Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Snoopy Coaster Run 10K Recap

On Sunday, I ran one of my favorite races – The Snoopy Coaster Run 10K at Knotts Berry Farm. I love this race because I LOVE Snoopy and the medal, shirts, and bib have Snoopy on them! Woo!

The last time I ran this race was in 2013 and I wasn’t in speedy shape. It was in that period where I was so tired and thought I was overtrained but later found out it was because of ovarian cancer. I wanted this race to be…not a revenge race because I’m not giving cancer that power over me…but a redemption race. I have done 11 10Ks now but had only raced them twice before. I mean really, really raced. I felt good and strong going into this and was hoping to lower my PR I’d set at the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 10K back in December. This course was flat but curvy and with a few u-turns in it but I felt like I could run well here.
As you can see, we get to run through the park for the first part but then take to the streets for the second. Which works well for me because I can focus more in the second half!

The race was supposed to start at 8 but we received an email a few days before saying it was moved to 7. Woo! Perfect! We also received our bib numbers and corral assignments. I was bib 612 and I was in corral 1. A perfect PR Storm was brewing.

 Isn't it cute! And it's green, my favorite color! I'm telling you the stars were aligning for a really good race.

Even though the time had changed, I had no trouble getting up at 4 on Sunday. I ate breakfast, got ready, and then drove down to Knotts Berry Farm. I got there just before 6 and got my bib and chip and went back to the car to get ready. I wanted to do a warm-up so I ran for 2 miles around the parking lot. I also had a gel 15 minutes before the start. Then I got into my corral to wait.

Before you know it, it was 7 and they were doing the pre-race activities and then it was go time! One of the cowboys from Knotts started us off with his shotgun! We were off! I think I ran pretty smart from the beginning. I tried not to look at my Garmin but did glance at it when we hit the 2 mile marker. I saw that it said sub 16 min on my watch and was like "Uh, oh". Maybe I shouldn't have looked at all because not soon after that, I started getting a stitch in my right side so I backed off a little to try and work it out. This mile was my slowest, just under 9 minutes. I think maybe I psyched myself out a little.

Once we hit 3 miles though, I picked it up again. I settled into the pace I'd planned to run and tried to keep 2 guys running at similar pace in my sights. Those miles were pretty uneventful. We passed the 4 mile marker and then the 5. Just as I passed the 5 mile marker, I reset the lap on my Garmin so I would know how much exactly was left. I looked at the time that had elapsed and started calculating my finish time in my head. I was surprised to figure out that I might make it around 52 minutes. I was hoping for under 52. I did not have the extra gear I'd hoped for at the end though. And I didn't take into account my garmin being off because I hit 6 miles, and then .21 miles under 52 but I still wasn't done!

But then there was the last turn to the finish! I saw the clock and knew I had finished just after 52 and was pretty excited. I just needed to see the results to see what my official time would be.

I got my super cute medal:
 
And then my boysenberry pie! Which is so yummy and perfect for a post-race snack (along with the chocolate milk) while I waited for the results.
 
And then the results were posted: 52:09!!!

Woo!!! My old PR was 54:54 so that was a huge PR for me and better than I'd hoped for. I was hoping to be in the 53 min range so I was really excited and happy. Can you tell?


So, I am very happy with this race. I love that for the 10K, I set a real PR and not just a post-cancer PR. It’s the only race distance I can say that about. For now. :) I hope there will be more to come!

Of course, in thinking about the race, I’m sure there is something I could have done better.
  • I probably did go too fast in the first 2 miles and that cost me later.
  • I think that I went slower than I needed to once I started using my Garmin to keep me on pace. I WAS running hard but I finished thinking I had more in me.
  • I think that I just don’t know what it should feel/hurt like for a 10K so the more I race them, the better I will get at gauging how hard to race it.
  • If only I had found 10 seconds somewhere! Just kidding...mostly. ;)
All in all, I think this was a fantastic race for me. I set a PR and learned some things about racing a 10K that I can use next time.

Thanks reading!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cummins Falls Half Marathon Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Cummins Falls Half Marathon in Cookeville, Tennessee. It was my 33rd Half Marathon and one of the most beautiful… and cold races I’ve done!

I hadn’t really planned to run this race but my friend, Dallas Smith (RIF #79) is on the committee and he encouraged me to run it. I hadn’t seen Dallas in a while and knew I would get to see many other TN peeps so I decided to do it even though it would put a kink in my LA Marathon training plans.

I’m really glad I did it because it was one of the craziest, most fun adventures I’ve had. And I feel pretty proud of myself for running it too.

