2015 Eugene Marathon Registration? Check!

I’m baaaaack! Okay, so maybe I wasn’t absent from Blogland for that long, but it’s certainly felt like it. I was starting to feel guilty for not posting anything since last Thursday. I shouldn’t feel guilty because I was really busy with the office, the kids, the husband, my broken-down Volvo, and other aspects of my non-blog life, but still. It was getting to the point where my running talk started spilling over into practically every conversation with my husband, kids, mom, and random strangers (i.e., people who don’t necessarily want to hear about my running ad nauseum), so I knew it was time to get back to the iPad and start writing.

And then I had even more impetus to write a new post:

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I’ve finally selected and registered for my spring 2015 marathon!

My friend Aimee texted me midway through my work day yesterday to alert me–OMG OMG–that the Eugene Marathon was returning to the spring and that registration had opened and [pause for deep breath and sip of water] that it’s going to be held on Mother’s Day.Photo Oct 14, 3 30 00 PM

Mother’s Day! Surely this portends good luck for the race… like a PR?

I love this race. The course is relatively flat and produces a lot of PRs and has a high rate to the storied University of Oregon track and field program, several Olympic track and field trials, legend Steve Prefontaine,  and some pretty delicious beer.  And have I mentioned that the race finishes on the Hayward Field track?

I ran the half twice (in 2012 and 2013) and set PRs both times, and I’m hoping for another PR next May; this time in the full marathon.  I want to qualify again for Boston, and this time I want my BQ to have more of a cushion than my current time, which simply wasn’t fast enough to earn me a spot at the 2015 Boston Marathon.

I registered for the Eugene Marathon within about 10 minutes of receiving Aimee’s texts and reserved hotel rooms about 5 minutes after that.  Eugene is a small city and the hotels fill quickly, so Aimee and I knew we had to reserve now to avoid later disappointment. (I learned this the hard way in 2012, when my friend M and I failed to reserve a room until about one month before the race, and ended up staying in a malodorous Super 8 in a nearby town that could have stood in for one of the locations in the film “Deliverance.”)

I’m all set to meet with my coach, Kris, next week. We’re going to start preparing my training plan for Eugene, which I cannot wait to start!  For now, though, I’m running wisely and conservatively, logging only 3 runs and about 14 miles per week. I need to build my mileage slowly to prevent myself from waking up that old hip flexor injury, but I also would like to be running around 20-25 miles per week by the time I start marathon training in late December.

In keeping with running wisely, I’ve also started attending a high-intensity interval exercise class at my gym. So far I’ve gone twice in 2 weeks, and it’s tough (particularly on my weak arms, shoulders, and core), but I need to cross-train. I believe that my failure to cross-train that past 2 years has my tendency to become injury-prone. My plan is to attend the interval class twice weekly until I start running 5+ days per week in late December or early January.

I’ve also started regularly performing the Myrtl routine to strengthen my hips, the instability of which are the source of many of my hip flexor and IT band issues.  I heard about Myrtl, my new girlfriend, through my buddy and massage therapist, Heidi. Heidi learned about Myrtl from her friend and trainer, Ruth Perkins, an amazing local runner who wins marathons left and right and recently qualified for the Olympic Trials. If it’s good enough for an Olympic Trials Qualifier and a health professional, it’s gotta’ be good! 

I do feel like performing the Myrtl is making my glutes stronger, which makes me confident about my chances of staying injury-free through the coming training cycle.

Can you tell I’m excited about this race? My enthusiasm appears to be contagious, as Aimee registered even before I did, and since yesterday afternoon at least 2 other friends have registered, and 2 more are considering. It sounds like there’s going to be a big party in Eugene next May…

If you’re interested in running the Eugene Marathon like me and other runners who like running fast, flat courses and drinking beer, act quickly! They are running an early bird discount code through Saturday (October 18, 2014) which takes $10 off the already low early registration prices of $85 (full) and $65 (half). See more on their website.

Are you excited about any upcoming races or races on the horizon? Have you ever run the Eugene Marathon or its half? What are some of your go-to exercises to prevent injury?

2015 Portland “Marathon” Recap (My 1st DNF)

Last Sunday, October 5, 2014, was the 43rd Portland Marathon. I registered for the full marathon many months ago but ended up not being able to train for it due to my hip injury this summer. In July I decided I would run just the half. Then, due to interruptions in my running last month due to illness, I decided to cut back to running only 8 miles of the race. And then I scaled it back even further to 6 miles because I’m a sloth.

