August 30, 2010

Santa Rosa race report

My pre-race week was extremely hectic, but the day before the race was chill. On race morning, I woke up super early, took a quick shower, and had a nice breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana. Of course, I drank coffee :P

We drove up in the pitch-black darkness, and I felt pretty calm. We found rockstar parking in a garage close to the start/finish of the race. Score for free parking! The start area was pretty calm at 6am, and the portapotty lines were fairly short, too. I checked in, but they'd run out of bibs. So, I got a timing chip but no bib :( I was bummed about not getting a bib but went about my pre-race business. As per my coach's raceplan, I did a solid one mile warmup with three speedy bursts. At one point, I wondered if I should save more energy for the race :O I hugged my hubby, and then I took a gel about 10 minutes before the start.

The start was on the road, and I couldn't really hear the announcements. So, I got freaked that I wouldn't notice when the start happened. Fortunately, I heard the gun & started...I was weaving a bunch at the start, and people were clumped together on the road and sidewalk. I made to sure to average around 8:10, which felt fine. Then we were on a fairly narrow path, and I could tell that I was slowing down behind people and had to accelerate around them. The first few miles on the path were uneventful. I felt in control when running around 8:10 pace. I noticed some hardcore runners around me, which made me wonder if I belonged up there. And then I'd remind myself to just stick to the race plan :)

I took my first gel at mile 4.5. I grabbed a cup of water at the next aid station and probably only got in a gulp or two. Around mile 5, I challenged myself to speed up a bit. It kept me focused, and I could tell that I was working harder at 8:07 pace. I still felt strong. A few miles of the path were gravel---rather than paved; this made the running tougher.

Around mile 8, I started feeling tired. I think I got a side stitch. I tried concentrating on my breathing. But Garmalade was letting me know that I wasn't quite on track for a 1:47 halfie. I told myself to buck up and keep going & keep pushing my legs. I was running next to a man who was extremely encouraging and knew the route very well. He was giving me tips about where the aid stations were, etc. I took another gel at mile 8.5. My tummy wans't too happy after that gel, but I reminded myself that I needed the energy. I grabbed water & electrolyte drink at aid stations and even walked through one station to get some extra fluids. During mile 9, the doubts got louder, telling me that I lacked the endurance to do this. I forced myself to stay present and somewhat positive. At the same time, I felt like I wanted someone to scream at me to run faster!

When mile 10 hit, my legs were mad, or sad, or something :O I tried convincing myself that I was starting a 5K, and then spent a lot of time convincing myself that I just had to run one more mile, another mile, etc. Every little, tiny uphill felt insurmountable. And there were these tiny hills up to bridges that went across the creek/river. Yikes, I even groaned (moaned?) while running this segment of the race. Several other runners encouraged me by cheering me on, and the volunteers told me I looked great (I'm certain they were lying!). When mile 12 hit, I just concentrated on driving my legs, but they felt SO weak and eeked out a 9 minute mile. I wanted to race to be done, with a capital D. When mile 12.5 arrived, I attempted to trick myself into thinking I was on the track. When I saw the finish line, I kicked and ran the last .2 miles in 7:48 pace!

According to the race results, I finished in 1:50:48, which was 38/289 women!!

August 29, 2010

Santa Rosa

Today was a PR-day! I ran the Santa Rosa half marathon in 1:50....
That's a 40 second PR :)

Huge thanks to my hubby who woke up at 4am and entertained me on the drive up to Santa Rosa, carried my gear around, and then cheered me on at the finish. He reports that I had a particularly pained expression while approaching the finish line. Oh, and after the race we chowed down at IHOP. Yum!


August 28, 2010

Gettin' set

Tomorrow's my goal half marathon....I've re-read my race plan. I've visualized racing. I've been drinking green tea and water and sparkling cherry water. Garmalade is charging. I've laid out my gels & race outfit---blue running skirt & hot pink Nike tank top. I'm taking it easy today and will enjoy some carbs this afternoon with a tasty Zing bar. Of course, I'll be eating pasta tonight.

