Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturdays are NOT for sleeping in...

When the alarm went off this morning at 5:15 am I was actually kind of excited. Kinda sick, I know. But the week has been a mish-mash of routine for me and I was ready for a sense of normalcy. It has been College of Idaho break time, so Pat does not have to get up early and thus, I don't either. It never hit me as poignantly as it did this week how much I rely on running being BOTH of our daily focus. I feel lucky.

Back to my point, I am a morning runner. I don't care if it's an easy run, a long run, a workout, whatever...I prefer to get up and get it out of the way. Running in the late morning and early afternoon this week has been the pits with no one to blame but myself. So, when Pat gave his college girls the early morning option this morning I jumped on it.

I love running on the track in the dark. First, it makes you feel like a bad ass to be working out that early. Second, it feels easier to run in the dark. Third, we had glow stick bracelets! I had a blast with this workout, 10 x 600 cutdowns with 1:00 standing rest between. I started at 2:09 and cut down to 1:56 with most of them between 1:58-2:02. I felt strong, rhythmic, and in control. Love that combination.

My training schedule this past week:
Sunday-long run
Monday-easy + drills + dynamic strength training (DST)
Tuesday-easy + weights
Wednesday-workout (8K progressive on a 2K grass loop) + 60 min yoga
Thursday-easy + DST
Friday-easy (secondary long run) + weights
Saturday-workout (10 x 600 w/1:00 rest b/w) + DST + 60 min yoga

I feel good about:
-getting back into my yoga routine
-lifting & dst mix
-GREAT workouts, fast and fluid
-amount of sleep I have been getting

I did not feel good about:
-running later on Monday & Tuesday, felt like poop
-not hydrating enough
-piriformis issue bothering me

Overall, the week was stellar, training wise. And I am ready to do it all over again this week. Woot! Woot!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ringing in a new decade.

Pie week has come and gone and so has a decade. For me. As of Sunday, I am in my 30's. That's right, officially past my 20's. Why is it that twenty-nine sounds so different from thirty to me? What are all those sayings? "You are only as old as you feel", "Age is relative", " or my favorite, "Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese." If age doesn't matter, why are there so many quips about it?

The birthday weekend in McCall was fantastic. Lots of good friends, beautiful spot, strong drink, rich food.

Made our way up to McCall on Friday and had a fairly low-key evening. Venison chili, corn bread and apple pie. Saturday was workout day. Since Genny lived in the area for about a year, she took me out to a gorgeous single track trail that looped through a densely wooded area and around to an open marsh land, through more woods and back onto a wider, gravel & dirt trail. There were roots and twists and turns and at one point a log over the trail but it was a perfect route for my free-form fartlek. After a 20 minute warm up and one dangerous crap stop (I jumped off the trail and was in such a hurry that I stabbed my knee with the sharp end of a broken branch), I began the 30-minute fartlek. I stayed on the loop and ran between :20-:50 intervals with equal rest. It was hard but I had a blast! At one point, in a fast segment, I rounded a corner and almost ran smack dab into three deer standing in the trail. I laughed out loud when I heard myself yell, "Move it!" They took off, crashing through the forest. It was beautiful and their speed put me to shame. I ran harder.
The fartlek segment was followed with a 10-minute cool down, drills and strides. The day had begun.

 It varied between sprinkles and light rain all day. After helping with some wood-cutting, we all headed to the McCall Brewery for some eats and drinks. Played some pool, watched a little college football, had great conversation. I almost forgot I was almost 30.

Back at the house we bar-b-qued salmon and venison backstrap. Genny made some delicious eggplant, tomato dish, and Angela brought a salad. It was a fantastic meal. Laid a base for all the "toxins" we partook of later. I am of the opinion that, there are times for going all out-and this was one of them. And we did.

Awesomeness ensued. Good times had by all. Even better times, by some.  Some things are better left unsaid. Midnight toasts with my drink of choice, Pendelton and more toasts, just because.

The rain came pouring down. I woke up on Sunday morning and laid there listening to it tap on the roof. I love that sound. It makes me feel like a runner. Pat and I went into town for some coffee and a bite to eat while the house slept. When we came back everyone was stirring, it was time for my long run. Genny, Pat and Sean joined. Genny took us on a climb leading to a breathtaking view of Payette Lake with low fog hovering around it. The trails were flooded and the rain kept on. It was cross-country at it's barest. Ninety-five minutes later I was drenched, soaked to the done, and freezing, but happy. Then it was time for goodbyes. They always make me sentimental.

