Wednesday, June 30, 2010

100th Post!!

I'm going to start out with the obligatory statement we all seem to make when we make it to this very important milestone in bloggy land, "I never thought I would last this long!" And I know this sounds cliche, but it is so true. I started this blog last year as a way for me to hold myself accountable for my running. I had already been reading blogs for over a year and prior to starting this blog had only recently started commenting. I figured though, if I was going to dole out advice and encouragement on other's blog, I better have the beef to back it up on my own. Now, 100 posts later (and really, I don't know how/why you all keep coming back!) I think I have learned a lot about myself, made a ton of new friends and have achieved and accomplished what I had set out to do in my running goals for last year. I have come a long way, but I am so excited to see what the future holds for me with running and I hope I can continue to motivate, encourage and share all the awesomeness that running has to offer with all of you :)

I was thinking I would try and give you all 100 fun little facts about me, but dang, that is hard!  And as much as I LOVE reading about all of you, I'm sure you'd get a little board with me!  So, I will try for 100, but if I don't make it, it's because I'm saving you all from feeling obligated to read them all or just plain being boring!

100 things about me - in no particular order :)

1. I started running almost 5 years ago as a way to loose weight.
2. I had gone to the doctor for a check-up and she informed me I was obese!  As soon as I left her office I went straight to Sears and bought a treadmill.
3. That fateful day, I weighed almost 210 pounds - I had no idea I was that large.
4. I started with a crazy drastic diet, and with in 5-7 months, 70 pounds came off.  I ended up loosing a total of 90 in about 9 months :)
5. I originally began just walking on the treadmill- I would walk for an entire episode of TV before I would look at the distance.
6. I got pretty board pretty quickly with just walking and started run/walking as a way to mix it up.
7. I actually gained all the weight very quickly - like in 18-20 months. 
8. I gained it right when I got engaged and all the way through our first year of marriage - before that I was a normal healthy weight my whole life.
9. I can remember the first time I ran 4 miles without stopping - it was on the treadmill, in my garage, in the middle of summer in Sacramento!
10. I didn't run much outside when I started - and when I did, I ran a route that I had mapped out the mileage with my car.  I would look at the clock before I left and run inside real quick to see my time :)
11. I kept a running journal right from the start - it's fun to go back and see how far I have come.
12. After I had ran that 4 miles I wanted to race - so I signed up for the Lake Tahoe 1/2 Marathon - yeah, not my brightest idea!
13. I trained completely on my treadmill for that race - using the incline feature to train for the hills.
14. I ran that 1/2 marathon in 2:09 - I was hooked!
15. Since then, I think I've ran 25+ half marathons, and on to marathon #7 in October.
16. I played soccer all the way through my freshman year of high school.
17. Sophomore year I joined the golf team.
18. I had started playing golf when I was 10 - my auntie got me hooked.
19. I was a decent golfer in high school, my handicap was 9 - if your familiar with that stuff :)
20.  Since I took up running and came back to the Bay Area, I haven't golfed much - I need to get back out there!
21. I was a Girl Scout from age 5 starting with Daisies all the way through my senior year of high school as a Senior Girl Scout - yeah, no one wants to buy cookies from a senior in high school!
22. I got straight A's in high school and all the way through college - I graduated college summa cum laude - I'm very proud of that.
23. If I could quit my job and be a professional student - I would do it in a heartbeat!  I love school.
24. When I started college I was a theology major.  By the end of my sophomore year I had changed to business/accounting - quite the 180!
25. If someone had told me in high school or my early 20's that I would be a tax accountant - I would have laughed - hard!
26. I met my husband when I was 20.
27. We were both working together at the same dealership - I was the weekend receptionist, he was a little car salesman.
28. We started dating September 27, 2000 and got married on September 27, 2003.
29. The hubbs is 4 years older than me - if you think about it, he was graduating high school as I was graduating junior high! LOL!
30. I was nervous to bring home a car salesman as my boyfriend to my parents - probably not high on the list of boys your dad ever wants his little girl to bring home!
31. The hubbs actually hit it off with my family right from the start - funny the things you worry about when you bring a new boy home.
32. If someone had told me I would be married at 23 I would have laughed at them - but I was and am so thankful that we will have a long lifetime together.
33. The hubbs and I are very competitive with one another - with everything! Watching Jeopardy at night can leave someone with hurt feelings! LOL!
34. Both sides of our families have banned us from playing Trivial Pursuit together - they say it's for the sake of our marriage :)
35. The gloves come off though when either of us are doing some thing physical like running or bike racing - I have the best running sherpa ever.
36. I am the middle child of three kids - I have an older brother who is 9 years older than me, and a little sister who is 9 years younger than me.
37. There is 18 years difference between my older brother and my little sister - and yes, my parents are still married and yes, we have the same parents.
38. Needless to say, when my little sister turned 9 we were all a little worried.
39. My little sister became an aunt at age 3 thanks to my brother.
40. When I was 3, I asked my grandpa for a dog and a cat.
