29 May 2011

Trusting the Process

I got my hair done last week.  I love it!
One of the reasons why I love using Daily Mile to track my running is that I can see trends.  I can look back and read my comments as well as check my pace and distance.  This is helpful not only to track progress and gage what my marathon pace will likely be, but also in such instances as what happened to me in the last week or so.  I was really starting to feel sluggish- as if my legs were made of lead.  I was getting aches and pains in my hips and ankle even though I was tapering so my mileage was greatly reduced.  At first I kind of thought it was all in my head, or perhaps it was normal to feel that way once tapering began.  Then I started realizing how many miles I had actually ran in my shoes.  I was close to 370 miles for this training period, and the majority had been in my New Balance! 

The week prior when I drove up to Road Runner Sports up in Kent the salesman there was helping me select some sunglasses and I asked him how often minimal shoes should be replaced.  I was having a hard time finding this information online since the shoe I run in only hit the market in March.  I was thinking they would last longer than a typical running shoe, but he told me they actually need to be replaced more often- probably around 250 miles.  Hello Tiffany!  I needed to replace my shoes, and quickly so I could get a few miles in them before the marathon! 
Out with the old, in with the new!
So last Tuesday I drove out to Fleet Feet in Bonney Lake to get my new shoes since they are impossible to find in the Tacoma area.  In fact I called South Sound Running and they informed me they do not carry minimal shoes at all.  That place is a ridiculous excuse for a running store, I have been in there twice and never bought anything.  They don't even carry compression socks.  So I don't mind making the treck to Bonney Lake-  I LOVE that store.  The staff there is extremely helpful and their selection is always great.  I chatted with one of the ladies that works there for a bit and she gave me some nutrition advice for the marathon, I bought some Cliff shot blocks, the new edition of Northwest Runner and my awesome new shoes and was a happy customer. 
What a difference the shoes made!  I went for a 6 mile run in them the next day and my legs felt awesome and my pace was back where it should be.  Plus- no aches or pains!  Thank goodness I figured that out before the marathon, that would have been terrible!  I am not sure why it never occurred to me to replace my shoes, I always replaced my shoes during the half marathons I trained for.  So here is my advice to you all- pay attention to your body and if something seems a bit off...maybe you need to replace your shoes! 

I am not sure how I feel about tapering.  I realized that this is the first race I have trained for that I am actually able to finish the program.  Last year at this time I was babying my knee and missed several key long runs for the NODM half marathon.  I pretty much stopped all running for the last weeks leading up to the race to heal my knee.  Then last September for the You Go Girl I was having pain in my right quad so I also stopped my training early as well!  I know that being injury free right now has a lot to do with switching to a more minimal style shoe, focusing on my form as well as properly cross training.
Inside my shoe it says "less is more"  <=>  So True!
I did my last "long" run yesterday (8 miles) and it left me a little unsatisfied.  Although it was pretty warm and sunny out so at least I got a bit of a tan out of it!  I thought I would be happy for the reduced mileage but I am finding myself questioning whether I am ready for next weekend.  What if my training wasn't enough?  I guess my point is that the 8 mile run yesterday did nothing to reassure me that my body is ready to take on 26.2 miles.  I followed a marathon training plan that thousands of people use every year with success.  I followed it exactly, logging all the miles on the planned out days, except for that week my ankle was bothering me.  So I guess now I need to trust the process.  I am ready.  Right???   

Hanging out with my BFF on her bday!

27 May 2011

Ode to My BFF

This was my birthday last October at the Blazing Onion after playing 2 soccer games! 
Happy Birthday to my BFF!  We met each other when we were around 11 years old so that means we have been friends for 22 years.  Or 2/3 of our lives.  Or forever.  However you want to look at it!  She has been there for me whenever I need her, we have been on many adventures together and there is usually never a dull moment when she is with me!  She is a sister to me and an aunt to my children.  She is family. 
Getting ready to head to a high school dance
This was at my grandparents vacation house in Ilwaco.  We used to have a blast tearing up the town of Longbeach!

Jaime was there supporting me during my first half marathon.  She is one of my favorite people to see along my race course!  She will be there next week for the marathon as well, doing the half!  So proud of her.
Photo booth fun, being dorks!

