Thursday, April 29, 2010

5 mile Tempo run with Legger friends at Top to Top

I finally met up with Shannon for a run, at the Top to Top store on Wilshire Blvd. Every Wednesday night, the good looking people of Santa Monica meet here for a a loosely organized weekly gallop through the beautiful streets of north Santa Monica with the store as it's anchor. Options include 5K, 5 miles, 10K, and just standing around (never really an option).

Shannon, Legger 11 mentor Jim, Legger Rose, and Shannon's friend (whose name I am totally blanking on - but who will be running with Shannon in San Diego with the goal of a 4:40 PR)and I headed for a 5 mile run in the "old" route. Somewhere shy of mile 3, when my knee rebelled every now and then, I backed off, stretched, and continued at a slower pace behind them. Our initial pace was wavering between 9:00 and 10:00, which is OK because it turned into a tempo run for me when I slowed it down to a 10:30 towards the end - my ideal comfort pace.

Back at Top to Top, I was pleased to find oranges and bananas. So I devoured a few.

It's a good looking crowd as I've remarked in a post in September which you can read here), but I couldn't hang around.

My only pet peeve with their run is that there is jaywalking involved - There are a few things that I am pro-rule pro-government pro-law crazy about- And not jaywalking is one of them. Of course I did it anyway.

Happy running!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

16 long miles

The last time I ran 16 miles was 2 months ago. Those 16 miles were followed by an additional 10.2 miles, a medal, and a bout of exhaustion that lasted nearly a month. It was called the Pasadena Marathon. I read recently about instances when runners start losing it during a taper before a big race. I was in a taper for the LA Marathon. Things started to hurt, my mental game declined, and I was in a guilt-ridden mania about what the hell I was doing to my body. So I didn't run LA Marathon. But I ran 16 miles today, and I will run 20 miles the week after next, and then I will San Diego Rock N' Roll, and then New York Marathon. So help me, I will.

So back to the subject of this entry- 16 miles. I joined my LA Leggers pace group for the first 10 miles planning on adding an additional 6 at the end for myself. Our route was 50/50 = 5 miles south and 5 miles north. It's always nice running in a group. Mentor John talked about his Japanese language background and I talked to myself about how I should pick up my Chinese again. He also told me how Los Angeles is the biggest theater scene in the country, which makes sense, since there are all these actors here waiting for something to happen. His dog Sol-Leks also ran with us, putting us all to shame by reminding everyone that running is an activity in which dogs surpass humans. Another activity is being joyous all the time, and not being ashamed to pee in public.

Happily, I wasn't left to do the remaining 6 miles on my own. Jeff joined me for a run along the beach toward Temescal Canyon and back. Flashback to Pasadena Marathon when he and I were running. I don’t know how I managed to finish that one, but if Jeff wasn’t there, I would have left at mile 20 with my mom and step-dad who were there cheering us on.

Today we finished 16 miles. But I was having a hard time visualizing another 10. That may be the most difficult thing. Because once I visualize those extra 10 miles, I know I will be able to do them. There will also be a lot of sideline entertainment at San Diego at New York. Nothing against cow bells, Pasadena.

Next weekend is the Cinco de Mayo Half-Marathon in Irvine. Beer garden at the finish line and mariachis along the race. See you there!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4.5 Tempo/Interval/Whatever

My goal for tonight's run was a tempo for 6 miles. But I started out too fast. Recently, I've been starting out too fast. Running at a 9 or 9:30 pace never felt so easy for me. So I figure, why not go with the flow? Because I can't maintain it. And then, my heart does this strange flutter thing, like it's trying to keep up with my legs and it's pumping out "Slooowww...dooowwwnn". The doctor says sometimes our heart makes funny noises. Do you really need an MD to determine that diagnoses? The heart flutter scares me enough into slowing down and does affect my mental game. Does this happen to anyone else?

So I made my first lap around for 2, and then toward the end of my second lap for 4 (I had 3 planned total), when I decided that was good for today. Now I have to remind myself to slow down at the beginning for next time.

Happy running!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

14 mile run in the sun

My initial plan was to run 14 miles this week. I was supposed to go Saturday, but sleeping in on Saturdays is SO much more easier than waking up (but much less
satisfying in the long run!). It may also have had something to do with going to Cowboy Palace the night before. I have yet to see a marathoner with a cowboy hat on, but if you have any pictures, please send them to me!

So I got up for a 14 mile run on Sunday...fully equipped with my brand new Nathan 4-fuel belt I bought from Top to Top. Since we don't have our official Leggers water station support during the off season, I knew I needed this extra gear. It was between this, or buying one of the bottles that you strap on your hand. I know people like those - but I have big hips, so why not use them?

