A little Boxer 500 5K?

This little dandy of a race is occurring near my parents' house this weekend; I am totally thinking I want to do it.*
Wearing a pair of boxer briefs. Like these.**
Because, why not?!***

*this is Omaha; I don't have high hopes for a specimen like this to show up ready to race. But a girl can hope.

**top right picture? Totally stuffed.

***because seeing this guy's tiny little toned ass makes me realize I need to get out there and get some speedwork in to burn off my own slightly-not-this-tiny-ass. Like, ASAP. Plus, the race looks small; I could win hardware.


Not dead...just in Omaha.

Weeeeell, we finally got 8/10 of the way moved (that's a fully-certified calculated figure). Close on our new house in 20 days and then we'll be all offically re-transplanted Omahans (yes, living in my parents' basement with two kids, two dogs, and a whole lotta loud tv upstairs has been fun and all, but hubs and I are ready for our own house again. Like last month.). Anyway, I have still been running consistently though it has been a stunningly harsh adjustment to this moistly-evil humidity. Not gonna lie, I am not at all a pretty picture after a run in these parts; I finish even a short 3-miler literally soaking wet. Head to toe. Soaked. Every time. Even when it's "cool" (and no, it is NEVER cool in Nebraska in July).

I had a short work-related trip to Boston earlier this month and had a fabulous time running around the city. It was ungodly and unnaturally hot, but still good, sweaty fun. There were also a couple yoga sessions (I was stressed, bored, and traveling on my own) which had the effect of making me desperately crave more yoga. Like Starbucks, only ah, better for me.

I was all prepared to run the San Francisco Marathon last Sunday, but ended up having to eat the registration fee when it became apparent a couple weeks ago that it was simply not going to happen. I ended up having to go back to Denver to deal with stuff instead, and so I had to kiss my hopes for SFM and a run across the Golden Gate Bridge goodbye for this year...ahh well, maybe next year. So, since the homefront will be a little more settled in the near future, I am now setting my sights on the Omaha Marathon in September instead. (can't beat a local race, even in Omaha) And of course, I did my crazy-ass preregistration for the Denver Marathon waaaaaay back in January, so I've got that one in my sights for October as well. I've really been having the itch to race the last couple of weeks, so I think I'll have to snoop around and see what's happening nearby in the meantime. Maybe just a little old 5k to get the race juices flowing, no?

And oh yeah, my dear old buddy Cross Country Squared managed to birth her twins in 4 minutes flat (running isn't the only thing she does fast), as well as lose damn near every bit of baby "weight" she gained growing them. She is my new pregnancy role model (thank God I've given up pregnancy, I could never live up to that pressure).


A Maniac is Born

So I've decided to run the San Francisco Marathon in July. Well, more than decided...I've registered. And booked my hotel. And put in for the PTO at work. And started looking for a plane ticket. And did I mention I've also registered for the Omaha Marathon in September? Long story but that one will actually be a local race for me; a move from Denver to Omaha is rapidly approaching. Did I mention we are moving from Denver to Omaha?! Yeah, it's been that kind of month.

So, apparently I am going to continue the marathon madness, and maybe I'll scootch a June or August race in there and become a maniac along the way....


Race Report: Colfax Marathon Relay

Team Jviatiors A (me, Scary, C-dog, Utah, Little Italy), aka 4 people faster
than me that may have gotten me the only sub-4 marathon finish I'll ever have.

Well since I ran the Colorado Marathon just a week before this race, I wisely realized that it probably wouldn't be my smartest move to try and run the Colfax Half again this year. Though I really enjoyed it last year and kind of wanted to try and beat my 2009 time, over my last several months of "running smarter," I did actually learn something. I learned to keep the big picture in mind, and not sacrifice my lifelong running "career" for one measly race. So, I didn't register for the Colfax Half. However, if you paid attention to the title of this post, you see that instead, I got myself1 onto a relay team. I ran the anchor leg of the relay, which in my opinion was the best part of the race, for several reasons.

One: the race started at 6am. However, I only had to show up for the final 5.3 miles...which meant sleeping in and rolling into my relay exchange point about 8:30. Lovely!
Two: My leg was through the lovely LoDo, then past all three of my former work office buildings, along a short piece of Colfax, then through City Park. Splendid!
Three: I got spectators and finish line goodness. Delightful!
Four: Plenty of paparazzi race pics due to photos positioned near the start/finish of the race. Fabulous!
Five: I got to encourage all those full marathon runners around me in those last 5 miles, when I knew they were feeling it. My team finished in 3:51:06, so those were my fellow middle of the pack peeps I was boosting. Just one short week after my own full marathon, I knew first-hand how helpful that support can be. Fulfilling! Rewarding! Memorable!
Six: It was only 5.3 miles. Cake!2
One of the paparazzi shots where I don't look tired.
There were very few of those.

Seven: I spotted my HRRC running buddies, who were there to help support fellow HRRC first-time marathoner Massud, just as I came into the park for the last couple of miles. Marvelous!

Highlands Ranch Running Club Gang: Coach PBuck; Fastie Roxane;
Me; Marathoner Massud; Flying Frenchman Carol; Climbing Anne

So, it was a great, fun relay event for me. Our team ran well, had fun, and spent some quality time outside of the office. It was fun to hang around after the race and just chat and relax (usually I have hubs and the shorties there, and they are anxious to go but this time I was alone). I enjoyed this race last year, and it was my first half marathon so I really didn't have much experience to measure it against. But this year, older, wiser and with more long races under my belt....I still enjoyed the race. And I think it was much better organized than last year. Plus they finally got with the program and had tech tees for the race shirts. (Thanks Kaiser Permanente!)

