Category Archives: running

Ragnar FL Keys Recap: NUUNaritaville

I can’t believe my Ragnar FL Keys experience is already over. I felt like I had been working on planning it and looking forward to it for so long!

We arrived late Wednesday night so we could have time to decorate the vans and buy van snacks on Thursday — two key components to a good relay. Not everyone had arrived yet, but we weren’t going to have time the next day to get those things done. I think we did a pretty good job! Lots of Jimmy Buffet quotes to go with our theme: NUUNaritaville.

vans

Friday morning, our start time was 11:30am. As van 1, we got to the start area early to go through the safety checks, put on our temporary tattoos, and get excited!

start

I spent most of my time in the van as the navigator — luckily I only got us lost once, and we ended up just BARELY making it to the exchange before Jack finished his leg…phew! I wanted to make sure everyone else was having a good time, and didn’t have to worry about where were going.

As Leslie mentioned in her recap, we had team members from all over the country, and many people didn’t know each other. Sometimes that can be a little nerve wracking because you don’t know how everyone will get along, but  it didn’t seem like we had any isssues. In van 1 we definitely had a great time, and I’m sure van 2 did as well!

Onto the running… I was runner #2, which was scheduled for 18 miles. However, two of my legs ended up being longer than scheduled, so I actually ran 19.

My first leg started around 12:30pm on Friday — in the heat of the day. Luckily I only had a 4.5 miler on tap. I was so excited to be running and felt really good even though it was hot! This run was through Miami with quite a few traffic lights to deal with. At one point I had to go up on a walkway over the road. I was glad the signs were accurate, because there seemed to be way more turns than I remembered from the maps! I was able to keep my pace up, and even with all the traffic light stops, I averaged 8:44/mi. I was SO thankful when my teammates stopped to give me some water and a power arch boost about 3 miles in.

leg1

My second leg was at 10:15pm in the dark along a canal path. At the safety meeting, we were told to be careful not to go off the road in this area because of the alligators! Yikes! Nervous in the night!! The road here was dirt and rocks, and made for very difficult running — near the end of the run when my legs were tired, I almost rolled my ankles several times. The good news was this leg was shorter than most of my van mates in the overnight hours, with my mileage being 5.25 miles — average pace of 8:55/mi. It was also cooler overnight so that was a bonus too. Another fun thing about the overnight leg was that it really seemed like we were catching up to the other teams more. With an 11:30am start time we got a later in the day start than many other teams!

night

My last leg was by far the most beautiful, but also the hottest. I started running around 10:30am. My last leg was the longest, scheduled for 9 miles, with most being along the 7 mile bridge. There was no van support allowed on this run, and the only Ragnar water station was at 2 miles due to traffic on the bridge. I was really nervous about this run because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be feeling. Plus, the heat was definitely an issue. When Leslie handed off the slap bracelet to me, she said “take it easy, that heat is no joke!” — and she only ran 2.4 miles!!

I actually ended up feeling pretty good through mile 6. After that though, I was really feeling the heat and getting tired. With ZERO shade out on the bridge, it was pretty intense. This run also ended up being long, and by the last 0.5 miles, I could not wait to be finished. My vanmates took good care of me after this leg, and let me wait in the shade (of the portopotties, HA!) while they got the van. It definitely took me a while to cool down after that one. I ended up averaging 10:11/mi for the 9.5 miles, which I was very happy with given the heat. I passed a lot of people on this leg because so many others were feeling the heat.

leg3

After van 1 finished our running, we headed to the finish line after a tasty lunch stop. Van 2 rocked their final legs and Matt brought team Nuunaritaville into the finish line just before sunset on Saturday. We were all so proud of our finish — our final time was 30 hours 43 minutes. Good enough for 89th place out of 478 teams!!

finish

I wish we had planned for an extra day in the Keys following the relay. Next time we do one we will be sure to leave some time for fun afterward. At least we made a quick stop at the beach on our way out of town.

12441721014_696f581c22_c

We had many newbie relayers, and I think everyone on our team had a great time! For more fun recaps on our excitement in the Keys, check out Leslie, Heather, and Raechel‘s blogs! Thanks to Nuun Hydration for keeping us hydrated in the intense FL heat, and to Naawk for preventing our sunburns. Thanks also to Beko for so many fantastic photos of our van & the team! I had so much fun making many new friends hang spending time with old friends on this trip. I can’t wait until the next adventure. 🙂

Back at it

First things first — I’ve been working on updating my blog, and transferred over to WordPress. I know several people have mentioned that they weren’t able to easily leave comments before, so I’m hoping that this might help with that issue. Let me know how it works! Also, bear with me if any links don’t work great yet…still working on some minor improvements.

This week I am working back into running!! It is amazing how much I missed it, and how happy I have been to be pounding the pavement, even if it is only a couple miles. Not to mention, the warm weather around here has made me glad to be able to get outside and enjoy it rather than sitting inside on the bike trainer or at the gym. So far, I ran 2.8 miles on Sunday, and 3.4 miles on Tuesday. Today, ran just over 4!

