Feb 28, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. I achieved my goal of a 100 mile month for February and it was even a short month so I am pretty happy about it! I am raising the bar for March, which is long month, so I have more days to achieve my goal.
2. I am still on the hunt for a marathon to run this year or should I say I am on the hunt for a marathon with a flat and fast course to run this year! I would really like to run California International Marathon but since it was rained out last year I am a little nervous about signing up. Registration opens up tomorrow so we will see if I get brave enough to register. If I don't pull the trigger on California International then I might hold out and run an out-of- state marathon when I visit my sister next year.

3. I signed up for the Long Beach Half Marathon today which is the last race I need to complete the Beach Cities Challenge series. I was thinking about running the marathon but training in the summer is not sounding very appealing to me at this moment since we had a really hot summer this past year. I guess I can always change my mind and upgrade to the full if I get brave enough.

                                     How is your race schedule looking so far this year?
My race schedule is not super full but it takes all of the self control that I have not to register for every race I would love to run!

Feb 26, 2013

Off To A Great Start

I was able to sleep in an extra hour today because I went into work late. I had to stay later today to attend a City Council meeting and I did not want to miss my run since it would have bothered me. I saw this as a great opportunity to get an early morning in before I headed out the door and I am so glad that I did. It was a good run and my legs felt super great for some reason. It was actually a progressive run that kind of happened by mistake. I started out at an easy pace and it just got better and better. I wish every run felt this great! 
It was not a super fast or super long run but it felt great coming off of a crappy week. I was happy and I hope this happens more often! Just had to share this...

Do you have days like this where you just feel really good and wonder where it came from?
These kinds of runs used to happen more often for me so when they do happen these days I get really excited and just savor the moment!

Feb 24, 2013

A Not-So-Great Week!

This week was a not-so-great week for me! I struggled to fit my runs in this week and things did not turn out as planned. I felt really tired this week and things were really busy at work. I was hoping to get closer to 30 miles this week but failed horribly with only 21.5 miles! I think I can still pull off a 100 mile month if I can fit 13 miles in by the end of the month.
I had a long group run planned for the weekend and woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday to the sounds of very strong winds and the cries of scared puppies. I knew that my run was not going to happen in 35-50 mph winds so I sent a text to my running buddies and told them that due to the strong winds we would have to figure out an alternate plan. I was kicking myself for not getting my long run done on Saturday instead of Sunday.
I ended up driving about 10 miles out where the winds were not as strong. I started my run around 10:00 am and by then it was warm and I just wasn't feeling it. I cut my run short and headed home. I was glad that I was able to do something but was disappointed that I did not hang in there a little longer. I know that every run is not going to be a great one so I will suck this one up and hope for a better one next week. I am not sure what that 6:40 Lap Pace is all about on my Garmin screen because I know that didn't happen!
Life has been a little chaotic lately and I have been consumed with family stuff and other priorities at home. Taking care of sick puppies last week was just exhausting. It was one mess after another and waking up multiple times in the night to check on them to make sure they were okay. Just as the puppies started feeling better, my other dog Buster starting throwing up so then we had to deal with that too. All of the pets seem to be well now ..thank God!

I am continuing to spend a lot more time with Grandma making sure that she is okay. I know she must get lonely and misses my Grandpa tremendously. I am also freeing up some of my weekends to spend time with her and take her to the cemetery to visit Grandpa since she no longer drives the freeways. I don't mind missing a run to spend time with her because she is more important to me. I also help her with her finances and stop by her house a few times a week after work to check on her. We also throw her trash and help her out with little things that I know she needs us to do for her even though she does not ask. Most of the time when we stop by her house, she has dinner ready for us which is a big plus but then I get full of her good food and want to go to sleep versus go for a run. We went to visit Grandpa on Saturday and then went back to her house and had lunch with her. I love talking to her because she has so many stories to share and she makes me laugh too! 

So here is to a better week! How was your week?
Hopefully it was better than mine!

Feb 19, 2013

13 in 2013

I can’t believe that we are entering the third week of February already! My year has started out great and I am excited to say that I have completed three half marathons to date for 2013. I actually joined "13 in 2013" so my goal will be to complete 13 races of various distances in 2013.
I am still looking for a March race and can’t seem to decide what distance I want to go for or how far I am willing to travel. I am trying to stay local so that I can avoid hotel fees since I still have about nine more months of the year to think about in terms of races. I think i have about exhausted my Vegas winnings on race entries and other running related things!

Everyone is talking about the Chicago Marathon today but as much as I am itching to register for it, I am going to have to pass this year. I am curious to see how soon it will sell out this year. My goal this year is to complete the Beach Cities Challenge so if all goes well I will be registering for Long Beach to complete the series. Long Beach happens to fall on October 13th, the same day as the Chicago Marathon, and since I can’t be in two places at once, I am going to stick with my goal and run Long Beach instead. I plan to register for Long Beach by the end on the month before the price increase.

