The Week Before My Half Marathon: Prepping My Running Playlist

View of Fort Mason and the Bay from the running trail
Getting a sunset 5.5-miler in near Fort Mason in San Francisco

It’s coming! It’s coming! My half marathon (affectionately referred to as “Halfsie #2”) is just around the corner, and I can’t wait!

I’ve been training for a half marathon for the last two and a half months, and I am very excited to see what I can do on Sunday at the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Half marathon training is never easy, and I don’t think anyone ever really feels like they did enough to prepare. I missed a few runs, cut a few short, and didn’t stick to my Nike Training Plan as well as I intended, so I’m a little curious—and by curious, I mean anxious—to see how I’ll actually do on race day.

Until then, I’m just trying to stay hydrated, rest a bit, and prep the all-important race-day playlist.

I enjoy running without music while trail running and when speed isn’t the goal. However, during a race, I need a really good beat and a killer running music playlist to keep me going and pump me up through each mile.

Are you looking for some new running music? Check out my list of current favorites below, and let me know if you have any good songs that I should add to my playlist.

Running Songs:

Bang Bang –

Jealous (I Ain’t With It) Dillon Francis Remix – Chromeo

You Make Me – Avicii

Delta – C2C

Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars

Comme Un Enfant (Freaks Radio Mix) – Yelle

i – Kendrick Lamar

All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

Don’t – Ed Sheeran

Miss Jackson – Panic! At the Disco (featuring Lolo)

Happy running (and dancing)!

Resolutions for Happy Health

My Resolutions for Happy HealthI’m a firm believer that health starts with happiness. When you satisfy your mental, emotional, and physical needs, happiness manifests itself as good health.

These are my personal resolutions for happy health that I created about a year ago. I’ve referred to this list whenever I’ve felt “off-track,” and, honestly, in a world where it’s too easy to get lost in everyone else’s constantly changing health advice, it’s been refreshing to remind myself that, fundamentally, these 10 resolutions make sense for my body and being.

Do you have a similar list of health goals or resolutions? What’s on your list?

Here are my basic “Resolutions for Happy Health:”

1. Move. As much as you can.

2. Love and respect what God has given you to work with.

3. Strength is sexy.

4. Sweat is a beautiful thing.

5. Sunshine is a cure-all.

6. Lean protein, veggies & fruit…always.

7. Make time for yourself.

8. Water = life.

9. Stress less and practice patience.

10. Push yourself mentally so that you can go the extra mile physically.

(Originally posted on What She Makes)

My Longest Run to Date: 14 Miles DONE!

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from my run
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from my run

In March, I completed by first half marathon by running 13.1 miles in the Oakland Running Festival. In training for it, I didn’t run more than 11 miles, and by mile 10 on race day it was clear that I should have bumped up the distance on my long runs. With 3 miles left, my body began to exhaust, and all I could think about during miles 11 and 12 was how badly I wanted to just stop and give up. Fortunately, I didn’t give up, and I still beat my goal time. However, I promised myself that I’d make sure I had enough gas in the tank to finish my next half marathon strong.

So when I began training for Halfsie #2, I planned to log two 14 mile runs, and several 12-milers to get myself feeling much more comfortable with the 13.1 distance.

Well…(if you couldn’t already tell from the title of this post)…I’m happy to say I finished my first 14 mile run yesterday evening, which is also my longest run to date! Happy dance x14!

My 14 mile route through San Francisco
My route through San Francisco

I won’t lie; it wasn’t easy for me. I’ve felt really good about my two 12-milers accomplished so far this training schedule, but this longer distance felt significantly more difficult. Those two last miles always seem to kick me in the butt, but I’m still super proud of myself for finishing. I’m expecting my next 14 mile run and subsequent 12 to feel easier, and hopefully I’ll be able to PR my upcoming half. (Fingers crossed.)

Yeah, like I said, I was really tired when I finished and not feeling particularly photogenic…

Me after my 14 mile run
“Just give me Gatorade, and nobody will get hurt.”

Fortunately, I like to treat myself to a good meal when I complete a long run. A couple slices of Zachary’s gluten-free pizza and a glass of red wine was just what I needed to round out the day and feel on top of the world.

Slice of Zachary's pizza
Best. Pizza. Ever.

And the best part of running on a Friday evening? A run-free Saturday morning. I got to curl up with a book, a cup of coffee, and my cat instead of hitting the trail this morning. Perfection.

Reading a book with coffee and my cat


Inspiration: Run & Be Happy

Run and be happy. Original drawing of girl running along the beach.


