Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I'm sure I say this every year, but it's difficult for me to grasp that this is the last day of 2014. There have been so many great milestones this year and I am so thankful for the ability to be active and to teach my children to be active as well. 

Someone asked me the other day what was the last race I had done and I realized that my last three races of the year had been with my girls and my husband. I can't even put into words how much fun it has been to run as a family. While I haven't had much of a chance to work on my own goals at the end of 2014, I have been able to help my young daughters work on and reach their goals. That has given me more pleasure than anything I could accomplish on my own. 

I've been sick for the majority of November and December so I was more than happy to run with my six year old daughter at our last race of the year, The Dam Jingle Bell Run. My husband ran with our nine year old daughter who was excited to run at a smaller race and hopefully earn a 5k PR, even though the course would be hillier than her last two races. 

Kylie needs constant motivation when running, otherwise she will just walk. It seems that Mom knows exactly how much running she can handle and how to motivate her best. We talked along the way and she enjoyed passing by the top runners on their way back to the finish line. We also got to see Sydney and Scott on their way back in before we hit the turn around. Like the Mermaid Run we used visual references to mark how far we would run and how far we would walk. When we reached the crest of the last hill and could see the finish line I told her we had to run all the way in, and she did! Kylie earned a 6+ minute PR. She placed 5/10 of her age group, also being the youngest runner out of all 10 girls! 

When we reached the finish line we found out that Sydney ran the course in 30:33 for a 3+ minute PR! This was when I realized I had a new training partner. She's pretty close to my best 5k time, and I have no doubt she end will up faster than me in 2015. She came in 4th in her age group which was 9-12 years old. Pretty good considering 1st-3rd were all older than her. 

Sydney and I recently went out on our first run together. We ran two miles along the Moraga trail and had a great time. I'm looking forward to many years of some girl time on the trails. 

Post race treats! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mini Mermaid Running Club!

I was waiting to blog about our MMRC 5k until we got the professional photos back, which took longer than I expected.

We were up super early, and I love that my kids never complain about having to get up early on race morning. We agreed that Scott would run with Sydney since she really wanted to earn a PR and she also really wanted to run the entire distance without walking. I would run with Kylie and hopefully motivate her to run more than walk.

Kylie and her friends started out pretty hard and none of them wanted to run with their parent. This left me running back and forth between 3 six year olds. They were having so much fun though and you could tell they were soaking up the energy along the course. Kylie ran about half of the course with one of the other Mom's and I stayed mostly in front of them to try and keep Kylie motivated. Eventually the Mom went to run with her daughter and it was just Kylie and I. Around the two mile mark she began to talk about having to do another lap. When I explained to her that we only had to do one lap of the course, her entire attitude changed and she started to run more. We set visual markers as goals, "we'll start running at the next garbage can" and "we'll walk after 5 garbage cans". This strategy worked well for her, she didn't really seem to believe me when I told her we were getting close to the finish line, but when she saw Scott and Sydney cheering her on, she knew she was close and she sprinted all the way to finish line. Kylie ended up with a 23 minute 5k PR.

So very proud of her
After we crossed the finish line I was amazed to hear that Sydney had a 4:26 5k PR as well. Scott simply ran behind her and let her set the pace. She ran a 33:49 and now has aspirations to run a sub 30 5k. I guess this means once I get healthy, I'm going to have to start taking her running with me. 

Love this photo of her! 
We also ran the Turkey Trot this year with the kids, So I'll post more about that next time! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's almost time to get back to me

How is it October already? How is October almost over already? The days are flying by and with that means eventually I'll get to return the focus back to me and determine what I really want to focus on this winter.

We transitioned the kids successfully from swimming to triathlon, tennis and running club. Yikes, we've been busy! The girls recently finished their last triathlon of the season. They are very bummed to learn that there is an off season for triathlon. It brought us such great pleasure to watch them race and to enjoy the entire process of it all. When I did my first multi-sport race it brought a huge feeling of accomplishment and joy as I crossed the finish line. It brought amazement at what my body was able to accomplish. I can tell you that none of that even compared to watching my kids cross the finish line and the looks on their faces as they did. Smiles and determination to not give up is what I see in their faces. In just three months they've completed one duathlon and two triathlons, they also think its way cool that they are now members of USAT and get their own magazine with a kids triathlon section in it.

