Thursday, June 28, 2012

Never Say Never

 My niece, Morgan, used to say "I'll never..." a lot when she was 4:

I'll never be a dog!
I'll never get to ride the bus!
I'll never get to go to school!

Being the loving aunt that I am, I often remind her of that last one. ;)

Honestly though, I've said that phrase a lot too:

I"ll never be a runner.
I'll never run a marathon.
I'll never run a marathon...again. ;)
I'll never run an ultra.
I'll never wear shorts.
I'll never wear tanks.
I'll never wear only a sports bra on a run. (well, with shorts of course).
I'll never take a good race picture.

But never say never, eh? I've already done a few of those "I"ll never"s. Obviously, the running ones are no brainers seeing as how I've done 5 marathons and 4 ultras and have a bunch more planned. They are all just about putting one foot in front of the other. And erasing boundaries.

The others, the clothes and the picture ones...those are harder because those get right to the heart of my biggest insecurities: my body.

I vowed I would never wear shorts or tanks or even short sleeves because after the weight I lost, there was some jiggle. But I finally got past that and now I wear shorts and tanks most of the year. (You know, because I live in SoCal and the weather is awesome all year. Or at least 95% of the time. ;) I'm a brat, I know.) I still think about what other people see when I'm running. I just don't let it stop me from wearing them anymore.

So far, I've hated almost all of my race pics. I usually still "see" the old fat girl in my pics and/or I look like I'm plodding along not much faster than walking or my eyes are closed or I have death face going on. Then surprise... I actually loved one of my pics! This pic is what I feel like when I'm running most days - light and graceful and strong. FINALLY, someone captured it. I'm not imagining it! Woo! :)

So that's most of my issues resolved. Seriously though, the one about only running in a sports bra? For sure, that wouldn't happen. I think.

I've noticed women of all shapes and sizes running in just sports bras at trail races and they look so comfortable. So confident. I've been wondering if I have that in me. I was so, so close at the Nanny Goat. There was a time in the afternoon when the sun was out and I was really hot and when I stopped by my chair, I took off my shirt to reapply Body Glide. For a few seconds, I thought "I'm just going to leave my shirt here". But then I couldn't do it. So I put it back on. Plus, I was wearing my Run It Fast shirt and I needed it for luck.

Then yesterday, I was browsing Running Warehouse and I saw this tank and it said it was mesh and I thought it would be good for summer running. (Oh, and I picked up some new kicks, shorts, calf sleeves, and Scaps.) But when it arrived today, I saw it was really see through. Like totally. And frankly, that's a little scary. For me anyway. Would I have the guts to wear it in the daylight? Where people could see...everything. I mean, I'd be wearing a sports bra underneath but it would still show my not so six pack abs. Yikes!

When I got home I tried it on and it's not too bad. I think. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to wear it. In public. Yeah, I can. Of course, I can. Why not?


No, no, it's not that bad.

Yes, yes, it is. Why can't I let it go?!?!

I'm running the Mojave Narrows Half Marathon on Saturday in the high desert. It's supposed to be 91 there on Saturday and I don't know if there will be any shade. I guess that would be as good a time as any to try it out, right? So I'm GOING to wear it. I swear.

Oh, Lord.

Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend and good luck if you are racing!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb Recap

I ran my 12th Half Marathon on Saturday, my 6th one this year! Our shirt for the race kind of sums up the race...
One hill. Sure. But it's a really BIG hill. :)
The race started at 8 and it's only about 30 minutes from my house so that meant I could get up at a decent time - 5 am. Sleeping in was nice. :) I went thru my usual pre-race routine and then drove down there. I checked in, got my goodie bag (first time I ever got a mosquito net in a goodie bag), bib, chip, and shirt and then went back to the car to put on my shoes and finish getting ready.

Steve, the RD, gave us some last minute instructions and then sent us off. I knew what was in store for us because I'd run this last week but I tried not to think about how tiring it was and just ran. I tried to run as much of it as I could but did walk some of the steeper sections. I didn't wear my garmin so I was running by feel. It was warm but not as bad as last week and we sometimes got a cool breeze. Plus, it was a beautiful day.

The run up really wasn't too bad and seemed to go by quickly. I had no problems and did a little talking with some of the other runners to help pass the time. I met Paul around mile 5 and found out we had a mutual friend - Kylie! I love what a small world running is. :) We ran up to the turn around/aid station together and headed back down together and compared notes on races and talked Ironman training. When we hit the little uphill we had on the way down, he walked it and I told him I would see him on the downhill because I'm usually not that good at downhills. I kind of expected a bunch of people to pass me but that didn't happen.

