Half Marathon Training Wrap Up!

 

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Spoiler Alert: We survived!

This last week of training was fairly straight forward. We had two runs scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday with the option of either 4 or 5 miles each of those days.  I decided to make them both 5 milers, while my hubby went with 5 on Tuesday and 4 on Thursday. My average pace Tuesday was 9:51 and Thursday was 9:41. I don’t know why one was a little faster than the other, it was the same course and same time of day. The only difference was that it was raining pretty hard on Tuesday with a decent wind to contend with, so perhaps that affected me more than I realized.

 

 

 

I have been so nervous about my back injury and this half marathon, that I have been really scaling back other activities. I did go climbing a couple times this week, but didn’t try anything too hard. When Saturday rolled around we made our way into Seattle to pick up our race packets at the runners expo.

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It was really starting to sink in that this was going to happen! We decided to sign up for the morning VIP package. This is a pre-race option that would allow us to park at the finish line, take a shuttle to the start and a continental breakfast would be available to us. We also would benefit from a private gear check and, most importantly, flush toilets just for the the VIP group. We have done this at other races and have never regretted spending the money for this perk. However, the start time for this year was 6:30am which meant that we had to catch the shuttle at 4:30am! Factoring the drive to the parking garage and getting ready for the run meant getting up at 3:30am! We were not sure that this was a brilliant idea this time.

Saturday evening, we decided to take a Yin Yoga and Gong Bath class. If you are not familiar, Yin yoga focuses on holding static poses for longer periods of time to allow for greater stretching of the muscles. A Gong Bath is effectively meditation with background music played on a variety of gongs and chimes. Our thought was that this would give our muscles a good stretch, before we made them work really hard the next day, and help relax us and wind down before the race on Sunday. Did it work? I think so. My back was less tight and we were happy to have the diversion from thinking about running 13 miles the next morning!

The big day finally came on Sunday. We got up at 3:30am (ugh) and made our way to the start at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington. We immediately saw the wisdom of the VIP package as the line for the honey buckets was the worst I have ever seen at any race in which we have participated. 20,000 people registered for the Seattle Rock n’ Roll and about 250 were in the VIP area. We had coffee (several cups), bagels and yogurt parfaits. Not to mention space heaters! Both my hubby and I made several trips to the bathrooms and the runners outside were lucky to get one. Yes, I will be sticking with the VIP option for future races!

The course this year was a little easier than last year, which I appreciated! My husband was in the fast wave and I started about 30 minutes later. I was nervous about my curtailed training the last few weeks, but it went just fine. Actually better than fine!

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I managed an average pace of 10:15 and had my fastest half marathon to date! This was my third half and the fastest as I finished in 2:16.  I was shocked as my only goal was to keep running the entire route and be able to walk, with my back intact, the next day.  I did a lot better than that-so grateful my body held together.

My husband absolutely crushed this course finishing in 1:38! That’s a 7:20ish pace and a PR for him! Not too shabby for only his second half marathon. Unfortunately, he really pushed it and was hobbling around for the rest of Father’s Day! He laid on the couch and watched the US Open and rehabilitated.

We are both happy and grateful to be healthy and active at this point in our lives. We are planning another half in the fall, but have a lot more to do before that! I want to really hit the climbing routes now that I don’t have to hold back anymore. I also want to start up golf lessons again, provided I keep healing!

Thanks to all of you who were supportive and for your words of encouragement, both on the blog and Instagram, I really appreciate your positivity!

half medals

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Half Marathon Training, Week 15 Update!

This is it! My last update before we run the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon on June 18th, Father’s Day. It is hard to believe that we are only a week away from the day. It seemed so far away when we began training 16 weeks ago.

This last week was really tough for me. My back is slowly, so slowly getting better, and I have been stressing over it. We got back from our Vegas trip on Monday and had a 12 mile run scheduled for Tuesday. It did not go well!

