Tuesday, December 30, 2008

welcome to the family

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! somebody save me...
last time i posted, it was about my glorious fiance- athlete extraordinaire who has more motivation than anyone i know. well, seems as though in the week we've been engaged, he's already "let himself go". james took THREE days off this week- and i've never seen him take off more than one full day in a week. and i'd say he spent at least 8 of the last 10 days in PJs until the sun was practically setting. he even drove from Philadelphia to Virginia in his jammies. yeah, way to try to impress your wife-to-be. he also re-discovered pounding pints like a frat boy with my brother-in-law and had fun making stiff drinks for my underaged sister. not to mention how much he impressed grandma by finishing a bottle of Maker's Mark in a day and a half and showing off his amazing mixed-nuts eating capabilities. yeah, james really impressed on his first visit to philly!

see this would all be fine and good, except i have a serious problem thinking for myself. so now that i am engaged to Al Bundy/Van Wilder, i really have to buck up and not fall in his trap of despair. in all fairness, he has a bum foot, which put a damper on his running plans over the holidays and he decided to relax and enjoy. i could have gone out there for my long runs myself, but i found it way more fun to sit on my arse and continuously take small pieces of every baked good/chocolate item in the house (i am the half eaten cookie monster) and hang out with the new james. i did manage to do about an hour run or spin class every day except christmas (evil james talked me out of it), but not nearly enough to balance out the eating party that has been going on in my mouth. i'm quite sure i won the cake/pie/brownie/cookie eating contest at my parent's house although no one else actually knew it was going on. but i won. i think my sister tried to win but i totally beat her.

vacation has been fun, but i'm ready to get back to san diego and ride that mountain bike!

by the way, as i'm finishing this post (i wrote this last night), james just informed me (through a mouthful of potato chip crimbs, a few of which are on his shirt) that his "goal" tomorrow is to sleep until noon. well, first he said, his "B" goal is to sleep until i get back from spin class, and his "A" goal is to try to make it until noon..sweet. so much for becoming a "team!" hopefully soon, he can just be my fat lazy coach.

some photos from philadelphia (my hometown):

james and his two new sisters (little sister jen and big sister erica)

food from the bridal shower i had at my house for blythe...yum! i made the sesame noodle salad and fruit salad (great combo: mango, pineapple, pomegranate and blackberries...squeeze of lime on top).

me and the bride-to-be

long family dinners with lots of wine and stories...

james in the middle of a pint party with my big sister erica (she beat him).

a night out with my 3 best friends from high school...some things never change!

i really need to do a year in review and some goals for '09. i just noticed that i ran just UNDER 2,000 miles this year. bummed i didn't realize that, i totally could have made it over! so my year-end-review may come at the beginning of next year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

lucky girl

its been a super busy week of holiday fun and anticipation of our big vacation to the east coast. every night there was shopping, wrapping, or parties. one night, i rushed home from dinner, wrapped up some secret santa stuff (people at my school take secret santa VERY seriously, and i didn't want to mess up! i had to be a good santa!) . i was all rushing , had a sugar headache from the day of baked good, and it was cold out. so, i was acting a but grumpy, not exactly your model chirstmas spirit! but i knew i had to make a quick change and go meet our friends at the bar. i was about to go shower and realized i needed to switch the laundry from the washer to drying. since i was running late, i asked james if he would do it. the little jerk said, "you do it." i said, "what?", he said, " you go do it". furiously, i stomped down the stairs to the garage, yelling up the stairs , "you ALWAYS ask if you can help me and the ONE TIME i need your help you won't do it, you are ridiculous..." and then i opened the door to the laundry and found this...oops! SURPRISE!

yes, a full suspension specialized Safire mountainbike just for me! the best christmas present in the world. i couldn't believe it. we had talked about building a used bike from some parts james had and finding an old frame, soi can't believe he went out and did this...and of course found a way to make me look like such a hater when he gave it to me! sorry, babe! you're the best. major merry christmas to me!

i was very excited to test out my new ride, so james planned a little ride out at Lake Hodges on saturday afternoon.
the ride was going pretty well, and i looooove riding the mountain bike. i was nervous i would suck, or cry, or we'd get in a fight becuase i got stuck on a hill or sometime, but it went pretty smoothly!the scenery was beautiful...including this hot guy!

