Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hometown Heroes Honor Run 5k - Race Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 2nd Annual Hometown Heroes Honor Run (#HHHR). I also did this race last year and absolutely loved it so I've been looking forward to going back all year!

There are several things I absolutely love about this race:

  1. It is for a really great cause! It benefits the Riverside Police Officer's Association Assistance Fund. Last year the funds went to Officer Andrew Tachias who is on the long road to recovery from injuries he suffered during the Christopher Dorner incident in early 2013. And guess what - Officer Tachias actually ran the race this year! How cool is that?!? Here's an article about him that was in the local newspaper.
  2. It is the perfect time of year in SoCal. Seriously - the weather was amazing both this and last year. Chilly enough in the morning to need a light jacket, but warm enough during the run to not be cold at all while not being overly warm either.
  3. The course is fabulous. It is a rectangle and is fairly flat for the most part so it makes it pretty easy. You start on a short straight, make a left and stay straight for a good stretch, another left for a short straight, then a final left to the homestretch. Once you turn that final corner you know that you are headed for that finish line and it just makes it so much easier to push through. It's also a really pretty course for the most part running along the orange groves and passing under large shade trees. The road is a little beat up on the first long stretch and there's been water runoff that you have to either run through or dodge both years, but those things are so minor in comparison to the rest of the benefits. 
  4. Great post-race party with a free (FREE!!) pancake breakfast put on by the Boy Scouts. Now, the Boy Scouts do ask for tips/donations, but if you didn't bring anything with you, it doesn't exclude you from getting a couple free pancakes and a glass of juice. They also had a band this year providing entertainment and invited folks to hang around and enjoy the day (we didn't, but if I planned to it would have been really cool!)
  5. The location is the best it could possibly be. I mentioned last year that it is at a Sports Park near the historic citrus district (see the recap link in the opening paragraph above for a lot more background on that). Real bathrooms! A park to keep kids entertained! Plenty of space to mill around without feeling cramped! Tons of parking! Easy to get in and out of! Seriously, race locations don't get better than this in my opinion. If the race grew to attract a much larger crowd it might not work, but right now - PERFECTION.
Check out that rectangle and the temp at race time - PERFECTION!

Elevation Profile - it doesn't get much better than this...58 ft. of elevation gain overall
 There are definitely a few things that I think can be improved though.

Tech Shirts Sizing: This year we registered early enough to get the tech shirts that went to the first 250 registrants which is awesome! However, these shirts were pretty much baby-sized. We ordered me a Medium and I swear it would have barely fit my size 0-1 twenty year-old daughters. Not only was it small around, it was really short on the torso. My sister ordered an XXL, but was only given an XL so it's my guess that they couldn't get sizes larger than XL and just changed them out in those cases for the next available size. The XL will fit me pretty good, but it wasn't going to fit my sis. She traded it with me with the intent to cut it up eventually for her t-shirt quilt, but ended up trading it back for a cotton tee that she can actually wear.

Water Stops/Post Race: I am happy to say that they added a water stop this year which was great, but the placement was way too close together. The first stop was just before turning onto Adams Street (see map above). The second stop was just after turning off of Adams Street. So you can see that they were probably not even a full mile apart from each other. I carried my own water this year since I've learned that lesson the hard way too many times, but I definitely felt for folks that were relying on the stops for their hydration. It left a long way to go with no water on that homestretch. And they still don't have water at the end of the race which is a problem to me (but they do have the free post-race pancake breakfast, so that kinda balances it out...kinda).

Bottleneck to Start: I mentioned last year that one of the things that is really cool is that instead of just gathering at the start line, shooting the gun off and sending you on your way they have a real live bagpiper leading you to the start! It's pretty awesome and is something I really love about this race. However, they lead you from the Sports Park, through a narrow gate, and then to the start. So you get stuck at the narrow's a huge bottleneck and it takes forever to get out. I don't really care that much about this, but if someone had done a warm-up prior to starting because they are planning on killing it, then this bottleneck would allow them to completely cool down. Not a huge problem, but something that I think could be fixed if they walked out the drive-in gate instead of through a pedestrian gate. 

