Thursday, June 22, 2017

San Juan Island weekend

Well, I did it.  I went camping and ran a half marathon.  I'm so glad it's over.  I've had a very busy few months and I'm ready to take some time off to do things I enjoy (like laying in the sun when it's hot.) ; )  This weekend is supposed to be very warm (for western WA) so I'm excited about that.  I should get out the kiddie pool and patch it for Maddox for this weekend (ummm, and maybe for me too).  =)  Damian is going to eastern Washington for his "senior trip" with a friend.  He's going to the Lake house that we go to in August.

So I have a lot of pictures from our trip this last weekend, but instead of posting all 134 of them, I'll just post the collages I did for Instagram.  ; )  And, yes, I will talk about my half marathon, but it might make this post kinda long.

The trip to San Juan Island
At the last minute we found out that Damian's girlfriend was able to go.  We were all super surprised because her stepdad is very, very strict and won't even let her hang out at our house (she's 19, and I don't understand it).  But for some reason she was able to go.

 When we got to the campground it was pouring rain.  Everything was so wet.  It sucks to camp in the rain, but it's even worse when you have to set up in the rain.  There's no way to keep anything dry.  The rain in western WA is not "good" rain, it is not big drops and then it's over, it's a drizzle, it soaks everything, and never ends.  I often compare it to walking through a cloud, because it really is wet (not fog, but a rain cloud). 
 The weather forecast before we left said that Friday was supposed to be scattered rain, and Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be nicer, sunnier days.  Well, Friday was beautiful.  Sunny, warm.  My face got a little red from it.  I expected the rest of the weekend to be just as nice because, after all, Friday was supposed to be the worst day.  Well, Saturday came and it was cloudy and cold.  I was so bummed. 

We went to a state partk and went for a hike and then into Friday Harbor to walk around a little, and then went to go pick up my race packet for the half marathon on Sunday.  At the time I thought it was a good day to be in town and out and about because of the clouds.

And then I woke up on Sunday to rain.  =/  I was so unhappy.  But I figured it would stop raining and the day would be okay.  After all, before we left the weather said Sunday was supposed to be nice. . .  Yeah, that didn't happen at all.  It drizzled all freaking day.  And stupid me, believed the weather report and didn't bring a long sleeve shirt for my race or a jacket, just a light running shirt and a tank top.  =/  Thankfully I did bring my hat, I would have been very unhappy without the hat, I hate rain in my face.  I ended up wearing a cotton long sleeve shirt for the first 3 miles and then gave it to my family at one of the spots they were stopped at.

 So how did I do on my very hilly half marathon?  I did great.  I was so pleased with how I did.  I ran the entire race, all uphills were conquered!  And I finished in 2:09:26, which is only about 20 seconds slower than the half I did in January.  I was also the second female in the 40-44 age range.  Sadly they only gave prizes to the first place people, but I was really pleased with that.  The first place female in 40-44 finished at 1:53:something, so there was no way I was going to beat her.  That is faster than my PR on a flat course. 

While I was running, in the last half, a couple of guys passed me, and then we came to an uphill and they started walking, so I passed them.  They got to the top of the hill and started running again and pass me.  And then on the uphill I passed them again.  They ended up getting much farther ahead of me, and I didn't catch up to them again, but I thought it wasn't fair that they walked so much and was still faster than me. 

So to explain the picture above, the top left picture is the start of the race, it was small, only 64 people total in the half marathon (only 13 total in the full marathon).  The middle right one was my long run treat, a San Juan Island Ice Tea from the Crabhouse.  I love these.  I don't know what they put in them, but I love them. And in the bottom middle and right is me laying on the bathroom floor with my feet up.  I've mentioned it before, but I have found that putting my feet up after a hard run really, really helps.  I looked all over at the finish line for somewhere, but it was all wet grass and very few trees.  So I decided that when I took a shower I was going to lay down and do it.  I figured I was going to shower anyway, so laying on a nasty bathroom floor would be okay.  I did put my jacket down under my head, because . . . well, ewwww.

