Category Archives: Half Marathon

The Races Are Coming, The Races Are Coming!

Happy Friday!

We are officially one week away from Ragnar NWP, and I’m actually getting really excited!

I didn’t really mean for that to sound like I’m surprised, but I suppose I’ve just been feeling a little more daunted by the idea than jazzed for it. Part of that stems from the fact that I’ve never done a relay before, so while I know all the hearsay about how awesome they are—I don’t really have a good concept of what to expect.

All that seems to be going away, though. Now that the final details are getting sorted and we have an established start time, drivers, runs times, etc., it’s all becoming more real and super exciting!

I’ve accepted that there really isn’t a “right” way to prepare for an ultra relay, and I feel like I’ve done everything I could have. I’ve also accepted that it’s going to be hard, no matter what, but it’s the hard aspect that makes the whole experience memorable.

Plus, my team is pretty awesome, and I’m excited to hang out with these ladies for over 24 straight hours 🙂

Team Six Pack with a Rack

(in running order, because why not, right?)

Bethany

Lauren

Rebecca

Jessey

Rira

ME

We’ve got a great mix of personalities, experience, ages, and all with one big thing in common: a lot of run love. I can’t wait!

But, there’s business to tend to before Ragnar. And so continues my summer of endless activity and racing…

This Sunday, I’ll be running the See Jane Run half-marathon as my final long training run for Ragnar.

I have had this race on my radar for a while, and luckily won an entry to it, but I’m finding myself a little lost when it comes to my approach to it.

Full discretion: I am physically incapable of “fun running” a race. I don’t always all-out race, but even in cases where I don’t have an A-goal, I still like to have a race plan or some sort of structure as to how I’ll try and run. Racing is a really important part of running for me, and I like to try and take it seriously whenever the opportunity presents itself. Even if the opportunity is to practice pacing, practice racing, or practice going slow.

Back to See Jane Run. I’m in a weird limbo between wanting to work hard and wanting to hold back. This will not be an all-out effort, as I’m saving that energy for my actual A-race this fall, but I still want to try and practice racing a half.

So, although I’m not entirely sure of my exact plan, I know I do want to practice finishing strong. I have never really had the opportunity to tap into stored energy for a great finishing kick at the end of a race (seeing as I normally go out too fast). So, I’d like to give this approach a try. I suppose it will be a practice in patience more than anything else and trying to hold back in the beginning so I can let it rip in the last 2 miles or so.

I’m trying really hard to not let the races I run now affect my confidence for attempting a 1:35 in a few months. Slowly I’m getting it into my head that it’s a BIG goal, and just because I’m not ready now doesn’t mean I won’t be ready then. So, I’m going to try my best to not let numbers on Sunday take away from the experience. I’ll be happy with a solid effort and enough juice left to start building the energy and excitement necessary for some Ragnar miles.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Who’s running See Jane Run this weekend? Who’s racing? Who’s doing something summery/outdoorsy/exciting?

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon Race Recap

Surprise! I ran a half marathon on Saturday.

This literally is "proof" I was there. No timing chip= ghost runner!

This literally is “proof” I was there. No timing chip= ghost runner!

Early last week, I was hit with the overwhelming desire to do a half that weekend. It just sounded fun—and I knew there was trail half I’d considered earlier this year, so I went to the website to check it out. Alas—the race was sold out, and so I decided to shelve my race desire and hold off until See Jane Run in July. That was the last I thought of doing a half marathon that upcoming weekend.

Then Friday morning came around. A coworker sent out an email to my office’s runner distribution list (yes, it exists) asking if anyone wanted her bib for Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll race. She is/was injured and didn’t want her entry to go to waste—essentially, the bib was up for grabs.

It took me all of five minutes to consider the offer, and after deciding that sacrificing a morning of sleeping in was definitely worth running a free race, I emailed her back and presto…I was running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half! I had been planning on doing a long run that day anyway, so I figured I might as well get a medal in the process 🙂 Plus, I’d never done a Rock ‘n’ Roll race before, and I wanted to see what all the hype was about—especially if it wasn’t going to cost an arm and a leg to do so.

It was definitely a low-stress race eve and morning. I didn’t do much to prepare ahead of time other than stretching a bit more on Friday night. And, considering that I’d run three days in a row already at that point, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of fast legs. But, that’s the price you pay for an impromptu race, so I went into it without much of a strategy other than to have fun and enjoy the race atmosphere. I also decided to try racing for the first time without headphones, mostly to see how it felt, but also to soak in some of the “rock ‘n’ roll” atmosphere.

Sleepy eyes but excited to run!

Sleepy eyes but excited to run!

BF dropped me off with plenty of time to meander around, find some blogger peeps, and get set in my corral without any stress. Luckily, I didn’t need the porta-potties because they had perhaps the longest lines I have EVER seen at a race. Yikes…happy to have dodged that potentially very stressful situation.

Photo courtesy of Stacie!

Photo courtesy of Stacie!

I was in corral 6 so it didn’t take too long before we were shuffled to the start line and were sent off. Woo, race time! I wasn’t wearing a timing chip, just my Garmin, and it was kind of fun to feel like a phantom runner. The beginning was crowded, and per usual a lot of weaving happened. It was inevitable, but apparently my pace was more panicked than I thought because once I was able to get past the crowds I was looking at a low 7:00s pace. Holddd up there homegirl, this is supposed to be fun.

Miles 1-3

I dialed in and tried to find my rhythm. To tell you the truth, those first three miles were kind of tough. My breathing was distracting me, and although I run without music a lot of the time, it’s normally at a slower pace, and I think race-day conditions got the better of my heart rate—consequentially increasing my breathing. Also, I was already hot—definitely not my favorite racing conditions. And by not my favorite…I mean absolute least favorite.

But I tried to relax, got excited when I saw the Oiselle/Nuun/runner gals a little after mile 2, and finally found a comfortable pace.

Here’s also where I admit that while I definitely didn’t have a set time goal, I still wanted to use the race as an opportunity for pacing practice. So while shooting for another ~1:40 was tempting, I decided that aiming for just a sub-8:00 average would be both more feasible and more constructive.

1-3

Find the up and down hills!

Clearly, I was all over the place, and I really wanted to work on just getting comfortable and cruising.

