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Spring into Summer

May 6, 2012 1 comment

It seems I kicked off my spring right, with completing my very first Half Marathon in Oakland. After a few weeks of downtime, with no upcoming race, I’ve had time to think about how I want to spring into summer. I’ve got a few EXCITING upcoming events:

June 3rd 4th Annual Hook & Ladder 10k at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA. This is a great run because it is at a beautiful vineyard in Livermore (and it supports firefighters). I did the 5k last year (I think it was only my 3rd 5k I had ever ran). This would be my first repeat race which makes it exciting because I have come so.so.far. since last year.

July 29th San Francisco Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA. It’s almost here! It’s almost here! I have been looking forward to this since last July when I ran the 5k at it. That was also the time I decided I was going to run a half marathon. I think running over the Golden Gate bridge is going to be an amazing experience that will stay with me for a very long time.

August 18th 25h Annual Tri For Fun Sprint Triathlon, Pleasanton, CA. It’s hard to describe how I feel about this event. It’s been on my radar for over a year, when I hoped I’d someday be able to do something like this. This sprint tri consists of a 400 yard swim, an 11 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. I’m anxious to start training and know I will be able to complete it. The event is also going to consist of 60% beginners, which I find comforting! This is a great way to push myself into a broader scope of fitness. Oh and a major bonus is that it’s on my birthday!!!! At 27 I became a half marathoner. This year, when I turn 28, I am going to become a triathlete.

I’m going to be busy training for the San Francisco Half Marathon and the sprint tri at the same time (since they’re 3 weeks apart). But I will be ready to kick some ass when the time comes.

Time to put together some training plans!

Oakland Half Marathon

March 28, 2012 4 comments

The day before my race I thought a part of the experience I was hoping for at Oakland was going to be, to some degree, ruined due to the rain. It was pouring at the Expo and it had me a bit worried.  Regardless, I was running rain or shine and wanted to make the best of it.  While at the expo, I got to meet a bunch of fellow Oakland runners at the” tweetup.”  It was great meeting all of them and to share in the excitement together.  Below is one of the group pictures.

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I went to bed pretty early Saturday night and didn’t sleep well.  I don’t think it was because I was nervous, more-so that I hated the pillow situation in the hotel room. ha!  I woke up fairly early (but not as early as if we had driven to Oakland from Lathrop the morning of, thank goodness)!!  Jesse ran to get us coffee and came back up to the room all excited that it was partly sunny and NOT RAINING.  It’s a miracle! ha.  I didn’t hardly believe him when he told me I wouldn’t need my jacket.

The pre-race excitement was awesome.  I felt great and ready to go.  I think there was around 4,000 people running the half marathon.  You can see how many hats are in this picture -people expecting the rain.  The start was one of my favorite parts of the whole thing!  There was music, people were dancing, and we all got to run through confetti which made me feel a bit like a super star.  And I was ready to kick some ass. 😉

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All through my training I incorporated scheduled walking breaks at every mile during my long runs.  Pretty much the only way I am able to have enough energy to go 10+ miles.  I planned to do the same on race day, with the exception of not walking until mile 3, because I didn’t want to be the slow person who walked first. haha!  But I got to mile 3 and I was feeling great; not tired.  I realized that even though I had my headphones in, I hadn’t even yet turned on my music.  There was so much to listen to and eventually tucked away my headphones.  The conversations around me, and the cheering crowds were way more motivating.

Since I was feeling good at mile 3, I kept running.  I got to mile 6 and texted Jesse.  I told him I was doing good and was almost half done -and hadn’t yet walked!  I was surprising myself and somewhere around mile 7 I remember telling myself, “I am going to run this whole freaking thing!”  Except I definitely didn’t say “freaking.”  😉

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I was in the best frame of mind I could possibly be in.  I felt strong and confident.  My legs started getting tired around mile 11, but the rest of me still felt great.  The last half mile was the toughest.  It was the only time I felt like I was really pushing myself to put one foot infront of the other.  Luckily Jesse found me and seeing him & Max gave me that little extra boost I needed….. to go up the hill right before the finish.  What a place to put a hill!!! 😉  My poor quads.

