Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mini vacation, cross-training and a good run

All in all, a good weekend.

I joined my girlfriend and running partner, Jen, at her sister's lake house in Canyon Lake. We went in April and had a great time, but the weather was SO much nicer this time around. The biggest bummer was that Kenny couldn't go with us. The kids certainly had a good time, even though they missed Daddy. We didn't go for any runs like we did last time. Part of me was a little bummed. I have positive memories of that tough 14 mile run we did. There are a LOT of hills around there and I didn't think it was super smart considering this nagging pain I have in my IT band/hamstring that I can't seem to shake. I did waterski on Friday and Saturday, which isn't too great for my hamstrings either, but it certainly was fun. I look at it as good cross-training. I have sore muscles in my back, my arms and my legs.

This morning I ran 8.5 miles with Laura. I do believe I am getting faster (sorry, Terri)! I thought that it would be a relatively slow run because a) I am sore from waterskiing b) I was REALLY tired from not getting a heck of a lot of sleep lately and c) I am still recovering from an abundance of Jen's yummy mojitos. But I kept up with Laura and even carried on a conversation for most of the way. We averaged just over 9-minute-miles!! I am thrilled.

After going to a friend's 40th birthday BBQ and pool party (yet another one of us bites the dust), I am sore and dead tired. Is it ok to just make everyone Lean Cuisine for dinner?????

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Western States 100 Mile Race cancelled....

Not that I have anything to do with this race by any stretch of my imagination... LOL. I read a blog of an ultra runner, Scott Dunlap, and have been following his journey toward this huge running accomplishment. The Western States Endurance Run looks like a meeting of the best of the best that challenges ultra athletes to the extreme. I am in awe of the people who train for and race in this.

Well... it has been cancelled. The wildfires in Northern California have made it unsafe to proceed with the 100 mile race. Apparently, the fires are too close for comfort and the race cuts off some critical access roads. In addition, the health risks to the runners (as well as volunteers and staff) is much too great. If you have ever been around wildfires, you know how bad the air quality can be. Last fall during the wildfires here, we couldn't go outside for a week. They closed schools simply because of the poor air quality. Even after the fires were well under control, they warned against strenuous exercise outside.

I can't imagine how disappointed these runners are. If the RNR marathon had been cancelled at the last minute, it would have taken all the wind out of my sails. Everyone was already in Tahoe for the pre-race festivities as well as acclimatization to the altitude. I doubt if any ultra trail runners read my blog, but I wanted to give them all a shout out and hope that they can utilize the hours and hours of training (Scott did the Boston Marathon as a training run) in a fun way.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Iron Girl 10K Race Report (update)

I realized that in my whiny post from the other day I never really gave a good race report. So here goes:

Official results updated on the Iron Girl website:
Rank-- 268/998
Division Place-- 39/141

It doesn't reflect a sub-nine pace, but I will take it. I will still put a little asterisk by it for my PR since I am convinced that my Nike+ was pretty close to being accurate (it always has been). My rankings make me happy, since I am well into the top half of the pack. If I had to run a longer course, so did everyone else.

Jen and I arrived at the Del Mar fairgrounds around 6:40 a.m. It was nice to be able to park for free. The only other time I have been there is for the fair and you have to pay. Since it was hours before the fair opens. It was clear and sunny-- not your typical June morning in Del Mar. Usually, there is a nice marine layer in the morning that keeps things cool. Not that day. Oh well....

We had to get tickets to get into the fairgrounds. Luckily, they were handing out two tickets to each person. Then we walked through the fairgrounds to the horsetrack. We checked in, got our numbers and chips and headed through the expo to pick up our goodie bag. We went back to the car with our bags. It was quite a ways, so we got our warm up that way.

We ran into former Stroller Strider, Alicia. It was great to see her! She ran in last year's Iron Girl, too. We met some other Stroller Striders from Riverside (we saw one of their SS shirts and started talking to them). It is like we all have a little club. These women had come down from Riverside and one of them, used to teach a bit at our location and we recognized each other. Races like this are fun reunions!

Being at the racetrack was pretty neat. It is a beautful track. There is a beautiful mega-screen that showed the crowd. As the gun went off, we could actually see the runners begin. As I mentioned in my last post, we were way in the back. It was neat to see the crowd moving forward (there were over 3000 women running that day).

The first and last half mile of so was on the actual horse racing track. It looked like dirt, but when we got on it, it was more spongy than dirt. Come to find out, Del Mar has polytrack, which is a synthetic track that is safer for horses. At first Jen and I were both thinking, this is pretty cool. It is nice and soft before hitting the Pacific Highway. However, as I tried to get into my stride, it started to feel more like running on packed sand--not exactly the greatest for good speed. In fact, on the home stretch coming toward the finish line, I got that feeling like in a dream. You know the dream where you are trying to run fast but your legs won't let you??? That's how I felt, especially at the end.

Immediately upon leaving the squishy track, we get on a pretty steep hill going out of the fairgrounds. The course turned towards Pacific Coast Highway and then down toward Solana Beach. It is nice to run a race and be able to see the Pacific Ocean. I love living here!

Man, it was HOT. I hadn't thought I would need to get water; I run 6 miles all the time without water. However, I got water at every stop and drank both Gatorade and water at the halfway point. Around four miles or so, I actually started feeling a bit dizzy. I had just pushed up a pretty big hill. I had thought about turning it on so I could catch up with Jen, but then thought better of it. I ate a couple of jelly beans to give me some extra calories and then drank a good amount of water at the last water stop.