The brave Jviation crew: Kristin; Timmy; Alex; Me; Scott; Leah;
Christy; Anna; Brooklyn


1 - what I really did was convince 9 of my colleagues to join ME in forming two teams, so that I could participate in this race
2 - Less "cake" more "dry, stale, bran muffin"; I can't lie, my legs were tired one week post-marathon, even only doing 5 miles


Made it To a Marathon

Well, more than a year after I first set out to run a marathon, I have finally, officially done it. 17 months, probably a thousand miles, one stress fracture, and countless peanut butter M&Ms later I can proudly say it: I AM A MARATHONER.

What a great feeling. What a great Mothers' Day. I got to spend it in the glorious Colorado mountains, in perfect weather, doing just what I love: running. And not just running, but running my first marathon! I have a full race report coming in the near future, but for now I will spare you the suspense and give you the quick-and-dirty version...

Miles 1-18 = glorious, fabulous, sexay mountain downhills, I rocked it
Miles 19=25 = cow and horse manure smell, quads started whining at mile 22
Mile 25-26.2 = ohmygod how good does chocolate milk sound right now?!

Final chip time: 4:35:49. Of course, as any marathoner knows, the time doesn't always tell the whole story. My secret [achievable] goal was to come in at 4:30--and basically, I did that. Had I not made a porta-potty stop, I would have been about a minute off of that. And had I walked less in miles 22-26.2, I would have smashed my goal and come in about 4:18. But the best part of the story is that I ran strong, felt great, and will definitely be doing more marathons in the future (ok, yes, so I am already registered for Denver in October, but now I am also considering a July or August showing, just to keep things fun...I never had the moment of "why in the hell did I ever think this was a good idea?!")

I really had a great, strong race and feel completely satisfied with my finish. And my favorite line by a runner was the Marathon Maniac at about mile 9 who, in chatting, mentioned that he had run 116 marathons. A couple of other first-timers with the little group running with me were incredoulous at that--they said, "my God, you are basically in marathon training 100% of the time!" and his response, "well, the really great thing about running a marathon every couple of weeks is that you never have to do that long boring training run on the weekends!" That got a good laugh out of all of us.

The grand finale to my Mothers' Day was that after we all got back home, we were on our way to walk to the park for a little while and Shortie2 flipped off the front of his little riding toy car, busted his chin wide open, and ended up at the urgent care with 6 stitches. Thank God I had a wonderfully-moisture-wicking tech shirt on in order to soak up all the dripping blood. Ah, Motherhood, indeed.


Marathon Taper and Bonus Race Pics!

I am still here, just busy and wrapping up the LAST 2 WEEKS OF MARATHON TRAINING!! Yes, that's right, Colorado is now just over a week away and I am SO ridiculously excited!! I feel totally ready and just am trying to cruise through these last workouts and get there healthy and strong. Life has been busy, as usual, with a couple of extra fun life challenges thrown in for good measure (you know, little things like getting the house ready and on the market for a potential impending summer move, yada, yada, yada--stay tuned for the saga that is sure to ensue on that).

So while I have had some nice runs lately, they are kind of a blur with everything else going on in my life. I can't think of anything meaningful to say about them, save the fact that they have been good and I got to do one of them with my awesomely adorably prego gal Niki of Cross Country Squared who was Denver-bound for a few days, and another on my old turf back in Nebraska. Also the HRCA Cinco de Mayo 5k is this Saturday which I am excited to run...as you may or may not recall (did I actually have anyone reading back then?), last year I did the 10k Cinco race. Well, this year they replaced the 10K with a duathlon, and since I don't bike or cycle or anything else on two wheels that involves extra equipment and cost, I am opting to do the 5k. Surely the weather will be better than the St. Pats 5k was, so we'll see what I can turn out.

In the meantime, I have some entertaining pics from the PR 1/2....I really like this one; that just takes guts, man (no one else was in costume...at ALL):
Of course, there were NO offical race pics of moi, but here is a dandy of the hubs. That tiny little fleck of skin to the left of his elbow is probably some component of my body, since we ran the whole race together.
But, thankfully, one of the running club buds' had her husband there taking shots, so there were a couple of unofficial pics, including this one near the start:


Race Report: Platte River Half Marathon 2010

Wow, what a spectacularly perfect day for racing! The weather was heavenly and nearly the entire race course runs along the Platte River trail with it's gurgling water, grassy banks, shady trees (as you get into Denver; not to be confused with Shady Figures, see following sentence)...and goose poop. Now, the view on the other side of the trail is typically pretty disgust (industrial buildings, Waste Management dump and the like) but as long as you only look to the River side, it is beautiful. Keep that in mind if you run this race.

Now for the race/organization assessment: plenty of parking, well organized, started on time, easy to navigate, porta potty attendants to keep the lines moving, fast-moving post-race food lines, plenty of post-race seating, good water/gatorade/gu stops, a free RTD light rail ticket back to my car at the race start. Can't ask for much more than that. Oh wait, yes I can: good shirts. Well, PR1/2 delivered with a decent-looking white LS tech tee that I won't be embarrassed to wear (Highlands Ranch, take note). This race is a SCORE in my opinion. A great value for the money, and very convenient. It was a good sized crowd (2,000-ish runners) but not so large as to be unmanageable. I give this race an all-around Thumbs Up. If you need more specific metrics, it would probably get an A in my book.

Unfortunately, despite the organizers best attempt to persuade me otherwise with their little PR1/2 logo, this race was not a PR for me. I did go into it as a training run on my marathon plan, but also naturally thought I could probably best my 2:07:08 from last years Colfax 1/2. So, I went into it with a good plan for an easy PR.

