Friday, February 10, 2017

Surf City Marathon 2017 Race Report

By the time Saturday rolled around I was exhausted! Vacationing with two toddlers is hardly a vacation in the sense that there's anything even remotely close to relaxing. Really I was debating if it was too late to drop to the half. But of course actually doing that would have involved me looking up how to do it, submitting it and doing whatever else was involved and these children certainly weren't letting that happen. So the full it was going to be. Unless somehow I slept through my alarm...but the race didn't start unti 6:30 so it was unlikely that a small child or my internal alarm clock would let me sleep past that.

In true ultrarunner fashion I came running into the start line at 6:20 and then mad dashed it to drop off my gear bag and pee one last time before making it into the corral just as the national anthem began. It was a perfect 50F so I was shocked looking around at all the tights, sweatshirts, beanies and gloves. I guess not everyone else has been running in sub-freezing temps the last few months.  The course was basically exactly what I remember...a run around the bluffs, hill at mile 8 then up and down PCH and up and down the boardwalk. At least this year we were into the wind heading north which meant the wind was somewhat at our backs for the last couple miles.
The good, the bad and the ugly of the race. The good is that my last couple miles I was able to push faster than I did last year. It was probably the strongest miles 23-26 that I've ever ran. The bad: I started off waaayyy too fast. I solidly held a 7:30 pace for about 15 miles with a couple 7:15s thrown in for good measure. It gave me the confidence to know that if I trained for basically anything more than 2 weeks and actually tapered (I went into the race with 30 miles for the week and only one day off in the previous 8) that I can definitely run a sub-7:30 pace for a marathon.

The ugly: I remembered why I stepped away from road running in the first place. I am a competitive person. I don't deny that, but in trail and ultra races my competitiveness is focused much more inward. And even though in road racing I'm not gunning for a certain place it just somehow brings out an uglier side of my competitiveness. I was running with this woman for several miles around the bluffs who kept trying to pass me and obviously really didn't want to let me get ahead. I knew there was no way she could hold onto the pace for the rest of the race but I couldn't let her go. And honestly I don't have this in trail races. Sure there are some people I want to beat, but it comes more from a sense of pushing myself. Like someone is known as a 'fast' runner and I want to beat them to see if I can keep up with their caliber of running. I ended up finishing several miles ahead of this woman as she fell back like predicted. And as much as I knew this was a training race, I had barely trained, not done any of the speed work or tempo running I needed to PR I was still disappointed finishing less than 2 min back from last year. I still want to break 3 hr and I know I can if I train, but I think it might be awhile before I'm back to road racing. Not because I'm above road running, there's plenty more of that in my future, but I just don't like the competitiveness it brings out in me.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Girls Run Fast

Last week I got in the miles but my biggest fear this week was if my legs would remember how to run fast at all. I don't typically run fast and haven't even tried to run fast in months. So the goal for this week was to run as much as possible and throw in some speed work to boot.

Tuesday was supposed to be a speed workout but as I watched the freezing rain cover the ground in a thick layer of ice my motivation began to wain. With roads and sidewalks completely out of the picture I took to Green for hill sprints. Done. More elevation than I probably needed but at least I pushed the pace. Then some fast miles at Matt-Winters and Green. By Friday my ass had been thoroughly kicked...literally! I've also been doing Pilates and goodness my ass hurts. Add to that the 70 miles I've run in the last 7 days which is more than I typically run in the offseason. So when Dan said half marathon at race pace I grumbled. And then promptly knocked out a half at 7:19 pace. We'll see if I can hold that for twice as long but at least I know there is still some muscle memory there and I'm pretty stoked about that.

Just like last year I think it's good for me to remember how to run fast in the offseason. That way my legs know what to do on the flat sections in races. So it's looking like Surf City is a go. I can guarantee it won't be pretty and I'll be running a hell of a lot more with my heart than my legs and it's gonna really hurt afterwards. But in that good you worked hard and are ready to really hit the training kind of way.

one of those rare elusive smiles...brought on by eating lemon slices

finally got a family run

James started dance class

Monday, January 23, 2017

Campers and Road Running

This week I finally was able to get back to training, slow training but none-the-less it still counts as running. Tuesday I managed 2.47 miles on the bike path before I got distracted by a trail and since even on the bike path there was no way I could do speed work yet I headed straight up the hill. This marathon is certainly going to be an interesting one...

