Category Archives: Races

4th of Julys Past

Happy 4th of July! Do you have annual 4th of July traditions? Growing up we always knew we were going to our family friends’ house for pool, BBQ and fireworks. We knew exactly what dish every family brought and even what music was going to be played during the fireworks show. As we got older and more competitive in sports, we were often traveling for tournaments during 4th of July and that tradition went away.

Over the years, Aaron and I have created our own 4th of July traditions. Let’s look back at 4th of Julys from the past since the blog was born. One of my favorite things about having a blog is being able to easily look back at what you were doing in a particular moment in time.


We still lived in San Diego and Aaron had to work during the day. I whipped up some Sangria and hung out with friends before Aaron met up so we could go watch fireworks at the bay together.


In 2010 we were living in Sacramento. I started off the day with the free 4th of July 5 miler race that takes place in our neighborhood.

And to reward me for a good race, Aaron made mimosas and breakfast before went to BBQ with friends and family and watch fireworks from the park near out house.


Last year, Aaron and I started a new tradition of camping for the 4th. We decided just a few days before the holiday to go camping for the weekend – just the 2 of us (3 with Cash). We didn’t have a large selection of campsites that late in the game, but we rolled the dice and really lucked out. We had a great few days camping before coming back the afternoon of the 4th for our other tradition – walking to the park by our house for fireworks.


This year were are kind of combining all our past traditions into one. Since the 4th is on a Wednesday, we are celebrating the actual holiday in town and then taking Thursday and Friday off to go camping. And we started the celebration last night with a BBQ and probably the best fireworks show I have ever seen.


And this morning I was excited to be able to once again participate in the 4th of July 5 miler.


Aaron whipped up some amazing gluten free pancakes and eggs and we sipped on mimosas while prepping for camping. Most people just bring hot dogs, chips, beer and marshmallows camping. But not us. Aaron hand-ground meat for blue cheese stuffed burgers and he is about to smoke turkey breasts for sandwiches. He even made two different flavored mayos for sandwiches. That is how we roll – we know how to camp!

This afternoon we are heading to a block party down the street and will then, of course, watch fireworks at the park.

In other news – check out these veggies from our garden!! I am so excited. Tomatoes, basil and zucchini. We will be bringing all this camping!


Half Marathon Training is Underway!

I started a week later than planned, but training for the July 15th Napa2Sonoma Half Marathon is officially underway. Trying to start training the week of the Girls on the Run 5K was not a good idea. Last week my workouts pretty much consisted of loading and unloading race equipment and running around the race site. I did sneak in a few shorter runs, but nothing groundbreaking.

So far this week I did a 3 mile easy run with Cash and then 3 miles of speedwork before tackling today’s 8 miler. I wasn’t sure how the run would go since I haven’t run further than 4 miles since my April 1st 10 miler. After that race I had big plans to stay in race shape and still do a weekly long-ish run until I jumped back into formal training. Fail!

I was looking forward to the run this morning because I really enjoy training. I like having a purpose to my workouts and a goal in mind. I am much more motivated when I have a structure and plan to follow rather than just the mentality of “I should do something”. While I was excited, I had no expectations for pace and even told myself that cutting back to 7 miles would be okay.

I woke up at 6, made my coffee, hopped on my 6:30 weekly conference call, ate my PB and banana toast and headed out the door at 7:30 – right on schedule.  The weather was perfect – sunny, still a little cool, light breeze. The first half mile was tough – everything felt heavy and slow and I wasn’t sure how 8 miles would go if that continued.

Luckily, I just had to get some cobwebs out, and by mile 1, I was feeling pretty good. I remained cautiously optimistic until the halfway point where I had a Hammer Gel and headed home. At that point, my pace was 9:43 which I was pleased with. I would have been happy with anything until 10 minutes at this point. Once I hit mile 5, I really fell into my groove and cruised home. The last 2 miles I kicked it into high gear and really wanted to finish strong.

I finished in 1:16:52 for a 9:36 pace. I was very happy with that! Decent pace, negative splits and felt good the whole time. Can’t ask for much more on the first long run of training after a month hiatus from long runs. A great start to training. 10 more weeks till race day!

