Monday, April 27, 2009
My alarm went off a little after 4. Yikes. I was very tired. For two nights in a row I have had very little sleep (I blame my cat-- and that is a completely separate post). I scrambled around trying to get everything I needed. I was suddenly getting a little nervous. I picked up Heather and headed north to the Del Mar fairgrounds.
I had a sweatshirt that I was going to throw away, but when we got out of the car, it didn't seem that cold. I had my arm warmers, so I left the sweatshirt in the car. Standing around for an hour or more, even 50 degrees starts feeling REALLY cold. My teeth actually started to chatter (I know, I know... I am a Southern California WIMP).
My friend, Heather, was REALLY nervous. This was her first half marathon. The farthest she had run was ten miles. Her plan was to take it easy and run conservatively so she would finish for sure. Her only goal was to finish within the three hour limit.
I was thrilled when I spotted a neon green/yellow shirt and white hat. It was the famous Alice! I finally was able to meet her in person. Funny thing is that we live only a few miles from each other. I found out that her kids have been going to the school where my son is starting in August. Small world. And she is just as funny and nice in person as you might imagine.
I was excited for the race to start. I had a plan. I knew that if I followed my plan, I would finish under two hours. I wanted to start and run the first miles around 8:45, slow down around 10 minutes/mile on the hill and then pick it up on the second half and run how I felt.
During the race:
I know I have written about the insane elevation profile of this course. Even though I ran THE HILL and trained for the race, it was actually a little harder than I expected. I was mentally prepared for two hills: the one through Torrey Pines Reserve and the one just past mile twelve right before the end. I don't think I even thought about the other ones. They took me a little by surprise.
Here is a copy of the elevation from my Garmin and a little play-by-play of the race:
a- I'm about a mile in. I feel pretty good. I broke the rules and brought my iPod*. I settled into a nice rhythm and enjoyed my music. I ran the first three miles at 8:40, 8:28 and 8:44. Hmmm.... rolling hills.
b- WHAT??!! Where did this hill come from. Nobody mentioned a steep hill this early in the race. Holy moly! It was short, but steep. That mile was 9:02.
c- As we crest the hill out of Del Mar, the ocean opened out in front of us. There is a straight stretch of highway with wetlands on one side and ocean on the other. It is a beautiful view. And there, in the distance.. is the HILL. You could see the runners like ants crawling up the trail. This picture (courtesy of westcoastroads.com) shows the view and if you look just left of center, you'll see the beginning of the HILL.
I am a little bit of a chatty runner. It is funny to see how people chat back in the beginning but not so much toward the end. As we ran down this stretch, I commented on the gorgeous view. Several runners agreed (myself included) that a view like this makes the hills worth it. That mile was 8:22.
d- OK... here we go! This hill goes for almost two miles and has a grade as steep as 15% in some places. I didn't want to kill myself on the hill. I just slowed down and took it at an easy pace. Don't get me wrong. It was hard. But I didn't push myself to keep my pace around 9. Those two splits were 10:20 and 9:30.
e- Woo hoo! We are at the top! There was a lot of whooping and hollering among the runners. I chatted with one guy for a while who said that it was all downhill from here. I told him that he was a liar. He laughed. His goal was to finish under two hours as well. We both agreed that we were in good shape and only had to make up a bit during the downhill miles. The mood among everyone was pretty high. My friend, Heather, said that when she arrived at the top, one of the women decided to hop on the sag bus. Heather tried to talk her out of it, telling her that the worst was over, but she said that she "was done." Man... what a bummer.
