Thursday, February 27, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things

My first race of the year (I know!) is this Saturday and I am going crazy during this taper week.  Why is tapering the hardest part of training?  I'm starving ALL OF THE TIME and I have no means to get all of this pent up energy out.  It's nuts!  In an effort to get some happy thoughts going and distract myself from the taper crazies I've decided to list some of my favorite running related things.  Plus, it's always fun to see what runners do/don't like and what works for them.

These are a few of my favorite things:

CLOTHING

Long-sleeve:
I typically love to wear my race tops when I can but when I don't, these two are my go-to:
Swirlgear Long-Sleeve Top - Light and airy, great fit, wicks away sweat and truly functional.
Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve  - Super soft, wicks away sweat, keeps me warm AND super duper cute. My current favorite!

Short-sleeve:
I don't buy short-sleeve shirts.  All of the ones that I own and use are my race shirts.  They work well and it's a great way for me to rock the shirts that I earned.  The only exception is my Swirlgear Capped Sleeve Shirt.

Sleeveless:
Lululemon Swift Tank - Although Lululemon is no longer making this beauty of a tank it is still my go to top for hot weather.  Flattering cut, criss cross back, built-in bra, moisture wicking, keeps me cool and tons of fun color combinations make this my running standard for sleeveless tops.
Oiselle Flyte Tank - As is to be expected from Oiselle, the fabric is uber soft, moisture wicking, long enough that I don't feel I have to yank it down as I run and of course really, really cute

Skirts:
Running Skirts (Running skirt or Athletic skirt) - I used to be a diehard Lululemon skirt girl until I tried out Running Skirts.  Holy awesomeness!  I've ran in both the running skirt and athletic skirt and not only are they amazingly cute and comfy, they are also extremely functional and flattering with tons of fun colors and patterns to choose from.  The big seller for me are the two pockets for holding your fuel.  LOVE!

Shorts:
Lululemon Groovy Shorts - Super cute, flattering and functional with tons of fun colors and patterns to choose from.
Oiselle Distance Shorts - Breathable fabric, moisture wicking, doesn't ride up while you're running, fun colors and most importantly 3 pockets!  These bad boys have helped me get rid of my running "fanny pack" for good.

Capris:
Lucy Endurance Capri - The first real piece of "real" running attire that I ever bought, these capris are still going strong 5 years later.
Tights:
Oiselle Lesley Running Tight - Confession: These are the only tights I've ever owned (other than some 2XU compression tights which were a workout to get on/off) however they are amazingly warm thanks to the fleece lining, moisture wicking, and makes the booty look fantastic!

Sports bra:
Moving Comfort Juno
Lululemon Ta-Ta Tamer

FOOTWEAR

Newton Distance - My go-to racing shoe
Newton Gravity - My go-to training shoe.  I will usually alternate between the Gravity and Distance for racing 26.2 miles or less.
Hoka Bondi B - My go-to for trails and ultramarathons
Injinji Performance Socks - My hands down favorite socks ever. I haven't had a blister since I switched too these.
CEP Compression Sleeves and Socks - CEP compression is my favorite for post-run recovery

GEAR

Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Ergo-Lite 16oz
Nathan Intensity 2L Womens Race Vest
Garmin 305 - Oldie but goodie.  It's still working like a champ so I'm in no hurry to upgrade or replace it any time soon.

FUEL AND SUPPLEMENTS

Clif Shot Bloks - Margarita Flavor
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
Power Bar Performance Energy Blends
Picky Bars
Bonk Bars Peanut Butter and Jelly
NUUN
O2 Gold - Lemme tell ya, as a card carrying member of Team Asthmatics I fully appreciate anything and everything that allows me to breathe while running.  This stuff is the *ish!  I love it so much that I became an official Advocare distributor.
C12 Recovery
Albuterol Inhaler

RECOVERY/STRENGTH TRAINING EQUIPMENT

Trigger Point The GRID Foam Roller
Trigger Point Factor Massage Ball
The Stick
BOSU
Stability Ball
Resistance Bands
Various handheld weights
5 lb and 8 lb medicine ball


What are some of your favorite things?  Or do you just love all things running?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The day the hills ate me for breakfast

Oh Aguajito!  I love your rolling hills and your non-stop climbing.  I had every intention of conquering you this Saturday and being able to proclaim that I ate hills for breakfast.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.

The day started off ok.  I woke up on time, had no aches or pains and had my wheat bread with peanut butter for breakfast.  But just as I was about to head out the door, my tummy made a not so dainty sound. Uh oh!  Not so bueno.  So I took care of business and prayed that it was all out of my system as I started running.

