Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

Another so-so week of training. I am tired of hearing myself whine, so I can imagine how you all feel. So, instead of focusing on the minimal running during the week (crazy work schedule) or the failed 20 miler on Saturday (20+ mph winds, with gusts of more than 50 mph), I will instead tell you about the half marathon that I ran on Sunday.

And I’ll show you this:

pizzaAt least I eat well when I’m training poorly.

Run Through Redlands Half Marathon

Actually, I had planned all along to run a half marathon this weekend. Originally, I was planning to run La Jolla Half Marathon, a race that Alan usually announces and that I love, challenging though it is.

But then, a scheduling conflict left Alan planning to announce the Run Through Redlands, which is much closer to home and saves us a lot of expenses in gas and food because we can drive up the morning of the race. They have a half marathon, 5k, 10k, and even a Color Splash run, so there really is something for everyone.

Then, after our tough 18 mile run last weekend, Alan wanted to run 20 miles this Saturday. I decided to run it with him, mostly because the 18 miles was so hard that I felt the need for a do-over. And it looked like the weather would be cooler (the heat was a big challenge the weekend before). Unfortunately, that cool weather came at a cost: extremely high winds. We did head out for our run, but after about five miles we mutually decided that it was just too much. So, I decided to run the half marathon after all.

DebbieIt was a bit chilly (for us) in Redlands on Sunday morning, so I stayed in the car while Alan worked until about 20 minutes before the race. They start all the races at different times, with the 10k starting at 7:00, followed by the half at 7:20 and the 5k at 7:45. I watched the 10k runners get started, then headed to the starting line.

I started off the first two miles pretty strong (especially considering I have done virtually no speed training). Then the hills started. I have run along the course before when Alan was working, but I had never done the race. So I was surprised to find out just how hilly it was! I really think it can compare to the La Jolla course, which is one of the more challenging out there.

I had a little asthma scare at about mile 4.5. I can feel it coming on, so I stopped running, used my inhaler and walked until I felt ready to start running again (I really can feel it lift). I was concerned because it was so early in the race, but I was fine after that until the final mile.

I really loved this course. My grandparents lived in Redlands, so I am a little familiar with the area, but it’s different to experience when you’re an adult. It is an older area, with stately homes on huge lots in some places. There are still orange groves along the route, plus some spots that are almost forest-like, with old trees and brush. These pictures are from the previous times I’ve run through Redlands.

Old Home 2

Old Home 3

Old Home

Orange Grove

Beautiful, isn’t it? That being said, it is not the race you would want if you like to have cheering crowds to root you on. Aside from the volunteers, there was virtually no one out there.

The weather was perfect. What was too cold before the race, low 50s, was just right during. It stayed cool through the entire race, even when the sun peeped out from the clouds in the last couple miles. I did have one more asthma event (not attack because I stopped, walked, and used my inhaler before it got that far), in the last mile, but I was still able to get running again for the last half mile.

I’ve told you before how Alan greets me when he is announcing a race, usually starting with the words, “here comes my favorite person in the whole wide world!” This time he really piled it on, telling everyone my marathon PR of 3:16, that I was first place in the Encinitas 5k, and a few other things I couldn’t even hear. Of course he didn’t tell them that was all about 15 years ago!

I finished in 2:13:52. By my Garmin, I ran 13.25 miles, at a 10:06 pace. My official results were 13.1 at a 10:15 pace. Whatever, it was good enough for third place in my age group!

Redlands

I started to get cold soon after I finished, so I headed to the car to change and get some warm clothes. When I got back, after checking my results and picking up my medal, I decided to take my own advice and take advantage of the free massage that was being offered. It was short, only about 10 minutes, but, along with my stretching and foam rolling, will help my recovery. Plus, I think I’ll get another massage this week. I earned it.

MassageWhen I was walking back from changing into warm clothes (the start line, where we parked is about a quarter mile from the finish line, so it was a bit of a hike, tired as I was), the Color Splash run was just finishing up. Talk about perfect timing, they were playing the Dirty Dozen Official Ragnar Song as I was walking by!

