Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Training Tuesday - I'm terrible at making decisions

Originally, when I started this half marathon training cycle at the end of September, I built it out around a December 15th half that I was doing with someone.

The more I considered that race, though, the less I wanted to make that my "A" race. I just wasn't excited about it. It's not super great for PR'ing, and I didn't want to shell out the money for a fun run (for whatever reason, this race is far more expensive than any others in December). I picked a different, earlier, race for my goal race, and adjusted my training plan.

After CIF prelims, when I really believed we would be going to states for #1 to run, I decided that since my next choice in half's was not going to work out..... hey, why not try to PR for real at the Renegade Santa Run??

Look at this fun medal!! You can use "HEATHERDISCOUNT" for a discount!
So, last week, even though I posted a half training plan week, I decided Monday afternoon that Santa Run 5k was my new goal race. If I could PR there, I had top 3 in my AG (based on last year's results) in my sights. That might be fun!

I adjusted my training plan again, and added a lot of interval work - I'd been doing a lot of longer intervals and tempo runs, so I threw in a bunch of 400s and 800s instead.

I know, I know, I retired from 5k's immediately following the Veteran's Day not-quite-5k, but I get confused.

Since suddenly, the 5k was my focus, I did the 400s last week, and nailed it - all at my goal pace

wheeeeeee so faaaast!
Anyway. Then we found out we weren't going to states, after-all (pride goeth before the fall, sorry, girls, I blame myself), so the half I thought was out, was suddenly back on the table!

I had one last "long" run that I left on my plan juuuuust in case, so I set out Sunday to do it - 8 miles, middle 4 at goal pace. This should have been easy, breezy.
how I felt after.

I got through a mile warm up, 3 pace miles, and just stopped. I felt fine, I just didn't feel like doing any more.

And now, it's Tuesday, 5 days before my supposed goal race, and... I kind of don't feel like it? I looked back over my training log, and my last long run was 14 miles back on November 14 - so it COULD count, and just pretend I've been on an extended two week taper? I just feel like a loser-pants, to let one lack-luster "long" run decide that I'm not even going to bother.

I'd still really like to get a real 5k PR, so I'll keep working on that in the meantime, but to recap... maaaaybe I'm running a half this weekend, but MAYBE NOT. Oh, the suspense.

Monday, November 25, 2013

XC Recap, Season Ender: Womp.

On Saturday morning, #1 raced the CIF Southern Section finals. The top 7 schools in each division move on to the state competition in Fresno. Going in, her school was ranked #9 in the state, and 7th in our section. The school we were most concerned about beating was really neck-and-neck with us at prelims, and ranked 10th in the state, and 8th in our section. We were psyched that it was shaping up to be an exciting race, and... I'll admit, a little confident that we would pull it out.

Since I have alllllllll the free time on my hands, I did a lot of number crunching last week, building out fake-meets against our schools, and every way I played with the numbers, we were looking solid.

Saturday, #1 woke up and was practically giddy. She was excited to run, and looked confident. The girl is a head-case runner - seeing her confident to go into this course was great.

Spectating XC is an interesting day. The courses are short, usually 3 miles, and run so fast, that to spectate in a few places, you have to MOVE. Generally, there's a flood of spectators that flee from spot to spot throughout the course to catch their runners as they move through.
Exactly like this....
If you've ever spectated a longer race before, it's exactly like that, but ON SPEED.

The Mt Sac course is pretty loopy for the first 1.5mi, so you can kind of catch the athletes in about 4 locations before they head up the second half. We knew the layout from last week, and had a pretty solid spectating strategy, so we stuck with it (if you're interested, this is the course map - we planted ourselves at the end of the airstrip, before the loop, so we saw her at the start, on the first loop go around, then ran over to switchbacks, then to the crossover, and then to the gauntlet for the finish - I swear these are all things on the course that I'm totally not making up).

