Monday, December 29, 2008

My short mileage this week had nothing to do with weather

I ran a total of about eight or nine miles. I was supposed to do a measly fifteen. Running while visiting family is HARD. We had obligations and kids to entertain and presents to wrap and meals to prepare. I am sure you all know the deal. I was planning on running this past Sunday after we got home, but after very little sleep and travelling all day with a toddler who had very little sleep, I sat on the couch and read instead. I didn't even unpack.

After a long day of travel last Monday (which included being diverted to Yakima, Washington, of all places, while the Portland airport was closed), I was ready to go for a run on Tuesday. I was actually pretty excited. It was in the low twenties and everything was covered in a soft blanket of snow. I layered myself up and put on my trail shoes. I put my iPod on shuffle and ran through my sister's neighborhood.

It was GREAT. I had a grin on my face the entire time. The footing was a bit tricky at times. And when a car came I had to run in the drift by the side of the road (which was, luckily, pretty rare because the roads were not suitable for driving). Thanks to my great Nike Trail Shoes and the cold, dry snow my feet stayed warm and dry. I was prepared for the cold and the only thing that was exposed was my face and the brisk felt good. I had a scarf in case the wind kicked up, but it didn't and I was very comfortable.

It was one of those perfect snowy days--quiet and white. For a while I turned off my iPod to run in the absolute silence that snow brings (not to mention very little traffic on the roads). When I turned it back on the shuffle brought a couple of Christmas songs which REALLY put me in the holiday spirit. It was probably the most peaceful time of my entire week. The song that came on as I turned onto my sister's street was the PERFECT ending to my snowy run (see below). The lyrics say,"don't stop me now... I'm having such a good time." The ONLY reason I stopped was because I knew that people were waiting for me to go to lunch. We ended up leaving later than planned so I really should have kept running and running. It was a glorious day.

My other run wasn't as glorious. I had to force myself out the door. Oh, what a difference a few days makes. It was raining. The roads were slushy and miserable. The temperatures were in the forties. My trail shoes couldn't protect my feet that day. My iPod locked up on me a couple of times. There were patches of ice on the sidewalks that made my footing even more precarious. I never appreciated people who shovel their sidewalks until that day. I spent a lot of time trying to avoid huge slush puddles. I was glad I went. I don't feel like quite a wimp anymore. My step sister gave me a pair of toasty running tights for Christmas so I was nice and warm.

I am back in San Diego. No excuses. The half marathon is in three weeks. I need to get back in the swing of things. But right now, I am going to go dig out my tail-gatin' stuff. We are off to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in a few hours to go cheer on our Mighty Oregon Ducks. Woo hoo!!!!!

I did it!!

This is how I felt after running on a cold, snowy day.... I am officially not a running wimp (well, at least not as much of one).

I will post more about my Oregon runs after I crawl out from all the luggage and laundry from our trip. I had one incredible snowy run and another soggy, less incredible one....
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah or whatever)!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tempo runs...

I actually did two this week, but it wasn't by design. On Thursday, I had my scheduled tempo run. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill because I wimped out and didn't want to run in the cold dark morning. After a warmup, I started a tempo run at a pace of around 8:50. After the third mile or so, I was getting really bored. I decided to do some fartleks of around a quarter mile each to break up the monotony. I sped the treadmill up to around 7:45 and then slowed back down to closer to 9. It was great to feel like 8:50 is a recovery pace.

This morning Laura and I met at 7 a.m.. It was around 42 degrees...brrrrrrr. I left my gloves in the car, seeing the sunshine and thinking that I would warm up fast. Well, apparently I started out pretty fast because I was so cold (yes, yes... I am a wimp). Laura, who was fighting off a cold, didn't want to say anything because she thought I wanted to do a fast one. After I started warming up, I realized that we were going faster than normal. I didn't want to say anything, because I didn't want to slow Laura down if she wanted a fast run. I didn't have my Garmin, so I had no idea how fast we were going. I felt like maybe we were going our normal pace and I was just sluggish. Laura had her Garmin and she was checking it regularly. We ended up averaging 9 minutes per mile for eight miles!! Five more miles of that and I will have a sub-two hour half marathon under my belt.

So to keep my fitness up to do that, I need to run this next week. I'll be in Portland, Oregon. It is COLD. It is SNOWY. I am a WIMP. Please send me strength, my cold climate virtual running buddies. My RW schedule has me down for a fall back week (only 15 miles), so it will be that much easier to blow off my runs.

I am not sure how much internet time I will have this week. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Update on my Thanksgiving 5K

I was missing from the official results until last week. They finally added me into the results and my official time was 25:31! (two seconds faster than I had thought) I placed 5th in my age group!! I can't believe I made the top ten. I was 292 overall (out of approximately 4600 people who finished)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

I think I'll get a taste of cold weather running next week...

