Monday, December 22, 2014

LVTC Holiday Half Marathon 2014 Edition

I'm really grateful that I got to scratch that itch over the weekend.  It wasn't my fastest half but, I'm really glad that I showed up to race on Saturday Morning.  This really was a last minute thing...

They had the same shirt from last year, but for a
$40.00 half marathon I'm not complaining

Nothing is more fun to me,than toeing the line and seeing what you are made of, Yes we race against the clock, but I have a ton of fun racing and hopefully out kicking my peers.

Before the race
On Friday morning I got a quick workout in before work.  I ran two miles at tempo pace, with some form drills thrown in (A-Skips and butt kicks).  I was trying to prepare for speed work in the upcoming weeks.  I also did some weight training.  The day before I  received an invitation to a birthday party for my son's BFF.  The party was the same day as the upcoming LVTC Championship series 10K, and the party started at 10am, early but not super early...

I went to the packet pick-up for the Holiday Half Marathon on my lunch break. It was at the local running store that is really close to my work,  I found out that the upcoming 10k starts at 9am and is on the opposite end of town, and even if I hurried home after the race, my son would end up missing about half of the party...

I talked to the president of the track club and I started to think,"maybe I can swing this one".  My husband is pretty patient with me and my running.  But, I would hate for him to feel like I'm taking advantage of him as a babysitter on the weekends, when we have pretty limited time and resources for races compared to before we had children...

That night while I was making dinner, I casually brought up the race, and I surprised at how easily I got the green light...

Signing up for races at the last minute has one huge advantage.... No pre-race freak outs!!!!  It is so hard when I have a big race looming on the calendar for two months, then six weeks, or one month out.  I tend to obsess over performing to my best.  After I tucked the kids into bed, I laid out my clothes for the morning, watched TV, and tried not to stay up too late.

Morning of the race

I woke up at 5am and I made pancakes, bacon, and coffee.  While the breakfast was cooking, I wrote a short blog post.  After breakfast I got dressed and left the house at 7am.  I was trying to remember last year's race, and I remember the course being a doozy...
1100 feet of decent, and 1100 feet of climbing! Yay!!
When I got to the race site, I ran into fellow members of the Las Vegas Track Club,  I only get to see my runner friends a few times a year, so I really enjoyed chit-chatting and catching up.

I was really excited to race, and I was just happy to be there.
Can you tell how excited I am?

My strategy was to hold back during the first two miles, and try not to fly down the downhill section of the race.... 
Mile 1-8:10
Mile 2-8:07

This didn't go quite how I planned.  I brought my phone with me because I really like the Slacker music app.  I paid for the subscription service when I was training for the RNRLV Marathon.   I normally race half's with my ipod nano circa 2010. (same ipod and music since 2010).  During the 3rd mile of the race, I started screwing around with my phone and I lost any signal that I had (Goodbye Slacker Radio)...  Derp... I ended up going with my old play list on my phone (circa 2011), and then later on in the race I tried to pick up a signal again with no luck...  The moral of the story is to leave the phone in your car if you are racing in the boonies.

The 1st place female was way ahead of me and I knew that I wouldn't catch her.  She is way faster, and it is what it is. However, the 2nd place female came right up on me while I was dicking around with my phone.  I'm a competitve jerk, if you pass me during a race you better mean it.  Don't hang on to my shoulder or try to run with me....  I felt like that was happening so I  threw it into another gear to create another gap between us.  This probably wasn't the best idea.

Mile 3-7:03
Mile 4-6:50 

The straight downhill turned into a series of rolling downhill climbs, we were still running down the hill, but you also had to run up a few steep inclines,
This picture is from last year's race, courtesy of the LVTC

Around this time I pulled out my Gatorade energy chews (Blue Crush) and I ate a few.
Mile 5-7:46
Mile 6-7:29

We were heading back down a steep decline, and the 2nd place female passed me like she meant it this time.  I was impressed with her speed going down the hill.  I didn't recognize her as a local runner and I think I underestimated her.     We were nearing the bottom of the trail head and I told myself to be patient, there is still the second half of the race.  I began to head back up the steep decent/rolling downhills in reverse.

