Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011

It's hard to believe that we are in the last few days of 2011. It's been filled with great memories and great struggles in our home. I am thankful that we all have our good health and love for life as we start a new year.

Probably the best personal decision I made this year was to quit my job. There is nothing worse then working a job that leaves you unfulfilled and underpaid! The decision to be a stay-at-home Mom (for as long as we can swing it) has proven to be lucrative for our family and our girls. I don't regret it for a minute and have found peace with finding other things that define me other then my career.

Probably the best hing I did all year was coach a girl's team of Mini-Mermaids. I can't even begin to put into words how special this was for me on so many levels. Everyone I encountered said :If only something like this had been around when I was a kid." My thoughts exactly, I didn't find my love for running until my thirties and I always laugh when I tell people that I was "that girl" who walked the track in P.E. The idea of sweating was so gross while today sweat is more like a badge of honor. If I could instill a fraction of how exciting it is to cross a finish line and feel proud of your accomplishment I knew that these girls would be way ahead of me in building self esteem and self worth. Getting to know these girl's on a deeper level was so rewarding and so awesome. The icing on the cake was getting to cross the finish line with my three and six year old and cheering everyone else in.


The added benefit to my own overall fitness was running twice a week with the girl's and then doing my own run on Sunday's. As soon as running club was over I transitioned nicely into a very easy fitness plan of running 3 days a week and then found myself in a 10k training plan to ensure I continued with my hard work. I've always wanted to work on getting faster but didn't really want to put in any effort into actually doing fartleks and whatever other out of my comfort zone training that might require. I was pleased to find that by running with a bunch of six year old's I had actually gotten faster. Adding in my new Garmin that actually let me race myself, I was quickly improving my run times. Which led to a most gratifying 5k PR on Thanksgiving day. Which was really a big deal to me since it had been 2 years since I had last earned a 5k PR.

Overall as I head into 2012 with 10k's and a 1/2 marathon to train for I feel good about the place I am in. I have pushed outside of my comfort zone and done things that I normally would not do which has greatly built my confidence in my abilities. The key is to keep the momentum going!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dam Jingle Bell Dash

Fresh off of my 5k PR on Thanksgiving my friend Molly and I decided to sign up for the Dam Jingle Bell Dash put on by Wolf Pack Events. While it didn't fit in exactly with my current 10k training plan how could I say no to getting to run with bells on my shoes!

It's been pretty cold here in the mornings and Saturday was no exception. It was 38 degrees at my house and 35 degree's at the race site location. Despite the cold it sure was pretty.


Since I had just earned my first 5k PR in two years I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, but in the end I decided that it was a Jingle Bell Dash and that I wanted to just have fun, so I wasn't going to try and earn a new PR on an unfamiliar course. Molly was kind enough to run with me and we chatted the entire time (okay Molly did most of the chatting as I did my best to run and keep up my end of the conversation!) 

Overall I felt like I handled the course well, there were some hills but nothing to big and while I felt like I struggled a little in the beginning as I felt out the course and tried to fall into a pace that felt comfortable overall it felt good and was pretty similar to my training runs that I've been doing pace wise. The bummer part is that my Garmin Forerunner 610 has been on the fritz. It lost the satellite signal right before the start and then died about .05 miles from the finish line. It's been reverse charging and all sorts of other weird stuff. I was hoping to be able to nurse it through the race but I ended up with no data and the Garmin is being returned for a replacement. 
As we crossed the finish line I clocked in at 32:41, 45 seconds off of my PR. Hmm... probably could have pushed harder out there to earn another PR, but I was happy with the day and happy to enjoy myself and not have the pressure to compete with myself. 

In fact it was such a great small race that I'm going back in January to do their 10k. I'm following a 10k plan but had not really made a decision about actually racing a 10k or just going out and running one on my own. Since this was a nice small and well organized event and close to home, it's hard to say no. 

Hoping I'll have a new Garmin back in time for for the race. I've grown very fond of it and am super bummed to be without it for a few weeks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December

Even though it seemed like December the day after Thanksgiving, at least it's now official!

In an effort to not be slacker I have decided to start a 10k training plan.  Last year when I started training for the 1/2 and was looking for a way to condition myself before my actual training started, my friend Molly suggested doing the last few week of a 10k training plan so that when I started the 1/2 training it would feel easy. I took one look at the last few weeks of a 10k plan and thought "yeah, not ready for that either!" So I just worked on convincing my body it was okay to run 3 days a week. So now that I have lots of time before my 1/2 marathon training starts and I've already been running 3 days a week and getting faster, I've decided to just follow the 10k training plan which will give me a couple of week in between that and 1/2 training if I end of ODing on running.

I have been scoping training runs and a 10k to do at the end of my training in January but it's looking like slim pickings this time of year. I'm looking at either doing Brazen's Coyote Hills 10k in January or just running a 10k and calling it my own little race. I'm hoping that as we get close to the end of the year folks will start publishing more races and maybe I'll have more to pick from. I'm tossing around doing the Oakland Running Festival's 5k assuming there are no occupy protesters and the Presidio 10, but I'm going to wait a little longer before committing to anything.

In the meantime I'm working on stretching my very sad and sore legs and now adding in my cross training 2-3 times a week. Which means more laundry! Yay!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Walnut Creek Turkey Trot

This year both Scott and I signed up for the Turkey Trot, he however decided to attempt his first 10k while I stuck with the 5k. This way I would be back in time to catch a photo of him as he crossed the finish line pushing the girls.

A 5k PR has been pretty elusive for me. My last 5k PR was two years ago at this run (a different course) and since everyone I know PR'd that year we were pretty sure the course was short, so I never took it as a serious time that I would be able to beat. My runs lately have been getting speedier based on my workouts. My Sunday runs have been between 3.20 and 3.80 miles and the Mini-Mermaids left me with some speed work during the week and the hills I have added to my runs has helped with my overall strength and stamina. That being said, I was secretly hoping for a PR at the turkey trot. However, when we arrived and I saw that despite the rain all 4600 people showed up to run, I was doubting I would be able to get a PR after all.

We're lined up at the start of the 8 min mile marker here


We took our jackets off right before the start to stay dry as long as possible

We literally had to walk to the start line before we could actually start running. I was amazed that even though we started at the 8 min mile sign, we still had to pass walkers! I equate the run to the equivalent of the of the IMAZ Swim, at least that's what it felt like. I had to run with my elbows up high in defensive mode. At one point a woman in front of me tripped on a reflective marker in the road and I nearly crashed into her. I did my best to stay alert and tried to find a pace where I was comfortable and used minimal energy to dodge around all of the other runners who were running 3 wide. I felt pretty good and tried not to be too frustrated with all of the rookies on the course. I reminded myself that it was a Turkey Trot and to just have fun. So I continued to keep my eyes open and tried to not get knocked around too much. It started to feel a little better around the 1.5 mile point. But as we made our way through downtown Walnut Creek I found myself having to jump up on the sidewalk to get around all of those people running 3-4 wide. I was pissed again, I just used a lot of energy to do that and than to jump back down again once I made my way past all of these people. As I tried to settle back into a pace we were approaching an aid station, since I was already running the right side of the course I was in a good spot to grab a cup and keep going. As luck would have it some a**hole decided to cut across the entire course and stop right in front of me. I threw my hand out so I wouldn't run into him and said "are you kidding me?" That was the first of four tables with water, it was so totally unnecessary. I ran through to the second table grabbed water and ran through. As I passed the last of the tables the same a**hole thought it would be funny to throw water at my back and smirked as he ran past me. I can say that I was really close to having a Kyle Bush moment and really thought about tripping him, but than I reminded myself that it was Thanksgiving and to let it go. I had on running tights and two layers of shirts besides feeling it hit my back it really hadn't done me any harm.

