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Posts tagged ‘run’

When time works for and against you


When I was in the middle of intensive counseling sessions last fall, my therapist told me to write down a list of things I couldn’t control. Want a lesson in humility? Make that list.

You’ll end up realizing that you can’t control anything. You’ll want to give up, buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream and eat it while watching afternoon talk shows (Ricki Lake has a show again, who knew?). At least that’s what I did. Months later, I’m not ashamed of it. The ice cream was good. And my soul needed more soothing that I realized.

I still have my list. The third item down is “time.”

I can’t control time. Because it keeps ticking away. Because there’s always a sun up and a sun down (unless you were the dinosaurs, as one of my students pointed out to me recently). Time just moves. You either embrace the temporal moments as just that or you let some bad drag you down.

Five weeks ago today I fell hard on my left side while trying to get in my 15-mile run for this marathon training cycle. It laid me up for two weeks. Three weeks ago, I finally did that run. On my treadmill. I also ended up in the doctor’s office being properly diagnosed with a fractured radial head.

This training cycle, I didn’t do a 20-mile run. I didn’t even do an 18-mile run.

Two half marathons, one 10K, various eight and 10 milers, but no marathon-standard runs.

And I’m running a marathon this weekend.

Time. It just kept moving.

When I ended up in the hospital in January, I wondered if I’d even make it to the start line in San Luis Obispo. My husband and I did a lot of talking in the hospital. We had conversations both of us had been avoiding, or hoping we wouldn’t have to have. They concerned work. Money. Running. Happiness.

I worried more about the 10K I’d be giving up than the marathon. I’d be fine by the marathon, right? I don’t even know how to define “fine” anymore.

Three weeks ago, sitting in my doctor’s office, I was more concerned about the Oakland Half than SLO. I PRed in Oakland.

In that time, my arm has become stronger. I’m able to bend more, but still not put a lot of pressure on it. I’m able to do some of the things I couldn’t before. And I’m grateful, because time helped that. I didn’t think it would ever be better. I was convinced I was going to walk around with T-Rex arm for life.

But I was back in Modesto getting my arm looked at today. The stiffness is causing the pain. I need to regain mobility. The fracture has healed nicely so far. (See image above, where the cursor is pointing? That’s where the crack was. I took the photo for my husband.) Time healed.

Runners say that by the time you get a week out from a marathon, there’s really nothing you can do that will prepare you more. Taper. Stay off your legs. Get your gear assembled. But don’t go crazy. This past week, I kept wishing for more time. In the middle of multi-hour meetings, looming deadlines and prep to take my students to a journalism conference out of town next week, I needed a minute or two extra. Something. Anything.

The reality is that I was wishing and wanting more time to feel better about this marathon. I guess I could just not run it. But my husband doesn’t really give me that option anymore. (You know the meme that says “you had one job…” where someone messes something up even though that’s all they had to do? I kind of feel like that. I have one job on race day, and that’s to run my ass off.)

Nerves? Anxiety? Yes. Always now. But if I had four more weeks, two more weeks, I know I’d be better for it.

Tomorrow we hop in the car early and head the 3+ hours to San Luis Obispo. We’ll be staying in Morro Bay, where my husband has family. The good news is that this course has an eight-hour limit. The bad news is that last year’s finishers mostly came in well ahead of that. I’m just hoping I’m not too alone out there on the course.

So things keep happening


Like us getting a new puppy. She doesn’t have a name yet. My husband is working on that.

But she’s so fun. Our other dogs aren’t quite sure what to do with her yet. I don’t think we ever considered ourselves a three-dog family. But my mom had her. And she kind of found a way into my heart. She was the puppy who, every time I’d go over to my parents house, would come up to me and give me love.

These pups were born last November, about the time everything was falling apart for me.

It’s kind of fitting we have one now.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on WordPress lately, just not doing a lot for this site. It’s part of a freelance gig I have where I get to code CSS all day long. And. I. Love. It.

Words cannot express how much I love it. I get to spend all day doing amazing web work. Plus I get to code in my pajamas. Or running clothes.

In fact, when a friend stopped by the other day I actually told her she was lucky I was in real clothes.

Even better? I get to take a running lunch break. Seriously. When I’m not at school, which is more than 20 hours a week right now, I’m working from home.

