Monday, December 31, 2012

Does it count as a PR* if no one saw you do it?

aka, Operation Jack Satellite Run recap:

Inspired by Krissy's half marathon PR* on Saturday, I decided to give a half PR a shot during my 16 miles on Sunday. You know. Just for fun?

Easy 1.9 warm up, 2:09:09 13.1, easy 1 cool down.

Yeah. That's right. 2:09:09. That's. 2:21 pr over my last half (which was PCRF in May).

Splits:
10:21, 10:10, 10:10, 10:01, 9:59, 9:50, 10:03, 9:48, 9:47, 9:48, 9:38, 9:36, 8:45, 8:45.

Heeeeeey, negative splits.

I don't have any half marathons on my radar (besides runDisney events, which totally don't count), so this was an interesting exercise. It certainly didn't feel as hard as I would have expected - just like normal tempo run tough, not like 5k-I-will-puke-momentarily tough.

I also had pretty tired legs - 8 kinda hilly miles the day before had me feeling a bit fatigued. Weird, since the 10/20 last weekend was so great. Eh. I also had a blister from the 8 miles (which is new, and I'm not entirely sure how it happened, because it's never happened before?) that I forgot to take care of. Kind of annoying, until it popped a few miles in and then it was just... Icky.

Anyway.

This is what a virtual run PR* looks like, I guess.







Thursday, December 27, 2012

Throwback Thursday - 2 Years Ago

Two years ago, at Gabby's pre-school holiday party, I noticed some red dots around her eyes...
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I took her to the doctor - she'd had a cough, but so did everyone in her class. I didn't think much of it, but the dots were a little disconcerting. The doctor checked her out a little, but said it was likely just from the coughing, and that it would fade away.

That was the week before Christmas.

The holidays are always busy for us (like everyone, I know). I work in consumer goods, so Christmas is BUSY, and immediately after is busy with returns. #1's birthday is January 2nd. It's general chaos. I remember being vaguely concerned about Gab, but in general, assumed the time away from the sick kids in her class, and resting at home, would cure the nagging cough. I am a pretty tough mother to rattle.

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Exactly one week after this picture was taken, Gabby was admitted to the pediatric oncology ICU, and diagnosed with leukemia.

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Looking at those pictures now, I cannot fathom how we didn't realize soemthing was wrong with her. She looks so tired, so pale.

In the end, it didn't really matter, the course of treatment for her would have been the same, regardless of when she was diagnosed.

As I have the last two years, I'm fundraising for Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

PCRF is a local organization, which is one reason I like working with them. I joined them for their first fundraising season, and I've met amazing people working with them. Another, big, reason I selected PCRF to focus my efforts on, is that they commit a high percentage of their funds to go directly to pediatric cancer research. Since their inception 30 years ago, they have awarded over $24.5 million in research grants, funding research to improve treatments, improve the quality of life, and find a cure for childhood cancers. Sure, it's not much compared to the big TNT's out there, but they are passionate, and committed - and I love that.

Last year, during my fundraising, I was lucky to have a couple of guest bloggers, who detailed their experiences related to volunteering at children's hospitals and working with oncology patients. I wrote a lot (A LOT) about the numbers, the facts behind pediatric cancer research, the statistics.

This year, we're approaching the end of Gabby's treatment. She'll be officially released from treatment while I'm training with PCRF's VIP group to run the Reaching for the Cure Half Marathon in May.

This year, I want Gabby's journey to do the talking.

You can click HERE to donate to PCRF, to help find a cure. Or volunteer. Or just follow along, and spread the word. Pediatric cancer research is grossly underfunded, and needs all the help it can get.

Because cancer really, really sucks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is this how running a 50k begins to sound reasonable?

This weekend was my last set of long runs before the Goofy Challenge next month.

If you don't know what the Goofy Challenge is (how??), you can check it out here - runDisney makes it sound so fun. You run the Half Marathon Saturday, followed by the Full Marathon Sunday. Two races, three medals. What could possibly go wrong?
So for the last few months, I've been doing back to back weekend runs - 5-7 miles Saturday, and my normal long runs on Sunday.

I'm kind of at a point where running 5-7 miles is not really a big deal - I usually don't really feel fatigued or need any extra recovery after running this type of distance.

But this weekend was peak week - 10 miles Saturday, 20 miles Sunday.

I was a little terrified.

And, for some crack-head reason, decided that it would be ideal to run the 10 miles on some local trails by my house.

They aren't anything CRAZY, but certainly hilly and tougher than I normally would do. But, I'd been wanting to do this route with The H, and my Saturday miles were finally long enough to justify it.

And it was pretty great. We walked a fair amount of the uphills, but still ended up with a respectable sub-11 pace (good for me!) (as in, that's a decent pace for me on a hilly route, not yay me).

