San Bernardino Peak and New Accessories

After consulting with my SoCal trail guru, Christine, I saved the San Bernardino Trail topographic trail map to my phone and got ready for a long, solo hike.

San Bernardino Peak Topographic Map  

One of the perks of having a work schedule that rotates into the hospital on weekends is having a week-day OFF!  This weekday was rewarded after 7 days of working, and naturally I’m going to wake up earlier than normal and head to the mountains.

“Going to the mountains is going home”-John Muir

And that is what it feels like as I drive on auto-pilot to the San Gabriel/Bernardino mountains. This trail was a newbie for me, but one identified as the top 6-pack Socal Peaks.  Reading on the internet the night before about recent trail hikers’ accounts and “what to look out for” notes, I felt prepared to go at it solo. It’s a Friday, most people are working. I was looking forward to breaking in my hiking shoes more, (and I’m laughing just reading that statement) and trying out my new trekking poles. I’ve never hiked with them before. Some of my more experienced hiking friends swear by them and talk about the decreased joint stress and improved tolerance of a long hike. I mean, I’ve used them in the PT clinic for incorporating reciprocal limb motion of all 4 extremities for people with neurologic disorders working through a lack of coordination, but haven’t put myself to the same coordination demand…let alone for 16.5 miles.

I parked my car, a couple other cars in the lot, no messages on the wooden board, my hiking permit in my bag, adventure pass on my car mirror, and two text messages fired off to my friends who are keeping track of my where-abouts. I have plans to meet them later, so if I don’t show up they have been instructed to send out a search party ;).

I smell the pine in the air, I start heading up. Online accounts state 4.5 hours to the peak. I’m sleep deprived, tired from 7 days of working, but hydrated and set on making the hike. I keep playing mind games to pass the time. 1) Count the switchbacks….really it passes the time and then on the way down when your feet are pleading for you to relieve their pressure you can count down the switchbacks. 2) Look up the mountain and look ahead on the path for wildlife and whatever wild flower may catch my eye. 3) Let my mind wander in thought and to the people who are in my life….(why I was addicted to running).

Treat 1: Big Bear Lake…you look out over a wide expanse and initially what looks higher than where you are is a shiny blue lake….I didn’t realize how high Big Bear Lake is and that not far from it is a steep drop off to the space dividing me from it.

IMG_3534Treat 2: HoneyStinger Fruit Smoothie chews, ProBar Berry Blast chews (a real treat)

I brought along all kinds of different accessories on this hike to see what worked. My bike computer for elevation gain and GPS access for distance, my running watch, 4.5L of water with the hope of drinking most of it to lighten my load, wool socks, trail shoes, hiking shoes, and trek poles. Phew. My pack being heavy was the goal.

Two other goals: avoid dehydration and play with avoiding the hypoglycemic bonk that I know very well from my running days. Every 50-75 min I stopped to eat something, a few chews, a couple nuts, bulgar wheat with tuna, an apple. And take a couple extra swigs from my camelback. I admit, my body was tired….so I was willing to stop more often than my normal “eyes on the prize” anti-pacing strategy :).

I bought new hiking shoes at the beginning of the summer and I’ve been hesitant to use them. My history with hiking boots and shoes is not too pleasant. My feet are used to cushiony running shoes and seem to protest when anything else envelopes them; i.e. high heels and hiking boots. I bought Oboz Luna Low’s after trying on 15+ pairs with a very patient REI shoe guy. Prior to this hike I wore them for about 2 hours hiking around El Moro Canyon; with some descent short up and down sections. 2 hours into Friday’s hike I was ready to take them off. I tried wearing SmartWool socks instead of my usual wicking running socks and my feet feel a little warmer and more snug. At 3 hours, I sat down, dressed my blistered heels with love, and switched into my Northface trail shoes. Thank goodness for 2 pairs of shoes, not minding the extra weight on my pack one bit. My Northface trail shoes were purchased at the same time as my Oboz’s, but have had more trail time. 3 hours and 45 minutes in I’m eager for lunch, still feeling a bit away from the top, and a bit frustrated that I’m not moving faster. If the internet says 4.5 hours, I should be able to do it faster! Humbling moment….I may do this one slower.  As I’m sitting next to the trail a gentleman comes down; he greets me and me him.

“Are you going up or down”

“Up, how much longer do you anticipate I have?”

He walks me through the terrain from my sitting spot to the top and accounts for 37 minutes of downward walking

I look at my watch…I gotta push it. I have plans Friday night in a normal single girl fashion and squeezing every minute of the day is how I roll. Back on my feet, wash down my lunch with more water. I hit Washington Monument (not DC) and am happy to be in the final portion of the trail. I’m looking for the side trail and give myself a time of 25 minutes; if I don’t see it in 25, I’m turning around and heading back down. The internet said 17 minutes, my friendly hiker friend who picked up my spirits said 21 minutes. At 22 minutes, when I’m starting to have doubt again, I see the fork of a small side trail up to the right. Ahhhhhh!!!!! Steepest portion, highest point on the mountain, go go go! I get to the top, write in the journal in the metal box, sit and have an apple, practice my outdoor pit-stops, and look out and around.

IMG_3604 IMG_3607 IMG_3609 IMG_3613

My head is swimming. I push out the heat, I push out the length of trail ahead. I sit in the moment and breathe. Collect my intent and square up to head down.

In the last 4.5 hours I have seen 7 people. I have spoken to myself more than someone else. I hear a russel in the brush, 2 more people and they are later than me!

The man asks what time I started, “9:18”

“Oh wow, you are fast, we started at 8:00” Wait, but I didn’t pass you on the trail….

“Oh, we took a sleep somewhere along the trail”

haha, that sounded delicious to me at that moment.

So feeling like I figured out the trekking poles going uphill, time to see what they feel like going downhill. And let’s see how fast I can go! Descending was a bit more variable with the trek poles. I elongated them a smidge to catch the downhill grade and played with pushing back against myself with my arms letting my legs turn over with less breaking momentum. At parts, I could run! It was kind of cool. I played the same games going down: looking out, finding a rhythm between feet and poles, stopping and eating, and counting the switch backs. Fast forward 3 hours: I spotted the fire station I passed driving when getting near the trailhead and now it was time to let myself believe “I’m almost there”.  20 minutes later and after 6 switch backs on the final portion, I spotted my car and excitement bubbled. (sad that the excitement was at the end, but my feet were screaming)

I’ve said it beforIMG_3385e and I’ll say it again, I love my car (shameless plug: Ford Escape XLT) because I literally can just hop into the trunk and sit and relax after hiking, running, snowboarding, any sport that my feet are asking for pressure relief.  I climbed into my trunk, texted my friends that I’m alive and succeeded, and enjoyed another bottle of water and some snacks. All in all I finished the hike with 3.5L of water down the hatch, and eating something small frequently to avoid the hypoglycemia that zaps my mental and physical drive. I’d say it was a success! 16.5 miles in 9 hours of trail time,
8 hours of movement and reached the peak at 10,649 feet.

Recapping my accessories:

My bike computer: not effective on the trail; only captured 3 miles of movement over the whole hike.

My running watch from Targ-et: kept time effectively as long as I remembered to push stop/start.

Trekking poles: LOVE them! Made uphill about hashing and made downhill more fluid. I think my abs worked harder and my legs got a break. (Confirmed 2IMG_35904-48 hours later with moderate muscle soreness of abs and minor of calves and TFL’s…darn those TFL’s, I’m trying to not use them as much, as identified a few weeks ago…whole different story that I’ll maybe get back to another time)
Camelback bladder and 2-32oz Nalgene’s…good water quantity for time and weather on trail

Ozob Hiking Shoes: My feet hate you, therefore I do too.

Northface Trail Shoes: Thank goodness for them!

Solo hike: mental perseverance and serenity

Two peaks left in the 6-pack Peak series: San Gorgonio Sept 25th with Christine and San Jacinto TBD with TBD, ha.

Issues to address: socks and shoes

Hike on!

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Setting out on a different path

Here I sit, with lots of ideas and words and wishes to share about what is running through my head.

I am happy that I said yes.

I feel like I laid my heart open for this one. How can making a decision for yourself, about yourself, make you feel so vulnerable?

What is it?  A trip of a lifetime. I dive into a different world. I new mental challenge. A different type of physical challenge. Opening my eyes wider to the beauty that surrounds us. Trekking in the Himalayas for 23 days. Yes. I said yes. Oct 18th-Nov 11th…this year…like around the corner!

Who do I blame? Ha, gotta pass the torch to good friends Denise and Paul. Ever since I started chatting with Denise over workouts and hearing snip-its of the adventurous spirits that drive her and Paul, I kept letting my spirit jump with her stories and my imagination color the pictures.

“So, we are going to Nepal, we would love it if you came too”


It is a possibility. It always is, but it practically just got placed in my lap.

Pondering the things that don’t matter: HOW many PTO days do I have saved? WILL work let me off?, HOW much money does this cost?, WHAT will my family think?, WHEN do I have to make this decision by? HOW am I going to make this decision?

Most big decisions in my life I’ve solved by going for a run. As you all know, this is not a successful option for me anymore. Ouch…we’ll just say for now.  So, I actually reached out to a few friends.

“You have to go” “This has your name all over it” “This is so you” “Is there even a question?”

One of my favorites: my private client hurries to get out of his chair, goes into his closet, reaches to the top into a wicker basket and pulls out a emergency warming blanket in a small ziplock. He hands it over to me and says, take it on your trip. I told him I hope when I’m 86 I can pass it on to someone who decides to take a trip of a lifetime. (see picture below)

Alright, alright. Thank goodness for friends who supported my excitement instead of letting me crutch on my sometimes too practical/rationale/conservative mind.

So I said yes.

Now what?

Continue what I started this summer: Hiking the 6 top SoCal Peaks. (see pictures below) Getting to some altitude regularly will remind me of snowboarding season…err will get my body ready for 10,000 feet (SoCal peaks)….hoping it will respond at 18,000ft. Time on my feet, breaking in my two pairs of shoes and practicing with my equipment. I have not hiked with trekking poles and I haven’t figured out my nutrition to minimize the insulin lows….so I’ve got a playground of mountains in the Eastern Sierras and even closer San Gabriels to trial and error before game time.

Clean eating: or not so much. So the diet on the trip consists of lots of pasta, white bread, and potatoes…the simple carbs with high glycemic indexes that I’ve worked to cut out over the past 2+ years. My stomach is iffy when in Mammoth…so I anticipate it being a little finicky at higher altitudes. Or maybe a lot. Preparing by getting my diet in line with the diet I’ll be eating on the trip and hoping to keep the added weight at bay. Coincidence in timing: at the gym the August challenge is to track your body fat percentage. On Aug 1st, I took a body composition assessment…started eating simple carbs same week. We’ll see what my August 31st reading is :)  Every one else is getting cleaner with their eating and sticking to strict diets….as I lax and let in the simple carbs. Not worried about it, grateful that food will be cooked and supplied for me on the Nepal trek…no complaints.  Body fat percentage: 21%….Goal: 17%….goal on hold…realistic goal with simple carbs: maintain 21%.

Dedicating more mindfulness to my workouts: We all know I workout a lot. It is how my body feels purposeful and alive. I am not doing any major changes to my workouts, just staying consistent and putting the mental game into it. When I want to back off, when I want to skip it or cut it short….mental game takes over and kicks back into gear. Stay strong, be strong, mental perseverance will keep the trek more enjoyable and satisfying. I may not have a race I am training for that keeps me on track, but this is a trip where the more conditioned your cardiovascular system the more enjoyable the trip should be. And I’m not quite at an altitude where genetics dominate. Motivation for sure!

Most importantly: jump on the bandwagon of excitement, enjoy shopping, researching, and buying hiking gear that will stand-up to 23 days, enjoy eating good food to fuel the journey, get a camera to document the journey, SHARE the excitement with friends, family, patients, my heart to the experience, rebuild the fire, and let it go.  (oh man, Frozen just made it into my blog)

I hope you enjoy the words flowing fast and jump into the excitement with me. Although this trip will take me to a more solitude center, my yearning-to-relate spirit still wants to share it with whomever is interested.

IMG_3502 IMG_3483 IMG_3451 IMG_3202 IMG_3509

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When a runner runs.

I ran
I woke up for the first time and wanted to go for a run since April 15th.
Looking at the dates and realizing this is less than 6 weeks ago; but feeling as though it was 6 months.
A quick recap: I started feeling R hip pain March 2013 while running on a treadmill training for June’s San Diego marathon. It turned into a nagging injury that I patch-worked with my running schedule. I ran the marathon, ran two more half marathons, and the good ole Turkey Trot in Detroit before going for a casual run on April 15th this year and hurting my left knee. At this point…I decided it is time to stop. Stop and rest…
Rest: what does that mean? To some people it is what they do every day after work, lay on the couch, restore energy expended from the day. My definition of rest was running an easy 3-6 miles to clear my head and “relax” after a day at work. So as people kept telling me, “you need to rest”. I kept feeling as though I was. I went from running every day to every other day. To not running if I felt pain. To not running at all.
This sounds like a practical and normal progression. But to me this was an identity crisis. Dramatic you think? Think it, but I felt it. I have been running since the winter of 2000. I went for a run at night, in the middle of Michigan winter, around icy snow filled streets…and fell in love. I identified with my breath, my heart beat, my own two legs taking me somewhere and feeling good about it. It was my time to think, let my mind wander and wonder. To make decisions, to make a plan.
So 13 years later when I started feeling a pain, unlike any normal aches and pains of training and conditioning, I started feeling alarmed. But like any endurance athlete thought that if I keep running and pay attention to my mechanics a little it will go away. For the better part of the next year I battled my body. I was relentless.
It didn’t take one injury to make me stop running. That one I rationalized. I was training for a marathon, my mileage was picking up, my hip pain was the result of repetitive use and poor mechanics finally catching up to me. It was 13 months later, after putting a concerted effort into physical therapy (let me tell you, eye opening to see how a physical therapy “mill” works…or rather, doesn’t work…especially for a detail oriented physical therapist. I’m a tough patient, I acknowledge); that I went out for a relaxed 5 mile run after work; that I have done 100s of time before; that left me unable to walk up the stairs to get to my car at the end…..that is when I stopped.
I was still playing with the idea of running the Orange County half in May….that day that thought went flying out of my head. I stopped playing. I just stopped.
Over the last 6 weeks I’ve gotten on my bike more consistently and built my mileage up towards 50 miles without pain. I’ve jumped back into the pool and swam 3600m (2 mi) in the pool, pain free. And I have not woken up wanting to run. It has shocked me. But today….I felt a want. So I made an agreement between my physical want and my mental will…..I gave myself 1 mile. Not enough to expend my energy or to get sloppy in my mechanics. A dip into the pond to feel my legs turn over and enjoy my breath being labored. So 1 mile later, I stopped. Walked over to the gym and did my weight lifting routine to start strengthening my hip again.
When I stopped April 15th…I stopped my PT weight lifting routine in disgust. Not a smart decision, but what I did at the time.
So what’s next. No plan. I am happy swimming in the pool, biking on the trails, and hey if I can put a mile in here or there pain-free running….I’ll enjoy it. No races scheduled for 2014. No training plans in place. No expectations for my physical body to hold up with a designated training plan for the masses.
But I’m happy to run. Maybe I’ve mentally healed?

