Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Weekend Recap

Forgive me bloggies for I have sinned.  It has been five days since my last post reading.  I will promise to get ahead on all your posts today at work instead of doing my actual work.  Good penance if you ask me ;)

Oh where, oh where should I start?  Should I start with my unofficial Turkey Trot race report?  Should I start with my fabulous 16 mile rainy bike ride with the hubbs? Or would you like to hear how I had to bite my MIL's face off while trying to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table? Oh I know, you want to hear about how my stupid BIL decided to turn down my hot water heater?  Hmmm, I think I will start with the race!

I was a bit nervous about running the race and getting the turkey in the oven on time.  But my mom saved my butt and said if I had it all ready she would come over and put it in the oven for me at 9:30 while I was at the race as long as I left the parade on the right channel before I left. :)  No prob!  That was a big help (BTW, she lives 1.8 miles away - she just had to let me know that she would be missing about 7 mins of the parade in order to get the bird in).  I love my mom!

We left the house about 7 to get down town on time.  It was a huge race!  About 9,000 people were running it.  I will hold off on my snooty runner's commentary and not remind you that about 8,000 of those running it had never run a race before.  Anyway, the race went off right at 8:30 and even though I dodged a few walkers my first mile I came in at 7:00.  Too fast!!  I decided to pull back a bit because I knew that I wouldn't make it another 5.2 miles in one piece if I kept that up!  Mile 2 was uneventful and I came in at 7:14.  Not good.  I was not doing well at keeping it slow.  Mile 3  I had backed off a bit and was in at 7:42.  Much better.  The next three miles were a blur.  I had passed a few peeps and was cruising.  I just kept thinking about the fact that I had promised myself an Eggnog Misto (Coffee with steamed Eggnog) when I was finished.  I crossed the line and stopped my garmin.

6.29 miles 46:05  7:18/mile
I looked up the finisher times.   I would have been the 16th over all woman and 3rd in my age division!  Sheesh!  Epic FAIL!!!

Well, I felt pretty damn good about that.  I just wanted to beat 47 mins and I did!  But I soon realized (actually the next day) I was a big fat idiot.  I never put on my timing chip.  I had taken it off my bib the night before.  Pinned my bib to my Spibelt and then I think I got distracted.  I didn't even notice it that morning while I was walking around and seeing everyone else with their orange loops on their shoes.  Oh well.  I ran and raced.  It was an unofficial time but I am pretty sure that even if I were to have a clock time I would have been under 47 mins so I will take it.  And to think I was diss-ing all those racing rookies that day!  I pulled a big racing mistake! FAIL!

When we got home my mom passed the duties off to me and Ari and headed home to get ready.  I took a shower and went into full meal prep mode.  I had a few things to take care of like setting the table and making whip cream and all of that.  Everyone arrived right on time and dinner was a huge success.  Oh, you wanted to hear how I bit my MIL's face off?  Well, you see everyone thought it would be a good idea to gather in my kitchen right as I was trying to have Ari carve the turkey and me put all the sides and dishes out.  There was no room!  And on top of that Ari was taking forever to carve the turkey!!!  When I looked over my shoulder at one point his mother (who doesn't even know how to cook - seriously, she doesn't) is trying to help him which is slowing him down.  All my sides are ready to go and he is just taking his sweet time.  I finally go over to him to get him to speed it along and my MIL says, "he is doing the best he can, you know.  He is just trying to keep it neat."  I was so mad!  How dare she get in the middle of our conversation?  This was between us!  I looked at her and said, and I am so proud of myself, "MIL, you need to let me just talk to Ari.  Please don't get involved.  How about you go sit down now."  She just looked at me and went and sat down.  He was so surprised.  I felt I had finally told her to not interrupt.  She has done this for years.  She always defends him.  And it doesn't matter how many times he talks to her, she loves to defend him in front of me!  I know for a fact that she doesn't get invovled with Ari's sister and her husband.  But she feels she has free reign to get invovled in our relations!  Ugh!  Mother's and their sons!  Sick!  Let's just say, the rest of the dinner went smoothly.

That was until I was doing dishes.  My BIL decided he was going to wash his hands right above me while I was rinsing dishes!!! Go to the bathroom and do that!  But he decided to do that anyway and proceeded to tell me that our hot water was too hot!  I tried to ignore him but I do remember him asking me where our hot water heater was.  I played dumb like I didn't know.  Well, he found it.  And when I took a shower on Friday there was little to no hot water!  I was in the shower trying to get warm after our wet, muddy bike ride and was freezing!  Ari went to the garage and checked it and he had turned it down to low!!! The nerve!  We don't have kids!  We don't have to worry about such things!  I like to look like a lobster when I get out of the shower!  Who goes to someone's house and messes with their hot water heater!!??  See what I am dealing with people?

Other than the biting of MIL's face off and my nosey BIL, it was a good day.  They came at 1:30 and were gone by 6:30.  Perfect.  I enjoyed the holiday with my mom and dad and my sister and her new bf.  I had/have so much to be thanful for and all day I kept taking mental notes of all of them (MIL's aside).  I even cleaned my entire house and did all the dishes after they left so I wouldn't have to deal with it on Friday!  On Friday it was raining but that didn't stop Ari and I for going for our 16 mile bike ride.  It was cold and I was sopping wet by the end.  But it was fun.  And romantic.  There wasn't anyone on the trails but us.  We finished our ride, had breakfast together and spent the afternoon at the movies seeing The Blind Side (go and see it - SOOO good!)

We even managed to get our tree up and a couple more runs in over the weekend.  I had a great 8 mile run in the WIND on Saturday.  I wore my tights and arm warmers and battled the wind.  I managed to try and keep it at my back almost the whole way.  I wanted to make it a speed run and I did!

8 miles  59:59  7:29/mi pace
That was an awesome run and renewed my confidence again.  I really needed it.  I did that run in some big gusty wind.  I am still up in the air about how I feel about CIM on Sunday.  I am going to keep pushing forward as if I am going to hit that starting line.  But I am not going to push myself if I don't feel it on race day.  I had a really anxious dream last night about it and it almost wiped away any confidence that 8 mile run gave me.

I have a slow week at work this week, and I think I am going to keep my miles low and easy just in case I really end up running on Sunday.  So sad I am back to work...but three weeks from tomorrow I will be in Tahoe for a week with the fam (and the MIL possibly -more on that in another post).  I am off to read some more blogs!

Have a great week peeps!
Happy Running!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Runners have to have heart.  And I know this sounds really cliché, but it's true.  They say that running is 90% physical and 10% mental.  I believe that the more efficient runner you become, the part that is mental increases - from maybe 85/15 or even 80/20.  We all have obstacles that grind at us as we head out the door for a run.  We all have days were running just seems like a chore.  But it is on the days where the stars align and it just feels effortless - that is what we all look for every time we go for a run.

Right now I feel like my heart is not in my running.  Last night I had a miserable FAIL on my run.  I really wanted to do six miles but I ended up only being able to pull off 5.  My mind was telling me to just go home, take a rest day.  My legs felt like LEAD, my mind was all over the place.  I am a  bit of a stress case with Thanksgiving tomorrow, as I am sure you all have gathered from a few of my posts.  But on top of that I am having some major stomach issues.  I went to the doctor yesterday because I have had a constant pain in my stomach right bellow my sternum.  It is making running uncomfortable; it is making working uncomfortable; it is just plain making my life uncomfortable.  Well, it might be an ulcer the doctor thinks and on top of everything else I have to do today I need to go in for a few tests to see what the culprit is.  When I think about it, it could totally be an ulcer.  I stress about work, I stressed about my BQ, I am now stressing about CIM.  I am probably a prime candidate - I will keep you all updated.

