Category Archives: Running

Race Recap – California International Marathon

Happy New Year!

CIM was over a month ago.  During the first half of the race, I was writing my recap in my head.  I was beaming, thinking about how I would describe that I took risks and exceeded all expectations!

So….what happened in the second half of the race and the last six weeks?

Pre-race:

On Saturday, I headed up to Sacramento.  I checked in at the adorable Citizen Hotel.  The Citizen was very welcoming to CIM runners.  They are a couple blocks away from the Sacramento Convention Center which serves as the expo location and one of the bus pick-up spots.  They offered a special runner dinner in their restaurant as well as a verrrrry early morning breakfast.  Did I mention it’s adorable?

IMG_1135

Went over to the expo, found my name on the sweet CIM board, got my bib, and headed back to watch junky TV with my legs up.

This child needs to stop fame-blocking me.

This child needs to stop fame-blocking me.

There are tons of restaurants in the downtown area to get your carb needs met.  I went with sushi at a place with decent Yelp reviews (totally unmemorable) and grabbed my secret weapon ice cream from a liquor store.  Curled up with ‘Bridesmaids’ and got to sleep by about 9:30.

Race morning:

Woke up feeling good, rested, nervous.  Did all the typical morning things and rushed out, leaving my sunglasses and water behind.  Then I waited in 40 degree weather for the bus for like 20 minutes.  I’m an idiot.  My bus stop was probably the busiest one but there were buses for everyone.  We were definitely a big herd of cattle but overall, CIM is a very organized race.  The buses were warm and I had a lovely seat-mate to chat with during the 30 minute ride.  When we arrived, the sun was coming up and I opted to stay on the bus before finishing my bathroom business (PHEW) and lining up at the start.  Note about the start: CIM does not have corrals.  Runners self-seed based on anticipated finish but I didn’t experience any bottlenecking!  Also, they have the longest row of porta-potties I have ever seen.

Miles 1-13:

Perfection.  Beautiful sunrise.  Perfect weather.  The rolling hills play perfectly to my mental and physical strengths.  I was aiming for about 10:07 pace but I felt so good that I allowed myself to run many of these miles in the high 9’s.  This was my perfect race day.

Except…I was kind of thirsty….  I’ve never felt thirsty while running before.  Maybe this was because I’d had half a diet coke at 5am and started running at 7 (I KNOW).  No matter, I would begin my fueling strategy (2-3 chews every 3 miles) at the first aid station and all would be well!  Tra la la!

Great success!  Everything is perfect!  What can go wrong?!

Great success! Everything is perfect! What can go wrong?!

Miles 14-20:

Right at mile 14, I began to feel TIRED.  I was so pissed at myself for going out so “fast”.  I’m such a conservative runner.  I couldn’t believe I was squandering a marathon on such a stupid mistake.  I made sure I was taking electrolytes (yay NUUN!) at all of the aid stations and walking through them to give myself a mental break.  I had a bit of stiffness in my left leg but mostly, I was just really tired and bummed out.  My pace dropped to about 10:30 in these miles.  I was still on pace to meet my A goal of sub-4:30 but I left the miraculous 4:20 at mile 13.  Okay…

Mile 18.  Proof that good race photos are mind over matter.  I was NOT happy at this moment.  Or maybe I was?!  It's confusing, isn't it?

Mile 18. Proof that good race photos are mind over matter. I was NOT happy at this moment. Or maybe I was?! It’s confusing, isn’t it?

Miles 20-26:

Death march.  F*ck.  It was all I could do to keep running and not just walk the whole rest of the way.  I was exhausted.  During mile 20, I went to get my Honey Stinger Chews out and discovered that I had eaten about 1/3 of what I was supposed to.  F*ck.  I took several with NUUN and felt an upswing.  At this point, I was so tired and demoralized that I just did everything I could to get there.  I knew that if I ran/walked about 50/50, I would still PR.  With each mile, I slipped further and further away from my goal.  It was sad.  I wished I were injured so I could stop.  But I wasn’t.  I was just under-fueled and bummed out.  But still able to turn on the joy for a race photographer at mile 22:

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture.  I should be a professional film and television actress. #actuallyhatinglife

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture. I should be a professional film and television actress. #actuallyhatinglife

The last couple miles, I just chanted “just run, just run, just run” and occasionally mixed in “PR, PR, PR”.  Finally I made it to the finish.