Miles 4-8

We circled away from downtown at this point and headed on a long stretch of road. I started feeling much better—more relaxed and in control—and started enjoying the atmosphere and the scenery. I thought the whole band element was kind of fun, and even though I was kind of missing my music, it was nice to hear all the various sounds of the race. I got more than one “Go Ducks!” which I realized was due to the Eugene pride I was sporting 🙂

The course veered left during these miles and took us along the water on Lake Washington—easily my favorite part of the run. Lots of people cheering, lots of enthusiasm, just generally a happy running ethos.

4-8

You can't really tell, but I'm happy here!

You can’t really tell, but I’m happy here!

Miles 9-11

I was definitely feeling the increasing temperatures, but it was encouraging to know that we’d shortly be headed back toward downtown. Not so encouraging, however, was knowing that all the hills on the course were still to come.

A STEEP ascent lead us up into the I-90 tunnel, which is never my favorite in Seattle races, but there was a band inside which made it a little more tolerable. We were nearing the 10 mile mark when I felt a tap on my shoulder, and it was a guy who goes to my lifting class who said he “recognized the back of my head.” Kind of fun.

He passed me pretty quick, and it gave me a bit of a jolt to keep treking toward the finish. I loved exiting the tunnel and eventually flying down the I-90 ramp back toward downtown. I recognized the same place I picked up Nicole last year when she was running the full, and it felt really good to actually be running the race this year.

9-11

It was very noticeably still getting hotter, and running on the highway gave no relief from the sun. Still, I tried to start some mental math and garner some energy for a solid kick at the end.

Capture4

Miles 12-13

Alas, no kick was had. Not sure if it was the heat, the hills (of which the end had way too many), or the fact that I was running on very un-tapered legs, but I was toasted. However, I was still excited for the finish line and did what I could to get there with a smile. The crowds at this point had also thickened and provided a lot of encouragement.

12-13

The finish line chute was definitely exciting, and despite feeling hot and tired, I was really happy crossing at the end. Two weekends in a row of finish lines, I feel lucky.

As for time, my Garmin showed a 1:43 and change for 13.2 miles. I’m not sure if the tunnel threw off my distance calculation or if the course was long, but it doesn’t really matter.

I was a little sad I wasn’t closer to 1:40 for a bit, but then I knocked myself off my high horse and decided to be satisfied with the run. A 7:50 average on tired legs and a dehydrated/not carb-loaded stomach isn’t anything to complain about for an impromptu race.

Ultimately, I had a great time at Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was a beautiful day with a ton of fun people and a fat ole medal to boot.

I feel really grateful for both the opportunity to have run this race (for free!) and also for the physical ability to do a half on a whim. It’s definitely not lost on me that I was injured a year ago and could only run about 3 miles at a time. A lot can change, and I only hope the healthy legs will continue!

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The Fall Goal

Without really meaning to, I somehow came up with a fall racing schedule that I instantly fell hard for—as in, head-over-heels obsessed with.

I commiserated to all of you about how I felt goal-less, restless, and lost after Eugene. I think the post-marathon blues hit a bit harder than expected. Okay, a lot harder—and I can admit it now.

I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that while I was really excited to have accomplished a big bucket list goal, it was actually really hard to wave goodbye to that goal and look out into the great beyond. Qualifying for Boston had been my baby for so long, and I think I had this idea in my head that once I’d done it, all the running happiness would be mine forever and ever. That’s exaggerated—but you get the point.

But I didn’t feel like that, and it wasn’t just because I had a hard, less-than-perfect race. Yes, Eugene wasn’t as satisfying as I might have hoped, but I’m realizing now that it had less to do with the race itself and more to do with my lack of direction afterward.

I know I should have let my unrelenting goal-setting brain kick back and take a break, but that’s not really how I work. Even when I’m between training cycles and running less frequently, I still like to know that a new possibility is out there, waiting for me to take it on. Without a defined goal, I was left with a very jumbled mess of potential ideas, and consequentially a very blank drawing board.

I went back and forth on running a fall marathon, on committing to triathlons, on working solely on speed, on jacking up strength training (no pun intended). Around and around it went, until all I had was more confusion, too many “potential” race options, and not enough enthusiasm to even make a decision. In retrospect, this is one of the reasons my blogging went down so much after Eugene (okay…one of the reasons). I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, so what was the point of lamenting those frustrations to others?

So I kind of gave up. Not because I no longer wanted a goal, but because I decided a “roll with it” approach was going to be more tolerable than orchestrating a race schedule that I wasn’t totally psyched about. Sure, I had races lined up, but none that had a sparkly “goal race” asterisk attached to them.

But now, approximately 48 hours after a light-bulb went off, all that’s changed. I think the light-bulb may have actually broken with how much intensity the idea came to me.

FYI, this is a very long-winded explanation for my decision making process. Sorry…there was just a lot of build up.

It all started with a little triathlon last Saturday. I had such a great time at this race, and it left me hungry for more. Admittedly, when it comes to triathlons, I’m more interested in the distances that have an “iron” in their name. But it was too soon for that. There is a chance that I could do the 70.3 distance this fall, but I feel like it would be a little half-assed. I’m not experienced enough on the bike or in the sport itself to have a real go at it, and it’s not really my style to commit to a serious distance without a decent training cushion to go off of.

But I still wanted more from the tri. I wanted to become a “bike rider” and get more acquainted with my beautiful baby bike. And I want to open the option for a half-Ironman next year. That requires more practice, more training, and less marathoning.

Which all ultimately brought up the idea of the Black Diamond Olympic Tri in September. Arielle first mentioned this race to me last year, and it seems like this year there’s a lot of blogger interest. It was also far enough away to get in some actual tri-specific training in—and far enough after my second ultra-relay to allow for some recovery time.

So yes, I was on board for Black Diamond. But it still wasn’t clicking. It felt like a means to an end; a stepping stone, if you will, toward what would be an actual goal race next year. Therefore, I still felt as if I was winging it in terms of training and racing, and I was okay with it. Black Diamond would follow a lot of summer running, and eventually I’d figure out some more fall/winter plans.

But then, THEN…an idea came to me. I shouldn’t take credit actually, in fact—credit goes to a Twitter conversation between Lauren and Larira two nights ago. I spotted them talking about the Bellingham Bay Half-Marathon this fall, and I had to chime in since it was my own first half-marathon almost three years ago. I started thinking then about how much fun I had at the race, how nice the course was, etc.

Somehow, then, after remembering how much I loved that race and how much I wanted to run it too—it all came to me: I want to run a goal half-marathon this fall.

And not just any goal. No—that’s the fun part. This goal would be hard, elusive almost, and perhaps the most intimidating training I’d ever have to take on.