when we were almost back to the car, james hopped off his bike because he needed to fix something on his brakes. he was messing around on the back wheel of his bike for a few minutes (killing time) and asked me to come over to help him out..i went over, and he handed me a ring! the engagement kind! and its beautiful and of course i said, "yes".
way to propose to a girl while she's wearing a helmet! well, although i had been HOPING for this for a long time, after i got the surprise mountain bike, i thought (and told a few people-oops!) that there was no way we were getting engaged soon because he bought me this new bike...very glad i was wrong. he's smooth, huh?

so 2008 has been a pretty great year. but its not over yet! i haven't sat down since yesterday afternoon, trying to get everything all set before we leave for the east coast in the morning- time to celebrate with the families!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

recovery race?

okay. before anyone starts hating on me for not relaxing or taking an off-season.. believe me. it's been in full effect and will be over the holidays. i ate frozen yogurt every day this week. i did some easy biking and swimming. i didn't run. until friday, when i went on a beach jog with molly to test the legs for sunday.

today was the Xterra crystal cove trail 15k run. last year i fit the whole xterra trail run series into my schedule, and after watching me have so much fun and getting a tast of xterra trail runs at the mission gorge 15k in March, james was ready to tackle the series with me this year. actually, throughout marathon training, he kept reminding me (joking) that the real important race was the crystal cove run...wants us to both try and win our age groups in the series...so, let's call this one james' fault :) and i signed up long ago, thinking it was a good idea. and truly, i just love to race. sometimes i can do without the training, but i always love a running race.

i was actually feeling pretty good all week. monday i was sore and then after that, i felt great. so this morning at 4am, i was ready to go. we threw on our warm-ups and headed to the race site where, of course, since james was in charge, we were first in line for parking lot opening! yippee! what does one do, when after obtianing the most desirable parking spot, you still have 2 hours left to race start? well, if you're james, you have the typical pre-race headband show:

"should i wear this one?"
"or this one? this one is sweet."

"but pink is my lucky headband color...hmmmm..."(as you can see, i've been spreading the lululemon love to james)

after the headband fashion show, we went to warm up. when we came back to the car we stripped off the warm-ups (race outfit: i went w/ full lulu w/zoot racers and my now-lucky pink geek socks). after the strip down, we discovered that we were dorky ninja twins ...seriously not planned.
looks like we also discovered why james usually runs in basketball shorts... :)...he is going to love this post!

the race
was freaking hard. the whole time, i kept saying in my head, "this is way worse than a marathon" and i meant it. there was tons and tons of climbing, about 4,000 feet. AND there was trail maintenance/construction so they changed the previous year's route to add 1.1 miles. last year's course was short (9.1miles) so today rounded out at 10.2 miles of pure hurt. i may be aerobically fit (for me) right now, but this anaerobically sucked the life out of me. i swear i bonked- i was trying to look good and smile and say thank you when i was cresting a big hill around mile 7. the spectators were hootin' it up, and ringing a cowbell so i gave a cheer to them, went another couple feel and almost passed out!!! totally wonky for like 50 yds ( i felt like that swervy older guy on the bike in the broadcast of Kona ironman 2008 yesterday- anyone see it? that was me.).

as for my "race" i went out too hard, got passed by two girls to end up 3rd overall (female) and 1st in my age group. i had 4th place on my heels (she even caught/passed me once!) for 6 darn miles. i think that's why it felt so rough for me, i was really racing her the whole time. my ninja twin was also 3rd overall (non-female) and 1st in his age group.

now, we're back at home and i made turkey chili for linner. later there will be dinnerssert of big as$$ frozen yogurt.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Las vegas marathon- race report

day before
we drove to vegas (well, james drove while i asked him questions from the new travel trivial pursuit i picked up.). i wore my compression tights and brought the marathon stick along to stay loose :). we arrived about 5 hours later and made the quick change for a 2-mile jog to shake out the legs. too many stoplights, people and crazy taxi drivers. probably should have hit the treadmill.

next was the expo, and over the next few hours we did way too much walking through smoky casinos. i hadn't decided on my pre-race meal yet (dummy) but knew a lot of the things i didn't want which made restaurant selection difficult. after lots of wasted time walking around, we ended up at the buffet becuase i knew they would have salad and carved turkey- which is what we eat on a regular basis. i know "they" say to lay off the fiber the day before the race, but if i were to do this, i'm pretty sure things wouldn't go "as planned" on race day. so i filled up on fiber as usual. after salad, turns out, our buffet had nonfat frozen yogurt! i must be able to sniff the stuff out...so i certainly didn't miss out on carbo loading.then, my "nothing new on race night" meal kind of flew out the window when i saw the dessert bar...ooops....i had to "test" like 6 desserts. but i only had a bite or two of each... stilll...bad idea, i know. aside from the dessert debaucle, we only ate a plate of food each, we're not huge on stuffing it in pre-race. we left the buffet and headed to bed after a soak in the jacuzzi (also probably not the best idea...what was i thinking?).

