Thursday, September 30, 2010

My New Friend Doug

I have a new friend.  His name is Doug.  Actually, I'm not sure what is real name is, but to me, he looks like a Doug - so Doug it is!  In the past few weeks, I have been trying everything I can to get rid of my knee pain.  After talking to a friend of my who is a PT, she suggested I do more squats, lunges and take up spinning.  Cycling has been on my list of things to add to my workout for a while.  I drool over the bikes every time I got to Sports Basement.  But I know I'm not ready to fully commit to the whole cycling thing (that sport is expen$ive!), so my next best bet was the gym.

In came Doug.  Doug is the guy on the spinning bike computer.  I wish I had found this sooner!  Has anyone else tried this? Or I'm just really late to the party?  It's a spinning bike with a computer that allows you to pick the type of workout you want to do: interval, strength, endurance, etc.  And each time I try it, it pops us something new!  Doug is so creative!  I've been sticking to the interval and strength training programs and cycling for about 45-60 minutes at a time.  I did do a longer one last week and hit 29 miles, but it really drained me.  I'll back off that for a while.  Man, do I break a crazy sweat and get my heart rate up!  Doug is a drill sergeant!  Since I've never done a trainer at home, I'm thinking this is probably pretty close.  It starts with a nice warm up, hammers down the workout, and then a great cool down.
My bike in the corner

The whole time, Doug has some cheesy music playing in the background, and it changes with the intensity of the cadence and heart rate he wants you to hit.  I think I heard a Kiss song all jazzed/elevator music'ed up at one point and laughed out loud!  Doug, you have a funny taste in music!  But the program is quite neat, it has, depending on how long you pick your session to be, about 10-12 sessions of 3-4 minutes each.  And each time, it's a different mix up of the sessions.  I'm learning form, handle bar position and how to keep my heart rate and cadence in line.  And...I'm really enjoying it!
This is Doug!  Sorry, it's on my crappy phone camera.
Doug's kind-of cute, no?
The computer screen - there's Doug!

In about 45-60 minutes I can usually bust out about 16-20 miles each time.  A real good hard effort that leaves me dripping with sweat.  And the cool thing about it being in the gym, I can easily walk over to the treadmills real quick and get a BRICK workout in!  I'm loving these, too!  You feel like such a bad ass when you leave.  And...the knee is feeling a million times better!  I haven't had the pains or the tightness.  I'm hoping to keep this in my training for a while - shooting for 2-3 times a week ;)

I can't believe tomorrow is October 1st!  You wouldn't know it by the weather around here that Fall has officially started.  The temps have been horrid (like really high 90's and even some 100's!) but thankfully we are going to see a light at the end of the tunnel here in the Bay and they should start coming down by the end of the week.  September just flew by for me.  One second I was quitting my job, starting my own business, and the next I was crossing the finish line at Lake Tahoe!  I had a great mileage week last week, thanks to the race, and finished off with 59.2 miles.  And with my run today, I hit 232 miles for the month of September!  I haven't had a month like that since last year.

This weekend I have a chance to pace some friends of mine in the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon.  It should be fun - both would really love to come in around 2, so I'm hoping my legs will cooperate!  They have felt pretty fresh all week. 

Okay, I've procrastinated enough - I should get back to work.  I've already taken a really, really long 2+ hour lunch with my workout - I'm sure my boss is not going to be pleased! ;)
Happy Thursday and Happy Running peeps!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race Report: Lake Tahoe Marathon

I know I didn't get a chance to check in with all of you last week - so my apologies!  I know I have said this before, but working from home seems to take more time out of my day than I ever imagined!  I kept meaning to sit down and blog or read a few more but something always got in the way!  Especially when I was trying to pack and get ready for the race ;)  Sit down and grab a drink, this is going to be long!

I left all by my lonesome on Friday morning to head up to Tahoe.   Lake Tahoe is about a four hour drive for us.  I wanted to get a run in before the race in the altitude.  They say that either you go up RIGHT before a race in altitude (like that same day) or you need to give yourself a few weeks to get acclimated.  Well, I didn't have the luxury of either of those options, so I just decided to give myself as long as a head start as I could with the elevation.  My run on Friday afternoon when I got there was hard!  I was sucking hard for air - it felt like I was smoking a cigarette while running!  I managed 5.5 miles before I called it quits.  It worried me a bit, but there was really nothing more I could do to prepare myself for the elevation and altitude.

