Sunday, December 16, 2012

HM #6 Holiday Half Race Report

My thoughts were all over the place this morning, of my sixth half marathon. I didn't have any expectations for this race, other than I wanted to have fun and finish. If I PR'd that would be gravy, or icing, or whatever metaphor is less cheesy. I didn't even look up my times from the last half marathon to make sure I paced this right, I just sort of decided I would try to keep the first half around 10 min/miles and the second half a little faster.

Since Melissa and I wanted to drive and park instead of taking the shuttle, we left early and got to the race by 7:15. First pit stop with no lines, and then to the staging area which was inside a parking garage shielded from the drizzle and maybe 5 degrees warmer than the outside. We easily found some of our other friends and tried to keep warm. The race started pretty much on time and I was happy to start running because it was quite chilly. The first 2 miles I ran alone until I came up MaryAlicia and a friend.. Ran with them for a while and then found Steve and Michelle from a running Facebook group I belong to, and the kind souls who gave us a ride to Runaway Pumpkin. Got to spend some time with them before picking up the pace.. Then I was solo again for a few miles before I ran into another running group friend, Courtney from Run Mama, Run. We ran together for several miles. Around mile 3 I saw two women running with a sign on their back that read, "running for the 20 children who will never know the joys of running..." or something close to that. The tears filled my eyes and I choked back a sob. I think all of us have been crying or filled with sadness since we learned of the tragedy in Connecticut. As a mother to a kindergartner myself, I keep hugging her and looking at her with the knowledge that there are 40 parents with broken hearts that will never get to do that again. That is unfathomable. Since our family was introduced into this world of birth defects, I have watched too many parents have to say good bye to their precious babies too soon. I hear of usually at least one, sometimes up to six babies lost each week to CDH and that is devastating. I have way too many friends with children that either are currently battling cancer or are survivors. It is scary enough being a parent with the reality that you could lose your child to disease, illness, or an accident. But on a normal day that you sent your child to Elementary School? Maybe fought over their pokeyness getting out the door as I do with mine most mornings. They said good bye, that they loved them... and that was it. That was the last time they saw their child before someone brutally murdered them. Children. Innocents.  I don't think anyone right now can wrap their heads around how someone could hurt these innocent children and adults. I know this sets the stage for discussion about gun control, or mental illness care - which both are valid.. but right now I can't get past the sick feeling in my stomach. This tragedy has not been far from my thoughts since it happened and I am thankful for those two runners who ran today in honor of those children, and to the many other runners who are have or are planning 26 mile runs.

**I wasn't sure about keeping that part in... I am sitting here wondering if it is appropriate - but I think it is where most of us are right now.. We are trying to go about our lives - but this horrible tragedy is ever present in our thoughts. Whether you are a parent or not, I think most humans have been profoundly gut wrenched by this unspeakable act.**

So then I tried to breathe again because it was hard breathing between the cold, and the rock of grief for children and adults I have never met, but I found my groove again. I was able to chat with Courtney for a while and we kept the pace between 9:50 and 10:00 min miles. I have a whole new appreciation for the out and back. I love seeing the fast runners came back towards us. I love seeing my speedy friends run past. I love being able to cheer for my friends. Around mile 8 Courtney and I parted. I started slowing down around mile 9.. I looked at my watch and was annoyed to see that what felt like the same pace was 15 seconds slower - so I had to begin the internal conversation. By mile 10, that evil voice in me started telling me it was ok to walk, I wasn't planning a PR today  - why did I need to push? But then competitive Liz said, Your knee isn't hurting today- you should be running faster - GO! It took everything in me to keep it between 9:50-10:00 and then once I hit mile 12 I was running on fumes. There was a lot of positive self talk that transpired to get me to that finish line. I finished at 2:10:59. A one min PR and I was able to run the entire race without any knee or hamstring pain. This was a hard run for the last 3-4 miles and I'm not sure if it is was the weather, or fueling issues, or xyz.. (there is always something)... but what I am learning is that it is the finishing these hard ones that gives me the 'fuel' for the next time. I am able to recall pushing through something more difficult as motivation to keep going.

So all in all a great event! There was warm (but burnt) soup awaiting us as we entered the garage. Eggnog, Beer, and several vendors sampling their products. A cover band playing top 40 hits. I even got 2 prizes - a Nuun water bottle for being in a costume, and a pair of socks for answering a trivia question about Foot Traffic correctly. The Oregon Lottery had a fun booth set up for photos... Other than the weather, which they had no control over, I have no complaints about this event. I had so much fun!

So now I take a two week Chiropractor prescribed break. The acupuncture treatments are really improving my high hamstring  tendinopathy (I finally figured out the name for my injury!)  but I need to make sure my body is even stronger and healed before embarking on training for that 26.2. I'm going to take the next 2 weeks easy and just enjoy precious moments with my beautiful children and my wonderful husband and just be grateful for each moment, each day we have together.

Merry Christmas!

With the deranged Easter Bunny...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have penned a bunch of blog posts in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, they have all been in my head. So here's a quick one to get me back in the swing of things... I hit a milestone last week. I crossed the threshold of one thousand twelve miles logged for 2012. That was one of my running goals for the year. Wahooo!!

So here's my 2012 Goals

1. I will run faster!! Beat 10K and Half PRs - CHECK
2. I will run a relay - Epic Relay..CHECK
3. I will run 4-5 days a week. CHECK - except for 2 breaks to heal.
4. I will run injury free- I will roll, strength train and stretch... um... working on it.. I admit it I got lazy on the last 3 which means I was not injury free this year.. but I continue to run - so that's good... I just started acupuncture and so far I am pretty optimistic that that will do to the trick to finally heal my long aching hamstring!
5. I will organize a race and raise money for CDH - Ladybug Run - CHECK!!
6. I will do a destination race.. Well Runaway Pumpkin was  about an hour and a half away.. CHECK!
7. I will run a sub 1 hr 10K - CHECK 57:01
8. I will run a sub 28 min 5K - CHECK 27:33
9. I will run 1012 miles- CHECK!
10. Blog at least once a week.. Nope.

