Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hump Day Randomness

It's Wednesday peeps, which means it's hump day!  Which also means only three work days left before a three day weekend!   Funny, these three work days are going to drag while I am almost certain my three day weekend will fly by!  Ce la vie!

Nothing really exciting going on here with me.  I got a crazy good track workout in last night, 10x400 @ 6:30/mi pace.  They felt great!  I did a 400 cool down lap in between each around a 7:45/mi pace.  It's amazing how slow that 7:45 feels when you have been hauling a$$ around the track a minute and fifteen seconds faster!  I also will let you all know I did a two mile warm up before hand and a one mile cool down afterwards.  You were right, I hit the track a lot more ready and felt a ton better when it was done :) 

Finally, Mel - Tall Mom, hit me with that award that's going around - The Versatile Blogger Award - thanks Mel!
So, here they are - 7 random facts about me :)

1. I took the written driver's test 7 times before I passed and got my permit.  I was a straight "A" student in high school but every time I would go to take it I would blank and forget everything!  The 8th time I got a repeat test and got 100%!  When I took the actual behind the wheel test, I got 98% - he dinged me for not turning my directional on far enough out!  I'm a pretty decent driver but that 7 test thing is still a source of humor for my family :)
2. I played soccer all the way until my sophomore year of H.S. I had played golf since the age of 10 and my school finally started a golf team that year so I joined.  Yes, the golf team was super geeky, but I had a blast!  And we practiced at a ritzy golf club near by which made it that much more sweet!  Almost everyone in my fam is golfers, aside from my parents, and I love to just go to the range and hit a bucket of balls.
3. I drink a ton of coffee.  And by ton...I mean a TON!  I stop and get a venti coffee every morning on my way to work.  That lasts me until around 8 am when I brew another pot at work and have a few more cups.  I also usually also stop on my lunch hour or when I'm out visiting clients and get another venti size, iced or hot.  I do drink a lot, but I also am drinking water the whole time in between.  I love coffee in any way, shape or form.  There isn't anything like a big iced coffee in the afternoon to perk you up!
4. When I started college my major was theology.  I loved the classes but by sophomore year realized that my only option with that degree was being a professor.  I love school, love, love being a student, but I didn't want to teach.  I changed my major that year to Business and Accounting.  NO ONE ever thought I would take that road!  And neither did I!  Talk about clashing majors!  But I enjoy what I do and am an accountant through and through :)
5. My favorite shows on TV right now are How I Met Your Mother and House.  Unfortunately, they both air at the same time on the same night.  I am also not one to watch much "live" TV, I DVR most everything.  I HATE commercials and just don't have the patience for regular TV.  With that being said, I do watch a lot of Food Network (usually on in the background), but other than that and my daily dose of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Colbert Report, not a ton of TV watching takes place at our pad.
6. My hubbs and I are in the midst of planning our vacay to Hawaii for Thanksgiving.  I vowed not to be responsible for everyone's Thanksgiving this year after the crap I dealt with last year.  So, I am planning on having my turkey with a side of pineapple and if my fam wants to celebrate with us, they will have to hop on a plane and come to Maui.  Only...I'm not going to tell them where we are staying! LOL!
7. Next week my niece is graduating from H.S.  She just turned 18.  Yes, I have an 18 year old niece.  Actually, the comical part is that my 21 year old sister has an 18 year old niece!  We are very proud of her and we are flying to Portland next week to celebrate - can't wait to see her!

I'm supposed to pass this on to 15 other peeps, but I think I'm the last to be awarded and most everyone has already done this.  But, if you haven't been tagged or have been slacking on the 7 things to post - consider yourself tagged!  It's hard to come up with 7 random things but it is so fun to read about all you bloggy peeps :)

I'm really loving being back in marathon training, I love crossing off my completed workouts on a calendar!  I'm just hungry all the time! LOL!
Happy hump day peeps and Happy Running :)
P.S. Head on over to my buddy Jamoosh's page and check out some cool giveaways he has for SOCKS a RoadID gift certificate and a Zombie Runner gift certificate.  Tell him I sent you :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

SVE Dirty Legs Trail Run: Race Report

What a beautiful day for a trail run!  I was really stoked that I finally had a race that was just five minutes from my house!  A first for me!  I got to sleep in a bit, take my time getting ready and not feel the usual race day rush.  And even though I wasn't going into the race with my usual "race day" head on, I wanted to run well and enjoy it and take the pressure off myself.  The course was rated difficult, and I had only ran the first loop once which I knew was very technical and hard.  So I took the mindset that I would just go out and enjoy it and see what my legs could do.

This weekend though, we lost an uncle of mine.  He had been sick for quite some time and his passing had brought us some relief on Saturday.  None the less, it was kind-of a distraction for us.  We were trying to arrange flights to get home to Massachusetts, and it was getting a bit stressful.  So, Saturday afternoon (after I had picked up my bib!) I decided that I would just run the 11K since I needed to get home early enough to be able to take my family to the airport if need be.  This ended up being a blessing in disguise.

We arrived at the start with plenty of time.  They also had the 22K trail run, the 11K trail run, a 5K trail run, a mountain bike race and a dualathalon with mountain biking and a trail run.  It was all very organized and everyone was so nice and helpful.  That is one thing I really do love about trail runs, everyone is soooooo much nicer!  I don't know if it's because of the difficulty of the races, but the non-competitive atmosphere is so nice compared to a road race.  Even the mountain bikers were really nice, something you don't usually get from road bikers.

