Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon - Recap


Let's take some inventory here of things that made yesterday really, really terrible for me:
1. The sun.
2. The hot.
3. The humid.
4. The hills.
5. My left ass/thutt area.
6. My brain.

I did not beat 2:05. I did not PR. I did not not walk.

Lest this be all whine whine whine whine, I will tell you about the event overall, and then recap all the ways I made it terrible.

Renegade Racing offered packet pick up Saturday and Sunday at Road Runner Sports in Laguna - pick up was super fast and easy, plenty of volunteers. The shirts are unisex, but nice, and super duper soft and comfortable.

The race is Memorial Day themed, and this year was run in honor of the US Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion.

The race starts in front of the Laguna Hills Mall, and parking at the mall is free, and plentiful. I left my house around 6, and was parked by 6:15. I sat around for awhile getting my stuff situated, and headed over to the start area around 6:30. There are a billion port-o-potties, but also a billion people in line - so plan accordingly. Getting in line at 6:30 was okay for me, I was out and heading to the start line at 6:50, and was able to squeeze in just fine.

There are no corrals, but there are pace signs clearly designed to help people self-police. There were also several pace groups with signs - I lined up just between the 2 hour and 2:10 groups. Like always, the race started exactly on time (I LOVE that).

The website describes the course as "scenic and challenging", and I AGREE. There are rolling hills throughout, some short and steep, some long long long long and steady.

from the website
The course loops through Laguna Woods Village, then down Alicia Parkway to Aliso and Woods Canyon. Some out and back loops through the park (all paved), then back up the Aliso Creek bike trail to finish at Laguna Hills High School.

It's pretty and scenic...

And very, very exposed. And the canyons are HOT.

There were 8 aid stations set up, all with water, and 4 with electrolyte drinks.

After the finish, they have water, and some fruit available, and a large finish line expo and family fun area.

The medals are AMAZING.

In addition to the half marathon, a 5k and 10k are also offered (same start/finish area, same start time), and a kids race at the finish expo area. Shuttles are available to ride you back about a mile to the parking lot, but if you don't want to wait it's totally walkable. I did wait, but only waited 2 or 3 minutes. I was feeling lazy.

Registration is SUPER reasonable, starting at just $60, and going up to only $75 - for races in OC, this is a killer deal. The 5k starts at $25, and the 10k at $30. Renegade always puts on a well organized event, with nice medals, so these prices are great.

Overall: Pretty course, beware it can get warm, and it is certainly challenging. Love the shirt, everything was well organized, plenty of water and volunteers.


So to recap MY race.

What went right:
my clothes didn't chafe me?

What went wrong:
all of the other things.

Something I tried to impart on #1 during track was that it's OKAY to have a bad race, but it's not okay to just say it's a bad race and learn nothing from it. I'm trying hard to learn something, but I'm really struggling, because there was so much that I did totally wrong. Since this is not my first rodeo, I am a little puzzled at myself - how did I even manage to make it so awful!?

So, first, categorized under things I cannot control. The sun came out, before the start gun even went off. By mile two, it was full blazing hot. It was also humid. I am a sweaty person when I run, and I lose A LOT of salt, so I knew that it was something I needed to be aware of - I hydrated a lot in the days before, and thought I was on top of it.

You can caption this "Dyyyyyying".

I originally intended to start out a little faster and hope to bank some time - most of the downhill on this course was in the first half, so I wanted a buffer. Hence, I ran with the 2:00 pacer for the first mile, and that was a terrible effing plan. TERRIBLE (you can categorize this under: Things I Should Know Better Than To Try, But Did It Anyway). I didn't have trouble sticking with them, but it was certainly faster than I have any business running in a half marathon. I realized it, and tried to slow down, but didn't do enough slowing for that to help.

By mile 2, I thought I might be in trouble. I felt sluggish (even running a faster pace than I should have been), and the thutt area was starting to niggle, and it was HOT and I was sweating like a beast.

At mile 3, we passed the 5k finish, and I almost pulled out. Almost. The ONLY reason I did not, was because I figured I could at least try to make it through the 10k mark, and then see how I felt. Joke was on me, because the 10k split off shortly after that, so I just kept going.

For fueling, I figured I'd try the plan that worked for me at Holiday Half - 1 margarita shot blok every mile starting at mile 3, and a Gu at mile 8.

By mile 5, I had a giant headache, and had already forgotten when I took my last shot blok. If I didn't have runner brain, I would have realized that I needed to fuel. Instead, I figured this race was already a mess and kind of gave up.

Mile 6.5, on pace for 2:02, and while I knew that I couldn't sustain this, I figured a PR was still in the picture.

