Sunday, September 23, 2007

Almost there...

It's been about a month , so I figure I'm more than due to put up a post! Fortunately, I've been somewhat more diligent in my fundraising and a lot more diligent in my training than I have been with my blogging!

As of today, I'm at 74% of my fundraising goal with $830 to go. My deadline is Friday, September 28 so I'm definitely feeling the crunch. Part of committing to the goal was actually committing - if I don't reach $3250 by then, Lloyd & I'll be covering the difference out of pocket.

This morning, Sean and I went down to Lloyd's army reserve unit and sold home made breakfast burritos in exchange for donations. I have a couple of fundraising ideas left for the last big push, but I'm definitely feeling nervous.

The training is right on schedule, but I've been handling things a little nontraditionally:

I'm right on the coach's schedule for Saturday long runs. Yesterday I did a 10 mile jog around Coronado in the rain. It was, thankfully, uneventful for me. Liz is fighting injury again and wasn't able to do her scheduled workout. :-( I've been VERY fortunate and have managed to avoid injury so far this season.

I've been going to the chiropractor's office every other week, getting massages whenever I can, stretching more than I ever have, and doing LOTS of cross training. Liz and I have been meeting at the YMCA at 5:30 AM most mornings to swim, spin, lift weights and do the elliptical.

Most of my actually running has been at our team runs on Saturday mornings. I made it up to 18 miles last weekend (up and down the coast around Pacific Beach) and 16 miles on our "Train Run" (Train ride from Solana Beach to Oceanside and then run back to the cars) without too much suffering. I'd love to be faster, but I'm so grateful that the consistency of the mid-week training and gradually increasing long runs seems to be paying off and I'm not suffering too much.

So how is that nontraditional? Well, none of THAT really is. The unusual training comes in on HOW I'm doing the long runs. Instead of pounding out the miles at a pretty steady pace like I normally would, I've been doing the first 1/2 or so of my long runs with Liz at intervals of 5 minutes of jogging and then 1 minute of walking. We go at a pace that is slower than I normally would start out. It's so amazing to be with Liz as she reaches new distances and runs farther than she ever has in her life. Seeing her dedication and enjoying her progress has been such a boost for me. After I say goodbye to Liz when our routes split, I've been finishing my runs at a pace that is faster than I would normally run. I've learned to enjoy the solitude of a couple of miles of quiet and then the boost of saying hi to several of our teammates as I catch them, run with them for a couple of minutes, and then move on down the road. It's not in any of the articles I've ever read in Runner's World, but it seems to be working for me. I'm finishing the miles feeling relatively strong and happy so I *think* it's probably a good thing...

I won't be running with Liz on race day (October 21), so we've agreed that this Saturday we'll practice running apart as Liz sets out 12 miles for the first time in her life and I tackle 20 for the first time since summer of 2006. I'm hoping to get a good sense of my overall fitness level and gauge the likihood of meeting my race day goals. I grew up learning that a goal isn't a goal until it's written down, so let's make them official:

  1. I want to finish the race without ending up in a medical tent for any reason. Any one who has ever run a marathon (especially with me) can understand why this needs to be articulated.
  2. I want to finish under 5 hours. That's an average mile time of 11:27. I normally feel very comfortable running 10 minute miles, but a LOT can happen on race day and I want to set a realistic, achievable goal.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my fundraising, unusual training style and race day goals. Feel free to leave comments or shoot me an email.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Half Marathon & Beyond...

As promised (and only slightly behind schedule), I'm writing my post-race report. A week ago, I ran in the AFC (America's Finest City) Half Marathon in preparation for my marathon this October. I had lofty goals for a PR (that's personal record for you non-running friends and family), but ended up changing my focus at about mile 4 due to some characteristically serious pre-race stomach issues and some uncharacteristically hot weather here in San Diego.

The morning started at 4:15 AM (Have I mentioned that I HATE getting up when it's still dark outside...) so that I would be ready for my friends Tammi & Jenna to pick me up at 4:45. Why so early? The race starts out on Point Loma at the Cabrillo National Monument and the only way to get there is via bus. We boarded the buses (still in darkness) near the finish line at Balboa Park and headed off on our journey.