This was my mother's backyard today in Portland. We don't leave until a week from tomorrow, but I need to mentally prepare. Brrrrrr.... that'll make today's 50 degree run seem balmy. Too bad running tights are on my Christmas list, but I will need to run at least one day there before then. I will be running in sweat pants. Maybe I should bring my trail shoes for better traction.

Today's run was nice. Laura and I ran downtown along the bay for a change of scenery. It was cold (cold for San Diego) and blustery, but luckily the rain isn't here today (yesterday and tomorrow). We chatted about doing the Rock-n-Roll Marathon again in June. I think 3 out of 4 of our little "rockin' mama" running group are going to do it again. I am actually excited. We learned a lot last year. We are going to train so much smarter this time. The first time is all about building up endurance and confidence. This time we are going to focus on skill and strength as well.

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the holiday season.
Happy running...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A much better run...

I woke up at the butt crack of dawn this morning for my tempo run. I can't really do a tempo run in my neighborhood because of steep hills and a gravel trail. I drove to Lake Murray to run on a nice, paved bike path. This was the first time I have run at Lake Murray since before the marathon. During training, I was really tired of that run (it is an out-and-back totalling 10k) and pretty much boycotted that spot. But this morning, I really enjoyed it. It didn't seem quite as boring as it did. I just needed a break from it.

Honestly, I was looking forward to running it with my Garmin. AKA ALice at Hefferblog calls Lake Murray "Lake Boy Part." When I read her blog explaining that nickname, I laughed out loud. Now I have my own GPS drawing of a "boy part." Well, since I turned around a little more than a half mile before the end, it is not a complete drawing, but you get the picture...

When I started, it was dark. I don't have a fancy light yet, so I carried a little LED flashlight. It worked ok, since it was pretty nearly dawn. It was more for peace of mind than for actually lighting the path. I forgot my pepper spray (a fact that my dear husband was quite annoyed about). Luckily, there were no German Shepherds or coyotes. The only wild animals at Lake Murray are Shih Tzus, squirrels and bunnies. It was busier than I expected. Mostly, there were seniors walking their little dogs and women, like me, getting in an early morning run.

I had a good tempo run-- it was the first time I ran for a decent period of time trying to hit a certain pace. My RW training plan said to do one warm-up mile, three at 8:54, and then a cool-down mile. I can't quite hit the pace exactly, but I came pretty close. Here are the splits:
Mile 1- 9:32
Mile 2- 8:47
Mile 3- 8:43
Mile 4- 8:44
Mile 5- 9:42

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just another short easy run...

NOT! Well it was relatively short, but not just another run.

First, I have to take my hat off to all of you who run in cold climates (please imagine me bowing to you saying "I'm not worthy!") I have no idea how you do it! Maybe I am a wimp, but I barely made it out to run today because it was COLD (relatively speaking). Now... please keep in mind that I have lived in Southern California for over seven years before you boo and hiss at me. It was a chilly chilly 47 degrees and windy when I got dressed this morning. Brrrrrr. Seriously. I had to push myself to get out there. It took me about a quarter to a half a mile before I felt like I could unclench and get in a rhythm.

As I was starting to feel comfortable in my run, I saw a guy jogging toward me on the path with his German Shepherd on a leash. I noted how big the dog was and admired how pretty he was. I like dogs, but I also have a healthy respect. I moved over to one side of the path so I wouldn't scare the dog etc. I smiled at the guy and could see that the dog was looking at me as well. Suddenly, as I passed, the dog lunged at me and barked. It was a significantly aggressive bark; I could hear that. I moved away and fell/jumped into the ditch. I screamed some sort of profanity. I haven't been scared like that in a long time. Thank GOD the guy was big. It looked like an effort for him to hold his dog. I think if that dog belonged to a smaller person, I would have been in big trouble. He asked if I was ok and apologized. I said I was fine and ran away. I am glad I did. Had I stuck around to talk to him, I think I would have cried. As I ran, I had tears in my eyes and was very very shaken.

The route I run has me double back on that path and I was nervous about seeing the man and his dog again. I decided if I saw them I would stop and try to "meet" the dog. He must have been threatened because I was running, right? Well, that was what I was thinking then. Now as I sit here writing this I am actually getting a little pissed off about the whole thing. Although I suppose the owner did everything he could and had him on a leash (thank GOD). I just can't understand when people have an aggressive dog as a pet (speaking as a person who owns a passive Beagle). I didn't see them again. I will have my pepper spray next time.**

I finally relaxed and got back into my rhythm. Thank goodness for my iPod. I was trying something new this morning-- listening to a book on tape. It is perfect for a slow easy run. It let me just escape a bit and run relaxed. I decided to start with an easy read, a cheesy best-seller. I am listening Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz.

About 3/4 of a mile from home, I was met with yet another reason to bring pepper spray with me when running in my neighborhood. Suddenly, ten feet in front of me, a coyote emerged from the canyon onto the path. WTF??? I didn't need that! I yelled at him. He trotted down the path toward my house. *sigh* My options were to follow him or to turn around and go back the other way, which would involve a VERY steep hill. It would ruin my easy run. So I followed him, making my footfalls heavy and yelling for him to go away. I also put my arms over my head (looking like a complete idiot) so I might look taller. Finally, he scrambled up the hill into the brush. As I passed the spot where he went up, I picked up my pace for the rest of my run.