I love you, Timing Mat.

I love you, Timing Mat.

4:33.  An 8 minute PR.  3 minutes off my A goal.  All things considered, a success.

I got my medal, grabbed water, and shoved some chews in my face.  I walked around for a bit but I was pretty woozy and nauseated so I sat down and guzzled.  When I could stand up without barfing, I took one more “happy” picture.

I think I was actually happy in this one.  :D

I think I was actually happy in this one. 😀

The two blocks to my hotel took longer than the last mile.  I stretched, texted, tweeted, showered.  Citizen generously gave us late check-out so I wasn’t rushed at all.  That was wonderful. After a bit of foam rolling, I got in the car and headed home, by way of In-N-Out and the largest Diet Coke in the world.

I had two.

I had two.

CIM is a wonderful race.  I love the course, the organization, and the energy.  My weather was perfection and I was well-trained.  I’m disappointed that I made such an unnecessary error with my nutrition.  I’m also bummed that at mile 13, I didn’t believe in myself.  I assumed that I went out too quickly; that I wasn’t strong enough to run a 4:20 marathon.  I wish I had realized that I simply wasn’t eating enough and corrected that instead.  I learned several really important lessons that I will grow from in the next one.  Not sure when that will be but I still love marathon training and the incredible challenge of 26.2.

My favorite sign was one that read “Someday you might not be able to do this, TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.”

Any marathon day is a good day.

IMG_1147

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

RACE RECAP – Diablo Trail Adventure Half Marathon

Is a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing an appropriate long run for a road marathon?  Probably not.

Can I resist a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing?  NOT REALLY, APPARENTLY.

My Happy Place!

My Happy Place!

It was a stepback week and I had a 13 mile long run scheduled.  Why not get some climbing and downhill running practice with my favorite race presenters: Brazen Racing?

My mantra for this race was “Don’t be dumb; it’s a TRAINING RUN!”  After my thrilling and unexpected AG place at Drag N Fly, I could feel a little competitive frisson.  My strategy was the same as last time: hike the hills, run the flats and downhills.  Keep the running pace easy.  Not difficult to do on this course, right?

That's a lot of hiking.

That’s a lot of hiking.

Because I’ve run the 5K event twice, I was familiar with the first hill.  It’s not long but it’s fairly steep and can really zap your energy.  I promised myself that no matter how many people ill-advisedly surged up the hill, I would not.  But I did.  Whoops.  I didn’t run fast but I did run.  Thankfully, it didn’t have any negative impact.  I enjoyed the downhill that followed, accompanied by an UltraRunner Podcast.  Music makes it hard to keep my pace in check, especially so early in a run.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Another climb with some narrow single-track followed.  I love this kind of running!  The trail got a bit backed up but thankfully everyone wanted to hike/run around the same pace.  This was the first of many times I observed people huffing and puffing “running” while I hiked at exactly the same pace.  I appreciate the pride that comes with running an entire trail race but honestly, I’ll take efficiency over pride.  Especially when the PACE IS IDENTICAL.

Careful where you step!

Careful where you step!

The next five miles were pretty uneventful.  Hiking the hills proved to be a great strategy, as usual.  All that Dailey Method thigh work powered me up, with minimal challenge.  Each time the trail leveled, I was happy to begin trotting again.

I knew that after mile 8, it was all downhill.  I love to run downhill but my right IT band was not loving it.  I took it easy and focused on lifting my inner thighs and hamstrings to support my knee.  Thanks again, Dailey Method!

You're never fully dressed without a smile!  And these sunglasses!

You’re never fully dressed without a smile! And these sunglasses!

When I reached the final miles, I was running far faster than I should have been for a long training run but it just felt so good!  It was also awesome because this course has been my nemisis.  Each time I ran the 5k, I would be so zapped by the hill that I would always stop to walk on the way back, even downhill.  Super frustrating.  NOT YESTERDAY.  I smiled each time I ran through a spot that had kicked my ass in previous years.  This time, with ten miles in between!  I’m getting a lot stronger, physically and mentally.