Aside from the H potentially experiencing frostbite (cured when he stole my armwarmers and gloves, and I TOLD YOU SO, dude), it was a lovely, uneventful run.

Sunday, I planned to do my 20 miles on the treadmill.

Since I'm a fairly slow long-runner, I was looking at FOUR HOURS on the treadmill. FOUR HOURS.

Lucky for me, Bravo was running a Top Chef marathon that lasted - it's fate, obviously - four hours. Excellent.

And there's nothing at all to report on this run, either. It was easy, I negative split the hell out of it, and I got caught up on Top Chef. Excellent.

And now I'm shopping around for a 50K. So there's that.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Troutman Sanders Renegade Santa Run - 10K Recap



The Troutman Sanders Renegade Santa Run has been on my radar for a few years - it's put on by Renegade Racing, which is one of my favorite local race companies. Jonathan Pauley, the owner and RD, puts on some damn fine races -  they also organize the Reaching for the Cure Half in May, benefiting PCRF.

There are 10k, 5k, and 1k kids' runs available. Registration started at $25 for th 5k, and $35 for the 10k - SUPER reasonable. I lucked into an extra discount at an event they were doing, and I think I ended up paying $27 for the 10k. It was such a good deal, the H decided to run with me.

I mean, not WITH me, because he's way faster than I am.

We needed to pick up our bibs on race day, and left our house around 7am for an 8am start. Parking was a little crazy - the race starts in a residential area, near a park, and there is limited parking available at the start, some down the street, and additional parking a bit further away, with a bus avaialble. We REALLY lucked out on the weather - a few days earlier, it was showing rain in the forecast (AGAIN). But, it ended up blowing through earlier than expected, and it was dry and cool for the race.

After parking, getting our stuff together, and bibbing up, we made our way to the start corrals about 15 min before the start. They have a LOT of kids running this race (it's a WeROCK event). There were some announcements about how to line up at the start - there were pace groups set up, by signs, and they even emphasized that walkers should stay towards the back (I LOVE THAT).

Angry Julie snuck up on me with a few minutes to go, and because she's a better blogger than I am, took a picture of us. I'm lame, and didn't even bring a camera. Oops.

BUT this is what I wore. Spoiler, sparkles make you faaaaaaaast.


The race started right on time, and it was TIGHT. The 5k and 10k start together, and it's on a bike path, and there's just not a ton of room to maneuver. We were warned that it would be a little tight, and it wasn't a joke. It spread out a bit more once we got about a mile in, so it wasn't awful.

My goal going into the race was to PR - my PR of 59:34 was set back in February at Race on the Base, and I really wanted to obliterate it. I was shooting for a 9:15 overall pace (for a 57:28 time), but kind of wanted to beat the H's RotB time of 56:13. No real reason, I just felt like it.

I got zero pictures of anything. The course was nice enough, all run on bike trails - a lot of dirt trail for the 10k. There were no hills, per se, BUT there is a lot of gradual uphill that lasts kind of a long time.
In general, everything heading to the west and north is a gentle uphill. It wasn't too bad until around mile 5, when I tried pushing the pace a little, and I definitely felt it.

There were a few aid stations, and they all had plenty of water from what I saw (I didn't stop for any). There were volunteers at all of the turn arounds, directing traffic. It was a really well supported race.

Because of the out and backs, I was able to see The H twice - once at mile 3ish, and once around mile 5.5ish. He was gliding along all fancy like it was effortless. I see where #1 gets it....

The ONLY complaint I have, is crossing the bridge just after mile 5, there were a LOT of people leaving the race, meandering along, and taking up a lot of the narrow path. There was just not a ton of room to accomodate that. And, running in the last .2, it was the same - a lot of people, and a lot of KIDS darting across the course. I probably lost a little bit of time there, but it is what it is. It's not a closed course, so you can't really stop people from walking home, I GUESS.

The H KILLED his race, coming in at 50:44 with a 5.5 minute PR.

Me?

55:55.

I KNOW.

Average 9:01 pace, and a 3+ minute PR.

Splits: 9:15, 9:08, 9:10, 8:58, 9:16, 8:58, 8:13.


THE END, maybe I should just retire now.


The world ain’t half as bad as they paint it to be...

Last Week:
Tuesday: 7 miles
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: oops
Saturday: Make Room for Santa 10k
Sunday: 16 easy


This Week:
Monday: Cross Training
Tuesday: 7 miles
Wednesday: Yoga/Rest/Cross Training
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: Rest/Cross Training
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 20 miles (!!)

I'll recap the 10k, and other weekend festivities, tomorrow....


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Unlike almost any other news story since probably 9/11, this story has weighed heavily on me. It has simultaneously transfixed me - I need to read the events, I need to know how this happened - and rendered me incapable of even following along - I cannot look at the pictures of those kids, I can't watch the stories of their families.

