I mentioned in my last post that I had one small hiccup in my training since coming back. That small hiccup was me diving for the bouquet at a wedding (wearing 5″ heels) that send me crashing to the ground, giving a crotch peep show for all in front of me. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking? I would never go for the bouquet but my boyfriend’s brother Greg urged me on so I thought what the heck. I did not end up catching the bouquet, I caught a single rose (meaning someone is off the hook) and I hurt my ankle. I have to take three days off from running to make sure everything was OK and on the fourth day, I ran without a problem. Thank goodness! It’s pretty tough being a runner since you sometimes have to give up small luxuries like high heels – stilettos specifically. I can’t completely rid myself of them because sometimes a girl needs to feel sexy and shoes sure do help.
Anyway, on a related note, I came across this headline: Brides race for prizes in Serbia
What? Are you kidding me? I always tell my friends about the race, or actually a dash with women wearing high heels and then I find this! This race is actually safer since you wear whatever shoes you want and potentially take home the designer dress you wear if you qualify for prizes. Pretty good way to save some money if you ask me!
Thank goodness October is here — August and September felt like the longest months of my life! I had been meaning to post about a few personal issues lately that really pulled on my heartstrings but I just didn’t have the energy to go back there and relive that whole ordeal. I kept thinking about it and finally I thought that I should just get it out of the way since in some respects, those dreadful experiences did in some weird force me to reconsider some of the choices I made and to reevaluate what’s important.
It all started with the final couple of weeks of my young cousin’s life. He was battling cancer and me not being so close to my family, I observed the progress over Facebook. Me being the worrier that I am, decided that I should probably schedule a few appointments just to make sure I was OK. (more…)
Another solid week of training down in the books and really enjoying the variety of workouts, especially the swimming. This week ended with a weekend hiking trip in Yosemite that had me and my friends scaling up and down Half Dome, unbelievably beautiful and scary at the same time. Being in a place like that really clears your head and mind of frivolous concerns of city life and allows you to regroup and reset priorities. I get so excited every time I recall this trip but the details will have to be on a different post later.
Here is what my training looked like for the week:
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Spin (1 hour with 5×4:00 standing climbs, 2 min. recovery)
Wednesday – Swim (1 hour with 250 yd kick board and 600 yd aquarunning)
Thursday – Elliptical/Weights (1 hour elliptical plus full body weights)
Friday – Swim (1 hour 20 min. aquarunning with 4×6:00 repeats and 3 min recovery)
Saturday – Hike (Upper Yosemite Falls – ~9 miles from Curry Village)
Sunday – Half Dome (~19 miles from Curry Village)
Ending the weekend with all this crazy hiking, I felt exhausted yet refreshed at the same time because I didn’t experience any foot issues. I hope this is a major sign of my recovery. Running starts on Monday, but at a reasonable comeback rate. Hooray!
Today got to Woollett Aquatics Center and found out they had an event going on so had to go to Northwood instead. This Aquarunning session was soooo tough. 20:00 warm-up followed by 3×9:00 (hard) repeats with 4:00 recovery. This will look like cake tomorrow when I have to run in pool for 1:45:00! Ahh…the benefits of being injured – NOT!
Time: 18:04, 2nd W, 1st in AG. Click HERE for complete results.
Feeling super excited after my last race performance at the 30th Annual City of Cypress 5K. My goal for the day was to try and reach an 18:10 time but after disastrous morning up to the race start, I just hoped to finish without jumping into a porta-potty along the course. I guess mentally everything seemed to be going wrong even though it wasn’t SUCH a big deal that I had waited forever in the port-potty line only to jump in and realize there wasn’t any toilet paper (so didn’t use it) and after that I didn’t have any time left for warming-up. I did a few strides before I found my coach and teammates at the starting line. I simply went up to my coach and told her, “Tell me I am going to be fine even though I didn’t warm up.” She simply hugged me, gave me this kind smile and look directly in my eye and told me to get in a few more strides and I would be fine. I felt better but was still worried about my stomach that was still making all kinds of crazy noises!
This venue hosted both a 5K and 10K with cash prizes available for the 10K winners. I always expect fast competition at these events and I don’t mind getting my butt kicked if it could possibly mean faster race times for me. As you can see from the first line of this post, I took second overall in the 5K but because the both races started simultaneously, with the looping the 5K twice, I was surprised (pleasantly) when my boyfriend told me I was the second woman finisher behind my coach – SCORE! I remembered there at least a few gals in front of me as I headed down the dreadfully long mile finish but it made sense that they had kept going around for the second loop. Geez, they were pretty darn good. I only had enough fuel in me to get to the shoot before I hunched over in exhaustion.
Anyway, I just planned on consistent 5:52 splits to get me to that 18:10 but as soon as the gun went off, and I am noticing this in every 5K that I am running, EVERYONE takes off like a bat out of hell. Seriously, I glanced at my watch and we were running 5:36 and there were tons of runners in front going even faster (even kids)! It seems really fast but when you are in the race momentum, it really doesn’t seem that crazy until you pay for it later when you hit the wall. I made the hardest effort to slow down to stay on MY target pace and found myself right on at the first mile mark. A little after the mile marker, we turned right into a residential area and I totally got sidetracked, my mind was wandering all over the place. It was a good thing I caught that quickly enough to avoid losing precious seconds during that mile. My teammate Radell was near me at the point where I jumped back on pace and told me to hold my pace and not push it just yet. I was grateful for that although I knew I was only making up for the seconds I had just lost.
It seems that we had a few more turns in a residential area before we hit the final mile stretch and I was feeling pretty good. I kept glancing at my watch to check my average pace and knew I was right around my goal but I had to keep pushing if I was going to make it. By this time Radell had pushed ahead of me and I just kept my sights on him and down the road searching for the finish line balloon banner. The final stretch was pretty uncomfortable and I started to question my strength when I realized that this mile seemed so long! Thankfully I had adjusted my bezel settings earlier to see my overall time and I realized I was going to finish faster than 18:10 (no way!) and before I knew it, I was staring down the timer that was still showing under 18:00. I just kicked and kept my eye on it, finishing in 18:04. So close to breaking 18:00 and for a split second I questioned myself as to why I started to give up when I was so close but then I remembered that I had achieved my goal and to “always be grateful.”
