Thursday, April 22, 2021

Culture Shocked: Pacing Myself Back Into the World

Sera and Mike Shocked

It's been 400 days?!

Sera in IllumiNITE Vigor Singlet;
Synergy Headband

Today is Earth Day! Today is also Covid-19 Quarantine Day number 400! That's 400 days since the world shut down due to the pandemic. 400 days with no races, music concerts, writing conferences, indoor dining or shopping, parties, or family gatherings. 400 days of social isolation. 

Yet, somehow, the idea that the world is rapidly opening up feels like The Earth is spinning way too fast. Wait, what do you mean the marathon we signed up for in 2019 is now happening at the end of August?! Wait, what do you mean we qualify for the vaccine? We can actually get it NOW? Wait! What do you mean we'll start traveling on trains and airplanes again?

wall map of the world with push pins
Close-up of our wall map; can't wait
to add more pins to it!

Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that millions of people are getting vaccinated every day. And I am thrilled that the world is opening up again. 

So thrilled, in fact, we booked a trip for this fall to hike the Grand Canyon—Rim to Rim!—and then explore Las Vegas. I have never been to Arizona or Nevada before, and I am so excited to be doing both in one trip. I cannot wait to see Red Rock Canyon as well, and if it 's safe to do so, I'd love to see a live show again—Circe du Soleil

Mike and I both love to travel so much; it's been odd to be stationary in one space for so long. To pass the time, we've been dreaming about all the places we want to visit all over the world. We even bought ourselves a GIANT wall map with pins to track every place we visit.

Posing like a runner; Athens Authentic Marathon in Greece. Wearing IllumiNITE Vigor Singlet; Shortie
Mike took this photo of me during the 
Athens Authentic Marathon in Greece.
Wearing IllumiNITE Vigor Singlet; Shortie

But after being in complete isolation for more than a year, I suddenly feel ill-prepared. I am culture shocked! It is a strange feeling to have such conflicting emotions. I am trying my best to focus on the positive, but the anxiety lingers.

I must remind myself that just like marathon training, I must pace myself. I would never step outside my door and run 26.2 miles on a whim without training first or carrying water and fuel. Likewise, I don't need to reenter the world all at once. I can do it gradually.  Perhaps I'll start with having a couple people over in my backyard, still socially-distanced, now that the weather is getting warmer. Perhaps I'll eventually sit outside at a restaurant. Perhaps I'll sign up for another race. 

Sera in IllumiNITE Colorado Waterproof Rain Jacket;  3-in-1 Mitten; Mike in  Skull Cap; Ascent Parka
It is exciting to venture out into the world aagain!
Sera in IllumiNITE Colorado Waterproof Rain Jacket;
3-in-1 Mitten; Mike in  Skull Cap; Ascent Parka

Or not. I must also remind myself that I do not have to drastically change the lifestyle I've adopted when this pandemic shut everything down. I can take it one day at a time; one decision at a time; and before I know it, I will cross that finish line into this new world, which will feel similar yet never the same as it was—and perhaps that's a good thing. 

Happy Earth Day!  Let's shine bright as we re-enter the world! As a special treat, IllumiNITE is offering 15% off your order on April 22. Just use code Earth21 to get any of the gear shown in this post— and so much more! You can also use my discount code Sera15 for 15% off your IllumiNITE order any time! 

Masking up before heading out; Sera in IllumiNITE Ambition Hoodie (on sale now!)
Masking up before heading out;
Sera in IllumiNITE Ambition Hoodie
(on sale now!)

Do you have anxiety about the world opening back up? 

Are you excited?

What is the first thing you want to do? 

Share a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spring MarathonTraining: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Foggy, rainy morning for our run; but we stayed bright 
and dry in IllumiNITE's Colorado Jacket and Squall Jacket

Marathon Training has commenced, and it has been rough, rough, rough. I'm at that beginning all over again where running just two miles feels like a death sentence. I'm at the stage where I wonder how on earth did I manage to run for three, four, five hours on end and then jump into a social activity afterwards without any issues. But that's the beauty of running. Am I rusty from taking off most of the winter because my couch was too cozy to leave? Yes! But....will my body remember that it can handle a marathon? Also, Yes! Eventually.

