Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Race Report - 13.1 LA

My first race report, hope I do it right lol.

On Sunday I ran the inaguaral 13.1 Marathon at the beach by Santa Monica/Venice. I wasn't expecting a lot because the packet pickup was so incredibly uneventful, because my running has been not too great lately and because that has to be the stupidest name for a run ever lol. But I was pleasantly surprised.

I had expected it to be MUCH colder at the beach than it was and so I ran in long yoga pants and had a long sleeve shirt jacket to start in which I assumed I'd be tying around my waist halfway through the run. But after standing in the crowd at the start for a few minutes I realized I was already warm enough to ditch it and so gave it to my husband before time to go. 5 minutes before the run the announcer said something about if you don't see the words "this side up" on your shoe tag then you have it on wrong. I didn't see those words so I start unlacing my shoe frantically to turn it over, only to find it doesn't actually say that ANYWHERE on the stupid tag lol. So I relaced and was feeling all worried I'd be trampled on when the race started with me still down here trying to fix a non existent problem. I had to laugh when I realized the girl next to me was doing the exact same thing hehe. Luckily the race started a little late so I was not trampled.

I don't know how people can post things that happen in every mile, it's all about a blur to me lol. So I'll just break it down into first half and second half. The first couple of miles were really a blur because I had to keep my head down and watch feet a lot in an effort to avoid collisions with the other runners. But I know we went along the Venice beach storefronts before heading inland where most of the run took place. I'm not sure which mile it was in, may have been towards the end of the first one, but I saw Danica standing and cheering us on in the middle of the median. I had just recently started following her blog and probably would not have recognized her except for the pink tutu :) What a total sweetheart for being out there to cheer us on when she wasn't running! It brought a huge smile to my face which carried me through at least a mile or two :) Thanks Danica!

In watching my Garmin and the mile markers that they had every mile (this was the first race I've done where they had the electronic signs on every mile, NICE!) I realized I was running at a faster pace than what I train at but at first it didn't bother me at all. I carried my own water bottle which I figured I'd ditch after the first couple of miles then be able to take from the water stations after the crowd thinned some. But I never finished the whole water... baaaaad me :( Somewhere around mile three I walked for a bit to get a good drink but started running again right away. I was shocked when we passed under the 405 freeway. I'm not sure why I was shocked but it just seemed to me that the freeway was soooo far from the beach and did I really run that far? lol The race was an out and back so around mile 5 or so?? I saw the mobile camera screen car and started seeing the leading runners heading back in. I couldn't help but to cheer for them, what amazing runners! I paid particular attention to the women. The first woman I saw was running in a tight V with two men ahead of her. Probably a great strategy but to me it seems like cheating. So when I saw the second place woman running completely alone with no one even close to her I cheered extra loud lol. Then I was a little shocked by the third place woman running in nothing but a bikini! lol Sure would be nice to have a body you could run in a bikini in! Not that I would actually do it, but wow, the confidence she must have to know that nothing is gonna jiggle hahaha. Before I knew it I was rounding the corner myself and heading back towards the beach.

My stomach was starting to feel iffy and I started worrying about where the porta potties were. I remembered seeing a short row of them under the 405 overpass and decided I could wait that long. About this time I try to do the math and think it would actually be possible, if I can keep my pace or possibly pick it up just a little, to run the half in under two hours (I suck at math though lol). That notion was astonishing to me but I was definitely starting to feel tired and I was getting a pain in my lower back that I'd never had running before. My porta potty stop was in mile ten and the urge had actually passed but I was worried it would come back and there'd be nowhere to stop. I probably should have held out for the finish line because stopping didn't just slow me down for that mile, but I never could quite get my pace back and it seemed to let everything catch up to me. I think that little rest signaled my body that I was done :( Plus a guy yanked the door hard enough to unlatch it and expose my half nekkid self to the whole world for a split second... could have done without THAT too lol. The best part of the second half of the run was a sign I passed that said "run now, beer later" lol. That got me smiling and I started thinking hey, are they serving beer after this run? Is that why it's "party meets the pavement"? cool! lol My last couple of miles were harsh. I tried to pick up speed when I realized I was almost done but there was just no speed left in me. My official finish time was 2:06:19, which was still a PR for me!! Not bad for an old lady who smoked for 13 years and hasn't been running very long :) Here are the Garmin times:
1) 8:44 2) 8:48 3) 9:29 4) 9:19 5) 9:17 6) 9:31 7) 9:21
8) 9:22 9) 9:20 10) 10:59 11) 9:51 12) 9:58 13) 10:26 14) 2:31 (forgot to turn it off)

