Race Recap: Hollywood Half Marathon

Last Thursday I made a very last minute decision to run the Hollywood Half Marathon up in…errr…spoiler alert…Hollywood.

I haven’t run a half marathon since last November and you can easily count my weekly mileage on your fingers and maybe a few toes, so I knew it was not going to be easy, but for what can only be defined as totally insane and personal reasons I decided to do it anyway.

The Race Itself:
Expo - it was small, efficient and the most awesome part – YOU CAN TRANSFER BIBS (thanks to Pam for helping a girl out…)!!!  Parking was okay (I found street parking pretty easily), but most importantly, as I was waiting to cross the street back to my car I was literally standing next to Hugh Laurie who was dining 2 feet from me at a street cafe.  Hello Dr. House….

Hugh Laurie Wallpaper

Race Day Pre-Race - I’m a genius and set my alarm for 4pm instead of am, so I was pretty frazzled getting to the race.  I parked at my uncle’s office and walked to the start line (I parked halfway between the start and finish which are about 6 or so blocks apart).

I couldn’t find the port-a-potties so I begged and offered to pay for anything at a 24 hour diner to use the bathroom and get ready (yes I was literally changing into my running clothes and ditched my old sweats I slept in on the side of the road).  I ate a pack of margarita Clif Shots for breakfast and ran to the starting line.

This was also about the time I regretted eating dinner around 8pm, drinking sangria and beer and having fallen asleep around 1am.  I am clearly the queen of good choices and sound judgement…and no I wouldn’t have changed anything because it was fun.

Starting line....

Starting line….

Race Time -  The race itself was well run and organized.  It started pretty close to on time and started in the dark and headed east so you got to see the sun rise.  You saw some of the Hollywood scenery and had a few minutes running towards the iconic Hollywood sign as well.

The course is a mostly flat out and back but has these little “offshoots” down side streets which makes for a LOT of turnarounds.  I kind of wished they had run us up to Los Feliz and ran the straight away there to get some miles in. It might have had a bit more incline, but it would have made for a much prettier view and way less side street turnarounds being needed.

With 10,000 people on a turnaround laden course, things got pretty congested.  This was further compounded by the fact that somewhere around mile 10, the half marathoners met up with the 10k walkers and it was packed.  It was the worst game of run-Frogger ever.

Post-Race - It looked like there was a lot of entertainment and food after the race, but I was literally grabbing my grub and hitting the road to get to Strawberry’s soccer game before it started.  As bananas, crackers and water bottles were being tossed my way I asked for a bag and a volunteer shoved this in my face.

Pardon the blur, post race sweat was all over that mad cell phone....

Who needs a bag for your goodies if you have a box….pardon the blur, post race sweat was all over that mad cell phone….

I saw bands playing and people looked to be having a good time and the finish line.  I, on the other hand, was squeezing my cheeks, huffing and puffing while I beelined for the bathroom informing my mother that this was not a “I’m going to crap my pants false alarm, it’s the real deal.”

Moms are awesome because she just laughed and listened.

Ironically I saw this later - I snapped a quick selfie for mumsie dear after the race and realized later the bathrooms were RIGHT behind me.  DOH!

Ironically I saw this later – I snapped a quick selfie for mumsie dear after the race and realized later the bathrooms were RIGHT behind me. DOH!  Oh and I never sent her the picture.  Hi mom!

My Experience:
I knew this was not going to be easy…and it totally wasn’t! I intentionally didn’t wear a watch and made it my unofficial goal to just stay ahead of the 1:45 pace group.  Around mile 6 I started chatting with a man who I had been running next to for a while.  Apparently he had trained about as much as I had(n’t) and was going with the “don’t die” approach to his race as well.

We started talking about local races, work, running, life, etc. and before we knew it we had hit mile 10 and gotten pretty far ahead of the 1:45 pace group (who had been on my tail the whole first half).   Things got pretty rough at mile 12, but somehow we powered through and finished.  I barely looked at the clock  as we peeled down the finishers’ chute and guessed a 1:42-1:43 finish…so I was pretty pleased to see my official results rolling in at 1:41:49.

Turns out good company makes for a pretty mean negative split.  Go team.

