Tuesday, September 27, 2011

He gets his running skills from his mother....

So my son, the marine, is biding time in North Carolina awaiting his next training assignment and calls me last night to tell me he's the fastest one in his platoon!!  He was super excited because that means he gets to call cadence during the runs and he gets to yell at all his platoon mates to speed up and tell them they aren't fast enough.  He's well suited to this sort of a job.

He also tells them that his mom can run faster then they can which it totally funny because I'm sure it isn't true.  

Anyway, the call made my day.  The boy's running a 19 and a half minute 5k so not too shabby.  He promises to run with me when he's back so we'll see if he's got some endurance in him.  Or maybe he can pace me with a cadence and I'll get my 5k time down a few notches.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Plan B

I've never been 100% type A personality.  Oh sure, I have a lot of the characteristics but I've always had an undercurrent of laziness  and lack of stamina that keeps me out of being Full Force Type A.  I'm totally type A in my head but in reality I'm an A-.   Or even B+.

The older I get (or as a really good friend likes to say 'the less young we become') my brain is even  taking a break from all A all the time. Since I started running, I didn't have to remind myself to have a rest day -- I love rest days.  Oh, I don't feel like cross training? -- that's fine, I must need more rest.   So now really where I'm at is that I have Type A goals (I want a 1.45 half - really I do), a Type B brain (well maybe I'll get it running 3 days a week? no?) and a body that can fail quicker than it ever could in the past (ha ha ha -- that's my body laughing at me).

It has been a stressful few weeks.  Nothing huge.  A job that shouldn't be stressful at all has been for very silly and annoying reasons.  And when the going gets tough, I stop sleeping. I'm a terrible sleeper under the best of situations but the first sign of stress and I go into being awake for several hours every night.  So very annoying but it seems to be what I do despite trying everything to not let it happen.   

I knew I was headed downhill -- my runs over the past week and a half have been miserable.  I got a cold sore earlier in the week (gross-- I know.  but I mention it as I ONLY get them when stress gets me).  I had a few nights this week that kept me out until 1am Tuesday night (Wed morn really) and 11:30 Wednesday night.  This is way past my bedtime and even though I didn't get up for early workouts the next day, I knew that wasn't good -- but these were fun things (dinner cruise on the bay with tour of Alcatraz one night (seriously fun) and a wine dinner with friends the other) and not the norm so I pushed on.  Last night I was in bed at my normal 9pm so got up early to do the tempo run for the week.  And you can see where this is headed -- I shouldn't have done it.  The run was terrible to say the least -- before I even started I downgraded it to a nice and easy run.  But even that was SO MUCH WORK.  I seriously thought I was going to die -- and then I did.  I almost fell asleep while in the shower (leaning on the side while attempting to wash my hair!) and then when I got out I was so sick to my stomach I couldn't believe it.  I thought about a work at home day (I can do those sometimes) but even when I sat down to check emails, I was only thinking about being sick.  So I fired off email to girl in office saying I'd be in late and went to bed and passed out for about an hour and a half.  I have never ever not gone to work because I was too tired!  I was kind of in shock actually but when I woke up, I felt okay.  Tired but functioning so I came in to the office.   But now that it is the end of the day, the only thing I can think of is getting home and getting in bed.

This is a very long way of saying I don't know what in the heck I'm going to do about the two half marathons I've got coming up.  The sad thing is, I signed up for the one on Oct 2nd just a couple weeks back when I was all pouty for feeling fine right before Disney and then not performing how I though I should (yeah, bad karma from the pouting, eh).  Two weeks after that one is the Wine Country Half in Healdsburg (will run for wine glass and wine tasting at end!).

I'm doing them both -- otherwise this job will have won and I'm ornery enough not to let that happen.  I'm just trying to figure something reasonable to do over the next three weeks that can do to mostly keep me mentally in the game and we'll just worry about times later.  So I'm working on Plan B.

This upcoming week was going to be a taper week but since I basically took this week as a taper, I'm not sure I want to completely follow the taper on the schedule.  That will freak me out mentally (that whole loosing fitness thing).  But I've also got to drop the tempo runs as they just are confidence busters for me lately.  So I think my plan over the next three weeks to get through two half marathons will be something along the lines of:

Tomorrow -- 10 miles super easy pace ( I'm going to bed at early tonight -- I can handle this)
Sunday -- 4ish miles easy
next Tuesday -- 5ish miles easy
next Thursday -- 5ish miles easy
Oct 3rd -- race (only goal now is to keep sub 2 since I'm so on the fence with that)

Then I think the following two weeks will be just more of the same -- get out there, get the miles in and if I feel like a day or two in that two week period to do a bit of speed then I will.  And if not, I won't and no stressing about it.  Healdsburg will be a rolling hills race so there wasn't really a PR chance.  So my goal for that will be right at 2hours.

