BQ Strong

My journey toward qualifying for the Boston Marathon.


Leave a comment

First Post-Race Run

So I decided that 5 days was enough and I wanted to run today. I actually wanted to run yesterday but somehow there was so much to do that it didn’t happen.

Anyway, I decided to start by walking my boy to school. So we loaded up the little girl in the stroller and took off for kindergarten. (I noted immediately that the wheels on the BOB Stroller weren’t as full as they could be. Ugh!) His “late slip” class begins at 9:36am (not a typo) so we left at 9am to have plenty of time for the 1.3 mile walk. He complained a LOT about walking. “It’s too far.” “My legs hurt.” “Are we almost there yet?” I kept thinking that he sounded like the voice in my head on Sunday morning!

Once we dropped him off, Lucy asked to get out of the stroller so I figured, what the heck?!?

We parked the stroller at the front of the school next to a bench. I started doing my dynamic stretches, beginning with a full body reach to the sky. As I looked down, I realized my tiny 2.9 year old daughter was stretching with me. It was too precious not to continue! So I crossed my ankles, brought my hands toward my feet and let my head dangle. She did the same. After 10 of those, I walked to the back of the bench. She followed. I rested my hands on the back of the bench for balance while alternating kicking one straight leg behind me with a flat back. She did too.

After about 5 minutes of dynamically stretching my very tight muscles, I said, “OK, let’s go running!” Lucy said, “I not go-een run-een Mommy.” I giggled and strapped her back into the stroller.

Those not-quite-flat stroller wheels plagued me as I got started. My left knee also started voicing a complaint. I stopped to stretch some more. By about 9:50am, we were finally underway.

Once we reached the Contra Costa Canal trail, I felt my running rhythm kick in. The Dixie Chicks were singing, “I’m Ready to Run” which always helps.

Before I knew it, my MapMyFitness app clicked off our first mile. By the time we reached the stoplight near Safeway, we were at 2 miles. As we exited Heather Farm Park, I noticed Lucy had been pretty quiet for a while. She was sound asleep.

We hit 3 miles on San Carlos Ave. and I realized that it was time to stop running. My legs hurt. My abs even hurt! Unfortunately we were still at least 2.5 miles from home. With my girl peacefully napping, I figured a long walk couldn’t hurt either of us so I pushed ahead.

All in all, my first run post-marathon was a little longer than I should have done. I’m sore today and feeling each step as I walk downstairs again. That said, it felt really good to run – just to RUN! I haven’t run without a mileage or time goal in so long that it was kind of amazing to do it just for myself. 

No doubt about it. I’m a runner!


4 Comments

Santa Rosa Marathon Recap

The big day finally came! It was an experience I will truly cherish and never forget. Here’s how it went down.

Because Jonah was starting kindergarten on Monday (day after race), I asked my parents to take Lucy for the week so that Jonah and I could spend some time together before he got whisked off the school/college/career/marriage. We had a fun time together – mostly just hanging out at home and playing with legos.

Thursday was a big day for him, Jaguar Day…where he was to learn his teacher and schedule for the year. Long story short, he got a great class but suffered through Jag Day pale, weak and complaining of a yucky tummy. As we approached our house, he threw up for the first time. Throughout the night and next day, he threw up a lot more. Poor kid was sick sick sick. By Saturday he was feeling better and wanted to go to my mom’s to be with Lucy and have a fun cousin weekend.

Here’s what my Friday night looked like:

Because I've so often forgotten something crucial, I laid out all my stuff methodically and took a photo so I could reassure myself that I didn't forget anything (or confirm that I did...if I did!)

Because I’ve so often forgotten something crucial when traveling, I laid out all my stuff methodically and took a photo so I could reassure myself that I didn’t forget anything (or confirm that I did…if I did!)

Saturday morning started out with a 2-mile shake out run. I ran up to the guard gate entrance to Mt. Diablo just after sunrise. It was really beautiful.

The view from my last training run!

