Thursday, November 24, 2011

Oceanside Turkey Trot–One of my All-Time Favorites

What’s funny about this race for me is that the inaugural year was 2006 and had the real estate market not been so incredibly crappy, I might have been able to say I ran every year of its existence.  I remember seeing it advertised in ‘06 and thinking “maybe if we can sell this house in Lake Elsinore and move to Oceanside, I can run it” – turns out it took forever to sell that house (8 months) and we didn’t move until ‘07. So it’s 5 years running for me instead of 6. And every year this race rocks (even when I didn’t run “fast”).

2007 – 5K – 26:24 – 8:29 pace

2008 – 5K – 30:45 (had not run in like a year) – 9:53 pace

2009 – 5K - 26:19 (was really pushing to break 26  - was bummed it didn’t happen) – 8:28 pace

2010 – 5mi – 38:51 – 7:46 pace (most of this huge speed gain as 15 pounds of weight loss)

We got there a little later than I wanted – 6:30am. We live maybe 5 or 6 miles from the start so it’s easy to push your luck with timing. And I picked up my bib and chip after work yesterday, so, even more reason to dilly-dally. As always, parking was a cinch. Husband started snapping pics as we walked to the start.

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The 5 mile race is the earliest and super-low-key. No lines for porta potties. Plenty of space in corrals (they even have corrals by time! Awesome!).

I was fittering in place just behind the first corral an I found Nicole in front of me! She told me to stop being stupid (in so many words) and get into the front corral with her since the corral I was in was 8-min mile. I always feel weird about getting up front in a decent-sized race. She was going to go out 7:10-ish and that scared the crap out of me, so I let her take off and kick some hiney (and she totally does run on her toes – I am always in awe of forefoot strikers being the heel-striker that I am). We took a minute or two ahead of schedule 6:58am).

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About .3 in I looked at my watch and saw 6:34 mile-split pace (the forerunner 110 doesn’t show real-time pace, just estimated split time). This was too dang fast. So, I reeled myself in. I had planned 7:30 based on the 7:19 pace I ran at Iron Girl 5K.

I saw Nicole pass me again at this point – apparently she had a shoe-untie issue! Too funny. It was so early in the race we were both still able to talk without sounding like we were dying. I managed to keep her in sight most of the race – which was good motivation. I figured she should finish 60-90 second ahead of me so if I could keep her in view most of the race, I’d hit my goal of sub 38.

I felt good most of the race – I think I probably could have pushed a bit harder but I was concerned I would fade (in high school XC & track, I was the queen of going out too fast and fading almost always).

There is one hill at mile 3.5-ish  that is a pain in the butt – it’s short so it’s over quickly but it’s steep so you feel a bit miserable for about 40 seconds. This was the one split I had that was over 7:30. The others were under. I had told myself that if I could get the last mile well under 7:30 with the others at 7:30 I’d be happy.

The last .7-8 or so are along the strand, like 10 feet from the waves. So close that this time I totally got splashed by a big one! I guess it was high tide! Kind of threw me off a bit, was not expecting to get hit by the surf on the final stretch.

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Garmin beeped at mile 5 - 36:41. I was both stoked and annoyed at the same time. I could see that I was not going to make it to the finish line to break 37 but I was sooo close! But then I was happy that I was totally going to kill my last PR of 38:51 and my goal of sub 38.

I crossed at 37:10, unofficial.

Look at this awesome pictures my husband got just after I crossed the mat. I have to keep up my bad-picture-taking streak:

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Those are my home-made ghetto arm warmers – two pairs of Target knee high socks sewn together.

My splits:

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This pace is only 1 second slower than the 5K two weeks ago! The course was certainly easier, but I do think I had some room for improvement on the 5K. Sub 22 might totally be possible!

Afterwards we chatted a bit with Nicole (who unofficially broke 36 minutes!) and her family and then went back down to the finish to wait for my buddy Tony to finish. In years past he has kicked my ass in the 5K, but he hasn’t been running as much lately (and I have been running a butt-ton). Funny how much consistent practice can make all the difference!

I also saw a coworker and former Ragnar teammate at the finish – think I might have beaten him so maybe I can give him some crap about it on Monday Winking smile

Overall, it was a great race. I had The Husband back (he was training in Denver for two weeks and finally got back Friday), got to hang out briefly with some friends, ran a great community race, and had a 1:40 PR in the 5 mile!

Now it’s time for some Turkey!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Wednesday Is Sucking

You guys. I am so pissed off right now. To the point where I can’t even focus on tasks.