More than anything this was just that reminder I needed that I am capable of doing  bigger and better things with my legs, and with a little effort and training I could actually be a lot better than I give myself credit for.

In other news, 3 bathroom trips and 1 Starbucks detour later I pulled up to the soccer game just in time to see Strawberry score a goal.  #familywins

Have you ever impromptu raced?

Has your GI system ever hated you right after a race?  What was your best remedy?

 

Worth-less

This morning I took a (too) early PiYo class at the gym - a horrible reminder that my hip flexors are made of steel, and not the tensile tissue they should be.  #crosstrainingfail

As the class wrapped up, the instructor encouraged the class….”What sport are we majoring in?”  And everyone chanted back – “LOOKING GOOD!”

[insert record screeching]  WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT??!?!?!

maya-rudolph-0

The sport of looking good?  The sport of freaking looking good?

I waited to hear if it was an April Fool’s Joke, but sadly, this clearly wasn’t.

While the media would like you to think that I live in the land of blonde extensions, Botox, and bitty clothes, the truth is that most of where I live is a little less Real Housewives of Orange County and more Real Moms of the School Drop Off donned in paint-laden sweatpants and baseball cap covered ponytails.

And this morning, dear PiYo instructor, you made me hit my wall.  Since I have to add another digit to my age this month maybe I’m a little more sensitive to your comments, but really – taking care of my body only to look good?  Psssh…please.

Let’s face it, my body is most definitely ..errr…welll…ahhhh….changing.

The ongoing conversation between my belly button and boobs centers around the fact that the distance between them continues to grow smaller.  It would be a lot easier to be better neighbors if it wasn’t for the canned biscuit looking skin that a few pregnancies have left coming between the two.

My face has a few life lines.  The kiddo face plants into the asphalt, sleepless nights with babies, and tantruming toddlers have all started to make their appearance.  Let’s face it, some years have given my face a little more wear than the others.

The magazines, the TV and internet (and apparently the PiYo instructor) all tell me that my value is going down.  Like a brand spankin’ new car driven off the lot, each passing day chips away at my worth.  My miles splits will grow longer, my laugh lines deeper, my thighs bigger, and oh the places my boobs will go, but all of these things are happening only because I have lived.

And I have a hell of a lot more living to do which is the exact reason I am working out – not because life is a giant beauty pageant, but because I want to be the best me I can.  I want my body to feel and work well for a very long time (even if my parts aren’t in the same places they started out).

As an athlete I value my body and the things it can (and can’t) do, but more than that, my body is the mechanism to me being ME – not the definition of my worth.  I am mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee, teacher, Food Network star wannabe.  I am aunt, bandaid giver, math tutor, computer instructor, rescuer to the bathroom floor which magnetically attracts pee.

So no dear instructor, I am not playing the sport of looking good, I am playing the sport of living well.

What “sport” do you play?

Have you ever heard a fitness instructor say something that’s pushed you over your limit?

True Confession Thursday: Bad Timing

I’m notorious for having the worst timing.

Take, for example, the time I was bowling and stumbled into the bathroom to find a woman struggling to take a poorly executed duck face selfie.  Being the kind person that I am person who wanted to avoid getting publicly humiliated with my horrible bowling skills, I offered to take her picture.

And that’s when it happened.  Duck face in the mirror selfie taker hoisted her leg up onto the bathroom counter showing the whole photo taking audience (hello, at this point it’s me) her thinly veiled bidness.  It was at that VERY moment that the bathroom door swung open and my family and friends poured in.

And there I was, holding a stranger’s camera, taking a picture of this woman who threw me into her very own personal moment.

#badtiming

Last night’s run kept up my bad timing mojo.  I did the mom thing of trying to run during a sports practice.

I started at the park and noticed a big problem – no bathrooms.  No biggie, I peed 20 minutes ago.

Half a mile in, the bottle of water I had just pounded caught up to me.  I started running up and downhill at a sub 7-minute mile pace with 3 thoughts running through my head:

1- My well woman visit the day before where the doctor asked about post-preganancy incontinence (yes 9 years to the day later) and I blew it off saying, “It’s pretty much under control.”  Which was basically the biggest liary of lies ever.  My traumatic first childbirth wreaked havoc on my bladder and still

2-  I lamented every stoplight that I have ever, ever sat at without doing any Kegel’s and wished horrible things upon the weakness of my pelvic floor.