Mile 7-7:53
Mile 8-9:48

I had been playing hopscotch with two male runners, and another runner went flying by all three of us. It was James Alejandro.  He is notorious for holding back and killing the second half of races. Around this time I also ate a few more Gatorade chews.  

Mile 9-8:39

I was able to shake the two guys that I was running with, and then I was in no man's land.  The second place female was no longer in my sights. After the rolling climbs were over, we were treated to a straight uphill climb for the next two miles. I didn't event want to look at my Garmin because I knew that  I was slowing down.  Not much you can do at this point- Just endure the pain and try to look forward to the last two miles that are downhill.

Mile 10-9:07
Mile 11-9:25
I look like I'm having the time of my life here (sarcasm)

I was so happy to finally be running back downhill.  I knew there were only two miles left until the finish. My legs were toast, but I wanted to finish hard.

Mile 12-7:38
Mile 13-7:38
        .1-1:05 (7:12 pace)

Official Time 1:46:37
Garmin Time  1:46:38 (13.15 miles)

I'm happy that I ran the tangents pretty close.  I'm also happy that I didn't get picked off during the last 4 miles.

After the race I hung out for a few minutes, but I didn't stick around for the awards.  I had so much fun, but I knew that I had to hurry home.
Me, Toshie (she was right on my heels), Christina  (She got there late, so I got lucky lol)
Debbie, and 1st woman overall Erica S. She smoked that course with a 1:35!!

This morning I went for a short two mile run, to get some of the stiffness out of my legs, I'm not as sore as I thought I would be.  I have to take the next two weeks easy.. I want to give my legs a chance to recover.  Then I have about four weeks of training with some speed work in the mix. My next race is the Big Game 10k.  This race will have some pretty good swag to attract the local runners.  I'm looking forward to racing hard again. :)

Thank you to the LVTC for the photos and for hosting a great event!

As always thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Just call me a frosted flake.

In my last post I said that I know that I didn't want to race the LVTC Holiday Half Marathon....

Well it turns out that the first 10k that I had planned on racing on January 10th, I won't be able to race due to a scheduling conflict., and the next 10k isn't until February 1st.

I don't want to wait six weeks until my next race, so...

It looks like I'm racing a half this morning... No pressure. Id like to go under 1:40, but this is a hard course. I will be satisfied if I beat my time from last year. Its going to be a more competitve race than last year too..

See you on the othe side.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Strep Throat, New Shoes, & My Latest Workouts

Last week was pretty rough.  I had a really killer run on Monday, and then the rest of the week went off the rails running wise.  I wasn't able to run a single step until Sunday and as of yesterday (Wednesday) I am finally starting to feel like my old self.  I know for sure that I do not want to run the LVTC Holiday Half marathon.   I'm not ready to race a half marathon, and being the competitive person that I am, I don't want to toe the line if I'm not 100%.

I think I have finally found my writing style for this blog, and I enjoy laying it out in chronological order via my training updates.  It's a way to keep track  of my training and share a few details with you along the way.  The only downside to this, is that I need to blog at least once a week or I will be throwing up runs from many weeks ago, and then the details become fuzzy...

My Latest Workouts

Week of December 7-13
Sunday 12/7- I ran 6 miles around the neighborhood in the foothills, I ran these at lunchtime, and I didn't take my Garmin with me.  I ended up talking to my mom on the phone for about 30 minutes.  It was nice to catch up with her, and it was kind of like having a running buddy to talk to along the way.

Monday 12/8-Lunchtime 10k- I'm loving the cooler weather, and I felt like doing a tempo progression run.   The first mile was flat, followed by  two miles uphill, and then the last three miles were downhill, it's pretty easy to run tempo progression with a downhill at the end, Here's my Garmin data:
That night I noticed a slight tickle in my throat.  I thought it was allergies, because I had been dusting some furniture.