On a funny note... at around 4 miles, when I was feeling the worst, I saw a woman with the craziest running form. She was moving her elbows way out to the side. She looked like she was dancing. At first, I actually thought she was. I thought to myself, "wow, that is wasting SO much energy." But, yet... she was ahead of me. She was very tall and obviously in great shape. She could run like that AND run fast. I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't catch up with her, thinking that my form is more efficient (but maybe I am not as efficient as I thought...). I felt pretty good when I finally passed her on the track. Just think how well she would do if she stopped moving her arms so much.

When I ran the 10K last summer, I had a pretty fast kick at the end. I also recovered very quickly. I knew that I could have pushed it harder in the middle miles. It was my very first race and I had no clue about pacing. This year when I hit that last mile, I was giving it everything I had. I didn't kick as fast as I had in the past. As a matter of fact, as I got on that squishy track I forgot how long it was. I was getting discouraged. I saw women stopping and walking all around me. I was hurting and that actually looked good to me. I mentally slapped myself and said, "you ran a MARATHON, for crying out loud, you can run another HALF MILE to the finish line!!!" I pushed myself and sprinted to the end. I felt good because I knew that I didn't leave anything out there. I don't think I could have done much better given the heat etc.

So that is my full report. As always... a bit wordy. If you got through it all, I thank you. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

10K race today...not sure if I should be thrilled or bummed!

I ran in the Aflac Iron Girl 10K this morning. It was hot, hot, hot (well.... not as hot as where Alissa and Jill live, but it was still HOT). It was around 80 degrees when we started at 7:30. There was no marine layer, so the sun was beating down as well... Even with the heat, I felt like I had a very strong run.

However, it is all a bit confusing. When I crossed the finish line, my watch said 59 minutes. NO WAY. There is no way that I ran 9:30 per mile. I know I was going faster than that. I really pushed myself. My Nike+ said that I ran 6.7 miles. I forgot to stop it until I was past the finish line (oops) but not a 1/2 mile past! The first thing Jen said to me was "was that longer than 10K????" We asked the first person with a Garmin what they had. The first girl rolled her eyes and said, "it was LONG. 6.55 miles!" The second person we asked looked like a runner. She told us that she measured 6.54 miles and she "ran the tangents," which apparently is the most accurate route.

So...... I am choosing to believe that my Nike+ is still as accurate as it has been all along. Here is what it said:
Distance: 6.7 miles
Time: 59:34
Pace: 8:52/mile

According to Nike+ and double checking the splits through RunnerPlus, I ran 10 km in 54:48!!!! That blows my PR out of the water. In fact, according to my Nike+, today I had my best split times for 10k (54:48), 5K (27:05) AND mile (8:35). If I divide my time by the distance of 6.55, I get a time closer to 55:48 (a bit over 9 min/mile), which is still a GREAT time for me.

I just checked the results page for the race and it shows that I ran it in 1:00:54, which would be the gun time :-(. We had chips! Had I known that the chips wouldn't record when we crossed the start line, I wouldn't have started at the back of the pack. Jen and I were all the way to the back because we didn't want to deal with the crowd at the front and we were chatting with some of the other women. I won't do that again. I guess these chips don't always work?? I hope that the race organizers recognize their timing mistakes (distance and start time). If not, I guess I just have to put a personal asterisk* by this race. It is very disappointing not to have the race results show how well I did. I ran this race last year (the course was different this year) in 1:01:11. It is impossible that I only improved my time by 15 seconds after running a freaking marathon.

So that is my rambling post about the highs and lows of today's race. I am going to try to focus on the highs of what I believe to be true--- that I ran my best race ever--- even if the official results don't show it. But I can't help be a little bummed.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No excuses

I did it. I got my lazy arse out of bed and went for a run. I opted to sleep yesterday instead of running. I was SO tired. I was tired this morning and as I lay there, so many excuses came into my head: my ham string is bothering me, I have a race on Sunday I should really rest for, I am still getting over a nasty cold, I'm not sure if I have a clean running top..... But in the end, I got up and did it.

It wasn't the best run, but it wasn't bad either. I am happy to say that my casual running pace seems to be getting a bit faster. Many times when I run by myself on the paths in my neighborhood, I end up going slower than I do with the girls. I didn't really push myself and deliberately did a couple of hills. In the end I ran 3.36 miles at a 9:42/mile pace. Not bad.

I need to put together a new running playlist. This morning, I hit shuffle and hit the road. It was great. I heard songs I forgot I had on my iPod. Other than one of my kids' songs (Laurie Berkner's Buzz Buzz) that I had to hit fast forward, everything was perfect for my casual run this morning.

I have a new power song possibility. I forgot that I even had this song and when it came on it was a great tempo for the little hill loop I was doing. I posted this video for all the Steven Tyler fans out there. Personally, I think he is one of the ugliest men alive, but, he does have a certain quality. He definitely picked the right line of work. And the song ROCKS.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did my first track workout today...

In my marathon training, the only speed work I did was with a couple of my Nike mixes (Lance Armstrong's and Fearless: Zoom Jasari + Mixed Run) where I just pick up my speed and effort for two minutes at a time. It has been pretty unofficial, mostly just a cure for boredom.

This is Lance Armstrong's mix. The one I have from iTunes has Lance coaching me through the intervals.

Today I met Laura at the local Junior College track for some speed work. We ran around the campus to warm up (about 1.5 miles) and then went onto the track. It was actually kind of fun, but it was hard and I'm not sure if I would really want to do it alone. As it is, I skipped the last two 200 splits because my ham string was really bothering me. Laura skipped the last 800 and all the 200's because of a sore Achilles. It isn't a great sign when we are fighting injuries at the beginning of the training program. These injuries are really leftover from the marathon training. Hopefully, over the next 8 weeks, we'll get over these issues.

There are recommended split speeds for your ultimate pace for your race. I have decided to train to run the half at a 9-minute-mile pace. I don't think I will quite get there, but who knows. I would rather run faster during tempo runs than plan for 10-minute-mile splits. My goal right now is to run it in about 2:07 which is around 9:40 per mile. If I have a great day and break 2 hours- GREAT. But I learned in the marathon that what you plan on running and what you actually run on race day (when you are a rookie like me) can be two different things.

Here is what I did:
1 X 1200 (at race pace)-- 6:45 [right on the money, but I doubt if I could sustain that pace for 13.1 miles... we'll see in 8 weeks]

2 X 800 (at 10K pace)-- 4:08 and 4:21 [RW suggests that for a 9-minute-mile half marathon, this split should be 4:16]

4 X 200 (at 5K pace)-- :52 and :56, DNR #3 and #4 [although I highly doubt I could keep up that pace for 3 miles; RW recommends 1:01 for a 9-minute-mile training program]

I have a plan now for my half marathon. I based it on this training plan from Runner's World:,7120,s6-238-244--6851-3-2X5X8-4,00.html

I think I might swap the Tuesday and Wednesday workouts so I can have a recovery run after my long Sunday runs. Any thoughts on this plan??? Sorry for all the abbreviations etc. It is like learning a new language or something...

Overall, it was a decent workout. It wasn't GREAT, but it wasn't bad. I just wish my ham string would feel better.

Oh... a question for Nike+ users-- do you use your Nike+ during tempo workouts? iPod fans-- do you listen to music when you run 200 and 400 sprints? I really didn't like hearing myself breathe (or wheeze in the latter sprints), but it's not like I could really hear an entire song. I am new to this kind of thing and curious what others do.

Sorry I am rambling so much!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Talk about eclectic taste in music....

This is my current power song on my Nike+. There is something about it that gives me chills. The first time I heard it was during the fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from the balcony of Circo and I fell in love with it. Yesterday at the end of my eight miles, I hit my power song button with just under a half mile to go. It was PERFECT. The song calms me down (without slowing me down) and changes my energy. The tempo builds toward the end. When the Nike+ lady told me I had two hundred meters to go, the song was approaching its crescendo and it pushed me to hit it hard for the last part of the run. When the song was over, so was my run. I couldn't have timed it better. I also listened to it at the end of my marathon...twice.

On my long run play list, I have a section that comes around two hours into it that has this and several other strong classical songs. When I get a chance I might do a fun little playlist like Alissa did. The songs are from Carmina Burana, Phantom of the Opera and some others I can't remember. It is odd how this music really changes my energy while I run. I couldn't run to it exclusively. But that bit of time, I get sort of transported out of myself and get a little recharged. After a while I need something else and my playlist moves into harder rock and alternative stuff. I think I might try some dancy sort of music like the one Terri posted. Who knows.... I might even try some country. But I doubt it ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I had a FANTASTIC run this morning (sorry, Terri-- I guess it is your turn now for a great run). I ran eight miles at a 9:19 pace!!!! At the end, I felt like my chest was going to explode, but my legs felt great. It was my first run since the marathon and I am THRILLED with how well I did.

I met Laura this morning at Mission Bay. I am grateful that we met for a couple of reasons. First, if I was not meeting her, I don't think I would have hauled myself out of bed. I was reminded of a post I read by Chris (Gibtown Runner) last week when his daughter woke up in the middle of the night and he decided to sleep instead of run that morning. That would have been me had I not agreed to meet at 6:30. Last night (or more like early this morning) BOTH kids decided to wake up. Jackson was up at 2 a.m. complaining about a bug?? I think he had a bad dream. I put him back in bed, tucked him in and assured him there were no bugs (I did a quick visual to be sure *wink*). Then Amelia woke up because the cat (stupid cat-- there's another story from last night that I will get into on my other blog later) had pushed her door open, jumped on her bed and was up by her head. I removed the kitty, tucked her in and went back to bed. She woke up one other time about twenty minutes before my alarm went off. Grrr. It is SO rare for either one of them to wake during the night (especially Amelia!), so to have both of them up is unheard of. Figures. It is too hard for Gimpy to get up with them, so the task goes to Mommy. I was TIRED when I got up at 5:15.

The second reason I was glad to run with Laura is that she really helped me push myself to go faster. If you recall, she is the speedy one of our little running group. She ran the marathon around a minute per mile faster than us. I knew that she wouldn't be pushing herself to go particularly fast, but I also knew that her comfortable pace is much faster than my comfort pace. I was able to keep up with her and even carry on a conversation for most of the time.

At about 6.5 miles, I told her that I was going to put on my headphones and listen to music for the rest of the run. That totally helped. I couldn't hear myself breathe and that was probably a good thing. Laura told me that I was practically wheezing at the end. The congestion from the cold isn't 100% gone and I could really feel it in the end. Granted, we ended up running that last mile at an 8:45 pace. Wow... we were smokin'!

I am running a 10K next Sunday. It is an important milestone for me because this is the race that was my very first race one year ago. I ran it in 1:01 (a 9:52/mile pace) with really no training other than a couple of runs and my Stroller Strides classes. I want to do well so I can see how far I have come in one year, even though the bulk of my running has been in the last five months. Running today's eight made me have confidence that I can run that 10K at a pretty decent pace. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself though. I will be happy if I improve my time by two or three minutes. My fastest 10K on my Nike+ is 58:40, which is over two minutes faster than my race time. We'll see.....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My song for the day...

Stealing a page from Terri's blog, I am going to post a song that has some meaning for me today. They played it during the BMX Olympic Trials today and it really struck a chord with me. I loved it back in the 80's and I still love it now. I can't help singing along every time. It is going on my iPod today.

This is the studio version, without a cool 80's video-- just the song.

Starting to get Olympic fever!

I know it is almost two months away, but I am already excited. I wasn't as into it in 2004 (we had just moved into our house, I was working crazy hours etc.). I think we'll be an Olympic family this time.

We went to the Olympic Trials for BMX cycling today and it really got me fired up. To see these "kids" putting so much into these races was pretty inspiring. When the woman sung the National Anthem, I actually got tears in my eyes. Kenny is really into biking and LOVES the BMX guys. I admit, it was pretty fun to watch. The coolest thing is that this Olympics is the first time this is a medal event. There was a lot of excitement in the air.

Since taking up running, I am also more excited as a spectator this time around. I WISH I could go to Eugene the end of this month to see the Track and Field Trials. We should have planned better! The Trials will be at Hayward Field, which is so close to the dorm where I lived for two quarters during my freshman year at the University of Oregon. How cool would it be to reminisce about my college days while rubbing shoulders with running greats? I can't believe that I spent four years in Track Town USA and never really got into running. I remember going through a couple of spells where I would start to run, but I don't think I ever ran more than two or three miles at a time and I never got past running in the rain. In Oregon, if you don't run in the rain, you don't run. Period.

How did I go to the same school as running greats Steve Prefontaine and Alberto Salazar (who only graduated eight years before I did) and not get awe-inspired as I looked at that field? I suppose I was more awe-inspired at the time by graduates like Ken Kesey (a little more my style during those college years).
I know this wasn't really about my running. However, just watching and thinking about Olympic athletes gets me pumped up. I am excited to go do a run tomorrow. I just hope that I have bounced back from this virus and can run a decent run.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Without a plan, it is easy to get derailed...

When I was training for the marathon, I had a plan. Every day I knew what I should be doing and how far I should be running. If I changed from that plan, I had a reason. When you just run to run, it is WAY too easy to let other things get in the way.

This morning I decided I wanted to finally go for a run. My head has less snot than it has for two weeks and it is a beautiful day. I woke up at 6, checked e-mail/blogs a bit, then got dressed.... and then couldn't find my shoes. I looked everywhere for those shoes. Understand, I have several running shoes (I really need to recycle a pair or two) and I could have used an old pair. But I wanted my red ones. I wanted the ones with my Superfeet in them and my Nike + sensor. I hadn't worn them since the marathon and missed them. By 6:45 or so, I knew that the house would soon wake and my window was gone. Kenny is still hobbling on crutches and can't really wrangle a two-year-old to change her diaper and feed her breakfast. So, I didn't run.

But I did make cupcakes for our playgroup today. How's that for interesting choices... hmmmm, run or make cupcakes. I love my life. At least I am going to Stroller Strides and will get a decent workout in. I'll run between stations and get some of my running for the week in. I am going to attempt an eight mile run on Sunday with Laura. I hope that I can blow some of the cobwebs out before then.

So I need a plan. Without a plan, I am a person that gets too easily derailed. This weekend I am going to find a good half marathon training plan, put dates to it and stick it on the fridge. There are two months until America's Finest City half marathon and I would love to be able to do well. Now is the time to finally put some speed work officially into my workouts. With our novice marathon program, it was just about the miles. Now I need to work on my speed and technique. Wow. Am I a runner now????

By the way... I eventually found my shoes. As I was loading the stroller in the car, I found them sitting on the stroller. Hmmm.... interesting place. Maybe I was just meant to do a day of Stroller Strides and save my run for later.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lessons learned...

So what did I learn from my first marathon?

1) I am not one of those people who says "never again." I think another one might be in my future. In fact, at this point I would be surprised if I didn't run another one. I do know that if I run one again, I will do some fundraising. I did this one for myself and no one else. I felt a little guilty about that. Several blogs I read (Middle-of-the-Pack-Girl and Balancing Act and others) are written by runners running with Team in Training. When I saw all those purple Team in Training shirts during the race, I really got inspired by them. It was great when the shirts had pictures or names. A couple even brought tears to my eyes. My friend, Danielle, from Stroller Strides had leukemia when she was a teenager. I thought of her battle quite a bit during that run. I thought about how I could have been running in her honor.

One of the things I am considering is talking Kenny into taking a family vacation to Florida and running in the National Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville. I would feel really good fundraising for breast cancer. I have also thought about doing the 3 day walk, but I think I would rather run. While I haven't personally been touched by breast cancer, I know so many people who have. I have two close friends who have lost their mothers. I have another friend who lost his sister. I have a daughter who I never want to lose a mother or to fight the disease herself.

2) The second, minor thing is that I will carry my own water next time. Yes, there is plenty of water along the way. However, I actually drink better from my water bottle. I feel like I have to gulp water from cups, but I can drink at a nicer pace out of a bottle. Once I started needing Gu and such, I had to really think about where the next water would be. I can't do those gels etc. without having water close at hand or it just sits there. I want to be able to eat when I want to eat and not have to time it with the water stations. Lisa carried one bottle with her and she refilled it at several water stops. I think that might be the way to go. It doesn't take any more time than stopping to walk in order to drink the water in cups.

3) Another minor thing is to get better lip balm w/ SPF or carry it with me. I put some on before the race, but by the time it ended my lips were TOAST. It is really small compared to my legs and the cold I had afterwards, but it is also easily avoided.

4) I will not stress out about when Kenny and the kids arrive at the starting line. I put a lot of importance on the fact that Kenny and the kids be there when I finish. It stressed me out to think of them not being there which put a lot of pressure on Kenny. I didn't realize that the finish line activities all happen in an area where families aren't allowed. It was probably 25 minutes after I crossed the finish line before I saw them. I do believe that Kenny was able to video tape me crossing, which was very cool (hopefully, there will be a clip forthcoming... he gets secretive about his videos before he edits them). Don't get me wrong... they were the first people I wanted to see, it just took me a while to get to them.

5) I am really glad I carried my cell phone. It didn't add too much weight but I was able to find out from Kenny exactly where he was and look for them. After what Laura went through with missing her family at mile 12, I am glad I had my phone.

OK... I think that is it for now. I am sure there are more, but I can't think of them right now. Maybe if I actually get out there and RUN, more will come to me. I am itching to hit the pavement again. I just need to get over this crud. I need to be able to breathe....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Race Report Part III (...the bad and the ugly. Here is where some of the TMI comes in)

*Mile 14-17-- After seeing my family, I was feeling good. Although it didn't take long for fatigue to hit me like a ton of bricks. As we turned into the neighborhood around Clairmont/Mission Bay. People at one of the houses were handing out orange quarters. That sounded YUMMY. I grabbed a couple... sticky, but good.

Never in any of my training runs did I feel the need to stop and walk. In fact, when Jen or Lisa wanted to stop, I often did it reluctantly or not at all. On the eighteen and twenty mile runs, I ran alone for the last couple of miles because Lisa wanted to walk. I am one of those people whose legs feel super heavy when I stop and I find it difficult to get back into my rhythm. Well.... as anyone will tell you, you throw everything out the window during a marathon. In the end, I was looking forward to the water stops just for an excuse to walk. I think that Lisa could have skipped a couple of the water stops, but she stopped because we were in it together. I can't begin to thank her for that. Luckily, I never walked for long because I knew that the longer I walked, the greater the chance I would walk all the way to the finish line.

*Mile 17.6 The Powerbar Gel station-- I had gone through all three of my gels and I think most or all of my Clif Shot Blocs. Why something different, you may ask? I need variety. If you have ever tasted Gu or Powerbar Gel, you know that you don't eat it for the taste. The Shot Blocs are kind of like big gummy bears and I like them. Gels are faster, so I try to bring those too.

I knew I needed at least one more gel, maybe more. I grabbed a vanilla, but then I saw my favorite-plain! It is just slightly sweet and after hours of running, the last thing you need is a mouthful of sickly sweet goop. The guy actually handed me two. To be honest, I think I only ate one of them... but I really don't remember. I think that if they are going to give away gel, they should locate the station early. I saw on the website for the National Breast Cancer Marathon that Gu was handing it out starting at mile 7 and having it available every three miles. That would have put Laura in good shape when she missed her hubby at mile 12.

Lisa wanted to stop and stretch a bit at the water station following the Powerbar Gel. I was all for it. I must have looked bad, because when I was using one of the water tables as support to stretch, one of the volunteers handed me another water. I took a couple of Tylenol (which, in retrospect, I should have taken much earlier). It kicked in around mile 19 or 20 and really helped alleviate some pain in my legs.

*Mile 18 (here is where we get into the TMI portion of the report)-- Men and women who have never had children will not relate to this next issue at all (and can skip it if you want). I have found out in the past year or so that it is a "dirty little secret" among more women than you would think. I have rarely read accounts during my recent blog obsession, but once I became more comfortable talking about it, I found quite a few women who suffer from the same thing. We all have stress incontinence. My friend, Karen, candidly said when we had the conversation at Stroller Strides one day, "oh, you're a pee-er?" Yikes. I never thought about it that way, but yes, I am *blush*

What it means is basically my bladder leaks a little bit when I run, jump, cough, sneeze etc. What caused it? Hormones. Age. Oh... and the fact that I delivered two 9 1/2 pound babies vaginally. My doctor tells me to do Kegels. I haven't met a woman who suffers from this who benefited that much from Kegels. Kegels only do so much. I just wear a pad every time I go out to run.

OK... back to the race. As I left the water station, my pad (which was saturated by now due to proper hydration) started rubbing. If you have ever had chafing, you know it is not pleasant. I didn't want to find out how much worse it would be down in the nether region. D'oh! I had to dump this thing fast. I must have looked odd trying to adjust my underwear. We were now in a neighborhood filled with fans. I couldn't just duck behind a bush and discard my trash. I had to find a bathroom. It was about that time that I started getting stomach cramps. Now I had two reasons to find a bathroom.

We found one right as we turned onto Crown Point Drive. There were a couple people, but not a serious line. Lisa stopped with me and decided to go herself. We probably stopped for two or three minutes. I took off the offending pad and replaced it with a new one conveniently stashed in my fanny pack. I also eliminated my loose bowels with relief and thought..."third poop of the day, that should do it." Hmmmm....

*Mile 19-- Damn iPod stopped playing. Ironically, Kenny's iPod did that to me during my very first race last summer. Since then, I have learned how to reset it. I know I should be able to find it in me to run without it so that I can run races that don't allow headphones, but 3 hours and 33 minutes into it, I was really getting into a music groove. The bands didn't come often enough and frankly, I like my music better.

So I had to reset my iPod. Normally, this wouldn't be such a big deal. However, I have been logging my miles with my Nike+ and I REALLY wanted to log the marathon. I was pretty sure that resetting the iPod would erase the Nike+ data. I was right. I was bummed when I didn't have my sensor on the 18 miler, you can only imagine my disappointment during the race. I was really looking forward to my split times and one of the famous people saying, "congratulations, you just ran your longest run." Well, I couldn't dwell. So I moved on and by mile 20 or so I had found the right playlist and was feeling good.

*Somewhere between mile 20 and 21, along the bike path near SeaWorld Drive-- Well... the stomach cramps started again. 'You've got to be kidding me!' I thought. I mean, I am not a very regular type of gal and for me to go four times before noon is unheard of. I can deal with the cramps... it's mind over matter, right? But then (and this is when I am getting into the serious TMI zone) I had to clench my butt cheeks. Kenny calls it prairie dogging *blush* I couldn't run that way for another 6 miles! I was seriously afraid that I would be "that poop girl" that people would go home telling stories about. I HAD to find a toilet.

There were two porta potties, but there were people waiting. I couldn't chance that there wouldn't be another one for several miles. I am pretty sure I wasn't the only one suffering from the runners trots. A few of the racers in line were men. I doubt a man would wait in line to pee when there was a perfectly acceptable bush nearby. Did I mention that one of the possible contributing factors to this ailment is high doses of vitamin C? Hmmmm...what do you think was the main ingredient that I had been pounding for days to make it so I could get to the finish line? Irony.

This is where Lisa really earned her major kudos for the day. I could tell, she didn't want to stop. I told her to go on. Nope, she came this far with me, she said that she wanted to finish with me. Awwww.... that meant so much. She was having the run of her life and she waited for me. She told me that she was going to walk and for me to catch up with her. I finally got my turn, was able to go AGAIN and the tummy cramps stopped and I was good to go. In fact, I was feeling pretty good FINALLY.

A half mile down the path, there were about six porta potties with NO LINES. DAMN. Ah, more irony. Oh well....

*Mile 21-- Check out these pictures. Lisa and I saw the cameras and decided to smile for the them. I think at this point we knew that we were going to make it to the end. I am SO glad that I look that happy that far into the race.

Me crossing the 21 mile point (click on the links for better pictures)

Lisa and I

*Mile 22-- This was a funky turn-around before getting onto Pacific Highway. This was a key point in my race for me. The band was talking to the runners and I'm not sure what else the guy said, but what stuck in my mind was, "hey runners! You're still on pace to do sub-five!" That was all I needed. My 4:30 goal was long gone, but I could still run my first marathon in less than five hours. I was renewed, if only a little bit. It was enough.

*Miles 24-25 or so-- Lisa's husband, Alex, found us on his bike with little Olivia in the toddler seat. It was just the thing we needed to give us a little boost. We waved at little Olivia who was serious as always (that girl is going to be a judge someday). At this point, we just kept on running. I think he caught up to us around the water stop at 23.5 miles. He tried to tell us something, but neither one of us heard him. Apparently, he was telling us to look to the left at the finish line at the tv camera for the live finish as her parents were watching from Texas online.

*Mile 25-- We ran right through the water stop. We just looked at each other and knew. Both of us had done well with hydration. Now was time to finish this thing! We ran that last mile hard. My breathing felt pretty labored for the first time. I know I was pushing myself. Right before we turned into the gates of MCRD, we saw three of our Stroller Strides buddies- Pam, Cassie and Yvette. What a great final boost before the home stretch!!

*Mile 25.7, 1/2 mile to go-- This is when mental toughness really played a part. I was having a really hard time catching my breath. But I knew that I needed to run that last mile and leave everything out there. Lisa asked, "is that the finish line??" No. It was a Rock-n-Roll Marathon Sign informing us that we had a 1/2 mile to go. I think it was there to encourage, but I had to dig deep and tell myself "yes... you can run this hard for another 1/2 mile!"

And then, there was the stretch. We could see the finish line and the crowds cheering. This was it! As we ran next to each other, I knew that we would finish exactly together. I reached over and grabbed Lisa's hand. We were going to finish in style. The announcer was cheering everyone on to hurry because the clock was about to hit the five hour mark! Luckily, we knew that we had crossed the starting line six minute later than the gun. We did it... we finished in under five hours!!!!!!

Here is a link to us crossing the finish line. Fast forward to 5:00:12 and we are on the upper part of the screen.

Don't we look happy? (clidk on links for bigger pictures)
Here we are!

I totally thought that I would be crying big ugly crocodile tears when I crossed. But they didn't come right away. I started to sob when the woman placed the finisher's medal around my neck. The tears came and I was so happy. Later, when I was waiting for Lisa to get her chip cut off her shoe, another wave of emotion hit me. I must have looked pretty bad, because a medic came up and asked if I needed help. LOL. No... I'm just emotional.

Here we are after all is said and done.

Here are some pictures from after the race:

One of my biggest fans is also a fan of the medal.

Another one of my biggest fans

Here are three out of four of us. Unfortunately, since Laura finished quite a bit ahead of us, her kids were getting antsy and they had to leave.
Here are Jen and I under the Rock-n-Roll Sign:

And here I am in all my glory! Hmmm... maybe it was time to take off that visor! :-D

Friday, June 6, 2008

Part III is on its way....

I am sorry it has taken me so long to complete my race report. I want to document as many details as possible for my own future use. I have been pretty darn sick this week and coolin' it on the couch and getting ready for house guests (my in laws). I was able to fool my body out of the virus before the race with every "immunity building" elixir out there, but once I beat down my body for 26 miles, the virus hit me full force.

Also, my husband, Kenny, had major surgery today. He had hip resurfacing done so he can live without constant pain. I was at the hospital for the majority of the day. I am happy to report that his surgery was a success and he seems to be recovering well. He'll be in the hospital for a couple more days and then 2-3 weeks recuperating at home. Thank goodness we have two computers or we might come to blows.

I should finish my race report tomorrow.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Race Report Part II (Miles 1 through 14...mostly good)

*Mile 1-- What an incredible rush! Laura didn't waste any time pulling ahead of us. Good for her. She finished 22 minutes ahead of me and actually could have done better than that, but started feeling ill in the later miles.

There were so many people. For much of the time, I was just keeping an eye out for a little pod of space and I would dart to it like a rabbit. It didn't keep me in a very straight line, but I didn't feel like I was going to step on heels (or be stepped on). As I bumped into people or vice verse. Everyone seemed very friendly and it was an upbeat atmosphere. The one bad thing about so many people is that I never really fell into a good running rhythm. My stride was a bit short and I didn't feel like I was really relaxed. Although, we were relaxed enough to chat every now and then...

One of the oddest things in those first few miles was the heat. The weather was still cool. But as we ran, we would run through pockets of warm air, almost as if we were running by a heater vent. We figured that it was the masses of people. While it was sunny at the end of the race and started feeling pretty hot, the warmth in those first two miles seemed more noticeable. I don't sweat that much and I was already sweating by the time we turned onto Park Blvd. Once we got closer to the water, near Petco Park, we could feel a nice breeze.

We ran past our first fans during the first couple of miles. Christina, from Stroller Strides was there as well as one of Lisa's friends. Seeing familiar faces is REALLY cool.

*Miles 2-4, Park Blvd.-- I actually had a lot of fun on Park. I was feeling pretty good. There were still a LOT of people all around and you really had to watch where you were going. Lisa was right next to me and suddenly, she FELL DOWN! Oh no! My heart stopped for her. I thought that her marathon journey might end because of tripping on a silly pile of hardened asphalt. I think I actually screamed a little. There were people all around us helping her to stand up. She had skinned both her knees, but she said she was fine and we trudged on. After that we all pointed out various hazards along the way- trolley tracks, lone water cups etc.

At one point along the way, one of the bands asked us if we feel good. A cheer rose up from the runners. They started playing "I feel good."

It was fun!

We were joking around with people and making friends. At one point, a very tall black guy with dreadlocks was manuevering through a group of people and almost ran into me. I said to this tower of a guy in a good-natured tone, "hey, big know it would hurt if you stepped on someone..." He laughed and said that he needs to watch it because there might be retribution at mile 24 when he wouldn't be able to defend himself. I ran into him after the finish near the medals and we shook hands and congratulated each other on our runs. I like running in the middle of the pack. I doubt if people running 6- or 7-minute miles get to have as much fun as we do. :-)

*10 K-- I was feeling ok; not fantastic, but not bad either. I looked at our time (1:07) and did the math wrong and thought we were on track for our finish time of 4:30. By 7 miles, I figured out that we were averaging 11-minute miles. By the time we got on the 163, I knew that the goal time was out the window. There was no sense dwelling on it, though... it was time to just focus on the main goal-- FINISHING.

*Miles 7.8-11.5, The 163 Freeway-- I was really looking forward to this part. They CLOSE THE FREEWAY for us to run on. For some reason, that just seems like the coolest thing. A good portion of the freeway runs uphill, so this was a pretty tough part of the race. That hill was a death knoll for Jen. She was struggling up the hill. She would be behind us for a while, catch up and then fall back again. She made a comment about it kicking her butt. She tells me now that she wasn't the same after that hill. It sapped her energy.

We ran into Tara again and she seemed to be having fun. I was having fun, too. A guy asked Lisa and I what a "Rockin' Mama" was. All four of us were wearing our great Rockin' Mama logo that Lisa designed. Jen, Lisa and I were also wearing our names (Laura was a little less anxious to have strangers know her name). We told him that we are a group of moms who came together to train. We met through our moms group. He thought that it was great and he congratulated us for getting out and doing this. I felt pretty proud.

*Miles 12-13.75-- We ran by the Fashion Valley Mall. I didn't even think about stopping in at Nordstrom to go shopping. I was focused on my running. :-) We saw Laura's husband--well, Lisa saw him and I tried but he was behind people when I looked so I yelled a quick hello. Unfortunately, Laura never saw him (she was probably a half hour ahead of us). The huge bummer for Laura was that she didn't carry any Gu or other calories with her and was relying on him to give it to her when he saw her. By the time she hit the Powerbar Gel station at 17.6 miles, she was nauseous and couldn't eat any of it. She actually ran the entire race without a single gel. Holy cow. Imagine how well she would have done with calories! (she finished at 4:32, btw)

Once I passed the halfway point, I really started feeling it. I was ok with my half marathon split time (2:22) and thought to myself that I was looking forward to running a half marathon later this summer. I started getting pretty tired around 13.5 miles. Lisa told me that she wanted to stop and stretch at the next water stop and I was all for it. Jen was behind us and for the first time in the race, I couldn't see her.

When we got to the water stop (around 13.75 miles), we stretched and I called Jen. We were through the water stop and had been there a minute or two. She told me that she wasn't at the stop yet, but she could see it. At this point, my legs were starting to feel heavier and heavier. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get going again if I waited much longer. I think Lisa felt the same. We hoped that Jen would catch up with us, but we needed to start running again. I was also excited because I knew that my family was right around the corner.

*Mile 14, my FAVORITE part of the race (pictures coming up!)--My favorite people in the world- my husband and kids- were waiting for me at mile marker 14. Some of my other favorite people were there, as well; my dad, my brother and our friend Sean. Kenny had the bikes from work-- a quad bike (see my other blog for more on that) and The Ride and they were quite a sight to see. My hubby (in the hat), my dad and my 4-year-old son were riding the quad (our friend Sean hopped on the quad later). How cool is the double-sided flag??? My two-year-old is in the bike trailer with her cousin and my brother towed them with the cool Ride bike.



When I saw them, I screamed and ran toward them.


I was able to give my son a BIG hug. They rode alongside me for a half mile or so. My brother took a picture of me waving to Amelia who started crying when she saw me-- I think she wanted me to go to her. She calmed down once she saw the Mama was running! :-)

Even Lisa got a bit of a boost of energy from seeing my clan.