The plan
Run 9:30 for miles 1-4, assess at mile 5 whether to maintain that or pick it up a little
Run 9:20 for miles 5-10, assess at mile 10 whether to maintain or pick it up a little
Run 9:10-9:20 for miles 10-13.1
Finish 2:02-ish

The reality
Miles 1-5: Ran 9:30 (splits: 9:32, 9:35, 9:33, 9:30, 9:37)
Miles 6-9: Assessed and felt a little tired so decided to slow to 10:00 pace (9:53, 10:19, 10:11, 10:34-included walking through Gu/water stop)
Miles 10-13.1: Little pick-up after the Gu (splits: 9:54, 10:00, 10:05, 10:41-HUGE viaduct over to the other side of the river at mile 12=very slow running uphill, 9:33)
Finished: 2:11:23

So, the moral of this race story for me was to learn that I cannot use the same fuel strategy when I race as when I do a LSD at 10:30 pace. I need fuel sooner to keep the fast pace going and not feel tired. Should have Gu-ed at mile 5 and again at 9 or 10. I think I would have been able to stay 9:30 and below had I done that. But I did learn that 9:50-10:00 is probably an achievable marathon pace for Colorado, as long as I fuel properly. So all-in-all it was a great race and a great MP training run!


Dear Readers,

First, I thank you for taking the 10 minutes out of your presumably otherwise interesting and busy day in order to read my humble little occasional musings about my running life. That combined 30-50 minutes is a real sign of your dedication to the sport, as well as your unerring dedication to avoiding answering emails, playing with your children, sleeping, or otherwise occupying your time with something actually worthy of your time. You are a small but mighty audience, and one I will continue to imagine in my head, regardless of whether you are actually out there reading or not. Why? Because this blog is cathartic to me personally, and, well, I do tend toward selfishness.

Platitudes out of the way, I would like to request one small favor: though you may speak another language as your mother tongue, if you do not actually read what I am writing or are not able to comment in English, please refrain from commenting. Don't worry, I will still imagine you reading anyway; I just don't want to have to make the effort to remove your incoherent comments from my pages. See, told you: S-E-L-F-I-S-H.

Warmest Regards,

P.S. - It's going to be a weekend of beautiful weather in Denver, and there is nothing I am looking forward to more than the Platte River Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Well, except the giant nap I am going to take on Sunday afternoon, after I SHATTER my 1/2 marathon PR, and with a belly full of post-race meal free meat (oh, the double entendre is just CRYING for attention right now).


Holy Bullets, Batman!

Because I am again time-starved, I resort to the lowly bullet post (but I give you exclamation points; that's worth SOMEthing right?! Say yes. I beg you.), lest I risk being completely blog AWOL:
  • New shoes!! (Asics GT-2150s)
  • Platte River Half Marathon this weekend!
  • One more 20-miler to go and then taper!
  • Lovely spring weather and I GET to run!!!
  • Managed to recruite TWO team's-worth of coworker-runners for the Colfax Marathon Relay (which happens to occur just one small week after Colorado...is that a bad idea? If history has anything to say, it most definitely is...but I don't care!)
  • Official planning for 2010 Wild West Relay and Colorado Relay teams has commenced!!!
  • Running without iPod = oddly, I'm loving it...it's meditative, yo (maybe not like Trancendental Shambahla-esque, but meditative nonetheless)!
  • This reminded me of Nitmos and Vanilla!


My, What Big Wind You Have

I am back in Nebraska for yet another annual pilgrimmage to my husband's small home town of Columbus for the rockin alumni basketball tourney. (Let me say, yes, this basketball thing was hot when all the boys were in their 20's and could cruise up and down the court like shirtless, be-abbed, sweaty-but-tough ninja-gazelles, quite possible still drunk from the previous night's beerfest at Glur's...now that they are in their 30's with desk-job-abs, hairy chests--where does the hair come from all of a sudden???--and kids? A little like Eastbound & Down, only with self-glorified high school basketball players. But they love it and it's an immutable annual tradition....one I now find myself taking PTO days from work to participate in. Who knew Nebraska could be considered vacation? Well, I mean besides folks from South Dakota?)

And on the schedule for this weekend's long run: 20-miler. Now, this is a small town and one that I strugled to find 10 miles to run in last year. How the heck was I going to make 20 miles?! Answer: laps. Yes, 3 miles over to the other side of town...3 laps around the 2.5-mile Wagner's Lake loop, a couple out-and-back laps on that rails-to-trails thing on the Platte River levee that I think I am not supposed to be on but that I didn't notice the sign for until I was coming off of it, 3 miles back to the inlaws' donut-shaped lake, and 2 laps around the 1.5-mile loop there. Whew! I did it! And it was the most completely, gloriously, hideously FLAT 20 miles I have ever seen. Who knew flat could get old?! I was actually longing for my Colorado hills at a couple point, just do I could shake up my legs (and get a little downhill action). Luckily, the wind provided all the exciting challenge that I normally get from hills. What, 40-mile per hour winds don't excite you? Yeah, me neither; welcome back to Nebraska.

And in an unrelated-yet-related note, they finally posted the race results from the Downtown Runaround 5 mile race I did here back in July. I pretty much knew my time, but had no idea how I did overall, as they didn't use timing chips and weren't quite as hi-tech as I am used to with the CO races. Well, turns out I finished 8 in my age group, which I think is my best finish to-date (hubs also finished 8 in his AG; we're Identical Age Group Twins, yay!). It wasn't a very big race, but was definitely skewed to younger, speedier runners, so I am happy with that finish (the top 100 finishers out of only 254 runners were all under 8:00 pace). One of these days I'll get an AG award...though I may have to stage my own race to get it.


Race Report: HRCA St. Patrick's Day 5K

Well, the short story is that I was a minute slower than my PR. But the long story is that it was only because of weather and cautious running on the ice, rather than decreased running ability. I felt good the whole way, never reached the puke threshold, and had plenty of gas left at the end of the race* to sprint the finish.

Yep, the temp on the dash of my car say 16 degrees, and that is a snowflake
to let me know that duh, snow is possible at 16 degrees. Thanks Volkswagen.

It snowed Friday about 10 inches. It was 16 degrees when I arrived at the race at 8:15. The sun did come out in time for the start, but it was still only 20 degrees, icy, and cold. They had plowed the paved course, but there was a lot of icy patches the whole way. I did mile 1 pretty reasonably (8:34) considering the conditions, but never could pick it up as fast I would on dry ground. A couple of speedier runners had fallen and ended up bleeding or with jacked up limbs, and quite frankly a PR wasn't really worth it to me on this race. Yeah, I'm fair-weather tough like that.

