Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

I feel like 2012 was finally a good year! It seems like the first time in a long time where I wasn't reflecting on the end of the year and thinking "phew, glad that one is over!" While there were lots of challenges this year, we seem to be ending the year in a good place and for that I am very thankful.

I PR'd in every running distance I raced this year, I did my first duathlon and triathlon this year, so it was a very exciting year for me. I hope next year is as much fun as I continue to try and balance being a wife and Mom and making time for my hobbies.

As 2012 comes to a close here are my stats for the year.

Swim: 39,666 yards (yay for a new sport this year!)
Bike: 536 miles
Run: 310 miles

For a total of 125 hours.

Dam Run 10k - January 2012
Oakland Running Festival 5k - March 2012
Diva's Half Marathon - 19 minute PR
Diva's Half Marathon May 2012
Daffodil Duathlon - May 2012

See Jane Run Triathlon - September 2012
Finishing my first triathlon

Walnut Creek 5k - December 2012

 Happy New Year and many thanks to for helping me to meet all of my goals and encouraging me to complete my first Triathlon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dam Jingle Bell Run

This will be my seven year old daughter's race report. Originally I signed us up to do this race together. We had so much fun at the Mermaid Run that I thought this would be a fun race for us to do. The goody bag is a stocking and they give you bells to pin to your shoes so we all jingle-jingle during the run. Since I had been so ill all week we made the decision to have my husband run in my place with our daughter. Having been sick for two weeks, I didn't want to push it and get sick once again.

The other great thing about this race is that's in our backyard and with a 9 am start we didn't have to get up super early. We brought the entire family and met one of our fellow Mini-Mermaids at the start line.

Mermaids ready to run
 I was a little worried that we had not done any running since the Mermaid run. She got sick over Thanksgiving, then I got sick and then I got sick again, I never was able to get her over to the track like I had hoped. Thankfully this was not an issue. Apparently, she decided that sprinting up the hills was a good idea (I have no idea where she gets this from). My husband said that she would yell "I love hills!" and start passing people as she sprinted up them. The girls also talked the entire time, non-stop. I did tell them that if they can talk while they are running, they are running a good pace. It's nice to see they were putting that to good use.

The time that they were gone was excruciatingly painful for the four year old. She wanted to run the 5k distance badly. 38 minutes is a lifetime when you are waiting for your Dad and sister to get back.

sprinting to the finish

This is classic
 After the girls finished Santa made his appearance! This was awesome, since we don't trek anywhere for Santa pictures. Although they did ask later if that was the "real" Santa.

Before the kids Santa Dash, I went to check the girls times and much to my surprise they not only PR'd they came in first and second in their age group (5-9)! Everyone was so excited and impressed!

Mermaids coming in 1 and 2. 
Finally, it was time for the Santa Dash! The four year old had been waiting all morning for her turn!

She is taking this very seriously

Finally smiling once she realized she got to Santa first

Another first place medal in the house! 
After running the 5k, the older girls ran in the Santa Dash also. 

I am so glad we did this. Wolf Pack Events doubled the amount of participants this year for this race. I think this will be a family event every year, we all had such a great time. We're even thinking about everyone doing the Dam Run in January, the little one so desperately wants to run a 5k, we may have to let her try. 

I couldn't be more proud of these two little girls and their love of running.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walnut Creek International Half Marathon & 5k

I signed up for this race because it's close to home and I love supporting local races. I chose the 5k distance so that I could scope out the race organization and determine if I want to run the 1/2 marathon next year.

 On Friday I headed to the expo to pick-up my bib and goodies. I was in and out in about 10 minutes. The only booth I stopped at was the ZICO booth to grab some chocolate coconut water. I think if it's your first go around at an expo they are more fun. My first expo was the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in Vegas, it was ginormous, I think everything sort of pales in comparison to that. I picked up my shirt on they way out (which is a really cute long sleeve tech shirt) and headed home.

With all of the craziness that took place the night before ( 7 year old tantrums, husband falling asleep and leaving me with said 7 year old tantrum) I some how only halfway managed to set my alarm, which means I really didn't. I was in the edit screen of changing the alarm time and never hit "done" before I went to sleep. Miraculously, I woke up at 5:20 am, the exact time I thought I had set my alarm for. I got up and did my usual race day morning routine. I wasn't able to stomach my usual chocolate cheerios for breakfast. This didn't raise any alarm as sometimes on race morning my stomach has other ideas about eating so early. I grabbed a banana on the way out the door instead.

Not being sure what to expect for race day parking considering the 1/2 started a half hour before the 5k I arrived to downtown Walnut Creek around 6:15 am, just as I parked the car Mary Sue sent me a text that she had arrived also. We sat in my car for about half an hour to try and stay warm before heading out. Once we decided we were willing to brave the cold temperatures (I believe it was around 37 degrees when I left the house) we headed over to the start just in time to watch the 1/2 marathoners start. I was amazed at how fast the front of the pack was running, it was impressive.

