Author Archives: Kristen L
A New Kind of Training
Sorry I haven’t written recently, but we have been busy with some new and exciting things! Just before the new year, we got a puppy. Dakota is cute, smart, and loves running around the back yard! We aren’t taking her out on real runs with us yet. The vet suggested we wait until she is about a year old and her bones finish developing, to help prevent issues down the line. But I already know she will be a great running buddy! We have been going on a lot of walks now, and sometimes all she wants to do is RUN!
Dakota, Ryan and I played on the beach in Newport, OR one day in January.
Otherwise, training has been pretty laid back this year. In early January I was getting back into the swing of workouts after a nice break post-CIM and the holidays. Then in mid-January we got some very exciting news that we are expecting another little running buddy in late September!!
I have been very thankful that I didn’t have to deal with first trimester nausea. I have actually found that exercising has actually increased my energy too, although the motivation to start a workout after work is not always there. 🙂 In general though, I have been trying to keep up the training that I love. It keeps me healthy, both mind and body, so I’m going to keep it going as long as possible. My doctor is in full support of me running and exercising, just at a moderate/conversational effort. I’ve been doing a couple days a week of running, then a couple of biking/spin. I’ve also been doing a little bit of yoga, and strength work, or just getting out for a walk with Dakota.
This weekend I’m actually going to be completing my first race with my little running buddy. I’ll be running the Corvallis half marathon. I don’t have any time goals for the race, just enjoy being out there with a lot of friends and other people in the community. I ran a bunch of my long runs on the trails. I have been loving running on the trails lately, because I am so much less concerned about pace, and just enjoying taking in the scenery. Plus, the trails around here are amazing, even in the winter.
Ryan, me and Matt ran to the top of Dimple Hill — one of my favorite views in Corvallis.
It’s finally really starting to sink in that we will be having a baby in our family in about 6 months. Crazy!! I’m excited for this next adventure. I hope to continue to be able to share with you about my experiences along the way. Hope you’ll follow along!
California International Marathon: Race Recap
I think summing up this race into words is going to be tough, but here’s my best shot at commemorating the day and my experience.
On race morning, Ryan and I got dropped off at the start around 5:45am. The start area was still pretty quiet. We had a little time to wander around and make sure we had everything we needed for the race before starting our warmup. We dropped off our gear check bags and did a mile warmup, dynamic stretches and some striders. We had just enough time to go to the bathroom and make it into the start area before they sang the national anthem. Perfect timing.
I lined myself up just ahead of the 3:40 pacer. My initial plan was to run the first 3-4 miles easy before dropping down to around goal pace and holding that as log as I could.
The first mile was really crowded. I tried not to weave around people too much and settle into my easy pace. Mile 1 clicked over at 8:26. Right where I wanted to be. The first few miles at CIM are some small rolling hills, but net downhill. In mile two I kept hung feeling easy but didn’t hold myself back on the downhill portions. I ended up running an 8:04. That was my goal pace range already, so I continually thought about keeping it easy and just riding the downhills. Mile 3 was an 8:06. I remember thinking then that since this was where I was settling in, there was no point in really slowing it down. Just keep it going smooth and steady. The miles were ticking by so quickly! I rarely looked at my watch, and just focused on my nutrition every couple miles. I tried to simply observe my mile splits and not overthink them. I crossed the 10k mark at 51:00.
At mile 8 I saw my friend out there cheering. It was nice to have a little boost from someone you know. Right after I saw him, there was a water station and some portapotties. There was no line so I decided to use one. I almost always have to go during a race, and while it didn’t feel urgent yet, I didn’t want to have to wait in a line sometime later. The stop cost me about 35 seconds, but I think that was totally worth it for not having to stop again the rest of the race!
Miles 7-11 had a few more rollers, and other than my bathroom stop, I maintained my low 8’s paces. I enjoyed the cheering and big crowds around the relay exchange points. I tried to keep feeding off their energy and plugging along. I crossed the half marathon mark at 1:47:09. My goal at this point was to maintain my pace through mile 20.
I saw my friend again just before mile 16. I was in the zone then and almost missed him. But it was nice to have another little boost. The miles kept quickly ticking by. I was feeling strong, but was still a little worried about hitting the wall. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to. I felt like I could maintain my pace for a long time. With 10 miles left, I told myself I could do this. I knew I could keep it going. Around when I saw my friend I started picking up the pace just a little bit. I had a few miles click over in the high 7:50s. As I approached mile 20, I could see a big group ahead of me – the 3:35 pace group. I was excited to finally be catching them! When I ran through “the wall” at mile 20, I really knew I could do it! My 20-mile time was 2:42:28.
I was cruising along still. I knew I’d have a Boston Qualifying time now. I was ahead of the 3:35 pace group, and gaining ground. I was feeling strong and controlled. I was picking people off and passing them one by one. One foot in front of the other. Mile 24 was one of my slowest of the race besides mile 1 and my bathroom stop at an 8:14. After that I told myself that even though I could continue that and still BQ, I had more in me. I could gut this thing out. Put everything down on that road.
I saw my friend one last time at mile 26 with 0.2 to go. I sprinted as fast as my legs would carry me that last few tenths of a mile. My official finish time was 3:32:18.
After finishing I was feeling totally in shock. I could not believe that I had done it. Not only did I break 3:35, but by more than 2.5 minutes! I was given a medal, an aluminum blanket, and a water. I stumbled like a drunkard to get my photo taken. I wanted to sit, but to also find Ryan and our friend. I sat on the curb for a minute to get my bearings. My body felt so strange…numb but mind racing in disbelief.
After I found Ryan and sat for a few more minutes, I realized I really needed some food. I wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed some calories. Even my ears were feeling numb and my hands felt like they were falling asleep. We stumbled together through the food line and I felt instantly better after a banana and some orange juice. Once we got our bags and put on some warm clothes, we were ready to get home and take a nap, and celebrate the day.
Thinking about my experience a few days later, I really can’t believe how quickly the race went by. It’s like I snapped my fingers and I was another couple miles down the road. I also am so amazed that I ran every step of that race. No walking, no shuffling with tiny steps. I am so thankful for a healthy body that brought me to that finish line and for my family and friends for supporting me through training. It was a day I thought was only in my wildest dreams, and now is a reality. Keep dreaming big – you never know what you can accomplish!
Last year after the OBX marathon, the marathon and I needed to take a break. I was feeling a little burnt out on the training and the miles (even though looking back I wasn’t running all that many). Plus, with trying to wrap up my PhD, and start the job hunt, I had a lot of other stuff on my plate.
This year hasn’t had as many races as the last few years, and while that has been kind of nice, I’m now really feeling ready for a new goal. After the Scandia 10k in August, I was so pumped out about my improvements, that I signed up for the California International Marathon! As you may know, I lived in Sacramento for a few years, but never actually ran this race. I’m looking forward to a visit back to CA in December for the marathon and to visit friends.
Besides CIM, along the way I’m going to be trying my hand at a couple trail half marathons this fall too. The first is this Satudray at the South Santiam half marathon in Lebanon, OR. The second is the Silver Falls half marathon in Silverton, OR the first weekend in November. I have been doing more trail running as part of my training runs here, and I’m loving them! It’s nice to be off the roads sometimes and feel like you’re getting lost in the woods. Hopefully my first trail race ever will go well this weekend! I’ll keep you posted.
So far, CIM training is just starting to pick up for me. I ran a 13 mile long run last week, and this weekend I’ll be using the trail race as part of a 15 mile long run. On the negative side, I’ve had a little bit of knee pain, that started after running the Cascade Lakes Relay. The good news is that it doesn’t bother me while I’m running, and it seems that as long as I have some Rock tape to support my knee, I’m feeling great on a daily basis. On the positive side, I’m putting in more miles than I ever have before, with this week’s goal of 42 miles. And I’m really having a ton of fun. Generally, I feel good and I’m hoping I can keep this up for the next couple months of training!
Have you run CIM before? What do you think about trail races?
Race Recap: Scandia Run 10k
Since I ran the relay the week before, I wasn’t really sure how this race would go. My left knee had been a little sore all week. I think the relay just overdid it a little bit. I taped my knee on Friday night with some KT Tape, and it felt like it made a huge difference!
Saturday morning, I carpooled with a few other people from the Heart of the Valley (HOTV) run club to the race. We actually had a team signed up — you had to have five people from the same club. We got to the race early enough to check in, and get in a warmup jog, plus some dynamic stretches. The race started right on time at 8am!
This was a small race, so everyone’s times started when the gun went off — no chip timers on the bibs. They even had volunteers shouting out times at every mile marker, which was kind of fun.
Mile 2: 7:22
Mile 5: 7:17
Mile 6: 7:09
This was a 3 minute PR — about 25 seconds per mile! And I ended up placing second in my age group! I missed first in my age group by just six seconds!! As a bonus, our team ended up second, and we won some cool sweatshirts with the original Scandia Run logo on them. This was a really fun, flat and fast course. One of the flattest in the area, I’ve heard. Definitely one that I will check out again next year! Another cool feature was that web version race photos (like the one above) could be purchased for just 99 cents! I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to buy a photo if they are less than a dollar.
This race made me so much more excited to keep going with future training! Keep an eye out for my next post about what I’m training for this fall!
Cascade Lakes Relay
Last Monday some of the girls I run with called me up and said they had a teammate drop out of their relay this weekend and asked me to join. I was able to get all my work done over the next couple days and join them on an epic adventure at the 2014 Cascade Lakes Relay last weekend!
The central OR relay runs nearly 217 miles from Diamond Lake to Bend. I filled in for runner #4.
We drove down to Diamond Lake on Thursday afternoon. It was great to stay right next to the start line, and also have some time to hang with the whole team and get to know everyone a bit better. We decorated our vans as it was getting dark out.
In the morning, our start time was 9:20am. We got our van packed up, and headed to the start. We took some team photos, and prepped for our our turn to get going.
For me, the weekend was more about getting to know some great women better than worrying too much about the running. My three legs of the relay were 7.2, 6.9, and 6.1 miles. The first was in the middle of the day on Friday with no van support or shade. So Hot!! The overnight leg was awesome temps — around 50 degrees at 11pm. And my final leg was at about 10:30am, starting to get warm, and was upward rolling hills. Due to be heat and elevation, I ran a little slower than I had hoped, but still had a lot of fun. The other girls were also total rock stars. Battling hot legs, hills, sandy trails, long distance. Seriously tough ladies. No wonder we were a super hero themed team!
In the end, our team finished first in our division (women’s submasters) with an overall time of 30:09. Apparently this was only a minute slower than last year, and everyone said this year was much more difficult! Pretty awesome!!
It was so fun to see more of Oregon and explore the beautiful countryside. So thankful for the friends I am making here, and for many wonderful miles on my feet.
A very delayed recap: Folsom International Triathlon
I know I have kind of dropped out of the blog universe for a little while, but life has been busy and keeping me on my toes. I have just lately been finding myself ready to get away from the computer in the evening lately. But I really want to get back to it, so here’s a very delayed recap from my triathlon that I raced the first weekend in June. Hopefully from now on my posts can be at least a little more regular than once every six weeks too. 🙂
In early June, I raced the Folsom International Triathlon. This was my second race at the distance, and also second time completing this course.
I started warming up for the swim with a few strokes in the water near a buoy where I thought the swim was starting. A few swimmers started coming in from the long course just before my swim wave started. A minute before my wave started, the race director said our swim start was down river a bit — almost nobody from my wave made it to the start on time. I tried to swim over, but didn’t make it before the horn went off. This got my heat rate really high and started me off on the race really worked up!
It took me a while to settle back down. I couldn’t get my three strokes per breath like I normally do in the pool. I felt so far behind (typical for me in the water though). I tried to just focus on moving forward and relaxing. I slowly started to pass a few other swimmers from my start wave. Even with the late start I got out of the water in 30:29.
After getting out of transition pretty quickly, I was excited to get on my bike. I was feeling good, although still behind from the swim. I was hoping I could pass a few women right away. I passed one, but didn’t see any more women until halfway through the ride when they were women from the older age groups. (Those chics are so speedy!!!) I was moving fast bit not pushing too hard. I kept reminding myself to eat and drink. It was going to be a hot day, so nutrition and hydration were super important! I was passed by one girl in my age group at around mile 21. Otherwise, I didn’t see anyone else. I finished my bike segment in 1:16:13.
Coming off the bike it was getting warm out. Race officials were trying to make sure everyone was staying hydrated. I switched to my running shoes as quickly as I could, grabbed my visor and bib and was off! I passed a couple women right away — one of which was the woman in my age group who passed me on the bike. The run course was an out and back with rolling hills mostly uphill on the way out and down on the way back. I was moving along pretty on pace for the first 2-2.5 miles but then was getting really hot. At the turn around I took a minute to walk and threw some water on my head. The rest of the way back I walked the water stations and just tried to keep moving on pace as much as possible. I was passed by the same woman from my age group again near the end of the run. I had to take one more walking break in the last mile because I was really feeling overheated. I pushed it as much as I could into the finish.
My finish time was 12 minutes faster than on the same course last August for a time of 2:40:23. I also finished second in my age group! SWEET!!
What a great way to start off this year’s triathlon season! I spent the rest of the 108-degree day hanging out with friends in Sacramento!
Triathlon training: Peak week
Last week was peak week for my triathlon training.
Before I get to far…I guess I never updated you guys! I’m going to be doing the Folsom International Triathlon on June 8. This will be my second Olympic distance triathlon. My first was this same course last August. Read my recap here.
Anyway, back to last week. My goal was to get in at least 3 of each swim bike and run. I didn’t get in one of the bike days, but overall it was a strong week, and a great way to set the tone as I start my taper for the triathlon in two weeks. Here’s how it all went down:
Monday morning I did a swim of 2800 yds. It was a workout focused on distance speed, so after a warmup, I did 500 yds at race pace, followed by 500 yds at faster than race pace. I then repeated those 500s a second time.
After work Ryan and I went out for a 28 mile bike ride. It was so perfect out! And it stays light here so late, so it was easy to get in an evening ride.
Tuesday is track day. This week’s workout was 3 x 1 mile at 6:55 pace. (Woo hoo! Sub-7!) I think I am still slowly but surely getting faster and more confident with my running.
Wednesday the goal was another double day with swim in the morning and bike in the evening. I fit in the swim (2250 yds easy), but skipped the bike for some time with Ryan while he was getting his bike worked on at the shop. Sometimes you just have to take a day and have some fun!
Thursday was another hard run day with 7 miles at tempo pace, and a total of 10.75 miles.
Friday’s swim included 8 x 100 yds for the main set. I tried to push the pace hard on those 100s! In the evening I decided to just take it easy and relax before Saturday’s big workout.
Saturday was a brick workout of 2 hours and 20 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run. The wind slowed me down a little bit on the bike ride on my way home, but in general I felt pretty good. This is my long outdoor ride all year so far! After the bike, I had a great run — I was feeling strong! I kept to my goal run pace for almost 4 miles after biking further than race distance. This workout made me pretty excited to see what I can do on race day!
Sunday rounded out the week with an easy hour run. My legs felt pretty dead for this workout, but it was a good way to finish the week.
In total my weekly mileage worked out to be:
7300 yds swimming
68 miles biking
28.85 miles running
Less than two weeks to go now, so I’m getting pretty excited!
How has your training been going?
Race Recap: Hippie Chic Half Marathon
Last Saturday I finally ran my first race of the year — the Hippie Chic half marathon. It was an all women’s race in Hillsboro, OR. (OK, maybe Ragnar FL Keys was my first race….but this was my first solo race!)
The morning of the race I was feeling like had totally forgotten all my pre-race rituals….when was I supposed to arrive? When should I eat? How long should I warm up? I was nervous! But very excited! The atmosphere race morning is something I always love.
Since moving to Oregon I’ve been chasing a lot of speedy runners on the track and on the trails, but I haven’t been following a specific training plan. I have also been incorporating a lot of biking and swimming in preparation for my June triathlon. Because of that I was curious about what I might be able to do, but was uncertain. I decided I would try to aim for close to my PR, but wasn’t really sure what side of it I’d end up on.
At the start line there were a few pace groups, and one was actually 8:18 pace…exactly my PR. Perfect! I decided I would stick close to them for a little while, then speed up if there was more in the tank around the halfway point.
The beginning of any race is so important not to start to fast. Not to burn out early. But here my first mile beeped on my Garmin at 8:03! Oops, a little quick. Next mile though…same thing. 8:03. At that point I decided I was feeling really good, and the weather was perfect for a strong race. I decided I was just going to go for it and see how long I could hold on. My new goal was to hold an 8-8:05 through 10 miles and push for whatever was left in the tank. Around mile 6, I started running a few miles sub 8. I was nervous that this bit of speeding up was coming too early, but it just kind of naturally happened. I kept trying to just stay steady.
I ended up running a really great race!! Steady and strong the whole way. A good negative split — starting out just above 8, then slowly dropping it down below 8. The last couple miles were a little tough trying to navigate around walkers from the quarter marathon, but I dropped my pace even more to a 7:45. By then I knew I was going to PR, but the question was by how much. I just kept thinking I was going to be so close to 1:45!
I crossed the finish line at 1:44:51. A 4-minute PR! I was SO excited!!
After the race, I was able to meet up with Hyla from Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking for a few minutes. It’s so fun to meet other bloggers at a race!
Hyla and me rockin’ our Nuun Energy hats post race!
When I got home, I found out I was actually 3rd place in my age group! Definitely didn’t think that would happen for me in a half marathon.
Thanks so much to the Better Series and Nuun Hydration for the opportunity to run in this race. It was a great course through flat country roads, is a really great supportive environment for women of all ages and paces, and definitely one I’d look into again in the future. Plus, how can you say no to full bars of chocolate post race?!
Blog Love: The Liebster Award!
I’ve been seeing this going around the blog world lately, and I finally have time to join in. Thanks to Lisa, Raechel, and Erin for nominating me — I had fun learning more about you through your responses! Starting my blog has been a fun experience and I am so thankful for all the incredible people I have met. I apologize for my delayed reaction on this since life has kept me busy lately… but I hope you enjoy reading! 🙂
Here’s a how it works: the nominator asks you 11 questions. You answer the questions, then nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions so the fun can continue!
Since I had a few nominators, I had a lot of questions. I’m going to try to answer a bunch of them but probably not all so this post doesn’t get too crazy long!
Why did you start blogging & How did you choose your blog name? I started blogging because I had read blogs for a long time and wanted to start writing too. I also thought it would be fun to document some of my training for my first marathon. I chose my blog name as something that sounded motivating but a little different than other blog names out there. Blog names are a tough choice!!
What is your favorite thing to write about? I mostly write about training for running and triathlon races. I love all workouts though!
What kind of workout makes you feel best after its over? I always feel so good after a track workout or a long run. Love the runner’s high after pushing myself!
What has been your proudest racing memory/moment? I think finishing my first half marathon was my proudest moment so far.
Why did you start running/triathlons? I started running after my husband ran his first race. It just seemed like such an amazing environment! Then I got into triathlon because I just always wanted to do one. And now I love it! It is fun to stay busy with multiple sports.
What is your A race or biggest fitness goal for 2014? At the moment, my big goal is to have a strong race at my June triathlon. (By the way, I decided on the Olympic distance race! Time to go for a PR!) I haven’t figured out race plans for later in the year yet.
What is your favorite race and why? My favorite race was the Shamrock’n half marathon. It is always so well organized with good spectators and volunteers. I haven’t done too many triathlons, but I have done the Tri for Fun sprint tri in Sacramento, CA a few times, and while especially the run can be hot, it is a really great triathlon for first timers!
If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Do what makes you happy. Love without hesitation. Travel as much as you can. Keep dreaming big and smile every day.
Do you have any pets? If not, what would your ideal pet be? No pets now…. but I would some day love to get a dog! Maybe one that would want to go running with me!
Compression socks or sleeves? I have never tried compression sleeves, but I LOVE my compression socks! So comfy!
What is your favorite piece of running gear? With my recent move to Oregon, I have been loving my Oiselle Flyer jacket. It is so lightweight, but I love that it is water resistant! It has been perfect for the weather around here! I am also mildly obsessed with my Oiselle Roga shorts since I got them for Christmas. It has been a little chilly for shorts here recently, but this week it is supposed to warm up, and I’m ready to break them out!
Which race has had the best medal? I like so many of my race medals because they bring back memories of each specific race, so this was a tough choice for me. Right now, I think my favorite though is from the Outer Banks marathon 2013! I love the gold color and the ribbon is really nice and soft. The lighthouse reminds me of the ocean and the beautiful views.
What is your favorite leisure activity? Besides workout out?!?! I love reading. And going for a walk is always nice too.
What is your favorite dessert? Man, this is a tough question! I like all desserts. Some of my favorites include: Canoli’s, cheesecake, and dark chocolate.
Which vegetable do you hate eating? I like most veggies, but I really don’t like mushrooms or lima beans…do either of those even count as vegetables?!
What keeps you motivated? The fun of the sport usually keeps me motivated when I don’t have a race on the schedule. But if I do, then thinking about the excitement of race day and being proud of all the hard effort I’ve put into training at that point keeps me going!
What is your go-to dinner? Some of my go-to dinners are: salmon or steak with rice or sweet potatoes and veggies, or tacos.
Are you going to pass the torch and nominate other bloggers?!
YES! Definitely! I’m nominating:
1. Welcome to Karadise
3. Triathlete Treats
4. Run Write Hike
5. Run With Holly
6. Reason To Play
7. Samantha Cycles
8. I Am A Runner
9. Rowdy Running
10. Read Eat Write Run
11. Mountains & Miles
**note: if you’ve already received a Liebster, you don’t have to fill it out again! 🙂
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What was the inspiration for your blog & its name?
3. What is your “A” race or biggest goal for this year?
4. What is one of your most memorable race experiences?
5. What is your favorite post workout meal?
6. What is your favorite quote?
7. What is your favorite outfit in your closet?
8. What workout makes you feel the best when its over?
9. What is your favorite way to celebrate a big race?
10. Do you prefer morning or evening workouts and why?
11. Are you going to pass the torch and nominate 11 other bloggers?!
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Answer the 11 questions given to you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers (generally with the same number of followers, though it can be tough to tell; ideally less than 500).
- Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
- Comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know you nominated them.
- Have fun spreading the blogging love!