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I am still here!
Long story short….
1) Sciatica didn’t magically disappear after marathon training stopped (& I’m a PT, oy. Denial runs deep)
2) ran long beach half….was running my usual….coworkers came by in the race and ruffled my feathers…I.e. motivated me to run uncomfortable…..felt like I was racing instead of running…forgot that feeling. Nice to feel it.
3) no running after half to try to heal less irritable but irritatingly still present sciatica….sports massage guy works on my back and legs, lots of yoga oohhhhhmmmm, swimming occasionally, biking, lifting weights for legs, abs, back, and arms, custom orthotic fitting and running analysis (made me feel less broken than I thought, phew), eating too much
4) ran turkey trot in Detroit…22 degrees, 10k, killer leg pain :/ too cold to stop running, just ran faster. No pain next day
5) accepted the December challenge: 1 mile run/day. Pain-free promise
6) kept the commitment until….the stomach bug. Not going into details….just wish it on NO ONE!
7) running 5-6 miles, pain free
8) half marathon in less than 1 month
9) pain free running promise
10) pain free running
11) pain free running (if I keep saying it, it’ll happen right?!?)
12) 2014: a year to heal and stay healthy physically, keep developing emotionally, and a bunch of other philosophical statements. Keeping them to myself.

Happy New Year! Hold on tight, here we go!!!!!!!

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Speedwork Treadmill Style

I just finished a track workout on a treadmill. Err, a speed workout on a treadmill.
Mark it as a first. And I have to say it is WAY easier running fast on a treadmill than around a track.
1) no corners to try and push around
2) you don’t have to push yourself forward, just up
3) the wind isn’t pushing you backwards at some point along the treadmill
4) different mental game to get to the “finish” line.

6 x 800s at 7:30 min/mile pace (1:30 RI). Warm up for 18 minutes (I couldn’t bother any longer…treadmill running is boring). Cool down for 10 minutes. Just set the speed and GO!
Besides most people starring at me because I am not the softest runner, sending sweat spiraling in all radii around me, and dramatically changing from a run to a walk; I felt like it went pretty well. I don’t like drawing attention to myself….but in an apartment complex gym…there weren’t many people doing a cardio workout. Most were watching TV while they happened to be on a piece of cardio equipment…but eh, I’m glad they are there :)

I’ve been keeping up with the 3 day a week half marathon training plan…for the most part. Missed my speed workout last week out of sheer laziness. But honestly, I feel like I’m packing on the pounds and getting more out of shape each week. I haven’t been keeping up with my stretching, cross training, or normal crazy “after school activities”. I’ve been laying low. Or is that just the disillusion of an addict…a running addict that is. Snap out of it….ok.

So let’s recap a bit. Last weekend despite promoting shortened hip flexors all weekend at a conference, I had a good distractor during my 10 miler…Kristina toured the Peninsula Beach Path with me chatting and keeping the run breezing by. Thank goodness for friends who make a run a little sweeter. Last week i ran my first “tougher” tempo run: 1 mile easy, 2 miles at medium tempo (MT) pace (whatever that means), 1 mile easy, 2 miles at MT, and 1 mile easy. These types of runs are hard for me because the step up and step back of the speed just wills me to keep stepped back. But I was able to hold pretty close to 8:40 pace, which I believe is about where I should be.
I optimistically (surprise surprise) guesstimated my 10K pace to be 8:15. I haven’t run a 10K in who knows how long…and mistakened my last 10K for really a 5K. And the 5K I believe was at 8:20 pace…so, I’m going to rework my “split” times for speed and tempo runs to reflect a 10K pace of 8:30, putting my “predicted half marathon pace| at 10K + 20 sec….8:50. Which would sit me at a pretty PR. I want to go faster. But I don’t think this training plan is going to take me there. The mileage is super low, and I haven’t put in the discipline with my cross training. Planning for a small PR, then I’ll move on.

Week before I was in LA for a conference. LOVED being back in LA. LOVED a change in pace. LOVED staying with my Aunt and Uncle….loneliness disappeared for 6 days! I ran with Claire for an attempted 3 x 1600m; which the USC track closed down 3/4 of the way into the first mile. Got in a warm-up and 1 mile at 7:40 pace. Then moved on to two laps around the perimeter of main campus for some mileage, but not speed. 6 miles at long tempo pace awaited me on Thursday….ended up doing 1.25 miles on the track at 9:15 pace and then 4.5 miles around campus (2 laps around the perimeter); slower speed than “long temp pace” but just happy to be running after sitting in class all week and surviving LA traffic along the 10W and 405N every evening….what a drag, and quite possibly why I don’t live in LA anymore! I finished out the week in LA with a run along Venice, Santa Monica, and Will Rogers Beaches before heading back to OC…11 miles at 9:20 pace; finished out at 9:31 average pace and chatted with a few crazies doing a super small marathon out and back from Santa Monica along the bike path. That is quite possibly the hardest/densest cement I’ve run on…not knee friendly. The runs before that I either don’t remember or think I may have blogged about already.

This week looking forward to some more foam rolling, glute and hamstring strengthening, quadriceps, piriformis stretching, yogaing, 5 mile tempo run tomorrow, and a 12 mile run this weekend…hopefully with Kristina. She is learning to run slow….it is a great combination! ha! Nah, Kristina’s one pace of fast has caught up to her…so she is learning how to take some runs in the week at a slower pace. Her slow pace is my goal pace :) Coincidentally we have similar running ailments…thinking of checking out this sports massage therapist she is swearing by who is making her sciatica go away. Mine is just staying annoyingly THERE. More to come on that later.

On a more somber note. I lost a friend this week. I met him just shy of 2 years ago. We shared a cabin in Mammoth on my second trip up with the Disabled Sports OC crew. Gordon, Raquel, and I were sharing the loft with bunk beds. I felt like a voyeur as I observed how Gordon and Raquel navigated, learned, and lead their lives in an unfamiliar place for a weekend. Gordon and Raquel are blind. Between their cell phones talking to them and Raquel asking Gordon “where the light is, I can’t see it”; I was observing a different way of life. One through touch, hearing, and temporal awareness. The next trip Gordon and I were chatting and someone in the group asked Gordon what he thinks I look like. He responded, “Blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, 5’4″” What!??!! Not sure if he was pulling a fast one on me and someone had described me to him, or if he was some how that tuned in. I guess what does it really matter what I look like?
Gordon lost his sight in adulthood. He knew Mammoth mountain visually and somatosensorally (not a word, but I made it up). He went down runs that took my breath away and I called chicken on. Gordon and I sat at many trips just enjoying a beer, chatting about life. He was a mentor and an inspiration to me. Gordon had a quick (well in my eyes, I don’t know what it felt like to him) battle with cancer. It was the end of snow season when Gordon made light that there may be something he was going to begin battling. Before I knew it the prognosis was poor. And Sunday night he announced no more visitors. Monday evening he passed. I hate having the feeling….but while in Yoga class Monday night my mind drifted to Gordon a few times. I found out when I left Yoga at 9:00 that he had passed around 8:30. Maybe I felt him as he escaped to heaven. This world is a beautiful, but cruel place.
Gordon reflected on his Mammoth adrenaline high, if you want to read his words, I can pass it along to you. He signed it, “On Edge, Gordon Chan”. Fitting.

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Water is warm!

I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to run. June gloom extending to July, makes me feel like I can run whenever I wake up, hydrate, and feel ready to go. But…..the sun inevitably comes out, it warms up, and I start wishing I was home out of the sun.
Thursday July 4th I didn’t celebrate with my tempo run. I worked, then biked to BBQs. It was a better celebration than last year! Last year I showed up at the BBQ where my friends said to be, and the door was locked…no one was home….ha. This year the party was in full swing and I got to relax, meet some new people, and enjoy fireworks from seemingly Laguna to Ranchos Palos Verde…the marine layer was lifted at the beach, you could see for miles.
Yesterday I woke up, ate a banana, drank a seemingly gallon of water, ha, and then set out for 9 miles at 9 min mile pace. Marine layer covered the sun for 3/4 of the run, but then it parted and the sun started beaming. I started feeling VERY hungry. I can’t say I’ve felt like that before, like I could have stopped and immediately started consuming whatever was offered along Brookhurst and Adams, ha. Usually I don’t care to look at food for an hour after running. So I gave in and cut the run 1 mile short. Ended up at 8:52 average pace x 8 miles. I guess I was really hungry.
Today after not enough sleep, a delicious breakfast after a night of drinking in LA, I came back, felt a weird motivation to run…..drank 16 oz of water and headed to Crystal Cove for a run along the beach, hopefully with the marine layer….it was 11:30…late start. I thought I’d try and make up for my missed tempo run on Thursday. 5 miles at 8:30 pace. Considering the mixers and alcohol I consumed last night, the out of the ordinary breakfast, and inevitably a tired body I wasn’t set on hitting the goal pace, but thought I’d see how I felt pushing a little. Crystal Cove is beautiful; some rolling hills, nothing but beach views for days. I started out…it was warm…Eh, I’m not feeling great to push it….hit the 2.5 mi mark, running at 8:58 pace….alright, I’ll just keep it. Ended with a 9:00 mi pace, came back into the wind and a small grade uphill. The biggest treat, I walked down to small Corona Beach at the end and waded in the water…..not as chilly as my thought for an ice bath was……today would be a tolerable in the ocean in a bathing suit day! No wet suit required. (Currently I’m writing this pool side, too wimpy for ocean swim)
SoCal running is the phrase I think of with my running this weekend. Running with a goal, but not over critical of it, and enjoying the beach and ocean while I’m at it.
Looking towards the week ahead….Yoga tomorrow..much needed after wearing high heels last night. Ha, I realized that I only ever wear tennis shoes and flipflops….deconditioned to the social acceptability of high heels… eh no biggie. Tuesday speed work, Thursday tempo, and long run saturday before rollerblading in North County with Erika. Yep, you heard that right….rollerblading :)

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Hot weather = sweatier workouts

It has warmed up in SoCal….and I’m feeling the humidity! Yuck. Extra sweaty, and constantly dehydrated due to the former.
I’ve hopped back on my bike, week-end rides have been casual, no added intensity. I called up the local bike shop for their Tuesday Women’s only ride. I inquired via email to the leader…40-50 mile ride….eh, not ready for that saddle soreness yet. We chose to ride along the beach path two of the rides….casual and people watching…but unfortunately it makes you have a slight feeling of disappointment in society. Granted this is a “activity” path, not just a bike path. But the number of people who walked out straight in front of my bike without even looking was astonishing. Maybe the gene pool needs some work. Little little kids…like maybe 3-5 are running around with no parents in site….on a very heavy traffic paved path….. Steve heard me say probably more than 2 hands worth, “H-eeelloooo” in a Cosmo-Kramer kind of way. People jumped, looked up deer in the headlights…some chose to continue their beeline across the path, some were clueless to the human beings around them. Remember, the universe revolves around them only. So I had good use of my brakes and balancing on my bike while clipped in at slow speeds…super slow speeds. I am happy to report…I DID NOT fall over and clipped out preemptively only a handfold of anxiety filled times. ha.
I had today and last tuesday off due to working last weekend. Hence the novel of a post last Tuesday. And then actually posting this tuesday! Last week I ran my first speed workout, which had no resemblance to speed. But it felt interesting being back on the track. I like the spongey feeling under your legs and the way you can kind of lean as you go around the turns, it’s almost as if the track is pulling you forward around the bend. Last week was 6 x 800s, which all fell off speed very quickly and welcomed me back to the track the only way I know…with dry-heaving and gagging. Today I headed over to the track with the same 10K goal pace paving my split times for all the legs. First problem: last time I ran a 10K was a good long time ago……like I don’t remember when. Was the St. Patty’s day 2012…yes 2012 race a 10K or 5K? hmm, I don’t remember. So, I don’t really have a 10K pace. You say, why not go run one…, simple solutions seem like so much sometimes. So I ran 8 miles at 8:30 pace right before my marathon. So I thought 8:20 sounded good. ha.
Last night I did some real math….man have I gotten math dumb…to figure out my splits. Here’s what the docket said:
20 min warm up
1200m at 7:35 pace, which meant 5:41 finish
1000m at 7:33 pace, which meant 4:43 finish
800m at 7:30 pace, which meant 3:45 finish
600m at 7:25 pace, which meant 2:47 finish
400m at 7:20 pace, which meant 1:50 finish
200m at 7:15 pace, which meant :54 finish
200m RI between each

Here’s what my memory serves me:
1) Not looking at my watch during the splits….it won’t mean anything to me in that moment and most likely will be disappointing; instead focusing on staying way uncomfortable and practicing breathing deeper to not bring on my dry-heaving

1200m: 5:55 finish
1000m: 4:51 finish
800m: 3:50 finish
600m: 2:47 finish (yea baby…dry heaving at the end but kept my marbles)
400m: 1:51 finish
200m: 0.51 finish

What I take from this:
a) I’m slow
b) I can gut check for only about 600m
c) my legs can turn over quicker than 8:30..hehe.
d) I got some work to do
e) thank goodness I’m not back on the track for an ENTIRE week

I tried to stick to this insanely long half marathon plan last week. Thursday I ran 2 miles easy, followed by 3 miles at some pace I can’t recall, then 1 mile cool down. I ended up being all over the board.
Of the 3 pace (I think 8:30 was the goal) miles:
1: 8:41
2: 8:52
3: 8:34
My easy miles at the start and end: 9:21, 9:32, 9:27.

