Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Half Marathon Race Recap- A lesson in uneven pacing

1134 elevation loss, and 1134 elevation gain

I ran the Holiday Half Marathon last week. I had a really fun time and I got my tail kicked by the hilly course.  I ended up being the overall women's winner (it was a small race).

The course was along the river mountain trail loop. It's a pretty scenic course that is closed to traffic. There was a regular half marathon and there was also a relay option for runners not wanting to race the half.

I was feeling a little nervous the morning of the race. For my breakfast I had scrambled eggs, a banana, and a slice of buttered toast.  On my way to the race site I ate a caffeinated orange Gu.  I got to the race site 15 minutes before the gun time. I had just enough time for a short warm up jog and quick trip to the bathrooms.

When I signed up for this race I figured that I would be able to run a sub 1:40. I was actually kind of cocky about it.  I told several people that I would run this time or faster.  I like telling people my race goals before hand. I do this for accountability. When I run a race, I try to give it my all.  I don't want to fake the funk and pretend that I just run races for fun.

Right before the start

The gun went off and I felt good. I knew that to run a sub 1:40 half marathon I would need to average 7:38 per mile. I figured that with the climbs and the descents my pace would be all over the place.   I did some rough estimates and I wanted to aim for 8:10 miles for the uphills and 7:10 miles for the downhill stretches. I figured I would be able to adjust my pace if I needed to. 
My original estimates were way off.

Mile 1- 7:52

The course started on an uphill grade.  I may have gone out a little too fast.  The relay runners and half marathoners all started at the same time, and I have a habit of going out with the crowd.

Mile 2- 7:44
 I felt like I was pushing the pace going up this uphill stretch.  My stomach was a little crampy because of the caffeinated Gu.  I just tried to focus on my breathing  and I told myself to relax and wait for the downhill

Mile 3- 7:05
Oh glorious sweet downhill running.  I looked down at my Garmin and I saw 6:50 pace. It was a steep downhill and I slowed it down
I don't take pictures while I race, these photos are courtesy
of the Las Vegas Track Club

Mile 4-7:11
More wonderful downhill running.   The view of the Las Vegas Valley was gorgeous.

Mile 5-7:44
The downhill stretch came to an end and we were treated to a series of rolling downhill climbs. It was kind of scary.  I couldn't really go any faster without risking a face plant into the asphalt. After the three climbs the course went rocketing back down. 

Mile 6-7:33
I knew the turn around point was coming pretty soon since we were heading down to the bottom of the trail head.  When I reached the turn around point I knew for sure that I was the lead female.  I had probably a 400 meter lead on the 2nd place female.  I started to get a little weak in the knees emotionally. I was getting scared of the ride back to the start line.  I was also worried about being picked off by the 2nd place female.  I told the negative voice in my head to STFU and to just keep running.  "Don't think about, it just run".  I started to climb back up the trail head.

Mile 7- 7:31
I went through the same three hilly climbs but, in reverse.  The climbs were much steeper going in the other direction.  I was also playing hop scotch with a couple of male runners. The climbs were brutal.

Mile 8-9:13

A fellow runner who had out kicked me a few weeks ago during the turkey trot 5k went cruising by me.  He started out slower and smarter than I did. I pulled out another Gu to eat. It was a lemon lime Gu without caffeine.  I nursed it over the next couple of miles. I didn't want to eat the whole thing and have my stomach cramp up again.

Mile 9-8:28
The rolling hills were done and now it is just a straight uphill climb for the next three miles.  I did something that I never do during a race.  I looked over my shoulder to see who was behind me.   The reason I never do this, is because it lets the runners behind you know that you are afraid and that you are falling apart. I kept expecting the 2nd place runner to  blow right by me.

Mile 10-8:56
I told myself to just survive and get through the next two miles.  Focus on the runners in front of you.

Mile 11-9:15
This mile sucked!! But, I was in good company. I passed about three runners on this stretch and only one guy caught me.  The camaraderie was really great. We were all suffering together.  I just kept telling myself to keep it together. There is more downhill on the way.

Mile 12-7:29

Once the downhill began I was aware that we only had about two miles left to the finish. I decided to just run as hard as I could without blowing up.

Mile 13 7:19
I'm starting to close in on the guy that passed me a few minutes ago, but I'm running out of real estate.  During the home stretch in my head I am chanting, "everything, everything, everything...."

