SPRING at last! Running, Racing and Sunday things.

I don’t know about you, but I was literally counting down the days until spring. We had a very particularly dreary winter here in The Great Pacific Northwest and I was OVER it. We had enough rain in October to last us the ENTIRE year and we had exactly 5 days of pure sun from October through the first day of spring. FIVE days, you guys. I was dying. Anyways, the first day of spring greeted us with this gorgeous sunrise (and then more rain for the rest of the day):

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Hello, Spring! #nofilter

I was cleared to get back to running the beginning of March, but came down with a cold. I ran twice that week. It was glorious, despite being sick. Last week I was able to run three times. This week was my first full week back and I ran FOUR times, and one of those times included a half marathon on the trails at Dash Point State Park. I signed up on a whim with a friend (despite only having ran about six times before the race after my one and a half month break, haha). It was a long training run for her and we both just wanted to have fun. It was a great race and the trails at Dash Point State Park are glorious! We lucked out with AH-MAZ-ING weather! Sunshine and in the 50’s! Doesn’t get much better than that for early spring running here in Washington state. We were most certainly not the fastest, but that wasn’t the point. We had a great time and finished and felt awesome. I was super happy because after a long break and not running much before the half marathon the trails actually felt super easy. Looks like my body doesn’t forget all the hard work and training I was doing almost two months ago as quickly as I thought it would. ๐Ÿ™‚ P.S. This is NOT my most flattering picture, but I don’t care. ๐Ÿ™‚

BTW this was my friends first 1/2 marathon. She has only been running since last June and is training for her very first marathon for her one year run-niversary! She has done pretty much all distances except the marathon between then and now, and a lot of them on crazy trails with her husband (who is a sponsored trail running athlete). She is a total badASS!

Ashley & Alicia Dash Point Half Marathon 3-25-17
13.1 miles and 1100ft of elevation later: feeling great!

I am feeling good today except for my ankle being sore. That is what I expected though. I can’t wait for my doctor recheck this next week and to see if/when we can do some kind of surgery to be done with ankle problems forever ๐Ÿ™‚ I have two big races later in the year that I am literally praying I don’t have to miss. I am already missing what would have been my first 50k next week, but I did get a pass for entry next year and skipping the lottery! The Gorge Waterfalls 50k. I will just cheer everyone on this year ๐Ÿ™‚ For now I am going to run as much as I can (without causing too much pain to myself) and am hoping for lots of sunny runs like this one ahead:

The rest of today is going to be spent lounging around and seeing Beauty and the Beast. I am so stoked! I have been waiting to see this movie for months! Beauty and the Beast was my second favorite Disney movie growing up. First was The Lion King, of course.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Weekend Recap. How is it Wednesday already?

This past weekend my mom, aunt and little brother came to visit. We are all about creating new memories with my mom and my aunt is so sweet to ride the train three hours one way from Portland with her every few month to visit.ย My little brother drove up and stayed with my boyfriend and I. He is special and gets to sleep on the couch ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday night we met them at a new restaurant called Laredos Grill. It was mexican food and it was deeeelicious!

We were there for quite awhile so we headed home after that and they went back to their hotel. Saturday we did some normal tourist things and also went to the Theo Chocolate Factory and went on a tour! It was fascinating to learnย about their all natural, fair trade and organic bean to bar process. We got to sample a lot of chocolate too. I will never say no to chocolate. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย Afterwards we went out for some beers (or cider in my aunt’s case) and just talked for hours.

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As you can see the weather was just absolutely lovely. Good ol’ Seattle Sunshine.ย 

We then went to dinner at Kyle’s restaurant. Kyle is the General Managerย at a great little place ย called The Kiss Cafe. If you are ever in Ballard in Seattle and you love beer (or sandwiches)… I would highly recommend The Kiss Cafe!

On Sunday my little brother and I picked up my mom and aunt from the hotel and we went for breakfast downtown. We went to Le Pichet, a great little french place. After that it was off to Starbucks for some more coffee (we ARE in Seattle ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and then we took them to the train station so they could catch their ride. It is always sad to say goodbye, but I enjoy the time we have together. My little brother stuck around for awhile and we explored a bit more. We went to the farmers market and into a great little place called Pie Bar. They make the best coconut cream pie I’ve ever had. It was a busy weekend full of a lot of walking and a lot of eating. I was exhausted by the end of it, but that is a sign of a good weekend, right?

