Sunday, February 15, 2015

Running Parade

Last weekend, UMM and I headed out to the Sausalito area for a run weekend!

Our first stop was running the ninja loop with friends. This is the second year we’ve met up with friends through the SFM ambassador program. Perhaps this might turn into a tradition. The forecast called for pouring rain, but really, we only got rained on for exactly one minute. It was a heavy rain, but I welcomed it as it was unusually humid that day and of course, I had dressed for the rain and the cold so I was quite hot.
Kevin, UMM, Penny the Pup, Meg, Paulette, Kristin, & Matt
It was so wonderful to see everyone and awesome to be out on the trails. Some of us did the full ninja loop, while myself, UMM, Paulette, and Kevin took a shorter route. And by shorter, I mean by a mile? We thought we had shorted the loop by three miles, but perhaps we took a wrong turn somewhere. No worries as we were all able to regroup at the parking lot all just the same.

I don't know what we are doing, but why aren't we enjoying the gorgeous view at this very moment?
Family picture!
Photo credit by the lovely Paulette

Love this picture taken by Matt G.
Beautiful Humid Day!
We then parted ways, where the five of us - Paulette, Kevin, UMM, myself, and Penny the Pup headed to the Marin brewing Company. The beer was delicious, the food satisfactory, but you can’t beat the wonderful company!

Penny the Pup making friends at the brewery.
On Sunday, UMM and I awoke to the sound of rain. We dressed in our race/rain gear and headed out to the Coastal Trails Golden Gate Trail Race. UMM was going to race the marathon, and I was running the 5 miler. I had UMM’s oversized rain jacket on and the hood covered much of my face. I resembled Kenny from South Park. I was bummed to learn after the fact that so many of my friends from the Bay Area were also running in the race. With my head kept down looking at my feet most of the time and everyone in rain gear, I did not recognize a single person. Oh well. Glad to hear through social media channels that they all had wonderful races!

I wasn’t very motivated to run in the race, but being that UMM was running the marathon, I told myself, I could always wait in the car and think about what a loser I was, or just run the bloody five miler and enjoy it for what it is. And that is what I did...Did you honestly think I would just sit in the car? Shame on you! UMM’s race started 15 minutes before mine. I watched him run in the distance for quite some time. Just running up and up and up. I wondered if that would be me, hoping not, but discovering that sure enough, up and up and up I went. I walked quite a bit of that continuous climb that brought me to a series of stairs that led me to rocky climbs. Finally, I reached the downhill part and was in heavenly bliss. The views were outstanding and had I had my phone with me, I would have captured some beautiful pictures. Instead, I flew down the hill. I love running downhill, got into a groove, only to discover that my shoe was untied. I stopped to tie it, but the laces were sopping wet just like my gloves that I was wearing. I knew that if I removed the gloves, I would never be able to put them back on. Wanting to get my groove back on the downhill, I quickly tied my shoe in a half ass manner and continued down again. Flying I was again down the hill, my other shoe soon became untied. And this continued to happen for at least a dozen more times. I finally just threw off my gloves and tied those buggers properly. In hindsight, I should have tied them properly to begin with, but you know, I just love tying my shoes over and over again! Best thing ever! For the rest of the race, I carried my wet, heavy gloves and crossed the finish line. I was happy to be done.

UMM apparently had a great race! He loved running in the rain and high winds. He placed 4th overall and 1st in his age group even despite missing a turn and having to backtrack 15 minutes!

The rain certainly did not rain on our running parade! It was indeed a fun run weekend!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Trails, Butterflies and a Wedding!

Last weekend we headed out to San Luis Obispo for a bit of wedding madness. My oldest, nearest, and dearest friend was getting hitched at the Madonna Inn. We had the pup with us so we ended up staying at the oh so fancy, Vagabound Inn that was located right next door! We left for SLO Thursday evening right after work. It was a long five hour drive, but I am glad we decided to leave Thursday night as we had Friday to play around before the rehearsal dinner. And play we did!

My BFF from 3rd Grade. That is a long time to know someone!
We woke up Friday morning and took the Madonna Bike Trail that was located just steps away from our doorstep to an open preserve that held Madonna Mountain. The climbs were steep. The trail, while rocky at times, was manageable with stunning views, and amazing fair temps weather, it was a real treat! UMM had such a great time, that he went back the next morning to explore more of the trails with Penny the Pup. I would have liked to have gone too, but I had errands to do before the wedding that started at noon.

Scenes from the trail.

Selfie from the trail.

I did enjoy my run on Friday though! After which, we hung out at Pismo Beach and visited the Butterfly Sanctuary, where the Monarch Butterflies were in full effect. It was a fun wedding weekend.

Pismo Beach.

Butterflies closeup through the scope.

Butterflies far away.

I just love the central coast area! I can’t wait to go back and visit again, hopefully sometime soon!

A few wedding pictures.

