October 28, 2010

Setting the Pace

Well friends, it's finally that weekend. I'm writing this from my hotel room in Washington DC and on Sunday, I'll be racing the Marine Corps Marathon. And yes, I said racing, not running - more on that in a sec. My mom and I left Sacramento at the crack of dawn this morning, had a short layover in Philadelphia, then finally landed in Baltimore (it's cheaper than flying directly into DC). My mom and I managed to navigate the public transportation like pros (ok, with a little help from my new fancy phone!) and after one bus, two metros, and a short walk we arrived at our hotel in downtown DC! The weather is great, nice and clear with just a slight chill in the air. The hotel is better than expected and is just a 0.3 mile walk to the metro. We have some sightseeing planned for the next couple days and we're both pretty excited to explore the city. And while I'm looking forward to touring a bit of history, there's still that other little thing...

The Marine Corps Marathon. Yes, I'm managing to combine two of my loves, racing and traveling, but no awe-inspiring monuments or memorials can completely distract me from the fact that I'm running another marathon on Sunday. And not just running, but racing - myself that is, with high hopes of setting a new PR. This past week I've been struggling with setting my goals for this race. Unless tragedy strikes mid-race (knock on wood!) I'm almost guaranteed to PR based on my training the over the past couple months. The issue I'm struggling over, however, is how much of a PR to shoot for. My current best time for 26.2 is 4:49, set this past summer at the San Francisco Marathon, a notoriously challenging course. That required an 11:00 average pace. I've been running faster than I ever have before, running my two fastest halfs (2:04 and 2:07) within the last month. Nearly all of my weekday runs have been at a sub-10 pace, and my 20 miler I had an average of 10:17 min/mi. Punching in my recent half PR time in the McMillan Running Calculator, it predicts that I can run a 4:21 (an avg. pace of 10:00). This would clearly be a huge PR, but I'm a little hesitant to aim for it for a couple reasons.

First, I tend to play it safe. I've never really given a race my all, left everything on the pavement. I came close a few weeks ago at the Urban Cow Half, but looking back I definitely had some left in the tank when I finished. So part of me wants to take the easy way out and run just fast enough to beat my previous time rather than really push it and risk disappointment. Second, and this could actually be a big factor come race day, is that I don't know how my hip is going to feel. Like I mentioned, my left hip actually hurt pretty bad toward the end of my last long run and has continuously been sore since. I've been stretching and I even brought my grid roller with me, but anything can happen on Sunday. I know from my training that I can push through the nagging sore feeling, but if it starts feeling like it did this past weekend after only 9 miles, I'm going to have a problem. The final, more minor reason is a lack of trust in my own pacing abilities - aka I suck at maintaining any pace consistently. It really helped to run with a pace leader at Urban Cow. Instead of constantly looking at my watch and trying to do crazy math in my head, I just made myself hang on to her and zoned out. I don't know if MCM has a 4:20 pace group, and even if they do, sticking with them in such a huge race will probably be difficult.

So, there it is. I talked things over with several of my coworkers this past week and got some great advice. My tentative plan is start out at 10:00 pace and keep it between 10:00 and 10:15 for as long as possible. If my hip starts causing me problems, I will slow it down to a 10:30 pace, which would still give me a big PR. And if worse comes to worse, I'll settle with finishing another 26.2, which is always a big accomplishment. I know I can do this. I believe I can do this. Now I just gotta do it!

A goal: 4:21

B goal: 4:35

C goal: 4:45

D goal: finish

Any advice on this matter would still be greatly appreciated! On another note, I'm not feeling so hot. I don't know if it's from a lack of sleep this past week, traveling (all that recycled air and shared germs on planes...), or just a figment of my slightly neurotic pre-marathon mind. But here's hoping I feel more refreshed tomorrow morning - the last thing I need is to be sick this weekend!

p.s. Any other Giants fans out there watching us DOMINATE Texas?!?!

October 25, 2010

Yoga for Runners

Again, apologies for the lack of posts this week. As usual I was keeping pretty busy so allow me to play catch up! I took a couple rest days after Long Beach because I felt a little rundown from traveling. I blame the airplanes - too many people packed together with their germs floating around : / I got back out there Wednesday I did my first "two a day" with a workout in the morning and the evening.

