Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I’m really bad about getting these recaps up in a timely fashion, but sometimes it takes me a bit to process what happened and then of course, life happens, work events typically follow race weekends and since this race, I’ve been off due to my small sugar addiction taking over.  But now all is semi-back to normal and **SPOILER ALERT** I’m so excited to say that I FINALLY at Rock n Roll San Diego, my 18th half marathon ran a sub 2 hour race!

So I ran this race back in 2012 and had a horrible experience, it was seriously the worse race I’ve ever done in my life, mostly on the highway with this horrible slanted road from the ramps.  After this race, I pretty much swore there was no way I was running this race again.  They asked for feedback after the race and apparently a lot of other runners felt the same way so in 2013, they changed the course.  While on the shake-out run on Saturday, I heard that they changed it again this year, but since I didn’t run in 2013 I’m not sure.  All I know is that this year I really enjoyed the course.

Pete & I walked to the start line from our hotel which was right next to the Expo so probably about 2 miles.  I was cold when I left and I like to check a bag, when I can, so I have something to change into after the race, which I learned in Rome, can be essential.  By the time we got to the starting area I was pretty warm so I dropped off my bag immediately.  I love when they have the UPS trucks for the bags, it’s always so organized.

I let my friend Rhea know we were there and we were going to head up to see the marathon start, but after the last race when I didn’t make it to the Port-a-Potties prior to the race, I decided to take care of that first then meet up with her.  The lines were crazy long so I ended up not being able to see the marathon start.  They were pretty strict about not letting stragglers on the marathon course after the last corral left and kept making announcements about marathoners having to start now.  Marathoners started at 6:15a and the half started at 6:45a.

Not so nervous this time around - laughing & relaxed :)
Not so nervous this time around – laughing & relaxed 🙂

Finally I headed up to the start line to meet up with Rhea, aka – Ms. Speedy – lol, who was up in corral 1. She was going to try and run with Meb (he was pacing the 1:30 Pace Group).  Pete didn’t want to come with me so I wished him well and left him at corral 12.  We’ve run a lot of the same races, but I don’t typically run with anyone specific in a race situation.

Start Line & a bunch of Elvis's
Start Line & an Elvis convention?

Rhea & I Pre-Race

After a few pics, I headed back to my corral to get ready for the start.  I ate a Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffle, which ended up being the only thing I ate before or during the race, and made my way to corral 10.

After about 10 minutes we were off…

San Diego, Rock n Roll, Half Marathon, Jun 1, Corral 10
The start line from Corral 10

I was feeling pretty good, although I knew I was a little dehydrated, but at that point it is what it is and I had drunk a ton of water the day before.

Now I don’t normally have a plan as to how to run, I just run.  This time though, my coach told me to go super slow the first 3 miles, then from 4 – 10 run at goal pace and then if I still had some energy kick it up a notch the last 3.1.

Miles 1 – 3 (9:09, 9:36, 9:23) I didn’t quite get the slow memo for mile 1 but that’s actually a lot better than it could have been :).  I had a lot of tightness in my calves during these miles, but I just took it as my body getting acclimated.

Mile 4 (9:19) what I thought was going to turn into a Burnt Toast moment, the bottom of my left foot fell asleep and literally ever step I took I could feel the pins and needles – that was a first.  I had on new lululemon socks, that I bought the day before, so I was wondering if that was the problem, although I wear the same style all the time so I didn’t think that was the issue.  Needless to say I continued running, but kept thinking I might have to fix my sock.

Miles 5 – 8 (9:10, 8:51, 8:54, 8:46) The pins & needles feeling went away and then I was feeling pretty good & getting faster

Mile 9 (9:08) I slowed down a bit in mile 9 to walk thru a water stop.  I had a cramp in my lower right abdomen that was giving me a bit of trouble, I actually had a lot of trouble drinking anything during this race because every time I took a sip (I was drinking gatorade & had my belt on) I would get a cramp.

Mile 10 (8:51) At this point, we were well into the downhill although the sun was up now and the heat was starting to increase.  I was at about 1:30 or so and was telling myself I only had 3.1 to go – and 30 mins – all I needed to do was three 9:50 min miles and I’d hit my goal.

Mile 11 (9:04) I had to stop here again for a few seconds and walk.  Literally the cramp was so painful and I wasn’t able to breath thru it. I still have no idea what it came from. But I saw & then passed, Doctor Dribble, a running “celebrity” from Miami who dribbles 2 basketballs thru the entire race.

Dr. Dribble, Rock n Roll, San Diego, Half Marathon

Mile 12 – 13 (8:56, 8:27, last .16 (Garmin was a bit long) 6:26) By this point I was almost to the home stretch.  It was so nice to be going more down hill, and there were some Team in Training coaches that were on the side of the road saying things like, drop your shoulders, relax your forehead, unclench your jaw, etc.  I didn’t realize how tense I was until I followed that advice.  I was feeling good and speeding up and once I got to the final stretch and could see the finish, which was a relatively steep downhill, I totally kicked it in and sprinted down passing a few people on the way.  I lost one of my water bottles (it just bounced out) about 20 feet from the finish.  I finished, remembered to stop my Garmin and seriously thought I was going to be sick.

There was a really nice volunteer at the finish who asked me if I was going to be ok, to which I responded, I think I’m going to be sick and since the med tent was right there, they had me sit down for a few minutes and gave me a bottle of Gatorade.  I just pushed it a bit too much at the end but once I got some electrolytes in me I felt a lot better.

When I looked down and finally saw what my Garmin said, 1:53:33 I was incredibly happy because I didn’t just squeak by with a 1:59:59 but I was 1 min 29 sec under!!  This was over a 7 minute PR from my previous PR from the Phoenix Marathon Half in March. Read about that here.  I was also incredibly proud of doing negative splits.  My coach had a lot of negative split runs on my schedule and I’m happy to say that they paid off :).