Feeling pretty proud of myself... and excited about next year. Because I have something to admit publicly. I have started saying it outloud.. so I think it's time to come clean. To put this goal out there into the universe.

In 2013 I will run my first Marathon. In June- the VancouverUSA Marathon. 

There. I said it. I will post a longer 2013 goal list.. and another lengthy post on how I finally came around to this decision. But after saying Oh, I'll never.. or..'not yet' countless times. I just decided.. why not? Why not now? I am not making any huge crazy goals for that race. I'd like to finish under 5:00 hours. I just want to train for the marathon and see if I can do it. I think I can. My longest run this year was a 15 miler. That's over half way there.

I LOVE goals. I'm kinda wacky that way. I need things to drive towards. I love planning and being on a plan.

I'm giddy that I've finally blogged this! And girlfriends - you know who you are.. I am going to be counting on several of you to be running parts of that race with me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Race Report: Cause and Event 5K/10K - AG winner? What?

I met Amy Little, the Race Director for this event, earlier this year because a mutual friend thought we should meet.. I mean, what are the odds that she would know 2 women looking to start races on the same year? We met for a glass of wine and shared our stories and inspirations for our insanity. Then a few months later she and I were on the Epic Relay team together and as many of you know, you get to whole new level of knowing people on a relay race! She had this fantastic idea to hold a race where ALL causes could be supported. "Your Cause, Our Event." Cause and Event was born. There is a lot more that I could write about Amy, but overall I must say that she is such an amazing woman. A sense of humor that doesn't quit (even when she is being rolled into the operating room), and a heart that is HUGE. She is a very special individual and I am so glad to have gotten to know her.. and her love of bananas.

This 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run was out in the Bethany area, where I have never had the pleasure of running before. Who knew there were so many hills in Beaverton? I had originally signed up for the 10K, but after taking the last 2 weeks off from running after Runaway Pumpkin, I thought dropping to the 5K was a wiser choice.

We formed Team Ladybug and we were running to raise money for the Ladybug CDH Foundation. I'm not sure what the final number for the team was- but we had a great turnout! Thanks to everyone that joined our team and/or donated or volunteered!! Amy had a HUGE turnout for a first year race (over 300 registrants!!!) and I know this is going to be a huge success going forward (a race series across the US).

Before the race..trying to keep warm.
I went into this race with no goals, no real expectations - except not to injure myself. I just want to continue to heal my body, get stronger and be ready to really increase my base in January as I am toying with a certain June race...but I am not ready to announce. That's all I will say now...

I did a short workout yesterday with 4x 100m strides and felt strong, so I was hopeful I would be able to run without serious pain today.

I started the race near the front, and started WAY fast. I looked down at my watch and saw I was averaging 7:20 and knew I needed to back way off. I settled into 8:44 pace. Then I realized that my shoelace is about to be untied. Shoot. I stop to hastily retie it (with my gloves on) and get back to running. Mile 2 added some nice rolling hills, which did slow my pace a little. Oh ya, and I had to stop to tie both my shoes again. Note to self: make sure you double knot shoes before next race. 9:09 for the second mile. At least 20 seconds lost for shoe tying. The last mile I see my husband pushing the double stroller ahead of me up a big hill. Yesterday, he made the mistake of saying all he cared about today was beating me. Fighting words. He usually always does finish before me. Even pushing the double BOB stroller with 100+ pounds of kids. Not today. I passed him on the hill and made the final push. 9:15 for Mile 3- I think starting to fast and the hills were catching up with me.. I dug deep for the final .13 and finished 28:44. It was not a PR (my PR is on a pretty flat course at 27:33), but I was happy to have finished before my hubby. (Nothing like friendly competition, right?)

Milliseconds, the timing company, had these cool kiosks set up where you could check your time pretty much immediately. For the 5K; I finished 20th Overall, 9th for ALL women, and 1st in my age group! I was in shock. I think I went back and checked it 5 times - even brought witnesses one of the times because I thought I must be misreading something.

Disclaimer:  I was 1st in my age group because the 2 other women in my AG won overall awards, thereby taking them out of my AG and bringing me up from 3rd to 1st - wahoo!!! 
So stinkin excited about this ribbon!

I'll take it. It is the first time I have ever placed in an age group and it felt goooood. Gotta love small races.

We really brought home the loot at this race; I won a $15 gift card to Aries Apparel, Finley won a gift card for a dozen Bliss Cupcakes, and Rowan won a $5 Sonic card. Both girls did great in the 1/2 mile kids race.. Rowan ran the whole time, and at one point she wanted to walk, but I was able to get her to keep running just by telling her we were almost done. So proud of her!! Finley brought up the rear with daddy doing her 2 year old toddler waddle/run.. but she rocked it! Holding her bear the whole time. My 2 year old CDH Survivor ran a 1/2 mile - that's pretty incredible.

Finley running with her bear.... 

Jon placed first in his AG for the 5K (even though I still beat him! Hee-hee) 

Marianne placed 2nd in the 10K for her AG!! 
I am riding a 'winners' high right now... I only wish my 1st place ribbon were a medal, since I don't know if I'll ever win an age group again. 35-39 is pretty darn competitive and the ladies are usually much faster than me. So happy they decided to sleep in today.

Cause and Event 2012!!
The post race soup from Bethany's Table was amazing. I might have had 2 bowls. Shhh - don't tell. After the race festivities died down, we went over to the restaurant conveniently across the parking lot and had brunch there - with no wait! That never happens in Portland. Hurry and try the brunch there before word gets out and there is a 45 min wait. I highly recommend that place.

