Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Recap

On Sunday, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon. It didn't go perfectly but it was a lot of fun. I did learn a few things:

1. Pack your fairy wings in the car the night before so you don't forget them.
2. Eat enough before the race and don't forget to bring water for before the race.
3. Don't go out too aggressively in the first half of the race if all the hills are in the second half!

And on to the recap...

The Expo
I went to the Expo on Saturday morning to pick up my bib and meet up with a few people. I knew Sue, a fellow Run It Faster, would be at the Fitletic booth and I found her!
 Then I did some shopping and some buying of stuff:

Then I went to the Got Chocolate Milk booth for the tweetup and met @PavementRunner and a slew of other runners, including Fireman Rob:

Then it was time to head back to have lunch with my dad who was in town to visit. Oh, here's my shirt and bib for the race:

Pre Race
I set my alarm for 3:30 and slept fitfully that night. But I think I got about 4-5 hours of sleep. I woke up with both alarms going off, got up and ate part of a bagel w/some orange juice. Then I got ready. I wanted to leave by 4:30 and almost made it out the door on time. I forgot I needed safety pins to pin my wings so I set them down to grab the pins and turned and rushed out the door. And you guessed it...I forgot my wings! I didn't remember til I was about 10 miles away and there wasn't enough time to go back.

I miraculously found the parking lot where I'd reserved my parking space (yay, go me!) and then finished getting ready (changed shoes, put on tutu, big, etc.) and headed to the race start which was about a half mile away. Got there, hit the port-a-potties, and then wandered around looking at all the costumes. About 15 minutes before 7, I ate half of my Honey Stinger Energy Chews. I had also forgotten to bring an extra bottle of water so had nothing to wash them down with. Doh! But finally, it was time to get in the corrals and wait for the start of the race.

The race started just before 7 with the wheelchairs, then the elites, then all the other corrals. My corral got to the start line about 7:18ish and then they counted us down. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

The Race
And we were off!

The race started off on a slight downhill. I was trying to run by feel and it felt really easy but I looked down at my watch and saw I was running a 10 min mile and worried that was too fast. I finally decided to just go with it and that first mile was 10:02 and the second was 9:52. Oops. I forced myself to slow down for the 3rd mile to 10:40 but the next mile was back to 10:15. Then the next mile I started to fade. I think I hadn’t been drinking enough water and I hadn’t eaten enough before the race. At mile 5 I had the rest of my Honey Stinger chews and I felt a little better after that. I saw my friend Tim finishing when I got to the 10K mark and then I heard my friend Josh (@bayou) yell my name just after that (he also cheered me at the finish and took the photos of me). Also, I heard my friend Tony from Instagram yelling at me a couple of times on the course. Those cheers really helped!

The problem, I think, was that from mile 3 to about mile 7.5, the course was uphill. Not a big hill really until the last bit but enough that I could see my pace dropping and got a little frustrated. I was still feeling a little tired but legs felt good. I could see the 2:15 pacers just ahead of me and I tried to keep them in my sights. I managed to hang near them until the turnaround at 9.5 miles and then lost them. I took a gel and was out of water in my handheld so walked a little thru this aid station to make sure I got enough water in.

I was afraid I would try to walk on that last hill in mile 12 but only walked a tiny bit thru the 11 mile aid station to get water and that was it. I wasn’t fast but I was steady. Then we made it to the top and it was downhill to the finish. I let my legs do what they wanted and ran as hard as I could. I finished in 2:26:16. Not the time I had hoped for but I'll take it. My A goal was 2:20 and my C goal was to beat the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (he finished in 3:09 so I was good there). So I ended up accomplishing my B goal which was sub 2:30.

Here's my medal! Pretty cools, eh? Love the Halloween theme!

I ended up shaving 8 minutes off my time from the Leading Ladies Half in August. At first, I was
disappointed that I hadn't shaved off more but then I remembered that LLH was a great downhill course (included in pic above) and this one was not. I know that I have become much stronger since then and I had hoped to prove that to myself and I did.

