Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jumpin' July

July is over! Less than 5 months til Christmas! :)

I didn't really have big expectations going into July. It kinda felt like it was more of a filler month between my June races and the ET Full Moon Midnight 51K. I hadn't actually planned any races for the month so it seemed like it would just be training, training, and more training. And it mostly was (which is not a bad thing except that I want the points for the RIF Extreme Racer contest) but I did get some racing in (Yay!) and I ended up having a stellar month. :)

Here are the dry facts:

  • Running: 300.1 miles
  • Riding: 478 miles
  • Races: 1 5K, 1 Half

What the facts don't say is how happy I am with how each of those went. I feel like I made great strides in my 100 training this month, almost like I turned some corner. I can't really say what triggered the change. I was resigned to a lot of slow running and while there was some, for the most part my avg pace picked up to where I am close to what I was in December. Overall I felt more fluid and lighter on my feet.

Part of it might be that I have been much more diligent this month with my ab, leg, and arm work so I'm getting stronger all around. And also I've been doing surges & strides on my easy days. I had been slacking on that stuff for the beginning of the year and it really makes a difference! I have to make time for it even when the mileage gets up there.

One thing I was bad about this month was sleeping properly. Too many night distractions and late nights. And while last week wasn't my best week emotionally, one positive side effect was that I slept. A lot. I think the extra rest last week helped with recovery and energy during my long runs. I am really going to work on doing better with this in August. I have a feeling I'm going to need it. :)

My biggest victory in July though was my diet. I am proud that I didn't overeat or binge at all. In fact, I wasn't tempted and I had some trigger days in there. I saw a post on a blog where someone said that you couldn't dabble with addiction. That once you are addicted to something, there's no going back if you want to kick the habit for good. I don't believe that's true because I had a food addiction, obviously, or I wouldn't have weighed over 300 lbs most of my life. Anyway, it's not like I can give up food, right? I think... I hope... I've reached a point where gaining the weight back is no longer in the cards.

Some things you just have to learn to control so they don't control you.

So that's a recap of my month. I hope July was good for you too and that we all have a wonderful August!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Have Taken Control

If you are wondering...I'm not still pissed but this is one of my favorite songs. I love Poe!

One of the things I like about running is that I get to control it. You can't say that about a lot of things in life but to quote from Pretty Woman: "...I say when..." Um, so she was talking about something a little different but you get the gist.

I decide how much I want to run and when.


No one else gets a say in it.

Oh, sure, I have a plan that I'm using right now to get me ready for Javelina Jundred but I'm playing fast and loose with it. I've been switching weekend mileage around to fit races but getting all the key runs in.

Being in control means that if I'm not feeling a run, I can cut it short. Or the opposite...If I'm feeling awesome, I can add a few miles. And that's just what I did this weekend. :)

Saturday - I was scheduled for a 16 miler but felt so good and was having so much fun, I took a detour and ended up doing 18.3 miles. Oops.

Sunday - Schedule was for 14 miles and did 14.5. I thought about going more but with ET this coming weekend, I decided to be somewhat smart and stick close to the plan.

When I first ironed out my 100 training plan and saw the back-to-back 24/20 milers scheduled in it, I was wondering if I would be able to do it. But after last weekend and this weekend, I am feeling much more comfortable about them. My legs are doing fabulously with recovery and getting some pep back in them.

I also tried a new strategy this weekend. The other day, I sent out a twitter poll asking people how far they ran without eating or drinking carbs before/during. There were quite a few responses and I was surprised at how far runners went on empty. My summary of the poll (and a link to a cool Runner's World article) is on Run It Fast if you'd like to check it out: Carbs...Who Needs Them?

It got me thinking and I decided not to eat before either run. On Saturday, I took my 20 oz UD bottle filled with water and I added 2 scoops of Gu Brew to it after 8 miles. I had planned to run the last 6 miles at quicker pace so thought that the carbs would help with that. My energy level was good throughout the run. In fact, I ran it faster than I've been running my long runs since I started doing them again. Weird, huh? I didn't take anything but water with me today and it was a good run too.

I think 18 miles might be my limit and I have to keep working on nutrition during the run so all runs can't be like this. Nice to know I have the option though. Especially because it meant I could sleep in a little since I didn't have to eat and then let it settle. Bonus!

