Half Fanatics, Training

Half Fanatic #259!

Look what came in the mail today… my new Half Fanatics shirt!

For the last month or so, I’ve been hearing/reading about the Half Fanatics from a bunch of different sources. Initially I wasn’t that interested, but then I realized that I already met the criteria to join with my eight halves in 2009. What finally pushed me to become a member though was actually the shirt. I want to wear short sleeves for RnR AZ, but don’t really like any of the short sleeve shirts that I currently have. (Well, I have a couple I like from races, but I don’t like wearing race shirts to other races.) So I figured why not join and wear the Half Fanatics shirt for RnR AZ.

It’s so much fun getting “real” mail (as opposed to junk mail and bills). At first I wondered what was in the package because I had forgotten the shirt was on its way. Normally I don’t buy clothes online because it’s so hard to know whether the fit will be right. Luckily the shirt fits pretty well. I went with a small and my only gripe is that the shoulders are a bit narrow. But a medium probably would have been too long for me.

I promptly took the shirt out for a run and did three miles tonight in just under 32 minutes. I don’t have the exact time because my Garmin is already packed. I leave for Baltimore tomorrow and don’t return until next Wednesday. The next couple weeks are going to be busy!

The main purpose of the trip to Baltimore is to look for a place to live. But while I’m there, I’m thinking about doing a 5 mile race held by the Baltimore Road Runners Club on Saturday. I also found a running group near where I’m planning to live that does group runs on Monday nights so I might check that out too. Then when I get back, RnR AZ will be just a few days away!


Self reflections

My day started off bright and early this morning. I drove down to Road Runner Sports in Tempe for a mock race for Rock ‘n’ Roll AZ. It was a free event and they had GU and Cytomax (the same products that’ll be available on race day) set up at three locations along the eight mile course around Tempe Town Lake. I’ve tried a few sips of Cytomax before, but usually I stick to water during races. Today I did just Cytomax and while it’s good to know that it doesn’t disagree with me, there wasn’t really any noticeable benefit either. I think we had the cool citrus flavor, which I did find refreshing. I’ll probably continue to just stick with my GU gels and chomps, accompanied with water, for the race.

Since I was speed walking, there weren’t many other participants around and I think I took a wrong turn at the end getting back to the store. Based on my Garmin, I walked 8.57 miles in 1:56:44… a 13:37 pace. This is the last long distance walk I’m going to do before RnR AZ. I’m still hoping to finish the race in under 3 hours as my goal, but I’m not sure I can keep up the pace for another five miles. I’ll just do my best and see what happens.

When I got home, I had some fun trying out the camera on my laptop to take a quick pic of my outfit.

At the 5k a couple days ago, I was too warm in a long-sleeved shirt. But today the “race” started early at 7:30am and I was glad to have my new Champion jacket that I picked up at Target for only $17.48. My running wardrobe used to be almost all from Road Runner Sports, but now I’ve got a lot more Champion stuff in the mix.

I was just browsing the Target weekly ad and if you’ve ever thought about trying a Champion sports bra, now’s the time to go pick one up. From now until January 9, they’re on sale for $12. I’m definitely going to go grab a couple more colors.

After lunch I took my mom out to the airport. It was an hour drive each way and on the way home I decided to stop and treat myself with some bubble tea (aka boba tea). I love bubble tea but there’s no place to get it close to my house, which is probably a good thing. Here I am enjoying what’s left of my taro milk tea. If you’re not familiar with bubble tea, those are tapioca pearls at the bottom of the cup.

Then I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, cleaning up the spare closet in preparation for moving, and starting to pack for my upcoming trip to Baltimore. Overall I think I had a very productive day. Now if only I didn’t have to go to work again in the morning…

Training, Travel


I haven’t mentioned it yet on the blog, but it’s official… I’m moving to Baltimore in February. I’m sad to be leaving Phoenix because I really love it here, but I’m starting to get excited about checking out a new city and I’m ready to embrace the change. Anyway, with my time in Arizona starting to come to an end, my mom and I decided to take advantage of my four-day holiday from work and drive up to the Grand Canyon.

The post title comes from a Ranger Program that we went to about the geology of the Grand Canyon. DUDE is an acronym for how the Grand Canyon was formed… Deposition, Uplifiting, Downcutting, and Erosion. Another fun fact from the talk was that if you take the entire life of the earth and stuff it into a year, with the earth being “born” on January 1, humans have only been around for the last 10 seconds of December 31.

