Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Week To Go!

I'm home back in Portland after a wonderful time with my family in MT. I hope you all had a nice holiday and break. :)

My last day in Helena (Friday) kind of sucked because I got really sick. It must have been a 24 hour flu or something because I was sick all day and had a slight fever. I thought I just ate too much at dinner Thursday, which I did, but it was more than that. Blech. Luckily I felt a lot better Saturday and was well enough to make the 10 1/2 hour drive home. And today I was even better and managed to do my 12 mile run. I didn't have a ton of energy considering I hardly ate anything for two days (and threw up everything I ate on Thursday, sorry tmi), but I did it. Zach was nice enough to run with me even though the pace was slow.

The good news is my legs feel awesome. Last year at this time I was hobbling around on super sore shins and calves but this time I feel great.

Here's the stats on today's run:

12.0 miles/1:51:24/9:17 average pace
Riverfront path/Springwater Corridor with Zach

total miles for the week: 22

I'm really excited for next weekend! I'm feeling really positive and ready for the race, it's a good feeling. :)

I have a few easy runs this week and I'll post my goals later too. I also will have a few pictures from our 5k run.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am at Zach's parent's house all dressed up and waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive. The food already smells delicious and I'm starving, it's torture! I'm going to go down and have some snacks and a cocktail in a minute. 

But first, a quick running update. I only ran twice this week - Monday and then the 5k today. My legs needed the extra rest, plus I was busy visiting with friends and family, shopping, etc. 

7.0 miles/1:04:28/9:13 average pace
I ran up a dirt road that climbs pretty steeply for nearly a mile but at the top you are rewarded with sweeping views of the whole Helena valley. It was gorgeous! I did this run solo so no pictures.

3.1 miles (ish)/23:11/7:29 average pace
It was the coldest morning since I've been here, and the coldest morning since summer. It was 16 freaking degrees when we woke up! It was a balmy 20 by the time we made it to the race start. There were a couple hundred bundled-up runners waiting around for a few minutes and then we were off. I immediately was sucking air (who knew I was such an elevation wuss? I grew up here for cryin' out loud!) and it was COLD air. My lungs felt like they were freezing! I was working pretty hard and my first mile came in about 7:35. I decided just to try to run the whole thing, Zach had long since dropped me and I  knew I wasn't going to run a fast time.  The second mile was 7:45 or so and then finally I was on the home stretch. There was this insanely fast speed-walker right ahead of me the whole time (I KNOW!) and I just had to pass him at the end. I was surprised I came in so fast, I was expecting closer to 24:00. But my GPS read the course a tiny bit short, so whatever. Anyway, there were no numbers and no awards, so who cares. I'll take it. :) Zach finished with nearly a PR and 6th place overall, the bastard. Way to ruin all my excuses!! ;)

Well I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday with their family and friends. I'll post more MT pictures when we get home on Saturday. Happy Thanksgiving!! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MT Pictures

I arrived in MT on Thursday night and am having a very fun time with my family. It's very cold here but beautiful. On my run on Friday it was super windy, like 20+ with gusts of who knows what. Saturday's long run was chilly but calm. Helena is at just over 4000 feet elevation and I can notice it just a little. My pace is a little slower, but it's also hilly everywhere, freezing cold and my legs are tired.

It snowed big huge flakes for a little bit on Thursday night. I was so excited I ran outside without a coat:

I saw a sign at the local gym about a Turkey Trot so I went inside and signed me and Zach up. It's only $8 per person and truly a "fun run" - no numbers, no results. I signed us up for the 5k but I have no idea what the course is like (hilly I'm sure). The gym doesn't even have a website which is why I couldn't find anything about it before I came. But all that is fine with me because I doubt I'll be running that fast a time! Also it's supposed to be like 28 degrees. It will be a fun way to start the holiday. :)

Here's a quick summary of my runs and some pictures:

