Sunday, May 31, 2009

We'll call it a silver...

While I listed my time as a bronze, I am going to call it a silver medal. It was not what I was hoping for, but it is a 40 minute PR and I'll take it. I'm just glad I finished. It was touch and go there for a while...

**Edited***Here are the results:
Splits: 10 Km Half 21 Mile Finish O'All Sex Div
Times: 55:18 2:00:03 3:24:01 4:16:10 3997 1243 149
Pace: 8:54 9:10 9:43 9:47

I'll post a race report later.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ready to go!!

I strolled around the huge expo, wishing I had disposable income. I could have done some damage today. I saw compression socks I wanted, races I wanted to sign up for and cute running outfits. The marathon has the cutest finisher's singlet this year! It was fun and we did score plenty of samples. The kids came with us, so they were all about trying smoothies, juice etc.

The shirt is great! Last year they gave us a disappointing white cotton t-shirt. This year it is a pretty blue technical shirt. Yay! Even the bib is better this year. Last year was a plain blue and white bib and this year is a nice San Diego skyline. I can't wait to see the medal!

I have laid everything out and I think I am ready to go. I still need to go over my checklist. I haven't decided if I will be wearing my hat or my visor. On one hand, if it rains a bit (like it did today), the hat will keep my head dry. On the other hand, the visor is way better for keeping my sunglasses on my head. And, if it gets warm later, it is cooler. I think I might wear my arm warmers. Today it was downright chilly. I figure that I can hand off the arm warmers to Kenny near the half way point, if they get warm.

Not shown in the picture are my iPod, Garmin, and fuel belt. I am such a gear head! I am bringing five Gu's, chapstick, Tylenol and my phone. Holy moly!

I couldn't find the live results area (maybe they aren't offering that this year?), but I did find the live broadcast: and coverage: Maybe they'll have something tomorrow. If you didn't catch it in the photo, my bib number is 6053.

We are starting in corral #4! I am a little nervous about that. When I put my estimated finish time of 3:59, I was put in corral #6. Laura wanted to get close to the start this year and estimated her finish as 3:30. She was placed in corral #2. I really want to start with her, but I DON'T want to start with people in the second corral. We split the difference and I moved up to #4. I am going to be very careful not to get caught up in the 3:40-3:45 madness at the beginning. The good news is that I'll have a better chance of seeing a '3' on the clock when I finish.

Ok... a few last minute things and I am going to try to go to bed. I slept HORRIBLY last night and hope I will get some sleep tonight. If not, I may need an extra Espresso Love Gu...

Thanks for all the well-wishes. I can't wait to update everyone!!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Did you ever have the dream where you show up to class and it is the day of the final and you suddenly realize that you had forgotten to go to class that entire semester? I have been out of school for a very long time and I still sometimes have that dream.

Not this week. This week the marathon dreams started.

Don't worry. I am not focusing on negative here. Simple anxiety is at work here. I think that anxiety actually helps me. The school dreams were never indicative of poor performance and neither will these. I never actually forgot to show up to class and I am assuming that none of my marathon dreams will come true either. Knock on wood!

Dream #1-- I show up to get my free Gu along the course. The woman makes me write down my name and bib number. Each runner is only allowed one. We all had to wait in line to get our one Gu. I feel the minutes tick by....tick, tock, tick, tock. As I get my one and only Gu, I suddenly realize that I hadn't brought any of my own! What?? Only one measly Gu for 26.2 miles? What will I do???

Dream #2-- This dream is probably pretty darn common among runners. It is the one where no matter how hard I try, I can't move any faster. It feels like I am running under water. Hmmm.... I have actually had runs like that. In this particular dream, I realize that I forgot something (maybe the missing Gu from Dream #1?) and I had to run all the way back to the starting line to get it. As I try to catch up, I run slower and slower. I remember vividly* looking down at my watch at mile 18 seeing 4:18 displayed. I knew that I wouldn't even be able to finish under five hours. The feeling as I woke up was one of giving up.

I am sure there have been others, but I don't remember a lot of my dreams. That is probably a good thing. I am focusing on the positive.

So... what are your anxiety dreams?

Happy Running, everyone!

