Monday, September 29, 2014

Saints and Sinners Race Report 2014

The bling

The after party!

I had a great time racing over the weekend.  I ran a really hard fought race.  I hope I don't go off on too many tangents.  My apologies in advance for this being long winded and or melodramatic.

Before the Race

On Monday the week of the race I ran three miles easy and later on that day I had a slight tickle in my throat.  By Tuesday evening I was downing NyQuil in the hopes of sleeping really soundly for the rest of the week. Wednesday morning I did my last speed work/shake out workout, and I was able to run fine. 

I had a cold with some chest congestion but, by Thursday it was only in my sinuses and by Friday I felt a lot better (NyQuil & Ricola Cough drops are the best).

The weather was also quite strange.  It had been hot all week long with a big storm in the forecast for Friday evening/Saturday morning.  Friday night did not disappoint.
Photo from the Las Vegas Sun

There were huge lighting strikes across the sky, gusty winds, and scattered showers.  I was worried that they might cancel the race if there is lighting over Lake Mead in the morning.

The Morning of the Race

I woke up at 4:00AM.  For breakfast I ate a  peanut butter and banana sandwich and I drank some Gatorade.   Then I got dressed... Earlier in the week I couldn't decide what shirt to wear to race.  I had planned on a tank top if it was going to be hot.  In the end I decided to go the sentimental route.   I wore my LVTC holiday half marathon shirt.  

The back of my shirt. LVTC represent!!
The front of my shirt after the race

The Las Vegas Track Club has been really supportive to local runners and I was chosen as their most improved runner earlier this year.  

For shoes I still couldn't decide between the Brooks Pure Flows and my ASICS GT-2000's I brought both pairs with me to the race and in the end, I'm so glad I chose the ASICS.  The race course ended up being much more of technical/trail course this year. 

I got to the race site at 5:50AM.  I picked up my race packet, and then I met up with my  very good friend Jenn. We hung out, warmed up by jogging back and forth to our cars and to the port-a-johns. It was nice to have a friend with me to make the time go by faster.  I also drank about 3/4 of a can of diet coke, had a few bites of a Cliff bar (Blue berry Crisp),  and I ate a Ricola cough drop right before the start.. 10 minutes before the race, we walked up the hill to the start line.

The Race

The weather was cooler than it had been last year.  There had been lighting early in the morning but it was letting up.  It was still cloudy and windy.  

I walked up to the front part of the corral and I noticed that there weren't as many people in the corrals. The start seemed a little more low key than the previous year.  

I recognized a runner from online and I introduced myself to her.  She is s speedy runner named Pam. I hoped that I wold be able to hang on to her during the race and at least keep her in my sights.   She was very friendly and nice.

Before you knew it the announcer said 5,4,3,2,1 and blew an air horn.  It almost happened too fast.
Photo Courtesy of  Saints and Sinners Instagram

Down the hill we  went...I had a much more aggressive  race plan in my mind.  I wanted to run a 1:33 half marathon and my goal was to hit 6:55'-7:00's for the first 6 miles........

Mile 1-6:55

The runners took off and I found my groove.  I felt like I was holding back, but the downhill is pretty steep

Mile 2-6:52

We were on a stretch of downhill that was concrete but, it was also a drainage area for the storm that happened the night before.  There was a lot of rocks, dirt, and debris on the road.  You had to be very diligent with your footing.

Mile 3-6:54

We hit a stretch of uphill and the runners had become a bit spread out.  I knew there were a few females ahead of me but, I didn't know what place I was overall.  I was able to catch two guys going through this hilly section.  I was also treated to some neat views of Lake Mead....
this picture is from last year's race.

Mile 4-7:08

The course continued on down the hill.   I decided to turn on my music.. I had been hoping to wait until the halfway point to turn it on.   My left quad was starting to burn, and I thought to myself.  "You are going to have to work for this, if you want to run a 1:33".

Mile 5- 7:03  
I passed an aid station and I grabbed a cup of Gatorade..  I went through the first two aid stations without taking anything in... I also caught sight of a female runner  (It was Pam the runner I talked to before the race) about 200 meters ahead of me.  I made it a point to try to slowly reel her in.

Mile 6- 7:06

I knew the downhill stretch was coming to an end soon.  I tried to ease off the pace a little bit because I knew the trail section  was going to be tough....  I grabbed another cup of Gatorade and took a quick drink.

Mile 7- 7:40

 I caught up to Pam when we were running through the canyons before the tunnels. She answered right back by speeding up and creating another gap between us.    I remember it being really windy during this stretch.

