Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Running in 2009 & Goals for 2010

I have no idea how many miles I ran, but here are some things I do know:
Number of races run: 2 (a 5K and a 10K, both in Korea)
Number of countries I ran in: 5 (US, Thailand, South Korea, Cambodia, UK)
Number of PRs: 1 (10K in 45:09)
Longest run: 11.4 miles (last weekend)
Net weight change over the year: -7 pounds...WOOHOOO!

A little different from my running in 2008, which had WAY more races (including a marathon) and way less travel.

Goals for 2010:
1. Qualify for Boston (hopefully at the LA Marathon)
2. Run at least two full marathons
3. Set PRs at 2 or more different distances
4. Run at least one trail race

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

That was stupid...

I spent a few months in physical therapy for my IT band in 2008 and have pretty much successfully kept it in check since then. My PT said I could do basically whatever I want as long as I was smart about increasing my mileage and I stayed away from lunges.

But then I got 30 Day Shred and got hooked and what does Jillian Michaels loooove to have you do? LUNGES. So I did them. What an idiot.

My knee was not a happy camper on my 6.5 mile run this morning, and it's still not happy even though I've been icing and advil-ing all day. I am not running tomorrow, and I'll probably just do 30 Day Shred (sans lunges). I REALLY hope I didn't mess my knee up too badly! I'm planning on a track workout Thursday morning, but I won't do it if my knee hurts. I guess I never learn...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Feeling the Burn

My husband and I planned on not getting each other any Christmas gifts. We spent a chunk of money traveling around Asia, and moving into a place back home was a little spendy as well.

So I was definitely surprised when there were a few gifts waiting for me on Christmas morning, and I felt horrible because I hadn't gotten anything for him. I was really excited to get a new yoga mat (I thought I'd put mine in storage before we went to Asia but it somehow disappeared) and 30 Day Shred, which I've been wanting for months! Thanks, Hubs!

I didn't have any running to do Christmas Day, but I did Level 1 of 30 Day Shred with 3 pound weights and I'm still a little sore. Kind of embarrassing. On the other had, I guess it's good I'm working muscles that haven't been used since I stopped going to the gym in August.

I definitely did my share of indulging on Christmas, and my weight is up about 2 pounds. I'm not worried about it, though. We've already purged the house of all the junk and we're back to TONS of fruits and vegetables at ever meal. No waiting around for New Years Resolutions here!

And now about my exercise for the week:

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Thursday: 4.7 mile run (I planned to do a track workout but the gate to the track was locked and I didn't feel like climbing over it. Kind of a slacker...)

Friday: 30 Day Shred, Level 1

Saturday: 3 miles easy (my husband ran with me!)

Sunday: 11.4 miles at 8:08 pace (I was REALLY happy with this run!)

Week Total: 23.1 miles

Sunday, December 20, 2009

LA Marathon Training Week 2

I gotta be honest, I've kind of felt like an imposter when I title posts with "Marathon Training" because running less than 20 miles a week really doesn't feel like marathon training. But fortunately, my 9 mile run this morning made me feel a little bit more like a real runner again.

I wasn't expecting much, since I ate a big dinner of taquitos, chile relleno casserole, apple pie, and ice cream (it was a holiday get-together with my husbands family), but I felt surprisingly good this morning! I popped out of bed at 7:30, ate a banana, and hit the road. I'm still living in the Dark Ages (with just a watch and Garmin) so I had mapped out route that included a few hills (for fun!) and was pretty much exactly 9 miles.

I didn't really check my watch during the run, but was overjoyed to wind up back at my front door in 1:14:11 (8:15 pace!) That's my marathon goal pace, and it felt really good. I knew I was pushing a little, but never felt like I was running a pace I couldn't maintain for a few hours.

So here's how the week ended up:

Tuesday - 4 miles

Thursday - 4 miles

Saturday - 3 miles

Sunday - 9 miles (8:15 pace)

Total: 20 miles

I also did my 8 minutes of core work every day except one, when my abs were so sore I could only hold the plank for like 20 seconds.

This week I'm planning on some speed work at the track. Oooh boy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Work the Core

I have SEVERELY neglected my abs the past few months. Moving from hostel to hostel every few nights, frequently with no floor space in the room, made it pretty hard to get my core work in.

But, now we're back to reality. New apartment, new jobs, new marathon to train for, and a middle that's gotten a little soft. So here's what I'm going to do about it. This is inspired by the "Whittle Your Middle" challenge that Angela posted over at Oh She Glows.

