Elephant Run

Ever have one of those runs that make you wonder why you started running in the first place?  Yeah, Monday was one of those days.  I like to call those runs Elephant runs.

To me, an elephant run is a day when your legs don’t seem to work.   They feel like stone, and like they just fling in any which way.  Except the way you want them to go.  It also feels like your feet are louder than usual, like they hit the ground harder, but not in a good way.  It’s all you can hear.  This run wasn’t quite that bad but it was damn close.

After the race on Saturday, I had a company picnic on Sunday.  Between the bus ride there and the event itself, that was pretty much my Sunday.    As it was my only morning to get a little more sleep, I chose to take the day off.  Figured it would just make me more rested for Monday.  Ha!

I was just exhausted on Sunday; I was so tired that by the evening, I swear I regressed into a cranky toddler.   Not good.  Plus I still felt a little ill.  Monday was actually a pretty good day at work. I didn’t feel a hundred percent, but then does anyone ever really?  I left work ready to run.

 

The plan was to do around 3.5 miles at the lake.  I was aiming for a mile warm up, 2 miles of speed work and a half mile cool down.   Since I was at the lake and not the track, I knew that the speed drills were not going to be exact, but why should they only been done on a track?  It’s not like the races I do are run on the track.

I was hoping for 4 sprints per mile during the 2 miles.   From the second I started running, it was horrible.  Just crappy.  I felt like my legs were made of lead.  Ever seen that e-card about running though peanut butter?

turtles stampeding through peanutbutter. lmao

Yeah, I felt like that.   I wanted to quit a half mile in.    I pushed through but felt like I was crawling.  The 4 sprints in mile 2 turned into 3 and the 4 in mile 3 turned into 2.    Plus it was more like the sprints were just running and the cool down in between was almost walking.  I felt completely off, it made me so frustrated!   I took a picture of the lake because I thought it looked like I felt-totally drained.

 

An empty tank

An empty tank

24 hours later, I am still frustrated with how it felt but I have gained a tiny bit of perspective.  The pace of the miles actually didn’t suck.  Monday I was so cranky, I barely looked at the Nike app.   Looking at it today made me feel a little better.   I am still a little nervous about my next run.  Plus this week is a little busy, so I am trying to figure out how to fit in a 4-miler before the weekend.   Today probably would have been the best day but after yesterday that was not gonna happen.   I took the day off.  Call it a mental health day.  Those are important to training too, right?

 

If anyone has ever had runs like this, I am sorry, but I feel your pain.

Dune sand sucks….literally

Thursday and Friday were planned rest days, even if Thursday was far from restful.  Work was crazy and I had my first class that night.   I got good news at work but I was too tired to muster up much enthusiasm.    Thankfully, Friday was better.   I finished the day with some lovely carb heavy French toast and getting my things together for today’s race.  I was excited!

So yummy!!!!

So yummy!!!!

I woke this morning with my usual nervous stomach.  Since my goal today was to just have fun, what did I have to be nervous about?  Nothing but try telling that to my tummy.   I have trouble eating food before any race, even my half marathons; I tried a Belvita cracker today.  Not a lot but it was still better than usual, I ate 2!    Since my race photographer (aka mom) has been complaining that I run every race in all black, she claims it makes it hard to find me in a crowd, I picked out some of the brightest clothes I own.

Can you see me now?

Can you see me now?

The race was about 45 minutes away, so I set out with enough time to meet up with my friends about 30 minutes to the starting whistle.  Yea for race buddies!!!!  My friend, C and her husband are the ones that have run the most races with in the past but it’s been since a Turkey Trot debacle last November that we have made our schedules work.  Hopefully we are back on track now!

Buddies!!

Buddies!!

This race claimed to be in its 25th year but it need some better organization.   The starting line was a chalk line and there was no electronic timing.  Yea for the Nike+ app!    When picking up your race bib, you were told to fill out the bottom portion.   Not being told why, I figured it was for a raffle and didn’t bother since I never win anyways.     There were no race shirts or finishing medals.  About 15 minutes to go time, my friends and I were catching up when a very perky announcer and friends held an impromptu jazzercise class as a race warm-up!  Definitely a race first for me.

a little step ball change

a little step ball change

The horn sounded and we were off!   I wore the wrong belt so the Nike app had 13 seconds on it before the race officially started, oops.  Told myself to remember to subtract that off later.  We started out on the street headed for the beach and the boardwalk.   About 2/3 a mile in, we cut across a parking lot to get to the boardwalk.  I saw some painted arrows on the outside of the lot so I followed those while everyone else cut across.  I was thinking that everyone was trying to cut a little mileage off along the way, but nope, think I followed the 10k line.   Both races merged at the boardwalk so I was back on track.  Just in time for Nike to say my mile 1 stats.  Mile 1- 8:38, hell yeah, a new mile record for me!

woo hoo!

woo hoo!