I never found the beer at the end of the race and the line for what I think was free burritos?? was longer than I had patience for, but they had plenty of bagels, oranges, bananas, protein drinks and waters afterwards. And it took no time at all to get your final results which was really nice! I had to forgive them for the boring packet pickup because the expo was just after the race instead of before it lol. But we had to be somewhere so didn't hang around long. I got our times, had a water and a protein shake and we were on our way.
Here's the best part of the day for me :) I've put my kids in all the 5k's that are attached to the runs I've done so far. They don't "train" but might run a 3 miler with me once a week or so and they do some running in gym at school. They ran the 5k in this race as well and my 9 year old son finished in 22 minutes, 28 seconds to get first place in his division and my 10 year old daughter finished in 25 minutes 35 seconds to get second place in hers :) I am sooooo proud of them both! There were no finisher medals for the 5K but because they both placed they have special red and blue medals that they are so proud of :)

Before the pics I will just say that I felt really horrible for the whole rest of the day. I was really queasy and shaky even after eating and later in the day I got a nasty headache as well. Looking at the Garmin info I think I ran faster than I was ready for and maybe just because you CAN do something it doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD lol. My average heartrate for the run was 170. I'm still waiting on those running books I ordered so I don't know what it should have been but I'm guessing that was probably a little high to sustain for two hours. At the end of the run my legs were dying and I realized I have a lot more work to do before the LA Marathon! And I also realized that I need to slow it down if I expect to finish it because I asked myself at the end, "could you turn around and do that again right now?" and the answer was a resounding NO lol. My legs are still pretty sore today, three days after the run. I did a slow 4 miles yesterday instead of the easy 8 on my training schedule and will try to do those 8 today.

The only time I saw the camera, totally dorky lol. But in the pics where I did NOT see the camera I look like I'm about to DIE lol so I'll take it :)

My son Danny running the 5K
My daughter Nina... she sees EVERY camera hehe.

The family that runs together :) :) :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

hum drummm

Drove for over an hour today to go get my race packet for the LA 31.1 run this Sunday and I have to say that was the most boring and uneventful race packet pickup ever! lol No expo, no free samples, nuttin! Just "here's your bib and t-shirt ma'am" then back in the car for the long drive back home. A bit of a disappointment really.

I've had three good running days in a row but probably only because I went back to my old comfy shoes and they were all pretty short runs. I am feeling better about my chances of a PR on Sunday though. I changed the Garmin settings so now it auto laps on every mile and the pace for each lap is prominently displayed. So far this seems to help motivate me to go faster because I can stay "in the mile" so to speak and not get overwhelmed by the long haul. Of course this is just a theory since my longest run since doing this was only 5 miles. I'll see if I still feel that way after the race on Sunday :) My training schedule calls for a 4 miler tomorrow but I think I'm going to cut that to an easy two just to stay loose so I have a better chance at feeling more energetic on Sunday. And I ordered two running books. They're not here yet but I'm looking forward to seeing if I can glean any good wisdom from their pages!!

Off to search for new music for the ipod... it's getting really boring, time to mix it up a little!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shoe issues

My husband wanted a pull up bar so I'm in the sports store and decide to try on some shoes. It's amazing how you can not realize how worn out your shoes are until you try on new ones! I never notice that I can feel the ground until I try on new shoes and feel how much more padded they are! So I bought the same brand of shoes as my last ones, Saucony, just one or two generations newer. Same size and everything.

Today was an 8 miler with some sprints mixed in. Another not so great run :P First, I really should have started earlier so it wasn't so HOT. Again, I should have eaten more than a banana... slow learner I guess. And lastly, I should have chosen a shorter run to try out my new pair of shoes. Three miles in and the toes on my right foot were on fire and had that "falling asleep" sensation. I loosened my laces as far as I could at the toe end, took my foot out of my shoe long enough to let all the feeling come back and tried again. Couple more miles and I couldn't stand it anymore. This time I loosened the top, toward my ankle as far as it could go without falling off my foot and finished up the eight miles... that seemed to do the trick. Still not comfortable, but at least I didn't feel like crying anymore lol.

I've had a problem with my right foot falling asleep before, when horseback riding. I went through this whole thing of changing my stirrups, changing the way I was riding, changing my shoes, etc., but never really got consistent relief. Now because I'm getting the same thing when I run I'm narrowing it down to one thing SHOES and two possible problems... the toe area isn't wide enough or the laces hit a nerve up by my ankle when they're tied. I don't think Big 5 is going to take my shoes back after running 8 miles in them so I guess I'm stuck with them... that was an expensive mistake :P

Two slow, not great runs in a row... I am in desperate need of one of those amazing runs that makes me feel on top of the world afterwards and where I remember why I'm doing this to myself lol. I did, however, wear different clothes and a new sports bra which didn't chafe. But of course, my old ones didn't chafe on 8 milers either, so whether that was a good purchase or not remains to be seen I guess.

