Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Next Marathon

Honolulu is in twelve days. I signed up after a couple of good runs in a row mid-November when I thought yes, I'm finally starting to recover! But since then, the running hasn't been so great. My right side is kind of wonky. The low back (can't put on my own pants very easily) and the glute (feels like it's not really attached to my body) and the hamstring that didn't work on the back half of the marathon very well are all a disaster. Oh, and that shin is messy, too, but I've had shin splints since seventh grade, so that's sort of normal. 

So, it's a big taper: two full weeks of no running, then a 26.2 mile run, should everything feel ok enough to go at 5 am on December 14. 

I swam today for about 15 minutes, and might ride the exercise bike or go for a walk tomorrow. Then this weekend, I'm going snowboarding for a couple of days. That's kind and gentle, right? 

I have new shoes. For the first time ever, my race flats felt too light in a marathon, so I'm bumping it up from Kinvara to Cortana. And I have ankle bling flash tattoos. So those will both help.


I walked Waimanalo Beach last weekend. It looked like this - no instagram required. Walking isn't all bad.


If I make it, I think three marathons in a year ties my most since the Ironman days.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Inspired and Busy

I loved Kara Goucher's take on her disappointing (for her) race at NYC. Add a minute per mile, remove the pressure of being an elite, and it sums up how I felt about my race at Chicago. Except she's got the whole world watching - I can't imagine.

Her blog post can be found here.

I've been quiet (for me), but here's what's going on:

  • I'm training again. There will be no long runs (maybe a 12, max) in between Chicago and Honolulu marathons, however, I'm adding all the intensity I didn't do for Chicago. I ran track twice and tempo once - because that's how I roll when I don't have someone to motivate me to do it! This time, I'm running 4 days/week instead of 7, and 2-3 of those runs will have some speed. I've done 800s, miles, and a tempo run in my first 10 days back to training. It's different and fun, in a sick way. 
  • I miss Ironman. Big time, after being in Kona for the UPR. The wheels are turning, but I don't think it's time yet. Maybe for my 40th in a couple of years.
  • This week made me sick. Henry got a stomach ache last Sunday after eating Halloween candy for breakfast. I told him that's what happens and ignored him and his stomach for 24 hours. He's 14 and dramatic. I gave him some pepto. Then we were sitting on the couch in the evening, and I looked over at him and just knew - it was his appendix. I googled, then stood him up and told him to show me where it hurt worst. He couldn't stand up straight. And pointed to his appendix. We spent the next two days in the hospital. He was in a lot of pain post-op, and somehow I held it together and didn't cry with him. But his father was hiking off the grid, and I have to say I missed him. Signing all that paperwork and sending your child into emergency surgery solo is stressful. So now, my hands are peeling, I have constant headaches, and I'm exhausted - all my big stress signs. My body put it off a few days so we'd survive the hard part, I guess. 

Running is making me feel better, though. Maybe I get five this week...

We snuck out for a walk on the beach today - H's on no physical activity, per doctor's orders. So we walked slowly. This weekend is already better than last!

last weekend

this weekend

Sky started volleyball - fancying up the uniform a little, of course: 

She's driving me crazy by insisting on playing right-handed even though she's a lefty...

And Wyatt hiked across Haleakala crater with his dad.




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Not the Loneliest Sport


My friend Tinman just posted this photo to Facebook for us - taken at the Wahine Half Marathon a couple of years ago. In most of our group shots we're smiling, posing, goofing around, but this one captures one of my absolute favorite things about running - the camaraderie. From the angle, the cones, my dry-ish hair, I'd say this was the first few miles of the race, when we were still in Ala Moana Park. We went out too fast, running under 6:20 for the first mile and pulling well away from the pack, but it was a pace I knew I couldn't hold and I suggested we back off to 6:30s. Katherine was running Boston a couple of weeks later, so when she backed it off even further without a word, Brig and I understood that it was a purposeful decision, and not a time for us to try to rally her back to the pack. 

We ran quietly together through mile 11. Brig dropped me a couple of times, but she's a good rule-girl and I'm a good tangent-runner, so I'd catch back up on the curves and fall in beside her again. We laughed about it. Brig was stronger in the end - she always is. She has a kick to kill for. She dropped me for a 1:25 flat on a long course, and I eeked in just under the 1:26 mark. Katherine's "backing off" pace still brought her in at 1:28, if memory serves correctly.

