Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Fast Forward

I feel like I've been stalling on getting to what's going on now.  You feeling that too?  Just tell me to get on with it already!!  I think it's time that I get us all caught up to the present instead of talking in lots of detail (much of which I maybe forgetting, oops) of things that happened 3 months ago.  So let's hit the fast forward button, shall we?

March was my next race and it was for the St. Patty's Day 5K.  It's a HUGE race in my city, there were over 20,000 people running this race, yeah extreme racing no doubt!  My friend D and I were running the race together and it was her first official race.  We dressed up in lots of green and had lots of shamrock goodness all over. 

They had several waves of course.  We were in the Red Wave which was for timed joggers and runners, my first over timed race.  Oh boy!
The course was packed for much of the race and for the first 1.95 miles, it was a gradual grade uphill.  Oof! My friend and I would run for as long as we could and then we would walk for maybe a minute and get right back into our rhythm.  Luckily, the rest of the course was a gradual downhill run and I think we ran the whole way back down.  Don't you just love running downhill? My time always improves when this happens. :) 
We finished the race and hit the biggest wall of people when we crossed the finish line.  Hello 10,000 of our closest and sweatiest friends.  There was no place to walk off the run or catch your breath, you were just stuck standing there, moving slowly like a herd of cattle.  It was awful.  It was just a huge bottle neck from people trying to deposit their timing chips.  Lovely.  By the time we walked the .25 mile out of the "corral" area, deposited our chips, we finally got to the water station.  D and I were cold (it was 33 degrees out) and just done with all the crowds (hoards of people everywhere trying to get all the swag), we decided to grab our water and get out of there. 

Good thing too...because it started snowing.  Yep, gotta love Seattle in March, you can run a race and get snowed on.  So we hightailed it to the nearest Starbucks and got us some hot coffee to help keep us warm for our long walk back to the car.  Where we got more wet doing (from snowing) than getting sweaty while running.  Touche Seattle, touche.

The results for the race were released the next day and I had run the race in 47:03, which came out to 12:56/mile, since the race was almost 4 miles.  Trickery!!!  5K my eye!!  So not bad, actually it was a HUGE improvement from my first race.  I felt more confident since I had been through a race previously and I had my friend, who I had been running a few times with, with me.  Now I would have liked to run all the way through without stopping, as that was my goal from my last race, but that didn't happen.  All in all, I was happy with my run.

Next race I had on my radar was the Bellevue Family 5K.  It's a smaller race and gave me another goal to train for.  See, I had been bad when training for the St. Patty's Day race.  Yeah, I had run maybe 5 times before.  I know, I know...bad me!  So I tried running more to get myself ready for this race.  And I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't.  I couldn't get motivated.  I made excuses and just did not get out as much as I wanted and should have to prepare for this race.

The race came and I was running this one alone.  No friends and the hubby is officially sitting out all my races from now on. So I grabbed my iPod shuffle to take with me, that would be my running buddy for this race.  The course started in Downtown Bellevue and looped around ending at the same place it started.  I don't know who mapped out this course, but they should be hung by their thumbs!  Who has a steep hill climb at the beginning AND the end of a race?!?  I mean come on!!

So I trucked along and found a person that was running at a comfortable pace and kept pace with her, hanging back a bit and tried to zone out.  I ended up fighting the whole way and my legs felt like lead towards the end, right before the hill climb up.  The girl I'd kept pace with stopped and walked up the hill, but I was going to be damned if I stopped so close to the end.  So I dug deep, and I mean deep, and ran.  I kept running, cursing myself all along the way.  I rounded the corner and saw the finish and I kept churning, and picked up the pace a bit, giving it the last of my energy and finally crossed the finish.

I felt like I was gonna puke.  I was light-headed and way nauseous.  I stumbled over to the guy collecting the timing chips, nearly falling over onto him (luckily a railing was there).  The hubby came over to me and immediately gave me water and allowed me to walk around to cool down and hopefully not puke.  I hate to puke, ugh, worse feeling ever. I grabbed a banana and a free coconut water, downed them both and started feeling 100% better.

Now when I was walking back to the car with the hubby, I noticed something I hadn't before while running or racing.  My nipples were hard and hurting!  I got home and took a hot shower, but still that didn't get them to go down, they hurt less, but were still very pronounced.  Has that happened to anyone else?  Is that fairly common?  Regardless, they eventually went back down later that afternoon, but damn, that hurt.

The results for this race were posted the next day and I eagerly checked my time, only to be slightly disappointed in myself.  I had ran this 5K in 40:47 with my average mile splits being 13:09.  Slower than my previous race where I ran almost .75 mile farther.  I will admit it, I beat myself up about this.  I looked at my lack of training and knew that I could have done better for myself.  I also was thinking, is my running goal oriented or fitness oriented?  I had to think about that, because that is a really good question that we all should be asking.  Are we doing this for the right reasons and if not, then why are we doing it?