So...awesome running weekend, if I do say so myself. I was good in one respect...I didn't ride either day. Not eating before either run meant that I had a LOT of carbs to replace afterwards and riding would have just added to that (plus I didn't want to totally toast my legs). I sometimes find it hard to catch up on carb replacement and making sure I get enough protein. Not a bad problem to have, I guess. Although, I did have to go shopping today to buy some new skirts since some of the old ones were getting too loose! Woo!

So, I am now 61 days into my runstreak and I think it's really paying off. It also looks like I'll have my highest mileage ever this month! I haven't decided whether I'm going to stop or keep going. Hey, what do you know? I get to control that too. ;)

Hope you had a great weekend too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anger Management

Running usually helps me deal with bad emotions. A good run feels cleansing and calming when I'm nervous or sad or angry and I can shed those feelings while I'm out there. Today, it didn't help. :( I think it's the first time that's happened.

Long story short, I let someone walk all over me. It made me mad more than anything and last night I wanted to run. Run from the anger. But I'd already run a 14 miler in the morning and I was tired so I went to bed.

When I woke up today, the anger was even worse. It felt like it filled every single pore and it felt awful. Like a darkness spreading thru me. I haven't been that mad in years. Of course, most of it was directed at myself for giving a man the power (again) to make me feel like a doormat. It didn't matter who I was mad at really, I just wanted it out! I was am an emotional eater and that's how I got to be 300+lbs. I've since figured out that anger and fear are my two biggest food binge triggers so I knew that I needed to take care of it before I did something I would regret. Like eat a whole pint of ice cream or a dozen donuts.

What I needed...wanted...was a run.

Today was supposed to be an easy run but running easy wasn't cutting it so I decided to do my favorite type of run to see if running hard would help. At mile 3, I picked it up to tempo pace. Or I tried to. My times were off and my legs had no pep. Clearly, they hadn't recovered from yesterday but I stubbornly tried to continue instead of calling it. It didn't get better. Part of it was that I couldn't focus and that's the thing I like most about tempos - I have to clear my mind of distractions to get it done. I couldn't do that today. I should have left the watch at home and just run. Or I should have taken music and put on my NIN/Disturbed/Godsmack, etc. playlist and let that playlist burn some of the anger.
I'm doing the best I ever did
I'm doing the best that I can
I'm doing the best I ever did
Now GO AWAY! ~Godsmack "Whatever"
I REALLY wish I had because when I was done, I was so frustrated I felt like sitting on the floor in my living room and crying. 

But if there's one thing I've learned in losing weight and running marathons/ultras, it's that habit will save your hide and help you get the job done. So instead of the pity party, I worked my abs like I usually do on Wednesdays and then went thru my normal morning routine and rode to work.

It was on the bike that I finally felt the anger fade. Which is kind of funny because after I got hit by the car a few years ago, I felt a lot of anger on the bike. But today it helped.

So I didn't overeat and that all consuming anger is gone. And I'm sure tomorrow's run will go much better. :)

Life goes on.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Move Toward A Dream

"When you move toward a dream, it moves toward you. When you move every day, it moves every day."

Before this weekend, I wasn’t feeling very ready for the ET Full Moon Midnight 51K. I know, I know. You’re probably wondering how I could feel this way after doing the Nanny Goat 12HR. I don’t know but a 12 HR race just feels different to me. I guess because there’s no pressure and I did some walking, etc. I just didn’t feel very strong. And I haven’t for a while.

Oh sure, I’ve been getting my long runs in but I’d be wiped after and super sore and achy.

I felt…out of shape. Slow. Chubby. Soft. Frustrated.

But this past week, I’ve really felt my body getting leaner and stronger and I've felt kind of bada$$ like I did at the beginning of the year. I'm back, baby!. ;) So, while I did have some stomach trouble during the 10 miler last week, overall it was a pretty awesome week. Here are the stats for last week:

Running – 73.4 miles (9 runs, including 1 tempo)
Riding – 121 miles (5 commutes + 1 fun ride)

I felt good going into this past weekend and I went BIG - 38.4 miles running and 17 miles riding! It was another solid weekend of running because not only did I get some big mileage in, I ran at specific times to get some focused training in. This is what my weekend looked like:

Saturday: Ran 24.24 miles finishing a little after 10 am. It was 80 when I finished so warm but not insane. I had one low point around miles 18/19 but bounced back to finish strong at the end. I even thought about going ahead and doing a marathon but decided it would be better to stop. 24.24 seemed like a good number. :) Best of all, I wasn’t dead tired after.