Race RecapRace Medal

One thing about Rock n Roll series races, they have a lot of food after the race to refuel.  I got a banana, a bag of snack mix, another bottle of Gatorade, a carton of chocolate milk, a power bar recovery bar and a bottle of water.  I was seriously dehydrated and I drank both bottles of Gatorade, the chocolate milk and about 1/2 the water by the time Pete finished.  I only ate the banana.

I found Rhea after the race, she was so sweet to wait about a 1/2 hour for me to come in. We took a few pics and then she had to head to a baby shower so I went to get my bag and wait for Pete.

Post Race with Rhea

I’m really glad I had some clothes because there was about 94% humidity (according to my Garmin) and I was totally soaked.  While waiting for Pete, I ended up changing completely to be more comfortable.  I totally recommend bringing at least a new shirt to change into after a race.

Post race selfie
Post race selfie – so excited!!

I was starving by the time Pete finished and he didn’t have the best of races so we ended up skipping the post race concert, which I would have liked to see, Aloe Blacc, but we were going to have to drive back to Phoenix after lunch and really in the end, food and doing my normal bath routine after the race was more important than a concert at this point.

Now most people prefer an ice bath after a race, but I’m weird and I’ve found that heat actually works 1000% better for me so we headed to the hot tub so we could get a bit of sun and relax before lunch. We met a really sweet girl from Lake Havasu who had just finished her first half and couple of other runners.  Love the running community it’s really a great group of people just supporting each other.

A little hot tub action after the race
A little hot tub action after the race

And now to eat…recap on my post race eats coming soon!

What is your half PR? And where did you run it?

Half Marathon Training Week 7 (Jun 16 – 22) & What I’m Training For

I’ve been training with my new coach for 7 weeks now, time sure flies doesn’t it?  And it occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve ever put out there what I’m training for.

I have so many goals, fitness, financial, personal, you name it and I’ve probably got a goal for it.  I started this year with 4 major running goals for 2014.

1) Run a sub 4 hour marathon

2) Run a sub 2 hour half marathon

3) If goal 1 was achieved, then attempt to BQ in the fall

4) Finally, run a sub 30 min 5k in a race (for all the races I’ve done, I’ve never seriously run a 5k)

Well, goal #1 didn’t happen as much as I wanted it to in Rome so I decided to concentrate on goal #2 which then led to my current goal.  I have wanted to achieve my half marathon goal for a while now, but when you are marathon training, it makes it hard to focus on anything else, so as I’ve discussed, I’ve put my marathon goals on the back burner to concentrate on the half instead.

Which leads me to my current goal – to run a 1:45 or under in the half, which right now would mean dropping about a minute per mile.  So that’s what I’m working towards and time will tell if I’m mentally as well as physically prepared.  I’ve picked a goal race, the Women’s Running Half Marathon in Scottsdale on Nov 2 (hopefully it’ll be a bit cooler then).

But now, let’s recap last week…

Another so-so week as I was feeling off most of the week, probably due to cutting out a lot of sugar from my diet.  I’ll talk about my nutrition in a future post, but it’s enough to say I’ve really fallen off the clean eating wagon and my running is starting to suffer from it.

Monday – 45 min Tempo Run (15 warm-up, 20 min tempo, 10 min cooldown) Actual: 45:03, 5.12 mi, avg pace 8:48 – did first 20 min at tempo because I have had a hard time with these runs in the past and was feeling good. Not exactly what I was supposed to do – lol.

Tuesday – 45 min run Actual: 30:40, 3.20 miles, avg pace 9:24 and then a 2 mile walk.  I wasn’t feeling well on Monday and I didn’t eat much so I was starving during this run, I normally don’t have a problem running thru the hunger but no go this time.  The view though, really made my morning, one of the best sunrises I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

Sunrise, Phoenix, Arizona, Trail Run
Most amazing sunrise…

Wednesday – 60 min bike ride & 30 min strength workout – Actual: 45 minutes on the elliptical at work (the bike wasn’t working) and 30 min strength training.  1 set weights, 15 min cardio x 3

Nautilus machines 3×12
*Leg Press 110# *Leg Extension 50#*Seated Leg Curl 60# *Double chest 50# – arm cross & decline press
*Torso arm 60# *Biceps 30# *Compound Rowing 60# *Lateral raise 40#
*Overhead Press 40# *Triceps 30# *Abdominal 60#
*Crunches x50 *Full Sit-ups x30 *Modified push-ups x30

Thursday – 45 min run – Actual: 45 minutes on the treadmill during lunch, 4.98 miles, avg pace 9:02

Friday – 30 min easy run – Actual: 30 minutes 3.30 miles, avg pace 9:02 – Garmin died after mile 1 and so I just ran, it was super nice to just run without looking at the pace, etc.  I had nike+ on as a back-up but I don’t have the voice telling me my mileage so it was nice.

Watch free run
Watch free run

Saturday – 90 min run with 3*5min pick-ups at goal pace – Actual: 1:21, 8 miles, avg pace 10:14 This run was horrible, I started it dehydrated and with a new hydration belt which bounced all around, so much for bounce free, but why we test this stuff out before race day.  I went home after 3.3 miles and switched belts but my back had already started to hurt from changing my stride to compensate for the bouncing belt, so my hamstring started to hurt and by mile 7 I wasn’t having it anymore and walked the last mile home.

Start in the moonlight, end with sunlight
Start in the moonlight, end with sunlight

Sunday – 20 min stretching & foam rolling – Actual: 20 min stretching & foam rolling

I’m starting a new nutrition plan this week and seriously working on my hydration as well since I’ve had 2 runs in a row with hydration problems.

Do you have a goal race? or Time?

Running with Meb

I had the pleasure of being a part of the shake-out run with Meb Keflezighi this past weekend as part of the Suja Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon & Half Marathon weekend.  I had seen the shake-out run advertised, and since my birthday is coming up, I decided to give myself an early birthday gift & so I signed myself and my friend and running buddy, Pete up to Run with Meb.

