Sunday, March 31, 2013

Last training week before the taper

It feels so silly to talk about training and tapering when I'm not really looking to RACE the Eugene Half, but I am still following my former plan and this week coming up is indeed the last "hard" week before the taper. I hate to admit that I'm really looking forward to the taper.

I've cut intervals, tempo runs, and hill repeats but I'm still logging the miles. This past weekend's long run (10 mi) was the first one that has made me nervous about being able to actually run/jog Eugene (as opposed to walk-jog it). I felt fine until the last couple miles, then I could feel my lower back starting to fatigue and get a bit squirrelly.

Fortunately, I had ordered a Gabrialla medium support maternity brace that I've seen other runners blog about and it arrived shortly after my long run. I had measured as a medium but ordered up one size at the recommendation of many Amazon commenters. Well, I'm thinking a size large is a bit big so just put a medium on order so I can compare the two. Despite being big, that brace felt heavenly after that long run. The way it snugged my hips together and supported my lower back was exactly what I needed.

Funny thing, I thought that running during pregnancy would be a problem due to a big, heavy belly bouncing around but really, it's the back and hips that are the problem. They're going all loosey goosey on me!

Otherwise, last week went really well. I had some fantastic spring-weather runs (3 runs) that gave me great peace and decent mileage. I'm still in the 20-25 mile range! I did get one strength workout in at the gym and am counting helping my BF move yesterday as another strength workout. I rode my bike in once and attempted to do some barefoot but GOT KICKED OFF THE TREADMILL AT THE GYM! (More on that in another post.)

So what's a pregnant lady to do during her last training week before taper?

  • Monday: Watch the Voice and continue to debate with myself whether or not I like the new judges. Really on the fence still. Oh yeah, and get a strength and/or cross-training workout in. Cross-training may just amount to riding my bike to/from work.
  • Tuesday: 6 easy miles
  • Wednesday: Strength and/or cross-training
  • Thursday: 4 easy miles
  • Friday: Rest day, maybe some yoga with Rodney Yee @ home
  • Saturday: Last long run! I'm up for 11-13 miles, depending on what works with my training partner, SL, who has her last 20 miler before Eugene. I will have to see what route she wants to do and figure out where/how I can join in for a good chunk of those miles 
  • Sunday: REST

I hope everyone had a happy Easter and gets some great runs in this week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

How to start the week

  1. Go to bed early on Sunday night (for me, 10:30 p.m. though my goal was 10:00 p.m.).
  2. Set the alarm for just before sunrise. When the alarm goes off, don't think. Roll out of bed, get dressed. Put pillows next to your bed to soften the fall if necessary. For me, it's part of waking up.
  3. Head straight out the door without thinking about the time or lack of light.
  4. Note your pleasant surprise that it's not quite as cold outside as you expected it to be. 
  5. Listen to the birds chirping.
  6. Smell the daffodils in the neighbor's yard (my yard is completely gutted right now, no bulb flowers). 
  7. Run through the neighborhood beneath the flowering cherry trees, feeling, seeing, and smelling spring! 
I feel so fortunate to have started the week with this downtown waterfront run. From my house, I headed out through the communities of Little Saigon, International District, and Pioneer Square, then landed on the waterfront just as everything was coming to life, including the mountains.

Scores of construction workers, bike commuters, and several other runners also were out. One construction worker I could tell was checking me out until I ran right past him & he noted my pregnant profile with a "Jesus!" not-so-under-his-breath. How did he know I've been referring to my little bean as Jesus (say it in Spanish, hey-SOOS)? That guy must be brilliant. 

It was heavenly this morning! I covered about 7 miles and would have kept going if...I were retired and didn't have to work.

Olympic Mountains over Elliot Bay
I could see Mt. Rainier over the Port of Seattle & Duwamish River but she doesn't show herself in my photo. I'm still not used to seeing that damn ferris wheel.  
Exiting the waterfront's Olympic Sculpture Park, look up to see the Space Needle, contemplate sitting on the eye-ball chairs & enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the water.
Heading home, I ran between the Seahawk/Sounder and Mariner stadiums being warmed by the sun.
I did NOT want to go inside. It was just not right having to be in an office today but the best I could do was to prolong my spring morning enjoyment by riding my bike into work. Happy day.

