Friday, February 26, 2010

3 Things Friday!

Yes, I know that usually "3 Things" occurs on Thursday for most blogy's, or I could call it "5 Things Friday," but I missed yesterday posting, bullet style sounds fun and my life just isn't that exciting for 5 whole things!  Sorry I have been MIA all week, it's has really picked up in the tax world and I am doing everything possible to stay sane!

  1. Tomorrow the hubbs and I will be heading to Tahoe for the day to meet up with my family and have a day of snowboarding.  Actually, everyone else will be skiing or snowboarding but I am going to sit this day out.  I cannot risk injury before Boston so the season is over for me.  Which really sucks in the moment since they have been getting dumped with glorious snow since last week and are due for some more!  We aren't going to spend the night since I have my long run on the books for Sunday and we both will be missing our pooch and our bed! Yes, you read that right - we are coming home early to be with our Lilly :)  It will be a long day but I should be able to get a run in, possibly with Sarah, and enjoy "whiskying" as my grandma used to like to call hanging out in the lodge.
  2. My runs this week have been less than ideal.  I have rearranged my schedule now so that I come in late two days a week to get my runs done in the morning, and then two days a week I am taking a long lunch to get home and get my runs in.  It ensures I keep up my training and I can still pull the all nighters that is so common during tax season.  I tried this a little bit last year when I was training for the San Diego Rock and Roll marathon but I wasn't consistent about it and ended up going into that race feeling less than prepared.  Not this year!  I am going to make it work - even if I develop large black circles under my eyes!
  3. My knees have been killing me when I run.  I am dreading my runs right now.  And I just can't figure it out.  I had knee probs back in H.S. when I played soccer and golf but they hadn't bothered me with my running all these years until the last couple of weeks.  They are achy and tight, and they hurt when I strike or kick during my runs.  It is also making my legs feel like lead- I just have no "kick" to them.  I was thinking it was my quads all tight and pulling on the muscles since the pain goes right over my knee in the patella part but I have been rolling and stretching like a mo-fo and it doesn't seem to be working.  Last night I iced but they still feel achy this morning.  If I can't get a grasp on this I think I will be heading into my PT guy and see what's up.  I don't want to dread the miles right now, but I am.  I also don't think it's the mileage as I had a good base going in and have even had a couple of cut back weeks - but you never know!  I have to figure this out!
**Editor's note:  Thanks for all the comments so far about my knees!  I will tell you one piece of the puzzle that i think many of you are already thinking - I have about 5 pairs of shoes that I rotate on a regular basis - none have more than 100-150 miles on them.  I thought it might be my shoes too, but I just don't think that's possible.  Any other thoughts?  I'm loving all the comments!!

It's Friday!  I am going to work a short day and go home, tackle my run and get to bed early as we should be on the road before 5 tomorrow.  I am actually excited to run in Tahoe - it's my favorite place in the world :)

So, to all you peeps racing this weekend, especially the Redhead, B.o.B. and Jamoosh, you're gonna rock it out there!  Run hard, run fast and above all ENJOY it!  You guys are going to do great!  And to all my peeps tackling the long run this weekend, good luck and ENJOY it, too!  I have just over 7 weeks to Boston and to say I am freaking out is an understatement.  Hopefully I will have knees by then!  Oh, and I plan on signing up for this next week!  You get a medal and another shirt!  Sooooo cool!

Happy Friday peeps and Happy Running!!
P.S. Don't forget to take a look at Amanda's great giveaway over at RunToTheFinish for some awesome compression pants - just don't enter, I want to win!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Run, Eat, Olympics, Run, Eat, Olympics, Run....

Run, eat, Olympics.  Run, eat, Olympics, run...that is how my weekend went!  It was the kind of weekend that you dream of all week where you get plenty of rest, run a gazillion miles and eat like a queen.  I live for this stuff!

Friday night after work I had an 8 mile tempo run on the books.  I headed to the gym to get this one done since I really needed to change up scenery.  Silly people, I canceled my membership and they still let me in!  Not sure how long that's going to last, but I'll take it!  After a one mile warm up, I did a progression run from miles 2-7, starting at 7:51 for the first mile and ending finally at 6:58 for the final.  I was tired from this one, but it felt good to get my legs turning over quickly. 
8 miles 1:00:31  7:34/mi pace

After that I ran home, showered and headed out to a new restaurant with my girl friends.  Two bottles of wine later we were finally on our way home where I had to jump into bed so that I could get up early to meet Sarah!  6:30 came early on Saturday!  Both of us later admitted that the thought had crossed our minds to call one another and call the run off!  But we didn't and at 7:30 we hit the trails together for Sarah's first 7 mile run - her longest distance ever!
The beautiful trail we went on

The weather was perfect, about 48-50 degrees when we started

Getting ready to hit the trail!
Sarah had 7 miles on the books for the day but in the back of my mind I really wanted to see if she could do 8.  I had mentioned it to her on Friday and she was actually thinking about it herself.  So when we got to the 3.5 mile turn around I asked her if she thought she had another mile in her.  She said yes!  And we plugged on for another 1/2 mile before turning around. 

Sarah lookin' good! (sorry peeps, for some reason it won't put this in the center!!)

