Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Time Three Weeks Before A Marathon Means A 20-Miler

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid... At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade... So the song goes.

And I have a marathon in three weeks... clearly meaning that I have a mandatory 20-miler during Christmas weekend. Christmas time means go out and run. But not any run. It shall be a long run, a very long run, and with the cold, the wind, and the rain, it shall be a very long, tough run. And because my training for Arizona has been so pathetic, it shall be a very long, tough, painful run.

In the last four weeks I have only run 50 miles, for a 12.5 miles per week. Three of the weeks were plagued with asthma sending me to the doctor to get controlled with cortisone. After a quick improvement I started having less suffering during my runs and races and starting logging more miles. The compulsory 20-miler needed to be logged, whatever the conditions were. And I mentioned how dreadful the weather was going to be.

Then, my daughter offered a Christmas gift (another one; her presence this Christmas was the best gift). Her magnificent gift today was: Mom, I'll go with you, I'll ride the bike. All of a sudden, the cold just felt like 37F, the wind was only 15 mph, and the rain was welcomed to refresh my face.  So here we go, all full of hope that everything was going to be just fantastic. It's Christmas time. Light will be in and shade will be banished.

Mile 1 & 2 - I warm up
Mile 3 & 4 - Daughter paces me
Mile 5 - I feel my legs
Mile 6 to 9 - I am getting behind
Mile 10 - We turn around
Mile 12 - I am exhausted. I start the whining.
Mile 14 - I want to quit. Daughter says: Mom, only a 10K left
Mile 16 - I am dragging my feet, I want to lay down on the mud. I can't go any further. Daughter says: Mom, think of one mile only
Mile 17 - I am chilly, and whining continues. Daughter says: Mom, I am going to kick your butt
Mile 18 - I didn't complain. Daughter says: Only 2 miles
Mile 19 - Is it true? Only one mile left? Daughter says: Yes, only one
Mile 20 - Job done. Daughter and I take a picture with choppy Lake Washington in the background.

Christmas Time Three Weeks Before A Marathon Means A 20-Miler.

Races done since November 28:

Dec 12 - Christmas Rush, 10K, Kent, WA. I had very bad asthma for the first 4 miles. I used the inhaler more than 30 times during the hour. Then decided to get a pulmonologist appointment.

Dec 18 - Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA - Good run, considering asthma is improving, and that only rained from mile 8 to 13!!!

Dec 19 - 12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA - Fun, fun run. I had a blast. My beautiful daughter ran the 5K. I got a nice outfit: My Christmas tree skirt, the stocking of my childhood (since I am ~8ish), a nice pair of Christmas socks and Santa's hat that daughter got me. 
Christmas Rush, 10K, Kent, WA
Christmas Rush, 10K, Kent, WA
Christmas Rush, 10K, Kent, WA
Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA
Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA

Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA
Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA

Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA
Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA
Santa Classic Half Marathon, Rochester, WA
12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA
12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA
12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA

12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA

12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA
12Ks of Christmas, Kirkland, WA

And the 20-miler in Burke Gilman Trail with one of the best companies I can have: My adorable daughter!!!

I love you pretty baby

2.7 miles for the turn around.
Mom, come on, follow me!!!
20-miles done
20-miler pride

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seattle, My Must Do

When Thanksgiving week gets into town, Seattle hosts a marathon. And though you would ask, who wants to run a marathon after Thanksgiving in that cold and rainy weather, 17,000 runners say: We do.

My first marathon ever was Seattle, and as a first marathon it left in me that mark, like the first kiss, like the first love. It reserved a place that no other can take, or replace. It is engraved in the heart forever. My second marathon was Seattle and the improvement was abysmal. Then 2009 debacles came along and after not being able to train for marathons I trained for my first Half ever: Seattle. As a Half, it was a total different meaning and a total different love. Recorded.

By 2010, I decided to change marathon seasons and ran Eugene in the Spring. Registered in New York City Marathon thinking that the odds of getting in were very low, but I got in, I was IN. After NYCM, I made the hard decision to run in every state of our beautiful country. Because of that, I would not be able to run Seattle Marathon again, as I need the time and the energy for other states; however, the Half is there for me. I can still run a course that I know like the back of my hand, and the best of all, 100% of the marathon hills are available in the half course, so no worries, the training comes with all!!!  I did 2:34:39 using a strategy that obviously didn't work for me. I didn't follow the pace but ran by HR. The result was an 11-minute slower race than my Seattle course time (2:23:21 last year) but I am still happy. Last year Seattle Half was the race I trained for. With speed, tempo and long runs. And tapering. This year, it was just a training run, plus my first long run after NYCM.

Today Seattle hosted a field of 17,000 runners. I am happy to belong, and as life permits, I hope to always, be part of that field. Seattle, My Must Do.

