Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I can't believe that 2009 is coming to a close in just a few short hours!  I have had a pretty great year, both family wise and with my running.  This year, with more than four years under my belt of running, I finally feel like it all clicked.  I have to thank my hubbs for a lot of this since this is the first year that I really let him "coach" me if you will.  He had always been a staple on his bike during my long runs but before this year the rule was he couldn't say a word to me while I ran unless it was encouragement!  But I finally realized that his point of view while ridding next to me was probably greater than my own as I logged all those miles.  He helped me with my gate, my form, my kick, and gave me the confidence I needed to finally grab that BQ I had been chasing for so long.  Thanks Ari!

I have never been one to publish or even really tell others about my goals in the New Year, running or otherwise.  Call me superstitious or just plain afraid to let others down, I never wanted to make public, to even my hubbs, what I had on my own goal list.  This year though, I think with the help of all you bloggy peeps and the courage to know that I will only get stronger in my running, I am going to share what I hope 2010 brings to me in my running.

First off, I really want to enter into more shorter distance races.  I have only ever ran one 5K and one 10K and I know that I have the ability to cream those times and get a new PR in both.  So for 2010, I hope to run a sub 45min 10K and a sub 23min 5K.  Based on my running on the roads and the treadmill lately, I believe both are completely achievable.  I have a 10K in February I am looking forward to as I will be in full swing Boston training.  Now I just need to find that "perfect" 5K to round it out.

Last year I knocked a ton of time off my half marathon, too.  In July I ran a 1:36 half, and although I still believe the course was just a bit short, I do know that I had a true sub 1:40 half.  The rest of my half marathons for the year just couldn't break that 1:40 again.  It could be due to the fact that I was racing a lot and just got burnt out, but I do love me the half marathon distance.  So, for 2010 my goal is to break 1:40 in the half marathon again.  Actually I would really like to see a low 1:38 or 1:37.  I think that this is also very achievable, by picking the right race I know that this is a true possibility.

The biggest goal I really want to achieve is a low 3:30 marathon.  I was on track for this in my Fresno marathon but that slipped away when I was fearing that Ari had gotten arrested :)  My normal, really feel good pace when I have been running is sub 8:00/min miles.  8:00/min miles equates into a 3:30 marathon finish.  With the right course and the training, I really believe I can knock some major time off my 3:38 PR.  This is one that I am super excited about.  I would love to achieve this in Boston, but I also want to enjoy the experience instead of just racing by all of the history.  We'll see how my training goes during tax season (which is always a challenge) but there are some really great Fall marathons out there that I know would be a great chance for me to try this out.  Finally, I really want to hit that 2,000 mile mark.  I had well over 1,500 this year and know that without injury I can hit it!  So, starting January 1st, I'm aiming for 2,010 miles ran in 2010!

2009 was a year of racing for me.  I had a blast, but I also know that by the end of the year I was BURNT OUT.  I fell out of love with running for a few weeks and I don't want that to happen again.  I have my races picked out through July and from there I am going to go with feel.  I don't want to feel obligated to run a race anymore just because I paid the race fees six months before.

I feel confident in my goals for 2010 and know that I have set the bar high but also achievable with the hard work :)  I have really enjoyed reading all of your goals and am excited to cheer everyone on in the coming New Year!

My hubbs and I are heading to Sacramento tonight to ring in the New Year with my Bro and SIL and some other friends.  It should be a really nice night.  We rented a limo so none of us have to drive and are having dinner at Morton's.  Mmmmm.  Tomorrow Ari and I are heading to Tahoe for the weekend to snowboard.  I saw the doctor yesterday again and I do have a concussion.  All of my symptoms are classic of a concussion and all they really tell you is to take it easy (i.e. don't opperate heavy machinery, blah, blah, blah) and that most of the symptoms disappear after 3 weeks.  He didn't exactly say "don't snowboard," but I think I am going to sit out tomorrow and then check in with myself on how I feel Saturday before I hit the slopes.  I still have been getting bloody noses about 4 times a day but the confusion is less so that is good :)  I will definitely being going for a run tomorrow, you have to bring in the New Year with a run on day one!

Have a safe and happy New Year!  Thank you again for reading and supporting, I can't wait to see what 2010 brings for all of us!
Happy Running peeps!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sorry If I Ramble...

But that little head injury incident that I mentioned yesterday is in full force today!  My head is killing me and unfortunately there isn't much they do for concussions.  I am finding that I am forgetting things like crazy!  I got all the way out to my car in the garage this morning and realized that I hadn't put my shoes on!  I wanted to cry!  The foggy feeling and killer headache is just plain sucky.  I hope I feel better for New Years!

On to a lighter note, guess what was in my mailbox last night?!

It's official!

My Boston 2 Big Sur training shirt!  That really made my day!  I was excited to put it on and go for a run but thought better.  I don't think I should run right now considering the state of my head :(  But I am sure this one is going to get some major use between now and April!  I also contacted the race director yesterday for the Brazen New Year's 1/2 Marathon that I was registered for on Saturday and told him about my situation.  He was very, very nice and agreed to let me move my entry to a new trail race on January 30, the Bear Creek Trail Half Marathon!  That is one of the great things about doing local races.  The race directors and organizers can really take care of their runners and I will say this race director has really earned my business!  I am excited to see and possibly do a lot of the other local race series in the remainder of the year.  Thanks Sam!

I also had a 10K in Palo Alto scheduled for New Year's Day.  The race fee was minimal so I am going to just let that one go.  It is also a race where 100% of the race fee goes to the local food bank so I don't feel right about trying to get it back.  I will hopefully still be able to get a run in on NY Day since I haven't missed that tradition in almost five years.  How about you, any of you participating in a local NY Day race? 

