Putting the Phone Down

Hi. Over the last week or so I have been making a concerted effort to put my phone down. I wanted to not mindlessly scroll Instagram and have time fly past me unnoticed. Staring at my phone, while providing the entertainment I craved, ultimately left me feeling cranky, useless, and… bored.

I know none of this is groundbreaking and it was something I had thought about and not acted on previously. Two things happened this go around that convinced me to stop with the screens so much.

First, I came across this TED Talk. Manoush Zomorodi talks about how being bored, or letting your mind enter a relaxed and relatively unengaged state, is actually good for you and helps your brain function better. In fact, it may make you more creative, let your thoughts flow more smoothly, and helps your neurons.

It made me think of a podcast episode about the runner’s high I had listened to recently where they talked about the flow state. It feels so nice when your brain isn’t being forced to process media or work and it can just roam freely however it pleases. I told Patrick recently after a stressful day while sitting in the car, driving to a park without any music and only minor conversation made my brain feel like it was taking a bath. It was so nice.

I highly recommend the TED Talk and the podcast episode (plot twist: it’s not really about running and it’s pretty short). These things got me thinking about how often I let myself just exist without consuming some sort of information and I realized it rarely happened. For example, if I was headed upstairs I would grab my phone to bring with me. I would then proceed to stare at my phone as I walked up the stairs. WHY? So unnecessary. I needed to cut back.

The second revelation for me was a thought process I had while on a run (classic). I asked myself the question: “what is holding you back?” I didn’t have any goal in mind, but the question was very general. What is holding me back from anything I want to do or accomplish or try? As I thought about it and the things I want to do with my time and life, I realized that it was me. (You know that I know there are structural and societal pieces at play for the large-scale goals I have, but that’s not what I’m talking about here).

An example I gave Patrick was that I want to do more and longer yoga before bed. I do yoga right before bed (usually) and sometimes, when I didn’t get to it until later, I do really short classes so that I can get into bed before it gets too late. Why am I waiting so long to get ready for bed and do yoga? Because I am staring at my phone for long periods of time during the day.

I have a book that I started and really want to read but barely touch because I told myself I didn’t have time. Well, if I picked up that book instead of my phone then maybe I could!

By putting my phone down I could also spend more time with Patrick, enjoy my coffee more, take morning walks, clean around the house more often, write this blog post, find inspiration for fun adventures, get school work taken care of sooner rather than later, hang out with my dogs, or just sit quietly in peace. It’s pretty nice.

I do love seeing what people are up to online, so I haven’t sworn it off completely but I don’t want it to be my go-to time filler anymore. That’s lame.

July is almost over and I still haven’t made peach cobbler, so I think I may use some of my newfound time to do that soon.

Love,

Juliana

Running Diary: A Stressful Week

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am in recovery. I spent all of last week and yesterday high key stressing about a work event and my energy levels showed it. I felt so tired due to the stress and the heat and humidity. Not to mention, Patrick and I went camping Friday night! Shenandoah River State Park is truly beautiful, but I forgot how challenging (read: miserable) it can be to sleep in the heat. That night was not the most restful, but things are looking up.

Shenandoah River

My event happened yesterday and now I can breathe easy. I feel like I ran a marathon today and am happy to take things at a significantly slower pace.

I’ve started journaling a bit recently, which I’ve been really enjoying too! I am trying to stay off my phone more, so I am finally occupying my time on something other than a screen. It’s only been a few days of this effort but I am enjoying it.

Let’s get into the running.

Monday – July 12

3 mile Run / 10 min Core Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 10 min Stretch

Patrick and I did this run during the lunch hour and boyyyyy it was humid. I drink a lot of water every day and try to have at least one glass of electrolytes, but I feel like I still can’t make up for how much I sweat in these VA summers. It’s so different than Texas. In Austin it was purely hot, so hot. Like, when Erica and I trained for the 2019 Dallas Marathon during the summer that year, we ran when the heat index was 106. You got really sweaty, you went slower, and you drank a lot of water and you were okay.

Here in Virginia (or at least by DC) the humidity makes you feel like you are being cooked. And you look like you spent hours in a sauna. Yuck.

Tuesday – July 13

30 min Full Body Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 10 min Stretch

Let me tell you right now. That full body strength wrecked my quads. There were a lot of weighted lunges, which I hadn’t done in a hot minute, and my quads new it. My legs were feeling pretty tight last week too, so the stretching was always really pleasant.

Wednesday – July 14

2 mile Run / 10 min Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 8 min Yoga

The funny thing about doing any run less than 3 miles is that it feels like it should take 5 minutes. Oh a 2 mile run? We’ll be back before the oven is done preheating to 350 degrees! Not quite.

