03/31/11

Track Night + A Little More

It was sunny and gorgeous out, so Track Night brought out lots of familiar faces. It was great to catch up with Sam and hear the highs and lows (mostly highs it sounded like) of his completion of a 100 mile race just five days ago. Sam was full of energy and and running really well for having accomplished so great a task over the weekend! I was very impressed and so inspired by his stories.

Bertha, Marci, Davina, Davina’s Mom, Sue, Emily and Ben and a few others made our various loops of the track, chatting and having a really nice time.

Now, Davina and I’d had an agreement before I showed up tonight. Though I’d done 3 miles earlier today and had planned to run at least 4-5 at the track tonight, I was tempted to run more when Davina announced on Facebook that she was planning on sneaking off for another 10 miles or so after the track. What could I do, but beg to come along too!? Now, it’s been awhile since my feet have taken that kind of a long distance beating on the road. The longest I’ve ran since Orcas Island’s Feb 5th race was my 12 miler last Saturday.

I accumulated 4.70 at the track. So… that plus my earlier 3.02 miles was a nice 7.72 miles to start with.

Davina and I said our goodbyes to our pals and headed into the countryside. It was really fun jogging by fresh-smelling fields and big red barns, over rolling hills. After we’d gone a few miles, Bertha tried to harass us from her pickup! ha ha! We teased each other and she mentioned she was driving just ahead to this lovely country farmhouse where her sister-in-law and brother-in-law lived. I teasingly told her we’d need ice cold water when we got there. And, that cutie pie and her sweet sister in law, Nancy, met us at the end of the driveway with ice cold cups of ice water. Oh, it was refreshing on such a warm evening! Sheer heaven!

We waved goodbye again and headed on down the road as the golden sun was starting to set on the horizon. We made a turn and I realized we were on my Lake Lowell Marathon course. I couldn’t help but smile and enjoy the views of the still Lake as the glowing sun reflected on its surface. It was a magical moment when the dark finally took over from the dusk. It was so peaceful and the air was so fresh and delicious I found myself gulping in great breaths of it just to savor it as much as possible. Davina pulled out her headlamp. Oops! Should have brought mine!

We ran in the dark another hour or so until we came back to the dark track and my car. It felt great to see my Garmin beep and say “18 miles” just as we got to the car. Wow! 18 + 3.02 –a hair over 21 miles for the day! My calves really started cramping the last 3 miles and my legs were pretty fatigued, but my soul was singing a different tune! It was great to log those kind of miles again! Just got to keep doing it and I’ll be strong again in no time!

Stats: 18 miles. Pace: 13:07. Time: 3:56 (moving time – actual time was 4:15 counting water stop and bathroom breaks.) 🙂 Elevation Gain: 350 ft. Ave HR: 150. Felt: Fatigued, but Happy!

03/31/11

Walking My Anxiety Away

I really am very excited about being a race director. It’s a huge honor and I really think we’ll put on a great event — but.. the details, the many, many details that go into something as big as planning a first time marathon and half marathon can be somewhat overwhelming behind the scenes. So many things are falling into place this week: we’ve purchased our event insurance, are in the process of finishing up the t-shirt design, our first batch of flyers went out it the goody bags of a local half marathon that will happen this weekend, some of the goody bag freebies have started showing up from sponsors and our race participant numbers and our web site daily unique visitors are climbing daily. But, I’m still stressed! There’s still so many things left to do – and as any race director will tell you, many of them have to wait until almost the last minute since you can’t really order medals or shirts or even porta potties until you have a better idea of exactly how many people will be attending your event.

The sun is shining today. It’s beautiful out! After spending most of the day adding our half marathon information to the various race web sites I’d submitted our full marathon info to and talking to a few vendors, I was really needing a break. Since it’s Thursday -a.k.a. “Track Night” I didn’t want to run yet. I’m still slowly building back up the miles since my ankle injury and figure I’m not quite ready for twice a days just yet (hopefully soon, but not yet.) So, I laced up the new Brooks Ghost 3’s and headed out for a walk, instead.