 

map of 10 mile run

I really struggled to get this 10 miles done and had hit the wall and could not go 2 more without possibly doing more damage to my back. At this point I was beginning to question if the half was a good idea. Sure, I could walk the rest but what is the point of that! Even with the struggle my time was not that hideous at 10:38 average pace. But I was in pain and dejected!

When Thursday rolled around, I hit my usual trail for the 4 mile assignment. Even though my pace was faster I still felt exhausted and it seemed like this was such a hard 4 miles-How was I going to do 13!

 

thursdays run

I was dreading the 6 mile run today. I have been so down and stressed about my injury and my pace. And then I decided to change my narrative. Today is a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. The type of day we all dream about here when it is dark and raining for 3 months straight. I took a look around and saw the kayakers gliding down the slough, the bikers dusting off their cycles and all the families out enjoying the sunshine. I decided I was going to relax and just run. The pace and mileage would take care of itself! I did not push myself or set a specific goal, just ran because I love to.  It turned out to be the break my mind and body needed. I had the most enjoyable run of the last two weeks since I hurt my back!

run today

My pace was 10:04/mile and that is not bad for me! We are heading into the taper week and have 4-5 mile runs on both Tuesday and Thursday and then the half on Sunday! We will be carb loading both Friday and Saturday night, and have booked a Gong yoga class Saturday night to relax and stretch our mind and body.

I am hoping to have a recap of the event to post as the wrap up to this project next week.

Wish us luck!

 

 

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 week 14

 

 

May 30

5 miles

1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4 miles

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

carb load

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

Poker, Pool Time and Pigging out in Las Vegas!

My husband and I recently joined three other couples for a long weekend in Las Vegas. The goals: gamble, eat good food and enjoy the warm weather for a few days. We exceeded all expectations and came home full, pink skinned and really tired! It was pretty much what one would expect of a group of empty nesters getting together and blowing off a little steam.

The four couples all had different arrival times and we arrived thursday evening.

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View from our plane

We flew in around 2pm and it was well over 90ºF. We made our way to the Aria Resort and Casino. We have stayed there several times and really like its location on the strip, the restaurants and the pools. I am partial to their fitness and spa center as well. I took a few pictures of the exterior of the Aria.

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This view is from one of the three pools,  looking back toward one of the towers

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This view is from one of the other pools

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aria pool

This is the pool where we spent most of our time

 

My hubby wanted to head straight for the pool that first night, I had a hard time getting him to leave but we finally made our way to dinner.

den at aria

This was our only night that we dinned alone as our friends were still arriving from various destinations. We chose to dine at Bardot Brasserie. The food was French and delicious! bardot restaurant

We started off with the King Crab Crepe. A buckwheat crepe filled with trumpet mushrooms, sunny -side egg, and a Normandy cider beurre blanc. It was outstanding!

buckwheat crepe

My entree was the Salmon Aux Lentilles prepared with King salmon, beluga lentils with a smoked tomato vinaigrette. This trip was starting out on a great foot!

salmon and lentils

The next day was Friday and that meant that my hubby was in a poker tournament all day. He plays the WSOP events in June and it is variable as to how long he will be in the casino. If all goes well he will start at 10am and play until 2am the next morning! Or he could be out in an hour! So, I decided to get a message at the Aria spa to help work on my back injury. So glad I did! My back did feel better from the masseuse and the jets in the hot tub. Meanwhile my husband played all day Friday, until he was out. Unfortunately, that turned out to be sooner rather than later!

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No big poker winnings this year! We met up with our friends and had dinner at Javier’s, a Mexican restaurant at Aria. This was my least favorite meal on our trip. It wasn’t bad, I had the callitos mazatlan which were pan seared scallops with a chipotle sauce and the ubiquitous rice and beans found at every Mexican restaurant. No pictures, it was a typical and well executed meal.

We spent the rest of the evening in a lounge listening to live music (very good live music) and having a few too many cocktails-we had a blast!