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My only goal was to finish and have fun, and I did.  I loved this event.  It was the perfect first half marathon.  My “ideal” time to finish by was missed by only 5 seconds, BUT I couldn’t be more happy with myself for running the entire 13.1 miles.  I didn’t even know I could do that!

On to the next run!

A Little Pre Race Freak Out

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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With less than 48 hours until my very first long distance race, my mind is busy trying to organize all the last little details. What I am going to have for breakfast? What I am going to wear? What jacket am I going to bring, and… do I wear it or not? Can I really fit 4 Gu’s in one pocket? How do I water proof my phone & iPod shuffle? – and, is it reeaally  going to rain!?

I feel like I have the decision making capability of a 2 year old.

On top of it all I woke up this morning feeling a cold coming on….. and….. on top of that I can go ahead and kiss my pretty manicured toes goodbye.  Well two of them anyways.  Let’s just say you wont find me at a nail salon getting a pedicure anytime soon. This picture has been my phone background for the last month, and there’s a whole new truth to it now! Perhaps it’s time for new shoes (yay!).  But that will have to wait.

Even though my mind is in full on plan freak out mode, I am trying not to get stressed, because more than anything I am really excited. I feel confident in my training and I want to have fun.  And I am certain I will!

I am even looking forward to the expo tomorrow to go pick up my packet & bib… and maybe even a hat if this rain is really going to happen. (booooo).

Going into my first long distance race, my only focus is to finish and to have fun doing it.  I am pretty sure it is going to take me around 2 1/2 hours, which I am A-OK with. 🙂  I know I need to focus on each mile as I run it, and at mile 3 not let myself get overwhelmed over that fact that I still have freaking 10 more miles to go. oy.

Whatever. bring it rain. bring it cold. and bring it stupid toes.  I am going to complete my run, and I hope more than anything that I look back at this post in 6 months to a year and laugh at myself for being so silly asbout a measly 13.1 miles.

Focusing on a Fierce February

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

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Feeling inspired, I sat down this morning (who am I kidding, I was already sitting down, with slippers on, drinking coffee and watching cartoons with the kiddo) and decided I need to get something more out of this next month.

I did well in January.  I reached 10 miles in my training, and ran my first 10k event.  I made my trainer happy by dropping body fat and inches, and well, I just plain worked hard and I followed my training.  But February is one month closer to my Half marathon.  It’s crunch time now!  I NEED to require more of myself.  Harder workouts.  Smarter workouts.  Better nutrition.  I want to do everything I can to do and feel great.

No excuses.  And just plain don’t suck.

I want to feel fierce after this month!  I want to lower my body fat by 2%, and lose another 2 inches off my waist.  And I want to really improve my core strength.  I came up with 3 goals this month that are VERY attainable. They’re simple.  All I have to do is do the following, consistently, and I will get there.

1. No pizza in February!  It is my favorite food on this earth, but it is getting in my way.  So it has to go.

2. Have a salad every day.

3. Increase my reps and weight in my strength training workouts.  In addition my bench sit ups will increase to 4 sets of 12, as well as my upside down crunches.  These are my favorite things to do at the gym, so it shouldn’t be too hard to follow.

Keepin’ it simple.  I have my miles all planned out for Feb.  I am integrating speed work on Tuesdays, and am on track to hit 13 miles by Feb 18th.  These few extra goals should compliment my running plan nicely.  I feel confident in my training and look forward to where I will be in just a mere 4 weeks!

Progress Report: Week 2

January 15, 2012 1 comment

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I’ve successfully completed my second week of half marathon training! So far I have to say it is a whole lot of work! But it’s also a unique experience. With each week comes a new accomplishment which propels me into the next week’s schedule with newly found confidence. Week two was 18 total miles, ending with a 9 mile long run on Saturday. 9 miles! That’s my new accomplishment as it is the longest distance I have ran. Ever.

