Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jasyoga - Yoga for Athletes (and those who like to drink)

I have been meaning to tell you all about the best discovery I made here in my little corner of the United States this summer...JASYOGA!  This comes as no surprise if you follow me on twitter or instagram as I've been chatting and posting #viewfrommymat pics for a while now but it deserves some more attention.

First of all there is the whole philosophy behind is simply yoga for ATHLETES.  I'm not talking hard core, sweat dripping down your thighs holding intense poses for minutes yoga.  I'm talking about STRETCHING and relaxing yoga.  The owner of Jasyoga, Erin, knows that all athletes work hard all week long at whatever their sport happens to be.  She also knows that they likely never stretch or take time to relax and "hit reset" as she likes to say.  I admit the first time I took a class I thought "well that wasn't a workout at all!"  BUT, you have to go into it realizing that you are doing your workouts on your own all week and this is your 1 hour a week to just stretch parts of your body you didn't know even needed stretching and holding those stretches for probably 100x longer than you would on your own.

I have been hitting up their outdoor studio at Greenlake almost weekly:
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

Weather pending, next Tuesday, September 24 will be their last outdoor studio sesh of the year.  6:30 Greenlake across from Starbucks, pay what you want <---how awesome is that!?

And then there is their super creative events that combine yoga and all sort of other amazing things:

Run, yoga, donuts
Yoga in a brewery, with a DJ and then beer...I mean why hasn't this been done before!!
Yoga and wine tasting with the fabulous owner/yogi Erin on the far right!
I'm seriously considering never doing yoga unless it involves alcohol or donuts after from now on!

I always feel perfectly stretched and relaxed after every Jasyoga session and would be perfectly content curling up on my yoga mat for a nap after each class...would that be weird?

Jasyoga doesn't have a studio but they do regular classes at Always Running and do special series and events all the time.  Start following their blog to keep up to date and I hope to see you at the next yoga party! Rumor has it another yoga and beer event is in the works for October.  Sorry for all my readers not in the Seattle area, as soon as Erin decides to franchise this genius business I'll let you know ;).

Question: Do you incorporate yoga into your weekly workout routine? What do you do to "hit reset"?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Take a Hike! Up McClellan Butte - BEST.VIEWS.EVER

First off, apologies for not posting in like forever! It is partly because there has literally been NO running in my world since Hood to Coast and I've just been busy with work and life.  But don't you worry about me, nothing is "wrong" with me and running, I'm just taking a small break to focus on other fitness ventures...mainly riding my new bike, weight lifting, and yoga (maybe I'll post about all that business in the near future).  

BUT, last week I went on a hike that must be talked about and shared.  My good friend Carol invited me on what is called a "Wednesday conditioner" hike with her Mountaineers group.  What I failed to grasp before starting this hike was that I was hiking with a group of mountain climbers who literally climb Washington peaks on the fact Carol climbed Mt. Baker just 3 days prior.  She told me the stats of the hike...about 7 miles round trip, ~3,000 feet elevation gain and said it was similar to Mt. Si. I've done that hike problemo...this was even shorter.

McClellan Butte is located just east of North Bend off I-90 so very accessible to the Seattle crowd, even on a week night. We did the "slacker" route so instead of starting down at I-90 you drive up a gravel road about 1,000 feet up and start from there...I would in NO way describe this as slacker FYI!  We arrived around 5:20 and met some other Mountaineer folks.  We left our cars and began our accent and within 5 minutes everyone had passed us (and by us I mean me since I was just slowing Carol down).  The trail has some very steep inclines but did offer some more gradual ones for some "recovery".  

View along the way
I stopped multiple times to take some pictures (read: stop because I felt like throwing up) and really struggled to to keep a good pace.  Running shape does NOT equal hiking shape BTW, especially when you are hiking with mountain climbers...need to remember this next time.  Carol suggested that I just take it really slowly but keep moving, which ended up being good advice and the rest of the way wasn't as terrible ;).

Carol and I 

Once we about 3/4 of the way up we wound around the backside of the mountain and it flattened out a ton which was amazing. I got my heart rate back to normal...that was until I saw what stood between us and the summit!

See those tiny people up there...that was me at one point!
You had to scramble up those rocks to reach the views and everyone promised me is was much easier than it looked.  I didn't believe them for one second but turns out they were right. Carol went ahead of me and just told me to take every step and hand hold that she did. I did just that and NEVER looked down and made it safely to the summit! To say it was the best views I've ever had on a hike would be an understatement! The sun was just setting and you could literally see for MANY miles 360 degrees around.  

You are going to want to click on this pic to see it in all its glory!