PRE-RACE
I flew to Nashville on Friday morning. I was worried that the storm heading for the area would delay or cancel flights but both of my flights were on time and I had no problems. Once we landed, I went outside to wait for my friend Leanne (RIF #45)who was picking me up…and promptly froze my butt off! It was 26 degrees. And snowing. Snowing! I was thankful that Leanne was picking me up because I would have been really nervous about driving.

Leanne picked me up and we drove over to packet pick up and got our bibs, goodie bags, and shirts. Dallas was there so I got to say Hi and meet a few other people. We then headed over to Leanne’s to hang out til dinner. We met Dallas and the others at Mama Rosas at 6. I got to meet a few other RIFers there including Dallas’s daughter Jill (RIF #356) and Charlie Taylor (RIF #353).

Dinner was fun and filled me up and we headed back to Leanne’s to relax and get ready for the race. And by get ready for the race I mean not freak out! Holy moly! The weather was insane. The forecast talked about freezing rain and ice and this So Cal girl was really, really nervous. I had never run on ice before and I wasn’t sure I could do it for 13.1 miles. I’d brought some Goathead Gear screws to put in my shoes and I put some in my shoes and Leanne’s while we watched tv. Then we saw a post on the Cummins Falls race page about the bridge…
Photo by Cummins Falls Marathon
And I thought, oh crap, I’m going to fall in! It would be just my luck! (The bridge was washed out in a flood a few years back so they put up this temporary bridge so we could run a loop course.)

Because of the weather, they also posted that the race would be delayed an hour so it would start at 9 instead of 8. I was thankful because it meant I could sleep in extra and get up at 6 (4 my time) instead of 5. I set my alarm and went to sleep and actually slept pretty well. Too well! Because I slept til 6:30! Thank goodness Leanne knocked on the door to wake me up because I’d set my alarm for Sunday, not Saturday. Oops! I ate breakfast and got ready and then Leanne and I walked over to her dad’s so he could take us in his big truck. We were both thankful that we didn’t have to worry about driving and sliding on ice or getting stuck.

We made it to the race site in plenty of time and headed over to the heated tent. We met a few more RIFers in there Leslie (RIF #417), Kerri (RIF #407), and Susan (RIF #368). And then we also found RIFers that I already knew Dallas, Charlie, Heather (RIF #44), Donna (RIF #310) and Whitney (RIF #37). Sadly, some of my RIF peeps did not make it because the weather was crazy and the roads were a mess. Boo!


They ended up delaying the race until 10 but I was okay with that because of the warm tent. They also offered us fruit and Clif Bloks while we waited. And did I mention there were heaters? But alas, it was finally time to start. The RD led us out to the start line and it was go time!

THE RACE
My strategy for the race was “don’t die, don’t break anything”. I had originally hoped to finally hit 2:05 here but when I saw it was hilly and going to be icy/snowy, I decided to just have fun and enjoy the run. So I was nervous at the start but not too much. I wanted to get going so I could see if I could actually do it.

They counted us down and one of the rangers in a Revolutionary War costume fired off a musket to signal the start of the race. We were off!

It actually wasn’t too bad to run. You could feel your feet slipping slightly almost like running on sand. I took it really easy in the beginning, especially on the downhills so I wouldn’t slip. It was really pretty so I stopped to take a few photos in the first few miles. I tried to take some while running but those did not come out. I really need to practice that!

Just after mile 4, we got to the bridge. I was with a big group of people and I let most of them go first so there would be less movement on the bridge. They had a rope up so it was actually pretty easy to cross and felt stable. After the bridge, we had a big hill to climb. I tried running the hill but it was so tiring. It was a not traveled road so there weren't any tire grooves to run in and you slid a little or sank a little depending on what footing you chose. I mostly chose the snowy part so felt like I was working twice as hard to get up the hill. After that hill, I was thinking that if there were more hills like this, I would be lucky to make it under 3 hours!

Luckily, that was the hardest/biggest hill and at the top we were back on main roads. The roads were a little better on the main stretch and I was able to stretch my legs out. I even had a 9 min mile in there. I didn’t too bad on the hills either. I knew there were some at the end and thought they would be worse than the mile 5 hill but they were more rolling and I only had to walk one tiny part of a hill that was steep and icey. I got a brief bit of encouragement at this point when I looked up and saw a Run It Fast shirt coming towards me. I thought it was a hallucination but then realized it was David Pharr (RIF #185) who’d missed the start of the race because of road closures and was running back along the course too encourage runners. Thank you David!