*****Miles 8-10***** These miles are a bit off because we had to run through 5 train tunnels and then there was a turn around point where we went through the 5 tunnels again.  My Garmin messured the half as only 12.83 miles but, I know my Garmin cut out a few times because my stats were really funky.  

Mile 8- 7:52

The lead runners are starting to come back through the turn around point.  I'm trying to close the gap again between Pam and I.  The train tunnels were really freaky and cool at the same time.  It was hard to see.  
Also not from Saturday's race, but I wanted to show you
how cool these tunnels look.

Mile 9-8:28

I got to the turn around point/aid station. and I was right on Pam's heels.  I just wanted to hang on to her for as long as I could.   At the turnaround point I should have stopped to grab a cup of fluid but, instead I turned around,  and tried to grab a cup of Gatorade at the same time, and then I fell.......  It happened so fast...It wasn't quite a face plant, more like a slide into home plate....

I sprang right back up and forgot about the Gatorade (big mistake) and I took off running.  I also dropped the "F" bomb.  I knew if I stopped or started to freak out, that it would be all over....

A lot of stuff ran through my head.  "4 miles!!! 4 miles!!! You can run 4 miles!! Just survive and get through the trail section.  No pitty party until later.  Just RUN!!!  Close the gap, don't let this race get away from you."

Adrenaline is a strange thing...  

Mile 10- 8:09

I looked down at my hands to assess the damage and they were a little dirty/bloody.  Around mile 10 I started doing math in my head... I hit the 10 mile marker at around 1:12:XXX I was still ahead of my pacing from last year, so I just told myself to fight...

Mile 11- 7:39

I was so happy to finally get out of the trail section and back on to the pavement.  I passed the last aid station.  I thought I grabbed a cup of Gatorade.... Nope... It was only water..... I wanted to cry.....

Mile 12- 7:21 

The course is downhill and I can see two females ahead of me.  Pam caught another runner ahead of us and I was trying to close the gap to the other runner.  The course was downhill switchbacks.

In my head  I'm counting the distance down.  "C'mon a mile and some change to go..You can do this!!! Fight. You are almost done with this!!"..My legs hurt so bad.. I had a few good songs come on my Ipod, so the music was a welcome distraction.

Mile 12.83- 5:52 (7:07 pace) With a mile ago, I tried to run this as hard as I could....  I was really grateful that  there were mile markers at each mile.  The race organizers even placed a 1/2 mile to go sign.  I love these for reference.  I had horrible cotton mouth and when I was running down the final stretch I could feel my breakfast coming up....

Garmin Time 1:34:59- 12.87 miles ***

Official Time: 1:34:51

5th woman overall

4th woman in my age group.

20th overall finisher out of 607 finishers.

I crossed the finish line and I made it a few steps past, and then I threw up all over the ground.  I heaved a second time and then I was okay...  A race volunteer was very nice and she handed me a bottle of water and wanted to make sure that I was okay.   I think I was more embarrassed about throwing up and I didn't want anyone to make a fuss over me.  I did walk over to medical tent to get me knee, elbow, and hands cleaned up.

After I got my bearings back, I went to talk to some of the other finishers, and to congratulate Pam on her 3rd place overall finish.
So neat to meet runners that you already
know online!!! Pam you are a Rock Star

I waited for my friend Jen to come in, and then we took a picture on the bus back to the start line.
Love this girl!!

I ended up being so flustered after the race, that I totally forgot I checked a gear bag with my friend.  We ended up riding the bus back to start line, only to have to go back to get the car keys still inside the gear bag at the finish line.....  

I can't say enough positive things about this race and the race organizers.    I felt horrible after I dropped the "f" bomb when I fell because the aid station had volunteers and their children handing out drinks.  It wasn't their fault I fell.  And I hope I didn't offend any of the kiddos.....

Thank you Saints and Sinners for providing a great event and I so hope to be back next year!!!

The Pity Party
I'm trying really hard not to think about the "what if's?".    I'm a little bummed that my time wasn't in the 1:33's but, I do take comfort in the fact that I ran the last four miles of that race on pure adrenaline and I was still able to go under 1:35.  Here's some pictures of my road rash...

I'm hoping to go for a short shake out run tomorrow, and then we will slowly ease back into training. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

10 days out it's taper time, and my latest workouts

My half marathon is in ten days.  I'm trying to decide my race strategy and what shoes to wear.  Both are really important decisions to make!!

For my race strategy I want to be a little bit more aggressive than I was last year.  Last year I ran a 1:36:01 and I would like to run in the 1:33's this year.  During the early miles of the race last year I held back instead of flying downhill for the first few miles.
A PR friendly course for sure!