Saturday we all had some personal time until our dinner and show reservations that evening. I decided to head to my two favorite hotels on the strip. My husband and I took the Aria tram to the Bellagio. We have stayed there several times and love the interior of this casino.

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The tram cycles between the Aria, The shops at Crystals and the Bellagio

In just a few minutes we were at the Bellagio, me with my camera in hand. The Bellagio is bright, airy and colorful. It is impossible to capture any one image that will convey all the amazing scenery. I have highlighted a couple examples that really speak to me every time I visit.

 

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This is one of many domed skylights which allows light into the long corridors

 

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These gorgeous arrangements are on every table top as you weave your way through the walkways into the main buildiing 

 

One of my favorite shops of all time is Jean Philippe Patisserie and I visit every time I am in Vegas.

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This is where you will find the largest chocolate fountain in the world. It runs from floor to ceiling and has milk, dark and white chocolate pools

And, of course, there is the pastries!

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A truly stunning experience!

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The patisserie is close to the conservatory and botanical garden that showcases floral artwork. This season is dedicated to the Chinese new year. This is just a small fraction of what there was to see!

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The detail was amazing! As you leave the conservatory area you enter the main lobby of the Bellagio. The ceiling is covered with glass flowers made by Seattle’s own Dale Chihuly. Even though he is right here in my own backyard, I marvel at this ceiling every time I visit Vegas.

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We travelled down the long corridor to the exit of the Bellagio, on our way to the Paris Hotel and Casino. There were a few more beautiful ceiling elements along the way.

We exited the building and crossed the street. We entered Pairs hotel and immediately felt the ambiance change. Where Bellagio was bright and open, Paris was darker and had the feel of Europe in the middle ages. It was as if we were in underground Paris in the 1800s.

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It is like you are at an illegal club!

 

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The sky ceiling is similar to the one in Caesars Palace

 

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The building facades look so real

 

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This could be any shopping avenue in Paris

 

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The French have there own version of amazing pastries to choose from!

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This Chinese restaurant is stunning!

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They really captured that nighttime feel.

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This is my favorite Creperie, anywhere! I always have a crepe when visiting Vegas from this shop. Today the hubby and I split a Monte Cristo crepe. Ham, Swiss cheese with strawberry sauce, powdered sugar and basil. Just the perfect lunch!

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crepe at paris

Then it was time to head back to the Aria and meet up with our friends. There were a few sights on the way back!

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Our dinner reservations that evening were at the steak house, Mastro’s Ocean Club at the shops at Crystals. This was a fantastic meal! The restaurant is in an old tree house that now sits at the heart of the mall. It is two stories and we were seated inside this structure. More importantly the food was killer! If you have never tried Wagyu beef (and you have an extra kidney to sell to afford it) I do recommend it!

maestros dinner

We throughly enjoyed this meal and then set out to see Zumanity, a Cirque du soliel show at New York, New York Hotel and Casino. If you like nude acrobats then you will love this show!

Sunday morning I got up early and ran 4 miles. It was hot (81°F at 6:15am), hard and full of stairs but I needed to work off some of the “fun” I had been consuming! Plus we are still half marathon training! The hubby said no to accompanying me and we all reconvened at the pool for our last day of mini vacation. I posted a picture on Instagram of my shoes taking a break by the pool. I caught my husband trying to steal one of the drinks.

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This trip was a bit of a whirlwind, looking back I did not get the right amount of sleep or eat as healthy as I would have liked, but we all need a crazy, fun break every once in a while!

Oh, and as for gambling

the only time i won

This was the best result I had the entire time!