My legs felt great on the way down and I already knew what it was like from last week so I think I did really well running down. Only 3 people passed me on the way down - 2 men & 1 woman. I caught one of the men back about half way down and then the other man with a mile to go. He was walking and I said, "come on, we're almost there" and he started running again and passed me back! I kind of laughed to myself about losing a place but what can you do? ;) Then I saw the woman who'd passed me up ahead and tried so hard to catch her. She heard me coming and waved at me to come pass her but I ran out of trail. BUT... she only finished 7 seconds ahead of me.

Trying to catch her really kept me going at the end because for the last 1/4 mile or so, my legs turned noodley and I was feeling a little dizzy. I maybe should have had a little more water or gu brew but overall, I think I did okay w/nutrition & hydration. I was very, very happy that I had no stomach issues during this. In fact, there was a barbecue after the race and I had the best cheeseburger ever! It could have been because I was starving. ;)

So, the course was fun, the aid stations and volunteers were awesome, the food after was delicious, and I had a great run. The only disappointing part was that the medal was the exact same medal we got at the Nanny Goat. :( I mean, it's cool and I really like it but I wanted something more badassery for this. I'm a whiner, huh?

My legs recovered pretty well from the race. They were a lot less sore than they were after last week's version of this run. They and my feet were fine for the 18 miler I ran this morning. So, so happy about that. What I'm not happy about is my stupid stomach. It was not happy from mile 3 on. I kept waiting for it to get better but it didn't and that meant I didn't eat/drink as much as I should have and I totally bonked. :( Why can I not figure this out?

But...all in all, it was a good weekend - some solid time on my feet, a fun race, and some good hill work. I'll take it.

Hope you all had a great weekend and that you kick butt in the final week of June. Can you believe half the year is over already? It's flying! And Javelina Jundred is getting closer. Aaaahhhhh! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Are You Training For An Ultra?

This morning on my run, one of the regular bike commuters that I see asked me if I was training for an ultra. I thought it was weird that she would ask me that and not if I was training for a marathon. You'd think that would be the more obvious question. Don't you think?

It happened during a fun & fabulous 8.5 mile run.

The week started off pretty slow. Really slow. Tuesday's run was a slogfest and very frustrating. I don't know what happened but in the last mile I just lost every ounce of energy I'd had. I ate breakfast when I got home but even with that and the rest before my ride to work, I was completely dragging til the afternoon. I kept thinking how could I be so tired from the weekend? I'd only run back-to-back halfs. Only. ;) And just 13 hours apart. Still...I was wondering where my endurance had gone to??? Was it hiding under a rock or in the closet?

But my run on Wednesday was good - a sweet 7 mile run w/ 3 miles at tempo. Then today's run was awesome and I was starting to feel better about where I'm at. So when she asked me that, I just said "yep" and smiled. :)

I feel like I'm way behind where I should be with my long runs but then I have to remind myself that I did the Nanny Goat 12 HR just a few weeks ago and that was a good start to my ultra training. I have to quit focusing on what I'm doing "wrong" and remember the things I've done "right". I am putting in some solid training. Maybe not as fast as I'd hoped but I will find my way back.

This weekend should go a long way towards rebuilding my confidence. I hope. I have the Billy Goat Half Marathon Hill Climb on Saturday and then an 18 mile run planned for Sunday on the road. I also keep forgetting that the ET Full Moon 51K on 8/4 is a road race so I need to make sure my legs are ready for it. It should be a fun weekend.

But in my heart, I'll be wishing I was in TN running the Jackal, both forwards and backwards! Sigh.

Are you racing this weekend? Anything fun planned? Whatever it is, I hope you have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Strange Running

I had a very solid week both with running and riding. I can feel my legs getting stronger again. Woo! But it was kind of strange. Some things happened. Some good. Some not so good. :(

Strange Run #1
On Thursday morning, I decided to do a tempo run and ran 6 miles with 2 at tempo. It was fabulous. I LOVE tempos. What wasn't so fabulous was the end of the run. I was almost home and I passed this guy on a bike going in the opposite direction. Next thing I know, he's turned around and riding next to me. He wouldn't take the hint to go away and he was being lewd, talking about my body and giving me a workout. I  I didn't know how to get rid of him. :( And I was almost home so I was nervous he would follow me there. But then thankfully, one of the regular runners turned on to the trail with his dog and the creep turned around and left. I have never been so relieved to see another runner before in my life!

The whole thing left me feeling...ick. The very thing that I run to get rid of. :( Oh, and I was going to finish with surges but he interrupted them. Boo! I don't really know what I should have done. I actually squelched my urge to cuss him out because, well, I sort of have a temper and my friends are always telling me that flipping men off or calling them a$$holes might escalate things. I don't want to run with pepper spray or a taser like they suggested. I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO!!! Come on! I just want to run and have the weirdos leave me alone.

