Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm Running a Marathon This Week!

Well...sort of!  In honor of the Vancouver Marathon happening this Sunday, which I'll be spectating at, I decided to bump up my mileage a bit and try to hit 26.2 miles for the week.  Considering I've been keeping under 15 miles lately this might not be a wise decision but whatever!

I've actually never watched a marathon or big race before and I'm kind of really really excited, mostly because I'm not running it!  I always looked on the sidelines with jealousy at the people cheering, sipping coffee, or having a nice breakfast at a cafe, all while I huff and puff by just dreaming of my post race treat. It was actually by sheer coincidence that me and my girlfriends will be in Vancouver for marathon weekend and I was pretty stoked when I put two and two together.  We scored a hotel pretty close to the finish line so we hope to see the first place finishers fly into the finish line Sunday morning.
And since I also announced it on twitter, sort of, I guess I really have to do it now.  Sidenote: Don't get too excited if you follow me on twitter, I'm sure my activity on there is short lived...I can't keep up with all the social media out there!
Quick, follow me before I stop actually using it :)
Here is my tentative plan for getting the miles in.  I would LIKE to get it all done this week before I leave for Vancouver, but in case I don't I've already conned a friend into running some miles Saturday AM before we leave for our weekend adventure

Monday - 8 miles <---spoiler: already did this!
Tuesday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 6 miles
Thursday - 6 miles
Friday - 3.2 miles
Total = 26.2!

In other semi marathon news I actually have a bet going with my traveling buddy, Sonia,...she thinks after spectating the Vancouver Marathon I'm going to want to sign up for another marathon ASAP, I think she is crazy...we have $20 bucks lying on it, I'll make sure to report who wins.

QUESTION: Anyone out there running Vancouver?  Any advice for spectating at a marathon?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Race Recap: Mt. Si 59 Mile Relay Part 2

I realize I've left all of you waiting in suspense for way too many hours after reading all the excitement that was part 1.

Where did we leave off?  Oh yes, half way done...yeah!  It was back to the top of the batting order to do it all over again.  I have to admit only having to run twice was soooo nice after only running 3 leg relays in the past where you are often running your 3rd leg on little to no sleep.  Being energized for the last leg of a relay was so refreshing!

It was starting to get H-O-T for all of our second runs.  And by HOT I mean 70+ degrees which is practically melt down for us frigid Pacific Northwesterners.  We stripped down to shorts and tank tops, chugged Nuun, and blasted the AC when we were in the bloodmobile.  SIDEBAR: Nuun Kona Cola is the most amazing flavor ever...I heard a nasty rumor they were out of stock right now but make sure you grab some when they have it.

Leg 6 - Lindsay + tag long Nicole - 4.4 miles
Nicole is crazy and training for a marathon so she needed some extra miles and kept Lindsay company during her second leg.  Zoe, Kerrie and I zipped to the next exchange and awaited their arrival with a bubble fight.

Lindsay is DONE, Nicole realizes she still has to run 7.1 more miles...hehehe!
Leg 7 - Zoe - 7.1 UPHILL miles
Zoe literally ran 7.1 miles joke.  The description of the run actually says "Enjoy the gradual climb!".  While Zoe was sprinting up a hill we went to the next exchange at Rattlesnake Ledge, where I hiked last week!  It was 100x more crowded and we made up our own parking spot on the grass and my nerves began as I was about to run again.

4 kills, even on an "effing hill"

my super scary "go" face, Kerrie is clearly better at these than me!
Leg 8 - ME - 4.1 miles
Tiara handoff and I was out on my last run for the day...yipee!
Rattlesnake Ledge
Running directions stated "a simple out-and-back up the John Wayne Trail".  I should have paid more attention to the "up" part of that statement and it wasn't until I was about a mile into the run that I realized "yep" this is all uphill.  I was wondering why my legs felt like lead and why I thought I was running 12 minute miles.  Luckily, that meant the whole way down was down hill and I breezed in to the exchange in no time!