Every day for the next 30 days, I'm going to do AT LEAST 8 minutes of core work. Today it looked a little something like this:

1 minute front plank (on elbows)

1 minute bent-leg crunches

1 minute Russian twists

1 minute bicycles

1 minute left side plank (on elbow)

1 minute right side plank (on elbow)

1 minute leg lifts

1 minute back extensions

Fun stuff! I'm a little scared of how sore I'm going to be tomorrow, though!

Monday, December 14, 2009

LA Marathon Training Week 1

Well, my sister in law is mighty persuasive... I'm now signed up for the LA Marathon in 14 weeks. YIKES.

My training was a little light this week, but I have two decent excuses - on Tuesday, we flew from Bangkok to Tokyo to Seattle to Portland, and then on Thursday we drove from Portland to San Luis Obispo and were in the car from 5:20 AM to 7:40 PM.

I ran 3 times...
Sunday - 5 miles (in Bangkok, temp = 86 F)

Tuesday (yes, after 18 hours of air travel) - 3.5 in 28:20 (8:05 pace) (in Portland, temp = 12 F)

Friday - 4 miles (in San Luis Obispo, temp = 56 F)

Tuesday's run left me coughing like CRAZY... my body was not prepared for that 74 degree drop in temperature!)

This Sunday I did an easy 7 miles in the rain. I'm definitely going to have to be careful about upping mileage slowly so I don't get injured. LA may not be a BQ race for me, but at least I have a few other chances this year (SF and Portland)!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I think I can...

I was playing around in Google Calendar tonight, casually dropping a tempo run onto one date, a long run onto another, really not considering anything crazy. But then I realized, it's not for 104 more days and that's plenty of time.

I'm going to see how the next few weeks go before I register. After all, we're moving in with the in-laws, looking for jobs, and looking for a place to live, and that may not be conducive to marathon training. But I have always wanted to do the LA Marathon! The great news is, if it looks like it's a no-go, the OC marathon is a few weeks later. Either way, I think a Spring marathon is definitely going to happen!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Fresh Start

The last few months have had a whole lot of eating, and not enough running. The food carts in Bangkok (and most of the rest of Southeast Asia) are completely irresistible to me, and while delicious, the fare isn't always the healthiest.

In just 5 days, we'll be on a plane home, and I'm already thinking about some goals for once I get there. I haven't stepped on a scale in at least 3 months, and I think I'm about where I was when we left Korea, but I have no idea (kind of scary, not going to lie).

I've also been looking into races for 2010, which I have dubbed "THE YEAR I BQ." Yikes, now I guess I'm going to have to actually do it. So far, I'm interested in the OC Marathon (May), the San Francisco Marathon (July), and the Portland Marathon (October). Whether my IT band will cooperate with these plans remains to be seen, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

It might be a little premature to think about 2010 goals and resolutions, but I think the earlier I can jump on the healthy-eating-consistent-training bandwagon, the better. So, I've got my log started, my running shoes back into frequent rotation, and I'm beyond psyched to be home!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Running in Bangkok

Hey I'm still alive! We left Korea on October 15th and have been traveling through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. I haven't been doing much running, but I'm back at it now and am just starting to put together my racing schedule for this blog won't be dead anymore!

I have a feeling Bangkok doesn't make it onto many peoples Favorite Running Cities list. It's hot, it's humid, the traffic is nuts, the sidewalks are uneven, and the air could be a whole lot cleaner. But Bangkok is my favorite city in the world, and actually can be a decent place to run, if you know where to go.

Lumpini Park!

At 5:45 AM this place is PACKED with runners, walkers, and people doing aerobics and tai chi and yoga.
It's a calm oasis in the middle of the city, and even though the running path is only 2.5 kilometers, you can put together a pretty decent workout. Plus I love that every 100 m is marked!

There's also some interesting wildlife... this guy is about 4 feet long!

I think my favorite thing about running in Lumpini Park is that it feels like a party. There's always loud music going for the aerobics classes, and there are tons of people socializing as well as working out.

I love the aerobics classes right by the main gate. I've never participated, but they look like tons of fun!

We fly home to the US in 6 days, and from now until then I plan on running in the park every morning!

How to get there: Take the MRT to Si Lom or the BTS to Sala Daeng. The park is bordered by Rama IV Road and Ratchadamri Road

Saturday, October 3, 2009


There are so many things that can make a run unpleasant. Shorts that ride up, shoes that are too tight, excessive humidity and/or air pollution, deep puddles, heavy traffic, too many stoplights, dogs off-leash, goose poop...

