30 for 30: Number 8

Hello!  Man…I don’t even know where to begin with this one…

Race 8/30:  Shamrock’n Half Marathon

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This one was a race unlike any I’ve ever experienced, and it’s certainly one I’ll never forget!  Originally my first half marathon of 2016 was scheduled for April, but this one is a local favorite and became a last minute addition to my schedule of 30.  That being said, this was my third year running this race, and the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed it.  The past two years have been hot and just flat out mentally draining races for me.  Apparently third time really is the charm because this year was everything opposite what those first two were!

First, the weather.  El nino is being very generous to my drought-ridden river town, and this past weekend was no exception.  The downpour that started in the middle of the week forced a last minute course change due to an area of the course being flooded out by the river.  No big deal…the part of the course we lost was the part I dread the most, so I can’t say I was sad to see that happen.  It was raining pretty hard when I got to the start, lightened up a little for me to get warmed up, and then came a downpour just in time for the start!  It was a crazy little kickoff, but the rain didn’t end up being so bad.  It mostly was just a light rain the whole way through.  The worst part was the wind.  There was actually a point about 4 miles in that it was so windy I was being forced sideways.  Crazy!!

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This race was my 24th half marathon, but it’s only the second one I’ve ever had to run in rain.  It’s also the first time I’ve ever started a race in a trash bag.  All in all the weather wasn’t nearly as big a factor as I thought it would be.  It was actually a nice change to the usual warm conditions I’ve experienced in the past with this race.

One of the reasons I love this race so much is the fact it starts and finishes at one of my favorite places…the baseball field!  This one actually has an on-field finish, but due to the rain they had to change that part of the course too.  Oh well…there’s always next year! 😉  At least it gave me a nice view to warm-up and (try to) stay dry.

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I was so pleasantly surprised by this race experience, and I’m still rocking the runner’s high two days later.  Since I wasn’t planning on running a half until April I went into this one the most undertrained I’ve ever been for a half marathon.  I wasn’t expecting anything special to happen…I just wanted to enjoy it and put the miles in.  I didn’t come in at any sort of spectacular time or anything, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt this was the strongest race I’ve ever run mentally.  There were so many moments that even months ago would’ve had me trying to talk myself out of running or giving in to a walk break.  This race was so different for me.  There wasn’t one time I doubted myself, and no matter how hard the wind kept blowing or how cold I was from the rain I just kept telling myself, “You’re stronger than this mile.”  It became my mantra for this race, and it’s one I think I’m going to carry on with me for the rest of this journey.  🙂

So next up:  a double race weekend!  Another half marathon on Saturday followed by a fun little 5k mud run on Sunday.  So excited to keep adding on the miles to this crazy ride!

30 for 30: 7 Down, 23 to go!

Two more races have officially been checked off the schedule!  Both races were shorter distances for me, but they were both also two of the strongest races I’ve ran in about 5 months.  I struggled coming back from taking a longer break than usual at the end of last year, but these two races finally having me feeling like I’m back on my A game!  I can’t WAIT to see what the next ones will bring!

6/30:  Valentine Run 4 mile

This is actually one of a very few races I don’t run every year.  I’ve only ran this one once before, 4 years ago while training for my first half marathon.  Back then this race fell perfectly into the start of my half marathon training, so it became the first 4 miler I ever ran.  Before I did this race 4 years ago I’d never run further than a 5k.  That day was exciting for that reason alone.  Going back 4 years later I conquered this course about 12 minutes faster than I did that first time, set a new 4 mile PR, and felt a million times stronger.  I finally felt like the work I’ve been putting in the last month and a half was starting to pay off, and it got me excited for what was coming up eight short days later.  Running motivation at it’s finest!

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7/30:  Davis Stampede 5k

Next up was a race I swore I’d never run again.  Two years ago I ran the half marathon course for this race and ended up walking away with a hip injury that took me out for a month.  It should’ve probably sidelined me a little longer, but, hey, I’m stubborn and was ready to run.  I decided to finally go back and tackle a shorter course for my return.  I had a GREAT race!  I crossed the finish line just about a minute shy of breaking my 5k PR.  That’s the closest I’ve been since I set that PR two years ago.  The more I run longer distances the harder 5ks seem to be for me, so I was super excited to even be close!

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Now that March is upon us my races are moving into half marathons and starting to get a little busier, but I’m excited to see how much further this journey is going to take me!  So far it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but it’s all starting to smooth out and just become fun! 🙂

 

30 for 30: Races 3, 4, & 5

Hello!

So as of yesterday…Super Bowl Sunday (aka the best day of the year) I’m officially 1/6th of the way finished with my 2016 goal!  My other goal to write about previous said goal is slightly less successful.  Ha!

These last few races have been small, local runs, so I haven’t had too much to say about them.  I’ve been struggling a lot with getting back in my running groove this year, and races 3 and 4 were certainly nothing amazing considering they were closer to my slowest 5k times than my fastest ones.  I’m not sweating that though…I realize I took more time off over the holidays than I ever have in the past, so I knew I was setting myself up for a struggle getting back on track.

