28 September 2012


The San Francisco Bay Area is well-known for its fog. In fact, this was the scene yesterday as I began the 8-minute drive to my running place after dropping my daughter off at preschool...

It got worse as I got closer to my destination...

I was getting kind of excited about running in the fog. It's simultaneously eerie and spectral and soothing. When I got to the top of the hill before descending into a local regional park, the fog became bright, blinding white. And then...BOOM...it was gone!

When I got to the trailhead, I parked my car in the shade because it was super sunny...go figure. Microclimates in action.

Instead of running in a thick blanket of fog, it looked like this...

Mid-morning sun streaming in over a dried up creek-crossing at the start.

Mid-morning sun streaming over a dried up meadow a little further along.

Mid-morning sun hitting the hills with the fog visible in the distance 
(you have to kind of squint).

Mid-morning sun filtered by beautiful arching trees perfectly framing a really stinky trashcan.

Same place from the trashcan's point of view.

And even though I had been looking forward to a foggy run, my super sexy shadow was thrilled it was sunny...

...and we had a lovely, 4.5-mile run :)

26 September 2012

Fun with Hill Repeats :)

I have no memory of hill repeats ever being fun.

The first time I ever did hill repeats was in 1981 (for real). I was a freshman in college, and one of the bits of cross-training sadistic rowing coaches over the years have utilized has been the hill repeat. I think rowers do hill repeats a little differently than runners, though.

It seems to me that runners pick a hill of moderate grade that will take anywhere from 2-4 minutes to run up very briskly. They will warm up for approximately a mile or so, do their hill repeats, and then cool down for a mile or so.

Rowers, on the other hand, select a psychotically steep incline. It might be a 2-minute repeat...or it might be a 15-minute repeat. The length is unimportant. What is important is that you should either vomit or pass out at the top every time. Your descent should be dangerous in that you have very little control over how your body is operating.

This is why when I think "hill repeats" I get kind of nervous.

I have a family now.

If I puke and pass out and fall and stuff I still need to be able to take care of 4 little people...not just myself. The way I've been running hills lately doesn't spend me in that rower-running-hill-repeats way that is still vividly etched into my mind. Sure, I pick the hills like a rower, but I no longer run them like one.

Yesterday, my sexy shadow and I ran our first set of real hill repeats in 15 years.

I picked a runners hill...moderate incline and about 0.25-0.3 miles in length. It took me 2:45-2:50 to run it briskly each of the 4 times I managed. I did a mile and a quarter warm up and a mile cool down.

The view as one nears the top.

My first trip up, I passed a couple of cyclists. While I was feeling pretty studly as I closed in on them, the realization that they were an elderly couple stomped the "studly" right out of existence as I struggled to pass them. 

I didn't hate running this all that much. In fact, it was almost fun. But eating lunch an hour and fifteen minutes before was kind of a mistake :P I was hating the feeling of rice and beans and fish and salsa all sloshing around in my belly. And I was very grateful there was an unlocked public restroom at the foot of the hill. As I excitedly look forward to next week's set of hill repeats, I will keep reminding myself to time my lunch better!

Hill repeats...love 'em or hate 'em?

23 September 2012

A dumpling, a sausage, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Three loops...2.83 miles each = 8.49 miles... + 2 (0.78) = 1.56... 8.49 + 1.56 = 10.07, but I'm calling it 10.1 because today is a rounding up kind of day :) In any event, I completed a double digit run for the first time since January (I think).

Each of the three loops took 30 minutes...give or take 30 seconds. Total running time for the 10.1 miles was one gorgeous hour and 45 beautiful minutes.

