Tag Archives: blogging101July2015

Week 7 done… 5 weeks to go! Lovely Jubbly!

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Got milk? My standard post-run recovery drink!

It’s not been too bad of a week for running, just coming off a race and all.  I only ran twice mid-week because, let’s face it, the hills from last Sunday… well, we’ll just say I needed a bit of recovery in there (ouchie!).  And then my most favorite of runs today, the dreaded LSR… today… 9 miles… today… ugh.

Actually, the run didn’t start off so bad.  I’ve gotten some great inspiration from other bloggers, so I was pumped and ready to tackle it head on.  I even chose the dreaded hill route for my first 5 miles because, dang it, I want to get strong for my upcoming half. I’m happy to say I nailed that beast!  I also switched my run/walk interval times as a way to improve my overall time (run more, walk less), and I nailed that as well!  And I also took the “mind over matter” approach… I completely ignored any type of typical running pain I felt and just ran through it.  Even that worked for me!

But then I hit mile 7.  It was as if my body said, “Oh screw you… if you’re not going to pay attention to how I feel, I’m going to stop cooperating.”  At which point I promptly felt every ache down to the core of my bones.  All of a sudden, I felt how bad my feet hurt, how bad every bone in my body hurt, the pain my joints, the fatigue in my legs.  My toenails even hurt!  My ponytail was all of a sudden too tight!  And I couldn’t freaking catch my breath.

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This is not a sunrise or sunset picture. The orange haze is from the fires that are burning up our state. Makes air quality very poor.

Now, to give you a little insight, Washington state is in the midst of a whole bunch of wildfire crises.  About 165 miles NE of where I live, the little town of Twisp has all but burnt to the ground.  Three firefighters lost their lives fighting this fire last Wednesday.  And the air quality is horrendous, all the way down to Seattle.  The air kept getting thicker and thicker the longer I ran.  As I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, my subconscious fought me really hard and actually broke me.  I couldn’t breathe properly, and once I “felt” I couldn’t breathe properly, the rest of me shut down.  I fought it for a long time, about a mile and a half, but it won in the end.  I ended up only doing 8.5 miles and was terribly sore afterwards.

I didn’t realize how much of a mental struggle that actually was until The Motivator and I analyzed it, because I was so strong in my run for so long.  But my mind found one little thing to focus on, my breathing, and took that opportunity to shut me down.  It’s kind of amazing how that works, isn’t it.  The mind is a powerful thing, don’t underestimate it.  When they say “running long distances is a mental game,” it truly is.  I gave in this time, but I won’t be fooled again.

Another clue as to how this was all mental on my part… James ran 17 miles today no problem, breathing in the thick smoky air way more than me, and he lived to tell about it.  He’s got the mental thing down pat… I still have a bit to learn.  I’ll get there.

I leave you with one last thought… when running long distances, please don’t forget the Body Glide or Vaseline!  But if you do, make sure no one is in the house to hear you scream when you take your shower!

Have a great week!  Next up… 10 miles!!  (Will she live to talk about it?!)

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Hmmm, according to Garmin Connect, I actually did do 9.4 miles. I’ll take it!

Bridge of the Gods Run Video

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At the beginning of the race, there was a little drone high up in the sky to which we all waved.  Following is the video that the drone made.  If you want to see the beginning of the race and what it was like to cross that bridge, have a look.  The video is about 4 minutes long.  If Bridge of the Gods is something you will want to do in the future, or if you need a little inspiration to get pumped for your next race, this will help.  There’s something about watching a crowd of people leave the start line that gets my blood moving.  The drone narrows in on some people walking across the bridge… I can guarantee you I was not one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Treasure Chest of Life

creativity carnival

Artwork by Shafali at shafali.wordpress.com

For some reason, I woke up this morning with this question on my mind… “What is the meaning of life?”  That kind of thinking must have derived from the allergy medicine I had to take last night because, believe me, I don’t consider myself a deep, philosophical person.  Besides, I discovered the answer to this question a few years ago.

