Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Avocado Half Marathon - Race Recap

An alternate title for this race recap could very well be "The Race That Was All Hills"...because seriously, I think it was ALL hills whether it was up a hill or down a hill...nothing but hills!!! Alright, alright...let me go back to the beginning and I'll do this The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly style.

The Good:
Me & Sally back when we were happy to be running...LOL. Check out the little Mike Wazowski cheering people on - so adorable!!

  • The weather was absolutely PERFECT for running! Overcast and about mid- to low-50's the entire time. 
  • I was lucky enough to have my friend, Sally, (who is MUCH faster than turtle-paced me) pacing me for this race and having someone to talk to was really, really nice. I could get very used to having a race partner with me.
  • I made a new friend. (see, Mom - some things never change! LOL) :-)
  • My Skirt Sports outfit was absolutely flawless. I wore the Jaguar skirt, the 261 Fearless Personali-Tee, and the 261 Fearless Visor. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about the outfit. The shirt is silky smooth, I forgot I even had a visor on, and the skirt offered perfect coverage and didn't move even an eensy-weensy bit. No slipping, no riding, no chafing. So totally worth every penny!!!
  • The scenery was actually pretty nice...lots of foliage, pretty vistas, very little on city streets. So it's a beautiful course!
  • There was NO CRAMPING...this is so huge for me as I had such miserable cramping in my full marathon and my last half marathon. I think I might have this one figured out...
  • Tons of volunteers along the course.
Another good was this guy right here - he was up there dancing and playing music and just being SO encouraging the entire time! Total Rock Star!! Another good, the band at mile 7ish...they totally rocked it!
The Bad:
  • I already knew going into this race that I was completely unprepared and that it was a challenging course. My fault and I have nobody to blame for this.
  • Even though I knew it was a challenging course, it was way worse than I had even anticipated!
  • No Porta-Pot until about Mile 6. Let me repeat that - NO BATHROOM FOR 6 MILES!!! I learned in training that I need to skip coffee before my long runs otherwise within the first two miles I have to pee no matter how many times I go before the race. I learned, and I ignored it anyways and had coffee that morning because I had slept terribly and wanted to pick-me-up. If I had known there wasn't a bathroom I would have gone with sleepy instead.
  • Tons of volunteers along the course that didn't know any of the details like if there was a bathroom up ahead or that said "you're almost there" at mile 4 or coming back at mile 10, or that said "this is your last hill" when there was at least 500 more. 
  • Waiting for the shuttle at the end of the race was grueling. 
  • The HILLS...Oh the hilllllllllssssssss....
Yeah...the picture that tells the entire story!!
The Ugly:
  • The Hills!!!! Take a good look at that picture up there...okay, so that was probably about mile 4. From mile 3.1 on it was a gradual climb for about a mile and then when you think, okay, I've got this...you crest the hill and you see THAT!! I wanted to cry...There were some areas of flat, but they were few and far between.
  • I was carrying my own water in my trusty Nathan vest and it's a good thing I was because there was close to none out there. There were coolers of electrolytes and water, but NO CUPS. The volunteers were gamely offering to dispense by dumping directly into your mouth but as tired as I was it probably would've resulted in a major catastrophe. So no on-course water or electrolytes due to running out of supplies. Totally not cool in a race of this size especially when you should have some idea of how many runners are on course. 
  • When I did finally find the porta-pot at mile 6ish they hadn't leveled it and it was like trying to go to the bathroom while riding a see-saw...sometimes it's the little details that make all the difference.
So all in all, it was a good race and I had fun for the most part. Yes, it was challenging, and yes, there were some issues that never should have happened like the water and bathroom and stuff like that. Would I do this race again? Today I say probably not, but like child birth I know I will forget how bad it really was eventually! HA! But I have to say that I really want to find a flat race for my next half marathon. LOL But if you're somebody that is looking for a real challenging course, in a beautiful location - this is a GREAT race! I understand a lot of runners use this race as a training run for San Francisco and that it is really good for that. 