I had no running buddy accompanying me this weekend, but I found myself in a great headspace and feeling physically pretty awesome so it all worked out okay. The survival nuts-n-bolts: took a good hit of water and a substantial hit of Nuun and a short pee break after each of the first two loops. I ate a date at end of that second loop, too. I almost went without a fuel stop and just focused on hydrating because I had great energy. No GI issues...just pee issues. I attribute my solid energy and belly to my hearty and amazing lunch. I ate said lunch at just after 1 o'clock and started my run at 4:25 p.m. It consisted of approximately 1/3 cup of cooked brown rice, half a can of organic black beans, half a tin of sardines, and about a quarter of a jar of Green Mountain Gringo hot salsa. Yeah, sardines. It tasted kind of weird...okay...kind of gaggy. But that was where the ton of salsa came in handy ;-)


It's hard for me to know if I felt kind of barfy because of that sugary date roughly an hour into things or because those sardines and hot salsa were catching up with me. Or if I felt a significant mental distraction set in at about the 8-mile mark because I didn't fuel enough during the run...or because I am just not really in 10-mile running shape yet. Hmmmm... things to ponder....

But the coolest thing about my run today was: my family :)

While not exactly running buddies, my husband and my two sons went for a hike around the loop while I ran. Can I use 'whilst' there? I figured they would be slow enough for me to jam on three loops to their one. And my calculations were spot on. They finished up mere moments before I came skipping merrily down the road, eager to continue for "just one more mile (and a half)!" Luckily, they were still having enough fun that they didn't mind waiting.

I felt on top of the world when it was over. I felt really strong except for the half-mile distraction thing around Mile 8. I felt tanned and toned and drop-dead gorgeous...kind of like this...

Evidently, I am delusional.

My ever-tactful son upon my arrival at the car: Gee, mom...you look fat!

Me: Yeah, well I am kinda fat...ish...

Him: No, you're not. It's just that your clothes are soooo tight! You're all...squeeeeezed...You look like a... a... a combination of ...

[yes, you guessed it...]

a dumpling,

a sausage,

and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Between my son's awesome comments and my husband shouting out...


every time I passed by, 

I think it's safe to say that perhaps I might rethink inviting my family along the next time I go running!

And even though we're roughly the same age, I am probably not going to be mistaking myself for Elle Macpherson again any time soon.

Have you felt beautiful yet this weekend? If you did, did it last? Or did someone burst that bubble for you?

20 September 2012

Hunting in my underwear...

I did it again.

I went running in my don't shoot me orange sports bra.

I could have been hunting...I was dressed for it...but I was way too distracted once again by my super sexy shadow that decided to get all shy and wouldn't let me take a decent photo of it...

But what is awesome about these photos is that you can see some of ankle-grabbing, human-swallowing cracks in the road that have inspired pretendings of being a tribute in The Hunger Games...

Fortunately, I was not running for my life. And it's a good thing, too. That sports bra is like a beacon. If I were wearing it in The Hunger Games, it would be screaming shoot me instead of don't shoot me.

This morning was too beautiful for words...and it was screaming, or rather beckoning that I hit the trail...

 Cool and shady along the creek...

Cresting the big hill...

 Extending the run with a little road action...
I could have hunted here...I saw a whole flock of quail!
Do you call a bunch of quail a 'flock'?

This is what the descent looked like today...
California Late Summer Brown with Mt. Tamalpais in the distance.
Still looks like The Road to Infinite Possibilities to me :)

I ran faster than usual but not harder. So nice when that happens :)

 I saw this cat hunting...so some hunting was occurring.
Unfortunately, the loud "click" of my camera disturbed its focus :(

I would have given this run two thumbs up,
but I needed the other thumb to hold the camera.

4 miles.
40 minutes.
Lots of smiling.
No pain, just hard work :)

18 September 2012

Breaking with (one week old) tradition...

I ran today.

I was going to not do squat all week and then have a killer weekend of brutality on the elliptical and the trails because that pattern worked out so perfectly last week. But it was gorgeous out today. And I had a hankering to run. And after deciding (in a totally delusional state late last night) that I need to run this race, of course I headed on over to Moeser.

yes, I always use this picture when I talk about Moeser...
because it very wonderfully displays what a total b*tch of a hill it is.