I had a good week was able to put in about 27 miles, including the Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena Half Marathon, which is about average for me. My miles are right where I like to see them so I am hoping that February will be a 100-mile plus month for me!

So who is running the Chicago Marathon? 
How long do you think it will take to sell out this year if it hasn't sold out already!

Feb 18, 2013

2/17/13: Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena Half Marathon

Half Marathon #10 is done! This was my first time running this half marathon. I missed the inaugural event last year due to injury so I was excited to be able to do it this year. We went to the expo on Friday to beat the weekend crowd and make a pit stop at this place. I had a gift card so I bought a pair of shorts.
Bib pick up was pretty fast and easy as well as parking pass pick up. We chose to park in the Rose Bowl for $10 so that we did not have to walk too far. The expo is pretty small so we did a quick walk through and then headed home.
The race was well organized and had plenty of potties and all of that good stuff. The snacks after the race were pretty good too. Jamba Juice gave out smoothies, and cold water and Gatorade, pretzels, bananas, and granola bars were also available. The course is very scenic and starts and finishes at the Rose Bowl. My favorite part of the course was crossing over the Colorado Bridge. The course also goes through Old Town Pasadena and includes numerous landmarks in the city such as the Tournament of Roses House and the Norton Simon Museum.

Deena Kastor ran this race and I saw her heading back when I was barely at Mile 4 or 5. She finished in 1:12:56 (5:34 pace). She is pretty amazing and was the top female finisher..of course!

Deena Kastor
The parking was great! I got lucky and parked in a lot that was about ten steps from my car to the Start. Score! Most of the parking lots seemed to be within a very close range of the Start but I think mine was one of the best. I was the best $10 that I ever spent on race parking. I was able to use the bathroom and keep my son warm in the car until the race was about to start. 
I was a little worried about the weather but it turned out to be just perfect. It was 48 degrees at the Start and the course had lots of shade. Two days prior to the race the temperatures had been in the low 80 degree range so I was preparing for a hot and hilly run. 
I really enjoyed the course but definitely need to incorporate more hills to my training. I am not a big fan of hills but I know that sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to make things happen. I wouldn't say that the course is super hilly but it had a couple of nice sized hills to tackle.
The first small hill of the course hits right about a half mile into the race and then another nice sized one right before Mile 2. I wanted to take a picture but I was too focused on getting to the top. Miles 3-9 were probably the easiest part of the course. I loved running over the Colorado Bridge around Mile 9 but after the bridge, I was greeted by another hill (pictured below) that kind of tired me out. I borrowed this picture from Pasadena Rock and Roll's Facebook page and I was already nervous when I saw it!
I tried to be smart on the hillier parts of the course by slowing down and then recovering and picking it back up on the parts of the course that were downhill or not as difficult. The last mile and a half of the course had a gradual incline and I was tired and struggled a bit around Mile 12, which was my only mile over 9:00 (9:38 mile..yuck) but was able to pick it up in the end. 

I think I need to add some hill workouts to my future training so I can tackle this type of course. I guess if you train on hills the flatter courses will be that much easier. I finished in 1:53:29 and I am happy with this time because the course gave me a good workout.
My last half marathon had  a much flatter course and I finished about four seconds faster so I know that I didn't do too bad this time on a much tougher course. This was my third half marathon this year and I have no scheduled races in March. I am not sure what I am going to do with myself in March. I have been looking around for a March race but have not committed to anything yet.
I am taking it easy today. My five day weekend is coming to an end and it's back to work tomorrow. My puppies have been sick the last few days with tummy trouble so that has not been fun. They are feeling much better today after another trip to the vet to get some antibiotics.

How was your weekend? 

What did you do for President's Day? Did you have the day off?

Feb 15, 2013

How We Celebrated Valentine's Day!

