A Tale of 2 Runs

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!    I had planned on finishing this post for Wednesday night but I was exhausted after a planned hike that grew…by a lot.   More on those adventures next time.  😄

I guess Monday was my first real, official day of vacation.  I slept in.  It was lovely.  I was feeling a little sore (my feet) after Sunday’s hike/ trail run but I was looking forward to a run.   Running outside on a weekday during daylight savings? Yes please!   I wasn’t sure how far I’d get with my feet feeling bruised but they felt pretty good once I started running.

I headed for the river path in the mid afternoon.  Seriously, I would love it if I could run at that time all fall and winter.  How can I make that happen?   Anyhow, my goal was to take this run super easy and shoot for 3-4 miles.     I really missed this route, it’s like the perfect excuse for a progression run.    I kind of zoned out a bit and just kept running.  4.5 miles later I was back at my car.   I might have added more but 4.5 was literally 2 feet from my car.  😉     Even better was that I hadn’t needed any walk breaks.  Last week, I struggled with a 12:00 pace on the treadmill and Monday I ran a 12:53, 10:38, 10:05, 9:29 for the full mile splits.   Why is the treadmill so hard for me?!    No walks breaks but I did come to a complete stop when I saw this tree.  Because holy crap!-

In trying to temper the urge to #runallthemiles on vacation since I’ve been a super slacker for the past month or so, I rested on Tuesday.   I met an old friend for lunch instead.   Wednesday’s workout doubled in planned size and left me feeling a little achy.  I was a little nervous for the Turkey Trot.  But I was running with C and her husband so I was looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving dawned and it was 30º.  Allrighty then.   Then I tried to get up.   Aaagh!  My calves were so tight, they were down right painful.   How was I going to run a 10K?  No lies, I texted C to see if she was ready, hoping she would say it was too cold.  No dice.   I had ProCompression full socks under my leggings and I left my house in my pea coat and Uggs.    I registered for the race in them as well.  I didn’t change shoes until about 5 minutes to the start.  😝

Me and C. I really dislike this shirt but it’s the warmest running gear I own. :(
This trot is super low key.  You register on race morning, get your t-shirt and run your race.    The course is an out and back on rural roads and the start/finish is literally in the Food4 Less parking lot.   C, C-Hub and I had run the race before so we knew the course.   My parents usually come to the finish but when I was shivering in my car, I texted them and told them it was too cold and they should stay home.  They didn’t listen.    The race seemed smaller this year but that could have been due the freezing temps.

It was go time and we were off!  I was super tight and cold usually triggers my asthma so I was a little skeptic about how this was going to go.  Thankfully C and her husband weren’t feeling particularly speedy either so we just hung out the whole race.     My toes were numb, my hands were numb and my butt felt like it was frozen.    We joked about turning around at the 5K mark but kept going.    It was great catching up with them, I wasn’t able to run with them as much as I had hoped this year.   C-hub kept us running and even thought I wanted to walk a few times, we kept running averaging between a 10:30-10:45.  I felt so sluggish and my Garmin kept telling me we were running in the 11’s.  Guess it doesn’t like the cold either.   I was dreaming of a large, hot coffee from McDonald’s and started pulling away towards the end.  I didn’t mean to but I was letting my legs do whatever they wanted to, they were still so tight.  Mile 6 clocked in at 9:42.    Finish- 1:04:49.    Not the speediest but much better than I had been expecting and there weren’t any asthma issues.    😎 

I also wore my Turkey Trot shirt for the rest of the day.   And indulged in a few too many chips and a second slice of cheesecake.    It was a great Thanksgiving.     I am not fond of crowds so I will be avoiding anything Black Friday related.   My original plan was to go hiking but I’ve put 25 miles on these legs in the last 5 days, way more than normal, and my calves are seriously pissed.  So my plan is to take it easy, maybe take the puppy for a walk.  If I can move.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you run a turkey trot?

Favorite food of the day?

Are you shopping?



