Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Big Sur International Marathon Part 1 - Race Expo Shenanigans

WHOA what a weekend! I had so much fun and so much I'd love to share.  I suppose I should start at the beginning....

On Saturday morning I met up with my RFRC friends for a lovely little 2 mile shake-out run.  Most of the RFRC members are from the east coast so I was looking forward to spending some miles with them and catching-up.  Despite my fears about the weather being horrible it ended up being a lovely day out in Monterey and I was actually quite warm.

RFRC shake-out run

I got to share 2 miles with Handan

After the shake-out run we all meandered into the Big Sur International Marathon Expo to pick up bibs, shuttle passes and spend some moolah on all things running related.

Big Sur Marathon Expo

This is the sight that greeted runners

I, of course, had to swing by all of my favorite booths to say hi to my peeps.  First stop was the Newton booth where I got to spend a few minutes with my fave shoe rep, Brad Jacobs.  Brad is a hoot and he runs a lot of races in a curly blonde wig (don't be fooled by his shenanigans...Brad is super speedy).  Anyhoo, I caught sight of the wig and while Brad was helping out some customers I pulled a quick ninja move and took the wig for a quick photo op.  I'm not sure blonde is my color but it was fun to pretend for a little while.

Imitating my favorite Newton rep, Brad Jacobs

Afterwards, I hit up all of The Treadmill's 10 booths and then proceeded to work my way through the expo chatting with everyone along the way.  I also helped myself to the free chocolate at the Ghiradelli booth.  Is chocolate considered carbo loading?  I'm gonna claim it anyway.

Once everyone had their fill of the expo we headed down the street for a carbo loading lunch at Rosine's.  Rosine's is a local favorite restaurant that has great food but they're known in the area for their dessert.  Their cakes and pies are humongous and I have yet to be able to finish one slice (and believe me I've tried!).  The whole gang chatted away about all things running and races while we stuffed our faces with some good food.  After we had filled our bellies we all parted ways to prop up our legs and get all of our race gear prep underway for race day.  

RFRC selfie pre-lunch

Carbo-loading lunch with my running family

As soon as I got home I did a little foam rolling, threw on some compression sleeves for good measure and got my race gear ready.  The weather man kept predicting rain on race morning but I am truly a shorts or skirts girl so I put out shorts with compression shorts but also had some capris nearby just in case it looked like rain.  With that I put myself to bed at 8:00 PM with hopes that I'd get some sleep since I had a super early 3:00 AM wake-up call.

Flat runner

Next up, race day!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hills, Orcas and Coffee

This week is taper week for the Big Sur International Marathon.  I had some great runs this week and I think I'm as ready as I'm gonna be for race day.  Here's the breakdown:

Monday:
The Boston Marathon!  I cannot even tell you how much watching this marathon meant to me.  Not only is this my holy grail race but I remember vividly the emotional havoc from last year's race when many were trying to find loved ones and scrambling to hear the status of friends who were running the race.  This year was the "redemption race" for many people who didn't get to finish the race last year and I couldn't wait to watch the live feed, track my runner friends and hear everyone's stories.

I was jumping up and down for joy and had tears in my eyes when Meb crossed the finish line as the Boston Marathon winner!  Getting to watch the live feed for friends and seeing the numerous posts leading up to and during the race made my heart happy.  I swear one day I'm gonna run this race!  I may have to wait until I'm 70 or 80 years old but I'm gonna do it dang it!

In celebration, I ran outside for a quick 2 mile jaunt. 2060 Boston Marathon I'm coming for ya!

Tuesday:
I was still so amped about Meb's win and seeing all the happy race and finishers pictures from my friends who were running the Boston Marathon that I met up with Eva and Brian to take on the 3 B's. The 3 B's are three consecutive hills that get steeper as you climb.  No downhill or flat in between...just nonstop climbing.