Ari had decided to ride the course with me on his bike.  Since the race is pretty small, no one batted an eye.  And the starts were nothing huge either.  The 22K people set off first, only about 15 of them after the race director counted down from five and yelled, "go!"  Then it was my start, the 11K.  The 11K and the 22K go on the same route.  Two loops that make a figure 8.  The first loop you do is about 3.5 miles and the second loop is about 3.4.  The 22K people were to do the loops twice, while I had the 11K and only did the loops once.  Thank God I switched!  When we headed out within about half a mile you start climbing.  You basically run right up the mountain with some steep switchbacks.  It is all very rocky and steep.  And of course, what goes up, must come down!  I was in the lead pack with the men, with about 7 other women and 10 or so men behind us.  I was moving along pretty decently.  I had done a one mile warm up and my legs were ready to tackle.

The first mile I came in at 9:07.  I was a little worried that this was going to be too fast so I scaled it back a bit as we climbed higher.  I was still in the lead.  At the top we looked down into the valley bellow us and started to tear down.  Man, people went down quick!  But the trail was very technical, with lots of rocks and divots.  I took my time as I did not want to sprain my ankle or worse yet, go ass over tea kettle!  By this time also, we were pretty well spread out.  I had lost Ari on the first climb and I couldn't see him anymore.  But I kept on moving.  I knew this part of the course and knew I had about 2 more miles back.  At around 2.5 miles we passed the stream that I had "used" last time I was out there and thought for a second, I should probably use that now.  But I thought I would be okay until we got to the end.  By mile 3 though, I had to go!  So I jumped in the tall grasses and took care of business.  By the time I got out, three women and a man had passed.  Ugh!  I just decided to put my head down and enjoy the race.  At around 3.5 miles, I came in around 35 mins or so.  I stopped at the aid station, had a cup of water and then took off for the second loop.  I also told the aid station person to have Ari just wait for me, I knew he was a ways back and it would be longer for him on the second loop.

The second loop was new to me.  And it was so beautiful!  There were a lot more steep climbs with this side and a lot of single tracks.  I could see two women about a min ahead of me and decided to try and catch them.  I would at least have something to work towards.  Within a mile I caught the guy who had passed me and one of the women.  I was doing great on the up hills but the ladies in front of me would again take the lead on the down hills.  They were tearing it up!  But it was rocky and steep and I just didn't want to take the chance.  So on more level grounds and on the uphills I put the gas on and tore towards them.  Around mile 5 I caught the second woman.  I passed her on an uphill she was walking.  I didn't blame her, it was tough!  But I wanted to catch the first woman!  I kept pushing the climbs, even if they were 11:00 mile paces.  Around mile 6.4 I finally caught up to her on an uphill single track.  She was walking...and I wanted to walk, too!  So I took a breather and my first walk break.  She asked me if I wanted to pass, and I said, "no, go ahead, you're doing great!"  I could have passed her but I figured on the last stretch with a huge downhill she would just catch me and it was a single track, I didn't want to hold her up.  She had led the race the whole second loop and was doing awesome.  I decided to be a good sportsman and let her take it.  She did tear down that hill, I couldn't catch her.  When we could see the finish about two tenths away it was flat and it became a foot race!  She put on the burners with me on her heals and we crossed the finish line about a second apart!  She had done a great job the whole race, only walking that one hill with me and she deserved it.  I also knew she wasn't in my age group so I had no worries about taking first there.  It was nice camaraderie out there, people on the trails are so much more gracious.  When I would pass, they would encourage me.  Or when people passed me I would do the same.  People have such a more positive attitude on the trails, I love it!

I crossed the finish line with my garmin saying 6.94 miles, 1:11:00 even.  If I hadn't take the poop break or the water break I would have been first and I probably would have been about 3-4 mins faster.  But it didn't matter.  I loved chasing down those ladies.  I loved the positiveness of all the volunteers and runners.  My time didn't matter, as I had a great time.  When we started the race it was about 50 degrees out.  When we finished the sun was straight out and it was hot!  I had of course, stripped down to my sports bra.  I was so glad I didn't have to run those loops again.  They were tough!  My ankles and arches, even with my trail shoes on, were sore.  Thankfully today is a rest day! 

After we crossed the finish line, Staci and I congratulated one another and high fived.  So nice!  She thanked me for pushing her.  She told me she knew I was trying to catch her and she liked the cat and mouse game!  I was glad I had been a good sportsman on the course.  The foot race in the end was so worth it!  I didn't get a chance to stick around for the awards ceremony as Ari had to get to work and I had to get home.  But it was such a nice morning and I was home by 9:45 am!!!!  The wind had stayed away for most of the race and the conditions were just beautiful.  I am so glad I found this race organization.  They are local to me, they are cheap and sooooo well organized.  They have quite a few more races over the summer, including a twilight trail run I can't wait to do!
So, here are my crazy mile splits!
.93 - 9:11
1:11:01 - 10:24/average
2nd female (they didn't post the total runners!)
1st AG 30-39

I'm sorry we didn't take any pics!  As soon as we got there we realized we had forgotten the camera.  But the area looked the same as the pics from my trail run there the week before.  I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!

I had a great running weekend, full of miles and ab workouts.  I am loving the core workouts - but damn, they take up a lot of time!  I think I might do a local 10K this Saturday, I haven't signed up yet, but we all know I can't stand the 10K distance. But my legs have been turning over really quick lately and I would like to see what they can do.  One of my goals for the year was to run a 45 or sub 45 10K, I don't know if I have it in me, but it would be fun to try right now.  I'll keep you posted :)

I decided with work that I would not make it back to Massachusetts with my family.  But I am taking peeps to the airport today and will be on the pick-up committee.  I have some vacation time coming up and don't want to use everything up right now.

Hope you all had great weekends!  I'm off to catch up!
Happy Running and Happy Monday peeps!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sunset Run

A few times over the summer, the local Fleet Feet in San Francisco hosts a charity 5 mile run to benefit a specific charity.  This year they have chosen the money to go to sports for kids in Haiti.  It's a great deal, for $10 (with ALL the money going to the charity) you get a really nice tech shirt, a raffle with some cool prizes, food and drinks, and the chance to get out and go for a run in probably one of the most beautiful places in the City.  Not every run do you get great weather.  It starts at the Marina, near Chrissy Field, and often times (wait, almost always) it's windy.  And, if you know SF, the summer months can be the coldest.  There were a few times last year it was so cold and foggy that I questioned what I was doing out there!  But last night, although it was windy, it was simply...beautiful!