41. He came home with a cocker spaniel and a kitten within the week.
42. My cocker spaniel was named Peaches - she actually took my nick-name since we both had the same color hair.
43. The kitten was named K.C. - for Katie's Cat - yes, very original.
44. Peaches lived to be 19! And K.C. lived to be 21.  When I moved out and in with Ari when I got married, my dad made me take the cat with me - she was my dowry :)
45. Ari never had any pets growing up as a kid - so when we got our dog Lilly he was smitten right away.
46. To this day, he kisses that dog first when he gets home before he kisses me!
47. I hate hearing from people, especially now that we have been married for 7 years, when we will have kids! I get it constantly from Ari's side of the family.
48. Maybe someday - but right now I have one more Boston Marathon to run as my revenge!
49. If I had my druthers, I would quit my job in a heartbeat and run all.the.time.  I would love to not have to fit my running schedule in around my job! (I know, we all have this problem, I'm sure)
50. When I was 18 I got a tattoo - it was a four leaf clover in that very famous spot on a women's back called the "tramp stamp" - go ahead and laugh!
51. I kept it from my parents for a really long time - about 6-8 months until finally my brother in big brother fashion spilled the beans!
52. My mother cried!  She sobbed!  She was so disappointed! LOL!
53. When I was 19 I got my tongue pierced.  I lasted a week of it being swollen until my mom made me take it out!
54. An hour after I took it out I had regrets!  I tried to put it back in and the hole had already started closing! Damn it!
55. I have my belly button pierced and quite a few holes in my ears - don't worry, that phase it done!
56. I have warn glasses since I was young.
57. When I got married my mom didn't want my glasses to show up in all the pictures.
58. So she made me get contacts, something I had never wanted before.
59. I dragged my feet through all the wedding prep to get my contacts and went a week before - bad idea.
60. You cannot master putting contacts in your eyes in a week - 4 days before my wedding I got an infection in my eye from the contacts.
61. I was not allowed to wear my contacts with the infection, but my mom also didn't let me wear my glasses on my wedding day! I was blind the whole day :)
62. I live exactly .56 miles away from the hospital I was born at - I will probably give birth to my own children there.
63. In our first year of marriage we bought our first house in Sacramento and lasted less than two years there - it's hard to grow up in the Bay Area and then move somewhere else.
64. We came home as quick as we could, and as much as we would like a change - I am a Bay Area girl through and through.
65. If my husband had his way though, we would be living right now in Lake Tahoe - it's just a little too "mountainy" for me :)
66. I really want to run the New York Marathon one day.
67. I really want to run the Chicago Marathon one day.
68. Come to think of it, the London Marathon, Berlin Marathon and a ton of others are on my run to-do list.
69. I cannot stand the 10K distance.
70. My favorite distance to race is the half.
71. My favorite distance to go out and run is between 10-12 miles - after that is just gets painful.
72. I have never had a black toenail (knock on wood)
73. I actually have pretty cute feet for being a runner - I just don't get how people end up with the bad feet!
74. I am deathly afraid of heights.
75. Skydiving, bungee jumping, riding that big roller coaster at the top of the hotel in Vegas scare the crap out of me!
76. I do not like seafood - if it swims in the sea, it's not for me!
77. With that being said, I will attempt to try something new.
78. I really wish I liked seafood, it's so good for you, but I just can't get past that ocean-y taste!
79. I was a vegetarian from 16-21 - I eventually had to give it up because I was always anemic and had trouble getting my iron levels healthy.
80. I would probably go back to being a vegetarian in a heartbeat if I wasn't a runner - I need the protein too much.
81. I am addicted to peanut butter - like I can devour a jar in about 5 days :)
82. I am also addicted to bagels - I eat one
83. I love to cook.
84. When I started walking on the treadmill, I would put it on Food Network (I know, torture for a dieter!)
85. I learned a TON from watching all of those shows and to this day know I am a better cook for it.
86. Food Network is often on in the background at my house.
87. I HATE to watch live TV - except for a baseball or sporting game. DVR has ruined me!
88. I LOVE baseball!  
89. My favorite team is the Oakland A's (don't laugh) but really, any baseball game on TV will do for me :)
90. I love to sleep - if I am sleep deprived I am not a happy person to be around.
91. I am an early riser - I am up at 5 pretty much every day - I have to force myself to stay in bed on the weekends if I want to sleep in.
92. I am NOT a morning runner though - my favorite time of day to run is between 9-10 a.m.
93. I cannot stand to grocery shop - I love to eat and cook, but going to the grocery store is pure torture.
94. I took piano lessons from the ages of 9-15 - I hated every single second of it.
95. My piano teacher was mean - but she was my mom's friend so I always felt like I couldn't complain.
96. To this day, I can only read music, but finding anything other than "middle C" on the piano is next to impossible - lesson to all you parents, if your kids don't like something, don't force them!
97. I love cars - all cars.  I can usually see something like a fender or a mirror and tell you that make, model and year :)
98. I'm hoping that when I have kids they will be runners, too! Mamma needs some company!
99. I would love one day to have a dog that could run with me - right now Lilly sits down and won't move after about 1/2 a mile!
100. I never thought I would make it this far with my running - and I'm hoping that it sticks with me a lifetime :)

