Saturday, September 21, 2013


I had the best of plans to get up early and go for my first fall morning run today, Yes, the first day of fall is tomorrow but it feels like fall today and I wanted to celebrate with a run.

Everyone who knows me knows I love summer. I love having my kids home with me, the warm weather, swimming, paddleboarding, hiking and everything else that goes alone with summer. I like spring because it's closer to summer and it defrosts the cold winter weather. But fall is my favorite!

Living in Sacramento in the fall is great. We have lots, and lots, and lots of trees here. We have so many trees, one of the city's nicknames is "city of trees". As kids we learn in school that Sacramento is second only to Paris, France for the city with the most trees per capita in the world! (I am aware that it has been a long time since I was a child in school and that fun fact might not be fact anymore but I'm still proud of it.) While some of our tree population are evergreens many are not and we are treated to a rainbow of colored leaves every fall. Did I mention I love trees?

Back to today. I was going to get to up early and run! I was excited about this. I even fell asleep thinking about where I would run even though I was watching a show with Jeremy. I expected to wake up to my alarm going off and the house quiet full of my sleeping family. Instead, I woke up to my family talking in the kitchen, the sun already high in the sky and me in the bed alone. I was stiff and had a awful headache from the lack of caffeine in my blood stream. I looked at my phone and it was almost 10:00AM! What happened??? What happened to my glorious fall celebratory fun? And where is the coffee?

As I type, I'm drinking my coffee and the computer screen is slowly coming into better focus. (Thank goodness for spell check.) and I am trying to figure out what went wrong. For starters, my allergies have been really bad and my skin has been paying the price. Dry skin + eczema + season change = miserable Anna. Last night I decided to take a few of my dermatologist prescribed antihistamines in an effort to get a better night's sleep. I can only take them when I know I have time for a full night's sleep because whether I have time or not, that's what I'll be getting. They knock my ass out! Those little pills could have something to do with sleeping half the day away but I think they were only a contributing factor. Honestly, I think I'm just really tired. I had a similar over sleeping episode last Saturday too. Only, I don't remember taking my pills that time and I over slept even more than today. I think I'm just tired.

My work week has never been a walk in the park (even though it includes many walks in the park). Most days I get up at 4:30AM. I'm in the gym by 5:00 and back home by 6:00. I get the kids up, ready for school and make their lunches. Daycare opens at 6:30, Sam leaves for school at 7:00, Nevyn leaves at 7:30. Most of my daycare kids are here by breakfast, served at 8:30, and everyone is here by 9:00. We have lunch at noon, a snack after nap at 3:00 and everyone, my family included, has diner at 6:00. Daycare closes at 6:30 at which point I spend time with my kids, clean up after diner and take care of any other chores that need to be done before going to bed. It's a long and busy day but not more than I can handle, most of the time.

The dynamic of daycare has changed a lot. I used to have one infant, one toddler, three preschoolers and two schoolagers. Now that school is back in full swing I have an almost all new group of kids. Now I have two infants, one preschooler and three toddlers. In this case, you can substitute the word "toddler" for "2 year old". Yes, I have three 2 year olds. I love all my daycare kids like family. They  may as well all be my nieces and nephews because that's how I feel about them so please don't get the idea that I don't care for or like them. But it is a challenge. It's been years since I had a group like this. In fact, those kids who just left to go to school were the last group like this. That's how this business is. So it's going to take me some time to readjust to my new workload and I think that's the underlying reason I've over slept two Saturdays in a row. I think I will stop setting my alarm for Saturdays for a while and plan on running on Sunday mornings instead. My body is being pretty obvious that it needs some extra rest on Saturday mornings.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm still here and I'm still running

In case you you didn't notice, I stopped blogging... I've thought about blogs to write and even started a few as "drafts" but they seemed boring and dry so I never posted them. But today I feel like writing so I'm here to catch up on my races.

The last race I blogged about was the Running on the Elk half marathon in Elk Grove. That was in April... and it's September now... Thankfully I journal on the back of my race bibs so I don't have to actually remember the races I skipped blogging about. Here's a quick wrap-up of each race.

Zoo Zoom 5K April 14, 2013, 38:30
It's hard to believe that this was my first 5K since the Lou Gehrig run in January but it was. I knew my time wouldn't be anywhere close to my 5K PR so I chose to treat this run like a fun run. I, of course recored my time, but I wasn't going to seriously compare it to any of my past 5K's. I've been training for distance not speed and even tough this was a short race my legs got tight about half way through. Jeremy and the kids came to this one and their presence always make the finish special for me. Nevyn did the kids half mile. This was his first event since he broke his clavicle. He was vey excited! He hadn't done anything very physical in months and we were very proud of him for getting out there and participating. He had a goal of finishing in six minutes. He crushed that with a 5:30 finish!    

