Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feeling Better

I've been doing really well lately.  I've improved my diet and have been losing weight.  I feel so much better than I've had in the past.  I come out of my workouts feeling refreshed rather than worn down, generally.  The main thing is I've mostly stopped eating processed foods, nightshade vegetables, legums, and grains.  I still eat carbs in the form of fruit, starchy veggies, and I still sometimes eat rice. It is sort my own version of a Paleo or Primal diet.  I eat almost everything cooked from scratch, using whole foods to cook with.

I feel so much better, I feel bad about all the years I felt bad and had ho idea why.  The brain fog I'd had so many times since I've had Rory doesn't happen anymore.  My moods are much better, although not always perfect.  It's funny, I thought the brain fog had to do with sleep deprivation or hormones, but apparently it had to do with my diet.

Rory isn't in preschool anymore, so that opportunity for extra workout time has disappeared.  Still, I'm managing to train a lot.  I ride my bike trainer during his naptime, and also do some strength training.  I'm doing pushups, dips, and lat rows, hoping they'll help my swimming, but I've almost given up on the idea that I'll get back in swimming shapes.  It's been over 3 years now, and I may have finally come to peace with it.  I do a Masters workout on the weekends, which I do to spend an enjoyable hour and a half, rather than having a future goal in mind.  I'm not getting a lot out of it in terms of camaraderie with teammates or anything.  I swim in a lane that often has 2 people in it while the lane next to it has 6.  It makes me feel like an outsider a little, but I actually like swimming in a lane alone more than one that is crowded.

I run on the weekends, early before Raybon does his long runs.  He takes about an hour to get ready, and keeps an eye on Rory, while I run.  I then pick up Rory and put him in the stroller to add on a few miles on top of whatever I get done in an hour.  Last week, my friend C. joined me, and my friend B who I've run with in the past may, too.  I've also pushed a stroller and ran with Ema during the week.  Life is busy, sometimes I just don't see people if I don't work out with them, so it's nice to kind of "double up", so to speak.

Rory is in a playgroup where I really like the other moms.  So far he hasn't made any friends, but hopefully more kids his age will join in.  It's nice that I have that social outlet with people I genuinely like.  Sometimes locker room conversation seems a little catty to me, and there are so many people that rub me the wrong way that I often think I'm a misanthrope.  It's a bit of a relief to find good people I really like.  Fingers crossed.  I have a tendency to fall in love with groups of people, and put them on pedestals, so I hope I can be real with this group of moms, rather than expecting them to be perfect people who are never catty or passive aggressive.

So although life still has it's downs, and sometimes I get grumpy and other times blue, I'm generally doing better and better, and life is looking up.

It's about the right time of year to come up with a race schedule.  The idea of a tri is sort of appealing, since I'm riding my bike so much, but I haven't really picked one.  I also don't ride off my trainer, and I'm not sure when I would do that.  I'd have to at least a little bit if I was going to do a tri.  Every swim race I've done since I've had Rory has been a little depressing, as I am just sooo slow compared to how I used to be.  I may do more runs, what length I'm not sure.  Probably less than a marathon, unless miraculously I find the perfect preschool for Rory and potty training falls into place.

 I kind of like the idea of doing some kind of "mud run" or "warrior dash."  I'm working on my strength training, and bought the "Perfect Pullup Basic" bar.  I'd like to learn to do Pull-Ups, something I've never been able to do, and something I probably should be able to.  Doing a race where I have to scale walls and do pushups might be a good place to use the strength training I'm doing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jingle Bell Rock Run 2011

Rory, Raybon, and I went down to Flip Flop for the Jingle Bell Rock Run on Sunday.  There was a 5K race and a 1K kids race, too.  It was a Toys for Tots Drive, so Raybon picked out some Thomas and Friends engines to give to the needy kids.

The way things work these days is that Raybon gets Sundays as his workout day for his long runs, and I get Saturdays to swim.  I am trying to squeeze in workouts on Sundays, too, but in a way that doesn't interfere with Raybon too much, either by taking up his time or energy.  I guess if I ever had a big race on a Sunday I wanted to do, I would have Raybon do his run on Saturday, and I would just skip my swim.  That's the way it has worked in the past.  I kinda wanted to do this run without a stroller, just to see what I could do, but since Sunday was Raybon's day, I ended up pushing Rory in the race.  This ended up being fun for both me and Rory, though.

Raybon had an 18 mile run to do on Sunday in training for the Big Sur Marathon in April.  Yes, this seems early to get that much mileage in, but Raybon has developed his own plan for a really slow build up to the marathon. He seems to be improving in mileage and speed without getting injured, so far be it from me to question his tactics.  He wanted to do the 5K, too, so he ran 15 miles before the race started.

I knew it would be a little hectic doing a 1K with Rory, who is only 2 and a half, before the 5K started.  He seemed to enjoy doing the Marine Discovery 1K in May  last year so much, though, I felt like he should do this race.  When I went to sign the family up for the race on Sunday, a friendly acquaintance of mine, T., a fellow Triath-a-mom from my little town in the Flip Flop Mountains was working the registration table.  I told her I didn't want a timing chip, because I would be running the 1K with Rory, and I didn't think we'd get finished before the 5K started.  She told me they would wait for me, and that since I would be chip timed anyway, it wouldn't matter if I didn't get started right away.

Ema came out to do this race, too.  It was lots of fun seeing her.  We've been running together lately during the week, and did a Turkey Trot this year, too, on Thanksgiving.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was Rory, Raybon, and I, which was really nice, but it was good to see a close friend for a run that morning, too.