SF is a bit of a drive for me, about 45 mins.  But, really, it is so worth it.  I get to break up my runs for the week, score a great shirt and have an evening in the city.  Last night Ari and Lilly decided to join me on their bike.  I was also meeting up with Julianne.  I had 9 on the books for my run, and since the run is only 5 miles Ari and I got there early so I could do the first 4 by myself.  The sun was warm, but the first 1.7 miles was directly into the wind!  Ugh, it was bad!  But, as soon as you pass this little bend you were fine, and of course, you got a nice tail wind on the way back.  The whole run you are running towards the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Yesterday it was a picture perfect sight.  No fog!  And in the near distance you could also see Alcatraz in all of it's glory.  I ran the first four miles pretty well considering they nasty wind for almost the first half.
4 miles 30:31  7:37/mi pace  My legs felt great and they were turning over really well :)

When I finished my first 4 I had some time to play with the pup, wait for Julianne and soak up all the pretty sunshine.

You could see Alcatraz really well!

Ari and Lilly enjoying the weather!

The nice Asics tech shirt

When Julianne got there we decided to start the run a little early of the group.  They say it starts at 6:30, but that is after a raffle and all sorts of stuff and you often don't start running until very close to 7.  So, we headed out to do our 5 together.  From the end of the parking lot to 2.5 miles out you head right to the base of the bridge where it's customary for runners to put their hands on a plaque called Hopper's Hands, then turn around and head back.  It's a beautiful run, right along the ocean.  We kept the pace easy, chatted the whole time and just soaked up the most beautiful evening in San Francisco.  Seriously, it is never that pretty out!  The sun was warm, and even though the head wind out was a pain, you got an easy run on the way back all the while enjoying some rare, but awesome SF weather.

Right after hitting Hoppers Hands

Julianne representing van 1! LOL!

Sunset and we're done!

 5 miles  47:30  9:30/mi pace
9 miles total  1:18:01 8:40/mi pace
We vowed to come and meet for every Sunset Run this summer together.  Although Julianne is close, we both have crazy schedules!  But this is something easy to commit to and it was a blast!  Thanks Julianne, I had a such a nice run with you!!!!

This weekend I have my trail race, on Sunday, and I'm actually so excited for this one!  It's is literally my first race that is 5 mins away!  In my backyard practically!  It's a challenging course, so if it's seems crazy hard or hot by the second loop, I will just do the 10K - no need to beat myself up for week #2 of marathon training :) 

So glad Friday finally came!  Longest week ever!  Enjoy your weekends peeps, and to all of you racing - run hard, run fast and ENJOY!
Happy Running and Happy Friday!
P.S. Go over and checkout Shut Up And Run - she is hosting a healthy giveaway!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Track Work

I'm a little leery of putting down on "paper" for all of you to read and see what my goals are for Long Beach.  Yes, I'm going for the BQ, but aside from that I have some time goals that I really, really, really want to hit.  So much so, that I'm willing to bear the heat of the summer at the track to get where I want to go.

Yasso 800's are something that I heard of a few years ago and have recently being hearing good things about (or maybe I'm just more in tune to wanting to hear it?) the theory and it actually playing out to it's claims.  We all know that speed work is what gets us faster.  And since you can't run every run at your marathon pace or faster, you have to schedule in the time to turn your legs over quicker, develop the muscles for speed and so forth.  So this marathon training cycle I am going to hit the speed work head on.  I'm not going to just put it on my training calendar and do it when I feel like it.  By gosh, I may be becoming a more mature marathoner!  You always know what you need to do, but sometimes after experience and a few marathons you think you know more than the "experts."  Well, I'm here to tell you...I don't know Jack and I'm ready to really follow a plan, not just the prescribed mileage.  Wow, I'm getting old :)

I can't tell you all the theories behind what makes this work, but I do know that many people have used it and been very happy with the results.  It's scary dead on!  And it's simple, you want to run a 3 hour marathon? Run your 800's in 3 minutes.  You want to run a 3:30?  Run your 800's in 3 mins, 30 seconds.  So on, and so forth.  I know we also can get bogged down by a lot of information for improvement.  And for the most part, my running career I have stuck with one theory, the Pfitz plan.  But, after using it for the last few marathon cycles, or a homemade variation of it, I'm ready to try something new.  Yes, Pfitz got me to my first BQ, and it got me in my second marathon a sub 4, but now I want more and I need a change.  Yasso suggests adding in the 800 speed work to your regular marathon training schedule.  Perfect since I love Pfitz but still want something more.  I have already designated Tuesday as my track day (since Monday is a rest day for me and I'll be good and ready!) and will incorporate the 800's twice a month for a while then increasing it to 3, than 4 as marathon day approaches.  Bart even suggests that you run your last 800 workout about 10 days before - well into taper mode for many training plans.  This is just an overview of the theory and training.  By no means use this as a base to begin the track workout.  Do some research and some reading and check it out and see if it fits with your training and your goals.

I'm not sure if it will all pan out the way I want it to.  I'm not sure if I even have a 3:30 in me, I feel like I do, but we all know that race day and marathon training can be a crap shoot (I hold a PhD in that department!).  But I do know that if I don't try I won't know what could have been and I'm not one to have regrets.  So, Yasso 800's are on the books for me this training cycle.  Long Beach is flat and fast and I'm hoping that this is just the ticket I need.  And, as I said in the beginning, I hate putting it out there for everyone to see what my goal time is.  It's added pressure.  But, this is the place where I keep my honesty with all of you and that is where my plan is heading: a 3:30 marathon on October 17.