3- A vision of my pink Dear Kates hanging on the drying rack instead of being plastered on my butt where they should have been at that very moment sparing me from the ever increasing likelihood of a football practice pickup with a shirt tied around my waist.  I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these bad boys.

The duds, and they’re certainly dapper!

A few miles in I found an unsuspecting coffee shop and my bladder contracted in relief…until I noticed the “Open” sign was off and they were closed.  *whimper*

With the clock ticking closer and closer to practice ending and my superior chauffeuring services being in timely need, I blazed into the next shop – a nail salon.  (eh, desperate times, desperate measures)

Breathlessly I squeaked out…..”Can I please use your bathroom?”.

The woman pointed towards the back and nodded yes while everyone else in the salon glared at me and muttered what I can only assume were really kind things like, “Wow, kudos to her for squeezing a workout in!” and “I love those running shoes!“.

My bladder did a happy dance at the sight of the porcelain throne, I barreled out of there promising to return someday to get what is left of my toenails prettified.

I sprinted the last 1.5 miles back to practice in time to watch a few minutes of practice before dragging the bambinos home for dinner.

The good news:  due to the bad timing, I had a fabulous hilly run with good times, even if my bladder will never forgive me.

What’s the worst timing you’ve had lately?

What’s the weirdest place you’ve stopped to use the bathroom on a run?

The Bee’s Knees

Yesterday I finally, finally, finally got to do a double digit run.

Yes I spent some time flirting with a bunch of 9′s, but I haven’t hit it off with a 10+ since last November.

back-bay

Dear Back Bay, I love you *THIS* much. Love, Me

Take that legs.

Actually, it seemed my body and nature were doing everything they could to rain on my parade (okay not literal rain, this is SoCal I’m not quite sure I know what that rain stuff actually is), but I pushed through.

Saturday night food allergy reaction kept me up a bulk as it felt like I had swallowed 1,000 angry kittens who were working their way through my GI tract.  My gut left me with a late start meaning I got to run in peak SoCal “spring” heat.  While I love the 80′s when it comes to music, it’s just not overly awesome to run in.

i_love_the_80s_lowres_xlarge

Rocks tried to trip me (no seriously rolled off a face plant in front of a bunch of people, Mary Lou Retton would have been proud) and a giant swarm of thousands of bees tried to keep me from finishing, but alas my legs won.

Post-run cool down/cross training with some paddle boarding and then…. well…as all good things do end – carbs, pink sauce & red wine.

IMG_6084What are your challenges to getting miles in lately?

Have you ever seen an angry swarm of thousands of bees?
It’s seriously frightening…like low blood sugar 2 year old before nap time terrifying.

True Confession Thursday: Louse-y Week

Let’s have a little talk about honesty.  Yes, honesty.

When a mom says, “I kinda lost it with my kids a bit this afternoon.” [this happened the other day]

Kinda lost it roughly translates to – I locked myself in my bathroom after totally coming unglued.  I want to know why we aren’t really honest with one another?

Because my car NEVER looks like this....

Because my car NEVER looks like this….

In the spirit of honesty, life hasn’t been a lot of sunshine and rainbows coming out my…well you know where.

There are seasons when parenting is awesome and fun and so deeply fulfilling I can hardly believe that I get the opportunity to do it.  And then you realize your wine glass is empty and someone realizes they forgot to do a project due TOMORROW at 8am.

But seriously, despite the normal ups and downs we’ve had a few things going on with the boys (one in particular) and it’s been challenging to say the least.  The emotional, physical and even spiritual energy suck that has happened has meant a total revamp on life & what I spend time doing.

This all peaked last week when things got pretty louse-y.  It was slightly irritating and really bugged me, but one of the I realized one of the boys didn’t get the “Share hugs, not bugs” memo, the latter part of my entire week meant cleaning, treating lice.  Yes, I too joined the ranks of egg head joining in the infectious fun.

IMG_6006

Lice be gone…

I’m not going to nit pick or anything, but cleaning took up all of the spare time we had, so running was off the grid.  Once we were properly deloused and officially lice free, we opted to enjoy a little staycation which included a SURPRISE 10k.