One thing that we learned from running club this fall, is that training for a 5k immensely helps your run in the triathlon. In the last tri Sydney had a hard time on the bike and lost some posts on they very rough dirt trail they rode. However, she made up all of that time and passed three girls on the run. We were floored to watch her coming up the trail so quickly. In addition to that, this past weekend the girls and I ran the two mile course at the Lafayette Reservoir Run. Sydney ran the entire two miles without walking. It's the first time she has done that in a run event. She also had a 5 minute PR for a 2 mile run. She is really excited to pursue track and field in the spring.

Kylie's running is also making huge improvements. Fort he girl who always complains about running, her body is finally grasping it all and pushing herself further and further. She had a 10 minute 2 mile PR this weekend. She almost ran the entire course without any walking. Super proud of our Smiley Kylie.

Running Club will be finishing up in two weeks and once I'm done coaching it will be time to finally turn the focus to myself and what I want to do this winter. I'm anxious to return to running and thinking maybe an early year 10k race sounds fun.

Love this photo of her

Kylie cruising past all of her competitors on the swim

Monday, August 18, 2014

All things lead to triathlon

It's been a face paced summer filled with swim team practice, meets, tennis and dog walking. Nothing brings me greater joy than watching my kids swim and watching the improvements that come from all of their hard work. It's not difficult for the six year old to put in the effort everyday and sometimes twice a day. Convincing the nine year old that improvements are a result of hard work during practice was slightly more difficult. I'm proud to say that for the last two weeks of swim team she worked really hard and saw some huge improvements in the championship meet. 

Here are some highlights from the summer season.
Swim sherpas spend lots of time holding towels, parkas and flip flops

Our coaches spend most of the summer leading awesome cheers

The typical summer scenery

Kylie's backstroke start started looking really good

She got to swim on a lot of relays, even one that earned a gold time!

Sydney had an excellent summer as well

Sydney's butterfly progressed beautifully
So much so that she earned a bronze time in fly at the championship meet

Lots of parental cheering
Lots of parental hugs

Lots of hair care

I love that the kids had such a great summer and learned the lesson that good things come from hard work. Kylie wants to continue with fall swimming since she is concerned that she is moving up an age group for next summer and she really wants a gold time. Sydney wants to pursue more tennis and running in the fall. 
The awesome part is that both girls decided they wanted to do a triathlon in two weeks. I'm so proud of them for doing new things even if they are scary. So for the next two weeks, I'll be helping them "train" for a triathlon as I begin my owning triathlon training program. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Catfish Open Water Swim

I can't really call this a race report, it's more of a I survived my first long distance open water swim report!

Beautiful day for an open water swim
Anyone who knows me, knows that I started swimming strictly for triathlon. I am an oddity growing up in the Lamorinda area and not being a swimmer. I'm by no means a fast swimmer but I do love it. I think I actually get more thinking done swimming than I do running, which is saying a lot. Some how or another I got talked into swimming the Trans Tahoe Relay in July. Originally, I thought it would be fun to do the 500 yard distance. Once i realized I had been talked into the relay, I was thinking maybe i should opt for the 1.2 mile swim. The deciding factor was when I talked to my masters coach and he literally laughed out loud at the 500 yard distance. He explained that 500 yards would be like a warm-up and I'd be wondering where the rest of my swim went after I was done. Alright then. 

Of course Mary Sue was also swimming, because it wouldn't be fun if we didn't do it together! At the last minute one of my friends who talked me into the relay swim opted in as well. 

We got to the Quarry Lakes park really early. The plus side was that we didn't have to wait in line for packet pick-up like everyone else. It was also not cold, which helped with being there so early. My goal for this event was to just do it. I have swam this distance in a pool lots of times, but also means resting at the wall in between sets and chatting with folks. My biggest concern was just being able to swim the distance without stopping. I was also doing it without a wet suit since I won't be allowed to wear one for the relay. Although the water temp was so warm I imagine that anyone wearing a wet suit must have been dying of heat. 
Krista and I ready to take 1.2 miles
Our wave which consisted of all non-wet suit swimmers swimming the 1.2 and 2.4 mile swims was the last wave to go. As soon as we were sent off I quickly got dropped. I knew this would be the case, I was not racing, purely just covering the distance at a manageable pace. Thankfully, there were a few swimmers behind me so I wasn't the last person being followed by the paddle board. I found a groove and stuck with it. I was alone so much of the time that it was easy to just focus on myself and what I needed to do. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th buoy I encountered the swimmers the wave that went off 5 minutes ahead of us. These were the wet suit swimmers. I may have been dropped by everyone in my wave, but at least I could pass a few folks. However, after swimming solo for so long, passing folks actually seemed like a workout. It was quite the relief to hit the first turn buoy. I was feeling pretty tired at this point, but I thin it was mostly from having to pass people going around the buoys. Once I hit the final turn buoy and was heading back in I felt much better. I basically started counting the buoys down, knowing that I had to pass four of them and then swim in and run up the beach. I focused on just finishing. I started to worry about my ability to actually stand up right and run up the beach. I felt good, like I could keep on swimming but standing up might be another story. As I came into the final stretch, I kicked harder mostly to move the blood around more. As I made my way in and my hands started hitting the sand with every stroke, I stood up and ran in. Running is hard after swimming that long, and running in sand after swimming that long is really, really hard. 