The hubbs joined me late Friday night and by Saturday morning we were up early to go and help crew for Sam who was running the Lake Tahoe Triple that weekend for Operation Jack.  If you're new to my blog, I've been supporting Sam all year on his quest to run 61 marathon's in honor of his son Jack and to raise money for Train 4 Autism.  Saturday was day 2 of the Triple for Sam and he needed some one to come out and crew.  The Tahoe Tripple consists of running around Lake Tahoe in three days - covering a marathon each day.  Only the crazies do it!  Or in this case, Sam ;)  Day 2 is considered to be the "easier" of the Marathon's but really, running three marathons in three days in crazy altitude with crazy elevation changes is never easy.  And the hard part about the Tripple is that day 1 and day 2 don't have the roads closed and there are no official aid stations.  The runners are basically running along the side of the twisty, steep and dangerous side of the road for two days.  Since there is no official aid stations either, the runners are encouraged to have a crew driving along with them.  We were the day 2 crew for Sam.  It was so much fun to be out there with all of those inspiring runners.  Some were super speedy (like Sam) while others took it as a beautiful walk around the Lake for three days.  Either way, they were some pretty awesome peeps.
Sam at the start of day 2 - Spooner Lake

At the start line - it was about 44 out - perfect
We carried Sam's Gatorade and met him in Incline Village around mile 11.5.  At this point he was in 4th!  The first guy was super speedy but we knew he could move up easily.  We handed off his water and sent him to the finish!
It was just beautiful running and spectating there!
Sam told us he was good to go to the finish so Ari and I headed back to the hotel to rest up - but not before some great pancakes!  We spent the afternoon napping and walking Lilly.  The weather was beautiful.  I decided on pizza as my pre-run dinner with a big salad.  I think this was the perfect dinner the night before.  I had no probs in the morning or during the race.

I slept really good the night before - something that usually NEVER happens the night before a marathon for me.  I woke up around 5 and had my usual peanut butter toast and coffee.  It was a bit chilly out when we left the hotel to pick up Sam - around 37 out.  But as soon as we started driving around the lake it started to warm up as the sun came up and the temps were about 45 or 47 at the start - again, perfect running temps.

The Sunday marathon starts at Common's Beach in Tahoe City.  It is right on the lake.  The marathon had about 400 runners to start.  Not a big crowd, but a little bigger than last year I could tell.  We brought Sam with us to the start and posed for some pre-race pics together.
Notice I'm all bundled up and Sam is in a race tank!
Lilly set to crew and cheer her mamma on!
On the beach at the start

The start had a great National Anthem and then with a big shot gun we were off!  The first 9 miles are all pretty flat and I was hoping to keep it in the 8:30's here to bank some time.  Along this point, I met a man named Jim who was from San Diego and we exchanged goals.  My plan was to run a fast first half and then bank some time for the second (harder) half.  It was nice to have the company and have some one to talk to.  From mile 1 to around 7 we were winding through some neighborhoods and on a bike path.  My legs felt great and I was feeling really good.  I knew I could have ran faster but I just wanted to stay on pace and enjoy the scenery.
At around mile 7 we came out from the bike path and onto highway 89 which goes around the Lake.  The South bound lanes are open but the north bound lanes are closed for us.  That doesn't mean a few cars don't get by but the crowd thins out so much that you don't have to worry about getting to the edge.
View of the lake around mile 6
At mile 7 (Jim is in the yellow)
At mile 7 I changed out my handheld and ate a half of PB&J.  It was hard to get down and I wasn't hungry but knew I needed to get it in me.  At this point Jim was worrying about the pace but I told him to hang on to the half because it was just going to get harder and our pace would naturally slow.

I think my paces were all below 9 at this point and I was happy with that.  Around mile 11 there is a small climb where my pace was definitely around 9:30 going up, but I wanted to conserve anyway and not bonk early.  It was just beautiful and peaceful out and I had to keep reminding myself to look around and enjoy the scenery.  I hit the half at exactly 1:50, which I was thrilled with.  That meant I could run the second half in 2:10 and still come in at 4 hours.  At mile 13.5 or so the hills (or mountains!) started coming.  I wanted to hold my pace as best as I could but not be a slave to my time.  I was turning over pretty well and just enjoying it.  At mile 14 though, my back and shoulders started hurting.  They had sharp, aching pains and I couldn't figure it out.  Around this time I told Ari to meet ahead with some tiger balm I packed.  He met me at mile 15 with a new handheld, a PB&J and rubbed Tiger Balm all over my lower back and shoulders.  It felt soooo good.  Exactly what I needed. 

Mile 15.2 brings on the dreaded Hill from Hell.  There are signs at the bottom of it "welcoming" you and telling you your elevation - 6200'.  I started here to walk/run.  My back was still killing me.  I think it was due to my labored breathing from the altitude.  I also started getting sick to my stomach - which is the first signs of altitude sickness.  I tried to stay focus, sip my Nunn and just keep moving.  The hill never ends.  At mile 16.2 there is a sign that says 6800' and "Welcome to Purgatory."  Yeah, it felt like that because we still had over a half mile of climbing.  This is where I lost Jim.  He had to stop.  I kept my walk/run thing going and plugging along.  Finally, at the top, at mile 16.8 and 7400' was the top!  Ari was waiting for me and I pulled over for some more Tiger Balm.  I don't know if it did any good physically, but mentally that little break was good for me.  I told myself I was now in the single digits and I could do it - but I was draining quickly.