It felt really good to pound along on the sidewalk, soaking in the vitamin D and feeling my breathing coming in a nice, steady rhythm. My busy mind rattled off all my worries and I felt the pace quicken as I thought of the most pressing concerns. The faster I walked, the calmer I felt. As the blocks went by, gradually, I started to feel less worry, less frustration, less anxiety. I felt better.

I got in 3 miles and walked every step. I was pretty pleased to see my average pace was under 16 min/mile. Not bad. My heart rate stayed nice and low too – 119 ave. I’m looking forward to enjoying some time with my children this afternoon and then taking the whole family (if I can convince them all) to come with me to the track tonight for a little more exercise and social time with our pals.

03/29/11

Kanadia Tr 3 Shoes + Barefoot Running

I was really eager to try out my new trail shoes – the Kandia Tr 3, even though I won’t actually see any trial until this Saturday, so I went ahead and gave then a little test run around my neighborhood.
Now, I’d run laps around my block before and I’d noticed it was close to a 1/4 mile though a little short. I thought about it and decided to picture it like a track where the longest distance is at the far lane (if you start and finish at the same spot.) So, I went to the opposite side of the street, right along the sidewalk and started running there and kept my path as close to that as possible. Know what? Doing it that way, it was a perfect .25 miles! Yes!  I ran four laps like that in the new shoes.  They felt well cushioned, responsive and they didn’t rub in any weird spots. Basically, I’m hopeful they are another winner in the shoe search. The real test will be this Saturday when I take them on the trails and do 16 miles in them. THAT will tell me a whole lot more than today’s test run, but it was still nice to get a little taste and see how I felt about them in action.
One of the most impressive features of the Kanadia Tr 3 are the huge grips and even those little pointy rubber things you get on new tires! The bottom even says it has “Mud Surface Release.” Niiiiicceeee!!!! I can’t wait to run hard in them this weekend!
After my first mile, I decided to take the shoes off and run the last mile barefoot for foot strengthening, so I did. I was pretty sweaty after the first mile, so it felt pretty nice to kick off the shoes and socks and just run a little more freely. Now there were several little bits of gravel on the road that made me want to yelp so I kept my pace nice and easy since it hurt less if I wasn’t coming down on those bits of rock with as much force. I also stayed mindful of the fact that this is a new activity for my feet without all the cushioning I’m used to I kept things easy peasy. I started thinking about this huge grassy field not far from my house and decided I’d really like to get out there soon and try a barefoot mile on that soft surface for another experience. I bet it would feel really good! 🙂
Stats: 2 miles. 10:31 pace. Total time: 21:04. Felt: Good
03/29/11

Bad Race Photo Day

Today’s Daily Mission on Daily Mile was to share our worst race photos. Here’s mine. It was taken October, 2010, at my third marathon. This is the look of pain and exhaustion on my face coming into the finish line.

03/29/11

Brownie Attack!

You know the brownie attack has really gotten out of control, when you tear into the bakery box as soon as you get to the car and dig into the delicious cream cheesy frosting and chocolatey goodness with your bare hands and gobble down an entire brownie the size of your palm before a full minute has passed.

Maybe you’d understand this type of need if you, too, had five children who were home with Daddy while you were alone in the car with the treats. 😀

03/28/11

Scared Up Some Miles in the Brooks Ghost 3’s

Now I see some unusual things when I run sometimes, but today was especially unique. This was the first time I’ve ever ran by a Hot Dog on roller skates — HONEST! Once that happened, I made sure to keep my eyes opened for more fun and interesting people out enjoying a windy but sunny spring break!