The view from my last training run!

By noon, we met my mom in Vacaville to drop off Jonah to spend the night with her (in Sac). From there, we headed toward Sonoma County. We had some wine to pick up at Dutcher Crossing winery so we decided to stop for lunch at the Dry Creek General Store. It’s a schlep to get up there but Dry Creek wines are amazing and Dutcher Crossing is both beautiful and chocked full of delicious wines.

IMG_9443

Geniuses!

Geniuses! (No parking!)

After lunch and our wine pick-up(s), we headed to the race expo at DeLoach winery. They did an awesome job with the expo.

IMG_9445

They even gave each runner a bottle of wine!

They even gave each runner a bottle of wine!

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I actually wore make up that day…so I took this pic to remind myself what a bad ass I am (not that you can even see the carefully applied cosmetics).

Grrrrr.

Grrrrr,Er, big dork.

I snapped this shot after our dinner in downtown Santa Rosa. Charles Schulz is from SR and apparently did most of his Peanuts comics from his home there so they honor him with character statues around town. It’s really cute! I took this one for my Lucy girl.

Bronze Lucy

Bronze Lucy

IMG_9452I posted that pic on FB at about 5:30am. I described it as, “post quake and pre race…feeling shaky.” Yes, we felt the magnitude 6.0 earthquake epicentered about 30 +/- miles from Santa Rosa. With the 6am gun time, our alarm was set for 4:45am. Waking to the largest SF Bay Area earthquake in 25 years an hour and a half before our alarm was both frightening and shitty. In case you’ve seen Robin Williams talking about earthquakes and allow yourself to think that all Californians are blasé and cool about them…we’re not. It was absolutely terrifying to shake for 20 seconds. I looked at the hotel pool for a second out the door afterwards. It looked like the ocean!

But the race was still on!

IMG_9453

My BQ time was 3:45 so I snapped this guy’s pic. I did not see him again.

IMG_9455One last selfie before the gun went off. I was calm but didn’t feel really ready.

The first few miles were full of self doubt. I kept thinking thoughts like, “why didn’t I shave my legs? It feels like razor blades rubbing my calves!” and “what am I doing here? when did I even think this was a good idea?”

Around mile 5 or 6, a woman ran up next to me and said hello. She and her daughter were running the race together and hoping to finish in about 4:30. My first thought was, “I’ll be so bummed if I finish in 4:30!” but I needed some company so I pulled out my earbud and ran with them. They explained that they are “believers” so they’d each assigned themselves biblical verses to read at each mile. Mom had evens and daughter had odds. As a formerly Catholic atheist, I might have said something self righteous about my own beliefs but instead just listened to them. I enjoyed their verses and the context they brought to each. They commented on why they chose the particular verses and the miles flew by.

I stayed with them until about mile 13. Regrettably, I had to stop to stretch my knee and never got to see them again. Their stories and relationship were so lovely to experience. I was so happy to have run those miles with them!

IMG_9457Things kind of went downhill after that. By mile 18, I was feeling really down. I couldn’t see them anymore and the 4:30 pacer had long since passed me. I called Tina and Jill. Neither answered. A little while later, Tina called back…from vacation in Legoland. She said, “Wait! Aren’t you running your marathon right now?!?” I replied, “I…I…I…just needed you…” and I started crying. She gave me the sweetest pep talk which ended with something like, “MILE 18?!?! That’s amazing! You’ve SO got this – you are a BAD ASS MOTHER FUCKER!”

IMG_9459

My sister in law texted from North Carolina to check on us after the earthquake. It was easier to snap a pic than type a lot so I sent this back along with “all good.”

If only that were truly true.

At mile 20, we were back onto the Prince Greenway, a lovely bike path we’d run for the first several miles. I was simultaneously feeling, “I’ve got this…only 6 more miles” and “I have a whole freaking 10K left to run…that takes like an HOUR!”