 Sunday was also Maddox's birthday.  We had been counting down for awhile because he's been excited for it for months.  So when he woke up on Sunday his eyes popped open and he said "it's my birthday!!"  He continued that all day.  Everyone we came into contact with he would say "it's my birthday!"  He was one excited boy.  =) 
 We've been going to San Juan Island since 2009.  Not every year, but regularly.  This year the log that is in the day use area was so deteriorated that it was almost unrecognizable.  (The log is in the upper middle and left pictures.)
We went home on Monday, which ironically, looked like it was going to be a very nice day.  We went back to the Crabhouse and got another San Juan Island Ice Tea while we waited for the ferry.  Everyone fell asleep on the ferry except Maddox and me.

When we got home I had scheduled a massage for 4:45 (We got to our house about 4:20, so I went straight there while everyone else unpacked.  I have to say, I planned that pretty well.  ; )  However, I didn't get a chance to shower or anything before getting the massage.  I apologized, but she was nice about it.  It probably helped that I had showered the day before after the race.  =)

I don't know if I'll go back to this lady.  She doesn't seem to listen to where I want to be massaged.  I told her my legs were really sore, especially my quads.  (Seriously, I hadn't been that sore in years.)  She spent 10 min on my back and 45 min on my hamstrings and saved 5 min for both quads.  I was pretty unhappy, and left still sore.

I want to do some comparison pictures with Damian, but that may wait for another day. . .

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Here we go!

So I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I've been very busy the last few months.  Every weekend has brought something new.  It started in April, my dad came for a weekend, then I went over to eastern Washington for Bloomsday, then my Mom was here for a weekend, then I went back to eastern WA for the Insane Inflatable.  The next weekend was Memorial Day weekend, which I spent at home, but worked on cleaning up my yard, lots and lots of work in my yard for the next two weekends, and last weekend was Damian's graduation and party.  But it doesn't stop there, today I am leaving to go camping on San Juan Island and doing the half marathon I've been running hills for on Sunday. 

This trip also includes Maddox's birthday (Sunday) and Father's Day (also Sunday).  Whoever made my schedule for this spring (me) was CRAZY! Oh, and next weekend is Chris's birthday . . . thankfully we are not doing anything big for it even though he's turning 40.  Honestly, I think at this point he just wants a quiet weekend at home with nothing to do.  That's what I would want after the last almost 3 months.

So what has my running been like the last couple weeks?  Almost non-existent.  June 4th I ran 11 hilly miles, my average pace was 11.03 min/mile, which I'm actually okay with.  As I've mentioned many times, this race's hills are steeper than any of the hills I've run, but they are pretty close to the same elevation climb . . . sorta, so I may be okay, slow, but okay.

After my 11 mile run I ran 4 miles on the treadmill on June 7th, 5 miles outside on the 8th, and nothing again until this last Sunday, the 11th.  I had planned on doing 12 miles, but after my crazy weekend I ended up with 8.7 miles.  I planned 12, then changed it to 6, and then while I was running I was headed home and felt good, so thought I'd add a part of a route that I don't really do anymore (all flat) and thought I'd get another 2-3 miles.  I was okay with 8, and then when I got home and saw that I was so close to 9 I thought about trying to add that 0.3 that was left, but decided to just go home.  I did run my long hill 2 times, that was the plan with the 6 miles, but after that it was all downhill or flat.
I don't feel that I trained for this half marathon well.  I didn't go the distances I wanted to go, and I didn't get the hills I would have liked to have gotten . . . however, it is what it is.  I have no runs planned until this Sunday. 

I was going to run on Tuesday but ended up getting home late and had to go birthday shopping for Maddox.  Then I thought I would run yesterday, but as soon as I got home I started looking for and organizing camping stuff and got stuck with that and packing until almost 9pm.  Today I'm working for part of the day and then I'm going home and loading the car and leaving. I'm not going to go running while we're over there, at least not until the race.  I just don't want to put that pressure on me too.

So I'm as trained as I'm going to be.  And I have to be okay with that.  When I ran my first half marathon in 2013, I ran 11 miles at the end of March, March 28th, then got sick and didn't run more than 8 miles for all of May (May 12th).  Then June 2nd I ran 11 miles and did the half marathon on June 15th.  So I think I'll be okay with the distance, it's just the hills that scare me.  A friend of mine told me that he thought I could be ready for a 10k, but at the same time be not ready for a 5k that was hilly, so I guess we'll see if my hill runs were affective.