Overall a great race venue that I would definitely race again.
Here’s to breaking 18:00 (next time)…
My teammates did so good! Left to right: Radell Hutchens 17:54, me, Coach Sylvia Mosqueda 17:20, Lydia (cheerleader for the day). Bottom: Mohammed Abed 17:16
I promised myself that today, my day off from exercising that I would do two things — work on a craft project and post on my page. I finished the craft, (see photo below) and I am in the middle of typing my post now so I’m happy about that. Seems like two things that aren’t really that complicated to squeeze into my schedule but I have been so crazy busy lately that I rarely get to do the other things that I love. It seems that my weekdays leave me only enough time to get a run in after work and not much else. Weekends aren’t much better because I typically have a long run on Sunday which means I am prisoner on Saturday to reserve any energy I have for it and then after the run on Sunday, I am completely wiped out for the rest of the day. Complete party pooper. Grandma. Whatever. It probably sounds like I am complaining but really, I do enjoy my running and I know that I have to endure this schedule (temporarily) if I really want to break 3:00:00 in November. It all comes down to how badly I want to achieve it. I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life that support me, especially Dom. Poor guy (or lucky guy) rarely hears from me during the week and only gets to see me like one, maybe two nights throughout the whole week.
This weekend a group of us are going to see Journey, last year we saw a cover band at the OC Fair and had a lot of fun, can’t imagine how awesome this will be. The concert will be on Saturday night and that morning I will be running the City of Cypress 5K. Thank goodness the race is before the concert or that would be an event killer. Let’s just see how Sunday’s run goes — I probably will call in sick. Coach, don’t read this.
Anyway, training has been going exceptionally well. I am really excited to see what the future holds. I was just messaging someone today about how I am afraid to celebrate my current training after what happened to me the week before LA Marathon. I guess I shouldn’t be so afraid but I do know that anything can happen from now until November until I cross that finish line I can’t really celebrate. Coach has been so great, her training programs are extremely good (and even more difficult) and I can literally see and feel the difference. My running mates, especially Radell have been very motivating and encouraging and I know that they are also contributing to my improvements. I would suggest to anyone who wants to improve — run with people that are gonna push you. Don’t get discouraged if you are not the fastest, in fact I am practically the turtle on the team. At first it kinda sucks, especially when you have to chase people around the track and during tempos but at the end of the day, you get so strong physically and mentally and it helps you as a competitor.
For my race this weekend I have a goal (of course) to try and beat my last time of 18:32. I want to shoot for a 5:52 pace and try to finish around 18:10. Every time I get nervous or doubtful, I just think about the hard workouts that have prepared me for this moment. I’d say of all the workouts I had in the last two weeks the one that hurt the most was a two mile repeat (two of them) at Griffith Park. I nearly gave up and I wanted to cry (or at least I told myself that I would cry when it was over). By the time the workout was done, I had accomplished it. Yeah I was off during my last repeat but I did it and I was so happy that I didn’t give in to my weakness. Looking forward to the race and testing my training.
I ran across this great quote the other day and it really hit home – hope you enjoy it:
“The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show us how badly we want something.” -Randy Pausch
Hope everyone is running happy and healthy!
Wow. A Snails Pace really represented this past weekend in the 12th Northgate Downtown Anaheim 5K. Actually, this race attracted A LOT of fast runners in general, very impressive. Loved it! I ran an 18:32 and was the 9th female finisher, 3rd in age group and 41 out of 1231. The winning F finished in 17:19 while the winning M time was 15:03 — talk about crazy fast!
Click HERE for full results.
Anyway, I really wanted to run another race after leaving my last 5K race uncertain of my real time since the course was cut short (2.85 miles). I asked my coach if I could give it a shot and she was more than happy to re-work out my schedule for the week so I could squeeze it in. I was really excited to see her show up to the event along with two other teammates Radell and Bill. My boyfriend also decided to be spectator instead of racing so he could support me and act as photographer (thank you Goose).
Now I don’t really know how to set goals for this type of short race right now but I am going to see if eventually I can break 18:00 this year. For this race, I figured I would try to hit a 5:52 pace to finish around an 18:10. The only stern direction I got from my coach was that I make sure I don’t go out too fast. Noted. She didn’t have to really convince me though, these races are exhausting and the last thing I want to do is hit the wall too early.
Anyway, during my typical pre-track/race warm-up, I was feeling fatigued but once the race started, I was just fine. As the gun went off, I tried to keep an eye on my watch to check my pace. It’s not easy to stay on any kind of pace when you are training faster than you are used to and have to stare at your watch just to make sure you are where you need to be. I tend to find myself looking at it a little too much during races, track and tempos and I actually wear the watch with the bezel at the back of my wrist so I can inconspicuously view it without notice.
I came through the first mile around 5:53 (perfect) and started to feel tired around halfway. To my surprise my coach was waiting for me at the two mile mark ready to run me in to the finish and keep me on pace. She had started the race with us to do her own personal time trial for two miles and boy was she was flying! As I saw her I was both happy and worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my pace. Luckily she didn’t say much, she just stayed right in front of me hoping I’d try to shadow as I do during track practice. Mentally that helped, it was a common feeling and although I was slowing down, and my arms again felt like dead weight and I knew I might be in trouble when a woman who had been only a few feet in front of me until about 2.5, started to get further ahead without any sort of struggle on my end to prevent it.
I managed to hang on and run the last two miles in 6:03 and 6:05 and was extremely happy to see the finish line and remembered what my coach told me when I had finished: BE PATIENT AND ALWAYS GRATEFUL.
Twenty more days until the next one. I don’t want to think about hitting a goal just yet, I just want to training hard and smart and let my legs carry to the finish.
The past week has been dreadfully long and pretty painful for more reasons than I will elaborate publicly. Doing everything in my power to dig deep and not slumber into that bat cave that I currently long for.
Running-wise, another solid week! Five weeks in and I am feeling very strong mentally and physically. I am also taking note of the change of my energy while 5K training (compared to mary training). So much more energy, so much more time on my hands – can’t complain, gotta enjoy it while I can. 🙂 Had a few good runs in this week – most notably track (see workout here), the Every Child Matters 5K (see workout here) and today’s long run (see workout here). Just keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that they will continue to get better all the while avoiding injuries.