The next few miles were very nice. I just relaxed and ran in a groove. I ran miles eight through ten in 8:52, 8:26 and 8:48.
f- Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee.........I'm flying!
g- Ow, my knees are starting to ache a little. My quads are feeling it. I like running down hill, but it is hard to keep from going too fast. Some people blew by me on this downhill, but I really just tried to go with gravity rather than accelerate at all. I did that mile in 8:03-- flying!
h- Running along the beach at La Jolla Shores. It doesn't get better than this!! Mile 12: 8:43
i- Well... here is the last hill. No need to hold back on this one. I am pretty tired by this time, but I know we are almost through. As I passed the clock at mile marker twelve, it said 1:48. I knew I had twelve minutes to get to the finish and see the clock still have a time under two hours. The pressure was off...I could just enjoy myself (as much as you can on a steep hill in the twelfth mile of a race).
j- We are pushing up the last part of the hill. One of the spectators yelled, "you just need to get up to the light and then it is down hill!!" I pushed hard. I wasn't able to keep my pace up. That mile was 8:57. I did, however, pass quite a few people along here. That felt good!
k- Woo hoo!!! The final stretch is here. It is all downhill for the last quarter mile or so. I ran it at a 6:45 pace. The worst part of the final stretch was the uneven ground. There were cobble stones etc. and I was a bit worried about rolling my ankle. Luckily, the last few yards were on grass and I could really fly. I saw that the clock said 1:57. I threw up my arms because I was thrilled that I met my goal. I was only four minutes off my PR on a MUCH more difficult course.
After the race:
I hung out in the finish area for a while, took a finish picture, ate some bananas and oranges. I knew I had a bit of time before Heather finished so I went to the beer garden and grabbed a beer. It didn't taste as good as I had hoped. It was Budweiser... not really my favorite**. I was also standing there drinking it by myself. I felt like a dork. I didn't want to miss Heather crossing the finish line, so I left the beer garden and headed to the finish line.
I saw Alice finish strong. I screamed as she ran past, but there was a lot going on-- I don't think she heard me. She had mentioned earlier that she didn't have high hopes for the race, but she looked great and finished well ahead of three hours. Heather came in with about ten minutes to spare. 2:50! I was so proud of her. She was THRILLED. She had just completed a very difficult half marathon. She felt great afterward and started talking about how she could have gone faster. She is already planning her next half. She's hooked.
It turned out to be a fantastic day. Successful races for myself and my friends and a gorgeous San Diego day (it was sunny and 65 at the end of the race).
Happy running, everyone!!
*the race literature stated pretty specifically that iPods are not allowed. I love my music. I figured if they had a problem, I could stash it in my hydration belt. Like I suspected, plenty of other people were wearing headphones. It wasn't a problem at all.
**not like the 5K on Thanksgiving when they had Stone Brewery supplying the beer. That was a tasty treat.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I ran pretty much exactly according to my plan. It was a spectacularly beautiful day in San Diego and I really enjoyed it (even the REALLY hard hills).
I'll write a full race report later.
I hope everyone had a great weekend.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
It was supposed to be five miles. I think it was actually either a 5K or we were supposed to do two laps. Either way, it was fine. I got a good walk and so did my kids. My five-year-old walked almost the entire way (he only sat in the stroller for five minutes to get a rock out of his shoe). My three-year-old ran every moment she was out of the stroller. I think she is Mommy's little runner.
After the event I had to drag my two kiddos to the race expo. They were surprisingly good considering I woke them up an hour early and marched them for miles. The expo for La Jolla Half was pretty disappointing. It was nothing like the one at Carlsbad. In fact, I am not even sure why they bother with an expo at all. There were about five or six booths. The one booth of random running supplies didn't sell Shot Blox for my friend. Lame. It was probably good because I wasn't tempted to look around.
Tomorrow I need to get up EARLY. The race starts at 7:30, runners have to be in the corrals by 7, so we're aiming to get there around 6, just to give us plenty of "oh crap" room. So I am off to bed. I am not as stressed as I was last time because I don't have a heck of a lot of pressure on myself. My only goal is to run under two hours. Running a PR would be running too hard in the middle of marathon training. I am going to try to have fun!
Happy running, everyone!!
Friday, April 24, 2009
My friend, Sheila (pictured above) had a premature baby. He was one of the lucky ones. So many families go through even worse struggles than hers did. She was kind enough to share her experience with me.