Sunday Summit- East Cuesta

Saturday was my first day of this half enforced, half by choice vacation.  How did I ring it in?  By doing absolutely nothing.   Ok, I did some errands in the morning but I spent the afternoon and evening vegging about in comfy clothes and watching a couple of movies.  I also didn’t feel guilty for procrastinating my laundry.  😄  I won’t lie; it was nice.  Well, until I ended the evening with the latest episode of Doctor Who and some crying.  Boo.

  Sunday was a different story.   My mom, S and I headed out to hike the East Cuesta trail.  “Hike” is kind of a misnomer, it’s all fire road.  What makes it fun is that it’s 4 miles up and then 4 miles down.    Nothing like a good climb to start your day right?

My plan was to power hike up then run back down.   My mother and I had hiked East Cuesta before about a year ago.  It has some amazing views but it was also a trail that freaked me out at a few spots.   There were a few places that I let my overactive imagination run away on a very overcast day.  😃

Sunday was the opposite of overcast.   In fact the temp hit the high 70’s.  Hey California- fall would be nice right about now!   I was interested in seeing what had changed.  Not only has California been in a major drought but East Cuesta was actually the epi-center of large fire a few months back.    Part of the freeway was shut down and a nearby town was evacuated.

Overall, things looked better than I had expected.    It’s interesting how much it seems that fire has a mind of it’s own.   Two sections could be black and charred with a healthy, so to speak, section in between.    You could see where nature is making a comeback.  Which is awesome, but if we have the El Nino they are predicting the charred sections are likely to turn into slide zones.

I maintained a good pace going up and was feeling pretty good.   The forest line has changed so I couldn’t remember where I had been spooked before.  😃   Near the top, there are 2 off shoot trails and I am not sure where they lead.  I headed up one for a bit but ended up turning around.  I knew if my mom and S made it to the tv towers before me, they would be alarmed.    Once there, we rested a bit before heading back down.

My goal was to run down at a nice comfortable pace.   My stomach was having none of that about 10 minutes in.  My fault, I had eaten a fairly large piece of pink champagne cake the night before and my stomach has not been a friend of sugar lately.   From then on it was a run-walk down.  All was good until the gun shots.  I froze in the middle of trail.  Do I keep going or do I go back up?     I figured it was probably someone shooting at targets, I’ve heard it before on trails this was just the first time I was completely by myself and it sounded closer.    I know people like to go shooting in rural areas and it was at consistent intervals so I chose to move on.   But then I remembered the 2 game warden trucks that had passed me on the way up.  What if there was a mountain lion sighting on the trail?  Aaargh!    That freaked me out and after a quick text to my mom, I ran down the trail.

Once at the bottom of the trail, my feet were bothering me so ditched my shoes for some flip flops before heading back up to the trail head to wait for my mom and S.   They hadn’t heard anything while on the way down but were feeling sore from the 4 mile descent.    We headed off for a well earned lunch in SLO.    I’d say we earned our pizza.  😃🍕  

8 trail miles on very warm Sunday?  I was a pretty happy Slacker.

Scariest thing heard/ seen on a run?


There is Shiny

For a so called, introverted home body, this has been a very social week. Tuesday night, I met up with a good friend who I have not seen in way too long for dinner.   It was great catching up.  Then, last night, I took my mom to see Riverdance.  I had won tickets at work.  😃🎉.

Growing up, I remember watching the performances on tv with my mom and grandparents, we used to love them.   Every time we watched I was left wanting to both dance like them and learn to play the violin.   They made violin playing look so damn cool.    When I won the tickets I was stoked but also worried that they wouldn’t live up to my memories.    I had nothing to be worried about, it was freakin’ awesome.  Seriously the moves they can with their legs and the sounds?  Amazing, if you have the chance to see them, do it. 💃


The inside of the PAC is pretty cool

Once again, I was left wanting to dance like them.  And learn to the play the violin again.  😀.  But seriously, they have hip-hop inspired dance classes and Zumba- so why has there never been a Riverdance inspired fitness class?!

Social fun aside, I’ve been a serious slacker in the fitness department.    I was looking forward to getting in a good run at the gym tonight but it was more of a farce.

My knee still twinges at odd times so I was planning to take it slow.  I was going to try watching a show on my phone while on the treadmill.  When I say watching, I really mean listening.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to see the phone comfortably without jacking up my stride.    I am way behind in Grey’s Anatomy so I figured it was worth a shot.   After a nice walking warm up I set the treadmill to an easy 11 minute pace and got running.