Off to do some bench sitting watching my daughter in her gymnastics class, but looking forward to getting back home to take care of my poor little piggies!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Today I ran (I'm using that term loosely since I actually did a fair amount of walking too) the longest I've run since starting all this... 14.4 miles. I have to say that although there was a moment when I realized I was almost done where I thought to myself "YES! I did it!!", this run sucked :P I was slow, it was painful and when I got home I got the chills and wanted to puke. I started doubting that I could possibly pull off a full marathon and I hate that feeling that I can't do something I've decided to do!

But trying to stay on the bright side, there were many things I learned on this run:

1. Adding even one more mile can change how you feel about your running clothes! My favorite running outfit is no longer my favorite. I had chafing for the first time... under my arms, under my breasts (which makes no sense to me since I am fairly flat chested!) and in the small of my back (I think from the tag on my pants?). One thing I know for sure... chafing sucks! lol And I need to figure out how not to do THAT anymore!

2. Cut my toenails before my long runs, even if I don't think they need it!

3. Don't take 8 days off then jump right back into the running schedule that assumed you'd been following it all along... maybe ease back in a little first :P

4. Big hills at the beginning of a run can ruin the entire rest of the run if you try to take them too fast. I know this from training horses, but allowed my heart rate to get too high anyway, well into the anaerobic threashold I'm sure.

5. I need to work on a fueling strategy of some sort... eating a banana then running for hours and not taking anything in but some water appears to shut down your digestive system and that's kinda painful :P

6. It's time to do some research! I mean, when I started training my horse for endurance I was aware that I knew nothing about it so I researched it first. But running seems like the most natural thing and I just started doing it. Well, maybe running is the most natural thing, but running long distances is obviously NOT lol. So it occurs to me that maybe I need to learn some stuff before I kill myself with my own ignorance hehehe.

I'm trying not to think about the half marathon next weekend because if my time is anything like it was today, it's gonna be way worse than my last one. Besides, I did sign up for it just to keep me honest and make sure I was putting in the miles... so I'll try to concentrate on that. Until then I'm doing some SHOPPING lol.

Soooo glad tomorrow's an off day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Accidental Runner

I'm not a runner... or at least I didn't think I was. I didn't really start running until I was 40 years old. Not that I didn't do some physical activities, but running wasn't just "not one of them"... it was well into the "oh, hell no" category. Not exactly sure what changed, but I think horses and kids had something to do with it. I did my first endurance ride on a borrowed horse and completed the limited distance 35 mile ride the first day in 5th place. I was all beat up but given the opportunity to ride the 50 miler the second day I took it in a heartbeat! This time I came in 4th place and I was completely hooked. Not long after that I inherited my two kids :) It was a Godsend in sooo many ways. The condo my husband and I lived in was not going to cut it so we moved to a small ranch which enabled me to get a horse of my own and pursue my new passion. I read books and learned how to train a horse for endurance then rode thousands of miles through the hills by my home getting my new buddy into shape. He wasn't ready for some of the mountains in our way so I'd get off and hike them to give him a break which then started me on a short lived love affair with hiking up huge mountains. I only did one more 50 mile ride, and I came in the top ten on that one too, on a horse that was nearing 20 years old. But I found it was difficult to get to the rides and expensive and I really enjoyed the training part more anyway.

I bought myself a Garmin with the intention of dismantling the chest strap and rewiring it to work with my horse. We had trained with a heart rate monitor but I wanted to put the info into the computer and track it over time. A few months later my boy took a tumble and I shattered my wrist. He had a six week layoff and I had surgery and a cast for a couple of months so everything got put on hold. My riding partner saw the accident and apparently it was traumatic for her because she didn't want to ride anymore after that lol. Then summer hit and it was too hot to ride and the kids were home and before I knew it we were back to square one with training. The one thing that bothers me about endurance riding is that you can't just ask the horse how he feels. You can kind of tell when it's ok to push more or when you need to hold back, but it is certainly not an exact science. And when you're making what is essentially a geriatric horse run fifty miles the guilt can get to you. I realized what I really loved about the sport was the training, the tracking, the changes I could make in my horses fitness, the goal setting and the accomplishment of those goals. It was not a conscience decision but I let my guy retire. I still ride but I no longer train for endurance.