That morning I went for a quick 5 miles before work and although I wasn't trying to, I ran each mile slightly faster than the previous one. Then after work my coworker and I headed over to Zuda Yoga, a local yoga studio which offers a "$10 for 10 days" deal for newbies. I've heard many proclaim the wonderful and endless benefits of yoga, especially for runners, so I'd been meaning to check out some classes. My only yoga experience was brief and intense. Back in high school I did Bikram (aka hot) yoga for a few months and can distinctly remember two things: first, how hot it was and how I sweat buckets, and second, how much it kicked my ass. Seriously, I remember being sore in places where I didn't even know I had muscles! Anyway, back to the present. We could only make the late class after work which happened to be for all levels and not specifically for beginners. After checking in and paying we waited around for the current class to finish, and much to my surprise, when the door opened I saw that everyone who came out was drenched in sweat! Ummm was I missing something? Turns out while Zuda doesn't practice hot yoga, they do keep the room heated to around 87 degrees to aid muscle flexibility (and make you sweat!). Zuda practices Power Vinyasa Yoga:

"Power Vinyasa is a dynamic and physical yoga where students move and flow from posture to posture. This movement introduces a cardiovascular element to the practice. A Vinyasa practice reminds us that life and everything around us is temporal and subject to change. A Vinyasa practice varies from class to class. As a derivative of Ashtanga yoga, it uses Sun Salutations A and B as a base. There are no mirrors in the studio because students are taught to feel their practice and focus on self- awareness."

Crystal and I set up our mats at the front of the room as had been recommended for newcomers and sat and waited for class to begin. It started off slowly, and I was pleased to find that I remembered more poses than I thought. However I was still constantly looking around the room to see what I was supposed to be doing. I totally felt like one of those people who come to yoga to look at other people instead of focusing on my own practice. Things started to pick up pretty quickly and it sort of became like a yoga circuit, going from one pose to the next fluidly with no break. And man did we start sweating! I was also amazed at how much flexibility I've lost (although it also could be that I'm just tight from running so much). I was able to do all of the poses, but I found the ones that required arm strength to be especially difficult for me - I'm like a t-rex, all legs with weak little arms! Our instructor had us doing a lot of chaturangas going into cobra pose and holy cow were my arms tired after! There was also lots of downward dog and child's pose, which was quite welcomed.

(all yoga photos from here)
 child's pose
 chaturanga to cobra
 bow pose
eagle pose

The class ended with the typical savasana, or corpse pose - essentially lying in a neutral, open position on the floor. The lights were dimmed while we relaxed and focused on our breathing, and the class aid actually gave Crystal and I a mini massage, with the lightest touch and a lovely smelling lotion. It was divine : ) All in all I really enjoyed the class. It was a serious workout but was relaxing at the same time. It really does give you a whole new sense of awareness of your body, mind, and even spirit. My one drawback to yoga, however, is the expense. I'll definitely be going again during my 10 days but I'll have to reassess after that. So after a loooong day I finally made it and took my second shower of the day.

Thankfully I had Thursday off from work because when I woke up it hurt to move anything! I totally underestimated how sore I would be after yoga and man was I feeling it. And I noticed that my hip bones were actually bruised from doing bow pose (see above)! I took it easy and ran some errands then headed out for a tempo run despite my aching muscles. I did an easy warm-up mile then cranked up the pace for 4 miles. I was aiming for around 9:00min/mi and ended up with 9:43, 9:41, 9:36, and 9:39. I call that a success! I finished it up with a mile cool-down for a total of 6 miles for the day.

On Friday I decided to sleep a little bit more and push my run til after work. As much as I prefer to get my runs out of the way, sometimes I just can't get out of bed. Running after work isn't so bad if I'm not going very far, but it does suck a little to postpone dinner that much longer and have to run in the dark. I got it done, though, and finished 4 miles with a 9:43 average pace.