And tomorrow morning, I get to GO---fast, strong, and always trying my best :)

August 26, 2010

Wrapping my brain around it

My goal half marathon is less than three days away. In fact, in two days, I'll be getting to bed extra early, hoping for sweet, overhydrated dreams ;) And currently my belly's full of Thai food.

Today's sharpening workout went well. My legs are starting to feel like they WANT to go fast!! Thanks to my coach, I have a race plan with pacing goals and fueling tips, but I still need to spend some time psyching myself up that a) pain is okay, b) I want it BAD, and C) Yes, I CAN and WILL do it. Part of me feels like it's been forever since I've raced. But another part of me feels quite relaxed about the whole affair. It's true that it's been awhile since I've raced a halfie (February '09!). But I've run a bunch of other races since then, including a marathon in May, a 5K in June, and a 4 miler in July. Right now, 13 miles sounds like a ton of miles to race.....eeeek :>


August 24, 2010

Sharpening

Today was a bright, hot, summery day. I had a sharpening workout on tap, so I geared up around 6pm and braved the 90+ degree weather.

After a nice warmup, I did three 1 mile repeats. The first couple felt great at sub 8:10 pace. I felt strong and in total control.....But on the last one, I was, quite literally, cooked. Baked. Roasted. Toasted. Broiled. I'm stoked that I completed this workout because it's a jam packed week. I'm also crossing my fingers and toes that the Bay Area cools down before my race weekend :>

August 21, 2010

Ain't it good to know

I loved running my last "sharpening" long run with my friend, Jenica. It was summer in San Francisco, which meant overcast skies, some drizzle, and cool winds blowing by Chrissy Field. I absorbed some terrific views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the SF skyline...wow! And meeting up with a friend makes workouts SO, SO much better & easier. It was a good, strong 10 miler-- with 5 speedier miles thrown in by my coach (who's doing a half Ironman tomorrow!!). The current goal is to teach my legs and body what goal half marathon pace (8:06-8:10) feels like.

It's good to have running friends and also great to know that a goal-race is around the corner.....

August 18, 2010

More quality time at the track

With the half marathon about ten days away, I did my final pre-race track workout this overcast morning. I woke up a bit tired but forced myself to eat part of a granola bar and actually felt pretty good on my warmup. Then it was time for intervals- 800s and mile repeats at goal pace! My fantastic track was hopping; there were some speedy runners and morning walkers and everything in between. A couple people failed to follow track etiquette and were doing recovery work in the inside lane---Boo :(

The 800s (3:40; 3:43) felt really good, and my legs felt strong. I was able to keep my breathing under control at the sub-7:15 pace. I definitely rely on my Garmin during track workouts to hit the goal paces from my coach :O By the way, at some point, I feel like I should go to the track and bust out intervals without the information from my Garmin.

Then it was time for mile repeats at my goal half marathon pace (8:10, yeehaw!!). I wasn't sure if these would feel really easy or boring or what....And, the first 1600 felt a bit too easy--8:07 pace. But on the second 1600, my legs felt a bit heavier, but I worked hard, reminded myself to breathe and did it at 8:02 pace :) Whew-- the best part of a track workout is completing it & knowing that it made you stronger AND faster!

August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

Oh, food....How I love thee!

As a runner, I know I need carbs and protein and try to eat plenty of veggies and fruit, too. Here are some of my favorite meals that fuel me:

Breakfast: "Elvis" oatmeal with sliced banana and peanut (or almond) butter
Lunch: Egg sandwich with tabasco and ketchup on whole wheat bread (I scramble an egg + an egg white with a splash of milk in the microwave)
Snack: Cereal and milk; fruit--yesterday I downed a big bowl of fresh cherries
Dinner: Super salad with tomatoes and beets from our CSA box and cheese & PASTA- almost any which way....