And I was hooked. This is exactly what I wanted to commit the rest of the summer toward, and it seemed silly I hadn’t thought of it sooner. I have never done goal-specific half-marathon training, in fact—I’ve never actually done intentional half marathon training, and I figured why not start after already running 6? 🙂

I considered a few options for races, but Bellingham just felt right. It’s close by, it’s cheap, and it’s a PR-ready course. I considered a few other options, but after navigating a few scheduling plans, this was clearly the best option. The best part was that I could still do the Olympic tri as it’s a full two weeks before Bellingham, leaving enough time for recovery while still gaining the tri experience.

So basically, I’m obsessed. For a number of reasons, but mainly:

1) I’m sticking to my no fall marathon plan 

I really wanted to try and commit to saving myself for Boston next year (assuming I’ll get in), but I could feel that commitment slipping away when I felt completely goal-less. It would be easy for me to just plan another 26.2 training schedule, but that wasn’t ultimately what I wanted. This plan totally fits the bill for maintaining distance but without going all out marathon.

2) Speed!

I have been wanting to focus on speed forever now but never fully could because marathon training + excessive speed work is kind of a recipe for disaster. At least for me. With a goal for a half instead of a full, I’ll be able to really narrow in on speed workouts, which will be very new to me in some respects. I can’t wait.

3) Forced cross-training

By keeping the Olympic distance tri on the schedule, it will not only force me to spend more time on my bike and in the pool, but also off the roads. Cross-training, IMO, has a direct correlation to decreased injury risk. Double wins all around.

4) Tempering the sadness of no fall marathon

Despite my aforementioned goal of not doing a fall 26.2, I knew that when the time came and everyone was after their respective marathon goals and running 20 milers, I would be seething with jealousy. Having a distance goal of my own will (mostly) help offset that little green monster and keep me focused on the Boston end-game.

5) Lots of work to do

No sugar coating…this goal is a big stretch for me. It is going to require more discipline and probable more puke-inducing workouts than I’ve ever done. And while that probably sounds awful to some, it’s exactly what I need right now. Feel free to remind me of this at my 4:30 am alarms 😉

6) It doesn’t feel possible (yet) <— Biggest reason of all 

Here’s the honest truth about training to BQ in Eugene: I was nearly 100% sure I could do it. The required pace was something I was already comfortable with, and without the injury when I ran Chicago, I’m almost certain I could have done it there. Of course, I wanted to work hard and I wanted to secure my confidence, but I never really had a doubt that unless disaster struck—I could do it.

This goal? Not so much. In the name of full disclosure, let’s get real with numbers here:

I would like to run a 1:35:xx half this fall.

That would require dropping nearly 15 seconds off my current half-marathon PR pace. And here’s the biggest kicker: I’m still convinced my current half-marathon PR was a fluke. Yes I’m proud of it and I’m happy it happened, but I still, to this day, have a hard time believing it wasn’t a lot of luck.

Which makes shaving 3 minutes off that time even scarier.

So no, I’m not totally sure if I can do it. Do I believe with the right training it’s possible? Of course—which is why I can’t wait to dive into the horrifying place of having a very big reach goal.

This whole agenda, tri and all, feels like the perfect formula for all the things I was hoping to take on this fall season, and I can’t wait to get started.

In fact I did start, yesterday, with a 5-mile tempo at my previous half-marathon PR pace. It wasn’t the easiest, but it happened—7:30s on the dot. And it’s a start.

Time to get uncomfortable folks, I can’t wait.

 

Take a Little, Give a Little

…or something like that.

Happy Friday peeps! I wont’ even begin to apologize for all the showboating that’s been going on in the PNW regarding our weather. You better believe that once that big shiny star comes out to play, we’ll be talking about it. And it doesn’t look like it’s leaving anytime soon. Bragging continues!

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my last post, via Twitter, Facebook, texts, telepathy, etc. I put everything I had into my Eugene training cycle and into that race, and while I had hoped it wouldn’t be as painful as it was, I am always comforted knowing that there wasn’t much more I could do.

I do feel like I have a better time in me, if we’re being honest. A better time that also feels a lot stronger, smoother, etc, but that’s a topic for a different day.

Right now, I’m not really thinking about any races in the near future. Running slow and running with friends is sounding a lot more enticing to me right now 🙂

This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of my second full marathon, also known as the Tacoma City Marathon, also known as “The time I unknowingly had a 105 degree fever and was too bullheaded to stop running.” If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Tacoma sucked the life out of me (also the function of my IT band), and it scarred me a bit in terms of the dangers of the marathon.

Obviously, times have changed since then, and it’s hard to believe that it was only one year ago that I was a very different runner. Well, I suppose not that different, but I do feel much smarter and stronger since that incident. Silver lining I suppose.

Anyway, when I collapsed in Tacoma and spent a lot of time in the medical tent, I was surrounded by the most helpful and supportive volunteers. They did everything from carrying me from the finish line, squeezing my cramping muscles, ice-bathing me, and, um, “checking” my temperature. Actually no, I’m not thankful for that part. Besides the point.

The point is that those volunteers made all the difference in the world for me after that race. They cooled me down, put me back together, and saved me from what was a very bad situation. I felt such a debt of gratitude at the time, in fact I almost felt guilty. But that’s what they were there for, and as they said, “It’s our job.”

I wanted to do something to give back a bit to that race. To this day I remain incredibly grateful for those people that helped me, and I decided that I should try and return the favor. No, I am not an EMT and barely remember proper CPR protocol from my days as a lifeguard, but every race needs volunteers.

So I signed up! This will be my first race volunteering, and I’m so glad that I’ll finally be able to provide a service that I’ve used myself in so many races.

I ran the idea by Nicole, as I knew she volunteered last year, and she was in. Becky decided to join in on the fun as well, and after an email to the volunteer coordinator—the three of us will not only be stationed together, we’ll be MEDALING the half-marathon finishers!

I’m so ridiculously excited for this. There are few happier moments than when you receive your race medal at the end of a hard effort, and I love that we get to be the people that drape all those sweaty runners with their award. Nicole already dibsed the winner, but I get the female winner 🙂

Part of me wanted to be handing out water to potentially help another over-heated victim such as myself, but there will be others out there for that.

After this past weekend of running my own race, and with a day that promises clear skies and 75+ degrees, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than honoring runners at a finish line.

