me of someday ending up like her. I forgive her for the moments in which she made me feel like my life was more of a nuisance rather than a blessing. I forgive her for the moments in which she never apologized after hurting me deeply with her words or actions. I forgive her because I believe she is sorry but doesn’t know how to say sorry and wants to desperately show me. I forgive her because I believe she did the best she could do for me with the limited amount of tools she had. I forgive her because she and I both need forgiveness in order to get out of the quick sand and continue paving our paths. I forgive her because even though she has never told me she loves me, I truly believe she does. I love my mother, and forgiving her has given me the opportunity to feel congruent. I don’t have to fight my inner demons that for years have resisted thoughts and behaviors that would define me as being exactly like her. As a mother myself, I am no longer afraid to love and raise my children with the irrational belief that if I mess up, it is because I am destined to have the same relationship with my daughters I had with my mother. My mother may not have been the mother I desperately wanted her to be, but she was the best mother she thought she was capable of being. I too will be the best mother I think I can be, and I reckon my daughters at some point of their lives will either embrace or resist what I offer them. Should they choose to resist, I do hope they offer me the gift of forgiveness.

Have you ever had to forgive someone who has hurt you but never asked for forgiveness?

Summer Training Potpourri

My training since I last blogged (apparently it’s been a while) has been more consistent than my blogging abilities. Let’s just say Summer has been a busy month, and sitting down and typing my current affairs have been placed on the back burner.

The coast in the background and a moment alone with my amazing husband.

Since my participation in Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, I have ran another Relay – Northwest Passage. There will be an upcoming post rating the experience, but for now, it’s only a draft. My first half-marathon (Catherine Creek Half Marathon) since my injury is this upcoming weekend and I am rather scared and excited about the event. It will be interesting to see how perform given it’s only been about two months since I started running again due to my plantar fascia rupture. The Catherine Creek Half-Marathon was the half where I finally broke under two hours last Summer. It is my hope to finish strong, but most importantly, I will be just happy to finish considering I did not toe the starting line of Eugene Marathon. This year, a good friend of mine will be racing Catherine Creek as well and I am hoping she can set a PR!

Here is a run down of what my training for Marine Corps Marathon looks like:

Trail Runs

Working the trails at 5:30 am!

I’ve falling in love with trail runs. They are definitely challenging, but I feel they are a deviation from the concrete runs I had while training for Eugene Marathon. In the last month I have been running trails, I’ve definitely felt like it has improved my running pace as well as sculpt my calves, quads, and hamstrings. Even better, my foot, which was given me trouble when I started running, is loving the dirt path over the hard pavement. Overall, I’m really enjoying getting up early in the  morning and breathing in the fresh air and being enveloped by the beautiful scenery. So far, my longest run has been a 10k, but I am hoping I can increase that distance within time.

Up in the morning with the Oregon Sun.

Relay Races

When an opportunity presented itself for Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with my husband, I immediately jumped on it! Running on the same team with my husband in the state of Washington for a relay was exhausting, but it was so worth it. I love running as much as I love my husband, so being able to share this experience with him (and without our daughters) was such a memorable occasion for me. In Wasatch, I barely ran 12 miles for my total distance. In Northwest Passage, I ran over 20 miles! It was a strong run for me and it boosted my confidence that perhaps I can start training harder for my Marine Corps Marathon and my foot injury may finally be behind me. I’ve got one more relay race ahead of me, – Elkhorn Relay August 7 and 8 – and once that relay is over, my long distance runs in the double digits will commence.

At the finish line of our 200-ish mile journey with my wonderful husband. Running together is a rare occasion for us, so this moment was very significant for me.


Surrounded by the majestic views Eastern Oregon in Wallowa State Park on the Aneroid Trail Lake.

This past Sunday, we spontaneously hiked Aneroid Lake Trail,  a beautiful trail in Wallowa Lake State Park. The roundtrip distance was 12 miles, and it was pretty exhausting to do with a two-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a beagle. There was an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet, which made for a challenging climb (for the young ones). Because it took us 3 hours and 20 minutes to get to Rogers Lake, .5 miles short of Aneroid Lake, and it was already 6:30 pm, we decided to head back out before the trail was completely dark. Our way down was so much faster, as our return only took us 2 hours and 15 minutes; enough time to make it out before darkness blanketed the trail. We are definitely interested in returning before Summer ends, but we would like to start the hike much earlier in the day. By the end of the hike, we were all exhausted! Because I had a challenging nine mile run the day before, my knees were definitely feeling the climb and the descend.

The combination of water, trees, skies…just stunning.

Summer has been busy so far. We’ve grilled, swam, hiked, visited family, stayed up late, and slept in. The mornings have gotten a little cooler, and even though we still have at least another six weeks of Summer remaining, it makes my gut ache thinking that this will soon come to an end and the dark, cold, gray days of winter will soon be creeping in. It is my intent to soak up as much vitamin D and heat as I possibly can.

How have your summer days been filled? Have you hiked any trails?

