BibRave, Run!

To Sur….with Hills

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming  for a little announcement.  ๐Ÿ˜›   My workout recap will be up on Wednesday.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I thought it was fitting that I drop the news about marathon #2 on the anniversary of marathon #1.

One year ago today, I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon.  Unlike some, I hadn’t planned on running a marathon, in fact when asked, I usually said “oh hell no”.   It was never a goal of mine, it just kind of happened.   All of sudden I was registering for it, training for it, hurting over it, and then running it.   And I didn’t hate it.  ๐Ÿ˜›

I kind of always knew I was going to run another one but nothing ever seemed right.  Every time I looked at websites or checked dates, it all seemed too forced.  Nothing clicked for me.   Then a chance to run the Big Sur International Marathon came up.  Once again, it just seemed to happen.

Views along Highway 1

Big Sur is an amazing race that runs point to point along Highway 1 in CA with some of the most amazing views.    It offers a marathon, 21 miler, 11 miler, 12K, 5K and 3K.  You name it and there is a distance that will work for you.  It is also is extremely popular and registration for the marathon runs by lottery system, the remaining distances are first come, first served.    A few years ago, I ran the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (then named the Big Sur Half) and the loved it.  We drove Highway one home and the scenery is just amazing.

Elevation

That said, I had my hesitations before throwing my name into the hat.    I know I say I prefer races with hills but this has HILLS.  It took me 5+ hours to run San Francisco, could I do this?   But it was calling my name, so I took a chance.   When I found I was in, I was torn between jumping up and down in excitement and wondering what I gotten myself into.๐Ÿ˜›

But self doubts aside- I am so looking forward to this race.  My hotel is already booked and I have a starting day for marathon training- Christmas Day. ๐Ÿ˜‚     Now I just need a training plan.    I got this.

Have you ever run Big Sur?

Training plan suggestions?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 SLO Half Marathon Recap

Oh boy, I don’t know where to start with this.   I’ve sat on it for a bit so I don’t sound totally cranky, so here we go!

This was my 4th time running SLO and it used to be one of my favorites.    I adored it in 2014 and 2015.  2015 is still one of my proudest races even with a face plant at mile 5 and some major GI drama.   In 2016, there were some changes to the expo, shirts and pictures that I wasn’t so fond of but I still loved the course and the way the crowd support was at certain points.  Bring in 2017 and there was a course overhaul- big time.  I would say only 2-3 miles were the same but other than the finish line they were now all at different points in the course.  They advertised the course as being faster than years past.   Thing about SLO is that it is not flat- the new half course was just shy of 600 elevation gain and the full just over 1200.    But I liked the old course- freakishly long Johnson hills and all.  Fine, I’ll reserve judgement.  The other thing I was concerned about was the start time- it was starting at 7 AM.  Every other time I’ve run it, it started at 6:30 or 6:45.   The temps were predicted to hit the 80’s on race day and 70’s by 10.  I was concerned.


The expo–  Packet pickup as always was at the Madonna Inn.  It seemed smaller this year.  Then I’ve thought that of most the expo’s I’ve been to lately.  Bib and shirt pickup was simple.  There was a shirt I wanted to buy at one booth but the price was too steep.  What was not cool was the un-mown grass with tall roots sticking out.  I tripped in a gopher hole once and on the roots 3 times.   While I was there I saw 3 other people trip on the roots.   The blame for this likely lies on the Madonna Inn not the race but you’d think they would mow the expo lawn?   By the time I left I had multiple scratches and was bleeding in 3 spots.


Race morning-   Chaos.   The original course was a point to point, in years past my mom would drop me off at the start and drive to the finish, park and watch Netflix.  Easy.   This year parking was a nightmare.   Start and finish was the Madonna Inn but getting into the Inn was next to impossible.  After waiting on the freeway for 10 minutes and moving 10 feet, my mother and I switched places- jumped out and ran around the car so she was now driving and I finished getting ready in the passenger seat.  Then I jumped out of the car- still on the freeway– and found a place to hop the fence to the race.   Only to arrive and hear they were delaying the start 10 minutes.  Ok- port a potty time.  The damn port a potty almost blew over.  It wasn’t bolted down all the way.  Grrr!!!!  Ok, head to the corrals.  Or so I thought.   Marathon runners and half marathon runners were starting at the same time.


