Oh, there’s a half marathon in my backyard

This morning, I got up to go for a run. Walk out the front door and flip a proverbial coin on which direction to run, then get moving. I thought it would be nice to run toward the San Mateo Bay Bridge for the view. And, that’s where I found it. The Divas Series half marathon. Oopsies. 

While it was lovely out, I knew I was in trouble. That pack coming down the road… They would soon be on the same trail as me and would end up playing a fine game of dodge the runner because I was going the other way. Oh, well. Got my run in. 

Divas wear pink


Apparently it is bad form to wear anything other than pink. 😁

Pressing On

On April 2, I ran the Oakland Running Festival half marathon. It was a hard run for me… It starts later than I am used to and the weather was quite warm. Half way through the race, I felt dizzy. I had to walk for a while, then went back to running. I didn’t feel particularly good for the rest of the run, but I did manage to finish at about my regular time, and shaved off 1 minute from my previous half. And, I finally had a friend doing the same run!

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We finished! Oak Town FTW!

This is my 4th time doing the half in Oakland. The race was very well organized and I liked the way they changed up the start/finish area this year. However, after my run, I was thinking that this would be my last. After thinking about it for several days, maybe not. If I do this again next year, I’m going to train differently… While I can’t control the weather, I can control when I do my weekend practice runs. I think I will start running later in the mornings to get used to a later start time. I’m used to a 6:30am start time, not 9:10am (the time the half starts).

That being said, I’ve been feeling a bit worn down lately. Last week, I took 2 days off from any exercise (Monday and Tuesday). Then, I did my indoor cycling class on Wednesday, light running on Thursday and Friday, weight work on Saturday. I tried an open run on Sunday, meaning I decided to run as far as I wanted, didn’t matter what the distance was. I ended up running 4.5 miles and got to check out a vista point that I’ve been curious about.

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There’s a teeny tiny San Francisco out there

The most important thing to note is that my speed increased. I’m starting to wonder if I am running too much right now. Adding more recovery time between runs seems to be giving me more speed and endurance. Anyone else find this to be true? Sometimes? All the time?

Stay healthy!

Running At the Happiest Place on Earth

This isn’t really much of a post, but I’m super excited and wanted to share… I just registered for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September 2017. How crazy is that!?! Registration opened today and I wanted to make sure I got my spot, though. So, it’s done and it’s on! I also registered my son for a kid’s run and he’ll get a runDisney hat with ears. With. Ears!

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Now that I have my spot reserved, feel free to sign yourselves up! I’m really excited about this one. There will be Disney characters along the course… And, really, I needed a good excuse to finally take my son to Disneyland. Woot! Woot!

Do you have a destination race you like? What is it? What would you recommend?

Stress + Training = Exhaustion

It’s hard to separate the stress and the training… Part of the stress was my training, or lack thereof. I’ve been in physical therapy for my right knee and had a half marathon coming up.

While I wasn’t able to do much running, I did a lot of cycling. That definitely helped me keep up with my cardio training, but… It doesn’t help with the actual running part. Finally, 1 week before my half marathon, with the help of my physical therapist, I was able to do a couple of 5-mile runs with no pain. But, I had a 13.1-mile run in a week. And, I hadn’t been able to do any trail running since July. Only paved. Yikes!

On top of that, I was the auction chair for a non-profit fundraiser and the auction was a week after the half marathon. That means, I was neck deep in trying to secure donations and either collect those donations or make sure someone on my team collected them and brought them to the event. I have never done a silent auction before. That probably showed. But, the good news is that we raised a fair amount of money despite my bumbling and fumbling.

The Yosemite Half Marathon

On October 7, I did a short 3-mile trail run.


All good. Later that day, we headed up to Bass Lake, CA. That’s where the race ended. It started up in the mountains, not far from the Yosemite National Park entrance.

On October 8, the day of the race, we had to take shuttle buses up to the start, which was the best way to handle getting that many people up through windy mountain roads.

That being said, there was a major traffic jam in the small town of Bass Lake at 4:30am the morning of the race. Everyone was trying to get to the buses. The buses that were supposed to leave at 5am sharp.


My husband was dropping me off and about half a mile from the bus pick-up spot, we decided it would be faster for me to get out and walk. That was probably around 4:45am. And, it was faster. I also managed to get myself onto a bus from a closer location (I didn’t have to walk the full half mile. I totally lucked out) – Not sure how that even happened because when I got there, there were only a few people standing around. By the time my bus left, around 5am, there was a HUGE line… And, no more buses. I am sure the returning buses were going back to the pick-up locations to get the remaining folks, but it looked dire.