WOW!  That was long and HARD! (that's what she said!)  If you made it this far you deserve some kind of reward!  Hmmm....maybe a giveaway will be in your future.

Thank you to all of you who come back on a regular basis and show support, encouragement and friendship.  I feel like a very lucky person to have such an awesome community behind me.  Sometimes you are all my motivation to get out that door!  I hope you learned a little more about me - and don't worry, when I get to 200, 300 or even 500 I won't bore you with any more "fun facts" about me!  I'm just not that interesting! LOL!

Thanks again peeps!
Happy Wednesday and Happy Running!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Started BAD...Ended Great!: Weekend Round-Up & Bear Creek Trail 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Yes, I know that is a long title!  But bare with me peeps, I had one crazy weekend!  Grab a  cup of coffee...this is going to be a long one!

It all started Friday when I went home from work and was heading out for a run.  I was already kind-of dreading this run since it was quite warm out to begin with.  And although I have been taking the week as it goes, I was going to stick with my usual 7 I like to run on Fridays.  I headed out the door and down my regular route (which is driving me crazy with boredom!).  I was about 1/4 mile into my run, just running along, trying to take my mind of the oppressive heat and all of a sudden, BAM!  A P.O.S (piece of shit) car pulls up along side of me and slams an EGG at my stomach!  WTF?  I got EGGED!  I couldn't believe it!  It was an old P.O.S. late 70's primer panted Camero with three kids in the car!  They sped off just as fast as they came up on me!  I was shocked!  I wanted to cry!  I was mad, no wait, furious!  I couldn't believe what had just happened!  I stood there for a second and collected myself and then right away called Ari.  He told me to call the cops.  So right away I did.  I gave them a description as best as I could and then ran home.  The egg shells and the close proximity along with their speed really did a number on where they hit me.  I had egg oozing down my shorts, in my iFitness belt and I was just covered.  It stung, too.  The egg shells cut up my stomach pretty good.  I still have scabbed over cuts on my stomach and it's Monday!  I decided I wasn't going to let those savage SOB's ruin me so I changed my shorts and collected myself and went out to finish my run.

At first I was a little nervous.  Would they try it again?  Did I have the mental capacity to keep going?  I wasn't sure so I just put my head down and ran.  Within about 5 mins I immediately saw about 5 cop cars driving all over my neighborhood.  I live off a relatively busy street, six lanes - 3 in each direction.  But it is still residential.  They were driving slow and looking all around.  A few eyed me and I waved and kept running.  My legs and heart were done.  I didn't want to run - I was scared.  Even though I saw the cops out, I wasn't sure what to make of it all.  So I turned around and made it 5 miles for the day.  On my way home, a ghetto-bird, aka cop helicopter was also circling the neighborhood.  Are you kidding me?  For a car full of teenage punks out egging runners?  At least they were on it and I was glad my tax dollars were at work.  By the time I got home, I was deflated.  I still couldn't believe what had happened. (side note: I don't know if they ever caught the punks, but after about an hour and by the time I got home, the ghetto bird was gone and I'm pretty sure the cops had left.  I just hope they got picked up quick!)

So, for all of you keeping count - I have had some pretty crappy run-ins go down my regular running route.  Remember when I got hit last year?  Or when I saw the guy get hit by a car on a bike? Or how about just a few weeks ago when I saw a poor dog get hit by a car? NOW THIS?  Are you kidding me?  I am jinxed I tell you, jinxed!  I know as runners we put ourselves out there every time we lace up and hit the road.  But man, I have been dealt a pretty crappy handful of shit.  Then yesterday, on my recovery run, I saw a pair of men's underwear with skid marks!  Really?  You threw your dirty underwear out the window?  AND! AND!  I saw not one, but TWO empty egg carton boxes while running!  Seems like they chucked the boxes on the street, too!

Anywhoo, I had to gather myself that evening because I had a race in the morning!  My stomach all week has been bad!  Like, I have to go to the bathroom A LOT!  I was worried how it would hold up the next day.  But I had my usual pre-race Indian food dinner and went to bed hoping for the best.  

I was actually nervous for this race.  I wanted to run it, but I was afraid to run it alone.  Trail runs, especially the half distance, can be tough physically and mentally.  I was afraid I would be out there all alone, lost, stuck with no one around.  Or better yet, I would get lost!  And with my bad running ju-ju right now, the odds were not in my favor.

I had read on RBR's blog that she was also running this.  But we hadn't made any plans to really meet up and we had never met in person before.  She is one cool chic, as I knew from her blog, but wasn't too sure if she would want to hang with another blogger on her race.  When I got up in the morning I was thinking I would possibly even drop to the 10K.  But as luck would have it, as they had us pull up on the grass field, guess who pulls up right along side of me? RBR!  We looked at each other and said, "hey, I know you!!!"  It was perfect!  Finally, the running gods were smiling on me!

Right away we jumped out of the car and started talking.  She is one of the coolest peeps to hang with, just like she comes across on her blog.  We decided to head up to packet pick-up together.  When we got there, I was still thinking I might do the 10K, but when she got her 1/2 bib, I stuck with it and I asked her if she wanted some company.  She laughed!  She couldn't believe my speedy self wanted to run with her!  She often talks on her blog of how long it takes her to run, but it didn't matter to me!  The company would be great!  Plus, it would be a warm day and I had no expectations other than to have fun!  And I knew that would happen hanging/running with her!

Back at our cars together, we got body-glided up, grabbed our water bottles and headed to the start line together.  It was a pretty small field of peeps for each race.  I wouldn't say more than a couple hundred.  She kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to run with her!  I had to laugh because between my stomach and my knees, I wasn't sure she wanted to run with me!  As soon as the gun went off though, we were running together.  I remembered part of this course from back when I ran it in January, and knew right away you are hit within a quarter mile a big giant hill.  I was thinking that my strategy for the day would be run everything else and walk the hills.  So that is exactly what we did.  Many people had the same idea.  It was already warm out and there was no need to expend any extra energy.

Right from the start we were chatting it up- getting to know one another better and just enjoying the beautiful course.  It's set in a little area in the East Bay called Orinda and Martinez, and it looks out all across the bay.  The views are just awesome.  There was many times during the day when we would look at each other and just go, "man, we are some lucky bitches to be hanging out here!"  BTW, this is a tough course, too!  With 3,030 feet of elevation change!  We would go up hills for what felt like forever only to be greeted with only a short distance of flat and then ANOTHER HILL!  The down hills felt far and few between!  We just kept plugging along, waiting for the next aid station and enjoying ourselves.  I knew that between miles 6-8 there was a massive climb.  AND THERE WAS!  It just kept going, and going, and going.  And when we got to the top, about 1/4 ahead of us, there was more hills!  The saying, "what comes up, must come down," did not apply in this race!!!