But seriously - those are the only things I think need improving and in my opinion they are pretty minor issues. None of those things would keep me from running this race again in the future even if they were exactly the same as they are now. And I think that says a LOT about how great of a race this is!!

Alright - let's talk about MY race, shall we?

I was running this race as a Team SunRype USA Ambassador through the Active Network so I was proud to represent in my team shirt, visor and jacket (finally it was cool enough to be needed!!!). I also brought along samples of the SunRype FruitSource bars that I handed out prior to the race starting. 

I absolutely LOVE these things!! Seen out in the "wild" in our little mountain community of Idyllwild
It felt really good to pass out a product that I don't just enjoy myself, but that I can stand behind because it is a great product made with quality ingredients. I got really good feedback from people and I hope they enjoyed them! If you haven't already, you should definitely check out SunRype's Facebook and Instagram as they have a lot of really great contests to win awesome products!! One of them is running now for Halloween - #Good4LittleMonsters. Check it out and keep your fingers crossed for luck!

SunRype on Instagram:
SunRype on the Web:

Did you know you can buy SunRype products on Amazon too??

Okay, so shameless promo out of the way, I do need to say that I have been provided with free samples of SunRype products but my opinions about their deliciousness are all my own. And I can say that free or not - I would absolutely BUY THIS PRODUCT and will continue to do so long after I am no longer an Ambassador. If you want to give them a try before purchasing, let me know as I am happy to send you a little care package. :-)

So after feeling awesome from sharing the SunRype love with the other racers it was time to line up and get to the start line...I almost forgot that I was there with a PR goal in mind! I set as a goal way back at the beginning of 2014 to PR in every main race distance between 5k and marathon. Since the marathon was my first it was a given, but this was my first time out in a 5k distance for the year where I was planning on pushing for that personal best, so I really wanted to mark it off the goal list! (I ran a little 5k earlier this year, but it was in the middle of a flood so it doesn't really count, right? haha)

Last year I PR'ed at this race without even trying, but I knew this year that it was going to take trying to actually accomplish it. So once I got to the start line my plan was to start at a fairly easy pace to warm-up and then just keep pushing to the end. I'll spare all the gory details because, really, they aren't gory at all but are just straight-up boring instead! What ya'll want to know is if I did it, right???

I DID!!!!

My previous best time was 34:14 from the 2013 Hometown Heroes Honor Run. Here is this year's:

So very pleased with this!!
For where I am at right now and for everything I've been through with the knee and the long, slow marathon training cycle I am completely and totally pleased with how I did. I know that I could have done better because I ended up taking two very short walk breaks on the final hill, but all things considering I know that I gave it everything I had that day. And I walked away with a personal best time by 2 minutes and 14 seconds and a pretty cool medal!


I have to say...this running's kinda crazy to me even still! I never thought it would be something that I could do, much less something that I would love so darn much! It just amazes me to realize that I'm capable of getting up and out on a regular basis. To run through doubts, soreness, sickness, weather and everything else in between. Being a runner...well, it's a pretty cool thing!!

I'll leave you with a few final pics:
Sweaty Selfie with the Bling!

L-R: My Sister, Heather; My Mom, Barby; and ME!
Next up on the race schedule is the Mission Inn 10k on November 9! Need to nail a PR at that event too to mark off that distance; time to beat is 1:16:20.

But if you're in the SoCal area in October - definitely check out the Hometown Heroes Honor Run in Riverside! It is one of the best events I have participated in and I will be back again in 2015!

Keep moving, friends!

Friday, October 3, 2014

It's Been a Great Week!

Friday just always hold such a different place in our hearts, doesn't it? Even though I still have to work a 1/2 day, Fridays just hold an excitement that not even Saturday or Sunday anticipation of what kind adventures may lie ahead! Kind of silly, really, but I'm going to roll with it because I just LOVE Fridays! And this also happens to be the first Friday in October. I'm just going to ignore the fact that it still feels like summer here in SoCal...don't rip away my fall fantasy, mmmmkay?

