Saturday, January 31, 2009

Columbia River Gorge

9.0 miles/1:12:59/8:07 average pace
Historic Columbia River Highway- Hood River

The drive up to Hood River is about an hour and the landscape is gorgeous. There was ice clinging to the cliffs around the many waterfalls. Some sun was shining through the dense fog. We even saw a bald eagle. It was sunnier out in Hood River but still only about 40 degrees.

The run itself was tough, but the scenery makes everything seem better. We ran the 4.5 miles to the turnaround at a sub-8:00 pace enjoying the long downhills. The way back was much tougher and I was feeling the pace (combined with Friday's fast run). I had one mile about 9:17 on a long climb. We stopped a few times for pictures and to check out the old graffiti in the tunnel (see pic blow, it reads "snowbound Nov 19-27 1921"), but it was still hard. The last mile we got a little downhill again and I ran 7:23.

The rest of the weekend has been really fun and relaxing. We went out with some friends, Zach made brownies and I tried to refrain from eating the whole pan. We watched Spaceballs and Spinal Tap (favorites of mine) and spent some serious time in the hot tub. We just watched the Superbowl and really enjoyed it!

Next week should be pretty intense as I am out of excuses and must start Master's, plus I am hoping to get in some decent rides outside since the weather will be nice. Plus run a bunch. And that push up thing.

total miles for the week: 19 (partial recovery week after half marathon last weekend)

enjoy pics below from Saturday's run in the Gorge

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Forest Park Friday

I had the best run this morning in Forest Park. I was flying, it was effortless, it was beautiful, total runner's high. Yay! I'll get to that, but let's back track to Monday and recap the week. I didn't make it to master's class at all but got a lot of good workouts in.

Monday I rested. I was a little sore and have a strong belief in taking days off after races of any length. I loved reading all the feedback on my race report. Thank you!

Tuesday: bike
45 minutes trainer
high-cadence spin

Tuesday I saw on Emily's blog that she's going to do this 100 push up challenge. I think that sounds really cool, and the website kind of sucked me in. So Tuesday night we did our inital test. Zach busted out 25 push ups like it was nothing and I about died after 8. So doing 100 consecutive push ups is a bizarre and hilarious goal for me, but what the hell. We'll see. The website has a schedule for 3 days a week for 6 weeks so I'll follow it until I lose interest or my arms fall off. I'm just kind of incorporating it into my strength training workout.

Wednesday: run
4.0 miles/35:07/8:47 average pace
Easy solo run along the riverfront path. Legs feel good.

Wednesday push up workout Day 1: It went ok, it's pretty straightforward, just some sets of push ups. I was VERY sore the next day though! ha!

Thursday: bike
45 minutes trainer
I was tired and lazy but finally got on the bike in the afternoon. Honestly I took it pretty easy but whatever.

Thursday push up workout Day 2: I was supposed to rest for a day in between, but we got talking about it and decided just to do it last night after dinner. Zach helped me on my form and I completed the workout. I think I'll rest for the weekend and then start Week One over again next week since I didn't get all 3 workouts in this week. Also, it jumps up to like 12 push ups in week 2 and that ain't happening yet. We also got into a crunches competition. I did 43 on the balance ball and then 60 on the floor. I'm going to try to see how many I can build up to on that as well. They have something like that on the 100 push ups challenge website, but I'm just going to do it on my own I think.

Friday: run
6.0 miles/47:41/7:57 average pace
This morning's run was just awesome. Perfect. I drove up to the trailhead of Forest Park -it's only a couple of miles from my house, but if I ran up there I'd have to turn around before I got to the foresty part! I was dressed warm in tights and my cool North Face running jacket because it was only 35 degrees. I had my iPod loaded up with podcasts and music and was just going to run however I felt. Turns out, I felt fantastic!

It is really foggy around Portland today and especially up in the park. It's so beautiful up there anyway, but with the mist hanging in the trees it looks really magical. I just ran on the main trail (Leif Erickson) which isn't too hilly but does gradually climb for the first couple of miles. There were some snowy/icy patches on the trail (the sun almost never hits the forest floor to melt it!)but only in a couple of spots.

