Thursday, February 11, 2016

Race Recap: Surf City Half Marathon

Surf City Half Marathon 
February 7, 2016 | Huntingon Beach, CA 

I knew that my goals for Surf City were lofty, given how last week turned out. Let's be real - I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in bed, during which most of my caloric intake were saltine crackers and Gatorade. My first meal since Monday night was on Thursday night (and that meatball sandwich was heavenly). But those goals were down, and there, and I wanted to leave them that way.

If anything, the flu would force me to listen to my body, a concept I'm not normally all that great at following, and I would back off if and when it told me to. Time would only tell.

Race day essentials: Pro Compression socks / Abundant Heart tank / KT Tape /  Sparkly Soul headband / SPIbelt / Gu / Brooks Running Pure Connect 4s. 

Doug and I got up and were out the door at 5:45 to get down to Huntington Beach and were parked by 6:30. The marathon started at 6:30 but the half didn't start until 7:45, so we had time to get settled before we took off. We met Jacky and Sandy at the IERC tent, just in time for the club group photo... and just like that, it was time to get situated in the corrals. Surf City was truly corraled for the first time this year, so Jacky and I were way up ahead of Doug and split once we found his.

With a goal time of sub-1:50, I'd need to maintain a pace at 8:25, so Jacky's plan was to nail miles anywhere between an 8:00 and 8:20 pace throughout. I felt good, felt ready, and my flu medication had all kicked in fine, so let's go - it's PR time!

5K: 26:05 / 8:24 pace

We hit the one hill about mile 4, and I felt myself just slosh uphill. Like, it shouldn't be this hard because after all, I train in Chino Hills and this hill is no worse than even half the hills we run. Oooof. I tried making up for some of the time going downhill but my legs felt heavier and heavier.

Maybe this wasn't supposed to happen today. 

Best personal pacer ever. 
I missed the 10K mat, but knew that I was slowing down immensely. It got hot fast (nearly 71 degrees about mile 10), and I could feel the little preparation my body had had all week was doing me in already. The course turns around just after the 8 mile marker and I could not wait for the stretch home - final stretch, but certainly the hottest, and this was just all asphalt running down PCH.

As we doubled-back, I was just keeping a desperate look out for Doug - just to make sure he was doing okay in the heat, but also just because I needed a hug. That was all I wanted, as I was a little disappointed in my mental loss and because it just wasn't in the books. I finally saw him just after mile 10 or so and I had like 26 minutes to squeeze in my C goal (sub-2)... and I just knew it wasn't meant to be.

10 mile: 1:32:47 / 9:17 pace

Jacky pushed me as hard as she could (thank you!), and I later learned that she was hurting pretty good (ahem), and that I was just totally and completely fatigued. Over it. We saw some of our IERC friends at the end, Carla and Mayara, and they  were a fun way to shake up the last half mile - thanks ladies!

We squeaked in to a 2:03:40 (9:26 pace) finish. Not my A, B, or C goals, but I did earn a course PR by just under 8 minutes and as always, had a blast with my girl.

Badass 20th anniversary medals! 
I wasn't/am not thrilled, but I think the important part was that I walked away knowing that unlike any time before, I listened to what my body said: slow down and go easy. Sunday became just about the finish line and not the finish time. Combined with the previous week, and the heat, I knew that I just needed to finish and I'd still be proud of the accomplishment.

And, ultimately, the day ended on a high note anyway.

Because this happened.

... and you can wait until Friday to read all about it. :)

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekly Workout Recap #5

January 31 - February 6

Join the link up each week and join in the fun! I'm hoping to hold myself more accountable to my training plan and I know that putting it out there each week is going to help me do that! Join in, link your recap and connect with other friends to hold us all accountable too! 

Sunday | Cross Train 
As holds true to my trend, I don't do my long runs on Saturdays anymore it seems but on Sundays. But at least THIS one was planned and I knew it was coming, so whatever, there's that! After Saturday's fun, Tina and I ran the inaugural Phoenix Women's Half Marathon (she did the 10K) on Sunday morning! A simple race but had fun, despite it being harder than it should have! It all worked out, but for the first 13 mile run in three weeks, it was certainly tough. Tough runs make tough runners, right?

