Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday Five: My First Five Runfessions

Today's post is a double first for me: my first Runfessions post and my first Friday Five post. All together in one shiny post! Before you scratch your head in wonder, let me explain. I'm participating in Marcia's Runfessions blog link up, over at Marcia's Healthy Slice, which always takes place on the last Friday of the month. This is a chance for all us fitness enthusiasts to admit our fitness indiscretions, if you will. Because we're all human and stuff and it feels good to let it all go instead of mentally beating ourselves up.

When you're done here, check out Marcia's Runfessions!

I'm releasing five runfessions, which makes it a great way to participate in the Friday Five blog link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run. This is my first time participating in this blog link up. In my quest to be more productive on the blog, I hope to participate in these and other blog link ups more often. I mean, I'm only thinking of you and how you'll benefit from hearing from me more often ;)

Ok, here goes... I runfess:

1. I skipped my morning run this morning. I was feeling crummy yesterday and decided the sleep would help more than waking up at 4:15am to run. I'll get it in later today. I think.

2. I have been a non-stop overeating machine. Ever since my 50-miler well over a week ago, I cannot stop eating. And it's not like I can't stop eating green beans or kale. I am eating EVERYTHING. And then more on top of that. This was me just last night:

3. The deadline for Ragnar Relay SoCal team names is fast approaching and we cannot decide on a name to save our lives. We had this problem last year and ended up going with TBD, which stood for 12 Badass Divas but that was kinda lame. We've got some ideas brewing and maybe we'll have something in time. But I think it's crazy that 12 intelligent women can't think of anything that we can all agree on for the second year in a row. It's not really this hard, is it?

4. I really REALLY want to run the Old West Trails 50K on March 19th but my girls' birthday is on the 18th and we will most likely be having their birthday party on the 19th. But there's a part of me that wants to schedule the party on Sunday so I can run the race on Saturday. Is that bad? Is that selfish or does everyone win? I feel mommy guilt on this one.

5. I am 100%, maybe 115% obsessed with Ink n Burn. This isn't really a Runfession because I wear their stuff all the time and everyone pretty much knows I love them. But I'm like a stalker and I stalk the Facebook pages to see what people are selling. I am just kicking myself for not signing up for the Membership they offered last month. You pay a fee upfront and get a "welcome" box with unknown items. Then every month there are members-only prints and items available for purchase. But I didn't know what you'd get for the steep welcome fee and I'm not really in a position to be buying stuff all the time. So I just stalk websites. And dream. And covet my neighbor's Ink n Burn.

I need an intervention. What do you need to Runfess today? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Running Gear: Oldies But Goodies

Photo courtesy of Sneaker Freaker
I cannot believe I'm about to admit this, but I've been running for almost 30 years. I started running when I was in the 7th grade, when I was 12. I joined the track team after the coach found me and asked me to join. My older brother ran for him and he was hoping I had the same sprinting prowess. We were related, after all. I can still remember that day when we talked and I was so apprehensive because I didn't want to be known as my brother's little sister on the team. Well, I wasn't. There was a little of that when I was in high school, but that first season in middle school had no comparisons between us (what a great coach, right?). I was hooked after that first season. I loved being a part of the team but yet still running my own races. I loved the relays the best. And yes, I was a sprinter though I started moving towards middle distance as I got older. I ran all through middle school and high school. And while I decided not to run for my college teams, I continued running through college and beyond. I didn't run as consistently as I do now, but running has always been an important part of my life. So, when the topic for this week's Tuesdays on the Run blog link up was running gear oldies but goodies, I couldn't help but think back to my very first pair of running shoes: the Nike Pegasus.

Before I continue, the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

Ah, those Nike Pegasus. I loved that pair of shoes. Of course, I was 12 and didn't know any better. I just picked the shoe that was cute and fit me. I realize now, looking at that picture, the 1987 Nike Pegasus wasn't exactly the cutest but I don't remember having many other options to choose from. They were very soft and cushy and I just felt like I was running on air. This is going to sound super dorky but I think those shoes just made me feel good about what I was doing. Up to that point, I didn't really have anything outside of school and friends. I did gymnastics for a little while but I wasn't in love with it. But with running, I felt comfortable. I felt like it was something I was good at and really enjoyed. I met totally new people and kinda felt like I had found my people. All in my fluffy Nike Pegasus running shoes. They were the key to the door that opened a whole new world to me. And here we are, almost 30 years later, still going strong.