Halloween 2010
Jaime is one of the most loving and caring people I have ever known.  She is currently finishing up her nursing degree and she is going to make one heck of a nurse very soon.  If you know Jaime and are reading this blog please post one of your favorite things or memories about her in my comment section.  Happy Birthday Jaime, I love you!

25 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Random fact about me- I seriously question myself every time I write the word Wednesday.  I often shorten it to Weds. when I honestly can't remember how to spell it.  Anyways...here are some pictures of things I love to use for running.
Hydration and Nutrition.  I can't quite bring myself to get a fuel belt so for now- I carry them in my hand and pockets!
My Moeben arm sleeves.  I have only worn them once but I really liked them.  Kept me warm enough to not need a jacket!  And running skirts ROCK!

Head gear!  I actually prefer a simple ponytail but the weather around here gets a bit wild sometimes!
And here are two more random facts about me- I get ridiculously excited to get my hair cut and colored (which is happening today!) and I am already planning out and getting excited for my 5 week Ragnar training plan.  Yes.  It is the simple things that make me happy!!  11 days until marathon day-AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

22 May 2011

Tapering is Hard Work

I finally got some running sunglasses.  I love them!
In two weeks, at this exact moment I will be able to say "I ran a marathon!".  I think I am ready to just go get it done...but then I think- what happens after its over?  This training has consumed my life for the last 4 months- what in the world will I do after I complete the marathon?  I had another dream about running Friday night.  I was just running.  There was nothing else, all I could do was RUN, with no distance, no destination, no nothing.  Just me running.  I kept waking myself up so I could dream about something else, except I would fall back asleep and just still be running!  It was so weird.

I can tell my body needs these weeks to taper.  My legs are just exhausted, and it has almost been harder to do these shorter runs than my longer ones.  Maybe it is all in my head, or maybe it is normal?  All I know is that my legs felt like they were made out of lead this week.  I also ended up playing the field at our soccer game on Friday night.  I was keeper for the first half and the team was just killing me in there (it was that darn C league team) so I threw in the gloves for second half so I could get some of my frustrations out by running the field.  I don't have the greatest ball control but I can be quick and powerful when necessary!  They asked us to play an extra half so I ended up playing the field for 45 minutes.  And even though I kept saying I was going to stay back on defense to save my legs...ya, that didn't work so well.  I definitely felt that for my 12 mile run on Saturday!  Oops, so much for tapering properly!

And I do have a few races planned for after the marathon.  I am signed up to run the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage on July 22nd and 23rd which I am really excited about.  It is a relay race that goes from Blaine to Whidbey Island and covers 187 miles.  I am part of a 12 person team that my friend Mandy recruited, it is going to be a blast!  http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/northwestpassage

I am also looking at several half marathons for late summer and early fall.  Some that have caught my eye are the Eugene women's half (9/4), You Go Girl (9/11), Bellingham Bay (9/25) and the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Half (10/16).  Has anyone ran these before?  Any ideas or suggestions?  I did the You Go Girl last year and it was a fun race.  Any friends out there want to get trained up and run with me??? 

17 May 2011

This Runner Girl Ran 20 Miles

Ready for my 20 miler!
I did it.  I ran 20 miles.  Actually, it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be (not that it was super easy either)!  I have been staring at the date May 14th on my calendar for about 3 months now with a variety of emotions, completely unsure of how I was actually going to RUN 20 miles.  Cause 20 miles...well that is kinda far!

So Saturday morning I woke up around 6:30am and had a cliff bar and banana, then layed back down until about 7:30.  I knew I should start running somewhere close to 8:30am in order to finish and be able to watch Devan's soccer game at 2:30pm.  I am proud to say that throughout my training I have never missed one of my children's basketball games nor soccer games due to my long Saturday runs.  I have ran ALL of them outside regardless of the weather and have managed to always attend my kid's games.
My silly monkey girl
My silly monkey boy
The weather was actually looking really nice and the sun was out!  It was a bit chilly though so I started off with my jacket, a tech shirt, my compression socks, compression shorts and black skort.  I had been reading up on proper fueling for runs that would exceed 3 hours (which this definitely would) and Scott Jurek had just addressed this in the latest competitor magazine.  He seems to know what he is talking about so I used his formula to figure out the high and low ends of an appropriate carb intake per hour while training or racing for my body weight.  Which turns out to be somewhere between 50-70 grams of carbs per hour.  Which is way lower than what I typically take in.  For example, one gel has around 25 carbs.  So I should have 2 per hour, each hour! 