Then around mile 22, my right knee just made clear to me that I needed to stop. I felt like if I took another step something on the outside of the knee cap would “snap.” So I stopped and stretched. Stopping sucked.

Between that point and the finish line, I probably stopped 7-8 more times, including one last stop right after the mile 26 marker. 

IMG_1681

Finally, by the grace of all that is holy, I got to the finish line. With a mouth full of mint-chocolate Power Bar, Jon snapped this pic of me. The thumbs down well described how I felt. I hugged him with my whole body and shook with tears. I cried so hard and I couldn’t even tell you why. It was a similar feeling to how I felt after the births of my children…tears of exhaustion and relief.

After eating that bar, drinking some water and having my knee wrapped up with an ice pack, things got better quickly. The thumbs down was also an acknowledgement of my marathon time.

After eating some pancakes with salty butter and a chocolate milk, Jon took this picture. I was full of pride and felt so much better. :)

After eating some pancakes with salty butter and a chocolate milk, Jon took this picture. I was full of pride and felt so much better. 🙂

As I mentioned, my BQ time was 3:45. I finished in 4:45.

IMG_9461

 

I missed my BQ time by an entire hour.

I feel a lot of mixed feelings about that. Like my education, “they can never take it away” – my marathon finisher status.

IMG_9460

After training for 8 months, I wasn’t expecting to BQ but I also wasn’t able to outrun the mid-night earthquake or knee troubles that haunted my race. It wasn’t my day to have the 4:00-4:15 race I was hoping for. At this point, I cannot say whether I’ll ever do another full marathon. On the third day after the race, I don’t know about future racing. I haven’t worked out since the marathon and I’m not sure what to do next. My life has been a crazy jumble of house surfing, remodeling, escrow closings, contractors and RUNNING for almost as long as I can remember. Now the house is done, the kids are back in school and the marathon is over.

In 2 weeks, Tina and I will kick off our first annual FAB Camp women’s wellness retreat. Then my mom is taking me to Hawaii to early celebrate my 40th birthday. 

I know I’ll be ok…I know I can take on any challenge I choose to face. The marathon crystallized that fact for me. The only question now is…what will that be?

IMG_9462

 

For now, I guess I’ll focus on those two.

Oh, and Monday night, I focused a little bit on a glass of this…

IMG_9477

 

 

 


Leave a comment

The Big Taper

I had no idea that some of the toughest miles I’d run in this 30 week marathon training program would be during this last leg – the taper. Cranking out 20-milers wasn’t easy but psychologically, I just found myself pushing through with blind determination. But now, 5-miles seem like an eternity. I’m procrastinating more than ever and I’m finding the miles seem to take forever to pass.

Of course, the past few weeks have been crazy. Really, the past few months. We sold our house and bought a new one at the same time. After moving out of the old house, we stayed in Sacramento at my parent’s house from June to early August. During that time, we had the new house remodeled (master bathroom, kitchen, all doors, moldings, electrical and painting). The place looks simply beautiful right now!

The previous kitchen was workable but cut off from the rest of the house by a wall separating the kitchen and dining rooms. It was also dated with white tile countertops and old cabinets.

The previous kitchen was workable but cut off from the rest of the house by a wall separating the kitchen and dining rooms. It was also dated with white tile countertops and old cabinets.

IMG_8367

This wall made the kitchen feel smaller than necessary.

Flipping houses has always been my dream. I got a solid taste of it in our previous house, which we owned for a little less than 2 years. We updated almost every surface except for the kitchen and bathrooms. When we sold it, we did very well and I was so excited to have seen my vision and work pay off. But we never got to do the holy grail of remodels – the kitchen.

This isn't the best photo I've ever taken but it shows the kitchen really nicely. We removed the wall separating the rooms, added an island and updated the flooring, lighting, cabinets, appliances and countertops (everything really!).

This isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken but it shows the kitchen really nicely. We removed the wall separating the rooms, added an island and updated the flooring, lighting, cabinets, appliances and countertops (everything really!).