Tuesday 12/9- Rest, I woke up late and didn't have time to workout before work.  I also had a few errands to run at lunchtime.  That tickle in my throat was also accompanied by a sluggish tired feeling. Uh oh.

Wednesday 12/10-  Rest- I left work at 10AM and felt like garbage.  I thought I was coming down with the flu.  That night I was having a lot of trouble swallowing, and it didn't feel like just the flu.

Thursday 12/11- I went to work... We were having our holiday party/White Elephant gift exchange.  I was in charge of organizing the party, so I felt like I couldn't not show up.  I also made it to the Dr.'s office that day.  My diagnosis was Strep Throat. EWWWWW.   I haven't had that sickness since I was a teenager.  I was given a prescription for antibiotics, and I also asked for some syrup with Tylenol/codeine.  Oh I was such a happy camper once I came home and was able to drink some medicine....
Eating and drinking had been so painful, that I wasn't really eating or drinking much fluids.

Friday 12/12-Rest,  I had a serious case of mommy guilt when I dropped my kids off at day care in the morning.
I took this picture that morning.  They were being really cute.

I felt rotten, but I figured that I was still really contagious and I didn't want to get them sick.  I also knew that sleeping would be next to impossible with them at home with me.

Saturday 12/13-Rest, (sort of)  I took the kids to the park and did a little bit of Christmas shopping. The antibiotics had started to kick in, and I was feeling more normal.  I also finally got my appetite back too.

Week of December 14-18
Sunday 12/14-  Almost 5 miles,   I tied up the laces and headed outside.  It was pretty cold for Las Vegas (41 degrees)  I felt stiff and tired.  I thought that an hour run would be a smart idea....    The first mile or two I was considering flipping a u-turn back home, but once I warmed up the endorphins kicked in and i ended up running 4.9 miles.   It honestly felt like I had ran twice as far.

Monday 12/15- I ran 4 miles on my lunch break, and again I felt really sluggish.  I ran two miles up the hill and two miles back down the hill.  Here's the Garmin data:
I noticed that my shoes were feeling old, and the pair that I was wearing are going on 6 months old.   I found a really good deal online, and I purchased a pair of ASICS GEL- Kayano 20's.

The new Kayano 21's are coming out so this is the older model, but originally these shoes cost $160.00 before tax.  I found these online at and after tax I paid $90.00.  This will be an upgrade from my GT-2000's. I didn't get a chance to try these on first, so I hope they are a good fit.  Kohl's.  has a pretty good return policy if they don't work out.

Tuesday 12/16-  I ran two miles before work No Garmin, I ran these at recovery pace., and lifted some weights.  I did flat bench chest presses with a 45lb bar to work on my form, one arm dumbbell rows, cable flys, lat pull downs, and some Roman chair leg lifts.
Wednesday 12/17-Lunchtime 10k.   I headed out at lunchtime and I chose a route that was pretty flat.  I didn't expect my legs to feel fresh, but they were ready to go.  I ran this at Tempo pace and just tried to keep the miles consistent.  Here's the data.

After my run, I went to the office gym and did a few exercises.  I did cable shoulder lifts, bicep curls, and a few burpees.

Thursday 12/18- Today will probably be a rest day, I have to head out at lunchtime to try to knock out some more Christmas shopping.

Next week, I'm hoping to do some more structured workouts/speed work.  I have two upcoming 10k's that I want to race.  I"m not sure if I'm PR ready, but I would like to give it really good try.

As always thanks for reading.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Year of Running 2014

This is a first time thing for me, But, I thought it would be fun to follow along with Misszippy and do a Year of Running post.  Join in on her page.