I would have looked like this today, but I had on yellow shoes.
And I've finally wised up to the fact that although black is slimming, 
it is really hot ...especially at high noon on a sunny day.
So instead I wore my hootchie-mama-on-a-hot-day outfit...
which, incidentally, keeps me honest about using my core for stability
because it is just a sports bra and booty shorts.
If I don't solidly engage my core, it is a beyond scary sight.
Thankfully, I now have a tan.

Even though I only had time to bust out one trip up and down...stretching things out at the top to equal 3 miles, I figured I was getting a jumpstart on 11 months of potential training. Nothing like being prepared, know what I mean?

And in other news...

Miss C has now entered The Dress Phase.

After 3 and a half years of violently shunning dresses, it is now all about the dress. If it isn't a dress, it doesn't get worn.

The nice thing is she is not slowed down or at all changed by the dress. Well, a little slowing down might have been nice, now that I think about it...

She still will climb anything and everything.

And even in a dress, she still ignores me.

There must be a dress ready to go at all times. She even must sleep in a dress. Not a nightgown...a dress.

I'm not even going to get started on the new situation with tights.

Did you ever have a favorite kind of clothing or article of clothing as a kid?
– In sixth grade, I wore this hideous acrylic argyle sweater just about every single day. Every. Single. Day. Much to my mother's dismay. I even had my school photo taken in the thing...because I forgot it was Picture Day and was, of course, wearing my favorite hideous sweater. I should see if I can scare up that photo...

Do you ever not work out for days on end in the hopes that your next workout will be awesome because you're so well rested?
– I am that delusional, yes.

17 September 2012

Weekend Fitness Frenzy

Since I didn't do squat all week...partially due to a 3-day migraine :( ... and partially due to lack of motivation and energy post-migraine, I decided to do what any normal athlete would do...

too much on the weekend.

I was going to run a little bit on Friday. But... I had an active 3-year old in tow all day and some painful internal struggling to power through. By bedtime Friday, I knew I had to do something on Saturday...and I had already half-committed to a possible run with a friend on Sunday... maybe... meaning I was facing a weekend fitness frenzy...at least by my standards.

By late Saturday afternoon, things finally calmed down on the homefront. I headed to the gym at around 5 o'clock and settled in on the StairMaster for a little warm-up. Twenty bored minutes later and totally up-to-date on the Blake Lively/Ryan Reynolds nuptials, I closed my People magazine and stepped off that machine and climbed aboard the elliptical. Fifty super sweaty and soulfully satisfying minutes later, I had firmed up my Sunday running plans thanks to my smartphone and was done working out for the evening for which my shell-shocked quads thanked me. All in all, it was a very productive session.

When I awoke on Sunday, I was a little concerned about the state of my quads given the run I had in mind. I was planning to meet up with my running buddy who is always up for awesome challenges. I love running with her because we have good conversations and both relish training on demanding terrain.

We planned to meet at high noon...because we like to make things harder. We set off to run the same loop as last Sunday, but this time we did three loops plus a little extra in the middle of each loop...which brought my total for the run to 9.6 miles. She did more. I was a waste product after the 9.6.

Below are photos of my two very favorite parts of this route...the photos were taken in the spring when everything was green so imagine instead of the green (except the eucalyptus) it is the golden brown typical of California at the end of summer.

This little 'gateway' is at the crest of the BIG hill. 
I love turning the corner that precedes it and seeing this opening...
 and when you pass through it, the valley opens up at your feet :)

After climbing the BIG hill, you run a bit around the rim of the valley, crossing to the other side.
You then descend on this road.
This view always makes me think of The Road to Endless Possibilities.

With each loop it was getting hotter, but it never got unbearable. Then I dropped an awesomebomb right as we approached our final 1.4 mile descent... kombucha on ice in my car at the finish. Roserunner got very excited and announced the arrival of her second wind and started picking up the pace. I grumbled and flailed and couldn't match anything faster than a determined plod until the downhill began.