I am not sure what about it speaks so resonantly - maybe because I have a kindergartner, or I have a kindergartner that I was so close to losing, that now I am hyper aware of that potential. It's unspeakable.

Without going into politics, I don't think this is a gun control issue. People who are ready to do something this insane, are not going to allow a law to simply stop them.

I ran my long run on the treadmill Sunday, flipping between Chopped and Real Housewives of somewhere, carefully avoiding the CNN feed on the treadmill next to me.

While I was running, that lyric stood out to me. It's so, so easy to get caught up in the bad, so easy to think the world is just hard and unfair.

It is - it IS hard and unfair sometimes. But chances are, you're also really, really blessed with a lot of things.

Those things, that's what is way more important. The world isn't bad. It's not. I can't believe that it is.

You can donate here to Sandy Hook School Support Fund, via the United Way of Western Connecticut. You can also donate here to the non-profit mental health clinic Newton Youth and Family Services, who are providing support for the families and community.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Plan for the Week

CIM recovery has gone pretty well. I feel good, and nothing feels like it's injured or needs rest. I reverse-tapered last week, and it wasn't terrible.

I spent the entire week eating ridiculous things, and saying, "But I JUST ran a marathon!". Yeah. A week, and a jillion calories ago, lady. STOP IT.

Food is just so delicious.

Tuesday: Super easy pace with my neighbor. Felt good - a little tight, but nothing funky.
Saturday: 5 miles, with 4x800. I did the 800's at my 10k goal pace, and it was HARD. My legs are still sleepy.
Sunday: 11 easy miles on the treadmill, watching Alias.
21 miles total

Sadly, I think CIM wrecked my beloved Glycerin's - my feet were pretty achy about 8 miles in, which has NEVER happened with that shoe. Boo.

This week...
Tuesday: 7 miles, strides
Thursday: 7 miles easy
Saturday: 10k... with a PR attempt?? Maaaaaybe?
Sunday: 16 miles ugggghhhhhh

Next time I think marathons 5 weeks apart is a good plan, I hope someone kicks me.

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Over the weekend, we took Gabby and #2 to a birthday party...
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I MADE THAT BOW. Be impressed. I also made that kid, but the bow is bigger than her head.
 
...while #1 and I headed to the mall to see Breaking Dawn.

Except the theater was closed, along with THE ENTIRE FOOD COURT, due to a power outage. What the heck, Irvine.

We spent the time instead shopping for Christmas presents for everyone....
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Gift wrapping benefits a local high school's Make a Wish fundraiser - winning for lazy-yet-charitable people!
...and for meeeee
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It was a good weekend to be me.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I might be alone in this, but you guys, CIM was, like, MAGIC. First, this is the ONLY chafing I got, despite running hours through the rainiest rain ever.

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Second, Jerk Shin is magically healed. No pain when I run, very very VERY minimal pain if I start poking and hitting it. Maybe it was the hours of ice bath WHILE I RAN, but whatever. I'll take it.
CIM = Magic.

2. Good news: I lost a couple pounds during taper (or the Bob Harper two weeks of madness that I did, whatever). Bad news: my two favorite Lulu skirts don't fit me quite right yet. Good news: They've released a new Chase Me, MY FAVORITE, plus a beautiful striped Pace Setter THAT I NEED. Bad news: I have a policy against buying anything for myself during the holidays just in case. {Do you hear that H? This skirt and this skirt}.

3. This Elf business? With the creepy little doll that you move around and put in wacky scenarios every.single.day? That isht is WEIRD. Maybe I'm bah humbugy (but I don't think so, I LOVE HOLIDAYS), but I don't have a brain creative enough to come up with scenarios, nor do I have the patience to make a mess, and then CLEAN IT the next day. No way, no thanks, nope.

This is kind of how I feel about it. Please don't be offended and shun me now, thanks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CIM part 2 - Sacramento was pretty great, also.

Saturday, Becka and I wandered around Sacramento's weird mall, cute downtown area, the smallest Lulu ever, and dark alleys with strange art....
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WHAT.


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Mile 26, you're so pretty!
The expo was the EASIEST thing ever. We were in, picked up our packets, picked up our goodie bags (with our SUPER AWESOME head scarf things that I'm pretty sure saved my life on Sunday), and out in record time. The adorable t-shirt table volunteers even wrote something on my bag that I'm assuming means "Hey, awesome person, good luck to you in the typhoon, maybe build an ark!".
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But, really, if you know how to translate this, let me know....

We headed for lunch at Firestone Pub. When we saw "Giant Bavarian Pretzel" on the menu, we had to try it.. giant salty carbs?? Perfect!
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While we were eating (avocado egg rolls - DELICIOUS), it started monsooning a little bit. It had probably only rained for about 20 minutes, and we walked out to this....
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Huh.

We headed over to Pizza Rock a few hours later for some more carbs....