  We all lined up near the pacers and waited.   And waited.  Then announcements started and we were told we were going to walk to the starting line. Umm, what? Weren’t we there?  So en masse, we leave the Inn and round the corner and down the street to starting arch.  It was like a block but it was odd, from behind me I heard on guy yell out “the race hasn’t even started and I’m over 2500 steps, this is whack”.   Everyone within hearing distance laughed.   Then more announcements and the National Anthem.  I will never be irritated at the National Anthem and I get that traffic was backed up ridiculously, but all I could think was that it was getting warmer and warmer while we were waiting.  We finally started just before 7:30.

This race falls into 2 distinct sections- the good and the “oh hell”- so here we go.

Miles 1-3 10:04, 10:11, 10:29

Well, hey these miles are coming faster than I thought they would be.  My calves were a little tight but that’s typical in the beginning of runs, I figured they would loosen up.  The first mile and half were through the southern part of town and not the most scenic.   I just kept trucking.  It was warm and getting warmer though so I decided to get water at the first aid except it wasn’t at mile 2 like I thought it would be.    It was 1/2 a mile later, ok, walk through the station get water and run on.  Right hand turn and we were running up Foothill.


Miles 4-6 10:55, 11:23, 10:19

Running between 2 mountains, though smallish, this was my favorite section to run.   I slowed a little going uphill but I was fine with that.  I was trying to ignore how warm it was and just keep moving.  The 2:15 pacers passed me- had no idea they were behind me- but I paid very little attention and turned on my music. I walked if I needed a moment and just kept moving.  Another aid station and more water.  I was hydrating with my Beachbody Hydrate in between stations.    We also ran a street I’d never seen before in SLO- well parts of it.  It was pretty.

Mile 7-8 10:20, 11:20 

My legs were feeling good and my breathing was under control.  We had a little downhill before we started what would be the longest climb of the course- not steep just long.  We ran over a timing mat at 7.8 miles and my average pace was 10:37.  I was on track for possibly my strongest half in over a year.  Who knew? We were running through downtown and I always think that’s kind of fun.

Then it went to hell.

Miles 9-10 12:31, 12:57

Something was not right, I was not ok.  It was warm, too warm and I wasn’t handling it well.  My legs started to cramp, my stomach started to cramp, my hands were swelling and I felt like I was going to throw up. I started walking more and more.  I was pissed and just trying to keep the pace. We rounded a corner and I saw a steep, short hill and I let some colorful words fly. 


Then the aid station at mile 9 was out of cups.   Finally in mile 10, I told myself to get my head out of my ass, this wasn’t a PR race, I was using it as training rain; there was no point in killing myself for a finishing time.  I came to a complete stop and tried to stretch out some of the cramping.    Thankfully there was another aid station at mile 10, water!  There were also kids with spray bottles and Iphone be damned, I had them spray water my way.

Miles 11-13 10:43, 11:35, 11:49

A downhill and the water helped me have a slightly faster mile 11 but the there was no going back.  I cramped the rest of the way and felt nauseated the entire time.    I was also letting my anger get to me- why did we start so late?!  Grrr, just keep moving forward.  The men’s marathon winner cruised past me around mile 11.5.    I kept getting water at every station and sprayed down by any kids with bottles.   I was thankful that the aid stations figured out it freakin’ hot and all the later ones had spray bottles and squirt guns.

Under the freeway, up a little a bump and then it was down the path to the finish line.  I got hung up behind a guy and I kind of growled.  I thought I did it quietly- I did not.  I scared him.  I’m sorry!   Somehow in my irritation and readiness to be done, I ran that last .20 ( my watch read 13.2 miles) at a 7:40 pace.   I don’t remember doing that but I was so beyond ready to be done.

Finish- 2:26:09


I was so done.  There was water at the finish line but just little cups.   I didn’t feel dehydrated just hot.  I had water at every station and my entire 25 oz’s of Beachbody while running.     I know I am not acclimated to the heat yet but I just don’t get the later start this year.  Combine that with delayed start and it was recipe for a hot mess.  From what I’ve seen on social media I was not alone in my blow up that day.  The heat and hills got to a lot of people.  I liked the hills!  Well except for the one just after mile 9, that felt like a dirty trick.   I was just grrr about the whole thing.   Still am a bit.  Ok time to move on.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

It wasn’t all bad- I chatted with nice guy prior to the start. I chatted with a nice older man around mile 6- his friends told him the race was flat.  ๐Ÿ˜ฌ. A nice guy helped me around mile 8 when I was struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack.  All the volunteers were amazing and I love the enthusiasm of the Grizzlies.  The running community is awesome.  

Half marathon #24 done.

Do you run well in heat?

