Marathon Mantra

The BMO Vancouver marathon is this weekend and I finally found my mantra.

For those who aren’t sure what a mantra is, it’s a saying or phrase that you repeat over and over and over when you need to get through a rough patch or a challenging part of a run.  For me, it has to be something short and powerful.

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So here’s the thing about mantras.  They work.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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The Dreadmill

I spent the weekend in Reno at my daughter’s volleyball tournament.  Not familiar with the area I opted for a very short run on the “dreadmill”.  Now, I’ve shared my disdain for this piece of equipment for years but since I only needed to do a short run (thanks to the taper phase of marathon training), I figured it was better than nothing.

Luckily they had tv’s attached so I found some funny stuff to keep my mind off of what I was actually doing.  So, I can’t stay up late enough to ever watch SNL, I found some recent skits on YouTube that had me laughing out loud and snorting.  It made my run on the “dreadmill” much more enjoyable.

Check them out!

“Hillary Clinton Social Media”

“Yachts”

“Easter Candy”

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Let the Taper Begin

Ah, the dreaded taper.

Tapering is the two or even three week period before a marathon or endurance event.  Your long runs are over, you’ve built your base, you’ve gotten the training miles under your belt and you are now supposed to cut back on the mileage each week in order to prepare your body for the race.

Tapering, no matter how restful and delightful it sounds are both awesome and sucky at the same time.  Let me explain.

At the tail end of marathon training you are tired.  To prepare for a marathon it takes hundreds of training miles and months of training.  As mileage increases, aches, pains, and injuries can occur.  Training for a marathon also requires discipline to get to bed on time (especially the night before a long run), to plan your social life around your long runs and often means skipping an extra glass of wine or other libation.  The taper allows you to get back to a relatively normal life.  To relax a bit.  To slow down.

The downside of the taper is that as your mileage decreases, your anxiety increases as your confidence in your preparedness and training decreases.  Mystery aches and pains occur when doing simple things like walking from your car to the office or reaching for the remote control.  I’ve often “talked people down” during the taper, providing support and assurance that they will be ok and to trust in the training.

So, yes, it’s taper time.  I’ve done my last long run this past weekend and have started reducing my mileage overall. I’ve gotten the foam roller and nubby stick out to use a few times a day and my hip opener sequence is bookmarked on my computer.  I’m trying to drink more water and eat as cleanly as possible.

I’m traveling so I’ll need to get my bag packed and travel necessities ready to go.  That will occupy my mind next week so that means less time worrying.

Let the taper begin…

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

Ragnar So. Cal Race Recap

ragnar-logo-wonkyThis past weekend I ran my first Ragnar Relay from Huntington Beach to San Diego, officially known as Ragnar So. Cal. I wanted to share my experience but please note that it’s hard to capture it all on paper.  The feeling of camaraderie, teamwork, adrenaline and exhaustion create a unique and wonderful experience.  It’s harder than a straight marathon or any other endurance event simply because it’s non-stop.  You don’t go for 4 or 5 hours and stop.  You go, take a short break, keep going, break again and go again.  You have downtime in the van but it’s not relaxing.

Here’s some race details that will help this make sense.  There are 12 person teams split into sub teams of 6 (known as van 1 and van 2) and they cover almost 200 miles in a 24-36 hour time frame.  After each runner’s leg, they transfer the baton (slap bracelet) to the next runner and then the van zooms down to the next hand off point.  Once all the runners in Van 1 finish their first leg, they transfer to Van 2.  Van 1 gets a few  hours break to sleep or eat and when Van 2 is done with their leg there is another transfer.

Each team decorates and has a theme for their van.  There was Team Awesome, Dude! Where’s My Van?, Moms on the Run, Will Run for Beer, Green Leggs and Hamstrings, etc.  Super creative and fun to see along the road.  Some vans had lights (ours were duct-taped to the roof of our minivan), others had things taped, affixed or painted.  At night it looked like a rave and during the day like a circus.

Each van had the names of their runners  names and 3 boxes next to them.  After each leg, a runner would check off their box.  There was also a spot for “kills”.  This is a fun little game that the Rangarians (yes, that’s what we call ourselves) play along the course.  Every time you pass a runner, it’s called a “kill”.  At the end of your leg, you mark your “kills” on the windows of the van.  My highest “kill” number was 19 on my last leg of the race.  Trust me, this doesn’t go to your head because if I passed 19 people, I was passed by double that number.  A Ragnar or any race for that matter is a very humbling experience!

I flew down to Burbank on Thursday morning and spent the day with some teammates picking up the rental van, hitting the grocery store for water, ice, Gatorade, pretzels, fruit, bagels and cream cheese.  We boiled eggs for the ride and each person had their own supply of fuel for the road.  Gu, Gel blocks, sport beans, etc.