So I planned out my carb intake as such:  2 gels, 1 pack of gu chomps (50 carbs) and 40 pretzels (50 carbs) and 2 Dove dark chocolate promises (10 carbs).  I planned on drinking plain water until mile 16 then had half of a nuun tablet to add to my water.  I used nuun on my 18 mile run in the beginning and found myself a little bit too hydrated- if you know what I mean.  Who wants to make that many pit stops?  Not me!  So here is a mile by mile break down of my run.  I will try to keep it short, sweet and entertaining.

I parked my car at the Les Davis Pier on the Tacoma waterfront and start putting myself together.  This is the first time I felt myself dawdling, knowing once I got out of the car and started running there was no turning back!  I was checking out the surroundings and there were a lot of runner's out already.  And there seemed to be some sort of race being set up (turned out to be an arthritis walk).  I finally got out of the car, started my garmin and was off.  I was wearing my jacket and had a gel and my gu chomps inside my pocket.  I went to the short end first (towards the zoo) and found that I was actually really warm already, and it is only mile 1.

Mile 2, I turn and head back towards my car.  The sun is beaming in my face and I am really warm.  I stop at my car (2.25 miles) and ditch my jacket and sweaty band, grab my hat and shove my gel and chomps in various pockets in my skirt and head off again towards Old Town.

Mile 3 I decide to take my gel even though I don't really need it.  Except that it has caffeine in it and I had not had my espresso before I left the house so I wanted it.   It was a strawberry Gu and it was really disgusting.  I would not recommend it to anyone.  So I chased it with some water, which helped a bit.  Up the hill to Old Town I went, heading down Schuster Parkway.

Mile 4 I see my family drive by and honk as they head down towards Dock street.  They were going to stalk me a bit and take some pictures so I made sure I was photo ready as I headed down the hill by The Dock.  There was also an event happening there at the Thea Foss waterway- some sort of boating competition and the people seemed very focused on what they were about to do. 
Mile 5.  Practicing my "wave while running" pose.  I think my fingers are spread a little far apart.
 I will work on a cuter wave!

Mile 5, a quick stop to say hi to the family.  Oh, and I finally got a rock out of my shoe that had probably been there since my rainy run last Wednesday!  I was 1/4 done and still felt really good.  I headed off again and was passed by some random dude running in black jeans and a tshirt, then by a tall, skinny girl who obviously belongs to some high school track team.  The sun felt really good and I was working up a good sweat at this point.
Getting the rock out of my shoe!
Niko hanging out waiting for me!
Mile 6 came as  I passed the Museum of Glass and headed to the area where the restrooms are at the far end of Dock street.  I refilled my water bottle and ate half of my Gu chomps (blueberry pomegranate) which were WAY better than the strawberry gel.  As I turned to head back to my car I noticed the wind was blowing towards me giving me some resistance. 

Mile 8 and 9 -I ate the other half of the Gu chomps as I passed back through Old Town.  As I headed back down the hill towards the waterfront I could see that there were lots of people still walking in the Athritis walk that I would need to weave through.  I was having to run over into the grass to pass large groups and was trying to not be annoyed when I turned to the right and who was standing there?  My hubby!  So he took a quick picture or two of me looking really annoyed and off I went- I didn't want to have to repass all of the walkers!
2 of my biggest fans hanging out waiting for me to run by!

Mile 10 I was halfway done!  I was also back at my car and saw my friend Karen and her daughter Gillian (they were doing the walk) so I said hi really quick.  I stopped at my car to grab the rest of my fuel and ate about 10 pretzels as quickly as I could.  Which is kind of hard because they are quite dry.  I decided to just eat the rest as I was running even though I felt kind of like a weirdo since there were so many people around.  I had them all in a baggy and there wasn't anywhere to put them so I ended just carrying them.  As I ran past the finishing area for the arthritis walk it was tempting not to go run across the finish line- but somehow I resisted :)

Mile 11.5 I was trying to get past these two girls who were running way slower than me.  But everytime I had the chance to go around they would spread out so there was no room!  I was about to say something to them when all of a sudden- there was Will again!  Busted!  He had been trying to get an action shot of me but those girls were in the way so I ran back around and came at him again! 
This was completely staged.  But I really was running!
Mile 12 I passed by my car again.  I stopped in the bathroom there so I could refill my water bottle.  It was really warm outside and I was thirsty!  I checked my time and focused on passing the half marathon distance.  My energy felt great still and all I had to do was get back down Dock street and back.  Then I would be done!