Well that brings us up to this past weekend where I ran the Beat the Bridge 8K race at my old college stomping grounds at the University of Washington.  Did I beat the bridge?  Well, I guess you'll have to see.  Until then all I have to say is GO DAWGS!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Lull

The holidays had arrived.  Oh how I love the holidays.  People being a little more courteous than any other time of year.  The holiday music.  The lights.  The Christmas trees.  The snow.  Gatherings with family and friends where famous recipes make their yearly debut and we all eat a little too much and drink a whole lot more.  This season is also murder on your training schedule.  If you do not belong to a gym and can have use of a treadmill during this time, you are running in the cold rain and snow.  Blech!! That crap is hardcore!

Not that I like treadmills, I hate running on them actually.  I never feel like I'm running, I don't feel like I get the same workout.  With that being said, I still prefer them over running through driving cold rain and frigid snow.  Brrr...I'm getting shivers thinking of it now. That's the runners life in Seattle, you have to have your winter running gear and your spring/summer running gear...and all that gear is expensive!!! 

So since I didn't have the money to get appropriate gear, I would put together items I had and brave the cold and wet runs.  No wicking gear, or base layers, just good old cotton items.  Yay, or something.  Now I would have to run during my lunch time at work because by the time I was out from work, it was far too dark to go running in my neighborhood.  Therefore I would get hot and sweaty and wet from running, I looked like a hot mess when I would get back to my desk after running.  It didn't matter to me though, I didn't want to stop training, I didn't want to stop running.  I had tasted the fruits of my labor and I didn't want to give up on the progress I had made.  Not only that, but my body was transforming and I was losing weight.  Feeling and looking good, great combination from any workout!

I had started to research other races and my next year started to take shape.  2012 was going to be a running year.  I had made the schedule out in my head of what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to go.  The one thing I did know for sure is that I wanted to run and I wanted to get better.  I wanted to be more consistent in my running, I wanted to run longer distances and I wanted to run without stopping in a race!  I had goals and I wanted to accomplish them, now how do I train for these?  That's gonna be the tough part.  Or is it?  Never underestimate the power of friends who run, that is my first lesson in this long list of lessons I will eventually learn.  Friends who run are motivation indeed...and just the motivation that I needed.

The 5K

Here it is, the moment of truth.  The day of the run arrived.  I had put together a run outfit for that day and had it all laid out the night before, taking advice from other running blogs, and I was up super early so that I could get to the course and get my first ever packet.  It was early, about 6:30ish and I was nervously excited.  We drove downtown, expecting we wouldn't be able to find parking and worried about the horrendous lines I'd read about in other peoples blogs.  Only to arrive to the course and see no lines at all for packet pick up...and we were ridiculously early.  Sigh...

The race didn't start for another two hours, yeah, awesome.  So we hung out at Westlake Center waiting for the race to begin and getting ready ourselves.  We put on our race shirts for the race (a no-no that I'll talk about later) and attached our large number of jingle bells so you jingled everytime you moved, and especially ran, cute!  We also watched all the what I like to call "real runners" filter in and also watching all the dressed up runners arrive to pick up their packets.  It was fun to see how "in to" the race people would or wouldn't get.  For some this was a fun run where they could flit around having fun dressed up in costumes and bringing levity to the race.  For others, like me, it was a big deal and was very focused on the goal of the race.  For others more it was just another race, maybe they would PR maybe they wouldn't but this was no big deal for them.

I watched as the people squeezed into the starting corral, man that's a lot of people in an itty bitty space!  It was cold and I mean cold outside (34 degrees) and everyone was itching to get moving.  The horn blew and the first color was off!  As they left my color start filled in the holes and squeezed into the starting area.  Then 5 minutes later the horn blew again, the greens were off!  And so was I.

I crossed the start line and it was jam packed with people on the street, though as you proceeded up (yes, hill climb at the beginning, lovely) the street people disbursed and there was more room to run.  The feeling was electric and I was so excited I was running!  I was passing people and feeling like I was on a good clip.  I would say I was 3/4 of a mile when a huge side cramp stopped me in my tracks.  Damnit...I was doing so well!  I was mad at my body for letting me down in this way, but I walked it off and when the cramp subsided I would run again.  But the side cramp came back when I started running, it did this the whole race...and I was pissed!  It got to the point I would run for a few minutes, walk for a few minutes, run for a few minutes, walk for a few minutes.  WTF!?!?!?

I finally made it to the finish line, YAY!  I ran the last 1/4 mile to the finish line, side cramp or no side cramp, I wasn't going to limp over the finish line!  I didn't elect to be timed, since it was my first (and only planned) race, I figured there would be no need.  However I did look at the time when I crossed the line and it was an hour after the time started.  I had finished it!  I had run (and walked) a 5K!  I was so proud of myself for having gone after what I wanted, trained for it and actually ran it. 

I was on such a high and was immediately beginning to think about my next goal.  The next goal I had was I wanted to be able to run a 5K completely, never stopping from start to finish.  A small, but attainable goal, right?  But for now, I was just happy to have done it and was off to get some much deserved carbs, the free Redhook beer pint!  Mmmmmm...