12/31/10

Goals for 2011

1 mile faster than 6:50 (current PR)

2 miles faster than 14:48 (current PR)

1st 5k race in 15+ years (Gunning for 23:59 or better results)

10k time of 49:59 (current PR 52:26)

flat half marathon time of 1:49:59 (current PR 1:53:05)

Robie Creek (8 miles up) half time of 1:59:59 (current course PR of 2:20)

Zeitgeist Half (very hilly) in better than 1:57:33 (previous PR on course)

Run a spring and fall marathon (#’s 4 and 5!) and aim to break 4 hours by the fall! (current marathon PR 4:20:59)

Run 50k and come in better than last place (Orcas Island 50k in Feb 5th and Fat A** 50K on Jan 2nd.)

Beat 8k time of 39:51 in September (earned 3rd place female overall in 2010 – aim for 2nd place female in 2011)

Complete first 50 mile race

Beat current record of 162.54 miles in a month

Beat current record of 58 miles in a week

Run 2011 miles in 2011

12/31/10

2010 In Review

It’s been a hugely successful year of running for me. Much better than I would have ever dreamed. There were highs and lows. Thankfully, I pushed on after the lows or I wouldn’t have experienced the highs. I found out what a DNF feels like in January at my first attempt at the ultra marathon (a 50k in the mountains.) I felt the joy of crossing the finish line (in last place) at my second attempt at the 50k in April. Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks as the spectators cheered so loudly for me. The response was so enthusiastic, it sounded like they’d confused my last place finish for first place. They were that encouraging and I accepted all that love right into my soul.

I ran my first half marathon (a crazy, fun local half with the reputation for being the toughest half marathon in the northwest due to the first 8 miles being all uphill) in April. It was a blast!!!! I think I smiled for the entire race! My second half marathon was in July on a flatter course and much to my surprise – I ran it in 1:53:05 – cleanly breaking two hours – even with temperatures in the 80’s. In November, I had one more shot at a half marathon – another hilly course – and again, exceeded my expectations when I came in at 1:57:33!

I PR’d at the 10k, achieving my goals of breaking an hour (52:27) and bettering my 2009 time on the same course by about 10 minutes – and much to my shock – receiving my first age group placing medal ever! I got 2nd in the 30-39 age group!!!! It was such an exciting moment!

I set a goal of running a 2 mile race in July and again, surprised myself when I did it in 14:48 and placed 3rd in my age group. That particular race was probably the highlight of the year for me since I got to run it with my friend, Julie. We had so much fun playing cat and mouse the last mile that I think we were both trying not to laugh as we gunned for the finish line. Running and racing with friends is always the most fun!!! 

My husband, Wayne and I teamed up with our friends Ryan and Michelle for a freezing Turkey Trot this November, as well. It was so much fun having all of our kids hanging out in the vehicle cheering us on from the open hatch while we took turns running that crazy stick in a two mile loop! Definitely a memory I’ll always cherish!

I set a goal this week last year of running 1000 miles in 2010. I was a little nervous that it was too lofty since I’d only run about 750 in 2009, but I not only achieved it (in fact, I passed the 1000 mile mark while running the Boston Marathon course in September), but reached 1430 on the nose today. Not bad at all!

I ran my second marathon in May, then my third in October — (PRing by 37 minutes with a 4:20:59.) That fall marathon was the celebration of one year of being a marathoner and it felt like a big party with so many friends participating or pacing me (thank you again Sam, Bertha and Mike for running me in the last few miles! You guys are the best!!)

Other highlights of this year: Running my fastest mile ever on my birthday (Nov 2nd) in 6:50, winning third place female overall in an 8k race in September (how in the world is that possible – all the fast girls must have stayed home that day – but I really loved the pretty ribbon and the $50 check!) and running the Boston Marathon course solo while on vacation there in September.