Sunday run #1: I ran 10.1 miles after midnight, less than 15 hours after my 24 miler. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my legs felt and how well the run went. I think I’m getting used to running at that witching hour because I can honestly say I enjoyed that run. I wasn't as sleepy and I ran much more confidently. Plus, it was cool and quiet and there was no moon so a ton of stars were visible. I am feeling very good about running thru the wee hours at ET.

Sunday run #2: I went for a 17 mile ride when I woke up in the morning and then went to visit my grandpa. We went to lunch and I think the pancakes at lunch gave me a spurt of energy because on the way home, I decided I was feeling good enough to get another run in. The bank said it was 90 degrees and I thought it would be a great time to get some hot weather running in. I figured I would just do 3 or 4 miles and that would be enough. I picked a route with no shade for added fun. You know what? It wasn’t half bad. I ended up doing 4.1 miles and it was a solid run. Legs and feet felt great. I felt…hot! ;)

I think the key to feeling so good now has been that I just keep going with my plan. It's been frustrating and not always fun but I didn't/haven't/won't give up. Everyday I'm doing something to get where I want to be for Javelina Jundred and that's what counts! I think it's finally starting to pay off.

ET...here I come!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is This The Right Mountain

Shadows of the mountain,
don't tell them what's in store.
The height and the breadth,
is it wrong to want more?

This is one of my favorite songs right now. I associate it with Javelina Jundred and my training for it. When I go out for a run, I am wondering if it will help me finish Javelina Jundred. Am I doing what I need to be doing, both running and mentally, to prepare for JJ100? I guess I won't know until I get there, right?

This week's training has been pretty good so far despite my Tuesday 12 miler getting shrunk to a 10 miler thanks to my stupid wishy-washy stomach. I was sick most of Tuesday which was not fun! But thankfully, I felt fine on Wednesday and was able to get in a kick ass tempo run and a fun lunch run in the 90s. My plan called for 12 on Tues and 10 on Thurs so I just switched those runs and the 12 went pretty well today. I was a little tired. I also hedged my bets by not eating anything before the run and that probably contributed to the tiredness at the end of the run but I felt it was better to get it in than not.This weekend I have a 24 miler/10 miler planned and then I'll do a short taper for the ET Full Moon Midnight 51K. 

On my runs this past week, I've been inspired to get out the door and get them done by the runners at the Last Annual Vol State 500K. I was doing the live blogs for Run It Fast each day and getting updates from Joshua (@bayou) and it was amazing to watch it unfold. The runners battled rain and heat and freak lightning and kept going for 314 miles. Some of them are still going! It made it really hard to complain about running a measly 10 or 20 miles.

I thought about those runners a lot on my runs and wondered what made them decide to do it and what made/makes them keep going. It kind of planted the idea in my head about running it next year. I must be totally losing it if I'm thinking it's not a crazy idea! But then both Josh and Naresh (@iamarunr) told me they thought I could do it. Naresh said he thought I was "mentally very strong". I didn't ask Josh why he thought I could do it. I told Naresh that I felt I hadn't tested myself mentally yet. What would I do when the going got really rough? Would I keep going? I'm really curious about that. I can't wait to find out the answer but also a little nervous I might not like what I find out about myself. Ya know? I THINK I'm Wonder Woman but I could be fooling myself. How disappointing that would be. 

So, I think my first test will be Javelina Jundred. I don't know if it's too soon to try a 100 miler but I'm going for it. Like the lyrics above...is it wrong to want more? I want more! I want to test myself and see what happens. I want adventure. I want it ALL!

One more thing. Cassie B (@CEB82) mentioned me in her blog today and it made me smile and made me think I could be Wonder Woman...someday. I just need some kickass red boots to run in! I wonder if I could talk @AltraZeroDrop into making a pair of Delilahs like that? It could happen! :) But seriously...keep running and posting it on Twitter or Facebook or Daily Mile because you never know who you could be inspiring!