Christine on the left, me in the center, and Sally on the right!
What made a difference on this one was having Sally there with me and having the volunteers cheering along the route. Many of them were very supportive and I had some fun with them. A couple girls at the beginning said they would run with us at the end, and they did when I reminded them of their earlier promise to us! It was fun and they were just adorable! And meeting and running with Christine, my new friend I mentioned up in The Good was a definite plus! She was just so cute and nice and she was struggling and didn't want to run, but we stuck it out together for the last 4ish miles and just picked a landmark and got to it before walking up another hill. Being able to encourage, and having others encourage me, is definitely one of the reasons I keep going back to participating in races. It just never fails to make me appreciate the toughness of the human spirit...that drive to keep going when everything inside of you wants to quit. I found it, Christine found it, and many others did too and that is what made it a good race!

They definitely got the medal right though!! That thing was HEAVY and HUGE!! And is engraved with 2015 finisher on the back...classy!
Oh - last thing...on the cramping. I think my problem is wearing compression socks/sleeves! I had worn compression on my marathon training runs, my marathon, and my last half marathon and experienced cramping to some degree in all of those. I wore them again during the early training for the half and experienced the same thing. I ditched the compression for the past several months and haven't had a single issue with cramping since I did!! So there you have it, for this girl, compression just doesn't benefit me and actually hinders me! Interesting, no??? 

Later this week I am hoping to talk a little bit more about my plan for success - not my usual go-to of success at failing! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Sure Way to Succeed...at Failing

So I'm going to let you in on a little secret...one that I'm working on perfecting!! It's called the Sure Way to Succeed...at FAILING and I'm getting REALLY good at it!! (Said in a very sarcastic tone of voice).

Step One: create a training plan - put a lot of time and effort into this because the other steps are somewhat dependent on this one. So spend several hours perfecting it, plugging the details into your running journal - my favorite is the Believe Training Journal by Lauren and Ro - creating the workouts in your Garmin calendar and whatever else you need to do to be ready for kickoff on Day 1 of the plan.

Step Two: Set some SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example you might set the following goal: Set a PR in the half marathon distance on May 23, 2015. Specific: Get a PR. Measurable: you have a time from your last race, all you have to do is come in under that one...totally measurable. Attainable: yep - just stick to the training and eating right and it should be no problem. Relevant: yes, totally relevant. Time-Bound: there's a solid date attached to this goal. This is a GREAT goal!! Should be completely manageable!!

Step Three: Tell yourself that you are going to completely NAIL this training cycle. You are going to eat right, get enough rest, stretch, foam roll, yoga your ass off, oh and don't forget cross training - you're going to ace that too!! You should also go on Pinterest and pin all kinds of happy motivation to get you jazzed up for this! Print some off, tape them to your wall, use that motivation!!

Step Four: Eat all the bad food. Slack off on all the workouts. Completely forget every goal you set. Don't pay attention to what's on the training plan. Go out and run your 13.1 miles with no more than 9 miles done in training. SUCCESS - you have now completely and totally set yourself up to succeed at failing!!! Brilliant!!! Whomp-whomp.

Seriously though, I have not done the work and I have made a plethora of excuses and I recognize that I have this really bad habit of completely and totally going into sabotage mode as I near a race. I don't know what that is or where it comes from...I could probably psychoanalyze the heck out of myself and find out that it is related to a fear of not living up to the standards I've set in my head, so if I have a bunch of "reasons" why I can't meet those standards than it isn't really my fault. Yeah...I'm guessing it's something like that. hahahaha Talk about a total mind f*&%!!! But here's the thing...I don't like it. I don't like being that person that is all fired up at the beginning just to completely fizzle out like a firework that didn't have enough oomph.

I want to know what it feels like to get to a starting line and know that I've done everything I possibly could have, within reason, to be READY to tackle the distance and the pace. I would even be okay if I didn't make my goal because I would at least know that I had done everything I could. But I haven't gotten there yet, and I'm definitely not there for this weekend's half marathon. My single goal for this one is to just finish it within the time limit so I can get my medal.

But I'm ready to turn a corner and no longer succeed at failing...I want to actually SUCCEED.

More to come on this...I've been working on setting some new goals, a new plan, and a system to support those goals and plans. I'll be sharing soon!

In the meantime, keep in mind that even though I joke about it, even failure is a building block to success because it teaches us what needs to be changed or tweaked on the next try! It's all part of the learning experience...one I'm getting pretty darn good at.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Skirt Sports 13er - It's Not Half of Anything...GIVEAWAY

I absolutely love that the Skirt Sports refuses to call their 13er a "half" marathon. I've done 4 half marathons and 1 full marathon and I can tell you right now that they are both very challenging in their own right. Just because it is "only" 13.1 miles, doesn't mean it isn't going to change you in the process of training and running one!!

