Monday, December 30, 2013

And then I retired

First: Any local friends planning to run the SoCal Half Marathon?? 


With 2 new PR's in December (5k recap here and half marathon recap here), I figured there's nowhere else to go, so I should just quit running while I'm high, right?

I took the last 2 weeks pretty much off. I was expecting to feel a bit sore and achy, but man alive, the first few days were rough. I did zero running until 6 days out, and finally felt pretty good then. I got SUPER motivated to hit 100 miles in December, and calculated that I would need, like, 36 miles in the next 9 days to do it.

Last week, I ran a few more times, and did a couple days of cross training. I did not come ANYWHERE close to 36 miles, and... that's a-okay by me. Running double pr's was hard, man.

I spent a lot of time baking things....
this was sticky bun test, take 2: Browned butter variation. This was a success!

and skyping with family in Florida...
#2 taking pictures of cousins = hilarious
Losing teeth ewwww

And some one-on-one time with each of these hoodlums.
she's so cute sometimes.

The H had to work on Christmas, so it was a really low-key affair around here, and I kind of liked that. I'm not a huge fan of big deals.

I have a few for-fun races coming up this winter/spring... starting with Tink in 3 weeks with Becka, then the Renegade Coaster Run at Knott's in March! I may throw in a sprint tri in February, but I'm not sure yet (PS, for either of those you can register using HEATHERDISCOUNT for 10% off).

I'm - still - on the hunt for a marathon. My travel budget is limited, we have some summer plans that are eating away my racecation budget this year - and none of the local races really speak to me. We'll see. I'd like to PR, but I want the right race. I'm weird. I also would kind of like to race another 5k and another half. Because I'm a glutton for punishment.

#1's track season is starting up already (they started practice immediately following CIF Finals, crazy), and our spring Saturday's are pretty booked. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS ARE SO SO SO SO TIME CONSUMING, you guys. I can only hope that #2 joins the same sports so we can be efficient with our time.  (I am kidding. Kind of.).

In job news.... I'm still enjoying my funemployment, but I'm ready to get some stuff going. I've got some vague ideas swirling around, but they're like pieces to a puzzle that I'm kind of struggling to fit together.

A friend of mine posted this the other day.

Building the new.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#DoublePRWeekend, Part 2 - Holiday Half Marathon Recap

For the tl;dr version: This was a really hard race for me, the course kicked my ass, and I kept running until I finished, and PR'ed. 

On Sunday, I ran Holiday Half Marathon in Pomona. Margot, Monica and I drove up together, so I got to sit back and enjoy the pretty drive...

The race has an 8am start at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona.

It's a little hilly. The website notes, "The Pomona Valley is a naturally hilly landscape and while certain inclines could not be avoided, this course was designed to be as friendly to runners as possible."

So, I knew it was hilly. I was hopeful that the nice weather would come back, but alas, it was warm and SUNNY. Since these are my 3 least favorite things - hills, sun, and heat - I was not super optimistic when we got there. On top of that, my legs felt.... kind of flat. I felt okay, but I sure wasn't feeling very peppy. I had cut back on my longer speed work over the last 4 weeks, to focus on shorter 5k efforts, so I wasn't sure my previous 2:05 goal was still reasonable.

After a last-second bathroom excursion (real bathrooms!), Monica and I squeezed into the corrals as the national anthem was finishing up. I stuck to my spot between the 2:00-2:10 pacers....

Goal A: 2:05, 9:32 pace. This was kind of an arbitrary goal that I picked back in September.
Goal B: PR, sub-2:11, 9:59 or under
Goal C: Eh. If I felt just DEAD DEAD DEAD, I planned to circle back to a friend of mine that was running a slower pace, and run/walk with her and take pictures, pretending I was at Disney.

When the race started, I tried sticking with the 2 hour pacer (WHY WOULD I DO THAT??) for a bit, but I thought she was just going too fast for me to sustain, so I dropped back before the end of the first mile.

I realized pretty much right away that my legs just felt heavy. However, I also realized that they felt just as crappy running uphill as they did running downhill, so... pretty much, I just ran. I know that's a simplistic and ridiculous thing to even say, but since I was uncomfortable either way, I just went with it. 