Enter Grunion Run 10k.

A surprise race….shockingly soggy….and a second place sweep.

2014-03-02

I don’t look wet but I’m actually soaked.

I’ll spare you details on the pretty standard race other than it was rainy, I ran 45:05 and came in 2nd overall finish for women.  But it was quite the learning experience, which can pretty much be summed up by the spirit of Jock Jams.

images-3

Bringing happiness and the running man to my house since 1995.

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble:  Let’s face it, sometimes you walk into a race with your game face prepped and ready to roll.  You do everything right – sleep, diet, training and the race just doesn’t pan out.  Other times you can push through the mile 2 dry heaving (hey, so maybe wine tasting, free champagne at the hotel and a heavy dinner aren’t a great idea the night before a race) and feel great after.  For me, I never know which it’s going to be, so I just always have to be ready to rumble.

It Takes Two (hundred):  While DJ EZ Rock thought it took two to make a thing go right, I found it’s actually 200 for me.  The last few weeks my runs have focused on my cadence [not familiar with this concept, read here].  During this race and  I finally found a number that just felt oh so right: 200.  I’ve typically been running around 170ish thus aggravating my back and jacking everything up the last few years.  But as I’ve slowly increased my cadence I have worked on a shorter stride with a strong mid-foot strike feels oh so right in all the right places and hanging in my happy place around 200.

Whoomp! There It is:  While big, highly organized races are fun and there’s a huge buzz about them, there is something amazing about small, local races.  I love watching the families participate, showing up 15 minutes before the race starts.  Turnout was low because it was raining (note: California breeds weather weenies).

Gonna Make You Sweat:  Nah, not much to say about this other than the fact that it’s STILL my favorite running song decades later when I need a little extra oomph in the middle of a long run or race.

What’s your favorite Jock Jam?

What tune gets your feet shuffling when you run?

Personal Space

About 3 months ago I came home to find that the gardeners had completely and totally pruned back my rose still flowering rose bushes.

<sad face>

It was around that same time that I really started scaling back my running and trying to get my SI joint in place, get my hammy shaped up, etc.  I felt like a loser on the Bachelor because I wasn’t getting in any good, long runs nor the final rose.

But alas, the other day hope started springing anew.

IMG_5854

Ironically I found this on my way home from my first “long for me” run in a while.

Can't find a better place to long run...

Can’t find a better place to long run…the bottom of that hill gives you about 2 miles of flat sandy shore

My goal:  10 slow miles

Given that I’m still recovering I chose, a nice flat (only 265 feet of incline over 10 miles) and soft surfaced place to run.  I did a majority of the running on packed sand which meant a lot of laps up and down the beach (about 4 loops) hugging the full moon induced exceptionally high tide while dodging the leisurely beach strollers.

Hammy pain – nil
Exhaustion – nil

Despite feeling like I could run for 14 miles, after 8.5 miles I just started feeling a little tight in the legs, so I decided to call it a day and not push it too far

The Results:  9 miles with a nice leisurely 2 mile stroll on the beach- 1 mile in the icy cold Pacific whirlpool to recover.

IMG_5848In the ol’ recovery log, the speed at short distances had been picking up nicely (not 100% recovered, but about 80%) and to get a long run in under my belt made me feel pretty relieved, and quite frankly, a little more human.  I’ve had my eye on getting a half in the last weekend in March, so we shall see how that progresses.

Does it feel like spring is 6 weeks or 6 months away for you?

What’s your favorite place to run these days?

True Confession Thursday: Day Late and a Dollar Short

The other night Strawberry laid in bed tearfully lamenting that *gasp* his plans for the day didn’t come to fruition.

For what it's worth, this kid has been a worrier  since infancy.  He literally was asking "Why is the baby crying?  He's ruining the picture?" here.

For what it’s worth, this kid has been a worrier since infancy. He literally was asking “Why is the baby crying? He’s messing up the picture?” here.

Well my copper topped, bundle of love – life happens and most of the time our well-laid plans just go to the crapper.  Bummer of a lesson to learn at *almost* 9 (his words).

