Saturday, January 31, 2009
After two years as a stay-at-home-mom, I was still loving my role. After many years in the business world I was (and still am) enjoying the change of focus. I was finding, however, that I was being defined more and more by my children rather than who I was. I wasn't even sure who I was anymore. My hobbies were centered around a preschooler and a toddler. I was, however, enjoying my Stroller Strides classes that combined a fitness element for me and interaction, games and songs for my kids. I had run a 10K and it felt great. So when Jen and Laura announced in our class that they were training for the Rock-n-Roll Marathon, a light went on. That was it. That was what I was looking for. Training for something BIG like that would help me define who I wanted to be.
As the training progressed, the little accomplishments started to build. Every time we ran our furthest distance, it felt like a huge achievement. Seven miles. Ten miles (the double digits felt great!). Sixteen miles. TWENTY miles. Each time was a milestone that I felt proud of. This running thing was agreeing with me. Not only was I a mom, a wife, a former executive... but now I was a RUNNER. It felt great.
So if I signed up for that first marathon to help discover who I was, why am I going to go through all that again? Well... now I am a runner. While last year was about training and finishing something that only a small percentage of the world can say they have done, this year is about running a good race. I don't need to build up my mileage little by little this year. I have a strong base and can train smarter. I am really looking forward to seeing what I can do. Can I take 30 minutes off last year's time? I am pretty sure that I can. I might even (if the stars align) be able to get close to that four hour mark, which is 54 minutes faster than I did last year. I know I can run that distance. Now it is about pushing myself just a little bit further.
So why do I choose to run a marathon*? Because I am no longer content with resting on my laurels. It is about constantly pushing myself to see just how far (or fast) I can go.
*hopefully, that will be plural in about 17 weeks.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I think that this one is on the home stretch. It makes me realize that a hat is probably a good idea on these runs. LOL.
In the interest of respecting the photographer's copyright, here is the website where all the pictures are: http://www.brightroom.com/view_user_event.asp?EVENTID=44647&BIB=5096&S=230&PWD=
For those who are asking...yes, I am still walking on a cloud :-)
Monday, January 26, 2009
Before and After Pictures with Coleen
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
So without further ado (and rambling)...
- 1. Running. Yup. This one goes without saying. I think I may be more addicted to the adrenaline of racing than the running itself. However, I am starting to need my random mid-week runs for my sanity during difficult times.
- My DVR. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that television has become my entertainment. I love to put the kids down for a nap in the afternoon, make some lunch, put on wireless headphones and watch Biggest Loser, Grey's Anatomy etc. In the evening, my hubby and I deliberately start our shows (Lost, Heroes etc.) late so we can fast forward through the commercials.
- Online social networking. I started out with message boards and forums and met wonderfully fabulous women (I met some of my best friends on an online message board for pregnancy loss). Then I discovered that this blogging thing is another form of social networking and was hooked. Recently, it has been Facebook. I am reconnecting with friends from twenty years ago as well as keeping in touch with new friends.
- Luna Bars. I have to eat one Chai Tea Luna Bar every day. I never get sick of them. Luckily, they are pretty good for me (especially since I don't eat the peanut ones). I do need to find a more substantial breakfast. There are simply not enough calories to fuel me until lunch.
- Hugs and kisses from my kids. OK... this might seem like a trite mommy thing to say, but it is true. I can be in a crappy mood and one of them will smile at me and give me a hug and a kiss and everything is OK. Just picturing my daughter's puckered up lips pointed up at me makes me smile.
Terri tagged just about everyone in my Google Reader. Several others were tagged previously. Here is my attempt to tag a couple of people who haven't been tagged yet.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I went to the expo yesterday. Since dear hubby is currently without a job, I am able to leave my little one with him while I wander aimlessly through the expo instead of grabbing my bib and chasing an almost-three-year-old through a crowd of people. There are some benefits to unemployment, right?
