August 31, 2010

Ride n' Run

Since E.T. last weekend I've slowly been easing back into training, and surprisingly it's been smoother than expected. I took a few days off to recover (also due to long days at work) and went for my first post-race run Thursday night. My legs felt great and I felt energized, so I pushed the pace a bit and did a speedy 4 miles. Although I felt great during the run, afterward I had a nagging soreness behind my left knee that caused me a bit of worry. But after rolling it out the following day at work it's felt fine since.

This past weekend I was able to get in my first real bike ride and a long run, too! Saturday evening after work I set out for the bike trail on my bike, hoping to get in as many miles as I could before dark. More importantly, however, I wanted to start getting comfortable on my bike. There weren't too many people out on the trail thankfully - I didn't want to embarrass myself! But it actually went better than I expected and I ended up getting in 7.5 miles before it was way to dark. I averaged just under 12 mph, and I'm hoping be around 15 mph at my race, so I think it's a good start. I'm still trying to figure out the whole shifting thing, and I definitely had to stop in the middle of a couple steep hills before I started rolling backwards, but I really enjoyed it! It's such a different feeling than running, too. In many ways it felt easier, but I definitely felt the burn going uphill and I could tell how tiring it must get on longer distances. I think my least favorite thing about riding will be the sore backside - holy cow, no wonder bike shorts are so padded!

Sunday morning I was up early to squeeze in my long run before work. Just coming off a marathon I only had 11 scheduled, and I planned to take them pretty easy. I decided to go the opposite direction on the bike trail for an out-an-back to get a little change of scenery. It must've done the trick because I felt fantastic during the whole thing and it actually turned out to be my fastest long run ever! In fact, with just a couple more miles I would've had an unofficial half PR! The route was really nice and I think the fresh sights were a big contributor to the faster pace. The first part covered a bit of the course from the American River Parkway Half that I ran in May (my current half PR) until William Pond Park. From there it was completely new territory to me! I found myself crossing the river on a footbridge I never knew existed, and then ran into (not literally) an entire flock of wild turkeys! There were tons of runners and bikers out there, too, but once again those on wheels were assholes. Seriously, what gives? Anyway, here's the details: 8 out of the 11 miles were at sub-10 pace, my average for the whole run was 9:51, and my last mile was the fastest at 9:19! Afterward I even had time to eat a real meal before heading out to work, which is a big accomplishment for me (I never give myself enough time). It was a great way to start to my Sunday.
Lovely morning for a run.
 William Pond Park
The Jed Smith footbridge I "discovered" : )
The gorgeous view of the American River from the bridge.
Today I didn't have to be at work til noon so I took advantage of the late start and got in my 5 mile run this morning. The construction on the Sac State bridge is finally done so I can now resume my usual routes without any inconveniences. It was warmer than I liked, even at 9:30am, and it didn't take long for me or my pup to feel the effects. I kept up a strong pace and felt good until the last half mile or so when it was a bit of a struggle to maintain that pace. In the end I completed 5 miles with an average pace of 9:40. You know even though I definitely consider myself an evening runner, it's been nice to get my runs out of the way before work and just be able to relax when I get home. Plus, with it gradually getting darker earlier, it's been harder to get a workout in after work. Who knows, maybe I'm slowly evolving into a morning runner...?

August 27, 2010

E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon (Race Report)

The E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon was not only the strangest race I've ever done, but also one of the toughest. So, where to start?

Wanting to be well rested for the race, my mom and I spent almost all of Saturday relaxing in our room reading Harry Potter (me for the billionth time, my mom for the first!). A little after 6pm we headed to the Hard Rock Hotel Saturday to pick up my packet and wait for the buses that were leaving at 8:45pm for the start. In the meantime we figured we could get a bite to eat at the hotel, but it turns out the Hard Rock doesn't cater to vegetarian pre-marathon food...who would've thought? So I ended up eating a muffin and yogurt from Starbuck's for my pre-race meal : / That's one of the tricky things about a night marathon is figuring out how to eat leading up to it!