Some other thoughts on half marathon training:

  • At the beginning of the year, I set out to PR at N2S.  That is still my goal, but I am going to have to really focus on my training. My schedule this summer is really filling up fast with Bachelorette parties, weddings, road trips, work trips and more. I have all of these worked into my schedule, I just need to really focus on it and stay committed and do all that I can while I have the time.
  • In order to get faster and break 1:57 (hopefully 1:55), I am going to really focus on speedwork, hills and increasing my total weekly miles. To get better I need to run more – doing the same thing won’t change anything.
  • Food is fuel, not just for fun. This will be hard with the weddings and traveling, but eating what my body needs to perform is what is most important.
  • Efficient cross training – I have one day of yoga and one day of cycling built into my training to keep me healthy, limber and keep my weight down (hopefully).

Here is what my typical training week looks like:

Monday: Speedwork or hills
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Easy medium distance run
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Long Run
Saturday: Bike or Rest
Sunday: Easy 3-4 miles

2012 SacTown 10 Miler Race Recap

This morning was the 2nd Annual SacTown 10 Miler. You can read my recap from last year’s race here. I don’t typically repeat many races, but I think this race is becoming a tradition. I really hope they keep this race on the smaller side. Last year there were only 530 participants and this morning there were 1300 anticipated. It is so nice to run smaller (relatively) races. 1300 people is so nice compared to 7500. The course was never crowded and it was easy to get around around before and after. I think there had to be close to 1 porta-potty per runner at the start. Okay..onto the recap.

After a solid 8 hours of sleep (I went to bed at 9:30), my alarm went off at 5:50. I like to give myself plenty of time in the morning to drink my coffee, eat my PB and banana toast, get dressed and do my business. Rushing around the morning of a race is not worth an extra 30 minutes of sleep. I stretched and foam rolled, covered most of my body in BodyGlide, and grabbed all my race essentials and headed out the door at 7:15 so Aaron could drop me off at the start.

I had plenty of time before the gun went off at 8, so I warmed up, peed, and found a spot in the sun to wait for the start. My goal for pacing was:

Mile 1-6: Strong and steady – try not to go out too fast
Mile 6-8: Start to pick up the pace a bit, but save some in the tank
Mile 8-10: Give it my all and push through

I notoriously go out too fast in races. This race was no exception. My mind tells me to hold back, but the race excitement makes me think I might be able to hold onto that pace. Two miles in my pace was around 8:57 and I was hopeful I could hold on for the next 8. But slowly between miles 2 and 5 my average slowly started to creep up.

I saw Aaron and Cash at mile 4.5 and ditched my arm warmers.

The weather was PERFECT this morning. It rained all day yesterday, so everything was clean and fresh and the sun was out and there was no breeze!

I had my Hammer Gel just after I saw the boys and got a burst of energy. I knew it would be tough, but I was determined to still try to hit my 1:30 goal. I was half way – I could do this!

As I got closer to the finish, I kept getting closer to a 9:00/mile average and I was more determined than ever to get there. I saw my mom around around mile 7 and friends just before mile 9. It is always fun to see familiar faces on the course – thanks everyone for cheering me on and for those who helped at the Girls on the Run water stop!

I have always been an endurance athlete. In Junior High I was the go-to miler on the track team (that’s long in track and field), on my competitive swim team I excelled at the 200 and 500 yard distances.  The last two miles of the 10 mile distance is where I strive – I am able to push through any pain and fatigue to get the job done. And that’s what I did!

I saw my average tick down in those last few miles to 9:03 and that’s where I finished. I forgot to stop my Garmin and the official results aren’t posted yet, but I am guessing I finished right around 1:30:40.  That is 3 minutes faster than the same race last year! I’ll take it!

Hanging out with Kellie at the Girls on the Run booth after the race.

Aaron and I immediately headed to Selland’s for Prosecco, coffee, eggs, fruit and potatoes for her and beer for him.

Very proud of my dedication to my training for this race and the race itself. Ready to keep the momentum going as I gear up for Napa2Sonoma this summer! The rest of the day includes beers, movies on the couch and Mexican food (a post-race tradition).