Thursday before I left OR
3.0 miles/30:00/10:00 average pace

6.0 miles/51:14/8:33 average pace

Heading out the door of my parent's house:
Running path with Mount Helena in background:

Check out my forward lean into the wind:

16.0 miles/2:26:15/9:09 average pace

First headed west of town for a couple miles:

Then through town:Little break in front of the Cathedral at about 6 miles:

Heading south out of town:and heading back:

Me and my dad after we finished the run:

total miles for the week: 33 (about 10 less than scheduled, but my legs feel good and that is more important)

Hope everyone had a nice weekend! Check out Zach's blog to see what's happening back home this weekend. He did his first ever really long run by himself! I can't wait for him to get here on Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heading to the Mountains

I'm really enjoying the first week of my taper and am celebrating by skipping my 5 mile run today. Actually, my lower legs are feeling pretty tight and sore so I decided it's best to just cross train instead. There are a couple key runs later this week that I want to complete, so this was the easy one to skip.

I'm heading up to Montana on Thursday for an extended Thanksgiving visit and I can't wait to do my runs there. My dad will probably join me on his bike for most if not all of my runs and that is just the coolest thing. I love being able to share something like that with my dad, plus he's great company! Nothing kills the time like a long dad story, hehe.

Before I head out, let me get caught up on the workouts of the past few days:

14 ish miles mountain bike ride
We rode the 3 miles or so up to Forest Park. At the trailhead we ran into Emily who had just finished up an awesome run. We rode up to the 4 mile marker on the trail and turned around. It was very busy in the park and we had a very fun ride.

Monday: Intervals
8.0 miles/1:11:43/8:58 average pace
I was feeling pretty good heading into this run but wasn't putting any pressure on myself since I'm officially in taper mode. Turns out the "no pressure" runs are often the best!

Started out with 2.5 miles very slow as my legs loosened up. Then I did 4 x half-mile intervals with quarter-mile recovery intervals in between. My times were:





Followed by another 2.5 miles at a very slow pace to cool down.

I was so happy with my times, 6:54 average pace! I'm supposed to be doing these at "5k pace" so I was a bit faster than that. It's possible I could run a 5k at that pace but I won't be doing a Thanksgiving Day 5k to find out- bummer! The last few years that we've been going to San Diego for the holiday, the turkey trot was one of my favorite traditions. This year since we're going to MT and there is no race. Instead, I think we're going to do a one-mile time trial. Not as festive (should I make me and Zach T-shirts? hehe) but should be fun. There's a nice track at the middle school right by Zach's house.

Tuesday: xt
As I mentioned, no run today. I went down to the workout room in my apartment for the first time and it is really nice! I did a weights workout and 20 minutes on the elliptical. Now I'm icing my legs and might take a couple Advil after lunch.

Have a great week everyone, I will post from Montana when I get a chance and will definitely have lots of cool pictures. Prepare to see me bundled up like it's the Arctic. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last Big Week

It's been a beautiful weekend here in Portland- we finally got a break from the rain and are actually seeing some sunshine. It was really nice for all three of my runs that I have to report. Let's get to it!

10.0 miles/1:33:22/9:20 average pace
Easy run in Forest Park. It was really mushy. The dirt trail is covered in a layer of leaves which have since turned to mush. Squishy squishy!

5.0 miles/45:40/9:08 average pace
Short easy run on the Beaverton Greenway Trail (aka Fanno Creek Trail I think). I drove out to Beaverton to go to Target so I took advantage of the chance to run on a different trail. Very scenic and lots of people out enjoying the sunshine.

20.0 miles/2:52:46/8:38 average pace
Marine Drive Trail along the Columbia River

This was exactly the 20 miler I wanted to have. I felt great, my legs felt strong, my spirit was up, and the pace felt easy. Yay!!

We made a point to get going early in the morning. Lately I've been sleeping in and taking my sweet time getting ready, but I know I need to sort of practice the early morning start for the race. So while I wasn't about to get up at 4:30 or whatever (projected wake time for CIM - we have to catch the shuttle bus at like 5:00) I did set my alarm for 7:00. :) We were out the door by about 7:45. This is very early for me!

