Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Race report: Big Sur Marathon

This year I enjoyed my 3rd Big Sur marathon and it didn't disappoint.  I LOVE this race.  It is hands down the most beautiful, and most enjoyable (albeit tough) run.  Race weekend started with an early flight to SFO where I met my mom to drive down to Monterey for checkin.  We made good time winding along the 101 to get to the expo in downtown Monterey.  After picking up my bib, we hit the road again to Carmel to check into the hotel and then rest before race day.

Race day came FAST.  In part, because I had to get up at 3:30am to catch a 3:45am shuttle to the starting line and in my stress of missing my alarm as well as pre-race jitters I just barely slept.

At 3:45 I made my way to the streets of Carmel where I simply followed other groggy looking runners to the lineup of school busses that would take us to the starting line.  The finish was in Carmel so we got to drive the entire course on the busses pre-race which added to the jitters.  Every up and down hill, I pictured in reverse.

I got to race village around 4:45am where I then waited ... and waited ... and used the porta potty many many times in part to kill time ... and waited until 6:45am to start.

Finally, it was time to start and I lined up in coral 1 with a good view of the elites.  The national anthem was sung (beautifully) and it was go time!
 The Big Sur marathon is a rolling race with some sizeable hills up to a 600ft climb.  There's a total elevation gain of 2,100 feet and an elevation loss of 2,500 feet.  The start was a downhill incline, and then the rolling began:

The race organizers and volunteers were amazing and did quite well getting entertainment where it was really needed.  My favorite drummers were right on a big hill incline and the beating of my brain got lost in the drums which was nice.
 Another great point was a grand piano just after another big climb with music blasted on speakers mingling with the crashing of the ocean.
 During the race my phone started restarting after mile 13 or so, which was a killer with motivation and trying to reset the phone.  I found myself repeating a mantra of "I feel good, I look good, I'm doing good" just for reinforcement.  It got me through the quiet moments on the run.

Finally ... done!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

M minus 5

It's five days to the marathon.  FIVE DAYS!  I'm excited, nervous, tired, stressed, thinking of songs to sing at miles 16 and 20, and a whole bunch of other random thoughts.  Mostly though I can't wait to get to Carmel, put toes in the sand, then toe the line a day later to run the hills of Big Sur.

This week I'm winding down the mileage to save it all for Sunday.  Today was an easy 3.7mi loop around Queen Anne.

I'm finding all kinds of aches in this countdown - some are phantom, some need stretching and ice.

Five days ...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Masters Swim Report

In my continued attempt to like swimming, or at least not completely dread it, I am hitting the pool at least weekly.  Last week I wound up in my swim session at the same time as aqua aerobics which was not the best idea.  After about 20min of swimming, I noticed a cloudy mist coming through the water from the direction of the aqua aerobics class.  I'll let you guess what that was, but I was completely grossed out.

This week, I went for lap time and wound up timing it perfectly with a Master's Class so opted for that instead.  SO awesome!  My normal swim is get in, do a mile, get out.  And my stroke is freestyle with only breathing on the right side every other stroke.  In the class, we did the following:
  1. Easy 10 laps 
  2. 200s with the buoy
  3. Easy 10 laps 
  4. 200s with the buoy and hand fins breathing every 3 strokes 
  5. Easy 10 laps 
In this short session I learned to breath less frequently (sounds counter intuitive but helped a ton!), breath on both sides, and turn more in the water to cut through faster.  

Tenacious Ten: Race Report

It's race season, it's race season - hurray!  Yesterday I toed the line for the Tenacious Ten 10mi race by Oiselle.  This was my second time doing the race and it didn't disappoint.  I went with a friend, Colleen, and we got there a bit too early.  "Too" because by the lake it was cold. 

The race itself started at Gas Works park and wound around Lake Union.  There were two options, 10mi, or 10k.  The 10mi had a couple out and backs which I didn't love, but all in it was pretty great.

The upshot of getting to the race early, is I got to fangirl out on Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman who are both Oiselle pro runners.

The race went clockwise around Lake Union.  Lake Union has some rolling hills, but nothing bad.  For the out and backs, there was one jaunt on the north side of the lake, and another just west of that in the dirt.  As much as I love mud, the dirt out and back is where I had my slowest mile.

