The Barre Studio Hosts Graced by Grit

So are you as excited as I am about The Barre Studio opening in Capitola?! If so, come by Saturday to check it out, as well as one of my favorite workout brands – Graced by Grit. There will be a BBQ and a chance to check out the Barre space… can’t wait!

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That One Time Where I Accidentally & Unofficially PRed at the Lucky Run

On Friday evening, Ashley, Leslie, and I headed out for a girls weekend in Davis (my schedule prevented an earlier departure time).  We stopped halfway in Walnut Creek to get some good carbs at a delicious little Italian restaurant (the gnocchi was so good!). Then back out on the road. It wasn’t a very exciting evening as we promptly fell asleep once we got to the hotel.

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The original plan for the day was that we would all run the half marathon. However, as the saying goes the best laid plans… Leslie ended up having a 22 mile run scheduled for her Boston Marathon training and Ashley opted for a shorter distance (choosing the 7 mile run). Leslie’s plan originally called for her to run her 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace, but with a cold coming on she decided to run only 5 miles at this pace. This allowed Leslie and I to run most of the half together. After she ran a couple miles, we met back up and decided that maybe an 8 minute pace would be good. The decision went something like this: L – “what pace you thinking?” M – “I don’t know.” L – “8 minute pace?” M – “Sure,” Serious planning there.

We were disappointed that there were only 4 port-a-potties at the start and agreed we would have to stop at the first one we saw. While it was a bummer that they did not have more at the start, they seemed to have a good amount on the course. We used the first one, at the 4 mile mark.

We never ran an 8 minute pace. The first 4 miles were just a race to the bathroom (7:31, 7:42, 7:40, 7:23). The next 5ish miles were out and back along the freeway. This was my least favorite part of the course. It was visually boring, had no shade, and the exhaust from the cars bugged me. We both wanted to out of that section (7:37, 7:33, 7:30, 7:40, 7:37). At one point, Leslie noted we were running a 7:30 pace and might want to slow down. I agreed, I had no intention of running that pace for the half but clearly we did not slow down much.

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The rest of the race was through parks and bike paths. It was never too busy, except a few times when the half marathoners overlapped with the 7 miler and 7k runners. It was nice and shady in these sections, much better than the freeway miles. There were a lot of turns in the course, but nothing too terrible. The only problem was the race coincided with Little League opening day so when we got back near the start, there was a lot of people walking on the race course. Due to this some people missed turns in the race, including Leslie, and ran some extra mileage. Hopefully in the future they don’t make this scheduling mistake. For a good portion of the race, we were entertained by a guy running ahead of us who high-fived many of the spectators and volunteers, as well as each mile marker. I hadn’t seen that tradition before in a race. Around mile 9 or 10, Leslie picked up her pace to get in her 7:15 miles and I kept around the same pace I had been running. I was pretty consistent with my pace overall (7:39, 7:33, 7:33, 7:28).

I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:41:55. That is only about 30 seconds slower than my PR and included the bathroom break. (I paused my watch for the break and had a finishing time of 1:40:12 an unofficial PR!). It would have been really cool for it to have been an official PR but I’m still really stoked about my finishing time as I never felt that I was running too hard and was able to keep a conversation with Leslie for a good portion of the run.

Race medals are getting a little out of control these days.

Race medals are getting a little out of control these days.

We met up with Ashley at the finish, Leslie handed me her (giant) medal and headed out to finish off her long run. After she returned we enjoyed a well deserved beer. Before leaving Davis, we enjoyed a good brunch at de Vere’s Irish Pub. Overall, this was a great little getaway. It just was too short!

13.1, 7, and 22 miles = well deserved beer

13.1, 7, and 22 miles = well deserved beer

Fit Friday: Running in the Rain

As the rest of the country faces severe cold and snow, California has largely been experiencing summer-like conditions in January. While this is nice in theory, it has contributed to already low water supply – pushing us into a drought. Yesterday, we finally got a little rain (and hopefully we’ll have some more this weekend). While yesterday was a rest day and most of the rain was finished by 10am, it got me thinking about running in the rain.

