27 September 2012

Trail Running Rambles

View from the Salmon Beach area of the Defiance 30K course. 
That is the Narrows Bridge in the distance.
Well the time has almost arrived- in 15 days I will be tackling my big 30K trail race (race details HERE)!  I have been so focused on this race since Ragnar that I have not even entertained the idea of signing up for any other races.  Seriously, friends have been racing and posting pictures at events and I am just oddly content to quietly cheer them on from work or my couch.  I was a little sad to miss out on the local You Go Girl Half Marathon since I had done it for the last 2 years, but honestly I just didn't have the desire to do it. 

This is the course.  I mapped it out and carried one with me in
my pocket during my run.  I still got lost.
That, and the fact that up until last weekend I was a little bit nervous about how I would perform on race day.  I mean 30K is no joke, and the fact that it is all on trails makes it that much more challenging!  So I have been out on those trails every single Friday, spending hours just running and running and running to make sure that I am ready.  Since I last blogged I did go out and run 16 miles.  And then last Friday I attempted to follow the race course and ran 18 miles!!  I got lost and off course several times but I think I get the idea- and the race director promised me that the course would be well marked. 

I started my run here at Owen's Beach 
Yes, I know the race director for the Tacoma City Marathon Association- he happens to be a customer of mine and an extremely nice guy.  He is also one of the founders of the Marathon Maniacs- he is maniac number 3 Tony Phillippi.  I was chatting with him a couple of weeks ago and he encouraged me to get in an 18 mile training run and now that I have I am very thankful that I took his advice.  I feel very ready to run this race, and I know that I may be slow out there but I have what it takes to enjoy my run and be proud of my training. 

I thought these trees were really pretty.  I was also pretty sure I was completely lost at this
 moment but- suprise! I actually wasn't lost at this point.
When I signed up for this race it was an early birthday present to myself - my birthday is October 8th and the race is October 13th.  Other women buy themselves jewelry, I buy myself hours of running alone out on dirt trails.  Yep, never claimed to be normal!  Anyways, it will be my first race in my new age bracket since I am turning 35 I will be grouped with the 35-39 year olds.  I have no clue if that will help me, hinder me or make no difference whatsoever but I will find out soon enough!  HA!

I loved running through here, although it was really secluded and I had no
idea where I was or if I was going the right way!
My 18 mile run went really well.  It took me 3.5 hours to finish, which sounds like a really long time but remember that running on trails with rocks/loose dirt and HILLS galore (steep up and steep down) your pace is typically a couple of minutes slower.  Factor in that I have only done a handful of runs ever (and on pavement) over the 14 mile mark and my pace is just pretty slow out there.  I have learned to just turn that function off on my garmin because I don't care about pace when I am running 18 miles on trails- what matters more to me is that I am staying hydrated and fueled and enjoying myself. 

I popped out here not once, but TWICE! 
Definitely not in the right spot.  Oops.
I have learned that I love running the trails.  I love that there aren't any cars.  I love that there are trees and deer and nature sounds and chipmunks.  It is peaceful and my mind stays busy the entire time because the second I stop paying attention I get lost.  Oh, who am I fooling- that happens whether I am paying attention or not but I just don't care if I get lost anymore because when you are running 18 miles you have time to get lost and find your way again.  I love that I can run for hours without music and I don't miss it.  I love that when I get home and take off my shoes and socks it looks like I was actually running barefoot because my feet are caked in dirt.  Ok, I don't really love that part but it makes me feel like a bad ass.

Had to add one nice cheesy photo of me in for good measure!
This is how my run went- you can see I kind of went in the right direction. 
And you can see the lovely elevation chart as well!
I did go for a run down on the nice, flat, paved waterfront yesterday just to be sure there was some speed left in these legs of mine.  I managed to do 5.5 miles at an average pace of 8:53  so it is still in there somewhere!
Crunchy leaves- I think Fall has arrived! 
Don't tell anyone but it is my FAVORITE season.

11 September 2012

30K Training Update

Right now I am 3 long runs and a taper week away from my big 30K trail run on October 13th.  So what has my training looked like over the last month?  I created a "training plan" of sorts for myself and this is how it went- I sure hope what I am doing is enough!

