Friday, December 31, 2010

What Was And What Will Be

2010 is coming to a close. Just a few more hours for me but I'll be going to bed in an hour. I have a 20 miler scheduled for tomorrow. Can't think of a better way to start the new year off.

My favorite moments of 2010:
1. Completing my first marathon - the Eugene - in May.
2. Running my second marathon - The Mohawk Hudson - in October.
3. Shaving 6 1/2 minutes off my 10K time in November at the Turkey Trot.
4. My 4th of July ride.
5. Fitting into a pair of size 8 jeans! Which are loose now!

Best of all, I hit my mileage goal for the bike - 5,575 miles. That's more miles than I drove this year. And I ran 1,512 miles! Three times as many as I ran in 2009. And no injuries! Woo!

Oh, and let's not forget the traveling. I've never been to Oregon or New York and I couldn't have picked 2 more beautiful marathons for my 1st two. Both along rivers with great views and lots to see and do in both towns.

2010 was a stellar year for me. I learned a lot and accomplished alot and I would have to say it was one of the best I've ever had!

I am so lucky that I get to be active and have adventures and travel. I am hoping for more of the same in 2011 but I'm going to set even more ambitious goals:

1. Run a 4 hr marathon
2. Run a 50k
3. Ride 6,000 miles
4. Run 2,000 miles
5. Visit 2 more states I've never been to

They say if your goals don't make you nervous, they aren't ambitious enough. Well, I have butterflies in my stomach as I write this. But I'm excited too. I'm already working on the plans that will make these goals happen: Coaching, signing up for the Seattle Rock & Roll, getting out on my road bike more, getting faster on the bike & the run so I can get more miles in w/out adding more hours (or too many more). And do it all by staying healthy and getting stronger.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vacations Are Supposed To Be Relaxing

Aren't they? I just got back from a week in Arizona and I was more tired when I got home than when I left! It's lack of sleep that killed me because I only ran while I was there (plus one hour of hiking and a couple bowling). But no bike which usually accounts for a big chunk of my work out time. But late nights and early mornings mean I wasn't getting my usual 7 to 8 hours of sleep. And it made me a little cranky.

Love my family. Really, I do. But spending time with them just kills all of my good habits. They stay up late, sleep in late, eat at crazy hours, eat a lot of bad stuff, don't exercise or do active stuff. And they don't get that I am trying to be better. They absolutely do not get how important cycling and running and being healthy are to me and that can be so frustrating. They make me feel like I am selfish for going on a long run or wanting to go to bed early for an early run or eating a turkey sandwich instead of Carne Asada and beans because I have a long run scheduled the next day.

My mom! My mom gave me grief about eating! The same mom who spent practically my whole adult life telling me how pretty I would be if I lost weight, how I could get a boyfriend if I lost weight, gave me grief for not eating lasagna. Lasagna! And not a vegetarian one, but one loaded with cheese and meat and a heart attack waiting to happen. What's that about? I asked her if we were there to eat or to spend time together. Sure, I could have had a little bit but it didn't appeal to me in the least.

You know what? I may be selfish about this but if I don't put myself first, who will? I'm not married. I have no kids. No house. No boyfriend. No one to aswer to but my cat and he spends his days napping. So why shouldn't I put me first? Am I supposed to sit on the couch and wait around for the one or two times a month when they want me to do something? Am I supposed to jump when they call? Can't they understand that I have plans, goals, dreams? And they won't happen by themselves?

Just a little understanding would be nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Never Too Late

It is never too late to be what you might have been~George Eliot
I hired a running coach on Friday - Jason from Strength Running. I decided to hire a running coach because I have goals that I want to achieve and I'm not getting any younger. Sigh.

So, I'm 42 and I've only been running for a little less than 2 years. I wish I had started running years ago, decades ago. Then maybe I wouldn't have become like this:
That was me on my 40th birthday, 300+ lbs. I don't even have a full body picture because I avoided cameras like the plague. At least, cameras pointed at me. But that's where I was 2 1/2 years ago. And I keep wondering what might have been if I'd become a runner or cyclist when I was in my teens or early 20s. Would I have gotten so big?