Last week, I miraculously got a phone call from our mortgage holder that we would be able to refinance at 4.5% under a new government program for underwater, responsible homeowners which is awesome. If you’ve been reading a while, I’ve been through all kinds of ridiculous calculations trying to figure out a way to refinance down from 5.75%.

They ran our credit and, again, mine was significantly lower than The Husband’s. I did not understand this and so the broker started looking through the report and saw that the BULLSHIT collections account (if you care to read the full bullshit story) that I got removed through Equifax 2 years ago is still being reported by TransUnion and Experian.

I have been mad since 10am. I even ran a brisk 3 miles on the treadmill (26:15 – fast because I felt it would help calm me down) to shake the anger which resulted in maybe 20% improvement of overall pissed-off-edness. Did not remove my general crotchety feeling.

Supposedly, this won’t affect the loan because my middle score is above 720 (I have 800+ on Equifax, but under 700 on Experian. FRGSKIGLKUYIRLSKGUEHL!). But I have to write a F*&CKING letter explaining the bogus collections account. [shaking head]

Why is it that with credit reporting, it’s “guilty until proven innocent”?!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Survived My 18-Miler!

I haven’t run 18 miles since early 2003. More than 8 years. Pre-marriage was the last time I ran 18 miles. I was freaking 24 years old. So I was a little concerned if I would make it or if I would want to die around mile 16.

At 8:30am-ish, I began the 9 mile trek south down the 101. I figured I’d try to stick to 9:15-9:30 and if I felt good, pick it up at the midway point. Thank God for the Garmin because quarter of the way through the first mile I looked down to see a mile-pace of 8:40. Yeah. Not in the plan to run sub-9 for mile 1. I pulled myself back to the 9:15 range and trudged along. Around mile 2 or so, I left a wind-shielded area to find that we had a lovely headwind coming at us. I think that give the choice to run uphill or in a headwind, I’d always choose uphill. At least I could attack a hill and visually size it up. Have plan of action. Headwind? You can’t see it. It tends to change in intensity.

On several occasions during the first 9 miles, I asked the wind, outloud, to “Give me a break, already!” And also, “You’d better not change direction when I turn around!” Another reason running into wind sucks. It can change direction. A hill is concrete – you go up, then you go down. I’ll take a hill any day of the week over bullshit wind.

So, miles 1-9 looked like this:

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Apparently, Garmin though I ran up a HUUUUUGE hill and then ran down it in mile 1. Not the case, I did not climb 505 feet in one mile. That would be brutal. And ridiculous.

After having a deglet noor date around mile 4, at mile 9 before turning around I had a PowerGel that I scored at the Iron Girl expo. I’m not sure I completely dig the texture, but it is certainly better than super-goopy stuff. It’s really thin in consistency – like almost drinkable. Given that it was free, I liked it well enough.

I started running north and it was like night a day with the wind. I felt like I was running at ludicrous speed (which was just 8:50’s but whatever). Seriously, I had a stupid grin on my face, running uphill with the wind at my back.

Every couple miles, I ate a date and drank some gatorade.

Around mile 14-15 it started to feel like it was getting tiring. All this running. I allowed myself to ease up during mile 15 because I had no desire to drag myself through the last 3 miles as a result of draining my fuel tank.

The last mile, I was determined to run my fastest split – I was secretly hoping to run 8:30’s but I was happy enough to finish with an 8:44 and not be completely dead.

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I’m pretty happy with this run. I had about 3-4 minutes of bathroom break, turn-around break, and stop-light time. So, even taking that into account, I think it went well!

I have no idea what to expect of my first marathon in nearly 9 years. I guess the primary goal is to PR – which shouldn’t be that hard considering it’s currently a 4:26:54.

3 more days ‘til the Turkey Trot! 5 miles… maybe sub 38? We’ll see!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

[Sigh] Mission Inn Run Half Marathon

It’s a wonder anyone still reads my blog with all my complaining about races. But I do have some positives – so let’s talk about the good stuff first!

  1. I finally got to meet Pam! And her husband Rocky!
  2. The weather was great – 50-55 degrees and clear
  3. At $40, it’s a very affordable race. And the medal is decent – not generic & cheesy.
  4. There were plenty of water stops also with cytomax (didn’t see any gu/gel).

I think it ends there.

