Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unskinny Bop

Aside from having to re-learn a computer program that's still in DOS (really) and office flow, work is going well.  The first day I worked with the doctor  he commented, "The last time you worked here was when Seinfeld episodes weren't reruns!"  He also made a comment about my hair, that it's no longer curly.  12 years ago (just about) everyone had big hair.  I had long, super curly, big hair that became frizzy when I even thought about humidity.
Hubs and I,  1990-something...
 Holy Hair, Batman!  I'm also about 30 pounds heavier in this picture and rockin' the mom jeans.

It's not the best picture,  but you get the idea.  I had TONS of really big hair. Now I wear my hair somewhat straight with the help of technologically better styling products and a really great flat iron.*

The running continues. I've made an effort to show up at the Tuesday night track club workouts where we're doing 800 meter intervals, which is a two lap run around the track, then a recovery jog/walk. Lather, rinse, repeat. Last week was 800 x 6. This week I think it was 800 X 7. I lost count.  We always end the workout with some sort of abdominal exercises.  Good times.  I'm still putting in my Saturday long runs with the track club, and a shorter run in my 'hood just because it contains hill. I will be needing to keep hills in the equation since my next three half marathons are loaded with hills.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Runner's World wear test program again. I thought I had missed out this time due to scheduling conflicts. Luckily, for me, there were a few pairs of shoes left and coach Paul brought the extra shoes to a Saturday run. I just had to be extra EARLY. It was early.  I got up around 4:30 AM just so I could make it to the park at 5:45 AM. I scored a pair of Karhu's Flow Fulcrum Ride. I tried to look up my particular model on Karhu's website, but the shoes are scheduled to come out this summer. I must have an unintentional bright pink vibe about me, or something. My last pair of test shoes had screaming pink soles. These Karhu's scream PINK. Hubs calls them my "Rainbow Brite shoes." My first impression of these shoes was "Ow, my eyes!"

Once I got over the color, I began to pay attention how I felt while running. They're not as cushy as what I'm used to, and these are somewhat similar to a racing flat, but not quite as minimal. There's still a fair amount of cushion in the heel, decent arch support, and a little forefoot cushion, but (again) not as much cushion as what I'm used to. These shoes are perfect for track workouts. I might give them a road test and see how they do on the streets in my 'hood, perhaps an easy 3 mile jaunt. I don't think they'll get me through a 10 miler on asphalt, though. They fit smaller than the size indicates.  I took an entire size up from my regular shoe size so that they would fit properly.

Between getting our taxes done, starting a new job, the Easter holiday, the bathroom in rip-out/remodel mode, and real life, my house is beginning to take on the vibe of one of those houses you see on the show "Hoarders."  O.K, maybe not THAT bad, but I don't recognize my house right now. I need to spend a week reorganizing and cleaning without stopping.  I know what I NEED to do, but I just haven't done it.  I had to do this blog post first.  Priorities.

The last time I ran in the Nike Women's Half Marathon was 2007.  I've been trying to get back in every year since then.  I would always get the rejection e-mail or no e-mail at all and I'd have to search the site to see that I was actually rejected.


 Even though it says "marathon," I'm signed up for the half.  :)


In addition, AKA Alice and the Heffers got in, too!  This time it's a girls trip! 

It looks like hills will continue to be on the training agenda...  There will be hills and plenty of sunscreen because it will be a summer training season.


Song from Monday, April 18, 2011:
Rolling in the Deep - Adele


*Thank goodness for advances in hair care!  Walking around with a head that looks like a Brill-o pad gets old.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

The La Jolla Half Marathon Race Report or S*** Happens

Well?  What can I say about this one. Another race done?  Yes.


Yes, but I rocked those hills.

Hills were not the issue.

Race day started out as it usually does, at the butt crack of dawn, getting a quick something to eat, and out the door while we're not fully awake.  We always forget something.  Half way up  to La Jolla Hubs realizes he does not have his ID, meaning he can't get into the beer garden after the race. Oh well.

Fast forward to a few hours later.  We're at the Del Mar race track parking lot area waiting for the race to start.  This included several trips to the port o potties, stretching, attempting to warm up, and socializing.

                                                          Hubs and I waiting... and waiting...

While we were waiting an announcement was made that they needed someone to volunteer to sing the National Anthem.  Amazingly, two people offered and it was awesome.  It turns out this couple sings at weddings.  They harmonized the National Anthem.