I ran out on Iris Canyon Road and headed over to El Estero Park then headed up towards Aguajito to start climbing the hills.  As much as I love the challenge of Aguajito, my lungs hate whatever flowers, plants or trees are out there and I always struggle to breathe.  The higher I run, the harder the breathing gets.  I've learned to really take it easy at the start, dial back my pace and just chug along.  About half a mile into my run up Aguajito I ran into some of the TNT Walk Team members.  I love TNT!  I ran my first marathon with them in memory of my Auntie Belma so they have a very special place in my heart.  Seeing all of their smiling faces really made me happy and gave me a boost of energy.

Look at those beautiful smiling faces!

I love them :)

Not long after I said good-bye to the TNT Walk Team, my tummy started rebeling.  My tummy is a sensitive creature.  About every other run or so it decides to act up and throw a hissy fit.  This usually isn't a problem because most of the routes that I run on have restrooms along the way.  Unfortunately, Aguajito is one of the only routes which have no restroom facilities.  I'd either have to run into the woods to take care of business or have an accident.  Neither option appealed to me.  Oh man was I nervous!

My tummy got mad a little before I made it to the stables

At this point I had to walk more than run since running was exacerbating the problem.  I literally prayed with every step that I took that I just make it back to my apartment without incident.

The main summit! Hallelujah!

This sums it up.  Pretty right?!

As soon as I got to the main summit I started running as much as I could as fast as I could.  All I kept thinking was that I just needed to make it back to my apartment.  Let me tell ya, the second I got to my street I took off like a Kenyan to get to my home.  Whew!  Too close for comfort!  That was almost a disaster.

With the crisis averted I headed back out the door to finish up my run.  I still needed 2.5 more miles to finish up the 10 miles that was on my training calendar.  I headed back out to El Estero Park to meet up with my friends Greg and Naomi and run with them for a little bit since they had plans to run Aguajito as well.

I survived!

It was a beautiful day

Greg

Naomi

We like bright shoes & we cannot lie

I met up with Naomi and Greg and we headed back up towards Aguajito.  It was so nice to catch up with them and before I knew it I was at the base of my street.  I waved good-bye and started the 1 mile climb up my street to my apartment (Oh yeah, my street is a mile long hill. Sometimes I love it, sometimes not so much).  Once I got to the top I did a little happy dance to celebrate.  I did it!  I survived! 10 miles DONE!

To be honest, this was not the run that I wanted.  I admit I was disappointed but at the end of the day I embrace the fact that bad runs happen.  This wasn't my run but that's ok.  It just means that my next run will be that much more awesome.

Have you ever had a bad run?  How did you deal with it?

Monday, February 17, 2014

22 miles, Crossfit & C12 Recovery

Hellooo everyone!

Isn't it crazy how life gets in the way of your best laid plans sometimes?  I was supposed to be in Georgia this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day with my boyfriend and had grand plans to be writing about my long run in Augusta but unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas.  After waiting at the airport for almost 5 hours on Thursday (3 gate holds and flight delays later), we were informed that due to all of the snow and ice our flight was canceled and that essentially no one was going to be able to fly out to Charlotte or Georgia until Saturday. Whomp whomp!  So instead of a fun-filled weekend post about my adventures and running in Georgia, you get to hear all about my running in Cali.  Grab a snack and something to drink...this may be a long one.

I made plans to meet up with my friends Michele, Sarah and Chantel to run 12 miles on Sunday.  I had 22 miles on my calendar so I decided to run down to our meeting spot from my apartment (about 4.25 miles), meet up with the girls for the 12 miles then finish up my run by running back up and around my apartment.
I got a late start on Sunday morning so I ended up running down my hill much faster than my normal "warm-up" pace.  Then, thanks to some GI issues and a potty stop along the way I picked up the pace some more to make sure I made it to our meeting spot on time.  The result:

Mile 1:  9:56
Mile 2:  9:45
Mile 3:  9:39
Mile4:  8:58

Oops!  Definitely way too fast for me for a long run and I knew I'd pay for it later.

I got to the meeting spot and we all took off together.  The girls had fresh legs and quickly left me behind but considering how fast my first 4 miles were I deliberately pulled back on the pace to make sure I didn't die in the second half of my run.  Lemme tell ya, trying to force a 10:35 min/mile when my legs were just running sub-10:00 min/miles sure was tough!  Especially when my friends were zooming along ahead of me and I have a habit of "chasing rabbits".  I was a good girl though and never let my pace get lower than a 10:15.  Woohoo!

The view when we first started out. Overcast but humid.