The icy start...

...and the icy finish. That's HRRC runner Super Fast All-American Kyle.

It was super-fun to run with all the Highlands Ranch Running Club (HRRC) members that were there, and unfortunately the Flying Frenchman is on the DL and couldn't run...but the upside benefit of that is that we had our own personal running club photographer there. Score! So, without further delay, here are my momentous race photos.

Trying not to fall on the ice, coming into the last quarter mile at the finish.
*Please note Red Guy behind me.

Uh oh, I do NOT like Red Guy passing me...

Better not slow downn now Red Guy, I am coming for you...

Oh, so sorry Red Guy, but your immasculation is of no concern of mine!

Red Guy, you just got chicked! By ONE second!
Yes, I count the small victories.

Net Time: 27:30, 8:53 pace
10 in my age division
16 female
64 overall finisher out of 238
But most importantly, one second faster than Red Guy who thought he could dude me at the end; not so, buddy!

And oh yeah, RIP Gay Leprechaun; never thought I'd miss you but now that you are gone, I do.

This year's St. Patrick's Day 5k race shirt, which is sublimely blah.
I feel a bit of loss where the Fugly used to be....
(Sorry, I am too lazy to open it in photoshop and rotate it.
It's easier to require you to turn your head to the left instead.)


It's Racing Season!

Ah...daylight savings, St. Patty's Day, spring...and a return to racing season for me. I really thought I would have done some of the early races this year, but it just didn't happen with the marathon training and busy life. BUT this weekend, I will officially return to racing with the HRCA St. Patrick's Day 5K. Yep, that one, with the Gay Leprechaun t-shirt.

After my last year of running longer distances and consistently running the biggest hills in Highlands Ranch, this race is going to look a lot different for me than it did last year. My memories of this race were a bit hazy, but I remember thinking that the hill toward the end was pretty nasty. Well, tonight I met up with a few other running buddies to run the race course, so that we'd all be familiar with it Saturday. (After being 65 for the last few days, it is predicted to snow 5-10 inches tonight/tomorrow, so there is no telling what that course will be like Saturday morning.) I've had a head cold for the past couple days, but popped some Dayquil this afternoon and was ready to run at 6:30. We had one novice runner with us, and all just took it easy and had a nice chatty, social run. I've gotta say, my perspective has completely changed in the last year; that hill was nothing. Like, seriously nothing. It is probably one of the easier race courses in the HRCA races. Weather permitting, I might have a speedy race Saturday...and the fugly Gay Leprechaun t-shirt to show for it.


Back to the Track

Tonight was my first official track workout since, like September (pre-break). HRRC met at the outdoor track. Some new faces, plenty of the old gang. Minor problem: it was 30 degrees. It was dark. It was snowing. We ran anyway.

Ladder workout - 5.8 miles in 56min
1200 meter warm up
2000 @ 9:10 pace
400 easy jog
1600 @ 8:50
400 easy jog
1200 @ 9:00
400 easy jog
800 @8:20 pace
800 cool down

Despite it being dark, cold, snowing, and very windy by the end, this was actually a pretty good workout for me. I kept it even on the pace for the entire workout and actually did my last 800 faster. Felt good and strong the whole time and was glad I went, despite the weather. It's running in this kind of weather that make you stronger. And appreciative of the daylight. And sun. And temps above 40.


Runner, with a capital R

Well, bloggy friends, this weekend I became a Runner. Yes, yes, it's true that I've been running for the better part of 15 years...and it's true that I've considered myself a runner for most of that time. However, yesterday I achieved new heights (or lows, as it were) in my Running life. I became part of that subculture that is known as Runners (with a capital R). There are lots of things that are telltale signs of the species: black toenails; the farmer's blow; enjoying (fiction and non) books & movies about running; giving up treasured foods or drinks in order to improve the running game; ability to recall PRs at every distance; achieving the Holy Grail of Running--the BQ.

But it's not any of these characteristics that I achieved. No, it's something far more common, infinitely more useful, and tragically more out of character for me. Ladies and gentlemen, Runners among you, I give you THIS rock-solid evidence of this girl's ascent to the capital R:

Yes, like the dog in the picture above, I peed on a bush while out for a run1.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you may recall that my running tales are completely devoid of tales involving crazy bodily function antics. It's not because I don't share; it's because I don't poop myself while running, I don't pee unless there's a bathroom, and if I am throwing up it's because I am a) pregnant b) inhabitied by alien creatures that have overidden my natural body tendencies--quick, call the NSA. (I quite literally use viusalization techniques and matras to avoid throwing up--down, down, everything in my body, all engery goes in ONE direction only, down, down--this is my nausea mantra to avoid the puke...seriously, I hate puking THAT much.)

Well, yesterday I had to pee like mad (which coincidentally, I HAVE written about before) but had a known bathroom pitstop on my route. I jogged on over there, only to find a sign that said, "RESTROOMS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON." What? It's 50 degrees outside! And this is not really a classy facility, worthy of seasonal closure. This was not peep I could hold for 17 miles--I was at mile 2--so I did what any self-respecting Runner does. I looked for watchful eyes, passing cars or other runners on the trail, found a suitable large pinetree, whipped my running tights down, copped a quick squat, and then took off back on the trail at about an 7:00 minute mile in order to skedaddle right out of there.

A Runner is born.

1 - tip: don't google "picture peeing in bushes" from your work computer...unless "www.girlspeeingworld.com" is on your company's list of acceptable websites for work viewing....


Longest long run

This weekend was a long run of 16 miles on the schedule. After a crazy and hectic week and weekend, I wasn't sure I was going to make it at all....but then I somehow stole a pocket of time this afternoon. (My mom is out visiting this weekend, and she took the shorties to go do Gramma-type things like eat ice cream and listen to story time at the library.) So hubs agreed to come with me on my long run this afternoon. Yahoo!