Which brings me to CIM.  I don't want to run it.  My heart is just not in it.  I am not sure if it is because I have already got my BQ and I don't have any pressure, or if it is because I am so burned out from racing.  My hubbs thinks that the more I don't want to run it the better I will do.  I had a few half marathons this fall that I just didn't want to run when I got to the starting line.  But both of those races I had PR's.  He thinks I will run faster just to get it over with.  My running is still pretty consistent.  Even though my legs were heavy and so was my heart last night, I still managed 8:00 miles the whole way, finishing my run in 40:01.  And when I think about it, I really wasn't trying.  I was just moving along - with what felt like a shuffle.  It makes me think, if my mental "A" game is there what I could be doing with race times just blows me away.  My efficiency as a runner has gotten better, now I need to work on that 15-20% that is mental.

We all have ups and downs in our running.  I think that I am just burnt out and my heart isn't in it.  It is such a weird concept for me.  I LOVE TO RUN!  I love everything about it.  I love the "runner's high" I get from awesome runs and races.  I really am addicted to it.  When I am in a particularly bad mood my hubbs will tell me to go for a run.  He knows it is a cure all.  But lately it hasn't been serving it's purpose and that bothers me.  I need to get out of my head and go back to one foot in front of the other.

I have 11 days to find my heart until CIM.  I really want to go but my legs and mind think 26.2 is REALLY long.  But there are gonna be a bunch of bloggy peeps there, I have the opportunity to become a Maniac, and let's face it, I really LOVE my medals.  I have a 10K tomorrow along with a turkey dinner to cook.  I am going to savor those 45 mins of running and use it to keep me sane instead of the bottles of wine I picked up yesterday. :)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving peeps.  If you're traveling, have a safe trip.  If you're dealing with fam, good luck.  Get out and enjoy your runs.  That is my new Rx for what is ailing my runs.  I have heart, I just need to find it again.

Happy Running peeps! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Biggest Fan

Well, next to Ari that is!  Today is my mom's birthday.  And yes, this is a running blog, but she really has a big part in my running.  My husband used to have to work weekends, and my mom was one of the few people who would show up at every one of my races to support me.  She was the original running sherpa.  My very first race was the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon in 2006.  Little did I know what I had gotten myself into, and she was a little more than apprehensive when I signed up.  The race is in the Sierra's, and the elevation is around 7,000 feet with a massive hill that starts at 6,000 feet and climbs to almost 6,900 in just under a half mile.  It is dubbed the "Hill from Hell," and when you reach the top they have the aid station peeps dressed like Angels!  She believed in me though, and was waiting for me at the end with tears in her eyes as I crossed the finish line in two hours and nine minutes.  She was the best substitute for Ari I could have asked for.

She is the rock to our family.  We haven't always been the best of friends but she has always loved and supported me even when I didn't think so.  She is my best friend now, someone I look forward to hanging out with and just chit-chatting.  Everyone I meet always tells me how awesome it is to have her as a mother.  And they are right.  I am one lucky girl.  She hadn't missed a race until this year when Ari was finally able to have weekends off and accompany me.  But even this year, she has shown up at most all of them and always still gets misty eyed when I cross the finish line.

This was at the SF Half this year (my dad's gonna kill me 'cuz he hated this one!)

She is always the voice of reason and always takes Ari's side! :(  She see's the good in all people and lives her life everyday to the fullest.  We would all be very smart to take a page out of her book.  I am one lucky girl and can't thank her enough for all she does for me and Ari and our entire family.  Plus, she is just crazy about her grand-dog Lilly who goes to her house everyday for doggy-daycare! :)  Happy Birthday mamma, thank you!

I am a bit of a stress case right now.  Thanksgiving will be at our house this year.  My husband's family is coming and it is always interesting to say the least.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn't have a very good relationship with his sister (neither do I) and it always makes it a bit tense.  She lives in Berkeley, for any of you that are in the Bay Area that should give you a clue of what we're up against, and let's just say her way of thinking doesn't always mix so well at the dinner table, or many occasions for that matter.  Earlier this year we lost my father-in-law to brain cancer and I know that the holiday will be a bit difficult for my mother-in-law, hubbs and his sister.  He was a professional chef and was an awesome cook.  He always did a beautiful job with Thanksgiving and I hope to not let him down.  So, along with cooking Thanksgiving, hosting 11 people, I am also running a Turkey Trot 10K that morning.  It's at 8:30 am!  Why couldn't they start it at 7 or 7:30?!  I have a bird to cook people!  But I am going to enjoy my race and hopefully my mom can keep me sane for the rest of the day!  I have a feeling a lot of wine will be consumed! :)

I am cleaning house, running lots and getting ready for Thanksgiving this weekend.  I am so ready for this Friday it isn't even funny!
To all my peeps racing this weekend, especially Aron, Densie, and Natalie - go get 'em girls!  You're gonna rock it!  I see a BQ Denise!
Happy Weekend and Happy Running! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I feel old!

A little background for you my readers...
My parents have been married for 38 years.  I have an older brother who is 38 (yeah, you do the math on that one) and a little sister who is 20, going on 21.  I am right in the middle, 29 going on 30!  Yes, the same parents for all of us!  There is 9 years between my older brother and I; 9 years between my little sister and I.  So that makes 18 years between my big Bro and my little sis! ;)  Let's just say, that when my sister turned 9, we were all a bit nervous!! Hahaha!

My little sis is in college right now studying to be a nurse.  She is taking a class that is apart of the college radio station and all semester she has been on some interesting adventures.  A requirement of the class is attending radio station functions and she has to accumulate so many hours before the end of the semester.  Well last night she had a function at a bar and seeing how she isn't quite 21 yet, she asked me to along with her to get her in.  "No prob." I said, "should I pick you up at 7?"  She laughed!  And she laughed hard!  The stupid thing didn't start until 9!  9 o'clock on a Wednesday night!  Who goes to bars on a Wednesday night?!  Well, college kids do and I had forgotten.  I have been crawling into bed every night for the past few weeks by 7:30 or 8 and falling asleep not too far after that!  9 o'clock seemed like it was midnight to me! 

We didn't have to stay too long.  The bar kicked her out almost right away at 9.  She got to put her name down on the sheet that she was there and off we went home.  I was so grateful!  By the time I got home at 9:30 the hubbs and the pooch were sound asleep!  Hahaha!  So today, I am less than stellar.  A bit tired.  I feel old.  When did 9 o'clock become so late?  Is it that I am getting old or is it because I am a runner?  I did a great hill workout last night before we went out.  I headed to the gym to use the dreadmill there because my dreadmill doesn't do so hot on the inclines.  I did 7 miles, half mile at 3% grade at 8:00 miles followed by recovery 1/2 miles at 7:41 pace.  I alternated and by the last half mile hill repeat I was done!  It felt great though!  I really needed a good workout like that.  CIM is rolling hills and this was perfect.  Needless to say, my legs were dead when we went out.  I felt old.  I didn't even get carded at the bar!  Was it from the pained look on my face from doing hill repeats just a few hours before, or was it because I am finally starting to look like I am close to 30?  I am hoping it was just the hill repeats. :)

Work has been quite slow right now, which is normal.  I am enjoying leaving early and getting my runs in before it gets too dark.  I am not like some of you who are able to get up and get a run in before work.  It just ain't going to happen.  But that's okay, I am enjoying the cool weather when I get home. :)

Have a great Thursday peeps.  It's almost Friday, which means it's almost the weekend and then a short week next week!  Whoo hoo!  I need that!
Happy Running! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My mom tells this funny story about me when I turned 5 almost every year on my birthday.  And since my birthday is coming up in January, and it's a big one, I am sure the story will make some sort of appearance.  She says that on my 5th birthday, I woke up that morning very upset and in tears.  Apparently I was upset that I didn't feel any different upon waking up on my 5th birthday then I had the day before when I was 4.  I guess I had hyped up turning 5 for weeks and was convinced that some sort of transformation was going to happen!  Well, of course, that didn't happen and my mom was left having to console a five year old on her birthday.  For some reason, I don't really remember this.  I guess that is a good thing.  When I look back to the birthdays I can remember, they are all good, so she must have done an awesome job.

