Thursday, July 31, 2014

Conquering A Mountain

Yesterday I decided my foot and ankle felt well enough to try out an "easy" run.  I had it in my head that I wanted to run 6 miles but instead of running my usual route on our local coastal trail, I thought it'd be more fun to join The Treadmill's Hearbreak Hill Challenge (sponsored by Hoka One One and Nathan Sports).  'Cuz running up an 850 foot climb on trail is easy, right?!  I even convinced one of my co-workers to join me.

We got to The Treadmill where there was already a pretty large group milling around.  After signing in, I grabbed a pair of the Hoka Cliftons to try out for the run.  It wasn't too long before we found some of my Team In Training friends and started chatting.  We were all newbies to the course so we had no clue whatsoever what we were in for!

Smiling faces pre-run
Before long it was time for us to start our warm-up run to the base of "the mountain".  It was fun chatting with everyone and meeting new fellow running enthusiasts.  It was a quick one mile warm-up to the base of "The Mountain" and it went by quickly.  I had driven by that area so many times but had never even seen the trailhead! Shows how much I pay attention when I drive.
Definitely one of my new faves
Once everyone got to the base of the mountain we were all lined up based on our sign-up number (which was assigned as we arrived at The Treadmill).  Since it was supposed to be a timed run to see who would be King or Queen of the Mountain, we did a staggered start with 15 second intervals between each runner to get a more accurate finish time.

Lining up to run up and up and up!

I was one of the last ones to arrive at sign-up so I was the 30th runner (out of 31) but I was completely fine with being in the back of the bus.  It just meant that I wouldn't push too hard to try to keep up with the speedsters and there wouldn't be any pressure if I decided to stop and take a picture (or 25).  The cool thing about the The Treadmill runs is that no runner is left behind so I knew that even if I had to crawl up that mountain, everyone would be waiting for me at the finish.
It was really muggy out so by the time it was my turn to start I was already dripping sweat.  Not a cute look!  But it was so pretty on the trail that I didn't even care.  It also wasn't long before I realized that running up this mountain was going to be a much more challenging endeavor than I originally anticipated.  I was huffing and puffing and sweating up a storm and both calves were screaming at me to STOP but I kept chugging along (admittedly with a few walk breaks and more than a few picture breaks along the way).  Note: I am not a fan of switchbacks with false summits.  It's a bit deflating to think you're near the top just to round the corner and realize there's a lot more climbing to do. That's just mean!
The cows thought we were crazy

I had no problem with this but the speedsters didn't listen
I wasn't even halfway up my climb before the speedy runners came bombing down the trail.  I am truly in awe of people who run trails fast.  They make it look so effortlessly easy!  I am way too accident prone to try any of that mess...I was just praying I made it through the run without my face meeting the dirt! HA!  I just took it slow and steady and enjoyed the journey to the top and before long I had made it to the gate that marked the summit and turned around to enjoy the gorgeous view before me.

I was not mad at this view
Sooo pretty!
I am the first to admit that I really enjoyed the run back since my screaming calves got a break and I got to run much faster than I did on the way up.  I did notice that my right hip felt a bit tight and my quads were starting to fatigue. I apparently need to add learning how to bomb down a steep mountain to my training plans!  I got to the finish line and was immediately greeted with some high fives and a round of "good jobs".  Runners really are the best people!  Although, I did get yelled at (in a friendly way of course) by The Treadmill's owner for stopping several feet before the finish line to take a picture since it was technically a timed run and I was "wasting time".  Oops!  It's a good thing he likes me.

All the happy runners at the finish

Once all of the runners made it to the finish our happy little group trekked back to The Treadmill as a "cool down" run.  We were immediately greeted with electrolytes and snacks to replenish us from the run.  There was also an awesome raffle that included cool items such as Nathan water bottles, Treadmill hats, Hoka shirts and a Nathan hydration vest.  I didn't win a thing since I have the worst luck but it was fun seeing the expressions of everyone who did.

Afterwards, my co-worker and I headed out to refuel and rehydrate.  And because I'm such a good co-worker and friend, I taught him how to do it the right way with Thai food and cold beers.  Yup, I'm teaching him right!

Teaching my co-worker proper post-run rehydration
Overall, I had an amazing time! The Treadmill always hosts great community events and this run was no exception.  I am definitely looking forward to the next one.  For now, I'll be in rest and recovery mode for the next two days in preparation for the Salinas Valley Half Marathon on Saturday.  Here's hoping my body cooperates and I can get to that finish line injury free!

Have you ever tried trail running?  What's the next race on your schedule?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Race That Didn't Happen

Let's get to the down and dirty...the San Francisco Marathon didn't happen for me.  I was super bummed but it was the smart choice for me to make.  But let's rewind a bit.

Monday was one of the busiest days at work for me.  I was cranky and tired but I dragged myself out after work for a 5 mile run with friends.  My ankle was tight (I had injured it 3 years ago at my 2nd marathon, a long story involving a tarantula and a stupid pacer) but I dismissed it since it usually went away after a few miles once it warmed up.  It never went away but I finished pain free so I immediately forgot about it.

