Pre-trip run

My poor Garmin is staying home for this trip, so these are the last splits you’ll see for a while:

I was prepared for a super-sucky run since I took three days off after the 5K, but it was surprisingly good and speedy! Maybe because I have tons of pre-trip adrenaline built up in my veins.

I’m really, really, really excited to choose and train for my next race. I think I’ll do another half-marathon before my next marathon — maybe I can work it into marathon training like I did with the Labor Day Half.

But I’ll think about all that after I get back from Italy. The only running-related thing I’ll be doing during the trip is finally reading Born to Run, which I just loaded onto my Kindle along with the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones).

I am so late to both of those parties.

Getting ready!!

Tomorrow: SEA -> JFK -> MXP

I’m very excited to add another stamp to my passport!

My flight leaves Seattle very, very early Friday morning, so I need to pack today. I’ll procrastinate by going for a run, since I don’t plan to do much exercising in Italy other than walking a lot, hiking in Cinque Terre, casually biking in Tuscany and lifting many, many glasses of wine to my lips.

I’m not bringing my laptop — one hand with a slice of pizza + other hand filled with wine = no hands left for typing — so you may see a few photo posts from my phone or nothing at all until I get back. And then… prepare yourselves for the onslaught.

If you need something to read today, here are a few recent travel posts from my other blog:

Soaring Over Kauai

My Travel Must-Haves… And What to Leave Behind

Aaron and I are flying separately to Italy, and he’ll arrive in Milan about 11 hours after me. I’m a little nervous about finding stuff to do in the meantime, but I just try to remember that I made it through five countries by myself earlier this year. Somehow.

I think I’ll just…

Fremont Oktoberfest 5K recap

My last training run before this 5K — a two-mile “easy” jaunt — was anything but easy. For some reason, my legs were heavy as I slogged through light drizzle to complete what felt like the longest two miles of my life.

It did not bode well for the race.

I was bummed after the two-miler, but I knew there was nothing more I could do at that point. Rather than worry about the race, I went about my normal life… and even ate and drank some items that one typically shouldn’t eat and drink the night before a race:

* Greasy, cheesy, delicious Mexican food
* Margarita the size of my face
* Undisclosed quantity of wine

Aaron’s family had a big, spirited gathering. I enjoyed it. : D 

Race morning was filled with the usual jitters. I was so nervous, but all of my nerves faded away once I pinned on my bib and began to absorb the crowd’s excitement at the start line.

Aaron was my excellent supporter and photographer.

Nervous face. But at least my stomach felt OK!

I decided to run with a water bottle from Aaron’s fuel belt (I seem to have misplaced mine…) since this race has no water stops and I knew I’d get thirsty.

Soon enough, we were off!

I blew Aaron a kiss as I passed him. : )

The first mile featured a slight hill, which helped keep me from going out too fast. I kept my pace comfortable and steady, ignoring those who blew by me up the hill.

I later overheard a woman saying, “Guess who passed me on that hill? A pregnant woman pushing a stroller holding a three-year-old!”

Props to that pregnant lady!!

The race began at 10 a.m., and the sun felt pretty hot in the many shadeless areas of the course. I sipped from my water bottle frequently and wound up drinking almost the whole thing by the end!

I gradually increased my speed throughout the race, but was careful not to push my limits until the very end. I saw more and more runners dropping off to the sidelines to rest or walk, and I absolutely did not want that to be me. Plus, I knew from running this race twice before that the 0.10 mile at the end of the course is slightly but exhaustingly long, and I wanted to save my energy to sprint that final bit to the finish line.

Aaron saw the clock ticking closer to 30:00 and hoped he would see me soon…

…and I snuck across the finish line with an official time of 29:22 and my hands in the air!

This photo is like “Where’s Waldo?” except more like, “Where’s the dork who’s extremely happy to finish her first post-injury 5K?”

I’m really happy with the negative splits from my Garmin.

You can see that the last bit of the course was actually 0.17 mile; Aaron said a woman flipped out at the race organizers just after she finished due to the long course… because obviously this was the Olympic Trials. C’mon, now.

I was just really happy to finish in under 30 minutes without walking, and to rest on the sidewalk afterward! 

And guess what? I had zero pain of any kind. My ankle did great, and my bike-accident injuries are 98% healed (save for some lingering scabs and a mildly sprained ring finger) and didn’t bother me.

I found my college friend Moorea at the finish line — she had just run her first-ever 5K the day before, and decided to follow it up with another one! Hardcore.

And that was it! Success.

Simple, but it meant a lot to me.

I sprained my ankle on May 6.

I was able to walk unassisted on June 11.

I ran (very slowly) for the first time on June 26.

I ran a mile straight through for the first time on August 2.

I battered my entire body in a bike accident on September 3.

And then I ran 3.1 miles straight through, like a boss, on September 23.

Now… let’s find me a nice marathon. : )

Official time: 29:22 — 9:28 pace

VERY HAPPY!! I hit both of my goals:

* Finish under 30 minutes.
* Don’t walk!