One challenge during this race was fueling.  I decided not to carry my handheld water bottle because it contributes to asymmetry that causes my IT band issue on the right side.  This was not a good choice because the aid stations were at 1.1, 2.7, and 7.8.  I thought there was one more.  I took my time to drink several cups of water at the second and third stations but it wasn’t enough.  I took far less fuel than I planned (since I didn’t have water to drink it with) and a vague headache showed up around mile 8.  After the race, I made a beeline for Ultima and food.  I had a couple oreos and a LOT of electrolyte drink.  My head hurt so much, I squinched my eyes shut trying to get it to release.  I wandered over to the standings to see if my AG places had come in.  1-4 were already in so I headed home, by way of an enormous Diet Coke and some curly fries.  Very happy, in spite of the headache.

So, I finished with a time of 2:39:47.  Cool!

Wait, wasn’t I psyched to break 3 hours before?

Yes.  I took FIFTEEN MINUTES off my trail half marathon PR.

WHAT?!

There were 500 fewer feet than the other courses but fifteen minutes?!  That is a testament to the mindfulness practice I’ve adopted.  I didn’t have any negative thoughts or fears, even when I knew I was under-fueled.  I stayed present in my body and ran the pace that felt right.  Which was my 5k pace at the end.  Woah.

I am thrilled for CIM and even more thrilled for it to be over so I can do some serious goal setting.  Time to level up!

BOOM!

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Race Recap: Drag N Fly

Well, this may be the most successful and wonderful race I’ve ever run.  BOOM.

No disrespect to my tremendous first marathon experience, but today was also very special.  With the 70.3 off my calendar, I’m free to race whatever the heck I want!  Brazen’s Drag N Fly was right up my alley: challenging elevation with gorgeous views at the top.  Since I’m trained up to half marathon distance, I went for it!  Yesterday, my calves were feeling a little crampy and hips felt slightly achy.  I contemplated dropping back to the 10k this morning and now I’m so glad I didn’t.

Pre-race went smoothly.  Up before dawn, waffle with prosciutto, easy drive, easy parking.  Bib pickup was super quick.  Brazen Racing is just the bomb.  Even the pre-race briefing is funny and fun.  Their organization, food, course marking, and energy are all top notch.  Highly recommended.

So, here’s what we’re dealing with:

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet.  So, extrapolate...

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet. So, extrapolate…

My race plan was to hike anything that resembled an incline, run anything that went down, and do my best on the flats (Drag N Fly.  Get it?).  Almost immediately, we faced the first major climb.  The sun was already shining and people were starting to suffer.  I felt really good and pumped, especially when I thought about how satisfying it would be to run back down that sucker at the end!  We were also rewarded with glorious views when we reached the top.

Climbing

View from the top.  Unreal.

View from the top. Unreal.

As we climbed higher and higher, I couldn’t stop looking back behind me.  It still completely blows my mind that I can travel that far and that high ON FOOT.  The novelty of trail running absolutely has not worn off and I was grinning from ear to ear.  Especially once we headed downhill!

Throughout the race, I felt happy and calm.  So weird.  I certainly recognized that the climbs were difficult.  The first three miles were really challenging but I only had a few moments where I was daunted by the distance.  I truly felt happy and overwhelmed with gratitude the entire time.

Brazen is excellent at marking the course with ribbons and flour. In the pre-race briefing, the race director joked that people would still go off course.  Today it was me!  Only for a moment and it was during the first downhill.  I was having so much fun, I missed a weird turn!  It cost me about a minute and made a couple folks laugh.  The race went so well, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it but you better believe I was much more aware of red ribbons for the rest of the run!

It’s hard to give a mile-by-mile report because I was running by feel and not married to hitting specific paces.  Throughout the entire race, I stuck to my strategy of climbing the hills and running the descents.  I was shocked to see 8:50-9:20 consistently on the downhill segments.  I was unconcerned with pace, only vaguely hoping to beat my time from Bear Creek last year.  The only descent that slowed me down was some really technical and steep single track.  I absolutely love that type of running though.  Brain firing, feet finding the perfect place to land.  LOVE IT.

Yes, that's THE TRAIL.

Yes, that’s THE TRAIL.

