Monday Motivation

Three weeks left until the CFA. I repeat: three. weeks. left. The next three weeks are going to be pretty challenging, but I’ve got some pretty cool stuff keeping me motivated this week. 

I’ve finally finished reading all of the CFA level 1 materials. I’m feeling pretty good about the fact that this leaves me about 3 weeks to do some major review and practice exams.


I’ve also found a new appreciation for the recumbent bike in our living room – it makes it so I can study, while still getting out the stir crazies that set in when I don’t get my usual runs in. 


I thoroughly enjoy the saying that’s on the lululemon bag I’ve been using to take my lunch to work. I got it at Seawheeze this year, and love that it provides a little bit of inspiration with my lunch. 

It’s also made me less worried about lunch thieves, since it’s pretty distinctive (I still haven’t gotten over my lunch being lunchnapped). 


Like I mentioned in my last post, the last two weeks it’s been getting darker much, MUCH earlier – meaning that it’s pretty well dark by the time I get home. My smiley face reflective magnets make running in the dark both safer (and just a little bit happier). 

While I’ve got a lot of studying to do, I’m planning on going running at least a few times this week,  to keep the stir crazies at bay and keep me healthy for gearing back up on training.

What’s keeping you motivated this week?

Running after dark

Running after dark

Guys. I ran up the big hill at the tail end of my run today. Like all the way up. Without stopping for a walk break. Ran up the hill! 

This was totally unexpected for me today. I’ve been pretty tired most of the day, since I got home after my usual bedtime because of an event that I hosted last night for the local chapter of an investment society (which, by the way, was pretty freakin’ cool!). 

Knowing that I was pretty tired at the end of the day today, I went out on my run tonight with zero expectations. I was just going out to get my body moving and see the beautiful sunset.

By the way, who decided it was ok for the sun to start going down at THREE O’CLOCK in the afternoon?! It was beautiful, but I was hoping the time of year where I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark was a little further away. Oh well, at least my office has lots of windows.

By the time I got home, the sun was down most of the way. So, I hurried as fast as I could and got out the door to enjoy the last few minutes of sunshine. 


Since I run after work most days, I do the majority of my running in the dark. As a result, I’ve accumulated a plethora of reflective and light up running gear – including an extremely attractive yellow reflective vest (thank you, Ragnar!).

My favorite reflective items are my two magnetic smiley face reflectors that I’ve attached to my running pouch (who am I kidding, it’s a sleek fanny pack, haha), and these really cool light up arm bands that glow in multiple colors. 

What’s your favorite safety gear?


I’m pretty lucky to live in a pretty well lit neighborhood, but I still don’t want to take the chance that someone (e.g. A driver) might not see me while I’m out running. So, I don all of my reflective gear, run against traffic, and make sure to have enough space to be able to jump out of the way if necessary. I have had a couple close calls where cars didn’t see me right away, but running prepared made it a non-issue.

I’m happy with the results of my no expectations run this evening, and am now ready to tackle the mountain of studying I have to do. 

Happy Friday eve every body!

Work work work work

This weekend was insanely rainy, like only November in Seattle can be. I had planned on doing a 6 mile run on Saturday, but when I woke up the pouring rain didn’t really entice me to go outside and run. We also had a friend’s wedding to go to, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get all the things done that I wanted to (but getting dressed up is always fun and makes up for it ;)).


Normally, I don’t mind running in the rain – I live in Seattle, rain happens a LOT- but there are times that I just can’t convince myself that it’s not that bad. 

Fortunately, my lovely boyfriend had the foresight to buy a recumbent workout bike and put it in our living room (hello cross training!). 


So, instead of going out for a run, I was able to stay in and do a quick 10 mile bike ride. After doing a couple sprint triathlons, I have a new appreciation for how much bike riding and swimming benefit my running, and it was nice to get back to using some bike muscles (giving my running muscles a break).

What are some of your favorite cross training activities?

