Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Ghosts of Christmas Future

It's not birthdays that make me feel like life is passing me by, it's Christmas

I know this isn't a Dickens Novel (that would be sweet), but indulge me for a minute in my Christmases Past.   The holiday experience has changed as I've gotten older.   I'm spending my first Christmas without my family.   I was thinking about how I've spent past holidays, and since I've got no races coming up (or really training to share...I'm running almost every day but the lack effort or speed would make Alberto Salazar cry), I figured  'tis the season....to post old pictures of myself.

THE EARLY YEARS....
I have few early childhood memories of Christmas.  Mainly, I wondered why we couldn't have a real tree like normal families did.  I spent most of Christmas morning fighting with my brothers over the Whitman's Sampler.   Good lord those chocolate buttercream chocolates were delicious. 


I also distinctly remember the loss of my innocence (not that kind, ew..) in which my mom attempted to tell me there was no Santa Claus.  
As a true believer, I told her she was wrong, and that he was real.  

Of course, I was the true winner that Christmas.  Mom was forced to carry on the tradition by giving me a present from Santa to avoid breaking my believer heart. 

TEEN ANGST
I was in high school.  My brothers left for college and when they came back for the holidays it was one big party for me.  I finally had someone to play fight with and sing along to guitar with again!  It was awesome, but Christmas as I knew it was in jeopardy.  They had their own lives at college and were talking about adult stuff like "jobs" and "interviews".  Borrinnggg. 

In the ultimate act of rebellion, I asked for cds with explicit lyrics for Christmas.  My mom refused.  Perhaps she was onto my secret plan to run away with this rock star....

Luckily, my dad ignored my affection for rock stars and instead pretended to be thrilled with being gifted nearly the same pack of socks and button-up we'd been giving him for the past 15 years.


THE COLLEGE YEARS
My new found college freedom came crashing to an end each December.  The pure joy of sleeping 13 hours a day was cut short after a few days by requests to pick up my clothes and stop being a dang slob.

I met up with my high school friends to see how we'd changed and who had the most ridiculous college stories.  

EVOLUTION INTO THE 20s
I think the early and mid twenties are tough for most people.  Despite having a decent job, and a classy Christmas photo (see right), I had no freaking clue what I was doing and probably spent most years upset over something inconsequential.

My brothers got married, and I wasn't their number one girl anymore!  Worse yet, they had to do that "alternating Christmas" thing.

We spent some Christmas's visiting the hospital as well, as my father spent 80% of his last ones there.  Yes, it sucks to be sick on Christmas, but more so, it just sucks to be sick.


I remember his last Christmas, in 2009, he came downstairs unexpectedly to see me.  He told me he had a present for me, and slipped me $300 dollars.  "Don't Tell Mom", he said, and hobbled back upstairs.  Thinking back, I bet he had several grand stashed in that room for no particular reason.  Always prepared.

NOW
Things will never be the same again.  This Christmas, I won't be eating the Whitman's sampler as fast as I can or thinking that my Mom just doesn't understand.   We're not going to wake up and play all the new cds that we got and eat our weight in chocolate.

That's the thing about life, right?  It moves even if we're not ready for it to.  Of course, I'm sure there're awesome ghosts of Christmas future waiting for me too.  But as long as I'm going to be haunted, I'd prefer that my ghosts pick me up some candy for the journey....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lucky. (Holiday Half Marathon Recap)

Just like this girl, this girl, this girl, this girl, and this girl, I ran the Holiday Half Marathon  on Sunday.

I drove up in my poor excuse for a car with Monica and Sarah.  Monica took pictures of me driving and Sarah played her 10th grade dance tunes.


We got to beautiful Pomona with an hour to spare and Danica showed us where bathrooms were without lines!  Well...ok...she showed Sarah and Monica where they were because I was frantically trying to find my race number.  My middle name is "prepared."   I also met Julie which was pretty sweet.


When it was about time to run, I literally jumped the fence to get in my "corral" and we got goin'.   


My fairly arbitrary goal was to keep up 7:20 miles for the race.  But...short of Fontana Days (most downhill course ever), I've never done this.   My expectations for keeping up a 7:20 on hillmageddon were slim to none.  


I tried to hold back in the first few miles.  I told myself that if miles 1-5 aren't easy, you're not running the race right.

Miles 1-5 weren't too bad.  I felt like I was trying, but not dying.  Miles 6-10 were...the time that I needed to concentrate and focus.  They were hilly, but I actually think this worked to my advantage.  I am at my worst as a runner when I'm bored, and this up and down, twisty, beautiful course definitely didn't allow for settling into a pace, cruising, and getting comfortable.

I ate a couple honey stingers at mile 6 and a Gu at mile 9.  Around this time, the SRLA kids (who had started about 15 minutes behind me) started passing me.
Holy cow, some of them are FAST!  


For the last bit of the race, I told myself to step lightly and quickly.  This was for two purposes:
1) To not waste energy and keep a quick stride
2) To try to avoid getting a stomach cramp
(It sorta worked - I only cramped up at the very end.)

At mile 12, I was still feeling good, and something amazing happened.  People started yelling at me stuff like "you're in 6th, go get the girl in front of you!".
Granted, they were counting incorrectly because I was in 10th, but, this was so cool.  
I've always wanted to be far up enough in a race so that people cheer you on as a competitor.  A contender.  I know it's silly, but in that moment, I felt like a freaking rock star.

You know what else made me feel like a rock star?
Running a time that I never truly thought I'd be capable of running.  Here are my Garmin splits:


My chip time was 1:35:50.  7:19 pace, 10th woman overall.

I finished, accidentally high-fived some guy who was really trying to high-five the person behind me, and cheered on Monica and Sarah.   We hung out, complained about the hills, and I stole sips off Sarah's delicious beer, because I forgot my dang ID.  (I'm almost 30!).  

Final Thoughts On The Race
Hold up y'all, I'm abouts to over-dramatize my hobby.  

This race was one of those magical races when I'm so happy to be a runner.  I ran this race at a pace that I never thought would be possible for me.  But...that's not all....I got to be passed by a bunch of talented high schoolers that hopefully are the future of the sport.  I got to hang out with two awesome girls who I'd never have known if I'd never read running blogs.  And I got to run in freaking Southern California in perfect weather to the backdrop of gorgeous mountains.  I am....ridiculously lucky.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Real World, Road Rules (Runner Style)

All this reading about the Rock and Roll Las Vegas crappy logistics made me think that the world needs a lesson in Running and Biking Etiquette...ok fine...it's not just the RNR logistics that make me want to write this post.

It's every danged time I ride my bike.  Or run on a crowded course.  Some people get road rage in their car.  I get it in my Mizunos.  Pretty much the same, yes?  ;-)

Rule #1.  Let's start with the golden rule of running.  Or riding the escalator, for that matter.  Or generally functioning in society.  Unless you're in the UK:
STAY TO THE RIGHT!!!!!!