As I stand and watch my three-year-old son, Ty, chase his friends around the International Houses after a grueling Stroller Strides workout, I am amazed to think that it was not always this way, that he was not always this way. Ty was born at 30 weeks, 3 days gestation due to severe early-onset pre-eclampsia, a form of life-threatening high-blood pressure I experienced during my pregnancy. Weighing in at a mere 2lbs., 14oz, Ty looked like an incredibly skinny toy doll nestled into the incubator. During his month and a half long stay in the NICU, Ty encountered immense trials and tribulations: ventilators and C-PAP machines to help him breath (we couldn’t hold him until he was 8 days old and breathing oxygen through a nasal cannula); a PDA, a valve in his heart that did not close, that luckily was healed with medication and not surgery; two blood transfusions, bleeding in the lungs; slow motility (his little digestive system was too premature to process any feedings); incredibly slow weight gain and growth. We brought him home from the hospital weighing 4 lbs and 1 gram. To ensure his heart would not stop beating (tachycardia) or that he would not stop breathing (bradycardia), Ty was on liquid caffeine from birth until 6 moths. His prematurity, coupled with the caffeine, caused Ty to experience horrific acid reflux, requiring medication twice a day for over a year. These caused difficulty in his eating and sleeping, which resulted in Ty staying below the growth charts for height and weight until he was over 6 months old. To compound matters, Ty’s prematurity caused physical delays that required intense, painful daily physical therapy for over 6 months. To this day, Ty receives annual vision, hearing, and neonatology screenings to ensure he is on track. If it wasn’t for the March of Dimes, I might not be standing here, running after my child, telling him not to throw dirt in the drinking fountain with his friends. Their commitment to research, education, community service, and advocacy ensures that babies like Ty receive a fighting chance against the threats to their health. I truly cannot thank them enough.
This is a picture of Ty now... amazing
Even while I am going through one of the hardest times in my life, I really do feel truly blessed. I have two healthy children and a loving husband. I have family and friends that love and support me. I am happy that I can walk tomorrow and run on Sunday to help give back. Won't you support my efforts? $10, $20? Or even $13.10 in honor of my race on Sunday??
I also want to take the opportunity to wish my friend, Heather, good luck on her first half-marathon on Sunday!! She has been working very hard and is super nervous. I know that she is going to do GREAT! She chose one of the hardest races for her first half. When she completes it, she will have the confidence to do anything. I'm really proud of her.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Yup. I caught Boston Fever! The whole world seems to have had it this year. I am sure it is unbelievable in person. I was in tears watching Kara Goucher kick down the stretch. I was standing in front of my television yelling "go, go, go!!" I really wanted her to catch them. I felt really bad for her, since I know how hard she has been working.
In my world, I am doing a mini-taper week before my half marathon on Sunday. My marathon training schedule calls for six easy miles yesterday and a seven mile tempo run tomorrow. Instead, I went on a nice 16 mile bike ride along the coast yesterday. It was a wonderful way to beat the heat out by my house and save my shins a bit. I don't think I'll be doing my tempo run, since Sunday will pretty much be a tempo run. My shins are bothering me, so I may actually skip my run completely tomorrow to rest them. We'll see.
I hope everyone is having a good week. happy running.
**I am editing to throw a little credit where credit is due. I decided to write this post after reading Irish's post the other day about Boston fever. I admired that she put her goal out there and I felt like I needed to do it (ha ha ha...no pun intended) as well. Thanks for inspiring me to commit.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am trying to get updates on the Boston Marathon. The live coverage on UniversalSports doesn't seem to be going yet.
I just want to see Kara run. I know there has been a ton of hype about her race, but I am buying it all. I just love her. I was thinking about her during my speed workout on Thursday. On my fastest mile, with my VO2 max at its max, I might be able to keep up with her for one mile during an easy training run. During a race? Forget about it. She would sprint away from me like I was standing still.
I am also a big fan of Ryan Hall. He just seems like such a good guy. When we stayed in Big
Bear last summer, the entire town (his home town) was in love with Ryan Hall.