Tammi - This is where I will put some of our fun pre-race photos if you will ever email them to me!!!!

After all the lovable starting line traditions (even the standard port-a-potty lines) we headed off down the road with beautiful views of San Diego harbor and the sea of runners.

I learned a lot out on the road that morning ... a few of my favorites:

1) Despite the fact that San Diego has mild, cool, and beautiful weather almost every single morning of the year, there ARE occasionally days where it is hot and HUMID.

2) Running without my Fuel Belt is a BAD idea. Especially when it is hot and humid.

3) I can run long distances by myself. Before the race, I was absolutely certain that I "couldn't" run that far alone. I had to be with friends. Or so I thought ... After leaving my friends around mile 2, I ran the rest of the race solo. It was definitely a big boost to my confidence despite the fact that I didn't make my goal. For the record, I finished in 2:25... but was happy about it.

4) I work with a lot of really cool people. Literally dozens of my co-workers participated in the 5k and half marathon. Read more about it by visiting the Active Weekend Warriors Blog. It was great to see so many familiar faces out on the road and great to know that so many of them were racing for a cause of their own. "Team Active" raised over $17,000 for San Diego's Monarch School.

5) The support of friends and family means more than they'll ever know. Knowing Lloyd, Sean and Dan were there to cheer for me helped me for several miles before and after the few second/ minutes I spent saying hi to them near mile 10. Getting their hugs and a bottle of ice water certainly helped too! Seeing Liz & her husband Scott at the finish line (they stuck around after she finished the 5k) added to my joy!

All in all ... it was a great experience and I'm REALLY looking forward taking on Nike in a couple of months. More to follow soon (when I'm not so sleepy) about my fundraising progress, this weekend's 15 miler, and the amazing generousity of a total stranger!

Thanks for your continued support!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Week 14 ...

SO ... I've obviously missed a couple of weeks!

I've decided to start writing again even though there is no way to include all the stories for the weeks I've missed.

Along with this fun (and very glamourous picuture of me stretching with the team before one of our long runs, here are updates in a couple of areas:
  • Lawrence completed his treatment and is back with "the Team" ... even running and resumed training as captain for the "A" group runners. Talk about inspiring...

  • Fundraising had a huge boost from my Chipotle lunch at work. As of today, I'm at 37% of my goal. I still have a LONG way to go and not too many weeks left to raise money since the fundraising deadline is September 28th. If you haven't donated yet, please visit http://http// and help me reach my minimum fundraising goal.

  • I'm officially registered for the race on October 21. Just got my confirmation email this week!

  • My midweek training has been going better than ever thanks to commitment and help from my friends. Making plans to meet Liz or Kirstin (or both of them) for all kinds of cross training has me feeling a lot stronger and healthier. So far, I've been able to stay injury-free thanks to combination of cross training, reasonable amounts of recovery time, regular stretching, lots of body glide, a little luck, and regular visits to see Dr. Sally (my friend and Chiropractor). I will definitely it to continue as the mileage starts to get higher up there in the weeks ahead. For me, anytime I go OVER 2 hours on a run it feels pretty serious.

  • Speaking of 2 hour runs, tomorrow is the America's Finest City Half Marathon! I'm running with TNT as part of our training plan. I've set an ambitious goal for myself to finish in 2 hours or less. I've done this race the last two years and am really excited to be getting out on the familiar and beautiful course again. As I talk to my friends who are running for the first time (in this or any race), I'm reminded of my first road races and how funny it is that things like carb loading, pre-race rest, what to eat, what to wear are all very commonplace for me now. I am still nervous though, because even though I know I can handle the event logistics and the distance, I am going to really have to work hard to meet my goal. It should be a good benchmark for me to measure my progress towards my goal for Nike. Be sure to check back for my post-race report!

2005 - 02:24:20

2006 - 02:13:19

2007 - ??:??:??

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Week 7 - A Sobering Reminder

For our Saturday morning run this week we met with the North County Run Team in Solana Beach for a 9 mile run that covered most of the same (gorgeous) run course as last week. Before our weekly runs we have a mini meeting with fundraising updates, training announcements, and something that are called "mission moments."