Hopefully I don’t get too much stranger-sweat on me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

St. Paddy’s Run Half-Marathon Race Recap

As I briefly mentioned at the end of my post last week, I—along with the rest of the green-and-beer loving Americans of the running world—ran a St. Paddy’s Day race this weekend. I didn’t spend a lot of time prefacing this week with a blog post full of goals and nerves, because this wasn’t really an A-race for me. In fact, I wasn’t even looking at  it so much as a race as a training run; a training run in which I would wear a bib and get to practice running in the race atmosphere.

My main goal was to stay at marathon goal pace (7:55-ish) for the entire race. I also wanted this pace to feel do-able—comfortable enough to cruise in, but quick enough to feel like effort. If this was accomplished, I was going to be happy.

The other goal I had going into this race was to really practice and hone-in my race brain. This included not going out too fast, conserving energy, ideally negative-splitting, and generally getting a good “race-day” feel.

One condition I had to accomplish before toeing the start line was to do a 7-mile “warm up” beforehand, in order to get my prescribed 20 miles in for the day. I was probably most nervous for this part. I knew on fresh legs, 7:55 miles wouldn’t be a problem. But after 7 miles and a questionable night of sleep beforehand, I felt a little less in control. Not to mention the fact that only two days before, I had an intense speed workout that pretty much kicked my confidence and butt to the curb.

Nevertheless, 5 am rang in on Saturday—and out I went for a slow 7 miles. I didn’t wear headphones (saved the jams for the actual race), and I focused on staying slow and in control. Before I knew it, an hour had passed, and I was back home changing clothes and scarfing down a banana and Picky Bar. 15 minutes later, and BF and I were on the road to Tacoma.

image (3)

After a quick packet pick-up and finding the best race-day parking spot EVER, we leisurely rolled up to the start line, along with several other green-and-shamrock clad runners. I even managed to spot a few friends who were running—which is always fun. (Tacoma is the home of my alma mater—Logger for life!)

I kid you not...this is where we parked. High fives all around.

I kid you not…this is where we parked. High fives all around.

The gun went off right on time—and off we went!

The better part of the first mile was largely downhill, which kind of screwed up my “start slow” plan…but I wasn’t worried. A little padding time would help with the hilly section I knew would come up. I planned to settle into 7:55 in the second mile and cruise from there.

There was a lot of leap-frogging going on during the first few miles. I had a private chuckle to myself whenever I’d pass someone and they’d immediately sprint back ahead of me. I didn’t let it egg me on…and if anything, it was a good reminder of what happens when you waste too much energy early. “Even pacing…stick to your plan,” is what I kept telling myself.

1-3

After the first three miles, the course started along a long, flat stretch of waterfront that I have always loved running on. The last time I ran this route was during the Tacoma Marathon, so I was happy to reestablish a better relationship with the terrain.

I felt fantastic. 7:55 felt very in control and comfortable—and luckily at this point we had thinned out to the point where I didn’t have girls anxiously gunning to run by me. I knew I was probably the 20th woman or so, and while this little fact added a competitive glimmer to my brain, I didn’t let it take over my plan.

I kept cruising, enjoying the scenery and being in a race. I knew that miles 6-7-8 were going to be hillier, so I prepped myself to bust through those.

4-6

As the hillier, neighborhood miles approached, it started to rain. Not the worst thing in the world—a lot of the time rain feels nice in the middle of the race—but I did have a chafing concern.

And here’s where I potentially TMI, but it happens: My legs were already a little raw from how sweaty my Thursday workout was, and despite my better attempts at BodyGlide and bandaids…I knew that they’d be no match for wet shorts. No matter. If my biggest complaint was mild inner-thigh stinging, then I was doing good.

The hillier miles were a little tough, but really nothing too bad. I actually enjoyed the change of pace/terrain, and it was fun to bolt on the downhills. Around Mile 8, I took a couple Sport Beans and got a big surge of energy. I was excited to head back on the flat waterfront again and finish this thing.

7-8

I should also state at this point that I’d been consistently running down a couple girls for the first 9 miles. My technique would be to find a runner whose pace I liked and stick right behind them. This really helped simulate a good race feel, and I made sure (at least until mile 9ish) that they were within my goal-pace-range.

That’s when I came across green bow girl. This chick had—frankly—the prettiest stride I’ve ever seen (is that weird to say?), and she was holding an incredibly steady pace up ahead of me, and I decided she would be the next target. Once I caught her, I felt great and assumed we were right within my right time frame.

The 7:35 on my watch said otherwise.

But, at this point—I knew my primarily goal would be accomplished, so I decided to have a little fun at the end.

So, green bow and I ran stride-for stride, me right behind her. I could tell she was into it though—so it turned into more of a joint effort than a caddy girl-race. The rain had let up at this point and it was time for a gut-out to the finish. I still didn’t feel like I was all-out though, which was incredibly encouraging. I was really pumped at the fact that a 7:40 pace after 17 miles of running for the day felt good.

9-11

With about 2 miles to go, an interesting twist in the plot developed: the half-marathon runners merged with both the 5k AND the 10k. The two races had started after the half, and although the runners of the two races were already done…the walkers were not.

So, despite the better efforts of the race officials to keep the lanes designated to walkers and runners, the last two miles was a weave-fest of the half-marathon runners and the 5 and 10k walkers. It was a bit frustrating, but I suppose it also kept things interesting. My iPod had also died at this point so it was fun to chime into the mid-race chatter.

I had passed green bow at this point, along with a few other girls. I knew they were hot on my trail, and in the final mile I decided to not let any of them pass me. It helped that we were all dodging people, so none of us could really see the others through the crowds.

With less than a half mile left, it was time to bust some booty. The only other thing I wanted to accomplish for the day was a strong finish, which I was set and ready for. That is…up until I remembered/realized that the finish was straight up a marginally steep hill. If the hill didn’t crush my sprinting-finish effort, then the corresponding people-dodging definitely did. It wasn’t pretty.

Check out the end there...NOT COOL.

Check out the end there…NOT COOL.

But before I knew it, I crested the last ascent where we were siphoned off into a separate “half-marathoners” section (better late than never…I guess). I ran the last hundred yards or so to the finish line, tried my best to smile, and clicked my watch to stop.

12-14

1:40:47, 12th woman overall

My second fastest half-marathon time, a negative split, and on the tail end of a hard week and a 7-mile warm up.

I was pretty excited, to say the least. Good work Tacoma, you redeemed yourself.