Now, it's important to note that usually I try to do all my long runs on relatively flat dirt or gravel trail-type locations....because I'm kind of a sandbagger like that. But today we decided to just run from the house and take to the sidewalks and streets around Highlands Ranch. In case I never mentioned (yeah right), it is friggin hilly around my house. That 16-miler ended up at 15. And it was a long and tough 15 at that. There was light-headedness and near pass out at mile 9. So then there was walking at mile 10 until we could hit King Soopers to score some water, which I believed was the problem. (Also could have been after-affects from the martinis and french fries at dinner last night, but I won't split hairs.) Re-hydrated, we picked up to run again, as it progressively got colder and colder out, with the snow that was scheduled to roll in....and the last 5 miles all uphill (Wildcat Reserve Parkway, I hate you!). Dang.

Well, we finished that hilly be-yotch of a run and really the only good part of it was that 1) it was over and 2) I got quality couple-chat time with the hubs (he was a great sport, though he probably won't ever do a long run with me again...). Here's to getting that bad one over, and making room for the good ones!


The Mindf*uck Has Officially Become Useful

You know how sometimes you get tripped up, solely based on your mind telling you to stop, you're tired already, and you can't run 20 miles anyway...yeah, the Mindf*ck.

Well, I have so mastered the art of mindf*ckery that I have actually come around full-circle to back to putting it to good use for me. (And I do thank my regular running buddy for putting up with it, "Streetlight." You're the best, MWAH!) That's how I really know the distance running has made a big change in my life. I find myself making $hit up and creating little falsehoods to get me through just about anything these days. Oh, you know how it starts on the runs:

M2's Inner Voice: oh, come on it's just one tiny little hill and
then you get to get freaky with the Downhill the rest of the way, and then it's
flat.. Easy Peasy.
Reality: It is one large hill, followed by a short downhill and then two more uphills. It is in no way "flat."

M2IV: It's only a 5K left and then you are done.
R: It's a 5M left and then another .5 after that...and maybe one more mile after that. And then you are done.

M2IV: You only have to keep running to the next streetlight, and then you can walk if you want
R: You will not be walking at that streetlight, or any other. You will just keep repeating the streetlight thing until you are back home, or your RB tells you to shut up already.

M2IV: Iactually prefer running at 5:30AM because then I only have to
shower once per day
(as opposed to the before-work shower plus the after-run
shower if you go later in the day).

R: The shower part is true, but I still am not a big fan of waking up at 5:00AM. Nor will I ever be.

M2Iv: Peanut butter M&Ms are an excellent pre- (and post- for that matter) run snack; protein, "healthy" fat, and carbs for "energy."
R: Duh, candyholic, it's the M&Ms that make you feel like crap at mile 2.
I can tell I am upping the miles, the peanut butter obsession has officially

And of course there are all the numerous Chunk It Up lies that you tell yourself to get through the long runs, "It's only 6 miles out; just stick on another mile out, you won't even notice it; 12 miles, halfway done; if you're going to do 14, you might as well just do 16...or 20...; one mile to go, that's only another 5 minutes of my life, I can do this for 5 more minutes (when of course it's going to be 10 minutes); after that other hill, this one isn't really even a hill, I'll call it more like flat...and I can run on flat easily...; just a mile to go, a mile is nothing; etc. etc. etc.

I had a nice midday run yesterday from work. Iwas up until midnight Monday night doing some work, and had another long day in the office planned yesterday and knew I was probably going to be still working last night. So I brought my gear and hit Wash Park for an afternoon run. The weather was good, a sunny 40 degrees, clear and bright. The park has two main routes around it--a larger gravel trail loop around the very outside, and a somewhat shorter paved road loop inside the park. I typically run the gravel loop because 1) it's longer 2) it's gravel and 3) there are no cyclists to annoy me. Well, yesterday it was still snow-covered and I didn't feel like running on snow, so I took to the paved road loop which was clean and mostly dry. Only problem was that I didn't know exactly how far it is around it, cause I never run on it. And Gizmo went to sleep on me just a mile into the run, so I had to wing it. I figured it to be about 2 miles. And it is a mile to get to the park from my office, so I was thinking I would do 2 loops, plus the mile each way to the office for about a 6 mile run. And maybe I would tack on a little more if I felt good at the end. So that's what I did. And upon getting back to the office and chatting with coworkers, they informed me that that loop was more than 2 miles. And I had tacked on quite a bit. So I was curious to see exactly what I had done in my hour and 20 minute run, if it was more than 7 miles. Turns out it was 8.8. I mindf*cked myself into thinkging I was only doing 6 little miles and turned out a good tempo 8.8 (on an empty stomach, I might add)! It's amazing what you can do when your mind thinks you're doing something else.... yeah, well I am finding myself doing that in a LOT of areas of my life lately.


Home is Where the, uh, Dump Is

Friday I took the day off and spent it skiing up in Keystone with the hubs. It was a great day--new snow, not crowded, not too cold--and I finally got to break in the new skis I got for Christmas. I felt like Lindsey Vonn racing down the hill in 'em--suckers are FAST!

So after a day of downhill and somewhat tired quads, I wasn't sure what to expect for Saturday's long run. The HRRC group was meeting to run over at the Platte River trail, which I like very much. It is very flat, and runs along the gurgling river the whole way; I could literally follow the trail all the way to downtown Denver. What it lacks in beutificous mountain vistas, it makes up for in flatness and cute little wood pedestrian bridges. And geese (which also means geese poop). The thing is covered with geese. Which is ok, as long as they don't park their feathery assess on the trail and just glare at you when you approach, refusing to move out of your way. (If you yell and curse at them, it usually does the trick and they will slowly waddle just out of the way enough for you to pass; hoping that one day they don't decide to take a peck out of my leg just for spite, though I'm sure it's imminent.)

