Thursday, July 31, 2008

Such a journey in a short time...

I thought I would jump on the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run bandwagon and post in response to this week's topic.

This time last year, I had just begun thinking about getting into this running thing. I ran my very first 10K on July 28, 2007 (Happy runniversary to me!!!) That was the furthest I had ever run. After that, I was excited to do another 10K and talking about doing a 1/2 marathon.

I half-heartedly said I would run the Silver Strand Half Marathon in November. For one reason or another, I never got any long runs in and postponed the idea of a half marathon until January's Carlsbad Half. I got sick in late November/early December and junked any ideas of training. My friend, Penny, had run her first half marathon in September and kept telling me how great it felt to accomplish something like that and that I should do it.

In January, I was at my Stroller Strides class and my future running partners Jen and Laura made an announcement that they would be training for the Rock-n-Roll Marathon on June 1 and would anyone want to join them. I had occasionally entertained a vague thought of running a marathon.....SOMEDAY. This was the perfect opportunity for me. When would I be able to train with other mothers (with unique scheduling issues such as childcare) where we were all doing our first marathon? With myself and the other Lisa joining, the "Rockin' Mamas" running group was formed.

Six months later, after completing my first marathon, I am completely hooked. Here are the answers to the questions on the Runner's Lounge post:

-Are your goals still right for you this year?
My goal in the beginning of the year was simply to run a half marathon. That was upgraded in late January to a marathon. I am finally doing that half marathon in a few weeks when I run the America's Finest City Half. I am really excited about it. No matter how I do, it will be a PR :-)

-Anything you would change?
I don't think so. Training with my friends was the BEST way to keep me motivated. I have been known to be a bit of a talker (NO, you, Lisa??) and I was afraid I would talk about doing a marathon without actually doing it. I am so proud that all four of our little group finished the marathon.

What have you accomplished?
I ran a marathon!! It wasn't close to the time I wanted to run it in, so another one is probably in my future so I can bury that demon.

What have you learned along the way?
Since June, I have become a better runner, I think. I think more about my form and breathing and less about just getting from point A to point B. The first half of the year was building my endurance and fitness, whereas the second half will be running more effeciently. I am reading Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training for Runners, which seems to have some good info (but it is a little on the dry side).

Altitude training Part 3

Distance: 5.01 miles
Time: 55:44 minutes
Pace: 11:07/mile

This morning, I did roughly the same route as I did on Tuesday and I am happy to report that I ran 14 seconds per mile faster! It was still hard, but I kept telling myself that the pain I was feeling would help me in my race in a few weeks.

I also did a mom's version of a stadium workout. We went to a water slide. I jogged up the stairs (probably four stories or so) with my four-year-old only to find out that they don't allow double riding. My son didn't want to go by himself. We went back down the stairs. They had life jackets, which gave him a lot more confidence. So back up the steps we went. At least I was able to have a nice ride down a water slide. I went through the same thing with my two-year-old (she went down the first time, but then declined the second trip once we got to the top). I probably went up those stairs five times. Does that count as a stadium workout??

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Altitude training Part 2

Well, today was quite a bit harder. Is there a cumulative effect from altitude? I swear it felt like my lungs were going to explode this morning. The uphill parts of the run were really tough. I actually had to stop and walk a couple of times. I didn't even go three miles, but I was DONE by the time I got back to the house.

Distance: 2.69 miles
Time: 32:50
Pace: 12:13/mile

I almost skipped the run altogether, due to lack of sleep, so getting out at all is a success. My four-year-old woke up several times during the night crying with a headache. Bad mommy forgot the bag with the Tylenol and Ibuprofen. I contemplated running to a drugstore to get something to help him, but I didn't know where to find a drugstore that is open all night. After a cold wash cloth on his forehead and temples, he seemed to feel better and finally fell asleep for good.

The trail I followed today was rockier than yesterday's. At one point there was a log across the path that I had to climb over. One thing that was a little scary was that I almost missed the turn to get back to the road where the house is. I was mostly watching my feet, so I wouldn't trip or roll my ankle. That made it hard to watch for landmarks. I really should figure out that feature on the Garmin that can take you back to where you started. Have any of you Garmin users (I have a 205) ever used that feature?

Speaking of Garmin questions... the autopause didn't seem to work the last two days. It worked when I used it in downtown San Diego. Why isn't it working now? Is there a trick to get it to work? When I go to settings, it says that it is activated. I suppose I shouldn't pause it when I am crawling over a log or catching my breath. Maybe Garmin knows that it is cheating? LOL.