The Grand Canyon was cold, but beautiful. We lucked out with the gorgeous, sunny weather. This was my first visit so I have nothing to compare it to, but I think the snow really enhanced the view. Plus, it was just fun to see snow again. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

In training news, I did a 2 mile run at the track a few days ago at 10:33 pace, and a 9 mile speed walk yesterday at 13:28 pace. For the walk I set my Garmin to alert me when I was slower than a 14:00 pace. At times it was annoying because it would beep even though I didn’t think my pace had changed at all. But overall it helped push me to keep moving quickly. I’m going to do one more long walk next weekend, then I’m headed up to Baltimore for a week which fits in nicely with tapering before RnR AZ.

I’ll be back to post again tonight or tomorrow to announce the winner of the giveaway.


A variety of workouts

Even though I haven’t been posting about it, I have been working out lately. On Sunday I took my bike out to Reach 11. Some maintenance was recently done on the trails making them cleaner and smoother, so I was able to do some exploring rather than following my usual out and back route. On Monday I didn’t feel like going out so I played Wii Fit for an hour instead. I really love the step aerobics in Wii Fit. It’s both fun and a good workout. If they made a game just based around the step aerobics, I’d totally buy it.

Yesterday we had a potluck lunch at work and I definitely overindulged with dessert. I had a piece of vanilla cake with strawberry filling, a slice of coconut pie, AND a slice of pumpkin pie. Luckily there was a free 5k fun run at Road Runner Sports last night to help me burn off the calories. I was the only walker, but everyone there was very supportive and I managed to come in not too far behind the last person who was running with her dog. According to my Garmin, I had an average 13:10 pace and the distance was just under 3 miles. The pace was very comfortable and I felt like I could have kept going for at least another mile. I’m getting really good at this whole speed-walking thing!


Fall is here

Okay, so those of you who live up north are going to think I’m crazy… I walked out of work at 6pm, it was 84°, and I was cold. I guess fall is here in Phoenix.

I haven’t been feeling like running lately. I tried to run Tuesday, but only made it one mile before I had to stop for a bathroom break. My legs hurt and I just couldn’t muster up the will to go back out and keep running.

Tuesday, September 29 – 1 mile run (Adidas)

Tonight I headed out with the goal of completing four miles, which I did at an 11:17 pace. It took the first couple miles to get comfortable, but I felt good the last couple miles. That might actually be a bad sign. When I’ve had good runs prior to my last few races I end up not doing as well as I want during the race. I’ve been comparing it to the dress rehearsal of a play. Don’t “they” say that a bad dress rehearsal means the performance will go well?

Thursday, October 1 – 4.05 mile run (Saucony)

So this Sunday is the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. I’m going to take it fairly easy again since I’m not really that well prepared for the race. I think the longest run I’ve done since Disneyland was the Fall Five Miler. Oh, wait. Actually there was the I-Did-A-Green-Run 10k. Anyway, my plan for the race is to follow a run/walk pattern right from the beginning and hope that it carries me through the 13.1 miles without feeling too horribly at the end.

Originally I only signed up for San Jose to qualify for the rock star medal. But after doing some research, I’m getting excited about the sightseeing aspect of the trip. There are some great restaurants in downtown San Jose within walking distance of my hotel. I have a list of seven possible places depending on what type of cusine I’m in the mood for. The Tech Museum of Innovation is just down the street and only costs $10 which includes admission to an IMAX film. I even thought about going to the ballet, but ruled that out because the performance starts at 8pm and I don’t want to be up too late the night before the race.

I’ve been wishing lately that I had a netbook so I could work on the blog while I’m traveling. I don’t know if it’s the most practical choice, but I’m really drawn to this Disney-branded netbook.


Running in the dark

Friday, September 18 – 4.11 mile run, 11:06 average pace

I headed out to a local park not too far from my house for a change of scenery. It’s been quite a few months since I’ve been there and in the past there were always park lights on after dark. Well, I arrived just at dusk and figured maybe the lights were just taking a little bit to kick on. But no, the lights never turned on that night. Luckily there was enough ambient light that I could still see where I was going. It was a little scary running by myself in the dark, but I had pepper spray with me and the park is right next to a Costco so there’s a decent amount of traffic that goes by.

Part of the reason I picked the park is because it seemed like a good place to do some less structured intervals. One loop around the park is about .59 miles so I did intervals of about .44 miles at a faster pace and then .15 miles of recovery. The lap feature on my Garmin was acting a bit funky so I won’t post all my times on the intervals. But my best interval was .44 miles at a 9:34 pace. I wasn’t trying to run all out, just a little faster than usual, so that’s a pretty good time for me. Of course, I did plan my course strategically so I ran the downhill portion and saved the uphill for my recovery.

Sunday, September 20 – 3 mile run, 11:29 average pace (Saucony)

  • Mile 1 – 12:05
  • Mile 2 – 11:34
  • Mile 3 – 10:48

My tummy was feeling upset so the last mile I was basically just in a rush to get back to my car and head home.

