Monday, October 27, 2014

Kids Don't Try This At Home - Goals For New York Marathon

What in the world is up blogisphere?  I've officially fallen off the face of the blogging earth.  I think about it every now and then in a fond memory sort of way.

Remember when I had a running blog? That was fun.  It really did keep me motivated and accountable to my workout schedule.  Maybe I should start writing again.  Or maybe I should put down this beer and go for a run and then write about that run.  Oh look someone just posted a video of dog riding around on a Roomba.  <30 secs later> What was I going to do? Oh right, go for a run and blog.  Well there is a game on in 90 min so I really don't have the time, but for sure I'll do it tomorrow.

You get the idea.  As I said before, my motivation went from 60 to zero after Hood To Coast.  In an effort to figure out why, I looked back at my races over the years.  Turns out that ALL of my PR's and successful races have been in the Feb-June time frame.  I am not sure exactly what that means but I think it has something to do with my brain thinking fall = football + travel (see two weeks in Europe) and not long distance training.  It's not that I don't want to workout at all,  I just don't want to train.  I've actually been dying to do anything but run long distances. I think fall races are just not my jam.  Pour some out for my bucket list fall races: Santa Barbara, CIM, Chicago etc... Going forward I think I'll plan on spring/early summer for any sort of goal or distance races, maybe a few fun ones over the summer and end my season with a group relay in the August/Sept time frame.

Nike Half SF Last Weekend

Regardless of my lack of motivation and being incredibly under-trained, I am running the New York Marathon this weekend.  So that's happening.  I am not nearly in the shape I was for Napa and my longest training run was 18 miles (13 of which were Nike Womens Half).  I am not worried about a DNF.  I know I'll finish, it's just a matter of when. I am just trying to focus on the positive. Regardless of the time, on Sunday I am going to run the New York Marathon.  Even knowing it's not going to be a PR for me (currently 4:12:05), I am still really excited to experience this race.  I have no idea what to plan for a goal so instead here's three goals:
  1. Good Goal: Cross the finish-line healthy and injury free regardless of time.
  2. Better Goal: Finish between 4:30 - 4:45
  3. Best Goal: Finish under 4:30, I think it would take a minor miracle to get in under 4:30 but I am putting it out there
New York will be my 5th marathon overall and 3rd marathon this year. I've been trying to get into this race since 2010 and I've heard nothing but amazing things.  This may be my only opportunity to run it and I want to soak it all in.  Also I'll be cheering something hard for this girl to win!  I adore her and am inspired daily by her choices and determination.  Add to that some Nuun ambassador events, lots of good friends, Duck football and a night on the town for Halloween and I am sure it will be an epic weekend.  See you on the other side.

September Workout Stats*:
Running - 40 Miles
Tennis - 75 min
Weights - 45min

*And that is why running New York in under 4:30 will take an actual miracle

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stats & Desperate Attempt To Motivate

July Stats:
Weights/Core/Nov. Project: 80 min
Running: 54 Miles
Spin: 24 Miles
Yoga: 50 Min
Tennis: 2 Hours
Total: 78 Miles + 4 hours 10 min 

August Stats:
Weights/Core/Nov. Project: 65 min
Running: 64 Miles
Spin: 14 Miles
Total: 78 Miles + 65 min

Everything was down from June except Core/Nov Project and Tennis because it's never been on there. Mileage wise these are the lowest months all year.  I need to start "really" training for New York. Nothing like starting your 16 week training plan at week 9.  I am not starting from zero but I've been VERY unmotivated since Hood To Coast.  There are just other things I'd rather be doing then running - tennis, golf, watching football, traveling, drinking beer, eating food, drinking wine, watching more football, hanging out with friends and watching football.  I keep saying this is my retirement marathon (for awhile) so I'd like to run it well.  But if you add my lack of motivation to the fact that I've been traveling 4 weekends in a row and I am about to leave for Europe for 2+ weeks, the Sub 4 dream has come and gone.  I still have a very small amount of hope for a PR to end my marathon-ing on a high note IF I can get my ass in gear this week today.

Also I suck at blogging lately.  I just don't seem to have the inspiration or energy to put in to it.  I'am not even interested in reading other running blogs lately.  Clearly I am in full burnout mode but I need to woman up for one last race before I start pursuing other interests. I've waited 4 years for this race so it would be so stupid to waste this opportunity.