And I especially love that this Friday wraps up a really good week! It's not that it was less busy or that I had more things go right; it just all kind of came together like it's supposed to. I was super productive at work, my workouts were totally on target, my eating was better than average (for the most part) and life just kind of...I don't know...worked this week. I don't know how else to describe it. haha

Okay, so I love that little meme right there and it capture perfectly how Friday feels - like anything is possible! But please tell me I'm not the only person that is deeply bothered by that cord hanging so dangerously close to the sink. That poor puppy could be ELECTROCUTED!!

My workouts this week consisted of a "fun" workout on Monday - so I did a little dance party bootcamp and it just made me realize how hopelessly uncoordinated I am, so I don't know how much "fun" it was, but it was different so that's good I suppose. Tuesday I hit the treadmill for 3 miles while listening to an audiobook. I gave this a whirl over the weekend and I have to say that I am 1) enjoying the diversion that a book creates even though I've caught my mind wandering more than once and have had to rewind; and 2) the book I'm listening to using on my phone.

I've never read this author, but have had her on my wish list for years and so far I'm enjoying listening to the book. I'll let you know what I think of the book once I'm done. You can always check me out on Goodreads too! Wednesday I did a full body strength training session - and quickly realized that I don't do nearly enough strength work and that strength work is so very important! I'm going to really work on getting this in on the regular more often. Thursday I did a run outside with my Mom & Sister and let me take a moment to tell you all about it...because I'm sure you're dying to know, right? hahaha

I haven't done a whole lot of speed training for a really long time because first I was dealing with the whole knee disaster and the slow process of recovering in a smart fashion, and then I was in marathon training and I just couldn't find the mojo to do speedwork during marathon training. So I got really used to the slow slog of running miles upon miles. So I was a little nervous about how I would feel on Thursday during the intervals. Would they feel impossible? Would I want to die during them? Would I need to stop early and recover longer? All my fears were laid to rest because I absolutely KILLED IT!

My first 1/2 mile interval was in a normal pace range for me - 11:30/mile. The second one was in the goal range of 10:00 something/mile. The third and fourth intervals - 9:30/mile! Just know, that's FAST for me! And I handled it just fine. What's even better is that they were negative splits the entire way through, meaning I got faster for each one. So, needless to say, I rode that runner's high all day long. And that right there captures so much of why I love running. It's a challenge and when I meet it I feel invincible!

And then Friday, well, I did nothing today. hahahaha We all need rest, right? I took it today.

Okay, another awesome thing about this week? I got a fabulous shipment of fun stuff yesterday...check it out:

On the left is the Dell Venue 32GB tablet from Amazon. You see, one of the things I haven't shared yet, but one of the reasons I've been buried, is that I'm officially back in school. I'm working towards my Bachelor's Degree as I never bothered to get it previously because I really didn't need it. I got my Associate's Degree in 2006 and was already working in my dream job in my chosen career field. I didn't really have any plans to change that, but since I work in education it is really encouraged that we...have our education? hahaha Makes sense right? So, I'm finally getting it done and that tablet is going to help me be able to be more productive on the go. Namely, so I can do homework during my lunch hour because I refuse to give up my working out time in the mornings and it has to get done somehow. Then next to that is the new The Oatmeal book about, yeah, running (big shock there, right?). I'm a huge Oatmeal fan so I can't wait to pore over the beautiful pages and pages of fun! And then finally is new Nespresso capsules for the cappuccino machine!! Here's my baby (shhh - don't tell my hubby that it's "my baby" because he thinks it was for him):

It's a beautiful piece of machinery, isn't it?!? Java lovers UNITE! hahaha
So it's been a great week and I'm hoping to carry it forward into the weekend! I will be kicking it off with a hill run at The Beast tomorrow morning, and you know what's totally sick and demented? I. Can't. Wait!!!