At the 4 mile turn around - can you see the giant power plant in the background? Yeah, that can't be good to run by too often! :)

At the turn around I asked her how she was doing but I already knew - she was holding strong!  We picked up the pace a little bit on the back and the last quarter mile we really picked it up brining the pace down to 9:15/mi!  Whoo hoo!  She finished strong and hit an all time new high mileage mark!  I am so proud of her.  And at every mile her so after 6.2 we kept high fiving each other for her new distance record!  So proud of this girl.  When we finished up we headed home for some coffee, bagels and doughnuts.  I love running with my girl Sarah and am so proud of her!  Awesome job girly!
8 miles 1:22:25  10:18/mi pace

After I left Sarah I went home to tackle another 6 miles on my own to bring my total for the day to 14.  I did them on the treadmill at home as I watched the Olympics.  It's hard to stop running, get in the car, and then start running again.  So I took the miles easy and finished up the day tired but not too drained.
6 miles 50:14  8:21/mi pace.

The rest of Saturday I carbed up and drank tons of water while we sat on the couch and enjoyed the Olympics.  I haven't just sat on the couch all day in ages and it felt so decadent!  We had my favorite Indian food for dinner to get ready for Sunday's long run and just enjoyed being home. 

Sunday we got up around 7 and were on the trail by 8.  I went back to the same trail Sarah and I did as it is quite hilly and a good workout in prep for Boston.  My legs were tired.  But a good tired and after about five miles they felt like that had some spring in their step again.  I kept it easy this week, as it was a cutback week and just enjoyed the light rain and the cool weather.
18 miles 2:32:24  8:28/mi pace

My legs were done by the end.  I did have some good miles in between from about 8-14 where I was hitting my 7:45-7:55/mi range.  But after that I just let my legs cruise and enjoy the run.  I had a difficult week of running from Monday through Thursday but that all went away with the weekend.  It's amazing what your legs can do when you don't have the job monkey on your back! 

After my ice bath, giant coffee and nap we finished off the weekend with birthday shopping for my little sis and watching the USA beat Canada in the hockey game.  That was an awesome game!  I really felt like if I wasn't running, we were stuffing our faces on the couch as we watched the Olympics.  It was the perfect weekend, the kind that rejuvenates your soul and gets you ready for the next week.  I finished out the week with 49 miles, not too much of a cutback week, but enough to get me ready for the next few as I have some high mileage weeks ahead of me again.

Today is my sister Erin's 21st birthday.  I am so excited for her and can't wait to celebrate her!  We're taking her out to dinner and the obligatory night at the bars!  Whoo hoo!  So, as I have shared most of my fav pics of her and I together, I will leave you again with my fav. 

I'm off to catch up on race reports and bloggs!  Hope you all have an a great Monday!
Happy Running and Happy Monday peeps!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thankful Friday

This week has just flown by!  It's already Friday and I feel like I just woke up and it was Monday morning!  Thank god for weeks like this!

As fast as the week went by, it wasn't without its challenges.  I found myself telling myself over and over to mentally be tough.  My workouts were challenging, work has been difficult and as positive as I am, I felt like all week I was working on my game face and just plugging away.  Not to get into too much detail, but I have a co-worker, well, receptionist, who has the attitude of a six year old.  Nothing is ever her fault, she has a remark and comment for everything, and takes pleasure in being just plain rude.  So, I had to deal with that this week on top of feeling like crud.  I treat everyone with the same respect and hope it comes back in return.  I guess in a way I am a bit naive.

Tonight some of my best BFF's and I are heading out to dinner together.  But before that I have fun 8 mile tempo run all planned for me and the dreadmill.  Running has been just plugging along, ticking off the miles on my schedule.  With my strep throat I am not sure the quality of my workouts this week, but I got my miles in and I am feeling a ton better for the weekend.

Tomorrow my cousin Sarah and I are meeting up so that I can pace her for her first 7 mile run!  Her longest distance yet!  I am super stoked about this, as we are heading to one of my most favorite trails.  She is going to do awesome - let's just hope those shin splints stay at bay!  When I'm done with Sarah, I'm heading home to tack on some extra miles to get my legs good and tired again for my long run on Sunday.  I have a scale back week of 18 so after last week this sounds like a piece of cake!  No other big plans as the weather has decided to go back to gloomy.  It's going to rain all weekend so if anything that will mean lots of couch time in front of the TV watching the Olympics!  I have been so wrapped up in them!  I am always so sad when they're over with!

To all you peeps with races this weekend, especially the Redhead, Jill and Jess good luck, you're gonna rock it!  And to all my peeps tackling the long run like me this weekend, run strong and enjoy it! 

Don't forget to go and check out Mel's page over at Tall Mom and help support her with her Breast Cancer Run fundraising!

Happy Running Peeps and Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Did this Happen?

I pride myself on being a pretty healthy person.  I can count on one hand (and still have fingers left over) how many times I have been sick since I started running.  Well, I should have known something was up yesterday.  I was crabby all day long.  And not just because I had to work on a holiday or because it's tax time and I am up to my eyeballs in work.  My hubbs met me at home yesterday to go for a recovery run on my favorite trail.  All afternoon I was having anxiety over my quick 6 or 7 mile run.  Anxiety just like I get when I have a long run on the books.  We trekked all the way out there and as soon as I started running all my self doubt crept in and my legs were lead.

