Avengers Half Marathon Weekend

The Avengers Half Marathon weekend came and went and I can’t believe it’s now been almost a week. I know I disappeared for a while, but I have to tell you that it was a journey getting to the half. I also didn’t think I would finish it until I actually crossed the finish line. I did get some awesome photos along the way though.

So, where to start? There was the demoralizing half marathon in Orlando. Even though I got myself running again and up to 7.5 miles in July, the way I felt during and after that half marathon hung over me the whole time I trained for this marathon. There were a lot of things that I’ve covered already, but finishing with the balloon pacers didn’t help. For everything the RunDisney races does right, they sure don’t make you feel good when you cross the finish line with those pacers yelling at you to go faster. 
Then, we had the injury. It’s funny that my last post before the break was about my fun standup paddle boarding experience, because I ended up getting injured while paddle boarding. A word of advice, don’t step on a sea urchin. It sucks and that injury had me off my feet for almost a month and a half. Once I was ready to go again, I jumped at it, but then felt the wrath of hitting too many miles at one time and had to scale back big time. 

All of this culminated in me being convinced I wouldn’t finish the half marathon, let alone a half marathon the day after I completed a 10k, but I did it somehow. Not only did I finish, but I hit a half marathon PR. Yeah I’ve felt like a total badass this past week.

I’m sure I have more to say about the race, but I will end with this. I am so sad that RunDisney has put the Disneyland races on hiatus. Those races are so fun and so rewarding even with the pretty steep entry fee. Sure, I can run in Orlando, but I’m still kind of hesitant about it after the Dark Side race. It’s also far. I suppose the one silver lining is that my guardrails are gone and I have to branch out to other races. Still, I will miss RunDisney.

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Weekend Haul

Here’s my haul from the Super Heroes Half Marathon weekend. I’m sad this is the last RunDisney race in Anaheim for a while, but it’s been a fun ride. Also, I hit 19.3 sooooo I’m kind of stoked about life.

Paddle Boarding

I’ve decided to take a break from writing about running and write about a new venture I tried out over the weekend. We spent the past weekend down in Santa Barbara to celebrate my grandfather’s weekend. It was a lot of fun and I actually also snuck in a 12k as a remote runner for the Across the Bay race that I missed.

SB Harbor SUP
I did not bring a waterproof camera, but took this picture of SB Harbor during my run, so it’ll have to do.

On a semi-organized whim, my sister, friend and I decided to try out paddle boarding. Part of the reason is that we’re heading out to Hawaii in just under two weeks and thought it’d be slightly cheaper to learn how to do it here in California where it is half the price as the classes we’ve been eyeing in Maui.

All in all, the experience wasn’t as bad as I expected. People who do it look so tranquil and poised. Given the amount of balance I have and my experience in other similar water sports (e.g., surfing), however, I did not expect anything short of a disaster.

What we got was somewhere in between. I fell almost as soon as I was able to stand up. In a way, it kind of broke the ice and made that experience less terrifying. I had a hard time getting back on the board and fell as soon as the water had the slight hint of a wave. It was still a lot of fun, though. We made our way through Santa Barbara Harbor, where I spent most of the time on my knees because it smelled awful, didn’t want to hit my head on rocks, and had an irrational fear that if I fell, I’d be attacked by a loose seal.

Once we got out of the harbor, we made our way back towards the pier and in that area. This is where we fell the most as a group because the water was less mild than the harbor water.

In the end, we weren’t anywhere near good, but we it also wasn’t a disaster. It was fun, but I was insanely sore the next morning and beyond. Today’s actually the first day that I’m not sore. I’m sure it didn’t help that I ran 7.5 miles the next day. Definitely looking forward to trying it again in warmer waters. My only regret is that I didn’t bring a water proof camera with me. It would have been fun to take pictures. Then again, that means I would have had to focus on something other than balance.

Catching Up

Hi. I’ve been bad at keeping a regular schedule. It’s been significantly harder this time around than it was 3 years ago. Perhaps this isn’t too surprising.

There’s been a lot to post about. I tried out running in Denver altitude (not as bad as expected, but still harder), ran in a tank top on Global Sports Bra Squad Day (which is a bigger accomplishment than it sounds), and have been chugging along at training. It’s been hard to keep a regular weekday run schedule, but getting into the long run training hasn’t been as hard as I expected. The runs aren’t easy themselves, but the schedule is easy.

Next race is next week. Supposed to be doing the Across the Bay 12k, which is a very fun Bay Area race where you run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Will be out of town, so am running it remote. Would be sad, but I’ll be in SB, soooo it’s not like that view is bad either.

Will be better at weekly posts. I promise.

 

Quakes Dash for the Troops

So I’m back again. After making a big stink about returning and posting regularly, I was largely absent for almost a month. The thing is, I actually have been chugging along relatively okay on the run schedule. It hasn’t been ~great~ and it’s been a little painful, but I’ve been pretty steady.

But I can write about that more separately. Today, I’m writing about the Quakes Dash for the Troops 5k. I loved the Earthquakes Challenge races when they put them on, but there hasn’t been one since 2013. I definitely wasn’t running regularly back then. While we walked the 2013 race, I was so proud of myself during the 2012 race when I ran/walked the whole thing. A lot has changed since then, I guess.

QuakesRace2017PreRace

The race was generally fun. As I mentioned, I have been waiting SO LONG for them to bring a Quakes sponsored race back. It was an extra boost that the race benefited a good cause (and that the shirt was cute). The turnout was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but it was still relatively solid. It was advertised better than the MLS Care Run last year, but only slightly more so.

