Race (and Life) Recaps

Wow!  Have I been the biggest blog slacker IN THE WORLD?!?!  Now that the new year has started I guess now is just as good a time as ever to catch up.  I’ve been busy running, not drinking wine (#SoberJanuary), and awaiting spring by perusing fashion sites and magazines to make a list of my must haves and wishes.  Here’s the scoop:

LAPS |

In December, I went on a family trip to Rome.  This trip was so full of site seeing and family that I only ran ONE day.  The funny thing is that I didn’t stress about not running, which is really not normal for me.  I knew that upon my return to the US that it would be full speed ahead for the Boston Marathon in April.  On the one day that I did run in Rome, it was through the gorgeous Borghese Gardens.  How could you not have a great run when the park is in the shape of a heart?

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Ignore the graffiti… this was all over the place, unfortunately.

Once I returned from the trip, building miles was in full effect.  My speed sessions included hills… which are “speed in disguise,” so I’m told.  I also had some steady state runs which included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes from 6:44-7:03, and a 10 minute cool down.  Not going to lie… I knew from the first hill that I had a long road ahead of me after the downtime in Rome.  Plus… El Niño was hitting with full force leading to some runs on the dreadmill.  By the time my first long run rolled around, my legs were EXHAUSTED, but I had my Sushi Club girls to pull me through since we had plans to take Sushi Club to San Francisco for the Hot Chocolate 15k.  RAM Racing‘s Events are always a ton of fun and combining the race with girlfriends that love running and sushi is a combination that can’t be beat.

 

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Sushi Club (L to R – Claudia, Laura, Marian and LLL) Next Meeting: 1/3/16

 

*** Sushi Club Notes:  It is our mission to eat at EVERY sushi place in Santa Cruz County.  While we hit nearly all of them in 2015, we weren’t organized.  In 2016 we have a rating system and plan to document the awesomeness that is Sushi Club.  Sometimes we have a “special guest” join us, but most often, it’s just the 4 of us.***

The plan for the Hot Chocolate 15k was to actually run 13 total miles.  My coach didn’t have any speed guidelines, the goal was to just get the long run done.  Race morning we took an Uber to the start and hoped for a quick warm-up, but that didn’t quite happen.  Claudia and Laura teamed up to run and Marian and I teamed up to run.  Marian and I said that we would go out around 8:00 minute pace knowing there were a lot of hills.  Wishful thinking… we ended up running in 1:10:39 (7:34 pace).  Actually, we were a couple minutes faster, but SF weather is tricky.  We didn’t anticipate that the sun would come out and it would get uncomfortably warm.  By the time we passed the 5k mark, we knew that layers needed to come off.  Since we were in this race for the sole purpose of fun, we stopped to undress… which is the exact reason why my results don’t come up.  I stuffed my top into my awesome Oiselle Aero Tights and that was the end of chip timing for me.  We had a good laugh at the time that we were pulling such a rookie move, but by the time the race ended, we were happy to have all our layers since it was freezing!

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Race Expo Fun… This event was really well organized and despite the large number of runners, we were in and out in a jif.

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With bellies full of chocolate we were all smiles at the finish… My guess is the photo bomber was just as happy since he looks pretty smiley himself.