Amy put so many nice touches in to the race; childcare available, the shirts (all volunteers, runners, sponsors names on the back of the shirt - if you registered in time), the bags, impressive Expo, professional timing, great spread of food, Starbucks coffee, and so much more. Amy - you did an awesome job and should feel so proud!!

What a great morning! I love when I can do these races and still spend time with my family. 5Ks are nice too since they don't wipe me out for the rest of the day.  Can't wait to do this event again next year - maybe I'll even try and tackle the hillacious 10K.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Race Report: Runaway Pumpkin

So the day had finally come... The race that has been my goal race since beginning my training plan with Coach J in July was here. The Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon in Lebanon, Oregon.

The Robinson Pumpkin-mobile - Photo credit Steve Robinson
I also had a  felt pumpkin cut out on my back, that apparently looked like it was chewing as I ran... 

A motley group of runners met in the drizzling rain in front of Peet's in Bridgeport Village at 6:20 a.m. to catch a ride with the awesome Steve Robinson who offered to drive a group of runners down. What began as a light sprinkle, quickly became a heavy downpour as the morning progressed. We made good time and were at the event a little after 8:00 with plenty of time to pick up our packets, do the bathroom line (in my case- multiple times, bag drop off, and then find shelter to try and stay dry before the race began. I was able to find a spot under a tree to do my warm up/stretches and then lined up at 8:50. The race began right on time - led by a couple of 'runaway pumpkins' who got a jump on the clock.

The beginning of the race took you along gravel and a path the was right next to the river with quite a bit of beginning of the race congestion. I would have liked to have been able to stick closer to my starting goal time, which was to start the race at about 10 min/miles but was able to make up the time and ended up around 10:30 split. As we moved into the neighborhood, things cleared out and we were able to get into our groove. So many great volunteers and townspeople were out cheering on the racers. I had wanted to keep the first half between 9:44 and 10:00 and then slowly speed up the second half. But around 6.5 miles my knee started aching. I tried walking for a bit, but that didn't make it go away. I decided that I would just try and push through the pain. We had water stations at about every 2 miles so I was glad I had decided to leave water at home since I am still trying to find a solution that hydrates me- but doesn't splash all over me like all the belts I have tried or annoy the heck out of me like anything handheld.

Me and Melissa - before the race
Maryalicia (Run Oregon bloggess) had offered to pace me, so I was so thankful to have her with me that second half when I needed to keep my mind off of the pain. She is also the happiest runner I have ever met, and it was infectious running next to someone who was so appreciative (I think she thanked everyone out volunteering) of the support staff and the scenery. It was such a beautiful run (apparently a new route this year- which added a little more hill) but nothing this westside Portlander couldn't handle. This is the first race I have tried to just run through pain.. not soreness- but actual physical pain.. and for 6 miles. I will have to say that I learned I am mentally tougher than I thought I was after this race. After working towards this race for 16 weeks, there was no way I was going to throw in the towel. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sub 9:30's for the second half like I was hoping for - but I knew if I could stay as close to 10s as possible, I could still PR.

That last mile was excruciating  I hoped it wasn't anything that some ice and time off wouldn't heal- I was 90% sure I wasn't doing permanent damage (I am pretty sure I know that difference now?) but I knew I was pushing it. But I felt like I had worked too hard not to. We picked up the pace in that final stretch because I just wanted to be done and somehow was able to do a 9:37.. the final .10 was on gravel. I think I actually yelled - are you kidding me? Gravel? I am supposed to dig deep and sprint on GRAVEL? But thankfully I had Maryalicia running in front of me, yelling at me to dig deep and finish strong. I was tired enough and just wanted to start walking that her "motivation" lit that fire in me to get across the finish line. She was my hero.

I have never wanted to walk so badly in a race before. But I didn't. Plus, it didn't help. Actually  the few times I started to walk, that actually felt worse and I knew I just needed to keep running. I think Maryalicia probably thinks I am insane, because I was muttering Phil 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" over and over again. I reminded myself that Finley didn't give up. Thinking about her really helped me. Nothing like thinking about your baby fighting through their first 30 days of life to make you think 1 hour of discomfort is nothing.

2:13.XX was the time on the clock as I crossed the finish line. I knew since I started back with the 10 min/milers I had a few seconds grace... I knew I had achieved some sort of PR.. but I was already more amazed that I had just powered through 6 miles through considerable pain at a faster pace than my other HMs.

I can't wait to see the finish line photos.. I was so ecstatic to be done. I also could barely walk. I accepted my finishers medal and hobbled over to a waiting masseuse who did a 10 min massage on my ailing knee. It didn't  really help. I got a cute pumpkin "awesome costume' award (above) and personal mini-fan and carried those over to the medical tent to get some ice. Oh blessed ice.

Melissa, my other friend that did this race also came in with a HUGE PR. I think most of our car PRd that morning.

Great food spread afterwards - but I grabbed some chocolate milk and some cookies and didn't really partake. We needed to get back to Portland  and I wanted to get on my compression hose and get cozy with my bag o' ice.

This was a very well organized race, with excellent support. I would highly recommend this race to anyone thinking about it in the future.

I am happy that I surpassed 2 out of 3 of the goals I had set. Of course  I am disappointing I didn't beat 2:08 too, but I know I had/have that in me. I felt like I could have run faster if my knee hadn't been hurting so bad- so I know I have sub 2:08 in me... who knows.. maybe by next year I'll see a sub 2 hour!

Now I am taking it easy for the next 2 weeks- going to let things heal.. Then focus on some strength (while maintaining my base) for the rest of the year before I jump into a focused training plan in January. I think I'll just focus on trying to run strong and healthy and just see what happens for the Holiday Half - without setting any hard pressed goals.

Final thoughts...

