Blurred Lines

I’m really better with a plan.

12 Weeks to another PR I hope.

I bought and paid for 2 races, both of which I bailed on due to time constraints and bad planning. I bought a bib for Folsom Half in October, because my friend wanted to train too. So, we picked a time frame and race, and plugged in the numbers. As happens so many times, someone gets injured (he did), or life gets in the way. For the Santa Cruz half, I just wasn’t in the mood. For the Salinas Half, I had done such an amazing job at the SF Half, I just didn’t want to race again, but just luxuriate in my post-injury PR.

That’s why the photo is blurry. I’m committed, but, you know, stuff happens.

Well. Tomorrow, this plan starts again. Of all the many race training plans, this one is my favorite.  I loved it when I trained for SF Half.  As most of us know though, we love ANYTHING that gives us results. And this one did me.

I can’t wait. And, by the way. I love that it starts with a rest day.

Happy Sunday!

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Fly.

san franciscoFor someone like me.

Five marathons, dozens of half marathons and other races.

I am 5 weeks in on a race plan.

And am invited to come to San Francisco to run the 2nd Half Marathon with friends.  Penny, my Glee girl…and Beth and Brianna.  ADORABLE and lovely company…

I get this bib.  With Chet & Princess.

And have a 12 mile long run on the schedule.

Race Morning Penny & I head to Starbucks and hear SADE Smooth Operator, which is the theme song for the whole day.  Couldn’t get that thing out of my head.

Now, remember, I’m a 12:30 min runner.  Ever since the boot & cast, that’s as fast as I can go.

But today.  Today is a different day.

Mile 1-4

You know how it is when you start a race.  Everyone is excited.  You get going with the crowd.  It takes me almost to mile 3 to realize that I’m going much faster than I had wanted.  It was then I also noticed that this was a rolling course.  I am destined to find rolling hills no matter where I go.  In any event, I knew past mile 4 I’d be pretty downhill.

1 11:09.1 1.00 11:09
2 11:57.3 1.00 11:57
3 12:17.7 1.00 12:18
4 12:27.9 1.00 12:28

Mile 5-7

Somewhere around here is Haight Ashbury, my favorite part of the course.  I look at my watch at Mile 5, and I’m at one hour, and I cannot believe it.  Because I haven’t done that for a very long time.  Since San Luis Obispo in last Spring’s marathon.  I keep thinking.  Is this me?  I’m not looking at a SF course map while I write this.  I just remember that I liked this.  A lot.  And, those are ELEVENS.  11 minute miles.

5 11:41.2 1.00 11:41
6 11:47.8 1.00 11:48
7 11:06.6 1.00 11:07

Mile 8

I’m usually obsessed at this part of the race.  Where am I?  How much further do I have to go?  Where am I?  Mile 8 is straight downhill.  It feels like it’s downhill the whole way.  I unbend my arms, and do what my old coach told me to do.  Arms by my side.  Let my body fly.  Passing everyone.  Feeling like one of the fast girls.  Have I mentioned that I run a 12:30 minute mile?

8 10:54.4 1.00 10:54

Mile 9-12

Again looking at my watch.  Figuring that I will be at mile 12 at my original PR, pre-injury.  I’m in shock.  I’m starting to get a little tired and can see the time going longer and longer.  But.  Here’s the other thing.  I’m usually walk/running at this point.  And I didn’t.  I didn’t walk, not once.

9 12:24.6 1.00 12:25
10 13:13.3 1.00 13:13
11 13:01.9 1.00 13:02
12 13:43.0 1.00 13:43

Mile 13

Have I mentioned here that we are running by AT&T park?  I try to go a little faster, but I can barely move my feet.  McCovey Cove, the Coke bottle.  Ugg.  I’m just trying to get past the thing.  No, you really don’t understand if you’re a Dodgers fan.  This is brutal.  And my feet hurt.  And then I go past 13, then 13.1 …and then it’s 13.25 and I’m like, man …this is a long section.

13 14:10.2 1.00 14:10

14 3:18.0 0.25 13:16

Summary 2:43:12.9 13.25 12:19

I’m a slow runner.  I’ve accepted this.