I ran that 5K yesterday and really, it wasn’t 5K, it was about 2.85 miles, nearly a quarter mile short! I found that rather disappointing because I am so eager to see where I will land at the finish line so I can determine a really 5K goal moving forward. I crossed the line at 16:59, first female and rather pissed off. I was really annoyed when on camera I was asked to say my name, finishing place and time because I wanted to throw that “but” in there right after saying, “Hi, my name is Tracy Bowling, I was the first female finisher with a time of 16:59.” Kind of felt like I was lying…oh well, not my fault. I know it is safe to say I would have ran low 18’s and that pushes my goal to break 18:00 this year. This is much easier than a mary just simply due to statistics – I can race a 5K every weekend and get lots of practice and experience without taking a major toll on my body. I guess we will just have to keep plugging away at it, I say “we” because my coach is 100% in to help make all my running goals realistic.
Not much else to say…I am typing from bed while I procrastinate packing my bags for NYC tonight. All work I am afraid, and a little play that will surely equal one nice run in Central Park. Oh, I can’t forget hitting up all my favorite bead stores and restaurants!! I seriously LOVE New York.
PS – RIP Remy. He must have been visiting because I had never met him or any other rat for that matter at my place before. Apparently he had such a wild fiesta while I was away, gorging on my Tostitos chips, that he decided to stay permanently. He only lasted two days here before the exterminator caught him. Gross right? Well I only tell you so you won’t ever ask to stay at my place when you have a marathon in my area… JK
First of all, I can’t even believe I can focus long enough to put this post up. I just applied a clay mask and my face is literally pulsating and it is not even completely dry! If you want to try an amazing facial mask, you have to try this — at least for the experience: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay. My friend Chris told me about it and I told my BF’s sisters about it and we all love it. I picked it up from Whole Foods (I told you this store takes all my money!) for like $6-7 bucks plus $3 for the apple cider vinegar that you need to mix in with powder. I neglect my face a little too often, opting to spend $100 on new running shoes rather than getting a facial. This mask kind of makes me feel better about buying the shoes and only paying $7 for this facial.
ANYWAY, today I had a great track workout with my coach. We did a ladder-type workout and it was THE hardest run in a long time. Coach decided to come to my workout to critique my form and to see what I can do. She actually ran with me – I had to stay on her shoulder, right behind her. As I mentioned before, my arms feel like lead and today was no exception. The first 1600 felt good – 5:40 splits. All the others were hard but I hit my marks. I get so frustrated when I do these kind of workouts where I am on the verge of missing my marks. These shorter distances make me experience a pain like I have not ever felt – it is not easy for me to want to get back out there on the track or in a 5K but I know that I have to do it if I want to get faster. (Stop being a puss Trace!) Coach was glad she was able to run with me – she said I am faster than she thought and she is no longer going to take it easy on me. I know I will have my work cut out for me. Glad this workout is over and a little excited to think I am heading towards a full recovery.
A few exciting things came my way today: I registered for the SF half marathon in July and I got some new running shoes! I am excited about SF since last year I had to cancel my participation because of my stress fracture. This year I have a lot of friends running either the full or half and we love getting together for these types of events so it should be a blast. I have no idea what my timed goal should be – how fast can I prep for a mary? It is only 10 weeks away and I hear it is NOT a course for a PR …I guess I should talk to coach.
I also headed to Runnergy during my lunch break to pick up another pair of shoes. I did just buy a pair of Saucony Grid Flex this past weekend but I bought them with the intention to race in or wear to the track. I still needed a pair of trainers badly because I don’t like the Mizuno Wave Riders (14) at all. I absolutely fell in love with the 13s and when they came out with a new model, I gladly swooped up a pair. Unfortunately they didn’t grow on me and I have never experience so many blisters and feet issues. I scoured the internet, checked local running stores and even had Runnergy call Mizuno direct to find the 13s – and there aren’t any size 9’s anywhere in this country. I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out a different type of shoe with similar features but maybe lighten the shoe up a bit and go with something a little less heavy and bulky. Up until the Wave Riders, I was mistakenly wearing shoes with too much stability when I needed a more neutral shoe. I have been wanting to try the KSWISS – they have some nice shoes and I tried on the Blade Light (I think) and the Adidas Adizero Boston 2s before deciding to go with Adidas. I not only liked the obnoxious color, I loved how light they were. I was able to test them out today during my track workout and loved them. I am hoping to wear them during my normal training runs and then find a good pair of flats for the track. After that I won’t buy anymore shoes for a while (although I still want KSWISS). I totally got hooked up too – Jeff (the owner) gave me a pretty good discount and I love that I can totally ransack the place when trying on a million pairs of shoes all the while feeling comfortable telling him that the color of my shoe is almost important as it’s technical features. 🙂
Anyway, I have to get this mask off my face…my pores can’t possibly shrink anymore and I am tired of smelling vinegar. You should still try it out though…
Another week down in the books – Week #3! Finished this week up with a 5K race in Corona del Mar. The race wasn’t a real race for me – a good training run to get an idea of my fitness and to test my hip since my injury. My coach mentioned this race and I was excited to register and got our group of women (including coach) to register not only as individuals, as a team. I get excited over things like that and I always like running with people I know so it sounded like a good plan. As for myself, I didn’t have any great plans or expectations…just run. The plan was to run 6:20 pace and if I am feeling up to it, pick it up. Nothing too special to report, I felt great and ran a 19:12 (6:11 pace). The only thing that did bother me and always bothers me are my heavy arms. They feel like lead during most and I need to figure something out because it is really annoying! Overall a great day for all – coach came in to finish first running a 17:32 and we finished second overall as a team. NEXT TIME!
I am all about counting when it comes to my training – I count the months, weeks, days, miles…everything! Every time I trained for a mary or any other special occasion, I have always counted: Week 1 of 18, Day 23 of 60 for example. I don’t really want to do that anymore because when it gets to the wire, well, I haven’t had much luck making it to that final day. 🙂 But it’s me and I can’t help it! …And it does help. Kinda keeps me on track and focused. Well, I am at it again and I guess it is safe to say this is my THIRD week back officially!