Trying out the Trails

Trail running is not my thing. For one thing, trails around here tend to be technical and require an acute sense of awareness between body and surface; a skill I’ve not honed given my clumsy nature. Add in a history of numerous sprained ankles, and I’m pretty much a running hazard. Thus, I’ve done most of my running on concrete and consciously avoided trails. Following my injury, I’d been advised to avoid concrete and have been dutifully logging my miles on the softer surfaces of local tracks. However, my long runs are now longer than five miles, making running around in circles pretty tedious. Plus, with Summer in full session, running around the track means getting scorched by the hot sun due to lack of shade.

This past Thursday, my friend Sarah and I had a 5:30 am running date on the trails. My excitement levels were so high the night before, I kept waking up every hour for fear of oversleeping! The run was as as challenging as I expected it to be. Every muscle, joint, tendon, and ligament in my body was constantly working as my legs and body maneuvered and shifted uphill, downhill, and around switchbacks. The elevation made an imposing presence on my lungs and made it more difficult for my nostrils to take in oxygen.

Because we had to make it back home for both our husbands to make it to work on time, we managed to cover 4.75 miles in an hour; .25 miles short of our targeted five miles. Normally, it takes 24-48 hours post-workout for me to feel the effects of physical exercise, but as soon as I sat in my car, my quads, hamstrings, calves, and ankles were pretty sore! My Thursday was definitely off to a great a start, and I knew I would come back again for more!

Views for Breakfast!

Nuun Hydration put together a virtual 5k/10k/ride race to benefit Girls on the Run and I chose the 10k, which coincidentally aligned with a scheduled 6 mile long run. Even better, the run landed on what is perhaps the best day of the entire year – INDEPENDENCE DAY! Once again, I headed towards the trails, but this time, I went alone – a first for me. This 10k wasn’t only to log 6.2 miles to cover the virtual requirements of the race, it was symbolic of my freedom and embracing all the blessings I have that millions of oppressed individuals around the world only imagine having. More specifically, I was running for all of the women around the world not allowed to drive, or are stoned to death for ludicrous accusations. My run was for little girls who do not have access to an education, and for women who can’t walk out of their homes without permission. Because I got really lost, and it took me longer than expected, I had a good amount of time to be thankful for my life, and was ever grateful my daughters were growing up in a country filled with so many opportunities.

Lost in nature and enjoying the views.

I’m definitely adding trail running to my repertoire mix. It’s challenging both mentally and physically, and the trails are bursting at the seams with awesome views. Here are some things I have learned with only two measly trail runs under my belt:
1) I will get lost.

This is pretty much a given, since I get lost even walking around my neighborhood. Fortunately, the trails connect and eventually lead to the starting point.

2) Compression socks make a difference.

I started purchasing compression socks this past fall, when I registered for the Eugene Marathon, in order to help with recovery during the long runs. I decided to wear them during my long run on Saturday and they really helped protect my legs from tall grass, dust, dirt, and debris.


Patriotic socks in the tall grass.

3) Trail running shoes matter.

I ran in the Gel Nimbus and the sole had minimal traction on the trail, which made for a slippery run. Looks like my husband is going to have to twist my arm so that I can purchase trail running shoes.

4) GPS apps/watches are unreliable.

I for both runs, I used my Garmin Forerunner 220, and my mapmyrun application on my iPhone. Both were off. This means that the joy of running will be more joyous if you don’t take technical stuff too seriously.

5) Deer and Antelope Roam

Nature will definitely be on fully display. While on my run, I ran into deer and antelope, and I’m certain I traversed hundreds of insects and other species of animals that I may have not seen but were definitely present. I may just have to carry some pepper spray to fend off from any animals that may attack me.


Can you spot the deer?

Are you a trail runner? What tips do you have for a novice like me?

Back on the Training Train

Summer, Sunshine, Sweat, and best of all Running!!! Yes, I am now running and have begun training for Marine Corps Marathon. My first official training run began Tuesday June 2; a slow and easy three miles. While there is a desire to push my body harder, I am definitely starting off with low mileage and an easy pace to allow my foot maximum time possible to continue healing. I’ve been issued orthotics for both my feet, and while there is still a slight discomfort present when running, my foot is on the right path to full recovery. My marathon training will once again focus on not only running, but strength training via Crossfit and yoga, as well as walking on rest days, and just plain old fun at the park with my girls.

Sleeveless and leg exposure for the win! I’m so happy warmer temperatures are finally here!

When I set out to run Eugene, I wanted to do my best and quantified it with finishing in under four hours and 20 minutes. There is no doubt in my mind had I not been injured, I would have not only achieved my goal, I would have surpassed it. While completely irrational and superstitious for that matter (which I do not consider myself to be) I can’t help but believe putting a time slot on my performance completely jinxed me and caused the injury. Thus, I am now terrified of even dreaming about a strong finish with Marine Corps Marathon. Maybe it’s because I am not 100% recovered, or because I am afraid of going through another 17 weeks of training to only end up being injured four weeks before the 26.2 performance. Whatever the reason, I am not feeling very confident about my running abilities right now. This feeling is extremely frustrating, because it pushes me inside a box full of fear and suppresses the idea that dreams are possible. Perhaps the feeling will change in the next month or two when I have built up the strength and endurance to go further or faster. Yes, I am grateful to be able to run again, grateful that I have the freedom to do so, grateful my injury was small in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless, I am still hungry for a strong performance in the marathon distance.