 Last year my first  six miles had the following splits (7:08, 7:20, 7:15, 7:17, 7:06, 7:11).  This year I would like to keep my splits between 6:55-7:00 pace for the first six miles.  I know if I try to go any faster than that I will blow up during the second half.

After that wonderful downhill there will be approximately  four and a half miles of dirt trail.  I am being optimistic that I can keep my pace in the 7:30 range here.

The last two miles are back on the pavement and they are downhill as well. I want to finish strong and hopefully be down in the low 7:00 minute range.

I'm torn on which shoes to race in.   I really like my Brooks Pure Flows for speed work. I've raced a cross country 5k in them and I ran mile repeats on a dirt track wearing them. But, I wonder if these will be a huge mistake at mile 12 of a downhill  half marathon.  I might wear my ASICS GT-2000's for more cushioning from the downhill pounding...  Decisions Decisions....

My Latest Workouts

Wednesday 9/10- I ran 5 miles on my lunch break.  The temps were in the high 80's but, the humidity wasn't really bad.  It ended up being a progression run.  Here are the splits  (8:45, 8:35, 8:27, 8:05, 7:58).

Thursday 9/11- Rest.

Friday 9/12 - Two a days.... 14 Miles.  I know in my last post I said that I was done with my two a day's but, this was the only way I could fit my long run in this week.  I had been dreading the two hour run that I had my schedule.  I get off of work early on Friday afternoons. But, I also use this time to grocery shop and or run errands before I pick up my kids from daycare.  Some Friday's I will stay late to get caught up on work.  Anyway.... I was hoping that the weather would be nice... It wasn't and I didn't want to run 14 miles all in one shot on the treadmill.  On Friday morning I ran another progression run. I ran four miles  Here are the splits (8:53, 8:33, 8:09, 7:51).  I took my lunch a half hour early and I stayed late to make up the time.  I ran 10 miles on the treadmill on my lunch break.
Pictures or it didn't happen

The first couple of miles were mind numbingly boring...  I can't watch TV or read while I run.  I don't get the people that can do this...I can take a quick glance at the TV if  a football game is on.  But, I couldn't watch a movie or a TV show while running.  I usually have to rock out to music on the treadmill.   I did this as a progression run as well, the first mile was around 8:49 per mile and the last mile was  around 7:47 pace.  I did this with a 1% incline on the treadmill.

Saturday 9/13- Rest

Sunday  9/14-   5 miles-  Another tempo progression run.... Since I did my 14 on Friday the pressure was off,  I feel guilty leaving the house to run for two hours if my kids are up and ready to play....
  My legs were also a little tired from Friday's long run.  Here are the splits  (9:07, 9:16, 8:08, 8:15, 7:20)

Monday  9/15- 4 miles recovery pace in the morning before work, I didn't wear a watch or a Garmin

Tuesday 9/16 - Speed work.  6 x 800's.  I ended up doing these on the treadmill.  The weather is staying warm throughout the month of September.  I ran almost a mile to warm up.  I stopped to stretch and then I got the workout started.   For the first quarter I would run at 8.8 (6:49 pace) and then I would kick the treadmill up to 9.0 (6:40 pace) for the second quarter.  The treadmill was set to a 1% incline.  In between each repeat.  I would jog a quarter mile for recovery.  After the workout I ran three quarters of a mile.  Here's the data..

3:22, 3:21, 3:20, 3:21, 3:23, 3:18

Wednesday 9/17- Rest

Tomorrow I have another tempo run on the schedule, and this weekend I have another two hour run scheduled.  I'm going to modify that, because I think a two hour run is a bit much one week out from the race.  I will probably run for 90 minutes instead...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saints and Sinners is coming up soon, dancing into dangerous territory, and training updates.

I'm less than three weeks out from my upcoming half marathon and this is where I start to freak out a little bit.  I start to analyze my training and wonder if I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing and am I where I am supposed to be in my training (navel gazing at it's finest)

My goal is to find a balance between pushing myself hard but, not hard enough to end up injured.

During my last two training cycles I endured minor injures; last year I had a calve strain a month before the Saints and Sinners half.  Earlier this year during my training for the Mustang Half Marathon I had a minor groin strain.  So far this training cycle has been injury free.  I hate writing that statement out because I am very superstitious and I don't want to jinx myself....  I think I am trying to be more diligent about proper warm ups and stretching before speed work.

