Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CIM and the Magic From the Back of the Pack

  Well. I did it. It was the craziest experience ever. I don't even know where to start.
We left on Saturday to head to Sacramento to pick up my bib at the Expo. I was so thankful for my family going with me. Their support was so important. Each time I would see them during the race I got choked up and so grateful to have them believe in me and cheer me in. I don't think I would have made it without them. 

The weather was already starting to rain. I had been diligently checking the weather about every five minutes. Dreading the incoming storm. 

We got to Sacramento and walked around the Expo a bit. Bib pick up, t shirt pickup, bag pickup. And I also wanted to buy some body glide knowing that chafing would be a problem with the rain. I also bought a CIM t shirt because I didn't like that one I got. (Icky green color).  I kinda wish I had been able to attend the expo longer as they had speakers both on Friday and Saturday.   Oh well, maybe next time. 

We left the expo and headed for Folsom to check into our hotel. We stayed at Larkspur Landing, the same place we had stayed for my husband's Half Ironman in August. I had been second guessing the decision to stay near the start of the race instead of the finish but it turned out to be the perfect decision. You see if you stay in Folsom you get a VIP sticker that gives you access to a VIP warming tent and private porta potties at the start. This would be a God send the next day during the torrential rain and wind. 

We checked  in and had some time to kill before dinner so we watched The Holiday. My daughter, Katie, and I love, love love this movie. Then it was time for our dinner reservations at Viscontis. Some friends of ours live up there and met us for dinner. I was so thankful to have a great distraction as I was getting more nervous as the day went on.

Back at the hotel I took a nice hot bath and checked and double checked everything. I knew I wouldn't sleep well but I was thankful the night before I had slept great. 

The next morning the alarm went off at 3:50. I ate some breakfast, had some coffee and got ready.  I was ready a bit early so I just watched tv for a bit before the bus got there. The bus pick up was 5:15 and I knew the start wasn't that far. We had to stop at one other hotel for more people but we got to the start at about 5:40. 

I thought I would go straight to the warming tent to keep as dry as possible before the start. Ha! The second I stepped out of the bus I was drenched. Even my shoes were drenched. Are you kidding me? 

I had been dealing with shin splints for 2 weeks and had readjusted my goals big time. Ideally I would have liked to have a goal of 4:40 (doubling my best half time). Then I added 20 minutes  so I was hoping for around 5 hours. I read about the pacers and the 5:10 pacer sounded like he would be fun to run with. He said he liked to laugh a lot had have a good time. Perfect . I figured I would like to have a good laugh during this.  So I found the 5:10 group and fell into  place. 

The first 6 miles were ok for my legs. The rain was just a downpour. My plastic garbage bag basically allowed rain to run through the neck hole down my top, and I was completely soaked. We had several flooded intersections where the water was about mid-shin we had to wade/run through. Saw a police car in an inter section with water up past it's door.  Saw some flooded porta potties (ick). 

Miles 6-10 was getting harder to keep up with the pace group as my lower legs were very tight.  I stopped to uses a porta potty and stretched while waiting in the short line. As much as I loved the 5:10 pace group I fell behind and knew I wouldn't be able to catch back up.  What a fun bunch though and the pacer was sooo funny. 

Miles 10-13 was when my left shin pain started to radiate up my IT band. I was heartbroken.  I saw my family at 13.1 and  started crying my leg hurt so bad I didn't know if I could finish. But I kept going.

I saw my family again at mile 16. I decided I needed dry shoes and sox. My family quickly helped me swap out my chip and I also ditched the garbage bag and changed into a dry shirt. Wow. I felt so much better. And off I went.

After this things changed. By mile 18 the sun came out. Hallelujah!  I also saw photographers for the first time.  I realized I was smiling. I almost felt  giddy. I kept thinking "Look at me! I'm doing it!" 

This is also where I saw the magic from the back of the pack.  Several things came into focus for me. I had been so bummed at my pain, and how my time was going to suck. I kept thinking I didn't want to be last. Now I realized...who cares. Even the person that comes in last is still amazing! And still a "marathoner".  Awesome. And soon I would be too. 

I know magic was also happening at the front with the elites and the BQers and the people PRing.  But I really  felt so blessed to be there. I appreciated how beautiful the course was. The beautiful terrain, the pretty houses decorated for the holidays. Every kid I saw trying to high five, I went out of my way to high five them and thanked them for cheering for us. I thanked every volunteer that gave me water.  I guess I tried to just embrace it. 

