Friday, May 31, 2013

May Rewind

I managed a decent number of miles this month (87.79), mainly because I ran FIVE races (4 half marathons and a 10 miler). Subtracting out the race miles I ran about 24 miles. All month. Remember that "run hiatus" I was on? Still on it. I have not run on a treadmill in over three weeks. I was debating about never running on one again, but that just isn't feasible since today is J's last day at the house, which means I won't be able to sneak out for early morning runs since L will still be at work.

Current Aches/Pains

My right knee. It's not so much IT band as a weird pain under my knee cap. It's been bothering me since the trail half I did at the beginning of the month. It's "mostly" ok, but it cracks a lot and hurts a bit on hills. Even when I was hiking with A, the downhills were a bit problematic. The issue with THIS ache is that I have Big Horn in two short weeks (which is obviously hilly) and then the week after that, the "Slacker" half marathon, which is a mountain, net downhill course. So. We will see.

Not Eat All The Things

I mean, I guess I have been doing ok with this. I have not been to the bakery ALL MONTH. It was my birthday in May, so I indulged in a lot of cheesecake, but for the most part I behaved. I will now post an obnoxious selfie:


It certainly appears (to me) that I have lost some of the "pudge" I've been harboring. The scale isn't moving much and since I'm too lazy to measure, I'll have to judge by how I look (half) naked.

Running Goals

I guess I should actually be running to HAVE running goals? I ran 6.5ish miles on Memorial Day and it was... ok.

The other B is trying to sell me on speed work, which involves a 2 mile time trial. I almost dropped dead when she said hers was 17 minutes. That pace would kill me dead. That's faster than my 5k PR!! lol!!! I mean, I guess it's all relative.

How was your May?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend... In MOAB!!

Warning: BILLIONS OF PICTURES

A few months ago, my parents mentioned they might have plans over Memorial Day weekend, so I had told Kim that I would have to skip the Wyoming race as I likely would not have a babysitter. Instead, I asked Ariel what SHE wanted to do over the holiday weekend. Turns out, she really wanted to go to Moab (I guess I make it sound REALLY awesome).

Turns out my parents didn't go anywhere, so I hemmed and hawed about running with the girls, but ultimately decided time with A was more important.

Friday

I worked a short day so that I could get the car packed up in hopes that we would miss traffic in the mountains and get to the camp site before dark. My dad had decided to go out the day before to try and get a camping spot and to ride his bike for a few days. Luckily, he had gotten THE VERY LAST camping spot. Moab is hoppin' on long weekends!

We did NOT hit traffic, and made it to Grand Junction in time for dinner. GIRLS WEEKEND! 




A was pretty pumped about her first trip to Utah, so of COURSE we pulled over and did some roadside pictures:

We made pretty good time and got to the camp site just at dusk. Just enough time to get a picture of A in front of the tent. LOVED OUR VIEW. 

Saturday

We had gone to bed pretty early. With no cell phone service in the canyon and it being dark there wasn't much to do. We were up just before 6, when the sun came up. My dad took us to Arches National Park.
 
Balanced Rock
And then we hiked up to Delicate Arch






The hike round trip was just over 3 miles. We continued on to Devil's Garden. The parking lot there was full and we had to park on the street about a quarter mile from the trail head to hike to the Landscape Bridge. Rumor has it that when I was a kid people could still walk up to it. My dad swears that there is a picture of us eating lunch under this. 15 or so years ago, some pieces of the bridge broke off (luckily, not hurting anyone) so this was as close as we could get:


 
A and my dad (LOVE this picture)
 

We drove back into town and got a quick lunch (at McDonald's, ew). I wasn't able to bring my bike with me as I don't have a bike rack and apparently my front wheel doesn't come off. So while my Dad and A rode their bikes, I went for a short (2.4ish mile) run. It was HOT. Over 90 degrees. Nothing hurt, but I was tired. The bike path was pretty:


Unsure of what to do, we went to the Visitor Center to find out what was INSIDE nearby. We decided to head to the Moab Museum, which was a lot of fun, AND it was air conditioned. By 4:45 we were famished and headed to Zax for the pizza buffet! After dinner we drove up to Canyonlands and went to Grand View Point. We assumed there was just a view, but A found a trail and we ended up hiking another two miles!




BEAUTIFUL.
By the time we left Canyonlands it was already sunset. It was an hour-ish drive back to the campsite, so we went right to bed.

Sunday

My dad had to leave in the morning to head back to Denver. He had plans on running the BolderBoulder (never again for me!) so we were on our own for the day.

A and I decided to go on another hike. We headed out at 7:30 up the Negro Bill Canyon to the Morning Glory Bridge.