I totally bailed on my "long" run this past weekend - 8 miler. I ran myself ragged baking (4 loaves of bread & 1 cobbler, yo!), running errands, hosting a dinner, doing housework, etc. I ended up crashing for a 3 hr nap on Sunday instead of running. Sad. But a good reminder that I need to slow the "F" down on the weekends and recover from busy weeks*. I keep forgetting that I'm pregnant and need to CHILL a bit more.
*However, I am NOT complaining about the 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread I baked that became delicious French toast on Sunday morning.

Still loosely following the Run Like a Mother "finish it" half marathon training plan, this week will include:

  • 4 to 6-mile run (DONE, that was today's 7 mi) 
  • 4-mile run 
  • 10-mile run
  • 15-20 min of barefoot running 
  • Another bike commute (which I'm counting as my cross-training) 
  • At least one strength class during lunch and one Jillian strength workout at home. It's been a couple weeks since I could fit a YMCA class into my work day so I'm really hoping I can pull it off. 
  • NEED to do yoga, I can really feel my right plantar fasciia bugging today. My doctor said that PF can be made WORSE by pregnancy. Ug. Just what I don't need. 

Crossing my fingers that I can just hold on long enough to enjoy this cool spring running and run the Eugene half...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Plan for the week - 6 weeks to Eugene!

Last week finished well with a chilly but pleasant 10-miler with SL, who had 20 miles to do, and my bf, IJO, who is training for her first half (Vancouver). SL did 10 miles on her own before meeting up with IJO & I for the second 10, which we finished...

at a bakery of course. Almond croissant & cup of Earl Gray made the run complete.

There were a ton of runners out on the Burke Gilman trail (we ran to Golden Gardens & back). I'm thinking it must be all the Seattle RNR people training? Along with other random area races like Eugene, Vancouver, Whidby. So many races, so little time.

I've already messed up the plan for this week but whatever, I'm happy I'm still moving. I have to leave the Type A competitive me at the door until 2014 & I have my whole body back. Here's the deal:

  • Monday - RUN. I planned to switch my mid-week run days from Tues/Thurs to Mon/Wed so I can take advantage of strength classes at the Y on Tues/Thurs without trying to fit too much into one day. So, I went to bed early Sunday night to get an early morning 7-miles in Monday BUT my body decided otherwise. I seem to be developing bad sleep patterns with this pregnancy. ONCE AGAIN, I woke up around 3 a.m. due to some f-ed up dreams. Not pleasant. Then, I was so worked up I couldn't fall back to sleep until about 5:30 a.m. When that alarm went off I slapped that sucker off to get more sleep. Frustrating. Luckily, I was able to sneak out of work just a little early to get 4.5 mi run in at the end of the day. I cruised down to the waterfront along with every other runner in downtown Seattle and enjoyed a clear spring evening. Quite nice to end the day with a jaunt along the bay. 
  • Tuesday - STRENGTH! I have a lunch date so no YMCA class for me but I should be able to do some Jillian Michaels or solo gym work. If I'm really good, I'll ride my bike in too but I think I'll wait and see how the weather is. A little barefoot jogging would be good too, just 10-15 min. 
  • Wednesday - SPEED WORK is what the plan calls for, short intervals over 3-4 miles. With my restrictions on heart rate/body temp, I will just go for a good run and see if I can work in a few short hills. 
  • Thursday - STRENGTH! I want to try a Y class, Above the Barre. It was recommended for me because it's great strength building with no impact/little cardio. No excuses, gotta make time to fit this into the work day.
  • Friday - YOGA at home, with Rodney Yee.
  • Saturday - Shorter long run of 8 miles, easy pace. 
  • Sunday - REST
Hopefully I can pull it all off, along with mixing in some barefoot run time in there to keep my stride right.

Good luck everyone on keeping moving this week! I hope your spring weather is coming along as nicely as it is here in Seattle (so far).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

No more tights! No more layers!