Boston base miles continued through January knowing that each week was better than the week before.  In order to keep the training fun, I am planning to jump into some half marathons just to get the miles in.  With marathon pace miles starting, this is a great way to simulate a race without all the nerves that come with an actual race.  That is exactly what I did on January 30.  The Rotary Club in San Juan Bautista puts on the Mission 10 Miler each January, and this year, they added a half marathon.  With lots of climbing, I felt it was a perfect opportunity for doing an 18 mile run.  My Santa Cruz Endurance teammate, Benoit, is also training for Boston and he jumped at the chance to go with.  My plan was to run up to 6 miles at marathon pace (MP) and then settle into a comfortable pace for the remainder.  With all the climbs, I decided to do some of the miles at the beginning, go for effort on the hills, and then finish the MP miles.  The plan worked really well and between the MP miles, the warm-up and a slower cool down (with the company of Benoit and my pup Rosie) the average was 7:30 pace.  I’m really proud of this run for two reasons.  First, I executed my plan despite being tempted to be a bit more competitive (old me would have thought more about competing versus looking at the big picture).  Speaking of old me, on January 31st, 2015 I ran 6 miles at an 8:19 pace.  The doctors said I would probably be able to run 3 miles by the end of January.  With hard work, I surpassed that, but remembered the difficulty of that 6 mile run.  I seriously finished feeling happy/sad.  I was happy that I did 6 miles, but sad thinking that above 8 minute miles was going to be my new normal.  What a difference a year makes!  Being humbled has it’s perks because it makes you relax and appreciate the present.

Now that it’s February, I’m back to track workouts and tempo runs.  Plus… my first 20 miler is THIS weekend.  In regards to races to jump into, my MIL is visiting for most of the month so we have kept the calendar kind of open.  The one thing that is for sure in February would be that I am going to LA to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials!!!! This girl is really, really excited to meet up with my Oiselle Volèe teammates to cheer on Elites and the regular folks that are going to kick butt on Sunday at the LA Marathon.

LUNGES |

BodyPump 96 was released at my club a couple weeks ago.  Holy cow is this a tough release!  My favorite track is probably the Lunges, but that may be just because I have a great fondness for Peanut Butter and Jelly.  I wish I was joking… in our home PBJ makes many appearances at lunch, dinner and snack time.  For the first time in a long time, each track either has a good song or just kicks your butt so much it’s hard to find anything not to like.  With New Year’s resolutions in full effect the club has been PACKED!  While the regulars always have complaints that their “spot” has been taken or they can’t even get into the class, I hope to provide gentle reminders that we were all once new to Group X.  I’m also happy to report that classes are still pretty darn full.  Here’s the trailer for BP 96… if you haven’t checked out a class yet DO IT!

In the personal lunge department, I started the year off with a Functional Movement Assessment/Screening at Paradigm Sport.  I’m sad to report that I didn’t do so well.  Seriously, I made it through grad school not once, but twice with a 4.0.  In addition, I somehow managed to exit undergrad with honors despite drinking my weight in Maddog 20/20 and Amaretto Stone Sours each weekend (don’t judge… we all had a dumb college drink).  If you haven’t heard of a FMS, here is a little blurb from the internet:

“The SFMA is the movement based diagnostic system, designed to clinically assess 7 fundamental movement patterns in those with known musculoskeletal pain. The assessment provides an efficient method to systematically find the cause of symptoms, not just the source, by logically breaking down dysfunctional patterns and diagnosing their root cause as either a mobility problem or a stability/motor control problem.

This systematic process allows clinicians to clearly match their intervention to the main problem of the patient. This model efficiently integrates the concepts of altered motor control, the neurodevelopmental perspective, and regional interdependence into musculoskeletal practice.”

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The 7 exercises…

Here’s the thing… each exercise is worth 3 points for a total of 21 points.  This girl scored a 12… yep… a 12!  I knew that I’d have some trouble, but I was surprised at just how imbalanced I was.  The only exercises that I performed well on happened to be the Reaching and the Push-up.  I now have a plan from a trainer to work on these imbalances.  The plan includes some great stretching and core work as well as a variety of strength moves that use the TRX, tons of glute activation (bridges, step-ups, deadlifts), and general upper body strength builders (I can do 4 band assisted pull-ups.  Give me time and that band will go away!!!)  It’s been really motivating to see my weaknesses and know that each rep is getting me one step closer to being a better version of myself.  I’m 41 and if I want to run and be active for a long, long time, it’s best to take care of these imbalances before an injury keeps me down.  Been there… done that!