I bring this up because I really thought that I would feel different after I qualified for Boston.  Yes, I wept as I crossed the finish line.  Not just because my legs were cramping, but because I had finally completed what I had set out to do.  But then, as the day wore on, as more days passed, I was left thinking that maybe I was missing something.  I wasn't on the cloud 9 I thought I would be.  I think that we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet this big goal of qualifying.  And yes, don't get me wrong, it is  HUGE accomplishment and I am proud, but there is a bit of a let down.  You work really hard for months, putting off nights out with friends so that you can get up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to log 20 mile runs.  You put of laundry and making dinner to get that 12 miler in during the middle of the week.  Basically, as we all know, we put running first.  When you finally reach your goal, you are then left to say, "what's next?"

I finally broke down yesterday and called the B.A.A. and talked to a really nice lady who had all my information.  I told her my situation and she said not to worry!  I was in!  They were just waiting on Two Cities Marathon to submit the times.  Thank gawd!  I think I actually called the lady an angel on the phone! Hahaha!  But this is when the relief finally set in and the excitement.  I right away emailed the race director of Two Cities to see what was up.  I got a reply this morning saying they were waiting on Boston to ask for the results.  Well, what I gathered from the awesome lady at Boston was that they were waiting on Two Cities to submit the times.  So I have since emailed the race director back and said "get on it, they are waiting on you!"  So hopefully this miscommunication can be solved within the next week and I will see the lovely charge on my credit card for $130 from Boston Athletic Association.  When I got off the phone with the B.A.A. I was finally relieved.  I was finally excited.  We have booked everything for the trip, so now all that I have to do is rest up and enjoy the ride.

So what is next?  I have CIM on December 6th, a couple of half's in January and February but nothing crazy lined up just yet.  I am now faced with the decision of "what am I running for now?"  This may seem like a silly question, but it is exactly what is going through my head.  Yes, I run because it makes me feel awesome.  Yes, I run because I like to eat. Yes, I run because I would be a boring person without being able to open ever conversation with, "so, I had this great run yesterday!"  But once you reach the big running Mecca of Boston, what do you strive for next?  I am feeling a bit lost.  I am sure I am just putting undue stress on myself, but really, what do you aim for next?  I am going to be working on my speed now.  My form and my kick could use some help.  I am thinking that now my biggest goal will to be to continue to get my race times down, not a bad goal really.  But, do you just continue to keep aiming for Boston year after year?  I am sure after April I will want to run it again.  But I may want to venture out.  I can't afford to go to Boston every year.  I want to do other big races, too; Chicago and New York come to mind. 

I am going to sit and enjoy the feeling of qualifying and planning my trip.  I am going to try to soak up this freedom of running time and try to enjoy what I have accomplished.  When I first started running I had no idea what Boston was, what decent paces were, what a long run was.  I was running to loose weight and because I had found a new outlet.  I want to get back to that very organic place of running.  Running to improve myself.  I think I have that opportunity now, and I am going to embrace it.

I had a really low mileage week last week which was probably a good thing.  I think I only got out 23, one of my lowest weeks ever.  And my weekend was so busy, I didn't run Saturday.  When I went out on Sunday though, my left foot has a toe/joint sore thingy going on and I only lasted a mile.  But last night I ran a nice 10K with no toe probs, so I think I am back in action now.
Have a great Tuesday peeps!
Happy Running!

Friday, November 13, 2009


TGIF!! That pretty much sums up how I am feeling right now.  I am exhausted.  And I have gone to bed early every.single.night. this week.  And by early, I mean early, like watching Jeopardy in bed then falling asleep early.  I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I ran a marathon last weekend, either. :)  And the other weird thing is, that I don't sleep through the night.  Since Marathon Sunday night, I have woken up every.hour.on.the.hour!  I just can't get a good night sleep!  The other weird thing, I have no appetite at all.  I am not really hungry.  I know I have to eat, so I do.  But I am not hungry and it is making it hard to come up with dinner idea's this week.  Maybe after my long run this weekend my appetite will make an appearance?!

Speaking of which, I have had a pretty decent recovery week as far as running is concerned.  Monday was hell, couldn't squat down or bend my knees to save my life.  But Tuesday's recovery run went well, as did my run on Wednesday.  Wednesday I tackeled 5 miles and felt awesome.  I ran for about 38 mins on the treadmill, but I honestly didn't keep track.  I am in full recovery mode peeps!

Yesterday's run was even better.  I actually had to run outside to keep from going insane on the dreadmill.  My plan was for 8, but I only made it to 6 because it started to get too dark.  I am still freaked out from Tuesday's incident so I didn't have the confidence to push it.  Today, I am going to try to actually get those 8 miles in, I'm leaving work in a while just so that I can make sure.  For the weekend, I would like to get in a medium long run -   somewhere in the 13-15 mile range.  But we'll see.  I have floors, toilets and bathrooms screaming at me to be cleaned!! Hahaha!

I have a new confession and a warning for all my fellow runners out there.  I have now become obsessed with checking my bank account and the B.A.A.'s entry list every couple of hours of every single day!  I have already booked my hotel and flight for Boston, but still haven't heard if I am "in."  They say that they notify you by email that your in, but the other indication is that the pending of $130 being ripped from your bank account actually goes through and is taken out upon approval.  They gave me a confirmation number, but are still in the process of verifying my time.  A little birdy told me that she got her confirmation within a few days just recently, and although the B.A.A.'s notice said it could take up to five weeks to get a response, I am holding out that Jill is right and I will hear sooner (seeing how I have forked out some serious cash already!! First class ain't cheap people!!) 

And now, onto the warning part of this post - which I am sure you are all dying to know what the heck it is!! The warning is that the obsession with making it to Boston does not stop once you have qualified!  My new obsession with Boston is that I make it "in" to do April 19, 2010's Boston Marathon!!!  I am seriously checking constantly.  And I am one obsessed second away from calling the number at the bottom of my confirmation sheet to see what the hold up is!! (I guess that can wait 'till Monday - it would have only been a week).  So between client meets, urgent emails, actual work and of course blog reading, I am crusing over to the B.A.A.'s website and my bank account website to see if my name is on the list yet or that "pending" has turned into a charge.  Ugh!  The wait is hard!  And to top it off, I have read more than a few blogs and articles to know that the word on the street is that Boston is filling up fast!  One blogger even said she thought it would be filled by the end of this week! Yikes!!!  This does not bode well with an OCD Type A personality planner!!  A million questions have arose in my head!  Am I in because I got mine in sooner? Or am I on the fence because the cowpoke town I ran in doesn't see how important it is to post this info fast!!! Oh, the questions!!

