bull market mood

Well well well, it has been a minute. I think that’s how I start 99% of my blog posts these days. I can’t help it! I sit down to write something and then get frustrated that my thoughts don’t make as much sense as I want them to or I just get distracted by something else. That being said, I do enjoy writing here when I get around to it. The past few months have been a pretty good time. Since I last posted we held a big event for work that I spent half a year planning and I ran 45 miles in the Shenandoah backcountry.

We travelled, we had folks come to visit, and Patrick and I have been up to general shenanigans! After I did my long run in Shenandoah, I took a few weeks off to recover and plan out our summer. Patrick and I printed out April-August calendars and started writing out plans we already had and filled in some weekends with new activities. A few weeks ago we officially kicked off hot girl summer or, alternatively, bull market season. I made an Instagram post about this recently, so I’ll just steal the caption:

“Despite the fact it was 50 degrees yesterday and our heater is literally on right now, it’s hot girl summer! Alternatively: it’s a bull market, baby. We’re on the up and up and our self-worth is through the roof. Patrick & I are aggressively pursuing the raddest summer we can this year and I am thrilled. What does a hot girl summer/bull market look like for us, you ask?

Training for the Allegheny Forest Gravel Grinder, camping trips, getting involved in the community, weight lifting, tailgate picnics, concerts, Texas visitors, overthrowing the patriarchy, kayaking, waking up early, trail running and hiking, taking trips, big endurance events, fighting for a promotion, wearing clothes that make me feel powerful, reading books that educate and entertain, eating fresh foods, and so much more!”

I am pretty pumped, if you couldn’t tell. There was a lot that I put off while I was training for my ultra because I felt like I didn’t have the time or extra energy for it. Not anymore! This summer is dedicated to pursuing anything and everything that will bring me joy.

Before I ran my ultra, Patrick and I brainstormed what we wanted to do with our lives afterwards and what our summer might look like. I thought a lot about what summer meant and felt like as a kid and wanted to channel as much excitement as possible. The feeling of getting out of school for the summer was magnificent and having vacations or plans to look forward to in the dog days of summer was even better. I absolutely wish I could simply not work at all for a few months and beep bop around doing whatever I wanted. Would I get bored? Yes, probably – but it would be fun for a while!

I just don’t want time to fly by over these next few months and come into the fall feeling like I didn’t get around to doing anything. I want to look back on this summer fondly and proud of the shenanigans I got into. I also want to take good care of myself and to continue becoming more and more of the version of myself I know I can be. Make sense?

I want to unapologetically pursue this life all gas, no brakes and have a great time doing it. So that’s what I’ll be up to this summer! And then who knows what will come in the fall. I’m trying not to jump too far forward yet.

I hope you join me in this season. Run in the sunshine and read something new. Find music you enjoy and makes you dance. See ya later!

January, so far

We are already halfway through January! I am genuinely shocked. I know I am not alone when I say that January normally feels at least 70 days long. Nonetheless, this month has felt pretty good… so far. I absolutely feel like I am going to jinx myself, but oh well.

Work has been busy, I’ve been doing plenty of running (ice cold, below freezing temps running), and school starts back up on Tuesday. Patrick’s making more and more progress in physical therapy and has taken to walking around the house with a hiking pole, which cracks me up.

Mid long run from last week. The second half of this run was in freezing rain.

In other news I set out to accomplish three aspirations for the month from my long 2022 list and I’ve already done all three!

I wanted to read a book from start to finish, do a coffee outside, and make one dinner extra special.

I started and finished Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea this month and it was excellent. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know there was a Spanish Civil War before World War 2. And Chile’s history? So much to learn! A Long Petal of the Sea is a historical fiction that follows the entire life span of two people affected/involved in the Spanish Civil War. It is tragic, but not in the way you’d outright expect. There’s also something about a book that spans an entire life that feels extra heartbreaking to me. I can’t explain it! If you’re curious, now I am ready What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I want to read another fiction when I’m done with Murakami’s book, so if you have any recommendations then let me know!