But that was then, this is now. I can't change the past, I can only look forward. I have the quote from George Eliot on my Road ID so I will remember that I can still be what I want to be. It's not too late. I guess it's never too late until you're dead. Which is hopefully a long way off for me!

So I hired a coach because I want to go faster and farther next year than I've ever done before. And I want to do it the right way. I want to get strong and do the kinds of workouts that will build me into a better runner. It isn't so much that I need to go faster, but that it will certainly help me get more training in and still let me ride as much as I have been or would like to.

This is my first week working the plan that Jason sent over. It isn't too different from what I've been doing except for the hill repeats he has planned for tomorrow. What is different though is the warm-ups and cool downs that he has me doing. I'm feeling body parts that I have not been working before. My outer thighs are like "what?" And I was feeling my lower abs when I got out of bed this morning! And I thought I had been working them. Um, guess not.

I'm excited! I can't wait to see what we can do together.

My workouts for the week:
Monday - 22 mile bike commute (rode to Borders after work)
Tuesday - 6 miles w/4 @ tempo (9:22,9:15,9:22,9:13)
Wednesday - 19 mile bike commute (rode to Bath & Body after work).

I've been gettins some extra workout with Christmas prep what with the added mileage and the loaded panniers with the presents I've been buying. That will certainly help with next week's Christmas festivities!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Much Better At The Top

"It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top." ~Henry Ward Beecher
Today's Long Run was thru Bonelli, a local park with a reservoir where they hold the LA Tri series and a few others through out the year. The fun thing about Bonelli is that it has a variety of trails thru and around it. You can stick completely to paved roads/bike trails or hit the fire roads or the single track. It's not a big park but if you go looking for hills, it's got plenty of them on all surfaces.

I've been doing my "short" long runs in Bonelli to get ready for the Buffalo Run on Catalina Island in January. It has about 1600 ft of climbing so I want to make sure I'm ready for it. Today's run was 15 miles and it only had 1125 ft of climbing. I was dead dog tired at the end so the Buffalo Run should be interesting. And all the 50Ks I've been looking at have at the least 5000 ft of climbing! Ahh! I need to do more hills!

Although, I might have been a little tired because I didn't do any waffles or gu during the run, just drank some Powerbar Ironman. I would say about 16 oz worth and I might have been a little low on energy supply but for these shorter runs I'm trying to not do as many carbs to teach my body how to deal with that. I had a gu after and finished up the Ironman, then headed out on my mt bike but I could tell I was still tired because I didn't stand up on any of the hills. I cheated! And used smaller gears. But it helped loosen up my legs, especially the calves, hamstrings & glutes, which were really tight. All in all it was a good morning. The weather was beautiful,there was a cool breeze, and I saw lots of birds - ducks, egrets, cranes, hawks, and such.

I got a massage this afternoon. Carlos (my regular masseuse) worked on me for 90 minutes and let me tell you, it was not pleasant when he hit my calves and ITBs. But they needed it and we'll see how they are tomorrow. I never seem to get as deep in those areas as he does with the foam roller so maybe I'm doing it wrong? Or maybe I'm less willing to inflict pain on myself. Hmmm...

Another week done and only a few left in the month and year. Time flies! Workout stats:

Friday - 5K run, arms/abs/legs, and 15 mile bike commute
Saturday - 15 mile run & 11 miles on the mt bike

Stats for the week:
Run - 41 miles
Bike - 123 miles

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do A Little More

"Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can." Lowell Thomas
I've been really good about going to sleep on time the past few days and I feel more rested. I am trying not to overdo it though. I wanted to go to REI after work but that would have added 45 min to my commute today and I thought it would be better to go home and work with the foam roller on some of the tight spots on my legs - my ITB, my calves, achilles. And do some stretching. I'm trying to be good about that as well. Basically, do a little more of the things that are good for me! Oh, and I moved up my monthly massage by a week so I'll be seeing Carlos for 90 minutes on Saturday. I am looking forward to it but also dreading it. Hopefully, he won't make me cry. I'm really hoping that I've been doing enough to work out the kinks on my own.