I couldn't turn off my brain.  I couldn't find my kick and by 3/4 of a mile I was reduced to tears because I really felt like I couldn't run - even if I wanted to.  I think I can also count on one hand (with fingers left over) how many times I have been reduced to tears by my running.  I just wasn't feeling it.  I knew I had had long weekend of running.  I knew that I had just asked a lot of myself, but I was so upset.  So the hubbs stopped me right there and told me to turn around and walk back to the car and leave it there on the trail.  I did just that.  We went home and did a weight routine but even that didn't feel right.  I was sweating sooo bad and I knew something was up.  My throat is sore, my nose is getting stuffy - I was/am getting sick and it just wasn't my day.  I actually took a shower and crawled into bed at 6:30 to finish up a book and hit the sack.  If felt so decadent to crawl into bed that early.

Today my throat is on fire, and I know I have a fever.  But it's tax time damn it!  And no one calls in sick!  So I'm at my office, plugging away and hoping the Tylenol cold will kick in soon.  I have some hill repeats on schedule today and I don't think those are going to happen.  I still have 60 days until Boston and I know taking a few days rest won't set me back at all.  Gotta down the fluids and rest up while I can, because tackling marathon training during a busy tax season is less than ideal and I at least need to do it healthy!

So amidst all of my whining and feeling less than stellar, some sunshine came into my life by way of my bloggy buddy Tonia over at Racing with Babes!
Thanks Tonia for the sunshine - it couldn't have come at a better time!

Now it's my turn to pass the sunshine along to 12 of my bloggy buddies and leave them a comment in their blog.  With all of you dealing with mounds of snow and less than ideal weather conditions, I hope this brings some sunshine to you!  Enjoy!  And as always, thanks for reading my blog, too.  It feels so good to share my own experiences with all of you while being able to share with you and your running experiences.  Thank you!
On to my buddy list!

Denise  at Running Journal
Heather at Junk Miles
Jess at 21 Days

Thanks ladies for all your support and keep up the good work!  I enjoy reading each and everyone of your bloggs!

Happy Tuesday and Happy Running Peeps!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Roundup!

As most of you are at home enjoying your well deserved day off for President's Day, I on the other hand, am at work :(  No day off for me until April 16th, boo.  I think I may need to find another profession where I get pointless holidays off and calling in sick between February 1st and April 15th isn't a capital crime :)  On to the weekend!

I had a blast of a weekend.  Isn't it funny though, when you leave your job on Friday afternoon, you feel like you have all the time in the world?  And then suddenly it's Sunday night again and you think to yourself, where did the weekend go?  I packed a lot into my weekend and I accomplished a lot.  I got my hair cut, ran a 10K, ran another 6 miles, made a romantic Valentine's dinner for the best running sherpa ever and then tackled a twenty miler all in the span of less than 72 hours!  Wow!

I have to say, the 10K is not my favorite distance.  I had a ton of fun meeting up with my cousin Sarah and her friend Nicole on Saturday morning to run the Campbell Valentine's Day 10K.  The weather was awesome, actually awesome ALL weekend long.  At the start line, I met a couple of girls about my age and we started talking.  They were new to the area and didn't know the course.  I gave them some tips about the two big hills and the rolling hills and said I was shooting for a sub 45.  They said great, that's what we're going for, too.  The gun went off and we hit our first mile in 6:49!  I knew this was too fast for me to hold on to the whole race so I let them go.  I chased their yellow shirts all the way through the race.  My second mile was 7:40 so I slowed down way too much but this is also where we hit the first big hill around mile 2.2.  I lost it all on that hill and never really regained my pace.  From miles 3-5 I was hitting the 7:15 range but I still felt like I had burned myself in those first couple of miles and never felt like I hit my groove.  I finally crossed the finish line in 46:00 flat.  I didn't hit my time goal, but I was so happy to be out there racing.  I chicked a ton of guys in that last mile and reminded myself I hadn't really done any speed work leading up to this.  Plus those hills in there were brutal!  I came in fourth for my age group and felt satisfied with the day.  You couldn't ask for better weather also.  The race was even more special with the fact that Sarah broke 60 mins!  Whoo hoo!  I am soo proud of her.  Her shins were killing her that day but she broke through it all and came in around 59:xx!  Great job Sarah!!!!!!!!!
Me, Sarah and Nicole before the race :)

Sarah and I at the finish!!

The finisher's circle :)

Lilly came out to cheer her mommy on! :)

Enough Mommy!
After we finished up at the race, I grabbed a bagel and coffee and hit up the nail salon.  My nails were in major "crack-ho" status and really needed taking care of.  When I finished up in the nail salon I came home and finished up the day with another 6 miles.  They were slow miles but I wanted to get my legs tired and ready for my 20 miler on Sunday.  I am trying my best to simulate what it will feel like after Boston heading into Big Sur.  And in a way, I think it's going to help me keep my speedy legs for Boston.

Saturday night I fixed my hubbs his requested dinner of Steak au Poirve with champagne risotto and asparagus.  Followed by choco soufflet.  It was very tasty and being the good running hubbs he is, he got me a ton of new sports bras!  Only a runner would appreciate sports bras vs. real lingere :)

The choco soufflet - before we broke into it!