On Friday morning at around 6 am, I woke Patrick up and asked him if he had slept okay that night. We’d been talking about doing a coffee outside and Friday seemed perfect, but I didn’t want to force him up. I sleep like a rock, but Patrick sometimes wakes up sporadically. I had already packed up the coffee supplies and had picked a place, so when Patrick got up we just needed to bundle up for the cold. And it was… quite cold. I think this will be a little more fun when it’s warmish out and the sun rises earlier, but oh well. Patrick swapped the Aeropress for the Clever and I grabbed two muffins in case we got hungry.

We drove out to a scenic overlook on Washington Parkway, realized immediately that we should’ve brought headlamps, and got to boiling the water.

We’re going to go somewhere different next time (lol). The view of the Potomac is nice, but the sounds of rushing cars on the parkway just doesn’t do it for me.

Finally, two weeks ago Patrick really wanted to make homemade Indian food. I am always a little skeptical since we have very mixed results when we attempt it. He found a recipe for butter chicken and homemade naan, so we went for it. Truthfully Patrick made most of it, but I helped cook the naan! This is not a meal that we could casually make for people, at least not without a lot of practice. And we learned a lot about what we would do differently next time, but my god it was delicious. Like I was genuinely shocked by how good it was.

We normally avoid having both of us cooking in the kitchen at the same time since it’s so small, but we were both required for this meal. It ended up being pretty fun, despite the smoke alarms nearly going off since we used butter and not ghee. We ate at the dining table and I feel like we spent most of the time marveling at how good it was.

Now I am trying to decide if I want to find another aspiration on my list to focus on. I wasn’t trying to rush through them at all, I just happened to accomplish them pretty quickly!

I hope that January is treating you well so far. Stay safe out there!

Love,

Juliana

Parting words.

2022 Aspirations

Happy (almost) New Year! I love this time of year. I didn’t feel much into the holiday spirit this year, probably because the pandemic is still raging and some other stressful factors going on in life. Nonetheless, I love the energy the new year brings and I love how excited everyone gets to bring about change in their lives. Sure, we know New Year’s resolutions are not often fruitful, but I love the effort!

I am also not much of a spring cleaning person (why would you spend that time inside cleaning when it’s finally getting a nice out?!). But I am definitely a post-Christmas cleaning person. Patrick and I cleaned and organized our bathroom the other day, plus it’s so satisfying to tidy up when the Christmas decorations come down.

Anyway, I love setting goals each year (or anytime really). In lieu of setting year long goals for 2022, I decided to write a list of things I’d like to do more of and I plan to let that guide me throughout the year. Maybe each month I’ll pick one or two to focus on or maybe I’ll just look at it if I feel like I’m in a rut or simply uninspired. I’m going very low stakes this year.

2022 should be an interesting one! Hopefully a huge work event will go off without a hitch, I’ll run my second 50 miler with Erica, graduate from grad school, and who knows what. Hopefully Patrick’s hip will heal up smoothly and we can spend plenty of time outside. Fingers crossed!

Before getting into my list of 2022 aspirations, let’s take a look back at goals from previous years since, you know, time doesn’t exist anymore and the years seem to blur together.

My 2020 goals:

  1. Max out my IRA contributions
  2. Visit somewhere new
  3. Read a book a month (at least)
  4. Pursue finance, professionally
  5. PR my half marathon

My 2021 goals (with some notes from today):

  1. PR my 10k (I didn’t intentionally attempt this, but I’m 95% sure I could do it)
  2. Do a pull up (Sort of fell of the bandwagon on this one, but did do a lot of strength training)
  3. Start volunteering regularly (Not even a little bit… oops)

Patrick and I had some shared 2021 goals too:

  1. Max out our IRAs (freaking crushed it)
  2. Eat meatless 3x a week (we didn’t do 3 specific meatless days a week but our meals definitely averaged out to be at least 9/21 vegetarian)
  3. Bikepack on C&O Canal (we got so close and then didn’t. I can’t remember why. Rain maybe?)

As you can see, there was some mixed success with the 2021 goals. Looking at them now I am confused why I chose them since they seem so random and not in line with what I was focused on. Listen, December 2020 was a weird time for me so who knows what I was thinking.