I am finalizing my training plan for Boston this week and am getting excited to start it.  I always relish the experience of making my training spreadsheet and then printing multiple copies to put up at my house and office.  I love looking at what's ahead for the day or week and psyching myself up for the runs.  I especially will need it come February when tax season starts full swing and I will be pulling 12+ hour days :( 

I am almost finished with my Yak Trax review and will post that tomorrow.  A little preview though, they were great!  I really felt confident on my runs in the snow and ice.  A very inexpensive way to stay safe during less than ideal running conditions.  Oh, and how about that Charlie Sheen?  Wow!  I know this is a running blog, but come on how can I not mention that one!  He never ceases to amaze!

Have a great Tuesday peeps!
Happy Running!

Monday, December 28, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Christina!  Email me your address at and I will send off your calendar!  If Christina does not respond by Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:59 PST I will pick a new winner!

Whew!  Where do I start?  I did not blog, I did not read blogs, I hardly even updated my FB status for almost six days and it was awesome!  I really needed to disconnect.  Actually, I packed so much fun and family into six days that I need a vacation from my vacation!  Tahoe was perfect, the weather was just awesome and the house we rented had plenty of space and nooks that we didn't have to always be on top of one another.  On Tuesday when we headed up it was snowing lightly and that got us all excited!  My SIL, Mom and little niece and I  all went grocery shopping when we got up there and when we came out it was snowing again!  What memories!  I know all you peeps that live in snow could probably care less, but this was just magical to us. 

We snowboarded and skied on Wednesday and again on Saturday.  My brother who hadn't skied in almost 12 years was right back at it with my hubbs and I.  My hubbs also played a trick on my Bro and I and took us down a double black diamond.  I can do one black diamond, but not two!  My Bro and I stood at the top of the run that had a 10 foot drop in and freaked!  My Bro almost strangled Ari at 9,000 feet!  But by the time we got down we were all friends again and did the run about 10 more times that day :)  My little nephews, 16 and 7 took skiing lessons and my little niece, 17, took snowboarding lessons and by Saturday all three were going down the intermediate runs with us!  The snow was PERFECT!  Packed powder!  It was cool in the mornings but by the afternoon it usually warmed up so much that our big ski coats were almost too much!  Awesome California weather!  Christmas Eve we all went snowmobiling.  That was my Bro's gift to us all and it did not disappoint!  We went up the Nevada side of the lake into area's that are hardly seen by people even in good weather!  The views of the lake were just stunning and it was an adventure none of us will ever forget!

All of us at Zepher Cove (w/ Lake Tahoe in the back) before snowmobiling.
The tall one is my little 16 year old nephew Chuck, he is 6'2"! My mom is dwarfed by him!

Snowmobiling at the top of the mountain. That is Carson Valley, NV behind us!

My big Bro and Little Sis with Lake Tahoe behind us :)
Can you see the family resemblance?

Santa was good to us all, bringing me tons of running gear for running in the rain and a much needed new running hat.  Oh, and my hubbs got himself me a PS3 for Christmas!  Can you tell how excited I am? It plays BlueRay's so that I am actually excited about.  All in all, all 12 of us had a blast.  No one argued (amazing if you know us) and no one got injured (also amazing if you know us). Well, almost no one.  I got knocked out by a ski falling out of the car yesterday.  I have a nice shinner on my head.  It was a headache that I will never forget.  The funny thing is that it happened at home!  While unpacking the cars at my Bro's!  I should be fine, but let's just say today I shouldn't really tackle any major tax problems at work :)  For all you peeps wondering how I survived with the MIL, let's just say she came up late Christmas Eve, left early the day after Christmas.  She did attempt to backseat drive on Christmas day to Mass but I stomped that out quick.  I really just stayed out of her way and let my mom and Ari entertain her.  Probably a smart move on my part, I just know I would look hideous in an orange jumpsuit. :) 

I actually managed to get three runs in while we were gone and will be doing a review of the YakTrax later this week.  I didn't use my Garmin as I just went out to enjoy the run.  The altitude killed me the first run but after that I felt a ton better.  I ran a five mile loop and averaged around an 8:15 pace each time.  Not too shabby for not running in altitude since September.

I am slowly but shirley catching up on all of your blogs!  It looks like a lot of you also decided to take some time off from blogging so that made me feel a bit less guilty.  Thank you to all of you who have become followers!  And thanks to my faithful readers, it sounds like we all have a very busy 2010 in front of us! 
Have a great Monday!  Happy Running

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Merry Christmas Giveaway!

Wow, I can't believe that Christmas is on Friday!  The past couple of weeks flew by hindsight, but in reality, last week was a drag!  That always happens when you have a vacation to look forward to, right?

Before we get to the giveaway, I'm gonna make you sit through my weekend recap 'cuz it's my blog and I can do what I like.  Okay, I won't be hurt if you scroll to the bottom :)

I had a busy weekend of baking, running, hair cutting and the dreaded laundry.  I always hate that when you get ready to go away on vacation every piece of clothing is clean before you leave, then when you get home you have piles of laundry to do yet again.  I.Hate.Laundry.  I will scrub a toilet any day, but washing and folding a load of whites is just plain torture!  Oh well, the price we pay for getting away. 

I decided to stay home this weekend and get things done instead of hitting the slopes.  I had a huge list of things to still buy, pack and arrange for our week long trip to Tahoe.  We are staying in a fully furnished house, but we are making dinner items that I am unsure a cabin kitchen will have for us to use.  Christmas Eve at our house always is fondue.  And Christmas dinner is always Prime Rib.  So I have been attempting to make sure I have everything I will need for the kitchen to cook.   Ari did decide to go snowboarding on Saturday.  He went along with my sister and her boyfriend.  The resort was dead he said and my poor sister's BF ended up braeking his wrist on the last run of the day!  Poor guy!

