Monday, May 31, 2010

2010 Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon

Date: May 31, 2010
Start: 7:00am
Goal: Sub 1:46
Finish: 1:49:42 (a far cry from my goal time..haha)

Commentary: I woke up this morning at around 5:15am to get ready for this race which is somewhat very close to where I live. I didn't end up leaving my place until 6:20. I got to the race site with 20 mins to go before the gun went off so I stood in line to use the potta johns. Unfortunately the lines were really long since the Half Marathon and 5K participants were all starting at the same time this year. While I was waiting in line, I saw a friend of mine exit one of the potta johns so I decided to skip it and catch up with him. This ended up being a good move since at about mile 1, there was an empty potta potty which I used quick-style and took off.

So the gun went off on time and we were off. I was feeling good aside from my usual shin splints problems. It eventually went away at around mile 3. I was feeling pretty good today and was out for a PR. Unfortunately, those hills showed me who's boss and I ended up clocking in mostly 8:10 min/miles (edit: hahaha...ok so more like 8:20s once I saw my official time). Not good enough to PR. I can honestly say that I gave it my best. However, in comparision to my first running of this course back in '06 (2:07), I think I've improved..haha.

Despite missing my PR, this course is great to run. As my friend pointed out to me, it would be a good training ground for the LA Marathon. Also, I love that the race is small and local. I really didn't have to dodge that many people at the start. The weather was just great this morning and the sun eventually came out towards the last couple of miles of the race. I am not sure why I've waited this long to rerun this race. They are super organized and have one of the best finishline grub, as they are sponsored by Souplantation and the Corner Bakery. One weird thing, they were giving out canned water in a large Monster can...the same company that makes those energy drinks. I don't know how I feel about this. When I was going through the line to get some fluids and food after the race and they handed this canned water to me, I had to ask them 3 times if it was really water. While canned water doesn't seem very "green" to me, I did noticed alot of recycling bins around the expo area.

One regret I do have was not doing the Marathon in May program. My running buddy who I paced at the Cinco de Mayo Half picked up his Marathon in May medal and it was spectacular. I am super jealous. I must have it next year. Guess I will be coming back to face these hills again. They better be ready for me because now I have something to prove...haha.

That's it! I was home, showered and icing my legs by 9:30am. Love those local races. If any volunteers are reading this, THANK YOU for your time and spirit out on that course!

Here we have my pup modeling my race medal for me since I currently look like a mess. Also pictured is the race swag that I picked up yesterday at the Laguna Hills Mall.

Pictured: this is just a funny before-and after picture of my pre-race meal at Souplantation last night. Honestly, I don't normally eat that much, not anything even remotely close to that amount before a race but I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if I did eat a lot. Not a lot happened except I felt really full and uncomfortable. Guess I won't be doing that again. I need to get my eating back on track. Also pictured is a bowl of fruit I had after I got home and the goodies I managed to carry away from the Souplantation and Corner Bakery booth at the expo. I also picked up a bottle of MyoPlex Protein drink but I didn't take a photo of that since I don't plan to drink it but it is sitting in my fridge now.

Pictured: Monster canned water, closeup of the race swag, race t-shirt and close-up of the medal.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Running for Fun, CEP and English Muff

So in preparation for my promise of daily postings starting in about 2 weeks, I thought that I would post again today to get in the swing of things. I know, shocking! It helped that I actually got my butt out this morning to get in a 5-6 mile run. I am unsure of the exact distance because I just went out today to run for fun. I ran a route that I always run but went a bit further so not sure. To be conservative, I would say 5 miles. I am planning to run the same route again tomorrow so maybe I will take the Garmin along to see how far it really was. The run was hilly and lovely. The sky was overcast but not cold so it was a great run. I honestly love living in the OC.

So recently while reading some blogs, I came across SkinnyRunner's review of CEP All-Sports Compression Sleeves. She apparently wears these all the time and that girl can run fast but that's not why I ended up buying these. Although I wish I could run that fast just by wearing these sleeves. I reason I brought these sleeves was because I get some really bad shin splints and thought that these would help. I got them in the mail yesterday. Let me tell you that they have very fast shipping. They are pricy at $40 but the shipping is free. I got the pair in black and took them out for my run this morning. I still felt my shin splints coming on but all-in-all I really like the way these worked out. I felt like they really held my calve muscles together. Even though I haven't tried a whole lot of compression sleeves for legs, these are very good. I like them so much that I am even thinking about getting another pair in white. They are also really cute on. ;)

So after my run this morning, I was hot and did not feel like eating my usual oatmeal so I remembered that I had purchased these sprouted english muffins made by Food for Life from the local heath food store. I must say that for being a runner, I don't eat a lot of bread. I actually haven't had bread at my place for months now. I use to eat those sandwich thins or whole grain tortilla wraps which I would get by the truck load from Costco but eventually, I decided to just stop eating it. I haven't really missed it that much. I think the only time I eat bread now is when I go to restaurants and they bring out the bread basket. With my marathon coming up, I will probably be eating it the week of since bread is my carbo load fuel of choice. For me, bread or potato is far superior to pasta. I actually will eat some pasta 2 days before the big race and then bread the day before. This has worked for me and has taken me 9 marathons to figure out...haha.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catching up

It is really starting to look like I am only posting here once a week...ok it not only looks that way but is indeed a fact. I was actually thinking of posting everyday once I start Chicago Marathon training which will start in about 2 weeks. Not sure how that will fare since that will be the week right after the San Diego RnR Marathon but maybe I will post even if I don't do any running.

