Running in Pigtails

All things fitness, beauty, baby, crafty, and nerdy.

over the bridge we go!

Race Report: Long Beach Half Marathon

Ok, so this race report is super long overdue! As much as I hate to say it, wedding planning (+honeymoon planning) sorta took over my life for a bit, but alls well and done now so we can get back to our daily running program.. errr or lack thereof ;)

This was my third time running Long Beach and I initially signed up with the intention to PR, but it didn’t happen this year. I can’t say I’m surprised because I didn’t train for it at all. Like zero. Like no running at all. Like the last time I ran was the Mud Run back in June… I knew there was no way I could PR, BUT for some reason, I had it in my head that I could still come in at 2:45-2:50. Why you ask? Because I’m ca-razy delusional, my friends. Ca-razy delusional.

So the night before the race, I did a little math and figured out that I needed to hold about a 12:50ish pace to come in at 2:50. Again, my delusional mind thought… “I can TOTALLY do that.” I went to bed that night, excited about the challenge. I think in the back of my head I knew I wouldn’t hit it, but I was still excited to try for it.

my racing stuffs
my racing stuffs

I woke up in the dead of night (or what seemed like it) to drink some tea, eat some oatmeal, gobble up a banana, get dressed and ready before FFABulous Chris (of What I Run Into and Pop Overeasy) came to pick me up. We arrived in downtown Long Beach and parked with no incident. We walked over to the race startline and quickly got in the massive line for the port-a-potties. With empty bladders, we were ready to go!

a gajillion runners emptying their bladders
a gajillion runners emptying their bladders

 

me and Chris, we were twinsies that morning - totally unplanned!
me and Chris, we were twinsies that morning – totally unplanned!

We ran the first three miles together, and then we split off after that. Maggie the Garmin told me that I was steadily holding a 12:45 pace until I hit mile 7. Then, heading into mile 8, I ran into some really terrible stomach issues. And by terrible I mean… sharp, stabbing, gut wrenching, breath-stopping stomach cramps, plus what Flo likes to call…. “the Bear.” I have never before experienced anything like it. I seriously could not breathe, it hurt so much. I walked and I had to clench so as not to release…. stuff (sorry, I know, totally TMI!).

over the bridge we go!
over the bridge we go!

At mile 8, my average pace breached a 13min pace. It was the fork in the road. I still had enough mileage/time to bring it in at 2:45, but if the cramps didn’t subside, I had no chance. Unforch, the cramps stayed with me the rest of the race. It was TERRIBLE.

I crossed the finish line at 3:07:40. Not even the best of my untrained races, but again… the stomach issues and the Bear were a huge factor.

twinsies, post-race
twinsies, post-race

Peter (the Hubs), arrived just in time from his bachelor party in San Diego to come pick me and Chris up.

So endeth my last race of the year.

I’m not sure what my racing calendar looks like for next year. I’m registered to run the Los Angeles Marathon, but things might change and I might not be doing that. I’ll just be playing it by ear :) Perhaps I’ll do another half marathon next year. In either case, I’ve really gotta get back into shape!

More to come soon, I promise :)

 

my racing stuffs

The Come Back

It’s been a while since I’ve faithfully followed a training schedule (try 2 years), but dare I say it? These past four weeks have been ticking off like clockwork. With the exception of 2 tempo runs, I’ve hit every single run, and hit the paces right on the nose. Am I surprised? Hell yeah! I was really expecting much worse… like much, much worse. Like, not even being able to run a mile kinda worse. But my body is really surprising me during this training cycle. I’m learning to not underestimate my body and to try to push myself beyond what I think I’m capable of doing.

With that said, here’s a quick recap of what’s been done so far!

Week 1
4x400m @ 10:32
3mi long run @ 12:39

Week 2
3x800m @ 10:56
3mi tempo @ 11:45
5mi  long run @ 12:33

Week 3
2×1600 @ 11:20
6.2mi long run (Camp Pendleton Mud Run)

Week 4
6x400m @ 10:32
5mi tempo @ 11:31
4 mi long run @ 12:23

My time goals are based on running a 2:37 half, which would be about a 2 minute PR for me. But my REAL goal is to hit a sub-2:30 half, which is what I’ll be aiming for after this 10 week cycle is up. Here’s hoping to an injury-free summer! =)

Saucony Kinvara

Shoe Review: Saucony Kinvara

So, I really didn’t need a new pair of shoes. I still have the Nike Lunar Glides (the ones I won from Nike) and I have the Nike Vomeros,  both of them are still well under 200 miles a piece.  Unfortunately, I’m not entirely happy with either shoe. I really miss my Asics Gel Nimbus 9. They were my dream shoes! I loved how they fit my foot like a glove. I haven’t been able to find a shoe that has come close to them at all.

Enter the Saucony Kinvara.

