Firehouse 5K -Recap

I met my goal, but just barely.

Firehouse 5K offers packet pickup at the firehouse the night before and it was a breeze.  My only hesitation came when I saw the sign for an Easter Eggstravaganza being held in the nearby park on the same day.   I asked what time that started because I was concerned that it would affect parking.  It didn’t start until 10 so no worries there!

Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!

Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!

I had laid everything out the night before but right before leaving the house in the morning, I grabbed a long sleeve layer.  It was foggy and a little bit cold but I was hoping it would warm up.  The plan was to head out with my mom and the puppy.  Since it was so close, my dad and brother were thinking about following later.    Once we arrived it was still foggy and I figured that since my lungs have become babies who don’t like weather below 50, I put on my long sleeve layer.  I also used the inhaler again before heading to the start line.   I have had 3 rough races this year for a variety of reasons and I didn’t want this one to be the same.

Fellow Ambassador!!!

Fellow Ambassador!!!

I managed to snag the same parking spot as last year so it was about a block and 1/2 to the start line.   As we were walking up, I heard my name being called.  Huh?  Looking to my right, I saw a couple walking up.  It was another SLO Marathon Ambassador!  It was Lisa from Runner In Training!  Both she and her husband were running too.  It was great getting to meet another ambassador :)

Can you see the singer all way up there?

Can you see the singer all way up there?

The start time had been pushed back to 8:45 for some reason but there was a group warm-up put on by a local sports therapy group.   Then the usual pre-race announcements, followed by the national anthem.  I love how they display the flag at this race, and the singer gets to sing the anthem from the top of the big truck!  I’m kind of jealous.  With a blare of the truck horn, we were off!  firehouse elevation

A little under 1/2 a mile is on streets up to the trail, then it’s about 200 yards until we start climbing.   This is where it gets tricky.  All of the trail section is single track.  2 miles of the race is trail, which means 2 miles is single track.  Which for the last mile is ok because the crowd had thinned out.  However, the initial, biggest climb was a crawl.    At one point, I was stuck behind 6 people walking.  The short length of the switchbacks made it hard to try and pass people.  I managed to get past a few but not all.   We were so on top of each other that I could have smacked the firefighter in front of me on the backside.  ( I didn’t!)

so close to finish!!!

so close to finish!!!

After finally getting to the top, I was able to get around some people.  It also leveled out briefly so I picked up the pace a bit.   Then we hit our first downhill.   We went down a different way than we came up, so the downhill was shorter than the uphill.  The trail is shale-like, with some bigger rocks and divets, so you had to watch where you were putting your feet.   I tend to have kamikaze tendencies when running downhill on trails, and I have fallen before.  I skidded out once but managed to reign it in.  Then there was another uphill.  This one was small but I was already tired from the mountain.  It also bottle necked again.    Then it was down hill back to the street.  Kamikaze me came back and I a hit a 6 minute pace for the entire downhill.   Then it was back to the street and across the bridge to the finish line.     I crossed the line and stopped my watch.  Final time- 32:59.  Really?   Yes, it was faster than last year but only by 32 seconds.

I really felt like I was running faster than that.  The only thing I can think is that I probably walked close to a mile of it, between the climb and the bottleneck.  And even me running downhill like a crazy person couldn’t make that time back up.    It was hard to go off my Garmin because it never matched up with their mile markers.    All I really used it for was current pace.    I have to admit that maybe it’s just that this race kicks my ass.

The brother

The brother

DSC02673

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a smaller race, only 3 years old, but it has been impressively organized each time I have run it.   The course is well marked and any time there was a trail split, there was always a volunteer directing which way to go.   There was only one water station but that more due to land constraints than poor planning.    There is also a small health fair.     The crowd was smaller than last year but there was a conflicting race in a nearby town that accounted for that.   The other race is a very popular 10k that draws thousands every year.   It really was too bad that they both fell on the same day.

She's in front of the camera!

She’s in front of the camera!

My family was at the finish line which was cool.  We took advantage of some photo opportunities.  And in keeping with last year’s failed selfie, I have a new one to add to the collection.  I tried to get a photo with my brother and he ducked.  So my dad photo bombed again-

selfie fail!

selfie fail!

Today my legs are feeling the results of my crazy down hill running.  That probably wasn’t the best idea the week before a half marathon, but it was a fun race.  Maybe I will try again next year.  :)   Running another 5 miles yesterday didn’t help either.  :)    But the pizza reward for lunch was amazing!IMG_3836

How was your weekend?

Happy Easter!