Then Wednesday was beautiful and I had to go find another trail....

Then James got strep and I was stuck on the treadmill. Fridays long run was 1 mile...that is almost exactly like a long run to some people. I was slightly panicked about how I would manage to run Surf City and realized that if I didn't find a way to make a long run happen this weekend the race wasn't going to happen. Saturday was just a busy day so a long run would mean starting at 2:30 am...I hit the TM at 4:30 am...still impressive for a Saturday but still a couple hours short. Sunday it wasn't pretty, it wasn't exciting and it was certainly not fast and flat, but 20 miles and 2900' of vert later I was done. Now if only all that vert can somehow translate to speed on flat surfaces I should be fine. I just really don't know if my legs will remember how to run fast.
never too sick to bake cupcakes

The goal for this fast...speed work...repeats...anything to wake up these legs!

I also got distracted by Dan picking up our new toy this week...ah race season is going to rock in this beast! The boys are absolutely in love! As we pulled up the driveway on Wednesday James' eye got huge and he just started screaming 'campa, campa, campa'! So if you're looking for us at all this summer we'll hopefully be spending damn near every weekend out exploring or racing in our camper! So excited about it! We're totally going to be those parents who are crushed when their kids no longer want to go camping with them. Of course we'll have to see how the first trip goes...I may be singing a different tune after that.

gotta love antibiotics...full recovery by Sunday for a hike with Daddy while I long ran away

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A is for... had better pay off at some point
Influenza A....sometimes it feels like just as you get back to training well you get knocked right back down. Yes, I missed my flu shot this year...amidst a flurry of 30 other doctor and therapy appointments it's not always easy to remember the ones for yourself. So I missed it...probably the last time I'll do that. I went down hard. Contrary to popular belief it's not a stomach bug not the kind that you can at least walk away saying well I lost 5 lbs. Nope it's all respiratory so a runners worst dream. The positive is that the flu shots do work and the boys stayed safe of this nastiness! 
This is what happens when a runner can't run

After 4 days I was able to start hiking on the treadmill but anything faster than that and I was bent over in a fit of coughs. So my long run became 2 hours of hiking at a 15% incline. That hill at Surf City had better watch out because that's about the only part I'm trained for. I still have a couple more weeks to train so hopefully all is not lost. But Surf City will not definitely just be a training run at this point. A training run for what I'm still not certain. At some point I will post 2017 goals but it's hard to really develop my goals until I have a race schedule.

Well I'm ready to see what next week brings. Hell maybe a week of resting the legs will have been good for me and I'll miraculously be consistently running sub-7s and somehow pullout a PR!
Go Pack Go!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Back At It

finding beauty in the mundane...
Green Mountain
Runs lately just seem to be getting better and better. My times have been crazy faster than what I was running this time last year, although I was still only 6 months post baby so it may be hard to gauge. Regardless I'm feeling great, running is almost effortless and even if my mileage is lower than I'd like  I'm getting the runs in and still having family time. That may be partly due to the magic of the instant pot. Yep that has officially rocked my world! I know I appreciate the small things in life more, but seriously it's almost as good as a magic coffee table.
Trail time before Christmas Break

I had a great run at Lair of the Bear in somewhat snow packed conditions that was 18 minutes faster than I ran it this time last year. I felt great, no niggles, no stiffness, just effortless running. I definitely need to get in some long training runs if I'm going to get my ass in gear for Surf City. I still haven't totally decided if I'll run it or not, but if there is going to be any chance I'll have to start training. Of course with the lack of snow this year it's been really hard to think about any sort of road training. Last year the trails were such a mess that it was easy to take a break for a month to focus on the roads. Who knows maybe I'll just wing it! That's worked for me in the past. 

Ending Christmas Break on a high note with lots of
wagon walks

I haven't really planned my 2017 schedule yet, but Somehow Dan convinced me to register for Surf City this week. I swore last year I would train more tha 4 weeks for this race, but between struggling to get back to training and a lack of early snow to force me to the roads I now have 4 weeks to remind my legs how to run fast for a long time. I'm excited to push myself and run fast. Time to get the mileage up and start adding in some workouts. The stress of December is over so now it's time to move on and start rebuilding...and rebuilding fast! 