Pat, Jess, Bettis, Jesse, Megan, Sarah, Mike, Kimmie, Hopper, Angela, Calovich, and Genny...thanks for making my 30th one that I will always remember and cherish. Here's to good friends and a new decade for living life like it matters.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slots and Neon Lights!

Okay, update from the weekend. Downtown Reno is as dirty and corny as ever. The area where the race was held was more my style. Ashley and I left on Friday afternoon and arrived 6 hours later. Checked into our hotel/casino room was luxurious but, like most of Reno, you have to walk through the casino to get to the elevators to get to your room. Lots of smoke, lots of perky (and sagging) boobs and lots of neon lights.

Friday evening was fairly low key. We ate at a restaurant in the casino called Saucy's (a bar-b-que place) where, after more internal debate than I thought was possible over a dinner choice, Ashley ordered an entire chicken-in case she got hungry later. The problem was that the mini bar and snack bar in our room were on sensors. You literally could not open the fridge or bump the snack tray without being charged for the $6.95 candy bar. And so, Ashley had no where to put the left over chicken and although the front desk promised to bring an 'additional fridge up for your use, free of charge', it never arrived. Thus, a wasted half-a-chicken. 

Saturday was fairly uneventful. We slept in, went for a run in the foothills which I found out about on this great website:, ate the most delicious lunch at this stellar cafe we accidentally found I ate fresh chicken tortilla soup with a spinach salad and a turkey (real turkey, not lunch meat) pesto sandwich. Talk about a flavor orgasm. Unbelievable. My number one recommendation if you ever happen to find yourself in Reno.

Most of the afternoon/evening was spent in our room, trying to study (Ashley) and work (me) while half-watching a cheesy movie marathon-featuring Matthew McConaughey. Dinner was fairly unmentionable, Baja Fresh burrito and some red wine in the comfort of our room. Then it was early to bed in light of an early rise.

Race day. 6 am wake-up. I drank a cup of water and half a bottle of a Naked coconut juice smoothie. I ate a banana and a Luna bar. At 7:15 we left the hotel and drove the 10 miles to Damonte Ranch high school. After picking up our race numbers and a couple of visits to the Honey Buckets we began our warm up run, drills, and strides. We had plenty of time to spare-which is how I like it. The race, however, did not start on time. The 9 am race start was more like 9:12 am. I raced the 10k and Ashley gave the 5k a go.

The thing about fun runs is the bat-outta-hell mentality of the kids that come to these things. I have learned it is best to let them do their thing and try  not to run them over when they fall back hard core after 300 meters. The 10 and 5k races began together and the first mile is a gradual climb. After which the 5k participants do a 180 degree turn and head screaming back down the hill. The 10k keeps going for about another mile and then turns sharply to the right and onto a narrow path along a canal. It then takes a sharp left where you run out 100 meters then turn 180 degrees around a cone and go back, take another sharp left and head down the path again. Around mile 3 you take a sharp right onto a neighborhood road and this is where you begin to run into the 5k walkers and joggers. Not a problem, since there is lots of room. By mile 2 the leader had left another woman and I in the dust and about mile 3 I took off and put a good amount of distance between myself and number three.

My lungs were seared by mile 4-I believe the elevation is around 6,000 feet- and I was struggling running on my own. Suddenly, out of nowhere an older guy came up behind and ran slightly ahead of me as we climbed the hill for the second time. It was a key for me to have someone to race at that point. First, I had to crap (badly!) and second I was sucking wind. At mile 5, I was able to revamp my body and put all my focus toward a strong finish. At mile 6, I gave one final surge and as I crossed the line I was fairly convinced I might die. As with any time I race at elevation, my sinuses felt like someone had stuck a red-hot poker into them. Needless to say, not a pleasant feeling but it was trumped by the fact that I can truly say that I left just about everything out on that course. That makes me happy. And my flats speak to this fact.
 Retirement for these puppies.

Placed 2nd out of the women and 6th overall. Walked away with some cash and fairly satisfied with my effort. We hit the road quickly and were home within 5.5 hours. The 6:30 am long run on Monday felt surprisingly effortless, minus the final 5 minutes. Aside from a sore left calf and a few gnarly blisters on my left forefoot (might have pushed the flats one race too many), I am no worse for the wear. Ready to roll on. 

