Saturday, November 28, 2009

A 10K, a 5K-- trottin' turkeys, a PR and a wonderful day

My day started out as I woke up a 5:44, a half hour past my alarm.  Oops!  I had planned to leave at 6 for the Dana Point Turkey Trot, and I take a while to wake up.  I made up my Zip Fizz, got dressed and luckily my body "woke up" before I left the house.  My inlaws live less than a mile from the starting line.  It was so nice knowing that I could take my time and not worry about parking.

I left the house with my drink and my Luna Bar.  I immediately second guessed my wardrobe choice.  I was wearing a short-sleeved top, arm warmers and a running skirt*.  I debated going back for my gloves and changing into tights, but thought that it might warm up when the sun rose higher.  I was right and after a being pretty chilly before the race, I was perfectly dressed after all.  I jogged down to the starting area to warm up.

I was meeting my friends, who had my bib and chip.  They were registered for the 10K and I was registered for the 5K.  Unfortunately, by the time I was committed to register, the 10K was sold out.  This was their first 10K and Kelly was hoping to run it under an hour.  I decided that I would help her do just that**. 

We started out weaving through the crowds.  Kelly was understandably anxious to move around the other runners, but I warned her not to add too much distance by zigging and zagging and not to start out too fast. We would zip into an open spot, get into a groove and then come up on slower runners.  There were several walkers (and they surely didn't look like they were just stopping for a rest).  My question is: when there are two 5K races and a 10K race, why would you choose to walk in the 10K?  And why would you stay right in the middle?

The road got pretty narrow for a bit and it was pretty crowded.  We were running along the ocean (I really wished I had brought my camera!) and turned directly into the sun.  It was very difficult to see.  At one point I was just trying to focus on not running into the woman in front of me.  Suddenly... BAM... I ran into, and tripped over an orange cone.  OUCH.  It actually broke the skin on my shin.  I was lucky I didn't completely fall down and/or take out the previously mentioned woman in front of me.  It stung for a while, but it was just a flesh wound.  My shin is actually pretty bruised and sore right now.  That was some cone.

I kept a good eye on my Garmin and tried to keep Kelly from going too quickly.  We had a nice pace and she was actually able to chat at times.  It was hard keeping the pace consistent, however.  The course narrowed and widened and the crowds never really cleared.  I was keeping the commentary going, pointing out various things along the way (such as a bikini clad woman on a paddle board in the waterway)..  I know how it can be in your first big race, not paying attention to anything else but running.  It was absolutely gorgeous down there.  We ran by the ocean and through the harbor and marina.  I had a huge grin on my face.  We both commented on how much fun it was.  Kelly mentioned that she felt spoiled having her own personal pacer.

I checked in with her from time to time, making sure she was feeling ok.  For most of the race, she felt like she wanted to go a bit faster.  She was worried that she wouldn't finish under an hour.  I told her I would do whatever I could to get her there on time.  We picked it up just before the last mile.  I said to her, "you can do anything for nine minutes!  Push through to the end!"  In the final stretch, I could see the mile 6 sign and knew we would be making the one hour goal.  She said, "this isn't fun anymore."  "Yes it is," I came back with, "you are almost there!"  She asked me if we would make it under an hour.  I replied, "only if we hurry."  "Are you lying to me?"she asked.   I just smiled.  We sprinted in with a time of 59:20!!!***

I think she left it all out there.  She could barely celebrate at the end.  She was tired and thirsty (we ran right through the water stops).  I was so proud of her!  The good news is that when I saw her less than an hour later after my 5K, she looked great and was completely energized.

My official race was starting shortly after we finished.  I handed Kelly my sweaty arm warmers (ah, true friends) and went to the start area.  I wasn't sure how I would do in a 5K.  It really isn't my distance and I have only run two 5K's in the past.  I couldn't even remember what my PR was.  I knew I wanted  to run something in the 24's, but after a decent 10K and a crowded field, I wasn't sure how I good a pace I could keep up..  As the gun went off and we started moving, my phone, that had stayed snugly in the pocket of my running skirt during the past 6+ miles, fell out.  A runner handed it to me.  A hundred yards past the start, it did it again.  Grrrrr....  Forgetting about the option of sticking it in my bra, I decided to hold it.  I also came to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn't PR (stopping and going back to get a fallen phone is not conducive to a good time).