I keep planning on writing something interesting and giving this blog a refresh but it's just not happening.  I am literally boring myself while typing this sentence.  So to keep with the craptastic content that's been on here lately, I present 10 things you could care less about need to know about my life right now:

  1. In Week 4 of not NY training, I had a minor scare with a popped SIJ . Turns out that all my right leg issues (knee, ankle, SIJ) are all stemming from a horribly weak right glute.  
  2. I am now in physical therapy 1-2 times a week.  I had never been to a PT before but so far I am a fan.  Luckily my PT is willing to work with my (non) training and made a deal that I have to do these daily exercises before I am allowed to run.  She's no nonsense and says thing like "typical fucking runner" in response to my comments of, "no I didn't see anyone, I just took Advil." Also, PT is hard. I leave sweating and I am always sore for multiple days after.
  3. MFR and I ate healthy the month of August which meant: no cheese, no beer (exception of 2 cheat days - HTC & Bend Brewfest), low carbs, minimal sweets and portion control.  I did pretty good but I am glad it's over. 
  4. It's FINALLY sunny in SF and that makes me happy.
  5. Football season is here which means Sat, Sun, Mon and sometimes Thurs I am booked
  6. Besides one other weekend in the beginning of August, this will be my first full weekend in San Francisco in over 14 weeks
  7. After Tour de Europe we made a deal not to travel for a few months (other than work trips, holidays and the NY Marathon...but other than that)
  8. We ran Hood to Coast and per usual it was a great time.  Leslie has a good recap.  In summary, I not only survived Leg 5 but ran the best I've ever ran HTC.  It was a great feeling to finally run a good even relay and know I put everything into each leg.
    Entire team at the finish line!
  9. I blame the high of HTC for my lack of excitement for New York.
  10. This announcement helped!

And because I need it, I am posting this again:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Napa To Sonoma & Eugene Half

I am going to try to keep this short since I am a few races behind.

On Sunday 7/20 I ran the Napa To Sonoma Half Marathon.  If you like wine, beautiful scenery and running then this race should be on your bucket list.  If you hate wine and feeling like you're in a postcard then this race would be your nightmare and also we shouldn't ever hang out.  I didn't have a stellar performance myself but I still can't get over what an awesome course and race this was. First off, the organization on race day exceeded my expectations.  We parked down by the finish line, loaded onto a shuttle and were dropped off at Domaine Carneros.

On the Napa-Sonoma Line.  Very similar to the Florida-Georgia Line.
The scenery was unbelievable.  You literally start in the middle of a vineyard, where I watched the Oiselle ladies and Lauren Fleshman warm up around the lake while Meb did laps on the Elliptigo. It was one of those is-this-real-life-? race moments.

Just chillin in a vineyard waiting to run 13.1
This race was made even better by the fact that I somehow convinced MFR to join me very last minute - thanks to a bib transfer. Besides doing Hood To Coast every year, MFR is not a big distance runner.  He prefers training for Oly tri's, basketball, tennis, golf...just about anything other than running past that 6.2 mile mark.  So the fact that he ran N2S the weekend before doing another half in Eugene is nothing short of a miracle.  The alternative of having breakfast with my 96 year old Grandma while I ran might have also swayed his decision.

Couples who run together

#team10barrel top, Nuun sunglasses, Picky Club sweatband & Oiselle Rogas - all the bases covered
To save you the mile by mile replay, I'll just say the race went okay.  I was really full again, as in this must be what it feels like to run pregnant feeling.  I just ate way too much the night before and the morning of.  I was running on tired legs and had to walk some in the last 3 miles.  I also stopped at the lone beer stand for a shot of Guinness at mile 11.  Why not?

I pushed through the last few miles and ended with a 2:04, a few seconds off my Zooma time.  As long as I live in the Bay Area, this race will be an annual tradition.  Honestly I don't think it gets much better as far as courses and scenery go. I think it sells out day of as well so if you're interested, stay on it!

Wine medal #2
Next up was Eugene this past Sunday (7/26).  It was a weekend filled with friends, family and reminiscing in my "hometown."  The race itself was great, I've always loved Eugene marathon.  It's a good course, good size and finishing on Hayward Field is surreal.  I was having too much fun to be bothered with photos but here are the two horrible pics I took all weekend:


Dad, MFR, Bro, Mom, Nephew #1, Sis-In-Law, Nephew #2
This was my 3rd time running Eugene (2008,2009) and my fastest to date. For the 3rd week in a row I ended up within a 30 second window with a time of 2:05, a few seconds off N2S.  The not so funny part was I thought I had Sub 2'ed.  I ran Garmin-less with two friends and although we chatted the entire time, I thought we were going at a pretty good clip.  I should have known better since I normally can't hold a conversation and run at the same time.