I was aiming for a super easy run as I’ve only jogged 3 miles since Big Sur.  Also my leg still has moments where something feels off.   I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to solid hour run.  That was the time goal I set for myself and mileage didn’t matter.   Listening to the show worked pretty well for 20 minutes.  The the feed just died and I couldn’t get it back.  Ok fine.   Then 37 minutes in, my stomach cramped in a very bad way and I bailed off the treadmill.

I was ticked because my stomach has been really good the past 2 weeks.  I also have barely run the past 2 weeks.  I refuse to see a correlation.

Once I took care of that issue, I knew more running was unlikely.  I was already at the gym so I figured I would try one their stationary bikes.   The first one I sat down on was dead.  No amount of pushing the start button or pedaling was bringing it to life.  So I moved over one.  Someone had to show me how to start it.  😭  Finally I was pedaling though.    Only to find that the thing was off balance and made a clanging sound with every pedal rotation. Oh and the computer didn’t really work.   It said I was pedaling a consistent 11.8.  No matter how fast or slow my cadence was.   I made it 15 minutes before I bailed.

So yeah, tonight seems more #gymfail than win.   However, I’ve been in an odd funk lately and I am actively trying to break it.  So, like the title (and one of my goals for 2015) says- there is some shiny.  37 minutes on the treadmill and 15 on the bike is 50+ more minutes than yesterday.  And the day before.   I got to wear my new shoes-that’s always a plus.  My leg only twinged a bit during those 37 minutes too.   That’s a good sign right?

And while Tuesday and Wednesday were lacking workouts, they were spent having fun and making memories.   Those are always shiny.😃

Oh, and I am one day away from vacation.  That may be the shiniest of all.  😛

What was your “shiny” this week?

Anyone racing this weekend? Maybe an early Turkey Trot?

Hello Off Season

I took 5 days off after Big Sur.   5 days in a row of intentionally not running.    Say what?  I figured a week would let all of my little aches and pains and funkiness heal.   I don’t know if anything was actually leading towards an injury but I figured a little intentional rest wouldn’t hurt.    Intentional rest is odd.   Normally if I have 3-4 days off in a row, I start to feel like a lazy, guilty sloth-like creature.  And I usually whine about it here.  😃

I wanted to run a few times but I told myself a week and I was sticking to it.    It was kind of weird going straight home after work every day.  Coworkers asked is if I was changing to run and I said no.  How odd.   A week turned into a work week- 5 days counts right?  I headed out for a short, easy run on Saturday.   To make sure I wasn’t tempted to go crazy, I took the puppy with me.   It’s been a long time since I stole her for a puppy jog so I figured why not?    She did really well.      The only time I was concerned is when we were swarmed by vultures.  But, really I was concerned about both of us too.  Seriously creepy.  I may not run by that house again for a while.  😞   They were still there the next day!


oh and new shoes!
So that 3 miles run plus a  7 mile bike ride on Monday trying to shake out the achiness from Big Sur was all the exercise I got in last week.   Oops.  Failure at the first week of the #holidaysweat.   Hmmm, that timing didn’t work out so well.    I wanted to run on Sunday but woke upp feeling like I was getting a chest cold.  Breathing is still uncomfortable.   Grrr.  But I would rather feel crappy this week when I have multiple commitments after work which conflict with the gym.  Then hopefully, I will feel great next week when I can run whenever I want because I’m on vacation!!!!   Woo hoo!

Making Big Sur my last race was not my original plan.  I had planned on running a 25k trail race at Montana de Oro to cap off the year but realistically I was not prepared in any way shape or form for that.    Luckily I hadn’t registered yet; I knew it might be a long shot after Big Sur.   Also it ended up raining that morning so bonus!   I’d really be sick if I had run in that.    I ran 13 races this year, 7 were 13.1 or longer.  I’m good with that.  😄   That said, I may throw in a turkey trot on Thanksgiving because, well, it’s a turkey trot.


but we love it anyways
As for off season, I am still reading books and plans and looking for a better way to train that I know I can sustain.  All these weird, crazy thoughts are in my head right now, so I am taking the time to sift through them.    I am also currently reading Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes.  It is not helping to temper the crazy thoughts at all.    I need to figure out something soonish though as I am leaning towards running Surf City again and that is the first Sunday in February.