race day
wake up call at 4 am for a 6:07 start. i got started on the coffee, peanut butter powerbar and facebooking STAT. i got dressed in a haze, and kept my lucky bedhead intact...the race outfit was a zoot top, new lululemon run shorts, sexy pink compression socks (thank you, katya!!!), and a pink visor. we threw on some sweats to jog the mile+ to the start. it was NOT cold and i ditched the arm warmers before the start and just kept on my camo kids gloves from target. i had been expecting cold and the air was comfortable, still, dry and like high 40's maybe? right before the start, i finally ran into FatDad and gunner. uh....he's the skinniest fat dad i've ever seen! we got in the corrals and felipe and i decided to start together so we chatted and i gave one last hug and kiss to james who was running the half. (warning: keeping it real moment just ahead). there were about 5 minutes to the start when i realized i really had to pee. i'm not going to go into detail here, but let's just say that when the gun goes off, people are more concerned about moving forward and hooting and holleing at the start of a marathon, than what's going on with the the bed-head chick in the polka-dot shorts. at least that's what i told myslef.. sorry, felipe! but its funny. and true. and i felt better and it wasn't like A LOT, just a bit and it was all water i had just drank anyhow, right?. in the commotion, i f'ed up my garmin though, so i missed my first mile and had to restart it. no big deal. there were cool fireworks at the start and 15,000 people (half and full) running in the dark down the Las Vegas strip was pretty awesome. a good moment.

the beginning
my goal in the first part of the race was to not blow it and go out too fast. i really stuck to my paces and tried to keep the miles over 7 minutes. around miles 7-9 there were 5 or so women ahead of me and slowly i passed each of them, chatting, of course, along the way. mile 10, i started to feel warmed up. things were feeling pretty comfortable and i took water at each mile/aid station, one big gulp each mile. at mile 7.5, i ate 3 margarita clif bloks.

the miles really all blend together and what i mostly remember was how completely FLAT the whole thing was. you'd think the california coast is flat if you run along the ocean, but it's got nothing on the vegas course flatness. this was an awesome surprise. the leg turnover seemed automatic and i just kept realizing how fine i felt. i had trained for this! i did have two pretty strong side stitches- each lasted about 5-10 minutes, but i get them a lot and know they are run-through-able.

the middle
when i got to 13.1, i saw the clock was 1:33...right on track. i kept the pace steady the next mile or so, and then made the executive decision to kick it up a bit and go comfortably harder. ate 3 more bloks (cola!) at mile 14.5 and deicided to take a gel at mile 20. in my head, i knew 14.5 to 20 were where it was going to get hard, but i broke it down in my head (okay, get to 18...and if you hit the wall, well...run through the wall...) by the time i got to mile 20, my new mantra was "the wall is for wussies" (but it wasn't really "wussies" in my head). i found a man around mile 14 and talked to him a little. enrique had done 20 marathons and this was his first time in vegas. i figured he'd done so many he probably wouldn't blow it :) so i decided i'd stick with him. we ended up running the whole last half of the race side-by-side. when i reached mile 20, it was a double latte powergel to get me to the finish. in my head, i just wanted to stay strong to mile 22 becuase that's the point of no return in a marathon, right? i also remember thinking how much i wanted to keep going and not stop becuase that was the fastest way to get to the finish!

the end
at mile 18, i passed a woman walking. soon after that, people started telling me i was in third place. i didn't give it any thought becuase i assumed they were wrong. or it didn't really matter. i just realized mostly that i was running my race and i was going to be fine, my left quad felt injected with cement and at one point my hip like flew out of whack/socket, something crazy like out of body but it was for two steps and i just kept going and it was fine. honestly, i just kept waiting to feel worse, or bonk, or have to really fight, but i never hit a really low point. at least not that i can recall right now. i kept my form solid and reminded myself to use my core to stay in check. i drank water consistently (NO gatorade) and took in 300 calories total over the race from 6 bloks/1 gel

at mile 22, i was ready to be done, but having fun. there was a sweet downhill and i got my first glimpses of the Mandalay Bay/finish in the distance.