Aug 12th-19th: 6 mile run, 8 mile run, 9 mile run (trails) = 23 miles
Aug 20th-26th: 6 mile run, 4 mile run (on sand), 10 mile run = 20 miles
Aug 27th-Sept 2nd: 10 mile run (treadmill), 5 mile run, 12 mile run (trails) = 27 miles
Sept 3rd-9th:  5 mile run, 8 mile run, 14 mile run (trails) = 27 miles
Sept 10th-16th: 5 mile run, 6 mile run (tomorrow), 14 mile run (plan for Friday- trails) = 25 miles

This is where I parked last week- main trail head for all 3 trails
I am absolutely in love with running on trails, especially the trail system at Point Defiance.  It is so nice to have miles and miles of beautiful nature where you can still feel safe, have access to restrooms and your car if necessary and an added bonus for me is that it is literally only 2 miles from my house.  How have I taken 2 1/2 years to discover this amazing place to run when it is in my backyard?? 

I went on one of my usual routes the other day down to Wright Park and found that I was rather irritated waiting at stoplights and dodging cars/bikes/strollers/dogs.  Plus one reason I enjoy running is to be alone with my thoughts and just have some inner quiet time.  Between my kids, my husband and my job I am usually talking ALL DAY LONG and it is nice to just have quiet surrounding me for a change.  In fact I rarely take music with me on my runs anymore.  Crazy I know, but I am actually quite content with my own brain to entertain myself! 

They make it look so simple...and check out those elevation charts!
So last Friday I ran 14 miles down at Point Defiance, all of it on the trails.  Once again I had a grand plan: do the triangle trail twice, the circle once, and the square once- that added up nicely to about 14 miles and it would allow me to loop past my car every 4 or so miles so I didn't have to carry my fuel or water with me.  I headed out on the triangle trail and after a while I realized I had taken a wrong turn and was unsure which way to go.  Eventually I hopped onto the circle trail and followed it back out to my car but by then I was almost to 5 miles and I was thirsty and annoyed.  Why do I get lost on that trail every time?  I should have been back to my car at 3.5 miles!  I finally have the other 2 trails memorized and I know my way around pretty well- or so I thought! 

Ready for the trails!
Change of plans, I didn't want to risk getting lost again when it was so hot out and I was determined to keep my hands free and not carry water.  So I went around the outer square trail twice, then finished with a mile or so down the circle trail and back to make 14 miles.  I don't think I fueled properly during this run- it was warmer than I realized and even though I was shaded from the sun the air was still very hot and there wasn't much of a breeze.  I ate 3 shot blocks after 5 miles and drank about 4 ounces of water.  Then around mile 9 I was really hungry- like my belly was actually growling- so I sat in my car for a few minutes and ate a kid's cliff bar (honey oat), ate one shot block and drank some orange nuun.  I was hoping that would all sit ok as I started running again, and to my surprise it was just fine. 

Don't look down!!
I probably should have carried water for those last 5 miles, plus brought those last 2 pieces of shot block but I was intending to stop by the car one last time.  However, when I got close to my car I thought I might lose my desire to finish the 14 miles if I stopped for a minute so I just headed down the trail to finish the last 1.5 miles.  I finished around 1:30 in the afternoon and I was hot, thirsty and completely worn out.  I ate a protein bar, downed my nuun and headed home to get cleaned up.  It took me 2 hours and 33 minutes to run 14 miles of trails- not bad, and my pace is slowly improving out there.  The last time I ran a half marathon was in June.  And the last time I ran farther than that was almost a year ago!

My feet were SO dirty! 
That night I ended up with an awful headache that would not go away and I fell fast asleep on the couch at 8:30pm.  I would say that my run was a success but my fueling/recovery were not!  So I am going to repeat the 14 mile run this week and make it my goal to fuel better and recover better- and I have recruited a running buddy to meet up with me for part of the run.  However- part of me wants to aim for 16 miles instead of 14.  That part of me that doesn't like to fail and wants to always be prepared thinks I should run farther than I did last week. 

I have until Friday to figure it out.  What do you think I should do?  Run 14 again or aim for 16 instead? 

Anyone out there training for something amazing?  How is it going? 

Who is running You Go Girl this weekend?  I am a little sad to miss it this year but the timing just didn't work out for me.  Good luck to those of you running- Alyssa, Mel, Meredith- and others I am probably forgetting!   

01 September 2012

A Nomination

So while I was on vacation the lovely Allyson at (so not) Super Runner Mom nominated my blog for an award -actually 2, the Versatile Blogger Award and the Liebster Award but I am just going to follow the rules for the Liebster.  Thanks for thinking of me Allyson!