*which is odd for me, since I rarely remember my dreams and even more rarely remember them vividly.
**image courtesy of

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I hope I DON'T find it

The wall, that is....

Happy Running, everyone...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blog remodel giveaway

I have had the same blog layout for over a year. I don't have a lot of technical expertise (nor the time to figure it out) to give myself a clever, user-friendly blog.

Enter the Zestycook giveaway! He is offering his expertise to one lucky reader (hopefully me!). Check it out: I found the link to this blog and decided to add it to my reader. He has lot of great recipes and techniques and I always love to find new things to make!

Additional goals for Rock-n-Roll 2009

Last week, I wrote about my goals for the marathon. These goals focused on time and results. I had an epiphany on my run yesterday morning. This is my second marathon and I know a bit about what to expect. I have done the training and will run what my body can handle that day. I have decided to try to not obsess about time and to focus on enjoying myself. If I have fun, the time goals are secondary and won't consume me.

Here is a list of some goals for Sunday:
  • Smile
  • Inspire at least two other people to smile
  • Thank at least one volunteer at each water/aid station
  • Strike up a conversation with at least one other runner (this might prove a little harder than last year, since we were at such a slower pace last year)
  • High five at least ten kids along the route
  • Think about my kids any time I feel negativity sneaking in (just thinking of my daughter asking me every run if I am running a marathon makes me smile)
  • Sing along to at least part of one song (either on my iPod or from one of the bands)
  • Dance a little (especially if a band plays"YMCA" or something equally as cheesy)
  • Say "woo hoo" (or something equally as cheery) at least twice (ok... these last few are pretty silly, but I want to make sure I don't become too serious through all this)
Happy Running everyone!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Taking it to the next level

Let's face it. I am 42 years old and have been running for less than two years. I will never be competitive in running. Women my age placing in their age group have been running for decades. I might have a shot at an age group award in some small local race. Unfortunately, there aren't too many of those in San Diego.

So.... taking it to the next level has taken on new meaning for me. While I will never be an elite athlete or anything approaching that, I can share what I have learned with others (especially women who are just starting out). It is something that I love to do. That is why I have enrolled in the RRCA* Coaching Certification program in two weeks.
The RRCA program focuses on issues specific to adult road running and racing, including coaching fundamentals, scientific background and the establishment of training schedules and goals to help athletes reach their running potential. Whether the goals are race specific or general fitness, this program will provide the background and training to work with individual runners.
I am super excited. We justified the cost in that I might actually be able to make money with this. I can certainly deduct it from my income taxes for my Stroller Strides income. But ultimately, this is a way to fuel my passion. I have always loved school and learning. I am thrilled at the idea of spending two long days learning more about running!

I am hoping that I can learn a lot and can make this blog a resource to other runners. I am also hoping to add value to my current Stroller Strides clients who want to add running to their fitness regime. Oh... and maybe I can improve my own running along the way.

On a completely different subject, I ran my last long run today before the Rock-n-Roll Marathon next weekend. We ran eight miles. My shins were not feeling good at all. The good news is that they didn't hurt bad enough to hurt my gait or stop me from running. I took it easy and as I ran, the pain wasn't very noticeable. I am going to continue to ice, ice, ice. I am also going to take it very easy this week. The key seems to be in my calves. I have been doing the foam roller and I can feel a knot in both calves. I'm going to keep working on them. It was nice to run with Laura this morning. We kept up a nice conversation and enjoyed the quiet bay front. We hadn't run along the big bay together since AFC.

I hope everyone has a nice long weekend. Happy running!

*Road Runners Clubs of America

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just a run

Sometimes a run is just a run. It's not a great run and it isn't a bad run. But, in my opinion, 'just a run' is a good thing. When you are fighting an injury and just trying to stay loose during taper, it is good to have an uneventful run.

I ran just under five miles yesterday. I kept the pace nice and easy. I don't think I even got faster than 9:30. It was definitely the right thing to do. My shins/calves felt pretty good yesterday and still do today. I think if I would have turned it into a tempo run like I was tempted to, I would feel it more today.

