18 May 2012

Tacoma City Half Marathon Recap

My self portrait at 6am- ready to run!  After I put some shoes on of course.
Sunday morning (May 6th) I woke up at 5am to prepare myself for the Tacoma City Half Marathon which started at 8am about 10 minutes from my house.  This would be the first time EVER that I drove myself, alone, to the start of a race.  The family was going to hunt me down during the race to take some photos though.  I felt like such a race professional- and I really wasn't even nervous.   

Please ignore the large bags under my eyes!
Probably because I was too busy trying to decide if my legs were going to actually cooperate and run 13.1 miles two days in a row!  I ate a Cliff bar for breakfast and dressed in my half fanatic gear before heading out the door.  I opted to wear my Brooks PureConnects for this race even though the farthest I had ran in them was 10 miles.  I wore my Kinvara 2's on Saturday and didn't think it would be wise to wear them twice in a row for such long runs.  They worked out great, no problems with either shoe and my feet had no complaints.  My Garmin was fully charged and would hopefully be on its best behavior for the race!  I grabbed a banana, my gels and headphones and off I went, leaving around 6:30am or so.
The starting area, quite peaceful still!
Look who decided to behave for this race!  Good morning Garmin!
I found a great parking spot just a couple of blocks from the start line so I wandered around for a bit, just people watching and figuring out my game plan.  It was chilly and there was a foggy cloud cover but I knew the sun would eventually poke through.  I walked back to the car, attached my chip timer onto my shoe and ate my banana around 7am.  It was kind of lonely to be there by myself, I saw a few people I knew and said hi to them but otherwise just stood around waiting for the race to start.  I used the bathroom around 7:15 when the lines were still short, watched the full marathoners start at 7:30, and checked my bag in around 7:50-keeping my jacket until the last possible second. 
Waiting for the starting gun
I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom again at that point but just figured it was my usual "prerace" potty jitters so I didn't get in line.  Turns out I should have gone, I think I overhydrated myself on Saturday night and ended up needing to stop during mile 3 really quick to go!  Anyways, we all lined up and I realized I was standing with the 2:00 pace group but it was too difficult to move at that point so I just stayed put.  Suddenly we were off running, I started my Garmin (yay it worked!) and it was time to see what my legs thought about going for a run.  My head was in the game and ready for a challenge, and as far as I could tell my body was too.  I wasn't sore at all and I took that as a positive sign. 

Not the greatest photo, but this is my Garmin data with elevation profile.  Just a tad bit hilly!
The first few miles of the race are pretty much uphill.  I didn't notice it too much until mile 3, when suddenly my legs were slightly rebelling and my breathing was a bit heavier than it normally is.  Then I remembered that we were heading up into Wright Park and the hills would level out in a few miles.  As I entered the park suddenly my daughter was on the side of the trail!  The family had found me, took a few photos and then they were off to the next viewing spot.  It gave me something to think about- where would I see them next?? 

I love this picture!  I told Devan to run with me- it looks like we are leading the race!
Mile 1- 9:45 ~getting warmed up, testing the legs
Mile 2- 9:42 ~realize I really DO have a full bladder
Mile 3- 11:46 ~potty stop, water stop and start my ipod, say hi to family (busy mile!) 
Mile 4- 9:39 ~start getting warm, ditch arm sleeves along Stadium Way

Will found me one more time on the other side of the park
We ran about 3/4 of a lap around the park then headed down towards Stadium High School before winding our way down towards the waterfront.  I had never ran through that neighborhood, and it was fun looking at all of the houses.  I ditched my "arm sleeves" Cynthia had made out of socks for the Boise race somewhere in mile 4 when I started warming up.  At this point I was on the lookout for water stop #3 so I could say hi to Nicole -she was volunteering and that was her assigned spot.  I have never officially met her in person but I recognized her right away and she handed me gatorade just like a pro haha!  I guess I missed out on saying hi to Becky -I wasn't sure where to look and didn't realize you girls were together!