I had done a little research before we went to Redlands, and somehow managed to find my grandparent’s address (in spite of it being over 30 years since they passed away). I found out that it was right in the middle of the race route! I had always felt that I was close by when I was running there in the past, but I couldn’t remember the street, let alone the complete address. So, after the race, Alan and I decided to drive by before we went home. Amazingly, it looks pretty much the same!

GrandpaI can remember every bit of the inside. I have memories of my mom, grandma, and sisters playing cards in the dining room (the windows just about in the center of the house). We also had tons of fun in the swimming pool, and when we got older, we were allowed to sleep in the little guest house that is in the backyard. Good memories!

I spent the rest of Sunday recovering. When we got home, I took a nap, stretched some more, and used the foam roller.  And I made this again for dinner!

Chipotle Stuffed Avocado

With five more weeks until Rock and Roll, I know I have to get serious with my training. I have a tempo run planned mid-week, my 20 miler next weekend, plus two other middle distance runs to help get my mileage to where I want it to be. I need to get my butt in gear or I will not have a pleasant experience in the marathon. I don’t want to just survive it, I want to run a strong and successful race. With no asthma, if that’s possible.

How did your weekend go? Did you have any races or other events? Or a massage? Share!!!

Chafing and Road Rash and Colds, Oh My!

We had to turn on our air conditioner yesterday. I’m not bragging about our warm weather (close to 90 degrees!). I hate turning on the A/C. Hate the stale air, hate closing up my house, and especially hate the increase in my electric bill that it causes. It’s February, right?

This week has not gone as planned. It was supposed to be week one of marathon training. I was supposed to create my training plan. I was supposed to build on my mileage from last week, which ended in a strong half marathon/long run. None of that happened.

Sunrise

After taking a couple days off after the race, I did manage a run on Wednesday. Not my usual tempo run, but a slower recovery-type run. My legs were still feeling the half marathon. And remember the chafing I mentioned? While it has mostly healed, one spot, on the inside of my right leg, has become a little infected and still hurts, not just when I run but anytime my legs touch each other (or anything else for that matter).

Banana

I have to share my pre-run banana 8 ways.

I took a fall on my Wednesday run. Probably because my legs were tired, but I tripped over a bump in the sidewalk, meaning that I landed hard on concrete. I have a little road rash on my hand and elbow, I jarred my knee a little, but I was able (after a few minutes) to jog back home.

Penny

Penny is never really happy to pose. She just want to run.

Thursday morning I woke up with a cold. Scratchy throat, stuffy nose, feeling blah. Unfortunately, Thursday is also a day that I teach two classes for which I couldn’t find a substitute. It was also a day that my assistant’s son dropped a concrete block on his foot and she needed to take him to urgent care. Which meant I had to stick it out for the day. I was stuck the next day too, at least until about noon, because said assistant called in sick herself. Great timing.

I felt a little better on Saturday, so I took Penny out for a three mile trail run. We both were pretty slow, but I felt okay. When I got home, the three little girls were all excited for their run, so I got them ready to go, then realized that Buddy (who usually runs with Alan, who was cycling that day) hadn’t had his run. Oh well, I figured, if I can take three I can take four. It was interesting.

The Little Dogs

It’s kind of hard to get a picture of four dogs on the run (try it sometime!).

Little Dogs

It was much easier to stop and get them to pose for me.

After that short run, I went home and slept for four hours. So I guess I wasn’t better yet.

I did manage to get the energy to go to dinner at Native Foods in Palm Springs on Saturday night. That doesn’t sound like it would need much energy, but it is a 45 minute drive in each direction, so it did take perseverance.

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The food was good. We ordered way more than we could eat, so I ended up taking home leftovers, including our desserts. We were too full on Saturday, so we pulled them out on Sunday after dinner. Alan had the Peanut Butter Parfait, which was delicious. Unfortunately, they did something wrong with my Tiramisu. Like forget the sugar or something. It was inedible, a first because I’ve ordered it before and it was really good. Not feeling like the hour and a half drive to exchange it, so I ended up tossing it in the trash.