Mile 8, I started texting Becka. lols.

Mile 10, I was still roughly on 2:05 pace, and thought if I could juuuuust hold on to 9:35ish pace, I would be okay.

Now seems like a good time to share my splits.
1 - 8:53
2 - 9:13
3 - 9:12
4 - 9:09
5 - 10:04
6 - 9:29
7 - 9:43
8 - 10:28
9 - 10:01
10 - 10:07
11 - 11:38
12 - 11:21
13 - 10:51
.27 - 10:20

Finish: 2:13:00.


Quite obviously, I melted. I stopped fueling at some point, because I figured... why even bother, because I was not going to finish well anyway. I do know better, and I know I needed the extra salt, but I didn't care. I literally and for real, jogged across the finish line, and didn't caaaare.

I walked A LOT the last 3 miles, and I am, frankly, shocked those paces aren't even slower. I sure can't wait for the official pictures, because I bet I look GLAMOROUS.

It was an off-day for me from the very start, my stomach was being wonky, I had some side cramps, I didn't get into any kind of rhythm, and then I just quit. I'm not even that sad about the time, because hello, that's not even a BAD time for me. I'm just pretty annoyed that I quit. It has been awhile since my brain broke during a race (ahem, RnR Seattle), so I guess it was overdue. It's not you, race, it's me!


I feel totally fine today, no residual soreness (aside from the thutt issue). I credit this to my extensive walking "cool down" at the end, from mile 11-13.27.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Laguna Hills Half Goals

1. On Monday, I'm running the City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon. This year, Renegade Race Series is introducing a new medal series:
Over the next five years the race will have a different US armed forces themed medal. If you race every year for the next five years, in 2018 you will earn a Joint Chiefs of Staff medal to commemorate your accomplishment.

Neat! I'm a sucker for a series, so obviously I was all over this.

Anyway. The course is similar to the PCRF course, and seems designed for positive splitting with a downhill out/uphill back.

This is the part where I make goals, MAYBE.

A Goal: sub-2:05
9:32 pace - that's what all of my training has been built around. This is a perfect day scenario, and will really depend on the weather for me. It was 100*+ all of last week, and this week barely breaking 70 and cloudy. Right now the forecast says 80* and morning clouds. Yesterday it said 68* and cloudy. The weather is a crapshoot, and the forecast is not to be trusted.

B Goal: PR
My current PR is 2:08:56, from Holiday Half in December (9:50 pace). That was run on tired legs (after a 5k the day before), on a HOT day, on a hilly course. So I feel like I could beat this?

C Goal: Finish and don't quit
The death of me on the PCRF course has always been my brain breaking down at mile 10. The slight uphill at the second half has just worn on me and I quit and start walking. I'd like to not do that.

My training has been 8 weeks, and I never had issues hitting goal paces (until yesterday on a stupid taper run, WHAT), so I feel pretty good about my chances. But it's been awhile since I've tried to race, and since I've been even running regularly, so whooooo knows.

The suspense!!

2. I had a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE run yesterday. It was cool and cloudy, so I thought I'd take advantage and do my intervals outside. The course I'm running Monday is hilly, so I thought I'd do the intervals on a local bike path that has some underpasses that I call "hills".

The first mile was sluggish, so I tried an extended warm up. The second mile was equally crappy, so I tried an extra half mile with strides. Still awful. Tried a single 400, and the clouds parted, and the sun shone down, and the winds picked up, and I called it quits. Bailed on the bike path, and spent my run home doing "fartleks" on a road - fast for one block, slow the next. So terrible.

I have a THING that makes me hate finishing a run on a partial mile - it's all or nothing for me. This works pretty well when I am not feeling a run and I force myself to ignore the mile click over, because then I have to finish that mile.

Not yesterday. Yesterday I saw a market at 4.5 miles, stopped, bought a soda, and walked home.

3. I've been stepping up the job hunt intensity lately, because Living the Dream just can't last forever (and neither can my savings, and so far, I have not won the lottery or found a money tree).

One crazy thing that happened earlier this week: I sent my resume off for a position in...

source, but literally any picture of this place is so pretty

I wasn't joking last year when I said I loved it there, and wanted to live there forever. I'd obviously been searching for a job locally, and moving hadn't been something we considered - #1's entrenched in her team, #3's oncologist is here (though that isn't much of a consideration anymore, really) - but this position popped up on my radar, and the pay was great, and I sent my resume. And it's likely a long shot, because professionally, I don't do anything super specialized so I'm sure there are a billion candidates, but just look how pretty!

