Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh sweet success!

After a brutal 16 miler two weeks ago and a shortened long run last week, I was able to redeem myself and run a strong 17 miles! I am so happy. My confidence is back!

I was getting super nervous about it. I postponed it one day because Jen couldn't run yesterday. Her sitter was sick and she wanted to rest her achilles one more day. I easily agreed to postpone as my calf/shin was REALLY bothering me this weekend. I was getting pain between my tibia and my calf muscle as well as the same calf muscle being tighter than usual. I was afraid that I was getting shin splints. I iced it off and on Saturday and Sunday.

It was very bittersweet today, however. Where I had a successful run, Jen's didn't go as well. We started out and Jen was happy that her achilles was feeling fine. I was cautiously optimistic about my own condition, as well. As we ran through the first mile or two, I started feeling a nice rhythm. As we turned onto Fiesta Island, I could tell that Jen was no longer running pain-free. Her breathing was more labored and I could hear in her footfalls that she was favoring one of her legs. Within the next couple of miles her achilles had tightened up considerably. She told me that she could probably run through the pain, but the thought of worsening the condition to a point of rupture kept her from doing so. It just isn't worth it. She decided to walk back to the car and wait for me. We were both really bummed. I told her that it is not worth risking her achilles in order to finish one training run. I told her I would be fine finishing the next 12+ miles on my own.

And I was. I felt great. Surprisingly good. I didn't really start to feel a lot of aches and pains until after 13 miles. The last few miles were tough, but I knew I was going to finish. The best news of the day was that my fastest mile was mile 17!! I ran that mile in 9:37. The average of all 17 miles was 10:02, which isn't half bad. I didn't hit a wall this time. I can't tell you what a relief that was.

There have been times in my life when I think twice about getting into a car and driving 17 miles. Heck, I think most people these days think twice before driving 17 miles. When I stop and think about the fact that I ran that far blows me away! My ultimate goal is still 9 long miles further, but I am now one step (or several thousand steps) closer to that goal.

yay me!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some pictures from Sea Otter

I couldn't get them to show up here, but you can click on the links:

the first one is me at the end of the trail run: brightroom event photography

here I am saying "wheeeeee." It helps to insure the smiling ;-) brightroom event photography

this is a picture from the top of the steepest hill on the course. I am pretty sure that is Robin and me coming up it: brightroom event photography

but I couldn't quite make it without walking: brightroom event photography

but Robin didn't make it either *wink* brightroom event photography

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cross training...

This weekend we hit one of the bike industry's biggest events, the Sea Otter Classic at the Laguna Seca Speedway in Monterey. It was interesting to meet a lot of the people that Kenny has been talking about and see the mountain bike culture up close. I can see its draw and will undoubtably be doing more.

I did an adventure race on Friday. I think that will be my new race of choice. It was so much fun. However, the race was WAY more difficult than I had anticipated. I think most of the participants, at least the ones in our group, felt the same. It started out with a 2.7 mile run. Piece of cake, right? Nope. There was a hill steeper than our street in the first 500 feet before we were even warmed up. From there we went into trails. We had to slide down on our butts a couple of times and climb up back up the hills grasping on roots. It was a fun run, but not your every day 3 mile run.

After the run, we got on the bikes. It was supposed to be a 5-7 mile bike ride and it was 12. For some reason, I thought that the ride would be on fire roads and would be somewhat easy. Yikes. There were some serious climbs during that ride. I had to walk the bike a few times to get up some of the steep hills. I still think I did ok for not riding a bike for many many years. I had to reteach myself how to shift, for crying out loud. I was happy to finish it without falling! On the downhill part, I really had to force myself not to ride the brakes completely. I finally figured out the best way for me not to get too nervous about going fast. I said, out loud, "WHEEEEEEEEE...." Seriously. Luckily, no one was near me. They would have thought I was a lunatic.... whizzing down a single track trail yelling, "wheeeee." LOL. I also talked to myself during the climbs saying, "you can do it," "you're a winner," etc.

By the end of the ride, my legs were jello. But it wasn't over. I then had to complete an obstacle course. It started with quick-stepping through tires, running an s-course on a steep hill, and pulling a water-filled 5-inch PVC pipe around two tires. Then we had to crawl under some netting, military style. There were also some hurdles and holes in plywood to crawl through. It ended with climbing over a 10 foot wall. I crossed the finish line with 2 hours 19 minutes on the clock. I was worked!