I will share a bit of a lesson with other non-expert Garmin users. I had my Garmin turned on while plugged into my computer. Yesterday, I grabbed it and ran out the door. When I started my run at the lake, I just hit start and went. It wasn't until I had run about a quarter mile that I noticed that it wasn't registering any distance, just time. It never hooked up to the satellites! I had to turn it off and then back on and wait and wait and wait for it to hook up with satellites. After all that, it counted that first portion of my run as the first lap. That totally screwed me up later, since I can't do math to save my life while I am running. It also counted that extra time without counting any distance. I learned that I need to double check the satellite connection before I start running.

I'm planning on doing an easy eight tomorrow. I am actually looking forward to it. Laura and I are meeting early and running along the big bay. It'll be our last run together until the marathon. We're running the marathon together and we have the same time goal, but we have an unspoken understanding that we are each running our own race. I wouldn't be surprised if she goes out a little bit faster than I do. We'll see. Hopefully, we are both on top of our game and can run the entire thing together, encouraging each other along the way. Either way, we're going to have fun!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A better run

Why is it that my short runs have been crap lately and my long runs are fine? I suppose that is a good thing when I have a marathon in two weeks. I haven't been getting into a groove until the fourth mile or so.

I ran the sixteen mile run somewhat close to my original plan, which was: warm up for two miles, run twelve miles at race pace, cool down for two miles. I ended up warming up for one mile and then running at race pace for fifteen. I should know that I never do cool down miles... maybe that is why my shins/calves hurt today.

I woke up yesterday morning really not in the mood to go for a long run. I was super worried about my shins. I have been icing the heck out of them and abusing my calves with my foam roller and stick. I felt a little aching/throbbing on my shin yesterday morning. I popped a couple Ibuprofen* and tried to stretch out my shins and calves as much as possible. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to run well and might have to quit or slow down considerably. This was probably not the day for a point-to-point shuttle run, but it was our last long run and we wanted it to be a good one.

We did the infamous** "train run." Ironically, one of the coolest things about the train run is riding the train and well... it doesn't run on Sundays***. Bummer. So we drove. It is a great run and worth the drive, but it is pretty darn far from where we live, so we don't do it often. In fact, I missed it last year when the girls ran it, so today was the first time for me. It didn't disappoint. The weather was perfect (low 60's and a marine layer that didn't burn off****). My legs felt fine. Not perfect, but nothing too noticeable.

For me, it was a little run down memory lane. Not far into the run, we were in Carlsbad. We ran several miles of the Carlsbad Half Marathon, my favorite race. Later, as we ran into Cardiff, I saw a restaurant, Ki's, where I used to meet a friend before walking on the beach when my son was a baby. A little ways down the road I saw another restaurant where I met another long-time friend when she came to visit. As I ran into Solana Beach, I recognized the road as the route for the Iron Girl race from two years ago. That was my very first race. Good times!

At mile ten, I rolled my ankle. What a SCARY feeling! Immediately, I thought that I would be sidelined. I limped a few feet and then realized that I could run just fine. I was getting tired and got careless and didn't watch my footing. I stepped on a small chunk of asphalt. I need to be more careful! Last night I elevated it and iced it, just to be safe. It is a little tender today, but it'll be fine.

At this point, Laura started going a bit faster. Where my plan was to keep each mile between 9:00 and 9:10 to practice my pacing, she wanted to average 9:00 for the entire thing (including the warm up). That is when I let her go on ahead. I really wanted to run nice and easy and keep it in that pace range. I am glad I did. I feel like I am getting a really nice feel for that pace.

Can I keep that pace up for another ten miles? I don't know. I averaged 9:07 for all sixteen miles (including the warm up mile). I had several miles that were under 9:00 and one or two that were right at or over 9:10. I am sure going to give it a shot.

I am going to take it easy over the next two weeks. Bring on the taper!

*I know that you are not supposed to take Ibuprofen before a run due to risks to the kidneys. I only took 400mg and wasn't planning on running hard. I felt that I wasn't in any danger.
**Infamous is a relative term, of course. It is pretty well-known in San Diego running circles. AKA Alice and Irene both wrote about their "train run" experiences. It runs down the coast from Oceanside to Solana Beach through great little beach communities and along the Pacific Ocean.
*** The Coaster is a commuter train that goes from downtown to North County. Amtrak runs on Sundays, but it is more expensive.
****Please, Oh PLEASE let the weather be exactly like that in two weeks. Today (Monday) the marine layer burned off by 9:00, just like last year's marathon. NOT good for a four hour race.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Some thoughts on my marathon goals...