I'm also a sucker for spending money I don't have at places like Top to Top, or Phidippides, or Frontrunners, or anywhere else. So I packed my new fuel belt with another NEW thing - GU Electrolyte Brew - in addition to a salt tab I bought at the LA Marathon expo. I also had my regular GU gels, and a Bonk Breaker peanut butter and jelly bar, because I love them so much.

Sundays are busy days at the beach. Amongst the regulars, the crowd was peppered generously with people totting a Meals on Wheels t-shirt - so I'm guessing they were having something kind of event. I spotted a few runners here and there, but not nearly as many as I'm used to seeing during training season on a Saturday morning. In fact, the run up Speedway to the Marina was very bare - And it was just at that time, walking along the Marina, that the culminating effects of GU Brew and salt tablets created havoc on my stomach. I haven't had much luck with these powdered energy drinks - Maybe I should dissolve them with more water? Next time, I'm going to eschew the urge to try my free Cytomax sample (Cytomax will be featured drink at San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon), and just go with some watered down Powerade.

I was happy with my pace - But unhappy that I was running alone. Times like these that remind as long as your are healthy physically, running is truly a mental sport. And the only person you really have to enjoy running with is yourself. So don't be crabby,

Run happy!

Next up I'm planning 16 miles this Saturday.

Happy running!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Team Naz Group Picture

This is only the beginning. Next year my team will be huge - And YOU will be a part of it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Victory for Victims 5k/8K

Finally...The Victory for Victims 5K/8K race day arrived on Sunday, April 11th after months of promoting the event to friends, strangers and anyone else who would take a postcard . I ran it last year in the heat and decided I liked it so much I wanted to volunteer to promote it the following year. As a volunteer, I was an administrator on their facebook site and helped increase the fan base, created and manned the twitter account, and started my own team - Team Naz. Some great Leggers also came out for the run!

So first, the good part of the event - The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than last year - This may be cold for standing around, but pretty perfect for running. And even though the weather Gods flirted with drizzle, it never did rain on our race parade. Another good part was my team! Yes, people actually joined ! Team Naz included 14 people total, including first time racers co-workers Milton and Valentino, running buddy Jeff and his wife Chandra and first time 5K walker, my mom! She was happy to find out that 5K wasn't 5 miles. (A group picture is forthcoming)

Another good part of the day - The landing of the Pepsi Jet Ranger. If you live in Southern California, the Pepsi Jet Ranger and Commander Chuck Street are well-known for sky-high traffic reports on Channel 5 and Kiss FM radio. Another positive? Country DJ Shawn Parr. What a trooper! He really knew how to go with the flow and keep the event moving. Of course the Kids Run may have been moved a little too much - about 1o minutes early - but as I'll mention later, it is extremely difficult for a non-profit organization to manage a large event like this without enough support.

So after all the 5Kers left about 15 minutes past schedule, Jeff and I got ready to do the 10K and waited around for "G0". We made some fast friends with another Legger and a woman who seemed to have a bad experience at San Diego RnR two years ago (I kept my ears closed). Somewhere along the waiting and the praying for no rain, I heard some strange news. The 10K had been switched to an 8K. Wha?!?! I thought it was a mistake. But no. The 10K was changed to an 8K in the last minute. The reason we were given was "safety concerns". The real reason I found out the next day? A federal injunction at the 11th hour against us runnng through the wilderness restoration area that we had been banking on going through. I guess protesters do sometimes get their way.

So once we got going, Jeff and I ran together for a little over a mile before I gave him the OK to take off since he had an energizer bunny in him revving him to go. I'm glad that I ran with Jeff for that first bit since it got me going at a faster pace - Hmm...Maybe I would beat my previous race times! I kept the groove going and in the last half mile, when there was enough space in front of me to do so, I experimented with shutting my eyes while running for a few seconds at a time. You know what? I ran faster and freer during those few seconds. It was exhilerating, liberating and I loved it. Maybe I can run with my eyes closed more often?

My final time was 47:49 - at a pace of 9:36/mile, this is my fastest race pace so far. Not bad. But now that I have run longer distances, I prefer longer races that I can take things slower and really enjoy the experience. The best part of the race was having a team who is now motivated to do more races! And hopefully, the kids who participated will be pumped to do more organized kids runs or 5Ks in the future.

This race shows that when a not for profit organization takes on the task of putting on a race for runners, that it is no small feat. This event attempted to be a race, kids run, and community event all in one. I hope that this year's participants will not be put off by any of the last minute changes, and will come back next year. And if you had any of the Los Toros Mexican food that was provided free at the end, you will come back. That stuff was good!

Here are some photos of some of team Naz on race day (Thanks Valentino)

After trailing this girl, I sprinted to the end and beat her by 2 seconds! We weren't in the same age division but I used her as motivation.

My Mom!

Friday, April 9, 2010

NYC Marathon - Are you "in" or "out"?

