Sunday, May 24, 2015

No. 19

No. 19 was Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead:
My friend, Brittany, read this first, and I was intrigued by her description.

This was definitely way different than anything else I've read. 

It's written as an ancient manuscript - an Arab who ends up traveling with - and battling with - a band of Vikings. Included are footnotes by the "interpreter", adding insight into the text. But it's all fake! I am amazed at the detail Crichton included in making up a world and then interpreting it from the ancient outsider and then modern perspectives.

:)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Take a walk

In a quest to get off my duff (I sit a lot at work!), I've been making a point to get out on my lunch and shake out my legs.

THS is surrounded by lots of very walkable neighborhoods - and a big park just down the hill - so there's not much excuse to stay inside. There's also a track right outside my door if I don't want to stray far.

I love trees!
Too hot for sleeves:
Last week was also National Bike to Work Week. Had to do it!
SHERM!
I love clouds, too:
Monday, walked to my evening meeting and cooled down in the grass:
I have officially become that person: running shoes with skirts!
:)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Anniversary run and rugby

This past weekend marked 17 years of marriage for Brad and me!!

Saturday was the big day, which we started with a short shakeout run on the Portland waterfront:
We didn't run the Portland Rock 'n' Roll this year, but since we were in town, we checked out the expo to get swag (free Chobani!) and check out the exhibits. I scored some cheap Altra running shoes!
I had to get my picture with PeeDee, the PDX carpet!
Then it was off to Lents Park in southeast Portland for Kayla's final rugby game.

The Grant Generals (blue) took on the Beaverton Barbarians (orange) for the Rugby Oregon state championship. Introducing the teams before the game (Kayla's sixth from the left in the black shorts):
Always lots of smiles from this young lady!
And I have two CE2 students who play for Beaverton (Akanesi on the left and Kennedy second from the right):
We'd never seen rugby before, so aunts Kari and Vicki gave us a crash course. It was INTENSE! Those girls played hard the whole time! And I got to see Kayla, Akanesi and Kennedy make some good plays. Kayla almost took off the shorts of a Beaverton player! ;)
In the end, Grant lost 34-36. SO close. Both teams played their hearts out. Everyone was so gracious at the end:
Kayla will attend Northern Arizona University next year and hopes to keep playing in college. GO KAYLA!

After the big game, Brad and I hit Frack Burger on Barbur for some lunch. Then it was home to rest up and prep for Sunday's half marathon.

A nice, low-key day :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

10th in state

My CE2 supervisor moonlights as the assistant girls golf coach. The state tourney wrapped up yesterday with Tigard FRESHMAN Victoria Gailey taking 10th in state!!
Sue (left) and Julie (right) have worked for months with these girls, and they had a great season.

The 6A State Golf Tournament was held Monday and Tuesday at Trysting Tree in Corvallis. Victoria shot 78 and 74 for a final of 152 and 10th place out of 87 players from around Oregon. (Leaderboard)


She tied for fifth place in birdies (7) and had 18 pars over the two days of competition! Victoria finished only 8 strokes over par!

Congratulations, Victoria! And congrats to Coach Julie and Coach Sue!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iris Festival Half Marathon (5/17/15)

A couple weeks ago, when I realized a nasty bug was taking over my body, I scheduled a "back-up" race. I'd been training for months for the May 9 Hippie Chick Half. I figured I wouldn't be up for a stellar performance (it wasn't!), so I thought I'd plan another race to give myself an additional week to get back on the horse.

WELL... this bug was nastier than I expected, and it wiped me out. I feel back to my old self now, but my endurance is shot to crap. I proved this at Sunday's Keizer Iris Festival Half Marathon!
Brad and I ran this last year and had a great time. The out-and-back course is flat and straight forward through pretty farmland. The price is also great for a half marathon.

I just read back through last year's review, and I breezed through that thing - a stark contrast to how I felt Sunday.

We opted to pick up our bibs Sunday morning because the Web site said: Unclaimed packets can still be picked up on “Day of Race” at the Start/Check-in area.

Not quite.

We had to ask around to find the pickup area, which was in a tent several blocks away. A long line formed while we waited for the very inefficient and unorganized process.
There were just three potties back at the starting area, and the line grew fast there, too. In fact, Brad barely had time to ditch his warmups and slam down his pre-race gel before the run started.

We were able to park just a block away, same as last year, and I took selfies while he waited for a potty :)
We took off about on time, and I felt good for the first couple miles. The weather was just about perfect. After last weekend's Hippie Chick slog fest, I'd decided to go back at the 10K turnaround if the wheels were already coming off. But I felt OK, so I kept going.

The course seemed way hillier than I remembered - and more turns - and longer. There was a slight-but-just-enough-to-mess-with-me headwind on the first half, and I couldn't maintain my speed. Fading fast, I finally decided to walk at about mile 5. I was also feeling a little faint - but that passed.

Shortly after, Brad came back toward me, saying that he was within striking distance for his PR. WOOHOO!

I ran as much as I could from that point on, but my body just wouldn't go. My legs felt fine. My heart and lungs felt OK. I was just tired. It's so incredibly frustrating to put in the work and know I have it in me - and then just to bomb like that. I also noticed that I felt chilled around mile 10 (it was not cold). Brad said that's definitely a sign that my energy reserves were gone.
I did what I could, trying just to hang in there and finish. Overall, I've gotten so much better with my head game, but I really struggled mentally during this race.

OH - the best part? My Achilles tendon started hurting again. You know, the one I injured in February 2014 and spent nearly a year rehabbing. UGH! That just added to the pain - physical and emotional - of the day. I've now restarted all my PT exercises, hoping to get it under control very soon.

