Where I Have Been and Where I Am Going….

Wow.  It’s been almost two months since my last post!  Life got busy and while writing about running may have fallen to the wayside, my running workouts and races did not!  Since my last post:

1. I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 5k with my 6 yr old daughter.  And she ROCKED it!  In Albuquerque and the surrounding suburbs there seem to be some standard 5k and 10k routes that all the race organizers use and the one the Shamrock Shuffle uses I try to avoid….because it is uber hilly.   But I had these great new socks

Screenshot 2014-05-02 12.04.39and they needed to be used in a St Patty’s day race – surprise, surprise New Mexico has only one such race on the uber hilly course.  We decked ourselves out in as much green as possible and headed across town to the race.  Not only did I have to run the hilly course, but it was my turn to push the stroller with our almost 4 yr old.  Ugh.  I could barely keep up with my daughter in the race, she stopped several times to let me catch up and finally at mile 2 had to tell her to go on ahead, “Just follow the rest of the people, ” I panted.  And she did.  She PR’ed the race by around 10 minutes, with a finish time of approx. 34min.  Wow.  Just wow.  I have to give props to the guy dressed a green chili pepper costume.  He started out in front of us and Cate had a fire in her to “beat the green banana!”.

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The Green Chili Costume looked something like this…

She passed him by mile 1 and only needed to be reminded that he was gaining on her near the finish line for her to kick it in to high gear for the last 100 meters.   Cate ended up winning her age division for the race and was so proud of herself to get the special 1st place medal.  I didn’t mention to her that she was the ONLY PERSON in the  girl age 6-9 division.

 

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My Irish lad ready to rock the 1k.

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Sweet victory!

2.  I ran the Albuquerque Half Marathon on April 19th.  About two weeks before the race a tweaked my hip during a tempo run, and being the type A person I pushed through the training plan instead of taking a few days off to rest it.  Resting when I am injured is really, really tough for me and something I need to work on.  So needless to say, on race day my hip was still bothering me – so much that I couldn’t push myself to keep the pace I had been training for.  That morning I thought I would try taking two ibuprofen to see if it would dull the pain, but by race time my hip was still hurting AND my stomach was upset from the medicine.  Double whammy.  I should have learned my lesson from Ragnar DC that ibuprofen and I don’t get along….

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Where’s the Immodium?

By mile 3 or so, I resolved myself to just getting to the finish line and to take in the scenery.  And that is what I did.  I finished – 16 whole minutes slower than my 2013 time – but I finished.  Lesson learned: Not every race is going to be epic and it sure is nice to let the pressure go and enjoy the commeradery of other runners out for a race on a beautiful spring morning.

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Where I am going:

1. Tomorrow I will undertake my very first TRAIL RACE!  I have signed up for the Valles Caldera 10k which takes place at 8,000 feet above sea level.  Weather is predicted to be beautiful and I am excited to wear this shirt that I received from my friend Aimee:

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I think “My Pace. My Peace” will be the perfect mantra for me tomorrow.  There is something really exciting to me about doing a race that I have never done before because there is no pressure to ‘do better than last time”.   Whatever I accomplish tomorrow will be a PR.  And maybe that is why starting to trail race will be a new goal.  Every trail is different – different altitude, different obstacles, different elevation gains/losses.  And short of doing the same race year after year, I won’t be able to compare say a 10k in the Valles Caldera to a 10k in the Sandia Mountains.  I like the thought of that…

 

2.  Ragnar ChicagoScreenshot 2014-05-02 12.07.04Ragnar Chicago is just one short month away and my team and I are getting really excited.   We are being sponsored partly by Breadsmith, so we thought we would pay tribute to them in our team name: This Is How We Roll.  We’ve ordered t-shirts and magnets to tag other vans and have finalized which leg will be run by which runner.  I’ve been assigned Leg 9 and be in Van 2.  This will be different than my last Ragnar (Washington DC) when I was in Van 1 and was able to sleep from midnight to 6am.  I personally think Van 2 has the harder job in a Ragnar because they have to run from noon-6pm, midnight – 6am and noon-6pm roughly – running through the hottest part of the day and the dead of night.  If anything, some really funny stories will probably come of it due to serious sleep deprivation.  Here’s a picture of my sis and I doing some Ragnar practice while she was visiting last week!