Saturday after work I attempted a 10 miler. Program said “nice and easy, conversation pace” It was steamy….I took some electrolyte replacement before even setting out. I was tired from work, on day 4 of 6 (not complaining, just stating). So I did the first 3.5 miles, then sat down under a tree to cool down. My ears were popping, I was sweating and it was just sitting on my skin it was so humid. I felt so foggy in my head. I took more electrolyte replacement and kept drinking out of my handheld bottle. I decided at 3.5 miles that this was not smart to push on. If I had a hat and there was a breeze I may have pushed on. But I’m learning to listen to the “warning” signs…and heat stroke was not on my to-do list. I knew I still had a bike ride home to follow the run .So I turned back around and plodded my way back to Hoag. It was ugly, it didn’t feel good, but I just kept telling myself to run slow and steady and just focus on not over-exerting in the heat. So next week’s long run I’ll try to attack in the morning and without a workday.

This week’s thursday run is a 5 mile short-pace tempo run….still have to figure out what that means. This program has tables to figure out your pace, etc….it’s studying charts and tables, ha. I think I’m expected to be at an 8:20 or 8:30 for all 5…, I’ll go for it.

Other than that, still going strong with Yoga weekly, 100 lunges and 100 single leg roman dead lifts after each run and with planks, planks 1 min forward, side R, side L x 3-4 every other day, and my hamstrings curls and stretches. Honestly: my sciatica is still there; it’s not getting worse, just low grade annoying. But I do notice I’m stronger. I have better balance and can stand on one leg without a trunk dance party…so I’ve made progress. It really is amazing to me how active you can be and yet how weak you can be. I was casually participating in 3 sports/activities (yoga, biking, swimming) outside of running and still had glute muscles resembling an 80 year old. My body doesn’t learn how to make muscle instead of pound on my passive structures; i.e. joints, capsules, ligaments…… protein shakes and focused form and strengthening drills to continue.

So on my day off what else did I do:
Laundry, had a pancake breakfast…very non Paleo and anti anti-inflammatory but exactly what I wanted, ran errands, and cooked, baked! Green lemonade! Mashed cauliflower! Banana, coconut, and pineapple cake! Tennis and tacos to top it off.


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RnRSD, 23 days later


It’s been 23 days since Marathon #4. WOW, it feels like its been months. How quickly you can feel like a blob!
Race weekend was exhilirating! Spending the weekend with Erika, her family and friends felt like a nice hug of support was blanketing me.
Saturday, we ran along the Encinitas coast for our last training run, 2 miles. It felt like we weren’t even starting when the 2 mile marker ticked. We chatted about race morning, the enjoyments of training with a training buddy, and our race plan. The race expo was packed, but we snaked our way through picking up fliers to fill the 2013 race calendar. We grabbed lunch downtown before heading back to Erika’s house for a relaxing evening. At lunch we met a pacer for the 4:15 pace group….hoping we’d end up in front of him.
At the race expo they were showing the video of the course, I knew that’s what I needed to settle my nerves and get ready for the race. After a pre-race dinner of BBQ chicken, broccoli salad, and lots of watermelon, we watched the course. It looked flat, the one long hill didn’t look too long. Ha.

3:15..alarm goes off. OMG. Race morning. I felt that second of dread. But had laid out all my clothes, pre-race stuff, post-race stuff, during race stuff. Got out of bed, prepped my one and only blister of the training cycle…yup, week of race, love it, slipped on my race clothes, sunscreened up the wazoo, and then walked out to the night to wind towards the race start. Erika picked out the Coaster to ride up to downtown, and then shuttle buses to the start. IT WAS EASY AND PERFECT! Erika drove us to the Coaster stop, we sat nervously on the bench getting excited about the race, laughing about the ungodly hour that we were awake, and sharing how we felt. On the train ride down, it filled with runners, and we were happy for the distraction of a young-20 all-about-me girl who was sharing her times for every race in the past 2 years and dressed in purple everything: shoes, track shirt, tips of her bleach blonde hair, nail polish…who knows what else. But her excitement over her running successes was fun to watch, and I needed some distractions to not get too afraid about what was about to come down the chute for the next 4+ hours. Yea, 4+….bubble burst.
Port-A-Potty line, gear check with England and York being a warm-up walk away from each other :), and finding Corral 5. National Anthem played..did it’s usual well-up fight back tears, and goosebumps all over. It was time. It was time. Here goes…..face and fight the demons.
1st mile…Erika said we’re sailing too fast….slowed down, came through the 1st mile at 9:20…too slow. The masses of digital/GPS watches may have been throwing off accuracy of signals..who knows. I didn’t want to be stuck to a time, I wanted to run how I feel…and not feel like I’m not doing good enough if I’m slower than “the” time. I commented about just ignoring the watch for a while, but we both had a time goal, and Erika was trying to stick to it early to push through it later. So I decided to hang in there. Let Erika keep track of our pace, and me to keep getting out of my head and focus on keeping my shoulders relaxed, knees pulling forward, not winging out to the sides wasting energy, and relax my neck…and breathe.
We hit the narrow path along the park around mile 12(I have no idea where we were, ha), anyways, Erika surged forward, I kind of started facing the demons knowing I couldn’t hold this pace. Erika is strong at pushing through the middle miles, I tend to sit back during the middle miles. So Erika stayed no greater than 100 feet in front of me, I enjoyed running alongside and past new faces and listening to the cheers of veteran marathoners as we hit the halfways point. 1:57 according to Erika’s watch. 2:00 according to official time. Not sure what thats about. But I sat there going, WOW….I just PR’ed my half marathon during a marathon. Trying not to let the demons rush in: SLOW DOWN YOU CRAZY FOOL! My previous PR is 1:59:40ish. Can you see how I pay attention less to time, but rather how it felt? Emotional runner. RIGHT HERE.
So at that point I pulled back up to Erika; called out to her not in hopes she would let up, but rather to let her know I’m still here. We ran together through mile 15…..then I was comfortable with the idea of losing my running partner. I knew this would happen. I hoped it wouldn’t. But, a race is each individual’s run. And no part of me wanted Erika’s race to compromise because of my energy.
I was ok with the idea. I didn’t love it. I knew the hill wasn’t until 20..I was hoping I’d have Erika to push/pull me up it, but I was thrilled with the race so far. So at mile 15, I slowed my roll a little. Erika was wearing an abnoxiously orange/pink shirt that was luckily slightly different in shade than EVERY OTHER RUNNER on the course, so I could keep her in my sight forever, well almost forever, ha. So for miles 15-18 I ran my race. I enjoyed looking around at the scenery, I felt my legs, lungs, repeated my seemingly new mantra: “Get out of your head, get into your legs” I hit 18 and knew that my wall was coming. I was thrilled I hadn’t hit it yet.
My last two marathons I hit walls insanely early….heart-breakingly early. Santa Clarita I hit my wall at mile 14…it was horrible and I trained harder than I ever had….too many miles in my legs. Chicago the second round I hit the wall at I don’t even remember. That was a foggy head race….I think I was spent around mile 18. So…this is great! I’m running, I’m still feeling like my head is normal. My legs are feeling tired, but hey I’m 18 miles in. That’s expected. Here comes the hill.
Mile 20-21.5 or so my head remembers….is this MONSTROUS hill. It is steep. Not as bad as the hill we trained on in Carlsbad…longer than what we trained on, man it was taking what was left in me. I kept Erika in my line of vision…until the top of the hill. When I made it to the top there was a quick turn off the freeway, then the course wrapped back on itself a few times…no more crazy orange/pink shirt. I was spent…mentally and physically tired. I think more mental than physical. And then each small hill felt like a giant. There were a few short climbs over the next 4 miles…and they were more than I could imagine. I saw my only familiar faces at mile 22: Erika’s mom was jumping up and down, blowing through a fog horn, ripping her hand-made posters off the fence and shaking them up and down, yelling my name. So much support, it made me smile and excited. She started running alongside me. All I could do was smile and say “thank you”. I ran past with my knees and spirit picked up a little higher. Thank goodness for spectators, especially family and friends!
As I ran up one, I started feeling myself catching my balance…was I passing out? Alright….I focused on my breath, which had shallowed. I was holding my breath bracing the aches I felt with each step. So I tried relaxing my stomach muscles, letting my shoulders pull down away from my ears, straighten my posture back up…but then I couldn’t, I felt like I needed to keep my upper body folded forward. My muscles were fatigued. I saw a medic running towards a guy who had collapsed on the side. I kept my eyes diverted far away…..I empathize with people…so seeing and recognizing someone in pain can send me into a mental whirl.
So then I caught myself losing my balance forward again. My head was off. I was scared. I stopped. collected myself….I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. I HAD to finish what I started. Self destructive? Stubborn? Determined? You can weigh it on either side of the spectrum. So at this point I’m at mile 22 and some. I am walking, wondering if I can finish this race.
I’ve looked at runners in races who are walking during the last 4-5 miles..thinking, “why are they walking? They are almost there…they’ve run this distance in training over and over and over again”. Now I felt what it feels like to not be sure you can do it..and less than 4 miles from the finish. I couldn’t believe it. So my bladder had been talking to me since the start of the race. At mile 24 I let myself sit down for a recollecting moment in the Port-A-Potty…again thinking, wow I’m that runner who can’t keep it together to finish this race. FEeling defeated, low, disappointed…but trying to smash those demons and look at what has been so far this morning, what I have left to do, and how dignified I am going to complete this. Getting off my feet for those 1-2 minutes felt amazing. My body was fatigued from stomping on the ground, holding my chest up. But guess what, I had to hold it up for the last 2.2 miles.
I rationalized with myself; there was a hill…I will let myself walk to the top of this MONSTROUS hill…that is probably a soft climb. YES WALK…I’m still a RUNNER. At the top, I started shuffling my feet. Some gentle spectator said, “Rebecca, you can do this”. I looked at him, flashed a smile…and agreed. Writing this is bringing tears. It sucks to feel like you couldn’t push through the distance you were “supposed” to. And yes, I’m ridiculously hard on myself. And that’s probably my biggest barrier to getting out of this mental barrier that holds me back in my physical races. I need to relax and not over think it. Just feel it and go with it. Let me repeat again: my head/mind is my barrier to physical races.
So, I shuffled myself to mile 26.2. I was spent. I didn’t feel excited or accomplished to finish. I was spent and scared.
I found a spot in the runner chute to sit. I wrapped into a ball: this is my thing…bend my knees up to my chest, hug tight, let all those pounding joints open. I drank an entire gatorade and chocolate milk. Ok..yes I was dehydrated and electrolyte OFF…but let me say I did the best I’ve done hydrating, eating, and electrolyting during this race compared to any other training run or race before.
I texted Michael to let him and Erika know that I crossed the finish and I’d meet them at the family meeting area soon. I hobbled my way over and just wanted to hug my training buddy. Of course I burst into tears when I saw her. I was feeling horrible, but I was feeling excited to see us both on the other side of the finish line! We did it! Her friends and family were there, as I sat down on the pavement I felt like I had to explain why I was crying…reassuring that I was ok, just needing to sit. The world circled above me…I was still battling with my passing out below. So maybe 30 minutes later I was ready to stand, thank goodness Erika’s friends went and picked up our checked bags, warmed up with my sweatshirt…and then got to share in the swirling socializing with Erika, Michael, Erika’s parents, and friends. Erika’s mom was ready to run a half marathon. Don’t you love how races are so motivating?!
Alright, fast-forward to trying to eat a normal breakfast, but feeling full after a few fork fulls; Erika, Michael and I sat down on the floor (well Michael on the couch putting up with Erika and I on the floor stretching our muscles and runner-high gabbing) of their house like we had multiple times at the end of training runs and just got to stretch and rehash the training and race. I hydrated and was ready to make the ride back to OC. By the time I left Erika’s house I was feeling calm and not disappointed. I had run my 2nd best marathon at 4:29 (on par for a 4:07 until the hill :/), pushed through strong to mile 15, and pushed to mile 20; make it up the hill…then lost my marbles. ha. The training was very rewarding, the race was rewarding…the last 4 miles were miserable. But the first 15 were exhilirating. This is what is addictive of marathons and endurance running…the ups and downs and the constant things to keep pushing and improving. ugh, it’s an addicts world.
So now time has passed. I am very proud of miles 1-18. I am proud of my ability to push up the hill. I am frustrated that my endurance wasn’t enough to push through 26. But I am glad I was able to listen to my body when I was seemingly crashing and pull myself together to finish. I battle with was it just mental and could I have pushed through? But I’m trying not to rip myself up for that…what if. Rather be proud of what I did do and say…it was enough :)
So today I returned to the track. Long Beach Half is 16 weeks away…and I can’t say I can imagine training 16 weeks for a half. But guess what, my two coworkers are following an 18 week training plan and I’m going to go with it. Run 3 days each week. 1 speed work, 1 tempo workout, and 1 long run with pace times. So…here goes. My goal: to PR. What time, don’t know. Going to take the 1st two weeks of this plan and then see realistically what speed my legs are turning over.
Since the marathon I’ve enjoyed yoga, getting back on my bike, running when I want to, visited Michigan, worked my butt off at work, and had a great weekend out with the girls! Man, How i miss that! I’m ready to regain my balance….friends, half marathon training, work, family, reading, relaxing, volunteering, dating…. ha. The order I wrote all that in explains so much.
So, enjoy the novel of my race recap. I am proud of the race. I am thrilled to have been a part of Erika’s goal race and introducing her to the marathoner club.
Now, goodnight to the marathon distance…I can’t forsee that beast beckoning me again. Back to the more rewarding distance FOR ME…half-marathon.





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RnRSD Sunday, training trials

So I went MIA from blogging for my entire marathon training. Why?

‘Cus I was afraid to post and not follow through.
‘Cus I was afraid to share a failure
‘Cus I didn’t find time to “reflect” and draft/write.
‘Cus I am an introvert and have a hard time being vulnerable. Blogging is vulnerability to me.
But, I have a good feeling to share and so here I am blogging. ha. Nobodies perfect.

