Monday, November 30, 2009

Home and Fighting

We are home from our wonderful splendid week in Tahoe. Weather was gorgeous and we even got some snow! The Peanut has never seen snow before and watching a 20 month old's eyes bug out of their heads watching the flakes fall and then inevitebly sticking their tongue out to "catch" said flakes is heart warming. Who cares that it was 10 degrees out!

I was able to workout while on vacation though. Luckily the place we stay has a new state of the art gym. Sorry no pics. I was able to run my three days a week and was also inspired by their little weight lifting machine thiny. Oh boy! Who knew that doing lateral pulls would eliminate that little bulge of fat between your boob and arm pit! Honey I think we're going to have buy one of those fancy machines! Or I guess I could google how to simulate a lateral pull w/o the use of ginormous bulky machine.

One day I did manage a nice 5 mile run outside that included high elevation and some hills! Sweet. I felt fantastic on this run which gives me hope that Sunday's 26.2 miles of The California International Marathon won't be so grueling. My ankle ached occasionally while in Tahoe but oddly not while running. Go figure.

My latest "issue" if you will is fighting a sore throat. It is that pre marathon freak out phase and I am doing all I can to remain positive and not convince myself that I have H1N1. Sigh. Seriously all I have is a sore throat but my mind will concoct something heinous and I don't want to even go there.

My second "issue" is deciding which pace group to run on Sunday. Intially I was going to stick with my 4 hour pace group from last year. This would be a conservative run for me and would probably leave me feeling perfectly fine post race. Yet, I am competitive and last year I dreamed of running sub 4 hour. I did that. 7 months post baby. My second dream is to run a marathon at a sub 9 minute mile. The 3:50 pace group is exactly my pace. Exactly. No wiggle room. Do I WANT wiggle room? Do I NEED wiggle room? I am thinking I should just go for it and see how things turn out. . . . stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vacation. Running and posting.




Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life happens and sometimes it sucks

What is that saying? When it rains it pours? Well I guess you can say it is shooting buckets at us over here. Sigh. I have been battling some tummy troubles lately. I thought it was something I had eaten or perhaps I had been glutened by something but alas, there seems to be no end in sight and now Vans is complaining of some tummy troubles as well. The Peanut always seems to be battling something lately too but for her I usually suspect teething as a culprit. I think I am too old to blame teething huh? Ah well. Praying for relief before the California International Marathon. Right now rice, ginger tea and some egg whites are my friends.

To add to my already exciting depressing post (if you're still reading I am impressed), I think I am in a rut. A life rut. I will be the first to say that I am thankful to have a job in this economy and not only a job that is close to my home and to the Peanut's daycare but I have a boss that I genuinely like. He is "child friendly" if you will meaning when the Peanut is sick blowing snot bubbles or daycare is having an event, I am generally "allowed" to go. However, I do not like my job. I don't. I do not enjoy what I do and I don't think I ever really have.

I still hold fast to my very first 'adult' job working for PBS and nothing, nothing I have done since then has ever compared. I work in the legal field. I have worked in the legal field since 2004. I hate it. I am not an attorney nor do I ever want to become an attorney. I hate sitting at a desk all day long and I hate taking the blame for every mistake because attorneys "don't make mistakes. staff makes mistakes" which is the mentality every attorney I have ever worked for has. That is the job of a paralegal. Take the blame and don't bother trying to defend yourself.

So many times each day I wish I had either A. stayed in the television/media field despite the horrid employment rate in that field or B. chosen another area that involves some sort of physical fitness. I had lofty dreams at times of becoming a Personal Trainer or something along those lines. I have dabbled in the area of training various groups to complete triathlons or half marathons. I enjoyed it immensely just not while simultaneously working a full time job. Sigh. I need to suck it up I know. There are hundreds of people out there who would kill to have my job. I know this. I do.

I also know nothing is going to land in my lap. I have never been that lucky and I never will. I have always had to work for what I wanted and I worked hard. Such is life.

Sometimes life happens and sometimes it just sucks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mind games

Marathon neurosis starts now. Normally it is the week OF the marathon that I start to feel those phantom aches and pains imagining that all my training has gone out the window because what? My big toe hurts?

Here we are at least 2+ weeks out from the California International Marathon and I am feeling every twinge and ache in my body. My mind is just going insane with thoughts of "oh no! X hurts. I can't run CIM" but who am I kidding? I will run it. No matter what. I am also surprised at the way my mind is currently working because I convinced myself all throughout my training that CIM was not the "goal" but merely a training run to get me to the Way Too Cool 50K in March.

So why am I so upset? I am seriously having thoughts of not finishing CIM and bonking like I did back in 2005 (a memory I had hoped was erased from my brain). I will not go there just like I will NOT get sick. No way jose. Not me despite the fact when I go to pick up my Peanut every other little peanut comes running to me with snot oozing out of their little noses! Sigh. Daycare. Gotta love it right?

