Friday, October 28, 2011

it's all happening - halloween

Owen's band is playing at show tonight. Halloween weekend. A group of friends are coming to show and going out after. I like to dress up for Halloween. Mostly as Margot Tenenbaum. But I can't find a fur coat. I had to part with the last one I had. It was real fur, I found it at the Salvation Army. I miss it. Sometimes you have to get rid of things when you are young apartment dweller. By sometimes, I mean always.

Trying to find anything as fabulous to be as Margot, I thought of Penny Lane and Valaree. Valaree is Perfect Weather's lead singer's lovah and my friend. We always joke that we are groupies... I think you see where I'm headed. I texted her, she was immediately in. So I started looking for inspiration. Penny Lane. Another of my all time favorite characters.
That jacket, those boots. If I had both... I would never take them off.

So far I have a back up shirt (a light scarf I plan to make into a top) a brown corduroy skirt that reminds me of her leather one, vintage Dexter boots (that I wear in 'real-life), a vintage 70s jacket that reminds me of something Stevie Nicks would rock, and I'm going to make 'VIP passes' to wear.
Are you going out for Halloween? Dish on your costume!

Columbia Gorge Half

It's race day recap! Get your Race Day Rundies ON!

Last weekend I ran the Columbia Gorge Half. I'd signed up for the race 12 weeks ago, followed a training plan and was excited to see what would happen. The course is notoriously hilly. Like mile long hills, hilly. One of those races that when you tell people you're running it, they say things like "Don't expect a PR". But they were wrong. I think with the right person it's the perfect course to PR. It's brutal, but beautiful, keeps your mind engaged and reminds you the entire time why you love to run.

I went up to Hood River with a great group of runners, and their husbands. We rented an amazing house with a breathtaking view of the Columbia River and, oddly, the finish line being set up in the valley below us.

Owen - the best support I could dream of. Resting up to cheer.

Taper done right, watching the finish line chute go up.

We got pumped up the night before by watching... Over the Top. Obviously. Because if this sweet workout montage doesn't do anything for you, I don't know what will.

Actually, around mile 5 I began to analyze Over the Top. I'll say it: I think I found meaning in the plot and even some strange insight into what I imagine it must be like to be Sylvester Stallone. Or as I called him in my head as I climbed up the biggest hill, Sly. He's always in athlete mode, where the oxygen is flowing to your muscles not your brain. Things are simpler up in my head during a race...or are they more complex? Kidding. They are simple. I think things like "I'm coming for you funny feet" "Pain is gain" "I want gummy bears" and if I'm really at it "_____" nothing.

Anyway I digress. I was excited for race day. The starting line was in such a beautiful area. It was calming to warm up through rolling dirt trails, stretch while watching the sunrise over the river. The race began a little late as we waited for the last shuttle to arrive. I will never understand the people that show up late to races. Never. The horn went off 20 minutes late (hello double warmup).

We were off. One gal was in front of me. She must have gone out in 6 flat. I tried not to worry about her, that was her party... reminding myself over again to run my own race. We coasted up about 4 miles of hills, plunged down a 3/4 mile hill and turned around at the bottom. I passed her right away. Hills are my favorite; I'm sick. I never saw her again. I followed one little blue jersey (a man) all the way to the finish. First lady! Third dude! And I laid down a sweet (3 minute!!!) PR. 1:21:46. I won't go into ... "without the mountain I could have run"... because I don't play that game. I love hills and the pain, so maybe it served me well. But now I'm curious for sure.

I learned to relax, have fun in my sport. I learned that when I put in the work I don't worry about things out of my control. I was anxious, but deep down I knew I did the work. I didn't obsess over weather, wind, sleep, lunch...I think I ran at least 3 miles of the race with a dumb grin on my face. Just loving the sun, the view, the leaves, the pain of running fast...

'winner wine' my prize. (this was NOT uncorked. yet.)

The group: Deana (Dina) PRed too! It was her second 1/2. Actually come to think of it so did Becky! Megan had just come off a wicked couple of work weeks including Vegas, but threw down a great race too. Luke was a late entry, and the only guy in our group to race. He did awesome. We are so in for next year!

Phew! Long post - thanks for reading! I'd love to hear about your latest race lessons -

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Race Week!

The Columbia Gorge Half is this Sunday! 12 weeks ago I started training for it. Which right now sounds pretty crazy. It's an experiment. I've been curious about the 1/2 this year. What that race is all about, how to train for it and how to race it.

Sarah and the 1/2: A short history
I raced my first half after following a Runner's World training program, which while I think RW has some good stuff, this training program was nothing short of bizarre. I would never follow it again.
RnR Seattle June 2009 1:28

Next I did a marathon and over trained. Had to sit out the month before hand with an injury, ran it anyway with lots of stretching breaks. Took about a year off of running and more off from racing.
Chicago Marathon October 2009 3:25

Eugene 1/2 was next. I didn't train too specifically for the run, but did have a solid long run every week with a tempo day thrown in. Had a terrible side pain, took walking breaks. Vowed to never run a 1/2 after working the expo again.
Eugene May 2011 1/2 1:29

Sally and I jumped in See Jane Run 1/2 this July. Again no focused plan leading up to the race.
See Jane Run July 2011 1:25:24 (current PR)

After See Jane Run, I was determined to end the 'no plan' racing plan. I choose a race about 13 weeks out and started training on July 25th. If followed a rough plan on Cool Running combined with some speed workouts written by my mom (a high school cross country coach).

Whatever the outcome on Sunday, I'm glad I took 12 weeks and made a concentrated effort. It will give me something to work from. Maybe I'll realize I need to do more mileage, more hills, more cross training. At least I'll be able to look back at the work I did and the notes on each day and find the right and wrong of it.