The best part of this run was seeing all the 50 mile racers, they were on mile 40ish.  It was so inspiring watching them all still running and they definitely pushed me to run harder than I normally do.

4.1 miles - 34:00 - 8:17 pace

Leg 9 - Nicole - 7.1 miles
Nicole was lucky enough to come back down the hill Zoe ran up so we knew she would speed into the next exchange in no time so we booked it back to the Two Rivers School exchange.  I took an awesome baby wipe shower and felt like a new person again!  We passed the time cheering on the 50 milers, and watching someone dry hurl after running into the exchange to which his friend replied "you aren't running hard enough unless you throw up at the end."  I guess we have different ideas of a good run :).

Over 17 total miles for the day!
Leg 10 - Kerrie - 3.4 miles
Kerrie was an awesome anchor and sped off to the finish line a little before was super HOT!
Leg 10 go face...she looks like she is about to beat down some runners!
We headed to the finish line and found it surprisingly full of people, a few vendors and an announcer actually calling in all the runners and teams. We watched some 50 miler and 50K runners finish and found out that the first place 50 mile runner came in around 7 hours!  IMPRESSIVE!

Kerrie crossed the line exactly at 3:00PM and just like that team Bloggers Do It Online was done!

59.0 miles - 8 hours, 30 minutes, 14 seconds - 8:38 pace

I can't even put in words how much fun this experience was.  It really is amazing how close you become to some great girls by spending a whole day doing something you love together.  We spent the rest of the afternoon reminiscing, taking photos, eating and sleeping!

We already have grand plans to run sometime in the very near future again...Zoe - when are we doing that midnight run? :)

QUESTION: How many of you out there really really want to run a relay now?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Race Recap: Mt. Si 59 Mile Relay Part 1

There really is no way to recap such a fun day with complete justice but I'll do my two parts!  Let's start with the day before when I got to meet all my fabulous race partners in crime in person.  We all met up at Starbucks south of Seattle for some coffee drinking, van decorating, 99 cent store shopping!

And as if I needed anymore reasons why I knew I would have fun with these ladies, Zoe suggested we pose dead in front of some ambulances in the parking lot and have a 3 year old take the picture.

4 out of 5 ain't bad, thanks T Junior!
Fast forward to Sunday morning at my 5AM wakeup call.  The start line was at Snoqualmie Middle School and since I can't function without my Starbucks I found one that opened at 5:30AM right near the school, just another reason to love the coffee giant!  I arrived just in time to see the 50 miler racers start...SUPER inspiring!
Grande soy misto...yumm!
We stuffed all our belongings in Kerrie's van, took some "before" photos and just like that it was time to RACE.
We look so well rested and not sweaty here!
Of course I'll let my other fabulous blogger ladies recap their own legs but I'll provide the details they missed while running, because we all know that is when all the fun happens.

Leg 1 - Lindsay - 8.3 miles
We happened to find the most valuable item at the 99 cent store the day before, a princess tiara and decided to use that as our hand off since the relay didn't have an official baton, bracelet or anything.
Pretty princess Lindsay!
The super official start line
We passed the time driving to the next exchange, attempting to see Snoqualmie Falls (too foggy!) and breaking out the bubble sticks - another 99 cent store gem!

You may recall I'm a famous bubble stick user as I was featured in the Bellingham Herald for Ragnar :).

Leg 2 - Zoe - 6.2 miles
Lookin good pre-run!
After the handoff of the tiara we were off again to the next exchange at Remlinger Farms.  Unfortunately, there really was no way to ever see your runner as they were on trails off the main road so we usually just went straight to the next exchange and waited.  Waiting for Zoe included many trips to the porty potty since my grande coffee and two bottles of Nuun made for one hydrated runner.  Zoe came speeding in and I had to do a little warm up run to meet her at the exchange in time.

