Friday, October 26, 2012

Running, Tahoe and Snow Patrol

I've been so busy lately it's been hard to keep up on this blog business. Where did we leave off? Oh yes... The sixteen miler. How did it go? Fantastic! The week before the fifteen miler killed me. Mentally and physically. This long run was so much better and I think running with friends was soooo much better. Here's how it went down-
We met about 8am on Saturday and did a 7.5 mile loop. There was three of us and it was fun just chatting and laughing. After that first loop "M" left us, and we had a quick potty break and refilled our water. Then "R" and I did the same loop in reverse. She is training for her first ultra and it was great to ask her a bunch of questions about training. She has a lot more experience and it was great to get her advice and get to know her. After our run we had only done 15 and I was wondering about that one last mile to make it to 16. She said not to worry about it and I could just pick up that mile on another run. Hmm...I thought about it on my 10 min drive home and I'm sure you know what I did.  Yep. As soon as I got home I ran one more mile. Lol. I just couldn't let that last mile slip out of my plan. Crazy aren't we?

Last weekend we headed up to Lake Tahoe for my brother in laws wedding. It was beautiful and amazing. My husband and I got married there so it definately has a special place in our heart. Here are a few pics:
The happy couple...aren't they cute? 

Me and my beautiful daughter on the MS Dixie boat ride.

Me and the hubs. 

Leaving Emerald Bay.

Emerald Bay. Gorgeous.

Beautiful wedding.

My husband and I did go for a run but it was only 7 miles. The weekend was full of family and friends so that was the only run we could squeeze in. But it was beautiful and the weather was amazing with lots of sunshine and lots of fall colors. 

On Sunday we spent the day driving home and I was frantically trying to find a babysitter for our little one because we had tickets to.....Snow Patrol in San Jose!! My husband's cousin, Troy Stewart is with the band and this is the second time he's gotten us tickets. So cool. We also get the cool wrist band for the "after show party". Which is basically they take you to a room with some tables and I think most of the people are friends/family of the band and then some of the band show up to visit. This was a Sunday (school/work night) and it was 11:00 and we had a babysitter at home so we couldn't stay very long and missed seeing Troy. But the concert was fantastic and we had an awesome time. Thanks Troy!

 Snow Patrol!!!

Here is Troy and my daughter Katie when we saw him at the Fox Theater in Oakland last spring.

Sorry for the crappy photo but here is Troy on guitar in Oakland as well.

There was also this guy at the show dressed up like a wolf. He was dancing the whole show and taking pictures with everyone. I know it's close to Halloween but I can't imagine dressing up like a wolf. Here he is in front of us chugging a bottle of water. Hydration is very important for runners...and wolves. 

Along with running, Tahoe and Snow Patrol concerts we've also been busy with....

Rachel playing water polo! She is loving it and has been playing on the varsity team as goalie! So proud of her!

Beth celebrated her 9th birthday! Had her party at the local jump house/party place which was perfect...2 hours of fun and no need to clean the house . Win/win.

This weekend I'm signed up to run the Morgan Hill half marathon. Last year it was my first half marathon and I ran it in 2:45. So I'm pretty positive I will beat that time. After I run it my goal is to come home and run 5 more for a total of 18. I'm not going to push it too much in the race because its just going to be part of a longer run but I'd be happy if I can finish it in 2:30. (I PR'd in the Salinas Valley Half at 2:20 but Morgan Hill is a little more hilly. So we'll see). 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Unchartered territory:16 miles

So I recovered from my longest run so far just to turn around this week and go a mile farther.  Trying to calm my nerves ;)

On Monday morning I went for a 3 mile run before the sun came up. It was wonderful. 
Then on Wednesday I ran 5 miles before work with my husband. It was pathetic and I started to cry at mile 2. I know. Stupid. I don't even know why. I think I was just freaking out. My mind was my enemy- what am I doing? This is crazy!I can't do this! My husband was a good coach and talked me out of my pitty party. He reminded me of the people I watched last year at his marathon cross that finish line. If they could do it so could I. I saw this picture and it made me laugh. 