And this week?  I have social plans!  Holy crap, who am I?   I am meeting friends on Tuesday and Friday.  Wednesday?!  I have tickets to Riverdance!!!!  Total nerd moment but I am so excited.  Even better- I won the tickets!  Woo hoo!

Oh and I randomly decided to quit soda today.  Sort of.*

How was your weekend?

Thoughts on Riverdance?

Bets on how long til I cave with the soda?    *Disclaimer- I am allowing myself to have it if I eat out- but no more soda at work. 

Big Sur Half Marathon Recap

Going into this race I had very few expectations and more than a few concerns.  In an effort to keep things light and fun (and help my indecision) I took to Instagram with a race day outfit vote.   The outfit I was leaning towards got zero votes.  Oops.  😢

IMG_2987I only ran 2.5 very slow treadmill miles in the week leading up to the race.   My left foot was bothering me and my left knee has been aching for a week or so.  What I was not expecting was the sharp stabbing pain in my right ankle that I woke up with on Monday.  It even hurt lying down.  WTF?  My left leg is the problem child never the right.   Taper crazies, maybe?  Who am I kidding I don’t run enough to need to taper but I was holding on to that thought all week.   Better a phantom pain than a real injury.   My attempt at running on Tuesday didn’t end well and I tend to run oddly on the treadmill so I just rested the rest of the week.

I was so worried about my weird aches and pains I somehow forgot about the one thing that can really mess up my running- my stomach.  Saturday morning was not a good one.  I was taking all the emergency medications my doctor has prescribed in hopes that I would be fine on race morning.  Grr, but let’s move on.    Monterey is a little over 2 hours away but the drive didn’t seem that long.   We stumbled upon the expo as soon as we hit town- sweet!    The expo was medium size and well-organized.    I think it hit a new record for distance between bib pickup and shirt pickup though.    I picked up a few things- 2 shirts, a Sweaty Band (my first!) and some Gu gummy things. I don’t know why I buy fuel when I never use while running but it’s better to be prepared right?   We then wandered around Monterey on foot before checking into the hotel.  Dinner was decided by proximity to the hotel and was California Pizza Kitchen.  Gluten free pizza for the win!  Not that I have a gluten problem but my stomach was so jacked up already I wasn’t taking any chances.  Then it was back to the hotel to get some rest.    I was super tired and my left foot was starting to hurt.   I was in bed by 9.

Race day!

The rain they had been predicting was coming in later than they thought and that made me happy.   I got to the starting line around 6 for a 6:55 start.  Seriously this was the chillest start I’ve ever seen.   Over 8000 runners and there was no wait for the port-a-potties.  What?  No one even got into the corrals until about 5 minutes to the start.  I also met Heather of wholehearted wife while loitering around the start line- Hi Heather!   The announcer was upbeat and very clear about the course and race directions.    I had my headphones but I was going to try to run without them.   There was supposed to various types of music played throughout the course so I figured I would try to go with just that.

I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.
I kind of look like I am stumbling home from a party not heading out for a race.

I was in corral D which was for a 2:00 hour finish prediction.  Apparently I was feeling optimistic when I registered 6 months ago.  😉    I put myself in the very back of it.   While I said my only goal was to have fun, I did have a time goal in mind.  I was hoping for a 2:15 finish.  If I could do that under trained and tired than maybe I have improved a little this year.   I tossed my sweater to the side just as the first wave went off.  My corral crossed the starting line a little after 7:00am, sooner than I had anticipated.  The start was that smooth.

