Friday, January 30, 2015

The Evening Run

Yesterday I had a great run. It was after work, something I have only done twice recently. Usually I get home from a long day of being on my feet for 8 hours and all I want to do is eat and collapse. Sometimes I will fit some yoga in before bed just because it feels great. But it takes a lot of oomph to get me out the door for a run on my tired feet! Yesterday was a great example of why I need to do this more often. First, I am not great at getting up early, especially not when I'm in a long stretch of work-days. Sleep is very important and there must be balance in that area. You can't constantly be sacrificing one area for the sake of another, because the former will begin to suffer. Balance :)

So last night on my way home from work I just told myself over and over, "I'm going for a run. I'm GOING for a run. When I get home, I'm going for a run." If I don't do that, it's not concrete. It's an option, instead of the plan. So mentally I erase the maybe, and I say I AM GOING.

The run went well. The first mile was torture. My quads were burning, they felt like cinder blocks. I had programmed my Nike+ app for a Basic Run with a course in my mind instead of my usual distance goal. I just wanted to go. I had 4-miles in mind. The first mile looped back around past my house and I made it a goal to get to a certain light where I would stretch. Stretching released a ton of tension in my legs and the run started to feel lighter.

I was rewarded with a gorgeous pink sky as the sun began to set. Unfortunately I had not factored the sunset into my run very well and with my grey tights and black vest I all but blended into the black asphalt. Not doing that again. I did have bright green sleeves. I also had these cool little LED light clips for your shoes that blink with each step but someone in my house swiped them...grrrrrr. I was just extra diligent at every intersection, assuming the cars would not see me. Anyway, I survived.

After the run I  did some strength moves up and down my super long driveway (various lunges, tip-toes, push-ups, etc.) and ate a much lighter, healthier dinner of an egg, ham and kale scramble with some cheese and a side of fresh strawberries. Later I had a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares with FF milk. But other than that I did not crave anything but water which is 180 degrees from my usual evening cravings.

Well long story short, the evening run is a very good option as it turns out. Getting myself out there is one of the hardest things for me but once I do the rewards are there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Since Yoga is my #1 favorite cross-training exercise and since I'm becoming quite addicted...I thought I would start posting a few pictures from time to time and track my if you're only into reading about running skip this post. It will be quite boring for you!

So what do I want to achieve  by working on my yoga practice? I want to increase flexibility and strength and explore what my body can do.  I am not into the "new age" part of yoga related to manipulating energy or anything like that, but I am into stretching and challenging my muscles. It feels good too!

Leg flexibility...I am definitely uneven but I will keep working on this. I am able to get my R leg stretched much higher and into a more advanced place than my L, but I was happy to see my L leg is in a nice straight line with my spine. With this pose you are feeling your leg in space and without a picture or mirror, you really cannot see how well aligned you are.
Three-Legged Dog, L...and I was cheating a bit with my heel off the floor

Three-Legged Dog, R of my faves-this picture shows how I should lean forward a bit to get my legs in a good verticle line

I will mention my tree pose situation. I have never been able to fully tuck my flat foot up into my groin, and it drove me nuts! I have muscular thighs and calves so I always felt that there was too much in the way. Well then I had Achilles surgery and some calf atrophy later...bam, I can do it. I was right! But I'm going to keep working on both sides and hopefully my R side will find its way there too. As I strengthen my legs I will be able to get my knee up higher, making more of a space for my foot.
Tree, L

Tree, R-getting my foot up as high as I can without pressing into my knee

Half Moon Pose, L

Half Moon Pose, R


Downward Facing Dog

Butterfly pose

Raised Goddess-and I will work on getting my arms in good 90-degree angles

Side Crow, R

Outtakes! When the crow falls...(to be fair my camera delay is only 10 seconds so I have to be fast!)

Side Crow, L
I am also excited about working on spine flexibility, something I have never really focused on before.
Camel Pose
More will come, perhaps weekly if I have time! I love the beauty and grace of yoga and I like pictures because I get to see what my body is doing and how I am progressing.

One week past Carlsbad

I honestly cannot believe it has only been one week (plus a few days) since I ran the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Things are going pretty great! I've been doing some 3-4 milers and upping my yoga game. Mostly I'm happy to have some goals set, some races coming up and miles under my belt. It feels so great to be running again.