Saturday was a rest day but was spent working all day at the store. All day I kept checking outside since the weather has finally accepted that it's fall and it was supposed to rain. Finally I saw the first sign of drops! I couldn't wait to run in the rain : ) After work I went to get a new cell phone since my screen went black the night before. I got a fancy Droid Incredible (so cool) and stayed up way too late that night figuring out how to use the darn thing - not so smart when you've got a long run the next morning! Luckily I only had 11 on schedule since I'm tapering for MCM on Sunday (yikes!). When I woke up this morning I saw that I'd got my wish - it was still raining. I wore capris and a long sleeve for the first time this fall and headed out into the chilly morning. 
the impending storm...
It was only drizzling when I started out but quite windy. It didn't take long for things to quickly progress, however, and before I knew it I was running in a storm! I was completely drenched halfway through but managed to stay pretty warm and reasonably comfortable, but I was glad I was only doing 11 : ) My left hip started nagging me from the start but actually got to the point that I almost had to stop around mile 9.5. I stretched it a bit and was able to make it home but it's been pretty sore all day so I'll be keeping an eye on it this week and stretching/rolling like crazy. I finished up my final long run of this training cycle with an average pace of 9:53, sopping wet.

MCM goals and thoughts coming soon!

October 18, 2010

Long Beach Half Marathon (Race Report)

My trip down to Long Beach was as whirlwind a trip as expected. My flight landed around 3pm Saturday and I immediately caught a cab to the expo at the LB Convention Center. The weather, however, was quite unexpected - cool and cloudy, with threats of rain! The expo was pretty typical and crowded so I tried to get in and out. I picked up my bib/race packet and then my CA Dreamin' jacket. I browsed some of the booths, grabbed some yummy samples then just as things started to feel slightly claustrophobic I got the heck out of dodge. I had some time to kill before my friend could pick me up so I headed to the nearby Borders, bought a pumpkin latte (mmmm fall!) and a fantastic book (The Devil in the White City) and was quite comfortable as I waited! Finally got some quick dinner at a little Mexican restaurant before getting picked up by my friend, Alyssa. The rest of the evening was quite relaxed. We chatted for a bit and caught up, made plans for the next morning, I laid out all my stuff, then I read my book in bed til I fell asleep : )
the view from the convention center
Being wary of the traffic that comes with 25,000 people going to the same place, we gave ourselves a little over an hour to cover the usually 20 minutes to the start and man was I glad we did! We hit traffic as soon as we got close to downtown, but luckily it kept moving, albeit slowly. The first wave of the race started at 7am and based on my planned finish time I belonged in wave 3 at 7:10am. Well that time came and went and we were still in traffic, but I wasn't too worried as long as a made it by the final wave at 7:30am. We actually managed to get pretty close to the start to drop me off and as soon as I was out I was running to the start line! I made it in time for wave 5 and as a result I was dodging slower runners (and walkers) the rest of the race. Oh well, I guess I should've got there earlier!
the crowd waiting to start
The weather from the previous day had lingered giving us a wonderful cloud cover and cool temps, perfect for running. The course started on Shoreline Drive, then passed the new Pike at Shoreline Village with a couple short out-and-backs. I was able to keep up a sub 9:30 pace for the first 5k, but then I decided that I would rather stick to my plan and take it a little easier for my hips' sake and just enjoy the race. Next we crossed the Queensway Bridge and headed toward the Port of Long Beach, home to the famous Queen Mary (the ship, not the woman!).
 starting out along shoreline drive
 heading to the port of long beach
 one of the only "hills", the Queensway Bridge
the Queen Mary (and a less-cool cruise ship)

Then we circled back around the Aquarium of the Pacific, passing the Lighthouse at Rainbow Harbor and Pierpoint Landing before heading back by Shoreline Village and down to the beach. We hit the 10k mark right as we were passing the start area for the final out-and-back. I had set my Garmin to a 9:45 pace at the start and decided to just stay as close to that as I could for the remainder of the race. I was carrying my camera and taking lots of pics and enjoying myself. My only big complaint was how many people I had to dodge throughout the race. I know it's partly my fault for starting further back, but many of he people were also just totally oblivious! Anyway, the next few miles were run on a bike path that wound through the sand and was quite narrow, making the crowding even worse. This stretch was a little monotonous and boring, but finally ended just before the 10 mile mark.
 the lighthouse!
 rainbow harbor
 pierpoint landing
 a cool boat (not the Queen Mary)
back to shoreline village
on the bike path
The full marathoners split from us at the 10.5 mark and I couldn't help but think that I was glad I was only doing the half : ) The last few miles were straight back to the start on Ocean Blvd. so I picked up the pace a tad. When I finally reached mile 12 I stepped on the gas and clocked a sub-9 split for the last mile. The course was a tad long per usual (about .15) and I sprinted those last tenths of a mile at sub-8 pace. I crossed the finish line along with a crowd of others, with an official time of 2:07:59.
 the split
 heading back along ocean blvd.
the home stretch!

