Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wascally Wabbit Half Mawathon

I decided this week to register for today's Wascally Wabbit Half Marathon in Fresno. Some friends from Visalia were also running and

Dave, Michele, me, Mike, Dan

it sounded like a fun event. So bright (well, it was still dark at 5:00 AM) it was off to Fresno. Got there in plenty of time to pick up my shirt and number/chip.

The shirts are fun and long-sleeved technical and fits perfectly. The event took place in Woodward Park. Part of the first mile was on paved trail and then we were onto dirt trail just past mile one. The dirt continued until about mile 5 when we got back on asphalt. Lots of turns on the course, and lots of hills. Not long, but numerous. A long out and back from mile 5 to mile 10. During this stretch, I encountered the leader running toward me. He was really cruising, especially on this course. (Winning time was 1:11). We ran through the start and retraced some of our early steps until getting on the 2-mile race course to bring us in to the finish. I didn't cramp until the last mile, luckily. I could feel them coming on so held to a conservative pace. My finish time was 1:48:06 (8:14.76 pace). Not what I'd really like to be running, but on this course I was OK with it. It was good enough for an age-group win which was fun.

It was a fun morning. Here's the morning in photos ...

WHAT. A. FACE. Mile 11.

Mike and Dan
Everyone that I knew placed ... Dave, me, Dan, and not pictured Mike, Al, Matthew. A good day for the Visalia Runners!

After wiping off what I could of the sweat, salt and trial dirt, it was off to Sam's Club and then Pismo's for lunch. They had breakfast after the race but the pancakes were awful. After one bit I had to throw them away. :-/

Biggest chicken sandwich I'd ever seen. I didn't even eat half of it. But it was really delicious ... it had arugula on it and cilantro aioli. I also got sweet potato fries for something different. They were hearty and delicious and didn't seem like they'd soaked up tons of oil.

No shower. No make-up. Bad, bad look but still a fun pic.
Then it was off to Steven's Bicycles in Fresno. I have been thinking about getting a cruiser on which to toodle around town. I saw a sweet hot pink Electra townie with lime green rims. But I'll have to think about it ...

Fun, fun day. Until next time ... be well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Catching Up

I've been inpsired by the positive feedback I've received from my one post recently ... the first one since late May. So, my new goal is to blog at least once a week. Starting today!

I left off (abruptly) with the Santa Rosa marathon. It was very slow (hamstring has been injured all summer and my training was all slow) BUT ... for the first time EVER in a marathon, I didn't cramp. Amazing! I was very pleased about that. It was a two loop/figure 8 course. Quite flat, with several miles on gravel (which I didn't care for ... kept getting stones in my shoes, and my shoes, socks and legs were absolutely filthy), but overall it was a very good race ... one I'd recommend.

The next weekend brought a 50th birthday celebration for friends Sheri, Art and Yvonne ...

The weekend following Santa Rosa (labor day weekend) it was off to beautiful Santa Barbara for the Pier to Peak half marathon ... a grueling 4000 ft. climb during those 13.1 (or 13.42 or something on my GPS!).  Probably one of the hardest events I've ever participated in. It took several miles to get my breathing settled down and into a pace I could comfortably maintain. Except for .2 of a mile at mile 11, we climbed and climbed and climbed. It felt like running Viola Road (Rochester, MN) for 13 miles! Finally at about mile 9 I had to start walking. I was shot. But I'd do it again, and the scenery was spectacular.

The rest of the weekend was spent with friends, eating!, and wandering State Street.

Bad hair, baaaaaad hair (wind)
Thai food at Galanga on State St.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful town!! On the way back to the valley we stopped in the quaint Danish town of Solvang. Just for an hour or so, but I definitely want to get back.

My hamstring is finally healing after many weeks of getting back in the gym, stretching, icing and foam rolling. The valley floor where I live is flat as a pancake, so on weekends I like to get out to Rocky Hill and run two loops (8.6 mi/loop) plus. Weekdays are spent on the flat land. I don't get tired of running Rocky ... the scenery is beautiful and there are always many walkers, runners and cyclists out there.