When I found out it was 2:05 I was shocked but not that disappointed.  It was a great weekend and fun race and that's what I expected on my tired legs.  At least I am consistent.  Afterwards I ate ALL the pancakes, showered up and met up with these two for ReNUUNion beers!

Ninkasi w/ Sweaty & Devon
After 3 half marathons in 4 weeks, I am ready to concentrate on Hood To Coast and New York.  I am starting with a good base and now it's time to focus on the marathon.  I'll worry about that Sub-2, PR'ing the half etc... after November 2nd.

I am coming for you NY - Actually looking at this photo makes me think I should reconsider this PR goal.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

June Stats, Running Lately & Official NYM Kickoff

June Totals:
Running: 55 Miles
Cycling: 37 Miles
Spin: 65 Miles
Cross/Core/Abs: 45 Min
Weights: 35 Min
Yoga: 2 Hours
Total: 157 Miles

June was big month for me!  I felt strong and like I got a good mix of activities in.  Highest mileage month in 2014 so far.

When I originally signed up for 3 half marathons (Zooma, N2S & Eugene) in 4 weeks my goal was to sub 2 all of them.  That didn't happen.  I came in at 2:04 for both Zooma & N2S and I am expecting something similar for Eugene this weekend.  The problem is not that I am out of shape or under-trained.  The problem is Hood To Coast!  What the what you say?  Sounds crazy but let me explain.

I am so terrified of that Runner 5 slot in HTC that I refuse to let myself taper or rest up for any of these races.  I have this nagging voice in the back of my head saying "running a half on tired legs will be the best training, think about how you'll feel climbing the mountain on your third leg."

Leg 3  - After having already run 14 miles (photocred/stolenfrom: OuaL)

I ran on tired legs for Zooma and then had a bad two weeks as far as training goes (selling a house, sinus infection etc...).  On Thursday, I considered just not working out and saving my legs for N2S but that voice came back.  So on Friday I ran lots-o-hills with November Project (Hills = Leg 5 Training), played 2 hours of tennis with MFR on Sat and then ran 13.1 on Sunday.  It's not ideal but it just makes sense to me right now so don't question.

Lyon St. Steps - The "Hill" we ran over and over again on Friday.

How can you say no to tennis with views like that?

This weeks plan consists of two Nov. Project workouts (hills & stairs), yoga, three short runs and a spin class all before taking on Eugene on Sunday.  Although I would still LOVE to Sub-2, I am not putting the pressure on.  My legs will be very tired once again, plus 95 degree weather is predicted.  Sub 2:05 is just fine by me.  I am looking forward to the race and my mini family run-union.  I haven't run Eugene since 2009; it will be good to be back in town for something other than football.

Last week was the official kick off of New York Marathon training, which is crazy to think about.  I have so much going on before November 2nd, that I can't comprehend it's only 15 weeks away.  I have seven trips (yes, seven) and three races before I get to NY.  Once I get passed HTC, my plan is to stay 100% focused on NY.  I've got a big goal and it's going to take a lot to accomplish it, especially considering the amount of travel I have.  Since it took me 4 years just do get into this race, I don't want to waste this opportunity.

I am using a similar training plan as Napa Valley Marathon.  Since I had N2S this past weekend and I have Eugene Half Marathon this weekend, I haven't followed the plan exactly but starting next week (week 3) I'll be on track + yoga, spin, core and hills (until HTC).  New York I am coming for you - Sub 4 or bust!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Race Report: Zooma Napa Valley Half Marathon

June 28th was  Zooma NV Half.  The race weekend started off Thursday night with a quick trip to Athleta in SF where I helped out with packet pickup and met some of the Zooma staff.  Friday I crawled in traffic out to the Napa Valley Marriott to hit up the expo, meet some of the Zooma ambassadors and drop off a friends race bib.  I would have liked to stay for the Honest Tea Mocktail party but it was my Grandma's birthday dinner in Sonoma so duty called.

Saturday morning (more races need to be on Saturday), I was up 4:30 am and did the standard morning race day routine.  I was nervous about parking so I got to the race start by 6:30 (for an 8am start) and was one of the first ones there.  I had front row parking, no lines for the bathrooms or gear check.  It was very surreal.  I've never had a race all to myself before.  The volunteers and I had a great ole time sitting in the sun and waiting for the shuttles of runners to show up.  When they did, I met up with some of the other ambassadors to do what bloggers do best, take pics:

Spending time with these ladies was the highlight of this race and opportunity.  Yes, even better then all the swag and product we got.  Zooma did a great job picking some fun, inspiring and impressive women runners to represent this race.  It also doubled for a ReNUNNion with two of my Hood To Coast teammates from last year, Kim & Karen.  Even though I spent most of the day with Kim, I don't have a single picture of the two of us.  Blogger fail!