Around 8:30pm they started loading the buses. Some were designated "quiet" so my mom and I made a beeline for one of those...not that I was really going to sleep at that point but I could do with some relaxing. Well it was just my luck that two young girls sat behind us and yapped the entire bus ride! I can't even tell you how obnoxious they were. Apparently they were signed up to walk the 10k but had no idea how long that was! Needless to say I was ready to get off that bus and run as far away from those girls as possible!
Mom and I on the bus!
After about 2.5 hours the bus rolled to a stop literally in the middle of nowhere! The start was to take place at the "black" mailbox, one of the only landmarks for miles in the mysterious Area 51. Ironically, the mailbox is actually white : ) Anyway, all the marathoners and 51kers unloaded while those doing the half or 10k were bussed further along the course to their starting point. All the runners were decked out in glow necklaces, many also wearing reflective vests and headlamps. It made for an odd effect in the dark night! As it got closer to midnight everyone gathered around the race director, Joyce, and on her word we were off!
The "black" mailbox
 Floating necklaces  : )
 Green and glowing!

The course was a straight shot on the open highway, known as the Extraterrestrial Highway. The first few miles felt invigorating in the cool night air and I felt full of energy. My eyes adjusted quickly to the dark and the flashes of light or the glow of a necklace that was a fellow runner. Despite the near full moon it was still pretty dark, so I was grateful I had my headlamp. As I mentioned before, the first half of the course was all uphill. And I don't mean rolling hills or net uphill, I mean constant incline with no flats. The elevation started around 4600' and rose to almost 6000' at the halfway point. The elevation affected me immediately; although I felt strong in the beginning, looking down at my Garmin there was a huge discretion between my actual pace and my perceived effort. As the incline increased my pace gradually decreased and I started to feel like I couldn't catch my breath. I managed to keep running til about mile 8, then took short walk breaks during the next few miles.
We runners were hard to miss with our reflective gear!

Around mile 11.5, however, running just wasn't going to happen. I actually felt dizzy and for the first time the thought of a DNF flashed through my mind - after all I still had more than halfway to go! The incline had reached it's steepest (I think it was a mountain pass) and everyone around me walked the next 1.5 miles to the top. I think this is the first race I've seen so many capable runners walking! Just after the halfway point we finally crested the hill and were treated (mercifully) to a nice, gradual decline for the next 7 miles.

At this point I started slowly running again, being cautious because of how I felt, but the downhill seemed to do the trick! The elevation was still high but I know longer had to work so hard and had gravity in my favor : ) The next few miles seemed to go by really fast - in fact, looking back, the whole race seemed to go by quite fast! I found myself mostly alone for long stretches, only occasionally seeing another light up ahead or approaching from behind. Around mile 15 we started to be passed by buses roaring by with all the 10k finishers...I have to admit I was a little jealous, I really wanted to be done! I had a song playing on repeat on my iPod that got me through this stretch of empty highway. You couldn't see too much of the landscape because it was dark, but you could see the silhouette of the mountains on either side and the stars! Oh, the stars! It was a glittering wonder to run beneath : ) I even spotted a couple brief streaks of brilliant light as a shooting star shot past and disappeared into the night.

Around mile 18 I got a killer side cramp and just focused hard on my breathing and getting to the aid station at mile 20 where my mom was stationed. One of the tactics I use during a marathon is breaking the race into a 20 miler and a 10k. I know I can do 20 miles, so I just focus on getting to that point, then it's just a 10k to the finish. This race was no different, however mile 20 also happened to be the finish which we had to pass and do a 5k out-and-back to get the final 6.2 miles. I stopped briefly at the aid station to say hi, but had to keep going, more for the mental sake.

At this point I noticed a woman that kept leap frogging with me and with just a few words began running together. Having someone to run with those last miles gave me some much needed motivation to keep moving. The first 5k were on another incline, but at every mile marker I allowed myself a short walk break. I should also note here that according to my Garmin the course was short - I hit the mile markers about .15 before my Garmin did. Anyway, I finally reached to turnaround, gave my number to a volunteer, and headed back the way I'd come. Unfortunately you could see the lights at the finish in the little town of Rachel in the distance, and yet they never seemed to be getting any closer!
Our marathon course, the infamous E.T. Highway.

