Sunday, August 28, 2011

T minus one week to half #3

Alrighty then... one week from Half Marathon #3.  And this one matters.  (#1 did and #2 not so much).  So we'll see how it goes.

My goals for the week.

1.  Do the two scheduled RLRF runs (intervals -- 6x400, tempo -- 3 easy miles) and then one more cross training (monday) and then yoga on Wed and Friday (because I've got to do something or I might loose my mind).

2.  Get sleep.  I had a bad sleep week last week.  Seems everyother week is not good these days.  The upside to that is the upcoming week is scheduled for good.  But even if not, I've not made any evening plans this week so I can be in bed reading by 8pm and lights out by 9.  So even if I only get 6 or 7 hours of sleep, I can be in bed for 8 or 9.  That has to help, right.

3.  Eat well.  I'm usually pretty good that that.  Two years ago I completely revamped my eating and it hasn't been a huge deal for me to eat well (I don't do perfect, I do pretty good).  But I don't think overall I actually get enough carbs -- so this week I'll make sure to add a bit in.

I think that's about it really.  I head down to LA on Friday afternoon (yeah, sounds crazy, but if I leave my house when the girl gets out of school at 3pm, we tend to hit the worst part of LA after the worst part of traffic hours.  My usual 5 hour drive into El Segundo takes 6 hours but I've got it down).  I'm staying at my sis in laws (technically ex but there needs to be a word that doesn't have negative connotations as ex does) on Friday night.  I'll go down to Disneyland on Saturday sometime to hit up the expo.  There's another woman I know a little bit from up here running it so I assume we'll manage dinner together.  Then I plan on being all tucked in my hotel room very early.

Then race time...  based on my 10k time of a few weeks back, I'm predicted to run somewhere between a 1:54:20 to 1:55:06.  I'll take any of those times and be a happy girl.  A PR means I have to beat 1:59:02.  As always, the most important thing is to have fun, finish and with a smile on my face.

And then the real fun begins.  A woman I've been friends with since high school is going to come watch me run and then we'll go have breakfast.  I've not seen her in a couple of years so really looking forward to that.  Then I'm off to see my aunt whose non profit has a booth at Orange Street Fair before heading back to the in laws where my daughter will have been completely spoiled by her grandma and two aunts (they convinced her to come down with me by promising her a shopping trip!!).  And if I'm lucky, my boy will have figured a way to get up to the LA area from Camp Pendleton so I'll get to see him too!  My sis in law will have lots of yummy wine for me to drink and someone will have provided dinner -- I'm blessed to be so taken care of when I'm there.

Home Monday bright and early.  A fun weekend all around.   

I'll try to check in before (and I really want to get a what I learned with round one of RLRF down so I can refer to it later) I do know my track record so this may be it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recaps, Interval Symmetry and SJRNR???

It always seems to be a recap life...even though I actually have a ton to say and a few questions and a bunch to figure out.  But whatever.

Also, my q and shift key on the left are sticking...making typing so difficult.  I'm sure it isn't caused at all by the fact that I eat at least one meal a day over the keyboard.  I'm sure that's not it at all.

Anyway, briefly, last Saturday at Sawyer Camp was lovely -- perfect run.  I kept the 9/mile pace which is what I wanted to and got a nice 12 miles without stopping.

For Tuesday Tempo -- I FINALLY nailed it.  RLRF tempo runs are the bane of my existence and it seems like one reason or another I just wasn't able to make them (I'd get the miles but there was nothing tempo involved).  But, I pretty much got this one and I was delighted.  I was supposed to do 2 miles easy (9.45), 3 miles fast tempo (8.10) and one mile easy.  This is what I did:


I needed to slow it down in mile 6 and speed it up in mile 5 but overall this is the closest I've come yet to rocking a tempo (and that's in 17 weeks of the RLRF plan).  There might be hope for me yet.  