I saw a little old man in running shoes and knee socks and shorts pushing his little wheeled fertilizer spreader around his lawn – I’m sure dreaming about how green and lush it would be as a result in a few weeks. Did I neglect to mention that this same man had on a knit stocking cap and his winter coat? It was that kind of ironic weather today.  45 degrees, 15 mph winds with gusts up to 20 mph and sunny. Peering out your window, it would be easy to be fooled into thinking, “Woo hoo! Shorts weather!”, but one step outside and you quickly would realize that “Brrrr! No, it’s not!” I wore a long sleeved, tech shirt and capri tights which seemed about right. I tucked my chilly hands into the sleeves, balling up my fists with the fabric and felt just fine.

I ran up that hill affectionately nicknamed “Nemesis” while the wind threatened to blow me back down again. I saw many golfers out at the golf course today, enjoying the sunshine and the spectacular views of the valley below. I ran by a cow who “mooed” at me. I mooed back. I was chased down by a weenie dog, but it was a pretty fair match seeing as how we both have stubby legs. I also saw a little boy on a pogo stick and really, really wanted to ask for a turn, but controlled the urge.

It was a good run! The new Brooks Ghost 3 running shoes did a fine job! I hardly noticed them! That’s always the whole point, isn’t it? To find shoes that make you forget about your feet so you can focus on moving forward. So, if you’re a neutral runner who likes cushion, a wide toe box, a snug heel cup and a lacing system that doesn’t make your toes go numb, I’d recommend trying on a pair of these.

One more fun thing to share.  I have this phenomenal running friend named Lynette. She’s a fellow mom, an ultra -runner with a capital “U” (this past weekend she finished yet another 100 mile race and earned another one of those coveted belt buckles hard core ultra runners lust for) and she’s even a college professor – of Chemistry!  In addition to all of those honorable achievements and claims to fame, she is also known amongst my running pals as the “Vera Wang” of ultra runner fashion! She designs and wears the most adorable tutus for her races. I remember the first time I spotted her. It was the Weiser River 50k in April of last year. It was my first official ultra and I was scared. But, I saw this woman in this gorgeous pink and red fluffy tutu gracefully running along and all I could do was smile. She brought a lot of joy to me that first race and since then we’ve become friends, so I’ve been able to admire even more of her lovely tutus (even on the likes of her main running buddy and my super hero, Dennis – who ALSO did the 100 miler this past weekend — all while wearing one of Lynette’s tutus.)   Lynette had something special planned for this past weekend. Since the race is a 100 mile event, it happens through the day and the night. She’d rigged up her tutu with glow sticks so that she glowed in the dark as she racked up the miles. How fun is that?!

Anyways… I’ve been thinking about a way to help me really enjoy my upcoming marathon – the Lake Lowell one that I’m also directing. I think the pressures of the planning have kept me from remembering why I agreed to do this in the first place — because I love running around Lake Lowell and I wanted to share that with others.

I ordered my first tutu from Lynette today. I asked for lots of neon, loads of colors! I really think that just like that first time I saw Lynette bounding by in her lovely designer-wear tutu and it brought joy to my heart, that wearing something so colorful and fun will also help me to remember why I’m there and why I do what I do — because girls (and Dennis) just wanna have FUN ………and feel pretty, oh so pretty! 😀

Stats: 7.33 miles. 11:34 pace. 1:24 total time. Felt: A little sore, but slowly rebuilding the mileage and strength again.

03/27/11

The Quest for True Shoe Love Continues…..

I purchased two more pairs of running shoes this weekend.  I’m so tired of exchanging shoes that didn’t feel right once I got them home and tried them on the treadmill. I promised my husband that I’m done. No matter what, I’m going to make these last ones work (crossing fingers that this really is the final perfect match for me and that we’ll spend many happy running miles together in glorious bliss!)

For my regular trainers, I bought the Brooks Ghost 3.  I told the fella at the local running shop about my problem with finding a replacement for my Asics Cumulus 10s since the newer models were different and didn’t feel right on my foot. He looked at my Cumulus and then suggested the Brooks Ghost 3. My pal, Emily had also mentioned those to me, so I was excited to see he had my size in so I could try them out.  Honestly, the moment I put them on, it was like deja vu!  When I bought my Cumulus, the sales gal had brought out several boxes for me to try. The top box was the Cumuls. I put them on and just KNEW they were meant for me! That love lasted for 7 pairs! So…. I still need to get outside and give them a proper test drive, but I’m hopeful!  They have the roomy toe box I like, the snug and narrow heel cup I crave, a responsive feel to them, and good, cushy feel (like walking on clouds!)  Send me some “good luck” vibes that this really is my new True Shoe Love for trainers!!!!! I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and my own Lake Lowell Marathon in 6! I need these to be the ones!