I got my medal, a water bottle, and quickly got back to the finish line so I could see BF finish. I managed to see Lauren accomplish a huge half PR with a smile on her face which was just great, and before I knew it—there was BF, pulling in an awesome 1:54. Once again, I was marveled by his natural athleticism—he didn’t train for this race and had taken the entire week off beforehand. Seriously dude?

It was at this point that I saw the chafing damage on my leg. I was so distracted with race euphoria that I hadn’t realized just how much multiple patches of skin were stinging. Let’s just say there was blood on both my legs and my shorts…and the spot under my right arm that always gets trashed was nice a raw.

MARGINALLY GRAPHIC IMAGE AHEAD

image (1)

So pretty. Again, let’s blame the Samoas.

But things were still too exciting to care. We went to check out official times at the results booth, where I discovered that I’d won my age group! This has never really happened before, so it was quite the icing on the cake. I even got a blue ribbon!

Capture2

I love my ribbon! It's so pretty! It also says Bud Light on it...so, thanks for that too? Also booty-booty-booty photobomb behind me.

I love my ribbon! It’s so pretty! It also says Bud Light on it…so, thanks for that too? Also I spy a green booty-booty-booty photo-bomb behind me.

This was a good day. It was a fun race, a strong run, and exactly the confidence builder I needed going into this second part of training.

While the AG placing definitely feels good and adds a layer of encouragement, it’s really the feeling of strength I felt the whole time that made this race for me.

We finished off the morning the only way there is to after lots of miles and sweat:

fork added for scale purposes

fork added for scale purposes..so much pancake, so much glorious pancake.

And that photo pretty much summarizes the rest of the day. Lots of food and rest was essentially all I could muster, but it was all with a smile on my face.

I’m feeling good about Eugene right now, and I don’t think I’ve really vocalized that feeling yet. I know there are bound to be a few more kinks to work out and per usual—bad runs will happen. But if Saturday is any indication, I think my training is headed in the right direction, and I’m getting more excited for my next 26.2 endeavor.

image (2)

Eugene Marathon Training Week #6

And just like that, we’re halfway through this training cycle already. Just crazy. I hadn’t really realized how fast approaching race day really is until Sarah posted a “42 days left” countdown yesterday. Yipes.

But! This weekend was a big confidence builder, which makes me more excited than nervous about the dwindling time frame.

So with that, here’s how week #6 shook out:

M: 12 miles- no watch, blissful + lifting

T: 5 miles + spin

W: 5 miles + Maximum Sculpt

T: 10 miles with 5 x 1,000 meters @ 5kp

F: REST

S: 20 miles total. 7 miles in ~61 minutes, then 13.1 miles at St. Paddy’s Day Run Half Marathon in 1:40.

S: Spin + 30 min stair-stepper + lifting

Total= 52 miles

Monday’s run was the kind of run you always want to have. Perfect temperatures, perfect setting, and the feeling like your floating. I didn’t wear a watch but I did see the time I started and the time I ended—essentially dead on 8 minute miles, all of which felt great.

I already wrote about the horror of Thursday’s workout, which made me slightly nervous for not only 20 miles on Saturday, but trying to maintain marathon goal-pace for 13.1 of those miles. Luckily (thanks to the Irish?) the outcome of Saturday’s running was exactly what I’d hoped for—if not better. But that’s a post for tomorrow 🙂

I think what I’m most pleased about is how my body has been feeling so far. I’ve had a few paranoia-fueled aches and pains, but overall I feel great. Nothing lingering, nothing worrisome (here’s where we all knock on wood in unison…ready, go), and generally I just feel strong. Now that this weekend is behind me, I can come out and say that for the past two years I have been unable to run on St. Paddy’s weekend because of injury. Not this year! I’m hoping this healthy trend continues through race day, as I really would like to have a fondness for spring racing.

Generally, I’m just feeling really excited. I’ve had some hard, not-so-awesome runs and workouts, but I’m trying to be of the mindset that it’s the tough ones that are going to be the most helpful tools come race day. Learning how to push through and trek on isn’t as easy as learning to play it safe, but it certainly has a better pay-off in the end. I know for a fact that running a BQ time on April 28 isn’t going to be easy or necessarily all enjoyable, so I’d rather practice the painful feelings now than let them scare me away come race day.

That’s all for now folks. Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend! It felt like the spring race season really kicked off these past two days, and from what I’ve seen so far—there were some huge milestones reached and PRs achieved. So fun to see!

Did you race this weekend? Did you spectate this weekend? Did you drink green beer this weekend?

The Hardest Workout I’ve Ever Done and a Race Weekend

Something crazy is happening, I’m posting three times in one week! This would have been a little light for old-school “I’m a new blogger and need to establish content!” RBR, but for this currently lackluster, unmotivated, very busy person who’s taken over, three times is a big win.

I still love running. I still love writing about running, I still love blogs and bloggers. I just want to live my off-internet life a little more right now.

Which brings me to the topics of today’s post—both of which (excuse my horrid play on words here) are both very topical.

Topic number 1: Today’s workout.

I’ve gotten away a bit from posting the details about all my runs and workouts because…hey-o, that’s boring. The weekly recaps work much nicer for that. However, some workouts jolt your system to the point that you can’t help but gab about it to other running kin.

On the schedule: 10 miles with 5 x 1000 meters @ 5k pace

I have been scared of this workout ever since I wrote it on my training schedule. You see, I decided to do something stupid late last year and get a new 5k PR, which consequentially lowered my “5k pace” approximately 15 seconds. (I know, I know…I am happy with my 5k time and I’m just being a brat right now). I normally correlate 5k effort with a 7-minute mile for my current fitness. I can handle that. I can wrap my brain around that. But a 6:47 pace? That shit cray.

I have just recently become accustomed to being comfortable in the 7s. I’ve had to be very deliberate in not letting a 7:xx on the clock scare me back into my 8:xx comfort zone. It’s mostly been working—which is good. However, it does not, in any way, further prepare me to face anything with a 6 in front of it.

To this day, I’m still a little shocked by my 5k time. I’m proud of it, but I’m honestly unsure as to if I could do it again. BUT, it is what it is…so when a workout calls for 5k pace, that’s what I’ll stick with.

Back to business. I decided to do this run on the treadmill (cue ominous, threatening music) simply because it was going to be a hell of a lot simpler to watch my splits/time on a self-regulated machine than on my own outdoor route and shoddy Garmin stalking. It wasn’t the treadmill that scared me though…it was the distance. I have never, ever, ever, ever run this far on a treadmill, mainly because I love being outside, but also because the thing that goes hand-in-hand with treadmills (other than boredom) is HEAT. Gyms aren’t ventilated like a 45 degree breeze keeping you cool throughout the run. No, a treadmill run is an unforgiving, unwavering torture mechanism in which your temperature just keeps going up and up along with the distance ticking slowly upward on the dial.