First of all... THANK YOU! I really appreciate the supportive comments on my last post. I am happy that anyone read such a whiny thing. Your words of encouragement really mean a lot. I would never have been able to objectively think about my marathon goals the way I was feeling the other day.

I am stealing an idea from a blog I read. However, for the life of me, I can't remember whose blog it was. *blush* If it was you, please let me know in the comments so I can give you plenty of credit. I have been mentally categorizing my goals. I am ready to...gulp...share them with the world. I am not sure if this will motivate me more or just make me more disappointed if I don't achieve them. Stating my goals here worked for Carlsbad and La Jolla, so I am going to give it a shot. Here goes:

Finisher's Medal-- A PR (4:30-4:53). I ran the Rock-n-Roll Marathon last year in 4:54:23. It was close to a half an hour slower than my goal of 4:30.* I ran it a full minute per mile slower than any of my training runs. No matter what, I need to finish faster than last year. Anything slower will feel almost like a DNF.**
Bronze-- 4:15-4:29 This would represent right around the ten-minute-mile pace. I wouldn't be super thrilled, but it is a huge improvement over last year.
Silver--4:00-4:14 This is not my goal, but I will be happy if this is my time. In fact, when I started this training cycle, this was my goal. It wasn't until I started having faster and faster workouts that I started believing that I can do a sub-four. This goal is probably the likeliest scenario. This time represents my pace on the vast majority of my long runs. I would make it my initial goal, but there is something in me that wants to strive for the gold. In my corporate life, this result would be equivalent to hitting bonus targets-- always a good thing. Anything better than your target puts you into "stretch" bonus. Obviously, we always wanted to hit stretch, but were very happy to hit our target goals.
Gold-- 3:51-3:59 Finishing under four hours would be AWESOME. Just thinking about it makes me giddy. Icing on the cake would be if I saw a three on the finish line clock. But even if my gun time is over four, a chip time under four would make me ecstatic. The ultimate would be if I could finish in 3:54:23, taking an hour off last year's time. Can you imagine a one hour PR??? Ah... to dream. I know that I am able to achieve a sub-four marathon. HOWEVER, it has to be one of those days when everything clicks.
Platinum (pie in the sky)-- 3:50:59 (BQ). This is one of those things that I can't really even hope for. It would be a very, very unlikely thing to happen. In fact, I don't think it is possible to achieve such a strong finish without setting out to do so. I won't let myself go out fast enough to average the right pace. However, it is fun to think that if the stars aligned, I could have some serious negative splits. Heck, I was over seven minutes faster than my goal at Carlsbad, who knows what could happen. Yeah right. I felt that my list of possible scenarios wouldn't be complete without listing the ultimate goal. Maybe next marathon??

* Ultimately, my goal was to finish and that was what I told everyone. However, deep down I had hopes of running it in 4:30.
**I know that a five hour marathon is a perfectly good time. I should be happy to finish at all. I just know myself and I know that I will be devastated to run slower than last year, after these past few months of training.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I am going to take this opportunity to whine. It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.

My eight mile speed workout turned into a two and a half mile suck fest. From the beginning, my shins hurt. They both hurt. DAMN. Why is this happening to me??* Shin splints are supposed to happen when you dramatically increase your mileage or run on super old shoes. These shoes are barely three months old. I suppose that they are done. It's the only thing that makes sense.

Oh, did I mention that the junior college where I usually go had some real track dudes working out and I got intimidated? I was afraid I was going to interrupt track practice. There were a bunch of really fast guys practicing baton hand-off, hurdling etc. The hurdles said Cuyamaca College, so I assumed it was pretty official. So, I left the college and drove to a nearby high school. I discovered that they have a cinder track! This is the newest school in the area and they have a crappy cinder track? The college has a nice soft all-weather track. Growing up in Oregon, I assumed that all tracks were some sort of synthetic all-weather track. It seems in Southern California, all the high school tracks are dirt. Damn.