I'm not in this photo, but I liked it.  Aren't the trees pretty?
Mile 5- 9:44 ~took my espresso gel as I got close to the aid station, got gatorade from Nicole
Mile 6- 10:00 ~heading down to the waterfront, start seeing the leaders as they head back
Mile 7- 9:37 ~see the family again, cruising down the waterfront
Mile 8- 9:40 ~I felt like my pace was faster here, but I guess not!

Blurry.  Fitting, I felt a bit blurry at times!  Just entering the main strip of waterfront. 
A quick hug from my daughter always helps!
After that we were cruising down to the waterfront for an out and back that was relatively flat.  My body felt good, I kept waiting for the crash but it hadn't happened yet.  I felt good- it kind of made me nervous but I tried to pick the pace up a bit.  Mile 8 is the magic number for me in a half marathon (well, it is also my favorite number but that is different), at that point I am more than halfway done and with only 5 miles to go I suddenly get this second surge of energy.  The family was waiting for me again so I said hi and snuck in a quick hug as I passed by. 

There is the Vibram wearing, jogger stroller pushing guy that passed me.  Yep. 
I know the waterfront like the back of my hand- I could tell you the distance from nearly any point to any other point along the way so I was just cruising along on autopilot.  This part was fun because you could see other runners as they headed back and there were TONS of half fanatic shirts out there.  I got lots of cheers from other runners and a few high fives from some friends I saw.  I got passed by a dad pushing a jogger stroller, wearing Vibram's and digging around in a bag for a bottle (I figured he hadn't run a half marathon the day prior so it didn't hurt too bad!). 

As I left the waterfront I knew that I had a hilly section coming before the finish.  My legs still felt great- what is up with that, you would think they would feel like lead or something right???  As I was running (didn't have to walk at all, what the heck?) up the hill that was my nemesis during the St Paddy 5K I realized that I would pass back through the water stop where Nicole was and wondered if she would still be there.  I had already made the decision not to get any more water since there was less than 2 miles left at that point but I would try and say hi really quick if I saw her.  As I approached I noticed she was standing off to the side and had her phone out- she took a couple of photos of me which was really awesome of her, I said hi and off I went. 

Hi Nicole!  Thanks for the photo!
Mile 9- 9:29 ~happy to reach the turn around point and be heading back!
Mile 10- 9:55 ~got passed by the stroller dad, took my second gel
Mile 11- 10:08 ~hilly on the overpass, getting the "ready to be done" feeling

UP I went might be a better description of what I did next.  Wow, that was a hill and a half!  Luckily it was just for a couple of blocks- I jogged/power walked up the steep, steep hill that is 9th St in downtown Tacoma!  Finally we got to the top and I rounded the corner and knew I was almost done.  After a couple of minutes I saw a sign up ahead- it was the 2:10 pacer!  I wanted nothing more than to pass her and that was my mission.  I was so focused that I didn't even see the family until Will shouted at me as I ran by! 

Focused on the pacer sign I can see a block ahead of me!
Oh HEY!  Almost missed the family!
Mile 12- 10:17 ~say hi to Nicole, go UP the big hill, almost done
Mile 13- 8:35 ~time to get it done- pass the 2:10 pacer and crossed the finish line

One of the official race photos- I actually smiled AND waved at the photographer.  It only took me 2 years and a million races to get it down!  HA!
I caught up to the pacer and actually said hi and introduced myself- once I got closer I realized it was one of my Daily mile friends Sharon!  How funny.  Anyways, she said they were ahead of pace and to "go finish strong" which I did!  I suddenly had this surge of energy and I just pushed myself as fast as I could to the finish line.  That last mile was my fastest mile out of both races! 

Earned some bling!  One half for the race, one half for being a Half Fanatic!
I apparently also earned bagels and chocolate milk!
My official finish time was 2:06:58.  Sixteen seconds slower than the day before- I couldn't have gotten closer if I tried!  Thanks for an awesome race Tacoma- I will be back next year, maybe for 26.2 in one day instead of two!! 
I did it- 2 half marathons back to back!