The sun was out now and although we were in the shade for a lot of it, it was getting warm.  I was still sick to my stomach and could barely drink.  After the Hill from Hell you would think it would get easier, but really the hills keep coming.  I told myself that when I got to mile 20 it was just a 10K left and it was all down hill.

At mile 18 we got to Emerald Bay!  It was gorgeous!  The lake was so blue and the scenery was breath taking.
The view at mile 18
Walk/running to catch my breath

When you wind around Emerald Bay you are greeted with one of the last hard climbs of the race.  It is straight up!  At this point Jim caught me again and we ran /walked at this point.  I ate some oranges from Ari and I could see my goal pace slipping away.  But the funny thing is, I was okay with it.  I was ENJOYING the whole thing even though I my back was killing me and my stomach was sick.  We passed a photographer together and started running for the camera!  LOL!  And from there I just picked up my feet and didn't stop running until mile 20.  At the top of mile 20 you have Lake Tahoe to your left and Echo Lake to your right - stunning!  And literally, from here, it is all down hill or flat to the end!

The down hill from here though is quite hard.  It is straight down hill with a ton of switch backs.  Ari told me I was in the top 20 women at this point and that gave me the boost I needed.  My other goal for the race was to be in the top 25 finishing.  I wanted the jacket!  I used the down hills for some big momentum and was back to 8 minute miles at this point.  My legs actually were feeling awesome the whole time.  They never cramped, they never felt tired, it was just my back.  The pounding of the down hills and the labored breathing were hard.  Again, at this point I lost Jim.  We vowed to see each other at the finish line.

The last 5K is ran along the bike bath all along the beaches.  Again, I can't describe how beautiful and peaceful it is.  The crowd was pretty thinned out at this point, even though we had some half marathon peeps, some 20 miler peeps and 10K peeps joining us.  The water and aid stations were also really cute.  I couldn't get any more Nunn down so I started taking water.  Each water station was manned by either a boy scout troop, girl scout troop or a local running team.  They were so cute!  And they all dressed up and were really encouraging!  I took some oranges from Ari before we were off the road for good and told him I would see him at the finish.

I was attempting to do the math in my head at this point to see how close I could get to 4.  The reality is, I wasn't going to get too close.  I was okay with that.  I was still enjoying everything and still moving.  I think my walk/run at the Hill from Hell and Emerald Bay really did in my goal time, but I know now that it really saved my legs and energy.  At this point of the race were were winding through Camp Richardson and Valhalla.  Valhalla is a big museum of one of the first homes built on Lake Tahoe.  It's quite grand and the grounds are beautiful.  With about 2 miles to go I came across a couple that I had see-sawed with the whole race.  The wife was in pain and started walking.  As I passed her I told them, "Less than 20 minutes and we're at the finish!"  Just as I said that some fat-ass guy who was visiting the museum with his family shouts out, "Ha!  I finished an hour ago!"  I was mad!  We were all out there tackling the hardest course and at mile 24 of a marathon!  I yelled back at him some not so nice words.  He told me too cool it then I told him to get his fat ass out here and run a marathon!  A few hundred yards up his boys were sitting on a bench and told me that was their dad.  I said to them right to there face, "your dad is a jerk!"  They laughed and said, "yeah, he sure is!"  Maybe not my best moment as a human being, but what a jerk!

With just those last couple of miles left I knew I didn't have much time to beat my PR so I put my head down and ran.  There are some good rollers in here and I attempted to just keep moving.  I was passing a ton of peeps at this point - including a girl about my age who I had been ahead of for a while and then she passed me at a water station.  I had made her my target and I finally passed her!  The awesome thing about this race is that every.single.runner. is encouraging to their fellow runners.  Anytime anyone who pass each other, they would turn and say, "good job," or "looking good," or "go get 'em!"  The camaraderie out there was contagious and it is one of the reasons why I love this race.  This race is not for the faint of heart.  It's hard, it's challenging and it chews you up and spits you out.  Anyone who finishes is a rockstar.

The final .3 is down the beach path to the finish.  I looked at my watch and it said 4:14xx and I just ran as fast as I could.  Ari was on the side lines and I ran even faster as I saw him and knew I had at least PR'ed!
Coming into the finish!
I crossed the line in 4:15:05!  It felt so good!  My legs were still fresh and I was so excited that I met my goal!  I started crying right away because they handed me my coupon for being in the top 25 women!  Whoo hoo!  I was crying pretty good.  To finish that race and meet both of my goals and come in the top 25 women was the best feeling ever!  I couldn't believe it.

When I finished I knew I hadn't left it all out there and I was okay with that.  My legs were strong and mentally I knew I had done well.  I didn't beat myself up and I still came in with a great time on such a hard course.  I LOVE this race.  If you ever have the chance to run it, do it!  It is so humbling, so beautiful and such an accomplishment.

I found Ari and Sam right away.  Sam did awesome!  Read his recap here and drop him a line!  Three marathon's in three days on the hardest course around!  He came in third overall for the Triple!  I soaked my legs in the Lake - the perfect ice bath!  And made some new friends as we went over the race together.  Everyone as this race is so nice and encouraging - the best way to finish a race!