Running the boardwalk my music crapped out.  I think I am done with particular music app.  I debated if I wanted to fix it or just run without but eventually slowed down to start another playlist and snap a picture or two.  Like I said, today’s goal was to have fun.  Still I felt I was maintaining a decent pace.  That all ended when we hit the dunes.

Run more, snap less photos

Run more, snap less photos

Running on hard pack sand at the ocean line is kind of nice.  Running on soft loose dune sand?  That sucks, literally and figuratively.  I felt like every time I tried to lift my foot, the sand pulled it back.   Plus the trail narrowed to single file and it was almost impossible to pass anyone.  It turned into a bottleneck, not fun.   Once out of the dunes, we had to cross more soft sand to get to the hard pack.  Once there the 5k runners went right and the 10k went left to the pier.  I went right across the beach to the next left which brought us to more soft sand.   Once we crossed that, we went up the ramp and were then back on the street.  I felt like I had 2 pounds of sand in my shoes.

Running past the last water station, I felt tired.  That sand had taken a lot out of me and the weather was muggy.   Because of the race the traffic was backed up on the street, but instead of the drivers yelling angrily, they were giving shout outs and encouragements to the runners!  It was great, you would start to drag a little and then someone would yell out “keep going, you look awesome”!  Can I hire people to do that at every race?

Can you tell when I was taking pictures?

Can you tell when I was taking pictures?

I rounded the corner to the end and crossed the finish line at 30:03.   Turns out bottom portion of my bib was needed to staple to the card that said I finished 15th.  Oops, nobody told me that!  After a little lecture by the lady at the finish line, they just wrote my name and age on the card and placed it in a little bin.  Met up with my mom and waited for my friends to come across.  They came in a few minutes behind me.    :) Awesome!  As we were chatting, we figured I went a little too far in the beginning.  Nike had me at 3.2, so I didn’t get really lost.  We did a head count and C and I figured out we were some of the first women to cross the finish line.  So did that mean we made age division leaders?   The awards ceremony wasn’t supposed to start until 10:15, did we want to wait that long?

We also figured out that the race clock was a little off.  My mom said that it had stopped working at some point while we were running, and their solution was to bang on it.  Umm, ok then.    So Nike had me at 30:11 for 3.2 miles.  Take off the first 13 seconds and that is 29:58.  Hmmm, I like that number better.  Hehe, either works but oh well it was still fun.

My friends had to leave before the awards ceremony since 10:15 turned into 10:45.  It was so cold waiting around.  Again, the race could have been better organized.    They finally started announcing the age groups.  I was waiting for the 30-39.  Starting with 3rd place and it was C!  Luckily they let me pick up her medal.   I placed 2nd for our age group.  Woo hoo!!!  This is an upside to smaller, local races.

2nd Place!!!! Shiny silver :)

2nd Place!!!! Shiny silver :)

My mom and I finished the day with a yummy lunch and a little shopping.  I picked up 2 more pairs of bright shorts.  I am really liking these Nike Dash shorts.  Also, I really should not be allowed anywhere near a Dick’s, so many pretty things.

All in all would have been a great day if it wasn’t for how sick I got when I got home.  I am calling it food poisoning because I do not have the time to be sick.  So now that I have taken all your time with this post, I am going to curl into a ball and get some rest.  I will run again Monday.

I hope everyone has a truly amazing weekend!!!!

Bring on the tempo

After Sunday’s long run, I decided to take Monday off.  Which turned out to be a good thing, my running partner canceled and I stayed late at work.   Why are Mondays always so crazy? Tuesday was a little calmer and the weather was supposed to be good, so I took the scenic route home and ran from there. 

photo

I love this tree!

 

I parked my car and set out with no real plan.  I did remember to take water this time, woo hoo!  After a little warm-up, I figured what the heck, let’s try for a tempo run.     Now I realize that I am no expert and may never be super-fast, but I consider a tempo run to be comfortably hard.   For me that would be a little slower than half marathon pace.   Which is definitely faster than my easy runs or just average runs.  Plus, when running a half marathon, you have that added adrenaline boost which helps with your pace.  It’s a RACE after all!

After a short warm up, I ran for 5 miles.  Nice way to start the week.  I followed that lovely run up with yummy tacos at taco Tuesday :)  Maybe counterproductive but so tasty.

This morning I had a meeting to drive to.  As I was driving down the freeway, I was checking out the half marathon route that I will be running in just over 7 weeks.   I have run it before but it was a good refresher.   I noticed that the first hill looks more like a gentle slope before it gets to the real hills.  Can’t wait!  On the downside, the meeting was held in a hotel conference room.  It was sad walking across the parking lot seeing all the people in swim suits and shorts heading to the beach or pool.  And me?  I was in an uncomfortable pencil skirt and heels :( Not cool.

After the meeting I headed back to work to finish out the day.  I headed to the park afterwards to get in a few miles.  Today’s run was all about speed.    I did 3 laps of the lake and I pushed; hard.   I ended up shaving 3 seconds off of my most recent 5k PR.  Not that I count it, I only count race PR’s.  I figure that’s been measured by someone else and I don’t have to rely on my possibly glitchy GPS app.    But still, I was excited!!! Maybe I felt like I had to live up to my shirt-

Felt like a smile, looks like a frown, oops!