But, convenience won, and off I went on my speedwork endeavor. And by “off I went” what I mean to say is…I very unhappily got out of bed, blindly put on clothing, somehow drove to the gym, and just managed to fully wake up after the first warm-up mile. It wasn’t a pretty morning, folks.

As for the workout? Well, I kind of hated how right I was to be afraid of it. Because this sucker kicked me right in the pants and left me sweaty and beet-red crying on the ground next to the treadmill. <—find the exaggerated part of that sentence.

Here’s how it went. I did a .38 mile recovery between each 1000 meter interval, making each interval an exact mile:

3 mile warm up in 8:20s: Happiness! Easy! Bring on the sprinting!

1st 1000 meter @ 8.9 mph: Um, yea. Okay then. 4 more of those?

2nd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHey! Still super hard! How the effing f did I do a 5k this fast?

3rd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHATE. HATE. Have I ever quit a workout? Okay, I’ll just step off for a few seconds..

(I’m not proud of that one…it was only maybe 5 seconds, but still…not cool Broker)

4th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphIf you’re going to jump off, you can lower the speed a little bit. It needs to be do-able. Okay…this is a little better. Still hate life.

5th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphThis is it…the end. You can finish the workout or you can stew all day about not getting it done. HOW IS THIS ONLY .1 miles through???

2 mile cool down in 8:30sThis run is “never ever ever ever” going to end. I love Taylor Swift.

All said and done, I’m glad I finished the prescribed workout.

I’m not, however, happy with

a) briefly stepping off the treadmill while I was supposed to be interval-ing

b) turning down the speed for the last two 1000s

I realize that using a PR 5k pace may have been overambitious—maybe I was in better speed shape back then? But it still stung a little to feel so wiped by that pace. However, this was a VO2 max workout, which translates into 90% of max effort…which I definitely feel I was at.

It also could have been the longer distance that was spread throughout the run, the fact that this is my 4th day of running in a row, or the fact that I was in a very hot gym. Or it was an off day. Or the Girl Scout cookies have stolen my 5k pace. Yea, that’s it…let’s blame the samoas!

At any rate, this workout was no joke, and it really changed up the medium-long runs and recovery runs that I’ve been so merrily skipping between during the weekdays.

I really do like speedwork, and as difficult as it is, between the wheezing and the “Oh please do not puke” thoughts, I always tell myself that there is progress being made. I try and remember to embrace the discomfort and that it’s only temporary. You know, just to reflect on what every single sports quote of all time tells us.

Topic number 2: This weekend.

Surprise! I’m racing this weekend. Well, not racing-racing, but I will be doing a tune-up race of sorts at the St. Paddy’s Day Run Half-Marathon in Tacoma. Is “racing-racing” the runner’s equivalent of “like-like” instead of just “like” in middle school?

It works out rather perfectly. I’m supposed to run 20 miles for my long run that day, with 12 of those miles at marathon goal pace. Meaning, I will plan to run the half at the exact pace I’m hoping to run in Eugene. Bonus! I get to wake up hours before the race to run 7 additional miles. That part won’t be awesome, and running MGP for 13 miles afterward won’t be especially awesome either, but it’s going to be a great test to see where I am. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty lucky in the last two halfs I’ve run, so I hope that luck hasn’t quite run out. I mostly care about running a very even-tempo’ed pace the entire time. I’m going to be very happy with even 7:55 splits and a quality race “practice.”

This will be the first time I use a race as a part of a long run, which isn’t exactly ideal, but I like to think I’m killing two birds with one stone. The race environment in general is good practice—IMHO—and I plan on using it as a reference point.

Plus, I have a bad running taste in my mouth from Tacoma, so I’m hoping I can redeem myself a little bit.

Best part? BF’s running the half too! Post-race St. Paddy’s beers for all! Not like that wasn’t going to happen anyway…

So there you have it. A very long-winded post detailing how I almost threw up on the treadmill and how I’m running a St. Patrick’s Day race this weekend. I’m such an original running blogger, sometimes I amaze myself.

Happy Thursday!

Yukon Do It Half-Marathon Race Recap

Happy New Year!

How is everyone? Getting a start on your resolutions? Giving up on your resolutions? Still hungover from NYE?

This is not a post about my own resolutions. Shock, I know. In a very not-like-me move, I actually did make one this year (I almost never do), but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I am here to tell you about something else related to New Year’s Eve. So while there was resolution making, drink(s), and midnight fireworks, there was also something extra that made this New Year’s Eve memorable. In fact, it was probably the most memorable NYE to date, because let’s face it…with the exception of pining for a midnight kiss from your crush (which I never got), there isn’t much you can really expect from the night.

But this year, New Year’s Eve doubled as a race day. A perfect race day, in fact.

I call this my “I do this expression in every race photo of me ever taken” face.

I was fairly hush-hush about the Yukon Do It half-marathon. Not because I was especially nervous, but because I didn’t really have a lot of feelings about it.

Going into it, I knew my sparkly sub-1:40  half goal was possible, but I wasn’t necessarily interested in going through a lot of pain for it.

So, my game plan was to start with 7:40s, and if I was feeling good, drop to 7:35s halfway through.

That didn’t exactly happen. In fact, none of what went down during this race was anything I would have expected—for a variety of reasons:

1) The weather. It was bloody cold during this race.

Grown men wore pants and double-layer tops. I wore spandex shorts. However, as I’ve stated before—winter running and I are BFFs. My body enters into a “must warm thyself” panic when it’s cold, which results in faster paces.

2) The course. The elevation map of this course was, well, wrong. It was allegedly an out-and-back with miles 1-4 fairly flat, 5-8 up and then downhill, and 9-13 flat again. No, not true. Details to come.

The way the course was supposed to look...lie.

The way the course was supposed to look…

3) The company. I signed up for this race because a ton of my coworkers were doing it. So, there were about 12 of us…most of whom I’d never met before, and all of whom were relatively fast.

Fun fact: if there is an audience around, I’ll be ready to perform. It’s the Glee-kid in me. Or maybe just the narcissistic competitive brat in me. Whatever. Point is, it was an opportunity to hang with the big dawgs…the big dawgs in this case being stranger men from work.