It was a nice relaxing way to spend and hour or so. I love going to booths of cool races and fantasize about doing them. I talked to the guy from Big Sur. He confirmed that it is, indeed, a very difficult course. BUT... it is exceptionally beautiful. He said to add 30-40 minutes on to my time to run it. No thank you. I don't think I could stay on my feet that long. They have a two mile hill in the middle of the course that nearly everyone WALKS. But it is nice to fantasize that someday I might be strong enough to run this race. I also talked to the woman at Elite about the San Diego Rock-n-Roll. I was tempted to sign up then and there to get a really cool t-shirt, but I didn't. The woman was trying to talk me into running both the San Diego AND the Seattle RNR. Seattle is three weeks after San Diego. THAT would be truly crazy. I am actually considering it! That is one thing about a race expo... it makes you believe you are a real runner who can do things like that.
Today, after taking my kids to a birthday party, I am going to try to relax. I need to stretch quite a bit today. I taught a Stroller Strides class yesterday and kicked my own butt. I did some killer power squats. If I am sore, I feel sorry for some of my clients. They may not be moving so well today. Oh well... isn't that what they are paying for? *evil grin* I am going to try to eat my big meal as early as possible and try to avoid my tummy issues that haunted me in both the marathon and the AFC half. Then I am going to bed early.
The weather report is fantastic for tomorrow! Here is what it says right now
Hi: 60°I would say that is perfect running weather! Now I just have to figure out what I am wearing. I was hoping to wear a running skirt, but I think I may be opting for capris. My only issue is that I have never run a long run in these capris. I am not sure I want to risk it. Hmmmm....
Mostly cloudy in the morning...becoming
Slight chance of showers. Highs 56 to 61. Light winds. Chance
precipitation 20 percent.
Sorry for the random, disjointed post. I started out just posting my bib number and then the rambling ensued.
Have a great weekend and happy running....
p.s. Good luck to my blogging buddies AKA Alice and Penny. I hope to see them at the race!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
What I like best about half marathons is the fact that it is long enough to feel like I have really accomplished something that most people would not or could not do. I feel proud just finishing it. I love getting comments like, "you ran 13.1 miles..... in a ROW?" On the flip side, it doesn't overtake your life while training for it. The long runs are a couple of hours on the weekend and some hour-long runs or shorter mid-week. I don't have to pay a babysitter, my husband still has a wife and I feel like my life is not really affected negatively.
I have only run one half marathon and it was hard. I actually ran a marathon before running a half. During my marathon training there was only one half marathon that I could have done. The La Jolla Half Marathon was in April and we considered it. We decided against it for two reasons 1) it is difficult and hilly and none of us wanted to get injured and 2) it is difficult and hilly and none of us wanted to lose our confidence. When I ran the AFC in August, I think I was relying a lot on my residual fitness from the marathon. The Carlsbad this weekend is a race I trained specifically for and I am looking forward to it.
Since I am relatively new to this distance (although I am pretty sure it will be my favorite in the long run), I don't have a ton of advice. I will share my approach to Sunday's race: train smart and try to have fun. In the end, it isn't worth it if I don't enjoy myself.*
*I have been sort of obsessing over my sub-two-hour goal and I am trying to focus these last days on having fun. I need to trust in my fitness and training... :-)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I woke up a little beat up after my ride yesterday. My calf was a bit tight, I have the beginnings of a blister (biking shoes are not designed for much walking, which includes pushing a bike up a hill) and my hips are a little sore. I didn't think much of it until some of my running buddies starting getting injured.
AKA Alice wrote about a popping sound and a "weird" feeling during her run on Saturday. I am hoping that a little rest and ice will fix her right up. This morning Coleen showed up to our run with a sore knee. It has all the markings of an IT band issue. yikes. She wanted to give it a try to see how she felt. I was looking forward to a nice easy run after yesterday's workout so we took it slow. We started on the run and she did ok for a few miles. We walked for a bit around three and a half miles and then again just after four. Around seven miles she was done. :-( We walked the remaining three miles back to the cars. She is planning on resting a lot this week. She has worked hard for Carlsbad too and hates the idea of being sidelined next weekend. I am thinking healing thoughts for her as well.