Felt like a smile, looks like a frown, oops!

Fast or Last?  Because middle of the pack shirts just don’t seem to work as motivation starters!

I have a class tomorrow and Friday is my long day, so now for 2 days off.      I have a race to look forward to on Saturday morning.  I am excited, this race is supposed to be part hard pack sand, part road, part boardwalk and part soft sand.  All that in just 3.1 miles?     I have some friends running it as well, so it should be fun!!

Anyone have any big plans for the weekend?

The long run…

After Wednesday’s hot run, I went out Thursday with the goal of doing an easy 3 miles.   We had another triple digit week last week, so I told myself that if it was hot, I would stop after 2 laps, so almost 2.5 miles.     First lap out wasn’t bad, kind of hot but there was more shade than I recalled :) Yeah!!  Of course, I forgot my water bottle again.  The good thing about running laps around the park? You pass your car again!  I was able to get my water bottle after the first lap.

With the shade and a little breeze that picked up, I was able to finish 3 laps, so just shy of 3.5 miles.   I had planned to do speed work but the temperature turned it into just a steady run.  I was ok with that.    When I run at the lake, I don’t have access to my lovely stretching wall, but there are workout stations around the path.  I love this one for stretching at the end of the run-

Feel the stretch!

Feel the stretch!

I took Friday and Saturday off.  I feel like I have been running nonstop for the last few months and unfortunately I don’t mean the good kind :(    I know that I have a crazy week coming up as well, so I was so close to saying screw it, I am doing absolutely nothing this weekend, like the Slacker I am.   Not even real running.   I could get a long run in next weekend right?  I would still ok with my training.  Then I remembered that I have race next Saturday and a company picnic all day Sunday.    The race is only a 5K, so unless I pull a 2-a-day, I wouldn’t be able to get the mileage in.   So much for a lazy weekend.

So my mother wanted to meet at the track to get some miles in, but I so did not want to do 7 miles on the track.  I have done up to 10 on the track before, but it gets rather monotonous.   So I decided to run to the track (4 miles) and then do another 3 there.    I left my house with plenty of time to run the 4 miles and meet up with my mother.  Apparently my memory is faulty.   I had run the route there before but somehow forgot that it is 5 miles not 4.  Ummm, oops :)  It took me a little longer to get there than planned.  But on the upside, that just meant less miles on the track! :)

Too bad it doesn't show the track loops.

Too bad it doesn’t show the track loops.

Along the way, I tested out some new fuel.  Not too bad, but not cola tasting either, hehe.  I miss my candy corns though.

Not Horrible...

Not Horrible…

So all in all, 7.5 miles done.   Kind of slow, but I didn’t care about the pace today just the distance.  It is also the first time I have run that far in a pair of shorts.  Usually for long runs and races, I wear capris.   I think I may be able to get used to it, not sure yet.  On a side note, I went and bought actual running underwear?    Um, did I miss the memo that said you needed a girdle to run?  Could they go any higher?  Awkward, but hey, if I ever have to wear a tight dress, I have something to put under it now :)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Anyone have a good race or run?

Too much sun = Ouch

Apparently I can run 13 miles in the sun and be fine, but a few hours at the beach paddle boarding? That really kicked my ass.  By Sunday night, I had a splitting headache, I even tried sleeping with an icepack.  Woke up Monday still feeling crappy but dragged myself to work.  I only made it half way through the day though. :( One crappy thing about a commute is that once you leave work sick, you still have to drive all the way home!

I did make it home, showered and crawled into bed with a blanket.   You know it’s bad when you’re sleeping in the middle of the day with a blanket.  Particularly when it’s almost 100 outside.   So much for Monday’s planned run.   I still felt poorly on Tuesday so I took another rest day.  Slacker!  On the upside, two days off gave the burned tops of my feet a little more time to heal. :)

I planned to do an easy 2.5 miles on Wednesday, just 2 laps around the park.  However my friend was unable to make it.  My mother had been texting me that she wanted to walk while I ran, so I said ok.    Downside of not stopping halfway like planned?  An extra 10 degrees.  When I parked my car, the internal thermometer read a nice toasty 100.   Oh boy!   But I was gonna take it easy right?  So I changed, grabbed water and was out the door.

Even the trees look hot :(

Even the trees look hot :(

Had to fix a shoelace, so I bent over to tighten it.   A little over half a mile later, I realized I was missing something.  I had never picked my water bottle back up!    Seriously where was my head?   But I pushed on cursing the hills and missing the nice flat lake path.  Finished 3.5 miles, some very slow miles.   I am telling myself that any forward motion is a good thing, right?

Now I just have to work out when to get in a 6.5-7 mile long run before Sunday and I will be on track.   Plus I have a 5k next week to look forward to!!

 dune run run

Anyone have any races to be excited about in the future?