Monday, June 20, 2011

Operation Turn Yourself Into A Badass Ultrarunner begins today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Track is tough!

So last night was my third track workout of the last month. The first time I've set foot on a track since high school track meets. And I'm not gonna lie it's been pretty mentally tough. Track is just so painful! Yes, it is rewarding afterward IF you managed to hit your splits but often times I find myself being too harsh on myself for a multitude of reasons. My form is awful but how do I even go about changing that? My arms and shoulders tense up so much and my stride is too short...I look funny. I give up too easily.

I've been going to the track with Jen the past 2 times. She's doing great and training with somebody has been good but also takes me back to years of high school track and that close competitiveness with your teammates. I really don't think I'm competitive. I am competitive with myself and I try to get faster but actually running next to somebody else when you are out of breath and wanting to drop at each is so mentally tough! It definitely helps to train with others because you have to push yourselves but it is so hard! I'm really hoping I can get better at this and I want to stop being so damn afraid of pushing myself past that pain threshold.
I didn't have a set goal for the track practice but I did significantly better than last time but my heart wasn't really in it and my knees were hurting some from the beginning. Today my legs are sore and my ITB is a little irritated so I'll need to massage before and after tonight's run.

Yesterday was such a crazy day.

5:40am wake up, brush teeth, get dressed
6:00am walk the dog
6:15am drove to work
5:00pm leave work
5:45pm get home and immediately leave for 2.5 mile hike with the dog
6:40pm return home, change clothes, eat half a banana
7:00pm drive to pick up Jen
7:30pm Track practice, 2 mi warm up, 4x400m w 400m recovery (should've been 6), 2 mi cool down
9:00pm Finish Track
9:30pm return home, cook dinner
10:00pm eat dinner, shower
11:00pm go to bed

And today is shaping up to be the same way. I can't wait to leave work and go home. I'm going to try to hit up Fryman tonight but I also have to take the pup out for a long walk because she's been at home alone for 12 hours :( I wish I had a doggy nanny. A danny? hahaha...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 Southern California Ragnar Part 1

Where do I even begin with this?!

I can't believe it's been over a month since Ragnar SoCal. This was our 3rd go at one of the Ragnar Relays. Last year at SoCal '10, I met a wonderful group of people that have remained my friends and it seems like we've known each other forever already and it's only been a year!

Our second go at a relay was Ragnar Vegas 2010 but that ended up being a DNF for our small ultra group. But we will return for vengeance at the ultra distance again someday!

SoCal 2011- Huntington Beach to Coronado Island in San Diego!

Our start time was 6am on Friday, April 15th. So our plan was to meet up at our team captain's house in Burbank that morning at 4:30am *gasp*
Going into this race I knew that I had to get as much sleep as possible 2 nights before the race so that I didn't spend the entire time being a cranky zombie like I was last year when I only got about 2 hours of sleep the night before. So I got up at 4am. I had all my stuff ready to go and I waited for our new Van 1 teammate to pick me up. It turned out we live super close to each other. We got to Jen's house in Burbank just shortly after 4:30 and all 5 of us girls hopped in the van and headed to Huntington Beach!

So Van 1 runners: Jen F., Claudia, Jen S., Angelica, and myself. We were supposed to have six people in the van but one of our teammates (who had actually picked the LONGEST legs of the relay) dropped out 3 days prior to the race.

So we went into the race knowing that some of us were going to have to pick up some extra mileage just like last year. I offered to pick up an extra leg but I had not trained at all because I've been suffering from ITBS since October. So I was pretty nervous about being able to even run all of my own mileage. D:

Jen starting her first leg of the race!
We got to the starting line on time but somehow manage to miss our start time (my fault because I was trying to buy a safety vest that we didn't even need!) So Jen started with the next wave at 6:15am. Then we jumped in the van and drove to the next exchange to drop off her watch and gels since she didn't have time to grab those and she had 2 back to back legs to do!
Jen S. and Claudia waiting for Jen at the next exchange.
We met up with Jen, gave her her supplies and she took off again for her second leg! Rockstar!

Leg 1 was 5 miles on a trail next to a river. Pretty flat and boring and runners were pretty spread out. I was not in shape at all so shortly after 2 miles I was already tired hahaha. I knew it was going to be a LONG way to go for me this time around. I wore my tiger ears and tiger socks and all the cyclists on the trail kept laughing and giving me high fives. It was pretty funny.