This is what Skirt Sports says about it on their website: 13.1 ain’t half of anything, it’s a whole race and a big milestone we’re going to celebrate together. For those that can’t join us for our Lousiville, CO 13er, let’s all train together virtually and from mile 1 to 13.1, we’ll have a #runcelebration.

Skirt Sports is holding their 13er Race on June 13, 2015 in Louisville Colorado, or absolutely ANYWHERE with their virtual option! And guess what - you have a chance at winning a Basic Entry valued at $85! As a Skirt Sports Ambassador Captain I have been provided with a free basic entry to either the actual 13er in Colorado or the Virtual 13er for one of you lucky readers. And don't worry if you aren't up to running 13.1 miles - you can also register for the 5k or 10k options and still get all the same awesome swag!

The winner will receive the following with their race entry:

  • An awesome finisher skirt! 
  • A $50 gift certificate to Skirt Sports to be used for absolutely ANYTHING you want!! Keep in mind that on full priced items you can use discount code SSPQL20 for 20% off. (If the item is already on sale or discounted please do not use the discount code as you will be contacted to pay the difference and may delay your order processing)
  • A 13er Race Bib
  • Swag Bag items from the race sponsors
  • Monthly training tips newsletter
And in addition to that, you get to run 13.1 miles with thousands of other awesome women (and men - you all want a skirt too, right??) across the globe! What's not to love, right?? So enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below.

BUT if you don't want to wait to see if you won, or don't want to take any chances, you can register for the race at any time and can use that same discount code (SSPQL20) for 20% off the registration price. To register for the live event in Colorado click here and for the Virtual option click here.

Some details: I have been provided the race entry at no cost to me by Skirt Sports. All opinions regarding the race are my own and have not been influenced by Skirt Sports in any way. The contest opens on 5/13/15 and will close at midnight on 5/20/15. Winners will be notified by email and by entering to win consent to provide their email address to Skirt Sports so they can receive a special congratulations from them. Skirt Sports will not sell, provide, or use the email for any other purposes. Winners have the option of upgrading their registration ($125 or $275 gift certificates upgrades available), but will be required to pay the difference above and beyond the $85 basic entry fee.

Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Image from kathrineswitzer.com
Have you heard the story before? The one about how Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon? Well, in case you haven't, let me tell you a little bit about it for a moment...

Not so very long ago in a land not so far away, it was completely and totally thought that women weren't capable of running a marathon. They believed all kinds of wacky things like that it would cause our uterus to fall out (!!!), that we might die, that we simply couldn't. But there were some women that absolutely KNEW that what "they" thought was a bunch of baloney. But because of all these wacky ideas, women were not allowed to even ENTER into longer distance races. But all that changed in 1967 when Kathrine Switzer entered the Boston Marathon using her initials K.V. Switzer and was given an official race bib with the number 261.

She toed the line and she finished the race but not before the race director, enraged that a WOMAN was running HIS race, attempted to remove her from the course. And the rest, as they say, was history. He was unsuccessful in removing her and Kathrine Switzer went down in the record books as the first female to run the Boston Marathon. This, of course, opened up the door, albeit VERY slowly, for women to run longer distances. And just look at us now?!?

According to Running USA's data, the number of women finishers increases each and every year.

You don't have to look far to find inspiration in women's running. You have Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Lauren Fleshman, Mary Cain and more; but I would bet that if you asked those women who inspires them, that each and every one of them would have Kathrine Switzer on their list.

261, Kathrine's bib number, has become more than just a number. It has become a movement; one that continues to inspire people in nations around the world to BE FEARLESS in the face of adversity, no matter what that means to each individual. #261fearless is a mantra, a call to arms for women everywhere to keep moving. 261 is a lifestyle.

For me, I used that image of Kathrine Switzer running on in the face of being attacked on my motivation wall at home as I was training for my first full marathon. I looked at it more than once and thought to myself that I have opportunities to participate in races that female runners didn't get to previously. I was glad that I didn't have to worry about someone trying to kick me off the course and that all I had to do was be fearless enough to keep moving when every part of my body wanted to quit. I think often about how I need to be fearless on a daily basis when I wake up and the call of sleep is greater than the call of working out. It's on those days that I appreciate most that great women like Kathrine Switzer have paved the way for me to love something so much that I can resist the siren call of sleep and fearlessly strap on my shoes instead.