I also think a big part of my problem was fueling and hydration. I ran 7 miles today and my legs felt great, not tired at all, so I know I gave everything I could on Sunday but not everything my legs could. Does that make sense? I know I had a 2:20 in me. I just need to get back into racing mode again. And run smarter! My garmin read 13.4 miles at the end. There were a lot of turns on the course and I did a terrible job of running the tangents. There was also a lot of dodging people. And of course, a lot of costumes to look at! Hopefully, I will do a better job of paying attention at Avengers Half (hmmm, that could be hard!) but for sure at the Dallas Half! :)

So, a couple of disappointments (forgetting my wings and not hitting 2:20) but overall I had a lot of fun and I am happy with how I did. I missed this race last year because I'd had surgery to remove my ovarian cancer tumor (along with a full hysterectomy and appendectomy) just 4 weeks before it. I was really pissed that I missed it last year. This year was I ran it to give cancer the middle finger. I think I did that. :)

Honestly, it just feels so awesome to be racing again. That, my friends, is the real win.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five For Friday - 10/24/14


Woo hoo! RnR LA is on Sunday! I haven't been this excited about a race in forever! I am so thankful it's race weekend Friday!

On that note, here's this Friday's list of things I'm thankful for:

1. I'm thankful we are fully staffed at work again so my staff don't have to work overtime anymore. And neither do I!

2. I'm thankful I got to have lunch with my grandpa on Sunday.

3. I'm thankful for the absolutely beautiful weather this week and that it will be a cool weekend here in So Cal for the race.

4. I'm thankful running is fun again.

5. I'm thankful that I am feeling so good right now that running feels like flying! Running gives you wings!

Wish me luck for RnR LA!

Have a great weekend and happy running!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Magic Wands & Tiaras

Last week, I finally hit 40 miles running for the week. I thought I was never going to break 30 mpw again and then boom...41.5 miles. Woo!

I added a day so now I'm running 6 days a week (Mondays off) and am planning to keep the 6th run to an easy lunch run on Fridays.

Here's the stats for last week:

Running - 41.5 miles (14, 7, 4.2, 8.3, 2.6, 5.4)
Riding - 124 miles
Weight - 5 hours

I had some very solid runs last week too. The 14 miler was awesome and I ran 10x200s on Tuesday and then Thursday was a tempo run. So, so fun to see the pace for those 200s. Speed work is hard but there is a bounce in my step after. It makes me feel accomplished. :)

This week is a rest week. I usually do 3 build weeks and then week 4 is a rest week. I am cutting back 25% on running, riding, and weights. That's the plan anyway. Still running 6 days but easier and shorter though still with some intensity.

I hadn't decided whether or not to really race the Rock 'n' Roll LA Half on Sunday or not. I hadn't really planned on it but am curious to see where I am now for it. Based on my 5K time, I should be able to run a 2:10 Half but I don't think I'm there yet stamina wise. But I don't know! Am I? Am I just being too conservative?

I was thinking of going for 10:35-11:00 min pace. That would let me shave 10 to 15 min off my time from the Leading Ladies Half. Should I try for faster though? That is the million dollar question.

Well, at least I have my outfit for the race ready. I made my tutu this weekend.
I had the wings already and this weekend I found a magic wand and a tiara to wear. Luckily, I had a coyote to model it. (really supposed to be a wolf but I consider it a coyote because there AREN'T any! And why not? Coyotes are cute! Right?)
I just have to figure out what to wear to keep my hair under control and keep the tiara on. Might look for a headband at the expo on Saturday.

I'm thinking if anyone asks what kind of fairy I am, I'm going to say I'm the PB Fairy (Pink & Blue Personal Best Fairy). So if I see you on Sunday and you want me to grant you a PB with my magic wand, just let me know! :)

In the meantime, I'm going to take a page out of Jenks' book (he is a pro napper) and try and rest the next 4 days.

 Have a great week!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five For Friday - 10/17/14

I had a great week! I hope you did too. :)

Here is my list of 5 things I'm thankful for this week:

1. I'm thankful I got to spend time with my nieces, nephew, and sister on Sunday. It was a wonderful surprise! And a double bonus to have my favorite partners in crime for an ice cream run!

2. I'm thankful for all the Halloween decorations which make running and riding so fun now.

3. I'm thankful my staff doesn't think I'm a bad boss and I get things like this for Boss's Day:
Caramel Smores Brownie cupcakes! Which I shared with the rest of my staff and my boss. 

4. I'm thankful for a great trainer who pushes me and listens to what I want out of our sessions. Last night we measured me and I weighed 177.6 and my body fat was 22.5%. And I could do a Pilates Roll Up which I could not do at all in July! Woo!