So I’ve been a little busy. I had so much fun running in Sacramento this summer – the American River Parkway trail that I know and love so well. Getting settled into the new house and dealing with the endless to-do and punch lists is exhausting stuff, though. So that explains the current running challenges. I missed almost a week of runs but I didn’t feel too guilty because I was so exhausted from moving that I didn’t even think it made sense to push myself any further. And now that I’m back to it, I’m finding the shorter runs more challenging than ever. 9 more days until the marathon and while I’m feeling daunted, I feel ready. I think 5-milers just don’t feel like enough anymore!


1 Comment

Big Weekend in Seattle

I hate it when I realize it’s Friday and I’ve yet to write up my thoughts about the race I completed on Sunday!

The race I did this past weekend was See Jane Run’s Half Marathon in Seattle, Washington. In case you haven’t head me rant about it in the past, you should know that we lived in Seattle for EXACTLY 53 weeks in 2011. I loved/hated Seattle so much. 

Things I love about Seattle:

  • the weather
  • the culture: the town is chocked full of personality, character and art on every corner. The whole place is like eye candy
  • the architecture: I love Craftsman style homes and Seattle has a ton. There are also tons of mid-century modern homes, modern buildings and everything in between…it’s an amazing place to see!
  • the parks: the parks and playgrounds are plentiful and take lovely advantage of the already picturesque scenery. If you haven’t been to Golden Gardens or Carkeek Park, you have simply got to go!

IMG_1621

Makes you wanna jump up there with them, right? That’s my love in the sunglasses! (This is at Golden Gardens…we also love Green Lake, Maple Leaf, Volunteer Park…)

DSC_0035

A new park for us, Kerry Park on Queen Anne. That moon-like dome behind me? That’s the 14,000 foot Mt Rainier. Yeah.

 

  • the food: no surprise that coffee and donuts reign supreme up there considering how rainy (and tiresome!) the weather is. That said, it’s not just Starbucks. The coffee is killer and from Top Pot to Mighty-O, they’ve cornered the market on awesome donuts too. Add to that their incredible (and incredibly fresh!) salmon. Oh and pies, ice cream, beer, wine. Lord, I could go on and on!

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream...rocks!

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream…rocks!

We ordered the Peanut Butter Cream pie. OMG. That is all.

We ordered the Peanut Butter Cream pie. OMG. That is all.

To go with that riDONKulously delicious pb cream pie, we got 2 scoops of Bluebird's Theo's chocolate ice cream. GAWD, this wonder-town has good freaking food!

To go with that riDONKulously delicious pb cream pie, we got 2 scoops of Bluebird’s Theo’s chocolate ice cream. GAWD, this wonder-town has good freaking food!

  • Our friends. That’s the thing about towns where you used to live…you leave behind all the awesome friends you made while you were there. Here is one such…
IMG_9171

My guy is the one with the smirk on the right.

Things I hate about Seattle:

  • the weather
  • the traffic (which isn’t that much worse than where I live but it’s still notable)

I also love all the water in Seattle. And I got some incredible views of it this weekend.

See Jane Run’s races are FABULOUS! 

The Seattle race starts and finishes in Gas Works Park, which happens to be in the same neighborhood where I lived when I was a resident up there. Gas Works is a place like no other. The former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, the park contains much of the old machinery required to run the plant. So the place looks other-worldly with all the old copper structures…it’s a trip!

gasworks1

This is a great shot – showing the Lake Union shore in the foreground!

Exiting Gas Works park and heading west toward the neighborhoods of Fremont and Queen Anne, the course first crosses the Fremont bridge and then does a quick down and back along the Fremont canal. 

Miles 4-8 go around the south shore of Lake Union (Gas Works Park is the north shore). I had a great start and was feeling awesome throughout this time. I normally run with only one headphone but decided to groove with both on Sunday and it really helped. I set a target/coached pace of 9 minutes/mile on my MapMyFitness app on my phone, rocked my running playlist and felt like a million bucks. 