LEATHER |

Thanks for sticking around this far.  Spring items are starting to pop up and there is really  just one trend that I am really in love with.  Give me time and there will be more, but for now, I’m eyeing the Statement Heel.  Color and patterns are everywhere right now and adding a crazy heel is just one way to make an outfit POP!  Since my post is getting so long, check out Fashionista’s post on the spring shoe trends.  You will also note that sneakers are still in fashion… which is great considering it’s marathon time again.  In the meantime, I’ve been in love with the pop of color that a fun heel can add to the simple jeans and tee or the LBD.  These blue shoes all catch my eye, but if I had to choose one it’d be the Ruthie Davis’… did you see the spike on the end??? Sexy!

Until next time (and hopefully that next time isn’t 5 months later)… Happy Laps, Happy Lunges, and may your Leather be comfortable!

Catching Up….

In late June of 2014, I had big ambitions in regards to my blog.  Typically, I’m a pretty prompt person – Hello Virgo – but what can I say… life got complicated.  Each week, I had posts in mind but I just kept putting it off or would find some other task to tackle instead.  After a bit, I thought, “Ugh… I should just quit because it has been so long since my last post.”  However, I do enjoy sharing this and that with those that come to my classes, are seeking some run love, are daring enough to try a recipe that comes across this blog – let’s face it… my husband and I have differing opinions on food so I like when you all agree with me – and finally, is there ever enough input in the fashion or beauty department… never.  Now I am at a crossroads and have decided that it’s onward and upward.  The whole purpose of this post is to simply, catch up.  Here goes…

The Fitness Department:

In the Laps department, my mantra has been “Comeback, not setback.”  There really is great truth to that.  When I posted last, I had just been given the green light to start running again.  It. Was. Awful.  Seriously, running is hard!  But… it is a lifesaver.  Coming back from an injury and another health issue I was at one of the lowest points in both my emotional and physical state.  Running, while it was slow and painful gave me a sense that with each mile all would be okay.  It’s true.  The more I ran, the better it got and the better I felt. On the last day of January, I had hit the 6 mile mark (the doctors said I would be able to run three).  February was another setback month, but somehow, I finished the last day of the month with 7 miles.  And then in March… the fire was started.  For most of March, I just focused on running 5 days per week.  Just for the fun of it (and because it is put on by a super rad lady), I entered the She Is Beautiful 10k.  There wasn’t a race plan for this 10k, but I had high hopes to run under 8 minute pace.   Honestly… my Garmin didn’t track but a few miles at that pace since August so I thought it was a good place to start.   Somehow or another, I averaged a 7:03 pace.  I’d like to say I didn’t know where it came from, but that wouldn’t be true.  This is one of the first times that I ran with only my heart.  When I finished the run, I had tears in my eyes.  I knew that I was on my way back, but this time around, I vowed to not forget that running is fun, it makes me happy, and while healthy competition is to never be overlooked, letting the competitive balance tilt too much will make your running outlook suffer… a lot.

Check out the smile on the face of the cutie in the tutu!!!

Check out the smile on the face of the cutie in the tutu!!!

After SIB, I called my running coach and told her I was ready to train.  For what, I wasn’t completely sure, but I was ready to start doing something.  Between then and now, I paced my friend and coach, Michele, at the Miwok 100k (Ultra runners are BAD ASS), ran the Surfer’s Path Half Marathon for fun… in fact I was in such a fun zone that my friends and I started the race five minutes late cause I forgot my bib… really… who does that???

SCE after the Surfer's Path Half Marathon.  Photo courtesy of Nancy Z.

SCE after the Surfer’s Path Half Marathon. Photo courtesy of Nancy Z.