I tried to run a consistent effort, and while I was checking in with my Garmin fairly regularly, I was trying to not let what I saw change how I was running. If it felt okay, I kept going. If I felt like it was a lot of effort, I eased up and let it happen.

Pretty much the ENTIRE time, I was thinking:
This is really hard.
Keep moving your feet.
Holy crap, this is so hard.

I know I keep saying this, but for real, even the downhills I felt like it was all just so hard, because my legs were D E A D.

The course loops around the fairplex, out into a park, back through some the fairplex, then loops through Bonelli park and around a lake from miles 3-11. You guys, I remember NONE of the lake, at all, and that's crazy, because... I ran around a lake for 7 miles. I don't even know what was happening around me.
and yet, there it is. a lake. 
Anyway. I feel like the miles ticked by pretty quickly, and when I got to mile 8, I started doing some brain math to figure out how much cushion I had to still hit a PR. I knew 2:05 was out, but that was fine - I really didn't think that was in the cards in the heat/with the hills. I was feeling pretty tired, but it was no different than before, so.... I kept going. I was certainly slowing down, and my legs were even MORE dead, which I was surprised about, because I didn't know it was even possible.

I knew at some point, there was a downhill to the finish, but I couldn't remember if it started at mile 11 or 12, so I was pretty sad when mile 11 felt HARD. Joke's on me, downhill started at mile 12.

Margot - my running fairy godmother - jumped in with me around 12.5, and tried to run fast, but I had negative-zero kick left, and shuffled along behind her.

Man. It was one hard-earned medal for me.

Splits: 9:18, 9:51, 10:06, 9:25, 9:36, 9:33, 9:50, 10:12, 9:31, 10:08, 10:13, 10:03, 9:27. .2 8:49. 

 2:08:56 - Garmin measured 13.2mi, and 9:46 pace.

 After the race, I met back up with Monica, SR, and SR's friend Reese while Margot ran a few more miles, because she's an overachiever.

And then we did the blogger-required things, like stopping at Starbucks and taking pictures of our food.


I am really, really, really pleased with this race. I am still kind of surprised that it even happened. I didn't expect a PR, honestly, and I spent so much time thinking that I was REALLY uncomfortable, and being surprised I wasn't stopping. I was one walk break away from missing a PR, but I never really considered walking? Like, it didn't really cross my mind.  the 2:10 pacer passed me at one point going up a hill in mile 10, and I just let her go, then caught and passed her on the downhill. I don't know. Maybe this is some "mental fortitude" I have been missing in previous races?

I've been having some issues on my recent long runs with - I'm guessing - my salt/dehydration/something like that. I am a reallllly salty sweat-er, and on my last 3 or 4 runs over 13ish miles, I've ended up with raging headaches for the rest of the day. I am a living-on-the-edge type of girl, so I tried a different fueling plan Sunday - margarita shot blocks every mile, starting at mile 3, and a salted caramel GU around mile 10-11. It was... okay. I don't know, I still felt on the verge of leg-cramping a few times, but I'm not sure if it was the salt/electrolytes, tired legs, or just hills. Anyway, the headache didn't happen, so I guess it's some improvement.

There were supposed to be aid stations every mile after mile 5, but that wasn't really the case, and it was kind of frustrating for me to NOT have aid stations where I expected them to be, because I was timing my fuel. I mean, I am an obsessive type, and checked the website so I could be prepared, so it's annoying to not have the stations where they're advertised. Whatever.

It's really a lame complaint, because there were PLENTY of stations, I just wanted them in specific spots I guess? lol.

The shirts are really great - I LOVE it.
I am lame and didn't take a better picture - this print is on the left side/bottom of the shirt. 

It was hot hot hot hot hot. I think mid-70's at finish? With an 8am start, it was pretty rough on me - I wilt in the heat. If the race had started an hour earlier, it would have been much better. A lot of the course is exposed, so with the bright burning sun, it was pretty horrendous. I really don't like hot/sun.

Overall, it's a good race, and well organized. However, IMO, it's over-priced unless you register for early-bird pricing. A few years ago, I want to say I registered for this event for, like, $60 (and ended up DNS'ing). This year, when I thought about registering last month, I think it was $90? Thank goodness for a last-minute giveaway.