Best Race Experience:  That would have to be the Mustang 50th Anniversary Half Marathon.  I had a great training cycle, and I feel that I executed this race perfectly.  I ran a negative split half marathon and I also placed in the top three women overall, It was a large race, so I was pretty stoked.  The only bummer, was that there was no podium, and the organizers didn't really care about the overall winners of the race.  They didn't receive the awards in enough time, so I got my plaque in the mail about a month after the race. Womp Womp.,,  Also no swag either. No gift card to the local running store, no free GU, nada, nothing, bubkus..Wait this was supposed to be the best race experience right... The Tech T shirt and finishers medal were very nice...

Best Run:  Hmmmm... It's hard to chose-  I went for a run on a Friday evening in October-  I did the evening run to practice training for Rock n Roll Las Vegas, I didn't wear a watch or a radio, I was just running for fun.  I was kind of sad though,  I lost a dear friend to suicide in October of 2012, and we were getting close to the anniversary of his passing.   I was running in my favorite area to run, a hilly section that provides sweet views of the valley and when I got  to the top of the overlook, I was treated to a beautiful sunset.   I honestly felt like my friend was saying "hello" to me, and telling me to not be sad, that there is still so much beauty here on this earth.

Best new piece of gear:  HEED Energy Gel.  I'm not a big fan of GU, I like that HEED is made of natural ingredients and is easy to digest.  I had to learn how to eat on the run this year.

Best piece of running advice you received:  I've been kind of a lone wolf this year,

 I miss running with a buddy and or club....  So I'm going with Hal Higdon's advice that it's really important to stretch and warm up before doing speed work.  Earlier this year, I had a minnor groin strain from doing speed work without warming up / cooling down properly.

Most Inspirational Runner: The obvious answers for me were Meb Keflezighi/Deena Kastor, becuase they make me look forward to becoming a Master's runner.  They make getting older look phenomenal.   But, when I really think about it, There is one guy who I admire, and I don't know his name.  He's the every day runner that is out running like the post man every day at 5:30pm.   He lives in my old neighborhood-and he wears a cotton T-shirt in the summer, a cotton sweatshirt in the winter, basket ball shorts, and basic running shoes. I've never seen a radio, or Garmin, or any other fancy gear.  But,  I can tell that running brings him peace.  I hadn't seen him in a year or two after I moved out of the neighborhood.  But recently I have been changing up my commute and I pass though that area, I'm always happy when I see him pounding the pavement. I"m jealous that he is enjoying his run in the purest form..

ETA: I forgot to add the last question
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? :  Nothing beats the feeling of the sun on my face and the wind in my hair as the miles tick by.

Friday, December 5, 2014

What's Next? and My Latest Workouts.

Yeah, I was really hoping to run the Hoover Dam Marathon next weekend.  But, the only reason why, would be to stroke my own ego, and try to erase my disappointment over running a 3:49 marathon when in my heart I had hoped to run a 3:29:59 at Rock n Roll Las Vegas.  I have been thinking about all of the little things that went wrong that day.

I have come to the decision that racing next weekend will be a bad idea.  I'm strapped for cash, I'm not sure if my body is fully recovered to race 26.2 miles again, and with juggling a full time job with family responsibilities; something has to give.

 I love to race and I was thinking of ways to make it work, but for me to put myself ahead of everyone else just so I can feel good about racing again, is pretty damn selfish.

I'm thinking of running the Las Vegas Track Club Holiday Half Marathon in  a little over two weeks, this race will be way more low key, a lot cheaper, and easier to handle.  But, even this race I'm feeling "meh".

I know for sure that I want to run the Las Vegas Track Club Championship 10k in January.  This race attracts a lot of local runners and is a competitive race.   I haven't raced a 10k in close to three years.  I'm kind of looking forward to working on shorter harder paces again.

One of my regrets from marathon training was, that during the last month of training I focused on mileage and I didn't do much speed work.  I also think I  was pretty lazy during my taper.  I didn't run very much during the 10 days leading up to the race, I think I was pretty surprised when it was go-time, because I was honestly shocked at how hard 8 minute miles felt from the start of the marathon.

