Of Running and Cats

It’s race week!!!!   I hit 2 out of 3 planned workouts, that’s a good thing right?

My training plan called for actual workouts this week so that was new.  Usually I embrace taper for all its worth and run lazily once or twice leading up to the race.  However the plan wanted 2 easy runs and 1 interval or fartlek workout.   Hmmm, ok.  I headed out Tuesday and marked off my easy run.  It was one of those runs that wasn’t awesome but didn’t suck so it was just meh.    My one complaint was the wind.  I am so over the wind.   It has been windy here for two weeks- it’s never windy around here.  It just makes things so much colder.IMG_0143

My stomach was feeling pissy, so I pushed Wednesday’s speed work to Thursday.  Yay, more wind…and I ran in a tank top.   I was so cold but this was also intentional.   The forecast calls for rain on Saturday and wind on Sunday so I figured I may as well get used to it.  Plus I was testing out a new shirt.    Can’t find out where it chafes if it’s covered up.    But I was the only loony out there in a tank.  Everyone else was bundled up, jackets, gloves, scarves and hats.   Yes, we Cali people hate the cold.  IMG_0155

IMG_0166I didn’t really want to think about intervals so after a warm up, I decide to run a few fartleks.    I forgot to even look at my watch for the first one so I wasn’t sure what time or mileage I started at- oops!  Oddly enough, all of my fartleks ended up being of similar distance, time and pace without too much planning on my part. I called it at 3.5 miles though, I just couldn’t take the wind any longer.  I may be rethinking my race day outfit to include some more layers.IMG_0167

The best part of Thursday’s run was the lake cat.  For a lot of my runs at the lake, I often see a gray and white cat roaming the back of the lake.  I am pretty sure I know which house he comes from but I have always worried that something might happen to him.   Quite a few cars drive that road and don’t always pay attention.  Plus there are lots of people and more than a few dogs, some dogs off the leash.   The last time I saw the lake cat was that run that ended in horrible stomach pain.  That was in March.   I’ve been looking for him every time I have run there since but no luck.  Until Thursday.   I rounded a curve on the backside of the lake and there he was.  I actually yelled “kitty” out loud.   I had to stop and visit, so that was the end of my first fartlek.   :)     I was so glad to see him.IMG_0154Which made me feel even worse when I got home to find that I had once again traumatized my cat.   :(   After I come home, I usually carry my purse, gym bag, lunch bag, shoes etc into the house to put away.  Kimi would come to meet me and walk around my legs.  One day I was carrying too much and dropped my boots…they landed on her.  It’s been over 2 years and she still bolts if she sees me pick up a pair of boots.    Other shoes are fine but boots and she bolts.   Now she runs from me if I am holding her yellow food dish too.  :(

The other cat had to go on a diet, so I’ve had a bowl of the normal food for her stashed in the bedroom.  The other evening, I went to get it out of a drawer and turned as she was running in.   In my defense, she jumped headfirst into the bowl but now she bolts from the room and hides around the corner.   Waah, I feel so bad!

I took a few days off around SLO- so today was a lovely vacation day.   I planned on getting in my last run but I took a nap instead.  :)  I tried to work on a new playlist and get this post up sooner but somehow the day ran away from me.  I did meet a friend at the movies this evening.  We went and saw The Longest Ride.   I am not a fan of the books, but somehow we always end up going to the movies.  She and I crack jokes that we are the only who can stand them.  It was pretty good, not great but good, and luckily not as destructive as his movies tend to be.  Which was fine by me since Grey’s Anatomy was rough enough last night.  Now I should probably go to bed, I have an expo to go to tomorrow!  :)

What do you usually run during race week?

Ever traumatize one of your pets?  :(

Did you watch Grey’s?  Or see The Longest Ride?

Dress Rehearsal

It was the weekend before SLO, so of course I made sure to get in all my workouts right?  Ummm, no.     I had good intentions but was feeling tired on Saturday.  Even after sleeping in.  I ended up helping my mom move a bunch of rocks.  After multiple buckets of lifting rocks and carrying them, my hamstrings were cranky again.  I decided that counted as cross training and was good or the day.    :)

When too tired for miles, Mizuno make great yard work shoes.