Needless to say, that was much more than the five mile run that I was scheduled to do that day. I wanted to avoid over-training, so I decided not to run the full 16 miles on Sunday. I wasn't happy about running that far by myself anyway. I thought that 10 or 12 would be a good run to keep my mileage up without overdoing it. I ended up running eight miles on Sunday. It wasn't the 12 I had planned on, but Kenny had to get to the Sea Otter venue and I didn't have as much time as I had hoped.

The eight miles that I ran was probably the most beautiful and serene run I have ever run. I LOVED it. It was just what I needed. I started at the Fisherman's Wharf. You could smell that great smell of a wharf. It is sort of fishy, sort of salty... [these pictures were taken with my phone]PhotobucketPhotobucket
I ran on a nice wide bike path through historic Cannery Row. The path then went along the ocean a bit. The bike path ended and there was a foot path along the coast. Photobucket The path went right along the sea wall and weaved among groud cover in the sand. The waves were crashing on the rocks, sending spray into the air. I could hear sea gulls and sea lions. I remembered why I didn't enjoy living in Kansas and Missouri, being landlocked. The ocean is truly where I love to be. Even if I don't get down there as often as I'd like... I always have the option to go there on any given day. I ran out to the end of a point. There was a lighthouse and a golf course. I thought that I had run to Pebble Beach, but looking at the map, I think the golf course is the Pacific Grove municipal course. I turned around and ran back through the same path.

I know I could have run longer and even wanted to run longer had I not had the time deadline. I was just glad to be able to get out and get some sort of longish run in. Next Sunday is 17 miles. I shouldn't have any excuse not to finish that one strongly!

Monday, April 14, 2008


I have talked a lot about the support of my running partners. I haven't mentioned the most important support of all-- the support of my husband.

When I first told him about my quest to run a marathon, he didn't really seem particularly for or against the idea. I asked if he would be willing to stay with the kids during my long runs and he agreed. He didn't seem excited nor did he seem annoyed. I think I perceived him as a bit indifferent. I don't really blame him. I talk a pretty big game sometimes, but I don't always follow through on my plans. I am going to declutter the house, paint the kids' bathroom, get bids on a new deck off the master bedroom etc. etc. So I am sure that he was playing the wait-and-see game before he became too invested in the idea. Also, in the early stages, it didn't affect him much. My long runs were just over an our or so. Lastly, when something is so far away, it is harder to get "into it." When I was pregnant, he didn't really get "into it" until I was showing and it was obvious that a new person would be joining our family.

Lately, he has been much more involved. He asks about how my runs are consistently. The other day, I couldn't run in the morning like I usually do. I had forgotten that I had lent out my double stroller, so I couldn't run in the afternoon with the kids and didn't really want to anyway. I asked if he could make it home before dark. I told him that I could skip it if he needed to stay at work. He told me that I needed to do my run and that he would be home as soon as he could. That day I needed that kind of push. I probably would have skipped it had he not made the effort to make it home. Saturday night he took the car and put gas in it for me so I didn't have to worry about it at 5:15 a.m. heading to pick up the girls. Last week, he missed his basketball game so that I could go to a marathon clinic put on by the race organizers. Finally, this past weekend, he completely rearranged his bike ride around my run on Sunday morning.

For the first time, Kenny is talking about plans on the day of the race. He even went so far as to suggest that we start acclimating ourselves to waking at 4 a.m. to be prepared for race day. I am not sure if he knows what that would entail with two small children. I think it is easier for me to be the only one who gets up that early on race day. I am excited that he is starting to think about when, where and how he will get the kids to various points on the course to cheer on their mommy.

He addressed his birthday card to me as "Sexy running chick." That made me smile. My birthday present, at the suggestion of Jackson, is a pair of running sunglasses of my choice. Kenny wanted to pick them out for me, but the people at the store suggested I pick out my own. It is a very thoughtful gift.

The kids are super supportive as well. Jackson is always asking how my run went. The other day I came home from the long run and he asked, "did you run the Marathon today?" He had a huge grin and he looked proud. When I leave in running gear they both say, "have a good run, Mama!" I can't wait to see their smiling faces during the race and especially after it!