Speaking of doing a little workouts for yesterday and today:

Wednesday - 5K run in my Five Fingers on the trail and a 15 mile bike commute.
Thursday - 7 mile run (5@tempo) and a 15 mile bike commute.

Mile splits for the tempo were 9:25, 9:28, 9:18, 9:11, and 9:15. Not too bad and I think I was working at the right effort. It's hard to tell. I just don't know what a tempo is supposed to feel like. For sure, anyway. I would say the effort was less than the 10K I ran a couple of weeks ago but still comfortably hard. I just don't know if I'm working hard enough or not. Or maybe not hard enough. But I'm working on trying to fix that. More on that later when it pans out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Become What You Make

I've been a little tired the past few days. I haven't been sleeping as much as I should. I was so busy with family stuff this weekend that I didn't even get to take a nap and I tried sleeping in on Sunday but was up at my usual time. So I'm determined to get 8 hours of sleep every night this week. 8 hours last night? Check.

Let's get right to it. Workouts for the week so far:

Sunday - 3 mile easy run followed by 2 1/2 hours on my mt bike.
Monday - 3 mile easy run, legs/arms/abs, and a 21 mile bike commute.
Tuesday - 7 miles w/ 3x1600s (and 6 hill sprints) anda a 15 mile bike commute.

The 1600s went really well (8:57, 8:51, 8:45) and the sprints were fun. I'm excited to see if they make me stronger. Along with the legs & core stuff, I think I'll be in better shape for the Lost Dutchman. Ive had more energy for my speed and tempo runs since I started doing a Gu & orange juice before them. I think the carbs help. I was not eating anything or drinking anything before and my legs would sometimes be noodly. But not anymore.

I'm listening to KT Tunstall's Tiger Suit and I really love the song "Push That Knot Away". These are my favorite lyrics in the song:
And in the morning, in the morning when you wake
It is a doorway for you to walk through to become what you make
And just remember you have heaven in your heart
It is inside you, and it will guide you so long as you listen hard

It's one of the reasons I like to run and/or ride so early in the morning. I think it's a great way to start the day and sets the tone for the rest of the day. I'm saying that a runner/cyclist is who I am and I'm going to live rest of the day as that girl. It affects what I eat, what I drink, how I think, etc. Off to bed now. My alarm is set for 4:30!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Running Long Logistics

Today was my long run and I've been looking forward to it for a while. I like the whole traveling thru towns and sightseeing aspects of a long run. I had a goal for this long run so it wasn't all fun and games though. Still, it wasn't too taxing. I had 18 planned and ended up doing 19 instead.

The game plan for this run was to run the first 12 miles easy and then do 4 or 5 miles at marathon pace and then run 1 or 2 miles easy again. I ended up running 12 easyish, 5 at marathon pace, then 2 easy. I say easyish because I had to hold myself back some. And miles 6 thru 8 were downhill so they were actually at marathon pace but easy. But that meant that 10-12 were uphill so it kind of evened out. The miles at marathon pace went really well and I feel really good about them. For my last marathon, I ran all miles for the long runs 18 & over at easy pace because I was too nervous about having stomach problems or leg cramps. So even though I did marathon pace miles in my shorter long runs (12-16 miles), I think that it affected my ability to hold that pace in the last couple miles of the Mohawk Hudson. It'll be interesting to see how this round of training goes.

One really good thing is that I think I finally got nutrition and food worked out. I think one of the reasons I was bonking/cramping before was that I wasn't eating enough before and during the long runs. But I think I found the combination that's working for me - Gu Brew Blueberry Pomegranate and Honey Stinger Waffles during, Orange Juice, mini bagels and a banana before. Oh, and an SCap before and maybe one during depending on how long the run is.

For today's run, I filled my bottle with the Gu Brew and took 2 waffles. I broke the waffles in half and had a half at 4,8,12 & 15 miles. I just have to figure out what bottle to use. I was using the Amphipod bottle. I love how that one feels in my hand and how easy it is to carry it, but I don't like the top. Today I tried the Camelbak Podium bottle. I like that top a lot and it's what I use on the bike. But it's heavier & bigger than the Amphipod and kind of awkward to hold. My hand & arm got tired. I stopped by the running store this afternoon and picked up the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus bottle and I'm going to try that on my next run. I like the valve and it fits in my hand really well. I also picked up some new socks and some calf sleeves - early Christmas presents to myself!