Unrelated to the pain in my shins, my legs would NOT move quickly. Where my last speed workout I was able to run a mile around 7:00, today I was struggling to get to 8:00. I did one mile to warm up at 9:29. The second mile was 8:11 and the half mile was 8:17. And to add to the whining... it was 75 degrees and there was a killer wind. No matter what I did, I could not get into a groove.

I'm pissed that I quit. It was a huge debate with myself out there on the track. I actually headed to the car, turned around, went back onto the track and ran the last half mile. In the end, I decided that to push through a sucky run and risk hurting my shins more wouldn't be the best idea. I meant to run another mile at least, but after two laps I realized that it wasn't happening. Now I am wondering why I didn't just suck it up. What a wimp I have become!

I am starting to have serious concerns about the training leading up to this marathon. Yes, I have had some good long runs. However, I have not put in nearly enough miles during the week. For the past several weeks, I have been resting my shins for at least one run. I have replaced running with biking on at least three occasions.** I am not even sure I have averaged thirty miles a week! There is a little over two weeks left, so it is too late to do anything about it except worry.

Ok...I am done now. Whiny rant is over.

*I told you I was going to whine.
**This week Kenny and I rode 14 miles on Tuesday instead of doing my recovery run.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Twenty-two miler-- I did it!

A year ago, I had a great twenty mile run and then the wheels fell off at the marathon. Yesterday, I had a tough twenty-two mile run where everything seemed to go wrong. Maybe the opposite will happen and things will click on marathon day?

Here is the good, bad and ugly of yesterday's run:
good- I was actually looking forward to it. We had run two twenties already and the last one felt GREAT. Since so many training plans include twenty-two miles instead of twenty, I wanted to push it a little.
bad- Laura and I couldn't work it out so we could run together. I had to start super early because my in laws were coming down and we had plans for the afternoon. Laura couldn't go until later as her husband was working at the hospital. I wasn't looking forward to running that far by myself.
good- The weather was PERFECT. There was a heavy marine layer that lasted all morning. The temperature stayed in the low 60's. I wore a tank top and my arm warmers (hey... the low 60's is still chilly to me). I never got hot enough to need to take them off. I really hope that the marathon has the same weather.
bad- When packing up my iPod in the morning, I noticed that the battery was low. I could not find my iPod charger nor could I find the car charger! I hoped that I had a few hours of charge left. I started the run without music in order to save my battery for the part of the run I needed it the most.
good- I did remember to charge the Garmin.
good- My left shin, which has been giving me the most trouble, felt great as I started.
bad- My right shin was twinging a little bit.
bad- I had planned on running around Fiesta Island for an extra five miles. There was a bike race getting ready to start. I had visions of the scene in Practical Magic where the guy gets nearly run down by an entire peleton of cyclists.* I would have to recalculate my route and I am usually pretty bad about calculating mileage in my head.
good- Fiesta Island sucks anyway. I figured I could just run around various parts of the bay until I got the right around of mileage.
bad- My tummy was starting to bug me around mile 3.
ugly- Around mile 5, my tummy issues started getting serious.** Since I changed my route to go around Hospitality Point, I wasn't exactly sure where a restroom was. I probably should have turned around and used the restroom at Hospitality Point instead of venturing along the bay.
very ugly- I was having flashbacks to two of my big races. I had to desperately wait in a porta potty line at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon and I searched frantically for a potty during the AFC. I ran around Mission Bay Marina looking for a restroom. They were all locked, reserved for marina tenants. I walked up to some men asking where a public restroom was. I must have looked horrible, because one of them offered to unlock the restroom for me. OMG. Thank God. My situation was very bad.
bad- I was feeling pretty icky when I got back on the road. Oh my... I had a LONG way to go. I hadn't even run six miles yet.
good- I turned my music at this point. I was ready to stop hearing myself breath and veg out to some tunes. I hoped that I had a few hours of charge left. Luckily, I did.
bad- When I opened my Gu, I didn't tear the top off well enough so I had to squeeze through a tiny hole. As I tried to improve it, Gu came out everywhere.*** I had a sticky mess all over my hands. I tried to get it off with water, but felt sticky for several miles.
good- The next few miles were fine. I was able to keep my pace at or below race pace (9:10) for most of the splits.
bad- I started getting REALLY tired during mile sixteen. I don't think my last Gu had kicked in. Also, my legs were tired and were starting to cramp a bit. I had planned on picking up the pace and shooting for sub-9:00 for the last five miles, but I was having doubts. I ran mile sixteen in 9:44, my slowest split of the day. I ran the next mile in 9:20. I thought that I might need to reevaluate my goal and just try to finish all twenty-two miles.
good- I was able to kick it into a higher gear after mile seventeen.
bad- The effort I was putting out in these last miles felt monumental. I would be pumping my arms and feeling like I was sprinting only to look down at the Garmin and see my pace around 9:10 or higher. I started to seriously reconsider my sub-4:00 goal. It will be a huge effort to maintain 9:10 for twenty-six miles. I started thinking about other goals that I could shoot for.

