Running Challenge Day #7: Early and Doggy

Seven days down in the Holiday Run Challenge! If you’re unfamiliar, my original goal was to run everyday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But yesterday I found out that Runners World is doing a similar thing, but instead of Thanksgiving, they are motivating runners to keep up a running streak from Thanksgiving to January 1.  Well, I’m up for extending the challenge. I’m seven days into it, a whole entire week, and feeling pretty positive about the whole thing.

Today’s run was pretty damn fantastic. I woke up at 6:15 and rolled around in bed for far too long. Finally, I hefted myself out of the covers and got myself and my dog ready to run.

This is my dog by the way. Her name is Abby.

We look too similar in this photo!

This is her again. And me.  This is how we go to work on mornings when it’s not raining

Dog and Bike Commuter

Anyway, as you can see she’s tiny, but also beefy. She needs at least an hour of exercise before going to the office. Yes, Abby is an a full time office dog and we try to commute to work by bike if we can help it. Today, I decided to take us for a run in Forest Park. Running with Abby usually end up being pretty frustrating for me. She gets distracted by little birdy things or chases after squirrely scents. This morning though, she was relatively well-behaved. We finished a 40 minute run in the misty, foggy forest.

Run #7: 40 minutes

Terrain: Forest, slippery leaves. Some puddles

Thoughts: There is really nothing better than running in the forest before work. I love you, Forest Park.


Posted in dog, health, pets, portland, running, trail running | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Running Challenge: Day #6. Cold

Well, tonight I went out to get my run done as soon as I got home. How about that? I deserve a gold star. Also, I chose not to overdo it. I have all month to go crazy, tonight’s run was about relaxing and letting the day melt off of me. Success! 6/6.

Run #6: 40:00

Terrain: Urban

Thoughts: Will I ever be warm again? Will I ever run in the daylight again?


Posted in health, running | 2 Comments

Running Challenge: Day #5, Treadmillin’ It!

Today started out as any hectic Monday should.  I couldn’t seem to locate the zillion things I need to get out the door; cell phone, keys, jacket, blah, gloves, dog, coffee, blah, blah, dog leash, dog jacket, apple, blah, blah, blah! 

I was scurrying around my apartment when I got an ex-text. You know, a text message from the recently ex-boyfriend. The text was totally normal and nothing about our break up was terrible other than the regular terribleness that comes with breaking up when you’d rather it not be like that. So a text message from him shouldn’t have been at all weird because it was just a logistical note. But for whatever reason it sent me into a tailspin! A tailspin, I tell you! So, of course it took me another precious few minutes to collect myself and get myself out the door. End result? My anxiety levels were much too high for 8:29AM.

The rest of the work day followed a similar theme. Lots of work, lots to keep me busy. I got home around 7, took the dog for a short walk and then had to make probably the most important decision of the day. Should I run outside in the bitter cold? or should I go to the gym and suffer through a boring but relatively warm run? It was a hard decision to make but I had just finished a 30 minute bike ride home and the thought of being outside in the cold darkness just didn’t appeal. So off to the gym I went, along with the rest of Portland, apparently. The gym was packed!  During my seemingly endless time on the treadmill I had the opportunity to stare at the gigantic “Exceed all Expectations!” sign on the wall. More importantly though, despite a truly frazzlish Monday, I got to exercise it all out on the treadmill! Whoop!

Run #5: 60 minutes; 6.5+ miles

Terrain: 2% on the treadmill.

Thoughts: Treadmills do suck all joy from running. But they do have their place in the world, especially when the world is cold and dark outside and I don’t have the courage to deal with the elements.

Posted in health, life, running | 1 Comment

Running Challenge: Day #4

running shoes

Mud Fun

It’s day four of the running challenge. Last night I went out with my dear friend Traci. We enjoyed a few glasses of whiskey from Clyde Common and as anyone can tell you, neither Traci and I can handle our liquor! We ended up walking home from Clyde’s, giggling the whole time.

Therefore, today’s run was not nearly as long and quite a bit more arduous than I would have liked. Also, the weather was terrible. But I did get it done. So there’s that.

Run #4: 1:06 minutes

Terrain: Forest Park

Thoughts: Whiskey, you’re not such a friend after all.

Posted in health, running, weather | 1 Comment

Everyday a new run

It’s been a tulmultous 2011. There was a break up not too long ago and it is crazy how difficult can be to put your life in order after that kind of emotional roller coaster. However, I’ll be damned if I let 2011 finish badly. Why wait until January 1 to start things fresh? Why not start now?