 

Lies and squats

It’s Thursday!!!!!  (By the time I post this it will be)  :)

In keeping with the “get some rest’ theme, when work ran a little late on Monday, I kept my running gear in the bag and just headed home.   Sorry Garmin.     On Tuesday, 4 days off were making this Slacker feel a little lazy and a little puffy  :(    I went to the lake path for 3 easy miles.     This runner lies.  I either tell myself I am going to do an easy 3 and then do more or I tell myself that I am going to run and then don’t.    This night, my easy 3 turned into 4.5 miles followed by a cool down walk.   I did keep the pace relatively easy and took a walking break or 2.    I felt a little sluggish but that’s too be expected after 4 days off.   Plus I am still trying to work out the inhaler.  I am supposed to use it before running but I noticed it takes an hour before I notice anything even slightly different.    I need to remember to use it about a 1/2 hour before I leave work.   It felt good just be running, though. 415

Oddly my left ankle felt a little cranky during the run.  Which is leading me to think I forgot how to squat.  I used to do squats every single day but when I was having left leg issues back in February I took a break.     This past week, I was having an attack of vanity and noticed that my butt isn’t where it used to be (such a girl thing) so I started the daily squats again.  Aaaannnd, my ankle hurts.   Hmmm, think it’s related?  Ha!  So maybe no more squats until after next weeks half marathon.  And I should probably try wearing shoes too.  :)

Today, I had planned on running but a late doctor’s appointment and the almost 90º temp at my house after 5:00 put a kibosh on that one.   Plus I had to get to Target before the pharmacy closed to pick up a prescription.    My appointment today was a follow up to last weeks’.  Apparently I have been a fighting a lingering infection for the last month or 2.  Oops.    So now I am on antibiotics.   Which I will be on for both of my upcoming races.   I am still cleared to run; I just might not be at my best.    Which in one way completely sucks, but it has a glass half full side to it to.  Thanks for taking the pressure off Doc!! And the nurse who took my blood last week was a sadist!  This is my arm a week later-

Ouch!

Ouch!

My race this Saturday was never going to be a PR anyways.   When I ran this race last year, it was advertised as the toughest 5K in the county.  Which I chalked up to hype.  It was supposed to be part road and part trail and I figured I had run both types before, and knew the town as being flat, so how hard could it be?  I even talked my friend, Bix, into running with me.    We stayed together for about 1/4 mile before she told me to just run, that she was going to take it easy.   The first 1/2 mile was flat and on the street, so no surprises.  Hit the trail and still mostly flat, and then… what the frak?  Where the hell did the freakin’ mountain come from!  I now know that we gained 500 feet in about a 1/2 mile.   And the only reason it was even a 1/2 mile is because it was all switchbacks.   My first thought was- Bix is going to kill me, second thought- breathe!  My first 2 miles were in the 12:00 range, mile 3 (downhill and flat) was in the 9:00′s.   Finish time 33:31.  My only goal for this race this year is to be better prepared and maybe finish a minute or so sooner.    And have fun.    :)

Last year- post race.  This picture makes me laugh

Last year- post race. This picture makes me laugh

With the temperature’s steadily rising here, I need to get used to running in the heat again.   How is the weather in your neck of the woods?

How has your week gone so far?  Everyone get their taxes done? 

Anyone else been totally surprised by a race’s course?

 

 

 

Slacker Reboot -Training to SLO (and beyond)

Back in February, I had a few issues with my legs not feeling so good. I figured it was caused by overuse as the training plan that I had been following was a little overeager. The mileage that it was calling for was a little intimidating. 40 mile weeks are great for some people and in theory I like them, but come on, Slacker over here. Weeks 2-5 hitting 40 was yowza! I never actually hit that mileage but I was running more than I was used too. After the ugliness that was the Heart & Soles 10K, I took a week off resting my ankle, Achilles and basically my left leg and started fresh with a new plan. A Slacker Plan. I tried using it leading up to my half in March and I am planning on continuing with it through SLO and for the beach half I want to run in May (doh!).

I thought about what worked for me before 3 days a week and then I considered the fact that I want to run more races this year and continue to improve my times ( sub 2 please?!). Plus there was my goal of hitting 750 miles this year. So I decided on 4 days a week and decided to call it 4-5-6-SLR.slackerplanAnd either 1 long run (L), or a track workout (S) or a race (R) on the weekend. Why does it need a name? Because I like names. Why so many letters? When I figured out the SLR almost looked like Slacker, I tried really hard to come up with a word for C or K, but no luck yet. :( Maybe someday I can graduate to 5-7-9 :)    Kind of random, but does anyone else remember that store?