I think I am going to try to do one more trail run in the morning. Even though it was hard, I like it better than running on these narrow streets with no shoulder. I think I'll drive somewhere a bit flatter on Saturday for my long run. Maybe I'll try to find a path along the lake.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7400 ft elevation and ROCKED it!

Ok... so maybe I didn't "rock" it, but it was a great run. It was my second run with our new Garmin ( is officially ours *wink*). I still don't quite understand how to use it. I am not sure exactly how accurate it is because the house across the street has a sign out front that says 7100 feet elevation but Garmin says we are over 7400 feet. Either way, it's high up here! According to the Garmin, I ran as high as 7689 feet! *EDITED: I looked again at the house across the street and it does say 7400 feet, so the Garmin is accurate.

Distance: 4.69 miles
Time: 53:29
Pace: 11:24/mile

It was not my fastest run, but it was 1) at high elevation 2) on a trail and 3) very hilly. It was a beautiful morning, not to hot and not too cold. When I started out, I was a little concerned that I would be in trouble from the elevation. As the hill leveled out, I was able to find a nice groove. I ran to the end of the street and onto the trail/fire road in the San Bernadino National Forest. The only time I felt the altitude was climbing uphill (which was about half the time).

I think I might be a trail convert. As we went hiking on Monday, all I could think about was how excited I was to run the same trail the next morning. Today I grabbed a bunch of trail maps when we were out and about. I am going to try to get out again tomorrow.

Did you know that Ryan Hall (winner of the Oympic Trials for the marathon) is from Big Bear? Man, this town LOVES this guy. His picture is up in every business. There is a movement here called Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall. It is part of the Lighthouse Project, a local charity here in Big Bear. I signed up and logged my miles! Why not?

p.s. as I sit writing, I am sitting on the deck looking at the lake (pictures to come) drinking a beer. Ah... vacation. Oh, and one benefit of high altitude is that all I need is one beer to feel buzzed. :-?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

off to vacation!

We are heading to Big Bear, CA later today for a week of (hopefully) relaxation. I don't know if we'll have internet access up in the mountains.

When I come back, I will report on my altitude training ;-) The elevation is over 6700 feet, so my running should be interesting. I am bringing my new trail shoes to try out as well. Heck, training at altitude works for Deena Castor, it should work for me!

Have a fantastic week, everyone!!

Reality check!

I have been getting really confident about my half marathon on August 17. Yesterday's 11.6 mile run was just the thing to make sure I don't suffer from over-confidence. I had been hoping to get pretty close to, if not under, two hours, but now I am not so sure. It wasn't a horrible run, but it certainly wasn't an easy one either.

We started in Balboa Park, right where the race ends. We ran the last few miles along the same streets as the race course, including a killer hill toward the end.

We started about two hours later than we had originally planned. The temperature wasn't too bad, but the humidity was horrible. I have never really been much of a sweater, but lately I am dripping! I brought a sweat towel with me and shoved it in an empty holster on my hydration belt. It really came in handy.

The first part of our run went along the same route as the marathon did. While I often think about the marathon as I drive through various parts of the city, this particular stretch didn't even feel familiar. It was so crowded then and I was so excited that I don't think I paid much attention to that first couple of miles. Once we hit Park Blvd., it all came back to me. I had a lot of fun during that part of the marathon.

As we ran around Petco Park toward the convention center, I was struck by how many people there were. Laura reminded me what it was-- Comic con! What is Comic Con? you may ask. I think it used to be a comic book convention. It has since moved to focus on general sci-fi and now it is described as 'pop culture.' It is the biggest convention in San Diego. This year, the sold out convention is expected to have over 125,000 self-proclaimed geeks and nerds attending. As we ran around the convention center, it was pretty clear that Laura and I stood out from the crowd. Whereas many of the people were dressed as everything from Storm Troopers to super heroes, I had my hydration belt, visor and sweat rag--my own version of a nerdy look. I told Laura that I doubted if too many of them ran 11 miles on a Saturday morning. I doubt if too many of them get outside much at all. Video games and movies all the time, just isn't my style.

Speaking of Heroes, at one point I actually thought it would be fun to go in. I heard, as we ran by, someone announce that they would be letting the Heroes line in. Little did I know but the entire cast of NBC's Heroes was there. I found out later that they showed a sneak preview of the season premiere! I never said I didn't have geek tendencies. I LOVE that show and can't wait for the premiere. But I digress.....

We ran past the convention center, along the embarcadero, on to Seaport Village, one of my favorite spots in San Diego. We ran along Harbor to Ash, where we started on the streets of the half marathon. On one hand, it was nice running through the city. On the other hand....yuck. All too often we would get an overwhelming whiff of urine. San Diego is a very clean city. If it smells like this throughout parts of this city with a nice bay breeze coming through, what do other cities smell like??? I can only imagine the city streets of New York. Laura, if you are reading, do you get horrible smells while you run in NYC??