I think we've all experienced many of these things at least a few times over the course of our running lives. But I now have a new item for the list, and this one ranks near the top of the unpleasant scale.

Ginkgo berries.

In biology, when we learned about dioecious plants (species with separate male and female plants), the Ginkgo tree was a popular example. The textbook always said basically "you'll never see a female ginkgo tree planted in the city, because the fruit have an unpleasant odor." What it should have said was "you'll move to Seoul, which is absolutely packed with female Ginkgo trees, and they'll make your runs exceedingly unpleasant for a span of at least 3 weeks" or something to that effect.

It's ginkgo fruit season, kids! That means that not only are the sidewalks littered with little orange fruits that get smashed up and ground into the bottom of your shoes, but the stench they release could take paint off walls, burn the hair in your nostrils, and wake the dead. I'm exaggerating only a little. Any direction I run from my house, I'm bound to run into ginkgo fruit world and the smell that comes with it. It's kind of like vomit mixed with vinegar, and a little hint of rotting flesh thrown in, just to maximize unpleasantness.

The good news is, the season will be ending soon, just as the weather cools off and the humidity goes away. I just hope that the unpleasant things we have to run through make us stronger in the end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Necktie Marathon 5K

My sister and I did not get along AT ALL for a significant portion of my childhood. With a three year age gap and horribly clashing personalities, it seemed like one of us was constantly pulling the others hair or arguing over who our parents liked better.

Fortunately those years are far behind us and I now love spending time with my sister, but it doesn't happen often enough since we've lived a minimum of 800 miles apart for the last 7 years.

When I found out that there would be a FREE 5K during the time my sister was in town, I immediately signed us up. The only requirement was that all participants run in a necktie and dress shirt. Emily has run a full marathon, and several halves and 10Ks, but never a 5K, so no matter what, she would PR in this race!

The race had a group competition as well, so there were giant teams of people...some with really great costumes that put our coordinated pink ties to shame.

The race started REALLY about 10:30 AM, which meant it was pretty warm and humid. While I was at work on Friday, Emily went hiking with my parents, so her calves were really tight). With those two things counting against her, she still ran a good race and we finished in 24:22 (about 7:50/mile)!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Running with my sister!

My family arrived in Korea last night and it's SO awesome to have people to run with! They also brought me some brand new Mizuno Wave Inspires (my favorite shoe EVER) because I haven't seen them here. I was long overdue for new running shoes!

We headed out for a nice little 5 mile run along the river, which my dad so kindly documented with my camera!

It's a lot more hot and humid here than they were used to, so we stopped for a nice little stretch break in the shade.

After the run, we got Coffee Jelly Frappuccinos at Starbucks. Maybe not the healthiest post-run snack, but they are SO good.

I can't wait to take my dad and sister up Namsan mountain, and do some more runs along the river. They're here for the next 10 days, so we'll be running together a lot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I like to think that I'm a pretty quick learner...present me with some information and I can grasp it and regurgitate it with impressive accuracy (thank you, college). For some reason, though, that skill does not translate into my running life. At. All.

I know the "don't increase weekly mileage by more than 10% rule" and have been injured on multiple occasions (stress fractures, IT band crap, etc.) because I just didn't feel like following it. Learn from mistakes? Not really.

The same thing applies with stretching. During high school track and cross country, we stretched before and after every workout, and I loved it. I thought stretching was so ingrained in my routine that I would never stop doing it. But I didn't, and today I realized that I can't even come close to touching my toes. How did that happen?!?

I did the same 5 mile run as yesterday, which is just a hilly out-and-back down to a bridge along the river. My legs were incredibly tight and I was just not having any fun at all, so I stopped under the bridge (with about 239 of my closest Korean cycling friends) to stretch. This may come as no surprise to those of you that stretch on a regular basis, but after I stretched my calves, quads, and hamstrings, the run got a whole lot more fun. I think this stretching thing may stick after all!

Do you do anything to work on flexibility? What and how often?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Treat yourself right

The last two Sundays. I've gotten incredibly spoiled. There are spas in Korea (called jjimjibangs), and Mike and I finally summoned the courage to visit one last weekend. For $10 you can spend as much time as you want in rooms of various temperatures (as hot as 190 F and as cold as 50 F) and all sorts of different pools and hot tubs.