Christmas Even in Colorado!

Wagon Walks!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Spirit

Christmas has always been a tough time of year for me. It seems to exemplify James' delay. When you have a child with special needs no matter how okay you are with it there are always still days or moments that are hard or frustrating or bring tears to your eyes. It's always been hard for me to watch others' kids get excited about Christmas, drink hot chocolate, look at Christmas lights in wonder, open presents...all of the things you imagine Christmas will be when you become a parent. Every year Dan continually reminds me that I'm only feeling bad for myself. James doesn't know he's missing anything. And while that's true it still didn't take away the fact that I wanted him to be excited for this most wonderful time of year.

The second attempt wasn't even this good
I don't really know what changed this year but I decided if I wanted the boys to experience the beauty of Christmas then just like everything else we'd have to work at it...harder than others do, but it wasn't an excuse. So over and over I've worked with James to get him to identify Santa and Rudolph. He'll tell you Santa brings presents and Rudolph has a red nose and eats carrots. And Baby Jesus is Baby Farm. He doesn't understand that Santa will bring him presents tonight or that Baby Jesus is anything other than a baby in a barn. And when he saw Santa...well yeah I guess you could say it didn't go well...either time. But he dances to Jingle Bells and cheers for it, he points to the Church with the Christmas light display and yells mismis lights. And he works so incredibly hard to say mismas but he does with a wide toothy grin!

This year our house is covered in lights, lopsided and uneven, but still there. And the look on the boys face when they saw them light up was priceless. Much to Dan's dismay there's pine branches on every shelf, candles, Christmas signs, lights...and a Christmas tree still only half decorated. I'll use the excuse that I have toddlers but really that was one thing I just didn't have time for. Like everything else there has to be a balance and a perfect Christmas tree fell off the list. James helped me bake Christmas cookies, using a cookie cutter and decorating wasn't happening so instead our sugar cookies are plain, but they were made. And we boxed them up in white boxes just like Little Grammy used to do and sent them off to a few special women who I wanted to bring a smile to. They aren't perfect, but they're made with love.

So tonight when the boys go to bed they aren't yet at the point where they'll be excited for tomorrow morning. Maybe that will be next year, maybe not, but what I do know is this year our little house is filled to the brim with Christmas Love and that means more than these guys being excited about the soccer net and balls that will mysteriously appear over night. Its not from the trimmings or lights, those are just symbols of the love our house is filled with. Our slightly imperfect decorations are a reflection of our slightly imperfect, but oh so perfect Christmas Love.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Lately I feel like there's been more of a focus on our differences and what divides us than on what bonds us -Billy Yang

A couple weeks ago I was chatting with a friend about having 2 versus 1...if you don't have more than 1 it's exponentially harder adding a second kid to the mix....BUT when it's good it's REALLY good. I think that's hands down the best way to describe it. And right now James is totally Rob's hero. It's something I never really expected and certainly never realized how something so little and so 'normal'  would end up meaning the world to me. Rob may not always look up to James and he might be the only kid to do so, but for right now, for this moment James is Rob's hero no matter what James can or can't do. Rob doesn't know James should be able to have a conversation or write his name, he doesn't know how hard James had to work to learn to jump, all he knows is this kid loves him with his whole heart, makes him laugh, brings him his luvie at night and brushes him off when he falls...right before he pushes him back down but who's counting anyways. The little moments when I realize Rob just sees a crazy, fun, full of love big brother. Seeing how much Rob looks up to James and wants to be like him is one of those little things I never expected. Not that I didn't think it would happen, but I never thought about it. I knew their relationship would be efferent than other siblings, but I never thought about how much the same it would be. Knowing that James is even just one persons hero makes me happy beyond words. 

It absolutely breaks my heart to hear people, even doctors, say a baby with Ds won't have a good quality of life, that he'll suffer, that his life isn't worth living. I'm pretty sure this sibling dynamic is not too different from most households out there. I know it will change and I don't know if James will always be Rob's hero, but no matter how it changes having James in our little family is worth it every second of every day and I wouldn't change a thing.