During my previous half marathon tapers, there was a speed workout the week of the race, it was like a final tune up.  I didn't realize how helpful these were to keep the legs feeling "fresh"

I promise from here on out. I won't bitch about the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon again....

My Latest Workouts

After the race I didn't run for about 4-5 days, I wasn't that sore compared to other races.  But, I was really pissed off at running so I didn't feel like tying up the laces.

Week of November 17-23

Monday 11/17-  Rest
Tuesday 11/18-  Rest
Wednesday 11/19 Rest
Thursday 11/20 Rest

Friday  11/21-  I ran three miles, and I remember why I still like to run.  It feels pretty damn good! And the endorphins make me feel so alive!

Saturday 11/22 - Rest

Sunday  11/23-  I ran a 10k (6.2 miles ) around my neighborhood. It turned into a tempo progression run. I was still sulking over the race, and in my head I was running the final 6 miles of the marathon again.  Here's the splits:
(9:06, 8:53, 7:47, 7:56, 7:49, 7:38, 1:32 for the .21)

Week of November 24-30

Monday 11/24-  I went to my office gym on my lunch break and I did some circuit training, it had been awhile, and lifting weights felt good.
Tuesday 11/25 -Rest day, I got a surprise invitation to lunch from my husband, we tried out a new kabob place.
Wednesday 11/26 - I ran three miles around the neighborhood, no watch or Garmin

Thursday 11/27  On Thanksgiving I had a killer run, I ran 7 miles and I think I was trying to sell myself on training for the Hoover Dam Marathon and I treated this like a Tempo run.  It was also a hilly route.
Add caption
Here are the splits (8:52, 8:35, 9:14, 8:29, 8:02, 7:33, 7:35)

Friday 11/28 - The next day I was greedy and I ran 9 more hilly miles.  I will never stop being amazed by this view of the Las Vegas valley & skyline.
I take shitty pictures.

Saturday 11/29 I ran 6 miles, my mother-in-law, was in town for the holiday weekend, and it's always nice to have extra help with the kiddos.  But,  I think my legs were getting a little pissed because during this run, my right calf was starting to act up a little bit.

Sunday 11/30 Rest, my calf was feeling really sore.

Week of December 1-5

Monday 12/1 - I did some circuit training- two minute jog, roman chair leg lifts, push ups, bicep curls with E-Z curl bar, shoulder presses with E-Z Curl bar, lat pull downs, kettle bell squats, sit ups,  then start the cycle over again. I did this for a total of four cycles.  It's a total body smoker.

Tuesday 12/2 - Speed work... I wanted to run some mile repeats.  Again I was in a funk over the marathon.  My calf was feeling okay, and I promised myself that if I felt any niggles or if anything felt off- that I would stop immediately.  I ran a one mile warm up,did some strides, stretched, and I put on my Brooks Pure flows for the first time in a few months.

I ended up running two mile repeats and two 800's.  Here's the data: (6:33, 6:36, 3:16, 3:23)  I think my Garmin is a bit off....  I honestly don't think I ran those miles that fast..  I'll give myself credit for running two sub 7 minute miles but, I know that there can be some variance depending on which direction I run the repeats in.

After this workout I was over the moon happy, and I felt like I had my mojo back...

Wednesday 12/3- I ran 5.5 miles on my lunch break and it was drizzling rain.  It was really nice outside.  I ran these at a recovery pace.

Thursday 12/4 -Rest

Friday 12/5- Today I am headed to a memorial-celebration of life service.  A high school classmate lost her little boy to cancer last month.  I am absolutely heartbroken for her and her family.  I ran 4 miles tempo this morning, to calm my nerves.  We love you TEAM MASON....


I promise from here on out. I won't bitch about the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon again....

As always thank you for reading.