**This was my fifth half marathon... in 12 months. I ran my first half marathon just last October in 2:37.

**I PR'd by almost 6 minutes. Wahoo!

**Thank you to Coach J for a great training plan!

**Thank you to so many friends who sent texts, Facebook messages, and called.. I felt so much love and support. Not to mention my wonderful friend Stacy who brought me ice cream Saturday night! (Note to self: Do not run any races over 10K when hubby is out of town again... We survived - but there was a lot of TV for the rest of Saturday.)

Next up is the Cause and Event 5K/10K - this is falling within my 2 week running break/recovery period, so I have opted for the 5K and plan on just running it for fun, not trying to break any PRs. This is going to be a FABULOUS first year event - we have a team formed- Team Ladybug.. you should join us! Or start your own team, or sign up solo.. or volunteer! My friend Amy is the Race Director and I am so excited for her... this is such a great idea and I know it is going to be a huge success. You don't want to miss out on being a part of the first year.. how many people can say.."hey, I've been doing this event since it started.." Be that person!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taper Gremlins

I suddenly feel this urge to do things I haven't been doing in this training cycle. 

I am filled with doubt about my goal and my ability to accomplish it. 

I am wondering if I really did put in enough miles.

I have butterflies just thinking about the race on Saturday.

This is just silly, right? I decided to write my goal on my hand today and will stare at this number for the rest of the week. I will BELIEVE that I can do this. I will BELIEVE in my training. I've got my 3 goals and I need to just settle my mind and trust.

Today will be my last real work out - doing the same track work out as last week. Thursday is a rest day, Friday I will do a shake things loose: 1 mile walk, 1 mile easy and 4 100s at 5k pace to get those legs ready to run.

We were in Newport and Lincoln City last week and I had the opportunity to run 6 beautiful miles across the Newport bridge and along the waterfront.

I don't love heights. There were moments as I ran over this bridge that I set my sights on the horizon because I had that nervous feeling in my stomach. Oh, and there are these weird metal squares that look like trap doors that open. I jumped over those like a six year old avoids cracks in the sidewalk. The view at the crest made it all worth it. I loved being able to stop and take a few photos and enjoy the view. Something you just can't do when driving over the bridge. I loved the feeling after crossing the bridge of exhilaration of doing something that didn't feel 'comfortable' but seeing that the senseless worry - was in fact senseless. Our pastor said a great line this week, "90% of the things you worry about never happen." We waste so much time being anxious and worrying when we need to set our minds on the positive. Which, ironically, is exactly what I need to do for this weekend. Stop worrying that "I can't" and set my mind on achieving my goals.

My gratitude list for today;
* My family. My girls had a blast last night dancing to that PSY song, "Gangnam Style" and I got the funniest video. It makes my heart SING listening to their little laughs and seeing them be funny and silly together. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I have two healthy girls - sisters. I am the luckiest mama in the world. Plus, I have an amazing husband who loves us so much. He really is a great dad.
*My friends.I am blessed to have some very special people in my life that love me for me. In all my craziness, they love me.
*My faith... Being able to pray and let go of any and all worries that come across my mind.
*A mostly healthy body (my hamstring has been bothering me some, but that just seems to ever present) that can run.
* Someone who can watch my girls that I love on Saturday morning so that I can go run a race.

Starting to plan for the races I want to do next year.. Eugene Half, Sonoma to Napa Half, Vancouver, Hood to Coast, Nike Women's Half...what's races are you hoping to do next year?

And why am I planning the next race already?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 to go...until #5 and other random thoughts

5 workouts until.... Half Marathon #5! Runaway Pumpkin here I come.. I did a test run in my orange Team Sparkle skirt this morning.

Here are my last 2 weeks speed workouts courtesy of Coach J.... I do them on Tuesday and Wednesday.. Monday and Friday are easy 3m, and Saturday is supposed to be 3-5, but last week I ran 6... There has been some walking since I was starting to have some hamstring pain last week - but it is feeling better now.  Just needed to back off a little.

Track: walk 1 mile, jog 2 miles very easy 4 x 100m working on form at 5k pace 1 mile jog walk. (Wear long pants / spandex so legs stay warm)

Track:1 mile walk, 1 mile easy 4 x 800 @ 1/2 marathon pace 1 mile easy 1 mile walk 

Track: walk 1 mile, jog 2 miles very easy 4 x 100m working on form at 5k pace 1 mile jog walk. (Wear long pants / spandex so legs stay warm)

Track: 1 mile walk, 1 mile easy 2 x 800 @ 1/2 marathon pace 1 mile easy 1 mile walk 

I usually go to the track when I have childcare (during my workday) but that didn't work out today since the nanny has the day off.. so Finley got to spend an hour at the track with me today...

As you can see she was very excited about it. I was not even halfway in when she started to scream - "I walk, I walk!!" and I was getting a little worried that I was going to be able to finish my 800s - but then I remembered an amazing invention. Netflix on my phone. Best. thing. ever. Finley, now happily watching Bo, on the go (if you have ever watched this show with your kids, I hope the theme song is stuck in your head like it is mine.) was now quiet while I commenced my speed work pushing my stroller. Does that make it count as a strength work out too? I had a hard time hitting my half marathon pace (9:44) I kept running too fast (9:08-9:15). Is that a problem to be running faster? Raina, I know you will know...

It is strange that now tapering back down to 22 miles per week seems like such a light week, when 15-22 miles per week was a high back in June. It feels good. I've got some aches and pains, but more so probably because I have been slacking about my foam rolling.

You would think this is the 'please be done' look. but this is actually, her 'hurray! I'm free!' look and she walked the final lap around the track with me.

Meet my current arch nemesis. Why are these holiday Reese's so much better than the other ones? I have NO self control. Amanda @ Runninghood wrote about eating all her cookies this week and I can so relate! I cannot have things like this in the house because of it's siren's call. This is why I run.

