Friday, May 27, 2011

The Move

We are officially 100% actually living in our new house! It’s been about 6 weeks since we closed, so there has been a lot of time spent in the new house, working, painting and hanging out. But as of Saturday, we actually sleep there. We’ll turn in the keys to our apartment by the end of the month but otherwise it is done. Exciting!

I can summarize the experience with two different sentiments. 1: Ugh. 2. LOVE!

I will break it down further though. Here are a few random thoughts which I will share with you now in bullet point format:

- We have a lot of great friends who helped us move. Amy, Alisa, Justin, Sarah, Michael, Lisa, Andrew, Taylor and Josh all put in a lot of time and effort over the weekend to make it happen. They are wonderful and I owe them all big time! So grateful. Moving is the worst and I appreciate them lightening our load a bit.

- I missed my last real long run of 16 miles on Sunday. I was exhausted from moving the day before, we had a softball game at noon, and I was just not feeling it. But it was 2 weeks out from the marathon and I figured it didn’t matter. I ran 10 miles the next day to sort of make up for it and feel OK with this decision. I’ve been a trooper getting my miles in through this process, so one miss ain’t bad.

- We have So. Much. Stuff. I can’t believe it. It’s all going to fit wonderfully when all is said and done, but what a giant project. Unpacking can be fun, but it is a lot of work. I am finding it to be a lot more logistically challenging then I remember. Like you have 3 boxes of stuff and one bathroom vanity. GO. It is a puzzle. Zach did the kitchen which may have been the hardest puzzle yet, but there are lots of other rooms and tons of stuff left to unpack.

- I’m really looking forward to the decorating part of it! I’ve been planning it out for months with the help of my interior designer friend Inga, and my super creative friend Emily. They all have great taste and insight, I love it.

- My cat did not enjoy the ride over to the new house, but seemed to settle in OK once we were there. SEEMED to. A couple days later he found hidey hole in the crawl space and spent the next day and a half in there. We finally lured him out but I’m sure he’ll find another place to disappear soon. He’s so weird.

- I’ve run a couple times from the new house after work and I love it! The area around the house is so beautiful but quite hilly. I am ok with that for the most part. My favorite part is being able to set my Garmin outside while I get ready (used to not even be able to get a signal downtown most times) and stretching out after the run in the backyard.

= Zach has been commuting by bicycle! He rides about 8-9 miles each way, mostly on the paved trail which is nice. He even rode yesterday in the rain. He’s such a Portlander!

- On the other hand, I have been commuting by bus. (we both used to walk when we lived downtown). It’s actually pretty great! It’s a short, direct ride and I get to read. I like it so far!

- My favorite things in the house so far: 1) The Bath… Huge, claw-foot tub and I can see the stars through my window. Ahhh. Sorry, water bill. 2) Laundry room… an actual laundry room! Not a stackable in the closet in the bathroom. I even have a folding table! 3) Kitchen… I cooked a meal last night for the first time since we moved in and it was maybe the most delicious thing ever. Yes we had to sit on the floor but we didn’t care.

- I went to the apartment to clean it before we turn in the keys and it was weird. It made me a little sad. I’ve loved living there, it’s been a great experience. It is such a beautiful building in a great neighborhood downtown, it’s been very cool. I’ll miss it. Especially the rooftop hot tub.

- Even though our house is still about 50% chaos, the beginnings of a routine are taking shape and WOW is that nice. I feel like we’ve been so uprooted for the last few weeks, going back and forth between the houses. One big thing is we haven’t had to eat out all week which has been a relief. It was getting ugly.

- The Newport marathon is now like 10 days away! I kind of keep forgetting about it. Not only have we been so busy, but I’ve been running less (taper), Zach isn’t running at all (pretty much decided he’ll not run the marathon). It’s just slipped my mind. I need to rally some excitement and get pumped up! This has been a very different training cycle in general and I’m interested to see how it plays out on race day.


That is all for now! Here are a few pictures. Sorry for the lack of posting and the lack of pictures lately (and as always, the lack of commenting…. I do still read your blogs!)…. I hope to have more time as we get settled in. Thanks for reading.



En route:

Move cat

Kitty in his hidey hole:

Move cat hole may 11

Done moving boxes!

 Move done 


Move stuff


Move azelea 

Sad empty apartment:

Move empty

Bike commuter:

Move bike commuter

Newport Training schedule almost all marked off!