Mile 13.1-:054- 7:05 pace

Finish Time 1:44:17

I look like a dork with my arms outstretched over my head.
I was really excited to win that day.
After the race I walked around for a few minutes to cool off. I wasn't able to stick around for the awards.  The race director was really nice and he let me take my trophy home early.

This race was a lot of fun. I'm a little disappointed with how I ran.  I should have taken the first two miles easier.  I also shouldn't have underestimated how hard this half marathon would be.  I'm not running high enough mileage to be able to just crank out a sub  140 half marathon on a whim.

I don't plan on racing another half marathon until the spring time.  I hope that I can increase my mileage base before I attempt to race another half.

***Thank you LVTC for hosting a really kick ass half marathon, and thank you for the photos!!***

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

10 months postpartum. My final weight loss update

I've been dragging my feet on writing this post because I have mixed feelings about it.

I don't normally take selfies.
My current weight is 122 pounds  I've been at this weight for almost two months with a one pound over or under fluctuation.

My goal weight was 120 and when I started getting close to 120 a little voice in my head said "lets aim for 115". 

In my head I would like to get down to 115 but, I don't want to have to resort to things like diet pills, skipping meals, or just not eating to get down to this magical number.

I've always been what you consider "top heavy" I gain weight in my waist and midsection first and it is the last place I lose it from.  I also came into my adult body pretty early. I was about 14 years old when I went on my first diet.  I was in the eighth grade and I was 116 pounds.   I got down to 112 before I started high school and by the time I was a senior in high school my weight was around 122 .

I used to have serious complex about my height (5 feet even) and weight.  Most short women I knew were petite and small framed and weighed 95lbs.  I always felt stocky and chubby.  I thought that maybe I was doing something wrong.

When I was 18 I enlisted into the US ARMY and I had to have my body fat measured because I did not meet the height and weight standards. I weighed 123 and I was so embarrassed.  I  had  two months before I left for boot camp and the weight standard for my height was 120.  I managed to  diet down to 116 so I wouldn't have to have my body fat measured.

Throughout my 20's and early 30's my weight bounced between 116-124.  Any time my weight went above 124 I would begin to panic a little bit and I would restrict a bit in order to get down to where I needed to be.

I'm not exactly sure when I had my "aha" moment.  But, a lot of different things contributed to me accepting that there are some things that I just won't be able to change about my body. The first one is pretty obvious, I'm always going to be 5 feet tall.  The second thing that I can't change is my body frame.  I actually have what you would consider a "large frame".   Even though I have small hips, my wrists and rib cage measure much larger than someone with a small bone structure.  I found a chart where I finally had proof that I'm not really small boned.  This helped me not be so obsessed about a goal weight that's not really attainable.

Female Wrist Measurements

Height less than 5' 2"
(Less than 155cms)
Height 5' 2" - 5' 5"
(155cms - 163cms)
Height more than 5' 5"
(More than 163cms)
Less than 5.5"
Less than 6.0"
Less than 6.25"
5.5" - 5.75"
(140 - 146mm)
6" - 6.25"
(152 - 159mms)
6.25" - 6.5"
(159 - 165mm)
More than 5.75"
More than 6.25"
More than 6.5"

I'm quite happy with how I look and feel.  My body isn't perfect. But, it's mine and I can either love it or hate it. I choose to love my body and all the things it can do for me, even though I will never have the elasticity back in my skin that I had when I was in my twenties. 

When I say that I love my body, please don't take it to mean that I am so happy and satisfied with how I look and I'm perfect, blah, blah, blah,  or that I'm tiger that earned her stripes.  I'd like to think of it more as of  I'm so grateful that I was able to use this body to create two children and nurse them. I also use this body to run miles that make me feel invincible.

I think having the mentality of hating your body is pretty self indulgent.  If I'm mopey about not having a thigh gap or if my jeans are tight, how fair is that to the people that are around me?  Having a bad day is one thing, but when you constantly beat yourself up that becomes the standard.

If you have read my blog from the beginning you will know that I was still trying to lose the baby weight from my first pregnancy.  I had plenty of I hate my body days.  I think I was really overwhelmed with being a new mom.  I found comfort in food and in alcohol.

I think I am in a much better place now that I have given up alcohol completely.  I'm currently just trying to maintain my weight loss through the holidays. I still track my food points and I weigh in with a friend once a week for accountability.

Starting Weight: 150lbs
Current Weight: 122lbs.

I'm done talking about weight loss. Let's talk about running!!!