I felt great from the beginning and hit the first mile marker in 9:00, not bad considering it is all uphill. I increased my pace every mile after that with my very last mile (downhill) being sub-7. Weee! Another way of looking at the numbers: the first 3 miles I ran in 25:29 (8:30 average) and the last 3 miles I ran in 22:12 (7:24 average). So fun. It was a real confidence-booster, which I admit I kind of needed.

Well, this weekend could have any number of things in store... we haven't decided really. I think we're going to drive somewhere cool to run tomorrow, and then Sunday we might either do a mountain bike ride or go snowshoeing. The superbowl is on but I'm not really into it.. I am going to be rooting for the Cardinals though cause my bff Inga lives in Phoenix and her and her husband are big fans. And they really need the win because their other favorite team, the Coyotes, kind of suck. Haha, just kidding!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone! A special shout out to everyone running races this weekend.... Billy and POM are running a half marathon down in SoCal and the RoHos Maritza, Aron, Julianne, Tara, and Kristen (who shockingly doesn't have her own blog! For shame!) are doing the KP Half in San Francisco (a race I've done and looooved!). Good luck everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vancouver Half Marathon Report

I did it! It wasn't a spectacular race for me but it was beautiful and exciting and very fun.

I knew it was going to be cold, so I thought a lot about how to dress for the 35 ish temps. I decided I'm a shorts girl to the core and I'd just layer up top and wear gloves and tough it out. I did not know, however, that it was going to SNOW! I saw a couple flakes yesterday but they said there could be a few flurries.. but this morning there was a legitimate layer of snow. Yikes! I decided to stick with the planned outfit- my North Face shorts, UA sleeveless layer, long sleeve tech shirt (my blue Boston one, which I wear when I'm feeling insecure, hehe), and gloves. It worked fine for the race.

The snow was beautiful and the Vancouver Lake area looked amazing. I've raced in cold weather but never ran a race in snow! Of course the above-freezing temps slowly melted the snow and made a nice layer of slush on the roads and trails. The course ran about half on a road and the other half on a paved bike path. The road wasn't bad, but the trail was yucky.

So the goal for the race was to try to run about 1:45. In retrospect, I should have been more realistic but whatever. I knew when I signed up for this race that the timing wasn't ideal... I ran a marathon 7 weeks ago and took about 3 weeks off after (including feasting like a king during the holidays, shut up you did it too), so I've really not been training for this. I ran like 25 miles a week for the last three weeks. I ran a long run of 10 miles two times. So not much. I knew I could run it though and why the hell not. :) Plus, Emily wanted to do it and it was going to be fun just to do our first race "together."

We picked up our bibs and did a little warm up before the 10:00 am start (love that!). We lined up close to the front because it wasn't chip-timed and we're conceited like that.

We started off very excited and very strong. We knew right away we weren't going the pace of the people around us, so we started to let them pass. A lot of people ran past us! Eventually we got caught up by a group more our pace. After seeing the third split I knew I couldn't maintain the pace so I told Emily to go on ahead. We were technically even ahead of HER pace, so way out of my range. I ran a couple more strong miles right behind her and then I slowed and she disappeared into the wild white yonder.

The middle miles were on a paved bike path through the park. It was way slushier than the road was and inhibited my pace. It definitely changed my stride a little..I felt like I wasn't getting that last little push off your toe because that's where I would slip. With every. single. step.

By the time I got back to the road at mile 8.5 or so I was just sick of it and generally getting tired. My lack of training was shining through! I had so far to go still and didn't even want to do it. I actually considered quitting. Like seriously considered it. No real reason, I was just over it. Well, I didn't end up seeing Zach where I thought I would and hardly got to talk to him when I did see him... and by that time I decided I'd just finish the stupid thing. I knew I had never quit a race and I decided today wouldn't be the first time I do. I also decided I wouldn't walk at all. The last few miles weren't as bad but I wasn't running any faster. I rounded through the park and could hear the finish line ahead and figured I would come in under 1:50, so I was happy with that. I was soooo glad to be done!