Strange Run #2
On Saturday, I was supposed to run 18 miles. I decided to run up Indian Truck Trail which is where next Saturday's Billy Goat Half is going to be. I expected the marine layer to hang around til 10 like it had the last few days so I thought I would make it up to the top while it was still cool. But it burned off before 8 and the run up was uncovered for the majority of it so I used up most of my water. I decided to do at least 6.5 miles up and then turn around so I'd get 13 in.

A big miscalculation on my part but a beautiful run.

If only it had been like this the whole way...

This is the elevation chart for the run and next week's half.
The run down was fun! A great reward for the climb up. My quads were whining in the last mile but overall it was a good run. I just wish I could have spent more time up there. I really need to take my Nathan filled to the brim with water just in case.

Strange Run #3
Because I didn't get all 18 miles in on Saturday, I decided to add it to the 8 I had planned for Sunday. I also planned to run at midnight to get in some training for the ET Full Moon Midnight 51K in August. After Thursday's run, I was nervous to say the least. I guess this is one time having access to a treadmill would come in handy. Since I don't have one, I decided to run repeats of a 1 mile section of the bike trail. Boring, right? But what's nice about that section is that my bff, Mondi, lives along it in the middle so if I needed help, I had her house I could go to. And there's a water fountain at one end so I had access to water every 2 miles and I didn't have to carry any.

Surprisingly, it wasn't as freaky as I thought it would be. There was actually a somewhat steady stream of people on the trail. Who knew people stayed up that late! The other thing I was worried about was falling asleep but that wasn't a problem either. The hardest part was that my quads were a little sore from the morning and my legs had zero pep. Oh, but my feet were good. :)

Strange But Not All Bad
What was great about the week is that I'm putting some speed/tempo work back in my schedule and it's feeling good. Hard, but good. I also got some great hill training in, some night running under a moonless, starry sky (and saw a coyote), and most importantly... got some serious mental training. I SO wanted to put the night run off until the morning but I didn't. :) I was very worried about being able to run from midnight til morning but I feel like I can now. Yeah!

So a few missteps/icky parts but overall a great week. How was your week? Anything exciting coming up this week?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend of Fun - Cougar Half Addition

Another weekend of fun! I have those a lot, don't I? :)

My sister and her family came in from Arizona for the weekend so I got to see my nieces and nephew! God, I miss those kids.The best part? All 3 of them agreed to let me take their picture. At the same time. I'm telling you, that is pretty rare these days.

Per the usual plan, I spent Friday night at my mom's house so we could all hang out together. On Saturday, I got up and drove over to Bonelli to get an easy 10K in on the trails. It was overcast and cool and there weren't many people out. There were lots of bunnies, birds, and one coyote out though. We happened to both come running around a curve at the same time. Apparently, I was the bigger predator because he took off into the trees. Oh, yeah. ;) Ha!

I made it back and ate breakfast before everyone was up. How could they waste the day like that? I spent the rest of the morning and the afternoon hanging out with the family and then we all went our separate ways: them to a party and a concert and me to San Diego for the Cougar Half Marathon.

Cougar Half Marathon
I don't really have much to say about the Cougar Half. You're shocked, aren't you? But it was relatively quiet. Mostly.

The only bad part of the half was that I didn't get my race shirt. :( The parking lot was locked and they didn't get all of us in there until almost 7 which was when the race was supposed to start. When I picked up my packet, the assistant RD just gave me my bib and told me I'd have to get my shirt after. But after the race, everything was packed up and I was too hot and tired to wait around for them so I just left. It was a cool shirt too.

Anyway, the race didn't start until 7:45. The course was mostly single track with some double track and a sprinkling of road. It was a pretty course looking out over a winery and farms in the valley. It was also mostly flat except for a little bit of rolling and then a 400ft climb up and over Cougar Mountain to the turn around and then back the way we came. 

It was not a fast race for me. I wasn't feeling bad. In fact, everything felt fine as far as my legs and feet went. I had a little bit of an upset stomach around mile 4 but after that it was good. I'm not sure what was wrong but I had zero speed. It could have been because I wasn't wearing my Run It Fast shirt. :( I definitely felt more solid on the way back and passed about a dozen people starting on the climb back up over Cougar Mountain. I spent the last third of the race picking a runner in front of me and reeling them in and then picking another one. I caught everyone I set my sights on except the last woman before the finish which was fun and rather satisfying. I actually enjoyed the run a lot. It was a fun single track and I didn't mind being out there longer (13.75 miles per my garmin). It was just an off day, I guess. 11th half marathon is done and I had fun and that's what counts. My medal:

My niece, Madison (in the striped shirt), made a comment about me racing all the time. I said I wish but I am racing a lot this year. It's fun...and I'm trying to get more race points for the Run It Fast Extreme Racer contest. Oh, and medals are a big incentive, of course. The one for the Cougar Half is fierce, don't you think?