Thursday – July 15

6 mile Run / 10 min Foam Roll / 16 min Stretch

MY QUADS, Y’ALL. This run was rough. It was very hot, my quads felt destroyed, and Patrick cramping my style a little. He likes to trash talk the routes I make even though I am the better route plotter, but that is neither here nor there. I survived thanks to the sweet sounds of Where Have You Been by Rihanna (more specifically, remixes of that song) and was very thankful for the air conditioning.

This run was also a classic example of ‘motion is lotion’ because it worked out the rest of the soreness in my quads. Side note: I wish it was not weird for adults to play in splash pads, because we ran by one full of kids and all I wanted to do was lay right in the middle of it.

Friday – July 16

Literally nothing

No stretching, no foam rolling, nothing. It was maybe one of my busiest days of work (at my current job, at least) and Patrick and I left to go camping! We drove to Shenandoah River State Park with no music and I told Patrick it felt so nice like my brain was sitting in a cozy bath.

There were a few hiccups (like someone forgot to pack cooking oil) but it was really nice to just sit outside, sweat a little, and listen to birds, bugs, animals, and people around us.

Saturday – July 17

4 mile Run / 30 min Yoga / 5 min Glute Strength / 10 min Foam Roll

So the plan had been that Patrick and I would get this run done at the park as a trail run. After a terrible night of sleep and no real breakfast, we decided to get the miles in at home. We stopped at the Red Truck Rural Bakery in Marshall on the way back, which was delightful! We went together in 2017, but when we went last summer the inside was still closed and they had a limited menu.

I was so exhausted and dehydrated when we got home that I had to take a nap before we could get any running done. Shockingly the run went pretty well and the 30 minute yoga felt amazing.

Sunday – July 18

12 mile Long Run / 10 min Post Run Stretch + 20 min Yoga

Long run day! We had considered doing it at Rock Creek Park, but felt a little uninspired. We hit the streets (or really, the hike and bike paths) instead.

It was unusually cool, maybe low to mid 70s, for this run. We still sweat plenty, but most of the trails were in the shade. I officially retired my road shoes after this run and my new pair arrived today (just in time for today’s run)!

I do enjoy the summer but, and I can’t believe I am saying this, I think I prefer fall/winter training. You can prepare more for cold runs and running efforts feel more consistent.

Now we have a cutback week and I am excited about it! I am hoping to sleep, eat, and drink plenty.

Cheers!

Juliana

Running Diary: Lots of Rain

Hello again! I cannot believe it is already July and summer is in full swing. We are going camping this month and I am stoked. It’s also a pretty busy month at work, so it’s been a wild time.

Monday – July 5

20 min Arms & Shoulders Strength + 10 min Core Strength / 10 min Yoga

After the weekend’s adventures, I was tired! It felt nice to move my upper body and get some stretching in. I want to incorporate more lower body strength, but I get worried I’ll overdo it and end up with some serious soreness.

Tuesday – July 6

4 mile Run / 11 min Glutes Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 9 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 11 min Stretch

This one felt good! Patrick ran with me and it felt like time flew by, which doesn’t always happen on runs. It was SO HOT. I’ve had to take many breaks on some of my recent runs since it has been so hot and humid.

Wednesday – July 7

16 min Yoga / 10 min Foam Roll

A day at the office means a day of rest. Foam rolling has felt so wonderful lately. I’d really like to get a full length foam roller (I have the short ones), but they’re so oddly expensive. Regardless, I could happily roll out my calves for hours.

Thursday – July 8

6 mile Hill Run / 20 min Strength / 16 min Yoga

We sought out hills on this day and it felt great. I was genuinely surprised that I felt so good!

Friday – July 9

37 min Strength (Arms & Shoulders, Core, Hips) / 20 min Foam Rolling / 7 min Yoga

We were supposed to run another 6 miles this day, but the sky opened up. Here in VA we get a solid storm, complete with thunder and lightning, and then the sun comes back out an hour later. I didn’t mind rearranging this mileage though. I was a little fatigued from Thursday’s run anyway and we were headed to the trails on Saturday for a long run!

We also went to an actual movie theater! We saw Black Widow (which was excellent) and for a moment it almost felt like COVID-19 had never existed. Ahhhh.

Saturday – July 10

10 mile Trail Run / 23 min Yoga

Woohoo! First double digit run back since my 12 hour! It felt so so good. We went to Prince William Forest Park and the weather is not too hot. It was definitely humid and I was dripping sweat a mile in, but it was worth it. We’ve done this loop many times (one time we did it clockwise and counterclockwise for a 20 miler), so I was familiar with the terrain.

Some chunks of it have dramatic ups and downs, but the real kicker is the very last mile. It is straight up from the river to the parking lot and, while not wildly steep, feels like it never ends. I had never run all the way up the hill until this day!!! I was slow and steady, but ran all the way to the top. I was so excited. It feels like the hill training is already paying off.

