Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

What are you dressing up as this year?

Tonight I'm heading over to Doug's to pass out candy, coo at adorable babies dressed up (I seriously can't get enough of babies in costumes, especially anything animal-related), and drink wine... because duh.

Last night Doug and I went to Walmart to get him a last minute costume (true to his style) and ended up finding a sweet $10 costume amidst the piles and piles of wigs, masks, and fairy wings. I tried to convince him to wear fairy wings to work - it didn't fly (pun intended). More on our costumes later, as I've got to go make mine this afternoon!

Molly is at least in the holiday spirit already...

And I at least was in the spirit for RnR LA! Plenty of orange and black and all things Halloween. So there.

My last treat for today is finally announcing our WIN Detergent winner - congrats Mary Beth!

Mary Beth, I've sent you an email for some information I'll need from you!

If you're bummed you didn't win, you can still save $1 on WIN at Amazon with code WINGIVE1. So there, everybody wins!

Happy Halloween! What are your plans tonight?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Race Report: Rock 'n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Rock 'n Roll Los Angeles
October 26 | Los Angeles

After working the expo nearly 20 hours between Friday and Saturday, by the time I got home Saturday night I was beyond wiped and a little nervous for how it would affect me come Sunday morning. Thankfully, I don't think I felt it all that much, but was in bed and asleep well before 9:30 - with a 4:45 alarm, it was much needed.

Doug came and met me at the house and we were off just about 5:45, but had gotten delayed by an accident that closed all the lanes on the freeway (at 5:30 am mind you!), and then we hit another that had us super delayed. We got to downtown LA (the off-ramp, at least) that we needed about 6:05 and didn't even get close to the parking garages until 6:30. We Chinese fire-drilled at a light so I could fniish getting dressed and bolt out of the car while he went to go park. I sprinted to the start line to meet up with these crazies...

Featuring mostly #SA2LV crazies.. and me... Michael, Brian, Nancy... 
... little did I know, Doug parked, decided sleeping wasn't going to happen, and made it to the start line to and was right by our corral. Bummer! Anyway, I was assigned Corral 6 based on my hopeful 2-hour finish, but made my way into Corral 2 to start with these guys (or at least get the photo). I was nervous that starting that far up, I'd get caught up in speed and excitement and totally fall apart later. Foreshadowing: not entirely the case. Win.

The course is not uber exciting - there are certainly more exciting places to run, especially in LA, but such is life. The race starts at LA Live and the Staples Center, heads down Figueroa to USC and the Coliseum (that you run around - or, if you're speedy enough, run up in a tunnel, snap a photo, and bolt back out), all the way back up Fig to 3rd and Central and some not-so-great LA highlights. Miles 9/10 lead you up a nasty bridge over the train tracks and back down, and once you're back through the 3rd Street tunnel, it's a downhill coast to the finish.

After pacing Monica at Long Beach to a super-comfy 2:06, I was confident that I could rock a sub-2 finish - which would be my first solo attempt since actually doing it at Fontana in June on a screaming downhill course. Again, still a little nervous how 10 hours on my feet at the expo on Saturday would get to me, but I was gonna roll with it as best as I could.

The first three miles were quick - I felt like I was getting a groove into mile 3 or so, but it was still flat and I was aiming just to feel consistent and not too fast so I didn't burn out.

5K: 26:52
Okay, not too bad. Feeling good, now in a groove and ready to look forward to at least mile 5. Then I can chill. Right?

10K: 54:40
10K split PR by almost 5 minutes - can this race just end here? I felt okay - this is right about where I was starting to feel how fast I'd pushed the first couple of miles, but we looped back by where the finish lines were and I knew Doug was there so I at least had to feign feeling damn good.

Walked at the Mile 7 water station, first walk break for 10 seconds. We ran the tunnel going into mile 8, which messed with everyone's Garmin/watch satellite and set me back about .10mi for the rest of the race.

10M: 1:31:49
15K split PR by almost 10 minutes. Seriously, can we end now? This is also right where the bridge is and though I was warned, it was steeper than I'd anticipated. I ran halfway up, walked through the turn around and started going again just before the mile 10 flag (slowest mile at 10:40).

Sweet view of downtown though! Top of the bridge.
Back through the tunnel (which had to be at least 115 degrees thanks to all the bodies going in both directions now - so gross!), cruise up the last part of the grade, and rock the downhill to the finish. I got this - I knew I'd squeak in, if I made it, and couldn't have cut it any closer...

1605 / 7762 overall
102 / 802 division
482 / 4578 females

I was really upset for those measly 20 seconds, but I also get to look at that now and say that YES, I can run a sub-2 on my own and on a flatter course than that is of Fontana. I ran this course well - strong, despite that bridge, and after being on my feet at the expo for two days straight. I ran solo, not with a friend nor a pacer, and rocked my timing pretty much as perfect as I could get. Fueled well and consistently, and most importantly... had a blast. 