I never even thought about walking. I paced myself well and sprinted across the finish line. It felt soooo good to sit on the sidewalk afterward.

More pics and details coming later. Thanks to Aaron for being the best race support person/photographer/boyfriend ever!

Race day

5K happening in less than an hour.

My last two-mile “easy” run was at a pace that should have been nothing, but felt like death.

Who knows what today holds. I’m so nervous for some reason, but keep reminding myself that I’ve run a MARATHON. It’ll be OK.

See you at the finish!

Test 5K

I’m a day behind on posting, as I had important-type things to do yesterday in my grown-up clothes, but here’s yesterday’s three-mile run:

I decided to make it a test 5K (my “comeback” race is on Sunday!) just to see what kind of pace I can handle for 3.1 miles.

9:43 = good, sustainable pace.

9:17 = not.

I think my strategy will be to hover around 9:30 for most of the race and then gun it with half a mile to go. My goal is to run it in under 30 minutes, but I’ll be happy if I can just run the whole thing without walking.

It’ll be tough to pace myself. Last year at this race, I ran my PR of 25:04… and then ran 10 more miles for marathon training. My, how times change after a year, a sprained ankle and an additional 10 pounds from eating my face off around the world. I gave up being down about my slower pace long ago, though — all I can focus on is doing my best right now.

Speaking of eating my face off: Aaron and I have abandoned Paleo in preparation for our trip (beginning a week from TODAY!) to Italy.

We didn’t want to go from cold-turkey Paleo to suddenly inhaling carbs and cheese in Italy and risk feeling sick and miserable, so we’re… easing ourselves back into delicious food.

Last night, after doing my important-type things, I headed downtown to meet Aaron at Serious Pie for dinner. He has been wanting to try it for two years, since he’s a pizza freak, but somehow never made it happen until last night.

I ordered the Yukon gold potato, rosemary and pecorino pizza, and A chose sweet fennel sausage, peppers and provolone — we split them half and half. The sausage pizza was the clear winner! I wouldn’t normally get a potato pizza (it was sauce-less and kind of dry, but had good flavors), but I ordered something Aaron would eat so we could split. Next time: Penn cove clams, house pancetta, chilies and lemon thyme, all for me, baby.

Today: An easy two-mile run and another important-type thing this afternoon. Also, Aaron will get his iPhone 5, and I’ll get to play with it!

Hilly four

I planned to run yesterday, but after a five-day streak of run-run-hike-bike-run, I decided to take a rest day.

Four miles today:

I tried a new route in my mom’s neighborhood and wound up running up even more hills than usual. The only way to really avoid them is to run on a main road just outside of the neighborhood that is full of speeding cars, but I don’t like breathing exhaust or putting myself in danger, so I’ll just have to embrace the hills!

Hmm… I should probably register for the 5K that I’m running on Sunday, right? Right.

3 miles and killer dogs

I took my new (used) Garmin out for three miles today and was pleased to find that everything seems to function well.

I figured out during the run that the watch was not set to auto-lap to record my mile splits, but I think I’ve fixed that now. I’ll find out tomorrow!

Does anyone else get antagonized by neighborhood dogs when they run? I love dogs, but it freaks the crap out of me when they bark and sprint toward me as I run by their yards, stopping short only because of really good training or invisible fences. 

I know that nine times out of 10, dogs will just sniff you and maybe lick your hand after they run up to you, but you just never know.

I once had a dachshund named Ivan go nuts on me as I made my way to Green Lake. I know, I know — I could probably defend myself from a dachshund, but I swear the little guy was vicious. His tiny legs carried him through his unfenced yard as fast as he could until his owner screamed at him to stay back, and only then did I feel somewhat safe as I continued on my innocent run. COME AT ME, BRO.

Today, I stashed my water bottle behind a fire hydrant so I could take a swig after each of my three laps around the neighborhood. On my second water break, I heard the swishing sounds of a dog running through grass toward me, and I looked up to find the calm, friendly face of a German shepherd staring curiously at me through a neighbor’s (blessed) fence.

Go figure that the one dog who might actually tear my shit up is a pacifist. Ivan, the dachshund of my nightmares, could take a page.

Today, just under two weeks after my bike accident, I got back in the saddle.

I wanted to ride again to start rebuilding my confidence on the bike and prove to myself that what happened on Labor Day was an entirely preventable accident that won’t happen again as long as I’m careful.

Aaron and I drove out to the same trail, but past that sharp turn where I slammed into a guardrail, and did an out-and-back ride for a total of 14 miles at a nice, slow, cautious 10.5 mph average speed. Thank you, Aaron, for being so patient with me!!

I can’t say that I’m 100% confident now — my heart froze every time we came to a bend that had the same type of guardrail that left me with bruises all over my body — but it was a big step just to ride again, and I know I’ll only feel better every time. I will not be riding again before our trip to Italy, though, just in case!

The next time I ride will be on “tree-lined avenues and winding country roads dotted with olive groves, villas and vineyards” — on a wine tour in Tuscany.

Because nothing helps you recover from the trauma of a bike accident like riding with a bit of wine in ya. : )