Monday, October 31, 2011

Plan for the Week, and a quick race recap

Last week...
- 5 mile walk/jog down Balboa Peninsula. Holy CRAP my legs were tired after a crappy 10 miles the day before. But, I felt fantastic after the shake-out.
Wednesday - Intended to do 6x400; hit 2x400, had an asthma attack, and couldn't get my breathing under control. Called it a day after 1.75 miles. The only good thing about this was it was the first time trying speed work outside (aside from the Random 10K), and both times I hit my goal time dead on, while struggling. So that was good to know, I guess.
Friday - Best concert I've ever been to (recap here, if you're into that type of thing)
Sunday - Richard Leary 6 Hour Challenge. 13.11 run, 1.09 walk.

This week...
- Recovery walk posing as Trick or Treating
Tuesday - I'd like to say hills. But I am leaning towards re-doing my 400's. I like 400's more than hills.
Thursday - Mother effing tempo run. 5 miles. Hate tempo so much.
Saturday - a billion miles....

Richard Leary 6 Hour Challenge - Recap

Full disclosure: I woke up and almost didn't go. I was crampy (yep, that crampy), just tired, I think I'm getting a cold, it was freezing outside, etc etc etc. Then I saw ChaCha's tweet that she was on her way up from a billion miles away, and I decided I would have like a giant loser if I didn't get over to the race that was 3 minutes away from my house. Loooooser. So I did.

But I wasn't pleasant about it. Sorry, ChaCha and Sarah. It was cold.


The race was a 1.09 mile loop through Mason Regional Park, and you just run until you quit. Or time runs out, if you're way more hardcore than me. Even though this park is only a few miles from my house, and it's GIANT, and beautiful, I've only ever been here once before - this was the scene of the giant PCRF meltdown back in May.

But it is pretty.


There were a LOT of birds.


A LOT. And I am not a fan of water fowl.

I think I posted previously that I was planning on 15-ish. I told The H Saturday night I wanted to get in at least 12-13. I knew I was tired, crampy, and just wanted to take it slow and easy.

In other words, this was not a race. And I wasn't going to race it.

4 minutes run, 1 minute walk, repeat times a million. 2:35 later, 13.11 miles complete.

Of note: I had to stop for a restroom break a few times (annoying). I stopped and chatted with Sam's wife in mile 12 (If you don't know about Operation Jack, click HERE and read their story). I had some weird, new-to-me dead leg feeling in my left quad around mile 10 and walked an extra walk break. It cramped up briefly, but cleared up. My stomach was all wonky, the whole time, so I didn't end up taking as many GU as I normally would.

All of that, and only 5 minutes slower than Long Beach.

Something is seriously wrong with my brain when I put on a timing chip. I don't know what happens to me, but I suddenly develop amnesia and forget that I know how to run just fine. Someday, it will sink in, and I'll race like a human being and not a zombie.

I really liked the 1 mile looped course. It sounds like it would get easy to get bored, but I didn't feel like I got bored at all - in fact, I almost quit sometime in the mile 9.5-10 range, but talked myself into "just one more" lap... and by then I was so close to a half, I had to finish it. It's just short enough that it's pretty much nothing - I can do anything for a mile, right? For me, it was a rad distance.

The weather and the course ended up being perfect - it was lovely and cool in the shade. The sun was definitely warm, but there was plenty of shade to balance that.

After I checked in, and collected my rad medal...


I walked another lap to cool down (not counted in my official mileage), and ran into ChaCha, who was finishing her laps. We hung out, watched the rest of the runners come in, and had a grand time stretching and being lazy in the sun. Also, I was told I had the best outfit of the day. So there's that.

If my brain had been working, I would have realized how close I was to 15, and just lapped a few more times. But it's like my brain shuts off, and I cannot process coherant thoughts while I'm running. Oh well. Maybe next weekend. No hurry, right?

Team So Much Cooler Online had a good showing... (stolen from Sarah)


(Normal People Kat and ChaCha, The Flamingo, The Giant

....and then.... this happened.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slipped my mind that I could use my brain....

I am a BIG fan of music. I know, most people are, so it's probably not that special, but really. I dig music, a lot. When I was a freshman in high school, I went to a school that was an hour (plus) bus ride from my house. We had a LOT of time on our hands. My friends and I all had this tape (like, yes, a tape), on one side was Violent Femmes, American Music. The other side, was Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray. It pretty much rocked my entire high school life, and these two bands remain two of my favorites to this day. Actually, I think I have more Lemonheads songs on my playlist than any other band.