Week two by far has been the most challenging, ending the week with 46 miles and falling short during my tempo run. I was so frustrated that day – how is it that right before my marathon I ran the last 4 miles of a 22-mile run at 6:40 pace but I could not run 4 miles at 7:00 pace? Fortunately my long run ending that week was a 10-miler and I hit my targets perfectly — I had to focus, but I did it. YES
Week 3 (last week) was a bit easier – only 36 miles but I had a track workout on Tuesday and finished the week with a 12-miler, averaging around 7:28 per mile. Nothing this week (including my track/tempo) was as challenging as my long run. That run was hard because I ran near my home and I get bored running the same loops year after year, not to mention I was alone. Cardio-wise, it was a little tough and I had to work to make up for my slow starting miles. I finished the workout beaming with excitement and ready to really focus on something in the near future. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
Right now I am really excited to run with my coach and four of her other athletes this weekend for the Magic Shoe 5K. We are registering as a team and hopefully we can win as an all Female team. I will most definitely be the weakest link but I don’t care – I am gonna push through just like I did at Surf City in February. It’s only the start of my speed-like runs and I know I will get better as I get more speed runs in. I have no idea what I will run a 5K in – 20 minutes? IDK! Don’t quote me on this!
I have also been very conscious with my diet. I love food. I love anything that is thick and bread-y — like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, double-singles animal style with chopped chiles, maple donuts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I am NOT letting myself over-indulge at this point. I do eat them, just not as often. I noticed a slight change in my tummy and butt (I do the daily butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test), specifically cellulite and although I ALWAYS have it, it was really, really dimply and I didn’t like it — especially with bikini season coming up! It’s been a few weeks and I notice there aren’t as many dimples so I am OK with what is there, it is what it is and I do like my butt and wouldn’t want it any other way! 😉
At my last doctor’s visit, my coach told me to get my ph levels checked – TOTAL FAIL! I have since then purchased litmus paper (arriving on Thursday via my boyfriend) and daily testing will be in effect. Having said this, I try to eat many more fruits and veggies and I don’t forget to take my minerals. And as always, I have a new obsession (actually two) — Green SuperFood Powder (specifically the Lemon Lime flavor) from Amazing Grass that I drink once daily. I have been trying the individual packets, testing all the brands and flavors and this one I can actually stir in with 8oz of water and not heave. Before I found this one, I would stir the powder in with only a little water and down it like a shot (minus the lime and salt).
Also, I am happy that I FINALLY found the Perfect Foods Bar! I remember when I spectated at the San Diego RnR marathon last year (11 months ago!), I ate all my friend’s sample bars. They were sooooo good – I don’t even know how to explain it but the peanut flavored bars literally fell apart in my mouth. My friend said I could get them at Whole Foods and I made it my mission to get some. Sadly enough I didn’t really pay attention to the brand because I thought I would find them easily and only a week ago I found them! I never looked in the cold raw food section of the market and that is where they were the whole time! I only found them when I noticed this woman dump two whole cases into her cart. As she left the aisle I hurried over to see what I was missing – gold mine! Anyway, these bars a soooooo good – did I already say that? Well, I bought my own bars and have been eating one everyday although I fight myself not to have two per day as they are kind of high in calories. They just taste like peanut butter blended with honey…
I found both of these things at Whole Foods. Typically I try to stay away from this store because I want to buy everything — from Toms shoes, to organic skin care items, to vitamins and of course really unique food items. I decided that even though I get half the food for twice the price (compared to Trader Joes), I am only going to shop here. Doesn’t make sense to you but I justified it like this: When I go to Trader Joes, I buy random stuff that gets tossed in the trash week after week. Shopping at Whole Foods puts me on a budget and I make sure to get what I really want and need. Plus, I always love their stuff!
Anyway, all this talk about the grocery store is getting me hungry, I have to eat! And one last thing, don’t act like you don’t do the butt-squeeze-in-the-mirror-test…
Yep, the first one in who knows how long. Hopefully I will be able to eliminate some of the long overdue items from my task list including laundry, budgeting, cooking, organizing and even listing some items for sale on Craigslist (Twilight Series books – anyone?) I also want to read some more books on my Kindle — I am in the middle of two: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and 50 Self-Help Classics (think Deepak Chopra, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.). Complete opposites, I know but I love them both!
Tonight (Friday) started pretty good, I took a little nap after work before heading out the door for a 7 mile run. The runs are getting easier but I am a little annoyed that I am not in the same shape that I was when I got injured. I am making progress though and that is all that matters. Also excited to get a run in with my coach and a friend from LARR on Sunday. I think we are going to get in 12 miles at Griffith Park and hopefully I can hang with them. Coach said we are going to run MY pace – we shall see about that!
Alright, I am out for the night. Going to open my $4.95 cent wine that I picked up from World Market. They had this sale – $4.95 regularly $14.95 . Sounded pretty darn good…now I have to find out. 😉
My Boston race experience was not what I expected and it went something like this:
Start. Run for 40 minutes. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. *Smile* (camera). Bar stop. Walk. Walk. Run (there’s another camera). Walk. *Kiss* (Wellesley) Walk. *Smile* (camera). Walk. Walk. Walk. *complain* Walk. Walk some more and finally, FINISH! (more…)
Boston is literally just around the corner and I just decided last week that I would suck up all my anger and frustration and just go and enjoy my time there without running. This was a hard decision but like everything in life, time makes you less sensitive and eventually you realize that whatever you are going through will not last forever. So there.
I had recently asked all you if you thought I could still wear all the Boston gear I bought without actually racing and the overall consensus was “YES.” I qualified to run it and I deserve to wear it proudly. I dare you to say something mean. 😉 I loved reading everyone’s opinions and it was obvious that we are all very passionate about that opinion too. I finally decided that I would return all the stuff (jacket and two pair of shorts) I purchased since I ordered them online through adidas.com. When I went to grab the stuff to package, I realized I ripped off the tag of one pair of shorts so I guess I am keeping those – I must have been excited when I tried them on or something. 🙂 I think I made the right decision – I will have an extra $100 in my account PLUS I am going to get a long sleeve race shirt when I pick up my bib anyway. That turned out well.