The choco soufflet with homemade whipped cream :)

Sunday came and my legs were tired.  I tried to embrace this and remind myself I did it to myself but it was HARD.  The first couple of miles were painful.  I only had 30 miles on my legs for the week but they were feeling like lead!  By the time I hit mile 8 and had gu'ed, I found my stride.  Miles 16-18 felt like the last 10K of a marathon!  I was clicking off 9 min miles and dying!  But being the good running sherpa the hubbs was, he talked me through them and I finished those 20 strong, in fact, my last 1/2 mile was at 7:00/mi pace!
20 miles  2:43:19  8:10/mi pace.

I was exhausted by noon on Sunday and we both collapsed into a heap!  I took a quick 20 min nap after my shower and ice bath and then we headed out to the dogpark with Lilly for Valentine's day.  Sorry, this post has more pics of Lilly - these are her in the car, on Ari's lap on the way to the dogpark.  Yes, she is wearing a sweatshirt and doggles :)  What can I say, we don't have kids yet!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend but it was a blast.  I am so proud of Sarah and her big Saturday and I am contemplating running the Santa Cruz Half Marathon with her in April to help pace her.  Yes, it's the weekend before Boston but I think 13 easy, slow miles will be just fine even when I am in taper. 

And since this is a post with a ton of photo's, I thought I would share what came in the mail on Saturday!!!

My 2010 Boston Jacket - I received a gift card from my auntie for my b-day and couldn't think of a better way to spend it!  It's awesome, the arms come off and turn into a vest - I'm in love :)

I am off to catch up on blogs and see how everyone's long runs and races went!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps! 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend Update

Friday has finally arrived and it couldn't have come sooner.  I am really looking forward to this weekend as it is another jam packed weekend of running and of course, celebrating Valentine's Day.  I am convinced V-Day was made up just to sell more cards during an otherwise slow month of February, but I really love any chance to celebrate life so I really like to go all out with the hubbs.  So, in bullet form style, here is my crazy weekend all wrapped up!

  • I have a fun 10K Valentine's Day race tomorrow that I am running with my cousin Sarah!  It's her first 10K in over a year and she is going to rock it!  10K's are not my favorite distance, but my running this week has really picked up it's pace after last Sunday's disaster and I am hoping to knock off one of my goals for 2010 by doing a sub 45 10K.  My legs have some miles on them already but I think if all goes well I can pull this one off.  I really hate to go into a race with a specific time goal as I hate to brake my own heart, but I am going to give it a shot and see what I have in me.  Maybe I can pull of another AG win like I did at the 5K in October?
  • Saturday night the hubbs and I are going to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I go to bed way too early on Sunday night to celebrate anything so moving it a day ahead is just fine in our books.  My gift to him is usually I let him pick some fancy dinner he wants me to cook and I make it for him.  Along with my chocolate soufflĂ© it will be a nice evening.  I think I might even allow myself a glass of wine!  I have given up alcohol until Boston with two exceptions, Valentine's Day and my little sisters 21st birthday.  You still gotta have fun while marathon training :)
  • Sunday morning I have a 20 miler on the books.  I am actually looking forward to this run as I haven't ran 20 miles or farther since last November.  I love the feeling you get when you finish those long runs and I am hoping to work on a little speed in the middle of it all.  The hubbs will be my running sherpa and I am going to scout out a new path today as I am just done with my usual routes - gotta mix it up!
Thank you for all the support this week after my disappointing Sunday run.  If you didn't know this, I actually started playing golf when I was 10.  I was on the golf team all the way through high school and continue to play as often as I can during the summer months.  But there is a saying in golf that I have adapted to my life as a runner:  "Leave it at the last hole."  Not all 18 holes are ever going to be perfect, and with running, not every run is going to be stellar.  So I am leaving Sunday at the "last hole," and moving forward.  I am still revamping my training plan and know what I need to do.  Thanks again.

And you are all commented on how much my little sister and I look alike!  Yes, it's true, we are the spitting images of one another.  She is my BFF and really enjoy hanging with her.  She is 9 years younger than me and we are finally enjoying our relationship more and more as she matures in to a really awesome person.  She is studying to be a nurse (she is to smart for that and should go on to medical school in my opinion) and I couldn't be more proud.  I'll leave you with another couple of pics from the only two races she ever ran with me.  For awhile there I was trying to get her to love running as much as me so I could have a buddy.  Alas, it didn't stick but I am left with some fun memories of our races together.
After the Lake Tahoe Marathon - I ran the marathon and she did the 10K and came in first place for her AG!

After the Disneyland 1/2 marathon - she was so beat up but finished :)

To all you peeps racing this weekend, Sarah and Tall Mom with her Million Inch Run, and good luck and to all you tackling your long runs especially the RedHead and B.o.B., you're gonna rock them!
Happy Friday and Happy Running Peeps!
P.S. Go on over to Marcia's blog and check out her cool giveaway for Indigo Wild - very fun products!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rest Days

Monday was a rest day for me.  When Sunday was over I was so glad that I had Monday off from running.  But then Monday arrived and I wanted to run.  I felt guilty for not running.  My legs wanted to move.  Rest days are hard for me, even after six days straight of running and high mileage.  My head plays crazy tricks on me and makes me want to throw all logic out the window and just run.  I am not good at sitting still, but I do know that rest days are some of the most important days in marathon training.  They give our legs and minds a day to regroup and reenergize so that the next block of hard training can really make a difference.