Anyone racing this weekend? I wish I was. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stonewall Peak Half Marathon Race Recap

On Saturday, I ran my 14th half marathon - the Stonewall Peak Half in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It's near Julian, an old mining town known for it's apple pie, and I've never been there so this seemed like a race I "needed" to do. :)

I took Friday off, ran 20 miles in the morning, and then drove over to Julian. The town was small but I did plenty of walking and sightseeing and shopping. And picture taking. And smelling all the apple pies and dumplings baking. Oh, and it had rained on the drive up there so the baking and the fresh rain made for a fabulous scent in the air.

I had a sandwich for dinner but no pie. :( Played by the rules of no new food the night before a race. Boo! But probably for the best and I figured I could have it for lunch after the race as a celebration. After that, I went back to the hotel to put my feet up. The hotel was...quaint. In a Bates Motel kind of way. Seriously. No, not really. Maybe a little. ;) It was in the mountains...in an old mining town...on Friday the 13th. THIS is why it doesn't always pay to have an active imagination. Yes, I did pull back the shower curtain to check! You would have to. You know it! Anyway, it had real keys to open the door, only 3 channels on the TV (a local station, HBO, and Cartoon Network), couldn't plug my laptop in, and a piece of wood to cover a floor vent if we wanted to "turn off" the air conditioning. Well, I wanted adventure, right? I sure got it. I am totally tech spoiled now. So sad. ;)

The next morning, I got up and went thru my normal routine and left the hotel at 5:15 to drive over to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. On the drive, I saw a golden eagle hanging out by the road and then a deer crossing the road. It stopped and looked at me which was kind of cool. Yep, I was in the mountains. :) Got to the trailhead where the Halfers were parking and then took a shuttle into the park and the race start. This is the view we saw when we got off the shuttle:
That's Stonewall Peak. The first of 2 peaks we would be running. We would be crossing this valley around to the backside of Stonewall Peak. 

I checked in and talked to two women who'd been staying at the same motel (who also were thinking Bates Motel/Friday the 13th) and a few others while we waited for the start. At 7:05, we were off! The first 2 miles went by quickly. It was all easy single track and I was in the train of runners so there wasn't much looking around. Once we thinned out, I got to see what we were running thru and...WOW. It was so beautiful. My legs were a little tired and I made the decision that I was just going to enjoy the run and take pictures along the way. This is as we got close to Stonewall Peak:
The climb up to Stonewall Peak was hot with some rocky sections. I did more hiking than I'd hoped. I was really sweating and reached into my Nathan for my Scaps and they weren't there. Oops. I think they fell out because I put them in a pocket that doesn't close. :( I knew they would have some at the aid station so I didn't panic too much. This is the view looking back over the valley we ran thru:
Just before I got to the top of Stonewall Peak, I got stung by a bee on my ear. I thought a fly was there and I went to whack it but it was a bee and I pissed it off so it stung me! I killed that little sucker and then got the stinger out. My ear throbbed almost til the end of the race! Luckily, I'm not allergic. But that was NOT fun. :(

The run down was on a hiking/equestrian trail and was pretty fun but also rocky. My right foot wasn't liking it too much so I was super careful. I still tripped 3 times though. Sigh. Finally I made it to the only aid station for the halfers just before mile 7. I took an Scap right then and put another one in a pocket that closes. Grabbed a Thin Mint (bonus points for Thin Mints!) and a Fig Newton and headed out just behind another runner. 

And guess what? We got lost almost immediately. The trail was marked at a turn but what neither of us saw was that there were two trails at the turn: one that was almost a u-turn and one that was a right turn. We didn't see the u-turn and took the right turn one. But then we got to a point where we could go in a couple of directions and there weren't any markings and I told her that I didn't think we were going the right way. I stopped and pulled out my map but she stopped and then kept running. While I was looking at the map, she came back and said she agreed. I had the topo map and she had the turn-by-turn map and together we figured out where we'd gone wrong so backtracked and made it onto the right trail. Whew! My first time getting lost in a race! At least it wasn't for too long and I wasn't worried about time.