Leg 3 - ME!!! - 5.7 miles
I'm not sure how I got so lucky and got two out and back runs but I did get to see what kind of position the team was in since I saw so many other teams on the out and back.  My first run started a little after 9 AM and the weather was perfectly cool and sunny.
Tiara handoff!
Most of the run was on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and the rocks were pretty big on the trail for the first part and I was a little nervous about my Nike Free shoes holding up but they did a good job!  The trail was flat as a board and I just kept running fast enough to feel challenged.  There was a simple turnaround sign painted on a cardboard box and just like that my leg was almost half over.  Right before you turn off to go back to Remlinger Farm they make you head another direction for a mini out and back along the Tolt River.  Luckily it was just short enough to not drive me too crazy and enough time to pass another runner - KILL!  As I made the decent into Remlinger Farm I was directed by a lovely volunteer who also happen to work at my lab, it was a nice surprise.  I sprinted into the finish and crowned Nicole who was off on her first run.
My fast pace is definitely showing on my face...I'm famous for taking such flattering running photos!
5.7 miles - 46:20 - 8:07 pace <---I'm certain I had a out of body experience for this race because I don't run that fast!

Leg 4 - Nicole - 6.5 miles
First 6.5 of her over 17 for the day...ROCKSTAR!
Since I did a lovely out and back the whole team turned around and went back the way we came.  Nicole basically ran Zoe's leg backwards so we went back to the first exchange again.  We broke out our 99 cent store hula hoops for some action and quickly realized why they were 99 cents...they basically don't work, or maybe it was because we are grown adults and they were made for children?
Clearly this photo was not posed
Leg 5 - Kerrie - 6.5 miles
Handoff to our awesome anchor Kerrie and just like that we were half way done all before noon!
This is Kerrie's leg 5 go face, stay tuned for the leg 10 go face...
Tiara handoff!
Okay, that is enough excitement for one post...having to pick between all the amazing photos from everyone was hard work! Photo credits belong to the whole team, thanks ladies.  Part 2 coming the suspense already killing you?

Question: How many Washington runners out there are going to run this next year?  I'm thinking major blogger presence takeover?

BREAKING NEWS: The Nuun Hood to Coast team was announced today and while sadly I'm not on it, my relay buddies Zoe, Nicole, and Lindsay are and I couldn't be happier for them and everyone else who made the team!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Day Relays Are Where It's At!

I can barely keep my eyes open after the funnest day ever with some awesome new best friends, but I have to share a few photos to keep you in suspense for all the dirty details later this week.

Team Bloggers Do It Online kicked some butt today, running 59 miles in 8 hours 30 minutes!  The weather was perfect, the scenery was gorgeous, and the company was the best...can we just make up our own relay next week so we can all hang out again?

See you all later this week for some good recap action!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday - Trader Joes!

I'm sure I don't need to convince you all of the amazingness that is Trader Joes and for those of you out there who don't have one in your city, you should probably just move somewhere that does...ok?

There are countless reasons this grocery store rocks including cheap cheese, awesome frozen entrees, chocolate covered anything and the list goes on.  But, I have been partial to three products lately that I usually have 2 on hand at any given time because if I run out past 10PM any night (TJ's closing time) I need to have a backup.

1. Green Goddess Dressing
Dinner tonight, greens, chicken, avacado, cucumber, feta and GREEN GODDESS goodness!
This tahini based dressing is super super delicious, low in calories, and doesn't have a ton of ingredients.  It turns any salad in a creamy wonderland.  A standard lunch for me would include spinach, tuna, avocado and this dressing!

2. Spicy Chile Sauce

Again, super delicious, REALLY low in calories and super super flavorful.  With pretty much any meal I usually poor a little side dish of this deliciousness and just dip whatever I'm eating into it, so far nothing has been gross.  But the best thing to dip it in is meatballs!

3. Smoked Sea Salt
I learned about this new gem from Mama Pea and I'm pretty sure my blood pressure goes up just thinking about this salt.  It ads a whole new dimension to salt and I have substituted it for salt in almost everything I've made, but not baked goods...not sure how that would turn out.