Blurry pic, but UMM caught the garter. Oh, the irony!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Running Cheer

Excited to announce that I have been included as part of the nuunbassador team for 2015. I love nuun and am thrilled to be promoting a product that I am passionate about. And thanks to nuun, I have already connected to wonderful community of runners and endurance athletes who I had not engaged with before. I love connecting with like minded people! I had many friends who also were chosen to be apart of Team Nuun. This is a tad different than the ambassador program, but our commitment to such a fabulous product remains the same and of course, consider them part of the extended nuun family. Congrats to everyone who is apart of the nuun community! It is going to be a fantastic year! 
The FTR's, otherwise known as the Folsom Trail Runners organized a Christmas Lights Run. Starting at the Fat Rabbit, we head out to a popular, over the top decorated neighborhood in Orangeville or Fair Oaks area. I am not certain which. It was a great time, and oh my goodness these people go crazy on the lights. One house transferred the whole garage into a crazy display. It was amazing and a bit much. So cool to see all just the same! No perfect group run is complete without ending the evening with the perfect beer. I enjoyed a Delirium Tremens Noel. YUMMY!
So good to see fellow SFM Ambassador Laura!
I participated in the 1st annual Christmas Carol Classic race in Folsom. I ran the 5k along with my friend Jen, while Janelle and UMM ran the 10k. I had a super fun time racing the 5k. I just so happened to finish in 24:43. 9th Overall, 2nd Female, and 1st in my AG. The field was small yes, but I will still take my winnings all just the same! In fact, we were all winners! Jen came in right behind me at 10th overall, 3rd female and 1st in her AG. Janelle placed 3rd Female in the 10k and UMM. Well, he did place 2nd in his age group, but he would have won the bloody race if a volunteer had not told him to take an extra turn thinking he was a 5k runner. UMM ended up running an extra mile right before the end, but he still managed to place in the top 10. He was bummed, but understood that it was his responsibility to know the course and anything can happen when you are racing. He is the true winner in my eyes!
Janelle, myself and Jen
UMM and I coordinated our outfits!
Hi-five moment caught!
Caption this?

All smiles!
And with that, I wish everyone of you a wonderfully beautiful holiday. We will be spending the holiday in Santa Cruz. What are your plans for the most wonderful time of the year?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Speed Training Kick-off

This past week marks the first week of speed training. I was assigned two speed workouts and a few easy runs. Due to the weather and a hectic six day work schedule, I was not able to complete my “easy runs”. I did make it a priority to complete both of my speed workouts however.

Workout 1 was 5 to 6 x  (200 m Rep Pace with 200 m recovery jogs + 1 x 400 m Rep Pace with 400 m jog) with my rep pace being :54 for 200 m and 1:50 for 400 m.

I am currently trying out the TomTom GPS running watch. I turned the settings to laps. Much to my dismay, when uploading my stats, I could not view each independent lap. TomTom fail. I guess I need to pay more attention to my laps while I am in the moment, at least until I get a new GPS toy. My overall time for a total of two miles was 17:02. I wish I could geek out on this running workout, but math is not my forte and trying to figure out each individual lap, gave me a headache.

The second speed workout for the week consisted of 5 x 1 mile Tempo Pace with 1-2 Minute Rests with my tempo pace being 8:30 per mile.
I ran faster than my target tempo pace. I found it hard to meet that pace on the track. Also, this might sound silly, but I held the fear that if I went too slow, I might not be able to recover back to a faster pace. Funny the things you think about and (over think) while running.
Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:10
Mile 3: 8:02
Mile 4: 8:14
Mile 5: 8:17

My running views are just horrible!

Besides my lack of running this week, I am pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish. I am looking forward to hitting the track next week. I also am racing A Christmas Carol Classic 5k on Saturday and pretty stoked for that as well!

Are you running a holiday race this season?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tis the Season

Thanksgiving has passed and we are now in full swing of the holidaze. A busy time of year, and I am just now getting to writing all about Turkey Trotting in Placerville. It was my second year participating and if you remember from last year's post, I love this community race because it holds no frills. No bibs, no timing chips, no race entry fees. What is does provide is a community gathering. Donations to the food bank given from all running participates. Coffee and sweet treats at the finish line. A fun morning with family and friends. I ran the 5k and UMM and Penny the Pup ran the 10k. My time was the exact from last year at 27 minutes. Penny the Pup and UMM ran the 10k in 43 minutes. It was an awesome morning, fitting in a little exercise before gorging.

My lil pup just loves to run!

Me w/ Cara & Nancy, and Cara's cutie family.
This time of year also holds a very Merry Christmas present to a few lucky ultra runners who had their name in the hat for Western States 100 mile lottery. Because UMM ran Western States this last year in 22 hours, he re qualified for the 2015 lottery. He only had one ticket in the pot with the chance of his name being drawn at 4%. We attended the lottery again this year and because we were present, UMM received a playing card for an extra chance to win. UMM did not make it in the lottery this year, but he is okay with that as it allows for another runner to experience this amazing race. UMM does however look forward to running  an ultra that will be a qualifier to enter the 2016 Western States Lottery.

