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?

I Needed That

I really, really needed that.

If you’ve been along for the ride awhile, you may have heard me mention a time or a million that my stomach and I don’t get along.   Also that it’s been a rough 10 months, stomach wise.   That roughness carried over into my running and things slowed down.    I was so gung-ho to set PR’s in 2014 and it just didn’t happen.   Even though I finally accepted that and moved on, a part of me was still frustrated.   Also with doctors but that’s another story.

While I have trained pretty consistently this year, I am still not where I was before my flare.  Walk breaks have become a part of run, long or short, slow or fast.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with walking, heck I look forward to those breaks on most runs.    But long runs stressed me out.   I don’t know if I hid it well or not but I was beginning to dread long runs.    I felt like I was moving so slow and that I walked too often but just couldn’t seem to pick it up.FullSizeRender (6)Beyond that I have a serious mental block when it comes to long runs past 10 miles.  I love half marathons but double-digit slow runs by myself?  Umm, not so much.   I have done one 12 mile run outside of a race.  One- and it took me 2.5 hours.  Actually it might have been longer but I’ve blocked it out, I am pretty sure I walked the last 2 miles.   So when I saw so many 12-16 milers on my training schedule, I had a mini freak out.   And I haven’t run a single one.   Once again I topped out at 10 for most of the runs.    Which was noticeable in Wine Country when I hit a wall at 10. Did that make me go out and run 12 the next weekend? No.    Then my doctor changed my diet pretty drastically and I missed 2 long runs in a row.  Crap.   I knew I could not miss another with SLO being so close.

While I am looking forward to my 5k race tomorrow, it is one that I know leaves me super sore.   So sore that I knew banking on a 10-12 mile run with a fast finish on Sunday was probably foolish.    Because work was a little crazy this week and I worked longer days on Monday and Tuesday and couldn’t leave the building on Wednesday and Friday, my boss said she was going to try and let me leave a little early on Thursday.   This sparked an idea but I wasn’t fully committed.  A small part of me thought I could move my long run to Thursday instead.  My 5K race is not a PR race but more for fun, so I figured if I was a little tired for it that was fine.    But I was still on the fence about if I even wanted to run that many miles after working all day.   Or if I even could.  IMG_0023I got off an hour early so I headed to the lake to run a few laps.  My stomach was the crankiest it’s been since I started this new diet, but then I had cheated the day before.   I also wasn’t dressed for a long run.  I wasn’t wearing compression socks nor a 10+ mile sports bra.  Yes, I have different sports bras I wear depending on the length of the run.    If I did run long I was going to split it. 7-8 miles at the lake and then I was going to head to the river path for the remainder.  My mother was thinking about meeting me for the second part.   So, in other words, I wasn’t expecting much and anticipating another Slacker moment.

I warmed up with my usual slow first mile before picking it up.    Miles 2 and 3 clocked in at 9:57 and 10:10.  So not long run pace.  I should have been aiming for 10:45-11:15.  I went out too fast, there was no way I was maintaining.  I was irritated with myself and doubting that I would even follow through with driving to the river path.  Then my mother texted that she wasn’t going to make it.  There went that motivation to follow through.    Ok fine, I was just going to run until I was tired or my stomach rebelled, I figured 6 miles tops. haterunning Around mile 6, I noticed that I was still running.  As in, I hadn’t taken a single walk break.  Not one and I felt pretty good.  Huh?  I did stop for a bathroom break but decided to just keep running after that.  Mile 7 and I was running.  Mile 8 still running.  Mile 9, more running.  Still no walk breaks.   I was starting to think I might actually pull this off.  Miles 9, 10,  and 11 all came in at 10:00 or under.   Did you see that 11?!?!  I cleared 10 miles on a long run!!!!!!  I wanted to throw a party and celebrate but I was surrounded by strangers!     I stopped my Garmin at 11 and walked the 3/4 of a mile back to my car.

Dudes, I ran the whole thing- no walking breaks!!  Who am I?  And 11 miles at that pace and not racing?!  I know it’s not much by some standards but for me and the past year, I was stoked.     It also reinforced that consistent training works and does pay off even if you don’t see it immediately.   I was seriously beginning to doubt I could even hit double digits after the last few weeks.  I was feeling rough and not confident in my running ability at all.   I had chalked my last race up to being a fluke and was mentally preparing myself for a rough race in a few weeks.    I didn’t know how badly I needed a long run- a good, long run.    Until I pulled it off.  :)  Bring it on SLO!

Lapping the lake so many times, I passed a few people multiple times.  I was wearing a tank that says “I hate running” and that was getting a few comments.   :)    I passed one pair of older ladies multiple times.  They said something to me once but I didn’t quite catch it.  Another 2 times past them and they stopped me.  One asked how many I was doing because I had to be near 20.  I wish!  I said that I was aiming for 11 miles and only had 3/4 of a mile to go.    I passed them again on the cool down walk and they said good job.  :)

I still want to do a little happy dance when I think about yesterday’s run.   Training works, who knew?   I think I need to get this McMillan plan laminated for future use.  Haha.  Now I should probably get some sleep, I have a mountain to run up in the morning.  :)

How do you feel about long runs?

Who is racing this weekend?

What was your last great run?