After the aid station we had about a mile of rolling trail and then started the climb to our second peak - Middle Peak. The views on this side were my favorite:

We had a nice downhill and then we had the real climb up to Middle Peak. That's were I saw one of the pretties views I've ever seen. I'm telling you, I didn't even care that we were going uphill it was that beautiful.
Can you see the little runners in front of me? As I was climbing Middle Peak, clouds started to roll in and I wondered if we'd get rain. Clouds are a photographer's dream! They always add drama to a pic. :) 

Later I found out that 2 fires had gone thru the park in the last 10 years. The big one burned 90% of the park and you could see a lot of the burnt trees on this side. It made it seem even more dramatic and kind of surreal. 
I finally made it to the top and and I thought I only had 1.5 miles left so was pretty happy. As we headed down, we got to look out over the valley from the opposite side so got a great view of Stonewall Peak again.
Still no rain but the clouds did block the sun a few times. My Garmin beeped at me to let me know that I'd hit 13 miles but I was nowhere near the bottom. I finally hit the last turn to the finish (marked by an arrow made out of stones and flowers) and sailed into the finish. 14.22 miles for the day. So I got extra fun for my money! This is my medal:
After a little while, I picked up my race shirt (since we didn't have our cars we could pick it up after) and walked down to where the shuttle was supposed to pick us up. There was a group waiting there and we talked races while we waited. An SUV pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride back to our cars and we all said sure. It started raining on the ride back but stopped when I got to the car. I cleaned up a little and then headed back to Julian where I stopped to eat lunch. I wanted to have some apple pie and cider but then I ordered this:
It's called the Monty de Julian and it's a ham and cheese sandwich made with apple jam, apple carmelized onions and french toast for the bread. With garlic fries which were more like breakfast potatoes. It.Was.So.Good. I ate probably 90% of it and then had no room left for pie. But it was worth it. You know how much I love pancakes to celebrate so this was perfect for me!

So that's it. My Julian/Cuyamaca adventure. It was jam packed with fun and wild happenings and everything that I'd hoped. Even the no pie and the stupid bee are fine. This is one race I would do again. I think it was the most beautiful trail race I've done so far. Even more so than Zion.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road Trip Weekend

Today is my Friday! Woo! I took tomorrow off to drive down to the Stonewall Half I'm running on Saturday. It's near Julian, an old mining town, and I've always wanted to see it. Race=perfect excuse!

The only problem is that I am supposed to do 20 miles on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. I was debating just switching them but Sunday isn't really good for 20 miles. Then I thought about adding 7 on to Saturday like last time but honestly, it wasn't fun to miss out on all the activities after at the Mojave Narrows. Oh, and we have to take a shuttle to/from the start and I think it would just not be fun logistically.

So I decided to mix up my whole schedule for the week. Today I ran 5K, tomorrow I'll run 20 miles, 13.1 on Saturday, and then do today's planned 8 miles on Sunday. I loaded up on the bike early in the week so I could skip the bike on Fri & Sat. Road trip!

I was feeling a little tired on Tuesday and Wednesday because I got up early for some hard/long runs. But this morning, I was dragging on my easy 5K! What's up with that? I think it was because I only slept 4 hours last night and slept restlessly during that. Actually, I haven't been sleeping properly for more than a week and that's a big part of the tiredness. Also, today, I got to work and realized I'd forgotten my glasses...epic fail! I had a headache by lunch and my eyes were really tired. I feel better now but really need to get some good sleep tonight.

One great thing about this week and next week...besides my trip...is that there are a few races going on and the posts leading up to it have been SO inspiring. First, there's the Last Annual Vol State 500K going on and Joshua is running it. He's already 57 miles in as I write that and that's on the first day! I can't wait to see how quickly he can cover 314 miles. Yes, you read that correctly. He's running 314 miles across Tennessee. How can I complain about my 5K this morning when he's doing 100x that! You can follow along at Run It Fast if you're interested. Both Josh and I will be posting updates there of how he's doing.

Two other big races are going on in the next few days too - The Hardrock 100 and Badwater. Both are filled with amazing runners who are also going to the extreme.

All 3 races make me want to do more, be more, and run more! They are helping me battle the tiredness with the excitement and inspiration of watching others run amazing adventures. Thank goodness. :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom 5000 - Fun On The 4th

Happy 4th of July!

Well, by the time you read this, it's probably over so I hope that you had a fun one. :)

Today, I ran the Freedom 5000 in Claremont, CA. It's a popular local race to kick off the town's 4th of July celebration. This year there were over 1200 runners of all ages. I love seeing all the red, white, and blue at the race! It's fast becoming my favorite way to spend the morning of the 4th.

