Training, Portland, and getting Oiselle-ed

Oh hey Blog, how ya been? It’s been a while. And all I can say is that sometimes life is just too short to blog. The past week + has been a whirlwind of lots of travel, lots of time with dear friends, and lots of adventures, both in DC and Portland. Now I’m back in COLD, WINDY, SNOWY Cleveland, and while I had a blast on all my adventures (and enjoyed the {slightly} warmer weather in both places) I am really excited to be home. Apparently I’m what they call a home-body. It’s nice to be back to the grind, in a weird way. And I got this bad boy finally (Wal Mart shipping takes foreverrrrrr) and I’m enjoying learning how to use it as a training tool (I could write a whole post solely on garmin vs. garmin-less running)

Hello pretty Garmin, how I've wanted you for so so long. It's nice to finally have you on my wrist.

Hello pretty Garmin, how I’ve wanted you for so so long. It’s nice to finally have you on my wrist.

Comes with directions in 90 of the world's most common languages. And by common I mean I have no clue what they are.

Comes with directions in 90 of the world’s most common languages. And by common I mean I have no clue what they are.

It may have been a while since my last post, but I haven’t just been ignoring this little puppy. No, I’ve got THREE other posts started and written in varying degrees. They will probably be released sometime in mid-February, when I finally finish them. (Kidding, kind of. But they weren’t time-sensitive posts so they will be making an appearance eventually).

Anyway, back to my travels. I want to share a couple highlights from my Portland adventure and then talk mostly about my marathon training, since I haven’t recapped the last 3 weeks! Here’s the low-down from the Land of Port:

Portland Running Adventures

My first day there I did a track workout at a local high school. As I rolled into the track off my warm up mile I realized that there were several legit looking track athletes wearing USATF sweatshirts being coached by legit looking coaches. Cue wave of panic and insecurity – here I come to get all up in your way so I can do my measly 7:15 min/mile mile repeats. But I checked with the coach and he said I wasn’t in anyone’s way, so off I went, on one of my most painful marathon training workouts to date, as “real” athletes high jumped and long jumped their way around me. Well technically I ran around them doing their high and long jumps.

Then on my last day in Portland a little runnerd dream of mine came true. Hubster’s work was going to the Nike Campus in Beaverton to practice and I was allowed to tag along! While they practiced I did my tempo run around the campus on the wood chip trail. I also ran one mile on the track just in case that’s where Kara and Shalane were hiding – and because the track is super, SUPER cool. And also possibly because my run wasn’t going very well and I had a little pity party for myself on the track for a mile. I didn’t take any pictures of the running trail or track because that’s just not my style. I’m not a picture-taking-runner. I did, however, take some pictures of this cool display they had up in the Bo Jackson hall while I was waiting for Hubster.

Apparently Nike got a group of employees together to run across America after 9/11. They have a great display up and it was pretty moving to look at. I specifically liked this pledge that all the runners took.

Apparently Nike got a group of employees together to run across America after 9/11. They have a great display up and it was pretty moving to look at. I specifically liked this pledge that all the runners took.

Bo Knows that it's impossible to walk into the Bo Jackson hall on the Nike Campus and NOT take a picture of the GIANT Bo Knows sign. Impossible.

Bo Knows that it’s impossible to walk into the Bo Jackson hall on the Nike Campus and NOT take a picture of the GIANT Bo Knows sign. Impossible.

I wish I had had more time to explore some different running areas in Portland. There were quite a few runs I wanted to do that just weren’t in the cards for this visit. Portland seems like a fantastic running city, and really a great city all around.

Portland Food Adventures

One of my favorite things about travelling is trying out the local cuisine. Portland did NOT let me down. My first morning I had the most delicious breakfast at this cute little place called Mother’s Bistro.

photo 1 (12)

The waitress was super nice, the coffee hot, and my portabello omelet with spinach and asiago cheese was out o’ this world. And the padded benches with lumbar pillows? Super cute.

Please sir, I want some more!

Please sir, I want some more!

I could easily have eaten there every single morning I was in Portland, and when I return to Portland I will CERTAINLY make it back to Mother’s.

When I have a breakfast nook in my home some day I hope it looks like this.

When I have a breakfast nook in my home some day I hope it looks like this.