Over the weekend I managed to get in over 17miles - something I haven't done in a while!  I did 5 miles on Saturday at the gym and 12 on the Los Gatos Creek Trail on Sunday.  Sunday's run was difficult though.  My legs just felt like lead.  It was warm out, too!  I didn't get to start my run until after 1 pm, as I had a ton to do in the morning.  By the time I started running I was HOT!  It was December 20th and I was running in shorts and my sports bra!  The trail was busy and people were looking at me funny.  I also noticed that I was well undernourished for the run.  I had eaten a bagel that morning around 8 am but hadn't had anything after that.  My legs felt like led and by mile 8 I was dying.  I popped some shot blocks and finished up the last four very, very tired.  I felt like a rookie.  I don't know what I was thinking other than I was super busy before I headed out.  Oh well, I still managed a 7:51 pace and finished up the 12 miles in 1:34:11.  Not too bad.

Now, what you're all waiting for!  My giveaway!  I have procured a 2010 Runners World Calendar and I want to share it with one of my lucky readers.  This has been a calendar that I have used in my office for the last couple of years.  It is really motivating to see all the races each weekend and to see a picture of a runner in a beautiful scene when I am pulling 12 hour days during tax time.  I also really love writing all my races down for everyone to see!  I get lots of clients asking about it, a real ice breaker.

There are three ways to enter and get a chance to win.  First, leave a comment on this post telling me which race you will immediately be marking on the calendar.  Second, become a follower of my blog.  And third, post the giveaway on your next post.  You can do all three entries just remember to leave me a comment here when you do so!  The contest closes December 27th at 11:59 PM PST.  The winner will be picked at random and will be announced on Monday, December 28. 

I don't think I will have time between now and next Sunday to post again as we are leaving for the mountains early tomorrow morning.  I will have my laptop with me and will be checking in on all of your blogs but don't think I will have much time to post myself.  So, if we don't get to "chat" again until Christmas, have a wonderful Holiday and I hope that it is filled with lots of love, family and running!
And when you get a chance, go on over to Tall Mom's blog and check out her GU giveaway!  Just don't enter, I want to win!!
Merry Christmas!  And Happy Running! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009


Proof we need to have kids!  Ari came home last night all excited about his purchase for Lilly! (please don't laugh...okay go ahead, it's funny)

It is a hoodie and Lilly tolerated it for about 10 mins before I took it off.  She had this look on her face of utter humiliation - I felt so bad!  But he was so excited for it.  He wants her to be able to use it while we are in Tahoe next week since it will be cold.  I think he sometimes forgets she is a DOG with a fur coat!  Oh well, if anything it lets me know that he is going to be one awesome Daddy someday!

On the running front I had the BEST, most AWESOME run last night!  Granted it was on the treadmill but I did stick it out!  One of my goals for 2010 is to run a sub 45 10K.  I know it's in me, I may even have a sub 44!  And last night just proved to me that I think I may be able to cross that one off my list sooner than I think!

6.2 miles 45:20  7:18/mi  And the cool thing about this is that my first mile was an 8:15!  If  had started out sub 8 like I probably would in a race I would have smoked the 45 min range.  I also felt really great during it.  My kick was right on and my breathing wasn't out of control or too labored.  In fact, my last mile I was running a 6:42/mi pace.  Now if I can only have all of this go right on race day I would be one happy camper!

I am soooo glad it's Friday.  I am getting up early tomorrow, cleaning the house real quick and then we are going to head up to Tahoe to do some early snowboarding.  Ari is just itching to get up there with all the snow and I feel like I owe him since he did endure 6 straight weeks earlier this year of my racing :)  I think I will only board on Saturday afternoon then let him tackle the mountain by himself Sunday while I try out my new Yaktrax and go for my long run in the most beautiful scenery!

To all you peeps who are racing or hitting up the long run this weekend, good luck!  One week 'til Christmas!
Happy Friday and happy running peeps!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

1,500 and...

Last night I finally surpassed the 1,500 mile mark for the year!  Actually, I am now at 1,506!  Whoopeee!  I haven't ran that many miles in one year since 2007 and I am really proud of myself.  Last year I peaked at around 1,300 and I really had wanted to hit that magical number 1,500 this year again!  I am really proud of myself and the cool part is that I still have over 2 weeks left in the year to see that number get even bigger!  I know a ton of you out there hit the 2K mark and I am really proud of you all, too!  Next year, I am going to be attempting to hit 2K and I have a feeling it shouldn't be a problem :)

And...I signed up for the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge!   I actually signed up on Tuesday night after all your awesome comments told me what a cool opportunity it would be.  I had sweaty palms as I hit the register button, not because I don't think I will be able to do it, more out of anticipation of what it is going to feel like when within 6 days I will have crossed the finish line at Boston and then the finish line on one of the most beautiful courses in the world!  Thank you again for all your encouraging words - I knew I really wanted to take on this challenge but needed that little extra push that you all gave me.  I know I will be able to complete this challenge with all of your support!  As for a race plan, well...I will most definitely be racing Boston and most definitely be just enjoying Big Sur.  I think it would be crazy of me to think that I would have the legs to be able to really race Big Sur.  I want to enjoy the scenery and the course and all of the entertainment along the way.  I am going to have to start practicing running with a camera :)

I know that I have been talking a lot about my crazy running/racing schedule for 2010.  I am committed to races through April (as in I have signed up and paid for them!) but I am not ready to really nail down the rest of the year.  Lots of things have been swirling around my head since I crossed the finish line in Fresno and got my BQ.  My husband and I had been saying over and over for the last couple of years that we would start a family as soon as I ran Boston.  That was the big "after we do this then..." that was holding us back.  And it was probably a really good thing since I know that neither of us have been really "ready" to take on another human being and all of those responsibilities.  I think that we both knew that I had Boston in me, but I think we both also thought it would have taken a little bit longer to obtain and that meant we didn't have to think about the whole "now we can start a family since you crossed that off your list."  It was kind-of an arbitrary date for us.  Not really concrete. 