I did it and it was fun! It made me feel much more confident to know that I could swim 1.2 miles in open water.

Next up is the Moraga 4th of July Run and the Trans Tahoe Relay. I'll just keep plugging along and keep it fun.

Mary Sue and I post swim

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mermaid Series Sprint Tri

Saturday packet pick up
I was ridiculously not stressed for this race. Probably because I felt I was under prepared for it and had the mind set that I would just go have fun. I was pretty certain that I would be able to improve my swim, I assumed the bike would be worse or the same and I wasn't sure about the run. While I have made huge leaps in my running in the past year, I also knew that being under prepared on the bike could lead to a less than stellar run performance. I have found that running a small business and training for triathlon is really, really hard. Also, having a kindergartner that gets picked up at 12:20pm every day makes it really hard to squeeze it all in.

Exiting the swim
It's hard to do a Mermaid event and not be excited, so by the time race morning came around I was excited and ready to jump in the water sans wet suit. Since I am training for the Trans Tahoe Relay I've been trying to suck it up and will not be using my wet suit this summer. When it was my wave start I headed down the ramp bravely and with the help of some volunteers got my feet wet and then dove in and immediately thought "holy shit, that's cold!" I just started swimming out to the start buoy to try and warm up and by the time I reached the buoy I was fine and warmed up. Much to my surprise it was very easy to float at the start line, I didn't even need to tread water, I was pretty relaxed. After a count down the horn blew and we are off. The folks in front of me seemed to have a delay in their start so I was on some feet right at the start and before I knew it they had dropped me. I focused on my swim and staying on course. The conditions were so much better this year, but I did still feel like I was being pushed out towards the bay, so a couple of times I had to redirect. I felt really comfortable on the swim, really comfortable sighting and most importantly really comfortable without my wet suit. I did have the thought that my swim coach would be going crazy if he could me swimming with my head not as fully submerged as he would like it, but I kind of needed to in order to stay on course. I always have a good reason for swimming with my head up. As I approached the final buoy and made the turn to swim into shore it occurred to me that I was not getting any help from the current like I did last year, it seemed to take forever. I was very excited to be assisted up to the swim ramp and to have the volunteers say "Wow, no wet suit, you're hardcore!" It made me laugh. I made way up the very steep ramp and ran into transition.

Swim time: 11:13, a 47 second PR from last years swim. 12/38 AG

As I made my way to the bike the first order of business was to get socks and shoes on. I felt a little dizzy as I tried to get everything on and was pleased when I did this without falling over. Next was my sunglasses and helmet. As I tried to unrack my bike, my seemingly great end spot was no longer great. I really couldn't get my bike out. People had decided to throw their bikes along the side of transition so I was now boxed in. The two bikes to my right had tons of stuff and gear bags, it was ridiculous. I made the decision that I was going to have to back my bike out over this woman's gear bag but her bike was so close to mind and being on the end I didn't have anywhere to maneuver. I'm not even sure how I got out except that I had to lift my bike up and over her stuff and practically run her over as she was sitting down trying to get her wet suit off. It was a disaster and basically cost me all of the time in transition I had saved by not wearing a wet suit. Oh well.

