Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ragnar Napa Valley

So a friend of mine rang me and asked if I wanted to run Ragnar Napa in November.  I wanted to run a Ragnar Relay since forwever, but this was not the usual 12 person, 2 team relay set up. This was 1 team of 6 people running a total of 194 miles.  Ok, running a relay is not new to me, having run the Golden Gate Relay twice. This relay has us running from Calistoga to Santa Cruz for a total of 193 miles over 2 days.  It's great fun to spend 2 sleepless nights with a bunch of friends!
But running 6 legs (rather than 3), is a bit of a tall order. My friend's original team had bailed on her, so we were the only 2 and needed to find 4 more runners.  I called around, but all my friends were up for running 3 legs, not 6.  To cut a long story short, we are now 8 runners, and have to convince some of our other friends to join us. There are some new runners who have never run a relay before, but I am so excited that they will be on this adventure with us.
I recruited 4 people, and my friend Yanli recruited 4.  Once we have the teams sorted, we can plan the logistics. And I'm calling dibs on driving Van 1.  When I went down to Utah for a race recently, I drove a Ford Explorer, which was awesome!! Guess what the choice of vans is going to be :-)

So Ragnar Napa takes place over 2 days and 1 night.  One person is always running.  And while that person is running, the others in the van will follow that runner, provide aid, drinks, moral support, companion running etc.  and then the next runner will take off, as the van waits at the designated hand over spot. It's fantastic, and I am so excited at having the opportunity to run another relay this year.  Oh yes, it's going to be amazing!

Loss of speed and Race Report

I had great fun at the July 4 5K.  I wore my NASA combo outfit, and felt like a million dollars. The race however, was not without it's minor dramas.  There was only one afternoon for packet pickup which I could'nt make. On race morning, I had to queue for my number - along with those registering for the first time.  It was a total shambles! There were laptops on which people had to register.  When it finally got to my turn, the laptops logged themselves out, as the maximum number of participants had been reached.  I then had to convince the organiser that indeed I had already registered online, and just needed a number.  As all this was going on, I could hear the anthem in the background, and I was furious!  I like singing the anthem...... Anyway, by the time I got my number and rushed off, the race had already started.
So off I ran, and soon caught up with the stragglers.  Anyway, I don't like such fast starts - I had planned a half mile warm up, a few sprints, and then to start strong. Just starting like that knackers me, and of course it caught up with me, as I just could'nt find a rhythm.  Still, I had a decent run, in the heat and humidity, and I am glad I dd that race.  However, I don't think I will be doing it again.  Maybe another July 4 somewhere, but not that one.
After that race, I continued with my on-off training for Oakland's We Run This Town, half marathon.  Yes, it was more off than on training, but my goal was to finish with as little pain as possible.  Usually after a half I am in agony, and need to go to bed for the rest of the day, and everything hurts for a week. Well that day I need to be on point, as I had another event in the afternoon, and I needed to be awake and alive.  My speed really does seem to have evaporated.  But I did finish, and remain, pain-free.
But I realise that I have such a lot of work to do!  My speed is just gone and I don't even have the legs to sprint at the end.  I need to increase my mileage, but I am under strict orders from my podiatrist not to run long distances.  And indeed, a week after this half, my feet are still swollen up.  I am just grateful I can run, so I am not complaining too much, but I have to work out what to do about my pace.  I also think I need to go and see a sports podiatrist. So I guess I'm in a holding pattern.  But that's ok.  It's taking a while to get over this injury, but I'll get there. It's just that patience was never a virtue of mine!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Its the 4th of July!

Last year was a washout as far as July 4th races went. This year I am a little more organised. I still have my star-spangled running capri skirt, which didn't quite get the outing it was promised. Also, it's pretty hot here, so I am not sure I can wear this.  So far the options are the skirt plus t-shirt:


So anyway, it's a 5K, and for once I actually feel a bit more excited about it.  It has been many years since I actually felt like I'd done some work and not just turned up on the day.  It's been a long, long time since I've felt any real enthusiasm for my running. But, I am out of the funk, and I'm curious to see what Monday brings.

Running in the morning

I am not generally a morning person, though I have run regularly in the morning in the past. It seemed a lot easier then.  But it's been a long time since I have been for a daily morning run before work. What changed was that I realised if I wanted to get back into a regular running pattern, I needed to go in the morning as I usually prefer cross training in the evening.

It was a bit rough in the beginning.  I had to get used to getting up early again.  I didn't make the decision and then spring into action the next day.  It took me a few weeks of waking up early.  Once that became easier, I could get up and get out the door. I used to put out my clothes the night before, get dressed, have an espresso and then out the door. It's been interesting! I see a lot of the same people, doggies and runners.  It's busy out there!

This week has been particularly hot, so going out first thing, has been a blessing. OK, we did have one overcast day, but that cleared very quickly, and it was back to baking hot temperatures. I even managed to get a few cross training sessions in.  And then one evening I had crossfit - with a lot of running.  Although it was 6pm, it was still 32*C or rather 89*F. In between all the burpees and other nightmare stuff, there were 4x400m! It was excruciating, and I was ever so slow, but got the job done. I also feel that slowly my fitness is starting to improve.  Now all I need to do is be consistent.  Today is a cross training day, so one possibility is to run to the gym and do some weights. Tomorrow is a long though, and I don't want lead let's see what I can invent today.