Bubbling brain...
  • It's been another crazy work week (we are hiring 2 people soon, YES!) + out of town guest = Training has suffered a bit. So far this week, I completed/did not complete:  
    • Yoga class @ YMCA
    • Short barefoot run, 15 min of bliss followed by tight calves
    • 6-mi run on light feet - this was a turning-point, see next bullet
    • Still need to complete an easy 2-3 mi run tomorrow & 10 mi on Saturday
    • Despite missing my strength work this week, I'm still pretty happy about how things are going.
  • SPRING is here. During my great, but dark, morning run in tights, short sleeve shirt + long sleeve shirt, I realized the time has come. 
    • Tights are done for the season - No more than capris necessary, baby!
    • Only single layers on top now. One long sleeve max, time to brave the short-sleeve.
  • My Eugene Marathon training partner's first 20-mile run is on Saturday so I'm going to run her second 10 miles with her - YES! 
    • She kindly offered to let me join her at a bakery so I could FINISH at a bakery, as is my preference.
    • A close, long-time friend of mine who is training for her first ever half marathon is joining us. We've NEVER run together before and I can't wait!
  • I ate a bagel yesterday and now my belly is totally bloated. Or, it could be that pregnancy is starting to show for real. Bah.
  • A FIRST LATINO POPE! And a Jesuit to boot! (that's all I'm going to say about that)
  • I've been flaunting my new 40-yr age status, I guess because I don't think 40 is that old and I certainly don't feel old. 
    • Or...I didn't feel old until tonight when I went to Target only to find my entire 5th through 7th grade wardrobe re-invented. 
    • Pastels, neon, pinstripes, espadrilles, skinny belts, and BLUE EYE SHADOW
Back to running-related news, a few folks asked me to mention some things for them:
  • Buy a bag, help girls play sports! ACTIVYST looks to be a great new company offering stylish, super-cute athletic bags with a portion of the proceeds going to help girls sports worldwide. Check 'em out.
  • Looking for a spring 5k in Seattle? World Concern is sponsoring a fun run here in SEATTLE. The "Free Them 5k" is aimed at increasing awareness of and stopping human trafficking. This 5k will be held Saturday, May 11. 
  • I sadly turned down a running analysis from Brandon Bevil of Run Analyzer because I'm pretty sure pregnancy is already throwing me off a bit. 
    • You video tape yourself running with your phone or other user-friendly device, upload to the website, check out for $100, then get a detailed analysis of your running form. 
    • Check out the site, it looks quite interesting!
Activyst bag

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Run for Gabby & PRx4

Today Team Gabby celebrated an end to her cancer treatment.

Today I ran the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon in honor of Team Gab and it was a beautiful day. It was a cool morning in the upper 30's with heavy fog. This race was three times bigger (~1,400 people) this year than when I ran it in 2011, so the start was actually a bit congested. Fortunately, I found Meghan, Megan, and Zoe, Lindsay, and Carla at the start.

Meghan, me, Megan, Zoe
The race ran along a trail of compact gravel along the east "coast" of Lake Sammamish from Marymore State Park to Lake Sammamish State Park. It's a nice trail, running mostly through wooded residential area along the lake. Nice but not so interesting. After coming through the first mile with Meghan too fast (9:05), I dropped back. After that I was on my own. And it was boring. 

I never get bored during races! Or so I thought. It was actually hard not to push myself and "race." My goal was to go no faster than 9:30 but I was feeling so good with the cool weather, which was warming as the sun rose and fog lifted. It was strange to be simultaneously feeling like I was going too slow (I am able to and wanted to run faster, it was a race after all) and also going too fast (need to keep HR and body temp down for baby brewing). 
Fog lifting on the lake
To keep my mind occupied, I thought about form:
1. Chin & knees up
2. Back straight, chest up
3. Feet silent, light

This helped keep me occupied until I found a groove and settled in at about 9:20-9:30 pace. I stopped at each water stop to drink several cups, took one gel. It felt so good to have that sun come down on my skin, I was even able to peel down my arm warmers and run in short sleeves!

By mile 9, I was getting antsy though. I was thinking about Gabby and my friend's dad who just passed (an inspiration runner to his whole family), and I decided to have a little fun. I let myself pick up the pace and squeezed in a couple miles at ~ 8:55 pace.

It felt SO good! I knew this is probably the best I would feel while running pregnant so I enjoyed it for a couple miles before putting myself back in check to keep my HR down. I think the following photo was taken just as I was bringing it back down & feeling good. Have you ever had this happen to your arm (note right upper)? Where your arm fat wants to jiggle off? I wish it would have...jeez. Need more Jillian Michaels PRONTO!

Photo credit: Woodinville Bicycle
Coming into the finish, I saw Zoe with a big smile on her face. Zoe PR'ed by 10 MINUTES! 
Megan also PR'ed (and this was part of a 19-mile training run for her)! 
Double PR!