We got to the bottom. I was a salty mess. I usually drink a big bottle of Nuun before runs like this one...but I had forgotten to set it up before I left the house :(  Instead, I followed my car-ride kombucha with Nuun at home. And while I tend to take ice baths following long runs (yes, 9.6 is long in my book), I've been opting for warm epsom salts baths lately. I don't really know why. And I don't really know what difference I would feel versus an ice bath. But the epsom salts deal seems to be very comforting and my muscles do feel pretty happy right now.

I'm thinking next week I might shoot for a double-digit run...not sure how that will fit into the Don't Run, Run Faster training plan...perhaps if I, once again, don't do squat all week and just save it all for the weekend... 


And we have a victor...

the random number generator at random.org says...


which translates to...

Lisa from Mom to Marathon!

Congrats to Lisa on winning the Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet...and many, many thanks to all who participated in the giveaway :)

13 September 2012

September So Far...

Since I returned from my Nuun Hood to Coast Relay adventure (you can find the postings here), life has been very full. Not that it isn't usually rather full, but with a brief family vacation (to be blogged about at a not-too-distant future date) sandwiched directly in between the Nuun trip and my husband going out of town for a bit ...and then school starting for all four of my kids within days of his return... see what I mean? Oh, right...and my oldest child became a teenager!

Here is a bulleted summary of September so far...

Big G became a teenager on Labor Day. The weekend was fraught with him pissing and moaning about not having his birthday party right then...he likes things the way he likes them and when he likes them. But his friends all had plans that weekend, so he had to wait. We celebrated as a family with an egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free cake that I nicknamed "Leadbelly" because the thing was so freakin' heavy...and flat. It did not rise one millimeter. It tasted good, though...sort of like solid vanilla pudding. We had to improvise with the candles... 8 plus (fire hydrant) 5 = 13. Thank goodness we had that fire hydrant or you might've thought the poor kid was turning 85.

The following weekend I hosted a sleepover party for five 13-year old boys. They ate pizza and played Munchkin (yeah, better click that link because it's probably not what you're thinking). Then they ate "Son of Leadbelly" cake and watched Zoolander (they went to our local video rental place and selected this one...so interesting seeing the variations in tastes amongst 13-year old boys...one wanted to get Tomb Raider but another said, "No...they're not big enough," a comment that was lost on my innocent and somewhat immature son). I am kind of a bitch-mom when it comes to sleepovers...I enforce a bedtime. For these guys it was midnight. At 11:30, I told them it was time for lights out, cell phones away, and voices lowered. They didn't really follow that directive until I announced it was 11:50 and started singing "Kumbaya". For real, I did. This led to a chill moment in which a brain among them had the opportunity to come up with a brilliant idea...

Hey, guys!!! Let's go run around the block in our underwear...at midnight!!!!


Did I let them? You betcha. Our neighborhood is very safe (remember: The Gate) and the block is very small (4 houses on a side). They were instructed to be quiet(ish) and to wear shoes. It took them all of 3 minutes. Big G did not participate. He gave the whole idea the stink-eye. And as the other boys ran out the door, G exclaimed...

Where's the camera?  

And yes, he got it all on video. Including a mooning. And no, the video will not ever be published. Unless one of the boys decides to run for office as an adult ;-)

The good news: they were exhausted by the excitement and rigorous exercise and fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows.

Working out...

Running 3 days a week... short/short/long...2.25 mi/2.25 mi/6 mi the first week and 4.2 Moeser miles/2.25 mi/8.64 hilly trail miles (with the lovely Roserunner) the second week. I have done nothing this week. Nada.

Elliptical happened 4 times in those two weeks and not at all this week. Between 30 and 50 minutes at HR z2 for the longer sessions and z3-4 for the short ones. 

Climbing was extra special :)  I had the opportunity to go into the climbing gym before hours with my instructor/friend and we were the only ones there. It was so fun to just take our time and climb without ever waiting for a route to free up. All was quiet except for our personal conversation...without wondering if anyone was eavesdropping ;-) I had taken a break from climbing leading up to Hood to Coast because sometimes it tweaks my alignment and I didn't want to risk anything before the relay. Starting back up has been challenging due to the busyness of life the past two to three weeks, but finding the school-starting-again groove will definitely get it happening again...and I can't wait.