I really felt like I was hitting a wall. Around mile eighteen I was really wondering why I decided to push it to twenty-two miles instead of twenty. I started telling myself that I could hit twenty miles and then walk the rest. But I had to get back to my car anyway...why not run it? I was really struggling, but I still didn't want to give up the goal to keep those splits under 9:00.
good, very good- I pushed through the negative self-talk. I pushed myself hard. I found what I needed inside me to run a great last mile. I am proud and happy to say that I ran mile twenty-two in 8:35!!!!!!!

Overall, I ran twenty-two miles in 3:23. That is a pace of 9:13. That is a few seconds per mile off a sub-four pace. While I didn't feel as good as I did a few weeks ago, and my confidence isn't quite as high, I did run twenty-two miles at a pace that is two minutes per mile faster than my pace for last year's marathon. I know I can finish this marathon and finish strong. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be trying to figure out exactly what my marathon game plan is.

*The character survives the barrage of cyclists only to be run over by a truck.
**I had made my self a nice batch of peanut pasta for lunch the day before. I hadn't plan on eating a big dinner. Kenny made the kids macaroni and cheese and I stupidly ate a bowl of it. I am sure that either of those meal choices may have contributed to my digestive issues.
***I know there are some of you who are giggling right now. Shame on you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I guess it is a little like golf

Golf is a strange sport. When you are learning it, you spend most of your time incredibly frustrated. Unfortunately, unless you have a lot of time and money you continue to be frustrated most times you go out. So WHY would anyone persist in playing this inane sport. It's the 'golf shot'*; the glorious shot that brings you back. You can spend five hours (or more if you hit a hundred times like I do) of miserably hitting shank after shank. BUT, on ONE hole (or more for most people) it all comes together. You swing and the club hits the sweet spot and the ball sails through the air exactly where you aimed and even gets a lucky bounce in the right direction. That feeling is what golfers come back for again and again. And the more often you play, the more often you get that shot and the feeling that comes with it.**

Running can be the same way. You have a couple of runs that make you wonder why you put on your running shoes in the first place. Then you have a run where everything clicks. You might even experience the elusive runners' high. Sometimes, all it takes is a strong finish to give you a taste and remind you that you have it in you.

I didn't have one of those spectacular runs that makes you cheer, but I pushed through a wall and found strength to finish strong. Strong enough to bring me back.

I will write more about the good, bad and ugly of today's twenty-two mile run later.

*I am not even sure that is a real term. But my firends and I always use it to describe a great shot. I think it actually comes from a movie quote (Caddyshack? Happy Gilmore? I am not sure).
**I haven't actually played golf in over three years. I used to play much more often when I was working. Golf is big in the casino business.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mojitos by the pool + HOT temperatures = CRAP run

We just returned from a mini-vacation in Palm Springs. Summer is well on its way there and it was over 100 all three days. It was incredibly relaxing. We spent the time out by the pool, under the misters, playing dominoes and drinking mojitos*.

I knew I needed to get at least one run in. I missed my Tuesday run. My shins were bothering me (DAMN these shin splints!!) and I had a million things to do. I planned to make it up on Thursday. My husband was going to join me for the first time ever and I was excited. We stayed up late Wednesday night playing board games and drinking even more mojitos, so I didn't get up very early Thursday. I am not sure if I drank any water on Wednesday. Yikes.

