2016 Hero-Up Half

I’d like to start off this race recap by spoiling the ending and I say I PR’d the heck out of this race!!  I love surprise unexpected PRs (well maybe not so unexpected as I have been training really consistently and throw in Whole30 and cooler temps on top of that).  On to the nitty-gritty details…

I decided to do this race literally the day before.  Or actually, the night before.  As in I was dreading my 11 miles on the calendar (why I don’t know as I had completed a half the week before), so had the brilliant idea to see if any races were happening that weekend that I could use as a training run.  Because again, training runs with spectators, water stops and medals are much better for my motivation!

This one popped up and looked fairly low-key and it had race day sign up!  Decision made.  My plan was similar to last week – 1:1s until mile 11 and then slow it down.

I showed up bright and early to register and then used the “real” park bathrooms.  Park bathrooms are better than port-o-potties in my book!  The theme for this race was heroes and it was fun to look at all the costumes!

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And we were off!  The course was slightly familiar as it took place on some of the same roads as the Ladybug 10K I had done not too long ago.  

The weather was significantly cooler than it had been, which I loved!  I was definitely towards the back of the pack but I tried to keep at least a few people within my sights.  

I don’t remember too much about the specifics – a mix of sidewalks, neighborhoods, and paved trails.  The volunteers were great and very vocal.  Around mile 8 I finally could spot a few runners ahead of me that I thought I might be able to catch.  And I did!  

I was really feeling good but I was still committed to slowing down at mile 11.  That is until I hit mile 11 and glanced at my watch which showed me at around 2:17 and change.  I quickly did race math (which is not a strong suit of mine) and realized that I might actually PR if I kept up my intervals.  I took a deep breath and went for it, simultaneously trying to speed up but keep an even, sustainable effort.  I spotted a few more racers in front of me and picked them off one by one.  I hit mile 12 and glanced at my watch.  2:30  Not only was a PR in reach but the elusive 2:45 was also right there!  

I chanted 2:45 over and over to myself.  Was this really happening?  

The last little bit was super twisty (the course had gone over and back on this stretch a few times).  I saw the finish line and found a burst of speed!  Done!!  With a time of….2:43:16.  Wow.  I have chased 2:45 for so long.  My previous PR was 2:47:09 from 2013.  It was such a good feeling.  I had been debating chasing a PR in October (at the Portland Half) but having this surprise PR takes all the pressure off.

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Now I’m really ready for Paris!

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Swan Island Dahlias

Guess what today is?  September 15th!  Which means my big work deadline is over!  Let’s not think about the next deadline looming but instead enjoy the end.  And let’s celebrate the fact I will be in Paris in a few days!

Sometimes working long hours means you have to create your own sunshine.  After I ran the Canby Dahlia Run, I knew I wanted to spend a little more time in the dahlia fields.  The day after the race, I made my way back to Canby and the Swan Island Dahlia farm.

And without further ado, my created sunshine and some real sunshine:

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2016 Canby Dahlia Run

Have you noticed I like to train via races?  Whatever works right?  Some of the smaller races are just like training runs, since I’m by myself, except for the water stops, spectators and medals!

This race caught my eye as a 10K – a race through dahlia fields?  But then I read the fine print.  Only the half course wound its way through the dahlias.  I quickly decided to sign up for the half.  After all, my training called for 11 miles.

Heading into the race I was conflicted on training vs running the race.  My half marathon times lately have been slow (for me).  I’m starting to worry about Paris and finishing within the time limits.  But I am only part way through my training (my longest run up to this point was 10 miles).  Plus it was rumored to again be hot so how long did I want to be out in the heat?  My compromise was to run 11 miles on a 1:1 interval, and then transition to 1:2 or 1:3 to finish up the remaining miles.  Hopefully that would allow for me to get my training in and slow down enough to not overdo it, and give me a decent idea of where I am half-marathon wise.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I made the trek out to Canby.

Miles 1 – 5 took us on a combination of roads and paved trails before putting us on the road that would lead to the dahlias.  As soon as we turned down the road it was hard not to stop every 5 seconds to ooh and ahh at the beautiful flowers.

Even though the time in the flowers was short, I smiled the entire time and knew I had made the right choice to do the half.

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Back to the road we went.  I was still feeling strong and keeping up the intervals.  At mile 8 we turned back onto the paved trail.  I could see a fellow racer up ahead and decided to see if I could reel her in.  It may have taken me a mile or so, but I finally did reel her in and passed her.

Around mile 10 we were back on roads with little to no shoulder.  The roads were not closed but they weren’t super busy.  Most cars gave a wide berth as they drove past.  Mile 10 was also where I started doubting myself.  It was hot out by now and this stretch of road had no shade.  But I kept up my intervals (a change from earlier in the year where I would have taken an extra walk break).

I turned the corner and up a short but steep hill and there was the mile 11 sign!!  I switched to 1:2 intervals and kept going.  The last two water stops were amazing – the volunteers were decked out in costumes and super energetic which gave me energy.