So yesterday, when I started getting a little frustrated because I couldn’t figure out a specific line of CSS, I decided it was a perfect time to go for a run.

Eight miles of a run. During the middle of the day.

Of course, that means today I didn’t attempt a long run.

But Sunday is the Super Bowl. And that means I’ll be eating a lot of amazing goodies. So I’m getting myself up early and running.

Ten miles is on my agenda. I need to do 10. I kind of have to. Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena is in 15 days. It’s go time. My plan is to it in at least three 10 milers in the next few weeks. I wouldn’t normally go so crazy training mode about it, but I’m really suffering out there.

My husband reminded me that when I had my last surgery, I took off a lot longer than I am now. I reminded him that I couldn’t afford to forgo a $100-plus race right now. Especially since the hotel room is already paid for and everything is all planned out. We even already have our parking permit for the Rose Bowl!

I know none of that matters when it comes to injury, but I’m still just wanting to be where I was before the surgery.

I’m going to say tomorrow isn’t going to help with my waistline, especially since I already know that pulled pork sliders and other meat items smothered in brown sugar and marinades is on the menu.

Then there’s also the knowledge that I’m contributing to my own problem. My friend asked me to bake. I honestly thought my husband and I would take something savory to the party, like mini chicken bakes or a low-fat dish.

Nope. She wanted me to bake.


So I obliged. I made brownie bites with frosting. I also make mini cheesecakes covered in raspberry preserves.

“Better wear some elastic waist bottoms,” she said in a text to me. Yikes. Let’s hope I can knock out that 10-miler without issues. Otherwise I won’t be able to eat anything at that party.

Fresh from the finish line smell?

One of the biggest problems with running is that sometimes you smell a little ripe after. My husband never commented on my not so beautiful scent until I started running half marathons. It’s likely because I whenever I finish, even when it’s cold outside, I’m usually covered in sweat.

So I found it funny that when I got home yesterday, after a trip to Target for household necessities, that I realized something interesting about my newest “stick” of deodorant.

I bought deodorant, the “sport” kind because of all the working I’ve been doing lately.

When I was taking it out the box I noticed it was “marathon fresh scent.”

All I thought about when I saw the name was how bad I smell after I run 26.2 miles, which by the way happens for a third time next Sunday when I line up for the California International Marathon.

Today was my last long run before CIM.

In the past three weeks I’ve run 20, 13.1 and 10 miles on each of the Sundays. I’ve put more mileage on for a total of 110 miles so far in November.

I feel more ready for this marathon than I was at this point last year, but today’s run didn’t go so well. It’s likely because we psyched ourselves out.

The last long run before CIM last year was bad too. This run just felt tiring. Every step was exhausting. I think we wanted to get it done a little too much at the beginning. It didn’t go by as fast as our runs usually do either.

On a brighter note, I did get to try out my “marathon fresh scent” after and I’m glad to report it doesn’t smell like I do after I finish running that far. It actually smells like a mix of citrus and flowers, an odd but workable combination.

A good sign for the marathon maybe?

I’d like to hope. I need some good signs lately.

A course best at the Big Sur Half on Monterey Bay

First things first: If ever given the opportunity to run along the coast, any coast, you should. There’s something about salty wind blowing on my face, the smell of the water and beauty of the waves cresting on the coastline that’s soothing.

I love running in San Francisco for this reason. I love runs along the water nearly anywhere in the Bay Area.

Monterey Bay is a beautiful place to run, only rivaled by the actual Big Sur Marathon which transverses 26.2 miles from Big Sur to Carmel. In April, I ran 21 miles of the marathon as part of the Big Sur 21-miler.

It was shortly after running that I again signed up for the Big Sur Half Marathon onMontereyBay. The course runs 13.1 miles of rolling hills along the bay. Last year, it was dreary, but not cold. It was also more than I was expecting at the time.

I figured the course would be more flat.

Turns out, it’s a little more quad pounding than I thought.

In 2011, my finish time was 2:37:41.

It was warmer this year, but my training was also more on par. I did a lot better. I ran a 2:28:27.

It didn’t happen my accident. I’ve trained on inclines more this marathon season. With this run, I feel more ready for California International Marathon in less than two weeks.

My mom and I left on Saturday to head to Monterey Bay. We got to the area at about 2 p.m.and headed straight to the expo.

