Monday, December 5, 2011

CIM–Love Letter, Race Report and Dire Warning all in One!

Consider yourself warned:  This is a tale of triumph, certainly, but I exhibit so much stupidity, stubbornness and downright foolhardiness on the way to said triumph that you are likely to find yourself quite frustrated with this post!

Dear California International Marathon,

I love you.  I’ve run your beautiful tree-lined course three years in a row now and the day registration opens for the 2012 race, you can bet I’ll be on Active.com with my credit card in hand.  You’ve done a great job keeping that hometown feel while getting bigger every year (though please, please, PLEASE don’t get too big – nobody likes wave starts!), and this year you really stepped up to the big time with a cute shirt and big honkin’ medal.  Thank you for that.  I’ve now run my three fastest marathons on your spectator-filled streets, and next year I promise to actually train for you.

Love and kisses,

P

So, about that lack of training.  Remember way back in early September when I was full of bright and shiny dreams about this year’s CIM?  (No?  Me neither, I had to go back and look it up.)  Things sort of fell apart right after that.  I was still running for a while, but my heart wasn’t in it.  Then, after a long run in early October I had a lot of pain in my foot that may have been tendonitis or possibly a stress fracture.  I never had it officially diagnosed (remember, you’ve been warned about the idiocy I demonstrate in this post!) because I couldn’t face a boot on top of everything else.  I was a good girl, though, and I stayed off my feet.  No running!  I became good friends with the elliptical trainer and the Stairmaster at my gym and I did A LOT of core work and strength training.  I wiped all thoughts of the CIM out of my mind and just focused on getting healthy.

After six weeks (let me do the math for you here – injury eight weeks ago minus healing for six weeks equals feeling better two weeks ago), my foot felt great and I was ready to get back to hitting the road.  I went out for very short, very easy-paced runs and felt terrific.  Then last weekend a terrible thing happened:  I thought about the CIM.  I thought about how much I love to run that race.  I thought about how I had already paid for it.  I thought about how long distance runs are more mental than physical and how I knew I could gut it out.  I thought about how it was the only marathon on my calendar this year and how much I would hate to miss out on running at least one.  To be fair, I also thought about how utterly ridiculous it would be to attempt a marathon after a “long run” of seven miles, but since this is, indeed, a race report, you already know how much credence I gave that last thought.  As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon!”

I tried to be realistic about the whole running-an-untrained-marathon thing.  Obviously, I wouldn’t actually be running the whole thing!   I told myself repeatedly that what I would be doing was completing a marathon.  I decided to do a run-walk, starting with five minutes of “running” at a comfortable easy pace to one minute of walking and then making adjustments during the race as I fatigued.  Funny side story about this decision:  months and months ago, I had entered to win a Gymboss from Julie over at Adventure is Out There, but didn’t win.  I didn’t really think about it again, but I was on Amazon looking for a Christmas gift for IronHubs last Monday, when what should appear in my suggestions but a Gymboss?!?  Well, there’s no such thing as coincidence, so I ordered myself a hot pink one on the spot.  Here’s a little spoiler for the race report – that Gymboss is my new favorite thing!!  It was awesome and I love it and I am probably going to marry it!

Let’s get on to the actual race report, shall we?

Christmas Decorating and CIM 008

The expo seemed much better than usual this year, but I think that’s because I went at a very uncrowded time.  Plus I randomly ran into a friend from high school and scored a pair of Zoot compression knickers for ten bucks.  Sweet!

Christmas Decorating and CIM 037Trying to pretend like I wasn’t nervous, but who am I kidding?  I was a wreck, just like always!  You can see the Gymboss peeking out from under my bib.

Lining up at the start, I stayed in the way back.  The way, way, waaaaaaaay back.  I didn’t have a time goal, other than hopefully finishing before the six hour cutoff, so I didn’t want to get suckered into going out fast.  Ha!

