Saturday, July 31, 2010

SFM Race Recap

A week ago right now, we were laying in bed, trying to go to sleep. The night before a marathon, we go to bed early with every intention of getting "a good nights rest"....but the reality is there is no good nights rest before a marathon. The adrenaline is already starting to kick in, mind races about all the small details, and you are already mentally running the race.
The alarm was set for 3, but we were awake at 2. My right calf cramped up. I wasn't sure what way I needed to move my foot, so I moved nothing. There was some yelling, and crying, and then just as suddenly as it came, it left. Now what? Do I get up and walk it off? Do I rub it out? Do I stay off it and let it rest for an hour? Not being sure of what was best, I did a combo. Got up and quickly realized walking was extremely painful. Got back to the bed and grabbed my Ironman Muscle Rub on the way. Rubbed it in, took some Ibuprofen, and layed back down. I think I was hoping it was all a dream, as this could not possibly be happening after 15 hard weeks of training. This was not happening on marathon morning. Its not allowed to happen.
We were up and out of bed again at 3:30ish. Still lots of pain, but we were doing this no matter what. I had no idea how the day was going to play out. I didn't really know how much I was going to be able to push my calf. It felt like it was on the verge of cramping up all day, and would be for the next few days after. How would it handle the hills? As we went through the motions of getting ready, I think we were both filled with doubts about how the day would play out.
We ate breakfast, which for me is Kashi and 2 bananas. We also both take bars to eat about half an hour before our start. Brian wears Asics shorts w/mesh pockets across the back for marathons. We loaded up his shorts with cut up Builder bars and Sports Beans. I also stuck 2 packs of Sports Beans in the tops of my arm sleeves, which worked out really well. I didn't' have to bug Brian to hand me fuel as we came into the aid stations. Dressed, food in, timing chips attached to shoes, bibs pinned on, and we were out the door.
We got into the city around 5, found a parking garage near by pretty easily. The streets were swarming with runners, which is always neat. From the time we got off the freeway, there were runners walking in the direction of the start. There were a few coffee shops opened up early that were filled with runners. We were there in time to see the first wave start. Talk about athletes! These were the elite runners, and man did they look it. What a mean, lean looking group! They were wave 1, we were wave 6. After we saw the start, we headed for the porta pottie lines, found a relatively short one and got comfy for a long wait. We heard the waves start, one by one. They started about 15 minutes apart. By the time we completed our bathroom activities, and made it to where our wave was, the wave in front of us was starting. We jumped into our corral, in the front. They brought a ribbon across the front, and slowly walked us up (maybe half a city block) to the start line. A few pictures, and a video later and we were off.
It was crowded, but as expected. This is a huge race as far as marathons go. We start with the first half marathon runners, and there were near 25,000 runners total, so asphalt was in high demand. Remembering back to our Napa marathon, the first 6 miles were at about a 8:45 pace. We started this marathon at a 10:19 pace. I knew when I checked my time at the one mile marker it was going to be a long day. The first few miles are flat, first hill came quick though. I was feeling the pain in my calf, but felt full of energy still, so we ran up the first one. If nothing else, I can at least own that we didn't' walk EVERY hill. We came down the hill and were quickly running down along the marina, Dateway, Crissy Field, Presedio, Sports Basement and heading towards the hill that I had dreaded the most. Just before we headed up, we came into our first aid station. I took some Cytomax and 2 cups water, no beans. Brian bypassed it totally opting for no fuel. Then, onto the major climb. This hill is long, and I would say has 4 parts. The first is pretty steep, then not quite as steep, then steep again. Then you turn off it and onto the bridge, but after coming back across the bridge, you're back on it, and it's steep again. The neat part of it was the gong. There were 2 guys with gongs at the top, just banging their gongs. The sound was amazing, and the rhythm definitely pulled you up the hill. We did a run/walk combo on this bad boy. We walked the initial steep part, ran the not so steep part, then walked again on the next steep part. Then, we turned right onto the Golden Gate Bridge. The SFM is the only race to run on the road bed of the bridge. All other runs use the side walk. We had the 2 lanes on the city side (northbound) One heading north, one heading south. It was very crowded. You had to really watch what was going on around you, avoid elbows, avoid getting in other peoples way, make sure you stayed in your lane, and avoid tripping at all costs!! There are metal grates on the bridge that are grooved....and extremely slippery. That had me worried the whole way over. A few were covered w/black rubber mats, which was nice...but enough people had tripped over the mats that the edges were pulled