I am not sure if Kenny knows how much it means to me that he is behind me on this journey. As the runs get longer, his commitment is needed more. These runs are closing in on three hours.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

That was freakin' HARD!!!!!!!

I have to say that I think that today's run was the second hardest thing I have ever done. Ironically, they both took about 2 hours 45 minutes. The hardest thing, pushing for nearly three hours while delivering my 9lb 9oz first born, had a beautiful baby as a reward at the end. My only reward today was a case of the runs and sore muscles :-P

We ran a beautiful 16 mile out-and-back along the San Diego Harbor. It started well. It was a gorgeous sunrise over the city skyline and the water was still and beautiful. I felt a little stiff, but was confident that I would loosen up. Even at eight miles I was feeling ok--not great, but ok. My ankle was starting to give me some pain along the side. Soon after the halfway point, something got into Laura and she took off running. Lisa and I knew better than to try to keep up with her, although we have each done so in the past. At Seaport Village (maybe mile 10 or so?) we saw her stop at a water fountain, drink and stretch. She was a couple hundred yards ahead of us. We didn't see her again until the end. When Lisa asked me if we could stop at the same fountain to stretch, I quickly agreed. My ankle was becoming increasingly painful and the rest of my legs were starting to tighten up pretty good. The stretching helped a lot (especially the pain in my ankle, which subsided quite a bit).

I just couldn't seem to get into a good rhythm. Lisa and I turned up our music and ran without talking for a while. We were both running pretty labored. I could tell she was starting to hurt too. By mile 12, I felt sore and knew I was having one of my worst runs, but I still thought that all was ok. I said out loud, "I can do anything for forty minutes!" That didn't seem to inspire Lisa much. I think I heard her sigh (or groan?) above my music. We stopped one more time to stretch around there somewhere. It didn't help as much as the other times.

Between mile 13 and 14, Lisa told me that she thought she was going to have to walk a bit. I knew that if I stopped at this point, I would never start again. I told her that I needed to keep running. When she slowed to a walk, I waved to her and kept going. Everything in my body was telling me to stop. By this point, I was feeling REALLY bad. By the time I hit mile 14, I was wondering if I was going to finish. I thought at one point that I had run farther than I had ever run and that should count for something. Did I really need to add two miles on to last week's run?

During mile 15 and 16, my legs were hurting from my hips to my ankles. There wasn't one specific thing I could point to that was bugging me. They just HURT. I remember checking my Nike+ at one point and nearly crying when the lady told me that I had 1.25 miles to go. At that point, my pace was over 11 minutes/mile. I am not sure I could have gone any faster. I hit my powersong at 15.35 miles and it didn't really move me much faster, but it kept me moving.

I ran into Laura, who had finished well ahead of us (she averaged approx. 9:10 on the way back) walking back my way. She ran with me the last quarter mile. I could carry on a conversation... but my legs were absolutely killing me. By the time I finished, they hurt worse than they ever have. I thought we were going to have to get in the car and get Lisa, but she came running up a minute or two after me. We were totally cheering her in! Way to go! She walked for about a half mile and then pushed herself to start running again.

I have a theory on why my legs were bothering me so much. I treated myself to a massage yesterday for my birthday. I had a SpaFinder gift certificate and decided to relax after a rough week. I knew that a deep tissue wouldn't be good, so I opted for the hot stone massage. It felt HEAVENLY. It was just what I needed. However... apparently, massages release certain toxins out of the muscles. That is why they tell you to drink plenty of water to help flush it out. I think that it must take more than one day to do that. Many people say that you don't feel the benefits of a massage until four days after it. Jen warned me. Her massage therapist told her that if you run the day after a massage, you won't feel your best. I thought that I had pounded tons of fluids yesterday, but apparently not enough.

I was actually afraid to get in the car to drive home because I thought I might not be able to move. We decided to go get some coffee and a bagel at Panera. That was the best decision we made all day! I inhaled my bagel and cream cheese and had an iced latte with it. Afterwards, we all felt 100% better. My legs didn't hurt anymore. Well, at least no more than your typical soreness after a long run. I feel pretty stiff now, but I think I'll be fine.