Before I knew it, it was time to fly down to the finish.  I had fueled well, hydrated well (cold water at the aid stations was heavenly) and had plenty of heart left to get me home.  I had passed many people and hadn’t been passed by anyone.  I also realized that I hadn’t seen any females around my age since the last one I passed.  I had a fleeting thought that maybe the cherry on this delicious sundae would be to place in my AG for the first time.  My trail times are not impressive and it wasn’t my goal so I didn’t take the thought seriously.

Foreshadowing!!!!!

As I cruised into the finish, I tearfully told a volunteer that I was having the best race ever.  It was tough to keep pushing through to the finish but I did with a huge smile.

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!  Peace out, hills!!

Came in, walked around and had a delicious IT’S IT.  The true San Francisco treat.  Chatted with some folks and then headed over to see my place.  The results hadn’t been updated but only 1st and 2nd place in my AG had come in.  There was a chance for 3rd!  I didn’t get my hopes up since I’ve been 4th so many times but low and behold……

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT!  WHAAAAT?!

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT! WHAAAAT?!

SUPER STOKED.  There are several reasons why this is not an impressive accomplishment but F*CK THAT.  I’m thrilled.  This was a huge goal of mine and it’s both unbelievable and completely perfect that it happened after running this perfectly executed EPIC race.

Celebrated with Chairman Bao, a lovely lengthening Dailey Method class, Ici Ice Cream and then an unexpected salumi date night with my handsome husband at Adesso.

So basically, best day ever.

 

Tagged , ,

Everything Great

I desperately want to quit today so it’s probably a good time to list EVERYTHING I like about all three sports:

Swim:

* It’s only 1.2 of 70.3 miles.

* I love being in the water.  There’s something incredibly soothing and appealing about being immersed in water.

* It’s incredibly low impact and takes virtually no leg power.  Such a nice break for quads, hammies, and glutes.

* I feel kind of sexy in my wetsuit.  Like Catwoman (if cats liked water)!

HEY EVERYONE!  COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!

HEY EVERYONE! COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!

 

Bike:

* Cycling is kind of….easy.  I mean, I have definitely SUFFERED on hills and in spin classes but you can basically go for a really, really, really long time and not feel that bad.  At the end of this weekend’s 50 miles, my hip flexors were ready to be done but it was nothing compared to running for multiple hours.

* To that end, I woke the morning after 50 miles and wasn’t sore.  AMAZING.  #NoImpactNoProblems

* When you ride outside, you don’t overheat because it’s so nice and breezy!

* When you ride downhill, you don’t have to do anything!

* You can eat food and not get all barfy!

* You get to zip by all the suckers who are out on foot and forgot their moving machines!

I forgot "looks cool." Because it doesn't "look cool."

I forgot “looks cool.” Because it doesn’t “look cool.”

Run:

* It’s cheap.  Shoes.  Gu.  Done.

* You can walk.  Or sit down.  It’s a very easy sport to calibrate.

* Nothing feels as badass as sprinting.

* Finishing a hard run and being flooded with endorphins is super satisfying.

Yeah, that's awesome.

Yeah, that’s awesome.

And I guess there’s that whole “satisfaction of pushing out of your comfort zone and seeing a goal through to completion” thing…..

What’s your favorite of the big three?  Favorite aspect of each sport?

 

Moving…Forward…Again…

Hi Friends!

Today I had the best run I’ve had in six weeks.  It looked like this:

Impressive is relative!

Impressive is relative!

When last I blogged, I was having a pretty tough start to the year.  It was probably the poor leadership of President Taft.  He really bums me out.

I haven’t blogged in a long time.  Get it?  HAR HAR.  Thanks for still reading.

Last weekend was the Oakland Running Festival.  For the second year in a row, I was injured out of the half marathon.  Many factors contributed to the minor knee/ITB injury that sidelined me but  inconsistent training was primarily my downfall.  Turns out you can’t skip midweek runs and then just jump into the long runs and not expect to get stranded halfway through a nine-miler.  True story.  Shitty story.  Doubly-sadly, my wonderful stepbrother and stepsisterinlaw were also injured.  They already had travel arrangements to come down from Seattle so we made the best of it and spent some great quality time together.  The morning of the race, we took a long walk along the shoreline and ate a big ole Mexican brunch.  It was wonderful.