Saucony Kinvara
Saucony Kinvara

Raciel ran the LA Marathon in the Kinvara this year and totally raved about them. I was definitely curious to try them out.  And as luck would have it, the first gen went on sale around the time I started looking because the second gen was coming out. woo hoo!

So, a little bit about the Kinvara. They’re considered a minimalist shoe, but not quite a hard core minimalist shoe. There’s still a good amount of cushioning, just not as much as traditional running shoes. Because there isn’t a lot of “stuff” there, they’re uber light. Seriously… it feels like you’re wearing slippers! The only downside is that the toebox runs fairly narrow and I gots me some wide hobbit feet, so I ended up ordering the men’s version (per Raciel’s rec) and they ended up being just perfect =)

I took the Kinvara out for a set of speedwork last week, and I totally dug them! I love how there’s not much to the upper so it envelopes your feet like a pair of gloves. I love the squishy triangle blocks at the bottom. They grip the ground nicely and makes them pretty responsive. I give these shoes two thumbs up! I might be ordering another pair just cause they are such a great deal right now.

If you’re interested in trying out new shoes, you should check out the Saucony Kinvara, especially now that the first gen is on sale!

GGPH caught by the photog on the way to the start line

Race Report: Camp Pendleton Mud Run

For the past couple of years, Raciel, Jo Nisha, and I would talk about doing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, and for two years we always forgot to sign up until it was too late and the race sold out… which was always only a few hours after registration opened on Jan 1st. But not this year! Jo Nisha managed to sign us up as a team and we spent much of the past 6 months in excited anticipation.

I didn’t read much about the obstacles until a couple of weeks before the race and that’s when I found out:

1. There were two 6 ft walls we had to climb
2. We would have to cross a lake the size of a football field
3. The race was a 10k
4. It was hilly as hell
5. At mile 5, we’d have to run up a super steep, super slippery mud hill with a marine spraying water on you at the top

I was suddenly scurrrrred.  What the hell did I get myself into???

Fear drove Raciel and I to do much strategerizing (yes, I just made up that word) the days leading up to the race. We decided to wear tights (to protect our knees from all the crawling we’d have to do), to wear swim wear (to make showering post-race easier) and to body glide it up, like, everywhere (to prevent any chafing). Having these decisions made, made us feel much better.

Before we knew it, race day was upon us. As is customary, I was short on sleep. I managed about 4.5 hours the night before. Fiance and I left my place at a little after 6am. Camp Pendleton is only about a one hour drive away, and with a 9am start, we weren’t too worried about making the start time. Unfortunately, it took us 30 minutes just to exit the freeway (and we were just half a mile away!) AND it took another 45 minutes for us to get into the base, make it to Lake Oneil, and park. Another 5 minutes to take the shuttle. Another 10 minutes to get to the bag check area where everyone was. O M G, it took freaking FOREVER. For anyone doing this race, I’d aim to get INTO the base at 6m and not 7:30am like we did. We barely made it to the bag check area by 9am. It was a good thing that the individuals were starting first.

So, now to the good stuff!

Here we are, nice and clean :)

the GGPH at Camp Pendleton
GGPH caught by the photog on the way to the start line
GGPH caught by the photog on the way to the start line
showin' them our bib numbers
showin’ them our bib numbers

We ran as a team, and the team race started at around 9:20ish.

 

team start line
team start line

Within the first half mile of the race, we were sprayed by three fire hoses. It felt good to get wet because although it was a cloudy day, it was still fairly warm out. Within the first two miles we hit a few shallow river crossings and mud pits. It was fairly flat, too. We didn’t start climbing until shortly after the second mile, and it was a steady climb until after mile 5. The hills were climbable for the most part, but there were some parts where the hills were really steep… almost to the point where I felt I was climbing instead of running, trying to figure out footing n stuff.

Still smiling after cresting a particularly difficult hill
Still smiling after cresting a particularly difficult hill
mid-mud pit
mid-mud pit

After the third mile, we started hitting a few mud pits and the first wall, which wasn’t too bad to climb up thanks to the help of some marines ;) about a quarter mile after that, I got a view of the lake and instantly knew I was in trouble. The lake was only supposed to be about 5ft deep, but the instant I saw those tiny little heads bobbing in the water, I knew it was much deeper than that. It was at least 6ft deep, probably deeper. I wasn’t able to touch the floor the minute I stepped into the water and it freaked. me. OUT! I am not a strong swimming and with all the clothes we were wearing + shoes, I had a hard time moving myself in the water. Luckily, some of Jo Nisha’s friends, who had already crossed the lake, saw us, doubled back, and crossed the lake with us. Jo Nisha and I grabbed on to two of her tall guy friends who escorted us across the lake. Big thanks go out to the tall Cohen brothers, our saviors!

