A Little Taper and SLO Strategy

For the first time, I think I am fully embracing taper week.   Saturday’s race left me a little sorer than I thought I would be so taper has come at the perfect time.  However that also means that the SLO Marathon-1/2 is only 4 days away.   How did that happen?!  Where has the time gone?

After resting on Sunday, I headed to the lake on Monday for an easy 4 miles.    I completed 3.5 and they were not easy.   I don’t remember being this sore after last years Firehouse 5K.  I would have said that I was better trained this year but the calf tightness and overall soreness told me differently.  Not cool.   The first mile was rough, my legs were so not happy.   Mile 2 was wonky but a little less awkward.  Mile 3 involved a short walk- got a text message, it was the perfect excuse to walk a bit.  :)  That mile actually felt the best by the end.  3.5 miles brought me back to the car and I figured it was best not to push it, so I called it and stretched before heading home.

Felt sore, so I rocked the polka dots

Felt sore, so I rocked the polka dots

On Tuesday, I managed to wear heeled boots all day.  Sometimes I feel like heels help stretch my calves and ease them somewhat.  You know what else helped?  Foam roller and ice.  It was a rest day from running but I did some yoga poses and stretches and spent some time with my roller.   I also slept in a pair of compression socks.   :)     And  I  wore a pair to work today (under my dress pants) with flats.  Gotta change it up right?

Tonight I met my mom and the puppy at the lake path.  She had heard me talk about it had never really seen it.  It’s very dog friendly and I always thought the puppy would like it.    She loved it- so much to see and smell- she was in doggy heaven.  She was also very behaved.    I walked a 1/2 mile warm up with them before running ahead.   I felt a little lingering stiffness but was overall better.      Since we were planning on doing dinner after, I figured the same 3 laps as Monday (3.5 miles) would be good.  I finished up and saw them getting water at her car, so I turned off my Garmin.    My mom decided the path was fun, so we ended up doing another lap of jogging/ walking.   I hadn’t turned the Nike+ app off it so I let it gather mileage until 4.5 miles.

collage4-23

Why is that visor so purple?!

Tomorrow will be another rest day, loving this taper right now, so I am heading into SLO to pick up a cake from the Madonna Inn.  The Madonna Inn is also the finish line and expo location for the race. The cake is my thank you to my mom, since I have hired her as my driver all weekend.  :)  I think that’s a promotion from race photographer to crew chief, right?  I bought a bus ticket for the race on Sunday but I get antsy if I have lots of time to think.  The plan is for her to drop me off as close to the start as possible.  :)     This might mean a walk, but that’s just warming up right?

This will be the expo!

This will be the expo!

I am so excited for this race weekend to come.    I’ve accepted that this is probably not going to be when I break 2 hours in a race.  While the medication my doctor prescribed has helped me feel better in some ways, my system does not like it in other ways.  :(    My last dose will actually be Sunday evening.  Ugh.   My goal for the race is to hang out with the 2:00 pace group as long as possible.   I was in front of them for 9 miles at City to the Sea, so maybe if I start slower, maybe I will get closer to the 2:00 mark.  Fingers crossed!

In other news, I have vacation days coming up!!!  Friday and Monday, I will be sleeping in!!!!  Another thing to look forward to this weekend!!!  The day off on Friday gives me time to contemplate the serious things.  Like, what does one wear to a race expo where they are an Ambassador?  No really, I mean it.  I am looking forward to the expo, it will be the biggest one I have been to and I am excited to check everything out.  I am also looking forward to meeting all of the other ambassadors.

Happy Hump day!!!

How has your week been going?

What’s the biggest expo you’ve been to?

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?

 

 

 

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!