So....I was hoping for a stellar run on the last day of my 41st year. It didn't happen. I felt every bit of my age today. Part of me wonders if it is the universe keeping me from getting overconfident (see my last post). So be it. I am humbled. I just hope that I bounce back next week....
edited to add: A major bummer today was the fact that Jen is sick again. She had to miss our run which totally KILLED her. She told me that she didn't know which was worse- the physical or the emotional pain. I really hope she bounces back SOON.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The magic number. As we are in the final weeks (seven more, to be exact) I am finally feeling like I will make it. We all are feeling confident. We definitely have our ups and downs. All of us had at least one bad run this past week. But those bad runs just get us stronger for the long ones. We have a 16-miler tomorrow. Yikes. But I know that we will all make it.

Lisa took her daughter into the doctor yesterday and she weighed 26.2 pounds! It is definitely a sign. Lisa, who had the most doubts when we started all this, is looking at signs pointing to our success! That is awesome!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the flowers....

Well, not stop, but slow down and look around you. This morning was a gorgeous morning. You know... the kind where the clouds have a lovely pink tint from the rising sun, the birds are singing and it is crisp, but not too cold. My four mile run this morning was a nice jog along the canyon path in my neighborhood.

I was nervous because I thought it would be one of those painful runs that I needed to endure. I didn't feel absolutely 100% and my bed was much more comfortable than getting up, but I looked at the run as a recovery run and it was actually quite pleasant. I felt a little tight, but nothing like other runs I have had.

The canyon is totally in bloom. Everywhere you look, there are those little black-eyed susans (those little yellow daisy-looking flowers). There are birds everywhere and I even saw a little rabbit. One of these days I am really hoping to see a deer.

I ran four miles at just under a 10-minute-mile pace. It wasn't a great time, but it wasn't that bad either. I need to look at each run as a step to get me stronger and more prepared for that ultimate goal.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hills, hills and oh... did I mention the hills?

But we did it! Fourteen miles and we finished STRONG, despite the hilly terrain. We went up to Canyon Lake with Jen and her family. What a fantastic weekend. I'll talk a bit more about the weekend as a whole in my other blog, but for now, I will discuss our twenty miles of running during our mini-vacation (6 on Friday and 14 on Sunday).

If you think about the name Canyon Lake, by definition the lake sits at the bottom of a valley with steep sides. It is not in the middle of a flat desert. We should have known that there would be some hills. You never really think of hills unless they are particularly steep or you are running up them. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining at all. I am really glad we had the hills this week. I know that they made us stronger and they did a lot for building our confidence.

We ran farther than a half marathon. We ran the fourteen in 2 hours and 22 minutes. If you take off 10 minutes for that extra mile, that means that I would have run a killer half marathon in 2:12 or so. Not too shabby. Hmmm... how hard could that La Jolla Half Marathon be?? Nope. Not this year. I'm going to stick with the training schedule since it has worked so far.

So, as I stated above, we ran fourteen miles in 2:22. That is a 10:11 pace. It is a bit slower than last week's run, but like I said... those hills really slowed us down. The best thing about the entire run was how we finished. Our fastest mile was mile fourteen and the second fastest was mile thirteen. We definitely still had 'juice in the tank' at the end! Here is a breakdown of the split times:
Mile 1- 10:24 Mile 8- 10:06
Mile 2- 10:40 Mile 9- 10:03
Mile 3- 10:27 Mile 10- 10:26
Mile 4- 10:18 Mile 11- 10:15
Mile 5- 10:12 Mile 12- 10:01
Mile 6- 10:29 Mile 13- 9:39
Mile 7- 10:09 Mile 11- 9:25

Oh, did I mention that I waterskiied for the first time in over a decade on Friday? That seems a bit off topic, but if you have ever waterskiied you might know why it is relevent. Every muscle in my body was sore. I felt muscles that I forgot were even there. Both Jen and I skiied pretty hard and felt it. I STILL feel it. My arms and back hurt in addition to my quads. We skiied Friday after running six and then again Sunday afternoon after the long one. I must say, I am pretty impressed with ourselves. :-D

Here is a map of our run through the neighborhoods of Canyon Lake:


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