As always, the Big Sur expos are well organized. First bib pick up, then into the vendor area. There were more people in the expo than I expected. Breathe deeply, I thought. We waded through the people to the shirt pick up area.

The 2011 shirts are a nice shade of burgundy. This year, the shirts are a deep purple. They are decorated on both sides, the front celebrating the 10th anniversary (or presentation as the organizers call it), and an image of the Point Sur lighthouse.

We were handed our Gu-brand bags with the race guide, always filled with great stories, and a poster. My mom found a nice pair of yellow sunglasses at the expo, but I didn’t find anything of interest. So we headed out to Fisherman’s Wharf to check out some shops before checking into the hotel.

Volunteers were in the middle of setting up the finish-line area when we walked by. The barricades weren’t yet up, though. These guys were trying to figure out how to get the Velcro sign attached.

I was starting to feel more comfortable, definitely more so than the previous year. After a cheeseburger at a very noisy sports bar, we headed back to the room where I fell fast asleep rather early.

We went to sleep at about 9 p.m.I woke up at about 5:30 a.m., perfect, I thought.

The great thing about this half is that we stay pretty close to the start line. My mom dropped me off about a half a mile away from the corral area. I walked most the way, then picked it up to run.

It was overcast, but didn’t look like rain. Perfect conditions.

Then I freaked out a little bit, when I saw how many people were around. So…I did something kind of irrational. I waited in a portable toilet line and, once I got in one, hid out for literally 15 minutes while I calmed down.

I want to apologize to the other runners for that one. I know proper toilet etiquette is to get in, get your business done and get going, especially at races. But I couldn’t help it. To be fair, a portable toilet is not exactly the place you want to breathe deeply or anything like that. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.

After emerging, I walked through the crowd (tense, trying to keep an arm’s length from people, which was actually pretty easy), and headed into Corral G. It was rather spacious in the corral. I actually found a spot in the front, hoping to get out and run faster to get away from people. I guess there’s nothing like anxiety to set a course personal record.

When we started at about 7:15 a.m. I was kind of a ball of nerves. I think that’s why I did so well. Instead of concentrating on being anxious, I was trying to just keep running.

It was a pretty consistent run for the most part.

Mile 1: 10:29— I didn’t think I was pacing out that fast, but I was. We went out down Del Monte Boulevard, past a little park with paddle boats and over a bridge next to a cemetery. These are things I didn’t notice last year.

Mile 2: 11:19 — The first mile of this race seems long, especially considering you’ve already gone through downtown Monterey by the time you reach mile two. And you’ve already done the tunnel. The tunnel was hot and muggy. My glasses fogged up and I had to take off both my hat and my long-sleeve shirt.

Mile 3: 11:25— Slowing, uphills here. Gu here.

Mile 4: 11:38— We hit this mark right after the big hill in Pacific Grove. I couldn’t believe how amazing I did on it this year, walking fast up about a 20-foot section, but then going into a slow run. This was my slowest mile.

Mile 5: 11:08— Downhill and out toward Asilomar State Beach. Getting the pacing more even now.

Mile 6: 10:48— Gu. I felt I needed it to make sure my legs didn’t get tired. I wasn’t feeling fatigue quite yet, but I wanted to get ahead of it.

Mile 7: 11:24— Another bit of an uphill here. Slowed, stopped at a water station and walked longer than I wanted to so I could get myself back together.

Mile 8: 11:23— Got out to the turnaround and headed back toward the finish line.

Mile 9: 10:38— Really felt good here. The Gu was propelling me. This is when I started having real issues with my arm chafing.

Mile 10: 11:24— Arm. Chafing. Hell. But I kept on going.

Mile 11: 11:25 — I’m surprised this mile went so well being that the Gatorade cups weren’t stocked here and we had to wait for someone to fill a cup. Of course, I was there before three others and kept getting ignored by a volunteer. It happens, but I was annoyed. This is where I finally saw the Vasoline guy too. I grabbed a glob of the stuff and slathered it under both arms. Gu here too.

Mile 12: 11:20— Down back into Cannery Row, my favorite mile because it’s the John Steinbeck marked mile. It also marks the last major uphill, which isn’t that bad.

Mile 13: 11:34— Pushing at the end. Feeling good and realizing that I’m likely going to do really well in this race.