We finally hit the dreaded 6th street. It doesn't seem like much of a hill. In fact, if you are in a car, you would never describe it as such. But for a mile, it is a continuous climb. After nine miles or so (eleven on race day), it really takes the wind out of your sails. Alissa, I hope you are doing some hills to prepare. Just try to do a long (about a mile) incline of 200+ feet or so at the end of one of your long runs.

In an interesting turnabout, my running partner, Laura, had to stop and walk for a bit around ten miles. This is the same Laura who kicked my ass in every run during marathon training and finished twenty minutes ahead of me in the race. She was having a rough day. It could have easily been me. My point in mentioning this at all is that I am running at par with her now. I think I have really improved in the seven weeks or so since the marathon.

I still have some training to do before AFC, especially if I want to break the two-hour mark. The good news is that no matter how I finish, it will be a PR since I have never run a half marathon. I need to just do the best I can.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Track etiquette and a big, fat "DUH" on myself

This morning I asked my hubby if there is track etiquette (he used to run track in high school and college). He quickly said, "only that the slower people should go in the outside lanes." a HA!

I went to the track this morning, had a nice warm-up mile calibrating my Nike+ and a few speed laps. I was the only one there for a while and I was using lane 2. Why not lane 1, you may ask? I have no idea. But on to that question later...

A couple people showed up on the track, everyone doing their own thing. I passed one guy while I was doing my 400 meter interval. He was in lane 3 or 4. On the next 400 meters, he was WALKING in lane 2. WTH? He just saw me running in that lane. Why would he walk there, even when he heard me approach from behind and move to another lane? There are so many other lanes to use. The other lady there is walking on the outside lane. I just don't get it. I thought it was rather rude.

So as I am telling DH this story he reminded me of a simple fact. "You do know that lane 2 is a longer distance, right?" "Um....yeah, I knew THAT." Oops! I knew that, but my foggy morning brain never quite registered that fact properly. Somehow, in my head, the fact that I started in the staggered position would make up for that. It would, of course, if I stopped at the finish line and not at the same staggered line. DUH. CRAP. No wonder my Nike+ calibration seemed off on Sunday (yes, I ran in lane 2 to calibrate it before). So recalibrating it this morning just added insult to injury. My 400 meter calibration was probably off by 6 or 7 meters. Heck, my mile calibration was WAY off this morning. Good thing KG is getting a Garmin this week for bike riding. I can calibrate the Nike+ properly (but most likely, I will steal the Garmin every time I run *wink*).

So is that why that guy in lane 2? Did he think I should be in lane 1?? I still don't think that someone should walk in the inside lanes, unless he was doing a recovery walk after running...which he wasn't.

The good news is that I am faster than I thought. While I only got in less than half my speed workout (I really need to get out of the house earlier!), I think it was a pretty good one:

1 X 1200*-- 6:19
2 X 400*-- 1:54, 1:50
1 X 200*-- :53

*So because I didn't stop at the finish line, but where I started, I think my intervals were around 1220, 407 and 203.

Even though my speed workout was shorter than I wanted, I did go to Stroller Strides and got in a great cross-training workout.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I had my first memorable running dream...

Remember those dreams from college (I still get them now and then) where you show up to your class and it is the final and you forgot to go to class all term? Well, last night I had the dream that I woke up the morning of a marathon and realized that I had forgotten to prepare for it. It seems as though I had been running, but I hadn't done any long runs, I hadn't hydrated at all, had partied the night before and I hadn't eaten a carb all week. In the end, I decided to pull a Barney* and just run the race.

Does it mean I am growing up when twenty years after college I am finally replacing the final exam dreams with dreams about an unprepared marathon race?

*from "How I Met Your Mother," my favorite sitcom. Here is an excerpt from the marathon episode. Sorry about the commercial. I couldn't find a YouTube clip.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What happened to 'runner's high??'

I had a pretty decent run this morning with a mixture of hills, sprint intervals and a whole lot of sweat. Why am I grumpy and short-tempered??? Shouldn't the endorphines kick in and help things roll off my back?