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This week has been a blur. I woke up sick on Monday and also pretty emotionally exhausted to be honest. My mom’s disease is hard to deal with for me and I am always so tired emotionally after extended amounts of time with her. Tuesday I powered on to work, but still felt terrible. I stayed home today in hopes of kicking this sickness. It turns out that repeating “I will not be sick, I will not be sick, I will not be sick..,” a hundred times to yourself doesn’t actually prevent you from getting sick . ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyways, I saw THIS on Sunday and got excited because spring really IS on it’s way! I cannot wait. ๐Ÿ™‚

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#TBT: That time I went on a cruise with my Mom and two Aunts.

โ€œIf there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.โ€ ~Winnie the Pooh

My aunt recently sent me a bunch of photos from a cruise we took back in September. We left from right here in Seattle and cruised down to Astoria, OR, San Francisco, CA, then up to Victoria BC and back home. The trip was a little bittersweet, but fun. The reason I say it was bittersweet is because the trip was to make memories with my mother. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease the summer of 2015. She is 63 years old. To say watching my mother’s health decline is sad is most certainly an understatement. It is heart wrenching and crushing.ย She also has vision problems (she can’t really see out of one eye) which makes things even more of a struggle for her.

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At Bubba Gump Fish Co in San Fran. It was 80 degrees!!
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At a fun brewery in Astoria, Oregon.
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One of the “fancy dinner” evenings in the dining room on the ship.
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Fresh off the boat in San Fran. The 80 degree weather was amazing!
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At Ghiradelli Square in San Fran.

San Francisco was my favorite! We got to spend two days there. The second day we were there I woke up early and ran 7 miles through the city. It was glorious.

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My featured image on this post is the tattoo I got for my mom. An elephant holding a purple heart. Purple is the color for Alzheimer’s, and elephants never forget.

 

Take me back to the WEEKEND: Crossfit, Farmers Market & Beer.

I feel like the older I get the faster my weekends go. I make a conscious effort during the week to find something I enjoy about each day because I don’t want to look back in 10 years and only remember wishing my weeks away waiting for the weekend. I LOVE my weekends, but the weekdays are special, too.

Saturday morning I woke up and met my friend AshLee at her crossfit gym for a team workout. This was my first official crossfit gym experience. We warmed up with a 400 meter jog and then some stretching. After that the coach explained the WOD to us. It went like this: 1000 meter run and then alternating rounds of 5 squat cleans, 5 push-ups and 40 double unders (I modified and did normal single jump ropes because I am too uncoordinated to do a double under, haha). We did that 20 times. TWENTY. After that we had to finish with 50 synchronized burpees over the barbell. The 50 burpees were KILLER. We were both dying at the end. What a FUN workout though! My entire body was so sore the next day. My shoulders ended up with some bruises. A good workout, right?

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The rest of Saturday was pretty low key and involved watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, eating Chinese food and having some brewskies. One of my favorite kinds of Saturdays.

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Sunday morning I did not work out because I was too sore. We decided to walk to the farmers market a little later in the morning. It was SO COLD. We only lasted for a stroll down and back through the market before we ducked into a cute little burger shop for lunch.My burger was so good. It had caramelized onions and apples with a horseradish sauce. Mmmmm. Afterwards we headed to Kyle’s restaurant, The Kiss Cafe, to work on my beer list. Kiss Cafe has four large coolers full of canned and bottled beer from all over the United States. If you drink 100 beers in a year you are on their Ballard Drinking Team. I had two beers to go on Sunday! I finished and became a Ballard Drinking Team Member! If you like good beer you can imagine this is a fun challenge. I get a custom engraved glass with a quote of my choice. I decided on “Life is BREWtiful.” I am so excited to get my glass!

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That’s the weekend in a nutshell! Sometimes a nice low key weekend is just what the doctor ordered. Next weekend my little brother, mom and aunt are coming into town so we will be busy doing all sorts of fun tourist things.

