Friday, September 28, 2012

Post boot camp rainbow

Considering this one: Snohomish River Run

So I was already considering the Snohomish River Run in late October. It looks pretty, gentle, and, well, the timing is right. And you know how I like a medal. Then yesterday I got an email from the organizers which included this image:

Well, um, yeah. That's flat. 

Now, I'm not chasing another PR this year... but I'm also not looking for "challenging courses" as we get through the 40@40 Project... This course looks just about perfect...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New hats!

Okay, I've had mine for a while -- and it was so awesome I decided to get a matching one for Wil. Who doesn't love vintage Disney?

Why Amy Hastings is Awesome

Jeff Pearlman had a really great Q&A with Amy Hastings the other day -- here's my favorite part:

J.P.: Amy, how do you deal with the pain and suffering come mile 16 … 17 … 18? And do you think, because you run 100-plus miles per week, your pain and suffering isn’t as bad as average hacks like myself?

A.H.: When it comes down to it 26.2 miles is going to hurt no matter how you slice it! Whether you are out there for two hours or 10 it’s a lot for the body to go through. Marathons are are the great equalizers in that sense because everyone hurts when they cross the line. They create a sense of comraderie because it feels like you went into battle with every other person out there and whether or not you defeated the 26.2 mile beast, you attempted it and felt its wrath. The 100-mile weeks definitely help me finish faster but both times when I crossed the finish line I was hurting.

Ahhh, Amy. You're awesome.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"This is good...."

Sometimes, during particularly tough exercises at boot camp, I hear Miley (sp?) say under her breath, "this is gooooooooood.... this is goooooooooooood...."  I was running next to her on Friday and she said it, which made me laugh. I mentioned it, and she said, "Oh, do I? Huh. Well, I guess it *IS* good..."

Friday was tough -- though I can't really remember it. And then today... OOF. I am already sore, and I know it will just get worse tomorrow. But, as Miley says, "this is gooooooooood...."

After warming up, we did a tabata workout -- first set was squat jumps, then v-ups, then burpees, then bicycles. (I think?) We all noticed that midway through the second round of squat jumps, all of us were hurting. And it just went on and on... I can't even REMEMBER what the second set was. Fierce.

The group was really big today -- 16 people -- possibly the largest boot camp ever? And even though I feel bad that I haven't interacted much with the new recruits, I still blame that on the fact that it's super dark for the first half of the workout.

I have a meeting at 7am tomorrow, so no pre-work run for me. Heck, I'll be lucky to be there by seven! But I think I may be able to get a run in after work. We'll see. I did run on Thursday -- a slow run around Green Lake, but at least it was a run.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dress light... Feel right.

Boot Camp in the Dark

Kerry led us through a fierce workout this morning -- almost surprisingly tough. At one point I heard Damon mutter,"I don't like her very much right now..."

BTW, this is what it looked like when I got to boot camp this morning:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunrise Run

Great little run around the lake this morning!! The best thing about the run was bumping into Ellen and her sisters and having a chat. I told her about the new boot campers, that we missed her, but that testing had gone well and that Hiromi was back. Ellen said, "Who did you partner with?" I said, "Oh, Hiromi" and Ellen said, "Oh, that's okay then. I don't feel threatened by her" and we both laughed. :) It will be interesting to see if I enjoy boot camp as much -- or at least, nearly as much -- without my buddy. We shall see...

Gorgeous, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets lately -- due, apparently, to the fires in Central Washington.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Back to Boot Camp!

After a very slothful week off, and a very indulgent weekend celebrating the arrival of Wil's parents for a visit, I was both excited and nervous about boot camp starting back up today!

Arrived to see -- dimly, because it was pitch black -- some familiar faces (Damon, Paul, Maryanne, and Hiromi) and a lot of new faces. I'm sure that on Wednesday we'll have even more of the veterans. I told Kerry that I hadn't run a step or lifted a thing -- she laughed and said she hadn't either!

So we headed out for a warm-up lap -- still really, really dark -- and then did some warming up. Some of the newcomers were a little late -- they probably couldn't see us in the dark!

(Did I mention it was dark?)

But after 15 minutes or so it was just light enough to run our circuit, so off we went. The new recruits seemed nervous -- they didn't know what pace they should run, etc. I just tried to run steadily, but of course I didn't.

Lap 1: 2:02
Lap 2: 4:10
Lap 3: 6:19
Lap 4: 8:30

So one second slower, but better than I thought I would do. I'd like to take ten seconds off my time this month. We'll see.

Then push-ups. With Ellen taking a break, I buddied up with Hiromi and we cheered each other on. I did 22 push-ups, all military, but it took me so long I didn't do any modified ones. So that seems like a step backwards.

Then sit-ups, where I think I did 27 or something. I don't know why I struggle so much with them. Must work on those on my non-boot camp days.