I lost my tear tag on the course!  So, right now they have my right bib# and my right location and time but the wrong name!  I already talked to the race director and it will be fixed this week.  It was kind-of a let down to not see my actual name on the sheet but I'm okay with that, my bib# saved me and the time is right ;)
Final stats:
26.2 miles 4:15:05 - 9:42/mi pace
22 woman and 83/340 overall

At the finish with Sam!

I couldn't be happier with that, and my Garmin had the exact same time and distance, the course was true to the Garmin distance.

My top 25 finisher Windbreaker!
The medal and the license plate frame they give you at the finish!
The medal is pretty big - it's the Lake - don't let the photo fool you!
Today my legs feel great.  I went to they gym yesterday when we got home and spun on the bike for about 45 minutes.  And today they are not sore or tight at all.   I know that I didn't leave it all out there but that is a good thing since I have Long Beach in just a couple of weeks. 

I'm really proud of how I did out there.  I ran strong and I ran smart and I wouldn't change a thing.  My back is still a bit sore but not anything like it was while I was running.  I know that it was from the different breathing and all the hills.  That is just something you cannot prepare for.

Thanks for getting through all of this! It was an awesome run and journey that I hope many of you add to your list of races some day.  I have a bit of excitement in me about next year - I think that Tripple is calling my name!  

Have a great Tuesday peeps!  I'm off to catch up with all of you!
Happy Running! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hitting Stop

The route I run is along a busy 6 lane road with three lanes in each direction.  It's a residential area, with the usual grocery stores and schools along the way but none the less, it is still a busy road that is basically a major thoroughfare for the area.  I like it because it is flat and long - I can easily rack up 12-14 miles by going out and back in each direction with no problem.  This is also the same street where I have had a few mishaps - and although they have left me a bit nervous, I think it just comes with the territory of road running.

The other "bad" thing about this road is that there is a stop light about every 1/2 mile - sometimes every 3/4 or 1 mile, but usually every 1/2.  They are all busy intersections and do deserve a stop light.  But they can really mess with your running when you're constantly having to stop and wait.  Many times I can time my run with making the majority of the lights (i.e. sprinting when I see it is going to change) - maybe only having to stop for one or possibly two.  But really it depends on what time of day I'm out there.  If it's in the 5 o'clock hour during the week, you can be sure that I will hit  This can be so deflating to my run when I'm in a good groove and found my stride.  Other times, especially when it's warm out, it can be a godsend.  And this is where my post is going.  I hit stop on my Garmin at the lights (I know, so sue me!).  Sometimes I can be stuck there for two minutes!  Other times as little as 30 seconds.  I feel like if I kept my watch running then it wouldn't give me a good clue of where my running was or my fitness - I would have crazy peaks and valleys with my pace and I really want it to be more accurate.  Do you hit stop when you stop?  I don't usually hit stop when I stop for a second to take a drink mid-run or fix a shoe, but I always hit stop at those damn stop lights.  Do you think I'm cheating?  Do you think I'm shorting myself?  What do you do?

The way I see it, I don't have a choice to stop.  It's not because I want to stop, it's because I have to stop.  I can't say for certain if it effects my training negatively, as in it's not helping my endurance.  So far in all my races I haven't been able to make a direct correlation to it.  But, it does cross my mind every single time I have to.  There are other routes I could take - this is the easiest for me, though.  I literally just step out my door and can start running.  I am sure this is a running debate for all.  I am sure that some are very passionate about it while others err on my side with the thinking that I just can't keep running.  My buddy Jamoosh just made a comment about this recently.  His scenario was a bit different.  He noticed people in his group runs stopping at water stops and socializing.  Here, they often turn their watches off.  I'm with him - if you're stopping to socialize, what are you doing out there?  You aren't doing yourself any favors, keep running and don't stop your watch!  But what about more legit reasons - you stop to help an old lady cross the street - do you hit stop?  Or how about when you have to stop and give some idiot in a car directions because they thought they could just stop you - do you hit stop? 

I'm not a professional runner - I never will be nor pretend to be one.  My running and my training are for me.  I get out of my runs what I put into them - much like the rest of you.  Is it a crime to hit stop when you're not actually running?  Is the stop light cheating?  Is there legit times when it is okay to hit stop?  Talk amongst yourselves - I would love to hear where you all weigh in!  I'm sure this is a touchy topic for some - and it always crosses my mind when I hit stop at the lights.