Newport Training

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twenty Twenties

Sunday was my last 20 miler of this training cycle and it was the awesomest run ever. It capped off a great training week altogether- it was a total 180 from my previous week (see previous whiny post). I ended up with 52 miles total for the week. Besides this great 20 miler I ran an 11 mile trail run, a 10 mile tempo-type run, and a couple easy shorter runs.

Some details on this run while I’m still feeling the runner’s high (2 days later!) – I drove out to the Banks-Vernonia trail by myself because Zach was being cautious with his sore knee and went cycling instead of running. I parked at a mid-point on the trail so I could stop at the car and refill my water mid-run. I was a little nervous about the long run as usual, and the weather wasn’t helping. It was only in the upper 40’s and pouring!

The first part of the run was about 8 miles total. I hit up the restroom at the turnaround point and headed back towards the car. This section was very flat. The temperature at the start was 50 degrees and the rain had let up a bit. I was comfortable in my capri tights, short-sleeves, and gloves. I ate my first Gu at mile 5 or so.

After refilling my water at the car, I headed out in the other direction. I needed to run 12 more miles so I would be running out for 6 and then turning around. Heading this way, trail begins climbing after about a mile and then doesn’t stop (gaining about 500 feet maybe) so this next stretch was tough. Also it was pouring again. I felt pretty good though and didn’t feel like I slowed down too much. I ate another Gu around mile 12 and managed to get it all over my gloves and face. Also since it was cold and rainy, my nose was really running so I was snot-rocketing and wiping my nose on my gloves. And of course, I was completely soaked from the rain. Quite a sight I’m sure.

I turned around at mile 14 and began the descent back to the car. I was still feeling great with tons of energy so I just cruised along. I didn’t try to run hard until the very end, but kept a quick pace. I never really felt tired even at mile 17,18,19! I think the downhill was helping. I ate my last Gu at mile 16. The rain let up a bit again and it was just a light drizzle. I pushed it toward the end because I still had so much energy! I finished with a smile on my face for sure. I had done my out-and-back math wrong so I had to walk/jog about a half mile back to the car.

20.0 miles in 2:50:01 (8:30 average pace)

First 8 miles: 8:35 average

Next 6 miles (uphill): 8:58 average

Last 6 miles (downhill): 7:56 average

(last mile 7:22!)

I thought for sure it was my fastest 20 mile training run ever, but in fact back in March of 2008 I ran 20 miles exactly 10 seconds faster. D’oh! Still, I’m happy with it of course. Especially because back in 2008 I ended up running one of my best marathons – a 3:44 at Boston! (pause to read entire Boston Marathon race report, wipe tears)

As I was looking back to check the times of my 20 mile training runs, I made a list. It turns out, this week’s run was my 20th 20 mile training run.


For Newport
#20 May 2011 – Banks Vernonia – 8:30 average (2:50:01)
#19 May 2011 – Springwater – 8:58 average

For Lost Dutchman (DNS)
#18 Dec 2010 - Sellwood Bridge out and back – 8:55 average
#17 November 2010 – Banks Vernonia point to point – 9:08 average

For Eugene (3:41:17)
#16 April 2010 - Banks Vernonia - 8:43 average
#15 March 2010 – SF with Aron – 9:01 average

For Ironman Arizona (13:41:09 – marathon 4:42:43)
#14 October 2009 – Springwater point to point – 8:54 average

For CIM 2008 (3:45:00)
#13 November 2008 – Marine Dr with Zach – 8:38 average
#12 November 2008 – Springwater with Zach – 8:54 average

For Boston 2008 (3:44:56)
#11 March 2008 – San Francisco – 8:30 average (2:49:51 – fastest by 10 seconds)
#10 March 2008 – Los Gatos Creek Trail – 9:21 average
#9 March 2008 – Tiburon – 8:48 average

For CIM 2007 (3:36:47 – PR)
#8 November 2007 – San Francisco – 8:49 average
#7 October 2007 – Los Gatos Creek Trail - 8:54 average

For Boston 2007 (3:55:18 – PW)
#6 March 2007 – Los Gatos Creek Trail – 9:10 average (20.25 miles)

For CIM 2006 (3:39:22)
#5 November 2007 – Spokane, WA with Dad – 9:08 average
#4 October 2006 – Los Gatos Creek Trail – 9:16 average

For Avenue of the Giants (3:45:14)
#3 April 2006 – Iron Horse/Crow Canyon Loop – 9:12 average (21 miles)
#2 April 2006 – location unknown – 9:11 average

For Nike Women’s Marathon (3:55:10 – First Marathon)
#1 September 2005 – Los Gatos Creek Trail? with Maritza - 10:00 average (est)

If you add together:

20 20-mile training runs + 8 marathons + 1 Ironman marathon + 1 20 mile trail race =

I have run 20 miles 30 times! WTF!

