Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26th, 2011 – The Great Race of Agoura Hills 10K

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was truly a great race. I was nervous about this one because I really wanted to PR but I knew the route to be very challenging. Even one of my dearest running buddies, who has experience with this race told me that this was a “Just Finish It” race.

The race started with a little bit of downhill work. I wanted to work hard but take it easy at the beginning because I wanted to finish strong.

The first 3 miles were really OK. There was some climbing but it wasn’t too bad. A year ago, they would have slayed me immediately, but I was feeling pretty strong this time. I knew I had to maintain an 11:29 min/mi pace if I wanted to finish in under 1:10. That was my goal, even though my previous PR was 1:16 and I really would have been OK if I finished around that time because I’d heard the hills in this race are atrocious.

So I was feeling pretty good up to the 4 mile mark. The hills were challenging but I was able to power through them and maintain about an 11:15 min/mi pace.

Then we hit a U-Turn at the 4 mile mark. We had a brief decline then the hills *really* started. And these hills were kickin’ my ass!!!! There as a point where I actually paused and said, “You have *got* to be kidding me!” And I wasn’t the only one!

I wasn’t about to be bested today, though. I was about 4.25 miles in and I had just heard my 45 minute audio cue. My PR was within reach. I just knew I could do it!!! So I took a deep breath and powered up the hill as fast as I could. I knew my pace was taking a beating but I just had to do the best I could.

At about the 5.55 mile mark, we made a turn and started up an unpaved hill with wet clay. This almost wrecked my resolve. After fighting these hills for nearly an hour, I just didn’t think I could handle wet clay weighing down my shoes.

But somehow, I dug deep and kept fighting. That PR was so close, I could taste it.

By the time I hit the 6 mile mark I had already heard my 1:05 audio cue. I was *so* exhausted, but I just had to keep fighting because I was desperate to finish before the 1:10 cue sounded.

As I was charging toward the Finish Line with all that was in me, I noticed that the race clock said 55:54. Of course, there was no way that was correct but it gave me that extra push to kick even harder to cross over the sensors.

Turned out, the clock at the finish was off. WAAAYYY off! I knew there was no way I’d finished with a sub 60 time, but it felt good to believe it for a split second.

I did PR, however. I finished in 1:09:13. I will take that and be glad. Feels good. I got to bring home a medal to give Jordan for his birthday.

Now, Zzzzzzz……….

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 21st & 22nd, 2011 – 2.96 and 6.11 Mile Runs

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

These runs were great. The weather has been very crispy lately so arm warmers or long sleeves were in order. Nothing wrong with that!

I have a race this weekend. The Great Race of Agoura is on Saturday.

Here’s the thing: I really do feel like I am getting past the point where “Just Finish” is a reasonable goal for me. Especially with a 5k. But this is a 10k and while “just finish” may be on the safe side for me, the fact remains that I have never run the entire distance in an organized race. I’ve always run it 4 minutes on and 1 minute off.

I don’t want to injure myself, of course, but I don’t want to set my bar too low either. So I find myself wondering if “Just run the whole course” is a high enough goal. Should I also place a time goal on myself?

I’m thinking I should.

My personal best in the 10k is 1:16 so I don’t think “Run the whole course and finish in 1:15” is unreasonable. Of course, if I run the whole thing and finish slower than 1:16, I will be thoroughly bummed.

If I’m not mistaken, the race course is hilly and that would adjust my goals. Many months ago, my friend Lloyd told me he would run the course with me so I’d know it. He’s run it before and can complete a 10k in less than half an hour. So I’ll give you three guesses as to why I never took him up on his offer.

Well, it’s too late now. If the Lord spares my life and delays His coming, I will be laced up and freezing my butt off at the Start Line on Saturday morning, come what may.

Now, about the run:

March 21st, 2011 – 2.96 Mile Run: This run was good. It was the usual route but it was windy and c-c-cold!!!! Early spring in Southern California is crispy and rainy. This will soon give ‘way to stifling heat, so I am enjoying it while it lasts.