Then the squat hold -- where I lined up next to Paul so he would distract me again. I held on till 2 minutes and then was just simply too bored to continue.

Plank was pretty much the same -- I was first aiming at 1:30, but then decided I should try for 1:45, and then, why not?, 2:00. But I felt shaky at 2 so I dropped out. Hiromi -- queen of the plank -- held on for 7 minutes. Fantastic!

So I'm excited to be back in boot camp, though I'm sad not to have my buddy there. Hopefully next sessions!

Right before I started writing this post, I saw that Kerry had sent one of her inspirational emails:

We all come to boot camp from different areas, life experiences, and fitness/health history -- however, we all start new today.  With that in mind I want you to take the next 10-15 minutes making a list of where you are right now in life.  Physically, mentally, emotionally?  What do you like about your life, what do you dislike/what would you like to change and improve?  How are your relationships (home, play, work)?  What is your life like RIGHT NOW--THIS MOMENT?  Take some time to really think about it--make your list.

When Kerry says "Jump", we just say "How high?" -- so...

Physically -- I'm getting stronger. I have lost 28 pounds since May, dropped a size, and can now run faster than ever before. Sure, I still have some weight I'd like to lose, and of course I'd like to get faster and stronger, but I'm feeling really pleased with my progress so far. 

Mentally -- For the most part, very good. Everything but work is fantastic, and work is -- for the most part -- good. We're coming up to a pretty hectic season, and for some reason my boss if feeling really "under the gun", which makes things a bit more stressful for me. But I am still MUCH happier than I was two years ago at T-Mobile. I work with great people, selling a great product, and enjoy most days. 

Emotionally -- Really happy! 

I like my sweet husband, my lovely furry cats, my friends, my boot camp (of course!), and my life! What would I change / improve? Well, I'd make more time for creative endeavors -- even if it's just working on my cross stitch. I'd also make more time to read -- I went through a little spurt of reading books from the library and really enjoyed it. I should continue to find some things. I'd also like to run more consistently -- I'm always happy for having gone for a run. Why, then, sometimes, do I drag my feet or even refuse to go? And I'd like to make more time for friends. We're always so happy when we make the time to get together with people.

Next....take a moment to think about where you will be 4-5 weeks from now.  That's not a lot of time, but it is long enough to start developing new habits, making adjustments and getting on track towards a better you.  How will your food habits look, what about your exercise habits, how might family life change?  Think about it---and make your second list of WHERE YOU WANT TO BE--WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

Food! In 4-5 weeks I'd like to be back using MyFitnessPal regularly. Not sure why I have been struggling to do that over the last few weeks. It's so easy to do, and it is so satisfying. So that's a top priority. I also need to work on my snacking -- even if I am now snacking on healthier things, I should still be watching the snacks. 

Exercise! Boot camp EVERY meeting -- unless I'm out of town (but I think that might only happen once?)  And back to running on Tuesdays and Thursdays. See if I can coax Ellen out for morning runs -- or see if I can join Gina and Dre at work? (Scary!) Also, need to get on track for the Goofy training -- I think we're now at a point where we need to ramp up the long runs. 

Work! Keep making lists -- and try not to worry so much about the different projects. Spend a morning each week just making sure to tie up any little loose ends. have 2 lists to refer back to when you are having trouble staying on track to reach your goals.  Think about how you will feel if you reach your new NOW - in 4 -5 weeks.  It's gonna take some discipline, it's gonna take focus, you may need support (that's what we are for--along with your new boot camp buddies) -- you can do it!  

We want to see you at each workout.  YOU make a difference to the WHOLE GROUP.  Let's work/sweat hard, reach some goals, and have some fun this month!

Just reading the email makes me feel excited and happy. I am so pleased to have found Kerry and Vast Fitness!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Skagit Flats Half Marathon race report

Didn't have a lot of expectations about this race. I signed us up for it somewhat as a whim -- they have a very good medal, which always helps, but also because it just seemed like a good date for a race. But we hadn't raced in a while, so my goal was just to finish... with bonus happiness if we finished under 2:30 again.

The race has a patriotic theme, so I went to special effort with my toenails:
race-day toes
 Classy. Totally classy. Man I have ugly feet.

We got up, had half a bagel for breakfast, and then drove up to Burlington-Edison High School, home of the Tigers. Rowr. We picked up our numbers and shirts (red... sigh...) and then milled around for a while, enjoying the fact that they had proper bathrooms we could use. Proper bathrooms, generous parking... this race has it figured out. And by the way, the organizers kick some of the money to local school sports teams and search and rescue programs.

nice small group before the race
Eventually we followed the crowd to where we assumed the starting area was. We watched a bit of bad line strategy by the port-a-potties (people, there are only 7 or 8 of them, you don't have to stand 20 feet back so that you can see all of them at once...) -- and watched the line (or one strident member...) policing the front of the line from halfway back. Ahh, good times. 