I could have gone to the gym (still have a few days left) and done some weights or some hard core workout, but I let my body and mind rest.  It's amazing how much time I have on my hands in the evening when I don't have a run scheduled!  I actually got a load of laundry done on a Monday night!  I had dinner with my parents and even enjoyed the company of my husband.  And even though it was a successful rest day in that I truly rested, my body was still not happy with me.  I couldn't sleep.  I tossed and turned all night.  I woke up every half hour and just couldn't turn myself "off."  The problem was I wasn't tired.  I hadn't expended much energy behind my desk all day and even doing laundry didn't break a sweat.  Does this ever happen to any of you on your rest days?  Do you feel restless because you didn't run or expend much energy?  While I was tossing and turning it hadn't occurred to me just yet that I wasn't tired from not running.  What I was thinking about though was my next run.  I am deep in marathon training, and even though I am getting deeper into tax season, my body is just ready to go, go, go.  How do you sleep on rest days?

When Tuesday rolled around I was feeling ready to run.  I wished I had more time in the morning to go for a run before work but alas, that would have to wait until the afternoon.  Funny thing was, by the time I got home...I didn't want to run anymore.  I haven't had time to revamp my training schedule and it still said 10 miles for Tuesday.  My heart wanted to go out and pound the pavement for 10 miles, but my head said that wasn't happening.  I vowed to make this a lower mileage week and I really wanted to stick to that.  So I hit the track for some 800's and some strides and a quick 5K to get my legs turning over.  I had been so drained on Sunday and I wanted to feel the life back in my legs.  My 5K felt great...21:22.  I wasn't exhausted afterwards and was able to complete a few sets of 800's at 10K pace to finish out the day with just over 6 miles.  It felt so good to run fast, and I know that I wouldn't have done as well if I hadn't taken that rest day.  It's a double edged sword.  I want to run fast and perform well, but without taking those rest days I know I won't perform to my potential or my own standards.

Today I think I will tackle that medium long run.  I will shoot for 10-12 and see where my legs and head take me.  I have my 10K to look forward to on Saturday and then Sunday I have a long run of 20.  The long run will be another good test of what it feels like to run on tired legs.  I haven't decided yet if I am going to go all out on Saturday but I do want to test my 10K fitness and really give my legs the feeling of being tired again for Sunday.  For now though, I am going to let myself get through the rest of the week and see how I feel come Saturday.  I don't want to set myself up for another crash and burn for my long run like I did on Sunday.  It just isn't good for my head and I gotta keep in the game until April 19th!

So, I had promised you guys a while back some funny pictures from my surprise party.  And since no good post is complete with out some pics...without further ado, here is my party and all my sweat glory.  Go ahead a laugh.  Just keep in mind, I hadn't showered after my 12 mile run, I didn't have my glasses and was blind, and it was a complete surprise!
Carbing up after my run :) (that's my MIL in the backgroud - isn't she a gem?)

Getting ready for some fondue!

My SIL Suzie and me :)

My little sister Erin and me :)

My little sis E, as we call her, turns 21 on the 22nd and we are super excited!  I can't believe my baby sister is 21! LOL!
Its Wednesday peeps, the weekend is within sight!  Happy Running!
P.S.  Don't forget to check out Tall Mom's Recovery Sock giveaway - just remember to not enter - I really, really want to win!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Race Report: Kaiser Half Marathon San Francisco

For the first time in a very long time I am disappointed in how I ran.  I don't usually try to dwell on the negative of my running - after all, I run because it makes me happy.  I run because it makes me feel good.  But yesterday's race did none of that for me.  It was a difficult race for me and it showed in my performance.

This was a very high mileage week for me.  I have been staying in the 40-48 miles per week range for a while.  But by the time Sunday rolled around I was already at 50.  This was my plan though.  I wanted to race on tired legs in preparation for Boston and Big Sur.  Saturday I got in an easy 6.2 with my cousin Sarah who is preparing for her first half in April and then when I got home from our run, I set out for another 6 hard on my own.  That was 12 miles the day before a half.  This is something I had never done before.  I have always taken it pretty easy the day before any race and so this was new territory for me.

Sunday I woke up feeling pretty good but for the first time I could feel how tired my legs were.  My left groin muscle had decided to rear it's ugly head on Friday night in a soreness I had never felt before.  All I was thinking was, "great, an injury I just don't need right now."  But surprisingly it didn't bother me at all on Saturday's runs or on Sunday.  First and foremost for this race though was the logistics.  They have you start in the middle of Golden Gate park and you finish quite a bit farther away.  Under normal circumstances this would be okay, but this is San Francisco where parking is a bitch even on normal days.  So the hubbs dropped me off at the start and went and parked the car closer to the finish and raced back on his bike to meet up with me during the race.  I hadn't planned on him really assisting me that day, but it turned out I needed him.  The weather was awesome, from start to finish I think the temp hovered around 50-55 degrees with hardly any wind.
The start line