I really had no expectations going into the race except to use it as maybe this week's tempo run (my plan called for 5 miles so I'd run a 2 mile warm up and then do 3 at tempo). My tempo miles lately have been 9:30/9:45 but I thought I might be able to pull out 9 minute miles during the 5K. Honestly, I thought that would be a stretch so I figured I would be close to 30 minutes. The problem is I haven't really been doing much speedwork since probably December! I just started doing tempo runs in June again and added in hill sprints and strides too. No intervals or anything. Which I hate. I know I shouldn't be that way but they are sooo boring. And 400s just kill me. I'd rather run 20 miles than do 10x400s! Bad, huh?

Anyway, since I wasn't planning on running very hard, I decided to ride my bike over to the 5K which was 8 miles from where I live. I woke up late so didn't eat anything before but planned to take a Clif bar with me and eat it when I got there. Guess what? I forgot it. :( Oops!

I got there, locked up my bike, and did my warm up. I felt okay when I was running it but still wasn't expecting anything exciting. I finished just a few minutes before the start and looked for the 25-30 min corral and got in. Then what do you know...when the gun went off and I started running, I decided to see what I had! The start was really crowded and we start off going uphill which makes it really hard to go out fast but once I got clear of the crowd and the course flattened out, I felt awesome and let my legs fly. Then I looked at my watch and it said I was running an 8:50 pace. I took inventory of how I was feeling and thought I could pick it up a bit more and maintain it for the 3 miles. So I did. That's one very cool side effect of ultra training...3 miles feels like a piece of cake. :)

I ended up doing the 1st mile in 8:29. Mile 2 had some awesome downhill so I picked it up even more and did that one in 7:54! Seriously, where did that come from? At this point I was starting to calculate what I would need to run for the last mile to beat my PR of 24:59. But then we hit 2.3 miles and the next half mile was uphill and I started running out of steam and slowing down. :( I tried to hold on as best I could but did that one in 8:34. Not too bad but definitely no PR happening. I ran the last bit as hard as I could and finished in 25:48 per my Garmin (official results are 25:53 which is gun time, no chips).

I think I might have been able to hold it if I'd eaten something before but it is what it is. I can't really complain because I'm happy with that time. It was a pleasant surprise and tells me that my speed isn't completely gone like I thought it was. It's just a little rusty! I need to work on sharpening it. And finding a FLAT 5K to run!

I've got to say I enjoyed the hurt today. It felt good to go all out like that. I haven't run that hard in forever and I really need to do more of it. It's just really hard to fit in 5Ks or 10Ks when I usually have back-to-back long runs happening on the weekends. If only there were more races during the week around here.

Oh, when I looked at the results tonight, I saw I was 12/68 in my age group and 104/612 for women. Not bad, eh? Today was definitely a fun day for me. :) Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Figure Out What You Love And Do More Of It

First, let me start off by saying that I'm extremely lucky. I am not living the life I pictured for me back when I was in high school and college but life for me is pretty darn good. I am the happiest and healthiest I've ever been since I was probably 10 years old. I certainly can't complain about that!

I posted my stats for last week, June, and the first half of the year on Twitter yesterday and someone asked me when I found time to breathe. I had a kickass final week of June, an awesome June as a whole, and a pretty damn good first half of the year...even with the blip of my foot injury. The numbers...

Last week's totals:
70 miles running (7 runs)
117 miles riding (2 fun rides and 5 commutes)

It was a great, solid week of running and riding. I had 2 long runs in the week (an 18 miler on Sunday and then a 20 miler on Saturday) that really bumped up my numbers.

June totals:
251.5 miles running
494 miles riding
Races - 3 Half Marathons

June was my second full month back at running and I started doing long runs again for my Javelina Jundred & ET prep. I also streaked during June and ran every day of the month (at least 5k)! It felt so good to be doing long runs again. Oh, how I missed them. What was even more awesome is that I had plenty of bike time too. God, I love summer. :)

First 6 months of 2012 totals:
1,272 miles running
2,191 miles riding
Races - 1 12 HR, 2 50Ks, 1 30K, and 7 Half Marathons

I am right on target for my goal of 2500 miles running for 2012! I have a tiny bit of extra cushion and I am very happy with that considering I lost 3 weeks when I hurt my foot in March. The riding was low. :( I am way below where I expected to be but I think part of that is because I started run commuting. I'm thrilled with the races I was able to do in the first half. Totally never thought I would be doing so many but I think I have Joshua to blame, I mean, thank for that. ;) The Extreme Racer program for the Run It Fast Club has been really motivating!

