Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Electric Run

It occurred to me today that I never reported on The Electric Run... So here goes. 

Over all, it was a fun 5k. Kids 8&under are free so I brought along my cute girly and let her bring a friend. I volunteered for packet pick up the day before so I got free admission as well. Nice, huh! 

It was actually a pretty long and slightly frustrating night. They held the race at Thanksgiving Point which is a HUGE venue. My biggest complaint was there were NO signs saying where to park, so we literally parked as far away from the start/finish line as possible. (And we totally thought we had rock star parking when we parked!) They were also filming for the new Bachelor there that night which meant LOTS of barricades and people yelling, "you can't go that way!" while we were searching for the starting line. Thirty minutes later we finally found the massive line of people waiting to start and waited...  

The race itself was pretty cool. The girls enjoyed it besides the fact that it'd taken us so long to start that it was now 9 pm and they were both starving... Those darn kids and their need to be fed...

The finish "celebration" would have been really fun if I were about 10 years younger and didn't have two 8 year olds in tow. We pretty much by-passed it and made the loooooooooong trek back to the car. 

In the end, I'm really glad this was a free gig for me. I'd be a tad annoyed if I'd shelled out almost $70 for it. I'll put it on the list for next year if the kids want to do it again... as long as I sign up early and get the good rates!

The massive hoard waiting to start

Its hard to see but I LOVE Indy's face in this one. So full of wonder...
The girls running to the finish line... Probably the fastest I saw them go. They had fun, but were ready to be done. I'd promises them snacks from 7/11!

Why Not? (Emigration to home)

I haven't done a long run since my half. So when it worked out with everyone's schedule for me to sneak one in this morning at 6 am, I took it.
Tehra picked me up at 5:45am. We met up with a new running buddy, Renee at The Shoreline trailhead at This is the Place. It's a crazy coincidence that I even know Renee, but I'm glad I do. 
We took off running towards City Creek in the dark. It's ridiculous, I know, but I was super excited to get to run with my head lamp... And FYI, my headlamp sucks and is super dim.  Noted...

We got to Dry Creek just as the sun was coming up and it looked amazing. My picture doesn't do it justice. 

I felt really sluggish today and couldn't pick up my pace. I've played the mental "you suck" games before and they've almost made me quit running, so I try my hardest to stay in my own zen and only worry about MY best, in the right here right now kind of way. So I kept chugging along, knowing that the only option I had was to finish my run (I was planning to run home from the trail.) or double up my miles and go back with the others. (They were doing an out and back.) Time to suck it up, buttercup!

I got to City Creek and said bye to the other ladies... And apparently "hello" to a large group of people congregated around a guy giving a speech... Don't mind the sweaty, red faced, heavy breather running through your speech....

The last three miles down Capitol Hill weren't bad, but they were WAY steeper than I'd thought they'd  be. I was actually relieved when things leveled off a bit. 
I almost got to my house and realized if I ran straight there, I'd finish at 12.5...  That wasn't happening. So I rounded out my 13 with a lap around the block. 

My OCD is happy now. 

This patch of sunflowers came at about 9.5 miles. I needed some happy sunflowers right then!

See that road... That's where I was headed. 

The Capitol

Miles: 13.0
Time: 3:03:09
Pace: 14'04"

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Have I mentioned I love fall?  I LOVE FALL!  Really though, it verges on unhealthy.  (We won't go into my pumpkin problem...  Someone might consider me obsessed.)  It makes me so happy when that first crisp of wind comes in and makes everything a little bit cooler.  It may not make sense, but when it gets cooler outside, it makes me all warm and cozy!

So I've been itchin' to get up to a trail since the winds came in.  Add a crazy busy week that forced me to take a "rest" week and I couldn't drop my kid off fast enough at school!

With a lack of training schedule (even though I have another half in about a month!! oops!) I've been feeling REALLY adventurous lately.  I love my good ol' stand by trails, but I'm feeling a need to expand.  And who wouldn't, when you live in SLC with a plethora (love that word!) of trails right out my door!

I headed up to City Creek.  My old stand by's are heading south on Shoreline towards Dry Creek or straight up City Creek.  I've always wanted to run Shoreline north towards Bountiful, so that was my plan. 

I parked, got my gear ready, then remembered thanks to a LAME iphone update, I'd had to delete my Nike+ app.  I could stand around and wait for it to download, or just run mile counter free....  I lucked out that I was just in the right kind of mood and aching to get on my first fall run, that I chose that later...  zen running it was! Well, with my music of course!