Running is going well this week - it's only Tuesday :p  On Monday I decided to stay inside and hit up the dreadmill.  There is a crazy guy on the loose in our area who is jumping out of cars and attempting to attack women runners.  No bueno for me!  I pulled off 9 miles at MP and felt awesome the whole time.  I kept checking in with myself and couldn't believe how good I was feeling.  I hope I didn't just jinx myself by typing that.  Today I got up early and hit the gym.  I just found out they have a spinning bike with a training program attached to it!  I plug in my headphones and the screen pops up with music and a personal spinning session!  I love it!  I rode 29 miles and then jumped off and did some weights and abs.  Tomorrow I will try to tackle around 10, but this week I'm attempting to take it easy - I don't want to burn out for Sunday!
Have a great Tuesday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Working From Home

I need to apologize for being M.I.A. this last week.  I have been pretty dang busy!  Who knew that when I started working from home I would feel like I had LESS time to get my normal things done? Like blog reading, watching crap TV or even running!  My boss, you should meet her, is a real bitch and a slave driver!  LOL! (that's for you Beth!) The hard thing about having your office at home is that it calls to you all the time!  When you sit down to do something non-work related, your mind wanders back to what you could be doing for your business.  I guess I was wasting a ton of time at my last firm!

So, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  The good thing is, I'm finally getting some steady work.  I will admit I was getting worried there for a bit.  But fortunately the ground work I laid before hand and early on has started to pay dividends.  It looks like we won't have to eat top ramen and peanut butter and jelly for every meal ;)

Running last week went well.  I hit all my key runs and managed to eek out 48 miles.  Speed was not happening much for me.  I hit the track on Wednesday last week and I had no speed left - I must have left it all out there at the race :)  But I was able to get some good shorter runs in and let my legs truly recover.  Friday I headed out for my big long run for the week - 20 miles! 

The weather in the Bay Area has been weird, to say the least, the last week or so.  Cold and foggy in the mornings, but humid and warm in the afternoons.  WTH?  Humidity?  We don't normally have that here - which gives me a very high sensitivity to it.  When I left for my long run on Friday morning around 7:30 it was nice and cool out - perfect running temps.  By the time I was done just before 10:30, it was warming and humid!  I was sweating like crazy the last five miles!  I think that actually helped me to finish faster because I just didn't want to be out running in it any longer!  It wasn't the best long run ever, yet it wasn't too bad either.  My pre-run fueling was great, I took a total of 5 salt tabs, and ate my little 1"x1" PB&J sammy's about every three miles - washing it all down with Nunn.  I even negative split the second half.
20 miles - 2:51:11 8:33/mi pace overall
first 10 - 1:26:50 - 8:40/mi pace
last 10 - 1:24:21 - 8:25/mi pace

What did kill me when I was done was all the lactic acid I had built up in my calves!  OMG it hurt so bad!  Usually I don't get this crippling pain until after I finish a marathon!  But the second I stopped running it just plain hurt.  I came in right away and started to stretch the best I could and then proceeded to roll them out.  When I was able to walk again I jumped in the car and grabbed two large bags of ice and a jamba juice for my ice bath ;)  The ice bath was perfect - it really did it's job.  When I got out my legs felt awesome, so I put on my compression socks and called it a day.  Saturday when I woke up I was prepared to feel like garbage, but surprisingly I felt awesome still.  I was able to run a decent 8 mile recovery run - in the humidity again :(

Sunday I woke up early before Mass and headed out for a quick 11 miles to finish out the week.  I feel really good after this last week, and the cut back was just what I needed.  This week is a mini-taper for me because...I have the Lake Tahoe Marathon this Sunday!  I'm actually really excited about this.  It's been running through my head a lot.  I've been going over race strategy and fueling and all the details.  My goal this year is to PR the course.  Each year I have ran it I have gotten faster.  I'm hoping this year will be the same.  Last year I ran it in 4:19:33 - but I also had an injury at the time.  This year I'm pretty injury free - aside from my damn knee - so I'm hoping that will help.  The first half the course if very flat, it's the second half that is uphill then all down hill the last - I'll give you all more details come Friday.

I would like to keep my miles around 45-50 again this week, but that will include the marathon.  I don't wan to fall off my miles or speed this week because I still have Long Beach to worry about.  Sounds like you were all very busy running long and racing this weekend!  I'm off to catch up!  I promise I will be a better blogger this week! ;)
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Race Report: Buffalo Stampede 10 Miler

Well kids, I accomplished what I set out to do - run the race in the 1:20 range.  And really, there isn't too much more to this story.  I finished in 1:20:24 - 8:02/mi pace.  I'm sure you can just feel the enthusiasm that is pouring out from me.   It's not that I'm not proud of what I did - I am.  Any time you go out and finish a race, that is an accomplishment that should be recognized.  Any time you finish a race with your goal time met - that is an accomplishment that should really be recognized.  But I am more disappointed with how the race unfolded for me.  I learned a lot yesterday, and that is why I love to run.  I learn something new about myself, about the sport, about humanity in general every time I run or race. 

