Monday, February 25, 2013

Three weeks to go

Monday I started the week off at Bar Method. Surprisingly I wasn't very sore from my race but I was sore from Saturday's class! My abs killed!!

Tuesday I planned to join Team CATS at Fleet Feet Encino to celebrate a fundraising milestone however I had some time to kill beforehand so I decided to pay for class at Bar Method Encino even though I have a package for the Hermosa location. It was so worth it!! I got to take class from the owner, Katelin, who is hilarious and makes the class pass so quickly. After class I headed over to Fleet Feet where we ran 6 miles including 4 hill repeats. It sprinkled lightly on the run, just enough to cool us down. When we got back we celebrated passing $40,000 in donation for the Center for Assault Treatment Services!

Wednesday I went to iRun MB for their weekly fun run. It was sponsored by CLIF which wasn't that exciting at first until I learned that they just launched Clif Kit's Organic bars which are dairy free! They have very few ingredients and they are organic. After a 5k through the streets of Manhattan Beach I got to try the cashew flavor which was pretty tasty.

Thursday I was back at Bar Method for a third time this week! I love being able to see improvements in my flexibility with each class. Such a great cross training for running.

Friday and Saturday were rest days since I went to visit my friend in Vegas. I wasn't completely inactive, we went for a hike Saturday before going out. I had never been to Red Rocks before but it was gorgeous!

It wasn't a wild trip but I stayed out pretty late Saturday and my eating schedule was off on Sunday so when I finally got home and embarked on my scheduled 15 miler I knew it wasn't going to be good. It was very cold, windy, and dark and I didn't feel my best. I ran from home to The Strand and as I got onto The Strand, which usually has tons of people working out, I realized that the Oscars were on and I wondered if that accounted for the very empty sidewalk. Since I didn't have my usual distractions, I busied myself by counting all the TVs showing the Oscars. I counted 18 over 4 miles. I also counted a total of 6 other runners (usually way too many to count) and most of those were in the first few miles so by the time I got to the end of The Strand, I was very lonely and bored. It also was really creepy so I decided to cut the run short after about 7.5 miles. It was very disappointing this close to the marathon to have such an awful run but I'm trying to chalk it up to lack of sleep and fuel.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the CATS benefit concert but I hear it was a great success! We also have now reached the total that was raised last year. Since there's still three weeks left until the marathon, we have a great shot at reaching the ultimate goal of $50,000! Please consider helping us reach that goal but clicking Donate Now in the upper right corner of this page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A LOVE-ly week

Monday I convinced Sarah to join me for class at Bar Method. I can barely remember my very first barre class which was at Pure Barre in Brentwood, but she definitely hung in there better than I did!

Tuesday I took a rest day but Wednesday I joined Sarah for a 3 mile run. She lives a mile from the beach so we ran down and along the boardwalk for a little. It was right at sunset which made for a gorgeous run filled with lots of girl talk! I also signed up for my first race of 2014 on Wednesday: New Year's Race! It was so much fun this year that I knew I wanted to do it again and with my legacy discount I got a really good deal.

Thursday was Valentine's Day so I took another rest day to celebrate with my loved one. Friday I went to Bar Method again and briefly considered going for a run, however the weather was so nice I spent the day reading on the beach instead.

Saturday I was back at Bar Method (three times this week!), then a little more beach time before heading to Pasadena for the expo. While there I signed up for next year's Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena Half Marathon. I also checked out their international locations... maybe one day!

Sunday was the race. I did this one last year which was the inaugural year and it was a lot of fun. Last year I ran 7 miles the day before since I was scheduled to run 20 miles that weekend. It was my second half marathon but it was nearly a year after my first so I had a goal to finish under 2:15. I missed that goal by about 2 minutes and haven't been able to come close since then. But today I was running alone and purposely ran my 20 miles last weekend so I wouldn't have any mileage the day before the race so I thought I had a pretty good shot at cracking that 2:15 goal. It meant maintaining a pace under 10:18/mile which is on the faster side for me but I was motivated by last week's speed on the 20-miler.

