9 into 4

After my aborted 9 on Tuesday, didn't even make it 2 miles before my knee started screaming, I tried again today.

It didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I didn't get 9. I didn't get 6.2. I got 4. But that's better than nothing.

The first 2 miles gave me lots of hope. They were nice and easy (12:45ish). I was running on concrete, which may have been a contributing factor to my knee pain. The 3rd mile was do able (~13:20). Still kept up a pretty good pace and ran the entire distance. The last mile was a 3:1 run walk with some stretching thrown in, to spice up the work out, you know.

I'm stretching and doing some strength exercises. Here's to hoping I can get to the start line of the Southern California 1/2!


Why do you hate me?

Running, why do you hate me? I love you so much. I love the wind on my face (when there is wind, I don't run fast enough to create any wind). I love the sun/rain on my face. I love the footfalls, everyone of those little impacts that propel me forward. Love, love, love it!

But you hate me. I tell you I want you, you throw me a stressed/hurting ankle. I tell you I need you, you give me knee pain leading me to believe I'll have IT band issues again. Why do I keep coming back? What pull do you have over me?

And there is the riddle. Why do I keep trying to chase, literally and figuratively, a dream of running long distances quickly?

Running gods, please let me make it to the Start line of the Southern California 1/2 in January. This is all I ask.


Desire, she is back

I really love running. It made me happy. I am so that commercial of a few years back, where the guy runs off the worries/weights of the day.

I've gone through a really funky couple of years. The pregnancy and it's limitations on my running started it. Then the break up and divorce, which leads to me almost always running with a stroller attached, which isn't bad, just a change. Finally, the gallbladder surgery, which sent me into a funk I didn't even know I was in until I wasted a perfectly good running month.

But last Sunday I went for a 5 mile (ended up running 4 of them and walking the 5th) run, with stroller in hand. It was awesome. In fact, a few hours after I got home I wanted to do it all over again. And go longer.

Then I ran a 5K in ~100 degree weather (it was probably mid 90's, but it felt like 1000). Because that's what we crazy runners do. (the bean sat this one out)

So I'm doing it all again tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to make the whole 5 miles.


An Old Lesson

A wise person once told me "Focus on distance, speed or hills".

If you want to increase your distance, you shouldn't try to shave a minute off your pace. If you want to run faster, you shouldn't try to do it the first time you run hills.

And if you want to increase your distance, you shouldn't do it the first time you've run hills in 2 months. I didn't follow this sage advice.

I planned to run a 10K around the lake. The hilly lake. After not running for 2 months. After run walking a 1/2 marathon, which I knew I shouldn't have attempted. After a week of recovery. (AKA not running for a week)

I was able to run most of the lake. I walked most of the uphills, though. Only did one lap of the lake, then went home and ran 2 more miles around my 'hood and called it good.

I just need to rinse and repeat.


Nike Women's (1/2) Marathon - 2010

At the expo with Rachel and the bean

I really have a love/hate relationship with this race. I do love that it's mostly women. I do love that (the 1/2 at least) is very scenic. And I absolutely love how many spectators there are on the course. I hate the hills. I hate how many other runners participate. And this year, I hate the rain.

Beautiful views

So many runners

What puts it over the top? Firemen, in tuxes (in the rain) with little blue boxes.

I did finish in under 4 hours this year. This was in doubt at the start line. The last time I ran more than 2 miles was in August at the Peter's Canyon Trail race. I didn't run all of those 5 miles. I ran 2 miles Wednesday before the race. (Note: This is not a good half marathon training plan.)

I headed to the start with my friend Rachel. We met up with my friend Bethany and went in search of the bag check. Found some of Rachel's friends as we lined up in the corals. (Never was able to meet up with my friend Louise or my twitter peeps. It's such a cluster at the start!)

Me and Bethany at the start

As planned walked the first 2+ miles with my friend Bethany. We split off and I started to run. Ran past the wharf, up the cable car turn around, down into the Presidio, up Fort Mason. Took pictures of the Golden Gate, mile signs, and one awesome "Run like zombies are chasing you" sign.
The awesomest sign ever!