Around mile 10 we came across a cow who had her eye on me!  With all my bad running ju-ju right now, I did not feel comfortable with this cow eyeing me!  I swear she was coming after me, but thankfully RBR is a biology teacher/vet peep and reassured me she wanted nothing to do with me.  But I swear to you, she had the evil eye looking at me.  The one bad thing about this course is that there is cow and horse poop EVERYWHERE!  And where there is poop, there are flies!  I was batting off the files constantly.  I really tried not to complain about this, but my city-girl ass was not enjoying it.  RBR on the other hand was taking it all cool as a cucumber.
**Go on over to RBR's blog and check out all her pics, including the one of my killer cow!

The final 1.5 miles of the run is on a single track that is just breath taking.  It was a bit cooler in there than outside on the regular course where we were pretty much in direct sun the whole time!  It still had some crazy climbs, and some stairs that went forever!  

We finished together in true buddy form, crossing the finishing mat together hands in the air!  I had so much fun with Stacey out there!  And even though the heat, the climbs and the cow poop and files were a little much to deal with, never did I feel like I didn't want to be out there.  We laughed, we cried, we made it through a pretty dang hard course together and I can't wait to do it again together!  Thanks Stacey for putting up with me for 3 hours and 27 mins!  I had so much fun!

The group who puts on the race, Brazen Racing, is just awesome.  They are so well organized, make you feel like a rockstar and even give you some pretty cool schwag! 
The nice technical shirt and medal they gave out- the medal is huge!

Race Stats:
13.33 miles
3:27:02 - 15:31/mi pace
I don't even care what place :)
So, as awful as my weekend started, it finished up pretty damn awesome.  Yesterday, Sunday, I got in a HOT recovery run and then took the day to lay by the pool at my parents house.  My quads and butt were a bit sore from the race the day before, but the run really helped me loosen up.  It is HOT here in the Bay!  Already this morning on my way into work, at 6:20 am, my car said it was 65 out already!  It's going to be a rough day! I finished up my week of "going with the flow" with 38 miles - not too shabby with just going by feel.  I had wanted to keep a good base during the week and I think I accomplished that :)

Congrats to all the racers this weekend at IronMan CDL and Seattle Rock N' Roll!  You all did fabulous!  And thanks again to RBR, I had a blast with ya sista!
I'm off to catch up with you all!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Friday, June 25, 2010

5 Thigs Friday

Fresh off my trip to Tahoe, I thought I would give you all a quick update :)

1.  Running without looking at my plan is going FAB!  I had no idea I would survive not having the ability to look at a nice neat little spreadsheet to tell me what distance to run and how fast.  But it feels good to just go out for feel - I hope I don't get too used to this!

2.  While in Tahoe, I got in two great runs and a long mountain bike ride.  The weather was just perfect up there.  Wednesday I got up and ran a quick 5 miles before coming back to the hotel to find Ari and Lilly ready for a nice long bike ride around the lake.  We ended up going about 20 miles before Lilly just couldn't take her little carrier anymore.  So we called it a day and sat on the beach for the rest of the afternoon :)  Thursday I got up and ran with Ari and Lilly and got in 9 miles before we had to head back to the hotel and head home.  Ari really, really, really, really, really wants to move up there.  As beautiful as it is up there, the abundance of hippies and tourists is just too much for this city girl!

3. My knees are still tight and achy when I first start out running.  It takes a good 2-3 miles before they are warmed up.  I have rolled, iced, used BioFreeze like a mofo and they still are not happy with me.  Like many of you, I'm afraid to go to the doctor because I'm sure they will just tell me to quit all the crazy running.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated it.  The pain is on both knees, I have bought new shoes and it does eventually go away after a few miles.  Classic runner's knee?  Thoughts?

4.  Tomorrow I am running a trail half marathon!  I'm so excited to race!  This is the same race and group that put on the trail half that Aron and I ran together back in January.  This time I won't have the crazy mud to worry about.  Although, the Bay is expected to get warm again this weekend so I will have the heat to contend with.  But this trail run and the race organizer is awesome so even though I am sure I will be dead from the heat it should be a great time!

5.  Finally, thanks to all of you for your thoughts and kind words to my "blah, woe-is-me"  training post.  You all seemed to agree that 18 weeks is a little long and that I am smart to back off - it feels good to have some reassurance from all of you smart people :)  Sometimes having this blog to bounce ideas off is just priceless.  No matter how much of a veteran runner you are, we can all use to learn something from one another :)

I'm off to catch up with all you busy people!  Good luck to all you peeps racing this weekend, too!  Especially Mel & Amanda!  Go sub 4 ladies!!!!
Happy Friday and Happy Running Peeps!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18 Weeks

As I am sure you guys all remember reading, I did not feel like I had the best training cycle for Boston and Big Sur, nor did I have the races I had hoped for.  Between hectic work due to tax season and then catching the most horrific flu just 4 days out from Boston, I was so disappointed by how it all turned out.  When I got back from Big Sur I wanted my revenge.  I wanted to get that race that I was hoping for but slipped away from me.  I even toyed with jumping right back into training and making the SF Marathon my "A" race for another Boston Qualifier.  But in my heart, I knew I needed a break and settled on Long Beach in October.

I am a person who needs a training cycle.  I don't do well with out that nice little training scheduled pinned up on my fridge.  I like crossing the days off and the feeling I get of completing a planned workout.  When I don't have something to tell me what to do I feel lost and confused and often over do it.  So when I decided on Long Beach I wanted to give myself the best possible training I could.  I have used the Pfitz plan for my last 4 marathons and each time I usually did between 12 and 14 week training cycles.  But this time was different.  I didn't want to possibly set myself up for failure by not giving myself enough time so I went with the 18 week schedule.  I'm about a month into it almost and I'm done. 