Pie Week Kick Off!

Yesterday marked the beginning of 'pie week'. The idea originated when I was in Virginia last  month for the Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll half-marathon. I was working a booth for Oiselle Running. I have a good friend, Mary Ashburn, in Richmond whom I visited while I was in the area. Long story short, she and her significant other had the idea of having a 'pie week' and asked me if I would like to do so, remotely. Pie? All week? Uh...duh! Of course, I did.

And so, beginning last night it is a-pie-a-day for a week. Last night was taco pie-an old favorite in my family. Perfect runner's food. Cornmeal crust filled with a blend of ground turkey, kidney beans, tomatoes, onion, and delicious spices. Accompanied with a spinach-pear-avocado salad. Perfect! This week I am throwing caution to the wind, I am allowing myself one piece of each pie and the rest I will share. For the most part, I try to follow the Paleo diet, but this week-slight deviation.

Pie Schedule
Tuesday: Chess Pie
Wednesday: Shepard's Pie
Thursday: Pumpkin Pie
Friday: Apple Pie
Saturday: Key Lime Pie

Tune in for more all this week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Get up!

Waking up this week has been rough. I have been battling myself every morning, whether I get up at 5 am or 8 am. It begins a little like this, "Ugh. Really? I feel like I just fell asleep.", the next voice is a little like this, "Okay, just get up. Get out the door for your run and you will feel better." Then..."I want to SLEEP, for once I just want to sleep and not have to get up and go running. I can run later. Whatever." Followed by, "Geez, Andrija-just get up already-you are being ridiculous." At this point, I normally think ahead and try to picture the next time I will have a chance to sleep. Sometimes, even when I know it is not true, I tell myself I can sneak in a nap at some point and that thought is enough to get me up. Oh the tricks I can play on myself. I am fairly gullible in this respect. 

It is not that this battle is uncommon but it is tiring.

Can you find me? Hint: Strollers are dangerous!
Ashley Miller (College of Idaho alum) and I are taking off for Reno, Nevada this afternoon. One of my favorite races of the year is on Sunday, the Washoe County Run for Education ( I had never thought of Reno as a 'destination' but it is gorgeous (as long as you steer clear of downtown). There is a 5k, 10k and a kids run. I have always raced the 5k and this year am making the move to the 10k. This should be interesting. The course is not particularly quick and being at altitude it is not a place to run a fast time but the competition is solid and participation is stellar. Great crowd, lots of energy.

In prep, I got a massage on Wednesday. This is one luxury that I afford myself and have found helps a ton several days out from my races. I saw my favorite massage therapist, Laura, in Boise and she worked me over. Literally, I had several bruises on my legs from it the next day. But, now, two days out I feel fresh and ready to roll. Ice baths tonight and tomorrow will certainly add to that feeling.

If you don't know this about me already...I LOVE racing. Bring it on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Before the Sun

It is 11 am and my inner hobbit is once again coming out in the form of second breakfast.

The alarm went off at 5:15 this morning and while I will admit I did not actually get out of bed until 5:33, it was too damn early. I had some coffee and choked down a GU while I did some work. Then at 6:10 it was off to meet some of the C of I kids for a workout. As I left the house, I looked at Drake snuggled up next to the heater and for a split second wanted to trade places with my dog. The sun had yet to show it's face-it was 29 degrees.

In typical fashion, I warmed up with the kids for 20 minutes to Brothers park, followed by drills, shoe change, and a couple of strides. The sprinklers were shut off (thank god) so the 800 meter grass loop was perfectly frosted and ready for running feet. The workout was a fun one-aside from not being able to see where the turns were for the first half-2:00 at race effort/1:00 easy run, continuous for 8 laps (4 miles).

I felt light and quick. My toes were completely frozen but I barely noticed until I finished. My only complaint was that I did not eat enough dinner last night. I was STARVING! Kind of sick to my stomach because of it. Again, you don't notice that stuff until after finishing. It was beginning to get light. A quick change of shoes and a cool down back to the college where we did DST (dynamic strength training) in the climbing gym. The workout was complete by 8 am. Awesome.

Back at the house I let Drake out for his crap and gave him breakfast. While I ate my own (scrambled eggs and a fruit/peanut butter smoothie), I became computer-consumed and began working. An hour later, I was annoyed at my lack of good recovery so I showered and followed that with a 40-minute nap. Feelin' stellar.

Just another day, up before the sun.