So I went out fast.  Thankfully, I had the Gymboss beeping at me, reminding me to take a little break.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a walking break just FIVE MINUTES into a marathon??  But like the Pavlovian dog I am, every time the Gymboss beeped, I did what I was supposed to do and that meant walking breaks.  Side note:  the Gymboss lasted about ten seconds on my waistband, but not because it was uncomfortable.  Have you ever listened to 9,000 people running a marathon?  There is a whole lot of beeping going on!!  Some people had cadence beepers, others were fueling alerts, many were mileage markers and lots of runners had run/walk alarms like me.  I couldn’t tell which one was mine, so I kept the Gymboss in my hand so I could hear it better and look at it occasionally.  Well, not really “occasionally,” more like every 30 seconds.  But whatever.

The CIM bills itself as “net downhill,” which cracks me up.  Yes, technically that’s true:  the finish line is 400 feet of elevation lower than the starting line, but there’s nothing but hill after hill on the way there!

CIM Elevation GraphElevation chart from my Garmin.

With the scheduled walking breaks, I ended up walking a lot of the downhills, which I thought was sort of funny since everyone else around me seemed to be walking the uphills.  I couldn’t believe all the complaining I heard about the hills!  Seriously, didn’t these people look at the course profile at all?

In spite of the hills (which didn’t seem all that hard, thank you Stairmaster!) and the walking breaks, the miles just flew by me.  I felt great!  It was a mere 32 degrees at the start, but when the sun came up it warmed up very nicely without ever getting hot.  I kept my pace easy and enjoyed the scenery and the cheering spectators.  One of my favorite signs said, “You are all AWESOME!  crazy… but AWESOME!”  I also saw a group of people with “Occupy CIM” signs that made me laugh.  There was one family that I saw no fewer than a dozen times with “Go, Mom, GO!” signs.  I never figured out exactly who they were cheering for, but she must have been running just a little bit behind me the whole time.  They were very loud and much appreciated in the later miles!

Around Mile 5, I realized I was gaining on the 4:25 pace group ahead of me.  I couldn’t believe it!  I’ve already admitted to so much lunacy already that I’m not going to tell you how seeing them totally made me competitive and I’m not going to mention that passing them at Mile 6 was one of the high points of the race for me.  Even though it totally was.

Before I knew it, I was nearing the halfway point!  I was expecting to see my cheering squad somewhere around there, but I wasn’t sure where they would be.  IronHubs captured this totally funny sequence of photos as I found them:

CIM Halfway

Seeing my support crew at Mile 13 was a huge morale booster, even though I didn’t actually need it yet.  I was still feeling great until about Mile 16, when my legs started asking me why the heck we were still running.  Or walking.  Or, really, still moving at all.  Couldn’t we sit down for awhile, please?

You know, people talk about hitting the wall at Mile 20 and having to let adrenaline carry them through the final six miles, but personally, I find Miles 17 – 23 to be the hardest of a marathon.  You’ve run a really long way, but still seem to have an awfully long way to go.  By Mile 23, though, there’s an energy in the air.  You can smell the finish line getting closer.

Around Mile 17, the 4:25 pace group passed me up. I kept them in sight until about Mile 19, but there was absolutely no thought in my head of keeping up with them. It was never my intention to run this thing fast, so I focused all my energy on just moving forward at all times.  This is when I truly fell in love with the Gymboss.  All I had to do, all I needed to think about, was running for five minutes.  Then I got to walk for one minute.  Then I only had to run for five minutes - anybody can run for five minutes!  - then I got to walk for another minute.

I got an unexpected and much needed boost at Mile 21 when I heard my mom and my sister clapping and cheering and hollering for me.  I wasn’t expecting to see them there, so thank goodness they called out my name or I probably would have stumbled right past them.  What a lovely thing it is to see a friendly face at Mile 21!  They lied and told me I looked wonderful and reminded me I only had six miles left (they thought they were at Mile 20, it was sort of funny).  Their energy got me through the last of the cruel miles and pushed me toward the finish line.

By Mile 24, I was digging as deep as I had.  I was counting how many more times I would be able to walk and yet dreading both the walking break and the picking-it-back-up-to-a-run.  My muscles wanted nothing to do with changing speeds.  Slowing down was almost as awful as speeding up, but I kept doing it every single time the Gymboss told me to.  I thought a lot about changing the intervals and walking more, but I was so close to the end.  I kept telling myself that I had made it this far, I could go a little farther.

