Sunday, February 24, 2013


After doing an evaluation of my training and results last week, I realized that I had lost anaerobic capacity. The HMs were costing me a little bit more than during the last quarter of 2012. I recognized that it is because I have done only  a handful of anaerobic work after St. George (STG). Then I told to myself, or you do your Yassos, or you do your Yassos. 

The 800s is more an anaerobic than aerobic work, but it’s a well-balanced distance because you must have anaerobic power for speed, and must have aerobic power to race it. Imagine if you have to do 10 of them!. Of course you are not racing them but you want to run them as fast as you can keeping each of them at the same pace (or close); you want to do them consistent).

On Feb 14 I ran a short run in the morning planning on 5 Yassos in the afternoon. After work, I went to the lockers and decided "no, I won’t do them, I’ll rest." When I came back to my desk, I knew that I was simply afraid of doing them. I wasn’t tired, I didn’t need to rest, I was just afraid of running the distance which is hard, and I was more afraid of not being able to keep up with my pre-STG paces. Then I said: "You’re such an idiot."

I went back to the lockers, changed to running gear, and went to the track. Plan: 5 Yassos. Go do it. I warmed up and after my first Yasso, I knew how off I was: 15 to 20 seconds. That’s a lot considering is half a mile. Next message to myself: "Keep doing them, better being 20 seconds off than not doing them at all." I completed 6 to exceed my own expectations and give me a pat in the back (equivalent to a cookie for a dog). Results were 3:40 - 3:35 - 3:41 - 3:35 - 3:39 - 3: 38. Prior to STG on my same week of training the Yassos were: 3:27 - 3:25 - 3:25 - 3:25 - 3:20. The conclusion was “You have work to do!”

This week, I went for 7 Yassos. I ran 8 (I wanted that cookie). They were pretty much consistent with last week’s:  3:28 - 3:37 - 3:34 - 3:44 - 3:44 - 3:40 - 3:40 - 3:38, still off compared to the very same week prior to STG (3:17 - 3:20 - 3:22 - 3:23 - 3:24 - 3:24) but at least I was working my heart out (and legs) instead of being afraid. 

Curiously, after the 6 Yassos I ran a great HM in Birch Bay. What happened was that the Yassos reminded me how the anaerobic breathing was. I ran very hard the second half of Birch Bay but not uncomfortable, and I had great negative splits of (57:20 1st Half; 54:16 2nd Half). Then this weekend I ran a 15-miler race and it felt easier from the start without even breathing too hard. I was surprise with the speed change. Coincidence? I don’t know, but next week I’ll go for 9, with one under the sleeve to achieve 10 (and get the cookie). I am so happy that I battled the fear calling 1-800-10YASSO.

Race #190 - First Call President's Day Half Marathon - Bothell, WA - Feb 16, 2013 - 1:57:15 - 8:58 min/mile. First half ran at 9:10 (1:00:00), second half ran at 8:45 (57:15). Adrian Call had a nice fire ready for us to get warm after the race.

The course was longer than a 13.1 course. My splits (measured against the trail posts) indicated that they were in the 1st half around 9 min/mile and in the 2nd half between 8:08 and 8:40. People with GPS told me it was 0.2 longer.

Race #191 - Birch Bay Half Marathon - Birch Bay, WA - Feb 17, 2013 - 1:51:36 - 8:32 min/mile. EXCELLENT RACE, great splits. Felt awesome ALL the way. Pouring rain from mile 5 to 8.5.

The best part: Have you ever been pulled over by a cop while running a race? Well, ME!!!. Coming down the hill after mile 8 at 6:55 min/mile and under heavy rain: I decided to cross the road before it was supposed to be crossed. A cop saw me and took his radio/megaphone, and yelled: "Runners must face traffic." I kept going because I was pretty close to the intersection, and he goes: "Runner 135, cross the road. You must face traffic." The next thing I hear is a car coming at full speed and stopping by me. "Cross the road!." Darn it, I did, to cross it back again 100 yards later. I was thinking "If he pulls me over, I ain't stopping".