This was probably my favorite hike of all. We had gone out so early that it was mostly just me and A the entire time. We had a blast with the EIGHTEEN total river crossings. The trail was fairly shaded in the beginning so it was not as hot as the exposed hiking we had done in Arches and Canyonlands. We saw over 15 lizards on this one!

Another 5.3 miles done, and we headed into town. We did a bit of shopping and then headed to the Slickrock Cafe for lunch. Not the best food or fastest service, but I hadn't been there before so we tried it out.


After lunch we hit up the Arts & Craft Festival in the park on the way to the municipal pool. A had a blast jumping off the high dive (she even convinced me to jump off once).


We had dinner at my FAVORITE Moab restaurant, the Moab Brewery. After dinner, it was time to head back to the campsite, where A reminded me that I had failed to get a picture of our campsite "bathroom"


I was a bit worried heading out with no agenda. We ended up having THE BEST time. I'm so glad I spent the weekend with A, she is the best.

#NotEatingAllTheThings (Week 4)

Week 1 Recap Here
Week 2 Recap Here
Week 3 Recap Here

After a minor gain last week, I was hoping to have a "better" week. I am still mostly on a running hiatus, but this is what I managed to eek out last week:

Tuesday - Bike Ride with A. This measured 1.59 miles and took us about 16 minutes. We are a bit too far from the bike path and I'm not a huge fan of riding around our neighborhood because there are a LOT of intersections. Good times, I need to get an inexpensive bike rack so we can ride longer.
Wednesday - Run Club. I know, I said I was on a running hiatus. However, I'm glad I went. My friend that ran with me last year (I was the slowest then too) was there and ran with me again. And I got a free pair of SmartWool socks just for trying them on the run (and I loved them!) 3.8ish miles at a 11:16 pace (no pain, but felt HARD)
Thursday - Turbo Kickboxing. Still can't remember all the moves, but it wasn't as bad as last week.
Friday - Nothing
Saturday - 3 different hikes in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, totaling just over 7 miles. Also a 2.3ish mile run which was pretty awful. Tight legs, tired, over 90*.
Sunday - 5.3 mile hike outside Moab with A. Loved this one, lots of varied terrain and a total of EIGHTEEN river crossings. A handled those like a pro!
Monday - 6.66 mile run on the trail by my house. First half wasn't great with GI issues, but after I used the bathroom things turned around. Last 1.66 hovered around a 10 min pace WITH walking. It was about 80 degrees but the cloud cover really helped. I only took about 12 oz. of water with me and finished it about 4 miles in.

Sooooo... with that in mind, how did the week of eating go? Well, as usual, things went fine during the week. Even Friday, with the drive to Moab, I managed to eat well. Dinner was a salad, THAT WAS TOO BIG FOR ME TO FINISH. What.

I didn't eat GREAT while we were in Moab, but I didn't eat a TON, except for the night that we went to the pizza buffet... I might have overdone it a bit. And I had a beer at every meal.

Total Gain/Loss - 0 pounds.

So I didn't lose OR gain. I guess that is better than a gain? Apparently I need to not eat burgers and fries and pizza and drink ALL the beer if I want to see a real loss? Anyway, for 3-4 days of being on the road, I'll take it.

  • I have decided porters and stouts are my FAVORITE beers in the world.
  • I was doing fine splitting my entrees with A. Normally, I eat ALL my food. Maybe just because it is there?
Also - in the next day or so I will do a full recap of my weekend with A in Moab.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Three Things Thursday (Change)

1. I imagine I will be on this running hiatus thing for a while longer. My heart does not "ache" for running and I can't say that I miss it. Yet? I guess I hope I WILL miss this. Otherwise....

With that said, I did actually go to run club last night. There were tons of vendors there and since I'm not running this weekend I figured I probably SHOULD get some cardio in. Lucky for me, the one girl willing to run snail's pace was there and we ran together. Just under 4 miles at a slowish (yet felt hard by the end) pace for me. No pain. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it, so I guess there's that. Plus, there was BEER.


SmartWool was one of the vendors and I got a free pair of socks, as long as I wore them for the group run. I did actually LOVE them and now that I know they are probably worth the cost, I will be buying more (if I keep running).

One of the selling points? You can wear 3-4 times before having to wash and they won't smell? I won't be partaking in THAT experiment
2. Yet ANOTHER person is leaving my law firm. She is the veteran of the support staff, having been here five years. We have lost 5 employees since I started last April. A pretty large number of people considering there are currently only 17 employees (16 after she leaves) and another that is going on maternity leave soon.