Anyway. We're at our spot. The field takes off - 16 teams, 7 girls each team, plus individuals - and right away, I note that the field is tight, and FAST. It looks like our team is having some trouble sticking together in a pack, but #1 is looking good in her mid-pack position.

source: Joe Gagnon/PrepCalTrack
As we're waiting for them to come through the first loop, Sarah Baxter breeeeeezes through, well ahead of everyone else.
Oh, look. She's winning!
The lead pack comes through, and I start to get a little nervous - usually there's three girls on our team that start together, but they were not running together this time. Then the chase pack comes through - usually, #1 is solidly mid-pack, in here. And usually by now, the herd has thinned a bit - not so much this time. They're all still running really tight, and FAST.

Then the girl that runs 7th for us ran by, and we thought we must have missed #1 in the herd.

15-20 seconds later, after everyone else has passed, is #1.
My first thought, is she got frustrated with the pack, and was giving herself space? She always starts slow and then kicks in... maybe the fast start was too much. Maybe she wanted to give herself some room.

And then I hear her breathing, and it's clearly distressed. I didn't connect what happened at first, until she was running past, and The H noticed the giant scrape under her right hip.

Somewhere in the first 800, she had fallen. And my heart just sunk for her.

We went over to the switchbacks, where she'd come through after the second loop around the field, and she was at the back, but was caught up to the rest of the pack (so, in the second 800, she made up 20 seconds on the rest of the field), and came through the first mile in 6:12.

When she came by us, before heading up the switchbacks, she was crying, and limping.

on Switchbacks

Waiting for her at crossover was just THE WORST EVER. As her mom, I'm a pretty tough-love kind of parent, and generally defer to the coaching she receives from the XC team, but it was horrible, knowing how HARD running is, how hard running uphill is, and that she was doing it while crying and limping.

She came through crossover, and had passed a few runners. After crossover, we planned to wait for her at the gauntlet (the last 200m at the finish), because the rest of the course is hard to get to and then still get to the finish. It was FOR REAL the longest longest longest 1.5 miles ever for me.

She passed that girl in blue.
When she crossed the finish line, I criiiiiied and cried. She finished two spots behind one of her teammates, and the other girls joined them in the line.

After their bib numbers were collected, her teammates took her over to the med tent to get cleaned up, where #1 found out that they had finished.... 8th overall.


She asked to stick around for the varsity boys' race a bit after hers, so we did. 

It was a pretty rough day. 

I'm not sure how she found it in her to finish the race, and finish it so strong. I tried to ask her why she kept running, and she just said "Because coach said to get up and go."

Maybe it's that simple. 

I spent the rest of the weekend kind of coddling her, but she's been in a fair amount of pain - I don't think it's anything serious, just a lot of road rash, and bruising. Since they're not going to states, next week is an off week, anyway, so hopefully she's all healed up when they head back to school after Thanksgiving.

She's had an amazing first season. It was really exciting to be a freshman, heading to CIF finals, and a great experience for her. Just kind of a sucky way for it to end. 

(PS, my number crunching was DEAD ON, and the team that ended up beating us into the finals was a dark horse that wasn't even ranked - they just had a killer day, and ran the race of their lives. Bad ass.  The team we were eyeing as competition TIED with us, and on a normal day, #1 would have been the tie-breaker, and would have beat their #6 runner. Maybe I missed my calling as a XC coach?)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Uckfery

Being funemployed has afforded me a fair amount of freeeeee time over the last few months, some (but not enough) of which I've spent in the gym.

Because I love nothing more than watching people and giving them judgey eyes, I've been collecting in my brain the most bizarre and irritating things I've seen so far...

1. The Kid People. You guys, your kids don't belong IN the gym. If your little sunshine is running around unsupervised while you "use" the treadmill to walk a 2.0mph pace so you can say you worked out while watching tv, that that isht outside. Go to a damn park.

Don't let the hellion play with a giant exercise ball and bounce it around until it LODGES UNDER MY TREADMILL belt and stops it while I'm running.

2. The Fakers. Did you know, if you're standing on the sides of the treadmill while the belt runs, you're not actually doing any work, so those miles DON'T EVEN COUNT? I know, it's true. Samesies for the ones who jack up the incline on the treadmill, push the pace up to 2.3, and lean waaaaay back and hold on for dear life. 
This counts. 