But for now though, I am glad it's Friday.  I have no control over any of that.  I did the work, and now have to sit back.  You would be pleased to know I did buy travel insurance (I am a tax accountant and financial planner sillies) so if worst comes to worst, I can cancel and get my money back and be ready for 2011.  I am going to enjoy cleaning my house, a weekend of not racing (it's been 5 weekends in a row) and enjoying my time at home.  Enjoy your weekend peeps!
Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's just say...

I'm not wearing my red Nike running shorts anymore when I run outside!  I just got back from a recovery run that didn't go as planned.  I am blogging about this because I can't tell my husband or my family.  If you are my friend on Facebook, you would know I left work early today to come home and find my glasses.  I misplaced them last night and couldn't find them anywhere this morning!  So I was stuck wearing my sunglasses at work.  Well, that didn't go so well, so I headed home at lunch to look for them.  No worries, I found them almost right away (in the pocket of my sweatshirt mind you!) and decided to head out into the pretty fall weather to get some quick recovery miles in.

About a quarter of a mile into my run, all of a sudden I hear coming up from behind me a car and then breaks and tires squealing!  I screamed and jumped just as this woman's side-view mirror clipped my butt!  OMG!  I screamed!  She pulled down the court right where we were!  I freaked!  My ass was burning!  I was on the brink of tears!  Two times with in a week!  And now someone actually clips me!!!!

Some boys who were in their backyard heard the squeal of the tires and me scream.  They hopped the fence and came over to see if I was alright.  I was.  Just really, really shaken.  The woman has now gotten out of her car and is coming towards me.  I yelled at her not to come near me.  I didn't want to see her, I was afraid I would smack the shit out of her and I didn't want to do that.  I just wanted to collect my nerves on my own.  I was okay.  I wasn't hurt, just scraped.  The teenage boys kept asking if I wanted  them to call someone for me like the police or something.  I told them no, that I had a phone and that I would be okay.  Meanwhile, crazy bitch lady comes walking closer.  I realize, this is just as traumatizing for her as it is me.  I let her know I am okay, just scraped on the ass. 

She almost starts crying and apologizing like crazy.  I let her know it's okay and that I am fine and not to worry.  I really was.  I was shaking from head to toe, though.  I knew right away she was really frightened, too, and that we both had to know that all was alright.  It was a chance for me to teach her a lesson and let her talk to me.  She explained that she had looked down for a second and then bam there I was.  I know this all too well.  We'll all have these moments.  Come to find out, she has her 89 year old mother in the car who is just as shaken.  Then she asks me if she could hug me.  Actually, I really wanted a hug, too.  I know weird, but I had just had this near -fatal accident and I was shaken just like her.  She kept saying she was sorry.  I showed her my red bum that had slightly flared up and she started to cry!  I really was okay.  It is so cold out that the swelling wasn't really hurting.

Then crazy bitch lady asks me to go and let her 89 year old mother know I was okay.  Why not, she had also gone through this, too.  I go over to the car and she is holding her chest asking me if I am okay.  I reassure her I am and then she asks me if she could hug me!!!  Why the hell not!  We're on the side of a busy road, this doesn't look weird at all!  I ask them both to please pay more attention when driving down this busy boulevard.  It is busy.  Three lanes going north, three lanes going south with a giant median in the middle.  There are side streets and courts (my house is down one) and a lot of major stoplights.  She was soooo sorry and promised to be more alert.  I told her we all need to be, I need to be, too.

This exchange lasted no more than five mins.  By the time I let them pull away, all I wanted to do was run.  I was okay.  I was alive and I was renewed with the awesome feeling that life is good.  That God is good and that we all have a lot to be thankful for.  Let's just say the next mile and a half were not really recovery miles.  I was running 7:20's no problem.  When I started out, my legs were heavy.  But after my brush with death my legs were light as feathers!  I finished up my three miles and just got home.  Life is good.

So, that is two near hits in a week.  Both times I was wearing my red Nike track shorts.  Maybe people are drawn to my big red ass?  I don't know, but those will now be saved for trips to the gym or on my home dreadmill.  I am still a bit shaken.  It's funny, I wanted to call Ari right away, but then I thought better.   I don't want to give him anything to worry about when I am out running.  I really am okay and I am always paying attention.  I think that if I had had my iPod on higher, I wouldn't have been able to give myself as much warning to jump onto the sidewalk as quick as I did.  I probably would have been hit worse.

I am sitting typing and my ass is sore.  It will be fine, no blood, just probably a heck of a bruise.  I will say though, I am for now on not going to go with traffic in that direction any more.  I usually am only going that direction for a half mile before I hit a stoplight and cross the street to go against traffic on the other side.  No more for me.   I am going to head out of my court and go south against traffic and do my loop backwards.  I learned my lesson. 

In other news, my body is feeling great after Sunday.  I probably could have run farther, but I know that I don't want to push it - especially after today's adreniline rush that didn't help my recovery speed.  My quads are still tight and so are my hips, but I am stretching and rolling like a mofo.  My hubbs was also the sweetest guy ever last night.  He came home with a jewelry bag with a diamond necklace in it for me!  To celebrate me meeting my goal of qualifying for Boston.  I tell him if I had know there would have been a diamond necklace at the end of this I would have run faster a lot long ago! Ha!  And let me tell you, this is really out of the ordinary for him.  He had actually forgotten our anniversary just a month or so ago so really, this was a surprise.  But I am lucky to have the best running sherpa ever.  He holds my water, carries my gu's, helps me with my form, and gives me beautiful jewlery after I run! Hahaha! 

Thanks for letting me share this.  Really, I couldn't have told Ari or my fam.  They already worry enough.  But please, please, please be careful out there peeps.  I think that this week I am going to stay on the dreadmill at home.  But I can't do that forever.  And when I do head back outside, I will definitely not be wearing my iPod and will be going against traffic.
Happy Running!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fresno Marathon Race Report!

Wow!  That is all I can say really.  Sit down and grab a cup of coffee, 'cuz this is gonna be long.  I had a great weekend in Fresno and I owe it all to my hubbs.  I went to Fresno very nervous and anxious, and I walked ran away with my Boston Qualifier!  I finished officially in 3:38:19.  I did it, and I am so relieved.  There were so many lows to the weekend for me and so many highs. 

Saturday we finally got to sleep in.  We got ready around the house and set off for Fresno.  Fresno is about 130 miles east of us and it took just over two hours to get there.  It goes through some pretty boring and pathetic parts of California, including a town called Los Banos.  Yes, the bathrooms.  I hadn't been to Fresno since I was a kid and my memory of it wasn't very positive.  I remember it being kind-of "oakie", you know a place where people don't always have all their teeth and their okay with that.  When we hit Los Banos I had my first low point.  All morning I kept telling Ari please be patient with me.  I was very anxious and had no patience for ANYTHING.  I was afraid that the course I was gonna be running on would be like Los Banos and I was thinking there was no way I could run through such a desperate town for 26.2 miles.  I wanted to turn around.  I didn't want to run.  I started to cry and tell Ari we had made a mistake.  But in good husband form, and knowing I was just anxious, he calmed we down and we kept going.  Ari's cousin Rod had just moved to Fresno for his job and that was going to be a plus to get to see him.  If anything, we could hang with Rod even if I didn't run.