My pre-race fueling (something I wanted to really work on) was spot on yesterday - well, for the most part.  My tummy was not queasy at all, which is usually the thing I battle before every race.  My biggest problem yesterday was that I wasn't able to "go" before hand.   Turns out, my lovely sister-in-law, unbeknownst to her, slipped us all decaf that morning on accident and well, decaf doesn't quite get things moving as well as the full strength stuff.  I really didn't worry about it too much, there wasn't much I could do by the time the race started.  And that is one of the things that I have learned as a runner that has played out into my life when I'm not running: focus on the things you can control.  When I realized I wasn't going to be able to go before hand, I just switched to being mentally prepared for the task at hand. 

The race was held in Sacramento in a cute little residential area called Carmichael.  The course is all residential streets and is flat and pretty fast.  I could feel the change in small elevation at times, but really this is a PR course for anyone.  Very few turns and flat as a pancake.  After my 1 mile warm-up, the start went off with very little fan fair and I instantly found myself trying to keep up with the fasties.  Not the smartest move when all I really wanted to do was use this race as a gage to hold 8:00 miles - which I'm hoping will be my MP come Long Beach. 
mile 1 - 7:42 (slow down! no need to go all crazy here!)
mile 2 - 7:56 (much better, now just hold on to this!)
mile 3 - 8:10 (uh, pick-it up!)

Mile three is where I started feeling the affects of that decaf coffee.  I had to go - and I had to go bad!  But with this course being pretty much all residential, there were very few honey buckets.  In fact, there was only 1 it turns out and I had passed it at mile 2!  Ugh!  With my head down I proceeded to just attempt to keep my pace at my goal time.  My knee though, had other ideas.  My left knee has been still a problem lately.  It usually warms up around mile 1 or 1.5 - and this morning it didn't want to cooperate.  Around mile 3.5 or so, I had shooting pains that made me just want to walk.  Trying to plow through those few miles were hard - I could feel my pace slowing and I had no kick or push off to speak of.  All I could think of was why the heck now?  I had been running 10 milers a lot lately and not had this many problems!
mile 4 - 8:32 (wtf? I NEVER run this slow in my training runs!)
mile 5 - 9:01 (omg! there goes the goal time!)

Mile five was a repeat of mile four - just intense shooting pain.  This was close to the turn around and some really low moments for me.  I was passed by a man pushing a baby jogger, dressed as a female clown.  Yes - you read that right - he was wearing a woman's running skirt, woman's wig and pink hat, dressed with clown paint on, PUSHING a baby jogger.  Oh, and did I mention he was carrying on a conversation with the baby no prob the WHOLE TIME?  Yeah, that was a very low moment.  I was also passed by a TON OF WOMEN at this point.  Even though I had held on to my pace for a while, loosing it here allowed for a lot of them to pass me.  The thoughts going through my head during this time were NOT pretty.  I was thinking, "I'm done racing!  I don't want to race ever again!  I'm NOT running Tahoe and I'm sure as hell NOT running Long Beach! Not even the half! I want this to be over NOW! Just walk - you'll feel better.  No, you can't walk, you can still can come in around 1:24.  Just keep going."
You get the picture.  It was ugly.  And I don't think I have felt that low during a run/race in I can't even remember.  But I also knew I could do this and I was going to be damned if I let a goal time slip away on such an easy, fast course.  So I picked up my feet and pushed on.
mile 6 - 8:18 (much better, now just push a little bit harder!)
mile 7 - 8:01 (exactly!  right where you need to be!)

At mile 7 I knew that if I picked up the pace I could still come in around 1:20 but that it was going to take some work.  Speedwork here I come!  I literally put my head down and started running as fast as I could without puking.  Great race strategy, right?  I started passing the peeps who had passed me before.  I took my Garmin off and started ticking off the tenth of miles left.  I just wanted to be done and my pace showed.
mile 8 - 7:55 (oh, come on, you can do better than that!)
mile 9 - 7:30 (that's better, now don't puke!)

Doing math and running is never smart - it usually leaves us with longer than necessary long runs or paces much to fast to hold.  Yeah, that is where I was - attempting to calculate how friggin' fast I would have to run that last mile to save face with my goal time. 
mile 10 - 7:01 (wow, that speedwork at the track is working!)

I ran in as fast as I could picking off tons of peeps to finish in 1:20:24 - just 24 seconds off my goal time - I'll take it.   As I'm sure you can see - consistency was not the name of the game yesterday.  I had paces all over the place.  Not smart running - and NOT SMART RUNNING or pacing for a marathon.  I learned though, that I need to pay attention to this knee.  My endurance is there, my speed is there, but I need to get this knee under control or disaster will be looming with every race or worse, every run.  I also learned - make sure you're drinking REAL coffee - not that decaf crap.  I carried my small 10 oz. handheld yesterday and it was perfect.  It didn't bother me at all and I think that I will buy another so that I can switch out during my marathon's with my family.  It was nice to drink on my schedule and it wasn't annoying at all - a huge plus.
Overall stats:
Garmin: 10.17 miles - 1:20:23 - 7:59/mi pace
Official: 10.00 miles - 1:20:24 - 8:02/mi pace
AG - 11/41 - (30-39) *if I had been in the 20-29AG I would have come in 4th - the fasties are in my AG now!
Overall - 136/335 - there were some fast peeps out there!  And yes, the guy/clown pushing the baby stroller came in about a minute before me :(
Coming into the finish

Yes, another one where I'm turning my Garmin off! Argh!

