RUN TO REMEMBER HALF MARATHON RECAP

So. I’m the worst. I’m so sorry I disappeared for so long. Last week was insanely busy and I felt absolutely exhausted every minute of every day. Not much has changed this week, but I’m excited to get this recap out of my head and onto the Internet so I’m back for now.

Just a little background about the race, before I dive into my recap…

This is only the second year Run to Remember LA has been around. But Run to Remember Boston has been a thing for basically ever. Both are half marathons/10ks to raise money for and honor the local police department and their fallen officers. S is on the race committee for both, so for me, participating is kind of a given. I ran a PR at both races last year and both courses are relatively flat and very scenic. I’d highly recommend either. But anyway, let’s jump right into race day morning.

Sunday morning was an early wake up call of 5am. I felt a little rough around the edges because I volunteered at the expo for 12 hours on Saturday. Annnd I was out past 9pm (I know, I live a crazy and hip life) the night before, so I didn’t get my required 8 hours of sleep. But, by 5:45 I was down in the lobby and meeting up with some Boston Police Officers to carpool to the race starting line—which was about 15 minutes away from the hotel.

By the time we got there, we had just enough time to hit up the port-a-potties and for me to swing by the Mobile Locker Company to lock up my extra clothes and water bottle (so handy). It was quite chilly in the morning (about 50ish degrees) so I spent the remaining 15-20 minutes shivering at the starting line.

The race started promptly at 7am (Mario Lopez was the guest emcee who fired the gun!!) and we were off! Right from the first few steps, I wasn’t feeling so hot. My first mile was even an 8 minute mile, so the remaining 12 didn’t feel so promising. I already felt like I was struggling a bit, so I reminded myself to trust the process and keep my breathing steady for the first half of the race. My plan was to run a heck of a negative split, so I wanted to take the first half pretty easy (which was fine since the first 6 miles are a very slight and steady incline), and then haul ass on the way back. By mile 3, I was down under 8 minutes per mile, but just barely and it didn’t feel as easy as I would’ve liked. BUT around then we went through Paramount Studios (picture below!) and I saw a few of S’s friends from the race and even caught a glimpse of S driving a little golf cart thing while leading the first 10k runner. From there, I just kept my head down and focused on keeping my breathing even.

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Around mile 6 or so, there’s the turnaround (it’s mostly an out-and-back course) and boy, was I excited to head downhill. After running 7:45s, I let ‘er rip. It’s like I completely changed gears mentally and physically. Suddenly I felt energized and on cloud 9. I was even shouting out words of encouragement to complete strangers on my way back down the hill. AND I managed to shave about 20 seconds or so off my pace.

At mile 7, I made a friend. I caught up to a 40-50 year old man and he held my pace with me. He clearly wasn’t about to let me pass him, and I wasn’t about to waste my energy trying so I did the next best thing: I started up a conversation. We chatted for a while and my first full mile with him was a 7:10! From there we were always within 10-15 seconds of each other (no more 7:10s for me though). He led for a while (from about mile 9 to 11), and then around mile 11 I passed him again, with the intention of flying to the home stretch. Well, he must’ve held onto to me because right around 12.5 my friend was right back on my shoulder and yelling at me to finish strong. I was giving it everything I had, but my legs were just starting to shut down. I was struggling to hold onto my pace, but José wasn’t about to let me give up that easy (no way, José). He kept saying “come on, we’re moving forward,” and if I started to drift back he’d look over his shoulder and say “come up here, we’re still going. We’re doing this together.”

Guys, it made for the best experience ever. I’m giddy just thinking about it. Here’s this man who doesn’t even know my name and he was doing everything he could to lift me up and pull me forward. It was just one of those interactions that made me love running even more.

I told him as we were about to round the corner to the finish line, “If I PR, I’m going to hug you” and he said “Ok, well let’s get you that PR then” and we went into an all out sprint to the finish line together. IT WAS AWESOME. AND GUYS. I PR’ed by a whole minute and then some. And I did hug José, my running angel. Which I’m sure he wasn’t super psyched about because I had been dumping water over my head for the last 10 miles of the race and was absolutely soaked (IT WAS WATER JOSÉ, IT WAS JUST WATER, I’M NOT A SWEATY MONSTER!)