13.13 miles / 2:07:43 / 9:44 pace

Monday | Rest
We drove back Sunday afternoon and by the time we got the rental car returned, went to my parents' to pick up the dog and then back to our place, it was well after 7 and I was wiped. I had every intention of getting on the recumbent bike just to get my legs  moving, but I just couldn't make it happen.

... and then, you know, if you follow me anywhere (namely IG), this is what the rest of the week looked like:

Tuesday - Thursday: On my death bed with apparently what was the flu. Funny thing is that this is the first time in nearly ten years I haven't gotten the flu shot so boo hoo, serves me right, right? Boo to that! Needless to say, this week turned into the ultimate half marathon taper week ever. Maybe this would work in my favor?

Friday | Rest
Because why run now?! Friday I headed back to work - mostly alive - to get through the week and hav a little fun with my students from this past summer at our reunion and photobooth shenanigans. It was a great thing to come back to!

Friday after work, I bolted out of the office and headed down to Carson with my dad for the USA v Canada soccer game - YASSSSS!

Saturday | 2-3 Shakeout
Run for Russ is our annual 5K in Chino that serves as a memorial for an officer killed in the line of duty about ten years ago. We've done it the last two years and this year was no different because why wouldn't we? Last week, my dad asked me to "not take off like you always do!" and pace him to a PR (anything under 36 minutes). Sold, dad, sold. I figured it'd be a great shakeout before Surf City on Sunday.

PR for daddio - a solid 34:38, way under his goal! And my first/only miles for February so far because better late than never? My body felt totally okay and I thought I was ready to go for Sunday!

How was your week? Make sure you link up below!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Surf City Goals

Author note: this was all written pre-flu. I'm not changing it, but ultimately we're going to see where my body takes me on Sunday! 

Surf City is on Sunday! This has been my planned goal race since I don't know when - October, maybe? After all the pacing and running I did all fall and throughout this winter, I've been able to get myself to a point where anything 2:00-2:10 is totally comfortable and hitting the 1:56, 1:58s is enough to work but not feel like I'm dying, so I know I'm making progress with my speed. 

Surf City is pancake flat. It's on the coast, runs up PCH, into a neighborhood, back out of said neighborhood, back onto PCH for a few miles, makes a U-turn and heads straight back to the finish. The half is forgiving; the full is a mental mindtrip that I never wish to do again. In the half, there is one hill in mile 4 that you come barreling back down into mile 5 to pick that speed back up again. But this course is as flat as flat gets - thank you Southern California beach cities!  

That being said, I've set my sights on making this my new PR race. My current PR (1:50:38) stands from Fontana, a race that is downhill for the first 9 miles. But I pushed my body hard, even with that downhill, and I know I am fully capable of pushing myself on a pancake-flat course that way, too. So, here it is. Surf City goals 2016. For reference, last year I ran the half for the first time (only the full previously in 2013) with bronchitis and ran a 2:11.

A) Anything sub-1:50. 
Jacky will be pacing me on Sunday and as I've told her, my goal is anything sub-1:50. So she's been like "Sooo, 1:45, right?" to which I insist, "No, anything sub-1:50!" All kidding aside, I know she's got this for me and will pace me to my best. Thanks in advance, Jacky!

B) 1:55
My two Fontana times are 1:50 and 1:56. If I can run a 1:55 at Surf City, then I know it's fully possible to run such a stellar time. I'd love to be able to beat my first sub-2 time from Fontana in 2014.

C) Sub-2. 
Because, duh, that's always the goal, isn't it?

D) Course PR & Have Fun!
Anything sub-2:11 is a course half PR which is MORE than do-able at my current fitness. I know tons of folks that are out and about running and sometimes, it's just about the company you keep on the course. I look forward to running with IERC friends, other LA running friends and even making new ones!

Best yet, Doug is running his third Beach Cities Challenge race (OC in May, Long Beach in October) and earns this beauty on Sunday, so we'll be celebrating his running retirement (so he says) with our medals, and his badass golden sand dollar. I can't wait!

I hope nothing more than to report back on Monday with some ecstatic news - shiny new PRs and shiny new medal in hand. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Race Recap: Inaugural Phoenix Women's Half Marathon

January 31, 2016 | Phoenix, Arizona

When Tina told me that the big adoption party celebration would be the last weekend in January, and once I finally mapped out my marathon training plan, I realized I had 16 miles scheduled for this weekend. And then I realized Surf City is the weekend after, so I aimed for 13 miles instead and just promised that I'd make them easy and call it good. Many thanks to Running USA, I was able to find a race that wasn't only cheap ($82 with code), but not even 4 miles from the Lyons' front door. Sold.