I registered for the Honolulu Marathon on December 14 today, and am going to take a different approach to training for it - more on that next.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recovery

The photos came in. I love this one from Ali Engin simply because it captures the fun, the colors, the crowd, and the way KN and I had to navigate it to stay together. At times she led, other times, I did. I think this is pretty early on, since I still have my hat on.


When the link to official race photos came in, I sat in bed and cried. Not how you think - I was cackling alone at 1 am in a Hyatt somewhere on the gulf coast of Florida. They were so terribly bad. We looked like death in every shot. In some, it looked like we were just learning to run. I emailed KN something along those lines and she said she did exactly the same - laughed until she cried. It's amazing we made forward progress with our form. This is the least terrible. Arms crossing, leaning back not forward...

Just past 10k, in Lincoln Park, I think by the lack of hat, but arm warmers still on. I'm a sweaty running strip show out there.

I found KN at the finish quickly, then we ran right into Brig, who had a PR day, too:


Celebrating with some of the HI runners at dinner - I am so fortunate to have these women in my life!


 I stayed another two days in Chicago with my parents. We shopped, ran errands, hung around, did nothing. It was great. It's rare to have them to myself - there are five of us kids, and then the grandkids. I spent those two days eating mni-PB cups from Trader Joe's and drinking wine.

Then I went to Florida to work with a client for two days. First stop was visiting with my cousin Allison and her kids for a few hours. We have parallel lives, it seems, and we just missed each other at the Boston Marathon this spring.


Then, I was off to Denver to meet HK and a big group of friends for the real vacation time.




That's Jim's cigar, not mine. I had to go home and wash my hair (and that man) after this. Ick.

We spent four days in Denver, drove to Boulder because HK wanted to do the man vs. food wing challenge (food won), hung out with the kids, and went to a football game. Everyone was super excited about Manning breaking a record. Football isn't my thing, but it's fun in real life.

Me, Chelsea, and Erin

Photobombers. And oh, the Denver hair. I woke up like that each day. I love mainland hair the most.

HK and John Elway

And in the end, 10 full days away was far too long away from my kids. It was good to come home. I've yet to start running regularly or stop eating like I ran a marathon yesterday. I promise to stop calling it recovery soon. Like tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014



Sometimes I want to write it all down quickly, and sometimes I just want to digest. Today, I will write it all down quickly. The short version: I went 3:00:17. A bit of a painful time. But at the same time, my second-fastest marathon ever.

The long version: I messed up a little bit here and there with the prep. I forgot to buy pre-race standard breakfast of a Clif Bar, so winged it with Trader Joes' PB cups and half a banana (gag). Then I listened to a volunteer, who told me that in spite of what all the literature said, I just had to go south on Lake Shore Drive to get to the corrals and they'd let me through. I wound up having to circumnavigate Grant Park, running 3+ miles before the start, because walking would have cost me not getting to the start in time.

Brigitte, Todd, Katherine and I started together at the front - the American Development wave is lovely.

Here's a breakdown:
  • Mile 1: 7:00 - perfect. Better too slow than too fast. 
  • Miles 2-6: We ran four across and 6:45 pace was enjoyable. The temperature was perfect.
  • Miles 6-9: We lost Brig & Todd when we ran a few 6:39s in a row.
  • Miles 10-13: Headwind, but we drafted a little and held steady at 6:45.
  • Half: 1:28 high, just like last time.
  • Miles 13-16: There was a pause for immodium, and we had a couple 6:55s. We noted that 6:45 started to feel like a sprint or 10k pace. Easy was over.
  • Miles 16-19: I was crampy, and I have zero experience with cramping. I shortened my stride to keep my hamstring from stopping me. I begun to lose KN a bit, then surge to catch up. 
  • 30k: 2:06, still on pace (ave: 6:47/mi) and same as last time.
  • 19-20: I let KN go. She was strong and I was sprinting to hold 6:50. 
  • 20-25: I struggled, but fought hard. I ran as fast as I possible could, and that was giving me 7 - 7:15. I said it all: you are not a girl who gives up and just misses sub-3, you will fight until you fall down, you will not let this go, the-faster-you-run-the-sooner-you're-done, faster, faster, faster.
  • But for the last 5k, I ran 7:15s. 
  • Mile 25: I did the math and knew it was going to be really close. I could still see KN from time to time, up ahead. I saw my parents. I ran as hard as I possibly could.
  • Mile 26.1: I turned the corner and watched the clock tick from 2:59:45 through 3:00, sprinting, but it was too far a distance to cover. 
  • Miles 26.1-26.2: Cruise control, because it's either sub-3, or whatever, I didn't care about the seconds.