up, so that was another hazard to watch out for. The bridge takes up 4 miles of the marathon, and you have to think of it as a low arch.....meaning you are either running uphill, or downhill, but never really flat. There was a great aid station on the north side of the bridge before we turned around to head back over it towards the city. It was the first to have GU, which Brian took, and the first loud music of the race. I love loud music on a course. You can hear it coming for half a mile, it gets you re energized, into a rhythm, and well, it's just nice. So we got fuel in and headed back over the bridge. The top of the bridge was fogged in, and every now and then you would feel a very light mist, which was nice. What kept me distracted most of the way back was looking for a brother from our hall that was also running the SFM as his first Marathon. This guy trained like Rocky running an insane amount of laps at the Lafayette Reservoir. He was starting in wave 7?? so we figured he would be coming across the bridge as we were heading back. We did spot him and exchanged a high five as we passed. He looked like he was in the zone! Funny thing is that immediately after we spotted him and I focused back on my running, my legs felt dead, exhausted, tired, dead. I think I said to Brian something about man, my legs are tired, but I didn't' tell him how tired. We took a right off the bridge, and up another hill. This didn't seem as bad, mainly because as much as I had been dreading that hill, I was looking forward to the insanely long, beautiful downhill I knew was waiting at the top. Brian was enjoying the trivia that had been set up along the course. He was spouting off random sentences about the grade of the steepest hill in the world, who discovered some random thing first, what actress was born here, blah blah blah.....I didn't' even realize there was trivia for a few miles and was thinking he was trying to keep me distracted. I eventually spotted a sign and realized what he had been doing, reading out loud. We headed down the hill, with the ocean on our right. It was the neatest feeling in the world, like flying. I think I actually stuck my arms out to the side at one point. Looking back, I'm sure we came down too fast and took some life off our legs, but what an amazing feeling to be running next to the ocean and feel like you are flying?? Oh, and did those Hells Angels just pose for my video? What a strange run this is!
Soon we were in Golden Gate Park. Some of you know this is one of our favorite runs. We have a route we run in the park when it gets too hot to run in the East Bay. So, we had run most of this section before, we knew it would be mostly up hill, and even more up hill heading up to Stow Lake. In the park, I started to feel really dizzy, tired, and light headed. At times it was hard to even keep my eyes open as I was running. If you go down a few posts, you'll see one called What Pain Looks Like. This was a photo that MarathonFoto took in the park, about when the dizziness hit. Also in the park is when the hip pains kicked in. I had been limping since the start, and had been over rotating my hips. So, stabbing hip pains kicked in. There were a few tears when that happened as I couldn't picture finishing with the pains that kicked in, yet I knew stopping wasn't' an option. Not just because I wouldn't let myself, but because if I stopped, Brian would not continue w/o me. I wasn't' going to ruin his finale race of his series. He had his jacket, but had to finish the race to get his medal. He said if we are stopping now is the time. This is because we were near the first half marathon finish, which if you wanted to drop and finish there you could. No way was that going to happen. I knew if we could get out of the park, it was mostly flat and downhill. There was only one major hill after that. So, we kept going. Somehow we got up and around Stow Lake, although I really don't' remember much about it. I remember really watching my footing as the road was really choppy, but not much about the scenery. Somewhere in the park we went through an aid station w/a medical tent. I got some muscle rub and some Tylenol. I absolutely hate taking any meds, but especially during a run. I usually want to know exactly what is hurting and how it feels, and how bad it feels so that I know what it is, and how badly it's hurt. Not today. I know the what and why, and don't want to know how bad it could get.
Soon enough we were looping around and heading out of the park through a neat little tunnel.
Down Haight we went, right down the middle. So strange! My fear for this street had been the smell. Thank goodness, there was no beer, or other smokey smell....probably because there was nobody on the street. There was nobody out on the sidewalks or anything. I was expecting this street to be rowdy and loud and lots of yelling (good or bad)....or at least some music....but nothing. I may have traded some beer smell for some loud music and crowd support.
The rest of the run was through some pretty ugly, industrial areas, nothing to see really, not pretty, very blah. There were a few, like I can count on one hand few, bands. I think we saw a total of 2 during the last 3 miles, which are billed as our "music miles". One thing that did happen was that we continually were diverted off the main course and onto the alternate course due to traffic. It is the same distance, but you run one block over from everyone else. The music was probably set up on the main course, and we were just missing it?? Probably. I think we were diverted 3 times.
