Did I grab everything?
I have always considered myself a simple runner. The only things I ever needed for any run or race were a watch, sports bra, shorts that don’t climb and shoes. I wish I could say that was still the case but it isn’t, in fact I literally have to take time each day and prepare my running bag for the next scheduled workout: outfit, shoes, tape for my PF, Garmin watch/heart rate monitor (not to mention I have to charge this the night before), ipod, sunblock and recovery drink. (Sometimes the preparation actually takes longer than the run itself!) While I would love to reduce the amount of things I need, I don’t want to be without any of them, especially the watch and shoes.
Archive for January, 2010
Did I grab everything?
I knew from Day 1 that Carlsbad would be an amazing race/experience. The whole experience was surreal – not a moment of anxiety, everything happened so perfectly. I am glad this would be the opening race of my year-long adventure.
I heard about this BEAUTIFUL course from a few friends and I was eager to add it to my list of marathons this year. I was rather disappointed (just like Boston) to find the race sold out when I tried to register, yet surprised to find that you can race if another registered runner will transfer their bib on to you for an additional $20 transfer fee (unlike Boston). Excited, I hopped over to the Carlsbad Marathon FB page to post my interest for a bib. So many people were posting all over the place looking for one and my chances looked grim. I continued posting every 4 hours or so (so my post would remain at the top of the list) and was contacted the next day by someone who couldn’t make it to the race. I got in and I was elated (thanks Mike and Hudson)!
Since I had categorized this race as a B Event in my 12 Marathons. 12 Months. post, I had put less emphasis on this race completely. This was a totally different experience, compared to CIM, like the pressure to PR, not to mention the list of things I shouldn’t have done: going to bed VERY late two nights before the event, throwing random items into my race day bag, showing up to the start line with 3 minutes before the race and even making phone calls during the race! Those were bad decisions and I am lucky that nothing went wrong, anyone of those things could have very well prevented me from running well or accomplishing my goal… Lesson learned.
My friend Janel R. and I arrived to Carlsbad the day before, and immediately headed to the expo. I was hoping to find some racing gear and a 26.2 sticker for my back car window. I only found the sticker but I was happy to run into my new friend Dane Rauschenberg – he had a booth and was signing copies of one of his books, See Dane Run. I hopped over there for a quick chat and of course to snap a photo (and I totally forgot to pick up one of his books). He was pleasant as ever and his gregarious personality radiated across the hall. I look forward to getting to know him better as he such an inspiration for runners of all goals. After the expo, I checked into the hotel, went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to find something to wear and then headed out to Vigalucci’s for dinner. Dinner was funny to say the least – I normally wouldn’t drink, but again, disregarding my focus for the race, I had a couple glasses of wine in addition to two pasta dinners (I was hungry). The hospitality at this place was a great addition to the yummy food.
Dane and me at the expo.
Race morning went very well — I slept like a baby. I think the wine idea will become my pre-race tradition but I will make sure to limit myself to one glass. The 6am start time wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was a little odd to run the first few miles in the dark but totally worth it when we were able to catch the sunrise while running parallel to the ocean on Carlsbad Blvd – so beautiful. This was a peaceful run – running next to crashing waves and tons of running space; I had a lot of time to think about things and clear my head.
When I contacted my friends that were eagerly awaiting my results, the first thing they said was, “so much for a B Event!” As I had mentioned earlier, this race was considered a B Event, a race that is ran smart and conservatively, mostly to avoid injuries, but mainly so I can focus on my two A Events later in the year. I did reference approximate goal times but my way of categorizing the races have more to do with a level of pushing myself physically and mentally – the time will speak for itself. Today I didn’t set a timed goal, of course I used my Garmin, and yes I PR’d, but I ran according to how my body felt. I felt great, the only thing that annoyed me was a tight knee – it never seemed to warm-up and I’ll have to consider wearing capris during my next cold race. I will definitely be back next year!
Joining the Los Angeles Roadrunners (LARR) has been a great experience. I will never forget the first morning I got to the parking area which is at the Westminster Elementary School in Venice – hundreds of runners everywhere. Seriously. Tons of runners. All ages. All levels. I figured it was about time that I start running with a group of people – I was really tired of training alone and I needed the camaraderie and competitive push.
I joined late (officially started September 12th and I joined October 17th) – during the 10th week of my 18 week CIM training schedule but made sure to keep my focus on CIM until that race was over and then look towards LA Marathon later.
LARR is the official LA Marathon training program that meets for 27 weeks – every Saturday, our only group run and our longest run of that week. The great thing about this organization is that you never have to worry about running alone, there are over 20 pace groups and you are constantly reminded why we are so lucky to live in LA: views of the ocean from Santa Monica all the way to the Marina, beautiful weather, and home course advantage (we regularly run the last few miles of the race during this run).