So, I have 2 more half marathons planned for this month: The Billy Goat Half in 2 weeks and then the Mojave Narrows Half on the last weekend. The Billy Goat is supposed to have 2,400 ft of climbing. Basically, it's uphill for the first half and then downhill for the second. What do you know, that's exactly the profile for Lower Monroe Truck Trail. :) I'm looking forward to it!

Hope you all had as much fun as I did this weekend? Anything exciting?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served...Running

Tuesday night, on my run home from work, I had to stop at one of the busy intersections to wait for the light to change. I may or may not have been singing/dancing while I waited. Okay, yeah, I was. ;) Anyway, the cars going south started to go and I looked up in into the face of a boy smiling at me from a car going by. I knew that boy. I was in love with that boy’s dad once.

The whole time that M and I were friends, I was overweight…300+ pounds. He told me many times that he loved me but not like THAT. He told me he needed me too but not like THAT. Eventually he told me that he needed a beautiful woman on his arm and I wasn’t THAT woman. Something inside shriveled up when I heard that. Rat bastard. Oops, sorry. ;)

Yeah, yeah. I know. He obviously had some self esteem issues too that he needed to be validated by being with someone beautiful on the outside. At the time though, I just felt…shredded.

Of course, I had all the usual revenge scenarios. In my favorite one, we would meet again and I would be tall and leggy (because my legs would have magically grown 3 inches), drop dead gorgeous w/ perfect makeup and hair (obviously a wig since my hair has a mind of its own), and in a sleek, sexy dress wearing Eff Me shoes (despite the fact that I can’t walk in high heels to save my life). Hey, it was a revenge fantasy so might as well go for broke. ;) Anyway, he’d obviously realize he’d made a huge mistake but this time I’d be the one that would be doing the walking.

Instead…the next time he saw me it was while I was running and covered in sweat!

The light changed for me and I continued on my run home, singing along to the Black Eyed Peas Rock That Body and smiling to myself. Because you know what? That was the best revenge scenario I could have dreamed of. I was wearing one of my favorite tanks and my favorite, flirty blue running skirt. I was in the middle of a fabulous, hard run that made me feel alive. I was feeling strong and sexy and beautiful. I was doing the thing I love most in the world. And I didn’t give a damn what he thought.  

So I may not be model perfect but really, who is? You know what? I'm even better than that now. I'm a runner! Scratch that...I'm an ultrarunner!

Yeah, my life is good just the way it is. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Juneathon With Delilahs

I decided to streak during the month of June! Maybe longer. I'm not sure how that will go with my training for the Javelina Jundred but we'll see.

So I'll be running at least 5K every day in June. I'm feeling really strong right now. Not fast but that's okay because I don't think I've fully recovered from the Nanny Goat. I still have some blister issues I'm dealing with and I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose a few more toe nails. I miss pretty toes! I loved looking down and seeing green or purple or blue toe nails but now my toes look like that naturally. Sigh.

Anyway, the best thing is that nothing hurts! No foot problems. No groin problems. No ITB issues. My knees are pretty happy. I thought given how good I was feeling that a run streak was in order. It's strange but the more I run and ride, the better I feel and the more enjoyable the runs and rides are. Seems like it would be the opposite but there you go. I'm not going to complain! 

One of reasons I'm having so much fun with my runs right now is that I've been wearing my new Altra Delilahs. I bought them from @naturalrunstore and I could kick myself for not buying them sooner. They are so much fun. They are very similar to my Eves but more regular running shoe like. And they are cute! ;)

I was seriously thinking of buying some Hoka One Ones but they are huge! (shh, don't tell Patton!) Have you seen them? I have heard some good things about them from some friends and I grilled them on the details of how they felt, if they really noticed a difference, felt faster or slower, etc. I was thisclose to buying a pair on-line and then I saw a comparison photo of the Hokas next to some regular shoes and I couldn't do it. Did I mention they are HUGE! I just can't help thinking I would trip over my own feet in them. Also, it just doesn't feel right. The thing I like about the Delilahs and the Eves is that I HAVE to listen to my legs and feet when I run in them. I like to do recovery runs in them because I know I won't overdo it. I'll be "good" and pay attention to how I'm really feeling.

The Delilahs are super comfortable and light. I've worn them with and without socks and both work great. My favorite run in them was last Friday. I tried to run as naked as possible so shorts, a supportive tank, a buff to control my hair, and the Delilahs without socks. No garmin or music either. It felt...fabulous. So carefree and fun. I loved it. Summer running is so amazing. :) I can't wait to run in them again!

Well, I've already talked about streaking and running naked in this post so I guess I should stop there before I start talking about scandalous subjects! ;) I'll finish with this...Tomorrow is National Runnind Day! How are you going to celebrate? Are you going to start a streak of your own? Maybe run free and naked as a...wait, I mean run without technology or extra gear? Me? I'm planning a double: a 5 mile tempo in the morning and a 5K run at lunch. Anybody want to join me?