Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shoes, Shins, Shimmel!

Yesterday I broke out a new pair of Asics Gel Kayano 14's for my 4 mile run.  I have two pairs of shoes in rotation now (Pearl Izumi Syncrofinity & Asics GT 2130) but they are both nearing the end of their lives.  I figured now was a good time to break in a pair of shoes that I can wear for Big Sur in a few weeks.  So far I like them.  I am not so in-tune with little nuances of shoe differences.  To me the real test is whether or not I get injured wearing them.

Speaking of injury, my old friend, Mr. Right Shin Splint, is coming back.  Ever since getting orthotics in 2006 I usually always have a baseline tenderness-to-the-touch feeling in my right shin (vs. can't-walk-without-pain pain).  I only really get concerned when it starts to hurt when I'm actually running.  I'm busting out the ice and NSAIDs and will try to stay on top of it.  I'm planning on getting a bucket a la Runners Rambles so that I can ice bath the shin without having to actually sit in a tub full of ice.

Today I went for a beautiful 9 mile run.  That's right!  Slowly increasing my mid-week mileage.  Shoe Running joined me for a short time.  SR, I realized later I totally miscalculated the mileage and I should have turned back to the starting point with you and then turned around and finished the loop.  But I ended up tacking on some extra miles at the end.  The weather was lovely.  I must be acclimating to the sunshine and "heat" because it didn't feel quite as groggy.

I was very excited to try out my new shimmel from Oiselle.  I've had my eye on this for months (I was sent a photo of a sample before it was available to purchase) .  I LOVE it!  I've only recently gotten into shimmels for running.  A few I have are too short.  Another is a good length but rides up a little when I run.  This one is perfect.  Not too short but also doesn't creep up as I run.  Very comfy!  I want to test it on a long run, but if all goes well (and I think it will) this will probably be my new favorite race top!  I'm planning on wearing it to Big Sur if the weather is favorable.

I really love the feather.  I found this tidbit about Oiselle online:
A French word for bird, Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) alludes to that feeling of freedom, that sense of  flight -- when the legs go fast and the heart goes free.

How can you not love that?  I love supporting runner-owned companies.  Hats off to Oiselle!

Edited to add:  Since people like the shimmel, I thought I'd mention I bought it from Team Estrogen (it's sold out via Oiselle already!).  Team Estrogen is another great company with awesome service.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Mario

The finer things in life...A private poop

I got Mario a covered litter box in the hopes it would keep some stray hay inside the box.  Instead he seems to think it is the perfect digging box.  We've discussed our difference of opinion and have still not reached a suitable conclusion.  So as of now Mario has visitation rights to the top of the box (the cover is what seems to stimulate the digging) in the afternoons & evenings (he only digs for a couple of hours in the morning).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bunnies Rock!

I wanted to mention that our friends Cadbury and Bunny Girl are hosting an online Bunny Benefit Bash!  Hop on over and check it out!  Watch the video and be on the lookout for my own resident bunny rocker.  Be sure to sign the guestbook to help raise funds for bunny rescue (& feel free to donate, too!).  Mario used some of his infamous $10 riches to make a small donation.

I ran 14 miles this Friday as a cut-back long run.  I'm planning on doing 18 miles this coming week, then peak out with a 20 miler the week after.  I was hoping the 14 miler would feel "easy" but it wasn't and only adds to my worry.  Today I ran 6.2 fun miles in some gorgeous weather, though!  It's great to live in California!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marathon Survey

This has been circulating on Facebook but I thought I'd post the answers here:

1. Number of marathons you have run:
6 (Walt Disney World, New York City, Safaricom, Rome, Walt Disney World, Napa Valley)

2. Where was your first marathon?
Walt Disney World, baby (yes, I am a Disney freak)!

3. Favorite Marathon course:
This is a hard one to answer because all of the races I've done are incredibly different. NYC had the best crowd support, Napa was best for PR, Safaricom had elephants on the course, Rome took my breath away, and nothing beats running through Cinderella Castle at Disney. In short, they were all awesome. I mean who picks marathon courses they don't think will inspire them somehow?

4. Most memorable race:
If you're talking the entire experience, I'd have to say Safaricom in Kenya.

5. PR?
4:35:xx (Napa Valley)

6. Ever run in a costume?
I wore a Goofy ears headband during WDW 2008 because I was doing the Goofy Challenge, but not sure if that counts.