Now let’s look at 2022!

Juliana’s 2022 Aspirations (aka Do More Of List):

  1. Camp 3+ times
  2. Go bikecamping
  3. Put on a dress and go outdoors (farmer’s market, picnic, etc)
  4. Make some eco-friending swaps at home
  5. Buy a few pieces of clothing that I’ll love and wear for a long time
  6. Travel more
  7. Take a spontaneous sick day and go to the beach (for legal purposes this is a joke… (it’s not))
  8. Go to organized runs or track practices
  9. Go kayaking more
  10. Figure out a post-50 miler gym plan/routine
  11. Make one day a week extra special
  12. Read more books
  13. Go on more day hikes
  14. Volunteer at one (or more) running race
  15. Figure out finances
  16. Plan more run projects
  17. Ask for a raise
  18. Plate meals, set the table more often
  19. Make little videos/montages of photos and videos
  20. Journal or blog more

They’re pretty random. As I was typing them out I realized some are single occurrence aspirations and others are ongoing and more abstract. Like I mentioned before, maybe each month I’ll pick two to actually turn into SMART goals or I’ll put an event on the calendar. We’ll see! A handful also seem really vague, but are actually slightly more detailed in my notebook. I just didn’t want to put too much out there for anyone to come across.

Are you planning any goals or aspirations for 2022? I’d love to hear them!

All the best,

Juliana

Running Diary: A Rainy Week

Oops! Somehow a whole week went by and I didn’t even realize. We had a lot of rain this week, which thwarted some of the scheduling for running. Despite some workweek exhaustion and the crappy weather, it turned into a pretty great week of training and I am looking forward to kicking off our training plan!

Monday – August 23

25 min Full Body + Glute Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 8 min Yoga

Classic non-running, strength training day. Nothing special to report here!

Tuesday – August 24

5 mile Track Run / 18 min Yoga

This was so fun. Erica and I had planned to attend a running store’s track practice, but the track was closed! We ended up driving into DC to use a track and it was pretty exciting to do a very different workout than normal. We started with a 1 mile warm up, then moved into progressively faster: 1200, 800, 400, kept the pace for another 400, and then slowed down for 800, 1200, with another mile as a cool down.

Running fast is hard and I commend those who do it all the time.

Wednesday – August 25

20 min Foam Roll / 20 min Core / 10 min Stretch

Ah yes, this was supposed to be a running day but turned into an easy strength day. I typically go to the office on Wednesdays, which can be really tiring. I also had my first class meeting for the fall semester and it was amazing. It really changes the vibe of the class when everyone is excited to be there.

hung this lil pinata in my office

Thursday – August 26

4 mile Run / 8 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 15 min Arms & Shoulders + Glute Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 17 min Stretch

I was on a roll this day. It feels good to get the plantar fascia rehab done and it’s always a bonus when a run feels pretty good.

Friday – August 27

10 min Foam Roll / 20 min Yoga

Sweet, sweet recovery.

Saturday – August 28

5 mile Run / 7 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 20 min Yoga

We were supposed to do this mileage on Friday, but there was rain in the forecast so we skipped it. Instead we slept in on Saturday and then headed to the towpath for this mileage! It was so humid. So humid. It was an out and back, but when I turned around it felt like I couldn’t breathe because I no longer had a breeze in my face. Absolutely brutal. Nonetheless I survived the run and then Patrick and I went kayaking!

We parked at a boathouse on the path for our run, so it was only natural to get ice cream and to rent a tandem kayak after. I have been wanting to kayak on the Potomac since we moved here, but had never gotten around to it. Kudos to Patrick for suggesting it, especially since all the water-sports stuff starts to close after Labor Day!

Sunday – August 29

16 mile Trail Run / 20 min Restorative Yoga

Wooohoo, this was the best long run I’ve had in a very very very long time! We went to Prince William Forest Park (a classic) and had a great time. Erica and I almost kept the mileage to 13, but I am glad we did all 16. I even helped wrangle an eastern copperhead off the trail. This run made me feel good about starting our training plan. It was a confidence booster for sure.