There are no set days and I can switch of the mileage and work out when I want. Plus, with 3 different towns and a treadmill to choose from, I have a lot of flexibility. And I don’t get frustrated when I miss a Track Tuesday or hill interval Wednesday because I can do them on whatever day I feel like it. Now I don’t feel guilty for never running on Fridays. :) I would like to get to the point where a weekend long run is at least 10 miles; every week. I’m not there but I’m working on it.

Double rainbow!

Wednesday morning’s commute! Double rainbow!

So with that being said, after Monday’s crazy rain and a Tuesday rest, I headed out Wednesday for a quick 4 miles. I wasn’t feeling the run for some reason so I wanted it done quickly. I was aiming for as close to 5k race pace as possible. I had missed my Wave Rider’s so I ran in them that night. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I am faster in those shoes. My first mile included a little warm up and then I was off. Miles 1-3 felt good, I hardly felt like I was pushing. When my Garmin chimed at mile 3, I saw a chance to push. If I pushed- hard- I could pull off 4 miles in what was my very first official 5K time- 35:44. So I pushed. 4 Miles- 35:35-holy crap. This left me on the backside of the lake so it gave me plenty of time to walk it out and breath after. I was super stoked.

photo 3Thursday called for 5 easy miles. The first 2 miles were pretty good, but by starting my 3rd lap, I knew I wasn’t completing 5. My ears were freezing. I can’t stand cold ears, they hurt, so I figured one more lap would bring me to 3.5 miles and I would be done for the night. Which I was ok with because there were a few border collies out for an evening walk. They looked well-behaved, but then I never expected to be attacked by one in the first place a few years ago. I admit I never took my eyes off of them when I ran past and my hand may have strayed to my pepper spray. I had a 1/4 mile left to complete when I got to add a new animal to my animal encounter list-

Run for your life!!!

Run for your life!!!

Yep, these guys are actually pretty scary when they charge you and then try to follow you. Great for a strong burst of speed at the end but freaky. Then I realized they were between me and my car. Boo.

My weekend looks pretty clear. No complaints, I would love to sleep in. I need to get in a long run and an easy run at some point but other than that, nothing. I can’t even begin to say how much I am looking forward to that. :)
Anyone else have an aggressive goose (or any animal) encounter?
How was your week? Anyone racing this weekend?

 

March Recap

I kind of feel like March was a runaway train.  It knocked me around some and then sped off.  Between 2 crazy weeks at work and then trying to give myself a concussion, I am ready to say hello April!    While the month may have been insane, I did manage a few things.

RacesWine Country 13.1  – 2:07:08  Course PR

Training- Unofficial 5K PR- 26:35

I also joined the Around the World Running Blog Relay for March and April with a goal of 200 KM (which also means I have to do the conversion each week when I send in my numbers. :) )

So-marchrecap

74 Miles, sweet!  I’ll take it.  Taking 5 days off last week put a dent it what could have been my highest mileage month ever.   I had also planned on running yesterday but a crazy rain storm came in and I just could not bring myself to go to the gym instead.  Daylight savings time has really spoiled me.  :)  Instead I drove straight home.  Which was probably better because between the pouring rain and water coming off the tires; visibility was crap.     I was just thankful to get home.

While Saturday’s run was rough, I got in another 4 miles on Sunday.   While I may brought the pace down by the end on Saturday, my legs never felt right.  Sunday’s average pace was similar to Saturday but it felt so much smoother.   My legs remembered how to work :)   Woo hoo!   I had a little trouble with my Garmin, though.  I thought I hit start but half a mile later I was wondering why I hadn’t felt the slow pace alert buzz.  I always walk the middle part of the first mile on my neighborhood route.  (Hill denial)  I looked down and it had never started, boo!

Why do we take pictures like these?

Why do we take pictures like these?

I thought about starting it then but saw an opportunity.  Earlier in the month I had signed up for the virtual kickoff run for the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.   I have been wanting to run this race for years and any chance to win a race entry, I was taking it!  I needed to run a 5K and submit photo proof as part of the deal, and it had to be in by April 2.   The incident with my head had pushed my original planned run back.  Since I had my Nike+ app tracking the whole run and I was planning on doing 4 miles, I didn’t start my Garmin until around the .9 mile mark.  From there my only goal was to get that 3.1 in under 30, which I knew may be tough because I figured I would need a walk break or 2.    It was tough but mission accomplished!   3.1 miles on the Garmin and overall 4 miles in 39:20 on my Nike+ app.  Then I took a photo and a less than great selfie so I could submit my time.