And then today's track intervals were a thing of joy.  I'd just upped my paces because of the 10k I ran a few weeks ago and thus was horribly intimidated by the 5x1000 on the schedule (the thing about RLRF is that he does kill you on the Tempo and Interval days).   But then I was intimidated by the 2x3200 and it worked out fine so I just figured WTH and went with it.  So the goal was for each of the intervals to be run at 4.38.  Not spot on but considering I just upped the paces, I was pleased:

1  4.50
2  4.43
3  4.38
4  4.42
5  4.50

I made one and the others weren't too far off -- probably more along the lines of my old paces but it WAS 5.30 in the morning and still dark out so that's my excuse.  But I love this run for the symmetry.  Pure awesomeness!!!  (my nerdy accountant brain is so pleased).  

As I'm winding down with my first ever attempt at following a structured training plan I've learned so much about myself, about training, about RLRF, about running, about recovering .... it has been great and I'm ready to go at it again. I guess that is a good thing as this is the fall of the Half Marathon for me.  So after Disneyland on Labor Day, I've got six weeks to circle back around for Healdsburg on October 16th.  Depending on how I feel, I'll give myself a few days/week to rest and then pick back up with the remaining weeks in RLRF based on that half paces.  I'm excited.

However, I have been toying with idea of running San Jose Rock and Roll half on Oct 2nd (4 weeks after Disneyland and 2 weeks before Healdsburg).  Our running group split into two groups and some are doing this run and the rest of us were doing Healdsburg.  I signed up for Healdsburg as I'd run SJRNR last year (first half!!) so wanted to do something different.  But, it has been in the back of my mind that I wanted to run SJRNR again after all because a. it is fun b. I have friends doing it and c. I wanted to see how I'd do in comparison to last year.  All this was fine when it stayed in my own head, but then after last Saturday's run my friend asked me if I had considered doing SJRNR too? (that's the one she is running)    Oh man -- now it is out there.  I fessed up to thinking about it and shared my concerns.   I think the sacrifice will be the Healdsburg race -- and that's probably okay really.  There is no elevation chart but given where it is, it will be rolling hills so wasn't going to be a fast run anyway -- but just a fun nice day and it will still be that.  But SJRNR is flat and fast (as it is billed) and I love the course (mile 11 is right in front of my ex husband's house -- and since we are all good and get along, he was out there cheering and he was sweet about forcing our darling children to do the same (damn teenagers)), we can park at another friends house and it is local.  I almost can't think of any reason not to run it. 

Other than I will have just run one 4 weeks earlier and will be running one 2 weeks later.  

And the fact that I wouldn't even jump into marathon training after running for a year, preferring to wait two, because I wasn't sure I could do it and didn't want to risk injury.   

But...what the heck, right?  I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been in in my life (which is kind of sad in some respects, but hey, I was the most nonathletic kid around and turned into a very nonathletic adult).  I know I can run the 13 miles so worst case I bonk and turn it into a training run (and the RLRF says 12 miles for that week so that's good, right?).  

What to do?  What to do?  I've told myself I'll make the final call after Disneyland.  I'll wait to see how I feel on Tuesday the 6th.    

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recaps and misc

Saturday was a lovely run out at Rancho San Antonio park.  I'd not been out there in awhile and it felt wonderful to be back on trails and hills.  Though I hadn't been running hills much lately, I was still very much improved over last time out there and that was fun.  My one friend is a hill fiend -- she's just plain awesome at running hills.  I usually fall off way behind her but last week I was able to only fall off a bit behind her.  After the Disneyland half it is back full time at Rancho to prepare for Wine Country Marathon and Half in Healdsburg and that one probably will have rolling hills.  The half course map doesn't have elevations but I just can't imagine it is flat given where it is.

Tuesday tempo was actually Monday tempo this week  -- and it was just okay.  I just seem to suck at tempo runs and rarely hit the suggested paces. I'm kind of resigned to it all and like a normal run, felt great when I was done.