CIM Pace GraphLookit all those perfectly even intervals.  You can see where I stopped to hug my cheering fans at Miles 13 and 21.  I have no recollection of slowing down so much at what must have been Mile 24, but I think I was delirious by then.

My very last walking break should have been at Mile 25.5, but at that point on the course, the spectators are three deep on the sidewalks, screaming their heads off for you and waving signs that say things like “Only 8 blocks left!”  So I ran it all the way in.  I’m using the word “ran” very loosely here, you understand.

Christmas Decorating and CIM 108I was so freakin’ happy to see that Finish Line!!

Christmas Decorating and CIM 126Since I started in the way back, I get to subtract four minutes from the clock.  Official finish time – 4:35:16, my second fastest marathon to date!!

Ahhh, sweet marathon glory! 

Ok, now for the dire warning:  DON’T EVER DO THIS!  Seriously, I’m an idiot.  Nobody should run a marathon without training for it and believe me, my quads and hamstrings have been reminding me of that fact all day long today.  Respect the distance!

Friday, November 25, 2011

IMAZ – an IronSherpa Report

I am almost caught up on vacation laundry, so I figured I really ought to get this spectator report written... 

IronMan Arizona was an absolutely amazing event, even as “just” a spectator.  IronHubs’ training cycle had gone exceptionally well and he was ready to throw down an awesome day.  We loaded up Big Boy and Little Boy into the family truckster – which was mostly full of race gear – and set off on the 12+ hour drive to Arizona.  Thankfully, my dad lives pretty close to Tempe, so we were able to make a little racecation out of it.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 010

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 008Loading up on M-Dot merchandise.  I wish I had taken a picture of the line inside the tent!  I grabbed the first shirt I saw and stood in line while IronHubs went to the athlete check-in.  He had time to do the whole check-in process and meander around the merchandise tent (racking up a triple digit total, of course!) before I made it to the cashier.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 020They were putting out the Ford Ironman buoy while we were scoping out the swim start – Photo Op!

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 066A view of the transition area during bike check-in from the Mill Avenue bridge.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 060Taking a selfie for Facebook.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 064We met Coach Troy!!  And by “we,” I mean IronHubs.  Coach Troy was so ridiculously good-looking in person that I instantly turned into a chubby, awkward teenage girl and couldn’t say a word.  Fail!

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 070The transition area at about 6:30 am on race morning.  IronHubs may or may not (my bet is on “not”) be in this picture – the spectators were six or seven deep down near the water, so I was standing on my tiptoes just to catch a glimpse of IronHubs before the race start.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 079When the athletes started swarming out of the water in huge groups, I thought for sure I’d never see IronHubs, but I did!  I was standing near the wetsuit strippers, who had one of the toughest volunteer jobs of the day.  Most of the people coming out of the water were frozen and disoriented, but also in a hurry to get on with the race.  Yikes, talk about pressure!  I saw more than one person hit their head on the ground while getting stripped, quite a few people whose day was probably over from hypothermia, and one very funny full-frontal when a swimsuit came off with the wetsuit! IronHubs’s swim time wasn’t fast, but it was just about what he expected, 1:33:37.

After a rather lengthy T1 (including a full change into warm, dry clothes and a stop in the porto-potty), IronHubs was out on the bike course!  This whole race course was exceptionally spectator-friendly, with a three loop bike and run.  After I saw IronHubs leaving T1, I knew I had a little less than two hours until I’d see him again.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 127Looking serious but riding strong at the first turnaround.

I updated Facebook, grabbed a bite to eat, chatted with the other spectators and rang my cowbell for all the athletes riding by.  What an inspiring parade!  So many people of all different sizes and ages, accomplishing something amazing.  Loops 2 and 3 of the bike took about the same amount of time as Loop 1, then IronHubs cruised into T2 ready to run a kickass marathon.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 157Finishing up 112 miles on the bike in 6:05:48.

At last year’s Silverman, IronHubs looked awesome going into the run, but stomach troubles kept him from finishing quite as fast as he would have liked.  I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous about that happening again.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 168All smiles at the start!