The start was a little late and I should have know this was going to be a preview for the whole race.  It was the most disorganized race I have ever been to.  It was put on mainly by Kaiser Permanente, a health foundation in California that I actually belong to.  When the gun went off we went up a slight uphill, rounded around the middle of Golden Gate park and then down through an area known as the "Avenues."  It's quite pretty, lots of older homes.  After a slight down hill around mile two they dumped us back into the heart of GG park and we were passing the Academy of Sciences.  This is where my legs just didn't want to move anymore.  I felt like they were lead and I was doing everything I could to keep going.  I found Ari around this point and gave him my arm warmers and gloves.  I was hoping that would help me as I was already getting quite warm.  But my mile 3, after another slight downhill, my legs and knees were screaming.  I hit mile 3 at about 23:50 or so and I was done.  I looked at Ari and just started walking.  Yes, walking.  I haven't walked in a race in forever but I felt done.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to leave.  It was a packed race and I was right in the middle of it.  There were lots of fast runners and I never felt like I got away from the pack.  I walked for about .10 and then started running again.  I looked at my watch and I was pacing 8:30's and I freaked.  I saw my whole day get away from me.  I think Ari saw this to and he started to talk to me.  He reminded me I could do it, gave me some Gatorade and sent me off.  The next miles were a blur.  I took a Gu around mile 6 or about 50 mins in.  I knew I was already off my pace.  That seemed to help me. 

Out on the GH

I got to mile 7 where we hit the Great Highway.  This is a gorgeous part of the race.  The GH runs along the Pacific Ocean and the weather was just perfect.  I soon got really hot and took off my shirt and passed it off to Ari.  This seemed to help a bit but I then realized this was an out and back!  I hate out and back's during a race.  They are a mental nightmare for me.  I was feeling defeated again.  By the time I hit mile 9, I didn't think I had four miles in me.  I looked at my watch and saw I was still clicking off 8:10's so I knew it wasn't all bad but mentally I was drained.  I hit the turn around at mile 9.5 and was immediately hit with a strong headwind.  Oh man!  Wind!  A runner's nightmare!  I had just gathered myself by telling me it was only 3.5 miles left, 26 mins max!  I was slowed down right away.  I was hot, too.  I passed mile 11 and looked at Ari and was done!  I wanted to walk so bad.  My legs were cramping, my knees hurt with every foot fall and I was hot. 

The crowd support for this race was bad.  Even those that had come out to the GH to cheer didn't even cheer!  No signs, no horns - nothing.  They also only gave out water on the course until mile 10 where they finally gave out some power ade.  The water stops were a cluster fu*k and poorly organized, too.  Every water stop slowed me down as I dodged people to get around.  Finally, I hit the mile 12 marker and I knew that I could get the last 1.1 miles done. I kicked it into over drive and ran that last 1.1 miles in less than 8 mins.  I had looked down at my watch and it had said 1:39:xx and I hit it. 

I crossed the finish line with my garmin saying 1:47:55.  I was so defeated at this point.  The finish shoot was really bad, too.  No MEDAL!  Just some water and your cotton shirt waiting for you.  No bananas, no bagels - nothing but water, your shirt and a crappy goody bag.  And it was packed with non-runners and the 5K people.  I quickly gathered myself and found Ari.  I remember telling him that I don't know how I finished.  I wanted to cry.  I felt so defeated and I couldn't tell you what I did wrong other than I was tired.  My legs were cramping, so I threw on my sweats, got changed out of my sweaty bra and we walked to the car.  The walk was a good thing - he had parked 6 hilly blocks away but it was good to walk.  I didn't even want a picture. 
Race stats:
Garmin: 13.22 miles  1:47:55  8:09/mi
Official: 13.10 miles 1:48:07  8:15/mi  overall 1324, division 94th.

I don't think I will ever run this race again.  Not because of my own poor performance, but because of how unorganized it was.  It was just a mess.  The course could be really fast, which I probably would like on fresher legs, but the organizers just did the whole race on the cheap.  It was nice to be in the city for the beautiful weather, and we both really appreciated that.  If you don't know this, the best time of year to visit SF is the winter, and the worst is July and August where they sometimes never see the sun for days with all the fog.  So the weather was not lost on us.

My hips are sore and my legs are tired.  And although this wasn't a PR or even a PW, it was a very lesson filled race for me.  I learned that high mileage weeks are not going to get the job done for me.  I learned what it feels like to race on very tired legs which will be good for Big Sur and the Relay.  I learned how to try to cope with the mental defeat on the race course - something I hadn't had to feel in a while.  I learned what I need to work on and where to tweak my training plan.  Although I felt very defeated yesterday, today I am much more positive and know what I need to do.  I finished the week off with 63 miles, one of the highest I have ever hit - and something I don't need to do for a while again.  Yes, a 1:48 half is respectable time, I know this especially with 63 miles on my legs.  But I know that I am capable of more and this makes me want to work harder.  I am excited about my next half, I know what I need to do.  I know that not every race can be a PR, and I know that not every race I am going to feel like a million bucks.  But I definitely wasn't counting on feeling the way I did on Sunday.  It's a lesson though that isn't lost on me.
Along the GH - see how clear it was!

I had a busy weekend of running, racing and partying.  I ended up hosting the Super Bowl Party at my house and it was a blast.  Sad my Colts didn't win, but glad the Saints came out the victor - they deserved it, too.