The course is HARD. I know I went in with tired legs, but it is constant rolling hills. There are no flats.

Monday, my legs felt pretty beat up - my quads, hamstrings, and glutes were UNIMPRESSED with all the things I did to them this weekend. But.... I'm curious what I could do on a friendlier course, so.... maybe a do-over is in order? Maybe.

Or I could just retire now.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#DoublePRWeekend, Part 1 - Renegade Santa Run 5k

Renegade's Santa Run is one of my favorites - fun crowd, well organized community event. Yeah, there are a lot of kids, but they are really well behaved and play nicely. This event is home to my current 10k PR, and (spoiler!) my new 5k PR.

This year, #1 ran with me, instead of The H. We headed out at 7am for the 8am start, and parked down the street. This ended up being not quite enough time for us - we still had to pick up our bibs, and then hit the restrooms, and it just didn't give me time to warm up like I would have liked. Note to self, next year get there a bit earlier.

I anticipated cool weather. HOWEVER, about 20 minutes before the start, it got freakishly HOT, and windy. The wind was hot. I don't know how else to explain it. It was not my most favorite, really. 

Anyway, the 5k course runs in kind of a figure-8 shape down the Peters Canyon trail...

Like I sad last week, I had some goals for this race:
A: 25:45ish, 8:18 pace
B: PR - 27:38, 8:55 pace
C: Don't puke and/or die

Because I'm dumb, I did a long run last Sunday (15 miles), followed by a hard hard HARD speed workout on Tuesday, and nothing else. So that was pretty great and relaxing on the legs. 

The race started right on time, but because I was running late, I snuck in somewhere towards the front-ish, and hoped that it wasn't in the mix of kids running super fast. 

Mile 1 - 8:22. This mile felt good. I tried not to be overly concerned with my garmin numbers, and run on feel, and I felt like I could certainly sustain this pace.

Mile 2 - 8:30. Well. That didn't last very long. This was at the turn around, and suddenly we were running into the hottest wind in the universe. 

Mile 3 - 8:54. This was terrible. Lol. 

Last .1 - 7:50. Out of the wind, THANK GOD. 

26:27, 8:32 pace. Not too shabby, good enough for 5/60 in my age group!

Look, it's me dying!
for real, why do I do that with my head?!
 Anyway. It was hard, and hot, and hard, and windy. And hard. Running fast is hard.

#1 also ran a PR, so it was a good day to be us. (Not so much to be Gabby, who melted down and couldn't wait to bail out of that race.).

The race is really great, and we have really enjoyed the event the last two years. I was hopeful for an AG placing this year, but it was a bit of a faster field than last year - I think because the race is just growing a bit? The course is a little congested right at the start, before the turn onto the trail, but after that it cleared up a bit - this could just be where I ended up in the 5k, but I didn't have any trouble navigating. The course is a nice mix of mostly pavement, with some dirt trail the first half. I love dirt, so that's great for me. 

Registration prices start at just $25 for the 5k, $35 for the 10k, and $15 for the kids run - this includes a great medal and long sleeve cotton tee.

so cute and sparkly!
They have awards 3 deep in each age group, plus a costume contest - the costume was a big source of stress for me. I originally wanted to be a Christmas tree. After I constructed it, it was NOISY and JANGLY and would have made me insane. On my second trip to Target, I found some foam snowflakes, and a new costume was born. I spent Friday night sewing snowflakes onto my tank and Team Sparkle skirt, and was the hottest snowflake EVER. 

It was tons of fun, can't wait to tackle it again next year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. I have a crazy plan for this weekend. First, it involves this....

2. Which I'll wear Saturday for.....
Where I hope to PR the 5k FOR REAL THIS TIME. I had a goal kind of picked out, and ran it by the smartest bunny I know, and since she thinks it's reasonable, I'm going to give it a shot. I have been doing a decent amount of speed work, and it's all been going pretty well.

(My current *real* PR is 27:47 from July 2012; the Vet's Day race would have been a PR, but since it was not anywhere close to a real distance, I'm not counting it).

My super lofty, man-I-hope-I-don't-puke goal: 25:45 (8:18 pace)
Goal B is to just PR: 8:55ish pace
I have no goal C. If I fail, I quit.