Yesterday we spent about 3 hours going back and forth between the hottest room (which we could only stand for about 5 minutes) and the 120 degree Himalayan salt room (with some breaks laying out by the pool), then 2 hours on our respective single-gender floors, dipping into all the various pools and baths (the sea water healing spa and ginseng bubble bath were both pretty awesome!)

It felt SO nice to just sweat (we drank the appropriately named electolyte replacement beverage "Pocari Sweat" while we did so - I was REALLY paranoid about getting too dehydrated or low on salt) and relax. As someone who constantly fills my days with to-do lists and plans, it was a really nice change from the normal. I just need to figure out a way to channel that kind of relaxation mid-week when I'm starting to go absolutely crazy at work!

I slept incredibly well last night, for a full 9 hours, and woke up for a relaxing 5 mile run along the river. It was a little bit foggy, and the sun was barely peeking through which gave the light a surreal golden shimmer. It was such a perfect Monday morning run! Now I feel like I'm fully re-charged and ready for the week ahead.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Push-Up Challenged

I am a push-up failure. I've started the 100 pushup program at least 3 different times, and I always lose steam and give up after the third week.

Since I let my gym membership slide (it was a pretty crappy gym, whatever), I realized I have to do something to prevent complete atrophy in my arms and pushups seem like a good option. So yesterday I did 3 sets of 15, but apparently I did them wrong.

Every other time I've jumped on the puhsup bandwagon, I wake up the next day with sore arms and chest, but this time, my sides are sore. I didn't realize there were muscles there (above my obliques...kind of up under my arms), but they are sore, while my chest and arms are not. Really strange.

I've sort of fallen into a run of running every other day, but I figure as long as I'm still doing at least 25 miles a week, I'm okay. Not having anything to train for is kind of throwing off my whole life, but I'll deal with it.

I had a fabulous 8 mile run along the river this morning. Stress has been building like crazy at work and it was a good way to just get out there and focus on something else. Running is such great free therapy!

Off to enlighten some young Korean minds... Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Junk In, Junk Out

My 6 mile run this morning felt a little crappy, and I can pinpoint exactly why.

Cookie dough.

Yesterday was our 2nd anniversary, and because we're trying not to accumulate a bunch of stuff here, I made my husband some cookies. Chewy peanut butter-filled chocolate cookies, actually. I hadn't made cookies for over 3 months before yesterday, and completely forgot how powerless I am around cookie dough. It's pretty pathetic. But a whole lot of it ended up in my mouth, and then of course I had to sample the baked cookies to make sure they were okay, and then after we went out to dinner we came home and had...cookies.

I have found numerous times that once I break the dessert-every-night habit, I don't really miss it, and my runs usually start to feel a whole lot better. But once I start eating dessert, I start craving it, and it becomes a nightly ritual that I just start to be accustomed to rather than actually enjoy.

So this morning was a beautifully clear reminder that when you eat a lot of junk, you kind of feel like junk. It's not fun. So tonight for dessert? Watermelon. I think tomorrow's run will be much more pleasant!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I recently found out that registration for the half marathon I was planning on at the end of September had already closed, before I had a chance to sign up. It's really frustrating, but it seems like for most of the races here, you have to register a few weeks in advance. Add that to the fact that the websites are entirely in Korean (which I don't know), and you can see how it can be a little bit of a challenge to put together a race calendar.

With no races to train for, I started feeling a little directionless at the end of last week. I don't really need to build up my long runs on the weekends, and I don't really need to be doing speedwork, either. It's kind of nice having nothing to worry about training for, but being a Type-A person who needs plans and structure, it gets old pretty quickly.

Sorry to completely hippie-out for a moment, but I think that this is a really accurate metaphor for what's going on in my life right now. We're living in Korea, but beyond that, the future is really uncertain. But rather than stressing out and feeling like I have no idea what I'm doing with myself, I want to enjoy this experience day-by-day, rather than getting all worked up and stressed out over my lack of plans.

That's just what I'm doing with my running, too. Sunday morning, I woke up and headed down to the river with no watch and no expectations. I ended up running 7.5 miles at a pretty hard pace, and I felt freer than I have in awhile. This morning, I ran 3 miles in the rain, and it felt just right.

Are you the kind of person that always needs a plan? Or do you like to just let sit back and see where life takes you?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where I Run

I've been meaning to take my camera along on more of my runs, but today was the first day I actually made it happen. Here's a little tour of the run up Namsan Mountain!

At the top of the hill, next to they Hyatt, there's a boutique that always has weird window displays. And there's my reflection, taking a picture!

The National Theater of Korea is at the entrance to the park.