Funny thing is that I didn't even register until Thursday night before we left. Whatever, I had plans to all along!

Two pair, don't care. And reppin' Long Beach! Woot woot.
Startline Racing hosts tons of races all over the Phoenix area, some of which Tina has done, but seemed like they certainly know what they're doing with their race productions. Being that this was an inaugural race, I wasn't expecting tons of bells and whistles, which held true to my expectations when we got there. A few booths set up from a variety of organizations and partners, but pretty low key. 

Check out this badass mother runner - yep, that's two kiddos. 
We got the kids loaded and ready to head to the park, and got there about 7:30 for an 8 am start (for me; Tina did the 10K that started at 8:15). We checked in in about 5 minutes, got our bibs situated and hung out for a few minutes before they announced the half starting in about 5 minutes. I said bye to Doug and Tina and made my way to the start line. There were maybe 200 half runners, I decided, so naturally we just kinda crowded the start line and waited to go. I met a woman from Nebraska, but saw tons of Phoenix MRTT ladies and knew Nebraska lady and I were quite the anomaly. Ah well, all the more fun! 

The only reason for the elevation change were the underpasses underneath roads. 
The course runs along the canal, which was an awesome little bit of scenery. After a while, it got a little mundane, but it was nice running along water (how Californian of me). There were few folks out cheering, however, with most of those being Startline employees (volunteers?) manning the water stations - but that was literally 1-2 people per table every mile and a half or so. They were super sweet and at least knew the course and when the next water stop would be, but it made for a desolate run. However, I can see why all my Phoenix friends like running along the canal, especially considering how much it makes you feel like you're not in central Phoenix. 

{ sourcehpe } 
My plan for the race was to run easy(er) than my plan for Surf City next weekend - a "comfy sub-2" as I told Doug.I knew the course would be flat so I figured it'd be an easy long training day and that a comfy sub-2 shouldn't be an issue. Serves me right - confidence in a race setting doesn't usually come easy to me, so the few times I do/have... it doesn't always pan out. 

My Garmin lost connection every time we went through the underpasses, so my pace would report back all wonky and skewed. Honestly, that's what mentally got to me most - because I thought I was maintaining such a great pace and then all of a sudden, it'd flash a 10:40 mile and I knew something wasn't right. It wasn't until the third underpass or so that I knew something was wrong - my Garm was nearly .25 mile long at mile 3, but at the finish, I was .16 short (12.94). 

About mile 6.5, I kinda decided I was over it and that I'd make this a really easy day - walked when I felt like it, run my heart out when I determined I was ready. The turnaround point was about mile 7.5 and despite the high only being 77 that day, it had gottan just hot enough to suck. 

And only because in my flu-induced state, this makes me laugh and smile every time... 

I'll take that 2:07:43 finish very happily. Far from a great performance, but a few things that I'm bearing in mind: a) being on my feet almost all day Saturday (and a 5-mile shake out, at that), b) I haven't done a run more than 13 miles in three weeks (since Citrus Half). That being said, I'm also super glad I dropped back enough to take it that easy (a 9:44 pace on average) to save myself for Surf City this coming weekend... 
I love getting to share finish lines with her! :)
Overall, a good race. I'm glad I had the discount code, but Startline really does a great job while still maintaining a low-cost event for participants. The jacket is legit and I can't wait to rock it around on race days elsewhere. 

Half medal is blue, 10K green and 5K purple. Design is the same.
Race Pros:
- Small event (if that's your thing!)
- Jacket is awesome; can't wait to wear it!
- Quality event from start to finish

Race Cons:
- No crowd support - if you run best in a high-energy course, this is not the place to be your best!
- Medal ribbon had the wrong date (just an LOL moment when  we realized)
- Underpasses are a popular place for trash and/or homeless folks. They should have been looked at/cleaned up prior to race start, if not for safety alone. Under one, there was a whole smashed DVD player/VCR and one had half a camp set up. 

