Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Day Low Down - and stuff

I'm feeling less than inspired and witty today, please bare with me.  With less than a week to go before CIM, I'm in a bit of a worried state.   See, ever since I wore those heels a week or so ago, my left knee has been bothering me.  And not just bothering me, but full on bugging me and hurting on every run.  Thankfully it doesn't hurt when I am just walking, but by the time I'm running, it rears it's ugly head and tells me something is up.   So far, I have slogged through every run, just attempting to tune out the pain.  Sometimes it warms up and goes away, other times, like today, it stays with me the whole time.  Sometimes its sharp, sometimes its dull - but always in the same spot.  I know I'm not being too smart with attempting to keep running - but at this point, my sanity is just as important as having a functioning knee.

I managed to race the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  My knee was not happy about this either.  It was a chilly day, started out at 32 and by the time we left it was a balmy 33!  I took it as great practice for CIM which is always cold.  The race was really well organized and a decent course to run a fast race.  But I gave up in the middle miles when it got to that painful 10K point and my ass had literally frozen.  I managed to pick it up in the final mile and finish in 46:30.  Not a PR but not half bad for a pretty twisty course.  I also had the pleasure of having the hubbs and Layla join me!  We were home by 9 and putting the turkey in the oven by 9:30 - I would call that a success!

Turkey day went off with out a hitch, for the most part the out laws behaved themselves, and I also had Layla there to help keep me sane - thanks Layla.  I pretty much managed the whole dinner on my own, including clean-up, and by the time Friday morning came around I felt like I had ran a marathon!  From the second I got up on Thursday to the time I got in bed that night, I don't think I sat down once except to eat my dinner.  *sigh*  The positive thing about that is I didn't have to interact with the MIL too much! LOL!  I also got in some decent workouts and runs this weekend despite the knee pain.  I have a feeling it is my left quad that is really tight and is pulling on the knee.  It is sooooo painful to roll out that quad - it brings me to tears each time so I can only managed maybe rolling it twice.  I'm getting a massage either on Monday or Tuesday in hopes that will help me.  If not, that will be a very painful 26.2 mile jog come Sunday.

As I type this, I'm icing my knee and sipping some coffee after getting back from my final long run.  I was shooting for 13 but only hit 11.  I didn't want to push my luck any more than I have been.  I'm actually very worried about my knee (if you couldn't already tell!).  It's been in the back of my mind the whole week, and even though I took yesterday off from running to go for a spin with Doug in hopes that it would help, it didn't.  I'm still in the same boat.  No better, no worse. 

This week will be all about rehabbing that knee and my head.  I'm so focused on the fact that it could really ruin my race that I'm not working on staying positive and focused on my goal for the race.  I managed to get in 49.4 miles this week, which is almost right on where I wanted to be with my miles heading into the last week.  I'm so glad that I only have one week left - I'm so excited to not have a training calendar come December 6th!

I'm off to catch up with all of you.  I hope your Thanksgiving's were filled with family and good food! 
Next up will be my goals for CIM and hopefully some good news on the knee and tummy!
Have a great weekend!
Happy Running Peeps!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What A Week!

No, I didn't race this weekend Jamoosh!  But I did have a great weekend of finishing up my final longs run before heading into my first week of taper!  Aaaaa!

My deepest apologies for not updating my blog at all last week.  It was one of those weeks where I had time for nothing and tons to do!  It made for the week to go by fast, but my list of things to do didn't ever seem to get shorter.  *sigh*  The good news is, I got two long runs in and felt pretty good.  My legs were still very angry after last weekend's half.  My quads were tight and a complete mess, and every run felt like a chore.  I had also lost some motivation to do any type of running.  Each time I laced up and headed out, I was not greeted by my usual calmness that accompanies me when I start running.  Instead, I felt dread and couldn't wait for the run to be over.  Each year, around this time, burn out seems to set in.  I'm over my training, I'm over running for certain paces and distances and I just want to quit running.  Which is a stark contrast to how my year usually is.  But this week I found it hard to find running enjoyable and slogged through all my miles.

Since I didn't get in the planned added miles after the half, that long run was a monkey on back that still needed to get done.  Thursday I woke up and it was cold, wet and rainy.  Ugh.  But I had to get in that final long run.  So the hubbs and I bundled up and hit the Coyote Creek trail to take a stab at it.  I wanted to go long, but the whole time I was giving myself outs.  If I wasn't feeling it, I would quit.  If something started to hurt, I would quit.  Surprisingly though, I made it through all 21 miles and felt instant relief.  I even managed miles 16-21 at faster that MP going up a pretty good grade to the car.  It was the confidence booster I really needed.
21.01 miles: 2:56 - 8:23/mi pace
It was slightly slower than I wanted to go, but the first few miles my legs were like lead.  And being able to finish stronger was exactly what I needed.  Glad that was over!