We finally arrived in Fresno and went straight to the Expo.  The Expo was at a brand new junior high they just built.  It was pretty nice, well organized and everyone was quite friendly.  That calmed my nerves.  I didn't spend much time there and we headed off to find the hotel.  What a nightmare that was.  Even with the maps from Mapquest and our GPS, it took us over a half an hour to find that hotel even though the maps said it was only 5 miles away!  We drove in circles for what seemed like forever.  Again, another low point.  I wanted to leave.  I was making excuses not to run and this was just helping in my own personal argument.  I am not usually too anxious or nervous for a race, but this day everything was setting me off.  By the time we got to the hotel I was spent.  I had also realized that I had forgotten the clips for my Spibelt to wear my bib with and shampoo!  I thought I had remembered it all! Tears again!  Poor Ari.  But we called his cousin and he happened to be at a Target down the road with his girlfriend and we made our way there for zip ties and shampoo.

Fresno turned out to be a lot like Elk Grove.  Elk Grove is the city we lived in where we bought our first house.  It's a little "hickey" but all brand new and really easy to get around.  Thank gawd was all I could say.  And what girl doesn't feel at home in any Target?  That definitely calmed my nerves roaming the aisles of Target with Ari and Rod and Stephanie.  Plus, the boys kept pointing out all the crazies in there.  A great way to distract myself.   We made our purchases and by this time it was already 5:30 and I knew we had to eat.  We went to a cute Indian food restaurant I had found on the internet and it didn't disappoint.  Rod, Stephanie and I enjoyed a really nice long, relaxing dinner and before we knew it, it was 8:15 and I had to head home for a bed. 

Race morning didn't have to come too early.  The full marathon didn't start until 7:30 and our hotel was just 5 mins away.  I got up at 5, had my pre-race breakfast and got ready.  We left the hotel around 6 and arrived with plenty of time.  I have to say that this race was one of the most well organized I have been to.  Much like a Rock 'N Roll marathon.  They had billions of porta potties.  You didn't have to wait but a minute to use one.  They were all pretty clean, too.  I was so thankful, too.  I think I went five times before the start of the race.  They had the half marathoners start at 7 which didn't make sense to me until I was on the course.  I thought I would be running in to them, but most of their course wasn't on mine until mile 22 on. 

After the half marathoners started I got ready and lined up for the full.  The had corrals assigned but no one was checking bibs really.  There were about 1,000 people running the full, with 500 of those doing a relay.  So in reality, only 500 of us were running the full in its entirety.  Not at all crowded.  Right way I saw the 3:30 pace guy in corral B.  I went over to him and asked him what his mile splits were gonna be and he said 8's all the way.  Bingo!  I hadn't planned on running with a pace group, but he reassured me and I knew I could do 8's all the way.  I had planned on running the first half around 7:45's to bank some time for the second half.  But running straight 8's sounded more logical.  So I started off with them no problem.  When the gun went off, I was finally ready.

The first 3 miles were through some residential homes that were quite upscale.  I was just trying to find my stride and see if 8:00 miles would be good for me.  This is a bit slower than I have been running lately but I knew that I should probably try to conserve.  I stayed with him for almost 6 miles.  I felt great.  Ari was right along side of me handing me my water, keeping me focused on my breathing and kick and I was running along really well.  Those first few miles were kind-of a blur.  I was just trying to keep even paces and enjoy the scenery.  Just before mile 4 we went down a little hill, through a tunnel and then up a bigger hill.  I was worried.  There were three of these in a row.  And I knew that we would hit them on the way back.  But the pacer was doing well, getting us speed on the down hills and letting us recover well on the top.  I kept chugging along and feeling great.  The temps were awesome, too.  Low 50's - perfect running weather.  I gu-ed at 45 mins, or just before mile 6.  I was also taking in my gatorade mix every 2-3 miles.  At this point though, I felt like the 8 min mile pace was too slow for me and I broke away from the pace group.  I hit my strides in the 7:45 range and was crusing.  It was nice to get away from all of the cluster and just run my own race.  I felt really good at this point.  Then, the tummy struck at mile 8.  I had to go, and I had to go NOW.  Like I said before, there were porta potties everywhere.  Two at each aide station.  So right before mile 10, I gu-ed and drank and hit up the porta potty.  I told Ari to look for the 3:30 pace group.  He said they were about 1 min behind me.  So I stoped and went.  Ari said I was in and out in 1:05.  And the 3:30 pace group had just passed a few seconds ago.  I didn't panic though.  I knew I was in good shape.  I just found my own pace again and took off.  I was running 7:50's again and crusing.  We hit mile 12 and were on our way back to the ups and downs.  At this point I was pretty much on my own.  I was passing a few men, but there were hardly any women out there.  In fact, if I cam across one, I would pass them.  And I started passing people who were in the 3:30 group that had fallen back.  I was so glad.  I was feeling awesome and good.  I hit the half around 1:45:10.  Pefect.  Right where I wanted to be.

Mile 14-16.5 I was crusing.  Gu-ing and drinking well.  I had Ari next to me calming me down, reassuring me and I felt great.  He said that I had told him around mile 15 that I didn't think I was going to make it.  I don't remember this.  Apparently whatever he said to keep me going worked.  When we made the turn at mile 16.5 on to mile 17 I could see it was straight into nothing.  It was a long flat road straight into fields.  I hadn't caught up to the 3:30 group but I wasn't worried about that.  I was worried because this looked sooooo daunting.  There was hardly anyone out there except for the well manned water stations.  No spectators.  Just mile markers.  This was hard.  And I could see on the other side of the road all the half people - mostly walking.  This was an out and back, too.  I was getting nervous because I didn't know how far I would be on this straight away and then knowing I would have to go back the other direction through all the walkers.  A very low point for me.  But Ari was right next to me and I was chicing so many dudes and people.  I was cursing well.  I was still on pace for a 3:30- 3:32 finish.  Awesome.

At around mile 15

At around mile 16

As we came up on mile 19 I could finally see down the road to mile 20 where they had us turn left for the loop back.  I had gu-ed at mile 18 and it had finally kicked in.  My pace was in the low 7:50's again and I was feeling great approaching the last 10K.  At the 20 mile turn I think I had a grimace on my face because one of the medics asked me if I was okay, when I said yes, he said I was lookin' good.  I needed that.  This was a very well manned stop, too.  You hit a timing mat and there were quite a few race officals around.  I put my head down and kept running telling myself I had only a 10K left - perfect.  I hit this at 2:20 or so.  I can run a 10K in under 50mins I told myself.  Right on for a 3:30 finish.  Then disaster struck.  When I looked up at around mile 20.5 Ari was no where to be found.  Righ away I thought maybe he had stopped to use the potty.  So I tried not to panic.  I needed him this last 10K.  And not to mention - we were in the middle of no where and I could see that we would be on this awful curve and a bit hill.  By mile 21.5 though, I was in full panic mode.  I was thinking he got arrested for riding with me or taken off the course.  I right away stoped focusing on my run.  I was tiring, too.  I had a HUGE hill to climb at mile 22 and was fading.  I was running 8:30-9 min miles!  I just felt frozen.  Where was he? Was he okay? Is he arrested? Did he get hurt?  I was a mess thinking about what could have happened to him.  At mile 22.5 they had  a gu station.  I took one.  I needed something.  But there was no water station to follow!  What?  My mouth was full of gu and no water or running sherpa? Ugh!  Again, my miles started to slow.  I hadn't recovered well from that hill either and I was doing the math in my head now.  I needed to step it up to get that 3:40, now.  But my legs didn't want to move.

