Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Urgent and delusional

2011 was off to a good start with the first ever Master Plan 2011 (for Kicking Ass), which started out with the New Orleans RNR Half Marathon in February and included two "A" races that would wrap up my intense training and racing year in early October:

Of course, the Master Plan went through many revisions, including the addition of another, tragic marathon in June which resulted in me being injured from June through October.

I pushed it too hard. I was using the Furman First, Run Less, Run Faster training program and loved the intensity of it but my body cried uncle after 5 straight months with essentially no break. I trained hard and was surprisingly compliant with the rigorous schedule despite all the other challenges in life that demand our time and energy.

So why was I pushing so hard? A sense of urgency. I had a lot to accomplish in 2011 because the Master Plan 2012 includes some big changes. 2011 was my year to get it all done.

I added the Seattle RNR Marathon as my first full for two reasons:
  1. I was impatient. I was feeling so good with the RLRF training, I really wanted to dive in and start marathon training. After the Indy Mini, I felt I could accomplish anything!
  2. Boston Marathon qualifying times were becoming more stringent in Sept. 2011. Portland was AFTER the new standards would be in place and I wanted my shot before the tough got tougher.
So not only did I feel the need to complete my first marathon in 2011, I needed that first shot to be a Boston qualifier. (This is where Adam's unicorn starts peeing rainbows.) The pipe dream continues with me running Boston with a small bun in the oven and huge smile on my face. I would then take a brief sabbatical from running, knowing I had left my 30's running career with a firework finish and then would re-start in the master's age group after #2 was sleeping through the night.

Yup. That's why I needed to cram so much into one year, one race, and why it hurt so bad, why it was so devastating to have it all fall apart 14 miles into my marathon. My big race where I was on a sub-BQ pace and feeling great.

Do you wonder what color the sky was in my fantastical world when I was dreaming up this big plan? I do!

Making time to run with TWO kids is possible (THANK YOU blogging, running parents out there for inspiration, showing how it can be done), but I know from #1 that the first six months (at least) is ROUGH.

No sleep = no energy = no running.

I have feared that after #2 comes (date undetermined as not preg YET), I really won't know how soon I will get to start training again or how seriously I will be able to train. It may sound petty to worry about this when we're talking about the incredible joy of having a child, but I NEED to run. I need to run and need to make challenges for myself, especially since having a child.

So there it is. A confession of a delusional running mom who wanted it all before life got a bit crazier and more unpredictable.

I don't want to give up on running goals for 2012 even with life (my BODY) taking a big turn but I am still thinking about the Master Plan. (Kim, I plan on planning some early 2012 races!) One thing I do know, I hope to channel Zoe and run throughout my pregnancy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Inspired by an ultramarathoner's journey

For a while now I have been following a blog that I really enjoy. I have found Kia @ Determined to Be Fit amazing and inspiring in all that she's accomplished this year. We have quite a bit in common (I think) so I felt especially absorbed by her journey and am fighting the tears right now as I'm so happy for her finishing her first 50-miler.

After half and full road marathons, Kia transitioned into trail running with a 10-miler, marathon, 15k, 50k, and now a 50-miler. Up and down mountains, through streams and mud pits, getting lost in the woods and finding her way back again, she did it all. So incredible.

It makes me wonder,
What will I set out to do next year? How far will I venture out of my comfort zone? 

What about you? Are you going to try something new in 2012?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monkey racing

I scooted out of work a bit early to squeeze in my 6x800m workout at the Y (treadmill), rushing the whole way up the hill, through the locker room, and onto a machine.

"Quick Start" and I was off on my warm up, trying to keep my heart rate below 160 bpm. It was painfully slow (12:00 miles?) because I was pretty amped up from rushing to get there. This is my new deal as of yesterday. An ironwoman co-worker has been telling me to slow it down, make the body more efficient by running longer at a lower heart rate. 

This is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I normally do. I'm usually all out pretty much all the time, even on long runs, unless someone else is setting the pace. 

Then this weekend Caratruck Girl posted about heart rate zone training. It pushed me over the edge. Since I don't have enough time to do a full FIRST/Furman program, I figure I may as well try something different. Zone training. 

Meanwhile, a T.V. monitor is on in front of me but I'm not paying attention because I'm looking at my HR and thinking about my upcoming 800m intervals and wondering what pace I'll need to run to get my heart up around 185-190 bpm. 