I definitely think I could've run faster and possibly PR'ed, but I'll admit it was nice to take it a bit easier and not be so focused on pace and checking my Garmin every 5 seconds. Plus my hips were nagging me early on and I didn't want to risk it. I still accomplished my goal of a sub 2:10 race, and it was actually my second best half time yet. I enjoyed the race and had fun, too, so it was definitely a win-win. Immediately after I made my way into the crowded finish area (I think crowded was the theme at LB) and grabbed a goodie bag, chocolate milk, and a space blanket. I didn't have a whole lot of time so I quickly found the CA Dreamin' tent to pick up my huge medal. On my way out I stopped to take a quick pic in front of the awesome sand sculpture carved into the race logo. Alyssa was already downtown so I walked a little ways to meet her and then we headed straight to the airport (I told you it was a quick trip!). I freshened up as much as possible on the way, but thankfully since it was only an hour long flight I don't think I offended too many people : )
the awesome sand sculpture

Definitely happy I did this race, and not just to complete the CA Dreamin' Series. It was well organized and the course was great. I somehow was given today off work so I'm getting some much needed rest and relaxation. I actually passed out on the couch last night at 8:30pm!
another half in the books!
CA Dreamin' finally complete!

October 17, 2010

CA Dreamin' Series Complete!

LB race report is coming... In the meantime, check out the goods I got for completing the CA Dreamin' Series! Not only do you get an extra medal (a huge one in the shape of CA) but you also get a sweet jacket with the series logo embroidered on the front. I was actually really impressed with the quality of the jacket and wore it after today's race. It's super lightweight and soft but still warm! Looking back I'm glad I ran all three of these races, but the extra schwag sure doesn't hurt : )
 my sweet jacket and series medals
  surf city, san francisco, & long beach = CA dreamin' : )

Congrats to all LB, Denver, and Nike Women's finishers! Another great weekend in the running world. I had a fun (and very quick) time in Long Beach and came in right around my goal time. Stay tuned for details!

October 16, 2010

Long Beach Bound

In just a few hours I'll be boarding a plane and heading down south to Long Beach for my half marathon this weekend! I'll be honest: the main reason I signed up for LB was to complete the California Dreamin' Series. The series includes three of California's "big" races: Surf City, San Francisco, and Long Beach. By running all three (any combo of fulls or halfs) you receive an awesome jacket and a big medal in the shape of the golden state of CA! If you know me, you know things like this are right up my alley : ) Since I ran the Surf City Half in February and the San Francisco Marathon this past July I'm all set to claim my goods after I finish Long Beach this weekend!

So about this weekend... After my big PR at Urban Cow a couple weeks ago I started to reassess my goals for this race - specifically, trying to go for a sub-2 hour finish. After talking to a few people at work I think I could be capable of this. But with all the trouble I've been having with my his lately I don't think it's such a good idea to try and push it. Especially considering I have my big goal marathon (Marine Corps in DC) just two weeks later. And let me just tell you, I booked all my travel for DC last night and holy cow, I better run an awesome race because it's costing me a fortune! So a sub-2 attempt won't be happening this weekend (but will surely be in the not-too-far-off future), but that doesn't mean I'm going to leisurely jog the race. My goal is to run a sub 2:10, which will require me to keep a pace under 10:00/mi. This will be just challenging enough to make things interesting while still allowing me to have fun and enjoy the race. I plan on carrying my camera again, too, so I can capture all the awesome sights of LB along the way. Of course, if my hips start really bugging me I'll pull in the reigns, but here's hoping they behave! My trip to LB is going to literally be in and out - I'll be heading straight to the airport after the race! Should be a whirlwind of a weekend : )

Good luck to all my friends running the Nike Women's Marathon and Denver Marathon tomorrow!

October 15, 2010

These Hips Don't Lie

Sorry for being so M.I.A. this past week, I just never could get around to blogging. Running did occur, however, so allow me to play catch up.