All in I ran 1:10 for a 7:03/mi average pace.  I SO wanted sub-7s, but that's something to work for.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Over the river and through the woods... up Little Si

Sunday was a rest day so instead of running or swimming we made it for the mountains.  We drove to North Bend (in WA, not OR) to hike Little Si.  Along the drive, the sky was angry with dumping rain and gusty winds, but it seemed to pause as soon as we parked at the foot of the mountain.

We parked in the overflow lot because it seems many people had the same idea to get an early hike in.  From the overflow lot to the main lot was ~1/2mi jaunt.  After a quick (stinky) potty stop, we started hiking.

Little Si is incredibly beautiful.  In the beginning of the hike, the mountain was cloaked by clouds and we couldn't see off the sides.  We made our way through the trees, over mini rivers, past giant rocks that seemed to just be waiting for summer and boulderers, and up to the top of the mountain.

Riley, our little dog, was a total mud lover seeming to aim for each puddle.  Everyone who passed us commented "she's going to need a bath - hehe."  The boys thought it was hilarious that literally everyone said the same thing.

After cresting the top, we stopped for a quick snack, and then made our way back.  The boys trail blazed with rapid pace and never ceased smiling.

All in, perfection.  Can't wait for another rest day.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Run Report: 20 was plenty

Today was my last long run before Big Sur Marathon.  I met up with my running buddy Milah and we set off for 10 around Lake Union.  I love my running partner - we talk politics, health, marriage, running grossnesses, joys, stressors, and angst.

We set off down the side of Queen Anne and then along the canal looping to Lake Union at the Brook's store.  Our pace was steady and conversational - best kind!  Milah is prepping for the London Marathon, so we talked marathon stress and excitement, all the way to what our respective proms were like.  The biggest thing we talked about is how everyone looks so perfect on social media - clean house, no stress, perfect smile.  Here's my social media post - on the left is how I want to appear, on the right is a puffed face holding the boogers into my nose instead of dripping into my mouth:

After the first lake loop, Milah headed back up the hill - her marathon is a week before me so she's in "taper-cation" mode.  I stood by the lake getting the Deena Kastor book teed up again and trying to decide if I really felt like doing another loop.  As soon as the book was going through my headphones I was amped up enough to get around the lake one more time.

Towards the end of my second lake loop, the sky opened up and started a shower of rain with more pressure than my shower.  Kind of a nice way to cool, but the mix of sweat, snot, maybe some tears, and rain made me overcome with salt.  All good, though - sustenance! 

I finally finished loop two and decided on stairs up Queen Anne and a final QA loop to hit 20.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Falling makes me faster

It's been a bit of a rocky year.  For the first time since I was 13 years old, I'm not working and it feels like my identity as "type A career woman" is rocked.  I say feels to be precise, because the reality is, I'm still me but better and continuing to learn.  I get the chance for a fresh start which is kind of rare.  More specifically, I get to run as long as I want, swim as long as I want (OK, don't really want to, but am trying to learn to love), do yoga often, and squeeze in grown up things like exploring starting a company and networking.

Today's run had me thinking of my restart, where I've fallen, and how lucky I am to get to learn from tumbles.  Today I ran listening to Deena Kastor's new book "Let Your Mind Run" and the irony is not lost on my that my mind was totally running right along with my legs.  In the book Deena discusses her high school track coach Bill and how she got into running.

My high school track coach was also Bill, and he changed my life forever.  Speaking of tumbles, one of my favorite high school track memories was getting pushed down in a 2 mile race.  A girl pushed me on a turn and stepped on my hand to add insult to the push.  I got up and proceeded to lap her, say "thanks" while passing her, and then win - but still of course cry about it and complain afterwards.

 During my run today I kept thinking about the notion of getting knocked down and getting up again (then I'd mentally toggle to a song from the 90s about this).  Another irony was at a point in the book where Deena was talking about mental toughness and overcoming setbacks, I literally fell on the stairs going up to Queen Anne.  No worries, though, my mental toughness kicked in and so did my stride to finish out a good 16 mile run.

For a mini run report, the scenery was pretty perfect today too.  I ran from Queen Anne to Green Lake, looped the zoo and the lake, then ran around Lake Union.  Just before climbing the stairs to go up Queen Anne, I ran (heh, pun intended) across a family of geese where new life was literally growing ... and eating poop ... and growing.

At mile 15.92 I was DONE, but I couldn't bring myself to end so shy of a round mile, so I jammed up a hill to get 16.