CIM is an important race for me. I enjoy it and I want to be able to run it with ease. I am not racing on December 6th. I am purely out for a stroll to get some decent mileage. I was telling myself before that if I finished in over 4 hours so be it. I didn't care. Who am I kidding? I DO care and I WANT to finish faster than last year but some how I think last year I was in better shape. I swear nursing and marathon training combined really has extra benefits that no one is telling me. :-)

Ah well. The countdown begins I suppose.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Memory Lane

Yesterday because of the Veteran's Day Holiday I was home from work and the Peanut was home from daycare. It was basically a "Mommy & Daughter" day and I couldn't have been more excited about it. Spending the day home with my little Peanut brought back all kinds of memories from when I was on Maternity Leave with her about a 1.5 years ago. I remember being over joyed by this little person in my life and just starring at her for hours and hours (and also praying for nap time on occasion - for both of us).

Yesterday my little Peanut who is in the "repeat what you say" stage accompanied me to Dr. Lau's office to get quick ankle check up. The status? No running when it is swollen. Buy compression socks (ick? really?) and basically take it easy just a few more days. My swelling has reduced considerably and I was actually able to jump on the dreaded elliptical machine for 30 minutes last night. Saturday I will run but until then, I have been enjoying any and all free time with my Peanut.

The above picture was from my very first race post Peanut birth. She was 6 weeks old and I apparently won my age group in the 5K (ssh, there really were not a lot of women in that race). I was proud none the less and thus began the weekend ritual of Vans and the Peanut coming out to cheer me on at various races. I am a lucky lucky woman. I have the best family (and friend) support group a girl could ever ask for. Truly.

So yesterday the Peanut and I "ran" around the neighborhood. She of course has to verabalize it "run run run run" while she motors her little legs down the street. It's heart warming to watch her enjoy running. The smile on her face is almost as big as mine. I heart my little Peanut.

The Peanut at 6 weeks old

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clarksburg 30K and a bum ankle

This past Sunday was the Clarksburg 30K. It marks the final race of my month long racing extravaganza. Whew. I am exhausted! I am also possibly injured. It was inevitable right? I mean a person runs a race every single weekend and they are bound to get hurt right? I tried so hard to just run these races as training runs and yesterday I did manage that fairly well but I guess in hind sight I probably should not have waited for the final race of the month to do that. I probably should have incorporated that somewhere in the middle eh? NIKE and Portland were not run with full steam but I did run them back to back on courses with extreme up hills and down hills. The Apple Hill Harvest run was the same thing. It was a short nice 3.5 miler but with some intense hills. Oh yeah and I was pushing a jogging stroller complete with full size Peanut inside.

Yesterday’s goal was to run race pace or slightly slower. I did not exactly manage that but I did end up that way. I started out mile 1 at 8:10, mile 2 at 8:20, mile 3 at 8:30, mile 4 at 8:40 which I held steady for a long while or at least until the pain arrived and then I went from 8:40 to 9:15. I was able to speed up a bit but only because I wanted to finish.

What bothers me most is my body felt fine, minus the intense pain shooting through my right ankle. I have finally dialed in my pre race ritual situation so that my digestion and fueling are down to a perfect science. Unfortunately no matter how much Gluten Freeda Banana Maple with Flax Oatmeal I eat it can’t really help a sprained ankle. Thanks for trying Gluten Freeda!

Yes. You read that correctly. Sprained Ankle. My favorite sports doctor, Dr. Lau was at the race as well and he was generous enough to tell me that he wanted to see me after the race to assess the pain I’ve been having lately. Before I get to the injury specifics I have to share that this ankle pain is so bizarre. There was never swelling or pain any other time except when I was running more than 10 miles. Weird right? But the pain that would come was excruciating and lasted for probably 30 minutes post race and then disappeared. That is until yesterday of course. Right on cue at mile 10-ish the ankle started hurting and the unevenness of the Clarksburg country roads made it that much worse. By the time I finished the pain was off and on unbearable. Mind you, I can still run but it isn’t pretty. I crossed the finish line and jumped hobbled right into Dr. Lau’s line. I was in so much pain I could not even stretch my horribly tight muscles. Race wise, I finished with a pace of 8:40 which is my marathon goal (har har) and I was 12th in my age group but the CIM marathon looks like it might be slipping from my sights each race I run.

Dr. Lau worked tirelessly on me even with a long line of people behind me. I adore him. But he finally stopped and had a really sad look on his face. He said he thinks I might possibly have a high ankle sprain sustained most likely from one of my trail runs. It hurts so late into a run because of the pressure and pounding finally setting in. It swelled too for the first time ever. Not sure if that was race related or if it was from Dr. Lau poking and pulling. Right now he suggests that I not run all week. Cross train he said . . . what is that? Ha! I am running junkie. My cross training usually entails the elliptical which isn’t really much different from running. It is too dark at night to ride a bike.