Once we reluctantly checked our jackets I manged to eat about 1/2 my banana before posing for a picture.

Right after this was taken Berenice found us and we headed over to the 5k start. I knew that the course would be congested since this was the old Turkey Trot course, which was fine. I knew in order to keep myself from having a coughing attack that I would need to run a slower pace, so a congested start helps with that. As soon as we made the first right turn onto the trail we slowed to a walk. I kept to a slow easy pace and passed only when it was easy to do so. As we approached the Ygnacio Valley pedestrian bridge there was a  woman who was pushing a stroller and her child was asking why they were running slow. She was explaining how the course was crowded and that they would be able to pass once it cleared out. This made me laugh, because clearly she was saying it loud enough and hoping that the three runners in front of us who were running three wide in their matching shirts would hear and stop running three wide. They weren't getting the message. I ran up right behind them and said "excuse me, can I please squeeze though?", to which they parted and let me pass. This is me working on my runners etiquette instead of being grumpy about people running three wide.

At some point along the way I was certain I had run one mile but my watch had not buzzed alerting me to my first lap, so I peeked at my watch to see I had only run .80 miles. Ouch, that's when I knew it was going to hurt. I focused on just running slow and holding off any coughing. At any point that I felt that little tickle in my throat, I slowed down. Along the way I experienced lots of muscle fatigue, aches from previous workouts and just in general was not feeling great. It made me slightly sad, because I wanted to come out and have fun, not feel like crap. Even with all of this I was passing people, so I tried to just focus on moving forward.

In the last mile of the course we hit the muddy trail. In last year's Turkey Trot Scott had to run this portion and he kept complaining about the mud and how slippery it was, I think that was the point in his 10k when he hit the wall. Running in mud takes a toll on your form as you try to slow down and acclimate to the conditions in order to avoid slipping or falling. I focused on finding the driest part of the trail and running there, when there was not a dry portion I ran to the right of the path on the leaves and foliage that was growing to help with traction.

I knew that I needed to save energy to get up and over the Ygnacio Valley pedestrian bridge, so I took a short walk break so that I could run up the bridge and have never felt such relief as when I reached the top and got to run back down the other side of the bridge. I was in the home stretch and that felt good. There were two women running together that I had been following who were literally running in unison, they had the same form and matching headbands to go with their matching pace. I knew that the grass finish would be difficult, so I decided to pass them right before we hit the grass. They seemed surprised to be passed but didn't alter their pace any.

I crossed the finish line with the most relief I have had in a long time to be done with a 5k run.

glad to be done
I finished this 5k three minutes slower than the Turkey Trot, I knew I would need to run conservative in order to finish and that's what I did. Amazingly my finish ranked me 10/37 in my AG.

This week I am resting up to try and fully recover from whatever this super bug is that I have in order to run the Dam Jingle Bell Run with my 7 year old daughter and a couple of the girls from our Mini Mermaid Running Club. Should be fun.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Storms, flooding and colds

After having such a great Thanksgiving and launching into my training for next year I was hit with multiple obstacles over the last week. First, I got sick. This is a little early in the season for me to be getting sick, I notoriously get sick every year between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe this means this year I will get to enjoy that week.

As I tried not so successfully to get through my first week of training with my head cold, Northern California was hit with a series of storms. We are pretty fortunate because we live on a hill and we typically don't experience flooding but many places near us suffered damaged. Our gym's Kids Club was flooded, Starbucks flooded and I had a friend whose garage flooded. We were lucky that we never lost power here but there was plenty of damage to go around. Lots of accidents with all of the rain, in fact three of our local firefighters were injured when a car crashed into them while they were assisting with a previous accident. Did you know that when emergency personnel or Caltrans are working on the shoulder it's the law to move a lane over. If it is not safe to move over you must slow down. So many of our officers, firefighters and Caltrans employees are killed or injured because of distracted motorists. 

As a result of our storms the pool I have been swimming at was shut down due to flooding and contamination. 

Since I was still pretty sick and my back-up pool's hours are difficult to work with I skipped my swim on Monday. They are hoping to have the pool back up and running next week, but they need to be cleared by the County Health Department first. 

As I have struggled to get back on track and healthy this week I did manage a swim yesterday (why is it everyday I swim it's in the middle of a massive downpour?). Today is a rest day as I prepare for the Walnut Creek 5k on Saturday. It's hard to believe I'll be running on Saturday, lucky for me my only intention when I signed up for this race was to scope out the 1/2 Marathon course for next year. My only goal will be not to cough up a lung along the course and of course have fun.