We have been married for 6 years now and together for 10.  I think people, i.e. our families,  have given up hope that we would ever start a family since we don't get too much pressure from friends or family (excluding my brother who starts every conversation with, 'Are you pregnant yet because if you're not I don't want to talk to you!').  I think everyone thought we were married to our jobs and my running.  Everyone knows that Lilly is our baby and that we shower her with all the attention that most people give their new born infants.  When we first got married I was kind-of young (23) and we told ourselves that we were on the 5 year plan.  Then all of a sudden we were married for 5 years and the new plan became that we would start after I ran Boston.  Holy crap that came fast because Boston is in 4 months!  We have been putting these goals out in front of us to obtain before we would have a family and all of a sudden we have met them all!  And we can't even use the old stand by's like we need to own a house first - done, or we need to have school all finished - done, or we need to be financially secure - pretty done.  We are running out of road blocks to put up in front of us.

We talked a bit last night about the big pink/blue elephant in the room known as "baby time," but we didn't come to any resolution.  Yes, it's a huge decision that will not have an answer with in one night's conversation.  But the conversation has kind-of begun and that makes me feel a little crazy.  No, we don't have a gun to our head's really.  I am not even 30 until next month!  But I think that we should have some idea of when we are gonna get the ball rolling in that department 'cuz in all reality, yes, the clock is ticking.

I know that this is a running blog and that many bloggers don't share real intimate details such as this in their postings.  But this does boil down to me being  a runner.  I probably shouldn't try to plan too far out into the year if we are going to be serious about this.  It's funny, I started my list without even thinking or remembering what our "plan" had been.  I love planning and yet and I didn't even think about the "plan!"  I use my blog to work out some of my issues going on and to have a sense of community through all of you.  The thought of having to give up running for a while also makes me a bit sad.  I know what you are all thinking: she isn't ready yet.  Maybe I'm not...but maybe I am and I am just fearful like most adults who cross this bridge.  I have a feeling that all our fears are normal and that the "right/correct" decision will show itself in due time.  We do have a few months to really figure out what we want - and in the mean time I am going to look forward to April and Boston and Big Sur and get excited about that.  I just thought I would be honest with all of you.  This is where my head is at: getting excited about April and freaking out about babies!  I swear, when you are going through this, you see babies EVERYWHERE!  And prego women, too! :)

Thank you again to all of you who continue to read and support me through my blog.  You are all very special and important and I value you're thoughts greatly.  I have had a really good running week so far and this weekend I am going for a LONG run - so excited!
Have a wonderful Thursday peeps!
Happy Running!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Decisions, Decisions!

I have been really working on my race schedule for 2010 and attempting to nail down the ones I MUST run verses the ones that I would LIKE to run.  The list is long on both sides.  As I think I mentioned before, my excel spread sheet with my race calendar has a total column for all the races fees.  If I were to do all of them, we are looking at $1,600 bucks!  Granted that is 22 races and I know this girl isn't ready for that kind of schedule!  But the thought of spending all that money makes me feel guilty especially when I also like to feed my addiction for new running shoes quite a few times during the year :)  Just the other day my husband was joking with a friend of ours that he thought that running was going to be a "cheap" sport when I started.  Little did he know!

Right now my biggest dilemma is weather or not I am going to really attempt to go for Maniac status.  I am a peace with the fact that I made a smart decision not to run CIM but I am still a bit bummed when I think about how close I was to my Maniac yellow jersey.  One of my main goals for 2010 is to grab it, and trying to figure out a race schedule that fits is getting me all flustered!  Running three marathons within 90 days is a big challenge but it is something that I REALLY want to attempt.

So, without further adu, this is the race that I am now contemplating on running - The Big Sur International Marathon.  It is a crazy race to attempt to tackle just 6 days after Boston, but it has some really awesome amenities for the runners to do attempt it and are successful in finishing both!  Plus, it is right in the time frame for the Maniac status.  The course is called challenging for one, with many large hills that not only go up quite steep but come down just as steep.  It is set on one of the most beautiful courses in the world and has you running down the historic Highway 1 between Monterey and Carmel California. 

The challenging course is not necessarily keeping me from hitting "register" right this second, although it is a deciding factor.  But what is really killing me is the $175 race fee for the people like me who race Boston and then Big Sur!  Insane!  Granted, I do get a special bib, an Asics jacket, Asics tech shirt, special finishers medallion, and a finishers booth just for the 400 people that are signed up for this insane challenge.  But, it is still $175 dollars!  I thought Boston was expensive at $130! 

Big Sur/Monterey is only about an hour away for me.  Not really too bad of a drive.  But the race does start at 6:45 am and the busses that take you to the start begin to leave from 3:45 am to 4:45 am!  Wowza!  We will have just gotten back from Boston that Wednesday and I am not too keen on spending more money on yet another hotel room just 4 days after Boston.  So, if I am going to do this it means I will stay home, and probably leave my house around 3 am to be at the buses that early!  And we all know that means a 1:30 or 2:00 am wake up call!  Crazy!!! 

I really, really want to run this race.  It is a once in a lifetime experience almost,  to be able to run Boston and then Big Sur.  I am sure that I would have an opportunity to do this at one point or another sometime down the line, but right now I am not really held down by the usual restraints that keep people from attempting this challenge (like babies and kiddos).  What is really killing me though is the $175 race fee, the un-gawdly hour of the start and busses and yes, I will admit, the crazy, challenging course.  I know that if I run it I will finish.  I tackled Lake Tahoe this year and that is also an extremely challenging course (and I was injured, too!).  Tahoe is ran in the Sierras and at an elevation of around 6,000 - 7,500 feet!  Rolling hills at sea level should be easy, right?  LOL!

Right now I need to just sit with this for a day or two and really let it marinade in me that this is what I REALLY want to do.  If I pay the $175 bucks then damn it I am going to run it!  But the race is already at 71% and it is filling fast - last week it was only at 62%.  Decisions, decisions.