I got out of bed around 6:30. Kenny informed me that he wasn't coming with me because it was too hot. I slowly got ready, drank some water etc. I planned on running 5 easy miles. I didn't get out the door until after 7. It was already hot, especially in the sun (I am pretty sure it was over 80). It didn't take long for me to realize that I was already dehydrated. Not only that, but my shins were still hurting**.

I ran around the neighborhood where we were staying. I was having a hard time even getting my pace under 10:00. The running I did in the pool yesterday felt easier than the miles I ran on the road in that neighborhood (and they may have actually been faster). Shade was sporadic and I stopped several times in the shade just to catch my breath. Terri asked me a while back what the secret to running in the heat was. Well... I am here to tell you that I HAVE NO IDEA. It was at least 85 degrees when I finished. It was very dry (Palm Springs is in the desert) but I was sweating profusely, especially from my face. It was not good.

I ran three miles and was DONE. If I had pushed myself, I think I would have risked my health. I hadn't brought water with me, because I wasn't running far. Looking back, being that dehydrated was probably not my wisest decision. Later that day, I was hit by a migraine. I would be willing to bet that the two are related.

I was bummed because I felt like I really screwed up my week for running. Tomorrow is my last long run before the marathon. I can't believe that it is close to taper time already!! Yesterday, I tried to do some workouts in the pool (running laps across the width, jumping up bringing my knees to my chest, high knees, and keeping afloat in the deep end without using my arms). I also did some pushups and some arm exercises. It was a decent workout, but I doubt it made up for the eight miles that I skipped this week. SIGH. We'll see... maybe fresh legs will be a good thing tomorrow.

On a different topic, I watched my Tivo'd Biggest Loser. I loved that they had the contestants run a marathon. I was pretty amazed that Tara ran a sub-five hour marathon without specific training. Heck, her time was only a couple of minutes slower than my time. I trained for twenty weeks and she just lost 100+ pounds. Wow. And where did Helen get those pink arm warmers?? I want some!! I was really impressed that the oldest contestant, Ron, finished. It took him over thirteen hours to walk it, but he did it. I haven't really liked him as a contestant this season, but he earned some points for his determination.

Well, that's it for now. I hope all of you out there running races this weekend have a fabulous time. Happy running.

*My friend, Jen, makes the most amazing mojitos. The only time I ever drink them is on vacation with her. It is becoming symbolic of hanging out and enjoying the sunshine together with our families. Jen is afraid that she'll become known on my blog as the mojito gal and a bad influence. Will everyone forget that she was my running partner last year for the marathon? Will she get a reputation as a lush? Nah... Jen, it was an amazingly fun and relaxing few days. The mojitos were just icing on the cake. It is nice to indulge every once in a while and even better to do it with good friends! :-)
*I am starting to get VERY nervous about my last 20-miler tomorrow and the marathon in a few weeks.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Four Part Harmony

Boy am I tired! My day was full of activity. My exercise occurred in basically four parts.

PART 1-The first five miles: before the race
Alarm goes off at 4:45. I usually need an hour to fully wake up before a long run or race. Today I had planned on doing both. My plan was to get down to Balboa Park by 6 so I could get ten or eleven miles in before registering for the Race for Literacy. Between poor late night math and a hard time getting out the door, I ended up not having nearly enough time for ten miles. Beginning at 6:25, I ran five miles around Balboa Park.

I was feeling slow and sluggish. The first mile felt like I was putting in a lot of effort for a 9:34 pace. I started doubting if I should bother paying $33 (a splurge these days) to run in a race by myself. If I were running with someone, it might be a different story. Hmmm...maybe I would wait until I got back to the race area to decide.

I ran up past the zoo and around the outside of Balboa Park. I actually ran for a bit on the actual race route. Seeing cones up closing off the freeway on ramp made me realize that I wanted to run the race no matter how I was running. How often do you get to run on a closed off freeway? I will run on this same freeway in the Rock-N-Roll Marathon, but the other direction-- uphill. Today we run south on the 163, which goes downhill. Yeah.