I think Monday night football was on?

Then suddenly the scene changed to horse racing. 

Wait, what?
That horse is really hairy. 
And the tail is thick and shaped like an arc.
But the jockey...is hairy too?
Damn, things are fuzzy when I don't have my glasses on.
What the heck?
I realized it wasn't horse racing at all, but something along these lines:

The clip I saw was more convincing than this, I promise. But really, have you ever seen this? I guess it's "Banana Derby." 

After recovering from the shock of seeing a little monkey jockey zoom around a track on the back of a dog, I cranked it up for my first 800m interval. At the same exact moment that my first interval started, ENTER SANDMAN started on my shuffle.

Oh yes, this was going to be a good workout.

And it was. 

Rock on!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Candy canes take Tacoma

Well, officially it was Santa Runs Tacoma, but as Team Will Run For Ice Cream Hot Chocolate started the 5k race, with me at the back of the pack, it looked like our candy cane-themed runners were going to take over! It was great seeing all the red sparkles and stripes head up the hill.

Yes, this mostly flat 5k started UPHILL! Other than the hill and the 35-degree weather, it was a nice start. There were not too many people but lots of costumed characters.
This is where I was NOT today.
While I was freezing with the girls in the Pacific NW, the hubs was on the beach WORKING in Puerto Rico. Something amiss here?

The Santa Runs Tacoma race is also run in Kabul, Afghanistan on Christmas day by I Corps from our local, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and so videographers were taking messages from participants to send over to the troops. Our group sang the opening to "We wish you a merry Christmas," followed by a big thank you. Quite nice to take some time to remember those far from home. 

Behind the scenes (literally)

Almost everyone: "A," Kadie, Tiffiany, Karla, Kim, Mel, Zoe, Kerrie, yo
My aunt ran today, too. We ran this same race together LAST YEAR.

Colorful clothing, antlers, beards, etc.

Trying to stay warm pre-race.

It would have been nice to take photos during the race like I did last year because some of the costumes were pretty great. But, my goal for the race was to actually run a bit hard. I've struggled with my training lately but still wanted to push it and see where I was at. So, no photos.

In the end, it paid off because I ran much better than I expected and wound up with a 3rd place finish in my age group (23:13, 35-39 AG). The two women who placed ahead of me also placed in the top 5 overall. The women's winning time was 18:26 and in fact, the top five women ran sub 19:00. I love it when there are fast women around, don't you?

What's even better is that Tall Mom Mel and my aunt ALSO placed third in their age groups AND Kim placed first in her age group!
Kim, Mel, and I rockin' our ribbons.

Post race libations/celebrations

It was a lovely day in Tacoma and certainly inspired me to get back into speed work. This week will be a struggle while the hubs is out of town because I'll have less time available but I'll do what I can. 

Next up: 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Tonight was the work white elephant gift exchange.
I was second draw.
Stole the first draw pick: CHAPS.
Not. Kidding.
Full leather.
All goodness.
More draws. First draw gets her gift stolen and re-steals her chaps.
I was chapped. Bitter.
Though first draw says I can borrow them anytime.
Is there a Cowboy 5k coming up anytime soon?
I draw: Homer Simpson chia pet.
Later, chia pet taken.
So sad.
New draw:

Clock & fishy caviar dish.
There is peace in the world once again.


Next up:
Santa Runs Tacoma 5k with "Team I Run for Ice Cream" re-appearing as candy canes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can I get another "do over?"

Ever since early October, I've been struggling with this pattern of getting in a couple weeks of good training to rebound from my injury, only to be followed up with a few weeks of down-time. Down-time due to work, sickness, and/or travel. Life.

So when I thought things were going so great in early November, when I hit my first speed workouts since June, I got smacked down. Now it's a month later and I'm heavier (= slower) and sucking wind.

Do over! I want to go back to October and start my 5k training again! I want to get back to 8:00 miles! 

My upcoming 5k on Saturday will not be the big race I had hoped for but I still hope to dig deep and try to gut out a decent time (8:30 pace?!). Then, I have a half marathon two weeks later. And another half marathon three weeks after that!

This IS my do over week. I'm focusing on just getting my routine back. Then next week, after the 5k, I'll have 5 weeks of half marathon training, which will include a half, half-way through. Ha!