What's on your weekend plans?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Which Way is Up?

I'm completely torn about what direction this little ol' blog is going to go in the future. I mean, it's not like I have really put a lot of time or effort into it period and I've been debating for weeks now on whether I just want to completely kill it off or not. I know I've confessed in the past that I'm not a "blogger"...but I do really enjoy having an outlet. I just get really guilty when I don't have time to put in what I think it, and any readers I possibly might have that haven't completely given up on me, deserve.

And I absolutely hate, hate, hate that when I am gone from this space for a few weeks that I feel like I need to come back and do an update dump because that's just boring for me and for you. Right??

But oh man - have I had a lot going on! hahahaha

For one thing, I ran a marathon!!!!! It's hard to believe, even still, and I feel like it's taken on that somewhat hazy dream-like quality. It was HARD, yo. I mean, running a marathon is no joke at all. But I have to say that I am SO GLAD I did it. Do I feel like it changed my life? Yeah, maybe a little bit. Not to get all philosophical or anything, but surviving the long months of training and then the actual race left me realizing that I truly am stronger than I give myself credit for most of the time. It was a battle, and I won. It wasn't the prettiest victory ever, but it doesn't even matter. I. Did. It. I don't care how long it took me or how ugly it was in the process; what matters is that not even once during the race did I think "forget it, just call the wagon because I'm done". Even when my entire body was screaming in pain during the last couple of miles I knew that quitting wasn't even close to an option. I knew without a doubt that I was going to cross that finish line. And I did!!! And I bawled when I did...I am actually tearing up now just thinking about it. It was AH-MAZING!!!
Flat Kristen, ready to run with Team SunRype and Active Advantage!
At the halfway point...I stopped to pose because I wanted at least ONE picture of me not looking absolutely horrific. LOL

I did it!!!!! Moments after crossing the finish line and getting the medal!

My favorite medal by far!!! So proud, but still so surprised!!

But I'm glad it is in the rear view mirror now! I'm really working on focusing on losing this weight. Can you believe that the scale maybe budged a pound during all that training? I know right - so RUDE! But I can't complain because I know I lost inches. I haven't measured but my clothes fit very differently and my legs show definition that they've probably never shown. But the challenge now is to not eat like I'm still training for a marathon. HA! Easier said than done...But I am determined to lose the rest of this weight. I'm at about 175 right now and would, ideally, like to be at 140. So do the math and that means 35 pounds which is not insignificant and will not be easy. But I think I'm finally ready to make this my primary health focus now that the injury/illness and the marathon are out of the way.

I'm also excited to start working on speed again. I definitely know that I let myself get very (way too very) comfortable with those oh-so-slow marathon paces. Especially following the knee disaster and not feeling like I could push it lest I cause damage to the progress I had already made. So between injury recovery and marathon I'm running at paces that are close to my beginning stats. I ran a virtual 10k this past weekend and it kicked my butt. And I know it is primarily because I'm just not used to running (my) fast anymore. I'm used to slooooooowwwww...time to get me un-used to that feeling!!

Which brings me to what is coming up on the race schedule! Last year I ran the Run Riverside Challenge and will be doing it again this year with the first race up in just two weeks - The Hometown Heroes Honor Run. I absolutely loved this race last year and even walked away with a PR (it was only a few seconds, but whatev!) without even trying. One of my goals from way back in the beginning of this year was to PR in every race distance so this one needs to be a PR if I want to make that happen since I'm not sure if I'll have another one in 2014. Then after that will be a 10k at the Riverside Mission Inn run and finally it will all culminate in the Citrus Heritage Run in January 2015 (I'm counting it as a PR for "this year" if I get one since I haven't done another half during 2014 and this one is less than 2 weeks into the new year.)