1- 9:17
2- 8:30
3- 9:11
4- 8:41
5- 8:21
6- 8:41
7- 9:10
8- 9:11
9- 6:55
10- 8:16
11- 8:38
12- 8:00
13- 7:53
13.1 - 0:47 (7:53)

Race #192 - Ft. Steilacoom 15 miles/24Km - Steilacoom, WA - Feb 23, 2013 - 2:11:04 - 8:45 min/mile. Great run, but was pretty much wiped out after mile 9...PR by 18 min. In 2011 I ran this race in 2:49, in 2012 in 2:29, so I was planning running this one in 2:09 for another 20 min cut. At the turn around I was exactly in 1:04:30 but I knew I was going to lose some ground. 2 min that I could care less. I am very happy! (and got the division)!

1- 8:48
2- 8:37
3- 8:50
4- 8:10
5- 8:22
6- 8:42
7- 8:43
8- 8:43
9- 8:54
10- 8:38
11- 8:58
12- 9:23 (that hill!)
13- 8:40
14- 9:01
15- 8:27

Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Is Rolling

Running and races, races and running. The year is moving fast and I am training for Boston... A blink of an eye, almost two months have passed, and I have not blogged at all. So, no stories today, just a quick account on my running and races.

White Elephant 5 miler was the start race of the year on January 6th in the state capital. I ran a good race, with a one-minute PR but couldn't maintain my 10K pace. Mile 4 to 5 was an  uphill battle towards the Capitol, and it felt eternal and heavy. After that race I traveled to Miami for a Workshop with no races available on the area so a weekend went blank. In top of that, I got sick with food poisoning at the hotel where I stayed. The whole crew that was with me in the Workshop (about 60 people) had the same food I had but I was the only one... so I can't blame it on the food "in general".

When I flew back home, Nookachamps, my first Half Marathon of the year was waiting for me.  had a terrible week after leaving my heart and soul in a bathroom in Florida, almost being sent to the hospital, and spending 36 hours in bed. My body had very hard time consuming food and water after that and I was still dehydrated by race day. With all that, I had good splits till mile 8, when I started fading. I finished in 1:55:00 - 8:47 min/mile and 9th place in the division. My friend Eric Hanson cared so much and provided me Gatorade at the end of the race in my way to recovery.  I think the results were great all things considered. The greatest discovery of all was that with the freezing temperatures we had (26F/-3C) ski gloves could be used for running. My cold hands problem has been solved. 

Tukwila to Alki Half Marathon was next on Jan 26; point to point where Eric H. and I managed to have one car at the start and one at the finish. It was an open course and without mile markers and no watch, I had no idea of pace, or distance; I only went by feel. As soon as I entered in Alki trail I knew we were about 4 miles from the finish line. I pushed the pace to a tempo run, and I am pretty sure my last 3 miles were under 8. I couldn't feel better. At about mile 11 I was approaching and passing two guys when one of the organizers was driving by. He yelled at the guys: YOU'RE BEING CHICKED. I was running hard, but, boy, if I got a greater incentive to run harder. I just flew. I think I got more than a minute ahead of the guys. The organizer didn't waste a second to document the chick action! I finished in 1:52:37 - 8:36 min/mile. The temperature was very nice (41F/5C).
Here she comes!
She is GONE!

Following day, on Jan 27 I ran a 5K to honor Officer Jayme Biendl who was killed by a Monroe prison inmate, on Jan 29, 2011. As I climbed the hill towards the prison and ran through it, I got the chills. I ran in 22:39 for a 7:16 min/mile and I was the first lady. I measured the course later, and it was 3 miles, and as I am very strict with myself I can't claim this as a PR. I will wait until I do this very same time or better at a certified course. 

Then a couple of 25K races. West Seattle Fat Ass 25K (15.53 miles) on Feb 03 and 1,000,000 inches (25.4K) on Feb 10. 

West Seattle Fat Ass was a fabulous run in one of the most scenic areas in town: 25K all along the gorgeous sound. Priceless. I felt good all the run, never tired, or desperate. It was a wonderful day to share with friends, and throw ourselves into the fireplace afterwards. Boy, it was cold!  I ran it in 2:21:37 for a 9:07 min/mile. 4th place female (no beer for me - that was the prize: home-brewed beer!!!).  

Million Inch (25.4K) run was another great race where I felt as good as West Seattle's. This race was a tad longer and I ran it a little bit faster. The race director, Steve Barrick, always puts good races. I felt awesome all the race, and Luis accompanied this time again. I had a good kick at the end but it was a little bit late though. I finished in 2:20:08 for an 8:53 min/mile. The temperature was perfect (40F/4C). I finished that week logging 60 miles/96K  which tells me that my legs are getting the endurance.