5. Finally, I am thankful for my Amazon which helped me buy the last piece for my costume for Rock 'n' Roll LA Half next weekend. Hopefully, they help me fly!

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Weekend Of Fun

So...I had a totally awesome weekend!

Oh. Yeah.

Here's what went down.

On Saturday, I ran a 5K. It was kind of impromptu because I had been planning for one next week but it was cancelled. I found this one that was not too far from me and signed up for it on Thursday. I was pretty sure I could shave more time of my 5K because I've been feeling amazing during my runs lately. I had run a pretty hard 8 miler (with 3 miles at tempo) on Thursday but didn't feel too tired from it.

On race morning, I got up...and went for a 17 mile ride. Yes, I rode first. I wasn't sure I could get it in after and it had to be done so I did it. I came back, ate breakfast, changed, and headed out to the race. After I got my bib, I ran back to my car and then ran a 15 min warm-up. The race started a little late and it was already getting a little warm.

I ran hard and tried not to let my pace drop. It was an out and back course so I could see how many women were in front of me and I didn't want any one to pass me. I passed 6 women and 1 one woman passed me near the end. Damn it. I heard her coming but couldn't fend her off. We had a slight uphill and two turns and then it was a tiny downhill to the finish. I saw the clock said 27 something and ran like hell to see if I could make it under 28. And da da da! I did!

27:57 for my official time. That's 2 faster than the San Dimas 5K I ran 2 weeks ago! Woo!

I also knew that there weren't very many women in front of me so I was excited to see how I did. They had computers where we could look up the times and see the stats:

Yeah! 5th Woman and 3rd in my AG. Hey, it still counts even if it was a small race, right? RIGHT? I'm counting it. :)

I waited around for the awards ceremony which wasn't too hard since they had people there to stretch you out and then for food there was Chick-fil-A. Yum. Turns out that woman who passed me near the end was in my AG and they did awards for 40-49 instead of 45-49 but I was still 3rd. Woo!

After that, I went to the gym because there is no rest for the wicked. Here's last week's stats:

Running - 37.1 miles (13.1, 6.5 (8x1 min hill springs), 4.2, 8 (tempo), and 5.3 (5K + warm up/cool down))
Riding - 121 miles
Weight training - 5 hours

On Sunday, I ran 14 miles. I was slightly tired from the day before but took it easy and ran a 11:27 pace for the run. I feel like I'm ready for Rock & Roll LA Half in 2 weeks!

The rest of Sunday was filled with family fun since my AZ family was in town. Always a good day when I get to hang out with them!
I am pretty darn lucky to have such a good life. Sure, I wish some things could be different but I am pretty happy right now. I thought a lot about my friend Scott this weekend, especially while running. The Ironman World Championships were Saturday and Scott is an Ironman. I don't even know how many he's done, he's done so many. And many, many Halfs & Marathons. Scott is a member of the Running Elvi and just brings a lot of fun to endurance sports.

Scott also has ALS. He told us earlier this year and it is devastating. He is handling it with grace and humor. Much better than I would. Than I am. I just keep thinking how unfair it is that he finally found happiness and has a 5 year old son and then he is hit with this. IT'S NOT FAIR! :(

But Scott is the kind of person who cheers people up. This past weekend, he went to Comic Con and went as Professor X. Instead of being depressed about being in a wheelchair, he turned it around to something fun. I need to do that. I need to make sure I bring the fun to running. For him. For me. For whoever I can.

That's why I am wearing the Running 4 Those Who Can't shirts. This weekend, I ran for Scott. Because I can.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five For Friday - 10/10/14

Yay! It's Friday. And a payday! And I'm racing tomorrow!

I had originally signed up for the Skirt Chaser 5K next Saturday but they cancelled the race (boo!). So I decided to run a local one tomorrow - Brian's Home Run 5K. Wish me luck!

Without further ado...here's this week's list of things I'm thankful for.

1. First and most importantly, I'm thankful for an all clear from my oncologist at my 1 year follow up on Monday!

2. I'm thankful I was able to get my blood sugar under control so I don't have to take meds for that. I have a history of diabetes in my family (my dad is and my sister is pre-diabetic). I hate taking meds so would much rather it be normal on it's own.