But alas, this is the story of this week.  On Tuesday, I found 20 spare minutes in my evening. TWENTY GLORIOUS MINUTES.  Before anything could change I grabbed my workout clothes and was slipping on my shoes on to work out on my fabulous new slide board while the kids were happily building (actually what were they building???) nearby so we could all talk and hang out together.  Then a stray dog walked into the garage.

45 minutes later we found his owners and my window was lost…

The other day it took 3 different attempts to run 4 miles.

Yes, 3 attempts for 4 miles.

And the entire time I felt guilty.  Why?  Because I remember reading some article in a running magazine years ago telling me that any run under 30 minutes is basically a waste of time.  Sure, it might not be the most effective workout when training for a marathon, but somehow I internalized it that runs under 30 minutes were pointless.

That article, or the fact that my Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin feeds are full of people running approximately 10,326.5 miles every other day (bless you who can do this, but it’s clouding my judgement in my reality).

got-guilt.jpg w=584I’m kind of ashamed of myself that I’ve held onto this stupid rule/mindset for so long.

“Oh I only have 25 minutes – not worth it to run...”

Oh man – that was only 22 minutes and I have so much to do, that was a waste of a run…”

Who am I and why am I letting some stupid running magazine article tell me which workouts are good and which ones aren’t?

For what it’s worth, my very broken up 4, pithy 4-mile run that spanning 4 hours was exactly what I needed.  I finally tested my speed without breaking my legs, I got little mental breaks from some things that were draining and I still squeezed in a game of football at the park with the boys before the sun set.

What silly rules have you ever gotten hung up on?

Give me your best “squeezing it in” advice….I need it!

Cross Training on the Cheap

As I mentioned, I’m still working on getting my back/hips/hammy back in shape.  Basically my SI joint is out of whack and what seemed like it might be high hamstring tendinitis, but is actually coming from a hamstring adductor irritation  Bored yet?  So am I.

I’m working to strengthen a lot of other smaller muscle groups while letting everything else heal and align so this junk doesn’t happen again.  This involves a lot of cross training which isn’t always the funnest and requires lots of equipment which can be expensive.

How have I been keeping costs down?  I have some crazy gym membership deal that’s $40 a year (CRAZY) which helps, but it’s not always convenient.  Plus the idea of cramming into a sweaty room with 60 people I don’t know at an awkward hour of the day that’s always totally inconvenient isn’t always my cup of tea.

I’ve been trying all sorts of other things:  roller blading, running drills outside in the cul-de-sac (the neighbors don’t think it’s weird at all), and one questionable afternoon that left me shamefully watching a YouTube video of a dude in a room with a  “Beast Mode” poster and 1990′s motivational mantras flashing across the screen.  #theshame

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One of the more reasonable suggestions was to get on a slide board.

IMG_5707Did you know that for the average price of a slide board and booties I could get about 67 specialty lattes from Starbucks.  And I’m cheap. And I love Starbucks.

So with the help of Scott over at Coastal Health and Fitness and the website he provided – I decided to get serious and make my own homemade slide board.  You can read the link on how to do this, but I spent about $40 on supplies to put this together.  Had my drill been a little more cooperative, it should have only taken me about 30 minutes to assemble this bad boy.  I pretty much followed the directions (so I’ll save you the step by step guide since that’s already been done), except for adding more duct tape, because let’s face it, you can never have too much duct tape.

Fun with sharp & heavy objects!  No fingers were harmed in the making of this slide board.  Whew!

Fun with sharp & heavy objects! No fingers were harmed in the making of this slide board. Whew! Ignore the shims next to me, those were for the boys to play with, not essential for this project.

In the end I was left with one mighty functional slide board…please note, this doesn’t fold up very easily, so this will be my “garage kept” slide board, but could easily slide under a bed or couch if you needed to.

It may not be pretty but it works perfectly....

It may not be pretty but it works perfectly….

Then came the bootie problem (this in me trying to help fix my booty problem).  Thanks to the power of the Google, I discovered I had what I needed in my closet and could easily substitute slide board booties with a pair of SmartWool socks over my shoes. #cheapwinsagain

Ta Da!!!!  Reduce, REUSE, recycle and FREE

Ta Da!!!! Reduce, REUSE, recycle and FREE

Slide board for the win – and my pocketbook is that much heavier….which is awesome because I’m going to Paso Robles this weekend and I can put the savings into the all important “wine fund.”