Then this afternoon, I found out that yet another blogger buddies was not smiled upon by the running gods. Jill did a faceplant during the P.F. Chang's Rock-n-Roll Marathon earlier today and needed stitches!!! Poor thing. I can't imagine how awful she feels (physically and mentally).
So there is something going around. I can't drink any of this proverbial water. It almost makes me want to skip my runs this week. But now I am just being paranoid.....
Saturday, January 17, 2009
We decided to go mountain biking! He bikes all the time, either by himself or with friends/colleagues, but I haven't gone since our trip to Moab in November. I am new enough at it that I would never feel comfortable going out by myself. Going with just him was perfect! I was able to try out actually clipping into the pedals without feeling self-conscious. I wore flats in Moab because everyone told me that was not the place to learn. It is really awkward to get used to clipping in and, more importantly, clipping out. I fell over a couple of times because I didn't get my feet out of the clips.
We went riding right from our house. We had talked about going to a couple different places to ride in the area, but Kenny pointed out that the canyon and trails behind our house are often mentioned on mountain biking websites as one of the better all-around rides. It didn't disappoint. It had hills, fire road, single track, woods, fields and even a small lake crossing.
Here is a picture taken as we are climbing up the opposite side of the canyon behind our house. You can't see it well, but our house is actually under the word "here." LOL. I thought it was really cool that we had ridden six or seven miles when this picture was taken. We rode parallel to the river (it is in the trees) to a bridge east of here and then back along a set of trails to this point.
It was beautiful and we were able to enjoy our lunch at a picnic table with a view of the ocean. Unfortunately, you can't see the ocean very well in the background of this picture because of the glare (it is on the horizon on the left-hand side of the picture). It is there, I promise. The lake is right below our neighborhood.
Some of the climbs kicked my behind (ok... they kicked my butt, but I thought I was using the word "butt" too much). As much as I thought I was in great shape, I had to walk to bike a few times. If I stopped on a hill, I was a goner. Getting clipped into those pedals on a hill is tough.
It was a great day. We both had a fun time and laughed for the first time in a few days. This was exactly the kind of date we needed. Spending a ton of money on a fancy dinner wouldn't have been relaxing for either of us. Talking over any dinner would have ended up too serious and neither of us wanted that right now. I think Kenny enjoyed making a little fun of his wife today. I let him-- this time. LOL. The only time he came close to crossing the line was when I was trying to get back on the bike during a technical part of the trail. I was off the trail in the brush finding a way back to the trail. He says to me, "watch out for snakes..." O. M. G. !!!! My heart sunk. I hadn't thought about snakes all day and that comment almost ruined it for me. I hate snakes. I seriously hate them. I don't know what I would have done had I seen one. As I was beginning to panic I looked over and saw Kenny doubled over in laughter. Ha ha... very funny. He's lucky I was having fun. I might just have to put a spider on him tonight! *evil grin*
We are both looking forward to our next "date."
I leave you tonight with a video of my daring lake crossing. I was nervous because Kenny told me how much you lose momentum in the water and how likely it was going to be that I was going to fall before getting my feet unclipped (he even walked across it with my iPod and my phone so I wouldn't ruin them). I think he was hoping to get something on video worthy of America's Funniest Home Videos (had we been videotaping the entire day, we might have...it looks really funny when someone falls because they don't unclip their feet in time. All the funny falls were not mine, by the way). He almost had it at the end. I lost momentum and had to quickly twist my foot. That is why I am laughing here. Also, because I am tired and punchy from a long, sweaty ride. I must warn you: if you have your volume turned up, you might hear some non-PG-13 language come out of my mouth (really... I don't normally swear, but I really didn't want to go down in that muddy little lake). If you have kids around or get offended by the 's' word, turn down your volume ;-)
Tomorrow I am back to running. We'll see how my long run goes after the workout I had today. My legs are like jello.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The 5K, however, is easy to love. It works well with one of my biggest shortfalls- going out too fast. In a 5K, I can practically sprint the entire thing. I can go out with the crowd and succumb to the added adrenaline and have a fast first mile. I can settle into a nice pace for the second mile and then give it everything I have for the last one. No matter how bad I feel, I know I only have a relatively short time left. I can do anything for twenty-five minutes, right?