Monday, September 21 – 1 mile warm-up, 2x800s, 2x400s, 1 mile cool-down (Saucony)

Back to the track for a more structured speedwork section. My training plan called for 400s, but I decided to switch it up and try a couple 800s instead. The 800s weren’t as bad as I remember them being. But I guess that probably means I wasn’t working hard enough.

  • 1st 800 – 4:33
  • 2nd 800 – 4:42
  • 1st 400 – 2:06
  • 2nd 400 – 2:07

I’m happy that we’re getting cooler weather here in Phoenix, but it sucks that the sun is also setting sooner. I was surprised I didn’t get kicked off the track on Monday since I basically did my last cool-down mile in the dark. If the park doesn’t start turning on the lights, I’m going to be stuck running laps around the neighborhood for the next few months.

There have been a lot of great running blog giveaways lately. Here are a couple that are still open for entry:


Garmin alerts and an attempted tempo run

For Mica – I have the Garmin 205. I don’t know if it’s the same on the 405 or not, but this is how I do it. Go to Training, then Training Options, then Alerts. Select Pace Alert. Turn the Slow Pace Alert to Custom, then set your goal pace. One thing that seemed counterintuitive to me at first was the words “Alert Below” because it made me think, okay if I’m running at a 10:30 pace, then will I get an alert when I go below that to 10:25 pace? Which doesn’t make any sense because 10:25 is faster than 10:30. Maybe instead of “Alert Below” it should say “Alert Slower Than”.

Personally I wouldn’t use the pace alert at a race. Even if it didn’t end up driving me crazy, it might drive the people around me crazy. I know from experience how even the littlest things can be so annoying during a race. But then Tall Mom, you’re so speedy that there probably wouldn’t be anyone around you on the course to hear. Good luck in the 5k this weekend!

I started my workout a little later than usual yesterday, so I decided to just head straight to the gym and stick to cross training for the night.

Wednesday, September 16 – 30 minutes elliptical, 40 minutes strength training

Thursday, September 17 – 3.15 mile run (Asics)

Tonight I made my first attempt at a tempo run. From what I understand, a tempo run means that the middle portion of the run is supposed to be at a faster pace than the beginning and end. I don’t know if I really did it right though because my times are kind of all over the place. I did something new today and ran tiny laps around the block. Each lap is .35 miles so 9 laps = about 3 miles. My neighbors probably thought I was crazy, but I enjoyed the laps because it broke the run down into easy to manage chunks.

Here are my times:

  • Lap 1 – 4:09 (12:01 pace)
  • Lap 2 – 4:06 (11:45 pace)
  • Lap 3 – 4:17 (12:21 pace)
  • Lap 4 – 3:37 (10:21 pace)
  • Lap 5 – 3:44 (10:41 pace)
  • Lap 6 – 3:39 (10: 24 pace)
  • Lap 7 – 3:55 (11:05 pace)
  • Lap 8 – 3:52 (11:04 pace)
  • Lap 9 – 3:42 (10:29 pace)

Usually I walk for about 5-10 minutes as a warm up before my run. But tonight got me to thinking that maybe I need to try doing a short bit of jogging/running during my warm up. I felt like I could have done 3 more laps at the end around a 10:40-11:00 pace. Then, if I looked at laps 4-12 instead of 1-9, I would have a much better average pace for the 5k.

There probably won’t be any blog posts from me over the weekend because my sister is coming to town for a visit. Troy also happens to be out of town for a quasi family reunion, so it’ll be a fun girls weekend for us of shopping, sightseeing, and some good eats.


Recent workouts

I suck at coming up with good post titles. I have the same problem with email subjects. 😦

Monday, September 14 – 3 mile run (Asics)
Monday night was the start of my new resolve to push myself harder. I’ve been too complacent with focusing on distance. Instead of just getting in the miles, I want to have more quality runs.

I didn’t want to start off too ambitious so I set the pace alert on my Garmin to beep when I was slower than a 10:30 pace. Well, my watch beeped… a lot! I didn’t meet the goal, but it was still helpful because the beeping encouraged me to pick up my pace. I finished the three miles at roughly 10:40 pace. The last mile was tough because my calves were really hurting. I’ve been making an effort to spend more time stretching, but so far it’s hit or miss on whether it’s actually making a difference.

Tuesday, September 15 – 1 mile warm-up, 6x400s, 1 mile cool-down (Saucony)
I prefer to do my speedwork at the track, but that means I really have to plan ahead to get there with enough time to finish my workout before dark. I cut it pretty close yesterday. Instead of doing my normal 400m recovery between intervals, I just did 200m instead. The funny thing is that it still takes me longer to walk 200m than run 400m.