I'd had the opportunity to see Violent Femmes several times, and they were consistently awesome. But Lemonheads eluded me.

Until I accidentally happened to see an ad on Facebook. Normally I ignore these, all of them. I'm not sure how this one caught my eye, but it did. So I was SUPER psyched when I saw that Lemonheads were playing a small local venue, in just a few days.

The Coach House is in interesting place. Kind of a dining hall. Kind of a bar. With a stage. I got there plenty early, and scored a seat (at a banquet table...) right next to the stage. There was a dinner option, but I passed, and hung out at the table with my coke.

Evan Dando sat at the next table over for a bit and watched the first act. We bonded, I'm pretty sure. Just setting the stage for our BFF'ness.

The first band was mediocre. I swear the (older) front man was wearing jeggings. It was disconcerting.

The second band, The Gromble, was pretty great. Sort of a mix between Violent Femmes, Vampire Weekend, and something else that I can't quite peg. But they were good, and put on a good show. If you're in the area, find them.

Plus, I'm a sucker for a horn section.


Then there was this.

Evan Dando played an acoustic set for about 30 minutes.

The rest of the band came out afterwards, and played the It's a Shame About Ray album, start to finish.

Yeah, that's upside down. Oops.

There was a projector onstage, that I was intrigued by before they started, and the entire time they played, it showed random footage of driving around, snow, open fields... a bird...

They played a couple other songs from their other albums...



And then Evan spent some more time solo, playing requests from the (small) audience.

It was amazing.

I've been lucky enough to see a lot of my favorites live, and I really enjoy when people sound as good live as they do recorded. Evan Dando has a beautiful voice, and somehow, it's even better live. These videos really don't even do him justice.

After they finished playing, he hung out and signed autographs, chatted with everyone, and took pictures.


I tried to take a picture, as well, but I have a new phone, and couldn't figure it out.

Thankfully, Evan Dando is techno smarter than me.

Me: Shoot, I don't know how to do this....
BFF Evan: Oh, you have a new iPhone. Here, look, you can push this... and flip it around.

I don't know that guy on the left. (No, really, I don't know him, or where he came from).

But obviously, I have a new BFF.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We must travel in the direction of our fear.

This post was full of glorious, pain-stakingly selected images, because I swear, I know how boring and tough it is to read through a billion lines of just text. However, my photobucket was over max bandwidth, thanks to a picture i posted somewhere and have now removed. So I know pictures aren't showing, sorry about that, should be back to normal soon. But in the mean time, enjoy my bullet points and descriptions of what I intended this post to look like.

  • I've been in a funk lately. Nothing is wrong, necessarily. I'm not unhappy, at all. Just feel... unsettled? I don't know. It's disconcerting.

  • {pretend there is a picture here of a superhero LOLCat leaping to my rescue}

  • And when I can't pinpoint why I'm funk-ish, it's tough to figure out how to undo the funk.

  • {and one here of an LOLCat with a verrry low Care-o-Meter}

  • I'm really, REALLY excited that I accidentally found that one of my favorite bands of ever is playing locally, THIS FRIDAY night. Seriously, it was fate. I'm destined to be at this concert. And, it was $18. NOTHING in OC is ever just $18. Fate, obviously. AND, they're playing my favorite of their albums in full. Weird, right? But glorious for me!

  • {here's a non-picture of the Lemonheads It's a Shame About Ray album}

  • There's still time to register for the Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge. There may (or may not....) be a couple other SoCal bloggers and myself hanging out on a blanket celebrating *ahem* a great race after we're done with our laps. And by celebrating *ahem*, I mean brunch. Obviously.

  • If you don't think you can make it out on Sunday for the local event, there's a great satellite option as well - only $35, and you still get the tee and the fancy lookin' medal! Plus, the race benefits two great causes, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (link HERE) and Train 4 Autism (link HERE).

  • The lovely Jesse at Journey Thru Life is celebrating a birthday today - go say happy birthday!
    {Random picture of Gabby with a french fry mustache}

    Becka reminded me this morning that we have FIVE RACES TOGETHER in 2012! That's SUPER exciting for me, because she's pretty much one of my favorite people ever, and it's rough on our BFF'ness that we live states apart. 2012 has to be fantastic now.