I'm racing a half marathon this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a much smaller race than I ran in October and with all of the holiday hustle and bustle I haven't had any time to freak out about it. Normally I am bouncing off of the walls from the taper.

The course is also way harder this time around.  Check out the elevation profile:

I am a pretty decent hill runner and I hope I can use this to my advantage.  My goal is to run a smart race and to hold back during the first half.  The second half of the race is mostly uphill with two miles of downhill to the finish.  I really hope I can go under 1:40 and I would also like to place in the top 3 women overall.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday half marathon later on this month and my latest workouts

I'm feeling pretty excited about a half marathon coming up in two weeks.  Our local track club is hosting a low key half marathon to give local runners a chance to run a half marathon without breaking the bank.  The entry fee is only $20.00 for track club members and race day registration tops out at $40.00. 

I'll admit that I was a little bummed that I couldn't participate in this year's Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  The price was just way over what I'm able to pay for a race.  It turns out that a lot of my local Las Vegas running friends couldn't afford to run the race either.

The Holiday Half won't have a whole lot of bells and whistles.  They are going to provide, aid stations, a cotton T-shirt, and gun timing only.  The course is going to be more challenging than the last half I ran.

Since my last half I have kind of been scaling back my running/working out in the mornings before work. It's been really cold lately and I feel guilty making my kids get in the freezing car extra early.  I'm aiming for 3 days a week instead of all 5 days. 

Workouts Since my Last Post

11/26   Tuesday - 3 miles before work (8:13, 8:00, 7:21)

11/27 Wednesday- Rest (grocery shopping and cooking don't count)

11/28  Thursday (Thanksgiving) 9 miles. My mother in law was in town visiting.  I didn't have to worry about hurrying back.  It was a pretty cold morning.  I picked one of the hilliest routes in my neighborhood. I climbed about 530 feet and I had such a good time running that day.
Mile 1-8:49
Mile 2-8:24
Mile 3-8:30
Mile 4-8:41
I stopped my watch halfway through my run to take a bad picture
of the snow on the mountains.

Mile 5-9:11
Mile 6-7:59
Mile 7-7:54
Mile 8-8:04
Mile 9-8:04

11/29  Black Friday- I ran 3 shake out miles. (9:44, 9:02, 8:51) My legs were beat up from the hills.

11/30 Saturday- Rest

12/1 Sunday  Somewhere between 9 and 10 miles.  My mother in law was still in town. My Garmin was running out of juice so I stopped it at 8 miles.  I ran approximately another mile and half to my house.
Mile 1-8:33
Mile 2-8:13
Mile 3-8:07
Mile 4-8:07
Mile 5-8:16
Mile 6-8:40
Mile 7-8:38
Mile 8-7:51

12/2 Monday-Rest 
My daughter caught her first cold and it really knocked her out. She had a croupy cough and an ear infection. I took her to the doctor and she is doing much better this week.

12/3 Tuesday-Rest

12/4 Wednesday a little over 4 miles before work ( 8:34, 7:54, 8:11, 7:29)

12/5 Thursday a little over 5 miles. I discovered a new route near my work. A cold front moved in and the temps dropped down to 28 degrees that morning.
Mile 1-8:20
Mile 2-7:52
Mile 3-7:47
Mile 4-7:20
Mile 5-7:23

12/6 Friday- It was a rest day and I signed up for the half marathon.

12/7  Saturday- 4 miles  I decided to scrap trying to get a long run in over the weekend. A cold front with possible chance of snow was moving in to the Las Vegas Valley and I didn't want risk running on icy roads. (8:05, 7:47, 7:50, 7:37)

12/8 Sunday  A little over 5 miles.  It was really cold out and I didn't have any specific plans for my run I ran 3 miles at a comfortable pace, then I ran 1 mile up a hill and, then I ran the last mile as fast as I could. 
Mile 1-8:02
Mile 2-8:00
Mile 3-7:59
Mile 4-8:05 ( I'm happy about this uphill mile)
Mile 5-6:45
Mile .28- 1:49 (6:28 pace!!)

12/9 Rest

12/10- Four miles before work (8:19, 7:36, 7:37, 7:29)

I'm hoping I can get one more longish (8-10) miles in before the half marathon.  I'm glad that I  can piggy back this race off of my current running base.  I don't believe I have lost much fitness since the Saints and Sinners half marathon. I think if anything I am trying to run some faster miles when  I do my shorter runs.