How do you deal when races go south?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Harvest Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Harvest Marathon half to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro  (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This race has been a long time coming for me so I was excited that I was finally going to run it.   I’ve wanted to run it for the last 4 years but always ended up working an aid station during the marathon instead.    Which was great but it wasn’t the same as running it.   When the opportunity to run it with BibRave came up I was tempted but I had plans on race day.  But I made it work!  Woo hoo!

The race is a fundraiser for local schools and it has great potential.  This was the first year without the marathon as it was canceled due to a few issues.  ๐Ÿ˜ข Packet pick up was Saturday and went smoothly.   You can read all the little details in my BibRave review. I admit I was nervous wearing BibRave orange in Bearcat Country (high school arch rival is the Greyhounds- orange!) but I had nothing to be worried about.  My Bearcat coaching mother disagrees.  ๐Ÿ˜›

The race is a big loop through back country roads.  It takes you past numerous vineyards and farms and is very scenic.     I drove it the day before and loved the sights.  I was less enthusiastic about the hills.   But it’s Paso and Paso doesn’t do flat.    It is a quiet race- there is very little crowd support outside of aid stations and the finish line.   Also the roads are not fully closed so it is entirely likely that vehicles will drive past you a few times or sometimes fly by doing 50ish.   All of my early half marathons were similar so I am used to this but it can be alarming if you aren’t prepared.

Race morning-

I slept surprisingly well considering my recent insomnia struggles and usual race nerves but woke an hour before my alarm feeling freaky nauseous.   I laid there and hoped it would pass.  It did but I felt like I had been run over by a truck. Uh oh.   I was suddenly thankful of the late start of 8:30.  Once at the start I debated arm sleeves or a windbreaker.  The skies looked ominous but the weather app said that rain was hours away if at all.  The high school cross country coach said no rain was coming and it wasn’t cold so I decided to just go with my tank.   We all lined up and it was go time!


Miles 1-3 9:43, 9:50, 10:17

The plan with Coach Jenny called for an easy first 8 before bringing the last 5 miles in at goal half marathon pace.  Sounded good to me.   I was trying not to look at my watch and run by feel but I was winded 1/2 mile in.  I felt like I was working too hard so I checked my watching expecting to see something in the 8:30 range.  Nope.  9:45.  Crap, that shouldn’t feel this hard!  My calves were also doing their lovely tight thing and the first 3 miles are flatter than I would have liked.   Boo.    I was running in the dirt on the side of the road any chance I got.  Then, 2.5 miles in the skies opened up.  Seriously?!  It didn’t take long before I was soaked.  It wasn’t pouring by any means but you got wet fast.   And I was getting slower.  I pretty much slammed into the wall at mile 3.5.  Well crap.


Miles 4-7 10:50, 9:59, 11:16, 10:49

And the walk breaks started.  Mile 4 was one of my toughest miles and I don’t know why.   I ran past the second aid station and tried to pick it up but I failed.  Why faster for this station?  It was manned by my mother and her tennis team.  ๐Ÿ˜›   Mile 5 was a long slow downhill and my legs were finally starting to loosen up.  Second wind maybe?  Nope.  Mile 6 starts an out and back to add a little distance.  I hate out and backs.  And this one was all rollers as far as the eye could see.  Plus whatever downhill you had on the way out was a climb on the way back.   But I’m weird and even though my lungs hate hills, my legs don’t and mile 7 was almost 30 seconds faster than mile 6.   Third wind???


Miles 8-9 11:05, 10:30

Haha, just kidding.  My lungs were not happy with the constant cloud cover and rain.    I knew the road to mile 8 was really pretty and I had been looking forward to it.   For some reason, I remembered exactly where every mile marker was and it gave me something to look forward to.  Mile 8 was in front of Graveyard Vineyards where I had just learned that there is a literal graveyard in the front of the vineyard.  Mile 9 gave us a decent downhill and I tried to pick up the pace as I knew what was coming.

Mile 10 12:26

It’s the climb!!!! I knew from the drive yesterday that there was a long climb.  Yeah, mile 9 to mile 10.2 was all up.  It started slowly and then just kept increasing in slope as well.   I was toast.  It was still raining and I was starting to realize that I was having a giant chafing problem with my sports bra.  I could feel it with every step.   Stupid rain!  I rounded a corner only to find more climb.  Oh come on!