My schedule is still a nightmare for my running schedule but somehow I make it work. Today I got out there and did 4 miles, but had taken the 3 days off of running before that. I was about to go nuts! Thankfully yoga is pretty easy to get into before bedtime if the day ended up leaving me without a run.

I'm kind of at a loss as far as what to write about tonight so I will shut this one down for now.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Carlsbad Half Marathon 2015

Yahoo! A Race Report! An ACTUAL Race Report! I can't express the joy it gives me to be able to write about my experience at the Carlsbad Half Marathon 2015! Besides the fact that this was a spectacular event in general, it also marked a huge personal milestone for me.
January 10 marked 1 year since I went under the knife and had my Achilles Tendon repaired. For a while there I wasn't sure I would be able to walk normally, let alone run and today I ran 13.1 miles! It was amazing!
Night before the race, I made the trek to Carlsbad to visit the Expo and pick up my bib and goody bag. The Expo was located at the Westfield Shopping Center which was a really accessible area. It was easy to find a parking spot, an easy walk to the Expo, and the process of receiving your bib, goody bag and shirt was quick and painless.
I walked around the Expo for a while but the only booths that I was interested in were Nuun with their samples, and SnugBuds for their earbuds which I ended up purchasing. They are very comfortable with a nylon cord rather than the rubbery ones most have. I also purchased this cute tank from the Race Merch booth since it will take me until August to earn my crown. What a fun way to announce my endeavor!
I realized I'm just not into Clif Shotblocks or Gu shots anymore. I've just lost the taste for them. I didn't need clothes, hairbands, a running skirt, a spine assessment, etc. I would have liked to sample more supplements and such but oh well. It was pretty good overall.
On my way out I snapped this photo of the (obviously mobile) Finish Line. In a few hours I would be passing through that...God-willing!
My night before went really well. My husband took our two older boys to visit the grandparents so the house was really quiet. I was super tired for some reason so I found myself getting ready for bed around 7:30. I would have gone to bed then but I still had our littlest and he was not ready to go to bed. He came to cuddle in my bed around 8:30 though and we fell asleep. I had a weird dream that I was missing the start (my usual pre-race dream) and I woke up around 11:30. After that I woke up at 1:30, 3:00 and finally 5:00. My alarm was set for 5:15 so I just got up. I drank my cup of coffee and made up a bagel with almond butter and banana. I wanted to make sure I had a good BM before leaving the house because my drive would be around an hour with no where along with way!

It turned out with no traffic on the roads it only took me 35 minutes! I left early to make time for traffic and walking to the start, etc and it all went so easily that I ended up waiting around for a while. Better to wait around than to be running for the start at the last minute though IMO. I ended up using the Port-a-Pot 3 times before I felt "ready" ;)

It was pretty cold-probably 50 degrees so I tried to hang out in my sweats and fleece top as long as possible but I didn't want to get stuck in a line to check my bag so I headed over there at around 7:00. Of course, there was no line, but by going in there I discovered a lovely heated tent, free for all. So I checked my stuff (and made a mental note not to repeat Eugene Marathon 2013 and actually pick up said bag after the race). I hung out, stretched, and chatted with other runners before it was time to head back outside. The race had 7 waves, I was in Wave 4, the group with estimated finish times between 2:00-2:15. (The Marathon had started at 6:15 so we didn't have to fight for a spot with Marathoners-a really good idea by race organizers). The Star Spangled Banner was sang, the first 3 waves went off and then it was our turn. I programmed my Nike+ app, got everything ready and off I went! My main goal was to stay loose and not go out too fast.
Miles 1-3 were great. The course was hilly but I felt that I took the hills fairly easily and kept a relaxed pace. The course paralleled the beautiful Pacific Ocean along Carlsbad Beach. It was so beautiful. I passed Mile 4 and the leaders were already headed along the course on their way back to the finish!
Mile 5 I broke down and stopped to snap a couple of pics. It was so beautiful I couldn't resist! It also gave me a second to rip off the top to my race gel (some tropical kind that I can't remember the company name of...). The break was good and I got myself back out there. The thing I remember noticing though was that the 2:10 pacer had passed me when I stopped. I was hoping to break 2:10.
By Mile 6 I was really having to work. It wasn't easy at all. More hills kept coming and my body was getting tired. The race course participation was great though-so many wonderful volunteers with signs. Lots of great water stops, one Gu stop, a few with fruit along the tail end and a few bands too. Around Mile 9 my body was hurting. My joints and muscles were all painfully achy. I just did what I could to stay loose, grab water when it was available and I walked if I needed to. Ultimately I just wanted to finish!