And…..while shopping, I also came across these trail shoes. I love trail running and in the past have usually just worn my ever-faithful Asics Cumulus for everything from road to dirt. But, I’ve noticed the other running gals wearing some trail specific shoes that looked pretty cool — lots of grip on the bottom and bright, fun colors.  I spotted the Adidas Kanadia Trail 3 (in pink and gray) and had to try them on.  Wow!!!! They fit me like they were made for me, I love the look and the responsiveness, the huge lugs on the bottom and they even claim to use mud-deflecting material on the sole. How cool does that sound? I run in some pretty muddy places, so that could be a plus. And…..they were pink! At least the accents were and I love pink! So… they came home with me too.

So, stay tuned this week as I try them both out and try to bond with each of them.

03/26/11

A Run With My Girls

Today I met my pals Bertha, Julie, Andrea and Marci at the Tio Lane trail near Lake Lowell and we got to hear gushy stories about Bertha’s new beautiful grandbaby, Annie, which all loved hearing every detail about. We chatted about our kids, about Julie and I’s injuries, about Andrea’s beautiful new pink Asics and anything else we could think of. I really love that free flow of conversation with intimate friends. Couple that with running in a beautiful environment and I am just in my element.

The Lake was so beautiful today. The winds rippled the waters and I just had to stop and take it all in and smile.  We girls bumped into the cutest little bunny (Easter Bunny, was that you?!) halfway through the run and had to stop for pictures! It was a perfect day with some amazing friends.

Afterwards, my husband (aka – fellow race director) and I headed out to drop off flyers to the local running stores while the wonderful new sitter stayed with the five kids.  While at the Pulse, I tried on the Brooks Ghost 3 and loved them immediately!!!! I bought them. Let’s hope this is “true shoe love” again. 🙂

Stats: 12 miles. (Ran both sides of Tio Lane out and back and a little extra on the road for the even 12 with Julie – HIGH FIVE JULIE for understanding how much I love even numbers!!!) Heart rate ave: 154. Felt: I had a happy heart, but my legs and feet are still slowly adjusting to more mileage again.

03/24/11

Track Night

Man, I’d missed track night! I hadn’t been out to see everyone in months. Though the crowd was quite small tonight, it felt great to be on familiar turf, socializing and running with my friends again.

I haven’t ran with any of my “sole” mates (ha ha) since Orcas Island 50k on Feb 5th when I sprained my ankle.  I’ve been injured, so have had to turn down all of the fun longer runs recently.  Physically and mentally, I really have ached for that camaraderie and the push I get from my friends when we run together.

Tonight I ran with Billie a bunch. I love her to bits! She’s loads of fun and our paces are a pretty good match. It felt so good to see the miles fly by without effort (the way it only seems to happen for me when a pal or a few pals are along for the ride.) We chatted and caught up on all that’s gone on since our race in Feb.

Our buddy, Emily showed up for a bit, too and that just made my whole night perfect! The three of us girls chatted and talked shoes and pals and it was fantastic. I thanked Emily for sharing her Kinvaras with me last week and let her try out my Cumulus 10’s and Asics Hypergirl track spikes. It was like a grown up running girl’s dressup party! 🙂   My heart just felt so happy being surrounded by my friends again. I really missed them. And those pals of mine I haven’t ran with (yeah, I’m looking at YOU — I miss you too!!! I need to see you all again soon to fill up my happy cup!) 🙂

Stats: 4.57 miles. Felt: HAPPY, lighter than air, ALIVE!  Ave HR: 154