Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Westminster Trail half marathon (race recap)

Sunday, March 27 (Easter)
Westminster, CO
Half Marathon #145
Weather - chilly at the start, sunny, windy for the second half

I ran the Westminster trail half marathon two years ago and didn't love it. To me, a trail is dirt. The course I ran two years ago was about half on bike path, some dirt and a very teeny tiny section of single track. I volunteered at the event last year, choosing to skip the run.

One of the HUGE perks of being an ambassador is being able to run every event. The Westminster trail series was the kickoff of the season. After the blizzard we had on Wednesday the week before and more snowfall the day before, trail conditions were not ideal.

Thankfully, the event takes place only a few miles from my house on the Big Dry Creek trail, which meant we did NOT need to get up super early. We were out the door just before 7, stopping to get A a donut at Dunkin' before heading over to the Westminster Rec Center.

Being a season pass holder meant skipping the registration lines and getting a bag full of swag (see what I did there - a rhyme!). No pictures of the contents 1). because I am lazy 2). all items, with the exception of one shirt, are all still in the bag on the floor in my living room. Anyway, after getting my gear we sat in the car with the heater running until about 15 minutes before the start. Bathroom line only took a few minutes, and then we chatted with Maureen (who was running the 10K) and other Roost teammates.

The half marathon started at 8 (maybe a minute or two late), and right away, the course was different. We started in the parking lot of the rec center and then ran around the grass to get onto the trail. It was a bit of a conga line traffic jam for those of us at the back, but nothing that was concerning. I don't run for time. Anyway, it was nice running on the softer surfaces before jumping onto the pavement. It was a bit icy/snow-packed in sections, but nothing too bad. We arrived at what I thought was the first aid station around mile 1.5, but there weren't any fluids out yet. I was in the back and getting passed and assumed I was going super slow. Surprised that my splits were sub 11 - not THAT slow.
Teammate Jeff on his way to 3rd overall in the 10K - headed towards the lake
Beautiful day for a long run!
The course stayed on the path until maybe 2 miles in when we ran around the lake behind the college and then headed up some trail to the first aid station at mile 3, near the 10K turnaround. Started to get hot, so I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist. Back onto pavement until we ran under the bridge at 120th. This is where the course got more dicey. There was some really icy sections in the shade. Jeff, the race director, had warned us that the course was the iciest between miles 4 and 8 (which was right after we got back on the dirt). Sure enough, I bit it, pretty hard, right after mile 4.
Somewhere here was ice that caused me to fall
And that's pretty much when I lost my mojo. I had really been enjoying myself, but the fall caught me off guard and I slowed the pace a bit and just couldn't seem to get back into a good groove. Things went pretty well on the way out and I briefly contemplated taking off my long sleeve shirt and just running my singlet.
Running in "spring" in Colorado...
The second I turned around and started running southwest, the wind picked up. I had to put my gloves back on and was glad that I had left my shirt on. I ran pretty well on the way back, used caution on the icy sections. I was pretty surprised at how MUDDY the course had gotten just in an hour or so. The last mile was a little rough. I was pretty tired after having run the 19 miles the day before. And THEN I remembered that I would have to run UP a decent hill for the finish. Not my favorite way to end a race!

So happy the weather cooperated. Even though I was tired and I fell, I really enjoyed this event! The course change was great, I really appreciated the extra sections on dirt - some of which I actually hadn't even run before, which is CRAZY, since this is literally in my backyard.

Got my medal, talked to fellow ambassadors, Jeff, Ruth (who was assisting with timing), Maureen and the few remaining people that were still there. A didn't want to eat, but there was still a ton of food left.
I had my Roost singlet on underneath, but it never got warm enough for that
Blurry picture courtesy of A (although there might have been fogging from the cold)
Garmin time - 2:29:39
Garmin distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin pace - 11:19
Official time - 2:29:33
Overall place - 89/108
Gender place - 52/64
Division place - 22/29
Mile 1 - 10:50
Mile 2 - 10:47
Mile 3 - 10:41
Mile 4 - 11:25
Mile 5 - 11:28
Mile 6 - 11:58
Mile 7 - 10:57
Mile 8 - 12:01
Mile 9 - 11:10
Mile 10 - 11:31
Mile 11 - 11:25
Mile 12 - 11:28
Mile 13 - 11:16
Mile 13.23 - 11:56