I have a list of possible causes/contributing factors to my crappy mood (stealing Terri's writing tool *sheepish grin*):
  1. I have been waking up prior to 5:45 a.m. the last three days. [I haven't made up for the early hour with an earlier bedtime].
  2. My children have conspired together to fight with each other every chance they get today.
  3. My two-year-old has decided that screaming and crying is an acceptable form of communication.
  4. My four-year-old thinks that biting his sister hard enough to leave a mark is an acceptable form of communication.
  5. While I don't keep track of these things like I should the way I used to... I am pretty sure that I am a few days from getting "IT."
  6. I mistakenly thought it was a good idea to allow two children under five be out of the cart, running amok in Target.
  7. Black beans+ two-year-old+once-cute sundress= more work for Mommy.
  8. A bowl of black beans falling off a table in a restaurant will always land upside-down.
  9. Two-year-olds don't understand that you can't eat food once it is on the floor of a restaurant. [when told of said rule, said two-year-old vocally protests--- ah, the other people around us surely loved it when we left. Luckily, it was only a casual Mexican place]
  10. I can't stop sweating. [I am not sure if it is super humid or what, but I am HOT today. note: we don't begin to compare with the humidity in areas much further east of here, thank goodness. I hated the summer humidity when I lived in the Midwest].
  11. Yelling at my kids makes me feel like a horrible mom. [It's a vicious cycle]
  12. My best friend just had a baby and I selfishly miss her. [Don't get me wrong, I am more than THRILLED for her and love that precious little Devon. She just has her hands full with transitioning to two kids, having house guests, and a parade of well-wishers. We haven't had our fix of long chats on the phone, vanilla lattes and watching our daughters terrorize each other (to be perfectly honest, it is usually my daughter terrorizing hers)].
  13. I am having a hard time getting excited about my weekday runs. [I am terribly bored of my neighborhood. With the insane hills, there aren't too many options for variety and there isn't much to run to outside of our little community. I could drive somewhere, but the closest nice place to run is about 15 minutes from here. I can't seem to get up early enough to get a good run and the 1/2 hour drive time ].

Sorry for the whiny post. I hope to snap out of it soon. I feel bad for KG and the kids. Luckily for KG, he hasn't been around much to experience my mood (hey, maybe that is #14). But he has seen the disaster that is our home since I am not in the mood to clean or put away laundry. I do worry that he'll think that I need to cut down on my running. This is the first week my legs have been healthy enough to get all my mileage in. I should be thrilled that I am finally following my plan. I seriously doubt I am over training since I haven't even run 20 miles yet this week. I don't want a bout of grumpiness and lethargy to derail me.

WAIT! My mood is already picking up. I just heard the sound of two kids giggling uncontrollably...playing together! That sounds cures most ills.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why have I been avoiding speed workouts??

For some reason, they intimidate me, especially by myself. I am not sure if it is going to the track where real runners run or if it is the workout itself. My friend Laura has been out of commission so I resigned myself that I need to get on the track to do some speed workouts by myself (I have only done one so far!) I have done "strides" workouts when I add speed to my regular run, but not organized workouts with specified interval distances.

Today was different. I had a great time. I actually was starting to feel almost like a real runner. I was bummed that I was limited on time and couldn't complete the entire workout.

I tried a new track. I drove to Cuyamaca College, another Junior College around here. I liked it better than Grossmont for a couple of reasons: 1) it is much closer to my house 2) the campus feels more like a college to me 3) there were other runners and walkers there and didn't feel so isolated 4) they had a drinking fountain and 5) firefighters! There was a small group of firefighters who were working out there. There is nothing bad about firefighters :-) I have a special place in my heart for firefighters ever since the scary fire storm** last October when the fire came so close to our house.

I had a decent workout.
1X 1 mile-- 8:17
4X 200-- :43, :47, :53, :57 (200 meter walk/jog recovery between each interval)

The workout called for two one-mile intervals at a 8:32 pace (working toward a 9-minute-mile half marathon). I only did one of them and I obviously ran it too fast. I really need to work on my pacing. This was supposed to be run at a 10K pace (although I am not sure if I could average 8:32 for a 10K).

It also called for six 200m intervals at 1:01 with 200m recovery between each. I did four of them (it may have been five, but I can only remember four times *blush*) I obviously need to work on pacing for these intervals, as well. I felt good because I ran those splits faster than my last track workout, but I don't think it is as much about the speed as it is about the pace awareness. Does anyone have thoughts on this? After I saw how fast I did each one, I tried to run the next one at 1:01... I didn't have much luck, although I got pretty close.

Today was a nice change of pace. I needed it. My mid-week runs have been hard to get done. I need more variety and motivation to get them in. I will definitely head back to Cuyamaca for the track and the great trails I saw there. They run a Mud Run in the hills above the college that looks like a ton of fun.

The moral of the story is don't be afraid of speed workouts; they can be fun! I just needed to find the right environment.