Sunday, June 2nd….Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon. It’s been on my calendar since soon after Erika and I went to Mammoth. I think that is where she shared her crazy idea to run a marathon to celebrate her 30th year. Why she told me….exactly, she knew I was a sucker who can’t say no.

So we’ve driven back and forth from Costa Mesa to Carlsbad for our weekend runs. She introduced me to some real rolling hills, which I love to hate. And my local terrain boosts her confidence on running long at a faster pace. We were a healthy balance.
I looked forward to text messages in our early weeks of training sharing our running pace to hold each other accountable. Erika is a soccer player….interpreted: speedy. She has run half marathons at dream times for me. Starting training I had just come off a great half marathon, so I started with a solid endurance base. Erika started with soccer speed. I knew I better start training at faster paces than my crawl out of bed, eyes still closed, waking up around mile 2 normal running. I pushed the first several weeks to keep all weekday runs below 9 min/mile pace. Erika would comment on my “speediness”, ha. I reminded her that as her endurance built I would be struggling to keep up with her, so I had to work on speedy in my endurance.
Warning: long drawn out explanation ahead…skip to last paragraph if you don’t want to hear it
In the past when I’ve increased mileage steadily I have had a nagging right lateral hamstring. I’ve always been able to run with it and just ice, stretch, strengthen and able to keep going. I ran with Erika in hilly Carlsbad and felt my nagging hamstring, early on in training; I think our first 12 miler. Didn’t mind it too much, knew it was inevitable as training kicked up. My short runs during the following week days were slow and I was feeling heavy legs, not recovering like normal. Not normal, not necessarily a good sign.
Thursday I was trying to get a quick run in after work; decided to drill out the hill on Superior just above PCH. Any OC runner knows this hill; you avoid it. It’s about 400m long, it’s steep….so I thought perfect for a glute kicker in a 4 miler…so I did repetitions, I believe 5 of these hills. This day I won’t forget. I’m not always the smartest when my body is aching or crying out….I ignore it and tell it to press on, prove you are strong. Tough love. So, going up the hill, I felt my hamstring “tear”, that’s all I can explain it as. In the past it usually gets me when I’m running down hill or on flat, in the end phase of my swing with the right leg my hamstring behind the outside of my knee (I had to try really hard to not write a bunch of anatomical reference words), it will will feel like a piece of dental floss or guitar string at it’s tautest position and like it rolls over 720 degrees causing a sharp pain…sharp enough that I feel like I float in space and don’t move a single muscle or bone for a half a second while I let out a scream. Yes, it’s bad. And I ignore it. I know, I’m not nice to myself.
So anyways, this happened going UP hill…this is a first in my 14 year running career. So I started offloading my right leg and ran myself back to my car (there was no option to walk). Since my weekend run my back and my right hip had been getting stiffer and achier…..compensating for changing my stride due to my hamstring pain. So thursday night after getting home, I knew I was in trouble. My back was spasming, my hamstring was super tight, painful, and I was getting a zinging down my leg to the outside of my foot. I know this……I treat this all the time. Sciatica.
I finally opened up at work, I told my coworker what was going on. He said, “uh, you gotta stop running” At this point, I knew running was not “running”, I couldn’t run my stride and I was trying to offload my right leg constantly. My hamstring always zings worse while walking than running….so walking around work was needless to say not making me feel any happier about my situation. I reached out to Erika….training buddy, I’m in a bind. Call me dense: I am a physical therapist and runner, and I didn’t give in to that I had an injury until I reached over to place my bath mat on the ground and I noticed I had lifted my right heel off the ground, bent my knee, and put all my weight on my left leg. Ugh…Houston, we have a problem, DUH. My body is compensating and I JUST realized it.
So I iced, I stopped running, swam 2 days/week, and I slowly started stretching my back, then hip, and a week later my hamstring. My sciatica centralized. I thought…ok, let’s try a short run. My body was still not trusting pushing with my right leg, my back got angry again. I rolled, iced, sticked, stretched. So after 2 weeks of trying to run and having to bail….I reached back out to my coworker. “I Need Help” So he graciously evaluated me and gave me some simple exercises and recommendations for getting back to running. All I have to say is “THANK YOU for not saying, you need to stop running” Smart guy, he said…”you need to run smart” I knew what that meant (even though I hadn’t been acting like it), and I respected that comment…way more than someone telling a runner to “stop running”.
I have been doing my stretches, strengthening exercises, and foam rolling DAILY since this day. After skipping the 3 GIANT weeks of marathon training I started back with a slow and steady 17 miler on Boston Monday. I knew I’d feel my hamstring, but my motto is, if it doesn’t escalate and stays “low grade annoying” I can keep attention on form and keep going. This is how I ran for the rest of training. I ran 19 miles 5 days later, and mentally felt “ok” getting back into training. Was my 19 miler pretty? No, it felt horrible, but that’s what happens when you “rest” for 3 weeks.
What lingered? I had a fear of running 2 days in a row. What? Sounds ridiculous right. Fear 1) pushing off my right leg. Got over that. Fear 2) Running on a fatigued right leg. So after the 19 miler I decided to try my week day runs…..did them, but man did I lose all speed…still not comfy pushing off the right leg.
So over the course of the next 4 weeks I found my courage and strength to keep my right leg healthy. Ran a much better 20 miler, pushed 2 faster paced 12/13 milers on Carlsbad’s hills, and rounded out the long runs with an 8 miler at 8:40 pace. I was shocked. But I’ll tell you what rested my mind and got me oober excited for Sunday. 8:40 was the pace I used to self-select when training for my first marathon. I ran with a 20 dollar watch from Target (I still do) and only knew rough running distances from mapping my courses on prior to runs. And consistently I would always be running 8:40. So the fact that I am back at this “self-selected” pace makes me feel ready. My 1st marathon in college was the most amazing day of my life. How can that not get me excited for what Sunday might have in store :)
So why didn’t I write before? When my hamstring was bothering me I felt sad, defeated, unworthy. Twisted that running can affect my emotions so much…sure, but running is one of the biggest consistent parts to my life. As friendships, boyfriends, jobs, schools have rolled, changed, come and gone…I’ve always had my running. To NOT have my running outlet was scary. Luckily I know it is not the ONLY outlet I have. I get satisfaction from playing piano, reading books, connecting with friends and family, and yoga. I’ve appreciated these outlets more over this training cycle…it pulled me through. I was almost in tears each day I couldn’t run, ‘cus I felt lost and like I had nothing to share/connect with people. It’s hard to be vulnerable and talk, especially on a public space/blog with these emotions. Most of my friends didn’t even know I was struggling, I internalized and ignored.
Now I can share, because I’m far from that feeling. My dark places are still sugar coated, frilly pink, and sparkling compared to the world and real problems. Luckily, it is the worst problem in my book. I’ll keep it that way. None the less, it felt heavy and daunting.
Pulling past that point took reaching out to my coworker, hearing encouragement from Erika, and turning inward to say, “I’m worth simmering down and spending time on myself”. It takes caring for yourself to foam roll, stick, stretch, ice, TLC stuff…I’m usually not good at giving myself the time to do these things.
So what did I learn… training plan is just a guide…it’s not steadfast and a must. Flexibility within a regimen. Listening to what my body needs and adapting to it. Give and take…it allowed me to push harder and have successful workouts later. Some patience with myself, maybe?
So this past weekend and week during my last few training runs, my legs want to go….they feel like they want to push hard and keep my lungs pushing. I am ready to be uncomfortable over the 26.2 miles. I say that right now, sitting on the couch with ice on my left pain now, unlike mile 18-26, ha. (oh yea, my compensation for my right hamstring has led to a bit of an overuse of my L calf…big surprise right?) I’m anticipating the pain, but I’m ok with it. Twisted runner mind.
I am excited, even more so for Erika and this being her first marathon. Her training has gone great…she has been dedicated and working hard on the full package among Cross-fit, running, and cross training with yoga and biking. This girl is ready; on our 20 miler she dropped her last 2 miles to 30 seconds faster than the rest. So I may say bye to Erika as she pulls ahead on Sunday…but I am going to keep a positive head and hope to push through to the finish WITH Erika. At the end of the day: we will each run our own race, best case scenario it will be together.
Wish Erika and me good luck as we count down to race morning! I’m carb loading tomorrow with pizza. Heading down to Carlsbad saturday morning for our last 2 miler, then expo-ing and settling in with Erika until our who knows what time alarm Sunday morning.
What’s after the marathon? I’m stopping and rehabing my hamstring :) Exercising patience. I’ve patched it up well enough (I hope) to be able to finish the distance without worsening my injury….but I know I need to take time to “fix” the problem, not patch it. So here’s to race day. Long anticipated. I’m in a good spot mentally and physically, will keep the combo going during the race as long as I can!
Happy running. And vulnerable blogging ;)

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Surf City Half…a GREAT race

My annual local race was a success! I woke up feeling healthy and ready to run. All week I was keeping my mental game relaxed. Maybe discounting some excitement in fear of disappointment. Race morning, drove to the beach parking lots, texted my uncle while waiting in line for the bus. He decided to run a 10k in LA instead of trek down to Orange County for the half marathon. Checked my bag, encountered the port-a-potty, and made my way to the corral.
My hands were full with my full size hand held water bottle, huckleberry hammerhead gel and two electrolyte gel capsules zipped in the pocket, and my iPhone on my armband. I hate Cora weight…but also hate my battle with hydration, nutrition, and wanting to race as I trained. Using my iPhone RunKeeper app has been a good addition to my training. Glancing down on occasion to check my pace or hear when i’m at my desired distance has been motivating to pick up the pace. When you have an electronic device keeping you true to a distance, you are more willing to challenge the speed. And since I didn’t know my surrounding area as well after moving, it was a great way of not spending hours mapping runs on before actually running. Remember I live my life trying to be more time efficient.
Alright, so the race crowd seemed positive, people were being respectful of others warm-up and stretch space in the corrals and generally everyone was commenting on the great sunny weather. Started running, felt my legs being a bit sluggish but “ok-ed” myself to go slow and warm up, the start was pretty congested. Mile 1 I look down and see 9:52…. Disappointment felt…slow long runs in training predicting my race. So I pick up my legs a little, lets see how this feels. Glance down around mile 2 and 3, 8:36 pace. Now my iPhone rests on my left arm, which is wildly but rhythmically swinging forward and back with my stride….so it’s not always reading super accurately, nor do I know if it has the power to read that quickly the pace between a forward arm swing and a backwards arm swing…but I know from training with it on my arm that it will read 8:36 and then when I stop the run it will say “average pace 9:16”. So…it didn’t freak me out, and I decided to stay uncomfortable and push through the minor hilly section of miles 4-6.
Mile 6… Heads getting foggy, stomach is crampy…it’s too early for this. It’s warm, thank goodness I wore my hat to keep the sun out of my yes and playing with my mental (weak) game. I decide to pop the pills….electrolyte pills that is! In goes two, big swish of water…a few minutes later my head starts clearing and my stomach relaxes…I start feeling like I can rotate my trunk a little freer. Amazing. Big point one: I say it over and over, but do nothing about it….my electrolytes are out of whack…from the beginning. My hypothesis: my recovery nutrition sucks. Need to work on this area. I do well eating “smart” before a run…afterwards I tend to wait hours…like 6-8 hours to eat…and often have indigestion that keeps me from wanting to eat. Dehydration you say? I drink upwards of 100 oz. of H2O a day….’cus I’m thirsty, not even forced drinking. So my hat is sitting at an electrolyte imbalance.
Anyways….head cleared up. Started assessing the gel situation…original plan: between mile 7-8. Running plan…yep 8 sounds good. Do I think you need a gel during a half? Absolutely not. I started playing with the flavor and tummy to,era nice during this training plan in prep for my marathon training….my stomach and mental aspect to my stomach takes some TLC. And that’s what I am giving it. S I had about 3 licks of my gel over the next 5 miles….just as a little sweet rush. Definitely more mental than any nutritional value. I continued to feel strong through mile 10, started wanting to slow down for my complaining quads, but kept pushing…I thought of my treadmill workouts, where I was hot in the stuffy gym with no ocean breeze running at much faster paces and pushed for up to 40 minutes…so these last 2-3 miles were going to stay uncomfortable and at a constant pace….no sputtering out. And I’m happy to report I did that. I am unhappy to report the 2:00 pace group, that started behind me passed me in the last .3 miles…..but I walked away with a 2:02:44. Race official 9:22 pace, at 13.1 miles. iPhone GPS RunKeeper records 13.25 mi with avg pace 9:16. Realistically I thought with a great race I could sit around a 9:15 pace. I thought I’d be trained to come in around a 2:05. I was excited for my finish time, and MORE EXCITED FOR MY STRONGER MENTAL GAME. I was happy I felt strong throughout and could keep my mind clear and on staying at the same pace in the last 3 miles. My plagued fuzzy dead seemed to respond great to the electrolyte capsules. After the race I did my traditional shady curb sitting, wrapped my knees into my chest and called my parents to give a report. They typically hear a taste of disappointment in my tone, but this time I heard upbeat and satisfied. The drive to PR was still there, but at no point, besides between mile 5-8 did I have that goal for this race.
I think I want to run some 10Ks and treat them as tempo runs to see how I can build my endurance and speed together.
A motivating race to kick off my marathon training. I want to keep the pace/tempo runs going…I struggled its those mentally more than the speed workouts at the track. So to it I sat down with a few training plans and wrote out a temporary plan with variations for if my legs want a few more running days, or if they are happy between the running, yoga, and swimming. I am going to put forth an effort to swim throughout the training program. I enjoyed swimming after long runs last summer…so put them on for Mondays. Two of the running days are pace and tempo days. I think I’ll hold the day after long runs to shorter race pace runs…..and stick to a more demanding tempo run midweek. Yoga is going to keep my zen on Wednesdays. And that’s a start….

Monday morning: sore deltoids, pecs, abs, and quads….it’s been a while since I was sore from a race, which made me feel like I really was able to push myself.
Marathon training starts Monday with a swim workout! Now…off to Mammoth for some pow wow with my brand spankin’ new bindings!