Rory did plenty of running before the race started.  I had trouble getting him to the starting line on time, because he wanted to go run somewhere else.  Ema helped me wrangle him and drag him to the start line in tears.  It kinda made me look like a pushy mom who was making her kid do a race he didn't want to do, but I knew he'd be happy once we got there and the race started.  He ran about 1/3 of the race.  A nice guy on a bicycle who worked for the race production company helped keep him motivated by riding alongside us.  I ended up picking Rory up, and was going to turn around before the turnaround cone and just get to the start/finish, but Rory insisted we go around the cone.  So I ran the rest of the race carrying Rory, not wanting to hold the race up, and feeling a little guilty.  But it was important to me that Rory have an enjoyable race experience.  I let him down a little before the finish line and told him to run under the arch.  He stumbled as I set him on the ground, but he got right back up and ran across, to many, many cheers of the 5Kers waiting to start their race.

Ema told me that people were wondering why they weren't starting the race, not knowing we were out there.  When we finally came into view they realized I was running and carrying him, and were a little less impatient.

Still, after the finish, people were really wanting to go.  I barely had time to strap Rory in the stroller and tear off my windbreaker.  I wanted to fish out my stopwatch from the bottom of the stroller, but there was no time.  I ate maybe half of a Hammer Gel, because I didn't have time to consume the whole thing.  I jumped in the middle of the pack and started the race.

This race was really fun.  There were lots of other jogging strollers, and people in different crazy Christmas costumes.  Rory got a kick out of the costumes, especially the people who reindeer ears and antlers.  This race went along the levee of the River, and under the many bridges that go over it.  Every time we went under a bridge Rory yelled "Hallooo" to try to hear an echo.  A lot of people jogged with their dogs, too.  One costumed runner wearing long johns even picked up his small dog and ran to the finish line alongside his wife who was running with their other leashed dog.

I had fun racing, but got frustrated more than once trying to get around people with my stroller.  The race was an out and back on a bike path that went towards the beach.  People would take up the whole sidewalk by running beside their friend, so I had to ask to go around.  It was tricky, especially at the beginning when the pack was pretty thick, and then again when the people in the lead started turning around.

I think I was the third place jogging stroller.  The first place jogging stroller was a man, who actually got second place overall.  The third place overall was a little 14year old boy.  A six year old boy got 5th place overall.  Wow, were they fast, all finishing in about 18 minutes. I thought that was pretty cool and said something about the local, family friendly nature of this race.

I ended up finishing in 27:32.  This was my gun time, not my chip time.  As with the last run I did with this race production company, no one got chip times, even though we were wearing timing chips.  Since I didn't start my watch, I don't know what my chip time would have been.  Raybon finished in 27:01, 30 seconds faster than me, and only 6 places in front of me.  I wonder if they got our chip times if I might have beat him. It is impossible to say.  This was a P.R. for me, and my first sub nine minute mile 5K.  I guess it seems impressive that I P.R.'d with a jogging stroller, but all but one 5K I've ever done has either been with a jogging stroller or at the end of a sprint tri or aquathlon.

Ema finished her race in a time that she was proud of, too.  She has been getting back in shape after a stressful couple of years, doing the Big Sur Half Marathon just a little while ago.

I had fun, and it is always good to know that I still have a little bit of speed leftover, despite not doing much speed training since my Half Marathon at the beginning of October.  I really enjoy these small local runs, almost more than any larger, longer races.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Scoop, scoop

After having a fabulous swim myself while Rory was at preschool, I picked him up and brought him back to the pool, so he could swim, too.  There was a mommy and me class in the pool we were in going on, and they were teaching the babies to do "ice cream scoops" in the water.  "Scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop."  I had Rory try it too, and he did a pretty good job.

For some reason, I used to swim with a fairly flat hand.  I think I thought of my hands as oars, as opposed to scoops.   I feel really stupid that I never swam with my hands cupped before.  How is that I've been a swimmer for so long, who even swam 11 miles across a lake, and didn't know something that they teach to babies?  Did I once know and just forget?  I don't think I did.

I tried this out at a Masters workout on Saturday, and even though I've been mostly out of the water for two weeks, apart from a short swim on Thursday, I led my lane and was clocking times as fast as I have since I had Rory.  Still not anywhere nearly as fast as I was pre-Rory, but still.  Pretty exciting.  Pretty absurd.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

SJRR 2011

This morning I ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Half Marathon, my fourth Half Marathon in a year.

Rory and I picked up my race packet on Friday afternoon, after dropping off a meal and visiting with Oceana and N-Dawg, who had a baby girl.  The expo was fun, with fun music and friendly people.  The one nice thing that happened that made me happy is when I went to pickup a medium race shirt, the volunteer insisted I take a small one.  It fit!  I've been losing a little weight, mostly by cutting way back on the carbs.  I've been using a product called Vespa before my long runs, which is made with giant hornet extract.  For whatever reason, it seems to help me with carb cravings after long runs, and also helps me feel less bonky.  It supposedly works best with a "fat optimization metabolism diet. I admittedly don't know enough about the "fat optimization metabolism diet" to know if I'm even doing it right, but I am losing weight, so that's been encouraging.  I'm close to seeing the scale drop another 10's place, putting me about 5 pounds off from what I feel like I should weigh. I could safely lose a little more than that, too, but my goal is about 5 pounds away. 

Last night. I said a prayer with Raybon about the race.  I prayed that I would listen to my body and that I would have a race that I felt was successful.  I also prayed that Rory would be OK without me during the time I raced.  I was tempted to tack on "Let me P.R. (2:03 from almost a year ago), or at least go below 2:10", but somehow that didn't feel right.