When too tired for miles, Mizuno make great yard work shoes.

Sunday though was going to happen. Last longish run before SLO.   My training plan called for a 75 minute 2/3 progression run, each third progressively faster.    On race days, 75 minutes could mean 8 miles, however on long run days, that would be more like 7.  Having not run on Saturday, I was internally hoping for 9 at an easy pace.   Since I know the likelihood of breaking 2:00 this weekend is small, I was fine with longer, slower miles.IMG_0136

I was a little sore from the rocks, oops, so I headed to the lake path for a flat surface.   I headed out before lunch!!  Who am I?  My mom came with me, she was going to walk laps of the lake while I was running.     I walked my usual warm up and just got to running.   I didn’t feel up to the 2/3 plan but I thought maybe I could run the first have around 10:45 and the last half around 10:00.  That sounded like a solid plan to me.    That’s what I thought I could do, I was wrong.  But in a good way for once!IMG_0150 I didn’t feel like I was moving faster but according to my splits I was.  I’m not sure how I hit those when I was feeling super tired but no complaints from me!    Mile 6 was a little slower as I had run into my mother again and walked a bit with her.  At that point, she was planning on only one more lap and I was torn between 2 or 3 more miles.  It was a warmer day than planned so I decided to be smart and call it at 8 miles.  It was in the 70’s by the time we were done.    Last longish run done!  Bring on the taper- oh wait, my plan doesn’t have one!IMG_0134It’s crunch time for the race now, so I set out on Sunday in a potential race day outfit.    I had purchased a new skirt at Lululemon the week before so I wanted to test it out.  SLO has a Lululemon now, well kind of, it’s only open 3 days a week, and my first time there cost me some money. I love their shorts so I bought a new pair and a skirt.    Oops!  I think I am a skirt fan now.  If I could have an unlimited budget at Skirt Sports and Lulu, that would be awesome.   Well, there and Mizuno too.  :)  Endless shoes and skirts!!

I also hope it is partly the shade.  :)

I also hope it is partly the shade. :)

Over all the outfit worked well.   I am still not sold on the shirt and I will be wearing full compression socks but the skirt is a go.  It turned out to be super comfy for 8 miles and that was without any Body Glide.     I figured that was the only way to figure where the hot spots might be.  :)   Since my mom was with me, I asked her to take a pic.  I think another goal of 2015 is to finally get a decent race pic.   Seriously, the pics from Surf City and Wine Country were so bad.   So bad.    Actually breaking 2:00 might be easier than a good race pic.  Ha!   My sock tan makes me laugh.  I don’t wear full compression socks that often, just long runs and races but check that out!

Does moving rocks count as cross training?

What do you like to race in?

Do you take good pictures?

Silence Fell

It takes a lot to shut my brain up.   Usually only sleep and even then not so much.   I can never do just one thing at a time.  I usually like to have multiple things happening at once because focusing on one thing just seems silly.  My mother would tell you that’s how I avoid things.

Even running, my brain is never silent.  I run thinking all the while how hard it feels.  Or on good days, how easy it feels.  I think about my shoes or how my shorts fit.  Do I look funny in this outfit?  What am I going to eat for dinner?  Do I want to cheat or be good?  How can I talk about this run in a blog post?  Is it even worthy of that? Oh look, there’s that person who glares at me every time we pass each other.  What did I do?  How was work?  What more do I have to get done tomorrow, have things been going ok or do I need to make adjustments?  When’s that system upgrade happening again? I need to make sure we are ready.  How’s my pace? Am I running too slow or too fast?  And so on and so forth.  For all the miles, all the time.    I just can’t shut up.   :)IMG_0106Thursday was kind of a funny day.  I had finally listened to my soreness from Firehouse and rested on Tuesday and Wednesday so I was looking forward to getting in a few miles after work.   I was feeling better but still sore- I think the trail re-aggravated my hamstring issue- so I was just aiming for an easy run as opposed to the speed work on the plan.   Previously mentioned system upgrade started that day and I was supposed to attend a business mixer after work but I just didn’t feel I had the capacity to mingle.  I was feeling very off, not cranky but not exactly sociable.   I decided to pass on the mixer and just run.   But I could not decide where to run.  I wasn’t feeling work town so I headed to the lake path.  However when I got there I just kept driving.  Ok, guess I wasn’t feeling that either.  I ended up at the river path and really wasn’t expecting much.  5 miles later, I was done.  IMG_0105I stretched out some and went home.  It wasn’t until later that it hit me, I hadn’t thought of a single thing during that run.   No work thoughts, no blog thoughts, no body thoughts, no life worries, not even any running thoughts, nothing.    I just ran.   And my brain was quiet and calm.  So quiet.