As we approached two miles I was getting tired, I had been maintaining a low 10 minute mile and really thought about walking. And then I thought about spectating Ironman over the weekend and how hard those athletes pushed themselves, I thought about Molly and how she pulled out a 75 minute PR, and then I got over myself and kept running. A woman started running by my side and she had a really nice pace so I fell in line with her and we ran side by side and kept a really nice comfortable pace. That is until I got blocked out by other runners and lost her. As we were approaching the Ironhorse Trail I found her again and got back in line with her as we approached the only hill on the course, there were lots of people walking it. I put in low gear and trudged up the hill and lost my pace buddy. At this point we had to narrow back down to almost single file to get on the trail, great more congestion. I kept to the inside of the trail and maintained a steady pace. At this point the Ironhorse starts to warp. I was up and down, up and down over the bubbles in the pavement. I was committed to this side of the trail and honestly everyone else was trying to avoid it, so while it did a number on my stamina and ankles at least I wasn't bumping into people.

I was checking my garmin and trying to get an idea of where I was at and where I would finish. Mentally I had 31 minutes in my head. I couldn't remember what my time was from 2 years ago but I felt like I was going to be close and just needed to maintain my pace and not give up. As we got closer to the finish line I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get a PR as I was fast approaching 30 minutes, but I knew it would be a good day and that I should give it  my best. As we approached the 3 mile sign and the turn for the finish I kicked it into high gear and ran a 9 minute mile to the finish line.

Of course in true rookie fashion everyone stopped right at the finish line and I had to push my way through the crowd so that I wouldn't puke on them... hmm, maybe if I had just puked on them that would have taught them a lesson!

My time was 31:56 and much to my surprise my last 5k PR that I thought was so unreachable was 32:08! a 12 second PR!!! Holy crap!!! When I had 31 minutes in my head I thought I needed 31:00 and I didn't realize I needed anything in the 31 minute range! I spent all day yesterday on a high! I really have thought for the past two years that a 5k PR was really unattainable, and to get it on this crazy ass run with so many people was so awesome.

My average pace was 10:17 and each mile was pretty consistent with no more than a 10:25 mile. I finished 35/142 in my age group. It was an awesome day.

Scott did amazingly well also. He finished the 10k in 49:43 an 8:11 pace. Crazy considering he was pushing a 6 year old and 3 year old in the double stroller. He says he hit a wall at mile 5 and then remembered to take in a Gu, but he spent a lot of time hollering "on your left" to maneuver past the masses. Super proud of him for running his first 10k.

Sprinting to the finish line

They helped by yelling beep, beep for Dad

Happy to be done! Where's the pie??

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ironman Arizona Spectathlete

I have to thank my friend Molly for signing up for Ironman Arizona right at a perfect time when I could really use a mini-vacation! With Scott just starting vacation and the girls being off for Thanksgiving week, it was a perfect time for me to get away and spectate Molly as she raced her second Ironman event. For those of you wondering, Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 bike ride and then you go run a marathon, 26.2 miles.

I arrived in Arizona early Friday morning and got to have lunch with a bunch of other Ironman participants, many whom had already done Iron distances already this year! Saturday we arrived at Tempe Town Lake for Molly to get a practice swim in and drop off her bike and transition bags.




It pays off to be the early bird when there are 2640 other people dropping of gear. We ended the evening with a supper yummy dinner at a place called Nourish where the owner came out to wish Molly good luck for the big day. Oh yeah, and there was some Hockey and College Football viewing as well, but lets not talk about that sob story!

Race morning came early, 4am to be exact! I slept pretty good and was ready for a big day of spectating. Molly and I headed out first and once we arrived she entered to transition to get her bike ready and get some body marking. Once she got suited up it was time to say our goodbyes. After parting ways we headed up to the bridge to watch the swim start.

Beautiful morning

Ready to start

And they're off! 


It looked like a blender out there, it's not just being able to swim at this distance in a cold lake, but it's focusing and not being bothered by the mass start!

We had the chance to go up in the Microsoft building and got some great views of the entire transition area.

That's a lot of bikes. These are some of the pro's coming in.

We headed back down to transition to try and get a good spot to view Molly coming in from the swim.

Looking strong! 

Then we ran over to the bike start to cheer her on as she heads out on her 112 mile bike ride!

This is the point where the spectathlete gets to rest for a little bit. We headed over to a restaurant and managed a patio table so we could work on our nutrition. Fueling consisted of a mimosa and some eggs with potatoes. Okay, there was lots of water consumption as well  (at least for me, I can't comment on my teammates). The bike course is 3 loops and Molly's online tracking wasn't working too well on the first loop so we had to guesstimate when we thought she would be coming back in. Jeff and I headed out to go cheer her on as she came back and headed out for the second loop.

112 miles and she never got off the bike! 
After we caught her we rushed back to actually eat our food. Once the gps started working better it was evident that there was a strong headwind out on the course. At one point she would be going 21 mph and than 14. We knew that would make for a tough 112 miles on the course.

Once Molly was headed in from the bike course Jeff headed to transition and I headed out past transition to the run start to greet her as she started out on her marathon (her happy place!). Getting down there early proved helpful, I watched lots of other athletes and this would help gauge where she was later in other spots on the run course. People that were easy spot to were a woman in a pink running dress and batman (who she ended up passing later as he slowed down).

Heading out on her 26.2 mile run
The rest of the evening was spent running back and forth on the the run course to catch Molly and yell senseless words of encouragement at her!




After this point I ran back to the car grabbed my sweatshirt, charged my phone and got ready to head to the finish line. I headed to the bleachers to hang out and hope that by the time Molly came through I would be able to be down on the bottom level. Being at the finish line is probably the best part of the entire day. Being out on the course you watch these athletes, some looking in pain, some smiling, some saying thank you as you cheer them on and some not able to spend the extra effort on anything other than one foot in front of the other. So when it's finally their turn and you are cheering them on as they cross the finish line you finally see them smiling you can't help but feel huge elation for them as they announce "You are an Ironman!". As I stood there, in front of me was a Grandmother with her granddaughter and the Grandfather was behind me. Clearly they were waiting for her son to cross and for the little girl to see her Dad her cross the finish line. As he came through the chute a total stranger who was in front of them lifted up the girl so she could her so her Dad come in as they screamed their heads off for him. The look on his face and the act of kindness from the stranger brought tears to my eyes. That's what it's all about, these athletes have gone through months of training for this day, there's been blood, sweat and tears (maybe some urine) left out on the course and it's all for this moment, the lights, the music, the crowd cheering knowing that you are an Ironman! As I sat and soaked it all in and felt so many moments of being proud for those athletes, it was Molly's turn.