Thoughts:
  • This is the smallest race of the series, because it is on Easter. This is the fourth year for the event, so I don't see the date changing any time soon.
  • REALLY loved the course change. Pretty much any other weekend this would have been perfect weather. March in Colorado is so weird. You never know what it's going to be like.
  • Course incredibly well marked. Markers at every mile, in different colors for the different distances.
  • There were plenty of aid stations, although I would have liked to have stopped at the first one (which WAS manned on the way back). Electrolytes and water, plus other stuff (that I didn't take). Volunteers were out in some cold and windy weather, very appreciated!
  • Cute race shirt with a bunny on it (long sleeve, yay!) - I will wear this one again.
  • Like the medal - it's nice and big (size does matter, ha ha).
  • Even though I'm a slow poke, there were still some vendors and plenty of food left at the finish. I like that.
  • The season pass business is SO WORTH IT. I will try to remember to post a picture of some of the swag we got, but it was a few shirts, an Ultimate Direction drop bag, socks, other things I can't even thing of.
  • This race series has come a LONG way in the last few years, and I can say that I would definitely recommend this race (and I'm not just saying that because I'm an ambassador).
  • Pricing is very competitive, especially for the perks. If you are on the fence about signing up for any of the races, you are welcome to use my 15% off code ERSRACE3 - next race is May 21 at Palmer Lake!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week in Review (March 22 - March 28)

Tuesday (25,266 steps) - With a forecast of snow mid week, I wanted to get out and run while I had the chance. I got up really early and did eight miles. It was actually a really great run, felt good the entire time. Yay!!!