Here are my times for the 400s:

  • 2:09
  • 2:05
  • 2:06
  • 2:07
  • 2:08
  • 2:04

Normally I start out too fast on the first interval, so I’m happy to see such consistent numbers. If only I could run that fast for more than 400m at a time. After the last 400 I headed into the gym for one more mile on the treadmill at 5mph.

I probably could have stayed out a little longer but I wanted to avoid the security guard who comes by to lock up the track. I’m sure he’s just trying to be friendly, but I don’t really feel like standing around making small talk when I’ve just finished a workout. Plus I find it a little creepy that he’s invited me to go hiking with him on more than one occasion. While I do want to check out some of the local hiking trails, I have no interest in doing so with a stranger. How do I say “leave me alone” without appearing outright rude?


Last minute thoughts on tomorrow’s 10k

When I put together my training plan leading up to the Expedition Everest Challenge, I’m not sure why I had today down as a cross-training day when I have a race in the morning. I decided to do my bike ride last night after work instead.

Friday, September 11 – 13.19 mile bike ride in 1:05:15

I went out to Reach 11, spent a little time on the trails, then rode back home. I thought about taking the loop that we’ll probably be doing tomorrow at the race, but it was starting to get dark out so to be safe I stuck to my usual course that’s flat and wide. While I’m happy for the cooler weather now that summer’s ending, it sucks that it’s getting dark earlier.

So tomorrow is the I-Did-A-Green-Run 10k organized by the Arizona Road Racers. It’s been a few months since my last local race. Today I decided to follow the routine that I used last year when I participated in the ARR summer series.

  1. Rest the day before the race… check. I played about 5 hours of Super Paper Mario on the Wii.
  2. Eat a pineapple shrimp salad from Bajio Mexican Grill for dinner… check. I’m not really superstitious, but after eating one of these salads the night before my first race and doing better than I expected, I decided to make it my “thing” for all my races the rest of the summer. It doesn’t hurt that these salads are delicious. I get it with sweet rice, lettuce, corn salsa, tomato salsa, mango salsa, cilantro, shrimp and pineapple, and a crisp flour tortilla that I shred on top. All the flavors combine together perfectly.
  3. Try to eat dinner 12 hours before race start time… um… I read this somewhere on the Internet last year and figured it’s sensible advice. The race starts at 7:15am tomorrow, and I probably finished the salad around 7:30pm tonight. But then I snacked on part of a gingerbread Mickey for dessert… Oh well, it’s not like I’m going for a PR tomorrow anyway.

Last year at the I-Did-A-Run (the green theme was added for this year), I somehow managed to run the 10k in 57:10 and that’s still my 10k PR. Sadly, I know I can’t go that fast anymore. I’m thinking of shooting for around a 10:00 overall which would put my time at just over an hour. I’m also thinking about semi-racing the first 5k. With all my half marathons, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to really push hard at short distances. Going into the Expedition Everest Challenge, I’d like the mental boost of knowing that I can handle the pain of a “fast” 5k for 30 minutes. I’m hoping that the cool early morning weather will help, but I’m not counting on it since it didn’t seem to make a difference at RnR Chicago.

Well, it’s getting late so I better be getting to bed. Even though I don’t have to get up super early since the race is only about 10 minutes away from my house, I want to make sure I arrive on time rather than at the last second which seems to be the trend lately. I still have to pick up my race bib and timing chip in the morning, but also I’m meeting up with RunningLaur before the start. Yay! I’ve been following her blog for awhile and we’ve unknowingly done a couple of the same races so it’ll be neat to finally meet in person.

Disney, Random, Training

Stupid bugs

Mmmm, I’m snacking on a yummy piece of gingerbread Mickey while I write this post. I love bringing home snacks from Disney to make the magic last longer.

Gingerbread Mickeys from Disneyland

I took an ice bath last night and my legs feel much better today. I even made it out for a short run tonight after work.

Wednesday, September 9 – 2 mile run, 20 minutes stationary bike, about 30 minutes strength training (Adidas)

This is the biggest of the blisters that appeared on my legs last week. I was going to see a doctor yesterday, but then it accidentally popped on its own. The rest of the blisters dried up and seem to healing. I still don’t know what happened. I was reading on WebMD and learned there are actually lots of things that can cause blisters… sun, spider bites, allergic reactions…

My icky blister

Unfortunately now I’ve got a new round of what I think are bug bites on my legs. I told Troy that tomorrow he’s got to spray around the house because I’m tired of being itchy all the time. Hopefully none of these turn into blisters, but if they do I’ll definitely go to the doctor’s this time.