Stats for yesterday and today:
Friday - 3 mile run, 15 mile bike commute, & abs/arms/legs.
Saturday - 19 mile run.

Stats for the week:
Bike - 115 miles
Run - 46 miles (6 runs)

It was a great week on the bike and run, but I need to get more sleep!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hunting Down Dreams

Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission. ~Neil Kendall

I love this quote. It's how I'm going about things in my life right now. I'm not just sitting back and hoping that my dreams come true. I'm working hard towards them. Some people hope for luck, I think we make our own. And it's all about gathering as much knowledge, experience, and skill for whatever it is you want to accomplish.

Right now I'm focusing on running and it's opening up opportunities for me to explore and travel. Something I thought I would never do. Because I was overweight. Because I was single. Because I was shy. Because I was broke. Because I was afraid. Blah, blah, blah...

So many reasons to not do the things I wanted to do. But those were just obstacles to overcome - losing 150+ pounds, getting out of debt, becoming more confident. Um, all except the single part (which I've come to see as an advantage). Do what you gotta to do to make things happen and things will fall into place. To borrow from Nike - Just Do It.

Speaking of just doing it...8 mile tempo run this morning. It was slightly faster than plan but I ran by feel. I think I got a little adrenaline kick when I saw the Bike Shop Boys out riding. I guess it's true when they say we run faster when we think we are being watched. Ha! ;) Today was also Run #2 of the 30 Runs in 30 Days. So far so good. Stats for yesterday and today:

Wednesday - 5K run (naked - no garmin and in my Five Fingers) and 15 mile bike commute.
Thursday - 8 miler and a 13 mile bike commute.

No trail running for Saturday's 18miler. Need to hit some marathon pace miles so I'll be on the road with only a couple small hills. What does it say about me that I'll miss them? One of my favorite running songs - Running Up That Hill by Placebo. I like this version better than Kate Bush version. It sounds like a heart beating.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Speed is Relative

I know I'm not supposed to compare my times to other people. But I can't help thinking that if I was faster, I could run more in less time. It's not about the numbers so much as that the coyote (the runner) and the bike geek war over who gets to do what. I know. Life is rough when your biggest problem is which of the things I love to do should I do more of!

Today's workout was 7x800s. I don't have a track near me so I do intervals on the bike trail. It's mostly flat and most of the sections are 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, and even some 1 mile sections. So all my intervals aren't exactly the same because I'm varying where I do them. I suppose I could use one section (which I sometimes do for 400s). I'd rather use more of the trail. It's more interesting that way.

Today's 800s went pretty well. I was off the pace slightly from what I'd hoped. I'd plugged Saturday's 10K into Greg McMillan's Pace Calculator and it said my 800s should be in 4:18 at the slower end. Mine averaged 4:20/4:22. Funny thing is that the hardest part of intervals is to not daydream during them. If I don't concentrate, my pace falls off. I caught myself daydreaming twice today. I was already thinking about next year's races. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Focus on the now! I don't listen to music when I do intervals for that reason. I get distracted by music and find my pace following the music.

I've been busy the past two days:
Monday - 22 mile bike commute & core/legs/arms work.
Tuesday - 15 mile bike commute
8 mile run.

I also signed up for the Labor of Love, Love Me Two Times 1/2 Marathons @ Lovell Canyon, NV. And I joined the Fat Cyclist for Lose 10 Pounds by Christmas. And I am going to try 30 Runs in 30 Days with Libor and the other trifuelers. It's a traditon that Libor has been doing for a few years. Which should help me with the Daily Mile Challenge to Run 100 Miles. Whew. That's a lot of stuff. If this doesn't keep me on track thru December, I don't know what will. I'm not really expecting to lose 10 pounds by Christmas but I would like to see if I can lose a few pounds. And definitely not gain weight. Especially when I'm in Arizona the week before Christmas. Without my bike. Gulp.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leap Fearlessly

I bought a small piece of art by Kelly Rae Roberts called "Leap Fearlessly". I've decided that's going to be my motto for 2011. I've been wanting to sign up for the Lovell Canyon Love Me Two Times Half Marathon (a half marathon on Saturday and then another on Sunday) and a 50K but I've been putting it off. This week, I'm going to sign up for the Lovell Canyon and get serious about finding a 50K to do. I just have to figure it I want to use the Seattle Marathon as a jumping off point or if I want to do one in the fall.