And I even remembered to do some stretching when I was done. Archery and Tokyo Joe's after work.
Wednesday (15,569 steps) - Took a rest day. Did a lower body video instead. I vaguely remember this being one of my favorite videos, back when I actually did them regularly. I went upstairs to get ready for work and A commented that it looked pretty bad outside. So I sent her out to shovel (I'm the best mom ever!) - she came back in and said the wind was making it impossible to scrape the car off and shovel because as soon as she would finish she would have to start over. Excellent. I had received emails that her normal child care was canceled due to weather, and I kept checking to see if we would have a delayed start or snow day at work. No such luck. Stopped at Dunkin Donuts before dropping A off at her friend's house and I went to work. The drive was terrifying. The wind and snow was icing over all the stoplights, so there was no way to know if a light was red or green until you were practically through the intersections. Accidents galore. The weather obviously took a turn for the worse, and it was full blown blizzard by the time I got to the office. Less than half the support staff showed up and only a couple attorneys. By 11 am, the office manager sent out an email that we would be closing at 2. Great. Only it was getting worse NOW... After some negotiating, they closed the office at about 12:15. I had some work to finish so I didn't get to head out until closer to 1. The roads were a disaster and it was still snowing pretty good. Picked up A (I had to circle the block and stop in the middle of the street because there was too much snow to pull over) and headed home. The company the HOA hired only plows once, and I had to stop in the middle of the lot to shovel my parking space out. Oh, and did I mention that the heavy snow had caused a tree to fall on my house (PS - a week later, and it is still there. THANK GOODNESS I PAY THE HOA TO TAKE CARE OF THESE THINGS). A and I vegged the remainder of the day.
Aforementioned tree on my house...
Thursday (29,669 steps) - Obviously, I could not run outside. I didn't measure until morning, and even then, we had over 20". The forecast was for 3-6". That's one thing that is super fun about Colorado weather... you never know what you're really going to end up with. Anyway, got in a 10ish super slow miles done in the basement inferno, finishing up the first season of "Better Call Saul."
Remembered to stretch again!
PS - tree still there! And it landed on the SUV that was abandoned about a month ago.
Since it's spring break, traffic was light going to work and the roads were in really decent shape. A had her free trial class at Tigar Gymnastics at 7:00, so we stopped to pick up a veggie tray to snack on before she went so we didn't die of starvation.
By the time we got home and ate dinner it was almost 8:30. This is going to take some getting used to.
Friday (16,469 steps) - Another rest day!! A was spending the night at a friend's house, so I picked up pho on my way home from work, binge watched the first three episodes of season 2 of "Better Call Saul" and was in bed by 10. Party animal!
Saturday (44,251 steps) - Due to the blizzard at the beginning of the week and more snow in the forecast Friday-Saturday, our long run was moved to Wash Park in Denver, as the inner loop is plowed pretty regularly. Sadly, Heather is still injured, so I was hoping I wasn't going to be alone, with 22 miles on schedule. It was freaking COLD (24 degrees), WINDY, and lightly snowing. Oh, and overcast. No sun to even pretend to warm up the day. Because of the weather and the 2.5ish mile loops we would be doing our pace groups got all messed up. I ended up running with my Roost teammate (and former co INKnBURN ambassador), Lisa. The first 13-15 miles weren't really that bad. Every time we ran north it was FREEZING. The wind was hitting us directly in the face and even though I had hand warmers, my hands would get super cold. Then we would loop around and I would contemplate taking off my hoodie. Lather, rinse, repeat until I got 19 miles in and decided that was plenty.
I was OVER this run, plus, I needed top pick up A at her friend's house. After I showered we went to Cheesecake Factory (I'm not going to deprive myself forever!), and then stopped at a dance store to get A a new leotard. Some TV time before heading over to Runner's Roost in Lakewood for the Brewery Running Series event. Such a fun night! There was a run at the start, which I skipped, because hello, I ran plenty in the morning. A went with Maureen to walk Colfax and I picked up some gear and started on my beer sampling. We ended up staying at the store until about 8:30, and Maureen and I registered for four of the races. 11 a.m. 5K's in July? Sure! Should be a blast. Didn't end up eating dinner until almost 10, then immediately to bed.
Sunday (32,141 steps) - First Endurance Race Series half marathon, Westminster Trail, of the year!! (Recap to follow).
Since it was Easter, A decided she didn't want to have breakfast/lunch at the race (even though it was freeee), so we went to Sweet Tomatoes. I was freezing and smelled pretty sketchy, but we had a great brunch and I didn't overeat. Watched some TV/napped on the couch. We hadn't been grocery shopping in a while so we went to Olive Garden for dinner. They were actually pretty busy. Do people not cook Easter dinner anymore? Did a yoga video with A. In bed pretty early. LONG WEEKEND.
Monday (15,956 steps) - Rest day, so I did an upper body video. I had a delusion that I would get up early enough to do a second video, a lower body video as well, but LOL. I was way too tired. After work we had to stop by the store to get dinner. A wanted to do a quick run around the neighborhood, so we did a mile loop. Legs actually felt fine, so that was nice. Pilates video after dinner.

Stats:
  • 179,321 steps
  • 53.9 miles run (pretty solid week, with three rest days...)
  • No cross training, with the exception of some walking
  • 95 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else:
  • Pretty quiet week, nothing much going on. A spent all of spring break with her friend (who has a stay at home mom). They did lots of fun things - museum, IMAX, zoo, roller skating, swimming and the Botanic Gardens. Certainly more fun than what she would have done at her normal facility.
  • I had been on a pretty good "roll" with eating well. Everything came a bit unhinged over the weekend. No real binge I suppose, just a lot of crap I haven't been eating lately. Ah well, everything in moderation, right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week in Review (March 15 - March 21)

Tuesday (29,273 steps) - Have I mentioned the wind is back? Oh, and now that it's daylight savings it is the darkest EVER in the mornings? After taking Monday off I somehow was motivated to get up at 4 something and ran 9+ miles in the basement inferno. Finally finished re-watching Breaking Bad so that I can start on Better Call Saul. I finally downloaded the Tokyo Joe's app on my phone. I'm so tired of waiting 15+ minutes for takeout! I set the pick-up for 7:38 and hoped that it would be ready right after A's archery class.
We walked in the door at 7:38 AND IT WAS READY. Totally worth the 25 cent convenience fee. I've been given the gift of time!
Wednesday (23,268 steps) - Another treadmill run in the basement inferno. This time of year is just the worst. The wind and the darkness... Got started on Better Call Saul - fun so far! After work/soccer we went down to Runner's Roost for run club. Heather is still injured so we just did a slow and easy mile.
Thursday (25,097 steps) - So I'll just post a copy of what I posted on Instagram/Facebook for this day's run:

This morning I didn't want to run. Then I remembered what day it was. March 17. A day that changed my life forever. 2004 was one of the toughest of my life. One day I was partying with my friends and I had this realization. I was obese. A fat, borderline alcoholic, chain smoking, unhappy woman. At just 25 years old I thought... This is it. This is my life. But then I thought about it. I can be better than this! I don't want to live like this. So I started eating better. I started exercising. I lost 45 pounds. My husband and I started fighting. A lot. He saw my weight loss journey as a motive for finding someone "better." I started sleeping in the spare bedroom. One night, in December, I woke up with pain so awful that I was hunched over in pain, crying hysterically. I hobbled upstairs and asked my husband to take me to the emergency room. After a night in the ER, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. MS. There were lesions found on my vertebrae. WTF. I spent a year of my life getting healthy, for this?? The next few months were a blur. Fighting with my husband, going to the doctor, seeing neurologists and discussing treatment options. And then, on March 17, 2005, I found out I was pregnant. I opted to wait on treatment, not wanting to jeopardize the baby. So long story short (too late), why do I run? For me. For Ariel. Because I can. I know this disease will take over me someday. Today is not that day. I run to feel alive.

So have I really never posted about being diagnosed with MS? Maybe I've talked about it on my blog, but I was a tad surprised at the number of people (including people I've been friends with for decades) that didn't know... I don't talk about it a lot, and I guess that is because I don't like using it as any sort of excuse. I know that it is a lot of the reason why my body is sort of falling apart, why I am a lot slower than I used to be, and I just refuse to accept that it is going to get worse. I mean, I can hope, right?

Anyway, thanks to the snow A's soccer practice was cancelled. I picked her up and we headed over to Tigar Gymnastics to have an skill set evaluation done so that A can start taking gymnastics classes again. It's been extremely difficult to find a gym that has classes at a reasonable time so I can get her there.
We both loved the facility and she will be taking a free class in a week to make sure she likes it before we commit. We stopped and got Pho on the way home.
Friday (18,196 steps) - Rest day! Did a quick yoga video. A was late to school and I was late to work because it snowed way more than forecasted and the roads were a mess. A and I had dinner and watched some TV before I took her over to a friend's house for a sleepover. Because I lead such an exciting life, I watched the Barkley Marathons on Netflix and was in bed by 10:30.
Saturday (38,661 steps) - "Long" run, 14 miles, with Runners Edge. I did NOT know it was supposed to snow so much overnight. The highway was a disaster. With Heather being injured I ran alone for most of the way out. It was lightly snowing, windy, and a bit icy. By the turnaround, the snow had stopped and it warmed up a bit. I ran the way back with Alison. Nice to have someone to chat with.
Drove over to Rangeview High School to meet up with A's scout troop to "help" box up the cookies that the girls were donating to the troops overseas. The district donated over 7,000 boxes, with A's troop donating 1,400 of those (I guess you could say our 5 girls are overachievers). Spent most of the rest of the day vegging.

All the boxes that are being shipped overseas. In addition to cookies, there are magazines, books of games, cards, and other items for deployed military
Sunday (14,687 steps) - A and I did a quick run around the neighborhood and then went to breakfast at Sweet Tomatoes.
With nothing on schedule today we decided to go to Boulder so I could check out Lululemon. Happy to say that I pretty much hate their clothes now. The fabric of everything I tried felt stiff and scratchy. I've always been a size 6 and in some of the styles even an 8 made me look like a stuffed sausage. On the way back to the car we headed into Lucy and I tried on a few things and loved it all. Got a cute tee, a few long sleeves and a down jacket. Excited for a warmer jacket to wear overnight during races. We headed over to the City of Westminster rec center and went swimming for a few hours, then headed home for relaxing. I also did an upper body video and a butt/thigh video. #motivated.
Monday (18,868 steps) - Winter storm coming again, so I didn't take the day off like I have the past few Mondays. I only had 6 on schedule but ended up running 7 - and it was GREAT. Like seriously the best that I have felt in AGES.
Yoga stretching after. Nothing in the evening since A is on spring break.