Today though. I couldn’t stop thinking about this race.  LOVED the course.  LOVED the people. LOVED how I felt.

I haven’t run since Sunday.  First the DOMS on the quads, then the shins (I knew those downhills would kill me), and then the joy of relaxing and eating ice cream with the luxury of no weight gain.  That ends soon.  Maybe this weekend.  Because I’m still in a race plan for Salinas.

But for now.  I fly.  Like all the fast girls.

Half Marathon Respect

jeff-race-sign-257x300I’m a marathon snob.  Have I written about this?  I’m not even a good runner.  I just love to train for a full marathon.  Having done 5 of them (so far), I just love wrapping my head around a good training plan, and having my running agenda set out for me week after week.

So, after last year’s stupid stress fracture, I’ve spent a year of cobbling together random races and some lifting.  I had a half marathon that I completed in March, and I loved training for it.  But come race day, well.  I just don’t have respect for the Half Marathon.  It’s like, oh, it’s only 13.1 miles.  Sort of a long run in a marathon plan.  And, so I ignore the real aspect of nailing that distance.  Anyone who’s trained for a full knows that when you’re about halfway through, a 13 mile run is a short run.  It’s a breeze.

About 6 weeks ago, I once again started jonesing for a race.  Any race.  I found a training plan, and counted 12 weeks forward from that day, and signed up for the Salinas Half Marathon.  My friend at work wanted to train, so we are doing Folsom in October.  And my dear friend Penny tweeted me to come to the San Francisco Marathon, which I’m doing this weekend.  I’m running the 2nd half with her, because on my plan, Sunday is a 12 miler.  I can do one more.

I stopped thinking of a Half Marathon as less than, well, a Full.  It is less than, it’s obviously Half.  But.  The training?  These last 5 weeks?  Other than missing a few runs, it’s been mostly 100% in attitude.  I’ve lost weight as usual, but I’m loving these runs.  4am is my new favorite time of the day, and I can’t wait until Sunday to see if I can squeeze out a little post injury PR.

Happy Weekend!

 

I Accidentally Did A Brick.

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I love runs like this one today.  I had 10 on tap for an easy Sunday morning.  In case you’ve missed it, I’m training for Salinas Valley Half Marathon in August, using a running competitor plan…which I really like.  I missed just one run, because I wasn’t, ya know, in the mood, but these types of plans I love, where there is something different every week.

I woke at 4:15am, because that’s my norm during the week when I run and have to be at work at 7am.  I laid back in bed, and thought, how stupid to think I could grab another hour and just run then.  Because, it’s been hot.  Summer is here.  Which means daybreak/sunrise runs.  Plus, knowing I have that 10 on tap gnaws at my brain.  Best get up.

I got dressed and out the door in record time, and the sky was already light-ish, although I still carried my mace, and my hat blinker was on full tilt.  When I do long runs, the best thing is not think about it, facebook or tweet it, but just RUN.  I have everything out in perfect put on order, so it’s easy for me to get dressed and walk out the door.

This was really an uneventful run.  At mile 1.5, I said hi to my clerk (yes, my clerk, and he sometimes opens the door for me) at the Shell Station restroom stop.  I was chugging alone, just grateful and enjoying the feeling of my feet on the ground.  Down Spring Creek and turning back onto Milgeo, I saw something moving on the left side of the road.  Not a cat.   Not a dog.  But a fox.  And, though I wasn’t afraid, I was really happy that I had my mace, just in case.  It was still dark by the time I was at the next tower at Mistlin Park …I was at mile 5 there.  I planned two Clif Shots for this run…one at 4, and one at 8 miles.  So, I was really happy that I was still feeling good.  Over Jack Tone, to the next tower and I was still pretty happy with my slow pace.  Nothing really eventful, just really felt good.  I rounded into my block at 9.7 miles because the police were in front of my house, and it reminded me of the Day Chet Was Brought Home In The Back Of A Squad Car but the cop was listening for another barking dog, not mine.

I was gonna stick my feet in the water, but I looked down at my new Garmin 910X and thought, well I should get some use of the waterproof function.  (I bought this ridiculously expensive watch when I got a new job because I had a coupon)…and I sold Crash Davis, just cuz a new runner pal needed one, and decided to take advantage of the swim feature.