This weekend is a bit busy but all next week isn't. So I plan on going to bed at 7 or 8 if I have to (sounds silly -- but when you are awake for 2 or 3 hours in the middle of the night, starting at 8pm is the only way to get a decent nights sleep).   This will get me through next Sunday and then I'll reevaluate the following two weeks.

Sometimes life just goes a bit crazy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Shoes!

I ran Sunday which was exciting for two reasons.  First, normally I don't run on Sunday's but it was just too pretty out not to waste the sun on some workout DVD in the garage.  And the second is that I got new shoes so I had to go try them out!  Whoohoo.

I'm not entire sure yet how all this will work out but for four easy miles, it worked.

New Balance Minimus.  Pretty huh.

So I've run in Nike Frees right from the beginning of my running career (1.5 years as of now !!).  Before I started running (and sort of why I started running) I was doing a lot of walking/hiking training for the 21 Miler that is a part of the Big Sur International Marathon.  When we finally worked up to hiking about 10 mile or so my feet just gave out on me.  They hurt, get blisters and were plain miserable.  It was then that I discovered two things -- body glide around my toes and balls of my feet and Frees.

The Frees were a godsend.  My feet thanked me and I walked  21 miles pain and blister free.

So it was a natural that when I started running, I'd just run in what was already on my feet.  It has worked out fine, leaving one to wonder why I was messing with something that wasn't a problem.  Well, first off, back at Disneyland (and the longs runs since) I started getting blisters (!!) and my feet would hurt like crazy.  This was a bit surprising and painful so I thought maybe it was time to switch shoes and began reading around on different shoes.  I love Runblogger and all his shoe reviews so I spent a fair amount of time looking through his archives.  His shoe recommendation that was most similar to the Frees was the Saucony Kinvara so I figured I might try those.  Almost bought some online but didn't.

Last Saturday evening I went by a RoadRunner store to pick up some Gu and Nuun and thought heck, lets try on some Kinvara's if they have them (and they did!).  But first I mentioned to the sales guy about how I'd run in Frees for a year and a half and was good about replacing them but suddenly there were blisters.  He asked if I'd changed my socks.  Funny thing is, that thought had occurred to me earlier in the day...maybe it was just a sock issue (and the answer was no - the socks I were using were a year and a half old!).  I've yet to test this theory out but will later this week.

Anyway (geeze this is a lot of detail about how I ended up with above shoes) I tried on the Kinvara's and they were squishy squishy squishy which wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  Then I saw the NB Minimus pictured above.  I couldn't remember Runblogger's take on them but they looked cool so I decided to try them on (yeah I know).  I liked them immediately -- totally different feel than either the Kinvara's or the Frees (and the nice sales guys indulged me by bringing out a pair of Frees I could try on with both these and the Kinvaras to note the difference).   I went back and forth and back and forth and ended up with these.

These are very firm shoes so the verdict it out on how much I'm going to like running with them long term.  The sales guy cautioned me to go slowly with them even though I'd been running with Frees and the heel curves up (my term) and it will force a midfoot strike that I may not be used to.  Or, if I were to heel strike I'd feel it more.  I don't really know how I strike -- I can't tell and really need to get someone out to video me.

So on Sunday I took them out for a 4 mile easy run spin.  It definitely changed my gait a bit and I heard myself running.  Normally I'm a fairly quiet runner but not in these baby's so maybe it is how my feet are hitting the ground.  But I wasn't sore at all when I was done so that was good.  I then used them this morning for a (failed) interval session (it wasn't a fail because of the shoes).  It ended up only being a 4 mile session -- but again no pain but awfully noisy running.  My feet felt this run a bit as well (which I thought was weird because I was on a soft track so I'm not making any determinations at all).

Thing is -- even if they don't end up being running shoes, they are definitely comfortable walking around shoes.  My feel love them when I'm not running and they've been on all morning (work at home day, yay!).  At this point, I'll keep to the Frees for the long run and probably the tempo runs (to make sure my blister problem is a sock one) and then run the two halfs coming up in them.  I'll probably use the Minimus for track work and some smaller runs just to see how they work out.

Tis all fun and games.  I'll probably still end up with a pair of Kinvara's at some point.