American River Parkway Half Marathon May 4, 2013, 3:46:21
This was half number 5 out of my year of 13. At the start I was only mildly cold in my shorts and tank top and this made me nervous. I like to be uncomfortably cold at the beginning of races, especially half marathons. Otherwise I run the risk of getting too hot too fast which can lead to a disaster. The temperature rose quickly and it didn't take long for me to get overheated. All year I hadn't been running with a hydration belt and that was a mistake for this race. For the first time ever I got dehydrated on the course and fought off muscle cramps in my legs and feet in the later miles. I was forced to walk the last five miles and I was miserable. The silver lining to this situation was meeting Iris. She's a middle aged woman with five kids, in nursing school who was running her first event. She's not a new runner and can out distance me day but she had never participated in a race before. She had a huge smile and is one of the happiest people I've ever met. She made those last five miles bearable for me and I'm sure that meeting her wasn't any coincidence. I finished in 3:46:21 not a time that makes me smile but this year is all about crossing the finish line and I did that with a new friend and that does make me smile.

Mermaid Series Half Marathon, East Bay May 11, 2013, 3:44:12
Yay, I love Mermaid events! I had joined Team Mermaid earlier in the year and have been training with the Mermaids for this event. Tracy, my running/yoag/Bodypump buddy came with me and ran the 5K. This event is in Fremont and I normally stay at a near by Motel 6. Cheesy, I know but also cheap and since I have to get up and be at the event location before the sun it seems silly to pay money on a more expensive room for a few hour of sleep. Tracy however, disagrees and didn't think the low expense is worth the Motel 6 experience, lol. If she comes with me next year we'll spurge for a nicer room somewhere else :) This race starts on an unpaved trail around Quarry Lakes. I have done this race for the last three years and I know it starts as a trail run but I seem to get amnesia during training and never train on trails. Because of this repeated newbie mistake my times here are never as good as they could be. However I was also contending with the heat. In the past it has been relatively cool while on the course. It gets a little warmer later on but not enough to need my hydration belt. This was not the case this year. It got hot! In addition to these other obstacles I had a cyst that had ruptured the day before the race and the placement of this monstrosity made it very painful to run. I spent a lot of time walking. Have I ever mentioned that I am the slowest walker on the planet? Well, I am... This was my first Mermaid event as a Team Mermaid member and it was GREAT having so many other Mermaids, Tracy and my coach cheering for me through the finish chute. At least it was a better experience and time than the American River half, even though it was by only two minutes.

Women's Fitness Festival 5K June 2, 2013, 39:25
June brings the event that got me back into training in the first place. The Women's Fitness Festival! Tracy also did this one with me and she had a great race, finishing well before me. The weather this summer was pretty typical for Sacramento (HOT!) but what made this year different was how early it got hot. By the time this event started I was already feeling warm. By the time we got to the first mile I was overheated and kind of miserable. I got slowed down by other runners more than usual. There were a lot of kids on the course this year, which I love to see, but they stop abruptly and frequently and that adds a little extra challenge. I even had to stop half a block from the finish line due to congestion and kids without break lights. I finished in 39:25. It's a slow time but still two minutes faster than last year's event.

Mermaid Duathlon, Alameda June 9, 2013, 1:54:27
June also brought my first ever multi sport event. I did a duathlon! Here's the break down of each sport. run-1.5 miles, bike-12 miles, run-2.5 miles. I felt strong on the first leg and the first bike loop. There was a pretty strong headwind after the turnaround on the bike so by the time I did the second bike loop I was feeling tired. My pace slowed considerably and when I left the transition area my legs where weak and wobbly. The third leg was hard and I walk most of the first part. When I got to the turn-about I decided to "finish strong" and I ran as much as I could force myself to run. I powered through the finish to the welcoming arms of my teammates and my husband. This was challenging but so much fun! Run-17:39, Bike-58:16, Run-35:52, Total 1:54:27

The Superhero 5K June 16, 2013
Nevyn and I did this together and it was a lot of fun. We saw a lot of people in consume and started thinking of ideas for next year :) We ran in the capes they gave up at the packet pick up. Nevyn showed off his awesomeness all over the course by jumping over cones and trying to ditch me. When the finish was in sight she sped away and finished with a big smile on his face! I don't have a time recorded for this race. I don't know why but it doesn't matter. It was so much fun it must have been unmeasurable.