I knew vaguely what a brick was.  Two different workouts that most triathletes do to simulate changes in their transitions, etc.  Something like that.  I had to look it up just to be sure.  I switched workouts on the Garmin (no name yet) …And, I started to swim, and my feet, well…they felt really good.  I could feel my quads working, and they too really liked it.  I was petrified that maybe my watch wasn’t really waterproof, but it was cool…I could see it working.  And, though I only swam for 10 minutes, it was .40 of a mile, and that was pretty exciting.  (I’m sort of a data geek.)

I spent the morning making waffles, and nearly passing out in the spa from that sweet tiredness you get when you work hard.  Waffles, Strawberries, Bacon, Coffee.  Near bliss.  Boys are home.  My life is at a peaceful place.  My life has predictability.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have the same pictures every day.  Chet, food, my kids’ sports, the spa, running.  Kinda boring, but in a way, very consistent and safe.

Here’s the data from today:

Run: (slow, yes)

Distance: 10.00 mi
Time: 2:12:48
Avg Pace: 13:16 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 856 ft
Calories: 1,049 C

Swim: (first time…love it)

Distance: 625 m
Pool Length: 25.00 m
Time: 10:08
Avg Pace: 1:37 min/100 m
Calories: 150 C
Avg Efficiency  : 31
Avg SWOLF  : 31

 

And now, it’s time for Dodger Baseball, which means some crying.  :)

Happy Sunday!  Go be AWESOME…

Unbelievably, It’s June.

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My running is starting to take off.  Honestly, don’t people say that in, say, January?  It’s June, and as I look at my widget over there, the most miles I ran in any month was last month.  Kinda pathetic, but it’s where I’ve been, and I finally have embraced this running path I’m on.  I can’t stop running.  I love it.  But, I’m the kind of runner that needs a plan.  And a running partner.  So, I got both of those, and I have renewed hope and fresh eyes on the prize…that I can nail a full marathon again.  However, I have come to realize I don’t respect a half marathon…I just don’t.  And with that knowledge, I decided to train for and respect 13.1, and have come to understand that a half marathon is an event all on its own.

Here I am.  In a new job that rocks my world, with new people, new friends, and a renewed sense of purpose.  By the end of the year of food stamps and unemployment, my sponsor said, “I don’t care if you work at Taco Bell.  You have to work.”  So, as I prayed to my God, he revealed this amazing opportunity to me, and I said Yes.  I just risked.  Stepped through.  And you know what?  I’m really good at what I do, just like the old days.  It just takes one person to believe in you, and my boss called me OUT OF THE BLUE, and offered me this job.  Seriously, out of the blue.

I have written very little since February, mostly because I start to write, then I didn’t know how to write “in code” to explain again why the same thing happened.  Again.  I would begin a topic, then just.  Stop.  I have more unfinished drafts in my queue than I can count.  Suffice it to say, it has been difficult to stay in the “void”…a new term that my buddy Hoss taught me this week.  I’ve spent time there, just accepting what is, and I’m finding joy in it for now.  I’m happy, but it was not without the same heavy sigh that happened numerous times in the past 2 years.  Acceptance and happiness now that I’m finding my sea legs again.

And so.

It’s June.  I’m having a blast.  I have wonderful men and women in my life.  The Dodgers are in last place, but my days are spent watching nail biters.   My teenagers make me happier than any other people on the planet…the oldest with his scholar (3.71 GPA)  and sports abilities..too many to list, and my younger with his humor, his internet acumen, and hilarious rants about pickup trucks and Jason Aldean.  Chet by my side whenever I’m home.  This is a good life.  Thank you God…for answering my prayers, and saying “No” when it was needed.

Today was a 6 mile tempo, tomorrow a 10 mile LSD run.  Pancakes have been eaten, and I will try to sleep tonight again.  Turning the corner, I’m planning to write more, now that I’ve broken the seal.  Stay tuned.

2 Weeks Out

In two weeks, I’ll toe the line again for a half marathon.  The same race I’ve run so many times, and my comeback from last summer’s injury.  I’ve been patiently crossing off the workouts, and noticed today that there are so many S’s on this page.  A month ago, I had a 10 day illness that had me crazed from not being about to train.  Two days ago, I woke with a similar scratchy throat feeling.