It was a bit cool and had snowed a tad Friday night, but the trail was plowed pretty clean and the light flakes that fell actually felt kind of nice on my face, especially once we got going. I ran the first 4 miles with the HRRC running group. They stopped to turn around and head back at 4 miles, and I opted to keep going a little further before heading back, knowing I had to get in at least 14 miles.

Overall it was a great run, I kept a good pace (faster than my plan requested of me but not blazing fast, all praise the Running Gods) and enjoyed it. I think my favorite part of the trail is the bit that goes right by the Waste Management transfer station and dump. Though I've never noticed before, today I noticed the apartment complex that sits LITERALLY right next door to WM. And they have the balls to put up this banner....

Apartments For Rent: easy access to Platte River Trail/Waste Mgmt Dump. Cheap Rents!
Please enjoy my panoramic photos skillz, above.

Ah, trail or no, I think I'm happy that's not home for me.

PS: the only thing worse than goose poop all over the trail, is goose diarrhea all over the trail.


I love a Good Run

Well, I didn't do one of the Valentines' 5k races in town this weekend. However, I did have a GREAT 12-miler (12.4 to be precise) Saturday. I ran on one of my new all-time favorite trails: Waterton Canyon.

I don't think these pictures really need explanation, but as for the trail's greatness I will say this: it is a very gentle incline up as far as you want to go, which means a heavenly downhill on the way back. Personally, I felt the incline was almost unnoticable, but I did feel the decline on the way back down. I managed a negative split, except for the last mile when I had a couple of walking patches as I was again V.E.R.Y. thirsty. (Contrary to my previous beliefs, it seems I actually DO need to bring water with me on the double-digit runs, even when it is cold out. Duly noted, Running Gods, duly noted.)
Waterton Canyon trail on the right (flat, wide, and dirt);
picturesque mountain stream on the left.

A frozen waterfall in the stream next to the trail.


Superbowl 5K: PR?!

Ah, more like DNS.

Yeah, so I bagged the 5k last Sunday. Reasons why (all excuses, I know; feel free to chastise me in the comments):
  • It was snowing, with full snow groundcover, at racetime
  • I ran 11 on Saturday and technically was supposed to "rest" on Sunday (per my very official marathon training plan which only calls for 3 days of running per week...best not to contradict the Marathon Training Plan Gods, I know what happened last time I did that, hello fress stracture)
  • Hubs wanted to sleep in (if I had raced, he'd have had to get up to deal with Shorties, which he had already done on Saturday so I could long run and meet up w/running group)
  • I hadn't registered, so I wasn't out any money by choosing not toget out of bed and go get soaked and cold in the snow. In fact, the raceday registration would have cost me $10 more than had I registered early, so I actually saved myself money by sleeping in--win-win! (see how I can manipulate anything to my "benefit" Yeah, it's a skill.)
  • I wasn't really going to race it anyway
  • Did I mention it was snowing--and cold--at racetime...and...cold, and snowing? Only the hard core runners come out to race in that $hit, which means I would have probably finished 10 out of 10 in my age group, instread of the 10 out of 200 like I might otherwise (who are we kidding, it's probably more like 30/200, whatev). No it wasn't DC-level snow, but it was snow all the same.
  • Needed sufficient time to prep for the Super Bowl Pizza Orgy that was scheduled to occur that afternoon
  • 99% chance the t-shirt was ugly anyway (per the HRCA racing series Offical T-Shirt Design Guidelines)
Yeah so I bagged it....I have 14 miles on-deck for this Saturday but there are a couple of fun-looking Valentines races this weekend, so we'll see...I won't pre-promise any race reports to avoid disappointing you all. Nor will I commit to altering my trainng plan, in order to avoid the MTPG's wrath. You'll just have to stay tuned.


Life, and Stuff

I am alive but have just been busy the last couple weeks with:

  • Running - consistent early (5:45AM) morning runs with running buddy Shawna two or three times a week. We've got a good flow and schedule between 3-5-7 mile runs, on hills, some days faster, some days slower, couple of tempo-ish. Did have a brief hiatus (see: Health, below) last week/end though.
  • Racing - my first race since last fall is coming up this weekend, yay!! The Super Bowl 5K is on Sunday and while I'm running it, I am not real sure how hard I'll actually be racing it. I have a long run up (10-12 miles) tomorrow morning, so it really depends how I'm feeling Sunday (see also Health, below), as to how hard I "race" it. More of a social activity to kick of the 2010 HRCA race season. Here's to hoping they have stepped it up on the t-shirt design front this year.
  • Work - just friggin busy the whole month of January, culminating in a speaking engagement this week, which was complicated by voice-loss (see Health, below). But February (the month of love! and chocolate!) looks much more promising for a lighter workload. No doubt that will change.
  • Life - just friggin busy with kidstuff the whole month of January, such as swimming parties, sleepovers, playdates, soccer registration, basketball season prep, and such.
  • Health - spent most of last week with a bout of tuberculosis/pleurisy/bubonic plague which involved very sore throat, very sore sinuses, very awful cough, fever, and loss of voice (hubby celebrating that symptom).
Look forward to a mildly exciting race report in the near future; Go Saints!


And the Winner Is...

...the Colorado Marathon on May 9. Hands-down. I have just heard too many good things about it, and the course was just too enticing (hello, all that sexay downhill)....and then of course there was the unanimous comment vote, duh. So I am happy to say that I am all registered up, officially ON with my marathon training and of course, super-excited about it.
Really, who can pass up a marathon course like this?!

I also registered for the Platte River Half Marathon on April 11, which fits perfectly into my marathon training, and is also supposed to be a great, great race. Plus I know a few other local runners who are doing that one, so there is the added benefit of having running buddies in the crowd. (I do love seeing familiar faces at the start of the race. Plus, it comes with lunch at the Buckhorn Exchange afterward. Denver's oldest restaurant. And did you see those animal heads? Win-win-win.)