This weeks long run was tough. I was struggling and felt slow. I knew I was going to finish the 9 miles, even if my legs fell off and I had to crawl! Around mile 4 or so I checked my gps and realized that I was somehow running faster than last week! Honestly I thought my gps was lying to me. I took a GU around mile 5 and felt relieved I was over half way done.

On my last mile I started getting excited that I was going to finish my longest run yet! I looked at my gps with about a half mile left and was again, totally surprised at the pace. I didn’t understand why I felt so slow when I was doing so much better than last week. I had shaved about 2 minutes off of every mile! I started feeling really proud of myself and got pretty emotional. I’m guessing this was my first “runners high.” I must have looked like a crazy person that last half mile. I passed a walker that I recognized from last weekend, and seriously considered high five’ing him. haha! I refrained but kind of wished I had! He smiled at me and instead of just smiling back I started laughing. Out loud. Like I said, I must have looked crazy. Then I started getting all choked up and thought I was going to cry. I was completely emotional because I was so happy that I’d done so well and reached my goal for the week. Running is emotional and weird, and I love it!

Now I’m going into next week’s training feeling strong and confident, which is great since it’s going to be a pretty big milestone. I am going to reach the 10 mile mark!! That is a big deal to me. It’s exciting and challenging and I can’t wait to have a double digit run under my belt!

Half Marathon Training Has Officially Started!

January 7, 2012 2 comments

That’s right.  This was week 1 of official half marathon training.  I had to say that to myself a few times before I started to really believe it!

This all comes after a BIG change of plans.  I’ve had my sights set on the San Francisco Half Marathon as being my very first on July 29 2012.  I’m excited.  Sometimes I even catch myself daydreaming about running over the Gold Gate Bridge.  How amazing does that sound?  It is going to be an experience I’ll never forget.  In a way it doesn’t feel real.  I plugged the date into a ticker and realized it was a whopping 210 days away.  That’s 30 weeks!   I knew I didn’t need 30 weeks to only add another 6 miles onto my long runs.  With the help of my running friends on Twitter, I decided to train for the Oakland Half Marathon on March 25, 2012.  11 weeks away.  Enough time to train up, but not so far away that it doesn’t feel unreal.  Great!

I wont lie. At first I wasn’t too sold on the thought of running in Oakland.  But after reading a blog post sent to me on Twitter, written by a Bay Area runner, (@PavementRunner) and after watching a slideshow on their website (http://www.oaklandmarathon.com) I was sold!  I am so excited to be a part of this event this year, and to experience the community who comes out in overwhelming support (and I saw something about live bands playing along the route), oh and excited for the 13.1 medal because free stuff rocks!

So that’s it.  March 25th is the new BIG day.  And despite the beginning of this year being flogged with junk miles that left my confidence in the gutter, today, being Saturday and my long run day, I gained all that confidence back by sticking to my training and completing my longest distance yet: 8 strong miles.  It felt amazing.  I kept telling myself that I was out there doing something I didn’t think I could do just last week.  It didn’t hurt that it was beautiful out this morning and I took advantage of it, running outside around a big park.  There was lots going on, multiple soccer games, hoards of parents there to watch, people rollerblading (which I thought was a dead sport ha)!, dog walkers, and other runners!  I felt comfortable until about 6.5 miles when I realized I hadn’t brought enough water.  This stressed me out a little (water fountains weren’t working either) so I started rationing it better and was happy that I had some Gatorade in the car waiting for me when I was done.  Since I didn’t have much water left, I was afraid to take a Gu because I thought it would upset my stomach.  Luckily I felt pretty good til the end and didn’t really need it!  And I know that’s a part of what these longer runs are for.  To work out all the kinks so nothing like this happens on race day.  I am still learning how to prepare, perform, and recover.

So I have decided to compose a list of my upcoming events (although it is a work in progress for now).