Another benefit of indoor biking? I can study while I ride (yay efficiency!). I’m taking the Level 1 CFA exam on December 3rd, so it’s crunch time for me to cram in as much information as possible. 

With all the crazy studying that I’ve been doing (and will be doing right up until test day), on top of all the other usual stuff I have on my plate, running helps me maintain my sanity.

Sometimes, when life gets crazy, getting my run in can be challenging. However, I try as hard as I can to make it happen, maybe not every day like I’d like to, but as often as possible. If I didn’t, I’m pretty sure I’d explode (and that wouldn’t be pretty, haha). 

This week, I’ve got two books to finish reading, a social event that I need to make sure goes smoothly, and about 20 miles that I’d like to run. Oh, and work. Because work makes it so I can do all the things. Channeling my inner Elle Woods this week – let’s face it, I try to do this every week, haha – because I have so much stuff that I’d like to accomplish.

What do you have going on this week? What keeps you motivated to keep working towards your goals? 

Friday Sparkle

I woke up this morning feeling very blah. This is not an unusual feeling for me at4:00 am, especially now that it’s pretty much pitch black when I get out of bed.

The blankets had definitely accepted me as one of their own this morning, so it was really hard to leave my warm cocoon. And I’ve been struggling to keep myself hydrated over the last few days, so that made this morning especially difficult.

Luckily, my super awesome sparkly flats and coffee came to the rescue this morning, turning everything around for me. The power of coffee and a cute outfit will never cease to amaze me!

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What are some of your favorite things to wear to make you feel good?

Since I get to work so freakin’ early in the morning, sometimes I get to enjoy some gorgeous sunrises (and wish I were out running in them, instead of sitting at my desk). It’s a major bonus that I can still see Mt. Rainier from my desk, even though Seattle is going through a construction boom!

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As much as I love the view from my desk, it can be really challenging to stay focused when it’s any kind of nice weather outside. I do live in Seattle, though, so I don’t have to deal with the temptation of gorgeous weather too often (at least not from the beginning of October to the end of June, haha).

To combat the dehydration that I’ve been feeling, I was focusing on making sure that the water bottle I have sitting on my desk was never empty.

Typically, I drink 2-3 full bottles a day and feel pretty well hydrated, but today I drank 5 or 6. Even though it felt pretty weird to be drinking that much water, it was really nice to have a reason to get up from my desk periodically – and feeling more hydrated by the end of the day was sooo worth it.

I was so excited to get home after work today – I had a 4 mile run on my mind, and I couldn’t wait to get to it!

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Tonight’s run was the best way to finish of this week. Living so close to the water means that I get to see some pretty epic scenery – hello gorgeous sunsets!

Also, has anyone ever mentioned how hard it is to take running action shots with an iPhone? Because it’s super hard! I tried multiple times and didn’t manage to get a single shot that wasn’t blurry… pfft. Hopefully it’ll get better with practice! For now, selfies still work 🙂

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I’ve got an easy 6 mile run planned for tomorrow morning before the rest of my weekend full of activities – what do you have planned for this weekend? Anyone doing a crazy long run?

If the shoe fits

If the shoe fits

For my training for the Portland Marathon this year, I decided to give the most recent edition of Asics Gel Kayano shoes. They were my trusty companions through over 200 miles of training. 

I’ve been noticing during my last few post-marathon runs that my feet and ankles feel more tired than normal. Add that to even tighter than normal calfs, it seems as though it’s time for me to get new shoes.


Although I liked my Asics – they cradled my long, narrow feet, providing just the right amount of support – by the end of my long runs, my feet felt like bricks since they are pretty heavy.

For my speedwork last night, I opted to use the Saucony Guide 9s that I have hanging out in my closet. 


The thing I really, really like about these shoes is that they are really light, but supportive. They also make me feel like I’m running on marshmallows, which is a major plus.

This sounds great right? 

In theory, it is. However, my issue with these shoes is that, because I have super narrow feet (AA coming at you), the ball of my foot and my toes move back and forth within the toe box. 