Now that I've decided to go for it, I'm kind of itching to do one sooner than later. The only thing is that if I do it right after the Rock & Roll Seattle, then I shouldn't push the pace at the Seattle and I do have my 4 hour marathon goal to consider. I have to think about that a bit. But I will definitely sign up for or pick a 50K by December 31st (in case I pick a fall one and registration isn't open yet).

Fear has been an on-going battle for me. It's the thing that kept me from living life. I know it's one of the reasons I used to weigh 300+ pounds. It was all about "what if I fail" or "what if I'm not perfect". Well I finally learned that I'm not perfect. No one is. And I'm okay with that. I'm even willing to fail. I knew that was a possiblity for the 10K yesterday. I could have blown up and ended up walking. But I went for it anyway and look what happened - a PR (I'm still excited about it! Woo!).

So no more fear. If there's something I want to do or want to try, I'm going to take that leap of faith without fear and reach for the sky.

Now for some stats...

Today I ran five miles in my Five Fingers on the bike trail and then rode my mt bike for 2 hours. Tired at the end because of the headwind but I felt better after I ate lunch so I decided to ride over to the mall to pick up Meb's book "Run To Overcome". Total workout time for the day 3hrs 45 min, most of it easy. It was a gorgeous day in So Cal. A little on the cold side (44 at the start of the run and 47 for the bike in the morning) especially with the wind but at least no rain!

Gotta go...need to download some fresh music for this week's 18 miler. I'm looking forward to it.

Leap Fearlessly!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K

Today was the San Dimas Turkey Trot 10K. I ran it last year and I wanted to run it this year to see how much I've improved. I have a year of marathon training under my belt, I started doing speed work and tempos since then, and I've lost 25lbs. All signs pointed to a PR.

I think the kicker was a tempo run I did last week where I averaged 9 minute miles over the 5 miles of tempo. I figured with the hills and the mixture of pavement and dirt at Bonelli, that I would plan on a 9:15 pace. But a part of me was dreaming of 9 min miles! So going into the race, these were my goals.

A goal - 55:55, 9:00 per mile pace
B goal - 57:28, 9:15 per mile pace
C goal - beat last years time of 1:02:35

The B goal was what I told myself I would be happy with and what I should plan for. Normally, I would set my garmin for the race distance and the pace I wanted to go and then track my progress so I didn't get too far off it. But I've been reading Matt Fitzgerald's Run:The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel and I just finished it last night. I decided to go by feel for this race instead of by pace. I was a little nervous but I figured that I could do it.

I'm happy to report that I hit my A goal! Well 55:56. And that even included some balance beam walking across two boards that spanned the stream we had to cross in mile 3. Here are my splits for the first 6 miles:

1 - 8:18.66
2 - 8:25.90
3 - 9:13.05 (with the stream crossing)
4 - 8:46.35
5 - 8:57.59
6 - 8:46.64

And the last .2ish miles were actuall .46 per my garmin - 3:37:32 (a 7:55 pace!). I don't think I could have been that far off the tangents so I'm not sure about that.

Anyway, it was a great run and I would say that I gave an even effort all the way thru and really kicked it after mile 6 on my garmin. The hills were easy and I think the running that I've been doing there has really helped. Best part was a high-five I received from another woman at the end of the race. We had run together thru the whole race (not intentionally, we just seemed to be the same pace). I lost her a little at the stream and then caught up to her on the uphills but she would pass me on the downhills. At the end, we passed a few people and then after mile 6 when I turned on the turbos, I finally left her behind. She congratulated me for "smoking" her at the end. I told her thanks too for pushing me thru the race (because she was my rabbit - which I didn't tell her).

