Friday, May 18, 2012

Running update

The last two weeks have been weird.  I've missed a few runs and haven't felt like writing about the runs I made time for.  The week of May 6th I did two four and a half milers, the second with strength training after, then Saturday I had a 10k, so I only missed my three miler, having a weekly total of 15.2.  Actually, it's a little more than that because I ran a little longer than I needed to for each run.
This week I did my four and a half miles Monday and haven't run since.  I actually did have intentions of doing my second four and half miler Wednesday but when I got home my stomach was killing me.  I laid around for a little while thinking it would go away but it didn't so I threw in the towel, telling myself I'd get to bed at a decent hour and get up early to run.  Well, that didn't happen, and I had plans last night with old colleagues so it just didn't happen.  Tomorrow I've got eight miles scheduled so it'll be interesting.  My official longest run to date is 6.5 miles so this is a decent bump up.  It'll be in a new location, which is never great for me, but I think it'll be relatively flat.
Now, going back to my 10k.  It.  Was.  AWESOME!  I loved it.  I mean I seriously freaking loved it.  The funny thing is this was the race I committed to and it sounded so scary, and now here I am signed up for a half and a full.  This was my first real race.  I've done fun run 5ks before, but nothing that was really official.  I had to go pick up my bib and time keeper for my shoe and it all just felt very official.  My mom was going to be in town and she said she wanted to come watch me.  I figured it was just a 10k and not really a big deal but whatever.  She's a good cheerleader.
The morning of the race I was surprised to wake up nervous.  I was not expecting that at all.  I've done this length before and I've run this course.  It was the six mile loop I'd done two weeks prior.  I assumed I'd walk the hill at the top of the Park again, especially since I heard running the direction we would in the race was more difficult than the direction I'd run it before.  Oh well, I'll look a little lame with all these real runners but, whatev.
I emailed my friend Val to ask her how early I should get to the race.  Val is a friend of mine from my last job.  She hasn't always been a runner but a few years ago Dina got her into it, and this last year she ran her first marathon.  I was so excited to cheer for her from the sidelines.  I once went running with Dins and Val after work.  It was just a two mile run but I struggled so much and Val said I reminded her of herself before she became a runner.  That gave me some hope.  People who've always been runners don't inspire me, but people who used to be like me make me feel like I really can be a runner too.
I was so happy when Val emailed me back saying she was running the race as well!  Since this was my first race I was glad to know I'd see a familiar face.  Val is part of a running crew Dina was in.  Val told me we'd see each other at the start line, and I figured once the race started they would all speed off, which was fine and what I'd want them to do.
I was running a little later to the race than I'd anticipated, and there were 10,000 runners registered for the race so I had to run probably an extra quarter mile further behind the starting line than I expected.  I was so happy when I finally saw Val.  I met some of her friends and we chatted a little bit as the race started and we slowly made our way to the start line.  I got separated from her in the crowd but didn't think much of it.  I was a little emotional just after crossing the start line thinking about Dina.  She should have been there running with us, and I really missed her.  It wasn't too long after this, maybe a quarter mile into the race I felt someone touch my shoulder and I looked back and it was Val.  We ran together almost the whole time.
Because we were in such a tight crowd it was difficult to go very fast.  I figured I just wouldn't worry about my time.  Imagine my surprise when my app checked in at my first mile and it had only been 7:41.  Floored. Now I understand why everyone says be sure to pace yourself at the beginning of the race so you don't burn out later.  I truly felt like we were running at a pace of an 11 minute mile or so.  I ended up leveling out a bit later and finished in 1:01:57.  This was for 6.56 miles, however, since I started so far back from the start line.
I can't say enough how much I loved this race.  Everything people tell you about races is true.  I felt like I just had a big smile for the first couple miles.  Even though it was difficult to jog in such a tight crowd, it was still so fun and I felt so much energy.
When we finally got to the dreaded hill I was happy because I was feeling so great.  So great I never stopped to walk.  Floored, once again.  I just kept thinking over and over, I can't believe how great I feel!
Val hasn't been running as regularly so she wasn't as prepared for the race as she would've liked.  I ended up slowing down a bit to let her catch up with me and after the second time I did this she told me not to slow down and she'd see me at the finish line.  I wanted to run with her, but when she insisted I said okay and took off.  I couldn't believe how this was playing out.
It was between miles four and five I started to feel tired, and by six I was pretty much ready to be done.  I pushed hard those last .2 k so I was so beat when I crossed the finish line.  The finish line was in the same spot it will be at the marathon so for that last mile or so I imagined what it would feel like 6 months from now when it's marathon day.  Some of the volunteers working the race were clapping and cheering and I can't believe how much it actually helped.  Knowing my mom was at the finish line was awesome too.  I couldn't believe how happy I was knowing she was there.  I also was able to see her at the beginning of the race when I crossed the start line.
When I finished I was so beat and needed a couple minutes to get my breath, then I made my way back to the finish line to cheer on Val.  She crossed the finish line and hugged me and told me how proud she was of me, and then started to cry, and then I started to cry.  I know we were both thinking of Dina and wishing she was there.  At Dina's funeral Val spoke about her first run and how Dina ran with her the whole way.  Val has promised to pay Dina's help forward and help me with training, so this was very special to have Val with me my first race.  I wish so badly Dina could have been there running with us too, but I know she was in a different way.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monday May 7th - four and a half miles