I saw her coming and I heard them announce her name. I knew she was hurting but she looked so strong, I screamed my head off and cheered her in to the finish line.



There she was an Ironman for a second time. I was so proud to be there and experience it with her. I know that there are people out there who don't get it but I do. To set a goal for yourself, to train hard for it and meet milestones and accomplishments along the way and then to execute it and get it done has got to be a pretty amazing feeling. While it's not something I see myself doing it sure inspires me to get off my butt and set and meet goals for myself.

Molly set a personal record from her 2009 Ironman of 1 hour and 15 minutes, she shaved time off the swim, bike, run and both transitions. Pretty amazing indeed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mermaid Run and Mini-Mermaid Running Club

Everything about preparing for a race is different when you consider you are racing with 6 and 7 year old's. Let's just say the night before resulted in a huge colossal melt down. As a Team Captain I was going to have to pick up my teams race packets prior to race morning. My options were Sunnyvale on Thursday or San Francisco on Friday. I opted for SF thinking that Friday was a holiday and I should be able to get over and back across the bridge without to much trouble. That was my first mistake. It was raining Friday and as I hit traffic at every place I could to get to the bridge it became apparent that drinking that large bottle of water before I left was a bad idea. I pretty much thought I was going to die around Treasure Island. I figured I was going to have to try and find a bathroom somewhere right off the bridge because there was no way I would make it down to the Presidio. I've only been in this much pain a couple of times in my life and I must have looked like a crazed animal. I eventually found parking along the Embarcadero and ran into the nearest restaurant I could find. After I got back to my car I realized in my crazed state I had misplaced my directions, awesome! Thankfully I had a vague idea from last year on how to get to Sports Basement and made it there around 3:20pm. I pretty much grabbed my packets and ran so I could try to get back across the bridge. For whatever reason my navigation took me through downtown SF to get to the bridge where it was pretty much gridlocked. Doesn't anybody in SF celebrate Veteran's Day????? I won't go into the gory details but lets just say that by the time I was trying to cross my last intersection to get onto the bridge the tears started flowing. It was 4 hours and 15 minutes round trip to get our bibs. I wasn't even able to pull it together that evening and I just had to hope that after a night of sleep I could start fresh and not be so stressed out.

Thanks to my husband who drove us and took photos all day long taking some of the pressure off of me to just enjoy the run with our girls. We got their at 7am, got great parking and waited for our other Mini-Mermaids. Overall everything went just as planned, one our mermaids overslept and so we had to start without her. Sydney was a little nervous at first just about being in such a huge crowd. I promised her that once we started running it would open up and not be super crowded. Once we were off Sydney and I quickly separated from our group as we ran. I held Syd's hand through 90% of the race, this worked well as it kept her running at slower pace. She was so excited about running by the Golden Gate Bridge, she kept saying it over and over again. If you know Sydney, you know she is very competitive. She asked if I had seen any of our teammates pass us and I told her no. She seemed good with that. Along the course I tried to snap photos of her running.


After snapping a photo of her a very nice woman offered to take a photo of us. She stopped and took time out of her run to take this great photos of us! 

During our training I had tried to give the girls an idea of how long the course would be by relating it to laps on our field at school. Sydney kept asking me how many laps we had left. She was starting to slow down but every time I asked her if she was ready to run again, she always was. At one point my friends Mary Sue and Myla passed us, and she seemed bothered by this. We played some leapfrog with them until finally she looked at me and said she needed to walk more and wasn't going to be able to pass them. We were getting close to the finish line but since you couldn't see it from the course, I don't think she believed me. Around the .25 mile to go mark Kylie jumped in and started running with us. 

A very proud moment for me getting to run with both of my girls. Once Sydney finally saw the finish chute she really stepped it up, I stayed at Kylie's pace and we finished about 10 seconds behind Sydney. Sydney's time was 41:49 a PR for her first ever 5k! 

This truly was such an amazing day, being able to run with her and watch her do something she wasn't sure she could do was awesome. Knowing now that I can run with her longer distances is so exciting. Watching Kylie constantly keep up with girls twice her age left me in constant amazement of her abilities. And on top of all of that getting to know these girls at a deeper level and being able to help them accomplish finishing their first 5k was just so special. I didn't complete my first 5k until I was in my 30's and to think they did it ages 6 and 7 is just so cool!

Many thanks to the folks at the Mini-Mermaid Running Club and Mermaid Series for making this possible for so many girls here in California. 



Thursday, October 27, 2011

How is it almost November?

The month of October has flown by right before my eyes! I guess between shuttling kids around between soccer for both girls and school and coaching two days a week I have barely had time to come up for air this month. Our Mini-Mermaid Running Club is coming along awesomely. I am overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received for this program. Last Friday we had our practice race where I had an aid station with tunes blaring, and I convinced my husband to bring a huge tent canopy to set up our post race recovery area. These girl's rocked their 1.5 mile run!

Sydney always setting the pace
While I always run with the girls I couldn't run with them for the practice race and manage the camera and the aid station, so I let them go at it on their own and they didn't let me down. The nice part of coaching for me has been while I'm not running super far distances with them, our pace is pretty nice and helps me with my overall speed. It's been fun to watch my fastest pace while running with the girls.

Did I mention that my 3.5 year old is rocking this program! I only bring her to one practice a week but since I needed my husband's help for the practice race she came and ran the entire 1.5 miles (and I think encouraged one of my 6 year old's to run more than she usually does).

Finishing strong

So proud for earning a shirt like the big girl's
We're getting closer to our big day and I am super excited that all parents are running the Mermaid Race with their daughter, not only is this a great example for the kids but I get to run with Sydney and don't have to worry about keeping track of 6 kids on a 5k course.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I raced myself and won!

Since I shelled out the big bucks on the Forerunner 610, I figured I better start using some of it's fancy features. I added a couple of my usual paths as courses in the Forerunner so that I could race myself. It's silly, but I think that the motivation of a visual timeline pushes you to push harder than just going out and running.

After a particularly bad evening last night, I knew I wanted to hit the pavement work out my frustrations. As I've mentioned many times my out and back course from my house consists of 160 feet of elevation loss in the first one mile, wheeee! Of course that means that last mile is all uphill. In the past when I was training I would run out further so that I could use the uphill last half mile as a cool down. I have now decided that's a cop-out and even if I have to walk it, it's part of mileage for the day. So I've been working on charging the hill with run/walk intervals. Which also means I've had some seriously sore legs. Anyway, so I try not do exert to much energy on the downhill so that I have something for the return trip but I still managed to keep my average pace at 9:33. It is excellent motivation that the Forerunner buzzes you every time you are ahead or drop behind your pace. Overall I was able to really push it hard on the return trip uphill and managed to shave 50 seconds off of Tuesday's run.

On the downside I felt the extreme need to pass out or vomit once I got back, but that's all been worked out now as I finish my Chocolate Coconut Water.

Running Club starts Wednesday, so I'm kicking my ass now so that it's not so obvious when these 6 and 7 year old girl's kick my ass on the track!

