Archive for the road Category

Saturday 8/2

Posted in bike, road, running, shoes with tags , , , on August 10, 2014 by afuntanilla

(2 short runs mid week)

After some back in forth in my head, while laying in bed, about whether to ride or not, I.e….whether to get my butt out of bed….I did! Lesson: don’t try to decide whether to go exercise while laying in bed. Most assuredly you will NOT! Thankfully, today, I got vertical and made the coffee….
I don’t have any specific thing I’m training for which also makes the decision to stay cuddled and nestled up under the covers quite easy…but, I knew once I got moving around the house, outside is exactly where I wanted to be!
I only wanted to ride about 16 miles so I rode a partial reverse route of the one I have mentioned lately. As I began, I immediately saw the cyclists who were out on the Marin Century ride (and other distances). An added benefit to see them and be additionally inspired. My buddy, Jason, who I’ve been riding with was doing this 100.
I didn’t know how far into the ride this distance was for them, but the first groups I saw looked like some solid cyclists….fast, focused…
I rode straight up and over Western and hung a left on Chileno Valley. Took that route for about 8 miles out and reversed course. The race group was on the same route and I had to refrain from trying to stay with some of them….had to just ride my pace and do my thing….not always easy sometimes…get excited! Like in running, very cool to see so many different people, different body types, ages, and abilities….from those looking super slim and fit to those who are carrying extra weight….to those who are riding at 25 mph & those who are much more leisurely….they are all out there! Love it!

I had decided when I finished that I would hop off bike and run just a couple. Just because.
I discarded helmet, gloves and exchanged bike shoes for my Nike Flyknits and off I went. Ran 2 at a fast pace and felt really good. I love the way this feels….that transition from bike to run….the movement from pedaling & propelling to the rotation of foot on land…

A good morning. And to think I could have let it go….

Sunday 7/27

Posted in motivation, photos, road, running, shoes, trail with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by afuntanilla

Sunday morning rolled around and after a minor debate in my head about where to run (Marin trails of from home base), I opted the latter. I laced up the HOKA HUAKA (who-ah-ka) shoes for the 2nd day in a row and hit the streets. The morning was almost an exact replica of the day before…clear skies, sun already heating things up a bit at 930am…
Once again, I headed up and over Western and straight ahead. This time, I hung a left on Chileno Valley, the country, rolling road that lead me to the West entrance to Helen Putnam Park. Immediately, I opted for the steepest trail, so steep that I have yet to be able to run this part…I would love to know the degree of steepness. This part is wide, super dry and I’m alternating between hands on quads and not, my breathing is heavier, sweat pouring more frequently and I can hear only my own steps and my own life force….Damn! I love this! I push forward to the top, rewarded with beautiful sweeping views of west petaluma. Catching my breath, I start to run again and make my way down the backside of the park along a windy, downhill narrow trail. I’m back on pavement and already thinking of going cycling after….
2 more miles and I’m back home, changing into my cycling stuff, downing some First Endurance ULTRAGEN and getting my butt in the saddle. I know I am pushing it as I plan to ride the 25.5 mile loop I did 2 weeks ago….but, I just want to. I just wanted to keep being outside, keep moving my body, keep feeling my body working. So. I did.

Locked into my pedals, I headed off on the SpringHill-Chileno Valley route. (man, I hope this doesn’t re-aggravate my hip, hamstrings . Felt good to be on the bike after 2 weeks. Felt good to propel my being forward with the help of this mechanical instrument. And, now that I am wiser and know I can use the small chainring, climbing the hills was a helluva lot easier. Still challenging, but not killing me. I could feel right away that this ride would be slower since I tagged the run on already…but I didn’t care. I kinda got into a meditative space….hard not to when it was just me, the land, the occasional passing vehicle, the sporadic herd of cows, and the open sky that let’s me dream and fantasize, that allows for being in the moment and appreciation, that offers the undaunted optimism I try to carry with me, in my core, in my soul.
I was a little more than half-way on the route, when another cyclist came up beside me….Jason! My buddy who rode this route with me last time! He was on his way home….would be riding a total of 80 miles today!! Fun to see him and ride the rest of the way together. It was just delightful & beautiful all the way around. The sun was beating down on us, with only an occasional splash of soft wind. With about a mile left, he left my side for his way home. Just over the hill, my wheels turned up on the sidewalk in front of my home. Sunday workout complete and feeling FULL!