The Liebster Blog award asks the blogger to do the following:
1. Answer 11 questions posted by the person who nominated you.
2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 11 blogs.
4. Write 11 questions for the blogs you nominate.
So here goes nothing- the answers to Allyson's questions!

1. What is the oldest piece of clothing in your wardrobe (that you actually wear)?
Probably a khaki skirt that I wear to work from Old Navy.  It is cargo style and I bought it about 8 or 9 years ago but I love it.  Sadly it is starting to wear on the back pockets so this is probably my last summer with it.

2. What is your favorite drink?
Well, lately my favorite is really cold, pure tasting water since I am not supposed to be drinking my calories.  But I really love iced coffee without sweetener and a splash of milk.

3. What's your favorite race distance?
I love half marathons!  It is the perfect distance for me

4. If you could give your teenage self just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Start running!!!  I wish that I had started running in my younger years, but I guess starting at age 32 is better than nothing :)

5. What did you study/major in college?
I double majored at Central Washington University in 4 years, graduating in 2000.  I have BA's in Psychology and Family and Consumer Studies intending to get my master's and become a family therapist.  Halfway through my 4th year I changed my mind but finished my degree's anyways.  Some day I will go back and get a degree I will actually use!

6. Cilantro - love or hate? (I've determined that there is no in between on this issue)
LOVE it, especially in homemade guacamole. 

7. Brandon or Dylan? (Inspired by the Old Navy commercials)
OMG, Dylan all the way!  I had the biggest crush on him forever.  Hmmm...maybe I still do!

8. Have you ever run a relay? If yes, which one? If no, why not?
I have ran the Ragnar Northwest Passage for the last two years as well as the Rainier to Ruston relay last June.  I have been invited to do the Spokane to Sandpoint relay on an all girl ultra team next year- not sure I am quite ready for that but I am tempted!!!

9. How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
Oh dear.  My roommate and I turned 21 about a week apart in college so we went out together in Ellensburg and our friends fed us drinks all night.  After my friend bought me a prairie fire (tequila and tobasco) I couldn't drink tequila for years.  I got a C on my statistics test the next day, I don't think my professor was too impressed.

10. What movie(s) could you watch over and over again?
I don't watch movies too often.  Lame I know, but I love oldies like Goonies, Dirty Dancing, the Breakfast Club or romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or The Notebook.  I have watched the Twilight movies a lot.  Oh, and Elf.  I could watch that one over and over again for sure! 

11. How often do you update your blog?

Sometimes frequently.  Sometimes not very often at all.  Pretty much when I have time and something to talk about! 

And my 11 random things:

1.  I worked at a daycare while I was in High School and the kids all called me TT because apparently Tiffany is a mouthful for little kids!

2.  When I was a kid I didn't like peanut butter and now I could pretty much eat it with every meal.  My mom must have been really annoyed that I didn't like it.  I should ask her.

3.  I hate shopping for clothes- like actual day to day clothes.  I am terrible at fashion and tend to just buy boring shirts and simple pants and skirts because I am not creative that way.  And I do not know how to accessorize, nor do I like to wear jewelry.  If I could live in workout/running gear all day I would be happy!

4.  My first car was a 1983 Honda Accord that my dad taught me how to drive since it was a stick shift.  I am always amazed when adults don't know how to drive a 5 speed.

5.  I was in 5th year French when I was a senior in High School.  I can still understand it a bit and would love to visit France.  Or move there.

6.  I love dark beer- porters and stouts especially.  But I can usually only drink one since they are so rich.

7.  When I am an old lady I will eat ice cream every single day.

8.  I wanted to have 4 kids so I could have a big family.  Then I had my first and she was such a pill  delight that I had to reassess.  So 2 is much more reasonable!  My grandmother is one of 10- my great grandparents were saints!!

9.  I have sold Mary Kay, Partylite and Pampered Chef.  I am not very good at running my own business, but I love to host parties!!

10.  I have 5 tattoos.  I really want to cover one of them so I have been trying to come up with a design I like. 

11.  I have been wearing glasses/contacts since I was in 7th grade and would love to have Lasik Eye surgery.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and be able to see clearly!!

I am not going to nominate 11 blogs- simply because I think most that I follow have already done this or been nominated.  And I am feeling kind of lazy.  So if you want to answer some of Allyson's questions too, leave them in a comment for me!!