Mile 13.1 time was 2:09, not great but I think considering this was a 20 mile run it was pretty darn good!  I also managed to run up the hill into Old Town and just barely catch the light by sprinting across the street!  How is that for a burst of energy at 13 plus miles???

Mile 14 I decide to take my chocolate hammer gel.  Which was all melted and warm from being in the back pocket of my skort!  What a sticky mess.  But it tasted pretty good.  It was at this point I realized I only had 6 miles left, which felt completely manageable!  I headed back down the hill to Dock street where the kid working at the crosswalk there gave me a quizzical look like "didn't I see you already?" so I just smiled and ran past him.

Mile 15 was long.  At least it was relatively flat and the lady pulling out of the parking garage way too fast didn't actually hit me with her car.  That was nice.

Mile 16 I arrived at the rest area for the second time.  I actually sat down for about 3 minutes and ate my pretzels and downed an entire 10 oz of water with them.  Then I refilled my bottle and dropped in the nuun tablet and stopped to use the bathroom.  I looked at myself in the mirror and guess what?  I had chocolate gel on my face!  And salt streaks.  I was REALLY bringing sexy back this time!  So I rinsed my face and off I went again- only 4 miles left!!!

Mile 17 I was thinking out loud and saying "This is soo far- I am crazy!  What am I doing??"  Then I looked up and there was this guy standing outside of his car just watching me.  He probably agreed, I was crazy!  At least I didn't have chocolate on my face any more.

Mile 18.3 I ate my 2 dove chocolates.  Then about 60 seconds later I heard a horn honking and it was Will and Devan again!  They had dropped off Niko with my mom and just happened to drive by right as I was hitting Old Town again.  I. was. almost. done!!!

Mile 19 I was just running to my car.  That was my only focus.  I had pretty much listened to every song on my ipod and my legs were tired, my hips were sore- I just wanted to be done!  I was looking at everyone as I passed by them, trying to get my mind to be distracted.  It worked pretty well, I was suddenly at my car and at 20 miles.  I finished!!!  Total time 3:16 and my pace was 9:48. 

Usually I kind of walk around and stretch a bit after I finish running.  I think I was a bit delirious- I literally got into my car and drove straight home.  I drank a muscle milk on the way, and ate a couple of boiled potatoes when I did get home.  But otherwise I had no appetite.  I was really thirsty though! 

I ended up taking a cold bath which felt pretty darn good, then headed to watch Devan play soccer.  She scored an awesome goal and her team tied 2-2.  I was pretty much stiff and exhausted for the entire rest of the day on Saturday.  And Sunday I was also quite sore.  This morning I went to my yoga class and actually feel fully recovered and ready for my 5 mile run tomorrow!  Let the tapering begin!

Happy birthday (5/15) to my friend Kendra!

1.  I have known and been friends with her since around 1st or 2nd grade
2.  She is one of the smartest people I know
3.  She is really easy going and fun to hang out with
4.  She had more fun at my bachelorette party than I did ;)
5.  She is a great mom and wife
6.  She is back in school and going to be very successful soon!
Jaime, Kendra and I sometime around 9th or 10th grade

13 May 2011

Rainy Running

The view where we started our rainy run- Les Davis Pier
HOORAY!  I finally have my computer back in one fully charged, non virusy piece.  Yes, I probably made that word up.  Computer hackers are my new enemy.  I ended up with a virus on my computer that basically made it look like my entire hard drive was non existent and they were trying to get me to pay money fix it through their little scam.  Good thing I am a smart cookie and didn't fall for it.  And thank you to all my computer friends out there who spent time trying to help me, especially to John M. and John W. -and a huge thank you to John W. for actually removing the virus and putting my computer back into functional order.  So now I am back into bloggy bliss!  A week without a computer is way too long. 