A killer two-and-a-half-day migraine has put a little damper on exercise things this week. It's almost over so hopefully tomorrow will see some sweaty action. 

I posted a giveaway. I love my Endorphin Warrior bracelet and am fortunate enough to be able to offer one to a lucky winner of a random drawing. Enter here to win your very own with a keyword or phrase that speaks to you.

And that concludes the initial September So Far summation.

Stay tuned for more random bullets in addition to a post on what I found to be a successful nutrition/fueling plan for the relay, a compilation and review of the products I received and used during the relay, and a post giving more details on my elliptical training. Who knows when I'll get around to any of it...but it is coming. 

10 September 2012

Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet Giveaway

For a long time, I had my eye on the Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelets.

I'd enter every giveaway I came across, trying to win one. I'd go to the website and put one in a cart...and then be told that money was tight that day and to hold off...and then I'd let it go.

This year, Endorphin Warrior so generously offered a bracelet to each of the Team Nuun Hood to Coast Relay participants. This was seriously like the cherry on top of a super fantastic experience! I had always thought I'd choose to put 'RELENTLESS' on the bracelet when I finally got one, but when it came time to put in my order, I knew that wasn't what I needed. I realized that I am, by nature, already relentless. I mulled over the question, "Of what do I need to be reminded?"

see...i am old...lizardy old lady skin proves it ;-)

I wore this bracelet from the moment I took it out of the bag. I loved wearing it while running in that race...and while reflecting in the van. And now that the race is over, I wear it all the time. It is a strong, beautiful (and comfortable) reminder to keep faith...in myself, in others, in 'the process,' in life. To believe.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pass along an Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelet with keyword or phrase of choice to a lucky winner whose name will be chosen at random by the random number generator at random.org on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. and announced on Monday, September 17th...whatever time I manage after staying up so late the night before waiting for last minute entries ;-)

To enter, please visit the Endorphin Warrior website and let me know in a comment what keyword or phrase speaks to you.

Bonus entries given for:

That is a total of 6 bonus entries to take advantage of! Please do leave a separate comment for each entry you submit. And don't lie. (Yes, people do). Keep your karma clean :)

You gotta play to win...and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Disclosures: I was gifted a bracelet for myself and one to giveaway. The opinions expressed are my own. No money has changed hands regarding this post or giveaway. You must be a US resident to win. And if you aren't lucky this time around, Endorphin Warrior does periodic giveaways on their website and is running a haiku contest through October 31, 2012.

06 September 2012

Our Own Private Relay Race (alternate title: Hood to Coast Round Three)

We were so alone...the exchanges felt so empty...it really seemed like we were running our own private relay race, fully staffed with volunteers and well-marked hand-offs and Honey Buckets... all professional-like, but very solitary, very private. It was a huge departure from the downtown-Manhattan-at-rush-hour feeling of last year.

I remarked on this solitary feeling multiple times, and when I overheard the news that the final runner on the course had just passed through Exchange 29 while we were waiting at Exchange 31 for Erin to complete her final leg and hand off to Elizabeth, I exclaimed...

Hey, you guys! I just realized...
We could conceivably be the last people to physically cross the finish line!
How cool is that?!!

The volunteers thought it was hilarious. My vanmates did not share our enthusiasm. 

In fact, Elizabeth, who was preparing to run her final leg, actually glared at me.

"No! Not cool at all!"  were her words to me.

Then our driver Tyler started going on about how he wanted to see each of us sprinting into the exchanges ...and he made herky-jerky, karate-chop motions with his arms. 

I said...Ohhhhh! All Terminator-like!

He nodded and then further embellished the description.

Perhaps it was all this distraction that led to the following Elizabethan incident...

Cheerleader-y jump-for-joy (left) leading to rolled ankle (middle) crippling runner (right) :(
You can read her first-hand tale here.