I think this race can really develop into a popular event. Don't mind that it's a "women's" race, as there were two men that completed the half too! I think Startline can reach out to local organizations (especially MRTT) that sponsor and support women and have them participate as volunteers to continue to make this a bigger and better event!

Thanks Startline!

What do you think the biggest challenges are for inaugural races?

January Recap

Total run mileage: 100.77. I just wanted to get to 100, and since I skipped so many runs or shortened so many long ones I'm stoked I at least hit that goal. It definitely could have been higher, but I'll take it for what it is, considering how insane January was! 
Highest weekly run mileage: 28.82. Not stellar, but again, I'l take it for what it is! 
# Runs: 17. 
# Rest days: 11.  
# Cross-training workouts: 5. Four weeks of yoga (once a week) and one day cycling. Not great, but a lot better than I used to be! I'll get there. 

# Races: "Just" two this month, both half marathons:
     - Citrus Heritage Half (2:00 pacer / 2:00)
Favorite run: The first long run of the month - January 2. I killed 12 miles at race pace (8:30) and talked and laughed and had a great day. And I got finished that run with a big smile on my face and the realization that I could do it and that maybe there's a PR for me at Surf City. This was the day I realized I could. Bring it on, Huntington Beach! 

Hardest Run: There were actually a couple of tough runs this month. I credit it to just how freaking busy this month was and the fat that there was a LOT of treadmill time. I've definitely struggled this month and for as much as I've gotten used to treadmill time, it certainly doesn't make it much easier! Soo boooooo to that! Looking forward to some later sunshine so I can get some evening runs in in daylight without worrying about nighttime safety. 

Current need: To get over this "flu-like" whatever that's been plaguing me. I woke up yesterday (Tuesday) with a migraine about 1 am, didn't go to work because of a significant lack of sleep and that eventually turned into feeling chills, body aches, and other issues. After Doug got home from football practice, we went to urgent care... sooo... you can see where that leads. Hoping I can shake it off enough for a decent enough run at Surf City on Sunday. :( 

Current favorite: Not gonna lie, yoga has been rocking my socks (or bare feet) off lately. I'm enjoying a cool, mellow hour every Wednesday and am at the point that I very much already look forward to it when I wake up each Wednesday morning. I am far from flexible, but I can feel myself already loosening up just a bit and getting a good stretch on. Now if I could only commit to doing this by myself another day each week, I'd be good to go. 

Current goal: It's February 3 and it's PR week, baby. Surf City is on Sunday and while I am stoked and pumped and all kinds of ready, the race nerves have also set in and I am also (not so) secretly terrified. My badass Ironman girl Jacky is pacing me and I know she's got this on lock for me. I just hope I have it on lock for myself. 

Month Goals: Being that it was the first month of the year, I didn't set any specific January goals, but wanted to get a good start on my 2016 goals overall. Accountability time, friends! 

1. Run 1,100 miles. 
100.77 miles down, 999.23 to go! If I can keep up 100 mile months this year consistently, I'll be done WAY before December 30 like I was in 2015! 
2. Marathon PR
Marathon #1 for the year comes at the end of February (Phoenix). January is just working towards that! 

3. Complete a triathlon.
I'm still toying with this idea. I know I can do it if I give myself the time and commitment to training in something other than running shoes. We shall see! 
4. Finish off my credit card debt.
Knocking off more, a little at a time. No major progress this month, but with a good size tax return coming my way in less than 21 days, I am fairly certain this will become a good reality in February! Booyah! 

5. Journal
I journaled twice this month, much less than I had hoped but you know, life gets in the way sometimes. I need to find a time each week, set it or schedule it, and commit to making it a reality. New month, new chance to start over and get to work! 

6. Strength & Cross Train
I made it to yoga every Wednesday this month - while that's only four days (plus one random day of cycling), that's a significant increase from what I've done prior. I look forward to Wednesdays and am excited to make this a pattern! 

7. Volunteer More
Already eye-balling races I want to volunteer at. More next month, hopefully, when I set this into action! 

8. Speak Up
This is by far one of the hardest goals for me this year. Nothing exciting to report, but am looking forward to the personal challenge. 

January was insanely busy and really, February is going to be no exception, but I am looking forward to making progress to all eight goals continuously. Here's to the start of the year because having 11  months to go means I still have a shot! 

What are your biggest accomplishments from this month? What are you looking forward to next month?