I've had a couple nice runs over the past few days--a good 8.85 (eh, we stopped a little short of the 4.5 mile turnaround on the out-and-back)-miler on Saturday with the HRRC group out at Chatfield State Park. There were actually 5M and 10M races going on there at 10:00a that day, but I decided that I didn't feel like racing (or paying money for a meh race experience) and ran with the group at 8:00a instead. I was glad I did. It was a good run, and the longest I've done since the Evil Stress Fracture last fall.

This morning, I had a nice early morning 5-miler with another running buddy, and though I was very, very tired (methinks a cold is coming on, sore throat and stuffy head ensued this afternoon) I am glad that we did it. I was tired, but it wasn't so bad that I wanted to quit or even considered a shorter run. Just kind of blah. Anyway, I think I'll rest tomorrow, hope it's not a cold in the works, and hit it again on Thursday morning.

And finally, I am weighing whether or not I will use an actual Training Plan for this round of marathon training, or just kind of make up my own thing based on what I know I need to do to be ready....maybe more discussion on this to follow sometime this week. (I know, it simply doesn't get more exciting than that!)


The Race(s) Is On

I have officially registered for some 2010 races. If you pay any attention to my little box over there on the right entitled "Upcoming Races" you'll notice it has been shifting and changing quite frequently the last couple of weeks. And, if you don't pay any attention to that box, well, here is your recap.

My plan for this year was to have a good, solid race schedule planned out early in the year so that I could:
1) take advantage of the lower prices on early registration fees
2) pay up now, so that I can't back out later or pussyfoot on the training
3) pre-plan so I'll not have to think about or decide which races to run later on, when I am tired and busy and braindead

I have sorta half-assedly started to accomplish this task. I know I will run a spring marathon. I'd like to run one in say March or April, but unfortunately there aren't any conveniently close to Denver that don't require gratuitous travel to particpate. Therefore, my choices are either the Colfax Marathon or the Colorado Marathon. They are on consecutive weekends, so I can't do both (nor am I sure I am even capable of that, having never actually completed a full marathon before). I have to decide which one soon, as I want to hit goal 1 above, plus the CO is capped and usually fills up early. But I'm having a really hard time deciding which.

-Conveniently located in Denver--no travel required
- Race is later (5/16) which means an extra week of training time or more importantly, an extra week of slacking off before starting training
- Registration Fee $90

- Course is entirely city streets...and not the most beauteous parts of Denver at that
- Hilly course (see elevation profile)
- Notoriously bad race t-shirts (cotton)

Colfax: I don't like the look of your midsection one bit...

- Downhill course (see elevation profile)
- Beautiful scenery through Poudre River valley, "fastest and most scenic marathon in Colorado"
- Race is sooner (5/9) which means I am a week closer to starting my training and getting it done

- Nastay Logistics Requre Extra Brainpower: Will have to drive up to Ft. Collins night before so can catch bus to race start at 4:00AM; will have to go alone (so hubs can keep track kids) or arrange familial situation to allow travel and spectating
- Must wake up before 4:00AM
- Point-to-point course
- Registration Fee $105

Colorado: Ooh, me likey! This downhill whore has marathon prey in her lusty sights...

Anyway, in the meantime I have managed to register for the Denver Marathon in October again (early reg was only $70, can't beat that and it seems so far away that I am not really grasping the reality that I am now committed to doing more than one marathon in 2010) and the Platte River Half Marathon (reasonably priced, caps entries, and the only local Half before whichever full marathon I decide to do) in April, which runs along my favorite trail. I've also managed to fill in some other 5K, 10K, 5M and 10M races along the way. Give me another week and I should have this planning done. Or not.

SO, share your vote on which marathon I should do in the comments. (OBVI, being the downhill whore that I am, I am leaning towards Colorado...but the lazy side of me just dreads all those pre-race and raceday logistics....)


The Downhill Whore Lives

I know I have said it before, but on Saturday's run I re-discovered that I am indeed, still a downhill whore. The group run took the fun trek up to Daniel's Park. Depending on how far you go (all the way up to the Park, vs. stopping short at some point along the way; being the whore I am, you know I like to go. all. the. way.) it is 2-4 miles of uphill.
elevation profile the run up to Daniel's Park

I started the morning by running from my house to the rec center where we all met--1.3 miles. The air was cold and I have been trying not to use my inhaler anymore, so when we set out my lungs were feeling those hills a little. I set off at a slow pace as we started climbing. I had a few patches of run/walk (yeah, did you notice the 5% grade patches in that little map above?), but I always picked it back up to run. Why? Because I knew what was coming after the turnaround of the out-and-back, and I needed my legs and body to be warm for the hardcore downhill boning I planned on doing. I refused to stop and quite frankly, I would have clawed, crawled or even done the Snake up that hill if it meant I could run back down it. Indeed, a tried-and-true Downhill Whore.

Run totals: 8.53 miles, 1:35
To illustrate the downhill whoriness of it all, my splits:
Mile 1 - 11:08 (big uphill at the start, took it slow warming up)
Mile 2 - 9:40, best pace of 6:19 (oh crap, I better hurry up or I'll be late...followed by, oh crap maybe I shouldn't have sprinted)
Mile 3 - 12:04 (fu%k that's a big hill)
Mile 4 - 10:55 (fu%kedy fu%ck this hill SUX)
Mile 5 - 9:48 , best pace 7:50 (almost there...turning arond...and now...GIVE IT TO ME BABY)
Mile 6 - 8:33, best pace 7:10 (wheeeeeee!)
Mile 7 - 8:50, best 7:32 (oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah, I love the downhill)

**hourlong break while we meet/eat/listen to Muscle Max presentation**

Mile 8 - 15:33 (walking back home, carrying newly-acquired Muscle Max papers and water bottle)
Mile .53 - 8:30 (damn these papers are a pain, I could be home already if I didn't have to carry these stupid things; curse you Muscle Max!)

On another note, now that I've got myself calmed back down from my Downhill daydreams, Lam had a great post about resolutions--for those of you that set them this time of year and those of you that don't, I suggest reading his take on the power and reason for resolutions. Whether you set them in January or continuously throughout the year, here's to getting going...especially if it's downhill.