Even more important to me than my improved times this year is the amazing community of runners I’ve become part of. In March, when my running buddy was unable to train with me due to an injury and family commitments, I turned here to Daily Mile and found a local runner named Andrea who agreed to do a training run with me. That day I met not only Andrea (who is now one of my favorite people in the world) but also her friends, Randy and Paul (two more of my favorite peeps!!) From there it just snowballed! We’re all now part of a community of about 100 runners (many of them ultra runners) who train together on the weekends in the Boise foothills. We’ve all become good friends — and for THAT I am truly grateful for 2010 since having the support and encouragement of other people who you enjoy is the most important thing of all about this sport. I am so blessed and I hope that all of you have had as positive of a year as well!

Here’s to more adventures, PR’s and friendships in 2011!

12/31/10

I Can’t Feel My Thumbs or Thighs

I’m trying to loosen up these tight muscles with short runs this week in prep for my 50k mountain run this Sunday. I think the short run yesterday helped. Today felt easier, except for the weather. 19 degrees. 13 mph winds. sunny. Weather report said “Feels like 8 degrees” and by the first half mile when I couldn’t feel my thumbs despite wearing my fleece gloves, I had to agree. Brrrrr.

Just a short run today. I wanted to include the only real hill near my home – a hill my friend Amy had dubbed her “Nemesis.” The hill is my nemesis too, so I decided to run from my house to the top of that hill and back today. I figure doing that a couple times a week will help improve my problems with hills over time (and I’ll add repeats soon, too.)

Couldn’t feel my thighs on the way home. Man, that wind just bites into the skin! I’m a little worried about the 31.07 miler in the snowy mountains this weekend. It’s an unassisted race (no fees, aid stations, no numbers, no timing chips, no nada but a bunch of people who want to shake off the holiday blahs and get their rears in gear for the upcoming year.)  For those who haven’t heard of “Fat Ass” races — this is how they always are. There will be several across the U.S. likely going on the the same time that I’m running mine.

Last year, this race was my first attempt at the ultra distance. I didn’t quite make it. My legs felt fine, my head was in the right place, but my GI system had other ideas. I had to drop out at 23.33 miles – after just a hair over 7 hours of running (that included the many breaks to take in food and drink and the half hour break at the midpoint for some soup a kind friend had brought to us frozen runners.)

Though I did go on to sign up for an “official” 50k in April and finished that one — I came in last place when my stomach acted up again throughout the race. So, if I can actually get this race done – and not end up sick to my stomach during it — that would be a huge milestone for my ultra training!

I’m hoping the weather cooperates and we can stay warm enough out there in the trials. Last year, my buddy finished in around 9 hours and I expect to do something similar this year. That’s a long time to be exposed to the elements, though. If you want to send my pals and I some good weather vibes (and good stomach vibes for me) on Sunday that would be most appreciated. 

Stats: 3.51 miles. 9:57 ave pace. Time: 34:57. 202 ft elevation gain. Felt: Good (but COLD!)

12/30/10

Just Do It

I’ve lost my fitness. If any of you see it lying around, please feel free to send it back my way. At least, that’s how it feels. My training went pretty well this year. I set goals of running about 20 miles a week and a total mileage goal for 2010 of achieving 1000 miles — both seemed pretty lofty last year when I set them. My weekly average has been closer to 30 (with a peak of almost 60!) and a peak month of 163! My yearly mileage has crossed over into the 1400’s — so I did well and I’m very proud of myself for that.

On the other hand, I feel that my training took a nosedive right after my fall marathon (my peak race each year.) I PR’d by 37 minutes in the race and felt that after a successful racing year, I should pull back on the overall miles and focus more on family time and trail time — both things that I have done in the last 2 1/2 months. Unfortunately, I think I pulled back too much. Now, a simple 3 mile road run feels painful. My calves burn – really?! For 3 miles? My hamstrings feel like they are permanently clenched (which really hurts on a long weekend trail run when I need to keep them active for 3-6 hours — or as is the case this upcoming weekend – for up to 9 hours for a fat a** 50k.) I’m concerned. Not just for the unofficial race with my pals this weekend in the Boise foothills (the race last year that I DNF’d at 23.33 miles when my GI problems couldn’t be ignored any longer.) I have a bigger giant to conquer and it’s looming. The Orcas Island 50k — my second-ever “official” 50k race is coming up Feb 5th, 2011. I hear the course is mismeasured so much that it’s closer to 35 miles! It’s supposed to be beautiful — waterfalls, views of Mt Baker, Mt Rainer and the surrounding San Juan Islands from the summit and lots of natural beauty. This will be my first “road trip” for a race and about 30 local pals are coming along. I’ve never been away from my five kids, so this will be a new Mommy moment for me too. I’ll miss them like crazy — but I’m excited to head out on an adventure.

