Monday, March 23, 2015

Oakland Running Festival

This was my third year running the Oakland Running Festival's 5k. I always think that one year I want to do the half at this race, but then I remember that the half marathon distance starts at 9:15 am and that seems so ridiculously late to start running 13.1 miles.

I've been working on trying to regain my running speeds from last year; it's been an uphill battle for sure. I knew going into this race that I wouldn't be setting any personal records but I was hoping it would give me a good gauge on where I'm at and if I would see any improvements from the past couple of months.

I arrived in Oakland BFE to get good parking and nearly fell asleep in my car waiting for an appropriate time to get out of the car and brave the light mist that was falling. You know what's fun? Using a port-a-potty when it's still dark out. Thank goodness for the flashlight app! I cruised through the merchandise tent again because Corrigan Sports does a really nice job with their shirts and jackets, it's also a good way to kill time.

I wandered back up to the start line and checked my gear ahead of the marathoners starting. I must admit I'm a sentimental runner and I got a little misty watching them start their journey. The support from the community, race organizers, and OPD is overwhelming and genuine. It really is such a great day for runners and the community of Oakland. After the last brave soul headed out for their 26.2 miles I started a short warm up run and followed it up with some stretching. Once I was done 5k runners had already started to line up, so I worked my way through the crowds to place myself somewhere between the nine and ten minute mile markers.

It was a slow crawl to cross the start line as some of us were anxious to run and others just wanted to walk to the start line. I used the opportunity to control my pace; having big crowds ensures that you won't go out to hard. My goal was to not look at my watch and run based on feel since I had no idea what I would be capable of. I quickly remembered that this is the least straight course and it's impossible to run a clean line. I really didn't want to run this course long but with the crazy turns and switchbacks through the city, my chances were slim to none.

The first mile felt good and then we hit the long second mile where the scenery is less than entertaining. The Firehouse in this section was out and they were cheering us on. Everyone was so quiet so I yelled out "thank you!" which encouraged a few others to do the same. I always try to say thank you to the folks along the course who are supporting runners, because I do truly appreciate it.

I was doing a good job of not looking at my watch but I was counting blocks and paying attention to street signs to determine how much further until we hit the downhill section heading back towards Lake Merritt. At mile two my shoulder started to ache, which I realized meant that my form must have been suffering. I focused on holding my shoulders back and not slouching. Once I finally hit the downhill section I tried to take advantage as best as I could knowing that the final uphill to the finish line was going to hurt.

As I approached the hill that I had already run up during my warm up run I immediately got a cramp. Just another challenge to overcome, I moved up that hill as best as I could but clearly grimacing in pain. I just kept my head down and kept moving forward. Soon enough I crested the top of the hill and just needed to get my body across the finish line. I manged to fake a smile for the camera as I crossed the line.

Official time was 31:44, obviously not my best time but my an improvement over my last 5k, so progress is indeed being made. My nifty Garmin also flashed me a nice reminder that I had run the course long when it told me my 5k time was 30:46, sigh... if only I had really run 3.1 miles. I placed 44/604 in my age group. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with that!

Thanks to SunRype for allowing me to represent your brand; the fruit bars and strips were a huge hit!

As we move into April the focus moves to multi-sport where I will be swimming and running.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


My days continue to become busier and busier. Which is a great thing, but I'm working very hard to keep track of all of my scheduling and all of the kids scheduling.

I did make some time to sit down and plan some races at least through June. I was disappointed to miss out on Brazen's Bay Breeze as it sold out about a week prior to the race. This really pushed me to sit down and find some races that I wanted to do and commit to them. I had been contemplating the Lucky Run again this year but running a shorter distance. I really had to decide if driving to Davis was worth it for a 7k run, I decided to try and find a more geographically desirable race despite the fact that I love the Lucky Run. Instead I signed up for the Oakland Running Festival's 5k. I also love this race, and was not able to attend last year since it's too close to the Lucky Run. March problem solved!

Despite the fact that I keep telling myself I should unsubscribe from the Active email list, I'm lazy and haven't. Which was a good thing since they sent out a coupon for the Marin Splash and Dash. This race is early April and will be a perfect warm-up for the Moraga Tri. Scott and I will be doing this as a relay again. It will also be some great open water practice before Catfish in June.

I'm also committing to Wolfpack's Mother's Day Run, because it's in my backyard and it's small, how can you say no to that.

I'm very excited now that I have started physical therapy for my shoulder and also started taking Pilates classes. I've been working with a Pilates trainer and also taking one of her classes. She immediately identified all of my weaknesses and has been coming up with a great workouts for me. My headaches have subsided and I'm on my way to a healthy shoulder, back and core. Which means I hope to slowly add in more swimming to prepare for all of this swimming I'm signed up to do.