I was well fueled for my Sunday run. I knew I didn’t have a really long run in me, even though I felt pretty good. I set my sights on eight miles. Alan and I ran the first four together with the dogs, then I went back out for another four. I was slow, but steady. My cold seems to be staying in my head, so I didn’t have any asthma issues. It stayed cool through the morning too, which was nice, and gave me a chance to snuggle up in my PopSugar hoodie after the run.

Popsugar

I couldn’t take another long nap on Sunday because I had to go into work for a few hours to represent our fitness center at the homeowners’ annual meeting.

Tonight, finally having a chance to do some writing, I am still feeling stuffy, and have a little headache. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by tomorrow. Yes, I have to work on President’s Day.

So, the training plan will be coming next week, while I begin this new training week with high hopes of getting going on my Rock and Roll Training plan. Fingers crossed.

How did your week go? Any races, great runs or other exciting events? Did you get a three day weekend?

I’m Published! Plus the Palm Springs Half Marathon (and a New Look!)

You may have noticed that my blog has a fresh new look. I changed themes, something I’ve wanted to do for a little while. More on this in my next post, but, yes, I did it myself.

I’m Published!

Have you received your March Runner’s World yet? If so, flip to page 30 and you will see…me! Well, my writing anyway.

Runners WorldPretty cool, huh? Believe it or not, this dated back to October (magazines have long lead times). I received an email from an editor at Runner’s World, telling me that he found my name on the RRCA certified coaches list, then read a little about me on my blog.

I was given the question with a week or so to answer it. Being edited by professionals is interesting. Every word is looked at, questions are asked to make sure everything is clear, revisions are suggested.

Thanks to a couple of Twitter pals for sharing the news. Lindsay posted a picture before I was even aware the magazine was on the stands. And Lea also congratulated me for making Runner’s World. Makes me feel famous!

Palm Springs Half Marathon

A couple months ago this was my goal race. Then December happened. I lost a lot of motivation, had a hard time running over five or six miles, and speed work…well it didn’t get done. So with my decision to run the Rock and Roll Marathon in June, I decided to use the Palm Springs Half Marathon as a training run, my first 13 mile run since last July.

My goal was to run the race at my long run pace, about 10 minutes miles or so. It is easy, though, to get caught up in the moment when you’re using a race as a training run. Strange thoughts enter your mind, like “this is my day!” or similar sentiments. You start running faster than planned and end up blowing up in the last few miles.

None of that happened. I did exactly what I wanted to do: I ran my own pace, didn’t get distracted, didn’t run too fast, didn’t have any asthma problems (that is huge!), and ended up finishing in 2:09:50, which is just under a 10 minute pace.

Time

Alan was announcing, of course, so I got to hear those cherished words, “here comes my favorite person in the whole world, my wife!” I also saw lots of old friends, and even another blogger (Monica from Run Eat Repeat).

Oh, Marilyn and Elvis were there too.

Palm Springs Half Marathon - Elvis Presley - Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn spent a little time with Alan too.

PS Half 2

I would have cropped the picture, but the day was so beautiful and the sky was so blue that I just couldn’t.

They had nice race shirts this year. Black and red long sleeved tech shirts. Nice change from plain old white. Coco liked it a lot!

bla bla bla

One thing I didn’t expect from the race was the terrible chafing that I have on both my legs and arms. I wore a race skirt that usually gives me no problems, but I was actually bloody after the race (no pics, sorry). For the rest of the day I walked around with my arms held out from my sides, that’s how painful it is.

Oh, and look what I found in my goody bag!

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 As I mentioned the other day, I’m an Ambassador for the San Luis Obispo Marathon (even though I have a schedule conflict and can’t be there for the race). When I saw this in my bag I really did Feel the Zen. Remember, you can get a $10 discount for the full and half marathon through March 18 by using the code 2014AMFRIENDS.

As for the rest of the training week, it went pretty good. I did miss my Saturday trail run because I had to work. Total miles were about 22.

Tuesday: 3.1 miles before work. Easy pace.

Wednesday: 6 miles. This is supposed to be my speed or tempo workout, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I did a fartlek run, having a little fun with short intervals of high intensity alternating with an easier pace.