Around mile 24 the sun slowly began to rise, giving us an amazing view of the surrounding desert and mountains. It hit me right then that I had actually run straight through the night! Although my body surprisingly didn't hurt as much as usual this late in a marathon, I desperately wanted to be done so I kicked it up a notch and finally found myself turning off the highway toward the finish line! I crossed in 5:28:18, at 5:28am : ) Not my fastest time by a long shot but considering the circumstances I was quite pleased!
The first sign of light.
The final stretch.
Desert sunrise : )

The finish line was at a small place called the Little A'le' Inn (haha, get it?) in Rachel, NV, that serves as an alien-inspired tourist stop. The Inn provided breakfast for all the runners, but per usual I couldn't even think about food right after running so long. Instead I ordered a beer, which sounded fantastic at the time! I did, however, have the good sense to grab a plate of eggs and pancakes to take for later. My mom and I stuck around for a bit taking pictures, but as soon as the next bus was ready to head back to Vegas we jumped! On the ride back I managed to sleep a bit, but felt like an absolute zombie. My eyes felt swollen and bloodshot and all I wanted to do was shower and sleep.
The end of 26.2
The Little A'Le' Inn
My little town : )
Views like this almost make the desert seem nice...

We finally made it back at our hotel around 9:30am and after cleaning up I passed out for several hours! It's weird but the race totally through off my sense of time for the rest of the weekend! When my mom and I finally woke up hours later, we got ready and headed to a Vegas "must", a buffet : ) I was starving and was ready to inhale my food, but to my immense disappointment I got through half my plate before feeling sick : / I think it was one of those things where you don't eat for so long and get so hungry that your stomach sort of "shrinks"! After dinner I was too tired to do much else so my mom and I headed back up to our room to relax and read more Harry Potter : ) Turns out my hunger came back later that night so a room service quesadilla was ordered!
My unconquered post-marathon feast : (

After getting lunch Monday afternoon we headed back to the airport to come home. It was a scorching 108 degrees so I was not sad to be leaving Vegas. The weird thing is that I was barely sore! I seriously didn't even feel like I'd run more than 10 miles the day before. I thought maybe it would kick in the next day but I've felt fine ever since! Try explaining that one to me... Like I said, it was an interesting and extremely unique experience. I got to do something most people will never do, finished another marathon, qualified for the Marathon Maniacs (3rd marathon in 3 months) and can cross another state off my quest for 50. All in all, not a bad weekend at all. Only downside? No UFO sightings!
Mysterious marathon no. 6 complete!

August 24, 2010

All You Need is LOVE

Although I did run a marathon this weekend, that wasn't the only thing I did in Las Vegas! My mom and I arrived in Vegas Friday evening, checked into our hotel (Bally's), had a wonderful Italian dinner in Paris, then headed to the Mirage to see a show!
One of the items on my life to do list was to see a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, and after this weekend I can finally cross that one off. After dinner my mom and I headed to the Mirage for the show! My mom is a huge Beatles fan, so we had decided to see LOVE. From the website:

LOVE brings the magic of Cirque du Soleil together with the spirit and passion behind the most beloved rock group of all time to create a vivid, intimate, and powerful entertainment experience. LOVE celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles. Drawn from the poetry of the lyrics, LOVE explores the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people. The international cast of 60 channels a raw, youthful energy underscored by aerial performance, extreme sports and urban, freestyle dance.

The outside of the theater was decked out in a bright and colorful retro, 60s theme. We had just enough time to take a couple pics before we were rushed inside for the start of the show.
 Mom and I outside the Mirage pre-show.
All you need is LOVE : )

I had been a little worried that our seats wouldn't have very good views (we were in the farthest section, aka the cheapest) but they were actually great! The theater was small enough that we could see everything, and it was actually kind of cool to be able to see everything from above. The pics below were not taken by me but will give an idea of what the show was like.
"Wow" was uttered often : )
So bright and colorful : )
The show's awesome VW bug.
Amazing aerial acrobatics!