After Urban Cow I took a day off then did an easy 4 miles Tuesday. I took Wednesday off from running for some reason I no longer remember. And since Thursday was a rest day already, that meant two days off in a row. Whoops. Although I didn't run Thursday I did do something exciting - I chopped off all my hair! I'd been craving a big change and a drastic haircut hit the spot : ) Then Friday was the big one - 20 miles, my final big long run before the Marine Corps Marathon in a couple weeks. Lucky for me my coworker Heather was able to join me for part of the run. She was tapering for the Nike Women's Marathon (her first!) and needed to do about 10 miles, so we met up at my house before the sun was even out and took off. We set off toward William Pond Park on the bike trail at an easy pace and the miles ticked by. It's amazing how much faster time goes when running with company! Heather was having some ITB pain so we took intermittent stretch breaks and around 6 miles we turned around and headed back toward my house.
new haircut!

At 10 miles I dropped Heather off, pulled out my Ipod, and continued on my way in the opposite direction. Although I was tired from already having done 10 miles, mentally it was nice to just focus on what I had left and think that I just had 10 miles to do. My hips started really bugging me at this point, but it was more of a nagging pain than anything else so I just kept moving. I took little pit stops when I needed to and soon enough I was at 15 miles and turning around again to head home. I actually picked up my pace on that last leg with the final 7 miles all run at sub-10 pace. I stopped once again at my oasis to fill up my handheld and kept trudging along. I ended up hitting 20 miles about a half mile from home, and being the stubborn person I am I stopped my watch at exactly 20 and walked the rest of the way. But holy cow did it hurt to walk! In fact, I think it would more accurate to say I shuffled. It took me like 20 minutes to cover that half mile : / My average pace ended up being 10:17 min/mi which is great for me, but looking back I probably took more little pit stops then I should have. Oh well!
my lovely oasis : )

Luckily I had the day off (which is why I did my long run earlier that weekend) so I could finally have a proper recovery! I drove to the store, bought some chocolate milk and a big bag 'o ice then proceeded home to take a nice, cold ice bath. I ate lunch later to work on my long run calorie deficit and then passed out later that afternoon. Naps after long runs are always epic, right?

I ended up taking 3 days off after my 20 miler (I know, my training has been no where close to consistent lately) but I've just been exhausted with work and I was on the graveyard shift again this week. Plus, my hips seem to have gotten worse. Not only are they sore when I run, but they actually feel bruised to the touch. I don't think it's anything serious, more than anything I would bet it's from a lack of adequate stretching/recovery on my part. But still, it's frustrating.

Finally on Tuesday I got back out there and did an easy 4 miles before work. I think the extra rest was helpful, especially mentally. I think I've been pretty close to a burnout lately. Physically, the rest didn't seem to do much for my hips. Then Wednesday during work a coworker took me to see a local chiropractor/somatic therapist/PT who supposedly works miracles. He asked me what was wrong, pulled and bent my feet every which way, then out of nowhere he dug his fingers into my stomach! It wasn't so much painful as it was extremely uncomfortable. Then he moved his finger even lower and pressed as hard as he could pulled my leg up til I couldn't stand it, then proclaimed, "Got it!" before moving on the other side. Apparently he was releasing my psoas. He then asked me about my shoes and my running and forbid me to run anymore in my current shoes (I only got them in July!). In fact, he told me I should really be replacing my shoes every 2 months (2 months?!). He also told me I suck at hydration, which I took as a personal blow - I carry my water bottle everywhere! But alas, it was as if I light bulb suddenly went off. Although I always have my water with me, I haven't been drinking as much as before, especially while I'm at work. No wonder I've been so exhausted lately - I've been dehydrated! Ahhh epiphanies : )

Despite being told not to run in my shoes anymore, I thought I wasn't really going to have much choice since LB is this weekend. So imagine my surprise when I get back to work and I'm handed a box of brand new shoes! I'd ordered them over the weekend and they came in much earlier than expected. A sign from above, I think : ) So that night after work I slipped on the new kicks and headed out for a test run. My hips had felt a lot better after the adjustment, so I was hoping I would be able to run pain-free. I originally was only going to do 4, but then 4 turned into 5, then I dropped my dog off at home and did another 2 miles. I have no idea why, I just wanted to run. But alas, my hips could not remain quiet and the same nagging pain flared up on those last couple miles.