Not the middle.  Not the left.  On a bike, it's dangerous not to follow this rule.  On a run, it's also dangerous because you might get hit by a bike.    And in a race, if you're stopping and not on the right, you're just ticking everyone else off.

Rule #2.  Your corral is your friend.  Stay in it.  No one cares if you started first.  Only thing that matters is if you finish first (unless you're an elite so I've heard).  Plus, it's demoralizing to get passed for the first couple miles so you may as well start with people close to your speed.


Rule #3.   Run MAX two abreast.  Just one if you're really fat.
*Credit OUAL for this one.
 
Rule #4.  Walking 5 tiny dogs on a busy path?  Cool, but keep the dogs on a close leash.  




Rule #5.  Teach kids basic running / biking etiquette.  There is nothing scarier than almost running into a 5 year old trying to learn how to ride a bike and swerving all over the dang place.
Neighborhoods > Really Busy Bike Paths.

Rule #6.  Yer Gu.  No one wants to step in it.  So no throwing it where other people are running.  If you're racing and need to throw it on the ground, throw it away from the path.

Rule #7.  I know giant packs of bikers are annoying but they have a right to be on the path / road.  Big Packs of Bikers:  Try to be as unannoying as possible and stay to the right. 

Rule #8.  Warn People if you're passing on your bike.   Yelling "On Your Left" or "Good Morning" is all ya need.

Rule #9.  I believe Lauren mentioned this previously, and I have never actually witnessed this in real life, but for God's sake, Don't Cross The Finish Line Twice. 


I know I'm missing some rules (and may be entirely unaware of some) so anything to add?  


=)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cracking the 70% Age Grade..(Turkey Trot 5 Miler Recap)

In addition to refusing to get dressed for upwards of 80% of my Thankgiving trip to Virginia, I also ran a 5 mile Turkey Trot.

Yes, just like 80% of the running bloggers out there, I woke up on Thanksgiving and decided to race.

I went into the darned thing with mixed feelings.  It was pretty exciting to run a race in Northern VA, and in my hometown of Alexandria, in particular.  But races, even without high expectations, are stressful for me.

As I outlined over sweaty beers with Emily earlier in the week, under 35 minutes would be a success and over 35 would be failure.  I'd had some pretty embarrassing workouts earlier in the week, in which I wasn't able to hold a 7 mile 7:20 pace tempo for even 5 miles.  Times were tough, times were tough...but...I had two secret weapons....

1) Jenny, the little bird sent me a kickass (although a bit small on me) Halloween tee, so that we could start the sisterhood of the traveling t-shirt.  See exhibit on right.  (I also brought out the bunny ears because...I figured why not be totally off holiday).

2) I bucked up and bought racers.  I've been using light-weight trainers (Mizuno Elixir) for races since August.  I bought the Mizuno Ronin.  Clearly these were going to make me run like my feet were en fuego.

I got to the middle school gym and picked up my packet.  And hung out with Senor Turkey for few minutes...


This race is particularly awesome because there's a stroller race category and a doggy race category.  So there was a festive atmosphere.  After doing some striders, and lining up in the giant line (there were over 4000 people in this Turkey Trot!), we were off.  

I saw a girl ahead of me who seemed to know what she was doing (no idea what made me conclude this), so I decided I'd try to keep her in sight the whole race.  I tried to keep my first mile in check, and the plan was to run it in 7 minutes, but of course, my adrenalined legs were not about to go that pace.   First mile was 6:37. 

The crowds were great, and people kept on shouting "go bunny",  "wrong holiday", and "1st costume".   They were also yelling "1st Stroller" because I was neck in neck with the first stroller.  How the heck this dude was running sub 7s while pushing a giant stroller is beyond me.  

Surprisingly, I kept the whole dang thing around 6:40 something pace and in the last mile, I passed a girl and she passed me back.  I'm not exactly sure what got into me, but with about 200 meters from the finish, I turned the race from a friendly town Turkey Trot to my own Olympics.  I thought "I can get her" and went into a dead-out sprint to pass her right at the finish, much to the amusement of the spectators.  
Yup...not competitive at all....

Race Stats:  5 miles, 33:57, 6:47 pace. 20th woman. 

Here are the splits:

Not exactly an effort worthy of my "sprint to the death" finish, but better than my expectations, and I finally cracked the 70% Age Grade Bracket.  Maybe this training is starting to pay off....

Final Thoughts:
1) I was super careful about what I ate in the morning due to all the cramps I've been getting lately.  And it worked.  I had half a Luna Bar, a few Honey Stingers, and an Orange Gu.  Yeah...definitely not real food, but I think this is the path I need to take to avoid cramps.  
2) Thanksgiving Dinner > Turkey Trots.  But only by a bit....
3) Pretty happy with this effort.  Didn't feel like I sucked!
4)  It's time to pass on the sisterhood of the traveling t-shirt.  No really.  It's good luck!  Who wants it next?!?!?!?!?!  I'll send it to ya. 

HAPPY (late) THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to get totally fat during the holidays


Every year around this time, I start seeing a lot of articles about how not to get fat during the holiday season.  Stuff like "bring an apple to the party" or "Walking 2 extra laps around the track will help you burn off half of that holiday cookie!".   Or best yet "park far away when you're going shopping to get the exercise".

I park far away when I shop.  But not to burn 5 calories while inhaling insane amounts of car exhaust.  It's because I live in damn Orange County and trying to park anywhere close at South Coast Plaza in December is my idea of hell.

I'd like to propose that we all just chillax and enjoy the holiday season.

There are probably about five times during the holiday season when you're really going to indulge:   Christmas (or insert other religious holiday of choice...if you're celebrating Hanukkah, those 8 crazy nights may indeed break the diet more than my projections), Thanksgiving, Some sort of random cookie binge session, and about two big holiday parties, assuming you have a moderate amount of friends.

Sure sure...there will be people around the office offering you random crap to eat, but if you usually eat that stuff in moderation during the rest of the year, you're probably not going to go hog-wild on them just because Santa is coming to town.   So here's the breakdown:

Holiday Party #1:  Some random work party that your sig o (or awkward date) brought you to.  You decide not to completely embarrass them, so in addition to a normal dinner, you pretend you're on Mad Men and drink the following:
2 Old Fashioneds and a Vodka Gimlet. And you have a piece of Apple Pie.
Total Damage: 180 + 180 + 110 + 400 = 870 Calories

Cookie Binge:  The host of the last party insisted you took stuff home.  So instead of taking it into the office like you said you would, you got up at 2 AM for a "bite" and they all ended up mysteriously disappearing.   10 medium-ish cookies.
Total Damage:  1200 Calories

Holiday Party #2:  Your ex shows up with his new girlfriend.   She's not cute at all, but it's still annoying. Also, some random girl won't stop talking about her oatmeal being amazeballs.  So you really booze it up.  And you are the best dancer at that party, fa sho.
7 Coronas and some chips.
Total Damage:  140 x 7 + 200 = 1180 Calories

Thanksgiving:  You eat a lot of crap.  Wine, rolls, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, pie...etc....
Then you wash it down with a bottle of wine while listening to your cousin tell you about her new awesome job/baby/husband/life and ask you why you haven't settled down yet.
Total  Damage:  1500 (dinner) + 500 (wine) = 2000 Calories

Christmas (...or insert extra holiday of choice...):  Repeat of Thanksgiving.  Except this time you eat the Whitman's sampler instead of the wine.
Total Damage:  2000 Calories

So here's what your five days of fun will cost you:  7250 Calories.