Lastly, today is exactly ONE week until I can run again. Needless to say, I am counting down the days. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ankle Things & a Killer Spin Workout

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” -Buddha

This is one of my most favorite quotes and I wholeheartedly agree with it. I went to see my doctor today for my THIRD steroid injection in the series (although I have had about 5 total in the history of my ankle). I asked him if he thought it would be good to do one of the new scans first and then do the third injection, but he said no, he needs to keep it on schedule and document what happens. Doctor things. They need it all on paper. I said OK (as I am desperate for anything to fix this ankle problem at this point) and got the injection. A concoction of three different steroids (and 3ml in volume!!) was injected. The most liquid that has ever gone in, and it wasn’t exactly comfortable. It is sore and will stay that way for a little while. Now we wait and see what happens! Although really, I know whats going to happen. ๐Ÿ˜‰ On a happy note – I can run in TWO WEEKS! I am really excited about that. I have a recheck in 5 weeks and we will see how it’s doing and go from there.

After my doctor appointment I went straight to the gym for some spin therapy. I really enjoy spinning and although it’s not the same as running it does release a lot of needed endorphins and helps me to get out any stress, anxiety or frustration. Kind of like running, but not running. I did this killer spin workout by The Hungry Runner Girl and I loved it!

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After spin I did five minutes of plank work. Gotta keep that core strong for my running comeback! Don’t mind my chipped nail polish. I am happy to go run 15 miles in a freezing cold torrential downpour, but painting my nails and/or removing the polish is so difficult. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I am feeling good about my ankle today and am just trying to stay positive. A brief back story of it is that it has been a chronic problem for TEN YEARS, but has only gotten worse and worse since last July. In the meantime I can stay strong, mentally AND physically, and just prepare for my epic comeback. Again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Very Rainy Sunday Funday

Yesterday was an unusual Sunday because my boyfriend, Kyle, woke up quite sick. We took it easy in the morning and watched Star Wars. We have been making our way from the “beginning.” We started with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I haven’t watched the movies “in order” before so I have really been enjoying this. We recently finished all of the Indiana Jones series as well and I loved seeing that from the start!

After the movie Kyle went to nap and I decided to head over to Discovery Park to take a long walk. If you’ll notice the name of my blog is “Emerald City Runner” and you might be wondering – walking? Doesn’t she run? The answer to that is a most definite YES, I love to run! However, I am currently dealing with a chronic ankle problem and my doctor told me to take it easy until we can figure out what is wrong. I have been working out in the gym and cycling for a few weeks and I was dying to be outside today. I walked about 4 miles around Discovery Park in the pouring rain and it was glorious. I tried to focus on having a good time being outside rather than getting angry and jealous when other runners passed by. “This is just for now, not forever” I kept telling myself. This has been my favorite mantra lately. I CANNOT WAIT to get back to running, but in the meantime I can stay active and know that I am trying to fix my body to come back as a stronger runner, rather than wearing my ankle down day after day and being in pain. I would really like to still be able to walk when I’m 50 ๐Ÿ˜‰

After my walk I headed to the grocery store for ingredients for a recipe from the book Run Fast Eat Slow. I made the Flu Fighter Chicken and Rice Stew (I used quinoa rather than rice). It was smelling amazing! I also made a dairy free blueberry loaf for Kyle because baked goods always make me feel better and I thought it would make Kyle feel better, too. He loves any pastry that has blueberries so I think this will be perfect. It also smells fantastic! Everything was delicious!

I would really like to start blogging daily and am going to try my best to get into the habit. I have always been that person who wants to have a journal to look back on and read later and show my future kids, etc, etc, but I have never been able to stick to pen and paper. I figured – why not try a blog?! This is fun and I can add pictures. I doubt anyone will start reading except my boyfriend (although if my dog could read I am POSITIVE he would follow religiously).

I have a doctors appointment in a few days to have another steroid injection done in my ankle, but I am going to call my doctor tomorrow and ask if we can do a new scan he suggested before that (since I would then have to wait 4 weeks after the injection to have the scan). I am happy to have the injection if he thinks that is best, but I would like them to take another look (I have had two MRIs and countless x-rays) with this new scan and see if they can get a better idea of what is wrong. The Chicago Marathon is in October and it will also be my 30th birthday month (UGH) and I have my heart set on that race more than I can convey in words. I already had to stop training for a trail 50k because of my ankle. The 4 other steroid injections I’ve had have been band-aids and only cease the pain temporarily. Hopefully I can get the scan first. Then once I get the steroid injection I can start running again, but really only until the steroid wears off. Fingers and toes crossed over here the scan shows something obvious and that can be fixed. For now, here is a recent race photo! I placed third woman and PR’d in a 10k. This was a good day. ๐Ÿ™‚