I am thinking of doing this for a couple of reasons:
1) I will be training to BQ at Chicago. So my goal will be to run an 8:20 pace or under. I want to record my feelings after my runs to see how long it takes me to go nuts from the training. ;)
2) I am actually going to focus on training this time and not just fool around during training and hope for the best on race day. I do this a lot mainly because running is fun to me and following a tight schedule is not.
3) This is just a random fact but Chicago will be my 9th marathon. I still remember when I use to be afraid of marathons. The thought of running more than 4 miles was just beyond me. I think I've come a long way with a long path ahead of me.

So there it is. I swear that I am a better runner than blogger. Don't judge me by the frequency of my blog postings but rather by the frequency of how often I replace my sneakers. :^)

I am planning a 6 mile run tomorrow and a 5 miler on Friday and then I get to rest until race day Monday. Wish me luck because based on the pattern of my postings, I will probably not post again until next week. Ciao!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Revisiting a past race and 2011

Many years ago..ok ok..maybe it is only 4 years ago, I ran this Laguna Hills Half Marathon, which I think was called Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon. I don't know, maybe I said that in reverse. Oh well. Anyways, this race has always taken place on Memorial Day weekend on the Monday.

Well, recently one of my running buddies convinced me to sign up and since it has been a while since I've gotten a new running medal to hang on my wall, I thought why not.

I remember running this course a few years ago when I was still pretty green with the whole running scene. I went from running 10Ks to my first marathon and then this 1/2 marathon back in '06. Yeah, very weird that I ran a marathon before ever doing a half. Who knows what the heck I was thinking back then. Anyways, so here I am a couple of years later going back to the scene of the crime to run what was my very first half marathon which I completed in 2:07. It'll be interesting to see how I do. I remember there was a section of the race that runs into Laguna Woods and I remember not liking that part very much so we should see how I fare in about 2 weeks.

In other running news, I've officially started my 2011 race schedule registration process this morning when I signed up for Surf City Half 2011. They are running a special for past participate and this is one of those races that I am always certain that I will be running year after year. I really dig those surf board medals and sometimes that is all it takes to get me to sign up. Yes, I AM a sucka! I haven't thought very far out beyond this race but I am considering these: LA Marathon, Ragnar LA or Big Sur, Nike's Women Marathon, and maybe Long Beach Marathon again. It is too far out for me to tell at this point how I will be feeling next year so these are more like wishlist races. I might go revisit some races I haven't ran in a few years or I might do something crazy and do more out of the area or state ones. We shall see.

Also, this morning I decided to finally get my act together and got in 11 miles on the treadmill. I know what you are thinking...'you ran on the treadmill for that many miles?'It was actually quite nice to run inside where I can watch TV, have my water and drinks close by without lugging them on my body, nice dry towel within reach and no clusters of knats hitting my face everyone quarter mile. Yes this is definitely the way to go. I am actually planning on getting in that 20 miler that I missed last weekend inside on the treadmill this Saturday. I really need to get this done. I am such a slacker.

In non-running related news, I've been trying to get more veggies in my life. It started out being really easy but over time it has been a challenge. Mostly I think because I am not the best cook as I've mentioned before so I end up eating a lot of salad. Which is not so bad except not being able to add cheese to my salad really takes the fun out of it...hahaha. I am not sure why I am even talking about this except for that fact that I am starting to feel like a rabbit since I've been trying to eat most of my veggies raw. That in itself is very difficult to do but I am really starting to appreciate the way eating veggies make me feel. It actually makes me feel more energized, happier with a lot less stomach troubles. I am a colitis sufferer in remission and eating a diet full of veggies has really helped me heal, I think both physically and mentally. I say mentally because even during the worse of my colitis episodes, I was still out running races in full force and let me tell you that being nervous about an upcoming race or going out for a long run on the weekend was not always so fun and was mentally draining to always have to worry about it. It's been really nice to not have to worry about my symptoms lately and just be able to enjoy my runs and life in general without worrying where the nearest restroom was or if I will be able to make it back home if I suddenly had an episode out on a run. I'm not saying that eating veggies cured me of this but all the changes that I've made in my diet including eating more veggies these past couple of years has enabled me to enjoy my life more.