Have a great week and an even better Labor Day weekend!

Running Diary: PTO, baby!

Hello and happy Monday! I am slowly catching up on work today as I took Thursday and Friday off last week. It was so nice to leisurely do things around the house, run errands, and be a little bit of a tourist. My brain needed the reset.

Our beautiful cooler temperatures are gone here in Arlington and back is the hot, muggy weather. 😦 The urge to pretend like it’s fall is tempered by the weather and the fact that school doesn’t even start here until after Labor Day! After our long run yesterday I wanted nothing more than to whip out my fall decorations and get started on the house, but I resisted. The days are already getting shorter, which is weird, so before we know it all these updates are going to be about running in the dark! Until then, here’s this week’s training:

Monday – August 2

20 min Yoga / 10 min Foam Roll

A much needed rest day after the long run out in George Washington National Forest. I think I had originally planned to run this day, but knew that would not go over well for me at all.

Tuesday – August 3

5 mile Run / 20 min Core Strength / 10 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 10 min Stretch

This was a day of beautiful weather! Running feels so much easier when it’s breezy and cool out. I think Erica and I ran this one together and I enjoyed it. I also forced myself to do my plantar fascia prehab and I am proud of that. If you have a Peloton account, I did this core strength with Andy Speer and I really love it. It feels really functional and I like not being on my back doing crunches the whole time.

We also had a family dinner out on the porch. It was quite nice. We made this pasta and it was pretty good!

Erica was there but she wouldn’t let me photograph her.

Wednesday – August 4

4 mile Speed Run / 20 min Chest & Back Strength / 20 min Foam Roll / 16 min Yoga

Normally when I want to do speedwork I queue up a Peloton outdoor run, but this run was different. It was nice out and I had recently discovered Billie Eilish’s new song Happier Than Ever. Listen to it and you can imagine how it kept my pace up pretty well!

Thursday – August 5

5 min Core Strength / 6 mile Run / 10 min Yoga

Day off of work! Patrick had to go in, so I spent the day walking to Trader Joe’s, sitting outside reading, and relaxing as much as possible. I knew we had 6 miles on the docket, but I wasn’t feeling inspired to run around the house and none of the trails that length nearby are great. We decided to change up the scenery and headed into DC to run around the National Mall instead.

It was so fun to see the monuments as the sun started to set and see people out and about! DC has a mask mandate for indoors, but people were still frolicking and enjoying themselves on the lawn by the Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument
The Lincoln Memorial

Friday – August 6

20 min Foam Roll / 10 min Stretch

Another rest day… sort of. We went back into DC on the Metro to go to the Natural History Museum. We ended up walking to lunch too before we took the Metro back into Virginia to go shopping! Walking around the museum and the mall was exhausting and my feet hurt quite a bit when we got home.

Lunch at Roti

Not to mention, I had just about no success finding work clothes. Everything is either the ultra trendy Gen Z fashion (which isn’t exactly workplace appropriate most of the time) or very casual, probably because of the work from home world we live in.

Saturday – August 7

2 mile Run / 12 min Plantar Fascia Recovery / 30 min Strength / 21 min Yoga Stretch

Yes, you are reading that right: I did my plantar fascia prehab twice this week! Last week I mentioned that I wanted to do it 2-3 times a week and I met that goal. Now I just need to keep it up. I think the trick is to just do it right after I have finished running or working out to keep up the momentum.

The 2 mile run felt amazing. It was raining a tiny bit, I listened to a podcast about space hurricanes, and I felt like I was gliding. Love it.

Sunday – August 8

15 mile Trail Run / 30 min Runner’s Yoga

Oh boy, this was a long one! We decided to stay close to home and headed to Rock Creek Park (in DC) for this long run. That park is huge and fantastic, but the trails aren’t super well marked and it’s easy to get confused. Patrick ran on his own and Erica and I ran together. We were very very sweaty and ran out of water around mile 12, which wasn’t ideal. We also saw two snakes! From my research I think we saw either a ribbonsnake or an Eastern Garter Snake and a Black Rat Snake. They wanted nothing to do with us. Erica pointed out that it’s hard to believe we saw no snakes in the wilderness of West Virginia but saw two in DC.

