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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One year later

I'm unsure how I should handle training for the half marathon in June.  Yes, I know distance, but it is also a very hilly course, so I've been running a lot of hills.  I have been thinking that I should run hills every time I go for a run.  My hope has been that it would make my legs tired and then when I have my long run, I still run hills, on tired legs, which would help with the lack of steepness and length of hills in my area.  See, even as I write that out it sounds reasonable. 

However, I know that injuries occur when you overtrain.  And I know that easy runs are important too.  Not just for recovery, but also for (my) mental health.  With the crappy weather that has been this spring in western Washington, I haven't felt like running as much.  And, unfortunately, the weather is not getting much better.  There are glimpses of the sun, we've had one or two sunny days a week for the last few weeks, but mostly it's clouds and wind and rain.  So, having to run hills and deal with the crappy weather, absolutely makes me not want to run.  I've been thinking maybe I should throw in an easy run once a week, maybe my 3 mile run that I usually do once a week. But maybe I should do another easy run as well, a 4 mile easy run. . .

Last week I ran 18 miles, with the walk of 7.45 miles, so a total of over 25 miles.  I did 2 easy 3 mile runs, and 3 hilly 4 mile runs.  Right now my planned runs are 4 miles on Tuesday, 3 miles on Wednesday, 4 miles on Friday, 4-5 miles on Saturday and a long run on Sunday (this last Sunday was 7 hilly miles).  I could potentially do hilly runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, that would make my legs tired on Sunday for my long run (the crappy goal I have) but then give me a couple easier runs early in the week to help recover. 

And now, after writing that down, I like that idea.  Actually, I like that idea better than the first.  So that's my plan, 4 easy miles on Tuesday, 3 easy miles on Wednesday and the rest crappy, hilly runs. 

Last week my runs were definitely hilly.  I was thinking about all the hills in my area that I can run, but they are spaced out, and I don't feel like the half marathon is gonna be that way, according to the elevation profile I've seen, they look right on top of each other.  I shared a screenshot I had taken from my phone, but here is a shot taken off the computer, which is actually a better one since it's not all scrunched up.
Anyway, I was trying to figure out how I can get the hills closer at home so I can simulate back to back hills better.  Then I remembered that the one hill I run up every single time I run (even easy runs) has a lot of streets that go down it at the top of the hill and connects to a trail at the bottom of the hill.  I could run up, then down a street, then along the trail to the next street and go back up and repeat.  Which is what I did 3 times last week, and then for the first 4 miles of my long run on Sunday. 
4 miles
The nature of this type of run is that the route is never exactly the same every time, mostly because I can't remember which streets I go down and up on.  I preferred the route I did on Saturday compared to the other times I ran up and down the streets, but I doubt I'll ever recreate it.  The long runs are harder to simulate the constant up and down.  There are a couple really long, steepish hills, and actually 2 are close together, but they aren't the same compared to the half marathon.  I think that one of the long ones in the half marathon climbs around 250 feet for over a mile, the longest hill I did on Sunday climbed 125 feet for about 3/4ths of a mile. 

7 miles
You can see where I walked 2 times on the last big hills.
There is a longer hill on that route, I actually did half of it on Sunday.  It's the hill right before the last long hill.  That one goes up for at least a mile, and I'm not sure how high it climbs.  I'm pretty sure it is higher than that last hill because its top is on the same street as the top of the last hill, and the road goes down to get to the top of the last one (I think).  I guess next week I'll have to incorporate that entire hill, although the bottom of that hill is very steep at first and is very hard to run up.  Ugh.  I'm going to hate this half marathon.

I guess I will stick to my plan and hope for the best.  Honestly, San Juan Island is a pretty place, so even if I'm walking, I'll have some decent scenery.  =)

Today marks one year since I sprained my ankle.  It's amazing to me how one event kinda defined a year of my life. 

2 days later
one week later
the scrape from falling that I still have a scar from

Sadly I still have twinges here and there in my ankle, but they aren't bad and hasn't been anything that I've been worried about or have avoided running or normal activity from. 