Number of Calories in a Pound?  About 3500.

Total Weight Gain?  2.07 lbs.

2.07 lbs?
That's not all that bad...

I say go for it, you crazy kids.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Sports (San Diego Duathlon Recap)

Today, after 1 billion years of just running, I finally ventured into something new.

Yes yes...the rumors you heard on TMZ are true...I did a Duathlon.

PRERACE
I was nervous as all hell the night before.  I started Googling things like "first duathlon" and found blogs talking about all their brick workouts, their hard core biking, and how much more awesome they were than me (ok...that was not in their blogs).
Basically a lot of stuff I didn't do.  I imagined all worst case scenarios and decided that not getting a flat and not killing myself or others would be....a minor success on it's own.

This morning, I woke up at the hour 4 AM.  Actually, I woke up at 3:30 AM to some drunk kids coming back to my apartment complex.  I thought "wow. that used to be me. Boy am I uncool now.", and rolled over and went back to sleep. Before I left, I took this picture.  I like to capture pre-race looks because a sleepy and terrified picture in the dirty bathroom mirror is worth a thousand words.
Yes, I am aware that my arms are way smaller/skinnier than the rest of my body.  No I don't know why.  I should do push ups or something.

After a 70 mile trip down to San Diego, I picked up my packet and put my bike on one of the racks along with all of my stuff.  One thing I noticed as soon as I got there, is there is none of this running skirt / tulle / costume stuff in du/triathlon-land.  I was wearing a sequined headband and felt somewhat ridiculous even in that.  The du / tri landscape is still dominated by dudes and non-flashy women which honestly was kind of nice for a change.  My bee suit from the LA RNR Half probably would not have been quite as welcome ;-).

After warming up for a bit, we were all herded to the start and then we were off!

RUN - Leg 1.  Quick 'n dirty. 
The first run was just 1.5 miles.  I think I ran them in at 6:50 something pace although the official splits aren't online yet so I'm not sure.  When I finished the loop, I went to the transition area to get my stuff for the bike leg.  Of course, I couldn't find my bike...so I jogged back and finally found it!  Transitions = hard, yo.

BIKE Leg 
As soon as I hopped on the bike, something was wrong.  The pedals were moving like the bike wasn't in gear.  Turned out, somehow the chain had popped off the big gear of the bike.  Murphy's law, right?

I freaked out and spastically asked a volunteer for help.   Poor guy put the chain back on and probably got his hands all disgusting and full of oil at the same time.  So nice of him.

Hey Volunteer Dude:  If for some reason, you ever see this blog entry...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!


This adventure probably added a couple minutes to my time, but that's nothing compared to the billions of people getting flats on the loop course.  It rained like mad the night before and so the path was still pretty messy.

The bike was the best part of this race.  The wind rushed by, and I didn't get my butt kicked quite as much as I thought I was going to!  One girl in grey kept on passing me and I'd pass her back.  You're not allowed to draft which is why I think we kept doing this.
Although it got kind of awkward after a while:  "Oh hai again other girl who is riding the same pace as me..."

Here're the Garmin Splits from the bike portion!

I think my average pace on the 12.4 mile bike was somewhere 19.5 mph without the chain issue at the start which I think took 2 minutes.  Probably more like 18.5 mph factoring it in.   I'm (somewhat) ok with this!  Lots of work to do to get over 20 mph comfortably, but I was passing plenty of people, so I think with a little more biking dedication, I can start to not suck!
*edit.  Garmin pace = faster than race.  race recorded like 18.2 mph /19.2 mph. I think it's different because we were all riding on the outside of the loop in order to stay to the right.

Run - Leg 3 - Cramptastic. 
This transition went smoother.  I put my bike on the rack, chugged some Gatorade and started running.
I usually train with Nuun because it is lower cal, just as tasty, and they are nice enough to send it to me (I'm a brand ambassador...see that product plug?  ;-) ), but I thought having a sports drink with sugar in it would be better for the race.
Right?
Wrong.

As soon as I started running, I developed a cramp.  I know...this is becoming a reoccurring issue.  I need to figure out how to stop stomach cramping.  It sucks.  And it makes my times suck.

Also, running off a bike is WAY HARDER than I thought it would be!  My legs felt like they were made of jello.   At the beginning I even saw a current pace beginning with "8", which is not so good when I wanted to keep all the running under 7.  Oy.

The girl in grey passed me back and I told her to go get it.  She did.  I believe she got 14th woman!

My full mile splits were 7:30 and 7:15 on the Garmin.  Half marathon pace, anyone?  I was thrilled to see the finish on the second loop, and booked it in for the last few seconds.
(*edit ...uhhhh....turns out my official pace was like a 7:50 assuming this portion was 2.5 miles.  yikes!  hopefully they marked it long.)

Total Time: 1:14:59.  16th woman.  It was a small race though, so I don't think there were more than 50- 80 women total.
*no splits besides the finish time are up yet so sorry if they aren't 100% accurate. 

I celebrated by drinking the recovery drink of champions:  Oh bubbly aspartame, I love you so. 

I stuck around the awards ceremony (top six got real silver and gold awards! jealous! )
Afterthoughts
Feels pretty cool to have done one of these, and I want to get more into these multi sport races!  I am now going to force all my coworkers to refer to me as "du-ath champ", not "Margot" for the day.


Of course, I've got a ton of learning to do.  Major lessons learned are....
1) Make sure the damn bike is ready to ride.  Like chain on gears.
2) Rack my bike early so that I am in an easy place to find!
3) Practice running off the bike.  Train more (obviously).
4) Figure out what's going on with my abs / stomach.  Come on body!
5) Sign up for as many du's / tri's in 2012 as possible.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Speedwork I luv (workouts to get faster)

Speedwork.   Intervals.  8x800m.

These words inspire fear in many a runner.

They kinda scare me too.  But I freaking love it.

Here's why:  
I never feel more like an athlete when I'm rolling down the backstretch of a track in the middle of a repeat mile.  Or even when I'm on the treadmill, getting "girl, you crazy?" looks with my sweat flying on anyone in a 10 foot radius.

I don't love it because it feels awesome in a traditional, eating cheetos, kind of way.  In fact, 50% of the time I want to stab myself during intervals.  But it's still awesome in that gut wrenching, leave all your days frustrations on the track and see what you've got kind of way.