And finish I did! Here were my official results:

Overall:3079 out of 6653
Women: 1411 out of 3940
F 30-34: 294 out of 702
Age/Grade: 49.51% Place: 3201
Finish: 2:13:33 Pace: 10:12
Chip Time:2:13:33
Gun Time:2:24:34
Once I passed through the finish area, I trudged along grabbing water, TruMoo(my fave), some Coconut water and a brown paper bag filled with lots of great snacks like granola, Larabars, Clif Bars, and pretzels. They also had fruit I think. I headed straight over to grab my checked bag, my legs killing me. Thankfully I had brought along a Biofreeze roller bottle and I rolled it all over my legs first thing. Then I packed some things up while eating and drinking. I don't usually stay for after-party events because I am usually too tired and uncomfortable. But I did want to stop and take a picture with a background to document the occasion.

After that I grabbed some free frozen yogurt and headed out. Traffic would be bad getting out of the parking lot and I was tired and wanted to sit. Once I got in the car I took a couple of selfies for good measure.

I called my husband to check in and made up a photo collage to send to him. I enjoyed the congratulations from my family. I know my husband knew how much this day meant to me.

I love the new bling! It will easily be one of my favorites!
As I was sitting I started feeling a little nauseous so I nibbled on the other half of my bagel, the pretzels, my apple and such until I was feeling a bit better. I had time to recover, it took me 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot! Note: If you ever run this race, park on the opposite end of the mall by 24 Hour Fitness and just suffer the longer walk before and after the race. You will save serious time getting out of the parking lot.

The rest is history! I was pretty achy for about 2 hours after the race but after that I was feeling good enough to register for the La Jolla Half and secure my spot in order to earn my Triple Crown. I still need to register for America's Finest City (August) too but I need to take it one pay period at a time!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Resolutions...and feeling ambitious!

We've's Carlsbad Half Marathon week! My body is feeling awesome. My longest run has been 10 miles, and I'm not worried about that because with training for my first half marathon, my longest run was also 10 miles. I'm taking it slow, like it was my first time...because for my repaired Achilles, it is the first time!

So not to put the cart before the horse, but since we're in Half Marathon week, it's time to start thinking about what plan I will follow once Sunday has come and gone. I went ahead and printed off Hal Higdon's Intermediate plan which involves track workouts which I am looking forward to.

And...*drum roll* I have signed up for 2 other half marathons! One is in February, one is in March. I'm not sure what has gotten into me but I jumped at them (probably motivated to get the cheaper price). The one in March I got for a cheap $35 because I got in on it before the year ended, and the one in February just looks like a good's a Mermaid Series run just for women. La Jolla Half is in April, and I'm just waiting on the funds to register for that one soon. America's Finest City Half is in August, but it will round off the 3 races needed to earn my Triple Crown medal so I am looking to register for it after La Jolla. I would hate to wait and have it sell out or something-which happens. I'm thinking May will put me at the Rock n Roll San Diego Half and June there is a Wine Country Half in Temecula. July? September will be Disneyland Half if my dream comes true this year(I have to decide by next month because registration opens and usually sells out in less than 24 hours!). October? November is the Silver Strand Half on Coronado. It's right around Thanksgiving so I have to think that one through and consider family holiday plans. December who knows!

So if you haven't noticed, I just gave away my top 2015 resolution. I will run a half marathon every month! Hopefully my husband won't go nuts watching our $ go to registrations and having me gone at dark o'clock for a race start once a month. By jumping on them early and looking for smaller venues I'm hoping to save $ on registrations. I just know it would mean a lot to get to the end of 2015 triumphantly!

Next I want to improve in my yoga practice. I want to diligently practice at least twice a week and progress through challenging poses. I guess I should make my goal more measurable but with yoga, each new level motivates you to reach to the next and so on. Today I did a handstand!

Other goals include doing more active things, keeping with my goal to have a beach day once a month (perhaps those will coincide with half marathon race days), and I want to give blood-something I resolved to do last year but did not do.