The best part? KN went 2:59:19. She did it! It was so great that I don't care that I didn't. It's all good - for 20 miles, I got to be a part of her goal-accomplishing day!

Brig PR'd in 3:03 with zero speedwork and finished strong. Candes PR'd in 3:13. All around, a great day.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Racing Manana

Thursday was busy - Kona in the morning to catch up with friends and run the UPR, then Chicago on the red eye. I've been lucky enough to see Katherine twice, shop a little and hang with my parents, and am now resting up for the race in the morning. 

The goal is sub-3, as usual, this time with KN and Brigitte at my side. The weather is perfect - clear and high 40s/low 50s. I've been uncharacteristically optimistic and relaxed about it - so we'll see how that pays off, I guess!

Some Chicago:



And some Kona:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Race Report in a Lonnnnng Time

Oh, and birthday weekend festivities.

I hit an age where mid-30s no longer flies. Let's gloss over that, shall we? Here's what's more important: On my birthday/birthday weekend, I:

  • talked to all three of my brothers - even the one living in Mali
  • rallied friends for a sandbar adventure for mine and my sister's shared birthday
  • went to sleep at 9 pm - twice
  • ran a solid race on a beautiful course
First, the Kaneohe Sandbar - it's my favorite place on Oahu.This is my little sister and me with the man who made it happen. We're six years apart to the day.




Sky's been out there enough to run off when we get there - she's a sandbar fish. The sandbar is probably a mile by a mile, so there's lot of room to play.


It was sunny for an hour. And then, there was thunder. We had so many people that Ikaika had to do trips - only 8 can legally be on the boat. So he left Haseena, Wyatt and me out there for the torrential downpour. It quickly spiraled into an episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive. Fortunately, Haseena had a semi-foul-weather jacket to hide our People Magazine in. And it was 75 degrees at worst and there were drunk party people on pontoon boats with cocktails pretty nearby. But it rained so hard you could barely hear, and sitting out in the ocean a couple miles offshore in a thunderstorm is a little crazy.

When our rescue arrived:


On Sunday, I got up early for the last pre-thon intensity. Four miles along this coastline from Sandys to Hawaii Kai for the Ka Iwi Coast Run. I run this road every few weeks, and grew up right here, running this. But this is the only race here, and it was such a beautiful morning to take over the whole road with paddlers and runners. I had all my people - paddling from age 12 on is what made me learn to love sports. And running, well, that's my real love. The race was 4 miles and this was taken this morning:

Thanks Salty Wear for the photo!

I found my friend Jason and we decided to run together. There were some big climbs, including up Koko Head to the entrance to Hanauma Bay, so I didn't know what goal to set and decided to tackle it like a 10k - 6:20 - 6:30 pace. A few guys ran off the front, and then it was us. The hills were hard, but I just stuck with my pace that told myself small steps, big lungs, on repeat. The views were insane. After the last long climb - about 0.5 miles up up up, we crested the hill and had a long downhill, then a mile to the finish. We ran the last mile in 5:59, and 25 minutes. I was 5th overall and 1st woman.


Later that morning, we headed to hear my friend Scott speak. In 2007, I waited anxiously for and then watched Scott Rigsby just squeak by under the 17h cut-off at Ironman Kona in 16;42. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house as he finished - the first double-amputee in the world to do so. He gives an amazing inspirational talk, and I was grateful to hear it first hand, both for me and for Henry.



I am so grateful for friends near and far who showered me with birthday love! The far: the card and cute tank from my friend Erin (it really is a great adventure!) and the near: tahitian pearls from Ikaika.


In four days I'll be in Kona for the Underpants Run, and then I'll head to Chicago for the next big adventure. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ten Days

The work is done. Now I just force rest, eat clean, sleep too much, and try to stay away from my 14 year old who has a cough. Which won't be easy - he's my oldest, yet sometimes the one who needs me most lately. At least, he needs the most driving around...

I'm so insanely busy with work that I can't do much else, so that helps the taper. This week is limited to 25 miles. I'm skipping the track and adding a four-mile race from Sandys to Hawaii Kai on Sunday for my last little bit of intensity. And beautiful views! I've got another four pounds to go to race weight, so I'm alcohol and sugar-free, and living on vegetables, green shakes, and a little protein here and there.