I've started a Cooking Light (magazine) cooking group here in CA and we got together for the first time for a meal last week (minus one member). The meal was delicious (thank you to all the cooks!) and the chatter was constant, so I think we'd all consider it a success! Looking forward to next month already.

I've joined a book club and for October we are reading Corduroy Mansions, a light but enjoyable read. I read most of it on the flights to and from MN this weekend. But that will have to wait for the next post. I've been up since 1 AM Pacific, will be on the track at 4:30 AM running 8 x 800m, so it's time to call it a day.

Be well .....

Ramblin' Renee

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oh where, oh where ....

... does the time go? It's almost Labor Day. It's been more than 3 months since I've posted last. I've been at my new job for more than 2 months now. Summer is almost over.

I decided it was high time to post a few of my goings on. Most recently, I ran marathon number 27. The Santa Rosa Marathon. Certainly one of the slowest I've ever run (but unfortunately, sub-4:00 hasn't happened this year), but I did achieve a milestone of sorts. This was the first marathon EVER where I didn't experience leg cramps. I'm not sure what to attribute it to, but I wish I knew! My pace was slow due to battling an injured hamstring (again) all summer. I could put in some miles, but whenever I'd try to pick up the pace just a bit, the hamstring would act up. So I finally got really diligent about icing, stretching, strengthening and foam rolling once again and it's improved a lot. But the fitness just wasn't there for anything much under 4:30, so all things considered a no-cramp 4:22 was just fine. The weather was ideal (50s, clouds). The course was flat (save for a few little underpasses). I stopped at all water stations (and there were a lot) and walked through them. I stopped twice to get stones out of my shoes (maybe 25% of the course was on gravel trail and I seem to have a knack for kicking up stones right into my shoe!) and multiple times to use the port-a-potties. So I got plenty of breaks, just like during a training run.

It was a nice marathon. Ideal weather. Lots of GU on the course (4 times maybe?). Plenty of water stops. Flat course. Beautiful medals. There were a few hiccups ... the half marathon numbers were printed on the full marathon bibs and vice versa, results were slow to be posted and hard to find (no link on the race website) and the shirts were uninspired, but overall it was a very good race. Unfortunately, I left my camera in the car so have no race photos. But I enjoyed the company of my Visalia Runner friends on Saturday at St. Francis Vineyars & Winery and Third Street Brewhouse.

Rosie and Albert

Dan, Jacquie, Yvonne and Dave

Adriana, Dan and Jacquie

Mike and Rita

Cathy and Dave
Congrats to Dan, who qualified for the New York City marathon by running a fast half on Saturday, and to Albert and Jacquie for qualifying for the Boston Marathon (as did their pacers ... Adriana, Dave, Yvonne and Mike). You are all such excellent runners! It was a fun weekend.

Next up for me ... the Pier to Peak half marathon in Santa Barbara on Sunday, Sept 2. It's got 4000 feet of elevation gain and is reported to be a very tough run. But I'm excited and up for the challenge of running (or walking) uphill for mile after mile. Then, November 4 brings the Two Cities marathon in Fresno. I was enticed by the California International Marathon while at Santa Rosa, but discovered when I got home that it's closed. However, you can still register if you have a qualifying time in the last 24 months. Luckily, I was running better last year so I can still get in. So that'll be December 2.

I'm getting settled in here. I really enjoy my job and have wonderful people to work with and for. I've started a Cooking Light cooking group here (8 girlfriends) and our first meal together will be September 19. I joined a book club and am now reading The Soloist, which is proving to be a thought-provoking read. Gets one thinking about mental illness, extreme poverty and the influence journalists can have in society. I think it will bring good discussion.

I had the opportunity to help out at the inaugural Hell of a Half (marathon) on 8/17. It was a challenging course and excellent event. So well organized. I was in charge of post-race food. Fun to see friends there!

<< Sorry this ends so apruptly ... Blogger wasn't cooperating and would'nt let me add more photos but I thought I'd post it anyway. Currently in Rochester for a long weekend and it feels great to be back!! >>