My plan to master these is the Train Like a Mother Own It Half-Marathon training plan. Yes, I wasn't able to live up to the expectations of the TLAM Finish It Marathon plan as it ended up being rather aggressive for this newbie at that distance, but the half is a distance I'm a little more comfortable with and since I'm working on some fast, it should give me that. Keeping my fingers crossed I can pull off some PR's over the next several months!

There's a lot of other stuff happening, but I will perhaps save that for another day. I don't know where I'm going with this blog right now, so I'm going to just see how it all shakes out over the next couple of months and if the posts are few and far between or the quality is crap, then I'll re-evaluate.

Until then, live happy, my friends!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When the Extraordinary Becomes Ordinary...

I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately, and I'm sure it has to do with marathon training just a little bit, but as it is when you are in training for a big event, your life tends to ALWAYS revolve around it in some small way.

I think back to when I first started running and that first 20 minute solid run of the C25K program was EXTRAORDINARY!! I was amazed...I was so proud of that accomplishment...I cried a few happy tears. And then it became ordinary.

I think back to my first 5k and how proud I was to finish it in under an hour...that was just EXTRAORDINARY. And then it became ordinary.

I ran a 10k in the hills of Idyllwild and even though it took me 1 hour and 22 minutes and I was beat by at least one speedwalking grandma, it was EXTRAORDINARY. And then it became ordinary.

I ran a half marathon and even though it was SO. FREAKING. HARD, I finished it and the fact that I ran 13.1 miles was EXTRAORDINARY. So I ran a few more. And then it became ordinary.

I lost a whole lotta pounds by going from 240 down to the 170's and that was EXTRAORDINARY. But now that I've been at the same place for several years it has become ordinary.

I'm training for a marathon and I read all these blogs about people running marathons like they are nothing but a 5k and what once felt like EXTRAORDINARY became something that seemed so ordinary. If these folks can go bang out 26.2 miles in 3 hours on a regular basis then it must not be that big of a deal, right? When you read about people running marathons all the time it seems like "everybody is doing it, Ma, why can't I?!?" After all, it's so ordinary. There's nothing extraordinary about it...

But you know what? All, let me repeat that - ALL - of those things are no less EXTRAORDINARY today. Just because I have already done them, or others have done them, or others have done them better or faster or more frequently, or more easily, or I have done them better, faster or more easily than the first time, it doesn't make them ordinary. They were extraordinary then, and they are still extraordinary now. What makes them even more extraordinary is that they were a BEGINNING; a first step; a starting place.

That I had the balls courage to do them that first time, and continue doing them even through sickness, pain, injury, fatigue, you name truly EXTRAORDINARY. And I can't forget that...ever.

Running a marathon in (goes to check Countdown Timer)...Good Lord, 46 days (how the hell did that happen???) is extraordinary. I don't care if it is ordinary in some people's books - it's not in mine and never will be!

Running 16 miles on a Saturday morning even though I was suffering from the absolute worst visit from that bi*ch Aunt Flo in a very long time is EXTRAORDINARY.

We do a lot every single day that is extraordinary, yet we let it become something that is merely ordinary. We need to stop doing that. We need to celebrate all the little extraordinaries (yeah, I made up a word, sue me...) we come across on a daily basis. Because let's be honest for a moment, sometimes the simple act of not slapping someone is EXTRAORDINARY. ;-)

So, today, my challenge to you is to go and be EXTRAORDINARY!!! Take note of everything you do that is not your usual and is not your remarkable! And never forget this:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jumping Ship?

Hello, World, hope you're listenin' (bonus points if you know what song that is...answer at the bottom of post)! Hey, did you know that apparently there is a movie called "Jumping Ship" that starred Blossom's little brother? Oh wait...I guess he probably has a name - Joey Lawrence! I'm probably dating myself just a bit there, eh? Isn't it funny how Blossom is now on Big Bang Theory and is actually smart IN REAL LIFE?!? I know she's a neurosomethingorother, but I swear I will never be able to think of her as anything other than Blossom.

Okay, so totally not what I'm writing about today, but got a little sidetracked there. Let's get back to what exactly I'm thinking about jumping ship on.