3. I'm thankful I got to see the Blood Moon and run while I watched the eclipse.

4. I'm thankful for Halloween decorations because they make my rides to/from work more fun...and some of them are just hilarious! Love this one!

5. I'm thankful for a great staff and a great boss who make going to work fun (even during crazy, busy times like now) and who never get tired of me talking about running. Or at least, they don't let me know if they are. ;) But they do ask about it so I am hopefully not too obnoxious about it! :)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Actually, I Can

I saw this on Twitter the other day.

It was kind of funny because I'd just said that to myself on my long run on Sunday. It was supposed to be a hot day (104) and I had scheduled a 12 miler. Well, truthfully, it was supposed to be a 13 miler but I had flipped the last 2 weekends knowing this weekend was supposed to be hot.

As I started out, I thought about my goals for the run. First and foremost...don't die. Don't overheat. Don't over do it. Just get it done.

But then as I ran I thought about how good I was feeling and whether or not I could make this a more solid training run instead of "just surviving". I keep seeing M (@ReadEatWriteRun) and her race pace long runs on the weekends and it reminded me that I used to train like that. And honestly, I have been a little envious. Okay, a lot. ;) I miss training like that. I thought to myself "I can do this" and made the decision to go for it.

So instead of just doing 12, I decided to do the 13 that was part of the plan AND run it more aggressively than I'd planned. I still ran easy for the first 9 miles but at a slightly quicker clip than I had planned. Then for mile 10, I picked it up and I felt good and went for it. I ran miles 11 & 12 at half marathon pace. And then the last mile was a cool down. I ended up doing an 11:30 pace and finishing in 2:30:57 for 13.1 miles. Which as it turns out is a post cancer PR for the Half! Woo!

The best part is that I felt like I could have run more when I finished.

It felt awesome!
And that was after a pretty solid training week and working legs on Saturday for Phil.

Stats for last week:
Running - 36.1 miles (13.2, 6.2, 4.2, 7.2, and 5.3)
Riding - 123.4 miles
Weight Training - 5 hours

It's less than 3 weeks now until Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half and I feel pretty good about where I'm at for it. I am hoping for 2:20 and that feels really doable now. :)

In other news, I had my 1 year check up with my oncologist on Monday and that went really, really well! The ultrasound showed nothing so no new growths and the "lesion" that had shown up in my CAT scan 6 months ago was gone too. My vitals were awesome as well: heart rate 51, blood pressure 101/69, weight 179.4. And best of all my blood sugar was down to 94! It had been as high as 139 in March and only dropped to 129 in July. We, the doctor and I, were worried that I would be pre-diabetic/diabetic going forward. But losing the weight and eating better has really helped. She was very excited to see the changes in me and reminded me that being overweight not only increased my risk of diabetes but cancer as well. Which I already knew and is why I was so determined to lose the weight. I don't have to go back for 6 months and I only "need" to schedule a mammogram every 2 years.

Everything is falling into place now. I'm so relieved and so happy that I can put this behind me and not have it hang over my head every day. I'm sure I'll always have the fear that cancer will come back but I am not going to let that fear rule my life. I'm just going to live as healthy and happy as I can and have fun. :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five For Friday - 10/3/14

It's time to show a little gratitude to the people, places, and things that made me happy this week...

Here's the list of things I'm thankful for:

1. I'm thankful for the my doctors and nurses who took care me the past year and helped me beat ovarian cancer! If you missed it...Tuesday was my Re-Birthday. The 1 year anniversary of the surgery that removed the stupid tumor that was growing inside me like some alien baby!

2. I'm thankful for books and being able to finish the amazing and fun Hollows Series by Kim Harrison. It took me a while to finish book 13 because I didn't want it to end. I named Jenks after my favorite character in this series.

3. I'm thankful my hair is at a stage where I feel feminine and sexy again.

There is a quote in The Fault in Our Stars that perfectly describes what it is like to lose your hair from cancer & chemo: "That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people. We were irreconcilably other."

I felt like an alien when I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows and hair. There was no hiding it, not even with a wig or scarf. I was "other". Not Lisa. Someone else. Now I feel like I'm Lisa again.

4. I'm thankful I'm healthy enough to enjoy trails on a beautiful day.

5. And I'm thankful for ice cream! Which I treat myself with after long runs and hard workout days.
Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!