This is one of my favorite running paths (partly because it is close to home. I run the Fanno Creek trail at least once a week usually. It just makes my heart sing to be on this trail. No matter the pace. I took this photo last week, intending to do some sort of blog post that I felt inspired to write that day, and of course,  never did get to it and lost whatever the thought was. Ah, mommy brain.

So I got written up today as the Run Oregon featured runner: Pretty exciting!! A good motivator to get me to update the blog as well...

Warning: About to get spiritual here, so if that isn't your cup of tea - you may want to close the window.....

Final thought - was listening to our church's podcasts while I ran this week (by the way, how is it that I JUST discovered the awesomeness that is listening to podcasts while running?) and one of the messages was on worry and anxiety.. One of the best thoughts that I got from it was how too often we don't come to God with the really big things AND the really little things. How we underestimate God and what he is capable of. I love the thought that God wants me to bring it all to him. I did that when I was pregnant with Finley and after she was born and in the hospital, but then I don't do that every day now. It is great to be reminded that I don't need to worry about ANYTHING - just give it all to him.

Phil 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I was reading a blog post yesterday about a woman being harassed on a run which reminded me of my scariest run ever....(Adult content...beware).

During my first incarnation of trying to be a runner, in my twenties - I went back home to Eugene from a break from college in 1998 or so to visit my parents (I took a sabbatical from college after my first year and went back at the ripe old age of 21as a non-traditional student). I went for a run during the middle of the day- can't remember the day of the week. I know I had my Walkman since this was pre-iPod days. I was near the end of my run and running down a residential road that connects two busier streets (Barger and Royal). I noticed a white car pass by me and it only stood out because I thought, hey - that looks like Mark's car (a friend of an ex). I continue along on my run which is now going by some new home construction. There is a port-a-potty set out pretty close to the sidewalk Now, I am looking ahead at my feet/path kind of a runner and this explains why I didn't notice this until WAY later than I should have...  I see the white car had pulled over to the side of the road. In quick succession my thoughts are "hey, that's weird" "I wonder where the driver is" "oh my there he is in the potty" "why is he standing in the doorway?"

"Oh F$%#, he is holding his wang and is masturbating and looking right at me!!!"

I immediately cross the street and pick up my pace. He gets back in his car and drives down the road.

I keep my eyes on his car wondering what he is going to do next.

"Oh hell," is what I think as I see him make a U-turn and come back towards me. My mind is spinning wondering what is going to happen and beginning to form strategies for various scenarios.  I had the Walkman in my hand ready to beat him over the head if he tried anything. Wondering if I had enough energy to fight off an attack.

I am now running in the grass, as far over away from the road as I can (there is a hedge separating the mobile home community and the sidewalk) and am running as fast as my body will let me. The adrenaline is coursing through my body and I think I might puke.

He passes by slowly in his car and I just keep running. I am now on the street where my parents live and don't see him. My heart is in my throat and race into my parents home and was in total shock over what just happened.

After a few minutes I begin to wonder what I should do. I ended up calling non-emergency and reported the incident and described the vehicle thinking that what if this guy does this a lot in the area, or what if he escalates his creeper ways. I've read that rapists begin with public exposure stuff and escalate from there. But that was the end of that and I never heard anything more from my parents about creeper activity in the area so I don't know what became of him.

This is hands down the strangest, scariest thing that has ever happened to me on a run.

It happened in the middle of the day, in suburban neighborhood. As women, we always need to be aware of our surroundings and take extra precautions. It's annoying - but true. Creepers can be anywhere. Anytime.

I did a track work out at Duniway Track this morning.. There are a lot of homeless that frequent this area. I would probably be nervous there if I went very early in the morning. Thankfully, at 8:30 am there are a lot of runners and walkers there. This is a Speed/Strength week so I did an over-under workout: the plan called for 2 mile warm up, (1000m (2.5 laps) @ 5:48 1 min rest 400m @ 2:08)  5 min rest between sets x 3 sets, 2 mile cool down.

Set 1 - 5:08/1:59
Set 2 - 5:14/2:00
Set 3 - 5:21/2:09

This was a HARD work out. But very fun too. I was a little fast because I didn't figure out what pace 5:48 translated to. Tomorrow is a rest day and then Friday just an easy 3 mile walk and then Saturday will be a 11 mile long run with my girl friends!

5 weeks until Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon!! And as always I have a few layers of goals....

1. anything better than 2:17
2. Beat 2:15
3. the stretch goal: 2:08

Still need a costume...maybe I should just make a orange tutu? I don't want anything that will mess with my running though....Ideas?

Monday, September 17, 2012

10 Running Related Things about me....

SBS at Another Mother Runner has started a 10-question game and here are my responses...

1. Best run ever:  I really don't have a best run ever. I am not sure if that's because I am a newbie runner, or I can't commit to saying one was better than all the rest. I loved running in San Francisco. I loved running in Hawaii on vacation last month. I had a great run last Wednesday (some interval work at Duniway track and then 2 miles of Terwilliger). I love running in the West hills in Portland on the Wildwood trail. I don't think I can pick out one run as my best run ever..maybe someday when I break that 2 hour half marathon!

2. Three words that describe my running: rewarding, demanding, exhilarating.

3. My go-to running outfit is: lulu tank, handful bra, nike shorts, brooks ghost shoes.

4. Quirky habit while running: I tend to run in a straight line. My feet swing out in front of each other.. I am working to correct this, but it seems to be what my body wants to do.

5. Morning, midday, evening: Morning, usually always morning unless I have to put it off until nap time...

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: Icy. I will run in 10 degree temperatures, in rain, in snow, and even (when absolutely necessary) in the heat. But physics tells me running on ice + my clumsiness = injury.