Only a foodie would include info about her race-eve dinner in a race recap, right? Normally my pre-race dinners lack in spices and include menu items like pasta or mashed potatoes. But because I wasn’t going to run the 26.2 or even 13.1 at the Portland Marathon, I wasn’t worried about carb-loading at dinner time.IMG_0234.JPG

My family and I ended up going to Boxer Ramen (thanks, Becky and Liz, for the recommendation!) and I found possibly the biggest can of beer that I’ve ever seen.IMG_0233.JPG

(I didn’t really drink out of the can.)

After a short sleep cycle, I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to quickly dress and get ready to meet up with my friend and fellow Oiselle Flock member Marilyn before the race so that we could start and run together for the first 6 miles. Marilyn was pretty relaxed about the race, as was I (uncharacteristically, but–hey–I wasn’t running the whole thing). I was so relaxed, in fact, that I even forgot to wear my Garmin.

The weather pre-race was perfect–slightly cool and a light breeze. I hoped for the sake of the runners that the weather wouldn’t heat up too quickly, as was forecast.

It was still dark when Marilyn and I met up, but the sun rose by the time the National Anthem started. And speaking of The Star-Spangled Banner, it sounded like the official singer forgot the words, as there were long, awkward spaces in between stanzas, and he eventually abandoned singing altogether about halfway through the song. Kinda weird, but the crowd filled in the gap and started singing for him.

The race started at about 7:05 for those of us in Corral C, and we were off!
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Marilyn and I kept a conversational pace for the first couple of miles. Ashley, another Flock member from Seattle who was running the full, spotted us at about Mile 3 and ran with us for a bit before taking off. Marilyn and I hunkered down as we ran up the only hill in the first half of the marathon, consisting of a relatively steep hill sandwiched in between two gradual climbs (total elevation gain: about 100 feet). After that, we coasted downhill and along the riverfront towards the industrial side of downtown.

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I spotted my friend Robin along the course at about Mile 5, and she ran alongside us for a little bit and snapped this picture. I never look that happy running a marathon, incidentally.

Finally, Marilyn and I passed the Mile 6 marker and it was time for me to drop out. She was running strong and I bid her good luck. I then ran back along the out-and-back course until I noted a few people yelling “Good job!” to me and cheering for me, and I realized that they thought I was the female front-runner for the half marathon… which is hilarious. I removed my bib and kept going (slowly, mind you), and people still cheered. I felt very awkward and didn’t want anyone to have the mistaken impression I was still in the race. At that point I stepped off the road and ran down the sidewalk, resolving that problem.

As I ran back along the course, I spotted Oiselle Volée team member Liz Anjos, who had organized Saturday’s meet-up and was my ride for that morning. She was in 2nd place for the half marathon at Mile 11 and running strong. Liz ended up placing 3rd and destroying her previous PR. So inspiring!IMG_0238.JPG

I finally turned off the course once I hit the Mile 12 marker so that I could run back through Old Town to my hotel. My feet felt light and I was running at a decent clip. As I left the course and ran back to the hotel, I felt significant regret that I hadn’t been able to train and run the Portland Marathon. While the conditions weren’t ideal (Sunday’s heat ended up being pretty brutal on several marathoners) and I probably wouldn’t have PRed, this was the first race I DNF’ed, and that’s disappointing.

Marilyn ended up racing well until much later in the race, when she ended up suffering and slowing down. She didn’t end up meeting her time goal, but she still had a great time for such unfavorable race conditions, or any conditions, really.

IMG_0250.JPGI’m proud of her for finishing the race despite the challenges she faced. She proved that she’s tough as nails and that she’s bound to nail her goal in her next marathon, which will hopefully take place with cooler weather.

So that’s my incomplete recap for my first DNF. I cannot wait to decide on next year’s spring marathon and start training. I need redemption.

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Have you run the Portland Marathon? Have you ever DNF’ed a race?

Weekend Update: Portland!

Welcome to another installment of Weekend Update!

IMG_0221.JPGOnce again I’m linking up with my friend Tara of Running ‘n’ Reading. Check out her blog and those of the other bloggers linking up, if you would be so kind. If you’re a blogger, please consider linking up. It’s fun–I promise!

This is a somewhat tardy Weekend Update post for me because we didn’t arrive home from our weekend adventures in Portland until Monday afternoon. Long weekends are the best, amirite? Especially when they take place in Portland, one of my favorite cities. Alas, long weekend = long Weekend Update, so settle into a comfy chair. This may take a while.

We pulled into Portland pretty late on Friday night but managed to meet up with my college friend, B, who lives in Chicago but was in town for work. It was her last night and we were able to meet for a drink. It was so fun catching up with her. We parted ways outside the legendary Voodoo Donuts, which was close to our hotel, the Embassy Suites.