T1 Time: 1:55, a 19 second PR. 4/38 AG

heading out on the bike course
I was just glad to be out on the bike course. I tried to get my bearings and take in some nutrition on the early part of bike where the course is smooth. I felt relatively good on the bike but was trying to pace myself knowing that the ride out to the turn around is easier than the ride back typically do to wind. I tried not to get too excited at the turn around for the first loop knowing that I would need to complete a second loop of the course. Amazingly I was still very good. Even as I headed out on the second loop I was amazed at how good I felt on the bike, I guess that last bike adjustment I had done really was paying off. Since I was feeling so good, I kept up the pace and hoped I would still have something left for the run. As I came back in towards the bike dismount line, I unclipped and got out of my saddle a little early. I would rather have a little bit further to run with the bike than crash at the dismount line. I'm really not that skilled with this part as of yet. Feeling really good about my bike I rain into transition and racked my bike.

Bike time: 48:58, 4.16 PR. 28/38 Still a slow cyclist, but damn!

Determined to have a good bike ride
The second transition is always my best, thanks to Molly and all of her great tips! I threw my shoes on, grabbed my visor, gel and race number and ran. I had my visor and number on as I crossed over the transition mat onto the run. Here we go!

T2 Time :58, 4 second PR. 1/38 AG

Okay legs, it was time to prove what you are capable of off of the bike. My calves were pretty tight and I tried to take in a gel, but the rest of my body wasn't having it. I forced about 1/2 of it down before I tossed it in the trash along the course. It seems daunting when you see people running to the finish line and you are just heading out on your run. But I was already having a great day, I new I had PR'd the swim and bike and I was hoping for a solid run to earn an overall PR for the day. It was starting to get hot and I was desperate for some fluids. I just kept chugging along to I would hopefully find an aid station. I kept looking at my average pace is shock and was sure there was something wrong with my watch. Really, I couldn't possibly be running sub 10 minute miles off the bike. I tried to just ignore my watch. Last year, the run was really painful and I walked portions of it out of sheer exhaustion. I told myself if I just kept running and never walked I could PR the run portion and have a great day. Just keep running, that's what i kept telling myself. After awhile my calves loosened up and started to feel better. With about 1/2 mile to go that familiar cramp on the inside of the knee started to twitch. I only get this during tri's. I know it's a result of under training for the bike. I simply told it to shut up as we were almost done, that actually seemed to work. I was super happy to be approaching the finish line and there is nothing better than hearing the race announcer call your name as you cross the finish line. She even gave a shout out to  since I was wearing my super spiffy Trisports kit!

Run Time 24:37, 3:48 PR. 18/38 AG

Overall Time 1:27:41 a 9:14 course PR.

I'm not going to lie, I was pretty amazed with my performance. I told myself I wanted to go out and have fun and not be stressed. Amazingly, I managed to do that and have a great race while doing it.

I've been going back and forth all year trying to decide if I really want to continue in triathlon, if I really have the time to devote to all three sports. After I crossed the finish line the answer became yes. Fitting it all in is difficult and even though I didn't fit it all in that successfully, I had a great time. To me, that's the most important part. If and when the day comes that it's no longer fun, then I won't do it anymore.

For now, it's on to the next crazy "I probably can't do this, but I'm going to try anyway event". I'll be swimming (I hope) 1.2 miles this weekend. Wish me luck!

Proud to be part of the team! 

Friday, May 23, 2014


It's hard to believe that May is almost over. May is our craziest month if the year as schools tarts to wrap up and the teachers try to cram every last thing into the month of May; field trips, projects, fundraisers, etc. Alongside that pre-season for swim team has started. This means we are at the pool from 4:15pm - 6:45pm almost everyday after school. This also means that we are cramming in homework and dinner in the short period of time we have before bedtime. Almost every night I come into Sydney's room to find her asleep with her book club book that she is trying to read for school.

May was "scenario" time for Scott at work. Those in the know will understand that we hardly see him for the two weeks that span scenarios at the academy. For myself, I'm currently maxed out on my dog walking business, meaning I won't be able to take any new clients on until September when school resumes. That's a great problem to have, but it also means I hardly ever get to sit down during the week.

As usual I'm finding triathlon training difficult, I seem to be really great at training for two sports but adding the third is where it all seems to fall apart. Most of the time it's the bike that gets neglected. This week it was the swim. Today (Friday) was the first day I swam all week. Lucky for me it was a long at your pace workout. I love those, I'd rather do the endurance stuff than the short speed work.