At the back of the pack I heard other stories. A man with the 5:10 group was running something like his 94th marathon! Amazing!   Everyone in the race has a story. First time. Trying to BQ. Overcoming an injury. Trying to PR. 

There was a point where we ran by a nursing home and I looked up to see a man in a wheelchair watching from the window. I waved, he waved and cheered us on. Almost made me cry. I was blessed to be able to run. A few miles later there was another nursing home. Same thing. A man in a wheelchair on a patio with his caregiver so excited when I waved to him and he kept cheering and smiling. I was blessed to be running. 

After that I knew I would finish. It hurt. I was in more pain then I thought it would be but I could do it. I was blessed to be finishing. 

This experience was amazing. The weather was crazy. The training was long and grueling at times. It was harder than I could have imagined but the feeling at the end was more than I could have hoped for. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I DID IT!!!!

 Well......I DID IT!!!


Recap to come. I'm exhausted. And very, very sore. 

Any tips for good recovery ?

Friday, November 30, 2012

CIM and Stormaggedon

  Less than 2 days to go. As I look out my window I see my future. And it includes grey skies and down pouring rain. I have heard our storms described as Stormaggedon and an Atmospheric River. Prepare for flooding, gusting winds and power outages. Perfect. I am trying to stay optimistic. Really I am. But I do find it ironic that when I found CIM I thought it was perfect. Mostly downhill, and over 30 years the weather is close to perfection. Well jokes on me. Ha!

My husband came home yesterday from his business trip and tried to cheer me up. He said I should view running in this storm like Lt. Dan in Forest Gump. Remeber him yelling "Is this all you got!?" So that will be me on Sunday, yelling to the heavens "Is this all you got? Bring it!"

Well...it is what it is. 

So in a perfect world, my best case scenario goal would have been to double my best half time (2:20) and my goal would have been 4:40. But I was realistic, I knew it was my first full. I'd get fatigued, so I would add some time. So my next goal would have been under 5. Sounded reasonable and obtainable. Even 4:55 would make me happy. 
Now with Stormaggedon upon us, (and my left shin still feeling wonky) my new goal is to be alive. Yep. Just finish. Maybe finish before they take down the porta potties and finish line. 

Just kidding. My goal is still is to just finish but hopefully right around 5. Give or take 15 minutes.  I plan now to meet up with a pace group. I might find a Clydesdale to draft behind :) Maybe they won't notice I'm back there. 

I was looking for motivation today and I found this. It's awesome. 

I especially loved the kid in the bike helmet.

My new mantra will be " Look up. Get up. And never give up."

That, or "Which way to the arc?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CIM Countdown Continues

  Taper crazies continue around here and it's been a bit of a hectic week. My husband is out of town so I've been a single parent all week. I usually don't mind when he goes out of town because its kinda fun and I don't feel the pressure to stress about cooking, etc. But this time I was bummed because I had some short runs planned and I was just overall stressed about CIM.

Speaking of CIM I saw this today and definately freaked out:

Two weeks ago I ran 20 miles and felt great but now I've lost my confidence when my shins started giving me grief.

I got off work early today and decided to go for a quick 3 mile, very easy run just to test out my legs. Mile 1 was fine. No problems. But then my left shin felt super tight. I stopped and tried to just move my foot in circles. First to the right then the left. That seemed to help a little. I pushed on and I can't really tell if its better, the same, or worse. Maybe I'm just freaking myself out. 

On my run I was trying to decide what to do with the shin splints. Should I just continue icing, massaging/pressure points, foam roller, ibuprophening? Or should I see the doc and can she do a cortisone shot for shin splints? Would that help? What about acupuncture? A massage? I have tomorrow to take action on something.

I also wanted to get in a run today because California is finally having some weather. You know if it is on the national news than its something. Today was the first of three storms expected this week. Warnings about flooding, power outages, etc. (usually I take it with a grain of salt because its never that bad...we just aren't used to anything other than sun and occasional sprinkles. ) When I was on my run I definately saw the clouds but luckily no rain. And I got done before the sun went down. Score.

I saw this on Facebook and I laughed so hard. :) 

I wanted to get a shirt with "You just got passed by a Grandma" on the back but my family just rolled their eyes at the idea. This shirt is great though.

Any tips from anyone that's ever had shin splints? Or has known of anyone with shin splints?  

Monday, November 26, 2012

CIM Countdown (Taper Crazies)

  Six days til CIM and I am officially freaking out. 

