Tuesday, June 5, 2012

RNRSD 1/2 Recap

I finished! It’s done! Beautiful wonderful Rock n Roll San Diego ½ Marathon Recap. My first ever Half Marathon.

I drove down Saturday morning and picked up my best friend. We went to see an available apartment that I had found earlier in the week. I got my hopes up and chanted things like – “This is the perfect apartment!” “I have to live here!” all week. Turns out – it was a terrible apartment and I’m back at ground zero. I was disappointed for a minute but snapped out of with a Venti Iced Soy Chai in hand and my best friend in the passenger seat. We were already downtown, so we went to the Expo at the Convention Center to pick up my bib. Parking was $10 and ran very smoothly. We walked around for a little over an hour picking up free things and checking out the  booths.

I wanted to get taped up by the KT Tape booth for my plantars fasciitis but the line was ridiculously lline. We walked around for almost an hour and the poor guy that was previously standing behind us in line hadn’t moved. Kaili broke her toe and had a giant boot on, so I wasn’t going to make her stand forever. I ended up buying a couple tubes of Nuun and some compression leg sleeves. Afterwards, we headed out Downtown for some last minute Salvation Army shopping. I bought bomb-ass roller blades for $3.25. THREE TWENTY FIVE. We ate lunch at Anthonys (standard) and then we went back to her house to be lazy and snuggle and watch the Women’s College World Series.

We went to bed early on Saturday and I set my alarm for an achingly early time of 3:00 a.m. I was nervous and anxious but I fell asleep ok. I got up in the morning to already brewed coffee (thank Jesus for timed brews), made my breakfast and tried to relax myself and enjoy the quiet of the morning.

I got ready, made sure I had everything and headed out the door around 3:55. The parking lot and shuttles started at 4:00 and the directions said that there was a chance the parking lot would be full eventually so I overprepared and was extra early. I was only about 10 minutes away, so I parked easily and walked straight on to the shuttle. My motion sickness didn’t fair well on the back of the bus but other than that and spilling water and shorting out my iPod, it was fine. I found the porta potties, checked my bag, and sat on the grass to stretch and people watch. Team in Training brought some serious weirdos to this race.
I was in Corral 31, and they were putting about 2 minutes between each corral. From when the gun went off (I was so far away I couldn’t even hear it, but I heard the cheering) we started an hour later. I took off around 7:20 and was actually able to settle into my pace pretty comfortably. The first couple miles are nice and through Balboa Park and Hillcrest . After mile 3.5 we split apart from the Full Marathoners, and ran up the 163 North. Unnoticeable in  a car – the freeway is slanted something ridiculous. It was a little annoying and pretty ugly running through the freeway, but albeit a little cool because It’s still a familiar area to me. There’s a slight incline that caught me a little by surprise. I knew the 163 took a huge decline and I think I psyched myself out waiting for it. I struggled a little bit running the entire way up the hill and found myself getting a little mental. You know – the standard “Look at that person passing you, they look way faster than you.” Then the 2:45 pacer ran by and was yelling “We’re almost to the top of the hill and then you can coast down!” I don’t know why him saying it instead of me saying it to myself made a difference but I was able to kick it in to high gear and made it to the top of the hill in no time. I took a gel at mile 5 and then miles 5-11 are a little bit of a blur. I struggled through Mile 11, partially because it was much more crowded and then also just because I was anxious to be done. I got emotional a couple times at this point knowing that there wasn’t anyone waiting to cheer me on at the Finish Line. Selfish, I know.
I had to repeat to myself a couple times that this is a huge accomplishment. It wasn’t 26.2 but it sure as hell 13.1. It didn’t matter that I drove myself, sat by myself, ran by myself and would finish by myself. That was the best part – this was MY accomplishment and I was doing it for ME, not for anyone else. It helped keep me calm. Plus, crying while running leads to hyperventilating which is embarrassing so I avoided that situation altogether.