Sadly, my magic shoes didn't last much past that first season on the track team. My feet were still growing and the Nike shape didn't fit my foot very well anymore. I was crushed, to say the least. I held onto them and ultimately gave them to a friend on the team the following year who couldn't really afford new shoes. She got good use out of them until she could get new ones and I felt good knowing my shoes were helping someone else find their way.

As my running career blossomed, I became an Asics girl and was for most of my time as a runner until only just a few years ago. Now I'm an Altra girl but I still think fondly of those first pair of shoes that paved the way for me.

What oldie-but-goodie running gear would you buy again? I actually found a pair on eBay but I don't think they'll live up to my memories. What fond memories do you have with your old running gear?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Run the Avocado Half Marathon or 5K this May!

I'm excited to be running the Avocado Half Marathon on May 28th! I was so excited, I contacted the race organizers to see if I could offer my readers and followers (aka my Sole Mates) a discount to run the race with me! They graciously agreed and now you can get $10 off your registration fee by using the code: SHW2016. The price increases on January 21st, so get on it! If you register before then, the race is only $66!

The race runs through the streets of Fallbrook, north of San Diego, and is one of San Diego's most scenic races. This is the race's 3rd year and it has a brand new start and finish on Main Street in historic downtown Fallbrook. I heard the new course is a little less hilly than in years past.

The race partners with such an amazing nonprofit group, Fueled by the Fallen. Money raised from the event will go to helping families of military and emergency service personal such as fire, police and EMTs. Last year the event was able to raise over $5,000 in working with Fueled by the Fallen and hopes to reach $10,000 this year.

The first 2000 runners will receive a long sleeve half zip shirt along with the runner’s race tech-T shirt and a branded water bottle. One lucky runner will win a $500.00 cash prize inside one of the water bottles. That's pretty sweet! All military and emergency responders can get a special discount on the race by going through

I hope to see all of you there! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The San Diego 50 Mile

I am very excited to say that I am now a two-time 50-mile race finisher!! I have to say that training for a 50-miler and running and finishing the race are completely different entities all unto themselves.

Before I get into the race recap, I'm linking up with Holly at HoHo Runs and Tricia at MissSippiPiddlin for their weekly wrap up link up (say that 10 times fast). Leave me a comment about what you've been up to this week and then go check them out!

I've also linked up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

Now, onto the race. Well, let's go back maybe a couple of weeks first. Training had been going really well, plenty of long (loooong) runs, mountain climbs, time on my feet, etc., including the Noble Canyon 50K, the Revel Canyon City Marathon and Malibu Canyon 50K all as training runs. My good friend Vanessa was also running this race and we did all of our training together. But she, too, had a bad couple of weeks before the race. She and one of her daughters came down with a stomach bug on New Year's Day. Then, the next day, one of my daughters and I came down with a stomach bug (yes, we spent New Year's Eve together). I wasn't really derailed from running too much and thankfully, I was entering the taper period so my runs weren't very long. But it definitely wiped me out and I had a hard time eating for a couple of days. Then, just as I was getting over it, my other daughter and husband came down with it. We were dealing with this sickness for about a week and if you've ever had a stomach bug, you know there aren't many other things that are more hideous than a stomach bug. Or maybe taking care of kids with the stomach bug. While you have a stomach bug. Good times. Thankfully, my son didn't get it.

Then last week, the week before the race, things were just super stressful. Work was crazy this week. My oldest finally went back to school after 3 weeks off for the winter break and my girls finally went back to preschool after being sick on and off since before Christmas. While it was great to get everyone back on a routine, everyone was TIRED. Needless to say, there were quite a number of meltdowns from everyone throughout the week and on top of it all, my nerves were shot and I was having trouble sleeping, including a horrific night of sleep the night before the race. Dreaming about the race didn't help at all. And even though I've done a 50 before, there's still so much that can go wrong. Even if you've been running all your life, 50 miles is still 50 miles. It's no joke. So with nerves on fire, I was not feeling rested and ready before the race. But I spent the day before the race organizing my drop bag and after-race bag, making my rice balls for during the run and getting everything together. Getting those details settled really helped me relax.