Stupid Running Mistake and My Latest Workouts

Friday 9/5-  This was supposed to be an 8 mile training run.  I ended up running just under 7 miles and I learned a valuable lesson the other day..  Do NOT underestimate the Heat Index!!!

 I'm such a jerk for thinking that I am smarter than average runner and that I know what I'm doing....

I went outdoors at lunchtime to knock out a longish run with a few tempo miles at the end.  I chose a hilly route

My rule of thumb for heading out doors is if the temps are below 95 I'll go for it.  I will only run  a few miles and I always bring a frozen water bottle with me to dump on my head and to refill it.  I also try to have a couple of dollars on me for emergencies. When I left at lunchtime the temp was only 90 degrees but, the humidity was 35%.   For reference our relative humidity is 10% in the summer.

I felt okay the  first 2-3 miles.  I passed a gas station, and I debated on going in to fill up my bottle and cool off inside the store.  I talked myself out of that stop, because there was another gas station about two miles down the road (literally downhill down the road).  This was so dumb....

The next two miles I could tell that my body wasn't cooling off at all.   The sun was hitting me and the sweat wasn't evaporating like it normally does...The pavement started to feel hot under my feet.  I was also wondering if I should call one of my coworkers to come get me....

I made it to the next gas station.   I used the bathroom, and then I went and stood inside the beer cooler, I could see the steam coming off of my body-I was freaking out mentally, but I knew that I had to get it together because panicking would make it worse.

After I cooled off  in the beer cooler, I ate a banana, filled up my bottle with ice, and I headed back to work.  I only had a mile and half to run, but cooling my body off in the beer freezer helped tremendously.

When I got back to work I took a cold shower, and then I ate as much salt as humanly possible...  For lunch I ate a Cup o" Noodles and then I  had some cheese cubes and smoked almonds. (MMMm Salt).  I kept the salt party going into the evening.  I had some Panda Express for dinner and I drank a lot of fluids too.  I went to sleep early that night and  I was so grateful that I made it home safely that day.

This run humbled me on so many levels, and I can't believe that I was this stupid.

Saturday 9/6- Rest

Sunday  9/7-  10.25 Miles   This ended up being a fasted 10 mile run.     I had plans of sneaking out early and trying to practice eating on  the run.  I bought a Carrot Cake Cliff bar that I was looking forward to eating....  Well on Saturday night before bed I was really hungry and I had some extra snack before bed. Nothing healthy, it was Popcorn, Dortios, and a few Golden Oreos.    I thought I would skip breakfast and eat my bar a few miles into the run.

Well I had to hurry and leave and when I left I realized that I forgot my Cliff bar......   But, I had money on me just in case... I started out at an easy pace and during the first mile I stopped to talk to a runner in my neighborhood.   I didn't turn on my music until the 2nd half of the run, and I tried to push the pace towards the end.  Here's the Garmin Data
It was pretty humid and I got a wicked chafe mark
on my back from my sports bra.
Monday 9/8-  Three miles recovery pace on the treadmill at the gym.  I also did a little bit of strength training.

Tuesday  9/9 I was debating on a two a day, but I think I may be done with these until after the half marathon.  Plus today's workout had me nervous.... I had 4x1600 on the calendar.  We had a huge rainstorm dump down on the Las Vegas Valley yesterday and it cooled off the temps from last week.  
I didn't want to run these on the treadmill so I drove to a local park with a dirt track and I ran the loops there.   I did a short warm up, ran some strides,  stretched, and then I put on my Pure Flows and did the workout.   In between each repeat I jogged/walked/gasped for air for two minutes.  Here's the data:  7:02, 7:07, 6:47, 6:53

I did the first two repeats without music, and then I changed direction and ran the repeats in the opposite direction on the track.  I think my Garmin is a bit wonky.  I don't think that the music helped me that much.  Because during the first two repeats I had to run just over three laps on the dirt track  and for my last two repeats I was running just under three laps.....   

Either way this workout kicked my butt.   I have one more big workout to stress about. I have a two hour run scheduled for this weekend. I'm not sure where I am going to fit this in.  I might try to do this on Friday afternoon or Sunday morning.  I haven't decided yet.  

I'm sure that I will start becoming even more neurotic as we get closer to race day.  Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Latest Workouts, Thrift Store Finds, and Safety First

Training for a race makes me excited to blog and discuss my training with you.  I also have workouts to share, and stats to brag about...I have a few more weeks of structured training and then it's taper time for the Saints and Sinners Half.  After that race I'm going to recover/do light workouts for about 10 days and then I'm going to start ramping up again for the next race on my calendar Rock N Roll Las Vegas. 