A couple of weeks ago, a guys named Lawrence (who is one of our team captains) shared his story of coming down with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma as a college student as our mission moment. To make a long story short, his doctor had helped him get a grant from LLS for treatment and Lawrence has been in remission and training, racing and mentoring with Team in Training for the last 5 years.

When Lawrence climbed up the stairs to stand above our group in the parking lot this Saturday morning, I expected to hear him share the same story ... I remembered thinking to myself that it was good for our North County counterparts to hear such an inspiring account to get us off to a good start. But when Coach Cheryl introduced Lawrence with the words "I'm going to try not to cry" I knew something was different this time.

After 5 years in remission, Lawrence's cancer is back. He is taking an incredibly positive attitude towards treatment... there is a new radiation therapy that will only take 3 weeks and he and his doctors are planning on a speedy recovery. He won't be able to run with us for a while. He joked about glowing green in an isolation room at the hospital. He even apologized for not being able to lead the Group A runners this week as originally planned. By the time he wrapped up his "moment" by thanking each of us for being a part of the path to a cure, there wasn't a dry eye anywhere near me.

Big thanks from me to Lawrence for making my nine miles easier this week and helping me rededicate myself to my fundraising efforts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Week 5 & 6

I've fallen behind on my blogging, so rather than try to do a bunch of entries to get caught up I'm just consolidating to bring things current. I skipped the group workout last Saturday since my big sister Kristie was in town. Instead of doing the "step down" workout of a 5 miles in Balboa Park with the team on Saturday, Kristie and I went for a 40 minute jog on the beach on Sunday morning.

We ran on the sand from the state park at Torrey Pines up to Del Mar and back. I'm kind of at a loss for how to describe how much I LOVE running / biking/ playing with my family members. I particularly miss the "Winter's Loop" rides Kristie and I used to do with Dad on Saturday mornings...
Had SUCH a nice jog with Kristie. I, of course, didn't even begin to feel decent till we'd been out 30 minutes or so. By the time we made it back to our friends and family who were surf fishing, we were hot and ready for a little surfing in the cool water. Have I mentioned that I LOVE living in San Diego!?!?

Week 6 brought a head cold and very little mid-week training, but a nice Saturday run with the team. I learned a couple of techniques for self-massage with a tennis ball that I'll be sure to use and then we headed north from Torrey Pines on the roads through Del Mar, up to Solana Beach and back again. Before the run I couldn't decide if I was going to do the 7 mile run with the A group or 9 miles I was scheduled to do with the B group.
I set out nice and slow (didn't even wear a watch), and at the 3.5 mile mark I decided I felt strong enough. Ended up finishing all 9 miles with strong legs and a reasonably well-behaved stomach. Still need to figure out what to do about replacing carbs while running cause the red stuff (Powerade) seems to be a bad idea even though it's super convenient...

Big thanks to Janean and her dog Edward for entertaining Sean while I ran and Lloyd did his monthly military service! :-)

On the fundraising front, I'm past the 10% mark now and finally feeling less terrified of my goal. Slow and steady...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Week 4 -- Midweek training helps ... imagine that!

I did a MUCH better job this week of being consistent in my training and it really impacted my long run on Saturday ... some of those side effects were better than others.

Short jog on Monday

Hilly loop on Tuesday afternoon at work. (For those of you that don't know, Active's offices WOULD have to be on the top of a giant hill so any run near the office is a hill workout by default)

Thursday evening I was struggling with motivation and barely made it to the gym in time to run for 30 minutes so I took it as an opportunity to swallow hard and attempt my first interval training in more months than I care to remember. Running into Liz at the gym was a huge boost to my morale and I ended up getting in a great workout.

By Saturday morning my stomach was acting up again (of course) and my shins were SORE from the treadmill but I was so happy to be joining the group for the strength and running form clinic that I tried not to focus on it. According to Liz, more of the tummy ache and sore shins were showing through than I had planned (I think the quote was "you didn't seem too motivated"). After an hour of sitting on the ground in the parking lot watching some hilarious demonstrations of what NOT to do and a lecture from Coach Cheryl about Group B not heading out too fast (see last week's post to understand the humor here) we headed out for our run.