Now that I know I am not running and no longer have to worry about “resting” before the race, mind has shifted to all the things I want to do while in Boston. Besides visiting my long lost cousin for a few days, I want to be a tourist and have been accumulating a long list of things to do. I am just starting to put the list together and I would love to get your suggestions! I will be flying out on Friday morning and returning Tuesday night.
Now it’s time for me to pack. I hate packing more than anything else. I don’t know why but I think I don’t like having to commit to what I am gonna wear. I like to have all the options in my closet available and that can’t happen – at least not with all these increased bag-check rates. Today I bought my very first suitcase simply because I hate packing and usually just toss stuff into duffle bags and head out. Nothing too expensive and I think it is bright enough to immediately recognize when coming around the conveyor belt. Right?
Also, I am trading my LA Marathon racing shirt to a fellow DM’r (Michael P.) from Singapore. He is swapping me for a racing singlet – really excited to get this singlet and glad to get rid of that dreadful race shirt! Michael – I will ship it out tomorrow!
Anyway, I have so many things and have to get offline soon. I am so excited for everyone that is racing on Monday and look forward to hearing everyone’s stories. I am sure I will have my own to tell and can’t wait to get there.
I am taking two weeks completely off with zero running. It’s the only right thing to do right now. Taking baby running steps is only taking me back a few more and getting me nowhere. Boston is for the most part not happening unless miraculously something happens and changes in the other direction.
Coach and I discussed this and decided to put it out of my mind and not attempt to make it up (right away) by running a different so soon. Step one is to get better and the next step is setting shorter-termed goals with shorter distances.
Boston is not completely out of my mind though and I didn’t tell my coach this. Boston is a dream we all have as marathoners. I realized that I will hate every moment running Boston if I am not going to run it fast. Maybe you don’t agree but I will never forget the moment during LA when I stopped and how I felt as the slower pace groups passed me. I wasn’t tired at all – I was trapped in this injured body and couldn’t do anything to change that. Heartbreaking. I can’t imagine running Boston just to finish and still crack a smile and enjoy the amazing experience of being there. Everyone is telling me how positive I am – I don’t feel that way all the time. I have these up and down bouts of emotion that are driving me crazy. Like super crazy. I will run Boston if I think it is safe and I am not injured…it is the only way. So if I do, I do, and if I don’t then I don’t. It is not the end of the world (although it feels like it in some weird way). I can always cancel my hotel, get a credit for my Virgin Airlines flight, sell my Redsox tix and sell or trade all the Boston gear that I already bought if necessary. That last part is funny and I will never buy race branded gear before I get to that starting line! So if you are running Boston and I don’t, I have some nice Boston gear in a size small that I am willing to barter with. J
Anyway, for now get better. Then train for 5ks and 10ks. Get some PRs and then do some half marys. My next marathon will be in November. Well, I hope that I will be able to run a marathon in November. I am starting to learn that with marathons whether training for them or during the races themselves, are so unpredictable – anything can happen.
Sometimes I actually do think a little clearly during this whole fiasco and I do think that increasing those shorter distances will only improve my marathon time and maybe that is what I should have done first. Don’t know but I am up for it. Don’t tell me I told you so. I am constantly beating myself up as it is trying to figure out what happened.
What a crazy marathon! I knew that going into the race there was a chance that I might have that pain that I had been complaining the week before the race. I tried to stay positive but that could only get me so far.
I had so many crazy experiences in one race – it would take me forever to get it all out in this post so I will just get to the point. First, I’d like to say thanks to everyone that encouraged me before/during/after the race. This was by far one of the worst race experiences both mentally and physically. This makes the stress fracture pain seem like a joke.
The evening before the race my coach called me and told me not to attempt a 3-hour marathon dealing with these crazy forecasted weather conditions and the recent pains I had been experiencing. “No problem coach.” LOL The plan was to run sub-7 until the half and then pick up gradually. The sub-7 plan was perfect up until a little past the half – I felt like I was in great shape. The pain in my hip/butt/back hurt from the first step and unfortunately I knew that it was a matter of how long I could endure it.
The morning weather conditions kind of threw me off a little. It was chilly, not too cold and I made a last minute decision to leave my warm Nike jacket in bag-check because I knew that on a whim I would throw it on the street when I felt a little too warm and I don’t really want to give up a jacket that I have held onto for 10 years. Luckily a friend brought me a long sleeve top and a rain poncho to use and stay warm. I can’t thank her enough because looking back, the poncho was one of the only things that kept me semi-protected from the rain and wind. Thanks Ashley! XO
After the hill at 1st and Grand, a lot of runners began to strip themselves of their warm clothes and ponchos which makes sense just getting over that hill and feeling a little heated. I also took of my poncho but I heard a guy say, “I’d hold on to that if I were you,” so I balled it up and tucked it into my waistband. Smart move, good advice! Around mile 5 it started pouring and I put it back on and never took it off again during the race.
Around mile 13 I decided that I needed to ease off the gas and walk to avoid any additional injuries but I couldn’t stop immediately (I have to admit). It was so humiliating to stop in front of cheering spectators – I felt like a total quitter. I slowed my pace for an additional 3 miles before I realized that I shouldn’t do that so I took my first walking step at around mile 17 just passed the Concern Foundation booth. Immediately as I stopped, I let out a crybaby kind of cry and someone was there immediately to comfort me – my boyfriend. He was running 7:30 splits and was able to catch me as I fell off after 13. He was very concerned and didn’t want to leave me. I sort of sucked in my cry and asked how he felt, he said he was feeling great so I told him to leave and chase that PR. I later found out that he felt so bad and couldn’t get over leaving me. There was nothing he could have done for me at that point and I had no idea what was in store for me later.
When I stopped, I really thought that a 10-mile walk wouldn’t be that bad but I soon realized that was not the case because I was not moving very well and the cold temperatures were making me completely stiff all over. Once I hit Santa Monica near Century City, I was barely moving. I could barely shuffle and finally, I could barely walk.