Elizabeth went down for the count about midway through her final leg...and she was crushing it. She continued to 'run' until we found her. We put her in the van, got ice on the ankle, elevated it, and Tyler jumped out of the van, grabbed the slappy bracelet and started running...in bermuda shorts and a gigantic belt buckle...I think he might even have been wearing Vans. 

He got us to the next exchange (I did not see his Terminator impersonation sprint) where a paramedic guy came to examine our latest injury. Luckily, he agreed that all an ER would do would be exactly what we were already doing...R.I.C.E. and drugs for inflammation and pain (we had that covered, too). Extra luckily, Elizabeth noticed neither the plethora of food stains on his large t-shirted belly nor the fact that he had neglected to fully zip up his battered and dusty camouflage cargo pants, otherwise she might have really freaked out. (I always seem to notice these sorts of things). She wanted to stay with the team...of course....who wouldn't? So she did :)

Meanwhile, back at the exchange chute...

No one official noticed anything amiss regarding which runner for Nuun Team Morning was handing the strap to Katie, who booked out on her last and probably most challenging leg...nearly 8 miles of rolling (read: mostly up) hills in the middle of the day with the hot sun high in the sky...fun! fun!

Now you can be happy for realz, Katie...
you are almost donnnnnnne!!!!!!!

Amanda flew out of the exchange once Katie handed off to her. She had wrapped and iced that wounded leg and was ready to rip through her final leg...beautiful, fast and strong in her neon yellow sports bra, matching knee socks and ubiquitous sparkly skirt.

Super speedy pretty lady on a pretty day...warrants a double thumbs-up!

Up next? Jennifer. The fittest fork of them all. This lovely athlete was a veritable machine as she handled over 7 miles of steady uphill mostly on gravel in faster than 7-minute mile average pace. And she was the only member of the squad to follow driver's orders on the sprint...probably because she was the only one besides me to hear them and the only one of us two who could handle the directive...because she IS a cyborg...

The Forkinator

Can you see that she is laughing? She is.
She really did sprint out the end like no human ever could...
with karate-chop hands.

Instead of grappling me with giant hooks like in the movie, she handed me that bracelet one last time...and I ran with it. And lucky for me, this year I did not head off in the wrong direction! Of the three legs I ran last year and this, it was this third and final that I recalled the most vividly and exactly. As I wound around on the chunky, rocky, dirt road, I could see several people within roadkilling range. And knowing that I would probably be brought to tears once the road flattened out again about 3 miles into the piece, I decided to go for it while I had it in me. They were super easy to catch up with...and we exchanged pleasantries...and I learned why they were so easy to 'kill'...they had taken a bad turn and gotten lost in the wilderness for 8 miles

Exiting the dirt road and heading up the big paved hill, I held a steady sub-10-min/mile pace (thank you, Moeser training!) and passed a bunch more people...who had also gotten lost! One was wearing a Charlie Brown t-shirt. He's a clownnnnnn....that Charlie Browwwwwnnnnnn! I sang as I approached him. He laughed and said, "yeah, and like Charlie Brown I seem to do everything wrong" and he told me about getting lost. Right then I had an 'a-ha!' moment. You see, I, too, had done something wrong...

Yeah, I said. Well, at least you probably put your finish timing chip on your shoe! 

Something that I hadn't done :(

He laughed. "You're right! Got ya there!"

So I mercilessly (but good-naturedly) dusted him. 

My van happened to see me as I headed down the big hill. They gave me a sip of water, and I alerted them to our timing chip issue. I told them where to find it in my backpack and to meet me just before the finish line and I would hand-carry it over. Whew! Disaster averted...especially since they actually were able to find it and then find me just before the finish line!

Here I am looking elated that we've solved the chip problem...
...yes, that is my look of elation when I'm in 'the Zone.'

Thinking I might want to lower my shoulders and bring the elbows in a little. 
And maybe get in better shape so I don't look so much like I might puke.
And what is up with my hair?