I'm no running expert by a long shot, but I run a lot of workouts (and not a lot of mileage or long runs...what can I say, I like what I like).  Soooo....I thought I share some of mah fave workouts that I think help me be prepared to run decently.  (I'm not going to suggest speedwork for a marathon because I have no idea how to train for a marathon.   And am too lazy to do so at the moment.  All I can tell you is that Yasso 800s do NOT predict your marathon time.) 

For a 5k (or 10k just go a little slower and add a repeat or two)


The Meat O' 5k Training
What: 4x mile at 5k pace or slightly faster.  2.5-3.5 minutes rest.
Why:  Gets you used to running further than 3.1 miles, at the pace you want to keep up for 3.1 miles.
Where:  I think the track or the road is the best place to do this workout.  Treadmill is kind of a cop out for this workout.
Difficulty Rating (1-5, 5 is hardest):  4

Last Minute Speed
What:  A few (12 or so) 200s at mile pace.  60 second rest or short jog between intervals.
Why:  To get some speed under your legs the week of a 5k race but not to completely exhaust you.
Where:  Doing this on a treadmill would be ridiculous.  Find a 200m stretch somewhere else.
Difficulty Rating (1-5, 5 is hardest):  2.5

Indicator of Death
What:  5x1000m at 3200m race pace (somewhat faster than 5k pace), 60 second rest between intervals
Why:  If you can run this workout correctly, I bet you can run your 5k at goal pace
Where:  Wherever you want to get through this bad boy.
Difficulty Rating (1-5, 5 is hardest):  4.99.


For A Half Marathon


Prep for Going Out Too Fast (not that I was goin' to..) 
 (I got this from here)
What:  2x 800/1200/3200m supersets.  800 meters at 5k pace, 1200 meters at 10k pace, 3200 meters at goal half marathon pace.  Jog 800m between sets.  Don't rest during each superset.
Why:  This is great prep for still running strong after going out too fast and keeping it strong when you're tired.
Where:  Actually recommend treadmill.  It makes the speeds easier to get right.
Difficulty Rating (1-5, 5 is hardest):  4.5

The Fast Finish
What:  A long run of 8-11 miles with the last 3-5 miles at half marathon pace.
Why:  To teach your butt how to run fast when you're tired.
Where:  Probably wherever works for you.
Difficulty Rating: (1-5, 5 is hardest)  4.


Terrain Simulation Tempo
(ok ok.  I almost never do this.  But I should.)
What:  A tempo between 10k and half marathon pace of 4-7 miles on similar terrain as your race (hills, downhill...etc).
Why:  To learn how to run in an area like your dang race!
Where:  Outside.  Preferably in the blazing heat or freezing cold.  Simulate all possible race day discomfort.
Difficulty Rating:  Kind of depends :).


What are your fave workouts?  


Also, I'm doing a Duathlon this weekend.  Uhh....any advice?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rock and Roll LA 13.1 freakin' recap

I ran the Rock and Roll half marathon LA on Sunday!  Here, my friends, is the long (not) awaited recap.

I woke up at 5:00 AM and wanted to pretend that I'd slept through my alarm.  But I was the bigger person and got my butt outa bed.  Unlike just about every race I've ever done, I actually had stuff laid out that I'd need.  Including mah bee costume!  I ate a random sample of a Lara Bar (I'd never had one before...breaking race rule #1 right there!) and some grapes.  I got some black coffee and water, and started the hike up to LA.

This morning - probably due to the fact that I had a pretty much non-existent training last few weeks - I didn't feel as nervous as I usually do.   Usually I want to throw myself off a balcony on race morning from nerves.  This time, I just wanted to listen to NPR and chill.
Twin bees!  Kristee ran like a 5:12 mile in high school..  Ridic. 

I  parked in a sketch part of town (BUT FREE!) and walked to the start.  I felt a wave of relief, when I saw my twin bee (and high school XC buddy!), Kristee.  THERE IS ANOTHER ONE LIKE ME OUT THERE!!!

This race was ridiculously well organized!  I didn't have to push anyone over to use the bathrooms (there was no line!) and we slipped into corral 1.  At some point, some dude came up to us and asked us if we were going to be running sub 1:30.  We said no, and he looked confused.  I'm pretty sure he was trying to politely tell our ridiculous bee butts outa corral 1.  Can't say I blame him.

The race started on time (more ridiculously good organization) and off we went!

I was really nervous about even being able to finish this race.  The past couple times I've tried to run close to my limits, I've ended up doubled over in pain from some weirdly damaged side muscle.   I was determined to go out conservatively in the interest of seeing the 13th mile marker.

Miles 1-5 were relaxed and normal.  All around 7:30 pace.  Kristee is a smart racer, so I knew that with her pacing, and the Garmin going, I might avoid going out at a 6:00 pace or something stupid.   The race clock was completely off for the first couple miles, and because I still have no idea how to use my Garmin in an intelligent way, I had no freaking clue what our real time was.
At some point, I realized I was pushing the pace beyond what Kristee wanted and started feeling a little douchey for making her go out too fast.  So at mile 5 we agreed to split off. I yelled back "I HOPE THIS IS NOT A STUPID MOOOVVEEE".


Miles 5-8.  I just hoped I would continue feeling normal.  And I did.  I knew I wasn't going to break any records, but I felt light on my feet and steady.  At some point, I saw another girl in a bee costume who I think was running the mini marathon.  I ran over to her and shouted hi, but she had her dang headphones on.  This is why you should never race with headphones.  You might miss another bug just like you.

I took a Jet Blackberry Gu (that I got from Mallory a while back!) at mile 8.  mmmmmmm.

Miles 9-11:  A sort of hilly portion of the mostly flat course.  I don't really mind hills that much.  They spice it up a little.  It was a beautiful day out!   I tried to keep the pace steady and two things went through my head:
"Omg you are spending like 10 seconds on the ground with each step.  LIGHT ON YOUR FEET!  Spend your time moving forward not stomping like a freaking fat giant".

"OMG WHAT IF MY SIDE CRAMPS UP?!?!?!  It won't!  Remember that thing you heard on NPR about your brain being able to control your muscle impulses?  Just think reelllaaxxxeeeeddd....relaaaxxeedddd...ahhhhhhh"

No one really cheered for me in my costume the whole way.  I figure they either thought 1) I was an ugly troll who does not deserve cheers or 2) Sort of a dbag target for wearing wings and a half tutu and being somewhat far up in the field.

By the last couple miles, I figured I was home free!  I tried to pick it up a little bit, but I wasn't about push my luck and sprint and end up walking the last bit!  My beautiful running form and grace impressed all of the people around me:

As did my relaxed face

And then I finished!  (So so thankful to have finished!).  I had no freaking clue what my time was because I figured the clocks were still off by a minute or two.  Turns out the finish clock was on the money.

Final time:  1:38:02.  6th in Age Group, 40th Woman Overall.  


Here are the Garmin Stats.  Clearly I am the worst at running tangents ever as I recorded a 13.39 miles.