I did my final run before the LB half last night with my coworker, Alex. He's much faster than me (trying to BQ in December) but he assured me he would take it easy. That's the part that just makes me laugh and reminds me just how relative running really is - his easy is my fast! So we set out with our matching headlamps and my dog in tow and did a nice 4 miles as we chatted away. I felt like I was working pretty hard but I managed to hold a conversation so I suppose I wasn't working that hard. Today I'm going into work for a short shift and after I'm planning on going on an easy bike ride. I haven't rode my bike since my triathlon and I've really missed it. I finally got fit properly a few weeks ago, too, so I'm excited to test out the new fit. I have yet to ride with my new clipless pedals either, but I'm eager to start using them. And by eager, I mean terrified of falling! Stay tuned to hear how things go this afternoon - I'm sure it will be amusing : )

Tomorrow I'll be posting more about LB and my plans and goals for the weekend. Also, congrats to all Kona, Portland, and Chicago finishers! We had the Ironman World Championships streaming live in the breakroom at work and man was it an awesome race! It was definitely an exciting week for the world of endurance sports.

October 7, 2010

Urban Cow Half Marathon (Race Report)

I had intended to get this race report up earlier this week...but for some reason I've just been exhausted. The race was awesome though so it's time I share the details! I didn't get a chance to mention on here what my goal was for Urban Cow...but to be honest, I was a little hesitant to put it out there because it was a bit of a jump for me. But at the same time I wanted to set my sights higher than usual to see what I'm capable of if I really push myself. I settled on 2:05 for a couple reasons. First, it would be a big PR (8 minutes), second it would be require a pace I'd only run for shorter distances, and finally because there was a pace group that I could run with. I felt it was realistic enough, but would certainly not be easy.

I was a bundle of nerves Saturday evening, and I only let myself divulge my goal to a few coworkers, with the hopes that it would motivate me to push hard come Sunday. Race morning, after snoozing my alarm a couple times, I was up and sleepily going through my usual routine. My mom and I left about a half hour before the race start, but since it was local we got there with plenty of time. She dropped me off at the start in William Land Park and I made my way through the crowd to the start area. I spotted a coworker and chatted briefly, then I found the 2:05 pace group and lined up!
inaugural "Urban Cow" (formerly the Cowtown Marathon)
 start/finish line
: )

Right on time the race director blew the horn and we were off, winding through the shady park. The first mile was pretty crowded so we had to pick up our speed to lower our average pace right off the bat. My main goal was simply to hang on to the pace leader since I suck at keeping an even pace (at any speed). I had my music and cruised through the first few miles. I spotted my dad a couple times during the first half of the race, and I also saw several coworkers scattered throughout the course. Seeing friendly faces so often certainly helped keep me pumped! The course was great - lots of nice, shady neighborhood stretches, a couple miles on the levy along the Sacramento River, and a couple winding parts through parks. There were enough turns to make things interesting, a fair number of spectators scattered along the way, and literally pancake flat! Although this was a local race for me, I'm not familiar with the Land Park area it took place in, so it almost felt like I was running in a new city, too.
the crowd ready to go!
 runners winding through shady Land Park
 hanging close to the 2:05 pacer...

Several times throughout the race I had mental battles with myself or used tricks to psych myself out. I wasn't struggling to hold the pace, but I had to really focus to keep it up. I just never let myself fall behind the pacer, and most of the time I actually tried to stay a bit in front of her. At one point, to pass the time I found myself trying to identify other runners shoes (one of the side effects of working in a running store). Halfway through I reminded myself that I'd made it that far and I just had to hang on a little longer - less than an hour! The last few miles I knew if I just kept pushing I had it in the bag, so I dug deep and actually picked up my pace a tad. I saw my coworker Heather around mile 11 which gave me a final little boost. Soon we found ourselves back at William Land Park for the last mile, which seemed to go on forever. I broke away from the pacer at this point, and made a break for the finish line. I smiled as I crossed the line, and when I looked down at my Garmin I realized I had actually come in just under my goal: 2:04:06!!
 all smiles around mile 4 : )
i did it! yay for a new PR!