Friday I took a rest day to recover and on Saturday, after a long, long, long baby shower I came home and ran a quick 7 on the dreadmill.  My knees were angry at me, though.  I had worn heels for the entire day and spent much of the baby shower on my feet.  I haven't worn heels in months, and my knees quickly told me I was an idiot for trying to look fashionable.  I should have stuck with flats, and just worn a button that says: "I'm in marathon training!  No heels for me!"  Sunday came and I still had that final good long run to tackle.  Yes, I had just ran 21 a few days before but my calendar had 16 for Sunday so I sucked it up and headed out into the COLD!  Seriously, it was 40 when I went out (I know all you East Coasters, I'm a baby!), the wind was hollowing and rain was sprinkling the whole time.  Since it was such crappy weather, I did out and backs along the long road near my house.  It was boring, cold and miserable, but gosh darn it!  I got it done!  16 miles finished to send me into taper!
16 miles: 2:08:08 - 8:00/mi pace
Right on target for marathon pace.  I couldn't believe I managed to keep that pace the whole time.  I think running the same out and back multiple times helps.  I knew the road and the inclines and was able to pick it up and recover when I could.  Again, a run I needed to send me into a good taper.  I finished the week with 55 miles ;)

Speaking of taper - I HATE IT!  I know everyone says this, but it is NOT my friend.  I don't do well with long tapers, so for this week I'm scaling back a bit.  Not too much, though.  I have a recovery run, some tempo runs and one more longer run to get in.  And then next week will be full on recovery and scale back.  I'm running a 10K on Thanksgiving and I'm not sure what my plan will be.  I could use it as a tempo run or practice hitting MP miles again, but we'll see.  It's going to be wet and cold again - I'm sure good practice for CIM.

I know I also promised to update you on what the doctor found.  I did have to go back in to see her last Friday and I got some good news and some news to work on.  Turns out, I was pretty anemic.  My iron levels were in the toilet and my electrolytes were way off, too.  Not too sure what could have caused it, but probably all of my training didn't help.  I normally eat pretty dang healthy.  I'm almost vegetarian, but I know for myself, I need animal protein to stay strong and try to eat chicken at least 3 times a week.  But my doc thought the lack of red meat probably didn't help.  She decided that we try and tweak my diet a bit before we start worrying.  She gave me an iron supplement and the advice to go home and eat red meat for a couple of weeks.  Also to increase my intake of dark greens.  Easy enough.  It's been going pretty well.  My energy levels are better, not 100% and my stomach is still a mess, but it's progress.  I also know that I lost about 14 pounds since I quit my job.  She thought that this could have also contributed.  I am by no means over weight, but I didn't necessarily need to loose the weight.  I think that now that I work from home, I'm more active.  I don't sit at my computer all day and I don't snack.  I also cut out alcohol for the most part which I think contributed to the weight loss.  All things to think about and tweaking my diet should help.  I find out next week if it's working or if we need to explore other options.

I'm hosting 13 at my house for Thanksgiving.  Including my crazy out-laws.  To say I'm a bit overwhelmed is an understatement.  I think my alcohol intake will go up!  The out-law's craziness is too crazy to go into here, but let's just say, these aren't your normal peeps.  Ah, the joys of getting married. Ha!  So, if I don't update again this week, my apologies in advance.  I will be consumed with shopping, cleaning (something that my MIL always notices!) and generally stressing to make sure everything is done.  On Friday the hubbs and I are heading to Tahoe to go snowboarding, so that will definitely help keep me a bit more sane on Thursday!

Congrats to all the racers this weekend!  Especially all you Philly peeps!  Yayyyy!
I'm off to catch up with all of you!  Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report: Stockton Half Marathon

If you don't know this about me, I'm gullible and a push over.  I can easily be talked into most anything and usually take at face value that what you tell me is the God's honest truth.  I will admit, in the past being this naive could be a downfall.  But I've found that it often leads me down paths that I might otherwise miss.

Take for instance, yesterday's Stockton Half Marathon.  This was NOT a race on my radar.  In fact, I had pretty much not been thinking about racing any more half's the rest of the year.  But, thanks to my ability to be talked into anything, my buddy Ron guilted me into running this race with him.  And I don't use guilt loosely.  He knows how much I love to race, almost as much as him.  And after a few, "you know you want to hang with me," and "you know you're dying to just hang out in Stockton on a Sunday with me," I was swayed to run and signed up last Thursday.  Last week was a hard week for me as far as my energy was concerned.  I had zero and adding a race to it didn't sound too smart.  Dumb won, and on Sunday morning I met Punky at his pad and together we drove off to Stockton: the murder capital of California.