This event took place on Saturday, May 31 at the San Diego Hall of Champions and would include the following: (from the RnR SD website)

  • 3 Mile Shakeout Run guided by Meb Keflezighi
  • All participants will receive a pair of CEP Progressive+ Run Sock 2.0, the same socks Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon in. which run $60
  • Post Run, light Brunch
  • Limited Edition Run With Meb Bib
  • Photo Opportunity with Meb
  • Run With Meb Gift signed by Meb Keflezighi
  • Guest appearances from other participating Elite Athletes

I told Pete that we were going to do this and he was a “little” concerned about it being a super fast shake-out run, but I assured him it would be for all levels, they weren’t going to just limit the event to super fast runners – LOL.

Saturday morning, we started out with a semi-light breakfast in the morning, well, light for me, just an egg sandwich and some potatoes, around 7a.  The event started at 9:30a and I knew I’d be starving if I waited until after the run to eat so I needed something.

After breakfast we headed over to the Hall of Champions and arrived around 9a.  There was already a line to get the limited edition Run with Meb bibs, so we lined up too.  All in all, I believe there were about 150 or so people there.

San Diego, Hall of Champions, Run with Meb, Shake out run, rock n roll marathon Run with Meb, race bib, San diego, Rock n Roll, Shake out run, california

We got measured for our CEP Progressive+ Run Socks, there are both mens & womens sizing and then there are 3 sizes and multiple colors.  I normally wear ProCompression when I wear compression socks during runs, but I do have a different pair of CEP compression socks too.  I found them super compressive so I typically only wear them when I’m in recovery.  Meb wore these when he raced and won the Boston Marathon so we got the same style in white.  This was an awesome gift since they retail for $60.

I tried these new Progressive+ Run Socks out and they are amazing, padded sole and don’t feel nearly as tight as the other style I have.  I especially like the padding on the sole.  I still love ProCompression and they are my go-to socks, but these have been nice since the bottoms of my feet have really been bothering me.

After that, we headed over to some tables that they had set up and Alan Culpepper, the director of the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon & Half Marathon, but also a super accomplished runner, himself, came up to introduce Meb and a few other elites that were there.  He ran in the 2000 & 2004 Olympics, the later with Meb, when he won the Silver medal.

They introduced the other elite runners, including Alan Webb, who holds the American record in the mile, 3:46:91!! That’s 3 minutes 46.91 seconds!! For one mile!  Also introduced were Jeffrey Eggleston, who placed 8th at the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Tyler McCandless, a Newton Running Elite (I love Newton Running Shoes!!), and Andy Wacker, all three of them have run a 1:03 half marathon and train in Boulder, CO.

And then came the main event! Meb coming up and talking to us for a few minutes.  Check out my video of Meb talking with us on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/FtXjF_gth1s

After this, we all headed out for the run.  By this time it was close to 10am and the sun was out, so we grabbed some water and headed out.

shake-out run, run with meb, san diego, rock n roll marathon, half marathon, california, runners Balboa Park, San Diego, Run with Meb, Shake-out Run, rock n roll marathon, half marathon

Silly mid run selfie
Silly mid run selfie

I tried to start out kind of slow, we were going to be racing the next day after all and I had a big goal in mind, so I didn’t want to overdo it. I forgot to start my Garmin, so I only ended up tracking 2.84 miles but those were at a 8:54 pace.  I was towards the front of the group, and actually was running with/near Tyler McCandless for a while, he was talking to another runner.  It was a fun run, and great talking to lot of other people, I even met 2 ladies who live in the Phoenix area and are training for the San Francisco Marathon too (I’m just doing the first half).

I high-fived Meb post run, he finished a few minutes ahead of me and then post run, I had to do some downward facing dog, my calves were so stiff, I was a little concerned but we only ran 3ish miles and it normally takes me a bit to get loosened up.

Post Run photo - i don't look like i'd even been running do I? This is why I love Lululemon!!
Post Run photo – i don’t look like i’d even been running do I? This is why I love Lululemon!!

I was waiting for Pete to come in before heading in for a light brunch.  I knew he would be a little bit behind me, but I saw Meb run back to go find the slower runners.

I saw Daniel, who introduced himself to me earlier, he recognized me from my instagram account, how exciting! Lol! It’s the little things, right?  He was with his sister and he was going to be running the marathon on Sunday, his second.  He had done NYC last year as well as his first.

It's pretty cool how you can meet amazing like minded people via social media.
It’s pretty cool how you can meet amazing like minded people via social media.

Soon after this Pete came in and was a bit hot, so we headed in to get some food.  They had a nice little buffet with yogurt, granola and 3 types of breakfast burritos.  It wasn’t anything super special but it was decent.  By the time we had gotten inside most of the tables were taken and they were just about to start with some Q&A with the other elite runners.

Meb ran in with the last of the runners and then got ready to start signing.  They lined everyone up by the number on your bib so obviously being numbers 96/97 we had a bit of a wait, especially since they were grouping everyone in groups of 20.  Eventually it got to the point where they had to speed things up, the first 20 or so people got a lot more time to chat with Meb and have more things signed than we did.  I ended up having my bib signed and then got a photo with him.  It was kind of rushed so I don’t think it’s the best photo, but you can tell I was excited. One with just me & Meb & then the other with Pete added in.

Me & Meb Me, Pete & Meb

My autographed bib :) This will be framed and added to my collection
My autographed bib 🙂 This will be framed and added to my collection

After this, there was still a long line of people behind us so we ended up heading out.  All in all it was a good event.  The only thing I think that would have been better would have been if Meb could have done a little Q&A with us as well, but there were a lot of people and only one of him :).

Have you ever done an organized shake-out run before a race?

 

Half Marathon Training – Week 6 (Jun 9 – 15)

This was an interesting week.  And it didn’t go quite as I had hoped.  I was having a lot of pain in the bottom of my feet, which is semi-new.  I had plantar fasciitis in early 2013, I ran on it for probably 8 weeks (including racing 3 half marathons), which is so not recommended but what can I say, I’m a crazy runner, and I had already signed up and paid for those races.