The trails at Rock Creek aren’t super technical, but there are plenty of roots and it is much hillier than you’d expect. It was also fun to see other runners and hikers. The road that runs through the area seems to be closed to cars in the summer, so there were lots of cyclists as well.

My long runs have felt so difficult lately, so yesterday was refreshing! All I wanted was to jump in a pool afterwards, but we lounged around for the rest of the day instead.

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Running Diary: A Long One!

Hello, I’m back! I totally neglected this last week and so I have two weeks worth of training to share. Training has been challenging lately, but I am grateful for the opportunity to do it. July felt so long, but I also cannot believe it’s August. I am sitting on our screened in porch enjoying the oddly cool weather. I still have citronella candles going and had to spray myself with a light layer of bug spray, but it’s worth it.

I have said repeatedly that I am not trying to rush to summer’s end as I want to appreciate each season more, but… the breeze and lack of sweat is pretty fabulous. I drank my coffee out here earlier and I was in heaven. Anyway, onto the training!

Lately I feel like I can just not recover. Even with rest days, my long runs have been feeling so much harder than they should. My runs during the week tend to feel pretty good, so I’m not sure what’s breaking down in the long run equation. Cumulative fatigue? Maybe. The heat/humidity? Not sure. I’m hoping to get to the bottom of it soon.

Monday – July 19

35 min Strength / 10 min Stretch / 10 min Foam Roll

This day was a big one. It was the day of my big work event that I had been stressing about for weeks. All in all it went pretty well and I was so glad when it was over! I needed to work off nervous energy and lifting some weights did the trick.

Scenes from mission control of my work event

Tuesday – July 20

3 mile Run / 10 min Foam Roll / 17 min Yoga

Easy mileage. My brain was so foggy coming out of my work event; I felt fatigued from head to toe. I wasn’t trying to do anything too ambitious with my training until I started feeling better.

Wednesday – July 21

4 mile Hilly Run / 10 min Foam Roll / 15 min Yoga

This run was a feat of mental grit. I wanted nothing more than to turn around after one mile, but loaded up some good music and kept it easy. Of course, once I finished I was so glad that I had persevered. My mind and body felt better and I was pleased with how it went!

Thursday – July 22

3 mile Speed Run / 30 min Strength / 20 min Yoga

Another great run! When I want to incorporate speed I normally throw in a Peloton Outdoor Run. They tend to be pretty entertaining and push me to do faster bursts than I’d be able to do by myself. I also discovered Peloton’s Slow Yoga classes, which I love. They have a little more effort to them then the typical yin style yoga I like to do, but ultimately feel really nice.

Friday – July 23

22 min Foam Roll / 20 min Strength / 20 min Slow Yoga

An easy day. This whole week was meant to be a cutback week, though I do try to maintain strength training. I also neglected lower body strength training for a loooong time (because I was running so much!) but I am trying to gently reintroduce it.

I also went to a real life social event with a friend! I learned that Baltimore actually seems pretty awesome. The Science Center was hosting an adult-only event themed around Jurassic Park. We played Jenga with velociraptor claws.

Saturday – July 24

33 mile Bike Ride / 16 min Yoga

Oh my god, this ride. It was in rural Maryland and was beautiful! We stopped at McDonald’s for french fries and a chocolate chip cookie. Things got a little rocky when the route was a few miles longer than I thought it’d be and it started downpouring on us. Fortunately we were already on the C&O towpath, so there weren’t any safety concerns but we were muddy and gross by the time we got back to the car. Patrick normally brings towels to throw in the trunk, but somehow we didn’t have ANY. Good times.

Sunday – July 25

10 mile Trail Run / 16 min Stretch

I titled this run “Struggle bus never pulled over to let me off” on Strava. We went to Manassas Battlefield, a route that I intentionally chose for being an easy trail. The first mile or two I felt great, amazing, was going to be the best run ever. Somewhere around mile 6, things started falling apart. My legs felt heavy, nutrition felt crappy, and it turned into a slog.

