Monday, November 29, 2010

omg, omg, omg

This is what I am trying really hard to not think right now. I have done really well the last few months with taking one day at a time. Being the type A personality that I am I tend to over think, over research and over prepare for things. These past 12 weeks I suddenly had this shift of not stressing or focusing on things in advance. I can't think about the 10 mile run on Sunday until Sunday because today I am focusing my energy on x. This strategy has kept me fairly calm so I'm working hard to maintain this attitude until Sunday when I will run 13.1 miles.

Somewhere out there the rain gods decided to cut me some slack and turned Sunday's 10 mile run into a very cold but beautiful and sunny run. "I have no interest in running more than 3 miles", yep that was me about 4 months ago... I actually said this to the barista at Starbucks while we were discussing Brazen Racing. So, it's hard for me imagine that I actually ran 10 miles yesterday, but I did. The first half felt pretty good and mile 4-5 felt really good. It wasn't until the turn-around point that I started to not enjoy myself quite as much, maybe that's because the way back is an ever so slight uphill until you reach the death climb. I followed my timing and consumed my Gu's at appropriate intervals, my water was nice and icy cold thanks to the 30 degree temps. Around mile 7 I actually started to feel soreness in my legs that I hoped would not continue for the next 3 miles. As I made my way back to the park to stop and use the facilities and refill my water bottles I thought about how this was it, my last big run before the race, so I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. I was doing okay until about mile 9, I knew this would be hard, having run 9 miles last weekend my body really protested that additional mile. to add to the insanity the last 3/4 mile was uphill. I try to never take a walk break int he last mile, but dang I had to take a couple, running up my street is bear. I can't even begin to express the relief I felt as I walked in my house knowing that I was done with my longest training run. 10 miles, who does that? Me, I guess.

Today I am focusing on getting the family situated for my 4 day absence, setting things aside to pack so I don't forget anything really important and lots and lots of laundry. Perhaps I should have kept track of how many loads of laundry I had to do of running clothing throughout the training season.

I'm looking forward to Vegas, my first non-work travel away from the entire family, catching the Ducks vs. the Beavers game and oh yeah, running my first 1/2 marathon with two very good friends.

Week end totals:

Run: 20 miles
Bike: 10.54 miles

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week ten of training

It's difficult to imagine that I have gotten to a place where running 5 miles is considered a short run, I think my body is significantly protesting this idea.

I have a full week in on the new shoes, and while I think they are better than the previous ones, I think when you are running this much, there really is no magic shoe out there that is going to make you feel awesome.

I got all of my workouts in this week, although I mixed up my days a little to accommodate for the fact that my body was in much pain after last weekends 10k race. Needless to say, 5 mile runs midweek is not a great deal of fun. I saw Dr. Bill on Friday and than had to go run my 5 miles, not really how I would have liked to have done it, but some days you just have to roll with the punches. So yesterday ended up being my rest day and I pretty hung out at home all day with the girls and tried to take it easy. We enjoyed a really nice dinner last night by candlelight as we worried we would lose power last night due to the thunder and lightening.

I woke up this morning pleased to find the rain and lightening had passed through. Running in the rain was one thing, but my thought that running in thunder and lightening is probably not a smart idea. I donned all my gear and got ready for my 9 miles. The first 2 miles I had some shin pain (guess I forget to tape this morning) once that worked out it was mostly my lungs and head cold that fought me. I tried to take it easy and walked when I needed to in order to preserve my lungs and not start a coughing fit that once started would surely not dissipate. The fresh cold morning air was actually helping to keep my sinuses clear. It was around mile 5 that things started to go down hill. I had to go to the bathroom, and I was about 2 miles away from one. I worked on walk/run intervals as running seemed to put more pressure on my bladder, but running would get me to the bathrooms quicker. Once I finally made it the park I used the restrooms and filled my water bottles for the last 2 miles of my run. It hurt, at this point, my entire lower half of my body was saying f* you. The pain was bad, but I knew I was close to home. As I turned onto Ivy Drive for the last 1/2 mile of uphill I took a short walk break and than dug deep to just get it done. 1:44 including my stop at the park.