Throughout the 26.2 miles, as we saw the aid stations coming up every 2 miles, I would eat 5 beans, try to have those in and swallowed as we got to the station, then I drank 2 barely filled Cytomax cups(maybe 1/3 full), and 2 water cups (2cd half of 2cd cup got dumped down my back). Twice I ate a piece of the cut up builder bar. And once I ate 2 sections of bananas that someone was handing out. Other things handed out along the course were beer, mimosa's, fruit cups, oranges (I only know this from running over all the peels, not from actually seeing an orange), and some kids w/gummy candy junk. Some was from actual aid stations, and some was from random people who take the time and energy to come out and support 1000's of runners that they have no personal interest in. They are appreciated way more than they know as we don't stop to chat about how nice it is of them to come out and do that, we just run past and maybe say thank you.
Anyhow, the second half of the run went by pretty fast. There was no new pain, and that was good. I was in a lot of pain, but after running for 3 hours, I knew what it was, how bad it was, and where it was. When you are running for long periods of time, and long distances, for me, it's like i can check in and out. I can check out from reality for a few miles, almost like going numb. I couldn't tell you what I'm thinking about, if anything, but then I look up and check back in.. Yep, still hurts, yep still tired, yep still running, ok, look back down and check out. Maybe its a coping mechanism when the pain kicks in?? Not every long run is like that, other times I am super alert to every little thing that is going on. Whatever it is, it worked for getting me through the second half of this run. That and a few other things, but I'll get to that.
So, we eventually cross the 23 mile mark....hitting the wall in this run just wasn't an option. I had been drained since mile 13, and hitting the wall would mean having to draw on strength that had been getting sapped for 10 miles already, there' just wasn't much left. Mentally, I was spending a lot of time in the "checked out" category, and the mental strength to keep pushing and stay focused if it had gotten harder at that point just wasn't' there. Thankfully, I never felt the wall during this run. 23 came and went, no wall. If anything, it got easier from there out. We had turned left, could see the bridge, and the stadium, and we knew how close to the finish we were. Man, did the last few miles drag out, though. Never does a mile seem longer than when its at the end of 25.2 miles!
This was an emotional finish for me, and Brian. I flipped the video on as we started down the finish shoot, which I have never done before. We spotted Matt's wife Sabrina right at the last second as she called out to us. There was a large crowd at the finish, lots of cheering and loudness, which I love! I started crying right after the video started, and can hear myself saying "I don't want to cry" on the video. And then we crossed the line, under the big finish sign, and it was over. The poor kid who put my medal on didn't' know what to say. The lady who foil blanketed me said, "its ok, its a big deal!" Yeah, it is a big deal. It was a long day. This one took us over 30 minutes longer than any other marathon. When you are running, an extra 30 minutes is a lifetime.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of things that got me through this one. Having Brian at my side the entire time being number 1. Knowing he was there, stride for stride (did you see the finish line video? We literally have the same stride), and to encourage me when I needed it was invaluable. Knowing that we had trained side by side(running w/me on his lunch break 3x's a week), and had done the work, and were capable of finishing was huge. If I had any doubts about our training, it would have been extremely difficult to even cross the start line.I could not have finished this one w/o him!
There weren't many spectators, but the ones that were out on the course were amazing. I don't know them, and they don't know me...but when they take the time and effort to read you name off your bib and call out to you by your name, tell you you can do it, you look good (I know you are lying : ) even just a good job Elizabeth, or a Go have no idea how much you need to hear that!! It gives us that boost we need to keep going, even if its just a quick boost, we need it, and we appreciate it more than they know!
Also, I have to say that I am always inspired by anyone with gray hair who is out there! There were some pretty old folks out there that were passing Brian and I like nothing. If you saw the over 200 pictures taken on this run, you saw how many amazing older folks there were out there getting it done. They are amazing, and I hope that when I am 83 like the dear lady who stopped to take a picture with me, I am still out there staying active and caring about my health.
So there you go, the longest race recap ever.
Later this week I will update you on the leg. There are compression socks in my near future, cute, right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MarathonFoto Marathon Pictures Now Up

