Run Streak 2019

I wanted to be better about posting on here more regularly this year, but I haven’t been great about that so far. Life has been a little hectic lately, and oh yeah, I’ve been RUNNING!

2019 Run Streak: Day 60

You read that right. After MONTHS of being sick or injured and being unable to run more than a mile or two (if I’m lucky) since my 10k, I’ve finally got a streak going. Not only that, but I’m also getting some distance PRs!

Today marks day 60 of my 2019 Run Streak! Two whole months of running at least a mile (or more) a day. Things got off to a rough (and slow) start. I was still getting over being sick and, thanks to those illnesses and the cold weather, my asthma was the worst it’s been in a couple years.

I’m slowly seeing improvements though. I’m not doubled over trying to breathe in the middle of a run (mostly thanks to my expensive inhaler, but partly just to exercising regularly again). My pace is starting to get better, too.

At the beginning of 2019, I was running 13-minute+ miles. Now my average pace is in the 12-minute range. Oh, and I recently had a distance PR. I ran my longest run last Sunday: 9 miles in the cold and 25-mile-per-hour winds. A couple weeks before that, when the weather was cold and icy, I had another PR: Longest treadmill run–7 whole miles on the treadmill!

I’ve been frustrated at times with the slow progress, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of muscle soreness lately. In spite of that, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, especially through all the bad weather.

New Year, New Me, New Watch

I treated myself to a new Garmin watch this month. I previously had an old Garmin Forerunner, which took forever to connect to GPS and had limited functionality. I tried out an Apple Watch for a few weeks, but its limited functionality and inaccuracy was frustrating.

Running with my Garmin Vivoactive 3After a lot of research, I knew I wanted to get the Garmin Vivoactive 3, and, as luck would have it, they had a sale around Valentine’s Day. So I took advantage of it and used my Christmas money to buy it.

I’m so happy with my purchase. It connects so much faster than my old Forerunner and it has more functionality, like the ability to set intervals and create workouts. Plus, it’s beautiful! I had someone from work ask me if it was a Kate Spade watch the other day!

Hydrating with Nuun

Nuun Hydration PromoAs a 2019 Team Nuun Ambassador, I’ve been hydrating almost daily with Nuun. Being an ambassador has its perks, like getting a discount on all my favorite flavors! Now through March 6, you can enjoy some of those perks, too!

Head to nuunlife.com and use the code hydratefriends25 to get 25% off your order! If you aren’t sure what to try, I recommend Nuun Sport Lemon-Lime or Strawberry Lemonade. Those two are my favorites. I also love the Cherry Limeade and Lime flavors with caffeine and the Blueberry Tangerine Immunity if you need a boost as flu season drags on and on.

Running for Guac & Girls on the Run

It feels good to be running every day again. It makes me happier and stronger. And now that I’m starting to add miles onto my long runs, I’m getting more and more excited (and a little nervous) for my half marathon in April.

Speaking of my half marathon, I’m running the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon as a Girls on the Run SoleMate. Throughout my training, I’m raising money for Girls on the Run St. Louis.

Girls on the Run St. LouisGirls on the Run is an empowerment program for girls in grades 3 through 8. The program gives them skills and experiences to navigate their world with confidence and joy.

Through engaging lessons and movement activities, the curriculum helps each girl understand and celebrate herself, value healthy relationships and realize her power to impact the world. At the end of the program, girls complete a celebratory 5k that underscores these lessons with a lifelong memory of accomplishment.

My goal is to raise $1200 for this incredible organization before my half marathon on April 7. If you’d like to make a donation to help me reach my goal and to empower young girls, you can do so here: https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Amanda-Brown-Girls-on-the-Run-St-Louis-SoleMates-2018-19-48294

I appreciate any financial support you can give–even just $5 can make a difference in a young girl’s life!

 

 

 

30 Before 30 Progress

How my 30 before 30 list is going.

It’s a new year and I made some progress on my 30 before 30 list! Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far, what I’m working on currently, and what I still need to do:

  1. Run a 10k: DONE!
  2. Run a half marathon: Starting training SOON!
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress–I’ve read 5 books so far and I’m in the middle of my 6th. Only 24 more to go!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: This was in progress, but I slacked off quite a bit at the end of last year. Need to get back to it.
  9. Begin yoga teacher training: Hoping to start this soon!
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published: DONE! (Hoping to get some more bylines in 2019, though!)
  21. Travel to a new city: DONE! We flew to Tampa in December to see Anberlin, drink lots of coffee and beer, and smoke cigars–it was an incredible weekend!
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery: Not yet, but hoping to do a 5k there in March.
  23. Start writing my memoir: Started and stopped. Need to pick it back up.
  24. Write poetry again: YES! I finished 2018 strong by doing a “poetry prompt advent calendar.”
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings: Happening soon.
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home: Still (and probably always will be) a work in progress.