From all of the posts on Facebook and Instagram it appears that everyone had a great Valentine's Day. I saw so many pictures of roses, chocolate and sweet notes from spouses and children. We had a great Valentine's Day too and I will share all of the details with you. I did take the day off of work to watch over my two puppies who are recovering from surgery. They have been pretty calm and quiet which is a change in our house. They do not have to wear their cones of shames since they have been behaving and not licking themselves.
My other half sent me these beautiful roses for Valentine's Day which I did not expect. I told him not to buy me anything and that we would just go out to dinner but he never listens. The prices of roses on Valentine's Day are just crazy!
We went to dinner at P.F. Chang's and the food was pretty good. We had egg drop soup, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Mongolian Beef, Crispy Honey Chicken and brown rice. The lettuce wraps are my favorite. I can eat those for a meal and be satisfied because they are so good!
The service was pretty good and the food came out quickly which was great because my son was starving. Thank goodness we had a reservation because the wait was an hour and 45 minutes if you did not have one. I don't think I would wait that long at any restaurant!
My favorite part of the dinner was dessert of course! These banana spring rolls were amazingly delicious. I should have never tried them because I am going to eat them every single time I go to P.F Chang's in the future. I don't care how many calories they have and I don't want to know either!
I was supposed to get a run in yesterday but ended up falling asleep. It was 76 degrees when I woke up so I decided to wait until this morning. I ran 6.30 miles and I am so glad that I did since I feel crappy when I get lazy and miss a run for no good reason. It was warm and windy this morning so I am hoping that the weather will not be like this on Sunday morning for race day. Hot and Hilly are not a good combination for me!
Tonight we are going out to dinner again to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday. It should be fun!
How was your Valentine's Day? Did you do anything special? 

Are you a dessert person like me?
I was planning on behaving myself tonight but then I was asked to bring cupcakes for the birthday girl so I highly doubt that I am going to!

Feb 13, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I remember when this medal hanger only had  a couple of medals on it!
 I keep this hanging on a wall that I have to pass on the way to my bedroom so I  see it several times a day and it keeps me motivated!

Feb 11, 2013

It's Race Week Again!

I will be running half marathon #10 this weekend! Hopefully it will be better than the Surf City Half Marathon that I ran last weekend. I am definitely going to go back to wearing my hydration belt (no more hand held) and I will wear my tempo shorts and a tank top that I am most comfortable in. No more silly mistakes!
I have been hearing that the Pasadena Rock and Roll course is a bit hilly so the plan is to take this one easy. I will treat it as a training run and keep the pace easy and see how it goes. I am also hoping that the weather is as great as it was this weekend. Running in 40 degree temps is perfect!
I feel much better going into this half marathon since I was able to get a decent long run in this weekend and the half last weekend will also be helpful. I am thinking that this half should go much smoother. February is definitely off to a much better start compared to January. I ran about 26 miles this past week and I am hoping that I can continue to  build up my mileage moving forward. I went for a 14 miler with some of my running buddies this weekend and it went well. We kept the pace easy and ran a route with a few minor hills. I was able to pick it up in the end without running out of gas.
I am learning to keep the pace easier on the longer runs since there is no real reasons to push myself on these runs. I am saving my energy for my tempo runs during the week and that seems to work out better for me.
I am still in search of a marathon for 2013. I heard that San Diego Rock and Roll is going to release the new and improved changes to the course on February 13th plus they will be offering a $13.00 discount on registration. 
If I like the course then this might be the one for me. It will be nice to train and run a marathon before the summer heat settles in. I hate training in the summer heat but love running winter marathons. I guess there is no way around it..

How was your weekend? Do you have any races coming up? 

Anybody else running the Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon?

Feb 9, 2013

Will They Still Love Me?

Yes, I still have these two little girls and tomorrow is a big day for them! My family is convinced that these two now belong to me so I have decided that I am going to get them both spayed. They are not going to be happy with me but I know it is the right thing to do considering the pet overpopulation problem which breaks my heart. The girls are almost nine months old now and I have put this off long enough. I have a five day weekend coming up next week so I will be able to keep a close on them to make sure that their recovery process goes well.
I hope they still love me once it is all done! Please pray that the surgery goes well for my two babies on Tuesday.

Feb 4, 2013

2/3/13: Surf City Half Marathon Recap

Half Marathon #9 is  done! It was definitely not my best race but I learned a lot from it. I am now very happy that I decided not the run the full marathon because it would have been less than spectacular! I do want to congratulate Megan who ran the full marathon and exceeded her goal. It was her very first marathon so please stop by her blog and give her some love!
I went to the Expo with Caroline on Saturday morning and we played photographer for one another. The weather was perfect on Expo day and I wish it would have been the same on race day.
Caroline and I talked the whole way to the Expo and the whole way back. We have some great conversations about everything from running to life in general. I actually thought of her several times during this race because she continues to run through some tough situations. She inspires me to keep going when I feel like giving up. Thank You Caroline for inspiring me, especially on this day.