As part of that fresh start, I’m recommitting myself to running and writing. Two things I love dearly that I’ve let slip in the past months. Concretely, that means I’ll be running everyday between now and Christmas and I’ll let you know how things go here and on my twitter feed.


Posted in health, running | 2 Comments

Silver Falls Half Marathon, or a Return to Awesomeness

This morning I raced a cold, misty trail half-marathon. (more on that later!) After the race I found myself standing next to someone whom I hadn’t seen or raced with in a very, very long time. This person is just a great, all around runner-athlete, and he said something that apparently I needed to hear. He said, “Heather, I check your blog every so often and it seems like you haven’t written anything in a really long time. What’s the deal?” I did a little song and dance about being very busy, and then I said,”You know, I really miss writing. Maybe I should update my blog soon.” And he said that I should, and that this race would be a perfect starting point. For whatever reason, that was just the little push I needed to actually sit down and write something. So thanks, EL! I needed that.

First, The Race:

Friday I was sitting at work, going through my email, when something occurred to me. Was I supposed to have plans for the weekend? Wasn’t there something big I needed to do? To be more precise, was there something important I needed to do other than laundry, dishes, and bills? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew that there was something about November 5th that was important. And then it hit me. I was supposed to run a trail 1/2 marathon on Saturday… Well, CRAP!!

How does one forget something as important as a half-marathon?? It happens when one is particularly feather-brained when it comes to scheduling. In my professional career I am a project manager where so much of my job revolves around dates and deadlines. When it comes to my personal life, it appears that I can’t be bothered with such trivial things such as dates.  Way back in July, one of my running buddies told me about the race and said that there entry was limited to 500 runners and the race fee was only $25. I signed up on a whim and promptly filed the information about the race to the very very back of my brain. There the thought lingered for months and only surfaced in fleeting, rare thoughts I had about the future. Weird how that happens.

So, that is how my race prep went. By that I mean that there was no race prep.  My training has been terrible for months (more on that later). I’ve been running, but I’ve been pretty lazy and unfocused.  But instead of bowing out of the race I decided to go for it. Training be damned, I thought, this race was only $25 and they said there would be waterfalls. Training or no training, I decided I was in.

Race Morning:

I woke up at 5:15. Took a shower, brushed my teeth, made a bucket of coffee and prepped my gear for the race. I was out the door by 6:15 and on the road. Of course, I got lost twice on the way to Silverton, but no matter. That is why I like to carpool.

I arrived at the race venue with an EXTREMELY full bladder thanks to my bucket of coffee. I bee-lined right for the ladies room. There was no electricity in the building  so I had the luxury of peeing in the dark. Awesome. At least there was soap in the dispenser! I grabbed my race bib from the table and beelined in right back to the relative warmth of my car. I didn’t warm up. I didn’t stretch. I pinned my number on and called it good.

The Race:

My expectations for the race were modest to say the least: have fun, see some waterfalls, don’t die. The description of the race was tantalizing. It was a trail race through some of the most epic of Northwest waterfalls. In all, we would run by, through, around, behind, and over 10 or so waterfalls. With such a description I couldn’t be anything but excited. The race director lined us up, gave us some last minute instructions which I didn’t listen to. The air gun went off and the pack sprang forth.

Miles 1-3: Easy Peasy! The first few miles were on pavement so that we could spread out before hitting the single track. My early miles were awesome, considering my lack of training. 7:30’s all around!

Miles 5-6: Things were a bit harder. We hit the single track where we raced through mild up’s and downs. Weren’t there supposed to be waterfalls?!

Mile 6.5: First gigantic waterfall. Did not disappoint! It was huge and very waterfall-y. The trail glided downward and I had to pay more attention to my footing than the awesome scenery.

Mile 7-10: More waterfalls. More awesome

Mile 9ish-10… Staircase to hell. Seriously. Stairs forever!!

Mile 10-12: Yay. No stairs, but also no waterfalls.

Mile 12.5: Last big effort up the last big hill which kills all hope of finishing “strong”!




Avg 8:03/mile

As a side note: EL ran an impressive 1:39:34. Must try to run again with him soon!

Posted in race report, running, trail running, weather | 1 Comment

Epic Race Weekend Report

I just completed an epic weekend of back-to-back racing. If racing twice in two days sounds like a foolish use of one’s weekend I would ask you to reconsider. I mean, just imagine how good it feels right now to put my legs up and NOT move. It is an exquisite feeling and my only regret about this weekend is that I can’t take tomorrow off to recover from it. Here’s a report on my back to back weekend extravaganza that included a 1/2 marathon on Saturday and 33 mile bike race on Sunday.

Weekend Portrait that describes it all:

Weekend of Muddy Exhausting Fun

Did you see the dirt in my teeth?