With each mile we ran, the clouds started clearing and it started getting warmer.  The air was also heavy since it was uncharacteristically humid out.  I hadn't anticipated the humidity and had worn a long sleeved tech shirt since it's typically windy and chilly along the path that we were running.  Heat and humidity is my kryptonite.  I start whining like a baby and have a mental meltdown as soon as I start overheating.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a tank top on under my long sleeved shirt and I really didn't want to traumatize anyone by running in my sportsbra so I had to suffer through being hot.  I was NOT a happy camper!

Thankfully, the company of my friends and the gorgeous ocean views kept me from turning into a complete crankypants and we kept trucking along at around a 10:35 min/mile pace.  We even had a celebrity sighting when we saw our local Olympian Blake Russell in Pebble Beach!  She was sprinting along looking graceful and speedy while I was doing some version of the zombie shuffle.  She waved and said "Good morning!" and I think I managed a half wave and mumbled "G'morning". Sad. She really is the nicest person ever though!  I wish I could wake up and miraculously look like her when I run and be just as speedy. Can someone make that happen please?

Anyhoo, on our way back we hopped onto the trail for some variety.  I am not a trail runner normally (I am just too accident prone) however it was a nice change from running on the road.  The view was so pretty too!  We even saw some egrets and a variety of other birds enjoying the beautiful weather.  It was awesome!

Gotta love trails
It wasn't long before we were back on the rec trail and were treated to clear skies and gorgeous ocean views.  No matter how cranky I may be during my run, these views always make me happy.  Who wouldn't be happy running next to this?  



We got to our meeting point and we all hugged good-bye.  My friends got to go feed their tummies with yummy food while I continued on to finish out the remaining 5.75 miles on my run.

These girls are the best
So pretty!

I could've just sat and stared at this view for hours

While I was shuffling along I ran into my friend Caren who was getting a warm-up run in.  She told me that everyone was going to meet up for a Crossfit session in about 10 minutes.  So what do you think this not-so-smart runner did? Yup. Pitstop at Crossfit during mile 17 of a 22 mile run.  Totally normal, right?!

Say what?!?! Not a long run friendly WOD

I wasn't completely dumb though.  Once I saw how lower body heavy the WOD was I opted to just do the warm-up and ran around taking pictures of everyone for a few minutes.  Mostly I was just happy to be able to see these faces:


After my little pitstop, I kept on going and just enjoyed the views along the way.  Admittedly, I stopped caring about pace at this point and just wanted to be done.  My stomach was growling and I was starting to get hangry.  Never a good thing!  I also decided to run out on the rec trail a little farther out than I had at the start of my run.  That way I could walk up the 1 mile hill to my apartment without feeling guilty about cutting the "run" short.

 
The seagull seemed happy

WOOT! 22 miles + 1 mile cooldown walk DONE!

Once I got home I immediately showered, foam rolled and threw on my compression sleeves and ankle brace.  My ankle didn't bother me at all during the run and didn't have any pain afterwards but I wore the sleeve as a preventative measure.  Better safe than sorry!

Gotta love the sexy runners feet tan

I also tried out C12 Recovery for the first time.  Caren was kind enough to give me a sample when I stopped by for Crossfit and I made sure to take it as soon as I got home (the directions said to take it within 30 minutes of your workout).  Here's a snippet of what C12 Recovery is all about straight from their website:

"In a nutshell, C12 Recovery is a powder that you mix and drink immediately after exercise. C12 Recovery takes advantage of a critical time window, called the anabolic window. The anabolic window is prime time for muscle recovery and C12 provides a combination of high quality protein and carbohydrates to replenish muscles when they need them the most. If you drink C12 recovery immediately after exercise you will significantly reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Tomorrow will be a less sore day."


I had always wanted to try C12 Recovery since a lot of my friends who are avid athletes (crossfitters, runners, triathletes, martial artists, etc.) have sworn by it but I had never gotten around to grabbing a sample.  Considering I had just ran 22 miles I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out and really see how it works.  I personally mixed C12 with almond milk and it had a light nutty/cocoa flavor.  Nothing overwhelming or too sweet.  It also didn't have a super gritty or chalky texture which is a definite plus in my book.  You guys...this stuff is thebomb.com!  I woke-up with absolutely no soreness or pain today.  My legs are definitely still fatigued (which is to be expected) but I have none of the usual post-long run issues that I usually have. I'm a fan!  I'll definitely be ordering some for my upcoming marathons and ultras (can you say 50 miler and 100 miler?! Ummm....yeah, I need this stuff!).

Now begins the most difficult part of training for me: Tapering.  My first race of the year is Razorback 50M on March 1st.  Fingers crossed that I don't get the taper crazies too bad!