Wil gets his race face on, I just smirk
Eventually we would hear the muffled "whah whah whah" of announcements, so we moved to the starting area. And, of course, took pictures...

we both show off our cheesy pre-race grins
There was a nice little rendition, sung live, of the national anthem, and then they said go... and we were all surprised that the race started like that. So quickly!

One possible weirdness.... we had all gathered on the wrong side of the timing mats... and essentially had to squeeze past them to get to the start. Now, I am sure they just reset the timing mats before the start. I'm sure of it. At least, I sure hope so.

Talk about a flat course -- there may have been a very slight but drawn-out elevation gain, but I only noticed one small rise. No wonder there was a large group of would-be Boston Qualifiers in the field! 

I always struggle at the start of the race. I find myself doing a little mental examination, inventorying any little ache, pain, or niggle. Left knee feels a little wonky. Right achilles is a little sore. Funny bone pain in my left foot. Slightly queasy. And I always have that, "Hmm... don't really have it today" feeling. But at least I KNOW I always feel that way, so I just plod through it. I spend time thinking about what I'll blog about. Sometimes I try to come up with a good subheadline. But this time, I just decided to keep moving. And I distracted myself by admiring the pretty scenery.

lovely Skagit Valley
The weather was perfect -- cool, overcast, not too breezy. Apparently last year it was HOT HOT HOT, so people were chatting about the lovely grey day.

I don't know the Skagit Valley very well -- other than La Conner, I guess -- so the twists and turns meant nothing to me. I do know that eventually we reached a turnaround, which made me very, very happy. I decided not to look at my watch at that point. I had just eaten a tasty Vanilla Bean Gu so was feeling fine, fine, fine.

Until we turned and realized that we had been running with a tailwind. Oops. Not a huge tailwind, but more than a gentle headwind on the way back. Luckily, it didn't last all that long. And on we went.

Was pretty pleased to see how many people were actually still behind us. It probably makes me a bad person, but that's one of my favorite parts of out-and-back courses. Not only to you get to see the leaders as they come back at you, you also get to see the back-of-the-packers. And, yes, I cheer for both.

At some point, probably at mile 9, I sensed that Wil was speeding up. I looked at my watch for the our elapsed time... hmmm. We're well ahead of schedule. Of course, I usually struggle with miles 11 and 12, so it probably wasn't all that strange that we were ahead of our usual pace. But I did realize that, well, I now regularly run 4 miles in under 40 minutes, which would give us a huge PR.

Not that I wanted to say anything to Wil.. I kept this dark secret to myself. Also knowing that, when I regularly run 4 miles in under 40 minutes, it's on fresh legs in the morning, rather than after 9 miles of running...

So on we went. I sneaked another peek at 10 miles. Yep, still on track for a huge PR.

Eleven miles. Sharp pain in my right achilles. Still on track for a big (if not huge) PR. Ouch. Head down, feet moving.

Twelve miles. Achilles screaming, as is my hamstring. Guess that's what happens if you try to alter your stride. Still on track for a big PR. Remember that there is still a mile to go. I decide to distract myself by counting my breathing in and out -- every 50 is another minute gone. Keep moving. Keep moving.

The school is in sight. We reel in a runner, then two more. We take one more walk break -- just 30 seconds so we don't stiffen up -- and Wil asks what our PR is. I say, "We could walk the rest of the way and still beat it." "But what IS it?" "2:21. Or 2:20. Something like that." We start running again, and pass two more runners. I feel a little jerky about it, but we were on a mission.

We make a turn toward the stadium because we're finishing on the track -- and pass the 13-mile mark. I see timing mats and grab Wil's hand... realizing slightly too late that those are just the "cue the announcer who's coming" mats. We've got another 100 yards to go. Sigh.

We're both trying to sprint and pumping one of our arms while holding hands with the other and staring at the big clock. Tick, tick, tick. And then, smooch, we're done.

I feel woozy and a little unbalanced as I collect my pretty medal and then wander over to the chip removal. Nice touch -- they had little footrests for the runners. Another classy touch. Oh, and did I mention the Skagit Runners have their own timing chips? AND their own garbage cans on the course. Very, very nice set-up.

We stretched a little, drank some water, and cheered in a few runners. But then I started to get a little cold so we just decided to head to the car. On the way we passed a post-race snack buffet, where I loaded up on delicious Great Harvest bread, some potato chips and pretzels, and half a banana. Perfect!

So I know what you're asking yourself. What was their time? Well. Nike+ has me at 2:16:59... and I think I remembered to start my watch as I crossed over the starting mat and very shortly after crossing the finish mat. So that's pretty close. And our previous PR, you ask? 2:21:16. Yowza!

