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!