Damn! I love to move and everyday I am grateful for my health! All parts feeling good!

Hope you are getting outside, stretching your heart, pushing your limitations. Why not?

Saturday 7/26/14

Posted in road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by afuntanilla

Saturday: a cloudless blue sky, west side heat rising and I am out the door 2 hours later than I wanted. No doubt, the extra time with head on pillow did my full body some good.
I look out at the quiet streets…to the right, to the left, and then go in the direction that called me again, the route that beckoned me forth….to the right.
Wearing my newly purchased HOKA HUAKA shoes for the 3rd time, I am slowly becoming familiar with their feel on my feet, with my stride in these new kicks. All the while, hyper cognizant of what my hamstring is telling me….I sense it continuing to feel better, looser, and so I proceed ahead with a little less caution.
In full sun exposure, cap down, I head up and over the 1st hill that takes me to the other side….where the quiet dominates and the cows roam; where the golden grass on the hillsides lies so still in this mid summer elevated heat. The houses become fewer and fewer as I make my way up the steep slope that is SpringHill. My legs now slowing moving up this lumpy, broken, pot-hole filled country road. Passing my Eucalyptus tree marker from last week, I rise just a bit more to my new benchmark and turn around. I have a plan, a goal…

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My legs welcome the descent and follow the route from last Saturday. Running past a lavender farm, & broken, empty sheds, the small rolling hills and I are becoming friends. Fast. I’ve seen you here before.

Greedily, I suck down and swallow my hammer nutrition gel and am thankful for it and the water to slosh it down. Water. Such a necessity.

Straight ahead and then to the right…Passing a home where once an unforeseen romance blossomed across coasts, cookies were made, and love shook the soul…

After the straightaway, I hang a right and am back among the busy-ness of a road that begs for attention. My meditation is over, my life is more at stake here on the busy bodega highway.

Down and away I run at a faster clip on this final downward sloping mile to the place I call home….

An easy 6 in the log book….

Cautiously moving ahead

Posted in motivation, road, running, trail with tags , , , , , on July 26, 2014 by afuntanilla

Ever since my that cycle session on the indoor bike, I have been having some hip & hamstring issues. I’ve stayed off of he bike now for almost 2 weeks and although the issues are still lingering on like a fly you just cannot get out if your space, they have improved. I’ve found an excellent massage therapist and got some needed attention in both affected areas. I have been implementing new stretches I have found to be helpful. I’ve done some runs and really just tried to pay attention and not do myself further harm.
Last weekend, I ran a solid, easy 6 with rolling hills. Part of the route is the beginning of the bike route I did 2 weeks ago with a friend. I just have in my mind that I will run that entire route….25.5 miles…..I just want to! It’s challenging and gorgeous. If my fall/winter running plans play out like I hope they will, then this would definitively be a good idea to have that route as a long training run.

Sunday, I drove down to Marin and headed out on the trails….Tennessee Valley. I had not done any running on those trails in about 8 months! I actually got a bit lost which was kinda fun. I ended up hooking up with a pack of local runners and one of them even recognized me from our work office building. Turns out he works in the same building as I and recognized me. Neat coincidence….he is the race director for the upcoming Headlands 50k race in August, run on those very trails. All in all. I did 9 miles with about 1400 ft elevation gain.

I’m not in any pain while running, I just notice the limitations which is mostly in the form of not being able to fully push off of my right leg. This is turn has caused me to go slower which is frustrating.