These shoes have been sitting in my closet for a while because of this, so I was interested to see if my opinion could change.

During my speedwork last night, I loved the fact that my feet felt springy and relaxed. It really made a difference in how fast I was able to run.  BUT I was having some trouble with the feeling that I was wearing clown shoes, since the toe box is so wide. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really a fan of my feet moving around in my shoes (hello, blisters!).

Sweaty selfie post-speed work

So, in summary, I like the way the Saucony shoes feel better than the Asics, but I really like that the Asics come in AA so my feet don’t flop around during my run. I’ll probably give the Sauconys another try, but I think it’s time to make my way to my local running store for some new shoes. 

What are your favorite running shoes?

Trick or Treat – or strength train…

Trick or Treat – or strength train…

Tonight started off with dinner with a fantastic view of Seattle – even when it’s cloudy and grey, this city is so beautiful. After dinner, we hurried back home to make sure that we could pass out candy to the neighborhood kids.

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While waiting for trick-or-treaters tonight, I decided that it would be a good idea to do some circuit training (since I didn’t have time to go for a run today after work/dinner). Also, it was a good way for me to avoid eating ALL the candy that I had bought.

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When I do circuit training, I try to focus on strengthening my core, hip flexors, and glutes – areas that are key to good running form. I’ve noticed in the last few races that I’ve done that as I get closer to the finish, I can definitely tell that my form is falling apart. So, in this training cycle, I’m going to focus on strengthening these problem areas – with the idea that I’ll be able to finish my races stronger.

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Because Jonathan and I both like being able to work out at home, we have a wide variety of fitness accoutrement. Guess whose medicine ball is whose? The couple that circuit trains together stays together, right?

For today’s circuit training, I cycled between medicine ball sit ups, side and front planks, and wall squats (also using the medicine ball). Thank goodness for kind boyfriends, who humor me by taking pictures of me working out (also, the outtakes are priceless!).

In between circuits, I was able to get some meal prep done. Watching football yesterday meant that I didn’t have time to do my usual Sunday lunch prep.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters (since it has been particularly rainy today). However, fortunately for me, I was able to have a productive evening, even if I didn’t get to go for a run.

How did you spend your Halloween?

 

 

 

The First

I mentioned in a my Becoming a Runner post (here) that one of the things that helped me the most when I first started running was training for the Sound to Narrows, so I could run it with my Dad.

I remember growing up my Mom and Dad waking up early one weekend each June – crazy unpredictable Washington weather and all –  to go to Vassault Park so he could run this race. My Dad has run many races (including the Portland Marathon, which was very helpful in my training), but I distinctly remember him recounting this one. Particularly, he liked to talk about the Hill.

The Hill is at the tail end of mile 6, and is probably the scariest, most intense hill of the entire course. The rest of the course is equally hilly, but it’s hard(er) to notice that when you’re running through beautiful scenery. Hearing him talk about it, I knew I wanted to conquer that hill one day.

So, in June of 2014, that’s exactly what I did – I signed up for the longest race I had ever thought about running, and had the opportunity to make it up that hill (with the added bonus of getting to run in the same race as my Dad near Father’s Day).

I definitely was not fast, and had to trudge my way through most of the race, but I was so proud that I was able to run up that hill (and the 5 others along the course… did I mention that this is one of the hardest 12ks out there?). It was really the first time I truly felt like I a runner, and I haven’t looked back since.

Looking back through my phone, I found our finish line photo from that day. You can definitely see which one of us had run long distance races before in this photo! What you don’t see here is the prior photo of me bent at the waist trying to will my breathing to slow down, haha.

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Even though I was a hot, sweaty mess (emphasis on the mess) after this race, I wouldn’t have traded one second. And, thanks to my Dad (and Mom) encouraging me to sign up for this race, I caught the running bug – who’d have thunk that the girl in the picture above would go on to run 2 marathons (and hopefully more)? Certainly not me. Glad I didn’t let that stop me!

Here’s to great running memories, and making many, many more!