Stats:
  • 168,050 steps
  • 48.8 miles (uh. how did this happen?)
  • 0 minutes of cross training
  • 55 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else:
  • So I've been selling a lot of my "classic" INKnBURN on eBay. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you saw the insane amount of cash I was able to get for my Lust jacket. A handful of items left that I'm selling. Will keep my tights, pullovers, and a handful of tops (mainly holiday tops - those are fun). If anything, I can thank INKnBURN for saving me a ton of money this year - and actually making me some back.
  • We have had a few attorneys leave the firm in the last few months. Found out that the "restructuring" has begun. Sad that one of my original attorneys is being moved to another secretary. Hope we get some new people in here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Week in Review (March 8 - March 14)

Tuesday (19,727 steps) - Still sore, but figured I took off enough time already. I had 8 miles on schedule but had no desire to run that far, so I just did 5. It was slow and not super fun, but I got it done.



Remembered to stretch after. While skimming through my Facebook feed I saw that Noosa had released a salted caramel flavor, so we stopped at the store before work so I could pick some up. No, I'm not obsessive. After work/school A had archery and then we stopped at Tokyo Joe's for dinner.
Wednesday (21,025 steps) - Slept poorly AGAIN. Got up a bit earlier but still didn't feel like doing my scheduled miles, so just did 5 again. This was better than yesterday's, so I hope this means that I am FINALLY getting out of my slump. I hate not being motivated.

Remembered to stretch AGAIN. Skipped run club and went home to veg on the couch instead. Super motivated at dinner, so I did a quick butt/thigh video.
Thursday (23,102 steps) - Hypothetically planned on six miles. Stayed in bed a bit too long and did my 5 mile route. The best part about the "new" route is that I get to run all of the back 2.5 on trails, except for maybe a half mile. Anyway, I tested out my new New Balance Zantes, and I think I really like them!


AGAIN, I remembered to stretch. After work we went to Runners Roost for a special "Leadville" night. Another elite panel, along with the founders of the Leadville 100. Snacks, beer and some freebies. Plus, I always love an evening out with my teammates.
Friday (15,405 steps) - REST DAY!!! We went to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes and watched TV. Made mini Thin Mint cheesecakes. Perfect rest day.
Saturday (50,803 steps) - Long run day with Runners Edge! Heather and I had 22 miles on schedule. We were warned the course would be hilly (but of course I was confused looking at the profile and it didn't seem like it would be that bad. It was thankfully overcast for almost the entire run, so we didn't melt. Heather had a very rough day (vomiting, etc). Glad to have this one out of the way!
Rested for a few hours before heading down to a party (lots of food, like usual), stayed up too late.
Sunday (14,606 steps) - Daylight savings. Urgh. I woke up discombobulated and confused as to why it was so dark. Oh yeah. Wanted to do a short recovery run, felt like crap, did the small loop around my neighborhood. Excitement was seeing some coyotes.
A and I headed down to the Running of the Green downtown. A was running (with Heather and Maureen), and I was volunteering at the ERS tent with Stacey.

All the Roosters! (And A)
Lisa, Maureen, Dan, Carol, Heather, and A
Jen, me, Maureen, Heather, Ang, A and Lisa in front
I've never run this event, and if I was faster, I think it would be a lot of fun! There were tons of people, and most of the Roost team made it out. After everything was over we went to the Thirsty Lion for some St. Patrick's Day food and a bloody Mary. Rested in the afternoon and then went to Jessa's for the Walking Dead (she made delicious corn beef and cabbage). Where did the weekend go??
Monday (10,130 steps) - WIND. Again. I knew it was going to be awful because I had been watching the weather. Didn't feel like running, so I didn't. After I picked up A at Scouts we went to our community HOA meeting. Never having lived in an HOA regulated neighborhood, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't think it was that boring, A disagreed. After dinner I did an upper body video AND a butt/thigh video. Crazy!