Anyway, all of this is just an overly-detailed breakdown of one incredible run. It was one of those runs that makes me think “No matter what happens in the marathon, I’ll always have this run!” I am not changing my goals for the marathon (still hoping to run a 8:30-8:45 ish pace or so) but I am feeling super confident in my ability to do that. Now I just have to take good care of myself in the taper and arrive at the starting line with healthy and happy legs and attitude!

Thanks for reading!

20 Miler May 15

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peak Training Madness and San Diego Pics

Newport is now less than 4 weeks away and I’m in the peak of my training. I just finished my second consecutive 50 mile week and have 52 on the schedule this coming week. Whew! It’s going OK but I’m struggling a bit with my attitude about it.

I always get to a point in my training where I question my ability and look back at previous training cycles for comparison. I inevitably am shocked at how fast I was before and feel like a total failure and slacker now. Although I haven’t really gotten that much slower at all, I achieve this conclusion by focusing on my few super great runs from previous years and compare them to my crappiest runs of late. Dumb. Anyway, even though I know this is a flawed and useless exercise, I’m more convinced then ever that it is true!

This training cycle is definitely a bit different from any before, and so it is hard to compare. For one, I trained for and ran a 20 mile trail race 8 weeks out from the marathon. So my training was focused on that for several weeks, and then I recovered and ramped back up for a shorter marathon-focused training. The other big difference is that we just bought a house and most of my focus and energy is going toward that. Running has been a great distraction, but I know I’m not giving the training the attention I have in the past.

Maybe the biggest change this time around, and the thing I’m struggling with the most, is my general attitude about training. Of course I still love running as much as I always have, but I just don’t have the desire to push myself as hard anymore. I have lost my enthusiasm for suffering. I don’t care to race as often, I don’t put much effort into speed workouts, and in general I like to take it easy. I’ve struggled though enough intervals and injuries and ice baths to know how I feel about them. Meh. I just love running and I don’t feel the need to push it. I like long runs, I like trail runs, I like running with friends. But lately I haven’t felt the need to crank up my power mix and hammer out a fast pace. I know this is going to affect my speed and I thought I was ok with that. But I’m at that point in my training where I need to reflect back and judge myself and I’m kind of freaked out. I said from the beginning I wasn’t even planning on trying to BQ or PR or anything, so why am I feeling so bad about it now?? My goal was to run a 3:45-3:50 marathon and that is what I’ve been training for. I’m definitely capable of it, and it’s a fine goal! But I can’t help but get down on myself for not training on par with my 3:36 or 3:39 marathon finish times.


I wrote the previous paragraphs this morning and have thought about this all day. I talked to Aron, Emily, and Zach about it, and also thought about it during yoga tonight. I think between writing it out and then bouncing this off my friends and in meditation I have some clarity on it. Really, this comes down to the same search for balance that I have been working toward the last year or so. This is the essential conflict I have going on all the time. I want to just have fun with running, to entertain other hobbies and interests. But I have a hard time letting go of that side that constantly compares and competes and strives to be better.

Emily had this great reading today in yoga that I will try to paraphrase. It is that within ourselves we have a paradox. On the one hand, we have the need to strive for perfection, to challenge and push ourselves to be better. On the other hand, we are content with things exactly as they are. We are at peace in the present moment with no desire for change. I am working to balance these two sides and to find peace and happiness in my life. I know that right now, I don’t need to be running more/harder/faster. That isn’t the problem. What I need to do is accept myself, and love myself, exactly as I am.


Anyway, that is what I am hung up on at the moment. I am working on it and writing this out has helped. Now I have 4 weeks to get my mind set on a positive attitude and have a great race.

Here is a quick summary of my week to show what I was talking about before (and also one run that completely disproves my theory)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 8 miles at 9:08 pace. This was supposed to be an intervals run, and I kind of did it. I didn’t have my garmin so I ran some half-assed ½ mile intervals based on landmarks I knew. I sort of checked my watch and I think they were around 7:30 ish pace.

Wednesday: 4.0 miles at 7:25 pace. Forest Park run – this was supposed to be an easy run but I was in a great mood and feeling super springy and happy and hammered it out. It was fun! So clearly I am capable of running fast, but I really have to be in the mood.