About 9.5 miles in my outer left knee started talking to me. At first I couldn't run the steep down hills. Then it was any down hill, then I couldn't run. As soon as I realized I was swinging my leg at the hip, I gave in and walked. I walked the last 3 miles. I should have walked the last 3.1.

I ran the last .1, as soon as I saw the finish line. It was pure vanity. As soon as I crossed the finish line a first aid worker asked me if I needed her. I shook her off and headed straight towards the the firemen and the little blue box.

Official time: 3:36:39


I ran!

What a difference a week (or a week and a half) make. I decided to see how the old surgery was healin' today. Went for a 3.1 run/walk (ran ~2 miles of it). And it felt great!

I was able to run with no pain from my side/gallbladder surgery. The only thing that slowed me down, other than the 30+ lbs that is the bean in his jogger, was my lungs.

I don't have high hopes that I'll be able to run 13.1 miles on Sunday, especially since I haven't really run in almost 2 months. But I'm hoping my run/walk will beat my 4 hour time from last year.

But it doesn't matter when I finish. The men in tuxes with the little blue/turquoise boxes, will be there when I finish.


Not at 100%

The title says it all. I tried to run Saturday. Didn't start until 11am. It was sunny, and a bit hot. Ran for 5 minutes and got a side stitch. I thought (hoped) it was due to heat and hydration. So I bailed and walked.

Went out to support my triathlon team at their mock tri, and to do some running, and to eat the hot breakfast. (Ok, I was most motivated by the hot breakfast.) I was able to complete 5 intervals of a 5 min run/1 min walk. By the end of the last interval, I couldn't ignore the pain in my side. I was running at Back Bay, in comfortable, overcast weather, with a full 20 oz bottle of water.

Now I know I'm not completely healed. I've had side stitches due to running too fast. I've had side stitches due to insufficient hydration. This hurt much different, and much more, than either of those.

I'm back to taking it easy. The last thing I need is for something else to go wrong.


All Cleared

Today the doctor gave me the right answer. I can swim, bike, run, climb, dance, whatever. I also interviewed a college student for babysitting.

I'm so very excited. Granted, I haven't made up my mind about where thanksgiving is this year, but if I'm in Southern California, I'll be racing the Turkey Tri. I'm already sure Nike Women's will be a disaster, but I have high hopes for the races I've got my eye on next year.

Training will start tomorrow. I hope I can run any miles at all.


The DL

When it rains, it pours. Two surgeries in one year are two too many. I hate being on the DL.

At the beginning of August I ran the last of the Peter's Canyon Trail series. Beat the two previous race times. And then I stopped running. Stopped doing any training, really.

This was also around the time I scheduled my gallbladder surgery. Surgery that I would not have had now if I didn't need to change insurance polices.

I was equal parts disappointed, bitter and defeated. I really wanted to race the Pacific Coast Sprint Triathlon, but the earliest time I could schedule surgery was Sept 8th. Pac Coast was out, so was the OC International Triathlon, due to a no swimming for 6 weeks post-surgery order. 1 mile is not something that I can just go out and do. A 25 mile bike ride, sure. My lady parts might hurt, and it might take me almost 3 hours, but it'd get done. A 6 mile run, cake! I can walk at any time during the 6.2 miles.

But a 1 mile swim? With no training. Even with a wetsuit it wasn't going to happen.

But now I'm (semi)-back. I'm ready to run. I've jumped on the trainer once or twice. I'm not supposed to swim until Oct 20th, but I'm going to get clarification on that from the doctor tomorrow.

Did I mention Nike Women's 1/2 is on October 17th? And I haven't been able to train for it? But if I can finish it pregnant, I can finish it without training for it.

Hopefully I'll finish the 1/2 in less than 4 hours.


I'm an Endurance Athlete

No really, I am. The proof? Tonight's run.

My trail running group canceled our Thursday night run due to thunderstorms. This really bummed me out for a few reasons.

1) I was really looking forward to seeing if I could run 6 miles.
2) I ate today thinking I was going to run 6 miles (read: ate my calories before I burned them off)

I set out to run around the lake, twice. One lap is ~5K. I ended up with negative splits! How you ask? We'll, this is what I believe happened

A) I was warmed up. (run/walking 2 miles will do that to you)
B) I got past the dreaded 20 min/2 mile mark. (I've always had this, have you?)
C) I embraced my slower pace.