  • {picture of baby animals as BFF's, because we're cute and super cuddly. It's true.}

  • I did a "recovery" "run" on Monday night after the worst 10 miler ever on Sunday. We tried to jog, but man. That was tough. Tired legs are lazy legs. BUT, it worked - I felt GLORIOUS yesterday. Who knew... Oh. Right. ALL THE OTHER RUNNERS did.

  • The RnR NOLA madness Monday... holy crow. In general, I'm not really a fan of the RnR races. Too big, too expensive, not Disney, not worth it for me. I was talked into RnR Seattle, thanks to peer pressure from THIS one. But otherwise, I'm really not interested in NOLA, I don't really care for the city, the RnR series is just too big, too expensive, and not Disney enough for me. But that didn't stop me from spending a fair amount of time trying to convince The H I should go. Turns out, he knows us, oh so well. Heh.
  • {picture here of our text convo, concluding with him saying "You are not turning into Becka". Rude.}

  • And now that he's aware he was kind of being punked, I apologize, H. It was all for my amusement. I'm a terrible, terrible wife. And you're stuck with me.

  • {Giggling LOLCat}

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last week was pretty quiet around these parts. I was tired. That's all, really. No other excuses. Gabby has been staying up super late, I have to get up early for work, I was just exhausted. Oh well.

Tuseday: 5 miles, hills
Saturday: intended to do a trail run with the H, but Gab was up until almost 2 am. We woke up at 8:45. By then, it's too warm out. Oh well.
Sunday: 10 sucktastic miles. No, really. They sucked. All of them.

This week...
Monday: 5-ish recovery miles walk/jog at Balboa Peninsula
Wednesday: 400's that I skipped last week
Friday: Hilllllls. Again.
Sunday: The Richard Leary 6 hour challenge. I was originally going to attempt 15 miles. That was the plan, when I was going to run 13 yesterday. But I didn't. So... we'll see. I'll do at least 13. Maybe a couple more if I feel like it. Slow and easy. I have no time goals for this one.

Saturday I'm going to a memorial service for a lovely woman who was a teammate of mine on the PCRF VIP Training team in May. She battled cancer and lost. I am really, really tired of cancer.

I am not officially fundraising yet, but my fundraising site for PCRF is up and accepting donations - link HERE. You can also join Team Gabby either as a local runner/walker or a virtual participant. Link to our team page HERE.

And because this bummer of a post is pretty bleh, here's a random picture that I like.


And two more to balance out the pictures of my kids. I don't really know what is happening here... neither of them actually wear glasses.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Hill work: Tuesday, ran random hill program on the treadmill. I don't have any hills in the vicinity that would work for this, particularly in the dark. Bummer. 4 miles random hill program at level 7, @ 10:41 pace; 1 mile cool down. It was hard. HARD. But I didn't die, so I guess it was okay.

2. Gabby washed her hair last night. It's been over NINE MONTHS since she's needed her hair washed. I mean, her head gets cleaned, but hard to shampoo if there's no hair. But, last night. SHAMPOO!!!!!!

3. To expand on #2, Gabby washed her hair last night, on her own, and in doing so, shampooed my bathroom. It was bubbly. It was also super hard to discipline her. "My hair is getting long, I needed to wash it." How do you argue with that?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I swear, this isn't how I intended things to go.

It started with this...


And then there was this...


And I tried, so hard, to resist....


But there was this....


A girl can only take so much.

"Come Run With Me!" page, updated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dirty, dirty, dirty

I FINALLY tried trail running.

Before I was ever a runner, I was a hiker. I lived in SoCal alone for months when I got a great job, and my kids were finishing out the school year in Florida. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I hiked. A lot. I loved the trails, I love the beauty of the hills and the way the land changes with the seasons (it's true!).

I even got The H to hike a few times, and it was grand.

And then I ran, and the hiking took a back seat. Such a bummer, because I really miss it. But between work, kids, cooking, life, I just can't squeeze in everything I want to do all the time. It's truly unfair, that there are only 24 hours in a day.

I've been following Lauren On the Run's blog for a few months now, and am always super jealous of her - all galavanting about on the trails, running, happy, shiny. But I have been pretty well focused on training for Long Beach for months...