Running is going along just as planned and I'm getting in three runs a week.

Run happy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Summer in February

We are so miserably dry here in California, but it's difficult to be disgruntled over the phenomenal  weather we are experiencing.

On Thursday the weather was so amazing that I skipped my morning run in favor of a lunch time swim. I should have really taken some time before I got to the pool to review some of the new swim features on the Garmin 920xt, oops. However, I did get the chance to use my new Finis kick board. The amount of pool toys I bring to swim is ridiculous, but I'm lucky that the Finis alignment kick board is uber small and I can shove it into my swim bag with all of my other junk.  This board is amazing! I can't even begin to explain how much I love this, especially with my shoulder issues.

I used the board along with my swim snorkel and fins and kicked 400 yards in between sets. Due to my ongoing shoulder issues swimming has been difficult. Kicking with a traditional kick board, leaves my body in an unnatural position and causes neck and should pain. This board can go under water and you hold a streamline position, combining the board with my snorkel means no shoulder or neck pain. I really loved it.

As I work my way through some Pilates instruction and physical therapy for my shoulder, I'm hoping to be able to gradually increase my swimming and eventually get back on the bike.

For now, I'm looking at running the Oakland Running Festival's 5k for the third time and I'm possibly considering a splash and dash in early April.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coyote Hills Run

As I plug along and try to get back into the swing of running I returned to the Coyote Hills 5k (um really 3.5 miles) run. The night before I was in quite a bit of pain with my reoccurring shoulder issue and a newly developed sciatica issue. I am so lucky, or dumb  for not taking better care of myself.

My chiropractor worked on the sciatica issue and I taped up my shoulder and went to bed hoping for the best. I woke up and was not experiencing as much pain as the night before so I called that a win and made the drive to Fremont.

This was more about just getting it done then anything else. I wanted to log the miles and enjoy the day. This course is always challenging; not just because of the extra distance but also the elevation gains as well as changing surfaces. You run pavement, dirt and wood piers, so you have to pay attention to the ever changing surfaces.
Early on when the course is crowded
I knew it would be a warm day but it was cold in the morning so I wore arm sleeves knowing I could push them down if I got hot. they lasted all of 3 minutes before I was too hot, a that point they come in very handy for wiping sweat off your face. 

It's always fun playing leap frog with people. I passed this one woman who took offense and passed me later. Then I passed her again, I felt like I was running a steady pace, so perhaps she was not. We leap frogged a few times but once we hit the hills, I never saw her again. 

I took some sort of sports drink at the aid station since I wasn't hydrated particularly well. As we made our way to the backside of the park I really took a moment to just take it all in, it's so pretty and I genuinely felt very lucky to have the ability to run in such a beautiful spot. Then it was back to negotiating the hills and passing the 10k walkers. As I approached the final hill it was all mental toughness to get to the top, but once I did I knew the worst was over. 

Coming downhill after the last climb.
As we rounded the corner you could just feel the relief from everyone around that we were almost done. I picked up the pace and made my way to the arch. 

This kid racing me to the line

So happy to be done! 
After the race Mary Sue and I chatted with our friend Pia that we met at this race last year. She reminded me that the Bay Breeze race is coming up on Valentine's Day, so this will probably be my next event. I'm hoping I'll have my first shipment of goodies from SunRype in time! 

Race stats:
13/49 AG
144/458 OA 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Exciting things in January

So many exciting things have happened in January! I'm going to have write some more in depth posts this month about everything that is going on.

First off I am most excited about some new toys! Everyone knows I love gadgets, so it was not hard to convince me to purchase the new Garmin 920XT. It also helps when you have a friend who works at Garmin who is able to feed into your obsession with a helpful discount. I'll do a dedicated post to this amazing new watch, but so far what I love is that it connects to satellites faster, has an activity tracker and connects to my phone. I can't wait to try it in the pool with all of the new pool features.

Speaking of the pool, if you have ever swam with me you know that I love pool toys. Seriously, I think our swim coach thinks I have a problem... I probably do. At the end of last year I won an awesome bag of swim swag from and included were Finis Agility Paddles. These are paddles that you can use for all four strokes and so far I'm loving them for breaststroke. Since I tend to have a lot of shoulder problems between swimming and all of the dog walking I do I ordered the Finis Alignment Kickboard. I haven't been to the pool yet to give it a try so I'll do a more detailed post about all of my new pool toys once I've thoroughly tested them all out.

This past weekend I knew it was important to jump back into racing. I've lost a lot of my cardio ability in the past few months and there is never any easy way to get back into it other than to just go. That being said I raced the Dam Run 5k at San Pablo Dam Reservoir this past weekend. I love this course but since I last raced it with Kylie in December I forgot how hard it is when you are actually running the entire distance. Is that hill really right here at the beginning??? I never looked at my watch for pacing I just ran it based on feel since I knew I wouldn't be setting any records and my goal was to just work on getting back into it. The best part was that this one woman tried to pass me a a couple of times on downhill sections but I always reeled her back in on the uphills and ultimately held her off to the finish line. I'm over two minutes off my best time but my run was still good enough for second place in my age group. Then I realized I still would have finished second even if I had run my best time, so phew, good thing I didn't kill myself!

The other great news is that SunRype has selected me to be an Ambassador for 2015. I am super excited to represent this brand as they make all natural fruit snacks. I'm really big on food that contains only natural sugars and their line of snacks are also gluten and nut free. It's safe to say that my kids are uber excited to sample all of the products and flavors. I expect to get my first samples of fruit strips and fruit source early next month, so let me know if you want to try them.

In addition, I am super excited to be coming back for another year as a Champion. I haven't signed all of the paperwork yet, so shhhhh. Don't worry, last year's codes are still good through the end of this month for discounts. If you need one, let me know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Welcome to 2015

I'm easing back into the swing of things over here. I'm still trying to plan my events for 2015, I was disappointed to find out that Mermaid Series is not having their Alameda Triathlon this year. After having a huge PR on that course in 2014 I was really looking forward to racing it again this year. This leaves me the task of having to find other multi-sport events for 2015.

I also discovered that the Moraga Triathlon doesn't really allow me to race and complete in time to assist my kids with doing the kids tri. We are still discussing ideas; one is that Scott and I do it as a relay again. This time I would do the swim portion only and Scott would do the bike and run. I explained to him that meant he would actually have to train and learn how to run off the bike. Last year he pushed so hard on the bike there was no way he could have run, thankfully he didn't have to. In all honestly, he'll still have a faster run leg than me even off the bike. This set-up would allow me to assist the kids in getting set up for the kids portion of the race.

With an uncertain schedule ahead of me, I'm focusing on running and looking at events one month at at a time. Mary Sue and I have signed up for Brazen Racing's Coyote Hills. We've done this before, it's about 3.5 miles and hilly. It's a good way to get back into the swing of things and see where I'm at after two months of being sick with an upper respiratory infection, ear infection and strep throat. Yes, it was a trifecta of fun at my house.

I'm also considering the Dam Run next weekend. My original plan had been to do the 10k at this race, but seeing as how I wasn't able to run for two months I'm considering doing the 5k. Scott and I would both like to race it, and Sydney thinks she wants to as well. Kylie however does not, so we may consider having Kylie stay home with a babysitter so the three of us can run.

The only other sure thing for this year is the Catfish swim. That was a lot of fun last year, so I registered for that early to secure the best pricing.

If you have any favorite mult-sport events that are local let me know!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I'm sure I say this every year, but it's difficult for me to grasp that this is the last day of 2014. There have been so many great milestones this year and I am so thankful for the ability to be active and to teach my children to be active as well. 

Someone asked me the other day what was the last race I had done and I realized that my last three races of the year had been with my girls and my husband. I can't even put into words how much fun it has been to run as a family. While I haven't had much of a chance to work on my own goals at the end of 2014, I have been able to help my young daughters work on and reach their goals. That has given me more pleasure than anything I could accomplish on my own. 

I've been sick for the majority of November and December so I was more than happy to run with my six year old daughter at our last race of the year, The Dam Jingle Bell Run. My husband ran with our nine year old daughter who was excited to run at a smaller race and hopefully earn a 5k PR, even though the course would be hillier than her last two races. 

Kylie needs constant motivation when running, otherwise she will just walk. It seems that Mom knows exactly how much running she can handle and how to motivate her best. We talked along the way and she enjoyed passing by the top runners on their way back to the finish line. We also got to see Sydney and Scott on their way back in before we hit the turn around. Like the Mermaid Run we used visual references to mark how far we would run and how far we would walk. When we reached the crest of the last hill and could see the finish line I told her we had to run all the way in, and she did! Kylie earned a 6+ minute PR. She placed 5/10 of her age group, also being the youngest runner out of all 10 girls! 

When we reached the finish line we found out that Sydney ran the course in 30:33 for a 3+ minute PR! This was when I realized I had a new training partner. She's pretty close to my best 5k time, and I have no doubt she end will up faster than me in 2015. She came in 4th in her age group which was 9-12 years old. Pretty good considering 1st-3rd were all older than her. 

Sydney and I recently went out on our first run together. We ran two miles along the Moraga trail and had a great time. I'm looking forward to many years of some girl time on the trails. 

Post race treats!