Sometimes I wish I was the kind of blogger who said more about her races than how she felt and what her results were, but I don't feel as bad about doing so with this race.  It was in San Jose.  Not particularly beautiful scenery, sometimes downright ugly.  The many bands along the course were often motivating, but honestly, sometimes I was in so much pain, I hardly noticed some of them.  The volunteers were super friendly and efficient, though, and the race was really well organized.  The course was about as flat as I've ever run, good for a P.R. if that was what I was going for.  The weather was overcast, and not too hot, but honestly I felt hot from the get go.  It felt muggy to me, maybe just being a hot crowd of sweaty people.

When I woke up this morning, I checked FB while I ate breakfast, and saw this quote shared by Runner's World:

"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate." -John Bingham
I think if it wasn't so long, I might have written it on my hand.  Seemed like the perfect thought to keep in mind today, especially given my past races where I may have pushed too hard.

Rory and Raybon came with me to the race this time.  They didn't go to my last two races.  Sometimes it is hard getting out of the house with a baby.  I was glad for the company, having felt lonely the last couple races I've done.  

I left Rory in a good mood this time when I went to get into my race corral, which made me happy.  When I did the Flip Flop Half Marathon in April, Rory was in tears when I left, making me feel funny about leaving him to race.

I had a tough time with this race.  My time was 2:13:54,  averaging about 10:15 per mile, and doing a pretty good job consistently hitting around 10 minutes per mile, with those extra seconds being attributed to a slow start, fueling, and one bad mile attributed to some fear that I would have palpitations at mile 8 or 9 like I have on some training runs I've done lately, as well as in my last race.

10 minutes per mile actually felt hard to me, though.  When I did my last Half Marathon in July, the Jungle Run, my average pace was slower because I hit a wall, but I ran a very comfortable pace around 9:10 per mile before I decided to push too hard and just about wanted to die.  Even at the beginning 10 minutes per mile felt hard.  By the end, I was looking at my watch every 30 seconds, and couldn't believe how slowly the time was passing.

I honestly think 10 minutes per mile should be a pretty easy pace for me, and it's hard for me to not wonder what went wrong.  I feel like I had a good race in that for once I was able to listen to my body and pace it pretty well, but I can't say I had a good race in that my body had as much to offer me today as I would have liked.  I wonder if losing weight has been enough stress on my body that I can't handle running harder?  I also just kind of wonder if my hormones are a bit off.  At this time in my cycle the last couple months I've just been feeling blue.  Not the "mean reds" I used to get with PMS sometimes, just unmotivated and a little sad.  

As I said, I've been cutting back on carbs, trying and seemingly succeeding at losing weight.  I sort of "carbo loaded" for two days before the race, but that was more like eating what would have been a normal amount of carbs for me if I wasn't on a diet, not the amount I would have eaten when carbo loading in the past.  I ate my normal pre-race breakfast, but I didn't consume any sports drinks or gel like I normally do before a race.  My understanding is that with Vespa you don't need to.  (Don't take this as a guide on how to use it, that's just what I think you're supposed to do.)  I took my first gel an hour into the race, and then again about 2 hours in, even though I was close to finishing, because I felt like I was running low on energy and hoped it would help.  Not sure it was worth the time it took to consume it.  It's funny to me that superstar triathletes can transition between sports in a couple minutes,  yet somehow it takes me a whole minute just to consume a Hammer Gel and refill my water bottle.  Anyway, I wonder if I would have been better off fueling as usual?  I think I need to put more research into how this Vespa thing is supposed to work.

At the end of the race, my legs were really sore and my back was killing me.  Funny how I didn't even notice this until I stopped running.  The walk back to our car seemed to take forever.  I drank a smoothie I had made the day before and frozen overnight, and it was the perfect temperature.  Goat milk, peanut butter, honey, and banana.  By the time our hour drive home was over, my back felt better and my legs were fully mobile again.  I kinda wonder if the difficulty I had racing had to do with low fuel, if I was able to recover after getting enough fuel and just resting.  Not sure.  

What might have gone wrong:

1 - Not enough carbs.
2 - Not enough lactate threshold training.  Been trying to do the end of my long runs hard, but haven't done any other speed training.
3  - Screwy hormones or just being tired.

I'm proud of myself for how hard I ran, without making myself sick or totally bonking.  I felt like I picked the perfect pace for the day.  I've enjoyed my training and am glad I am losing weight while doing it, so I think all in all I'm proud of my training and race, but it doesn't hurt to think about how I might improve.  Hope I can figure it out.

I don't know where I'll go from here.  I don't feel burnt out or anything, but I may call it the end of the season anyway. I was thinking I might do the California International Marathon in December if this race went well, but I can't say it did.   Raybon is doing Big Sur Half Marathon, so I can't do that race.  It's funny, because starting this week I'll get an extra day a week to train.  It's a 2.5 hour stretch while Rory attends a co-op preschool I work at the one other day he is there.  I could even possibly get another extra day a week besides that.  There's the opportunity to get in better shape, but no races on the horizon, and the traditional Off-season starting.  I'll think about what it is I should do with that free time, and what might be next to me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I am sort of in a mild bonked state, so maybe I should not be blogging.