So that's a lot of running and riding, right? It doesn't even include the strength training, etc. I also do. Yeah, I spend a lot of time doing this stuff but it doesn't really feel like a lot, you know? Because what I've been able to do is structure my life so that this is a part of my daily routine. The run/bike commuting goes a LONG way towards that. Luckily, I have a job that is open to my running and riding and I live in SoCal where the weather is FABULOUS all year. It makes it really easy to get my miles in. Also, running at lunch has helped and is a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.

I still have plenty of play time for fun things in my life like reading, math puzzles (total geek!), photography, writing for Run It Fast, looking for more races to do, etc. Everyday, I get to do the things that I love and I am very grateful that I am financially, mentally, and physically in a place where that's possible.

I have EVERY intention of getting just as many miles and races in for the second half of the year. Because I can. :) Oh yeah, I'm streaking for July too! Who know, maybe the whole summer. :)

How was your June? Anything exciting for July?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Half Marathon #13 - Mojave Narrows

I ran my 13th Half Marathon yesterday. My 3rd for the month. My JJ100 plan called for 20 miles on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. I thought about switching my days around but I really need this coming week to be a rest week so I decided to add 7 miles onto the half on Saturday.

Which means...I didn't race the half. :( I was sort of unprepared for it too. I knew we were going to be running thru the park but I thought it would be paved. Well, it was actually about 3/4ths dirt which is great but I needed road running to prep for the ET. And I was wearing Kinvaras, no gaiters, and there were some very sandy sections which got in my shoes.

The race started at 7 and it was about 45 miles away so I left at 5:15. I arrived at the park just as the sun was coming up and was greeted by this view as I waited to pay the entrance fee.

I parked, got my bib, chip, and shirt and then waited for it to start. I was a tiny bit self conscious because I wore that see thru tank. As we waited for the start, I kept wondering if anyone was like "ooh, who does she think she is." or something. I know, I know. Probably not. One good thing about it is that my posture was perfect while we were waiting. ;)

Once we started running, I totally forgot about it. It was pretty comfortable and very light. Almost like wearing nothing at all! Maybe one day I'll run in just a sports bra. Who knows. I'm feeling daring now. Ha! But really, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be so I may even get a few more colors.

Ok, so back to the race. We had some nice views while we were running in the park. We got to enjoy them too because there were only a few hundred people running and it was a wide trail.
It was also pretty cool in there with the breeze, little bit of shade, and the water.

There were cows, horses, and assorted other animals to look at too.

This little fuzzy guy was a little shy.
We left the park for a while and ran on streets thru a neighborhood around the lake. We caught glimpses of the lake while we ran but never along the shore since all the houses were built up to it. This section was kind of boring but there was one bright spot: a little old couple was out washing their car and had set up their hose to shower us as we ran by. It felt awesome and they got a lot of cheers from the runners because it was already hot.

Then we were back on the dirt/sand and pretty much ran on that until the last mile. The whole time I was running the last 4 miles, I was thinking do I have 4 left or do I have more left. Because it was hot and there was no shade. I really was not looking forward to running after I finished the half. But my legs were feeling good and I wasn't having any stomach issues so I figured I might as well. And I kind of bribed myself with seeing Magic Mike in the afternoon if I did all 20 miles.Excellent motivation, for sure.

So I finished the official half and got my medal & dog tag, grabbed some water and talked for a few minutes with Ryan (who'd done the Billy Goat and Nanny Goat too), and then headed back out onto the course. All of the pics are from my own time out there. I may or may not have been procrastinating but I eventually got in 20.1 miles total for the day. Here's a few more photos.
I was absolutely coated in salt at the end. I looked like a ghost, I'm sure. I have got to do more running in the heat! I did a great job of getting enough water though and taking my Scaps so all in all, it was a successful day. Especially because after I got home and cleaned up, I went to the movies to see Magic Mike! Definitely not Oscar material but a lot of fun and SO worth those extra miles. ;)

One of these days, I'm going to sign up for a flat, fast, road half marathon and really race it so I can lower my  PR. I have 4 more planned for the rest of the year. So far. The Disney Half is the only one that fits that bill. Except, I hope to be doing at least 20 miles the day before. Oops. ;) Maybe I'll plan a fast one for December. Know of any fast ones in December?