3. My New BFF. If I'm in the gym, chances are good that I'm there with a plan in mind. That plan probably didn't involve becoming your new BFF. Let me work out in peace.

4. The Confused Ones. The treadmill is not that confusing. The buttons are all labeled. Up goes faster, down goes slower, the big red one stops everything. 

5. I CHANGED MY MIND, UNDO UNDO UNDO! The first time, I thought it was just someone that forgot something. But since it's happened a few times, I'm assuming this is a thing people just do, coming into the gym for 5-10 minutes, jumping from machine to machine without realllllly doing anything, and just leaving. Did they just suddenly realize this was not what they intended to do, at all?
I feel you.

6. The Drama Llama. We get it. You are working hard. So is almost everyone else. Is the exaggerated sweat wipe and heaving breaths necessary? 

7. You Faaaaancy. This is more because I'm jealous than anything, but if you come in and bust out some super fast 5k on the neighboring treadmill, and jump off looking refreshed and shiny, I hate you a little.

I think that's it. People are weird. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend! #1 is running her last race to qualify for states tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed for her - they have a solid chance, so we could be headed up to Fresno over Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Half Training, week something - PFTW

Last week....

Monday: 5k/5 miles
Recap of the almost-5k here. Results were posted earlier this week....
LOL at 7:31 pace.

Immediately after, I swore I would be retiring from 5k's forever, because I'd rather run a marathon than sprint for 3.1 miles. But - since this course was shooooooort, I'm kind of thinking I might try a re-do in December at the Renegade Santa Run. Based on last year's results, there's an outside shot at an age group placing....

Tuesday: Rest?

Wednesday: More rest?

Thursday: Long run
On paper, this run went well. 14 miles total, broken into one hour warm-up, 6 miles at race pace (9:33 for me), and cool down to finish. However, I was MESSED UP. I didn't drink enough, and was sweating a ton, and probably started not-well-hydrated, and by mile 7 or 8, I had a giant headache. I ignored it for awhile, but eventually, any time I tried to drink, I just felt gross and sloshy. Somehow, I also forgot to bring any fuel with me, which is RIDICULOUS, since long runs = salted caramel gu time, so how is that even possible??

I was supposed to run 15, but quit at 14. My overall pace was great, and my BODY felt fine, I am just dumb. I didn't go through one bottle of water during the run; after, I drank 3 bottles of Nuun, plus a giant diet coke, and didn't pee for hours and hours and hours. I am not a professional.

Friday: 3 easy
Weather was beautiful - cool, overcast, a little drizzly - so I did a quick 3 easy from the Target parking lot, before picking up a few things.

Saturday: planned off day
#1 raced Saturday, more on this below. Her race was mid-afternoon, which is really just the worst time of them all, and it just kills the entirety of the day.

Sunday: rest
Saturday's spectating beat me down hard.

Total: 22 miles
Zero cross-training. Oops. I just didn't really feel like it - the 5k killed me pretty dead, and so did that long run. Lame. I guess these videos and push-ups are going to be extra terrible this week.

This week....

I originally planned to start taper this week, buuuuuut *spoiler alert* there's a fair shot of #1's team heading to states the same weekend as the race I wanted to do, but.... I'm doing a higher volume than I initially planned, but nothing craaazy, just in case.

Monday: 3-4 easy
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 6 strides
Thursday: 4 easy
Friday: 8-10 easy
Saturday: off
Sunday: off

XC updates....

#1 ran CIF Southern Section prelims Saturday at Mt. Sac. Mt. Sac is a notoriously hard course - there's three significant hills starting with a set of switchbacks just after the first mile.

The H and I walked the course during lunch break, and holy crap, it was HARD to walk. I have no idea how these kids (i'm so old, "these kids") run this course, and run it so faaaaaast.

Simi Valley, home of Sarah Baxter, is in our division, so I got to see her race just before #1 did. To the surprise of no one, she destroyed the field.

from Instagram: "Sarah Freakin' Baxter"
She is really impressive to watch. There's no one, anywhere near her, and she barely looks like she's making an effort. Totally unrelated to this post or race, but here is a GREAT article on Sarah's course record run from last year.