This weekend is the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless Virtual Race and it's not too late to register! But even if you don't do the official race, my challenge to you this weekend, as we celebrate the anniversary of Kathrine Switzer running the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967, is to read her story here, and then reflect on what it means for YOU to BE FEARLESS. Us girls still have a long way to go when it comes to equality in many avenues, but every time we look fear in the eye and say "not today...you won't beat me today, Fear" and push forward we honor the women that have come before us and stood up for our rights and have proven time and again that WE CAN and WE WILL.

Wearing the Skirt Sports 261 Fearless visor and 261 Switzer Skirt in Fearless Purple - shop for your own and use discount code SSPQL20 for 20% off! That code is good for registration on the virtual race too!

But no matter what - go and BE FEARLESS. Live the 261 lifestyle whether you run or bike or do absolutely nothing; do it fearlessly, my friends!!

Question: Have you been inspired by Kathrine Switzer's story? Or another woman that has paved the way? I want to hear all about it in the comments! Here's your chance to give a shout-out to the Fearless women!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Weekend

I had a great weekend!! The weather was perfect, the days were long, and my time was a perfect mix of active and relaxation. The only bad part was I should have done some homework, but I just couldn't bring myself to even sit still in front of the computer for a moment. Oops...

Here comes the weekend in photos:

I was a little worried that I waited until the last minute to do my Easter shopping, but it actually wasn't that bad when I went on Friday afternoon! Of course it didn't hurt that I had a Valencia Orange Refresher from Starbucks to keep me going.

Took a walk in the evening with the Hubster and saw a pair of Canadian Geese hanging around...he was definitely playing the doting mate there and was very watchful of his lady swimming while he stood guard.

Headed out early enough on Saturday morning to catch the tail end of the Lunar Eclipse. I always wish the camera would capture what we actually SEE, but that's the best I could do. You can just barely see the little chunk missing out of the bottom. It was pretty freaking cool though, lemme tell ya.

And if I was out early enough for the eclipse, then you know that means I also got to see the sun come up and it didn't disappoint!


I headed out for an easy nine miles...HA!! As if easy and nine miles actually went together in a sentence...but I was sporting my new Skirt Sports Switzer skirt (get your own at www.skirtsports.com and use SSPQL20 for 20% off!!). I loved that my skirt matched my Mizuno Riders and Garmin Forerunner 220 (not pictured) so nicely because nothing makes nine miles easier than feeling like you look good while you're doing it! :-) I love the reflective detail on the leg of the skirt, you can see the 261, but just below that it says fearless. LOVE!!! This was my first time wearing this particular skirt and I have to say that it was perfect...the shorties underneath didn't ride and it was super comfortable all around.

Got a new step record on Saturday thanks to that nine mile run in the morning followed by grocery shopping and egg coloring and all that fun stuff!

Here comes the obligatory egg dying picture - the kids had a blast and it didn't take them long at all to decorate all three dozen eggs! By the time I sat down I got to do ONE egg. hahaha (Not that I'm complaining, it's for the kids anyways and I usually only do a couple.)

L-R: Angelique (3), Michelle, Melissa & Curtis, and Joshua (4)

Gee, I wonder who dyed this egg?? ;-)
And....they're off!!! They are both at such great ages (4 and 3) it was a total blast. We have several parks throughout our neighborhood so we utilized this one just down the street from us in a cul-de-sac. It was perfect!! Small enough to not be overwhelming, but large enough to give them both plenty of room to run around without tripping over each other.

All in all, it was a fabulously blessed weekend of fun and family!

How was your weekend and is your egg-hunt tradition indoors or outdoors?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Let's Talk Training...

So I know I've probably mentioned it just a time or two, but I'm currently training for a Half Marathon that will take place on May 23 - The Avocado Half Marathon in Fallbrook. This is our (our being me, my mom & my sister) first time doing this race but we are already aware that the course has a hilly profile. Obviously from the name, it is near Avocado groves and if you aren't familiar with Avocado trees, they really like to grow on hillsides.