I did some light stretching (what? maybe I am growing up) and lined up to start.  At this point I was already warm and pretty nervous about the rising temp since my training runs have been in the 50's and foggy.  June gloom in SF is not a joke people.

At 8am sharp we were off.  I made some snarky comment about how I thought the race course might be in neighborhoods similar to where we were starting and how that would be a waste of Napa scenery. Zooma showed me.  The entire out-n-back course looked like this:

I should learn to keep my mouth shut and maybe start looking at course maps.  Just a thought. Besides the glorious scenery, this course was nice and flat.  For others this made for a fast course, just not of me.

When it comes to running, heat and I just don't agree.  When it comes to being in an ocean or lying by a pool, we're the best of friends.  Running in heat, I get even more flushed than normal, I swell, my entire face gets covered in a grainy mess of salt which gets in my eyes.  My breathing is even more difficult and I constantly feel like I have to pee.

I tried to take it easy and pace it out for the first few miles but I could feel myself pushing to try and bank time for the return trip when I knew it would be even hotter.  My dramatics are making it sound like it was 110 degrees, for the record it was only 85.

Mile 1 - 9:03
Mile 2 - 8:46
Mile 3 - 8:28
Mile 4 - 8:52
Mile 5 - 8:59
Mile 6 - 8:54

Right before the turnaround I stopped to use the porta and take a Gu.  I did not need to stop and use the bathroom but I was being super paranoid.  I felt really full even though I had been careful about my nutrition the night before and I "had" to pee.  I kept telling myself it was the heat and dehydration and I'd sweat it out but my stupid paranoia caused me to stop for a few unnecessary minutes.

That messed me up mentally.  I had been feeling strong except my stomach and once I got to the turnaround I knew I was right near an hour.  I started cursing the pit stop and doubting my ability to run the second half as fast as the first since it was warming up.  I ran with Amanda for a little bit and we chatted which helped distract me.  Once we separated though, the heat just took over.  I knew I could push really hard and maybe make it but I just didn't have it in me.

Mile 7 - 10:54 (unnecessary pit stop)
Mile 8 - 9:30
Mile 9 - 9:26
Mile 10 - 8:56
Mile 11 - 10:24 (cashed it in)
Mile 12 - 11:17 (some walking)
Mile 13 - 9:19 (really wanted to be done)
Mile .16 - 1:30

I should have tried harder but my mental strength wasn't there, except for Mile 13 apparently.  I didn't hit my goal of a sub 2-hour.  I was disappointed for about 30 seconds while I was chugging a Muscle Milk at the finish line and then I got over it.  I was running on tired legs, it wasn't ideal conditions (for me) and I made some rookie mistakes that I'll work on going forward.  Also I found out on Monday morning that I have a pretty nasty sinus infection so that didn't help with the breathing part either.

We headed to the finishers party at the Marriott and met with other ambassadors.  It seemed like everyone had similar experiences with the heat.  Up until this point, I had been impressed with Zooma but the after-party was where they really shined.  It was out in the courtyard with a pool, which many runners were soaking their legs in.  Wine tasting, good food, honest tea, a bloody mary bar (with bacon),  yoga, massages and a great space to just hang out, stretch and relax.  Ultimate post-race festivities.

Ambassadors enjoying the post race fun
Another one for the collection - Love the wine theme
Thanks Zooma for putting on an awesome race!  Rumor has it they will be back next year and if so I'll be there.  This race did get me excited for Napa To Sonoma next weekend.  Keys to making it a successful race and trying again for that sub 2:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate the day before 
  • Dealing with my sinus infection - actually taking the antibiotics instead of ignoring the doctor and going to Shasta all weekend
  • You don't have to pee:)
Race Stats:
Official Time: 2:04:15
Overall: 136/588
Female: 121/544
AG: 25/111

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Zooma Napa Valley Runner Report: Me

On Saturday I ran the Zooma Napa Valley Half Marathon. It was a great race and a blast running with my fellow ambassadors. Over the past weeks, a few of us did runner profiles of other Zooma participants and last week we were asked to post our own. It's a little late but here goes:

Name: Kara, Bird Legs or Bird to my friends

Age: 32
Current City: San Francisco, CA
Race (10K or half marathon): Half Marathon

Why are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley?  
I was lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador for this race but I would have run it regardless. It's local, it's my favorite distance, it's in wine country and I've heard great things about the Zooma race series. When they announced the new location in Napa, it was a no brainer.