A little glimpse of the city on the way up (the air wasn't as hazy as it looks)

Time for a quick stop at the photo island!

I think my house is somewhere down there...

The tower is my final's closer than it looks!

The final ascent is REALLY steep (but only about 200 meters). A lot of the old ladies walk up this part backwards!

And at the get to see the other side of Seoul.

It's was a beautiful 5.75 mile out-and-back, all-uphill then all-downhill run!

Monday, August 31, 2009

From my watch...

Dear Cate,

We've had a pretty good relationship over the last year and a half. Yes, there was some awkwardeness when you realized you'd bought a men's watch and your dad had the same one, but fortunately you got over those insecurities pretty quickly. I was there when you ran your 3rd marathon, and when you ran your first race in Korea, and I hope I stick around long enough to see you qualify for Boston!

After your great race on Saturday, I thought you would be pretty confident in your running abilities. I mean, you did place 9th and PR by over a minute and a half. I was happy to be there for you, timing each of those 10 Kilometers.

But, I think it's time you let me go for a few days. This morning, you were far too anxious about your little 4 mile tempo run. You were so stressed out about being too slow, checking your watch every .5 KM, that it seemed like you weren't really enjoying the running like you should have been...after all, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning (plus you were right on pace)! I don't want you to be that stressed on a simple little training run, so I want you to leave me at home for the next couple days.

That means tomorrow, you'll be free to run 3 miles at whatever pace feels right. On Thursday, when you run up Namsan mountain, you won't have to worry about going too slowly up the hill because you won't know how long it's taking. And this weekend, you'll enjoy your 10 mile run a lot more without me than you would if you were constantly checking the time.

I'm just doing what I think is best for you, so maybe on your tempo run next week, you won't stress so much, and you'll just enjoy the running.

With love,
Your Watch

Friday, August 28, 2009

Best 10K Ever!

First things first... I PRd by over a minute and a half in my race this morning!!

The 7th Annual International Peace Marathon Festival started and finished at the stadium where the 1988 Olympcs took place in Seoul.

Before the start of the race, everyone massaged the shoulders of the person in front of them. I was skeptical at first, but literally EVERYONE was doing it so I didn't want to be that weird foreigner that didn't.

The full and half marathons went off before my race started. They released balloons (bummer for the sea turtles) and set off fireworks for the start of each race.

I had a goal of around 46:30, so I wanted to run each Kilometer in about 4:36. I went through the first 2 KM exactly on pace, but was feeling good so I cautiously sped up a little. The course went out along the river on a bike path, but it wasn't closed to the public so we had to dodge a few bicycles here and there.

I was really pushing hard, but not paying too much attention to my splits. I kind of wanted to slow down, but I kept reminding myself how awful I'd feel if I finished and knew I could have gone faster. So, I held onto my pace and tried not to think too much about how much time I had left.

When I checked my watch at the 8 KM mark, it said 36:12 and I knew that even if I slowed waaay down for the last 2 KM I would still PR. I just tried to hold on and get to the finish as fast as I could. The time on the clock said 45:17, but it was chip-timed, and they're so high-tech that they texted me my official time about an hour after the race: 45:09.

This may be the least flattering picture ever taken of me, but I don't care! I'm ecstatic that I was able to maintain 7:16/mile pace for 6.2 miles!

After the race, I snagged my finishers medal and we headed back home on the subway.

I'm thrilled with how the race went, and I'm really looking forward to the half marathon I have coming up at the end of September. It's great to see training pay off!


All day long, I've been jittery and nervous for my 10K tomorrow. Normally, a race like this wouldn't make me nervous at all, but I've actually been training enough that a PR is a definite possibility, and I can't stop thinking about the run!

I ran to the gym this morning and lifted for chest and triceps:

3 sets of 12 -

Decline Chest Presses

Tricep Extensions

Pec Flys (with dumbbells)

Bench dips

... and some abs.

My legs felt really fresh, and I'm going to eat my pasta tonight (because it's tradition...I know I don't need to carb-load!) and go to bed early, because I have to be up at 6 to take a taxi to the stadium where the race starts!

It's my first real race in Korea (I ran a 5K on the base, but it was really informal), so I can't wait to see what it's like!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Long Time, No See

I feel like it's been a long time since I was at the gym. I was so good about going 3x a week for awhile, but lately I've been running more and lifting less.