Hopefully, I will be able to see the coverage soon! I did just find some updates on MarathonGuide.com. Apparently, Ryan Hall is in the lead and Kara Goucher is running in a pack. Conserving energy? They mention that the women are running very slowly.
Good luck to everyone out there running in Boston!
UPDATE: I found Universal Sports on TV! That is even better, because I can TIVO it when I leave. I also discovered that the live internet coverage doesn't work with Firefox. When I opened it in Internet Explorer, it came right up.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
On tap: A twenty mile run.
The day before: I really didn't prepare well for a long run. Instead of having a pasta dinner, I had a burger, chips and a cocktail or two. I did have some pasta salad. Does that count? I didn't hydrate like I would have liked and I went to bed late after hanging out with friends.
This morning: I was tired. When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., the last thing I felt like doing was running twenty miles. Thank goodness for Zip Fizz. I ate my Luna Bar and a Toaster Strudel. I put on a tank and shorts since it was already 60 degrees!
The beginning: Laura and I had talked about trying to take it out slow and then see what we had at the end. My goal was to run it easy for fifteen miles and then push it for five. To Laura, taking it slow is a 9:20 pace, so that was my target. I had kept it closer to 9:30 during the last twenty miler, but I thought I would try it a bit faster. The first mile was 9:24 and I wasn't feeling like I wanted to go any faster. I didn't feel like I was getting into a good rhythm.
My shins were bothering me from the get-go. They didn't hurt so much that it affected my running, but I could definitely feel them. I was worried that it would get worse. Luckily, they didn't get worse.
It was a beautiful morning. Thank goodness we started relatively early, it ended up being a hot one*! The bay was like glass and not many people were out as we ran around Mariner's Cove. We ran down to South Mission and then up the boardwalk along the ocean. I feel pretty darn lucky to do my casual long run where so many people come to vacation.
Laura and I were able to carry on a conversation throughout the first part of the run. If we sped up, I consciously slowed the pace down to keep it between 9:25 and 9:15. I didn't want to burn myself out too early.
The middle: I still wasn't feeling great. My shins weren't really bothering me anymore (thank goodness) and I was getting into a bit of a groove. At mile nine we decided to put our headphones in and listen to some music. Laura started speeding up. I kept the pace about the same. I just figured that she was feeling good and wanted to push the pace closer to the halfway point. She told me later that she thought I was slowing down. The music really gets her going faster!
We stopped around 14.5 miles so Laura could get some water (she is much more of a purist than I am and doesn't like to carry stuff) and we could stretch, use the bathroom etc. We were at the beach and all I wanted to do at that moment was go soak my legs in the cold ocean. I thought about Irene's photo that she posted a week or so ago of her standing in the ocean after a long run. Even without a refreshing (read: COLD) dip in the ocean, I felt surprisingly rejuvenated after the short stop.
The end: When my Garmin beeped that we had hit fifteen miles, I decided I had enough in me to kick it up a notch. My idea was to bump the pace up closer to 9 minutes. As we ran through Ocean Beach towards Sunset Cliffs, I was feeling good. Really good. We ran that mile in 8:52! When we reached the turn-around just past sixteen miles, I realized that that mile was the best I had felt the entire run. Would I be able to keep it up? Well... I did. And then some. Mile 17 was 8:40! I was still feeling good.
We weaved through the parking lot at Dog Beach, dodging cars, surfboards and a LOT of dogs. We made it to the path back up the river. At one point a guy, his buddy and his dog blocked the entire path and running around them was almost dangerous**. I love dogs... I do**. I just don't love dogs, leashes and clueless owners while I am running. This is a nice, wide bike path with plenty of room for everyone. Despite the congestion, we still ran that mile in 8:40!
Two miles to go. I still felt great. At this point, I decided to see what I had left in the tank. I just stared straight ahead and ran. When the Garmin beeped, I actually shouted an explitive****. This is uncharacteristic and Laura looked at me. I told her that we had just run that mile in 8:23. Holy sh!t.