FAMILY!

They are seriously the best.

Though it was disappointing not to race (especially when we went to the expo to pick up our shirts.  UGH.) it was so lovely to be together and talk about future races.  I can’t wait to have a bagillion dollars to build FamilyCompound so we can all hang out and train together every day!  That’s not creepy at all, right?  Phew.

The 007 aka The SEAN PECANNERY.

The 007 aka The SEAN PECAN-NERY.

I carboloaded for our family walk with that little donut and many, many more.

So, this injury.  It’s really minor but the last thing I want is to exacerbate it.  It first showed up at literally mile 4.5 of a 9 mile run.  THAT was a long walk home.  I basically felt tension and vibration all the way down the right side of my leg and major instability under my kneecap.  Once that initial intensity wore off, what I can only describe as knee “heat” (swelling?) remained.  After several days off, I’ve been doing run/walk intervals until I feel any sensation.  I’m very slowly building back up to continuous mileage on the treadmill and other soft surfaces.  I’ve also been foam rolling every day and lingering over the knots in my quads to the point of tears.  I’m getting better and I’m pretty sure that’s why.

Today I ran outside for the first time in probably a month.  I went to my beloved Lake Merritt with the intention of running only the soft surfaces.  After a lovely walking warmup, I began to run.  I felt like I was let out of jail.  I had no intention of pushing it but as I trotted along “easily”, I looked down and saw low 9’s on my Garmin.

WAHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have no business running those paces but I felt absolutely fantastic so I just enjoyed it.  Who knows what will feel easy next time but I couldn’t care less as long as I keep improving and stay strong.

I wonder why it was so easy?  Maybe it’s all the SWIMMING AND CYCLING I’VE BEEN DOING!

TEASER!

How are you doing?  DNS any races lately?  Eat any adorable donuts?

 

 

Race Recap – Quarry Turkey aka. #BRIDALTROT

Nitro Turkey?  A great race but not my favorite of the year.

Quarry Turkey?  A great race and SUPER FUN because it was my BRIDAL TROT!

I am so lucky that some of my wonderful friends came out to celebrate my impending nuptials by running, walking, and cheering (and wearing goofy bachelorette accessories!)

#bridaltrot cuties!

#bridaltrot cuties!

Quarry Turkey was the second half of Brazen’s Double Turkey Challenge.  It was held at Quarry Lakes in Fremont which is incidentally the town where Tim grew up and a stones throw from the high school he has taught at for 13 years!  It was beautiful and we had perfect weather.  Crisp but comfortable, the weather runners live for.

Ahhhhh lovely!

Ahhhhh lovely!

We all have different paces so a few of us started together but soon got separated.  I opted to stay with my friend Tonia as a couple of our buddies went ahead.  Tonia hadn’t run in awhile and she was a total champ!  The run was relaxing and before I knew it, we were winding around to the finish.

Wooo!  I'm a BRIIIIIIIIDE!

Wooo! I’m a BRIIIIIIIIDE!

Once we were all finished, we took more cutie pictures and then I made a beeline for my sweet connector medal to make MEGA TURKEY MEDAL MADNESS!

BRING IT.  BLING IT.

BRING IT. BLING IT.

I don't aaalways do it for the bling but this weekend, I did.

I don’t aaalways do it for the bling but this weekend, I did.

And then FOOD!  Brazen is known for having It’s Its at the finish line but I’ve never partaken.  This was definitely the day.  Oh, and shots of pumpkin pie.  Anyone who knows me knows that that’s the perfect shot for my bachelorette party.  Not a drinker.  Pie eater.

120

It’s Its for EVERYONE!

Last stop was stalking the QUARRY TURKEY.

Just one of the girls!

Just one of the girls!

People were super sweet and congratulatory.  It was so nice to celebrate with my buddies by getting outside, running around, and eating some yummy sweets.  I know people are all about the Vegas weekend but I’ve gotta say, this was awesome (and a hell of a lot less expensive!)  I’m so grateful to my girls for coming out.

I guess the only thing to do now is GET MARRIED!

16 days, 2 hours, 51 minutes and counting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Recap – Nitro Turkey 5k

The alternate title of this race is:

OVER IT.