I posted a few of the pictures the professionals took along the course, but if you'd like to see the complete sets, and in original quality (not a pic of a pic taken off the computer) of Brian's or mine here's how:
Go Here, Select 2010 San Fran Marathon, Enter Latham, and bib #60743 for Beth, and then #60744 for Brian.

Finish Line Video

You can see a video of Brian and I crossing the finish line by clicking here, entering 60744 for a bib number, and then clicking the small green video button.

Pat and Matt, congrats guys! This was extremely tough for a first marathon and you both did amazing. I peeked at your pics, and you both look so strong and determined. You both crossed the finish strong! I hope the pain is fading, and your accomplishment is sinking in!
Congrats again!
-B & B

Team Work

He wouldn't have become a runner with out me. I wouldn't be able to finish with out him.

What Pain Looks Like

One step at a time, just keep moving.........
The reason you only see pics of us running when we look happy is because that's when I take them. I don't think about taking pictures when I'm having to focus and really dig deep to keep myself moving. But....MarathonFoto was there to capture a few of those moments, the ones I don't capture because they are vivid in my memory, unforgettable life moments when you know you are going to come out the other side of this experience slightly different than when you went in. This may be the most unflattering picture of all time, but it is one of my all time favorites.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Marathon Pics Are Up

Start on the pic to the right that says to click on it, then they continue on Sunday. They dumped half on Saturday, half on Sunday. Anyways, click here.

Epic on the Pain Scale

Epic is all that fits right now. Our alarm was set for 3 a.m. At 2 am I was awoke by a cramp in my right calf. Haven't had a cramp in probably a year.....marathon morning of all mornings, I lay in bed yelling because my calf is cramped and in a knot that wont release. Nice. It did release, leaving behind quite a bit of pain when weight was put on it. I used the Iron man muscle rub you saw in the pics yesterday, twice about an hour apart. Took some meds, do not do this before or during an endurance event, it is terrible for your body, does damage, and can land you in the hospital. Really, don't.
This was by far the most painful run of all time, ever. I was terrified I was going to go down with a cramp as my legs were on the verge of cramping the entire run. Ad to that the monumental amount of hills, up and down. Ad to that pain the pain of overcompensating for my calf and earning stabbing hip pains. Brian almost called it at mile 13. I was in tears, doing more of a shuffle than a run. Some things are just out of our control, and although I wasn't getting through this marathon the way I had pictured, I was going to finish it no matter what. I stopped at medical for some more meds and muscle rub.
But we finished. I need to let it all sink in a bit before I do a full recap, so that's it for now. I will post pics to dropshots later you go for now..

Athlete Tracking and Heat tracking for Marathon today

If anyone is interested in tracking Brian or I, or watching the heat map (this is so strange but totally cool!), go here, click the Finish Video link, and enter either bib # 60744 or bib #60743. We will be together the whole time, so where one of us is, the other is, too.

Up at 3 and first round of food already eaten - 2 bananas, coffee, and Kashi. Eating again at 5:30, our wave starts at 6:15.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 San Fran Marathon Expo

Today was expo day. What happens at a race expo you ask?? Well, 25, 000 runners converge on 1 small space to pick up their race number, timing chip, t-shirt, goodie bag that is stocked w/free samples and flyers and products of all sorts. Then after receiving your goods, runners browse through numerous booths to find more free products. Need anything remotely running related?? This is where to find it. From clothing to fuel, visors to muscle rubs....this is the place to be. You can also register for any number of upcoming races, usually at discounted prices.
So, today we headed into the city to our expo, 3 kids in tow. It did not disappoint! I was able to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Danica from Chic Runner. She was at the run racing booth. Brian hit the California Dreaming booth to get his hard earned jacket for completing the 3 races in the series. I hit the Running Divas booth for a new hoodie. I also picked up some arm sleeves for tomorrow. Sophie picked out the set, blue cheetah print. But I have to admit, I secretly love them!
We also crammed the whole family into a free San Fran Marathon photo booth, which was a lot of fun! Afterwards, we drove down to the start/finish area, where they were already setting up a massive amount of tents. We saw the medical tent, and the tent that was full of volunteers sorting out the medals for tomorrow. I never stop finding this process to be so exciting!! There's something so neat about seeing a sign saying the street will be closed tomorrow, and you know its closed just so you and 24,999 other people can run down the middle of it.
For now, my clothes are layed out for tomorrow morning, shoes w/socks and D-Tags attached are ready to go. Numbers w/pins laying next to them. Ready to do this!!
Here are a few pics from today, but as always, the whole batch is on the dropshots page.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Preparing the Mind

There is a quote that runs across the bottom of our training schedule by Patton. I'm not looking at him as a war hero, but as a 1912 Olympian.

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. it is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

A section of the front of our fridge is devoted to our training. Our log book is hanging there, our training schedule, and a few quotes. I've read the above quote probably hundreds of times now. Even when I walk by and don't read it, I usually glance at it as I walk by.

I love this quote, because the fact is when it comes to a marathon, the body will be tired. It will do it's best to get you to quit, especially at the Wall. You have to know it's coming, prepare mentally to not stop no matter what. You have to make your mind control your body. It sounds so simple as I type it....but there's no way to grasp what I actually mean, and how it feels, until you hit the Wall, are in the moment, the pain, the fatigue, and you make the choice to keep going, keep feeling it. Yes, it defies all logic and common sense, but it's also the most empowering experience I have ever had.