Since it worked so well last week, I decided to try my tactic again of ignoring my watch and just listening to my body. I paid close attention to my breath which did not feel labored so I continued on at a pace I was sure was too fast to start a race, given all conventional wisdom of starting slow. I started in a corral with the 2:45 pacer and as I passed him I thought maybe I could catch up to the 2:15 pacer and then I'd know I would hit my goal. I soon passed the 2:30 pacer so I knew 2:15 was next. I was feeling good and around mile 6 I allowed myself to glance at my watch (just to be sure I wasn't going too slow) and it showed a 9:45 average pace! I was excited to see that my pace was way under the target and I still felt good. I ate my Pure Fit bar shortly after that which was difficult to do while running but I was determined to run the entire race. The bar was so delicious I couldn't even believe it! If you see them in stores, get the almond flavor.... might as well be eating cookies or cake or something. So good!!

I wore my Camelbak which I never thought I'd do in a race since there are water stations, but I really wanted to shave any time I possibly could and drinking from a cup meant walking. Plus I was able to put the Hammer Fizz tab in my water and forego the Gatorade that was offered on the course. I ran along and finally saw the 2:15 pacer! I ran by with ease and was determined to keep them behind me. I briefly considered that I might finish under 2 hours but thought that was ridiculous so I pushed it out of my mind. What I did keep in mind was God as I said many prayers, for myself and for any runner I saw that seemed to be struggling.

Around mile 11 I glanced down at my watch to be sure my pace wasn't slipping and instead of my pace I saw the time staring back at me!! I kinda screamed but no one around me seemed to notice. I couldn't believe my watch had stopped tracking me! This had never happened before. I started it back up again just so I would at least know my pace but I no longer had any way to approximate my chip time until after crossing the finish line. I struggled through the last few miles refusing to walk and finally saw the clock as I crossed the finish line which read 2:12:xx! I knew I had beat my goal of 2:15 but now the question was by how much. Since I started later than the elite runners up in the first corral my chip time (which starts when I cross the mat as opposed to when the race starts) would be faster. I ran into a coworker as I collected my medal and Jamba Juice sample and we talked for a while. Then I made my way over to the engraving tent where my hopes had been crushed last year. I made them double check three times before finally agreeing to pay the $20 to have my time engraved on my medal. I could not believe my time was....

My pace was a FULL minute faster than I needed! I don't normally even try to run sub-10:00/mile when I'm monitoring my pace because I'm afraid I won't be able to maintain it but this has really opened my eyes that I have been short changing myself. As I waited for my medal to be engraved I got to see Deena Kastor announced as the female winner of the race! Her time was an unbelievable 1:12:56!! I didn't feel too bad about my own time though considering she holds American record in the half-marathon and she won the bronze medal in the women's marathon at the 2004 Olympics.

I had a fairly successful week fundraising thanks to my parents. My dad was kind enough to make yet another donation and my mom submitted the paperwork to have her donation matched. We have less than a month til the marathon and I would really like to at least pass my $3,000 total from last year, so if you haven't been able to donate yet now is your chance. Please click the Donate Now button at the top right of the page.

Friday, February 15, 2013

One run was all I needed

Monday I got back to the barre. I have to say that Mili is my favorite instructor. She pushes me and accepts no excuses (a little scary sometimes) and is absolutely determined to find modifications for me. Thanks to her I finally got my legs up during flat back. It only took a mini mat under my thighs and two straps looped around the barre but I did it!

Tuesday I started feeling a little sick so I took a rest day. I also checked out Ragnar Relay's website to see when the deadline to sign up for SoCal was because I got a code at the expo for the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k. Turns out that was the last day to register before the price increase! I had to act fast so I put out an APB on Facebook and before I knew it I had half a team committed. That night I registered our team and started sending out invitations to join the team.

Wednesday I felt even worse so I ended up going home early from work and taking another rest day. I was getting pretty nervous about the 20 miler scheduled for Saturday. Especially when I wasn't much better on Thursday. I momentarily debated forcing myself out for at least 2 miles but the moment passed and I accepted that my only run this week would be my long run.

Saturday I started my run off with Lauren and Neal who were kind enough to run the first 7.5 miles with me even though they were tapering for Bandit 30k. They are both faster than me and I did my best to resist the urge to speed up out of guilt but still felt I was going too fast. Once we parted ways I figured I would be able to relax and slow down but I looked down at my pace and it was even faster than I had been running with them! It didn't feel bad so I decided to experiment (yes, on a 20 mile run!) and not look at my watch anymore. I ran at a slightly less than comfortable pace and tried not to worry about whether I could maintain it. I ate at my usual spots, mile 7 and mile 14, and I drank my Hammer Fizz laced water as needed (which was less often than usual). The miles ticked by and I passed the spot where I had to pull over on my last 20 miler and still felt good. My same ankle started to threaten some pain around mile 15 but I said a quick prayer and it settled down. Once I was back on the more densely populated Strand I started looking for potential running partners to carry me through the last few miles. Although I was giving it my best I was still getting passed up constantly so I played the typical runner mind game and told myself they were only running single digits. I finally set eyes on someone that appeared to be around my pace. As I neared though, I decided I didn't want to slow down in favor of company, so I kept going. It was tough and boring, but I did it and finished nearly a half hour faster than last time!