Generally pretty happy with the race!  But what I am really happy with is Brightroom for taking this gem post race:

In the words of Sarah:


It's true.  What can I say.  

Final Thoughts:
1) Costumes are so fun and so is running with friends !
2)  I am pretty much all healed after running that race!  Advice for all injured people - go race 13 miles!
3)  I feel encouraged about running and racing.  I've been pretty down on all of this lately, and this was a great time!  Being unable to run much has made me remember how much I love it.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The buzz about the RNR Half marathon (har.har)

I'm planning to run the Rock and Roll LA half marathon this Sunday.

My goals?
Aw jeez...can I not have any?  I wanted to run a 1:35.  Ambitious goal even at my best.
And now...I've probably logged about 50 miles in October total.  
I'm still kind of injured.  But...I'd be lying to say that I just "want to have fun" on Sunday.

I want to run well.  And it probably won't happen.   But uhhh...hope springs eternal ;).
I am going to try my damnedest to have a good time and here is how!

bzzzzzzzzz..........bbbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


It's bumble bee costume time!  My friend Kristee and I will have twin wings, antennae, and possibly tutus.  I'm not sure.  It's was a 15 dollar child's costume!    That's why the wings are so small.  Due to my requested time I put down months ago(1:37), I am also in corral 1 out of 20.  Pretty sure everyone else will be like "who is this jackass in the bee costume?".  And then proceed to kick my butt.

I'm sorry this is a pretty lame entry for not posting for a week.  But yeah...I'm enjoying slowed blogging!  It's allowed me to drink more wine and be a better girlfriend.   I've also started watching Battlestar Galatica.  It's not as bad as it sounds, promise.

Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Margot-lock Holmes and The Case Of the Running Munchies

My friend Christina told me she is getting bored and needs a new post.  So here it is!  Accolade me.

If you're wondering about my running updates well....I'm coming back...slowly :(.  I'm running about every third day.  This morning I finally finished a workout...8 miles at half marathon-ish pace (7:18).  At this point, I'm scared that I won't be able to complete my half marathon, but more likely it's just time to adjust my time expectations!  That's life, right?

The Mystery Of The Hard Training Weight Gain...

During the past week, I've crossed trained, but have taken a big step back from training.  For a few weeks before my injury, I'd been gaining weight like I owned a Ho Ho factory.  A couple days ago, after not running for a week, I tiptoed onto the scale in fear.  I was down 2 lbs.   Great, but whhaatttt?  
Why did I gain weight while running hard..and lose it when I stopped ?

Here's the story of the case of the running munchies: 
1:30 PM.  At work.  Just ate lunch 30 minutes ago.  And I'm hungry again.
Embarrassed, I look around at my coworkers and hope they don't hear my stomach growling.  And then...I go get some Cheez-its.  Delicious cheesy crackers!  
Will they notice that I've been snacking all morning and have no intention of stopping?    


I think to myself, "Whatever, dude, I'm a runner, I ran 10 miles - 6 tempo this morning, and I freaking deserve it. " 

Then at some point, after eating like this for weeks I think:
OMG WHY R MY PANTS SO TIGHT!?!?!

So what is the right way to fuel on increased training...where you have energy but don't gain weight? 

For me I can eat slightly more when I'm training more, but still need to be healthy and not think "increased mileage = increased cookies".  I know...it kind of sucks...but it's not like a giant bag of snickerdoodles is the key to my half marathon PR.   This is especially hard for me, because the longer and harder my workouts get the less I feel like cooking healthy after one.  My life is so hard.  

Here's what tends to work for me  (not that I always follow this...clearly)
- Staying hydrated.  I think that's key to decent performance in workouts / races.  Not cookies.
- Whole food > Processed stuff.  Yeah...I know....bars and gels are tasty, but I feel those should be more of a last resort rather than a go-to food.
- Have healthy and appetizing stuff ready to eat when I am done with a workout.   Nothing healthy ready to eat = lots of post workout ice cream consumption.
- Protein.  I could eat pasta and fro yo exclusively.  But it never makes me feel as good as a normal meal with veggies and protein does.
- Getting a grip:  An extra two miles = 200 cals = one small snack extra.  Ie...not that much.
- Performance first.  Sure, usually the best runners are not huge.  But I've been passed by a billion people bigger than me.   If you're gaining weight but still being healthy and having improved performance, ..go with it.  No one's going to question those extra 5 pounds when you pass them in the last mile of your marathon.

Do you gain or lose weight during higher than usual training periods?  
Have you found that your weight is correlated to your racing performance?  


Happy Friiidddaaayyyy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The slowing of the Faster Bunny

I might need some time off, y'all.  

Not off running because...well I already am doing that.  But from blogging.  

I've been running, (mostly as a casual runner) since 1997.  Until recently, I always avoided training very hard or giving it my all for the following reasons:
1) In the whole grand scheme of things, I'm not elite, and I never will be.  Maybe I could win a tiny 5k on a really good day, but I'll never be one of the best, and because of that, I'm not sure it makes sense for me to devote so much time and energy to one hobby when there is so much else in life to enjoy.  
2) (More importantly) I get wrapped up in stuff very easily.  I suspected that training harder and reading / writing a blog would bring out the ultra competitive and compulsive person in me.  And guess what...it has.  Not a good thing.  

A couple examples of this compulsiveness were running while injured until a workout made it so that I essentially I couldn't walk or... when I'm on vacation or visiting the BF, I'm constantly reading blogs or checking my traffic.  

It's not really the person I want to be.  

At the same time, I love love love the blogging community.  Good girlfriends are hard to come by, and there are so many awesome people I've met and talk to through my blog.  I also have had experiences such as the Nuun HTC relay that were a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

What are you trying to say exactly?

Right now, I need a break.  Something's gotta give.  I'm not saying I will never post again, but I want to get away from the feeling that I HAVE to post.  I'm gonna try to spend some time in the real world for a bit.   I gotta find the person I want to be again.  

Imagine  :)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Gimp Day 2: Adventures in Garmin #fail!

Remember how the evil running gods sent me a Garmin 405 and injured me on the same day?

Well...I'm still injured (although feeling better each day.  est. time of running again is hopeful for Monday??? Gah.  Stab me now please.  It could honestly be 2 days or 2 weeks, no idea).   But...I still got to try the Garmin by doing...

GARMIN BIKING!!!!

Doing this meant I actually had to take the Garmin out of the box and learn how to use it. =)

I'm not a fan of reading instructions.
Most stuff you can figure out if you just fiddle around with it for a while.  While this philosophy has gotten me a lot of Frankenstein looking Ikea Furniture, I ain't changin'!

In the words of Rihanna, "I break the rules and I don't care".  :)

So this time, I turned the Garmin on and was greeted by a screen that said:

Kaipasin sinua paljon!


Actually that is "I missed you" in Finnish - thank you Google - but it totally looked like that. 

How did I JUST turn this on and already the language is wrong?

After a few button switches, I was back in America and ready to go on my bike ride.