I stayed closely with a pack of runners during that time and kept pace with a runner I call, “Pink Legs.” Pink Legs had 2 dark braids down her back under a visor, a water/fanny pack thing and hot pink compression sleeves on her calves. Pink Legs was easy to spot and kept a great pace.

At mile 5, a group of ladies holding signs for her (her name is Kristy apparently) got her pumped and I had to work to keep up for a bit! I was thrilled to have her in my sights.

Around that point, I also saw a funny sign that said, “You’re doing better than Brazil!” I truly laughed out loud!

I knew I was ahead of my expected pace so I wanted to let my love know I’d be crossing the finish line earlier than expected. So when I crossed mile 6 I called him. Even though I’ve had an iPhone for years, I’ve only recently started getting into using Siri. So I asked her to call my husband. Long story short, after 4 attempts at yelling at Siri, I got my hubs on the line. He was already parking. Bummer was that in all that Siri shouting, I lost Pink Legs. Forever. 😦

Before the water station at mile 8, there was a steep uphill as the course headed up to the University Bridge (which crosses Lake Union from the University of Washington (You-Dub) to the northern part of Capitol Hill. I was thrilled to notice runners around me having to stop and walk up the hill as I powered myself up there. Apparently all that hill training is paying off!

Miles 8-10 were uneventful, other than the number of times I asked myself what the H I was doing out there!

At mile 9, the course crosses in front of Gas Works Park. I’d say this is my only complaint with the race. It’s really discouraging to me to run near the finish line when there are still 4 miles remaining. After Gas Works, we ran back under the Fremont bridge and along the Fremont side of the Fremont canal. This was beautiful (OF COURSE) but somewhat of a bummer since it was another out and back span. 

In order to BQ in my marathon, I need a 3:45 time. I was hoping to complete this race in under 2 hours. In the end, I rocked a 2:04:07. I’m thoroughly pleased with that time. Even though it’s not BQ worthy, it’s the fastest I’ve ever run and I’m honored to have had the chance to run in a city I love so much.

Here are some more pics!

Snagged this one on the way to race! Check out my snazzy red See Jane Run Ambassador jacket!

Snagged this one on the way to race! Check out my snazzy red See Jane Run Ambassador jacket!

Got my medal. So happy I did it!!

Got my medal. So happy I did it!!

My little guy did the one-mile kids' run too.

My little guy did the one-mile kids’ run too.

Yo! This is a PR by 8 minutes for me. Super excited about that!

Yo! This is a PR by 8 minutes for me. Super excited about that!

 

It was an absolutely lovely weekend in Seattle. The weather was gorgeous and getting to see our old friends and stomping grounds was the best. I love Seattle so much!!

Oh, and a special shout-out to my girl who had her baby on Tuesday (the day after we left!)…she gave birth to the incredible Analeigh Rae on Tuesday morning. One more awesome Seattle resident for us to visit next time!


Leave a comment

See Jane Run Race Entry Raffle

I’m SO excited to be doing my first raffle! It’s for a free race entry to the See Jane Run race event of your choice. 

Image

Unfortunately, I’m a little late for the SF Bay Area half marathon and 5k, but you can choose to do either the Seattle half/5k, the Wichita half/5k or the Women’s Tri/Duathlon in Pleasanton, CA in October. Either race you choose, I guarantee that you will have an amazing experience with tons of other supportive women.

I love See Jane Run’s “I Run for Chocolate and Champagne” race theme! I did the Alameda half last year with my sister and we LOVED it! I’ll be running in Seattle in 2 weeks and can’t wait.

If you want to sign up for one of the events without winning the raffle, you can use this code for a 10% discount off the entry fee: SJRAMB272

You can use that same discount code for 10% off merchandise on their website or in a store. If you haven’t before, check out See Jane Run! Or via Facebook.

NOW – click HERE for the raffle! yay!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7b08e71/