It had rained pretty much the entire time and there were times when it stung a little so not sure if was turning to sleet. The worst part was that the tire grooves we were running in filled with water so you were up to your ankles in freezing water. I kept trying to decide which was the lesser of the two evils - frozen feet or slower times from running on snow. I mostly picked frozen feet.

I definitely feel like I ran the first half of the race too cautiously. I think by the time I got to the top of the mile 5 hill, I had more confidence and that helped and it only got better after that. I hadn’t seen anyone behind me while going up that hill and thought I might be last. I decided to start fishing for runners to get me to be more aggressive. From mile 6 to the end, I passed 11 runners. Once I passed one runner, I’d set my sights on the next and try to reel them in. I thought I might not catch that last runner I could see but passed him with one mile to go.

I was so excited to be almost done. My feet and fingers were numb and I was hungry! LOL. Anyway, the only time I really slipped was in the last mile because I wasn’t paying attention in my excitement. Thankfully, I didn’t fall and was able to catch myself. Then I turned into the park and could hear the announcer and the music and ran as hard as I could over the ice to finish.

I’d done it! 2:40 but I’d done it! Woo!

POST-RACE
Leanne & Whitney (thank you Whitney for the finish photos!) were there cheering me at the finish, bless their souls. After I caught my breath, we walked over to the tent and I got my medal and then went back to the truck to get my clothes and change. Ha! Trying to change out of wet clothes with numb fingers is HARD! LOL. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. I was giving myself more encouragement in that bathroom than I had on the course. There was another runner in the stall next to me going through the same thing and we were laughing. But finally, I got changed into dry, warm clothes and headed back to the tent.

And surprise! When I got back, Leanne and Whitney met me and they told me I was 1st in my age group and they had my age group medal! I was like “For real?” Woo!

Isn’t it pretty? :)

I basked in the glow of this...while basking in the glow of a heat lamp! And Leanne was kind enough to get me a bowl of chili. It's funny the things you think about when you are running and during this race I was dreaming of a big bowl of soup. Usually, it's burritos or pancakes. THAT'S how cold I was! The chili was great but it was cold and we left soon after.

When we got back to Leanne's, she made us hot chocolate (another thing I'd been thinking about on the course and actually wondering if any of the aid stations had it) and tried to thaw out. Then later that evening, we went out to dinner with her husband for some good Southern food (bb1 pork, beans, and hush puppies!) and then ice cream! It is NEVER too cold for ice cream!

The next day, I was lucky again that both my flights got out and relatively on time. My quick adventure to TN was over but wow, was it packed with some fun memories.

FINAL THOUGHTS
So...I was 1st in my Age Group (there were 3 of us), 4th out of 14 women, and 16th out of 34 brave runners who battled and won the Icepocalypse Cummins Falls Half Marathon! I am so glad I got it together the last half and got over my fear of falling.

I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to the organizers, volunteers, and rangers who were totally AWESOME during this. I give them very high marks for being out there in the rain and cold for us. I was not worried at all while on the course because there were so many volunteers & rangers out. Despite the conditions, everyone was really cheery and I had a lot of fun. There was one moment at the 10K turn around where I thought about calling it and dropping to the 10K, mostly because I was nervous. I am SO glad I didn't.

This was truly epic.

Thank you so much to Leanne for hosting me and driving me around! I probably would have stayed at the airport if not for her. I also want to thank Dallas for providing me with one heck of a story to tell my friends. :)

And thank YOU for reading! I know it was long. Sorry about that. :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Surf City Half Marathon Recap

I ran Surf City Half Marathon, my 32nd half marathon, last Sunday.

It was the second time I'd run this race and this time went WAY better than the last time.

I wasn't planning to run it. I didn't sign up for it until last Tuesday. I had to get the okay from my coach since it wasn't on the schedule. He said okay. I had 16 miles planned for Sunday so the plan was to warm up for 2 miles, run the half, and then run a 1 mile cool down. We (my coach and I) knew that I might not run it as fast as Star Wars Half because I hadn't tapered but it would be fun to see how it went. I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence in just the 2 short weeks since I ran Star Wars and I was secretly hoping to beat that time.

PRE-RACE
On Saturday morning, I ran 5 miles per my scheduled. Justin had had a hard workout on the schedule but switched it to a 5 mile with the middle mile being a 30 sec hard/90 sec easy mile. It went well and I felt good.

That capped off a 53 mile week for me including one day of run commuting (12 miles round trip) and 201 miles for the month of January! It was so awesome to see the 200 number again. Finally.

