Thursday, September 29, 2011

So I ran a marathon...

 Half Moon Bay International Marathon - September 25, 2011
Pre-race hang out.  Waiting for the sun to rise.

Aid station at mile 2.5 before "Heartbreak Hill"
Running strong through mile 20

Crossing over...

Finish line of my first marathon!

Trying to stay warm after it's all over!

CheckpointTime of DayChip TimeChip PaceGun TimeGun Pace
13.1 Mile9:10:07.0AM02:09:5000:09:5502:10:0700:09:56
17.4 Mile9:57:33.7AM02:57:1600:10:1202:57:3400:10:13
Overall: 82 of 111
Female: 31 of 44
Female 20-29: 6 of 7

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Giant Race recap

I LOVE baseball, and more specifically, I love the Giants.  I did not start loving them in October of 2010.  No, I started loving them when I moved to California in 2004, moved in with a dude who loves baseball and has the world record for farthest object ever thrown (not a baseball), and who also had a television and cable.  I've always loved baseball, thanks to my dad who taught me how to swing a whiffle bat as soon as I could walk.  Summer evenings after dinner found my whole family in the side yard playing two-on-two whiffle ball until it was dark.  I joined ponytail softball, and then little league where I played as the only female in the entire league until 8th grade.  I can throw hard and far, and hit home runs.  I haven't played much since then, but ball is always fun and always on our summer evening barbecue to-do list.

So that's me and baseball.  Last summer when I found out the San Francisco Giants were hosting a 5/10k and a 1/2, I was so excited.  Couldn't pull it off last summer, but this summer I lured both non-runner sisters into running with me, with promises of Tim Lincecum bobbleheads at the finish line for all.

The Giants haven't been doing so well this half of the season, so we were doubtful of actually witnessing a win.  We watched the Friday evening game against the Astros and won in typical Giants fashion.  The racer's expo was at the stadium that night and it was then and there I decided to downgrade my entry from the 1/2 to the 5k and run with my sisters.  Switching was no problem, but I obviously didn't get any money back.  Bummer.
Saturday morning dawned cloudy and slightly chilly.  Perfect running weather if you ask me.  We hopped on the muni that runs down the Embarcadero to AT&T Park.  We made a quick pit-stop for pre-run donuts and coffee, and continued to the start, located in the stadium parking lot.  The racers started in 3 waves, which allowed us time to chat, mill around and get chilly.  We also passed RIGHT by Matt Cain, my all-time favorite player!  Highlight of the day!

We ran a decent pace in the beginning, and I noticed we were too fast to maintain an actual running pace for 3.1, so I tried to reign us in for the sake of youngest seester.  Nonetheless, she called it good at around 1 mile and put in some time walking.  We got her going again and she made the turn.  She really wanted to walk again, and I told her we could walk while under the Bay Bridge, which was a perfect 1 or 2 minute break.  Amazingly, she made it to the finish line without walking again, and we had a blast.
My results:
Overall:  2060 out of 3487
Women:  1138 out of 2141
F 25-29:  329 out of 506
Age/Grade:  37.50% Place: 2084
Finish:  39:29 Pace: 12:43
Tag Time:  39:29
Gun Time:  45:13
39:29 is obviously a huge underachievement for me, but is also a 5k PR!  First and only, baby.  My foot hurt pretty much the whole race, and the whole rest of the day after that.  I was glad I didn't run 13.1 miles, but also really disappointed, as I had been anticipating the Half for a long time. 

And finally, the finish was a major major clusterfuck.  Granted, all my races have been really small so far and I have no comparison.  However, The 5k started 1.5 hours after the 1/2 and 10k, which means a majority of the 1/2 marathoners are trying to cross the finish line at the same time as 3000 mediocre/walking 5k runners.  Combine this with a finish chute the width of the warning track and you have a finish line FAIL.  It took us 5 minutes to cross the finish line, another 30 minutes to make it off the field and up into the stadium, another 30 minutes to get our finishers food, T and bobblehead... not fun.  No time or room to stretch post-race, just stand-still crowds milling in cattle-chute isles.  Oh well.

Post run we had delicious mexican food and beers at the Ferry Building and walked the Saturday Farmer's Market.  Giants won again that night, and the weekend was a success!

August Fail

August = grappling with disappointment. I wish I had been able to keep up with blogging and running and dailymile while dealing with my injury but I couldn't bring myself to check any of it.

I took a vacation to Jackson for a friend's wedding and skipped two low milage weekly runs.  I had a 12 miler scheduled the day after my return, and ran it just fine - felt great, in fact!  Two days later I ran 5 miles at a faster-than-usual clip (August 15).   I felt 100% fine after the run, but woke up in the middle of the night to pee, stood up and gasped at the pain.  I could barely walk to the bathroom.  Woah. 

I did the next planned run at the health club alternating 'mill and elliptical.  I also JUST got my new shoes in the mail.  I tried another super-slow 3 miler which was a fail.  Another stint at the health club resulted in 2 full hours on the elliptical.  Boring.

I decided to downgrade my 13.1 Giant Race entry to a 5k race entry (a $95 5k!!!!!!!!!!).  This was a mixed blessing because I got to run the race with my seesters, but had major disappointment.  I'll recap the 5k in another post, but at one point during that weekend the pain became so intense I thought for sure I had just experienced a fracture.

I did another 2 hour stint at the Health Club upon return from the City, and have since logged 3 runs of increasing distance.  The pain is lessening and almost gone.  I've started icing my feet in a bucket after ever run, no matter how short.  I've been stretching my arches and NEVER going barefoot (not that I went barefoot at all really before this injury). 

I believe my injury is Plantar Fasciitis, but don't really know.  I thought it was a stress fracture, but don't believe the pain would be lessening if that were the case.  It could have been caused by my old shoes that had just over 500 miles on then.  It could have been running too fast.  It could have been skipping two runs.  It could have been walking barefoot on a fragile foot. 

It's been a difficult month to bear, and I feel apprehensive about my marathon, which happens in 19 days.  I've skipped a total of three long runs: 19, 13 and 20. This is difficult to swallow because it happened so far out from my actual marathon that my last month of training is tapering instead of peaking.  I've wrestled with skipping the marathon - deferring to next year, downgrading to the half - but decided to just do it.  I've read so many inspirational stories of people who run marathons and just finish them.  I will have to walk, no doubt.  I will have to throw away any and all expectations of time.  I will have to hold my head up high and enjoy the day despite my training not going to plan.  I will have to decide if I want to go through all this again and give myself another shot at running a marathon injury free.  

August Recap

Miles Planned/Ran: 92. Bummer. Several of these were elliptical miles.
Rest Days Planned/Taken: Way more taken than planned.
Highest Mileage Week: 35, in which I ran my first 18 miler.