Congrats to all the lottery winners!

This week kicks off speed training! I can't wait to hit the tracity track!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Got Pupp'd

For the last six weeks, I participated in a Weight Loss Challenge with my boot camp, AMP Fitness. I did not make my goal of loosing 10 pounds, but I did successfully lose five pounds. I also learned a lot about my eating habits.

There were some days, that I just did not eat enough of my required daily calories needed. Who knew that being under the calorie goal could be a detriment? Perhaps I am the last person to realize this, but better late than never. The last couple of weeks of the WLC, I admit I ate more sugar stuff than I should of, but this is where my weakness lies. I do enjoy sweets, but thanks to this WLC, I am learning to eat them in moderation.

Don't you feel sorry for me having to deal with this view?
At the end of the WLC, AMP Fitness organized a 5k trail race and weigh-in. Family members were invited to participate, so naturally, I brought UMM and Penny the Pup. The trail race was held in Coloma on a trail I know very well, the Gerle Creek Loop. Mostly compacted dirt with a few baby hills, made this course a semi-fast trail race. The weather temperatures were perfect, just the way I liked it, not too cold, nor too hot. 

Boot camp coaches daughter took a liking to UMM. Too cute!

We set off with UMM and Penny the Pup in the lead and me second. I tried to keep the space between us tight, but that was not held for long. Even though UMM is a long distance runner, he is fast regardless of what distance. I kept a good pace going and was happy to be on the trails. I just recently conquered my fear of putting things in my eyes and am now proudly wearing contacts. This marked my first time on the trails sans prescription glasses, and I absolutely loved it! A mile in and I heard footsteps creep behind me. By the sound of the thumps, I knew I was about to be passed. It was a guy I did not recognize, who attended boot camp class at a different time. After he passed, I continued on for a bit. As far as my contacts could see, it was just me. I slowed a bit and settled into a comfortable pace and enjoyed the scenery. At two miles, I hit a loop that we had to do twice. As I began my first loop, UMM and Penny the Pup began there 2nd. It was super fun to see them again and chase after them eating their dust. The loop seemed to go by faster the second time around and maybe that was because I knew what I would expect. Heading to the finish line, UMM and Penny the Pup who had clearly finished, came back to run me in. That was a lot of fun! I ran the 3.1 course in 27:05 finishing 3rd overall and 1st female. UMM and Penny the Pup ran the race in 20:21. Yep, I basically got pupped, but awesome that my little dog was able to run a sub 7 pace. Proud doggie mom over here!

Posing w/ fellow boot campers
Making friends post race. This dog just keeps on going!

It was a fun day out on the trails!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cash & Apples

I’m behind in race reporting. So, today I present to you, the Double Special. Two race recaps in one! Short, sweet, and here we go!

This was the 2nd time I participated in the Folsom Blues Breakout Half and just like the first time, my performance was less than stellar. I really tried to pace myself in the beginning of this run and not just blow down the hill in the first few miles. This was a mistake I had made last year. This year, my energy felt lost from mile six on. Cause: Lack of proper nutrition, I bet.

So, it wasn’t the time I was after (three minutes slower than last year), but I did enjoy the Johnny Cash tribute bands that were out on the course, seeing friends and having UMM and Penny the Pup waiting for me at the finish line with avocado toast and coffee to boot! It was awesome to have them there for support! Sadly, I couldn’t stay long for I had to rush back up the hill to put on an event for work. We just moved to a new building with a beautiful spiral staircase. I did not foresee all the up and downs I had to make, but let’s just say my legs were nice and sore after running a half and stair climbing.

UMM and I at the finish line!

Love the bottle opener medals

Next up, I ran the Apple Hill Harvest Run. This marks my 3rd year participating in this annual race. It was scheduled the day after my works grand Opening Gala that I organized. I knew I would be tired and I wondered what I was thinking signing up for a race the day after organizing a major event. C’est la vie. I ran as always, the 3.5 race. Right when I started, my lungs started to burn and my heart rate was way up. I do believe other runners around me had lung burning issues as well. Everyone was coughing and spitting. Was it the cold air? The chimneys of all the houses we passed? Or, a combination of the two. I wondered if the other runners tasted blood as well.
Different from years past, I felt that the course was far less hillier than I remembered. Thanks to now living in Placerville, I might just be getting use to all them hills. I crossed the finish line in 29:40. 39 seconds slower than last years race and two minutes slower still than two years ago.

Jen and I pre race

Beth and I post race
While I had a lot of fun running this race and overall happy with my time, I would like to get back to where I was before, at least in the 5k distance. More speed work it is then!

So there is! My two race recap report. Reflecting on my races helps me see where I lack and where I need to improve. I would like nothing more than to get back to my 5k PR. So here we go…...