Tuesday, June 28, 2011


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.

Time: 00:22:39
Distance: 2.00 mi
Elevation Gain: 164 ft
Calories: 195 C
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
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.