Most people get phantom taper injuries. I get too-much-sleep injuries. My neck and back are stiff and achy every morning because lying down for eight hours is foreign to my body. I'm used to four or five hours, max. 

My race tank arrived and so did my number: 456. I like it! I'm big on numbers. That feels like a straight. Katherine, Brigitte and I are all in the american development wave, which we had in 2012 too - heated tent, front row start, and a nice place to keep our things and meet up afterwards. All set up for success.

I'm putting it all out there: We are going sub-3. It's on! Brigitte has never raced in cool weather and has a PR of 3:03. She's a machine and I think she can go even faster. And Katherine went 3:03 this year - faster than ever! I got my 2:58 here and want to do it again with my girls. Ten days to go - I can't wait!



Saturday, September 20, 2014

The last big week!

This was it - 70 miles with a 20-miler at the end. After this, I will do a big, long, lazy taper. That means I'll run 60% (42 mi) next week, and 40% the following (28 mi), then really do almost nothing race week. I still have two more short speed workouts, even though I don't really understand "staying sharp," and the rest is just proper rest, staying healthy, and losing the last 5 lbs. Make fun of me if you want, but at my lighter, healthy-eating weight, I run so much more effortlessly. I'm a week into a month without sugar, and after a particularly fun Thursday night at the grand opening of the Ilikai condominiums, I'm off alcohol until after the race, too. Funny, that doesn't bug me nearly as much as candy.

View from the Ilikai

I completed the Purium athlete cleanse. My thoughts: way easier/more manageable - you get more protein and fat and a full meal each night. But, the vanilla chai didn't do it for me - I wanted my greens back. So I ordered more. I'm totally drinking the Kool-Aid. It's working. And bonus: so is this one! Sky has taken over the apple berry power shake. All organic superfoods - works for me. She wants purium and pancakes for breakfast lately.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Three-hour run

At least once before the marathon, I like to run my (optimistic) marathon time. The thinking is that when I get to that last half-hour on race day, I'll be able to remind myself that running three hours is no big deal - I did it four weeks ago on tired legs. Sure, I need to get 3-4 more miles in during that time, but my body can run for three hours. No problem. 

I wish I'd been better about logging, but I'd estimate this is my fifth 20-ish mile run of this build. I'm pretty scientific about the training around here. I know that even a hint of sugar during a run would set me on course for sugar-disaster, so here's how this run was fueled in lieu of the standard gummy colas.

Purium and the long run: black coffee and master aminos vegan protein for breakfast, an all-fruit power gel (banana and blueberries) for during, and LOVE Super Meal and Super Xanthin for recovery.

I started early because it's been crazy hot here. It was cool and dark for the first hour and a half, then the sun came up. Luckily, right about then, I ran into the Boca training group. I wound up having a great hour of running with Lectie, Michelle and Mariane, and pushing the pace a bit to keep up. In the end, 80 calories of fruit probably weren't enough for 23 miles, but I survived and it will make me a little bit stronger in Chicago. Next week's long run is TBD - at three weeks out, I might throw one more 20+ in for good measure. 

Here's how the post-athlete cleanse anti-sugar mission is going - we go to events, and the kids/man buy bad stuff and then ask me to hold it for them while they do other things. Like coffee fudge brownies, and bacon cupcakes that sound amazing and then turn out to be a letdown.


That's my fake I'm-about-to-steal-your-food smile


The challenges I face when I pop in at our HQ

This guy decided that my goals (sub-3, no debt, and the splits*) for 2014 weren't enough, and added handstands and walking on my hands. I sometimes forget that he was once a black-belt in everything and has the flexibility and balance of a 100-lb ballerina. I'm up for the challenge, but there will likely be lots of broken glass. 


*Yeah, ask him about his goals sometime. His whats?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Track-anxiety

With four weeks till marathon day, I'm back at the track. This build, I put in more weeks of tempo than track. This was not strategic or goal-oriented. Oh no, this was just plain old fear. I am afraid of the track. Sometimes I go to pick up H at football and smell the track and get nervous. It smells like rubbery pain. Brig says the track is hard because it demands honesty - there's nowhere to hide. She's a wise one.

I don't mind pushing hard in a race, but there's something about intervals that gets the best of me. But, there's really no substitute. I do intervals by my watch on the road sometime, but they don't hurt as much - because I'm not pushing the pace as hard. If I want the added bit of speed I need to get under 3 hours in Chicago, I can't skip the track.