So then we finished the five and I felt great. After work I met up with my friends and I ran another 5. It was funny because we had a sudden rain/hail/thunderstorm roll though. It caught all us fair weathered Californians off guard so we had a slew of texts going back and forth about cancelling the run. Finally we decided it wasn't raining anymore and we would man up and get it done. It is so much fun running with others. I still worry about being slow, breathing to hard, not being able to talk, sucking going up the hills. One of the ladies is training for an Ultra. I just met her but she will be there tomorrow and I hope to ask more marathon advice. All the other ladies have more running experience than me so I feel very fortunate to have such great running partners. It felt so awesome to have run 10 miles in addition to an 8 hour work day. Luckily Thursday ended up being a light work day for me. 

Today I did some push-ups, chair dips, tabata planks, etc. I tried to do stuff that would tire my legs. Tomorrow we are going to meet for 16 miles. I'm the only one that needs to go that far but the lady training for the Ultra needed to do 14 so she said she would bump it up and join me for the full 16. The others I think are doing 5 -11. They will just run part of it with us. I think we're just running around town to make it easy to add/drop miles as needed. And the weather will be clearing up and should be perfect. 

Well....wish me luck on this next step for me. Yikes..I guess I'm ready:/

Monday, October 8, 2012

Long Run and New Music

So this is where I did my long run over the weekend....

I decided to drive out to the boonies to do my 15 miler. I wanted to get this run done on Friday but it didn't happen. I was all dressed in my running gear ALL day and it never happened. How pathetic. Life responsilities got in the way and sucked up every minute. I have Fridays off so I thought that would be the perfect day to schedule the runs but it always turns into the errand/chores day. It is also the day I need to often take my mom on her errands as well. So I had to settle on running on Saturday.

Anyway...back to the run. I had never run 15 miles before. All of these runs now are all new territory for me. Last week my hubby went with me. (So sweet) But he was working and I was on my own.  I started a little later than I wanted so it was about 9 am and 60* when I started. I drove out this country road (not far from where I live) and I drove out 7.5 miles to stash a water bottle. It really was beautiful with rolling hills and some traffic but not too much and wide shoulders. 

It was a nice change from running around my neighborhood which gets boring! Luckily I had just read Yo Momma Runs and her running list inspired me to get some new music. So this is what I listened to on shuffle for the first half:

When I made it to my halfway mark I grabbed my water and took a quick pic to send to my hubby. 

Look! I still alive!

I then switched to an audiobook. Right now I'm listening to this:


So the second half was a bit rougher. It was getting a bit warmer and the hills were really fatiguing my legs. But I think I hydrated well (just got a fuel belt) and I had 2 GUs and several shot blocks. 

Things I learned:
1)Running with a partner for long runs is more fun. I'm trying to get up the nerve to join the local running group.
2) I need to run more hills so I don't dead them as much.
3) start earlier
4) do not answer the phone or text from children on long run. (Keep in mind my children at home are 20, 15 and 8. And the 8 year old wasn't the one calling/texting)

Oh!almost forgot to mention that I did my first snot rocket! Yay me! Felt like I'm a real runner now. ;)

Do you like running alone? Or with a friend? Or a group?
     I just started running with some girlfriend ps on Wednesday evenings. Love it:)
Do you mostly run in big city? Small town? Or country roads?
     Mostly country roads but I think it's fun running in town.
What's in your play list?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chi Running Workshop

Last spring, while I was training for my first duathlon,  I started to experience hip pain. It was very frustrating and I will post about that injury and how it was resolved in another post. But during the process of trying to heal it I stumbled upon Chi Running. I had first heard about it when I read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  In his quest for more of a mid foot strike he mentioned Chi Running and POSE. I didn't really think much of it until my hip was bugging me and I was searching for answers.