I'm constantly reminded that I should never skip runs, not because I skip them, but because when I really want to skip them, and then do them anyway, they're usually some of my best.
Yesterday I had a bad day.  Not for any real reason.  I was really busy at work and overwhelmed, but it wasn't necessarily a bad work day.  I was grouchy, tense, sad, overwhelmed, and annoyed.  Part of it could have been the terrible night's sleep I'd gotten, but usually being tired doesn't make me have a day like I did yesterday.  I also have felt like I'm just starting to deal with mourning the loss of my friend Dina.
When I left work it was raining a bit.  Great.  I really didn't want to attempt 4 1/2 miles on a treadmill.  I got home to change and let myself decompress for about a half hour.  I seriously didn't want to go out.  All I wanted to do was climb into bed and feel sorry for myself.  I just felt exhausted.
I sucked it up.  I put on a hat and my running clothes and headed out.  It had basically quit raining, only an occasional drop here and there.  I told myself I would let myself run at a comfortable pace and just take it easy and try to enjoy it.  Also, it's not a bad idea to get some rain runs under my belt because who knows what the weather will be like on my race days.
And enjoy it I did.  Wow.  It was an amazing run.  I felt great basically the whole time.  My knee bothered me a bit, I think mostly because of the rain.  The Park was the most empty I think it's ever been when I've been running.  It was AWESOME.  I always wish for less people in the Park while I run.  I always want more solitude, and last night I got it.  It really was just an all around great run and I have to admit that I loved it.  I found myself so happy when I was finished.  I didn't feel like I was killing myself at the end, and felt like I could have run another two miles easily, which is what I'll be doing at my 10k this Saturday.  These runs always come when I need them.  Such a nice confidence booster.  I did get intimidated thinking about how in under two weeks I've got an eight mile run and that's almost double what I ran last night, plus I'll be doing it in a new place since I'll be out of town, but I told myself to not focus on that, but how confident I'll feel after I do it.
mile 1: 9:27
mile 2: 9:24
mile 3: 9:25
mile 4: 9:38
average: 9:25/mile
total: 44:01
4.68 miles
(when there's a half mile I don't want to figure out how long it took me, the app lists it as the mile average, yet I didn't run the full mile and I don't feel like doing the math)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday May 5th - 5K

I was supposed to run a 5K race this weekend so I was really happy to find a local race to sign up for.  The lame part is, I didn't end up running in it.  It was a combo of reasons.  For one, they didn't mail me my bib so I was going to have to show up around 7am or soon after to pick it up, then stand around for all the race festivities because it was a fun run/walk, and then the race didn't start until 9am.  That was manageable until I was up until 4am the night before/morning of.  I'd gone to bed shortly after 11pm but a friend called around 11:30pm.  It was strange that this friend was calling at this hour on a Friday night so I picked up and he needed to chat.  This chat turned into a four hour chat, and one of those where you can't exactly say, "Hey, I have a 5K tomorrow so I gotta go."  I knew I had a 10K a week later so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I missed this race.
I woke up at 8am the next morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.  I didn't eat great the night before, hydrate, and obviously didn't get enough sleep.  I was able to fall back asleep for about an hour and then did my run in the Park.  It was brutal.  It wasn't a hilly path at all, and actually my time didn't really suffer as much as I'd expect, but I hated pretty much all of it.  Maybe part of it was running a path with which I wasn't familiar.  I had to drop off some things at a friend's and then needed to stop in my office so I figured I'd just run it because it was about 5K.
It was a good lesson to learn that I definitely need to prepare myself for my runs.  Luckily I learned it on a short run.
mile 1: 9:23
mile 2: 9:14
mile 3: 9:50
average: 9:28/mile
total: 27:44
2.93 miles (weaksauce)
(weekly mileage: 13)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday - May 2nd - four miles + strength training