I am listening though. I am heating and icing and not running until Sunday. I am however doing what you’re not supposed to do and that is google everything there is to google about a High Ankle Sprain and from what I have read, it isn’t a good thing. I am stepping away from Google before I talk myself into a depression about this whole thing.

CIM is still possible. I am not losing hope (or the money I shelled out) just yet.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The family that runs together . . .

This weekend I had a plethora of running activities to keep my family busy. So get ready for a fairly lengthy entry.

Part 1: Helen Klein Ultra Classic (30K, 50K, 50 miler) - Saturday

I chose to do the 30K which technically is not really an “ultra” per se but whatever. A 30K distance should be 18.1 miles right? Notice I said “should be” . . . well, according to my Garmin I ran 20 miles on Saturday. But let’s start at the beginning shall we?

I started off my morning with my new ritual of ¼ cup of coffee, Gluten Freeda’s Banana Maple with Flax Oatmeal and coconut water. The race required 30+ minutes of driving and unfortunately I did not leave myself enough time. I ended up drinking my coconut water in the car which brought me to the race with a few only a few minutes to spare. I had to park, get my packet information and then head to the starting line. No time to stop and find a bathroom at all. Whoops. The Helen Klein Ultra Classic is a pretty well known race here in Sacramento. Norm Klein is the race director and Helen Klein is his wife who still runs and I believe is in her 70s. She is fantastic and Norm is a spitfire. This was my first ever Helen Klein race and I loved every minute.

It was still dark when we started. Norm, who is also in his 70s, had us all walk as a group through the woods to the “starting line” which consisted of a chalk drawn line in the dirt. No chips. No fancy timing mechanisms. No bull horn! Just Norm saying ‘ready set go’ after counting down. Gotta love it.

My goal was initially to take this as a training run for the marathon. From the start I had pee from all that coconut water I consumed and decided that on the turn-around I’d find a restroom. The race started with 2 miles of hilly trails and then dumps you out on the bike trail for what is basically an out and back run only to have you finish on the same hilly 2 miles of trails at the end. The big fancy turn-around really was an old man sitting in a lawn chair on the bike path reading a newspaper with a paper plate sign that said “30K turn-around.” I kid you not. I actually passed the guy not realizing he was the marker. Luckily I only made it about 10 feet before I realized that. Whew!

Well when I turned around someone running in the opposite direction informed me that I was the 3rd female overall. What? How? Ugh. Of course with that in my brain now, I couldn’t stop to use a restroom. I would lose my place! My “easy training run” immediately turned into a “race” and I just motored. I wanted 3rd female (or better) and if my memory was correct, I would be first in my age group.

Needless to say I ran hard but I ran well. I felt fantastic stomach wise. I had a little ankle pain but overall felt fantastic. I thought I would dread the hilly trail run at the finish but it was actually so nice to get off the pavement and back onto some trails and the weather was fantastic so I had nothing to complain about. I crossed the finish line and Norm immediately asked me how old I was. He presented me with a “trophy” for being first in my age group and as it turns out I was third female overall. It was a fun race and I felt great. Norm Klein was such a nice man with a great sarcastic sense of humor. I might have to consider this race again next year!

Part 2: Apple Hill Harvest Run 3.5 miles – Sunday

This is the first year Vans and I have ever done the Apple Hill Harvest Run. It takes place well over an hour from our house and therefore we’ve never been inclined to drive that far only to race and fight the parking/traffic madness that is Apple Hill.

Something changed this year though as I ended up signing Vans up to run the 3.5 mile race (timed) and myself and the Peanut for the 3.5 mile race (untimed). I figured it would give Vans a chance to race since he is always pushing the jogging stroller while I am racing and I thought the Peanut and I would have a great time walking and it would be a great recovery from the previous day’s 20 miler.

The madness was apparent on Sunday morning. Hundreds of cars trying to park and get to the race but the weather was glorious. Apple Hill is in Camino which is higher elevation than Sacramento and way more hilly than Sacramento. The hills were the first thing Vans noticed as we were driving in. The second was that we had to park so far away and walk up and down a big hill just to get to the starting area!

While Vans went to the front of the pack to get good positioning, I decided to be politically correct and go to the back of the pack where the stroller people are supposed to go. Big mistake. The walkers were even too slow for me! The competitive side of me took over and I started bobbing and weaving myself through the crowd until I was running and running fairly well. My goal was not to walk much and to keep running. The Peanut was kicking back having a blast in the jogger while “momma” was dodging and weaving various runners who were either 1. Giving me looks of disgust because I was passing them with a jogger or 2. Shouting “way to go momma!” as I passed. Ah well. I was having fun and I felt great so I just kept running.

As it turns out, the Peanut and I finished first stroller over-all and our time was not too shabby! We only finished about 5 minutes after Vans who by the way, finished 4th in his age group! Way to go honey! The Peanut enjoyed an afternoon of climbing and running at the playground near the race finish. What a perfect weekend all around. I love my running family.