**Here is a slide show that shows some pictures of the Harris Fire that threatened our house last fall: Most of the pictures are taken from our backyard (the helicopters etc.) and across our street.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My new best friend...

If you have never tried one of these, I highly recommend getting one. This foam roller along with the Stick are two tools that I have found very helpful.

The foam roller was recommended to me by a girl at my local running store, Roadrunner Sports. My hamstring and IT band have been giving me problems lately. I woke up after my 15K with pain alongside my knee indicating a worsening IT band. It hurt me all week, so I rested and didn't run for a week. Every day I iced it and used the roller. Rolling on my IT band hurt like heck, but I think I finally worked out the problem and now I feel fine!
The Stick is perfect for my calf muscles before a run!

My first foray into trail runnning....

I am incredibly impressed that Terri did a 25K trail run (you're my hero)! I did a trail run yesterday morning and barely got over 6 miles, even though almost half of it was on a regular road. It was super hard, but I liked it. It is time to invest in some trail running shoes! Any trail runners out there have recommendations on what to look for? Terri, do you like yours?

Getting up in the morning was a feat in itself. It was the first long run in a long time that I didn't have a deadline (someone to meet, a race etc.) Pulling myself out of bed at 5 was NOT easy. I like to give myself plenty of time before long runs to wake up, eat, go to the bathroom etc. I wanted an early start due to the heat as well as having plenty of time for our family day.

I started at Grossmont College so I could calibrate my Nike+. I had to slip through the chains on the fence to get a quick 400 meters in. I was planning on running a mile on the track, but was worried that campus security would come yell at me. I can't believe they locked the track!

I ran from the college over to Mission Trails Regional Park via Lake Murray Blvd. I have hiked up Cowles Mountain with Kenny before on a different route, but I have never gone on those trails by myself. The trail became really steep. In several spots, there were stairs because it was so steep. I had originally planned on running ten miles, but as I huffed and puffed up the trail, I knew that I wasn't going to make it to the five mile point. I decided to turn around at 3.5 miles. I have no idea how far up the trail I made it, but I my goal is to run all the way to the top soon!

As I ran down the trail, I am pretty sure I went slower than the way up. It was pretty darn steep and I didn't want to break an ankle. As I was ambling down the hill, I passed some hikers on their way up. I saw them check me out, with my hydration belt, visor and ample amounts of sweat running down my face. I could tell from the looks on their faces that they thought I was some awesome ultra runner on her way back from the summit... little did they know that I was just a hack, barely making it down the hill. Maybe someday, eh?

As I said before, I haven't hiked much by myself, especially in the desert. Honestly, I was pretty freaked out about the thought of rattle snakes. I have yet to see one myself, but Kenny has come across several while mountain biking. As I was thinking that every scurrying rabbit was a snake, I had no idea what I would be coming across. I was running up a gradual hill, focusing on the ground in front of me. I rounded a corner and holy $h!t....the biggest coyote I have ever seen! I originally thought it was a dog... a German shepherd, maybe. But no.... this was definitely a coyote. What the hell was he doing out at 7:45 in the morning??? Of course, there were rabbits everywhere, so maybe he was trying to enjoy the smorgasbord. He looked at me and walked nonchalantly the other way. I thought they were afraid of humans! Shouldn't he be scampering away??? I then yelled in my biggest, most masculine voice, "hey!! Coyote!! Go away!!" I am sure I sounded like a nut. But it worked. He moved off into the brush in no particular hurry. I picked up my pace after this, just in case he followed me. A few yards down the road, I passed a hiker with a walking stick and felt better that if the coyote was following me, he would deal with him. Kenny is making me buy some pepper spray and carry it with me when I run alone. Maybe it's not such a bad idea...

I hit the road portion of my run, which was all uphill. Not a good idea to start a run like that above the trail head. The hill wore me out. But I kept pushing, thinking about the hill on 6th street that comes at the end of the half marathon next month. Sixth street is a piece of cake compared to that section of Lake Murray! Check hill work off my list for the week.

When I arrived back at the campus, I wimped out. I should have run back arount the campus to my car. Instead, I cut through the parking lot. I was hot and tired and wanted to get home. I didn't realize that I cut off almost 2/3 of a mile. Where I set out to do ten miles, settled for seven at the top of a steep trail.... I ended up only getting in 6.3 miles. With so many hills, I hope that it counts.

Hey, here's handy tip: have baby wipes in your car for after long (dusty) runs. It felt SO good to wipe the sweat and grime off my face.