When I hit mile 23.5 or so I was done.  Ari was gone, I was dodging walkers and 26.2 still seemed so far away.  I was starting to really hurt now, too.  But I kept chugging along.  Thankfully by this time there was some crowd support.  At mile 24 they had a beer stop and I really wanted to stop.  But I had worked so hard and had to keep going.  Mile 24 was a blur.  By mile 25 though, when I was just a wreck with worry and pain, Ari's cousin and girlfriend were there!  Rod ran along the side for me for a bit and said he would meet me at the finish.  I started to cry.  Just 1.2 more miles and I could see someone!  I stepped up my kick and headed toward the finish.  Thank gawd for crowd support is all I can say.  I really needed it at this point.  I could see mile 26 ahead and I new I was golden.  My watch was reading 3:34 and change I knew I had made my goal - even if it was a few mins off.

I ran hard those last .2 miles.  When I crossed the line, my Garmin said 3:38:19, just like the clock!  I did it!  I was in shock.  But this finish line there was no officials there.  They had you keep walking but my legs started to cramp really bad.  I tried to walk and finally ahead was water, medals and a great finishers jacket that I got the volunteer to help me put on.  I right away sat down and started to stretch.  I chugged that water to get the gu out of my mouth.  As I was in tears on the ground stretching, this marathoner came up to me and asked if I was okay.  I blubbered yes, that I was fine, just overwhelmed and that I had just BQed.  He was really sweet.  He was eating one of the brownie sundaes they were giving to finishers and asked me if I wanted anything.  I told him no thanks and he helped me up.  Sooo nice.  I walked around in a fog still.  There were finishers everywhere from the half all eating the free breakfast, that looked good, but made my stomach churn.  I finally crumbled into tears on some grass and all of a sudden Rod and Stephanie were there.  I sobbed and asked them where Ari was.  Turns out, he got a flat right at mile 20.  He had tried to repair it but couldn't and was walking the last 10K to the finish.  Thank God he was okay.  But I felt sooo bad for him.  We waited together for what felt like an eternity.  I finally stopped crying, they got me laughing and Rod asked me to go and get my free breakfast to give to him. :)  Stephanie requested the hot-fudge brownie sundae.  No prob.  I had to walk anyway. 

Stephanie, me and Rod

By the time I got back with the breakfast Ari was there!  I was excited to see him!  I cried again and he was so excited for me!  He wanted that breakfast though!  Rod of course, obliged and Ari sat scarfing down the breakfast recounting how a nice man had given him a patch kit and a pump.  But to no avail it didn't work.  He had to push that bike up that huge hill, too!  He felt so guilty for not seeing me finish.  But it didnt' mater.  He got me to that last 10K and I was greaful. 

Ari and Me and my finisher's jacket!

I needed to keep walking again so we all got up and meandered over to the Micholobe Beer Garden.  My race bib entitled me to two free beers!  Whoo hoo!  But, they were those Ultra's and they were terrible.   As we walked around and drank and laughed, Ari made me go over and check the awards booth.  He was convinced that I had one something.  I told him, no way!  I did well, but no that well.  Turns out, I got 2nd place in my age group!  Wow!  I was shocked!  I had no idea!

Stepahine made me pose with this poor lady!

I was crying, again, I couldnt' believe I had won!

Yes, I still tried to drink the nasty beer!

You can see from Ari's face how bad it tasted!

Stepahine and Me! Thanks Steph!

Walking back to the car

My award

Technical shirt and medal

That made my day even better.  One thing I learned in this race, is that the 3-3:30 time frame for finishing is quite lonely.  There are very few people that run that fast and so there are very few people out there with you.  Even with a small race like this, from what I hear that is the case.  People thin out in this time.  That is hard to take mentally when you are trying to chug along.  Crowds are fewer in the middle and it gets lonely.

As I look back to the last 10K, I know that I have it in me to finish faster.  Between the bathroom break and my worry for Ari, I didn't manage that last 10K well.  I let my mind wander to something I had no control over and it almost cost me my goal.  Yes, I had over two mins to spare for my BQ, but I could have done better and I know what I am capable of that.  CIM will be my day of redemption.  I have to also say that this was an awesome race and I recommend it to anyone wanting to Bost Qualify.  The course is awesome.  The people wer sooo nice.  Millions of porta potties.  For my $75 entrance fee: race entry, medal, technical shirt, finishers jacket, breakfast, beer, sundaes.  Tons of stuff.  And did I mention how nice everyone was? 

115/638  overall
18/253 gender place
2/43 division place  (25-29 F age group)
8:15/mile pace

I feel a bit sore today and stiff.  But I think I recovered well yesterday.  I walked a ton afterwards, I took a cold shower for almost twenty mins and I put on my recovery stocks which are still on.  The top of my quads, where my legs hit my hips are sore, but other than that just a bit stiff.  I am so glad I did it.

I just registered for Boston.  I was so nervous filling it out.  But I got my id number and a confirmation should come soon.  I have to thank my Ari for all that he did for me.  He put up with my insanity for two days, rode 20 miles reminding me of my awesomeness and being the best running sherpa every.  He pushed a bike with a flat for over 6 miles and was the best supporter a runner could ask for.  He is excited about CIM now, too.  He knows I can do better and that is all I need.

Thank you to all of you for reading this and listening to me complain, worry and fret for the past few weeks.  I was thinking of all of you out there as I ran, too.  I didn't want to let my fellow runners down.  Thanks again.

Well, I am going to take it easy today and bask in the glow of my finish.  Congrats to all of you who had awesome long runs and races.  You are all amazing!
Happy Running!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scared the Pants Right off of Me!

Last night I headed out around 4:45 for a quick five miler.  I was going at a decent pace, just keeping it easy and really enjoying the beautiful evening.  I didn't even take my iPod!  I started down the road and headed over an over pass and decided to turn back after about a mile and a half since it was starting to get dark.  I had my new headlamp with me, but the area I was heading towards where I normally do my five mile loop is not very populated at the moment.  I didn't think it was safe to head down there when it was starting to get so dark so quickly.

On my way back I was hitting every.single.stoplight.  Really, I didn't mind that much last night.  I was taking it easy and enjoying my run.  I was stopped at a light that was also the entrance to a pretty busy freeway.  I pushed the button and waited and when the light turned for me to go I took off.  All of a sudden right next to me, a woman making a right hand turn onto the freeway came this close to my legs with her mini-van bumper!  I screamed!  I started yelling at her!  I was so mad and freaked out all at the same time I just kept screaming at her.  At first she looked sorry and waved me to go, and then I was so stunned there, I just looked at her and was like, "what the hell were you thinking?"  It wasn't even dark out and I was wearing my reflectors and a white shirt.  She couldn't miss me.  Then she turned angry at me and yelled out her window at me, "get the hell out of the way you crazy!"  I was still standing there shocked so I screamed back something nasty, I can't remember now, and smacked her car!  She honked and sped off onto the freeway.  Mind you, this probably all happened within less than a minute, but time felt like it had stood still forever! A couple of other people in passing cars gave me a dirty look!  I HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY!  The little man in the signal was white and said for me to go!  But some how I was no longer the victim of nearly being hit, I was the bad guy for crossing the street!  Okay, maybe hitting the top of her car with my fist was a little too New York city for the situation, but I was mad!  I had almost been hit by a car and somehow I wasn't allowed to react?!