13 May 2012

My Recovery Week

My finish photo from Cinco de Mayo! 
I will get my recap of the Tacoma City Half Marathon up early next week- I promise!  Meanwhile, here is how my week went after the weekend workout extravaganza last weekend.  Did I mention that I played soccer on the night of Friday May 4th- before running 2 half marathons?  Oh, and I also played softball on Sunday evening -after the second half marathon!  So soccer, half marathon, half marathon, softball all within 48 hours = tired runner girl! 

The lovely Tacoma waterfront
I took a rest day Monday (duh!) and also rested Tuesday.  On Wednesday I thought about working out- but changed my mind and took yet one more rest day.  Finally on Thursday I felt like doing something so I popped in Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Cardio workout #1 since I had skipped it last week.  I am really enjoying these workouts- they are quick and each move is easy to follow yet very effective.  Twenty six minutes later the workout was over, I was a tad bit sweaty and quite satisfied with my workout.  I entertained the idea of doing one more DVD but decided to clean out my fridge instead before heading to work.  It was a good choice- I had been putting that task off long enough!  Ha!

It was really bright!!
Anyways, on Friday morning I had an 8 mile run on my agenda.  Well, I don't really have an agenda right now (I need to figure that out soon!) but that is what I usually do as my "long run" the week before a half marathon.  Yes, what you just read is correct- next weekend on May 20th I am running the Capital City Half Marathon with my hubby!  He chose this race out of the ones I expressed interest in- it will be his 3rd half marathon.  He claims it will be his last and that he is sticking to 10K's and under from here on out but I guess only time will tell if that is true.  I will be running with him, hopefully helping to pace him to a PR which is currently set at 2:12:36 from the North County Wine Run.

I decided to run up this hill for FUN.  Yes, I am a thrill a minute kind of gal.
So back to my run, I set out to just run the Tacoma waterfront- the weather was perfect and I was meeting my mom for a Mother's Day lunch right afterwards.  I took some photos and ran without music, just enjoying the morning and the scenery.  Suddenly I had this crazy idea to run up North 30th hill- if you are from Tacoma or are familiar with it you know the hill I am talking about.  I have wanted to try and run up it for a while- so why not today?  I decided to run up North 29th instead- it is a bit steeper but is a side road so there isn't the volume of traffic like on 30th.  You know, less witnesses if I keeled over and died or threw up or something crazy like that. 

Trying to catch my breath and not die I decided to take some pictures about halfway
up the hill- that next street down is 30th. 
I had to stop twice and catch my breath/let my heart rate drop on the way up that huge hill.  But I kind of liked it- I am going to start running up it more often.  I would really like to get all the way up without having to stop.  I didn't like running back down it though, I think next time I will head to 30th for the down part of the run.  I thought about doing some more hill work but after attempting to continue up a different hill, my body really was favoring the idea of being back on the flat, pretty waterfront. 

Made it to the top!  Actually, it still keeps going up for a bit but not quite as steeply.  And clearly I felt it was a good plan to stand in the middle of the road for this photo.
The data from my Garmin- about 300 feet of gain in a mile.  It doesn't sound like much,
but the elevation gain of the Cinco de Mayo half was 128 feet over the entire course!
I was stopped by a train at the light and it made me think of Kim of (Just) Trying is for Little Girls and how she was stopped by a train in a recent half marathon for over 10 minutes.  I cannot even imagine, that would be terrible!  My wait was about a minute and a half, and I was off again to finish my last 2.5 miles along the water.  I was glad I threw that hill in though, and I can say I ran up it at least once!