The show more than lived up to our expectations and was an absolute treat for the senses. The pairing of music and performance was intoxicating and on more than one occasion I found myself holding my breath, absolutely stunned. While it is impossible to explain the magic of this show without seeing it firsthand, I did manage to record a short video clip before I was yelled at because photos and videos were prohibited ; )

If you're a fan of the Beatles or simply want to be blown away by some insane acrobatics, costumes, and dance, I highly recommend seeing LOVE if you're ever in Vegas!

August 19, 2010

A Mysterious Marathon

Here we go! Tomorrow bright and early my mom and I head out for Las Vegas and on Saturday night will be running the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon. And yes, it starts and midnight! The race is in the middle of the desert near Area 51 (hence the extraterrestrial theme) in, believe it or not, a little town called Rachel, Nevada. From the website:

"Running along the fringe of the mysterious Area 51, this stretch of highway (375) has an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings. So much so, that in 1996 the federal government officially named highway 375 the Extraterrestrial Highway. Not only is the ET Highway full of alien fun, it traverses some gorgeous scenery as well. At roughly 4000-5600 foot elevation, the high desert abounds with Joshua trees and other vegetation unique to the area. This road is also “open range”, so don’t be surprised if you’re passing cows on course!"

I have to admit I'm pretty excited to experience such a unique race. Plus, this race will also be my 3rd marathon in 3 months, qualifying me for the Marathon Maniacs, and it will be my 3rd state on my quest to conquering all 50. I also have to admit that I'm a little nervous about a few things. First and foremost, the staring time. Starting a marathon at midnight means I'll be running a looong way during a time when I'm normally asleep. I have no idea how my body will handle this on top of normal marathon fatigue. I hope I don't decide to stop for a nap on the side of the road. Another concern is the altitude, approximately 5,000 ft. I've never run in altitude and have no idea how it will affect me. And lastly, the first half of the course is on a gradual incline. While hills aren't a huge issue for me (hello, SFM), I hope I don't get too worn out during the first 13 miles. That being said, I have no strong time goals for this race. I'm hoping for 5 hours or just under, but considering the circumstances I'll take what I can get. I just want to have fun!

On the positive end of things, I think running at night in this kind of setting will be both exhilarating at times and serene at others. There are less than 1,000 runners doing the 50k, marathon, half, and 10k races so it's a rather small field and there's a good chance I'll be alone for stretches at a time. If anything it will be a great time to get some good soul-searching in, no? It should also be fun to see all the glowing runners and alien costumes, too. We're required to wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight and are encouraged to wear reflective vests and other glow-in-the-dark accessories. I bought some sweet lime green Nike shorts and a cool black shirt to go along with the alien theme and I have a headlamp and reflective vest to keep me aglow. I did an easy 3.3 miles tonight to test out the headlamp and it worked great! I do love running at night, it's just so exhilarating : ) As I mentioned before, my mom will be volunteering out there as well so I should pass her around mile 20 and get see her at the finish line!

Anyway, it should be a fun weekend! My mom and I are staying in Las Vegas and will be making a mini-vacation out of the trip. Tomorrow night we have tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show, then Saturday we'll probably just lay around and relax until it's time to catch the bus out to the start line (about 2.5 hours from Vegas). Then Sunday and Monday we have free to do whatever! Although I'll probably just want to sleep and eat : ) So with that, I bid you goodnight!

 p.s. More updates on my biking adventures to come after this weekend! But suffice it to say I'm in love  : )

August 17, 2010


Well friends, I've hit 100! No, I obviously didn't run 100 miles (yet), it wasn't 100 degrees, and I'm not referring to races, calories, weight, or swimming. Today I am hitting publish on my one hundredth blog post! I started make a run for it back in September 2009, a few months after completing my first marathon. I was addicted to running and one day discovered the incredible online running/fitness community and was hooked! I finally had a place where I could indulge my running obsession instead of wearing out my family and friends on the topic.