After the run, I drove down to the expo. I didn't spend a lot of time there. Just picked up my bib and shirt. And signed up for the OC Half while I was there. I also visited with Sue a Run It Faster for a little bit. I also bought another pair of Hokas. Oops. Oh well. You can't take it with you so might as well buy fun stuff. :)

I had a good dinner that night and then slept really well. I did have a goal for the race but I was not really nervous because I knew that really whatever I did would be fine...as long as I beat last year's time (2:39), that is.

I woke up at 4:30, ate, got ready and drove down to the race. I decided to park at one of the satellite parking lots and then take a shuttle to the race. I had hoped to see the start of the marathon but I had to wait for the next shuttle so I was too late. I had plenty of time to do a 2 mile warm up though. Which I did along the beach and it was a beautiful morning.
I had a gel and then got into what I hoped was the right corral (I signed up late so didn't get assigned a corral based on time). So...yeah, I was secretly hoping to run a sub 2:05 on Sunday. :) I felt pretty confident I could do it. I looked for the 2:05 pacer but didn't see any pacer signs in my corral. Darn. I was on my own.

THE RACE
The half marathon started at 7:45 with waves going every couple of minutes. I managed to start my watch on time so I was able to watch my pace pretty closely. I knew I needed a 9:33 pace and pretty much kept that up throughout. The first mile was slightly faster than it should have been but not too much. The course is mostly out and back along Pacific Coast Highway with a detour for a couple of miles taking us inland. PCH is really flat with tiny rollers but the inland portion has a nice little hill to give you a break from the flat. I kept my pace even through there and did really well.

I had planned to take 2 gels during the race. I'm not sure if I really needed 2 but wanted to practice for the LA Marathon where I plan to take gels every 4.5 miles. So at 4.5 miles I had a gel and that went well. I had my next gel at mile 9 and that went down pretty well too. I was a little worried because it was sunny and warm and I was dripping sweat by mile 5 but I seemed to be doing okay. I have not tolerated direct sun very well since cancer. I seem to get hot right away and sweat a ton. It's so gross. :( Buy anyway...I didn't feel like I was going past the point of no return so didn't hold back. I think I may have looked a little rough though because somewhere in mile 10, a Race Guard ran by me and gave me a long look. LOL. I tried to smile and look like I wasn't dying. :)

So, I would say the first 10 miles went according to plan. But I lost steam in the last 3 miles. :( I was running about a 10 min pace and couldn't speed up for the life of me. On the plus side, I wasn't slowing down any more than that either and I knew if I kept it up, I could beat my Star Wars time. I sure was happy to see the finish line though!

2:06:28! I'd shaved a minute off my time from Star Wars! Woo!

I got my medal (I love the surfboard medals from this race)...
And then took a moment to not be sick. I think that's when the heat caught up with me and it was close. I found some shade and had some of the peaches they handed out and drank water and felt better. Then I headed out to do my cool down and get back on the shuttle to get back to my car. Half #32 was done!

POST RACE RAMBLINGS
I'm happy with how this race went. With not tapering and signing up at the last minute, I think I did pretty well. I've dropped my half time by almost 30 minutes since the Leading Ladies Half last August. I feel like I ran it smart and pretty even but for sure I was feeling the heat and that caught up with me in the end. If only the race had started earlier! 7:45 is too late! One other good thing is that I think I recovered from it really well too because I am finishing up another 50 mile week this week and didn't have any real soreness afterward except for a little bit of grumpiness with my left ITB.

So race 1 of 3 in the Beach Cities Challenge is done! Next will be the OC Half in May and then the Long Beach Marathon in October.

My next race is the Cummins Falls Half  in Tennessee in 2 weeks and I plan to try and go sub 2:05 again there. It has a hill...a real hill...so it will be tough but I hope think I can do it. First I have to get through this weekend's 20 miler!

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What's Scarier? Creepy Clowns or 18 Miles?

What's scarier? Creepy Clowns or 18 miles?

You might be surprised by my answer...18 miles! Well, that was true until this weekend anyway.

I've done many, many, many 18 milers. I've done 20, 22, & 24 milers. I've done 21 races of marathon distance or longer. Why would I be afraid of an 18 miler? Well, you see, I haven't done one (that wasn't a marathon) in 2 years! I wasn't sure how it would go. Would I be ready. How would I feel after?

Sure I've done them before but this feels almost like I'm training for my first marathon again. In a way, it's kind of nice. It's like I get to experience the joy/fear of the unknown and what I'm capable of all over again. The Lisa Before Cancer did it. Will the Lisa After Cancer be able to do it too? I can honestly say that I know I WILL do it. That I know. But how well will I do it? That's the question. And a little bit of where the fear comes in.

