Sunday, December 30, 2012

Race Report: Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon - Vegas!

I already knew this race wasn't going to be a PR, but a girl can hope, can't she? Just a week after Ironman and a busy weekend of working on my feet, what was I thinking running a half-marathon?!

I'm addicted to racing. That's the reason I raced. And my friends pressured me. But I couldn't pass up a chance to dress up as a bride, I mean a runaway bride!

My running costume: white Team Sparkle skirt, white tank with handmade flyaway sleeves, gunmetal Team Sparkle visor, veil pinned into hair, blue garter, white SKINS compression socks, and pink New Balance running shoes. 

Night races are always interesting. I never know what to do or eat before. We drank hot chocolate as we laid in bed all morning. That's what three moms away from their kids do on race morning.

I wanted a sub-1:40 marathon, but realistically that wasn't going to happen. Just a few days after finishing an Ironman, my legs were toast. But my heart still wanted that PR. Sorry heart, this wasn't the day.

The race began just as the sun was setting. It wasn't cold, but WOW it was windy. We ran one mile south on the strip and then U-turned to a nasty headwind. I've never raced with a headwind before. I heard later that the wind gusted up to 50 mph. It was like running on a hamster wheel. So much effort to just run in place. I knew nothing special was happening that day. It was straight into a headwind for about 7 miles. And when we finally turned around to run south on the strip again, the wind was blowing every which way. My veil visor blew off my head several times and one time I chased it backwards down the street. It was just ridiculous! My goal soon turned into sub-1:50. I don't know why, but it just sounded good. And I barely made it by seconds. It was my second slowest half-marathon ever. My legs were so heavy and I could barely wait to get back to our hotel. Luckily, we stayed at Treasure Island which is right where the finish line was. Yeah! Compression tights and dinner. One happy girl, despite a slow race. Still proud.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Getting back into the swing of things

I'm finally getting back to speed training. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love being fast and I love feeling like I pushed hard. BUT I seriously dread those workouts. The treadmill gives me butterflies because that's where the speed work happens.

Doing just one workout a day doesn't seem like enough after Ironman training. So I've been throwing in some 2-a-days recently. Last Wednesday I attended my boot camp class (which was a running day). Afterwards I did my tempo run. Six miles with the two middle miles at a fast pace. 

It's tough to do my tempo runs with a stroller and dog because my "fast" miles tend to be close to my "slow" miles. This day, I was alone and ready to push hard. I actually ended up doing three fast miles: 7:26 (uphill and headwind), 6:55, and 6:54. Yippee! I couldn't have been happier. My half-marathon training is going great!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting Strong

After I had Desmond, one of the first things I did to get back into shape was attending a local boot camp class. I remember trying to plank for the first time. Wow, my core was completely gone. I guess that's what happens when you don't do any ab work for six months.

I attended Hit the Mark Fitness boot camp several times a week. My favorite days were Wednesdays because that was running day. So pretty much my favorite day was the easiest day. Go figure.

I kept going for about six months until my Ironman got close. I didn't need the strength training as much and I didn't want to be too sore to do my top-priority training sessions. But I certainly missed going.

Well, Ironman is over and now it's somewhat of off-season for racing. So I figure this is the best time to work on strength training. I would like to get some PRs in running next year and I want to do it by becoming stronger in my legs.

I'm back at Hit the Mark 2-3 times a week and I'm loving it! I'm attempting to attend on the days where we focus on arms and legs. I want to be stronger so I can get faster. Here's to a faster 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Race Report: Long Beach Marathon

So rewind a few months to August when Carrie and I decided we wanted to run the Long Beach Marathon in just 6 weeks. Yes, you heard me right. We gave ourselves 6 weeks of training. This is not recommended. BUT I will say that I was planning on doing some long training runs to get ready for my Ironman already, so this wasn't entirely out of the blue.

We did 4 longish runs, with the longest one being 18 miles. 18 is far, but it's still 8.2 miles away from a marathon. Still I knew we could do this....this meaning get a PR. Our last marathons were almost three years ago and we have come so far since then. Our goal: sub-4.

Kelly decided to join us last minute. She had been marathon training for four months prior, so this would be "easy" for her. A marathon is never easy.

Of course we had to come up with some killer costumes. I think these are my favorite yet: superheroes! Introducing Super Woman, Bat Girl, and Wonder Woman.

I've done the Long Beach 1/2 marathon before, so I knew what the first 10 miles would be like. We had a blast running together, as we hadn't run a race together since our first marathon 2 years ago. Carrie was so awesome, as she ran on my left side to protect anyone from touching my elbow. Remember my huge bike crash? Yeah, that was two weeks before this race and it was still so sensitive (and still is). What a sweet friend!

The best part of the race was around mile 17 when Skyler, Desmond, and Carrie's family was waiting to cheer for us. I was so excited to see them! 

The course was great and scenic, not boring at all. I felt great almost the entire race, except for the last 3 miles. Suddenly I needed a port-o-potty immediately! Oh joy. Luckily I was fast and my friends waited for me. Just a few miles to go.

