Jan 30, 2012

Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold: February 11, 2012

For those of you who may not have heard, there is a Virtual Run planned in honor of Sherry Arnold.  Sherry is Beth's (Shut Up + Run) cousin, who disappeared on  January 7, 2012 while out on a run and is presumed dead.  Please stop by Beth's blog to get all of the information and to print out your bib. I hope you are able to participate and run a mile or more in honor of Sherry Arnold on February 11, 2012. If you cannot participate please consider giving a donation to Sherry's family.  The funds will go to Sherry's children Holly and Jason. I am sure that they need every ounce of love and support they can get right now.

Jan 29, 2012

Tinker Bell Half Marathon: 1/29/12

Health and Fitness Expo: We went to the Expo on Saturday and picked up my bib and a few other things.  I bought an IT Band wrap to try out since I suspect my problem is IT Band related. I also signed up for another marathon which is taking place at the end of the year and bought some super cute stuff for future races too. I bought some really cute leg sleeves for the Tinker Bell half that say "I Can Fly."

Check out all of my leg decor!

I also met Danica, who blogs over at http://chicrunner.com/, for the first time.  I follow her blog and loved her dream wedding so it was nice to finally meet her in person and say hello! She is super sweet and tolerates all of my nagging emails about upcoming discount codes for Run Racing events. 

Weather Report: PERFECT.. 45 degrees!
This race was one of the most difficult ones that I have ever ran both mentally and physically. I had been looking forward to it for a long time and since it was an inaugural race, I really wanted to be a part of it.  I went into this race not feeling 100%, with minimal training and the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen.  I had no goal in mind except to FINISH! I don't usually train too hard for a half marathon if I am keeping up with my weekly runs but this time around I  had not really ran at all in the last few weeks and I felt very out of shape to say the least. My mental game was a mess and without that in place I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought about selling my bib but I am not too fond of  having another person's time on my record and I was a little nervous about my future with runDisney.  I am not sure if they care or not or what the "rules" are but I didn't want to chance it since the Disneyland Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.

The view from our hotel room!
My idea of pre-race fuel!!
We stayed at a hotel located very close to the start and finish which was very convenient.  The hotel had a perfect view of the Disneyland fireworks and the hotel provided a light breakfast in the morning. They charged us $8.00 for parking but Disneyland charges $15.00 so that wasn't too bad!! The parking situation was very chaotic since they had more cars in the lot than available parking spaces! Once you park, you better not leave or else you won't have a spot when you get back but we took our chances and went to Red Robin for dinner. I love the Whiskey River BBQ Burger and the Freckled Lemonade.  I didn't eat much of it but my son and my husband took care of the rest! I was pretty nervous about the race and I think my appetite showed it. I can afford to lose a few pounds from all of the running that I am NOT doing!
Shawna met me at my hotel room at 5:00 am and we walked over together. She made us some really cute Tinker Bell sparkly skirts to put over our shorts.  They are really shear so they might be hard to see in the pictures but they are super cute.  Thank you Shawna :) I ate a banana and popped an 800mg ibuprofen before the race and it had definitely kicked in because I was actually out there running.  It felt so good that I wanted to cry!  I could still feel the pain but it was tolerable and I wanted to run this race and earn the super cute medal so I sucked it up (put on my big girl pants) and focused on my music. I was as nervous as ever and the thought of an DNF really messed with my mind throughout the race.  I listened to my music the entire time and I don't usually do that at Disney races because there is so much to enjoy out on the course.

The course included some of the same streets as the Disneyland Half Marathon but most of it seemed different.  I did notice that since it was mostly women, the corral designations made a difference.  Although Shawna and I started in Corral A, we were weaving in and out of the crowds for quite some time which really affected our time.  We started in the back of the corral so that had a lot to do with it too. There was even some walkers in Corral A and in the Disneyland Half Marathon the runners in Corral A are pretty quick and will run you over if you don't get a move on it!!  There were also a couple of areas on the course where the pathway suddenly narrowed and you couldn't really move through the crowd.  I was a little frustrated about this since I wanted to run my best while I had the energy and the pain was minimal.
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Course Map
I don't recall much details about the course and I missed my husband at almost every stop he was waiting for me!  I was just too focused on finishing and didn't really care about much else.
This was the agreement between Shawna and I!
Shawna and I ran the first six miles together.  Before the race I told her that if she was feeling good that she better leave me behind and handle her business and I would "See Her at the Finish Line."  At about Mile 6.1 we parted ways and off Shawna went.  I could see still her for the next few miles before I officially lost her or I should say she lost me! Smart decision on her behalf because I am sure she didn't want to be part of the PW that was about to take place!