As you can see my friends, 2013 Is Rolling!!!

2012 Stats

I never thought I would have a better running year than 2011. Boy, if I was wrong. 2012 was nothing but amazing. I ran 62 races in 2012: 3 marathons, 43 Half Marathons or up to 20 miles, and 16 races between 5K and 10miles (16K).

I ran 1,851 miles (2,960 Km) and had fabulous daily runs with my running partner. There were never bad runs or races; they could have been hard or challenging but never bad. I don’t measure success because I became a faster runner, I measure success with running making me happier every single day. And because I am very competitive, I indeed chased fast times. The ice on the cake was to get excellent records. I got crowned 2012 10K champion for USATF Pacific Northwest for the F55-59 division. I got in the Washington State Top 5 for the 10K and in the Top 10 for the 5K and the Marathon. I PRd every single of the distances, especially noting 5K-23:08 / 10K-47:50 / Half Marathon-1:45:22 / Marathon-3:56:39, and with the latter, I qualified for Boston, a race that I never thought I would get into, considering than my first marathon was 5:54, 5 years ago. I worked hard for it… And I will continue working hard, racing a lot, and running for happiness; life is short. If speedy times come along, they are certainly welcome, but they don't define me. I love you all my running friends, thanks for being part of my running story... Have an amazing 2013!
My last races of the year were Santa Run Tacoma 5K; 12K of Kirkland; Seattle Locks Half Marathon on December 30 and Yukon Do It Half Marathon in Port Orchard on New Years Eve. 

Santa Runs Tacoma had a screw up in the timing. I ran it supposedly in 22:58 - 7:24 min/mile. I had been in the top 5 in Washington State for the last 6 months, but somebody bumped me out from the list this December. Today was the last chance I had to regain my spot. I went to this race with a mission: to run 23:03 or faster. I ran hard, won the division, got 22 female out of 611 and though the results say I did get my place back in the Washington Best Times List for 2012 with 22:58, I don't think the official times were accurate but some seconds faster; most of runners agreed that happened. At least all of us were measured under the same clock. Anyway, I hope they fix the results because I don't want to bump somebody that deserves better than me to be in the Top 5.

12K of Kirkland was the race I had been waiting for YEARS... Well not the race, but the results: I ran it in 59:16 - 7:57 min/mile. 5th in the division. I broke my PR of 15 years (my first race ever was a 12K in Caracas in 1997 in 1:07). The race was extremely cold in über hilly Kirkland. Started very windy which made it COLDER (33F.) I went to run as hard as I could. Nice seeing friends and enjoying another day on the road. My splits below are in Km as that's how I started to lap it after I saw the first sign in K.

1- 5:10 

2- 4:47
3- 5:18
4- 5:00
5- 5:31
6- 5:29
7- 4:47
8- 4:31
9- 4:23
10- 4:53
11- 4:50
12- 4:30
Seattle Locks Half Marathon was a hard race but nothing IS hard when I was celebrating 4 years of my surgery. Life is beautiful. I ran a 2:05:10 - pace 9:33. 3rd female overall. Some of the minutes while waiting some traffic lights in very busy intersections (open course by Green Lake, Stone Way, and Lake Union). The weather was great, cold 35F, but dry and no wind. Ending the race running Stone Way uphill and the hill I used to run for hill sprints... well... was very challenging!!!

For those that say that runners should rest: WRONG... After being in my PJs all Christmas week, I felt stiff. Also, NEVER do a new legs-workout 3 days before a race... (that was my incentive seeing Amanda Hoskins Holidays' postings... NOT GOOD. Should've stayed with the wine workout..)

Yukon Do It was also hard. I have not run with sore legs for a while. These soreness, again product of a stupid work out not-running related. At mile 10, the 2-hour pacer told me, if you want to stick with us you can break 2. I was like "What"? I have been running under 1:50 and now I was struggling for a 2:00. I sped up and finished in 1:58:27 - 3rd place division. However, I made the right decision of skipping the Half Marathon on the First Day of the Year. I have done 3 in a row and had been fine, but my legs were simply out of business. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------