Immediately afterward I got my cowbell medal (cool, but just imagine thousands of these making noise at once!), grabbed some food, and found my folks. I felt ok, but I couldn't stomach any of the free food. While I was lying down in the grass someone almost stepped on me and when I looked up I was happy to see it was fellow (hilarious) blogger Ron! We had exchanged emails earlier in the week and I had hoped to meet up but I hadn't see him during the race. I was glad we found each other despite the crowd - congrats on another race, Ron!
the infamous Ron and I

I'm so happy with how this race went. Not only did I set a 9 minute PR, but I finally experienced a race where I achieved something I wasn't completely sure I could do. I moved out of my safety zone and challenged myself and it felt great! I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes, "Life begins on the edge of comfort." My splits were ridiculously consistent - I'm talking within a few seconds of my 9:30 goal - but I have to give credit to the fantastic pacer. In fact I only glanced at my watch a handful of times during the race. It was nice to be able to just run instead of compulsively checking my watch. Now that I accomplished this goal, I can't help but wonder what else I'm capable of. I couldn't resist putting my new PR in the McMillan Running Calculator to see what I could possibly do in a marathon, and was surprised to see 4:21 staring back at me. Perhaps I'll have to adjust my goals for MCM in a few weeks...
my unique (and slightly annoying) cowbell medal

My mom and I hung around for a while after the race then I headed back home to enjoy the rest of my day off. My dad and I decided to go out for brunch, which meant I made the crucial mistake of waiting a couple more hours to eat. I've really got to work on this recovery thing! Legs felt pretty good this week, but like I mentioned earlier, for some reason I've just been exhausted. Next up is the Long Beach Half next weekend, and after my performance at Urban Cow I think I'll have to reevaluate my goals for that, too! But first, tomorrow morning I'm doing my last big long run before Marine Corps - 20 (hopefully awesome) miles!
mom and I post-race
Urban Cow: a race like no udder : )

Congrats to everyone who ran Urban Cow on Sunday, and kudos to the race management for a great, well-organized race. And a quick shout out to Tim, a local reader I had the pleasure of meeting last week at work who had a fantastic race!

October 1, 2010

Guest Post: Mom's First Race!

When my daughter, Rachel, suggested that I run in a race, I told her “absolutely not – she was crazy – I’m too old and not in shape for running.” But she made me an offer I could not refuse. She said I could run just a 5K; that was only 3 miles and change. She also told me she would come up with a training schedule so that I could slowly build up to it. And besides it was a walk/run; if I had to I could walk part of it. I knew I could do that. But the real clincher was when she told me the one she found was for ovarian cancer. My best friend from high school, Sue Sandoval, died 3 years ago from ovarian cancer at the age of 53. I was sold.
 "in honor of"

I started out just walking. I went to the San Juan Islands with my sister to visit our folks and since she has been walking a lot, we walked a lot together. Once home I started my training. In 30 minutes I warmed up for 5 minutes, then alternated running 1 minute and walking 4. After 2 weeks, the running increased to 2 with 3 walking. The ratio continued to increase until the last 2 weeks before my race I was running the whole time. I figured the distance was about 2 miles and come race day, surely I could do one more. Keep in mind, I was running at night when it had cooled down. Then race day dawned with a weather forecast of 95 degrees and the race was set for 5:30. OMG. Well, I just would do it, that’s all. And I did. 
all ready to go!

As we waited, Rachel asked me if I had a plan. When I said no, she suggested I walk for 1 minute at each of the mile markers. I did just that and it was a big help. I also took 2 cups of water at the water stations – 1 went into my mouth; the other down my back. I know I ran very, very slow. In fact people were passing me walking. But my goal was to finish and to run as much of it as possible. I thought a lot about Sue as I ran, especially the last mile. If she had survived, I know she would be running too.
 waiting for the start
 woohoo! mile 2!
 finished : )
 thrilled to be done!

Will I do it again? Yeah, I think so.  In 95 degree weather? I hope not.  I have to thank my daughter for her encouragement and belief in me that I could do it and another thanks to both her and my husband who came to cheer me on.  I’ll never run a marathon, but I’m thinking a 5K for breast cancer will be in my future.
mom & daughter post-race