Generally, my leg has been feeling OK. Not totally 100%, but it isn’t really hurting either, so I’m taking it day by day. I’m going to keep trying to slowly build up the miles over the next few weeks. I am getting SO excited for Ragnar FL, and I want to be able do my best for my team. Plus, I’m currently slated to run the longest leg for a total of 20.2 miles!

Otherwise, I have been feeling a little uninspired lately with my own at workouts, so I have been using a few YouTube videos and the Nike Training Club app to mix things up (Thanks Holly for the suggestion!). It has been fun to try some different workouts. Sometimes you have days where someone tells you exactly what the workout is rather than coming up with exercises to do on your own! Work-wise, I have been writing a lot the last couple weeks, so when I get home I don’t really want to think anymore!

So generally, right now I’m focusing on keeping my muscles strong, and building back up my mileage. I’m still fitting in at least 5 minutes a day of core strengthening (not just abs!), and stretching. And since I don’t want a post of all words with no pictures. Here is my current favorite stretch — a version of legs up the wall — it feels different than the typical both legs up the wall pose, and I LOVE it!

photo(20){basically, just get your sit bones close to the wall with your back and head rested on the floor, but in a corner. keep one leg up the wall, while the other is out straight on the ground. one leg up vs two seems to hit a slightly different part of the hamstrings.}

What workout do you do when stuck in a rut?

2014 Goals

Lately, I have been enjoying some down time on the running front. In December I spent some time just running for fun following my marathon, and I wasn’t ready to set any next goals following the race. Since mid-December, I have also been dealing with some nagging quad pain, as I mentioned the other day. I’m hoping it all clears up soon because I’m finally starting to feel more ready to make some 2014 goals!

Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish this year:

Complete my first half iron distance triathlon. I’m targeting the Folsom Triathlon in June. I haven’t signed up yet (hopefully soon!), but I’m pretty excited to try a new race distance.

Read more.  I love reading and this got lost in the shuffle of life and my dissertation in 2013, so I’m excited to read some new books for fun. Right now I’m in the middle of Daring Greatly.

PR the half marathon. I don’t have a goal race in mind yet, but I’m eying the Zooma Napa Half marathon. I’ve heard so many awesome things about Zooma races, and would love to run a race in Napa!

Volunteer for some races. I have been fortunate to be able to run many events the past few years, and I am always appreciative of the volunteers. This year, I want to give back a little! I’d like to volunteer for at least 2 events.

Consider a trail race. In December, I ran a couple short trail runs just to mix things up, and I kind of loved running on the dirt instead of the pavement. I think it could be fun to try a trail race at some point this year.

Be present. Lately I have been trying harder to notice the beauty in my surroundings, and be grateful for the little moments in each day that make me smile. For 2014, I want to make sure to be present and appreciate these little things in life.



What are your goals for 2014? I’d love to hear about them!

Have any good books to recommend for me? 

My Year of Running (and Triathlon)

Miss Zippy has a linkup going on right now asking, “How was your year of running?” I have seen a few responses from other bloggers, and I kind of love this idea, so I decided to join in.

Best race experience?
Hands down, for me this year it was running Hood to Coast. Running my first relay and making new friends from all across the country was an incredible experience. Nuun Hydration really brought together some amazing individuals, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Best run?
I truely had an amazing year with big PRs at every race distance — taking 8 minutes off my half marathon PR, and 17 off my full marathon PR. I also took 8 minutes off my sprint triathlon time and raced my first olympic distance triathlon, so it makes this very hard to choose. However, I think my best run this year is tied between the Oakland half marathon and my august sprint distance triathlon. The Oakland half was just a great race environment with a huge amount of crowd support, and fun at the finish with friends. The sprint triathlon was great because I think I worked hard to push myself. I didn’t slow down and felt fierce! (Which I think is always great on a race day.)

Best new piece of gear?
So, my husband actually purchased this for himself, but I may be “borrowing” it for him often — best piece of gear this year would have to go to the SPIbelt. I feel behind the times on this purchase. I don’t usually run with a water bottle or other belt because I always thought I would hate the bouncing of it. But seriously, the SPIbelt holds my phone and whatever else I may need and I totally forget it’s even there! I’d highly recommend it.

Best piece of running advice you received?
I feel like I have had a lot of advice around believing in myself, and confidence this year. I am working on the mental aspects of training and seeing the fun in it. Sometimes this is an area that is easy to forget about, but it is incredibly important!

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
So many fellow bloggers have been inspirational to me this year that this is hard to choose. This year I have been much more immersed into the blogging world and have “met” many amazing people! I hope 2014 will continue to connect me with more wonderful people. You can check out some of a list of blogs I follow here, to find some of these inspirational runners and triathletes.

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be?
Strong. Confident. Happy.

How was your year? What was your best run or race of 2013?

Passed!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I did officially pass my PhD defense this week! Very exciting!  Things went mostly smoothly during my presentation (with only a brief computer automatic restart shaking things up in the first few minutes). And I handed in all my final paperwork on Friday morning. It is so strange to be finished with my degree. But, I’m also excited to see wherever life will take me next.