When I told my hubbs (and near anyone I knew) that I was running a race through Stockton, he wasn't too excited about this idea.  Yes, Stockton has crime levels that out beat East L.A. and Detroit.  Nice!  He even asked if I would wear a bullet proof vest when I ran! LOL!  Punky though, pulled up the map and even saw that we ran through the University of the Pacific and right by a country club - how bad could it be?  Hahaha!

This was the inaugural running of the race and I have to say it was very well organized.  Ron and I arrived with just over an hour to the start and found parking right at the start and finish.  Score!  After hanging out in the car (where we may or may not have been cracking jokes about our fellow runners), pretty soon it was time to head to the start line.  Neither of us were expecting much out of our performances.  All that Punky knew was that he really wanted a sub 2, and I was hoping to go around 1:45 and sticking to MP miles.  At the very small start line, Ron and I, along with 1,000 other Stockton peeps stood around waiting for the gun to go off.  I made us push up to the front, near some fasties and right ahead of a group of women wear fleece jackets!  They snapped lots of pics of the start line where both Ron and I made sure our Punk Rock Racing shirts were visible. - tee hee.  Right before the start, the race director served us up this little gem from the top of a ladder, "Congrats to all of you Stockton residents!  Did you know you all hold the title as the fattest city in America? Congrats on coming out to beat that!"  WOW!  Not only do they hold the murder capital of California, they are also the fatties of America!  What a great way to motivate some runners!

Ron and I looked at each other, had a good laugh, and said see you at the finish!  And with that the gun went off and I just started running.  All the rules went out the window that I had given myself for the day.  I needed to get one of my last long run in that day and planned on adding 7 or 8 miles to the day after the race when I got home.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  Right away I was with the lead pack - about 10 of us.  Three women and about 6 or 7 men.  They were flying.  I was right behind the motorcycle cop leading us!  It was very cool!  I couldn't believe I was holding on!  I looked at my watch at about 1/2 a mile in and was running a 6:30!  WOWZA!  Got to slow down!  So I slowed to around 7 and kept at it.  I faded back about .10 of a mile but could feel like I was still part of the pack.  I had talked about going for the 1:37 I needed to qualify for NY but I wasn't sure I could get it yesterday.  In fact, I had put it out of my head completely.  But as I was running and feeling pretty good, I started to believe that maybe it was possible.  I hit the one mile marker and was about .10 short on my Garmin.  I didn't know how that could be since I was running with the front and following their line pretty good.  Oh well, I'll keep my work up.
mile 1: 7:09
mile 2: 7:15

I was feeling pretty good the whole time and kept checking in with myself.  I wasn't convinced I could hold the needed 7:23's for the whole race but here I was hitting sub that and feeling strong.  The mile 2 marker though put me even further short with my Garmin - my Garmin showed 1.80 when I passed it.  Great, a short course.

At around mile 2.5 we entered on an out and back onto the University of the Pacific campus.  We crossed a bridge, ran through the campus them looped back up a gravel path.  NICE!  WTH?  They also said that there would be water stops every 2 miles starting at mile 2.5.  NOT!  Didn't get the first aid station until mile 3 almost and then the next one was way after mile 5.  This continued the whole race and would be part of my demise.

After the loop at the campus we were dumped onto a levy road that felt like it went for days.  At this point I decided to scale back a bit and the lead pack was about 1/2 mile ahead.  I was with one other guy at this point and he was pretty consistent so I decided to stick with him.  My legs and breathing still felt really good so I just kept ticking off the miles hoping to bank enough time in case I crashed near the end.
mile 3: 7:28
mile 4: 7:30

Miles had slowed up quite a bit but I was okay with that.  I was starting to think that I wouldn't have the 1:37 in me, but as I did the math with the short course, I actually had a good chance.  By mile 4, the course markers were WAY off - I was consistently reading .40 short or so, and the guy next to me was, too.  With that on my side, I was thinking I really had a shot at it.

Up until this point I was 3rd woman overall.  But at mile 5 or so, a woman came flying by me out of no where and just like that I was 4th.  No biggie, I kept running my race and sticking with Mr. Consistent.  All of a sudden though, around 5.5 I had to go to the bathroom - like STAT!  My stomach cramped and I wanted to stop.  It even hurt to breathe.  I could see ahead around mile 6 that there was a potty so I aimed at that.  But when I got there it was locked!  Argh!  I couldn't stop, I didn't want to stop, and decided to push through.  Unfortunately though, I was sick to my stomach and couldn't even think of GUing.  I grabbed a cup of water and hoped for the best.  By mile 7 though, I felt like garbage.
mile 5: 7:36
mile 6: 7:48 (potty stop)
mile 7: 7:51