The problem with the Garmin is there are some settings that set on default.  Such as the one that determines "running mode" and that my goal run is 3 miles at 9:15 pace.

No problem, I thought...I'll just bike and it'll record whatever I do.  Right?
Wrong.  The thing stopped me at 3 miles, beeping victory about 10 minutes into my ride.

Attempt 1  (Oh Hai 3 mile bike ride!)




I have no idea how to take this setting off, so instead I put the goal on "distance".  At least this way, it would allow me to bike for 27 minutes.

27 minutes later, the Garmin gave me a victory beep and stopped recording.

Gee thanks Monsieur 405.

Although...I gotta say...this thing is AWESOME.  It even knew exactly where I went biking.  No wonder y'all trust this thing more than the measured race distances ;-)  (I tease I tease..).

Any adventures you've had with the Garmin?  I am way excited to play this thing more, and even more excited to run with it when I'm better.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gimp Day 1: The Epsom Salt Muscle Miracle...

Thank you so so much for your sweet comments and suggestions on my injury.  I am trying to come back as soon as possible!  Hopefully soon!

In fact, today, I lifted my gimpy self out of bed and headed to sell my soul use the elliptical.  To me, there is no more boring form of exercise, or other form of exercise where you feel like you are doing absolutely nothing like the elliptical.

..........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ......

But that's ok.  It was actually kind of refreshing to not try at all.  I could get used to this!  And it didn't barely hurt!  60 minutes later, and I am much more up to date on the hard hitting issues from morning TV (thank you, Today Show...PS: why is Star Jones a business commentator again?). 

But the reason I feel a ton better isn't just because I used the elliptical....
Yesterday, my friend Anisa told me to use Epsom Salts.  

Now...I had no idea what those are!  They sound like something you'd have on the Oregon Trail in 1850. 

But...desperate times call for desperate measures, my friends. 
=)

So last night, I stopped by the Target and bought a ton of drugs:  Aspirin, Cortozone, and Epsom Salts. 

When I got home, my roommate laughed at me as I told her I was going to prepare my salt bath.  But I was on a mission....I dumped a few cups of those suckers in the bath and soaked away.

OMG, Y'all....
 Let's just say those people in the 1850s knew what they were doing.  I felt SO much better.  I did another soak this morning as well.  No shame. 

The only problem is that Epsom Salts relax ALL of your muscles:

Um yeah.  Sorry...kind of gross....Totally worth it though.  =)

My side felt so much better afterwards and I am now a fan for life!  Plus it was only 3 bucks at Target. 

Do you have any random cures that you use and swear by?  Besides drinking Ginger Ale when I'm sick (thanks mom), this is my new one! 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Annnddd...I am officially injured.

Dear Running Friends,

I'm hoping this is short lived.

My apologies for not blogging about something more fun, but I can't think about much else in this moment.

Remember how I said I crashed my bike and some guy landed on top of me?
Well my side has been hurting on and off since.  I figured I could run through it, but the time trial I tried to do on Friday completely spazzed (is that even a word) out the muscle that felt almost healed previously.

I figured..."no problem, I'll just run easy over the weekend and get back to it Tuesday".

Nice try, Margot.  

I tried to run 4x2400m at 6:58, 1.5% incline today.  .85 miles into my fourth repeat, it happened again, only way worse.   A crazy muscle spasm.  And I had trouble walking back to my apartment.

And here I am, typing with a bag of frozen peas on my side.  Yup, I'm using them as an ice pack, and yes, I AM going to eat them later :).

Ridiculous.  A non-running related, running injury that isn't even in my legs.

I know I should have just taken a few days off earlier, but I figured that I was in my peak "training" for this half and could run through it, and recover during the taper.

Crazy thinking?  Sure.  But as someone who almost never gets injured, I'm still using the injury thinking of someone who hasn't yet learned the hard way.
So...even now, I'm hoping 3-4 days off will be enough.

So...a couple questions.
1) How do you maintain intense workouts if you can't run.  Is it even possible?
2)  How do you heal a weird freaking injury that isn't even if your leg?
3)  I am pretty bummed/sad about this now.  Any words of encouragement??

Gratzi!

Your spastastic but sad friend,
Margot

Friday, October 7, 2011

The story of a 5.2 mile time trial.

On my "training plan" that I am following, (but using the OUAL style of jumping into it with 6 weeks left) there's some notation about a 10k race/ time trial.

Time Trials!  Oh fun!  

I remember time trials from high school track.  Most specifically the 5k time trial we all did every year in late August in Virginia to determine who would run varsity at the XC first race.

Practice was always around 4:00 PM, and I don't know if you've ever been in Virginia in August in the late afternoon, but it gives heat and humidity a whole dictionary of definitions.  Anyways, our whole group of out-of-shape from a lazy summer 16 year olds would run 12.5 laps around the 400m track as Coach Matt called out splits.

Let's just say it was sweat-tascularly hard!


I digress....


Anyways, I wasn't exactly thrilled to see this 10k time trial as a workout, but since I'm going to Seattle this weekend to celebrate Anthony's birthday (woo hoo!  32!), I figured I'd do it today before work.   On the track.  25 lap blaze of glory!

My goal was to keep the pace between 7 and 7:05 pace.

It was a beautiful morning and I put on some peppy music and off I went.    I told myself to segment the workout into the "first part" (miles 1-3 where I should not be pushing at all), the "second part"  (miles 3-4.75 where I should focus), and the "third part" (4.75-6.25 where it was time to go and make it hurt!..or something).

First lap:  1:40.  oops.
Mile 1:  6:58
Mile 2:  7:02
Mile 3:  7:05
5k:  21:56
Mile 4:  7:07
Mile 5: 7:12......

And I ran one more lap.  On my way into lap 22, I cramped up in my side ridiculously.  Yes, my finishing time was a glorious 37:11.  Which is awesome. If you ran a whole 10k.

I'm not exactly thrilled with my steadily slower and slower mile splits even in this failure of a time trial, but even if I'd run the next 1600m in 7:10, I still could have pulled off a 44:21 10k, which is decent.  But, clearly...I didn't.  Sad face!

My side is STILL slightly screwed up from that bike fall and I think it's still causing problems.   I tried to stretch it out last night, which clearly backfired!  Why yes, I AM a licensed doctor and chiropractor!   Nothing I can do, but just wait while it heals, I suppose.

I am excited to not have to do long track workouts anymore however, because my Garmin is coming MONDAY!  This is also good because I can never return to the track again because I feel a little awkward.  Here is why:

When I finished, a older dude (late 40s or 50s?) told me good job on the run.  I told him that I didn't finish the workout and that I sucked.  I wanted the encouragement and to feel better about my failure, so I walked a lap with him.  He was a former 400m runner and from West Virginia.  He was super sweet and I thought it was nice he was being so encouraging....  Until he asked for my phone number.
Now...can't lie, I actually like attention to a certain degree because I feel like I am approaching hag-dom and it allows me to believe that I am not becoming one.  But I'd also prefer that they don't remember the 1969 moon walk.