I set a number of running goals for myself this year -- with the biggest, most "stretch" goal being to set a PR -- either in the half marathon or the 5K. Since I had been doing more short runs and actually thinking about getting a little faster, I thought I might be able to squeak out a PR on a good 5K. So imagine my surprise -- and complete delight -- to get a PR in a half. Just, wow.

I think the key was staying calm and just deciding NOT to whine through miles 11 and 12. I'm not saying I feel like I can keep bettering this time by much -- but I'm really proud of what we've done this year. Wil didn't even have to prod me much today -- other than cutting our final walk to 30 seconds.

Something amusing I just noticed -- the fastest I ran all day was the final 0.1 mile at the finish. Yeah, talk about finishing strong!

this is what a PR looks like!

and a handsome medal, to boot!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sneaky sneaky test day!

Good turnout for Wednesday morning boot camp! We warmed up on the lower field -- which seemed strange since it was SO DARK. And then I noticed that Kerry was holding her pad of paper.... and realized that she was going to run the fitness test today rather than Friday. Sneaky, sneaky Kerry!

But it was good -- we started with the usual mile run. I started out WAY too fast -- and slowed WAAAAAAAAY down on the fourth lap. But I made myself keep plodding along!

Split one: 1:55 (oops)
Spilt two: 4:02 (really, oops)
Split three: 6:15 (at least I think that's what it was... but my fingers were tingling and I was trying to work out what the heck was causing that...)
Split four: 8:27 -- a two-second PR. :)

I had really hoped to improve a bit more -- but again, I've got to get my pacing sorted out. I still really really struggle with that.

Then pushups -- where I did 21 military and 12 modified. (Last time: 22 and 12. Bummer.)

And sit-ups -- where I did 24, I think... or maybe 30? Can't remember... And, no, I can't remember last time either.

Then squat hold -- where, because Paul and I were distracting each other, I went over 2 minutes for the first time. Huzzah!

And then, plank. Where I think I held for over two minutes as well. Both of the holds were MUCH longer than I had done before -- but I think it's just working on distracting myself rather than my strength.

Kerry promises us "fun" on Friday -- which Ellen interpreted as "fun" and I interpreted it as "ass-kicking". Of course, as Ellen said it, we both laughed and she said, "Yeah, that Pollyanna Dumbass attitude gets me into trouble a lot..."


Monday, September 3, 2012

Holiday Boot Camp!

Awesome workout this morning with Kerry and the boot campers! I was impressed by the turnout -- twelve people, including two evening campers. We did lots and lots of arm work today, so I expect to be thoroughly sore by tomorrow.

Also looking forward to Bumbershoot -- day 3. We're going to take it pretty easy today -- the main act we want to see is Skrillex at 9:30 tonight.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

August wrap-up

Missed hitting my running goal for August by 3.5 miles. One easy run. And I simply couldn't make myself go on Thursday the 30th. Not sure why, exactly, other than that my knees felt really stiff after the hill running at boot camp on the Wednesday. Anyway, I decided that it was okay to let myself have an extra day of rest if I "needed" it.

That said, 56.56 miles in August isn't too shabby! I should be able to top 60 in September -- even if I'm a bit behind in my goal of 600 miles in 2012.

Boot camp has been good -- including Friday's fierce session, where after warming up and then playing tag, we trooped across the street and ran repeats up the big stairs at the Aqua Theater. So. Hard. Seriously tough. I felt woozy a couple of times, and made sure to use a handrail on each trip down the small stairs. But the morning was gorgeous -- wish I had had a camera to capture how pretty it was!

Tomorrow being Labor Day, Kerry is holding a slightly later workout -- 7am, so we can "sleep in" -- looking forward to that!

In other news, Wil and I spent the last two days at Bumbershoot, which has left me feeling a little, well,  Bumbershot. We left early today so that we can be in fine form tomorrow!

Today was the Disneyland Half Marathon, which I admit to being a little sad to have missed. Maybe next year -- if they still have that GORGEOUS medal, anyway!

I do just wish the course was more interesting... Which reminds me that I finally took a careful look at the WDW Half Map:

I think it's essentially the same as when we ran in 2009 and 2010, so no surprises there.

And I already knew about the changes to the full Marathon course -- which eliminates the "dreaded" (ha) out-and-back, puts everyone in the Magic Kingdom much earlier in the course, and has taking a pretty convoluted course through the Wide World of Sports complex -- which I don't think seems like a very fun thing to do.

Still, really looking forward to the races. Now just need to get back on track with the training!!!

No half marathons this weekend -- but one each of the next two weeks. We should do well in the Skagit Flats race, perhaps less so in the Edmonds one... but we'll see.