(above pics are from our 1st marathon, well after the wall, but during the leg cramps)

Because its on topic, and helps me mentally remember why we keep doing this....I am re-posting a post from May. Yes, I know this is breaking some sort of 'blogging rule', but it's my blog, and I want to read it again and share w/you, again, the "WHY".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"What Lies Beyond the Challenge is What Defines You"

I came across a post this morning on an Ultra Runners blog I follow. (Ultra running is any distance over 26.2 miles)He , like most runners, is asked by friends and family why he keeps running. Why does he keep putting his body through the beatings? Why does he repeatedly test his bodies limits? Why did he sign up for another race? Well, he lists these 3 things as his reasons he gives as his answer to that question.

The 'Wall', the 'Pit', and the 'Abyss'. I have never reached the pit, or abyss, but the Wall is the beast Brian and I meet up with at mile 23. Without fail, mile 23 we feel our bodies making the switch. The technical explanation of what your body is doing when you have hit the wall is this -

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns quickly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 MJ or 2,000 kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point.[52] When glycogen runs low, the body must then burn stored fat for energy, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to "hit the wall". The aim of training for the marathon, according to many coaches,[53] is to maximize the limited glycogen available so that the fatigue of the "wall" is not as dramatic. This is in part accomplished by utilizing a higher percentage of energy from burned fat even during the early phase of the race, thus conserving glycogen.

Carbohydrate-based "energy" gels are used by runners to avoid or reduce the effect of "hitting the wall", as they provide easy to digest energy during the run. Energy gels usually contain varying amounts of sodium and potassium and some also contain caffeine. They need to be consumed with a certain amount of water. Recommendations for how often to take an energy gel during the race range widely.[53]

Alternatives to gels are solid candy, cookies, other forms of concentrated sugars, or any food high in simple carbohydrates which can be digested easily by the individual runner. Many runners experiment with consuming energy supplements during training runs to determine what works best for them."-wiki

Feel smarter? So it isn't just a myth, or common sense that you are tired after running 20+ miles. There is actually a physical change going on, your body is transitioning where it is pulling fuel from. During that time, your body wants nothing more than for you to stop moving. That's its goal. What tactics will your body use? Cramping, fatigue, hot flashes, feeling flush, sweating more than normal....not just fatigue, as in tiredness, but like moving through water trying to run....your telling your body to keep going, and it's just not moving any quicker. In fact, it feels as if it's actually resisting your forward motion. You feel extremely heavy. Your body is screaming from the inside out, telling you to stop!

In the next 8 months, Brian and I will have the joy of hitting the wall 3 more times. Yes, we ' get to', we look forward to it, we are excited to meet that friend/nemesis that waits at mile 23. Which brings us back around to "why?"

In the words of Scott Dunlap -
"The Wall, The Pit, and The Abyss - What Defines You Lies Just Beyond Each Of These Challenges.

The Wall
Most people have heard about "The Wall". It's that physical challenge most of us hit around mile 20 in a marathon when your glycogen gets dangerously close to "E" and your body starts messing with you to get you to stop. Cramps, fatigue, twitchiness, fluctuating body temp, and an ego ready to throw in the towel. It's not fun. But in truth, it's a defining part of the marathon experience. When you push yourself through this barrier, moving forward despite everything your body is signaling, you learn to trust your will. You find, on the other side of that wall, that you are far more courageous than you thought. You engage, and build, your character. You finish a stronger person.

In a nutshell, that's really it. What lies beyond the challenge is what defines you. By overcoming your own perceived limits, you face the undeniable truth that you are stronger than you knew, and thus must redefine your self image as a stronger, more capable person. It's not always a conscious thought, but it's always there. It's what gets you to sign up for the next one."

He hit the nail on the head. After watching Biggest Loser Finale last night, I can't help but reflect back on Brian and I. The contestants now get to go out and start living their lives. What are they capable of? What are their limits? What things can they do that they would never have dreamed of? For 10 years, Brian and I pretty much did nothing to challenge ourselves. We were 'comfortable' with our lives, going with the flow, day in, day out. I didn't wonder about things like what's my limit? Or, 'could I ever do that'?I knew the answer was NO. Our biggest challenge was deciding where to go get our next meal. That was our excitement, Jack in the Box or McDonald's, hmm, well, what's in the happy meals? Which toys will the kids like most? Just typing that makes me want to cry, but that's how it WAS.

The how, and why of our changing is for another post. But change we did. That process was one big challenge....but we came out the other side, having "redefined our self image". Our daily challenges now consist of things like, how far do we want to run? What all can you make with eggplant? Do I want to do a fartlek now or after another mile? How much more would I have to train to finish a sprint Tri? When will Brian do a century bike ride?