2013 was a phenomenal year of racing.  I met all of my goals: PR’ing every distance and completing several new ones including triathlon and a full marathon.  Aaaaaaaand, I’m DONE.  The Diablo trail 5k was tough because I was sick but what was so distressing about that race was that I felt like I had no inner fire or fight.

I initially registered for the Nitro Turkey 10k expecting it to be my last opportunity to PR that distance.  When I got my PR at Let’s Go 510, I was still very excited for Nitro because I would get the first part of an UNBELIEVABLE DOUBLE TURKEY CHALLENGE CONNECTOR MEDAL.  And I am a complete blingwhore.  I also looked forward to like thinking about gratitude and whatever on Thanksgiving.  I guess…

I woke up feeling ambivalent.  With my wedding and a very important audition nearing, I am under quite a bit of pressure.  As I drove out to Point Pinole, I attempted to pump myself up with fun music but also contemplated dropping down to the 5k.  It’s a holiday!  I’ve worked hard this year!  It’s not a super punk move, right?  Right?

Last time I ran at Pt. Pinole (in the summer!) it was FREEZING so I layered up.  To my delight, the weather was perfect when I arrived.  Brisk but absolutely comfortable.  This was one of the most popular Brazen events of the year so there were tons of people, including kids doing their own trot.  Super cute.  I love Brazen.  As you know.

I picked up my bib, slunk over to the distance change booth, felt like a punk for about 4 seconds, and then got over it.  As soon as I turned on my charged Garmin and got the “low battery alert” (HOW AND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN), I felt like I had made the right choice.  This clearly was not my day.

Where's Shauna? She's in neon orange looking down at her malfunctioning f*cking watch.

Where’s Shauna? She’s in neon orange looking down at her malfunctioning f*cking watch.

Not much to report about the race itself.  Point Pinole is beautiful but I didn’t really care.  With no Garmin to curb my start line enthusiasm, I started too fast.  As much as I told myself that “this is what a 5k is supposed to feel like!” I was not a happy girl.  My tummy felt off and to get my heart rate down, I took a few walk breaks.  That voice inside me that usually that screams “DON’T WALK!  KEEP FIGHTING!!!” murmured “go ahead and walk.  Who gives a shit?  It’s a holiday?  You apparently can’t run 3 miles even though you ran a marathon this year.  Ah well…”  

As I approached the finish, I kicked it in and ran down some sweet couple celebrating Thanksgiving.  I apparently had about 4 seconds of competitive drive that I chose to cash in at that moment.  Because I’m nice like that.

Happy!  To be done.

Happy! To be done.

Part of me is a bit concerned that I’m burned out but I truly think I’m just done with this amazing year.  I also didn’t have a race plan which seems to be essential for me.  Yes, it’s a fun run and yes, I would love to run more by feel but I should recognize that having at least a vague plan gets my head around the race.  Looks like every race really does teach you something, even a turkey trot!

045

Official Time: 31:54 (not a personal worst.  Woo!), AG: 9/52, Overall: 115/591

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tagged , , , ,

RACE RECAP – Diablo Trail Adventure 5k (The Rematch)

I ran this race last year in 29:19.

I placed 4th in my AG by 30 seconds.

I blew out my energy on the 1.5 mile ascent and found myself so exhausted coming down the hill that I actually had to walk portions of the return.

I was pissed.

* * *

I ran this race today in 31:46.

I placed 4th in my AG by a minute.

I blew out my energy on the 1.5 mile ascent and found myself so exhausted coming down the hill that I actually had to walk portions of the return.

I was pissed.

* * *

I’m a marathoner!  I just ran a 9:16 average in a 10k?!

I wanted redemption.  I wanted my first AG place.

How did this happen?

When I took off up the hill, I got stuck behind and between some folks but still managed to hit my planned 9:20 within the first quarter mile.  Almost immediately, my breathing was super heavy and I had to pulled back the pace.  I also had an alarming twinge in my knee that I’ve never felt before.  I promised myself that if I felt it again, I would stop and walk the rest of the race.    The first mile buzzed at just under 10:00.  Fine.  I continued on, figuring I was just warming up and looking forward to turning around in half a mile.