A few of us from the group!

A few of us from the group! In case you couldn’t spot the only female in the photo, I’m on the top right.

So now that I’ve given way too much information before writing the actual report, let’s get down to it:

With only 300 or so runners doing the half, I was able to line up relatively close to the start line. The gun went off, and I mentally threatened myself to not go out too fast. Just warm up. Just get your pace. So after a half mile of “leisurely” getting started, I checked the Garmin: 7:15.

Fail.

I seriously felt like I was running an 8:30, I think in part to the throngs of fast dudes around me whose effortlessness masked my own speed, and also because of the cold. My feet were numb for the first 1.5 miles, and I think my body was doing everything possible to just thaw my blood.

I chilled out though, decided the first mile could be fast as long as I got my sh*t together for the rest of it.

1-3

No, still didn’t happen. But I didn’t panic. I genuinely felt really good, and I figured as long as I closely monitored how I felt and paid attention to my breathing, I could keep up the speed. Plus, I knew the hill coming up would slow me down and I could save some time for those miles.

There weren’t too many people around me. The leader (who I actually knew and who is ridiculously badass- 1:10 finish, nbd) was way out in front, then there was a decent size pack behind him, then followed myself and some other randoms.

This was the first time I legitimately played leap-frog with other runners the entire race. There were three other females that I kept alternating spots with, which was a combination of helpful, intimidating, and fun. We all knew it was happening, of course we didn’t say anything, but it was an amusing silent competition.

One of those ladies, by the way, was wearing a Boston finisher shirt.

Don't you think your sweet shirt will scare me away...

Don’t you think your sweet shirt will scare me away…

After the first 4.5 miles or so, I expected the promised “ gradual ascent” to start. Alas…we would all learn that the course profile was quite incorrect and misleading.

The flat sections were spot on, and the first four and the last four miles were beautiful and scenic along the waterfront. The middle 5 though? Basically the course traversed up and down the same hills about 6 different times. And these weren’t rollers…they were some pretty significant inclines, with consequentially steep declines. So those miles were filled with grunting (and getting passed) up those hills, and then bombing (and passing others) on the way down.

This is what my Garmin elevation data showed.

This is what my Garmin elevation data showed.

My paces over these miles were all over the place. I’d be logging an 8:30 trudging up a hill, and then it would quickly drop to 7:30 on the downhill. These miles were beautiful, however, as they wove through a super-green forest—which slightly made up for the unexpected course switcheroo.

6-8

The nice thing about an out-and-back, though, is that you know what to expect for the second half. I was starting to feel not-so-awesome around mile 7. The hills were getting to me, and I was ready to head back to the flat lands.

I know this is really not-such-a-big deal in retrospect, and I don’t want to complain, but I thought a more accurate elevation chart would have been helpful beforehand.

Once back on the flatter parts, I felt a second wind coming, and I regained a consistent pace. I gained a bit on a few of the females that were ahead of me during the first part of the race, and I let my racing instinct take over as I passed them.

According to this batch of race photos, I close my eyes a lot while racing. Sleepy? Defense mechanism? Also #LEGS. Gross.

According to this batch of race photos, I close my eyes a lot while racing. Sleepy? Defense mechanism? Also #LEGS. Gross.

Around mile 9, I spotted a coworker who was holding a perfectly steady-yet-fast pace, and I decided to use him as a pacer. I stayed right behind him for a while, which was probably annoying, but he didn’t seem to mind (thanks David!).

9-11

When I came up beside him with 2 or so miles to go, and apologized for my drafting, he exclaimed that I was on track for a 1:38. Excited by this announcement, and impressed with his mental math, it was just the spark I needed to drop to a sub 7:20 pace. I held with him for a while longer, but after seeing two girls fading ahead of me, I knew I needed to do a little bit of chick-ing.

And seriously…one of them was wearing zebra-print spandex. I realize most of you would love owning something like that, but personally I refused to be beat by someone wearing  those.

Zebra girl, be gone.

By that point, the finish line was in sight. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing the end—and the promise of being finished. A glance at my watch and I knew I was not only looking at a sub-1:40, but a 1:38:xx. Cue: giddy excitement.

12-13

And just like that, I crossed the finish line, heard my name called over the speaker, and knew I’d cinched the coveted sub 1:40 half that I’d been wanting with a 1:38:22 PR finish time.

“Pretty psyched” would be good words to describe the feeling immediately following, although I was mostly focused on how quickly the heat I’d built during the race was quickly escaping my body. At the finish line, I learned that two co-workers had claimed 2nd and 3rd overall, with others in the top 15 as well!

I myself ended up as 4th overall female and 2nd in my age group. And yes, ahead of Boston lady…who congratulated me after as we’d been racing each other for nearly 10 miles.

Neat!

Neat!

After changing into warmer, dryer clothes and collecting ribbons (!), we made a pit stop for a celebratory brew before packing it in and calling it a year.

Running this race was wonderful, and I’m thrilled to have closed with a time I feel like I can hang my hat on for a while. Doing it on the very last day of 2012 was awesome as well—it felt both like a grand finale and a prelude of the year to come.

I don’t have a lot of hindsight about this race…it was cold, beautiful, and a lot of fun. However, in retrospect, I am particularly focused on the fact that while I did run hard and achieved my goal, it actually wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated. Which makes the promise of what’s the come in 2013 all the more intriguing.

Happy New Year!

Seattle Half-Marathon Race Recap

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about running, it’s that you can never be too certain how it’s going to go. You can feel unstoppable and strong one day, and the next day you can feel like you’re moving through mud on the exact same run.

In other words, running—for the most part— isn’t necessarily predictable…which is why I’ve learned to not put all my eggs in one basket. I actually like this about running, because it takes a bit of the pressure off…and while sometimes this uncertainty leads to disappointment, it also can also lead to some pleasant surprises.

And Sunday was definitely a surprise.

SPOILER! I finished.

I truly did not know what to expect going into this race, other than it would be cold and there would be lots of hills on the course. I didn’t taper, I wasn’t exceptionally hydrated, and my eye wasn’t necessarily “on the prize.” I definitely have a big fancy dream time for a half-marathon, but I knew that this wouldn’t be the race for it. So, I went into it a little blindly…happy to shake off some of the turkey hangover and simply enjoy a run through my city.

As expected, Sunday morning was freezing…but I was actually excited about this. I know I run better in the cold, and with no rain the only thing that I needed to worry about was keeping my blood moving at the start line.