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 181Yay, still smiling at Mile 3-ish!

IMAZThis is a pretty good representation of how I spent my day:  loaded down with a backpack and camera, clapping and cheering for everyone while nervously waiting to see MY athlete.

IMAZ and Grand Canyon 202The three loop course was sort of a strange figure-8, so we were actually able to see IronHubs twice on each loop.  As the miles piled on, he definitely slowed down, but still looked great and was still running strong. 

It got darker, it got cold again after being very warm in the middle of the day.  The kids ate race expo food instead of dinner and I kept looking at my watch.  I had spent the entire day feeling anxious and sick to my stomach – What if the water is so cold he can’t warm up?  What if he crashes?  What if he gets a flat?  What if he has stomach problems?  What if, what if, what if? – so there are almost no words to describe how wonderful it felt to see IronHubs at the end of a 4:15:25 marathon, happy and strong, running into the finishing chute and hearing those immortal words:

IMAZ Finish“YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!”

*whew*  It’s tough work being an IronSherpa, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and comments on my last post.  I wish I had a happier update for us all, but my dear friend’s son passed away September 28th.  The injuries he sustained after being hit by a car while riding his bike home from school were simply too traumatic.  There are no words for a devastating loss like this.

My friend is one of the most generous and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met.  She is establishing a public awareness campaign about driving safely in school zones in loving memory of her son, Team T.O.M. (Take One Minute).  Accidents like Tom’s can be avoided if drivers just remember to be vigilant and cautious in school zones.

TT Ribbon

As for me, I’m doing what I can to help, which never feels like enough.  Everything else in my life is taking something of a back seat right now, which I know you totally understand.  At some point in the near future, I hope to get back to reading and commenting.  I’ve missed you.  In the meantime, hug your kids.  Treasure them.  And please, please, PLEASE drive safely!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gone for a While

Friends, I haven’t been keeping up with blogs this week and probably won’t get back to it for a while.  My very, very dear friend’s 14-year old son was hit by a car while he was bicycling home from school on Wednesday.  Tom is a great kid with a big heart, and he is fighting for his life in intensive care right now.  My world has been reduced to staring at my phone, waiting for updates on Facebook and pacing my house.  I am sleep-walking through work, I shuffled through my race yesterday and I am struggling to keep my fears from affecting my kids.  All the while thinking to myself how much worse it is for my wonderful friend.  I truly appreciate – because I know how thoughtful and kind you all are – the moment you’ve just spent sending healing thoughts to Tom.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Digits! (or, “How Zumba Saved my Long Run”)

It’s funny how life has a way of reminding you (and of course by “you,” I mean me) not to take yourself (errrr, myself) too seriously.  Mere moments after proclaiming to the world that I never run races I haven’t trained for, the running gods blew me a little raspberry:  I got an email yesterday morning from a duathlon friend, asking me to join her triathlon relay team for a race THIS SATURDAY.  Apparently the runner she’d been counting on is battling a minor injury, so she wondered if I could take on the five-miles-of-single-track-trail leg of the race.  “Of course I can!” was my response, because, really, why the heck not?  I am about as unprepared for this type of run as a girl can possibly be, but I’m giddy with excitement anyway – what a fun challenge!

So, with a few readjustments here and there on my training plan to work out my mileage, it turned out that I was going to need to get in my long run today.  Oh.  Alrighty then.  I ate some pasta for dinner last night and pre-hydrated so I could be ready Freddy for ten miles this morning.

I was already looking forward to this week’s long run – double digits!  For the first time this year!  Running ten miles sounded like I was finally going on a “real” long run.  With all that anticipation and preparation, you would think I was rarin’ to go this morning, right?

Ugh, not really.  I got up around 4:45 or so and did all my normal morning stuff – coffee, blog reading and “business” – so I could be out the door by 5:30.  It struck me by the time I got to the end of my block that it was…well, I won’t use the word “hot” because you’ll laugh at me, but 60-something degrees at 5:30 am didn’t feel like the cool and refreshing morning I had hoped for.  And silly me, I had made a Gatorade to bring with me and left it on the counter!  D’oh!