Take a look at the article if your interested.  There is a lot of information about the Yasso plan on  and you can of course google it as tons of stuff came up about it.  I guess I can be the guinea pig for all of you, too!  We'll see what race day produces after a summer of 800's :)

Last night was my first night in trying out the 800's and let me say...they are tough!  I think one article says start with four, while another one says start with 7 so I decided to shoot for 7 but reassess how I felt after 4.  I warmed up with a 3/4 mile warm up then started my 800's.  In between you are to do a 400 rest.  I also did this on the treadmill as the high school track I usually go to was having a meet.  Actually, for the first time doing this I think it made it easier.  You just can't stop.  The first 4 were hard, but I still felt like I had more in me.  So, I kept going and by the time the 7th one came around I was done!!!  I did a one mile cool down and finished the workout with 7 miles.  I also ran my 400's at my marathon pace, which was an 8:00/mi pace.  It's amazing how slow that felt!  And since the treadmill can't give you an exact 7:00 mi/pace or 3:30 pace, I started the 800 at 7:03 (or 8.5 mph) and the last 0.05 I ran in 6:58/mi pace (8.6 mph).  Not sure if it makes a huge difference but i want to be as exact as I can.  I think next few weeks I will stick with 7 and see how I do.  I hope by the time October comes around I will be able to run all 10!
7x800 + 400 rest = 5.25 miles  36:45 - 7:00/mi pace
6 miles + warm up = 44:00 7:19/mi pace
7 miles with cool down = 52:01 7:25/mi pace
I was blown away by my 6 mile mark, makes me think my sub 45 10K is not crazy!  Wait, it is, since I HATE the 10K :)

Monday was an easy 5 mile run before I met with a personal trainer to go over some new core work.  I will do a post to share some of the easy moves that you can do at home with some simple hand weights and a medicine ball.  Oh, and I'm adding core to my plan...yeah, I'm going all out this time!

Happy Hump Day and Happy Running Peeps!
Oh, and check out these beauties that arrived :0 is the bomb!

Monday, May 17, 2010


How'd it get to be Monday already?  These were the thoughts going through my head when my alarm went off at 5am this morning!  Monday's always seem to creep up on me!  None the less, I had a fantastic weekend of running, baseball watching and...relaxing :)

Friday I was able to head out of the office early (at Noon, whoo hoo!) and head off to the gym.  I think only runners would be excited to have an early afternoon off from work to get home and run!  The weather was warm again so I headed to the gym to get my track workout done.  I really don't mind too much having to do it on the treadmill, it really forces you to keep going and not hit STOP!  And you always feel like such a bad ass when you're revving up the speed when most everyone else around you is walking :)  I had a ladder workout to do which will actually be incorporated into my marathon training this cycle so I wanted to see if it was at all even doable.  Yes, marathon training starts this week!
The workout called for 2x400, 2x800, 2x1200 & 2x1600 with 400 rests in between.  After the first set I decided to go backwards and start with the 1600.
400 @ 1:36 - nailed it the first time, second time 1:40 - my legs were done, it was the last one!
800 @ 3:20 - nailed it again!, second time 3:27 - legs were toast!
1200 @ 5:11 - no prob the first time, second time 5:14 - not too bad!
1600 @ 6:58 - again, not too difficult the first time, second time 7:03
I learned that this is a really, really hard workout and with only a 400 rest in between it wipes you out!  The second set I just couldn't keep up, but I'm hoping that by the end of the 18 weeks this shouldn't be a problem.  I'm also going to work in some Yasso 800's, as they have proven many times over that they are like clockwork when done regularly for marathon time prediction.  I'm really shooting for a low 3:30 or so when I run Long Beach, so my 800's will be 3:30!
I also did really well with my core work this week, and if I just cut out the sweets I think I may have a six pack looming some where! LOL!

Saturday I just could not get up early to save my life.  By the time I had breakfast and my coffee it was nearing 10 am!  I had 9 miles on the books and it was getting warm out!  Note to self: get lazy butt out of bed early on Saturday's in the summer!  It was nearing the high 60's when I started out and low 70's when I finished.  It was hot and sticky!  I stopped in the middle to try some Sport Beans.  I'm giving up on Gu, it just doesn't like me.  And although the Sport Beans didn't bother my tummy, I couldn't really feel the "kick" like I do when I have a Gu.  Maybe it was because it was hot as hell out and there wasn't anything going to save my butt, but I didn't feel like it did anything.  I'm going to give them another shot on Sunday for my trail race but if they don't help, I'm going to have to keep trying other things out.  I bought some Hammer Gel at the same time to try.  But any suggestions would be helpful.
9 (hot & sticky) miles  - 1:16:11  8:28/mi pace.

That run kicked my butt and needless to say the rest of Saturday was spent recovering :)  9 miles was as far as I had run since my marathons really so it was nice to almost hit the double digits again!  I'll have a chance this weekend with my trail race and the weather should cooperate!

Sunday I actually got out and ran before Mass!  I had wanted to do 5 recovery miles but some how that turned into a 10K.  It was one of those runs where you feel great!  Apparently my "recovery" on Saturday worked and my legs were up and ready.  Maybe my legs actually like the early morning running?  Nah!  I would rather sleep in!
6.2 miles  48:33  7:50/mi

After my run and Mass we headed out to see the local AA baseball team play!  My family and I LOVE baseball.  In the summer, there is always a baseball game on in the background.  Of course we have our favorite teams (Go A's!) but really, any baseball game is fun to watch.  It was hot and muggy yesterday since we are predicted to have rain today and tomorrow in the Bay.  The topic for everyone lately here is what the heck is up with this weather?  It NEVER rains in May here, and yet we have already had a few days of rain and we're getting more this week!  The only good thing to come of this is that the weather will be cooler this week and hopefully I won't melt.  And they say Global Warming is a lie! Ha!