Coming back from cancer has been stress free and a lot of fun. I didn't really put any pressure on myself last year and mostly just tried to build a good base. I ran some fun races and ran in costume and traveled a few places. It was a good way to come back.

But now, I'm really focusing on training so I have a vested interesting on how my runs go. They are the foundation for a good marathon. I know if I feel confident about my training I will do much better while I'm running LA which will then help me run that much better.

So I was nervous about the 18 miler on Sunday because I wanted it to go really well. I can say that it went pretty well. Actually I think it went very well considering a few things:
  1. I ran on Saturday and then did a short hike on Saturday afternoon so my legs weren't exactly rested.
  2. I only slept a couple of hours on Saturday night.
  3. I had a little bit of an upset stomach the last 4 miles.
  4. It was a little smoky and warm (71 degrees when I finished).
The great news is that I wasn't very stiff after and I was sleepy but not tired. I feel pretty confident that my training is going in the right direction now thanks, of course, to Justin. Rather, I should say that I feel like I am running up to the level that Justin believes I am at. You know?

So, the 18 miler wasn't scary. I look pretty happy, right?

But I sure did get freaked out by this clown at Griffith Park on Saturday! It still gives me the heebie jeebies!

Yeah, clowns are way scarier than 18 milers! ;)

In other news, I signed up for the Surf City Half Marathon on Sunday! Woo! It is part of the Beach Cities Challenge. I was in the process of doing it in 2013 when I found out I had cancer and would have to have surgery, I'd run Surf City and the OC Half and only had Long Beach to do but I had surgery 2 weeks before. :( But now I'm going for it this year! I think this time it will be much, much more fun. 2:39 was my time for Surf City in 2013 and 2:29 was my time for the OC Half. I think 2015 will be faster! Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Star Wars Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, I ran the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Recap. What a blast!

I love runDisney races. I know they are expensive but I think they are fun and completely worth it. I have run races with terrible support and terrible logistics and race directors that just don't seem to give a damn about the runners in their races. Say what you will about runDisney but they know how to treat runners right.

I had a goal going into the race. One goal actually. And it made me nervous! Which is a good sign that I'd picked a challenging goal. Now all I had to do was use the force to execute it! Yes, I had to go there. Come on! I HAD to! :)

PRE-RACE
On Saturday morning, I did a 5K shakeout run then headed down to Downtown Disney and the race expo. I was hoping to get there by 9 to see some of the kids races and I made it just in time. The kids races were a riot. The kids were so cute in their costumes. I loved it.

Then it was time for the expo. Bib pick up was fast and so was shirt pickup. Then it was time to do some shopping and some having fun. I listened to a couple of speakers (Sean Astin & astronaut Steve Lindsey) and bought some stuff. Took a few pics. A fun time was had by all. Well, by me at least.


I ate lunch in Downtown Disney at the ESPN zone. Maybe, sort of, because I heard a rumor they had Storm Trooper mugs...and they did! Yes, I am a total geek. Here are some of the things I picked up at the expo & Downtown Disney (clockwise from upper left hand corner: car magnet, I Did It! Wookie shirt, another Raw Threads tank top (OMG the back! I guess it's supposed to be a wolf but I am calling it a coyote!), vinylmation Mickey (a gift from another runner!), postcards from WonderGround, some BeeCause shoe charms, and that Storm Trooper Mug (being inspected by Jenks)

After I left the expo, I went home to finish my costume. I had decided to run as Chewbacca and last week I decided I wanted to run with ears. But did you know that they DO NOT have Chewbacca ears? How is that not a thing? Hello? So I decided to make some! I think they turned out pretty good.

I spend the rest of the afternoon finishing Gone Girl (wow, wild!) and resting up. I set my alarm for 2:30 and then went to sleep. Or tried to. I tossed and turned most of the night. I may have been a little more nervous about my goal than I thought! I got up with my alarm, ate breakfast, and got ready. I was out the door by 3:30 and drove down to Disneyland. Parking was a breeze and I paid for the parking of the car behind me (I promised the runner who gave me the Mickey vinylmation that I would pay it forward - done!).

It was race time! Let's do this!

THE RACE
The thing about Disney races is that it's a complete show. They keep the theme of the race from beginning to end. Pre race had CP30 and R2D2 and Jedi knights. Their were short clips from Star Wars movies playing too. And it was fun to check out the costumes of everyone around me.