I was glad to be done. Surprisingly enough, it was a pretty good run--three miles at 10:00 minutes per mile and I felt good (physically, at least).
Next time I am bringing my pepper spray!!

**I had to add a comment on Jill's blog entry that was asking us to tell her what we carry with us on our runs. In the past, I brought pepper spray when I run alone downtown or out in the actual canyons on the trails. Now I realize that we live close enough to a canyon and threats can come anywhere.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recap of this week's training

I followed my training plan pretty well this past week. I was supposed to do 17 miles and ended up with 16 plus what I did during Stroller Strides. I taught three days last week and had long cardio stretches in all three classes. Plus, I had specific cardio drills. I don't necessarily get the same workout as my clients, since I am leading the class, watching form etc., but I did push a double stroller quite a distance. I am going to start wearing my Garmin during my classes and count the distance toward my training. I am pretty sure that Monday's class at Mission Bay was at least two miles. Granted, I had strength stations breaking it up, but I still ran/jogged the distance.

There are seven weeks left until the half marathon. If yesterday's run was any indication, I am feeling pretty good. Neither Laura nor I were feeling all that spunky yesterday morning. Thank goodness I was meeting her to run or I might have blown it off. We chatted nearly the entire eight miles. Both of us had tummy issues towards the end and picked up the pace the last mile. Without really trying, we ran an average of 9:11. Not bad. My training program tells me to run it at 10:29, but that is hard when your friend is running at the faster pace and it feels comfortable to do so. I will try to run my easy run tomorrow at the slower pace and see how it feels.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A couple of shout outs...

Tomorrow Jill, Kristin and (I think) Laura are running in Las Vegas tomorrow. It makes me a little sad (and jealous) since I thought I would be there too, until life got in the way. However, I am cheering for you all in spirit. Think of me when you are running down the Strip. I was really looking forward to that part!

Good luck to you all!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I know I am finally committed!

I am finally officially training for the half marathon next month.

I needed to do some speedwork today. I can't do it in my neighborhood due to hills, dirt trails etc. I didn't think I could get it all done if I had to drive to the track. I decided to go to the rec center, put the kids in their daycare and run on the dreaded treadmill (now I know why so many people call it the dreadmill). Yes, I have run on treadmills before. The last time was relatively early in my marathon training, before I knew better.

Next time it is VERY important that I DO NOT forget my iPod!! Holy moly. That is a good way to make five miles seem like an eternity! It is very difficult to run at a 8:19-8:27 pace while reading the subtitles on The View. I don't even like The View. It was just the only tv close enough to my chosen treadmill that I could read the words. I actually increased the speed at the end of the intervals just so I could get the misery over sooner. I was bored to tears and more sweaty than normal. I just take for granted the benefit of nice scenery and a slight breeze. I really feel for those of you in terribly cold climates where the treadmill is the only thing between you and freezing your tooshies off!

I was glad I did it. It means I am following my Runnersworld training plan. And to answer a question in my comments (I think it was from Alissa), I did put my most recent 5K time into the Runnersworld SmartCoach to get my plan. I ran one warm up mile at around a 10:30 pace. I did two miles between a 8:19 and 8:27 pace with 1/2 mile recovery in between and after. I am supposed to jog the 800's, but I did walk for a few minutes to drink some water. I ended with a cool down mile for a total of five.

Happy Running!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I actually got my butt out of bed and went running during the week. It has been a couple of months since I have done that. It was cold (relatively speaking, in San Diego terms) and foggy and I didn't really feel like going. But, if I am going to break two hours in that half marathon next month, I need to run more than once a week! It was a pretty non-descript, uneventful run in my neighborhood. The only thing noteworthy was the mere fact that I went. I am glad that I did.

Sunday's run was nice. I did a relatively easy eight. It still shocks me that eight miles is an easy run. A year ago, that was unheard of--I'd get nervous at the thought of five or six. I dropped my dad off at the airport to fly back to Portland. I thought, while I was down there, I might as well run along the big bay. It was a nice change of pace. I parked across from the airport at a favorite park of ours and ran down to Seaport Village and back. I enjoyed the San Diego skyline, the tall ships and a beautiful morning.

I had forgotten to charge the Garmin, so I just used my Nike+ to tell me when to turn around. Luckily, it is running pretty accurate lately (it matched the Garmin exactly on Thanksgiving). It was actually freeing not to worry about my pace at all. I decided to take it easy and give myself a relaxing run through a beautiful city. Much to my surprise, when I listened to the results at the end of my run, I had averaged a pace of 9:17. Holy cow. According to my RW training plan, I should be doing my long runs slower than that. Oops. But I didn't feel like I was pushing myself particularly hard.


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