I wanted the race to be over.  We were running through some really, really boring neighborhoods and the crowd support was few and far between.  I didn't even have any other racers around me except for Mr. Conistant who was ahead of me.  Around mile 7 also, I was passed by another woman - there goes 5th place.  In here I decided to keep pushing and see what I had.  The miles were still showing short and I thought that if I picked up the pace I might still have a shot at my goal time.  So I put my head down and ran.
mile 8: 7:44 (started my kick)
mile 9: 7:29

When I had less than 5 miles left, I was showing that I could really get that 1:37 with the course so short so I kicked.  I kept telling myself, "you can do anything for 40 mins!"  I pushed hard through mile 9 and found out quick that I had kicked too soon.  I needed to scale back.  My stomach wasn't too awful, but I knew I still couldn't take a GU and just stuck with water on the last water stop.  Mile 10 was a blur, but by mile 11 or so, I was running out of steam and loosing it.  Without any GU or any thing but a few sips of water, I had zero energy left.  And this is where they dumped us on a bike path that had been chewed up over the years.  It was a gravely mess and it hurt to run on it.  I just wanted to be done and any thought of the 1:37 had faded out of my head - I just wanted the finish line.
mile 10: 7:43
mile 11: 7:51 (was passed by one more woman - 6th place here I come!)
mile 12: 8:04

With about a mile left, it looked like the crappy bike path was almost over!  BUT not before we had to dodge an overgrown tree!  Seriously, it was so overgrown, I had to duck down and run through! WTH?  Are you kidding me?  I felt like I had zero energy, like someone had taken my batteries out.  By the end of the bike path, with just over a half mile left, we were back in neighborhoods and winding our way home.  My Garmin at mile 12 marker showed 11.68 - still short, so I was doing the math in my head and knew even with the short course I wouldn't get the 1:37.  I was okay with that, I was still going to beat my 1:41 from a couple of weeks ago and still ran pretty good.

The last stretch felt like forever.  My Garmin was catching up.  And this is where they made up a lot of the distance.  When I crossed the finish line (finally) my Garmin showed 12.96 miles - so they made up quite a bit even though it was still short.
mile 13: 7:43 (actually .96 on my Garmin)

I crossed the finish line in 1:39:16!  I was actually really excited about this!  I saw Layla right away and it was soooo good to see a smiling, familiar face.  I wanted to puke, though.  I was done.  I know that if I had gotten to GU and drink more I would have done better.  But I wasn't able to get it down and it was my demise.  I should have taken it anyway, but run and learn.  I was still really glad I ran as well as I did.
Official stats:
13.1 miles: 1:39:15 - 7:35/mi pace
3/20 Age group!!!!
6th woman over all out of 372!!

After I finally got to use the bathroom and grab a water, Layla and I started looking for Punky.  He said he wanted a sub 2 and the clock was showing 1:53 or so.  So we started to wander around a bit.  All of a sudden, they announced his name and we saw him cross in just the nick of time!  Ron got a HUGE PR!  I was so excited for him!  He's such a sandbager ;)  He too, couldn't believe how short the course measured out there, but his Garmin showed 13.02 - a little closer.  AND we both complained about the last mile or so being on the gravel path and the tree!

Over all, I would totally run this race again.  There were some boring parts, but I really enjoyed it.  There wasn't much crowd support, but the race was relatively well organized.  Everyone was very friendly and I think Ron and I will be back next year.

I think I was congratulating him crossing the line - ha!

Ron and me at the finish - nice work buddy!

Me, Layla and Ron - thanks Layla for all the great pics!

After we got a bit cleaned up, they were going to be handing out the age group awards.  So I talked my peeps into hanging out a bit.  The race organizers did great with the after party, with plenty of food and drinks and even a jazz band.  But we waited, and waited and they still weren't making moves to do the awards.  So, like all fun runners, shenanigans ensued as we waited.

Hello, world?  Yeah, it's me Ron.  I got a PR!

I finally had to walk over to the race director and ask him for my award.  I told him my ride was going to leave me (which may or may not have been true).  I thanked him for a good day, told him about the course and grabbed my award.
Me with my AG award - I thought it might be edible ;)

I had a pretty great day hanging with my buddy Ron and my good friend Layla.  They are both awesome running buddies.  Thanks again Ron for everything ;) And THANK YOU Layla for all the fun pics you took ;)

Needless to say I didn't go home and run my added miles.  After driving the hour car ride home from Ron's, my legs were done!  My quads were shot.  Thankfully today they aren't too bad, nothing a bit of bike work won't help take care of.

Since this has already gotten wayyyyy too long, I'll update you all about my week, give you an update about the doctor's appointment and start the countdown to CIM in less than 3 weeks tomorrow!  WOW!