I saw a cardiologist yesterday finally, and got the results of my 30 day monitoring. They say my heart is very healthy, and that I am probsbly just overexerting myself. I'm going to get some blood work done to see if there are any problems, but the P.A. who talked to me said I shouldn't be running as hard as I have been, from his point of view. He basically said I should never have my heart rate go as high as 184 (220- my age), and I should try to keep it under 156 (85% of that). I was all "Nuh-uh!" I quoted what I'd read in Runner's World and other articles saying that the 200-your age thing is inaccurate. He basically said that information was for athletes, kinda suggesting I was not one. What he did get me to agree with is if running at a high rate was giving me palpitations and making me not feel well, I should stop. I said I'd buy that.

I did a 2 mile swim/6 mile run today, and had some mild palpitations about 3 miles into the run, but I just took it easier, and was able to finish the race by slowing down a bit. At least I didn't walk this time. I wasn't happy about my performance (1:10 swim, 1 hour run), but I mostly just did this race for fun anyways. It's the kind of event that I would have dreamed about when I was in better shape. I decided just to do it, even though I wouldn't be competitive, because being healthy enough to be able to do a 2 mile swim/6 mile run is something to celebrate.

Some other big news is that Raybon's company just announced Thursday they will be discontinuing all products he is working on. He will have to find a new job, although it is hard to say whether he will be laid off very soon or in a few months or a year.

The job thing... I did have a dream the night after the announcement that someone asked me if I was going to have a second baby soon, and I started crying saying my husband was going to lose his job. Yes, we are talking about another, but with potentially being without health insurance, it makes sense to put it off. It is funny, I have a lot of anxiety related to another baby anyways, but when the option is seemingly taken away, in my dreams I realize there is a large part of me that does want another.

Sounds sad, but really I'm keeping pretty upbeat about it. Our mortgage payments are quite low, he'll get a tiny bit of severance on top of unemployment. So subconsciously, there is some pain and nervousness, but I am barely noticing it. I think everything will work out for the best. We'll have to tighten our belts even more, but that will be OK. If Raybon is out of work for a while, there are some upsides. Raybon will have more time at home with me and Rory. I'll have more time to train potentially, although less money to do so. There are other fun things I could do to save money like growing veggies and baking bread.

I want to say things will be fine, but truthfully we never know what will happen exactly. I'll just do my best to put my trust in God and try to have faith that he has a plan, even though things seem so bad at times, it's hard to understand it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I just signed up for the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Yesterday, Raybon signed up for Big Sur Marathon. He posted it on FB, with lots of positive comments and likes. I kinda wanted to post that I signed up for SJRR, but I figured people are sick of hearing about me signing up for races. I told Raybon that, and he said "No, that's not true." Then Rory piped up, "Yay! Good job!" Sometimes it surprises me when he says something so appropriate and sensitive. I swear he understands so much more than I give him credit for.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jungle Run - 2011

I did a half marathon this morning, in about 2:17. My P.R. for a half is 2:03.

I felt good for about the first 9 miles, and then I hit a wall.

My race strategy was to not push too hard and listen to my body for the first 6.5 miles, and then look ahead for people to keep in my sites. I started to kinda hurt after I started passing people, and then when I went up a hill somewhere in mile 8, I felt the palpitations and sick to my stomach feeling that means the best I can do is find my way to the finish line.

I maintained a good pace for the first half of the race, and felt really good. My miles were a little over 9 minutes mile pace after I got out of the thick crowd. Since my pace was good, and I felt good, I probably should not have pushed. Listening to my body was working just fine as a race strategy at that point.

I hadn't done any training runs over 10 or 11 miles, and I hadn't done tons of those. Compare that to my P.R. race on Halloween 2010, where I'd run up to 15 miles, and my weekly mileage was more. I run 3 miles a day on every day I feel good, except my long run days, where I've built up to a couple 10 mile runs, which I only do every other week, since I'm trying to fit in speed work every other week, too.

I also mostly just tried to listen to my body and my heart rate monitor on that race, and held back from any aggressive mindset. Maybe that strategy is a better one for me. Looking for people to pass worked for my 10K a couple months ago, but didn't work well for this race. Maybe it was the slightly hillier course, or maybe it was the distance. Maybe it was just the day.

So I have some thinking to do about where to go from here. I had a goal of maintaining half marathon shape for this year, and I'm not sure I'm doing that. I may have just had yet another bad race, or it may be that the training I'm doing is not getting me into the shape I want.

1) Train more
2) Train the same, and learn to hold back a bit
3) Train the same, and do shorter races

Can I train more? I don't regret scaling back my training. I've given up using the childcare I was using when I was training more, and I think that was the right decision. I could cut back the swimming. I could hire a babysitter. I could let Rory sit in the stroller a little longer.

I would kind of like a "do over" but since I'm limiting myself to local races, there aren't any comparable Half Marathons on the horizon. There is a local half on trails in August, but my body isn't used to trails, and I don't think I have time to get used to them. Maybe I'll find a race in the fall and do some Aquathlons in the meantime. Another tri? Again, it would be tough to train unless I found someone to watch Rory at least once or twice a week.

On the positive side:

1) I'm feeling better overall lately
2) I think I'm losing weight
3) I'm glad Rory isn't going to childcare I feel iffy about
4) I had P.R. 10K's and 5K's in May
5) This Half was 18 minutes faster than my last one, and I felt at ease until I started to look for people to pass.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Random Things That Make Me Happy

In No Particular Order

Fruit Salad
New Chest Freezer Full of a Quarter of a Grass Fed Cow
Epsom Salt Baths
Popcorn Microwaved in a Paper Bag with Smart Balance and Nutritional Yeast
Fair Trade Chocolate
Local Raw Honey
Fake iced mochas (with Cafix instead of coffee, raw local honey instead of sugar)
Odwalla Red Rhapsody
Feeling like I'm getting a handle on my nutrition and workout routine

Wow, almost all of those thing are food or food related. Even Epson Salt Baths are about the magnesium.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

She is Beautiful Run - May 22, 2011

Credit: Shawn Hatjes Photography

I heard about this race when someone posted about it on Oxy's wall on FB. It was an all women's run, described as Santa Cruz's Pinkest 5k/10k. It was a benefit for the Santa Cruz Women's Center. I'd never done an all women's event before.

