Friday, October 26, 2012

This Post Will Not Be Riveting

This post will not be exciting.  It will not be long.  It will not be ground-breaking.  But I will try to keep it upbeat after Monday's Debbie Downer post

On September 26, 2012, I made some vows.  I vowed to not run fast for one whole month to allow my hamstring to heal.  I promised I wouldn't run a single mile in the 8's.  I told you I would make a doctor appointment, and I promised to take walk breaks.  And I am happy to report that it is now one month later and I stood by this rule. 

So last night, I went for a run like normal.  I was not planning on doing anything to celebrate this one month anniversary of my vows.  My lovely mother entertained me on the phone for the first 40 minutes of my run.  And you guys, she didn't even know I was running!  Near the 4 mile mark, she was like, "Are you at home yet?"  She thought I was DRIVING!  So that says something.  Apparently I wasn't huffing and puffing like normal.  But after we hung up, I realized it was DARK.  And I still really wanted to hit 6 miles.  So I started booking it.

So on October 25, 2012, exactly one month after my promises, I ran exactly one mile in the 8's.  Yes, fast(ish) for me is now high 8's, a 8:41 to be exact.  Hard to believe that two months ago I was rocking Hood to Coast legs in the 7's.  But that doesn't matter!  I ran one mile in the 8's!  And my hamstring didn't even feel that horrible! 

Congrats to me!  :-)  And Happy Friday to us all. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Everyone Else

Everyone else is running high mileage.
Everyone else is racing.
Everyone else is getting faster, and everyone else has brand spankin' new PR's to prove it. My PR's, on the other hand, sit dusty and old on a shelf, reeking of 2010.
Everyone else does speedwork successfully week after week. 
Everyone else is healthy.

No one else is injured.
No one else is getting slower instead of faster.
No one else has been struggling with a hamstring issue for months.

I know these things aren't all true, but it sure is easy to let these thoughts in. Especially when all your twitter friends, Nuun Hood to Coast teammates, and local running buddies are running the NYC Marathon, running ultra marathons, getting marathon PRs, dominating half Ironmans, prepping for full Ironmans, winning 50 mile races, coming back from injuries better than ever, and / or running 3 marathons in 9 days.

It's not that I'm feeling sorry for myself.  Or is it?  Maybe it's just a Monday. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pt. Defiance 30k: The Time I Got Dead Last

So as you all know, I had to DNS (kind of) the Pt. Defiance 50k on Saturday, but I still planned on doing all I could to help Lindsay accomplish her ultra-marathoning goals.  My plan was to run the 1st loop with her (3 loops for the 50k with each loop being a little over 10 miles), and then depending on how I felt I would jump around the course running with her as much as I could but probably running no more than 14-15 miles total.  After all, my longest recent run was a mere 12 miles last weekend. 

After some delicious carbo-loading at Red Robin and a fun slumber party - we were off to Tacoma on a rainy Saturday morning.  Did I mention that it hasn't rained in the area in 83+ days (probably a record of some sort) but it chose THIS weekend to start raining again??  Seriously.  But we woke up early (6am), ate our breakfasts and drank our coffee, and were off to the race!

We're ready!

It is a very small race (< 350 total participants across the 3 races) so we didn't need to worry much about lines, traffic, or parking.  

What we DID need to worry about though, apparently, was getting lost on the course!  The course was less than naturally intuitive, with tons of turns and intersections of the trails, and it wasn't long into the 1st loop that we all went the wrong way.  Lucky for us, being near the back of the pack, was that we only did about a third of a mile extra and ended up in the lead for a very short while!  :-)  The super fast people did at least an extra mile or two and I'm sure they weren't too pleased. 

Kind of confusing - eh?