So this is my big week, the peak of my training for the June 5th marathon at NODM.  I will be running 40 miles this week for a total of 110 miles in 19 days.  Yikes!  I am happy to report that my body is handling the miles quite well, however I am kind of ready to taper.  I am starting to get nervous about another injury happening this close to race day.  So I have been cutting back a bit on my other workouts and just focusing on running for now.  Next week I will get back into my boxing class and lifting weights a bit more consistently.
Before our run- this will be awesome!
So remember my hot, hilly run last week with my friend Alyssa?  Well, she joined me for my 10 mile run a couple days ago and it couldn't have been more different as far as weather goes!  It was pouring down rain, windy and actually a bit chilly!  We met at the Les Davis Pier down on Ruston Way at 1:30pm and set off on our lovely run.  I wore my running jacket, a tech shirt, running tights and some shorts over the top.  And my hat of course. 

We saw some baby geese, and one of our regular customers along the way.  We dashed over the train tracks even though the red lights were flashing and we could SEE the train coming.  But it was pretty far away and I didn't feel like waiting for it.  I know, I know.  We lived!  The look on Alyssa's face was priceless though.  I think she thought we were going to die haha. 

Overall I was about as comfortable as can be for running in the torrential downpour we experienced- I was completely soaked by the end and could have rung out my entire outfit!  But for some reason I like running in the rain.  My energy level was good and I pushed our pace to keep around a 9 min mile.  Which we did exactly- 10 miles in 90 minutes!
Done!  Don't make fun of our hat hair! 

Our wet, muddy feet!!!
Today I was able to go over to Scott and Meredith's house to meet their new baby Cole.  He is super cute and slept in my arms for the whole hour I was holding him.  I forgot how little a new baby can be!  He was born on May 2nd so he is only 11 days old.  Congrats guys! 

That's all for now, I am heading off to play soccer in an hour.  Just wanted to give you all a quick update and let you know that tomorrow morning I am going to be running my first 20 miles EVER and I am nervous, excited and ready.  I will give a full report in a day or two.  Also- good luck to one of my running buddies Cynthia!  She is running her second marathon in Boise tomorrow and has been training like a mad woman for it- you are going to kill it!  I will be thinking of you as I am trying to finish my 20 :)

09 May 2011

Bringing Sexy Back

Well, there is less than a month left until the marathon. I get little butterflies in my tummy every time I think about it. I ordered a new running skirt and found a black tank top to wear so my outfit is pretty much in order. I ran in the skirt for my 15 mile run on Saturday and it was really comfortable and I like it a lot. Yay! I will have to show you a picture of it later. Why you ask? Because I am sitting at the library typing this thanks to a lovely spyware virus that attacked my home computer yesterday. I have had more problems with that darn thing lately.

For some reason last week I never hit the gym for any weight training so by Friday I was getting antsy to go lift some weights. I headed to the gym for about an hour and a half and did arms, chest, back and my abs. I did high reps with low weights and didn't feel like I did enough to be sore the next day. WRONG! I was definitely sore when I woke up on Saturday morning. Oh well, it was worth it!

I have become the queen of eating then going back to sleep. I woke up at 6am, ate, then went back to sleep for about an hour. I was out the door at 7:45am and headed down to the Tacoma waterfront for my 15 mile run. I was wearing my new skirt, compression socks (I love them), a tech shirt and my Nike running jacket. Also I had on my hat because it was supposed to be raining -which it never did until I was driving home. Whatever! Crazy weather predictor people! Anyways, I parked in my usual spot and headed down towards Dock street, thinking in my head I would head 7 miles down, turn around and come back then head the other way past my car which would add up to 15 miles. Except that when I got down to the end of Dock street it was only FOUR miles!!! Who knew? So I kept going up around the corner and along the back side of the boat marina. I managed to get to 5 miles before turning around. I am not a fan of running up and down the same patch of sidewalk to make up miles but at that point there was no real option. I did a few laps down by the Museum of Glass and managed to get to 7.5 miles before heading back to Ruston Way.

