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?

 

 

 

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?

 

Aside

Award Season

Last week felt like the longest week, granted that was probably aggravated me trying to knock myself into next week.  :)  Friday was stressful but I knew if I could get through I had a whole weekend ahead of me!   I briefly thought about trying to get a few miles in after work but my head was still a little off and hearing my boss exclaim at how bruised my head was, I decided against it.  SLO pics

Saturday I was up earlier than I would have liked but that was ok because I spent the day shopping in SLO.  The weather was great, there was a storm coming in but it didn’t get windy until we were leaving.  The food was super yummy and I didn’t do too much damage to my bank account.  :)   I managed to get in a few miles when I got back to town, but man they were rough.   It was like my brain forgot how to work my legs.   I managed to bring the pace down by the end but my body was rebelling.  Even though it was harder than I would have liked, I loved that I was out and moving.  Especially when I consider that I am now less than 28 days from my next half marathon- SLO!!!!!

Post run time with the puppy

Post run time with the puppy

Moving on- I call my blog Slacker Runner for a few reasons, one of which is that I am a huge procrastinator.  If I can do it later, I will, usually at the last minute.   I am the exact opposite at work, but in most other aspects of my life, I am a Slacker.   I was recently nominated for some blog awards and I am just now following up.  Sorry!!!  So time to rectify that -

versatileThe Versatile Blogger Award-

Suzan over at Welcome to the Nuthouse sent me this shout out last week.   Thanks!!  She’s awesome and if you haven’t checked out her blog, you should go do so!  And I found out that we both just completed our 6th half marathon last Sunday :)

Now, there are always rules-

1. Thank the person who nominated you for your new award, and be sure to include a link back to their site in your acceptance speech.  DONE!
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself– hmmmmm
3. Pass on the award to 13 other versatile bloggers.—- that’s a big number

7 Random Facts-
1.  My mind just went blank.  it does that sometimes.
2.   I have a freaky memory for numbers and some things.  Sometimes I can’t decide if coworkers and customers are impressed or scared.
3. The list of childhood movies and cartoons that I haven’t seen is pretty large.   Actually some popular movies too.  I get a lot of shocked faces.  Like The Sound of Music and A Christmas Story or any of the Matrix Movies.  Never seen them.
4. I worked at a Taco Bell for 10 years.   Spent most of those years as Assistant Manager before I left.   Oh the stories.
5.  I went stag to my Senior Prom.  My dress was borrowed and in recollection was a little more scandalous than I thought.
6.  I got through the City to Sea half marathon by listening to Hannah Montana songs.  No not Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana.   And I am not ashamed.
7.  I love owls.  I have necklaces and ear rings and artwork and decorative pillows.  My boss even bought me an LED one for station at work.

Now for the nominations-

AttemptedRunner

Running From it All

Tartan Jogger

Don’t Blink Just Run

Did That Just Happen

Life-Everyone Has One

Bay Runner Jamie

Single-Tracked Mind

Lily Runs the World

Pirate Bobcat 

Close to 13 right?

Thanks again Suzan!!

So, with my slacker-ness, I make no guarantees that I will message any of you before you read this (if you read this :) ) so consider this your notification and run with it!   If you’ve been nominated before, congrats!   Just take this as further confirmation of your awesomeness.  If these awards just aren’t your thing, well that’s cool too.   You’re still cool.   Oh and another random fact- my lingo is still in the 90′s.  :)

The other one is The Liebster Award by the lovely Jenni on the Run, but that will require some thought and deserves a post of its own.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Now, I’m off to order a new gear bag, any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Country Nostalgia

When I line up at the starting line this weekend, it will be for my 4th Wine Country 1/2 marathon and my 6th 1/2 overall.   It has been making me feel a little nostalgic.

I ran my first 5K in the fall of 2010 and then turned lazy.  I drove NikeC down to run the Surf City 1/2 in February 2011 and watching all the runners, I noticed that they didn’t look like the stereotypical runner.  Sure, some of them did, but a lot of them looked like average joes; like me.    I decided “I can do this”.  So I started “training” and ran my first 1/2 marathon in April of 2011. It was only my second race.  I say training lightly because according to an old training log, I only ran/ walked 12 times before that 1/2 marathon.   Oops.

On race morning I had no idea what I was in for but that also gave me the benefit of not being that nervous.  I broke so many running rules that day.  I borrowed NikeC’s iFitness belt that I had never used before.  I also ran in a cotton t-shirt and heavy tennis shorts.   I really had no clue what I was doing.