There isn’t much to say about those two races other than they kept me accountable, made me lace up my running shoes, and were an enjoyable (sometimes painful) part of this lovely journey that is my 29th year!  Of course here’s the obligatory photo for those races:

Race 3/30:  Resolution Run 5k

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One really nice thing about this one is that it was ran on a part of the bike trail and downtown Sacramento area that I train on regularly.  Typically I hit this area of the bike trail about 6 miles away from my front door, so it was enjoyable to see it at shorter mileage for once. 🙂

Race 4/30:  Fresh Start 5k

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This was a new race and a whole new area of Sacramento I’ve never explored on foot before.  It was certainly a nice change of scenery, and it benefited a great cause.  Race entry fees went to support Sober Grad Night for the high school hosting the run, and all of the volunteers running the race were students from the school.  It was a really neat sight to see them all waking up early on a Saturday morning to put on a fundraising event that their parents weren’t doing all the work for them.

And last but not least, a personal favorite of mine…

Race 5/30: Super Sunday 10k

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I’m a daddy’s girl to the bone, so I have a deep passion for sports…especially football and my Packers!  Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year, and I love getting up to pre-burn those Super Bowl party snacks with a 10k every year!  My team may not have been in, but I was still sporting my green and gold proudly!

This race was a great one for me.  I mentioned earlier I’ve been struggling this year getting back into running, but yesterday’s run has me feeling back on track and ready to rock the rest of these races!  I was sick all week before this one, so I had no expectation of how it would go, but my breathing was good, my legs felt great…it just all worked.  It lets me know those tough runs and workouts in the gym are working, and even though I’m not where I was I’m getting there.

Race 7 comes up in 5 short days, and hopefully it’ll be another one in the right direction!

30 for 30: 2 down, 28 to go

Race 1/30:  California International Marathon

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This one definitely didn’t turn out as expected.  I had the pleasure of running this one with my little brother for his very first marathon.  He’s fast, so he spent the whole time we were training together making fun of me being a “slow-poke.”  On race day the tables turned however.  🙂  He started cramping about 15 miles in, so we slowed down and just focused on the finish line.  Some days forgetting about the time and the numbers makes everything so much more enjoyable, and I didn’t mind one bit.  I went in to this race slightly undertrained so didn’t mind taking it slow and just worrying about making it across the finish line.

The first year I ran this race it was a toasty 21 degrees at the start.  Thankfully this year was much warmer, but there was a lot of talk about some serious rain moving into the area that morning.  I’m very happy to report the rain didn’t hang around for long…just enough to get us soaked about 4 miles in.  It didn’t rain the whole time though, so I’m not going to complain one bit about that brief shower!

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We made it to the finish line, changed into some drier clothes, snapped a few pics and hit the massage tent before heading off to a huge lunch full of sushi, beer, and (the best part) our awesome cheer squad!  It may not have gone as planned, but it certainly turned into an awesome day.  Perfect ending to race number 1 and the beginning of an awesome journey!

 

Race 2:  Jingle Bell 5k

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This one was a nice change to all the miles I’ve been logging the last half of 2015.  I took the week off between the CIM and this race to recover, and it felt GREAT to put my running shoes back on.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well I recovered after the CIM this go around…better than I’ve ever recovered from my previous 4 marathons.  That’s a good thing to know heading into a year filled with more miles planned than I’ve ever attempted in years past!

This run was just a fun little Christmas 5k that I ran with my dad while my stepmom joined a few of our running friends we hadn’t seen in a while.  I came pretty close to a new 5k PR, so I’m anxious to get back out there for another one when my legs haven’t just carried me 26.2 miles a week earlier.  We’ll see what 2016 holds for me in the short distance I suppose!  🙂

I did get a pic with Santa before this run started, but I can’t seem to locate it now 😦 I’m pretty sure that was my first pic with Santa in about 20 years! LOL!

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With that the last race of 2015 is in the books. I’m really looking forward to the miles and races to come in 2016!

30 for 30

I may have been slacking on my blogging this year, but I’ve already gotten a head start on 2016 and my goals!  The goal for 2016?  30 races to celebrate my 30th year!

My very first marathon was the California International Marathon back in 2013.  Being my first it will always have my heart and is probably the only marathon I’ll continue doing as long as I can!  A few short months ago I made the discovery that the 2016 CIM would just so happen to fall on my 30th birthday.  I decided right then how I was going to celebrate entering my next decade…with a run (or 30) of course!  It also just happened to work out that the first race I’d be doing after my 29th birthday was the 2015 CIM.  So my 30 for 30 starts and ends at the exact same finish line.

Honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited for anything in my life.  It took me a little while to truly fall in love with running, and I know I’m finally there.  Simply knowing how excited I am to welcome a new year, a new chapter, and a new decade with something so simple as running leaves me without a doubt that I’ll put a check mark next to this goal on December 4, 2016.  I. CAN’T. WAIT!

I’m already 2 runs into my 30, so I’ll be posting a quick post shortly about them!  Stay tuned for the next 28! 🙂

Running, running, running…

It is safe to say I have officially lost my marbles.  This past weekend wrapped up my biggest goal for 2015…two marathons in 28 days.  I love the feeling of finishing a marathon, but I never want to do that again so close together!

First up on the list was a major bucket list race…the San Francisco Marathon.

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I’ve dreamed about running this race since before I ever even started running.  I never thought I’d be able to because SF is pretty intimidating to someone who trains on flat ground with only freeway overpasses as a hill.  I kept thinking I needed to drive down to SF one weekend for a long run and spend some time on the hills I’d eventually end up running, but I never made it happen.  Instead I focused on advice I was given…walk the hills, recover on the downs, and keep the heart rate under control.  It worked out well I’m happy to report!  I made it to the end, and honestly the worst part was in the first half.  Once you make it off the Golden Gate Bridge it’s (mostly) downhill (and flat) from there!

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The Golden Gate Bridge…one of my absolute most favorite things in the entire world.  I’ve walked across it twice, I’ve driven across it countless times, but I had never run across it.  This was by far what I was looking forward to most when it came to this race.  No one gets to run across the road bed of the Golden Gate unless they’re participating in this one, and it was absolutely incredible to stand on the other side and say I’m one of those who did!

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I struggled a little more than I would have at SF if I’d focused more on preparing for the hills, but I went into this race hoping to just enjoy the ride.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can’t WAIT to do it again one of these days!!!

Next on the list for 2015 was the Santa Rosa Marathon.  I’ve never been to Santa Rosa, so I had no idea what to expect.  I was happy to see the course map looked pretty flat coming off of the SF marathon, but I wasn’t sure how well my body had recovered in just 4 weeks.  I didn’t run too much between marathons, so I had no way to gauge my recovery over any distance longer than 5 miles.  I stood at the start line early Sunday morning thinking there was no way I was going to make it back there to the finish line.  Guess what?  I did!  And not only that it turned out to be my second fastest marathon. (WHAAAAAT?!?!?) I was pretty happy to see that happen since my goal was simply the finish line!

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Of the 4 marathons I’ve now completed I’ve only run 2 of those with my dad.  My first and then this one.  Due to the finish line set up at my first marathon (men and women are separated) I didn’t get to cross the finish line beside him, so Sunday was extra special for me because I finally got to step across that finish line side by side.  Actually we raced to the finish, and even though the results don’t show it, I’m pretty sure I beat him by just a hair! 🙂

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This race had some awesome swag!  (Which I’m pretty sure is how I ended up talked into it!) Who doesn’t like a bottle of wine at the end of a marathon?! C’mon now!

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My favorite part of this race was getting to run through all the vineyards in the area as well as running through the barrel room of DeLoach Vineyards.  It was a really neat change of scenery halfway through a marathon!

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My favorite part of the swag though was this ^ bad boy!  This is my favorite medal so far…and I’m pretty sure my biggest! 🙂

I hurt a little more during and after this race, but I had a great time running with my family.  We all ran the SF marathon, but we separated about halfway through to all go our own pace.  We all knew this one could be a little rough 4 weeks after SF, so it was awesome getting to slow down and just enjoy running with my family.  It was the first time all 3 of us have got to cross a marathon finish line together, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be our last! 🙂

Next up on my agenda is a race that is very close to my heart…stay tuned! 🙂

SacTown Run Around!

Hello again!

I just got home from running a 10 mile race (actually Starbucks but that’s not the point) here in good ol’ Sacramento!  My running partner is out of town this weekend, so I decided earlier this week to sign up for the Credit Union SacTown 10 that was going on to make sure I got my 9 miles of training in while she was away.  It worked because I drug my butt out of bed and headed off to the Capitol grounds bright and early this morning!

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos because I decided to run phone-less today and disconnect.  My dad actually played cheerleader/water boy/photographer and biked the course while my stepmom and I ran, so I didn’t actually end up running solo like I thought I was going to.

It was a perfect morning to run.  A little chilly waiting around the start line but it didn’t take long to warm up!  The course changed this year after an incident with a train coming through the middle of the course about a mile in last year, so there was a new 5 mile course and the 10 turned into a double loop of that 5 mile route.  I was actually kind of dreading that double loop, but it really wasn’t so bad especially since it wound through some of my favorite areas to run around Sactown!

I ended up walking away with a 2 minute PR over my fastest 10 miler and over 5 minute PR from this same race last year (that may have been something to do with there not being a train in the way this time!), and I’m slowing inching closer and closer to finally tackling that long standing half marathon PR.  I know it will come eventually, so I’m just going to keep working hard until I finally see it happen!

No more races on the schedule for me for awhile, but as of this week I’m officially back in marathon training to prepare for the San Francisco Marathon in July.  I can’t wait to be able to cross that one off the bucket list! I’m sure you’ll all be hearing from me soon as all those training runs start getting longer and longer!

So until next time…