Once the race starts it's the usual all systems go and everyone takes off.  No problem.  I make it up the first small hill.  No problem.  Make it to the Torrey Pines ginormous hill and up.  No problem.  Past the very top of the Torrey Pines hill near UCSD I needed to use the rest room.  Problem.  The last restroom was at the ranger station on Torry Pines hill, a mile back, and I kept thinking  "there's usually a port or potty or two along the race."  No.  The next port o potty was about 4 miles away, where the 5k started. Since the race course goes along UCSD, the landscaping is impeccably manicured, and there were no obscure bushes to hide behind, no public restrooms, nada, zip. It was awful.  This made me sick to my stomach, and slowed me down.  I kept running, but it wasn't pretty.  I was miserable.  I finally made it to the 5k area, and that really wasn't pretty, but I was at least able to take care of business, compose myself as best as possible, and then finish the race.  Before the race I was thinking I could possibly finish in around 2:20 to 2:25, even with the hills.  I finished in 2:28:28. Meh. I finished the .race

I was supposed to meet blogger Chris of The Manly Runner in the beer garden, but I couldn't make my way in.  They would only let a certain number of people in at a time. I found Hubs, my sister (who ran the 5k), her husband, and my friend Rich, and we decided to ditch the beer garden and just go home.  I REALLY needed a shower and something to settle my stomach. 

I have no post race pictures.  Rich might have taken a few pictures, but I know we didn't take any. We just wanted to get out of there. We exited the back way out of La Jolla to avoid the clusterf*** of traffic going toward the freeway.

The pros  -  The course took us along the coast from Del Mar to La Jolla, and it was beautiful.  I had trained for those hills and didn't walk once.  My sister came to run the 5k and PRed.  I logged another half marathon in the books.  I got another medal.

The cons - Too long of a wait for the race to start after the buses dropped us off.  2 hours.  Not enough port o potties on the race course. I got sick because I needed to use a port o potty NOW and there wasn't any place to go. Lack of post race swag.  Not that I was slow, but there wasn't enough stuff left for the half marathoners  after the 5k'ers went through.  I didn't get to meet Chris. 

I want a do over.  Hubs thinks I'm nuts because he doesn't want to see those hills for a long time. 

Last Saturday's Song:
Ready To Start - Arcade Fire


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ready To Start

The New(er) Job
What a difference.  It's kind of like I went on a job diet.  I have the same type of job with 50% less BS.  No job is 100% BS free, but I've got a feeling everything IS going to be OK. I feel lighter already.

The Hubs
We celebrated Hubs birthday on Thursday. It was a kick-back occasion with a couple of friends and our immediate family. One of the highlights was this sweatshirt:

A sweatshirt from his SDSU daughter

The Running
I've been sort of bad about attending the track club's Tuesday night track workout, but I attended last Tuesday.  We did 800's with a 400m recovery.  It would have been killer IF I had pushed myself harder, but I'm trying not to get hurt.  This, too, shall pass.  It's not the fear of injury, it's that I've decided to take a more conservative approach (this year) and build up gradually.

I also ran with the track club on Saturday, at the La Jolla Shores "Low Tide" run.

 Pre run C-C-C-C-C-C-COLD!  Michelle and I were thinking warm thoughts.

I love the beach and the idea of running right on the beach sounds sort of romantic - with the sight and sound of the waves crashing along the shore, the crisp ocean air after a rainstorm the night before, and the sight of a few hundred runners running on the beach...

...BUT I'm not a big fan of actually running on the beach only because I end up feeling more beat up than when I run on a paved road.  The unevenness of the sand always leaves me feeling awkward.  There's also a segment of the run where we have to slowly trek over a few huge mounds of rocks, and I almost always seem to tweak a muscle or tendon while making my way over those rocks.  I often run at the beaches (here in the San Diego area) on the paved walkway that goes along the most of the beaches.

As I was saying, I ran with the track club on Saturday.  This run goes from La Jolla Shores, up to Del Mar then comes back to La Jolla via Torrey Pines and the infamous hill.  Since I'm not training for a marathon,  I ditched the run up to Del Mar, and trekked directly up the hill after the jaunt on the beach.  As slow as I was going, I was still in running formation, meaning: I wasn't walking.  I kept running posture the entire time, up hill, the little engine who could.  I believe this was the first time I've ever run up that particular hill without stopping or walking. 

Notice the elevation gain???