Here’s the recap:

I like to count Friday as part of my weekend. So we’ll start there. On Friday morning I actually got out of my bed when the alarm went off at 5:45. Victory! OK, maybe I pressed the snooze twice, but at least I did get up and out of bed. I don’t know about you, but this whole daylight savings time thing has ruined my morning routine. I dragged myself out of bed and got in my workout.  I did a 10 minute warm-up followed by 15 minutes of running drills (high knees, skipping, jumping. etc), followed by a 45 minute easy run. It was great pre-race workout and I felt almost jovial upon completion. I returned home, drank some coffee and got ready for work. Not a bad way to start a Friday in my book.

I went to work with Saturday’s race on my mind. I was scheduled to run the Wheatfield 1/2 marathon in The Dalles, Oregon. Originally my plan had been to give the 8K a go but I consulted with my coach (Coach Anne Linton, who is fantastic!) and she suggested the half.  You can see why I like Anne. Her thinking was inline with my own. Why do an 8k when you can do a half marathon? So, OK. Half Marathon it was.

Saturday: Wheatfield 1/2 Marathon:

I drove The Dalles on Friday night so I wouldn’t be stressed with an absurdly early morning drive in the morning.  I didn’t have much of an appetite but I knew I needed to get something in before the race. Breakfast was a combo: cup of coffee, half a bottle of Odwalla Super B fruit juice and a cookie. Not stellar but certainly all the major pre-race nutrients were there: carbs, carbs and some caffeine.  I was a bit skeptical of such a breakfast but it seemed to sit OK in my stomach. With breakfast in hand I motored out to the race start.

I knew that the Wheatfield 1/2 Marathon was going to be on the small side. I had only heard of the race from a local running blog and some friends. The race didn’t even have a website (!).  While the race was small it had attracted some very fast runners. I spotted Wendy Terris who qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2008. I also spotted and chatted with several ultra marathon acquaintances before the race.

The race really was an informal thing. The race director called us all over to the start line. It was raining a bit and I chatted with some girls next to me about The Garmin 410. The director said some more things which I couldn’t hear and then, just like that, we were off.


The race was an out-and-back with a gradual up hill climb on the way out. I started out a bit too strong and then settled into a good pace. I spent the first four miles worrying too much about how fast I was going and whether or not I was going fast enough. It was a sad attitude. It took me awhile to realize that there was no reason to stress and no reason to be hard on myself. Why was I feeling regretful when the race wasn’t even over? Why was I worried – I should be enjoying the thing I love doing. With my attitude re-adjusted I made the turn around and headed back toward the finish line. There were three fierce ladies up ahead of me – I wasn’t sure I’d be able to catch any of them so instead I concentrated on running the best race I could.

The last 4 miles were difficult but I felt strong. Lately my training has focused on intervals and strength training. I feel like the work is starting to pay off. I was able to maintain a good strong form all the way to the finish. It was a great effort.

Finish Time: 1:36:10 1:35:51

Pace: 7:26 min/mile 7:18 min/mile

4th woman overall

2nd in my age group (20-29)

Race #1 of the weekend complete! I helped myself to a donut (so delicious!) and drove through Hood River and back to home base. It was almost 6pm when I got back and before I knew it was 10PM and I needed to ready my affairs for Sunday’s bike race.

Banana Belt Bike Race #3:

I haven’t blogged about it at all, but I’ve been flirting with bike racing. My first race was 4 weeks ago where I made my debut in the Cat 4’s  Banana Belt Race.  The Banana Belt Series is a favorite amongst local bike racers. It consists of 3 races that take place on consecutive weekends in March. Coach Anne suggested I give them a try. I signed up and completed the first two. My performances weren’t stellar in the first races. I dropped my chain in the first one and I was dropped in the second. Having never raced bikes before I was totally unprepared for how stressful bike races can be. Everyone is so bunched up and things happen so quickly. So different from running! Anyway, Sunday was Banana Belt #3. My goal was to go out and not have any mechanical errors or make any big mistakes.

The weather for today’s Banana Belt was not good. In fact it was terrible. It was rainy and cold and awful. I started the race and immediately felt exhausted. This might be a very very bad idea. I thought. Fortunately the group started slow and I found much needed gumption in those first few miles. During the first big climb I started to move up to the front and then just like that there was a break  and wham… I was in the break! So exciting!! I was able to follow the break and ended up in the lead group for much of the race. I was passed by many of the riders in the final sprint but I was so pleased with my performance.

Conclusions: The only thing that was missing from this weekend was more cookies.

Posted in cycling, race report, running, weather | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments