Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Adventures

November has been a busy month.  Lots of new adventures and many moments of laughter.  Many of the adventures and laughter revolved around events.  I have to say I love that!
It was a lovely rainy day in the Pacific Northwest.  I don't know if we could handle a dry Silver Falls race weekend.  It wouldn't seem right somehow.  This year we stayed in cabins at the Silver Falls park and went up on Friday evening to pick up our packets and settle in.  The cabin was cozy, had a heater and its own bathroom!  The thing I like least about camping is having to get up and use the restroom in a distant location.  Having one in the cabin was awesome.  The warm shower was especially nice later in the weekend.

As usual, lots of people we know were doing various races over the course of the two day event.  It's very fun to see people before the races start and even meet new people!

This year my friend Beth was doing the 7 miler for the first time.  She has gotten into trail running this year and LOVES it!!  So fun to see her enjoying it so much.  We have talked in the past about how important it is for everyone to find their thing.  She found hers on the trails.  She hates running on the road but loves every moment in the forest.  So cool!!
We found a spot in the middle of the pack at the start and got ready to have some rainy day, muddle puddle splashing fun.  We took off together and ran for about a mile together.  We lost each other after that.  I had some tightness once I got to the stairs which slowed me down so the last couple of miles I had to really push.  I finished about two minutes faster than last year.  I was hoping for a bigger margin but was actually pretty happy considering how tight I got.  Beth had an amazing race!  Without me realizing it, she found me at the finish line.
Beth has on the white hat!  Nice work lady! 
BIG SMILE.  That pretty much says it all.  
I'm super proud of Beth!  And so glad she found her thing that she enjoys and keeps her motivated to keep moving.

The last month or so I have really dealing with feeling fat and frumpy.  I've done all this work and it's been so slow and sometimes I forget how far I've come.  I forget that while it is slow it's been movement in the right direction.

Joe always takes pictures of me at the finish line when he's at my races.  After we got home I pulled up my finish line pictures from the last four years at Silver Falls.

The first picture is when I did the half marathon in 2013.  Next is the first year they had the 7 miler and I walked most of it that year, 2014.  Next is last years picture where I had been really working at my trail running and keeping up with my workouts even with the start of the school year, 2015.  Last picture is this year.  Almost a year of working with a coach and adding swimming, biking and strength training to the normal routine.  😊

Joe did the half marathon on Sunday.  It was nice to be in the cabin and not have to get up super early two days in a row to drive to Silver Falls.  The weather was gorgeous for him.  The trails, however, were a lot muddier and a lot wetter from the full day of rain and runners the day before.

He rocked his race and was really happy with how he did.
Sun is shining and he's ready to run!
We got home from Silver Falls on Sunday evening.  I worked Monday and then Tuesday morning we left bright an early for a trip to Disneyland to celebrate our youngest daughter's 16th birthday.  
We had been planning a trip sometime during this school year.  I was looking at when to go and realized that if we went the week of Meighan's birthday we could also participate in the Captain America 5k.  Meighan thought that was a fantastic idea.  lol  

What she didn't know is that we also invited her three best friends and one of the girls parents to come along and join in the fun.  They surprised her at the airport.  Those girls kept it a secret for six months!!  So impressive! All eight of us participated in the run.  

We started at 5:30 a.m. so we were up and heading to the start early!  Oh dark thirty!  Joe took off for his corral and then Mark and I got into ours while the girls and Jodie went to theirs.  
Ha!  Mark looks like the light is part of his head.  lol 
Party at the start line!
The Fearsome Foursome heading to the race.
We got to run through California Adventure and then through Disneyland.  They had all the different Avenger super heroes along the route where people could stop and get their picture taken.  I saw Hawkeye, Thor, Spiderman, Captain America (of course!), Black Widow and a few others.  So much fun!  
We all found each other at the finish area.  A good time was had by all.  Awesome medals and more fun memories added to the collection!  
Got me some Run Disney bling!
My favorite running guy!
Love these two!!  
The whole gang!  What a great time!
I didn't do as well as I wanted to do.  I had been fighting a cold and cough ever since the weekend of the Silver Falls trail run and it hadn't let up at all while we were at Disneyland.  All the walking and standing on concrete had made my legs sore and tired.  But I just decided to do my best and be fine with however it turned out.  It actually wasn't a terrible time for me in general.  I finished in 38:08 with an average pace of 12:08.  Not too shabby considering I was sick and everything was complaining.  Mostly I just had a lot of fun and enjoyed being able to run in the parks.  

Once we got home it was back to work and working out. A little hard to get in the groove again after any trip.  Trying to get back in the groove when you are sick is even harder.  This cough will just not let go.  

Turkey Trot 2016

Joe had to work on Thanksgiving this year so he wouldn't be able to run with me Thanksgiving morning.  Taylor had to work as well and neither of the girls wanted to run.  😢  So I decided to go to Corvallis and run with my coach and his son.  😊  

The weather was supposed to be miserable.  Pouring down rain and blowing hard.  It wasn't too bad before the race.  I got to see lots of friends and meet some new ones.  That is one of the fun things I love about events.  Hanging with people I love and expanding my circle of awesome people all while getting ready to go be a little healthier.  

My coach/friend Jon and his son (my running buddy during track workouts) Logan.  
I got pretty soaked during the run so it was nice to put on some dry clothes before heading home. 
Lucky number!
I'm still not feeling 100%.  Seriously this cough will not go away.  Every day it's a teeny bit better but it's taking forever.  Before you start thinking that I should have gone to the doctor, I did last week.  No bronchitis or pneumonia, just irritated lungs.  

This makes breathing while running a bit challenging, especially if I'm trying to go fast.  But just like the Captain America race I decided I would just do the best I could and enjoy the fact that I get to be out there doing crazy stuff like run in the rain on Thanksgiving morning.  

I ended up with an official time of 35:10 which is an 11:20 average pace per mile (my Garmin had me at 34:49 lol)  I also was 9th in my age group out of 37 which was kind of cool.  

Not too shabby considering how wheezy I still am.  I'll take it!  

Next week my son and I will be doing the Shellburg Falls trail run.  I did that one for the first time last year and it was a lot of fun and a beautiful trail.  I'm looking forward to doing it again.  

Joe and I have decided to not do any big events (aka Ironman, out of state events, big registration fees, etc.)  So we are planning on doing the same triathlons as last year (that I did, Joe will do them too) and CLR (of course!) Joe has to pick his vacation days for next year and I had to give him all the dates of the races.  It still makes me smile when we plan trips and vacations around runs and events.  One of my co-workers commented on our Captain America 5k pictures.  She said, "Leave it to you to find a way to get to do a race while you are on a vacation."  I love it!!  If that's our normal it's a pretty fantastic way to be in my opinion.  

Three race reports in one blog!  It's been a busy month!! 😊👍

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Not Easier but I'm Stronger

It's been almost a month since the Best in the West triathlon.  It was some time for rest and not worrying about a schedule or anything structured as far as working out went.  I could do whatever I felt like, however I wanted.

Work was crazy busy so it was nice to not have to worry about feeling like I had to do a workout.  At the same time it felt weird to not have the structure of a plan to keep me focused.  Without a plan it is way to easy to not do anything.  At least for me it is.

Then I got frustrated.  This sounds weird because I wasn't doing any workouts and so I wasn't frustrated because I wasn't doing well.  I was frustrated because I was tired.

My tired thing is a pain in the ass.  I had an appointment with my doctor right before school started.  Good news, my A1C number has gone down a little.  Yay!  Bad news, tried another test to see if he could figure out why I'm so tired.  All tests came back normal.