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Race is HERE

I am 22 days past my last post… dice. Alright, here’s what has been up since my 3 x 1 mile track workout on January 8th. I was battling those stupid blisters from my 12 miler on January 5th for most of the runs and snowboarding weekends below. Guess what I learned….tie your shoes tighter. Ok, I am guilty of never untying and retying my shoes…I just slip my feet in and out….maybe I just don’t want to touch the sweatiness that is my running shoes. Anyways…after far more miles than should be on a single pair of running shoes…they stretched out enough to give too much wiggle room for my 4th and 5th toes. Resulting in some nasty blisters that didn’t get to breathe and heal….instead stayed meticulously wrapped in gauze and athletic tape for the better part of 3 weeks…and got worse during my 13 mile run. Sorry feet. I changed my shoes, and have been tying and untying them :) You’re welcome toes. (After re-reading this paragraph, all I have to say is: TMI)
January 9th: I ran 5 miles on very tired legs early before work.
January 11th: I left for Mammoth to snowboard for the weekend = altitude training… no running HA
January 15th: 45 minute tempo run…which was after a game of softball. I set out on the streets of Irvine…sounds exciting, really a residential safety zone…and was running with purpose…a.k.a. I felt like I was running fast. I was doing great, and then the railroad crossing gate came down, a train passed, I took a picture, and my phone died….so the last 5 minutes I missed out on my runkeeper app. telling me of my awesome pace. So instead I have a record of 40:16 time and 4.66 miles…but tack another 5 minutes onto that and I think I drilled out a good tempo run!
January 16th: 5 miles, 47:10
January 19th: Snowboarding in Big Bear, where I spent much of the day standing on my toe edge….instructing a fabulous first timer *D*; and resulted in very sore quads and calves..great for LR next day….
January 20th: 13 miles with Maxine! Maxine to the rescue. And she got to experience first hand my weirdo fuzzy head symptoms that took me from feeling fine and chugging along to dragging my feet, head down, unable to smile and keep conversation :/ She suggests looking at my potassium intake. 2:08:08 (doesn’t look good for a PR half this weekend….I gave up on my goal. Well, more like got realistic with my goal….my nutrition isn’t where it should be, and I can’t drill out a great race with less than fabulous eating habits)
January 24th: 6 miles in BRAND NEW SHOES; ok, same as my old running shoes, but you would never know it, they are so clean and not stretched out in weird shapes from my feet pounding in them. Claire and I ran in San Diego one afternoon instead of attending programming for the conference we were at. We ran along the water, sharing race and training stories, it was like old times and a great way to enjoy a different city!
Now the fun begins: 10 x 400s at 7:24 pace with 200m running between…this run rocked! I did it on a treadmill before jumping in the car to drive up to Big Bear Friday night. I was so excited I texted Margot instantly….I thought she would share in my excited running feat. So my speed workouts seem to be progressing each week…but I’m falling back into long slow distance for my long runs…..Margot suggested tempo runs around 8:30… thinking during not just the speed workouts, but putting a little more concentration into the tempo runs, instead of just “feeling uncomfortable”
Last weekend I headed back to Big Bear for Natalie’s birthday, so skipped the shorter weekend run (it’s been a trend all along) but ran 5.15 miles Sunday…man my heart was pounding and my legs did NOT want to move after speed workout Friday night, snowboarding Saturday day. But glad I enjoyed some crisp air and running at 7400ft elevation.
I am already behind in my running this week. Gladly took a rest day Monday….I had a big enough adrenaline rush Monday day. Many of you heard, there was a shooting in the building I work in. It is still quite surreal. I luckily didn’t hear or see anything directly related to the incident…but was evacuated quickly out of the building, and spent a tense 2 hours keeping my ears fine tuned and my eyes darting around the building. I have to say every one acted appropriately in the emergency and thank goodness my patient at the time was cool, calm, and collected; ‘cus he kept my mind and attention off the buzzing rumors and instead we tried to divert our attention to talking about snowboarding, family, and him getting back on the mountain! So as I drove away from the building, I felt lucky, confused, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, and a little lost. So some time on the couch with some chocolate happened.
My coworker called Monday night to see how I was doing, I wasn’t really in the mood to chat, so let voicemail pick it up; she said “knowing you, you are probably out working out to get the stress dealt with”….which is what I should have been doing. I ended up with some insomnia that night….I think a workout would have gotten my anxious energy out and would have let my mind hash through the day’s events….but sometimes…you don’t put forth the mental drive to do what you know is physically best. ugh. Luckily my friend made dinner, so my couple hours are the couch with confused thoughts were limited. I got to jump back into my lucky life and enjoy ceviche and The Biggest Loser…I am finally caught up! And ate through 2 ENTIRE shows… bad, but soooo good!
So tonight, after being frustrated at work by a less than cohesive working meeting about billing nonsense I was motivated to run….get out the frustration from today, confusion from Monday, and start getting my head in the game for Sunday. I hit the treadmill for a 30 min. tempo run. Set the dial to 9:33 for a half mile warm up, then pumped to 8:27 for 30 minutes; returned to 9:33 for a half mile cool down…and felt satisfied. 8:27 felt fine on the treadmill. But I think things are easier on the treadmill…boring, but easier; you just have to keep up. Overground you have to push to keep the pace….on a treadmill there is less thinking.
So now I’m winding down until Sunday. Going to get myself out of bed early tomorrow for an easy 4 mile run, then hit the ground running for a private patient, full work day, and then a HOCKEY GAME! I can’t remember the last hockey game I was at…..and am beyond excited to go up to LA tomorrow and enjoy a sports outing! Friday I’m going to aim for 3 miles, saturday 2 miles just to shake out the legs, and then Sunday is race day, 13.1. It’s going to be a solo run… Uncle cancelled his race…’s getting kind of lonely running races by myself. :/ But I guess that’s what it’s like for an endurance runner who trains alone and who’s friends mostly think I’m crazy. My goal for the run: drink water, take my gu, take my electrolyte pills, and keep my head clear…I’d like to sit below a 9:20 pace. Every long run this training cycle has been done during a jam packed weekend or when I’m exhausted. So I am aiming to sleep and rest up….have been doing a good job of not over-scheduling myself this week….and so fresher legs and rested body hopefully will make this race faster than my long runs in training. But I hang my hat more on training runs predict race day run. Eh…blah blah, we’ll see how it goes. But I’ll be happily sitting on a couch watching the Super Bowl, drinking beer and eating junk food the rest of the day.
Oh yea, then marathon training starts……..get. excited.

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Runner’s High

Runner’s High


Alright, I have been known to say “I think I’ve been running slow and long for too many years to feel the runner’s high anymore”.  I am in denial. I am comfortable with the word “slow”.  Tonight was my speed workout. 3x 1 mile. I consulted with my coach/confident/ok-let’s-get-real-I’m-slow-and-I’m-at-fault; a.k.a. fasterbunny. My text: “what should my goal pace be for 3 x 1 mi”. Response: “8:20, 8:30? Is that doable?” My response: “I’ll sure try.”
Actual workout:
Warm up run to the track
1st mile: 8:09
200m jog
2nd mile: 8:11
200m jog
3rd mile: 8:10
200m jog
50 lunges and 25 square walks…some thing I read in competitor magazine to open up your hips. Didn’t go against anything I know, so why not try it.
Cool down run home from track
Runner’s high. Yea I felt it. Why? ‘Cus I ran faster than I normally do. DUH! Rocket science is sometimes so simple.
It felt managable…maybe that means I should have run faster. I felt uncomfortable, I had to keep thinking about pulling my left knee through and pushing off my right middle toe…..I had to keep telling myself to pull and push a little harder. So I’ll take the workout! Keeping myself pushing. Maybe I can go harder, every workout I try to dig a little deeper, push some potential. 
Lesson 2: my 400’s should be faster. ;)
After my lovely long run Saturday I put in 5 miles Sunday. They felt pretty good to be honest. No major tightness or fatigue; which confirms the mental instead of physical block around mile 9. So my weekend total was 21.5 miles…which I am PROUD of. It’s been a while since I’ve felt encouraged to run multiple days in a row and looked forward to the run or workout. 
  I’m even looking forward to the Tuesday speed work. So odd! I don’t know who I am. But my legs feel good and I’ll keep plugging along. I have 2 BIG goals I’m chasing. PR Surf City Half. PR San Diego Full. Both totally obtainable! And I’m more than looking forward to having a training buddy for the full!
Happy to report I am a full blown yogi…and by that I mean a full paying yogi. I bought a package at YogaWorks to extend my groupon 1 month deal. Of course I grabbed a bargain…but happy to report that weekly Yoga will stay with me. Tomorrow YogaBlend will see how my “not so fatigued” legs stand up to some static deep knee bends. 
I’ll report back after MAMMOTH! DSUSA-OC student trip #2 this weekend, see you on the mountain :)
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Happy New Year!

  Utah was great! Utah has trademarked the statement “The greatest snow on earth” and to date I agree. My cousin Dan, his girlfriend Carolyn, and my long lost friend Jon enjoyed watered down beer and powdery slopes. Do you know Utah only sells 3.2% beer or something crazy like that. My suggestion: order the darker beers in hopes of maintaining taste! 

We skied/boarded Brighton the first day, then Jon and I headed to SnowBird and SnowBasin the next two days. I got a little frozen in fear at the top of SnowBird…it was 11,000+ feet. Breathed some woosaa down the switch-back blue slope…I had no business at the top of the mountain…unfortunately. The backside with a conveyer belt taking us through the mountain side was a great bowl with lots of terrain to play around on. I was still feeling stiff and riding too conservatively, but at least wasn’t frozen in fear.  I have plateaued in my boarding….I need some good boarders to ride with! Jon move to America ;) 
Utah used to strictly serve skiiers; a few of their resorts still put their noses up to snowboarders, but I had a frustrating experience of flat and uphill terrain trying to get down off the mountain at SnowBird. I may have been the last person off the mountain….I definitely was the most grumpy. But when I turned the corner and saw Jon patiently at the car…relief. At least my “lost on the mountain” didn’t turn into “lost my friend too”. SnowBasin was my favorite; we drove a bit farther to the resort; it was long slopes with less crazy drops and narrow shoots than SnowBird. And we ventured off piste. I repetitively sat down or was forced down as my board got buried in the power (not a good boarder). It was exhausting and took way longer to get down the mountain, but I actually was really enjoying the challenge. Wasn’t enjoying it screaming my weaknesses…but that’s how you get better right?
After my altitude boarding training it was time to revisit my training schedule. Wednesday after work I jumped on a 4.5 miler followed by Yoga. 4.5 in 41:53 min, right where I was the week before. I’ll take it. My YogaBlend class had almost doubled in size; but still less than 10 of us. But it kicked my butt; my hips were tight from boarding, my legs fatigued from running/boarding, and I woke up the next morning with nice sore abs. YES! I also woke up exhausted…note to self; take a day off after vacations that are none stop working out. Ha. No time for that.
   Last night I left work telling myself I was going straight to the track after getting home. Walked in the door, proclaimed my plan to my roommate, and asked if she wanted to come. “Sure”. NICE! Ran to/from the track catching up with my roommate and then drilled out 9 x 400s. with 200m jog between. She walked, but guess what. Having a familiar face on the track kept me mentally stronger. Every time I passed her I was thinking of my form and thinking “can I push a little harder”  And I had an awesome workout! Here’s the verdict…much improved from 2 weeks ago:
1:45, 1:49, 1:49, 1:49, 1:50, 1:49, 1:51, 1:50, 1:51
I did try to get back to 1:49 at the end; wasn’t there yet. But back a little more consistent. Endurance is kicking up. Speed….I’ve never run 400s that “fast”. Fast for me! Note to self: you may NEVER run above 1:59 for a 400 again.
  And this morning..long run return. According to my training plan this is a step back week….7 for long run. But I couldn’t justify my snowboarding last weekend as an 11 mile run. So I set out for 11 miles. I first slept 10 hours, read for 2, and slept another 1.5. Then embarked, ha. 2 new things for this run. 1) My normal sized hand-held water bottle…hydration, hydration, hydration. 2) Mountain Huckleberry Hammerhead Gu. I felt funky running in the middle of the afternoon, but settled in for the long haul. Ended up running 12 instead of 11; my RunKeeper App. will either tell you every 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 miles of your distance…I didn’t want to hear it every 0.25, 0.5, or 1.0 mile…so I set it on 2.0 mi auditory cue and thought if I wasn’t feeling great between mile 4 and 6, I’ll look down and turn around. I looked down at 5.2 miles and decided to take it to 6. I took my gu between mile 7.75 and 8.25; yes it took me a half mile to get the stuff down. But no weird taste aversions or stomach cramps…just more thirsty while consuming gu, thank goodness for my “big girl” water bottle. Finished off in 2:00:12; 10 min/mi pace. I was running between 9:50 and 9:35 for the first 9 miles…. then started shuffling my feet. Something about that 9 mile marker that hits me. 
   Next weekend, Mammoth. Maybe tack my long run in before work Thursday…otherwise next monday. Hopefully the 9 mile lull will extend itself. I don’t remember this lull “back in the day”. 
Happy running, eating, sleeping! (oh and reading: book club book is 493 pages!)ImageImageImageImageImage
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‘Cus I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

Update from John Wayne Airport, arrived 2.5 hours early because my snowboard is like a kid…needed extra time to manage.