Finishing 2012 CIM in the rain.

Finishing 2012 CIM in the rain.

When I first started running, rainy days were my automatic rest or treadmill days. This was especially true while I lived in Southern California with our ridiculous number of rain free days. However, the first year I lived in Santa Cruz we had a ton of rain and I learned to suck it up and get out in the rain.

Guess what! Not so bad. It’s usually hard to convince myself to get out the door but I never regret it once I do. It’s an automatic way to ensure I don’t overheat and its fun to splash around in the puddles. There’s something about being in the rain and getting soaked that reminds me of being a kid, carefree as I dash along my way.

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There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when running in the rain. Be careful of slippery roads, realize that cars have less visibility so be bright, pack on the Body Glide (you will likely blister or chafe more if you are running long distance in the rain), and don’t use the rain as an excuse to not hydrate.

I’m hoping we’ll see more rain soon and inevitably that means more rain runs too!

Do you like running in the rain? Why or why not?

Fit Friday: Winter Olympics

Today I had a rare rest day on a Friday. And so I was reading the web rather than running this morning and saw some articles about the Winter Olympics. It seems a fitting topic since we’re 2 weeks out from the games beginning.

Being a Californian, I’m not much of a winter athlete. I can hold my own on a pair of ice skates or a snowboard (although my fear of ski lifts kind of ruins it for me), but really I have no skills in these sports. But what if I did, what sport would I want to compete in? Clearly there are the obvious choices based on speed such as speed skating (seems similar to running on a track-ish) or cross country skiing. I don’t think any of the trick sports would be good for this clumsy gal. And I could never put my life on the line for the luge sports.

But then it hit me (along with the NPR story this morning), I could totally rock curling! Plus, really how much competition would I have in the US? I got this, right?

Credit NPR

Credit NPR

But one thing I can tell you, I’m not jealous of the USA athletes who will be rocking the Olympic version of the Ugly Christmas Sweater in Sochi:

Hundreds of knitters found gainful employment leading up to 2014

Hundreds of knitters found gainful employment leading up to 2014

 

What winter olympic sport would you want to compete in? Do you look forward to the games?

Fit Friday: Fleet Feet Racing

Good morning Fit Friday followers!

Today is another Fit Friday announcement. Yesterday, I found out that I will be joining our local Fleet Feet Racing Team.

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I am pretty excited to join their team. I already know some of their runners on their team, some who I have run with before and some who I have not run with before. I am also very excited because they are coached by one of the coolest runner chicks out there (go Michelle, you rock!). I had worked with many members of the Fleet Feet Santa Cruz family back in the fall when I helped my friend Leslie coach their NWM training. But there are many runners in the group that I don’t know and I’m excited to make more running friends in my community!

Does this mean I am leaving my beloved Santa Cruz Endurance team? Heck no! That group holds a special place in my heart and helped me grow as a runner (not so long ago). So I will be representing both teams, alternating between events (and of course, also showing some SFM pride along the way! – did you forget you can save $10 registering for any of the SF Marathon events with the code DSC10TSFM2014A59??).  I like to think of my running groups more like that Girl Scouts song (awkwardly sung by Diane Keaton when she accepted the award for Woody Allen at the Golden Globes): “make new friends, but keep the old.”

SCE runners represent at the Capitola Half Relay, May 2013.

SCE runners represent at the Capitola Half Relay, May 2013.

I love being part of the running community (both on a local level through these groups and through social media). Finding people who share my love of running is inspiring and keeps me committed to my goals. It’s great to have a group to join for workouts – especially those tough ones on the track. And through these groups, I have made friends who will join me for long runs, exploring trails, tackling hills, and keep me from bailing on runs when I shouldn’t (and forgiving me when I do!).

Do you train with a running/workout group? If so, what do you love it about? If not, would you want to and what do you love about your solo runs?