24 seconds? Are you kidding me?
The race director also offered a "kids race" of sorts.  I thought it would be more organized than it was so I invited my little nephew William, aka Buggs, to come out and run.  He is always super excited about my medals and they were offering one for all the kiddos.  The cool thing is, he got his medal and was super stoked.  The un-cool thing is, they really didn't have an organized "race."  They just had the kids run around at random the high school track.  In reality, he didn't care - he raced and got a medal.  I even joined him on his two lap journey - stopping once to tie his shoes :)  I'm hoping he will be the next runner in the family!

Running in with Auntie!
Final push!
High five at the finish!  It was warm out!
Getting his first running medal!
A proud (and hot!) Buggs!
My new little runner and his dad
A very, very proud Auntie!

So, I may have not met all my race goals but I did learn a lot - which is all I can ask for.  Running is a journey - not a destination and I proved that to myself yesterday.  I learned my pre-race fueling is working, I learned that I can pull shit out of my ass when I need to and I learned that I am stronger than the voices in my head.  I'm not 100% sure still about Long Beach - and I'm okay with that.  My knee and my running future are more important than any race or BQ.  After the race, we headed out for my favorite breakfast in Sacramento at Tower Cafe - it helped me drown the 24 seconds :)

This week is a cut back week!  Whoo hoo!  Couldn't be more thrilled.  I'll still incorporate my speed work and long run, but my mid-week runs will be a bit shorter.  I also made an appointment to see the doctor this week for my knee and hopefully it will give me insight into what I need to do to fix the situation.  I finished last week with 55 miles, just where I predicted.  I'm thinking I will be closer to 45 this week - that sounds just heavenly ;)

My power was out all morning and early afternoon, so I'm finally off to catch up with all of you!  Have a great rest of your Monday peeps!
Happy Running and Happy Monday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Preview and Goals!

It's finally Friday - I made it through my first full week of being self-employed!  I had a bit of a freak out on Tuesday when it finally hit me: I don't have a job!  Thankfully, the hubbs was able to remind me that everything will work out, that this is right where I'm supposed to be and that this is best for our family.  And I do really have a job - I have one client right now and I know it will only grow from here.  Thank god for a wonderful, supportive hubbs ;)

Running has been going so-so.  And when I say so-so, I think that my last two weeks of high mileage also finally hit me this week.  This is another build up the mileage week and my legs were finally feeling it all.  Not just my legs either, I think my heart and head needed a step back.  I had to switch around my running schedule this week since I'm racing a 10 miler on Sunday.  As I'm sure you can all relate to, when you switch around your normal running schedule things don't always go as planned.  Instead of doing my long run on Sunday I moved it to Wednesday.  It looked good on paper, but when I woke to get my long run done on Wednesday - I just wasn't feeling it.  I didn't take into account that I had just run 18.5 on Sunday at a pretty fast clip - I did 11 miles at MP, or 8:00 miles for the majority of that run.  My legs felt good all through the run, but attempting to run another 18 just a few short days later was probably not smart.  So I did an easier 7 miles and decided that Thursday would be the day.

Yesterday, everything got in the way of me getting out the door.  Thankfully I didn't have too worry too much about, the weather we have been having has been really nice cool temps, so I kept putting it off.  Finally, around noon I headed out.  My head and heart did not want to run.  My legs felt like led, I was giving myself every excuse in the book to quit and it was just miserable.  I ended the day with 13 miles.  Not the 18 I needed.  I did manage to do 5 miles at 7:30 pace to make myself feel a bit better but I still felt like I sold myself short.  Marathon training is not easy - no one ever said it was.  But on days like yesterday, I just wanted to quit.  As my friend Amanda reminded me, I'm still prepared, even if I didn't hit 18.  Thanks girlie - I really needed that tweet!  And she's right - not every run can go perfect, not every run is going to be sunshine and rainbows.  What I learned was that I still did a decent job, I still got out and ran a decent set of miles, now it's time to sit back and let my legs recover from all he hard work they've been doing.

I've been running lots of 10 milers as of late.  I think I said before, and I got a bit of heat from a certain someone, that anything less than 8 feels like you're not doing enough when your neck deep in marathon training.  And with the 10 mile race coming up it was perfect time to jump up the miles mid-week.  On Sunday I'm racing the Buffalo Stampede 10 mile race in Sacramento.  I'm actually really excited for it as I have never ran a 10 mile race before - can some say instant PR?!  But more than anything I wanted to use it as a way to gage where my MP is at.  On most of my training 10 milers I have been running in the range of 1:20 to 1:24, right where I would need to be.  And I'm hoping that with the race excitement I will be able to come in right around 1:20 or sub 1:20.  I hate putting time goals on myself, and I hate putting it out there for all of you.  But I think I will need the fire come Sunday since my legs will have a decent amount of miles on them and well, anything can happen on race day - especially when you're not sleeping at home the night before.  So Sunday will be a good gage of where I'm at with my racing and my goals.  I'm excited to see where I land, but more than anything I want to focus on pre-race nutrition and race nutrition since my last few road races have been disasters in those departments.