And Thursday track was completed today and I was quite pleased with the results.  The schedule called for 2 x 3200 and I was dreading that.  I mean really, how on earth am I supposed to count 8 trips around the track (I start loosing it at about 3 or 4)?  And keep a pace? And make it fast?  And the RLRF book didn't even give me a suggested pace to work with.  

It is funny how often when I dread something so much, the reality is just not nearly bad at all.  In this case, I actually liked the 3200's -- could get into a groove though when I got into too much of a groove, I lost track of the lap.  But I managed to stay focused by repeating the number of the lap I'd just finished half way through the next lap so I didn't blow it there.  I was going to try for a pace in the low 8's but saw I could manage an upper 7's just fine enough (with somework towards the end).  So the first set was at an average pace of 7.52 and the second set was at an average of 7.56. I was pleased.

Saturday is planned 12 miles and then I start the wind down for the half on Labor Day Sunday.  It will be fun to see how this one plays out -- as this is the first half that I will have followed (or tried to follow) an actual training plan.  Halfs 1 and 2 were just preceded by me just running a few times a week with longer runs on Saturday and some speed training toward the end.  (And to be fair to my running buddy, she did a plan for the 2nd half, we just didn't follow it very well).  But nothing as organized as I'm doing now (and I still have lots of room for improvement in my plan following).

On Monday's tempo run I strapped on the heart rate monitor that came with my Garmin (and that I'd never used) and now I'm all excited!  More data!!  More data to understand, organize, classify and just deal with -- love it.  I don't, however, love wearing that thing.  It is clunky across the front and is just a smidgen too big and messes with the bra and then slides down a bit.  So have not worked out how much I'll actually wear it.  But for now -- new toy.  More on that later because I've started learning more things (probably things the world already knows) and want to get it down.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I so did not need this today:

Hermes (the messenger cat) was on that dresser in the background looking out the window.  Well apparently I startled him when I walked toward the dresser so in a mad effort to get away from scary me he jumped off the dresser towards that yellow wall to the left.  The mirror was leaning against the wall (yeah, yeah, I know) and apparently his fearful jump was enough movement to cause the mirror to come crashing down.  The sound - oh my.  I possibly could have caught it had I thought quicker, but then it is probably not a good idea to get in the way of a 5ft tall, fairly heavy mirror as it decides to come crashing down.

To say glass was everywhere was an understatement -- there was glass by the door to the room which is completely opposite to this (about 16ft away).  I stood there initially in my bare feet trying to figure out how to get out of the room.  I crawled across the bed and luckily slippers were on the other side.  I swept the shards all towards one pile and then closed my bedroom door and went to work.  Tonight I picked most of it up but there are still tiny pieces everywhere.  They are hard to see until the light catches them.

If this means seven more years of bad luck I'm going to be really annoyed.  The past four or five haven't been my luckiest years and I've been really working towards change.  Dang it all.

But I slept last night.  Which was lovely.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

All I want is to sleep....

In my next life I'm coming back as someone who can sleep.  Because not sleeping sucks.  And there's not much more to be said about that.

After last Saturday's little 10K, I was still going to run my 14 miles on Sunday (that silly RLRF program has you overshoot the half distance and while I love that in theory because it just proves to myself I can do it I hate it in practice when I can't say no to my friends and a race and then still feel like I should pick up the miles per the schedule.)  Anyway, I figured that since two weeks ago I ran 10 miles on a Sat and then a 10K on Sunday I'd probably be able to make the entire 14 on Sunday by just taking it easy.

Well I was wrong.

I was supposed to meet my friend at Campbell Park at 7.30 -- I was running there (about 3.75 miles from my house) but she was driving.  I got a late start so had to book it a bit -- so much for nice and easy.  She only wanted to go about 6 miles total so we were continuing on for another 3 miles (which was really 3.25 ish actually) and it was just a struggle.  I couldn't find a pace that worked -- too slow and I was achy, too fast and I was achy.  I was just achy.  And I know I'm in trouble when my posture all falls apart and my back starts to hurt.  So we manage out 3ish miles out -- stop, stretch, talk and then head back.  I found a sweet spot for about a mile and then was just done.  Like once we got back to the park I had absolutely nothing left.  So she graciously gave me a ride home and I was grateful.  It ended up being 10.5 miles total -- so over 16 for the weekend.  But.... I guess I just pushed it harder than I thought on Saturday.