I did the Big Sur Half  (+7) for my last long run last week. I rested Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I ran 5 and was glad I did. Like always, the first run after a long run sucked. My legs felt heavy and I was slow. But at the end I was glad I went and felt good. Thursday I pigged out and felt like I gained 10 pounds. On Saturday I went for another run. I wanted to run 10 but holy moly I felt like crap. My calves felt tight and my shins were killing me. So I hobbled along and ran 3.5 then I talked my nine year old into walking 2 with me and the puppy. (She moaned and complaining the first mile ....grr) I felt so discouraged. What was wrong with my legs?!?!?  I spent time diagnosing myself (thank you World Wide Web) and now I think I have shin splints. I have been icing, stretching, massaging, ibuprophening and foam rollering. 

I found some great You Tube videos with pressure points, stretches, etc. and I'm hoping it gets better quick. I wanted to run today just to see how it felt but now it's looking like tomorrow will work out better. Which is probably better because my left leg still feels sooo tight. The massage and foam roller seem to work the best. 

I'm also freaking out about the weather. As I sit here enjoying our 70 degree weather I'm also checking the weather for this weekend and apparently a big wet, windy storm is coming. Yikes. I don't run in bad weather. Not wind. Not rain. I even try to avoid over 70 or below 50. I'm a big weather wimp for sure and have no idea what to wear for the marathon. Maybe shorts, short sleeves with arm warmers. Still can't decide on which shoes to wear. My well worn tried and true Brooks? Newer Saucony? New Newtons? I'm leaning toward to Brooks especially dealing with my shin issue now I think that might be the best bet. 

As I mentioned above I feel like I've gained at least 5pounds. That certainly can't be good for a marathon so now that all the leftovers are gone I'm going to really watch what I eat this week. I'm also trying to drink a ton of water. 

So there it is. I've looked forward to this for so long. I've visualized each and every mile marker. My long runs have mostly gone ok. Argh!!!!!! Tapering stinks!!!

(Sorry for all the complaining. I will add some pictures to cheer up this post some:)

So pretty. This is down the street from my house. 

My yard. The apricot trees look beautiful this year. 
Here's another :

Neighbor's vineyard that I was messing around with the editing...

And here's me (in the midst of crazy tapering):

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Big Sur Half Marathon Recap

  I'll begin my Big Sur Half Marathon recap with the expo. On Saturday, my friend Maribel and I drove to Monterey to pick up our bibs. The Expo was at the Monterey Convention center and it was the biggest expo I've been to.  There were very short, quick lines to pick up the bibs.

Then we checked out the vendors. It was was twice as big as any expo I've been to but all the races I've done so far have been pretty small. 

Basically lots of booths for shopping and they were having runner workshops. We didn't stay for the speakers but we did shop around a little. 

Sunday morning Melissa, Maribel and me all met at 5am to drive over to Monterey. It was very well organized and their website and the emails they had sent us had lots of information about where to park to get the shuttles to the start. Parking was no problem, shuttles were all waiting for us and it was a quick 5 minute ride to the start. This was my first experience with corrals and we were way in the back in corral I. We hit the porta potties twice and there were tons of them so the lines went very quick. 

That night we kept checking the weather because it had been raining and every weather report we saw said rain throughout the morning. I was not looking forward to a half marathon in the rain. Luckily when we got there the clouds were disappearing and the day ended up beautiful. I just wish I had worn shorts instead of capris because I was expecting cold and wet. And it ended up bright and beautiful. 

Here we are waiting to start.

Here is the start as our corral inched its was up. There were 9000 runners!

After running thru the small downtown area we made it out to the water. It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect. It was a realatively flat course with a few rolling hills. Water/Aid stations about every 2 miles. Lots of volunteers , support and lots of cheering crowds. 

There was also some bands along the route and these drums were super fun right along the water. 

Toward the end of the race, maybe around mile 10 or 11, I saw a lot of walkers so I was passing a lot of people. That really boosted my spirits and I just kept at it. I don't think this would be a good race to PR at due to the crowds. There were a lot of people and when people decided to walk they just stopped in the middle if the road which was annoying trying to dodge around everyone. It is also so pretty a lot of people (myself included) stopping to snap a few pictures. (The key is to step out of the way though :).   