Does this mean I need to thank the person who pissed me off.... nah!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Run to Break the Silence 5k

Last year around the time I found out a friend was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer I also discovered that another good friend has a history of Ovarian Cancer in her family. Having lost her Grandmother to the silent disease and having her Mom who is a survivor of it, Julianne introduced me to NOCC's Run to Break the Silence 5k. Last year this was my 5k training race as part of my 1/2 marathon training. By this point I was running 3x a week and running a 5k was a nice short distance in my increasing mileage. I remember feeling confident going into the race only to have my ass handed to me in what was 96 degree temps and a start of 5:30pm in Sacramento. It was a tough run and I really discovered how heat really makes a difference in your game plan.

Fast forward to this year and due to various germ infestations from my two lovely daughters my summer running has not been exactly what I had hoped for. As I'm getting ready to head out on my drive to Sacramento, Scott asks if I'm excited. "No, I have a headache and my shoulders and back are killing me". Okay, not the world's best attitude but I've been having some shoulder and neck issues that Dr. Bill and I are working out. Scott gave me a pep talk and I headed out. Of course once you get on site it's hard not to get excited. When I arrived I found Julianne and her family. Julianne makes a sign every year and carries it as she walks the course with her family.

 I'll admit I got a little choked up that she thought to add my friend to her sign. It was pretty inspirational to be here and hear all of the stories of all the survivors and to see all the different teams in their teal colors. I'm so excited to be a part of this great event and hope to do it every year!

As we approached go time Eric (Julianne's fiance) and I lined up to get ready to run. We were pleased that it was only about 86 this year, although standing there in the sun I still felt sweat trickling down my back. He asked what my time was last year which of course I had looked up before I left the house and it was 36:05. He asked if I had been running a lot lately. Hmm, well I ran 2 miles on Sunday and 1.5 on Wednesday. Then Eric asked when the last time was that I had run this distance... um... July. And then we were off! As I fiddled with all my devices, and crossed the start line I actually passed a girl on a Razor Scooter... um, really??? Are those actually allowed on the course? I eased my way into finding a nice pace and promised myself that I would not look at my watch to worry about the distance I had covered etc. About 1/2 mile in I experienced something I have never experienced before... dry mouth! I have never had this happen before, it literally felt like I had a mouth full of cotton balls in my mouth! I had hydrated really well all day and was just stumped as to why this was happening. I kept telling myself just get to the 1 mile mark and there should be an aid station shortly after it. I was a mess, this phenomenon was high;y distracting and definitely affecting me. I nearly sobbed when I ran past the place where the aid station had been last year to find nothing! This meant there was probably only one aid station on the course this year and I'd have to make it another 1/2 mile before getting to water.

I spent the next part of the course doing walk/run intervals to combat the dry mouth issue and the rising heart rate. I know from experience that I can actually overall be faster if I do intervals rather than trying to find a pace where I can run the entire course. I have never been so relieved to see an aid station, as I drank my cup of warm water it was nice to have some temporary relief from the cotton ball mouth. I continued my run/walk intervals which allowed my to actually run sub 10 minute paces during my run intervals. I was also working very hard to run the shortest part of the course. Even though it was 10 degrees cooler than last year it was still hot and I didn't want to have to run long, I did my best to run the shortest part of the course and seemed to be doing pretty well comparing it to the mile marker signs.

As I rounded the corner with about .40 miles to go I was pleased to see that the sprinklers were on again this year! I took the opportunity to run through them agai9n to cool off, maybe I should have tried to drink some of it as well, but I was learning how to survive with the dry mouth. You know all of the things you say to your self to get through your run? I always tell myself that that I can run for x amount more that's only this many minutes of running. I'm keeping a very close eye on my watch at this point and how much more I have to go because deep down I really want to beat last year's time, since it sucked so bad. Granted, I know I'm not running as much as I was then, but I'm a little smarter in my strategy and I know I can beat it. But damn I'm not sure I can push it anymore, I've been monitoring my heart rate and it's around 185 so I know I'm pretty much redlining it. With .25 miles left I can always run that to the finish line and I can usually pick up my pace. Which I try to do but crap my cardiovascular system is disagreeing with me. Back to intervals. Okay .10 miles, I think I can run this but it visually seems so far away even though I know it's not. So if I pass out or puke as I cross the finish line at least I know someone will be there to help me. They call my name as I'm coming in and they get it right this year! I cross the finish line at 34:46 and 1:19 improvement from last year.

After the feeling of wanting to puke passes and I drink a bottle of water I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I am sure the 10 degree temperature difference helped me out quite a bit but I'm just so please that I found a way to keep one foot in front of the other and beat my time from last year. This course just boggles me, it's totally flat, but every year it kicks my ass. Racing in the evening and in higher temps for sure has an impact on my abilities. After it was all done I looked back at the data my Garmin had collected and found my max heart rate was 188. Yikes! The Garmin site also rates your activity with a training effect, this one was a 5 - Overreaching. LOL, that's a good representation of how I felt.

My friend Mary Sue was right, it did feel good to get back out there!

Official time 34:46
21/63 AG

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

With the start of school around our home it's been pretty crazy. Then add to the fact that I'm a total PTA Mom and getting ready to coach a girl's running club, well, lets just say I barely have a moment to even think!

The summer has ended with all sorts of distraction and as the school year starts I'm fighting hard to find a routine that will allow me to meet all of my obligations and still work out. Then I looked at the calendar and realized I have a 5k in one week! So not ready for it, but it certainly won't be the first time that has happened.

I am super excited about Coaching a Team of Mini-Mermaids. So far I have five girls for sure maybe a sixth, which I think is a great number for my first run at this. I need to raise $68 more to get my entire program funded, so I'm really close! The really nice part all of this is that I will ensure I get at least 2 running days a week with this program, no excuses when you have a bunch of girls to inspire!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the go

This girl has been on the go for sure! Friday was unusual trip to the gym for me as my husband normally takes the kids to the gym and it's usually my day off. He had some other issues to tend to in regards to his father's estate so I got a nice Friday work out in. The Fifth Disease has been coming and going in random appearances. Most recently the rash has reappeared and is accompanied by swelling of my hands and feet, reminiscent of being pregnant. I wasn't feeling up to a run but I did manage a 60 minute bike ride and followed it wit a really nice strength training session which I really needed.

The girls were spending the night at Grandma's so I had planed as much possible adult activity in our 24 hours of freedom as I could. It started with a movie (we haven't been to one together in years), we choose to see Captain America, which was really quite good. I didn't really know the premise so I didn't have any expectations, but we both enjoyed it. After our early movie we were trying to decide on somewhere for dinner, so many choices in Walnut Creek and without the kids we could really go anywhere. We decided on Flemming's they couldn't get us in for about 45 minutes and there bar was packed so we walked over to Tiki Tom's for drinks. It was a nice surprise that they had a live music which we enjoyed as I had a Key Lime Pie Martini. Once we headed back to Flemming's for our reservation was when the extreme indulgence began, I had a Porcini Rubbed Filet with creamed jalapeno corn and bleu cheese mashed potatoes. For dessert I had my favorite creme brulee. Let's just say I made Scott walk around downtown Walnut Creek fir about 20 minutes before even getting into the car I was so grossly full. I had this vague feeling of understanding the need to purge after a meal. While I haven't been dieting I have been trying to eat healthier and eat smaller portions and this meal pretty much did me in. I can't even begin to explain the amount of pain I was in the rest of the evening as my body protested the high fat content food. I have told Scott that I am now a "cheap date" and there is no need to take me to really nice expensive steak house.