When & why did you start running?  
I started running in 2006 when I signed up to do an Olympic triathlon with Team in Training. For a few years I only did it as part of tri training. I've only really been serious about running on it's own since 2012. I run because I love the community and experiences running presents. I also love the way I feel when I am done with a run.

How many races have you done & which was your favorite?  
I've done over 50 races (60 if you include triathlons). It's hard to pick but the Napa Valley Marathon which I ran in March was definitely one of my favorites. The course was so beautiful, it was the perfect sized field and I ran a great race. I'd recommend it to anyone considering doing a marathon.

If you could pick one celebrity to run with, who would it be & why?  
Jennifer Aniston because she is my life idol. I am pretty sure we'd be besties if we started running together and she could fill me in on her anti-aging secrets. I know that's ridiculous but I don't apologize for my lifetime celebrity girl crush.

What is your favorite running memory?  
Running Hood To Coast with Team Nuun last year. It will take a lot to top that weekend.

What is your one running must-have?  
My Brooks and my allergy medicine.

What is your favorite post-run indulgence?  
A sandwich in my neighborhood called the SanFranPyscho - honey turkey, gouda, garlic spread etc... and an ice cold 10 Barrel Apoclypse IPA.

Who is your running inspiration?  
All my friends who run, both in real life and in blogger-world. I take pieces of inspiration from each of them. Everyone has different training plans, goals and attitudes towards running. No two runners are the same so I look to different people to inspire me in different areas (training, speed, nutrition, recovery, mental toughness, strategy, fueling, races, attitude etc...). That's what's so great about the running community. Even after years of running, I still learn something new and am inspired daily.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from running? 
It's all about balance.

Check out some of the awesome ambassadors I had the honor of running with this weekend:

Miriam from LongRun Happiness 
Amanda from Running On Waffles 
Katherine from Dream Body Warrior 
Karen from Reason To Play 
Nicole from The Slow Life

Thursday, June 19, 2014

CA Life, New Races

How do people travel, train, work and keep up their blogs? Some even manage to do all that and raise children.  I can't seem to get it all in. Which reads - I am not making it a priority.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  I've previously mentioned I have two really busy times each year at work, June and December.  Both make for some long(er) work days for a few weeks and then culminate with a four day meeting/conference somewhere awesome in CA.  For some reason that has always been followed by more travel somewhere else awesome in CA.  Last year that was Santa Barbara - Napa.  This year was Half Moon Bay for work and Dana Point for fun.  My job and Marriott points make for some amazing travel.

Northern CA

Southern CA

Needless to say, last week did not suck.  California you have my heart.  I've really nailed the work hard, play hard, run hard thing these past weeks.  Wait what was that third one?  Not so much.  I've gotten in some long/slow miles and some short/fast runs but hardly any race pace/tempo miles and I am nowhere near where I should be in terms of overall mileage.  It's not so much the fear of Zooma Half in a week, though I'd really like to sub 2 there.  It's more that I want to kick off my New York training with a good strong base and that's only 4 weeks away.  I need to get my ass in gear and start running more.

One of the few runs I actually managed in HMB

Nothing inspires me more than adding more races to my calendar so that's what I did.  

Napa To Sonoma Half Marathon 7/20
This race has been on my bucket list for a long time but it always sells out within hours.  I saw on their FB page that they allow for registration transfers.  I posted that I was looking for a bib, $150 later I was in!  I want to do all the races and drink all the wine so it's only fitting.  It's a small race with some pretty awesome runners making up the field.  It is a week before Eugene but back to back halves within 7 days is not the craziest thing I've ever done.

Giant Race Half Marathon 9/7
I love races, sports and San Francisco so this one is a no-brainer.  I ran the 10K(+ 2 miles because I missed the turnaround) when I first moved here 2 years ago and loved it.  This time I am stepping it up to the half since I'll be in the middle of NY training.

49ers Half Marathon 12/14
See reasons above.  This one I am still debating since they seem to be having some "new race issues" already but I am hoping they get those sorted out because a really want a gold football helmet medal.

After registering for these I immediately went out for a 9 mile run.  See it really does work!