It really was so breath taking running along the water and Big Sur puts on such great events.  Now I am motivated to try the marathon in the future. Next years marathon is sold out so maybe 2014. Everything was very organized, plenty of water stops, some music, great crowd support. The expo was also great and the after party was huge and packed with people meeting up with their families. 

Interestingly, the winners were newlyweds Ben Bruce and Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce. His time was 1:04  and she came in at 1:12. So his overall pace was 4:56!!! When he passed us he was flying! Amazing. On the news the next day they said they were going to use their winnings on their honeymoon to South Africa. 

I was using this as part of my long run so I had to go home and run 7 more. I was dreading it but it worked out perfectly and I felt really good. I ran the half in 2:33. Not a PR but I stopped to take pics and once for the potty. Then when I can home I ran the 7 more. Overall ran 20 miles in 3:50 (slow , I know) but good for me! Then I walked one more mile home because I just couldn't run it. 

Now I'm into the taper crazies surrounded by Thanksgiving leftovers...very odd combination. 8 more days to CIM!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Day my Work Burned Down

  This week has been a weird one for sure. Let start with fitness. I did another DIY Crossfit workout  after work on Tuesday.  It was simple Dirty Thirty.
30 of each:
Box jumps
Chair dips

I broke them up into tens and did three sets. It was a good little work out. I also did a 1 minute plank. 

Wednesday morning I went for a five mile run before work. But when I came rushing in the door about to go racing around getting ready for work my husband tells me there's no need to rush. I look at him crazy like of course I need to rush don't you see the time. He smiles and says no, no work today. I'm a dental hygienist so I think hmm, did all of my patients randomly cancel all on the same day?  My husband says no, no work today and maybe not for awhile. What?!?! Am I fired? Did something happen?!?! Then he tells me the phone has been going crazy and my job burned down!!!! Holy moly! Yep. It sure did. 

So we drove over to see it. 

Hard to see the damage but its pretty much gone. Everything destroyed. We didn't get too close because they had it all taped and waiting for fire investigators. 
So I found myself with the day off and my mind swirling with questions. Now, as a dental hygienist I work at two offices. So this office I only worked at 6 days a month, every Wednesday and every other Thursday. So I do have work at another office too. This is bad and it will hurt our monthly income for sure but thankfully I do have another income source. 
Luckily no one was hurt. This fire started in the middle of the night and no one was there. It was limited to one building in the office complex but it affected three different offices all connected in this building. So alot of employees out of work right before the holidays. Yikes. We are looking for temporary space to work in until it can be rebuilt. 
Here's a funny little story. So when we first heard about the fire and the whole family is in the kitchen scrambling around to get the kids off to school my nine year old daughter hears about the fire and says "Oh no Mommy! What are you going to be now?"  Not missing a beat I say, "Mommy's gonna be an astronaut!!"   She seems quite happy with my career change. ;)

So the week has been a bit strange. Here's the rest if my week in random ramblings:

-my husband has been sick so I've been avoiding him like the plague. Then I got a sore throat and was cursing him all week knowing I was going to get sick. Starting taking Airborne which I believe to just be a placebo but it worked! Sure throat gone and no other symptoms. Yay! But now the 9 year old is sniffling. Ugh

- the rain has started and I wish we had a treadmill. Still need to get my miles in but dread trekking thru the rain. Now that income is not as it was I can't really justify joining a gym . 

-My church is having a Hoilday Boutique tomorrow and I volunteered to bake 6 loaves of pumpkin bread to sell at the bake sale. So lots of baking this afternoon. 

-Tomorrow I'm heading over to Monterey to the Big Sur Half Expo to pick up my bib. Looks like rain for Sunday's race and after the race I plan on running 7 more. That will be my last long run before CIM. I really need to find a treadmill if its raining. Maybe I can get a guest pass for the gym .

Well, I think that about sums up my week. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Favorite Health and Fitness Apps

Before I get started let me show you this weeks homework. It was a project for the whole family but ended up just Beth and I working on it. (Which was actually nice to have some one on one time) 

She brought home this turkey and he's super scared because Thanksgiving is coming. The mission is to disguise him. Past disguises have included hula dancers, Santa, football players, etc. Beth decide on a princess and then half way thru she added bride so it ended up a princess bride. Here is the final project after much hot glue and burned fingers (mine, not hers). 

So I've been meaning to post this for awhile now because I'm always looking for useful apps for my iPhone. I'm super cheap so I usually only buy the free ones so I can delete them without guilt if I'm not using it. 