Man, I have no talent at these :)

Man, I have no talent at these :)

My bruise has faded and the welt is gone, and so is the tightness in my head, woo hoo!   I have worked out a little training plan for the next 26 days leading up the SLO Marathon and 1/2.   I have 2 race options for the weekend before as well.  I am deciding between a 10k on the beach and pretty tough 5k that kicked my ass last year.  Decisions, decisions.   I have a week or so to decide.

Also, race pictures are finally up and one doesn’t suck!  In the other I look like an 80′s reject, but this one isn’t bad-

I've seen worse

I’ve seen worse

Who wants to race SLO with me?  I have a discount code that’s good until registration closes on April 11.  Odds are good for great weather and a beautiful course!!

Any good April fool’s pranks?  Either done by you or to you?  My coworkers tried this one on me today-prank

Apparently April is race month!  Who else is racing and what are you racing?

Hope you’re all having a good week so far!

 

Thanks Pinterest

The Week that Was

You know that quote?

Thanks Pinterest

Thanks Pinterest

 

Yeah that’s the one.  This week definitely ran me.  While Tuesday was a planned rest day, it turned decidedly less so shortly after my last post.  Food poisoning, yippy!!!!  I was up most of the night feeling horrid.   I hated the sound of my alarm more than usual on Wednesday morning.   I drug myself out of bed and made myself presentable.  Well, I tried to, I realized on the way to work that I had forgotten mascara.   I have never even run without mascara.   Luckily I had one stashed at work.   I don’t wear a lot to begin with but I felt naked without mascara.   :)

Thankfully, Wednesday was the last day of our inspection.    I put on a smiley face and mustered on.  Not gonna lie, it took 2 Diet cokes (big ones) and a cup of coffee to do it.   I had a hot flash before the exit interview and one after.  It could have been due to the stress or the lingering sickness from the night before.  I really wanted to run after; I had my clothes and everything, but I was completely whipped.   Just the thought of having to change my clothes sounded exhausting.   I left my running gear at work for the next day and just headed home.   Which turned out to be the smart choice because I was sick again.  :(

finally!!!

finally!!!

Thursday I was still super tired, but everything else felt better.  Work was so nice without Mr. inspector looming around.  Plus my replacement Fuelband finally arrived!!!  3 in 13 months but more on that later.  :)    I have a busy Saturday this week, so I was shooting for getting in my long run after work that night.  I figured I could get 8 miles in around the lake before twilight set in.  Work was done, I changed, hit the car and headed for the lake.  Then the phone rang.

My mother had Zoey spayed on Wednesday and she (the puppy) was having a rough go.  My mother was out of town for a tennis match so the pup was with my pops.  He wasn’t dealing so well with an under the weather puppy and kept calling my mom telling her the dog was “freaking out”.     She wanted to know if I could go to the pet store and find one of those cone things for Zoey and then go check on her.  Ok, no more long run.  :(   I figured I could at least get in 3 laps of the lake.

I hurried there and set out running.  Halfway through mile 1, I decided that if I couldn’t run long, then I would run hard.  I mean hard  (hard for me), I was aiming for race pace.    I figured my last 5K race was 27:54, I wanted to hit that.  The weather was good, the park was full of people.  Actually very full, apparently Thursdays are popular.    I kept pushing; I was breaking one of my own rules, I was huffing and puffing on a training run.  But it felt good, really good.   End result – 3.1 miles -26:35.  Hell yeah!!!!

Actually, still not so great

Actually, still not so great

Under 27, I was pumped!!!!!  I walked a cool down and then went to stretch.  My usual stretching bar was occupied so I used the railing around the observation part of the path.  I also attempted a selfie or 2.   I should just give up, they never turn out.  The only reason I am smiling in this one is because I had just realized that behind where I was stretching and taking crappy pictures was a class full of people line dancing.  Oops!  Cue embarrassed laughter.

Railing of shame

Railing of shame

I went to Petco and picked up a cone and some new toys for the pup and then headed that way.    She ran right up to me when I got there.  She had been hanging with my pops in the garage.  He again expressed the opinion that she was going psycho but I don’t think she was that bad.  I wrestled the cone onto her head and we played with her new toys until my mom got home.

Cute little conehead

Cute little conehead

Today was pretty good but I wish I had managed to get a run in. This week has turned into an accidental taper.   It’s leaving me a little stumped about how to proceed next week during actual taper time.  Plus I drank too much soda, ate too much sugar and too many chips getting through it.  Stress bites.    I am getting new tires on my car tomorrow and I have a work thing in the afternoon, so I am trying to figure when to fit in an 8 miler.   Hmmm, can this Slacker pull it off?

How have your week’s been?

Anyone racing this weekend?