I wonder how long it will be before the firm starts taking a close look at WHY people are leaving. Part of it may be that my review is now 6 (or 7) weeks overdue and I'm making less money than when I started...

3. I haven't been vocal about it on any of the social media or the blog. J and I are history... We were together about 4 years, lived together about 2. The last year has really been a struggle for us and we just could not seem to find a way to work things out. It's been awkward because he is still living at my house (in the spare room). He is officially (finally) packing up his things and is starting the move out process.

A is taking it well for now, but I feel like the biggest jerk for having this whole situation even happen. I mean, her dad moved out of state and she hardly hears from him and now the guy that has been there the last 4 years is going to. Granted, he isn't going out of state, but I certainly can't imagine she'll see him again.

Anyway. That's what's been going on with me lately.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

#NotEatingAllTheThings (Week 3)

Week 1 Recap - Here
Week 2 Recap - Here

I feel like this particular week cannot even fall under the #noteatallthethings category. It really should be more of a #eatallthethings for three days with a few days of eating normal. Anyway, I know that birthdays and holidays can be the downfall of many peoples "diets" and I was curious how MY birthday would affect things since I had NO intentions of limiting my food intake.

Two things were therefore working against me this for this week's weigh in.
  •  I had ZERO plans of doing any real running or cardio during the week.
    • Tuesday-Friday exercise: 1 hour Yoga, 1 hour Turbo Kickboxing
    • Saturday-Sunday: 2 half marathons (Recaps here and here)
    • Monday: 1 hour chaos
  • IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY. I tried to keep up to date texting Heather descriptions and/or pictures of all my food that I consumed over the weekend. To keep things short, practically none of it had any real nutritional value, although it was ALL DELICIOUS. I also had mucho beer. The collage below is just SOME of what I consumed over the weekend. Good thing I actually did some running? 
The real question is... what happens when you don't really run and you eat ALL of the high calorie and fattening deliciousness?

Weight gain - 0.4 lbs.

This was highly unexpected. I really expected it to be more. I plan on buckling down again since I am probably taking this week off from running as well. Food is back in check, and in fact, I think I gorged enough that I might even be cheesecake-d out for a bit.

What.

Colfax Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, May 19
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #83
Colorado Half #23
Weather - Overcast, perfect
I have never been in town for the Colfax half marathon since it always falls on my birthday weekend. Since I was actually in Colorado this year, I figured I'd better run it. For as large of a race as it is, there was a shockingly small amount of information on the website of suggestions of where to park. It just said there was no official lot, but to arrive early. Greeeeat. Thanks so much for the help.

Packet pick-up at Sports Authority Field was a CLUSTER. Honestly, pretty much the worst venue I've ever been in EVER for pick up. It was confusing, crowded, we had to take an ELEVATOR to get to it. No stairs, no escalator. AN ELEVATOR. Shirt in one direction, bibs in another and VERY VERY VERY NARROW. NOT a fun experience.

We were supposed to be parked by 5:45 am for our 7 am start. We had planned on leaving our house at 5:00, but then a babysitting snafu didn't have us dropping the kids off at my parents house until 5 after, which is further away than our house. We hadn't expected Colorado Blvd. to be closed so far north, but luckily we got parked on 26th, just on the other side of the golf course, and it was less than a 10 minute walk to the start. We sat in the car for about a half hour, fueling on donut holes.

Then we walked across the golf course, where I shot this nifty shot of downtown:


It wasn't super cold, but I had a throw-away sweater on and felt comfortable. We went through the bathroom lines and then met up for a Half Fanatic picture, where we also found my new running buddy, Hope. We still had over 20 minutes to the start, so we cycled through the bathroom lines one more time before heading over to the corrals. While waiting, I got a picture of this guy who had his headphones SCOTCH TAPED into his ears. At some point, I think I'd find a different type of headphone. No?


I bet I had even LOWER expectations for this race than I did yesterday. Unlike previous races, Hope and I actually planned to run together. L ran up to start a few corrals ahead of us, and we started in the back of H corral. We both thought that we had started out too fast the day before and decided to go for a slow and steady day. Right off the bat, Hope was saying her legs felt very tired. For some reason, I was feeling pretty good.

At first, my goal was... what IF I can make it all the way to the first aid station without walking? My calves got pretty tight in the first mile, but we were going slow and they eventually loosened up. Got to the first aid station right around mile 2, and I had gotten there WITHOUT walking. HURRAY!! The aid station was up a gradual hill, but we jogged up the top (a pretty big accomplishment for me lately since I have pretty much been walking ALL hills). We turned the corner and got to run through the zoo. THAT was neat. A lot of the animals were out, and my favorite was the rhino that was running along the side of his enclosure "with" us. So cute. The volunteers in the zoo had the best signs, like "have a zoo-pendous day!" Loved!!