Mile .27: 2.33 — I look at my Garmin and kick it for the last bit, which ends up being longer than the .1. I’m usually about that much off on each course.

Official chip time: 2:28:27 for 13.1 miles

Garmin time: 2:28:27 for 13.27 miles

I crossed the finish line and was handed my awesome ceramic medal.

That’s a photo of it later, after my shower in the hotel room. After applying a ton of cream under my arms just so I could put on a long-sleeve shirt.

The best part? I felt amazing afterward. Running has been helping me feel better in general, but some days it takes me a lot longer than it should to get up and get going. Once I get past that hurdle, I’m usually good and, even, floating for some time after the run.

In this case, I was floating for the rest of the day.

My mom and I went back to the Wharf and had a little lunch after the hotel. We had a reservation to go whale watching on the bay later.

That was our boat. We went out for nearly three hours and saw some awesome humpback whales. What was nice is that there were hardly any other people on the boat. There were maybe 25 of us in total. So there was a lot of space to walk around.

We spent the rest of the day shopping in little stores in the area and checking out the local scene. It was quiet, mainly because it was Sunday afternoon and many people went home right after the race. We stayed the extra night to have a nice dinner and make our way home slower.

Not a lot of people, which was amazing. That little pink shop on the left is where we spent a good deal of time, checking out all the little knick knacks.

The race was awesome. I stayed hydrated. I loved the experience again. It turned out much better than I expected. I’m glad I didn’t decide that I should stay home for this one. I’m glad I gave myself a kick to get out and get going even when I didn’t feel as if I would be able to perform at my best.

But I did.

I keep saying that I have moments where I see my old self shining through. I’m trying to build on those moments. How do I get those and keep them? How do I stay “in the moment” and not think about everything else impacting my life. I’ve mentioned that I thought my personal problems weren’t about running.

It’s running, though, that’s helping me to get through more than anything else.

Looking past the present

Like my awesome PhotoShop skills? I actually am really good at it, but this is just the simple smudge tool over my emergency room band. I’ll give away that much. I recently had a trip to the ER. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t planned (hence, an emergency).

People usually say they are “working through stuff.” Yep. I’m working through stuff.

And that’s where I’ll leave that.

I’m trying to look past the present right now.

To the future. Or at least to my running future.

I’ve been doing some planning over the past couple days on races I’d like to run next year. I’ve been putting together a short list so far. Only a couple are solid in terms of choices right now. Financials will play a role, obviously. And, surprise, I’m actually considering running a spring “A” marathon and a summer marathon.

I’ve run enough races to know where I like to travel and what I love to see when I run. I also know which ones I’d like to do again, but maybe not in 2013.

So, today, I started planning.


Brazen Coyote Hills 10K: I love this race. The rolling hills. The beautiful view. It’s got a lot to offer. Plus, it’s Brazen. And I love Brazen. This race is kind of difficult logistically for Brazen, with shuttles needed to send people back and forth, but Brazen does an awesome job making it happen.


Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Half Marathon: This wasn’t my favorite race ever, but I want to give it another go. I now know what to expect, including the hill right at the beginning. My hope is that I won’t be a straggler at the end this time. I signed up for it today, before the price went up.


Brazen Badger Cove 10K: Brazen hosted this combination half marathon, 10K and 5K for the first time in my neck of the woods this year. It’s literally only over the hill from where I live. It’s also a week before the Oakland Half, which makes it a perfect warm-up and taper run. The hills are crazy, but I felt great after. Definitely a must-do again.

Oakland Half Marathon: This will always be a favorite for me. Oakland holds a special place in my heart because I spent my two years as a student at University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism living in the Temescal neighborhood. I love it there. I’ll always love Oakland. And I usually sign up for a steal (half price!) with a coupon code from the San Francisco Marathon. A side note: Oakland is still one of the ONLY events you can defer entry to the next year if need be.


San Luis Obispo Marathon: Here’s where I really switch things up. This race is a little more than a week after Oakland. I don’t know how I found out about it, but I’m hoping to run 26.2 here. A bonus? My husband has family in the area, which means he wants to go too. And there are rolling hills…so I’ll have to work the only hill I know in Mountain House, and maybe some others.