Today was a great day for racing...Hit my A goal, PRd this race by 6 1/2 minutes, and I was 4th in my age group (out of 13 in the 40-44, 24/126 for women, and 80/236 overall). I treated myself to a half slice of Meat Lovers and a half slice of Hawaiian at New York Pizza Company to celebrate.

I've been thinking that I need to rethink this whole "I'm a penguin" thing. In the book, Matt talks about Haile and that he "ran faster because he tried to run faster". And he also says "chasing personal bests encourages your mind and body to conspire to allow you to run faster than you ever have before". If I stop putting limits on myself and instead dream big, I'll see what I'm really capable of. And I think that's exciting.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Half Marathon

The plan for this week's long run was a 13 miler. Since I'm doing the 10K on Saturday, I ran the 13 miles today. Actually, it ended up being 13.41 miles so I could make it an even 2:30. It was a great run through Bonelli and I hit lots of hills while I was in there. I can feel it already.

I have so much to be thankful for - my family, my friends, my cat, my job, my health, riding & running. I got to travel this year to Oregon and New York to run marathons. I've never been to either state and I had a great time exploring Eugene and Albany. I'm so happy that I'm still bike commuting and that the LBS boys keep my bikes rolling. It's allowed me to save money, travel, race, and buy a new (used) car.

Life is good and I'm happier than I've ever been. Who could ask for anything more?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cheeky Coyote

I saw a coyote on my run this morning. I am running a 10K Turkey Trot on Saturday so I'll take that as a good sign. Anyway, he was watching me as I ran by him and didn't seem scared. Interesting that he didn't take off like they normally do when I see them. Hopefully, he isn't too used to humans because that won't bode well for him.

So...he watched me as I did 5x1200s today. They were kind of sluggish but it was a pretty good run. Workouts for yesterday and today:

Monday:Bike-2 hours 15 min of bike commute and extra to spend money at Borders!
Tuesday:Bike-1 hour
Running-7.2 miles @ 9:33 pace for 1:08.42

It's probably best that I didn't leave it all out there anyway since I have the race on Saturday. It should be interesting. I'm 20 pounds lighter than last year. And I have a lot more endurance and speed work and tempos than last year. And I'm regularly including hills in my runs now. Who knows what will happen. My only goal is to beat last year's time. Well, that may not be my only goal. I did look to see what the top 3 times were for my age group last year...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You Never Know

It rained this weekend but I got all my training in and then some. There's no rest for the wicked.

Saturday - 16 mile run w/last 6 miles at marathon pace (10:10)
10 mile spin on my commuter bike
Sunday - 5 mile run
10 mile spin in the morning/15 miles in the afternoon

I've been doing a lot of reading about running lately. I just finished Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich and I'm currently reading Running Through The Wall: Personal Encounters With The Ultramarathon by Neal Jamison and Run: The Mind-Body Methond of Running by Feel by Matt Fitzgerald. They've got me thinking that I've been putting limiters on what I'm capable of and I need to become more of a dreamer.

I've been thinking of myself as a slow runner, a Penguin. But can I get fast? What, if any, are my limiters?

I ran a 5:12 for my 1st marathon. But I my calves cramped at mile 18 and I did a lot of walking after that so I didn't consider it a true marathon run.

I ran a 4:40 for my 2nd marathon. No cramping this time. Woo! But I bonked at mile 24 for two reasons - nutrition (not enough calories in) and starting my final 10K kick too early (mile 18ish). The run was going so well that I thought I had enough in me to push the last 8 miles but I miscalculated. So I was happy that I PR'd by 32 minutes but still not satisfied that I got it right.

My next marathon is in February - The Lost Dutchman. I'm going to go for a 10:10 pace for this one so it should be a 4:25 finish. Am I ready for that? I think I will be. My training seems to indicate it and I think I can do it. No, I know I can do it.

But here's the thing. Now I'm thinking that I have a 4 hr marathon in me. And I'm thinking I just may go for that for the Seattle Rock & Roll in June. You never know.