Getting into the VA Hospital area, I realized that 5 miles would take me about 2.5 hours at the rate I was going and I literally stopped kneeled over and cried. I stopped three or four times and finally, upon realizing that the huge tent around the corner was NOT a medical tent, I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I was so cold and shivering – my jaw was about to lock, I had bitten the heck out of my tongue with my molars from all the chattering, my back was tightening up (lower back and in between my shoulders) when Jon Li from LA Roadrunners caught up to me and walked with me for what seemed like ¾’s of a mile. He couldn’t have helped me at a more critical time, really. I had nothing in me; I couldn’t see a way out of this disaster. He helped push me forward and helped me get my breathing under control, literally walking me through breathing steps all the way to San Vicente. Before he left, I had to tell him that I was OK and that I would make it to the finish. I can’t thank him enough. Thank you Jon!
The rain never died down and although I only had four miles by the time I was on San Vicente, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I must have looked like a zombie. I could only put one foot right in front of the other, I didn’t look around, or ahead, I just looked down now stopping every 100 meters or so to regroup. Around mile 22, I saw a Whole Foods market so I headed over there and got under the awning. I asked a spectator if I could use his phone and I called my boyfriend assuming he had finished and could rescue me. I left the Whole Foods before I realized that could have bought a sweatshirt to try and stay warm. A little later I spotted a Lululemon and I was in a zone to get in that store. I asked a guy to help me get inside and I just handed the clerk my credit card and asked her to help get me something warm. I ended up leaving with a $106.00 sweatshirt and again was on my way. I remember leaving excited and then immediately disappointed to find myself freezing again. I couldn’t believe that I made it that far without it!
My breaking point happened when I spotted a big mile marker realizing it was NOT mile 25 but mile 24! Oh no! I was completely demoralized. Mentally I thought I could go the last 1.2 miles and everyone kept trying to encourage me by saying, “you can do it, you are almost there…” I heard it so much that I lost track of my distance and I knew that there was no way I could push at that slow pace for the remaining distance. A woman had noticed me stopping and attempting to go again without much success and asked me to consider sitting in a cop car to get warm. As I finally agreed to this, some gentlemen approached the car and invited me into his home with his family. They had been watching the marathon all morning and by this time, the clock on my watch indicated that I had been out there for nearly 5 hours! Almost immediately after noticing this, the watch battery died.
Once inside, I was offered dry clothes, breakfast pizza, water, hot tea and coffee. I shyly said no to most offers as I felt I was intruding enough already. Slowly but surely I started to relax and my nightmare turned into a very pleasant moment of appreciation from their generosity. They really saved my day. At that point, I was no longer upset or disappointed, I was so thankful. It was a touching moment for me. I called my boyfriend again and waited for him and my friends to come get me. As I waited I enjoyed my coffee, watched part of Superman and was handed a laptop so I could read about the men’s winner who had ran an unbelievable record time.
Once I was picked up, the day continued with post race celebrations at the Viceroy hotel. It was nice to see Angel (Happy Birthday) and Adrian before my group settled down for the evening with nice food, drinks and better conversations. It was nice to be together again.
I can’t say thank you enough – I received so many emails, texts and voicemails yesterday and today. Shame on me for not posting or updating sooner but I felt like I was hit by a bus this morning when I woke up. I shouldn’t have gone to work but I did and I think that helped get me through the day, staying focused and distracted. Thanks to Janese for bringing me a change of clothes including the blanket that was used as a sarong!
My workout scheduled for today was to walk for 20 minutes and managed to get in .68 miles. Tomorrow I go back for PT with the chiropractor and I think I still have enough time for Boston. Oddly enough, I am excited about LA Marathon next year after this year’s experience and running a smart half. I really feel confident and less stressed about those hills. It wasn’t as bad as it was last year, assuming it was from staying reserved early in the race.
Click here for my Garmin splits.
Interesting quote from Wesley Korir after finishing the race:
Two-time defending champion Wesley Korir, who had set the race record of 2:08:24 in 2009, finished fourth in 2:13:23. He said his legs gave out at the 21st mile. ”First of all, I’d like to thank God that I’m still alive,” said Korir, smiling. “I thought it was the end of my life.”
Glad to know us “average” runners weren’t the only ones thinking this way!
Congratulations to Dom, Jen L., Jen F., Paul, Adrian, Angel, Ashley, Teresa, Maria and everyone else who finished and powered through!
The countdown begins. It seems like that timer has been ticking in my head for quite some time and it is exhausting. I keep trying to analyze why I am such a freakazoid about this race and no matter what excuse I find I guess it is just because I expect a lot from me. I wouldn’t try for a 3:00:00 marathon in 2011 if I didn’t think I had it in me, I am just nervous. The biggest reason that I feel anxious about it unlike last year when I was doing the 12/12 is because I didn’t have any pressure and if I had a bad race, I could try again the next month. If I learned anything, I don’t want to run just any marathon anymore, they need to be pretty darn important to put my life and body on that schedule. Besides doing LA and Boston in March and April, I won’t get near another until November (more to come about this later) but will instead work on my speed and try to get some quicker PRs in 10ks and 5ks. I have yet to discuss this part with my coach but I am sure she will agree since she didn’t even want me to run Boston so close after LA. Boston was a go this year no matter what anyone said. I want this experience and I don’t know where I will want to be in 2012.
Today my coach and I more or less finalized my race day plans. I say more or less because I have THE plan (Plan A) and then I have Plan B and C. She was adamant about having other plans ready because she said you can’t every really predict race conditions. My goal for 2011 is to break 3:00:00 but I don’t really know when and where it will happen. In the reality of things, it is a big leap to jump from 3:16:16 to 2:59:59 so I have to be ready to do it or do it later this year. Right now I also don’t think taking 8 seconds off 7:00 miles will be hard but that again is not really that easy when you start doing the math. With that said, I have been waiting to hear the verdict of what my racing plans will be and now I know. Plan A for the first half of the race will include 7:00 splits and try to make my move from there, picking it up gradually. Gradually. This pace for the entire distance will put me at 3:03:00 so any amount of seconds per mile will get that time down even further. Plan B and C I don’t even want to get into and I am not trying to think about them because I don’t want to immediately jump into another plan in the race when and if I start feeling bad. I am afraid that when the going gets tough I might tell myself it is OK to go there because in a way they are part of the plan. Must not go there unless I absolutely need to. I will be doing my typical track workout warm-up which includes a two mile jog, specific drills and 6×100 strides to get my heart rate up. I will also have my training partner run with me for the first half so I don’t have to think about my times or splits, I will just have to decide what to do once I am at the half. Additionally, knowing the dreadful course, especially at the beginning I asked what happens if 7:00 seems to fast? Basically it is up to me to slow down a little knowing I have a lot of time to make it up but I don’t like the sound of making up too much time. I have enjoyed almost all my previous marys because I trained at MRP and didn’t think they were too hard. I hope I say that after Sunday. Let’s see.