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Saturday morning we woke up to a gorgeous October day. It was sunny and cool, perfect running weather, and I had plans to go to a meet-up with some Oiselle Voleé and Flock members. We ran an approximate 3-1/2 mile loop around the Willamette River. Or, rather, I struggled to keep up with the rest of the group as I tried to get used to running again (I was pretty much out of it for 2 weeks, remember?).

IMG_0231.JPGMany in our group were serious speedsters. [Note: Thanks to Becky for being the official photographer of the Oiselle meet-up!]

After our little run, we took a group photo before having a delicious brunch at Dot’s Café.

IMG_0222.JPGIt was so great meeting everyone, which included mostly locals but also some ladies who had driven down from Vancouver, BC, for the marathon. They were all funny, interesting, and cool. I love the running sisterhood that Oiselle helps grow!

The rest of Saturday was all about family time. We went to the Portland Marathon expo at the Hilton so that I could pick up my bib and, more importantly, say “hi” to my friend Melissa, who was working the Nuun booth.

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IMG_0229.JPGMelissa is a total sweetheart and gave my kids some newly styled Nuun bottles because they are total Nuunjas. I think they tasted every single flavor there. Melissa also gave me this super-cool Oiselle/Nuun bottle:

IMG_0223.JPGI plan on hiding it in an out-of-the-way place so that my kids won’t find it, use it, and lose it. Kids.

My husband was snookered into buying a Myo-Buddy personal massager/modified power tool at the expo. I love that I’m not the only one who impulse-buys at marathon expos, even if we were $100+ poorer after his purchase.

IMG_0236.JPGThis hipster kid ended up being the designated Myo-Buddy-carrier for the remainder of our shopping excursion, which included too much time money spent at Tory Burch (but there was a Friends & Family promotion!) and J.Crew (but everything was 25% off!).

We also visited one of my favorite places in the world, Powell’s Books.

IMG_0235.JPGWe found plenty to get there, including several books for me and for me to read to the kids (including The Witch of Blackbird Pond! Holla!). Oh, and just about the coolest book bag ever:

IMG_0224.JPGI refuse to feel bad about spending money on books. Literacy, y’all!

This also happened on Saturday:

IMG_0240.JPGYes, those socks are hers, and yes, that is a rainbow coming out of a unicorn’s tush. I never said I deserve to win the Mother of the Year award.

Sunday morning, of course, was the Portland Marathon, the subject of a future post.

IMG_0226-0.JPGThe rest of the day was devoted to taking in more of the city, including the best Bloody Mary known to man:

IMG_0225.JPGMy beloved VQ-8 at the Veritable Quandary. Divinity in a glass, I tell you.

The kids and I also went with friends to a pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island, an agrarian community only 15 minutes from downtown Portland. It was a lot of fun catching up with them and partaking in all of the entertainment and wonderment the farm had to offer, including these things (what are these called, anyway?):

IMG_0228.JPGThe kids rode on something called a “cow train” and managed to survive.

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It was difficult waking up Monday morning because it meant that it was almost time to leave Portland and drive home. Fortunately, I had fun plans set up with Robin and Kristin, running friends I met through Twitter. We met up at Stumptown Coffee and then walked a loop around the river. It was fantastic meeting them in real life. We have so much in common and I really enjoyed my time with them.

After our walk, I reconnected with my husband and kids at Nong’s Khao Man Gai, our favorite Portland food cart and purveyor of Thai chicken and rice with magical powers. I’m only kind of kidding. We followed up our early lunch with a speed-packing and -cleaning session back at the hotel so that we could leave by checkout time.

It was so hard to leave Portland. So hard, in fact, that we just had to stop in the Alberta District on our way out of town to grab some ice cream at Salt & Straw.

IMG_0244.JPGA delicious capper to a very special weekend.

Have you ever been to Portland? What was the best thing you ate last weekend? Have you ever met internet or social media pals in real life?

Goodbye September, Hello October!

Happy October, friends!

September flew by. It seems like a blur, and that’s okay. It wasn’t the greatest month of my life, what with illness and other personal challenges occurring at a “Why me, God?”-rate. Really, getting declined by the Boston Marathon was a minor blemish on the big picture this month. Thank goodness all that’s over with.

Now… looking forward, here are October’s Coming Attractions!