Bay to Breakers 12K: This is less of a race, more of a fun run. Unless you are my brother and smash it in under an hour wearings short-shorts and looking like the kid who knocked up Juno. There’s been some changes to the 2013 website, so I’m not even sure when this is happening. I’ll probably ask my brother to run with me again. And I likely won’t do “premium” or “plus” registration because, despite being sponsored by a T-shirt company, this race has some of the ugliest shirts I’ve ever seen.


The San Francisco Marathon: Let’s have an “oh my God” moment. I’ve said, numerous times, that I would NEVER do a marathon in San Francisco. I’m actually really considering this because it would put me in the elite “52 Club.” Who runs for bling? That would be me. Actually, it’s just a sweater. But now I know the beginning and end of the marathon path, I’m kind of excited to try it. Will I sign up? We’ll see. This wouldn’t be an “A” race, but it would be one I’d train seriously for.

And that’s it, for now.

I figured I’d wait on planning the rest of the year. Will I run CIM again? I don’t know. Will I sign up for the Nike lottery? Likely. I’m also considering the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half again. We’ll see. Since I’m only signed up for two of the seven races I have planned, nothing is really set in stone yet.

But I’d rather plan ahead right now than deal with some other stuff.

Speaking of which, I probably mentioned having to return two pairs of pants to Lululemon due to bad design. I got two great gift cards in return.

A couple days ago, I got a new package.

I opted for two new shirts in lieu of the capris. I show this mainly because Lululemon changed it’s packing. It’s no longer an simple gray mailer. Instead, it’s covered in the company’s manifesto. As much as I love it, and it gave me a smile for the moment, I’m a little disappointed that my Lulu packages won’t be anonymous anymore.

Good thing my the people in my neighborhood don’t seem to be the running type. Otherwise I’d worry about the packages disappearing.

A void

This week’s lack of blogging stems from something other than being overburdened. In fact, a recent episode in my life means I am very much under burdened.

I’m not going to get into it right now on here for various reasons. My husband has encouraged me to do so, but I can’t right now.

It has nothing and everything to do with running.

It has nothing and everything to do with how I treat myself.

It has nothing and everything to do with my life right now and some changes that need to be made.

So I’m working on some things.

I’m still running. But not sure how much blogging I’ll be doing in the next month or so.

Cryptic, yes. I’m usually a lot more transparent. But some things just need to be held close.

So on that somber note, I leave you with a cute picture of my Domo collection. The new green ones are a recent addition from a good friend.


A nice retreat at the Nike Expotique

I mentioned in a previous post how excited I am about the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. It’s a huge race. There are more than 25,000 women running for the same cause. It’s all about female empowerment. And it’s fun. There was nowhere along the race path last year that I wasn’t having an amazing time.

I’ll admit, though, I was reluctant to sign up this year. It’s a lot of money. Getting in is also pretty difficult. There’s a lottery system. Nothing is guaranteed.

And yet, I got in. I was thrilled when I got the email earlier this year.

So I’ve been anxiously awaiting this race weekend. When I got the reservation for the LunarGlides, I immediately took the day off so that I’d be able to spend a lot of time at the expo and in San Francisco.

I headed to the city around 11 a.m. on Thursday. I venture over on BART, a public transit train system in our area. It’s about a 40-minute ride from the station I board at to near the expo site.

It took forever to find parking. I had to go to three garages. So I was ridiculously hungry when I got to San Francisco.

First stop, the mall. For food.

There’s a great pasta/pizza place there with thin crust pizzas. I ordered one and ate like there was no tomorrow.

It was amazing. The cheese was perfect. The flavors were amazing. Then again, I was really hungry. I actually was able to eat before the lunch rush. Then I walked around for a couple hours at the mall.

I even found a pair of shoes I’d been looking to buy for awhile (Cognac-colored flats).

There are very few stores where I live and not many that sell inexpensive clothes. So whenever I make the trek to San Francisco, I usually visit H&M and some other places that specialize in low cost, fashionable clothes.

I decided it was time to head to Union Square after a couple hours. It was a quick five-minute walk up the street. When I got there, I was greeted by the purple Nike tent.

There was hardly anyone at the expo, as it had only opened a couple hours before. So I headed to the first person with her hand up. Checking in was easy. And she didn’t even check my identification. (For all that Nike preaches about not allowing other people to run in the place of another, I thought that was a little weird.)