Anyway, I've been working hard on job hunting, and it's pretty frustrating, but that's to be expected. Job hunting is so weird, because it's a lot of work on the hunter's part - finding jobs, creating relevant and not stupid cover letters, pages of forms even after submitting a resume - and what's the pay off? The reward?

You work.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Week in Review / PFTW

Last week!

Monday: XT
Maybe reverse psychology works on me, because once I said I was just resigned to resting on Monday's, I did arms and abs. Clever trick, me.

Tuesday: Tempo
7 miles total with 4 at tempo. Goal was 9:22-9:07, actual was 9:22, 9:20, 9:13, 9:09. Skipped run club because it was 97* and I enjoy being alive.

Every Tuesday, I do speed on the treadmill, and every Tuesday, there's a guy in the gym that "runs" for 45 minutes. And by "runs", I mean, he turns the belt on, and occasionally runs, but spends most of the time standing on the edges playing on his phone. It's so bizarre. Do people that do this know that those miles don't even count???

Wednesday: Run/XT
Last week was HOT. Like, over 100* for most of the week. In fact, it was so toasty that I decided to go to the gym for almost 2 hours, because at least the gym has AC (and my apartment DOES NOT). 3 mile run, a couple miles walking leisurely, and lower body circuit. It was so cool and lovely, I hated to leave.

Thursday: XT
Arms, Core, and stretch

Friday: Run
Woke up to tons of smoke and firey smelling air from the San Diego fires south of us - was intending to do a long run, but the air was awful. Made it 3 miles with itchy eyes and scratchy throat and called it. After I got home, I saw on the news there was an air quality warning, advising to stay indoors. Ha. Too late, suckers.

Saturday: Long!
This run was so great! 6 miles easy, 6 at "goal" pace. Goal pace felt a teeeeeeny bit challenging, but certainly not too hard, so I'm maybe optimistic about the Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half. Maybe.

(BTW, if you want to run, you can register at that link, and use HEATHERDISCOUNT for an extra 10% off.)

Sunday: Rest?
We spent the day spectating #2's track event, while #1 and her team volunteered with the operations.

This is how Gab feels about track time.
The H took her home between events. She was a joy to bring to the track.

#2 ran her teeny tiny heart out for her 100m, but she watches everything happening around her instead of looking forward. It's so weird!
Rare shot of her looking forward.
She was also supposed to run the 400m later, but DNS'ed due to an ankle injury she acquired while goofing off on the bleachers. More accurately, an "injury". Since I saw her later bounding up the stairs, I am skeptical of this claim. This was not the highlight of my day.

It was WARM, and despite reapplying sunscreen a billion times, I have some fancy sunburn lines everywhere. #blessed.

So now, FOR REAL, track is DONE until next January. GOOD RIDDANCE, TRACK.


It's taper!

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Run club! Arms, core
Wednesday: Speed - not sure what, yet, but likely 400's/800's?
Thursday: XT, legs
Friday: 5 with strides (or maybe trails, weather dependent), arms/core
Saturday/Sunday - rest

I'll talk more about my goals for Laguna later this week..... Honestly, a lot of it just depends on the weather forecast. I am a fair weather runner.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week in Review / PFTW

Wow, was last week LAME.

Monday: rest 
Nailed it.

Tuesday: speed work
5 miles, with 5x800. Goal was 8:24-8:02 - actual was for sure on the high end of that range, but it wasn't the worst ever, so success!!

Wednesday: XT
17 min abs and a short (SHORT) arms video. This was the beginning of the end...

Thursday: Nothing
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: Nothing

Sunday: "long"
Actual was 4 super terrible awful lame miles, and then I quit, because apparently now in addition to being lazy, I AM A QUITTER. (I'm not that bummed about it, I really just hated every second).

9 miles for the week, because I'm a super-star.

Thursday, Gab had her regular check at the cancer clinic. For the first time since we've been going there in 2011, they didn't remember her name. THIS IS SO EXCITING.

I would barely even know it's the same kid, if I hadn't taken both of those pictures.

Friday, #1 raced in League Finals, and took 4th in the 1600 and WINNER in the 3200 - with a new meet record!
so fast, you can't even seeeee her
They did medal ceremonies for each race, and for every race, the kids used the podium right.. until it was #1's turn, and then she turned it into a party.

join me, everyone!
FINALLY, FINALLY track season is over. Thank goodness.

And then Saturday was #2's birthday. I'm not thrilled about having TWO teenagers, because it does not even seem possible that I'm that old. HOW.

To celebrate, we took her to the track to practice long jump for her meet next weekend. She's so lucky to have me as a mom.
I don't know anything about long jump, but this looks fancy and impressive to me.