Claudia, Jen, me, and Angelica waiting for van 2 at our 2nd major exchange.

Leg 2 was 5 miles alongside Lake Elsinore. I was pretty tired after my first leg so I was dreading this leg because it was 90 degrees out and all of it was facing traffic which gets kind of scary when the shoulder is very narrow. But after the first mile I felt great! I started to get that awesome runner's high and I powered on up the street to the next exchange. This was exactly what I had been missing all those months of not running. That feeling of freedom! I got to the exchange and Jen asked me how I was feeling, and I yelled "I feel great!"

Leg 3 was my night leg, thank goodness it was 8pm NOT 2am and it was super short. Just a little under 3 miles. It was still pretty scary though because at some point I was running all by myself in the middle of the road facing traffic because there was no sidewalk and no shoulder. The streets weren't busy but they also weren't well-lit so it kind of scary. I got freaked out a couple of times thinking I saw something move up ahead of me. D: I was so glad to finish this one!

Leg 4 was 7.4 miles in Carlsbad. It was BEAUTIFUL out there but boy was it a hilly leg!
This was Saturday morning after a short nap at a motel that my amazing teammates had booked ahead of time. I was feeling pretty tired but surprisingly my legs didn't feel like lead yet so I wanted to see if I could manage this leg. The longest run in months had only been 5 miles! 7.4 seemed like a challenge! There some crazy hills during the last couple of miles that seemed to go on forever! I walked a lot of the uphills but I still had fun and when I finally was able to go downhill, I flew down that hill like I had just stolen something haha! It felt so good to be DONE with my mileage! Now my teammates had to finish their legs and then it would be time for margaritas and maybe a siesta while we waited for Van #2 in Coronado!

Team photo minus myself at our 2nd major exchange.

Best tasting margaritas ever! We earned them!
So once all girls in Van 1 finished our legs, we handed off to Van 2 for one last time and headed to Coronado for some margaritas and lunch!
Right after Jen S. finished the last leg for Van 1! So happy!
To be continued...

I'm a total slacker...

Okay, so I'm totally awful about updating this thing but I really want to make it a habit.

1. Because it's a good way to hold myself accountable. And...

2. Because I miss having an online journal that I can look back on to remember certain experiences. It's a good way to keep track of your past when you start getting old and forgetting some of the cool stuff you used to do hahahaha...

So for starters, I've got a couple of races I've done this year (no serious running on my end) that I'd like to review. 

I finish this post with a picture of my dog, Render, because I take like a thousand pictures of her every day and I have to flood the internets with them.

Happy Running :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trail running: Fryman Canyon

There is so much that I love about trail running but most of the time I'm too chicken about the hills. Something about your lungs feeling like they are going to explode while you climb a steep hill. It HURTS! But you really can't beat the views and the feeling of accomplishment when you actually reach the top of the mountain.

Today I went for a run at Fryman canyon. My new place is only a mile away so it's the perfect distance for a warm up before tackling the hills. Then the first quarter mile is OMG SO STEEEEP! I had to take about 3 walk breaks before I got to the top of that first section. It is killer! But after I got over it, the rest was "easier" and I was able to enjoy the scenery.

At the end of the trail where I stopped to take my hammer gel before making my way back up the trail again. These flowers were so pretty!

The sky was beautiful! So clear and blue!

Halfway up this hill and I just had to take a picture. This hill is tough because it's really slanted so it hurts your ankles.

The view is just amazing!

There is a rope so that you can climb up this steep was fun climbing up and slightly scary coming back down.

And finally back home stretching on the deck. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new apartment!
6 miles up and down Fryman. Good day :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Upcoming: Ragnar SoCal 2011

Holy craaaaaaaaaaap!

Only 6 days left 'til another crazy Ragnar relay race. And this is perhaps the most nervous I've ever been about it considering I'm pretty much in zero running shape right now.

I went out and ran 5.5 miles yesterday but they were in no way easy. I had to take multiple walking breaks which is pretty sad since I have to run at least 8 more on top of that next week. I'm scared...but mostly because I don't want to let down my team members.

I know that it will be loads of fun in the van with my friends. I'm just hoping to also have some fun while running and not be miserable the whole time.

I guess we will see.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I miss racing...