Still, it was good to get back there today for a little strength training. In addition to my run to and from the gym (a mile each way), I did:

50 Swiss ball crunches

3 sets of 12 cable curls with the rope attachment

3 sets of 12 bent rows

50 reverse crunches

3 sets of 12 dumbbell curls

3 sets of 12 lat pulldowns

50 Russian Twists (w/ 5 Kg plate)

3 sets of 12 back extensions

I'm looking forward to running again tomorrow!

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Not Pain, It's Just Discomfort

My high school cross country coach always used to tell us that, as if it would make running a fast 5K more pleasant. I think a big part of improving race times is learning to push through the pain of running fast. But how do you do that?

Obviously, races are a great way to get used to running faster. But it's not realistic to run a race every single week. So what do you do? Tempo runs. There's not a whole lot I dread more than tempo runs, because they're definitely not easy. But I know they're an important part of getting used to running with discomfort.

I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail about tempo runs, because there are many people with PhDs in Exercise Physiology who've written far more on the subject than most people would ever care to read. But basically the whole point is to stay at your lactate threshold pace (which is generally where discomfort begins) for a prolonged period of time (generally 20 minutes or more).

There are various ways to find your lactate threshold pace. One method I found through a quick google search says to add about 30 seconds to your 5K race pace. Since I did my last 5K in 22:25 (7:12 pace), my pace for a tempo run should be about 7:42 pace. If you have a heart rate monitor (which I don't), you can also shoot for about 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.

On my six mile run this morning, I did 3 miles of tempo running (which I may have done too fast, but it felt like the right pace - 7:30) plus 1 km at 4:15. I am hoping to run my 10K this weekend at 7:30 pace (for a finish time of 46:36), so we'll see how that goes. For the rest of the week, I'll be doing pretty easy runs in preparation for Saturday morning. I'm really hoping I'll be able to deal with the discomfort so that I can meet my goal!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Take it easy

Sunday morning, I wasn't in the mood to run. I had a little headache, and with all the stress I've been dealing with lately, just relaxing on the couch sounded a whole lot more pleasant.

But I knew exercise would help me feel better, so I laced up my shoes and headed out. I didn't have a plan on where I wanted to go or how far, but I just figured I'd run until I felt like turning around.

I kept my pace really relaxed so I could just let my mind wander. It sort of worked. I had some tightness in my chest and knots in my stomach due to some anxiety about who knows what... but I just kept my pace nice and easy and took in the scenery.

I ended up running 9.3 miles, and my legs felt great. My head didn't clear exactly as it hoped, and my pace was definitely slower than usual, but sometimes just a nice easy long run, with no goals or expectations, can be incredibly soothing, even if it doesn't completely clear my head or take away my stress.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This week has been STRESSFUL. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I've just been feeling incredibly anxious and not like myself. I didn't even work out Wednesday or Thursday (for a variety of reasons -- the weather was disgustingly hot and humid, I didn't sleep well at all, and I just wasn't feeling it).

Today, though, I woke up feeling great, the air was nice and cool, and I had a fabulous 5.5 mile run along the river. It was one of those runs where I just let my mind wanter, my body felt like a well-oiled machine, and I came home feeling like all was right in the world once again.

After a string of bad days and less than perfect workouts, today reminded me why I run.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feeling Strong

Lately it's been a real struggle to motivate myself in the gym, but today I felt great. I hadn't lifted for shoulders in awhile, so it felt good to be using those muscles again.

50 Swiss ball crunches

3 sets dumbbell shoulder presses

50 Russian twists w/ 5 kg plate

3 sets military press

50 reverse crunches
3 sets dumbbell front raises

30 back extensions w/ twist

My legs felt pretty good running to and from the gym, which was awesome because they were a little tired after yesterday's run. I'm hoping they're nice and fresh for tomorrow's intervals!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just what I needed

Today's run was tough. I woke up at 6 AM and headed out along the river for a beautiful 8.5 miles, but mentally I just couldn't get in the groove. It's hard not having any races to train for, and while I usually love running just to run, lately I've been craving a little competition.

Something out there in the universe must have been paying attention, because in my inbox this morning was information on a 5k/10K/half/Marathon coming up in 2 weeks! I debated whether I should do the half or the 10K, but since I haven't been doing that many long runs and I've been doing a bit of speedwork, I ultimately decided to do the 10K. I ran my last one over a year ago, in 47:47, but my IT band was killing me the last mile. It hasn't been a problem lately, so I'm really hoping to beat that time, but I don't know if I'm in good enough shape to PR.