That would be Mt. Rainier with the moon directly above it.  I really wish I would have brought my nice camera with me but my phone didn't do a terrible job.  Of course, most of the group was already partying on the summit before we got there and by partying I mean drinking beer and champagne. One guy literally brought a 12 pack of beer up the mountain...hard core! I inhaled the snacks I brought and chugged more Nuun...which thank goodness I brought two bottles of!

Nuun looks good on a mountain in the sunset ;)

I don't usually like to linger at mountain summits because all I can think of is how we have to go back down. Carol informed me that our pace would be quick on the way down and I was a-ok with that...hiking in the pitch black kind of scared the crap of me to be honest.  We were one of the first ones off the mountain and the only thing that made the rustling in the bushes not so scary was the fact that we knew people were behind us somewhere!  

headlamp selfie!
Carol was much more sure of her footing since she hikes ALL the time so as she pretty much sped walked down the mountain while I jogged when I could and then took it slower other times.  My legs felt pretty good going down which was a welcome relief and then all of the sudden we were at the car.  I've never been so happy to see a car in my life.  

I would highly highly recommend this hike for the views alone, but as the days get shorter I would do this on a weekend if you don't want to climb down in the dark.  If our Fall is even half as good as our Summer I imagine there are still many more hiking weekends left before the rain and snow start coming in.  

And now whenever I drive over I-90 and see this peak I can be proud to know I hiked up that beast!

Question: Anyone else still hiking out there? Where should I go before the snow rolls in?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 Hood to Coast Relay - Part 3

Catch up on part 1 and part 2 and my love letter to Nuun and my teammates...if you want.

So, it's super super early Saturday morning and we are all sleeping as best we can in the van.  I got about an hour of shuteye before I woke up and briefly glanced at the clock...7:15...good, I still have an hour.  As I drifted back to sleep we were all VERY suddenly awoken by the lovely Leslie who proclaimed screamed "OMG, it's 9:15!!!"(I was supposed to be running by 8:45 FYI).  If you were walking by our van at that exact moment you would have seen 6 heads pop up in a nanosecond with terrified looks in their eyes.  I'm surprised none of us pulled a muscle.  I freaked out briefly until I remembered just glancing at the clock and proclaiming "NO, it's only 7:15!!" It is a good thing we all already loved Leslie way too much so no one seemed to care about their rude awakening ;).

I didn't really sleep much after that mostly because I was wondering what my stomach might do on my final 3.75 miles.  I got ready to run, ate half a banana and gulped down a Kona Cola Nuun.  My legs were HURTIN but I figured I had nothing to loose and might as well run all out since I could rest forever after.

At about 8:45AM Holly came screaming into the exchange and I was off on my final leg of Hood to Coast!

Do you like my totally un-matching outfit? Dressing after 1 hour of sleep isn't that easy!
My run was pretty uneventful, the scenery was pretty, and it was gently rolling hills most of the way.  My quads and calves hurt with every step (thanks leg 1!!) but I tried to leave everything on the road and give it all I had to finish strong.  I was actually pretty shocked I kept my pace right around 9:00 miles for the whole thing...thanks relay adrenaline!

I finished the 3.75 miles in 32:20 and was very thankful to be DONEZO!

Lisa being sneaky catching a pic of me checking off my last leg!
Since I didn't have to worry about stomach issues anymore I pretty much started inhaling all the van snacks!  I ran that whole run on pretty much an empty stomach from the day before so I was starving.  My adrenaline stayed strong and there was lots of cheering and power arches for the rest of my van!

Many power arches were needed for Dre...she literally climbed a mountain during her last leg!

We handed off to van 2 and just like that we were DONE!!

We proceeded directly to Seaside, checked into our amazing condo (thanks Nuun!!) and proceeded directly to beer and fried food...sweet victory!  We cheered Team Watermelon into the finish, took some obligatory ocean photos and waited for Team Lemonade to finish.

Team Lemonade Van 1 on the beach
 Pretty much exactly on predicted time, Holly anchored in Team Lemonade just before 6PM for a total relay time of 28:45:31, good enough for 9th in Women's Open!! The finish line was a madhouse and we actually didn't get to run through but had to wait in a giant group and be herded like cows to be announced as was pretty anti-climatic.  We were shuttled through to get our medals and finish photo...which I stole of course ;)
With over a 1000 teams finishing that have not 1 but 4 backdrops!

I'm not gonna lie, I got a little sad for it all to end. My whole van was starting to feel the sadness and we decided we basically needed to spend every minute we could together for the rest of our time in Seaside.  We partied with all the teams for a while but then had some romantic time for just the six of us with legs up the wall, ice cream, and fireworks before crashing HARD in a real bed!  I feel lucky to have met a group of 35 amazing women, but the bonds created with just the 6 of us during our 30+ hours in a van together are seriously unbreakable and I wish I could hang out with all of them every weekend!  Luckily, now I have 5 other BFF's that live around the country to visit!