The volunteer’s scanner wasn’t working, so she manually entered my number. I was handed my Nike+ volt-colored bag and basically sent on my way. Actually, I got something new this year too.

It’s a pace band. After last year’s disaster of a start line, which I’m told happens every year, I was glad when I was handed this band. I’m not the fastest, obviously, but I also don’t want to be behind a sea of walkers. We’ll see if this brings any change.

The bag is pretty nice too. Definitely something I’ll reuse. I’m not big into bag check. Usually I just take what I need with me and my husband brings me a bag at the end. (I have another new one in my ongoing quest to get him to actually bring me a bag, it’s another one from Lululemon I’ll post about later.)

Then I checked out the expo.

There’s always a lot going on at the expo, but not in a regular sense. People complain about not being able to sign up for other races or visit other vendors, but I think it actually works out for Nike. It’s a big brand. Plus, I’m often tempted to buy  a few to many gear items I definitely don’t need.

This year, I was tempted by the sports bras.

I briefly chatted with the saleswoman, but decided I probably already had as many sports bras as I could handle right now. I know you are supposed to replace them every six months. I have a few that aren’t even that old.

I checked out the Neutrogena booth, where they were giving away free samples. I drank some Nuun. I got some coupons for Safeway. I also watched a runner have their gait checked out. A lot happening in a small area.

Then, I headed to Nike Town.

I was specifically excited for one thing there this year: Seeing my name on the wall.

And this time, it was there. Last year, because I gained late entry, I was too late to have my name included.

I was so excited to see it in purple.

And here’s the point where I go a little crazy. The same thing happened last year. I normally limit my expo spending in any area to a set amount. For some reason, I can’t see to do that at Nike.

I was already purchasing the $150 limited edition LunarGlides.

Then I started looking around. This year there was more half marathon specific items.

I found a new cotton shirt for everyday wear. I have a gray one just like this from last year that I love.

Then I picked up a new tech shirt for running.

And since it’s getting to be cooler outside (seriously, I went from wearing T-shirts and needing the air conditioner two weeks ago to sitting here typing this with a long-sleeved shirt and wearing socks), I justified buying a new long-sleeve pullover to run in.

That’s the front, which is pretty basic but still pretty awesome. I’m really, though, in love with the back.

I love the ombre-inspired color pattern going down the back. Plus, as I mentioned in previous posts, I’m a fan of good design. This long-sleeve is really well designed.

See how I went a little crazy? Yes. I actually saved up a good amount of money to not break the bank this time, like I did last year.

Then, just for good measure, I figured I would pick up a hat too. I run with them from time to time, especially when it rains.

Because I really needed something else. To say this is why Nike doesn’t allow other vendors at the expo would likely be an understatement. They want you to come spend money, lots of money, at the NikeTown store. And that’s what most people do. It’s always ridiculously busy in there, some women buy shirts upon shirts upon shirts.

Some likely also buy enough stuff to sell it on eBay. (An off note, I saw a pair of the Nike LunarGlides posted as an eBay link  on the Nike Women’s Marathon Facebook page. That was a little disgusting. I’m glad Nike removed it.)

I had to wait a couple hours to pick up my shoes, so I headed back out to do some more shopping.

The lobby to NikeTown has maps of the course and huge images reflecting the marathon themes. It’s pretty inspiring.

So many photos, right? I get a little blog happy at this expo. Seriously, I’m probably more excited to write about this half marathon than any other one I do. I’m even usually more excited to run it. I’m REALLY looking forward to tomorrow.

Since they let me pick up my shoes at 4 p.m., I went back to the mall where I was going to wait until my husband told me to head back to the East Bay. I figured I’d hitch a ride back with him to my car. So I decided to go back to my favorite pasta place and order the best Italian dish ever.

Pesto gnocchi is amazing. I also had a small Caesar salad as well. It was all delicious. By the time I finished eating I was so tired. I walked around a little bit more and decided that I needed cupcakes. Because I always need cupcakes.


Yes. I got six. I’m not ashamed. They are delicious. And the booth is right next to the BART entrance to head back home for me.

About an hour later, my husband and I talked and decided I should just start heading back to the valley. I hopped on the first train and started my journey.