By the time I got to the house I was DONE and in pain. I did some stretching and made my way to an ice bath with my recovery drink. Apparently our fancy whirl-tub bath is not cut out for an ice bath, because I can't get cold water out of the faucet in there, I suppose if you wanted to take a hot bath, it would feel cold, but for an ice bath, it felt warm. My very sweet husband went and filled up a bucket of cold water from the kitchen sink and poured over me and than brought the ice bucket and poured that over me as well while the girls watched. Ice bath's always seem to draw a crowd.

It was a difficult week but it's done and now I have one more difficult week of training before I get to taper for race day. Sunday's always feel like a huge sense of accomplishment after my run is over, so now I get to enjoy the rest of the day.

Week end totals:

Run: 19 miles
Bike: 15.61 miles

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mermaid Run SF

photo courtesy of Melissa
While I am a fan of the Mermaid Run in Mountain View, I have never done the San Francisco run because I hate driving to the city, lame I know. But I couldn't resist since my training plan called for a 10k race on Sunday and so many of my friends would be participating as well.

As you know I went to the Cal/Oregon game the night before and was feeling the pain the next morning in my shins from hiking up all the concrete to Memorial Stadium. I taped up my shins and gathered all of my race day gear and headed to the city.

It was a gorgeous day at Crissy Field. While I had no expectations about this race, since it was my first 10k and I was actually kind of dreading it because it was a 2 loop course, which I felt would be mentally challenging to run past the 5k finish and have to do another a 5k. The nice part about doing the 10k is there were way less people doing the 10k, the 5k runners were sent off 15 minutes before our start so it felt way less crowded when he headed out. I must have started in a good spot for my pace because I didn't feel like I had to pass lots of people and I don't feel like a lot of people passed me either. The first half of the run felt pretty good, the nice part about the course was that I got to see everyone at one point or another along the course, which was fun.

I decided to run with my water pack, I've heard stories about people om long runs and getting screwed at the aid stations so I knew I wanted to carry my own beverage. What I wasn't 100% sure about was whether to use a Gu or not. I packed one and filled my bottles with CytoMax to test whether using that or water would be best for the 1/2. When I approached the first aid station they were totally out of cups filled with water. Someone was trying to fill up a cup but I clearly was not going to stop and wait, this is why I was carrying my own. When we looped back around there was an aid station across from the other one, it was jammed and I decided to not stop again not waiting to lose any momentum. As I approached the 5k finish turn-off I decided now would be a good time to go ahead and consume a Gu, which I'm glad I brought after all. At this point I was still feeling pretty decent and was looking forward to working my way closer to the water where it was cooler. There was no fog to speak of and with the full sun it was starting to get hot. As I approached the aid station again, they had closed down the one on the right side. I was really hoping to get water this time around because the Gu had made my hands sticky and the CytoMax sport drink wasn't helping me in my quest to be less sticky. Luckily, the folks from the aid station on the left were standing in the middle of the trail handing out water, sadly, she gave out her last cup to the woman in front of me, foiled once again! As I reached the turn around point at the Presido I was able to really take in the scenery and enjoy the beautiful view. There was no one directly in front or behind of me. And as the waves crashed ashore I could smell  the sea spray and really enjoyed the view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, it was really a nice moment. As I headed back to the finish I finally got my cup of water and was bale to clean off my stickiness, the cold water tasted so good since my CytoMax was a warm beverage at this point.

With one mile left to go I started to have some toe nail pain and worried once again about the possibility of losing a toe nail. The last mile hurt, but I had run the first 5 miles and there was no way I was going to walk when I was so close to the finish line. As I ran past the folks sitting on the grass I saw Melissa who cheered me in, which was a great feeling and I finally made the right turn into the finish chute. It felt great as I heard them announce my name as I crossed the finish line of my first 10k! I did  it and I ran the entire distance!

It felt amazing to do something I never thought I would do. At the beginning of the year I briefly thought about training to do a 10k and I looked at a training plan, and thought to myself "there is no way I can workout that much" and discarded the idea, so to complete a 10k as a training run for a 1/2 marathon felt really good. My goal was an 1:10 and my official team was 1:10:19, not bad.

