The Race I Didn’t Plan For

I know it’s Friday and I’ve been bad about posting my Fit Friday posts, but I wanted to get this recap out instead.

Last Sunday, I ran the Big Sur Half Marathon. This has been one of my favorite half marathon since I first ran in it in 2011. Last year, I also ran my current PR there. So this year, I planned on this being my last real race of 2013 and hoped to finally break 1:40 in the half. For the most part, my training had gone really well and my speed was picking up. A week before the race, I was confident that this would be the perfect setting. But it wasn’t, no PR, not this time.

Unfortunately, timing was not on my side. As I shared in my last post, we just purchased our first home and began our move on the Friday before the race. I knew this was not ideal but it was what it was. I ended up being on my feet packing pretty much every day of the week leading up to the race. I tried to mitigate this by using some Recovery Pump time but I just had too much on my legs. During my Friday run, my right foot also acted up and we had to stop for me to stretch it out. Despite all this, I really thought I could still PR – if only by a few seconds.

Who can complain with this scenery? (Photo by Miriam K.)

Who can complain with this scenery? (Photo by Miriam K.)

Sunday morning I headed down to the race with Leslie (who was pacing me – what a treat!) and Sam (who rocked her race with a new PR and took 1st in her AG). We had a nice little shake out run and while my legs still felt tired, I felt ok and wasn’t too worried. Pretty quickly into the race, I knew it was going to be a hard push to get this PR but I still thought I could do it. Leslie kept me on pace, following my goal to stay within 7:35-7:40 for the first 10k, then the plan was to drop to about 7:30 through mile 10 and then give everything I had in the last 3 miles. Even though I didn’t feel as great as I wanted to, every time Leslie asked how I was going, I said good – if I said it out loud it made it true, right? I hit mile 7.7 at 59:02, right on target.

When we hit mile 9, Leslie knew I was having a rough time. She asked if this was just the pain of the race or if it just wasn’t my day. I had to be honest, there was no way I could keep up my pace for another 4 miles, let alone push faster. So I told her it wasn’t my day. We held a pretty decent pace for the next two miles (7:48, 7:54). But then I just fell apart – running never felt so hard! (Ok, it felt harder at the LA Marathon but whatever.) We hit mile 11 at 1:25:51. I thought maybe if I held back in miles 11 and 12, I could push in the last mile and maybe make up a little time – still not a PR but at least close to my best. Leslie was a great pacer, she reminded me that even on my slow runs I was faster than what I was running in those two miles and I really appreciated that. She encouraged me to try to pass people in that last mile. And I wanted to… but no good. I had to stop (twice!) because my body just wasn’t having it. I have to admit, it was a little awful to fall apart like that with a friend to witness it – but I so appreciated Leslie being there. A big THANK YOU to her for being there and being a great pacer even when I couldn’t make it happen. When we came up to the finish (where Kevin and my dad were spectating – thanks guys!) I gave everything I had to push to the finish, even a little sprint in that last bit before the finish line. My official finish time: 1:44:15 (1:42 ish without my stops).

Leslie taking me into the finish chute (photo by Kevin)

Leslie taking me into the finish chute (photo by Kevin)

After crossing the line, I picked up my food box and ate EVERYTHING. I was starving. I never eat that quickly after a race. But I could not find where I had packed my Sports Beans and had only eaten a banana before the race – not great. I normally don’t need fuel in a half marathon, however, the few times I have forgotten to take it with me have been the times I needed it – of course, right? We had to run some errands after the race for the new house and my legs were so tired that I sat down in the store – yep. And I didn’t run again until today – although lots of time on my feet still with unpacking. Even with those days off, my legs still felt tired and so while I’m bummed that Sunday didn’t go the way I hoped and planned for, I gave all I had in the race. And still, it was my fastest half in a year.

Nice swag

Nice swag

This Sunday I also get to pay it forward and pace a friend to a new PR at the inaugural Berkeley Half Marathon. I’m pretty excited to run with her and still in a good long run. Will I be seeing you at the race? (Look for me, I’ll have on my SFM Ambassador singlet from last year.)



Moving Sucks… New House Does Not

I know, I know… It’s been a long time since my last post… but I have legitimate reasons. Or at least one. Since my last post, we moved and that ate up of all my free time. But I love the new place and pretty much all the hard stuff is done now. Also, today I learned that the new place is very safe and (for all you burglars out there) very difficult to break into.

So, at 6:30am I woke up to take the pups out. And simultaneously locked myself out. Along with my keys, my cell phone sat inside … so there I was in my pjs, Kevin’s giant-on-me sweatshirt, and Uggs with Gus & Sam (who by the way looked about as ridiculous as I did with her goofy post-surgery donut thing),. I proceeded to try every conceivable way to break into my place…. unfortunately (for me this morning) this apparently is impossible.

Post surgery Sam... this is not how she wanted to meet the neighbors.

After about an hour of attempting to break in, I heard some noises inside my neighbor’s kitchen. Thankfully, this is one of the two neighbors I have met. (Besides it being way too early to knock on anyone’s door, I was also terrified that since I had no proof that I actually lived here and barely know anyone in the neighborhood no one would help me). I knocked on the door and the neighbor and his wife (and their sweet dog) proceeded to help me for the next 30 minutes or so. Finally, along with the help of the one other neighbor I had previously met, I got back into the house! I repaid their kindness with Starbucks cards and homemade blueberry muffins (with a modified-on-the-fly recipe that surprisingly turned out well!).

So… what lessons did I learn? Well, for one listen to Kevin (he warned that by doing what I was doing I would lock myself out) and two, I apparently live in Fort Knox. So, that’s my excuse for not blogging recently. I’ll pick up my normal posts next month as the quarter finally starts to wind down. For now, I’ll continue grading and enjoying a glass of wine.

Beginning a New Adventure

This fall I am returning to school for the second time (I went back for my Masters three years ago). I am taking a much larger step this time, since I am going to be working toward getting my PhD.
Since this is the second time at grad school for me, I am a little more prepared at what to expect. My first go around was filled with a great deal of hard work and as much crying. I had high expectations for myself and found it difficult to sometimes meet those goals. This time around, I still have the same expectations for myself, but I know what I’m getting myself into. I am also uprooting myself from the place I’ve lived my entire life and moving to northern California.
Due to the change in location and the amount of work I anticipate, I thought maybe it would help to document my life as a grad student. So for fellow grad students, feel free to follow along and share your crazy experiences. For all others, either this might inspire you to return to school or be incredibly thankful you never made this decision!