With today's run and Sunday's race, I should finish the week around 55 or so miles.  Then next week it's a scale back week and I couldn't be more excited.  I need a bit of a break mentally and I think my legs (and knees!) will thank me for it.  October just can't get here fast enough! 

Thanks for all the encouraging words on my last post about maybe possibly switching up my goals for Long Beach.  The blog world is awesome.  And all of you were right - I will know once I get closer to the date and once I can cross Tahoe off my list.  I really am enjoying my training right now and I want it to stay that way!  So, thank you, all of you, for your encouragement! ;)

It's Friday peeps!  I hope you all have wonderful weekends!  I'm off to catch up with lots of you before the boss walks in and calls me back to work! LOL!
Happy Friday and Happy Running peeps!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


First off, I need to apologize for being MIA for the past week!  Between leaving my job on Tuesday (it went well) and then jetting off to Tahoe for a couple of days with the hubbs, I have had no real free time to sit at the computer!!  Leaving last Tuesday was surreal.  And awkward.  My boss still attempted to keep me, mind you not by offering up any more cash.  But more along the lines of, "you'll be sad when I replace you!"  Yeah, thanks for that!  One good friend/co-worker did cry which sent me into tears but other than that, I was happy to get out of there!  Thanks again to all of you for your encouragement and support - it meant the world to me.  Now, who needs a new tax accountant?

Running has been going great.  Tuesday when I left work, I had a pair of new shoes waiting for me when I got home!  Whoo hoo!  I have been wearing my two pairs of Asics Gel Nimbus 12's, and they are awesome for long runs, but on my shorter runs and track work outs I have really wanted something lighter.  These are pure JOY to run in ;)
 They are the Saucony Grid Fastwitch 4 and they.are.awesome.  They are a light racing flat but feel so supportive at the same time.  They hug my feet and cushion them all while making me feel like I'm flying.  When I got home to these I quickly changed and ran out the door!  I ran 7 miles in 53 minutes!  I swear new shoes make you faster!

Aren't they purdy!?  After my run the hubbs and I packed the car and headed to Tahoe.  Waking up to the wonderful smell of the Sierra's was just what I needed.  I really wanted to get a good run in up there 18 days I have the Lake Tahoe Marathon!  This was my very first race ever back in 2007 when I ran the half.  This will be my 3rd year tackling the full and I can't wait.  It is challenging but I'm hoping I can beat my PR this year on the course of 4:19 which I'm pretty sure I can.  I had some big mental break downs last year and was injured.  This year I have a new game plan and so far (knock on wood!) I'm injury free.  The altitude and the constant changing of MOUNTAINS and downhill make it killer, (along with the altitude!) but this is one of my "A" races each year and I really, really, really, want to PR.  My run up there on Wednesday went well - I did just over 8 miles with about an 8:20 avg pace - and I felt pretty decent.  The first half of the full is pretty flat, it's the second half that is UP then down, then UP UP UP then down hill for the entire last 10K.  I can't wait!

Which brings me to the title of the post: re-evaluating.  As I'm sure you have read numerous times here, my goal this year was to BQ again at Long Beach.  It's still my goal, but something has shifted.  I want to really tackle Tahoe more than I want to BQ.  I know that sounds crazy but it's true (and technically I'm already qualified).  LB is just three weeks after Tahoe - I'm not sure I can RACE both.  I'm gonna give it my all but I'm not going to beat myself up mentally if I reach LB and realize that it just isn't going to happen.  I'm even willing to wait and change to the half if I need to.  I want to run and race for a long time - I don't want to end up injured or better yet - reach mile 18 of LB and just hate running.  So, I've re-evaluated my goals for the year and I can honestly say I'm content.  I'm going to give it my all but not beat myself up over anything lost.  Healthy, no? Hahaha!

I ended last week with a total of 61.5 miles again.  Yes, Marlene - just a half mile short of a 100K week!  I actually felt really good all week.  My knees are not killing me too bad and my paces have, for the most part, been right where they need to be.  This is another heavy week for me before I start a small taper.  I am also running the Buffalo Stampede 10 miler in Sacramento on Sunday so I have moved my long run to Wednesday this week to allow enough time to recover and still race.  I'm really enjoying this training cycle but I'm ready for October to get here!

Today is my first day of really working from home!  So excited to get the ball rolling!  And shhhhh! Don't tell my hubbs, but I'm just as excited to be able to schedule my runs around my work schedule and not any crazy boss'!  A seriously big perk!!

I'm off to catch up with all of you!!!  I hate being away for so long!!  Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend!
Happy Tuesday and Happy Running Peeps!