I just started running again, back over the overpass and thought I would do my loop and head home.  I started running though, and my legs were moving!  I looked down at one point and my Garmin said a 6:30/mile pace!  It did not feel like I was running that fast!  She had really got my blood flowing.  I could feel the heat from her engine on my legs just a few minutes before and my legs now wanted to move.  I started shaking.  I got to the next light and had to stop again for the light.  If I went to the right, I would be home in half a mile.  If I went straight, I would finish my five miles with just over two to go and then head home.  I was freaked standing on the corner.  So I decided to keep running.  I turned on my headlamp as I crossed the street and went straight.  I was running for about a half a mile when I realized I was just too shaken.  I couldn't slow down my pace and I was upset.  I called my hubbs right away and told him to come pick me up.  I gave him a brief description of what happened and he was there in less then three minutes. 

I have never had such a close call with a car on my run before.  Usually people in my area are very cautious and curteous with runners and bikers as there are a lot of us on the roads at any given time.  But she blatantly didn't pay attention to the person on the sidewalk.  Her destination was more important to her than being a safe driver.  Needless to say, when Ari and I got home I was still shaken and just wanted to shower and go to bed.  He made me a nice dinner though, and I was in bed by 8 watching the Yankees kick the Phillies butt.  Not a nice way to end a day (watching the Philles get a smackdown and almost getting hit by a car).

I am still thinking about all the "what if's" this morning.  I run pretty cautiously.  I wear a RoadID just for that reason.  I carry my phone with me  I wear bright colors and I always wait for lights.  But it just goes to show you, most people don't pay attention and we have to be the ones always on the look-out.  I am so glad I didn't have my iPod on- which is rare.  I almost always have it on.   So my friends, however cautious you think you are being, we all need to step it up a notch.  I am still a bit shaken, and I think tonight I will be running on the dreadmill.

In other news, I had my first dream last night about the race!  Ugh!  Actually, it was a funny dream because I wasn't running Fresno, I was running in New York!  And I was running through people's apartments and down back alleys and I still didn't BQ!  Crazy dream! Oh well.  I think that last night's incident didn't help my nerves about running and I was bound to have a running dream no matter what it was about.

I hope you have an awesome Thursday.  Please be careful when you're out there peeps.  The weekend is almost here and I can taste it!
Happy Running!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Speedy & Me!

In my attempt to not think too much about Sunday, I thought I would talk a bit about how I have accomplished getting speedier over the summer.  My bloggy buddy Amanda over at Runto TheFinish asked me for my thoughts on how I have gotten my speed up over the summer.  I right away thought this would be a great blog post seeing how I have some new ideas of how this has come to be for me.  I am not a professional by any means, and I am only going to talk about what has worked for me.  But I have to say that it has worked, and I have gained tremendous confidence over the summer that has given me the ability to finally feel like I am ready for that BQ!

I started running about 4 years ago and I have always used a training plan.  Until this year, I always used the Smart Coach program offered over at  It had worked quite well for me, but I realized I needed to step up my game this year and so I decided to do some research and I found the Pete Pfitzinger plan.  Both have the ability for you to pick your own amount of miles per week and to figure out a pace and goal time that works well for you.  Pfitz worked well for me until about June.  In June I realized that I just wasn't getting much out of my long runs.  Each program has you run your long runs at a speed that is quite a bit slower than your marathon pace.  I understand that the thinking behind these runs is that it is to get you used to being on your feet for those many miles.  I found though, that while my medium and short runs were being run at a lot faster pace, that during my long runs I would run out of gas very quickly as I was trying to keep the pace slow.  It was hard for me.  My medium and short runs were being run at around 7:50 to 8:30/mi pace.  And both plans for my long run had me running around a 9:15-9:23 pace.  If you have been running a while, you will know that your gate, kick and feet placement is a lot different when you run at these two different paces.

In my long runs I wasn't getting anything out of my kick and I was having to expend more energy just to keep my pace down.  I know this sounds a little off, but my natural kick and form was really in the 8:00/ mile pace and slowing down just threw everything off.  By the time a race would come, I would run out of gas trying to run at MP for longer distances.  This was frustrating to me.  So after some discussion with my hubbs, aka my coach, he realized that I was much more efficient at my 8:00/mile pace.  I decided to start doing all my runs at a pace that was comfortable to me, regardless of what the plan was saying.  I know that this probably went against most marathon training programs and thinking, but I just wasn't getting anywhere on my long runs.  And we all know, the marathon is a long run and we have a pace that we need to hit to meet certain goals.  I decided to stop being a slave to the pace that was calculated for me and go with what my legs felt.  If I had five miles on the books or a 20 mile long run, I would run at an effort that was comfortable to me. 

After a few runs like this, I was seeing that without much effort most of my training runs were in the 8:20-8:30 range.  I wasn't even trying to be a slave to the Garmin.  With this information, I started to increase my cadence and strides during every run.  My form got better, my kick was more powerful and I was gradually moving my pace faster.  If you see my half marathons on the side bar, for the most part, began to get faster or stay within a pretty consistent pace range.  This was quite different from all my races in previous years where my race times would be all over the map!  I just couldn't see the thinking anymore of running sooo slow!  If you want to run a marathon with an average 8:23/mile pace, why would you practice at 9:15?  It didn't make sense for me anymore. 

I did get a bit burned out during the months of August and September, but instead of slowing down, I just scaled my miles back a bit.  I gave myself better rest days and continued to try to run at a faster pace.  I still incorporated tempo runs with runs that had me running 5-10 miles in the 7:30 range.  I was finally feeling comfortable with running faster.  I wasn't holding back.  The real test came when I ran the Jungle Run and the SF Half Marathon.  Both had times that were way ahead of where I was last year.  And each race after that got better or stayed around the same range.

I am running most, if not all my training runs, at around a 7:45-8:00/mile pace.  And I finally don't feel like crap after them.  That has become my comfort zone.  When I have to go slower, up a hill or down a hill, I actually start to get tired!  It takes more energy for me to go that slow.  My only advice is, if you want to run faster, you have to train faster.  But you also have to be smart about your miles and take adequate rest days.  Your legs do get a bit more beat up when you begin to run faster, but they eventually begin to get used to those paces and the effort begins to feel so much easier.

My last two half's have been great.  At the end of each of them I have felt I could keep going.  All the hard work and hard runs are beginning to pay off.  I really shouldn't run 6 days a week right now as I increase my pace, and on days where my legs are feeling tired from a run the day before, I hit up the treadmill and scale back a bit.  If you want to run faster, you have to train faster, at least that is what I have found has worked for me.  Yes, there are times where the pace is painful, where I am just wanting to puke and am feeling like there is nothing left in the tank, but I have been trying to visualize how I will feel during miles 18-22 of the marathon and use that as motivation.  I want my BQ so bad I can taste it.  I know it's in me.  I have been working really hard lately and I just need to be able to tap into it on race day.  If it doesn't happen Sunday, it will on December 6th, and I know this.

This is what has worked for me.  It may not work for everyone, but I do believe if you want to go faster and longer, then you have to train faster and longer.  It is hard in the beginning and you may not get the miles checked off that you want, but it's in you.  My cardio has gotten so much better.  My form and kick has become more efficient, and I think it's due to the fact that I have trained for these runs for a while now.