Okay, Cathy, stop obsessing about it.

Yesterday I was packing, and I got a little panicky about if I had everything.  I was the same way for my full marathon in 2015.  But it's so nerve racking to be going out of town for a race instead of being at home.  I believe I'm all packed, but who knows if I've missed something. I'm probably over packed . . . I tend to do that.  Plus, in this area there's no weather guarantee, so I have to pack for both rainy and cool and warm weather, just in case. . . speaking of, I didn't pack my jacket, but I think that would be too much.  It's supposed to stay in the 60's and that's too warm for a jacket.

Anyway, have I mentioned I started getting massages?  I found out that my insurance will pay for 20 a year, and I don't need a referral.  So I called and scheduled one, and then scheduled another.  She has been really focusing on my back, where I carry all my stress.  But I think once I start gearing up with miles for marathon training, I'm going to ask her to focus on my legs. 

The week of June 26th is the start of marathon training.  I'm already half marathon ready, so starting with my first long run of 10 miles will be easy.  =)  I'm going to continue with hill runs, but probably only once a week, so we'll see what that does to my pace.  It would be cool to get under 4 hours for the marathon, but I don't know if that will happen, and to Boston Qualify I'd have to get down to 3 hours and 45 min. I don't know if I can do that.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I have a high school graduate!

My son graduated high school on Friday.  It was a crazy busy weekend, and I'd rather just say it with pictures.
Kindergarten and his last day of high school





He graduated in a class of 365, the entire town where I went to school was 500 people . . . 14 people in my graduating class.




 He ended up with an extra ticket and chose to invite my sister.

My favorite picture of the whole weekend.







 His girlfriend didn't graduate, very long story I didn't understand, but she came to our house afterward to give him a hug.

Saturday was his party . . .

My very first friend from when I very first moved to western
Washington showed up.  He has known Damian since he was
about 4 years old.  (My sister jumped in the picture because he
was complaining he was in one alone.)

All my work friends
Honestly, I had more friends show up than my son did.  They were all "busy" but he said he had a really good day, so that's all that matters.  =)





After a very long 2 days.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Long distance runner

After posting yesterday, I spent awhile on my blog reading about my marathon training from 2 years ago.  I think I romanticize the training in my head.  I definitely don't like the constant short runs, but I forget how difficult some of my long runs were. . .  how about the 13 mile run I did where I just wanted to stop running at mile 11 and actually sat down during my run. 

Or the time I broke into a church to use the bathroom and then spent the rest of the day sitting on the toilet at home?

How about the 24 miles that ended up being 22.5 miles instead?  And that one was the last long run I did before my marathon, not exactly confidence boosting.

What I guess I'm getting at is that running is hard.  Some days I have good runs, and some days they are hard.  I keep pushing myself to run.  I am very hard on myself when I'm not successful at whatever distance I set for myself, weekly or daily distance. 

Last Friday I ran 5 miles on my normal route, not my hill route, and when I got home Chris asked me how it was.  Truth is, I didn't remember, and maybe that's the best type of run.  The type of run that you forget you're running.  That doesn't happen very often, and it tends to happen more when I'm training for a long distance race and then do a shorter distance on familiar routes.  I remember the audiobook way more than the actual run.

And I think that is what I strive for when I go running.  I want that zoned out feeling, it's a nice break from what is normally in my head.  I also think that is why I don't care for the short distances so much.  3 miles is not enough time to get to that place, so even though it happens rarely, that is what I'm always looking for. 

I've had some pretty big personal problems at home the last week and a few days.  I've talked to a friend and my sister about it, and both those people told me that I am a strong person.  My first reaction when I was told that was denial.  I am not a strong person.  I have never felt that I had good self-control or was capable of doing hard things on my own.  But then I stopped and I thought about it.

I am a strong person.  I have become a strong person.  Part of that started when I was a single parent.  You have to be strong to be a single parent.  But I think the majority of my "strongness" comes from being a long distance runner.  There is something inside you that changes when you start running past your comfort zone, not just once, but many times. 