The hard part was after I got home and the immense pain from my toe's, feet, knee's groin and lower back. I'm working on some shoe issues to hopefully resolves these issues. It for sure took away from my high of completing a 10k which makes me sad. The important part is that I did it and it didn't feel too terrible while I was doing it, so I know will do another.

Next up *gulp* Vegas!

Week end totals:

Run: 16.20 miles
Bike: 5 miles

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Game Day

You might think this a post about the Mermaid Run, but you'll have to wait for that. Last night the Oregon Ducks were in town playing the Cal Bears. My husband is Oregon Alumni, so for our anniversary I got tickets to the game. We were so excited to go.

I was a little nervous going into Bear territory with all of this green and yellow but my fears were quickly set aside as we got to Orinda BART only to find masses of Oregon fans. We arrived in Berkeley pretty early, so we decided to stroll through the campus as we made our way uphill to Memorial Stadium. I was starting to see the draw of the campus, it is very pretty. It was fun to see all of the Oregon fans and Oregon and Cal fans hanging out together. As we made our way to the stadium we approached Gate 2, we knew we needed to get to Gate 6 so we headed to the other side of the stadium. My thighs were burning from the uphill walk, maybe not a great idea the night before a 10k. We headed up lots and lots of stairs until we finally reached our seats. We were in the end zone along with all of the other Oregon fans. I feel for Cal, they need a new stadium terribly. The seats are so close together and the poor guy in front of me had my knees in his back almost all night, there was just no room at all. Cal has one jumbo-tron television. It sits behind the visiting team section, so we couldn't really see it. Not that it mattered because they never once replayed anything that was good for Oregon, and even the biggest play by Cal wasn't replayed. To make matters worse, you can't get a signal at all on your phone thanks to all of the concrete, this only became a real issue when standing in line 25 minutes during 1/2 time for the gross port-a-potties and the 3rd quarter started and I missed the biggest play of the game. I could hear yelling, but had no idea what was going on and couldn't even get on the web to find out either.

Overall we had a great time, although it didn't feel like a win for us. With Oregon averaging much higher spreads, a game this close was painful. We'll probably lose the number one spot for a game this close, but we're focusing on the next game.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What to do on a rest day

My body has been taking a beating and last week I started seeing my chiropractor to help work out some of the kinks. I've been very impressed with what he has been able to with my lower back, legs, ankles and feet, so much more than what I normally visit him for! To help with today's body work I scheduled a massage for after the chiropractor with my beloved Joseph. Honestly, I have never met someone as talented as him when it comes to massage. After my fabulous massage I followed it up with a pedicure that I won from R Spa, I keep trying to tell Scott that Facebook is good for lots of things, like winning a free pedicure! I was disappointed that there was some sort of schedule mess up and I wasn't able to see Maria, but I still received a very nice pedicure. I have been slightly alarmed all day however ever since she told me a couple of my nails seemed loose or unstable. I realize that there is a good possibility that I may lose a toe nail during training or the 1/2 itself. But I didn't need a reminder of it that will now cause me to think about it every time I walk, run or just even look at my toes. 

It's 4pm and I basically want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep, I'm starting to feel sore from all the body work today and wondering if anyone would mind if I just went to bed now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rain, Rain

What's a girl to do when it's raining on her long run day? Eight miles on a treadmill sounds more dreadful than eight miles in the rain. Since I am always saying I would rather run in the rain than in the heat I know I have to suck it up and run in the rain.

I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and a runny nose and my shins still feeling like they would like another day of having not to run. I ate a sensible breakfast of cheerios and banana and started getting dressed for the weather.I taped my shin, hoping the extra support would keep it happy and donned my favorite running tights, short sleeve shirt and a running jacket. I downed some airborne in the hopes of convincing my body that it really does not want to get sick and walked outside to check the conditions. Cold and wet, I decided to switch out my short running jacket for the longer one, I figured the more coverage the better. I was anxious to just get out there and get it done.