Long Runs Planned/Ran: I think three really long ones were planned, only 1 was run.
Current Book: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. Excellent book.
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Ice cream and Beer. Two things that should not be on my consumables list.
Current Obsessions:
Thinking about moving out of the yurt. Where's all our stuff going to go?
Current Drink: water, coffee and home-brewed iced tea - Oh, and Clifshot electrolyte lemonade.
Current Song: That 'Light it up, like it's dyn-a-mite" song
Current Wish-List:
A day off, sleeping in, a massage, a huge homemade veggie burger with onion rings, a Patagonia down vest, a shower, a hot tub, etc.
Current Need: A place to stay in Half Moon Bay during the marathon.
Current Triumph:
Still rocking away on the house. Main room floor + cabinet + granite countertops installed by 9/1, bathroom and bedroom flooring to follow!
Current Bane of my Existence:
Major, major stress about my foot. I think I've diagnosed plantar fasciitis, and it prevented two long runs this past month.
Current Goal:
Finish the Half Moon Bay Marathon. Enough said.
Current Blessings:
Foot pain that has ~lessened~ with huge amounts of rest, ice, arnica massage and HOPE.
Current Excitement:
Hmmm. Brunch next Sunday at the Westport Hotel? Moving out of the yurt? My MARATHON?

Monday, August 15, 2011

5k run/race

Last Wednesday I did a practice 5k with my seester for the 30th birthday Virtual Race.

She + other seester are running the 5k Giant's Race in SF in two weeks, while I run the 1/2. We took it soooo slow. We walked several times. I would hardly call it a race (for me) but it was outstanding to be running with my sedentary seester, who I know is just doing this running thing because she appreciates me and wants to spend time with me. She'd much rather be watching a movie and baking cupcakes, but I try to convince myself that she enjoyed her time on the run.

I told her we would just try & make it to the 1 mile mark, which she did with no problems. I could tell she would have gone out much faster if I hadn't held her back. I reminded her to drop her arms below 90 degrees to help relax. We walked for 1/2 a mile, and then turned around. When we were back at the 1 mile mark we ran with only one quick walking stop about 1/2 mile from the finish. Overall she was super, and we celebrated by jumping in the Snake River to cool our legs and refresh our faces.

So, this was hardly a race, but many many people enter 5 and 10k's (even marathons!) with the intention of walking, and simply doing the best they can. I'm proud of her for running with me, and appreciate that she goes WAY out of her comfort zone to run with me, Because I Love It!

Monday, August 1, 2011

July Recap

Miles Planned/Ran: Holy Lord. 130.
Rest Days Planned/Taken: All of them. I love rest days.
Highest Mileage Week: 33

Long Runs Planned/Ran: 5
Current Book: Ultramarathon Man- Dean Karnazes, and Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Eating too much for no reason
Current Obsessions:
getting to Jackson for Jenny's wedding
Current Drink: water, coffee and home-brewed iced tea - Oh, and Clifshot electrolyte lemonade
Current Song: Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs - I love when it comes on the radio
Current Wish-List:
Can't think of anything new...need category seems more appropriate
Current Need: Running Shoes. It's time.
Current Triumph:
Finished the painting by August 1! Yay! Time for cabinets.
Current Bane of my Existence:
Stressing over our newly imposed move-out date for the yurt, and whether or not to go to JH
Current Goal:
Have at least two more property BBQs with friends/family, and log four days this month of strength training
Current Blessings:
My excellent family of Maia and E - we're such a great team
Current Excitement:
Peak volume training this week, and the Giants Race with family in S.F.

Lord Sorequad

Yippie Skippy. Just ran 5 miles on the Home Trails (slang for Trails Around My Home). I think I kept a pretty good pace the whole time but didn't bother to use my GPS. I did two hill sprints, and several shorter intervals at 'pace'.

Quads. My quads were definitely feeling it on the uphills, and consistently at the end. Come to think of it, my quads have been pretty ripped and torn feeling since Friday. They're pretty sore - not in a fatigued P90x legs&back way, but in a ripped up way. I wonder if this is due to my lack of ice bath? Squatting is painful in a really really good way. I found myself squatting for a few seconds randomly throughout the weekend at work, just to feel the burn/release.

This is my highest volume week of marathon training, peaking at 36 miles. Looking forward to it!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Half Way Heaven

Congratulations! My marathon training is 8 weeks down, 8 weeks to go. I have run 203 miles so far since starting on June 6. This is the half way mark, baby.

Last night's 17 mile run was good mental practice. I hurdled several "walls" in my quest to finish all 6 'out'n'back' treks around the Headlands. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as hard as many of my other long runs have been.
  • I had a general plan for my run, which included the out'n'backs, as well as a pit stop for water/food at my mom's house. I planned on keeping track of mileage on the GPS and just running till it added up.
  • I fueled and hydrated well during the day - I ate granola w/ soy milk, a veggie frittata, several of the delicious protein cookies and oat bars I made on Thur., and a huge bowl of oatmeal with banana, blueberries, soy milk and walnuts about two hours prior.
  • I started my period yesterday morning but wasn't feeling 100% shitty like I normally do. I determined to not let it get me down and to just wun/ralk until I finished. I ended up only walking two or three times, and taking a 4 minute walking break at the half way point to fuel and grab my waterbottle.
  • This was my first long run following a step back week since I started my marathon training. I think it might have helped, and that step back weeks really serve a purpose during the last half of my training.
  • I completed 6 total out'n'backs, but really didn't want to do that last one. I think I hit a wall when I looked up and saw that all my friends were at the high school track playing disc golf and soccer. I had wanted those last two miles on the track for peace of mind but didn't want to see them all after 15 miles. So I grudgingly headed back out to the headlands, which turned out to be fine. So I conquered a wall.
  • I didn't ICE BATH! Gasp. I know, I should have. I have fallen off the ice bath wagon and need to get back on. My outdoor tub is so far away from our hot shower I'm not sure I could make it walking between the two with frozen legs!
That's all for now - I will post more than once this week.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome back, chocolate gel

Razz ClifShot gel is sick. I almost puked over it, AND it's CLEAR! Even sicker.

I love the mocha gel. I feel like I'm licking chocolate icing out of the container while I'm running and am so guilty. It's like eating chocolate butter. I can't get enough. Hopefully it will go well with the lemonade flavored clif shot electrolyte powder stuff I just bought a pound of, because it doesn't go well with my camelback tabs.

Do I need shotbloks as well as electrolyte replacement, or is that overkill?

My 15 miler was (get this!) my longest run ever. Man, did I feel great. I had a plan, which really helped my mental game, and took a ton of stress of me. I started at the parking lot of the Haul Road and was going to run 7.5 miles up. E was to ride down the mtn. bike trail from our house to mile 2.5 and ride up the road until he met me.