Bundled up and ready to run!

BF dropped me off with no trouble, and after wandering a little bit to see if I could spot anyone I knew…I decided it was futile and plopped myself in what seemed an appropriate group—near the 1:45 pacer. I thought I might be too close to the start line, but when the gun went off I realized that I probably should have put myself a bit further up. The first quarter mile was one big stop-and-go as people shuffled along, and although it was a bit frustrating, I weaved my way out of the masses and kicked it up.

I loved the first few miles through downtown. These were streets I see everyday, and it was great to see them in a new context—as a race course. There was also a monster downhill right off the bat too, which I used to put some time in the bank.

Let’s play a game called…find the downhill mile.

I questioned my speed very early on. Since I didn’t have a defined goal or plan for this race, I kind of decided that negative splitting wasn’t a necessity, and I would just do what I could. The times on my watch were definitely surprising me, but what surprised me more was just how good I felt.

Once we entered the tunnel, I lost satellite reception as expected, which threw off the distance calculations on my Garmin. And now is when we play a new game called “Find the tunnel faulty paces!”

I still felt great, and I loved the course. We had travelled from downtown over to the west side of Lake Washington, and it was lovely. There was a lot of fog, but the conditions were ideal for running and I generally just felt happy.

I crossed the halfway marker at a little over 50 minutes, and it was at this point where I started to get sparkly thoughts about potential finish times. However, I kept myself reeled in, because I knew there was still a fair amount of climbing to do and—as we all know—a fast start can mean scary things for the finish.

The hills picked up a bit, but other than one soul-crushing climb around mile 8, there was nothing too unmanageable. I started to realize during this race that I’m becoming much more confident and comfortable on hills. I’ve developed a climbing strategy/pace that makes hills a lot less daunting, and I’ve actually found myself kind of…gulp…liking them.

My speeds from miles 8-10 were a bit slower. I think it was in part due to the climbing, and it was also at this point that the fatigue of not tapering started to creep in. I could definitely feel the nearly-30 miles I’d already run that week, and I cursed myself a bit for not executing a more conservative race. However, this part of the race was also a beautiful, winding path through the park…so I think I may have been a bit distracted by the scenery.

But we only had a 5k to go, and I knew there would be a bit of a downhill finish. Time to kick into gear. My legs were barking a bit…not because of the distance, but because of the hills/speed. My goal was to grind it out the best I could without leaving much out on the course…because at this point, there wasn’t much to lose. Also, I realized that half marathons are about 1000x better than full marathons in this regard.

Around mile 11.5, I thought it could be possible to finish with a 1:40:xx on the clock…and all of a sudden, the girl without a set time goal became fixated on that number. There was something so even, clean, and benchmark-worthy about that time…and I wanted it to be mine.

So I ran. My legs were heavy and my stomach was getting a little angry, but my pace somehow didn’t falter  I had already decided that I’d condemned myself to a positive-split no matter what, so all I was trying to do at this point was get to the stadium (where the finish line was).

I saw Erika (for the SECOND time during the race!) around mile 13, and she definitely gave me a boost. I straightened up my form, smiled, and booked it.

Photo courtesy of Erika, filter courtesy of Instagram. Thanks Erika 🙂

All at once, we were coming into the stadium, and I can’t tell you how good running on astro-turf felt after pounding pavement for 13 miles. I saw BF right before I crossed the finish line, and despite feeling a little nauseated…I was pumped. My watch showed a 1:40:50 finish, a time that going into the race—I didn’t think was possible.

Distance is off from the tunnel fiasco.

We visited the post-race recovery area for a bit, and despite my best efforts to spot some friends, there were just too many people. We were able to check results right away which was quite convenient, and I confirmed that my finish time was in fact just what I was hoping.

Here are the official stats:

7:42/mile average. And wouldn’t you know it…somehow I did pull off a negative split. 5 seconds still counts…

I’m still a little disillusioned from this race, though quite pleased with it too. I have a big, undisclosed-until-now dream of running a sub 1:40 half marathon, and frankly…I didn’t think this would be possible until maybe next year. I went into this race not even considering that goal because the course was so notoriously difficult.

But the results have changed my mindset a bit. In all honesty, I expected to finish this race around 1:44, maybe 1:43 if I was lucky. And I would have been totally happy with those. But this race (as well as last week’s 5k) have shown me that I need to stop selling myself short.

I have a lot of will and determination, but I don’t necessarily have a lot of confidence. I tend to not believe things are possible until they actually happen, and while I think it’s good to be realistic…I also think that it would serve me well to have a little more trust in myself.

Other than the existential lessons learned during this race, I have to say that this course was absolutely fantastic. Other than the crowding at the beginning of the race, this was perhaps the most enjoyable course I’ve ever run on, and I was really impressed with the Seattle Marathon organization overall.

My best guy.

This race  fired me up. It was encouraging and fun…and while I’m still a little hesitant to hope for anything more, I’m realizing that there’s no harm in trying.

Try I will, and I’m feeling pretty excited for pushing those limits back even further.

Did you run the Seattle Marathon/Half-Marathon? How did it go? How did you like the course?

Taper Fail

Greetings!

A quick pop-in before tomorrow’s half marathon, namely since I’ve been blog-MIA since Monday.

I just arrived back from my Thanksgiving mini-vacation in sunny Southern California, and it was splendid. So much sun, so much food, and so much quality family time. And, unexpectedly, so much running.

Which leads me to the primary reason for this post: to admit how I’ve done nothing with any semblance to “tapering.”

I ran a shade under 11 miles on Thursday and 8.5 yesterday… meaning that I’m not exactly “rested.” I’ve also been choosing adult beverages over water and Nuun, and I’m convinced I’m still full from our Thanksgiving feast.

In that regard, I’ve done very little to prepare for this race at all.

Admittedly, the Seattle half-marathon was never really a goal race. In fact, I still don’t really know how I’m planning on executing this race. While it might not be a goal race, it’s also not a race that I’m going to do just for fun. I think my effort will be somewhere in the middle of relaxed and puke-inducing. We’ll see…I’d like to go for sub 1:45, but if it’s not my day, that’s fine too.

Other than that loose plan, I don’t really know what I’m going to wear, if my iPod/Garmin are charged, or what time we’re supposed to be at the start.

Super responsible.

But I’m kind of liking this more relaxed approach. If anything, I’m excited to run hard tomorrow around my city with running friends.

So here goes nothing. Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!