Each loop (1 loop for 15k, 2 for 30k, 3 for 50k) is about 10.3 miles, so you can see the 50k is a real distance, but the 15k and 30k are pretty "loose" interpretations of that distance!  There were definitely some hilly sections, at least in comparison to the flat roads I normally run on, with "The Steps" (literally many steps up a steep hill) and "Achilles Hill" being the worst of it.  We did pretty well walking the uphills though, and I attempted to run the really technical downhill portions but Lindsay is waaaayyy more awesome at this than I and she would get way ahead of me in these sections.

Despite the rain, the lovely Becky came out to cheer us on!  How awesome is she?  She got a good pic of us - clearly my heel strike is still in full force.  It's especially obvious in relation to Lindsay's good form!

The loop ends with that bit on the road (only about a third of a mile or so is on the road - the rest is on lovely trail - and that road part wasn't too welcome by the end!) and then the very difficult "Nelly's Gnarly Descent".  This involves basically climbing down a CLIFF using a rope that has been strung there to help you down.  On the first loop this section was very congested which made it even more difficult since everyone hanging on to the rope made it swing wildly and try to decapitate you!

Photo courtesy of Lindsay's sweet boyfriend.
This picture makes it look less steep than it was.

After we finished the first loop in about 2 hours and 7 minutes, Lindsay got geared up for a 2nd loop and I took a break... for over 2 hours!  I made some friends, tried to stay warm, ate some random food (PB&J, pretzels, trail mix... by this time I was HUNGRY!), got to watch the 1st place man and woman come in as well as Tiffany rock the 30k, and finally I saw Lindsay coming in!  She had killed the 2nd loop and was ready to finish this puppy up. 

I still wasn't totally sure what I was going to do, but it was clear from the 1st loop that it would be more difficult than previously thought to jump around the course because it wasn't totally obvious where the course was.  You guys, I know it's stupid to jump up drastically in your mileage.  TRUST ME, I know that.  I was trying to be safe.  But since we were running on pillow-soft trails, and taking tons of walk breaks, it seemed okay to do this.  I also promised myself I would stop if I ever felt any inkling of pain anywhere.  And I didn't.  So I decided I wanted to stick with Lindsay as long as I possibly could.

It was pretty lonely out there in the 3rd loop, and although my stories were incredibly boring (oh, you didn't want to hear about that time people in Singapore wouldn't sell me whole fruit?  Wow, that's a riveting story Ricole...!) at least they were something!  Right?  RIGHT??  So Lindsay tried to get rid of me but I wouldn't let her.  Sorry Lindsay!

And then, just like that, we were finishing!  Lindsay finished STRONG and even sprinted in to the finish, I was so proud of her!  She ran 31+ miles, and I ran 21+ miles!  And it was far from a flat or easy run.  Look at all those hills below.  And see that incredibly steep drop-off in the elevation chart below?  THAT is Nelly's Gnarly Descent!

Look at all those hills!  Total elevation gain for me = a whopping 2,753 feet!

And over 4 hours of running and 21 miles of trails later and my very first trail race is in the books!  It was also my very first time eating all kinds of random stuff while running (chips tasted AMAZING! plus I ate some mini snickers and pretzels on the run, and that PB&J on the break).  Overall, I really liked this race.  The trails were gorgeous and I'm in love with the Brooks running vest we got.  The biggest drawback was that there were not medals, but there were mugs, BUT they ran out of them (they were only for 50k-ers and I saw some 15k and 30k people with them) and I felt bad Lindsay didn't get one.

I'm pretty much never taking this off.

Did I mention that since I ran the 1st and 3rd loops (and not the 2nd) that I got DEAD LAST??!!  My very first time for that too!  So there you have it - the time I got DEAD LAST in a race for the very first time!  And loved every second of it...!  :-)

Running 21 miles completely undertrained would not be complete without a post-race ice bath:

 JMan looking on at my ice bath disapprovingly as he hears I ran 21 miles (bad Ricole!); 
Cooper not caring - he just wants an ice cube!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Need More Running Friends Who Live By Me & Run After Work. Any Takers?