Waiting on the train.  Tick Tock.  Tick Tock.
After my run I cleaned up and settled out on the deck at Duke's and enjoyed a great lunch with my mom in the sunshine.  My diet has been going really well, I am following the Jillian Michael's plan pretty closely and when I am pressed for time I substitute as best as I can.  I have lost 4 pounds over a 2 week period so that seems about right.  I do get a sweet tooth once in a while but an apple or some grapes seems to be enough to cure it.  Oh, and some dark chocolate chips- those are dangerous to have in the house, I probably shouldn't buy those very often!!  But they are so little.  And so tasty.  Better stick with fruit!   
My mom and I after lunch

08 May 2012

Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon Recap

Ready to head out the door!
Wondering if I survived my double half marathon weekend??  Indeed I did!  Sunday morning my alarm went off at 5am and I hopped in the shower to wake myself up.  I got myself geared up (went with the pink socks) and had some espresso and a bagel with almond butter and a bit of honey.  Sorry Jillian Michaels, but I had to switch my diet back for a couple of days to a more "race friendly" one.  I brought along a banana since the race was still a couple of hours away and once Alyssa arrived we snapped a few photos and hit the road around 6:40am. 

Random sidenote:  We were about 10 minutes away from Snoqualmie when I heard this terrible beep come from my bag in the back seat of the car.  You know, that beep your Garmin gives off just before it dies?  Ya- THAT beep.  I calmly asked Alyssa to hand me my bag (I was driving), dug out my Garmin and sure enough it was turned off.  It was fully charged at 6:30am, and now at 7:30am it was dead.  I tried all of my fancy moves to bring it back to life but the truth was I would not have my trusty Garmin for the race.  I was planning to run with my Iphone so once we arrived I downloaded the Map My Run application just to have something- but I really didn't know how to use it or know the accuracy of it.  More on this app later. 
My dead Garmin.  It was really strange not having it!
The race was about an hour away but we made really good time and scored a front row parking spot at  Mt. Si High School -totally worth getting up a half hour early!  The weather was overcast and chilly so we wandered around and figured out the starting area and stayed warm in the gym.  That was one nice thing about this race- we were able to hang out inside the warm building and use actual bathrooms before the race.  Pretty soon Paul joined us- he is Alyssa's boyfriend and this was his first half marathon!  I always enjoy seeing somebody complete their first half- I remember feeling so exhausted and accomplished at the end of mine almost 2 years ago! 

Hanging out in the warm gym!
There was a 15 minute delay before the race started so we hovered inside the doors until the last minute, then walked to the start line and before we knew it we were off!  Paul, Alyssa and I stayed together for the first mile or so, then Alyssa started pulling ahead.  She wanted to finish around 2 hours, I was shooting for 2:05-2:10 (I needed functional legs for Sunday!) and Paul was hoping for 2:15-2:30.  This race is flat as a pancake- if you are looking for the nicest, easiest, prettiest sub-2 hour half marathon course in the Seattle area this is your race! 

Moments before the race started!
Paul, Alyssa and me- ready to get going!  Wonder what I am looking at??  Hmmm....
So without a Garmin I have no clue what my mile splits were, and one big bummer about the course was the lack of mile markers!  So without a Garmin and without very many mile markers I just basically ran by feel.  The Map My Run app was not very accurate- it kept telling me that my pace was around 8-8:30 which I knew wasn't true.  Believe me, I know what an 8 minute mile feels like and that is NOT what I was doing out there!  The only helpful thing that kept happening was the voice would override my music and tell me how MANY minutes I had been running.  So I could kind of gage my progress when there was a mile marker.  Other than that, no clue whatsoever what my pace was which was really strange- good thing I didn't really care about my time for this race!

Paul was doing great and we kept playing leap frog- I was poking along through the water stations and he would pass me, then I would pass him, then I would stop again at the aid station and he would pass me.  Around mile 7 or so he got ahead of me and stayed there for nearly the entire rest of the race.  We were in this beautiful neighborhood with mountains in the background and I could just imagine living in any of the houses - they were stunning.  I took a few photos while running- I am not very good at it and I gave that up quickly!  At mile 9 I took a quick bathroom break, got some water and took a gel.  Then came mile 10- I think my ipod said I had been running for 1:37 minutes or something at that point so I knew I would be finishing under 2:10 and that made me happy. 