I want to get back on the bike to continue with the diversity, but am a little nervous…..

big ring, little ring and a lot of space

Posted in bike, gym, photos, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on July 17, 2014 by afuntanilla

My body feels tired. I just got up from an hour long nap. These types of naps are not uncommon…a few days a week, I take the pleasure of these wonderful opportunities to rest my body. I’m thankful I have the time to do so. I wake early for work and when I get home mid-late afternoon, if I can sneak in a 30-60 minute nap , I indulge. Even so, my body, right this minute, feels tired. Or, more accurately, sore. My legs feel stiff, heavy. My hips and lower back are tight and need stretching. My right upper leg/hip are are especially tight and generally feel out of whack….I know this is because of my cycling and more specifically from the session I did last week on an indoor bike at the gym. As I am new to consistent cycling, I now realize, that riding on the gym bike was a bad rookie move. And, I am still paying the price 6 days later. For the last 6 weeks, I have been consistently riding my own bike and getting familiar with it…learning it’s ways, getting to know the feel of it under my body. The gym bike was, of course, a general bike for anyone. As soon as I took my seat and began pedaling, I physically felt all sorts of wrong. Especially in my seat area and I could not adjust it to feel better. So, being me, I just do what I do; hammer away and through the planned workout of 40 minutes cycling. This was after a fast 20 minute run on treadmill. (Why did I do this inside? Because for a shorter ride like this, it’s not really safe or easy to ride on the roads in town after work. I thought it would be easier to do this short back-to-back workout at the gym)

Anyways…I rode and when I tried to peddle a bit faster, I could feel a strain on my right side because I was just not seated correctly. When I finished the workout, I felt fine. I even thought maybe I should have gone longer or pushed harder….
Well, the next day, I was in a world of hurt. The tightness and soreness in my legs/hips were nothing I have experienced in quite some time. It was this unfamiliar soreness within a myriad of muscle groups that have not seen much action. I know what soreness from running is and what it feels like. I have been getting to know the soreness from MY bike….but, THIS…..this was the unknown and the wicked, wicked witch of the west! I was hobbling along during the day…walking in all sorts of crooked manners to try to deal with it. I needed help so got a last minute massage that definitely helped. Hips, hamstrings, gluteus, and back got all the attention!
So, it IS fair to say I won’t be riding at the gym again. Probably ever!
I took 2 days off from any exercise and then had a slow, a bit awkward, 50 minute run in Golden Gate park on Saturday. Awkward because the area in my upper hamstring/right hip area continues to feel off.

As the week went on, I realized how tight all these aforementioned muscle groups are and so have been trying to spend time daily to loosen them up with different stretches. Lots of hip flexor stretching! I’ve know all along for years this area was tight, but it’s a whole new level of tightness now! Anyway, was glad to get the Saturday run in and then on Sunday, I went for a bike ride with a friend. He is a pretty experienced cyclist who rides for a local team and races. This was the first time going out together. We spoke a few weeks ago and I said I could go with him when he needed a slow/recovery ride. He had ridden 85 miles on Saturday in the Sierras, so a recovery ride on Sunday was in order for him. I was excited and a bit intimidated, of course. I just wanted to not slow him down too much.

Let me preface this next part by saying I’ve had my bike for 10 years and it’s a nice bike with good components, however, I don’t know much about the “mechanics” or when to use what and why…a rookie, you know!
And for the past 6 weeks, I have been riding in the county with some slight hills, nothing major, but some rides have more rolling hills and such, so it is a challenge.