Miles 11-13 10:48, 11:39, 10:43

Yay!  The crawl was over, I knew there was only a 5K left and the rain stopped!  Let’s do this!  Except that enthusiasm lasted about .25 of a mile.   I didn’t feel overly tired but I had nothing.  I don’t even know how many times I walked in those last 3 miles.  A lot.  I was actually passing people but I was still irritated with myself.  I had just picked up the pace a little past mile 12 when I passed my mom and her team again, apparently they had moved stations and were now traffic control.   With a mile left I told myself to run it in and I would at least be faster than City to the Sea.  Haha.  I am glad for small races because my proclivity for cursing like a sailor was in full force as I berated myself…out loud.   Finally the finish line was in sight and I could be done.

Finish- 2:21:06


That did not go like I had hoped.  At all.  The course was awesome.  It really had a great amount of up and down for me but it wasn’t my day.  I don’t know how much of it was the rain (very rare here) and my lungs.   If it was the weird nausea in the morning ( I did actually get sick and miss some work) or if I am just burnt out from a crazy year.    I also don’t want to make excuses though, for whatever reasons I was not all there on race day and my race effort shows it.

The rain screwed with a lot of us.  I have never chafed this bad in my life, clothing hurts.   I wasn’t the only one either.  I saw more than few blood stains on shirts.   We’re in a drought, what is this water stuff??   I can count on one hand how many times I’ve run in the rain and that includes this race.

I initially delayed writing this recap because I needed some time to think about the race.  Then I actually did get sick and missed some work which delayed this post even more but I think the extra time helped me accept the race for what it was.    I think I can finally admit that speed is not my biggest adversary, my head is.   Half the battle is knowing who you’re fighting right?

This was my kind of race though and I will be back.  Redemption in 2017?

 

Goals, Run!, Training

Week 20 Training Recap

Week 20 for real??!? Where has the year gone?

And the marathon training keeps rolling. I am already tired.  Or still tired from an emotional April.  Who knows anymore.  My focus this week was to up my running from 4 days to 5.  My big goal for May is to consistently run 5 days a week.  My training plan actually calls for 6 days of running but one of the first changes I made was dropping Friday’s run.  If I handle May well, I may consider adding in Friday miles but I am not going to worry about that now.


Monday- 4 easy miles.  After an unplanned Sunday rest day, I was really hoping that these “easy” miles would feel easy.  Yeah, not so much.  My legs felt tired.  Part of it may be mental- I was a die-hard believer in never running on Mondays.    It’s only been a month-ish since I started running on Monday’s and I think I still mentally rebel sometimes.  #rebelwithoutaclue    Post-run, things snowballed quickly and the next 6sih hours were spent waiting in the ER.


Tuesday- 6.98 miles- 1.25 mile w/u, 8 x 600’s, 1 mile c/d.  Dude.   This was the first time using the workout feature on my Garmin; it worked pretty well.  With Monday night being so long and not getting to bed until 2 something, I told myself 2 things going into this run.  1-walk the recoveries and 2- listen to your body.   I knew I was overly tired and under fueled.   I didn’t want to just bail on the workout though.  I decided to try the warm up and 2 600’s with recoveries and see how I felt.  If I needed to drop the intervals and do easy miles, I would.  I was hoping that making the recoveries a walk would be enough to get me through it.   My plan calls for 600m repeats to be done between 3:26-3:35 but never having done 600m before, I had no idea what to expect.   I just tried to run by feel and be consistent.  The drawback to the workout feature is that it showed my current pace, I’d knew what overall time I had to hit but had never translated that to pace. Oops.   Actual repeat times– 3:17, 3:22, 3:15, 3:23, 3:20, 3:19,3:16, 3:21.  Holy crap, I did it!!  I felt pretty good when I was done but was tired so I skipped my last recovery and went straight to the cool down.   I might not have done that had I realized the watch would just stop at 6.98 miles!!!!  Grrr.

Wednesday- Rest day Pizza day- nuff said.  ๐Ÿ˜œ


Thursday- 7.25 miles- 1.25 mile w/u, 5 tempo miles, 1 mile c/d.   Oof, that was rough.   Nothing about this run ever felt good.  I ran this tempo on the streets and I looked forward to every stop light.    Built in breaks without having to feel guilty?  Hell yeah!    Outside of those, I never walked or took a break, so that is huge in itself.     I was glad to hit the cool down portion and even happier when that was done. I was so happy for cool down that it was almost faster than the tempo miles.  Oops.   A run-in with an off leash dog turned it into a walk and lowered the pace, which was probably better anyways.   ๐Ÿ˜’  Tempo goal- 10:18.  Tempo miles- 10:03, 9:58, 10:04, 10:10, 10:07.  Pace wise, I did what I was supposed to do but it was just ugly.   It was also my first run with my Fitbit and one point it said my heart rate was 182.  What?!  I know that most runs will feel tired but this one just had me worried for the longer tempo runs that I know are coming all too soon.