I was scheduled to race a 5k this weekend, sadly it was cancelled due to low enrollment. I guess I'll just go run a 5k with one of my doggy partners and call it good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moraga Treeline Triathlon

I really wanted to do the Moraga Tri again this year, but with 1/2 marathon training all winter I knew there wouldn't be enough time for me to get any bike training in. The Moraga Tri bike course is not one that you can just wing it. The amount of gear shifting that takes place is mentally exhausting alone not even counting the number it does on your legs.

I inquired with the city if you could do a relay team with only two people, and they said yes! So I signed myself up for the swim and run leg and Scott for the bike portion. I didn't have a lot of nerves before this race because I don't think I really knew what to expect, other than I should be able to improve my swim and I should definitely have a better run time based on not having to do the bike leg.

We arrived to transition on race morning and found the relay rack, we were the second team there so we got a very nice end spot. After getting body marked it was time to stand around and wait for our swim time seeded starts. There are many advantages to doing a relay. The largest was being to wear my swim parka on deck until it was time for me to jump in the water and hand it off to Scott. I received my three second count down and I was off. I'm pretty sure I swam the first 50 meters too fast, immediately my arms started to ache. I'm sure this also had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't able to warm-up. My arms just felt like lead the entire time. I also realized that I should have practiced turns that involved going under the lane rope. In this swim you traverse the 50 meter pool in a zig zag pattern until you reach the other side of the pool. This means when you hit the wall you have to get under the lane line to head down the next lane. I don't remember having such a hard time with this last year, but I found it difficult this time around. I must have seeded myself fairly well as I only passed one person and only two people passed me. The entire swim just felt like a struggle and when I finally reached the end of the pool I climbed out and booked it over to transition. I probably would not have run that fast if I were actually doing the full tri but since I wasn't, I did and managed to pass two people coming into transition. I finished the swim and run to transition in 9:57 far from my goal time but still an improvement of 24 seconds from last year. I was ranked 13/17 for the swim.

As I came into transition I saw Scott waiting and ready to go, all I had to do was take the timing chip off and attach it to his ankle as he headed out on the bike. Our T1 time was :50 which ranked us 2/17 for T1.

I stood over my bag for a second feeling the need to either throw up or pass out. I told myself I needed to move, so I grabbed my bag of running gear and started walking back to the locker rooms to change. Walking helped, but at that point I wasn't even sure if I would recover enough to have a decent run. I changed, consumed liquids and headed back to the relay rack. It was interesting watching people come into transition and getting a look at bib numbers. You were assigned a numerical bib number based on your swim times. So bib number one had the fastest seeded swim time. (Which ironically did not, as I guess his wife signed him up and entered some erroneous swim time that had him seeded first). We had a bib number of 117 since I'm a slower swimmer. Watching people was fun because you could be a fast swimmer and a slower cyclist or vice versa. I was waiting with the other relay runners and we watched a few relay teams come in. I had a general idea of how long I thought it would take Scott but I also didn't know the exact time I got out of the water and when he left. We had lots of friends doing the race and I was trying to keep my eyes open for them as well to cheer them on. I was actually pretty surprised when I saw Scott heading into transition. I think my exact thoughts were "Holy shit, that was fast!" and "Holy shit, I have to go run now!" I struggled a little bit getting the timing chip off his ankle but got it on mine and took off. Scott's efforts on the bike ranked him 2/17 and once again our :28 second transition also had us ranked 2/17.

I was nervous about the run, I had brought a gel along and actually had intended to consume it while waiting in transition but my stomach didn't agree. I figured I would just take it in during the first downhill portion of the course. The run takes you through the Campolindo residential neighborhood. You come out of transition and start running up a slight incline. Then you make a right and start running up a slightly more inclined street. I tried to focus on just one step in front of the other and the downhill portion that would come once I reached the turn-around on this street. It felt good to hit that turn around and have the relief of some downhill. This is where I took in my gel; right before the aid station so I could wash it down with water. After that it was a long, steady, steep uphill. This is the part of the course where it would be really awesome if it just didn't exist. You want to walk but you know eventually you will be rewarded with a long, and steady downhill portion. At the crest of the hill my gait was so slow I'm sure it didn't look much like running, but I breathed a big sigh or relief as I hit the downhill. I could push going downhill for awhile until I hit the last uphill section and then would need to run 3/4 of the way around the track. As I came through the parking lot I saw Scott cheering me on. He ran alongside me up the last hill and encouraged me as I hit the nice soft track. Just push, I thought to myself. I sprinted with long legs as best as I could until I crossed the finish line. I took 4:31 off last years run time thanks to not having to ride the bike. Sadly my run ranked us 15/17. Although I knew this would be the case as most of the relay runners are running the 5k somewhere around 23-28 minutes. Overall, we placed 7/17 which we were pretty stoked with, way better than we thought we would do.