The pace on this run was good but with the slight decline, it wasn’t as challenging as I’d like. Still calling it a win, though.

March 22nd, 2011 – 6.11 Mile Run: I *really* didn’t want to do this run. It was cold and I ran the day before so I felt justified in skipping it. HOWEVER…

Either Chris or I have plans tomorrow and the next day and I never run the night before a race, so this would be the last time I would get a chance to run before the race.

So I set out, with the goal being: Take it easy and just run until it doesn’t feel good any more. I didn’t care so much about my pace and Chris was taking care of dinner so I didn’t have any serious time restraints, so I figured I’d just…. Run. Forrest Gump style, until I just didn’t want to any more.

When I got to the middle of town I figured, I’d better turn around and come back. Even though I didn’t have any serious time restraints, I do have a young family and a job to get to the next morning, so an hour and change was all I was willing to do.

It was getting dark, so I got to wear my new Clip-On Cap Lamp. I saw these on one of my favorite Deal-A-Day sites for $1 plus free shipping. I figured, for a buck, I’d get two. They take two of those 3V watch batteries that look like nickels.

They are better suited for up close, handy work like fixing something under your car, flipping a breaker switch or in my case, polishing my nails in the dark or reading in bed.

They lit the ground in front of me but only *really* well in almost complete darkness. The slightest bit of light was able to overpower it. When a car passed me, its headlights washed out my lamp light but didn’t provide enough light to illuminate my path, so it was kinda spooky at times.

Also, the cap lamps only lit a small space right in front of me. When I’m running after dark, I feel more secure when I can see several feet ahead of me. Once a cyclist passed me but I didn’t realize he was there until he was right on top of me and that’s dangerous cuz I’ve got a really itchy pepper spraying trigger finger after dark.

All-in-all though, it wasn’t a bad purchase for a dollar. I wish I’d bought more. I’ll still use it. If nothing else, it makes it so that other runners and drivers can see me at night. Jordan is about to get a new bike for his birthday….. Shhhh. I wouldn’t be opposed to clipping a set on his helmet when he’s pacing me after dark.

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 18th, 2011 – 3.77 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a good run. It was so cold and windy all day that I had decided to skip the workout all together. Chris took me to In-N-Out Burger to celebrate my temporary lapse in judgment. I ate heartily.

Soon after, I changed my mind and thought I should go ahead and do the run. We were expecting a storm and heavy rains the next day so it was likely that I wouldn’t be able to get the 13-mile run I wanted to do.

So I changed my clothes as soon as I got home from picking up the kids and set out.

The cheese burger with grilled onions were making their presence known. The first mile was really rough. That’ll teach me to eat junk before a run. Ugh!

You may recall that my headphones crapped out on me during my last run. I told Chris and he was all sympathy. When he ran over to Target, he asked me what kind I wanted. I asked for the type that looked like ear buds with hooks. Something that was made for runners.

I didn’t think regular ear buds would stay in well during a run and I was very aware that the spongy earpiece covers were constantly saturated with sweat with my last pair. Um…. Ew!

These are what he came up with: They are Philips 28 Sports Ear Hooks in pink! They go for about $20 at Target.

You gotta love a man who is secure enough to walk up to the register at Target with a bag of mid-sized dog food and a pair of pink athletic ear buds! I love that guy!!!

My initial assessment is that they are compact, comfortable and very cute. They didn’t go on very well though. Strangely, the right ear hook went on without a hitch. I couldn’t get the left one to stay on at all. Finally, I tucked it under my head band to keep it in place and I was off! That worked out well but I was sure these were a dud and I’d have to purchase another pair.

After the run was over, I discovered that the little pink strips make the hooks adjustable. After that, they were great. I’ll try them again on my next run and I expect they’ll do just fine.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 16th, 2011 – 2.95 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a great run. The usual route. I wanted to be able to relax on this run so there was no challenge, no stress. I wanted all joy and boy did I get it!