The first mile was hard.  So hard I found myself whining in my head, “How am I going to run ten miles if I can’t even run ONE?”  My goal for the run was marathon pace, but I decided that anything within one minute of marathon pace was close enough for now.  Usually after the first mile, my legs loosen up and I can settle into the run.  Not so much today.  I made it to the two mile mark still bargaining with myself about my pace goal.  I put my headphones on so I wouldn’t have to listen to my own huffing and puffing anymore, thinking that might help me get in the zone.

Mile three rolled around and even the Black-Eyed Peas hadn’t been able to turn my feet from lead into gold.  Then something funny happened – one of my Zumba songs shuffled into the mix and my legs started to bailar.  That’s “to dance” in Spanish, and yes I know that means I just said “…my legs started to to dance,” but since I only learned that word a few days ago, I’m not quite up to conjugating it just yet.  I know Restaurant Spanish from my many years of apron-wearing service – “Mas platos, por favor!” – and I can swear quite colorfully thanks to the busboys’ fine tutoring, but I know very little other than that.  One of the girls in the Zumba class I teach told me about bailar and now that I’m listening for it, I can pick it out of a lot of songs.  Zumba songs frequently talk about dancing, go figure!

So there I am, running along, listening to Que Te Mueve, and my hands sort of involuntarily start doing a little Beto Shuffle.  Next thing I know, I’m cruising along at a really nice clip and feeling great.  My legs kept running, but in my head, I was moving and grooving like I was teaching a class.

I totally look like this when I’m teaching my class.  Totally.

In the end, I managed to negative-split my run and even squeaked in with an average pace a few seconds under my marathon goal pace.  Ten miles, spanked.  w00t!

Post Long Run 003Savoring my post-run compression tights and a chocolate-banana-spinach-and-peanut butter protein shake.

Have you ever taken a Zumba class?  Do you understand any of the songs?

What’s your favorite post-run meal or drink?  Have you ever put spinach in a smoothie?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miner’s Ravine 5K–Race Report

Oh, man, what a morning!  My 5K was a tiny little race (202 participants), but it ran the gamut for dramatic moments.  We should’ve had Jim McKay there announcing, “Spanning Central California to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This is the Miner’s Ravine 5K!!”

Remember how on Thursday I was all, “This race has no pressure, I’m totally okay with whatever I run”? 

Yeah.  I’m a big, fat liar. 

Here’s the thing:  I don’t race for fun.  I wish I could.  I tell myself all the time to relax and enjoy the run and take things as they come, etc.  But you know what?  I’m not that girl.  One time I did a race that wasn’t my primary goal and I will never do that to myself again.  I train for specific races and then I run them to the best of my ability.  It’s why I only do about 8 races a year.  It’s why I found myself in a tight ball of nerves at this morning’s starting line, thinking to myself, “Maybe I have a great race in me.  I’ll have to push it to find out for sure.”

Miner's Ravine 5K 004Ready to run, trying to keep my coffee down.

In my opinion, 9 am is a little late for a race start.  I had already been up for hours and I was beyond antsy to get going.  We watched the super cute kid’s race go at 8:30, then the 10K went off (a few minutes late, because they were waiting for all the kids to clear the course) at 8:55, and then it was finally time for the 5K at 9:10.

This race was tough right from the get-go.  The first stretch was a really steep downhill (which of course would be the last gasp uphill at the finishing chute!), with a sharp right turn followed immediately by a sharp and narrowing left turn with more steep downhill and then another sharp right turn.  Yikes!  I positioned myself a little off the starting line because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go out super fast in those conditions.

Miner's Ravine 5K 027There were lots of kids at this race.  They all started right in front of me and all but one of them came to a screeching walk after about a quarter of a mile.  That wasn’t annoying at all.

Miner's Ravine 5K 037Navigating the last sharp turn.  You can see that lots of people passed me on that first downhill section.  It’s okay, I caught most of them later.