It's funny because looking back I basically did is a 5 mile tempo run followed by an 8.1 mile GA/Cool down (see times below). An excellent workout, not an excellent racing strategy. Anyway, I'm glad I ran some with Emily and maybe helped her from going out way to fast.. and the pace felt great at the time. I wanted to run faster later in the race but my body was not having it.

I saw Emily on my home stretch and was so glad to hear about her race after. She totally rocked it!! We checked the results and we both placed in our age groups! We waited around in the freezing cold for the award ceremony where we both received beautiful souvenir beer mugs! Hell ya!

Another very cool thing was that after I finished I knew I would get to see Cindy come through the finish because I had spotted her in the race! We've never actually met but I knew she was running and I'd seen her picture. Of course she is even more beautiful in person! :) She ran a very good race too and seemed to have fun. Cindy- It was so nice to meet you! We'll have to get together after the next one... sorry I seemed to have lost you after you got your medal. Great job out there! :)

I'm just relaxing this afternoon/evening... I am actually pretty sore! Slow time does not equal not sore. I have to admit I was pretty dissapointed in myself but I've realized where I really was fitness-wise, and that it's Ok! I've settled on calling it a helluva workout and a very fun day. :)

official stats:

1:49:02/8:19 avereage pace

3rd place AG/20
127 OA/338

first 5 miles in 39:22 (7:50 average pace)

last 8.1 miles in 1:10:38 (8:43 average pace)


surprisingly snowy morning

its freezing!

warming up

a couple hundred people at the start. around 34 degrees.

mile 3 smiles!

almost done with the slushy trail portion around mile 8.5

about mile 12

looping through park in final mile

near the finish

My photographer and #1 fan

picking up my winner's mug!

post-race mimosas

souvenir mug takes a trip to the hot tub

Youtube video of the start:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And it begins...

This week sort of unexpectedly became the first week of triathlon training for the year- Zach decided we should sign up and start going to Master's class, and since the weather has been nice I've taken my road bike out for the first time in a long while. So I guess I can say that I have officially started down the very long path toward becoming an Ironman!

It's pretty awful timing though... I don't know why we picked this week for new exercise and two-a-days. Did I forget that I have a half marathon on Sunday?! Oops. Not that it was ever really an "A" race for me, but still. I think I'll be alright though- I'm only running on Friday (short easy run) and I'll take Saturday off completely.

My goal for the half is just to run a strong race and finish in what I consider a "respectable" time for me. I would like to finish in at least 1:47 or better, and I'd be thrilled if I could run closer to 1:45. If I could break my PR of 1:43:40 I would be amazed. You never know! Sometimes these "no pressure" races are the ones where the magic happens. If I run a slower time, no worries. :)

So here's the recap of this tri training I'm referring to-

Tuesday: bike
10.7 miles/40:50/15.7 MPH
Windy ride on Springwater Corridor. I was going to do 15 miles but figured I'd save a little energy for swimming.

Tuesdsay: swim
1850 yards/45:30
Master's Class

I wore my watch and stopped it when we were resting between sets. I'm happy with the 45 minutes of actually swimming for the hour-long class... back in CA I used to clock about 55-60 minutes for a 90 minute class. So a better swim to rest ratio.

A quick description of the Barracudas Master's Swim class: Small (5 people besides me and Zach), laid-back ("go ahead and use your fins" was uttered by the coach more than once), short (only an hour long, compared to the 90 minute class we used to take in CA). Of course, it still totally and completely kicked me ass since it was my first time swimming in months. But I think going forward it will be a fun and easy way to get tonzo yards in. I wouldn't mind going several times a week. For now, we'll just be going Tuesday and Thursday nights. :)

Wednesday: run
6.0 miles/52:28/8:45 average pace
Easy solo run along the river.

I'm really excited to be back in the swing of tri training. :) I forgot how much fun swimming and cycling are! Also, this will give me lots more to do during the long lonesome days while I'm unemployed.

Speaking of having stuff to do during the day- two things.

First of all, I officially LOVE my laptop! Yesterday I met Emily at Powell's and we computed and chatted for a couple of hours. Then today I spent the afternoon at a cool local coffee shop computing my brains out. Yay!