The beginning of this run is always hard for me (it's a gradual uphill on a soft/loose dirt trail) so I was sucking wind for the first mile.  Then we hit the base of the 3 B's and everyone took a deep breath before we started climbing. Man was it hard!  It was warm out so I slowed down a lot to try to make it to the top without stopping.  At one point I looked over and asked my friends if I was even moving!  We got to the summit and exchanged a round of high fives before heading back.  Hooray for downhills!  By the time we got back to the trail I had caught my breath and we were able to finish the run with a strong sprint.  High fives all around!

We even wore black in honor of the 3 B's

Wednesday:
On Tuesday I met up with Sarah at o'dark thirty for an "easy" run.  The plan was to keep a 10:30 pace for 6 miles but it didn't quite work out that way.  I love early morning runs! I love starting the run in the dark and getting to watch the sun rise.  It's so peaceful and pretty!

Sarah and I were chatting away and unbeknownst to us we kept getting faster with each mile. Since it felt good, we decided to go with it and our "easy" run turned into a progression run with the fastest mile being a 9:12.  Oopsies?!

Grainy pic of the sun rising

Cheesers

Thursday:
My friend Kelly is in town to run the Big Sur International Marathon so we got together to get in one last run before race day.  The plan was to run slow and easy within the 10:00/10:15ish pace but again that didn't quite work out the way we had planned.  We started chatting and before we knew it my Garmin beeped for the first mile...at a 9:38 min/mile!  Oops.  The rest of the miles were a combination of chatting, laughing and me saying "Dang it we sped up again! Why is it so hard to slow down today?". HA!  We even got to see some orca whales pretty close to the coast, at least closer than I'd ever seen them before.  And not that far away from them were some dolphins playing in the water.  It was so cool!

Picture break at Mile 3

Kelly is my picture taking twin

Such a pretty day!

That view!

After the run, we met up with Skinny Chick Blog and her husband Mike for coffee at a local Starbucks.  OMG these guys are HILARIOUS!  I was laughing so hard that my tummy hurt.  Can I claim that as my ab workout for the day? Yes?!  If you haven't checked out her blog yet please swing on by and take a look.  It's good stuff!

These ladies rock!

And that's a wrap!  All that's left to do is a easy 2 mile shake out run on Saturday and the big 26.2 on Sunday. Oh and a 30 miler on Monday.  No big deal.

Anyone have a run or workout scheduled for the day?  Do you have any races lined up this weekend?  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#BostonStrong

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the tragedy that happened at the 2013 Boston Marathon.  I have never ran Boston however I vividly remember when the news broke about the bombings and the frantic scramble to get in touch with or hear any news about my friends who were on the course that day.  I remember the palpable sadness of the running community and I also remember how runners all over the world rallied to show an unbelievable display of strength, resilience, determination, support and love.


I didn't feel right letting the day pass without doing something in memory of the lives that were lost that day, in honor of all those who were affected by those tragic events, and in celebration of the indomitable spirit of the running community.  At 2:49 PM ET (11:49 AM PT), I joined Boston and the world in a moment of silence.  Then I proceeded to meet my friends Eva, Brian and Chris at noon for a 4.25 mile run.  Since I have never ran Boston I decided to wear my Chicago Marathon race shirt since it is the only world marathon major that I have run thus far.

Our run started on trail which was a combination of hard packed dirt, rocks, and really loose, soft, fine dirt/sand.  I am not a trail runner so the beginning of the run was a real challenge for me especially since we were running on an uphill from the very start and it was really warm and humid out (for our area at least).  After about a mile of trail we hit the 3 B's.  The 3 B's are three consecutive hills that get progressively steeper as you climb.  There is no flat or descent in between the hills, it's just constant climbing.  They are gnarly!  I haven't ran the 3 B's in about 2 years so it was a rude awakening when I started my climb.  I forgot how hard they were!  Once we reached the summit there was a round of high fives and a quick breather before we headed back out on our run.  What goes up must come down and boy do I love a good downhill after a hard climb!

Whew! Made it to the top.  That's the Monterey bay in the background.