Anyways, this time around, I was going to deal with any issues right away so I emailed my coach, who is also my Physical Therapist, and I went in for a quick visit just to see what was going on.  I have a stand-up desk at work, YAY!  So I alternate between sitting on my ball chair & standing, however lately I’ve been standing a bit more and without the proper shoes so now, I’m alternating a bit more, wearing better work shoes & standing on my old yoga mat, all of which seems to be helping.  Oh, and stretching my calves & shins more too.

Monday – Easy Run – Actual: 3.05 miles 30:30, 10:01 pace

Tuesday – Strength Training – Actual: 30 minutes of using the Nautilis equipment at the work gym with some core work too

IMG_7549

Wednesday – This was a day that we changed quite a bit, originally it was supposed to be hill repeats, but then we (my coach & I) were going to do a Tempo Run, but when my feet were bothering me, we changed it to 60 min on the bike – Actual: 60 minutes, 21.1 miles PT visit in the evening

Thursday – 45 min run – Actual: My legs weren’t feeling it and I actually stopped to stretch a bit which didn’t help so I cut my run short – 3.7 miles, 34:59, 9:27 pace

Stretch it out
Stretch it out

Friday – 45 min Hill Repeats – Actual: I did the hill repeats on the treadmill as I was a bit lazy about getting out of bed this morning since I didn’t sleep half the night (this is what happens when you eat too much sugar – oops).

2.23 miles 26:08, 11:43 pace, 6×90 sec varying incline from 2 – 6 with speed increase from 6 – 8mph – I tried 8mph at an incline of 8 and almost fell off the treadmill so I scaled it back a bit.

Saturday – 1hr 30 min Long Run (try to stay around 9/9:30 min miles) – Actual: Again this run didn’t go as planned, I was properly hydrated at the beginning of the run, however I quickly became dehydrated and was even getting a bit lightheaded at certain points, which is really not good.  I drank Gatorade & water throughout the run but I was very happy to see 1:30 on my Garmin :).  1:30:02 for 9.07 miles at 9:56 pace – included a lot of walking around mile 7 and a stop light stop at mile 8.

How funny that I took this pic at 6:14a on 6/14 :)
How funny that I took this pic at 6:14a on 6/14 🙂

Sunday – Rest Day – Actual: Beach ball volleyball with my sister in the pool

And a Happy Father’s Day!  My dad was my original running buddy and while he can’t run any more due to knee issues, we used to run on vacation all the time.  He was even my track coach way back in the day when I was in grade school.

Running on the beach in Virginia Beach, 1993.  Back when I wore really baggy clothes and ran in cotton! Yikes!
Running on the beach in Virginia Beach, 1993. Back when I wore really baggy clothes and ran in cotton! Yikes!

And now to gear up for a really busy week, which includes getting my nutrition back on track.

 

Food Lover: 2 weeks of not so clean eating

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I love food and I have a super crazy sweet tooth.  The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind as far as food goes with trips out of town for both personal & work events and I’ve been eating not so cleanly.  I don’t have any more planned trips until the end of July so I will be trying to get back on board with my normal clean eating diet starting this week.

This is going to be a super heavy photo post and everything was sooo good.

Starting with my work trip to Atlanta, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and they had some amazing food, even in banquets.

Lunch in The Cafe.  Cafe Turkey Club on multigrain bread with a roasted garlic aioli, Soy Cappucino & Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brulee (my favorite) with a lemon macaroon & fresh berries. Great way to start out the event!

Club, Sandwich, Ritz Carlton, Buckhead, Atlanta, Lunch Cappucino, soy milk, creme brulee, macaroon, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, coffee, dessert

Tuesday night dinner, my boss & I have a tradition of going for a steak dinner the night before the event.  It’s our way of regrouping and starting the event off right.  This time around, we went across the street to Lenox Square and hit up Prime.  The food was amazing! Although the timing of the service was a bit off.  We attempted to start with what were absolutely AMAZING oysters but the seafood person was a bit behind so they actually came right after the first course and just before the entrees which was a bit odd, but ok.  I also had my favorite, spinach salad, love, love, love spinach, and a New York Strip steak before a great apple pie dessert, with a tiny bit of vanilla ice cream (which we shared).

Oysters, Prime, Buckhead, Atlanta, dinner Prime, Buckhead, Spinach, Salad Prime, Buckhead, New York Strip Prime, Buckhead, Atlanta, Dessert, Apple Pie

I didn’t have time to take a lot of photos of the amazing banquet food that we had the opportunity to eat at the Ritz Carlton, but these are a few from our dinner function.  I like to try a little of everything, just so I can comment when the guests talk about something.  Started off with an excellent plated salad, with goat cheese stuffed with something, maybe pears.  Then we had a buffet dinner, which included 3 meats, the salmon was excellent! and a bunch of different carbs, risotto & mashed potatoes, lots of veggies including purple carrots, cauliflower & green beans.  Then to top it off, some gran marnier creme brulee & a fruit tarte.

goat cheese, pear, salad, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, banquet, dinner Dinner, banquets, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, meat & carbs gran marnier, creme brulee, fruit tart, ritz carlton, buckhead, atlanta, banquet desserts, dessert

So after getting home from Atlanta, I headed out to San Diego for the Rock n Roll Marathon weekend with my friend/running buddy, Pete.  We travel to races a few times a year and always eat like kings, he loves food as much as me :).

We started out our food/running weekend at the Ocean Room, which was kind of a nondescript, somewhat empty place when we arrived.  But the food was really good.  We started out with a Kamikaze Roll, which was made with panko oyster, avo, gobo, cilantro, cucumber, tuna & tonkatsu sauce – YUMMY!! After which I had the seafood stew, which I would highly recommend.

Kamikaze Roll, Sushi, Ocean Room, San Diego, California seafood stew, dinner, san diego, california, ocean room, fresh fish

We decided against dessert at the restaurant and instead found a cute little gelato place called Chocolat Cremerie.  I only like fruit flavored gelato so I got a mix of strawberry, lemon which are my staples, but I mixed it up and added in some peach too.  It was pretty good.

gelato, chocolat, strawberry, lemon, peach, dessert, san diego, california

Breakfast on Saturday was pretty normal, eggs and toast, I didn’t want to eat too much before our shake-out run with Meb.  No photos since it’s so boring :).