Stats
  • 154,798 steps
  • 42.7 miles run (49 miles on schedule. Interestingly, as I'm going back through my training plan and Strava stats, I was only scheduled to run 20 miles on Saturday, and we both thought we had 22 on schedule...)
  • No cross training
  • 57 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else
  • Anyone else at that point in the year where they feel really overwhelmed??? All of a sudden it seems like I have a jillion things going on and I am having a hard time remembering what all my obligations are.
  • Related... A has now added soccer to the list of things she wants to participate in. Sheesh. Our tiny little bit of free time is practically non-existent.
  • Related. Oh yeah. And gymnastics. This week she is being assessed to see what level she can sign up for. 
  • Time. What's that?

Friday, March 11, 2016

That Dam Half (Race Recap)

Sunday, March 6
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #144
Weather - sunny. hot.

So I ran the inaugural Dam Half marathon in 2011, and I did not particularly enjoy it. However, my running coach put this race on our schedule instead of a normal long run, so I registered.

The race started at 9 and A decided she wanted to run the 5K, so we planned to arrive around 8 so I could pick up my bib and get her registered. The volunteers directed us to park in the far west lot at Cherry Creek High School, which was a good 10 minute walk from the start. Registration and bib pick up was super easy, but with all the walking back and forth we didn't have much time to mess around.

A was hanging out with Dan until the 5K start (5 minutes after our start) and Heather and I lined up mid-pack. I was really not looking forward to this. In addition to how much speed I've lost, I had been feeling "tired" for a few weeks, AND my legs/butt still hurt from video I did on Friday.
Must be race day! A finally decided she wants to run with sunglasses. MATCHY MATCHY!
Speaking of matchy matchy...
The race starts on the west side of the Cherry Creek Dam. The road along the dam is almost 3 miles long. THREE.OF.THE.LONGEST.MILES.EVER. Within the first 10 minutes I knew this was going to be a long day. It was hot, I was sweating, tired, the whole 9 yards. It was a fatigue-filled race. Took only two pictures, both were right before the turnaround.


The run was the worst when we got back on the dam for the last few miles. I was giving it all I had and it felt like I might collapse. My pace was so awful considering the energy I was putting in. I honestly was near tears with how bad I felt. I haven't taken this many walk breaks in a race in a long time. This was not the most fun.
Can you tell by my expression how terrible I feel? I am dying here.
Heather is a great running partner, she stayed with me. (Well, until the very end, when I told her to leave me - in a very dramatic voice).

After I finally crossed the line, we met up with A and Dan and found out that she had run a new PR! This kid ran a 28:12 and earned second in her age group. It won't be long before she massacres my 5K PR... Ah, youth.
What it looks like when you're running a PR

She wanted her finisher picture with "Justin Beaver" LOL
Picture courtesy of Runner's Edge
Official Time - 2:24:57
Official Pace - 11:04
Overall Place - 263/365
Gender Place - 113/190
Division Place - 44/68
Garmin Time - 2:25:58
Garmin Distance - 12.91 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:14
Mile 1 - 9:48
Mile 2 - 11:21
Mile 3 - 11:23
Mile 4 - 10:28
Mile 5 - 10:46
Mile 6 - 10:57
Mile 7 - 11:06
Mile 8 - 11:08
Mile 9 - 12:30
Mile 10 - 12:08
Mile 11 - 11:14
Mile 12 - 11:40
Mile 12.91 - 11:34

Thoughts
  • I still don't love this race. It's hard. The way out is mostly downhill, which of course means it's uphill on the way back.
  • With that said, this was very well organized. And if you want to run a 5K PR, I'm not sure there is a faster and/or easier course to do it on.
  • With THAT said... the 5K should start at least 15 minutes after the half. Having it start only 5 minutes after the half started meant the leaders were weaving in and out of the crowd of super slow people (like me).
  • Cute race shirt, which I gave to A.
  • Half marathon got a medal, which was also cute, no pic.
  • A got a medal only because she placed in her age group, otherwise she would not have gotten one.
  • I would likely not run this again, unless a similar circumstance occurred. And PS, I've learned my lesson about doing butt/thigh exercises so close to a long run/race. Blech.

Week in Review (July 11 - July 17)

Tuesday  (10,729 steps) - Barre with Gabi! Thankfully, it didn't feel quite as impossible as last week. Hopefully I have not lost ALL my...