The kids were 4 and 5 years old when they came to live with us. And they were obese. They had been pretty much allowed to eat fast food and watch tv their entire lives and this bothered me greatly. We set out to help them change their habits and re prioritize their lives and in the process we had to become better role models. I started trying lots of activities that I'd never really done before. As soon as they could both ride bikes I would take them to the beach bike path and go for miles and miles. Only they biked way too slowly for me to enjoy it much or get any kind of a workout so I started rollerblading alongside them. On his days off when he could go with us, my husband would run. I thought he was insane lol. But he's always been a runner. Soon he had the kids running a mile or two at home too. I skipped most of those :) But I took them for long hikes. And enjoyed downloading the data from my Garmin which I had never gotten around to taking apart for the horses. And both kids started getting into their own sports.... the beginning of my career as a professional bench sitter. It seemed all I did was sit on a bench, at baseball games, football practices, soccer matches... but the worst was cheerleading. My daughter got WAY into cheer and it seemed I was spending 10-15 hours a week just sitting there watching her. I won't even go into how bad the politics are and what a pain in the ass it is to have to sit there and listen to all the cackling hens lol. I made friends with another mom and we started walking during the team practices. Of course, I tracked with my Garmin. I'm not sure why but I love the dumb thing. I think it's concrete evidence that I DID something haha.

After a few weeks of long walks, we started mixing in some jogging stretches and much to my amazement it didn't hurt that badly and I didn't completely hate it. And I enjoyed seeing the numbers improve on my downloads. Somehow I talked her into signing up for a half marathon. I do not know why on earth I didn't start with a 5K or a 10K, but I didn't... just jumped right into a half marathon lol. I had no time goals, I didn't even care if I walked or ran it, just wanted to finish it. I felt great and didn't push myself at all and finished in just under three hours. After that I kept running on and off, mostly off, with no training plan and no goals... just whenever it was convenient to get me out of my daughter's cheer gym. In 2008 I ran a total of 272 miles.

When the same race got close the next year I started getting more serious about running again. My running partner dumped me so I trained by myself for the first time and started to understand how deeply personal running can be. I signed up for my first 5K which was super hilly and rough terrain and took me about 33 minutes :P and a week later I reran the half marathon. This time I pushed and my finish time was 2:14, a full 45 minutes faster than the previous year! In the excitement and post run euphoria I signed up for the LA Marathon before truly thinking it through lol. In 2009 I ran a total of just over 500 miles.

My husband subscribed to a women's running magazine for me and it was there I learned I was supposed to have a running plan so I stole one from the magazine and have tried to stick to it. With the exception of the past week I have done a decent job of running when and how much it says to. Today I looked at it and realized it's been 8 days since my last run :P Not sure how that happened but I got up and put my running shoes on and did an easy 5.4 miles. Tomorrow is supposed to be a 14 miler. I went to mapmyrun and figured out a course and have already laid my running clothes out in an effort to get myself going as early and eagerly as possible tomorrow.

I've found that a marathon that is four months away is hard to keep in mind and I stick to the longer runs better when I actually have to go run a race so I did my first 10k the week before Christmas (ran it in 1:02, woulda been faster but for that four minute porta potty emergency! I gotta learn to regulate my body better, but that's another post lol). Next Sunday I am signed up for the LA 13.1 "where the party meets the pavement". I signed up mostly to make sure I put in my miles but lately I've been secretly hoping to beat my best half time, at least by a little bit.

So anyway, I still don't know how it happened but I seem to be hooked on this running thing. Maybe I should stop saying that I'm not a runner now, because clearly I do run and though I complain about it and procrastinate it... once I've run I really do feel so much better! I still can't say I love it but I'm definitely growing fonder! And I don't hate the weight loss either :)

I love that my kids have run three 5k's now and that my son, in particular, is pretty darned fast for a 9 year old! He came in first place in his division the last time he ran and I loved seeing the pride and joy on his little face. I wish I had started younger, it's possible I could have been pretty good at it too. They are running the 5k next weekend while I run the half :)

Until next time........

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It's the first day of January, 2010. The decision to run the LA Marathon was not a new year's resolution for me but I've been slipping in my training over the holidays and thought maybe if I blogged it would keep me more honest. So I'm giving it a shot. And here it is the first day and I already blew off my running! lol Great start, but then I did have a hangover. So tomorrow I will run. I MUST run. Does 2 hours on wii fit count for anything? So now the actual resolutions:

1. Lose 20 more pounds.
2. Be a better and more patient Mom and wife.
3. Find a career that I enjoy.
4. Run the LA Marathon in under 4 hours 45 minutes and next year's local marathon in under 4 1/2 hours.
5. Get CPR Certification and personal training license.
6. Work hard towards getting out of debt.
7. Read at least one book a month.
8. Drink less beer.
9. Get the family to church at least twice a month.
10.Learn to sew.

Mundane for the most part but accurately representing what's important to me I guess. I turn 42 this year and I'm starting to feel old, but am determined this will be my best year yet!

It's a start!