The race started right on time at 5:30 am. First the wheelchairs, then corral A, and finally Corral B, my corral. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1... We were off!

AND I was so excited I didn't start my Garmin! LOL. Oops! I started it late and settled in. The course was different from the other Disney races I'd run before but we still got to run through the parks, different routes too that went through Tomorrowland and Cars Land. The most beautiful, jaw dropping moment was running into Radiator Springs as the sun rose. The sky was on fire with a spectacular sunrise and it was perfect for Radiator Springs. Seriously cool! I wish I had a go pro so I could share it with you. :( But I was there to race! Speaking of...

So, since I forgot to start my watch right at the start, I was off on each mile marker at the beginning. It wasn’t until about mile 4, I think, that I started a new lap when I passed that Mile Marker clock and got back on track. I hadn’t looked at the time either when we started so I didn’t know how much time had passed before our corral started. I would see the time on the clock but didn’t have a clue how close that was to my time. Oops!

My ONLY goal for this race was to finish between 2:05 and 2:10. I had intended to run the first part at 9:55 pace (2:10) and then pick it up the 2nd half. But that didn’t happen. Ha! I have zero discipline at the start! The gun goes off and I take off! I actually did force myself to slow down a little at times in the first 5K and I actually did look around when we were running through Disneyland and California Adventure. And I also checked out the behind the scenes stuff too. I think that kept me from getting too crazy at the start. So I was only a little nuts.

Once we left the parks and got on to the street, I was more focused and conscious of my time. I know some people think the street parts are boring but I like them with all the bands and the cheerleaders. I get pumped but I’m not distracted. Well, maybe a little by the costumes. There were some very, very cool ones! I was just cruising along and I felt good until 10K when my energy started to lag. I had a gel at about 6.5 miles. With the energy drop and me not being too coordinated when it comes to eating gels, I slowed a little then. I also slowed some when we went by the Star Wars cosplayers group which TOTALLY ROCKED! So much fun and you have to high five them! The 5K between 10K and 15K miles was my slowest but not too bad.

When we hit 10 miles, I looked at the clock and saw the time and I was pretty sure if I kept my pace below 10 min miles that I would hit 2:10. I think I pretty much left it all out on the course because I didn't have an extra gear at the end liked I'd hoped. I'd wanted to run the last few miles at about 9:20 or faster pace. That didn't happen. But when I saw the 13 mile marker, I gave one last kick and then I was high fiving Minnie and crossing the finish line! Then I got my medal! Woo!
It's so shiny and pretty! I saw my mom waving at me and said hi then walked through the finisher's chute to the after party to meet up with her. We hung out for a little bit and I found my friend Richard from Instagram (who was Darth Tink!) and watched the awards ceremony for the speedy people. Then I went on-line to find my finish time and surprise! 2:07:31! Woo!!!
 
As you can see, I did slow down for each 5K. But I think I did really well. :) I think I could have done better if I'd had 2 gels instead of 1. I'd planned on 2 gels but my pre-race energy bar I was going to eat was as hard as a rock so I had one of my gels instead. It might not have made much difference but I think it would have helped. I think.
 
So yeah, I was pretty happy about hitting my target time and being under 2:10. I wasn't sure until I looked it up which felt kind of weird. :) I really need to not be so excited to race! No, scratch that. Hopefully that never happens. Racing is fun! Especially runDisney races!
So, like I said, runDisney races are expensive but I love them. Here's my top 10 reasons why:
  1. They are really well organized and pre & post race and especially the race go off very smoothly.
  2. The aid stations are plentiful and also really well organized. They tell you as you get to them whether water is first, etc. They volunteers were really encouraging and funny too.
  3. There are a LOT of people running these races but I have never had a problem running the pace I want because they are very good about corral placement AND then making sure people get in the right corral. So I have never had to dodge around slower runners/walkers at runDisney races.
  4. Hello? Running through the parks! And behind the scenes! This is a nosey, people watchers dream!
  5. Seeing all the characters along the course is a blast. One of these days, I'll relax and stop and take pics during the run!
  6. The Disney park employees totally ROCK! They are awesome cheerleaders and I love high fiving them with their Mickey hands!
  7. The cheer squads and spectators also rock and make it so much fun.
  8. Running races is a celebration with other runners. You feel like you belong. These are your people. But a Disney race...you get to be your geekiest, nerdiest, craziest self and be completely normal! These are my people!
  9. You get high fives from Disney characters when you finish!
  10. And last, but not least...the bling rocks! Cool race shirts and awesome medals! Notice anything familiar in this pic?
 