The morning of my first group run I didn’t really know which group to run with – I was thinking Group 3 or 4 because I hadn’t yet run CIM and I was kind of scared that I would fall off during the run. At the last second I decided on Group 3 (8:30 pace). I thought this was a fun group but I kept running into the heels of the runners in front of me and knew I should be in Group 2 if I wasn’t such a wuss. Finally, a little persuasion from a close friend (the same friend who pushes himself so hard, he barfs), I joined Group 2. The difference between each group is 30 seconds. It may not seem like much, but it is a big deal when you get deep into your mileage towards the end of the season and right before the race. It was exciting to change groups not only for the challenge of working towards a faster marathon, but for the new friends I met (small group of us communicate regularly and share our workouts, goals and even look towards each other for motivation encouragement). I started consulting with a few friends about moving again *gasp* and they were all for it. It finally sunk in when I told my friend Janel R. that I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with their 7:25 pace (marathon goal pace 3:15). I would be the only woman and if I couldn’t hang, it would be obvious. She didn’t hesitate to remind me that I had given her similar advice when she decided to change groups. I couldn’t be a hypocrite, and I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would never know what could have been. It was New Year’s Eve when I finally decided that I would do it no matter how scared I was. As soon as I got back home that morning, I called my friend Frank P. (also a Group 2 runner) and told him I was doing it. He was very supportive and we chatted about it for a while including our own separate goals (his also includes triathalons). The words were officially spoken and I had to do it. My last email about this decision was to Phil, our Group 2 pace leader letting him know that I wanted to do this and I wanted his opinion (blessing). He of course, was very positive and suggested that I try it out. He reminded me that LARR is the perfect place to try out different groups. The night before my first run with the group, I made sure to get plenty of rest, I prepared as if it were a marathon. Right before my run, I saw Frank and asked him to join me for this run and he did. (I think Group 1 was always his group, he just didn’t know it until after that run.) To date, I have only ran with this group twice – a 14 and 15-miler (the last two runs). The first five miles are kind of challenging but after that it just feels right. The funniest thing about this whole (stupid) group dilemma is that after my first run with this group, they decided to split the group into two – a 7:25 group and a 7:10 group (does that mean there is a Group 0?). This made perfect sense since there are some REALLY fast runners in the 7:25 group and I was wondering myself why they didn’t have a Group 0. Still, just when I thought I was getting there… Oh well, I will consider that my new challenge. JOKING. I wouldn’t call myself a Group 1 runner (yet)…it is too early (or too late in the season) to find out.
To say the least, I am happy with my decision, not really worried now about failing or falling off anymore because at the end of the day, I want to remind myself that I gave it all I had.
Splits from my last two Group 1 workouts (Garmin Forerunner 405):
Click here to visit the LA Roadrunners website.
Last Saturday during our 16 miler with LARR, I overheard (eavesdropped) another runner talking about his friend who according to his Garmin (watch), had burned over 80,000 calories. My curiosity got the best of me and when I got home, I had to check my own stats. To my surprise, I had just hit 100,000 calories since March 29, 2009. I am not neecessarily proud of that, and I never count them. (I was actually happier to discover that just yesterday, I hit the 1,000 mile mark in training!) Seeing that number was really weird and hard to fathom so I did some comparisons with some items that although I like (love), I eat in moderation…well, except for the Starbucks.
Suddenly I hear the ticking clock – only 10 days until my first marathon of 2010!
I delayed posting about my upcoming races because I was trying to finalize my race calendar while determining which of my 12 marathons will be considered “A Events” (to be discussed later).
I almost have my entire race calendar penned but I am still searching for a California marathon for the months of August and September. I may change my she dule as I find more interesting races, but I won’t deviate from my goal of 12 marathons in 12 months.
I look back at 2009 with a feeling of growth — personally, spiritually, physically and professionally. I know that running has contributed significantly to all these areas, making me a better me to both myself and others.
It was when I decided to take my training up a notch, and not settle for that same boring loop at Balboa Park day after day, year after year, that I immediately accrued all kinds of plans and goals. Before I knew it, the year was over, I was happy and truly loving all the people in my life. I even managed to get in two half’s and ultimately, my only real running goal, California International Marathon (CIM).
All the hype surrounding that marathon – the training programs, new friends, PR’s…EVERYTHING, gave me the courage and motivation to push myself further to run 12 marathons in 2010. At that point, I couldn’t want it more and I knew I might regret verbally expressing that goal to others without thinking it through, but I didn’t care. I felt invincible. That’s what the marathon does to you (or to me), and I loved it, and now I need it.
So here I am. I know my goal is achievable — it won’t be a “run” in the park, I’ll have to race according to how I feel, avoid injuries and most importantly, I will have to keep my ego in check. Not the ego you may be thinking of, I am talking about the ego that tells me to run faster when I know I shouldn’t, or the ego that keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t do such a thing if it’s going to prevent me from going after a PR. I have to remember that at the end of the day, this is my goal, my race, the only one I am competing against is me.
2010 is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.