Here’s what the course looked like:

Yosemite Half Marathon 2016

Yosemite Half Marathon 2016

I  spent about an hour freezing. It was dark and in the upper 30s F. So maybe I wasn’t LITERALLY freezing, but it felt pretty darn close. I had on 4 layers of tops. 2 tank tops, 1 long-sleeve running shirt, and 1 jacket. I also wore gloves and long running tights. About 30 minutes prior to the start, I went to bag check and reluctantly took off my jacket. While that seemed like the right thing to do, I wish I had known their process better. There was a truck collecting all the bags right at the start line, so I could have thrown my bag in as my wave was getting closer to the start. I would have been a little warmer a little longer. I know now. 😉

I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes for the first 3 miles or so. Oh well. It was worth it. I did manage a couple of pictures:

Before:

During:

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And after:

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Later that night!

The Silent Auction

We came home and I turned all of my focus to the charity event and the silent auction, which was this past Sunday. I was a little manic as I secured items and then organized bid sheets and worked on the checkout process.

I spent all of my spare time last week on the auction, including all day Saturday. My 3 1/2 year old son told me I was working too much and I had to agree with him, but I had no choice! People were depending on me. The day of the event went pretty well despite a downpour and rain off/on the rest of the day.


We raised a fair amount of money, which made me feel good. I was riding high on adrenaline through the remainder of Sunday. Yesterday was a decidedly different story. I was exhausted. So much so I had trouble focusing on work and actually had to take a nap – Good thing I was working from home. I’ve learned a lot about running a silent auction, so if I do this again next year, I will kick some serious butt! And, will procrastinate less. Wish I could say I wouldn’t procrastinate at all, but I know me pretty well! Bid sheets, displays, checkout… It’s a crazy amount of work.

Glad it’s all over though and I can get back normal. Loved spending time with my son last night – with no distractions. 🙂

And, I’ll leave you with this… The face of exhaustion (from yesterday):


Stay healthy!

Oakland Running Festival Recap

ORF went well overall… We stayed in Oakland Saturday night to make things easier. Originally, I thought it would be more helpful for my husband and son, but my son is going through a separation anxiety stage with me right now and it was really hard (and loud) when I left the room Sunday morning to head to the starting line. Ah, three year olds!

While the hotel window was a touch warped, still had a nice view from our room:

View from Oakland Marriott City Center

View from Oakland Marriott City Center

The other great thing about our room was that we ran past so my son got to see me while they were getting dressed and packed up. 🙂

The event was mostly dry, but I did get drenched in a downpour toward the end of the half marathon. Oh well, better than it raining the whole time! My performance was definitely not where I wanted it to be. If I can paraphrase Yogi Berra, running “is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” My brain wasn’t cooperating and I broke down and walked for a bit – not because of anything physical, really. It was a mental break that I just couldn’t control. I’ve been kicking myself ever since, but I’ll live… I did this half marathon three years ago and barely finished because of a MASSIVE calf cramp in my left leg. Honestly, it it hadn’t been for the amazing volunteers, I might not have limped across the finish line.

The half didn’t start until 9:10 and for some reason, I don’t do so well if I get started after 7am… As you can see, my rationalizations have begun… Sleep deprived because my son hasn’t been sleeping… Didn’t get to finish my bagel… There are a hundred excuses, but I know the real reason is just that my head wasn’t in the game as much as my legs were.

The Oakland police were fantastic. At one point, there was a car whose driver just didn’t care about road closures and was trying to cross through the runners… Yeah, OPD wasn’t having any of it and stopped them super quick. Thank you, OPD for being on the ball yet again. They have been great each time I’ve participating in ORF.

A very good friend of mine lives in Oakland and we went to his place afterward… He let me get a shower (yay!!) and made the most amazing food. It was magnificent. Check out this post-race feast:

Now *this* is a post-race meal!

Now *this* is a post-race meal!

I’m still drooling over how good the bacon and eggs were. Seriously… Mmmmm….

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Here are a few pics from yesterday.

Before:

During:

Yes, that is an arch with flames! Thanks to The Crucible for that one!