Lots more to do and see, but I’m kind of amazed by what I’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

2019: The Year of Total Domination

My word of the year, goals for 2019, and more.

D O M I N A T E

That’s my word, my goal, for 2019. My word/theme for 2018 was flourish, and I think I did, both personally and professionally. I did fall short in a few areas, though.

So this year, the plan is to just dominate everything. My career, my goal of running a half marathon, my plans to start yoga teacher training.

I’m coming into 2019 at full speed (I’m finally feeling better, after all). I’m going to do my best to crush it and be the best version of myself.

That means reading more, but allowing myself to set aside books that aren’t keeping my interest.

That means writing more–blog posts, poetry, journaling, and maybe even working on my memoir.

That means taking care of my body by moving it every day. I’m hoping to start and maintain a new run streak, but I also want to do a lot more yoga this year.

Taking care of my body also means eating foods that make me feel good. Sometimes that might be a treat like pizza or ice cream, but mostly, it will be foods I know my body thrives on, like protein and vegetables and gluten-free grains.

(I’m not doing the January Whole30 this year, but I do plan to use what I’ve learned in the past to make my Food Freedom really work for me this year.)

I want to go on more adventures, take more risks. I turn 30 in July and I want to enjoy every second of the last 7 months of my 20s and the first 5 months of my 30s (and beyond, of course).

Of course, I’ve got my 30 Before 30 List to help keep me on track (which I’ll post an update on soon). I also decided to make the switch back to a Passion Planner for 2019.

I used a Passion Planner the year we got married and it was perfect for helping me keep track of all the wedding to-do’s, workouts, meal plans, and more.

If it can help keep me sane during wedding planning, I think it’s the perfect companion to keep me on track to achieve all my goals for this year.

I’m setting my sights high this year. Despite how awful 2018 was at times (especially the last 2 months I spent sick), I’m feeling so energized and ready to take on 2019.

As my dear friend, Angi, said, “Fucking dominate in your career so hard they offer you the world to hire you and you generally win at life.” Let’s do this, 2019.

2018 Reflections

Reflections on a long year, the goals I did (and didn’t achieve), & more.

I had great intentions of writing more as 2018 came to a close. I also intended to run a lot more than I have.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick on and off for almost two full months now and that has made it hard to do anything but survive. (I did finally give in and go to Urgent Care, though, and I’m finally starting to feel better.)

I ran two to three times total in the last two months, and I’ve done yoga a handful times. That’s it. All of my energy has gone into work and trying to stay afloat at home.

While I’m dreaming and hoping for a much healthier 2019, I thought I’d take a look back at my 2018 goals and reflect on how I did.

My one word for 2018 was Flourish, and I think I did in more ways than one. I grew both personally and professionally. I took some risks that paid off. I think that was the perfect word for me this year.

I’ve decided on my word/theme for 2019, which I’ll do a separate post on (I really am going to write more!).

As far as my 2018 goals, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped for so many reasons. I wanted to continue my run streak, which I did until my chiropractor had me stop. I did, however, train for and run my first 10k.

I was hoping to start up my run streak again shortly after my 10k in preparation for my half marathon training I plan to start in January, but because I’ve been sick, that hasn’t happened.

I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and ran two straight days after and then was too sick again to run. It’s been a frustrating fall season, to say the least.

Some of my other goals included reading and journaling every day. I did okay with this goal. They didn’t always happen every day, but they happened most days for several months this year.

Then I got sick and stopped, but I ended up finishing three books in the last two months, so I’ll call that a win.

I also wanted to meditate every day and that just did. not. happen. It’s been hard to make the time to meditate, especially since it’s not something I enjoy. I did it on and off for a while, but again, once I got sick, I stopped altogether.