The zoo was also the only section of the course that felt "hilly" and the only really narrow section of the course. We hit mile 3 in the zoo and STILL, no walking. It's been months since I ran over 3 miles without walking.

Obviously, my next goal was to get to the NEXT aid station without walking. I was feeling GREAT. Not good, but GREAT. We ran through Park Hill and I saw someone that looked like one of the attorneys I work for (I asked Monday, and it WAS him) and shouted his name but he didn't hear me. Park Hill was a really beautiful neighborhood and I still felt great when we walked through the next aid station. I took my GU and off we went. Miles 4-6 were all through some neighborhoods. Nothing felt hilly and I was still feeling good. We hit the mile 6ish aid station and the halfway timing mat and I still hadn't walked.

What.

We were surprised with an aid station at mile 7.2ish (when they say aid stations every 2 miles, I feel like they mean every two miles). And then we got to run through a fire station! They opened the bay doors and we ran through to blasting music and under an American and Colorado flag to the exit.

Then we FINALLY headed toward Colfax. The sun came out and it was feeling pretty warm. With the weird aid station at mile 7, we assumed the next aid station would be around mile 9. However, NO AID STATION at all until we hit mile 10. That was really too long! Hope was struggling, but we ran all of the 2.5 mile stretch of Colfax WITHOUT WALKING.

We entertained ourselves by pointing out all the sketchy hotels, car dealerships, dispensaries, liquor stores and pawn shops. I was surprised by the number of shops called "hair braiding." I really didn't know there was enough of a market for that to warrant an entire shop, much less more than one.

We finally got off Colfax and back into some nicer neighborhoods. Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, I was treated to one of the most amazing photo opportunities I have ever come across in a race:

I might have embarrassed myself by telling them (more than once) how beautiful they were.
That really set up the end of my race. I still felt great and now I had this great memory of sexy and shirtless firemen to get me through the last few miles. We hit the last aid station around mile 12 and the goal was to just keep at it! We saw the park and knew we were almost there. Hope was still struggling and I kept apologizing for how happy I was and how good I was feeling. Sometimes you just have a bad day and I know it can be frustrating to hear someone else feeling awesome when you are not. But she was such a good sport! I saw the arches for the finish and I didn't want to take off without Hope since we had already run together this long. I saw L on the other side of the barricades and waved like crazy at her. She got, for the second time in ONE weekend, another picture of me smiling and enjoying running.

This, my friends, is what I have missed about running
Bib #4554
Official Time - 2:33:57
Official Half - 1:14:57
Overall Place - 3945/5164
Gender Place - 2453/3412
Division Place - 934/1237
MMR Time -2:33:59
MMR Pace - 11:39
MMR Distance - 13.22
Mile 1 - 11:17
Mile 2 - 11:05
Mile 3 - 11:37
Mile 4 - 11:16
Mile 5 - 12:17
Mile 6 - 12:10
Mile 7 - 11:21
Mile 8 - 11:46
Mile 9 - 11:23
Mile 10 - 11:31
Mile 11 - 12:20
Mile 12 - 11:43
Mile 13 - 11:17
Mile 13.1 - 10:03


We collected our medals and then were herded through a long line of "stuff" before we exited the finish area and were finally able to head to the beer garden and to get our free bbq. The finish area was crazy crowded. We all picked at our bbq (which was delicious, but I wasn't very hungry) and I drank my free beer.



We stayed long enough that before we knew it we were a bit late going to pick up the kids. We headed back to the car, daring to cross the golf course even though people were golfing. I *almost* got hit by a golf ball. We sort of misplaced the car - we knew the right street but I had not properly gauged how FAR down we had parked and sort of wandered aimlessly for about 15 minutes.

We hadn't really eaten properly for my birthday celebration, so post race food was at the Cheesecake Factory:

Baked Mac n' Cheese, grilled cheese (sharp & jack), sweet potato fries
Kahlua cheesecake!
 Thoughts:
  • This race, overall, was better than I expected. I haven't been looking at courses before running, so even though I knew we were running through the zoo, I figured a bulk of the race was on Colfax. Pleasant surprise that it WASN'T, because that was the worst part of the race for me.
  • The half naked firemen were a real treat.
  • Running through the zoo was fun! Also something I haven't done in a race!
  • I loved the medal (and removable charm) and the shirt is pretty nice too (women's cut!!)
  • The expo was a giant cluster, crowded disaster.
  • Seemed REALLY complicated to have three separate courses, but it was nice that even with over 5,000 runners, the half never seemed congested. Starting comfortably mid to back of the pack probably helped with that though.
  • The post-race festivities were CROWDED. I did get my free beer with little effort.
  • More info about where to park for both runners and spectators would have been REALLY helpful and would have alleviated some of the stress on race-day.
  • I did NOT hate running. I felt AWESOME the entire race. I probably could have pushed more during the race and finished a few minutes faster, but I really enjoyed running with Hope again and she thanked me for sticking with her because she would have otherwise been walking.
I will likely take a few more days off from running, maybe a short run Thursday or Friday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Carbon Valley Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, May 18
Firestone, CO
Half Marathon #82
Colorado Half #22
Weather - Sunny and Warm


When my other birthday plans fell through, it only seemed appropriate to run the inaugural Carbon Valley half marathon. We didn't know much about the race and hoped that arriving about 40 minutes in advance would be enough time to pick up our stuff. Luckily, everything was easy to find and we were in and out of pack pick-up at the library (with indoor bathrooms) in just a few minutes. We were joined again by our new running buddy, Hope. We stood around at the start line chatting with her and her family. In a very short amount of time, I managed to get a few DOZEN mosquito bites. THAT was annoying.

And then we started, about five minutes late.


I had ZERO expectations going into the race. I had not run one step since Sunday. I had been out the night before having birthday beers with my sister. I had cake. I had candy. I fueled with donut holes.

We started off on a weird soft gravel section. I was feeling ok, but my calves (shockingly) were tight. Again. I did manage to run the entire first mile without walking. I was worried, again, that I would need to be stopping a lot to let my legs loosen up. I took a few pictures while walking.


Turns out, this was pretty much the best looking part of the course
I caught up with Hope just after mile 2. We would end up running (and walking) together for the remainder of the race. There is just not much to say. There were aid stations about every two miles. They had Gatorade (variety) at three aid stations and just water at the rest. Friendly volunteers. BORING BORING BORING course. It was a gradual uphill most of the course and it was hot. We walked quite a bit.

I also had to mess with my iFitness belt A HUNDRED BILLION TIMES. I really haven't raced with it much, but since it was hot, I wanted to carry water on  me. It would NOT stay put. It either rode up, or if I wore it too low, my hip bone was somehow managing to put enough pressure on the bottle that it was shooting Nuun on me. MOST ANNOYING THING EVER. I will never ever ever run with this thing ever again. I would rather faint from dehydration.

We were looking forward to the only section of the course that promised to be visually stimulating, a mile-ish jaunt around a small lake. There were gnats everywhere, which was NOT pleasant, although we did see this giant bird:


So yeah. The course was boring. It was hillier than we thought and we just wanted to be done.


So.... No idea what is happening here....
But, I had a pretty good time overall, even with tired legs. L managed to catch a picture of me GENUINELY smiling. Hurray!


Bib #204
Official Time - 2:42:57
Overall Place - 139/164
Gender Place - 74/97
Division Place - 34/42
MMR Time - 2:43:07
MMR Pace - 11:27
MMR Distance - 13.41 miles
Mile 1 - 10:37
Mile 2 - 11:54
Mile 3 - 11:18
Mile 4 - 12:58
Mile 5 - 12:39
Mile 6 - 12:57
Mile 7 - 12:56
Mile 8 - 10:35
Mile 9 - 11:40
Mile 10 - 13:35
Mile 11 - 12:56
Mile 12 - 11:37
Mile 13 - 11:43
Mile 13.41 - 11:27

Not sure this captures the "barren-ness" of Firestone

There was some food at the finish line. I missed out on the Chic-Fil-A, but I did get MORE donut holes. I swear, they melted in my mouth and were DELICIOUS. I wanted a beer (mainly because I was thirsty). I quickly slammed a not-so-great Miller 64 OUT OF A CAN.



Thoughts:
  • Pretty good for an inaugural although there was not much information on their website about race day information. Also, I really had to search to find race results, there was no link from their website.
  • No gels available on the course, BYOG! Well stocked with fluids though - 3 of the 7 aid stations had Gatorade.
  • The map showed where the aid stations were, but not in relation to the miles, so that was a bit annoying.
  • Pretty nice shirt, I may or may not wear again, but at least it was a women's cut!
  • Pretty awesome medal!
  • Boring boring boring boring boring boring course. And practically zero crowd support.
Other thoughts:
  • DID NOT HATE RUNNING WHEN I WAS DONE!!! Major success! Sure, it was slow. Sure, I didn't feel amazing the entire time. But nothing really hurt and I was not miserable when I crossed the line. I call that a win!

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...