Tuesday was track day and I was exhausted (thank you insomnia) so I didn't do much other than walk and lightly jog around for a few miles.

Wednesday I headed out with friends for a 6 mile run after work. My ankle was REALLY tight and running uphill soon became hard for me since I couldn't quite flex my foot completely.  I finished out the run but I wasn't happy.  No pain thankfully but lots of discomfort.

I was mad. But I loved my new Ink N Burn singlet!

Thursday was a quick and easy 3 miler and I took Friday off as a rest day.

Saturday morning I woke up and joined my Team In Training team for their coached long run on one of my absolute favorite training routes.  The half marathoners were scheduled for 10 miles and the full marathoners were scheduled for 14 miles of non-stop brutal hills.  It's a super tough route but it's one of my favorites because it's a huge confidence booster to get through it.  I planned to run the full 14 miles because it sounded fun...or something.

As soon as we started I was sweating bullets.  It was unusually warm and humid for 7:30 AM and there was no breeze at all to help cool us down.  I'm not a fan of running in heat so I already knew this run was going to be even harder than usual.  As per usual, my right ankle was tight but I was hopeful that it would loosen up since I had taken Friday off as a complete rest day.  Did that happen? Nope.  Not even a little bit.  If anything, it tightened up even more to the point where it was bordering on painful.  Thankfully I was running with a group of awesome folks who kept me entertained enough that I forgot about it for most of the run.  When we got to the 10 mile turnaround point I decided to turn around and go back rather than risking potential injury by running farther. Hooray for smart running!  Once we got back to our cars I stretched out my ankle on the curb and figured I would be good to go for race day. So, so wrong!

Team In Training rocks!

I got home and took off my shoes and socks and was shocked to see how swollen my ankle and foot were. Not good!  The only other time my foot ever swelled up was at Nanny Goat 100 miler and that was because I had laced my shoes on a little too tight after a sock change.  That foot was immediately dunked in an ice bath and I threw compression socks on afterwards.  Once I had my foot nicely elevated on a stack of pillows on my couch I proceeded to pout.  There was no way I was going to get through the hills of the San Francisco Marathon without making it worse.  Even the half would probably cause it to worsen.  So I made the smartest decision I could given the situation...I decided to DNS. 

Was I bummed? Most definitely.  I took a very expensive trip to Whole Paycheck on race day to drown my sorrows then moped around in my pj's for the rest of the day.  Did I regret my decision?  Not at all.  I have the Salinas Valley Half Marathon this coming Saturday and Run-de-Vous 50 miler 2 weeks after that.  Both of which are races I really want to run.  I've finally learned that the long term goal is much more important than the short term.  I'll be back stronger than ever...just watch and see! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bruises, Hills and Sunrises

Sooo...I'm apparently a horrible blogger. Sorry guys!  I promise I'm not intentionally neglecting my little corner of the interwebs, it's just life is getting in the way a bit.  BUT I'm still plugging away at my new fitness routine and having a grand time while I'm at it.  Instead of boring you with a detailed post of every single day since my last post I'll just do a weekend rundown leading up to today.  Here you go:

My sister and cousin's Tough Mudder themed birthday party in SoCal.  My family loves themed parties and this one was a doozy!  Tons of fun games, including a relay through an inflatable obstacle course.  The funny thing is that I ended up with more bumps, bruises, scratches and scrapes than I did when I actually did Tough Mudder Tahoe!  Fun stuff.

I seriously love these guys

Nothing happened on Sunday other than driving my exhausted behind back home.  That's considered a rest day right?!
Yesterday was rough.  I was physically exhausted and sleep deprived and it was our busiest work day so needless to say I really wasn't feeling like doing anything by the end of the day.  Thankfully, I sucked it up and got out and ran with my friends after work.  It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't easy but I got 5 miles done.  I was supposed to do PiYo when I got home but that didn't happen.  1 out of 2 isn't bad right?!
What a difference a day makes!  I am the antithesis of a morning person.  Seriously.  I abhor getting up before 9:00 AM and most people know to leave me alone for at least an hour when I first wake up.  But for whatever reason, o'dark thirty runs make me really, really happy.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a total grump when I first get up but something magical happens after the first mile with all those amazing running endorphins.  It just makes me HAPPY!
Today I ran with two of my sole sisters and we had hills for breakfast, tackling an especially challenging 1 mile hill.  I was sucking wind (literally wheezing - thankyouverymuch asthma) but I pushed through and conquered that bad boy!  We were rewarded with an absolutely beautiful sunrise.  Did I mention this run made me happy?  'Cuz it did.  I need more o'dark thirty runs in my life!
I have speed work at the track scheduled for tonight.  It probably won't be particularly speedy thanks to this morning's hill run but it'll be good for me nonetheless.
That's all I've got!  I promise I'll be better at checking in and providing updates.  Pinky swear!
What do you have on your fitness agenda today?  Are you running, getting a workout in or enjoying a rest day?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Get It Done Week #1 Update

