Griffith Park Half Marathon Race Recap

I gave a review of the Griffith Park Half Marathon the other day…but this race deserves a recap of it’s own.

Being married to a soccer ref can have it’s perks – including getting to stay in a swank hotel at the foot of the Getty Museum the night before a race….

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Morning view ain’t too shabby….

I tend to be a lot like Santa with my race prep- making a list and checking it twice, but Saturday was not that day.  I showed up disheveled, confused and ill-prepared.  My body was achy, sore and tired (sharing a full-bed with a squirmtastic child the night before probably didn’t help).  I checked in with the race staff fully prepared to add the “DNF” notch to my lipstick case with the goal of just running 30 minutes.

View of the San Fernando Valley...in the background was the first snow in the San Gabriel's

View of the San Fernando Valley…in the background was the first snow in the San Gabriel’s

The first 4 miles didn’t start out so well – 2 untied shoes, a stop to take off my long-sleeve shirt, my hair tie committing suicide by jumping out of my ponytail and off the side of a cliff (thank goodness I had a hat on but I was annoyed no less).

But by mile 5, things were clipping along.  Slow and steady I went trying not to aggravate any injuries or fall down the side of a mountain…you know, priorities.

The perks of trail running - WALKING up big hills.  Thanks John Carlisle for sending this!

The perks of trail running – WALKING up big hills. Thanks John Carlisle for sending this!

I felt good until about mile 9 when I decided I was kind of done with the whole thing….as I was going up a giant hill.  Funny how giant climbs make you go crazy.

Then I spied with my little eye a dude in a kilt and made it my goal to just beat him.  I don’t usually run with music, but plugging in a little C&C Music Factory will make anyone sweat and shuffle their feet a little faster.

Bat caves anyone?

Bat caves anyone?

In my mind everyone was sweating and dancing now, and my little tweaky joints had all but disappeared and I rounded out mile 10ish to find my babies.

Ahhh….my babies!

The not-so-overly dramatic wait for Mom to slog her butt to the 10 mile mark.  Check out the LA skyline in the background....

The not-so-overly dramatic wait for Mom to slog her butt to the 10 mile mark. Check out the LA skyline in the background….

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Is that my shadow?

Strawberry jumped in to pace me for 0.2 miles and then proceeded to accidentally body check Kilt Dude (KD) which allowed me to start up a conversation with him apologizing for the little bit of chaos.  We ran together(isn) for about 2 miles until we hit the big downhill at the end.

By then, I knew any hopes of a mug (curse you, my coffee will never be the same again), were out of reach and the competitive side of me kicked in…but I wanted to race, to compete, to do something to get my endorphin jollies on.  So for the last mile I gave myself permission to just take off and made it a 1 mile race.

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I had 3 kills in the last mile beating Kilt Dude and two others I had snuck up on as I literally sprinted my way to the finish.

2:02:20  finish (8 min slower than last year)
6th place woman (dropped from 3rd last year)
#nomuginsight

Are you a fun, casual runner or does your competitive side get you?

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever run for?

I busted my butt in a 5k this summer to win a mason jar.  Don’t ask.  And yes I lost it about 27 hours later. 

The Hills Are Alive

After my last post on Thursday, I decided I have some awesome running friends.  Despite the fact I talked about peeing all over myself like a small child, I got an email from a few running friends asking to hit some local trails.

Now I frequently tell my family I’m going to go “get lost” in the trails for a while, and by this I mean run a little then come back.  But early Friday morning, we took my advice a bit too literally.  Skinny Runner, Sarah and I snuck out for what was supposed to be a quick 5 miles in the local “mountains”….until we got lost and ran about 8.5…

Photo shamelessly stolen from Sarah

Photo shamelessly stolen from Sarah

This is probably my fault since there’s a legendary story about my Grandma going out for a walk outside her house in the mountains one morning and ending up hitch hiking home when she realized she was 10 miles away…I hear this lost in the mountain things is genetic.

I’m usually one to like running alone- the quiet, the solitude and the pressure to not have to worry about my pace (these ladies are fast).   Despite being lost, the miles easily flew by as we discussed important things like who’s dad has had the best hunting season, the best place to pee in the bushes and family stuff.