This was an awesome plan because it allowed me to run the first half alone, and then have something/one to look forward to. My nerves were calmed knowing he was coming - sometimes I get really tweaked out about mountain lions, freaky perverts, and unexpected marijuana farms.

A fork in the trail at 6.5 meant I made the turn early and had to add an extra mini out-&-back later on. No problem. At the start of mile 13 I knew it was time for the SLOG. I really did feel great up to that point, but the last three miles were "get 'er done" miles. I made a pact with myself to not walk. I could jog as slow as I needed, but no walking. It was fine, and I did it.

I did not take an ice bath, and didn't notice much of a difference in recovery. I know I had a hard time sleeping that night but I felt fine on Saturday. I'm so glad this is a step back week, and I vow really truly to do strength training.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How I Got My Mojo Back

Last week was rough. I had a 7 mile weekday run that I described as "hardest run of my life". Then my Friday 14 miler was possibly even worse. I chose a hectic and nonsensical route around the Headlands and then down and out on the Haul Road, where my garmin absolutely does not work. I was stressed about the mileage adding up, stressed about my exhaustion and pain, and stressed about the disgusting Razz flavored Gel I brought with me. Yuck.

This week, I decided to switch my approach. Firstly, I wrote down a paragraph of power. A mantra statement, if-you-will. Behold:
I am a runner - I run because I love it - I can run farther every day every week every month every year - My legs are powerful, my endurance is limitless - I run outside, I run in nature - I feel strong beautiful and fulfilled after every run - I am a runner - I run because I love it
Second, I did my first run of the week based on time, not miles; 40 minutes. I added a small, short hill half way through. Third, I decided it was high time I picked up my sorry-ass-pace and got back to my 9:30(-) roots. This revelation came to me within the first mile of my 7 miler as a strange guy in full track suit regalia passed me. And he seriously passed me. I felt so slow. As my GPS beeped 1 mile (10:07) I thought, pick up your damn legs and RUN. It worked. I clocked 9:24 on mile 2 and decided to keep things around 9:30 for the rest of the run.

Obviously once I started I couldn't stop. Mile 3 was 9:15, mile 4 was 9:02. Holy crap I felt great! NO PAIN - the most noticeable thing about this run once I picked up the pace. I knew there was no way I could break 9 so I decided to just feel good. 8:53. Who is this running? What did you do with the slow girl who's always in so much pain? I knew this couldn't be beat. 8:44. I finished mile 6 like I had just crossed the finish line for 26.2. I was SO excited and happy. I "cooled down" with 9:something.

After this rocking run I ordered 8 tacos and picked up a 6 pack, and E and I sat outside of the music festival tent listening to bluegrass, looking at the ocean, and stuffing our faces until someone graciously offered us their tickets at intermission. What a great night!

More about my 15 mile run later this weekend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Another Saturday

This week was a step-up week for me, and included two 4 milers, one 7 miler, and my longest run ever, a 14 miler. It was a tough week. I'm quite tired, and the 14 miler was one of my most difficult runs ever. I also joined a 30-day yoga challenge that has been mediocre at best. So...

I'm having constant thoughts that I'm doing something wrong. 14 miles yesterday was so hard I just can't believe that training could be so difficult. Perhaps I forget how hard it is to run a "farthest run ever"? I had to walk half a dozen times. My legs never felt fresh. Some part of my body hurt the whole time.

Am I eating wrong? Should I be cross training more/better? Do I need to stretch more? Is my body physiologically not cut out for these longer distances?


I took a wonderful ice bath after those tough miles and am so thankful for the posts of other seasoned runners on things like ice baths. I really need to do more research on eating better - perhaps that will help my long runs.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Recap

Miles Planned/Ran: 79 (highest mileage month ever! -- more of those to come)
Rest Days Planned/Taken: 10? not sure
Highest Mileage Week: 24

Long Runs Planned/Ran: 3/3
Current Book: The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Nachos once a week, and using my laptop in bed, spending $150 on marathon registration
Current Obsessions: Finding lodging/camping in Half Moon Bay during the marathon
Current Drink: New Grist (gluten-free beer)
Current Song: Pipeline (a classic standby)
Current Wish-List: A day off. Scratch that -- a month off
Current Need: getting close to needing new shoes...
Current Triumph: A 12 mile long run yesterday that went super - and little soreness/tiredness today
Current Bane of my Existence: A long to-do list that never gets any smaller
Current Goal: Finish painting all three coats by the end of this month
Current Blessings: Sunny days
Current Excitement: potential day off this week, including tamales at El Molino Central in Sonoma, a SF Giants game, and picking out tile

Friday, July 1, 2011

12 down

Done and done. This was a great run. Great runs always surprise me (as do the horrible ones, like Thursday's 3 miler). And I ate my first Clif shot! Holy yumtastic. I ate mocha flavor which tasted exactly like chocolate icing. I believe I was trying to pry apart the packet so I could lick the inside before E rode by and took it away from me. Excellent stuff. No shot bloks on this run.

I've joined in committing to a 30 day yoga challenge. This is a tough one for me because often I find myself pawning off stretching as yoga. So I'm setting stricter parameters for myself. (1) Yoga must consist of time on the yoga mat (impromptu sessions, or outdoor sessions must include dedicated visualization for my mat) (2) Stay in at least three poses for 5-breath sequences. So that's it. Simple, but enough to make sure that my personal stretching sessions don't turn into yoga challenge sessions.

I took a lovely ice bath afterwards and ate my favorite post-long-run dinner -- Nachos & Beer. :-)


Holy what!

I just registered for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon. I hope it was a good idea, and I hope I can make it. Paying $150 for something like that really means I have to get myself to the starting line healthy. No refunds!

I have 12 miles on the plan for today and it seems insurmountable. I am trying to stay positive and hydrate a lot. I will try out some Cliff gel shots and shot bloks on this run.

Last night I met two local marathoners at a friend's birthday party! I've known about this couple for a while, but finally got to meet them and talk running. It was great. They've run Oakland and Chicago together, training together all the while. It seems like they're three or four years into their running career and had some interesting advise, especially him. They recommended 'Born to Run', which I have on audio book and need to listen to! I also have "Marathon Man" the movie at home for this weekend - possibly on 'recovery Saturday'! Yippie!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So trashy

Do people really throw away their clothes at races? I mean, seriously? I guess I have no concept of how that works, or if it's a good idea, or where you get clothes that are designated "throw away".

Do you go to the second-hand store before race day & pick out a disposable outfit for $5?

Do you go through your closet slowly and deliberately and decide which duds you can part with at the starting gate?

And further, do you just carelessly ditch them in a pile in the middle of the starting chute and never look back as 10,000 runners run over them?

Or do you actually disrobe before lining up and find an actual "waste receptacle" for your trashy articles?

Or do you start out fully clothed and take them off while running, tossing them to crazed fans spectators on the sidelines?