Our team, the Crazy Beaches started at 6am on Friday morning.  Our group in Van 2 (Heidi, Lisa, myself, Terry, Vida and Amy) drove straight to the first transition station where we’d take over from Van 1. At the transition station, we had to check in, get our night gear approved, watch the safety video, decorate our van and collect our goodies such as Ragnar stickers, tattoos, blue foam #1 finger, cowbell and snacks.

At 10:30am our Runner #6 came through the chute and Amy, our first runner got the bracelet slapped on her wrist and she was off.   Her leg was 12 miles so we had some time.  We visited with the gals in Van 1 and then got on the road.  There are options to follow the runners or take the van route to the next transition.  If we had a long time between runners we’d follow the runner path and honk, wave and cheer on our runner otherwise we’d dash to our next transition.

My 3 legs totaled 23 miles.  First run was 9.3 miles (labeled “very hard”) and had a delightful climb of 500 feet.  The course was pretty as I left Irvine and ended up in Laguna Hills.  Yep, the high rent district!   I was really warm during this leg and hunted for shade along the course.  The hills didn’t bother me and there were some doozies, but it was sunny, warm and not a lick of breeze.  Regardless, my time was pretty good, about a 9:30 pace per mile.

I handed off to Terry at the end, grabbed a chocolate milk (ugh, big mistake) and a ton of water.  We climbed back in the van and zipped down the road since his leg was only about 3 miles.

We handed off until our last person finished on the beach at Dana Point and we “virtually” handed off the bracelet back to Van 1.  Virtually because Camp Pendleton didn’t “ok” a relay through the base.  Van 1 watched on a video monitor for our teammate to enter the chute and “handed off” the bracelet.  Kind of cool and techie.

After that we headed to a hotel in Oceanside, ate sandwiches, salad and chips from Panera, showered and took a catnap for an hour. Then we headed off the the exchange point where our van would begin our second leg.

Leg 2 for our team started about 11:00 pm. Completely outfitted in our night gear (headlamps, flashlights, neon bracelets, vests, etc.) we met Van 1, transferred the bracelet and set off.  My run began at close to midnight – just a short 5.4 miler labeled as “moderate”.  As many of you know, I enjoy running in the early morning hours so running at midnight wasn’t a problem.  I just imagined I was doing my 5 mile loop up and over Las Gallinas onto Idyllberry and back home.

We finished running our 2nd leg at 4:50am and we’ll just say we were all exhausted.  We went back to the hotel and was able to nap for 2  hours.  In full disclosure, I was so tired I didn’t even shower this time.  And I’m sure I drooled and snored.  I apologize to my new friend Vida who shared the pull out bed with me.

Dragging a bit, we got up and packed up the room and got to the van.  Using the back as a makeshift prep station we made bagels with cream cheese or pb and we headed out.  When we came to the final transition you could tell people were tired and sore.  There weren’t many people with that pep to their step.  Lots of limping, lots of ice bags and lots of sore runners!

My last leg was a ‘very hard’ 8.8 mile one with the largest incline (800 feet).  By the time I got the bracelet handed off to me it was about 11:30am.  I headed into La Jolla and crosswalk hell.  Run, stop, wait, run, stop, wait.  There was a slow incline for a few miles then some very intense hills – it was about 3.5 miles up, then  a lovely swooping downhill.  That continued for 2.5 miles.  Ouch!

At the bottom of the hill we entered La Jolla and I headed toward the reward for my running; the La Jolla cove.  Kayakers and canoes were dotting the dark blue and green ocean.  I hit a trail that ran along the side of the cliff and dropped into the beach at La Jolla.  Imagine Fisherman’s Wharf.  Tons of people that we had to dodge around and bob and weave through.  Luckily that was just for about a mile until we headed up into town and I ended up at San Diego High School.

At the very end I sprinted to try and get a “kill” before the finish line. I didn’t catch him but suffice to say I gave it everything I had.

I was so happy to be finished with my run.  23 miles in about 24 hours.  Not bad 🙂  I rounded it up to 24.3 miles later that day when our 12th runner needed a break.  I hopped out and took part of her “leg” for a bit and then she went back out and we met her at the finish line.

Ragnarians know how to party.  Every team received 2 free Little Cesars Pizza (it tasted awesome) and a Sierra Nevada beer at the end of the race.  We also got our medals that when you turn them over fit together like a puzzle.  We hugged our Van-mates and high-fived our achievement.

After resting for an hour or so we crawled back into the van and headed back to Pasadena.  I dozed a bit here and there, we ate at In-N-Out and landed at the house by 9:30 or so.  The next day we cleaned the van, returned it and had Bloody Mary’s and brunch to celebrate.  Then to the airport and back to my real life.