Thanks for reading! My next runDisney race is the Pixie Dust Challenge! I'm already working on my outfits for the 10K and Half! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Year In The Balance

So, we're 9 days into 2015. It's been a pretty good year so far. I mean, what can go wrong in 9 days, right?

I started off 2015 with a 15 mile run and I think that was a good way to set the tone for the year.
 

I am focusing on running in 2015 but still have others goals to achieve throughout the year (like rock climbing and traveling). My coach, Justin, thought it would be fun to end 2014 with 14 miles on Wednesday and then start 2015 with 15 miles on Thursday. I was a little nervous about it but it went really well. I'd split Wednesday's run into 2 runs and ran to/from work. I hadn't done that in a while and it was good to get back to run commuting. Of driving, riding, and running to work...running to work is the least stressful and most fun. Especially if it's raining.

So with those 2 runs plus the 14er I did on Sunday and the other runs for the week, I finished/started the year with a 60 mile week! I remember back this summer when I was running 20 miles per week and so tired and thinking how am I ever going to run 50-60 miles per week without being exhausted? But I felt pretty good at the end of the week! Yay for progress! I feel like I am ready to up the mileage and put in the hard work as I get ready for the LA Marathon in March.

Which leads me to my goal for 2015 - PR the 5K, 10K, Half, and Marathon!
BUT...not kill myself trying to do it AND make sure I never lose the fun factor!

I had a conversation with one of my Twitter friends this week where we talked about fears and being hard on ourselves. I told her that after my cancer scare, I found that I am more determined to do the things I want but also more relaxed about things. If I miss a run because I'm sick, it's not the end of the world. If I have a cupcake or have a couple of splurge days, I'm not going to balloon back up to 200+ lbs. I know that I need to stay focused and work towards my goals but I also need to live and work and have fun.

The way that I have taken a little bit of the pressure off myself is by hiring Justin to help me with my running. This way, he has to do all the hard work of designing my training schedule and I just get to have the fun of running it. I trust him and his methods to know that if I put in the work, I will get faster and will be able to PR. It might not happen right away, but it WILL happen.

I saw this really great quote a couple of weeks ago and I think it's kind of key to how I am approaching my PR goal...
 

So, I don't know exactly what it will take to get to my goals (and I sort of don't want to know) or how difficult it will be (also don't want to know this either) but I for sure am cocky enough to believe I can do it!

And what I mean about not wanting to know what it will take or how difficult it will be is this:
  • I don't know what speed work, tempo runs, etc will help me get there. I don't know what pace each of the workouts should be. I don't know when to do this and then do that, etc. But Justin does. So, like I said, I'm letting him do that for me.
  • I also don't want to know that at some point I'll have to run mile repeats at an 8 min pace or whatever those workouts will be because I'm not ready for them yet. Thinking about what I will have to do is scary and the fear might make me reluctant to try. But if I don't KNOW what's coming, I can just focus on what I can do NOW. I'll get stronger as I do what I'm supposed to and then I won't be scared later when I get the crazy workouts (which hopefully won't seem crazy by then).
Does that make sense?

BUT as I said above...I absolutely BELIEVE I can pull this off. I WILL see my PRs drop in 2015.

I know it.

I hope you'll follow along for the ride. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

30th Half Marathon Race Recap!

On Sunday, I ran my 30th Half Marathon!

I was looking for somewhere to celebrate the 30 milestone and I decided on the Dallas MetroPCS Half Marathon. I had a LOT of Texas friends and I had never been to Texas (well, except for the airports in Dallas & Houston). It would be the perfect place to celebrate.

I flew out to Dallas on Friday after I dropped Jenks off at the Kitty Hotel. Sadly, the plane left an hour late but it was a direct flight so I didn't have to worry about missing my connection. We landed in Dallas about 6 and then I made my way over to the DART station. I hadn't rented a car but my research said I could take the DART downtown and use it to get around if I needed to. I got there just as it seemed the train was going to take off so I got a ticket and ran for the train, along with another guy. We made it! After the doors closed and we were moving I asked him if I was on the right train! Doh! Luckily, there is only one train line that leaves DFW so I was okay. :) I got off the train at my station and then walked the couple blocks to the hotel and checked in. I'd made it! Woo!

SATURDAY
On Saturday morning, I woke up and decided to go for a run. If you read my last post then you know I'd twisted my ankle at the Christmas Run. I hadn't run on it since but it was feeling pretty good even with all the airport running around. I also knew from looking at maps that Dealey Plaza was really close to my hotel. So I laced up my Clifton's and headed out. It was a cloudy morning and a little windy but pretty nice.