Running through Seaside was remarkably similar to last year...except I didn't cry. I expected to, but right around when I thought it might happen there was a group of guys sitting on their lawn with a cooler and a beer that they said had my name on it. They 'woo hooo'ed me and whistled and clapped and made me smile. I waved and said 'thanks' and made their afternoon by flexing my sexily muscular arms. Well, I made them laugh anyway.

I remember smiling almost excessively on this leg. I thanked every volunteer. As people offered high-fives along the finishing Promenade, I took full advantage of each opportunity to soak up the crowd's energy and excitement.

"JUICE ME! Yeah!!!!!"

I got to the turn onto the sand and was able to grab that chip and dip a little to make sure my crossing registered as I grunted my way through the sand and across the line...

Finishing a race should be gritty...not pretty ;-)

Whip it...whip it good...
again I ask...
what is UP with my hair?

This year the whole team...both Van 1 and Van 2...were there as I finished! We were able to cross the line all together... I believe Elizabeth went piggy-back on Kim's son :)

Awesome-quality pirated photo...
I'm the knobby-kneed one on the far right.

And I'm still not done recapping. I still need to tell you all about that night's rockin' (or not) party and the next day. I want to tell you all about how I fueled for this thing given all my weird food intolerance issues. I hope to process all the thoughts and feelings and write about that aspect as well. 

The parting words on this post will be... look at the smiles on those faces! Even the drivers are smiling. Nuun gave us a fantastic, unforgettable, deep, and moving experience for which I know I will remain very, very grateful. The synergy of the people they pulled together for both Hood to Coast 2011 and 2012 has truly felt magical. 


Stats for my final leg... Leg 36...

Finish time... 48:00

Finally, the Garmin and reality agree on distance... 5.23 miles (9:10 avg pace).

Faster again than last year, on less running. I'm telling ya...the Don't Run, Run Faster Plan is a winner ;-)

Team Morning finished 6th in the Women's Corporate division in 28:46 (or something like that), finishing time was sandwiched in between the two other Nuun teams...Noon and Night...who were both in the Open Women's division.

Other Hood to Coast 2012 posts:

Gratitude...Nuun, you are awesome :)
Photo Bullets
Clueless in Seattle
Don't Be A Hater
The Don't Run, Run Faster Training Plan

02 September 2012

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning... (alternate title: Hood To Coast Round Two)

One of the differences between running Hood to Coast with Nuun Hydration this year and last was our start time. Last year's Nuun teams started simultaneously at 12:30 in the afternoon. This year the teams were stagger-started... 2:15, 2:30, and 2:45. This seemed to impact things in several ways...fueling, rest, running attire, sense of competition ... all of which had trickle-down effects on things like...attitude. 

Like last year, Van 2 began its first set of running in the early evening and ended up finishing that set at the reasonable hour of 10 pm. This year, however, I finished us up just this side of midnight. Just in case you weren't aware of this fact, midnight feels a lot later than 10 o'clock! Eating at 10, cleaning up and then falling 'asleep' around midnight feels more normal than shifting all of that 2 hours later. 

The upside for me? I fell asleep a little more quickly than last year. 

The upside for the rest of the team? The sun actually came up during our first runner's second stint.

With a 12:30 afternoon start time, Runner #7 on a team of our relative speed would be running her second leg at around 3 in the morning. Unnatural! So lucky Erin got to start around 5. Way more normal :P Similar to last year, I was a zombie. Those early morning hours are excruciating for me and always have been. I have no idea how I survived as a rower.

It was very interesting to get to actually see this part of the course (we couldn't last year). There was enough light from the moment Erin started that we could make out the insane 'rolling' hills. They pretty much looked to me like they just kept going up. Twisty-turny road and continual climbing in semi-darkness...every turn putting you right at the base of yet another UPhill when you really just want to be in a cozy bed. Like a f*cking nightmare. But Erin was out there, relentless...undaunted. And the sun was steadily rising on a clear and gorgeous day as we met her at the transition...