It is kind of crazy me heading down the shoe path -- this could get expensive really quickly.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catchin' up

Wow, time just gets away.  Hard to believe Sept is half way over.

Well it was a lovely running week last week.  I wanted to take it easy but still managed to run 22 miles for the week.  The runs were all nice and easy reminding me how much I love just cruzing along  and having a smooth runs without purpose.  I kept thinking that maybe I'd blow off all the silly half marathons I've got myself signed up for and just keep with the nice and easy.

Yeah right.

So Tuesday I was back at it.  I decided to pick up the RLRF with as many weeks to go to Healdsburg  (October 16th) and then do a modified taper for SJRNR (October 2nd) in the middle of all that.  And then really, do a modified recovery/taper for the two weeks between the two.  In essence I'm doing some squirrely self constructed training plan using RLRF intervals and tempos. Sounds more complicated than it is.

Tuesday had 10 x 400 on the schedule -- gah.  I remember how I bailed after 7 six weeks ago when I did these.  And when I woke up Tuesday morning I was so exhausted (job stress has been a bit overwhelming lately) I knew I'd never be able to finish them.  I considered switching out to the tempo for the week until I sleepily reminded myself that I always did better with the intervals vs. the tempos with this whole RLRF.  So I managed to get there and I was pleased with the results:  (target pace was 1.49)


I edited out the recovery laps and the warm up/cooldown.  I was feeling pretty good for #7 and was able to keep it up and then remembered that I do like intervals -- these 400s were kinda fun actually. At the end I knew I was working hard and was happy to be done but I probably could have done one or two more before my time started to fad too much.  I figure that is probably a decent place to end.  I do need to get the heart rate monitor back on though.  I got started with plotting my zones and doing all this stuff but then got distracted.

Then today was supposed to be the tempo run - but that didn't happen.  Lack of sleep caught up to me and I just ached this morning -- so I got up and worked.  Which ended up being the best choice sadly as I was on deadline to get something done and had I gone running, I would have been late.   I'm off to bed soonest so I can do the tempo tomorrow.  I hate to do it the day before the long run but I figure it will just make the long run on Saturday slower and I do need to slow down a bit on those Saturday runs.

Not much else -- I'm giving a lot of thought to next year (I can't help it, I'm a planner!).  Next year is the  Year of the Marathon!!  (It is actually the year of the Dragon, of which I am one -- so I figure that MUST bring me good luck with my first marathon -- it just must.)  I have lots of thoughts on that but for another time.  I must go fetch my daughter and then attempt to sleep so I can tempo my way around the neighborhood in the morning. With my headlamp - how exciting.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Dark morning runs...

So yesterday morning I headed out early, 5:11 am, and it was dark dark dark so I tried out the headlamp.  I was pleasantly surprised and how much it didn't bother me.  It felt about the same as a visor so I was cool with it all and I loved being able to see in front of me and my garmin.  I did pass one guy who kind of laughed as he said good morning but I thought buddy, I'm a girl and I'm about to turn off this well lit street and make my way through the dark and killer sidewalk jungle of the neighborhood so don't make fun of me and my headlamp.  Of course, I could have imagine the laugh.  Possibly he just said hi.

However that didn't stop my daughter from just rolling her eyes when I told her (excitedly I might add) that I got to use my headlamp and that it was cool and that it didn't bother me.  But she's just a teenager, and a teenaged girl at that, so I sort of expected that response.

My daughter thinks all this running stuff is just my midlife crisis and I suppose she's right to an extent.  But I've never kept up with anything fitness wise as long as I've done this (and it has only been a year and half!) so I figure this will take and stay with me for the rest of my life in some form.  And as I told her, there could be far worse midlife crises I could have. So there (and I'm pretty sure I said so there to her too proving that the teenager is far more mature then the midlifer.  Sometimes.).    

Anyway, I mostly have this run in the dark stuff worked out.  I've still got to get a reflective vest but then I'm good.  So yay, mornings year around!!  Except for the dreaded rain.... I've got to get Plan B in place for that because I know me and I know there is no way in hell I'll get out of a nice cozy warm bed at 5am to go outside and not only get cold but get wet.  I don't love anything that much (let it go on record that I have run in rain and probably will run in rain again.  But not at 5am, I won't).

Plan B will be one of two things: 1.  purchase treadmill (gah, the cost!!! and ugh, do I really want one of those in my house) and 2. the gym (the cost probably adds up but over time so there's no big money hit!  But I'd have to actually drive to run and will I do that in the rain?).   I'm leaning towards option 2 but I have probably another 6 weeks to decide.  Seems the dreaded rain comes mid October on average.