JK, my C goal, as it always is in a 5k, is don't puke or die.

#1 will be running, as well, and I tried to tell her it would be HILARIOUS to toe the line like it's a cross country race....
So far, she has declined.

3. Anyway, after Saturday's fun, I plan to try my hand at....
Yeah, yeah, I wasn't going to race this, but theeeeen I snagged a free bib from Run, Eat, Repeat, and now I'm going to! Yay, free.

So after I got that bib, I thought..... man, it would be kiiiind of fun to PR TWICE IN ONE WEEKEND.

Wouldn't that be FUN???

So, my goals for Sunday are.....
A: 2:05, 9:32 pace. I honestly don't know that I'm in the right place for a 2:05 right now, because I've been doing shorter, faster runs in prep for the 5k. BUT WHO KNOWS!

B: PR. My current PR is 2:11 (9:59 pace) from PCRF back in May 2012. That seems like BILLIONS OF EONS AGO. This wouldn't take too much effort, I don't think, but I have no idea how I'd feel on a hilly course the day after maybe running a 5k hard. So we'll see.

C: If I get out there and a PR is just not in the cards, I'll run it easy and enjoy a long run with a friend. There are no losers here, so I'm sure it's going to be a swell day.

Really, it's just been soooooo long since I've raced anything, I'm excited to be back out there and am really looking forward to all of it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Something Training, Week Whatever. PFTW

Like I said last week, my brain is confused about what's going on with training.

Let's recap my training/brain thoughts!

Last week....

Monday: rest

Tuesday: mooooore rest. Resting exhausts me. (Really, having the kids out of school made it exceptionally easy to laze around watching dumb tv with them).

Wednesday: Speed - 5 miles
800s. They were fast and hard, but I (mostly) hit my paces. Goal was 7:50-7:24, actual was 7:53, 7:49, 7:47, 7:41.

Thursday: Rest. 4 mile walk
I felt SO GOOD after the 800's, I told The H I really really FOR REAL wanted to run the Saturday half. He mocked me. I forgot, does walking count as exercise?! We did some evening shopping at Target, and I had the genius idea to walk there - a 4 mile round-trip excursion. It was brilliant, until The H purchased a very large, fairly heavy item. Dummy.

Friday: Rest again!

Saturday: Pretend run. Got through 2 miles. I woke up truly excited to run. And then it was terrible. I quit. We bought donuts and sat around instead.Spent the day so grateful for The H's mocking, and happy I wasn't running a half on Sunday, because I don't even know if I can run that many miles any more I AM THE LAMEST WHY DO I EEEEVVVVEEEEEN TRRRRRYYYYYYYYY. It was dramatic.

Sunday: Long run
12.1 really, REALLY great miles. I could have run faster, but wanted to keep it easy. I could have run longer, but there was a creeper in the gym. It was pretty much the greatest ever - how could it not be, with all of my favorite things.

So, I didn't run the half. I've always kind of thought that I was NOT a mental runner - I thought I was pretty objective about things, don't let singular bad runs throw shade at my overall training experiences, etc. I think, maybe, I was lying to myself, lol.

Without any real money on the line, it's really easy to just blow off training for something. Since I'm currently enjoying some funemployment time, my race budget is limited, and I want to keep it to real race efforts, or races I really, REALLY want to do. For whatever (probably made up) reason, I didn't feel like I was ready to PR this weekend, so I just.... didn't want to spend the money on the registration.

Yeah, yeah, it's kind of a cop out. I know anything can happen on race day, but I'd rather feel good about my chances, I guess. I'm a safe gambler.


Blah blah blah, I was a headcase and didn't run a race.

The Renegade Santa Race is in 2 weeks, so for the next two weeks, I'm maintaining focus on that as my "goal" race, because I really want that legit 5k PR - that means continuing the speed work. I'll still do a long run this week, though, because my eyes are on a plan B half at the end of the month.


This week.....

Monday: easy/XT
Tuesday: 5 easy
Wednesday: XT
Thursday: speed - 10x400 (did you know 400s are my FAVORITE?!)
Friday: easy/XT
Saturday: easy/rest
Sunday: Long (14ish)


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