So, we leave from my house and after the first familiar stretch, instead of turning left, we decide to go on his loop so I can do something different, which is straight ahead. Up a nice long steady steep stretch…which was also a very bumpy and rough road. I’m riding along in my easier gear and going as well as I can and staying close. We finally get to the downhill and let it go and it is FUN!!! But also scary (for me) because I was going so fast over this bumpy ass road and my eyes were watering from the cool temps and I had trouble seeing a few seconds here and there through my glasses. I was holding on to my handlebars….holding on for dear life it felt like. I definitely felt out of control at some points because I couldn’t see the bumps in the road all that well and was freaked out I was gonna fly off the bike! Whew! A thrill! Crazy and scary and an opportunity for me to figure out my own comfort levels of speed on a road like such!
As we rode along, he was checking me out and how I fit on my bike, etc…he was asking me about my gears and telling me to switch to my smaller chainring. I’m like “what??”. He goes on to explain the whole OTHER set of gears I have on the left hand side of the bars. (Remember, I am a rookie) He proceeds to tell me what those are for…the small chainring is for me to use when I am climbing steep hills…like the one we did earlier. He could not believe I did that hill in my Big chainring because it makes it THAT MUCH HARDER! When I used it on some remaining hills, I was shocked and amazed at how much easier it was! DUH!!!!!!
We both got quite a laugh out of this!

It does beg the questions though of; what did I think those gears were for and why didn’t I ever think to look into it? I know I have 2 chainrings and know I had not been using the smaller one, so why didn’t I question this? All long, I was using my easiest gear on my BIG ring, but I could have made my experiences that much easier and more comfortable had I known about the other…

This lesson…it is not lost on me…the making things hard no when they could be so much easier.
I can’t help but ask; “how is that like my life?”

I’m laughing!!

It was really fun to ride with my friend who is quite experienced. Can’t wait to do it again! Oh, and he gave me quite a few compliments on my riding ability/strength so I definitely take that as a positive! 🙂

Later that day, early evening, I just felt like getting on the trails. I went up to Helen Putnam and ran/hiked for another 50 minutes. Loved and appreciated the beauty, quiet, and space of both activities right in my backyard!

Wednesday: 20 minute run, 40 minute bike

Saturday: 50 minute run, Golden Gate Park

Sunday: 25.5 mile bike ride (morning); 50 minutes trail run/hike (evening)

 

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update…

Posted in bike, motivation, photos, random, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by afuntanilla


Been running, cycling, kayaking (for the 2nd time ever), flew a kite (barely…for the 1st time) hanging at beach…all outside my door and/or within 1 hour drive. This is why I live in the Bay Area! 

Got into riding my bike in June more than ever before. Probably will sign up for a short Duathlon in August. Have really been enjoying adding the cycling bit to my days. Even more, I like the what it feels like to Run after cycling. And, i’m finding my pace is even faster…which is really fascinating.

I have done 1 duathlon in the past….way back in 2005 after I first got my bike. That was when i lived in Atlanta. I’m looking forward to doing this one in the near future. I definitely have not been running as many miles, but the ones I am doing have all been quality, so i’m ok with that. I need to spend more time on bike to increase my abilities here. I may do another half-marathon in early SEPT. Still undecided….

June:

Cycling = 130.3 miles

Running = 53 miles

Included in this is 5 sessions of bike+run.

Am enjoying this variation of training, both how it feels physically and how I am sparked to learn more about how to improve my cycling, how to ride in various conditions, etc…it’s a whole new world…cycling. And, it’s pretty fun to go downhill!!

July is off to a strong start and i’m looking forward to seeing what I can do! The kayaking was ok…after an hour, I got kinda bored. LOL — I need more speed, I guess!!

Toeing the Line

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 27, 2014 by afuntanilla

I don’t race many 10k races….or at least I haven’t done so in the past 5 years. I ran many of them in the late 90’s. Yet, as I have now been sticking to longer distances, the 10k race has kinda fallen away from my radar. Since the beginning of the year, or at least since February, I’ve made more of an effort to work on speed. I’ve done some work here, but honestly nothing too intense or rigorous. Running the longer distances has a way of making me feel really slooooow. Granted, some of this is probably because I don’t vary the training enough. Anyways…i’ve tried to make an effort to increase speed to a level that is satisfactory. So far this year, I ran a 5 miler and a 15k, both with finishes I was pleased with. The 15k was run at 9:13 pace and the 5 miler at 8:46 pace.  I wanted to get in another short race so I signed up for a local 10k in Marin County.