7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: I've had ITB and a Hamstring strain and I think the hamstring issues were the absolute worst injury ever. The hamstring strain was supposed to be mild-moderate - but it took close to 18 months to even get to 85% and I still struggle with issues with tendinitis at the attachment point. I did PT, Platelet Rich Plasma Injection (yes- I doped!), deep tissue massage, acupuncture, ultrasound, rest, cross training, and then finally quit running, got pregnant, then when I started running again did Couch to 5K and really eased back into it and had frequent Chiro care which really helped. This may not be the most hopeful story to someone who is in the midst of the issues though. But I am now running the highest mileage of my life and I just have to make sure I keep doing my strength exercises and foam rolling!

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: I went for a 8 mile run (Springwater corridor for you PDX peeps) with the double stroller (4 year old and 18 month old = 100 pounds + of stroller and kids) in 80+ degree temps. This counts as a 16 mile run, right?

9. Next race is: Cause and Event 10K ( and I am super excited to be able to raise money for our nonprofit Ladybug CDH Foundation while doing this run. Our team is called Team Ladybug if you want to join our team.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: More Half Marathons (chasing down that time) maybe even a trail one for fun. I'd also like to do a 15 mile race, and another Relay.

At Race for the Cure 9/16/12 - (notice the BAMR hat!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pints to Pasta: 57:01 wooohoooo!!

Thanks to some friendly competition, Mel and I pushed each other to an amazing new PR. I beat last years time by 4:30. My time was 57:01 (a 9:11/mile). On my hand that morning I had written 58:30 in ink.Mel thought I was crazy.

I had a few goals going into this race.

Goal 1) Beat last year 1:01:30.
Goal 2) Break 1 hour.. (59:59 would have been acceptable).
Goal 3) This was a stretch. 58:30.

I almost cried after I finished and I saw my Garmin time. I really pushed myself during the race and I so wanted to slow down - but I didn't. (mostly because Melanie was right there next to me running a sub 9 min/mile beginning at mile 3). It was such an amazing feeling to have blown my goals out of the water and knowing that all my training paid off.

The funniest thing was after the race we talked and realized - she wasn't slowing down because she thought I was setting the pace, and I thought she was setting that pace.. Ha!! I kept telling myself if she could keep it up, so could I. I LOVE having a running buddy push you to levels you didn't think were possible. It was also awesome to see my coach J about a 1/2 mile from the end when I wanted to DIE and he told me just to keep running. Seeing him gave me that extra push I needed to keep going.. then when I saw the clock.. I pushed it a little faster to cross the finish line at 57:01. I am still riding that high.

Another great Pints to Pasta. Well organized (always a wait for potties- but we had more than enough time to visit them not once, not twice - but THREE times). Great beer. Good friends.

(My husband who has a cold, has barely trained, and has a bruised knee finished at 53:32. I am envious of his natural running ability. But baby.. watch out...I'm getting faster!!)

with my hubby on the bus to the starting line...

My girls - pre-race

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Seizing the day

I have been a bad blogger - I am going to attempt to post more regularly - but August was insane with the Ladybug Race, 2 birthdays, 2 trips, and then getting ready for school. I am happy to be home and I just LOVE fall. I love everything about Fall. But- that is another post... Up first, our Hawaii vacation. 

We had an amazing 10 days in paradise. I ran a lot - thanks to my build schedule and needing to run 30-32 (there was some walking built in there too) miles each week. It was pretty warm and humid but the views really made up for the heat. I was running around 7:00 am every day and it was already quite sticky. I didn't leave the resort area of Ko Olina where we were staying since I already felt bad about taking an hour most days to run.. but since my children kept waking up SUPER early - the runs were also a necessity. Running gives me that extra energy I need when I am sleep deprived. I know that may not make sense - but it does. I learned this when Finley was still waking up a ton.. running would make me feel better.. at least until evening. 

This is me. 
I did something most unlike me on this trip. I am pretty risk averse. I don't really enjoy amusement park rides, skiing/snowboarding - pretty much anything with heights, or where I am out of control. (I tried stand up paddle boarding on this trip and absolutely loved it. Great workout and not all the scary!) Late on Wednesday I heard that a woman I used to take Pilates with died.She was in her mid 30's. They still don't know why. It was such a reminder that we don't know how long we have- we truly don't know what the next moment may bring. For ourselves, or our loved ones. Such a powerful reminder to not let things go unsaid, and seizing each day. So how did I seize Thursday? I jumped off a cliff. 

The last time we were in Oahu I thought about it and frankly the idea turned my stomach. Seeing all those people lined up just gave me the willies. But this time four years later. I am a changed person for a hundred reasons. This time I wanted to jump. (Now don't get me wrong here, I am not suddenly going to go all adrenaline junkie here). But I think it is important to go outside our comfort zones sometimes. Whether it is signing up for a new bigger goal. Trying something new. Or jumping off a cliff. 

The funniest part of jumping off a cliff in front of your two little kids is when your 2 year old screams- 'my turn, my turn' after you get out... 

Today was my oldest's first day of 1/2 day Kindergarten. I teared up a little, but then was amazed that I didn't really cry. Though I will miss her since she will be in school 20 hours a week now. But mostly I am excited for her. For all these new experiences and ways that she will grow. All the things she will learn. How she will continue to become more independent. That's sad- but also so wonderful. Time is passing so quickly - but again I am reminded to just be thankful for each day and try to live in the moments more. 

I think Jon thought I was crazy for making him take photos of me running....
Very proud of myself for my first 6 miler in the heat...
The path that followed the 4 lagoons... who could get sick of this?

Would end most of my runs running along this train track which was .2 miles from our condo.
Family shot

This is the jumping rock at Waimea Bay Beach.

Sunset view from our condo... 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Race Report: Ladybug Run 2012

It has taken three tries to get this blog post done. I don't know why this one is so hard. Maybe because there is just so much to cover and I am having a hard time organizing my thoughts.. So if this seems a bit all over the place - forgive me.