So much to learn!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nobody Said It Was Easy one ever said it would be this hard...

11 miles was tough. My hardest run ever, I think. I've been working really hard at positive thinking, and creating my own reality when it comes to long running. My runner's book says that a 'mind over matter' approach is best, and that if I spend all day telling myself I'll have a great run, I will. I can't say that I thought only positive thoughts on Friday, nor can I say that I was looking forward to my long run. I was tired, physically and mentally. I didn't want to run, but I did it because I had to. Not really Because I Love It. I also faced the reality of running that long distance alone, up the Haul Road. Not a great idea.

I ended up running 2 miles around the Headlands, 1 mile down to the Haul Road, and then 2.5 up the Haul Road, and then back the whole was. Breaking up the run into 3 parts was the best thing I could have done, I believe, because it helped the mental exhaustion. The physical exhaustion, though, was probably not helped by the running in sand, running up stairs, running up pathways and hopping over logs. Good overall training and conditioning though!

I'm faced with actually having to register for a marathon now before fall races start selling out. Since I decided not to run Portland, I spent two weeks savagely browsing race listings until I found the right marathon. I've given myself another week to fall in love with it, and I'm smitten. I want to run the Half Moon Bay International marathon. It's so expensive, though, and I know I'll also need new shoes before September 25. It's a lot of money that I just do not have. I need a running scholarship. Plus my $95 entry to the Giants Race in August is no longer being funded by my family. Damn. I might not need much gear, but this is an expensive sport.

I have a wonderful plan tonight of E's delicious nachos (avocados are on sale! yay guacamole!), a running movie, homemade margaritas, and at least an hour of yoga -- not necessarily in that order. And P.S. My plan to get back to hot yoga this month has failed miserably. Partly due to excessive construction work, running late in the day when classes are held, sunny windy weather that does not make this body crave a hot sweaty yoga room, and the $13.65/class price tag. Got to get back into it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Only once a week?

I guess I only post once a week now. Really, it makes sense since there's not much excitement with 3 and 5 mile runs.

I don't even remember my 3 mile run on Monday. Except I think it was the run where E taught Maia the dog to pull him on the landboard. Sweet. She rocked it.

5 miles on Tuesday was rough. I ran on the FB Haul Road with Maddie on bici, and the whole thing hurt. Headwind. Sciatica. Hunger. All worth it -- Fish&chips, beer and Giants game (WIN!) at North Coast Brewery afterwards. Rockin'.

Wednesday's 3 miler was momentous because Maddie ran 1 mile with me. Yippie! I talked her and Manda into running the Giant Race 5K while I run the 1/2 marathon. Her first practice run went great, and hopefully we'll do another one next week.

Which brings us to the 9 miler yesterday. Mom was on bici this time and it was so wonderful. I don't know if I had a really slow pace and that's what made me enjoy the run? I consumed a bottle full of camelback solution and a bag of honey bee gummies. They were great.

My legs felt beat after, and I realize that on long run days I really need to get off my feet when the run is done. Otherwise the feet really start to get sore & painful. I've also been suffering minor sciatica in my right butt this week. It started after the 5 miler and flared up again last night. I rolled it with the roller and a baseball, but it still causes twinges when I sit for too long. I'm going to try and ice it, and buy some Traumeel for future buttular massages.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

8 miles

My first long run of my training cycle was only 8 miles, and I had no fear. No fear, but major, major exhaustion. Working on drywall has been really tough on my bod these past three days, and my rest-day massage was canceled on Thursday. Bummer. I remember finishing up work on the house on my rest-day and wondering what happened to my rest-day. Anyway, I spent the 30 minutes before the long run eating (I somehow became starving between 12:30 and 4:30), laying on the couch, and hoping for some extra energy to actually motivate me to run my 8 miles. Somehow I managed to get in the car, drive to the haul road with E, and start off. My pace was noticeably pathetic, but I remembered everything I've been reading about long runs, and that is to take it slow, especially in the beginning. E informed me I was doing about 10min/mi. Felt ok, but my stomach was revolting in the form of side aches and acidic burps. I knew better than to try and eat before my run, even if I was starving.

All in all, I averaged 10:23 for the first four miles, and 9:01 on the way back. I felt a lot better at the turnaround, and knew I wanted to pick up the pace and finish in under 1:20. So total first split was 41:30 (approx.) and second split was 36:05. WOW. :-) Total time for 8.1 miles = 1:17:35.

Cross training today. Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Goal pace

I've just done some basic calculations and discovered that if I run 9:09 miles I can finish a marathon in just under 4 hours. While this is a great goal to have, it goes slightly against the grain of 'why I run': for fun. I can pretty consistently pace myself in the mid-9s without ever looking at a watch. I usually run at the pace that feels good and while I don't have any grand plans or goals for my marathon, there's something about coming in under 4 hours that has appeal.

In a way I wish that I had had my garmin working at The Ave Half, or at the very least wish I could have gotten a 10k split like the rest of the runners. I'm curious how I paced that one, and pretty sure that I did do a negative split.

Last night's run was three miles and I broke it down into three negative splits. If I remember correctly it went something like 9:51, 9:38, 9:01. Now, the first mile was almost all downhill, mile 2 was mostly flat with a turnaround, and mile 3 was almost all uphill. Explain that! As I run more and more I realize that going faster becomes easier. I'm looking forward to experimenting with my comfort pace, which I believe is made possible by leg work, hill work and rest!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Training. Running. Period.

I will have 5 period cycles during this upcoming 18 week training cycle. Not many bloggers (or runner's world articles for that matter -- I found one good one here) write about training, running and periods. I'm sure it's mentioned in passing, but it seems to have the potential to be really influential when deciding on a training plan, or even which race to run.

I'm sure many runners are on birth control and have some semblance of control over when they menstruate, whether it means skipping a period on race weekend, or designing an entire 18 week training plan so periods coincide with step-back weeks. But what happens when the race you really want to run falls on your "Red Tent" day, as I call it? How can you really be excited to run your favorite race, or even your weekend long run, when your joints ache, your migraine is in full swing and you're bleeding through tampons every two hours?

Luckily I have light periods. I can plan when they'll start (down to the hour) each month, and can count on them lasting less than 48 hours. I have had relative success with skipping periods a few times in my life, but wouldn't make it a regular event. I also notice that the more I run, the less premenstrual cramps I experience, and the more consistent my energy levels.

It occurred to me as I gaze at my newly printed training plan taped to my fridge that I'd better sit down with my calendar and redo the whole thing. Hal Higdon obviously didn't design this 18 week marathon plan (or any of his plans, as far as I can tell) with menstruation in mind. Or he thinks it should be ignored (?). I don't. I experience pre-menstrual joint pain and migraines, and definite low energy for at least two days. On Day 1, I usually feel light headed and my heart races when walking up the stairs. In short, I don't really feel like running.