Last week I was proud of my week.  This week I am proud of one workout.  You take what you can get?

Cooper agrees.  

Monday - 6 miles around the neighborhood in 58 minutes.  Why does this feel SO long ago?  I seriously can't remember it - good thing DailyMile remembers for me.

Tuesday - 3 miles with the lovely Lisa.  My hamstring was acting up a bit so I called it good at 3.  We did some planks / push-ups / squats too.  Good job Lisa!

Wednesday - Super busy, but JMan wanted to go to the gym so I tagged along even though it was 9pm at night.  Did 15 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes of lifting weights.  Except then I had a TERRIBLE time going to sleep so I don't think I'm going to work out this late again. 

Thursday - A big fat REST day.  Not scheduled either.  I am already so depressed about how early it is getting dark.  I meant to run but by the time I could it was already 7pm and pitch black and scary.  Ugh.  I need to a) make friends with that horrid treadmill thing, b) find good places that are well-lit to run, and / or c) get more running friends who live near me and like to run when I do.  Any takers?

Instead of working out I had a crazy laminating / paper-cutting party.  Ah, the wild life of a teacher.

Friday - REST!  Carbo loading!  Slumber party with Lindsay!

Saturday - The Pt. Defiance race!  The now Ms. Ultra Marathoner Lindsay was doing the 50k and I planned to do the 15k but ended up doing the 30k, but it was actually 21.4 miles instead of 18.6.  Yeah yeah yeah, I'm not smart.  If you told me you ran 12 miles and then 21 miles I would definitely scold you, so give it to me. 

 Ready to ROCK!  Race recap tomorrow (hopefully).

Sunday - 21 minutes on the bike at the gym.  15 minutes of easy yoga.  I am SORE, especially in the hips and calves. 

Running miles this week = 30.4!  That's a lot for this old gal and her bum hamstring!  You can bet with that impromptu 21 miler (though it wasn't all at once) I've got marathons and 50k's on the brain, and that's pretty much what I've been searching the internet for today.  Oops!  Sorry JMan!

How was your weekend?  Did you race?  I was pretty jealous of the folks doing the Nike Women's Marathon race.  Maybe next year?  What's your next race?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Is it April Fools Day?

So you know those days, when you have a big huge presentation, your first with a new group at your new job, so you REALLY want to impress them, and you plan everything down to a T and are all hopped up and ready?  Your copies are made, your PowerPoint is ready and saved to your network drive, your multiple video links are ready in your PowerPoint to access the videos on the internet...

And then you get to work and your boss tells you, "There's a district-wide internet outage".  And the internet never comes back on, but you still have to give your 3 hour presentation?

No?  That's never happened to you?  Yeeeaahhh, me either. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A DNS of Sorts

I haven't had too many DNS (did not start) in my time, thankfully.  And as far as I can recall, I've NEVER had a DNF (did not finish), and I am extremely grateful for that.   But let's see... there was the 2009 Seattle Rock n' Roll Marathon, which became impossible after a half marathon left me with a broken fibula.  And there was the Pt. Defiance 50k...

Oh wait, that's this weekend.  So you all remember how I signed up for the Pt. Defiance 50k?  Maybe not, because I didn't make a very big deal about it, mostly because I never truly felt truly committed to it.  I always knew that the 15k or the 30k were back-up plans, since the race offers all 3 distances.  I did make a training calendar, but since I've been hurt since Ragnar in July I wasn't healthy when it was time to start training so I never really felt like it was truly going to happen.

Flashback: It's July pre-hamstring injury and I'm running the race's trails at Pt. Defiance and LOVING IT! 

Okay, okay, I am a little sad about it.  Okay, you got me, I'm a bit devastated.  It mostly comes out in bitter rage, but no big deal.  Lindsay is still doing it, and she is going to ROCK IT (go tell her good luck right now!).  I truly try to contain my bitter temper tantrums when I imagine her finishing rocking dominating the race and becoming an ULTRA MARATHONER!