I think this will really help get me pumped up for my speed workout on Wednesday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lazy Weekend

I had the laziest Saturday EVER...and for no good reason. I basically didn't leave the house all day. We were out until 4:30 in the morning with friends so I was not feeling particularly great most of the day.

This morning I woke up at 7 and it was already insanely hot and muggy. I had a little bit of a headache and my stomach didn't feel great, but I told myself I had to try and run at least 5 minutes, and if I was still feeling crappy I could turn around and come home.

Well, I ended up running 3 miles, but it was not pleasant (my legs just felt really heavy and dead). I came home and did some core exercises and I'm just going to relax the rest of the day. I'm planning on 8 miles tomorrow morning and I hope it goes a whole lot better!

Last week totals:

Miles run - 22

Strength training - 2 times

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Try this at home!

Here's how you can simulate my run this morning: Put a treadmill in a steam room, put it on the highest incline, and go to town.

This was definitely my least pleasant run (weather-wise) since we were in Bangkok. I took a new trail and ended up running for a VERY hilly 60 minutes rather than the 45 I planned. By the end my legs were screaming at me and I was absolutely drenched with sweat (sorry if you're eating while reading this!) but the cold shower afterwards was a little piece of heaven!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I pressed the snooze button quite a few times this morning before I managed to pry myself out of bed. Now that my knee is doing better and I can run more, I'm having a really hard time motivating myself to go lift.

But, I finally dragged myself to the gym and lifted for chest, triceps, and my IT band.

3 sets each:

Overhead cable tricep extensions

Dumbell chest press

Cable tricep extensions

Dumbell chest flys

Plus step-downs, back extensions, hip adductors and abductors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Running in the rain is one of my absolute favorite things to do. When you grow up in Oregon, it's pretty hard to avoid.

I had planned on 3 1-km repeats this morning, but ended up only doing 2 because my shoes and socks filled with water, got really heavy, and my legs felt a little dead. The good news is I did them in 4:07 and 4:13, which is faster than last week!

After the run, I indulged in a big bowl of Coco Puffs (WHY does my husband buy stuff like that? When it's in the house, I can't resist!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh hello, legs

I thought that 7.5 mile run yesterday was easy and I'd feel fine today, but my legs are definitely a little sore. I seriously used to run 10 miles like it was nothing? Ugh...oh well, I'm getting back there.

I loosened out the legs a little on the run to the gym, which was nice. I lifted for back and biceps today, which meant:

3 sets each

Bicep curls with dumbells

Standing rows

Cable curls (with rope attachment)

Lat pulldowns

and some reverse crunches, crunches on the ball, and back extensions to keep the core in shape.

I'm planning on 5.5 miles with some 1 km intervals tomorrow, but if the legs are still this sore, I'll just do the whole distance at an easy pace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No case of the Mondays here!

I really hate feeling like a slacker. I didn't end up running either day this weekend because I was still feeling a little achy and exhausted, so I thought it would probably be a good idea to take it easy.

One of my big problems, though, is letting myself take rest when I need it. I'm now really glad I let myself recover from whatever bug I had last week, but I couldn't help but feel like I was just being really lazy as I lay on the couch and watched episode after episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

But because of that rest, I popped out of bed at 7 am sharp this morning and had a
WONDERFUL 7.5 mile run along the river. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze blowing, the air was clear, and I felt fantastic - which I probably wouldn't have if I'd forced myself to run over the weekend. It was the perfect way to start my week!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 7, 2009


I woke up yesterday feeling a little sluggish, but ran to the gym anyway. Within 15 minutes, I could tell there was no point in continuing to work out. I was really weak and achy, so I ran home and spent the entire day in bed. It's incredibly frustrating to be sick again, but all the kids at school have been sick lately, so I guess it's not surprising.

I'm feeling a little better today, so I'm hoping to run up Namsan mountain this afternon (4.5 miles)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Picking it Up

I planned on a 5 mile run with a few two-minute pickups sprinkled through the whole thing, but then I ended up running along the river, which has signs at each Kilometer, and decided to do 2 1-KM intervals as part of my run. I did the first one in 4:25 and the second in 4:22, with about a minute recovery in between.

Those aren't too fast (around 22-minute 5K pace), but I felt good, and next week I think I'll push for 4:15s and do 3 or 4 of them.

After the run I did 6 minutes of planks - 2 sets of 1-minute front, 1-minute right side, 1-minute left side.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weights on Wednesday

It was WARM this morning!