Thursday: 11 miles at 9:37 pace. Medium long run and I ran slowwww. Felt Ok though.

Friday: rest (fly to San Diego)

Saturday: 10 miles at 9:00 pace along Mission Beach in San Diego. Fun!

Sunday: 17 miles at 9:10 pace on Coronado Island in SD. Tired toward the end but actually felt pretty good. First couple miles were slow and then I was running consistently right at 9:00.

Total: 50 miles! Perfect. I will try to adjust my perspective on that and just be happy with it!

One thing that did give me some perspective is that Zach’s knee started bothering him last week, and he wasn’t able to run at all in San Diego. He was super frustrated at missing the long run and is worried about the marathon. I know he’ll be fine but it sucks and I know how he feels. So I did feel grateful that I was at least healthy and able to run. (Update: he ran tonight and had no pain. Yay!)

Well here are a few pictures from our weekend in San Diego. It was a really wonderful visit, I can’t even explain it. William and Melanie are both doing amazing. Melanie has been home from the hospital for a few weeks and while she still has some issues with her hip (will need another surgery soon) and her eye, she is otherwise fine. It’s amazing. We spent a lot of quality time together and I think it was great for all of us. It’s been a rough road and I think this was the really fun and positive weekend we all needed. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, I really believe it made a difference in their recovery.

Lots of pictures!

Saturday morning run on Mission Beach:

 Jen beach  DSCN2906 DSCN2907

Jen beach2

Saturday afternoon - Melanie’s “Welcome Home” party:

DSCN2916 DSCN2924 DSCN2930 DSCN2936

Sunday – William and Zach smoke cigars on the patio

DSCN2973 DSCN2974 DSCN2975 DSCN2980

Monday – hanging out on Mission Beach

DSCN2987 DSCN3010 DSCN3015 DSCN3025


Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Summer Race Plans

Well the Newport Marathon is 5 weeks away! It is coming fast. I have mixed feelings about it. I’m kind of burnt out in general right now, between marathon training and getting the new house ready to move in. Zach and I have been working so hard, and while it is really rewarding, it is exhausting. Right now we are giving everything we have to the house and whatever is left is going to running. It’s totally not a sustainable lifestyle and I am looking forward to getting our lives back! I know it’s going to be worth it so I’m trying to keep that in mind.

My training itself is actually going good. I ran a 20 miler yesterday at 8:58 pace – certainly not my fastest but it felt good and I’m happy with where I’m at. I hit 50 miles for the week and will have 2 more big weeks before tapering. I think I can do it! I’m not going to try to run a PR or anything at Newport so I am ok with my training paces. It will be interesting to run a marathon without a lot of pressure to PR or BQ or anything, I am very curious how it will go!

Beyond Newport, Zach and I have been cooking up something BIG! It’s not quite official yet, but I am going to announce it anyway. It looks like we will both be running the McKenzie River 50k later this summer! The coolest thing is that this race falls on my 31st birthday – September 10th. How cool will it be for me to run 31 miles on my 31st birthday!! This race caps at 200 runners and fills up fast, so this year they did a lottery entry. Zach got in and I am on the waiting list. I am the 3rd person out of 77 on the list so I’m pretty sure I’ll get in. They probably won’t notify me until later this summer so I’m going to proceed as if I’m in. I figure why would they even have a waiting list if they aren’t going to let in at least 3 people? I’ll keep you posted.

And beyond THAT, I even have plans. Last Friday I got caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and ended up registering for the Portland Marathon! It’s only a month after the 50k! I have never done anything like that but I’m excited. I know I will be able to finish and will just run it “for fun.” I’m super excited because several of my friends are running it- 5 of my good friends here and even friends coming in from out of state! It’ll be great. It is going to be my 10th full marathon (not counting the Ironman or the 50k) and I think it will be really special to do my hometown marathon for that big landmark!

Well that’s the update… I also want to mention that the only reason I even have time to blog is that my wonderful husband gave me the night off! He is over at the house finishing up the painting and I am at the apartment doing laundry and cleaning up. Even though I’m doing chores it feels like a real treat because it’s not nearly as hard as painting! And I actually get to watch TV! Oh Real Housewives and Teen Moms, I have missed you.

Here are a couple pictures of me and Zach hard at work. I promise some great before and after pictures will be coming soon! Have a great week everyone!

Go Bruins! (my painting clothes are my old gym clothes from high school):

J paint

Zach giving me tips on my first day of painting (10 days later I’m practically a pro):

 Z and J paint


Z paint