I finally saw my husband and my son at Mile 8.5.  He snapped a few photos but I don't want to know how I looked. I am sure I looked like I needed some wings and some pixie dust to finish the race!

Miles 10, 11, 12.... were pretty painful and I was feeling pretty tired.  I did a lot of self talking and coached myself to the Finish.  I rarely looked at my Garmin because I knew that it was not going to be a stellar finish by any means!  I never really pushed myself and just went with what I felt and what my body was able to tolerate.  I saw my husband again right before Mile 13 and I definitely don't want to know what I looked like then either!! I usually push it the last mile but I didn't have it in me this time.  Once I spotted the finish line, I pushed myself just a little but it wasn't much at all. I wasn't aware of my time until I crossed the finish line and I don't even remember what the clock said! My official time was 1:58:09 which is the slowest half marathon in the books but it was great to be able to finish! I am so thankful for that. 

I didn't walk at all and most of all I earned my super cute Tinker Bell medal.  I have no excuses and I gave this race everything I had considering the current conditions. Shawna finished a few minutes before me and was feeling strong throughout the race.  I really wanted her to PR but I think she may have missed it by a hair. I guess she should of ditched me sooner!
My son was pretty wiped out as you can see.  He said his Dad ran him all over the city of Anaheim hunting me down on the course so he felt that he should get credit for running the half marathon too! The dogs had to stay with the babysitter so they were pretty happy to be back home too.
If you enjoy dressing up in costume and want to have some fun, this race is the perfect one for you. It's a pricey half marathon but Disney knows how to put on a well-organized race and on top of that the course is flat! Almost all of the runners were in costume and seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were a handful of men running and they had their wings on too! I will put this race on my "Run for Fun" list. I enjoy a fun run once a year where I dress up and have no worries about my time. It keeps me balanced and keeps the sport fun for me.

I hope I am still able to walk tomorrow! I am supposed to have an MRI next week to see if there is anything serious going on with my leg.  I am hoping for the best and praying that the doctor's diagnosis of a minor issue is correct. I don't think I should tell the doctor that I ran this race either!! 

What are your thoughts on buying/selling race bibs?  Is this a big "no-no" in the running world or really not that big of a deal? 

Have you ever tried an IT Band Wrap?  Did it work for you?

Jan 25, 2012

No Surfing For Me!

The pain in my leg is still here which means that the Surf City Marathon is not going to happen in 2012!  I am pretty bummed since I will have to start the Beach Cities Challenge all over again!  It is bittersweet for me since I am sad that I cannot run Surf City but at the same time this may be my opportunity to redeem myself in Long Beach this October! Long Beach was such a disaster that it probably should not count anyway! 

In the meantime, I am taking it easy and testing my leg out to see what it will tolerate.  I did a 45 minutes on the elliptical last night and felt no pain but it's usually in the morning that the pain hits me.  So far so good but I really want to try spin and see what happens. I have decided to see an orthopedic doctor to make sure that the Sports Medicine doctor I saw has diagnosed me correctly.

Until then, I will keep hoping and praying and looking forward to getting back out there.  With all of the suffering and sad days that I have had wishing that I could run, I should be coming back with a vengeance!

Jan 22, 2012

I Am In Denial!!

I finally gave in and went to see a doctor about the pain in my leg.  The doctor has diagnosed me with a strained muscle.  It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for it to heal and then I can slowly get back into things.  I have to admit that I am officially in denial!! I have two races coming up in the next two weeks and I don't think they are going to happen!!  It looks like I might have a couple of DNS's on my record.. 

Listen to Your Body!!
I know that I have to listen to my body and get through this but at the same time not being able to run is killing me!  I rested and did not go for a run for 12 days and things started to feel like they were getting better.  I went for a short run at a very easy pace and what a mistake that was!  The pain returned the next day and now I am hoping for a miracle. I am doing all of the right things to make it better but the mere thought of not being able to run is really depressing for me.  I am going to experiment with some other forms of cardio in the upcoming weeks but I know that it is going to be very challenging for me!

I have lots of decisions to make in the next couple of weeks and I am hoping for the best so that I can return to my normal routine. It's kind of scary to think that I need running in my life to be happy but at least it's a healthy addiction, right? 

Have you ever strained a muscle? How long did it take you to recover? Any advise?