Oh! And if hundreds of rabbits and a large coyote weren't enough wildlife for my early morning adventure.... on my way home, less than a mile from my house, what did I see carrying a dead rabbit in its mouth? A freakin' BOBCAT. Holy cow. I even pulled the car over so I could stare at it and make sure it was a bobcat. Yup. Funky tail and all. It ran into a small canyon near our house (behind the north corner of Jamacha and Sweetwater Springs for locals wanting to know).

I have been hitting shuffle on my iPod lately to mix things up. This song came on, which isn't usually my style, but I really liked to run to it.

Pon De Replay - Rihanna Feat A.P.

Friday, July 11, 2008

So which marathon to do??

I have decided that I really want to run another marathon. I don't want to wait too long, but I am also not ready right now.

It needs to meet certain travel and time requirements (since my hubby has already supported my endeavor quite a bit). It needs to either be:
a) local, so it only takes up a day or so.
b) someplace where I can travel (cheaply) for a weekend by myself.
c) it is someplace where Kenny wants to go for a weekend or vacation.

I suggested a marathon in Florida and Kenny wasn't too enthusiastic about travelling that far away. He gets limited vacation time and has his own ideas of how he wants to spend it. I respect that. I would love to find a fun place for us to go as a family and just happen to have a cool race at the same time. Hmmm....

Here are some races I am thinking about:
1) Portland Marathon
pros: I have lots of family there (mom, dad, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews...). I would have a place to stay and people to cheer for me. I LOVE downtown Portland. It is relatively close and I might be able to find a cheap flight. It looks like a really neat marathon. It has a Rock-n-Roll Marathon (they claim to be the original) feel to it with many bands playing along the way.
cons: It's in early October (that's only a few months away). The weather in Portland is very iffy (it is likely I would be running in the rain). I would probably have to go without my hubby and kids because of costs (especially since we'll be flying there for Christmas).

2) Las Vegas Marathon
pros: It's Vegas, baby! Kenny would probably make a weekend out of it with me. We have a gift certificate to the Bellagio that we haven't used. We could easily drive. We might be able to talk friends into coming with us. It is in December, which seems like good timing (long enough to get the training done, and done before the holidays)
cons: It's Vegas. The scenery isn't that inspiring (I suppose it might be cool to run down the strip though, but I have seen the strip many times). I won't be able to enjoy Vegas with my hubby like I normally would (drinks, rich food etc.)

3) Carlsbad Marathon
pros: It is local. I can wake up Sunday morning, drive to Carlsbad (even though it is close to an hour away from where I live) and be home in the afternoon. Even if I can't talk friends into running the marathon with me, I am sure I can find people to run the half marathon.
cons: The half marathon looks way more fun than the marathon. The course does nothing for me. It is several branches of 'out-and-backs.' Seriously, they couldn't have been more creative with the course?

Any thoughts? Suggestions? I have also considered PF Chang's RNR Marathon in Phoenix as well (it's within driving distance), but I don't believe that Kenny would go with me, so I think I would be on my own....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feelin' FIT!

All this running and cross-training has helped me reach some personal fitness goals. At my Stroller Strides class last week, we had a fitness assessment. It reminded me of the Presidential Fitness Challenge we did in grade school. Remember the test of how many sit-ups you could do or how fast you could climb the rope? This was a personal assessment, not a competition, although I do admit, my competitive juices flowed a little, especially during the timed run *wink*
I am probably in the best shape I have ever been in. About ten years ago, I got into working out quite a bit. I lifted weights five or six days a week, but my cardio was usually limited to around 30 minutes or so. Now, I feel like my fitness is at an even higher level. I not only have the muscle tone, but the cardio fitness as well.

During the assessment last week, I was able to do a 90 degree wall squat for four minutes!! I might have been able to do a little longer, but I didn't want to kill my legs for the rest of the week (I had a race to run!). The muscles in my legs were quivering by the time I quit.

I was also able to do 26 pushups in a minute! These were no girly pushups either! I was also able to do crunches for seven minutes straight. My ab muscles hurt more than anything else the next day. There were a bunch of other exercises (calf raises, leg extensions, lat pull-downs) and I am excited to see if I can improve these during the next few months' assessments.

So a simple decision to run a marathon has brought my fitness to a level I haven't experienced before. I am actually thinking about trying to become a personal trainer. This is a tough decision, however. While I know I would love it, and I think I would be pretty good at it, it doesn't bring in the kind of income that I was bringing in prior to quitting to stay home with the kids. However, it does offer a lot of flexibility that my previous career never did. When I am ready to go back (once both kids are in school), I am not so sure I want to work the kind of insane hours I used to work. It would be nice to be home when the kids get home and be a room mother etc.