My trip home wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as my time in San Francisco. My car started overheating. My husband, who was supposed to go out of town today, is now in our garage trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. He’s already replaced the thermostat. That’s the fourth time in the 10 years I’ve owned my car the thermostat has been replaced.

I did, finally, get to look through my “goody bag” from the expo.

There was a lot of great stuff in it, including lip moisturizer, coconut water, Somersaults Snacks and cookies. This was actually a bag filled with good stuff. Compared to other bags, this one is probably the definition of an actual “goody bag.”

Today I’m taking it easy. I slept with compression socks last night. I’m worried because my legs have been incredibly fatigued in recent days. And my half marathon experience last week was brutal.

So I’m nervous about tomorrow. But I’m also incredibly excited about being able to run with lots of other woman who will inspire me along the way. I’m counting down the hours.

An empowering 9K

I signed up for the Title 9K for one specific reason: Last year an injury forced me out of the previous one at the last minute. It was one of two races in a two weekend period that because of my strained Achilles, there was just no way I could run.

I was on crutches, actually. And in a lot of pain. So much pain that it still hurt to put my foot down even slightly.

So when I found out that this year’s run would be at Quarry Lakes in Fremont and that it would be a little later in the year, I decided to sign up. I’m so glad I did.

Today was a good day. An empowering day, with hundreds of other women. And over a 9K (5.59 miles), I didn’t stop once. I also didn’t wear my Garmin, surrendering it to Jennie who came along to do a training run herself in the park. But my official time is pretty awesome.

I finished in 53:39 for an average of 9:37 a mile, officially.

I’m super stoked about this for a couple reasons.

One is that it means I can likely sustain a 10K at under 10-minutes a mile. Two is that it means, despite some recent setbacks and a not so great running week, my training is still on course for the California International Marathon. Success. Empowerment.

The sky was overcast as the group headed over to the start line.

Jennie looks a lot preppier than me in this photo. I just look tired. And my hair is a mess. Yikes. I’m only posting this to show the weather, which was a nice overcast.

I was only there for about 20 minutes before it started. There were plenty of portable and real toilets. I was literally in and out of the bathroom line in five minutes. Thumbs up for Title IX for that one, especially for an all-women’s race.

The starting line was chaotic, but organized. I don’t have any photos because my husband “borrowed” my iPhone so he’d have entertainment while I ran. (He couldn’t exactly leave because I was running for only an hour.)

My husband had already picked up my race bag with a bunch of swag in it.

And my nicely-designed T-shirt, which initially was too big. The nice ladies at the expo/check in both were nice enough to let me exchanged it with a size medium after the race. I’m glad I hadn’t washed it before, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to exchange it.

At 9 a.m. exactly, we were off to run Quarry Lakes. The organizers promised a “flat” race. I’d say it was “flattish,” but definitely not as flat as I’m used to on some of my training runs. I’m actually really glad I’ve been doing more incline work to prepare.

I started out strong, kind of stuck behind a group of women who were spread across the path. I kept trying to pass them, finally doing so when the path opened up a little bit more. I had no pain in my legs, not even my glute that’s been bothering me over the past week.

So I just kept going. I had no idea what my time was. I just kept at it. No problems, outside of a park official’s truck literally driving right through the race path.

I didn’t even need to stop at the first aid station because I carried my Amphipod 20-ounce handheld.

I quickly saw the sign for mile two and headed out into the out and back section. It all seemed to happen so fast. I turned around at a bridge, behind what seemed like a ton of people, and headed back along the outside of the park and then into the park again.

I slowed only when I hit an aid station on the way back, just after mile four, and grabbed a cup of water.

Toward the beginning of mile five, as I made my way back to the finish line, there were two ladies manning an aid station with chocolate for the runners. I didn’t partake. I figured I was doing really, really well. I was tired and I could have used a boost, but I figured I’d just keep going.

And I did.

My legs picked it up on a couple more small inclines and finally I ran under the finish line and my chip made the computer beep. My time was registered and I walked through a line of people toward an area of food.

As I was headed that way, I was handed an awesome water bottle.

It’s a little blurry, but the bottle is a nice metal one. It has the race on it and a design that matches the shirt and the bag. I was surprised because no one said anything about a finisher gift.

It even denotes that I ran and finished the Title 9K.