I have also decided that from now on we are totally doing this race together as a relay. We had so much fun and it was really nice for us to work together as a team. Obviously, I'll be working on my swim and run game for next year!

Thank you - I was super excited to wear my new gear for the first time this year!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April showers bring May flowers

Or perhaps April showers will hopefully help our drought.

April started with a bang! It brought spring break for the kiddos, extra dogs to walk for me and masters swimming. It rained most of spring break which meant my plan of taking the kids to the pool everyday didn't work out as well as I had hoped.

As much as I had hoped to ease back into masters there was no easing back in. It started with 2100 yards on the first day and 2300 the next day. Then there were descending 50's the first day of the second week. Coach actually made me time them to be sure I was getting faster and hitting the times he thought I should, which thankfully I was. Needless to say I am sore, so sore and have knots in my shoulder. Thankfully yesterday, he took it easy on us so I could get some recovery in.

The rest of the week has been figuring out how to get a Fictitious Business Name set up for my dog walking business and planning our upcoming charity event with Swim Across America. The kids are so excited! Kylie is going to swim 1/2 mile and Sydney is going to swim the 1 mile. They money they raise through Swim Across America will benefit UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland. Our favorite Olympian Heather Petri will be swimming with us again, which the kids are always excited about.

Other than that, Scott and I working on preparing for the Moraga Triathlon. I'm going to swim and run and he's going to ride the bike, so it should be a fun day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Lucky Run Half Marathon

Half marathon training has served as a good reminder for me on why I only do one of these every other year. I found training this year to be physically more difficult than in past years. Not that in particular the runs were any more difficult but mostly my body was having a harder timer recovering from those runs. I believe it's mostly in part to me actually running the entire distances. This was the first time that I didn't have to walk any portion of my training runs. I also ran all of the hills, including the one mile uphill back to my house at the end of every training run. The first time I made it into see my sports masseuse I was in the worst shape she had ever seen me in. I spent the last three weeks of training trying to be super diligent about stretching and foam rolling and letting her torture my lower body for an hour.

In the days leading up to the race I actually felt like I was going to vomit at any given point from nerves. When my husband asked me if I was nervous about beating my time, I explained that I was actually pretty confident that I would beat my time, but I was more nervous about getting hurt in the process. I also had set a big goal in terms of a finish time, and while I knew I would PR, I didn't want to just beat my time, I wanted to beat it big. The other part of my nerves was centered around running the entire distance without walking. I had successfully run my 10 mile training run without walking but I still would need to hold it together for an additional 3.1 miles after that. I focused on not thinking about it, the miles were in the bank and I had to just trust in myself and body that we could keep it all together. I was super thankful that at the last minute my husband was able to come along and run the 7k course.

After a terrible nights sleep in a terrible motel in Davis we made our way over to the race site. It was so easy, it was almost silly. We parked about a block from the start line under a shady tree since Tacoma would hang in the car until Scott was done with the 7k. We hung out for a little bit before I said goodbye to Scott and Tacoma to go warm-up and stretch.

Tacoma just excited to be along for the ride
As we lined up for the start, I was checking out pacers. There was supposed to be a pacer for every 5 minutes up to a 2:30 finish time. My goal for race day was to finish in 2:20, I kept looking for a 2:20 pacer, but was only able to find the 2:15 pacer and faster. I stuck close to the 2:15 pacer to see how long I could hang with her. I lost her in the first mile. That first mile felt really good, but since I had 12 more after that, I tried not to think about it too much. There were some ladies that I passed who in that first mile realized all the green bling they were wearing was too much. They tossed their green beads to course monitors to wear, who were happy to take them.

The first three miles were great and uneventful. I was running sub 10:30 miles and felt great, I was hoping I might be able to maintain that pace and have a really big day. I also knew that I didn't want to start the game of calculating finish times with only 3 miles in. I had to remind myself that I was running my own race and not worry about being passed or what might come in the future. The plan was to take in a gel every 3.5 miles. In addition to passing mile marker signs, telling yourself you have something to do every 3.5 miles is just another way to break up the long run into mini goals.