I ran the course last weekend so that I would be familiar come race day. I had been in the general area before, but not too much. Running the course gave me the opportunity to see the gorgeous surroundings….basically the first 3-4 miles are all through Kentfield and Ross, which are 2 of the most beautiful (and expensive areas) in the Bay Area. Quiet, lovely streets with huge trees all around. (The trees would provide much needed shade on a warm race day morning.)

 

IMG_0927After this area, the course popped onto the College of Marin Campus and onto a paved path that travels the outskirts of the campus for a mile and then basically loops back through Larkspur and ends with a 3/4 lap around the college track. Very Cool Finish!

So, race morning came and I figured the crowd would be full of some very fast runners. Man, was I correct! This was actually a Championship Race for Pacific-Association USA Track and Field and there were some nice monetary awards for the best club teams as well as top individuals. So, it was no surprise when I showed up in the parking area and was feeling a bit intimidated by the array of people in their Club Tanks…Tamalpa Runners, West Marin Track Club, etc… This was NOT your typical local 10k. Everyone looked super fit. Anyhow…soon we were off and I was just trying to stay focused on my personal goal which was to finish between 56-57 minutes. My running in the last month (since the 5 mile race) has not been a lot. I did a lot of short runs and only ran 6 miles once, which was last weekend. I was running 3-5 mile stints at about 8:45-9:15 pace but i wasn’t sure what I could do on race day.

Off we went and the first 2 miles felt fast. I ran 1st at 8:40 and 2nd at 8:48 and HR felt pretty high. I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace and kept telling myself to slow down. But, I didn’t. Mile 3 was 8:48 also. Again, I told myself to slow down or else I might not have enough come mile 5 etc… So, I did. I also carried my own water, which was needed as there were only 2 water stops and honestly, I have NO idea how people ran this race at those fast paces with not much water. It was pretty warm.  I actually stopped for about 20 seconds after mile 3 just to get my HR down a bit. Keeping on, I was in a nice groove and around 4 other runners and we were all running together. A slight shift ahead for one of us and then the other. It was fun to be in this mini race within a race. The jockeying and surveying….3 women and 2 men. The 2nd half of the race, I slowed down. My pace was 9:25 but the 5 of us kept hanging together. Until the last 3/4 miles…I pulled ahead and thought i was in the clear to the finish. At about 1/4 mile to go, one of the other women passed me and I could not catch her. She ran well. I did rev it up for the last bit, I was just not able to stay with her. As I crossed the finish line and put my hands on my knees, hunched over, I thought: ” i could not have pushed any harder.” And that was my truth at that moment. As I write this now, hours later, recovered and all, I can’t help but wonder: “could I have? Could I have pushed harder and at what point could I have done so?”

I think that’s what we do…that’s what runners do…we wonder and we question. We beg to know what we are capable of on any given day. Or at least, I am!

But, for today, Yes…I am satisfied with my effort & the result. I pushed my body hard and enjoyed the challenge, both externally and internally.

Watch Finish Time: 6.3 miles/56:47/8:59 pace

Official Chip Time: 6.2 miles/56:45/9:08 pace

I prefer the watch finish time, but oh well!

 

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So, what’s next???

 

 

 

Races, Data…

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, shoes with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by afuntanilla

I ran another short race this past Sunday. A very short 5 miler in the town where I live. I love traveling for races, but it was actually nice to have zero stress about anything related to logistics…nice to run something local for fun and the money all went to one of the local high school’s track programs.

It was an interesting choice for me in that I really didn’t like the course. It is almost entirely run on a narrow path around a marsh and then a park. The marsh part of the path is fine, with packed dirt, but the park part is all on loose gravel. This might just be my LEAST favorite type of surface to run on…I just don’t feel like I get an traction with each step. It’s a peaceful, beautiful path…and nice to walk, but for me, the running on it is just not idea.