Sometimes I feel like I'm not good enough to be in the company of some of my running peers. Most of them are really FAST and super talented. It's like high school all over again :/ I know that's all negative thinking and maybe I'm stupid for feeling that way but once those thoughts creep in, they like to hang out for a while.

Running has always been a part of my life and I've noticed that the times when I feel most confident are when I'm performing well (in comparison to myself, of course). I got back into racing 2 years ago after not being serious about it for a few years and I've had some amazing moments and met so many amazing people during the past 2 years through running. But the comparisons to each other are always there even if they are unspoken. Yeah, of course we are also very supportive of each other as well. But we're also always looking at their splits and comparing them to ours. I'm a competitive person when it comes to a short race and to a certain extent during a marathon as well but I know that I am nowhere near as good as A LOT of the people that cross the finish line before me and really it doesn't even matter because usually I am out there to beat my previous best performance. And the truth of the matter is that those people are probably training a lot harder than me and sacrificing more of their time and energy to be faster. I don't know. Maybe I just lack the competitive attitude that makes other people better at this than me.

I don't even know where I'm going with this. I'm rambling now. I guess what I wanted to write was that the LA marathon is this Sunday. I was supposed to run it. I even registered for it a long time ago thinking I'd be fine by then. But knowing my knee still hadn't healed and it would be a miserable walk/run for me, I decided it was best to not even try it and save my legs for something else. This would've been my 6th LAM but I suppose there is always next year and the next. Maybe. A bunch of my friends are running it and I'm having all these feelings like I'm undeserving of their company because when was the last time I even ran a good race or put in a good workout? I feel like a farce at the moment. Like I can't really call myself a marathoner or even a runner because I'm not much of either at the moment. I just started training again and I have to start from scratch so as not to put too much pressure on my knee. I know once you finish a marathon, then you are a marathoner for life but for some reason I keep feeling that way...undeserving of that title. Like when my co-workers ask me what my next marathon is and I feel lame saying, "Well, I'm not even training right now :/" And as for my friends, they've all been supportive and I know they don't think less of me for falling off the face of the running map but I guess I'm just feeling like I'm not fast or dedicated enough to be around them or be a real part of the "group".

I know it doesn't matter what others think. Mostly it's me who is my worst enemy when it comes to things like this. I'm excited to go cheer for my friends and for all the other people running that day even if it means standing in the rain for 3 hours. But I can't help but feel sad and like a total loser for having to withdraw even though last year when I ran it, I completely hated it and I even swore while running down San Vicente towards the finish line that I would NEVER run another marathon. I don't want to be a party pooper. My friends have worked so frickin' hard for this and I know all of them will do exceptionally well this Sunday and I can't wait to see them. I'll probably cry watching them because I'm a big cry baby and marathon finish lines make me super emotional.

I ran 3 days in a row this week but today I'm taking a rest day. Maybe I'll ride the bike for a little bit since I'm sore from doing a small speed workout yesterday.

1.5 warm up to park
5 x 1 min sprints w/ 1 min recovery jog in between
1.5 cooldown home

The knee has been feeling fine as long as I stick to running on the grass and dirt. And yesterday I felt so good...not like my lungs would explode like I did the first 2 days. So I'm hoping the knee continues to feel good and the next scheduled event will be Ragnar SoCal again in a month. I don't want to let my team down again so I'm putting the pressure on myself about that already. And I've been straight up freaking out about having to move in about a week and a half! MUST BE POSITIVE.

Okay. That was my rant for the day. I just want to go home and cuddle with my puppy now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New beginnings...

I ran tonight!

Yay! Not far at all...only 2.3 miles hahaha...but my knees made it and with the all the stress of having to move in the next 2 weeks, I also really needed this run mentally. I felt some slight twinges in the knees but they were okay. I stuck to running mostly on grass and I did not wear the knee brace. I'm trying to build back up without depending on it. I wore my bright pink Saucony Kinvaras and I loved them!

Here's hoping that I can continue to build back up with no injuries. The place I might move to is just 2 blocks away from some big trails and I'm so excited about that! And I might also be able to do hill sprints up the super long and steep driveway! I guess I'll hear back later this week. I'm excited to move to a new place but I'm also scared because you never know how things are going to be 'til you move there and I have my little monkey that will need to adapt to a new place.

My little angel <3

 So I'm hoping it all works out for the best.