In reading back through my blog about my marathon training, I found these quotes

"Run on cruise control. Do a mental check during the early miles and midway through the race. 'You should feel relatively comfortable up until mile 18,' he says. 'You should be able to get to that point comfortably, then you have to go to work and see how tough you are. At that point, it’s all about what you have left.'  Found here. 
 
"Every marathon has moments when the effort starts to feel uncomfortable. Backing off from physical discomfort for self-preservation is a natural human tendency, but one of the characteristics that makes runners unique is their penchant for seeking out discomfort. Hitting a rough patch in the race is when you learn about yourself and what you’re willing to do to meet your goal.  Found here"

Ironically I shared those quotes on the same post that I talked about the "failed" 24 mile run.  You know what, I didn't run 24 miles that day, but I did run 26.2 miles a few weeks later.  I didn't give up on my overall goal, I continued. 

Hitting a rough patch in your life is the same as hitting one in your race, or run, that is when you learn you're made of.  That is when you grow.
 
 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Comparison

Yesterday I ran 11 miles on hills.  I know that my route hasn't been perfect, or even great to train on, but it is what I came up with in trying to find hills close enough with a couple long hills thrown in.  I've been wanting to try to somehow superimpose my current running route elevation on top of the one on the San Juan Half website, but I haven't really played with it until today, 2 weeks before the San Juan Half (SJH), and pretty much at the end of my training. 

I didn't really figure out how to make the picture transparent so I could see the other route behind the one in front, but I did figure out that if I moved one, while it was still in the moving phase, it was transparent, so holding it steady and then taking a picture of my computer screen was a little tricky, but I got it to work, very poor quality, but you can kinda see. =)


So to interpret the squiggly lines, the red one is my elevation from my route yesterday, the colored in blue is the elevation profile for the SJH, and the other blue one that goes through the middle is my pace (which you can ignore, I couldn't get rid of it).  The above picture I lined up the feet, so sea level is even.

This one I lined up the starting elevation, to see the elevation profiles against each other a little better.

So as you can see from the top picture, the long hills at the end of the route I'm doing, sorta match up with the same elevation gain overall as the SJH, however, the big elephant in the room is that huge climb at mile 3.  At mile 3.2(ish) the SJH climbs about 120 ft in the air for only a quarter of a mile (that is really, really steep).

I am actually surprised to see that my long hill, is matching up pretty closely to the long hill I've been afraid of in the SJH. 
This is moving the picture so that the hills line up, and the hill I've been running, is actually higher than the hill in the SJH.  This makes me wonder if I will actually be able to do this SJH without killing myself.

Don't get me wrong, I'm going to be slow.  My 11 mile run yesterday took me 2 hrs 3 min and 6 sec.  My fastest half, a completely flat half almost 3 years ago, was 1 hour 59 min and 47 sec.  My slowest, and most recent half was this past January and that was 2 hours 9 min and 4 sec.  That means that my 11 mile run was only 6 min slower than my slowest half marathon.  =\  Oh well, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to finish it at least.  =)  I'm planning on enjoying the scenery while I feel like I'm dying. 

This week is going to be CRAZY!  Damian's graduating high school on Friday.  My parents are coming into town on Thursday, Chris' dad and brother are coming Friday evening, and his party is on Saturday.  The very next day we have to clean up and get ready to go camping on the following Thursday.  Oh and don't forget birthday shopping for Maddox, who's birthday is the same day as the SJH. . . and don't forget Father's Day.  Ugh!!  Have I mentioned how crazy this all is? 

Mary Fran, you commented on my last post, so I wanted to respond . . . I've been writing this blog since 2012, and I'm pretty sure I started following you sometime in that same year.  I don't know who followed who first, but I feel it was pretty close to the same time . . . so 5 years, and yes, he is very much not old enough to be graduating high school!!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Very busy

My trip to eastern Washington last week really put a cramp in my running.  I only ran 14 miles, two 5 mile runs and a 4 mile run.  I didn't even run many hills, just hills on my 4 mile run.  I also have not been going to the gym.  The last two months I haven't gotten reimbursed for my gym membership because I didn't go often enough (I have to go 12 times a month).  I've been doing more checking in and leaving, than actually checking in and working out.  I had been averaging working out (20 min on the elliptical or stairmaster) once a week, but even that tapered off totally this week.  I have debated about canceling my membership completely but in the fall my sister and I talked about going back to spin class and a membership is cheaper than a weekly drop in fee, even without the reimbursement. 