Second of all, I got a volunteer gig! I will be volunteering at the local library once a week. I go in tomorrow for training and my regular shift begins next week. It's only a couple of hours a week but I am psyched to have some responsibility and a scheduled commitment. Plus, this will give me something new to add to my resume and maybe I will be able to meet new people for friendship or jobship. :)

Off to meet up with some lovely blogger ladies for happy hour! Will definitely post some pics.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Technology and Coast Pictures

So, Friday as I was preparing to leave for my run in the park, my computer shat itself and died. As you all probably know, this is a very stressful and annoying occurrence. Especially when you're easily upset/broke/anal. I tried a few things and finally went for my run in the late afternoon. We consulted my brother and messed with it to some extent and there was nothing we could do- it was a hardware problem or something and it was just dunzo.

We had discussed a lot how we really wanted a laptop anyway, since the whole desk area takes up a lot of room in our minuscule apartment and so I could be free of said mini apartment and could take my "career development business" to local bookstores and coffee shops and whathaveyous. So, rather than fix it we put all the funds into our slick new toy, an HP laptop! G70-250US for those who give a crap. We got it at Fry's in Wilsonville. It's nice and so fantastically mobile! Unemployment just got a whole lot less depressing!!

I got my run in after all, and Zach and I ran an easy 10 miles on Saturday. All is well.

4.0 miles/34:58/8:44 average pace
Forest Park

10.0 miles/1:27:43/8:46 average pace
Waterfront/Springwater Corridor

totals for the week

run: 25 miles
bike: 15.4 miles
swim: 0

(I'm warming myself up to the thought of doing/posting actual biking and swimming. Yeep! ... Hey, wait... Let's flash back to this in seven months when those numbers are enormous and I'm riding more than sleeping and have chlorine coursing through my veins.)

Yesterday (Sunday) we drove out visit some friends on the coast. We hiked around some in the forest, but I didn't have my camera. We drove to the beach near Lincoln City and watched the sunset and there are tons of pictures of that below. It was gorgeous and not too cold at all- a lot warmer than Portland for sure. I couldn't resist the flat stretch of natural beauty and took off in a sprint to the end of the beach. Then I jogged back all giddy. "Didja see me didja see me?" Then I did it again. hehe, I'm such a dork. I felt like a gazelle though, it was rad. Zach did take some pictures the second time and while not particularly gazelle-like they are some cool shots. We found a cute little Mexican restaurant for dinner and then it took a couple of hours of windy dark roads to get home. It was a fun exploring day.

Today we drove out to Beaverton and ran a little, then went to the Aquatic Center and signed up for an annual swim pass. We're starting master's swim class this week with the Barracudas. It's a very nice swim facility out there. Our run was short, hilly, and fast. I was wheezing pretty good and was reminded I should be using my inhaler. Part of the trail went along the creek on this neat extended boardwalk- felt like Yellowstone NP. Anyone?

Monday: run
4.0 miles/32:32/8:08 ave
Beaverton powerline trail and Willow Creek trail

I'm cycling tomorrow and then going to master's and of course watching all the inauguration stuff! My running plan for the week is pretty normal- I'm doing a half marathon next Sunday but I don't really I'm suited right now to run very fast, so I don't know if I really want to or need to taper at all. Don't you need to train to taper?

Picture time!

Happy New President Everyone!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Damn that's a sweet bike

Well somehow the entire week has nearly gone by since my last post! Funny how that works.

I've had a good week so far. First, I took Monday completely off. From training, errands, chores, everything. I didn't even leave the house. Honestly I was feeling a little stressed and blah about the whole job situation, and I didn't fight it. I have had a couple days like that lately but otherwise generally feel really good! It comes and goes I guess.

Tuesday I woke up feeling great and couldn't wait to take on the day. I went out to Beaverton to run on this trail out there that I love and just for fun I ran 7 miles! Then I did my shopping (weird that going to Target or a real grocery store is a whole excursion here! Yay for urban living.) and a bunch of other chores. I also did strength training.

Tuesday: run
7.0 miles/1:01:38/8:49 average pace

Yesterday, (Wednesday) I got up and did a nice run along the waterfront. Then I spent the afternoon running around doing stuff like going to the library and meeting Emily at Powell's for a little wedding-dress research. I also did light strength training.