Erin (with huge smile plastered on her lovely face): That was so cool! I heard THREE roosters crowing!

wish I had a picture :(

Next up was Elizabeth...who would be climbing the scary, dusty, gravel mountain in broad daylight. I remember vividly watching Kim run this beast in the darkest hours of the night. The billowing dust, the red brake lights...it was truly surreal. Seeing it was mind-blowing. First of all, in early morning sunlight it was gorgeous. Forest, pastures...blue sky, sun rising. And then seeing the gravelly, dusty roadbed. And then realizing that the climb was massive. Hard to say whether it would suck more being able to see it all in the light or to be blindly forging onward in the dark. I think I'd prefer the light in the hopes that the natural beauty might distract me.

This girl killed it.
beyond happy to be done!

Still on gravel, Katie took the slappy bracelet and headed out. She cranked through this leg, probably relieved to have a not-super-long leg sandwiched in between two doozies...who cares if it's on gravel and cold out?

Don't be too happy, Katie...
you still have a nut-buster of a 7.something-miler to do later today ;-)
okay, that was harsh...but true

Runner #10, our wounded warrior was ready to do what she could...in the immortal words of Tony Horton, she was ready to "do her best and leave the rest"...which is all anyone can ever ask of someone. I was really worried about her doing serious damage to her leg, but the 9+ hours since her last run had been spent resting/icing/compressing/elevating as best one can in a van, and she said she was wanting to see what she had. So strong and so beautiful, Amanda hit the road...

Where is everyone? It's gorgeous out here!
(more on this later...)
WooHOOOOO! Amanda the Brave!

I have to say it was quite a challenge to follow two super speedy chicks, I found myself needing to get ready for my starts three people ahead of myself instead of as the person in front of me jumped out. When I say super speedy, I mean it...I swear Jennifer's predicted times on these first two 4-mile-ish legs were something insane like 25 minutes. F.A.S.T. We'd drop her off at her start and immediately go to our hand-off and I'd barely have time to pee at the Honey Bucket let alone do something more. 

She didn't need the magical Tough Chik rainbow arm warmers
or the pixie-dusted golden sparkly skirt to run this leg at 6:25/mile average pace...
I know this because she had on neither when she held a similar pace on her other three legs.

I had just enough time to strike my SparkleCheerleader Barbie pose before Jennifer came blazing into the chute, and I was on my way...Leg 24...my second run in less than 12 hours. How was my body going to handle this? I decided to try my same plan that I used so successfully for that first leg: Heart rate around 145-150 for the body. Ummm...yeah....so.... hmmmmmmm.... Not so sure why it wasn't happening. I was pretty stuck right at 140. The road was a very slight net downhill but very, very canted. It hurt. I got passed by a few speedsters. And I passed one person. (OOOOOooooo, roadkill!) But the tilted roadbed was hurting. I kept reminding myself to keep my core tight...to keep the glutes firing...to not overstride...to relax (you can see by how high my shoulders are that the 'relax' reminder wasn't really working :P)...keep the step feeling quick and light... But still I was just stuck in this lackluster, painful place. I gutted it out as best I could. I seriously struggled with maintaining mental aggression, and I just couldn't get the leg turnover up. For the last 3 miles of this leg, I was all alone...which was rough in a way. At least I can say that I gave a consistent effort and felt like death at the end even if all by my lonesome!

...and heeeeeeere comes trouble.

Tricia was standing in the middle of the road so I wouldn't miss her this time. And I didn't :) 


I missed this with my Team Noon Runner #12 counterpart at the end...
Not a staged photo.
Lindsay and I are spazzes.

Let's try that again...
Okay...this time we got it.
And I look like a man.

How can I be smiling so broadly when I just struggled in feeling like death on a lopsided platter? Well, because I did it. I did my best. And it was fun

Stats for Leg 24:

Finish time... 42:22

official distance... 4.93 miles (avg pace 8:35)
garmin says...       4.86 miles (avg pace 8:44)

Other Hood to Coast 2012 posts:

Gratitude...Nuun, you are awesome :)
Photo Bullets
Clueless in Seattle
Don't Be A Hater
The Don't Run, Run Faster Training Plan


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