This run was pure bliss. The weather was wonderful and the temperature was perfect. My headphones took a dump just as the run got underway which meant I could only hear the lower frequency notes and I couldn’t hear my audio cues from RunKeeper at all.

I knew when they were coming because all the sound would go out but I couldn’t hear the computerized voice. Apparently, not being hampered or distracted by music or the pace and distance updates worked for me. I was able to finish the run in record time.

I also noticed that I couldn’t hear my footfalls. Not only could I not hear them, but people who were walking in front of me couldn’t either. I had three instances where I needed to pass people and they didn’t hear me until I was right on top of them.

That was great. It meant that I was stepping very lightly and my form was really good. That proved to be so, as it is two days later and I can’t feel a thing. No soreness, no tightness. I still should have stretched, but I just really hate stretching.

I really need to pray about weight training. I have all the equipment and it has become very clear that Christopher is not going to use it. I really felt like it improved my run when I did it but I am not at all motivated to lift weights! I gotta get over that!

I have a run scheduled tonight. I will have to check the air quality, though. All the experts say the fallout from the crisis in Japan should reach our shores this morning and I’ve had a few friends tell me that I shouldn’t exercise outdoors today.

Yesterday, we kidnapped the kids and took them to McD for Shamrock Shakes. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 8th thru 14th - 16.49 Miles Total

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I am feeling discouraged and very down trodden (or as discourage and down-trodden as a person like me can feel. I’m pretty pumped most of the time!). My brother-in-law completed his first 8k last weekend. He finished it in 51 minutes. No training. No rest. He went to sleep at 1am the night before and even lost an hour to Daylight Savings and still threw up a really respectable time!

Could I do the same? Sure. I’ve never done an 8k race, but I run 5+ miles on a pretty regular basis and I can usually manage a 10:00 min/mi pace on race day but it’s taken me a year to train up to that level and he did it without even really trying!

Sure, I ran 5.5 miles on Saturday (the day before his run) and finished in about 1:13 which included all the stops at traffic lights and of course, race pace is always quicker than regular training pace but STILL!!! And of course, he’s desperate for pain medication and he can barely walk right now and 5.5 miles doesn’t phase me in the least. But STILL!!!!

I mapped out the run and counted all the traffic signals. There were 26. Then I went online and did a quick search on what the average wait time is for a traffic signal. It’s 35 seconds. If I multiply 26 by 35 I get 910 seconds, or 15.17 minutes. So if I subtract 15 minutes from my time, I get approximately 58:30, which is a about a 10:37.8 min/mi pace. Which is still slower than Ryan’s pace! And I’ve been at this for over a year!

It’s really distressing. Why is it that some people just have a gift for running fast while others have to work so hard at it? It really isn’t fair.

*sigh* Ah Well…. Good for him!

I am reporting 4 activities today. I haven’t blogged in 5 days and I’ve run pretty regularly since then. There were six activities but 2 of them were walking less than a mile so I’ll be leaving them off.

3/09/11 - 3.59 Mile Run: This one was interesting. Jordan had TKD and Chris had Jayda at home so I dropped him off at class to punch and kick to his heart’s content while I ran the neighborhood. I saw a lady duck into the overflow wash and I love running washes and creek beds. There’s something about running beside flowing water. You usually get a full mile without having to stop for any reason and you have the different muscle workout of running on loose terrain. It’s as close as you can get to a trail run while still being in the middle of town.

This was a sloppy run. I couldn’t quite get it together. It may have been because it was a new route but my form and my stride was never clicking like it normally does.

I ran the last mile in my 5-fingers. That was nice.

3/11/11 - 3.16 Mile Run: This was a nice relaxing run. It was the usual route. Chris dropped me off at the BGC and I ran home. Nothing spectacular to report. I didn’t care much about my pace because I knew I was getting a longer run in the next day. I just wanted to get the miles in.