Marathon training starts this week and I'm actually super excited to have a plan again.  Aimlessly running each day with out a spreadsheet to tell me what to do is hard!  And it's so easy to just cut runs short.  But I finally have my plan back and I'm excited.  I think it may need some tweaks, but nothing more than cutting a few mid week runs shorter.  I haven't done an 18 week training plan in a while so we will see if I'm burnt out come August.

Many of you raced this weekend!  Congrats to Tonia for pacing her hubbs and Tara for her longest distance Tri yet!  Great job girlies!  I'm off to read recaps and get caught up with all of you!
Happy Monday and Happy Running!
P.S. Got and check out Marcia's blog for a great giveaway!  Hurry, tell her I sent you!
P.S.S. - Go over to Amanda's give away blog and check out the cool Strawesome giveaway!!!  Just don't enter - I need want to win :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mid-Week Mini Vacay

Work has been slow, to say the least.  And while I fully admit just a few short weeks ago I was complaining about how swamped I was, I am now complaining about the lack of work :)  I'm fickle like that :)  I'm also fickle with the weather, since one day it's cold and windy and rainy, and the next, like yesterday, was just...beautiful. *sigh*

Yesterday I decided to take the day off and hang with the hubbs.  His schedule is also quite flexible and after a quick meeting in the morning, he was left to spend the whole day with me - a mini vacation on a Wednesday!  So, since the weather was just beautiful yesterday we decided to take a trail run in the area that I will be running my trail race on the 23rd.  The course description says difficult in many spots, and Ari was able to confirm this as he often rides his mountain bike through there.  I was excited through to get out and switch up the mundaneness of my runs.  Since there have been  few attacks on women joggers on the Bay Area lately, I have been sticking to my busy road (yes, the one where I got hit!) and I'm tired of it.  So the chance to run on a trail, with the hubbs, could not be passed up!

We left a little later than I would have liked, almost 11, and with the temps predicted to hit near the mid 70's I was a little worried about being out in the noon time heat.  It's amazing too, since we have had SO MUCH rain here this season that the grasses are already turning brown! Boo!  Most of the trail is a single trail, with parts of it hitting a fire road.  There are a ton of steep climbs, one even was 0.4 up!  They were challenging but a great workout!  I can't believe this was in my backyard all these years and I never knew it! 

Ari riding ahead of me

I think we were the only ones out there, too!  I ran a total of just over 5 miles and that was about all I could handle.  It was getting warm and the terrain was difficult.  I am just hoping that since the race starts early I won't have the heat to deal with.  I also made my first outdoor "pit stop" while we were out there - Beth, you would be proud of me :)  My advice, find a nice little stream to take care of business!

5 miles 49:17  9:51/mi pace - I was actually quite surprised I was able to keep a sub 10:00 pace with all the steep climbs.  This is going to be great practice for Lake Tahoe, too!

The rest of the day was spent just takin' care of business.  It's amazing how much more you can accomplish with errands and stuff during the week than on the weekend!  The grocery store is dead at 1pm on a Wednesday!  Perfect for me since I absolutely loathe grocery shopping.  Over all, a really nice day spent with the hubbs and pooch!  If ever possible, take a Wednesday off from work - it's so nice to break the week up that way!!!

In other running news, I have been keeping my runs in the lower mileage since I have a tight glute right now.  I don't want to aggravate it too much so the lower miles, along with lots of foam rolling seem to be helping.  I want to do a med-long run this weekend so we'll see what I can fit in.  Sunday I am going to go and cheer on Tara and possibly Kristen as they tackle a Sprint Triathlon on Sunday!!!  I'm so impressed by these ladies :)

Hope your week is going by fast - tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Whoo hoo!
Happy Thursday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Wanted:  2 running legs that are springy, happy and fast!  Looking for a good time to run races, hill repeats and spend some time at the track.  Need not be tan or good looking, just ready to have a good time and prepare for marathon #7!

Well, I found my running legs and mojo this weekend and I couldn't be more excited!  I really took the week easy and started focusing more on my core as I really would like to make it a daily exercise even as I tackle my next marathon training phase which will start in the middle of June.  I think what helped also was only having to work 2 days last week, it's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't have a silly job to worry about!

Friday when I got home from work I really, really had the urge to run.  All week I wanted to run, but when I would start running it was still feeling like a chore.  More than anything it was my tired body and legs, not my want for running.  So when I came home on Friday and I wanted nothing more than a hot, sweaty run I went for it.  The new YMCA I joined last week is exactly 3 miles from my house.  My plan was to run there, go in and do my core, run a fast 2 miles and then head home for an easy 3 miles to finish the day.  The first 3 miles to the gym was straight into the wind!  I HATE WIND!  But I told myself at least I could negative split on the way home!  By the time I got there I was a little spent and thinking I was being a little over zealous with my workout plan.  But I hit the treadmill and just started running.  The awesome thing about the treadmills at the Y is that they have TV's attached to them!  Whoo hoo!  I love TV.  I put it on TLC and watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress - I always want to get married again after I watch that! LOL!  The next thing I knew though was I had ran 3.05 miles!  Uh oh!  So I made it an even 5K and jumped off to do my core work.

All week I have been tackling the core work and my abs and core are sore!  But, they say that your abs are the only muscle you can work everyday and my hubbs was assuring me that it will get less painful.  I tackled a great core workout, felt like a bad ass and headed back out for my final 3.  I thought about calling my mom to pick me up, but being the little environmentalist that I am couldn't justify her driving all that way.  So I manned up and hit the pavement.  I was surprised my legs felt pretty good.  And I did negative split on the way home!
1st 3 miles  24:51  8:17/mi
Treadmill - 3.1 miles  24:07 7:47/mi
2nd 3 miles  24:00  8:00/mi
total 9.1 miles   1:12:58  8:01/mi

I was exhausted by the time I got home but it felt awesome to finally get a good run under my belt.  I hadn't felt that good about a run in a few weeks and I knew that it was probably just what I needed.