7. The only running shoes for me:
I have no brand loyalty when it comes to shoes. I do, however LOVE me some Balega Hidden Comfort socks!

8. Ever injured?
Sadly, yes. ITB, sprained ankles and a long and sordid history with shin splints.

9. Hot or cold weather runner?
COLD! My preferred running temp is somewhere in the 40's. I'll take a 30 degree run over a 70 degree run any day.

10. Morning or evening runs?
I am not a morning person at all, but I prefer to get the runs in early. I feel like I then have my whole day to enjoy and bask in the glory of the run.

11. What is your motivation?
The feeling when you cross the finish line.

12. Ever DNF?
No (knock on wood)

13. Marathon I'd like to forget:
I wouldn't really want to forget it, but my worse marathon experience by far was New York City. I hit the wall VERY hard. I seriously say I no longer fear death after NYC 2005 because I know there is a point when dropping down dead is actually preferable to living. If this had been my first marathon experience I probably would have never done another. Ironically, it was my second and I had a 30+ minute PR so you'd think I would have been elated...

14. Favorite post race nosh:
Pasta. I love pasta! I also think a bagel with cream cheese and some bacon on the side is an awesome post-run snack.

15. Galloway or Higdon?
Have not done either but am planning do a sort-of Galloway approach on Big Sur to keep from feeling like I did in NYC.

16. Flat course or hills?
I think in general I'd prefer some rolling hills to keep thing interesting.

17. Back, Middle, or Front of the pack?
I consider myself middle-back :)

18. Run alone or with a partner:
I enjoy doing both. If I could only do one for forever I'd probably pick to be a solo runner.

19. Ever win your age group?

20. Favorite post marathon indulgence:
Guilt-free days off from running.

21. Funniest T-shirt spotted on another runner during a marathon:
"Pinocchio told me this was a 10K" (at the WDW Marathon)

22. One part of your body that has never seen body glide:
I own a body glide but have never used it! So every part.

23. Best part of running:
The feeling of accomplishment (no matter the distance).

24. If I didn't run I'd_______________.
Be supremely bored.

25. I can't run without______________________.
A water bottle, hat, orthotics, and Garmin!

26. Ever lose a toenail?
One after the Goofy Challenge. I even saved it :)

27. Gatorade or Cytomax?
Don't use it anymore but I used to run with lime Gatorade Endurance. Cytomax is icky.

28. Favorite gel flavor?
Gu Vanilla. Rarely use them anymore, though, and prefer Shot Bloks.

29. How many days after a marathon do you usually start running again?
Normally probably more than 7, but the last time around I ran two 6 weeks apart so started up again after 4 days, I think.

30. I run, therefore I ________________________.
Own way too many running skirts.

31. Pre-race routines? (night before or morning of)
Lay out EVERYTHING, pin on number, attach chip to shoe.

32. How often do you cry during a marathon?
Never have. Might have gotten choked up around mile 20 of Napa when I knew I was going to PR (no waterworks at the actual finish, though). Have definitely cried watching other people finish marathons, though!

33. What was your worst/least favorite marathon?
Umm, time-wise Safaricom was my worst. How-I-felt-wise was NYC. Would still highly recommend them both!

34. What is your typical night before the marathon meal?
Pasta with simple tomato sauce

35. Would you run a marathon again?
Of course!

36. Marathon that I must do:
On my list are Paris, Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Antarctica, and CIM.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reap What You Sow

Okay, I've been a bad blogger and bad blog reader. I even missed a "Monday Mario!" The disapproval over here from the bun is oppressive. Of course, I'm blogging from work so have no access to Mario photos to make up for this transgression.

I did an 18 mile long run ths past Friday. I felt fairly decent for most of it, but it got me very worried. The last couple of miles my legs felt like lead weights. I could barely will myself to walk afterwards. I seriously felt like I had just run a PR-attempt marathon. So far as I can remember, 18 mile runs are not supposed to feel like that. And it wasn't one of those bad-day long runs. I felt good and my body did a good job for its conditioning level.