My only goal for that day was to finish under 2:30:00.  I paced my run by song intervals.  Run 1 song, walk 1 song, and so on.  I remember that C’s husband was running as well but I didn’t really know him that well then.  He passed me at mile 5 and I never saw him again.   This was also the point that I learned how the HOB Fun Run (my very 1st race) had spoiled me.  As I was running, I felt a looming presence behind me.  Sure enough, there was a semi truck coming up the road.  Holy crap, the roads weren’t closed!!!  To this day, HOB is the only race I have run with closed roads.   Truthfully much of this race is a blur.  I know that by mile 10, I was feeling pain in hip muscles that I didn’t know existed.  My feet also felt so bruised and that feeling stayed for almost a week after.    I think my interval plan had faded to run 1 song, walk 2 but I really don’t remember.   The course is all rolling hills, and the one at the end was steeper and I was so tired.  As I rounded the last turn to the finish line, a volunteer yelled out that I should run faster; that I only had a little way to go.  Didn’t she know I couldn’t move any faster?!   I didn’t meet my goal but I was proud of what I had accomplished.  NikeC and my mom were waiting at the finish line for me.

Finish time- 2:37:50.

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

My running after that was hit and miss.  I ran a few more races that year and then winter started.   I returned to Slacker status.   In 2012 I signed up for Wine Country again.   I trained slightly better for this one, 26 runs before race day.  :)   However they were all pretty short.  Then 2 weeks to race day, I woke with the worst stomach flu I can remember.  Like I was so sick I called in sick to work for 2.5 days.  This was the first time in almost 5 years that I had called in.  I managed 2 short runs over the next 2 weeks and still felt like crap.  To make matters worse, that lovely time of the month (sorry boys!) started the day before the race.  Race morning was wet and rainy and my ankle hurt.   Maybe I should have DNS’d but I headed out with the goal of just beating the previous years time, even if by just 1 second.

They changed the course from a loop to and out back.   I learned just how demoralizing out and backs could be.  I was barely at mile 5 when the runners were already passing me on the way back.    Waah.    I pushed on but I was miserable.  I had no idea what my pace or time was because my Nike+ app had malfunctioned and I didn’t realize until a mile and a half in.   Adding insult to injury, the clean up crew was picking up the mile markers on the other side of the street while I was on the return portion of the race.  Ouch.   Then at mile 12, I think I scared a race volunteer.  He was trying to be supportive and cheer us on, but he also said that it was 10:30.  The race started at 8:00.  There was no way I was running the last 1.1 miles in less than 7:50.  I burst into tears, loud caterwauling sobs and visible tears.   He had no idea what to do, I wish I could go back and apologize to him now.   The last mile was partially on a dirt path leading to the finish line, I cried off and on the entire mile.   Crossing the finish line, I realized that the race had started late and if I had pushed just the tiniest bit at the end, I would have hit my goal.  They also switched from medals at the finish line to wine glasses this year.

IMG280

Me and the pops

Fall of 2012 is when I started to get serious.  I broke :30 for a 5k and finally got under 2:30:00 for a 1/2 (City to the Sea).  My goal for 2013 was to get under 2:15:00 in a 1/2.  When I registered for Wine Country, I was glad to see that website said they were going back to the loop course of 2011.  I also knew that with how hilly the course was 2:15 was unlikely so I was shooting for 2:20:ish.     I lined up at the start line feeling nervous like usual.  5 minutes to start, they announced a course change.  Instead of the little killer hill at the end, we would be going all the way down to another street and then up.  This street was the little hill x10.  My car doesn’t even like going up the street.  WTH?!  Not cool!

This race felt better than the previous ones.  Even though work had cut into my training, (changing offices, longer hours) I felt more prepared.   Nike+ worked fine this time and even though I went out faster than I should, I maintained for the first 8 miles.   I slowed as the miles went on and I remember being jealous when the girl in front me had the energy to jump in the air for the photographer at mile 11.   I managed a smile grimace.   I hit the final hill and crawled up it.  But at that point with what Nike+ was telling me, I knew I could walk and still get under 2:20.   And walk I did.  According to Nike, the elevation gain was 200+ feet in .15 miles.   I am not sure how accurate it is.  Maybe it wouldn’t have felt so rough if it wasn’t 12.5 miles into the race.  I then walked a bit more at the top to get my heart rate back down.   I was so pumped to cross the line this time.

Finish- 2:14:04- woo hoo!!!IMG901

The pops again!

The pops again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drove the course today, both to refresh my memory and take some pictures of the course.  The beginning seems hillier than I recall and the middle stretch longer.    With the last hill, I would have to hit mile 12 at 1:45 in order to break 2:00.   While I would absolutely adore doing that, I am not going to injure myself to do it.   I have another 1/2 in 4 weeks, so I have to keep that in mind as well.  As of right now, there have been no course changes announced this year.  The race did announce that half marathon finishers get a medal and a wine glass this year.  Yay!!!  It’s the little things right?

Anyone have nostalgia for a particular race?

Happy Wednesday!!!