Thankfully I was starting to recover by the next morning as we had a day of wine tasting scheduled with some very friends. We hit several wineries in the Livermore Valley, one being Ryhan Winery, that we discovered several years ago during the wine tour that takes place once a year in Livermore. In between wineries we stopped at the Underdog Wine Bar for lunch. While it was tempting to try some of the wines there with lunch we all stuck with water which was a sensible decision before heading to a couple of more wineries. I kept it light and enjoyed some wonderful crab cakes and Scott had these amazing pulled pork sliders. Small portions, small menu but the food was excellent and after the night before we really didn't need a large meal.

It was so great to have an awesome 24 hours to ourselves, it doesn't happen often and we crammed as much as we could in that time. I followed up my weekend of gluttony with a two mile run this morning. It's evident that I still have a long way to go to get back to where I was before I got sick, but it felt really nice to get out and hit the trail today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Plenty of time to become a Diva

This morning was a good indication that I absolutely have made the right decision to not do a 1/2 in October and instead wait until May to do the Divas Half Marathon in San Francisco. Almost everyone who knows me knows that I have been plagued over the last year with health issues. For the most part I have been able to deal with it and continue my activities but never feeling 100% just starts to take it's toll mentally. As I was sent off to see another specialist I was the lucky winner of getting Fifth Disease. The kids had it first, each about 10 days apart and it showed up for me with the worst possible timing just as I was going to see my urologist for the first time. Thankfully I figured out what I had and was able to separate those symptoms from the other ones. After much poking and prodding and tears of pain we think I have Intersitital Cystits, whee, another fun thing to have! I'm trying some meds and we;re hopeful this will help and I can get back to be a normal person again. In all honesty the IC is pretty bothersome and sometimes painful but it's really the Fifth Disease that really took me out.

So, it's been two weeks since I have run, and my goal had been to give it a shot today. I headed to my favorite 2 mile portion of the trail and thought I would give it a try. I really wasn't feeling it and could tell I wasn't hydrated enough to even attempt 2 miles. So I though, I'll walk the first mile out and run the second mile back in which is slightly downhill and my favorite part. Yeah, not so much. The first indication was my fingers started to swell immediately, now whether this is from the Fifth Disease still in my body or the lack of proper hydration who knows, it was probably a combination of both. I attempted to run for a short period of time only to find that my knees really hurt (this was the first joint that experienced major pain with the fifth disease). Okay, so we're just walking today.

It's obviously going to be baby steps to start running again as I test my body to see what it's capable of. I am super glad I have so much time to train for my next 1/2 and just get healthy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Unexpected Surprise

I had been expecting an Age Group Award for Scott n the mail from Run to the Lake, what I wasn't expecting was my own award as well!

It turns out there was a special First Responders Category. Yes, I know, technically I'm not a first responder but they sent coupon codes to Scott's office for the race so I got listed in the first responder category. I was 4th out of 6 in the category and Scott was 1st out of 6. There was only one other woman in the category besides myself so I'm guessing that's why I ended up with a win. So technically I was 1st out 2 in the female category... I'll take that!

I think this last medal will fill up my rack, I may need another!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Run to the Lake - 5k

Run to the Lake benefits Eden Medical Center's Trauma Center. They extended discounts to Law Enforcement and First Responders and they had a kids race, so it seemed like a no-brainer for us to sign up for it. Thankfully, the weather today was much cooler than last week's run. I should start by saying that they advertise this run as Flat and Fast.... um, it's uphill (okay not a huge hill) on the way out, I think it was about 122 feet of ascent on the way out but then mostly downhill or flat on the way back. Luckily for me, I knew this already so I was prepared for it.

I did actually have a plan going into the race (that's a new one!) that I tried my best to execute but didn't turn out exactly the way I had hoped for many reasons. Remember last week when I mentioned I had a nervous stomach, more so than usual... I now know that I can blames this on my family. There are always some nerves on race day, but most of the time I get up while the rest of the family is sleeping and sneak out before they wake up, so I'm just responsible for myself. Imagine this morning, my husband wakes up sore as hell from wrenching on his truck for weeks to try and get it running again, one child who doesn't want to get up and another who is actually eager to get dressed. I felt like leaving them all at home and just going myself. Thanks to our unmotivated runners and Mom having to do everything to get everyone and everything out the door we left 15 minutes later than our goal time. When we finally arrived we have to assemble the double stroller since we have to take it apart to get it into my car. They are already asking people to line up to do warm-up and Scott takes off to use the bathroom leaving me at the car with the kids. Gee, thanks for asking if I have to go! I loudly pronounce that I will just hold it for the entire run to make my point. As we head down the hill, there is hardly a line since everyone is already at the start line and I tell him I'll see him later... like maybe at the end of the race. Anyway, by the time I get down to the start line we are in the back of the line. I look around clearly get the idea that a lot of these people are clearly walking, awesome. When the horn goes off there is absolutely no movement where we are at... none. I give Scott a look and sort of feel sorry for him as I start pushing my way through people who are barely moving so I can cross the start line... good luck with that double stroller I think. Once I finally got a point where I had some breathing room it appeared that I was now at the back of the running pack and I wondered how long it would take Scott to pass me, we were at the .25 mile mark when he finally made his past me. So far, so good, my plan was to maintain a nice easy pace on the way out and take advantage of the downhill on the way back and hopefully maintain a 10 minute mile. Ha, not sure what I was thinking. Mile 1 was actually pretty decent at a 10:48 pace but Mile 2 basically shot my plan to hell with an 11:18 pace. At some point I tired of the slow and slight uphill section. After the water station we got a little downhill portion before the turn-around so I knew I had a little more uphill to navigate before I would have more downhill for the return. I remember thinking at one point that I wasn't even listening to my music, it wasn't inspiring me, this sucked, and why I had I been so worried about changing out some of the tunes last night. I was unfocused and just didn't care, I was getting a side cramp and took several short walk breaks, but it just seemed like it would all be over faster if I ran instead of walking. At the end a lot of people passed me, people I had passed on the out section were passing me coming in. The downhill was nice but than we would reach a flat section and it just seemed like so much work to keep moving forward. It was super nice to see Scott and the girls at the finish line cheering me on, instead of booking it in I ran over to get high-fives and then I sprinted to the finish line.

Glad to be done, I was actually pretty pleased with my time, despite my miserable experience on the course I think there is a trend occurring, I am getting faster, this race was pretty close to my Finish Chelsea's Run time which is my best time in 2 years. I have been disappointed to watch my 5k times getting slower and slower so, it's been really nice to see me increase my speed in these last couple of races.

I guess something went amiss with timing, I'm not entirely sure but they didn't hand out Age Group awards because of it, which is cool because it looks like Scott came in 3rd in his age group! They are actually mailing out awards because of whatever timing issue there was. He came in at 24 minutes, a 7:45 mile.

Trying to get some love from the family!