Last Friday I ran 9.88 miles. in 1 hr 37 min, 29 sec. Just under 10 minute mile. I ran a hilly course, starting to build up some leg strength and endurance with the hilly course of San Diego in the back of my mind. I started in Corona Del Mar, ran south on Pacific Coast Highway and then headed up Newport Coast Drive…a tough ride on a bike, a tough 2 mile uphill that keeps climbing before decreasing it’s grade slightly for the last .5 miles. Then I coasted downhill along San Jouaquin Hills for 2 miles. I have to say the views on this run are fantastic, motivates you to keep pushing on the terrain. It’s not up and down, just constant up then constant down. I am glad I ran this run before working the holiday weekend; definitely wouldn’t have happened after a full day at work.
  This week I ran a 4.5 mile tempo run in 40:02. My goal was to stay under 9  minute/mile pace. I need to start chipping away at this during my tempo runs; I’d like to get down to 8:15-8:20/mile as my fitness improves; or I should say as I improve my fitness. One to get my half PR, two to try and keep pace through to the marathon distance. I don’t just want to finish. I know I can do that…and I know, to me, it doesn’t feel good to just finish. So the gains I make now for the half distance; I will try not to fall off pace too much as I build mileage.
   Last night after work I ran 4.53 miles in 41:54. Goes to show I’m not good at pushing throughout my tempo run; since I ran seemingly similar when not “trying to run faster”. I need to learn to push into the discomfort; know that my legs will stay under me and will hold a harder pace. I’m guilt of being a lazy runner :) Oxymoron, but to all the runners; this is very understandable. Maybe I don’t know my potential?
   I tried out a different yoga class earlier in the week. The class was about extensibility of the joints and posture. I did not appreciate the teacher’s style. She came around and started hitting underneath my elbow saying it wasn’t straight. My elbows don’t go straight…I’m not a super flexible double jointed, hyperextending individual; and I don’t appreciate you slapping at my tricep flub to get my elbow straight. Then she came up to me and said, “you are perfect the way you are” then turned the the class and said “and this girl is far too beautiful to have this terrible posture” and continued to use me as a demonstration on how my muscles in the front of my body are pulling me down towards the floor; and how it should be the other way around. Blah. I told her I was ok with not being perfect.
    So I posture checked myself at work a few more times than usual this week. But I was craving my YogaBlend class! I’ll return in the New Year :)
   Happy New Year, I’ll be checking out terrain southeast of Park City and enjoying a much needed 5 days off work :)
Happy running, snowboarding, and yoga-ing!Image
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Track Party Tuesday happens in the p.m….not a.m.

Sunday’s run kicked off a great week for me. I felt like…alright, maybe I’m not as far off from being a little faster than I thought. After a summer of battling the allergies I am back feeling strong and healthy. I often feel my stress physically, just knowing my body is a bit worn down….but despite the longer days at work, madly writing holiday cards, getting gifts together, staying consistent with yoga, and trying to keep a social life; I have still been waking up minutes before my early alarm and my body is craving the workouts! woohoo!
Monday I went to YogaBlend with instructor Laura….and was again pleasantly surprised to be one of two students! It was awesome. It is amazing how unaware I am of my hip position and upper back posture. Laura kept adjusting my forefoot position and guiding my hips into the correct positions…which I felt I was in the end of my range and correctly aligned, but it is amazing when someone uses their hands to guide you into the correct posture…how much farther you can go! I am definitely getting excited about Yoga and this darn Groupon is doing its trick….gives you a good deal for a short while in hope to build a client for the long-term. But I have to say it pushes my resilience….there are plenty of times I feel like I can’t hold the position any longer…and sometimes I drop my knees or straighten my knee out…but when I push through the pain for the extra SECONDS, there is a sense of accomplishment and defiance! Push through the pain-discomfort. And I am happy to share that my second head stand was WAY more successful than my first. I still felt a tad bit panicky, but was able to breathe through it, and felt like I could support my weight through my arms and head; last time I felt like my arms were struggling to engage my lats. So if I don’t answer my phone….I may be upside down practicing ;)
This morning my alarm went off for my first Track Party Tuesday in a long while. Last night was another late night organizing my thoughts over work stress and worrying…never good, but its in my genes. So sleeping had to be coaxed with some Jason Mraz music and then was awaken way too early. So I decided to let my mind and body stay in bed for the extra hour…and vowed to run after work, before softball. Cram it all in. Softball was cancelled because it is raining. It is a SoCal phenomenon….SoCal residents actually melt when they get wet; so there are no sports played in the rain.. alright. it is probably more related to the cost of maintenance to softball triangles when recreational softball goofballs play in the rain. So that opened up my evening. I ran to the track and was shocked by how many people were there! I asked one of the guys who looked like he was leading the masses. It was Snail’s Pace running group, a local running store. So I had to weave quite a bit during my track workout since they decided since they were a big group they could stand around on the track while resting blocking runners from getting through. Blah, bad etiquette. But…I was focusing on pushing my knees forward, trying to pick my feet up, and equally reaching my arms forward stride to stride. So I did 8 x 400s with 200m jog between each rep. So here’s the sloppy first track workout:
1:54, 1:57, 2:04, 2:00, 2:02, 2:03, 2:04, 2:00.
As my lovely run counsel reminded me: get those under 2:00. I agree. Completely agree. In my mind that was what I thought going into the workout. But I let myself use the crutch of “This is my first track workout in a while”…shortcut myself. Eh. Hardening my mental game is a must to achieve my physical goals. Maybe if I was solo on the track at 5:30 this morning I would have been willing to push harder ‘cus I wouldn’t have minded puking at an empty track….I was a bit self conscious with so many people around. But again…excuses. So not starting out too bad for my little legs…but discipline on the track is going to be necessary….so will puking on the track (from exertion). So I’ll keep counseling with FasterBunny to keep me in check :)
Looking forward to Newport’s Boat Parade tomorrow and an recovery 4 miler in the morning. Happy running!

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Being a good Yogi, running with a goal, and taking each stride feeling ALIVE


This morning I was running my first “long” run of my 8 week half-marathon training plan feeling on top of the world and super excitable about running, working out, and blogging about it. As the day has gone on I’ve had short conversations about the Connecticut tragedy, work stresses….and they’ve soured my mood.
I am alive, and love feeling alive through exercise and activity. That is what this blog is all about right? Expressing the positive energy that keeps me addicted to running. But sometimes the positivity I feel at the end of the run, was fueled by anger, stress, anxiety, and even contentment at the beginning of the run. I’m a person looking for answers, or a lesson to be learned. In the Connecticut tragedy there aren’t answers; speculation with answers maybe. With work stresses; there aren’t answers or direct lessons to learn. So indirectly, you try to relate, you try to feel, you try to piece the information into your perspective on life; and restore happiness, motivation, and the burning desire to break down doors, achieve goals, and continue to be grateful that you can be…..and feel ALIVE.

Happy mood time:

I have two kudos to throw out to complete strangers. I bought BIC Bands at the Long Beach Expo in October; ran with some added sparkle for the past few months. Sandy, the lovely lady who started the company to raise money for charity while training for a race, had eased my worries of a slipping BIC Band and promised it would be replaced if it didn’t live up to it’s motto. I haven’t been the one to wear headbands in the past, I always felt like my head was oddly shaped…or just odd. (Add your comments quietly ;) ). But I thought, why not join in the fun? So during my Turkey Trot in Detroit, I checked my black sparkly BIG BIC Band several times, slipping it more securely on top of my head…and then I reached up…and it wasn’t there :( But I remembered Sandy’s comment in Long Beach. So I emailed Sandy about my enjoyment wearing her product and flashing it around the streets and sidewalks of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Long Beach, Detroit, and Las Vegas. I sadly had a second BIC band slip in Vegas. Sandy not only inquired about the exact bands that slipped ship; but also wants her product to work for me. She asked me to measure the circumference of my head where I usually wear my band, and suggested a 19″ band instead. Today I received my 2 replacement BIC Bands and was happy to throw my hair up in a ponytail and try it out. I am somewhere who values another who is true to his/her word. Sandy, kudos for following through, standing by your product, and being a problem-solver to resolve the problem; not just satisfy a customer! Great job, and looking forward to seeing you at many more race expos to come!

Second kudos goes out to Laura, a Yoga instructor at YogaWorks, who I’ve had 3 classes with so far. To say the least, Wednesday was a stressful day at work. My head was buzzing, my thoughts all over, and I was craving me some Yoga! I sat in my car writing holiday cards until the 7:30 pm class. I walk up, hoping I drank enough water to not be uncomfortable during class. To my pleasant surprise there are only 5 of us. I can’t hide behind someone else and hope I look like I know what I’m doing. Nope, in straight line, all exposed. When learning a new sport, I want to learn! I want to be taught! I swear, I am a good student! So, going through a Yoga class I learn from watching the instructor, listening to his/her cues, and watching the people around me. YogaWorks does not have mirrors in their studios; you have to feel the right mechanics…as a newbie; I could definitely use a mirror to see if what I’m feeling actually is…but I still keep focusing inward and try to feel and self-check my postures in reference to my own body. Laura took time during class to do small “tutorials” and demonstrate the correct postures, and suggest the cheating/incorrect postures. I identified with each one…I was cheating! But I swear not intentionally! I just didn’t know any better. She used her hands to facilitate better alignment in poses we held, and she gave specific instructions to each Yogi. I was grateful! This class gave me 85 minutes to focus on me. To be selfish. To be self-aware. After a day of treating patients, trying to absorb news at work, and reacting without being too reactive….this was just what I needed. She challenged me mentally and physically, she introduced new postures and was very understanding to my fear/avoidance of spine extension and inverted postures. She took me step by step through a head stand, supported on the wall, and saw the panic in my face with an attempted back bend/bridge…I haven’t done that since my gymnastic days circa 1989-1990…and for some reason my body feels like it’s going to crumble when I try to extend through my hips and back……so she brought me back to a supine LE bridge…thank goodness. But I left that class feeling relaxed, “zen-ed” as I call it. And feeling grateful for her personalized instruction in class. I felt like, yea I want to do this…I want to get better at this….look at the possibilities with strength and flexibility. That is feeling alive.
So thanks to Sandy and Laura; for throwing some absolute positivity in my direction; it was received with gratitude!

So what’s been my workouts for the last two weeks?!
I went 4x this first week, 1x last week….I meant to go 3x; but got stuck at work 2x :/ With the shift in my work duties, I am not taking the missed work out as mea culpa…a transition takes some flexibility in schedule and some extra effort…so I’ll be there with the best I can be. A little, well maybe a lot, of personal time sacrificed, but that is who I am…there is no “half-assing” it, no showing up to be a warm body….I am me, and me is who I portray…whether my portrayal bounces off a cold blank wall or gets recognized by my surrounding, -ers. Tangent, ok back on track. I tried a Hatha type Yoga…warm but not hot room, the more relaxed basic class, and then this new YogaBlend class that I like. We’ll see where the next two weeks go, but I’m feeling the itch to keep going past my 1 month trial.
Running has been GREAT! I tell you, just write it down and I can’t skip it. I am happy to report that I went on a 60 minute run just for the heck of it last Sunday, ‘cus I wanted to run! Good sign! So my first day of training was Monday….a rest day. Definitely fulfilled that one! Tuesday was a 40 minute tempo….so I took my iphone with RunKeeper app and just decided to stay uncomfortable. I ran a 5 min. warm up and cool down ‘cus I decided if the expectation was to run fast, that I should probably warm my legs up for a bit before trying to force my hip flexors and hamstrings to stretch while running. Good move. Wednesday was 4 miles; I took my Runkeeper with me; just did a faster second half than first. And then Thursday I had a 3 miler….I woke up at 5:30, and felt like I’d been run over by a bus…emotionally I had Wednesday, but it was lingering in the a.m.; so I let myself sleep with the pact that I would either run after work or Friday morning. The way the day was going, I needed an emotional release; so Thursday after work I hit the treadmill. Ran 8:40 min/miles for the first 2 miles then 8:30 for 0.75mi, and 8:15 for the last 1/4. It felt good! Saturday I fulfilled my easy 3 mi and today ran 7 miles at an average of 9:16 pace. Every thing felt good all week! My knees are saying hello frequently during the runs, but I just keep thinking of my mechanics and trying to not circumduct my left leg….it is bad! I watched videos from the last couple races….that thing has a mind of it’s own, AND is caving in during stance phases! It used to be my right that looked like a mess….now that one looks ok per race pictures. I am happy with my first week; running faster than I have any time recently and feeling pretty easy…which only means I can push a lot harder to get my legs turning over at an “acceptable” rate…acceptable per my mind that is.
I went down to the beach path for my run today; that’s what I know…long runs along the beach path. It felt good to share some energy with other runners, bikers, walkers, surfers. Waving, smiling, saying hi; and recognizing that each of us could be doing something else, but we’re choosing to feel alive and push a physical potential. You call us crazy….we’re just addicted to some adrenaline pumping through our veins, promoting a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Ugh, sorry for the preaching style….it is a bit too profound…but when life gets heavy; thoughts sometimes flow deeper.

Happy running, Happy Yoga-ing, and for goodness sake, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Yogi in pain

Just returned from Yoga class, not on the high of yesterday; but still elated to be feeling the discomforts of a new activity. Said activity: yoga! I felt loose most of today; cracks and pops here and there at work.
Printed my tickets and headed to the RoadRunner Sports store for their VIP Xmas Party. Failed to bring a +1, despite multiple attempts. I picked up a new pair of Ghost 5’s….the Brooks rep said the only difference is eliminating one of the gel pockets and replacing it with more “caterpillar” rubber sole to ease the transition from lateral heel strike to medial toe off; blah blah blah, they felt like the same clouds I remember when I put my Ghost 4’s on brand new. Browsed the clothes: bought 2 long sleeve athletic tops and a 12 pack of Hammerhead Montana Mountain Berry Gu…..yes; the only Gu that I think I’ve ever actually enjoyed. And maybe the most novel part: I got a free christmas ornament…my first one ever ;) Thanks RoadRunner Sports!
So then to YogaBlend 1/2 at YogaWorks. I was greeted by the same instructor who sub-ed in last night. Started out with alignment and breathing and I thought I was in for another relaxing session; then the lunge positions started and continued. I know my hips are tight….but oh man. My legs were shaking so badly from poor flexibility and I’ll openly admit…POOR STRENGTH. Its amazing how you can be unaware of your own body position/posture; even when trying to tune into it. Unaware or just too tight to get into? I was thankful for the instructors cues to help get me into better position; except the one where she guided my knee (I typed pushed, but realized that was a perception and not factual) into further flexion…..I was shaking before; now I thought I was going to fall over. Now this is the class I NEED to keep attending! Challenging holds; major alignment issues for me to work into….and more knee bend than I ever get into willingly!
Check plus on Yoga day 2. We’ll see how much more I’m waddling tomorrow than usual ;) At least I’ll have cute running clothes to go with it ;)

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Yoga High after High Stakes in Vegas and High temps in Detroit

Brace yourself: this is one VERY LONG RUN ON SENTENCE!