Getting out of the lake, I totally ate it, HARD. Banged my knee on the ground and scraped it nice n good. It really hurt!  It took a few minutes for me to shake it off, but after that we were off, reading to do more climbing. After we hit the giant slippery mud hill, we finally hit the down hill stretch. Most of it was a fairly steep mud hill, and there were some parts where we had to very carefully go down (ie. slow climbing down, finding good footing, etc). But after all of that was done, we were finally in the final stretch. We hit the final mud pit, where Fiance managed to snap a picture of us.

 

final mud pit
final mud pit – I LOVE Jo Nisha’s expression in this picture

 

mud bath!
mud bath!

After we crawled through the mud pit, we washed off a bit in the mini-showers and then linked arms with the rest of our team to cross the finish line.

 

mini-showers
mini-showers

crossing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run finish line
crossing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run finish line – randomly… check out that guy’s abs! nice =):::
Team GGPH, post-race
Team GGPH, post-race

Would I do the CP Mud Run again? Hell, yes! It was challenging, but it was a ton of fun. We’re definitely planning on doing it again next year. Raciel wants to do the boots division but Jo Nisha and I are SO not game for that!

We’re still waiting to finish up our disposable waterproof cameras so there are more fun pictures to come!

Up next.. update on my training. Yes… I have been training ;)

Long Beach Half Marathon

Back on the bandwagon! =) For reals this time!

 

After much hemming and hawing and poring over various race calendars and race websites, I finally decided on my half marathon of the year!

Drum roll, please…

Long Beach Half Marathon

 

LB Course
Beach front run

I really wanted to do a new race, but I was limited by a few restrictions this year.

1. Timing – I promised myself no more untrained races! So, I needed to give myself time to get back into the swing of things… slowly but surely. I’ve devised a training plan that’ll hopefully get me back into 2008 shape (more on this later).  I also wanted a race to aim for before the wedding, something to help me get into shape and lose some weight.  So, that pretty much limited the range to the later summer/fall months.

2. Local Races only! – I’d love to do more out of state, or even international races, but with funds being funneled into the wedding and with an NYC trip already planned in May, it’s just not a top priority at the moment.

3.  Decent Scenery – Although the LB half isn’t the most scenic race, other options didn’t offer much. The only other possibility I was thinking about was America’s Finest Half Marathon down in San Diego in August. It worked fairly well with my restrictions, but when I found out it was the same weekend as my dad’s birthday, it fell out of the running.

So, Long Beach it is! It really has a special place in my heart. Although Surf City was technically my first half marathon, I always counted LB as my very first, because it was the first one I really trained for, blood, sweat and tears and everything :) It also holds my current half marathon PR (2:38), and I would love to revisit it again this year and break that.

So, my goals for these upcoming months?

1. Lose weight! – My goal is to lose about 15lbs. Ideally, I’d love to be down 20lbs, but I’d be perfectly happy losing 15lbs =)

2. Tone up, lose fat, get strong! – More important than just losing weight, I want to tone up the jigglies, cut down the fat, and get stronger!

3. Eat Healthier – Less fried foods, more fruits and veggies. For this first month, I want to start off by eating at least one serving of fruit and one serving of veggies.

4. PR Long Beach! – A goal: 2:30; B goal: 2:34; C goal: 2:37

What’s my plan of attack?

1. April 4-May 3 – Complete Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I tried starting it back in January, but after 3 or 4 days, it kinda came to an end due to improper lunge/squat form and the resulting knee pain. I’m happy to report that I’m officially on Day 8 (as of this posting) and still going strong. The first couple of days were tough, but now I’m solidly completing Level 1 and I started Level 2 (which kicked my ass and handed it back to me) just yesterday.

2. After this, I’ll have a two and a half week break. I don’t have anything in particular planned for these weeks because for one of those weeks, I’ll be in New York. However, I will try to extend the 30 Day Shred by doing at least 1, but hopefully 2 of the 3 workouts each day.

3. 2-10 Week Training Plans - I’m going back to basics. I’ve tried various training programs and I always find myself going back to the FIRST program. Just a few of the things I like: running just 3 days a week, low weekly mileage, 3 different, challenging runs, and short training programs. It worked well for me in 2008 and I’m going back to it again this year. My goal for the first 10 week plan is to hit an average 11:45 pace, and the second 10 week plan will hopefully have me running at 11:30. Yes, very modest goals compared to you speedsters out there =)

So that’s it folks! =)

Race Report: Knott’s Coaster Run 5k

On Sunday, P and I woke up late, tired, and groggy for Knott’s Coaster 5k. With less than 3 hours of sleep, I felt like the bags under my eyes were big enough to seriously weigh me down. But as tired as we were and as cloudy and gloomy the day looked, we dutifully put on our running gear and drove on over to the Knott’s Berry Farm parking lot. We got there at around 7, but it took us nearly 25 minutes to get INTO the lot and park! Total craziness! It’s a good thing the race started late.