I equate my spring marathon training to the children's analogy for the month of March: It comes in like a lion—with everything muscle in my body roaring like a lion and my lungs heaving. But this rough start also means that it will go out like a lamb—with every muscle bounding through the air without a care in the world. If it wasn't difficult to get back into it, running wouldn't feel so rewarding when I hit my goals.

I love our coordinating pullovers: Inspire and Early Riser;
even their names fit our personalities! And, our Headband
and Multi-Wrap keep the wind out of our ears!

It doesn't help that I have a rotator cuff injury, or that my back has been spasming, and my knee decided to shift out of place for a week. Getting old is no fun at all. Wait! I'm not getting old! I'm just out of practice. Okay, phew! I've been consistently doing my stretches and exercises to heal my shoulder and strengthen my back, as I mentioned in my last blog post. And since Mike and I really are out of practice, I started us off slowly with Hal Higdon's 15k Novice Training plan because it really starts with the basics: just two miles to start, gradually adding miles each week until we hit our 15k—that's 9.32 miles! Miraculously, this training transitions perfectly into Hal Higdon's Novice Marathon Training plan (with a minor adjustment) to meet our marathon goal at the end of August. New England Green River Marathon—here we come! I'm surprised Mike is willing to run another marathon with me after running his first and only marathon—The Athens Authentic Marathon, with a whopping 20 miles of hills! Due to the pandemic, Green River was postponed from last year to this year. I hope that Mike falls in love with running marathons this time—Green River has a 1,450 feet elevation drop—it's the least I could do to redeem myself. Athens was so difficult (but rewarding)!

Repping our love for mountains with
IllumiNITE's Love Tee and Vision Pullover
Once we're back in shape, we'll be double-downing on our long runs, adding in the half-mileage the day before or after (for example, if we run 18 miles on Saturday, we run or hike 9 miles on Sunday) to prepare us for Ghost Train Ultramarathon in the fall. I really want to do 45 miles before my 45th birthday, over the course of two days. Mike is a trooper and agreed to run 30 of those miles with me. It's all very theory. Right now, I'm really wishing this lion would get off my back so I can feel as free as that cute little lamb frolicking in the fields.

I'm obsessed with my playlist that has only songs related
to jets and flying...and with my phone secured in
my shorts side really keeps me moving!
How do I keep myself motivated when running feels so laborious? I've created some pump-me-up Spotify playlists to listen to as I run, and I take advantage of all my fun Illuminite* clothing and accessories that are perfect for New England's unpredictable spring weather. Every running day, I check the weather. Do I need my lightweight, waterproof rain jacket? My short sleeve shirt with my separate sleeves? My jammer shorts with the deep side pocket for my phone? Or my performance fleece and Velocity Gloves to keep me warm? Anything goes in these early spring months. But that just adds to the fun of it all.

So, yes. It's normal for legs to feel like lead with every step, and lungs to feel like deflated balloons, and the throat to feel on fire from breathing heavy. It's normal for two miles to feel like 100 miles and for clothes to not quite fit the same and for the brain to feel all foggy. Soon, the groove will come back and 15 miles will fly by in a blink, and it will be summer and warm and all will be right in the world again. 

IllumiNITE's Velocity Mittens are lightweight and warm,
and their bright color makes them so fun to wear!

The most important thing to remember: just like March, spring marathon training may feel like the beast of the lion, but soon you WILL find that peaceful bliss of the lamb.

What races are you signed up for? 

What are your tricks and tips to get you moving again now that it's spring? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below!

*Get 15% off your order at with my discount code RunBrightly15.

Weather You Run This Summer

The first time I signed up for the Mike cooling down near the end of our 13-mile run. IllumiNITE's Endeavor Tank and Long Running Shorts...