On easy runs, I have been listening to a book on tape. It isn't a particularly good book ("Confessions of a Shopaholic"*), but it is brainless distraction. I have noticed that I have had a hard time upping my pace while listening to a book (or even a podcast). It is ok for a recovery run, but a bit frustrating for anything other than that. I didn't want to run super fast, but I didn't want to labor for 9:30 miles.

My last couple of miles felt better. I was able to get closer to 9:00 and even under 9:00 for the last mile. When I got back to my car, I saw all the pre-race activity and started to get excited. I love races.

My average pace for PART 1- 9:18

PART 2- The second five miles: the race
I registered and was pleasantly surprised to see chip timing. Since I arrived so early, my car was super close to registration and the start. I went back to my car, attached my bib, chip, drank some water and relaxed. I had over a half an hour until the start.

I met some fabulous people in the parking lot. They belong to a running club I hadn't heard of that is pretty darn close to my house. After talking with these people (both before and after the race) I think I might join them. I think a running club with coaches might be the best way for me to get better and maybe actually get an age group award someday. They were so welcoming that when they all posed for their group shot, they insisted I join in. I felt awkward, especially since they all were wearing yellow "Bonita Roadrunners" singlets and I, obviously, was not.

Finally, the race started. Even though many announcements were made and signage was very clear, several walkers started out at the front. There was quite a bit of weaving in the beginning. By the time we got to the bridge, I was able to get into a rhythm. I started my running playlist that I try to save for races. There is something very comforting about that first song ("Let's Get It Started" by the Blackeyed Peas). It really gets me into that race state of mind.

I have never run an 8K before. I wasn't sure what a good goal would be. Since my half marathon PR is an 8:37 pace, I figured that shooting for 8-minute miles might be reasonable. Ironically, I am pretty sure that my 5K PR is somewhere around 8:15. I was pleased to see my first split at 7:54, despite the congestion at the beginning and the slight increase in elevation.

After mile 2, it was pretty much downhill. I LOVED running on the freeway. I always think it is one of the prettiest freeways that runs through a city. By the time we got off the freeway, the race was almost done.

As we turned onto G Street, I saw the finish line. I turned it on at this point. Holy cow! That was a long stretch! At one point I thought I might throw up. I was pushing hard at the end. They have this great big sign that is easy to see. Little did I know that it was a quarter mile away. That is a long time to sprint, especially after ten miles. I ran that last mile in 7:10!

Finish- 38:43 Pace- 7:48
verall- 308 out of 2666
72 out of 1602
F 40-44-
7 out of 167

PART 3- The third five miles: after the race
I wandered around the post-race festival. I ate a banana, a breadstick and drank some water. I even took advantage of a free massage. Ahhh. I looked around for people I knew were running today. No luck.

The race was a point-to-point with shuttles to get back to the start area. Since my original goal was to run close to sixteen, I decided I would run back to my car. The announcers even joked about "die-hards" running back to the beginning. When I saw the insane lines for the shuttles, I thought that my idea to run back to the car wasn't such a crazy plan. I am pretty sure that I made it back to the park sooner than most of the people made it on the shuttles.

It was actually only a couple of miles from the finish. I had to add a few miles by running to different parts of the park. I had to run around the parking lot a couple of times because I really liked the idea of keeping the mileage the same**. Those last five miles averaged 9:03.

PART 4- An additional couple of miles with my kids
I came home and I was welcomed by my kids asking me to go for a hike. It was a gorgeous day. We hiked about two and a half miles down from our house to the canyon floor and went exploring. I am happy to say that we didn't encounter any snakes! The kids were tuckered out and I had to carry my daughter the last half mile or so for an additional workout. We had a good time.
I am exhausted.

All in all, everything came together. It truly was a harmonious day.

*I usually like the "Chick Lit" genre for brainless distractions, but this one doesn't really do it for me. I think when I am reading I can scan through the drivel and get the highlights and/or funny stuff. When you listen, you have to hear every word. Not the genre for that!
**My Garmin showed that I ran just over five miles in the 8K race.

Here are a few pictures from our family hike.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just a little something...

Onwards from AKQA on Vimeo.

Courtesy of (read: stolen from Marathon Mama, Kristina)

Have a great weekend...


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