Also, I'm giving myself TWO PR's for this race (finish time of 2:01):
1. First/fastest half marathon as a master's age group-er
2. First/fastest half marathon as a pregnant runner (< 15 weeks)

Women's winning time was 1:15:57, just 2 minutes behind the leading male runner in 1:13:02 (do you think he was bummed about not running 3 seconds faster?). The top 13 female finishers were under 1:30, with the rest close behind. Very impressive!

It was a great day for many and I can only imagine how great the live celebration was down in SoCal, where Team Gabby met up to run & party.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Seward Park, in photos

The way my run unfolded for me
Beneath the great boughs of cedar trees
Has given my heart a change of mood
And saved some part of a day I had rued.

(bastardization of one of my favorite Robert Frost poems)

Why am I so grumpy in the mornings these days?
Screwed up work schedule for the second week in a row? Nearly-four-year old who now doesn't listen or follow directions? Poor quality sleep? Pregnancy? Abstinence from wine & beer?

Well, I decided to give myself a treat by driving to Seward Park for a morning run after dropping off the little man at school. It has warmed up quite a bit (47 degrees!) and is drizzling quite nicely today. Perfect for a run along the lake and through the trees. 

I run TO Seward Park quite frequently on my long runs but don't often take advantage of the nice 2.4 mile paved loop AROUND the park, which is a forested peninsula jutting into south Lake Washington.

Do you have a park with a "magnificent forest?"

The moss gives the forest an iridescent glow.

Downtown Seattle and I-90 floating bridge in the distance.
Looking south, this is where Mt. Rainier looms large - but not today. Too cloudy.
Madrona tree
The final treat: Cafe Vita!
Total distance: 4.8 miles (4-6 miles scheduled)
Time: 41:06 (faster than expected but I had a lot of angst to burn off)
Pregnancy status: 14.5 weeks cooked, so far so good
Chocolate status: Daily consumption on track. This week's favorite is Theo 70% dark chocolate toasted coconut.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Running buddy review & race plans

This week is off to a good start! I have had chocolate every day so far! Wait, it's only Tuesday, but I'm optimistic about the rest of the week. Yes, chocolate is an integral part of my training, especially now that I can't drink beer or wine.

I will be running the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon this Saturday for Team Gab. You can enter the virtual race HERE. Money raised goes toward the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation in Gabby's name.
  My goals for this race are to:
  • Meet up & enjoy the running company of other runner lady friends
  • Enjoy the scenery

Prior to the big day, I'm continuing with logging easy miles (*Previous Sunday's long run morphed from 8 mi to 10 mi - so much for "taper" but it was a nice day so all good):
  • Monday: 6 min barefoot running + JM Ripped in 30 workout (25 min) + bicycle commute to/from work
  • Tuesday: 4.5 mi run, included 10 min barefoot running + cardio strength class @ the Y (60 min)
  • Wednesday: Plan 60 min yoga at home
  • Thursday: Plan 4 mi easy run, including some barefoot running time
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Lake Sammamish Half Marathon! 
  • Sunday: Rest or light cycling 
A while back, I was contacted by the developer of a new product, the RunningBuddy, to review. I intended to take it on vacation to test but spaced on my packing. Since getting home, I've been using the RunningBuddy and I like it.

My first sight impression before trying it was that it looked too bulky and looked like it might chafe. However, my first use impression proved me wrong. It was not bulky feeling at all and the fabric was amazingly soft against my skin.
Outer mesh pouch, inner water-resistant pocket with velcro closure.

So check out how this buddy works:
It is a pouch that has magnets (yes, MAGNETS, crazy) that hold it fast to the waistband. The inner pocket is water resistant, which is great for rainy Seattle but also kept my sweat out. YUM.
The part on the right is inserted into the waistband, pockets on the left hold the goods
This is handy for keys, ID, cash, iPod, maybe a phone, or a library card if like me, you finish your run by picking up books on hold. My Droid is ridiculously large so it weighed my waistband down too much. My husband's iPhone is about 2/3 the size and I can't help but think it would be just fine in the buddy.

I will say that after trying it on my hip, front, and back, I preferred placement on my lower back.
WARNING: Objects on butt make butt appear larger than it really is.
If you are looking for something to carry a few essentials without having something strapped around your waist and prefer to have your hands free, you may consider the RunningBuddy.

Nice to know about new products on the market that may be helpful, especially those developed by runners who have started their own independent, small business.