The week hasn't gotten any better.  When I don't sleep, all of life falls apart.  I try to sleep, I do.  I've read everything ever written on getting a good nights sleep and I follow most of it.  But it seems that when things get a bit stressful (even just a smidgen) sleep is the first thing that leaves me.  Right when I need it most.  So. Damned. Frustrating.

Anyway, in the midst of having a sleepless week, I have managed the two weekly runs.  The tempo went well -- it was my favorite one (1 mile easy, 2 mid tempo pace, 1 easy, 2 mid tempo, 1 easy) and I did well.  Today's interval went less stellar but I finished it (it was an ugly 3 x 2000 w/400ri).  And now all day my legs are achy.  Just tired achy.  But really?  There is nothing I've done that should make them tired today.  I've done NOTHING in the way of cross training so it can't be that.  Of course I've done NOTHING in the way of staying hydrated either -- ha.  So I'm trying to fix that.

Goodness I'm fussy.  It's that lack of sleep.


Monday, August 08, 2011

The Summer of the 10K

Well now, that was a fun little race.

So about a month or so ago, one of my running friends emailed me with a Schwaggle for a 10K in Oakland for $15.  Seemed fun enough -- run in a different place, races are fun, gave us an excuse to get new shirts, etc. so that's what we decided to do.

So Saturday morning found me doing my third 10K in 5 weeks.  The race was at Lake Merritt which is in downtown Oakland -- who knew there was a lake in the middle of the city !  We managed to find the starting point while the race crew were setting up.  This was just a very small race put on by this company who do small races in San Diego, Orange County and now up here (they are, however, going to put on a larger half in April in Hollywood which might just show up on the schedule!).  Anyhow, they are super nice folks and put on a great with some sponsors onsite and a fun goodie bag that included a tree in a box in place of a t-shirt.

But this was it:

I think it totaled about 140 people.

The guy who ran the show made some announcements over a bull horn and was going to lead the faster runners around the lake on his bike while shooing the geese out of the way!

So around the lake twice we go -- nothing too exciting to report on that front.  Places were established fairly on and we all just ran.  I started out a bit too quickly -- but managed to pull back within the first mile and then just felt pretty good throughout the race.  From the third mile on, I managed to just slowly catch people -- but not that many -- there were tons of fasties at this race.

But here I am (in the middle) getting ready to take someone!!

And that's me finishing (they posted a bunch of pics on their FB site -- cool!).  I'm actually smiling and feeling just fine.   Though I do have funny form and have to stop hunching forward so much -- that's a fairly good pic but some are just bad.  

Anyway, I did well.  My time was 51.47 which was a PR (previous fastest 10k was last years Turkey Trot at 52.54) and was well below the Jungle Run 5 weeks ago which was 53.26 -- and we won't count Wharf to Wharf).  So I was extremely pleased.  But the best was yet to come!   We had hung around long enough that it was announced that they were going to post times.  

That's the back of my head (which amuses me) reading my time.  And wouldn't you know, I'd won my age group!!!!!  Like #1.  I was so excited!.  There were only 9 in my age group but still!!!   So we stayed for the awards to be announced (there was small money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd).

And then finally my name was announced!!!  Since I was there with 6 other girls, I had a cheering committee which made it that much more fun.  The prize was a t-shirt and that was just fine with me -- I didn't care if there was a prize or not, I just liked having my name first.

This is me modeling my t-shirt later on (after we were home).

The race was a fast one though.  Despite my age group win, I was rather slow in comparison.  I was 56/140 overall.  But since all the fasties were youngsters it all worked out.  However, the woman who won the 50's age group was 6 seconds faster than me.  So sigh - I don't think it gets easier.