I think C is the most important. I really don't like being at a 13+ min/mile. I really don't. It was where I was when I first started running. I was trying to run faster than I my body can. I'd get running craps and ankle/IT Band/hip issues. This run was different. Like the longer distance runs of old. On the back 5K, I was warmed up, mentally in the run and had no unplanned walk breaks. These 3 things were missing from the first 5K.

As to why I'm an endurance athlete, after the first 2 miles, I felt like I could go forever. Well, at least for 4 more miles, maybe 6. I got into a good groove, although I really need to change the music on my shuffle and make it more shuffley, and started loving the run.

I did help that 3 guys waved/said hi to me on my run. Encouragement is always welcome.


July Peter's Canyon Trail Race

Today was the 2nd of 3 trail races at Peter's Canyon. It was also the 2nd of 3 races I'm running between 7/3 & 7/11. (side note: the bean will be 6 months old on 7/11).

This course was the harder one, running the trail clockwise (up trail, not the hills). The trail has a slight grade to it. Last month's race, we ran up the hills, then down (read: downhill) the trail. This month we ran up the trail.

I still shaved ~2 minutes off my unofficial time. I'm excited about that. I'm thinking I'm probably not going to get under an hour in August, but I should get close.

It did warm up a bit, but the race weather was still nice. We ran up the trail, then over Devil's Crotch (not sure if this is an "official" name) and back down. I saw more mountain bikers than on previous runs. In the middle of mile 2 I ran into a pack of hot guys running down the trail. Almost turned around. *almost* But I did think that my bib number should be my phone #, or maybe my twitter name.

I did end up finding a groove after mile 2, as always. Had a hamburger after the race and headed out to pick up the bean. I do love a race where the food is actual food. Not just bagels and bananas.

The final race of this series is on 8/5. Wish me luck and persistence in following my training


Peter's Canyon - Training Addition

There is a reason my group trains for the Peter's Canyon Trail Races on Thursday evenings. You see, the actual races are on Thursday evenings. As I've learned in the past, something that you can run with ease in the earlier (read cool) hours of the morning turns into a trail of terror on a hot summer afternoon.

This was my Peter's Canyon run. High temps + hills + my longest run in over a year = 1:35 for 6.3 miles. Yes, they were hilly. Yes, they were hotish. And yes, they were disappointing.

Last time I ran this distance, my time was just over an hour. No it wasn't Peter's Canyon, but sometimes I can't get that through my head. Just like when I "ran" La Jolla. Everyone told me it was hilly, but I wasn't ready for a 2:45 1/2 marathon, the climb up Torrey Pines be damned!

After I had time to digest the, well, time, I realized it wasn't all that bad. After all, it's the longest distance I've run/walk in a while (I walked up some of those hills. If you've been there, you know which ones. I'm not a mountain goat.). I'm ~15lbs heavier than the last time I actually raced a 1/2 marathon, 30lbs heavier than my lightest, or as I call it my fighting, weight.

I figure my pace can only get faster and my distances longer.


Goal Setting

As I set off for an unscheduled run today (the weather was too good not to get out), I started setting end of the year goals in my head.

1) run the trail around my development at any pace.
2) run the trail around my development at a 10 min/mile or faster.
3) do things that make me happy

I'm pretty sure there were more things, but those are all I can remember. Probably something about races and getting out and meeting people, I'm sure.

I can cross #1 off my list. I ran 1/2 the trail, even part of the hills, without realizing it. So I willed myself to finish. Seriously. Anytime my conviction was starting to fail, I just thought of putting one foot in front of the other.

I wasn't even supposed to run today.


Peter's Canyon

I know I've been a bit scarce lately. I'd like to blame it on the bean, but that's not completely true. There was some cleaning that needed to get done and I couldn't justify blogging over cleaning, so I just watched bad television instead.

But that wasn't all. Some anger/frustration/despair came knocking. The triggering event itself isn't going to be discussed now, except to say it had nothing to do with my baby daddy. It just shows that you never truly understand how much your life is intertwined with someone until you try to untwine it. (yes, I know untwine probably wasn't a word before I used it. That's how cool I am.)

So on to races!