Sunday: The Palm Springs Half Marathon. 13.1 miles in 2:09:50.

I also taught a couple strength classes and a stretch class this week.

It’s finally time to create my marathon plan for Rock and Roll. While my total mileage dipped a little this week, now that my long run is up to 13, it is time to start the real training. I’ll share that next week.

PS Half 4Yes, my Garmin says 13.2 miles! Also, nothing like getting in over 27,000 steps by 10:00 in the morning! So you know how the rest of my day went, I have barely over 29,000 at 8:30. I’ve been sitting on my butt recovering for most of the day.

How was your training week? Did you compete in a race or other event? I’d love to hear about it!

Friday Favorites and the SLO Marathon

The SLO Marathon

San Luis Obispo is a small town along the central coast of California about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is know for its wineries, bed and breakfasts, miles of hiking trails, and many water sports like surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.  Hearst Castle. is also a nearby attraction.

SLO photo

It is also the home of the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k, which will be held April 25-27.  The SLO Marathon is a Boston Qualifier that will take you on a tour of San Luis Obispo, where you will run past the beautiful wineries, the turn of the century downtown area, the glorious green hills and open spaces of the Edna Valley. It is a point to point race that starts at San Luis Obispo High School and finishes at iconic Madonna Inn.

SLO photo 2

I was selected to be an Ambassador for the SLO Marathon. As such I will receive a free entry into the race and a team jacket in exchange for writing about the event and sharing updates and news with my readers. Ironically, I won’t be able to participate this year due to a scheduling conflict, but I will be there for 2015!  In the meantime, I, along with the other SLO Ambassadors, will keep you up to date, offer training tips, and I will be with you in spirit on race day.

To start with I have a discount code that will save you $10 off either the marathon or the half marathon. It is 2014AMFRIENDS and it is good until March 18.

SLO Logo

Click the picture to register. Don’t forget to use code 2014AMFRIENDS to save $10 on the marathon and half marathon until March 18.

Friday Favorites

Most of my favorites seem to be food related this week. That’s not totally unusual since I love food and love to eat, but since the Super Bowl started the week with “football food,” I kind of continued the trend of tasty but maybe not super healthy eating.

 

Native Foods

On Wednesday I took some time at lunch to drive to Native Foods in Palm Springs. It’s a 20 minute drive in each direction, so I brought the food back to work with me. I ordered a new item, the Bombastic Tofu Wrap, and I thought it was very good. It had a little Indian flavor to it (Bombastic/Bombay you know), with a gingery mango dressing, almonds, brown rice, and crispy tofu. I really just enjoy going to Native Foods, you know? As the only vegan restaurant in the desert, it’s the only place I can go, order anything on the menu and relax knowing it’s vegan.
Friday favorites
Other delicious yet not necessarily healthy meals included a veggie bowl from Chipotle, leftover pizza, and stuffed potatoes. Yeah, I know. On a much healthier note, I also made a vegan steak and asparagus salad that was amazing.

 

Thorlo Experia Socks

I have run in thin socks for years and just have always loved that connected with the ground feeling that they provide. But, Alan loves the thicker feel of Thorlo’s, so when I came across a deal recently, buy three get one free, I got a pair for myself. Yesterday I ran in them for the first time and, oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe how comfy and cushy they felt! I might have to rethink my sock needs.

 

Pedicure

In keeping with my tips for a healthy recovery, I had a pedicure on Thursday. Even though I get them fairly frequently, it is still a great way to relax, pamper yourself and take care of your feet.
Friday favorites 2

 

Bissell Deep Clean Premier Pet

In spite of having seven dogs, until last weekend just have survived with a little handheld carpet cleaner (which is actually great for small spots, but still…). I’ve wanted to get an upright model for a long time and last weekend, thanks to a great deal at Costco, we bought the Bissell. What a difference! Almost as good as a professional cleaning plus I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees to scrub anymore! Except those little tinkle spots that seem to appear when no one is looking.