 I was up late Saturday going over last minute lists after having marked up the course at Champoeg with my friend Stacy who I will forever be indebted to. As it was getting dark, and the creepy bats were flying around - I was so very thankful she volunteered to help me. That evening might be another blog post all by itself. It was fun running the course and writing messages for the runners- but perhaps you shouldn't leave this important task to that last minute, in the dark, and we won't even talk about the math required and my sleep deprived brain....

4:45 am, the alarm beeped and I jumped out of bed, showered, and started loading the car. I got the kids up. Had a little cuddle time with Finley.

I left the house to finish some last minute errands and would meet J and the girls at the park. Stopped at 7-11 to buy 20 bags of ice. Hit Dutch Bros to pick up the coffee.. As I was talking with the girl about the reason for the race everything about this day hit me again, the long road here - both with Finley and Ladybug Run and I started crying. I got a little worried that I was going to be a mess all day.  I prayed that God would help me be strong and in charge of my emotions the rest of the day...

Coffee successfully acquired and loaded. I drove (quickly) to Champoeg State Park to arrive by 6:50 to a  line of trusty volunteers/good friends there already waiting and unloading. One of the most important jobs to get done quickly was setting up the signs along the course so the runners/walkers would know mileage and that they were going the right way. I set out one volunteer on his bike to get that done, hoping my chalk markings were clear enough. Simultaneously, we were all unloading the cars and trucks filled with water (we had 40 flats - we ended up only going through half, but I did not want to run out of water), food, registration items, prizes, awards, T-shirts, and of course the 400 cookies. The next hour passed in a blur. Somehow we were all ready to go by 8:00 when people started showing up to register and do the day of packet pick up.

My volunteers were amazing!! We had so many friends who wanted to help out, some even with their kids in tow and I am just so thankful for each person that came and helped us. We ended up having 30 adult registrants day of (bringing us to 237 registered 5K/10K adults) and 50+ kids. We needed every body we had. I can never thank each person enough.

Somehow I was mostly calm all day, which is so unlike me when under pressure.  I usually turn into a  stressed out crazy person on event days. God just gave me a peace. I was able to speak in front of everyone and didn't turn into a blubbering mess. Some things did go wrong. Lots of things did not go as planned. I will not list them all. Lots of people have told us how great the event was, how well organized it was and I don't want to lift the curtain all the way!

I had a few kids help us with the Ladybug release and two of them were the children of a friend who lost her first daughter to CDH.

With my beautiful friend Cody who is 36 weeks!

After introductions, Cody opened the race in prayer. She picked the perfect verse and it was such a beautiful prayer. I wasn't sure how this would be received, but actually got lots of comments in support afterwards. Cody is a Chaplain and one more than one occasion when I couldn't pray or was struggling- she was the one I turned to to speak the words for me. I knew early on that I wanted the race to open with a prayer from her. I just love her dearly. She is also an amazing runner.

And with that the races began...

Random thoughts and lessons learned....
I ran across the finish line with the girls who got to do the 5K with a friend.

1. I had a magic 5k course and everyone PRd. Yep...wheeling the course late at night, somehow I shorted the 5K about .3 miles. The 5K was really 2.8 miles.. Ugh. Luckily we got lots of grace from everyone. So far from my survey- out of 30 people who replied, only 1 person was unhappy with the event. Next year the 5K WILL be a 5K!!!

2. Beer garden/Food were too far from finish line/awards ceremony. This will be an easy fix next year - We will get the Pavilion and will be able to start/end the race closer to where all the finishing festivities will be.

3. Stagger 5K and 10K start.

4. Assign prizes beforehand. I had this free for all- choose your prize for the Overall 1-3 and Masters 1-3 and it was kinda messy.

6. I loved the family friendly, laid back vibe of the the morning. I want to keep that as we grow. Next year I hope to have some face painters, and more activities for the kids. Maybe even some babysitters so parents can have the option of having someone watch their kids while they run... How cool would that be?

7. It was so moving to me to look around and see all these people wearing costumes and Ladybug Run shirts... the reality of a dream realized. Even now looking through the hundreds of photos online, I still can't believe that we really made it happen.

We had such a positive response from 99% of the people there. I was amazed considering we were a first year race, and definitely made our share of goofs. There were a lot of CDH families there and that was awesome.

It was so much fun jumping in and doing all sorts of jobs on race day - I spent some time at registration, announcing names, cheering at the finish line, announcing awards... I really felt like I got to be a part of the day and also enjoy it. I wish I would have gotten to talk to some of the CDH families more- but I guess this just means I'll have to plan a picnic for the Spring!

Here is something I wrote on Finley's blog that seems a fitting conclusion;

I just get chills over and over when I think about how God made this happen. I know God planted this seed in my heart, and to have followed him and listened has only blessed me so. I didn’t know anything about creating a race. But that didn’t matter. God broke down EVERY barrier. Brought me people with wisdom and expertise, friends with contacts and heart to serve, donations, sponsors – everything fell into place. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I did on my first summer vacation....

So this will have to be fast since I have 1000 things to do before Ladybug Run on Sunday! It looks like we will definitely hit our goal of 200 adults and I am so excited for this event. Lots of last minute things to do, but I wanted to get this post written before I forgot everything I wanted to write.

We drove straight through 10 hours from Portland to Sonoma on Saturday. My coach wanted me too take it easy on my first run after a long drive, he says you are more likely to get injured. Since it was about 86 degrees around 3:00pm on Sunday during nap time when I was able to get away to run, I pretty much just walked 4 miles. Each time I attempted to run, my heart rate jacked up to the 180s, so I decided it was a good day for a fast walk.

Monday morning I went for a run first thing and it was magical. I loved running down the Bike path in Sonoma and through some vineyards and neighborhoods. It was so gorgeous!

 This is the bike/running path through some vineyards.