That first mile felt even more crowded than the first race.  I think because I started about halfway back, I was with a lot of walkers and strollers.  I felt like I was passing people like crazy and doing quite a bit of weaving.  My number one goal for the race was to run it under 8-minute miles****.  Unfortunately, the first mile was quite a bit over that (8:20) due to the crowd (and the few seconds of phone retrieval).  I was able to pick up the pace in the second mile.  By the last mile, I was hurting.  Right around the spot where Kelly announced that she wasn't having fun anymore, I felt exactly the same thing.  I stopped marveling at the scenery and wanted to finish it.  I pushed as hard as I could.

I finished and stopped my Garmin, which said 25:15 (I think my time was a few seconds faster than this).  I was a little bummed.  I really wanted to finish under 25 minutes.  I had it in my head that my PR was 24 and change.  When I got home and looked it up, I discovered that my PR from last Thanksgiving was 25:33.  I PR'd after a 10K warmup!!!!!   Where I was ok with my performance immediately after the race because I knew I ran strong, I am delighted now, knowing that I PR'd while running my seventh, eighth and ninth miles!!  After checking out the results***** I am excited to say that I broke the top ten for my age group!!

After meeting back up with my friends, I jogged back to my inlaws' to spend the rest of the day with my family.  Ten quality miles in before breakfast, you can't beat that!  You know, living in Southern California doesn't suck.  I ran a gorgeous sunny course along the ocean and marina and then took my kids swimming.  It was over 80 degrees by the afternoon.  


*it happens to be the same outfit I wore at the Carlsbad Half Marathon where I had my best race ever.
**Please note that I am not really in favor of running as a "bandit." However, I was perfectly willing to pay my fee and help the cause; they just wouldn't let me. I knew I wouldn't get an official time, so helping my friend would be a fun way to get a longer run in.

***10K splits (per the Garmin):
1- 10:07
2- 9:09
3- 9:41
4- 9:29
5- 9:29
6- 8:42
.34 (we weaved a lot and didn't do great at the tangents)- 2.47 (8:13 pace)

****5K splits (per the Garmin)
1- 8:22
2- 7:44
3- 7:49
.18 (I was a bit better with the tangents, but still had quite a bit of weaving)- 1:19 (7:12 pace)

gun time- 26:12
chip time-25:10
overall- 265 out of  2560
female- 45 out of 2560
female 40-44- 10 out of 180

Monday, November 16, 2009

What do I have to prove?

Upon hearing that I signed up for another marathon, one of my friends asked another friend, "what does she have to prove?"*  Hmmm.... what DO I have to prove?  Honestly, I don't know.  Once I have done one marathon, why do I need to do more and more?

Well, let's look at that question.  I find that I need a training plan to help motivate me to get out there and run.  Running makes me feel good.  Healthy.  Alive.  It is too easy to sleep in every day and say I'll exercise tomorrow.  When I have a race on the horizon, I have a schedule and I have a plan on what I should be running.  It works for me.

So why not a half marathon or 10K?  Well, I guess I am a bit of an overachiever.  I like to push myself.  It gives me a certain pleasure to accomplish something that not too many people can do (or would even attempt).  I'm too cautious to climb Mt. Everest--besides... who has that kind of extra money, time and craziness lying around?  I'm not saying that a half marathon isn't pushing myself.  It is.  But there is something about the marathon that draws me.

Being a runner has become as much a part of my identity as being a mom.  I used to be an executive.  I had a powerful job in a pretty tough industry and I was proud of my position.  I traded all that to be a full-time mom (a decision I have never regretted).  As wonderful as it is to have that as an identity, I didn't really feel completely satisfied in this new role until I also became a runner.  A running mom.  And I am in very good company.  There are a lot of running moms out there and every time I meet one, we automatically seem to connect.  We have so much in common and have other things to talk about besides diapers, preschools and timeouts. Now, not only am I a runner, but I am a marathoner.  A year or so ago, my sister introduced me to someone by saying, "this is my sister... she runs marathons."  At the time, I had only run one marathon.  But I liked the sound of someone who "runs marathons."  It made me feel pretty  proud.  Now I really am someone who runs marathons.  Go me.