However, when I was in my 20s, that question was constantly nagging me.  “Why are we all here?”  “What is the point of the daily grind of getting up and working most of the time, only to die in the end?”  Pretty grim, right?  Yep, those were my 20s, pretty grim.

Still, in my early 30s, I struggled with “No, really, what is the point of it all?”  Then I met a wonderful man I fell in love with, someone I could actually picture myself growing old with and  having a child with.  I consider my husband to be one of the greatest treasures I have.

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Four-and-a-half years later came the next of my greatest treasures… my son.  That’s when I understood…. “Ohhhh, I get it!  The happiness, the love, the being needed and wanted… this is what it’s all about!  I actually feel like a complete person!”  Life itself is a treasure.  And every experience I share in life with my husband, with my son, us as a family, gets stored away as a little treasure in my treasure chest of life.

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While this may not be the meaning of life for some people, it is to me. My family, my husband, my son, the love we share, the good times; these are all treasures that make my life complete.  One day, when I’m old and gray and sitting in a nursing home, rocking in my chair, wondering where my X-Box controller is, I will sift through the contents of my overflowing treasure chest that contains so many beautiful memories in which I’ll be able to say, “Yeah, I get it, and it was great.”

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(In response to Shafali’s Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons Creativity Carnival.)

Bridge of the Gods Run… done and dusted! Race Summary…

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Right before kickoff! James is nicely calm and collected. I am in sheer panic mode. See that huge bridge behind us?

I’m doing something a little different this time… Jamesy is taking care of the race summary part for the half-marathon from his perspective.  My summary for the 10K follows after his… after all, he did cross the finish line before me.  🙂  Please give him lots of love… he’ll soon be starting his own blog about the 50-in-50 we are about to undertake.  By the way, the “PK” he’s referring to is me, my nickname.

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A thousand of our closest friends! The line to the portables was this long too!

JAMES, ON THE HALF-MARATHON:  Halfway through the Chicago training plan and time for the tune up half-marathon in Cascade Locks, OR…a hilly race that starts on the Washington bank of the Columbia River at the Bridge of the Gods.  It fit the calendar and gave us a chance to get away for a quick weekend break.  At the last minute, despite being terrified at even the thought of crossing a bridge, PK signed up for the 10K which was awesome!

Packet pickup on arrival the day before the race was conveniently located next to the fabulous Thunder Island Brewery at the park where the finish was line was being setup, a leisurely 10 minute stroll from our hotel.  The “expo” consisted of a tent where we were issued our bag, a bib, and a ticket to get on the shuttle in the morning!  No worries though…it was what we expected and the IPA at the brewery was awesome.

After an easy relaxing night at the hotel , race day morning arrived and it was time to go through the normal ritual of the pre-race shower (yeah weird but it’s what I do and it works for me), coffee and Gatorade while heading out in search of the magical race ring of easily digestible fuel, aka bagels.

A nice stretch followed with a walk to the shuttle to be bussed over the Bridge to the Washington side for the start.  Felt so bad for PK as she was clearly stressing on just the bus ride so did my best convince her that it would all be fine…just don’t look down, head up, and keep running…preferably fast (and turns out she did).

There were just over 800 runners in the half race and, with everyone doing the normal jostling for position, we were sent off to the melodic tunes of AC/DC, For Those About To Rock…perfect.  I was ready to go and ready to rock.  The Bridge required some patience because everyone was jammed in but moved up a few places before the hitting the trail in stride.

This course is advertised as hilly and very shady…and it didn’t disappoint, with “hilly” being an understatement.  We had checked the elevation profile prior to the run but it did not really reflect the difficulty level of this race.  Without a doubt, by far the hilliest course I have ever run…the climbs and descents were endless…climb, plateau for maybe a tenth, quarter mile at most, then down and climb, rinse and repeat, as the hills got progressively more difficult.