I was quite bummed that I didn't have my watch set properly either so I don't have my splits.  I'm mostly positive I didn't run negative splits but was really looking forward to see how I did.  Doing these three 10k's in the middle of half marathon training was really good.  It gave me more experience racing and the distance isn't anything that requires serious recovery but I learned so much each time.  At the end of this race, I really could have gone around the lake again, but I would have had to drop down to a much slower time so I'm still not sure if I was effective -- like I should have pushed even harder.

I also love these little small races -- and I will run this one again because the people who put it on were just fantastic.  For anyone in Cali (and in SoCal really) go here and see some of their other events.  The website isn't the best but the link to the Hollywood Half works.

And these are some of my running girls:

The event was to promote green awareness and we were told to wear green -- well as you can see by the first pic, not everyone got the memo, but they were impressed we did (hey, there are 3 accountants in this group - we know how to follow rules!!) so the race director started calling us 'the girls with the cool shirts'.  The shirts are very lime and we have our team name printed on the back.

Anyway, it was all in very good fun.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tempo Tuesday within a random list

This is going to be a very rambling post -- I've got tons on my mind to dump.  Maybe I'll even list it out since there is absolutely nothing coherent about any of it.

1. Finally a early morning tempo run where I hit the paces.  I'd been wondering if I could.  Most of the problem has been that getting out of bed 20 minutes before I start running is just not enough time to get my body moving.  Or moving fast.  Not sure what happened this morning but it all worked (and I remembered the inhaler!!).

2. It has been so humid here -- I'm not complaining because we still have fairly cool temps but I'm just drenched after even five miles.  Just soaked -- hair, clothes, shoes and even visor is completely drenched and I have a lovely layer of salt all over my skin.  So, I figured it was about time to investigate electrolyte replacement drinks.  I usually hate those drinks because everything I try is just too sweet.  But after reading enough Nuun testimonials around, I decided to give it a try and:  a. it works!!; b. I can drink it!!  It isn't too sweet so whoo hoo.  I did take it on a run and there is no way I can drink it while running.  It is still too sweet for that but it works really well right after the run and the effects are pretty immediate.

3.  I'm still searching for the perfect thing to eat pre morning run.  I wake up starved but since I'm out the door so quickly I can't eat much but I've got to eat something.  So far I'm liking the Cliff MOJO bars and the Honey Stinger Waffles (just had my first one this morn and yum).

4.  I do love the early morning run, no matter how long it takes to work the kinks out.  I feel so much better when I'm done.  But it is already starting to be dark at 5.30 am (boo) so I'm thinking it  might be time to get one of those headlamps.  Not sure if I'd like one or not but I really do need to be able to see. I live in an older neighborhood and the sidewalks are crap so I need something in order not to kill myself.  It was why I switched to the track last year but the thought of track for regular runs is so depressing.

5.  This makes me so happy I could cry:


This was from my Sunday 10 miler -- and mile 8 was my fastest mile?  In a 10 miler -- whoo hooo.  Happy dance all around.  Not sure what exactly I was doing at miles 4 and 5 (well, I do know, I kept trying to slow myself down as the schedule said HMP plus 20 secs and I was really really trying to do something in the low 9's but it was hard so eventually I just said WTH and went with what felt good and where I could keep good posture which is what I'm really working on to attempt to save my back).  I also love that I felt good when it was over -- starting to get a bit tired but if I was running longer, it would have been gu time and that always provides a noticeable increase in energy.   Still not sure I'll make 1.50 at Disneyland but I'm getting closer.

6.  I'm going to do an about me page because I love reading about me pages and realized I didn't have one based on some questions I've received.  That's not terrible exciting but nothing here really is all that so I thought I'd put it down.  Not sure when I'll get to it as I should be working now and I'm not.  Need break.