Due to the pain in my shins (and last week's adventures), I started out VERY slowly. Stopped at the first aid station to take my shoe off, stretch and retie it VERY loosely. Felt about a million times better. Avoided the red stuff and the blue stuff and the snacks -- just water for me, thanks.
Our run took us from SeaWorld, around Mission Bay, along the boardwalk at Mission Beach and then back again. Chatted a bit with a mentor named Monica near the middle, then decided I was feeling good and picked up the pace on the run back to Seaworld. It's amazing what a difference a couple of workouts, extra stretching and a chiro appointment can make!

I wrapped up the 8 miles feeling tired, but happy and headed off to pick up Sean (he was with my friends Toya and Michael cause I was running and Lloyd was in the ocean catching yellowtail). Sean's loved watching cartoons and eating "chocolate chip pancakes with REAL whipped cream and orange juice so-that's-1-serving-of-fruit-for-today-auntie" ... and I loved having friends that helped me take the next steps in my training without having to worry about negatively impacting Sean or Lloyd's weekend.

On the fundraising front -- I passed $200 this week (5% of my total goal). Slow and steady...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Week 3 - The climb ahead...

Our Saturday team run this week took us to UCSD for an injury prevention clinic and another small mileage increase. My group's scheduled path was to do the "campus loop" plus an out and back to Hilton Torrey Pines for a total of six miles. Despite only getting one workout in since the last Saturday run and despite that this week was our first adventure in climbing hills, I decided that I would only be satisfied if I finished the course in under one hour.

When we started out I jogged along with the group ... felt pretty happy about being up and moving my body in a beautiful foggy morning until I noticed that I was REALLY working hard. I tried convincing myself that I was just being a wimp and that I needed to suck it up, but when nearing the 1st aid station I decided that I wasn't even going to finish the jog unless I slowed down. SO ... with visions of the exhasted and beaten Tour de France climbers falling off the peloton flashing in my head, I swallowed my pride and dropped off the back of the group.

I jogged into the aid station, stood still and took a couple of deep breaths, a cup of water and a 1/2 cup of the red stuff (I think they said it was Powerade) before starting down the road again.
I continued down the road with one group of runners ahead of me and another one of the groups coming up behind me but was essentially alone with my thoughts. I made peace with a lesson I have to learn over and over again ... to listen to my body and DO NOT go out too fast. There is something about training for a marathon that forces me to be brutally honest with myself.

I was able to recover and jog up both of the moderately steep but relatively short hills. I DID decide to walk on a couple of the flat spots to catch my breath. By the time I was done with the 4 mile campus loop I had settled into a comfortable pace and noticed that I was right on track to meet my goal with a time of 40 minutes.

Things went great until right near the turn around when my IBS decided to flare for the first time on a Team in Training run. You'd think I would be used to this garbage by now, but it's still upsetting to me whenever it happens. I had about 2 minutes from the time I felt the first discomfort (eyes bulging out... "uh oh") to the time I got sick. Mercifully, I was right next to a physical therapy center (with a nice bathroom) that was open early on a Saturday morning. I re-learned another one of my favorite lessons -- I should never underestimate the abilty of my intestines to act up at inopportune times. I definitely have a lot to do to try and get my symptoms under better control.

After my little detour for the loo, I got back on the road and finished every single step I set out to. I ended up finishing in 1:06 and feeling like it was a huge victory because I was able to make it to a bathroom before getting sick AND because I was able to jog most of the way at a decent pace. Funny how our priorties change...

I'm pretty concerned about the slow pace my fundraising is coming along, but I am doing each of the weekly goals I set for myself, so I'm trying to apply my lesson from the road by being patient with my pace and staying optimistic.

I'm also quite certain that I've got to do a better job this week of mid-week workouts. Yesterday (Sunday) I went to the Rock and Roll Marathon and was appropriately touched and inspired. Today started out good with 2.5 miles in 27:30 ( jog/walk) with Sean -- right as planned. I better stay on track with gradual increase in mileage since we're going up to 8 miles this Saturday!