I signed up for the Peter's Canyon Trail Race series. I love the attitudes of trail racers. Yeah, some of the fast peeps are really hard core, but they're still very courteous. And this race is awesome. 5 hilly miles on dirt followed by a BBQ and hangin' with your homies! (I don't get to hang too much as I have to get the bean from his dad's that day. It's yet another reason to get faster.)

The thing is, I ran Peter's Canyon in 66:44. Back in 2008, I ran the reverse course in 59:39. I figure a 7 min (plus ~9 months of and a baby later) ain't too shabby. And I loved it. (PS, that was an iPod free 66:44. I had it on, it was just dead.)

I won't lie, there was walking on the way out. (I think the dust triggered my asthma, as there was a bit of breathing difficulty that I chalked up to me being out of shape.) And much walking up the hills of Devil's Crotch. But there was also much running. Down the backside and all the way back to camp. I probably ran the whole back 3 miles.

It felt great. I remember how running made me feel before. There were points when I thought I'd stop, but I couldn't. My body wouldn't listen to my mind. Finally my mind STFU and said legs, I hope you know what you're doing because I'm not going to want to hear it later.

This race catapulted me back into tri/running training. I want to do it. I want to get faster again. I need to train. It's helping me with my mom/Yas balance. I just need to get me some good, reliable sitters.



Yes, I said raceS.

I've run 4 races since the bean was born. 3 I ran. 2 I ran with the bean. He always beats me!

Surf City 5K was the first. I blogged about it, so we'll skip it.

OC Marathon 5K (yeah, I know) was the second. I was talked into this one. It was in Costa Mesa and Penny was running the 1/2. We planned to meet up with Glenn and get breakfast. Both of them strongly suggested I run the 5K. I figured it would be a good way to kill time, so I decided to sign up. Two days before the race. At the time, it was the latest I had decided to run a race. Usually, being the planner I am, my races are scheduled months in advance. Seriously.

This was my first postpartum "race". It was hard. I took the stroller, and like a good mom, lined up in back. With the walkers. I think I spent most of my first mile dodging the walkers. Some of them were more accommodating than others. In the end, my first race back was slower than my first race ever, but it was awesome none the less. The bean was awesome. Grumbled a bit, but slept most of the way.

Ave of the Vines 5K was next. My awesome friend Rachel decided to run the 1/2. I had wanted to visit the fam up in Northern Cali and hadn't picked a week. So it was easy to plan my visit around the race. The bean didn't join me on this one. He was at his grandpa's house, visiting with his great grandparents.

I finished faster, although the first mile felt weird without the stroller to push. It also felt weird because I couldn't catch my breath. I chalk it up to running in the San Joaquin valley, through the vineyards of Lodi, and all that pollen/mold.

The most recent, Saddleback Community 5K, was the latest I'd ever decided to sign up for a race. I volunteered to work the registration table with my little man. I caught up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while, or who hadn't met the bean. (He was a hit, as always.) I figured I'd go out and cheer on the Duathlon racers. They convinced me to run the 5K. Why not? It's close to the house, I could walk down, run a short 5K, cheer peeps on, then walk back home. So I signed up. At about 5:30pm the day before the race.

Turned out great. It wasn't a chipped race. We showed up late, but still ran. I'm pretty surer we were faster than the OC Marathon 5K, but with no chip time and a bit of a watch malfunction (ran into friends at the finish line and I forgot to stop it) I can't be sure. I think I shaved at least 30 seconds off our time. AND THERE WERE HILLS. Well, one hill. You ran down in first.

All in all, I walk/ran about 6 miles today. Pushing a stroller. With a 15+ lb child.

I had a great time.


10, 10, 10

I'm kicking it into high gear. Well, higher gear. Okay, it's like maybe 3rd gear. I'm running. For 10 minutes at a time, with a 1 minute walk break in between. Then I repeat it, two more times.

It's been different. I still have some IT Band issues from being pregnant. The hip spread and extra weight are most likely the cause. I'm really trying to get into a groove, to build back up my stamina.

I'm getting back into what's important, but I've realized what's important has changed. I'd love to run every day. But sometimes, it's just a walk with the bean in the carrier. I want him to be just as comfortable as I am (well, I'm not running to be comfortable, but you know what I mean).