I know I just said I love checking off a completed workout, but looking ahead all the way to October I feel like I may have started too early.  In fact, I know I did.  I love running, I love training, but I think I went out a little fast - a little too early (kind of like how I run a 10K!).  This past couple of weeks I have not enjoyed my running.  And I should be.  Yes, the weather is warm and making me be creative with my time.  But I just can't get out of this funk.  Every run has felt like a chore and my goal race seems so far away.  I realize now, 18 weeks is too long for me.  18 weeks is just too far off to be able to see the big picture.  Last Friday I got off early from work and was excited to run.  By the time I laced up my shoes and headed out the door it became a chore.  I hated my running routes, I didn't want to run 7 miles.  I didn't want to do strides in between.  I just didn't want to run - classic burn out.

I've been training for so long that I have lost focused.  Yes, I can see October 17 way out in the distance and I want that BQ again so badly I can taste it - hell, we have all been there in some way, shape or form.  But I've lost the luster of training and I have to change it up.  More than anything, I think my running routes are the real cause.  I've been running the same routes, roads and trails for years and try as I might to "switch" them up - there is no magical cure for feeling like I've been here - done that.  I've tried all the usual tricks - run them backwards, drive to new(er), less frequented spots, meet up with people - and all still feel like a chore.  I know I set myself up for this - I went out too early, too fast.

Yes, I know I'm whining.  It seems like lots of us have been having some sort of June-glum with our training.  It's as if there is a giant black cloud is hanging over many of us when we set out for our runs.  And I'm sure you haven't notice, but there has been a significant lack of posts on my part.  Yes, my life is going pretty dang OK right now - nothing to complain about.  Right now though, my running has no sparkle, it has no drive - and I miss that.

So, this weekend I decided that I would take the next week or so and just run.  I'm scrapping this week's training schedule and just going out by feel - taking a cue from Denise who just had this same thing happen to her.   Saturday I felt like running 6 would work, so I went out and ran just six.  Sunday I had no time to fit in a run and I didn't beat myself up - I just took a rest day.  And yesterday, my stomach was hating me for some reason, so rest day number 2!  Today, my legs feel like speed work so after work the track and I have a date.  I'll figure it out when I get there.  I don't have the training monkey on my back right and it feels pretty good.  Tonight the hubbs and I are headed up to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days to play.  I can't wait to get a nice long run in there.  And maybe even some mountain biking.  I do know that next week though, if training is still looking less than appealing, then I will give myself more time.  October is  a long ways a way still and I'm strong runner - missing a couple of weeks of hard core training this early won't set me back.  My mind needs to be as strong as my legs if I am going to be able to cross that finish line with a BQ on October 17.

What is the typical training cycle do you use?  Do you vary it?  Is 18 weeks just the right amount of time? Or is closer to 12 or 14 usually do the trick?  Let me know, I'm curious to see what you all do when you hit a rough patch or start planning out your cycles.  I've been running for so long that I take for granted what I know to be the basics.  I take for granted all my running in the sense that I don't think all the old rules always have to apply.  But they do.  There is a reason why it worked in the past! 

Happy Tuesday and Happy Running Peeps!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nothin' Exciting

The last few days and really weeks, nothing too exciting happening in this Redhead's life.  Running is good, the job is eh, well we'll leave it at I have a job, and in general life has been pretty dang fab - fab in the sense that everything is just plugging along and moving.  I'm enjoying my runs, enjoying the summer weather (when it's NOT 90 degrees!) and looking forward to some fun races I have next month.  I guess it is a good thing when life is a bit boring, it makes you stop and realize that things aren't so bad :)

The week is early and I moved some things around on my schedule to get in an extra speed session this week to make up for the one I missed last week.  I really do love track work, it makes the time go by soooo fast!  On Monday I headed to the sauna gym to get my track work done since it was pushing 90 out all afternoon.  They swore up and down the air con was on, but I swear to you, it felt even worse inside!  I did 5x800's and finished up the workout at 7 miles.  Not too bad.  In fact, the good warm up and cool down I did made my legs feel like they could have kept going!

Fast forward to yesterday, and my legs were dead!  I guess that's a sign of a good workout?  I headed back to the gym again to get my run on and then lift some weights.  Uh yeah, I lasted 4 miles in that sauna/gym with my tired legs and called it a day!  After some weights and abs, I was a soaking wet mess!  I know I'm already an abnormally sweaty runner, but man, this was bad!  I thought about taking a picture, but then I thought, I don't think I needed to subject any of you to that!

Not sure if any of you have ever used the website to find a running group, but I joined almost a year ago and have only attended maybe two meetups.  The people are nice enough, but the times I went everyone was really slow and doing different distances than I so I didn't go back.  But the nice thing about being signed up with a meetup group is that they constantly send you emails for future or upcoming meetup events.  I got one yesterday for a long trail run meetup right in my backyard for Saturday on a trail I have been meaning to try for a really long time.  I decided to give it a shot.  And the cool thing is, many of the peeps are going to start earlier and tack on some miles, exactly what I need.  Go over and checkout, they have a ton of different groups all over the country for everything to running name it!  It's a great way to meet people and the nice thing is, you can come and go as you please.

That's all I got for the Hump Day Wednesday!  And a special shout-out to my cousin Sarah today: Happy Birthday girlie - love ya!!!
Happy Wednesday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Happy Monday peeps!  How did it come so fast! *sigh*  Another weekend in the books and I'm pleased to say that I think summer is finally here!  I didn't do anything terribly exciting this weekend.  I stuck close to home, ran and cleaned out a room.  Yeah, I'm hardcore like that :)

Nothing too exciting going on for me on the running front either.  The temps in the Bay Area last week started rising and they didn't stop!  When I left work on Friday around noon, it was already 80 degrees!  Ugh!  And even though I couldn't stand having to run in that, I just couldn't bring myself to go to the gym.  I go through phases like that.  Sometimes the thought of running on the road makes me cringe and all I want to do is hit the dreadmill.  While other times, the thought of running on the dreadmill makes me want to vomit and only the road will satisfy me.  Does that happen to any of you who also use the dreamil?  Do you go through phases where only one will satisfy your running craving?

