Saturday, December 31, 2011

13 miles. It's a nice way to end the year.

I met up with my running buddy to run 6 miles last Saturday. She hosts a running club and I hardly ever get to run with her anymore. Our schedules are so different, we live on opposite ends of town and it's hard to get together. We met up at 6 am to run 6 miles together and  to catch up. For the first half mile we chatted but, then it was time to put on our ipods  and "go to work" I love running with my friend because she can push me to my limits. We have been running together for so long that we are evenly paced and we won't let each other slack off.  I didn't realize how much faster I could run until I was running next to her. We did our six then we met up with other runners from the group to do another seven miles. The first couple of miles were downhill and I still wanted to keep up the tempo. So did my running pal. It was awesome to feel the burn in the legs and the lungs. The last four miles were uphill and my legs were beginning to feel like spaghetti.  But, I had other runners around me to keep me motivated. Training runs like this are worth writing about because I don't want  these memories to fade.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 Miles around Oxnard

I went home over the Christmas weekend to see family. My husband and I are from the same hometown and we haven't  been back for the holidays in a few years. It would also be our sons first trip to California.  

I always bring my running gear with me because, I can't not run when I am in town. I look forward to running through my old stomping grounds. I ran cross country in high school and I remember when my coach would push us to our limits with 6-7 mile training runs. There is something wonderful about the salty sea air that makes me feel like a kid again.

I took off with just my watch. I left my parents house and headed towards the farm fields. When I was growing up, Oxnard was a farming town. It is most famous for its Strawberries

In the spring time you could smell the strawberries in the air when you ran. You could also smell the fertilizer in the winter. Even though California is know for it's gridlock it is nice to know that there are still some areas with a sense of calm.

Here is an aerial view of the area that I ran through.

 Today there are a lot less farm fields and a lot more developments, business and residential areas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No Watch No Problem

Today I woke up knowing that I wanted to go out for a long run. My running watch had  taken a beating and  it was full of condensation. In a way it was a blessing in disguise. I put the baby down for his morning nap and I took off with no sense of direction and I figured I  would go "gumping" around. I had no pressure to hit certain times. I also didn't feel the need to freak out if I'd been running for an hour and a half. I  sometimes forget that I enjoy running just for the hell of it. The crisp air. The beautiful sunshine after the rain. It hurt when I first took off and the first mile sucked. But, once I found my groove. It was zen.... I know corny. But, it really was that great today. There was no pressure to hit splits, there was no pressure to hit distance. 11 miles today. Easy peasy. The endorphin high was the best today!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

It's time for another post. It seems that after running a "big" race that there is an  after race hangover or cooling off period.  So much planning and energy has gone into the event that afterwards there is a "now what?" question floating around. I really didn't have time to focus on anything this past week. It went by in a blur with holiday parties, stiff legs, and a baby to take care of. I took most of the week off. On Friday I lifted weights at the gym and I ran 4 slow miles.  I am making a commitment to lift weights twice a week for the foreseeable future.  My upper body strength is not what it used to be and I really want to make an effort to work on my core. This will reap benefits in the running department. On Saturday and Sunday I loaded the baby up in the stroller and took him for a stroll. Yesterday I did strength training again and I ran on the treadmill.

I'm excited to plan for the 2012 racing year. I'm on a very limited shoestring budget for racing, so I won't be traveling much. I also want to get my speed and endurance up before I invest the money in running another half marathon. I am going to try to race the small low key races that are available. The local track club in my area hosts many of these races. I would also really like to find a secondhand jogging stroller. I push my son around in a Graco stroller. I'm afraid the wheels might come off if I go too fast or too far.

It's amazing how fast a year can go by. This is what I looked like one year ago.

This is what I looked like last Sunday.

I have a major pie face in this picture. Nice angle camera man. I really like how excited the guy behind me is.
I like this picture better. I think this was taken at mile 3.

The finish line yep, I'm really short.

I post these pictures as a reminder to myself, that this is how far I have come. I'm hoping to look like this by the summer time.


Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 LV Rock n Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

Overall I am pleased with how I ran. Would I have liked to have run a faster time? Yes. Was this the best that I could do for my training and conditioning? Yes.

I left my home at 3:30 to get to the 5:30 race start time. I was traveling alone because my support crew had to stay home to watch the baby. I was glad I left the house early. Traffic was terrible but, I was able to score parking a half mile away from the start. By the time I got parking I had 45 minutes left to lift off. Just enough time to hit the porta-potty and get into my corral. I never do a gear check bag. I usually wear throwaway clothes to stay warm and then I will use a stranger's phone to call my husband after the race.

I arrived at coral two with 20 minutes to spare. I ran into two ladies that are super fast and I chit chatted with them. My running buddy also hopped into the corrals to wish me luck, then she  left to go meet me and other runners on the course at mile three. It was cold but, I kept my throwaway pants on till the last minute. Then it was time for the national anthem. I felt such a wave of emotion then.

The gun went off and it was crazy. I'm grateful for the wave start but the first two miles were just trying to find a groove and, I felt that I was running faster than I should have. My legs had a mind of their own. I told myself I would settle down once the crowd thinned out. It was hard to reign myself in. My stupid feet were numb from the cold and I couldn't wait for them to warm up. The first four miles on the strip flew by. Then we were headed into the downtown / art district. I had to really focus on the ground in front of me because it was really dark and I didn't want to trip over something.
I hit mile 5 at around 38:35. I was just a little off 1:40 pace. I was shocked to be running that fast, and then it really began to feel like work. The difficult miles for me were miles 5-9. Those middle miles had a lot of sharp turns and I was trying to run the tangents but people were running the corners over the curbs and I followed suit. Around mile 7 there were handing out GU energy gels and I was grateful to take one ( I hadn't been expecting these until mile 9) Once the race returned to the Strip I felt better. I started thinking of my husband and son and I tried to just ignore the pain in my feet and quads. With two miles to go I felt that I was picking up the pace. In reality I was just holding on and slowing down. I was so grateful to have friends on the course yelling at me during the final mile. I crossed the line 1:47:15.

Here are my split times
5k-24:29 (7:53 pace)
10k-49:07 (7:55 pace)
10 Mile- 1:20:45 (8:04 pace)
Finish- 1:47:15 (8:11 pace)

When I break my time down even further I realize that the last 5k was run averaging 8:32 per mile.... Wonder what I did wrong? It's a rhetorical question. I went out too fast like a dummy and paid for it in the later miles.
I kind of had high expectations for this race. But, I'm not bummed out by not meeting them. This will be my starting point. I will be getting faster as the months go on. I know that I will really have to start watching what I eat.  I have been making excuses for not loosing all of the baby weight and I know this is a factor in race performance. Running is not going to be enough.

I'm not sure if I will participate in next years LV marathon. I love racing in the city that I live in for the simple fact that I don't have to travel anywhere. But, this race was a logistical nightmare. There are so many negative comments on facebook and other blogs plus there is a rumor that they want to add even more people to this race next year. Yikes. From my experience I had trouble parking and I was so grateful that I didn't check a gear bag.  Running a race at night on a Sunday is a real drag when you have to be at work on Monday morning.