I found Dealey Plaza and explored it for a bit. There was another runner from Canada there who'd had the same idea and we introduced ourselves and then talked about JFK and all that had occurred. Since we were the only ones there, it gave us a chance to quietly reflect on the what had happened there. Having seen all the movies and documentaries and listening to my mom talk about that day, it felt like I could hear the echoes of that day as I stood there.

Then, I continued on my run to do a little more exploring.



My ankle did pretty well on the run so I decided the race was a go! I would have been okay with not racing and just cheering on my friends...but I really wanted to race so I was pretty happy. After eating breakfast and relaxing for a bit, I headed over to the expo. I didn't buy much (just some compression socks and a shirt) but I did listen to one of the speakers and got my ankle taped. Here's my shirt and bib:
Then I looked for a message that Alex B (@alexb214) had left for me on the Dallas Marathon sign...and added a note of my own - Coyotes fun Dallas! It took me a while to find the message from Alex but since I am stubborn and couldn't let Alex "win", I finally found it.
Whew. Then I could leave. :) I went to eat and then walked back over to Dealey Plaza to go to the 6th Floor Museum. The tour took about 90 minutes and was interesting and helped bring that day to life, even more so than the documentaries did. I was really glad I was able to visit it.

After that, I went back to the hotel and rested, then got some Jimmy Johns for dinner, and rested some more. Then it was time to sleep. I actually slept pretty well.

PRE-RACE
I hadn't been able to meet up with any of my friends at the expo so I was supposed to meet Alex and Christy B (both Run It Fasters) at the Longhorns. Which it turns out is a lot of Longhorn and Cowboy statues in Pioneer Square. A lot. You can't miss it.
 But apparently, I can miss people! I was there for about 15 minutes and didn't see either one so I sent Alex a text and then he called me back and we were trying to figure out where each other of us was when I turned around and he was right behind me! Ha!
I got to meet his wife and couple others from his running group. I never did find Christy before. :( Then I went to find my corral and get situated. I was in the B corral for a few minutes when I looked up and saw my friends Teal & Beth (@LifeisaRun) walking toward me! I was so shocked. I hadn't realized how many people were running and I thought I wasn't going to find them til afer. It was so fun to hang out with them before the race.
 The last time we had raced together was the Disneyland Half in 2012. And now they are moms! :)

Then it was race time!

THE RACE
So...my ankle was good but it wasn't 100%. I had talked to my coach Justin about racing vs. not racing and he reminded me that I had bigger goals than this race we were working toward and that it would be better to not jeopardize additional weeks of training. I had decided to run it but not race it. I would just enjoy the run and see the sights along the course. And that's what I did. Although I spent a lot of time looking down to make sure I didn't step on any bumps, land reflectors, in pot holes, etc!

I did see a lot though and we ran through some interesting stuff. Especially the HUGE, gorgeous mansions. Decorated for Christmas. Wow. And then I saw Heidi (@HeidiRuns) and Brian (@BLuebTris)! I heard Brian yell my name so I turned back and so I could say Hi and give them hugs (sorry for the sweaty hugs!). Yay! I was so happy to see them. So bummed I didn't take a picture though. :(

Then at mile 9, I zigzagged back to make sure I gave a high 5 to a little boy who was trying to go for the world record. Then at mile 11 I saw Heidi and Brian again! Another great pick me up! Then Alex's wife ran by (rocking her first half) and we talked for a little bit.

Then I was done! My 30th Half was in the books. Here's my medal:
POST RACE
Then I wound my way through the finisher's chute for food, water, and our bag. I stopped at one point to reorganize the stuff I was carrying and when I looked up, I saw Christy (@Run2Bake)! Woo!
Then I found Teal & Beth again! Seriously, I don't know how I found any of them! LOL. Sadly, there were a couple of TX peeps and others from Instagram that I knew were there but did not find.

I made plans with Teal & Beth to go to lunch with them so I went back to the hotel and changed and got my stuff and they picked me up. We went to a great little Mexican place for lunch and I got to meet their husbands and their very cute sons. Then sadly, it was over and Beth and her family took me to the airport so I didn't have to take the DART back.

I am pretty lucky that things worked out so I could run on Sunday. And extremely lucky to have met so many fun and amazing people who helped make it a fun race/trip.

THIS is why I love running. Not just because it keeps me healthy. Not just because racing fast is fun. But because it feeds my soul with friends and adventures. :)

Thanks for reading!