These Shoes

adidas

These shoes have witnessed more miles this year than any others in the past 2 years combined. That isn’t saying much as the past two years I never got out of the double digits for the whole year but it’s a start. Gad to finally be getting out the door and on my feet. Now I’m just hoping that I can keep it up. Yesterday’s run wasn’t a pretty one, in fact most of them haven’t been recently, but right now that isn’t the point. Just getting any kind of miles in is a win in my book.

Have my first track workout coming up and it should be a good one. 10 minute warmup followed by 2 mile of straights and curves. Lately my stamina has been non-existent but I’m not focusing on what I used to be.

(Side note) I also took the plunge and bought myself a pair of Women’s Lululemon tights (Inspire Tight ii (Mesh)). I was looking for Men’s but they didn’t have  any in the store. I don’t care what anyone thinks, tights are tights and these felt amazing so if it fits… It was a little weird at the store since I did get nervous and told them they were for someone else so I wasn’t able to try them on but I was glad they fit when I home (phew).

Back on the Lake

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Finally made my way back on the Town Lake trail in Austin after a LONG hiatus. This was the place where I first fell in love with running a few years ago. Today I was reminded why.

There is really nothing quite like retracing your footsteps down a trail that means so much to you after some time away. The Town Lake trail was a place that I used to visit religiously. I would spend hundreds of miles over thousands of days contemplating everything and nothing at all at the same time as I’d push myself further than I ever thought I could around a lake at the center of Austin Texas. It was here where I’d push myself during my first few runs ever to run 3 miles without stopping. From the very first time I stepped foot on the trail all I wanted to do was discover what it had in store for me as I discovered a few things about myself.

Over the past year I haven’t stepped foot on the trail and the year before that I can’t say I’ve spent more than 5 miles on it in total. Until yesterday. I was reminded of a lot of things about myself and why I started running. Some of it was therapeutic but most of it was trying to see how far I could push myself. When it started it was about completing the 3 mile loop, then the 10 mile loop, then trying to see how fast I can do both. I haven’t felt the desire to do this in quite some time and I’m glad to finally have this feeling back.

A lot of you probably haven’t followed me from the beginning of my running journey through my old blog but I used to be this running fiend always thinking of my next running fix. After a short while it all stopped and I am now trying to bring all the pieces together and continue to focus on the drive that I used to have. It is days like yesterday where I see glimpses of it. I stop focusing on what is going on at work or the fact that my miles are 3 minutes slower on average than usual. I even forget that I’ve put on quite a few pounds over the past months and just focus on my breathing and putting one foot in front of the other like the old day. Pushing forward (literally) and seeing how far these crazy legs can take me.

Q&A: Kate Grace

Kate Grace2.jpg

pc: Jeff Cohen

I was able to catch up with Oiselle’s, Kate Grace, as her season heats up and she heads into the Olympic Trials. We touched on the journey from injury to becoming one of the top 800 / 1500 runners, workouts, advice, drum lessons and soup nights.

You’ve had an incredible comeback from injury in the past few months. What are some of the factors that led to you overcoming your injury and lighting the track on fire?

I was injured January – May 2015. So it was a long road back. I moved to Sacramento in July to train with NorCal Distance (NCD). I finally started feeling myself in workouts in late October/early November. As for factors that lead me to turn my situation around and comeback strong this year?

1. A great support team of coach, teammates, mentors. People who can give me straight advice, improve my strengths, and complement (not compliment) my weaknesses (so, limit the impact of the areas of my personality that always seem to impede on training). I’d also include the support of Oiselle in there. My sponsor that stuck with me through a hard time, when I wasn’t giving great results, or being a great representative.

2. Strong personal conviction and accountability. This was a big area of growth last year. At one point, I can whine all I want about people not believing in me, not giving me a chance, not pushing me hard enough, etc etc. Last year it finally clicked that no one will ever believe in me as much as I do, and it’s up to me to show them exactly what I see. That I have to hold myself accountable to the highest standards, because there is no one to blame but myself if I am falling short.