Don't worry, my jealousy will pass.  And I AM still running, just the 15k instead of the 50k.  So it's not really a true DNS.  I guess.  There will be a 50k in my future, I know it.  And this weekend, I will try my hardest to be the best crew there is!  YOU GOT THIS LINDSAY!  

Tell me about all of your DNS / DNF.   Any tips for Lindsay or my future ultramarathoner self?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some Really Wild Weekend Shenanigans

I already told you all about how I enjoyed the lovely weather this weekend.  There were a few other, pretty non-exciting shenanigans that also occurred.  I know you're dying to know all about it.  My life is riveting, I tell you. 

1)  I tried out my new shoes!  JMan, that dear boy, let me buy some Brooks PureFlows, after a few months of ogling over them.  When I bought the PureConnects I seriously could not decide between the two shoes, so I was really excited to finally get these, AND I even got them in the beautiful Women's colors for once!  I wear a 10.5 which is not a typically carried size so I usually have to get a 9 in Men's instead. 

2)  When I rode my whopping 30 miles along the river I discovered something peculiar... a TON of SOCKEYE SALMON! 

See all those dark shadows?  Those are HUGE salmons!  
Salmon?  Salmons?  I'm not sure.

Apparently they are busy making the pilgrimage up the river to spawn and then die (kind of sad, eh?).  There was a gate set up and a cage to catch some to take somewhere (clearly I don't pay much attention - I have no idea why). 

These are the dead ones that didn't make it past the gate.  Poor little guys. 

But here's one salmon that nearly didn't make it - but PERSEVERANCE paid off!  :-)  Anyway, I found it entertaining, and I bet my parents will too!  (you're welcome Mom and Dad)

3)  We went back to Total Wine (remember the awesome new grocery store filled with every beer, wine, and liquor in the WORLD)?!  I wasn't feeling beer this weekend so I ventured into the flavored vodkas aisle.  Can you guess which one I bought???  I'll give you a hint - the PB&J vodka was $50, so I didn't buy that one even though obviously it would have been my top choice. 

4)  I told you we lead crazy lives.  The huge hydrangea bushes in the backyard, which are usually half dead and have never looked too healthy, and are slowly taking over the sideyard, finally wore me down.  An hour later they were gone, and I was kind of regretting my decision, since it doesn't look so good right now! 
Suggestions of what to do with that space?

And there you have it.  A martini-drinking, salmon-watching, purple-shoe-wearing, hydrangea-cutting-down weekend in the sun.  We ARE a wild bunch. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ode to Seattle Fall Weather

I'm not one to love on Seattle's weather.  The rain, the dreariness, oh man don't even get me started.  And I did feel a little cheated out of a "true" summer this year - with not many truly hot days to enjoy.  But I seriously take back most of my animosity thanks to this FABULOUS Fall we've been having.  Seriously, it doesn't get much better than this.  Day after day of 70+ degree weather, perfect blue skies and sunny days, oh it's lovely alright.  And unless I'm wrong (which is quite possible!) the last time we had measurable rainfall was sometime in July. 

Cooper loves this weather too.

And I enjoyed this weather all week!  I had a good week of workouts - I haven't been as proud of a week in a LONG time.  So let me brag about it a bit. 

Monday - 6 lovely miles in the sunshine I was just describing

Tuesday - Met Lisa and Jordanne for a running reunion, our first in FOREVER, and pumped out another 6 miles

Wednesday - Wednesdays are my proclaimed rest days this fall - too busy to ever think otherwise, so why try?

Thursday - I had a happy hour planned with a few colleagues, so running after a margarita and some fries was less than ideal, but I got 3 miles done just as the sky was darkening.

Friday - 30 boring minutes on the elliptical

Saturday - 12 (yes, TWELVE!) miles on the trail with Karla, Kerrie, Lindsay, and Alma!  It was AWESOME.  It was super chilly when we started at 7:30am but was a gorgeous day - but didn't take my long sleeve off until mile 10. 