So I was definitely a little tight in my calves from running hard on Tuesday.  Nothing major, but it made this run slightly more difficult.  On top of that, my friend Rachel (name twin) was in town and she's training for a marathon in SF and needed to do a four miler also.  I told her she should run with me.  She said she was just getting back into shape and hoped she could keep up with me, however, she's been a runner off and on for a long time, she's done halves before and has always been a great distance runner.  Needless to say, right when we started running she took off.
I was able to keep pace until about two miles in when I couldn't quite keep up.  On one hand, it was good motivation.  I couldn't get too far behind because she didn't know the trail and when to turn off, on the other hand, I was running at a faster pace than I was comfortable.  However, that is probably a good thing.
Once we were about a mile and a half from being done I was able to catch up from being about 6 paces or so behind, and from that point on we stayed about neck and neck, occasionally with me pulling ahead.  She hasn't trained on hills yet so it made sense.  Also, she'd lost track of our distance and that really gets in your head.  I don't really care about beating anyone, but it was nice to see maybe I've built up a little tolerance for the hills.
We finished up and then did some lunges and squats and were seriously hurting after.  It was a great workout and I was beat.  My legs have been hurting today and I know it's only going to get a lot worse tomorrow.  Hurts so good.
Mile 1: 9:10
Mile 2: 9:07
Mile 3: 9:24
Mile 4: 8:25
average: 9:02
total: 36:21
4.02 miles


I talk about it all the time, I know, but I really really love the seasons here.  It's not technically summer yet but I snapped the photo on the bottom left this week and couldn't resist making this little collage.  These are all shot in the morning during my commute to work.  Only the winter picture has been altered with a filter, but the others are just straight from my iPhone.  I wish I had the original winter picture but I must have deleted it.  I wish I could put into words how much joy this walk every morning (when I'm not running late!) brings me.  It's overwhelming.  I'm so thankful both of my parents have been able to take that route with me when they've been here on various trips.  I know people say California has the best weather and in some ways it does, but I really truly love having seasons.  Even the hot muggy summer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday May 2nd - two miles

Last night was a quick run.  It was only a two miler and I had a friend in town I was trying to meet for dinner so I tried to just quickly get it over with.  The weather was perfect which meant the Park was packed.  When I was walking home through it after work it seemed to be the busiest it's been all year.
Typically I feel like I'm running at my usual pace or a bit slower, but initially I knew I was running fast.  Between the perfect temperature (66), all the happy runners out, being in a bit of a rush, and feeling energized, I was blazing.  I was surprised, however, at my first five minute check in when my app said I was running at a pace of 6:something.  I'd run 3/4 of my first mile in five minutes.  I decided to push hard since I only had a short run to see if I could finish the mile under 7.  That would definitely be a PR.  Sadly, my initial speed and the hill took its toll and I didn't make it, but I'm think my time for that mile was still a PR.
I can understand why everyone says you have to pace yourself in a race and make sure not to go too fast in the beginning.  I wouldn't have pushed it that hard if I was running more than two miles, but I can see how you could easily run too fast if you didn't make a point to keep your pace.
Mile 1: 7:07
Mile 2: 8:53 (Ha!  Almost two minutes slower, you can tell I was wiped out, and going uphill instead of down)
average: 8:00
total: 16:11
2.02 miles

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Also, this is happening...

I don't think I could be more thrilled or terrified.

Monday April 30th - four miles

The four mile loop in the Park is definitely my favorite run.  It just seems like my runs go well, the last mile is pretty much a decline,  I see the north, south, east, and west sides of the park, the distance is long enough that it's still a challenge, but not terrifying, and I just really enjoy it.
Last night my pace stayed a little lower than usual (or so it seemed at least) so when I hit 30 minutes and only had 3/4 mile left I pushed hard to see how close I could get to finishing in 35 minutes.  I was really happy with my final mile time and my overall average but I'm paying for it a little now.  I typically don't get sore from just running anymore, but my calves felt tight last night and this morning when I got out of bed one of them cramped up.  They both feel a little tight today, especially the one that cramped.  Oh yeah, and the best news is last night I realized my knees didn't bother me at all while I was running!  Usually there's at least some discomfort at some points, but it wasn't until my foot was bothering me a bit that I realized, "Hey!  My knees aren't!"
Mile 1: 9:13
Mile 2: 9:11
Mile 3: 9:31
Mile 4: 8:51
average: 9:12/mile
total: 36:52
4.01 miles