miles 24-26 were totally the worst. we wrapped around back to the overlap with the half marathon course and had a couple miles of false flat combined with dodging thousands of walkers. still finishing the half marathon..i could feel Enrique starting to fade, so i focused on staying strong for our "team" and leading (it was my turn, he had led me for so long!). the walker situation was kind of annoying and definitely slowed the pace (well, that and that i must have been getting tired). in the last .1, i started to feel barfy becuase i was pushing the pace. i threw off my kids gloves at mile 25.5 becuase i didn't want them in the pictures? (must have been loopy, that's a really odd thing to do..). i crossed the finish line in 3:03:19, and they annonced that i was the third place woman.

james found me pretty quick and i was so happy to find out that he was 5th (now 4th, someone got DQ'd) in the half marathon and ran a blazin 1:13:50.

he best feeling at the finish was "surprising" james. i knew he thought i would make my goal, and maybe run 3:07. but he didn't think i'd make it in 4 minutes earlier and be 3rd! i think i was more excited that i had impressed him than impressed myself.

i also realized i was freezing and changed quickly in the port o potty. i almost got stuck in there becuase my calf seized up and i couldn't stand. i opened the door and called to james for help, laughing my ass off- it was quite a sight. we then walked back and watched some other friends finish and then headed back to the hotel for a hot shower....and then the fun began...brunch with the breakaway crew, room service and asleep before 9 :). we had plans to meet up with the candians (gunner and FatDad) but i didn't quite make it to dinner time- i was so "tired". i'm bummed about that!

a post-race photo essay:


after brunch, "hitting the wall"

"the aftermath"

this all has me thinking...i should rename my blog, "the long road to dessert"
as for the marathon...mission accomplished. i ended up negative splitting the race by about 3 minutes...first half in 1:33, second half in 1:30. i know 3:03 doesn't usually podium at a marathon, but i guess i got lucky (it was vegas after all!)

here are the splits:
#1 mile is missing, then 7:08, 6:58, 7:04, 7:06, 7:03, 7:03, 7:02, 7:01, 7:00, 7:04, 7:11, 7:03, 7:08, 6:57, 6:55, 6:54, 6:59, 6:48, 6:53, 6:46, 6:45, 6:31, 6:32, 6:51, 6:54, last .2 at 6:50 pace

no future plans for another. i am proud that i worked hard (when i really didn't want to- poor james..he had to hear it) and accomplished my goal. and now i'm ready to chill and become a gym rat.

i have a lot of thanking to do, especially to mr. tim and mr. james, but i'll save that for the next post. i never could have come close to my goal without either of them, but this post is getting a little long and out of hand. so next time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

....or the bronze

it was a great day. i am frozen and warming myself up in bed. james downloaded this screen shot that's a keeper. it's not going to happen everyday that we both make the "leaderboard" in a big race (james for half, me for full....).

i am very happy with my race, but even more proud of J. the half marathon had over 10,000 people in it and he was 5th.
the best part about today was that, according to race officials and the website, i won a decent chunk of change. not sure when i'll see it, but if i do, it's HONU 70.3 in 2009 for SURE! this makes me happier than anything because it just wasn't fitting in my nonexistant budget, but now there's no excuses! ok, i'm nice and warm now...time to get dressed and hit the tables (and the cocktails!) race report will liekly be written in bed tomorrow morning with a hangover.
i can't thank everyone enough for all the support. it really makes this all feel like a team sport which is so cool. couldn't have done it without my team... and THANKS, dr. jog coach.

Friday, December 5, 2008

go for the gold

well, i managed to squeeze in time to get my A-race manicure, so the important stuff is taken care of. phew.

it's a little blurry- that's what you get for taking pictures of your gold nails and uploading them from your iphone in class ( Dr.kerrie- you LOVE reading this.)

this week, i enjoyed the taper more than most. many might think me a little too aggro to properly execute a taper that effectively reduces fatigue, but i basically nailed it. i trained an hour or less each day with wednesday TOTALLY OFF. nothing extra and really had no problem with this (i always read about you crazies who can't deal w/ tapering). slept until 5:45am every day except today (REALLY sad when that is your sleep-in wake up call time). today i did a quick 3-mile yogg and then hopped in the pool for an easy easy 2200 and then off to meet THE MAN.