 

2014 Wine Country Half -Recap

Previously mentioned jitters aside, I knew going in that I was not feeling this race for some reason.   I was tired, I’ve had a crazy few weeks and I just wasn’t looking forward to that last hill.   I knew under 2 was a shot in the dark and was iffy about beating my previous PR of 2:05:57.   I managed to get to sleep at a decent hour last night but I hated my alarm this morning.  :)    I had everything laid out last night so getting ready was pretty easy.    A plus about this race is that it had an 8AM start but I didn’t have to leave my house until after 7:20.  And that was just so I could deal with parking.   I hung out in my car until about 5 minutes to start time.    Which was good because it was cold.

I look tired and I haven't even started running yet

I look tired and I haven’t even started running yet

I checked the weather yesterday and this morning and it said high 40′s to start, high 50′s at the end.  I thought about not wearing my arm sleeves, but I put them on anyways.   Which turned out to be a wise choice because the weather man lied!!!  It never made it to the 50′s and the sun never came out.   I never took my arm sleeves off; usually they feel too hot by mile 3.   My legs were cold to the touch the entire race.   When did I get so wimpy?  People are running in snow and ice and I have issues with the 40′s?  Sad, sad.

Took these the other day when it was sunny

Took these the other day when it was sunny

Miles 1-3 felt pretty good, I tried to keep my pace around 9:00.  I hit the first bigger hill around mile 2.5, it led with a down hill,  so I picked up the pace down it.   Mile 4 brought a slow down, I got stuck behind another runner and couldn’t pass due the line of cars driving by!  There must have been 6 or 7.  It was slower but I was still feeling pretty good.     Miles 5, 6, and 7 were another story.

Partway into mile 5, I noticed a tightness in my lungs.  Seriously again?  I was a little wheezy at City to Sea in October and then February’s Super Fun Run 5K was so cold, I had troubles breathing.    I don’t think I have used an inhaler since high school, I don’t even have one anymore. I hadn’t felt like I was pushing it and I felt like my breathing was under control but I slowed down anyways.    By mile 8 I was feeling a little better.  There was little out and back here that I swear felt longer than last year. winegarmin

In mile 9, my Garmin went wonky.  Every mile leading up to 9 I would pass the race mile marker and then my Garmin would beep about 1/10th of a mile later.  Mile 9 beeped but I never saw the mile marker.   They were on wine barrels so I didn’t think I had missed one.  Quarter of a mile later, I found it.    WTH- my pace was making sense for how I was feeling but nothing was lining up.    I was getting tired and my arms were chafing and it was making me fussy.   I wanted to take a walk break (or 2) but I had a feeling I was walking the hill at the end so I just kept running.    There was a man running with his dog, a big dog, so I used that to distract me.  The dog looked like he was out for a morning stroll, he was just trotting along in front of his owner, not even running.

coming up to the finish line

coming up to the finish line

Mile 12 and I hit the dreaded hill.  I managed to run 1/3 of the way up before saying F* it and walking.   Once at the top, I still needed to walk.  After about a minute of that i told myself I was almost done and to get a move on.   Mile 13 was the slowest over all at 10:44.    The finish line was in sight.  As I got closer, I could see my mom and Zoey at the finish line.   When I ran passed them, I gave her a thumbs down sign to show how I felt.   I crossed the line and received my medal, I then headed over to pick up my wine glass. Finishing time- 2:07:08.  Not a PR or sub-2 but it was a 7 minute course best.

IMG_3486Want to know what happens when you finish a race that you are half happy about, partially disappointed and just tired?  You hug random strangers at the finish line.  And I am not a hugger.   She wasn’t a complete stranger but now I feel like a total creeper.    She was a newer work colleague from another location who I have had a few meetings with in the past few weeks.    How’s that for a welcome to the team- here let me share my sweat with you.  Like I said- creeper status.IMG_3507

While a part of me wishes I had done better, but the course was nothing to be sad about.  I finished it and barring a few issues, I felt strong for at least 1/2 of it.   :)  I beat last years time of 2:14 and according to my Garmin, the overall elevation gain for the race was 1,617 feet.  How accurate are these things?    I celebrated with a tri-tip sandwich, and another trip to the theater to see Divergent again.  This time included movie popcorn, yum!  Oh and the sun finally came out-

relax and recovery

relax and recovery

Now it’s off to bed for me and I get to sleep in tomorrow!!!  I am taking a vacation day, which will hopefully be restful.. Except I have tons of laundry to do and I should work on a paper that is due soon.   And apparently I need to make an appointment to get another inhaler.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Who else raced this weekend?