And I know this isn't 4 things Thursday but I literally picked this up last night at Trader Joe's and had a lengthy conversation with my checker about the deliciousness of coconut milk ice cream and how Trader Joe's is so awesome!  Our conversation convinced the person in line behind me to go get some for herself.

Coconut milk ice cream - about half the cost of Coconut Bliss sold in fancy supermarkets, BUY SOME NOW!

In relay news, sadly Tiffany will no longer be running with us but I think we found ourselves a worthy replacement...Zoe at Run, Zoe, Run! I've been following her blog for a while now, so I'm excited to meet her in person and run hopefully our first of two relays together (crossing fingers...Hood to Coast announces their team next week!!)

Question: What is your favorite TJ's product?  If you don't live near one do you  need me to mail you any of the above :)?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kick Mt. Si Relay Butt Week 2

I was going to put AS$ in my blog title but I thought even with the $ sign that still wouldn't be appropriate. Plus, I'm really not a swearer :).

Since I decided to publish my running schedule for the world to see last week, I actually completed all the runs (sort of...) and it is all thanks to the power of the internet and staying accountable.

Week 1 of my really long 2 week training plan recap:

Wednesday: Ended up doing 3 miles with Sonia around the park, super leisurely pace just chatting the whole time.  Cooked an amazing pasta dinner after that I actually couldn't wait to eat the leftovers of!
Thursday: Did some weight at the gym followed by a quick and dirty treadmill speed session that went a little like this:
  1. Warmup for 5 minutes at 6.0 mph
  2. 30 second sprints ranging from 8.0 to 8.4 mph
  3. 30 second rest on side of treadmill
  4. Did 15 sprints
  5. Cool down walk for 5 minutes
  6. 20 minute sweatfest!
Friday: REST which included wine tasting happy hour on a friends porch and seeing Titanic 3D in IMAX, which was AWESOME!
Saturday: Thought about doing 8-9 miles but the weather was too beautiful to not include my running buddy pup and she is old so 6 is her limit so I used that as an excuse to just bust out 6 miles.  I can talk myself into anything!
Sunday: 4 mile hike to Rattlesnake Ledge.  Highly recommend as a moderately easy hike up to a gorgeous viewpoint.
There was no peace and quiet at the top of this mountain, it was littered with people!

Stacey enjoying a dip at the end of the hike.
Lar's two week plan to kick relay as$ - week 2 (April 13-22)
Monday: Strength plus 3 miler on the tready mill
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Strength plus treadmill sprints
Thursday: Strength plus non treadmill cardio
Friday: Run with friend (don't know how long)
Saturday: REST
Sunday: RELAY day with my new BFFs!

I still haven't had time to even look at my runs for this relay but I know I'm running less than 10 miles total and it is on flat trails.  I've never really run on trails except hard packed gravel on the Burke Gilman trail...I need to remember to keep my eyes to the ground to watch out for tree roots and large rocks.

Question: Any trail runners out there?  Any tips for me?  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Motivation...where for art thou?

Hello motivation? Where did you go?  I'm not usually one who doesn't look forward to hitting the gym or going for a run after work but last week and this week are proving that wrong.  I managed to fit in two runs while I was at my parents for Easter but both runs felt forced and not much fun.  I did fit in some fun hiking with the fam though, so I guess that counts for some fun exercising :).
Me and the brother
Me and the father. I can't believe Stacey is actually sitting here, now if I could just get her to look at the camera.
BUT...I need to find some motivation and fast.  You see, I'm part of my first blogger team for the 2012 Mt. Si Relay on April 22.  There is no way I can let my new BFF's down because these ladies rock and I want them to think I'm super cool.