Currently dealing with low after an injury myself, what are some things that helped get you past the low points of dealing with injuries?

Oof. Anything that makes you feel happy! For me, that means getting a bit of distance from the runner culture. Seek out other friends, or activities that aren’t run-centric. Focus on a different hobby (I took drum lessons), and a different means of exercise (I think you’re in to Yoga. I took up Bikram because those poses didn’t aggravate my foot). Keep social to keep from getting depressed! We started a weekly soup night tradition at the house in Bend. It was a great way to always have something on the calendar. They’ve continued it this year!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the past year?

Hehe, see first question. Also, I guess realizing that it doesn’t get easier. Training, I mean. Normal runs do feel good if you’re in shape. But a hard workout or a fast run, that will always hurt. I used to think that at one point a switch would flip, and I’d feel smooth and great on everything. Feel how Dibaba looks… effortless. I learned that if I was feeling that way in workouts, it probably meant I wasn’t trying hard enough. Improvement comes when it hurts. I’ve learned to chase after that feeling. Even if it can be a bit scary in the moment.

What is your go-to tune-up workout before a big race?

Changes every time depending on the race. And it’s changed a lot over the years with different coaches. The pattern now is a workout 3 days out. Nothing super hard, it’s reps that simulate different places in the race. Then an easy 5-6 miles the next day, and travel and pre-race routine the day before the race. Kim (Conley) has a nice overview of a standard week lead-up on her blog (http://kimfconley.com/pre-race-routines/).

What has been your most memorable race this season so far?

I enjoy all my races! I guess the Hoka Distance Classic 1500. I got to see my high school coach and girls who are current athletes on his team. It was a PR for me, and fun to do it with old friends watching. Also, I was traveling alone for a lot of earlier races, so at that meet we had a lot of the NCD team together, and Drew, our coach.

If you had a day off from your everyday responsibilities, describe how you would spend it.

Wanna know a secret? I hate days off. Not that I hate off days, I actually really enjoy a break from running. We get one about every two weeks now. But, I tend to fill that time with errands and emails and to do list items. But I’m not great at unstructured hang time. It makes me anxious. I know, that being able to rest is necessary. I’m really good at naps. But I’d rather take a nap and then go do something. I guess if I was required to not do any projects or responsibilities, I’d want an adventure of some kind, or learning experience. Discover a new place, maybe learn about it’s history, take a tour, go to a museum, go to a play, eat good things, drink yummy cappuccinos, have some bit of nature in there. Either a city park, or something further afield. And all of this with my closest friends (not a ton of people, I would just want to be around people I love).

Dinner with three people?

Oof. I’ll just do living bc at least that narrows it down. And it’s always changing. Right now… Leana Wen, Podcast people… Stephen Dubner or Rad Abumrad, Questlove.

But lets be real I would have to do so much research before having a conversation with any of them!

Others that popped to mind: Michelle Obama, the Pope, Cara Delevegine, Paul Farmer, Jeff Bezos, Chelsea Clinton

If you could give one piece of advice to any runner, what would it be?

Have at least one run a week where you really enjoy it. Go slow, do not look at pace, stop as many times as you want, listen to music (or not). This could be a short double or something, I just think having that reset is necessary, for mind and body.
If you’re training for something, get a plan that you can stick to, either from a coach or a trusted source, and execute the workouts. And also be flexible as life happens. If you blow up more than a few times, don’t get discouraged, most likely something should be tweaked in the plan.

What is your current favorite mantra?

Fortune favors the bold

Current favorite song?

It’s hard to pick one, I’m always updating. Four favotires from my May playlist… Strive by A$AP Ferg, 24/7 by Kehlani, Living by VERITE, I Need a Forest Fire by James Blake. For albums to cook or clean to… Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats