Saturday, November 29, 2008

My new favorite clothing item for running!

When I was getting ready for our trip to Moab, I realized that it might be cold there. All I had was biking shorts and a short sleeved biking jersey. I ordered some biking knickers and a long sleeved jersey from one of Kenny's suppliers, but I wasn't going to get them until the day of the trip. I didn't know if they would fit. I went to a bike store and bought some arm warmers and leg warmers as a backup.

It turned out to be COLD, not chilly. I needed every layer I could get. Those two items were a Godsend (especially when the knickers were way too big and I couldn't use them). Both items are like lycra on the outside and fleecy on the inside (is fleecy a word???). I even wore the arm warmers under the long-sleeve jersey along with a fleece vest. I was perfectly warm! On one day I took off the arm warmers and stuffed them into my backpack very easily.

Fast forward to this past Thursday. It was chilly (not cold) and rainy. I don't have running tights yet. My long pants that I have run in get really sloppy when they are wet. I often have to take off my long sleeve tech shirt when I wear it because I warm up pretty quickly. [note: the temps here have not dipped much lower than 60 degrees, so it is really only brisk] I decided to try the arm and leg warmers for the race. I wore the leg warmers on my eight-mile run last week and they worked pretty well. I wasn't exactly a fashion queen with a running skirt and lycra leg warmers, but hey, I was comfy.

*The arm warmers ROCK. I was warm and toasty with these things. They were the perfect addition to the morning. I think my arms were my least wet part of my body when all was said and done. These things will be perfect for long runs during the winter when it starts out in the 40's and ends up in the 60's. I can strip them off and tuck them into my waistband or something.

*The leg warmers were a success, but don't receive as high marks as the arm warmers. During the first mile when I was running pretty fast, they seemed to inch down my leg. I kept wanting to hike them up. During the second two miles, however, I didn't think about them much. They must have crept down and found a good spot to stay. They are also not quite as convenient since I would have to stop if I wanted to take them off.

All in all, even though these are biking apparel, I am a fan. They add an extra layer without adding bulk or warmth in areas I don't need it. I would definitely recommend them, especially for the price. The arm warmers were around $20 and the leg warmers were $30. Not a bad investment for an additional layer for the winter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Father Joe's Thanksgiving Run

I set my alarm for 4:50 (Egads!!) so I could wake up, finish dressing the turkey and pick up my friend by 6:30. I promptly fell back asleep (can you tell I am out of the early morning running habit?). I woke with a start at 5:20. I finally got myself going.

My friend, Heather, texted me around 6 a.m., "is the rain going to stop?" I then realized that it was raining. Unlike other runners throughout the country, inclement weather is not something I ever really think about before a run. I looked at the weather report online. It said around a 50% chance of rain (and even showed the "scattered showers" icon). I figured it was a typical San Diego rain, clearing up soon after the sun comes up. I thought that we would be dealing with drizzle at the most. Growing up in Oregon, drizzle was such a normal occurrence. I wasn't too concerned. "Rain, will be fine" I texted back to her. As we drove down to Balboa Park, we could see patches of blue. I was sure that it would clear up. What did I know??

We met up with two other friends. Anne had her two-year-old daughter, Sophie. She was prepared with a rain cover for the stroller. Coleen had left her kids with Daddy like Heather and I. We were good to go. As we were waiting for the start of the run, it started coming down pretty good. We moved under a covered walkway. I started getting excited to run. While part of me wanted to stay back with my friends, the competitive part of me wanted to see about running a PR. I can't help myself. When I told them that I wanted to move up toward the front, since there were no chips and I knew it would take forever to get to the start line, they gave me a hug and told me to have a good race.

Father Joe, himself, was there to send us off. He said he prayed for the rain to go away and for a while it looked like he had a direct line to God. The beginning was very conjested, but I was in a great mood. I just wanted to have a good run and go as hard as I could. The mood around me was great. I was SO impressed at the turnout! Father Joe announced that they had 7000 bibs and they ran out! 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in the rain and 7000 people decided to run? Wow. Way to go San Diego (especially when there were at least two other races that day in the county).

Just after the first mile, the heavens opened up and it started to rain. It was more than a drizzle. Much more. This was real rain. But I was lovin' it. For most of the race, I could barely draw in enough breath. My chest felt tight. I think it was a good thing that it was raining because I put my Garmin under my arm warmer and I stopped thinking about time and just had fun running in the rain.

When I saw the finish line, I had enough gas to give it an all out sprint. I was soaked to the bone, but feeling GREAT. I was ecstatic when I looked up at the clock as I crossed the finish and saw 25:33!! I stopped my Garmin and it said 25:10. Either way, I had beat my time from earlier this month by at least 20 seconds!!

I waited for my friends for a bit. After a few minutes I wondered if they ran the entire thing. Anne lives pretty close to the park. They could have easily run down 6th street to her condo and stayed warm and dry. Standing by the finish in the rain was starting to get cold. Since I didn't have my cell phone I decided to run to my car to grab it. I changed my shirt into the race long sleeve t-shirt and put on my dry sweatshirt. I called my friends. Hmmm... not answering. I wandered back to the finish line. On my way, I grabbed a couple of sample packets of Endurolytes (SCORE! I've wanted to try those things) and two Clif Mojo bars (YUMMY). Then I saw the beer garden. It was Thanksgiving; I just ran three miles in the rain; it was Stone Brewery (YUMMY)---- what the heck. As I was enjoying a beer in the rain (only in San Diego would they set up a beer garden in November without a tent), my friends called.

I was so happy to see that they were wet and happy (since I talked them into coming down there with me). They all had big grins. Sophie was perfectly dry. We stood under a walkway for a while chatting, trying to wait until the rain dissapated a bit. By this time it was coming down harder than I had ever seen it in San Diego (you couldn't see ten feet). Thank goodness it didn't rain that hard during the race. Finally, we all decided that we needed to get home to get on with our Thanksgiving festivities. We braved the rain. Holy cow. Standing water was everywhere. My feet were complete puddles by the time I reached my car.

It was such a great way to start off my Thanksgiving. I know that it will be something I do every year. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Happy running....

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few weeks back, Jill tagged me with a very sweet blog "award." She said the following about my blog, "Lisa gives me hope that you can balance running, fitness and family. She’s got a great outlook on all those items, truly someone that I admire." Thanks, Jill... that really means a lot!

The task is to write about six things that make me happy. What better time to write about that than Thanksgiving (or the day after)?

1) The sound of spontaneous giggling from a certain five-year-old and/or two-year-old.
2) Hugs
3) Walking along the ocean. I enjoy the ocean here in Southern California, but walking along the Oregon coast in jeans and a sweatshirt is the best.
4) A really good musical (or movie or book, for that matter-- anything that helps me escape for an hour or two and let my senses be filled).
5) Cooking something that other people really love to eat.
6) Doing something physical (like running or biking) that really tests my limits and makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

There are a lot more. While that past couple of years haven't been the easiest in my life, they have definitely given me the deepest rewards. I need to focus more on all the things in my life that make me happy and quit sweating the small stuff.

Several of the blogs I like to read have already been tagged. Jill tagged Alissa, Chris, Terri and Jenn- all blogs I look forward to reading. I read a lot of blogs these days. Some of them are written for Runnersworld etc. or by people who are in a completely different world from me. The blogs I am tagging are from "real" people who I might run with if I knew them in real life. I included a couple of non-running blogs as well.

1) Kristin-- a very "real" runner who doesn't skimp on the details so I feel like I am running right there with her. She and I would probably have a good time running together.
2) Laura-- Laura and I are WORLDS apart in terms of our lives. However, we are not so different. I could see myself hanging out with her when I was twenty years younger. Her blog is very down-to-earth and says what is on her mind. I enjoy reading about her quest to be the youngest runner to run a marathon in all fifty states. I know she will do it.
3) Jody (Jodes)-- Not only do I enjoy her sense of humor, but I really admire her committment to charity. She is very active in fighting against poverty and hunger around the world.
4) AKA Alice-- Her descriptions of her exploits in my stomping grounds make me laugh. I love her phallic name for a run that I have done many times (Lake Boy Part). One of these days I am going to run into her and her "heffer" friends and I know they will make me laugh.
5) My good friend Penny-- Her blog is a great way to get a glimpse into her life, so far away from mine. She shares cute stories about her kids, but also supports charity through her crafts and Etsy sales. Penny was actually one of the first people to encourage me to run races. Her experience with her first half marathon really inspired me to do it myself.
6) Super mom, Angela. I "met" Angela on a message board for mommies. Earlier this year, Angela gave birth to a baby boy with Down's Syndrome. Her attitude, faith and love is truly inspiring.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

congratulations to all the 3-Day Walkers over the weekend!

I wanted to shout out to all those women (and men) who walked sixty miles over the weekend here in San Diego. Laura and I saw the group on their final leg on Sunday and everyone looked to be in good spirits. As we ran past them we smiled and said "way to go" and "good job." That is definitely something I want to do someday. The fundraising is the only thing that gives me pause. I see how much some of you TNT runners struggled to raise money. It would have been easier when I was working-- more contacts with disposable money. Hmmm.... we'll see. I am definitely impressed by all those people out there making that kind of commitment to fight breast cancer. Hopefully, my daughter won't have to worry about it...

Laura and I ran eight on Sunday down at Mission Bay. We started right as the 3-Day'ers were getting going for the day and quickly ran ahead of them. At the end of the loop, we had to run on Mission Bay road instead of the path, since there was a sea of pink that would have been difficult to navigate through. Thank goodness I had a running partner yesterday. I felt pretty darn sluggish. My time was pretty good for feeling so heavy and slow. It really helped having Laura there to keep me from slowing down (she offered, but my ego wouldn't let me). Also, it was so nice to chat. The time flew by. Neither of us touched our iPods. Even though I felt like my legs were lead, I looked at our splits and we ran much faster than I thought. The overall pace was around 9:20 (there is some question because I had to switch the Garmin from cycling to running after 1.3 miles *oops*). That is faster than last week's run and I was chatting the entire time. Plus, the very last 3/4 mile was run under a 9-minute mile pace. Woo hoo!

So... I have pretty much decided NOT to go to Las Vegas. :-( It is not good timing. We have a lot going on in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Plus, spending extra money right now is not the wisest decision. We spent a freakin' fortune on plane tickets flying up to Portland for Christmas; not to mention the floors.... It is time to be responsible. If I was in tip-top shape and poised for a big PR, however, I think I would be sure to justify running the half marathon. But alas... I don't think it is in the cards (ha ha).

So... I registered for the Carlsbad Half Marathon here in San Diego in January. I have printed up a training schedule from Runnersworld and am promising myself to actually run more than once a week. I really want to get the Triple Crown medal this year. It means running Carlsbad, La Jolla and AFC.

Question: When a training plan tells you to run at a slower pace than you normally do, how important is it to follow the plan. On my RW plan, the tempo runs are suggested between 8:53 and 8:59, so it looks like it is prepping me for a sub-two-hour half. The suggestion for long runs is a 10:23 pace. If I run faster than that am I risking over-training?? Do you all follow those training plans closely or do you use them as a general guideline??

Thanks! And everyone have a GREAT Thanksgiving! I know there are a lot of us running races (I am running a 5K myself). Good luck and happy running!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some AWESOME cross-training

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn't run in two weeks. Well, two weekends ago I did other cardio that was REALLY fun and inspiring. My husband and I dropped the kids off with my brother and sister-in-law and drove to Moab, Utah for a fabulous mountain biking weekend.

He works for Ellsworth Bicycles and every year they host an "owners' weekend" for everyone who owns an Ellsworth bike. We went on two great rides and had some wonderful food prepared each night by Escape Adventures through the Moab Cyclery.

The first day was a good warmup for me. I am not much of a mountain biker. I rode in Monterey on a pretty tame single track in April for 12 miles. Before that, I had ridden about twelve years ago in and around Reno and Tahoe, but nothing very technical AT ALL. To be honest, I was really nervous. People were giving me all sorts of advice (the best of which was to remove the clips from my shoes and put "flats" on so I wouldn't be hooked to my bike). The first three miles was a climb and between the altitude and the flat pedals, I was WORKED. I was at the back of the pack. More than anything, I was pissed at myself for being such a wimp. I thought I was in good shape and all those bikers shouldn't have schooled me so badly. The turning point of the day came when I rode down a very steep rock face. It was one of those things where I looked at it and my brain said, "that is not supposed to be ridden down; gravity will not be my friend; where are the stairs???" After some coaching from some very experienced and helpful riders (one of Ellsworth's team riders, Pua*, was particularly helpful), I headed down, completely in control. My confidence soared. It was after that I chucked my ego out the window and said, "who cares if I am in the back of the pack as long as I am having fun!" I started really enjoying the scenery (and what scenery there was!!) and having fun on the slickrock**

The second day can best be described as EPIC. It started toward the end of the Kokapelli Trail, down through UPS (upper porcupine singletrack) to Porcupine Rim ending up at the Colorado River. Once again, I was nervous. One or two people actually seemed to discourage me from riding. But I'll be damned if I am driving eleven hours to ride for one day. Even if I had to get off my bike and walk, I was going on that ride. I did have to walk the bike in some spots, but I definitely wasn't the only one. There was one spot where one of the guides said to me, "if you ride down this part, I will give you my bike." He had a very expensive Ellsworth, so I didn't think it was a legitimate offer. I soon saw why he was able to say this. It was called "the notch" and it was literally a 50 foot vertical drop through various trees and roots. Everyone was carrying their bikes. I think only one or two of the local guides rode down that crazy thing. Heck, it was hard getting down with my bike because it was so steep.

It was a VERY difficult ride, but SO so so worth it. I felt such a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished. I know that Kenny's colleagues saw me in a new light after I rode that ride. At one point, one of his colleagues rode by me and said, "you kick ASS, Lisa." I quickly replied, "I DO kick ass!!" My skill level increased 100-fold that day. I was able to ride down six foot drops, navigate some windy single track and pretty much keep up with the group. Don't get me wrong... I had my moments. At one point I actually ran into a tree and drew some blood. It was a little badge of honor ;-)
I spent most of the day with one of Kenny's coworkers, Aimee. She and I were at somewhat similar skill levels. She's a better rider than I, but she wasn't as experienced as the next group up. I was able to keep up with her for the most part. We really encouraged each other. Throughout the day, confidence levels went up and down. A drop over boulders in one section would seem insurmountable when we had done the same kind of drop an hour earlier. Sometimes we both walked and other times we encouraged each other to go for it. I would not have had as much fun if it wasn't for her. My husband, while supportive, tends to want to play with the other boys. He likes to go down crazy drops and jumps and pretend he is twenty years younger. If I had ridden with him the entire time, I would have felt like I was holding him back. Plus... I don't really like to see him do that stuff. It makes me nervous.
The mountain biking was SO MUCH FUN. It involved skill and endurance and really made me work. As a reward I saw some of the best scenery of my life. The pictures do not do it justice. I would really like to do more of it. But the problem is, it isn't that fun all by yourself. For Kenny and I to go for a ride, we would have to get a sitter for the kids. They are much too little for that kind of thing. I am thinking that if I do a triathlon, I would like to do one of the XTerra Series that has a mountain bike race instead of road race. I am hooked.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

We stopped at a viewpoint on our drive to Utah... incredible.

Kenny and I around the halfway point of Sunday's ride just before Porcupine Rim.

This is a picture of the Colorado River from Porcupine Rim. I didn't take this picture (hubby had the camera) so I found it online *blush* I wanted to show how incredible the view was. See that tiny little trail winding toward the gorge? Yup. That's the trail. [photo courtesy of an online Picasa web album from a guy named Andrew ;-)]

*Pua Sawicki is a serious stud. She not only wins 12 and 24 hour endurance races, she runs away with them. When you meet her you would never guess she is a hard core athlete. She is sweet and down-to-earth. I was pretty excited when she told me how proud she was of my performance that day. I felt honored to have ridden with her (actually behind her quite a ways).
*"Slickrock" is the term used for ancient, weathered, and sculpted sandstone, of the type found in parts of Utah. But it's not actually slick; your mountain bike tires will stick right to it. Which is why mountain bikers love areas such as Moab, where the most famous ride is named Slickrock.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I've been a bad blogger...

Not only have I neglected my own blog, but I have had a hard time keeping up with my blogging buddies. I am sorry if I haven't commented on your blog in a while... life has been pretty busy lately.

BUT... I did finally find time for a run. I hadn't run in two weeks. So much for the Las Vegas half marathon. I think we may still go (a close friend of mine will be there and I can't wait to see her). If I go, I will probably run in the race, but I don't think my PR is in the cards. That's ok... what better place than Las Vegas to just run and have fun.

My run on Sunday was ok. It wasn't great. It also wasn't particularly bad. I wasn't fast, but I wasn't slow either. My goal was to have a negative split, but that wasn't to be. I thought I would have a great run. My first mile was under 9 minutes, but that was the only one. Even though I pushed hard that last mile, I didn't even come close to 9 minutes (it was 9:32).

The good news is that even after slacking for a couple of weeks, I can run ten miles without any problem. A year ago, that feat would have seemed impossible. Now, eight or ten miles is the norm. That's pretty cool. My overall pace for the ten miles was 9:42. My fastest mile was 8:52 and my slowest was 10:28. Once again, a year ago, one mile at that pace would have been a feat.

Last week Jill tagged me with a pretty cool "award." I am not ignoring it. I still want to take the time and compose a nice post to go with the tag. Thanks, Jill! Oh... and CONGRATS on your marathon PR in San Antonio. I can't wait for your race report!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I hope everyone voted!!

Voting has always been a big deal to me. I remember how excited I was to turn 18 so I could register to vote. My husband is a permanent absentee voter. I don't want to do that. There is something about going to the polls and casting my vote. There is something special, something ceremonial about it. I feel important every time I do it.

I love to bring my children with me to the polls. It is a bit of a hassle, keeping them from bothering others, but it is definitely worth it. They will remember that their mother voted in every single election. I hope it teaches them how important it is. This morning my five-year-old asked me in a clear pre-schooler's voice, "Mom, who are you voting for???" I replied, "I don't need to say... it is private." I heard other voters chuckle at our exchange. As I cast my ballot for the president and for some very important propositions, I actually got tears in my eyes. As we walked out, all three of us with "I Voted" stickers, I again was choked up explaining the importance of what I had just done. I know they don't understand it now, but I am sure they will remember this someday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Race for the Cure Race Report

I wasn't sure what to expect yesterday morning. I have never run a 5K. I didn't even commit to running it until 10 p.m. Saturday night. I tried to tell myself that I shouldn't put any pressure on myself to do well. I didn't get a lot of sleep, I hadn't run in a week and it is a charity event full of walkers, strollers and dogs. This was just a chance to get out there and run for a great cause and see what I could do. I was pretty happy with the result.

My sister-in-law, Kristi, had to work one of the booths at the race expo and needed to be there at 6 a.m. That was two hours before the race, but I thought it would be nice to hang out with her, help her find the park in a strange city (they live up in Orange County) and check out the expo before the race instead of after. As we were getting ready to go, she suddenly says to me, "Lisa, it is only 4:30." "No. It is 5:30." (pointing to my clock and my watch). "Um..." she says, "I think last night was the end of Daylight Savings Time. My phone automatically updated." Oh CRAP. You mean I could have slept an ENTIRE HOUR???? I can't believe that I missed the best side of the silly time change thing-- the extra hour of sleep! Alissa, be glad you don't have to deal with it in Arizona.

We arrived at the park bright and early. It was nice walking to each of the booths before the masses arrived. I went to the Roadrunner booth and used their stick, since mine is somewhere in the chaos that is my house after getting all new floors. I was able to use clean porta-potties to my heart's content (three times--blush) without worrying about a line. I registered for the race and was pleasantly surprised to see a timing chip. They gave options of timed or not timed. The best thing was that everyone with a timing chip had a different colored bib and we started at the front. Although it was a large charity event, I didn't feel like I was weaving a lot in the beginning. It was a big pack of people, but we were all running pretty quickly. So quickly that I recorded my best-ever time for that first mile!!!

The mood was pretty festive, considering the serious nature of the charity (Breast Cancer). Many people were running for friends and relatives. They had signs that you could pin on "in celebration" or "in memory" of a breast cancer victim/survivor. I have been very lucky in my life thus far that I have not been personally touched by breast cancer (save a lump scare this past year). A close friend of mine lost her mom a few years ago. I chose to run in memory of her mom, who was an incredible woman who touched a lot of people positively during her life. It gave me a little extra motivation to be running in honor of someone specific, rather than for the cause in general.

When I reached the first mile marker, I looked down at my Garmin for the first time (I was very proud of my self-control not to obsess on the Garmin the entire race). I was happily surprised to see 7:50* as my pace for that lap! I actually pumped my fist in the air. The second mile was even better (7:38*!). I missed the split time for the third mile. I think I would have come close to my best case scenario of 25 minutes if it weren't for the incredibly steep hill that dominated the last quarter mile of the race. It was as steep as any hill I have run in my neighborhood. At one point, according to Garmin, the grade was almost 11%. THAT is STEEP. As I started up the hill, which is a freeway off ramp, I could see the park (where the finish line was) up above. I told myself that I wouldn't walk. I kept telling myself that until I turned a corner and saw it get even steeper (that is where the 11% grade is) for a 100 feet or so. I had to walk. I think I walked for 30 seconds or so. Toward the top I started going again because I could hear the cheers of the crowds and I refused to walk across a finish line. The course flattened out at the very end and I ran across the finish line, determined to make it under 26 minutes.

Check out the elevation of the race, according to Garmin....

Here are my results:

Time: 25:54
Pace: 8:20
Overall Place: 183/971
Gender Place: 52/589
Division Place: 8/74

These were, by far, the best results I have had. I can't believe I came in the top ten in my age division! If I hadn't walked, I probably would have been even higher. If I can run a sub-25 minute 5K, I could actually place in my age division, something I NEVER thought possible.

I have read 5K results of runners who run around my same pace for longer distances and think, "I can never run that fast." Chris talked about discovering "race pace" last week. I now know what that is. I have tried to run "fast" before, but yesterday I recorded not only my fastest mile, but my average for all three miles is faster than I have ever run a single mile.

*After uploading the data from Garmin my splits are: Mile 1- 7:47, Mile 2- 7:36, Mile 3- 8:28, Last .21 Miles- 2:08 (10:05 pace). Overall pace- 8:06!


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