I’m currently on a yoga-high. I can’t quite remark on the last time I’ve set foot in a yoga studio, but goodness did it feel great to be back!
I have been plotting that after I pushed myself through the Vegas race I would reward my body with some TLC in the form of flexibility and “static” strengthening. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t stand still; even when I’m apparently standing in one spot I’m always moving my hips side to side or bobbing forward and back on my toes….my body doesn’t like being still except to sleep…and oh how I love sleep ;)
So I bought a lovely unlimited month at YogaWorks on Groupon. I attended the YogaWorks 1/2; simple as simple gets. No crazy strengthening poses; just good ole stretching and focusing on body alignment. It felt delicious!
My Uncle Dave and I headed to Vegas for our annual race weekend. Last year the race was at night, however I travelled solo last year, so my Uncle got his first feelings of a night race. Mainly his sentiment: I feel like I’m wasting time in Vegas when I should be doing something, but don’t want to expend too much energy prior to the race. Eh, I was pretty ok with sitting, eating, drinking, and sleeping. The morning of the race I slept in, went to breakfast, went back to sleep, woke up and went for a late lunch, then started stretching and gearing up for the race. Our hotel room overlooked the pre-race staging area; so I watched all the marathoners filter in and head to the start line; can’t lie; it made my stomach flip a bit. I knew I didn’t prepare all that well for the race, but knew I could complete it feeling slightly better than Long Beach, since I wasn’t moving apartments the same weekend = more energy for race time. I toyed with whether to go out pushing hard and let myself hit the wall whenever and suffer through the rest (sounds like exactly what I signed up for, us crazy runners) or to start slow and get slower. I started with a faster corral, since originally I thought I’d be adding to my PR earlier this year… I kept my legs turning over and thought about form for a few miles; then my breathing eased in and felt like I could hold it for a while. I ran with the 2 hour pace group for a few miles…then started letting them drift away. My legs were feeling less than conditioned from the start line, but I only started feeling the fatigue set in around mile 9; took some electrolyte capsules which cleared my head, and then pushed….except my push was no longer getting as much distance traversed. I told myself; stay uncomfortable, thats the best you can do. So I decided I’d be happy with the race if throughout it I stayed uncomfortable….so that I did. My muscles yelled at me for not training properly, but they kept chugging; slower and slower, but they still did :) Crossed the finish line, looked at my watch for the first time since mile 1; and felt the bit of disappointment that any runner who has an inkling to want to keep pushing his/her PR feels… was a race no where near my PR, and guess what; it could have been if I had just trained.
I have to say congrats to RnRLV; they cleaned up the race spectacularly compared to last year. Last year’s race was a disaster; I’m sure you’ve read the reviews. They staggered the start time of the full and half, had the two courses meet up only near the end of each of the respective races, and had the marathon course barricaded (yes, runners are animals and need to be kept separate); so the marathoners had a clear path through the hoards of half marathoners for their last 2.2 miles. The start and finish were not at the same location this year, so it spread the spectators out as well as where all the participants were staying on the strip and traveling to/from. Congrats RnR for pulling this race back together. And they served Chocolate Milk! Was delicious at the end :)
So after the race I moseyed back down to Mandalay Bay from the finish at Bellagio (p.s. the fountain was going off when I finished…eh, a sign?)…..took a quick shower and got off my achey feet. Signed up for Surf City Half, wrote out an 8 week training plan day by day, and checked out the YogaWorks schedule for this week; wrote all the classes into my calender. OCD? Nah, just if it is written down, I’ll hold myself to it. I’ll publish the training plan as soon as I figure out how to do anything on my iPad….I’m tech challenged!
Since my last post: I ran the Detroit Turkey Trot with my Dad Thanksgiving morning in Detroit. To my happy surprise it was extremely mild temperature while I was home; race temp kept me comfortable in capris and a long sleeve…no hat required this year! It was great running with my Dad and our traditional breakfast in Downtown Detroit at SixPack….no not that kind, but yes that kind! Being home for Thanksgiving was great, lots of food, drinks, and company; and plenty of boardgames! And for the first time in 30 years of the Detroit Turkey Trot they handed out medals…ahh, exactly why I run ;)
And in a last ditch effort last week to feel semi ready for Vegas I dragged Tara out for a run after work! Tara disclaimed that she hasn’t been running since Long Beach, but was planning on going to the gym after work. My response, “Want to go running with me instead?” She said, “are you serious? Sure” Love it! So we took off down the beach path, I think I ended up doing 7.5 miles; and what a great way to make yourself go faster….Tara turned around first, I wanted to make it back to my old pier…and so running back I had to catch her, duh…so I had to go faster than we had been going before. When I reach her, she picks up speed….she was pushing me, it was great! AND, she beat me up the hill along superior. I told Tara to let me know when she’s ready to train for a marathon…she would be an awesome training partner! She is competitive when running, pushes the pace, yet still vulnerable and enjoys encouragement…..yes; exactly how I feel when running with some one else! So I may be waiting 16 more years until Tara’s baby boy turns 18 ;)
And to make the post a novel: Erika stated she wants to run a marathon for her 30th birthday. It got my wheels spinning….maybe I want to address the devil that ripped out my heart not once, but twice during 26.2 races…..mentally I’m healed, I don’t feel defeated by the terrible races. And I’m starting to feel motivated to hit a training plan that demands all I’ve got. These half’s I got to used to just “doing” without training. I know I could get a lot more out of them by training, but for some reason I’m not as motivated…with a full marathon I can’t just do it…I HAVE to train. Thats the challenge I like; one that I know I can’t beat without putting my mind, body, and heart into. I had 1 great marathon; and had a training partner for all but the last long run. Marathon 2 and 3 I trained solo; tried different styles; was more than prepared; quite possibly over-trained; and bonked terribly. So Marathon 4 will be with training partners; Erika and my ski buddy Maxine…who is wicked fast and British. Her kids are about my age and she qualifies for Boston over and over. Yep….she wants to run my long runs with me… I warned her of my slow legs; but my want and will (that needs to be strengthened with each run) to get faster. If someone else tacks me to it, I will be more loyal to pushing workouts a little harder. Runner loyalty; it speaks volumes. So…I’m not committed, but by writing this it feels more real…..haven’t signed up, but have a good base plan: yoga for a month, half marathon training over the next 2 months; will put me in great shape for a 4 month marathon training program. Eh, sounds like it may just be time :)
Happy Running, Happy Vegas, Happy Thanksgiving Day and Turkey Trots, and welcome back Happy Yoga!


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Welcome back to Mammoth :)

I am happily writing from the head nod condo in Mammoth. It is snowing, the snow on the ground crunches under your feet….perfect conditions for first trip of the year with the Disabled Sports. Instructor training….I hope I pass!

   Tuesday I felt the need to run a little longer than my M.O. I had  a busy day at work,  how I like it. So I strapped on my shoes, a long sleeve, and shorts. Ran down from work to the beach path and down past my old apartment to the end of the jetty and back; a little over 9.5 miles. It was dark, the breeze was blowing, and it was cool enough that I felt like fall in Michigan…even though it is now winter in Michigan. I did something I’ve never done before: had caffeine prior to my run….it fared pretty well; I felt like my eyes opened up from my long day at work and my mind was ready to be pushed.


So after I finished I packed for Mammoth…first things first. 

So I think the Vegas run will go. It will be great to spend the weekend with my Uncle and catch up with my high school friend Bonnie. Traveling for a race is a lucky thing in itself. So you just have to enjoy the experience and let the weekend roll.  It won’t be any amazing feat or time goal, but I think I should feel good running it. After all it is an evening run, sun will be down, hopefully a cool breeze in my face. But I have a plan (big surprise) for after the race. 1) I bought a groupon for unlimited yogaworks x 1 month. STAT, flexibility and mobility. My back has been aching…I don’t know if it is tension at work, not running as much so minimal trunk rotation…i don’t know, but it is nagging, worse when I sit than stand. So solution: get  it moving.   2) Sign up for Surf City Half for superbowl sunday. 3) commit to a training plan that includes some speed work….i did buy awesome flourescent green brooks running shoes and they have been collecting dust.  4) Take advantage of my gift certificate at Spa Gregoria (doh!) 5)Buy new running shoes…mine smell and look like mud 6) Make many more snowboarding trips;   Life is grand.


Happy snowboarding… running shoes are with me, possible altitude training ;)



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Run, Run, Swim…oh yea, there’s a race!

Alright, so I feel as though I’ve fallen off the boat.
Exhibit A: I can’t seem to get out of bed as well as I can turn off my alarm
Exhibit B: Slower than slow feels like I’m pushing
Exhibit C: I’m disciplining/torturing myself by making myself wear smelly, ratty, probably too many miles on them running shoes, ‘cus I didn’t put enough into the training to make myself “worth” a new pair of shoes.
Exhibit D: I am inconsistently running, biking, swimming, gyming, yogaing
Exhibit E: I am going to sleep no later than 10:30….is not enough sleep (for my spoiled sleeping body) to realistically expect to get up at a 5:30a.m. wake-up call. (I know more than half my friends just rolled their eyes, barfed in their mouths, and closed their Flipboard/Wordpress App). But ask my parents…I slept practically the first year of my life.

Point: I have the Vegas half marathon in less than 4 weeks…and I’ve given up on trying to regain any speed.

As much as I kept saying that I was just running Long Beach for Tara….and I was…but it still hit me mentally hard….how can I go from a sub 2 hour half to the slowest half I’ve ever ran. It just doesn’t feel good mentally to run a slow race…no matter what the circumstances are. And I think mixing a sport that I like to keep competitive with myself with something social or casual is not a good idea. It plays with my mind too much, grays the black and white lines.
So…I ran after work from work….hit the old bike path I used to run along at my old apartment. It is pitch black outside, but it is pedestrian traffic only. It felt good to run, but definitely felt awkward. Muscles are tight from not working out, instead of working out. Legs felt like lead. Had to focus on picking up my feet to not scuff the inside of my foot…yep, haven’t run in a while. Then I ran in the sunlight around my new apartment 2 days later. Felt much more “normal”. Need to do that again! And again, and again, and again.

Tonight I swam. I was upset after work; ‘cus of work. Sometimes I don’t have enough things to pour my heart into, and then I get over stressed at work…..a quick reminder how important balance is! So despite it being 59 degrees, which to my coming-off-California-summer skin felt COLD; and it being pitch black outside, I was dead set on getting to the outdoor pool with my new training suit. The water felt warmer than the air….made you want to keep swimming….well until my muscles felt tired and my bladder reminded me I gotta get out of the pool…like NOW! Felt good, but weird to be back in the pool; didn’t swim any great distance and am too lazy to go look at my scrap sheet of paper. Next time.

So what is in store:
5.5 more days of work until Mammoth trip
Run a longer run this weekend to start feeling semi-getting ready for the half distance
Swim tuesday and wednesday
Run Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday
Bike to/from work the days it is not raining
Pick up snowboard, pack, and hit the road Thursday at noon!
Foam roll my hip flexors DAILY. There it is written, I must do it. It’s a curse, but it happens. They are pathologic and have been ignored since I haven’t been running.

Ok: ready, set, break!

p.s. no pics ‘cus I am writing this from my new iPad, which I am delinquent with how to sync pics with my iPhone and be savvy with my apps to post pics…which I need multiple tutorials from Michael after him and Erika get done writing thank you’s and floating down from cloud 9 after their honeymoon.
Happy 1st of 2.5 Mondays for me…Friday for you! Happy Running and Swimming!

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Biking between the rain drops!

I welcomed myself back to road biking….with a 51 mile weekend. Yup, that’s how I do things. Was it to spin my legs to exhaustion? To get comfortable on the bike again? To be saddle sore enough to not let as much time go by before my next ride?….or maybe more time go by to not be so saddle sore! To spend a lot of time outdoors? To push endurance? Yes to spin my legs to exhaustion and yes to spending time outdoors.


Saturday I bike rode about 20 miles, venturing through new and familiar territory; the sea portion of the Mountain-to-Seas trail and Back Bay. It was a casual pace…practiced l-e-i-s-u-r-e bike riding instead of “MUST GET A GOOD WORKOUT….WORKOUT, WORKOUT, WORKOUT, THAT’S WHAT I NEED” It misted a bit here and there, remained cloud covered…it felt like a late spring day in Michigan. P.S. Michigan beat MSU this weekend, Go BLUE!

Sunday I rode around what felt like all of Orange County, what Google maps revealed: 31 miles. I took the Mountain-to-Seas trail towards the Mountains, then enjoyed some gradual climbs and lulls heading South into Irvine and east of all territory known to me, then through Shady Canyon and back up to Irvine. My legs were attached to me, I was very aware of them. My breath was deeper. My mind focused on climbing. It was a good workout!


Then…I welcomed myself back to running. Not in the way I know running, but all the same. I RAN ON A TREADMILL…..what!??!? Insert: I moved to a new spot, not 100% sure of the area yet = early morning no sun workout on the treadmill. I was half asleep…but my body was awake, so I strolled to the gym in my new apartment complex. I first strolled the totally wrong direction, ended up on the opposite side of the complex, only to make my way back and realize the gym is adjacent to the tennis courts that sit outside my back patio door….alright, so 15 minutes later…in the gym, walk up the stairs; 1 guy on the elliptical, 1 guy on the stair climber…..I step onto the treadmill. It is the kind I ran on back in February when visiting Chicago, in the hotel…not too shabby. It shows a picture of a track and shows you exactly where you are on the 1/4 mi track lap every single second of your run….yep, covered that up with a towel. Set a 9:05 pace…a little fast for my slow bones the first run since Long Beach 1/2…but it is 6:15 in the morning, I better make it count if I’m doing it. I started thinking 3, then jumped to 5…then settled on 4 miles when I saw 3.73 miles on the display.

While running I kept thinking, why aren’t my legs more tight or sore from bike riding. It is called aging. I am starting to notice it. I used to be a sore muscle girl 12-24 hours after a workout….now I start feeling it about 48 hours after a workout. SLOWER PROLONGED MUSCLE BREAKDOWN = losing my wipper-snapper ways. So today… walking down stairs makes my calves yell….that’s what I love about clipped in bike riding…your calves get worked in ways you can’t touch at the gym.