I had Karla for 2 miles, Kerrie and Alma for 7 miles, Lindsay for 8, and then I pumped out 4 on my own.  The most I have done in a WHILE. 

The trail!  I'm pretty ecstatic about the new panorama feature on the iPhone. 

Sunday - After working for a bit, I rewarded myself (on ANOTHER wonderfully gorgeous day) with a biking trip on the trail - and I busted out 30 miles in 2 hours even!  A distance record on the bike for me (I think)!  

So yeah - 27 miles of running, 30 miles of biking, and 3 miles on the elliptical.  I'm going to call that a solid win for me this week.  :-)  

How was your weekend?  What did you do?  Did you race?  PR? 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gettin' Down On Friday

HAPPY FRIDAY!!  I'm so glad it's finally here. 

1)  GUESS WHAT?  I won Runner Maybe's Mustache Dache race entry giveaway and I am RAGINGLY excited.  Not going to lie, I was feeling pretty good about my odds since I held the majority of the entries (I went all out with all the different methods of entry!) so I decided not to register before the price increased October 1.  A gamble that paid off in spades. 

Seriously - how fun does this look?!

2)  My running has been decent this week!  I ran 6 miles on Monday, then on Tuesday I had my first real running reunion with Lisa and Jordanne since.... our 17 miler sometime around April 12?!?!  That is WAY TOO LONG.  Anyway, we ran 6 miles and did some random strength training exercises (Lisa is my new coach!) that made me feel super weak.  Bring it on Lisa - I need my butt whipped into gear.  And then yesterday I ran 3 more miles!  So yay me on weekly miles this week and not being as lazy as usual. 

3)  Did you win my Endorphin Warrior bracelet giveaway?!?!  #42 was the lucky winner, according to anyway, so if your name is Gabrielle, then you won!  Congratulations!

Please email me at with your bracelet of choice, your bracelet size, plus your name and mailing address.  If you didn't win, just drop major hints with your significant other / parents / children / dog.  I think they make fabulous Thanksgiving presents.  Oh, your family doesn't "do" Thanksgiving presents???  Better start...!

4)  What's the deal with Gangnam Style?  I'm kind of confused by this fad.  This song is EVERYWHERE.  On during sporting events, on SNL, etc.  I'm just not sure I get it?

Can you please explain it to me??

Have a great weekend peeps!  What do you have planned for the weekend?  Anything fun?  How far are you running?  Are you racing?  Are you doing the Mustache Dache with me?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An August AND a September Recap Story(s)

Okay okay, so I kind of totally suck at putting up my monthly recaps.  It's true.  And as the ultimate proof, here are BOTH my August AND my September posts all rolled into one, since I never put up an August one.  So how are my goals coming?  Well, 2012 WAS the year of the marathon, at least in that I completed one (not in the whole PR-ing thing) and I already volunteered at a race!  Check, check.

So what's left to do before the end of the year?

1)  Finish my degree.  Okay okay, that's not happening before the end of the year, but I AM making progress on this.  I'm happy to report that my results section ALONE is over 55 pages and growing.  My work on this is slow, but it is steady, and thanks for a fabulous advisor who lets me hang out at her house all night while she answers a million of my questions I'm learning a ton.  Lots done, but still lots more to do. 

2)  Travel to at least 8 new places.  Ummmm???  So far this year I've been to Kauai.  That was awesome and amazing, but it's only 1 new place. 

I also went to Philadelphia, which was new, but since it was for work I'm not sure it counts.  I can't think of any other new places I've been this year??  I better get on this.

3)  Miles.  In August I ran 71 miles (a new low) and then in September I ran 54 miles (a newer low).  This is to be expected since I took 2 full weeks off of running because of my dumb hamstring, split between the two months.  This brings us to a total of 838 miles for the year - not too shabby given that I still have 3 months left to rack up at least 162 more miles.  Hopefully I make it!