#1's team raced a bit later, and came in 3rd in their heat, which advances them on to finals next weekend. True to the course, #1 breezed through the first mile well under 6 minutes, because she has super-teleportation-powers.

Somewhere on the switchbacks, she lost her teammate - it's a tricky course, and one she was new on.

Somewhere in here, she started struggling with something in her eyeball. After the race, we saw her coach meet her at the finish line with her bag, frantically digging through it, and I had no idea what was happening. Apparently, she tried to tell her coach she got some funk in her eyeball, and was having trouble seeing/not dying, but the coach thought she was saying she needed her inhaler (she doesn't use an inhaler, lol). I am always a little nervous about the portions of the race where we can't see her, so I am greatly comforted knowing that her coaches are watching out for her too. Awwwww.

Anyway. She said she really enjoyed the course (WHAT), so I'm psyched to see them advance and see what happens next weekend. Several of the girls on the team this year are new to Mt Sac, so hopefully this was a good training run for them, in prep for next week, and with some experience on the course, they can really make some strides in their performance.

Get it? Strides?

adorable. I love this picture.

So, as much as it kind of feels like XC is the season that just keeps on going.... I'm really excited, and we're having a lot of fun with it. It's pretty great seeing the girls' enthusiasm and camaraderie.

Yaaaaaaay, maybe-Fresno?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Run 5k / PFTW

This morning, I ran the National Veterans Day Run in Irvine.
The race was pretty small and low-key. Since it was close by, I used the run over to the race as my warm-up, and tossed in some strides on the way.

The race started a few minutes late, with a pre-race Veterans Day ceremony just before....
The course starts with a loop through Woodbridge Community Park, then out and back on the bike path (my nemesis from the PCRF training days....), and another loop through the park back to the finish line.

So, here's the real details on the race: The course is not marked. There are volunteers telling people where to go, but there was one missing, for example, at the first loop through the park, so we went the wrong direction for about 50 feet - there were left-over arrows on the ground from TNT training over the weekend, so it was confusing. The volunteer at the 5k turn-around, I think, had us turn too early - there's a section on the path (if you're familiar, I'm talking about the bike path between East Yale Loop, and Jeffrey) with two bridges - the volunteer had us turn at the first bridge, but I'm pretty sure it should have been the second bridge. Also, at the finish, I did not see any water, etc. Not a big deal for me, because it was cool this morning and there are water fountains at the park, just a note.

BUT, it was really inexpensive (I paid $30 for a last minute registration), and included a pin, medal, and shirt. Plus, a portion of proceeds go to Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships and other assistance to spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service.

You can donate to Folds of Honor HERE

I'd rather run a low-key race with a good heart like this than fret about details and complain about stuff.

Mostly, I wanted to get an idea of where I am with training, and if I have a reasonable goal for winter and spring races. With that in mind, my goal pace was around 8:50-8:40 (my 5k PR pace was 8:56, 27:47).

The course measured at 2.74mi for me, and I finished with a 8:31 pace. WHAT. Mile splits:  8:34, 8:31, 8:31.

If it were an actual 5k distance, and I managed to hold that pace (and I think I could?), it would be a 26:25ish finish.

I was third female at the turn-around (there was a kid that was running the 5k that turned around before I did and cut the course a few times through the park loop, and finished just in front of me, so I'm not counting her, CHEATER). Small races are the greatest.

Overall, I enjoyed the event - I wouldn't recommend it if you're going to freak out on the details, but for $30, it served it's purpose for me.

Related, I've decided the 5k is not something I'm really interested in repeating. That isht is hard, yo. Give me a marathon, any day.


Plan for the week!

To sum it up quickly, last week SUCKED. I just wasn't feeling the run love, not at all. So I didn't hit all of my miles. Oh wells. Taper for a 5k? HAHAHAHA.

Monday: XT
arms, core, pushups

Tuesday: nothing

Wednesday: speeeeeeed, XT
2 mile repeats!! These sounded so scary, but then they weren't too bad. 1 mile warm up, 2x2mi, with 400RI, cool down. Goal pace was 9:11-8:59, actual was 9:09, 9:01. Felt good. Also did arms, and core.