Every time we go through the training, the process of preparing for and then running a marathon, and we get to mile 23, we are so happy to have been able to even get there, and have the experience of hitting the wall and running through it is a privilege for us, one that even 3 years ago I would have never dreamed was possible for us. So far, the 2 marathons that we have finished, we have come across the finish slightly different people. We are 5 weeks into training for marathon #3, and each training run we do, every mile we log, puts us closer to being able to have that amazingly challenging growth experience at mile 23!

I firmly believe that every finish line one crosses results in growth, and a redefined self image on some level....but again, that's for another post!

So, there you go, a little insight into our "why".

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marathon Toes

I won't give the details of toe prep like last time, but lets just say my nails are ready to run! We've done 2 runs this week, I've done 2 workouts, and we will do a walk with the kids tonight, and then that's it. All that's left to do is eat well and sleep well for the next few days. That, and making sure to wear flats, don't trip over anything, no bike accident's for Brian.. We've had a lot of distractions this week, which has helped with nerves and not over analyzing every aspect of training and preparedness. It has been a bummer not having water since Sunday night, though. The knob to the shower broke, so if the water is on, the shower is running full blast. So, when we need water, need to flush, need to shower.....we go outside and turn it on, do our thing, go outside and turn it off. Sometime between 8 and 11 a.m. today it should be fixed. It requires emptying my newly organized closet so they can cut a section of the wall out to access it, but what are you gonna do???
Saturday after service we will head into the city to the race expo to get checked in, get our gear, and check out new products. Hope to hear Bary Yasso and Dean Karnazes speak, but we'll see what time we make it into the city. We have a sis coming over Saturday night to stay over with the kids as we will be heading into the city by 4 Sunday morning. I will post Expo pics Saturday.
Woo Hoo!! Getting excited. 15 weeks of hard work about to be put to the test!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet Video

San Fran Marathon offers 2 half marathon options, you pick the first 13.1 of the full marathon, or the second 13.1 of the full marathon. Here is a video of a father and daughter running the first half of the full together last year. Note 2 steep the hill is up to the GG Bridge, and how the dads breathing sounds after he has climbed it and is starting over the bridge. Of all the hills, this is the one that has me most concerned. That said, we are both feeling the excitement!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

7 Days Until the Wall

See the San Fran Marathon ticker over there???
7 doubts or worries....resolved to feeling the pain and enjoying it.
Enjoying our taper time this go round, we needed it.
Legs should feel super fresh. Doing a few 5 milers this week, that's it until game day.
Feel ready this time.
No doubting my training.
No nerves, yet.....
Ready to run

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Antlers National Recreation Area - Lake Shasta

We are back from camping! We had a great time. I had forgotten how relaxing camping is once you get there and settle in. It was just what we needed.
We got into camp about 3:30 on Wednesday. It was hot, but not bad. Our site was amazing!! Brian and I both over research everything when it comes to vacations, and we had spent a lot of time researching campgrounds, and looking at individual camp sites on a website Brian found. You can look at each site's picture. Even though its hard to tell from a picture, we looked for things like how close are the sites to each other, can you see the garbage cans or the bathrooms or any trails leading to the bathrooms, are there trees for shade and the kids to climb....yeah, we are that thorough. It paid off!! Our site was a double site, and we could have easily fit 4 or 5 tents in it. Totally shaded, and with temps reaching 105, that was needed! We had a meadow w/trees on one side, thick forest on the other side, and the lake behind us. No neighbors close at all. Tons of Manzanita trees for the kids to climb. A trail down to the lake, although it required climbing skills beyond what my 'mothers instinct' was comfortable with. We did it the first day, and that was enough. We had lots of lizards during the day scampering around, which the kids loved. Ground squirrels, too. At night, we had lots of bird sounds and crickets. We had owls swooping through camp at night, and I was able to get pretty close to one and get a picture.
Although this is a no frills campground, we loved it. The first 2 nights, there was maybe 4 campers in the whole campground. It was so quiet and relaxing. We drove through 3 or 4 of the other campgrounds in the area. They were more resort-ish. Lots of people, sites close together and not private at all, right on the lake so you had tons of boats and noise and just a lot of commotion in general. The other campgrounds had things like pools, wi-fi, volleyball, stores.....more KOA type set ups. But, Antlers National Recreation Area (which is not Antlers Marina and Campground) is much quieter. There are no frills. There are no showers, flush toilets are at the far ends of the campground, everything in the middle is pit toilets in nice buildings that don't have lights, which is what we used. Unless it was the middle of the night, then we found some nice bushes.
Camp life itself we pretty nice, too. We mostly fished and swam all day, then roasted hot dogs for dinner, had smores, played cards, watched the stars...camping stuff. Brian made the kids pancakes and bacon in the mornings, and we had sandwiches for lunch. We kept it pretty simple, but we had a great time!
I will be getting the pictures up here....but here are a few for now.The top picture is the site from the front, the one below is from the back of the site.