Coming into the finish

Kylie loving every minute of it

Sydney taking it very seriously

As long as their current reports are correct I finished at 33:39 and came in 18/55 in my AG.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Moraga 4th of July Run

Holy crap! I came in 4th in my AG! I remember telling Scott how the age group division for this race is 19-39 and how it kind of sucks to have such a large division. The race benefits the Campolindo High School Track Team, and who knew that there would only be 18 of us in that age division.

I was overly nervous race day morning and had a horribly nervous stomach. I'm normally not this nervous and it was only a two mile run! I think that because of the hot temperatures and because the entire family was running it just caused me to have extra nerves about logistics etc. I know there was no way to get a PR on this course unless I really booked it. Two years ago when I did this race it wasn't chip timed and finish times were not very accurate. I posted a 20:01, although I went back and read my race report and I wrote that I hear them call out 20 minutes as I approached the finish line, so it must have been pretty close. At any rate, I was pretty sure I wouldn't beat that time.

As we lined up all of a sudden the horn went off! What, really??? There was no lead up to it and I clearly was not prepared. This would be my first race with ForeRunner and I had clearly erred in using it. The watch had gone into "Power Save" mode. As I quickly tried to start it I completely forgot that the watch needs time to search for satellites. Argh! Needless to say I didn't get it started until about.06 miles after I crossed the start line. I told myself it was lesson learned and to get over it. I was mostly bummed knowing that there was no timing mat at the start only at the end, so my time would actually be a few seconds faster based on where I was when the gun went off. Oh well!

I felt good on the stretch of road as we headed out, I was maintaining a 9:30 pace, which came as as surprise to me, but I felt okay so I didn't feel the need to slow down. The only issue was that it was HOT, and I mean HOT! As we approached the portion of the course on the trail there is one short uphill section I did my best to charge up it but about halfway through needed to walk, as I got to the top and realized it was back down hill, I started to run again and take advantage of the momentum. I had passed a lot of people on the main stretch of road and as we worked out our pace on the trail I continued to play leap frog with a pair of probably 9 year old girls. Kids are famous for running and than just abruptly walking right in front of you.  I side swiped her twice as I tried each time to run around her. I love to see kids running but I wish that people would educate their kids on race etiquette. Scott had a similar issue when a young girl veered in front of him and slowed to a walk, since he was pushing the double stroller he basically ran into the back of her and she fell to the ground. He felt horrible, stopped to help her up and she seemed okay but she was crying. After the race a couple who knew her said she was fine but that the same thing happened to her last year. Parents really need to educate their kids about how to safe out there, especially if you aren't running with your child. So there was a lot of that basically going on. Some parts of the trail are shaded but some aren't and it was just hot. Since it was only a two mile course there was no aid station but given the hot weather, an aid station would have been really nice. I found myself having to take short walk breaks in the last mile to just bring my heart rate down and because I was having some stomach pain in that last mile. The last quarter mile was in full sun and HOT! Did I mention it was HOT! As I crossed the finish line I grabbed my warm bottle of water and walked back to the car. Later I would see that my heart rate was 186 as I crossed the finish line, and boy I sure felt it as I walked it off. It's probably the first time that I ever felt like I might puke. This is why I don't like running in the heat!

I headed back to the car to get the camera and my coconut water so that I could get back to the end of the course to watch Scott come in. Can I just say bringing my coconut water was the best decision of the day. It was cold and just what my body needed, I really felt so much better after drinking it. I was trying to estimate where we were time ways and when I thought Scott would be coming in. He for sure came in earlier than I had expected.. Scott hasn't run that far since his days at the Academy 10years ago and he certainly wasn't pushing a 6 year old and 3 year old when he did it. I had sent him off with a Gu and told him to take it around the 30 minute mark and advised him to pace himself and run slower than he normally does a 5k. You can imagine my surprise when he crossed the finish line at 43:42 with an 8:44 pace. Seriously, such a show off!

I'm not sure how many strollers were on the 5 mile course, but he was the first one pushing a stroller in!

Many lessons learned, I was 54 seconds shy of placing in my age group. Had I not been flustered at the start, had I not taken those walk breaks, I possibly could have placed. I'm not sure I left much out on the course considering how I felt at the end, but I have to remember to give it everything I have, every time.

Official Time 21:34, 4/18 AG, 168/290 overall.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gadgets

Lets face it, gadgets make exercise more fun! I've only used the new ForeRunner once on the road and that was on Sunday, a few things I learned. I don't like the scroll feature, I need to reset to lock it at the screen that shows 4 custom fields. The super awesome thing is getting to see elevation! It's really cool to finally see the descent and ascent of my street, I think this will come in really handy as I need to embrace hills this year if I decide to sign up for another 1/2 Marathon.

I can't figure out how to capture images on Garmin Connect to post over here but here is the summary of the run.  The super cool thing about the dynamics of my street and now having the ForeRunner is to see that I ran a nice pace of 9:20 downhill and a slow pace of 13:17 back up the hill with run/walk intervals. This information is handy to me as I try to conquer actually running the entire mile back up my street.

Summary
Overall
Time: 00:22:39
Distance: 2.00 mi
Elevation Gain: 164 ft
Calories: 195 C
Timing
Time: 00:22:39
Moving Time: 00:21:51
Elapsed Time: 00:22:39
Avg Pace: 11:18 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 10:54 min/mi
Best Pace: 08:18 min/mi
Speed
Pace
Elevation
Elevation Gain: 164 ft
Elevation Loss: 187 ft
Min Elevation: 528 ft
Max Elevation: 718 ft
Heart Rate
Avg HR: 167 bpm
Max HR: 180 bpm       

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ForeRunner 610

I did it, I bit the bullet and bought the new ForeRunner 610. It's currently on it's way from Kansas and will be here on Friday! Thanks to my mother-in-law for some Birthday money and many thanks to a friend whose husband works for Garmin and was able to score me a discount on the 610 (which is out of stock in lots of places) it all seemed very meant to be.

I'll be sure to tell you all about it once I get it and figure out how to use it.

I guess this means I better find something to train for. I have been considering the Healdsburg 1/2 on October 29th or the Walnut Creek 1/2 on December 10th. Both have hills, so I'm just going to have to get over that fear of hills thing. On the plus side for Healdsburg, it's the wine country and you get to wine taste with your souvenir glass post race, but I'm thinking that wine followed by 13.1 miles may not not actually seem all that exciting. The other down side is that last year they said it was 90 degrees! Heat and hills are my biggest concern with this race. The super bonus of Walnut Creek is that it is so close to home, no hotel needed which makes it all the more affordable and I can train on parts of the course. The other bonus is the date, running in December assures me no heat on race day and there shouldn't be too many miserable training days in the heat. Yes, I know, it will be cold and possibly raining, but remember I melt in the heat and I would rather run in the rain than in anything over 80 degrees. The other super scary part about Walnut Creek is running up Ygnacio Valley Road past Lime Ridge. I've driven this many times, in fact I will Sunday night for a concert. I can't imagine running up this, scary big, in fact calling it a "hill" is not serving it justice. The bright side is that the return trip will be mostly downhill with one small ascent as we cone back into the downtown area. Yes, I know, downhill can be just as hard on your legs, but these legs actually do quite well with downhill.