Have a great Monday!
Happy Running Peeps!
P.S. I got another follower!  Thanks for stopping by!  Let me know who you are!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Verdict

Sorry to say, even though I went to the doctor yesterday, I still have no idea what/was causing my craptastic week.  But I got you pulled in, didn't I?  Sneaky, no?  Anywhoo, she did sound a bit alarmed by all the things that went wrong, given I'm usually pretty healthy and in pretty good shape.  She ordered up some blood tests, and 8 viles later, I'll get the news at the end of the week.  If they're good, no need to go back and to chalk it up as just an off week.  If they're not so good, she'll call me back in by Friday and we'll discuss it together in her office.  Fingers crossed it was just a bad week.

This week is a ton better.  My energy is still not fab, but I think I have figured out how to get around the tummy troubles.  I eat my pre-running meal at least 2 hours before, chug some Pepto and chew a couple of ginger candies.  Yes, a ton of planning, but so far it has kept me from feeling like I'm going to puke.  I'll take it as progress.  Hopefully by the end of the week I can wean myself off this stuff:
On the running front, I have done some good miles already.  Monday I decided I wanted to hang out with Doug, so off to the gym I went.  Yes, it has been beautiful here and the temps absolutely perfect, but I knew some cross training was in order.  This time, I went longer than I had the last few times and that Doug really worked me!  I chose an interval training session and most of it was out of the saddle!  Can you say, holy sore quads!  I guess I have weak quads (that's for you Katie)!  I also was listening more to Doug this time and he says some pretty funny stuff.  For example, he constantly reminds you "this is your ride, own it," or "feel that sweat dripping off of you!"  Really?  I should be sweating?  I knew I was doing something wrong.  Also, the music is hilarious!  One of the disco mixes is to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies!  Yes, that Christmas song!  WTF?  Or, some mixed up version of an AC/DC song when he wants you to push hard.  I can't say I love his taste in music, but he sure knows how to work a girl out!  And finally, he ends the ride with a good old, hands in prayer position, saying "Namaste."  He's spiritual, too.

After my ass kicking on the bike, I headed over to the treadmill to get a good BRICK in.  I LOVE doing these, you feel like such a bad ass when you're done.  I started out slow to let my legs and hips warm up and by mile two I was back at MP.  I finished up the run with a 10K and 17.21 miles on the spinner.  Nice way to start the week.  And in good news, my stomach behaved itself.  I was starving by the time I was done (literally I think my stomach was caving in!), but I think that was due to the fact that I had eaten so long before and I had spent almost two hours working out.  Needless to say, I enjoyed a brownie after dinner that night.

Yesterday I headed back to the gym (yes, I'm a pansy) because it was sooo windy out.  I don't do wind.  The gym was empty which was nice, so I got to pick one of the more favorable treadmills (right in back with a TV).  I put on HGTV and went to work.  After a two mile warm up, I went straight into some speed work, 5x800 at 7:00/mi pace then did a cool down mile before I started 3x1 mile hill repeats.  I finished the workout with 9 miles for the day and again starving.  Some jerk at the front desk was eating a cheeseburger when I walked out and I did everything I could not to reach across and grab it out of his hand.

With the weather getting darker earlier and the weather not so fab, I think we should all embrace the treadmill and use it to our advantage.  It's easy to incorporate speed work and really nail paces.  And you can also use the incline to really rock those hill repeats.  Yesterday for my hill repeats, I would start out 1.5% incline and slightly slower than MP, then work up to 4% at MP by the end.  They kick your butt and get the hills in that you need.  I'm going to need some hills workouts since CIM is rollers.  Plus, again, you feel like a badass when you're done ;)

This morning my mamma and I are headed over to a grand opening of a Whole Paycheck Foods that is finally making its way to our neck of the woods.  Yes, we are dorks, but who wants to pass up free food and schwag??  If anything, it will be a fun time to hang with my mamma and get my grocery shopping done (which if you don't know me, is my nemesis!).  I have a medium-long run planned for later in the day when hubbs gets home and so far this week is looking a ton better than last.  Thank goodness, let's just cross our fingers the doc doesn't come back with something that will take it all to a screeching halt!

Have a great Wednesday peeps!
Happy Running!
P.S. Got entered into the lottery for NYC 2011 - who's with me?
P.S.S. Thinking about a half this weekend to catch the 1:37 that I need to qualify - can't decide still.
P.S.S.S. Last one I promise...lost a follower, WTH? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's Up?

I know that I have blogged about this in the past, but I had to remind myself of this again: leave it at the last hole (leave the last run behind you).  I had a horrible, terrible, no good running week last week.  Everything was off.  My stomach was a mess, my legs felt like lead and when you added those two together, my head was filled with doubts and fears.  I couldn't get a good run in to save my life - not even a so-so one where I at least felt like I had accomplished something with all my craziness.  I slogged through every run, thinking that it had to get better...but in reality, it didn't and I felt even worse as the week went on.