Side note: I make all of my nutrition from scratch using recipes from Skratch Labs' Feed Zone and Feed Zone Portables cookbooks. I find that having real food on the run is much better on my stomach, helps with keeping energy levels stabilized and helps with hydration (real food has water in it while gels and chews have very little). Vanessa and I alternate the kind of rice bars we bring. She brings a savory version and I do sweet. This way we're not eating the same thing each time. For this race, I brought strawberry coconut rice bars and they were fan-freaking-tastic! I can't wait for Skratch's new cookbook Feed Zone Table which will be meals for overall health but also performance. If you order now, you can get a free Cookie Mix!!

Anyway, race morning arrived and Vanessa picked me up at the butt-crack of dawn (4:30am). We got to the race site, checked in and were off at 5:30. The race starts at the San Pasqual Valley trailhead in Escondido, connects to the Mule Hill trail, runs under I-15 to the Lake Hodges trail, goes around the lake to the Del Dios trail, then onto the Coast to Crest trail into the Black Mountain preserve along the San Dieguito River bed (more on the river crossing later). It's an out and back course and thankfully, I can get to any part of the trail in about 20-30 minutes from my house. We were lucky enough to train on the entire course. But not in the dark! We ran in the dark for about an hour, which was fine with both of our headlamps and my flashlight. The sun came up just in time for the first climb. We didn't want to do any climbing in the dark for fear of falling, so that we planned the sunrise just in time ;)

Let's get this party started!

Beautiful sunrise (with headlamps behind us!)
Things were great for most of the first half of the race. Then we got to the north side of Lake Hodges, onto the Del Dios trail and things just kind of went downhill for us. I don't know why because we have run that section a million times. But we were both just feeling poopy (technically speaking, of course). Then we got to the aid station at mile 20, where several of our friends were volunteering and it was a major boost. We left them feeling great and made our way to the halfway point turnaround. Though we did have to cross the river first. This was a major source of my stress leading up to the race. We have had so much rain in the last week that I knew the river would be high. But when we got to it, it wasn't too bad. I didn't get too wet and felt confident that my feet wouldn't suffer too badly. Though when we got back to cross the river again, we were tired and just ran through the river. Our feet were soaked and while it felt cooling at the time, my feet suffered and I ended up with some blisters in spots I didn't put my RunGoo. Lesson learned: put that stuff everywhere.
Happy at mile 20!
We got back to our friends at the now mile 30 aid station (good thing about out-and-backs is you hit the same aid stations on the way back). Great to get another boost from them, but unfortunately we were back on the Del Dios trail and hating life. I don't know what it is about that section that was bothering us so much but we were not pleased and just did the best we could. Things perked up as we got back onto Lake Hodges trail (second wind, baby) and to the mile 40 aid station. Ten miles left!

Well, they were the longest 10 miles of my life. We shuffled-walked-shuffled most of it. We did meet this spry older couple from the midwest (I can't remember - Minnesota, maybe) that sold their house and now travel the country in an RV. They were so wonderstruck that we were doing this race and took a couple of pictures of us. I hope we didn't look too miserable! They walked off to explore the trail. At a much faster pace than us, I might add. After seeing them, we tried to get into another run-shuffle groove but it was hard. This is the flattest part of the course and while that may sound appealing, it's hard on the body (especially a tired one) to keep moving in the same manner without any variations in terrain. Those variations allow the body to move in different ways, making it a little easier over the course of a long ass run (another technical term). So this flat was pretty excruciating.

We were hoping to finish in the light of day but didn't. We were treated to a beautiful sunset as we were finishing the last climb of the race. So we saw the sunrise before this climb and the sunset after we came down from it. I can now say I've run from sunrise to sunset. Pretty amazing. The good feeling from the sunset beauty was short-lived as we still had a little over 4 miles left in the dark. So we just powered through it as best we could. I couldn't have asked for a better running partner in this endeavor than Vanessa. This was her first 50 and she did amazing!! I am so proud to have run this race with her. We helped each other get through and it was wonderful doing this with her!