Jan 17, 2012

Check Out This Amazing Giveaway!

To celebrate the new year, the Rafflecopter team is going to give away a 16GB Apple iPad2 and several Kindle Fires. The giveaway started Monday 1/9 at 12:01 a.m. and lasts for a month. To enter, head on over and visit Jenn at Jenn's Adventures so you can enter!! While you are there, check out her amazing blog!

Jan 15, 2012

Pain and Crazy Dreams!

I am still having this nagging pain on the side of my knee!!  I have been icing, foam rolling, loading up on anti-inflammatories and praying! I have not been able to get a run in over a week and I am going crazy! I have been going to spin class but don't enjoy it as much when I am using it as a substitute for running. I have decided to rest and see how it feels by tomorrow. Marathon #3 is coming up in 21 days and this pain is not making me feel very confident about it. 

I think I have already had a few marathon nightmares just worrying about this pain.  Last night I had a dream that I was exhausted before the first mile and I had to lay on the ground and rest.  The few days before that I had a dream that I got lost on the course and stopped to have lunch to come up with a plan to make up for the lost time.  Now and then I have the marathon dream that I am almost to the finish and I am running so slow and nothing that I do can make me go faster!

On a positive note, I have three weeks to take care of this problem and it is taper time anyway.  Life could be much worse....

Do you have crazy nightmares about races?  Sometimes I have these wild dreams that I finish in these crazy times which are really only in my dreams!

Jan 13, 2012

In Memory of Sherry Arnold

Most of you have already received the sad news today regarding Sherry Arnold. Although I did not know Sherry Arnold, the story hits home because we all share a common interest with Sherry...running. The fact that Sherry is a wife and mother tugs at my heart as well. I can only imagine how her husband and children must feel right now. My heart fell to my stomach when I saw the title of SUAR's post.  It is heartbreaking that something like this has happened and that horrible people exist in this world.  Why??

There has been a lot of posts regarding safety while running since SUAR shared the story of her cousin Sherry's disappearance.  The sad reality is that this could happen to any one of us so please take the advise and protect yourself when you are out on a run.  Most of us think that the dangers only exist at night but it can happen at any time of the day, especially if you run alone.
Please take a moment of your busy day to say a prayer for SUAR's family and Sherry's family. They have a long road ahead of them and need all of the support and prayers that they can get. 

May you rest in peace Sherry. You will be missed by those who knew you and by those whose lives you touched.

Jan 10, 2012

A Week at the Spa

Wouldn't it be nice to spend the entire week at a spa for R&R? Well, I am here but I am actually attending a conference here at the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, CA. Indian Wells is about 30 miles past Palm Springs, which is a popular tourist spot and retirement town out in the desert. The resort is huge and has a ton of things to do but I will just be attending Professional Development Sessions and learning how to get better at what I do for a living. It is also a great opportunity to network with other people in the profession and get to meet some of the people that you correspond with but have never met face to face.

Getting to this place is a serious commute.  It is 85 miles from home, each way that is.  I do enjoy passing the wind mills on my way to Indian Wells and back.  It has been super windy out my way so they are always spinning when I pass them.  I am getting pretty good at taking pictures and driving at the same time! There is also a nice outlet that I pass in Cabazon.  I think I would rather stop and shop instead.  The weird thing is that I am against the traffic so it takes me almost the same amount of time to cover an 85 mile distance then it does my normal 40 mile commute in traffic.  I probably should have figured out a way to stay out here but I have my duties back to home to take care of such as kids, dogs, running, etc.

I am sad to report that I haven't gone out for a run this week. I have developed this strange pain in my knee which could indicate ITBS so I am taking it easy.  I have two races coming up in the next few weeks and I don't want to chance it.  I have done some cross training and I am hoping that this pain will subside by the end of the week.  Until the pain goes away, I will stick to the recumbent bike and spinning. I really enjoy spinning and I always leave feeling like I had a great work out. Spin is great because it is your workout and the outcome is really up to you.  I always push myself to make it worth my time for showing up after a long day at work and fighting traffic.

For now I am keeping my fingers crossed that this knee pain goes away.  The longest of the long runs on the training agenda have been completed and it's time to start tapering anyway. Tapering always makes me nervous because I feel like I am not doing enough and will not be ready to run the distance.

Is anybody racing this weekend?  There are a few local races that I have been hearing about and now glad that I did not sign up for with this knee pain.  I won't be racing but I will definitely be watching the Olympic Team Trials and Chic Runner's wedding on My Fair Wedding. Check out the preview of her wedding here

Jan 8, 2012

Back to School...