However, I sucked it up and signed up…for fun and to test my “speed.”

It was a nice, cool morning. Good enough for shorts and my long sleeve Under Armour technical shirt. I was also pretty happy to be sportin my new ON-RUNNING kicks! These are super cool shoes, my 2nd pair by the company. I will write more on them later. A good gathering of the local peeps and at 8:30am, off we went on our Sunday Test.

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I thought I would do no better than 45 minutes, actually. 9:00 pace. I was excited and ready to see what was possible. I had no water, no music. nothing. felt so free. Except for the fact that I really needed some water and the 1st place to get it was not until 3 mile mark. I am just one of those people who need water at least 1x/mile, especially if I am pushing it, which I was. We went though parking lots, over to the marsh and then onto the loose rock path. 1st mile was 8:27 but it didn’t feel that fast so I wasn’t too worried about the pace, but i also didn’t want to have a severe drop off come mile 4. Mile 2 was a bit slower, about 8:45 pace. I would have liked to have had my heart rate info, but something is not working with it. I even bought a new battery and it still is not synching with my Suunto watch…so no HR info for now. Anyways, by now I was really looking for the water stops and it wasn’t until another mile. I grabbed some and walked a few steps. Mile 3 was about 9:15. Got more water around mile 4 so that slowed me a bit too, 9:12. I guess this last mile I just took off because the data show mile 5 at 8:10 pace. Wow. Didn’t really know that til looking at my watch stats. Pretty cool. I can tell you I was not smiling as I ran that last mile, especially the last 1/2 mile. I was pushing hard and even as I crossed the finish line, no smiles. Painful.

THEN, the smiles came! WOOT WOOT! Very happy with this result and even came in 4th place in my age group.

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So, I think it’s important to give some data on the race stats to give some perspective to the result. Of course, I’m happy. but i also realize the TOTAL number of runners at a race like this is NOT HUGE.  Then again, 4th is 4th. 🙂

Here’s the breakdown:

Age Group: F 40-44.  40 runners.  4th place

All Females: 259 total / me  27th place

All Runners: 394 total / me  101st place

I also want to share the stat breakdown from the Portland 15k race I did a month ago.

Age Group: F 40-44  681 runners. 163rd place

All Females: 4518 total; me  1126th

All Runners: 8826 total; me  3507th

 

Before I started running marathons in 2000, I was faster at the shorter distances. Of course, I was also younger. 🙂

Regardless, I know I have more gears I can tap into to get faster. So….what’s next???

Of Late

Posted in races, road, running, trail with tags , , on April 11, 2014 by afuntanilla

The spring weather here in NorCal has been interesting these past 2 weeks. First we had quite a bit of rain where the temps were cool-ish, then this past week, the temps have been all in the 70’s….with a day or 2 touching 80 degrees. I mention this because I do think my body has some reaction to even just this type of change. I tried running last Saturday after 2-3 days off and felt horrible. After 1.6 miles, I just walked. Sunday ran 5, but still didn’t feel quite right. How did I feel? Tired! Lethargic, achy, sore. What surprised me was the degree to which I felt this way considering the level of exercise I had been doing which was not too much. Continued to feel a bit strange the next few days. Did some other short runs this week and am now feeling much better. Weird. Anyone else have really noticeable physical reactions to weather? Maybe I am just getting old, LOL….which is also something that has been on my mind. Age and our bodies and physical performance and all that!

I’m signed up to race a 5 miler this Sunday in the town I actually live in. Can you believe it? Actually doing a race where I live? 🙂
I’m not crazy at the course, but I volunteered for the race 2 years ago and enjoyed the atmosphere. Also, the proceeds go to a local high school and their athletic dept so I like to support that of course!

After this race, I believe I will start getting back on the trails. I’m thinking of racing Double Dipsea. Not signed up just yet, but thinking about it! In June, I think.