That’s not to say that I was unresponsive to my surroundings.    I remember nodding to everyone I passed.  I looked both ways before crossing each intersection and there were 10.  I dodged a praying mantis and then a stink bug about 20 yards later.   I recall wrinkling my nose and trying not to breathe deeply when the smell from the brewery hit me in the face.*  I saw that the guy driving the lifted Chevy was likely to blow through the cross walk but I wasn’t even mad when he did.    My earphones fell out of my ears but I just put them back in and kept running.  Normally these last few things would piss me off and linger for awhile.   I even changed my route and ran more on the trail than normal just because.  It wasn’t really a conscious decision, I just did it. IMG_0140It was nice to not think.   It really was.  How do I make that happen more often?  I don’t even know what prompted it this time.  :)       I checked my splits the next day and was pretty pleased with what I saw.  Don’t give mile 4 too much credit, gravity was very helpful.  :)

Now those annoyances- my headphones.  I recently purchased wireless ear buds because I was tired of getting tangled in my other ones.   The new ones are worse.  I cannot get them to stay in my ears at all.  I know I have odd ears but come on!   I have switched the little rubber pieces 3x.  Ugh.   *The smell- a local brewery is having a little problem so as a result there has been a yeasty stench wafting around town for the last month or so.   Sometimes it hits when you least expect it.   :(

How was your weekend?

Any headphone suggestions?

Ever run yourself silent?

Midweek Musings

Oh, heavenly hump day.  Is it the weekend yet?

Weekends–  I am so looking forward to this one.  I realized this is my last weekend with nothing but running planned until June.  I either work or have a race every other weekend until then.   Clearly, I am crazy and not thinking straight.  FullSizeRender (7)Rest– I should have been a Slacker.   Last year, I took a few days off after Firehouse 5K.  This year I tried to run it out with some easy shake out runs.  I should have been lazy.   Like I briefly mentioned in my last post, Sunday’s run turned into a crawl.   I jogged- walked- hobbled 4.3 miles with an average pace of 13:40.   My calves, shins and arches hurt.   Oof.  Downhills were brutal.   My right leg is feeling better but my left is still throwing a temper tantrum like a spoiled two-year old.   But it’s the leg that always gets pissy so I am not alarmed… yet.  tiredlakeDid I rest on Monday? No, because I am not smart, see above.   My schedule was supposed to get heavier toward the end of the week, so I was planning to run Monday and Tuesday evening.    I went to the lake thinking a flatter surface would be good.  3.5 miles at a 10:30 pace.   Things got a little looser by the end but I was super achy all Tuesday.  So I rested Tuesday evening.  And tonight.  Not sure what is going to happen tomorrow.  Plus I may have a meeting.

Shoes–  I was beginning to love my new shoes until Sunday.  I am hoping it was just my overly sore legs that made me hate my shoes.   My arches hurt and my shoes felt huge.   I highly doubt I lost a shoe size in the last week.  On top of that, I can feel the insert in my right shoe.  I can feel where the liner meets the side of the shoe on the inside of right foot.  What gives?  IMG_0084TiredI love half marathons, I really do but SLO next week will mark 4 in 4 months.  Ok, one was a 25K but you get the point.   I think I am taking a break from them for a bit after SLO.    But I have 3 10K’s planned in the following 6 weeks, so I don’t know if that is any better.  :)   Again with the crazy.   Oh and I found another 25K nearby in August.   So, crazy elevation gain, potential 100 degree temperature, oh and possible rattlesnakes.   See, more crazy.