All thoughts and opinions are welcome and appreciated!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Disney Part 2

I've gone back and forth on how to approach this. Mostly because recounting what went wrong sometimes sounds like excuse making.  Heck, I just didn't do as well as I hoped and that was that.

But I think I might just be too hard on myself (way harder on myself that others).  Because actually, when I think about it and cut myself a little slack, I did pretty well all things considering.  The two things that tripped me up were real -- I'm not so sure about controllable, but real.  So I've learned that I can hang in there despite deteriorating abilities and that has to account for something.

So for starters my stomach decided to go bad on me.  I have a crap stomach in non running life but in running life, I've done okay.  I've been very cautious about what goes in before a run so I've managed never to have real stomach issues during a run.  Not any more.  I messed up a bit on race morning by eating a gu at the beginning of the race (not entire sure what I was thinking because I normally don't do that) but I don't know if it was that, or the spaghetti sauce from the night before (which should be fine but who knows) or the fact that when I just recorded all my food I didn't eat enough the two days leading up to the race (!!!!  I was starving earlier in the week, but then with the travel and all, I managed not to eat enough on Friday and Saturday. DUH!).  I've no idea really but all I know is that at mile two I felt rumblings.  But then things got better and I felt great but was fading at my usual mile 5 so ate a gu then and was all down hill from that point on.  By mile six I was so nauseous that I spent a great portion of the remaining 7 miles spotting places where I could throw up if needed.  And when I wasn't finding throw up spots, I was trying to decide if I should just stop and make myself throw up and then get on with that (the answer was no -- because while the immediate relief is wonderful, the resulting pain isn't worth it).

So that kept me entertained (ha ha).  I did get a brief reprieve during the run through Angel Stadium I guess because I was just so distracted by it all.  But man, back outside and I was just miserable.  I think what started happening is that I was becoming dehydrated as well -- I  had my hand held and tried to sip and made sure I sipped at each water station.  But each time that would send my stomach off -- I still did it because I knew I needed the water but it was just one more thing that wasn't all that fun.

I kept looking at my watch and willing it to stay at 9 min/miles -- and was just in shock at how two weeks previously on my 12 miler I had to keep reminding myself to slow down to stay at 9 min/miles and now I was willing myself to just hang in there at that pace.

Anyway, I kept trucking along so ended up with the following splits:


You can see at mile 10 it was all getting to me. And mile 13 was my attempt to sprint to the end.  Mostly I think it was to sprint out of misery.


What I didn't realize was happening was that I was slowly loosing the ability to breath!!  When I stopped running and took a deep breath to try to catch my breath I had that awful hurting deep in my lungs and that sort of surprised me as I wasn't feeling it when I was running (this has happened to me before, never this bad and usually it is a result of forgetting the inhaler -- I've actually got to figure out how to figure this out while I'm still moving).  So I dizzily got my waters and cold towel and moved off to the side to catch my breath.

I totally did not allow for this -- and should have known better.  I did use my inhaler right at the beginning of the race but I never allowed for the fact that I'm just extra super sensitive to air quality.  I've been down in SoCal there plenty of times, close to the ocean and when everyone else thinks the air is good and I'll have that tightness in my chest.  It looked like a wonderfully clear day on Sunday and I'm sure it was to most people but it got me at the end there (or who knows where actually).  Note to self, I should just stay away from SoCal races...it just isn't worth it.

Anyway, so there's my saga.  And actually now that I've written it all out, I sort of feel silly.  Even without my mini dramas I did just fine.  Not what I was hoping, but just fine.

Oh oh oh --at about mile 9 when I realized that I was headed downhill and there wasn't much of a chance of recovering I decided to run San Jose RNR Half on Oct 2nd.   That's another super flat course -- so should be a nice attempt to try again.

And one final comment -- it totally sucked at mile 12 to 13 when I was getting passed and passed and passed -- everyone who had something left is just shooting by me and  I had no ability to keep up.  THAT was not fun.  But I lived.  ;)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Disneyland Half -- Part 1 -- Only the Good Stuff

Well, mostly only the good stuff.  First off score is:  Mickey 1 – Tricia 0

Damed rat. 

Well, let me first say I PR’d so that is cool, just barely, but I did. 

Apparently my body didn’t realize we were racing today.  I really thought I’d told it.  Silly me.  Still not entirely sure what happened – it was a bit baffling but I’ve got some ideas which I’ll go over below.  But first the good stuff. 

Like I said, I did PR.  1.58.33 (previous PR was 1.59.02 – so you can see I almost didn’t even pull that out of my hat – oh wait – only the good stuff right now).