I never thought that I would enjoy 5K's. I always thought that distance was better for fast runners. Doing my first after running every other distance gave me a very pleasant surprise. Three miles was always my "recovery" run or my "easy" run. To push myself to run harder and faster for that short distance felt great.
One of the other things I love about 5Ks is that I'll be able to talk my friends into running them. Just about all my friends can run three miles. When I try to talk them into signing up for a 10K or half marathon, I get a lot less enthusiasm-- if not full-fledged fear. With a 5K we can all meet up at the beginning, run our own race and meet up again at the end.
A 5K is a wonderful way to support local charities. From Race for the Cure to the Race for Literacy, there seems to be a 5K run for every cause. I think I want to run a 5K race every Thanksgiving from now on. It was not only a good cause (helping the homeless), but a fantastic way to start the day. I felt great all day on Thanksgiving this year. I was energized and felt pretty proud of myself for getting up at o'dark-thirty to run in the rain while the rest of my family slept in.
I think the sweet little 5K might be seeing more of me this year. It is usually budget-friendly, schedule-friendly and a lot of fun.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Then I saw some signs. Some positive omens, if you wish, that helped me realize that everything is going to be ok. I am not overly superstitious or anything, but there are two things that have very positive meaning for me: butterflies and birds (particularly birds of prey). As I was zipping** around the lake, a butterfly flew right in front of my face. It instantly made me smile. I saw several other butterflies during my run. I thought about the migrating Monarchs that I loved so much when I lived in Topeka. It was an amazing sight to see. It was actually difficult to drive in the afternoon because I didn't want to hit any of them. It was a simpler time back then, but not better. My life is so much more full now. I have a wonderful husband and two fantastic kids.
#pictures courtesy of monarchlab.umn.edu and flickr
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I had planned on running with my friend Coleen, who is coming back from injury and is also running Carlsbad--her first half marathon. She is not ready for twelve, so I went to the bay early to run four beforehand. Laura joined me. She didn't have time for a long run, so this was perfect for her.
We had a nice four mile run (actually 4.33 miles). I had no time goals and didn't even look at my Garmin at all. I knew we were working pretty hard. I knew Laura had a time deadline, so I didn't say anything. We talked the entire time, but it was a bit of an effort. We ended up running at an average pace of 9:05!! We are both getting much faster. We did negative splits without even trying:
mile 1- 9:20
mile 2- 9:17
mile 3- 8:58
mile 4- 8:54
.33- 8:29 pace
As we finished, Coleen pulled up. Coleen and I went out at a much slower pace (around 10:45 for the entire run). I was wondering how it would feel to run so much slower than I have been. It was really nice! I know why they recommend running long runs at a minute to a minute and a half slower than race pace. It was really a great run. I talked with Coleen the entire time, but still felt like I was getting a good workout. This was Coleen's farthest run yet. Before yesterday, the farthest she had run was six miles. She did great! When we hit the eight mile mark I let her know. She was surprised and said she could have gone on longer. We decided to walk instead of run back to our cars. There is no sense in pushing it. I am so proud of her! I was excited and honored to be there as she hit that milestone. I remember last year how six miles was the furthest I had run when I started this journey. Getting to eight was a BIG deal. Coleen's smile was ear to ear. We are going to do ten next week as the last long run before Carlsbad. I'm looking forward to it.
total run- 12.49 combined pace- 10:13
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Can you believe this is January??!
Oops... she fell down. That didn't slow her down. I had to drag them away from the beach so that we could go eat lunch. I was STARVING.
He got a bit wet, as well....