I had enough energy to cheer some people on and then sprint through the finish line, grab a bagel, some clementines, ice my knees and pick up my gear bag. The ride back to the car was easy and painless and I made it back to Kaili’s in one piece. Anticlimactic, I know. I was just relieved to be done.
My original goal was to run it in 2:45. I realized that wasn’t going to happen when Mr. TwoFortyFive Pacer passed me going up the 163 hill. My goal switched from “FINISH!” to under 3:00 with each step. I ended up finishing in 3:03. I’m not disappointed. I made it! Next one will be a PR for sure. I’m not sore, so I know I trained well, which means that I can do speedwork and strength training and now I can get FASTER (which isn't hard you guys, it's not like I can get SLOWER) haha. 

For now, I’m resting. But, I’ll see you at CIM in December Mr. TwentySixPointTwo. And I’m going to finish you too.

Friday, May 25, 2012


At this point it's T minus 8 days (or maybe 9, I'm not 100% sure how to count down days. Do you count today? Do you count the day of? So confusing) until the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon. My spur-of-the-moment-decision-to-run-my-first-half-marathon. My training up until now has looked somewhat like this:

Monday -- Nada. NOTHING. Maybe some bowling.
Tuesday -- Short run, 3-4 miles. Then lots of kicking butt at softball. 
Wednesday -- Yoga/Large amounts of stretching
Thursday -- 4-5 mile AM run before work
Friday -- 3-4 mile AM run before work (this one gets skipped sometimes... not even gonna lie about it)
Saturday -- LR (anywhere from 8-10 miles) 
Sunday -- Either a short 4-5 miles or some cross-training

This last Saturday I did an awesome 11.5 miles that included part of an old Team in Training course with some gnarly hills. GNARLY. But I felt GREAT. It was just the run I needed to give me the confidence boost that I'm going to be just fine for the race. I took a ClifShot (Double Espresso is my poison of choice) around mile 6 or 7 and that really kicked my butt into gear. The sun was actually out earlier than it normally is so I struggled with the sun for a few miles but managed to enjoy the tanning time. My tank top tan is starting to get mighty defined. 

Now we enter Taper Week. Also known as Cranky-Bloated-Tired-Restless week. I'm going to do another 6 in the morning tomorrow and that will be my last run over 3 miles until Race Day. I can't stand just sitting around so I'll definitely do a few small, slow (ha, can it get slower?), easy runs just to keep my legs moving. Lots of yoga, lots of stretching, lots of water, and CARRRBS. You can laugh, but race week is a complete excuse for wonderful glorious pasta dinners. So I will enjoy them and they will make me a tiny bit less cranky.

Do you taper before races? Complete rest or just light runs? 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cookies make everything better... Right?

Warning: I'm about to sound like a real brat.

If you're still reading, please be advised that the above warning serves as a disclaimer to any and all criticism.

On Friday, Charlie took me to get my first professional massage. I think it ruined my running. Not in a "I'll never run again, she ruined me" kind of way. More like a, "She dug her thumbs and elbows into my pressure points and almost made me scream" kind of way. 

I told you, I was about to sound like a brat. Don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful for the free massage I was gifted. After Ragnar, I knew that my muscles could use some serious work. This, however, was a neuromuscular massage, where the massage is focused more on pressure points and the release of lactic acid and toxins from the muscles (read: not relaxing). I think I almost cried for half of the massage. The other half felt GREAT. "If you punch her now you can run out and wait for Charlie by the car." "If you cry too hard your snot is going to hit the ground and she is going to know." "Don't be such a wuss, Alyssa, suck it up it's just a massage." "If Charlie can do it, you can do it." Needless to say, my mental pick me ups barely got me through. I survived, however, and I did actually feel better afterwards.

On Saturday I woke up with every intention to run... but somehow I ended up walking myself to the restaurant on the corner and buying myself breakfast. Now sure how that happened. My shoes have a mind of their own.