Although I did a 5K a couple weeks before, I was still feeling iffy about doing a longer race. However, I got an "event monitor" in the mail that week. I'm supposed to wear if pretty much 24/7 for 30 days straight. It detects when I have heart rate irregularities, and also has a button for me to push when I feel funny. I'd had some testing done on a treadmill, and a 24 hour test as well, with nothing detected, so I guess that is why they are trying to see if they can find something with a longer test.

I thought it might be a good idea to try to do some hard running to see if it picked anything up, since that is the only time I've felt any symptoms. This race seemed like a good opportunity to do it.

I tried to sign up for the race on the Friday before, only to find online registration had closed early. The race website didn't say anything about the race selling out, so I showed up to race anyways.

The race website said to wear your pinkest outfit, so I did that. I wore a pink running top Raybon picked up for me, and a black and pink running skirt I got for Christmas from his parents. I thought I'd be one of the pinkest people there, but I was far from that. Seriously, 95% of the women wore pink. It was a sight to be seen. Pink tops, shorts, skirts, sunglasses, hats, tiaras, you name it. My friend Oxy wore all black, and she said she felt like the grim reaper. There was a arch with pink balloons, and awesome pink signs with quotes like "You make this look good" and "Life is too short for boring clothes." This was definitely the most stylish event I've ever been to. Are other all women races like this? I kind of guess not.

I tried to sign up and found it was sold out. They told me to run whether I got into the race, and to check in 15 minutes before the start to see if there were any no shows I could get the bib from. They started calling people's names from the waiting list, but I didn't hear mine. Finally they asked for people doing the 10K to step up, since it was starting in 5 minutes, and me and 3 other women in a crowd of maybe 10 people stepped up, including myself. I'm glad I brought my race belt, because I seriously am not sure I would have had time to pin on a race number.

I did warm up a tiny bit, running a little around the registration area, and to and from the bathroom, but not as much as I'd like. It takes about 10 minutes for me to warmup, and I didn't get this much.

I don't know that I had a race strategy exactly. I mostly felt like I should listen to my body to find a pace for the first half, and maybe pick people to catch on the second half of the race. It was kind of fun just letting go and running hard, figuring it might actually be a good thing if my doctor could see a recording of what would happen if my heart didn't cooperate.

Mile 1: 9:17. Warming up. I heard my event monitor beep, saying it detected something, although I felt nothing and my heart rate was not particularly high. Max H.R.: 213 (I'm sure that is wrong.) Avg H.R. 173.
Mile 2: 8:20. Max H.R.: 190. Avg H.R. 184.
Mile 3: 10. Slowed down quite a bit. I was approaching a part of the course that was near where I had problems when I ran the Half Marathon I did in April, so I may have been nervous. I dunno, maybe I was afraid the 8:20 was too fast for me as well. Max H.R.: 197, Avg H.R.: 191
Mile 4: 8:46 Max H.R.: 200, Avg H.R. 196
Mile 5: 8:29 Max H.R. 202, Avg H.R. 199
Mile 6 + .2 : 9:39 (Averages to an 8 minute mile) Max H.R. 205, Avg H.R. 202

Total Time: 54:33

My event monitor only went off that one time during the first mile, despite my high heart rates at the end of the race. I probably should have pressed the button to take a recording to see what was going on. I didn't feel any palpitations or other symptoms like I did during CIM or Santa Cruz Half Marathon, but it would be interesting to see if everything was normal, and if my heart rates were really that high during this race, or if there is just something weird about the way my Polar Heart Rate monitor read s my heart beat. (I can't see anything on the event monitor about what is happening, just when it is recording and when it is just monitoring.)

54:33 is a new P.R., beating my old 10K P.R. (55:31) from the Bean Creek Run 2004 by almost a minute. It is funny that it has taken me that long to break a P.R. that I made with almost no effort on a much hillier course when I was 29. I barely trained for it at all, if I remember correctly. I had done an 8 week training program a few months before for the Wharf to Wharf with no running background, stopped running and only swam, then kind of just jumped into a 10K and set a P.R. I was younger and thinner then, I guess, and had more energy to pour into my exercise routine. Oh well, at least I can be happy about finally beating my 29 year old self, albeit on an easier course.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Marine Discovery Run 2011

I've raced a couple times since I last wrote, but I've been too busy to blog. First it was Rory's birthday, then my in-laws were in town. In between, we did some spring cleaning. I'm tired, dude.

The first race I did was the Marine Discovery Run on May 8th. The whole family raced. I signed Rory up for a 1K kids race, Raybon up for 10K, and myself up for a 5K.

Rory had fun. I held his hand almost the whole way. We didn't make it to the half kilometer turn around point before they picked up the cone and started walking it back to the start/finish, but they put it back on the ground for him to go around. He was the last finisher by quite a lot, but that just meant he got extra applause. He was very cute. He took lots of time to turn around and around in circles and stop and appreciate the gravel and rocks.