Take notes, ladies, community college tracks are the new place to meet gentlemen!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Two more things:

1) I changed my layout to make things easier to read.  Love?  Hate?  I feel like this new layout is kind of boring and I want a better slogan on the header.  Please give me tips!

2)  There are a crap load of awesome people racing this weekend.  Christina, Colin, Emily, Angry Runner, OUAL, Pam, XLMIC, Chicago Runner Girl, Run Eat Repeat, Xaarlin...and I am SURE I am forgetting people (please forgive my forgetfulness!).

They are all gonna be awesome.

ALL OF THEM!!!
Good luck, y'all ;).




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipes and Beautiful Days

Today I woke up, and it was still kind of dark out.  I felt even grumpier than I usually do at 6:30 AM and didn't feel like going on a bike ride.   Mostly because getting ready to bike is such an ordeal.

Running?  You just put on shorts and a shirt and shoes.
Biking?  Pain in the butt to get out there.  "OMG ARE THE TIRES INFLATED. Do I have my phone, where are my sunglasses, do I have a tube, where are my gloves"....and...ya get the idea.  

But I haven't biked much this week so I forced myself to pull it together and go.  Also, I got new shorts and wanted to wear them.  :)

And Ooohhhmaaahhh y'all.  Very seldom do I have those moments where I'm not in the mood for working out and I get out there and feel like all is right with the world, but I did this morning.  

It rained all day yesterday (I realize this is only an event for So. Cal. and the Sahara, but it's a big deal here).  And today, it was crisp, and clear and amazingly beautiful.   The cool air rushed by me (as did the fast road biking dudes) and I felt great.  Hello fall!   

I also wanted to share two recipes, Lentil Soup, and Snickerdoodles.  And no, they have nothing to do with each other.  I think think they are good stuffz and wanted to share. 
  
Lentil Soup

Why is it good? This is a mid-week go to meal for me.  My parents used to make a similar version when I was growing up.  And now that I'm a grownup (in age), I'm makin' it too! 
Basically I'll eat it for lunch three days in a row.   No, it will not blow your culinary senses, but it is pretty good while being ridiculously easy, cheap, and healthy.   It could also easily be vegan if you use veggie broth.  

You'll need:  
8 oz. lentils.
2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium...it's overpowers less)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes (depending on whether you want tomato chunks or a tomatoey broth)
Lemon or Lime Juice
Jalepeno or 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (to taste..be careful if you don't like it spicy)
2 cups water
Any other veggies you really like.  I don't like onions but I realize the rest of the world does.  
Black Pepper

For most soups, you're supposed to put stuff in in a particular order, but honestly for this soup, it doesn't really matter unless you're adding veggies that take more than 20 minutes to cook. Just put it all in a soup pot, and turn to high.   When the soup starts to boil, turn the heat down to simmer and put the top on the soup.  
Basically cook until the lentils are tender (usually 20-30 minutes), but keep an eye on the soup to make sure there is enough liquid.  Add more water if too much evaporates.  

Enjoy!  And now that you've eaten a healthy meal, here's your desert.  

Snickerdoodles

I got the recipe here: Snickerdoodle Cookies.  This is a cookie that is lighter and puffier than most cookies.  Which is what makes it fun and delicious.  Only change I made is I used lemon juice instead of cream of tartar.  Apparently they are interchangeable!  The internetz teach me something new every day!  
Bon Appetit! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Garmin-topia! I ordered the 405!!!

I've had this dream for over a year now....

I've wanted to be one of the fancy pant runners at the races with the Garmins.  The ones that beeped at each mile marker.  The racers that said things like "we're right on pace" or "I'm pretty sure the course was long".  (haha.)

I've been kind of jealous, but tried to play it off. 

I told myself that it didn't matter.   That I could still get faster without a Garmin.
That all the 80s and 90s superstars never had pace monitors and they trained just fine.  I was ...keeping it simple.  But secretly I'd look at the fancy uploaded workout reports of exact paces on other blogs and feel just a touch of envy.

And now...I'M JOINING THE GARMIN CLUB!!!!!!!!  AND JOINING THE 21ST CENTURY!!!

I'll tell ya what finally broke me.  

A danged 6x1600m with 800m jog workout.  34 laps!!  It was too much.  Too boring.   I've been casually researching Garmin's for months, but that day, I really started looking.

The 305?  Too big for my weak and twice broken wrist.  (seriously...I tried wearing it and my wrist nearly died)

The 610?  Way too fancy and expensive for this girl!

The 405?  

PERFECT!!!! I think....

Honestly, I'm a little scared of all the functions this thing has. Basically I just want something to tell me how fast I'm going and how far I've gone.   And hopefully it'll subtract about 20 seconds from my mile pace. :).

I'm also scared of being able to push myself on roads rather than just on the track / treadmill!  Is it hard?  Will the people walking down the trail look at me like I'm a crazy person for killing myself in a workout on a lazy Sunday morning?

These are the things that keep me up at night.  But...I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO COME!!!!  

I'm still pretty sure I won't wear it on easy runs.  I love not knowing how slow I'm going...it's glorious and takes the stress out of easy days.  But doing a workout down a beautiful trail rather than around a track just sounds amazing.

This mornin', I did a treadmill workout...  
And...I PRd (44:25 10k)!
Well...kind of...as the resident world's biggest stickler on racing times, I am sure someone will call me out for claiming a workout treadmill PR (as well you should :) ).  However, I may have sped up the treadmill just a tad around 6 miles to make sure I ran under my last 10k time....

Here was the workout:  
Warmup
2 miles at 10k pace (6:58, 1% incline)...into ...
...5 miles at goal half marathon pace (somewhere around 7:15ish, 1% incline)...
...800m at 5k pace (6:34, 1.5% incline).  
No rest, just a steady run of varying paces.
Cool Down

I listened to a crapload of Tinie Tempah during it.  I think he might make the best music for running ever.

The workout wasn't too bad, and this made me feel a little more confident that all these long and hard workouts are making a difference and that I am improving!

And it made me even more excited for the arrival of my little bundle of Garmin joy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Foiled again by Target. Soooo much cooler online!

Have ya heard?  Our Ragnar team has a name!!!

Introducing....




and at least in my case...it is SO TRUE :).

I found out our winning name when I went down to Carlsbad to meet up with my teammates!  I got to meet PrettyFittie and HauteRunningMama, and got to see SR, OUAL, ChaCha, and Heather.

And...now I'm pumped about this dang thing.

I considered not coming to the meetup bc I was exhausted from a ridiculously busy Saturday morning.  I ran 14 miles (4 at race pace...which by the way, was MUCH harder than I hoped it would be...no bueno...no bueno...), and spent 3 hours on a boat for a Newport Harbor birthday party (where we saw these seals...OMG is this the life or what?) and had a bit of a hike of a drive down to Carlsbad.