  • Ricole Runs - The organizer behind our team "Bloggers Do It Online". I'm not sure what the (sometimes) in her blog header means, this girl runs all the time!
  • Lindsay On The Go - This girl has no shortage of motivation...running while managing blood sugar is no joke!
  • Mom vs. Marathon - Busy mom to a super cutie who just keeps running faster and faster with each race.
  • Musings of a Runner Girl - I already know this girl is going to be fun when she responded "I have three sparkle skirts" as we were deciding on a team uniform.
I don't want to scare these ladies too much by listing off everything I know about them, so I'll save that for the race recap when I can share their deepest darkest secrets ;).

Since I know I can't run on my sub 2 hour half fumes for much longer here is my plan to stay in running shape for this relay so I don't embarrass myself.  

Lar's two week plan to kick relay as$ - week 1 (April 9-15)
Wednesday - 3-5 miles with Sonia
Thursday - Strength plus treadmill sprints
Saturday - 9 mile long run

If I happen to find my motivation during this week I might sneak in another run somewhere.

Question: Do ever give yourself a week off from exercising without feeling guilty?  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday: NUUN Time!

No that is not a typo, I don't mean noon time, I mean NUUN time!  This is my application to hopefully be one of the 36 female bloggers lucky enough to win a spot on the Nuun Hood to Coast relay team.  I have to admit there have been some amazing applications and videos already submitted so I'm not sure my little ol Three Things Thursday will live up to the punch but I'm going to give it a try because I can't think of anything more fun than running the biggest relay on EARTH with other amazing blog ladies!

So, NUUN...these are the three reasons TOP reasons you should pick me / why I really want to be on the NUUN team!

1. I am an experienced relayer! <---I just made up that word, it should be in the dictionary now

I have completed the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 3 years in a row and after every year I scream "that was the best time ever!"  I've been able to maintain a cheerful, positive attitude through 24+ hours of no sleep, smelly vans, and 80+ degree heat.  I was nicknamed "mom" by my fellow van mates one year since I did most of the driving and took care of everyone's needs before my own.  If you want some fun reading material you can read my recaps (part 1, part 2, part 3)
No, we were not drinking beer in a elementary school parking lot at 8AM...nope!
Team purple all the way!
I'm even a famous relayer - picture in the Bellingham Herald!
Clearly you can see all the fun we weren't having ;)
I will be very well trained for Hood to Coast since I plan on running two relays before the big August day!  Mt. Si relay at the end of April with some other lady bloggers and Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage for the 4th year (side note: Nuun should really think about sponsoring a team for that relay sometime...wink wink).

I don't think I made it clear - "I LOVE RELAYS!!"

2. NUUN makes me run fast: <----that is a scientific fact!
I pretty much owe my recent sub 2-hour half marathon all to Nuun, okay, and maybe a little training on my part.  I hydrated with Nuun the days before the Mercer Island Half and then to my surprise Nuun actually supplied us with drinks along the course...BONUS!!  Can you imagine the speeds I could reach with Nuun fueling me through the whole relay, plus I'm sure just traveling in Nuuned out vans helps as well :).
Best desk accessory!
This photo powered by NUUN!
3. I want to take my stalking love for my fellow bloggers to a whole new level:
Ladies + Blogs = too much entertainment for me to handle.  My Google Reader is a little bit embarrassing, but I can't help but stalk my favorite blogs every single day...that is normal right?  Getting the chance to meet some of these awesome ladies in person and spend 24+ hours in a van with a few of them would probably be "the best time ever!" <----sure to surpass my other best times ever!
Just a small sampling of the ladies I love including Run Zoe Run whose Nuun video had me rolling on the floor laughing!
Blogger trading cards - I can't believe these aren't priceless yet!
AND Nuun!
So Nuun, there you have it!  I promise to be a super enthusiastic (but not annoyingly so), motivational team mate who will also push Nuun product during the relay like hydrating runners is my only goal in life!

Feel free to visit Nuun's facebook page and tell them how Marathon Lar should definitely be part of the H2C team!

Question: Who else is applying for this amazing opportunity?  Want to be vanmates if we get in? :)