And I'd be lying if it didn't make me a little nervous. 12 weeks! What if I run the same time? What if "the hill" is huge and destroys me and I regret not signing up for a flatter faster course? What if ... blah! And that's the other part of training. Training my mind. The work is done and I did it. The race will go on and the cards will fall where they do. I can't change a thing by worrying about it. I just have to run the race that is out there for me on that day, made of past work and current conditions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Believe I Am

Last year I started reading a blog by Lauren Fleshman, appropriately titled: Ask Lauren Fleshman. I think I stumbled upon it Googling something about running. After reading a few entries I was hooked.

Lauren is a professional runner, but the way she writes about the sport is applicable and accessible to everyone. It's a refreshing, exciting point of view. I have come to see that running is, by nature, highly accessible to people of all levels, speeds and backgrounds. She's able to show that in words in a way I haven't seen before. Words like "bomb-diggity".

Anyway, I starting following her. What she was up to in the racing world (at that time she was recovering from a nagging injury so not so much racing...) but also the world of women entrepreneurs. Something I've been more obsessed with more than running since I schemed my first business concept around 1st grade. Hello, "Blue Skies, French Fries"* could have been huge. Huge!

She and fellow runner Stephanie Rothstein started making Picky Bars, an energy bar for endurance athletes. They are gluten and dairy free and have an optimal carb to protein ratio for endurance energy. Yum. (You may remember how excited I was to meet them at the Eugene Marathon expo.)

And now she has yet another project: Believe I Am, training journals for women runners. This time she teamed up with Roisin McGettingan. I've been writing my workouts in Vermont Life calendars for over a decade, but I think I'm ready to change. The Believe I Am training journal incorporates goal visualization, advice from pro endurance athletes, cool sketches that have hidden power words, a journal...everything you need to build a solid plan to achieve your goals. And to keep you accountable for your goals.

I sound like some crazed Lauren Fleshman bot, but I'm just really excited by what she's up to and sister friend it's time you heard about it. She's on the cover of your Runner's World this month too... :)

*if you'd like to hear more about Blue Skies, French Fries and how you can become a partner please contact me directly. I have drawn up a detailed business plan in crayon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Running Group Lovefest

My first running group was my cross country team. I met them when I was in 7th grade attending a small school in western Massachusetts. We needed all the people we could get so I was allowed on the varsity team. It was a huge honor for me. I remember every pancake breakfast, apple run (when we'd run to get cider from the local orchard), movie days after Saturday meets... just getting to hang out with SENIORS. I was pretty shy most of the time. But eager to be a part of everything. As hugely evidenced in the photo above. Clearly hanging on every word.

These days I have the most amazing running group again. Two actually! I have TMNR (the monday night run) that Oiselle hosts with Super Jock n Jill. I get to run with Megan of Daily Sweat and Allison, and new friends every week.

My Tuesday track workouts for the last 10 weeks have been done with Sally and Sarah. I wouldn't have lasted through all those mile repeats without them. Seriously. It's amazing what your group can pull you through.

To honor the beautiful running group relationship, Oiselle is holding a contest to hook up your running group with Start Line running tees. To enter to win all you have to do is introduce them to your running group.

To Enter the Running Group Lovefest Contest:
  1. Your name, your running group's name (don't have one? dream one up!)
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Tell us about the group! (Do you do track workouts, track, easy, long, are you training for the same race...)
  4. Post-run fun! What do you do together once the workout is in the bank?
Send answers to or post on their Facebook wall. Read more about the contest at the Oiselle Running Blog.

How to Propose to a Runner

*photo notes bottom of post.
Last weekend (October 1) Owen asked me to marry him. But he sure had a hard time getting to that question. Because of my running. Friday night he asked if I would go for a walk. I informed him that I was running 7 miles so NO, I didn't have time or energy for walking. I came home to a nice dinner, but needed to stretch before eating. I went to bed early.

The next day he asked if I wanted to go to Portage Bay to get pancakes. I almost said later because I needed an easy 4 before the next day's 10K. But the thought of those carbs pushed the run out of my mind. The fruit bar! The pancakes! The whipped cream! The pancakes! Paaancakes...
After I loaded up on the vegan banana pancakes I was one happy little runner. Ready for a walk to the Ballard locks. And ready to answer an important question.

So the key to any runner's heart: pancakes. Pasta might be a good backup plan too.

(This is a silly picture Owen's friend took of us on the 4th of July this year)

The ring (having a mini photoshoot in Colorado)

* The top two photos are the day we got engaged. The bottom one is the locks on a much sunnier day :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My First 10k

According to my half marathon training plan, I had a choice on Sunday: do a 10k race or a 16 mile run. I opted for the race. I wanted to see where I was at after training for 9 weeks.

I've never raced a 10k before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't taper, I didn't plan my pace, I didn't really even know how to warm up. I Googled "10k warm up" while waiting in my car near the start. I guess I wasn't sure if it was like a 5k or not. It is. Pretty much just like a 5k, twice.

This is a good thing for me. I only have a couple gears. 5k is about as fast as I can get going these days, but I can hold on for awhile. In what I call "the pain place". The pain place face is clearly visible in all of my race day photos. They only took photos at about mile 5.25. Ouch.

I finished in a time of 36:24. I went out in 5:46, which was a little too fast, but not destructive. I had to talk myself into my own race after watching the first woman drift away from me. I get unreasonably competitive. But I reminded myself it was about getting the work done, and this wasn't the race I was going to lay it all out. I laid 99.8% out for sure, but ya know not the black out kind of finish.

I was happy with the effort, time and place. Sarah and I cheers our tiny 2nd place trophies. And then it was off to Oiselle to package Rundies.

There is a reason for this TOTAL cheeseball picture. But that's a story for another day.