Do you run in costume? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rock 'n Roll Los Angeles Expo

I'm posting from my phone for the first time ever... how weird!

Anyway -- I am SUPER excited to be working with SparklySoul this weekend at the Rock n Roll LA expo. We're on to Day 2 today. 

After volunteering at the LB expo with the New Years Race team, I've decided I absolutely LOVE the energy of an expo - certainly not easy, but such a blast! 

Sparkly Soul (my fave headband company in the history of ever) put out a blast a couple of weeks ago looking for local folks to work the RnR expo. Naturally, I jumped. They teamed me up with Mandy, a recent New York transplant, and we've been kicking tail ever since. 

Expos are such a fun place to meet people, hear their running stories (in this case) and convince them that YES, they need some sparkly, fun love in their lives. Such a freaking blast!

Thanks so much, Sparkly Soul, for this AWESOME opportunity! 

Are you a Sparkly Soul lover like me?! 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Race Report: Race for the Rescues Los Angeles 5K

October 18, 2014 | Pasadena, CA

Dad was looking for a 5K to do for work and health insurance benefits, and when our original one didn't pan out, we thought the next best bet was one that a) benefitted animals and a rescue organization, b) I could bring Molly and run her and c) was flat and all around our favorite Rose Bowl. Best yet, my uncle wanted to come walk it, so mom and grandma wanted to come watch! A family affair. Uncle had to bail after being called into work earlier in the week, but mom, dad, Molly and I still had a blast.

This race is all over - LA, Orange County, and Portland, all in the fall months. They offer a kid's fun run, a dog walk, and both a 5 and 10K, with opportunities for you to race with your dog too for just a few bucks extra. Since I figured it benefitted the pups (okay, cats too), may as well bring Molly along for the fun! Humans get race shirts, dogs get bandanas and we all know how much of a bandana girl Molly is.

I'm so used to driving to race days on my own, it felt very odd having mom and dad along for the ride! We were up and out the door by 6:45 and out at the Rose Bowl before 7:30 to get our bibs, shirts, and to get ourselves settled. Dad was nervous and antsy, and it was clear to see. I kept trying to tell him he'd be fine. Not like he hasn't done this before! (He was mostly nervous about the chip not tracking his time, especially since this came with an incentive from work, and the other 5K he did with me never got his time tracked). At least we had mom along as our race photographer!

The race "expo", if you want to call it that, had tons of pet vendors selling custom treats, harnesses, leashes as sort of pet boutique. There were also tons of local rescue groups and humane socities out, but that early in the morning yet there weren't many dogs out for adoption (mom said there never really were either, or they were all super small dogs). We ran into one of my Ragnar So Cal teammates, Beth, and her weimaraner Timmy, who were doing the 10K. We heard about this race through them!

And then it was go time -- they did a lot of waves for the race (both the 5 and 10K start together), and asked that those running with dogs don't start before the 4th wave. Dad started in wave 2 or so, and Molly, Beth, Timmy and I all hung to the side until about wave 5, when we just jumped in and got on our way. The 5K is one loop up and around the Rose Bowl, golf course, and back down through the parking lot; the 10K just does the course twice. I'm glad we weren't doing the 10K, though I think I would like to train Molly up to a race of that distance.

The course is easy, and mostly flat, though the first bit is a long though very casual grade up to the north side of the Bowl, across the wash. The last half is just as much of an easy, long downgrade into the finish. Molly and I caught up to dad just before the mile 3 marker, but he told us not to run to the finish with him, but to go on! So Molly and I trucked on and finished a few minutes before him...

... and while I was getting Molly water, we missed his epic jump into the finish! We've got this on video, too, and it's pretty freaking fantastic. I'm sad I missed it in person.

Dad rocked his second 5K in 38:56 (6th in his age group) and Molly set a new PR at 28:13 (good for fourth in our age group of 62!, and technically 2nd place in our group with a dog. Happy Saturday! I'm so proud of dad. He's a little bummed by his time but I told him that's another good reason to sign up for another one, to work on that time thing. ;) I'll get him sucked in, promise!

Do you run with your dog? How about races?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ragnar Napa Valley: Part 3

Ragnar Napa Valley
September 19 - 20, 2014
Part 1 Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I really did not intended this to take a month to get done! Holy wow, time has gotten away from me. Good thing my memory is pretty sharp. 

After my first run, and seeing Jill and Kristin off for their first legs, we found our way finally heading to the major exchange (12). It was really just a massive parking lot, it seemed, but the energy was certainly alive at that point. Deliriousness, I'm thinking. And probably something to do with all the Van 2s dealing with 100+ heat indeces, so it was probably a lot of deliriousness at that point! 