Well, maybe it was the fall air or maybe the forced week off, but it was a damn good run!  Inclines suck and usually get me down.  But I was rocking these out! 

I knew it was almost exactly a mile to where Shoreline meets City Creek.  Then I headed north for the first time.  There was quite a few little switchbacks that made it really interesting and fun.  Then it levels off and follows behind a load of fancy-shmancy, big houses.  I kind of felt like I was invading their space... but oh well! I took a while going up because I had to stop and take so many pictures! 

I stopped for a minute to check time.  I still had about 15 minutes before I figured I should head back, so I kept going.  And right then a HUGE gust of wind raced through bringing a pretty good, cold rain with it.  Maybe it was time to head back!

I ran down the trail to a little shoot that goes down to the road of City Creek.  I decided since the road wasn't muddy and it's decently covered by trees, I'd take a jaunt up that way.  I used to run/walk that road every chance I got.  In fact, I was on that road when I heard the news that my grandma had passed away and haven't been back since.  There's a small creek that goes under the street at one point. On the side of the street before it goes under, the water is filled with a bright green water clover of some kind.  Even in the dead of winter, that creek is full of life.  I needed to go there again, so I did. 

I love going back to a run I haven't done in a long time.  That road used to be one I couldn't make all the way up without walking at least a little.  Yesterday, it was cake... when did that happen?

See how happy I was to be out there!
These woods made me think of a spooky movie.
Looking up City Creek. 
When I got home I got out my handy dandy map so I could figure out where I'd gone... and how many miles... oh c'mon, you know I couldn't resist!

My freakish, useless OCD was very happy when I realized I'd run from the mouth of City Creek to the point and then to the end of the "V". (nice and pretty like!)
Next time I'm going to go farther.

Miles: (about)5
Time: (about) 1 hour
Pace: you figure it out!

My grandma's creek

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Zen Run... Sort of.

Today was my first run since my race this weekend. I decided since I'd focused and stuck to my training schedule (well, mostly!) today would be a adventure/zen run. I still had to set my Nike+ because I'm so not that person that can run without knowing how far I've gone. 

I headed up to a trail that starts at the Natural History Museum.  I remembered my friend took me on a hike before I started running trails that went up above Red Butte instead of in front like Shoreline. I haven't been on the trail since and wanted to check it out. (After the run I texted my friend and found out it's called Skyline Trail.) 

The trail started with a couple switchbacks and then a straight incline right along the southern fence of the garden. I decided that I didn't care how much I ran vs walked, I was just out enjoying myself. I was feeling pretty glad about that resolution when I hit that hill! (Have I mentioned I HATE hills!)
My hike/run up was pretty uneventful. The trail was really rocky so it was a very slow go.  
I got to a little lookout where my friend and I had stopped with the kids for a snack. Behind us was a decent sized foothill that was just daring me to hike up. So I did. 
And took these awesome view pics...
That dark spot at the end of the trail is the lookout. 
After I snapped this pic I turned to my left and noticed a friend. A lonely (I hope) coyote noticed me noticing him and quickly change directions. That's when I threw my mace in my hand and took off down the hill. When I got down I figured I head back towards the more populated part of the trail instead of wandering farther in (and possibly becoming a tasty meal!)
Can you see my little friend?

I back tracked all the way back till the trail forked. Right: back to my car. Left: more trail and adventure. I had plenty of time, so left it was. 

I got less than a quarter in and noticed the strangest looking old bicycle tire laying in the trail... Only it wasn't an old tire at all...  Hello Mr. rattlesnake!

It was the first one I've ever seen and I'm  pretty sure I've never turned and run that fast. 

So needless to say, no pic of that guy. Sorry folks...

I took my TWO visitors as a sign that maybe 2 miles was enough for me today and ran back to my car. 

Maybe next time I want an adventure/zen run I should be a bit more specific; tad bit less adventure, more zen. 

Miles: 2.14
Time: 43:38
Pace: 20'22"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Big Cottonwood Half (aka. My First Half!)

Have I mentioned this weekend was my first half marathon?  I can't remember if I have. 😜 So let me just make sure everyone knows... I RAN MY FIRST HALF MARATHON THIS  WEEKEND!

There were definitely times in my training that I was convinced I'd never be able to run 13.1 miles. A week before the race I ran the distance and put some of the nerves at ease, but there's something about the official race that still scared the sh#* out of me. 

It scared me so bad that I completely psyched myself out of a good night's sleep. I knew I had to be up at 3 am(!!!), so at 8:30pm I headed to bed.... And laid there forever (it seemed). I slept off and on and fully got ready for and drove to the race in my dreams. Think I had something on my mind? 

The race had arranged buses that left from Cottonwood high school from 4-5am and took us up the canyon. We got there early on and hopped on a bus. I've ran 13 miles before, but when you're driving it up a winding canyon, trying to anticipate your run down, it seems very daunting!
The bus finally stopped 9 miles up and left us on the cold, dark side of the road. And there we waited.... 

Finally, it was time to start. Like a herd of cattle, we all mooshed our way towards the starting line and took off. I tried my hardest not to get caught up in the herd's pace, but I knew I was still running faster than I normally do. Tehra's iPod decided to not work... of course, so we chatted. Then about a mile in, it hit me.  This was it. What I'd been working for for so long. This wasn't just another practice run. I was officially joining the 15% of America who can say they've run a half marathon! 

The first 5 miles flew by and Tehra stuck right with me even though her natural pace is quicker than mine. I'd told her from the get go that I did not want her holding back for me and would be mad if she did. I call her a crazy mountain goat because the girl LOVES inclines (bleh!) so when a small incline came just after mile marker 5, I slowed a bit and she took off. I watched her like a proud momma! You go, little goat!

I continued down the canyon and every time my Nike+ told me my pace I knew I was going too fast. I'd try to pace back a bit, remembering so many stories of runners burning themselves, but with the momentum of the crowd and the help of the slope, there was only so slow I could go. 

I finally reached the mouth of the canyon and hit the more level course. I fully expected my pace to take a blow, and it did, increasing by almost 20 seconds a mile. 

I brushed that aside and refocused on the goal I'd set for this race: I wanted to RUN the whole race. I didn't need to focus on my pace as long as my feet were both getting off the ground at the same time. 

I kept it going, but I've never had a mile last longer than that last one. As much as my first mile flew by, this last one was dragging on. Finally I turned the corner on 1300 East where the finish line was. I could see the finish chute, but more importantly, I could see Tehra. She'd finished and walked back on the course to finish with me. One more corner and there was the finish line and there was my family!  I charged the line and looked at the clock as I did, 2:12 (unofficial time), 22 minutes faster than my practice run. 

All and all, my first half was a great success. It was an amazing race that could not have been more organized. And they had popsicles! Who doesn't love a Popsicle after a long run, c'mon!

A few things I learned:
1. Walking across wet grass before you get on a bus to wait at the top of a freezing canyon, dumb!
2. Even if your iPod worked the night before, it won't necessarily work now.  lame!
3. Peeing in pitch black porta potties is easier than I thought. Win!
4. Wide mouthed cups of water and maintaining your pace do not go hand -in-hand.  Fail!
5. When you feel a rock in your shoe on your way out the door, don't think "I have plenty of time before the race starts. I'll remember to get it out later." You won't. And you will remember as you start running and you will fixate on it all 13.1 miles. Ugh!

Trying to keep warm. 

Look, I even remembered to snap a few shots of the scenery!

Hey, this guy's taking a picture of me taking a picture! Hah!

Post race

With the peanut gallery!

Almost to the finish line!

I'll postulate official stats when I get them. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

For my grandma

A race report is coming, I promise. But I needed to do the important one first. 

You see this is my grandma. She is the grandma that a large majority of my childhood memories center around. She had an amazing backyard and I can still hear her calling my cousins and me inside for dinner... (Or, let's be honest, yelling at us to stop whatever naughty situation we'd gotten ourselves into!) She made her own bread and when we moved away it was one of my favorite Christmas presents to get in the mail.  

Early last December we found out she had a tumor in her lung.  The doctors felt they could successfully remove it. So as they prepared her for surgery the night before at the hospital, I made my way up to see her. Something told me I needed to. 

I brought the kids with me, and my grandma and my aunt enjoyed them playing around and entertaining them. 

At this point my running had taken a blow. I'd developed tendentious and between that and the horrible winter weather and air, I'd almost given up. 

My aunt asked me that night how my running was going. I laughed it off and said, well it was going... My grandma looked at me and said, "you keep it up!"

Sadly, my sweet grandma never recovered from surgery...

You keep it up.... Just four words, but those four words have carried me many miles. When there was times I just knew I couldn't go one more foot step, or days that my want to run was null, those four words have made me never stop. 