dr. dan is the ART (Active Release Therapy) man. he is also my good luck charm (i visited him two days before the Orange County Triathlon and two days before Silver Strand Half Marathon, and i think these were my two best races this year. ) i have faith in dan the man. and since my hip has been bugging me for a couple weeks, i was happy happy happy to see him (ok, so i haven't mentioned the old hip, but that's because once you talk about it it is real, and i was trying to ignore it and make it go away.). so i guess you could say there is a small chance i won't run, but only if tomorrow in the pre-race jog, i feel any worse and like i could do some damage from the race. it hurts a bit standing on one leg/hopping, walking, and when i first start to run, but once i get going it's fine. the biggest problem dan notcied this morning is that this throws off my gait. but, IT IS WHAT IT IS and vegas will be fun.

turns out james is running the half marathon in vegas. so is Macca.....come on james, time to bring it!!! Macca's gotta be in some kind of off season. ATTACH YOURSELF TO HIS HIP AND STAY THERE UNTIL YOU BLOW UP. at least it will be a good story.

as for my race. sorry, kerrie, there will be no sub 3 :(....i WISH i could do that, but i did not train for that. if i run more than a few miles under 7 minute pace, i'll probably blow up spectacularly.

SO, my "A" goal is 3:10. My "B/ it's my first marathon and i will be happy to finish" goal is 3:30, and my super secret goal is 3:07. boston qualifying time for my age group is 3:40, but i'm not interested in going to boston so its not a part of the goals. I hear it gets cold in boston.

we leave tomorrow morning for vegas. when we arrive, we'll check in at the hotel, head to the expo to meet my Breakaway Training homies, felipe, luke, and the entourage and hopefully bump into the 'old FatDad and Gunner to talk some smack and use some scare tactics.

before or after the expo, i have a short run to shake out the legs, and then it's time to hit the tables....gotta bet on my race #!!! ew....but what if i lose? maybe i should bet AFTER the race.

Monday, December 1, 2008

T 'n T

(Trot 'n Taper...not the big purple.)

thanksgiving was a heck-of-a-fun-time. we cruised out to palm desert with james' family- how nice to have "family" so close by! i ate way too much, and rallied the crew for a post-meal walk slash stretch!

during the walk, james and i decided that we might be the world's slowest/worst walkers.

T-day was followed by a trip to los angeles to visit my friends' 2 week old baby girl and for james to trot in the Xterra Topanga 15k trail race. i decided to trot too, because i would be there anyway and it was time for one last long-ish run before the marathon thing next weekend. the morning of, i contemplated not doing it. it was cold, and i do NOT like the cold. i like coffee, warm gloves, headbands, the works. i think it was like 50 degrees.

but after i warmed up, i knew it would be a fun time on a fresh course...james would say the trails were epic :). i even warmed up so much i shed the tights in favor of my fave lululemon run shorts.

the thing about racing 8 days out from your marathon is that your jog coach will instruct you to not go over lactacte threshold (about 175 beats per minute for me, but this is an estimate. i had my LT tested 1 year ago before any kind of consistent run training and it was 174).
i contemplated not racing, because i know that i like to RACE. but, i also really love running anywhere new and around people and i thought i could keep myself in check. during the first part of the marathon next weekend, i need to pace myself and start reasonably, EVEN if it feels easy...so this was a good exercise in holding back.

the race was so hilly that i had to walk some of the really steep parts to keep the HR down. around mile 3, after climbing a ton, the course goes into some windy downhill single track. becuase of where i was after holding back on the climbs, i got stuck behind a parade of middle aged men through the narrow single track- for a couple of miles my HR was in the low 140's! I really wanted to bust ahead of the guys, but there was no way around, and i was also worried i would look like a chump if i forged ahead and the trail suddendly turned uphill and i had to stop and walk.

keeping my heartrate below LT also allowed me to cheerfully annoy all my "new friends" along the trail. i definitely did a little too much talking, but races really go slower when you're not giving it all. i even cheered the girl who passed me when i knew i could have stayed with her.

i crossed the finish all smiles and my steady effort and was good for 2nd girl overall. i even made the article/recap, although not the most flattering sentence, "Jessica took home the win for the 15k event, beating Beth Gerdes of Carlsbad, CA by more than 3 minutes.." sweet. you know, i could have beat her. did i say that out loud? oops.

other than that, it's taper time. the last vegas marathon is in 6 days. and it can't come soon enough. i'm pretty ready to get back to the bike and swim thing!...after i crush the marathon, that is...