Thursday: XT
Just pushups

Friday: easy, XT
4 miles easy pace with strides; arms/core

Saturday: FAILED long run
Scheduled for 13 easy. Got through 5, felt crappy and achy and blah, and people wandered into the gym, so I called it a day and surrendered my treadmill.

Sunday: rest
I did absolutely negative zero things.

Total: 15 miles.

Oh well.

This week:

Monday: see above; 5 miles total for the day, with warm up/cool down
Tuesday: easy or rest
Wednesday: 7 miles strides
Thursday: rest
Friday: 15 easy
Saturday: rest (we'll be at XC for the day)
Sunday: 3-4 easy

Cross-country update.....
#1's team came in second in league finals Friday (#1 finished in 19:05, for 21st place!), so they're heading to state prelims next weekend!!!
she fliiiiiies
The girl's varsity team....
One of these things, is not like the other....
I'm really excited to check out the Mt Sac course, and all the fast fasties. I did some googling of the teams in her heat (is that creepy and/or weird?) for Saturday, and they should pull through to state finals for the following week. Just when we thought the season might be over.........

There's a fair chance that they'll make it through to states, which is EXCITING. I can barely contain it; but race talk makes #1 nervous, so I'm trying to keep it all inside.


We saw this shirt at the race Friday. It's funny, because IT'S TRUE.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Sometimes, I do dumb things.
This counts as refueling, right, because I ate it after a run?

2. Earlier this year, I ran the Run4Kids 24 hour relay event with Rose. I loved the event so much, that I believe I'm ready to throw my hat in the ultra ring......

Yeah, it's sort of a cheater course, being very flat, but whatever. 24 hours is a long time, yo.

I've not really picked a mileage goal yet - I'll do that as I get closer to the event - but drew up a training plan last night, and um... I guess that's it. I am pretty excited.

3. After months and MONTHS of not running any races, I've suddenly got #alltheraces lined up.

First, my favorites, are a few Renegade Events...

Troutman Sanders Renegade Santa Run on Dec. 14. I ran the 10k here last year for a huge PR, and had so much fun.

Dun dun DUN. iTRYathlon is back in February!! The event is open to everyone, so I think The H will be joining me in the fun (and destroying me, because he's the fastest and loves the bike, UNLIKE ME).

(PS just realized this means I need to add swimming back to my training plan. BRRRRRR.)

The Coaster Run through Knott's Berry Farm. In addition to supporting a great cause (the Speech and Language Development Center in Buena Park) AND the adorable medal, they have pie at the finish line. I love pie. I'll be doing this one with the kids.

{{For any of the above, you can register using code HEATHERDISCOUNT for 10% off}}

In addition to those fun events, I have.... these to fill in my calendar:

Nov. 11 - Veteran's Day 5k. I stumbled on this last week, and it's down the street from me. I've been wanting to fit in a shorter race to get an idea of my current fitness level, and this is perfect. I'm hoping to PR - my existing PR is 27:47 from last July - but the pace sure seems faaaaast. We'll see?

December Half Marathon - I'm waffling between a few options.

Option 1: Holiday Classic Half - this one is CHEAP, and looks like a ton of fun. I really prefer smaller, more local races, and this one is my top choice, BUT I may have a scheduling conflict this weekend. Maybe. So I'm on hold. The timing of this one is best, because I am ready to race a half RIGHT NOW.

Option 2: Holiday Half Marathon - this one is a little lot pricier, because I've been super lazy about registering, plus there are parking fees which irritate me. It's an okay time for me, but I'm not in love with it (probably why I haven't registered yet....)

Option 3: San Diego Holiday Half Marathon - this one is reasonably priced (there are discount codes floating around), and Shannon will be there, which is a big selling point! But, it's inaugural, and that makes me nervous. This is the furthest out, so I'd have more time to train, BUT it's the furthest out, so there's more time to train.....

Anyway. I'm waffling.