I got the miles in and the trail was beautiful (as always), but boy it was tough. I think I said “I’m going to live right here” a few times on the trail. We also finally went into the visitor center, which was pretty neat. Erica came over for dinner this night and we had excellent grilled chicken, mediterranean quinoa salad, and peach cobbler for dessert. I’m hungry just writing about it.

Monday – July 26

10 min Foam Roll / 20 min Yoga

Good ole fashioned rest day. I always stretch and foam roll on rest days because it feels so nice. I also did both of these recovery items earlier in the day which left my evening wide open! Sometimes I rush my evenings, which I don’t love. There’s nothing quite like casually sipping Sleepytime tea on the couch.

I also went down a rabbit hole learning about what a Mobius Strip is. Highly recommend.

Tuesday – July 27

4 mile Hilly Run / 10 min Strength / 10 min Foam Roll / 10 min Stretch

Two hill repeats on the Courthouse Rd climb was enough for me. I didn’t feel too hot until about halfway through my second repeat. I wasn’t even really sweating too much until then! My pace was pretty even and my breathing was good. I love hill training because 1) I can see it paying off when doing ascents, but potentially even more exciting is that 2) I can see the downhill portion paying off as well! It really helps to protect the knees and IT band, so I am thrilled.

Wednesday – July 28

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

I was dead on my feet for this run. I kept saying I was going to move the miles to Friday, but I also really didn’t want to have to run on Friday. I told Patrick to be prepared to go slow and slow we went. At some point my legs woke up and felt okay, but my brain (and the rest of my body) still felt pretty sleepy. When we got back from the run I used the momentum I had left to get some strength work in. I felt pretty good after all was said and done and probably slept like a rock.

Thursday – July 29

5 mile Run / 30 min Strength / 20 min Yoga / 10 min Foam Roll

A rainy run! It’s always fun when that happens. Erica and I ran together while Patrick ran on his own. We weren’t sure if it would begin to truly storm, so we ran a 3 mile loop and then a smaller 2 mile loop to stay closer to home. Patrick lamented how humid it got after the rain stopped, but I didn’t notice. There was gentle, cool breeze that felt amazing and the clouds kept the sun from beating down on us.

Friday – July 30

30 min Strength / 7 min Planter Fascia Recovery / 22 min Yoga

This was a full body strength, so it was part of my effort to do more lower body training! Again, I used the momentum from doing the Peloton to get my plantar fascia recovery done. I am committing here to doing that at least twice a week (but I’d really like to aim for three times a week). It’s not hard, but it’s just challenging enough that you sweat too much for doing it after a shower.

Saturday – July 31

10 min Strength / 16 mile Bike Ride / 10 min Foam Roll / 8 min Yoga

The strength came before the bike ride as a way to active the core and glutes. We had planned to do more riding, but the path we were on got pretty busy which is a little annoying. I was also enjoying the casual riding, so we turned around once we got to Alexandria. We stopped at a hut/shack? called Weenie Beanie that we first passed on a run a few months ago. I got a cheesesteak and Patrick got a hamburger. This place is “known” for its hot dogs, so we both pondered why neither of us chose that after the fact.

We ate on a park bench before finishing our ride home, which included a pretty large hill! Powered by cheesesteak.

Sunday – August 1

14 mile Trail Run / 15 min Stretch

Holy crap. This run. My god.

3,000+ ft of elevation in this run, but don’t be fooled. All the elevation gain was contained to maybe 3-4 of the miles. I felt so terrible. More terrible than I should’ve, which was a little frustrating, but it was hard hard course. Thank god for trekking poles.

It was so brutal. The route was an edited version of a 50k course Patrick did back in March in George Washington National Forest. We did one of the ascents twice. 24.5% grade for half a mile. It was like climbing. The second go around I really thought I would not be able to take another step. BRUTAL.

We somehow did not see a bear, despite it looking and feeling like prime bear country! We did see some… characters out on the fire road but that’s another story for another time. Once we made it back to the car I sat on the ground to eat my sandwich and was glad to not be moving anymore.