In non-running news I had a pretty un-eventful weekend.  I did have my office Christmas party but that was boring beyond belief.  What do you get when you put a couple of accountants with their significant others and support staff in a French restaurant?  Complete boredom and uncomfortable silence. :)  My hubbs and I managed to not stay too long then went out for drinks and desert together - we we're all dressed up, couldn't let it go to waste!

My mom insisted on getting a picture of us when we dropped Lilly off that night!  It brought back memories of H.S. prom! :)

On the running front I got in 6.5 miles on the dreadmill at the gym Friday night and an awesome, wet and rainy 10 miler on Sunday.  I don't mind the rain too much, but the wind is what always gets me!

6.5 miles 46:31  7:09/mi pace  - side note: my parish priest was on the treadmill next to me.  Yes, we often end up there together, thankfully he has known me since I was a little red head.  But he hasn't been able to run in a while and a few years ago when I first started running next to him I was so amazed he could run at 7.5 on the treadmill!  Now, I am running at 8 mph (7:03 pace) and just had to show him up.  Yes, I am even competitive with my family priest :)

10 miles  1:16:14  7:37/mi pace - nice and wet and windy - really lit a fire under my little red butt!

I am so excited Christmas is next week!  So excited to head off to Tahoe to celebrate, not so excited to spend the weekend with my MIL.  That is for another post.  I am off to work on my goal list for 2010 since it is wicked SLOW here at the office!
Happy Running peeps!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Morning or Evening Running - Which do You Prefer?

I think it is well known that I am NOT a morning runner.  I always feel so sluggish in the morning and never am able to accomplish what I want to.  This is quite contrary though to the fact that I am a morning person in general.  I am up and awake each morning by 5:15.  I leave my house for work by 5:45 am.  On the weekends, my body still wakes up at these gawd-awful hours and I force myself to stay in bed until at least 6!  Oh how I wish I could sleep in like a teenager again! 

I would love to have a race that started mid-morning or even late afternoon which is around the times I do my best runs.  Even an evening run would be awesome but alas there are very few of those.  What prompted this post though is an article I just read on the New York Times Online.  There have been few studies about this subject but the ones that have been done all point signs to the fact that we do our best workouts in the afternoon or evening after our bodies have had time to warm up and our heart rates have had time to find their normal base level.  Finally!  Data that proves I am a better runner in the evening than in the morning!  See?  I'm not just lazy!  The article goes on to explain that the same workout with the same intensity done in the morning verses in the evening or afternoon will not produce the same benefits.  The afternoon or evening workouts produce better a better performance from the individual and gain a better level of fitness for the athlete. 

They also mention that if marathons were run in the afternoon or evening that more people would see PR's and have better performance levels.  Marathon's now are run in the morning under the guise that it is cooler.  But what if it was a fall or winter marathon when the temps are almost the same in the afternoon or evening as they are in the morning?  Wouldn't a race director want to see more people do well for 26.2 miles?  The article also has a counter to the idea that exercising in the morning is more beneficial for people and they go right to the top of sources for that one: Deena Kastor.  Deena said that she runs in the morning because her spine has more fluid in between the vertebrae which allows her spine and body to take the impact of the pounding of pavement better.  She even went as far as to say that she believes it has kept her almost injury free for 13 years.  Wow, how easily she forgot about Beijing!  Anywhoo, I am going to ride this research for all it's worth and finally give up on beating myself up for not getting up in the mornings to run.  I truly believe I am better runner in the afternoon/evening than in the mornings - now I have some research to prove it.

So peeps, are you a morning or evening runner?  If you run in the morning, is it because that is the only time you have?  What if you could run in the afternoon and it meant more quality workouts, would you?  I think that this is a great point of discussion.  Do you notice a big difference in your workouts from morning to evening?  Or do you have a little of a placebo effect going on since you are just happy you got your run done and have the rest of the day free?  I know for myself that a run in the morning versus a run in the evening produces very different workouts.  They say to try and do your long runs in the same hour as the race you are preparing for begins.  I have never really held true to this rule.  Yes, in the summer I get up early on weekends to get it done, but I have to say I always feel so much better in the afternoon.  Drop a line and add to the discussion and hop on over to the article.  It is a quick read and I know I didn't give it justice.

Happy Thursday and Happy Running!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'll Never Learn

The past few weeks I have been looking at races for 2010.  Actually, I have signed up for a couple besides Boston, but I also had in mind a few others that I was sure I wanted to run.  Well, since I didn't get my Maniac status on Sunday my new fun goal for 2010 is to achieve that.  I can be a smart runner and still achieve it, it just is going to take some planning which I love!  I looked back at my race calendar for 2009 and saw that I had a huge concentration of races in the fall and not so many in the beginning of the year.  This is what also happened in 2008.  Unlike 2008 though, in 2009 I had a six week stretch of 6 races which I found out the hard way isn't always fun. 

With my love of Excel and spreadsheets I have made a list of all the races that seem accessible to me.  Meaning, easy travel and get away.  I am a tax accountant and that does play a major part.  I am not really able to take any time off from February to April so that does put a damper on an earlier spring marathon since I wouldn't be able to take a Monday off and most Saturday's in that time frame are spent at work :(  I have complied a list of races that are possible and now I think I need to widdle it down to 12-14.  I know I am running Boston.  I know I will run the SF marathon again and I always do the Lake Tahoe Marathon.  Aside from those though, I am ready to tackle some new courses and few more familiar ones to hopefully set some course PR's!

I could post my spreadsheet, but then you would all see just how crazy and detail oriented I am and that would just be embarrassing.  Hehehe.  But here are some highlights of the races I know I am going to or probably race and I will eventually fill in the gaps.  The big plan for Maniac status is all planned out - just need to fork out some race fees! Ugh!

