Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alea Iacta Est

I always have said I am like a mule, once I know a path, why to change it? If something works really well, why to do it differently? If a dish is delicious why to order some other that could disappoint me? I like to go for the sure thing... In short... Why to fix it, if not broken?

Though I adapt well to change, I only change things because circumstances that I can't control. Or, because after a thorough thought process I have come to the conclusion that change might be positive (this has happened very seldom).

As a dumb example, I had light brown hair in my teens (with some copper tones). All my friends, and family recommended me to get highlights. I wanted to do it, but was afraid of the change.  When 32, I went to the hair salon and got my highlights. It took me SIXTEEN years to go for the change.

For the last 4 years I have faced a similar situation. I wanted to hire a coach after going from a 5:54 marathon in 2007 to a 5:17 in 2008. I thought that if without much knowledge and change on training I improved almost 40 minutes, I could get heck of a help with an expert. I did some coach shopping but never dared to hire one.

In 2009 I knew who I wanted to hire, but was afraid of the change. What if? what if? what if? Then Eugene came along in 2010 with a 5:06 PR, a bone bruise kept me under-trained for a 5:10 in NY and 8 weeks after, Jan 2011, and without training, I clocked a 4:59 in Arizona... A PR.

Arizona results were the key. Though a 4:59 marathon could be a slow marathon for a lot of people, it is, age-grade calculated, a 4:00 marathon for somebody in the open division. It puts me in the 56 percentile. And because I ran without effort, I knew there is, in figure of speech, fat to lean out. A coach, I firmly believe, would be the best butcher to trim that fat out.

So, after three years I made the final decision, or... I dared to face the man. I met him last Tue, talked about what I need and asked for help to get me out of my comfort zone. Ran with his group a tempo run, felt more than wonderful, and signed "the contract".

A coach has been hired. As we say in English, the die is cast... as in one of my favorite languages Alea Iacta Est. 


The race of the week: Run For Tina. A 5K-run in honor of Tina DeLong Griswold, Lakewood PD Officer, killed in the line of duty.

This was a Washington State tragedy that occurred on Nov 29, 2009. A man entered in a coffee shop and killed 4 police officers that were prepping for their daily work. It was our 9/11, shocking. It took us a while to recover.

The race was a success, no matter the rain!!! God bless Tina, and every Law Enforcement Officer that serves us.

BTW, I PR with a 26:43!!!! and without coaching yet...

Tina DeLong Griswold

Tina DeLong Griswold

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Running Lessons

Though I wanted to run a marathon every eight weeks, I didn't find anything close to home for a March race. NV has one (Red Rock Canyon) but I am afraid is a real "canyon". Eight weeks is not enough time to get those hills on me. I accommodated the schedule and planned one in 18 weeks, on May 29th: Coeur D'Alene, ID. This place is pretty much in my backyard and will be about a 5-hour drive. Hubby will go with me, taking his boat to go fishing in his territory.

This week I wanted to have a good recovery from AZ and planned to run very little though I wasn't sore, and/or didn't have any pain. My extremely fast recovery is certainly a gift, but I still respect the distance and the muscle damage that I don't see or feel, but I know it comes included with a 26.2 doses. I ran 3 very easy miles on Tue, and ran a 10-mile race today (resolution run series in Ft. Steilacoom). Daughter joined me to run the other distance in the series, a 10K. I planned my 10-miles as an LSD, but started faster than 10K pace. The field that runs these races is very fast, and it was hard to avoid going bananas at the beginning of the race. Of course I paid the price. On a nice 39F, partly sunny day, I was spent at mile 5. The second half was a miracle. I still got an avg LSD pace, but that was not the way to achieve it. For me, an even pace is the way. This happens very seldom to me, but heck, every day teaches us a lesson and I treasure every one of them, especially if they are Running Lessons. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hitting A Triple

My 50 marathons in 50 states quest has officially started. I ran WA ('07 & '08), OR ('10), and NY ('10) as marathons I wanted to do, but after NY, I made the decision of my 50/50 mission; a mission that may take me 10 years, but I am committed to do it. And when I commit, I do.

Arizona, 8 weeks from NY, was the guinea pig to determine if Hal Higdon's eight-week plan between marathons could work for me. I have to confess that I was a total slacker during the eight weeks. I ran a total of 107 miles, for a 13 miles per week, and the low mileage was not due to illness, or too much work, or some "acceptable" excuse. The reason was laziness. Though AZ results would tell me how capable I would be of pulling off a marathon in 8 weeks, the lack of training put me in the verge of a nervous breakdown. The only thing that kept me confident was that I had covered all long runs including the 20-miler.