I’m avoiding running on concrete for as long as I can and while not very exciting, running around the track has reduced the shock and impact on my injured arch.

Running has not been the only way I’ve kept active. I have also been keeping myself on the move by walking our dog every morning and averaging at least three miles each day. Depending on how distracted or not my dog is, we are completing our three-mile walks in under an hour. Our fastest three-mile was done in under 45 minutes, and our slowest has been around 54 minutes. I’d like to see how fast we can power walk and beat our under 45 minute mark.

My dog Jake, who is governed by scents and food.

Crossfit has also been consistently on my schedule of workouts, and last week, I managed to do five consecutive Crossfit workouts. I don’t think I have ever done five straight Crossfit workouts in one week, so this was quite an accomplishment for me. Because the running miles have been low (11 miles total per week), I am seizing the opportunity to lift heavy before the weeks with high mileage begin. I do love Crossfit, but I have avoided doing five workouts per week not only because sore muscles make running extremely painful, but because some of the workouts require such a high  number of repetitions, some of them end up leaving me with pain that make my training runs extremely painful. There are some people I work out with that six days of Crossfit a week works for them, but I have come to learn that my body is different and prefers four Crossfit work out days maximum. Crossfit definitely pushes me mentally and forces me to step outside of my comfort zone. When my body feels like it cannot do an extra repetition, I visualize myself at the 20 mile mark of my marathon and remind myself that the extra repetition, no matter how painful, will help get me across the finish line strong. My mental training is one factor I have been diligently working on, as I feel that it can work against me even when I am feeling strong.

Flexing and working on muscle gains since it is evident for me that my legs are slimmer than I would like them to be. 

Furthermore, I’ve been spending at least two hours a day at the park with my daughters in order to get them out of the house while keeping my sanity for the Summer season. While they slide, swing, argue, cry, yell, and repeat the cycle, I try to practice some yoga poses. I’m definitely not even remotely close to considering myself a yoga enthusiast, but there are some challenging poses I’ve enjoyed trying. Some are good for stretching, while others seem just outright impossible. Yoga has never really been my cup of tea because the pace seems rather slow for me. A shooting heart rate and perspiration feels more challenging and satisfying than a methodical approach to a specific move. However, it is because of the specific aforementioned reasons that I am taking the time to do Yoga. It is a way to not only allow my muscles to recover while strengthening them, but allow my mind to slow down and focus. This comes in handy when I am running and losing my form or thinking too far ahead of the race. It is a way to enjoy mile twenty-one as much as mile one.

I love backbends! Not only do I feel it stretches all my sore muscles, I also feel five inches taller once I’m done.

Last but certainly not least, I have been putting a strong emphasis on of my biggest areas of weakness when it comes to training: food. When it comes to lack of discipline in eating, I am a good example. I pretty much each when I want, what I want, and as much as I want. I am not saying this to brag, I am saying this because once I the injury forced me to stop running, I started writing down what I was eating and noticed just how heavily carb-loaded my food intake was. More than 50% of my caloric intake were carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, muffins, beans), followed by healthy fats (I was consuming at least two avocados a day and spreading coconut oil on most of my breads) and very little fruits and vegetables. While I felt like I was burning off all the calories running six days a week and justified my eating habits, once I stopped running, I had a hard time curbing the carbs and fats. Thus, I have put a strong emphasis on consuming more greens and reducing the amount of carbs – at least until I start running more than 11 miles a week.

I love good fats and I cannot lie!!

One final last but not least, here is a pretty awesome schedule (if I have to say so myself)  of my upcoming races:

June 19-20 – Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay in Utah. I will be traveling to Utah and joining eleven women I have never met before and traversing 203 miles of beautiful scenery! How exhilarating!

August 1 – Catherine Creek Classic Half Marathon. This was the half-marathon where I completed 13.1 miles in under two hours. Ten weeks ago, I would have made it a goal to break 1:50 in this course, but today, I am going to enjoy 13.1  miles without any time pressure. It will also be my first half-marathon since February’s half-marathon where I PR’d.

August 7-8 – Elkhorn Relay. This is a local relay race and it is the first one in the Blue Mountains. It will consist of 11 runners (not including myself) and it is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous scenery of Eastern Oregon. Best part, the entry fee was only $40, a steal for races of this magnitude.

October 25 – Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. This race will be so symbolic and I find myself not wanting to say too much about it because I do not want to do anything that may hinder me getting to the starting line, so I am proceeding with caution.

What are your Summer Plans? Do you have any upcoming races? Do you ever think you jinx yourself or are superstitious about something? How do you train for a marathon?