Miles 1-2 –  9:51, 9:36

We were running back up into the city.  I noticed there were still runners walking to starting corrals.  I know it’s chip timed but really?  There was also a woman in front of me running barefoot.  Really?    Ouch.   I also got the first shout out about my socks. 😃  The first course music was a keyboardist playing the Rocky theme song- sweet!  Mile 2 led us into the Cannery Row tunnel.  Never having run through a tunnel, I wasn’t sure what to expect.    The far end of the tunnel was manned by a DJ and had a light show rigged up.   It was kind of awesome.   But the way Gangham Style was reverberating around the tunnel made me glad when I was out of it.   I had expected my Garmin to lose signal in the tunnel but somehow it picked up distance.  From there out, my Garmin was about 2/10th’s ahead of the mile marked.   It stayed consistent so I am fairly comfortable with my mile splits.

Mile 2
Mile 2

Miles 3-5- 9:56, 10:30, 9:41

Ocean views, Cannery Row, dancing jelly fish outside the aquarium?  This race rocks!  Then there was the elementary cheerleaders and a drum line.  I love drum lines.   I was keeping the pace I wanted and feeling pretty good.  And I was still taking pictures as I ran.  Which came in handy during the first out and back section.  The elites!!  I noticed the course marshals and lead cyclists coming so I had my phone ready.  They are so damn fast!  Kara Goucher snuck up on me and she was the lead female!   Sarah Kiptoo passed by a few people later- she didn’t look like she was having a good day.   I was also surprised to see a man running in a loin cloth carrying a spear running the race.  What?!


She won!
She won!

Miles 6-9- 10:03, 10:23, 10:47, 11:00

I was feeling a little tired but was still holding onto a 2:15 finish.  Seriously the ocean views were awesome.   Aid stations were well stocked and run well.  Water, gatorade, Gu’s, Vaseline and sunblock.  Seriously awesome.  And people were loving my socks- spectators were actually shouting it out to me.  😉  More DJ stations, a blues band and a jazz band.  Then a Tonga drum line.  Did you know they hold a squat while drumming?  Holy burning legs, batman.   The turn around came at mile 7.7.    Mile 8 is always my favorite mile- home stretch baby!

Mile 9.4

I was feeling pretty good and loving the race until…stupid stomach.  I cramped, badly, I felt like I had been stabbed in the middle of stomach.   Come on!   I was so close.   First walk break.  I wish I could say only walk break.

Miles 10-13.1- 12:37, 11:51, 12:01, 11:40

Riding the struggle bus.   It was run-cramp-walk-breathe repeat for the next 4 miles.  I never felt like I needed a restroom break but it just kept hurting.    To add to the pain, both quads and IT bands started protesting the walking portions.  Come on legs- don’t fail me now!    A woman I had been near in the starting corral came up behind me during mile 12.  I was walking.  She encouraged me to keep pushing and I ran it in the rest of the way.   Finish line- yay!!   I lost 8 minutes over those 4 miles.

Finish- 2:23:26

IMG_3153The otter was worth it, though.   I also learned how very breakable the medals are when another runner dropped his.  From there on out through the staging area, I was cradling it.  😄    I almost didn’t take one of the silver sheets since it had warmed up a lot but I was glad I did.  I cooled off very quickly.   The finish area was my only gripe about the race- It wound around and round and I just wanted out.  I grabbed a cup of water and skipped the finisher photos.   The post race food won points for the tiny bag of Fritos and pineapple juice.   As I was leaving the food tent a volunteer was coming back with boxes of something.  He offered one to me- chocolate milk!!!  I told him that he had just made my day.    I finally sat down by an ambulance while waiting for mom to find me.  My knees and quads were pissed but that random ankle pain never made its presence known.

IMG_3200This race was awesome.  It is definitely on my list of races to run again.  It is a very PR friendly course, it has the right amount of flat, incline and descent for most people.   The last 4 miles are some of the flatter miles so negative splits are likely.   That might have been what aggravated my legs though as I am not a fan of flat.  I need to work on that.    Back to the race, the course is amazing and the crowd support was pretty awesome, and I’m not saying that just because they liked my outfit.  😎  Did it go like I had hoped?  No but that’s not the races’ fault.   That’s all on me and some things I need to work on.  However, this was half marathon #6 of 2015- the most I’ve ever run in a year before.   That’s something all by itself.  It’s number I’m proud of.    My last race of the year may have been my slowest but it was still worth it.   And now I have something to beat next year. 😜