Now lunch on the other hand was absolutely amazing!!  We went up to La Jolla on checked out this restaurant called Whiskandladle.  They have a sister restaurant called Prep Kitchen, which we plan to check out next time we go.  It reminded me a lot of the Fox Restaurant Concepts that we have a lot of here in Phoenix. We had the best server, I forget her name, darn it, but she was super cute (tiny) with short dark hair.  She was one of the best servers we’ve had!

So I started off with a cucumber & honey mimosa, which was a nice change from the normal orange juice.  Nice & light.  I chose the fish tacos for my entree, although I was super tempted by the special which was a pork carnitas, but I can get pork anytime and the tacos were made with yellow tail! and came with yummy house made chips. I very rarely eat chips, but I love house made chips, these were really good, but a bit salty, although I think that was a good thing with the race the next day.  To finish off the meal, we had fresh strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream, fennel & I think kumquat. Amazing!! I’m practically drooling just thinking about this meal.

cucumber, honey, mimosa, whiskandladle, lunch, la jolla, california Yellow Tail, Fish Tacos, house made chips, whiskandladle, la jolla, california, foodie strawberry, shortcake, muscat, wine, dessert wine, fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream, dessert, whiskandladle, la jolla, california

We finished off Saturday, where I was finally able to meet the amazing & super speedy Rhea, one of my instagram friends, I love how social media brings people together, and her friends, Vanessa & Sean, who are equally speedy and amazing at dinner.  We went to a place called Buon Appetito, which was in the Little Italy part of  San Diego.  I thought it was ok, but not great.  I normally eat pizza the night before a race but they didn’t have any so I went with my second choice, lasagna.  It was prepared differently than I’ve had it so I’m thinking that the owners were from a different part of Italy than I’m familiar with.  I’m a lasagna connoisseur and this was not my favorite, however I ran really well the next day so I’m not knocking it :).  I think the best part of the meal was meeting Rhea and talking with her and her friends.  I love hanging out with other runners – it’s so inspiring to hear why everyone started running and what they have achieved.

lasagna, buon appetito, dinner, prerace, carbloading, little italy, san diego, california

After the race, we went to a really cool, eclectic place, called Eclipse Chocolate, which I’ll have a separate review coming up on.

And so as you can see, I’ve eaten a lot of really yummy food in the last 2 weeks, but it’s been pretty heavy on the dessert course so I’ll be concentrating on eliminating sugar from my diet for the foreseeable future, just to get back on track for a little bit.

Do you get off track, diet-wise, when you travel?  I try but I just love food and when I’m not in my normal routine, I don’t always eat as well as I should.

 

Half Marathon Training: Week 5

After an awesome trip to San Diego and a PR race, this week was all about recovery.  I had an easy week and really didn’t run too much, which was good since work was crazy busy with local meetings and late dinners.

Monday: 20 minutes Foam Rolling & Stretching – Actual: 20 minutes of Yoga including about 5 min of foam rolling

IMG_7465

Tuesday: 20 minutes Foam Rolling & Stretching – Actual: 20 minutes of stretching & lots of walking around in 3.5 inch heels

Heels

Wednesday: 60 minutes on bike – Actual: Happy National Running Day – 2.12 miles first thing in the morning 18:55 – 60 minutes on the bike, 20.3 miles, more walking around in 3.5 inch heels

National Running Day, I Run Because, June 4, 2014

Thursday: 30 minutes of strength training  – Actual 30 min: 2 sets of 12: Dead lifts, dumbell rows, bicep curls, tricep pushups, wood choppers, tricep dips, alternating near lunges with weights, jumping jacks, burpees, Russian Twist with weights (50), crunches (50) Reverse crunches (50) and 5 minutes of plank

Friday: Easy Recovery Run – Actual: 3.1 miles in 27:56 and stopped halfway to get cat food because I was too lazy to go the night before – oops 😉

Sunrise Run

Saturday: Rest Day – Actual: Took rest day, but did 30 squats too LOL

Sunday: 45 min run – Actual: 5.1 miles in 45:05

And now training starts back up in earnest, the first half of the SF Marathon is coming up soon.

Have a great week!

Half Marathon Training: Week 4

This week was an odd week, starting off with a holiday and then I was traveling pretty much the full week so I didn’t exactly adhere to my plan – oops ;).

Monday – Easy Recovery Run

I woke up with sore legs from the long run the day before and didn’t feel right so I decided to just skip the run this day and hung out in the pool for the majority of the day.

Tuesday – Rest Day

I took a red-eye to Atlanta so I was supposed to rest, but I ended up doing about 20-30 mins of yoga and then a nice 2.4 mi run on the treadmill in the afternoon between meetings.

Wednesday – 45 min run – 8:45/9:00 min pace

Ended up doing 53 mins – 5.7 miles – 9.20min pace – includes a 1/4 mile walk in mile 3.  It was super hilly & 100% humidity. Oh and I walked and was on my feet in 4 in heels from 7am until 11:30pm 🙂

Humid, Run, Buckhead, Georgia, May, 2014
This is what it looks like after a super humid run – my hair was straight before I left!!

Thursday – Rest Day

I actually did not exercise per say – but I was on my feet in those darn heels again – LOL – from 6:45p until I changed at the airport around 4:30p.

Friday – Easy Run – 9-10:00 pace, sprinkle in 2 minute pick ups to race pace effort x 4-5.

This didn’t happen, instead I worked, rode in the car for 5.5 hours and then walked the RnR San Diego expo.

Saturday – Walk around expo a bit, keep legs loose

Actual: 3 mile run with Meb (so much fun, recap coming) – I forgot to turn on my Garmin until late so I only registered 2.82 miles, 25:09, 8:54 average pace.  Walking around La Jolla & then Little Italy area of SD.