Saturday I got up early with my mom to go to Sacramento and see my little nephew play in his little league game.  Man, they are so cute at 7 & 8 out playing baseball.  Even though they don't keep score, his team won making for one proud Auntie!

My William and Mom after the game!

By the time we got home that afternoon I was not feeling like a run or any core work.  But I knew I would regret it if I just sat on the couch and vegged out.  So I laced up my shoes and ran a quick four miles and came home to do my core work.  There is just something about doing 200 crunches and a billion planks to make you feel so bad ass!  I was so glad I got this done and by the time I was done my hubbs was home :)
4 miles  32:04  8:04/mi

Sunday was a crappy weather here in the Bay Area.  Wind, rain and cold!  I was all set to get up and run before Mass but it was raining and windy. Boo!  So I vowed to get it done in the afternoon.  Let me say this first, running with a stomach full of pancakes is not a good idea!  By the time I hit the road that afternoon my stomach was angry!  So I decided to see just how far I could make it before I yelled mercy!  You want to know what is awful about having to stop during a run to use the bathroom?  No, it's not the creepy Indian guy behind the gas station counter hitting on you.  And no, it's not even the dirty gas station bathroom itself.  It's the fact that you have to peel the sweaty ass gasket paper off your butt in the dirty gas station bathroom and then return the key back to the dirty gas station attendant who then hits you with this gem, "you have a very nice body, I like!" Uh yeah, thanks for letting me use the bathroom.  Ugh!  So, needless to say, I only made it about 2.75 miles before I had to use the bathroom and turn around and go home!  I did feel a ton better on the way home but it was windy and wet and I got my run done!
5.5 miles 43:03  7:49/mi

So, I ended my week strong and I can tell my running mojo is back :)  I even signed up for a fun trail race on May 23 right next to my house!  It starts on a trail that is up the hill from where I do my hill repeats.  I signed up for the 25K but I may end up dropping to the 10K since I didn't really read the course description all that closely!  It's rated difficult but scenic! Ha!  If any of you Bay Area bloggy people would like to join me it's 5 mins from my house and we could have a post run lunch at my pad when we're all done!  Just email me after you take a look at the link and let me know :)  It's cheap and easy to get to.

I hope you all had a great weekend and a ton of you rocked some great races out there!  Congrats Beth on your BQ!  I can't wait to hang with you in Beantown :)
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I had to go back to work today, boo!  I had a nice three days off to recover from the Relay!  And I really needed it!  I had no idea that I would be wiped out for so many days!  I really didn't start feeling rested until yesterday, but I guess that is what happens when you stay up all weekend and party! LOL!  It was so worth it, though.  And I highly recommend to anyone who is ever considered or been offered a place on a relay team to DO IT!  It is another running experience that is worth it's weight in gold.  I have so many fun memories and so many new experiences that I am so grateful that I had the chance to participate :)

So...I know you all were wondering what my new news was, especially you Tonia!  No, I'm NOT pregnant! Not even close! Ha!  I had mentioned in my prior post about doing the San Francisco Marathon and that I was hoping to make it my BQ goal for the year in July.  Well, after talking it over with several people and really trying to wrap my head around jumping into another marathon training cycle so soon, I have decided that it is probably best for me to take a break.  I will be the first to admit, I am a bit burnt out.  Four weeks, five races and I am done!  I also want my redemption since Boston went so bad and Big Sur wasn't what I was hoping for.  But, even though I want a smooth marathon, I need to be smart about it.  26.2 miles needs to be respected, and if I want to grow, stay injury free and ENJOY running, I need to give myself some time to step back, get back to the reason I run and figure out what I need to BQ again.  The SF course is no joke either.  It's a tough course with a lot of hills.  It tears you up good and if I didn't BQ there I would be devastated again and I don't need to set myself up for failure.  So...I 've decided to stick with the half in SF and aim for my BQ at...

I am very excited about this, as there will be many friends and bloggy peeps down there to race, too!  The second I let myself off the hook for SF I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  The anxiety in the pit of my stomach was gone and I knew that I had made the right choice.  The marathon is October 17, and I want to give myself a full training cycle of about 18 weeks.  Which means I will be starting my next training cycle in June.  This gives me plenty of time to shake off the last couple of races, get some good base miles in and hit the pavement with this training ready to go.  Plus, it's a bit of a destination race which is always fun. :)

I still have Lake Tahoe Marathon September 26, but this is NOT the course to go out and kill, so I will use it for a good training run and LOVE the hills.  BTW, LB is a FLAT course, my favorite.  And I will still do SF half.  I know that it will mean training in the heat of the summer, but I am a person that needs a schedule so this shouldn't be too bad.  If I complain about the heat, you have my permission to come over and slap me since it is all self inflicted :)

That's about it in running news.  I got in a nice five miler yesterday and some great ab work.  I'm going to attempt to keep my running at 5 days a week until my training starts and then I will see how I do.  I don't do so hot on days that I don't run, I just feel off.  But I was hoping to make it a 5 day a week schedule, but if need be I can add a day just fine.  I joined the YMCA by my house this week since my sister works there.  It's convenient, has a pool and is never crowded.  And best of all, it's free :)  This should be helpful for the summer training.  And work is DEAD.  Which is good and bad.  Nothing really on my plate, but it makes it hard to come and not have really anything to do.  I should enjoy the down time but you can only sit and do so little for so long.  We shouldn't see clients start coming in until at least July so for now it's dead.