The aid station came about 0.25mi before the turnaround.  I skipped it, intending to stop for water and to catch my breath on the way back.  This was a slow pace, even for a hilly course and my lungs were BURNING.

Through the aid station, I attempted some encouraging self-talk but it was way too late.  I didn’t have a particularly positive attitude coming into the race and I definitely didn’t pump myself up during the first couple miles.  I held out as long as I could but stopped to walk right around mile 2.  I felt totally defeated.  Could I seriously not run three hilly miles?  That sucks.  Also, why do my arms hurt?

I ran as much as I could, as quickly as I could and tried to enjoy the downhill advantage.  With half a mile and a steep downhill, I noticed a youngish couple in front of me.  The woman looked like she could have been anywhere between 26 and 32.  I kicked it into gear but so did they and I couldn’t run them down.  I prayed to Jew God that she was a twentysomething, just in case I was miraculously close to placing.  I had no illusions that I had placed, I just didn’t want to be edged out by ten stupid seconds.

I got my massive butterfly medal which was a major upgrade from last year’s tarantula.  Gross.    After four cups of water and two cups of Ultima, my lungs were still burning.  That is highly unusual.  Typically, my heart rate comes down almost immediately and I feel fine.  I found myself wheezing and coughing which is a completely new experience.  I waited around for about 20 min for the results to be updated.

4th.  Again.  Seriously?  That’s just annoying.

(Happily, that girl with the boyfriend/husband/brother was 27 and the 3rd place finisher was a minute ahead of me.  I’d much rather be a minute behind than know that one of my walking breaks cost me the glory of a 3rd place AG finish in a tiny trail race.  Perspective: I has it.)

I drove home feeling really disappointed in myself.  Okay, it’s a small race and no, I didn’t train specifically for it.  But still!  I’ve been very consistent over the last year and the improvements in my mental game should have locked this for me.  Too bad I didn’t apply any of those improvements and basically ran exactly the same race as last year but slower.  Crappy and lame.

I got home, whined to Tim and took a shower.  Lungs still burning.  Strange.  Also, freezing, even after a hot shower.  And then the coughing started and hasn’t stopped since.  We’re talking wheezy, phlegmy, skip tonight’s rehearsal coughing.

I AM SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK.

Well, that explains why I couldn’t even run 10 minute miles and my fricking arms were sore while I was running.  Also explains the dread I felt this morning.  But honestly, I could have pushed and placed.  I could have been relentlessly positive as I have been in all of my recent races.  I could have raced smarter up the hill and faster down the hill but at least I understand why I ran nearly 3 minutes slower than last year.

So, that sucked.  I’m still sucking wind.

See you next year, Diablo.

Ugh.

031

Fast(er)

Happy Monday!

054

 

I’ve been told a number of times by a number of runners that I am “faster than I think.”  It’s sweet when people say this but it’s not completely accurate.

I’m faster than I run.

Case in point.

Remember this? Case in point.

And definitely faster than I race.

Last week’s 10K took me by surprise.  I would neeeeeeever have planned to run 6 miles at a 9:17 average two weeks after the marathon.  I only ran that pace a handful of times in the last five months and never for that long.  And honestly, it wasn’t that hard.

Now that I’ve completed all of my 2013 running goals (!!!!!!!),  I’ve thought a lot about what’s next.  I have some specific races and some semi-insane race fantasies but the big goal is speed.  Despite my conservative approach, I’ve grown tremendously as a runner.  Now it’s time to actually listen to my body and not only run to my current potential on a regular basis (um, see above graphic)  but to push the boundaries and get even faster.

076

 

So what does this mean?

* A weekly interval session.  (Time to hit the track! Eek!)

* A weekly tempo, progression or steady state run.

* A weekly long(er) run about 30 seconds faster than my LSD pace during marathon training.

This all really hit home when I plugged a sub-2hr half marathon goal into the McMillan calculator and it spit out…

MY CURRENT TRAINING PACES.

So, THAT’S AWKWARD.

Time to get to work!

What’s your favorite speed workout?  How do you push the limits when it’s so comfy and happy not to?  

Race Recap – Let’s Go 510!

Things I love:

Racing!

PR-ing!

Oakland!

Soooo…..yesterday morning was pretty awesome!

057

Hella, Hella, Hella!