I also gained 10 lbs from this incident.  Well, I gained 10 lbs from eating too much and not exercising at all.  Those 10 lbs are pesky and some are sticking around.  I am between 5 and 7 lbs heavier than I was a year ago, which really pisses me off.  And every time I think I've started losing it, a few days later I'm up a little again. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bloomsday 2017

Almost 2 weeks since my last post.  I was doing so well in keeping up with everything on here, and then I got lazy.  I guess I shouldn't say "almost 2 weeks," today is exactly 2 weeks.  ; )

Let's see, I left you with the Tulip Festival and my Dad in town, oh and Prom.  The first week of May was pretty uneventful.  I did increase my running the last week of April, running 22 miles, with a 6 mile walk with my sister.  But the first week (I guess that's last week) I didn't get the opportunity.  I learned from a friend that ran the San Juan Half marathon last year that it's very hilly.  So I looked up the elevation profile and saw this. . .
That is downright scary to me.  So the last Saturday of April I decided to start running hills, lots and lots of hills.  But, I have none in my area that are that scary.  AND I only did one run with multiple hard hills in it, which isn't going to be enough.  Plus, a friend of mine kindly reminded me that there are only 6 weeks till that half, and I am no where near ready for it.  I'm getting kind of nervous. 

I can currently run 6 miles, with a few hills in it, easily, but 13.1 with major, scary hills is a whole other ballgame.  I'm going to die. 

So I did a 5 mile run with 3 big hills in it (I had to walk half of 2) and then ran a "normal" 5 mile run the next day, still has one big hill, the rest is either flat or slight uphill and some slight downhill. 

After that I was doing my normal runs and then I went to eastern Washington for Bloomsday.  This is the 4th year I've done Bloomsday, the first year I walked with my sister, then I ran, then skipped a year, then ran again.  This year I walked again with my sister. 

Honestly, nothing really exciting happened on our trip.  We left early Saturday morning and went straight to my aunt's house . . . well, straight to Spokane, where we went to the Expo, and then to the mall to look for summer dresses, then to my aunt's house.  Poor Maddox, I woke him up on Saturday morning at the same time usually gets up for school.  He ate breakfast and then I put him in the car and we drove an hour to my sister's house.  Then back in her car for 5 hours.  He was soooo tired of sitting.  Even before we got to my sister's house he was saying "it's taking a long time!"  He was such a good kid at the Expo and then at the mall.  He just wanted to play. 

My sister likes to be early to things, which is not a bad thing, but sometimes what she thinks is early, is really, really early.  The race starts at 9am.  They have color "corrals" that everyone goes into based on how much time you'll take.  Because I ran the last 2 times I did it, I was put in the Yellow color corral, which is just behind the elites.  My sister was put in the Blue one, which is smack dab in the middle of the slow runners and fast walkers.  You can move backwards in the colors, but not forward.  I could move to Blue (which I did) but my sister couldn't move to yellow.  Anyway, knowing the elites and wheelchairs start at 9, and we were towards the front of the back, or the back of the middle, I knew we wouldn't cross the line until much later.  But the email we got said that the Blue group started between 9:15 and 9:45, so my sister really needed to be there much earlier. 
I didn't mention we wore tutu's.  =)
She wanted to leave my aunt's house at 8:30, for a 10 min drive.  However, I talked her into leaving at 8:45, and we still stood there for 45 min or so before we started.  In fact, as we crossed the start line we could see the finish line and the elites were crossing the line, at 9:50 (I looked at my watch).
Anyway, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.  7.45 miles is a really long time to walk.  We had to stop at a portapotty pretty close to the start of the race.  Actually, it was the same one I did last year, but thankfully I didn't have to go as badly as last year, because walking there took longer than running there (obviously) and there was a long line.  We probably waited 7 min or so  (I say 7 min because that was the difference in my Garmin and my official finish time). 
bathroom line
And then we walked some more.  =) 
We really liked these boys, we leap frogged them
most of the way, and we marveled that they were
brave enough to wear tutu's.  Damian would never.
At about mile 7 my parents and sister were waiting for us, in what has become their usual spot.  We did stop for a minute and said hi.  And then we walked. 
Yes, that's my mom in the background with
her tongue out.
We finally finished and then we had to walk some more.
The finish line was at least another half mile before where we had to go to pick up our shirts.  And then we had to continue walking to get somewhere a car could go to pick us up.  I had read the week before that putting your feet up within 30 min after a hard or long race is very good at helping your feet's circulation.  In fact, I had done it after my hilly run the Saturday before and it was nice.  So we found a spot on the sidewalk where we could put our feet up for 5 min or so. 
And then we asked someone walking by to take our picture.
It was really nice.  And even though we only did it for 6 min (the article said 5-15 min), it really helped our feet.  Especially since we had to keep walking to get to where my parents were picking us up. 

After the race we went to my aunt's house and changed and packed up and then went to dinner for my dad's 70th birthday. 
And then on to my parent's house for the night.  Leaving from my parent's house cuts off about 2 hours, maybe a little less.  We left my parent's house close to 10am and hit a lot of traffic (road construction stuff) so it took us forever to get home, and I still had to go on home from my sister's house.