Most of the run back was on pavement so that was a welcome relief for this non-trail runner.  We did get back on the trail for the last little bit of the run but by then I had caught my breath and my legs were loosened up so it wasn't nearly as difficult to run as it was on the way out.  I also made a mental note to run more trails.  It's an entirely different skillset than running on pavement.

After one last little climb on the the trail we were done and exchanging another round of high fives.  Within seconds of exclaiming how hard the hills were we planning on when to meet up to tackle the 3 B's again.  Oh runners!  We're all such gluttons for punishment.

My partners in crime: Eva, Brian and Chris

Once I showered I immediately put on my Boston Strong shirt to wear for the rest of the day.  It's my absolute favorite tshirt and my amazing friend Michele (a.k.a. Thepinkhatrunner) brought it back for me all the way from Boston at the official finish line store.  Although I have yet to qualify for or run Boston, I wear my shirt with pride for everything that it symbolizes and stands for.  I'm more bound and determined to someday get that BQ and toe the starting line at the Boston Marathon.  I run. And I remember.


P.S. I ended my day watching the Spirit of the Marathon for the umpteenth time.  As always, I was jumping up and down screaming at the screen as I watched every runner run towards that finish line.  And as always I may have shed a tear or two.  The emotions are so palpable it's almost like I'm there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Double Long Run Weekend

This weekend I had my last long run scheduled for the Big Sur International Marathon.  I decided to turn it into a double duty weekend and planned to run an 18 miler on Saturday followed by a 10 miler on Sunday.  Of course, things didn't exactly turn out as planned.  This time around though it turned out even better than planned.

On Saturday morning I met up with my friends Chantel and Eva at 6:00 AM to get in an 18 mile run.  Chris joined us with plans to run part of the distance.  We got off to a great start and started chatting away.  Once we reached the 5 mile point we decided to turn back around to drop Chris off and refill our water bottles.  We kept a nice steady pace and at no point did my feet or legs hurt.  Once we got back to our cars there was a round of high fives as we congratulated Chris on his longest run to date!  From there Chantel, Eva and I took off in the opposite direction to finish up the last 8 miles.  We turned onto the Fort Ord Sand Dunes State Park path to tackle some hills.  The Big Sur International Marathon is full of rolling hills in the second half of the race so it was great training to end our run with hills.  The Sea Otter Classic was happening this weekend so we ran into a lot of cyclists on the path.  Before we knew it we were back at our cars and our 18 miler was done!

Chantel, Eva and Me (bummed we didn't get a pic with Chris) 

Hooray for C12 Recovery! No soreness the next day at all.

Celebratory jump post-run

I spent the rest of the day resting and allowing my legs to recover.  Surprisingly my legs felt really good.  So instead of the 10 miles that I had originally planned to run with my friends Gwen, Michele and Sarah I decided to join Michele and Sarah to run an additional 8 miles before meeting up with Gwen.  My biggest challenge would be to leave my family's Pacquiao boxing party at a reasonably early time so that I could wake up in time to meet the ladies!

At 5:45 AM on Sunday morning I met up with Michele and Sarah to get our run on.  There's something magical about running in the dark with only the sounds of the ocean and your footsteps then getting to watch the sun rise and the world wake up.  I could feel the fatigue of the other day's long run on my legs but it wasn't hindering my ability to move forward.  We quickly reached our turnaround point and headed back to the meeting spot where we were to meet Gwen and Maverick.

The view is so pretty

I love all the purple

Gwen and Maverick joined us and our little group trekked on to get in 10 miles.  It's amazing how quickly miles go by when you're chatting with friends and catching up.  I know my pace was horrendously slow at this point but honestly this weekend's long runs were about getting in the distance and not hitting any specific paces.  Getting to spend time with good friends catching up and pounding the pavement was the best way to pass the miles away.  And just like that we had 18 miles in the books!