So.  I’m 2 weeks out.  Only one more long run of 9 miles on Wednesday coming up, but I can’t shake that same feeling.  I could have done more.  I could have trained harder.  These thoughts are followed by the notion that you cannot go back.  You simply have to show up on race day with what you have.

The hay is in the barn, but it’s sort of wobbly, stacked funny.  I’m not sure if all the pistons will be firing correctly on that morning, but there is simply nothing to do about it now, except…go forward.  I’m excited, no matter how the race comes out, because last summer, I was begging the gods for just one more chance.  You have no idea how much you want to run…when you can’t.

Hay_Barn

A goal properly set is halfway reached.

204112158655519431_4d13e7b45a1eThere’s something about being halfway through a training plan that always gives me sort of a start.  Like, how did I do this already, and how is there that much more to go?  Today starts week 6 of Modesto Half Marathon 12 week training plan, which means, of course, that not only am I getting ready to toe the line again, but that I am recovered.  Past tense.  No more silly #stressfracture hashtags.  That’s it.  I’m recovered.

This time, I have taken it slowly, but have incorporated a mean weight training program.  I have a tricep, and also a little pork chop looking muscle that drapes over my shoulders (excuse me, I’m a runner, not a weight lifter).  I now understand why body builders look in the mirror when they lift.  There is an excitement to see something you’ve actually built, and curiosity in watching the muscles course under my skin as they work.  I incorporate Core exercises, and have now successfully hung 15 long seconds in my quest to do one pull up by December 13, 2013.  I do squats.  I am working my whole body.

But my legs.  They are the sticks that will get me to the end.  And, even though I feel twinges of last year’s foot , I simply keep running, nailing all my times and distances.  It’s lovely really, because at the end of the day, I know that I’m taking my body to the best place it can be.

This weekend, I will do my first 5K in this training plan, running a little 3.1 miler in Fresno.  I don’t really care about distances, I care about that surge of energy when you lay out your gear the night before, lace up at 5am, slam down pre-run nutrition, pin on the bib.  That feeling of watching everyone else wait with me until the whistle blows, until I can blissfully fall into my own rhythm of the race.

Halfway there.  I’m loving this training cycle.

Mellow Half Mary Training

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On Wednesday I will turn 54.

In that time, I’ve run 5 marathons.

8 half marathons, and others…around 36 races.

only 10 of those before I turned 50.

When I was training for my first marathon, as the story goes,

I didn’t know I was 50.  Or that it was considered old.

and yet I trained.  On the overpasses, on the dark streets.

I didn’t know I could survive a hellish divorce in a quiet little town.

Or that I could single-handedly save my house…

This house with it’s broken dishwasher that’s suddenly started working,

the screen doors that Chet has ripped off the tracks,

the ripped gazebo, that still functions, sort of, as a place to put pool tools.

The pickets and arbor, long since their prime

and fences held up with 2 by 4s.

I was never sure that I could be enough as a single mom,

to raise two now-teenagers, and love it.  Really love it.

I was sure that as they got older they would want to live somewhere else.

With him.

And I was prepared for that, but they do not want that.  They want

here.

And because I have no man skills to share, my harley guy has stepped in,

and is, with the boys, building a basketball hoop for the street, and has offered to help teach

the oldest to drive, and the both of them how to play real poker.

Things I couldn’t do.  Didn’t want to.

Because every boy should learn to drive a stick shift, and bet like a man.

So, what I learned is this.

You never get anything you want, unless you ask.

And.  I asked.

And just when I would get some new resolve, I would get smashed back down, and then up.

Again.

I’m in week 5 of a Mellow Half Marathon Training, which is the title of this post,

but makes no sense at all, unless you see the big picture of my life right now.

Running 3 days a week, building muscle on the others.

It’s incredibly relaxing, and even as I get up into 6 milers, which I used to carve off with panache,

I sometimes struggle.  But, I keep running.

And 54?  I’m sure it’s going to be the best year of all.

I will attempt marathon number 6 in the Fall, but for right now,

I will prove that I can again toe the line and reclaim the love I have.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.–Randy Pausch