I will do that route again sometime, if anything just for redemption.

I hope you have a fabulous week full of plenty of sleep, water, delicious food, and fun movement! We are planning to go bikecamping this week, so I am excited for that!

Juliana

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

A Running Diary

You know what’s funny? When I first started this blog I wrote about my running a lot. It wasn’t intentional and this wasn’t a running blog, but I did so much of it and it was such an escape to me that I ended up thinking and writing about it a lot. Over the years my running fluctuated (due to injury and life) and I stopped coming to this space as consistently.

However, I was thinking recently about the role of running in my life nowadays and how I wish to document the adventures it takes me on. I share plenty to Instagram and save it as a highlight so I can go back and relive some of those moments, but I think I’d like to come here too.

Ringing the Cow Bone bell when I finished my race!

I have an Excel sheet that I have been using as my training plan. When I finished the Cow Bone 12 Hour, I created a new tab in the Excel to start planning for whatever might come next! I have a few bucket list running items that I’d like to accomplish in the next two years or so, but I am flexible. If I’ve learned anything about running in the last 8 years, it’s that I can absolutely not force it.

That being said, here are some of the projects I’d love to tackle roughly in chronological order:

Virginia Triple Crown Loop – Late 2021 (dependent on weather)

The Triple Crown is what I am currently trying to train for and the training I am hoping you’ll read a lot about here. This go around I want to focus a lot on uphill and downhill running and hiking since the vert is not shabby.

Bull Run-Occoquan Trail – Late Summer or Early Fall 2021

Honestly, this trail could very well just be a training run for the Triple Crown! It’s ~18 miles and it’s a point to point, so the shuttling logistics are the only reason we haven’t done this one yet. It’s also pretty close to us and relatively flat (considering the distance).

Overnight Runs – Fall(ish) 2021

This isn’t a specific trail, but Patrick has an overnight 13 hour race the first weekend on November and I’d eventually like to take on races that require night running so I want to get some nighttime training in! We’ll need to invest in better headlamps when we decide to tackle this and you’ll have to wish me luck because I tend to be pretty clumsy on trails in broad daylight. I also don’t want to get eaten by a bear… And bear spray is sort of big to carry on a run…

100 Mile Training Week – December 2021

Patrick had mentioned this to me once before but I was so in the thick of Cow Bone training that I didn’t consider it for long. Then I watched the Ginger Runner video that had inspired Patrick and it inspired me! Do yourself a favor and go watch all his videos. If you’ve never run before or if you have a wishy washy relationship with running, I think you’ll leave feeling extremely inspired.

Ethan does it in December and I think that is a great idea. I love the idea of taking a week off of work around Christmas and attempting this. I especially love the idea of getting the run done and then coming into a cozy house to eat lots of warm food and hang out.

Rim to Rim to Rim – Late Spring/Summer 2022

This is the big one! The route linked is not the exact one I’d do because I want to include the Bright Angel Trail. This is how I want to celebrate finishing grad school! I get so excited thinking about R2R2R. I would absolutely not rush it, for the record. If my training isn’t quite where it needs to be then I would not attempt it (because: dangerous). So here’s to hoping!

If you’d like to join… 😉

Lastly, this one only partially counts because it’s cycling and not running, I want to do a bikecamping trip on the Greenbrier River Trail in WV! It’s just far enough away that we haven’t seriously planned anything (plus I need to do more bike riding) but it looks beautiful!

Oh, I am also planning on doing an endurance ride on the towpath sometime during the 4th of July weekend. Basically I am just going to ride as long as I can and then make Patrick come pick me up. Should be fun!

All that being said, I’d like to come here more often to report back on how my training for these projects is going! I know I say “oh I’ll be back” pretty often on here, but I really want to give it a go this time. Time will tell.

Do you have any fun projects going on in your life?! Running or not?

Love,

Juliana

5 Things – May 2021 Edition

HELLLLOOOO!

Happy May – the best month of the year! It’s finally warm, the days are getting longer, my Spring semester is over, my 12 hour race is coming up, and it’s my birthday month. I freaking love this month.