So lets get started:

My first app I want to share is Fooducate. I use this app just about every time I'm at the store. You scan the barcode and it rates it for how healthy the item is. It really comes in handy when comparing items and you'd be surprised at some of the things being advertised as "healthy" and then you find out its not so healthy. 

This is a great app and you can browse similar items or find out why it got a low rating. Since I started using the app I try to only buy "A"and"B".  Snack items are tougher so my kids don't get a lot of snacky type items anymore. But it has really helped clean up our diets. They also have a new Gluten Fooducate if you are gluten free.  I haven't looked into it but it might be helpful to people sensitive to gluten. Check out their website as well. Fooducate.

The next app is Couch to 5K. I love this app as it got me off my ass and convinced me that even I could be a runner. Love love love it. Super easy and you can listen to music and just wait for the little British accented voice to encourage you to run for a few minutes. 

After I finished the program I ran my first 5K and seriously hoped they had a Couch to Half Marathon (sadly they do not). 

After I graduated from Couch to 5K I got Runmeter. I didn't have a fancy Garmjn watch so this worked perfectly. I could listen to my music and similar to C25K a voice told me my distance and pace. It logs all runs and has elevation, maps, pace. Everything. 


JogFM is great for music. It analyzes your music and then matches   BPM to your pace. Totally awesome. Go check out their website for more info. JogFM. On their website you can enter your pace and it gives you playlists that match. The app has a bunch of options that I really haven't explored it all but I really like it. 

Cool features. Check it out. 

If you are really watching/tracking your diet and exercise check out Nutrition Menu.

You can track everything you eat, exercise, even water you drink. I don't use this app for tracking but love it for eating out. Here in California chain restaurants are required to have nutrition info available which comes in handy. But if you are trying to decide what to eat when your out and about this app comes in handy so you can make better choices. 

That journal is neat if you are tracking your diet. We had to do this in college in Nutrition. For days we had to track out diet, enter it into a computer program on campus and then it analyzed it, and we had to write a paper on the findings. Very insightful. Now years later this is so much simpler. Instant feedback to see where you are meeting your needs and what you are lacking. 

If you are into Crossfit or just looking for some DIY workouts check out the WOD app. At Crossfit their workouts are named after people. Mostly heroes, soldiers that have lost their lives, or have other inspiring stories. 

So the app tells about the hero the workout is named for and some of them (not sure if all of them) have a video and a description of the workout.

Ok this one was chosen at random. Lol. Not all of them are this hard. But a lot of them are able to be done at home or traveling with no equipment needed. It also has news stories, timers (tabata, stopwatch, and interval).

Ok. I think that's about it. The only other recommendation I have isn't for an app but a website for free downloadable playlists. It's called Rock my Run. 
You get credits that go toward downloading the music. Great way to get new music. 

Any suggestions for healthy apps?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DIY Barn Workout

  So happy today knowing that when we wake up tomorrow there will be no election ads! 

I've been recovering from my long run on Saturday. As long as I keep moving I feel good but if I sit too long and at night I feel still. Sometimes my hip is sore, sometimes my left IT band,sometimes my hamstrings or quads. I've been using the foam roller and trying to be diligent with it as it seems to really help.

Today after work I wanted to come home and run but I saw this as I was driving home:

I heard it was a controlled burn (which would surprise me because we've been having a heat wave here in California. And I also heard it was a house fire that spread)

It wasn't near my house but the smoke was all billowing toward my town and I heard it was pretty smoky so I decided to do a Crossfit WOD in my barn. We stopped going to Crossfit for several reasons. 1) hard to fit in schedule with more running. 2) too sore after some workouts so it made the runs really hard. And 3) too expensive if we weren't going very much. So here is my barn/gym and my workout.

Here is where I did my pull-ups (I actually did jump ups). See my stool :)

I did my push-ups on these towels. And box jumps on that green box:

My phone was on the hay too the left so I could time my workout.
Here is what I did :
AMRAP  in 10 minutes
5 pull-ups (jump ups)
5 push-ups
10 box jumps
10 squats

I completed 8 rounds with some company watching me.....

Jake the goat. (Blurry because he's quick)

Shotsy our austrailian heeler.

And Beth was riding her pony Splash while I did my workout. We also saw 3 deer walking around while we were out there. 

Planning a 5 mile run tomorrow with my friends after work. I've really been enjoying running in town with the girls because there's so much to see in town. I've been so bored out here in the country seeing the same route. 

25 days til CIM!!!!