I was so pleased to be an ambassador for the inaugural Let’s Go 510 10k, a co-production of Represent Running and Brazen Racing.  As an Oakland girl, I love all things green and gold.  I’ve run numerous Brazen races and they’re always fantastic.  Great energy, courses, medals, food, and free photos!  This race was no exception!  Represent Running brought awesome local flavor, excellent organization and some super entertaining signs.  I really hope this becomes an annual event!

Going into the race, I only had one remaining 2013 running goal : a new 10k PR.

Before the marathon, I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d recover so I didn’t have high hopes for getting my PR at this race.  I was comfortable running it for fun and just enjoying the Bay-centric festivities.  Then I had some short, zippy runs this week and began to reconsider.  My old PR was 1:01:38 which is a 9:55 average.  That was definitely beatable but I truly wanted a more substantial PR than skin of my teeth.  At the very least, I wanted to break an hour.  I went into the race with a plan to run two mile progressions:  start at 9:40, run 9:30 for the middle miles, 9:20 for 5 and 6, and finish with a kick.  It was a slightly aggressive plan, especially since I’ve rarely run faster than 9:45 for the last several months of marathon training.  Aggressive race plan?  Taking chances?  Who is this girl??

The race started at 10am.  A little unorthodox but allowed folks to enjoy the horse races after and get some extra sleep before.  I arrived at Golden Gate Fields around 9am to TONS of parking.  Delightful!  I upgraded my cotton shirt to a tech tee for $6 because the color was more A’s-like.  That’s how I do.  Also got a picture of the track we’d be finishing on.

Charge!

Soon it was time to line up and head off!  Up a hill!

How to get warmed up QUICK...

How to get warmed up QUICK…

I started in the front third to avoid weaving between run/walkers.  As usual, the crowd surged past me.  I remember how demoralizing that used to be and now I think it’s hilarious.  If people want to blow all their energy out in the first mile, more power to them!

So smug, right?  Until I looked down at my watch and saw 9:30.  Hmmm… better curb that energy Shauna Beth!  Then I saw 9:21.  I attempted to hold back but was not surprised when the first mile buzzed in at 9:20.  And I wasn’t even warmed up.  For the first time ever, I was going out too fast!

I let my body settle into a rhythm, glancing down at my watch periodically.  I was still seeing 9:30 and then 9:20ish but when the second mile clocked in at 9:12, I knew I needed to seriously pull back.  I wasn’t winded but I was running considerably faster than I planned.  Again, don’t recognize this braver me but I think I like her!

Okay, okay.  A race photo where I actually look like I'm racing.  Ask and you shall receive.

Okay, okay. A race photo where I actually look like I’m racing. Ask and you shall receive.

I slowed down a bit in the 3rd mile due to grabbing water at the aid station.  It was pretty warm out there and from the start, I was thirsty!  For this race, I opted not to bring a handheld water bottle or fuel and just wing it with what was at the aid station.  Yes, I wung it.  No, I have not had a personality-altering stroke.  I figured the worst that could happen was that I bonk!

That's not a bonk face! :D

That’s not a bonk face! 😀

By the halfway point, I was a little tired and very happy.  I focused on my music, being grateful and proud, and my imminent PR.  Knowing that I could slow down and still PR gave me the strength to cruise along at the pace I’d established from the start.  I grabbed water from the mile 5 aid station and decided to push it through the finish.

Wheee!

Wheee!

Remember that hill at the beginning of the race?  It was an up and down so we had to climb it one last time in the last mile.  GAHHHHH.  I chugged up and wasn’t sure if I might lose my pace as a result.  I recovered on the downhill and continued to push it faster.  The last mile was peppered with cute signs,  courtesy of Represent Running.  The one that caught my eye said “Give 100%.  Unless you’re giving blood.”  BAH!  Love it!

They warned us that the surface on the race track would be…..weird.  And squishy.  As I made the final turn onto the track, I felt like I was running on a tempurpedic mattress.  Memory foam at mile 6.1?  Not ideal but with the finish line and a BIG OLE PR in view, I gave every last bit I had.

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

Yeah, that would be a 4 minute PR.  

Okay, so there may be something to this whole taking chances thing.  Might be something to look into in 2014…

049

Tagged , , , , , ,