My attempt to take pictures WHILE running.  Sure is pretty there!
I can't even explain why my face looks all flared up and crazy.  Good thing I stopped
taking photos WHILE running after this one!  I am going to practice and master this skill, just wait and see! 
After mile 10 there were no more mile markers.  NONE.  Boy did that mess with my head!  At one point I was sure there was only a mile left and I was picking up my pace, but then we came to a bridge- and I swear that was at mile 2 on the way out!  So did we have 2 miles left?  Or just one?  I kept waiting for the mile markers but then all of a sudden I could tell we were back at the school.  And I heard them announce Alyssa as she finished.  And I could see Paul up ahead- within striking distance!  The final quarter mile of the race is a lap around the high school track and I was actually kind of excited about that.  I caught Paul at the entrance to the track and put on my fastest sprint.  I felt him on my heels but that only lasted maybe 100 meters.  I passed several people including one girl, then sprinted across the line racing a very tall guy.  As I crossed the finish line the announcer said "Tiffany from Tacoma finishing very strong"- Heck ya!  Paul finished right behind me a few seconds later, totally blowing his goal finish time out of the water by a good 8 minutes!

We wandered around for a bit, had a bagel and some water and waited for the results to post.  I actually forgot to look at the clock when I finished so I really didn't know what my time was!  My official chip time is 2:06:42 with an average pace of 9:40.  Not too shabby for just running easy and not having a clue what my pace was the entire time!  We left pretty soon after that, I wanted to get home to watch my daughter try out for a select soccer team and rest my muscles for Sunday's half marathon!!  By the way- the AVERAGE finish time for the half marathon was 2:02:41 out of 485 finishers.  Told you it was a fast course!!   
Half number 1- CHECK!


04 May 2012

I'll Have a Double!

Look what I found at the Tacoma Expo!
I am doing my first double header this weekend- 2 half marathons in 2 days!  I know I can finish them, and I am actually kind of happy to know that I don't have to RACE them.  This weekend is about endurance and testing my mind and body's limits.  The weather is supposed to be amazing (about time!) and Saturday's course will be scenic and new while Sunday's course will be familiar and comforting in the sense that I could just run right on home if I decide to call it quits (KIDDING!!!).  Anyways, I have both of my race bibs in my possession and am ready to run.

Here is a little preview of my outfit for tomorrow's Cinco De Mayo run in Snoqualmie.  I will be running with Alyssa and Paul (her boyfriend) and for the first time in quite a while I will not have my hubby there cheering me on. 

Can't decide between blue and pink socks!  I am leaning towards pink. 
My daughter wants me to wear one of each!
And here is a peak at my outfit for Sunday's race in Tacoma- the race that will qualify me for Jupiter status in the Half Fanatics! 

First race in official half fanatic gear!
I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and get to spend some time out in the sunshine.  And good luck to all of my friends who are also racing this weekend- run fast, run happy and ENJOY!!!

02 May 2012

My Metabolism Kickstart

The stuff
A couple of weeks ago I decided to order the Jillian Michaels BODY REVOLUTION workout program.  I know, I know.  I already have the P90X2 and they are similar in concept, however I was having a hard time fitting in 60+ minutes of a DVD workout AND also my training runs for the 5K on the same day.  Plus, once I got into phase 2 of the P90X2 the workouts were really hard and I was getting frustrated with them.  I think next time I give that program a try I will do phase 1 longer and also make sure I am not training for a 5K PR at the same time!  So I am putting that program aside for the time being and will bust it out sometime in the future.