This week my running miles will suffer as well.  I did do a 9 mile run on Sunday, which was hilly, and then 4 miles on Tuesday, but yesterday I walked with my sister and today I'm getting a massage.  Which means tomorrow and Saturday are the only two days left to run. 

Have I mentioned that my son is graduating a week from tomorrow?  I don't know how that is possible.  Seriously, he was just my little boy.  How is it that he is so big now?

2009 San Juan
2013 San Juan
Sunday on a hike
 This last weekend (Memorial Day weekend) was gorgeous outside.  We had 80 degree weather and I loved every minute of it.  I spent a lot of time outside working on our backyard.  Damian's graduation party is going to be in our backyard and I have been trying to get it cleaned up and looking nice.  I think, other than just general pick up from Maddox playing, it is as good as it's going to get. 

I even made a firepit, which looks amazing! And finally finished the planter area around my mailbox.  I had other plans for my backyard, a bench, some lights, maybe a swing made out of my old papasan chair, but I don't think any of those things will happen, unfortunately.

This weekend will be working inside to clean the house.  My parents are coming next Thursday for the weekend, and Chris's family from eastern WA are coming on Friday.  I also need to get an 11 mile run done this weekend and 12 next for the San Juan Half (otherwise known as Death Half {my new name for it}) which is the 18th, the weekend after Damian graduates.  I did not plan very well. . .

Also on the 18th is Maddox's birthday and Father's day, and we will be camping.  So that will be a very interesting weekend. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Insane Inflatable and an eastern WA run

So much happened this weekend, this may be a long post with a lot of pictures. =)

This last weekend was the Insane Inflatable 5k, we did it 2 years ago and had a blast so we wanted to do it again this year.  We decided to wear tutus this year, 2 years ago we saw a lot of costumes and thought it would be fun to dress up.  My sister, Nancy, and I found rainbow tutus and suspenders that we wore for Bloomsday 2 weeks ago.  My Dad gave us all shirts for Christmas that said Pence Family Farms (my maiden name) so we decided to wear those and my other sister, Barbara, found all sorts of other rainbow stuff, eyelashes and some body stickers.  I bought Maddox a cape, although he was pretty disappointed to not have a tutu, and my nephew had a hat, but I don't think I have any pictures of the hat, it was pretty cool. 

We got to the place and had to wait around for awhile, which I knew we would, but we took some pictures while we stood around. 
 Then it was time to "line up" for the start. 
I love the picture on the left, and the one on the bottom right
is funny because I was trying to take the one on the left while
my sister was trying to do the same.  =)
And then we went.  My mom fell coming off the first obstacle and I think it scared her for the rest.  I think she only did 3 or 4.  She did do the last one, which was really hard for her, lots of climbing, but she had to do it to get to the place where you got a medal and a tshirt.
 In order to get a "5k" out of it, they had a lot of empty space in the back of the race where we just walked, and walked.  Some switch back type areas, like a line at Disneyland.  Two years ago, my sister Nancy and I walked all of that, but this year we had Maddox and he was tired and hot, so we skipped most of it.  I forgot to turn on my Garmin to measure how far we walked, but I'm thinking it was a mile, maybe a mile and a half. 

My sister, Barbara, and my mom totally skipped that part.  I think my Mom was kinda disappointed she skipped it.  She's been training for a couple months to walk 5k and then she sat for half of it.  She also said she was pretty disappointed she couldn't do the obstacles, but really, she has no balance and is almost 70.  =)  My dad and my brother-in-law were there for moral support, they just moved from shady place to shady place. 
 
