Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun in Seattle!

Friends from out of state were visiting last weekend.  Can you believe that the weather was nicer in Seattle than it was in San Diego?  I might be enjoying this El Nino weather a bit too much. 

thanks for visiting!  I had such a good time and it was such a nice break from work and training.  I can't wait for August or even sooner.  And we are so looking forward to a DC visit. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nookachamps 2010

The BEST way to finish off a race. 

I will pass on a full glass of hard cider though.  Gack!  That wasn't what I was expecting at all. 

As I've said before, Nookachamps Half Marathon, 10k ad 5k are a great winter pick me up.  Inexpensive, well organized, really nice courses and a lot of runners from elite to just out there to have fun show up to run.  The weather has been fairly atrocious of late (very wet although warm) but the forecast opened up mid-week and Saturday looked like it was going to be great.

It was! 

I wasn't prepared to race the half distance as I knew it would cut too much into marathon training so I decided to approach this as a good long distance run and try out marathon pace.  lately I've been running all but my speedwork runs really easy and wasn't too sure what marathon pace would be. The only races I have lately are very short ones and it's been difficult to decide if the training paces I'm looking at are realistic. 

So the goal was to head out at an easy pace for a few miles, gradually pick it up to 8:50 and then down to 8:40.  This half course has a lot of hills starting at mile 10 so I knew I didn't want to push it too hard there but I'd still stay steady. 

and that's what I did.  What a great way to run a half marathon.   It basically means you chat and have fun the first half, look to get a little more serious and then start blowing by everyone in the race. 

Here's how it played out:

Miles 1-3:  9:06, 9:03 (huge downhill), 8:59.  I ran this with a friend who was doing the 10k.  That was fun! 
Miles 4-7: 8:50, 8:43, 8:45, 8:49  I was chatting with a women in through here about various things. we passed a farm with an amazing black stallion galloping around, saw a large eagle and a flock of trumpeter swans (the race logo) in the field. 
Miles 8-9: 8:39, 8:39  This felt effortless in here and was on an out and back section so i could see a lot of friends who were running. 
Miles 10-12:  8:48, 9:15, 8:59  Here's the hills and I was getting really, really thirsty.
Miles 13:  8:03   Ummm...oops.  Not in the plan.

1:56:10 watch time.  I ran a pretty similar time last year on a lot less training it seems.  But last year I had a lot more endurance coming in with a lot of long bike rides and a marathon in the previous year.  I've lost some of the distance endurance I'd say.  It was a bit warmer than I was expecting too.  I got some tan on my arms and face and it was wonderful!  But between the sun and an occasional stiff breeze, I did feel quite dehydrated in the race.  Oh yeah, I have to remember this stuff now if I'm running long. 

After i finished, I chatted with Coach Lesley members who'd run the half and the 10k and enjoyed all the happy endorphins.  I went off to do a bit of a cool down and spot RPD who I knew would be coming in soon.  Sure enough, I trotted not even half a mile and I could see him coming in.  Knowing that'd he'd be blasting in the last mile, I didn't expect to want to keep up with him and I didn't but it was nice to see him looking so strong. 

The showers before getting in the car always make me so happy.  I really should've stretched a bit but K had been patiently waiting for the happy stop at Skagit Brewery. The burger and Brown Ale were as tasty as ever.  RPD had a hard cider.  I've never tasted that before and I think I made the funniest faces as I reacted to it.  And I'm not sure I'll ever have it again! 

The fantastic weather made this wonderful race even more of a treat this year.  I really hope to be at a point to race this course because I really enjoy most everything about it.  Thanks Nookachamps for another great year! 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The New Year...

ah-choo!  snork. cough, cough.

Yeah well.  A virus with my name on it rather changed how I would've preferred to spend my New Year's Weekend but there are worse things

I found out one of my local yarn shops, Acorn Street Yarn Shop,  has an awesome sale on New Year's Day.  I got some excellent deals for yarn for my next projects and have made some good progress on my Diane Cardigan for opera/ballet-going.  And once again, I am realizing how much I like to knit. It is so soothing.

K finished a cat tree for our boys and they love it!  They are growing and keeping us in stitches with their play and lovableness.  They are going to be great cats as they are now great kittens.  Active and playful but perfectly happy being held and snuggled.  Anyone who comes to the house is interesting and they like to say hi.  Since I like having photos in my blog, i've included some random recent cat photos for your viewing pleasure. 

Training was all shot to hell last week with the developing virus, not to mention the wet and dark outside.  I'm calling it another cutback week which is probably a good thing and it'll set me up to start some good training with rested legs and a heart raring to go.

My goals for 2010 in running?

I never got that marathon run last year so May 2nd is the date to aim for.  My marathon of choice right now is either Eugene, OR or Lincoln, NB.  Lincoln?  No, i've never been to nebraska but there a lot of people I know from runango marathon running forum who will be running in either the full or the half here and I'd love to meet them.   I've run Eugene and it's a really good race, but i don't see the need to repeat it.  With cheap airfare, Lincoln might be very doable money wise and not much more than Eugene.  It's certainly a less expensive race and has some great recommendations.

Right now that's the big goal.  I may or may not run the half at Nookachamps in a couple weeks.  I'd hoped to race this seriously but the cold rather interrupted an important week in training for that.  I might still go run hard (depending on how I feel) just for a baseline.  I know a lot of people running in various events there so it would be fun and it's such a nice event

Reach the Beach Relay is on for 2010!  I had so much fun at this race last year that I have to do it one more year.  And we hope to visit friends in the WA DC area for the days following the race.  That reminds me.  We need to request a White House Tour basically NOW!

I'd like to PR in a half marathon.  I am signed up for the second Annual Seattle Rock N Roll Half in June.  Maybe that'll be the one.  My PR is 1:43:40 set in 6/2007 and seems ridiculously fast so we shall see about that goal.  I want to do more of the Cougar Mountain Trail Series plus just get out to the trails whenever possible.  After 22 races last year, I do plan to be more selective in racing.  Racing is valuable mentally so I will try and incorporate that better into my training.

Mental training has to be part of my training this year as well.  I'm realizing more and more how much that plays into that race day.  I've got some helpful books and will be more mindful while training of those negative nellies talking in my ear.

I'm not particularly setting mileage goals for the year.  consistent training with well considered breaks will get me to the starting line well prepared to race.  I do want to maintain biking fitness as I think it's valuable cross training for me (both cardio and leg strength) and I will work hard to get in two sessions of core/weight training per week.  I always get in one but sometime struggle with that second one.  I know I feel stronger overall when I'm consistent with weight training and even notice the benefits in my job which can be physical at times. 

And I am setting my own training schedule after being coached for many years.  It's both freeing, exhilarating, worrying and challenging all at the same time.  I've got a lot of support in so many ways that i know I can do this part and do it well.  It's just a matter of trusting myself and paying attention to my body.  And I'll thank all of you right now who will be helping me towards my goals this year.

Welcome to the new decade!  Where are we going to go?!