Sunday – July 11

6 mile Run / 10 min Arms & Shoulders Strength / 28 min Runner’s Yoga

That skipped Friday mileage came back to haunt us. This run shouldn’t have been too hard. We went to the C&O Towpath (aka flat) and I was planning on taking it easy anyway. THE HUMIDITY. My god. It really was like swimming. It was also in the 90s and the trail isn’t always shaded, so my body literally could not go any faster than it was going or I would’ve died. I even carried my pack and drank almost all 1.5 liters. Ridiculous.

Afterwards we had lunch, lounged in Erica’s pool for a bit, watched Italy win, and went home. The yoga, which I linked above, is my favorite video from Yoga with Adriene’s channel. It stretches everything I need and always makes me feel better.

Work is really busy right now and I am a tad overwhelmed, but it should hopefully be over by next week! I’m hoping the humidity dies down a bit too. I do not remember it being so gross last summer.

Hope you’re all hydrated and having a great week!

Running Diary: Feat. A Bike Ride

Alright, so I said I was going to try to document my running and life adventures more and here we are! At my last job (yuck), the calendar I used was structured as Monday-Sunday and now I frame my running weeks the same way. In fact, I have my phone calendar that way too and get genuinely confused when I see Sunday-Saturday planners.

Monday – June 28

5 mile Run / 10 min Core Strength / 19 min Yoga

The run was hot hot hot. I was so sweaty and had to stop in the shade a few times to relax. I couldn’t bring myself to carry my pack, so I used a Camelbak handheld and my Ultimate Direction waist pack. Immediately followed that up with a 10 minute Core Strength Peloton with Sabrina and Mathew and then did some yoga before bed.

I fell asleep so quickly that night. I think the heat took more out of me than I realized.

Tuesday – June 29

20 min Bodyweight Strength / 5 mile Run / 20 min Foam Roll / 10 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 7 min Yoga

I considered not including all of those activities just now, but I think it’s important to recognize that it’s never just running.

This run consisted of ~1 mile warm up, a 30 min Peloton Pop Run, with the remainder of the mileage as a cool down. It was less hot this day, plus Erica and I stayed in the shade. Discovered some sweet hills on this route by accident too!

Wednesday – June 30

10 min Yoga

This was a rest day! I went into the office for the day and had plans in the evening, so no working out. I almost didn’t stretch either, but knew I’d feel better if I did something. Plus, yoga has become such a part of my evening routine that it mentally prepares me for bed. My body winds down a lot in the process.

Thursday – July 1

21 min Yoga / 20 min Foam Roll / 20 min Core Strength / 31 min Peloton Ride

What was supposed to be a running day turned into cross-training when we had some pretty intense rain. Of course, in typical VA fashion, the rain stopped after an hour but we had already decided to move the run. I woke up this day feeling so unusually stiff (probably from so much sitting the day before) and did 5 minutes of yoga in the morning.

Friday – July 2

4 mile Hill Run / 20 min Upper Body Strength / 10 min Foal Roll / 15 min Yoga

This was a fun one! It was a humid and challenging, but Erica and I did two repeats of a long hill in Clarendon. Obviously going up and getting vert in is crucial, but I also want to pay special attention to downhill training this go around. I never care about hitting a certain pace, but I was genuinely surprised by what we were able to maintain on this run!

Saturday – July 3

9 mile Trail Run (in WV) / 10 min Foam Roll / 20 min Yoga

Yay weekend adventures! We drove out to Wardensville, WV early Saturday morning to probably our most remote trailhead yet for this one. The trail was straight up to a beautiful overlook and then straight back down. It looked like it hadn’t been used in ages and was more technical than expected. My hips and ankles were very fatigued from the uneven terrain. I was also pretty terrified we would see a bear, but somehow never did. There had to have been one nearby though!

At the overlook
The trail was in WV but the overlook actually just crossed the border back into (regular) Virginia!

Sunday – July 4

50 mile Bike Ride / 10 min Yoga

The Endurance Event! I went into this just trying to see how long I could ride on the towpath until I wanted or needed to stop. It was a beautiful day, people were in great moods, and I so enjoyed my solo ride with my thoughts and podcasts.

Patrick met me for lunch at Point of Rocks, MD and I got really sleepy after that. My legs felt great, but my elbows and triceps and back were pretty achy. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was so grateful to have my health and a body that allowed me to spend extended time outdoors. It was a wonderful day and we got ice cream on the way home.

It feels odd to reintroduce running back into my weekly routine! I have to remind myself that I do indeed have the time for it. I’m hoping this week goes just as well, despite some crappy weather forecasted ahead. I hope you’re all hydrating well and having a wonderful summer!