Pre-Race

There wasn’t much done pre-race. There were some stands and you could pick your bib and shirt up if you weren’t able to make it to the packet pick up the day before. I don’t think there needed to be much more than that, though, and it was just cool hanging out in a calm version of Avaya stadium. Parking also was pretty easy. A lot easier than the games, that’s for sure.

Most people there dressed in their race shirts, but my loving husband was decked out fully in his Quakes gear.

QuakesRace2017ChrisGear

The Course

The course was okay. I wasn’t looking forward to it because it just involved three loops around the parking lot and through the Epicenter. Truly not the most exciting course. I think the benefit of a course like that for a very community-centric run, though, was that you saw a little kids running off on their own since it was a relatively closed course. I guess that was pretty cool. It made the race fast though, because I didn’t have a reason to stop and take pictures. I mean, I think it would have been cool if they looped around inside the stadium a little more. They did that in the 49ers race and I thought it was a cool way to explore the stadium.

The Race

As I said, the race was pretty fast in general. It was my first since Orlando and I ran faster than I thought I would. It was hot, though. I never thought that I would say this, but I think the race would have been a little better if it had started even thirty minutes earlier than it had. Wouldn’t have been quite as hot.

I did a lot better than I expected; probably would have done a little better with some water in my system (more on that later). It was generally well organized and it was fun. Surprisingly, Q was absent, though. There were supposed to be Quakes players there too, but I must have missed them (boo).

My Garmin gave me an average pace of just under 13 minute/mile. It wasn’t a PR, but it was definitely among my top race times. Oddly, though, the official time I had was almost a minute/mile over that. Found that a little strange because I typically have slower Garmin times than official times and it’s odd to see it that far off.

quakesrace2017postrace.jpg

Negatives

There were two things that I really didn’t like about the race. The first was that there was no water station. I took a lot of issue with that, especially given the heat. With a race that involved three loops around the stadium, it really wouldn’t have been hard to put up at least one water station. I felt it around the halfway point too. I mean, I guess if someone wasn’t doing great, they could always figure something out when they got back into the Epicenter, but water stations are so standard that I thought it was disappointing that it was missing.

Also, at some point, the organizers let a car into the race course. Really? They were driving pretty slowly and carefully, but that’s dangerous and they really should have known better.

Overall Assessment

The race was fun overall. I wouldn’t rate it among the best races I’ve done as I did have some issues with it. Nevertheless, it was a fun community race and despite the flaws, I hope they bring back more Quakes races in the future.

QuakesRace2017BruceMedal

Benched

I benched myself from running the last two and a half weeks. Part of it was a physical post race recovery and another part was a mental race recovery. I’m trying to go for a full three weeks, but I may cut it a little short for a Sunday run. I’m ready to take off again, so I think that’s a good sign.

I hit a wall during that last half marathon. It wasn’t pretty and, unlike other times where I hit that wall, I never got passed it. A large part of it was the humidity. I wasn’t adequately prepared for it at the time. I’m not sure what else was going on. Maybe it was that it got too crowded at some point to try to run through the crowds or maybe it was something else. I’m not sure, but it hit me at mile 10 and didn’t go away. It was crushing. Even though I felt that same wave of post-race accomplishment after crossing the finish line, I still felt absolutely defeated. It was a little demoralizing and while I knew wasn’t going to stop running, part of me kind of wanted to.

I was this wall that drove me to take a longer break than I initially planned. A three week hiatus really isn’t much time at all in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, it gave me some good time to rethink how I want to approach running for the next few months. I’ve increasingly been intrigued by the idea of working on 5ks again and trying to improve my 5k speed at the end of the summer. Hell, maybe I’d hit the reach goal of running through a whole 5k. That planning, paired with the fact that we’re pretty set on the big half marathon of next year, got me wanting to run again. That bug came back and I’ve been ready to go.

I was initially going to wait it out for a whole month, but I’ve been dying to hit the road. I figured I’d ride it out the rest of the week for a full (or almost full) three weeks. I’m going to take it slow, but it still feels good to be excited about this again.

And now what?

So I’ve declared my return and posted a picture of my Star Wars swag, but that’s not really the sign of a full return. I would like to do a longer post on the Star Wars Half, but I wanted to start with a game of catch up. It’s been almost a year and a half since my last post, and I haven’t been sitting around the whole time, so I figured this is a good way to start.

Since I was last posting, I ran three half marathons. I was on the verge of number two and then knocked out two this year. I stayed away from 13.1 during 2016, largely because I didn’t want to get injured before I could get my Kessel Run medal, but also because I spent the first half of the year getting married. I still kept busy with runs though. I did Bay to Breakers (eh), the Run the Bay Challenge (408k, Across the Bay 12k, and 510k), did the Rock and Roll San Jose Remix challenge (5k/10k), as well as a number of scattered runs here and there. I’ve taken the approach of quality, not quantity, because I had hit a point in 2015 where I could not keep races straight and actually ended up with a couple of double/triple (true story) bookings. Not kidding about the triple booking and I only went to one of those three races.

We spent almost a year hooked on indoor rock climbing. I think I may have written a few posts about it, but we got hooked. Chris was the only one who could say he got close to good at the sport, but we spent quite a bit of time at Planet Granite. We dropped it about a year ago when we collectively got a little too busy and the drive got too hard to keep up the membership. I miss it. We keep saying that we should go back and spend a few hours climbing, but it’d be back to basics and a lot of catch up. We did do a bit of outdoor rock climbing when we were in Thailand. It was fun in a lot of respects, but also kind of an epic fail.

I’ve also started seeing a personal trainer. As a matter of fact, I’m coming up on the one year mark of that too. I wanted to make sure I was doing strength training right. I need to get better at making myself train when I don’t have an appointment, but I feel like I’ve been getting stronger and have been making slow but steady progress.

I think that’s been the last year and a half in a nutshell.