1/1/10  NY Day Palo Alto 10K - this should be fun as Ari and I are gonna do it together and ensure that we don't drink too much the night before!
1/2/10  Brazen NY Half Marathon - Yes, a half mary after a 10K.  But I am not going to race the 10K and I really want to race after the debacle of CIM.
2/7/10  Kaiser SF Half Marathon - a good girl friend of mine raced this last year and had   blast.  It is on Super Bowl Sunday which should help  counter all the crap I will be eating that day.
3/14/10 Shamrock Half in Sac - I got to hang out on Sunday with one of my SIL's good friend's who is also a runner who talked me into this one :)
4/11/10 Santa Cruz Half Marathon - Not sure about this one yet - it's the weekend before Boston.  I did BQ after I ran a half the weekend before and my 'cuz Sarah is running this again so I have lots of good reasons to do this one!
4/19/10 Boston Marathon - what can you say about this one - I'm in!!
5/2/10 Eugene Marathon - this would be the second marathon in my quest to achieve Maniac status.  Ari has cousins that live there and have been begging us to come - a marathon is a good excuse!
6/6/10 RNR San Diego - even though I hated the course and the city, it is the only June marathon that is accessible to me in the 90 day time frame.
7/11/10 Los Gatos Half Marathon - this was a blast this year and I hope to PR!
7/25/10 SF Marathon - not sure if I want to tackle the full or the half yet, but it was a ton of fun and hope to PR on it if I do the 2nd half again!
9/26/10 Lake Tahoe Marathon - I will def be doing the full again so that I can get my redemption - beautiful course and great spectators!

I have lots of other races I am considering and aside from Lake Tahoe I haven't committed myself to any other fall races just yet.  I would also like to get another 5K or 10K in there at some point.  If you can't tell, I love me the 13.1 distance.  But I am not special in that sense, many marathoners love it.  Yes, it is a busy race schedule but I have some goals I want to meet (saving that for another post) and when I don't have a race on the calendar I usually end up getting into trouble :)  I am already signed up for four of the races above, now I just gotta start spreading out those race fees (yeah! another spreadsheet!). 

I have had a wonderful week of running already!  Sunday when we got home I did a little 3 mile jaunt around the neighborhood sans the garmin.  I just wanted to feel my legs below me and enjoy the crisp air.  It also reminded me that I had made the right decision for me.

Monday I was planning on heading to the gym but the thought of that was daunting.  I decided to head outside.  I bundled up and got in an awesome 8 mile run.  I needed this run.  I waited until the afternoon to go since it had been raining and yes, snowing in the morning.  It was cool and crisp and I felt alive.  I left all of my bad feelings and doubts about CIM on the road, which you will be able to see from my crazy clip!

8 miles   59:13  7:24/mi pace - I knew I was running pretty quick since almost every time I looked at my garmin it said 7:05 or so.  But for the first time that speed didn't feel like it was killing me.  Call it adrenaline or self-pity, but whatever it was it was great!

Yesterday I got home from work a bit later than usual and decided to hit the gym.  It is getting soooo dark out and so early lately!  I am still a bit gun-shy of running the roads at night so this seemed like a good idea.

8 miles 1:02:00  7:45/mi pace - it was HOT in there!  But I did a progression run and felt awesome afterwards.  Ari tortured rolled me out last night since my hamstrings were a bit tight.  The fast clip I think really pulls on them.

Thank you again for all your encouraging words after Sunday.  I know I made the right choice for ME and that is all that matters.  I am at peace with it now and know that a smart runner is a happy runner.  I am so glad I am able to run this week instead of having to be in recovery mode. 

So, what's on your race schedule for 2010?  I would love to hear!  Have a great Wednesday peeps!
Happy Running!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Grown-Up Decisions

I am having a bit of a difficult time writing this at the moment.  I have to believe though that I made the right choice for myself.  We have all been in a place or time where our heart's were telling us to do one thing and our head was pointing us in a different direction.  Yesterday I had to listen to my head and let my heart take the back seat - a difficult choice for any runner or person.

I did not run CIM yesterday.  I got up on Saturday after getting a great night of sleep on Friday night.  I felt rested and had a few things to get done before we headed to Sacramento.  Sac is only about 2 hours away for us so it was nice not to have to rush.  I kept with the thinking that if I didn't think too much about Sunday's race that it would be better.  I did some last min laundry, focused on packing up all my race gear and getting to see my family and nephew.  I had no appetite at all.  I managed a bagel in the morning early and kept up on my fluids but I still had no desire to try and carb up or eat properly.  I actually did not eat again until almost 5:30 when we went out for pizza with the fam.  On a side note, I had decided to go with my old pre-race meal of pizza instead of Indian food since my last couple of races that choice didn't fare to well for me out on the course. 

We got to Elk Grove and unloaded our stuff and then decided to head to the Expo real quick.  I felt like a fake when I got there.  All around me were runners who were excited about the race and I just didn't feel it.  I think though too, that I have become a bit jaded by the whole race expo this year.  I had no desire to walk around and check out the booths or grab any free stuff.  I just grabbed my bib, chip and bag and got out of there quick.  I didn't get to see any of the bloggy peeps, but that was okay.  I was still not wanting to think about the next day too much.  All over the race expo they had signs up saying that the race day temps at the start were going to be 35! Wowwzza!  That is cold and it freaked me out more. 

When we got home I put my bib on my SpiBelt, put my chip on my shoes and got my clothes ready for the morning.  That night we decided to go for pizza with my family.  I had a few slices, kept up on my water and crawled into bed around 7:30.  I think I was asleep by 8!  My alarm went off at 3:15 and I was feeling rested but COLD!  We got dressed quickly and headed downtown.  The car said it was 29 in Elk Grove and when we got downtown it said 31!  Ugh!  I decided to ride the bus with Aron because I knew that I didn't want to ride the bus alone in the cold.  She was staying at a race sponsored hotel the Citizen and the buses were going to start picking up at 5 am.  The cool thing about this was that they were going to let you stay on the bus until 15 min before the start.  We go to the lobby at 4:45 am. 