I was getting tired, but was still feeling good. I pushed it even further. As we crossed the river and ran down from the bridge on the other side, it crossed my mind to slow down. At this point, Laura turned it on a bit. We only had a half mile to go. Aw, heck... I could suffer for a half mile. At this pace, I would be done before I knew it. I tried not to look down and see how far I had to go. I just ran. In the end, I ran the twentieth mile in 8:05!!!!!!!! I believe that is actually faster than my average pace for my 5K PR!
After an ice bath and attempt at a nap, I was pretty worthless this afternoon. I had big plans to clean, put away laundry etc. Hmmm...didn't happen. I am pretty thrilled with my run though, so my mood is up. Now my head is spinning about the potential of this marathon six weeks away...
*It was over 90 today. At 7:40 p.m. it is still over 80.
**Both Laura and I had to do some fancy footwork not to trip over the leash, step on the dog, plow through the dude, or roll an ankle off the path.
***I love MY dog- docile Beagle who rarely makes sudden moves. When we walk on a path, I try to have him stay close to me in conjested settings.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
warm up mile
4X1600 @7:50 w/ 800 jogs
cool down mile
Here's how it played out:
warm up mile- 8:58
interval mile 1-7:11
jog .45- 8:53 pace
interval mile 2- 7:10
jog .37- 9:28 pace
interval mile 3- 7:14
jog .5- 9:12
interval mile 4-6:50 (!!!!!!!!)
cool down mile- 9:36
total- 7.33 miles in 59:18, average pace 8:05
I forgot my iPod today, which was really frustrating. I am thrilled with the fact that I was able to run without music for an entire hour. Maybe my fast splits can be attributed to no music. It was like running on a treadmill-- I just wanted to get it over with. At least it was a nice day- sunny, none of yesterday's winds and in the 50's.
My shins were bothering me. They didn't hurt enough to keep me from running, but I felt them the entire time. The good thing is that the warmer my muscles got, the less they bothered me. I have iced them a bit and plan on icing more tonight after I put the kids down. I have worked too hard to let my shins hold me back. It is time to baby them!!
Wow... what a change from Tuesday's sluggish run!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I had a crazy idea at one point to do my speedwork and tempo runs on Tuesdays because the kids are both in school. There is no way I could have done anything resembling "tempo" today. There is a reason that those kinds of workouts are scheduled toward the end of the week.
On a positive note, despite a pretty horrendous run where my legs felt like lead, I had an uneventful and relaxing birthday today. My husband knows that I love massages. Right now, there is no way we can justify a trip to a spa. So he set up our massage table and gave me a salon-quality massage. Maybe he should consider a career change since the Finance Director/CFO angle is not showing much promise right now. *wink*
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Laura and I couldn't sync our schedules today, so I ran sixteen miles by myself. I decided to go where I was the most comfortable-the bay. It really doesn't get old, especially when the first five miles was along the ocean. It doesn't get much better than that. I started out listening to a book on tape and switched to music around four or five miles. It was a nice day for a run... not too hot and not too cold.
I was pretty darn pleased with how I did.
mile 1- 9:40 (ah, a nice, relaxing run along the ocean. My training schedule calls for a 9:49 pace)
mile 2- 9:30
mile 3- 9:29 (one second counts, doesn't it?)
mile 4- 9:26
mile 5- 9:17
mile 6- 9:11
mile 7- 9:09
mile 8- 9:08
mile 9- 9:06
mile 10- 9:04
mile 11- 9:03
mile 12- 9:00
mile 13- 8:55
mile 14- 8:51
mile 15- 8:51 (close enough, right?)
mile 16- 8:39 (yeah, baby! THAT'S what I am talking about...but it killed me! That last mile had a steep hill and then a bridge over the bay. I was hurting when I finally finished it)
.66- 10:31 m/m pace (I walked for a little bit before jogging back to the car)
Overall average pace: 9:11 (That pace would get me just over 4 hours in the marathon). I am not sure I could have gone another ten miles though... Hmmm. We'll see.