Hope this is helpful to you, and if it's not, I know there is something out there for everyone.  You have to get to the point in your running or training where you are ready to switch it up.  I really wanted to move forward with my training, instead of just ticking the miles off.  I will say though, that with this faster running, for the first time in my training, I have missed days or miles because I am just spent or mentally drained.  Running harder and faster takes a toll physically and mentally, and I have to be ready to allow myself to have a rest day and know that it isn't the end of the world (something sooo hard for this girl!)

I haven't been dwelling on Sunday which I think is a big help.  Usually the week before a big race or a marathon every dream I have at night is about the race.  This week not so much.  I am going to keep plugging away at my crazy job and hopefully the weekend will come sooner or later 'cuz this chic is ready to run!
Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Healdsburg Half Marathon Report (and odds and ends)

Oh where do I start!  It was a fantastic weekend with the hubbs, some new bloggy buddies and the most perfect weather a runner could ask for!

One thing I don't understand, and I think I have mentioned this before, is why don't they host marathon's on Saturday's???  It was so nice to have the race done by 9:30 and still have the whole weekend left!  Plus, you get a day of recovery with Sunday! 

Friday Ari and I left work around 2 and headed up to Santa Rosa/Healdsburg.  What would normally take about 2 hours, took us almost 3 since the Bay Bridge was closed and causing so much havoc on Bay Area freeways.  But we took our time, put the top down, and enjoyed the afternoon together.  We made it to packet pick-up in plenty of time and then set out on the hunt for my pre-race ritual dinner of Indian food.

The top down driving through stinky wine country.
I think they just fertilized the vineyards, and it was smelly!

We found some delightful Indian food and headed to bed early as we had to be at the shuttle bus by 5:30.  The bus was about a 40 min drive away from our hotel, so that meant it was a 4 am wake up call, AGAIN!  Side note, I am actually starting to be able to really function at this hour!

We arrived finally by bus at the start and it was chilly!  I had brought one of the space blankets from another marathon and so I stayed pretty warm!  I was soon on the lookout for Aron, my new bloggy friend who would be running the race, too!  She arrived nice and early and we both hit up the porta potties a few times.  Before we knew it, our other bloggy friend Amy was there, too.  I had picked up their packets and bibs for them the night before so we had to make the last min adjustments of bib pinning and timing chip clipping.  Amy at one point was going to venture off to the porta potties without us, and Aron and I decided to stay huddled together to keep warm.  Soon though, it was time to line up and we couldn't find Amy!  So Aron and I went over to the start and went over some race thoughts.  We both were ready to race and we briefly discussed our race plans.  We decided to stick together for as long as we could, not trying to hold the other back.  But I knew in the back of my mind this girl could stick with me, so I decided to keep her with me, pacing all the crazy little hills in the race.  Amy eventually found us and the gun went off! 

Our first two miles came in at 16 min, not bad considering there was a large hill at mile 2, which was supposed to be one of the bigger ones of the race.  I jokingly looked at Aron and said, "hey, that wasn't bad, we got this in the bag!"  Little did I know, they would just keep coming!  We kept a pretty even pace through the next five miles as we wound through the beautiful wineries.  This was the first time that I had actually raced with someone and it was sooo nice!  She pulled me when I needed it, and I pulled her when she needed it.  We kept each other going.  I gu-ed around 50 mins, almost at 6 miles, just after we saw Ari at mile 5.

Aron and me coming in at mile 5 - lookin' good!

The next five miles were ups and downs on rolling hills.  It was so pretty out and I kept trying to absorb the beautiful scenery and the crazy costumes that were among us.  I would point them out to Aron and chuckle together and thank God that I wasn't that crazy to try to run a half-marathon in a costume!  It was also quite a windy course, so you couldn't always see what was coming up ahead - a good thing and a bad thing.  It definitely kept you focused on mile in front of you and not stress too much about what was to come.  The smells out there were also quite awful.  Between the fertilizer, skunks and the overwhelming smell of fermenting grapes, the smells of the race were very interesting!

Aron and I coming in at mile 10

Amy had decided to run the race at her own pace and we had lost her pretty much at mile 2.  Don't worry though, that chic rocked the race, too!  At mile 10 Ari was waiting with some Gatorade for me and I took a much needed sip before the home stretch.  Right after this point, we headed out onto a main road.  We had to keep to the side which kind-of sucked since the road was at an angle.  Running on an angle is hard on the knees and ankles.  I really had to go to the bathroom at this point, too, and it was starting to take a toll.  I had wanted to get Aron at the finish around 1:44, but I knew by mile 11 with my stomach acting up that wasn't going to happen.  But we kept on moving and pulling each other through.  We even chicked a few dudes at this point!

We rounded the corner at mile 13 and raced in together!  Aron had dropped back a few feet but I reached back for her and we both crossed the finish line together!  It was so awesome to enjoy that moment with someone else!  Both she and I worked together out there and it showed!  Final race stats:

13.1 miles 1:45:37 8:03/mi pace!  Whoo hoo!
We were 19th and 20th over all for our age group and 66 and 67th out of 941 women for the race!  There were some speedy chic's out there!  I guess those locals handled the rolling hills better than us!  Thank you, thank you Aron, I had a blast and I can't wait for CIM!
You can read Aron's report here and Amy's report here.  They both did just awesome!

Aron and I at the finish with NO WATER!

Amy, Aron and me with our awesom medals!

It was a really awesome race and I can't wait to do it next year!  The weather was perfect, the course challenging and it made for a nice little get away for Ari and I.  Thanks girls, I had a blast!

After the race, Ari and I headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head home.  We stopped at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City and I had the best tasting turkey sammy ever!  There is nothing like a post-race meal.  And this was perfect, as my appetite always takes a few hours to come back after a race.   By the time we got home and picked up Lilly we took a nap and passed out for 2 hours!  We spent Halloween evening with our best friends playing cards and handing out candy.  An awesome Saturday all around.

Sunday after Mass I headed out for 5 recovery miles.  Nothing special, just enough to get my legs loose after the workout from Saturday.
5 miles 40:19  8:04/mi

Yesterday after work I really wanted to get one slightly longer run in before this Sunday.  I decided to do it on my dreadmill to simulate the pancake flat course that will be Fresno.  I started out at 7:08 and for two miles then took it back to 7:45 for the remainder of the run.
10 miles 1:16:16   7:37/mi pace 
My legs felt great and after a good stretch and cool down I even did some core work.  Tonight I am going to take it easy, just get some miles in.  Since this week of taper wasn't on my schedule, I am going to improvise and let my legs and heart rate dictate the miles.  I am going to keep it easy and probably nothing over 6 or 7 miles at a time.  My rest day will be Saturday.

I am really excited about Sunday and Fresno.  Not nervous at all.  But we'll see, I am ready to race.  After last week's melt down, I am doing much better.  All of you pointed out that sometimes we just need to have one of those days to put everything into perspective.  And Saturday's race also helped with that.  I have it in me and I know I can draw upon it when I need to.  Thank you again to all of you with your words of encouragement.  It helped me so much!  This is why I love the bloggy world!  I figured out that I will be eligible for Marathon Maniacs after CIM in December.  I will have run Lake Tahoe, Fresno and CIM in about 71 days!  Crazy!

Have an awesome running week's peeps and congrats to all of those peeps who ran this weekend!
Also, go ahead and check out Natalie over at Lil Runner, she is giving away some awesome healthy bars!
Happy Running! :)