Jan 21 Twitter Road Race Virtual 5k

Jan 28 Coyote Hills 10k Fremont, CA  http://www.brazenracing.com/coyotehills.html

March 25 Oakland Half Marathon, Oakland, CA  http://www.oaklandmarathon.com/

July 29 San Francisco Half Marathon, San Francisco, CA  http://www.thesfmarathon.com/

Sept 4 Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Dayton, OR  http://www.run4oregonwine.com/

I will throw in some 10k’s here and there between March the halfs marys, but I’m already getting excited about my list! I hope you stick with me through my training so you can read about my accomplishments!

New Year, New You?

January 1, 2012 1 comment

Ah, New Years Resolutions.  It’s that time again. It’s the start of a brand new year.  A clean slate. A fresh start.  A do-over, maybe.  We’re all shouting resolutions from our rooftops!  We’re going to be more aware of our spending, eat less, go to bed earlier, actually start using that darn gym membership, and lose weight!

But what is a resolution, really, and why do we wait to make them until Jan 1? And why do we fail year after year after year?

Well, because it’s a resolution.  All that means is you’ve determined something about something. And why wait til Jan 1 to think about your finances, your diet, and your health?

What we should all really be doing is thinking ahead, and making a plan!  Making goals. It’s not enough to just determine you should go to the gym.  You have to actually go!  Never put it off.  Not til the new year, not til tomorrow.

Goals are different than resolutions.  It’s the difference between a thought and an action.  And that’s a big difference; most likely between failing and succeeding.

So how do you stop this cycle of failing year after year, and start succeeding?  You need a plan.  If you’ve decided you’re going to start going to the gym, determine when you’re going to go.  Maybe early in the morning before you have to get your kids up, or on your lunch break or at night after your kids are in bed.  Choose whatever is the most convenient and the easiest to keep doing.  So what are you going to do while you’re at the gym?  If you’re anything like me, the gym can be very intimidating!  I had a membership at several different gyms for years before I decided I was going to learn how to actually use the facility.  Lack of knowledge can really hold you back, so I would absolutely suggest you take advantage of any free personal training sessions your gym offers.  Most do.  Have them help you create a plan.

After you’ve created a detailed plan, stick to it.  It’s easy to get bored, or too tired or too busy.  But when it comes down to it, you make time for what is important.  Your health is important, by the way.

Don’t focus on having everything right away.  Have patience.  The point is to keep doing.  Keep being active.  Keep getting to the gym.  Progress is just as important as that goal you’re working towards.  Be positive and know you can do it.  And you are worth it, too.

The best tools for my success that I discovered in 2011 were:

1. TWITTER!  There is a world of people out there that want you to succeed!  Thousands of people willing to share their stories of struggles and success with you.  There are people just like you, or people who were just like you, just starting out, who now have ran marathons, ultra marathons even.  People who have worked hard and lost 70+lbs for all different reasons.  These people are positive and you can learn from them.  Twitter has been extremely helpful for me! (You can follow me: @Critizzle)

2. COACHES/TRAINERS.  It’s all about the teachers.  They don’t have to be actual coaches or personal trainers (but it’s a plus if they are).  They can be your friends or husband, or running buddy.  Anyone who can show you how to get stronger, anyone you can learn from or that motivates you.  Group training personally helped me.  Twice a week I ran with other runners.  I also did a spin class.  Anything that makes you feel a part of something great is a fantastic way to stay on track.

3. BLOGS.  Again, it’s another way to learn.  All three of these tools have allowed me to immerse myself in fitness.  Blogs are good because it’s a closer look into people’s journeys.  It can be personal and inspiring.  I’ve found that most of the people I love on Twitter also have blogs.  I can’t even count the number of blogs I have read and loved.

A couple I suggest, are: Seemomrunfar.blogspot.com and http://nycrunningmama.com and http://runlikeacoyote.blogspot.com/

Check them out if you want to be inspired and motivated!  So good luck everyone, on your goals for this year.  You can do it!