It was bliss. The weather was Southern California great and the temperature was perfect.

3/12/11 – 5.51 Mile Run: This was supposed to be closer to a 6 mile run. I mapped this run before I did it and it worked out to be about 5.83 miles.

I had decided to run across town to a friend’s house and have Chris pick me up when I got there. I was hoping to finish the route in an hour and a half. For one thing, I thought it was closer to 6 miles. Secondly, I wanted to account for traffic signal stops.

I finished in 1:13. It was a little hilly and I absolutely remember a time when I couldn’t run half that distance without seriously feeling like my life was drawing to a close. So this felt really good to me.

Another success is that I ran the whole route. It used to be that if I were running more than 4 miles, I would do 4 and 1 intervals. Today, the only breaks I got were at stop lights. I’m calling it a win.

3/14/11 – 3.02 Mile Run: I was at the dojo again waiting for Jordan to be done with class. I decided to run the wash again. Except this time, instead of the up and back route, I would exit the wash when I got to the next major street and run the loop on the street. There was a slight incline but the ground was solid.

I pushed myself pretty hard. I wanted to maintain less than a 10 min/mi pace since it was a relatively short run. I did pretty well for most of the run. Felt good.

I remember a time when focusing on speed robbed me of all the joy that came with running. Now I am discovering that I can run harder and still feel tremendous joy.

So I’m not the fastest or the strongest…. It could be much worse. I know far more people who can’t run 5 miles than I know who can. That’s something!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ABC's of Living in a Hayes

Age: 38.... Rockin' the "Middle-Aged" thing!

Bed Size: California King because I got a King-Sized man and kids who like to jump on my bed.

Chore You Hate: Cleaning up anything stinky. Poo Poo accidents, cleaning out running bag, picking up dog poop before we mow the lawn.

Dogs?: Sarah, a pound rescue. Mutt, but mostly black lab. Sweetest dog ever and the best running partner.

Essential Start Your Day Item: Green Tea, Whole Wheat Toast w/margarine and raspberry preserves

Favorite Color: My kids’ skin.

Gold or Silver? Stainless Steel

Height: 5’8.5”

Instruments You Play: None, but I wish I played the harp, so can serenade Jesus when I get There.

Job Title: Accounting Administrator

Kids: Jordan Christopher, 7 (8 on March 26th) and Jayda Christine, 3

Live: Every moment and with NO regrets!

Mom's Name: Ludi

Nicknames: Never been a fan of nicknames for myself. My brother calls me Bean Dip….. But he’s the ONLY one!!!

Overnight Hospital Stays? When I had my babies. Both, *really* good days!

Pet Peeve: Incompetence that means extra work for me.

Quote from a Movie: The Princess Bride: “You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Right or Left Handed? Right. Thought all Lefties were freaks until my son was born left-handed! What?!

Siblings: Older brother, Frank. He runs faster and longer than me without even training. Bastard!

Time You Wake Up? The alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m., However…..

Underwear: Running – None. Regular Everyday – Sensible cotton thong. Time of the month – Full coverage!

Vegetable You Dislike: Lima Beans. Pickled beets. What the heck is that anyway? And why are they the color of blood?

What Makes You Run Late: Family, mostly my husband.

X-Rays You've Had Done: Chest, Knee, Ankle. Most after my stint on WipeOut.

Yummy Food You Make: Fried Chicken, Amish Friendship Bread, Sweet Saltines

Zoo, Favorite Animal: The Beluga Whale

That's pretty much all there is to know about me, in case you were ever curious. See ya at the race!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 4th, 4th & 6th – 3.30, 2.79 (walk) & 6.51 Runs

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

I am reporting 3 activities this time to bring myself up to speed, as it were.

But first, I’d like to talk a little bit about the ramifications of the “13.1 Euro Bumper Sticker”.