Here is my completely bastardized Furman FIRST/Run Less, Run Faster program cut down to 5 weeks (though I will not hold myself to specific paces for now; will just increase exertion level):

Obviously, the half marathons will have to be easy runs since I'm in no shape to push hard but both are in nice settings so I will certainly enjoy the ride.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

USA Track & Field National Cross Country Championships

Saturday was USA Track & Field national cross country champs from coast to coast. My friend's daughter's team placed 5th at junior nationals in Myrtle Beach, SC (woot!) and on this coast, we had the master and open cross country championships.

I had hoped to catch both the men and women races but I got tied down at the house getting caught up on chores and only made it to the men's race. I knew a couple guys in the open division so it was nice to see them run. It certainly took some kahunas to get out there in this field:

Quite a big race. Eek!

The men's 10k race was won by Jonathan Gray of Team USA Minnesota in 29:38 (4:47 pace). The top teams were McMillan Elite, Boulder Running Company/Adidas, and the Asics Aggie Running Club.
The guys coming around a corner. You could feel the ground moving!
The guy who won is in the blue, on the left.  
Men's leader, Gray, of Team USA Minnesota. Notice how there is no one directly behind him?
The women's 6k race was won by Brie Felnagle in 19:54 (5:20 average pace). The top teams were Adidas Team Rogue Elite, Boulder Running Company/Adidas, and Club Northwest. Our very own Club Northwest of Seattle won the women's master event. Reading the results, it turns out I know one of the masters female runners for the Seattle Running Club - would have been nice to see her too. Ni modo.

Aside from this, I went on a first run in quite some time and felt jiggly and slow. BAH. One week until a 5k I had hoped to "race" but will instead just have to go try to finish without passing out. Still trying to formulate a plan for the Yukon Do It Half on 12/31 and the Maui Oceanfront Half on 1/22. More on that and the Master Plan for 2012 later...

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What happens in Vegas...

Ends up on my blog!

Not. :) I am silent on the bachelorette party; although, I can say that the bachelorette got lei'ed twice at the running expo.

We started out at 11 women for the party but just five of us lingered for the big half marathon walk. (Did anyone else out there purchase kick-ass Stetson boots at the Cowboy Christmas Fair, next door to the expo?) It was a fantastic bachelorette party weekend in Vegas. My first time ever. I was nervous and wondering why I hadn't done this when I was in my 20's but I have to say, Vegas is for everyone.

We saw George Lucas (we were too wimpy to ask him: "Why, why, WHY did you create JarJar Banks and ruin Star Wars?") though I never would have noticed him if not pointed out to me.

There have certainly been a lot of complaints about how crowded the Rock & Roll race was and I have to admit, I felt like I was 19 again in a mosh pit at a Nirvana concert as we were trying to make our way to our corral. We never made it, ended up jumping in as the corral went by. There were no shuttles as promised, so we walked 1.4 miles to the start from our hotel then walked 1.4 miles back again. At 11 p.m. When it was sprinkling and 35 degrees outside. Brrrr.

There weren't many bands on the course so we decided to sing & add our own Rock & Roll to the event. 
BUT - the race pretty much kicked ass. We had a fantastic time, took lots of walk breaks to enjoy the view,
Yes, random dude with beer stopped to pose
lost track of all the Elvis's & Marilyn's we saw, and

I felt complete after seeing Endorphin Dude around mile 6.
Third RNR event, third Endorphin Dude encounter. 
Awesome. He only has five more marathons to go until he reaches his goal of 52 marathons in 365 days. We rocked our Sparkle Skirts and enjoyed the other crazy girls on the course.

You can't see it, but these girls are each carrying 3 tall-boys. 
 I am done with Competitor Group races even though we were smiles before & after:
The Before
And After
Done! Where is that burger? It's 11 p.m. and we're HUNGRY! 
A great ending to a fantastic weekend with some of the best friends a girl could hope for.
And now, to get back to RUNNING and preparing for the Santa Runs Tacoma 5k and Yukon Do It half marathon later this month.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vegas bound

I'm nearly packed but definitely ready to head down to Vegas with my crazy girls. Two days of bacheloretting fun then...

We're doing the half marathon as a walk and will enjoy every crazy minute. I'm really hoping I see some of y'all down there on the course! Our little group will be in Team Sparkle attire.

Have fun everyone & rock on!