Soon enough I figured I could blog about my running, too. After all, I had blogged about my experience training for my first marathon with Team in Training and really enjoyed sharing my ups and downs of training, my milestones and accomplishments, as well as my struggles and triumphs. I also knew that I wanted to keep running, and I figured that writing a blog would be a great motivator and a way to hold me accountable. And so, make a run for it was begun : ) My running has taken off on a path I never expected back in June of last year, but it's been a fun ride, and my goals continue to get higher and challenge me. I have gained an abundant wealth of knowledge and made some wonderful friends through this fantastic community. Every day I look forward to the time I spend catching up on other blogs, reading their race reports, training recaps, product reviews, and their own struggles and triumphs. Despite the fact that everyone is scattered throughout the world, we all share a common thread: our love for running. So here's to all the other running bloggers out there and to another 100 posts!


The past week or so I've been working looong shifts at work which has made it pretty difficult to squeeze in my runs. I ended up taking Thursday-Saturday off from running and pushed my long run back to Sunday before work at 12pm. I haven't mentioned yet, but I also work as a counselor for a youth crisis hotline where I cover the graveyard shift one week a month. It's great experience for my future psychology endeavors, but it's taken more of a toll on me than expected. I haven't slept very well because I am constantly anxious that I'm going to get a call, and then when I do, I have to immediately wake up and focus, then when the call is over it's tough to get back to sleep. Plus, the calls aren't always serious calls (read prank/obscene) which is extremely annoying in the middle of the night. So anyway, Sunday morning I had a particularly frustrating call that lasted way longer than I expected and delayed the planned start of my run. When I finally finished the call, I was ready to head out the door and grabbed my Garmin, only to find that it was frozen on 9:04pm the previous night and wasn't responding. A quick Google search told me how to restart her, which unfroze her, only to be followed by a beep signaling low battery. Wtf?! I had her plugged in all night. Being the obsessive Type A that I am, I had to wait another 45 minutes to get a partial charge.

I had planned to try out a new route for my long run around Lake Natoma which some coworkers had told me about. It was supposedly 12 miles around, and I had 12 scheduled (in taper for my marathon this coming weekend). But with the delays and later start, I had to cut back to 10 miles in order to make it to work on time. When I got to the place, I realized I had no idea where to go from the parking lot. Luckily I found a couple nice women who pointed me in the direction of a trail. So I headed out for a 5 mile out-and-back. The pathway was bustling with people running, walking, and especially, cycling! I must have passed (or more accurately, was passed by) 100+ cyclists! Now for a quick rant: cyclists are assholes. Not a single one acknowledged my smile or nod, and they weren't just distracted - I made eye contact with plenty of them and they just glared at me. And more than once I was forced off the edge of the path due to cyclists who refused to share the road. Not cool, dudes. To be fair though, even the other runners out that morning seemed to be kind of rude! I had plenty of them ignore me or give me a weird look. Maybe it was just a bad morning? Anyway, as I enter the world of cycling myself I plan to be an ambassador for runners everywhere and prove that just because you're going faster than us doesn't make you better!
Had to document my location : )
The shady parts were amazing!

Sorry for the rant, now back to my run. It was pretty warm and I felt it's effects, but I pushed the pace on the first half, partly because I was afraid my Garmin was going to die : / On the way back a I slowed a bit, but still finished with an average of 10:10 min/mi, and Juliette made it the whole way! I raced home and literally had like 25 minutes to shower, get ready, and be at work. Needless to say, I was a tad late. Later that day I told a couple of my coworkers about my run and mentioned the pathway I was on, only to find out that I went the wrong way and didn't run by Lake Natoma after all. Turns out the water I was running along was another fork of the American River. Oops : ) It was still great to run in a new place - I can't tell you how bored I am with my usual route along the river near my house. I'm hoping to get back out there in the near future and actually make it around the lake! Hope you all had a great weekend!
 Now that I look at the photo, it obviously was not a lake...
...but still pretty!