I was literally slapping myself in my car as I was driving as I feared I was going to fall asleep at the wheel (remember that part about me randomly falling asleep at places.  it's no bueno...no bueno...).

Anyways, a couple Aleve and blogger friend company later, I felt all better.  I don't know if it's finally knowing people who will talk about races / running with as much passion as I want to, or just having cool girlfriends to hang with, but I LOVE hanging out with bloggers!  I can't believe I'm meeting friends on the internet, but hey man, it's the 21st century and it's awesome.



After all the pizza and fun girl running talk, I headed back to the OC and went to sleep ridiculously early.

Should I be worried that these "fast finish" workouts are feeling decently hard?  If 10 moderate + 4 @ 7:15 is a challenge, how do I expect to do 13.1 at 7:15....any words of encouragement (or straight talk like "yes you have a problem"?).  

Today was a much less busy day.  It consisted of cleaning, going on a run /bike on dead legs, and buying these cuties for $20 at Target.  Yeah...totally need them....right?  =).

I am unable to walk into Target without buying twice what I intended to.   It's cheap enough for me to impulse buy, and expensive enough for me to get to the checkout and realize they got me again!!!

Any stores like that for you?

Hope ya had a good weekend, and if you're one of the billions of bloggers that PR'd or raced this weekend (ahem, Lisa, Susan, Kerrie) congrats!

Friday, September 30, 2011

That girl's a pacin' fool!

Hollllaaa!
This morning I went on a bike ride.  I live pretty close to some awesome bike trails so all I have to do is tick off rush hour commuters by riding on the road (we have a bike lane so it's not SO bad) for about a mile, and then I'm on the glorious trail!


And there were a billion people out riding this morning.  Most were riding with friends which made me totally jealous because I need more bike friends!  I was going embarrassingly slow and kept getting passed by dudes in the craziest outfits.  Biker gear is pretty loud. Which brings me to my next point -  I know why so many men like to bike:
It's their one chance to wear polka dots, crazy lightning bolts and arm socks and still look...manly... =)

And I'm no dude, but I'm embracing the crazy gear too!


  And yes...that is what the floor of my bedroom looks like.  Littered with running shoes and workout gear.  I'm a keeper, folks. 


Speaking of new gear I am PUMPED for something to come in the mail...Jenny, over at TheLittleJBird read that I wanted to dress like a pumpkin for a halloween race (probably my half marathon?)...SO SHE IS MAILING ME A PUMPKIN SHIRT SHE RACED IN!  


It's the sisterhood of the traveling pumpkin!!!  To say I am excited to see this bad boy is an understatement.  


Along with costumes and racing, I have another goal....


I have always wanted to be a pacer for a race.  I am actually danged good at keeping a pace when I'm not actually racing and the idea of leading a bunch of people to a PR sounds amazing.  I even emailed the LA marathon about this last year, and they told me they had way cooler pacers than me already.  


So...how do I get to be a pacer in a race?  


I tweeted this this morning to see if anyone had any ideas on how I get into this club...
Of course, because it's me, my inspirational intentions quickly spiraled into ridiculous aspirations...




and then....



more support...


of course...I wondered if this would be a bit of a jackass move.  And XLMIC assured me it is.  And to do it.  


So here we are....I really want to do this.  Big sign that says "25:00 5k", the whole sha-bang... Hey man, maybe I'd really help someone PR....


So...what do you think?  Funny or d-baggy?  I'll take pics ;-).  


Anyways, here is my weekly recap.  I struggled a lot early in the week due to a lot of pain in my side from my bike crash because another dude's bike (with him on it) landed literally on my side.  Luckily I did not die, and am feeling much better.    Tomorrow I'm going 10+4 at half marathon pace.  Yikes. 


Saturday - 9 + 3 at half marathon pace
Sunday - 30 mile bike ride.  Another crash! 
Monday - 6 miles easy. 
Tuesday  - Warmup / Cooldown + 2 sets of 400/800/2400 @ 3000 pace, 5k pace, half marathon pace...800 meter rest between sets.  I actually did 2.5 sets because I was hurting too much to finish on the track...had to treadmill it and start again.  Tear. 
Wednesday - 4 miles easy. 
Thurday - 7x1600 @ 6:56-ish.  Soooo long!
Friday - 15 mile bike ride. 


Total:  45 biking miles, 40 running miles.    


I'M REALLY EXCITED FOR THE WEEKEND!!!!!  Have a great one :). 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Setting Goalz2Get what you want. Cute doggy pic.

This is an oddly "motivational speaker-esque" post.  Hope you like it.   If you're not in the mood, that's cool too, I just better not catch you reading Stephen Covey later today....
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I've been lucky enough in my job to hire someone to assist me in the stuff I have to do.  And filling this position was primarily my responsibility.  Not unexpectedly, I reviewed a ton of resumes.  Some were ok, some really good, and a couple were so painful to read I had to email the people back and say 'omg in the future please change this, you are making yourself sound insane".


The thing that struck me, is that no one seemed to know what they wanted!  Granted, I was interviewing a bunch of 22 year olds, so that makes sense, but on my end, I had no idea if these "kids" would actually like the job enough to excel in it.  Everyone seemed more in the process of wanting to "find themselves" rather than getting the job we were offering.

We ended up hiring someone who has been interning in my department for months.  (And if he is reading my blog, I hope he'll forgive me for sharing this story).  

Why'd we hire this guy?

Sure, he's a hard worker, a friendly guy, someone we feel like we can trust, but primarily, he wanted it more.
He put in the time of countless months of thankless intern work, and he was always on top of his stuff.   He came to company social events and made friends.  And when the time came to interview, he looked us straight in the eye and told us how much he wanted it and that he wouldn't let us down.

And it felt SO great to tell him that we wanted him to come on board full-time.

What Can I Say, The Dude Knew What He Wanted. 

There's some famous psychology experiment  (I'm taking some liberty with it in my description) where people were given different options of shampoo in a supermarket.  They had the choices of say Pert Plus, Pantene, and Head and Shoulders, and picking what they wanted was an easy choice.
When they were offered 100 choices, the customers got overwhelmed and didn't want to choose.

This, for me, is one of the reasons that running is awesome.  It's easy to define our goals.  


The process to achieve goals is still pretty freaking simple too.  Train hard, and you'll probably run well.  


I know...there are a bunch of different training plans out there, different types of shoes, and there are even running skirts and weird five fingered shoes.  But even among different training plans, the concept of getting into shape, a peak, and a taper are the same.  

So how do we apply this simplicity in running to our everyday lives? 

Shiiiiizzzz girl, I don't know.  All I know if that I learned something from my (former) intern this week.  "Decide what your goal is first, and then work hard to make it happen.".

And the result is sort of like a distance race.  You don't always PR, but if you run a smart, focused race, you've got a much better chance of getting it.  And if you don't reach your goal, well...there are probably good snacks waiting for you at the end because at least you gave it all you had.

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Ok...thus ends the motivational speech.  Here's your reward!  


hehehe.