August 14, 2010

Who's the boss

I AM :)

And who rocked the weekend's long run....I DID :)

Bragging aside, I had a few moments of looking down at Garmalade and thinking---woh, is my GPS device broken, because I don't feel like I'm running 8:30 pace. But, guess what?? I was. For a variety of reasons, I needed this boost in confidence and am stoked that I nailed my progression paces in the 12 mile long run.....I did 7 miles starting at 8:48 and ending at 8:15. And, my body was happier running in the 8:30s than at 8:50 pace. With a goal-race in just over two weeks, this means that my legs have gained plenty of strength and speed.

I credit this run to a couple things....First, I ate a lighter breakfast and didn't overhydrate (which upsets my tummy). Second, I didn't run with my ipod/music, and this helped me just concentrate on my form, cadence, breathing, and get into the "flow." Third, I think the past few weeks of speedwork have popped some sense into my legs.

August 11, 2010

Winter in August

It was so chilly that I almost dug out my capris for today's 40 minute recovery run!

I ended up wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and my new SmartWool running socks. I loved the way these socks felt---they fit nice & snug and really hug your foot. And I think they kept my feet warm and dry on *another* gray Bay Area day :O

August 10, 2010

800 Zone

Today was all about half-mile intervals up at the track. The 800 is a tough distance for speedwork. Yes, you have to run them hard and get out of the running-zone, but it's not pure speed and burn like 400s (which have become my friend). I knew that I needed some more bonding time with 800s ;) My two mile warmup was fine, and I threw in a few hard bursts to wake up the legs. Then I tackled the 5 X 800s :O

Once again, my strategy was to divide and conquer--so, one set of three. And then another set of two. The first couple 800s felt great at sub 7:20/mile pace. I was pretty relaxed at that pace. But by the fourth one....watch out, I was huffing and panting and literally running on fumes 'o' anger!!! I gave 100% effort on the final 800, and kicked it in to run a 3:38. I think I was gutsy on this training run, and I'm stoked that I have a few days of easier running coming up :)

August 8, 2010

Nope

Yesterday's long run was TOUGH. I got out there and ran 15 miles at an average pace of 9:20....It was my fastest training run in months and most likely my fastest long run EVER. But, it was ROUGH. I couldn't complete my coach's pace goals for the progression part of the run. For whatever reason, I wasn't able to sustain 8:30 pace :( At a few points, I tried changing the music on my ipod and really willed my legs to go, but they said no way!

After the rough workout, I dusted myself off (chocolate milk aided my recovery) and reminded myself that I can try again. My hubby and I drove down to Pescadero and enjoyed the dramatic coastline of Northern California. The scenery really tempted me to run the Big Sur Marathon :) I have a couple days of easy running and then another track workout to push my legs once again!!

August 4, 2010

These legs

Dear Legs,

Thanks for powering me around the track this morning! You seemed to enjoy the workout (1600/800/400/400), and I appreciate the way you beat my target-times! I sincerely hope you soaked up the carbs and protein from the bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, banana, and blueberries (sounds strange yet totally delish).

I know that sometimes I abuse you and force you to endure long runs, big hills, plus squat jumps (ouch with a capital O). But, deep down, I love you. After all, you've helped me walk around France, Greece, and Mexico; you've helped me dance at weddings, at raves, and around my living room; and you've supported me through highs-and-lows. For all that, I know I need to care for you with nutrition and hydration. I'm trying to eat more fruit and protein while holding onto my obsession with ice cream and chocolate :P

XOXO,
Moi

August 2, 2010

August

It's the end of summer, and I want to squeeze in some good times---with family & friends, food, and running! From head to toe, I have a few FUN goals for the month of August....

Family & Friends: Celebrate my hubby's graduation from his MFA program; Skype with family on the east coast; Visit friends around the Bay Area

Food: Enjoy cooking with ingredients from our Eatwell CSA box, including goodies like strawberries, summer squash, and farm fresh eggs; Do some baking (perhaps a pie!); Get Thai food- just because :)

Running: Try a different running route; Keep up with core workouts; Get fired up for the Santa Rosa half marathon!!
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