PFTW, and maybe this time I mean it?

Monday: XT - arms/core
Tuesday: 5 miles tempo; run club, unless it's too hot for my delicate nature
Wednesday: 3-4 easy, XT
Thursday: Long (12-14)
Friday: rest, yoga
Saturday: 6-7 easy; XT
Sunday: #2 is racing!!

I don't even know what happened to me last week, I got really caught up in sudden job-hunting mania, and just couldn't tear myself away? I don't know.

The forecast this week is unpleasant ("sizzling sunshine" ???? WHAT??!?!), so while I'd love to go to run club Tuesday evening, I will even more love to not burst into flames.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week in Review / PFTW

First, thanks for the comments last week regarding #1's racing aversion. A few people mentioned taking the watch away from her. Ironically, she doesn't run with a watch. Pretty much the only time she knows her training paces is when either the coach is riding his bike while they run, or she's doing track work (once a week).

I feel like there's a combination of reasons that she races at the times she does:

  • She's 15 and stubborn.
  • She's my child, and stubborn.
  • Running faster than is comfortable is HARD, and so far, she's skated by without needing to get uncomfortable.
  • She doesn't want it bad enough - she's just not super competitive, she didn't grow up participating in sports, and the need to win is not something that comes naturally to her.
  • Trusting your training is a difficult concept to grasp for her. {related to above, an idea I had was to have her do a tempo run with a Garmin, so she could see what she is actually running, and apply that to her races - she says she sees the clock time, and thinks she cannot run that fast, even though her training clearly says otherwise.}
  • Her first year in HS sports was incredibly successful - being on varsity for XC meant she ran more races than the non-varsity runners as they moved on to state prelims and stuff; the jump into track was pretty quick, and being faster meant running more races than a lot of her teammates. Burnout, I'm sure, has played a part.
  • She was OVER hearing her obnoxious parents yap about it and wanted to teach us a lesson in shutting up.

Luckily, she's almost done for the season, and outside of a couple of 5k's and a 10k this summer, she's done racing until XC starts in September.
Last week was her last dual meet, and terrible weather aside, they had a lot of fun - they won by about a billion points or whatever, and the team they raced was SO NICE about it. Temps were 97*+ the whole time, with 30mph winds (and I heard on the news 70-80mph gusts, the heck), so no one had a good race, but also no one puked or passed out, so I would say it was successful.

Two league meets this week, and WE ARE FREE. Finally. I can't wait for XC season. Track was not my most favorite.


Last week!

Monday - rest. I don't know why I keep pretending I'm going to do stuff on Monday, because inevitably, I take a rest day.

Tuesday: XT, tempo
5 miles with 3 at tempo -  a little tough, but not the worst! Followed with a new Fitness Blender video, 17 minute Six Pack Burn Out - Intense Abs Workout. I REALLY liked this video.

Spent the late afternoon sitting on the bleachers in 99* sun watching track practice - the girls were sad that it was "only" 99, because apparently, the rules say 100*+ and they call off practice. SO CLOSE. Lucky for me, I've been hoarding my free drink reward, and enjoyed this while they ran 4x400 and 6x200 haha suckers.

Wednesday: XT
50 minute upper body video (this one), the 17 minute abs again, and a quick stretch/yoga video.

Thursday: Long 
12 miles easy, with middle 4 at "race pace". Easy easy easy, caught up on some old Real Housewives from last season on the treadmill (in fact, all of my runs this week were on the mill - IT WAS SO HOT ALL WEEK).

Friday: XT
Core (same 17 minute abs video) and arms.

Saturday: rest
This was the Worst Day Ever - uckfed up Gab's race (it was actually Saturday, NOT Sunday, and I realized it too late - I was sad, she was NOT. "It's okay, mom, I hate running!"), and then - THEN! - our car broke dead while I was on the way to a party. Sigh. Then I came home and ate ice cream for dinner.

Sunday: easy run
5 easy miles catching up on more Real Housewives of OC. This was easy, but apparently less easy than the woman on the treadmill next to me, sipping on a frappuccino (dude, not even during happy hour window!).

Total of 22 miles, which is the most I've run in a week in ages - actually, the most since early December. Huh.

Obviously I kind of settled on a RLRF type program for now, because I still really enjoy the strength training. Since I plan on doing iTRY in August, I doubt that will change until then, because I'll need to add the cycling and swimming back in (ugghhhhh).


Monday: rest (I give in)
Tuesday: SPEED! 5 miles with some 800s, XT lower body/abs
Wednesday: easy 3-4, XT upper body
Thursday: XT total body
Friday: Long - 10 miles with strides, yoga
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 4-5 easy


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