It was going to be a clear day but it was cold and there was a very thick layer of fog hanging in the air when we started. Like, 20 feet visibility, visible water molecules, San Francisco fog. It was about 42 degrees so I started off in a long sleeve shirt over my normal running outfit. The first few miles were really easy and I was glad my legs didn't hurt. We were running right near the airport but you couldn't see a thing. This was really weird because the planes were SO loud, and like RIGHT above us, but they were invisible. I ate my first Gu at mile 5- Chocolate Mint, my favorite!

Oh ya, side note: I had finally received my new shoes the previous afternoon and decided to just wear them on the 20. I know that's kind of a risk since they were not broken in at all, but my old shoes were shot and I decided to go for it. Luckily they were very comfortable and really helped me finish the run pain-free.

First 5 miles were at an average 8:50 pace.

We took a little side trip on a trail that lead by the airport and through a shopping center that wasn't open yet. Luckily a Starbucks was open so we stopped there to refill our water bottles in the sink and use the restroom. Hey, when there's no public park you do what you gotta do. We made our way back to the trail and continued East along the Columbia. We had to take another little detour on a side road because the Marine Drive Trail doesn't actually connect, but that was only about a half mile or so. Finally we were on the trail again and still heading East. Second Gu at mile 10- Vanilla Bean.

Second 5 miles were 8:44 average.

I hadn't been on this stretch of trail so it was fun to see a new area. There were some big cranes along the river and we saw a hawk right above us in a tree. We weren't talking much, just kind of zoned out and running. I usually get some kind of musical refrain stuck in my head that I repeat over and over... like last week it was "I've been working on the railroad" (after seeing some people working on the railroad tracks) and this time I was alternating between "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" (It isn't) and "Lothar, of the hill people" from that Saturday Night Live skit with Mike Meyers. PLEASE somebody tell me you remember that. It's very random and from the 80's. Zach made some comment about Lothar in the morning and it just stuck with me all day. Awesome.

We turned around just before we hit 12 miles (since we'd added on the Airport/Shopping Center side trip) and headed back. I immediately noticed a big headwind so our first turn-around mile was slower. We detoured back through the side connector road and stopped another (different) Starbucks to again fill our bottles. Finally with about 5 miles to go we were back on Marine Drive heading West - the home stretch. I ate my last gu at mile 15: Chocolate Outrage.

The fog had cleared up by this point and it was absolutely gorgeous. We had an awesome view of Mt. Hood- you can see it in the last picture below.

Third 5 mile section was done at an 8:43 average pace.

On the last stretch we were pushing a little bit harder and still not talking much. I still felt great! I remember on our last 20 miler I was giving myself little pep talks and playing mental games just to keep going. This time I was just running along no problem. Zach was picking up the pace and I was staying with him, although he did finally drop me on that last quarter mile. And that's saying something because my pace for that last mile was 7:35! I think his was 7:20 or so. Damn.

Final 5 miles were at an average pace of 8:29.

I'm so pleased with this run, and I am SO ready for the taper. I'm going to rest, recover, relax. I'm going to ice, I'm going to stretch, and I guess I might even run just a little. I'd like to think I've finally learned the big lesson of the taper: less is more. I want to arrive at the starting line feeling fresh and happy and full of energy. The work is done. YAY.

total miles for the week: 50 :)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Veteran's Day, where we thank all our veterans and most of the employed members of society get the day off work. This includes my wonderful husband Zach, so we're having a little mini-weekend fun day today. We slept in and then went for a run, and now we're heading out to bum around town and enjoy the day.

I'm having a really good week so far. My legs feel good - I've been icing like crazy, stretching and rolling, etc. Also, I'm feeling a lot more positive and upbeat. Getting excited about the marathon. Here's the run down of my recent workouts.