Last January I made a conscious decision to just learn to manage the tired since it's obviously not going away.  Especially since we can't figure out what causes it.  Overall I think I did a better job this past year not letting the tired keep me from doing what I wanted to do.  I have done better balancing and looking at my week and making sure that I include what I need to get the down time or rest I need.  Sometimes that means saying no to fun things with friends, which is hard.  But I have a limited tank of energy and I'm learning to conserve it better.

I thought with the break in my workouts that I would not be so tired since I wouldn't be getting up to workout at 5:00 a.m. a couple times a week and then working out again after school.


I was actually MORE tired!  What!!?

I got pissed off.

I'm driving home from work and butt dragging and then getting up in the morning and driving back to work feeling exactly like I did the night before.  It sucks!!  One weekend I was supposed to go out with friends and I took a nap that was so long that by the time I woke up they had already gone.  Ugh!!  Then later when they were going somewhere new and I could meet them I couldn't muster up the energy to go.  That pissed me off too!

I had a few days of having an internal pity party.  Then it was time to get over it.

I got to go to the OSU football game and take my coach and his family along with me.  The weather was awesome and we had a great time.  I asked Jon when he was going to start me back on a routine. He said he thought I could have one more week without structure unless I wanted to get going.  I told him if I was going to be tired I would rather have something to be tired about.  At least when I'm working out there is a justification for being tired.

So I'm still butt dragging big time.  But at least I'm working out and getting something done even though I'm tired.

The goal this fall is to work on getting stronger so there has been lots of strength training and interval work.  I had to do some track interval work a few weeks ago.  I headed to the track to get it done.  I had to run for five minutes and then do 10 intervals followed by a 5 minute walk or jog.  Each interval was walk for one minute, run for three minutes at a 11:15-11:25 pace, run for one minute at a 9:50 or under pace.  That is much faster than what has been my normal pace.  I had to go faster than normal for three minutes and then go even faster.  Those one minute walk sessions went by way too fast!  I had to do a lot of self talk to do the last few intervals.  I wanted to just call it good after interval seven, eight and nine.  I was happy when I finished interval number 10.  I had to work hard to get that workout done.  I made the goal for almost every interval and the few I didn't were within a few seconds so a that was a good thing.

Then the next Tuesday I had a swim lesson with Bri.  I go in a little early so that I can get a warm up in before we get started.  I had done about 500 yards before my lesson starts.  Which is rather cool all in itself because just a little over a year ago doing 500 without stopping would have been amazing.  Now it's a warm up.  ;-)  Bri talks to me about my form and some things she wants me to work on.  Then she tells me that I will be doing 10 sets of 50 yards with a 30 second rest in between.  I am supposed to do the first one as fast as I can and then try and do the next nine as close to that speed as I can.  What!?  Ummmmm, okay, I don't think so.  It must have been on my face because she gave me the look that said, "Do NOT argue with me!" She also told me that I was not to do any of the 50's slower than 1:05.  

I took off for my first one.  Got back and she asked me my time.  57 seconds.  

Dang it!  It's like typing class.  Where the first class you take a typing test and then you have to improve and get faster than that score.  If you had friends that had been in the class ahead of you then you knew to go really slow on that first test.  That way you didn't have to work quite so hard to show improvement.  

I should have gone slower for that first 50 yards.  lol  

Except that I'm too competitive with myself to do that.  

Nine more times I would be gasping for breath at the wall, tell Bri my time and take off again. 

After the first couple of intervals she informed me that I couldn't go slower than 1:02 since I was doing so well.  


1:00  At this point she's telling me I'm half way there.
1:01  She says this one is the hardest.  The next two will be easier.
1:00  I don't think so!
1:01  Ugh!!

Then I had to do 25 yards with a 30 second break.  She said I had to stay under 32 seconds.  

I was SO tired!