The water was so warm! The boats would make waves that stirred up the clay, thus the brown water, but the kids had a blast riding the wake.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We are heading out tomorrow ( Wednesday) for our first camping trip as a family. Definitely a different experience as an adult than a child. I am now understanding things don't pack themselves, tents don't get put up by themselves, lists of what to bring, making sure nothing gets forgotten, everyone has clothes packed....none of that 'just happens'. So, THANK YOU mom for all the great camping trips we had as kids! I am know understanding all the 'behind the scene' things that go on to make a camping trip successful! And Angela, thank you for answering my endless questions about what and how much of what to pack. I hope my own kids don't remember the chaos that has gone on around the house the past few days and only remember how much fun they had over the next 4 days. The lake is up, the weather will be upper 90's during the day, and we have a great, shady spot, lake side. Soph can't stop talking about the 'whopper' she is going to catch and the bears she will scare away w/her whistle. Em wants to roast "Brats". Bub wants to finally sleep in the tent we have had for over a year. Good times, and lots of pics to come!

Monday, July 12, 2010

13 Years....Finally!

Random post for a fitness themed site, but there is a reason it's here.
Since we've been married, we have not had a dresser. Yes, there was the very short presence of an Ikea piece of crud dresser, but its life span was so short, and it was so useless that I refuse to acknowledge it ever existed.
I mostly hang my clothes. I make due with those plastic 3 drawer cubbies you see at Target all the time. I have 2 of those in the bottom of my closet, and a hanging thing that has slots takes up another portion of my closet. OH, and when I say closet, I should clarify. Since Brian works and has work clothes, meeting clothes, and then everything else, he gets the actual closet in the bedroom. My 'closet' is a coat closet by the bathroom. So there's about 3 feet of space. This was my choice as I know Brian has way more clothes and his all need to hang, so it's only right that he have the real closet. I try not to complain and just deal with the space issues. What I can't deal with is the chaos issue. If you know me well, then you know I am very ocd about having things clean, neat, orderly, organized, ect, ect. Messes induce panic attack like symptoms. If I walk into a cluttered room, it's hard for me to focus on anything else, I feel anxious, nervous, irritated...until I fix it, and then life goes on. The obvious solution is that as a family, we keep the house pretty clean. The kids understand how mom feels when their rooms are a mess. Brian understands, too. Many Saturday and Sunday mornings he will make sure the room we walk into when we get home from service and meeting is clean so that I don't walk into the house and go into ocd mode. Anyway, on a day to day basis, it's no big deal. We all just keep the house clean, its a normal part of our live, no big deal. Where it has been becoming a big deal is my closet. I feel like because it's such a small space, if anything is out of order, it really looks like a huge mess. I often can't find what I'm looking for because everything is so crammed in there, which makes if feel even messier. Sometimes there is so much in there I can't get the door shut. Actually, truth be told, the door had been forced closed so many times that it recently pulled out of the hinges. So, there has been a lot of ranting and raving about needing a dresser. I don't really consider it a "want", I have been to the point mentally that it has been a 'need' for a while.
I try not to ask for things because I know our budget, and just because we may 'need' something doesn't mean we go and get it. Brian goes w/o a lot too, and I know that and I think we both go w/o things we 'need' for longer than we should sometimes (like running shoes, but that's a different post). We have had our eyes open for freebies or cheapies at garage sales, but nothing.
Well, Brian's bike is in the shop for a week. Talk about going for too long w/o things you need, his spokes have been falling off his tires, and he has been taking spokes off his spare tires and replacing them, plus he only has 1 or 2 gears that work on his bike, plus his seat isn't attached anymore, it just sits on top of the frame, but isn't I said, we make due. So I drove him into work this morning and on the way home, I see this amazing dresser sitting out on the curb w/ a free sign on it. It was huge, looked heavy, and I drove home. Pulled in the drive way, sat there for a minute, then backed out again and went back.
This thing is awesome. Used, and shows its age a bit, but awesome. It's a 5.5 foot long solid chunk of wood! All the drawers slide nicely, nothing wobbles, no particle board anything, its' solid wood, claw foot, nice details, 6 big drawers......just pure awesomeness. Now, the delima was that it was solid and extremely heavy. I considered going back to Brian's office and making him come help me, but I was afraid to leave it there. So, and this is where the tie in to fitness is : ) , I put down all the seats in the van except Bubba's, took the drawers out, and wrestled this thing up into the van. Yep, I wrestled it. It probably look hilarious, but after trying a few different methods, angles, and lifting techniques, I got it up into the van. I did not know that dresser wrestling was on my bucket list, but it felt pretty good, and I would highly recommend it as an alternative to your normal workout. I'm thinking there may be workout DVD's to be made, set to Rocky music. Anyhoo, tucked the kids back into the van in whatever nooks and crannies they could find, and away I went, feeling pretty proud of myself, and looking forward to getting dressed tomorrow and the calm, non ocd feeling I will have while doing it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Brazen Racing - Bear Creek Trail Run