Miles 4-8 my average pace started to fall with each mile logged. I wasn't too worried as I was still running under my goal. I knew that if I just kept chugging along I would be fine and still have a great day. These were mentally the toughest miles. We ran out along Highway 113 in Davis. One side was green and the other side was freeway. I think because I knew just how far we needed to run out and how far we needed to run back to get to mile 8 is what mentally made it difficult.

This is what it looked like minus the CalTrans workers 
This course was basically flat with the exception of having to run over several pedestrian bridges. When we finally crossed over 113 and started to head back there was an aid station that was handing orange slices. I had no idea if it was a good idea or not since I always have orange slices post race but it sure was a nice alternative to the water and gu. Here is my advice to all the kids, you know how we always say "when are you ever going to use that?" Here is when math skills come in handy, when you are counting down how many miles are left in your half marathon. It's possible at mile 7 I told myself I had 5 miles left and felt accomplished, only to realize that I really had 6 miles left. Oops. One of the only really awesome parts about this section of the run was that there were two big rigs that went by and they blew their horns at us. I'm telling you it's the little things that get you through this type of adventure. The other noteworthy moment was when two runners who work for AMR (they were wearing AMR shirts) stopped and assisted a runner who it appears may have tripped and fallen and cut open her chin. It reminded me that as runners we are a community and to see these two stop in the middle of their race to assist another runner just reminded of what a great community it is.

Totally saw this sign and thought "there's a CHP office there"

I was stoked to see mile 8. When you talk about mini goals getting you through the miles, the mile 8 marker was a big one for me. There was a timing mat here and I knew Scott would be checking the online tracking to see when I hit that point. Unfortunately, the real time tracking didn't update that point until after I crossed the finish line. Oh well.

At mile 9 my pace got peppy once again. I was dreading the 10 mile mark, because that is where classically your shit just falls apart. I was feeling good and thought, maybe today would be my day, maybe miles 10-12 will not suck after all. Then it happened, it started as a really stiff ankle and it slowly worked it's way up my right leg to my knee. Holy hell, that hurts. I tried altering my gait a little to work through it and that seemed to help, but I was sure that I would pay the price somewhere else for that. I made all sorts of promises to my body; "Hold your shit together until the finish line and I promise we won't run next week". "Let me finish at goal and I swear no more long runs." I was schedule to take in a gel at 10.5 miles but I took it at 10 miles hoping that might help. Eventually the pain eased up and I was able to get back to pace. Looking back, right before this happened there was a small section of concrete bike path that we ran on, I'm thinking that may have been the culprit. Concrete is not a welcome site around mile nine.

The last 5k of the race was a ridiculous round about. Every time we started getting closer to the finish line we would wind around and head back out. Even though I knew how many miles I had left it just always seemed so cruel to be so close and then head away from that direction again. At one point a course monitor gave me a high five and told me to keep om going! Seriously, whoever you are, you're awesome, it meant a lot emotionally. As we came back though the park around mile 12 I spotted the official photographer and seriously almost started tearing up, I knew I was close. Scott caught this photo of me from a distance as I spotted the photographer.

If I thought I was happy to see the photographer I was ecstatic to see Scott and Tacoma!

I had no idea just how much winding around I would be doing, but obviously Scott knew because I saw them again.

How much farther????
As I ran by him I heard him say "Just around the corner!" I seriously was practically dizzy from what felt like the circles we had been running in and had no idea where I was or where the finish line was. I took his word for it and picked up the pace and finally saw the street and not to far off the 13 mile marker. .10 miles to go!

Seeing the finish line and hearing my name called over the loudspeaker was so gratifying!

The nicest part was getting a huge hug from Scott as I crossed the finish line. It felt so good to be done and to know that not only did I meet my goal, but I came in under goal at 2:18:26.

Happy family

I'd love to tell you all that it gets easier but it doesn't. This was my third half marathon and each one has brought its own challenges. There is a constant drive in me to do better each time, which is the driving factor behind doing one every other year. I'd probably seriously hurt myself if I did them more often. Even though mid race I told myself I never wanted to do another one, I'm sure I will indeed have one on my 2016 race calendar. It's like childbirth, after a certain amount of time you forget just how painful it was.

Thanks to Emergen-C for selecting me to be part of their Ambassador Team this year. I have been drinking it every day to do my best to stay healthy for race day and avoid the germs that the kindergartner brings home everyday.