Hanging out in La Jolla Cove
Hanging out in La Jolla Cove
San Diego Marina
San Diego Marina

Sunday – Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon

I finally, after 18 half marathons, achieved goal #1 for my half marathon training!!  I ran my first sub 2 hour race. Recap coming on that!

Now, my next goal is to conquer the hills of San Francisco in about 7 weeks.

The Road to Rome: Maratona di Roma: The Race

This post has been a long time coming, I should have written it a long time ago, but I have/had a lot of conflicting views on this race.

Last time I wrote about Italy, I had been to the expo and did a shake-out run with The Roman Guy. After the shakeout run, I had a really yummy lunch with Laura & then headed back to The Beehive to just chill out the rest of the afternoon/evening. I like to just veg out in my Pro Compression marathon socks and I always eat pizza the night before a race.

Margarita Pizza, Aqua Naturale & my fav purple Procompression socks - a prerace ritual
Margarita Pizza, Aqua Naturale & my fav purple Procompression socks – a prerace ritual

I didn’t have a TV in my room, so I just read some, surfed the internet & chilled before heading to bed. The race didn’t start until 9am so I didn’t have to be up too early, but I always like to be ready early & there early, just in case.

I was prepared for anything, it had been semi nice out my first 2 days in Rome, but the forecast was calling for rain. I was a little nervous about the rain, I’m not a fan of running in the rain to begin with but wet cobblestones made me a little anxious. I have run on cobblestones a lot, when I lived in Orlando, but Winter Park cobblestones & 2000 year old cobblestones are a little different.

I had an outfit picked out, a black Lululemon pace setter skirt, a teal cool racer back, long sleeve swiftly & my newton gravity shoes.  What I ended up wearing was all Lululemon, running capris, teal cool Racerback, purple long sleeve swiftly, white rain jacket, my cold weather running headband & my newtons.

Ready for anything
Ready for anything

I left the hotel around 6:45a and headed towards the train station to take the metro to the start line. The metro was free for all runners on the day of the race. It was pretty cool seeing all the other runners with their backpacks. Just a sea of red backpacks :).

At Termini, waiting for the metro. Free for runners on race day.
At Termini, waiting for the metro. Free for runners on race day.

The race had put up posts on Facebook telling us all to get off a Circus Maximus instead of the Colesseo stop, which was actually closer, but closed. From the metro stop it was about a 10 min walk to the starting area. It was drizzling a little at this point, I had my umbrella up, just so I didn’t get too wet before the race.

I got over near the Colesseo & took a few minutes to eat some bread with Justin’s peanut butter with honey. I filled my hydration belt bottles with pre-mixed Gatorade (the Gatorade there tasted different) & headed into the madness. There was a very small entrance that they were letting runners into the pre-race area. It was super congested & not the safest way of doing things in my opinion. It felt like with all the runners trying to get in, it could quickly become a mob.

Arriving at the colosseo before the race.
Arriving at the colosseo before the race.

Once I was inside, I went straight to the porta potties, which in my opinion was another disaster or rather poor planning, set up on the races part. There were about 20 porta potties each with a huge line, I waited in line for almost 45 minutes before I had to get out of line to drop off my bag. I saw a few signs directing us to the various bib numbers so I headed in the direction of my bib number, but I had forgotten that women were in a separate section, so after walking down a bit, I had to turn around & go thru the crush of runners all the way to the end, where they had the women’s baggage trucks. Burnt Toast moment #1.

Backpack for baggage drop
Backpack for baggage drop
My baggage drop truck, #58 - alllll the way at the end...
My baggage drop truck, #53 – alllll the way at the end…

I finally got there, dropped off my bag & then ran into 2 of the other runners from the shake-out run. We took a few photos & then I was off. I was supposed to be in Corral 3 but by the time I got up to the starting area it was too late. Burnt Toast moment #2

It was freezing and had been raining off and on by this point. I still had to go to the bathroom and was stuck in throng of runners. We finally were able to start moving towards the start & I was pleasantly surprised to see porta potties before the official start so I ducked in to one, did my thing and didn’t lose anytime on the clock – yea!!

I had a plan for the race from my coach, Mary, and while I really wanted sub 4 I didn’t think it was a realistic goal based on my training. I only had 12 weeks after being out for 2 months and I was running straight vs Galloway so I scaled back to a more realistic goal of 4:10..

The plan was this: (for a 4:10 marathon, the average pace needs to be 9:06 per mile or 5:55 per km)

first 5k-10k: get comfortable. Try to run a little slower (about 10 sec a mile) for this part, as to not go out to fast.
10k-20k: you might still be under goal pace here. Thats fine. Just make it closer to 5 sec slower a mile
20k-30k: Find goal pace now
30k-finish: Move a little faster than goal pace to make up the time. Since you started out slower, you should have the extra energy to push here.

This is what really happened: numbers wise but the numbers don’t tell the real story.

Distanza Pos. Pos. M/F Pos. Cat. Tempo RealTime Parziale min/Km
Via Ostiense (5K) 5000 9483 1194 9476 00:35:37 00:30:43 7.07
Via Ettore Rolli (10K) 10000 10499 1334 10492 01:05:59 01:01:05 00:30:21 6.35
Lungotevere dei Sangallo (15K) 15000 11211 1464 11203 01:37:44 01:32:50 00:31:44 6.30
Via della Giuliana (21.097K) 21097 11103 1477 11093 02:18:41 02:13:47 00:40:57 6.34
Piazza Lauro De Bosis (25K) 25000 12010 1711 12001 02:45:17 02:40:23 00:26:35 6.36
Viale della XVII Olimpiade (30K) 30000 12208 1813 12199 03:22:31 03:17:37 00:37:14 6.45
Piazza di Spagna (40K) 40000 11590 1711 11581 04:31:09 04:26:14 01:08:37 6.46
Via dei Fori Imperiali (FINISH) 42195 11573 1703 11563 04:47:08 04:42:14 00:15:59 6.48

 

First off, I knew that the race would be in kilometers, but I trained in miles, next time, I run in a foreign country, I’ll train in kilometers instead of miles so I have a better idea on my paces, etc.