In June I ran the Tahoe Relays with Santa Cruz Endurance which leads me to the now.  I’d been increasing my mileage and as I had witnessed my paces dropping I started to toy with the idea of a marathon.  Some of my friends are going to Boston for the first time ever and I thought I might want to go for support.  Knowing Boston qualifiers last for two years, I figured my 2014 qualifier at Boston would get me into the 2016 Boston, but it doesn’t since the window is September to September.  So… I needed a BQ and have now set my sights on getting one at the Santa Rosa Marathon on August 23rd.  In Tahoe, I ran my leg of the relay and added on to get to 18 miles.  I told myself if I could run in the altitude – that far – with part of it at race effort – that I would sign up for the marathon… and I did.  Stayed tuned for the rest of the story…

The Home Department:

Since drifting away from the blog, I wish I could say that I’d been spending my time scouring cookbooks and reading food magazines cover to cover, but I have been super, duper lazy.  This is another reason that I wanted to get back to my blog.  I love discovering new recipes, trying them out and sharing them with others.  When life gets complicated, exerting extra effort for things like grocery shopping and cleaning up messes becomes even more daunting.  Thanks to some advice from my boss, I started to go to Dream Dinners. I have to say… it’s pretty awesome.  Check out their site for some details, and really, I promise I will write a post about it after the next time I go (which will be in September).  Over the course of the summer, I have really started to look at our diet and have started up the grill and have ventured into cookbook land once again.  I guess marathon training inspires one to eat some healthier meals.

Other than that, my husband and I have stayed busy with a trip to the Midwest for family fun, taking advantage of the beaches here at home, and discovering different places to eat around town.  We also got on an organizing kick and now have some pretty cleaned out closets.  In fact, I took my husband’s drill and with a little help from The Container Store, I have a new pantry.  Guess what’s in that new pantry?  Finally… I purchased emergency supply kits because my mother-in-law and mother frequently remind me that the whole West Coast is bound to be destroyed by an earthquake any day now.

With much uneasiness, my husband handed the drill over.  It's been 3 weeks and the shelves are still holding strong.

With much uneasiness, my husband handed the drill over. It’s been 3 weeks and the shelves are still holding strong.

The Fashion Department:

Do you remember that I said I was training for a marathon?  Right.  As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time in my running clothing.  Fortunately for me, Oiselle has had some super cute running attire and I now seem to have a pair of distance shorts for each day of the week.  It’s been a warm summer in Santa Cruz so I’m most often running with my sports bra.  Next weekend, I will be in Seattle and hope to go to the one and only Oiselle store.  I think this shirt would be an appropriate purchase.  Speaking of this company… I’ve been a superfan for a long time.  Recently, they opened up spots on their team and I (much to my surprise cause I was finishing up a 22 miler when the window opened) got a spot.  I’m pretty excited to get to know the other ladies of The Flock.  1,2,3 Oiselle Volée!!!

When I’m not wearing running gear, I’ve been obsessing over boyfriend jeans, tees and heels.  It’s been a pretty laid back summer style wise and I’m just now starting to feel like it’s time to add some fun to my fall wardrobe.  I sound like a broken record, but stay tuned…

Pretty much me every evening (and day) this summer.  Thanks asos for the picture.

Pretty much me every evening (and day) this summer. Thanks asos for the picture.

One thing that has changed my life however, is the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver.  Seriously… I have super thick and heavy hair so it best lends itself to a ponytail unless I have tons of product and endless time to attempt a style… that will last for maybe the walk to the car.  That is until this little curling iron caught my attention.  Seriously, I can curl my whole head into some sexy waves in about 15 minutes tops.  Even better, I can do so with very little product.  After getting out of the shower I put a bit of Kevin Murphy Smooth Again in my hair.  After it dries, I spray it with a bit of Style Sexy Hair 450 Headset and then I go to town with my curling iron. I’d like to take all the credit when I get compliments on my hair, but I can’t… this iron was a game changer.

Thanks for following along during this super long post.  I am really motivated to post away and not let the craziness of life keep me from taking time to do the things I enjoy.

Hoping your week is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!