One day, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Shut up and Run and she had a post about a Chi Running Workshop she went to.  She was invited to a workshop that the author was putting on in Denver. How cool is that? I checked out their website for workshops in my area and lo and behold they were  all over the place. I couldn't convince my hubby to go with me so I signed myself up. Oh...I did buy the book as well but I bought it the day before the workshop and basically just looked at the pictures an hour before I left. What a loser, huh?

I was a little intimidated because I really had no knowledge about Chi Running and expected all the other participants would be Chi clones with all their fancy minimalist shoes. But they were all so nice and most were new to the Chi Running idea. There was about 8 of us in the group ranging from experienced marathoner/triathletes to brand new runners who had never run more than 3 miles. So that made me feel better. ( they did have cool minimalist running shoes though)

The workshop was held at a nice little park in San Jose and the instructor was Ed Malley.  He is from Santa Cruz if you are interested in a workshop in the San Jose/Santa Cruz area click here for a link to his site. 

The workshop was from 9am til 1 pm and we were to bring a snack or light lunch but we never really had a lunch break. We stopped a few times for water but never did eat. It was very interesting and he kept it moving and informative the whole time. Never was a problem that I hadn't read the book and most hadn't read it either. Most of the others  had been referred by friends. 

We learned about the basics of Chi Running:
Posture- straight line from crown of your head to the bottom of feet (column)
Lean- column is gently falling forward
Lower Body- gently pulling feet off ground. You don't propel your legs forward but more like kick your feet up towards your butt. 
Pelvic Rotation- I don't really get this part. Basically your pelvis rotates as your legs move
Upper Body- basically you imagine your upper body pulling you forward. 
Cadence, stride length and gears- learning cadence we ran with a metronome. I think I need to work on faster cadence and shorter strides. 

We learned new ways of warming up. Then he had us run for him while he recorded us. Let me just tell you my form really stinks. And I was even trying to look good. 

The pic on the left shows me not leaning forward enough and my arms are always too far forward. We learned our arms should be at a 90* angle and we should swing back like we are elbowing the person behind us not reaching ahead. My arms are always at more of a 45* angle and I constantly work at it. 
The pic on the right shows my heel strike. Not too bad but not good. Also my right leg should be falling right underneath my body not reaching forward. 

Then he taught us all the moves. We practiced, practiced, practiced. As a group and individually. Ed spent time with each of us giving us all one on one feedback.

We also learned the Chi method of hills, both gradual and steep and downhill. Downhill was more difficult to master for sure.

After we were done with all the practicing he recorded us again.

The pic on the left is my after. Better for sure. Leaning forward, legs underneath me. Arms still tight though.
And the pic on the right is the author in the book do we could compare.

He also emailed us the video of before and after and gave us more feedback and pointers.

Ed also gave us a take home flyer on pointers to keep in mind as we practice at home. He explained there is a learning curve and it would take time to see the results. The idea is that over time with better form you would have reduced injuries and lower level of perceived exertion, so you fatigue less. 

Ed recommend that we start slow. He said we should start focusing for a short distance just on one aspect like posture or leaning or mid foot strike and then focus on the next thing. Then he said to do that for a bit and then just run. Go have fun because if your spending the whole time focusing on it then it would suck. 

After a couple of months I think it has helped. Overall I heel strike less. My posture is better. My arms still are hard for me to correct. I find them at a 45* bend alot. 

So do I think it was worth it? Absolutely! It cost about $120 and it was so nice to have the feedback from someone. It was great how he recorded us running critiqued it and sent it to us. Ed also encouraged us to come back in about 6 months for a tune up. We could take the whole workshop again or he could meet with us individually. I think that would be a great idea and I'm planning to go back again. Not sure when but I think it would be helpful. 

I would also like to get the Chi Marathon book. On Amazon they have a deal for the Chi Running book, Chi Marathon and a metronome for $36. I did read the Chi Running book and it has a great section on injuries covering most of the common ones with tips on healing and prevention. 

So, if you find yourself with repeated injuries or are just interested in improving your running form I totally recommend attending a Chi Running workshop and get some feedback.