I dragged my ass out of bed this morning at 4am which was tough. The time change effect has faded so 4am felt like 4am. Took off at 5am – one hour and an uneventful drive later, I was parked. Picked up my bib easily and my goodie bag. So, the goodie bag wasn’t really much of anything. It was yet another reusable bag and a plastic water bottle. That’s it – no samples, trinkets, etc. And no coupons or anything which I actually appreciated (I never find anything useful in there – less stuff to clog landfills).

Last weekend I made ghetto arm warmers by chopping off the feet of a $2 pair of knee socks from Target – with shorty arms, they pretty much cover them completely. I wore those as I hit the porta potties and waited for the start. I took them off before the start since it felt warm enough.

We started on time (if not a few minutes early) and I told myself I was not going to go out like a crazy person and then crash and burn. The first 4 miles were  nice – it was downhill through a scenic neighborhood and then into the park.

Mile Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Best Pace
1 8:15 1 0 50 7:10
2 8:23 1 72 14 6:42
3 8:10 1 27 66 6:27
4 8:08 1 23 65 7:04

I don’t remember too much about these miles other than telling myself to take it easy. Considering it was net down, those splits are tame which was the goal. I started eating blocks at mile 3 – one every two miles.

Around mile 5 we turned onto a bike path along a river (I wonder if it’s the same Santa Ana River Trail path?) and the next 2.5-ish miles were probably the toughest, mentally, for me. It was pretty boring and just straight. Also, it seemed there was a headwind but I wasn’t sure if it was coming straight at us or sideways. We were also going gradually uphill. I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

Mile Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Best Pace
5 8:36 1 3 0 7:35
6 8:26 1 21 0 6:10
7 8:23 1 65 47 7:19

The one good distraction was around mile 6 or so – the leaders doubled back. So, I distracted myself by looking for Pam. I think she was 6th or 7th woman when saw her. The turn around was ~ 7.5 miles. Apparently, last year the course continued further down the bike path before turning around… [foreshadowing]

The next 3 miles felt pretty damn good – the wind was at our backs and it was a gentle downhill. I was actually giving myself props for having cranked out 8:2x’s when I realized it had been uphill with a headwind. It was probably the most pleased I’ve been with my myself during a race in a long time.

Mile Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Best Pace
8 8:13 1 62 44 6:39
9 8:08 1 0 33 7:26
10 8:20 1 0 26 7:08

I was picking people ahead of me to chase down and then pass! I felt good, confidence-wise. We left the bike path after mile 10 and it started getting tough (after mile 10 I always find it challenging). But I told myself – 5K left! Thirty minutes, worst case scenario.

Then I saw the mile 12 marker.

Um.

Where was mile 11? Garmin had not even gotten to 11 yet. I had a bad feeling when I saw that sign. I was really hoping it was wrong. I had energy reserved in the tank.

We climbed a beast of a hill at mile 12 – I just kept telling myself I had to keep running, as much as I wanted to walk. A steep hill towards the end of the race is never, ever fun. I passed a couple more people on the hill and when it was flat, I started picking up the pace again. Mile 12 split beeped and I recognized where we were.  I was really hoping there was some secret extra loop we were going to do. I was cruising along at 8:10 pace – I had saved a can of whoopass for this last push.

Turned the corner to see disappointment personified (objectified?). I have never been so displeased in seeing the finish line. I didn’t kick it in because it didn’t really matter. 

I ran down the chute - Pam cheered for me and I yelled out as I crossed the timing mat, “It’s SHORT!!” Duh, I’m sure she knew, too, but I was bummed and tired and could not restrain my inner Captain Obvious.

Mile Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Best Pace
11 8:21 1 7 0 7:29
12 8:51 1 67 0 7:50
0.27 2:11 (8:08) 1 0 0 7:22

12.27 miles, 1:42:25. 8:21 pace.

It was like a hard run, really. I mean, I guess it’s still a race, but it can’t be compared to anything. It’s not like I knew in advance I’d be running nearly a mile less. I ran at half marathon pace, not 12.27  mile pace.

Had it been long enough, I likely would have finished around 1:48/1:49. Close to a non-Fontana PR on a moderately difficult course. I feel a bit robbed.

Just to cap it off in my head that this was really just a long run day, I ran another 2.73 with the dogs to round it out to 15 miles. They are now passed out on the couch – mission accomplished.

So. I’m sorry I don’t have a happy race post. Or a very positive post, in general.  I suppose I can try to avenge my missed PR at Santa-to-Sea in a month.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Iron Girl Del Mar 5K–Light on Pictures

Rather than steal the shit out of other blogger’s photos, this will be light on pics. I do have to keep up my reputation of being a mediocre (read: lazy) blogger, you know.