My running pal, José, definitely made this race one for the books. Along with a PR, and a KILLER negative split, it is hands down one of the best races I’ve ever run. I’m still downright giddy about the results. And now I’ll break up this essay with a few pictures…

 

My splits from race day:

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And a picture of me post-race, taken by another one of S’s friends who was at the finish line! I was only a little exhausted…

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And breakfast the next day. If you’re ever in LA you HAVE to go to Crepe X-Press downtown and get the Croque Madame. It’s absolutely heavenly.

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And because you shouldn’t have to choose between savory and sweet…a Nutella and banana crepe.

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Anyway, that’s all I have to report for now! Thanks for checking back in on this blog enough to finally catch an update. I promise I’ll keep trying to be better about this regular blogging thing. Until next time!

 

 

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WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE RUNNING

On Wednesday I did my speed workout. I was foolish and saved it for after work (I usually don’t like doing speed work in the morning) and by the time I got in my car at 5pm, I was coming up with every excuse on the planet to bail. I even rationalized that I could do it on Thursday, a day before my long run (scheduled for today). However, S killed that idea before I was able to even get the full sentence out. So, after being stuck in traffic for nearly an hour, I finally stepped up to my treadmill at 6pm sharp. And let’s just say I did NOT have a positive attitude about it.

Then, something weird (except not at all weird, because pretty much every runner experiences this as one time or another) happened. I felt great. After my mile warm up, I boldly set the treadmill to 7:41 with plans to increase every mile after that. And I did! AND it felt pretty dang good! I wouldn’t say great, because if you’re doing a tempo run and it feels great, you MUST GO FASTER. BUT it felt good. It was the first time since we moved here that that pace actually felt “comfortably hard” instead of “this-is-the-hardest-thing- I’ve-ever-done-and-I-am-going-to-puke-and-collapse-hard.”

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So, all-in-all I ran 7 miles (1 mile w/u, 1 mile c/d) at 7:51 pace, with 5 middle miles at an average of 7:30. Pretty dang pleased with myself, I gotta say. If we’re taking altitude into consideration (which we always are on THIS blog, because it makes me feel better), I’m at about the same fitness level that I was at last year around this time. Because according to this article, 5000 feet adds about 10-20 seconds to your pace. For this particular instance, let’s just say it adds 20 seconds…

Anyway, horn tooting and altitude rationalizing aside, isn’t that strange how that almost always happens? On the days I really (and I mean, really) don’t want to run, I always end up feeling pretty good out there. It’s like the universe is patting me on the back for getting up and doing it.

Now, let’s just hope the universe pats me on the back again today during my long run.

LAST WEEK TOLD IN PICTURES

As I mentioned in previous posts, it was a pretty busy week and we had S’s parents in town. Here are just a few things that happened while they were here!

We finally busted out the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook. And by “we” I mean S’s mom. She made us this delicious Sausage Minestrone Soup. It was so tasty and so so so filling. Plus we had leftovers for 4+ days after.

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It was so cold out last week that I had sweatsicles hanging from my hat a couple of days in a row! Thankfully,  it’s over 60 degrees today!

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S surprised me with this beauty one day. I swear if there’s ever a Harry Potter themed road race, I will be the FIRST person to sign up. Price is of no concern.

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I got some new kicks! The Vazee Prisms v2. I will do a review on them after I get a few more miles in, but so far I’m in love. I think it’s also insane that I was excited about the price. They were ONLY $99.99. I mean, that is quite the steal for running shoes these days. unnamed-4

We celebrated S’s birthday, with a bigggggg freaking steak.

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He ate every bite, and was much happier as a result. Might’ve been the wine…

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The next day, we went up to Estes to show his parents the best place on earth. It did not disappoint, except it was freaking freezing. This picture was taken just as a huge gust of wind came through and blew snow in all of our faces. It didn’t feel great, despite the smiles.

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Once his parents left, I was sure this pile of shoes was going to go down. Not the case. This is what happens when two runners live together.