So when I started marathon training I picked out the Train Like a Mother Finish It plan. I really liked that the plan took into consideration the fact that as a mother runner a person might still have other responsibilities in life that could make it difficult to dedicate every single waking moment to a training plan. Heck, you don't even have to be a Mother Runner to have other responsibilities. Now that I'm 12 weeks into training and past the halfway point I seriously wonder exactly HOW people go about training for a marathon. I have been able to hit very few of the actual mileage goals laid out in the plan and that Annnnnnndddddd...that brings about my thinking of jumping ship.

Now, now, now - I'm not thinking of bailing on the marathon yet. But I'm thinking about changing up the training plan. I've found that the way my body seems to work best is if it is a week on and a week off a little less on. Let me explain...

I was able to do the 16 miles on plan on Saturday, June 29. Then Saturday, July 5 rolls around and I could only manage half of what I did the week before. And most of that was in total misery. Same thing when I did the 14 mile run; the next week I dropped down to 9 even though I should have done 15.

Second example, this morning should have been EIGHT MILES with 4 of those at negative split. I was able to carve out time to do 4, period. I woke up at 3:30 AM to do those and it's just not freaking possible for me to get up any earlier than that. I'm sorry...I guess I'm not at that super freak level where I don't need sleep yet. Granted, I had a little gastrointestinal issue that ate up some time, but still. I never would have gotten anywhere close to 8. And I'm okay with that!!! I really am!! If you've been following along you already know that I've confessed that I'm struggling.

I recognize that because I haven't been able to hit my training as hard as I would have liked to that it is going to be reflected in my performance on race day. And I'm coming to terms with that. Would I love to be able to totally kill this thing? Hell yeah!! But the reality is that I'm going to be one of those marathon FINISHERS...I probably will want to die several times, and I think I would be crazy if I didn't. I accept that this is where I'm at right now.

So, when I was researching training plans I had checked out several different options. And one of the ones I had saved and quickly dismissed (at the time I probably thought it was too "simplistic") was Coach Jenny Hadfield's Beginner Marathon Training Plan. So I saved it away in a computer folder and didn't really think about it again. Until today when I pulled up my TLAM plan to look at something and saw this one saved in the same folder. So I opened it...and lo and behold!!! It appeared to be something similar to what I was kind of thinking of Frankenplanning the other one into. HA!

Here, take a look at the Week 12 through whatever is in this small snip of it:

So I'm on week 12 and that means that this weekend would be only 8 glorious miles instead of the 18 on my TLAM plan!!!! And then check out next week - 16 miles. And the week after that, back down to 8! In other words, it does what my body seems to need which is hard week, less-hard week, hard week.

Also, I know I cut it all off but if you look at the preview of the plan on Coach Jenny's website you'll see that the week starts on Monday with an easy run FOR TIME instead of distance. Then on Tuesday, that 30-45 minutes you see on most weeks is actually cross-training/strength. Then on Wednesday it is another run at a moderate effort with some Tempos thrown in there towards the later weeks on the plan. Thursday is another cross/strength day. Friday is an easy effort run for time and then the long run on Saturday is all about actual miles instead of time.

So there you have it...I'm thinking about jumping ship and changing training plans midstream.

What do you think? Brilliant or should I stick with what I was already doing?

(one of my absolutely most favorite songs ever...)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Plan of Attack

Thank you so much, my friends, for your comments on yesterday’s post! I was reminded by your loving kindness that I am not as bad off as I like to sometimes think I am, while also recognizing that this running journey is supposed to be FUN and if it stops being fun then maybe a marathon IS more than I can handle at the moment. And you know what, that’s okay too!  But I’ve been inspired to find a new plan of attack on this thing and truly get my head (and rear!!) in gear over the next

So here we go:

Strategy #1

All lunch prep (the cutting, cooking, packaging) will take place on Sunday. Then each night before bed I will set the coffee maker to brew and organize lunch items as needed for the next day so that all I have to do is throw it quickly in the lunch bag and go. For example, I typically have almonds for an afternoon snack, but instead of using a gazillion different plastic containers I usually just throw the amount for the day in a small container and then refill it the next day. These are the types of things I can do the night before instead of the morning of.