Finally reached the home stretch. I managed to pick off one dude, and that made me feel a little better. Brad was waiting at the finish line:
Done.
I finished in 2:16 - far from a PR, but a lot faster than last week's 2:25! I guess that's something.

Brad did awesome! He ran strong and, while he didn't quite PR, he came within about a minute and felt very good about his performance. SO proud of all the hard work he's been doing to prepare for next month's Vancouver USA Marathon!
After I cooled down and had a bit of a pity party, we walked over to the festival tent for our "special Pancake Breakfast". We looked around and couldn't find the food. Then we overheard someone say they'd run out. WHAT?!?

If I'm going to be honest here, I sorta had a meltdown. That was the last straw to a really bad morning, and I was upset. Plus - I was far from the last person to finish. In fact, there were still dozens of MARATHONERS out there. Lots of people missed out on the food we'd paid for and earned.

I later used Facebook to firmly but politely express my disappointment, and here's the response I got (Notice there's no apology) :

"We appreciate your feedback. We attempted to fix this by running and getting additional batter. We did prepare for the number of people who registered. Unfortunately, many family members ate as well. We couldn't account for that number."

I'm so glad someone's family ate my breakfast. (I'm still a little pissed) 

I digress... I was very, very impressed by this race last year. I'm not sure how my performance (or lack there of) is affecting my attitude this time, but I saw many things lacking. At least the price was good.

So now I'm rehabbing my heel and praying it doesn't knock me out for months on end like last time. If it's not feeling better after a couple weeks, I'll definitely be returning to my physical therapist. I guess my takeaway here is to do my maintenance exercises as prescribed instead of just sometimes.

Next up: Vancouver USA Half Marathon on June 21. Hopefully I'll be healthy and strong and ready to run hard :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hippie Chick Half (5/9/15)

For the past four months, I've been training specifically for the flat, all-women Hippie Chick Half Marathon. My goal was to PR - and maybe even hit the 2-hour mark, something I've been eying for quite some time.
I've religiously done my long runs, intervals and tempos. I've felt strong and ready to tackle this race.

Then I got sick.

I haven't been sick with more than a little head cold in a long, long time. And I don't remember the last time anything settled in my chest. But this hit me hard, with just enough fever to make me feel horrible and keep me in bed for much of a week.

I started to feel a little human again, but then we had a CRAZY-BUSY week with very little down time (and lots of cake!!)

SO... Saturday's race came along, and I just had to go for it and see what happened. I really didn't think I would do anything spectacular, but often my best races are the ones where I'm not expecting much. My plan was to go out at race pace and hold it as long as I could.

Ready to go at 6:30 a.m. - with the sun already shining. Not a good thing in my book:
We got parked and pottied, then met up with Gabby and Sondra before heading to the start:
I heard someone say it was already 56 degrees at the start. It's always a bad sign for me when I'm warm before I even start running.

And we're off!
Brad, of course, was there to cheer us on and be our personal photographer!
I felt fairly good at the start. I saw Melanie and her running buddy - actually, I followed them for about the first mile, running right behind them like a stalker. Melanie is amazing, and I thought it would be funny to run the whole thing right behind her - maybe without her noticing :)

I was within my planned pace for the first couple miles. Then came the split. Decision time: Do I turn left and stick with the half or go straight and drop to the quarter? I should have dropped down, but I'm way too stubborn. I turned left, ran a little ways, and just after the 3-mile mark, decided I was done and needed to walk.

Too late to turn back. I gutted it out, taking walk breaks as needed until it was over and I was finally out of my misery.

The temp climbed quickly, and the rural roads offered no shade. Heat and sun zap me on a good day, and since I was pre-pooped from being sick, I really struggled.

At the 6.5-mile mark, I lamented the fact that I would be done if I'd gone straight. I even thought about calling Brad to come get me (I didn't have my phone) or cutting the course to skip the middle couple miles. However, I've never DNF'd and wasn't about to then.

Meantime: Brad caught Eryn finishing up her quarter marathon:
Eryn recently battled foot surgery recovery, pneumonia and a back injury. She's working her way back from scratch and did well on her first longer race in a while.
Mom!
Truckin' to the finish:
FINALLY. I was working WAY too hard:
But I did manage to give Brad a smile and a wave. Such a boost to see him up in the stands.
I didn't have much left in the tank, but I did hit the gas in the last stretch and took out a couple other runners. Then I almost passed out!! (and it was worth it!)

Finally caught my breath enough to pose for a picture with Mom and Eryn:
My stomach was really upset from the running, so Brad ate most of my post-race pancakes. We hung out in the cool Hops dugout for a few minutes:
That was a seriously rough race for me. I'm clearly still recovering from my sickness and not anywhere near the top of my game. It's so disappointing to have worked so hard and done so poorly. But that's all I had that day.

I ended up finishing in 2:25:16 - an 11:00-minute average (Garmin measured 13.19 miles)

My splits are really comical... and sad:
  • Mile 1: 9:22
  • Mile 2: 9:26
  • Mile 3: 9:41
  • Mile 4: 11:24
  • Mile 5: 11:15
  • Mile 6: 10:24
  • Mile 7: 14:11
  • Mile 8: 10:01
  • Mile 9: 12:05
  • Mile 10: 10:48
  • Mile 11: 12:28
  • Mile 12: 10:44
  • Mile 13: 11:46
  • Last .19: 9:00
My tummy was still pretty queasy after I got home and showered. Pizza sounded good, so Eryn and I put on our race shirts and headed to Pieology in Tualatin for some salty refueling.
It really hit the spot!

I've already signed up for next year's half - just $50 this week for 2015 racers. One bad race isn't going to deter me :)