Because I was too cheap to pay the $45 or whatever for the 10K, I decided I would do the 5K which after the discount code was like $24. I could not pass up a cheap 5K 30 minutes from my house. Not to mention the motherload of awesome shwag this race gives out. This race is worth every penny. Thanks to the time change, I was easily able to haul my butt out of bed at 5am and I didn’t feel like death warmed over.

I donned my Target running skirt, new pink Zensah Schwaggle socks, blue hat, and Mizuno Precisions. I also put on makeup (seriously, apocalypse s coming) because my face is staging a revolt this week. Apparently my acne is the 99%. Occupying every spare centimeter of my chin.

I parked at the track around 6:30am (I like to be early for races, pretty much the only thing I do punctually) and walked over the packet pickup. Found Sarah right away and then we parted ways before the start. I managed to find Nicole and Heather by the start/finish portajohns. Nicole left us to float her way through the 10K.

As Heather, her friend Snork, and I were chatting before the start of the 10K, this self-righteous heifer decided to scold us for talking during the Star Spangled Banner (meanwhile, her hat was on, so, apparently only her definition of respect/patriotism is the “right one”). Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was playing – we were pretty far from the start line so it wasn’t all that loud. I had no other response than “Sorry” because that’s what she wanted to hear, and, also, I was completed stunned and could think of nothing else. However, after she walked away I got really pissed and thought of everything I should have said (though, really, better I didn’t because that would just take it down to her level). It still fires me up thinking about it. Scolding is not a good way to get your point across to adults. It only pisses people off. But apparently that’s how a lot of people are with this stuff. All emotion and no reason. Does NOTHING good to approach it this way.

Anyway, after I ranted/verbally vomited to Heather we walked over to the start line, and I tried to get close to the start. I had a crapshoot chance of an age group placement, so, figured might as well get on up there.

Per usual, I had walkers in front of me (walkers do not belong 5 feet behind the start line. No.), I managed to maneuver around them and settle into a pace where I didn’t feel like I was dying. Around the .3-4 mark, the 5K doubled back over the original course. And guess what? Not everyone had left the chute area yet, so it was like a game of chicken getting through. I hope they fix this next year because that is a bad course design.

I started picking the kids off in the first mile (they always start too fast). Second mile, was mostly uphill, but I still managed to catch an adult and another kid. Then one woman passed me (the only one), on a mission. I swear she must have started late the pace she was going. I hit the downhill and tried to pick up speed. I started gaining on yet another kid who appeared to be fading. I turned the corner to the finish chute, ran up beside her and said “Come on! Kick it in!” and she proceeded to do exactly that and beat me by a second. I’m fairly certain had I not said anything that probably wouldn’t have happened. But, hey, I felt she needed a kick in the ass (in a nice way, obv). And what’s 15th vs 16th anyway. Still not first, second, or third. And clearly not in my age group (I’m not THAT stupid).

I ended up finishing 16th out of 936. And because 30-34 age group sucks, 5th out of 156. Chip time 23:27 – 5 second PR since July.

And this is where I do what everyone says is annoying about running bloggers, but I DON’T CARE. The course was .11 long. That, my friends, translates to 40-45 seconds.

Previous 5K (RSP 5K in July) stats:

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This course was short (3.06) and only had an elevation gain of 19 ft with a net loss(!). Avg pace of 7:42/mi.

Iron Girl Del Mar 5K stats:

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.11 long (3.21) with an elevation gain of 77 ft (4 times that of RSP). Avg pace of 7:19/mi.

So, I’m sorry to annoy those folks that hate running bloggers nitpicking the length of course, but we are talking about a 23 second per mile improvement. If you just look at the 5 second PR, it appears to be the smallest of improvements. But 23 seconds per mile is significant. Especially on a harder course.

So, that’s my take away with this race.  I ran significantly faster than July. I passed a butt-ton of people, was only passed once, and managed a strong finish (looking at the Garmin pace/time graph I would venture to say that the last .5-.75 mile was sub 7:00). Would have easily been a sub 23 if it weren’t for that pesky extra bit. Next time!

Edit:

I totally forgot to mention our post race run! I was so focused on the recapping the race part that I had a brain fart. After finishing we found Ashley and ran another 6 miles up to Solana with her BF snapping blogger pics for her (which everyone subsequently stole. Maybe we should be paying him. Ha!), then headed over to the Naked Café and met up with Linzay, another Ragnar buddy blogger (directing positive healing thoughts to her torn hammy). Another great blogger/runner weekend!