After that first part, we settled in to some gentler turns with some mild climbing.  I felt good and I started passing people.  The hills kept coming, sort of like stair-steps:  climb for a bit, then level off, then climb some more.  This was fine by me, as I’m not a strong downhill runner.  None of the hills were overwhelming by themselves, but they definitely had a cumulative effect. 

About half a mile in, the crowd had thinned out and I found myself hanging out behind a group of cross-country aged girls and one very young boy.  I could tell I was gaining on the group, but I didn’t want to waste the energy to go around them, so I sort of crept into the middle of them instead.  They parted like the Red Sea and I kept running hard.  One girl hung with me and we both hung with the little boy who was still running strong.

It took forever to get to the 1 Mile mark.  There was no end to the hills and I was wondering if I’d gone out too hard.  “Wondering” – ha! – I always go out too hard!  What I was really wondering was whether or not I was going to crash and burn before the turnaround.  I glanced at my Garmin, though, and I went from thinking, “This is too hard,” to thinking, “OMG, I’m holding a sub-8 pace on these hills?  I rock!”  That mental boost kept me pushing.

Just after the first mile marker, I could see the lead runners coming back.  As I approached the turnaround, I saw the lead girl.  Wait, what?!?  I was second place female??  Oops, make that third place female, since my little cross country friend was back in front of me again.  But, still.

After we turned around, the course became net downhill, which was a huge relief.  I tucked in behind the XC girl and the little boy and we hammered back toward the finish.  Right about Mile 2, a little girl (seriously, she was 8 years old!) went flying past us.  I was already giving it everything I had, so I let her go.  Around Mile 2.5, I could feel both the little boy and the XC girl starting to fade.  Both of them were suddenly breathing a lot harder and slapping their feet a little more.  I had a total “Mom moment” though, and didn’t want to pass them!  After a few seconds’ hesitation, I knew I had to push myself to do whatever I could, even if it meant passing children, so off I went.  There was one more guy up ahead and I really wanted to reel him in.

Miner's Ravine 5K 046Gotcha!  I passed the guy right before the last two big uphill sections.

Miner's Ravine 5K 049Final turn, giving it every single thing I had.  You can see how much it hurt!

Miner's Ravine 5K 053Cross-country girl had more.  It was a family venue, so I kept it quiet, but here’s photographic evidence of me dropping an F-bomb because I just got passed in the finishing chute!  Ha, ha!!

Miner's Ravine 5K 069The agony of defeat was incredibly short-lived, because right about then was when I saw the clock!  I knew I was a little off the start, but didn’t know how many seconds.  Could this be a PR???

I came flying up to the Finish Line, stopped my Garmin and checked my time – 23:35.  Holy smokes!  But I still didn’t know if that was a PR!  I couldn’t remember!  I grabbed a water and a bagel and racked my brain to remember if my PR was 23:35 or 23:36.  Either way, today was huge, but I made IronHubs look it up on his phone.  While he was doing that, they posted race results and it turned out that I PR’d by two seconds!! 

Official time – 23:34!!

Miner's Ravine 5K 082Making the day even sweeter – really, making my YEAR even sweeter – was the fact that I won my age group!  Boo-yah!!

I know good and well that 23rd overall, 4th place female and 1st in my age really just means that all the fast girls were racing elsewhere today (seriously, there were like four local races to choose from this weekend!), but the two second PR?  That was my hard work, and I’m going to bask in the glory of those two little seconds until my next PR.

How was your weekend??  Anybody else shave two seconds off their previous best??

Friday, September 16, 2011

(Rather Random) Friday Five!

One of these days (but apparently not this week), I will write a blog post that includes an actual narrative.  Until then, however, I am all about the bullet points.  Ha, ha!  Here’s my Friday Five:

  1. Today was pretty much the best mail day EVER!  First up, I ordered a pair of these bad boys from runningwarehouse.com yesterday afternoon and they showed up on my doorstop this. morning.  Dang, I love Running Warehouse!  And I suspect I’m going to love these Merrell Pace Gloves, too.  I haven’t taken them off my feet yet.  Initial review coming later next week after I’ve had a chance to test them out.
    Random 013Merrell calls this color “acacia,” but I would go with straight up yellow.
  2. You might be wondering - why did I get the Merrells when I already love my Vibrams so much?  Let’s call it peer pressure.  I hear an unbelievable amount of crap nonsense from people at work about my Vibrams and I’ve grown tired of trying to explain why I wear them.  Notice the word “trying” in that sentence.  People simply don’t understand why I would want to wear a shoe that mimics being barefoot.  On the other hand, though, I’ve noticed that when I wear regular shoes to work, my feet and legs hurt by the time I get home!  I’m hoping the Pace Gloves will be the best of both worlds – barefoot shoes that look “normal.”Random 010Bonus - they match my new favorite skirt that I got at Sports Authority for 14 bucks! Why wouldn’t I wear running shoes with a skirt??
  3. Looky what else came in the mail today:  Random 012Study stuff!  I know for a fact I was never this excited about a text book when I was in high school or college.
  4. IronHubs and I went for a lovely ride on the American River Bike Trail this morning.  It was perfect weather and mighty nice company.  TurkeysOh, wait, the turkeys weren’t good company, I was talking about IronHubs!  D and PWhy yes, we were extra visible in our neon yellow!
  5. And now here’s a funny photo of my cat sleeping in Big Boy’s bed (complete with vintage Star Wars sheets that belonged to IronHubs circa 1978):  Random 001Did you seriously wake me up to take a picture for your blog?  WTF?

Happy Friday, everyone!!  What five random things are on your mind today??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Triple Ts

Happy Thursday!  It’s my Friday for the work week, so I’m feeling good and bustin’ out some bullet points!

  1. I ran nine miles this morning!  Yes, I know I was just crowing about my eight mile awesomeness on Monday, but this week’s long run had to be moved up a few days.  More on that in Bullet Point Number Two.  Nine miles felt spectacular!  I ran here in town, which means that there was exactly one hill on my route and it doesn’t actually count as a hill because it’s just an overpass.  Lucky me, it’s pretty easy to run nine flat miles.  Talk to me when I do hills again next week for my ten-miler.  I hit marathon pace with no problems and saw a surprising number of other runners (surprising because it was 6 am on a Thursday, not exactly running rush hour).  Pretty soon I’m going to stop mentioning this, but today’s run was my longest run of 2011!
  2. I’m racing this weekend!  It’s “just” a 5K, but I’m pretty excited about it.  I haven’t raced a 5K in a rather long time (March 2010, to be exact).  Crazy, right?  But I PR’d by so much at that race that I frankly don’t see myself beating that time ever again.  And being the kind of girl who is ridiculously competitive with myself, I sort of didn’t want to race any more 5Ks and “lose.”  This one is perfect, though, because it’s a very hilly course, so there’s pretty much no chance of a PR.  There, now the pressure is gone!  I’m going into the race thinking of it as speedwork and hillwork combined, both of which I need to train for the CIM.  My goal is to run strong and push hard.  Time-wise, I’m okay with whatever comes to me.
  3. Blogging has turned me into a person without shame!  This week isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it, but I had to laugh at myself and the state of my blogging life on Tuesday when I picked the winner of the PROBAR giveaway.  I had my blog open in the browser and little slips of paper all over the floor  when Little Boy came home from school.  Without even taking off his backpack, he hustled over and said, “Ooooh, a bloggy giveaway!  Do you need me to take pictures?”  I was unembarrassed as he filmed me chanting eenie, meenie, miney, moe.  I don’t even think twice anymore about snapping selfies in public or posting unflattering pictures of myself on the internet.  In fact, here are a few outtakes from past posts to give you a little giggle on this fabulous Thursday:

Core Work 091Don’t do core work like this.

Sweaty Post Run Pics 001This was the very first selfie I ever took for the blog, way back in June 2010.  I remember feeling terribly self-conscious and hoping IronHubs and the kids wouldn’t wake up while I was taking this photo!

Easter 011Nerd Alert!  I took no fewer than a dozen photos in this silly pose the day I was blogging about bare arms.

Power of Ten Virtual Race 003I have so many headless photos of myself it’s re-donk-ulous!  Selfies are harder than they look.

Adventure Winner 004Some people really shouldn’t wear hats and make that stupid duck face.  And by “some people” I mean me.