Beautiful sunset!
As we approached the finish line, my son was there. I knew they would be there, but not right there at the finish line. It was awesome having them there!! He saw us and in typical 10-year old fashion, starting sprinting ahead toward the finish line. I laughed and told him I couldn't run that fast so he slowed down so we could run together. I wish our pics of us crossing the finish line had turned out but they were too dark. It was so wonderful to see my hubs with the girls at the finish too. And also wonderful to see my love Smitha waiting there for us. She came with sodas and smiles and it was a sight for sore eyes (and legs and feet and...).

I think Smitha may have been holding us up!
There you have it. My second 50-miler is in the books. It was a really great, well-organized race. The course was well marked, the aid stations well stocked with awesome volunteers and the finishers got a long sleeved tech shirt, a medal (with a bottle opener) and a finisher's glass. Love it!! A couple of technical aspects of the race: there's about 5500 feet elevation gain with the majority of climbing in the beginning and middle sections. The trails are a combination of single track, fire road and double track with some fairly rocky sections here and there. There is a small amount of pavement when running under I-15 which felt a little awful on the way back. But it's only for a short time. It's a great course but that flat section definitely affects you more that you would think.

Now that it's been a full 24 hours since I've finished, I feel pretty good. I coached my strength training program this morning and went through the workout with them feeling good. My ankles are a little swollen and I have a little rash on my ankles and feet too. Not exactly sure what that is. I had it after my other 50 too. Maybe just heat rash? Broken capillaries? I don't know.

Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy train. Next up on my race calendar is the Los Angeles Marathon on Valentine's Day. I have always wanted to do this one and figured I'd finally be able to once we moved here. But the race was always held on the weekend in March that coincides with my twins' birthday. But last year's race was unseasonably HOT so they moved this year's race up a month. I jumped on that!! And I can't wait!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Running Dreams

It's Tuesday, which means only one thing: Tuesdays on the Run blog link up! This week's theme is running dreams - dreams we have about running or dreams we have for our running. Before I continue, the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, go check them out!

For me, this is a strange topic. If you know me well, you know I have horrible insomnia. Sleep and I do not have a healthy relationship. And I've tried everything: acupuncture, meditation, teas, special dietary changes, noise makers, different pillows, earplugs, EVERYTHING. Nothing helps other than taking some kind of sleep medication, which I really hate doing. But I kinda need to sleep so I take something whenever I am able to stay in the bed long enough to not feel like utter crap the next day. Why am I telling you all of this? Well, the insomnia has been pretty bad the past several months so I've been taking sleep aids almost every night. And for some reason, it's preventing me from dreaming. I'm sure I'm dreaming but I don't remember any of my dreams unless they are particularly crazy.

The exception to this was, coincidentally, just this past weekend. A little background info - I'm running my second 50-miler this coming weekend, the San Diego 50 Mile on January 16th. I haven't really felt nervous or worried until this past week. I actually have been feeling pretty good and ready. And then El Nino reared his hideous, ugly face last week and doused San Diego for 4 days straight with heavy rain. If my race was on roads, it wouldn't be a big deal. But it's on trails and includes a river crossing. The last time we ran it, the river wasn't too bad but with all this rain, my subconscious apparently thinks I'm going for a swim because I keep dreaming about falling into water during the race. What the hell? In my dreams (it's really the same one I've had a couple times now), I see myself running along and all of a sudden, the trail goes right into the water and I am fully submerged. I have to claw my way out and then run the rest of the race dripping wet. The water crossing is just before the halfway point, so that would mean running 25+ miles dripping. And I guess in the dream, I never dry off. So I'm all cold and mad.

The river of my dreams...
So if you could do me a favor, send me some dry, warming thoughts for Saturday. I don't mind getting my feet wet. We can have drop bags and I can pack dry socks. Even a dry pair of shoes. But please, let's all band together and hope that the river is not a big giant sink hole that swallows me up! That wouldn't be fun at all. Aside from being cold and mad, just think of all the diseases lurking in that water! YIKES!