Hood to Coast was an experience of a lifetime and after doing only Ragnar relays it is definitely different!  I hope to do a post on that in the near future because minus the whole running a 200 mile relay they are really different experiences.

For now I'll wrap up this whole experience by thanking Nuun once again for letting me part of the family for the weekend and my offer to run relay with you every single weekend still stands!

Question: Who wants to try and get a team for the 2014 Hood to Coast Relay together??!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Hood to Coast Relay - Part 2

Sorry for the many days between recaps, I know you all were dying to know about leg 2 as soon as you finished leg 1 right? ;)  Well Labor Day weekend happened and I didn't want to do anything on the computer so I didn't.

Catch up on part 1 here and my vanmates here.  And warning, there is lost of code brown talk here...TMI if you aren't a runner and don't talk about this on a regular basis with every single one of your running friends!

So we left off after all of van 1 ran their first legs. We ended up finishing around the time of Team Watermelon van 1 so we all went off to find dinner together.  We hit up Hopworks pub in Portland after I did some research and found all our dietary restrictions could be met there.  I was NOT feeling well at this point. I was chugging water and coke to stay hydrated and caffeinating and was praying some food would help...well it didn't.  I ate half a quinoa salad and honestly felt even worse after and was wondering how on earth I would be able to run 7.3 miles in a couple hours.

As we drove to the next major exchange at Oaks Park I just began to feel worse. The second we pulled into the parking lot I jumped out of the car and began visiting the port-o-potty on a regular basis (code brown).   I honestly have no idea why I felt so horrible! I decided I just needed to up my mental game and suck it up since I was running regardless.

Attempting to put mind over matter...
My stomach was my no means feeling any better when Holly handed off to me around 10:30PM  but I set out on my 7.3 mile journey hoping that running would make me feel sort of did.  I ran the first 3 miles on the Springwater Trail which was a paved trail that was honestly a little scary. There were railroad tracks on one side and a river on the other and there were NOT many runners around me.  I just kept my light pointed forward and ran on.

Like this, but DARK (source)
I knew I  wouldn't see my team the whole time since I wasn't really on roads for most of the run so I settled into a decent 9:30ish pace hoping not to go too fast to upset my stomach.  By the time I came off the trail and was running in an industrial type area my stomach was NOT happy with me (code brown again...really?).  Thanks to the port-o-potty gods that be there was a super random port-o-potty right before I made my way onto the Portland waterfront.  I don't know why it was there but I'm SOOO thankful it was open, clean, and had TP...thanks Portland!  It was life changing and I felt a million times better after that.

Miles 3-6ish were along the Portland waterfront which should have been peaceful and beautiful but it was becoming that time of night where questionable characters come out and one crazy person stopped me dead in my tracks and forced me to wait to for the runner behind me to catch up so I felt more save.

NOTE TO HOOD TO COAST PLANNERS - You MUST have a couple of police officers/security officers/something on the Portland waterfront during night hours until every single runner has ran through!

Ran all along that! (source)

I did get a high five from a skateboarder, many "nice skirt!" comments and even a bicycle rider who played his harmonica for me while riding past so it was all terrifying.

After being relatively scared for my safety for most of the run I just wanted it to be over with so I booked it during the last mile and a half down a pretty deserted road.  I was so happy to see the exchange and my teammates and was really happy to be DONE with that run!

Add a couple minutes to that for the "break" I took mid-run!
I was proud that I pushed through that run and there were a few moments where I felt a little peaceful being out there with the light of the moon, but most of all I was happy I was done and safe!  I chugged a Muscle Milk immediately since I pretty much had no food in my stomach and settled in to cheer my teammates on.  It was getting late now and we were getting silly...the best time of relays for sure!!

I should add that the weather was PERFECT during all of our runs! It never got freezing cold at night and I'm pretty sure we all wore shorts and tank tops for all our was glorious! 

Kristen rounded out our van and after talking in a half sleep daze with Van 2 we were immediately off to the next major exchange to try and catch some zzz.

Van 1 with Van 2's first runner, Kim!
Everyone immediately passed out in the van (I don't blame them!), but I promised Jay I would stay awake to keep him awake and we started on our journey to the exchange.  We were calculating the time I thought "great! we should be able to get at least a few hours sleep before it's time to run again"!  WISHFUL THINKING.  Ever been somewhere with bumper to bumper traffic at 4AM? Come to Hood to Coast. I'm pretty certain it took us about an hour+ longer to get to the exchange because of the giant line of vans waiting to get into the exchange!

Sort of bonus? We got to see the sun rise...

By the time I literally just put my feet up on the dash of the van and went to sleep it was probably almost 6AM...and we had an 8:15 alarm set :(.  But don't worry, a certain teammate woke us all up suddenly at 7:15...more on that in the final installment!