I ate a lot of good food in Oregon, but my very favorite meal of the whole 3 days was from a food truck in one of these food pods that they have all around. Basically they are whole city blocks full of multiple food trucks. Only a short 3 blocks from my hotel was the hiding place of the best food truck I have ever, ever eaten at in my whole 28 years of life. The Whole Bowl. Oh. My. Gosh. It really is like eating a hug. And it’s only $5.50. Seriously? It doesn’t get much better than that.

The whole bowl. rice, beans, olives, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and this special lemon garlic sauce. A-Maze-ing.

The whole bowl. rice, beans, olives, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and this special lemon garlic sauce. A-Maze-ing.

The truck where the magic happens. Such yummy deliciousness out of something so tiny!

The truck where the magic happens. Such yummy deliciousness out of something so tiny!

Portland Shopping Adventures

I had an opportunity while in Portland that just 1 short year ago I would have absolutely drooled over. We got to go to the Nike Employees Store, where everything is half price. Seriously? Even a year ago I would’ve been beside myself. And, not going to lie, even this time around I was super excited to see the Nike Mecca. But then we got there, and I started looking around. And I found myself saying the following things to myself:

“this fabric just doesn’t feel good, it’s so scratchy”

“this cut is not flattering at all”

“hmm, the small is too small and the medium is way too large”

“these clothes just seem boring, why am I not finding anything I like?”

“shorts? no way, not even taking a second glance at those poorly made puppies”

And then, about 30 minutes into the shopping experience I realized what has happened. I’ve been Oiselle-ed. I’m sorry I’m not sorry. You see, after you’ve experienced the super soft yet somehow wicking fabric of the Oiselle tees, the flattering cut and functionality of all their clothing, the fact that their running clothes also double as cute “real life” clothes, and the way they make even the most average long sleeve striped t-shirt completely unique and fun makes all the “other” stuff just …not worth the money.

Thoughts from #OM2k13 Training Weeks 4-6/17-15

– It’s amazing to think about how far I’ve come. Week 5/16 was a “recovery week” for multiple reasons, but mostly brought on by some foot pain I was having. I backed down on intensity with only one hard workout, added an extra rest day, and dropped my mileage down to the low 30’s after several weeks in the upper 30’s. 4 months ago I would have been exhausted after a 30 mile week, but now these 30 miles of mostly easy running felt so….easy. One of the things I love about running is how easy it is to look back and see how you’ve grown and gotten better.

– My paces have continued to emerge. All the hard workouts have left my long runs and easy runs getting slower and slower. Part of me  is scared by this and feels like I’m getting slower. But the intelligent, rational part of me knows that really I’m getting fitter, faster, and becoming a more efficient runner. And it also knows that I really should have been running this slow for these types of runs to begin with. Ah, the internal battle.

– I am committed to this marathon. Even though I’ve been running hard and haven’t missed a run despite travel, crazy weather, and a busy work schedule. But I didn’t fully believe my commitment, as silly as that sounds, until this weekend. I had to work in the morning and hubster had the day off so I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. That meant my 14 mile long run would have to be done at 5:30 am. Old Abbey never, ever, EVER would have made it up and out of bed for that run. To make matters worse I could literally hear the wind howling outside. This run had failure written all over it. But then I thought about how guilty I would feel NOT going, how I would have to tell my coach, and how I wouldn’t really enjoy the day as much knowing that I didn’t go. So I ran for 2 hours in the windy, freezing cold, pitch black night. And it was awesome. I felt so empowered when I got done, I felt like I had overcome a huge obstacle, and I felt like a complete success. That single run may have no bearing whatsoever on my performance in April, but it gave me so much confidence in myself and my ability to do what’s neccessary to get to the starting line ready. AND I got to spend the afternoon with hubster guilt free –

Napping on the couch all afternoon is so much better when you've put in some hard work in the early morning.

Napping on the couch all afternoon is so much better when you’ve put in some hard work in the early morning.

– Marathon training is all about celebrating the little victories in training. Celebrating the good workouts, the ones where you feel like you could run for forever and then when, inevitably, you have some not-so-great ones you can hang on to that feeling from the awesome ones and keep on moving. Because sooner than later you’ll have another run that for one reason or another leaves you believing in your own greatness.

What gets you up out of bed for early runs?

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