I headed out the door for a nice run around 1pm - mistake #1.  I knew it was going to be hot but I figured I would just plow through.  Mistake #2 came when I forgot my handheld and I had only realized it at the one mile mark!  So I decided to keep it short and headed home at four miles.  Four is better than none!
4 miles 33:07  8:17/mi pace

My knees have been really causing me trouble lately. They're tight and stiff for the first couple of miles and when I finish they ache like crazy.  I can't seem to pin point the cause.  All of my shoes have relatively low miles on them and my mileage hasn't been crazy, peaking right now right around 40 a week.  I guess I'll just keep icing and stretching.  Any ideas?

Saturday the temps were expected to hit the mid 90's! Wowza!  So my cousin Sarah and I decided to hit the road early to get our run on.  I've said it before, I'm not a morning runner.  But the last few times I have hit the pavement early I have surprised myself in how well I do.  By no means is my pace fast, in fact, I find in the morning as compared to my afternoon/evening runs that my pace in general is always slower.  But I do love that feeling of having my run done!  Right around 4 pm though I always feel like I should be doing something again - like that first run didn't count! LOL!

Right at 6:30 Sarah and I got our run on.  It was already warm out!  We had planned on 8 for the day as she is getting ready for her 2nd half with me in San Francisco next month!  But my stomach was not happy with me.  Between the heat and my tummy, it was a hard run and I was soooo glad to have Sarah there with me!  We called it quits at 7 since it was already in the low 70's!  Although we didn't hit the 8 we wanted, I think it was a quality run since for her, the time we were out running would have almost equaled the time 8 would have taken her had the weather cooperated.
7 miles 1:08:36  9:47/mi pace
Thanks Sarah for getting up with me!  I think we will be tackling that ungodly hour many times this summer!

After I got home and refueled, I wanted to finish out the day with a few more miles.  Even though my tummy was still not happy and the temps were in the 80's, I hit the road for four more miles.  They weren't too terribly bad.  Something about only having to run four miles sure puts a spring in your step!
4 miles 32:44  8:11/mi pace
The rest of Saturday was nursing my poor stomach.  I don't think it likes this heat!

Sunday I got up early again to tackle another medium long run.  But it just wasn't happening.  It felt like it never cooled off from the day before!  So when I was running again at 6:30, the miles felt so heavy!  I wanted to do 12 but I was done at 8.  Again, 8 is better than nothing! 
8 miles  1:06:42  8:20/mi pace

It was a really nice weekend, although HOT!  That seems to be the general theme for all of this weekend!  And although I love the heat when it comes to laying by the pool, it is just painful when you have a run to get on.  I finished the week strong and although I didn't hit all my planned runs (Tuesday's track workout didn't happen) I ended up with 44 miles for the week.  Not too bad.

I know we complain in winter about the rain and cold, and some of you the snow!  I know we complain in the summer about the oppressive heat.  But what else can be do as runners!  I need to find a place to live where it is 65 degrees and sunny  LOL! 

Looks like you were all busy bee's this weekend!  I'm off to catch up! 
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm Back!

I'm back!  Did you all miss me?  I know I missed checking in with all of you on a daily basis, I'm sure I've missed a ton since last Wednesday!  Last Thursday my family and I headed up to Oregon to see my little niece graduate from High School!  Even though we were wicked excited to see her and my little nephew (little being relative, he's 6'3" and 17!) it was a stressful trip since we were forced to see my brother's horrid ex-wife in the midst of it all.  Just a little background with out going too deep, but she and my bro had a bitter divorce which ended with his ex taking the kids away and moving to Oregon when the kids were 1 & 2 years old.  It has always been very difficult to be a part of their lives since she was so good at brainwashing the kids into thinking we were all horrible people.  The good thing I can say is that my bro never stooped to her level.  He never let the kids hear him say bad things about her.  He kept his dignity through it all.  And even during this crazy weekend, when she was still pulling her usual tricks, he kept cool.  Needless to say, it was an interesting trip!

We were right on the northern coast of Oregon, in a little vacation town called Manzanita where the kids live.  Let's just say, it's a bit "oakey."  They're mountain folks up there!  But the views and scenery were beautiful and we could see why the kids are in love with living there.  We were about 40 miles south of the Washington boarder and about 30 miles north of Tillamook, you know, where all that cool cheese is made!

Aside from all the crazy that was while we were there, I got dragged my sister to go running every morning while we were there!  It was so beautiful to run along the beach.  It was perfect running temps, and it even rained on us one morning!  If you have ever seen the movie "Goonies," and can remember the scenery, that is exactly what it looks like!  Just breath taking!

Erin looking a little sleepy out there!

I was in runner heaven with the weather!

You can tell she just loves being out there!

She would pretty much last until about four miles each day so I took it, and didn't press too much!  She actually kept a really good pace the whole time, too!  We ran between 8:30's and 9:00 miles.  I wish she liked running more, but since there was no gym in sight she had to make do!

We also made our way up to Astoria, OR to see where they filmed the "Goonies!"  Yes, it was hoakey, but really there isn't much to do in there!  It was very comical because they were having the Goonies 25th anniversary party in that little town.  People were dressed up as the characters and they were giving tours of the house.  Yeah, we opted out of that, but you could still drive up and see the house and the views.  Also, the school where they filmed that crappy movie "Kindergarten Cop," with Arnold Schwarzenegger is just down the road from the Goonie house.  We were in nerd heaven :)  They even had the whole cast there, including Corey Fledman, making an appearance, LOL!
Erin and I in front

Erin, my nephew Charlie and my SIL Suzie at the Goonie House
The Goonie House!