I thought these goals would be fairly easy to accomplish when I made them, but life (and illness) got in the way. This year has had a lot of ups and downs, high highs and really low lows. But here were some of the highlights:

  • I ran 200+ days in a row. I wanted my run streak to last much longer than that, but I’m still proud of what I accomplished.
  • I traveled so much more this year, which made me really happy. We went to Indiana a couple times, to Kansas City a couple times, to Chicago for my birthday, and we just went to Tampa (which means I can cross “Travel to a new city” off my 30 Before 30 list!
  • I started working as a digital content writer for Purina and as scary as it was to take a short-term contract position, it’s one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. I’m learning so much and growing so much as a writer and SEO and it’s one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for.
  • I started writing poetry again, which was another item on my 30 Before 30 list! I’m doing a poetry advent calendar that gives you a different poetry prompt for each day in December. It was difficult to catch up because I was too sick to even think about writing when I initially signed up, but now I’m all caught up and it’s a great feeling to be writing again. It’s far from my best work, but it’s a start!
  • I got a treadmill! I’ve only used it a couple times since I got it because I’ve been too sick to run, but I’m so happy to have it and can’t wait until I’m well enough to use it almost every day. I am itching to feel well enough to start my run streak again, and having the treadmill will make it so much easier–I can squeeze in a mile or two, regardless of whether it’s dark outside (and I don’t have to drive to the gym!).

I’m sure there were many, many more highlights from 2018 I’m forgetting (it’s been a long year, guys), but these ones really stand out.

If I’m not too sick, I plan to do a full update on my 30 Before 30 list, announce my word/theme for 2019, and set some new goals (like running a half marathon!). How was your year? Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself or did you experience some setbacks like me?

 

Race Recaps

I haven’t been running much lately (and it’s been even longer since I posted here). I completed my first 10k back in October and then ran a 5k a week later. I’ve only run once or twice since then. But I’ll get back to that. First, Here’s how my races went: 

My 10k training went okay. I wasn’t expecting to run with the 5:1 pace group, but I eventually accepted it (and I think it ended up being better than trying to push myself to run at a faster pace). 

Over the course of my training I dealt with chronic fatigue (possibly due to my seriously low vitamin D levels). I had some SI pain, which my chiropractor eventually began treating me for. I tripped and fell twice less than a month apart. 

Eventually, I started taking more days off to focus more on getting enough sleep. I was worried I would be undertrained come race day, but then I saw someone’s post online about how it’s better to be undertrained than even a mile overtrained, and that made me feel better about my decision to back off. 

10k Race: Flat as a Pancake

Race day was chilly and rainy. I got there early to get my bib and t-shirt, and got to use an indoor bathroom before the race started! (It’s the little things.) The race was in Tower Grove Park, so the 10k was two loops around the park. 

The first mile or so felt really hard. Even though I had warmed up thoroughly prior to the start, I still felt stiff. Not to mention, my fall allergies were in full swing at that point, making it hard to breathe. 

MaPq2hjtxcCkF2DogkFapLZUMfXN9NlMY_hSUthSStwpX92IBFortunately, one person from my pace group was also running the race, so we ran it together and that made things a lot easier. I dealt with a lot of side cramping during the first half of the race as well, which was frustrating. 

Our pace at the 5k mark was 12:24, and we managed to maintain that pace throughout the rest of the race. I took my nutrition after finishing that first loop and started to feel a little better. 

I was tempted to try to run the entire race instead of doing my 5:1 intervals, but my running partner reminded me to stick to my training. I think that was the right choice. Our final time was 1:17:01 with an average pace of 12:24. 

Overall, I was happy with my time and what I accomplished. This was the first race I ever ran with someone (and without headphones/music!) and I think that made a big difference. I also realized I need to invest in a proper hand-held water bottle. 

5k Race: Race to the Shrine

I pretty much took the entire week after my 10k off to rest. I was tired and sore and focused again on sleep (and foam rolling). I ran a 5k the next weekend. 

The weather was pretty great for that race, but it was super windy. I stuck with my 5:1 training plan again, mostly because I didn’t feel like I had the energy to try to do more. 

This run was pretty uneventful, but also hilly. One of my favorite moments of the race was passing a young girl with a sign that said “I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you.” That gave me all the feels. 

Race to the Shrine 5k
Post-Race Selfie with the Shrine!

Despite running into a headwind for the last quarter mile of the race, I finished strong. My final time was 36:01 with an average pace of 11:36. Not a PR by any stretch, but given that I had run a 10k the weekend prior, I was happy with it. 