I had my breaking point on Friday.  All week I felt like I was going to puke, nothing seemed to help.  After I put out the SOS on Thursday a few of you suggest ginger.  I ran to the store as quick as I saw that and started sucking on ginger candies.  They helped a bit but they didn't solve the problem.  So I gave up and made an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow.  Something is just off.  I can't put a on finger on it.  I just feel like garbage and I have tried most everything to no avail. 

Even though I felt like garbage, I still managed to get my runs in.  In hind-sight, probably not the best move on my part.  But I wanted to run, I needed to run and I put up with having to stop 10 times during my 10 miler on Friday.  Saturday, after talking with Jill on Friday afternoon, I decided to take a rest day.  She reminded me of my crazy hard half just that past Saturday and that my body was probably trying to just recover.  Hmmm...she might be on to something.  But it was hard to believe since I felt perfectly fine just the day after.  I listened to her wise words and stuck to some cross training.

Sunday when I woke up, I didn't feel great, but I wanted to run.  Unfortunately, it was pouring and windy here.  And, I've said it before, I'm a pansy with the wind and the rain.  So I did the unthinkable - I did my long run on the dreamdill.  Yes, I gathered my GU, my water and plopped the mill in front of the TV while I pounded out 16 miles.  It wasn't too awful, I watched the NYC Marathon on TV and some football.  I started out pretty slow and worked myself up to faster than MP for the final miles.  I felt awesome.  My legs were fresh, my tummy did not act up and by the time I hit 16 I could have kept going.  I have no explanation for it.  If you had asked me on Friday if I would tackle 16 on Sunday, I would have told you that you were crazy.  Surprisingly though, it went as well as I could have hoped for.  I really wanted to do 18 or 20, but let's be real here - 16 is FAR enough for the dreadmill and I was happy with what I got.

I'm a bit sore today, but I have a feeling that is from the fact that I ran flat for the whole 16 miles.  No change in elevation can really take it's toll.  I'm still going to the doctor tomorrow because I am sure that what ever was up with me all last week is probably still sticking around and I am sure it's probably not gone for good knowing my luck.  I have to leave last week's craptastic week behind me.  I have less than a month until CIM and I don't want to waste what precious training time I have left worrying about one bad week.  Mentally I was really beat up last week.  I couldn't see myself getting out of that funk.  Today though, I feel a ton better.  And that is a lesson to myself.  I've been talking on and on about how my head always gets the best of me, and I need to really start working on it.  I can't let one week ruin my game plan.  

Somehow I managed 55 miles last week.  They were just miles though, I don't think any of them were quality - except for maybe the 16.  I need to start listening to my body, too.  I am sure I didn't do myself any good by being stubborn and still attempting to pound out miles.  Lesson learned.  I have a pretty good mileage week ahead of me and I'm still going to see what the doctor has to say.  Crossing my fingers that it was just my body trying to recover from that fun half.

I have spent the morning attempting to register for the 2011 New York Marathon.  I think the server is just overloaded though because I get to the final page and hit submit and it times out before it goes through.  No worries, I think we still have some time.  I'm also contemplating running a half this weekend with my buddy Ron.  I would love to get that 1:37 half that I need to guarantee entry into NYC.  We'll see.  If having to have a crappy week after to recover is what will be in store, I don't know if it's worth it - CIM is ultimately my big goal.  Going to figure that out today ;)

I'll let you know what the doctor says after tomorrow - thanks again to all of you for your support ;)  I'm off to catch up with all of you busy peeps!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. When I went for my recovery run on Sunday last week, the day after my race, my legs were NOT at all sore - they felt fresh and awesome.  Which, again, I couldn't believe.  I thought for sure I would feel the affects of the race.  But I enjoyed the run and was excited for training this week.  Then Monday came and disaster hit.  My legs were like led, my quads were tight and my right hamstring decided to rear it's ugly head.  Also, my stomach was a mess.  And that has been the the theme all week - my stomach does not like running, and I can't figure out why.  Nothing has changed in my diet and no, not prego.  When I'm not running, I'm good to go.  But every run this week, after about 10 mins of running, I want to puke.  The second I stop, it goes away.  Needless to say, every run this week involved a few extra stops.  Not good - any thoughts peeps?  I'm at a loss, and miserable :(  Amazing how you can go from feeling on top of the world with your running to feeling like garbage in the matter of days - fickle running!