I can see how a treadmill would act as a good training partner…sets the pace….true to distance. But gosh is it boring. I even was playing Rhianna in my ears! And…I am not known to be the girl who can run up behind you without you knowing, so each step shakes the treadmill and it made me dizzy looking forward at the attached T.V… I had to look around one of the sides of the T.V. to a blank wall…hmm, maybe I should post an inspirational poster on the wall if this treadmill run becomes more frequent.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

Things I learned, well was reminded: 1) I do not run straight  2) Don’t focus on something attached to what you are running on…a.k.a.; I would start an earthquake in a mini-world 3) Running is not very fun when indoors, alone, and constrained to a belt. Really that statement could be applied to life: don’t constrain life by a belt.

Run with the wind blowing on your face, the sounds of the great outdoors: spoiled mine are the ocean and birds. this post is all over the place…my mind is tangentially spinning. Happy Biking, Running, Swimming(tomorrow) Goodnight!

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Swimming and grocery shopping!

So I did a local move last week. And, it flipped my “normal controlled” schedule upside down. It’s good to do every once in a while, but TODAY was the first normal-feeling day in my new place. I woke up, went to work, WENT TO THE POOL, and then stopped off at the grocery store on the way home. I don’t know what exactly it is about the swim splashing and grocery shopping that strung a familiar cord, but I love it!

The whole time I was in the pool….well…the whole time I was fully submerged…I was loving it! Getting in was generating a squeal since it was 90 degrees outside and 60-something in the pool…or maybe 70 something? Now it has been quite a while since I’ve been in the pool… since before Montana! eek. So I was expecting to suffer a little, not have my breath, feel some tweaks in the shoulders…but let me tell you! I kept breathing strong and

steady…and even started pushing my pace on my longer swims! Yep, everyone was still passing me, but I felt strong with each stroke. And I picked right back up with the last workout I did! Not an easy one:

300yd warm-up

50yd x2 single arm stroke

100 corkscrew with fins

Main set:

2 x 50 yd, 10 breaths

200, 20 breaths

25, 15

175, 20

25, 15

150, 20

25, 15

2 x 125, 20

25, 15

2 x 100, 10

2 x 75, 10

2 x 50, 10

1 x 25


100 KOS with 3 strokes, flippers

100 kickboard

It was dark and the pool lights were shining. My arms were enjoying being stretched out after lifting at the gym yesterday…there is something about swimming when you are sore or tight; it just laps away with the water brushing past your skin. I was pushing my strokes and breath. Ahh, I want to go back to the pool already! Maybe tomorrow?

Executive decision tonight: I need to buy a new TYR swimsuit…mine is holding up from senior year of college….yea 7 years old…I guess I can spend money on a new one ;)

Afterwards I stopped at the grocery store…bought out the fruit and veggie section and had prepared a list for mandarin orange and chicken salad and black bean patties with salsa! Now I just enjoyed a veggie array salad and sipping down the chocolate milk…ok I splurged with the chocolate milk purchase.

Starting to plan for the weekend…welcome back my running shoes, haven’t run since Long Beach Half…and saddle up on my road bike, it’s been neglected too!

Happy swimming!

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Long Beach Half, Moving Day for PD, Erika gets hitched, and I stepped back into a gym

Alright, lots to update. Then regular posting should reconvene :)

Last weekend I ran the much anticipated Long Beach Half Marathonwith Tara and Catherine. We ventured to the race expo together to get pumped up.

Tara and Me, lined up at the start….4:05 a.m. wake-up call…early early!

I finally felt a little excitement for the race. My mind had been preoccupied with moving, but I knew these girls had trained for this race and by golly I was going to take part in the glory!
Was there glory for me!? Yep…my Dad was in town to help me move. Yes, I’m lucky, but I was also in over my head with this move. I don’t think I would have made it through with my head on partially straight without him.

So…the last race my dad saw me run in: besides our annual Detroit Turkey Trot 10K we both run in,  was the Chicago Marathon 2008….which I had a bonk race so was way behind estimated time….and I don’t think he ever actually saw me run.

Dad….candid shot

I didn’t even realize how much it meant to me until I saw him at the 1 mile mark. A smile came to my face. At that moment I wished I was racing. I wanted him to be proud, to show him what hard work/training can lead to. But I was torn in too many directions for this race…and I had decided I was running with Tara and Catherine; it was a race for them; I was there to enjoy it. So Tara and I ran together for the first 4 or so miles, then I let Tara get on with her NoDoubt and music motivation, while I started sightseeing through Long Beach. It was hot, the sun was blazing…I wore my BicBand,

It stays put when my hair is sweaty….not dry. Wear during hot races like Long Beach!

newly purchased at the expo, but it was hidden by my traditional Nike running hat. I felt like I was pushing hard…but I was running slow. But whatever, I kept saying, just run the miles and enjoy the opportunity….the rest of the day was just going to be packing…so this was my “break” in the moving weekend. I saw my dad 5 times during the race. Each time I smiled and waved. I think I spotted him before he spotted me after the 1st mile. So many times I run races, not a single familiar face in the crowd…but I still spot them all. This time I was actually looking for a face I knew was there….I don’t know why, but that meant everything to me. So in the 12th mile I saw my Dad….I was almost finished, I was tired, my legs were not moving very fast, and I was a bit defeated by how slow this run had been…but none the less I got choked up. To know my Dad was seeing me, supporting me in person at the thing I love to do…run. Emotional runner, check.

Ok, so the best part of the race. Tara, Catherine, and I all ran within 90 seconds of each other. Each of us trained (or didn’t) separetely, yet we all ran a similar race. So….we should have run together, but who would have known! AND….Catherine AND Tara SMASHED their goals! So kudos to my running buddies and welcome to the half marathon world.

POST RACE…Tara KILLED her race goal. She rocked the race….what’s her next one!??!?!?!?!

There are still steps above so keep running and setting new goals :) At the end of it Tara had her usual discrediting comments….I told her I was proud of her and glad to have been running in the same race as her. I love sharing in running with other people….as much as my own experience is selfish…I like seeing how running makes others feel better about themselves, proud, motivated by setting and meeting a goal, more self-confident, like what they see in a mirror, shocked by the races outcome, and motivated to set the next goal!

So I moved….the next morning. The morning was calm..I hired movers. Then my Dad and I were back at cleaning, unpacking, organizing, taking down boxes, putting boxes together, lugging…everything. Then I sadly dropped my dad off at the airport Tuesday morning and tried to work the week while settling in.
Biked to work x 2

Showed my unfamiliar face at the gym x 1

This weekend:


Claire, MaryAnn, and I saw our rough attempts at choreographing come to light.

First Team Hoag led Flash Mob of the Cupid Shuffle. Yep..Claire and Dash have been teaching the Cupid Shuffle dutifully for 3+ weeks at 7:45 a.m. to the lucky people who participate in the Parkinson’s Exercise Class. Please see Flash Mob: What a great success!

After the FlashMob everyone walked 1 or 2 miles..I’d say most chose the 2 mile route. Then Claire, MaryAnn, and I persevered through overheating iphones, no microphone, and fly by the seat of our pants (I didn’t fly, but MaryAnn and Claire kept a strong grip on my pants tugging me with them). All in all: 45+ minutes of Rocky, Twist and Shout, Cecilia, Eye of the Tiger, and Macarana scarf throwing, trunk rotating, overhead and floor reaching, and conga line dancing. We were as sweaty as you could be, and the tent was filled with active participants! And…all 200 scarves were gone at the end. SUCCESS! Team Hoag is the top fundraiser and definitely the most dynamic team. Thanks to every one who participated and special thanks to Claire, MaryAnn, and Dash who brought the energy and filled Team Hoag! I’ll share pics as I get them.

So my car became my changing room, vanity mirror, and manicure chair. ‘Cus ERIKA was getting hitched that night! I drove out to Temecula; changed from Team Hoag Moving Day exercise leader to chic wedding guest in a Taco Bell bathroom…arrived at the wedding ceremony 1.5 hrs early….did my make-up and nails in the car, spritzed my perfume, and walked down to the ceremony site.

Reunion with Val and Rachel.

Let me preface. I LOVE WEDDINGS. Like sitting on the edge of my chair, big grin, tall posture, taking it all in. So I got to spend the rest of the night with my grin ear to ear celebrating Erika’s and Michael’s love for each other, reuniting with friends from grad school, and sharing with Erika’s family in the dancing floor craziness. If other people’s weddings make me this happy, can you imagine my own?

In the mean time I’ll keep getting my kicks with my running shoes, biking, and hopefully splashing back in the pool this week. Happy running.

Erika’s Bouquet in her rose vase!

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Running in the Dark, Cupid Shuffle, and Gangnam Style

I will admit, not my safest run… Maybe it is a false sense of security or an invincible cloak; but running along Newport and Huntington Beach at night feels secure.  I know, I know..until…

Anyways, I ran my long (relative) run, 12 miles, last night. I’ve been staying up later, working longer, and not eatting as well lately….so come Sunday after work; I laid down on the couch and slumped into a slumber. I awoke at 8…toyed with the idea of waking up REALLY early Monday morning to run long…and then decided to get my water bottle filled, gu in gear, and running shoes on. But I did something different….Knowing that I haven’t exactly stayed true to a training plan, and had a pretty dead leg 10 miler last weekend, popped my iphone in my ipod generation 2 arm-band…set the dial to Rhianna, followed by Lady Gaga and hit the beach path. No ear buds…just good ole speaker. I am not a music while running kind of girl, this was an act of desperation, knowing my thoughts would turn me back around earlier than at the 6 mile mark. It’s like running with a buddy, time goes faster. So I ran, into the wind…and ran and ran and ran….kept my eyes on every human I saw along the dark path…..10 min/mile average for the first 6 miles, 9:20-9:30 for the second 6 miles….finished with the sky clear, the moon shining bright, and a hypoglycemic sweat. No time for gu…I just wanted to run. So…shower, ate breakfast at 11:30 p.m., and crawled into bed. Apparently my body still felt like I was toying with the idea of running early, 6:20 a.m.; woke up….not refreshed by any means, but awake. Took the extra hour of awake time to stretch and ease into the morning. 12 miles, under belt…2 weeks until Long Beach.

My plan: SLEEP more, do some YOGA, figure out how to eat with my invisiline….yep, straighter teeth are on the way…but also graze eating is no longer an option….thinking drinking juice with my meals might add calories and keep me from being in a calorie deficit over the next two weeks… weight loss, sure I’d love it. But the timing is NOT appropriate…weight loss is not a happy thought when you are gearing up for a race. But after Long Beach, sure, I would welcome it.

Onto the new exciting event! Moving Day Orange County with the National Parkinson Foundation. Claire, MaryAnn and I met for a much needed happy hour and a lil’ music brainstorming to start working on a slamming routine for every one eager to participate. Think: Rocky theme song, Call Me Maybe, Cecilia by Tom Petty, the Macarana, and many more to move BIG and promote the neuroplasticity and neuroprotective effects of exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease. So I was finally exposed to Gangnam and the Cupid Shuffle…I even practiced with a tutorial video, ha. So….check out Team Hoag and my fundraising page and join in on October 13, 2012 for a celebration of movement! Over the next week I will be selecting only the best dance steps to choreograph with Claire and MaryAnn to get every one moving, Cupid instead of Parkinson shuffling, and way cooler than Gangnam. Stay tuned, or even better yet, join the team, join the movement!

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New chapters

My roommate left today to drive back across the country to home, New Jersey…for good. I was really sad to see her go. We’ve only lived together 3 months, but it was a bittersweet goodbye. I am happy for her that she is moving back home with her family. I am sad that she is leaving Newport and nudging me to find a new home. I have come to realize that it is time “to graduate from the peninsula”, as my neighbor pointed out to me today. It’s been great living by the beach, I love it. But I also don’t take advantage of any of the shops or restaurants immediately around me….so farewell to beach-side living…and hello to large apartment complex living. It’s a first! I’m excited, but as with all change, a little stressed!

So as Delia pulled away from the apartment, I laced up my running shoes…it was either cry to myself in an apartment alone, or run off some emotion. The latter always is more appealing to me.

I think I might be nearing new shoes time…..they are feeling a little cement-like lately.

Don’t get me wrong, every girl needs a good cry here and again, but I am not at that point YET, ha. So, running with the wind in my face, taking it easy but keeping myself from waddling along, pulling me knees through and pushing with each stride.

  At the end of the run, I felt calmer. I felt ready to tackle MY move, and I was “ok” with Delia being gone. I.E.: I AM AN EMOTIONAL RUNNER. I run for sanity; mental health just as much as physical health.

So here’s to a new chapter in life…life off the peninsula. I am planning on still riding my bike to work (a little less scenic of a route), and keeping up with the waves and beach regularly on runs…but I just won’t hear the waves as I fall asleep. ahhh….charmed life I lead.


Long beach…who’s running Long Beach…yea, umm this girl. I did commit. I will do it. I’m not going to love the race. Tara and I punched out 10 miles on Saturday…and let me was sweltering! My car temp. said 86 degrees when we finished at 10:00. Not my fav. kind of running weather. AND, Tara and I had a first together…..neither of us have EVER run with just our sports bras….we shield the pasty-white stomachs from the rest of

Tara after her 5K at the Leprechaun Leap, now she’s getting serious with a half. Long Beach better be ready for her!

civilization…but both of us hit 5 miles and were over-heating and over it….. sorry to all runner’s along Crystal Cove, PCH, and CDM….we were the two girls with REALLY WHITE STOMACHS. But, I think it was liberating too. I noticed on our t-shirt half of the run we didn’t have many hello’s from fellow runners, on our second half sports-bra run every biker and runner said hi or gestured a wave….we must have been more welcoming with just sports bras on…hmmm not sure what to think of that.  But let me give a HUGE shout out to Tara. This girl rocked it. She has been consistently training, following her training program, setting aside time for the gym and long runs. And it shows. She was pushing up the hills and keeping a quicker pace than I was comfortable running. She’s a rockstar and is going to kick Long Beach’s butt on Oct. 7th. I’ll come in somewhere behind her and kick her in the butt to make sure she takes a compliment ;)

Here’s to Happy Running, and destressing with running ;)

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