I’m not a good hill runner on the best of days, but today I just felt strong.  For the first time in as long as I can remember, I ran every single hill, never backed off and attacked each climb.  I won’t deny it hurt and the fatigue in my legs mounted with each undulation, but mentally, I felt great and wasn’t going to be beat.  I was aiming for 1:52…I needed 1:52:01 to qualify for a Wave 1 corral at Chicago, and at the half split, I was tracking perfectly right at 56 minutes, but more importantly was not feeling tired.  The hill up to the turnaround was insane for a half…in some sections, according my Strava elevation profile; we were running on 30-40% grades!  Not good for a weak hill runner.

The scenery was absolutely incredible…running on the trails way above the Columbia Gorge was awesome and the shade of the forest canopy provided a constant cooling effect.  I had no issues with heat or dehydration…in fact, by the final aid station around mile 12, I was pretty full, bordering on too much water, so dumped most of the cup on my head before attacking the final section through the town to the finish.

With hydration in check, I took a gel around mile 8 or 9 which seemed to kick-in on cue.  I knew I needed around 8:30-8:32 splits to hit my finish time, but with the hills, they were all over the place, although consistently under 9:00 and generally ranging from 8:15 to 8:50.  Managed to catch PK on one particularly brutal hill towards the finish…that thing was almost a 1 mile climb…we exchanged pleasantries as best as 2 breathless people can and I pushed on.  One more climb after that finally had me uttering some unmentionable phrases, and then it was around the final aid station and into town.

The final mile and a half through the small town was awesome.  I knew I was close but I had no late run fatigue at all as I emptied the tank.  Felt bad as I almost pushed past a couple of the 10k finishers on a narrow bridge walk-across the river in the park…well not really pushed past as much I encouraged them to keep moving quickly and faster if possible because I knew I was close – real close…around the turn, took 2 more people on the final stretch and ran the grassy track to the finish…for a final time of 1:52:22 and an average pace of 8:34!!!  22 seconds over my target…but overall, I’m not disappointed at all.  It was a great race…a super tough challenge that I handled really well…Chicago will have nowhere near this kind of elevation gain…it’s just twice as long ☺

Post-race was great cheering PK home and then grabbing some awesome post-run recovery food that the event had put on for the runners.

This was a great way to finish the first half of the training plan and while I didn’t achieve my Wave 1 corral, overall I don’t think it will make much difference in Chicago…I’m assigned the first corral in Wave 2 and it will be a completely different experience.

Final thoughts…I’m excited – this was a tough course and I never once cracked or wavered from my plan.  I almost pulled it off but it was probably just one hill too many.  Still, a 1:52:22 was good enough to place 78 out of 831 overall and 15 out of 76 in the Male 40-49 category.  We also had a super fun weekend and great time away together, doing what we love to do…Cheers!

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Our view pre-race. I could just die.

PAULA, ON THE 10K:  The bridge sucked… but gave me my fastest split of the whole race.  I wanted to take a picture through the metal grates down to the water, but I could not look down whatsoever.  The hills… I had no idea how painful all the freaking hills were going to be.  An elevation gain of 1824 and elevation loss of 1850.  Who the hell talked me into signing up for this race?!

Overall, it was a fabulous getaway and it was a super hard and fun race with lots of challenges to overcome.  It was put together well.  The important thing is that I did it.  Below are my results. And I didn’t finish DFL… I’m moving up in the world… at the very least, closer to the middle.  ‘Nuff said.  🙂

race results

 

Stay tuned… I have more to say about this fun weekend… 

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It is all about the bling!

Bridge-O-Phobia

I don’t understand why people are afraid of bridges. It just doesn’t make sense. One drives on a road and doesn’t fall off… isn’t a bridge just a road? One walks on a sidewalk and doesn’t fall off… isn’t a bridge wider than a sidewalk? I just don’t understand the phobia… and yet I am absolutely 100% terrified of bridges. There is something about being on a bridge that scares the ever-loving hell out of me.