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Half Marathon Training, Week 13 Update!

so true

This was not my best week. It started out great with a decent 5 mile run on Tuesday. I ran a 9:51 average pace, not my best but not too bad.  I followed that up with a faster 4 mile/9:37 average on Thursday.  I was feeling good about the week in general and really looking forward to our first warm Memorial Day Weekend since 1995 (no, I am not exaggerating that date!). When Friday rolled around I was really up for our 11 mile scheduled run the next day (Saturday) and it was glorious outside so my husband and I decided to hit the driving range early in the afternoon. I have just started swinging the driver and wanted to practice. I began to notice that my back was unhappy, and as I worked my way through the bucket of balls, it became more painful. I did end my practice early but didn’t really think too much about my back.

We usually go climbing on Friday nights so, of course, I wasn’t going to let a little pain stop me! I thought I was being careful by only climbing easier routes, but as the night went on it was clear that I had actually done something significant to my back. There was no way I would be able to run 11 miles the next morning, or even half that distance. My hubby went on without me, and I had to watch! I have spent the last three days icing, heating and alternating between Aleve, Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I have not climbed, run, golfed or done yoga for three days!!! ENOUGH. I am going crazy!! Just like the quote above says: once you are used to regular exercise it is impossible to quit!

conan crying

We leave for Vegas on Thursday and we need to change up our schedule to avoid running a 12 mile gauntlet in the desert in June! So, here is the new plan to survive week 14.

 

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May     2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

6miles

16

 

17

10miles

18

 

19

 

20

5miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

June 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable June Calendar. Downloaded from WinCalendar.com

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

 

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

Notes:

I don’t care what my back thinks, tomorrow I am running and I hope to make it 5 miles. Then we will run  4 miles Thursday morning before our flight. I did miss the 11 mile run and want to do some mileage in Vegas, it may only be 4 miles but 5 or 6 would be wonderful. Then we will hit the 12 miles the day after we get back. At that point, we should be back to the regular week 15 schedule.

I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyed the long weekend! Summer is right around the corner!

Half Marathon Training, Week 12 Update!

running

This was a crazy week as far as activity was concerned. We left on Thursday for a rock climbing trip (stay tuned for an upcoming post on that one!) so we had to rearrange our running schedule a bit to accommodate the travel time. Instead of  6 miles on Tuesday,  5 miles on Thursday and 10 miles on Saturday, I chose to run on 6 on Monday, the 10 on Wednesday and then we both ran together on Sunday. Since I shifted my days and mileage around, I wound up running 26 miles in a 5 day span-definetly a new record for me!

Monday’s 6 miles went well and I managed to stay at a 9:50 average, even though I had run 10 miles just two days prior. That is really good for me!

Wednesday I went into Seattle to run 10 around Green Lake. My hubby was at work that day and decided he didn’t need a 10 mile run this week. So, I was on my own.

tuesday 10

The first 5 miles I had pretty consistent splits varying between 10:04-10:08, but after that I steadily gained time to end with the 10:12 average. The next day we drove for 6 hours to central Oregon for our climbing trip-so fun! We climbed and hiked all day Friday and Saturday, so no time for running until Sunday morning. We looked for a path near our motel and found a paved trail that ran through a canyon. By this point in the trip we had seen a lot of sun, and were feeling the heat on our red skin, but we toughed it out! I ran a little over 5 and my husband went for 6 miles.

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Then we went back to the motel, showered, picked up our kids at the climbing park and rode 7 hours back home. Whew! It was a crazy trip but we fit it all in! Next week we go back to our regular schedule and have a 5 mile, 4 mile and 11 mile plan. The runs are getting longer and harder, but we are getting closer to the big day!

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May 2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

6miles

16

 

17

10miles

18

 

19

 

20

5miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

Half Marathon Training, Week 11 update!

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This is my new motto!

It’s Monday and I am a little late with this update. Normally, I would post this weekly update on Sunday, or the rare Saturday posting, but this Sunday was Mother’s Day so I was busy being pampered and showered with gifts-it’s good to be me sometimes!

We had a 6 mile, 5 mile and 10 mile run scheduled this week. Tuesday’s 6 mile was a little slow for me, for some reason. Not sure why, I know I can’t blame the weather because is was 50°F and dry which is basically my sweet weather spot for running. But Thursday’s 5 mile was closer to my regular pace. It was also a really nice day here at 57°F and cloudy. I have finally been able to put my long running pants away!