And honestly... I do need to prove something to myself.  I know what my body can do and it hasn't done it in either marathon I have run.  I ran a twenty-two mile training run averaging around 9-minute miles, but was wiped out by mile 13 on race day after running the same pace.  This is not as much a physical test any more.  It is a mental one.  I need to run smart and stick to my race plan.  I am looking at Surf City as redemption for me.  My first two marathons had my number; they owned me.  I am hoping that this next one I can run on my terms.  I am going to be more conservative with my expectations and goals.  I also think I have a better training plan.  My mileage per week is significantly higher than it was before the Rock-n-Roll.  I hope that this does a lot to improve my ability get to the finish line stronger and faster than before.  What I really want is to have FUN.

What?  Fun in a marathon?  Never.  But I know it is possible.  I have had fun on twenty mile runs, why can't I at least have fun for twenty miles of a marathon?  I recently started following a blogger, Danica,  who lives in this area.  Ironically, she had a miserable time in the Rock-n-Roll as well.  She had her redemption last month in Long Beach and her race report is my inspiration for Surf City.   I WILL smile throughout the race, just like I did during the Carlsbad Half Marathon last year.

So what do I have to prove?  I'm pretty sure that I have proven that I am a runner.  I've proven that I am a marathoner.  By continuing to run marathons, I continually prove to myself that I CAN.

On the running front, I ran 36 miles last week.  I ended my week with not one, but two long runs.  On Saturday, I ran ten miles with my new running friends.  I had originally scheduled eight miles on Saturdays in order to run with them.  Then, I talked them into running a half marathon in January and wrote them a training plan to get them there.  What that means is that they are going to be running a lot more than eight miles, but not enough to keep up with my long runs, which means two long runs.  Too bad there is not a Goofy challenge** around here, because I am training for one!  Our ten mile run had quite a few hills, so we kept the pace pretty easy.  That was good, since I had an even longer run on the schedule for Sunday.

I had originally had fourteen miles on my schedule, but I thought that might be too aggressive in my second week of high mileage running.  I decided to run twelve.  The first nine miles were pretty flat (with some easy inclines/declines along the way).  I kept my pace at a nice easy pace.  I have been listening to books on tape on my long runs, which keeps me nice and slow.  The last few miles were pretty steep.  I found a nice shady horse trail that cut up through a neighborhood.  I am really starting to enjoy running around here.  When living in San Diego, I had to drive to many of the cool running places.  Here, I can get to cool routes right out my front door.  I think next week I might run with a camera to prove that inland Orange County is a pretty place to run! 

I ran twenty-two miles over two days and I was ready to rest today and sleep in past 5:30 a.m.  Back to the dawn patrol tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a nice easy recovery run to start out another week of running.

* After reading some of the comments, I wanted to clarify that this particular friend said this in jest and with plenty of love and respect.  I'm pretty sure she does get it, but the comment did spark a thought process in me... hence this post.

**running a half marathon on one day and then a full marathon the next.

Monday, November 9, 2009

World Run Day

Yesterday was World Run Day and I ran.  I actually didn't find out about World Run Day until after I finished my run.  It is still nice to know that there were a lot of people throughout the world running at the same time as me, many of whom raised money for charity.

I have incorporated two running days on weekends into my newest training schedule.  My new friends aren't training for a marathon, so won't be running the longer runs with me, but I still want to run with them.  We usually do trail runs together, which is great for my Catalina training.  Our runs are not super hard, but definitely not easy.  We are also starting to do middle distances (9-12 miles).  The coach in me says not to do two hard workouts in a row, but I think it is going to work out nicely as long as I don't push it too much on either day.

My Saturday runs are my most fun runs of the week.  This week Kelly, Heidi and I went to the Santiago Creek Trail a couple of miles from my house.  Penny, they definitely allow dogs and the hills aren't too bad, you should try that area next (it actually connects to Weir Canyon).  We ran the trails to another nearby regional park* and then around that park.  We were going to explore the trails leading to Irvine Lake, but Kelly is fighting some tendonitis in her foot and we didn't want it to get worse by adding too much mileage on uneven ground.   I'm looking forward to next Saturday already!

I don't look forward to my long runs as much as I do the Saturday runs, but I am meeting more and more runners around here and I think I'll be able to set up "running dates" by the time my runs get super long.  The woman I met while looking for a place to live is now my facebook friend.  After she is recovered from Ironman Arizona, we are going to try to do some long runs together.  She is running Surf City also.