This weekend we had some friends in town visiting, so it has been nice to relax and enjoy some quality time with friends. Plus, soon we’ll be traveling home for the holidays too!

Of course, I couldn’t miss my weekend run, so I made sure to get up on Saturday morning for a long run (seriously, I think long run Saturday is one of my favorite things ever). My knee has been bothering me a bit this week, so I was taking things easy. So while Ryan went out for a 19-miler, I aimed for something shorter, and then walked for a few miles. I ended up doing some running on trails rather than just the pavement, which was awesome! Total, I ran 9.5 miles, then walked almost 3.25. It made for a solid morning — plus, how can you not enjoy a beautiful sunrise like this?!

So, how was your weekend? 

By the way, to celebrate the holidays, if you need to stock up on Nuun (a great stocking stuffer!!), you can get the friends and family discount for 20% off one order using the code HOLIDAY13 now through Dec 31!

Ups and downs of the past two weeks

I started to write this post about how my training has been very up and down the last two weeks. And, while it kind of has, starting to write it out made me realize that right now I think things are going alright, and I’m feeling excited about my marathon in less than two weeks. 

After my confidence boosting 20-miler a couple weeks ago, I ran a strong progression run and short marathon pace run before running the Nike Women’s half

Following Nike, my lower leg (which I have been dealing with since rolling my ankle nearly two months ago) was really bothering me for a couple days. I was feeling defeated since I had felt great during the half and the week before. Looking back, I think it was mostly some delayed soreness from running the hills. I haven’t done any major hill training lately, so I’m sure my legs weren’t used to it. 

After taking a few days off running to cross train, I felt good for an easy 6 last Thursday, and a strong marathon pace 15 miler on Saturday morning. 

What makes me more excited is that the past two days I have been feeling great. My soreness isn’t excessive, and I am solidly into my taper now. 

So while the last couple weeks didn’t quite go as planned (or the last couple months for that matter), I have been hanging on and getting in some solid long runs. After thinking about it, I realized that even though I missed a few run days and some quality speed sessions, I didn’t have to just sit and do nothing. I’ve enjoyed doing cross training with spin and yoga. I’m coming out of this fairly healthy and ready to run the marathon I’ve been training for so long! I guess sometimes when you’re in the midst of it, the frustration can bring you down mentally. Smart training and listening to my body have helped me get through it.

Now that you know how things have been going I’m going to just forget about those frustrating days and focus on the strong long runs I have had. My right leg is still not 100%, but in the next 11 days, I will be stretching, and rolling as much as I can. I am ready.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco. This was my second year running it. You can see my recap from last year’s race here.

This year, I decided not to really race it….it was going to be more about having fun and enjoying a big race with lots of women! Plus, Leslie and Kara were also going to be running, so I thought it would be fun to catch up with them.

I didn’t attend the expo, since I picked up my packet in Sacramento the previous week.

From last year, I knew that the streets before the race were going to be packed with people!! 30,000 runners is a lot! If you are in the faster pace corrals, they seem to be a little less crowded…at least comparing the back of the 8-8:59 pace to the 9-9:59 pace…but maybe the others are too if you are toward the back. I met up with Kara and Leslie about 45 minutes before race start. Bag check and bathrooms were easy to get through and pretty well organized. I didn’t check anything, but the other girls did.

{Thanks Leslie for the pre-race pic!}

We started right on time at 6:30am! Check out this photos from Nike of the start of the race. I love seeing images like this!

{Image from Nike Facebook Page}

Leslie and I planned to run together as long as we could. Kara’s goal was to run a sub-2 hour half, but she started out by running easy with me and Leslie. It was nice to chat and catch up — I don’t usually get to talk to people while I’m out on a run. It really made the miles fly by! Kara sped up and went on her way somewhere around 1.5 miles. Leslie and I chatted about all sorts of things along our way.

We stayed together through the first few hills, but lost one another around mile 8.5. We had already discussed that if we got separated at some point and couldn’t meet back up, we would just run on our own the rest of the way and meet up afterward.

Quick side note: I kind of love running the hills early in the morning in SF during this race. Everyone who was previously talking gets quiet. There aren’t really any spectators in this area in the Presido, so it is really quiet. Both last year and this year it was very foggy. It makes for a really cool experience….running with many other people trying to make the same goal of getting up a steep incline….listening to only the breathing of yourself and the other runners around you.

{image from Nike Facebook Page}

Once Leslie and I got separated, I decided to pick up the pace and make the last 4.5 miles a little faster than marathon pace. We averaged the first 8.5 miles at 10:05/mile. For the last few miles, I think I averaged close to an 8:30/mile pace. Another nice thing is this part of the race is also mostly down hill. I had so much fun this entire race! I mean, check out the smiles in my race photos!! LOVE!

After the finish, I met back up with Leslie and Kara, and we picked up our necklaces and shirts. They are pretty!

{Nuun in the background!}

This was a fun way to get in some hilly training and enjoy the race environment with some friends, even if I didn’t actually race it. So much fun!