I like the fact that running lessens all the potentially negative aspects of my period experience. I know that when runners talk about "going easy" or "taking time to rest" perhaps "period rest" falls under this umbrella. But I think it deserves special mention now and then because it's not something to ignore or sweep under the running rug.
Questions. Do tampons fit in the runner's belt everyone carries? Do aid stations stock tampons? Has anyone ever had a horrible race because they were bleeding out the entire contents of their uterus in one day? Has anyone ever seen a training plan adjusted around a 4 week cycle of step-up/step-down to accommodate periods? Skipped a period when it falls on race week? Why does no one talk about this?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why I changed my mind about Portland

My last five runs looks like this: 8 mi. -- 6 mi. -- 5 mi. -- 3 mi. -- 2 mi. -- What's next, a 1 mile run? Time to get the mileage back up.

I've changed my mind about Portland. After a bit of contemplation, and lots of research on desert marathons, I realize there's no reason to run in a city. San Francisco waterfront + Giants Stadium, maybe. Portland, nope. I know there are beautiful parts of Portland. I know it's a great city for many reasons. But I don't personally run because I love to run in cities. I run because I love to run in nature. And for this reason I'm going to continue my search for an October marathon I can run in nature, even if it ends up being the Humboldt Redwoods again.

Quite a few people in the last week or so have asked me why I run, and I realize after thinking about it that I run to see nature. I run because it's an awesome way to be outside and to --experience-- my surroundings. Walking, sure it's great, but it's slow. Running is quick and outside and real and smells like outside and feels like outside. It IS outside. That's why I run. Because I love being out.

It's only natural, then, that I choose a marathon that satisfies this in me. I feel wary about not having a set date anymore, but I also feel relieved as Portland is bound to sell out this week or next. I no longer have to worry.

I printed out my training plan to post on the fridge ~ whoopie!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Recap

May Recap
Miles Planned/Ran:
55, including my Half Marathon! (ran 70 in April!)

Rest Days Planned/Taken: ?
Highest Mileage Week: 17
Long Runs Planned/Ran: ??
Current Book: Just finished Zorro... waiting for Erin to finish Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: beer & lots of cheese
Current Obsessions: finishing the drywall
Current Drink: coffee & beer
Current Song: Eddie Vedder's new Ukulele album
Current Wish-List: new clothes -- I'd take anything at this point
Current Need: I guess I don't need anything right now, really, which is a "blessing"
Current Triumph: Having run my half marathon ever -- and taken it to the nest step -- training for a Marathon!
Current Bane of my Existence: drywall, and working at the Inn.
Current Goal: finishing the drywall & going to yoga regularly. Also, reinstating my love of running, and starting my Marathon training strong!
Current Blessings: Erin. I love him to death.
Current Excitement: finishing the drywall --

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Blahs

Yes, I've got them. Maybe it's not having a training program going right now. Maybe it's my period week. Maybe it's all the goddamn wind. Whatever. I've got bad blahs.

At 6 tonight I'll head out on my run. I'm 100% not looking forward to it, though it's sunny out, cool and only slightly breezy. If I think hard about it what would make me excited to run? Are they things I can control, or are they things I just have to work with and overcome?

I would want to go for a run right now if I had a new trail. If it was cloudy and cool out, with NO WIND. If I only had plans for 3 miles.

What should I do here? There are only so many local trails, and I don't feel safe running on highway 1. I can't control the weather, and at some point I have to do long runs (and Tuesday is my day!).

Part of running is just -going-. Just tie up your shoes, get some miles down, come home and drink a BEER. Take a hot shower. Just do it. Because you love it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This week so far & less sugar

This week has been ON for me. Monday I ran a 5k at the track, busting my butt in a steady headwind for half of each lap. We're talking 20 mph headwind. I ran 1 mi. quick, .5 mi. at race pace, repeated. I'm not used to any tempo work of any kind, so it's good practice for my 'real' training which starts in a few weeks. Tuesday I ran an 8 miler which was long and hard. I think my legs were feeling the 5k. Today I woke up with fresh legs, surprisingly. I did P90x legs and back, and P90x+ Abs and Core Plus, which is a great workout. I like it much better than ab ripper.

I've been thinking a lot about the "sugar free" challenge that Run to the Finish has posted. I really don't eat that much sugar. No drinks with added sugar (I really only drink coffee with 1/2&1/2, sparkling water, beer & unsweetened iced tea), no candy (except when I get a severe craving or go to the movies every blue moon), no sugary packaged foods (like muffins, cookies, or pastries). But when I think about it, I do see a few places I could improve. I don't want to completely eliminate sugar from my diet because I don't think it's a real problem for me, but I could always eat less.
  1. Tame my after-dinner beast with plain yogurt, fruit, tea or nuts.
  2. Resist work day goodies by eating a big, early breakfast, drinking tea, and bringing healthy snacks.
So let's see how those two goals sit with me for two weeks. Cool. Run to the Finish is also doing a ridiculously large giveaway that includes at least 10 things, three of which I absolutely covet. It is seriously HUGE. I hope I can win some schwag. When I first started blogging I randomly won both of the first two giveaways I entered, which apparently, was a fluke. Too bad, I thought I was on to something there!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Sunday

This week was low mileage for me. But I'll count it as a success because I rode my bike to work & home two times, and I did AbRipper. These are small steps in the world of cross training, but they feel good. The ride home is all up hill, and about 15% mountain bike trail - steep and lots of logs to hop over. It's tough, and both times I had to walk over the worst sections. But I like that I'm getting more confident, -&pretty soon I won't have to walk at all!

I ran a fairly fast paced 5k around the headlands in 27:something and enjoyed the freedom of going fast, knowing it would end soon.

I'm still wrestling in my head with the HH training plan vs. Runner's World plan. They are so different. At least I have a few more weeks to peruse them and figure out which is better for me. I now know one thing - I can not do a long run on Sundays after my work week is over. No Thank You.

The short break from running has me slightly worried about ITB stuff - I resolve to foam roll every day, even if I'm not running. The Studly Runner just posted a review of these compression "knee sleeves". How perfect is that? I've always avoided compression stuff because I don't feel like I need socks, and I don't need shorts... but knee sleeves?? I'll take two, please. You can also insert hot/cold packs into pockets. This is one giveaway I really hope I win.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Put in the Time

I just spend the last hour researching Hal Higdon's marathon training plans and found out that I'm inclined towards novice II. This is mostly because I don't want to run more than 4 days a week, and got by swimmingly running only 3 days for my 1/2 marathon.

I've also set my sights on the Portland Marathon. This week will have to be my sign up week if I'm truly dedicated. Which means....

I'm in limbo. With more than a month until my official 18 week training program should being, I need to fill my time with "maintaining my base" and "cross training" and "strength training".