2. I hate to say it, but this stomach thing really got the best of me this week - hence it gets "two bullet points" here on TTT.  Mentally, I feel drained.  All I keep worrying about is weather I can fix this in time for CIM or am I doomed to deal with this the rest of the training cycle and race.  I thought for a day it might have been all in my head, all fear based.  But yesterday I did all my usual pre-race rituals and it still ended up the same way.  In fact, I was on the trail with my hubbs yesterday, about 5 miles in to my 10 mile run and I just looked at him and started crying - what the hell am I doing wrong?  So, today I changed up breakfast and am waiting a little bit longer to run, in hopes of feeling a bit better.  I also bought a giant bottle of Pepto Bismol - I'm going to chug that stuff before hand.  Can't hurt!

3. I have a low key weekend planned and I couldn't be more excited!  Every weekend for the past month I have had something going on.  Not this weekend!  Aside from my last 20+ miler that I need to get in, I am going to be doing nothing! No place to be, no one to be accountable to except for ourselves.  I've been wicked busy with work this week and having nothing on my plate sounds divine!

P.S. I just added my Daily Mile Widget on the side - come find me on Daily Mile and we can motivate each other there, too!
I'm off to check in with all of you! 
Happy Thursday and Happy Running peeps!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holy Hills! Race Report: Healdsburg Half Marathon

I had a million excuses yesterday before I ever even toed the line.  Seems to be a theme around here.  I need to work on it.  Some of the excuses I was giving myself for a less than stellar race were: it's cold, I didn't get to "go," I want to run with my friends, I have a cold, I ate Mexican food last night, it might rain, there is a ton of hills!  As you can see, they weren't really a bag of excuses I could use if I bagged the race.  So, I sucked it up and went with the idea that I would just see how I feel.

I ran this race last year with Aron, and remembered that it was a rolling hills kind-of race.  The race course takes you through the foothills of wine country in Healdsburg, passing 24 beautiful wineries.  Other than the rolling hills, I couldn't remember too much about the course other than that last year, I couldn't wait to get to the finish line.

Healdsburg is about 3+ hours away from me by car.  So the day before (after a slight panic attack) I decided to head up with my sister and stay the night in near by Santa Rosa.  I'm so glad I decided to do this, I got a decent night's sleep and didn't have to stress about waking up at 2 am to make the 7:15am start!  I arrived at the start by about 6:30 and immediately ran into my team mates for Team Punk Rock Racing!  Aron, Tara, Page, Ron and Aron's good friend Jessica were all amped and ready to enjoy our beautiful run in wine country.  Ron had supplied the whole team with some great Punk Rock Racing shirts!  Thanks Ron ;)
Jessica, Page and Aron sporting the shirts before the race!

The weather was perfect for running and racing - cool and overcast with showers expected by the end.  Pretty soon it was time to line up and we all crowded together at the start talking race strategy.  I still didn't know what I had in me.  I had over 40 miles on my legs for the week and I was just hoping to come in with a 1:45 or MP for the race.  Right away they yelled, "GO!" and we were off!  I turned my music on and bobbed and weaved through the start following Aron.  In the first two miles you are greeted by your first couple of hills.  They are gradual but they can take a toll on you if you hit them too hard too fast.  I decided to cruise, and enjoy the pretty morning and the scenery.  My legs were feeling pretty fresh.  For a split second, I thought, "this is going to be a good day!"  Around mile 1.5 I began to pick up the pace and just see what I had in me.
mile 1: 7:55
mile 2: 8:03 (big hill and trying to conserve)

Right away I could see that the mile markers were not spot on by a long shot.  I was running the tangents pretty well, and when I passed the mile 3 marker it was already reading I was .15 short.  Oh well, a short course, I'll take it.  Mile three was the first water stop, and learning from my last race, decided to take a quick cup of water and keep running.  It actually went well!  And off I went.

The whole course is pretty much up and down.  The up's weren't too terribly awful, but some were longer than others and gradual.  I would put my head up, kick up my knees, conserve it a little bit and then use the down hill to open my stride and use it to my advantage.  I was feeling pretty dang good in here and just really enjoying all the pretty wineries around us.  At this point I also was trying to get away from as many people dressed in costumes as I could!  I didn't want peeps in costumes to beat me!  I passed quite a few in this mile but there was still a guy about .2 ahead of me wearing a giant yellow mustard costume.  It looked uncomfortable and I was going to be damned it he beat me to the finish!  Thankfully, at mile 4, he pulled over to stretch - sucka'!  That's what you get for dressing up as mustard for Halloween!
mile 3: 7:48
mile 4: 7:32 (HAD to pass mustard guy!)