6:45 am. Race starts at 7:30 am

Our Seattle icon, my gorgeous needle, behind awesome Experience Music Project (EMP) designed by Architect Frank Geary

At mile 13 I saw my son with this sign. He always runs with me the last mile. Due to his recent ACL surgery, he couldn't run, but he still was there. Hug and a Big Kiss...Thanks my son!!!

I am happy running road races week after week... until life permits.

The prior weekend (11/21/10) I ran the Green Lake Gobble, to see how I would perform in a 5K. As I've trained 32 weeks for two marathons I did not race but longer distances. My 5K PR is in this course 27:27 (2009) when I trained mainly speed. This year I finished in 29:03.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Taste After

There is always a taste after a marathon, about the whole experience. It could be exciting, it could be dreary. It could be sweet, it could be bitter. It could be warm, it could be cold. It could be lovely, it could be awful. It could be a dream, it could be a nightmare.

After NYCM I had time to taste many things. First taste was the taste of race results. I had a 5:10 time. For the training I did, 30 miles per week, I felt very satisfied. Especially, after age-grading the results: A 4:12 marathon time for an open division. I ran very comfortable all the course. I was never exhausted, my feet never hurt, my legs never wanted to stop. I walked three miles immediately after the marathon, went to dinner, and I wasn't sore. On Monday I wasn't sore, on Tuesday I wasn't sore, on Wednesday I wasn't sore, and I wasn't sore for the rest of the week. I don't know if the lack of soreness is due to me participating in races a lot, and having a very easy recovery or that I have a lot more in my legs that could be used. Please, feel free to chime in. My heart rate avg was 161; 84%, which is pretty much the recommendation for running a marathon (I've become a HR geek). So the general taste of my race was more than satisfactory, it was exciting.

Then I tasted a full time week ahead of me, enjoying NYC with my adorable daughter. Slept in, had coffee and cookies, went to Broadway shows, visited family and friends, stayed the last days in a nice little studio in a brownstone building in Brooklyn to have a taste of living away of exhilarating Manhattan. We enjoyed NY skylines from different points of the city. We ate and walked around holding hands. The world was at our feet. Then we kissed and said goodbye, she left to DR, I came back to Seattle. The taste was so sweet and warm.

Back home, hubby waiting for me; going back to work; my 54th birthday; lunch with co-workers, dinner with hubby and son; the day after, another dinner with son and daughter in law; some days later, another dinner with friends. A lovely taste.

My personal birthday gift to me? Dean Karnazes visit to Seattle.

LL: Dean, you are probably tired of hearing this, but you are truly an inspiration to me
DK: I am happy to hear that I can inspire you
LL: And because of you, and my friend Shirley, I decided to run 50 marathons in 50 states
DK: That's awesome
LL: But I won't do it in 50 days
DK: Why not? Well... may be you are smarter... than me?
LL: No Dean. I don't have your DNA
DK: How many?
LL: 4 (*)
DK: 4 down, 46 to go, never stop
LL: Age could be an issue
DK: How old are you?
LL: 54 yesterday
DK: I am right behind you with 48. Age is not an issue

And then I left with a decision made. A decision that I had been weighing but wanted to determine if I could run a marathon working out only 30 miles per week. I ran it. And it was New York. I tasted the dream. And here I go, with Arizona R&R next. In a couple of months.

Nothing like a savory taste after a marathon. A taste that is exciting, sweet, warm, lovely, and a dream. That was The Taste After.

(*) Dean meant how many states, I responded how many marathons total. I really have 3... Only 47 to go.

Dining at Quality Meats, Manhattan, with my class mate Hilda and her daughters.


Just having fun

At Broadway

La Cage Aux Folles.

La Cage Aux Folles. Formidable.

A gorgeous brownstone building in Prospect Heights where we stayed the last three days

A more than cozy room in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Drawing a skyline from Brooklyn

Walking by nice and cozy 7th Ave, Brooklyn

A beer at Water's Edge, Queens. In the back Queensboro Bridge, the worst portion of the race

Drawing Manhattan skyline from Queens

Drawing Manhattan skyline from Queens, East River

Arepas Cafe, Sabor Venezolano, Venezuelan Food, in Queens. Highly recommended. We preferred Arepas Cafe in Queens over Caracas Arepa Bar.  Arepas Cafe has better atmosphere, more variety of Venezuelan food, and better prices. And its owner, Riccardo Romero, is a a great person.

Arepas Cafe, Sabor Venezolano, Venezuelan Food, in Queens. Highly recommended. 

Caracas Arepa Bar, Manhattan. Venezuelan Food.

Dining with my adorable cousin Carol in Forest Hills, Queens. Carol, a true New Yorker, a true love.

Dining at Bistro Les Amis, in Soho
Dining at Oliva, Spanish Restaurant, in East Village with Ale's school friends

At JFK. A kiss and goodbye

Lizzie, 4 down, 46 to go. Never stop. Dean