They love to dig in the sand and stomp around
I sure do love it here.
*not to say that rec pool lifeguards are weenies. My mom was a pool lifeguard for years and she is the one that taught me to swim. It is just that at the pools, it seems like all the lifeguards do is blow their whistles. One time at the YMCA one actually jumped in after one of my kids (long story) and she looked genuinely annoyed to have to do so. Jen says that she has had days at the beach when she has gone into the water DOZENS of times. A true rescue in the ocean is life and death. My point is that if anyone is going to take me out into the ocean, I want it to be her ;-)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Right now I am mostly using the Runner's World Smart Coach half marathon plan using my 5K time to give me pace goals. I also printed up Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan as an additional resource. I figure between the two of them, I'll find what works for me. Plans are a guide for me, not the law. I know that other people do better when following the plans exactly. When we were training for the marathon, it was really important to Laura to get in all the mileage our plan called for in a given week. She would make special efforts to run that extra mile or two so that our totals were correct each week. Me, I sometimes cut out a mile or two and figured I would make it up with a good Stroller Strides workout. Toward the end of the marathon training, a couple of us cut out a short Friday run to avoid burnout and injury.
I plan on training smarter this next marathon. Last year, it was all about building endurance and having the confidence to get to the starting line. This time, we will build skill and strength as well as endurance. I am a few weeks from starting. I'll use a combination of Higdon, Runner's World and some workouts from Brain Training for Runners develop our plan. Even after we develop our training plan, we'll change it as needed as we go along.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I have a spare pair of GTS8's in my closet, but I might check out the 9's as my marathon training progresses. Meredith, if you are reading... maybe I could talk you into a free pair to review for my readers?? It's worth a try. *wink*
That is my PSA for the week :-) Happy running.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I am obsessed with getting a PR every time I run a race. I am pretty sure that this next year I will get as fast as I am going to get. Most people get slower as they get older, don't they? We'll see. Obviously, I would like to break the two hour mark in the half. That is my number one running goal of the year. I would also like to run the marathon faster than 4:30. Other than that I haven't thought that much about the other distances. I suppose a 24-minute 5K would be nice.
I have also toyed around with the idea of running in a race every month. I think it is pretty achievable. This year the cost of all those races is actually a factor.* I don't get massages or pedicures (much), so this can be my splurge.
Here are some of the races I am thinking about:
- January-- Carlsbad Half Marathon. I am already registered for this one. That is good since it sold out the first week of December. goal: sub-2 hours.
- February-- Xterra Trail Race at Mission Gorge. There is a 5K or 15K option. I haven't decided which one I will do. The problem is that the 15K course looks REALLY hard while the 5K course looks relatively easy. I don't want to come in last in the 15K. Kenny thinks I should do the hard one. Hmmmm... goal: to finish
- March--There is another trail race at Black Mountain. They don't have the maps posted yet, but just knowing the area I would say that the first one is more challenging. There is also a St. Patrick's Day 10K, but that is the weekend before my daughter's birthday and I am not sure when her party will be. goal: ?
- April-- La Jolla Half Marathon. This is the granddaddy of local half marathons. Everyone says how difficult it is. It is the second leg of the Triple Crown (Carlsbad, La Jolla and America's Finest City). That is a medal I definitely want! goal: to finish feeling strong.
- May-- The Rock-n-Roll Marathon part deux! I am going to run it again! Laura and Jen have both said they want to do it with me. We are going to train smarter this time. Rather than just getting the miles in, each run will have specific purpose (speed training, hills etc.) goal: 4:30
- June-- Camp Pendleton's World Famous Mud Run. This one looks like a BLAST. I just hope I have recovered from the marathon by then. goal: to get a team together and have as much fun as possible.
- July-- I will probably do the Coronado 15K again. goal: 1:20??
- August-- The third leg of the half marathon Triple Crown, America's Finest City. goal: to break 2 hours, but not necessarity PR (depending on how I do at Carlsbad)
- September-- ?
- October-- ?