Why do I bring this up? Good question, glad you asked. This coming weekend James is participating in the Bridge of the Gods Half-Marathon in Cascade Locks, Oregon. The race starts off in Washington, then you run over this hella big bridge on into Oregon, and continue the race from there. And I’ve been talked into participating in the 10K. “It’ll be a great bench mark for your race coming up in September.” “You’re going to run the course anyway, you might as well join the race and earn some bling.” “It’ll be fun.”

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I did it. I signed up. I feel sick. This bridge stands 140 feet above the water and is 0.3 miles long. For me, that is equivalent to 3 to 4 solid minutes of complete hysteria at the beginning of the race.  Guaranteed that it will be the fastest 0.3 miles I will ever run in the history of ever!  I plan to put my head down and just plow through… it’s a shame the road is actually metal grate that you can see through… down to the water below… 140 feet below.  I actually did try running with my eyes closed this morning.  That didn’t work too well.

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I also told my loving husband that I need to be sure to add new music to my iPod before the race, that was a priority.  He informed me, “Well, I have Bridge Over Troubled Water if that helps…”  He now sleeps on the couch…

Other than the bridge panic, it’s supposed to be a beautiful course.  I’ve created an Instagram account, hoping to take some pictures and have them post directly to it.  I’ve also created a Twitter account.  I don’t understand Twitter for the life of me or what to do with it, but I noticed on my Garmin watch that I can do Live Tracking and it can link with Twitter, so I thought I’d see how that worked.  The links to both are in the side-bar menu.

I also want to wish Dawn good luck with her race tomorrow.  No worries! We got this!! 

Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them.  You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. –Norman Vincent Peale

Running, Weight Loss, and Taco Tuesday!

slow-progress-is-still-progressI did not want to get up this morning.  I did not want to run this morning.  But I did.  And I’m better off for it.  It added extra calories to My Fitness Pal for my overall consumption, to which I could then indulge tonight with… yes, you guessed it… tacos!!

However, back to the morning run… again I was filled with all sorts of negativity about my running and progress. How am I ever going to reach my goal pace by September?  I’m at a standstill and can’t seem to go any faster.  What am I going to do to get faster?  I never mentioned these nagging thoughts to my husband though.  When he came home from work tonight and we recapped our day’s events, he must have sensed I needed a little pick-me-up.  He said something that related to everything I was thinking this morning… “Don’t worry about your pace. You keep running like this, and it will eventually go down.  Even if it’s not until next year, it will go down.”  Ahhhh, good point.  Eventually it will go down.  While I wish I could run as fast as he can, I can’t, and to be honest, I don’t think I will ever be able to run that fast, but I do have hope that I will one day cross the finish line in the middle of the crowd, not in the back.  Thanks for the encouragement, hunny bunny… I needed that.

My very first half marathon, Rock and Roll Seattle, 2014

My very first half marathon, Rock and Roll Seattle, 2014

On another up note for today, I can officially say that I have beat that Stoopid Scale.  Since I began with the My Fitness Pal app back in May, as of this week, I have solidly lost 10 pounds. That’s 10 pounds in about 2-1/2 months.  Slow going, but it’s a solid loss and it ain’t coming back.  You can see how much I don’t sit on my posterior, and I take in a healthy 1300 to 1600 calories per day.  I eat rubbish like quinoa, wheatberries, flax seed, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta for my carb loads, and I eat a ton of protein.  While I won’t give into the low-carb fad, I do occasionally skip carbs in the evening and just have veggies and protein.  I usually always have some type of dessert, be it a pudding pack with whip cream, a Skinny Cow Ice Cream, or a slice of pound cake with whip cream (nothing more than 100 calories), and I always have a happy hour celebration on Friday night.  I don’t and won’t miss out on anything.  Been there, done that, ain’t doing it again.  Anyway… time to move forward and focus on the next 10 pounds!!

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Training plan for Boise… OMG. Half-way through it.