Strategy #2

Pits and Legs shaving is only going to happen on non-work days. Okay, that might be too much information, but it’s a reality…shaving takes time and in order for me to have the time I need to dedicate to sleep and exercise some things just have to GO. No way around it…so Friday, Saturday, Sunday – looks like you’re the new shave days and I’ll just have to get creative about what I wear this summer. LOL! Oh, and in case you’re not wondering, thankfully I have Nordic roots so I can kind of get away with less regular shaving of the legs and I constantly worry about "bingo wings" so tank tops at work are not something I usually do, so we’re good there! Haha

Love her!!!

Strategy #3

I have got to quit hitting that darn snooze button. I will get up earlier the two days a week that it is necessary to (Tues/Thurs) in order to fit in those longer mid-week runs. I’ve been shortchanging myself for the most part and have had to skimp on a lot of those 5-8 mile runs on a weekday because I just don’t get up in time. That has got to stop because I am SURE it is making those long runs on the weekend exponentially harder than they need to be.

Strategy #4

Explore long run alternatives. I have 16 miles on the plan this weekend and I am going to continue with what I’ve been doing which has been heading to the local lake and running the trail. It really is quite pretty, but is also extremely short on shade. However, there isn’t NO shade, as there are a couple spots where the mountains provide shade until the sun gets above. I will run repeats in those shady areas until they are gone, gone, gone and then move on to just straight trail so that I can get as much shade as possible.
Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet, CA
I mean, that’s pretty, right?? BUT in the event that this weekend’s run is just as crummy as last weekend then I have a back-up strategy. If it is because of: A) Loneliness: I kindly request force my BFF on her bicycle out there with me; B) Heat: I find a new route that offers some additional shade; C) Motivation to Keep Moving: I try running with the Riverside Road Runners on a Sunday morning instead. If it’s because of all of those things then I’ll re-think my strategy and motivations again. Truth is that it is only ten more long runs and two of those are taper; so eight weekends of long mileage. I’m sure I can figure out a way to make it work!!

Strategy #5

Eat like a boss from here on out. Yes, yes…broken record time here. I will make better food choices, but I’m also going to make sure I’m getting some PLANNED treats in there so I don’t feel deprived.

Strategy #6

Add strength training back in at least once a week. I haven’t been finding the time (which is pretty much the same thing as haven’t been motivated, right?) to regularly strength train, but if my core, legs and upper body are stronger it will make the long run that much easier. Time to add it back in and I don’t think doing it at least one time a week is too much to ask from myself.

Strategy #7

I may start playing with some different walk/run intervals. I’ve been doing a 7 minute jog/3 minute walk ratio (for my long runs only) but if that proves to be more than I can do in the summer heat then I’ll play around with it a bit and see if shorter intervals work better.

So there, I think I’ve come up with some good strategies to be successful…well, at least hopefully more successful than I’ve been lately! Time to keep my eye on the prize and make this happen!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Get the Balloons...It's Time for a Party!

Ohhhhh...You thought this was going to be a fun party???? Okay, so my title might be a little misleading...*wink*

So where do I begin? Do I start with the excuses I gave myself or do I start with the explanation of why I should be allowed a pity party? Or do I start with just owning up to my spectactularly horrible marathon training?

#1. I had a really stressful week last week. I won't go into the boring details just suffice it to say that there was some capital "D" - DRAMA that really just wore me down. And then let's throw in work stress and a horrific allergy attack on Thursday and we can pretty much skim the surface of the stress.

#2. It's leading up to Aunt Flo's visit so emotions are on high alert, nothing feels like it fits, I want to eat everything in sight, and the boss brought in new bags of chocolate for the candy jar. All a recipe for disaster.