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Lastly, my exciting news: I’ve accepted a part-time job at Boulder Running Company! I’ve always wanted to work at a running store so when I saw an open sales position I jumped on it. I’ll be working with their web sales team, amongst other runners, and receiving some pretty sick discounts on running stuff. We’ll see if I ever pocket a paycheck. I get the feeling all of it will be going right back into the store. Stay tuned for some serious fashion shows and pictures of a very well-dressed, albeit financially poor, runner.

 

 

 

 

BROKEN RESOLUTIONS & EUGENE TRAINING WEEKLY RECAP #4

My apologies to those faithful readers out there who checked the blog on Friday to find nothin’ new. It’s not even February yet, and I’ve already broken my New Year resolution to keep a regular blogging schedule. Oh well. I’m here now to give you my training recap for week 4.

Monday: 7.14 miles at an 8:35 pace. Started the week off with a longer run than usual, since I had Monday off work. Given how horribly my long run went the day before, this didn’t feel too bad.

Tuesday: 4×1 mile repeats on the treadmill. Going into this workout, I thought FOR SURE I’d be running sub 7s. LOL. I have no idea where that delusion came from. Turns out mile repeats are way harder than I remembered. Paces were: 7:20, 7:15, 7:10, 7:05. All with a minute break in between. With warm up and cool down it was a total of 6 miles at 7:46 pace. I hope by the end of the training cycle I can get those sub 7 repeats.

Wednesday: This run went way better than I expected when I rolled out of bed. My legs were seriously struggling, but I warmed up pretty quickly and managed 7 miles at 8:35 pace again.

Thursday: Annnd another 7 at a slightly less comfortable pace. I was feeling pretty jazzed up because I had gotten a new pair of shoes in the mail on Wednesday. 7 miles at 8:24 pace. Even managed a sub 8 minute mile there at the end, which I was excited about. That doesn’t happen nearly as often at elevation as it did last year at sea-level.

Friday: Easy peasy run with Riley. Little over 4 miles at 9:57 pace. This was a big deal because his usual distance is around 3 miles. While he was not psyched at all to go for another mile, I’m pretty proud of him! He’ll be climbing 14ers with us in no time!

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 13 miles with S. 8:40 average pace, and an absolutely awful long run. We did two loops, one big (7 miles) and one smaller (6 miles) and we hit home base for a bit between to the two for a pit stop, water, and to shed some layers. The run, which was going fairly well up until then, took a turn for the worst and those last 6 miles were riddled with stomach pain and some serious muscle tightening. Plus, the temperature went from 24 degrees to about 50, so my tights and long sleeves were really NOT appreciated by the end of the run. I’m crossing my fingers that I can get a good long run in next week, because in 2 weeks I RACE and I honestly can’t imagine that going well at this point.

Goals Check-in:

I’d just like to start this portion off by making excuses. Super healthy and admirable, I know. But I just want to remind you all that Sarad’s parents were here all week so healthy habits were not a *thing.*

I did NOT make it to the track for my 800s, but my mile repeats went fairly well, so I’m easing up on myself for that one.

I did NOT stretch/foam roll/torture myself three times. I didn’t even do this twice. That’s no ok.

Only managed 2 runs at a sub 8:30 pace. This was a little disappointing, since my long run was on track for the first 7 miles.

Hit a 44 mile week, which is a pretty big deal because I’ve never climbed this high, this early in training. Normally I’m hitting 45ish miles when I’m running 16+ miles. So, this might also explain why my paces are a little off.

Goals for Next Week:

  • Seriously. STRETCH/FOAM ROLL. While my muscles are noticeably less sore  than they have been (they’re finally adapting to training again), I race in less than 2 weeks and need to be in tip top shape.
  • Cut back my miles. Will likely drop down to below 40 to “taper” for Run to Remember LA
  • Practice healthy habits before and during my long run this week. I really need one to go well, since my confidence is a little shaken and that’s not a good place to be right before a race.
  • Get my speed workout in. This is going to be a very busy work week for me, and I’m worried that my speed session will be the first thing to go.
  • Less wine, more water at night. Even if I only have a glass of wine with dinner, I’ve been noticing lately it’s been impacting my sleep. I haven’t been sleeping through the night, and it’s showing on my face (so pretty), and in my running/attitude. I need to get some more sleep this week, or everyone around me will PAY.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for Wednesday where there will be more pictures and hopefully some exciting news!