Then I made a rookie mistake, I forgot to eat my last gel. So I hit a wall and I was having a hard time finishing. Just one more mile and I was fading fast. Luckily Carrie was there to pull me through. She encouraged me all the way to the finish line.

And BOOM we did it: sub-4 marathon. Just barely. 3:58:39

Desmond and Skyler were there to greet me at the finish line. I was so happy to see them! They are so wonderful, especially Skyler, for supporting me.

Side note: the issue I was having with my stomach was very similar to the issue I had at Disneyland 1/2. I'm wondering if my issue is related to the running shorts I wore under my skirt or if it's the Spibelt I was wearing. Something was off and I can't figure out what it was. To fix, I'm eliminating both items so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What To Do and NOT To Do Before a Race

Skyler and I have done a lot of racing over the past seven years. And we've learned many, many lessons along the way. Yet, we still do dumb things and make mistakes. 

You can't take every race seriously, right? Well, I'm a bit too competitive to race for fun, so I try to minimize my mistakes as they come because they will.

Last month my girlfriends and I traveled to Las Vegas to work our booth at the Rock n Roll marathon expo. Why not race since we'll be there anyway? One of us just came off intense marathon training, one of us just did an Ironman (me), and one of us hasn't done any run training for months (oh, besides a marathon). We're destined for disaster, but who cares. Here's our guide of what to do and not to before a race.

DO take a road trip to Vegas with your best friends. No husbands or kids allowed.

DO eat healthy. The gyros from the Mad Greek Cafe in Baker were delicious!

DO stay in a fancy hotel next to the expo and finish line. No one needs to do any extra walking.

DO NOT: Eat at Max Brenner. No healthy food here. Over-indulgence awaits you, but at least it's three days away from race day.

DO eat the whole menu at Max Brenner. DO NOT do it before a race or without Tums. (P.S. Best mac & cheese ever!)

DO NOT eat lots of desserts...unless you can pretend you aren't running a half-marathon in three days. Hot chocolate was yummy, everything else was just ok. 

DO NOT work at an expo two days before a race. Being on your feet is a big no-no. 

DO dress like a bride as much as possible in Vegas. DO be prepared to get hit on a lot.

DO NOT work two days at an expo before a race. 10 hours on your feet for two days in a row is bad race prep. But if you're going to do it, at least look cute.

DO go shopping. A new bra and make-up can really boost your self-confidence. BUT you aren't supposed to do a lot of walking, so make sure someone pushes you in a wheelchair.

DO NOT eat at I Heart Burgers the night before a race. This is the worst possible pre-race food, but the best-tasting post-expo food. Dilemmas...

DO lay in bed in compression tights and socks for 18 hours straight. That's what happens when you go to bed and don't have to wake up for an early race. I might like this night race plan.

Coming up....the race report.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So now what?

So Ironman was a month ago. What now?

I need direction to keep myself motivated. California doesn't have much of an off-season because of the great weather, so I can continue doing whatever I want. The question is: what do I want to do? 

Do I keep up with my long-distance training? Do I run to the trails and enjoy some leisure running? Do I gear up for the Tinker Bell half-marathon I'm running next month? Or do I wait until January to start my 70.3 training?

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Holiday Gift Guide 2012

My favorite time of year is definitely Christmastime. I have to force myself to wait until Thanksgiving to start listening to Christmas music. (By the way: The Glee Holiday Pandora station is awesome!) I just love the cold air, the Christmas lights, and holiday parties. And of course I love sugar cookies!

My Christmas list is pretty much an average triathlete wish list. Running socks, gels, more running shoes, etc. I'm very fortunate to have everything I could possibly need, but in the triathlete world, there are always more toys to lust after. I've put together a list of some cool gift ideas. It's always fun to wish for new things.

A must-have on this Ironmom's list is unlimited babysitting at 24 Hour Fitness. It's already a killer deal at $4 for 2 hours of babysitting, but they also offer unlimited babysitting for $20/month! Come January when I start training for my 70.3, I'm going to be at the gym almost every day.

I'm a big believer in compression. How else could I have been almost pain-free a day after my Ironman? The only problem with compression is how boring it is. CEP does makes some fluorescent calf sleeves, but still, I want something with color. I ran across these compression sleeves from Lunatik Athletiks and I fell in love. I love stripey socks! Is the quality as great as Skins, who knows? 

I work out A LOT, which means I go through LOTS of sports bras every week. But I have to admit that none of them flatter me like The Handful Bra says it will. A bra that will flatter, not flatten? Yes please. Since I'm done breastfeeding, I could definitely use an extra boost.

My absolute most favorite pair of running shorts is Lululemon Speed Short. I only have one pair (in black) and I actually plan out which day I will wear them. Yes, I love them that much. I wish I had more, but they are $54. A little pricey for me, but well worth it. I'm loving these gray, pink, and black ones and hope I've been good enough for Santa to bring me another pair this year.

You would think I'd be sick of gel-based nutrition after sucking down 20 during my Ironman. Surprisingly, it still remains my favorite way to get calories during training and races. I usually take Vanilla Clif Shots because it's the most plain and tastes kind of like vanilla pudding. But lately I've been using Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot Turbo because of the 2 shots of caffeine. I usually avoid caffeine during a race that I'm pushing hard because it messes with my heart rate, but when I'm on my bike or need an extra boost I go for these. (P.S. I like Clif Shot better than other brands because of the thinner consistency. I suck at drinking liquids while running, so I need all the help I can get.)