4)  Races.  August was a HUGE month in terms of races, so it's not to be overlooked!  First, there was my very first triathlon.  Although this wasn't officially on my goals THIS year, doing a triathlon has seriously been on my new year's resolution list for SO MANY YEARS that this year I just didn't want to let myself down again so I left it off.  AND THEN I DID ONE!

Me with all my transition stuff!  Despite all my planning, I STILL majorly messed up that first transition!

Gold medals!

Then there was that itsy bitsy thing we'll call HOOD TO COAST!  Remember my BILLIONS of posts about it?  Yeaahhh, you probably do.  It was pretty amazing. 

5)  Read 26 books.  I've read 43 books so far this year so this task is definitely done!  I read 4 books in August and 4 books in September (all but 1 were during my trip to Kauai! ah, the joys of reading on vacation).  Most of the books I've been reading are young adult dystopia (aka Hunger Games-esque) fiction, so if you don't like that kind of thing, I don't have much to recommend.  I read book 1 and 2 in the Birthmarked Series (Birthmarked and Prized) and book 1 and 2 in the Across the Universe series (Across the Universe and A Million Suns).  I liked both and will definitely read the 3rd!  Just add that to the list of the other books I'm waiting for (aka Matched #3 and Divergent #3!). 

Although my book reading has slowed down IMMENSELY since my new job started (and since summer ended), I've still got one recommend-ers that isn't young adult (you can give your sigh of relief now).  The book is Perfect Chaos and I think EVERYONE should read it.  A true story of a normal, everyday middle-class educated family who deals with bipolar disorder - written from both the mother's point of view and the daughter who experiences bipolar.  I read this book in one day and found it incredibly powerful.  PLEASE read it.  I have to be honest - part of the reason I may have been obsessed with it is that I've actually met the authors, but I still think you'll find it eye-opening.
 Read it!

How were your August and Septembers?  Can you believe summer is over already?!  I'm so sad about it.  Are you?  Or are you one of those crazy people who don't love summer best?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Finding Balance

You may have noticed my posts have been coming more and more infrequently.  It's not because I don't love you all, I swear.  I'm just struggling to find balance right now.  It's not even so much that I don't have anything to say - because when I'm out running I write full blog posts in my head!  But then I come home and am immediately busy and never write it down.  Someday I'll just be able to post with my mind... :-)

As you know, I've recently switched jobs, and while I LOVE my new job and everything it entails, I also find myself sometimes dreaming of "my old life of leisure".  Because, while my old job was far from a walk in the park, it was certainly comfortable.  I knew what I was doing, I could do it well, and I could definitely do it well within the confines of the working day.  While annoyance was a common occurrence, stress was not, and I really loved that.  That's definitely why I stayed there so long despite being long overdue for a challenge. 

But, back to the new job.  In the new job I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.  And it's terrifying.  In a good way though. So I'm struggling to find a balance of working normal hours, getting exercise in, actually cleaning the house and doing laundry, etc.  So far I haven't done much of any of the above.

 Instead of exercising or cleaning I just eat delicious chocolate that the wonderful and fabulous Corey sent me.  She is AWESOME, by the way.  That's an appropriate method of dealing with stress, right? 

In addition to all this, I'm still doing a small part of my old job, and doing ANOTHER part-time job as well this quarter.  Oh yeah, and there's also that tiny little project that is writing my dissertation.  So I'm a little overwhelmed.

 This weekend I got a TON of work done on all of the above - and it wasn't even that bad since I got to work out in the sunshine!

So, I'm whiney today.  But I just wanted to let you know - that I'm still around, and that I'm sure I'll be back more regularly once things settle down.  It's hard to write about running when you're not running that much!  :-) 

Ever feel overwhelmed?  Or like you don't have anything to blog about?  Or just that you don't have time to write it all down?