My main problem this marathon go-around is an utter lack of discipline and planning. My weekly mileage is way down from where it would usually be. I've been lucky enough to hold onto 7 miles runs on Tuesdays with ShoeRunning, but usually I'd do a 10 or 10+ miler mid-week as well. I've been puttering around with 4 mile runs in addition to that 7 miler.

This marathon is really, really going to H.U.R.T.

So the next few weeks I'm going to ramp up the mileage as much as I can safely accomplish. I had a nice run with ShoeRunning yesterday (she ran 20! and I pushed out to 8). I'm hoping to build that up to a 10 mile mid-week run the next few weeks. I've decided to not push my luck and will just be doing one 20 miler in preparation for Big Sur. I originally had 3 on tap but life gets in the way sometimes. So I've got a couple more weeks before I go for the big 2-0.

I have no time goals for Big Sur but I do not want to resort to a death march the last 6 miles, either. Hopefully I have enough time left in training to at least be able to finish enjoying the race.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Mario

Mario has been going through a big shed recently.  He wanted me to know I was his main squeeze by forming a molt-line pattern of a heart on his back.  

Everyone together:  "Awwww..."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Across the Bay 12K

I only really knew I'd be doing this race for the past week or so.  I was lucky enough to win a free entry through Zola.  They sent me some free swag along with my race form.  Though I haven't opened up the bottle they sent me, the free sample after the race today was so yummy I went back and got seconds (the guy at the tent said "feel free to come back for more!"). 

Right now I'm in pure endurance building mode so haven't been doing any sort of speed training.  My plan was to tackle this like a training run and enjoy the change of scenery.  I have to say, every morning of a race when my alarm goes off at dark o'clock there is always a moment when I regret being a runner who participates in organized races.  But I dragged my groggy butt down to Ghiradelli Square.

I think I've mentioned this before but I have some sort of aversion to checking a bag at races.  I guess I think it'll be my luck that it gets lost.  Before I left my apartment the weather was reported as being a "light rain mist."  It didn't seem too chilly, but I grabbed a pair of gloves to wear pre-race and figured I'd stick them in a pocket once I got warmed up.  It wasn't raining too much as I headed down to Aquatic Park, but once I was out of the safety of my car it definitely started raining.  

I met up with the majority of the RoHo's and Michaela pre-race.  They were all decked out in layers and I regretted not grabbing another layer as I had headed out.  We spent some time huddled under a tent before heading out into the elements to stand in line to catch a bus to Sausalito.  I will go on record as saying I don't mind running in the rain.  In fact, as long as the run isn't 10+ miles I probably even enjoy running in the rain.  But I do not like standing around pre-run or post-run in the rain.  It was freakin' cold & miserable!

I had a first wave bib and took advantage of the earlier start to get myself moving away from the direction of hypothermia.  I don't know how the rest of you ladies managed to stand around another 15 minutes in that weather for wave 2!  I must be getting old because my hips were achy the first half a mile or so from the cool temps.  The race had a blazing downhill start followed by a monster of a climb up towards the Golden Gate Bridge.  I have never seen the GG Bridge from its base from the Sausalito side and I really regretted not having a camera to capture the scene.  Even with the rain and clouds I wanted to stop and enjoy the view.

If not for the rain the temperature was actually not that terrible.  I was afraid there would be horrible wind on the bridge and Crissy Field.  But there was never anything I'd categorize as stronger than a breeze.  I may have been in a race zone, but I think it stopped raining shortly after I started running.  Even then, I kept my gloves on the entire race which wasn't planned.  

Every good ascent deserves a good descent and the San Francisco side of the bridge offered some nice downhill sections.  Once at Crissy Field I started to push the pace and my 10:00+ splits started turning into sub-10:00 and even low 9:00 splits.  I guess I got carried away by the race atmosphere.  Somewhere around mile 4.3 runners from the wave behind me started to pass me (I had a 15 minute head start on them!).  Towards the end of the race this made it hard for me to keep my pace as I was constantly getting passed by much speedier people.  I tried to lock in on a few runners who I knew were in my wave to try to not get carried away.

I never really felt like I was truly racing but I did kick it up for the final turn to the finish.  There is something great about that push to the finish and crossing a finish line.  That's the stuff you have to remember at dark o'clock race morning.

My garmin splits were (I have it set to auto-lap every 0.5 miles):
11:26  Big-arse steep hill -- yes I was running, maybe I should have just power-walked!