I hope this post doesn't see too boastful. I just wanted to write about the fortunate outcome becoming a runner. A friend of mine today, who I haven't seen for a while, commented on my fitness and asked how I feel. "I feel GREAT," I replied. And I do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I forgot to share a funny story about my race....

I decided to wear my hydration belt for the 15K. I was so happy I did. It was great to be able to drink when I wanted to drink, instead of when there was an aid station. I was able to cruise right through the aid stations and avoid bottle-neck. My bottles are way easier to drink from than a paper cup anyway. I can drink on the run and I get to drink stuff I like. I carried one bottle of water and one bottle of Ultima. The other two holsters were empty. around mile 7, I was getting really hot and sweaty. I decided that I didn't want to waste the bit of water I had left so I grabbed a cup to pour down my back. It felt good, until I looked in the cup to drink the remainder and saw that it was ORANGE. OMG... I just doused myself in GATORADE! The guy running next to me either saw me do it or heard me exclaim after my realization and handed me a full cup of water (in the same type of cup btw!!). I poured it down my back to attempt to rinse off the sticky mess that I had made.

I am sure I am not the first person to bathe in Gatorade on a hot day. It doesn't help when a race only uses one type of cup. I had to laugh when I did it..... and I knew I would tell the story here!

Biggest Race Day of the Year....

According to, Independence Day is the biggest road racing day of the year. I am happy to say that I have now joined the running community by racing on July 4. And what a great race it was. I was one of several thousand to run in the Coronado Independence Day 15K.

I am happy to report that I raced my best race EVER. I felt good and I finished strong. I beat my previous 15K time from the Resolution Run by over five minutes!!!! I am thrilled. Once again, my Nike+ said that I ran further and faster, but I don't care. I am pretty sure that the course is accurate. Between needing to be calibrated and my own inefficient running route, the Nike+ was off by about 1/4 mile. I am pretty sure that it is common to measure longer than the race distance when you weave in and out of people and take turns on the outside.

Time: 1:24:05
Pace: 9:02/ mile
Rank: 549/1161
Division Place: 33/81

It was relatively cool and overcast. In fact, the marine layer was so low that you couldn't see the Coronado bridge that is right next to Tidelands Park. I thought that it would burn off. The sun really tried to break through, but during our race, we had a nice cloud cover. It was super humid, but at least the sun wasn't beating down on us like it did during the Iron Girl.

Here is a picture of the sun rising as I was wandering around before the race. You can barely see the Coronado bridge peeking through the fog.

This was the first time I had ever gone to and run a race all by myself. Laura is fighting a calf/achilles injury, Jen had scheduling issues and I never hooked up with other moms I know. I arrived at the site really early because I heard that parking could be super tough (around 5:30 for a 7 a.m. race). I am glad because I snagged a GREAT parking spot. I was able to wear a sweatshirt in the wee hours and then go stash it in my car closer to the race along with my race t-shirt and swag bag. I talked to random people during my wait. I even took some pictures of a few people who really got into the spirit of the day.

I took pictures of these couples getting into the holiday spirit. Neither had thought to take pictures, so I sent the pictures to their cell phones in their cars. They were thrilled. I love technology.

During the race, I was able to focus on my running and really get into a good groove. There were times when I didn't think I could keep up my pace and thought about slowing down to rest (I didn't stop at all!) But I just focused on breathing deeply through my nose and trying to get a second (and third and fourth) wind. Funny enough, when I felt myself slumping a little I pictured Kara Goucher. I pictured her stride, so strong and graceful, running in the Olympic Trials 10K. Or I would picture Shalane Flanagan with her look of determination and half smile.
This picture (left) of Kara Goucher isn't from the Trials, but shows how strong she looks
I had fun and it went a long way in building my confidence. I just need to keep it up through the middle of August so I can run the Half Marathon well.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why am I so nonchalant about my race tomorrow??

I am running a 15K race tomorrow and I don't feel much differently than the day before a long run. I guess, in a way, this really is just a training run to get ready for the half marathon in August. I should be eating more carbs and drinking more fluids and it really is like any other day.

My friend Jen said that she looked up last year's times and it is a really fast field. The 9-minute-mile runners fell right into the middle of the pack. Darn! I was hoping that it would be a tiny local race like the one we did in March. I placed third in my age division running at 9:39 per mile. I don't think I will fare as well in this race. In fact, my time (1:29) was 37th out of 59 women in my age group. Oh well.... my main goal is to run faster than 89 minutes. I better go drink some water and have a bagel :-)

Wish me luck!

Six random things...