Bike 16.5 miles
Marine Drive West to Kelly Point Park- fun and scenic ride!

8.0 miles/1:15:29/9:26 average pace
Easy slow run along river. Legs were kinda sore but not bad.

7.0 miles/56:57/8:08 average pace
Today we did the interval workout together. This was nice because Zach paced me and encouraged me along. He didn't run ahead like last time either! It was really nice. We ran 2 miles warm up at an easy pace, then did three one-mile repeats. My splits were:




(6:59 ave)

I'd have to double check my log but I think that 6:43 is my fastest mile ever. :O I know I ran a 6:46 mile in a 5k once but that's it... yay! I felt great too, it wasn't even that hard. I felt like the first one was hardest, the second one was not bad, and the third one was pretty hard. But I didn't feel that exhausted or like I was going to puke, which is how I'd normally feel. Then we did one mile easy to finish up. I am so happy with this run!!

Feeling really good about the rest of the week- I'm scheduled to run 50 miles and know I can do it. Saturday is our last 20 miler and I'm excited about that. It's even supposed to be NICE here all weekend! Well, "partly cloudy." But this is the first time we've seen anything but "rain," "showers," etc on the forecast for a few weeks! I'll take it!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Week 8 Wrap Up

17.0 miles/2:32:07/8:57 average pace
Riverfront path to Springwater Corridor

We ran directly from our house this time, rather than driving to a new cool trail. It was rainy and it was "only" 17 miles, so we were both ok with this. The first 6 miles were basically the same run along the river that I've been doing every week for my 12 miler so it wasn't too exciting. The next couple of miles before the turn around were partially through town (no separate path) and then we hooked up with the Springwater Trail. This is the one that goes like 15 more miles out toward Greshem and where we ran our 20 miler last weekend.

I was surprised how crappy I felt as we started- I had a serious case of dead leg syndrome. I know it's from my 10 miler the day before so I'm not too worried about it. My legs were tired and my whole body just felt heavy. Luckily Zach wasn't feeling too spunky himself so we just ran an easy pace and got through it. It was raining off and on, sometimes really hard, and it was windy too. It was just a blah run and we couldn't wait for it to be over! I decided early on I didn't even care about my pace, I just wanted to finish it. I was surprised but happy to come in just under 9:00, since I haven't had any long runs over that pace yet.

My legs feel ok, my shins are a little sore but nothing bad. Today we're going for a bike ride which should loosen up the legs. Here's a couple pictures from yesterday- it's hard to tell but it was raining hard in these.

but first,

total miles for the week: 47

It cleared up later in the afternoon and we had a beautiful twilight:

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Friday, November 07, 2008


I had a great run today and am totally on a runner's high right now. I need to remember this moment, because THIS is what keeps me going through all the tough runs, the soreness, the anxiety... this is what it's all about!!

10.0 miles/1:22:29/8:15 average pace
Forest Park

I had decided just to take this run easy and not try and hit "goal pace" (which at this point is still not exactly set). The main path in Forest Park is a little uphill for the first couple miles and gains a little more elevation slowly over the next few miles, so I figured if anything I could run the second half fast. I started off pretty easy with my first mile at 9:39 on that first incline. The second mile came in at 8:41 and I was feeling really good! I figured I will just run a strong pace and see how it goes. Here's the rest of my splits:

mile 3: 8:33
mile 4: 8:41
mile 5: 8:08

(time at turn around: 43:44/8:45 ave)

mile 6: 7:55
mile 7: 8:02
mile 8: 7:42
mile 9: 7:51
mile 10: 7:12

(second half time: 38:45/7:45 ave)

I was surprised at every mile- I really never felt like I was working that hard! The last mile I was definitely running fast, and it was all downhill, but I was surprised how fast.

So this ended up being a pretty decent "goal pace" type run... 8:15 pace would be just about 3:36 marathon time, which would be a pr! Not 100% sure what my main goal is going to be for the marathon, maybe 3:35 or so. But who knows- Zach likes to think we can run 3:30. Ha!