Yesterday was my long run.  I ran the opposite direction of the loop I did a few weeks ago, which ended with a hellacious hill.  I began with the hill, which is much more gradual from this new direction.  It went down steeply and turned toward the river.  I felt ok, but stopped a couple of times.  I usually drink and eat Gu on the run, but yesterday I stopped to do it.  I used stoplights to rest (instead of running in place).  I was pretty tired.  I'm sure that it had something to do with the nine mile trail run the day before.  Hopefully, I am teaching my body to perform on tired legs.  I still finished 11.25 miles with a decent training pace.  I was definitely ready for my rest day today, but I felt fine.  I am looking forward to a nice, easy run tomorrow to start a new week.

Happy Running!

*The regional park system in Orange County is great.  There is a ton of preserved wilderness.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Into the light...

The past week or so has been a pretty darn good for running.  The biggest change has been the time.  It has been SO nice to get up in the mornings and start running as the sun starts to rise, rather than in complete darkness.  It makes a surprising difference in my outlook.  Yesterday, I was able to find a great trail between the park and the high school for some intense hill repeats.  I never would have run back there in the dark.

I finally feel like I am back in the groove.  I have a training plan I like and my legs have that constant feeling of just a little soreness.  You know that feeling?  The good soreness after a good workout.  It feels like a perfect balance of working hard enough to get stronger without getting injured.  Yesterday's hill repeats were hard and was definitely feeling it going up the stairs.  Today's run felt a bit full of lead, but afterward I had that delicious soreness.  I love it!

There area couple of things that marred this great running week.  The first was finding out that my friend is injured and can't run.  We were going to run the Santa Barbara Half Marathon next weekend.  I am bummed because it would be the first time that she and I would be running together.  I feel horrible for her because I know that not being able to run is killing her.  This was to be her first half marathon.  She is already a triathlon stud, so I suspected that she would have given me quite a run for my money to keep up with her.  I am not running the race; I can't see doing it without her.  There will be plenty of other races.

The other thing was finding out that the Carlsbad Half Marathon is sold out.  That was my favorite race and my half marathon PR.  Last year it sold out in early December.  I never would have guessed that it would sell out the last week of October.  I am sure that I can find a bib on Craigslist or the Carlsbad Half Marathon facebook page,* but then I have to pay a twenty dollar transfer fee, in addition to a somewhat high priced race fee.  I am already spending a lot of money on race fees with two marathons on the horizon.  In addition, I seemed to have moved to a racing mecca**.  I know that I am going to be spending more money in race fees.  I feel bad because so many of my Rockin' Mamas are running it.  The AFC race was so much fun and I would love to hang with everyone again.  I almost feel like I am letting them down.

Despite a few bits of bad news, I feel like things are so much better than they were a month ago.  I feel like I have left a period of darkness and it is gradually getting lighter and lighter.

*There are already several dozen requests for bibs on the page.  It seems to be an incredibly popular race this year.  I bet they could have sold out a race double the size.
**The Greater Los Angeles area.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another marathon?

You betcha! The question is which one (s).

I am 90% committed to the Catalina Marathon on March 13. My friend has signed up for it as her first marathon and I had mentioned to her that if she did it, I would do it with her. It is definitely one up there on my list of races to run. It is mostly off road with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and a herd of bison. If is incredibly hilly and difficult. The winner usually comes in around three hours. MarathonGuide suggests counting on a finish time around an hour (or more) slower than a road marathon. A good percentage of runners come back and do this race again and again.

The big question is whether or not to run the Surf City Marathon a month before. If I do it, I should use it as a training run. But can I run a marathon without trying to PR or go for that elusive sub-four hour finish? If I run it all out, I doubt I'll recover enough to make a decent showing in Catalina. Surf City is on the beach and close to my house. It seems like a great race to do. They have a half marathon option, but I'd really like to do the full. I am thinking about signing up for the full and then I could switch it to the half if I need to.

I am in the process of writing up a training plan. I have already added hill repeats once a week. Yesterday, I found the perfect place for training runs.* My new running friends took me there. We did a great eleven mile run that started out on a bike path along the river and then headed up into the hills. We ran on fire roads that had some steep spots, just like Catalina.

So I am officially back into training mode and very excited about it. Anyone joining me??

*Although I am not sure how often I could run there by myself, since I heard rumors that there might be mountain lions in the hills.


Related Posts with Thumbnails