I expended a lot of energy seeing them. But it was worth it. It gave me more energy for the miles to come.

I will write about the last part of the race later. Damn! It is taking me longer to write about the race than it actually took to run it! Sorry for all the details, but I want to document everything so I can remember it later. If one of my kids ever comes to me and wants to run their first marathon, I can let them read this.....

Race Report Part I--the pre-race (this is the good, the bad and the ugly and there may be TMI)

*9:55 p.m.(Saturday night)--I finally go down to bed after getting everything prepared (name and "Rockin' Mama" logo ironed on my shirt, bib pinned on my shirt, chip zipped to shoes, fanny pack packed and ready to go etc. etc.) I was exhausted. I took some calming tea and I think it helped. As I fell into bed, I suddenly panicked that I would sleep too soundly and miss the alarm. I had set the alarm on my watch (which worked for every early long run) and the clock in the bedroom. I was having anxiety about sleeping through them. So I took 5 minutes or so to set the other two alarms on my watch for various times that still gave me enough time to meet the girls at 5.

*11:26 p.m. (Saturday night)-- Kenny came to bed and I was still awake. Thank goodness many, many people had warned me that I would not likely get a lot of sleep the night before, so I wasn't super stressed about it. Usually when I stress about sleep is when it doesn't come at all.
*3:38 a.m.-- I woke up, looked at my watch and realized that my alarm would be going off in two minutes. *sigh* I guess I worried for nothing...
*3:45-4:30-- drink a zip fizz (vitamins and caffeine), eat some oatmeal, get dressed etc.
*4:30 a.m.-- I was able to poop a little (yeah) before leaving the house. **This is where the TMI starts. LOL
*4:40 a.m.-- Leave for Jen's house. On the way, I saw a girl walking out to her car in the dark, carrying a white gear bag. I rolled down my window and told her good luck! I was giddy with excitement.
*5:05 a.m.-- We are on our way! Jen's hubby, Greg, woke up at o'dark thirty to drive us to the start line so we wouldn't have to worry about parking, shuttles etc. He was the hero of the hour. Traffic was TERRIBLE and we were crawling up Laurel to the drop-off area. We ended up getting out of the car and walking 5 or 6 blocks to the start area.
*5:45 a.m.-- We decide to use porta-potties first and it was a good thing we did. The closer race time came, the longer the lines got. Second poop of the day... yippee, I am thankful that I got that out of the way [cue the foreboding foreshadowing music...dum dum dummmmm]
*6:00 a.m.-- We drop our gear bags at the UPS trucks. My gear bag had a change of clothes (didn't use), flip flops (needed desperately after the race)and a sweatshirt (definitely came in handy). Afterwards, we stretched for a while on the grass.
6:20 a.m.-- We head toward Corral #11 where we would start. We were all getting very excited. We decided to try to use the potties one more time to empty our bladders before the race. We get in a long line and low and behold, we see our Stroller Strides buddy, Tara!! Out of thousands of people, what are the odds??? Tara trained with the San Diego Roadrunners. She had already signed up for their program by the time we all formed our little "Rockin' Mamas" group. We were excited to see her.

6:25 a.m.-- A lady sings the Star Spangled Banner. I get tears in my eyes. We were still in the potty line, btw.
6:30 a.m.-- The wheelchairs start. Laura decides that she doesn't want to get caught in the back of the pack, so she goes to line up in our corral. We wait a few more minutes and then decide to go with her. Did we really need to go again?? Let's get this thing started!

6:35 a.m.-- The race begins! It takes us about six minutes to get to the start line.

I will post more about the actual race later!

This video says it all....

I don't have my race report up yet. I am trying to get back into the swing of things (cleaning, laundry etc.) and I am moving VERY slowly. A good friend of mine sent this video to me today. I can totally relate. I just wanted to take a minute to share it.

A word of advice to those planning your first marathon---- try to stay in a ONE STORY house the next day or so. Walking up and down the stairs in my house is KILLING me.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

26.2....been there, run that!

We did it! We ran (over) 26.2 miles. The reason I say over is because you end up running more when you are on running from one side of street to another, etc. I wouldn't know for sure because my iPod locked up at 19 miles and I had to reset it... losing 3 hours and 33 minutes of running data. I think I want a Garmin for Christmas.

Here is the short version and I will post a complete race report after I get some much-needed sleep. I have some great pictures to post as well.

  • I finished! I have accomplished something only 1% of the population can say they have done.
  • The culmination of months of training was well worth it. It was a great experience overall.
  • Crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with Lisa after running for hours next to her was a wonderful experience. Since our names were on our shirts we heard "Go Lisas!!" quite a bit, which was fun.
  • Chatting with other runners throughout the day was fun. We definitely were a big community, especially in the back part of the pack.
  • I am officially a "middle-of-the-pack" girl too! I finished 8270 out of 16373 (just shy of top half, darnit!) However, in my age and gender groups I was well into the top half--yeah (382 out of 1017 and 3271 out of 8425).


  • It was FREAKIN' HARD.
  • I didn't finish close to the time I thought I would and ran quite a bit slower than my training pace. I was hoping to run a 4:30, but we came in at 4:54.
  • I didn't have as much energy as I would have liked. I felt pretty toasted by mile 16 or so. If it weren't for seeing my wonderful husband and family at mile 14, I probably would have faded around then.
  • While Jen finished, she wasn't able to finish with Lisa and I. It was a bit of a sour note on a great finish.
  • I became too familiar with race porta potties. The "runners trots" hit me in the late miles.
  • My iPod had issues which was annoying and distracting. I think it got wet from my sweat and various sprayed water along the way.

I should have been in bed hours ago. I am exhausted. I am excited to talk about the race in more detail tomorrow sometime.


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