2012 is going to be a very busy year for me and I feel it already!  Yesterday was my first day back at school.  I am finally finishing up my MPA (Master's in Public Adminisration) and I opted to take a series of tests instead of doing a thesis or a project. I am happy to say that this is the last course I need to complete the program and I will be done in mid March. Homework, projects and exams will be taking away from my running and energy levels so I know that I will have to stay even more focused and really push myself that much harder to stick to my training schedule. I never envisioned myself going back to school but when your job offers tuition reimbursement you really don't have an excuse not to take advantage of such a great opportunity. Earning my MPA will be well worth it for me so I am super excited to be on track to completing another goal this year.

Going to miss these people!!
My sister, my niece and my baby nephew hopped on a plane and headed back to Florida on January 4th so the house is empty and really quiet again. We only live in less than half of the house so when it is full of people it can be pretty crazy. I was starting to get used to a baby being around and all of the extra noise that comes along with house guests. I tried to spend as much time with my sister as I could, other than sneaking away on my runs, so I am way behind on cleaning up my Christmas decorations. I am enbarrassed to report that my Christmas tree is still standing with ornaments and all.  I promised myself that I would have it all taken down and put away by the end of this week. I am really behind on reading all of your blogs as well so I have to get back into my normal routine as soon as possible.  Your blogs keep me motivated so I need to keep current on those so that I don't get lazy.

Not that I need anymore sweets in my diet but how many of you have heard of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour? These ice cream parlours were really popular when I was growing up and I had all of my birthday parties there.  Farrell’s is known for their yummy ice cream concotions which include the Pig’s Trough, the Zoo and the Gibson Girl. Farrell's seemed to disappear and now they are making a coming back. I was so excited when I saw the "Coming Soon" sign a few months ago. Unfortunately, I have to pass it on my way to the gym and believe me I want to go to Farrell's instead of spin class!!  Farrell's has been super crowded since their Grand Opening so we are being very patient and waiting for the newness to die down so that we can go and do some damage!

My very first race of the year is coming up in just a few weeks.  I am excited about my 2012 Race Schedule since I am running some inaugural races, as well as some that I have never ran before. I am also thinking about revisiting some of my favorite local races in hopes of improving my times.

What is on your Race Schedule for 2012?  Any new races for 2012 on the agenda?

Jan 2, 2012

Out with 2011 and in with 2012!

Happy New Year!! 2011 ended with a bang for me!  Instead of spending the ten days that I had off of work resting, I invested a lot of time in running.  The last week of 2011 was my biggest ever.  I banked 46.11 miles and my last run of the year was 20.8 miles.  The routes that I did this past week have been challenging for me with more more hills and longer distances. My legs felt great even after the 20.8 miler which is huge for me since I usually feel a little soreness somewhere the next day.

My goal was to run 1000 miles in 2011 and I exceeded my goal with 1254 Miles.  My goal for 2012 is 1200 miles or maybe even more!

Although I have not met my ultimate goal of qualifying and running the Boston Marathon, I know that 2011 was a great year for me.  I really stepped it up this year and signed up for more races than I thought I would be able to run in the last three months of the year. I managed three new PR's in 2011 and my biggest goal for 2012 will be tackling the marathon!! I would love to break four hours and move that much closer to a Boston qualifying time!!

09/4/11: Disneyland Half Marathon (PR) 1:47:43
10/9/11: Long Beach Marathon
10/15/11: Matt Myers Memorial Run 5K
11/12/11: Mission Inn Run 10K (PR) 49:39
11/24/11: Claremont Sunrise Turkey Trot 5K (PR) 23:17
11/26/11: San Dimas Turkey Trot 5K
12/11/11: Holiday Half Marathon

2012 has a full race schedule for me. The first five months of 2012 are pretty booked and I am really looking forward to it. My first race will be the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland on January 29, 2012. The medal is so cute and I can barely wait to have it around my neck!

Life is slowly returning to normal now and it is time to go back to work too.  I still have to take the Christmas decorations down and I never look forward to the "clean it up and put it away" part. Almost all of the holiday goodies have been devoured eaten and I don't even want to know how many pounds I have put on in the past ten days!  Maybe I will get brave enough to step on the scale today...

Were you able to get some quality runs in over the holidays?  Did you accomplish your 2011 goals?  What are your running plans for 2012?