One last push–  Online registration for SLO closes tomorrow.  So if you happen to be in the are next weekend, come run it!!!  I have a code- FALAMB- that will save you $10.00 on registration.    We could run together!  Hmmm, does that sound creepy?

Who else is ready for the weekend?  Was that just a silly question?

Ever sign up for/ run too many races without realizing it? 

What’s your next race?

2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

After 3 years of running this race, I can say with absolute certainty that moving my long run to Thursday was the best decision ever.   Not just because it turned out to be a great run but because per usual, I feel a little broken after this race.   Yesterday’s easy, hoped for 6 turned into a slow, limping crawl for 4 miles.  But I still love this race!  :)IMG_0049The race touts itself as the toughest 5K in the county.   Not sure if that’s true but it’s the toughest 5K I have run.   So of course that means I have had to run it 3 years in a row.  The course starts at the firehouse then runs .5 mile on the street before hitting the trails and heading up for 2 miles before heading back to the street and returning to the firehouse.

My mom and I were planning on spending the day in SLO afterwards so we headed out in the morning.  I had picked up my packet the day before and parking was a breeze.  We’ve parked in the same spot the last 3 years.   :)   She stayed in the car where it was warm and I headed to the start line.  The morning was kind of chilly so I wore a long sleeved layer over my tank.   I would later regret that.  A lot.  I ran into an old coworker so we chatted for a bit.  The starting line is under a large flag hanging from the ladder truck and the mayor blows the truck horn to start the race.    I was super relaxed going into this race and that may have given me some problems.    IMG_0056I started way too far back in the pack and had trouble getting out of a cluster in the beginning.  The mountain starts with a series of switchbacks on the trail that usually slows to a single file walk.  I was prepared for this but not for how crowded it was farther back.  I passed people when I could but was hung up a few times.    Once out of the switchbacks we had more single file climbing to do.    The top is kind of a false summit so after reaching the top, there was still a little more up.   I finally got past a few people and was looking forward to cranking it on the way down.  I love running down a mountain.  :)

But I got hung up again!   I had to bob and weave to get around people and it just took longer.   :(   I ran past a teenage boy who I thought was going to fall off the side of the trail, he was wobbling so much.  I started to wonder if I was gonna have to help him.   Once past him, I ran on down to the bottom and back up another hill.   Once again, I was stuck.   I was behind another teenage boy who had no concept of pacing himself.   He would haul ass for 30 feet and then just stop.   Every time I got past him, he would sprint to pass me and then just stop.   Finally I just sprinted past him and kept going.   We had one last trail downhill and I was able to pass a few more people.    I was sucking air, seriously thirsty and so hot.     I pushed for the last .5 mile and crossed back under the big flag.  First 5K of the year done!IMG_0065Apparently  I should have pushed a little harder, I finished in 33:56.  My slowest time on this course.  Waah.  I said I was relaxed but that still stung a bit.  Oh well, I still love this course and careening downhill so it was an awesome morning!   Starting so far back and getting hung up a few times probably contributed to the extra time but in reality it was only a minute off my best outing on that course.  IMG_0070The race is always well staffed and has volunteers at every point making sure no one makes a wrong turn.  Other than some interesting trail etiquette I observed, I only had one issue with the race this year.   Water.  Or lack thereof.  In the past 2 years, there was a water station at the junction where the road meets the trail.  You would pass it on the way in and on the way back out.  It wasn’t there this year and it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.  I ran without water since I thought it would be there.    Boo.

All in all, I still love this race.   Even though, it still hurts to move today.  My calves are pissed.   There was no way I was able to do my long run yesterday.   Knowing that I had already done it was kind of awesome.   :)

Ever run a trail race?  Or a race without aid stations? 

How do you get past people who just don’t want to move?