I was tagged by Jenn to share six random things about myself. Here goes:

1) I used to deal Blackjack in a casino.

2) I like ketchup on my macaroni and cheese.

3) I have a degree in Political Science, was pre-law until my senior year and had aspirations of becoming a US Senator when I was in college. Now I minimally follow politics and really dislike discussing it (although I do vote in every single election, even the small ones with one or two ballot measures)

4) My husband and I would like to retire on a catamaran. We spent our honeymoon on one and it was heaven.

5) I was well into my 30's before I decided I wanted children. I always thought that I would be a career woman forever. Twenty-nine year old Lisa NEVER would have believed that I would be happy doing what I am doing now in terms of raising my children.

6) My husband and I met and dated in 1987, but have only been together for a little over seven years.

Obviously, this last one needs a bit of explaining. We dated for a few months in college in 1987 (truly showing my age now). He graduated and went on his way and we lost touch. We never had an "ugly" breakup, just drifted apart (we were never that serious to begin with).

Fast forward 14 years to 2001. I went on vacation with several friends to Brazil. It is Carnivale in Rio de Janiero and there are THOUSANDS of people on Copacabana Beach in front of several nightclubs and bars. I saw Kenny and recognized him immediately. He didn't recognize me until I went up and talked to him (my hair was shorter and darker than it was in college). He was on vacation with some friends as well. We were both single.

We exchanged e-mail addresses and had a IM, e-mail, phone call relationship for a few months (he was in San Diego and I was in Kansas). Then I was called by a headhunter with a great job opportunity in Southern California. We were married a year later.

Now I will tag others. Unfortunately, it looks like most of the running bloggers I know have already been tagged. Hmmm.... I'll tag Kaity, Penny, Kenny (love of my life) , Bean and Hilly (after that I don't really have anyone else I really know well enough to tag)

Here are the rules:

- Link to the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post.
- Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So lucky to live here!!! (edited with some pictures)

San Diego rocks! I decided to try to run at the beach today. My son was in preschool and pushing my daughter in a stroller isn't too bad (heck, I have run with the double stroller often enough... this was a breeze compared). We live about 20 miles from the beach. That 20 miles can be a 10-20 degree difference in temperature. It was much nicer there than it was out here. It was still 75 degrees and sunny. Other than the icky humidity, it was rather pleasant (there was a bit of a breeze off the ocean).

I am so glad I went. My daughter loved looking at the ocean and all the people. She and I went walking on the beach after I was done running. I ran between the roller coaster in Mission Beach to the Crystal Pier and back. MapMyRun says it is about 3.4 miles. My Nike+ said it was closer to 3.5. I think it is time to calibrate my Nike+. I ran under 10/minute miles which surprised me since the back of my thigh was really bothering me. It is my IT band or my hamstring (back of the thigh, but over a bit on the side). I am going to skip my speed workout (again) in the morning.

The marine layer was well off the coast, making it a beautiful day. The people on the beach were part of a surfing school. Someday, I need to do that!

My daughter was kicking back in the jogger.

I really wasn't trying to take a picture of this guy-- I was trying to show bikers and joggers on the boardwalk.

It is a good thing that I did run earlier today. My husband didn't get home until 8:30. I don't think I would have been motivated to run that late, in the dark.
So I got my dinner after all!

Balancing Act

To steal a phrase from Alissa, I feel like things are quite the balancing act lately and it could all topple at any moment if I let one side or the other get to be too much.

This morning is a prime example of the give and take of my life. I got up early, but not too early (6 a.m.) for a nice leisurely run before the kids get up. I took my time getting dressed, stretching a bit and drinking some water. Around 6:30, I kissed my hubby and said, "see you in a bit, I'm going for a run." He replied, "I am leaving at 7 for an early meeting this morning." Whoosh....wind out of my sails. That's cutting it too close for a 3 mile run. He is still on crutches from his surgery so he needs help making his lunch (which has always been something I have done for him anyway) and getting everything (laptop etc.) packed up and out to the car. I didn't see how I could run for 30 minutes and also get everything done.

I suppose I could have run two miles. The loop I run in my neighborhood doesn't really give me a good two-mile option. Maybe I was looking for a good excuse to skip it. Hmmm.... I will try to run later. It looks like it might be a hot one today and running during the day would mean pushing a stroller. Waiting until this evening looks like the best bet.

So for those of you who run at night, do you skip dinner and eat after your run? Do you eat a light dinner and run afterwards? This has always been a sticking point for me in terms of working out at night. When I used to workout after work, I ended up eating dinner at 9 p.m. or not at all. I really want to get my run in, so I am going to give it a try either way.


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