In fact, I came in 3rd (out of 7) in my division. That’s not something I had ever really paid attention to before, but it was kind of exciting to see I wasn’t dead last!

Future Running Goals

My next race is the Turkey Trot this Thursday for Thanksgiving. Since completing the Race to the Shrine a month ago, I have only run once (that I can remember). I had been extremely tired and then I got sick. 

I’ve been sick for about a week now and am just now starting to feel a little better. Hopefully I can get a couple short runs in between now and Thursday and not feel terrible for this race. 

After that, I think I might try to start my run streak back up again. The “official” Runner’s World run streak goes from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day (41 days total). 

All I know is that I felt strong and in shape and healthy when I was streaking before, so maybe I can get back to that. Plus, I have a new (used) treadmill (thanks to my in-laws), so I don’t have to run outside in the dark and risk more injuries. 

Then my plan is to start training for a half marathon. I’m looking to do one in the spring. I probably won’t meet my 30 Before 30 goal of running a half marathon and a marathon before I turn 30, but I will at least be able to cross the 10k and 13.1 off my list. 

I’m hoping to have more time (and energy) to do some more writing. If that’s the case, I’ll do a “year in review” post to see how I did with my goals for the year and my thoughts on 2018 overall. 

I’ll try to get my Turkey Trot race recap up sooner than a month later, too 😉

What are your plans for the rest of 2018? Do you have any more races coming up? Let me know!

 

 

My 30 Before 30 List

On July 11, I celebrated my 29th birthday with my husband in Chicago. A few days prior, I completed my “30 before 30” bucket list. In other words, 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. Some of these items are small and manageable. Others are stretch goals. Some may be downright impossible. But I wanted a good mix of all three on my list. Below is my list, with a few items kept private for personal reasons:
  1. Run a 10k: Training in progress!
  2. Run a half marathon
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: In progress!
  9. Begin yoga teacher training
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published (DONE! But I hope I can get more than one published)
  21. Travel to a new city
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery
  23. Start writing my memoir
  24. Write poetry again
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home
I am happy with my list and I think most of the items on here are doable. Some are stretch goals for sure, but hopefully I can make them happen. You only turn 30 once!
Have you ever created a “30 before 30” or similar list? How did you do? Let me know!

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After a 2-month hiatus from running, I hit the pavement again yesterday! My chiropractor finally said I could start testing out exercises like running, so I didn’t waste much time getting out there!

My first run was slow. I was exhausted from little sleep, my left foot felt uncomfortable in my shoe the entire time (a good reminder that I need new shoes), and my knees were achey. Despite all of that, though, I was just so damn happy to be running again, no matter how slow or how many walk breaks I needed (excluding my warm-up and cool-down, I needed about 3 total).

img_3243I ran/walked 1.74 miles with an average turtle pace of 16.12 minutes. That’s a heck of a lot slower than my previous 10 to 12-minute paces a couple months ago, but I was deliberate in my slowness. I knew if I tried to go too fast or too hard on this first run, I’d regret it and maybe even cause a setback. So I’m taking things slow and steady in hopes that I can continue running.

I won’t be taking up my run streak again any time soon. Right now I think I’m going to try to maintain a schedule of running a few days a week up to every other day and see how things go. I don’t have any pace or mileage goals; right now, the only goal is to just keep running.

I’m also doing some moderate upper body/shoulder strength training, too! I’m using resistance bands rather than weights (I’m weak AF after a year of zero upper body training), and it will be a slow recovery process. But it’s progress nonetheless.

In my last post I talked about how little sleep I’ve been getting and my resolve to give up caffeine as a last-resort effort to improve things. I’m happy to report that I’ve moved past the horrible withdrawal headaches I had the first few days. Unfortunately, it seems the caffeine, or lack of, has had little impact on my sleep. I’m still getting less than 5 hours of sleep each night (and less than 4 the last couple nights).

I’m considering giving magnesium another try. Apparently some options come in a lotion form, so maybe I’ll like that better than the spray I bought. I’m also considering switching back to Benadryl from the current antihistamine I use before bed occasionally (usually when I’ve had something for dinner that gave me hives) and trying something like Tylenol PM. My concern is most medications that make other people sleepy seem to have the opposite effect on me and I just feel totally wired.

For now, I’m going to continue with the decaf, because now that I’m past the withdrawals, I don’t see an urgent need to go back to regular coffee. And I’m going to keep running and doing whatever other exercises I can in hopes that might help my sleep, too.