Friday- Rest day.   Aww, bliss.  I indulged in some very yummy tri-tip, garlic bread and garlic green beans.  It was amazing.


Saturday- 8 miles   Misery.  I am intentionally keeping one of my weekend runs in the mid-late afternoon.    I need to work on building my heat tolerance back up.  I know that’s one of the things that hurt me at SLO- it was a very warm morning.    Saturday was only 76 but it kicked my ass.  I took more than a few walk breaks, a couple of stops and ran out of water.   Well hell, that’s not a good sign.    We’re not too far from constant triple digits here!   Oh well, I got in some hills.    To add to the pain, I realized that my training plan only called for 6 miles.   ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜‚

Failed cool pic attempt but my Benjamin Button-ish made me laugh

Sunday- 10 miles  I got up early in an effort to beat the very high heat of 81.  Yes, that was sarcasm.  ๐Ÿ˜     This was rough, my pace was all over the place.  Some 10’s, some 11’s and some 12 minute miles.   It was warmer than I would have liked but like I said I have to get used to it.  I had more water than the day before but I dropped my bottle around mile 4 and broke the lid.  Seriously??  I had enough left to get me through the run but I had to carry the bottle in a certain way so I didn’t spill the rest.   I also knew that week’s mileage was catching up with me so I was fine with going slower.   When all was said and done, I was still closer to long run place than I thought I would be.

Weekly miles- 36.2 miles

It was a long, hard week but I completed every workout I set out to do.  I felt like throwing a little party when I finished my long run.   This was my highest mileage week ever– hell yeah!  Right now I feel ok, but I know I need to keep on foam rolling and stretching.    Moving on to this week, my mileage stays relatively the same but my intervals shift to 6x 800’s.  Yikes!!   I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday that could mess with my easy run though.  I thought about moving it to the morning but if I am still struggling with 8 AM runs, 4 AM is not going to happen.  ๐Ÿ˜œ  I really don’t want to miss my run so we will see.  I know consistency is going to be key to getting through this training cycle.   And a good dose of good luck.

I feel like there is something else I wanted to share but I can’t remember what it was.  Oops!

How was your weekend?

Do you run a last recovery or go straight to cool down?

How’s your weather?

 

Ambassador, Run!, Slacker

Prepping for SLO

I’ve never been one to believe in the “taper crazies”.  Hell, I love taper.  An excuse to run less and eat more?  Sign me up! ๐Ÿ˜  Yes, I know that’s not how it works but let a Slacker lie to herself ok?

I wasn’t really planning on tapering for SLO.   I did one speed workout this training cycle.  One.  Once I realized how few long runs I had actually done over the years, my focus turned to getting in the distance and time on my feet.   While I have done much better since that little epiphany, it still could have been better.

My plan for SLO was to treat it more like an epic long run.  Enjoy the race, enjoy my pace, take in the view, smile at the awesome crowds and maybe, just maybe take a decent race picture for once.     And now?

I had my weird hip/ IT thing on Friday’s long run.  That led to limping on Saturday and resting all weekend.   This week’s runs have been so-so.  Tuesday’s was actually pretty good.  But outside of that- my shins ache at random moments.  My calves feel tight.  Today it hurt my big toe to drive, seriously?!   There’s a tickle in my throat that feels like it wants to turn into something more.   Bring on the Airborne!!  I haven’t slept well in about a month.


Grrr.  I love this race, I do not want to stress about it.  As of right now, I honestly have no idea what my finishing time might be.  I feel unprepared for the hills.  My fault, I should have sought out more hills.    The hill I use for hill repeats has been a construction zone for the last few months.  No excuses. I should have found another one.   After last year I feel like I have unfinished business with this race.


Maybe that is influencing how I am feeling this week?  I have no idea.   So now, I need to calm down.  I need to make sure I am sleeping better (or trying to), I need to ensure I m still keeping my carb count low to moderate and I need to not stress.  I have been looking forward to this weekend for months.   There are so many people that I am looking forward to seeing again.   I enjoy looking around the expo, and really this is my favorite finish line.

More cowbell!!

Actually, I think venting about it for a few hundred words helped.   Bring it on SLO, let’s do this.  Now if only I could figure out what I am wearing.  ๐Ÿ˜

Do you believe in taper crazies?

Any tips?