The race started out fine, it was a bit slower than I would have liked, but it was pretty crowded.  I had read that the first & last 6 miles were cobblestone, but it was kinda intermittent between cobblestone & regular road, with a little bit of marble sidewalk thrown in :).

It was cold, to me, for about the first 6 miles and then it got incredibly humid. I had already taken my jacket off and it was around this point, which was actually I would come to find out, in my cousin, Elena’s neighborhood, near Marconi. I took off my long sleeve skirt here. I was really struggling & I ended up walking just a bit at this point when I took off my shirt. I tied both the skirt & jacket around my waist, the were Lululemon & kinda pricey so I didn’t want to toss them. Burnt toast moment #3, I should have taken the swiftly off before the race & just had the jacket, but too late now.

Of course right after this point, the rain would start in earnest & I was stuck in my tank top since my other tops were wet. It was around this point that things would go horribly wrong and I had a really bad asthma attack, that left me wheezing for about 2 miles – around miles 8 – 10.  I had my inhaler in my pouch, used it and tried to run as much as I could until it was over. Burnt Toast Moment #4

By this point, I probably could have called it a day & just quit, but I came all the way to Rome & I had put it out there on social media, so there was no quitting.  Even after 4 Burnt Toast moments.

I decided to just do my best to finish and I need up doing Galloway pretty much the rest of the race, running when I could and walking when I had to.  With torrential rain in parts, and not feeling very well, I got to St. Peter’s and took the only photos during the race. When I got back to AZ & showed this pic to my mom, she was like that is a horrible photo, which it is, but it really shows what I was going thru during this race.  I wasn’t even half-way thru the race and I felt like I had run 50 miles.

St. Peter's Basilica midrace selfie by St. Peters Looking back from St. Peters

After this point, I just kept trudging along, I was drinking lots of Gatorade – at least 1 cup sometimes 2 at each water stop, which were every 5k.  I thought the Gatorade tasted different, but it seemed to work although, I did have to take a pit stop around mile 19.  The aid stations were well stocked, with water, Gatorade (although they called them sale, or salts), cookies, fruit and maybe some other snacks too.  i was pretty bad about fuel during this race, i think i only ate a total of 2 honey stinger chews the whole race. Oops!

I remember getting to the area around the Spanish Steps & then Piazza Navona & being cheered on by some fellow Americans – thank you for that! before getting into the final stretch. Around 38km, I was walking and a fellow runner passed me and said “Forza!” Which was what I needed to hear right then. I managed to keep going, even passed him and was feeling pretty good, even after having been out there for over four hours.

Then we got to the last aid station which was inside a tunnel about a mile or so from the finish.  Here comes Burnt Toast moment #5 (I think, it’s getting hard to keep track, huh).  It was super slippery, I grabbed my cup of Gatorade and promptly almost went down.  I kept walking and almost fell over a 2nd time, and then a 3rd so after having made up some decent time, I had to walk thru this tunnel since it was so slippery.  I finally made it thru and I knew I was almost there.  I remember getting right in front of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and all of a sudden, I realized that there was a huge puddle right in front of me.  I remember looking down and seeing it, trying to move to the left and then next thing I knew, I was on my butt, my legs having fallen right out from under me with my hands on either side.  Now, I think it’s hysterical, but at the time, I was so ready for everything to be over, and I just sat there, finally this guy helped me up, but looking back now, if he hadn’t helped me, really, I have no idea how long I would have sat there.  And this was the big one, Burnt Toast moment #6.

When I went down, I hit my hand on the base of my palm, and when I got up, I couldn’t even open my hand up all the way, but I had a race to finish, so I picked myself up.  Oh and remember, I had my jacket & long sleeve swiftly around my waist? They were soaked, completely soaked since I had been sitting in a puddle at least 6 inches deep. So while I was in tears, I fixed my shirts and I managed to cross the finish line and get my medal.  When I got it, the girl was like don’t cry, and I told her I thought I might have broken my hand, oops.  Fortunately after about 10 minutes, the pain subsided a bit and it wasn’t so so bad.

One weird thing about Italy, you cannot find ice anywhere, here you finish a race and everyone is walking around with ice, there, I don’t think I saw one person who had any ice and come to think of it, I don’t think I saw any ice at all the entire time I was there.

So I finished the race, I was soaking wet, I had to walk all the way to the end to get my bag, at which point, I like everyone else, put my marathon space wrap around me and changed out of my wet clothes, right there on the sidewalk by the Colesseo.  There was a girl next to me from the Netherlands, who asked me to hold the wrap around her so she could change out of her sports bra, I wasn’t quite that brave 😉 but I did change out of my capris and put on dry pants.  I was done, and as one of my instagram friends said, even with all the craziness, I looked strangely content in this photo.

Post Race Medal Shot

Marathons are always a challenge, I was incredibly disappointed with my time but considering all the burnt toast moments and the fact that I only had 12 weeks to train, basically from scratch, I’m really happy with my accomplishment.  As my now coach said to me when I emailed him to tell him how I did, I could have quit after the asthma attack at mile 8 and the fact that I didn’t says a lot more about me than the number on the clock.

That being said, I do have big goals regarding the marathon, and I made the decision after this race, that I needed to achieve my goals in the half marathon before I could work on my marathon goals.  There will always be another marathon to run :).

Final thoughts on the Maratona di Roma…overall a well organized race.  I think that they need more porta potties and to make sure that women know that their baggage check is separate from the men.  It should have been labeled on the paperwork and with signs.  Obviously you can’t control the weather but running it in the rain was a definite challenge.

Have you ever had a race go so horribly wrong?  And what did you do? Did you quit or push thru?

Half Marathon Training – Week 3

Week 3 didn’t exactly go as planned, I was pretty tired after 2 weekends of back to back runs.  I was sore and could definitely feel that I hadn’t taken a full rest day.