Typically, I’m not a fan of the bumper sticker. Not only because they are a $2 item, defacing a multi-thousand dollar investment, but because you are constantly displaying who you are to friends, neighbors, strangers and everyone in between. And there is no one, saying, statement, slogan or advertisement that I can say, “Yep! That’s me, 24/7!”

That is the main reason I don’t have an Ichthys (a.k.a. Jesus fish) on my car. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a BIG fan of Jesus Christ!!! I believe with all my heart that He is the Savior of the world and we are desperately in need of Him. However, if I put one on my car, then I have to live up to it… All the time and no matter what.

While I do my best and I’m OK most of the time, there are times and seasons when that moron who cuts me off on the freeway or that jerk who takes my parking spot gets the better of me. And yes, when there is open road and fewer vehicles, I have been known to push the ole Rav4 up toward 85 mph. Not only that, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” gets me pumped and when I play it (and the kids aren’t in the car), I play it loud!!!

Very unbecoming for the Child of God. Jesus does not deserve my poor representation, no matter how infrequent my bouts of misconduct may be. So I refrain.

HOWEVER, after I ran two half marathons last year, I thought, “Now I’m a runner. Even if I never strap on the Asics again, I can always call myself a runner. No one can ever take that away from me.”

I received a “13.1” bumper sticker in my goodie bag at the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in L.A. last year .While I proudly tacked it to my bulletin board at the office, I couldn’t bring myself to put it on the car.

Whenever I see one of these 13.1, 26.2 or even 5k stickers on the road, I think, “Ah! There’s a kindred spirit!” and then I check out the driver to see if she’s fitter than me. I don’t know why, you can never really tell when they’re zooming past you. But still there’s that half second assessment that I, and I’m sure just about every other runner does when they encounter another runner. It's equivalent to the growl and sniff Sarah does when we pass another dog on a run.

Would I be willing to subject myself to that kind of judgment and potential abasement?

Well, I wasn’t sure. But I went ahead and ordered the sticker on Amazon. When I got it, it sat in my car for about a week.

Am I that person? Am I good enough to publicly throw in my lot with that group of <1% of Americans who have crossed the finish line of the half marathon? Am I ready to proclaim my allegiance to the sisterhood of runners?

Meh…. Sure.

I may not reach my weekly goals every time. The PR may elude me again and again. I may skip the workout all together from time to time. But at the end of the day, I’m a runner and as such I should proclaim it boldly and with pride. So there it is.

I’ll keep praying about the Ichthys …

Now for the run: No, that’s not a typo, the first two were on the same day. I asked Chris to drop me off at the GBC and ran home. The usual route, but this time I wanted to push myself. Not too hard, because I wanted to be able to maintain that pace for the entire run.

It went well and I was pretty pumped when I got home! Jordan had a pretty decent week at school, so we walked the 2.79 miles to Golden Spoon and had a treat. It was great hanging out with my boy and Sarah.

The 6.51 Mile run was training for the Great Race on the 26th. It was an out and back route and the first half was at a slight incline, which is great practice for me. I started my RunKeeper and set off.

At the half mile mark, I dropped in to a Carl’s Jr. to use the bathroom. I don’t usually go potty during a run, but I was desperate for it. I didn’t stop my RunKeeper so my pace was all screwed up. I think it had me at a 21 min/mi pace. That’s always a great challenge for me.

The route wasn’t hilly, but inclines intimidate me a bit so my goal was to run it so that I could beat my pace down to a 15 min/mi average. Working from a 21 min/mi pace I knew I was going to have to really hustle to get it down.

There is an audio cue at every 5-minute interval. By the end of the run, I was down to a 12:29 min/mi pace. I was over the moon about that!!! I had to stick between an 8 and 10 min/mi pace to get it down there and I did it!!!

Praise the Lord!!! Great run!! I’ll have to get a couple more of those in before the race. I think I’m on my way. That PR is close enough to touch!