So beautiful!

My Tuesday run was a neighborhood run starting in Noe Valley where we were renting a townhouse. I ran about 5 miles and got in some nice hill work. 

 So fun exploring a city by foot.

 This was one serious hill.. I ended up walking since I could walk faster up this incline than I could run...

Love SF.

Wednesday we were planning on taking the bus to Golden Gate park and run in the park. But we ended up getting on the wrong bus and it took us over 90 minutes to get to the park. We wanted to take the girls to the Arts and Sciences Museum before nap time, so we ended up scrapping the run and heading straight to the Museum. But since our townhouse was only 4.5 miles from the park, and we didn't want to risk the bus again, we decided to run home - which only took 45 minutes and was a fun run through NoPa and some fun hilly streets. Jon and I took turns pushing the Double BOB up some serious hills. 

 Friday: my goodbye Noe Valley run....

 Very thankful for Mapmyrun. I used it a lot to determine which make some loops/rough guides to follow on my runs. Sometimes I would miss a turn, but other people's courses at least helped me figure out a good starting point. 

Saturday morning run started at Nob Hill, went down Powell and headed to Fisherman's Wharf, past the Marina, and through Fort Mason. Got a easy 5 miler in with of course, some hills. I wanted to run all the way to the Golden Gate bridge base and hit the hands - but time didn't allow for that long of a run.. next time!! I was pretty proud of myself for logging 26 miles while on vacation and I saw parts of the city I wouldn't have, had I left my running shoes at home...

Awesome views

My girls walking the streets of Nob Hill...

I did more than just run on this trip.... we took a boat tour of the Bay, went to Santa Cruz, and went to the wedding of some dear friends. It was a phenomenal trip and I am looking forward to one more vacation with the family to Hawaii before school starts!!

Jon and I at the wedding reception.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sauvie Island Flat Half, and a new plan

Good friends at the crack of dawn before the Sauvie Island Flat Half, July 4th, 2012. 

And after - with our cute Strawberry Medals!!

So 2 and a half weeks after Epic Relay, we decided we should sign up and run a half marathon. I was a little worried that this might be a recipe for injury.. but thankfully that was not the case. If you sign up to take the bus out to Sauvie Island (which is something I would NOT do again) you have to be at the Silver Cloud at 5:00 am. This meant a 3:45 am wake up for me to eat, pump, and get ready to be picked up by 4:40 am. If I would have done the math before signing up, this may not have happened. But I am so glad that I did. It was a very fun day- and it was pretty cool to have run 13.1 miles by 9:30 am.  I had 2 goals going into this race.

1. Get a new PR, so anything less than 2:22.30
2. Achieve 2:15.00

Melanie and I discussed our strategy at the starting line and had plans of staying together- but we lost each other quickly because of the congestion at the start of the race due to the traffic coming onto the Island. Once we found each other again, we found a pace that was easy to maintain the first 3 miles - but then a bathroom break was needed and I decided it would be worth adding the extra time to have someone to run with, so I waited. We stuck together and it just makes the miles pass so much quicker to have someone to chat with. There was one tiny hill, but otherwise a very flat course - as advertised. 

We tried to keep the pace between 10:00 and 10:30 min/miles.. but then once we hit about mile 11, I thought I saw a 2:15 time still in our grasp, so I sped up. The last mile I was pushing with all I had left.. Ended up with 2:17.16- a new PR. Also, looking at the 2 minutes we lost in the bathroom line- we totally would have achieved a 2:15 and hit both goals that day! Since I know this in my head I am happy. 

1Interval1 mi10:29.7010:29.7010:30   
2Interval1 mi10:15.1520:44.8510:16   
3Interval1 mi12:21.8033:06.6512:22 BATHROOM break  
4Interval1 mi10:21.2843:27.9310:22   
5Interval1 mi10:04.3253:32.2510:05   
6Interval1 mi10:16.771:03:49.0210:17   
7Interval1 mi10:21.181:14:10.2010:22   
8Interval1 mi10:36.191:24:46.3910:37   
9Interval1 mi10:40.941:35:27.3310:41   
10Interval1 mi10:31.431:45:58.7610:32   
11Interval1 mi10:30.341:56:29.1010:31   
12Interval1 mi10:10.382:06:39.4810:11   
13Interval1 mi9:22.132:16:01.619:23   
14Interval0.23 mi3:16.372:19:17.9814:14   

The New Plan......

Last Monday I started a new training plan that is supposed to help me get faster. My friend Justin is coaching me and sending me my weekly workouts. He used to coach college runners, is a triathlete, and has been running pretty much his whole life - oh ya, and his finance is an elite runner that he also coaches. I feel like I am in excellent hands. His approach is more miles, slower, MUCH slower than I have been running, and there are various phases to the plan. There are building phases where you are building your base - but running most of those runs at an easy pace. I think he follows a Jack Daniels (not to be confused with the whiskey) approach. For me an easy pace is about 12:20s - so it feels painfully slow. But, I ran 25 miles last week- and am not sore, or feeling any problem areas. After several building weeks, then there are weeks focusing on speed/strength - I haven't done one yet so I am not sure what to expect. I also have to pay more attention to my heart rate and some of the training miles are tied to certain HR numbers. It feels like I am training with more intention, which is exciting. He says I will be faster and just need to trust him - so I am. My goal half marathon will be at the end of October.. so I am thinking about doing the Runaway Pumpkin in Lebanon.. just hoping to find a friend to sign up with me so I don't have to make that drive solo. 

The best news is that I have been running without my knee braces for the past 3 weeks without any pain, so I am feeling good and strong. My hamstring isn't 100% - but I am continuing my PT exercises, rolling, and icing as needed.  It is most difficult to keep up the 'maintenance' when you are feeling good- but I know that as soon as I get lazy and stop entirely, injury will come a knockin...