When it comes to trail running in the Bay Area, nobody beats Brazen Racing! The put on first class events. Always organized, and always deliver the goods when it comes to the freebies. Here is a video from this years Bear Creek Trail Run. You may remember this was Emma's first 5K ever last year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

So Done With the Long Run

Last long run, 22 miler, is done for this training go round. We headed out on the trail at about 5:30 last night. We waited until evening hoping for some cooling. It was in the 90's during the day, but did cool down quite nicely in the evening, and was cold by the time we finished.
A highlight was getting a text from a friend at the half way point that simply said "You can do it, last long run!" I had no idea how much I would need it, and would repeat it over and over again during the following 3 hours.
We finished up well into the dark night, got back to the car a little after 10....yes, there is much more to this story, but that is all I will say about the run itself.
I do want to say again, how much the support of friends and family means to Brian and I. Even those of you who may not really "get" the whole running thing, yet are still encouraging and means a lot.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Monday = Long Run

I love Brian and I...I woke up with tired hamstrings, he woke up "bloated" (his words, not mine). Tired or not I was up , with some encouragement, at 5, ate a big bowl of Kashi and a banana. Brian gets up and dressed and then lets me know he's bloated, I say my hami's are tired, and we crawled back into bed until, well, 9 for me, he was up a bit earlier.
It all works out because I had forgotten he was off tomorrow, so after service, we will get it done.
In the mean time, here is a pic that my wonderful 8 year old created. It is proudly hanging on my fridge. After a few days, I finally got the nerve up to delicately ask her if Woody was a vet, or if Bulls Eye was expecting. She's heard my childhood stories, so I though maybe......but no, he has his arm around Bulls Eye. Love my kids!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last Long Run Weekend

Just a quick update....
We have arrived at our last long run before SF Marathon. Training seems to go by quicker each time we do this. Its been an amazingly fast 15 weeks!
Overall, other than a few scheduling issues, training was pretty painless. Long runs feel easier each time, only one this training period that I would say was brutal. I'm wondering if we haven't been over training the past few times. We've been running 4 days a week, having at least 1 day off in between each run. Mid week runs have been between 5 and 8 miles. We make sure to take at least one day if not two off before our long run. Our long runs have been mostly on Sundays. I have dropped my Monday workout, giving my body a rest on that day, so only working out 3 days a week verses the 4 days a week I have done for the past year and a half. I think this has ended up in a less is more experience. We have both felt really strong in our runs, and haven't been sore afterwards. And like I said, except for 1 run, our long runs have been enjoyable, which isn't usual. Usually over 18 miles and everything hurts and we are sore the next day. During the convention, we didn't run for 4 days in a row, and when we headed out on day 5 for a run, it was amazing the difference in my legs! I haven't run on fresh legs in so long, it was a night and day difference starting off with well rested legs!
So, I am actually looking forward to tapering this time, as I know we can go the distance, and look forward to starting off w/fresh, well rested legs (which will last until the first hill!). Sunday morning will be the last long run, somewhere between 20-24 miles, we haven't' decided yet. Our last long run was 22 we will see. If we had 3 weeks to taper I would for sure do 24, but w/2 weeks...thinking maybe 22 0r 20. 24 is pretty much like running a marathon, and then 2 weeks later running a marathon, which, even w/2 weeks rest, isnt' a brilliant idea for us mere mortals.
Anyhoo, other than that, summer is in full swing at our house. Lots of pool time, play time, tent making....our dinning room table is covered in a sheet, which is covered w/paper mache animals in various stages. 2 more layers and we will be ready to start painting! Service today and Monday, run, meeting, and congregation softball Sunday.... and hoping for some beach time Monday afternoon!
Have a good weekend, people. Hope it's sunny wherever you are!