The only residual from the race was that I was pretty tired for a few days after.  Not too sore just tired.  I think because I had been training for my marathon up to this race helped with my performance and recovery.

People ask me what we did in the van to pass the time.  We figured out how long it would take our runner to get to the next stop.  We looked for an open 7-11 at 2am (only 1).  We tried to find the right transition spot (we only messed up once).  We sat in some gnarly traffic at a transition spot and we looked for our runners.  And discussed what food we were going to eat when we finished.

The only nerves I had for the race was being in a van with people I didn’t know very well and if I would be too sore running so much in a short period of time and my fears were unfounded.  It was ok.  I went outside of my comfort zone and now I encourage you to do the same.

Start with a 5K or a 10K or a half marathon.  Figure out how to train for the distance, work hard to meet your training goals and see if toeing up to a starting ling with like-minded folks doesn’t light a fire for you.  I bet it will.

For myself, I’ve got my 9th marathon on May 3rd in Vancouver and it looks like it’s “Hello Napa!” in October.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Running Ragnar – the Prequel

ragnar-logo-wonkyThis weekend I’m running in my first Ragnar Relay Race – starting in Huntington Beach and finishing in San Diego.  For those who have no idea what this means, it’s a 24 hour (ish) relay run comprised of teams of 12 running about 200 miles.

Each runner of the team will tackle three separate “legs” of the race. Each “leg” has varying distance and terrain.  We’re broken up into sub teams of 6.  Our team isThe Crazy Beaches and runners in Van #1 run the first 6 “legs” and then our group in Van #2 runs “legs” 7-12, then Van #1 runs their next 6 “legs” and we run ours – until we get to San Diego.

I’ve been assigned as Runner 8 and my “legs” are 8 ish, 5 ish and 7ish miles – totaling 23 miles.  I’ll run at 3pm Friday, 12:30am on Saturday morning and then Noon ish on Saturday afternoon.

It’s my first relay race and I’ve heard they are a ton of fun.  I’m comfortable with the distance but the process of running 3 times in such a short period of time is something I’ve not done.

Common sense would dictate that I should have practiced running in the morning and then evening, I wasn’t able to fit that in my schedule so I’m relying on the strength and stamina that I’ve been building for the marathon training.

I’ll report back on the race when I get back on Monday.  Wish me luck!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

Run Like a Tourist

This past weekend, my running partner in crime, Lisa and I had our 20 mile run scheduled.  Here’s a few things you should know about how we pick our routes.

  1. I start planning early in the week and then send out 1 or 2 suggestions to Lisa for her thoughts and/or approval.
  2. Hills are mandatory.
  3. It must not be a ‘hood run unless there’s no way around it (such as time constraints)It can be an out and back, a point to point but we have both decreed that it may not be a) a bowtie or b) any route that loops back to the car before continuing on.

So we choose San Francisco.  A lot.  The beauty about running in SF or running from Marin to SF is that you have plenty of long roads that you can link together to create distance.  Our favorite is the run from The Beach Chalet at Ocean Beach up to the Land’s End trail and down to Chrissy Field.  Enough hills to keep you entertained and some flats so you can pick up some speed.  And of course there’s the views.   If you hate the ocean, cliffs and rugged coastline, you’re in the wrong place!

This week we chose to run from the Bay Area Discovery Museum to the GG Bridge into San Francisco and it was a gorgeous day.  From the GG Bridge, down Chrissy Field to the Marina Green, through Aquatic Park, along the Wharf, past Pier 39, the Ferry Building and the famous Saturday Farmer’s Market and then a straightaway along the waterfront to McCovey Plaza.  Lots of tourists, lots of hustle and bustle.  I was in a good zone so the tourists crowding on the street didn’t bother me.  I enjoyed hearing different languages and listening to people’s stories as they ran up and past me.  Bikers always talk loudly so I got a good earful from groups of them cycling by.

I know that running long distances may be very low on the list for a lot of you.  But I would encourage you to get out of your running comfort zone.  Run from Marin over the bridge to SF and back.  Park at the BADM and run up (yes up) the hill towards Sausalito.  Sure it’s hilly but you can walk and I promise the views are worth it.  Or pick a trail, ask around and find out how to get there and just go there.

My rule for any new run is to go out as far as you can and just come back the same way.  It guarantees you won’t get lost.  But if you’re really worried and need help, give me a call.  I’m happy to tag along for moral support.  As long as you let me add some hills.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

PS – I’m doing my first Ragnar Relay this coming weekend.  Our team, the Crazy Beaches leave Huntington Beach on Friday 4/10 and will roll in to San Diego sometimes Saturday 4/11.  Wish us luck!