RuntoFinish is giving away glass straws. How green!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This is what happens when nothing is going on!

Just noticed I had not post since last Thursday, about a week ago. Man, I am lazy. Not in the literal sense but in the blogging sense.

So this past weekend, I paced one of my running buddies in the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon over at the Spectrum. Well, not the whole distance but for 8 miles of it. He ran by my place so I just joined in. I was worried that they were going to kick me off the course the entire time I was running with him but they never did. I brought along my own hydration so as not to use any of the other runners' resources. It worked out nice and I got to run with my friend and get in some miles at the same time. Win-win!

I have the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon coming up quick style and I need to get in a 20 miler next week. I am a bit worried since I haven't ran that far in a while. I run often but just not that far. I am going to get in a quick 12 miles this coming weekend and see how I feel. I think I can, I think I can!

In other non running related news, I've been trying out lots of stuff from my local health food store. Why? Well basically it is really boring to eat clean most of the time. Especially since I am not a very good cook and do not have a ton of time to spare. I am doing good in terms of eating healthy but sometimes the stuff I eat day-in and day-out just get very boring and I want something else. But it is often hard to work in a new item because I basically eat everything pretty plain. As an example, I eat oatmeal everyday. Oatmeal to me is just oatmeal. It is not topped with granola or brown sugar or stuff that people normally put on it. I basically eat it as is. Maybe with some chia seeds and a tsp of PB. I can eat this for months on end. But every once in a while, I just don't want this anymore so I start playing around with the oat flakes to see what I can do with it aside from the oatmeal. I've made the breakfast cookie, smoothies, egg puff...etc., all the stuff I read about in the blog world but I always come back to the oatmeal. Recently, I was walking down the cereal aisle of the health food store and noticed this muesli called Alpen. Just the name alone conjures up images of skiing and eating a nice muesli by the fireside...hahaha...yeah I really need a vacation. Aside from Kashi Go Lean, I don't eat much cereal these days and it is not because I don't love the stuff. Because truth be told, I use to eat a butt load of it as a kid. The bad but delicious sugary kind to boot. Maybe that's why as an adult I eat what taste like horse feed..hahaha. Back to the muesli, I don't think I've ever had muesli before but I am guessing there are way better ones out there. I have to admit that this one is not tasty. They lied on that box when they said "Same Great Taste". Don't believe it! It is pretty plain. I am thinking of adding some chopped up dates or dried apricots to it to liven things up a bit. For the most part, I eat it as is with some slivered almonds, chia seeds and coconut milk. It fills me up so I am happy. I will experiment with this and write another post about how to make it yummy while maintaining it healthy virtues.

Another breakfast/snack item I picked up at the same health food store are these Apple/Cranberry muffins from Zen Bakery. Not gonna lie, these are not yummy delicious muffins that you are use to. These are full of fiber and taste that way. ;) I normally zapped these in the microwave for a couple of secs and then spread a bit of PB on them and eat them with some fruit. As I typed this, I've already eaten them all since I purchased them last week. I may buy them again.

So I have some pretty good memories about this new product that I also purchased from the health food store. These are Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps in cranberry/hazelnut. I have good memories about these because a few days before I departed to run the Ragnar, I purchased these to snack on in the van. I didn't even know if I would like them but I ended up eating almost the entire box during the Ragnar. So I guess you can say that I was fueled by these crisps. They are really crispy and crunchy. I love them alot and will be buying them again. They come in other flavors but I haven't tried any other one aside from the original Seedy Crisps and they are not as good as these cranberry/hazelnut ones. These are also full of fiber. Believe it or not, I am not even on a fiber kick. I guess alot of items at the health food store has lots of fiber in it.

(I "borrowed" this image from Google)

Another recent discovery is Goddress of Green juice from the juice bar of the health food store. I think I've developed an addiction to this drink. I want one everyday...morning, noon and night. It is just juiced cucumber, celery, spinach, carrot and apple but it is so good.

Finally, Cranberry Granola bars from Two Moms in the Raw. This was another item I purchased for the Ragnar but when I opened the bag the day before the race, I didn't like the way it smelled, so I didn't take along with me. When I got back from the race one day last week, I decided to give it another try and I have to say that this stuff grows on you. I mean that in a good way. So as I am typing this, I have already eaten the first bag and am on my second bag. This stuff is also very fiberous. I mean it is basically a seedy bar..hahaha..that sounds like some place you don't want to be at 1am in the morning. So what I am saying is that I like these but they are pricey because this bag contains only 4 bars but cost $10.49!! But I like them alot and feel that they are worth the price because they are tastey!

There you have it. Now you know why my blog is called "I'd Rather Be Eating"...hahaha. Now if only I spent this much time on my running!

Note: SkinnyRunner is giving away some GUs and I can always use more GUs.