2011 PDX medalI’m running in the Portland Marathon this weekend! Notice I deliberately used the word “in” in that last sentence, meaning I’m not running the full marathon, just running in it. I hope to run the first 8 miles of the course, although, if my recent running habits are any indication, I may not be able to last even that distance. I’m going to start the race with my friend, fellow Oiselle flock-mate Marilyn, who will carry on to run the full course after my out-of-shape self drops out. She has set a goal to run it in under 4 hours and I know she’ll meet her goal!

I’m embarking on a project to capture 1 second of every day on video. I first became aware of the concept through the movie “Chef,” and then saw it carried out in real life on Andrea’s blog, Born and Raced in Chicago. Now I’m taking a stab at it myself. I’m using the 1 Second Everyday app on my iPhone 5s to do it and I’m so excited! Stay tuned at the end of the month for the finished product.

I will start seriously building my running mileage again. It’s been kind of a downward slide since the Newport Marathon at the end of May. I took 2 weeks off per my coach, then returned to regular running only to get injured. Several weeks of no or limited running followed, with physical therapy visits sprinkled here and there. Despite running a sub-2 hour half-marathon at the SeaWheeze in late August, I didn’t regain my stride, so to speak. During October, I’ll focus on regaining my running mojo and returning to a regular running schedule of 4 to 5 days per week, with a conservative accumulation of weekly mileage under my coach’s tutelage.

I’ve already identified that I want to run the 2015 Chicago Marathon next October, but I still need to find a spring marathon in which I’ll attempt to qualify again for Boston. I’m working with my coach and eyeing a few, including the Capital City Marathon, the Tacoma City Marathon, and even the brand-new Eugene Springfield Marathon. But my hope is that the Eugene Marathon, which has not yet announced its 2015 date, will move back to late April. Last year, the Eugene Marathon was run in late July in conjunction with the world juniors track championships, and I switched my BQ-attempt race from Eugene to Newport as a result. If it the Eugene Marathon does move back to April, I plan to run it for my BQ-attempt. I’m impatiently waiting for the announcement from Eugene.

And, finally, it wouldn’t be October without Halloween! I’m trying to decide on a costume that’s funny, creative, non-sexy (I hate sexy costumes–long story), and easily identifiable, and I’m having trouble this year. Usually I come up with something at the last minute. Last year I was Frida Kahlo:Photo Oct 01, 10 45 34 AM

It was so much fun rocking a uni-brow! I love Halloween.

What are you looking forward to this month? Are you running any races? Do you dress up for Halloween?

Weekend Update: Back to Life

Back to reality. Monday, Monday. Honestly, one of the best things about Monday is wrapping up my weekend hijinks by way of these Weekend Update link-ups with my friend, Taraweekend update

Check out her blog, Running ‘n’ Reading, and consider joining the link-up!

My weekend wasn’t that eventful except for the fact that I reemerged as a relatively well person by Friday afternoon. If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, you really should), you know that I was sick last week. Really sick. As in, wishing-there-was-a-chicken-noodle-soup-delivery-service sick. I even missed 1-1/2 days of work! That’s sick, my friend. And my kids were sick right along with me.

The snot (sorry) mostly cleared by late Friday and I was able to detect odors and breathe somewhat normally again, just in time for the weekend. I was beyond ready to become active again, having endured over a week of not running. I took it easy on Saturday morning and went on a short, flat, sub-4 mile run. How did it go?  Well, let’s just say it felt a lot longer than 4 miles.

Is it possible to lose that much fitness in the span of about 10 days? The experts say “no,” so I think my fatigue has to do with the fact that I’m dealing with the lingering effects of this nasty upper-respiratory bug. I decided not to push it and didn’t run on Sunday in order to give myself an extra day to recover.

The only other active thing I did all weekend was attend my son’s soccer game. Photo Sep 27, 1 11 48 PMI use the term “active” loosely.

The remainder of the weekend was spent shuttling my kids places, running errands, and reading. Ah, reading! As I’ve said before, it’s the best part about being sick.

signature of all things

Source: elizabethgilbert.com

I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, a novel set in the 19th century about a privileged woman who rises beyond society’s expectations to become self-sufficient world-traveler and botanist. The book was extremely engaging and thought-provoking, albeit a little bit perplexing and disturbing at times, particularly when the protagonist, Alma Whittaker, reaches Tahiti. If you’ve read the book, you probably know what I mean. I appreciated the care with which Gilbert developed Alma’s multifaceted personality and the novel’s feminist tone, but there were parts of the book that contradicted those aspects. I highly recommend the novel, if you haven’t read it.

After finishing The Signature of All Things, I jumped right into the next book on my list, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, which I received in this month’s Indiespensable shipment.indie bone clocks capture So far, The Bone Clocks could not be more different than The Signature of All Things.