Saturday, May 14, 2011


What's come over me? Am I really in training for a full mother-lovin' marathon? Can it be?

I was so stoked after 13.1 that 26.2 seemed like the logical next step. I wonder if doubling 13.1 is the same % increase in hardness as doubling say, 6? We'll soon find out. I set a personal goal of logging a 16 mile long run before June 10. This should be doable, although I may be forgetting how hard long runs are.

The past two weeks since the Avenue of the Giants Half have seen me only complete two runs. One was a 4 miler in Jackson along the Snake River Dyke in cold rainy springtime temperatures. It felt really great after sitting & eating & driving for 6 solid days. My last run was 6 miles along the Big River Haul Road, 3 of which included increasingly bad pain in my right knee. Who knows why this happened. Perhaps my 9 day hiatus from running was too long, or perhaps I was remiss in the foam rolling and yoga dept. Whatever the case, I rolled the crap out of my right ITB last night to the point of crying. It felt great.


As I mull over my goals and options for the fall I feel anxious - the only semi-local run that is appealing to me is the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon. Same course, same time, probably same 50 degree temperatures. The Nike Women's Marathon is the same weekend in SF. There are other great races in Napa, Sonoma, Healdsburg, etc in August/September but who wants to run when it's that hot out?

A for-sure race that I've convinced almost my entire family to participate in is the Giant Race on August 27. I'm committed to the half while both non-runner sisters have committed to the 5k, the youngest of which is participating solely for the Tim Lincecum bobble-head they hand you when you finish on home plate at AT&T park.


I'll need to revamp my training program for the summer. I'd like to include tempo workouts to see about getting my natural pace up. I'd also like to include more leg and core workouts, which were totally lacking this spring.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Race Report: Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon

This race was a serendipitous event. I trained day-to-day, never knowing if my IT band would flare up and prevent me from racing. After I had to scratch from my race in October because of it, I didn't want to lose another entry fee. So, my training was made up, and my race weekend was made up. The Monday before the race I was frantically calling around to all the Hotels, Motels and campsites up and down the Avenue trying to find a place to lay our heads on Saturday night. I finally found a basic camping cabin on the Eel River about 30 minutes from the start.

Saturday I hydrated like mad, consuming probably 3/4 of a gallon of water throughout the day. I also ate really well, and feasted on veggie burger + curly fries + root beer for dinner. I was worried the greasy food would prevent me from 'going' in the morning, but all was well. I woke at 6 and made coffee and ate spelt bread with peanut butter and banana slices. I snacked on raspberries on the drive to the start.

The nerves really hit when we exited the highway onto the road leading to the start at 7:10 am, and realized it was bumper-to-bumper traffic for five miles. Woah. It took us an hour to go 5 miles - many people ditched their cars to run the 5 miles to the start (marathon began at 8). I jumped out of the car as soon as the Event site was in sight and registered. I had just enough time to grab my schwag bag (nothing to write home about) and head to the gates. I thought I didn't have a chip, and rushed back to registration because of it, and was told it was embedded in my bib. Oh.

10 minutes of milling around and we were off. Cheering and merriment ensued. At this point I wasn't nervous, just ready. I was feeling good, confident, but not knowing really what to expect. I started towards the end of the pack and it took 1:12 for me to cross the mats. We ran up an over two bridges within the first mile. The pack was still really thick, and I was having trouble passing many casual walkers, and was keeping pace with a few serious power walkers too.

I don't remember mile two but I do remember thinking it felt like 4 miles when I finished only 2. After mile 2 (or 3?) there was an Aid Station with water and gatorade. I passed, but realized I was hungry. I think at this point I decided to eat a few sugar coated gummy bears I'd stashed in my waterbottle holder. After 4 miles the Aid station appeared in the town of Weott with banana slices, watermelon and oranges. I passed. I ran for a while with a group of girls who talked the whole time. They decided to stop at the aid station and although they were entertaining, I knew I was going to keep moving. After about 5 miles we passed the first of the half marathoners coming back. We cheered, and the whole feeling of the race became fun for me. I was still feeling good, nothing hurt. Another aid station with H2O and gatorade at the campground. The turnaround.

At the turn I was still feeling great, unbelievably. I was enjoying the run and kept looking up at the ridiculously gigantic trees towering over me, lining the whole course. Beautiful. About every mile, sometimes more, I would eat two gummy bears and swig my camelback liquid. I was definitely hungry but keeping the pangs at bay. I was planning on stopping at the Weott station for a banana and a watermelon. I was really relieved when I saw it, and knew that if I could just eat those two things I would be able to give it a little bit more for the finish.

I ran for a while with a dude wearing sandals. Seriously, sandals. Like hiratchi sandals from the running tribe of South Americans. He had great form, but I passed him. The final three or four miles of the race I was just trying to keep pace with those around me, passing them on the uphills and downhills...letting them pass me. When we passed the 25 mile marker for the marathoners, I thought I only had 1 mile left so I decided to kick it into high gear. I realized I had enough left to bust some ass for a possible 8 minute mile finish.

So, my calculations were .3 miles behind, but it was all ok. I felt like I sprinted the entire last 1.3 miles. Then, they throw in the timing pad that apparently transmits your name +bib info to their computer in advance of your finish so they can call out your name as you cross. I thought that was the finish and almost stopped, but somehow realized I had to continue.

Funny as I crossed the finish line I looked at the Marathon clock which read 2:38:xx and I was instantly bummed... I couldn't figure out how I'd run so slow! Whoops! And the first marathoner finished 15 seconds after me.

We milled around, watched some more finishers, bought last years' t shirts, and decided to head out. We drove right to the Woodrose Cafe in Garberville for a delicious plate of huevos rancheros and smoothie. It was then time to soak my poor legs in the icy Eel River - an ice bath, if you will. We walked a bit, and then checked into our posh hotel on the river which we didn't leave again until 10:30 the next morning.

What an amazing experience!

I loved the whole race, and can't really describe it in as much detail as other long runs because it just seemed so easy. I am excited about the whole event and keep revisiting thoughts of adding another 13.1 onto my current distance record ;-).

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Ave

I finally ran a half marathon. I'm so excited inside, and so proud of myself, not only because I finished, but because I finished strong. I ran faster and better than I thought I would. I had fun and the run almost felt easy. The miles flew by. The weather was perfect, the people were wonderful, the course was gorgeous. I love running.

I'll write more about the run later (it's becoming a blur in my mind) but I wanted to post my stats from the website.

Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon
May 1, 2011
Chip Time: 2:05:59 (Pace: 9:37)
Gun Time: 2:07:11 (Pace 9:42)
Females 25-29 Division: 47/154 (top 30%)
Total Females: 184/844 (top 22%)
Overall Finish: 394/1260 (top 31%)

So congratulations to me, and I can't WAIT to run another one!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

12 miles and feeling..... tired

Last night, after planning my whole day around a 5:00 start-time, I ran 12 miles. I was primed & ready.
My mom rode her bike alongside and chatted me up for miles 2-6, which are the boring miles. At the turnaround, the next 4 miles FLEW by. I barely remember them. Beautiful miles.

At 10 I was so surprised that I'd finished 10 miles without too much pain. See, it does get easier!

11 and 12 were not as tough as the last couple miles on previous long runs. My right calf did cramp during the last mile and still hurts today.

So all in all my best and longest long run ever! I added an entire camelback tablet to my water which I think helped a lot too. So now I just need to rest today and think of how to pass the time till The Ave. Oh yeah, and actually sign up for it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Should I do another long run before 13.1 on 5/1??

So... who knew? Reading about everyone in a Boston Frenzy is pretty entertaining! And coincidentally, Marathon Challenge, a NOVA documentary about average joes running Boston, was on our netflix list last night! So I guess I'm in the mood.

Last Tuesday I did an 11 mile run. My longest run to date, it was a tough one for a few reasons. First, I started out at the Skunk Train depot with the realization that even if I ran to the very very end of the Haul Road I still would not reach my 6-mile-out-&-back goal. This put mental stress on me to try and find 'loops' or additional 'out&backs' along the main course. Not what I like to do. Also, Maia dog was hungry-tired-lacking motivation? Not into the run, which is really unlike her.

I added just one spur off the main course, and hit the turnaround at 5.15 garmin mileage, but knew it was more like 5.4 because I'd forgotten to turn it back on after a brief water stop. So the depressing realization hit me that it would only be an 11 mile run without finding a way to add another mile. Then I looked down to a 'battery low' notice and .25 miles later, Garmin was dead. So my hopes of accurately pinning down another mile were dashed.

My legs were shot, the run was hard. I wanted 12 but only got 11. Once again I question how I will ever be able to run 13.1 miles. Will it ever be easy? I'm determined to find out.

The Real Issue:
Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon is in just 13 short days (MAY 1). Question: Should I do another long run? Maybe another one tomorrow (4/19) and allow myself 12 days to rest/taper? I wasn't planning on another long run but 13 days seems like a long time to not long-run. Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

10 miles - in which I discover the essesnce of long distance running

Yesterday I planned my long run at the last minute. Which turned out OK.

The day was gorgeous, and one of the only days off E and I have had, or will have, for a long time. We spent the morning driving down the coast on Route 1 and had another amazing breakfast at Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe (huevos rancheros for her, Potato Hash with Garlic and Gouda for him (stinky!)). We were stuffed. Our drive took us to Point Arena where we walked 1.5 miles along the beach to our secret kiteboarding spot. Alas, the wind never picked up enough to board, but we enjoyed the walk anyway! Once home again, we lunched, napped and read in the sun on the porch and at 5pm I decided I needed a run.

I filled my bottle and put on shorts and a tanktop, E threw his bike in the truck, and we were off. After a mile, he asked me how far I planned on going -- 10 miles, I hope! I said. Wow, said He.
  • Miles 1 & 2: ITB was slightly cranky and my lungs were heaving a bit.
  • Miles 3 & 4: started feeling the huge breakfast and the recent lunch (on top of a huge turkey dinner we'd had the night before - whoops!). E tells me I'm just "well fueled".
  • Mile 5: the turnaround. felt pretty good. things are coming together on this run. I can do this!
  • Mile 6 & 7: ok... I'm back at my 10K turnaround!
  • Mile 8 & 9: 8 passes by uneventfully, 9 hits me like a truck. my legs are heavy (lead weights), I consider passing out. E tells me I'm about to hit my second wind.
  • Mile 10: My legs are shot, and feel like they belong to someone else. I trudge around the last few corners with bursts of warm liquid pain in my sacrum.
Done. I realize that miles 9 & 10 must be what marathoners experience for the last 8 miles. Am I right? Utter fatigue. The run was no longer about any athletic or cardiovascular workout. It was about managing, and pushing through, the pain. I crossed the finish line and wasn't even breathing hard (?). This is a whole different ballgame, isn't it?

I then went home, ate plain greek yogurt with granola, made tea, and prepped an ICE BATH. I put on an additional shirt and sweatshirt, cued up The Office on the laptop, and slowly, painfully submerged my legs. I turned around so my torso was at the faucet end of the tub (more quad coverage), and other than accidentally leaning on the cold water handle so it turned on and poured down my back, the whole thing wasn't actually that bad. My toes stuck out of the water and managed to stay frost-free. The ice actually felt good, and I was even able to laugh a bit at Michael Scott et al. A hot shower and pasta dinner later, I felt better than after my 6 miler 4 days earlier.

So I continue to ponder painful mileage and ice baths, and good advice from Katie (" just know that you'll feel awful for a few days after"). Glad to hear that's normal!

I know I should have gone out for 2 or 3 miles today but I'm SO tired. E and I spent the whole day installing drywall, and I think I trekked up and down the stairs 40 times. That has to count for something!

My goal for this period week is to do a P90X leg&back, yoga every day, and a 3 mile run.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Three firsts

  1. First Ten Mile Run!
  2. First Truly Painful Run!
  3. First Ice Bath!
I look forward to elaborating on this soon! Whoopie!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Going the Distance

I've read some really inspirational blog posts lately. With so many marathons and half marathons being run in the blogging community this spring there is a lot to contemplate, and a lot to compare myself to.

13.1 miles is a long way to run. My farthest run ever is 8 miles, and I've run this distance two times, one of which was earlier this week. That 1 hour and 16 minutes was the first time I've finished 4 miles and contemplated what it would be like if I were only 25% done. What would that feel like? How would my mind relate to the perceived new distance? I felt powerful and strong on that run, and for the first time felt like 13.1 is doable.

Actually making it a reality is another story. Oftentimes I am convinced my body is just not cut out for 13.1 10Ks feel like challenge enough. My body feels slightly broken and beat. After last night's 6 miler my feet hurt so bad I couldn't believe how amazing getting into bed at 8:30 pm felt. It seems really difficult to up my mileage, both mentally and physically.

So my question really, is this: How do you know if you're being a wuss and should just DO a 10 miler? How do you know if you should just be a 10K runner?

I've researched long runs and can't find enough info to support either answer. I plan on reaching out to other bloggers and casually asking around ... How difficult was/is it to up your mileage weekly? Monthly? How do you feel after long runs?

My 8 miler this week was great - I felt good, I took it slow, I hydrated, and Maia the dog kept me company. My 6 miler two days later felt like hell. My feet hurt, my lungs hurt, my mind hurt.