The full moon was setting when I got there a bit before 5 am. I promptly tripped over a football labeled JV - thanks, son. I had my racing shoes and my recovery drink, and my standard pre-hard-workout breakfast of black coffee. Stacky joined me, which is a plus because I'm more likely to finish the workout and push to keep up, but also a minus, because I actually have to do the workout and not chicken out.

Here's the thing: maybe if you don't go very often, like two - four times per year instead of weekly, you won't have as many painful, missed interval days at the track. It's safe to say I last ran at the track in April, before Boston. And even then I only did one track workout during the build. Today I threw out a simple workout and a not-too-intimidating goal: 6 x 800, jog 200 in between. I've been running at the track with Stacky for eight years now (when I show up) so we both know what times are a bad day (3:10+) an ok day (3:01 - 3:09) and what makes a good day (3:00 or faster) without having to discuss goal times.

First one is warm up: a comfortable 3:18. I laughed because two years ago at Chicago, that was pretty close to the pace I ran for 26.2 but today, it wasn't easy. The next two, I waited for the lactic acid burn that kicks in by 200m, but it didn't come:
3:05
3:02
Half-way done, before my legs are even on fire! The burn came on number four, but I shortened my stride a bit and worked through it with each lap:
2:59
2:57
2:52
And done! I didn't mean to descend, but I did push hard on that last one just to see what I could do. Then we debated stealing the football (didn't), eating the king sized Reece's cups that were unopened on the lamp post (temptation is everywhere!), but instead took pics of my shoes and Purium at sunrise and raced home to start the day happy and unbroken by the track.

I might never go back, since I'm winning right now.

Today was a very full workday, but I stopped late afternoon for an hour to officially launch Girls on the Run at the local middle school. My friends JP and Krista joined me to help coach. We had a great time and I think the girls all enjoyed it. I thought it would be all about training for a 5k, but it turns out my coach book has a lot of curricula too. We took a selfie post-run, at the girls' insistence:



Then there was a little recovery jog. Run, kids, work, run with kids, work, run, work. Nice Tuesday!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Molokai




If you only see one thing on this blog today, I want it to be this photo. I didn't take it - photo credit goes to Hayden Ramler. This is one stop along the way last week. Click on the photo to see it full-sized.

What follows is the story of our trip in photos. I won't bore you with words except to explain why and to add captions. There was an opportunity to be part of an adventure that involved paddling the north coast of Molokai, inaccessible by road. Similar to Na Pali coast on Kauai, yet steeper, greener, more desolate and more dramatic. A friend was approached for a story in a magazine and asked to organize a paddling adventure. He picked friends that would be fun and can paddle. In the end, we had six paddlers from Oahu, two from California, and three from Molokai, plus a cameraman and writer. We left Tuesday morning and did it in two full days. 
The Molokai boys arranged for us to have lunch in Kalaupapa - a place with a long and very sad history where ten lepers still live today. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the peninsula, which is not open to the public. It was a beautiful ghost town and we visited with one of the remaining patients for a while, saw the church, the theater, and a photo exhibit that told the story of the residents. I wasn't the only weepy one. I'm so grateful for the experience.

We then stayed some more at a friend's ranch on Molokai and worked (HK did, I ran a hot 21 miler) and did some beach time.

I handled food prep - I love you too, okinawan sweet potato!

Five dozen eggs for 13 in the valley - thanks Purium.

Loading up at Halawa

The start of our trip, just after leaving Halawa.

Camp:



Getting ready for the morning departure.

Six paddlers and an NY-based photographer

Paddling through a cave

HK rarely sees something he can't do a backflip off of...

Kalaupapa:

Our lunch spot - miles and miles to go

Saint Damien's church in Kalaupapa. There were 7,000 residents living and being treated here.

Our crew headed for the theater

Hiding from the sun whenever we can

Paddling towards Ilio - the longest stretch of the journey. It took well over three hours to reach Kaluakoi, on the west coast, from Kalaupapa.


It felt like a week-long adventure in two days. When we got back, instead of heading home to Oahu, we took the rest of the week. This one about sums up my love of looking for treasures on Papohaku, west Molokai.

Come on, honey, keep up.


I feel so fortunate. There's not much else to say. I have wonderful people in my life who invite me along for the fun.