All in all, we all survived and had a really nice time celebrating my niece Amanda.  She is headed off to a small college about an hour away and we're really excited for her.  We all played nice, which we weren't too sure was going to happen!  It was nice to finally see where they grew up.

I got some smaller runs in while we were there and came home yesterday early to get my long run in.  12 miles in the warm heat!  Apparently the Bay Area had some nasty weather while we were gone - heat and humidity! Ugh! 
12 miles  1:42:46  8:34/mi pace
Another marathon training week in the books.  I'm feeling pretty strong and am really enjoying it this time.  I'm just going to keep rolling with the punches and see where I end up.  October, I am sure, is going to come fast!

I'm off to catch up with all of you!  You all had some busy weekends of racing and running!
Happy Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On the Run

My heart is heavy today.  Yesterday on my run, I saw one of the most horrific things I could witness.  I'm an animal lover through and through.  I want to bring home every stray I see.  I always have to change the channel when the Humane Society commercials come on because it just breaks my heart.  And yesterday what I saw has left me with a scared image in my mind I just can't get away from.  I was out doing a warm up few miles before heading to the track to do some speedwork.  I could see in the distance two small animals on the median of the road running back and forth.  The road is busy, three lanes in each direction with speed limit of 40 that is hardly ever obeyed.  As I got closer and closer I could see it was two small dogs.  I picked up my speed to try to get to them to call them to me and get them to safety.  With about a 100 yards to go, I saw a truck come around the corner and I put my hands up to signal the driver to stop.  But it was too late.  One of the dogs decided to make a dash for it and he was hit.

His little body went flying like a rag doll.  I screamed bloody murder by the horrific sight I had just seen.  My scream was so loud that it got a man out of his garage to see if I was alright.  The driver didn't stop right away.  I jumped into the street to wave him to stop, when he finally did, he didn't get out of his car right away.  I think he was shocked at what had just happened also.  I could see his little life-less body thrown against the median curb.  My only thought was I hope he died instantly and wasn't laying there in pain.  I didn't have the strength to go up to him.  I tried to get the other dog to come towards me with the man who had come from his garage.  The dog ran back to his home to the open garage.  There were men working on his house in the backyard but only contract workers who didn't have access to the house.  I called my mom right away to get her to call animal control.  I couldn't catch his buddy who had now parked himself in the garage.

I gathered myself after I got of the phone with my mom and couldn't believe what had happened in the midst of just a few minutes.  I was dazed.  I felt so awful.  The kind man who had come said he would also call and really, there wasn't anymore I could do.  I had planned on the speedwork but somehow my mind wasn't into that anymore so I just started running.  I realized at one point I had hit 5 miles and decided to turn around.  10 miles was not on the books but that run was so necessary.  On my way back past the accident I ran on the other side, I couldn't bare to see his little body butted up against the curb.  I kept seeing that image of the accident over and over in my head, it was just awful.  When I got home, I didn't fee like I had ran 10 miles, especially after the fact that I had just run 12 the day before - not ideal.

I have seen some crazy things when running.  Just a few months ago I witnessed a man get hit by a car on his bike.  Thankfully there were many who stopped to help and I think he ended up okay.  I have seen many things thrown from people's cars, random things from cheeseburger wrappers to cans of beer.  Just crazy.  And of course, I'm always subjected to the cat calls and screams.  I have even once been told by some men at a bus stop to, "put your shirt back on!" 

On the roads we are subject to so many things that we don't always witness when we are just drivers.  Not only are we putting our lives in our hands when we run the roads, we are also subjecting ourselves to whole other experiences.  You think when you leave your house your going out to do something good for yourself, that your going out to clear you head and your heart.  When situations like yesterday happen, I wonder why I even leave the treadmill.

I hate to be so down, but I am really sad and upset still from yesterday.  Thankfully it didn't haunt my dreams but as soon as I woke up I remembered it all over again.  So my question to all of you is, what sad, crazy, scary or weird thing have you experienced while running?  Have you seen something as horrific as me?  Have you been witness to a crime or accident?  Do you get the cat calls and whistles, or better yet, told to put your shirt on?  With all of this, it reminds me that I need to be a more aware driver.  I know that driver did nothing wrong, and I'm sure his day was even worse than mine. I can't imagine hitting a dog.  But we are driving potential death traps and sometimes people just don't pay attention or give it the respect it deserves.  I am always so aware of bikers and runners when I drive, I even swerve to miss squirrels. 

So my 10 mile run left me a little drained last night after my adrenaline had finally left.  I know it didn't help that the day before was a long run, but I think my body had finally let itself relax.  I think I might stick to the treadmill for today, I just don't think I'm ready to hit the road.
What crazy, weird or sad thing have you witness on your runs?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Race Report: Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras 10K

I know I've said it before but I will say it again: I HATE 10K's.  I always question why I sign up for them, but who am I to pass up a local race?  Just like last weekend, the race was just 15 minutes away and I wanted to join my cousin Sarah and her sister Katie for the day.  The day was perfect for racing, or so I thought, with the temps in the 50's when we arrived for check in.  But that was pretty much the highlight of the race.

Let me back up to the night before though, where my first mistake would later come back and bite me during the race.  I went out to dinner with a girlfriend from college at a local brewery.  The beer was tasty (I thought of you Jamoosh!) and the company was fantastic.  But I made a rookie mistake and instead of ordering a decent meal that would fuel a great run, we had chicken wings, quesodilas and nachos!  What was I thinking?  Wait, I wasn't because I washed it all down with three very tasty beers :)  I really wasn't putting much thought into my race the next day.  Sure, I wanted to PR.  I wanted to hit my coveted sub 45.  But apparently three beers and chicken wings does not make for PR days!