My amazing sole sisters: Michele, Gwen, and Sarah

My handsome new running partner, Maverick

One more pic because he's so darn cute

Double long run weekend DONE! Now it's taper time

As any runner knows the best way to celebrate a long run is to immediately fill it with food!  We stopped over at First Awakenings and filled our bellies with pancakes, omelettes, bacon, crepes and other kinds of yummy food.  With happy tummies and tired legs we all hugged it out and headed home.  Now begins the dreaded taper.  I know race day will be here before I know it!

What did you do this weekend?  Did you run a race or a training run?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

R.I.P.P.E.D. + A Run

Last week I started going to the R.I.P.P.E.D. class that is offered at one of our local gyms.  For those who aren't familiar with R.I.P.P.E.D., here's a brief synopsis from their website:

R.I.P.P.E.D. - The One Stop Body Shock™ is a "Plateau Proof Fitness Formula" that helps you to create continuity, consistency and challenge in each and every R.I.P.P.E.D. class. It is Plateau Proof, because each component of the workout provides a uniquely different emphasis or system response, so your body never gets accustomed to the constantly changing format. Thus, regular R.I.P.P.E.D. participants achieve undeniable, ultimate results in minimal time, boasting 750-1000 calories burned in just 50 minutes. This total body, high intensity style program, utilizing free weights, resistance and body weight, masterfully combines the components of R.I.P.P.E.D.--- Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics and Endurance as the workout portion along with Diet suggestions to help you attain and maintain your physique in ways that are fun, safe, doable and extremely effective. The deliberate combination of the R.I.P.P.E.D. elements and how they are precisely organized in the R.I.P.P.E.D. class format provide the basis for the One Stop Body Shock System, by stimulating both, different energy systems and muscles in each workout segment, changing the focus and activities every 6 to 9 minutes. Along with driving, motivating music, participants jam through R.I.P.P.E.D. with smiles, determination and strength. No boredom here, for all levels, R.I.P.P.E.D. is effective, it’s tough yet doable; R.I.P.P.E.D. will absolutely challenge your levels of fitness and endurance!



This is my R.I.P.P.E.D. instructor, Marivel. She kicked my butt!

Today my R.I.P.P.E.D. instructor started rolling out part of the new season's routine.  Our workout was a combination of body weight, plyometrics, free weights, kickboxing and capoiera.  Holy cow did she make us work!  I'm pretty sure I left a pool of sweat on the floor. The tabata section was particularly brutal: burpees with mountain climbers as our "rest" period in between rounds and ending with a minute plank.  I think I died a little bit.  

Once I had the energy to pick myself off of the floor I decided to head out for a run.  'Cuz that's such a great idea after an intense workout with fatigued legs.  I originally planned to do hill repeats but decided that might be a little too crazy after the beating my body just took, even for me.  So I started slow and halfway through my first mile I decided to make it a progression run with each mile getting consecutively faster. Oh my freakin' GAWD! I forgot how hard progression runs were and my legs were pissed at me for trying to push them faster and faster.  There were a few times within the last two miles that I swore I was gonna puke but thankfully I didn't.  I really pushed and gutted it out in the last mile and got my first sub-8:00 min/mile for the year.  WOOHOO! Then of course, the dry heaving commenced.  It was really attractive let me tell you!

Final stats:
Distance: 6.01 miles
Total time: 51:52
Splits: 10:16, 8:58, 8:22, 8:18, 8:08, 7:50
Average time: 8:46 min/mile

I'm so happy with myself for getting my workout and run in today and it's given me hope that I haven't completely lost all of my speed.  I still have a whole lot of work to do to get to where I need to be but I know that as long as I'm consistent with both running and crosstraining I'll get there.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Hollywood Half Marathon - Race Report

The Hollywood Half Marathon weekend started with the expo on Friday morning.  The Hollywood Half Marathon Expo was held at the Palladium and as a part of the Team Superhero ambassador team I signed up to work at the bib pick-up at the expo from 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM.  We were asked to show up at 8:30 AM to ensure we got our volunteer shirts and instructions and had everything set up and ready to go before the expo opened up to the public.  This was my first event working with and running as a part of Team Superhero so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The Hollywood Half Marathon Expo at the Palladium