So, thank you again to all of you who continue to read and support.  I've had a little hiatus from bloggy land - I really checked out for the last couple of days from everything! (I needed it)  I'm off to catch up with all of you!
Happy Running and Happy Thursday peeps!
P.S. Go and check out Amanda's Great Giveaway at RunToTheFinish - but don't enter, I NEED to win ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Race Report: The Relay

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being part of one of the coolest races ever! The Relay!  A few months ago when Aron asked me to be apart of the team I had no idea what I was in for.  I knew it sounded like a blast, but little did I know how much fun it would be!  Most of the pics will be included in a youtube video at the end, so please click on that when you're done reading to see all the craziness in action!

Friday night we all headed over to Aron's house for a pasta/carbo loading dinner and van decorating party.  Right away we were all buzzed and excited with the weekend's plans.  I don't think any of us had any idea how crazy it would be, but we were wicked excited none the less!  Team That's What She Said (TWSS) was finally ready to hit the road running after all the awesome planning Kristin did!  Thanks again Kristin!  We were also very excited because Ron, over at Punk Rock Racing sponsored our team with some awesome California Runner shirts!
Maritza, Katie & Kristen!

Saturday morning we all met up again at Aron's house to make our way up to CalistogaCalistoga, if your not familiar with California, is right near wine country and Napa.  The scenery is beautiful and the perfect place to start the awesome weekend.  We had a start time of 11:30 am.  The slower the projected finish, the earlier you started.  We were right in the middle.  The last team was set to leave at 1:30  while the slower teams were setting off as early as 6:30 am if that gives you any indication of our placement :)

I was part of Van 1 and we were the first to set off.  Maritza was runner 1, Julianne was runner 2, Kristen was runner 3, Tara was runner 4, Mark was runner 5 and I was number 6.  Each leg of the relay had a rating of difficulty.  I had a moderate level with a total of 13.4 miles for my three legs.  My last leg was rated very difficult.  And it was!

Saturday had predicted temps that were going to get pretty warm.  Napa is know for having a bit warmer temps as compared to the rest of the Bay Area and it was warm!  Starting a run at 11:30 is not ideal, but we all carried water, and met runners in the middle of their leg to check in and refill water bottles.  Right after Maritza took off, we ran to our van to drive ahead to the first exchange point.  We were all new at this!  No one out of all 12 of us, had done a relay before!  But the excitement right off the bat was crazy!  Most of the legs vary in distance from 3.1 all the way to 7.4, so you can have a range of waiting for your next runner.  The cool thing about this though, is that at each exchange you get to interact with the other teams.  We got pretty good at guessing what time our runner would be in so we would be ready for the next runner to take off.  In the first exchange meeting point, as we sized up the competition, we knew this weekend would be fun.  Many teams run in crazy costumes, decorate their vans amazingly and are all really friendly and helpful.  I will admit, there were a few vans that I had van envy of!  Next year we vowed to step up our van decorating skilz!
Julianne with some of the "competition".  It needs to be added that all the boys on this team were also wearing short shorts!

We were all rockin' our legs and really enjoying the scenery.  For most of the first day of running we were in Napa and wine country.  Many of our runs were along the famous Silverado Trail and right along side the vineyards.  The scenery was beautiful and I don't think any of us ever doubted for a second how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful area of the country!

By the time my leg started it was well after 3 pm in the afternoon.  It was HOT!  I had 4.5 miles to run in the worst heat!  But I carried my water bottle and my team was going to meet me half way to check in.  My first mile was great, I was so hot but I was running about as fast as my tired legs would take me since I just wanted out of the heat!  Even though this was my first run of the day, I was already pretty tired and hot from being up early and out cheering and going crazy all day.  I was sipping my water and chugging along when I got a crazy side cramp!  Ugh!  When this happened though, I wrenched my body over in pain and at the same time pulled an ab muscle!  WTF!?  It hurt bad, and with every push off of my right leg I would be in pain.  But I kept running.  It was an easy leg through some residential areas of Santa Rosa.  I also knew that when I finished our van would be off the clock as we would be passing off to Van 2 so all my team mates were waiting on me to go and take a break!
finished my leg (that's what she said!)  in 36:58  7:52/mi 

I was so glad to hand that bracelet off to Chris and head off to the shower!  We passed off the running duties to Van 2 around 4 pm.  They had some harder legs on their section so we were predicting we had about 5 hours to rest, shower and eat.  The cool thing about this race is that at each Van exchange they had some place for us to shower and rest.  Oh man, thank god for the showers!  The first one was at a really nice Church and we all showered up and headed out for some dinner.  Pizza and beer was on the menu and it has never tasted so good in my life!

If your wondering why we always have a 1 up, it's because we were Van !  Representing!

After a great dinner we drove ahead to the next exchange point.  The exchange point was at a cheese place in Napa or as Maritza called it, "a cheese farm."  It was pretty busy with excitement as runners and vans kept coming and going - not an ideal place to try and get some shut eye.  But we all decided to attempt to rest as our next leg was going to be starting in just a couple of hours.  I did not sleep.  It was hard to get comfy on a van seat bench and it was quite noisy out.  I do know Julianne is the queen of being able to sleep any where!  And Maritza and Kristen often got a few mins of sleep, but Tara and I could not fall asleep.  This would later prove to be bad as we would end up being up for almost 40 hours by the end of the weekend!!! Eeek!

By the time Van 2 rolled in it was pretty dark out and for safety measures they have you get all decked out in reflective gear and head lamps.  Maritza had the first leg out on a pretty windy road where she had to run on the shoulder in the pitch black!  The good thing was though, this was a pretty dead area and the only people on the road were other vans and runners so she/you weren't really alone.  My hubbs Ari, the worry wart that he is, did not want me running alone at night.  There have been some attacks on the running trails in the Bay Area lately (5 to be exact) and he wasn't too thrilled with it.  Kristen's hubbs wasn't keen on the idea either.  So Kristen and I decided to run each other's legs together.  It really only added a few extra miles for each of us but I don't think we knew how tired we would be for a round 2 in the middle of the night.