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Verdict: Pizza, delicious. Service, meh. But getting to see ReneighRuns? The best ever.
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We also saw B's friends Luke and Courtney from Colorado, fellow SFM Ambassador CourtPancakes, the elusive (non-unicorn!) Alyssa, and tons of other twitter-ers/bloggers.

B and I headed back to the hotel (after a non-successful search high and low for donut holes - REALLY, Sacramento, what do you have against delicous breakfasts?!) pretty early, got our stuff together, and I think went to sleep around 10.

Then we ran in a typhoon.

After the typhoon, we found a Starbucks, headed back to the hotel, grabbed lunch, then off to the airport.

Our hotel - which I haven't really mentioned, but should - was GREAT. I waited until kind of the last minute, and everything near the host hotel/finish area was either booked solid or cost billions of dollars. On a wing and a prayer, I hotwired a hotel, and we ended up about 2 miles away from the finish area, AT ONE OF THE CIM HOTELS. It was pure luck. They offered free shuttle rides to/from the airport, and to/from downtown, and the CIM buses picked up at the hotel. It was A STEAL, at $60. I would totally stay there again. The hotel is kind of older and a little run down (but they are currently renovating!), and probably not in the best of areas, but not a huge deal for me, and with the shuttle, it was irrelevant becuase we weren't wandering through the neighborhood in the dark :D. They also had a free hot breakfast in the mornings, which started after we left for the race. They did put out pastries and fruit for the runners, though, which was nice. Hawthorn Suites - A++.

My fueling (I hate saying that, it sounds kind of obnoxious) was pretty weird on race day. I ate a cheese danish on the bus. I did NOT have coffee, which is new - I always have coffee. I carried a water bottle of Nuun, which I chucked around mile 8? I could NOT drink while we were running, and it honestly was just hard for me to look up enough to take a drink out of it - had it been a normal sports bottle, maybe I could have, but not the regular bottle of water. I was kind of concerned I'd become dehydrated, which I did recognize as stupid and ironic, considering I was running in the most water ever. But I just wasn't drinking a lot. I think I took 3 GU's on the course, and took PowerAde or whatever the sports drink was a few times. But that was it. I didn't feel like I needed more, so I just didn't take in more. Considering we were out there for six hours, I'm kind of surprised I didn't die.

I will say, that we spent a ridiculous amount of time scoping out breakfast options (specifically, the very elusive DONUTS) while we were on the course. Had the right Starbucks/donuts options come along some time in the first 2 hours, it's totally possible we might have stopped running right there.

What we wore: I was concerned about the weather. In SoCal, I don't have tons of opportunity to test running in (1) cold or (2) downpours. I ended up wearing capris, knee socks, a tank, fingerless gloves, and a windbreaker. I also had a garbage bag on for around 10 miles, before the wind rendered it ineffective. And the headband wrapped up on my head like a skull cap. I brought an actual hat, but I'm glad I didn't wear it - I saw a couple people lose control of their headwear, so I think it would have some disaster potential in the wind. Around mile 23, I sure wished I'd brought my sunglasses, but come on. Who knew. Anyway, I was pretty comfortable, and didn't feel too cold/hot.

Since CIM, I feel REALLY good. I ran 5 easy miles last night with my neighbor, and nothing feels off or bad, just a little tired and tight.

Maybe long, slow marathons are my thing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Typhoon Running: Not Highly Recommended

I've got to say. The weather was not great, clearly. It was NOT A JOKE when the forecast said 100% chance of rain. They meant it.

BUT.

I freaking LOVED CIM. I mean, I'm partial to run-nesia, so it's possible I'm mis-remembering, but I am pretty sure I had fun. Once I realized I could not talk Becka into quitting, I think, I decided to just take the pelting rain bullets and run as much as we could.

For us, the rain stopped around mile 20, and it was GLORIOUS after that - cool, slight breeze, and the course is just lovely. (Don't ask me about the first 10 miles, I have NO IDEA what was happening - every time I looked up, I was stabbed in the eyeball by rain).

Even under really, really crappy conditions, CIM was fantastic. The logistics worked out beautifully - I was confused by the bus ticket situation, but it completely made sense once it was actually in practice - the course support was pretty amazing, the volunteers were great, and there were spectators - SPECTATORS - out in that weather. The course seemed really pretty from what I could tell, but I have no idea about the hills, since I kept my head down a LOT. I did NOT go for a PR - it was a PW by a good 20+ minutes. Once I saw the conditions, I let it go.

That's really all of a recap that I have to give - I thought it was an amazing race, and I'll do it again. I feel like it needs a do-over.

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not a lie.
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A bit breezy...

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First river crossing. I guess this picture has been shared a billion times on the internet machine, but it's mine. That really happened.
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Chickens are immune to rain?

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So pretty!

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Really, really pretty!


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Yum.

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Shiny.

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