Today is a rest day, whoo hooo!  I am going to do some cross training and re-vamp my training program.  Plus, it's Monday, my favorite day of the week and I am busy at work!  Congrats to all the peeps who raced this weekend, including Aron, Danica and LB!  You guys did awesome!
And don't forget to check out Tall Mom's Recovery Sock Giveaway - just don't enter, I wanna win!!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thankful Friday

I am so grateful that today is Friday.  It's been a long week of work and running and I am exhausted!  Tax season is finally revving up, and again I always act so surprised that February comes so fast! I am a bit nervous about balancing my extended hours at work and my high mileage weeks, as I didn't do such a hot job of it last year.  But this year I have Boston to look forward to, so I am hoping that lights the fire under me to keep going.  All week I have been plagued by tummy problems, and I think that is what zapped the energy out of me.  I'll find the balance, but in the mean time I'm just putting my head down and taking one run at a time :)

I have a fun weekend at least to look forward to running wise.  Tomorrow I am going to accompany my cousin Sarah for her first six mile training run.  She is training for the Santa Cruz Half Marathon (her first!) in April and she is doing awesome even while battling awful shin splints!  Her determination to fight through and become a runner is really refreshing.  I am so excited for her.  Secretly I have been egging her on with her running, in hopes of selfishly creating my very own running buddy! *insert evil laugh*  I am still debating myself if I want to run the race.  It's the weekend before Boston.  I did run a pretty fast half last year the weekend before Fresno where I BQ'ed, but a part of me is thinking I am going to need some fresh legs following that week.  They do have a 10K also, so I am still deciding.

Sunday I have the Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon.  I am wicked excited about this as it is my first road race of the year.  It runs all the way through hilly Golden Gate Park so it will be a good workout in prep for Boston.  I love that it's on Super Bowl Sunday (Go Colts!!) so I can feel a little less guilty about all the crap I am sure to consume afterwards :)

Despite all the running probs, running has been right on schedule.  Wednesday I got in 7 miles on the dreadmill.  Actually, it wasn't too bad.  I got a new treadmill from my parents last week, and despite the softer deck I am enjoying running on it.  Maybe it's just a novelty still, but I'll take it.  I have huge ADD when it comes to running and my running routes :)

7 miles - 54:11  7:44/mi  This run felt great despite having to stop and go potty twice!  It's probably a good thing I stuck close to home, I gotta figure this out!

And yesterday was a quick recovery run.  I started out on the treadmill but the novelty had already warn off from the previous 3 days.  So after two miles (and one potty break) I decided to hit the roads.  Of course it was raining and getting dark, but the hubbs, a.k.a. running sherpa, hoped on his bike and rode with me.  I got about another 2 miles in before my tummy revolted again!  So I raced my a$$ home and finished up with a total of 3 outside.

5 miles - 40:20  8:05/mi  I don't know if that is a real accurate account of my pace, but I'll take it.  There was some definite faster miles in there and some really, really slow ones due to the cramping.  I just hope I can fight this off on Sunday!

So, to all you peeps out there who are racing, especially Aron and Danica, good luck this weekend!  And to all you who are tackling your long runs - rock 'em!  Hope the weather is good to you all, too!  They are predicting a very WET weekend for us!

Happy Friday and Happy Running!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Running vs. ?

I recently read an article about Kara Goucher and her up and coming plans for the next racing season.  It's a short article, not a lot of detail, but it does give us insight into what she has been up to and where her head is at.  As you may or may not know, Kara decided last year that she would take some time off to start a family and then get ready for the 2012 Olympics in hopes of landing on the podium.  What most of us didn't know was that she gave herself a very small window in which to work that into.  She tells San Diego Tribune that if she isn't pregnant by the end of April that they will give up trying because anything after that would impede on her ability to recover fully for the Olympics.  Wow.  I was shocked, but at the same time, I really understood where she was coming from.

I am by no means a professional runner.  All of my goals and pressures are self inflicted.  But right now I am really enjoying where I am at with my running.  I am finally getting speedier.  I know how my body reacts with certain distances.  I know what I need to do in terms of training, eating, sleeping, etc to get to where I want with a key race.  I am really enjoying it.  But for the first time I am hearing a fellow runner (yes, I am going to caller her my fellow runner!) say that her running is important enough to her that she is willing to sacrifice being a mother for the time being.  I know I have talked about this before and many of you assured me that being a runner and a mother don't have to be separate.  In a way though, they do.  You can't run fast while pregnant.  You can't run right away after birth.  And quite frankly, you are going to have to do a lot of work to get back to your pre-prego running self.  Am I ready for that right now?  I don't know.  Will I ever be?  I don't know.  But I do know that I am not getting younger, and like Kara, I have other goals in my life with my career and running that I am unsure if a baby would be the right plan at the moment. 

The article really got me thinking in other ways though, too.  What else in our lives do we put on the scale to weigh against running?  Are there things that we are waiting to do before we hit a goal race?  A goal time?  A goal weight?  Are we wanting to run Boston first?  Putting a heavy importance on one thing can be a double edged sword.  But as runners, we do this every day.  We make running a priority, so much so that we give up late nights with friends.  We give up eating certain foods or drinking certain adult beverages :) Is it healthy?  Who knows...but I do know that I have given a lot to running and sometimes it does come down to running vs. ?

I'm not going to solve my own dilemma here.  I have plenty of time to make up my own mind about certain decisions.  I do know though, like Kara, we all must weigh the importance of our running.  Yes, she is a paid athlete.  It's her job to run, and only a dream job for most of us.  But her decision on certain life choices isn't any less important then our own.  Is there anything in your life that you are weighing running vs. ?  Or are you like me, where it's a constant balancing act.  You can share here in the comment section or you can use this opportunity to think it over for yourself.  I do lots of self checks in my life to make sure that I am living it to the fullest.  Life is short, and I don't ever want to miss out on important things because I chose a different path.