While my hotline shift ends tonight, I still have a few long workdays ahead of me. I'm hoping to get a couple short runs in this week to keep my legs loose, but otherwise I plan to relax and get as much rest as possible for my marathon this weekend. I bought a new roller from work today (review to come!) and plan on really working on my legs this week too. I also went on a short bike "ride" this evening - I'll elaborate later! Goodnight!

August 14, 2010


A while ago fellow blogger Marlene did a post on her medal collection so I thought I would follow suit and share mine. To be honest, one of the biggest draws of racing to me is the medal! Especially considering how much events cost these days, I like to feel like I'm getting something for my money that will last and help commemorate the race in years to come. I'm also sort of a medal snob. I've been known to choose a race just for the medal, and you'll be hard-pressed to find me running a race with no bling (but never say never - most tris and ultras have no hardware and I'm still psyched to try them!). To demonstrate, I once ran a half that at the last minute decided to give out "awards" instead of the medal they had promised, which came in the form of keychains. You better believe I strung my keychain on a piece of string and made it into a medal! Over the past year and a half I've accumulated a decent collection, so without further ado I present my running bling:
My running shrine : )
The medals.
 (L to R) San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Surf City Half, LA Marathon, SF Marathon, Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
(L to R) Big Sur Half, Disneyland Half, Santa Barbara Intl. Marathon, Santa Barbara Wine Country Half, American River Parkway Half, City to the Sea Half

My favorite? The San Francisco Marathon, hands down. Not only for the race (my current PR on a tough course!), but also because it's pretty awesome looking. Least fave? SB Wine Country Half. The course was incredible, but the medal is so hideous it's gag inducing. Check it out yourself:
WTF. What is this!?

Big Sur also has pretty unique medals made of ceramic and designed by a local artist. Surf City I picked just for the awesome surfboard medal! Plus, it's part of the California Dreamin' Series which gives you a special California medal for completing all three races (Surf City, SF Marathon, and Long Beach). Of course I have to have it! I find Disneyland a bit too gaudy for my taste (but kudos on the size!), but I guess it suits the Disney franchise. Two final notes on medals: One, I hate when races make the race year the main focus on the medal (see LA). We don't care! Two, the ribbon can count just as much as the medal! I much prefer printed ribbons to plain.

So there you have it! Now it's your turn - show us your BLING!

August 13, 2010


Today I finally took the plunge and bought my first road bike!! With my first triathlon fast approaching, lately I've been keeping my eye out for a good deal, and a couple days ago my dad mentioned a sale going on at a local shop. So today during my lunch break I walked over there, intending just to check things out, only to walk out of there 20 minutes later the proud owner of a brand new bike! It was a bit impulsive, but the price was right and it was my size, so I figure it was fate : ) I test road it down the block and holy cow is it different from anything I'm used to! I was like a wobbly newborn deer! The bike is a Specialized Dolce which I've christened Bambi, due to my aforementioned wobbly first ride : ) I'm so so so excited but also a little terrified. But I'm sure with practice it will all get easier, and I can't wait to start! Now I just need to shop around for some of the gear and apparel I need - that's one thing about cycling, it's much more expensive than running!
Say hello to Bambi!
I love the white & silver : )
Let the good times roll!

Speaking of running, I also got some fresh new running shoes yesterday to replace my expired pair. The old ones have been causing me some knee pain lately so I'm excited to finally be able to recycle them and get my feet and legs in something fresh. They're the same shoe (Brooks Adrenaline 10) which I love and have worked great for almost a year. Hopefully now I'll have a little more pep in my step on my runs! I took the last 2 days off, mainly because I am unbelievably sore from doing NMTZ and my 8 miler this week. Seriously though, it was almost equivalent to post-marathon! Plus today was a crazy, long day at work and my legs and feet were just not having it when I finally got off at 8pm. No worries though, life happens!