The Moonlight Half Marathon, Davis July 13, 2013, 3:34:42
This was hot and miserable! I will NOT be doing this event ever again. I had a another cyst during this race and was told by my doctor to walk it and to stop if it started to bother me. I took water with me this  time. I knew it was going to be hot and I would be on the course for a long time. I think the hydration belt makes the distance of the half marathon even harder... An hour into the the race it was still 91 degrees outside but as soon as the sun started to drop in the sky and went below the tree line it got cooler and even comfortable. By this time I had been walking for a long time and my feet where getting sore. (Walking long distances in running shoes are hard on my feet.) Around mile seven I got a burst of energy and started to run. If felt so good to run! I ran for as long as I felt like running then walked till  I wanted to run again. I did this for the rest of the race and finished in 3:34:42.

The Giant Race, San Francisco August 4, 2013, 3:11:39
This was a great race! The weather was perfect and turned out to be my best time of the year. I always love running in the city. The course started in from of AT&T Park, went down the embarcadero, through the wharf, down to Crissy Field, to the the
bridge and back. On the way back we ran though the park around Fort Mason. This was the steepest climb and downhill was a little painful but it was very short. Most of the course was flat. I got to mile ten faster than I had expected and entered the ball park before Jeremy expected. He had to scramble to get a picture of me coming though the finish line. I finished in 3:11:39!

The Whole Foods Running School Half Marathon, Roseville September 1, 2013, 3:19:40
This is another event I wont be doing in the future. I was hot and because it was in miner's ravine it was beautiful but lots of little, steep hills. This was a very small race, less than 120 runner. This means that the back of the packers, like me, become the end of the packers. I finished before two other participants. When I turned the last corner to see the finish line I stopped and called back to the girl behind me asking if she wanted to finish together. That was what she needed to pick up her pace and "finish strong". I ran a little faster than her so I crossed a few seconds before her but because it was past the three hour time limit the even organizers had already taken down the timing equipment  so I don't have an official finish time. According to my watch I finished in 3:19:40.

Clo-Cow Half Marathon, Petaluma September 15, 2013
I didn't have a very good attitude going into this race. I knew it was going to be hilly and I hadn't trained properly for hills. That was made painfully clear when I ran the Whole Foods run two weeks before. That race went so badly I had already made up my mind that Clo-Cow was going to be just as bad or even worse. Originally, Jeremy was going to go with me but his work schedule changed and no longer had the time off. This intensified my "I don't wanna!" attitude. The race started in downtown Petaluma and would go through farmland to the turn-about point. As we ran through the streets I noticed we were about half a block from the parking garage where my car was waiting for me. I actually thought about ditching the race. But I didn't. I kept going while thinking up reasons and excuses to quit. We left downtown and headed up our first climb. I ran part of it and walked part of it but it wasn't too bad. As we headed into farmland my attitude started changing. As always, and especially during of town races, I focused on the scenery and my surroundings. The hills made for a beautiful landscape. The houses would really pretty, the animals where fun and the locals were amazing. I ran past cows, sheep, horses, donkeys, chickens, dogs, kids and whole families out there supporting the runners. At one point a horse paced me to the end of it's property line. It was pretty amazing. The cows where mooing and the poor dogs didn't know what to do with the heard of people running up and down the roads.  The longest climb was just over a mile long and we were rewarded with an aid station and the turn-about. Up hill is brutal but I like it more than going downhill. Going down hill is complicated, at least for me it is. If I run down it too fast I risk injuring my knees. If I walk down hill my feet slide in my shoes (yes, they are the correct size for me) and cause friction which leads to raw feet. I have to find a happy middle ground for my body so I compromise with a jog. I keep it soft on my knees but my feet aren't on the ground long enough for my feet to slide. It works pretty well most of the time. In most races mile 10 is where the my race becomes more of a mental challenge than a physical one but this race was different. I was tired by the time I got to mile 10 but not like I normally am. In fact, I was only mildly uncomfortable and that really made me happy. I finished the race at a  good pace with a time of 3:17:32. Two full minutes better than the race two weeks before and only five minutes slower than my best time of the year. I couldn't ask for a better outcome.

Okay, I'm all caught up on my races up to this point. This goal of finishing thirteen half marathons in 2013 has proven to be harder than I had thought it would be. I'm really tired. I'm now taking a week off from training after every race to give body body a chance to recover. I only have three left and as long as I don't get injured  think I'll be able to finish.