What’s your favorite cross training tool?

Have you ever made homemade cross training equipment?

Remember When?

Remember when I used to blog?  

Remember when I used to log miles?

Remember when winter was actually winter?

Well the truth is I can hardly remember any of those things.  Other truths….

Blog:  It’s been busy, the boys have been busy and we’ve been a hustle and bustle of activity, so when I’ve found downtime, I’m pretty much crashing hard.  There hasn’t been too much to say, so I haven’t been saying much.

Log:  My SI joint and hips are still a bit wonky.  It’s not great and it’s not terrible either – it’s still a work in progress.  But I’m still scaling back to just get everything fixed.  This means fewer and slower miles than in recent history and lots of cross training and weight lifting, and trips to the PT.  I’ll write more on the specifics of what I’m doing later this week.

I am the messiest Body Pumper.  140 tricep reps - I died.

I am the messiest Body Pumper. 140 tricep reps – I died.

My mileage has gone down to 10-20 miles a week.  My pace has dropped down 60-90 seconds per mile and I’ve been trying (key word TRYING) to keep it flatter on my runs.  This proves to be difficult in the hilly area where I live.

My last run elevation....pretty much par for the course.

My last run elevation….pretty much par for the course.

That said, I have been able to complete two marathons in 2014.  Too bad they were just How I Met Your Mother marathons on Netflix.

Dear Netflix, I love you and your past season repository....

Dear Netflix, I love you and your past season repository….

I did hit up a local race, but just to voluntear (EAR + Mikey…get it?), not to run at the Run Disney kid’s races last weekend.

So much fun high fiving kids, cheering and handing out these bad boys to little bambinos.

So much fun high fiving kids, cheering and handing out these bad boys to little bambinos.

I’m not going to lie, being around the races made me sad since last year I was in great shape and have avowed my vengeance to Tinkerbell…this year I just feel old, creaky and slow comparatively.

Winter:  Uhhh so compared to the rest of the country, we’ve been unseasonably warm and dry this winter.  This means running at sunset to try and stave off the heat (seriously 80′s mid-day most days lately).  It also means low, slow miles with the boys tagging along on bikes or on their feet.

With no major goals in sight, I’m enjoying being able to spend that workout time with them and not worrying about speed or distance.  It allows time for fabulous conversations like school, life, and wondering about the mysteries of the world such as how much do people fart a day.  Parenting boys is the best.

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What’s your running log been like lately?  

True Confession Thursday: Revolution

Today I opted to skip out on the ol’ run and do some cross training.  Given it was:

A- Too hot to run at lunch [*ducking*....I know...I know....]

B- Kids are on break and around

and

C- I still am babying the almost, but not quite 100% hammy and have felt guilty reviewing my cross-training efforts from 2013.

Being the glass of class that I am, I hit up Amazon prime and found a Jillian Michaels video (two steps up from the Youtube vide with a “best mode” poster I found last time I was suddenly inspired to spontaneously cross train) and set out.  Before I could enjoy 3 minutes of it, I was quickly reminded why cross training at home with kids is always interesting.

At one point I got hot and took my shirt off….

Chocolate:  “Mom [points to TV screen] she has packs on her stomach, where are yours?

Vanilla quickly joins the conversation – “Yeah, you’re right, I don’t see any packs.  That’s no good.”

Strawberry:  “She has bumps on her back, are those packs?

The conversation continued:

Strawberry:  “Remember when I was going to eat my M&M’s for this New Year’s?”

Chocolate:  “That’s an amazing New Year’s Revolution.

Eventually one child wandered into the room and promptly stripped down to nothing asking questions about football butt naked and others drifted in and out of synchronized workout efforts.

This one made it through most of the workout with me and stayed *mostly* clothed the entire time...

This one made it through most of the workout with me and stayed *mostly* clothed the entire time…

Is it frustrating refereeing arguments instead of getting my plyometric exercises juuuuuust right?  Um yeah, sometimes, but with smiles, giggles and conversations like these how could I ever have a boring workout?

What’s the funniest thing someone told you while working out lately?