NAU alumni representing!
Heather had prepped me for this one, since it was about dinner time, and that there was a huge shopping complex with a Dick's, Chipotle, oodles of food, and a Whole Foods not far from there. We were happy campers - after a quick emergency compression-sleeve trip to Dick's, a stop at Chipotle, we joined the hoards of people at Whole Foods to grub up and eat dinner, finally! 70% of the parking lot were Ragnar vans, at least. 

After dinner and some essential van cleaning, we headed off to the next exchange to rest (yes), sleep (not so much), and do this... obviously.

Yours truly, apparently the queen of all things Ragnar temporary tattoos. Everyone got marked up, and then we all found our way to our own place to sleep. Tina, Kristin, John and I in the van and Jill, Kim and Kate all went out the grass at the huge community center we were at. The local rugby club was using the showers as a fundraiser, but as I had promised folks, you just hit that point where you'd rather take a 20-minute nap than you would a 5-minute (though hot) shower. I was right. I eventually fell asleep, for maybe two hours or so, and soon enough, Jill, Kate and Kim came back because the sprinklers had gone off! Thankfully they weren't soaked, but wet enough to be unhappy. Apparently the sprinklers had sent a whole ton of folks packing. 

Soon enough, Van 1 had made their way to the exchange, and after a stretch session with the trainer at First Aid, I got ready to head over to the exchange with Tina for her night leg! She was most nervous about this one too, mostly about getting lost, but I promised that as long as she found people to follow, she'd be fine.
At least she had a pretty exchange! They had done all these lights the whole length of the corral... individual lights.
Tina was off. I kid you not, we were following directions, trying to find our way to the exchange, and finally found the madness (it was really just the side of the road in a business complex and not conducive to large vans and runners). We were about to park, and I was going to text her to check on her (she runs with her phone), when I got a call from her! ...that's not good. I couldn't make it out, so we hung up and called back. She had fallen, and cut herself up pretty badly (though how badly she didn't know given that it was 1:45 am and pitch black), so we found our way back to her near her mile 2-ish. Turns out, the trail/sidewalk had combined, and got loose and she tripped and appeared to have skidded on her hand - her palm was torn up, fingers road rashed and bleeding and her knee rashed pretty good. Kate took off running for her, and thanks to nurse-in-training Jill, we spent nearly 20 minutes on the side of the road cleaning the poor lady up (sorry to make you re-live all this, Tina!). The only humor out of the situation was the group of about seven or eight college students, clearly on their way home from the bars, asking what we were doing, and did we need their help? Drunk Girl #2: "Can I help? I'm REALLY good with bandaids!" Us: "No, hunny, you just keep walking." Though not at all funny in the situation, it provided some good relief afterward. 

We found Kate, exchanged her back out for Tina who then got to run her last mile or so and still finish out her leg. Trooper, I tell ya what. (Side note: apparently she wasn't going to call me, but a lady who was right behind her when she fell made her - thank you Ragnar stranger!)

Morning aftermath. :(
Soon, we were getting ready to send off Kim, so Tina and I spent awhile cowbelling and cheering at the exchange waiting for Kate to come in and send Kim off on her night leg. As soon as we got Kim off, it was my turn to pysch up and get ready to roll. Fact: Despite doing (now) three Ragnars, the  night legs are still the worst for me - they are terrifying. I hate them more anything. Yes, it's cooler, yes the weather is usually nicer, but mentally... they overpower me. 

My night run was about 8.4 miles in and out of Santa Rosa - a gorgeous little city (home of Charles Schulz), but also country enough that there were enough trees and shadows that scared the crap out of me. As noted, all my legs were NO van support, and this one was clear as to why: two lane highway, and we were running against traffic (obviously) at 2 am. Not a good situation for turnarounds. I was determined, though, to make it better than leg 1, and ran with what I had in me to get a solid 8.4 mile run in! 
Night leg selfie. 
During the day, I'm sure that leg is amazingly gorgeous - I could make out cornfields, some vineyards, tons of trees and a pretty tunnel of trees we ran through at some point. I'd never been more excited to see the one mile to go sign and gave everything I had for that last one mile. 8.4 miles, 1:22 and change, and something like 8 minutes over projected. Told you, night legs win! 

After my night leg, I changed and passed out for a few more hours - thankfully. I can't remember when I woke up, but it was just before or just after Kristin (#12) headed out, so we were near the next major exchange! Time kinda flew, despite how over time we were. We got to the exchange, said hi to our Van 1ers, got Kristin through, and stopped at first aid for Tina (first aid is only at majors, and we hadn't been to a major since Tina's spill). The awesome guy got Tina super wrapped up, gave us extra supplies to clean up later, and sent us on our way. BREAKFAST. 

Over breakfast, Jill analyzed all our next runs and gave us the run-down: hills, flat, rolling, short. A quick pump-us-up before we headed down the road. After breakfast and some playing catch-up on our legs and kills, and brushing our teeth on the side of the road, we headed out. 

Last legs, here we come! 

Have you ever fallen while running? Did you keep running?