Sunday I actually made it into my running shoes and headed off for a quick 6 miles. Again, the intention was to run the 6 miles at a decent pace. My legs felt like absolute LEAD. I felt like I hadn't run in WEEKS. "You just ran 21 miles over two days, little legs, pick it up!" "Honestly, what is the problem?" "Look there's a Starbucks, maybe coffee would help?" "At least keep moving." It was horrible. The worst run - well not the worst ever, but the worst run since my second leg of Ragnar, which was the worst run EVERRRR. Either way, I survived. I came home, stretched, iced, sticked the crap out of my legs, and took it easy.

Today I decided to try a little run after work to see if maybe it was just a rough day. The route below is only 3.5 miles and again, I STRUGGLED. I usually try to keep my music off until I'm in the zone and I actually need it. I literally didn't make it to the end of my block before I turned it up as loud as possible.

Now, I'm eating as many warm fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies that I possibly can. I hear those help legs feel more springy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wait.. what?

^^^ That just happened.

See here's what happened. Last night Charlie treated me to my very first massage - which just so happened to be a "neuromuscular massage" performed by a wonderful woman named Sarah
in Manhattan Beach. I may have mentioned that I run a lot (and bragged a little about Ragnar, standard procedure) so she destroyed my muscles because they were so tight.

Needless to say, I'm having trouble being active today and opted for Eggs Benedict (completely against my quasi-veganness) by myself along with Harry Potter Book 1. 

I was feeling a little bit guilty about not running today, so  I started browsing upcoming races . Sometimes if I talk/research/think about running I can fool myself into pretending that I ran. Not really, but I try to.

Then, next thing I know, I'm alerting my best friend to the fact that I will be crashing on her couch the entire first weekend of June and I'm charging my credit card for the full registration fee of the Half Marathon.

I promise I'll run tomorrow.

See you at the finish line!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Back Story

The Back Story:

I never in a million years thought I would become this passionate about running. I played softball for many (read: MANY) years and considered running to be more of a punishment than anything else. I’ve never been slender, or fast, or even remotely motivated to stay in the gym for hours on end. Put me on a softball field and I’ll be out there all day. With a real job, a serious relationship, and a city like Los Angeles BEGGING me to eat all of the good food possible (as if it’s going to disappear someday, ha), I abandoned my softball ways and entered the Big Girl World. The problem with this is that I also abandoned my competitive spirit, and that left a giant void.

Enter: running. I blindly committed to Team in Training in Fall 2008 and started training with my boyfriend’s sister for the Nike Women’s Marathon. Unfortunately, I worked retail and had wonky hours so I missed some training runs but still tried to make up the distance quickly. I know you’re shaking your head at me – and I learned my lesson – a stress fracture in my right foot. Well, I didn’t make my fundraising quota either (isn’t this a fun story?) so I wasn’t going to be able to run Nike anyway. I last minute registered B and I for the Long Beach Marathon.

I knew my foot wasn’t 100% but I truly thought I could make it all the way through. We made it to Mile 15. Embarrassingly enough a race golf cart picked us up and carted us over to a side street where we were picked up – never to see the Finish Line. MORTIFYING. To this day I think about it every time I consider running another marathon. Maybe I was weak, maybe I failed, but then I reassure myself that I know my body and I probably would have injured myself very badly if I had kept going.

SO – here we are. The here and now. I run 10k and 5k’s fairly often and I go to the gym on a regular basis. Then, I heard about Ragnar. I scrounged up a team (not a very reliable one, mind you, like a million people bailed on me before race day) and we finished all 203.5 miles in 35 hours.

HELLO? THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL ALONG. I don’t know where Ragnar has been all of my life, but I wish I had known about it. Now, I won’t miss another if I can seriously help it.

All of a sudden, I’m motivated again. I want to run a Half. Hell, eff it, I want to run a Full. So I need you to keep me accountable. To read my updates and tell me if you think I’m being stupid, or stubborn. I need you to help me finish this one. I’m going to register for Long Beach again, because there’s only one way to prove that I am truly capable and that’s to go back and FINISH.

So in October, you’ll see me cross that finish line, I promise you.

Now, let’s get some new shoes.

(p.s. did I mention I’m starting Law School in the Fall? Yeah, I’ll be training AND in the first few weeks of Law School. I never said I was sane.)