Of course, there's also Tinker Bell Half in January (!!!!), and a potential March marathon - 2 weeks before the ultra, so it would be a good last training run. I feel like I could pull out a giant marathon PR, so I'm considering Diamond Valley Lake Marathon in early March. Looks like a potentially boring course, but my options seem to be pretty limited (unless I go with Surf City, which I'm not excited about AT ALL).

PLUS..... I'm also on the hunt, KIND OF, for a racecation.... maybe?

Phew. That was a lot of race talk.

What's on your calendar?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Half Training, Week 6 - PFTW

If you're checking in to see #1's race recap, haha joke's on you, because she raced on Thursday, and the quick rundown of her gianteriffic PR was posted Friday HERE. I am pretty sure she's the fastest person ever.

Last week....
Monday: XT
Arms, pushups, core

Tuesday: strides
5 outside miles. I left, and it was cloudy and cool. Within a mile, it looked like THIS.
I ran up and down a couple of shady portions of trail to make my five miles, pulling some strides between light poles to kill the time. Boring, but got it done.

Wednesday: XT
Arms, core

Thursday: 1600's
Had 4 repeats on schedule, but my plans got changed at the last minute and could only squeeze in 3 - yeah yeah, all that babbling awhile ago about how I have all the time in the world, but Thursday was for real packed, between last minute costume shopping, #1's race, trick or treating, 2 kids going to 2 separate parties. Anyway. 1 mile warm up, 1600's at 8:47, 8:48, 8:45, 400 RI. Right on target.

Friday: rest!
Gab had a random day off of school (weird, since the other schools were all in session...), so we spent the day going to breakfast, shopping for some books, and being silly.
"Can you take a picture and call it, 'Riding a Frog with no Hands!'"

Saturday: XT
100 push-ups program - up to 47 for real, on my toes not my knees push-ups. What.

Sunday: Long
10 miles easy pace, while watching NYCM. Didn't feel warmed up until around mile 8, so that was pretty annoying. Eh. It's done.

Total: 20 miles. 

Felt sort of bleh the whole week, so hopefully the cut-back week was all I needed and this week sucks less?

This week.....
Monday: XT
Tuesday: OC Run Club - 4ish
Wednesday: XT, 3ish
Thursday: Long - 13
Friday: XT
Saturday: 2x2mi repeats bleargh
Sunday: rest

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Five

1. My XBox live isn't working. This is totally a lame first world problem, but it does mean that I can't watch Party of Five on Amazon today. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH MY DAY.

2. JK, Gab is randomly out of school today, so we have some exciting Barnes and Noble + hiking plans to fill the time.

3. Speaking of Gab, she self-patrolled herself last night while Trick or Treating. When her bucket got full, she said, "Well, I guess we're done now!". And was ready to head home. Huh. That's new..... At first, I was a little bummed because FREE CANDY. Then I remembered we bought two bags of candy to hand out, and had three ToT'ers. So.... Anyone want some candy? Please?

#1 and #2 went to parties. I guess they're too big for ToT'ing with their parents. (WHEEEEE)

4. I stumbled onto this blog a few days ago, which makes me feel significantly better about my Evan Dando adoration (because I swear this isn't my tumblr, I barely even know what tumblr is).

HE'S CAPTIVATED. (#2 just saw this, and asked if this was Jesus....)
5. #1 raced in their second league meet yesterday (who holds a XC race on Halloween!??!). She ran with varsity again, and at first, seemed kind of on edge.

She looks so tense!

At first, The H started getting spazzy at her overall placement. Then I realized that she came through the mile we were at WAY earlier than we anticipated, and I got psyched.

When she came through the finish at 45 seconds UNDER HER PR, I wasn't really ready for it.

She destroyed her PR, and finished at 18:54ish (unofficial). She came across the finish line with a HUGE smile on her face, and later said she was so happy when she saw her time that she almost cried.

The support from her teammates was adorable, and her middle school PE teacher was there, and it was just so, so great. She's struggled a little moving up to varsity, and no longer being the "big fish" in the smaller Freshman pond, so I think this will do good things for her confidence.


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