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3. La Luz Trail Run.

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Sign on the first 2 miles of road leading to the trail head.

I’ve signed up for the lottery drawing for an entry into what 2001 Trail Runner Magazine selected as one of the “12 Most Grueling Trail Races in North America”.  Yes.  I voluntarily have signed up to run 9 miles and 5,000 feet elevation gain up Sandia Mountain.  I kind feel like it is a right of passage as and Albuquerque runner to complete this race.  And that is all I will be doing if I get in: just making it to the finish line.  The lottery takes place May 8th.  We will see if this is my year.

 

So that is what I have been up to these last couple months and my plans for the summer.  What are your summer racing plans?  

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Run This Year 2014 Update!

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It’s been two months since I decided to join the Run This Year 2014 challenge.   After falling short of my 1,200 mile goal in 2013 due to injury, I decided to set my goals high for this year …and stay injury free…. 2,014 km in 2014 (or 1251 miles). So, how am I doing?

January was a little bit of a slow start.  I had the Phoenix Rock and Roll Half Marathon on January 19th, which called for a taper for the first two weeks of January before the race and then a little RnR from the RnR (Rest and Relaxation from the Rock and Roll).  

Total miles for January: 70.82 running (50.3 biking)

In February I picked up the pace.  My next big race on my calendar is the Albuquerque Half Marathon on April 19th and I jumped onto the Run Less, Run Faster training plan as soon as I felt rested from the Phoenix RnR Half.  Because the Run Less, Run Faster (RLRF) book emphasizes three quality runs a week and two cross training workouts, I was a little concerned I wouldn’t hit my 100+ mile goals, but was surprised when I logged on this weekend to get my Feb. totals:

Total miles for February: 101.86 running (74.90 biking)

and the grand total for 2014 so far: 172.68 running (139.20 biking)!  

Ok, so I am a little bit behind to achieve 1,251 miles for the year.  I should be at 208 running miles by the end of February, but I am going to keep plugging away.  Maybe I will have to adjust my goals to include my biking totals since I am spending so much time cross training and my number one goal for the year is to stay injury free.  I am really pleased with the RLRF program after 5 weeks of being on their half marathon plan.  I haven’t hit all the pace goals for every single run, but I have gotten the miles in and feel like my body isn’t getting too broken down as I near the thick of the training miles.  I do miss an ‘easy run’ every now and again – one where I don’t have to constantly be checking my Garmin for pace and mileage, but I did have one little ‘cheat day’ last week when I skipped a 30min easy spinning bike ride and ran outside without my watch for 30 min.  It felt good and I look forward to pulling back for a week or two once this race is over before my next race…. 

And I am so excited to share that I have signed up for my first trail race – The Valles Caldera 10k on May 3rd!  I have had my eye on this race for a few years but it always seemed to be in June when I was on vacation.  This year they moved it back to May which could be a little cold, but will probably be better to avoid the heat of summer and forrest fire closings.  Here are a few pictures from the race website:

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Doesn’t it look wonderful!?!  Now here is the scary part:

ImageIt’s a little fuzzy, I know.  If you squint at the above elevation chart you can see the race starts at 8,200 feet and climbs to nearly 8,800 for the first three miles! Yikes.  I live at approximately 5,600 feet, so at least I am not coming from sea level, but it is still going to be a huge stretch.  My plan for the race: leave my watch at home and take a lot of pictures on my first trail adventure.  Now for the technical questions: What type of race gear do I need?  Shoe suggestions?  Any other trail racing knowledge you would like to impart?

 

 

Happiness Is Your Creation

Last Thursday I was kind of dreading my workout.  I had 6×800 on schedule and the only time I could squeeze it in was while my son was at art class.   I  decided to do the repeats in the industrial area across the street – flat and long, straight streets and if I did the workout quick enough I could treat myself to a latte before picking him up.  Normally I would drive 10 min to the beautiful bosque running trail for my workout, but – like I said, a latte was a necessity –  if I drove to the trail and back I wouldn’t have time to get one after my workout.  Priorities.

The thought of running 800s in a very unscenic part of town that is a little sketchy was not sounding like running heaven, but I was determined to get the workout in.  As I ran the first 800 toward the industrial warehouses I saw boarded up abandoned buildings, empty dirt lots, garbage, broken glass, uneven sidewalks and rusty barbed wire.  There were two teenagers huddled on the side of the road outside of their car – doing drugs?  I don’t know, but I avoided them and that area for the rest of the run.  There were rundown houses past the warehouses and broken down cars.