If you follow running news, then you know this past Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm EST was a big deal. If you don't follow running news, then you have no idea what I am talking about, and are far more interested in more important matters of national concern. But for some of us who are less interested in matters of national concern and more interested in running, then 12:30PM on Wednesday was when those of us who applied to participate in the NYC Marathon, were given an answer: Accepted, or Not Accepted.

I had applied in early January, priming my credit card to expect a whopping $185 registration fee. At the time I applied, I had ambitious marathon plans. I was already planning for the Pasadena and LA marathons, and was high on the idea of doing about 4 other marathons. A runner's high can make you have these kinds of crazy thoughts.

Well after Pasadena, I experienced a whole body smack down. It lasted about 5 weeks, and I just started getting over it recently. I didn't participate in the LA Marathon after all and I even started re-thinking this whole running hobby. Maybe those(non-running) people are right. Maybe I should just walk. What's my hurry anyway?

But when you get to the bottom, that's when you start building yourself up again. I went to the doctor, OK more than one, and found out that apart from a possible strange eye movement condition, there probably isn't anything wrong with me. I even went so far as going to a cardiologist, after an EKG taken at my primary care physician's office came out with a blip. Turns out that sometimes EKG's have a mind of their own and their only purpose is to scare the crap out of you. I started to feel better. And any runner those, that running is as much, if not more, mental than it is physical. If I didn't think I could run, then I couldn't.

So after all of that, I have come to the conclusion that my symptoms were probably nothing other than the result of stress and exhaustion. So I may just have been exhausted (don't we hear about celebrities coming down with exhaustion all the time?), but I still don't regret not running LA. The fact was I listened to my body, and my mind, and neither were waking up that day. But now I have new goals.

First, I signed up for the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon before it sold out. I was initially going for the half, but the gorgeous course lured me in and I could always switch to the half if I choose to. Also I feel that about 4 months between two marathons should be enough time to recover. Rock N' Roll races also have, duh, rock n' roll. So that should distract me more than the cowbells and pot banging that was considered entertainment at Pasadena.

Second, and back to my original reason for this post, it was finally 12:30pm EST on Wednesday when I logged into my account at the ING NYC Marathon site. I was prepared for disappointment, lying to myself that I really didn't want to go to New York anyway and would be happy and dandy doing the many local marathons or halfs in October. Besides, $185 and a flight to New York isn't chump change, in addition to all that traveling. Part of me didn't even want to be accepted.

Yeah right! Once I logged in, my profile read the highly hoped for but impossible "Accepted". The joy I felt erased any crazy idea that I didn't want to go to New York. Suddenly, work became a lot more interesting through the happy fog I experienced that day. I was "in"!

Now that I have this additional NYC Marathon goal, I feel like I was meant to receive this happy news.

Dear running,

We may have had a hard time recently, but you really came through when I needed you. I knew we could make this work. Can't wait till New York.


Happy running.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Honey as workout fuel

SO I was reading an old issue of Women's Running when I came across an article about good foods to eat pre-run, during, and post-run. Before Gu's and gel blocks and other assortments of runner fabricated "foods", what did runners ingest during a long run? Could it have been packets of honey? According to this article, honey offers a good combination of carbs, sugar and protein for a long run. Has anyone tried this before?

Sounds good, but sticky!

5 mile intervals

I forgot how FUN it is to run fast! Especially at sunset! And thank you daylight savings! It's nice to be out at 7:30pm and not have to navigate like I'm in a dark cave (even with a headlamp, it's still dark out there. Can the City of Santa Monica please give us runners more light at night in the "running and walking" areas? Jeez). I did an interval run interchanging between my 5K speed and something a bit slower. It's so hard to go out running after a day of work...But in the end, it's always worth it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First 10 miles in weeks

I did my first long run in a while. In the past couple of weeks, I hadn't run more than a few miles. When I heard that my pace group was running the Temescal Canyon Route (beautiful, but hilly), I thought I would join another group and do something nice and flat. A couple of days later, I thought I would do the route but turn around early. In the end, I did the full 10 miles and now I'm beginning to feel like I'm back in training mode. And for the first time in a long time....I am sore! But a good sore. Nice.

Victory for Victims 5k/10k

You still have time to register for the Victory for Victims 5K/10K, and I am still looking for more team members! Register and mention Team #3 in the appropriate field.

This is a great community event, and a lovely route in the Valley.

Favorite Free Expo Item

So there were plenty of free goodies at the LA Marathon expo. But my favorite is the Naked (think Naked juice products) lip balm with spf 15. Did anyone else get one of these from the Naked booth? It's silky, long-lasting and has an attractive scent and texture. I looked it up online but can't figure out whether this product are sold in stores or not. Naked lip balm - Favorite expo item. Least favorite item? That coconut water made me gag!