Since I've proclaimed to all the world via the interwebs that I was going to get my behind in gear and we all know that anything said on the world wide web is pretty much a binding contract that is around forever for all the world to see, I figured I'd give you all an update on how week one went.  Here you go:
4 mile run after work.  It was a rough day at work so most of us were not feeling like running at all but we got out anyway and got a 4 mile tempo run in.
AM: Early morning kickboxing DVD and ab workout.  I didn't get up early enough to make it to RIPPED so this served as my crosstraining substitute.
PM: Speedwork at the track.  I really dislike the track but it got done.  That's all.
AM: 6 mile run at o'dark thirty.  Holy humidity!  I was dripping in sweat within the first mile and my lungs were not having any of it but Thepinkhatrunner and I got it done.  Team Asthmatics for the win!
PM: 5 mile run after work.  Much better than Monday's slog, we ended up doing a decent progressive run and I got to test out my new Oiselle top.  Verdict: LOVE!

Happy to get my run on
Rest day. My body was exhausted so I took my rest day early.  I'm really working on this whole "listening to my body" thing.
Kickboxing DVD and ab workout.  I was super excited to come home to find the UPS man had delivered my PiYo package so that's on the docket for today.

8 mile run with Team in Training.  Another humid day.  I'm really sick of the darn humidity around here.  It needs to go back to where it came from...I want my normal coastal weather back!

Go Team!
10 miles and hills for breakfast.  Being the ever so smart runner that I am I forgot my inhaler. And it was super humid with tons of allergens in the air.  Whomp whomp!  Since I'm such a good friend I decided to save my group from the trauma of dealing with me having an asthma attack in the middle of nowhere and dialed down the pace, easing up even more if I even felt the slightest tightening in my chest. 

So there you have it!  Not exactly true to the plan that I had set for myself but I got all my runs in and I did get my crosstraining days in so I call it a win.  It's Week 2 and I'm looking to stick closer to the original workout plan that I set.  We'll see how it goes!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let the MADNESS begin!

Alrighty all y'all!  No more doom and gloom here.  As I mentioned in my last post, there'll be no more excuses.  I'm putting it all out there and I'm gonna push further, faster, harder from here on out.  This is no longer about me, it's about something far greater.  So how am I, Miss Lazy Pants, going to do this?  Here's the (overly ambitious as always) plan:

The plan is to run consistently throughout the week with a focus on running faster and pushing my comfort zone.  Here's what that's gonna look like:

Monday          5:30 PM mid-distance run with co-workers and friends
Tuesday          6:00 PM speedwork at the track with TNT
Wednesday     Double run day (o'dark thirty in the AM and 5:30 PM)
Saturday          Long run day with TNT

Here's where my fitness plans usually fall apart.  I'm notoriously bad at getting in my cross-training and I can definitely feel the difference this year especially with the huge increase in the mileage I've been running.  I want to put cross-training back into my schedule with a focus on strength, balance and flexibility to hopefully keep me healthy as well as help me get faster.  Here's what that's gonna look like:

Tuesday          5:45 AM - RIPPED
Thursday         5:45 AM - RIPPED, 6:00 PM Bikram Yoga

In addition I'm trying something new: PiYo.  Listen, I know there a lot of folks who are completely anti-DVD workout programs and I get it.  However I'm also realistic and I know that I get lazy.  I don't want to give myself any reason to not workout and I figure an at-home convenient workout program will alleviate all excuses I might ever try to give myself to get out of it.  Plus, I joined a Challenge Group that I'm hoping will keep me accountable and ensure I stick with the program.

So there's the plan!  Now let's get sweatin'!

And I finally got on the Bloglovin' train! Feel free to follow me there to see my progress:

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Excuses!

*Disclaimer: The following post will contain some foul language.  I apologize for the expletives but they most accurately described how I was feeling.

I know I've gone radio silent on the blog for a while. I'm sorry about that.  This year has been a doozy for me and it seems like life isn't gonna let up any time soon.  Long story short, I found out some devastating news about a family member recently and it's knocked me on my ass.  There's been a lot of crying, a lot of "it's not fair" and a lot of just being an unmotivated slug.  And's completely unacceptable!  How dare I use that news as an excuse to hole myself up and do nothing?  How dare I wallow in my own emotions when my family member has the strength and courage to continue to smile through life?  Not happening any more!

So here's what I'm gonna do.  I'm gonna keep on living life to the very best of my ability.  I'm gonna do every single workout and go on every single run and I'm gonna push myself to go farther, faster, harder.  There are no excuses for why I can't.  NONE!

I'm blessed that I have amazing family and friends who are supporting me and they have all vowed to hold me accountable.  I'm no longer hiding away or taking any of it for granted.  This is bigger than excuses. This is bigger than me.  And I'll be damned if I let myself get in the way.