At this point I was feeling fabulous and kept expecting it wasn't going to last.  But the funny thing was, my legs kept wanting to turn over.  I've been working on my stride and my kick for the past few weeks.  And as I ran I really was trying to be mindful of this. 
mile 5: 7:50 (water stop)
mile 6: 8:00 (water stop + GU)

By mile six I was looking at my watch and seeing I had been being quite conservative up to this point.  I was still afraid I was going to bonk but decided to see how long it would last.  I decided to just push on and see where I got.

mile 7: 7:52
mile 8: 7:46 (HUGE HILL where I may or may not have yelled a bad word when I saw it!)
mile 9: 7:44 (water stop)

Wow!  I was flying and feeling awesome.  I wanted to pinch myself.  There was a woman in a green running jacket who was just flowing so nicely by me.  She was miss consistent.  I wanted to pass her though.  I couldn't get away from her.  The crowd had thinned out at this point and I knew we were getting close to the final stretch.  The final stretch at mile 10 dumps you on a pretty straight and flat road.  The hills were over.  Up till this point I was actually enjoying the hills.  I give them credit for not making my legs tire out.  Using different muscles the whole time made it seem like the course went by really fast.

The last three miles on the straight section are on a road that is a bit cambered.  I HATE THIS!  They tore my legs up in San Diego and in Big Sur.  This time though, I decided to just really focus on finding all the flat parts and keep turning over.  I know I keep saying this, but my legs were still feeling fresh and by mile 10 when I knew I had a 10K left I started to fly.  My breathing felt good, my kick was great and I started passing a ton of dudes.  The course was still measuring a bit short up until mile 10, but nothing too crazy.  But when I got to the mile 11 marker, my Garmin said I was at 10.80!  WOW!  Really short.  I asked a few dudes around me if they were measuring short and they said they were too, but said this course ends up pretty accurate in the end.  At the mile 12 marker, my Garmin said 11.75 still, even shorter.  That was just the boost I needed though, mentally it felt like the finish line was so close!
mile 10: 7:43
mile 11: 7:32
mile 12: 7:28

After I passed the mile 12 marker my Garmin was finally catching up.  I was so close though and started to do the math in my head.  In the beginning, I was okay with a 1:45, in the middle of the race I was looking at sub 1:44, and now with just a mile left I could see I was going to be sub 1:42!  I started kicking myself for being so conservative in the first half.  Who knows, maybe it saved my legs for the end?  Maybe it didn't, all that I knew was that my fastest half for the year was in sight and I wasn't going to let it slip away!
mile 13: 7:22
last .15: 1:01 - 6:50/mi pace

As soon as I rounded the corner for the last .10 I kicked it in and could see the clock reading 1:41:xx!  I was so excited!  I crossed the finish line and hit stop on my Garmin: 1:41:42!  YES!  I couldn't believe how good it felt! I felt awesome!  It was just the race I had hoped for!
Final Stats:
Garmin: 1:41:42
13.15 miles : 7:44/mi pace (see, it did catch up!)

Official Results:
1:41:43 - 7:46/mi pace
3rd AG of 30-34 (3/270) - so excited for this!
overall: 103/1870

My sister and her boyfriend were waiting for me at the finish and it felt so good to share it with them.  I was in shock at how well I ran and how well I felt.  I kept saying I couldn't believe it!  Everything went right out there.  Sometimes the stars align and you just go with it.  Within a minute or so, Page crossed the finish line and I got to congratulate her and then Aron crossed with a stellar race, too!
The cute medal (thanks Tara for the pic!)

Soon, Ron, Tara and Jessica all came in and it was so much fun to celebrate with them and compare stories.  It is a tough course.  You can burn yourself out easily on those hills.  But I feel like I ran it the right way.  I picked it up when I could and scaled back when I needed to.  This was just the race I needed to send me into the final weeks before CIM.  CIM is a lot like this, rolling hills with a net down hill.  I ran them smart and I think this strategy will serve me well come December 5th.

Me, Aron & Page at the finish!
Aron, Ron, Tara and Me

The finish is pretty well organized.  And by the time everyone crossed and got there stuff it was already starting to rain.  Perfect timing. 

I had a blast at this race.  Not just because I ran great but because I had my peeps out there.  Running a race with your friends out on the same course is just perfect.  I loved waiting for them all to get in and congratulate them all.  Thanks Team Punk Rock Racing - I had a blast, as always ;)

I'm excited to head into the next five weeks of training for CIM.  My confidence level went through the roof.  I need to really focus on being more positive and not letting my head get the best of me.  Saturday when I started believing in myself, it all came together. 

I finished the week off yesterday with a 6.2 mile recovery run and finish the week with 59.72 miles.  My right hamstring that has been slightly bugging me for a bit has reared it's ugly head.  I think changing my kick a bit has made it angry so more stretching will be necessary before and after my runs ;)

Congrats to all of you who raced this weekend!  I'm off to catch up with all of you! 
Hope you all had a great Halloween!
Happy November 1st! and Happy Running peeps!