What is your post-long run or workout routine?  Do you take anything to help with post-run or post-workout soreness? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The day I got my speed back


#Truth

Today was supposed to be a double run day but I think my body's still adjusting to the increase in my mileage plus all of the crosstraining that I've been doing because I overslept and missed my o'dark thirty run. Oops!

Thankfully I was able to meet up with my friend Kelly for our scheduled afternoon run.  We decided to do a 4 mile progressive run and see how our bodies felt.  It was chilly out and the headwind was cold but overall it was perfect run weather.  I struggled a bit in the beginning to find my pace on the slight uphill but got into my zone about a half mile in.  When my Garmin beeped for the first mile I looked down and was shocked to see a sub-10:00 min/mile.  Even at my speediest, I always run a 10:00 - 10:30 min/mile for my first mile or two just because it usually takes that long for my body to warm up so a sub-10:00 was a pleasant surprise.  Imagine my surprise when I heard the beep for mile 2 and saw a sub-9:00 min/mile.  My jaw dropped!  And the amazing thing was it felt nice and easy.  So I kept pushing!  With each mile my pace dropped and the surprising thing was it felt relatively effortless to pick up speed.  Was I working?  Yes, most definitely.  But was I dying? NO! 

My last mile was a really hard effort.  I pushed my pace up the corkscrew hill and powered my way to the parking lot where our cars were parked.  I pushed so hard that I thought I was going to throw up (probably because I was pushing at a 5:40 min/mile for that last .1 mile or so. HA!).  As I stood there gagging I took a look at my Garmin and a huge smile lit up my entire face.

Garmin results:

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 36:03
Average Pace: 9:00 min/mile
Splits: 9:49, 8:53, 8:48 and 8:32
    
Holla! Finally! Hello speed, it's nice to see you again.

Big smiles post-run with my speedy friend Kelly

HOLLA!

I've been really discouraged for the last few weeks over my loss of speed since the holidays and I've started to seriously doubt whether I'd be able to reach any of my 2014 race goals.  This run was exactly the confidence boost that I needed and a reminder that I can achieve whatever goal I set for myself just as long as I work hard for it.  I still haven't seen a sub-8:00 min/mile yet since last year but that's ok.  I know it's just a matter of time before I'll be hitting those speedy paces again.  In the meantime, I'll put in the work, get in the mileage, target huge goals, and dream big dreams.  The speed will come.
 
One day Boston.  One day....

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekend Rundown

Here's a quick run/workout rundown of the last three days:
  • Saturday - 20 mile long run, stretching, foam rolling and eating
  • Sunday - 45 minute ab and mobility workout, stretching, foam rolling and being lazy
  • Monday - 60 minute Combat workout, 15 min abs, stretching and foam rolling
Now for my long run report.  This past Saturday I had 20 miles on my training calendar.  My amazing friend Michele was kind enough to run the first 10 miles with me before I had to run solo to finish up the final 10 miles.  The first 10 miles were perfect, nice easy pacing and great run weather.  But then in my infinite wisdom I decided that running one of the hardest, hilliest roads in the area would be a great idea for the end of my long run (note the extreme sarcasm there).  'Cuz you know...it's always a good idea to end a long run with tons of brutal hills.  Whoa was that hard!  I was running like a turtle in peanut butter up those hills but I kept thinking about my IRun4 buddy Jason and I made it!  Of course, at the time I decided that running Aguajito would be a good idea my brain somehow forgot that my entire last mile home would be a not-so-fun hill.  No bueno!  I have to admit that I only made it about a third of the way up before my legs and lungs decided they were done.  But I got the full 20 miles in and I survived with surprisingly minimal ill effects other than my usual tight calves (thanks hills) and some twinging in my right ankle from an injury that I sustained at a race two years ago thanks to a pacer and a tarantula.  Long story and yes I'm still bitter!

And because I believe sharing is caring, here are some gratuitous pics that I took along the way:




This girl is the bomb.com for running with me


 Oh Aguajito, you are one cruel HILLY road

That is the oceean that you see in the background. Gorgeous!

The main summit. After this it was just a few little rollers then all downhill-ish.

Yay for the slight downhill! Happy legs! At least until I got to that last one mile uphill.

Please excuse the goosebumps and chicken skin.  It was a bit chilly out.

The rest of Saturday included a nap, lots of stretching and foam rolling plus a sushi dinner with my cousin and godson.  Best recovery meal ever!

Hello beautiful! Get in my tummy!

Sunday was all about active recovery, lounging around in my pj's and enjoying the rainy weather wrapped up in a blanket.  I know, exciting right?!  And no I didn't watch the Superbowl.  Apparently I didn't miss much.

What did you do this weekend?  Did you get a run or workout in?