 

Have you ever been to San Luis Obispo? What was one of your favorite things from the week? Any special plans for the weekend? (I’m working on Saturday :-( and running a half marathon on Sunday :-) .)

Training, Rock and Roll, and RAGNAR

Well, I finally did it. I’ve been talking about it for a month, but on Friday I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 1!

Confirmation

Whew! Now I guess I’d better create my training plan and get going. I signed Alan up too, so it was not a cheap endeavor, though I did get a discount code from Kristen. Still, I spent just shy of $300.

Shortly after I signed up, I received an email from RunningSkirts.com promoting a one-day 50% off sale. So I went ahead and spent even more money! Great service, by the way. I ordered the skirt on Friday and received it in the mail on Saturday! Too bad it was too cold to wear it on Sunday.

Running SkirtNot sure if this will end up being my race outfit, but I love the color and the fit.

I’ve been saying that it has been seven years since my last marathon, just guestimating, so I decided I should look it up. I ran the Los Angeles Marathon on March 19, 2006, so it’s actually eight years. My last Rock and Roll marathon was on June 1, 2003, so it will be 11 years to the day when I run my next one!

SunriseThis wasn’t a running day, but it was such a beautiful sunrise. This is the view over the tennis courts behind my fitness center.

Ragnar

On Thursday I received an email from Melissa asking me if I would be interested in joining her So Cal Ragnar team. She had to pull out, and was trying to find a replacement. It will start in Huntington Beach on April 4 and finish in San Diego the next day. Pretty perfect time and location-wise.

Now, while I know a lot of friends and bloggers who have done Ragnar, and I understood that it was a long, relay type race, that was really all that I did know. Before I jumped in I decided I’d better look where I was diving.

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.

From the Ragnar website: “You and 11 of your craziest friends (or 5 of your crazier friends for an ultra team) pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty. So, from the elite runner down to the novice jogger, it’s the perfect race for anyone.

Okay, I thought, I can do this (I think). In April I’ll be well into marathon training, so the mileage should be fine (it looks like I’ll be Leg 12, with a total of about 18 miles). I checked with Alan to make sure we had nothing scheduled that weekend, and it was clear.  So, I guess I’m in! Ragnar here I come!

According to Melissa, most of the team is made up of women who met at Fitbloggin’ (and includes Carrie, the one person that I have met). I look forward to meeting the rest of the team. I have a feeling that by the end of the second day, I’ll have 11 new friends.

The Week in Training

RnRTraining5

Finally, I had a good training week, though not quite as many miles as last week. With my half marathon next weekend, I decided to cut back a little on mileage for my long run, so I ran 10 miles. My legs felt beat up this week, so even 10 miles was a challenge. I attribute the sore legs to a couple tough classes that I taught, plus the general increase in mileage and intensity I’ve been adding. It served to remind me that I need to work on a good recovery plan alongside my training plan. More on this later in the week.

Tuesday I got out late (as usual) and only managed two miles. Well, at least I got a run. And it made Penny happy.

Wednesday, after taking Penny for about a half mile, I headed out for my tempo run. As I mentioned, my legs have been sore/tired all week, so it was more challenging that it should have been, but I did manage six miles total, with three at about half marathon pace, averaging 9:03 per mile.

Saturday is our regular trail run. Alan and I ran a little over five with Penny and Buddy, then I took the little girls for a mile. I stretched afterward (then slept about two hours!), but I still felt tired.

RnRTraining3

Sunday, still fighting those tired legs, I took Penny for two miles, then headed out for another eight. I felt like this 10 miler was more difficult that last weeks 12 miles, but at least I got it done. Next week I’ll be running the Palm Springs Half Marathon, but mostly as a training run, giving myself a chance to run 13 miles as I really get started on my Rock and Roll marathon training.

RnRTraining2

It was really cold in the morning too. After last weekend when I bragged about wearing short sleeves, the temperature as about 30 degrees colder. It was 31 degrees when I started my run!

I did have a dog rescuer moment as I was finishing up my long run. I was running uphill, less than a mile from home, I saw two dogs run across the fairly busy street about a quarter mile ahead of me. When I got there, two dogs were standing there, looking at me. I could see that the larger dog had a tag, and the other had a collar, but they wouldn’t let me get close.