Raybon and I both had good races, too. I pushed the stroller with Rory in it for the 5K. I had a 5K P.R., but I haven't done that many and just had various circumstances that prevented good times for my other 5Ks. Still, a P.R. is a P.R. I guess. I'm not even sure what my exact time was, because I didn't get my chip time, just the gun time, and I was the last person across the start line, and even waited a long while after the penultimate person crossed just so I wouldn't have to deal with a thick crowd with the stroller. Raybon P.R.'d his 10K, too. More importantly, Raybon did the 5K last year, and I did the 10K, and we each beat each others times from last year. Ok, maybe this intermarriage competitiveness is not the best thing. Raybon is now officially faster than me, which is probably how it should be, but I hope he doesn't gloat too much.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summary of My Last Few Races

1. Alcatraz Challenge. Trained hard for a swim from Alcatraz, and made it to shore. About 100 other swimmers beat me to shore by being rescued by boats, and they placed ahead of me.

2. Cruz Cruise. Was slow, but can't complain about the race or results.

3. Santa Cruz Triathlon. Lost 20 pounds, figuring even if I didn't get faster (I did) at least I'd have a good before and after picture. Unfortunately, a very unflattering photo of me getting into a wetsuit, which looked like I was grabbing my privates, with a double chin, and an angry look on my face at the photographer, ended up on the internet.

4. Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Half Marathon. A good race. Can't complain.

5. California International Marathon. My first marathon, I figured I'd average at most 10 minute miles or so. I ended up having heart rate problems, and did 13 minute miles instead. Aid stations ran out of water before I got to them, causing more problems.

6. Santa Cruz Half Marathon. Heart rate problems again.

7. Marine Discovery Run 5K. I waited about 30 seconds after the last person in the race crossed the start to cross myself, because I was pushing the stroller, and didn't want to have to fight the crowd. I was wearing a timing chip, but they didn't register my start across the timing mats, so my P.R. 5K ended up at least 30 seconds slower in the results.

8. Run.She.is.Beautiful 10K. P.R. on my 10K by almost a minute. Unfortunately, they put my result in with the 5K's, it looks like I slowly jog/walked a 5K, instead of doing my fastest 10K ever.

I can't help but think that this isn't a coincidence, and some mysterious force is either poking fun at me or trying to teach me to be less competitive.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Break Time

I finished a Half Marathon yesterday in 2:35, over 30 minutes slower than my last Half Marathon. I felt sick to my stomach for much of it, and my heart rate was way too high. While I think part of it is that I ate the wrong breakfast, I think I am also overstressed/overtraining. I'm going to take a break from racing and intense training. When I get back into it, I may do shorter races. I'll have to think carefully about what I feel up to doing. I was fine doing the races I did last year, up until after the Santa Cruz Tri in September. Even the Silicon Valley Half Marathon went OK, but I was running on fumes then. I know I'm capable of doing these type of races, I just have to be careful about how hard I train, having proper nutrition, and taking breaks in between training.

For now, I'll focus on resting, losing some weight, and maintaining an aerobic base. I should also maybe think about finding a childcare option for Rory, to relieve a bit of stress.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Diet Blog

I started a diet blog.  It is at:


I just figured the dieting thing might not be interesting to most of my readers.  If would be nice if I could imagine at least some people would read my diet blog, but my guess is you probably won't.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Think Gu Makes Me Bonk

A couple weeks ago I went and pushed Benji in the stroller.  I intended to go 8 miles, but only went 5.  I don't normally fuel for a short run, but since I meant to go longer, I ate a Gu.  I was shocked that a couple hours later, I bonked.  It was a short run, and I even fueled for it, and ate a normal lunch before I bonked.

Later that week I went for an 8 mile run.  I had read somewhere that raisins are an even better fuel than Gu, so I brought raisins along instead of my normal Gu.  I felt fine all day that day.

Last week, I went for a 9 mile run, and fueled with Gu.  I felt fine while running, ate a big lunch afterwards, and took a nap with Rory.   When I woke up, I could barely motivated myself to do anything.  Bonk, bonk, bonk.

Today I ran 10 miles, and used Hammer Gels instead of Gu.  It's been about 4 hours, and I feel fine.

I'm really glad I figured this out.  Gu was my fuel of choice for my marathon training, and I felt like crap for much of my training.  Hopefully my training and racing will go better from now on.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life is Good

I had a rough time yesterday evening and this morning. But though life isn't perfect, I have a lot to be thankful for:
  1. God's love. The peace that comes from knowing I'm loved by my creator, even though I'm a sinner.
  2. My sweet son. I feel unbelievably lucky to have been given the job of loving such a beautiful, intelligent, caring baby.
  3. My loving husband. Marriage can be hard sometimes, but I'm glad I have someone there to share my life with.
  4. My little home. It's my cave. I'm home a lot, and really digging it. The nerd that I am likes being in this protected space from the outside world.
  5. Good health. I guess sickness is just part of this imperfect world, but I'm glad I'm healthy enough to be a good mom and enjoy an active lifestyle.
  6. Good food. We have enough to spend on healthy, quality food, so I don't feel deprived, even though we don't go out as much as we used to.
  7. Enough. I'm not rich, and I don't have as much time as I'd like to do everything I want, but I do have enough to be content. I'm not always content, but I'm working on it, and a lot closer to it than I once was.

Lost Boys

I had lunch with someone I knew when I was young, and found out something about someone I knew as a child that shook me to my core.

I was ten years older than him, but was friends with his sister, and spent quite a bit of time with his family. He was a little boy when I last saw him. He had a big personality, and could sometimes get out of hand, but he loved me, so I loved him, too. I had fun playing with him, singing songs with him, and teaching him things. I once almost accidentally converted him to being a vegetarian, just by explaining to him why I was one. He asked his mom how old I would be when he was 20, because he wanted to marry me someday.