There was a slight downhill leading to the finish and of course I had to run it in!

Time?  Going into this race I was hoping for under 3:05 (taking into account the heat, the fact I was going to slow down at the end, and just where I have been).  Guess what?  I came in under 3:05 at 2:51:13!!!  Shut the front door!  I was not expecting that at all.  A small part of me wondered if I hadn’t slowed down, could I have PR’d, but I don’t think so.

The one blip on an overall great race was that there was no water at the finish.  Sorry, technically there was water, but no cups so if you had your own cup, you were golden.  Apparently the runners in front of me (which were most of them) decimated the water bottles.  I did have water in my car but that just seemed so far away at this point.  Fortunately as I was stretching, cups arrived!  Whew!

This was such a great confidence building race.  Excepting the stretch at mile 10, I felt really strong, which hasn’t happened in a while.  Bring on Paris!

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2016 Girlfriends 10K

This race originally caught my eye because of the triathlon aspect!  Confession – it has been at least 5 years since my last triathlon.  I miss swimbikerunning.

I had 10 miles on the calendar and decided to pair with the 10K.

I showed up bright and early to the race site to get my 4 miles in.

The nice thing about this race was that it started at 9 so I didn’t have to wake up excruciatingly early to get my extra miles in.

The bad part about this race was it didn’t start until 9 and it was going to be hot!

As I walked by the transition area I began to wish I was doing the triathlon.  I really have missed them.  I made a silent promise to myself to make an attempt to do this race next year – as a triathlete!

The first 4 miles went fairly quick and I was back to the race site.

The course was almost a reverse of the Twilight 10K starting at Frenchman’s Bar Park and turning around at Vancouver Lake Park.

I lined up at the start line and casually looked around.  There was maybe 50 women, definitely less than 100 AND this was the start of not only 10K but the 5K and the duathlon!  Once again thoughts of being last crept into my head tempered  by the fact even though I might be last in the 10K I probably would be last overall.  Whew!

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From the name you may have guessed this was a female centric race.  Which meant there was a lot of “you go girlfriend” and high fives.  I love the energy from high fives!

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Have I mentioned yet it was hot out?  Not long after the turn around for the 5K and duathlon, a volunteer was telling us there would be a water stop at mile 2.  Yahoo!  But guess what?  It wasn’t at mile 2.  I started grumbling under my breath as I had really been looking forward to the water stop.

The grumbling (under my breath of course) continued until I passed the bike turn around where the volunteers were singing which brought a huge smile to my face.  My smile got even wider when around the next corner was a water stop!  Even though it wasn’t at mile 2, it became my favorite water stop as it had ice in the cups and cool towels!

Th next section took us into Vancouver Lake Park and SHADE!  While it seemed to  stretch forever, finally the turn around came into view.  Do you know what I love about turn arounds?  Finding out you aren’t lasr!

I wound my way back eventually running into the triathetes on the run portion.

Across the finish line I went with a time of 1:21:14.  With the heat, I am very happy with this time.

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Whole30 Update Part II

I’m almost halfway through my second round of Whole30.  I was excited, yet scared to step on the scale at the end of round 1 (even though Whole30 is not a weight loss plan per se, I was still hoping for at least some movement on the scale).  The scale greeted me with a number I hadn’t seen in quite some time – down 14lbs!  Which is also great motivation to keep going.

It has been easier than I expected to stick with it.  Don’t get me wrong, at times I would kill for a slice of pizza!!  The other day I just about tackled someone who was carrying mini cupcakes!  But overall it has been a good experience.

I’m also knee deep in Disneyland Paris Half Marathon training.  I’m following (or attempting) Hal Higdon’s plan and so far, while not perfect, I’ve been sticking with it, with some modifications.  Some nights I’m cutting the mileage slightly and other weeks I’m skipping cross training.

But you may be asking, what about fuel?  Good question.  I’ve searched the Whole30 forums looking for fueling ideas, but nothing was really appealing or feasible.  Until I came across dried fruit.  I talked about ideas with my doctor and she suggested raisins which I thought was brilliant!  Small, easily portable, and just enough to give me a small boost.

Coconut water has also become my friend (post-workout).  It isn’t necessarily my favorite thing to drink, but drinking it after workouts really helps to rehydrate me.

Only a few more weeks to go before reintroduction.  Now that should be interesting!

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Lots of Races

I thought eventually I would recap races but instead I’m going to do a lightening round recap of races with any pertinent facts.  Such as, secret goals and am I getting any faster?

Foot Traffic Flat 8K

One of the exciting draws of this race was the post-race spread!  Given this was my last day before starting Whole30 I was even more excited!  I took advantage of the shuttle option as the race took place on Sauvie Island and there wasn’t a lot of parking available.