So here I am. Between races. I'm not in SUPER hard core training mode right now. The weather is pretty much perfect for being out on the trails. Why not?

I wanted to start small, and with a trail I'm familiar with - I always have this fear that I'm going to get lost in the (vast) Orange County wilderness. I'm a moron, because obviously I won't. But it terrifies me anyway. So after much waffling, I decided to try Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and the Laurel and Willow Canyon Trails.


I meant to get up early enough to hit the parking lot at 8am when it opens, but I didn't. And it's fine, I was freaking exhausted - last week was super busy, and I'd been getting up super early for over a week, so sleeping in an extra hour was like heaven. Plus, unlike my long runs during training, this was only about a 3.5 mile loop, so it would only be about an hour, not 2-2.5 like a long run. Easy peasy.

Obviously, fate was on my side...


The hillsides in OC go all brown during the summer, since we don't get a drop of rain for something like a million and five days, but the trail is so scenic, it makes up for the brown fields of grass...


YELLOW LEAVES!! I'm a sucker for fall.

I'm also a sucker for cool geology, and took a hike on this trail once led by a geologist, who pointed out some interesting (if you're a geek like me) features...


No, seriously. That's a REAL fault line. Like, that cause earthquakes. Pretty neat, right?

The first part of the trail is fairly flat and sandy, through fields, before you head up into Laurel Canyon... then it climbs up to the ridge. I was pretty slow once I got into the canyon, because, let's be honest, I am grateful every time I move that I don't end up on my ass. There's this....


The trail is pretty narrow. And it's about a 20 foot drop into the canyon here... after you go in a bit further, the drop is obviously farther, but the trail widens up and ventures further away from the edges.

I sometimes get the impression The H doesn't care for hiking with me, because I have a ridiculous obsession with taking pictures of flowers. It's a sickness, really. I can't be stopped.


It makes spring time hikes take forEVER.

Anyway, through these narrow paths, between trees, and giant rocks, and hillsides, and then.

And then it goes UP.


The really exciting part, for me, about this is I distinctly remember the first time I hiked this trail, over 2 years ago, with that geology group. And this hill. This hill almost broke me. I was the LAST one up the hill (except for the guy with a cane, and only barely). And there were MORE after this. It was an ugly sight.

I did the hike again about a 1.5 years ago with The H, and the hills were still HARD. There were breaks taken. It was still ugly.

But this time... I ran, probably 2/3 of the hill. And then I hiked the rest, but that hiking was SO EASY. I reached the top and was ready to run.

That was rad.

The views from the ridge are pretty nice. It was a really foggy morning, but I'm not complaining.


I started waaaaaaay down there!


It's so FLUFFY!


Not a bad day, my friends. Not a bad day at all.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chapman 5K - Race Recap


This race was a late addition to my calendar - I think I registered three weeks ago, when the girls at Team Sparkle tweeted about putting together a team. I adore Team Sparkle, so of course I was in.

I picked up our bibs and bags Friday on my way home from work (Chapman is literally down the street from my office), and it was SO FAST and easy. And man. The swag did not suck, either...

Tech tee, reusable drawstring bag, panther paw (Chapman's mascot!), tea, more tea, iPhone arm band!, chapstick, chips... Super rad for a $25 race.

The race was held about 15 minutes from my house, and started at 7:30, which meant a pretty reasonable wake-up time here. This time, everyone was coming along - all three girls were running (plus me), and The H was (FINALLY!) spectating.

We got there around 7, picked up #2's new lime green sparkle skirt, and were ready to race. There were pace groups, but they were pretty weird... 7-10:59 group, 11-14:59, and 15+. Random. #1 made her way up to the front. I knew she'd be running on her own, but I wasn't sure how much of a race she could eek out. She runs every day in PE, but hasn't run any type of distance in awhile.

#2 and #3 were with me. #2 is NOT a fan of running. Not one bit. Gabby tires easily, so we borrowed a jogging stroller for the event. But, she got out a couple times and ran for a bit - she probably ended up running about .75-1 mile, all told. Super exciting for her :).



#2 decided (after starting SUPER fast) that she was over this racing business around mile 1.5. I got her to run alternating blocks, at least, and despite her complaining, she was smiling the entire time. I think her default setting is just constantly "mildly displeased".