So that's what I'm pondering. My husband said "you really want to torture yourself again?" Well, yes, I guess I do... I think. So, I have time to weigh out my options and decide what I want to do. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

See Jane Run with a glass of Champagne

I didn't have too many expectations for today's event knowing that the Expo had been a little bit of a mess. I was prepared for full rain, which resulted in a  lot of pre-packing last night.

Since I had my shirt already, I figured I might as well wear it. Since it was supposedly going to rain, I also had my long sleeved hooded jacket and a clean sweatshirt in the car if I needed to change for the drive home. We had planned to arrive early as they were going to shut parking lots and streets down at 7:30am for the 1/2 Marathon start at 8:00am. So we arrived at 7am and had plenty of time to hang out prior to the start of the race.

Crystal and I were pleased that we had picked up all of our stuff yesterday including timing chip. Alice had to pick up her stuff this morning, but were arrived early enough that there really was not a line. Later on the line for the chip was enormous. While they did packet pick up all week long at their various store locations, yesterday at the Expo was the only day that you could actually pick-up your chip. It seemed like they could have used more volunteers for that line. It seemed like we would stood around forever, but the weather was surprisingly pleasant. There was no wind and not a drop of rain, and it was actually kind of warm. We all decided that jackets and sleeves were not a necessity. So we decided to gear check. I was a little bummed because I hadn't brought my i-phone holder, I was planning on keeping it in my jacket pocket since I was sure it was going to rain. I'm okay running without music but I did want to GPS the course, but in the end not overheating won out against the GPS.

I was excited about this race because it was at Crown Memorial Beach, which is where I scheduled the American Lung Association's 5k for the fall. Even though I am no longer working there and not in charge of the event, it was nice to see how another organization had the course set up, etc. When we lined up Mary Sue and I picked a spot not upfront but not int he back either. I was excited because it looked like we were starting on time, but than quickly realized we were doing wave starts. Which sucks when you are ready to go but knowing the course and how narrow the path would be for the return trip and knowing how many walkers there would be, I knew it was a good decision. I'm not sure which wave we were but I think maybe the 4th, we started somewhere around 10-12 minutes after the first wave.

Along the course it was evident what a good idea the wave start was, I passed a lot of people, I mean a lot of people. Which is always nice for the ego. While I had to do some speeding up and slowing down to pass walkers who were clearly in earlier waves than I had been, for the most part is wasn't too bad ( I won't mention the ladies who were walking 5 abreast). Other than than the passing I managed a pretty nice pace that felt comfortable and was pleased to be in short sleeves and still amazed that there was no wind. We all know that I love running or walking this path, and today was no exception. Since I didn't have GPS to determine where I was mile wise, I used my calorie counter and my knowledge of the area to figure out when I needed to step it up. I was getting tired but I heard someone say we had .30 to go, so I picked up a little and tried to focus on nice long strides. When I saw the mile 13 sign, I stepped it up more, I passed a few more people and as I was rounding the corner to a shoot, I got passed! Damn, I hadn't her coming up on me and honestly I didn't have any steam to push it more and try to catch her. I finished strong and am pleased with the nice run I had.

I have to say the run itself was much more well run than the Expo was. The post race area was really nice, lots of food and lots of vendors giving out some great SWAG! My only criticism would be that I hate races that don't have water at the finish line. MetroMint was giving out water but I had to ask someone where the water was and than make my way over to their tent. Their tent was the closest to the finish line, but we had to cut through the food line to get there. Would have been so much nicer if the MetroMint folks had just been at the finish line handing out water, especially since they had another booth in the vendor area.Other than that, it went very well and as someone who has managed events like this, they did a great job on sponsors and booths with give-a-ways. There was so much and it was all quality stuff and in addition the layout was really great. They had them set up in a huge semi-circle so that you could make your way down and no one booth seemed really crowded or too hard to get to.

Overall it was a great day and I would do this event again. This was the most expensive 5k I've done, but I got a nice technical tee, a finisher's medal and a champagne glass filled with chocolate and champagne! I'll give them time to work on their expo as they proved themselves with the event itself.

On a side note, a shout out to John Muir! I typically wear my John Muir Health hat if I think it's going to rain. While staged at the start line I had two women ask me if I was employee, I explained that I had volunteered and my sister-in-law was an ER Nurse on the Concord campus. They booth work at the Walnut Creek Campus, so it was cool to meet them and I got big thanks and they said how much they love the volunteers.

Unofficial time 34:15

Alice, Crystal and Mere

Mary Sue and Mere representing SmoFit

Saturday, June 4, 2011

See Jane Run Expo

I don't normally do early packet pick-up but given that tomorrow is going to be a wet, cold and windy mess, getting my packet today seemed like a smart idea. We were told the Race Expo would be across the street from the Oakland See Jane Run Store. I had to look up the store's address since they didn't bother to include that in the e-mail. As I head into Oakland it just starts poring, so much for trying to stay ahead of the rain. As I get onto College Avenue I see the store on the right and look to my left and all I see are other stores, no outdoor expo clearly. Maybe, they moved it into the store because it's raining? Maybe it's behind the store? I pay my $2 to park in downtown Oakland and run across the street into the store. Clearly a hooded running jacket was not enough, I'm drenched. The only signs in the store say that all participants receive a 10% discount on purchases. No one is friendly or helpful and it's obvious there is no packet pick-up in the store. I hear someone else ask who receives the answer "It's at the elementary school" with this look like she's an idiot and we should know that. I don't even bother to ask where the elementary school is because I don't need a similar encounter with the rude employee. Instead, I opt to follow the 6 other women in front of me hoping they know where the elementary school is. The elementary school is across the street and down the block, something that would have bee nice to know ahead of time, especially since it's pouring rain, I mean buckets and buckets of rain.

I am relieved to see that the Expo is inside, although as we arrive, it's clear they are not set-up and ready to go at 11am. So we stand in line for about 10 minutes before they let us check in. Thankfully I'm pretty close to the front and it appears that there are two people checking people in for their bibs and timing chips. I'm thinking that one is for 5k and one for 1/2 Marathon, but there are no signs and no one has made an announcement. The two people handing out the items and a third woman who is reading bib numbers off of a laptop look annoyed and irritated and are pretty much anything but friendly. When they realize someone is in the wrong line they then decided to make a not very loud announcement in regards to the lines. I than here the woman on the laptop say ask "couldn't we have emailed them their bib numbers ahead of time so we wouldn't have to look up every single one?" Awesome, more unfriendly folks, to be fair I believe these three with Finish Line Productions and not See Jane Run, but still. Luckily I heard someone else say that goody bags and shirts were in another room since no one volunteered that information to me. At this point I had to fight my way back through the line to get to this small room where I was asked for my bib to tear off a section to show I had received my goody bag, at which point I stood and waited for someone to give me a bag and finally the woman prompted this young man to give me a bag... I see we have trained the volunteers well. I grabbed a shirt and got out as fast as I could. Since I was here, I did want to see Expo but the way the room was set up and the location of the line it was nearly impossible to get through to the vendor booths. It was also clear that not all of the vendors/sponsors had showed up. I managed to get to the MetroMint Table and thankfully they were friendly. I just wanted a coupon since I love their water, they chatted and asked if I knew where to get the water and I told them that I used to get it at Whole Foods but was excited that my Safeway started carrying it. They mentioned that Safeway sells it cheaper than everywhere else. I need to get past the Arbonne table, they are selling all kinds of stuff and I sampled one of their drinks while in line (smart vendor) but didn't care for it. I was trying to peer down to the end of the room to see if it was worthwhile to even try to get past the bottleneck of the bib line. I spotted the FRS table and decided that was worth it, so I had to say excuse me several times to get past the line and made it over there. And to my surprise found they very sweet Jessica who used to work for PopChips. I met Jessica at a Brazen Race where I was volunteered and she was so kind to come out to my MADD Walk last year and give out PopChips. So now she is with FRS, another brand that has been super good to me in my event planning arena. Since no one could even make it down to that end of the room, Jessica gave me a 4 pack of one of their new flavors. It's kind of cool to have these contacts and to see folks on the race circuit. She said FRS is a great place to work, so I'm glad it's working out for her. I briefly look around and nothing seems of interest so I start to head out. On the way out I look through the See Jane Run merchandise, there is a nice hooded zip that I decide I need. Thankfully the woman who rings it up is very nice. Sadly they don't have any bags for merchandise. She has sent someone to get bags and says I can wait for a bag. My goody bag is pretty full and I don't think I can get the sweatshirt in there and it's still pouring outside. I wait for about 5 minutes, but it's so cramped in there and really is no god place to wait that I just say screw it and leave.