My legs are feeling a lot better these days, I think the icing has helped. Thanks for all the words of encouragement, I know I'll be reading through them again and again as the race gets closer. :)

Here's some pics from this morning- a big smile after the run and my awesome muddy legs.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mental Reset

I'm at that point in my training where I am down on myself. I am sore, frustrated about being sore, anxious about getting my runs in while sore, questioning my goals, and over-analyzing the whole bundle.

My left shin has been sore since last week's (awesome) tempo run and it's totally got in my head.

I took Monday off, and it felt better. Tuesday I ran 12 miles and it felt good, but got pretty sore that night. Today it was sore in the morning, but felt better by the afternoon. Right now it's ok (well, this exact second it's submerged in ice water, so it feels numb). That's the exciting play-by-play of how I feel. I am on freaking orange alert all the time monitoring how it feels. It's exhausting!! And what's funny is that it's not a bad pain. When it feels "not bad" it's a 2 on a scale of 1-10. When it is "bad" it's maybe a 4. I've had "9" pain and this is nothing like that. Why can't I just relax?!

This is a familiar pain that occurs every single time I run high mileage in training for a marathon. The predictability and familiarity is part of what annoys me so much. Why can't I just train for a marathon and feel good the whole time? Wait, that is ridiculous isn't it. Of course I'm sore! If it wasn't my shin, it would be something else.

In addition, I'm constantly adjusting and re-adjusting my schedule for the week and worrying about every single mile in my program. In addition, my confidence is all over the place- mostly I feel good but sometimes I fill with doubt. I think it's the doubt from the rest of my life overflowing into my running. The whole job thing, what am I doing with my life, etc.. It's just a lot going on in my head.


I did a good thing and reached out to my friends today. Maritza and I have been partners in running and best friends for a few years now and I needed her pep talk. I also talked to Aron who has been a great friend and training partner, even though we haven't exactly met yet. Both of them told me exactly what I needed to hear and I am now officially shutting down the pity party and moving on! Here are some of their very kind and supportive words:

Maritza: "You know what you have to do - you are a marathon ass-kicker and now you just have to run smart. I have no doubt in my mind that you can do it, that you've GOT this. Your motto until taper? A great run is a HEALTHY run!!!"

Aron said a lot of the same stuff and also emphasized how CLOSE we are to this race. There's not that many hard runs left! Maritza had this great analogy about how if my marathon training is a mountain, I'm already over the peak. That made me feel good! I know I've put in a lot of work and don't need to stress so much about what is happening this and next week.

Finally, Maritza told me that since I'm such a goal-oriented person, I should "sit down, re-evaluate your goals based around getting to race day healthy, make some lists and focus."

Ok, can I just say I love these girls? That was all so good to hear. So, following Maritza's advice, I am making a mental adjustment and shifting my focus to staying strong and healthy and arriving at the starting line in 4 weeks ready to race. Here's a soul-soothing list of my ideas of how to achieve that:

1. Keep an eye on the shin and any other pains, but keep a cool head about it. If it hurts very bad, skip a run. If it's minor pain, just accept it and go about my business. I am going to be fine.

2. Reflect positively on all the hard work I've put in so far- awesome long runs, fast tempo runs, big overall mileage, a strong half-marathon time. I rock!

3. Look forward to the final few weeks of training and the race. It's going to be tough, but the taper will work it's magic and I will rock the marathon!

4. Be healthy: eat healthy foods and moderate portions, avoid excessive alcohol, drink lots of water and tea, take my vitamins, wash my hands and be careful to avoid germs.

5. Baby my legs: do longer warm up and cool down walks, stretch thoroughly after each run, ice after every run and whenever else I feel like it.