Second half of 2010 Recap

Oh gosh, I've been absent from this blog for almost a year now! Time to change that! I've been reading up other runner blogs lately and am feeling inspired by everyone who is out there training and working hard to reach their goals right now.

I don't even know where to begin though! So many things have happened since my last post. Let's recap.

May 2010:
I ran the OC Marathon and got my sub-four PR of 3:53...Yay! Best race ever!

June 2010:
I didn't post about it but I ran the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon in 4:06...not a PR but I was feeling kind of burnt out and the heat definitely got to me during the last 6 miles. But the great thing about completing this race was that I became a MARATHON MANIAC! Woohoo!

Here is my baby Render modeling on top of my MM singlet :)

Before San Diego RnR I told myself I would take a little break after because my body was feeling pretty tired. But then the marathon bug bit again immediately after and a group of us decided we would start rigorous training for the Camarillo marathon in October in order to attempt a BQ. So the workouts got more intense and the heat in California more and more unbearable :/ 

July 2010:
July actually started with my highest weekly mileage ever! 46 miles! But then quickly after I felt pretty burnt out and started experiencing shin splints which mega sucked. I took a couple of weeks off after than then resumed my training in August.

August 2010:
I struggled with dealing with shin splints and the heat and working crazy hours at night again when I returned to regular work.

September 2010:
I had pretty much given up on the training plan and my hopes for BQ'ing in October. At this point I was just trying to remain fit enough to be able to do the marathon in October and also complete my part of the mileage for Ragnar Las Vegas which my friends and I were going to be doing as an ULTRA team! The shins were still bad and my left knee started to give me problems around this time. I felt like such a letdown but tried to push forward.

October 2010:
I knew I wasn't prepared to run a marathon on Oct. 3rd but I just could not see myself backing out :/ I felt like I would've felt like a failure if I did. I had never backed out or given up on a race before (even though there were plenty of times when I wanted to!) So I lined up at the starting line, unprepared, with bad shins and a funky knee...I ran with my friends Jen and Augi (2 of my Ragnar teammates) for the first 8 miles then told them to go ahead because my knee was beginning to act up. The rest of the race was miserable. I was pretty much alone on a boring race course where we ran through mostly deserted farmlands. I started walking pretty much at mile 15 and the last 10 miles were super painful and frustrating. It took everything I had mentally to not give up but I still felt defeated. I crossed the finish line in 4:45, a personal worst since I started marathoning again. But at least I finished it...and that was all I wanted to do.

Trying to smile for the camera even though I pretty much felt like hell and started cursing as soon as I turned the corner away from my friend Tracy who was taking the picture. lol

Unfortunately, due to my bad knee and bad shins and having to run on the side of the road for the whole race on  a slanted slope, I ended up overcompensating and injuring my right knee during this race. :/


6 of us from the SoCal Ragnar team got together sometime during the summer and decided we were going to do Ragnar Las Vegas as an ultra team. We were all positive we would be able to do it. We were doing it for fun anyway and not to break any records.

After Camarillo, my right knee was pretty messed up. The pain was on the outside of the knee cap and it was excruciating so that when it began to hurt I pretty much had to stop running right then and there. So I took a couple of weeks off to see if it would heal after the marathon but Ragnar was 3 weeks later! I only did a few short runs to test it out in between races. And going into Ragnar, I knew I wasn't 100% but I figured if I just ran slow and took walk breaks during the steep hills that I'd be okay. I wanted to finish this race so damn much...

After completing my first leg of 16 miles

I ran my first 16 mile leg slow but the knee held up. But as a team we began to fall behind on the allotted time we were given due to some unfortunate circumstances. My knee gave up during my night leg and I could not run. We tried to push forward in a mad dash to try to not fall behind the clean up crew but we ended up calling it quits at around 4am :/ Halfway into the 200 mile race :( Not gonna lie, I hated this...I would've liked to walk or crawled or whatever and not DNF but it was a team race and the majority vote was to DNF. It was the right choice to make since were behind and we had multiple injured runners and still had a long way to go :/ ...but I felt so disappointed because I felt like I had let down my team and it was my first DNF ever :(

November and December 2010:

These two months were mostly spent taking time off to let the knee heal. I tried several times to run with a knee brace but it is so annoying. Not a great way to finish off a year which started off so great but at least I was very grateful to have made so many runner friends during the year. They really changed my life!

Janel, her bf, Dominic, Me, and Tracy at San Diego RnR