7.  I'll leave you with a stolen picture of my friend and I from Wharf to Wharf a couple weeks ago.  I'll save my rant on the costs of the pictures for another time.


Monday, August 01, 2011

San Diego and all that

It has been a crazy past few days.  On Wednesday the girl and I drove to San Diego (her brother was graduating from Marine Corp boot camp).  I forget how awesome San Diego is -- I live in pretty a awesome part of Cali but how on earth does one compete with this:

Or even this:

Or...well, you get the idea.  We made great time so as soon as we checked in the hotel, we headed down to Harbor Ave/Harbor Island and took the above pics looking back on the city.  The sky and the water were that blue.  I'm trying to convince the girl to go to college in SD (a few years off but...) but she said she'd miss me too much (awe) so I said fine, I'll move down too.

We hooked up with my mom and her hubs and ate in Old Town (very close to where we were staying).

Girl and Grandpa had to have ice creams which I get is pretty important.

So the next morning I got up for my tempo run -- it was supposed to be 6 miles but I got a bit distracted with the view and taking pictures so it only ended up being 5.5. Well, actually, while I was stopped taking pictures (yes, it was a bit overcast but still beautiful) I had this young guy come up and ask to borrow my cell phone to make a quick call.  This was 6.30am and while he looked very clean cut I was so suspicious in part because he didn't have his own phone (what teenager in the US doesn't have a phone!  don't answer that).  But he explained that he had the wrong transit pass and he was I let him use my phone.  And come to find out, he was a Navy boy, walking back to the base.   I felt bad that I reacted so strongly but apparently no harm was done other than I had to book it back to my hotel to get ready so couldn't continue my run any longer.  I would have like to as there was some fun art along the waterfront.

Those are rakes!!

So we were off -- Thursday was Family Day!  Basically we got to get a little drill instruction of our own.

And watch the new Marine's run and then stand there and look all scary.

The blond with his  head right under the window is mine.  Then we went and sat down and waited for them to clean up and show back up.

They marched around a bit and stood there a bit while we listened to stuff and then he got to be ours for the rest of the day.  Whoo hoo.

He looks so happy is the general comment I got on Facebook -- and yes indeed he does.  Amazing what a little freedom will do for one when it has been gone for 13 weeks.

We all went to lunch (his dad and other grandparents and an aunt and uncle all showed up after dinner the previous night) and heard all kinds of stories which reinforces my belief that boot camp is just plain hard in so many ways.  But he did it and he is different for it.  Different in a good way - - he's experience some tough times and an entire different cross section of people that he's never been exposed to.  It definitely has made him grow up and understand life from a different perspective.  They were taught to fight a war and be in battle and quite a few of his platoon mates will be deployed (he won't, initially anyway, as he signed up for reserves) and he understood the seriousness of it all.

We spent the afternoon attempting to feed him as he was hungry about every 5 seconds.  We said our goodbyes, went to dinner, bed and then started all over the next day.

Graduation day was more of the same - but with prettier uniforms (and I don't mean to sound sarcastic -- it was lovely all around -- I love the Marine Corp band and it was interesting hearing what they talked about).

After the graduation we headed back to Old Town for lunch.  The only thing the boy wanted to do (after eating) was go to the movies -- he wanted to see Harry Potter but his sister was being a nudge (she'd already seen it) so we all ended up at Captain America which was fairly appropriate and a lot more fun than I expected.  We then went back into LA for Friday night and I came back up to SJC on Saturday. The boy and the girl stayed down in LA to go to Disney and hang with family down there.  I believe they'll show back up here tomorrow.

It was a good weekend and I think despite that this was the most unpredictable thing for the boy to have done I do think it might have been the right thing.  Amazing how it works out sometimes.  He's got more training to do before he's back up here full time and back in school but the difference in his attitude is noticeable.   

I enjoyed a nice and quiet Sunday -- did 10 miles, laundry, errands and finished the afternoon sitting on my front porch with my neighbor drinking wine.  Not bad at all.