I know going into the race anything can happen and you can bet that no matter what happens, I will be proud of myself. I can’t imagine anything worse than what happened at OC marathon last year and even that wasn’t so bad (pain and mental-wise). Like most of you have said, trust your training, think positive and just go with it. Thank you for all your advice, support and motivation – I owe you a big thank you!
As I mentioned earlier, my calf spasm went away – woot woot! Unfortunately after my run my foot hurt like a mofo! I needed a foot adjustment bad – you know that feeling where your foot needs to pop but it won’t? That kind of pain. I went to the chiropractor today and got adjusted. He immediately noticed my let was jammed and my left leg was having some major issues that he “fixed” by popping all kinds of stuff (neck, hip, feet). I also asked for Cold Laser Therapy which is just some red light that sends waves through the infected area and does something that I don’t entirely believe in. At this point, I am willing to believe it to get through the week and on the starting line with positive thoughts. Whatever works right?
I am also almost through a complete day of carb depleting and in my opinion it hasn’t been a big deal. Today I ate two hard-boiled eggs, banana, a slice of Muenster cheese and coconut water (breakfast), Beef/veggie stir-fry (lunch), Fage yogurt, almonds (snacks), salmon and squash (dinner). I am eating one apple, orange and yogurt a day for some sort of balance. I can also enjoy my Starbuck’s drink in the morning – thank goodness I asked about that instead of assuming I can’t have it! Happy Trace. I just spent $100 on some random food that will help me get to Thursday when I can finally have carbs (brown rice), yay! I am really loving that coconut water – it has more potassium than a banana and is a great electrolyte drink. I need to stay hydrated this week – super important. It is quite possible that I don’t have that starving feeling because I am actually hydrating. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow at the track when I have to run 3×1 mile at 5:50 pace…hahah
Speaking of money, I am spending way too much lately. I have gotten three massages in two weeks, got new shoes, spent over $100 on some running clothes that I may or may not wear on race day (not including the $150 I spent on the Boston gear), booked a hotel in my home town, spent $75 at the chiropractor and so much more on crap I can’t even list. Way to go Trace, good thing you work hard for your money! Oh, but don’t think I don’t have that extra $100 tucked in my pocket for an LA Marathon jacket – that is a must. When I am 80 years old wearing it, I will feel so cool!
Anyway, time to think positive, time to relax and time to believe in myself.
I sort of had a breakdown four weeks ago after my long run with TCLA (Track Club LA). We ran 21 miles of the LA Marathon course and although it was helpful to get reacquainted with the course, I instead felt like it discouraged me more than ever. I know that if I hadn’t made my commitment to help raise funds for the Concern Foundation, I would reconsider running it at all. Click here to read my post workout re-cap (or complaint). The actual run itself wasn’t that bad. I guess I was just so unsure of myself that everything around the race seemed that way.
That day was just the icing on the cake as one would say and I was a wreck. I guess I had been second-guessing all my training recently. I see the improvement and I won’t deny that, but I have basically been following a Hal Higdon program (which I love and strongly recommend) that I customized for myself in hopes of running a sub-3 marathon in 2011. Partly knowing that I was responsible for my stress fracture last year and also realizing that for the past 16 weeks running had been on the forefront of all my priorities (in front of work, social, etc.), I was afraid that I could cause another sidelining injury by making another rookie mistake. I also realized I should maximize the time that I was already putting in. That makes sense, right?
I am still feeling the effects from last weekend’s festivities — mostly good memories but also a lot of fatigue.
Wow. Time flies. We all know this and all say this but man, that’s the truth! I don’t have anything interesting to report since the last three weeks have been a blur with crazy holiday schedules and horrible weather (horrible for California that is) – my training has been anything but steller.
The funny thing about running is that so much of it is mental. Just when you think you are going to run slow for slacking off, you are able to do amazingly well and run much faster than you thought. I would say that how our body thanks us for rest. You know how awful you feel during a taper? You feel guilty for slacking and preparing for a race and then everything turns out fine. I am banking on this rest or tapering experience to push me through the next weeks of training in an attempt to stay positive for slacking so much recently.
On another note, this weekend LARR (LA Roadrunners) will be meeting at Dodger Stadium, we will be running 2 loops around the stadium as well as the LA 5K course through Elysian Park. I personally need this “hill training” as I rarely have an opportunity to get any trail running into my schedule.
Click here to see the 5K course.
Anyway, I hope everyone is great at the start of the new year. Thank you for all the motivation and encouragement. A special thank you to the recent messages I received from random individuals who gave training advice and encouragement – all of it is appreciated!
Week 5 treated me very well which could be from a combination of things including yoga, chiropractic visits and plenty of rest. Maybe too much rest – my mileage is still considerably low but I am blaming that on the early setting sun (think safety first). I will continue to add a few extra miles to my recovery days and try to wake up earlier to pull off longer runs during the week. Good luck to me. The pain I was experiencing previously is almost completely gone and this week there isn’t a pain to complain about. Let’s see how long that lasts.
The real highlight of my week was Sunday, the California International Marathon Relay. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time looking forward to meeting my partner Maryam G. whom I met on Dailymile last year. We both made commitments to run this race together but both experienced major injuries that kept us guessing if we would ever actually make it to the starting line. Fortunately, we were good to go on race day and removed any and all pressures to perform well, we just wanted to finish healthy.