I had to stop because the Masters swim group was going to start and we ran out of time for lessons.  Oh darn!  Bri had me do a 200 yard cool down.  When I got out the pool I was talking with Bri and she said she had to tell me something about my workout.  Turns out that the way these intervals work is that I'm supposed to keep doing them until I can't maintain the time/speed anymore and then she would have had me move on to something else.  Except that I kept hitting the mark so I got to keep going.  So if I had given up or slowed down then we would have been done.  But because I kept fighting I did the entire set of intervals.  lol  I was partly grumpy about doing more than I necessarily had to and partly proud that I was able to keep going like I did.  

This last Saturday I was supposed to do a trail run.  My last long trail run before my event next week.  I was supposed to walk the first five minutes and then run four minutes, walk one minute for one hour and 20 minutes, then walk the last five minutes. Which meant that it didn't matter if I was going uphill or down, if it was time to run, I had to run.  I did one of my favorite routes, the Nettleton/Davies loop in the Mac Forest.  I have run the entire thing before, which was work but I did it.  Taylor and I had done this route the week before and walked up the hills and ran on the downhills.  Ended up with a time that was just about the same as the time I had run the whole thing.  I was curious to see how I would do with this run/walk method.  

The direction I started is uphill for about 1.5 miles.  Not horribly steep but steep enough.  I was not breaking any speed records but I worked at just plugging away.  

The first half of the run was in the fog.  Quiet and still in the forest.  I couldn't see far.  Was glad I had the puppy to keep me company.  ;-)  When I turned to come back on the lower road I started to come out of the fog.  I turned a corner and suddenly there was sunshine and blue sky.  So beautiful!!  I had to stop and take a few pictures.  

I got to the end of the running portion and had my five minute walk left and I realized that I was almost back at the gate.  I didn't know what my average pace would be but I knew that I had just done this route faster than I had ever done before.  I was a very happy trail runner....and a very tired trail runner.  

While I was running there were times I didn't want to keep at it.  I didn't want to push hard to go faster.  I wanted to walk more and run less.  I wanted to slow the run way down and settle for my old normal pace.  

Why does it always have to be so hard?

I have been told this quote before.  I even have various versions pinned on my Health Motivation board on Pinterest.  The last couple of months have been showing me that this is indeed true.  I keep pushing and working.  Which means I keep struggling.  Sometimes it goes epically bad.  Other days I feel like I kicked my own ass.  

Just like when I started running. 

As long as I'm trying to be a better, healthier me then it will never be easy.  But the hard will be in a different place then it used to be.  

I have to remember that and keep things in perspective because I'm my own worst enemy at times when it comes to being frustrated and having self-doubt.  

I have come a long way in six years.  

I have come a long way in just the past year.  

But if I'm always setting new goals and trying new adventures then there always should be an aspect of hard and challenging.  Otherwise I'm just stagnant.  Which really isn't much better than when I was a couch potato, the stagnant is just disguised better.   I don't want to be someone who settles for where I am now.  That applies to all aspects of my life, mental and physical.  
This is the fog I had been running in at the start of my trail run.
Change in the weather when I got on the other side!  So beautiful!!
My running buddy.  She's getting used to mom being faster.  ;-)  
Never thought I'd go this fast on a run with this kind of elevation.
A few years ago getting an average pace of 13:34 on a flat run would have been amazing.  Doing it with 719 feet of elevation is freaking awesome.  Good for me to remember that!!!!  

Sunday Joe and I did a short walk at a place in Albany we hadn't been before.  It's called the Talking Water Gardens.  It was very pretty with nice trails.  It will be a great place for runs that aren't super long but we don't want to do on the roads.  I loved all the fall color and I loved hanging out with my favorite guy!  

I'm doing the Silver Falls 7 Miler race on Saturday.  I had a huge PR last year (because I basically walked it the year before.)  I'm excited to see what I can do this year.  I'm more excited about spending the weekend with people that are fun, caring and are challenging themselves as well.  So much better being a part of all the fun instead of just being on the sidelines.  

Glad I'm getting stronger.