I've thought of her often while running and today during my first half marathon I know she was right there with me. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Compromise

What do you get when you cross two two trail running momma's, an extra thirty minutes of preschool, one of the first beautiful days of fall and a training schedule that says not to run long runs this week?  A compromise, that's what... a compromise.
I woke up to a beautiful over cast sky with a slight breeze and occasional sprinkles.  The boy's preschool was going on a field trip and would be back late = extra momma time! The trail was calling, no YELLING my name and there was no way I wasn't heading up.  But there's that whole, "you have your first half marathon in two days... don't over train" thing. A hike up and run down wouldn't break the deal, right?
We headed up to the Dry Creek section of the Shoreline Trail... My favorite! We got hit by a pretty good down pour as we walked up to the trail and as we got going I realized the trail was muddier than I'd expected.  I fall just fine on my own without mud and the Murphy law of my lingering first half.  I decided not to tempt the "ha-ha" (imagine Nelson from The Simpsons) gods anymore than needed, and my quick cheater run turned into a long hike. 
I've run this trail countless times, but haven't hiked it in a while.  It was nice to slow down and see what I miss at a faster pace.
So, sit back and enjoy my hiking vacation slide show... drinks anyone?

The mountain line in the rain... GORGEOUS!

 I love me some acorns.

We met this guy on our way down. Pretty cool looking.

FALL LEAVES!!!  yippee!

Some of the mud... I totally would have bit it....

This view never gets old.

 Happy mommas!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This one's serious, guys...

Just so you know how SERIOUSLY I take my running, I wanted to share my run from yesterday with my rockstar running bud, Tehra...

Our first half marathon is this Saturday (more on that later) which means not much running this week.  Three miles has become my quick, bare minimum run and according to Hal Higdon's training schedule, three was the longest run I should do this week.

Anyone that knows me, knows as soon as I'm told not to do something, it's exactly what I really need to do.  And as a runner that LOVES trails and has been limited to roads over the summer (due to the kiddos) this week has been especially hard not to bust a move on a long trail. 

Tehra and I had plans to run while the kids were in preschool and I purposely didn't bring my hydration pack so we could NOT sneak up to a long trail!  We settled on two laps around Liberty Park (3 miles) and then we'd drive over to the running store to grab some last minute supplies for the race. 

So we take off, chatting as we go, and when we get to the corner of the park, we realize, "Hey, the store's just down the road... Let's just run it.  Two birds, one stone... right!"

PERFECT!  Great run to about a block away from the store.... I'm thinking about my list of what I need... Cliff Shot Blocks, Stinger Waffle and maybe a tube of Nuun.... anything else? Nope...

Thinking, "This is so awesome!  I love being able to just RUN down to the store.  Free and clear... No stuff, no car... just me and my ipod..."

Wait...Free and clear.... I didn't bring my pack, which usually holds my stuff; keys, id, debit card... you know, just in case.  In case I run to a store last minute!

DAMN!  Back to the park.....
Miles: 2.34
Time: 26:31
Ave Pace: 11'18"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's a running blog... Oh My!

I enjoy reading my friends' running blogs and enjoy running. So I thought, "Hey, I Should have a running blog!" Tah-dah! Here I am!

HISTORY: (ready for this?) I ran track and played soccer  back in the day. Then college, and the party 20's hit... followed by marriage and two pregnancies. Throw in a  issues with insulin resistance and my running youth was left somewhere in the far off distance.

Then my good friends started running. I did the laugh-and-make-jokes-(I only run if something's chasing me! Ha Ha!)-since-I'm-really-jealous thing until one day it hit me, "I don't have to be jealous! I can just do it to!"

So I signed up for my first 5k. A ZOMBIE 5k!!! Did the Couch to 5k program... and HATED it! Convinced myself I just wasn't a runner. It wasn't my thing. Truth is, it was hard, and I wasn't willing to do the work.

Fast forward about a year to a friend's Facebook post, "Who wants to do the Color Run with me?" Holy Hell! that looked like a blast!!. (Whoever the brilliant person was that figured making running fun could attract couch potatoes like me, You're a GENIUS!)

Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the fact I'd just found out my health was right on the verge of going drastically downhill. Maybe it was the fact that this time I had an amazing, supportive running buddy. Or Maybe it was just time... I don't really know for sure what the reason was this time, but this time it stuck.

I was a runner.

I found the JOY of pushing myself a little more today than I did yesterday... of knowing I was determined enough to get out on the road even though I REALLY didn't want to. It made sense now.

I still have my days, ok weeks of "Ugh! I don't want to!" But they have been outweighed by the "Oh Hell YEAH! " days.

Picture of a picture...  sorry.

Hey, nice fanny pack. You too!