I passed by my car around mile 11.75 or so and ditched my water bottle and hat. I took my jacket off but put it back on because the wind was still chilly. I reached the 13.1 half marathon mark at 2:04 and finished off my 15 miles in 2:22 which I was pretty happy with. My pace was 9:25 overall. Not sure I could pull that off for the entire marathon, but who knows??? The best part was that my ankle felt great and my recovery was really fast. In about one hour I felt totally fine and my energy was back up. Totally different than last week after the 18 miles! I came up with a little chant for myself while I was running- "head up, abs in, run fast, relax" which I kept repeating when I felt my form getting all crazy and sloppy. I like it, it is simple and actually worked for me. Except the "abs in" part- they were super sore from my workout and didn't really appreciate my attempt to make them work. Oh, and after 2 hours of slight bouncing, my chest muscles were pretty mad at me as well. Lesson learned- that is why Friday is a rest day!

After my run we headed to watch my daughter play a game of outdoor soccer- in the freezing, pouring down rain! She loves it though, all those girls got out there and crushed a team with a lot of bigger boys on it 3-0! I love watching them play, they just keep getting better and better. Devan was really amped up and didn't want to get pulled off the field at all. She was completely drenched and begging to get back out onto the field. She rocks.

Then I took my mom to see Water for Elephants for mother's day. It was a really good movie, I enjoyed it a lot. I am reading the book right now, just need to find some time to finish it! Maybe next week when I start tapering and don't spend half of my life running haha. Anyways, then we had her over for a BBQ dinner and it was a nice relaxing evening.

Sunday morning I woke up to a nice breakfast made by Will and the kids. It was really good and I also got a new purse and some sunglasses. And Devan made me a flower pot and we are going to plant some flowers in it. Will detail cleaned out my car for me, inside and out! I felt really spoiled and loved which was nice. Mother's Day has to be one of my favorite holidays! I felt like a super star.
My best super star pose!
Oh, and while I was in about my 13th mile of running a song came on that I had not heard for a long time. I had it on a quickmix from Pandora and for the most part the song mix was great. At first I was really annoyed and thought, man do I really have to listen to THIS song??? Then I just decided to own it and pretend that I was, indeed, at that very moment, bringing sexy back!!

05 May 2011

A Hot, Hilly Sweat Session

Yesterday morning I woke up from my first anxiety dream about marathon morning.  I think it is slowly sinking in that it is barely a month away and the time is flying by!  In my dream I was wandering around trying to get ready for the race which was starting in 45 minutes.  I was wearing the wrong socks and I couldn't find my shoes at all.  I went into a room and realized my race bib was still sitting there on the table and...I wasn't wearing pants!  There were grey sweat pants on a chair so I put them on really quick and was still looking for my shoes while looking at the clock- only 20 minutes until the race started!  Thankfully I woke up at that point and ended that nightmare!  Next time I will try to have the "perfect" marathon morning dream.

Amazingly enough we were also lucky to have a beautiful sunny day yesterday!  I had made plans to run 9 miles with my friend Alyssa (she is running the half marathon at NODM) in the afternoon and I was looking forward to working on my tan!  I decided to head out to Chambers Bay Golf Course for a change in scenery and I thought it would be a little less busy than the Tacoma waterfront.  I knew we would be facing some serious hills, but I forgot how intense they really are!

I teased Alyssa that we were going to start out by running straight up the enormous hill we drove down and she just looked at me like I was nuts.  So we headed off in the opposite direction- although I knew what awaited down the path a little ways.  That same hill had to be climbed, just in more of a switch back kind of format!  From mile 1.5-2.5 we gained 250 feet of altitude!  Wow oh wow, that was crazy hard!  First of all, I wasn't even completely warmed up at that point, and secondly- what is it with my breathing when it is warm outside???  I never feel like I am panting and out of breath during a run unless I am really pushing my pace, but get the temperature up around 60 or so and I totally lose it!  So annoying.  Anyways, after we reached the top of the crazy hill it took about another mile before I felt fully recovered enough to even hold a conversation. 

The hill we didn't run up! 
We decided to run straight down Chambers Way until the sidewalk ended, then turn around and retrace our path back to the beginning.  We got back to the main area around mile 5.8 or so and Alyssa asked how much farther?  I said "oh, just 5K left!" we are getting close!  So we just lapped around the bottom area the last few miles- I couldn't convince her to head back towards the hills haha (not that I wanted to either!).  I am not sure if it was the heat or the hills or a combination of the two but for the life of me I could not get my legs to move faster than they were!  Oh well, 9 miles is 9 miles and it was a fun run with a friend!  I also refilled my water bottle THREE times which is crazy!  Our time was 1:29 for a hot and sweaty pace of 9:54.