What’s the silliest/most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done for your blog??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winner, Winner, PROBARs for Dinner!

Actually, more like PROBARs for lunch, but that doesn’t rhyme.

Okay.  So remember when I won the RLAM giveaway and I was all excited about getting a box of HALO bars and a box of the PROBAR meal replacement bars?  Well, the HALO bars arrived on my doorstop unaccompanied and I thought maybe I was wrong about getting both boxes and really, who cared because the HALOs were so yummy and I didn’t need to get all greedy, right? 

Holy cats, guess what showed up today?

PROBAR Winner 018Yes, there was already one missing by the time I took this picture!

I walked in the door after work to find this box of beauties waiting for me and lemme tell ya, there was no other option but to snarf up the Koka Moka for lunch.  Nom, nom, nom!!  Definitely a meal replacement, these bars hover around the 350 calorie/18 grams of fat mark.  It’s good fat, of course, with all those nuts and peanut butter.

The Koka Moka didn’t disappoint – it was nutty, chewy, delicious and definitely filled me up.  I’ve already put my dibs on the Apple Cinnamon Crunch and Kettle Corn bars, but I suspect I’ll have to arm wrestle the kids and IronHubs for the others.

Mighty good timing for these bars to show up when they did, since today was the day to pick a winner for my PROBAR giveaway!  I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I couldn’t possibly do this the easy way.  Here’s how one lucky reader was chosen:

PROBAR Winner 00160 comments = 60 little slips of paper.

PROBAR Winner 003Each slip of paper got folded for anonymity and mixed up for randomness.

PROBAR Winner 005All the entries, waiting to be chosen.

Oh, but how did I pick the winner?

Do the math–60 comments, only one winner. Yes, that means I did this 59 times!

A bazillion years later, there was just one piece of paper left:

PROBAR Winner 016Lucky number 47!  I’ve never noticed until today that the comments aren’t numbered on posts, so I scrolled down and counted them until I found…

PROBAR Winner 017The WINNER!!!

Congratulations, Sophia!!  Shoot me an email with your shipping address so you can enjoy your very own box of HALO bars!

Thanks to everyone who entered!  If you didn’t win, remember that you can order your own PROBARs online and score 40% off with the discount code “BLOGGER”!  Happy nomming!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

Another Monday…how’d that happen?  I had one of those weekends that doesn’t feel very weekend-y (I worked), so today’s post is brought to you by my dear friend, the bullet point:

  • I ran EIGHT MILES yesterday!!!  You might not think that is worthy of three exclamation points, but I totally do.  Eight continuous miles is my longest run so far this year.  Yes, the calendar year 2011.  Eight miles.  It’s been a long, slow recovery year, for sure!

8 miler 001You can see from the little “swapping arrows” that I moved this run from Saturday to Sunday.  I am incapable of following a training plan in its entirety.

  • I met my goal pace, but it was a close one.  Yesterday’s route was a hilly one and I found myself averaging well over Marathon Pace nearing mile 6, so I picked it up.  A lot.  Good to know I have two really strong miles in me at the end of a hilly run!
  • Yesterday’s run finished up my second highest mileage week of the year (with the week of my half-iron being the highest mileage so far) at a little over 19 miles.  Sa-weet!
  • Saturday was Big Boy’s first cross country meet of the season and he did exceptionally well, busting out a 6:22 pace!   I’m so glad he got IronHubs’ genes, because speed like that sure isn’t coming from me!

rosemont cc 2011 067Tired and happy!

  • I bit the bullet this weekend and decided to get certified as a Personal Trainer!  I looked into it over a year ago, then landed my current job.  I’m a fitness trainer, which basically means I do the same thing, but I’m not certified.  Therefore, I only make about half of what a certified trainer makes.  Why was this a tough decision??  It shouldn’t have been, and I kick myself all the time that I didn’t follow through last year.  C’est la vie.  Study materials arrive this week and I’ll be taking my test sometime in the next six months – wish me luck!
  • Today is the last day to enter my HALO bar giveaway, so go and get your entries in now!!

Happy Monday!