The course was really cute - ran through downtown Orange, through some cute neighborhoods full of old Craftsman style houses. A bunch of residents were out cheering, and, randomly, playing the trombone. Of course.


Then, around mile 2.5, the course loops back into the Chapman campus, which was full of spectators, cheerleaders, bands, etc.

At this point, #2 decided to TAKE OFF, and I didn't see her again until the finish line.


Final time, 38:41. I am SO proud of her - her final kick was hilarious, and she totally had a great time.

I convinced Gab to get out for a little bit, hoping she'd run through the finish line, but she made it about .25 away and was tired again. Oh well. I strolled in slightly after #2 at 39:36.

#1, though... Let's discuss #1.

Remember back in June, when she ran that 5K, and finished in 25:xx, and took 2nd in her AG?

I was expecting, since that course was hilly, and this was flat, for her to pull out a 23:30-24 minute 5K.


22:08. That's a 3:30 PR.

Good for 2nd in her AG. Again.


Crazy, right?


It was a great race - I think their FB page said something like 2000 participants, so not too giant, but not teeny, either. There were TONS of volunteers, tons of spectators cheering, and two (two!) water stations. The course was super spectator friendly, running basically in a giant, counter-clockwise loop. Oh! Plus, a full oatmeal bar after. That was pretty great, too.

Team Sparkle was out in full force (there are tons of pictures up on their Facebook, as well - link HERE), and I FINALLY met Madison, one of my Ragnar teammates! Sarah was there, and PR'ed - go congratulate her!


Annnd, Margot, the Faster Bunny came out to spectate as well.

I'll totally do this race again, in a heartbeat.

Plus, afterward, we found some random diner, and ate delicious food.


I totally earned that, off of my 3.1 miles. Don't judge me.

Thanks, Team Sparkle, for peer pressuring me into this one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Race redemption... it IS coming.

My race-day meltdown at mile 10.5 hasn't settled well with me.

I have ALWAYS had negative splits in my training runs. Always.

I've done the 13.1 distance 3 times already. I had two 11 mile runs in training, and two 10 milers.

There is no good reason I couldn't push through that nonsense.

Except for me just sabotaging myself all on my own.

I'm scratching my current training plan completely. Well, not COMPLETELY, completely. But I'm certainly changing things up.

Part of that changing is modifying my racing goals through the end of the year.


Tomorrow, I'm running the Chapman 5K with Team Sparkle, and all 3 of my kids. I know, I'm a crazy person. #1 is actually racing (I think), but #2, #3, and I will be run/walking for fun.


On October 30th, I'm running the Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge, benefitting Tragedy Assistance Program for and Train 4 Autism. This is a 1 mile loop, and you just run until you... don't feel like it, I guess. I'll run whatever distance is on my training plan for the day, slow and easy. Just the way I like my runs. And my men. Just Kidding. Really.


November 6th, I am running Athleta Iron Girl 5K with #1. This one... I am planning on racing this one, hard. I haven't done speed work in a few weeks (one week off for The Shin, and another week for taper... and this week), so I don't know how much I can eek out, but we'll see. It will be a good gauge to see where I stand.


Followed immediately by Mission Inn Half on November 13th. You know that one, that I am pretty sure will kill me because it's sooooooo hilly?? (Chacha, that's for you). This one is strictly a training run. Slow and steady. No PR's will be set on this day.


Holiday Half 5K. This race is put on by the same folks that do Long Beach, so I'm anticipating a stellar race. This is my goal 5K. Speed work and hill repeats will be a strong part of my new training plan in the coming weeks, so I expect great things to happen. If they don't, I might just quit. (that's a lie, I'm too cheap to waste the registrations I've already paid for). The H and #1 are running this with me, along with my Internet BFF and her husband. (Of note, I need to find a baby sitter for #2 and #3 this day.... I don't know what I'm going to do with them while the rest of us are running. Poor logistics, there, me).


Operation Jack Half Marathon, December 26th. I'm toying with the idea of trying to PR here... it's a super flat course, and weather should be faavorable.... We'll see.

The only additional possibility in here is a trail race that I'm considering - 17K on December 11th. I've been itching to get into trail running, and this course is on my favorite hiking trail... hard to pass up. We'll see.

One of these... one of these has to be my magic race.

2012 is the Year of the Full Marathon. True story... that's happening. Multiple times. You can blame this girl for the Crazy.


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