And that’s my weekend.

How was your weekend? Did you do any great runs or workouts? Did you finish or start any books?  In other words, were you more active than sloth-like me? 

2015 Boston Marathon: Denied

And just like that, it ended:

BAA Denial Capture

With a cut-off of 1 minute and 2 seconds (1:02), my -:27 just wasn’t good enough to make the cut to earn me a 2015 Boston Marathon registration.

Oh well, at least the waiting is over. Now I can move forward and start shopping for a spring marathon to run and hopefully get another BQ.

Onward!

Hmm… How Are Those “Resolutions” Looking Right About Now?

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals (not New Year’s resolutions–I don’t like thinking of them as that because they’re too easy to break) to accomplish in 2014.

It’s mid-September and we have only about 3-1/2 months left in the year. Let’s check in on those goals I set, shall we?

Track all of my miles.

Ha! I mean–really–ha! I started the year strong by joining Daily Mile, and I even installed a DM widget on my blog. See–I meant business! I wore my Garmin on practically every run, and even if I didn’t wear it in an attempt to be less Type A and more like a groovy runs-by-feel person, I would figure out the distance after the fact on Map My Run.

But sometime before the Newport Marathon I fell out of habit with Daily Mile. DM captureMaybe it was the nervous lead-up to the race, or the post-race injury and taking a few weeks off that made it happen, or maybe it was the post goal-race desire to not worry about pace for a while. Whatever it was, I stopped logging miles. And now I feel dumb and like it’s kind of pointless to return to it for the year after taking a couple of months off.

Run over 1,000 miles.

Again, ha! Between not tracking all of my miles and dealing with injury from June through August, this goal was pretty much abandoned. I logged 431 miles through mid-May. I have no idea how many miles I ran from that time through today. And I don’t think I can make up the remaining 569 between now and December 31.

Finally do speed work.

Photo Sep 13, 8 29 03 AMOkay, so I’m not a failure–I met this goal! My coach had me do mile repeats while training for the Newport Marathon, and those count as speed work, right? I’m not sure if I will do any track workouts between now and the end of the year; that depends on how my hip feels in December.

Cross-train.

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Photo: freedigitalphoto.net

In January, I explained my belief that my lack of cross-training and strength-training in the past contributed a great deal to my IT band problem in 2013. My plan at the start of 2014 was to try cycling, boot camp, or Pilates.

So I joined a gym and tried spin… and didn’t like it. I tried the boot camp at my new gym… and it was just meh. I did, however, start a little love affair with TRX. I don’t know if TRX is really cross-training, as it seems more strength-focused, but I’ll claim it as cross-training because I get a cardio workout when I do it.

And did it help stave off injury? Well, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve battled a hip flexor strain the last couple of months. So I still got hurt, despite the cross-training. But I think my injury has more to do with the fact that I don’t do exercises specifically designed to strengthen my glute medius (a.k.a. the source of my hip instability, ITBS, and any other lower-body running-related problem I have).

Eat less meat.

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I freaked out in January because of all of the food borne illnesses that had popped up in 2013. My goal was to eat mostly vegetarian meals and to eat only wild seafood and USDA Organic meat. Did I meet this goal? Kind of.

I buy raw chicken usually only if it’s organic. Sometimes, if I’m in a pinch, I’ll buy free-range chicken from a local grocery store I trust. I buy only organic beef. Seafood? Only the wild stuff–and that includes shrimp (because farmed shrimp are nasty with a capital N). But pork? A little hard to find organic pork, including bacon and sausage. And mostly vegetarian meals? Uh… We eat vegetarian dinners maybe 1-2 times per week.

Qualify for Boston and/or New York.
DSC_0955I identified this as my long shot goal and I did it! Well, qualified for the Boston Marathon, that is.

I didn’t qualify for the New York City Marathon and no longer want to attempt to do so in 2014. To qualify for the NYCM, I need to run a sub-1:37 half marathon. My plan at the start of the year was to race the Skagit Flats half in early September. And we all know what I was doing in early September: still nursing that hip back into shape. I won’t race any half marathons this year (I’m going to take it easy at the Portland and Seattle half-marathons), so this part of my goal isn’t doable.

I’ve accomplished basically half of the 6 goals I set for myself for 2015. I’ll go easy on myself (as I’m still sensitive from this Boston registration business) and say that this isn’t too shabby. And I think I have an inkling what my 2016 goals will turn out to be.

Did you set any running-related goals at the start of 2014? What are they? Have you met them, or do you intend to meet them by the end of the year?