Some of the Team Superhero ladies

This was also my first time to truly work at an expo and let me tell ya, it really is WORK!  I was on my feet the entire time and I'm surprised that I didn't lose my voice after all the talking that I did.  But I loved every single minute of it!  My Team Superhero teammates were so much fun to work with and they kept me laughing the entire time.  I absolutely loved getting to meet and talk to people who loved to run as much as I did and hearing everyone's stories from first time half marathoners to long time running veterans.  I even got to meet someone who follows my Rungry Runner Facebook page all the way from Brazil!  She was in the U.S. to run the Hollywood Half Marathon and the San Francisco Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon, both on the same weekend and on back-to-back days.  She's a rockstar!


This is Caroline Barros Viebrantz from Brazil.

By the time I finished my shift and left the expo it was almost 3:30 PM.  I was exhausted (and starving)!  As soon as I got to my aunt's house I stuffed my face full of food and propped my feet up.  I could already feel the fatigue on my legs and feet from standing for 7 hours.  I continued to snack and rest my legs as best I could for the rest of the day.  My sister and future brother-in-law came over for a late dinner at around 8:00 PM and even though I knew it wasn't a good idea, I stayed up to spend time with them and catch-up.  Family first always!  By the time I got to bed it was around 11:30 PM and I knew a PR on race day wasn't gonna happen so I readjusted my expectations to just run a "happy" race.  

As usual I got a minimal amount of sleep that night and before I knew it my alarm was going off at 3:00 AM.  Now all runners have their routine on race morning that we follow religiously from what we eat to how we dress.  I always have a banana and bagel with peanut butter on race morning but when I got downstairs that morning for breakfast I found that my banana had been consumed the night before.  I was so mad!  Granted, I am not a morning person to begin with but not having my banana really threw me off.  I left the house completely frazzled, ended up forgetting my inhaler (EEK!) and got lost trying to find the gas station which was less than a mile away. OY! Not a great way to start race day.

Somehow I got it together, found my way to one of the open downtown L.A. parking lots and walked over to the start line where I quickly found the Team Superhero crew.  And lo and behold one of my amazing Team Superhero teammates, Terri, had a bunch of bananas with her that she was handing out.  OMG I was so happy!  That really made my day.  As we waited for the race to start we all stood around chatting, laughing and taking pictures.  What was so amazing is that this was the first time that I met the majority of my Team Superhero teammates but I already felt like I knew them all.  It was an instant family!

Cheesing at the start line

My amazing Team Superhero family

At about 10 minutes before the race started at 6:00 AM, we all wished each other good luck and headed to our respective corrals.  Before I knew it, the race had started and we were all crossing the start line.  Like most races, the start was a bit congested and it forced me to run at a nice easy pace for the first 3 miles.  At around mile 3.5 miles it got a little less congested and I was able to speed up a little bit however I opted to keep it nice and easy since my legs were obviously fatigued.  The course had several switchbacks where we got to see the faster runners pass us and it was cool to see people I knew as they ran by.  Honestly, I was having tons of fun!  I was talking to my fellow runners, giving high-fives and stopping to take pictures with runner friends along the way.  I was having so much fun that I completely miscalculated how far I had to run in to the finish line and I turned the last corner to realize that I only had several feet left to run in order to finish.  Oops!  I just laughed at myself and kicked it in for those last several feet.  I did it! Hollywood Half Marathon DONE!

I did it! BLING BLING

Once I crossed that finish line and made my way through the food and water stations in the finisher's chute I immediately ran into some runners that I knew and we chatted about the race.  I had every intention to stay for the finish line festivities but suddenly my lack of sleep from the night before hit me and I ended up heading home.

Overall, I had such a fun race.  I ran happy the entire time, didn't have any aches or pain and my tummy behaved itself.  I loved being able to see everyone and the course really is made for a fast race.  I had so much fun that I already registered for the 2015 race.  Believe you me, I plan on coming back and I'll be gunning for a PR next time.