I don't race without a Team Sparkle skirt. I used to be too serious of an athlete to wear a skirt during a race, but Team Sparkle has changed me. I love looking cute and dressing up for races. Plus the reflective properties of the sparkle makes them great for night running. I'm running a few Disney races soon so I think I need the Red Polka Dot skirt.

I love running clothing. And anything I can pass off as normal clothes is even better. I was recently introduced to Oiselle and I love all their tees! This is my favorite. I will have to buy it if Santa doesn't bring it.


My friends still aren't sold on the coconut water magic, but I certainly am. I always drink some before a race and if possible, post-race too. Sadly, it's not cheap, so I can't drink it as much as I'd like. O.N.E. is my favorite brand of coconut water and their flavors are so delicious -- Pink Guava being my favorite. If I could have a whole case for Christmas, I would be one happy girl...for a week at least.


Trail Shoes. I'm on the look-out for new trail shoes, but I'm not quite sure what brand. My current ones are 3-year old Mizunos and they feel like bricks. I need something a big lighter and maybe more flashy. Any suggestions?

What are your wish list favorites this year?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Question: Use Pain Relieving Gel During Race?

So I've used pain relieving gel post-race before and it's wonderful. I love the feeling of heat burning through the pain. I had never considered using it during a race until recently. It's weird because I've seen it available at aid stations during a race, but I never put two and two together. So I'm hurting and can put something on my body to numb the pain? Why not?

So now my question is, do I carry it or put in my transition bag for use during a race? I think it might be worth it, especially with my knee and IT band issues.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Natural Running Class: Week #4

The last week of my running class was bittersweet because I was sad for it to be over, but I was excited to learn how to apply what we had learned the past 3 weeks.

This week was about speed. We did some drills to help us determine if we were weaker on one side or the other. One drill was hopping on one leg around a four-square grid, clockwise and counter-clockwise. I determined I'm pretty weak on both sides. Another drill was one-legged running, which was impossible for me to do. I just looked like a huge goof. I tried showing Skyler when I got home...and I still looked like a goof.

Another useful drill was using speed in a 3-stepped drill. You did normal running for 2 steps, then did an extra boost for the third step. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc.

I got my evaluation after class and Sally gave me some exercises I can do at home to help my weak hips and glutes. Side-step with bands, clam, donkey planks, etc. I'm trying to do at least one a day in hopes I can get stronger and faster.

I would definitely recommend this class to any beginner or advanced runner. I learned a lot and hope that the application yields faster race results next season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Race Report: Turkey Trot 10k 2012

Turkey Trots are some of my favorite races. Mostly because they give me an excuse to eat lots of food on Thanksgiving day and not feel too guilty. It's been three years since we've raced one because last year I was 9 months pregnant and the year before we were in St. George (and sadly they don't have a Turkey Trot there).

This year we decided to get my family involved too. After an email filled with lots of peer pressure, I got my brother, sister, and dad to commit to running a 10k with us. I was so excited we were all going to race! My mom volunteered to watch Desmond (thanks Mom!).

So as the day gets closer my focus is only on Ironman. I really didn't even think about the fact that this Turkey Trot was just four days after Ironman. Oh well. I can make it a fun run, right? In reality, I don't think I have any "fun run" genes in my body...too competitive. 

I was super excited for the family to be together for this race. We lined up on the starting line and the race began. I ran side-by-side with Eric, but we kept Holly in our sights. I think Eric really wanted to catch her. Holly is fast so I figured I didn't have a chance.

Eric and I stayed together and I was super impressed at how fast he was running. Holly stayed about 30 seconds ahead of us, near my friend Kelly. Eric and I were feeling great and were actually negative splitting each mile. We ran past Holly at the turn-around and Eric was even more determined to catch her. The last two miles descend onto the Santa Ana River Trail, my local training grounds. Eric and I slowly started to reel Holly and Kelly in. After a few minutes we passed Kelly who was having an asthma attack. About 1/4 mile from the finish line we approached Holly. She was throwing up and pushing really hard. Eric sprinted past her, but I slowed a bit to see if she was ok. She looked at me and said, "I don't think I can finish." This was hilarious to me because the finish line was really just steps away. I said she'd be ok and sprinted ahead (am I a bad sister?). She was right behind me. The Salas siblings finished just seconds apart from each other.

Even though I was excited to have such a great race, I was even more excited for Eric, Holly, and my dad, as this was their first 10k! I was so happy to watch my dad cross the finish line. He has been there so many times to watch me, and this time I got to watch him. I'm the proud one this time! Great job Dad!

Even though we should have been struggling to even walk from our Ironman four days earlier, Skyler and I both PRed at the 10k distance. I can't believe how fast Skyler ran! He's so amazing! 

Skyler 41:21 (6:41 pace) 1st in age group
Elise 46:06 (7:27 pace) 1st in age group