But…I honestly do not feel at all that I’ve trained for this. My goals aren’t lofty by any means. In my first 50k in April I came in last place when GI distress hit me from miles 10 – 20. I spent more time being sick in the bushes than I did running, I think. A 61 year old woman beat me — by nearly an hour! So, my only goals for this race are to finish it and to not come in last. I’m gunning for second-to-last! I wish I’d kept up my training better, though. I’ve continued to run long on the weekends and to run those miles most weeks on technical, single-track trails – just like I’ll be doing in the race. The elevation gain for Orcas Island is something crazy like 7,000 – 8,0000. I’ve never had a run that topped more than 4,000 – 5,000, so I’m a little nervous. My biggest downfall has been neglecting my boring weekday training runs. There are many weeks in December I ran only twice a week, in comparison to 4-5 times a week when I was training well. And, I can feel it. That’s why my calves are burning on short runs again (and in the first several miles of my weekend trail ones.) I’ve forgotten to work them out too many days in a row and they are protesting!

So, I have five weeks until my 50k. I think it’s time to just put the shoes on and get out there – in the cold, the wind, the dark – and get some miles in on a more regular basis again — any miles! Even 2-4 miles a couple times a week would keep the legs looser than they feel right now when coupled with the long trail runs. I’d like to start doing doubles again too. I miss them! A few miles in the morning and a few in the evening. It feels easier and my weekly miles very quickly start looking normal again and my legs will reflect that.

Stats: 3.10 miles. 11:07 pace. 34:29 time. 143 elevation gain. 27 degrees. 15 mph winds. Sunny. Chilly. Felt: Out of shape and cold!

12/26/10

To Star And Back – a Spontaneous Training Half Mararthon

The family and I spent the day hanging out together, then exchanging gifts that were duplicates or the wrong size then hit the great half off Christmas sales at Wal Mart. We bought some great decorations for next year for really cheap, got wrapping paper, Christmas cards and even hit the huge half off toy section to buy 3 birthday gifts for our 3 youngest children who all have birthdays around springtime. Yay for good deals.

Driving home, I could not believe how sunny and warm it was out! It felt like Spring! My very understanding husband let me immediately change clothes and head off on a “just-for-fun” half marathon before dark! I wore SHORTS and a short sleeved tech shirt today and by the halfway point, I was so hot and sweaty I thought I was overdressed!

That all changed rapidly within about ten minutes of turning around and heading back in the direction I had come. The sky was darkening, the wind picked up to 20 mph and never let up on me as I plowed headfirst into the gusts heading back home. I was freezing within a mile, but kept my mind busy distracting myself by reading license plates as cars passed me.

It really was a beautiful day for a run, though. I saw two fisherman in the river as I crossed the bridge. They were waist-high in the water, looking content and happy. I ran by two dairy farms (phew!), pastures filled with goats and sheep and horses and lots of empty fields. It was spectacular to enjoy a run in shorts — even if the fun part only lasted for the first 6.5 miles. 

Stats: 13.12 miles. 10:16 ave pace. 2:14 – total time. 655 feet elevation gain. WINDY!!!

12/21/10

Winter Solstice Moonlight Mountain Trail Run

What do you call a winter night with about 40 other runners wearing headlamps, running through the foothills of Boise? A moving Christmas party, baby! Tonight was a blast! We headed out to the foothills to celebrate the Winter Solstice and enjoy the full moon (though it was covered in clouds for most of the run.) So much chatting, hugging, laughing and of course – trail running in the snow, slush and mud!