I ran to the gym and did:

3 sets concentration curls

3 sets lat pulldowns

50 situps

3 sets EZ-bar curls

3 sets bent rows

50 Swiss ball crunches

and some IT band exercises (hip adduction and abduction, and step-downs)

Then I ran home and had a frozen banana and a big cup of soy milk.

I was planning on spending a little more time at the gym, but my stomach is still feeling a little upset.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Should have brought my camera!

It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL along the river this morning! I don't know exactly how far I ran, but it was somewhere between 6.5 and 7 miles and it took me an hour. I never thought I would need a Garmin, but now I really want one! It's hard to use when you don't know the names of any of the roads around you (and everything on the map is in Korean)

I am feeling a lot better than I was the past two days, so I'm excited to get back to the gym tomorrow morning!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not Quite the Weekend I planned...

Saturday's rest day was great, but I woke up Sunday and knew I would NOT be running my planned 6 or 7 miles. I spent the ENTIRE day on the couch feeling horrible and I don't feel much better today.

I'm going to tentatively plan on running a few miles tomorrow morning and then getting back to the weights on Wedensday if I feel better.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rest Day

I wasn't feeling terrific last night and I've pushed myself decently hard this week, so I'm taking today as a rest day.

I will be up bright and early to run 6 or 7 miles on Sunday morning... my longest run in Korea so far (if all goes well).

Have a great weekend!

Weekly totals:

Miles run: 19

Days of strength training: 3

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I am so happy it's almost the weekend...and it's a 4-day weekend for me!

I ran to the gym this morning, and lifted for shoulders. I also did some abs and my IT band exercises, so here's what my workout looked like:

3 sets military press

3 sets hip abduction

50 sit ups

3 sets dumbell front raises

50 swiss ball crunches

3 sets lateral raises

3 sets hip adduction

50 Russian twists

3 sets dumbell shoulder press

3 sets back extensions

50 leg lifts

...and then a mile run home.

My legs were definitely a little tired from the hills yesterday!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Conquering the Mountain

I live right at the base of Namsan Mountain, which is basically right in the center of Seoul. The mountain has an observation tower on top which is a pretty big tourist attraction, but I still haven't gone up it. The views from the mountain are pretty spectacular, and it's a great place to run.

It's not easy though!

It's about 3 miles from my house to the top of the mountain (and I take a shorter way home). I don't know the elevation gain, but it's a lot! My calves were really sore going up, but after stopping to stretch, they were fine.

The views at the top weren't as great as I was hoping... too much air pollution (sorry, lungs). But it was still a really good, tough 49 minute run!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wednesday strength training

This morning was so beautiful I was a little bummed to be going inside to work out, but I couldn't miss out on some good strength training!

I did 3 sets each of

Bench dips

Decline chest presses

Chest flys with dumbells

Overhead tricep cable extensions some abs and my IT band exercises

The new work schedule (12-8 instead of 3-10) means I'm at the gym before the crowds so I don't have to wait around for machines, which is AWESOME.

I soaked up the sun on my run to and from the gym, and then ate most of this half of a watermelon and a giant cup of soymilk with some instant espresso stirred in.

Now I'm just cooking up a big pot of brown rice and doing some laundry before I have to go to work. This week is FLYING by!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Love those Hill Repeats

I did not feel especially energized for my hill repeats this morning. I was a little queasy and my legs felt like my muscles had been replaced with steel cables, but I made it through my 30 minute run and 6 1-minute hill repeats, and I'm feeling a lot better now that I have it out of the way.

My IT band is still cooperating so I'm trying REALLY hard not to overdo it and reinjure myself (AGAIN...)

Happy running!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monday Mornings

Monday mornings can go one of two ways. Either I feel completely sluggish and miserable about the weekend being over, or my eyes pop open and I'm ready for the day. Fortunately, this morning was the latter. I was out the door within 5 minutes of the alarm going off, and I had a nice easy run to the gym.

I hadn't lifted since last Tuesday because I was feeling a little under the weather, so I felt really fresh and strong this morning. I did my usual IT-band exercises (from physical therapy) plus lifted for back and biceps.

If you ever feel like you're running out of ideas for ways to work various muscles, check out the exercise guide at (Obviously, if you're unsure how to do something, have a trainer help you because you don't want to injure yourself!)

Now I'm just working my way through this bottle of water

and getting ready to go to work.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A New Blog...

I already have a cooking blog, but one just wasn't enough, so I decided to create a blog about running, fitness, and nutrition too!

I'll be posting about running and living a healthy life, so put on your running shoes and follow Cate on the Run!