In other news, spring has sprung! The Giants are winning game #2 of 2011 (we'll forget about game #1), AVBC's Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema came out today, and the world smells like freshly cut grass. Yippie.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


First photos ever posted on my blog. Hmmm...

lining up in the gates - it's pouring rain and freezing cold

running just past the Pudding Creek trestle - it's still pouring and starting to hail.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Race Report! Thunder, Hail, Lightning, 4th Place Division Finish, Breakfast Burritos, and General Excitement!

My second race ever was completed on Saturday. I'd never considered doing a race report, but I think it's a good idea for the future. I often re-read my blog posts and learned a lot from things I otherwise would have forgotten about my training. So here goes!

On the days leading up to the race, I tried to take it easy. I ran 5 miles at a really fast clip on Wednesday, desperate to get in some 'higher mileage' before my 6 mile test, and then rested Th. & Fri. I think my quads were a little sore and tired from this on race day. I've learned that it's probably best to do a longer run a week before race day and keep the mileage much shorter in the days leading up to the race. This is a no-brainer, and part of every training plan ever, but sometimes we must learn these things for ourselves.

Friday night I fell asleep around 10 pm and subsequently woke up every two hours all night long. At 1 am I was sure it was morning, and almost put my contacts in before I looked at the clock! Funny - I felt rested and ready to go! At 6:20 I woke up, made coffee and peanut butter toast, got ready and we were in the car heading north at 7:00. I was completely undecided on what to wear right up until the race started, but left the house wearing black capris, my orange patagonia bra top, and my blue nike dri-fit warm top (best decision of the day), my rain jacket, and a north face fleece ear band. I also had on a pair of sweatpants that I decided to ditch before hitting the starting gates, which was also a really good idea.

It was COLD. And raining. Since this was only my second race I had no idea what to expect, but the start was much the same as last year - everyone runs WAY faster than me in the beginning. I guess I'm just a hard-ass when it comes to my pace, but I just didn't/couldn't imagine going fast just for the sake of going fast. Hmmm. About 1.5 miles down the road, at the 5k turnaround, it started hailing. Seriously hailing. It hurt. I was so glad I had my rain jacket on to protect my skin. Then the lightning and thunder started. Three big ones hit right next to us and scared the crap out of me. I think everyone was looking around waiting for someone else to quit, stop, or otherwise run for cover, but everyone just kept running!

When we hit the 2 mile mark I was Shocked. WHAT?! ONLY 2 MILES? I was in total disbelief. By this time the trail was covered in an inch of hail, we were completely frozen (most runners were much more poorly dressed for the elements than I was), and it continued to rain. I could not have imagined worse running weather. The only saving grace of the day was the lack of wind, which, in retrospect, is amazing considering the strength of the storm front we were facing. I trudged another mile to the 10k turnaround where Erin was spectating (alone - no surprise given the weather). I tossed him my now-drenched rain jacket as the weather seemed to be lightening. "Are you going to keep going??" he called out incredulously. Yup. He later told me that many of the 10k runners thanked him for being there. :-)

I was glad I ditched the jacket. My pants were already soaked, and my legs were really really cold. I ran a good pace to the 4 and 5 mile markers, and then my IT band started to really make itself known. It had hinted at tightness during mile 4, but I pulled my tights up to my thigh, thinking the cold, wet cloth against my knee was making ITB even tighter. I could actually feel it grinding against whatever it grinds against after mile 5, and it really slowed me down. It hurt. My legs felt like lead weights. Adding to this, both my shoes & socks were completely drenched and had probably gained 2 pounds each of water weight. This probably also threw off my ITB.

The final 1/2 mile stretch was a GRIND. I just put my head down and tried to think of other things. Then it started hailing again. Seriously? As I rounded the final corner and saw 54:xx on the timer, I definitely picked up my pace. 54:47, 4th place female in my age group. Woo Hoo! All I can say is I finished faster than last year, which is unbelievable considering the horrendous conditions.

I have nothing to compare the Whale Run to, but I really enjoy it. The t-shirts are cotton, the post-race snacks are apples and bananas, and the aid station is a card table with old ladies, dixie cups and water. There is no schwag bag, pre-race expo, or post-run massage booth. Not super-glam, but perfectly low-key.

E was really supportive and wonderful, & we enjoyed a delicious breakfast burrito and several cups of coffee at the Brewery while my legs thawed out. Jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt never felt so good! I went home and took a long hot epsom salt bath and spent the rest of the day stretching, foam rolling, eating and watching TV while the storm continued outside.

So....most people probably don't do 10k race reports, but I've got to start somewhere!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gearing Up

Whale Run 10k is on Saturday. This morning I was up at 7 because the insulators came that early. Whatever. So 9am felt like the middle of the day and that's when I went for my run. It was E's idea, which was awesome and I didn't have to feel guilty about not working. I ran 5 miles in about (under) 45 minutes. Fast. I meant to do this run on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but the weather has been ridiculously foul. 35 mph and non-stop torrential downpour. Today, however, was sunny! I felt pretty good, but am definitely going to rest the next two days, roll my legs till they cry, and stretch. And eat a lot. I'm really tired now and feel like a nap.

I did a 4 mile and a 3 miler last week and really wanted to add 6 to last week's count but as I said, the weather kept me down. This week will end up at 11, but I've got to get the mileage up for the 13.1 in May. I'm going to revisit my training plan as soon as I get my new computer tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

5.8 ... rounds up to 6!

So I ran two laps around town on Monday. I spent 30 minutes pre-run trying to guarantee myself a 3 mile lap - I set up multiple scenarios until I thought I had ensured a 10K. I set out for the long two-lap haul and upon returning, reentered my actual route and discovered that I'd only run 5.8 miles. DOUBLE DAMN. I suppose it's close enough to the actual thing to call it good...

Two days later my quads still feel sore and tingly from the run. I put down another 4 miles today with Jill and I can no longer squat. So things are good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I've used runner's world training program creator in the past to figure out how far and how often I should be running while I pretend to train for races. Ahem. With the Whale Run coming up I was again inspired to enter my single race time, & add my desire to train moderately hard over 4 weeks, to receive general guidance on my schedule. However, I was not impressed with the resulting plan. I believe it may have inspired me to create a custom plan. Custom. For me only.

Also add to this the fact that I'm constantly being asked to run with Jill and Blair! They seem to run willy nilly - 4 miles really fast whenever they want to! Hmmm. Not my style. I'm excited to incorporate runs with them to increase my speed, but not regularly. I need to up my distance if I've any hope of completing a 1/2 marathon this year.

And.... on to THE STICK. I mentioned this torture device at xmas and am reminded yet again that every run I do is made possible by THE STICK. When the ITB flares up, I roll it post-run with THE STICK until I can't breathe. I remain, mostly, pain free. I do still feel like I'm precariously balanced on the ridge between health and injury, so I appreciate each run to the utmost and use THE STICK regularly.