 

I have just begun my 6th week of training for Boise.  Will I progress enough to hit my original goal?  Or will I have to wait until the Maui Half in January to reap the benefits of my hard work? Time will tell… but for now… it’s Taco Time!!

Week 5 training… done!

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I’ve kept a little diary of what I did and how I have felt during each run this past week.

Tuesday:  3 miles.  After getting home from Boise on Monday, I was looking forward to being out in “normal” temperatures (for me), and I was not disappointed.  Thank you, Boise, for kicking my ass and making me appreciate what I have.  Had a great run!  Still knocking off seconds from my average overall pace… about 5 to be exact.  I felt great and, instead of keeping track of how far I’ve gone, I kept track of my intervals, concentrating only on what I was doing right then and right there.  Running in the moment, so to speak.  I knew my route, I knew how long it was, so having to concentrate only on running (and my music) was a good thing.  It helped.

Wednesday:  4 miles.  I only made it 3-1/2.  I ran one particular hilly loop that I thought would get me 4, but I was wrong.  Not my best run ever.  I’m getting tired of hills, but they’re all around me, so I have to suck it up.  I was tired when I woke up this morning, but I got up and got out, that’s most important.  Consistency and perseverance… words to live by.  Too many negative thoughts as well.  And I need to focus more on my intervals, not my overall pace.  8 miles this Sunday, yikes.  I’ve got some major mental work to do before then.  The positive I can take from this?  It’s so beautiful in the morning, I love being out in it and getting my day started this way.

Thursday:  Cross train.  Haha, yeah right.  🙂

You can't see it that well, but this is a spider web.  My job first thing in the morning is to walk or run through every single web that I can so I can clear the path for other runners and walkers.

You can’t see it that well, but this is a spider web. My job first thing in the morning is to walk or run through every single one that I can in order to clear the path for other runners and walkers.

Friday:  3 miles.  Nailed it!  Took another 16 seconds off my average pace.  16 x 3 = 48, so that’s almost a minute off my total time… and every last minute counts (this is my thought process on how I show myself that, yes, little by little I am getting faster).  I also received a text early on from The Motivator (on my handy dandy new watch), “Go go go!!  Visualize… happy hour!”  Yep, that got me going!  Looking forward to happy hour tonight!!

Saturday:  Rest.  Oh yes I did!!

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These posts signify the halfway point for an 8-mile run. They’re a very important landmark when you feel like you’re about to die.

Sunday:  8 miles.  Holy cow.  I don’t remember 8 miles being this hard before.  I felt good and strong in the beginning, but at mile 4, I drank some Gatorade (low sugar kind), which I never do because it gives me a stomachache when I run, but I thought I would try that as opposed to an S-Cap to replete my electrolytes.  And I don’t know if it was the Gatorade or not, but at mile 6.5, I started feeling nauseous.  I never feel nauseous when I run.  This was a brand new feeling. WTH?  I did stop and walk until the feeling passed.  Why is the body always coming up with really stupid stuff to slow you down?  Regardless, compared to last year, Strava says I’m trending faster.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the outcome and was relatively disappointed, but I can look at the bright side… I get to do it all over again next week.

The Motivator:  His training plan makes mine look like a walk in the park.  Monday was 5 miles, Tuesday was 8 miles (to which he barely broke a sweat), Wednesday was 6, Thursday was 5 miles of intervals (but his intervals are run fast and run faster), Friday was a rest day, Saturday was a quick 5, and today, Sunday, was a sweet 16, for a total of 45 miles this past week.  Oh my. Guess I need to suck it up and just deal with my training plan because it could be a heck of a lot worse!!

Next weekend, James has a half-marathon for which he’s registered, The Bridge of the Gods in Oregon.  It will be a fun little getaway, but I have to figure out how to fit another 8 miler in there somewhere.  It’ll work itself out, it always does.  Maybe I’ll sign up for the 10K just to get the run in… 🙂

Have a fabulous week!