The race was very well organized and even though there were almost 21,000 runners signed up, these people know how to handle things. The corrals were very easy to get into and there was very little crowding until the race was about to start. 
We didn't get stuck in traffic which we thought was bound to happen. Shuttles were provided free of charge from several locations to minimize the traffic issues. We were planning on valet parking at the host hotel which is right at the start but they raised their price to $35.00 on race day so I passed on that. We ended up parking in a residential area about 3/4 miles away and the walk was a good warm up for me. We waited at the host hotel until it was close to start time to use the restrooms and just relax a little. It was nice to have access to "real" bathrooms and not just the port-a-johns which I really dislike. The restrooms on the beach were also available for use so I never saw any big lines which is a big plus!
Most of the course takes place on Pacific Coast Highway and it's a beautiful view. I was hoping to feel some ocean breeze with all of the sun beaming down but that didn't happen. The race organizers did a great job of keeping the marathoner and the half marathoners separated so there weren't any issues with that. The course was not overcrowded either and most of the runners were half marathoners and women :)
I did a lot of things wrong which made this race less than enjoyable for me. I am in no way making excuses for my less than fabulous finish but just want to share some of things that I learned so that I don't repeat them in the future. The weather was supposed to be overcast and cool. The temperature was in the high 50's but the sun was out the entire time and there was no shade on the course whatsoever. I was looking for that break from the sun but it never happened. First of all, I was a little overdressed thinking that it was going to be cold since it was by the beach. I saw some posts on Facebook stating that it is very cold at the start which is wasn't. The weather was actually pretty nice when we arrived so I left my jacket in the car because I knew that I was not going to need it. I wore a really thick Lululemon shirt with my Flow-Y sports bra underneath. The shirt was new and I didn't realize how warm it was going to keep me. I thought about taking it off several times but was too embarrassed to run in a sports bra so I suffered instead. I didn't have sunscreen on all the places that the shirt covered so I didn't want to risk a sun burn either.

I also decided to try something new and carry my hand held water bottle. Carrying something in my hands for 13 miles was very annoying to me so I wish I would have stuck to my hydration belt instead. I am used to my belt and it works much better for me. I probably won't do that again either. I didn't even GU during this race because it was awkward trying to open the GU and hold the hand held at the same time. I know I am so lame!

Other than all of the mistakes I made, my shin starting bothering me at Mile 3 or so and I had to stop to stretch and figure out how to proceed with my race. I thought I was feeling good the first three miles but maybe I started to quickly and my shin was not happy. It was at this point that I decided to back off and just focus on finishing. Injury is no fun and it's never worth it! I was not happy but didn't want to make matters worse and I was not going to walk unless I absolutely had to. I texted my husband to tell him that my shin was acting up and that I was probably not going to make it in for a while. He told me to walk and take a break but I just wanted to finish as quickly as I could. I also witnessed a girl running next to me throw up and then I felt like I was going to be next one!

When we arrived back at the car after the race, we noticed another runner walking back and forth looking for his car. I felt bad for him and offered to help him look for his car. We drove around looking for his car and we found it. He was more than grateful for our help and I was glad that we were able to help someone. I went home feeling much better having done something to help someone else.

I finished in 1:53:26 but got this super cute surfboard medal which I love. I know that it is not a horrible time but it hurts when you know that you should have or could have done better. I am sure you all understand what I mean. I thought it was going to be a two hour finish so I am thankful that it was better than what I anticipated! I am okay with it today and I am moving on.
I know that every race is not going to be a perfect race and things can possibly go wrong. My main focus is on the Beach Cities Challenge medal and I have now completed my first race in the series. I saw the medal in person at the Expo and boy is she pretty!
Here are the ugly details if you are interested.
After the race I enjoyed the Superbowl with my family. Grandma came over and watched the game with us and she cooked some of her amazing food for us. She even made us some chocolate covered strawberries that were to die for!
I am not much of a football fan but I do enjoy the commercials. My favorite one was the Anheuser-Busch commercial with the Budweiser Clydesdale. I am an animal lover so naturally I cried. As a matter of fact, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room!

Feb 1, 2013

Goodbye January and Hello February!

January came and left so quickly! I guess time flies when you are having fun but it also flies when you are busy and juggling a million little things. That is kind of how January went for me.  As I mentioned in a previous post,  my Grandma and I have been drowning in paperwork from banks and every other place you can think of since my Grandpa passed away. Our list is getting shorter so I am hoping to kind of get things back on track in February.
So what happened in January? I ran my first race of the year and logged about 64 miles for the month. The race was a good thing but not the low miles. I am going to have to work on that in February. I missed a few of my long runs and made the decision to run the Surf City Half Marathon instead of the full and I am kind of glad that I did at this point. I wish I was running the full but it would probably be ugly!
February also includes the Pasadena Rock and Roll Half Marathon on February 17th. I lived in Pasadena for quite some time and attended high school there so it will be nice to run a race in my hometown. I have nothing on the books for March which makes me sad that I will not be running the LA Marathon. I was planning on taking it easy in March to prepare myself for Ragnar in April which is probably a wise decision.

Have you noticed that there is something missing from my Race Schedule? Yes, a full marathon. I am looking around right now for one to add to my list for 2013. I am not sure which one I will pick but I want to add at least one to my schedule so I can get busy training for it.

How was your January?

Do you have a marathon (or two) on the books for 2013?