The Jillian Michaels program seemed a better fit for me- the workouts are only 30 minutes long!  Short, sweet and to the point which should pair much easier with my running.  So far I have done workouts 1 and 2 and I enjoyed both.  The moves are simple to follow and you just go from one exercise to the next without any sort of break.  She uses the science of Metabolic Training to burn calories and fat effectively and combines all 10 of these techniques:  circuit training, high intensity interval training, peripheral heart action, body weight/functional core-based training, plyometrics, super setting, combo/hybrid lifts, continuous burn, rotation calendar and fast results in the shortest time possible.  Bring it on!

The program also includes an eating plan with easy to follow recipes.  I decided to do the "7 day kick start your metabolism" just to see if I could do it.  The basic idea is to detoxify my body and get rid of all the unhealthy aspects of my diet.  I am not a soda drinker and I rarely drink alcohol so those two were easy to eliminate.  I was still allowed 400 mg of caffeine a day so I could have my coffee- sweet!  Other things NOT allowed during the 7 days- fruit, flour, grains, sugar and only 1 serving of low-fat dairy per day. 

Breakfast- eggs, onions, lox and spinach
Jillian created 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 snacks and 3 dinners allowed and we could mix and match however we wanted.  We were to eat every 4 hours or so and also we had to eat in that order:  breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner.  It is a very good thing that I love eggs, avocados and seafood!  I am not too picky so that helped because for the most part during these 7 days you will eat vegetables, yogurt, chicken, steak, eggs, fish and tomatoes- lots and lots of tomatoes! 

Huge lunch salad- I could never eat it all before my stomach was full.  A whole red pepper, 1 cup broccoli (steamed), 1/2 cup tomato, 2 cups lettuce, 1 hard boiled egg and 3 oz tuna plus 2 TBS low fat dressing.
Day 1 was actually pretty easy, my energy was a bit low but that is what happens when you suddenly drop to eating only 1200 calories per day!  Day 2 was a bit tricky- I had an 8 mile run to do first thing in the morning and I wasn't too keen on eating scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado before running!  So I cheated a little and ate a cliff bar -figuring I would burn it all out of my system anyways on my run.  That afternoon I ended up with a slight headache (can you say withdrawal??)  and still had an 8pm soccer game to play before I ate dinner.  So I cheated again by adding a banana into my snack of plain Greek yogurt and pecans! 

Dinner- 4 oz steak, 1 cup spinach, 1 plum tomato, greek olives, red onion topped with
2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
I didn't get too many headaches and overall my body felt good during the detox.  I was pretty hungry all the time but I felt really healthy eating so many veggies!  I was also really thirsty all of the time and drank about a gallon of iced tea each day.  Mostly I missed oatmeal and bananas- and of course something sweet- because each meal was so savory. 

I decided to call it quits with 6 days instead of 7.  On Monday I stopped feeling so blah by the end of the day and my cravings had subsided.  Plus the thought of eating a piece of bread was too tempting!  So today (Wednesday) I started the Fat Burning meal plan which has a ton of variety.  The plan is still 1200 calories daily so I may eat bigger portions on days that I do my longer runs or feel low energy.  Each day there is a 250 calorie breakfast, a 400 calorie lunch, a 150 calorie snack and a 400 calorie dinner and again there are planned out meals in her program.  There are 10 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 10 snacks and 15 dinners to mix and match and the recipes are simple to make. 

Best oatmeal EVER!  Apples, walnuts, almond milk, maple syrup and cinnamon= yum.
This morning I had the best bowl of oatmeal in the world, and I enjoyed every single bite!  Funny how just 6 days without something makes you appreciate it so much.  I will do my weekly weigh in on Thursdays now, since that is when I started the program.  And I very likely will be upping my calorie intake for the next couple of days- need to find some energy to run 2 half marathons back-to-back!!

What do you guys think of eating only 1200 calories a day?  Is it enough?  I am thinking that as long as the calories are healthy and nutritious that will be enough on most days.  I am trying to get rid of these last 15 pounds that just keep hanging around, so hopefully this will do the trick.