Ok, I need to calm down.

Have you had any running-related dreams? What are some of your running-related dreams, sleeping or otherwise?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ultimate Coffee Date: January

Welcome to 2016! This is my first post of the year and I'm excited to be linking up with Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner, Lynda at Fitness Mom Wine Country and Coco at Got2Run4Me. When you're done reading here, please go check them out!

Ultimate Coffee Date is a blog link up on the first Saturday of the month. It's a virtual date with friends to catch up over a cuppa. This is my first time participating and I'm super excited! So grab your mugs and let's get to it!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you...that I ended 2015 in a big way by completing the Mission Trails Regional Park 5 Peaks Challenge with one of my favorite trail running groups, the Dirt Devils. Basically, you run up the 5 peaks that are within the park. According to the website, you can do it on your own time scale, but we did it all in one big run. The trails between peaks 2 and 3 were closed so we had to backtrack back up peak 1 (Cowles Mt) and run down to the roads. We then ran to the base of North Fortuna and completed the rest of the peaks. We covered about 19 miles and just under 5000ft elevation gain. Even though it was challenging, I had a BLAST. It was just a great group of people, some old friends, some new and all amazing.

At the top of our 5th peak with the whole group. Such a fun time! 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you...I am streaking. Hee hee. That makes me giggle. Seriously, I'm throwing my hat into the run streak ring and I'm going to see how long I can keep it up. This is a real thing with governing bodies and everything. In fact, there are two sister organizations: the United States Running Streak Association and the Streak Runners International. According to the rules, a streak "is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill." You can go as fast or slow as you'd like as long as you cover at least one mile. Did you know the longest streak known is held by Ron Hill and has lasted more than 51 years? Don't know if I can top that, but I'm going to try :) 

Running Streak Day 1 with my 10-year old son and large dog, Yogi

If we were having coffee, I would tell you...that we are celebrating the second anniversary of rescuing our big yellow Lab, Yogi on Sunday, January 3. Getting him was not exactly planned but it feels like he's always been a part of the family. We had just lost our beloved black Lab, Lola, in December of 2013. In a moment of heartache, I started looking at the California Labs and More rescue here in San Diego. A friend of mine rescued her dog with them and highly recommended them to us. So, I filled out an application to adopt, thinking it would take a while to process. It didn't. A couple of days later, we had our interview and our home was inspected and we went to a shelter about an hour or so away, near Valley View to meet two dogs to potentially adopt. The one I was most interested was a Chesapeake Lab named Johnson and then Yogi was next in line. But Johnson was crazy when we met him. Absolutely insane. He didn't seem like he'd be a good fit. But Yogi, on the other hand, was the sweetest, most adorable yellow I had ever seen. The girls were a little worried about his size (we all were - he's 115lbs). But he was just so sweet and I instantly fell in love. We went back the next day (1/3/14) to take him home and the rest is history. We've worked hard to train him (he eats everything whether it's edible or not, on the counter or stove) and he's made big progress. I just love to squeeze him.

Yogi making himself at home shortly after moving in!

If we were having coffee, I would tell about a month I'm going to be registering my twin girls for kindergarten. What the?? My little tiny babies are getting ready for kindergarten. In fact, the next school year will have two milestones: my girls will start kindergarten and my son will start middle school. I will most certainly need a drink on that first day of school and it may not be coffee! 

My babies on the first day of school for this school year. Fifth for the big one, pre-K for the two littles. Next year will be a whole new ballgame. Eek!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you...the next time we have our ultimate coffee date, my sister from another mister, Lynne, will be visiting. Actually, she may be leaving the morning of our next coffee date, but that only means I'll probably have some new stories of shenanigans to share. She's the best. I've known her for over 12 years and we've been through a lot together. She's my kids' godmother and the sister I never had. I can't wait to see her! 

Lynne will always be my Big Kahuna! (this is from Surf City Marathon a couple of years ago.)

That about does it for me! If we were having coffee, what would you tell me??