Disney does know how to put on a race from expo to end.  The expo was fun though I didn’t buy much – I always  feel like I want to and then get overwhelmed and can’t decide on anything.  But that’s just me.  Bib pick up was pure Disney style – the whole set up on how they wind you down to the specific area where everything is located. I was late enough in the day that there was no wait at all so it went smoothly and I was up at the expo in no time. 

The race was great really.  From the very beginning, it was well organized.  I’ve got to give credit to both Disney and the RNR folks – those people know how to start 15000 person race and make it work.  The corral system is spot on so while it was crowded at the start it wasn’t a problem as we were all going the same speed.  

I enjoyed running through the park way more than I thought I would.  They have all the characters off to the sides so if you want pics, you get them, otherwise you just run.  But it was fun to see them along with a lot of the floats from the parade with the characters singing and dancing.  We also got to run back state – so cool to see the behind the scenes.  All the Disney workers were wonderful, everything was super well marked and they even had the Disney man voice warn you when sharp turns were coming up or when the course narrowed (they even did this outside the park – it was actually very awesome!).

 The race got a little boring out on the streets but there were bands occasionally – I’d had my ipod on during this part of the run. 

Another highlight was running through Angel Stadium – it was actually pretty darned cool.  You come up into the field through one of those tunnel thingies and then poof, you are on the dirt in the stadium.   This was about mile 9 and I was just about used up (oops no bad stuff yet) but it was just plain cool.  Then you see all the runners on the jumbo tron (?? The screen,  isn’t that what they call it?).  And they’ve got some high school bands and cheerleaders and others in the stadium and everyone is screaming like crazy.  As I rounded the last turn in the stadium I finally saw the camera so I looked up on the screen and there I was!  It is the small things but I love that sort of stuff. 

The rest of the way in was just tough but that was me – and then when we got back to the Disney property it seemed to take forever to get to the finish but it was there and thank the gods I was done. 
Would I do it again? Heck yeah!  But only with friends – that’s a run more fun with a group – I was a bit lonely.  Would I do another Disney run? I’m sure I would.  I don’t know if I’d put Disney runs on my bucket lists, but if the times worked out and it was convenient, I’d do another one. 

(I wrote this yesterday, Sunday, after the race but didn’t get a chance to upload it. It is long all by itself so I’ll leave it and then do a post later on what went wrong – I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it (that’s what a 5.5 hour drive home will do for you) and I want to clarify my thoughts because honestly, I was bummed.  But all it good!  I’ve decided to run San Jose RNR in 4 weeks and already have the training outlined in my head.  So smiles all around ! )

Friday, September 02, 2011

Raccoon Encounter

I forgot to mention yesterday I had my first predawn encounter with a Raccoon.  We both survived, thankfully, but I'm not sure who was more scared, the raccoon or me.

It was pretty innocent really.  I was running along in the street (less likely to break an ankle in the wee hours of the morning -- our sidewalks are dangerous) and as I'm crossing another street something starts growling at me.  A nasty growl.  I think crap, someone's let their dog out and I'm about to get chased and I'm not sure how to fend off a growling attacking dog and I really don't want to get bit.  But of course I keep running towards the growling sound (hey, it is early and I'm still not sure what is going on and clearly not thinking straight).  So I get to the other side of the street and look over expecting to see the attacking dog and there is this raccoon huddled up against the wheel of a car just staring at me -- he really was just as scared too -- so I apologized for interrupting him while he was making his way back down the storm drain and I continued on my way.

Oh the joys of wildlife in the middle of a huge city.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  Funny how at the end of training three miles seems like nothing.  I suppose that when the interval training gets up to the 6 or 7 mile mark, an easy three miles is nothing.  It was funny to be done this morning after 28mins.  I wanted more more more!

2.  I've been starving this week.  Not sure what that's all about but putting it down to remember.

3.  I started to review my training earlier this week and about had a heart attack.  Decided it was best NOT to review training a few days before a race that matters to me.  All I was doing was second guessing everything.  Stopped that right away and am now in a calm and happy place because honestly, even if I totally blow it, what's it really gonna matter?  Sure I'll be upset for a bit but then I'll just figure out how to do better the next time.   I've learned a ton in the past three months of following a plan so it is all good.

Off to La La Land tomorrow -- gah I hate that drive.  I'll work my way to Disneyland on Saturday -- I've heard the expo is big and fun and I feel like buying things.  Other than that, I'm praying for cool temps and marine layers for Sunday morning.

Ta Ta.