As Ferris Bueller once wisely said, “Life moves pretty fast”, and sometimes I just want to move my feet faster.  While doing this alone can be cathartic, there’s something about running with friends.  I left the run totally refreshed and honestly, wanting to go run another few miles…which is not something I can say lately.  Each run has felt like I’m fighting my body and looking for twinges, tickles and fearing I’m running too fast/too far in my recover efforts and to just let it all go and run was so freeing.

After that run, I just wanted to go run 15 miles in the mountains over the weekend.  Instead I spent the rest of the weekend not running and cross-training instead to let my little injury laiden hips/legs recover from Friday’s crazy fun hill run like a good little recovery patient.

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Saturday’s short-lived workout…

This took SO much fine muscle control in your legs.  You basically have this 40 pound snowboard type thing booted to your feet and have to keep it stable.  My hip flexors were killing me. Follow that up by a day of moving my cousin into a second story condo.  The theme of this weekend was all about creative workouts.

As far as recovery goes….just how does one recover from a funky SI joint that’s caused lots of problems for a long time.  The short story:  slowly.

The long story:
-Lots of strengthening exercises in my hips/back/glutes.  I spent a good chunk of time doing all sorts of variations of leg lifts, bridges, and side planks.
-Still taking the runs easy – either shorter and faster or longer and slower.  I’ve been running about 1-2 minutes per mile slower if I’m running over 4 miles.  I’m still keeping my mileage about 20 miles a week tops.
-I’m still in a very serious relationship with my foam roller, lacrosse ball and a little stability ball where I balance my SI joint to get it back in alignment.

What’s your most creative workout lately?
Have you ever had to patiently recover from an injury and live to tell the tale?

Lions, Bulldozers & Bears Oh My!

Weekly Recap
Sunday – Rest
Monday – 3 mile run
Tuesday – 3.5 mile run/walk
Wednesday – 45 minutes bike sprints, 1/2 mile swim
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 45 minute bike sprints
Saturday – 8 Glorious High Altitude Miles

I’ve been trying to placate that little niggle in my hammy – the doctor’s consensus – my pelvis is a little off and it’s probably all stemming from my BIG injury about 15 months ago and leading to these little tweaks since then.  I’m really really working on stabilizing it, doing my exercises, stretching, rolling, etc.

But when your pelvis goes whack, it’s really hard to get it back.

In an effort to focus on the positives, I took a little 24 hour “life breather” on Friday and did what that crazy Girl Scout bear did, and went over the mountain.

Happily hydrating & relaxing to prep for a 7,000 mile run

Happily hydrating & relaxing to prep for a sea level to 7,000 feet adventure

I spent Friday getting some R&R and serious hydration since elevation and I have a sordid history which usually involves it forcing me head first into a toilet.   I also decided it was  time to try and take the ol’ tires out for a spin on Saturday morning and see how my niggle would handle some mileage & terrain.

As we grabbed lunch, I saw this, which meant that I knew this mountain run was just meant to be.

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I also found this amazing tshirt but my friends and family informed me that this was not meant to be.

Rastafarian Lion tie die shirt.  #bestthingever

Rastafarian Lion tie die shirt. #bestthingever PS You can’t take me anywhere…remember the snowman sweater?

So Saturday morning I set out  to give my body the best test…trail running at 7,000 feet with about 12 hours acclimation.  #idontdosmarthings

I took this bad boy stead and slow.  8 miles, about 1,500 feet elevation gain & views galore.  I was in heaven and my leg felt pretty good after as well.  I hopped off a few trails because I was afraid of bears and mountain lions and ended up on another trail that was being renovated (it was a rugged terrain trail for Jeeps or something crazy like that) and was face to face with bulldozers which were much scarier.

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I probably could have gone another 4-5 miles (I love you endorphins), but alas, we had a boat rental that was waiting and I didn’t want to be left ashore.  And remember, recovery is just as important as the run, so I was sure to get some serious chilling of the legs in the icy cold lake.

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No fish or animals were harmed in the recovery process….just an almost lost swimsuit top.

All in all, I’m still taking it easy on my legs and going to stick with far more cross training than running for the time being, but I think the outlook is looking better.  This is especially important since the iTryathlon is on Saturday.  And if not for my leg, my mind’s refreshed and cleared as we get into the “busy season” of life these next few weeks…

What’s the best run/workout you’ve had lately?

Do you have chances to “mini-charge”?  Not a full vacation, but a little getaway?