I also made the mistake of running 9 miles on Friday.  I was supposed to run them on Thursday but decided to move it to Friday and go for a nice 17 mile bike ride with the hubbs instead.  I also did a mini brick workout and jumped off the bike and ran 3 miles.  Yeah, probably not the smartest thing to do just a few days out from a 10K.  But I fashion myself a distance runner, not a sprinter and just thought I would see where my cards landed.

As Sarah and I stood at the start line, there was the usual suspects we keep seeing at our local races.  One in particular is a rather tall gentlemen, who always wears compression sleeves (really dude? for a 10K?), short black shorts and no shirt.  He looks badass but always seems to burn out early.  He also has a wife that looks pretty fit, but she never performs as well as her outfit does :)  I was also sizing up the competition and trying to see who was in my age group.  This was the first year for this race so needless to say there was little competition and the race crowd was small - perfect for ensuring some top finish status!

One thing I have learned in the past is never to trust a race director who claims all over their web page and at the beginning of the race that the course is FLAT AND FAST.  Even at the start line, bull horn in hand, she was yelling that the course was flat and fast.  Well, in two words: it wasn't.  I regularly, with Sarah, run this path.  It is rolling hills the whole time- little ones mind you, but they're some good climbs at times - not flat and fast.  When she finally said, "go," I took off in the lead pack and didn't look down.  The first part of the course was on a dirt road, for about 3/4 of a mile then we hit the bike path.  When I could see the first mile marker ahead I knew I had gone out too fast - I looked at my watch and it beeped 6:48 - not good!  Way too fast if I was going to survive 6.2 hilly miles.  I scaled it back and my second mile came in at 7:21 and was feeling pretty good.  I was also chasing two chic's ahead of me.  One, excuse the expression, had some cottage cheese thighs that I just couldn't understand was carrying her so fast!   She was moving though and I set her as my first target.  I finally was able to pass her around 2.5 miles as she was starting to loose gas.  Now, all I had ahead of me was a pretty lean looking lady with a green shirt on and I set my sights on catching her knowing she was the first woman.

At the turn around, they had a water station.  It was already getting pretty warm.  My shirt came off at the first half mile and I was still warm.  Since this was a pretty local race, and they had the local HS football team manning the water stations, no one was handing out the cups of water, they were just all lined up on the table.  My mouth was dry (probably from the beer the night before!) and attempted to grab a cup off the table.  Yeah, that didn't go so well.  Not only did I NOT get a cup of water, I think I knocked off about 6 other cups in my haste!  Oh well, I had a green shirt to catch up to!  She was about a minute ahead of me - no time to waste drinking!

I was cruising along okay, but it was warm and I could feel my legs becoming tired from the heat and the rollers.  I was running out of gas.  By mile four, those chicken wings reared their ugly heads.  I couldn't stop though.  There wasn't a potty in sight on this trail and the path was crowded with runners.  I actually stopped, gathered myself and started running again.  It was tough, but by now green shirt lady had gained another minute on me.  Ugh!  I was cursing the 10K, I was cursing myself for running it, I was cursing myself for my dinner of chicken wings and beer!  I knew though with only two miles left and about 2 minutes to catch someone I had to work hard!  I had hit the 5K mark at about 23:xx and knew that I was not on goal pace to break my 45 mark.  I had to pick it up if I wanted to even get close.  It was warm by now though, my tummy was angry and I just wanted to be done!

I put my head down and pushed in those final miles.  Unfortunately, they were sad miles.  My watch beeped at mile 5 and that mile was an 8:1x or something - really?  An 8 minutes mile in a 10K?  I couldn't believe it, but really, that was all I had in me.  I was cursing myself again since I had ran a 43:xx 10K on Tuesday with my speed work and now I was  struggling just to keep 8 mintue miles.  Damn chicken wings!

My final mile was also in the 8 minute mile rage but it didn't matter, I wanted to be done and I crossed the finish line in 48:33.  I never caught green shirt lady but I saw that the heat had gotten to her as she was just a mintue ahead of me when we finished.  48:33 is a PW for me but it was good enough for second female over all and first in my age group!  I love small, hometown races!

When I finished all the chatter with the runners was that the heat was miserable.  AND the course was difficult.  I chugged a two bottles of water when I finished, which I blamed on the heat, not the beer :)  Sarah came in with a PW, too, it seemed no one was having a great day out there. 

The race was very well organized, everyone was super friendly and I will totally run this again next year (if I ever run a 10K again!).  I got a pin for winning first and a Jamba Juice gift certificate for coming in second - not too shabby!  Over all, it was a day full of lessons for me.  I enjoyed running a local race.  I enjoyed spending my Saturday morning with Sarah and her sister Katie.  And I enjoyed supporting a local race.  But...I learned I really do hate 10K's.  It's a miserable distance.  You are sprinting the whole time.  Maybe I just haven't learned the art of short distance running.  Maybe I haven't learned the benefits of racing one while in marathon training.  I do know though, that I am not putting any 10K's on my calendar any time soon!

I know I set myself up for disaster with a hard training week, a medium long run the day before, a brick workout just two days before and a dinner of beer and chicken wings the night before.  I have to say though, I wouldn't change any of it - well, maybe just the pre race dinner :)  I had a great first week of marathon training and cross training, and am excited to see what the summer holds :)

I went home on Saturday after the race and ran another 4 miles by myself.  They actually weren't too awful and cursed myself again for shutting down during the race.  Oh well, I really did have a great week of running and wanted to focus on that.  I decided to take Sunday off and rest as my left knee was not happy with me.  It has been aching a lot lately, and very tight when I start running.  Lots of ice and rolling and it felt pretty good yesterday when I went out and ran 12 miles on that same route as the 10K was on Saturday.  It is such a beautiful trail but it is hilly and the temps around here have finally started to warm up.  I think summer is officially here :)

It looks like you were all busy this weekend so I'm off to catch up!  Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend!
Happy Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!