Beautiful skies all week
Beautiful skies all week

So here’s the week in review – One week until the Rock n’ Roll San Diego 1/2 Marathon.

Monday – Easy Recovery Run – 35:24, 3.35 miles total – 10:33 average – 1.25 mi run, .5 mi walk, 1.25 mi run, .35 walk

Tuesday – Strength Training – 30 min

3 sets of 12 reps with 8 lb DB (dumbbells) DB Squats DB Chest Press DB Chest Fly Deadlifts DB tricep kickbacks/extensions DB bicep curl DB alternating lunges DB lateral raise (5lb) DB shoulder press (5lb) Crunches Reverse Crunches Low bicycles Double leg raises

Wednesday – Tempo Run, 45 min total, 15 min warm-up, 20 min “comfortably hard”, 10 min cool-down.  Actual: Total 5.39 miles, 57:38, first 4.10 miles 8:50 average, walked the last 1.29 miles.

I don’t know what it is about the Tempo Runs, but they are sooo hard for me. And my legs were dead by this point.

Unscheduled Rest = Yoga & a kitty making sure I'm doing it right :)
Unscheduled Rest = Yoga & a kitty making sure I’m doing it right 🙂

Thursday – was supposed to be 45 min run around 8:45/9 min pace.  Actual: unscheduled rest day & 20 min of yoga

No hills mean using what you do have - Pedestrian overpasses
No hills mean using what you do have – Pedestrian overpasses

Friday – Hill repeats – Actual: 35 min, 12 repeats up the pedestrian overpasses, run up & walk down, 1 mi warm up & cooldown Total: 3.07 miles  Legs felt better but still a bit tight

Saturday – Scheduled rest day with foam rolling & stretching – Actual: 50 min deep tissue massage, 4.15 mile hike thru Sabino Canyon in Tucson.

Hiking, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona, springtime
Hiking in Sabino Canyon near Tucson

Sunday – 1:40 min run, 15 min warm-up, 60 min at 8:50 pace, 20 min at 8:45 pace, 5 min cool-down. Actual: 1:39:26, 11:01 miles, 9:02 average.  9:24, 9:17, 8:51, 9:04, 9:01, 8:46, 9:10, 9:14, 9:11, 8:29, 8:54.

As you can see I had a hard time maintaining pace this morning.  I woke up with sore legs and while it wasn’t a problem at first, it was a challenge to get down under 9 min miles most of the run.  Although, based on today’s run, I am on pace to achieve my goal so I’m happy.  Now to see what happens next week :).

Weekly Totals:

23 miles running, 4 miles hiking, 30 min strength training, 10 min stretching

 

Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 – 2

I mentioned this in my last post but I’ve decided to focus on my half marathon time for the rest of the year and focus on getting stronger and hopefully faster before training for my next marathon.

I’ve worked with 3 different coaches over the last year and a half and I think I’ve finally found someone who is going to be the best fit for my goals, etc.  It also helps that for the first time in a long time, I’m finally mostly healthy so I can actually focus on things other than just endurance.  Focusing on the half marathon for an extended period of time, gives me a lot more flexibility in my workouts, I don’t have to worry about doing 20+ mile runs in the extreme heat this year – yea!!

Now why do I work with a coach?  I equate it to having a personal trainer, someone there who will motivate me, push me and keep me accountable.  I have run a lot of races, so could I do my own training plan? Sure, but I really like having someone with more experience do it for me.

My newest coach, is also my physical therapist and thus, knows me and my injuries well so I think that it is a pretty good fit.

My schedule is given to me via an app/website called Training Peaks, at first I wasn’t very impressed, but now that I’ve started using it pretty consistently, I like it.  I can download my workouts from my Garmin.

Week 1 (May 5 – 11)

Sunrise Run

Mon: Easy Recovery Run 30 min – I did 2.85 mi in 31:17 – tried to keep low heartrate but didn’t succeed – ended up walking a lot to keep it down

Tues: 30 minute Core Work out

Wed: 45 min run – negative splits – 5.08 mi – 9:09, 9:08, 8:57, 8:48, 8:22 and then 7:45 for the .08 mi

Thur: 30 min Leg Strengthening Workout – 3 sets of 12

Fri: Rest Day

Sat: Night Run 10K – Read more about that here 🙂

Sun: 75 min run 9:30 – 10 min pace – actual 7.86 mi – 10:07, 9:47, 9:39, 9:39, 9:37, 9:23, 9:18, last .86 8:57

Total: 22 miles running, 60 min cross training

Week 2 (May 12 – 18)

midrun selfie

Mon: Rest Day

Tues: Tempo Run – didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to – I wanted to run on the treadmill at work, but they were all full so I went outside, my Garmin says it was only 84 but it felt way hotter and so windy.  I ended up walking a lot so 5.01 miles 45:01

Wed: 30 min Negative Split Run – 3.46 mi – 9:16, 8:46, 8:16, last .46 8:04

Thur: Strength Workout: 30 minutes – 3 x 12 reps of each of these :

Squats, One arm rows, modified push-ups, overhead presses, bicep curls, burpees, tricep dips, crunches, reverse crunches, side arm plank with hip touch, tick tocks, superman

Fri: Was supposed to be spin class but I don’t belong to a gym so I used my dad’s total gym bike for 50 min/18.3 mi

Sat: Hill Repeats – 2.3 mi warm-up, 1.78 mi hill repeats (90 sec up, 3 min down) x 6, 2 mile cool-down walk

Sun: 75 min run 9:30 – 10 min pace – again a bit faster than I was supposed to be – negative splits 9:41, 9:44, 9:23, 9:09, 9:13, 8:54, 8:54, 8:28, last .2 8:11

Totals: 20.5 mi run, 18.3 mi bike, 30 min strength workout

All in all both weeks went well.  My legs are tired, but I feel really good, surprisingly good. Now let me find some wood to knock on – LOL. A little recovery in & by the pool and I’m ready to start week 3 🙂

Recovery