Finally, the smaller of the two dogs started to head back across the street. I went into the street to stop traffic, then when the dog just kind of wandered down the middle of the street, I chased him toward the (safer) side. The other dog followed and they both ran into the front yard of a house. As I rang the doorbell, I noticed that the gate was slightly ajar. Both dogs went in through the gate and I shut it behind them. Nobody answered the door. I hope that it was their house, because otherwise the homeowners will be coming home to two new friends.

RnRTraining4

I also taught two challenging strength classes, and a stretch class. So I’m feeling pretty good about my training. And excited that I’ve actually signed up for the race, not to mention Ragnar.

So much excitement! What exciting things did you do last week? Will I see you at Ragnar?

Monday Runday. It’s About Change: New Plans, New Venues + CIF Semi Finals

In reverse order from the title:

CIF Semi Finals

Our girls’ cross country team competed in the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Semi Finals on Saturday. While they didn’t advance to the finals, they all were amazing, several running personal bests on the very tough, hilly course at Mt. San Antonio College. Our twins, healthy again, finished together, which was a nice way to end a great season. Our other girls did very well, in spite of one with that pesky illness that made the rounds and another with a hip injury.

Change - CIF

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - ChangeThe young woman who would eventually win by over a minute (16:58!), already had a large lead a half mile into the race.

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

So, cross country season is over, and as always I have mixed feelings. I am happy to have some time back, especially my Saturdays, but I also miss seeing the team.

Now, onto the changes.

Change #1: The Turkey Trot

We had to change the venue of the Turkey Trot, basically at the last minute, due to difficulties holding it at the high school as originally planned. We chose to move it to La Quinta, using the same trail course that we use for the Gem of the Desert run. Now called Trot N on the Trail, the race is still a 5k distance, but now on the trails surrounded by the beauty of the La Quinta Cove. A great way to start Thanksgiving.

Change #2: A New Race Plan

The big change, and the real point of this post, is that I have decided not to run the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon.  Originally, Alan was going to be the announcer and I was going along for fun and to run the race. His deal fell through, so I decided that since it would be so close to Christmas that I would switch to another race. This will also give me a little extra training time, since the Holiday Half is only about six weeks away.

Instead, I am going to train for the Palm Springs Half Marathon, which is on February 9. It is a great hometown event and I’ve participated in it in one way or another almost every year since the first. Alan has been the announcer for about the last 10 years. I myself was the volunteer coordinator for five years, and I’ve run either the half or the 5k many times. It is the race in which I ran my PR eons ago (2001-1:33:11). And we are great friends with the race director and his wife (my former marathon cohort back in the day).

Plus I now get more time to train properly. Unlike the Holiday Half which has a net elevation loss, this race is basically flat, with one longish, but mild hill. So in addition to my key workouts of interval training and tempo runs, I will be adding some hill training, mostly incorporating it once a week into one of my shorter runs.  Here’s the plan if you’re interested. Click on the thumbnail for the full plan.

PS Half Training PlanSince I knew by midweek about my change of plans, I didn’t worry about not quite getting in  the mileage originally scheduled. I had to fast for a blood test on Tuesday, so I skipped the run, but I did my first tempo run in months on Wednesday. Two miles at about 20 seconds faster than my goal race pace! We were off to the (cross country) races on Saturday, so I barely had time for two miles. On Sunday Penny and I took to the trails for three miles, then I finished up alone for two more.

Change - Penny - trailsPenny may be 12 years old, but she still doesn’t want to waste time standing around and taking pictures. She is always ready to go.

Change - trails - Penny

I plan to really get started on my training plan this week, and with no cross country practice or meets, it will be much easier finding the time. It’s also back to the gym and to my yoga mat, as strength training and yoga are both important components of my training plan. I’m excited to start training with a goal again, for the first time in about four months.

Have you ever had to make a change in mid-training? How did it turn out? How was your weekend?

Next Monday is Running Question day, so if you have a question you’d like to see answered leave it in the comments or email me.