I have heard that past See Jane Run Race's have been not organized all that great, but I was hoping that by now they would have things figured out. I do believe this was their first year doing an Expo, so perhaps they will learn something from today. They could of set up bibs and timing chips at the end of the room so that the line could have filed all the way down with vendors on either side, that way vendors could have chatted and promoted their products while you were in line. Hoping that tomorrow's run is more organized but at least I already have my bib and timing chip so all I have to deal with is rain, wind and cold.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day

I was only planning on a 1 mile run today with the 5k this weekend. I woke up and just was not feeling very motivated and thought, maybe I'll just ride the bike at the gym. Then I saw it was National Running Day and figured it would be a bummer to not run on National Running Day. I did a nice easy ride on the stationary bike for 40 minutes and convinced myself that no matter how I felt I could certainly survive 10 minutes of running. So, that I did, 1 mile with no music but I did manage to find a nice smooth treadmill (yes there really is a difference between that and a noisy one or one that shakes every time your foot lands causing a sensation of vertigo) and it actually turned out to be a rather pleasant 10 minutes after all.

I'm excited for this weekend's race, it's probably going to be cold, windy and wet. I am familiar with how cold and windy it gets along the Alameda Shoreline, so I'll be ready and we all know I prefer that to hot anyway. I'm also excited because two of my friends from high school are also running, it always makes an event more pleasurable when you do it with friends.... and champagne and chocolate. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rainy days make me thankful for a gym

It was nice to know that I got 2 miles in on the treadmill and 25 minutes on the bike today. On the drive home I noticed this poor fellow running in the rain and thought to myself, sure glad I'm not training for anything because that would be me! It's amazing how quickly you lose your HTFU attitude when you aren't planning on doing any races longer than a 5k.

With so many changes and so much going on in our lives right now, I am content to just exercise and a do a 5k here or there. Maybe once schools tarts in the late summer I'll consider taking on something larger but for now I'm happy to try and take it easy and get the most out of my days and life.

Last Friday was my daughter's Walk-a-Thon that raises money for our parents club to help support smaller class sizes, PE, teacher's aides, etc. While it wasn't a perfect course I do believe each lap was .25 miles possibly more. Her goal was to complete 12 laps. When she got lap 4 she was saying she was tired already. Kids are awesome at sprinting at super speed and than getting tired and walking and repeating several more times. I really wanted her to reach the goal she had set for herself. So I started doing laps with her, after all some sprinting would do me good. Once Sydney hit the 12th lap I asked how she was feeling and what she wanted to do, and she wanted to keep going! Ultimately she ran/walked 21 laps! She would have kept going but it was only a 2 hour event. While I was the only parent who actually ran laps with my daughter, I am proud of her accomplishment and I know that being by her side I was able to help her meet and exceed her goal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Changes, changes and more changes

First, an update on my tree's. They are still in my yard in all of their beauty. Thank you to an amazing lawyer who warned PG&E that if they cut the tree's down he would be going after them for damages, PG&E has decided to back off and see if we can resolve the issue nicely. We filed a formal complaint with the PUC and while that is pending a hearing PG&E is hoping we can resolve this without having to go through the hearing process with the PUC. Hmm, probably because if we win, this will severely hamper the "we can do whatever we want" attitude they have and crimp their style (money) of having to go back to trimming instead of removal. I'm currently waiting for their rude Arborist to call and schedule a time to measure the actual line distance from the ground in front of our property, good times.

In other news, most everyone knows that I quit my job. I thought my last non-profit experience was bad but nothing like this. I kept quite about much of the day to day drama, the inappropriate and unprofessional behavior of many of my co-workers and the different directions I was being given by various people. It's one thing to work with other people who really only give 50% to their work, I can work in my own little bubble and ignore their lack of pride in their work, but there are some things that I just can't ignore. The final straw was finding out that ZERO of the money we raise in development would go to any of our programs, ZERO. I can't in good faith go out and raise money when the money I raise is not going to any of our programs, not a dime. So I bid farewell to the chaos and am feeling pretty good about it all.

Over the past 5 months our family has been on a roller-coaster that we just couldn't get off of. Being the one responsible for getting the kids ready for school, dropping them off, picking them up and getting dinner ready every night took a toll on everyone really quickly. Getting home at 6:15pm-6:30pm when your kids go to bed at 7:00 and 8:00pm leaves no quality family time let alone time for homework and practicing reading. The kids were starting to pick up on our stress and we all just hunkered down and tried to survive each day. I neglected lots of things over this time including friends and just my general well being. So we are all now on the road to health and happiness. It took 5 months for all of this stress to build up so I know it will take a while to get back to the person I was, but already I feel a sense of relief. I'm not a person who lets go of things easily but I can honestly say for the first time after leaving a job that I have really let it go, I don't care, I can't.

We celebrated my daughter's Third Birthday and spent a great weekend with family and friends. Despite everyone but me (knock on wood) having the stomach flu this week has gone amazingly well. I have gotten a little glimpse of what the summer will be like with both girls at home full time. I have enjoyed several days of sitting in our backyard and really enjoying it, which amazingly I never seem to find time to do.

On that note, lots of race changes. I was not able to run in my favorite race this weekend due to Sydney being sick but Scott and Kylie ran and had a great time. Scott took all the bibs so he could get all of our t-shirts and oops my timing chip attached to my bib was in the jogging stroller, needless to say I came in 2nd in my AG for a race I didn't run. Before all of this happened we made the decision to not run in the COPS Memorial Run this upcoming weekend because of a party that would include the entire family. Now bummed realizing I won't get to run 2 races, I decided to register for the See Jane Run 5k in  Alameda. Originally I thought we would go to Sonoma that weekend and run, but some more changes in plans and I decided that finishing a run with champagne and chocolate sounds right up my alley.

On to bigger and better things.