Here's a picture from their website:

So, I think you get the idea, right? Now, me and hills are usually not on friendly terms. Okay, okay, I pretty much hate them. Wait, let me revise that - I hate them in RACES. I don't usually hate them so much in training when I can just go at a leisurely training pace during repeats. But in a race, they inevitably end up kicking my rear and shredding my mental fortitude. The good part is that this race is two weeks before another hilly, and at altitude, 10k in Idyllwild that I do every year, so the hill training I am doing now will benefit both of these races.

But what I really want to touch on today is that I have a training dilemma. As I mentioned last week, I am also working with my daughter Michelle to complete the Couch to 5k program as she really wants to run some races. She's in the early stages of C25K so the intervals are fairly easy; this next week (week 3) we get up to running for 3 minutes. I'm loving doing the program with her and I'm so excited that she's taken an interest in running!! I have four kids and so far she's the ONLY one that has actually done so. My oldest is in the Air Force so he has to run for PT which means that he will only run when he has to. He much prefers cycling to running. My younger son was in the Army so after running for PT he decided he will only run when he wants to now, which is apparently never again. And the other daughter enjoys BMX, so that's where she gets her fitness fix.

So if I'm doing really easy runs with Michelle three days a week, when/how am I supposed to fit in the more intense training that I need to be prepared for a hilly half marathon?? That's the million dollar question...Actually, the million dollar question is how am I going to do it in the time frame that I am confined to AND how am I going to do it without feeling like I'm totally burnt out??

Here's my typical schedule:
Monday: easy effort on the TM, usually around 45 minutes - I find this works well for me as Monday's are the hardest to get going...so having just an easy effort on the schedule allows me to ease into the week
Tuesday: speedwork on the TM
Wednesday: strength training
Thursday: Longer easy effort outside with Mom & Sis, usually around 50-60 minutes
Friday: strength training
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest

Michelle wants to do her C25K sessions with me on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I'm not as worried about the Saturday session as I can do a little bit with her as a warm-up and then finish out my long miles while she is back chilling at the casa...or whatever. So I'm going to think out loud for just a moment with the hopes that you'll tell me if what I'm thinking is crazy or not.

My idea for revised schedule:
Monday: easy effort on the TM
Tuesday: C25K with Michelle followed by strength training focused on core/arms
Wednesday: speedwork on the TM
Thursday: C25K/easy effort
Friday: strength training/rest (if needed)
Saturday: C25K/long run
Sunday: Rest/stretching

Additionally, we will be doing hill work every other Saturday as part of our long run. So I don't think that is too unreasonable, right? Of course as Michelle gets up in longer intervals I may be able to switch back to my regular schedule. But in the meantime I really want to allow her to focus on completing the program and being ready to run a 5k. Of course, I'm also hoping that I'll be ready to run a half marathon in the process. HA!

No matter what my biggest hope is that I can arrive at a starting line feeling like I am somewhat ready to be there because it's been WAY too long since I've been able to say that has been the case. And please, any feedback you have, it is definitely welcomed!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Just a Quickie...

Just a couple burning topics on my brain today...let's get to it, shall we?

Want more pics of my beautiful sunny SoCal? Follow me on Instagram!
That picture looks gorgeous, does it not? Well, what is not so gorgeous is that it was like 94 degrees today! It is MARCH for goodness' sake!!! MARCH, people!!! Not June, not July...not even May - M~A~R~C~H. But, at least we aren't buried in snow, right? Psssh...

If you didn't notice, I posted a new tab at the top for Discount Codes. Check it out...but just because I love ya'll so, I'm going to make it super easy and post them here too!

I got my awesome discount codes for Skirt Sports today and am super excited to share. You can get 20% off of all merchandise AND virtual race entry fees.

Like you could get this really cool Reversible Flight Tank that is on sale right now (the one on the right side)!
Want to see more awesome pins? Follow me on Pinterest!
Or you could use it to sign up for the 261 Fearless Virtual Race taking place next month April 18-20. Let me tell you really quick about the perks: You get to run a cool race in your own neighborhood or wherever you choose to, you get a Don't Sweat It tank, sponsor swag, AND a Skirt Sports certificate that varies in value depending on the race package you select. Seriously, that is some of the best swag I have ever, ever, ever seen in a race, much less a virtual race. Doooooo ittttttt!!!

Click on image to go to race website
Okay, so the discount code, please use:


Alright - that's all I have time for today...have a great weekend!