We survived our hot, hilly 9 miles!!!
I am also trying to decide what to do for my long run on Saturday.  I am scheduled to do 14 miles, but I have been toying with the idea of doing 16 since I missed my 16 miler a few weeks back.  What do you think???  Maybe I should compromise and do 15?  Then next weekend on May 14th is my big 20 miler before I start my tapering.  I don't want to risk injury but I do feel like getting one more run in of a decent distance might benefit me.  Any advice out there???

02 May 2011

18 Miles

My lovely tour of North Tacoma
I knew in the back of my mind that Saturday was going to be a very important day for me.  I was able to complete all of my training runs for the week without any pain or swelling in my left ankle and I needed to know that it could also tolerate a long run without any ill effect.  I was a little nervous- 18 miles is REALLY far!  My mom joked with me and said "hey, why don't you just run to my house!" so I google mapped it.  It is exactly 17.9 miles to her house.  Now that is weird!  But no thank you, running to Puyallup was not on my agenda for the day.  Maybe next time!

I knew I should be heading out the door close to 8:30am so I woke up at 6:45 and ate my standard breakfast before a long run.  Then I went back to bed!  I didn't really fall asleep but it felt good to lay back down and be lazy for an hour.  The weather was a bit chilly but otherwise perfect for running.  It wasn't windy or raining (a miracle!).  I opted to wear my compression socks, running shorts, a tech tshirt and my nike running jacket.  It was nice that I could wear my jacket since the pockets allow me to carry things easily.  I brought my iphone so I had some music and my waterbottle of course.  I planned to stop by the house at least once to refill water and replenish my energy gels.  I was doing some experimentation with my fueling today by alternating between gels/chomps and actual food to see how my stomach tolerated it.

Resting in my nice warm bed!
I was out the door closer to 9 and headed off towards the Narrows Bridge.  I decided to loop around rather than tackling the bridge so I got  back to my house around mile 7.  I ran past my friend Marty at the intersection near my house, he waved and said "see you tonight at soccer!"  Right...I was going to play soccer tonight as well.  I had an energy gel at home, refilled my waterbottle with mixed berry Nuun this time (pretty tasty) and headed off towards Wright Park.  About a mile down the road I heard honking- it was my friend Ray (remember, he is the one that bashed me in the face with the soccer ball a couple months ago?) and he is parked along the road waving at me.  Next time I am going to tell them to carry spare water in their cars and take pictures of me- just like my own personal race haha. 

Mile 7 pit stop at home
As I was getting close to the 9 mile marker I remember assessing myself.  I was halfway done!  I love being halfway done and I was still feeling great.  My legs felt awesome, my ankle wasn't making a peep and my breathing was perfect.  My pace was also good, I was trying to stay around a 9:45 mile which I think is a fairly decent estimate of my race pace.  I decided to try my alternate energy source- pretzels- around mile 9.5 or so.  However, I did not have the patience to walk the entire time it was taking me to chew them!  So I thought hmmm...I wonder if I can run and eat at the same time?  Yes, I am talented enough to eat pretzels while running.  Sweet.  I arrived at Wright Park and lapped around it a few times.  I honestly can't remember if I went around 3 or 4 times but I did hit the 13.1 half marathon mark there at 2:07!  The flowers there were really pretty and there were lots of people out enjoying the day.  I also met a squirrel who practically climbed up my leg trying to get a pretzel.  Yes, I shared!

I decided to head back towards home knowing that I would likely have 1-2 miles to make up somewhere along the way.  I continued alternating between orange gu chomps and pretzels to keep my energy level up and it seemed to be just right.  I was at mile 16.5 when I was near my house again so I stopped in really quick to ditch my water bottle, my music and my coat!  I was so tired of carrying that water bottle and my music was starting to annoy the crap out of me.  And I was HOT!  But I was not out of energy nor did I feel like giving up so I did my last 1.5 miles happily with just my shirt, shorts and garmin.   

Overall, the run felt good.  My legs never had that heaviness like they did when I ran 15 miles a few weeks back.  I am relieved to know that my ankle held out and as long as I take it easy I will complete my training and run my first marathon on June 5th.  Less than 5 weeks away!!!

Happy to be done!