At the end there was a nice offering of bagels, Hint water and other goodies. In another line, people were being handed awesome multifunctional headbands/wraps. I was handed a tie-dyed purple and black one. It’s pretty awesome. I definitely think I’ll end up wearing this as it starts to get cooler in the next month or so.

It’s pretty nice. I’m looking forward to trying it out on one of my upcoming training runs.

All the “swag” at this race was pretty nice, but that’s not why I’m excited about it. It was a great experience, surrounded by other women who propelled me to do my best, resulting in one of my best races to date.

It’s funny, I figured I’d start this blog and talk all about how great I ran. The problem is, when I run great I don’t feel the need to dwell on it. When I have a bad run, I almost feel the need to justify my time, even on my blog.

This was a good run, but not because I willed it to be. Because my training is on par. Because I’m a better runner now than even four months ago. Because I’m taking my CIM readiness runs more seriously.

In three weeks, I run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. After today, I’m really looking forward to it. Because after today, I know I’m ready. And there’s no need to dwell over that.


Lulu letdown

I’ve been MIA for much of the past week. School started. A major work project ramped up. And I’ve had a really bad cold on top of all of that. This was one of those weeks where I really wanted to call in sick. I wanted to sleep and take NyQuil and veg out.

But I couldn’t.

So I kept going. And going. For six days.

I logged 11 miles for the whole week. Pathetic.

And I really feel it. I feel like I haven’t had a solid workout in some time. I feel tired because of it. (That’s possible.)

I only had one running outfit in my laundry today because of it too. Unfortunately that outfit revealed a bit of a letdown.

Behold, the photo above of my Caspian Blue Run: Swiftly Racerback. Except it now has a nice yellow discoloration around the back of the collar. None of my other Run:Swiftly shirts have this. None of them have ever discolored.

I have noticed a lot of comments on the Lululemon website about discoloration and issues, especially with some of the products they’ve shipped lately. It’s concerning, but because it hasn’t happened before I’m going to try and wash it one or two more times, maybe with some OxyClean, and see what happens.

I’m hoping to be back to regularly scheduled blogging soon. Or as least as regular as I can. But this week has been really crazy. The cold didn’t help any either.

Hitting the trails?

I’ve made no secret about my love of trail 10Ks on this blog before. I find them challenging. And the 10K is that distance that I just can’t get comfortable in. I start warming up at mile four. And I just want to keep going.

And I can keep going. My fastest 10K is a nice 1:02:52.

I love trail 10Ks because those races offer a bit of a challenge. Rolling hills? Yep. Rough terrain? Oh yeah.

And let’s face it, the views are often breathtaking. The picture above is from the Coyote Hills 10K I ran the last weekend in January. I only shaved a couple seconds off my time, but I still finished faster than the previous year. Even though I bonked during and after (seriously, the ride home found me nearly delusional and wanting to throw up), I loved the run.

My husband also likes taking me to these ones because he basically gets to explore. He enjoys it and, sometimes, I think he hopes I will take a little longer so he can hang around more.

I decided, though, after the run, that maybe I should invest in some trail running shoes. I’ve been running all my races in the same pair of Nike Equalon 4+’s for the past two-plus years. It’s time I seriously invested in better shoes.

What’s nice is that I didn’t have to invest a tremendous amount of money.

Over the weekend, I got a RoadRunner VIP coupon. I could get 25-percent off my purchase. Add on my already awesome VIP discount and free shipping and I literally only spent $75 on a pair of new shoes.

And these are them:

Yep, I decided to go minimalist. On the way to my house is a pair of Brooks PureProject PureGrit.

I’m more than excited to try them out when I finally get them.

And I’m considering my next trail run. Brazen Racing, my favorite race company, has a challenging 10K in Livermore, which is literally 20 minutes away. It’s the first time Brazen has been thisclose to me. So I figured I should take advantage.

The run is called Badger Cove.

The elevation is a little scary:

I think I can tackle that. I hope, at least. I’m planning on signing up by the end of the week.

The run is also a week before the Oakland Half Marathon, which was my first half marathon last year. It will be my ninth this year. So I’m expecting Badger Cove to serve as a good warm-up for the half.

I’m going to take trail running a step at a time, literally. But I’m hoping my new Brooks PureGrit shoes will be the beginning of many more happy race endings and a continued obsession with the trail 10K.