Wednesday: run
4.0 miles/34:37/8:39 average pace

Today is another "up" day for sure and I've been very busy again. The best part of the day, nay, of the WEEK, and the inspiration for my title today is this: I finally took my sweet ass road bike out for the first time in months and holy mother I love that bike!!! After riding my mountain bike exclusively I couldn't believe how light and fast the Trek is. How responsive the handling is. How agile the wee little tires. And how f-ing pretty. It was awesome! I felt great on it and kept a pretty good speed going. I only rode on the Springwater Corridor, which is a rails-to-trails type bike path, so not exactly "real" road riding and the surface is pretty shoddy in places, but I still rocked it. Very satisfied to see my average speed was about what I was doing last year in training for the HIM. It's going to be a fun year.

Thursday: bike
15.4 miles/1:01:45/15.0 MPH

A final thought which is on the job search front: On all of the days this week I've managed to find a few good job opportunities to apply for. And on Monday (my blah day) I did a big career brainstorm-type exercise where I listed out all my interests/strengths/options etc.. It basically ended up being a bunch of stuff I've already thought of but it was nice to see it all in one place and to identify themes and patterns. I also listed out all the resources (job sites and stuff) and the names of several specific organizations and companies I would love to work for and check regularly for openings. I even typed this brainstorm list up for my records. I know I haven't reached out to you all much in terms of this whole job search thing... but I would be happy to share this file with you in case anyone wants to offer advice or suggestions for my job search. I would be willing to share my resume too and also my soul is for sale (kidding!). Here's the one sentence summary: I worked in a location consulting firm helping retail chains analyze expansion opportunities and predicting sales for potential new stores. So most of my career ideas fall into the consulting/market research/real estate consulting/consumer analytics realm... if there is such a realm. Which there isn't. So, if anyone happens to have any insight into any of those fields, or you know.. like a 6 figure job to offer me ... hehe.. please feel free to email me at runningstories @ yahoo. com. I really would like to hear from you even if you just have general advice on the job search or unemployment or whatever. You've all already been so helpful and supportive, so thank you!! It is nice even just to have you all here to talk about running and other fun stuff when I just need to get my mind off of all that.

Ok this wasn't supposed to be a pity party post so let's end on a great note- a pic from my bike ride this afternoon! Notice that is SUN shining on my face! Sun!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Recap and Tagged

I had a very fun weekend - lots of friends and I even got a couple of good workouts in. Friday night we went to dinner over at Deana's house. Saturday we got up and ran and then I went to see Bride Wars with bride-to-be Emily. Then Sunday we did a mountain bike ride and then met Gazelle, Alisa and her husband, and Junk Miles for brunch. Good stuff!!

Here's the breakdown:

Saturday: run
10.0 miles/1:25:04/8:25 average pace
Marine Drive with Zach at a strong pace. It was COLD, like in the upper 30's, so I ran in tights, long sleeves, and gloves. I felt really good though! We ran our first mile in 8:50 and our last mile at 7:59, but the others were right around 8:25.

Sunday: Mtn bike
approx. 10 miles
VERY muddy ride up in Forest Park. It was awesome.


And finally, I was tagged by Melinda so I get to play the latest game going around which is kind of a New Year's theme. Here goes!

4 favorite memories from 2008:
1. Getting Fired

4 favorite movies in 2008:
1. Spirit of the Marathon
2. Pineapple Express
3. Wall E
4. The Dark Knight

4 favorite foods in 2008:
1. Cupcake Jones
4. Mint Chocolate Gu

4 places i loved in 2008:
1. Boston
2. Sonoma County
3. Helena, Montana
4. Forest Park

4 events i loved in 2008:
1. First Thursday
2. election day
3. CIM

4 things i liked in 2008:
1. My new trek madone
2. My new gary fisher
3. Uhaul
4. Everything North Face

4 things i am looking forward to in 2009:
1. Local Portland Races
2. Exploring Oregon in the summer
3. Two weddings to go to
4. Ironman Arizona

4 people i tag:
1. Zach
2. Maritza
3. Emily
4. Kelsalynn

Friday, January 09, 2009


Two runs to report!