August 11, 2010

La Famiglia

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of attending a family reunion of sorts. Nearly all of my family on my dad's side lives in Italy (his mother was born there) but are currently here in Sacramento to visit! The family has a bit of drama in it's past as most families do, and this was the first time having everyone together in more than 30 years. Five out of the six cousins, including my dad, were there - the last time this happened was when they were kids.
The cousins reunited!
Tania & I
With my wonderful "aunts" : )
I first met my Italian family a couple years ago when I studied abroad in Italy and immediately felt a bond form, especially with my cousin Tania whom I've become quite close to, despite the long distance between us! Both her mom, Gina, and Gina's sister Lia (both my dad's cousins) were fabulous to me and I spent several weekends with them in the little Tuscan town of Lucca, where my grandmother actually grew up. To this day, those are some of my best memories. Getting us all together is something I've been hoping for ever since then. Our family has strong roots - my grandmother is 94, her sister Annie is 96, and their brother Vic is 90, and immigrated to America when they were in their early 20s. Eventually Vic went back to Italy and his family followed, and since then the family has been split between two countries. So to finally have us all together under the same roof, enjoying great Italian food and plenty of wine, was nothing short of special to me : )


Now back to running! Monday evening I did a speedy 4 miles after work and since I didn't get started til later than usual I ended up running the second half in the dark : / Next time I'll just have to test out my new headlamp that I bought for my midnight marathon in two weeks!

As I mentioned in my last post, Tuesday night I decided to postpone my run til the morning and do my NMTZ workout instead. After taking so much time off it was much harder than I remembered! I'm also dealing with some pain in my left knee (need new shoes!) which made some of the moves likes lunges difficult to do. I got through it though and was good and tired and ready for bed.

This morning I woke up and immediately noticed that I was sore all over. I was supposed to fit in an 8 miler early in the morning but one thing lead to another and I didn't get out the door til almost noon. Luckily it was a bit cooler than usual so the heat didn't kill me. When I headed out I noticed 7 turkeys that had came from the river and crossed the street! Odd thing to see in your neighbors yard. I ran my usual route on the American River bike trail then ran through Sac State and back home. The run was a little tough because I was so sore, but I maintained a 10:25 pace and finished strong (although now I can barely move!). I was a little apprehensive to do a longer run midweek - so far with this training cycle I haven't gone more than 6 miles during the week. It went ok though, and I was glad to get it done. I also tested out my new outfit that I plan on wearing for my next marathon with it's alien theme : ) The shorts are lime green!

August 10, 2010

Triathlon Fever

Ever since I signed up for my first triathlon next month, I've sort of developed triathlon fever! I've been devouring any info I can get my hands on regarding the multisport world as well as starting to think about all the gear I'm going to need (especially the bike!). There's a lot more that goes into triathlon than I thought - not only the training for three different sports but also all the gear that's required! I plan on making the big bike purchase soon since I'll need plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of cycling, which I'm sort of terrified by.
 swim, bike, run, hooray!

In the meantime, I've decided to start on my swim training. My sprint tri includes a 400m (1/4 mile) swim, so Sunday afternoon I headed out to my local public pool to do some laps and see where my fitness is at. I have a tough time with swimming, primarily the lack of oxygen, which then leads to a sloppy form. I pushed myself through 100m sets with short breaks in between for a total of 500m. I felt great the first couple laps of each one, but by the last two I just wanted air! I also made it a priority to practice breathing on both sides. Right now I usually only breath on my left side, but since it's recommended to breath every three strokes I need to learn to go both ways. It was a little tricky but I think it will get easier with practice. Next I did some drills, 200m with a kickboard to work on my legs and kick, then 200m with a buoy to work on my arms and stroke. To finish off the workout I did a final 100m to bring my total to 1000m.

I know that I could swim 400m right now, but it would be pretty challenging. I think the biggest thing holding me back is my inability to relax when I swim. I remember when I used to be a lifeguard I loved watching the swimmers during lap swim because they seemed to be so graceful, just gliding through the water, lap after lap. That's what I need to learn how to do. If I can't relax in a pool, what will I do in open water!? With a month a half to go before race day I hope I can incorporate at least one day a week of swimming, with at least one practice open water swim. I'm getting pretty excited about the race, though - I even had a dream about it last night! Any triathletes out there have any tips or advice for a total newbie? There just seems to be so much to learn!

p.s. I did No More Trouble Zones for the first time in weeks and holy cow, I forgot how hard it was! I'm gonna be sore tomorrow...