- November-- Father Joe's 5K and/or Race for the Cure 5K
- December-- ?
It is definitely a different year in terms of my running. A year ago, I never would have dreamed that I would have completed a marathon. Heck, the furthest I had run a year ago was 10K. The idea of a half marathon was a vague idea that I discussed with friends. I definitely didn't consider myself a "runner." I am definitely a runner this year. I need to make sure I maintain a balance between my training and my roles other than running (wife, mother, friend...).
It should be a good year. Happy running!
*The economy has hit our household and my dear hubby is facing a salary cut. I will be looking for additional income. Anyone who knows of part time work that I can do at night or during preschool hours let me know. I am not ready to go back to being an executive with the long hours that comes with it.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Here is what I learned this morning from this race:
- I REALLY need to focus on starting out slower. I took off with the pack and felt great. It is so hard to judge sometimes and the Garmin doesn't seem to register pace in real time (although a very friendly runner told me afterward about looking at a different screen... we'll see if that helps). When my autolap told me my first split of 8:11, I got a little nervous. That was too fast!
- I need to learn to run the tangents. A 15K is 9.3 miles, but my Garmin (and Nike+) say that I ran 9.48 miles.
- I love running with my Nathan Hydration Belt. I forgot how much I prefer taking small sips while I am running as opposed to taking gulps from a dixie cup. I never had to stop.
- Runners are nice people. OK, I already knew this, but when you go to a race by yourself it is much easier to chat with strangers. Everyone I talked to was running Carlsbad at the end of this month. I enjoyed chatting with Lisa, Monica, Paul and Karen. Paul, who has run over 50 half marathons, gave me a lot of great advice. His insight into Carlsbad should help me a lot. It definitely helped my confidence.
- Fiesta Island is no party. The back side of Fiesta Island is long and desolate. On a cold grey day the bay doesn't look so pretty. At this point in the race (between miles five and seven or so), people had spread out quite a bit so I felt like I was running by myself. At one point I felt a wicked headwind. Those were my slowest miles of the day. The memories that Fiesta Island brought back were bitter sweet. The last time I had run there was during my seventeen mile run last spring. Unfortunately, that was when Jen had to hobble back to the car with an achilles injury. She insisted that I go on and I ended up having a fabulous run (following up my horrible 16 mile run the week previous). Jen missed the next several weeks of training, which was a real bummer.
- It feels good to pass people. Even if I know I will never win a race, I still have those competitive urges during them. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I pass people. I thought about Kristin several times when I passed a guy. She referred to a blog of a guy who referred to being "chicked" when a girl passed him. I giggled to myself as I "chicked" several macho looking guys. Kristin, you and I will have to run together one of these days!
- If today were a 10K, I would have blown away that PR as well. My 10K PR is 55 and change. My 10K split, according to Garmin, was 53:36.
- I don't think placing in my age/division is in the cards. Last year, after looking at the results, I discovered that I placed third in my division (women 40-49). Laura was 2nd. Since we didn't run it particularly fast, we didn't stay to hear our names. I don't even know if they had medals. I decided to stick around this year. I thought I might have a chance at one of those cheesy little medals. I think a lot more good runners came out this year. Third place for women 40-49 ran it in 1:16. I was nowhere close. Bummer.
- Despite the fast first mile, I think I ran a pretty smart race. I still had some juice in the tank at the end. Ironically, my ninth mile was just as fast as my first.**
- If I stay healthy and continue to train the way I have been, I am on course for a sub-two hour half marathon!
Happy running everyone!! And happy 2009!!!*The Resolution Run was in March last year for some reason. It was my second race ever and my first race since embarking on the marathon training program. I ran it in 1:29.
** Splits for today's run:
mile 1-- 8:11
mile 2-- 8:25
mile 3-- 8:45
mile 4-- 8:39
mile 5-- 8:50
mile 6-- 8:55
mile 7-- 8:52
mile 8-- 8:37
mile 9-- 8:12
.48 at 7:46 pace