Running is going great this week.  I am exhausted and hungry alllll the time!  I love it!  Monday I got in 9 miles on my treadmill at home while I watched Breakfast at Tiffany' favorite!
9 miles  1:111:10  7:54/mi

Then yesterday I hit up the dreadmill for a quick recovery run and to finish off my movie :)
6 miles  48:12  8:01/mi

I have a half marathon in San Francisco this weekend that I am really excited about.  I love racing in the City and the course looks to be challenging.  It races all the way through Golden Gate Park.  If you've never been there, it's quite hilly but very, very pretty.  I haven't decided on any goals yet as it it's my first road race of the year.  Come back Friday and I'll fill you all in!

Yes, this post was a little deeper than usual, but sometimes it's nice not to just scratch the surface of our running.  I am constantly doing pro and con lists, it really can help me see the big picture and help me prioritize.
Happy Running Peeps and Happy Wednesday!!
P.S.  Go on over to Tall Mom's page and check out the Recovery Sock Giveaway!  But don't enter too many times, I REALLY, REALLY want to win! :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Race Report: Bear Creek Trail Half Marathon

I think I'm in love.  With trail running that is.  I had the opportunity on Saturday to run through some of NorCal's most beautiful scenery and trails on one of the most beautiful January days you could ask for.  I don't think my race report could do it justice, so go on over and check out Aron's post on the trail run.  She did an amazing job describing the race to a "T", and I attribute that to the fact that she spent less time in the mud than I!  And she carried her camera the whole time, taking pictures of the beautiful hills and mountains that we were so lucky to be running through!

On Friday night, around 5:30 it began to pour!  Like cat's and dog's pouring rain!  I freaked out a bit because all week the race director had said get ready for the mud!  The mud sounded like a challenge and a blast all at the same time, but mixing in rain did not sound like the race would be easy.  But by Saturday morning the clouds had cleared and we were left with one of the most awesome January days you could ask for.

I met up with Aron and JoLynn about 8 am and we were off to tackle the race together.  I had forgotten how nice trail runners are!  I had done a trail race back in December 2008 but I was totally unprepared equipment wise that day but had a blast with all the runners.  Everyone is so supportive and just out to have a blast, so much different than road races were you have such a competitive attitude among the runners.  The first out and back of the race had us climbing up a wicked steep hill that was essentially a giant mud slide!  Aron had managed to climb up it almost unscathed, while I on the other had lost my shoe in the thick muddy holes!  I was saved though by an fellow runner who came to hold me up while I put my shoe back on!  How cool is that?  In a road race people leave you there to just die!  It wasn't the only time I lost my shoe that day either!  At few more miles in I had another encounter with a thick muddy hill and again lost my shoe!  This time though, it was just Aron and I!  The mud was slowed us down in a big way!  But the whole time we both just laughed and climbed our way out of it. 

I had also forgotten my Garmin that morning, but in a way I was glad.  Aron had hers on, but I was really just forced to enjoy the race and scenery and not focus on time or distance.  Every time we would see a mile marker we would get excited...we were fighting our way through mud and the crazy terrain and just enjoying ourselves.  We kept commenting on the hills how our butts were getting quite the workout!  I think we ran through most of the hills through the first half of the race, but by the second, with all the mud, we were spent!  Most of the race was ran on fire trails.  Nice and wide.  We even had lots of cows out to cheer us on!  In the last mile or so we were graced with a nice single-track trail through beautiful trees and a creek.  This is what trail running is all about.  We raced fast through that last mile and could hear everyone cheering at the finish.  We finished together, arms in the air and a big smile on our faces!

Final stats:
13.1 miles  2:55:52 - 13:25/mi 
61st over all,  FIRST in my AGE GROUP! Whoo hoo!  1/3  30-34 age group.

Me, Aron and Jo Lynn at the end

Trail running is a blast, and I hope to do it again really soon!  It was so much fun to run with Aron, we both just kept each other going with chatting and laughing at the hilarity of all the mud!  I was sooooo glad she came out to do this race with me.  It was not a race you would want to do by yourself.  Most of the race we were out there alone, just the two of us.  At one point we hadn't seen a mile marker or trail ribbon for quite sometime and were wondering if we were still on track.  We eventually heard some other runners ahead that we caught up to and were able to follow them and ensure we were still on track.  That could be really scary if you're out there all by yourself.  Thanks Aron!  I had a blast!

Now, for some pictures of how I faired.  I fell twice, while Aron managed to stay pretty darn clean.  I attribute it to my shoes, I don't think I laced them far enough up so they came off easy in the thick mud.  When I would fall, the only place to wipe your hands off is on your pants!!

After the race.  Did I mention my bib number was #1! LOL!

Muddy, muddy shoes and legs!

Muddy shoes!  Take a look at Aron's pics, I think she faired way better than me!

The cute shirt and medal.

I was a little sore yesterday in my hips from all the climbing but my hips have been sore all week as it is.  Also, my arches were a little sore from all the uneven holes we were stepping in, but are already feeling just fine today. I did a nice 8 mile recovery run yesterday and didn't even bring my Garmin.  I just had Ari on his bike next to me to count my miles off.  I had a pretty decent mileage week too, topping off at 47 miles.  This week should be another high mileage week, and I am excited about that.  I am hungry allllllllll the time!  I love marathon training!

Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!