Just keep your head down and get the repeats done.

The end of my second 800 ended in front of a house that looked like this:

Is that the RV from Breaking Bad?

Is that the RV from Breaking Bad?

And the house had a view of this, across the street:

2014-02-13 10.27.44Probably not your most sought after real estate in the city.  As I was ‘walking off’ my repeat (i.e. 90 second break), I looked down and I was stopped in my tracks.  I saw this:

HAPPINESS IS YOUR CREATION

HAPPINESS IS YOUR CREATION

Who had taken the time to spray paint this on the curb by this house?  I was blown away.  And as my Garmin started to beep to signal the start of the next repeat, I started to look around.  I started to notice more about this area I was running in.  It wasn’t just an industrial area, there were homes here that people lived in.  And there WAS beauty here.

Totem Poles

Totem Poles

Pyramid Home?

Pyramid Home?

Not really sure the story behind these guys

Not really sure the story behind these guys

Love the contrast colors on this home

Love the contrast colors on this home

The quote on the street really made me think about seeking out beauty and happiness – on runs, in life itself.  I don’t know that I will seek out deserted industrial areas for my future runs, but I will certainly think about finding the beauty and creating happiness wherever I end up.

Happiness is created.  It doesn’t just happen.

Training Week 1

IMG_7452Whew.  I did it.  The first week of Run Less, Run Faster training is in the books, and I am not going to lie – it is TOUGH!  I discovered I really enjoy easy paced long runs and that on this training plan, there are no ‘easy’ runs – all runs have purpose, and therefore pace.  I set my goals high for this round of training and as I was reading in the book, the authors remind the reader again and again to be realistic about goal pace.  After doing all three training runs this week, I have discovered that my goals are not realistic – in that I didn’t hit my paces for two of the three runs.

The first run was the long run, and as I posted here I was able to just squeak by on pace.

The second run was my speed workout.  A mile warm up, 3×1600, and a mile cool down.  I choose a very flat out and back course for the mile repeats.

IMG_7447The weather proved a little windy, but since I was turning around at half mile, I figured that the wind shouldn’t matter quite as much.  Here are my splits:

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For a 2hr half marathon the splits should be 8:06, for a 1:53 half marathon (my PR last year) the splits should be 7:37.  I didn’t even come close to the 7:37, but I did keep it under the 8:06.  The plan states all speed workout repeats should all be within a second or two of each other – this I need to work on.  By setting a more realistic goal time hopefully I can focus more on my splits.

My third workout was a tempo run.  There were a couple things I did wrong the night before the tempo run:

 -Wine tasting

-Papa John’s pizza

-staying up late when I knew I had to get my run in at 6am the next morning.

The run was really doomed before I even stepped foot on the treadmill.  I was supposed to do a mile warm up, 6 miles 9:09, one mile cool down.  I made it to the end of mile 5.  I was able to hold the tempo pace for four of the six miles, but then hit a major wall.  I went into survival mode – just keep running at whatever pace I could to get the miles in.  I finished all eight miles, but I think you can see what happened based on my heart rate chart:

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I completed both the cycling cross training workouts this week with very little trouble.  It was actually quite enjoyable to do something different and give my knees and ankles a little break.

So where do I stand going into next week? I am going to do what RLRF suggests and set a realistic goal: 1:58:58.  I am going to use the tempo paces and speed workout paces for that half marathon pace and see if I can be successful.  If I can, then I will reevaluate next week.  While I want to push myself, not hitting the goals doesn’t feel very good and I don’t want to injure myself trying to attain them.

Couple more pictures from my runs this week:

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Cottonwood are beautiful even in the winter.

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And my favorite breakfast this week – Rice cakes + Nuttzo + Bananas.  Have you tried Nuttzo yet?  If you love nut butter, you MUST try it.  Simply addicting. :

Perfect Breakfast: Rice cake + Nuttzo + Bananas

Perfect Breakfast: Rice cake + Nuttzo + Bananas

A final motivational thought for your week ahead:

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Talk to me:

What is your favorite pre-run breakfast?

How is your training going?  What have been your ups and downs?