I traveled on Friday night with fellow runners Shannon and Susan to conquer my 4th state which would be run through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. Our flight was uneventful, our hotel cozy and everything was simply perfect. Saturday morning was dedicated to the Expo, and after that, I went back to my hotel to do what I do the day before a marathon: nothing.

My dear friend Gina, from college times in Venezuela, and who lives in Tempe, picked me up for the carboload dinner. She immediately declared herself my personal agent who would take care of me, pick me up at 6 am to go to the race, and spoil me after the race (Shannon and Susan were running the Half which had different start times). Gina drove me through the area, I enjoyed the vegetation and mountains which are of course, so different than my Pacific Northwest (PNW) mountains and vegetation.

Dinner was as delicious as Buca Di Beppo food can be (I am a fan of this franchise). Plenty of food, tons of conversations about our college times, and catching up with life.

On morning race, Gina showed up at 5:50 am and took me to the start line. Temperature was in 47F/8C and expected to climb to 60F/15C by my finish time. I was a little bit concerned about the heat, but it seemed a manageable temperature. I wandered around to feel the Rock and Roll atmosphere, visited the porta-potties a couple of times, and got ready for the 7:40 start.

The course in general was nothing special and the crowd to cheer runners up was nonexistent. Residential areas were pretty and I enjoyed a lot the architecture and home landscaping, but I would loved the race going throughout the desert, at least for some miles, to have the opportunity to run around Southwest nature. Instead, we ran around strip malls.

I was very comfortable the first half of the race. At this point, the temperature was at 55F/13C which was perfect due to the dry atmosphere.  When I run in WA, in a cold but sunny day I have to pour water on my head, but in AZ I never felt hot though it was sunny and in high 50's. At mile 16 I started to fall apart, and I thought I was going to be in trouble, but some magic happened. At mile 18 I stuck behind a couple running at 10:45 - 11:10 min/mile. I ran the whole mile behind them at that pace, and felt great. I grabbed water at mile 19 and passed them to continue at a good pace. At mile 20 I had the indication that I could PR and sent a command, bring it on.

The last 10K were great. Thinking on the 20-miler I did with my daughter, I put all my thoughts and energy in one, and only one mile at a time. When I got to mile 25 I saw the 5 hr pacer; then I knew that, not only I had a PR, but that I had the chance to break 5. I sped up and the pace went from 11:20ish to 10:50 for the last mile.

At mile 26.2 I saw myself achieving three things: finishing; PRing and breaking a mark. In short, I saw myself Hitting A Triple. 


PR by 7 minutes and breaking 5 hours
With my kids at SEATAC

With fellow runners, Shannon and Susan
The route: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
With my personal agent Gina the night before the race
Eggplant Parmigiana for after the race!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Year Ends... A Year Starts

I love the end of a running year to collect all my stats and see how it went. Though is something I can tell throughout the months, just having all the numbers together gives me a better picture of how wonderful 2010 was for me.

Here are my stats... and I am proudly keeping my title of a "Racing Fool".

1,140 miles / 1,820 Km 

31 races:
  • Two Marathons
  • One 30K
  • One 15-Miler
  • 14 Half-Marathons
  • Two Ten-Milers
  • Two 12K
  • Five 10K
  • One 8K
  • Three 5K
One injury (bone bruise due to a small accident) which sidelined me for 3 months.

    I closed the year the way I like it, running a half-marathon on New Years Eve. It was a fantastic race, at 27F / -3C, with the beautiful scenery of the Olympic Mountains. The event was organized six weeks prior to the 31st as a 30-person run, but ended as a race with 282 runners. It was a success.

    2010 was definitely a successful running year, being the highlight events the two marathons: Eugene, Running in the footsteps of legends, and New York, confirming that the best of times is now.

    My new goal, set after NYC marathon, is the 50/50.  I will continue racing as a fool. I will continue dedicating my weekends to get up at whatever hour is needed, to drive as many miles are needed, to get to whatever race is available. I just love it, and that is the fuel that keeps me going.

    2011 is here, the race calendar is filling up pretty quick and the racing started. A nice White Elephant 5-miler with my beautiful daughter around our state capitol. Gorgeous!!! And I was so lucky that I won a pair of running shoes... Oh, and I PRd....

    A Year Ends... A Year Starts... 

    Last race of the year 2010. Yukon Do It Half Marathon - New Years Ever, Port Orchard, WA

    First race of 2011. White Elephant 5-miler, Olympia, WA (And I PRd, BTW)