Kristen, being runner 3, had 6.5 miles for her second leg rated hard!  And it was!  I was feeling the effects of my pulled ab muscle and our first two miles were around 10:00 miles!  It was a climb up a huge hill and it never stopped!  By the time we got to the top we had a nice decent through Mill Valley and Fairfax were we checked in finally around 1 am.
6.5 miles 1:03:49  9:45/mi pace. 

Not too shabby for running in the dark at that hour!  We got to the exchange point and there was a Peet's coffee open!  Success!  They had been kind enough to stay open for the relay so we got to use REAL bathrooms and load up on some much needed coffee!  We also attempted at this point to stay warm.  It wasn't too cold out so you did break a sweat while running and when you stopped it was easy to get cold and have your muscles cramp.  So we did our best to stay warm and stretch a ton.

My next leg that Kristen was running with me was across the Golden Gate Bridge!  I was excited and nervous for this.  I love running across it, but I am very fearful of heights.  And added in the dark of the night I was a bit hesitant.  I was SO THANKFUL Kristen was with me!  My leg started out in Marin and it wound through Sausalito.  At 2:30 in the morning, there wasn't a soul on the road!  We got to run down the middle of the road as we gazed off to the lights of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge!  We kept telling each other how lucky we were and that this was a once in a life time thing!  It was beautiful out, not a cloud in the sky!  We also had a huge climb up a windy mountain to the base of the bridge.  We didn't see ANYONE until we got to the bridge.  By this time the runners were pretty spaced out.  When we got to the bridge I wanted to sprint but Kristen was feeling the effects of the second run so we slowed it down and enjoyed the view as best as we could!  I hate seeing the phone at the beginning of the bridge for the Crisis helpline for jumpers.  Always makes me sad and scared.  Turns out, prior in the evening some of the teams had to wait because there was a jumper that evening.  My nice team had the decency not to tell me this until AFTER my run!  I'm not sure what happened with the jumper but I am so thankful I didn't have to be there.
5.8 miles 1:01:24  10:38/mi

By the time we handed off the bracelet to the other team it was just after 4 am.  I had been up for 23 hours!  We were all fading fast!  Mark, our awesome dude on the team said he was still good to drive, so me, Tara and Mark got us to the next Van exchange point while the other passed out in the back.  The next exchange point was at a local community college where we again got to shower and eat.  Everyone decided to take a shower at 5 am even though we were exhausted!  After some quick showers we headed back to the van where we though we had until about 8:45 am until the next van came in.  Again, I could not sleep!  I think I dozed for about 20 mins, but both Tara and I could not fall asleep!  Thank god for the Internet on my phone!  I was exhausted, drained, tired but I could not relax enough to fall asleep.  I hate naps and I hate the feeling when you wake up - almost like your hung over.  And I was very afraid that I would feel that way.  So, no sleep for Katie.

When the final exchange was ready we were up and ready to go and finish strong!  The day again had started out warm but we knew that we weren't going to be in the crazy heat of it today.  All of us had some pretty decent mileage or difficult terrain to go up this round and it was daunting mentally.  We were all still excited to be out there, but our brains were fried and the thought of running again was heavy.  We did our best to cheer each other on and keep the mojo going.  By the time my final leg came around, my ab muscle was screaming at me and the though of running 3.1 miles, up at 3,000 foot climb was draining.  It was in such a beautiful area though and I tried to focus on that.  We were running up Highway 9 on our way to Santa Cruz!

When it was my turn I literally put my head down and ran.  The first half mile my ab didn't hurt and I thought I would be okay.  But all of a sudden it reared it's ugly head and stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was painful to run and I had a HUGE MOUNTAIN to climb!  So, I walked and ran most of this section.  It was also on a really busy two lane road where I ran on the shoulder!  Scary and draining all at once!  But I made it to the top, finished my leg strong and now Van 1 was DONE!
3.1 miles 35:27  11:35/mi  I wish I could show you the elevation map of this because it is crazy!

The final exchange was in Davenport, a little town just north of Santa Cruz.  IT WAS WINDY there!  Crazy windy!  But we were so thankful to be done!  Ari had also volunteered at the finish so it I was soooo happy to see him when we got there!  We knew by the wind there that it was going to take the team a little while to get there.  We had handed off the bracelet around 1 pm and we were thinking they would be there around 6.  And sure enough, Aron came in right on schedule after battling Highway 1 (again!) with the crazy wind!  Tara was kind enough to go out and meet Aron to help her with her final leg and bring the team in!
200 MILES 30:53:14  9:16/mi average!

We all crossed the finish line together and it felt so good to have finally FINISHED and to have accomplished what we did!  I was so lucky to be apart of a great group of people!  I can't wait to do it again.  I am still tired, though.  That night, when I got home, I was still all wound up!  I don't think I fell asleep until after 10 pm!  I was up for 40 hours straight!  I don't know how I did it!  It was so neat that we all got along, we all supported one another and we all stayed on game.  You never know what can happen when you throw 6 people into a van, give them little sleep, make them run and eat garbage for 36 hours!  But we all did awesome and I am so happy I got to bond with this great group of people!  I have made stronger friendships with some and made new ones with others!  Thanks ladies and Mark!  I had a blast!!!

This is the link to our video of photos that Maritza put together!  Thanks girly!  I was the resident photographer for the weekend and she made a great video of it all!

I'm still attempting to recover.  I gave myself Monday and Tuesday off to rest and today I'm going to try and get a few miles in!  Go over and check out the other girl's blogs for their race recap - I am anxious to see what everyone else thought!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend and rocked it out there!  Especially Mel! Congrats!
I have so fun news to share with you all later this week, can't wait!
Happy Running and Happy Wednesday peeps!