After:

And, then I tried to stretch with my foam roller after I got home… I eventually got to do my stretches, but this is what happened as soon as I got on the floor:

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My dog loves me! 🙂

I probably should have lead with the dog picture! He just wanted to cuddle and for some reason, didn’t want to accept my excuses about needed to stretch and avoid leg cramps. Silly dog. Next weekend, I am planning to get my first pair of trail shoes and am glad I have plenty of time to train and get my head in the game before the Yosemite Half in October. Run happy!

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An Inspirational Weekend

I just had a wonderfully inspirational weekend… While I expected Sunday to be rewarding, I didn’t know how empowering Saturday would be. I was in San Francisco this past weekend for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I participated in the Nike Shakeout Run on Saturday – a two-mile run through downtown San Francisco – and the half on Sunday.

The shakeout run on Saturday was organized by the Nike Run Club.

Nike Shakeout Run - Oct 17

Nike Shakeout Run – Oct 17

Before the run, we chatted with pacers and coaches in our assigned corrals, then then they had a quick program before the actual run. The main speaker, Coach Bennett, said something that really resonated with me. He said, “You don’t need a finish line to be a runner, you just need a starting line.”

Coach Bennett @ Nike Shakeout Run - Oct 17

Coach Bennett @ Nike Shakeout Run – Oct 17

It was part of a message to all of us participating that we should be proud of where we are, proud of our training, and that we didn’t need to wait to cross the finish line on Sunday to call ourselves runners. I’ve been very hesitant to call myself a runner, even though I’ve been running for a little over a year now. This made me feel like maybe now I can use that word… And, you can, too. Whether you run just a little here and there, or you are running in official events, you are a runner. I am a runner. We are runners!!

I am a slow runner, so my goal for Sunday’s half marathon was to finish at the 2:45 mark. Since there were 3 rather steep hills, I was hoping to not go beyond 3 hours. First hill – made it. Second hill – made it. Third hill – holy bleep, that is one steep hill! I got 1/3 of the way up before having to walk the remainder and catch my breath. Grrrr! After that, it was downhill and flat to the finish – yay! My official time was 2:46, so I was incredibly excited. After crossing the finish line, a woman came over and told me that she used me to pace herself. That made me feel really good – it’s hard to imagine someone thinking that you are doing well enough to want to follow your lead. 🙂

We are runners!

Here are a few photos from Sunday:

Waiting to start Sunday morning

Waiting to start Sunday morning

I think I see the starting line waaaayyyyyy up there

I think I see the starting line waaaayyyyyy up there

My bling already around my neck :)

My bling already around my neck 🙂

How did I lose my banana?

How did I lose my banana?

Less Than One Week

Yesterday, I stood in a long, long line to pick up my race packet for this Sunday’s half marathon. I’m incredibly nervous – 25,000 runners. Surely, with that many people, I won’t be last… I hope. I mean, someone has to do it… Ugh!

Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon Tank

Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon Tank

Does this shirt make me look tough? I feel tough even though I know I am a slow runner.

I am feeling pretty good about my endurance and my tapering. What I am nervous about is day-of logistics. Yesterday, I got up at a rather ungodly hour to practice getting up and out of the house. That’s when I realized that there are a lot of things out of my control… My husband’s ability to get up and ready, the reaction of my 2 1/2 year old being dragged out of bed, and very, very unpredictable traffic into San Francisco. Even the off-hours can be bad, especially if there is an accident. And, there will be a ton of people coming in early for the race.

So… Yesterday morning, around 5am (I’m not kidding), I decided to book a hotel room for Saturday night. The good news is that I found a room not far from the starting point and it wasn’t more expensive than the last time I looked. That being said, it IS San Francisco – So I am paying a small fortune to keep my family’s sanity intact. A room close by means I can save an hour in the morning by not having to get up quite so early to drive in. And, it means that my husband and son can go back to the room if and when they need to. They can take their time getting up, they can get breakfast easily. It’s all good.

I am going to spend the week slowly gathering all of the things I’ll need for race day to make sure I don’t forget anything. Race bib – check. Shuttle passes – check. Race shirt – check… Um, what else do I need?!? Just kidding! I have a LONG list. I’m already feeling more relaxed about Sunday morning. I probably won’t sleep much the night before the race – I’m aiming for eight hours, but that probably won’t happen. I hope my adrenaline will keep me going when the time comes. It’s hard to believe the race is so close!

If you run, how do you handle races near where you live? Does it depend on distance and traffic? How do you handle your jitters?