I bundle him up, if it's cold and cover him if it's a bit wet, but there in lies the different choices. Before the bean, I'd run in pretty much any weather. Maybe not pouring down rain, but pretty much any temp, any time, any place. Now I try to run when he's with his dad or when he's about to fall asleep. I don't want interrupt my run if he fusses, but I don't want him to fuss on the run. I think once I build up my stamina, that the stopping in the middle of a run will be not as bothersome. It's not that I don't love having him out there with me or that I let him cry. In fact, it hurts my heart when he starts crying. I tend to not go too far from home, just in case he has a melt down. (Well that and there are lots of hills, and pushing a stroller up hills is work enough. I'm not adding running to it until I can run up the hills on my own!)

I'm looking forward to him being older and better able to entertain himself in the stroller. It might be a pipe dream, but here's to hoping!


Surf City 5K - 2010 edition

For the 3rd year in a row I have failed to complete the Surf City 1/2 marathon. This year, 28 days after having a c-section, I walked the 5K.

It was probably closer to 5 miles, since I started walking from where I parked and past the 1/2 marathon start before getting to Main St in Huntington Beach. I was also the latest start, I'm sure, as I showed up about 40 minutes after the "gun" went off.

I wasn't sure I was going to do the race. It was supposed to be raining and I didn't want to take the bean out in that kind of weather. I didn't want to leave him at home, either. When I woke up, I saw a friend's picture that she posted on Facebook. The weather was beautiful at my house and beautiful in Huntington Beach, so I woke up my mother and we got ourselves and the bean ready to go, then went.

It was a bittersweet event. I was jonesing to run and jealous of the 1/2 marathoners who were getting to complete my favorite distance ever. When I had seen this race in my head I was carrying the bean or he would be waiting for me at the finish line with the person I love. and who loves me. I will admit there were tears. There were more mutterings and thoughts about how this wasn't how it was supposed to be. This was not the life I planned. My life was not supposed to be this way.

Even though this is not my choice, it is my life. In the end, Nathan was waiting there with the person I love and who loves me, my Mom. It may not have been the scene I had in my head, but it was still a great memory.

I really have to learn to lean on the support I have, use them when they offer.


Life Changes

I knew this was going to happen, but I still wasn't prepared for it.

At 41 weeks, 4 days, I will be induced and, hopefully, by this time tomorrow I'll have a healthy baby boy.

The problem with being induced, with scheduling a date for this life change, is that it brings up the other life change that I've experienced recently. I wasn't prepared for having to re-examine everything tonight.

On September 20th, 2009, my husband of 6 years, ~9 months told me he was in love with someone else. I thought it was over, but he still wanted to go to counseling and try to make it work. On September 26th, 2009 he told me he didn't want to make it work. On December 26th, 2009, one day shy of what would have been our 7th anniversary, we signed our MSA and mailed it off.

Each of those days set me off on a crying fit. Each made me think my world had been destroyed. It had. The life that I knew was gone. Everything was unpredictable. I agreed to the divorce. I haven't been happy for a while, but couldn't figure out why. When the person you're married to doesn't seem to want to spend time with you, it can be quite frustrating and very confusing. You try all sorts of things to get them to spend time with you, or at least seem to want you around. When none of it works, you might think this is the way it's supposed to be and give up. Or you run. And bike. And swim. But I digress...

This was not the way I envisioned it, when I first got pregnant. There was no induction. There was no divorce or single parenthood.

The best part, really, is that the woman he's in love with is a friend of ours. I know, it's nice. I'm not sure that we'll ever be friends again, but at least I know I can stand her.

The worst part? The broken promises. The promise that I wouldn't go through this pregnancy alone, yet as soon as I told him I couldn't deal with him and his new girlfriend he pretty much avoided me. He got a bit better near the end, but I still felt like I was a job.

So I go into my induction with some apprehension, but also with the knowledge that tomorrow is all about me and the bean. I'm no longer thinking about my ex-husband's feelings. I took them into account for too long during this process, putting mine aside because I was thinking about what would be best for the bean. But the bean won't know who was there when he's born. If it's too much for me to have my ex there, I'll call in my back ups or do it on my own. I know I can.

It's not who you are underneath - it's what you do that defines you. ~Batman Begins