I am starting to feel the bulk of my training.  My legs are feeling tired, but not overworked.  I'm looking forward to racing later on this month!!

My Latest Workouts

Friday 8/29- Rest Day

Saturday 8/30- 5 miles at HM pace was on the schedule.  I ran 4 miles at HM pace with a one mile warm up and  almost two miles to cool down.  I had just done a tempo run on Thursday and I knew that I would also be running long the next day.  I didn't want to do too, much.  I ran almost 7 miles.  Here's the data:
Mile 1-8:32
Mile 2-7:23
Mile 3-7:32
Mile 4-7:18
Mile 5-7:29
Mile 6-8:34
.63- 5:09  (8:11 pace)

Sunday 8/31-9 miles.  I stayed out of the foothills and ran a route that was mostly flat.  I usually take a rest day before my Sunday long run, and I was wondering how I would feel on tired legs.  The baby was up early and I wasn't able to sneak out of the house before she woke up.  She wasn't very happy...  I left the house carrying my running belt, phone, and water bottle in my hands.  I ran for almost half a mile this way before I put on all of my gear properly.... Total elapsed time was 1:19:46.  Actual time running was 1:18:03.  Here's a snapshot of the Garmin data.
75 degrees beats the heck out of 85 degrees in the morning.
This run was pretty uneventful.  The pace felt easyish ( I know easyish isn't a word, but, I like using it to describe a feeling.) and my legs didn't feel too tired at the time.  I wanted to add a mile or two on to this run, but I felt that I had to hurry back home.

Monday 9/1 - 5 miles on the treadmill at home.  I ran this at recovery pace (9:15 per mile) at a .5% incline.

Tuesday 9/2 Two a days.   In the AM I ran three miles at recovery pace and at lunchtime I did some treadmill speed work.  On the schedule I had 5 x 800's at 10k pace.  I ran almost a mile, then I stopped, stretched, and changed my shoes  ( I like wearing light weight shoes for speed work).
I did the repeats at a 1% incline and I started the repeats at 8.6 (6:59 pace).   During the second half of the interval I would increase the treadmill to 8.8-9.2  (6:49-6:31 pace).  After each repeat I would jog a quarter mile at recovery pace 5.8 (10:21 pace per mile)

I did a total of five 800 meter repeats.  The repeats ranged in time from 3:25-3:18.  Most of them were in the 3:20's.

After the workout I only jogged a half mile for recovery and then I walked a quarter mile.  My legs were toast after this workout.

Wednesday 9/3-   I was going to take a whole rest day today, but I have been kind of lazy about strength training lately.  Instead of running I spent almost an hour at the gym doing body weight exercises and stretching.  I used a Bosu Ball trainer for push ups, mountain climbers,  and squats. I then stood on the Bosu Ball and did bicep curls with an ez curl bar, and did some balance exercises for my ankles and feet.

 I also used a kettle bell for squats and sit ups.

Thursday 9/4-  I had a two a day workout on the calendar. But, I ran a few miles  (2.97 miles at 8:28 per mile)  this morning and my legs are beat.  I could force myself to run at lunchtime.    But, I would rather regroup and try to get a longer run in tomorrow.

Thrift Store Finds

Some of my thrift store loot

I don't have a lot of money to spend on new running clothes.   One of the ways that I save money is by buying cheaper items like running T-shirts from stores like Target, JC Penney, and Kohls'. I try to stick to the clearance rack and will buy items at the end of the season.

This color is obnoxious but, I love bright colors.
I think I paid $7.00 at Kohl's

I paid $6.00 for this one.  It's soft and it wicks moisture!!

I also will find running tops at the thrift  store....  Before you get too grossed out, I am pretty discerning about the items I find.   I'm lucky that I have a really great thrift store close to my office and sometimes I stop by there on my lunch break.  The tops that I purchase are like brand new (No holes, stains, obvious wear and tear, pilling etc.)  I draw the line at running shorts.  I won't purchase a used pair of shorts or running skirt.

 In the past 6 months I've purchased these shirts for a fraction of the original price.
There's a reason I'm not a fashion blogger.

Safety First

One of the reasons I enjoy wearing bright colors is so that oncoming cars can see me from far away.   Over the years I have had a few close calls with cars.   Even with the right of way, I will still be injured beyond belief if I ever get hit by a car.  It's one of my worst nightmares, I also encourage other runners to wear obnoxious loud colors when running on the shoulder of the road.  The Las Vegas Valley has one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the nation.  

That's my PSA for the day.  Be safe out on the roads.