I loved looking ahead and seeing all the headlamps…some red, some white…glowing like little lovely bobbing Christmas lights ahead of me as I ran tonight. It seemed kind of magical somehow. The first three miles were nearly all climb and my calves were on fire, but having the company of my good friends made it all seem just fine.

At the summit there is a huge makeshift rock pile about 3 feet tall and we each posed for pictures on it, giggling like a bunch of school children about how crazy we all were to come out on a winter night and do such a thing. The city lights in the distance twinkled like a thousand diamonds against the velvety black sky. It just took my breath away.
Heading back down the mountain was my favorite part (as always.) I get such a rush running downhill — even in the dark — even when I can barely see the path in the snow and slush. This was only the second time I’d ran with a headlamp. Normally I just follow others who have them when I’ve done night runs or early morning trail ones in the dark. Mine wasn’t as bright as I would have liked and that became a real problem when heading downhill like a lightning bolt. It bobbed and and slid down my face, blinding me several times. Luckily I didn’t go sailing off the side of the mountain and turn into a giant snowball. That would have been interesting.  I did end up on my own for a couple of miles out there and I just had to stop and savor the stillness and beauty of being outside at night on a run. I didn’t feel afraid. I felt serene, happy, perfectly settled. I didn’t want it to end.

Many hugs and laughs and wishes of “Merry Christmas” followed at the bottom as we regrouped. We headed out for warm drinks on the way home and I just had to smile to myself at my many blessings — such good friends, good health and a good family who allows me to follow my own path (even in the mountains at night!) Thank you to all of you! <3

Elevation Gain: About 1,358ft of climb

Stats: 6.17 miles Felt: Happy as a clam  Time: About 1:33 (never stopped the Garmin – just stopped to chat and enjoy the friends and hiked some of the toughest uphill sections.)

A photo I snagged from the internet just to share with you how beautiful my little foothills are.

12/19/10

Blizzard Marathon Around the Lake

Too tired and barely thawed out to recap today. Ran my husband’s marathon course, accidentally took a wrong road that shorted us a tad bit. I wanted to try to finish,but since I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering or feel my fingers at all and the snow was coming down hard and fast — my loving husband encouraged me to just call it “good enough for now.”
Freezing cold, so much slush that my feet were pruned when I took my shoes off. When I weighed them – they were 2 lbs all by themselves. My clothing was sopping wet too. Super slow going out there today,but truly enjoyed experiencing it with my two sweetest friends: Bertha and Billie. Billie was just incredible out there, finishing the course (and taking the longer route) in 4:30! Way to go, Speedy Girl!
Felt incredibly blessed to have my husband, Wayne, who crewed for us and looked after my five kids and Bertha’s youngest son (it was like a playdate on wheels!) Bertha’s husband showed up at mile 16 and brought warm coffee and helped crew the rest of the way — helping to keep the traffic from running us over on this crazy, snowy, windy, freezing, foggy evening. Somewhere around mile 20 he presented us with chicken broth! It was heavenly!!!! Thank you Joel!! And, thank you Wayne and kids! You are all so awesome to put up with us crazy running ladies. 

Stats: 25.81 miles. Time: 5:28. Felt: FREEZING COLD – hyperventilated and chattered the whole way home. Brrrrrrr. Maybe the craziest run I’ve ever done. ha!

12/18/10

Denise Austin Hips, Thighs and Buttocks Bonus Workout

I found a bonus workout on my Denise Austin Pilates DVD this morning, so I figured I’d give it a spin and see what I thought. I can say with 100% certainty that it was a bonus segment because of the poor camera angles, jostling and the camera (man?’s) insistence on zooming in on her rear. Not that I’d ever wondered about it much, but thanks to this “talented” cameraman I now know that Denise wears thongs on these workout DVDs. ha!

I’d give the actual workout 2 1/2 stars out of 5. It’s ok. I might do it again when I’m short on time, but I wasn’t overly impressed.

Stats: 15 min. Felt: Ok