Also, this is a freaking great and fun race! A Change of Pace puts on this event and I can't say enough about how well organized and easy it was. Packet pick-up was a breeze, people actually lined up according to pace for all three races, the shirt is cute and the medals are insanely huge and come with a detachable charm to wear as a necklace. The volunteers and course monitors were over the top friendly and supportive. I mean seriously, it doesn't get any better than this!

Finish Time: 2:18:26
36/77 AG
416/726 OA

12:34 PR

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brazen Racing's Bay Breeze 10k

My love affair with Brazen racing continues as I ran their Bay Breeze this past weekend. I've done this race once before I ran the 5k. It's the only flat run they offer and you can come back and revisit it as the Summer Breeze, in the well, summer. running a 10k is part of half marathon training plan, and since I tend to only run a 10k when I'm half marathon training I haven't run this distance in two years.

Normally, I am pretty uptight pre-race, I know what my goal is, I know what pace I need to average to hit that goal. Last week was a pretty crazy one, I had a migraine on Tuesday, the five year old was home sick on Wednesday, let's just say race prep did not go as it usually does. I was not overly worried about it since this was simply a training run, I knew I should PR here based on my average run times but I wasn't really focused on a number or a pace.

Mary Sue was signed up for the 5k so it was nice to hang out for a little bit pre-race. I also ran into a very nice woman I had met at the last Brazen race. I found Pia at the start line, which is pretty amazing considering there were so many people there.

Everyone wears bright colors to find themselves in the free photos, so I'm not alone! 

Very quickly we were off and I tried to find a pace that felt comfortable, I looked at my watch but that didn't seem to help much since I really had no guess on what pace I should be running for 6.2 miles. This was also the first 10k that I have run the entire distance. Last time around I was working through a leg injury while training so I ran the 10k and half with run/walk intervals. There were some questions in my mind if my pace would actually be slower by running the entire distance. As all of these crazy thoughts went through my head, I got passed by a lot of people. I kept telling myself to run my own race, this was not a 5k and I could not hold my 5k pace over a 10k distance. Run your own race, run your own race. I was being leap frogged by a woman in all bright pink. Her run pace was pretty fast and then she would walk. I am obviously familiar with intervals and totally respect that, so we kept on leap frogging.

As we approached the first aid station around mile 2.5 I ran through it and passed some folks there. Anything over five miles and I run with my own water. Mostly because anything over five miles I carry a Gu for and I need water to wash that down with. I don't like to be hampered by where an aid station is located and when I consume my Gu. It felt really good to hit the turn-around and this is where I opened my Gu and took in my first water. Once again I ran through the aid station without stopping. At this point I felt pretty good and wondered if the course was slightly slower on the way out as my pace increased. I gradually started negative splitting my miles and started to pass all of those people who had passed me in the first mile. This felt really good and just reaffirmed the fact that holding back in the first couple of miles was going to pay off at the end. This is the point in the race where I finally lost the woman in the pink tights and jacket. I almost wanted to ask her if she wanted to run with me to the finish line.

As I approached mile five  I peeked to see where I was time wise, I realized that if I kept running the same pace, I may not hit my goal time. I stepped up my pace. I don't think there has even been a time in my life where I actually felt like with over one mile to go that I could pick up my pace and hold it that long. I honestly felt like I could, so I did. By this point we were hitting the 5k walkers on the course so there was a lot of maneuvering going on but I held steady and only had to yell "on your left" once. I was also passing 10k runners and feeling really good. As we rounded the corner and came into the final stretch, I picked up the pace even more and sprinted to the finish line. I finished 1:01:59 just under my goal for a 3:16 PR.

I think the woman at the finish line was afraid to give my medal because I must have looked like I was going to puke on her. I must have still that looked that way when I wondered over to Mary Sue who had cheered me across the finish line because she asked me if I was going to puke :) thankfully, there was no puking,

Overall, I'm pleased with how the day went. Looking back, I probably could have held a slightly faster pace over that distance, but I loved having the energy to feel so strong for the last 1.20 miles of the race. There will be plenty of time to focus on this distance after tri season is over.

Three weeks until the big race! So it's head down and focus on getting the miles in.

Bay Breeze 10k
Mile 1 10:07
Mile 2 10:14
Mile 3 10:14
Mile 4 10:09
Mile 5 10:03
Mile 6 9:30
.20      8:06

AG 22/69
OA 206/551
Happy to be done with the days workout before 9:30am!