 

 

 

 

BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS

So I stumbled across some life-threatening bad news last week. A study was just released that running while stressed or anxious can lead to a HEART ATTACK. So, naturally, they suggest maybe not doing that. It basically goes against everything we runners have ever known! Also, if it is actually true, I’ve escaped death roughly a billion times in the last 10-15 years. I guess that makes me more or less immortal. I’m guessing a few of you probably are, too.

That’s my bad news for the day.

My GOOD news is actually not my good news at all. But Hungry Runner Girl  is doing a Brooks giveaway and you should all participate. But you should all also hope that I win, because I NEVER win stuff like this.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few things from our Tuesday. Sarad’s parents are in town so we’ve been showing them all around Colorado and Denver. One of the things we did was go to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave and I gotta say, it was pretty neat.

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Turns out Bill was quite the feminist. I dig it, Bill.

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And I just want to go on the record and say that I lasso’ed the cow’s ear on my FIRST TRY. Guess who didn’t lasso the cow at all?

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Happy Wednesday, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

EUGENE TRAINING WEEKLY RECAP #3

Hi guys, it’s me again. One more week done, some goals met…some wayyy off. Here’s where we’re at for week three:

Monday: 7 miles on the treadmill, 8:22 average pace. The first four miles went flying by but man, finishing it up was rough. I got crazy dizzy and had to take a brief break before hopping back on for the last three. Does this kind of dizziness happen to anyone else?

Tuesday: 7 miles on the treadmill, 5 miles at tempo pace (7:36 average). I was so happy with this run, and completely shocked. I had one mile w/u and then a quick 5 miles that felt great, and one mile c/d. 7:48 average for all 7 miles!

Wednesday: 6.12 miles OUTSIDE, IN 55 DEGREE WEATHER with an average of 8:39s. Running in a tank top and shorts in January felt pret-ty awesome.

Thursday: 5.15 miles OUTSIDE, IN 55 DEGREE WEATHER with an average of 8:27s. Running in a tank top and shorts in January TWO DAYS IN A ROW felt even better!

Friday: 5.15 miles again, 8:40 average and back in tights and long sleeves…BOOO.

Saturday: REST

Sunday: 11 miles, 8:45 average and felt AWFUL. Lesson learned: I need at least 2 hours between a heavy meal and a long run. My stomach was simply not having it.

Weekly total: 41.4 miles!

Not a bad week in terms of running, but let’s talk about the goals that I set and failed to meet.

MET: Weekly mileage should hit 40 this week. Boom. 41.4 miles. Good job, me.

DIDN’T MEET: 5 x 400s on the track—hoping to do these outside. Not taking the blame for this one. We got hit with some nasty weather and the track wasn’t clear on Tuesday. Did a tempo instead because math is hard and I didn’t have faith in my ability to keep track (PUN INTENDED) of everything on the treadmill.

MET: Hoping to get at least 2 runs below an 8:30 average pace. Not to brag, but I went above and beyond here with THREE runs below 8:30 average pace. That’s right, we’re counting the 8:27s from Thursday.

DIDN’T MEET: SERIOUSLY, MAKE SUNDAY MY REST DAY. Yep, failed again!

DIDN’T MEET: Water, all the water, all the days. I’m just going to assume I can always do better at hydrating.

DIDN’T MEET: Introduce a fueling mechanism to this week’s long run. With my stomach wreaking havoc on my body, there was NO way this was going to happen.

DIDN’T MEET: Stretch/foam roll/torture myself every. single. day. this week. Ok, I said this was going to be ambitious. I just didn’t realize how ambitious. I foam rolled for a grand total of ONE time this week…Monday. Yikes.

Ok, so this week’s goals:

  • Let’s make it to the track for some 800s (weather permitting)
  • Stretch/foam roll/ torture myself AT LEAST THREE TIMES (slightly more realistic?)
  • Shooting for another 3 runs at sub 8:30 pace
  • Going for another 40+ mile week
  • Set more realistic goals

In other news, I finished this book by Amby Burfoot and seriously cannot recommend it enough. I dogeared nearly every page and desperately want to befriend Amby as a running pal/life bestie now. Seriously, pick up a copy today.