The race was billed as on farm roads (the 8K that is – the half and full were on actual roads).  What I didn’t realize was it really took place in fields!  As in watch out you might step in a hole field.  This was to be my first race back running, however, given the course conditions, I wasn’t running as much as I had originally planned.

I finished in 1:10:09 which was better than the Seattle 8K but with a lot of work still left to do.  I enjoyed my hot dog (at 9 am – don’t judge) and strawberry shortcake!  If I ever do this race again, I think I might have to do the half so I don’t run through the fields.  Or just plan on walking it.

 

Twilight 10K

I am not a fan of night races, but I was intrigued by the cute owl medal this race was offering.  And it was a 6 PM start, so not too late.  It was in Vancouver, so I got to cross the river back to Washington.

Parking was slightly chaotic but finally I was parked, got my bib, and was standing at the start line.  My secret goal going into this race was 1:20.  I wasn’t sure it was possible, but that’s why it is a secret goal.

The race took place mostly on a trail that was heading towards the Columbia River.  Just as we reached the river it was time to turn around.  It was also around that time it started raining.

On the way back the half leaders started passing us and several were super encouraging, which I really appreciated.  You could hear them calling out cheers as they passed the back of the packers.

Time?  1:19:01 – just under that secret goal!  Still a lot of work to do, but making progress!

 

Ladybug 10K

This race took place in Tigard, a new place to explore!  It started at Cook Park and was a slight figure 8 through the park and surrounding neighborhoods before making the its way along the Tualatin River.

It was a good discovery for me as it wasn’t too far from my house and the trail looked nice (with bathrooms along the way).

There was one brutal hill that I was dreading doing a second time until I remembered we weren’t doing two laps!  Whew!

Time: 1:20:08 – slightly down from last time.

Pints to Pasta 10K

The saddest part of this race was not being to partake in the post race festivities!  Remind me next year not to be on Whole30 for this race!

It was a point to point race (at least the 10K was, the half was out and back).  A shuttle was offered for the 10Kers.  It was fairly bare bones at the 10K start.  We were ready to start and….no start.  Not sure what was going on, but it took awhile before we were finally released.

I don’t remember much about this race except the heat.  It was getting hot!!

Time: 1:17:46 – now before you get too excited, I’m pretty sure the course was slightly short.  But still, I’ll take it!

Garlic 10K

I had 9 miles on the calendar for this weekend so I decided to pair it with a Garlic 10K.  Yes, garlic!  I showed up super early so I could quickly knock out 3 miles.  The sun was definitely starting to make its presence known.  Ugh.

I finished and lined up for the 10K.  While I had looked at the course map, I hadn’t really paid attention to the elevation.  My bad.  The first mile was mostly downhill.  From mile 1 to almost mile 3 it was up.  Up and up and up.  I quickly switched to 30/30 to try and keep myself in a rhythm.

Finally I was at the turn around, where the biggest hill greeted me.  I fought my way up as much as I could before giving up and walking.   I was getting more and more frustrated between the hills and the heat.  I kept having this feeling that if I wore myself out on this hill I would regret it later.

Since it was an out and back, the back was mainly downhill.  I thought for a second about running the entire way down.  And then I remembered the hill at the end and realized I should just keep it slow and steady.  I did change to 2/1 intervals for the downhill portion to take advantage of gravity!

I fought super hard on the last uphill, or the second to last uphill.  The sun was beating down and towards the top of the hill I started walking and it was hard to start running again.  As I rounded the final corner and the final uphill I was able to talk myself into running and was greeted at the finish line with a giant garlic!

Time?  1:20:18 – was I hoping for under 1:20?  Yes, but given the hills and the heat, I’m happy with this time.  Especially since I felt strong during this race, which hasn’t happened in awhile!

And there you have – the lightening round of races!!

 

 

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Whole30 Update

Here I am on day 26!!  Can you believe I made it this far?  I am a little.  Or a lot if my dreams are any indication.  One night I dreamed of diet coke.  Delicious bubbly diet coke.  Last night I dreamt I gave up and ate cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies.  It was so vivid I woke up thinking I actually had eaten cookies and failed my Whole30 experiment.  Fortunately it was just a dream.  If this does nothing but break me of my diet coke habit, I will be extremely happy.  I have been drinking La Croix sparkling water (totally allowed on Whole30) and there is something so satisfying about holding the can in my hand.  And I’m actually drinking coffee black!  Something I never thought I would do!!

I will say I haven’t explored too many recipes.  Instead, I found a few and kept with them (since I don’t have a lot of time right now).   But I did finally unpack the rest of my kitchen!  And it is actually getting used!

All in all, I’d say this experiment is going well.  I really want to step on the scale on Day 31 (a no-no while on Whole30).  I just wish I had taken measurements.

And the surprise: I spoke to my doctor about how it was going and that I was toying with doing another 30 days or Whole60 if you will.  She thought that was a fantastic idea.  So instead of reintroducing food at the end of this week, I will instead be kicking off another round.  Wish me luck!  Especially in finding one or two more recipes!

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