Aside

~A change in plans~

~A change in plans~

Today is my Friday and that makes me smile :)  I have the next 4 days off, woo hoo!  The original plan was to run a half marathon on a local army base on Saturday.  Packet pick up would have been tomorrow, so I took the day off.   They were also giving tours of the course.   However, with my ankle a little sore and getting the chance to be an Ambassador for the SLO Marathon, I adjusted my race schedule.  My first half of the year will be March 23 and this weekend I will be racing a 10K at a nearby college instead.   I will then spend the day enjoying SLO.    But I still have tomorrow off.  :)

Yesterday, I packed everything I needed to hit the gym after work.  I was planning on 4 miles with some sort of speed drills thrown in.   The weather was amazing throughout the day and I was dreading the treadmill.   On a last minute whim, I decided to chance it.  I didn’t have my Garmin, I didn’t have my running belt and I only had my Wave Riders.  I had never run in them outside only on the treadmill plus one puppy walk.   But I was running outside!

scenes from the run

scenes from the run

I checked the sunset time and knew I could get in 3 miles.    Maybe 3.5 if I pushed it.   I had an armband, so I shoved my phone in it and was off.   Seriously, I have never changed that fast and I was walking up the block before everyone else was in their cars.    I had a 3 mile route planned, out and back.     The first 1.5  miles are slightly downhill so in this route I am usually quicker going out than coming back.  The first mile felt a little rough, I was breathing heavier than usual.   I took that as a sign that 3.5 would not be happening.  That is until Nike chimed in at mile 1- 9:00.  Holy crap, that’s race pace not training!

Change in plans, now I wanted to run 4 and hold that pace.    Mile 2 came in at 8:57, then the turn around.  Here I did stop for a few pics, also to lose the sweatshirt I had started out in.    I ran past so many photo opportunities but I wanted to hold pace and beat the setting sun.   Then it was back the way I came, uphill.  I always walk a part of mile 3 as the road in the state park gets super narrow.  The return route has a blind corner on a downhill for cars, so I slow down to pay more attention to the cars.  I figure it’s easier to jump out of the way when I am not huffing and puffing.  :)

Heck Yeah!!!

Heck Yeah!!!

The sun set just past mile 3.  The last bit of uphill was hard and I knew I was slowing.  I hit my car and was only at 3.8 so I ran around the block again.  Luckily I hit 4 and stopped Nike before walking a cool down.  Which was cool because I was not running around the block and the police station again.   Figured that would look a little odd.  :)

I was so pumped after this run.   I had no idea I could do that in a training run.   I think racing the sun was a huge part of that.  That pace would not have happened at the gym.    Nor would it have been so pretty.  Plus I could smell the ocean and the eucalyptus while running.  I may have to try that again next week.

Poor Shoe

Poor Shoe

On an annoying note, today my favorite boots decided to lose a bottom.  I almost took a header while walking across the tile floor.   Now I am trying to decide if they are worth repairing or if they should be retired like a pair of running shoes.   They probably have a similar amount of miles on them.  :)

Now I just need to decide how to spend my four days off.  Is it bad that I kind of want to have an Austen marathon?  Jane Austen, that is.  Or maybe I can get my friend to actually go to the movies.  Hmmmm.  And somehow, I agreed to help my mother with tennis practice tomorrow.   One thing I know, I will be sleeping later tomorrow morning.  :)

Anyone have big plans for Valentine’s day?

Who’s racing this weekend?