My portion of the relay included Legs 1 and 2 totaling 13.5 miles. It was really nice showing up to the race with only about 1 minute before the gun went off and not stressing about it at all. My plan was to run quickly but not to the point of exhaustion. As the gun went off I found myself between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups. Since I didn’t care so much about running the race competitively, I didn’t care that I was completely boxed in and around mile 3, I felt pretty warm and decided to park myself in front of the 3:10 pace group and stay ahead the rest of the way. It was during the first two miles of the race that I realized we had perfect race conditions – cool temperatures unlike last year where the temperature was 22 degrees at the start with headwinds almost the entire way. Unfortunately my calves felt like they were on fire, very, very tight but I managed to finish without any problems. Immediately after my run, I jumped into my car and headed to mile 26 so I could cheer on my teammates other running friends as they headed into the finish. This was my favorite part of the day, to see the expressions of joy, happiness, exhaustion and fatigue on the faces of the runners as they gave their all to finish the race. I’ll admit I can be very tough physically but as soon as I take note in other’s emotion, it’s almost like it rolls off of them and into me. Almost immediately I experienced bouts of joy and tears, so much so that I missed my team and other friends as they passed by. I only managed to see one pass by, noting he had reached his goal of running under 3:15 – way to go Cameron!
Running a relay during the actual marathon race did have me feeling a little uneasy. I almost felt guilty since I was only running a little more than half while they would run the entire distance of the marathon. At times I felt bad when runners who were noticeably running the full (they didn’t have to wear a Lindsay Lohan type of apparatus around their ankle) pulled up next to me to run by my side. I worried they may pace with me, not realizing I was only running a portion and become discouraged knowing that. I was happy to finally reach the exchange point, I was mentally warped from all the hills I encountered during my legs – I hadn’t really noticed them last year when I ran the full. Seriously, I am either weak and need more hills or they were tough. Still can’t decide but I would say I am weak and need hill training so the next time I run there, I can call them small speed bumps.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 5 OF 20
Total Mileage: 26.54
Cross Training: Yoga
Monday – Recovery Run (4 mi)
Tuesday – Track (6 mi total including warm-up and cool-down), chiropractor
The workout: 1 x 2,000m, 1 x 1,600m, 1 x 1,200m
2,000m – 8:01 (6:24 pace)
1,600m – 6:11
1,200m – 4:17 (5:42 pace)
Wednesday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi), chiropractor
Thursday – Yoga
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Travelling (0 mi)
Sunday – Long Run (13.46 mi)
California International Marathon Relay – 2010
1:35:49 (7:07 avg)
Garmin Stats: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/59008892
Weeks 3 and 4 were like day and night – I ended Week 3 a little concerned about a pain I was feeling in my butt/hip area (to be discussed in a later blog) while I ended Week 4 feeling very strong, confident and recharged for another tough week ahead.
As I have discussed previously, I am following one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training program which is an 18-week program. Technically this is the end of my fourth week of training but only the end of my second week of Hal’s training schedule. I needed a few weeks of light running before I got deep into training just coming back from an injury. I can really feel a difference with my strength and speed so early in my training compared to the final weeks of training right before I fractured my foot – I am much stronger and faster. Definitely don’t have my endurance back, 14 miles being my longest run so far. I would definitely say the running break (down time) really gave my body enough rest and ample time to recover. The funny thing is that even though I know this, I still fight myself on my recovery days. It doesn’t make any sense for me to know that they are important yet I feel guilty running so slowly.
Anyway, here is what happened this week:
WEEK 4 OF 20
Total Mileage: 34:26
Cross Training: None (no time!)
Garmin Statistics: click here
Monday – Recovery Run (3.14 mi)
Tuesday – Track (5.01 mi total including warm-up and cool-down).
The workout: 1 x 4,800m
19:34 (6:36, 6:38, 6:21)
Wednesday – No time to run! (0 mi)
Thursday – Tempo (6.2 mi)
Long Beach Turkey Trot
42:25 (6:50, 7:06, 7:10, 6:52, 6:51, 6:51 :43)
Friday – Rest day (0 mi)
Saturday – Pace Run (6 mi)
42:58 (7:09 avg)
Sunday – Long Run (14 mi)
1:51:09 (7:56 avg)
As I mentioned, it was a really good week, hard but good. No real issues with butt/hip this week. Next week I hope to add 2-3 more miles to my weekly total.
Week 2 started out without a hitch following a strong Sunday run until I pushed it too far during Yin Yoga on Wednesday. This mistake really put a damper on the rest of week’s training and carried all the way through Week 3. Not really sure what I did, but it is no secret that I am not flexible at all and maybe pulled/irritated my hip (or IT Band). I focused most of my energy on stretching, icing and taking care of this issue to prevent further injury.
Going into Week 3 I decided I would try Bikram, determined to work on my flexibility core, but quickly realized that Bikram would be great for me if I didn’t have another sport to consider. I loved the class and the difficulty but it was a little too strenuous for me (a runner). I also skipped Tuesday’s track workout, assuming it wouldn’t be the best idea to do a speed workout feeling tight and scared. By mid week I was a complete grouch – moody and emotional without really knowing why. I guess it could be the change in weather, the upcoming holiday blues or the fact that my period decided to show up again. My hip got progressively better and I began running again just making sure to take it easy and really listen to my body. The week ended with a long 11 mile run in the rain – just what I needed to stay sane.
I feel good going into Week4.
I can’t believe this is already my fourth week back! It is also my last do-whatever-I-want-when-I-want-because-I-said-so and it was MUCH harder to push myself out the door than I expected. I am kind of surprised by this considering I was counting the months/weeks/days/hours/minutes until I would be at it again but then again I have had 5 months off from running!
For me it’s torturous coming back and starting all over from the beginning – and from the beginning I mean everything from getting more rest at night, re-adjusting my diet, low mileage, slow pace and getting used to my training program (Hal Higdon, my hero). The last three weeks I have managed to run around 15 miles a week without a problem. This week will be more like 20.
I am trying to mix it up this season so I can be more of a balanced runner by consistently incorporating pilates/yoga (yoga is tough for me since I can barely touch my toes without pulling something), light strength training, track and REST (somehow I will squeeze that one in)!
Next week will be Week 1 of Hal Higdon’s Advanced II training schedule – I used it for CIM and it was perfect. I don’t follow it religiously, especially since I have certain types of workouts on certain days (track is on Tuesday and pilates is on Thursday for example) and I’ll adjust it and modify it while following the basics.
Below is a snippet of the program. If you want more info, just click on the hyperlink above and you can actually get a detailed description of each workout by clicking on the week number.
Thanks to everyone for all the positive words of encouragement – below is the proof! XOXO