Total (unofficial) 1:13:07, 9:45 pace.

In general, running in the 9:00's is always a grand accomplishment so I feel pretty good about the run today.  I'm glad I can pull off a pushed-pace mid-distance run.  I managed to get through a 16 mile run Friday so am starting to feel like I'm back on track for Big Sur.  I'm really happy I was able to take part in this race and may even do it again in the future.

Thanks, Zola!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It Starts

Many, many people have tried to suck me into this reading craze.  I've been sort of anti-buy books for a while now (since I generally read them once and never again) so the library is my new BFF.  You cannot imagine how many people have these books on hold!  I thought it would take a year to get to me.  But out of the blue I got an email saying I was first in line.  Of course, I hadn't requested the other three so probably have a few months wait before I can read the rest of them.  I started last night (and didn't get too far in before hitting the hay) and am looking forward to discovering the craze.

I also owe everyone a review of Kathrine Switzer's "Marathon Woman."  It was awesome!  By far the best running book I've read so far.  If you're a runner I highly recommend it.  If you're a woman runner I highly, highly recommend it.  And if you're a woman marathoner Mario will not allow you to ever snorgle him until you've read it.  Trust me, the snorgles are worth it!  I have always been aware of the story but never really realized how deeply the discrimination against women in running went until I read this book.  It makes me appreciate things I take for granted (like sending in a race application and checking "F" for female).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If I Could Pick My Home Address

I had a great 7 miler today with ShoeRunning!  I'm always amazed at how much more fun a run is when you have good company.  I'm mentally geared up to attempt 16 miles this Friday. 

Weeks (no, actually months) ago my parents gifted me with a pair of Asics Gel Kayano 14's.  They were on super sale and my dad even asked me what color I wanted!  I NEVER get to pick the color of my running shoes.  Usually I get stuck with some sale color or whatever the store that gives me a discount has in stock.  So I picked out these babies (purple is one of my favorite colors):

They were mailed to me in a plain cardboard box:

I did a closer double-take:

For the bunny-loving non-runner conglomerate a marathon is 26.2 miles long.

The most amazing thing is that they are from a military store so not at all affiliated with running!  Also, I almost think the address on the box is just from the company that makes the boxes (vs. the company my dad bought them from).

Mario of course, knew exactly what to do with such a special box:  

He sat on it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quick Race Updates

I delayed instant gratification this year and signed up for the Disney Goofy Challenge (plus the 5K next year, too!) via snail mail.  That saved $19 off of outrageous entry fees (I believe $285 for Goofy and $40 for the 5K).  I think this will be my last Goofy so figured I'd go out with the Dopey bang (when you do the 5K Friday, half marathon Saturday, and full marathon Sunday).  This card came in the mail almost 1 month ago, but I thought I'd share it.  I was getting nervous my entry was lost in the wide void of USPS.  I love these races and can't wait to go back in 2010.

Big Sur training is, err, well, it's sort of coming along.  All I know is my countdown clock continues ticking but the mileage does not seem to be going up.  Just when I was starting to get my running back on schedule I came down with a second cold in three weeks.  I had to nix my long run this week.  I was thinking of doing it today, but spent my day cat napping to try to get fully healthy again.  So I'm going to go for 16 this Friday and will have to see what happens in terms of whether or not I can do one or two 20 milers before the race.  I'm getting a little concerned about this marathon, but I figure it was always supposed to be an exercise in enjoying the scenery.  So not much lost.  But I don't want to bonk and die during the race.  That always makes smelling the flowers a little harder!

I may also be doing the Across the Bay 12K next weekend!  I won a free entry and if it pans out will be doing this as a training run!

Oops!  Also forgot to add that I entered the lottery for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October.  Thanks, Leana for inviting me to join her group!  Fingers crossed...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mario!

Five years ago today I took a train out to New Haven, Connecticut and picked up a fur ball that was just the right balance of cuteness and pigheadedness.  Since he was full-grown when I adopted him, I've always just tacked on one year to his age.  Happy 5 years together, and happy 6th birthday, Mario!

Mario's gifts (1 lb of Nickersnax -- basically the equivalent of 25 lbs of Goldfish crackers for me, apple sticks and some unidentified chew toy)

Gourmet Bunny Cake

Nom, nom, nom...