I met with his older sister, after not seeing her for many, many years. She told me that he had run into a lot of problems with drugs, along with the lethal combination of that and mental illness. He went to live with his grandmother, and one day, last year, got into a state and, as she put it, she died as a result.

I felt and expressed sympathy for her and her family. What a terrible thing to happen between two people you loved, and to have both of them lost from you. I was grateful to her for confiding in me, despite the fact that I was disturbed by the news.

As I often do, I refrained from asking detailed questions beyond what she disclosed about the incident. I found out later through an internet search that he had intended to kill her, stabbing her multiple times. The reason he gave for killing her was that she disparaged him and showed him disrespect.

I don't know a lot about what happened in between then and now. I know a little about his grandmother. I pray for her soul, and know no one deserves such a horrible end to her life. I could imagine a situation where she might belittle her grandson, who as a drug addict, wasn't living up to her expectations, but I guess I don't know for sure what happened. But it does seem to be the case that, at the very least, he thought she was disparaging him.

I went to church for the first time in a long while a few weeks ago. The priest talked about Gabrielle Giffords and Jared Lee Loughner. I couldn't help but think about the incident within the family I know. Both my friend's brother and Loughner were mentally ill. The priest warned against dismissing an attempt to come to a deeper understanding of Jared Lee Loughner by writing off the violence as a result of his mental illness. Most mentally ill people don't kill people. Blaming it on mental illness is problematic for more than one reason. For one, it creates unnecessary fear of mentally ill people, most of whom do not harm other people. It also stops us from trying to look further at what problems there are in our culture that might cause people to commit violence.

He asked us to think a bit about the type of people portrayed in our media as heroes. Heroes are often people who are aggressive, who solve problems by violence. When I think harder about it, even if harmless little romantic comedies, we applaud people who cleverly put their down "enemies", the scene ending with that person humiliated, never seeing the aftermath of their pain. What happens afterward? Did they learn their lesson, and become better people? Or did they go home and take it out on someone else?

Knowing someone who was once an innocent little boy, who took some wrong turns, and then committed the terrible act of taking someone’s life makes me think harder about what people are saying about rhetoric and violence. It's more than just political rhetoric that is the problem. More than the media, more than our society, more than just our culture. It is a sickness that permeates human kind that we all should see ourselves as part of, and ask that God spare us and our loved ones from.

Jesus asks us, by both his teaching and example to rethink what it means to be a savior. If only that little boy knew his worth in God as his child, perhaps this terrible thing wouldn't have happened. He would have known that no amount of disrespect from others could really hurt him. If only he knew that the meek and peacemakers are blessed, not the powerful and vengeful, maybe this terrible thing wouldn't have happened. Maybe...

Matthew 5:3-10 (The Beatitudes)

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I know so many sweet little boys who grew up to be lost men. I pray for guidance in raising my own little son, and that he will grow up and make the best of all the love, sweetness, intelligence, and potential he has in him now.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


I swam a "Masters" workout this morning.  It was at a club that is sort of new to me, but I've swam with probably half a dozen other times before.  It is a Flip Flop County "Adult Fitness" program.  I think the swimmers aren't quite as fast and the workouts not quite as hard as the Masters programs I've been, but that is probably fine with where I'm at.  I may try to regularly attend their Saturday practices.  They are stroke/sprint workouts, which would provide some diversity to the kind of swimming I usually do, which is threshold freestyle.  I somehow swam only 3200 yards in 1.5 hours, which is hard to believe since it took me about an hour to swim that on Wednesday night, and I did 3590 yards in the hour swim on Saturday.  Lots of drills though, which I could probably use.  I jumped in a lap swimming lane and got an extra 1000 yards in, which made me a bit more satisfied.

I had fun.  My lanemates were polite.  The coach was friendly and encouraging.  It's late enough in the morning that Raybon can get a run in before we head to Flip Flop so I can swim.  With Raybon at the wheel, I got there in less than half an hour, as opposed to the hour it takes me to get to swim or bike at my old club.   Depending on how many passes I pay for at a time, I could pay as much as $7.00 or as little as $4.90 per swim, which is a good bargain. 

I feel a bit of deja vu.  Weighing my options.  Lingering feelings of loyalty.  Looking forward to trying something new, but a tiny bit sad about what I gave up.  Kinda just wanting to swim, and not wanting to devote any loyalty to a new club or coach.  All kinda like I blogged about in "Soooo tired"  4 years ago.  Those feelings are all there, but it's not quite as dramatic.  I'm a happier person overall than I was then, and getting less scared of change. 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Fitness February!

My  Masters Swimming club has a challenge every February where people donate a can of food for every 2000 yards they swim.  Prizes are given out for those who swim 50,000 or 100,000 yards.  I think they even have a 100 mile prize, because people are just that crazy.

The thing is, I'm not sure if I'm part of the club anymore.   I feel like I'm in membership limbo.  That's kinda sad, but there is a bright side to this.  I won't get whatever fantastic prize they'll give out for swimming 50K yards, but the $71 I'll save on my weekend tri club membership will buy me a very nice prize of my choosing.

I had a plan for swimming 50,000 yards, but it isn't working out.  There is a warm pool in Flip Flop that has all day  open swimming on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the winter.  I figure if I swam 3000 yards or so the two nights my local pool is open, that'd get me about halfway there (24K yards.)   Then I figured I'd swim 1000 yards on Tuesdays and Thursdays  while carrying Rory while kicking on my back.  We went to the pool today, and it was really fun.  My little boy loved the water, and even jumped off the side of the pool into the water over and over again.  Unfortunately, he is getting so bold and excited about the pool, I only got to swim about 200 yards today.  I mean, fortunately.  It's awesome that he had so much fun.  But it's unfortunate for my 50K swimming goal.