The lobby was packed with runners.  I quickly found a seat and started to freak.  Every runner had tights on, which was what I was going with last min.  I had decided on running tights and a long sleeve tech shirt and gloves.  As I sat there though, I had an internal dialogue running trying to pump myself up.  It wasn't working.  I was anxious and DID NOT want to run.  I had mentioned to Ari a few times in the lobby that I didn't want to run, but being the good hubby and running sherpa he is he kept reassuring me that I would be fine.  The plan was that he was going to drive as close to the start as possible and then pick me up on his bike along the course.  This made me nervous though.  All over the pre-race instructions they had warnings that no outside assistance was allowed on the course.  This usually isn't a big deal.  But the warning also said that they would be video taping the course and have race officials stationed and if they saw any assistance they would disqualify you right away.  I did not want to run this alone.  Maybe if the conditions had been better I wouldn't have Ari with me, but the thought of running  26.2 miles in this weather was just daunting so I went with the risk.

By 5am the lobby was packed and I hadn't found Aron.  The buses were passing the hotel and heading to the other official race pick-up up the street.  They weren't stopping at the Citizen.  We were all huddling near the door and waiting.  If you read Aron's report here, you will see that didn't go so well.  At the last min I decided not to run.  I told Ari I gotta go and we headed to the car.  I was sad.  I was mad but I didn't want to stand there anymore.  I was cold and scared.  When we got to the car he said let's go back to the house, get the map and drive me to the start.  This way I would be in the warm car longer and not at the cold start.  That sounded okay, but I knew in my heart I had already decided not to run.

When we pulled up to the house I told Ari I wasn't going to run.  I cried.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like I had let so many people down: Ari, my family and all the other peeps who had decided to brave those awful running conditions.  I had come all the way here, paid race fees, got all the way to the buses and backed out.  But I didn't not want to be cold out there.  I knew I would be miserable.  I did not want to feel like garbage on Monday.  I did not want to have an awful running week recovering from a marathon.  I love to run and the thought of having another recovery week was daunting.  I had already gotten my BQ in a really honorable fashion and my heart was just not in this.  Ari was okay with that.  He knew that I would be risking injury, too.  It wasn't worth it.  Yes, I was saying good bye to a shinny medal and my Maniac staus, but I had to make the right choice for me.  I just didn't want to run.  I have never not wanted to run so badly in my life.  That is not the way it should be.

We headed inside and my sister-in-law decided she was going to go and cheer on her friends still.  That sounded great.  I could at least see Aron, Amy, Danica, Maritza and Tara finish and cheer them on.  Ari grabbed the dog and went back to bed while Suz, William my nephew and I braved the cold at 7 am.   We headed to mile 10 and when we go there at 7:45 it was only 38 out!  The wind was the worst part!  We got to see the elites pass, something that I have never been able to do before.  I have only seen them on TV so that was pretty cool.  We went back to the car to wait for the 3:15-3:40 pace groups to pass.  At 8:15 it was still only 38 out and people started coming.  I have never been a spectator at a race before but I do know how important it is to have people cheering you on, stranger or not.  I had my cow bell going and was screaming encouragement like crazy!  No one looked happy out there.  The pace groups were huge packs of people.  I think they were doing this to stay warm and combat the wind.  The wind is what made it bad.  It went right through you and just chilled you to the bone.  Everyone had red legs from the cold and wind burn.  I was glad I wasn't out there.  Again, no one looked happy but I kept the encouragement coming.  I never got to see any of my peeps, but I have a feeling that was because people were running in packs to stay warm.  After the 4:00 pace group passed we decided to head to the finish, as we heard it was going to be crowded.

It was really neat to be on this side of the finish line.  I have never been here before.  We got to see the elites finish and that was awesome.  Ari has said that there is a huge gap in the runners between 3:10 and 3:40.  That most people finish before or after those times.  But this race runners just kept coming.  NO ONE looked happy.  Everyone looked beat up.  One man collapsed who had crossed in 3:05 and was rushed away by ambulance.  About 50% of the runners finishing had medics helping them walk or giving them aide.  It looked like a battle field.  I had initially been sad and disappointed when we go to the finish that I hadn't run.  But I had realized again that I had made the right decesion.   It was cold and no one looked elated that they had just finished a marathon or grabbed a BQ.

The clock said 3:31 and I headed over to the woman's finish side to see Aron and Amy come across.  I know how important it is to have familiar faces at the finish right away.  Those girls didn't disappoint.  I got to see Aron finish (YAY!) and then Amy and give her a big hug!  Go over and read those girl's blogs, it won't disapoint.  I am really proud of them.  But again, no one was looking too good when they crossed.  I was cold, too.  I had put on over my running tights my jeans, Uggs, my long sleeve tech, two sweatshirts and a jacket and gloves and I was chilled to the bone!  I soon saw Danica and Tara cross and got to say hey and hug and congratulate them, too!  Great job girls!  I was really proud of all of them for braving those horrid conditions.  I was a bit disappointed when I saw the fun medals, but again was glad I was on this side of the finish line.  I also have to add that I have a new found respect and appreciation for my family who stands at the finish.  It is a lot of work and it was cold. 

We soon headed home and got out of the cold!  I was constantly thinking of the "what if's" and the scenario's that could have been for me that day.  I was sad and disappointed but knew I had made the right choice for me.  Sometime's it isn't easy to make the "grown-up" decision but it is what you have to do.  I made the right choice for me yesterday.  I want to run for a long time, I want to keep going and enjoy my running.  I could have set myself up for failure yesterday and that is not what my running is about.  WE run because we love to, not for pride with other people.  WE run because it makes us feel good, not for the approval of other people.  I had to make the choice and I am happy.  I am just over 40 miles short of 1500 miles for the year.  I want to focus on achieving that goal this month, and if I had run yesterday and possibly got injured I would have put that goal in jeopardy - just not worth it.  I will get my maniac status next year, I am already planning out my races so that I can make that happen.  And I will BQ for 2011, too!  Maybe I will BQ at Boston!  I am also working on my goals for 2010, and reminding myself of why I run.  I have to remind myself that this is a fun sport, that I do this for me.  I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I could have risked it all because I was fearful of letting someone other than myself down.  A good runner is a smart runner.  Yesterday I passed that test and I am proud.

Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support this past couple of weeks.  It means a ton to me, and don't think I wasn't thinking of you in that lobby yesterday morning or that car ride home.  I was, but I also know that you would be proud of me for my choice and that given the same situation you probably would make the right choice for you, too.  I am excited that the holiday's are here and that I am going to enjoy my day off (don't think I was going to sacrifice a day off from work just because I didn't run a marathon yesterday! LOL) and go for a long run at the gym.  Yes, the gym.  It is cold, rainy and snowing out and I don't want to run in that.  I didn't run in it yesterday, why would I today? Hahahaha!

Enjoy your week peeps, and thank you again for all your support and encouragement!
Happy Running!

Friday, December 4, 2009

CIM Here I Come!!

I'm thinking that if I keep revving myself up from now until Sunday I won't dread the race as much!  So, CIM HERE I COME!!  I was going with, "I'm just not going to think about it," to "I will just focus on the bloggy meet-up."  But now I realize that if I want to enjoy it at all I need to get out of my head and go full force!  So I am excited to see my fam in Sacramento and all the peeps, but I am finally excited to get the race done!  3 marathon's in 90 days is a big accomplishment and I am going to run with that!  It is going to mother f-ing cold at the start, that is my biggest fear right now.  But I can't control the weather; I can only control how I think about it and prep for it.  So my race outfit is all picked out and I am ready to freeze my bottie off! 

I ran an easy five miler last night to get out of my head and enjoy the run.  I have to say it was one of the nicest runs I have had in a while.  I didn't take my garmin - I know shocking!  And it was nice to not be a slave to it.  I ended up with a decent time I guess.  I used the clock in the kitchen as my base time and ran my standard five mile loop.

5 miles  43 mins (kitchen clock time)  8:35/mi pace
Not too shabby.  I also got to meet up with a good friend from college last night for dinner.  We went to one of my fav restaurants in the area called Max's.  Their motto is, "This is a bad place for a diet.  This is a great place for a diet."  Everything is huge, from the burgers, pasta plates and the deserts.  I had a big stuffed baked potato with ground turkey, sautéed spinach and caramelized onions.  Yumo!  And great for the carbo loading!  It was so nice to catch up with my good friend Melissa.  There is just something about hanging with peeps who knew you "way back when."  :)

I don't think that there is a way to follow any runners online Sunday.  And I don't think I will get to blog until Monday.  It is a two hour drive back from Sac for me, and I don't do so well after sitting in the car for two hours after a marathon. :)  But I will be tweeting right away and also updating my FB.  If you want to follow my tweets I am SJRedGirl and email me for my FB name and we can be friends and get your updates that way.

Have an awesome Friday peeps.  Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging all week while I sat on my pity-pot and fretted about CIM.  You are all awesome!  Good luck to all the peeps racing this weekend : Aron, Amy, Danica, Amanda and Bobbi.  You girls are gonna rock it.  I see some BQ's in the very near future for a couple of you! ;)  And to all the peeps I might have missed or who are doing long runs and training runs, good luck! 

Happy Running! And TGIF, baby!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Rx for My Running Blahs....

I have no doubt been in a funk lately with my running.  I am noticing every little ache, every little muscle tightness and giving myself every excuse in the book to not go for a run.  This is not the Katie I know.  I am usually rearranging everything in my life to get out for a run.  These past two weeks though, I have been giving myself the time off to just be lazy.  This is probably not such a bad thing.  CIM is on Sunday and since I really didn't need a taper because I had just ran Fresno four weeks ago, my laziness was probably a good thing.  I stopped feeling guilty and went with my gut (something us runners don't usually listen to!).

Yesterday I had to get out for a run.  Work has been boring and Ari and I have been dealing with some major work issues at his job.  I needed to clear my head out but the thought of hitting the pavement in my usual spots just drained all excitement from me.  I had heard there was a nice quiet and pretty flat trail about 3 miles from our house.  Perfect!  Ari and I loaded his bike in the car and we headed over.  Boy, were we not disappointed!  It's the Los Alamitos Creek Trail in Almaden and it was awesome.  It starts at a lake that is right in the middle of suburbia and winds along the beautiful foothills that surround us.  It was chilly!  My legs felt like led from the cold and it was only 50 degrees!  That made me a little worried - I have a feeling the temps are going to be in the 30's when the race starts on Sunday!  Soon my legs were warmed up and I was cruising.  I am so excited I found this trail, too!  I think it is one that I can go to by myself and not worry too much.  It was very well traveled yesterday, we passed a ton of people.  Yay for new running trails.  Six great miles!

6 miles  47:11  7:51/mi pace
1st 3 miles  24:13  8:04/mi pace
2nd 3 miles  22:58  7:39/mi pace  (yay! negative split!)

I forgot to take our camera but I pulled some pics of the website to show you just how awesome of a trail it is!

This was a run that I really needed.  The change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered!  I think I am going to try it again tonight - it was so easy to get to and so easy to bang out six miles quickly. 

I am going to run on Sunday but I am just not thinking about it.  I had all these fears because I really wanted to BQ for 2011 again.  Plus, once you run a sub 3:40 isn't it kind-of expected you keep doing it?  Probably not, but that is what my brain is telling me.  How can I show up for a marathon and run slow?  I am telling myself right now to just go out and enjoy it.  No pressure.  I am sure I will be well below 4 hours, I just don't need to focus on a sub 3:40 if my legs and heart are not feeling it.  I am super stoked to meet up with all the bloggy peeps that will be there so that will make it all worth it!  Oh, and I am pretty excited about being a Maniac - even if the singlet is a gawd-awful yellow! :)

3 Days to go to CIM!  Have a great Thursday peeps!
Happy Running!