#3. After a week of unseasonably good weather, it decided to warm way the heck back up for Thursday - Saturday of this week. When's my long run? Saturday morning.

#4. I narrowly missed getting my car towed Friday morning, which meant running down the sidewalk in sandals nowhere near "smart running apparel". Okay, so here's the short version. My neighborhood HOA was repaving all the streets in the 'hood in chunks which meant being creative with parking on the day of the paving in our "chunk". That was on Thursday and we were all rather pleased that on Friday I already had the day off so once we parked the car on the street we didn't have to worry about figuring out how to get out again on Friday morning. Well, except for the fact that where we parked it on Thursday night was the section that was getting paved on Friday morning!!! The notice stated that all cars had to be off the street by 7:00 AM or would be towed at owner's expense. I realized at 7:30 AM that we had actually parked in the "green section", better known as the Friday, June 20th section. So I quickly slipped on the sandals I had worn to work the previous day, grabbed the keys and started walking over to the parking spot with that pit of despair in my belly expecting to see my car gone. As I turned the corner I saw a tow truck backing up towards a sedan car that was parked in the vicinity of my car so you absolutely KNOW I took off at a sprint at that point, right? Thankfully (unfortunately for the car's owner) the car that was being loaded on the truck at that point in time was the one in FRONT of mine, so crisis averted, but WHEW. It was crazy!! And the rest of the day my shins were just tender and think sprinting down the sidewalk in sandals maybe wasn't the bestest idea in the whole wide world? But at least it wasn't for naught because I was able to park my car in the garage at that point.

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So there you have at least some of what my problem is and then just go ahead and throw on top of that a HORRIBLE long run in the middle of marathon training and that recipe for disaster I mentioned in #2 above turns into a fully baked cake for my little pity party!!

Seriously though, I would be lying if I didn't have a whole lot of doubts right about now when it comes to if I feel like this marathon thing is actually a good idea. I was out on my run on Saturday and it was just tough from the get-go. My shins hurt from the sidewalk sprint in sandals, the sun was shining brightly in the sky even at the early hour I was out, there wasn't even a whiff of a breeze to be had, and I'd been through a ridiculous amount of stress for what seemed like weeks on end.

It's wasn't pretty, friends. I tried and tried and tried to get my head in the right space but was never truly successful. And then I started to think: "What am I going to do when I am struggling at the race?" "How am I going to survive a long, hot summer of training like this?" "Man, it's boring as hell out here and I feel like I'm wandering in the desert for 40 years of solitude." "I'll walk until I get to that rock, okay, the next rock; alright, I'll really start running at that curve up ahead." "Who do you think you are...running a marathon! You can't even do the training, what are you going to do at the race...walk the whole thing and finish in 12 gazillion hours?" "I can't do this alone..."

And that's how it brain on the constant hamster wheel.

But that last thought is the one that truly sticks with me...I think I need to admit that I don't think I can handle these long runs all by myself. It is just totally motivation sucking, brain draining, morale killing, no good  and no fun to run for hours and hours all by myself in the hot summer sun on a dusty trail just me and an occasional "real runner" speeding by me once every hour or so. I mean, the stats speak for themselves - I was out there for 3 1/2 hours people and only ran (if you can even call it that) 12 miles!!! I was supposed to do 15. I am so far behind on my training it is becoming ridiculous.

But I haven't called it quits just yet, but I'm definitely rethinking my plan of attack. I am officially halfway there so I have 10 weeks left until race day to get my act together. I might need to enlist my BFF to ride her bicycle while I run...maybe she will even need to carry a Starbucks or cupcake tied to string behind her to keep me going! I might need to join a run club but the only problem there is that there isn't anything local so it will mean driving for 45-60 minutes in a single direction. When you're already taking so much time away from the family, every little bit is precious so that's a tough pill to swallow for me. But I'm not willing to concede defeat...I WILL FIND A WAY!!!

Any suggestions, feedback, help??? PLEASE??? :-)

Or criticism from YOURSELF...right?