As we were waiting in the corral, we took an opportunity to snap a pic with Snoopy.

 

m and P with Snoopy
me and P with Snoopy

How cute is he??

Before long, the national anthem was being sung. During the last lines, a few heavy rain drops started falling. My thoughts immediately went to Raciel and her sister, Annelle, who just ran the LA Marathon in heavy rain. Not again! Luckily, the heaviest it got was a soft drizzle, which stopped a few minutes into the race.

So, now on to the race! I warned P that I planned on racing and pushing myself to see where I was fitness-wise. Considering this was only my 4th run since October and my 5th run since July, I didn’t really have high hopes that I’d do too well. I ended up finishing in 35:03, which isn’t bad but is still about 3 mins off from my PR last year. Despite my so-so finish, I did manage to run it all the way through, and for that I’m very proud =) Plus, I got an uber cute medal to boot!

 

cutest medal evar!
cutest medal evar!

I was able to reconnect with Raciel and her sister after I crossed the finish line. P finished a few minutes after me and we immediately went to get our free boysenberry pie (yum).

 

P crossing the finish line
P crossing the finish line

 

me and P, post-race with our medals and pie
me and P, post-race with our medals and pie

 

me and Raciel, post-race with pies and medals :)
me and Raciel, post-race with pies and medals :)

Overall, I’m encouraged! I’m planning on ditching the OC Half Marathon because it’s too close for me to put in a solid training effort, and I plan on choosing another race further down the line. In all likelihood it’ll be the Long Beach half marathon. I’m still chasing after a 2:30 finish. My PR is 2:38, set at Long Beach in 2008. I think it’d be pretty neat to get a new half marathon PR at Long Beach again.

Racing… sorta

This year is off to a super slow start in the running/racing department. I’ve only logged 1 race in 2011 so far, and it was just a small, local 5k to help break the Fiance into running and racing =) We didn’t actually race.

This weekend I’ll be doing the Coaster Run, which I’ve been calling the Snoopy race because we get this awesomely cute Snoopy medal! If you guys want in on the Snoopy medal, you have until Thursday before they close online registration. But if you miss that, you can still register on race day.

 

I’m also toying around with the idea of doing the OC Half Marathon but honestly, I haven’t been training that well for it and it’s in 6 weeks! I guess we’ll see how running goes these next couple of weeks before I officially decide.

The one race I DO really want to do is the Rock n Roll Las Vegas half marathon! This year, they’re having it at NIGHT. How awesome would it be to run on the strip AT NIGHT. I’d lovvvvvvvvvvvve to do this one, but the registration fee is STEEP: $130!  I guess that’s the price you pay to run on the strip…

No marathons on tap this year. I think I’ll wait until 2012 to avenge my horrific San Diego performance. I think after that, I’ll be done with marathons. I just don’t think they’re my thang. Although I guess that could just be my total lack of preparation talking. Perhaps I’d enjoy them if I properly trained ;) I sorta remember thinking the same exact thing after I did my first half marathon, and now I think they’re not that long! Perspective :)

Before I sign off, I wanted to give a huge congratulations to Raciel, who ran the LA Marathon yesterday in a torrential downpour, PR’d, AND raised money for the Hirscberg Foundation in memory of her friend. I’m so proud of you! :)

Big News :)

It’s totally unrelated to running or any other type of fitness activity, BUT it will, in all likelihood, spur more exercising on my part…

I'm engaged! =)

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Boy and I got engaged!

Here goes the proposal story :)

I had gotten home very late on Friday night and was tired and hungry from work. I asked if he could make me something quick to eat while I took a shower.  As I was toweling off, he asked me if I was almost done, he didn’t want the food to get cold. I told him yeah, I was coming right out. I walked down the hall and saw the Boy standing in the bedroom. He exclaimed, “Look at what Soybean is doing!”

I looked down expecting to see Soybean up to his usual cute shenanigans. But when I look down, I see what you see in the picture above! Soybean laying down like a perfect angel, with the ring box on his paws. The Boy proceeded to get on his knees and he asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

We’ve set the date so, right now we’re deep into wedding planning. We’ve already booked our venue and our photographer. Everything else is pretty much falling into place, but I won’t bore you guys with the details.

In the fitness department. The whole 30 Day Shred thing was a total failure. After 3-4 days of the workouts, my old knee problems came back and I had to take a break. I will, however, be trying to resurrect it now that I have a deadline in mind of when I’m supposed to look absolutely awesome!

Next weekend, the Boy and I will be doing our very first race together, a small little neighborhood 5k. I’m not aiming to race it since, let’s face it, I’m in no shape to race even a 5k. We’ll be taking it easy. I want the Boy to have a good experience so that he’ll wanna do other races ;)

That’s it for the big news. I foresee more updates in the future, so get ready!