Race Prep – The Week Of

With race day for the Sactown 10 Miler 1 week away, this is an important week. Training for weeks on end doesn’t make any difference if you don’t take care of yourself the week before the race. Getting sick, wearing yourself down or pushing your body too hard can ruin a race. Since one of my New Years Resolutions was to take every race seriously through training, I am taking this week leading up to the race seriously, as well.  Here is my plan:

  • Get more sleep. In general I get more sleep than I think most people do.  But I think my body needs it. So this week I am going to make an effort to get to bed just 15 minutes earlier than normal. And allow myself to sleep in a little more than usual.
  • Hydrate! Hydrating on race day is not as important as leading up to the race. A couple weeks ago I picked up four big bottles of coconut water on sale at Whole Foods. I am going to make sure to have one glass every morning and evening along with my normal H2O intake.
  • Massage – today I got a 90 minute massage to help restore my muscles after training for 8 weeks.
  • Daily foam rolling and stretching. As I write this I am rolling my eyes at myself. How many times have I proclaimed that I would start stretching and foam rolling daily? But I think I can do it. I am only committing to 7 days of daily stretching and rolling. And I know it will make a big difference.
  • Yoga x 2: I am going to try to make it to two yoga classes this week to get nice and loose. I plan to shoot for the beginner classes so I don’t get sore.
  • Fuel my body. I always try to focus on fueling my body with the best possible stuff, but race week it is uber-important. No wine (increases dehydration), no dessert (not the sugars I need). As I type this I am missing my evening glass of wine and ice cream already!
  • Keep moving – But don’t push it. It is often tempting the week of a race to not run at all. You want to rest your body, but there is fine line. Pushing yourself means you can arrive at the start line exhausted and not rested. Doing too little means your muscles might be stale. It is important to go easy but still run. I will be doing a combination of short speedwork and short tempo runs at race pace to keep my legs fresh and ready to run fast without wearing them out.
  • Mentally prepare  and pump myself up! Reading old race recaps and Runners World always gets me pumped up!



What I Learned from the Superbowl Sunday 10K

This morning I started the day off with a 10K race in the neighborhood.  2012 marks the 3rd year for the Sacramento Running Association’s Superbowl Run. I ran the race in 57:15 for a 9:09 pace.  I was hoping for an 8:45 pace, but the first mile was a total bottleneck and I was chatting with a friend, too.  For mile 1 being 10:30, I am pretty pleased finishing with a 9:09 pace!

I learned a few things along the way, too:

  • I am really starting to like the 10k distance.  It is still a challenge without bringing with it as much pressure as a half or full marathon.  Any given weekend I could run a 10k, but it is also a distance I can see improvement in through training.
  • I like 9AM starts for shorter runs
  • I really like races that are close to home. This morning Aaron and I left the house 20 minutes before the gun went off.  He dropped me off a half-mile from the start so I got a little warm up and still was at the start line 8 minutes before the gun went off.
  • Not eating gluten has truly changed my life when it comes to pre-race preparations. Mornings that were nerve-racking and unpredictable now run smoothly (pun intended).
  • I am a big fan of running the tangents  
  • I am not a fan of people who cheat and cut corners.  The race is measured on the road, so get your a** off the sidewalk and onto the road. Grey shirt and black capris, I’m talking to YOU! I still beat her, though. And that’s all that really matters, right? I kid, I kid (kind of).
  • If you want to run in a well-managed race, choose a shorter race put on by people who organize marathons – they know what they are doing.
  • I need to do hill training – the slightest little incline kicked my butt this morning
  • I also need to learn how to breathe – I think when the going gets tough, I hold my breath.  When I would focus on long slow breaths through my nose and out my mouth the game changed! Thank you yoga for teaching me how to breathe – now I just need to remember to do it.

Now it is time for our 5th annual Superbowl party.  Aaron stayed up all night tending to the beef brisket on the smoker, we just took the wings off the grill, several dips are made, the beers are on ice and people should be arriving any minutes.  Time to put a bra on, I guess!  If I were to run for President, my first task would be to make the Monday after the Superbowl a national holiday. I don’t know how anyone on the East Coast gets anything done that day!

My heart wants to root for the Giants, but my wallet will be rooting for the Patriots in the under! Along with several other silly bets like the longest and shortest touchdowns.