I haven’t been writing because I have been either 1. working, 2. schooling, 3. running, or 4. scrolling on my phone. I’ll admit it. That being said, I figured I’d memorialize five(ish) things that I have been loving lately. Let’s get to it.

Up first! My Hydroflask.

post-run tacos featuring Hydroflask

I feel like I’ve probably written about my Hydroflask before, but man I do love it. During the work week I aim to drink at least four bottles a day (160 oz) and it makes it so easy. I love that it holds so much water, stays cold (though you need to add a decent amount of ice to keep the ice frozen), and tolerates being banged up. Not to mention, perfect for stickers.

I can leave it in the car during long trail runs and when I come back the water won’t be frozen (winter) or boiling hot (summer). It’s also so big and bright that I can’t miss it, which helps as a reminder to stay hydrated!

Next, foam rolling.

A little over two months ago, I decided I wanted to foam roll at least five times a week. Peloton has a handful of 10 minute foam rolling videos and they have been a godsend for keeping me consistent! Sometimes we roll in the morning before work and sometimes we do it right before bed. I mostly circle through the videos for calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. When we first started foam rolling, it was painful (in a good way) all the time and I had to keep a lot of my bodyweight off the roller. Nowadays my muscles have adjusted to the sensation and it just feels good!

I have been trying to hone in on “train hard, recover harder” and I love foam rolling and doing yoga or stretching. We foam roll Monday-Friday normally, but stretch practically every day. I think that I recover faster after long runs and generally feel less tight and stiff than I have in the past when running a bit.

It has also made me more aware of what’s going on with my body and muscles, which I can appreciate. The other day I think I pinched my sciatic nerve a bit and the left side of my body has been protesting. Instead of freaking out (okay, I freaked out a little because my left hip region has given me serious grief in the past), I kept foam rolling and stretching and am taking two solid days off running to let it relax. I have also been cycling between icing and heating my hip, lower back, and hip flexor.

I have always been terrible at recovery, so this is one I am particularly proud of. I even track it on Strava to keep myself accountable!

Third, tailgating.

Tailgating is many things to me. Sometimes it’s hanging out in the trunk with the seats down, reading a book as Patrick runs 50 miles. Other times it’s popping up our little camp table and chairs to have a picnic after a trail run.

It’s just really fun to not be in a rush and to stay outdoors. Sometimes you get the craziest looks from folks, but that’s half the fun! It feels like camping and it’s very relaxing.

Fourth, being vaccinated!!!!

This one really should’ve been first, but omg the COVID vaccine. As of 5/19 I will be fully vaccinated (aka 2 weeks past my second dose) and I am so happy. A week after my first dose I got COVID arm, which was interesting. I had an inflamed, itchy rash near the vaccination site on my arm.

The second round I mostly felt tired and had a lingering headache for 2 days or so. I got Moderna and all in all would 1000% do it again.

Fifth, making new recipes.

Spaghetti carbonara

In the fall we got really in the habit of making new recipes and it was really fun. We had a rhythm, too. I’d come home from work, we’d run or workout, and then we’d get dinner going. It probably helped that it was getting darker and cooler and weekly mileage wasn’t quite so high, but it was also a nice way for us to hang out at the end of the day.

At some point we fell off of that, I think because runs took longer and I had grad school classes that had lots of virtual meetings in the evening. Nevertheless, we are hoping to get back in the swing of it. We have so many cookbooks and the weather is beautiful for grilling or sitting outside. This week we are making an eggplant and feta galette out of Sababa by Adeena Sussman. I’m tempted to make a berry galette to pair with it for dessert.

I’m pretty pumped for this summer. Vaccines, warmer weather, camping, (hopefully) weekend beach trips! My big run is coming up on the 29th and I’m looking forward to it. I have loved training for this, but it’ll be nice to not have a prescribed long run either. We still can (and will) trail run, but we can seek out shorter, different trails that weren’t appropriate for our training plan. Or we can swap them out for long day hikes and backpacking. That sounds amazing too.

I hope you are having a wonderful May! And how in the world is it almost halfway over?!