I'm glad this hill was a part of the run this week, just so I could wrap my mind around the idea of running up this hill halfway into the half marathon on April 17, 2011. Now that I've made it up (and down) that hill, I think I'm (mentally) ready.

Post run with hubs. By the way, it was COLD.   I had three layers on for this photo op.  Yeah, I'll admit to being a weather wuss.

There's a saying I've heard actor Will Smith use:  "If you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready."  Those are great words to live by, especially when it comes to running.  To be half marathon ready for months on end is a good thing.

I'm ready.

It feels good to say that.

Last Sunday's Song:
How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty


Sunday, April 03, 2011

How Far We've Come

The El Cajon 20k Race Report or How Irene Got Her Groove Back

I must admit to some ambivalence after I agreed to participate in the track club's El Cajon 20k race, but I knew it would be a good half marathon training run since it's almost half marathon distance, complete with some kick-ass hills. This was also the same day as the train run, which is one of my favorite runs because we take the train* 16 miles up the coast and run back along the coast and a few of the coastal towns along the way. I love running along the coast. The El Cajon 20K is inland, which is usually a good 10 degrees (or more) warmer than it is on the coast.  I've never run this race before, but EVERYONE kept talking about the hills.  In the few days leading up to the race, I was concerned about the weather.  It was warm in my 'hood, which is by the coast, so I could only imagine the warmth in El Cajon.  I was not looking forward to running an almost half marathon with hills and heat. 

Race day comes and it's rather overcast and a little humid.  It's not cold out, but far from hot.  It actually drizzled a little when we arrived at the race venue, at Granite Hills High School.  This isn't a big race, perhaps about 200 people.  A lot of the people I normally run with were at the train run.  After the usual formalities it was soon time to race, and I wasn't ready.  Waking up at 4:30 AM didn't help.  I felt tired.  Since the air was on the humid side, a bit of asthma kicked in, and I needed to get a forced breathing pattern down right away.

Into the first couple of miles we all noticed plenty of road kill and eau de skunk in a few areas.  We also encountered a dead snake on one of the uphill climbs. As with most races, it started out with everyone running somewhat clumped together until we arrived at the first steep hill, then the clumps of people thinned out. Several people walked up the steeper hills.  People who were well ahead of me were soon behind me and never passed me afterward, which surprised me.  At times I was running alone.  As slow as I was going up those steep hills, I was still running.  I was still moving. 

I have not much to say about the route, other than it was hilly, but we did run through some beautiful areas along the lush countryside, past some huge custom homes with horses, and (of course) rocky hills.  This race was not on a closed route, and we all had to be mindful of bike riders and car traffic. What goes up must come down.  The thing about running up hill is that there's a little relief coming down.  The last 3 to 4 miles were mostly at a slight downhill, and I was able to make up some time, and was able to pull out whatever I had left in me to jam to the finish line.  

Notice the elevation gain?

Those kick-ass hills kicked my ass.  My hamstrings and glutes were screaming when I was done.  It was hard to stretch, but I managed a little stretching without falling over or screaming.  After grabbing the usual post race muffin and banana, I walked around the high school a bit just to keep my legs and butt from locking up or cramping.  I also chatted with a few track club members and met a few new people.  Hubs ran this race too, and wasn't that far behind me.

Soon after hubs finished his run, the race coordinators began announcing the over all winners and age group winners.  I though I might have a chance at something this year due to the fact that everyone who usually wins my age group were probably at the train run.


 Me and my prize for  3rd in my AG.   I actually had a choice between socks, running shorts, t shirt, coffee mug and beer glass with the track club insignia.  Of course I selected the beer glass.  I have my priorities! Cheers!

For all I know there were probably 3 women in my age group.  It doesn't matter because I showed up and I took on those kick-ass hills.  You can't win if you don't show up.  Oh, wait, I take that back. *cough*  This time I earned my prize.  Everyone who ran this race deserved some sort of prize because it truly was not an easy course. 

According to Lucy** moving time was 02:15:30 and elapsed Time was 02:16:19. I'm still waiting on the official time, but it was in the 2:16 range. This race did not use timing chips or D tags.  Posted race results are pending.

Final results 70 IRENE M  33 51  3/6  F 2:16:19 10:59

Tuesday's Song:
No Scrubs - TLC - Run-DMZ


*What's not to love? You get to take a train ride with friends and run along the Southern California coast. 
**My Garmin.