August 9, 2010

Santa Cruz, Part 2

I decided to take advantage of the cooler temps and awesome scenery by fitting my long run in while in Santa Cruz. After a long day including a ran, kayaking, and the Boardwalk the last thing I wanted to do Friday morning was get up at the crack of dawn for my long run, so I did something new and pushed it back to the afternoon. Considering the cool, foggy weather I figured I would be a-ok and much less tired. After Liz left I headed out around 1pm along E. Cliff Drive, intending to do an out-and-back for 16 miles total. I ran along some beaches and lagoons, past the harbor, to the Boardwalk. This was only about 4 miles so I still had quite a bit more to go before turning back.
 Santa Cruz Harbor
Running past a rollercoaster!

From here I continued up to W. Cliff Drive, and man oh man was I treated to some spectacular views! For just over 2 miles I ran along a wonderful path on the edge of the coast, past a plethora of surfers, an old lighthouse, endless runners and cyclists, craggy cliffs, bright flowers, gorgeous homes, beautiful beaches, and endless ocean. I stopped more than I care to admit to snap pics! Unfortunately I wasn't carrying my regular camera so I only have crappy cell phone shots which could never do justice to those views!
 Running path on W. Cliff Drive.
 Little old lighthouse : )
 Surfers a plenty with the wharf in the distance.
 Flowers and seafoam.
On the edge of the western world...
Lovely day to be at the beach!

After about 6 miles the pathway abruptly stopped and I found myself running through a "park" called Natural Bridges State Beach. Then before I knew it I was running on a trail!? I don't know how this happened but after a quarter mile or so I decided that running an unfamiliar trail by myself probably wasn't a good idea so at 7 miles, I turned and headed back.
Natural Bridges State Beach
No idea how I ended up on this trail...

On my way back along W. Cliff Drive the fog had pretty much burned off leaving us with beautiful blue skies and much warmer temps. I stopped plenty more times on my way back, each view seemingly more beautiful than the last! Back down by the Boardwalk I had to weave through throngs of people enjoying the afternoon - I'm sure they didn't know quite what to make of my sweaty self : ) I headed back the way I came, but somewhere near the harbor I found myself a little turned around. I had taken a different road which ran right along the coast, but when it ended I didn't know how to get back the way I'd came! After running down a few dead ends I eventually righted myself and headed back along the water. At this point I was completely out of water and parched, but luckily I passed a little Mexican restaurant that let me refill my handheld and all was good. When I finally reached the road our beach house was on I still had about 1.5 miles to go, so I added on a short out and back.
My "detour" lead me here, so not all bad.
 More beach. They're everywhere!

Now on to my thoughts on the run. I kept up a great long run pace (10:30/mi) for me, however it did include several stops to take pics : / It was also a much hillier course than I expected! I tried to take advantage of the hills though and ran most of them. One thing that was a problem, however, was fueling. I took 3 Gu packets with me, which is in line with my usual fueling regimen, but I lost one within the first couple miles. That left me with just 2 Gu for an almost 3 hour run....not very good. I did take my salt capsules every 45 minutes or so which helped a bit, but I still felt like I was dragging, especially toward the end. It was also weird running for so long in the afternoon. It totally felt like morning, it kinda psyched me out!  I was pretty sore afterward and tried to do an ice bath in the ocean but the waves were too strong, so I backed out before I got knocked on my ass. I'm glad I got the run out of the way, especially in such a beautiful place, even though it didn't go exactly as planned. My pace was much faster than usual for a long run, so I'm hoping this means improvement in my future...

We had a low-key dinner Friday night with a hodge podge of dishes to try and use up what we had left. I could barely keep my eyes open through a movie before I finally gave in and hit the sack. Then Saturday morning we packed up and were off, back to hot and ocean-less Sacramento. Bittersweet.