Conquering the Treadmill Beast vs. Yaktrax

So it did indeed snow yesterday, as promised by the weather forcasters. When I woke up it was actually clear--but as I looked out my back windows to the full mountain view, I could literally see the front rolling in over the foothills (it was pretty cool-looking, if I were clever, I'd have taken a photo of it...or better yet, video...but alas, I'm not clever). Within an hour, it had arrived and was lightly flaking down in the Ranch. So, clearly this meant I would have one of two runs: a snow-glory run in the Yaktrax or treadmill make-out session at the rec center. Only time and 9News would tell which it will be...so, to please the few readers I have and keep you reading, I offer two delicious bloggy nuggets for consumption today.

A Sample of the Treadmill Workouts in This Month's Runner's World
"Race Simulations - Do it to train for the course
Some treadmills offer simulations of famous races, like the Boston Marathon and Bolder Boulder, to let you mirror the topography indoors and practice the hills in a condensed run.
The workout - if your treadmill doesn't have your race as a preset course, you can use a race's elevatin map to time your ups and downs on the treadmill to mimic the course. For instance, say you know there's a killer hill two-thirds of the way into a 10-k you've entered. Hit that "up" incline button at the same point in your treadmill run, and get used to the feeling.

Inside scoop - Don't let yourself be surprised on race day. When you get to that hill, you can think that you've done it before--and it felt much worse when you were in your basement."

M2Marathon's Puke Threshold Treadmill Workout
Select the "hills" program. Set treadmill for 50 minutes. Select a difficulty of level 10 or above (out of 20). Set the speed to whatever is your tempo pace (or choose 8MPH if you are treadmilltarded, like me). Cover up the display. Start running. Absorb yourself in the tv show Heroes, of which you know nothing about and have never watched, in Closed Caption, and try to figure out what the hell is going on and who's who. Don't stop or slow down at all, because that would involve pulling your attention and eyes away from Heroes in order to punch the treadmill buttons, and then you'll miss out on something happening that you already don't understand and will become ever more desperately Lost (another show which would probably work for this workout as I have no clue WTF it is about or what is going on) and unable to fully absorb in Heroes (this is a critical element of the workout). Ignore pukish feeling--right when you think you will surely hurl, the incline will go down and the feeling will subside...untl the next time. Stop running 50 minutes later, when the treadmill slows down and Heroes is over. Wring sweat out of shirt and ponytail (it's ok, they have papertowels and disinfectant spray you can lightly douse the sweatpool with). This workout is particularly effective if you execute it 30 minutes after eating dinner. Good luck runners!

Description and Photos of the Heavenly Winterlands Running Animal That is the "Yaktrax"(runningus yaktraximus)
Yaktrax are rubber and metal coil contraptions you strap on your shoes to give you traction thus allowing one to [more] safely run on packed snow. Note: you cannot run on plain pavement in them. Nor do you want to walk indoors on your mother-in-laws new tile floors (or your own wood floor) in them. The box tells you this, but I also know from experience, which I will not go into at this point. Just trust me on that.

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.0 - do not walk on your wood floors in them.
A link to someone who knows a lot about Yaktrax

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.1 - they are a little effort to get on, but completely worth it

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.2 - do not attempt to climb trees in
them--just stick to the running
Again, if I were clever, I would host a Yaktrax giveaway at this point. Also, if I were rich. However, as is obvious by the lack of giveaway1, I am neither.
1 - Yaktrax, a note to you if you are listening: if you want to send me a free pair to raffle off to blogland readers, I will gladly host a giveaway


Resolved to a great 2010 in which I will myself to learn to love the treadmill....starting, now

Ah yes, for the fun and functional recap/resolution/goals post!

2009 RECAP

  • I think I mentioned, but I will get my full marathon in 2010. fo reals. dammit! And once that's done, I'd like to do another. Or two. We'll see.
  • I resolve to learn to like the treadmill again. (Not just tolerate it, but like it. Yeah, them's strong words.) Concurrently inspired by RW article (the one in January with the treadmill workouts...no online posting?) and scared by another, I vow to make the mill a part of my training arsenal. I've abstained for over 3 years; it is time to get treadmill nastay again in 2010!

  • Run, train, and race without breaking or injuring anything. I accept that this may mean I run slower than my ego likes.

  • Reduce the sugar consumption. I eat pretty healthy already--lots of veggies, fruits, legumes, variety, home-cooked--but the large, gaping Sweet Tooth that is actually probably more like the entire Sweet Lower Mandible has got to get whupped into shape. The running counterbalances in terms of calories, but dang that sugar is just not good for me and I feel soooo much better when I go without. So I resolve to do better this year. Not sure what that will mean for my steady PB (ok, maybe I am really referring to the PB M&Ms) addiction, but we'll see how that plays out. One has to make small allowances, right?!
  • Resume daily meditation practice. When I am doing yoga alot, this kind of takes care of itself. And actually, many days, running is for me a meditation. But I'd like to work back into the sit-on-the-floor-in-silence kind, cause, well, it gets my deep juices flowing and my brain is happier and more creative. Plus the deep breathing helps me with my running breathing. (It all circles back to running, it always does)
  • More pictures in my blog posts. Yeah, all text is boring. I know. (And believe it or not, mitigating boring-ass text is actually kinda what I do for a living. Go figure why I don't do it here. I'll claim it is respect for image copyrights or something noble like that, but it is really more a function of laziness.)
  • No, it's not running-related...but who out there doesn't think
    mother-daugher pouty faces are cute?!

  • TBD - I like to leave space to add a mid-year goal or two. I think ahead like that.
1-Anyone who knows me personally, knows that this is only a portion of my 2010 goals and that the balance of them are laid out all business-nerd-style in a master listdocument divvied up by categories and sections and timeframes and crap. But on this blog I pledge to only bore with running nerdiness, not my other more general nerdiness. You're welcome.