Getting in the Ragnar Spirit!

Finding beauty in the LA DWP

Finally finished!

Motivational watch

Longest run... with this watch

Sunday I got to stand on the other side of the course demarkation and instead cheered for my mom and aunt as they walked in the Live Ultimate 5k in Santa Monica. It was so fun cheering them on and seeing them get excited about beating their time next race!

Fundraising has still been slow going. But other than our dynamo kid Jordyn, it seems like the other top fundraisers have stalled out too. Maybe we tapped everyone out too early? Well, if not and you haven't had the chance to donate yet, please do! The Center for Assault Treatment Services does amazing work for victims of sexual abuse and assault and unfortunately we are reminding of their necessity far too often just by flipping on the news. Any amount is greatly appreciated, please click the Donate Now button on the top right or talk to me about donating in person!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

6 weeks to go

Monday I met up with Sarah for a short run on a cold night. We started from her new place in El Segundo and just ran around the neighborhood which was surprisingly hilly.

Tuesday I went to Bar Method and really tried to push myself because I've been eating a lot of junk lately. We did two planks and I stayed up the whole time for both! Apparently I pushed really hard because I was super sore Wednesday.

Wednesday I met up with Sarah at iRun MB and we went with the 5 mile route again. We did a much better job keeping up and it didn't hurt that the group hung back a bit after a few big hills to let us catch up. They were raffling off Yurbuds but we didn't win.

Thursday I finally took the plunge and signed up for Lululemon's Sea Wheeze half marathon in Vancouver! I have a few friends running it too and I'm really excited. This will be the furthest I've ever traveled to run. It's a whole extravaganza too with yoga and other events.

That eventing I went to Bar Method and halfway through class noticed a girl convulsing while we were in a seated "round back" position. The instructor went over to her and it became clear that she needed help so I ran out of class and had the desk girl call 911. She was on the phone with them for what seemed like forever and the girl had become unresponsive so I ran outside to try to flag down a police officer since they usually patrol the pier. I didn't see any cops, however there was a meter reader driving by so I grabbed her and she radioed someone to get help. By the time we got back inside the girl had woken up but was super freaked out. Soon after the fire department arrived and took control. The Bar Method staff called the girl's mom who said she has epilepsy and to just assure her that she is okay because she is really scared when she wakes up.

I had no idea what epilepsy entails! It was extremely scary but the girl was okay and I think the Bar Method staff handled it really well. The girl hadn't included the information in her file when she signed up so initially they thought she might be diabetic. So really, take those forms seriously when you sign up for stuff and they ask for medical history!

Friday I took a rest day so I could wake up early Saturday to run 15 miles on the trails with the Fleet Feet Encino training group. We did this route last year but my pace was a full minute faster this time around despite the longer distance. I still had to walk a lot on the uphills but I felt great the whole time and didn't feel tired after. In fact, I volunteered after at the expo for the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k for Blue Zones Project. It was so much fun talking to locals about the project which is attempting to make the Beach Cities a Blue Zone by making changes in the community that make it easier to eat right, workout, and engage with neighbors. A Blue Zone is a term to describe areas where people live, on average, to over 100 years and live happier and healthier lives.

Sunday was race day. I was really excited about this 10k because I was running it with my friend Petra and it also happened to be in my city. Mike joined us too as well as our friends Jason and Juliana! We had originally talked about dressing as M&Ms since Petra's friend had the costumes but at the last minute we decided to wear the jerseys for their ultimate frisbee team which are green and stand out pretty well. The race was really fun and had some great costumes. My favorite was the team dressed as salmon who literally turned around mid-race and ran "upstream." There was also a team dressed all in neon who had a guy on a bike following them handing out beers. When we caught up to them they gave Mike a beer!

As far as fundraising goes, we've got a big event coming up! On February 23rd three female cover bands will be performing in Santa Monica with all cover charges being donated to CATS! Click HERE for details or HERE to make a donation.