When Saturday rolled around I was a little nervous. This was the first double digit run since last fall when we ran the Vancouver Rock n’ Roll half in October. I felt pretty good about the 9 mile run last week, but this is week 11 and I have only missed one 5 mile training run because I was having so much fun prepping for my colonoscopy. We have also been climbing a lot (more on that in a minute) and I am starting to feel a little tired. I am not injured (knock on wood) but it does start to add up for me. So, when we started the drive into Seattle to run 10 miles around Seward Park, I had some concerns about my endurance. Fortunately, everything worked out just fine.

10 mile run

It was a little cooler, and the breeze off the lake was noticeable to be sure, but overall I was pleased with my pace of 10:15 as an average. I will need to pick it up if I want to finish the 13 miles in under 2 hours, but I am hoping that I will get a little faster in the next few weeks. We have another 6, 5 & 10 set for next week, but here is the problem. All four of us leave on Thursday for Smith Rocks in Oregon. We will be climbing single and multi pitch routes all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday next week. That makes a 10 mile run tough to fit in, and did I mention it will be in the 80s in central Oregon? So, the current plan is to shift the schedule around to run 6 miles on Monday, 10 miles on Wednesday and then try to squeeze in a quick 5 miler sometime during the weekend. I have already run the 6 miles today (Monday) so we will see if I can do a quick turn around and hit the 10 mark in less than 48 hours! I hope I can! My husband is taking the more sensible approach of skipping the 10 mile all together, running 5 on Tuesday and doing “some run” on the weekend. For the record, he skips runs all the time and gets stronger and faster somehow-I guess it is good to be him sometimes too!

 

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule

This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May     2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

6miles

16

 

17

10miles

18

 

19

 

20

5miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

We will have to see how this works out next week. Either way we should have a great time climbing as a family at Smith Rocks!
 

Half Marathon Training, Week 10 Update!

My Nike+ app has a “just do it Sunday” tagline. But, for me, Sunday is a rest day so I am going with “Crush the crap out of it Saturday” instead as Saturdays are our long run.

The week went pretty well and the weather is actually starting to help out! No rainy runs this week. We had the second of our 5, 4, & 9 scheduled weeks. Tuesday was good as it was a 5 mile run with a 9:34 average pace, so I was happy with that. Thursday’s 4 miles was a little slower at 9:41, but ok. Most importantly for this run it was warm enough to finally get out of long pants and wear some shorts for a change!

thursday run

I was so excited that I posted this on Instagram, with my freckled legs and all!

Then we went out Friday night! I usually do not drink the night before a long run, and I do consider 9 miles long! But this was a special occasion and we did have a great time. Unfortunately, we did not get to bed until (almost) midnight and then up at 5am. I had to get my husband to the airport Saturday morning because he is running the Bloomsday event in Spokane. The is a massive event with 30-40 thousand people. He goes with his work friends. They leave Saturday morning, play golf and drink all day, spend the night and then get up early on Sunday for the 12k (7.5 miles) run.  Somehow they don’t die! That left me here to run my 9 miles on my own, after margaritas (it was Cinco de Mayo) and 5 hours of sleep. I had serious doubts regarding my survival, which explains my choice of the featured image for this post, but it went really well! I had my fastest 9 miles ever at a 9:47 pace!

Next week we start the first of two 6, 5 & 10 mile training run weeks. Yes, that is 21 miles on the schedule! We also have a rock climbing trip set up and will have to work that out as well.

 

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May     2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

 

16

6miles

17

 

18

5miles

19

 

20

10miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

Since I am on my own this weekend I decided to refuel my soul at the ocean, which is my “happy place” So I will leave you this image of Ocean Shores and look for a travel post soon!

Happy weekend everyone!

ocean shores