Whenever I have a long run planned for a Saturday morning, I find myself dragging out my morning routine as long as possible, like a kid stalling to go to bed at night. It’s not uncommon to take slower sips of coffee, reluctantly switch out my PJs for a running tee hours later than I had planned, and suddenly realize that my sock drawer totally needs to be reorganized before the world can keep spinning, let alone before my morning run can commence. As much as I love running, the struggle to sometimes start a run is REAL.

However, once Michel pushes me out the door and I start putting one foot in front of the other, running, once again, becomes fun. It seriously just takes a few steps, a few slow strides, before I realize how good running makes me feel and how fortunate I am to have good health, as well as the time and means to cultivate it.

Whether I’m reflecting on my day, coming up with new ideas, or simply not thinking about anything and getting lost in my own thoughtless void, running makes me happy. And no matter what the distance, I finish up brimming with endorphins and feeling proud of myself for just getting outside and moving my body.

Just like in life, getting out the door and taking the first step is the most challenging. My goal for this weekend’s long run is to be conscious of that, channel the happiness I feel while running, and just put one foot in front of the other.

Do you have running goals for this weekend or upcoming week? What motivates you to start your run?


Labor Day Trip to Oregon

Even when you don’t have a full-time job, a 3-day weekend is a gift from God.

For Labor Day, Michel and I took a road trip up to Oregon to visit my mom and spend some time in Portland. I was supposed to run 14 miles on Saturday (my longest run ever), but somehow that just didn’t fit in with beer and coffee drinking, burger eating, and family time. Oops…

I did, however, buy two new pairs of running shoes (hello, sales tax-free Oregon!) and Haruki Murakami’s memoir on writing and running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.


My new kicks - Nikes and Sauconys
My new kicks – Nikes and Sauconys
worn out and new Nikes
I can’t believe I wore my first Nikes out so badly!

I seriously needed new shoes, and now is the perfect time to break them in before next month’s half marathon. Plus, I had to get two pairs, because my mom taught me to never turn down a BOGO shoe sale.

Besides shopping for shoes and books, my mini-getaway was amazing, naturally. I spent time with my mom and family dog, Angus, explored Portland with Michel, and enjoyed so many delicious calories.

Portland, Oregon Sign


My mom and dog, Angus
My mom and Angus. (I swear we only made him wear that red hat for the photo.)
Me and Michel
Michel and I hanging out at Bella Organic Farm

Oh yeah, and Michel got to hold puppies and this teensy kitten.

The cutest thing we’ve ever seen

Taking days off is sometimes necessary not just for physical health, but for mental and emotion health. Stepping away from my routine to spend time with loved ones in a new setting reinvigorated my spirit and allowed me to recharge for this month. I feel rejuvenated now that we’re back and ready to tackle this week’s work and running plan, as well as my monthly and long-term goals.

Running & Drawing with the Nike+ App

The solution to running route boredom has presented itself to me in the shape of a stripper sliding down Sunset Blvd..

stripper Nike+
Picture: @clairewyckoff

Have you heard the buzz about the woman who uses her love of all things funny and phallic to run across San Francisco?

Claire Wyckoff uses the Nike+ running app to draw aerial doodles of Atari Space Invaders, corgis and even penises. She then posts her masterpieces to her Tumblr along with hilarious captions.

space invader
Picture: @clairewyckoff

My personal favorite? Slimer from Ghostbusters spanning the East side of Golden Gate Park.

slimer running app
Picture: @clairewyckoff

Without a little creativity, trying to get mid-long runs in around a city can be a challenge. Personally, I can only run around Lake Merritt so many times before wanting to give everything up and stop at The Boat House for drinks instead. 

Kudos to this running pioneer who probably just inspired a whole lot of people (including myself) to make their runs a little more fun. Maybe our friends will actually look forward to seeing our 10-milers in their Facebook and Twitter feeds if they are shaped like a giant game of PacMan? 

All I know is that I’ve never been so excited to try out a new running route this week. 

30 Day Burpee Challenge

On Monday, I began a 30 Day Burpee Challenge. This sadistic self-dare will force me to perform an increasing number of burpees each day over the course of one month, with the goal of completing 100 on the final day (B-Day). I did the math, and my total burpee count over 30 days will be 1300. (*Insert disgusted grunt here.*)

I just finished Day 3, and so far so good. However, my daily quota will quickly escalate, and I anticipate many, many sore days this month. (No pain, no gain, right?)

Don’t know what a burpee is? Besides being the exercise that everyone loves to hate, it’s an effective bodyweight exercise that works your abs, arms and legs. There are a few variations, but the version I’m most familiar with is as follows:

1. Start in standing position, and crouch down into a squat, with your hands touching the ground.

2. Kick your feet back into a plank position.

3. Pull your feet back into a squat, and jump straight up into the air as high as you can.

4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I’ll be sure to give updates on my progress, and I encourage you to challenge yourself too! Misery loves company!!!

Wish me luck!