6.0 miles/47:41/7:57 average pace
In an act of spontaneous speedwork I decided to alternate slow and fast miles. Here's my splits:


The fast miles were very hard, I was really pushing it. I even had to take a few breaks here and there, but that's fine! Not bad for my first effort at fast running since the marathon a month ago.

4.0 miles/35:25/8:51 average pace
Easy run along the river. I didn't look at my watch the whole time which is always a nice way to do an easy run.

I've also done strength training both those days. In fact my arms are kinda shaky right now after probably overdoing it this morning. I skipped my trainer ride yesterday because I was feeling really lazy and blah. Instead, I stressed out about my job situation and watched 3 movies.

I lost about 2 pounds since last Friday's weigh in which is good. I was hoping it would be more because I feel like I ate super good/not too much and worked out a lot. But really I think I'm just deluded by the 30 pound a week weight loss seen on my favorite show Biggest Loser. We'll see how I do this weekend, I'm bad at maintaining any kind of control Friday-Sunday. Which is ridiculous because I don't even work Monday-Friday so to me there shouldn't be any difference!

It was clear and cold today- upper 30's. I don't think there's much rain in the immediate forecast so I'm going to try to spend a lot of time outdoors this weekend. Tomorrow is a long run (10 miles) and Sunday we're planning on going mountain biking in Forest Park. I also have lots of social things planned which is just what I need to counter the unemployment ennui.

Have a wonderful weekend gang! :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I just got back from a bike ride and thought I'd post about my cross-training/base training/non-training/strength training plan for the first part of this year.

First of all, I have one run to report

Monday: run
5.0 miles/47:38/9:32 average pace
Slow easy run along the river on a dry afternoon

And here's my ride from today

Tuesday: bike
10.0 miles/49:32/12.1 MPH
Mtn bike ride along the river path in a windy wind

So as I have mentioned, I am not training for a spring marathon this year. I already have mixed feelings about this- I know I swore off marathons for a while (Ironman exempted) but I guess I don't really know how to train for anything else! This is going to be interesting. So here is what I have in mind (the cross-training/base training/non training/strength training mentioned above):

- Cross Training: The words here are a little misleading, because actually this is the swimming and biking I am going to do to prepare for triathlon/Ironman training. In my own personal experience, "cross training" is something that is secondary to running and easily blown off. What I need to be doing is meaningful TRI training. I'm still going to call it cross training though I think. For now. For the next few weeks, my goal is to get in 2-3 cycling workouts of 45 minutes or more a week (outdoor or on the trainer). That will go up as my cycling legs come back. Zach and I will also start swimming Master's twice a week or so starting in February.

- Base Training: Here I mean RUN base training, but the cross training above fits the category as well, as it is all meant to get me in good shape to begin triathlon training in May (ish). I am going to try to keep my run mileage in the 30+ mpw range for the next few months and do several shorter (up to half marathon) races for fun.

- Non-Training: I am really in for a brutal few months of incredibly hard work when I begin training for the Ironman, so I am going to use the first part of the year to just chill. I am going to do all the workouts I described above but in a very loosey-goosey, look-how-much-fun-I'm-having, flexible manner. Save all my mental energy for the summer/fall. I'll probably write up little schedules for certain periods but nothing long-term.

- Strength Training: I am really bad about logging this or posting about it here, but I have started and plan to continue doing core, upper, and lower body strength training several times a week. I have a nice weight room here in the apartment building, and I have all kinds of fun weights and balance balls and stuff in my apt too, so no excuses.

- Bonus: I am serious about losing weight, at least 5 lbs and then we'll see. I think not training for a marathon will really help with this goal because I always eat like a horse while running 50 mpw. When not eating at horse-level I actually drop weight easily, so that's encouraging. I want to be lean and mean and fit more comfortably into my jeans (you like that rhyme?).

So there it is, my plan for the near future. I will start logging my bike workouts along with running but will probably forget to ever log strength training or track my weight, so just assume I'm looking more and more like Jillian from Biggest Loser every day. :) Minus the horse face.