Today's run represents how my running in general has been. It has been a steady progression. I am thrilled with how far I have come in a year. A year ago, I would have been jumping for joy to run at a 9:40 pace. Now that is my easy warm-up.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
When I ended that mile, I slowed down to recover. I suddenly started to wonder if I had run five or six miles (since I added distance at the beginning, I couldn't use the mile markers on the trail). I changed the display on my Garmin* and it said 10 plus miles. Huh??? I have a hard time calculating while I am running and this totally confused me. Somehow, my run from Tuesday afternoon was combined on the Garmin with my Thursday tempo run. Then I was convinced that I had not done enough tempo miles. So I picked it up again, not wanting to shortchange myself. I know I ran at least a minute or so around 9:40. I must have sprinted a bit, because I ran that last mile in 8:05! It turns out that I did an extra mile at a tempo speed. Oh well...
splits- best I can tell...
No wonder I felt like I was going to DIE. I do feel like I am getting stronger and faster, however. I was able to recover pretty quickly. But I don't want to run like that anytime soon. It was hard.
*I like to see my current lap pace while I run. It averages out the lap speed instead of current speed. The only problem is that it only shows the current lap. I am constantly asking Laura how far we have gone on long runs because I lose track. It is funny how mushy my brain gets while I am running.
The golf course at the top is absolutely gorgeous. You may recall that the U.S. Open was held there last year. We run right by it during the race.
While I am very nervous about the brutal race, I am also looking forward to it. For all the people who have told me that they hated it, the same number have told me that they love it. I think (hope) that I fall into the latter group. Such a challenging course with such wonderful vistas should leave me with a sense of accomplishment and wonder.
Happy running everyone!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
.90--10 minute pace
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This is an easy week for my training. Good thing, because I am feeling a bit beat up. Thank goodness I didn't have to do speedwork or a tempo run today. Our schedule calls for easy seven mile runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Tuesday, Kenny and I took an easy 14.5 mile bike ride down at the bay. While I didn't really even break a sweat, my legs definitely felt it. If a triathlon is ever in my future, I have a lot of work to do because my legs felt like jello after. I am not sure how well I would have run after that.
Today, I put off my run all day. I just didn't feel like doing it. The later it is, the less likely I am going to run. I finally did. However, I was running out of time before I needed to get home to fix dinner. Instead of seven, I did five miles. Instead of running it super easy, like I had planned (and what the schedule said), I ran it at my marathon pace. Well... I didn't think of it that way until the second mile. I started out in a nice comfortable pace. I wasn't holding back, I wasn't pushing it. When I saw that I ran the first mile at 9:14, I thought to myself that it was only four seconds slower than a four-hour pace. So I decided to see what it would feel like to keep it under that four hour pace for the rest of the run.
Turns out... it felt good. Can I keep that up for twenty six miles? I don't know. I ran the other miles right around nine minutes. The entire run averaged 9:03. Not bad for a run I almost blew off because I was REALLY wasn't in the mood.
At one point, I started thinking about Boston (crazy, I know). I think it had something to do with the podcast I was listening to. To qualify for Boston, I would have to average 9:48 per mile. It is not out of the realm of possibilities**, but definitely not likely. I pushed it a little in the fourth mile and ran an 8:52. A BQ pace would NOT be easy. I think I need to push Boston far out of my mind and focus on running smart and feeling good during the entire marathon. I am training for sub-four, but will be happy with 4:15. Heck, a 4:30 would still be twenty-four minutes better than last year's time. Maybe I'll think about Boston in three years.***
*I love having random celebrity crushes to keep life a little less serious (and I have enough seriousness in my life right now). My crushes have been various American Idol hotties, celebrity chefs (top on that list is Rocco Dispirito) etc.
**The Boston qualifying time for a 42-year-old female is 3:50:59. Based upon my half marathon PR, several calculators have said that I could run a 3:53 to 3:55 marathon. If you plug in some of my mile times from my speed workout a few weeks ago, the calculators say that I could get under the 3:50 mark.
***The BQ time for a 45-year-old female is 4:00:59!