The top of the last obstacle.  It was a long wait for everyone
to get here.  =)
Afterwards we went to a park to have lunch.  That was nice, but I think almost everyone was tired and ready to take off the costumes.  Well, I guess most of us took the tutu's off, but we kept the eyelashes and stickers on for awhile.  I loved the eyelashes, they made me laugh everytime I looked at my sisters or my mom.  Maddox had them on when we left the house, but he pulled them off 5 min into the drive to town.  
I was definitely the selfie queen.  Barbara took a few, and Nancy took one, with her husband, but mostly I took them of myself.  ; )

When we got back to my parent's house everyone laid down.  I really thought I should go for a run since I'm supposed to be training for the half marathon in 4 weeks but I was kinda worried about the temperature at 3pm.  It was 75, which I've definitely ran in before, but usually it's building up to higher temperatures, not a jump from an average of 55 to 75.  By the time I decided to go run, everyone was laying down except for Maddox, so I had no one to watch him.  Instead I went outside for awhile to enjoy the sun and watch him.  Not very long after that I heard some banging in the kitchen, so I went inside and found my dad working on cleaning his cast iron pot (that he had cooked bbq chicken in for our picnic). 

I asked him if he was okay if I went for a run and he watched Maddox.  He said that would be okay, he'd go outside and watch him play.  He said if I needed him for anything to call, and he'd come get me.

My parents live in the middle of nowhere.  Growing up, the closest neighbor we had was my Grandma, who lived 2 miles down a gravel road.  I decided that I would run down to my Grandma's house (who is no longer alive) and back.  I've always hated running at my parents' house because the roads are hilly and no matter which way you go, you always have to go uphill to get back.  And when we were younger, 2 miles to my Grandma's house seemed so far.  I remember riding the riding lawn mower to her house to get it there to mow her lawn, and it sucked!

Until this weekend, anytime I went for a run at my parents house I would drive to a paved road a couple miles away that was flat.  Did I mention all roads to my parents' house are gravel?  Running on gravel, on hills, sucks!  Anyway, this time, since I'm training on hills, I ran to my Grandma's house.  And it wasn't awful.  In fact, I think it was better than my hills at home. 
home hills

eastern WA hills
However, 15 years ago, or more, my cousin put a double wide on the way to my Grandma's about a half mile from my parents' house.  He doesn't keep up the yard, it's covered in weeds and broken toys (his youngest is 17) and he always has half wild dogs.  Well, I ran past it, and one dog got up and kinda looked at me and went back to the shade of the house, and suddenly another dog comes running towards me barking, not really a scary bark, but still a little concerning.  I kept running and the dog followed me a little, and then went into the field and followed me in the field for awhile.  It made me uneasy, so when I got a little farther down the road I stopped and called my Dad.

And no one answered.  I called his cell phone twice, no answer.  So I called their house phone, my Mom answered and amid static, she said "this phone is awful" and hung up on me.  Now I'm thinking, I'm not in any danger, but what if I was?  What if that dog had attacked me and I was able to get my phone and call them?  I'd be dead.  So I called my brother-in-law, who answered right away.  I told him I was trying to get ahold of my dad, but he wouldn't answer, he said he'd go look for him and have him call me.  Well, my sister called me back and I told her about the dogs and said I was uneasy running by them again.  She said she'd meet me at the mile marker in her car on my way back and to call her when I was close.

Well, that meant that I would be a mile short of 4 miles, so I decided I needed to add some distance.  Several years ago they blocked off the entrance to the freeway that my Grandma had and they made another road that connected her house to another highway.  I decided to run down that road for half a mile and then on to my Grandma's house. 

 
Looking at my Grandma's house from the
top of the hill.
Looking at my parents' house from the same hill,
you can just barely see it just below the horizon.
Looking down at the freeway at the same hill.
As I got to my cousin's place again, I saw my Dad's car.  I stopped to talk to him and was really close to 4.5 miles, so I told him I wanted to go a little farther.  He said he'd follow me.  Well, when I got to 4.5 miles I saw the half mile marker to my parents' house.  I asked my Dad about the dogs and he said when he drove by to get me they weren't outside.  I noticed my cousin's truck was home, so I figured I could run by his house, plus, with my dad following me, I should be okay.  So I kept running.  =) 


My dad waiting for me.  =)
It turned out to be a really nice run.  I was happy I did it.  I won't be so scared to run on those roads in the future . . . I will continue to me uneasy about my cousin's dogs though.

I'm hoping that this video works, it's 360 degrees at the top of the same hill I was at above. 
We came home on Sunday and the weather was so, so, so nice.  I skipped my long run. =(  I was home just before 3, I think, and could have gone, but it was warm, and sunny, and nice, and instead I laid in my backyard to work on my neglected tan.