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That’s it for me, friends. See you on Wednesday!

HOW TO DEAL WITH PAIN

Fair warnings guys:

1. I’m not writing this from my Italian chateau, so there’s that disappointment we all have to cope with (I’m sorry).

And 2. This post is going to be extremely sentimental and definitely cheesy, so if that’s not your flavor today, time to bail. See you on Monday.

So for those of you people looking for some brilliant insight, here we go.

Thursday was a bit of a tough day for me. Emotionally, I was just not in a good place. I was taking things very personally, creating problems in my head, and overall was behaving like a little dysfunctional shell of anxiety and pain. So, naturally, I went for a run to cope with all my feelings.

Going into the run I knew I didn’t want to make it about pace or distance. I threw my training plan out the window and just let my emotions take over (read: I sprung off my doorstep like a bat out of Hell and died about 3 miles later). And in that time, I DID sort some things out and reached a brilliant-new-to-me-insight that strangely enough, brought me a lot of comfort. Stick with me, and maybe it’ll do the same for you.

Now, we’ve all heard that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Most of the time the annoying person who says that is simply trying to say, “slow down and pace yourself.” But life really IS like a marathon, and in more ways than one. The one aspect I want to focus on today is very up lifting. It’s the element of pain.

 

 

As most experienced marathoners know, you can rarely—if ever—get through 26.2 miles without dealing with some “discomfort.” (Lol, it’s gonna huuuuurt).  The good news (?) is, this happens to everyone, so you’re not alone. The maybe-bad-news is, you’re going to have to deal with it, more or less alone. SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER EXPERIENCE WE’VE ALL SHARED, EH? 

In marathons and in life, everyone experiences pain and everyone deals with it differently. How we choose to do so is based on a  variety of factors: our past experiences, our training, our mental toughness, how we’re built, etc. So, taking all of these things into account I’ve thought of four ways you can deal with discomfort when it comes your way.

  1. You can distract yourself. Music! Crowds! Counting!….Netflix! Hobbies! RUNNING! Distracting yourself is a great and effective way of dealing with pain. Your real life therapist may suggest you have repression issues, but he/she isn’t here and I say keep on keepin’ on. Here’s the catch though: this isn’t an option for everyone. Some people (me) are just not wired to do this—in running or in life. I believe you have to have the astounding ability to compartmentalize and unfortunately my brain just doesn’t DO that.
  2. You can help someone else cope with their pain. “The best way to help yourself is to help someone else.” Very true and helpful for running and life. There’s usually someone who is hurting just as much, if not more, than you. Find them and help them power through. If all goes according to plan, you’ll both feel better.
  3. Dwell. NOTE: THIS IS NOT HEALTHY AND I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. I can say that because this is my technique (AND MY BLOG). When my feelings are hurt or I’m certain my legs are about to fall off, I can’t stop thinking about it. I overthink it to death and as a result, come up with a whole slew of new problems. Not only is this a major downer, but it also makes everything much harder—including recovery. I just assume it takes me roughly 60-100 days longer than average to recover from a tough race or life challenge, because I beat myself up so much. Don’t do it. Or if you do, STOP IT. Let’s quit together.
  4. Take. It. On. This is the best method I can think of, and the one I now know I want to use moving forward. I believe that this is what you see elite athletes/brave people do every day. When pain hits, they say, “Hello, pain. Care to go for a run?”, and power through. They learn from it. They embrace it. They take in only that which makes them stronger (+10 points to your House if you get that reference). They don’t shy away from it, they don’t dwell on it. They simply accept it as fact and go with it.

Guys, we’re all going to face pain in life. There’s just no way to avoid it. Trust me, I’ve tried. But when you can get to the point where you accept it as a simple side effect of life (and marathons) you can stop fearing it so much. And well, I’ve HEARD, that’s when “the good stuff”happens. So pop some Advil, put on your running shoes, and embrace the pain. We’ll all be right there beside you.