The other part of the plan was to swim 4500 yards on Saturdays.  But to make up for not getting that extra 2000 yards in, I might have to end up swimming more like 6000 yards.  I could do it.  But do I want to?  Maybe I'll figure out a way to make it fun.  Or maybe I'll just start my own 42000 yard club, and buy myself some swag anyways.  It's still a lot more yards than I've swam since, prolly February 2008, so I deserve it anyways.

And, oh yeah, if my membership remains in limbo or just ends, I should figure out a nice place to donate cans or money for every 2000 yards I swim.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Half Marathon Dropout

I've decided not to do the half marathon I signed up for.  I looked on Craiglist and saw a blind woman raising money for the blind and visually impaired running her first half marathon who forgot to sign up for the race.  How could I say no to that?

Yes, I was looking for someone to buy my bib on Craigslist.  I just don't feel like doing it.  I'm looking forward more to relaxing than running a half marathon next weekend.  Or maybe getting a good long swim in.  I'll probably do the Flip Flop Half Marathon in April.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Started Off As a Blog about the Hour Swim and Rambled Into Why I'm Giving Up Cycling

This was my 7th time doing the Hour Postal Swim.  Here are all my results over the years:

2004 - 3315
2005 - 3845
2006 - 3780
2007 - 3920
2008 - 4100
2009 - 3420 - pregnant
2010 - Just didn't happen
2011 - 3590

Yes, sadly, I didn't swim that much farther than I did when I was 5 months pregnant, when I had to stop a lot and swim tons of backstroke.

I knew I wouldn't be able to swim it that fast.  I gave up swimming after swimming 50 x 100's on the 1:40 Thanksgiving, not wanting to tire myself too much for my marathon.

I guess I just wanted to have an honest assessment of where I'm at, and now I have that.

I'm considering giving up my bike for a while and focusing on swimming and running.  It's sad to me that I'm putting in so much time into my bike, which I don't really like all that much, and not being able to put consistent time and energy into what I once loved, swimming. 

As much as I say I hate my bike, I'll miss it.  When I was thinking about goals for the coming year, one of the ones I thought of was becoming a decent cyclist.  It's my weakest leg in triathlon, and it's what makes me feel like I'm not a real triathlete.  People I can outrun and outswim outbike me, and end up kicking my butt in the overall race.  People also say it is the easiest leg to improve in.  I figure I just need to put in the time. 

There are lots of reasons I don't want to bike.  There are lots of reasons I want to.  But the main reason I want to give it up is I'm afraid of crashing.  If I crashed on my bike and broke something, I wouldn't be able to take care of my son.  That would be emotionally disastrous for my family, and also potentially financially disastrous, as we'd have to hire help.  It's not an irrational fear entirely.  I can think of a lot of people who have crashed on their bikes and broken bones.  If I loved it, it might be worth the risk.  I don't love it..

Maybe I'll continue to cross train on my trainer, just to keep my my hand in.  I'll consider it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Anyway...

That last post made me a little depressed.  I signed up with United States Masters Swimming today.  I also signed up for a Half Marathon.  I ran 5 miles, then swam 2100 yards.  I had a good swim.  Not sure I'll ever be as fast as I was, but I felt like I was finding my groove.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

End of an Era?

I haven't created a race schedule.  I haven't even signed up with United States Masters Swimming this year.  I just quit my triathlon club.

I'm a little bummed about quitting the tri club.  I wrote a private draft blog entry about it (too whiny for general consumption) and just ate a bag of Lay's potato chips.  OK, it's only 230 calories, and all potatoes, oil, and salt.  Could have been worse. 

But life is good for the most part.  My house is a little neater.  I'm generally trying to get back on the wagon with losing weight.  Rory is taking a gymnastics class.  Generally, I've felt like I've had more energy to be a better mom, today and yesterday being a bit of an exception.  The weather has been nice.  That has helped with getting outdoors and finding fun things to do.  I've been to church twice in the last three weeks.  I've been filling the freezer with lots of meals for busy nights, with the idea in mind that if I ever want to sign up for a challenging event, I'll be prepared for those days I'm too tired to fix dinner.

While I don't have any challenging athletic goals in front of me, I am still committed to keeping fit.  I would sort of like to remain in half marathon shape.  I did a 10 mile run this week, and it felt really good, until the next day when I felt a little tired and hungry.  Need to remember  to take it easy the day after a long run.  Don't cook a double batch of pancakes for breakfast and a fancy dinner.  Next time I'll plan ahead. 

I'm realizing that I'm not a super mom or a super athlete, and that is fine.  I often said I never wanted to the type of person who bragged about her athletic accomplishments while pregnant, and I'm starting to realize I never want to be the type of person who brags about her athletic accomplishments post partum either.  I want a happy, balanced life for me and my family.  Exercise and fitness are part of that, but I don't generally want to be so tired from training that I'm unhappy.  If I do, I end up taking the easy way as a mom, instead of the best way.

 So that's just where I'm at for now.  Happy for the most part, and not interested in being brave, super, awesome, or a warrior.  All I want is peace and happiness for me and my family, and maybe some extra love and energy left for the other people in my life. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Because I'm a Nerd

The Nerd Handbook

Lots, but not all of this applies to me.  The other half applies to Raybon.