Go get outside and do your thing!

Day 3 in Portland; The Main Event

Posted in motivation, photos, races, road, running, travel with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

My 3rd and final day in Portland was the day of The Main Event; The Adidas Shamrock 15k Race.
My morning began at 5:30am. Made hotel coffee, and ate my customary Clif Bar and banana. I sat and looked outside my hotel window and the still darkened sky, the streets so delicate in their Sunday morning quiet….those same streets would soon be lit up and come upon by 35,000 runners participating in either 5k, 8k, or 15k mile distances. This gray, overcast morning would soon be adorned with bodies of all shapes, sizes, ages, and color wearing their traditional Green race shirts!
Time to get on with the party.

I walked the short 3/4 mile from hotel to starting line and it was a tad chilly. I wore nothing to keep me warm as I figured as soon as I began running, I would be fine. This was true, however the 30 minute wait until the starting line popped open was chilly. Thankfully, the gathering crowd of excited runners and the beauty of the morning along the Willamette River distracted me from being cold. These are the moments that are so fun and if you have ever done a road race or any race, you know what I mean….I love just taking it all in, absorbing the moment, and watching the congregating of a bunch of strangers on a street to go run their hearts out. Absolutely love it.
I looked across the river to the east side and smiled at the grayish-bluish sky emerging from the darkness. There is nothing quite like the beauty of a morning, is there?? I think that is why I am an early riser…I hate missing it!

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The combination of the walk to starting line and some time warming up along the rivers pathway, I felt loose and ready to go. I was actually gonna RACE, not just go for a run! My goal was to have a finish sometime between 1:26-1:28 which would be an average pace of 9:15-9:28 per mile. Obviously, I was hoping to be closer to the 1:26 finish. I thought my chance was good if all went well, so we were about to see!
The first mile is headed south and flat, going in the opposite direction of downtown where race began. After mile 1, you make a left turn and head back towards downtown and it’s basically straight & flat for the next 2-3 miles. The crowds were sparse in the beginning but there were some festive folks out…a few fellas playing the bagpipes and another band I think. On the north side of downtown, the small climb started as we ran next to Portland State University and then up more to pass Oregon Health & Science laboratory and Marquam Park. These were miles 3.5-6 approximately and they were a steady incline along wide windy roads. Beautiful and serene atop the higher areas. I was doing well on time. My first 2 miles were actually less than 9 minutes each and I made a conscious decision to slow down or else I might have nothing left in the later miles. The total ascent was only 550-600 feet, but I could feel it as I have run nothing but flat in preparation. I did some repeat hill sessions, but nothing major. Anyways, I was feeling good as I was watching my time and passing the mile markers. I was taking a gel every 2 miles and this was perfect. I was pushing throughout, but as the descent started to occur I really took off and pushed harder. I had lost some time on the climb and I wanted to make sure to beat my goal since I was now so close !!
Heart pounding, legs aching….absolute total focus. I was single-minded and out of my crazy mind and nothing else mattered except my strides, one after the other….keep going you are doing good, you are gonna make it, you are gonna make it…. (hey, nice legs 🙂 

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Breathe. Push. Keep going! I was aware of everything and nothing. Such a cool, amazing feeling.
Running the last mile, it was a straightaway and I could see the finish line. I never let up…push, push, push Ang…

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Finish time 1:25:46
Average pace per mile: 9:13

Very freaking happy with this. It shows my training has paid off. Everything came together on this particular morning. I was happy and delighted and proud of my efforts!

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Another cool thing in addition to the race shirts I received was this unique race “medal”…a bottle opener! i love it. IMG_0850

I happily walked back to hotel and spent the rest of my morning/afternoon back in the Pearl District. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Cafe Isabel and then roamed around with my travel pack before heading to the airport and home. IMG_0849

A fun and full weekend in this Pacific Northwest city I have been wanting to visit! Thank you, Portland!!

What’s next…….