As I started out I decided to zip my jacket all the way up and use the hood over my baseball cap to try and keep water off of my face and to keep me warm, it was windy and colder than I expected. By the time I was into mile two, I realized this strategy was making me too hot so I took the hood off and unzipped the jacket a little, much better. At this point, I realize it's going to be a lonely and long run, since I appear to be the only crazy person out in the rain on a Sunday morning. As I run past the Ranch House I smell bacon, so very unfair.

As I enter Moraga Commons Park which is completely void of any life I am startled by two deer as they run past me in the rain. We have a lot of wildlife around here and seeing deer is not uncommon. But for some reason  this felt so special. To be so close to them without anyone else around as we ran by each other, it almost felt magical and inspired me to pick up the pace a little. By this point I had already taken one walk break and given the long distance that I had to run today, there would be many intervals of walking and running. Once on the trail I came across a few runners who were friendlier than usual, something about being out in the pouring rain formed a little bond or inside secret, I made sure to say good morning to everyone I saw. At one point I came across a group of runners who were training with their coach riding his bike alongside of them. It felt good to know that I was not the only one training today despite the conditions.

After I crossed Rheem Blvd. around mile three I was by myself and wouldn't see anyone else until after I turned around to make my way back. At one point I actually groaned out loud as what seemed like a sheet of water and wind hit me all at once on the side of the face. I could have held my water bottle under the brim of my hat to catch the water that was pouring off of it. Around mile five I consumed my last Gu since I was near a garbage can. This is normally my favorite part of the run the 1/2 mile back to the park, but I knew I had to conserve energy to make it all the way home, so I tried to pace myself. It was at this point that I realized water was actually pooling in the elbows of my jacket and my shoes were so soaked that the insoles were slipping around and actually bunching up causing support in areas that weren't needed. I think that's when the reality of how hard running in the rain for eight miles really is. I can handle rain, I can handle the water on my face, being cold, but this was ridiculous. I stopped to refill my water bottle at the park and continued on. Again, typically this is a great place for me, I'm in the home stretch with two miles left, but somehow with six miles already in, two miles to go doesn't feel like the home stretch.

As I run along Moraga Way and past the Fire Station the rain seems to lighten a little, it doesn't matter I am already soaked through, so it doesn't seem like a gift of any type. Because I am vain, I realize I must look strong and not walk along Moraga Way, because someone I know might actually see me! As I round the corner onto my street (and out of sight of any major traffic) I slow to a walk, the last 1/2 mile is uphill and at this point I hardly have anything left. So the last portion of my run is made up of run/walk intervals. At one point my stride is so small but determined that I almost feel like I am marching. My Nike + tells me 400 meters to go, again, this does not seem like a gift because I can't even be sure I have 400 left in me, let alone 400 uphill. Only does the run feel like a real gift when I hear "Congratulations, you have reached your goal of 8 miles". After this I still have a quarter of a mile to walk uphill to my house. I finish up my water and have never been so pleased to turn into my driveway. As I put the key in the door, I realize that I am actually too wet to even stretch. I have to take my shoes and jacket and hat off before I can even stretch.

My plan was to come home and take an ice bath, but when I take my running tights off I realize my legs are cold and wet and red, hmmm.... maybe I don't need an ice bath. I opt to put warm dry clothes on and compression socks and used the ice packs for a little bit while I recovered with chocolate milk.

The only real joy of the came after rest and recovery when I brewed a pot of coffee and made eggs and bacon with hash-browns for my second breakfast.

I wonder if today's run would have felt better if it wasn't pouring down rain. I wonder if it's a mental issue, I was pissed that I had to walk so much of the run, did it really feel that bad or was I just beating myself up for the walk breaks. Not that I expect to be able to run the entire race without walking, but I still always feel bad when I walk more than I want to. It's been a mentally challenging week, the appearance of shin splints really messed with my attitude this week and while I did everything I could to heal them prior to today's run I still always wonder if it was enough.

Next up Oregon vs. Cal at Memorial Stadium and the Mermaid 10k! Was it a wise idea to plan a 10k race the day after being at a football game... hmm, probably not.

Week end totals:

Run: 17 miles
Bike: 17.14 miles