I know I'm going to be fine and I know this kind of anxiety is normal. Writing all of this out made me feel even better. :) It is nice to know there is this community of runners who all know how I feel and I really appreciate all your support. Thanks for letting me vent! :)

Oh, and here's a quick run report:

8.0 miles/1:09:18/8:40 average pace
I decided not to do the interval workout as written and do an easier version instead. 6 x .25 miles with .25 mile recoveries. I felt good but held back a little on all the repeats, which came in consistently around 1:49. It was a good run overall.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Actually, I dropped my ballot off last week. Oregon is 100% vote-by-mail so today we just get to watch the rest of the country vote. It's kind of nice because I was able to sit down and go through the ballot slowly and carefully, looking up certain measures and stuff online and reading about them. However, I kind of miss the actual act of going into the little chamber and getting the above sticker. Oh well!
I ran today:
12.0 miles for barack obama/1:50:00/9:10 average pace
My leg is feeling really good today, I'm glad I took yesterday off. I am planning on running all the rest of the miles this week but will play it by ear.

Happy election day everyone!! :)

Monday, November 03, 2008


20.0 miles/2:57:55/8:54 average pace
Springwater corridor trail

We drove out to southeast Portland about 9:00 am and parked where we did when we did our 16 miler out here. It was barely drizzling at the start and almost 60 degrees.

I really wanted to have an "easy" run. I know we've been running our long runs kind of fast (for me) and while that has worked great, I didn't want to have a hard 20 miler. There is another 20 miler in two weeks and I told myself and Zach that that can be our fast one. Plus, I've been sore since Thursday's hard run and was pretty tired from the week overall, so a nice easy pace was just what I needed.

Since my little trick of ignoring my watch worked so well on that tempo run I decided to use the same tactic this time, but for the opposite purpose of running slow (and not freaking out about the pace) rather than running fast (and not freaking out about the pace). We were running a straight out and back, so I ignored my watch for the first 10 miles. We stopped about mile 7 to top off our water bottles. There weren't many people out but we were enjoying the fall scenery and chatting. At about mile 9 the paved trail ends and we ran in some mud to mile 10.

At the turnaround, our time was 1:32:11 (9:13 average pace).

It was raining pretty hard at times and I was soaked. My feet were very wet and I was worried about blisters, but otherwise I felt great. That slow pace really paid off and I was ready to pick it up a bit.

We stopped again at a park to refill our water bottles. We ate three GUs- one at mile 6 (chocolate outrage), mile 11 (chocolate mint, my fav!), and mile 16 (espresso love, blech, only ate half).

It continued to rain and we kind of stopped chatting. We started playing games that involved counting our steps and man that was a genius idea. The last few miles flew by. I was feeling really good, like not even tired. Usually over the course of a long run I hit a couple rough patches mentally but this run was cake. I'm super proud of myself for pacing so smartly and having such a great run.

At the finish our time was just under 2:58 which means our second half was 1:25:44, a 6 1/2 minute negative split! Average pace on the second half was 8:34.

total miles for the week: 51.4

Sunday we went for a bike ride down the west bank of the Willamette and explored this new trail. We took our time and enjoyed stretching our legs out. We stopped and had lunch at a little cafe on the river and then headed home for a dip in the hot tub.

North Park Blocks near my house:

Park along the river:
View of city from river:

My legs generally feel fine but there's this slight pain in my left shin/knee that I am not ok with. It's not too bad but in previous years it's become really painful and sucked a lot. I decided yesterday that I would not run today and I'm sticking to it. It actually feels good today but I'm not running. I want to run but I know it's the smart thing to rest. I am going to repeat myself over and over all day as a reminder. :) It'll still be a big week although I won't hit 50. Whatevs. Better to be healthy!

Congrats to Michele who completed the Ford Ironman this weekend. I am in awe of this woman! Talk about inspiring. Way to go Michele!!

Congrats to everyone who ran NYC too. I am so glad to see Paula Radcliffe won and Kara Goucher got 3rd- wow! I'd love to do that marathon someday.
Have a great week everyone! Oh, I didn't end up dressing up my cat this year. And while he was very happy with that decisions I have no funny pics to share. Sorry!