Saturday, August 29, 2015

Portland to Coast 2015

I was on the winning team again this year; first to the coast of 400 teams! I went in a bit undertrained and it showed on the last leg, but the conditions were adverse so it's hard to know what would've happened otherwise. Regardless, all my teammates put forth astounding efforts and despite a storm for the books, we arrived at the beach only 5 minutes past our predicted time, in 22 hr 19 minutes. Now that's amazing.

Leg 14 (my first leg; the 2nd leg of Portland to Coast). I'd done this one once before, back in 2009, and found it challenging because of the length (6.04 miles) and the gradual hill the last 2 miles for a total of 40m elevation gain and 32m elevation loss in the distance according to my Garmin (though they've changed the leg because it was 5.49 miles in 2009). This time I had someone to chase, as Ashley, a fast 31yo RW that Carmen is working with, got a 30 second head start on me. I narrowed that gap a little to about 20 seconds, but then couldn't hold the pace and ended up finishing about 2 min 30 sec behind her. Still, I'm pleased with my aggressive effort. My HR was quite high for much of the leg (>170 for the last 30 min or so) and it was warm outside and sunny (only 18.9C at the start of the leg, but I am sure it got a lot hotter by the end) and uncharacteristically humid for Portland. I finished in 59:35 (pushed start on my watch a bit late) for 6:08/km (assuming distance as marked in race handbook). The last ~4km were a very hard effort, harder than I'd have liked because of my unpreparedness, but Garmin data here. 

Leg 24 was a new leg for me, but I liked it. Mostly flat, 4.87 miles (7.84km), and I started at 7:30pm when it was a bit cooler out. Still humid, still warm, but not too bad. I felt pretty good for the first 6K, and only the last 2K were difficult, and I was able to go a bit faster at 6:02/km (assuming the distance was as marked in race handbook) with average HR only 160 this time; smaller hills and cooler weather helped a lot (though oddly enough Garmin says it was hotter...22.8C...maybe it was, but no sun and some breeze was great).  Garmin data here. 

In between 24 and 34: a little nap (2 hr), some spaghetti and meatballs, and some digestive upset (not too awful, but a few porta-potty visits required). And a storm came in...

Leg 34. Yeah, leg 34. I'd done this one last year a lot faster. But the conditions were perfect last year, and were horrific this year. Yes, horrific. The temperature was OK, but it was raining sideways and the wind was a steady 32kph or 20mph with gusts MUCH stronger, and oh yeah, it was a headwind. And there were hills. And my legs were done. And I found out about an hour before doing this leg that the buyers we were under contract with backed out and the house is back on the market. Long story...but if you know anyone who's looking in the area, have them contact our realtor, Elaine, at 801-573-4109. So I was NOT in a good frame of mind, and when I hit the first difficult hill (and there were 30m of elevation gain in this 5.59km leg) and my 500m split was about 3:30 I just determined I'd finish and hold on for dear life. Actually, though, given the conditions, I think in retrospect that my time was pretty good. I went 35:50 for 6:27/km, which was only 1:02 slower than my predicted 34:48 (I knew I'd be tired for that last leg). So to only lose 14 sec/km with a 32kph headwind I think is pretty good, especially given my mental state. I cried when the van gave me aid but kept pushing as hard as I had stamina for. I think I forgot to wear my HR monitor, because I have no HR data! Funny, that...the weird stuff you do at 4:30 am on 2 hr of sleep and poor mental state. Y'know, I'm actually proudest of this leg because I stuck it out and didn't give up, and put in a good performance given the poor conditions. Garmin data here. 

When we arrived in Seaside just a couple hours later, the weather had worsened enormously. The tents at the beach finish were in near-ruins, and the finish was moved onto the promenade and then later onto a street in town because of the danger of the blowing sand (I got sand in my eyes, mouth, etc. - nasty!). Despite all the horrid conditions of the last 5 legs for our team, we were only 5 min off our predicted pace of 22hr 14min, finishing in 22hr, 19 min. We were first to the beach (as we advertised on our van :)!) and got our photo with Bob Foote, the race founder, and a few TV interviews. It was cool. Oh, and did I mention I am the youngest on our 10-person team at 45? Everyone else is over 50. Coolest and strongest bunch of "Antiques and Collectibles" (our team name) that I know. I'm proud to have been a part of this team.

Photos here. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

3K fartlek

Yesterday: elliptical

Today: 3K fartlek. Skip the *** section below if you don't want to read a semi-rant about buying and selling homes.


Let me preface today's workout commentary by saying that I am giving myself a gold star for doing this one. Yesterday was a freakishly stressful day. The roof repair guys came at the same time as the buyer's home inspector, which in a way is good because they can see that we care (a lot!) about selling a quality home. I want it to be the best it can be for our buyers (not that they are likely to see it that way, though since I don't know them personally I can't say for sure). But this whole home selling process is very difficult, because your home is so personal and everyone is tromping through it and criticizing everything that you have done or not done to make it what it is, when they can't know and don't see all that you have done. Our home is SO very much better than it was 13 yr ago when we bought it - it was a very ugly granny-decorated home (think wallpaper, waterfall in basement!, severely damaged hardwood floors, 70s shag rug and paneling in basement) with only 1 bathroom, and now it's a lot better. But like I said, no one can see that.

I have just felt so raw and vulnerable during this time, and so has Loren. Add in the stress of clearing out for the home inspection, and then returning (after they said they'd be done) to find they needed more time, and well, it was a lot. Add in a very whiny 9yo daughter, and ensuing freak-out by husband which involved some profanity, followed by freak-out by daughter, followed by husband walking away from restaurant we were having dinner at (on the we could have the dogs there, because they had to be out too), and well, it was not a peaceful evening. Thankfully, said husband apologized later to said daughter and I think all is well now.

Now we wait some more, in a hot home because they are doing radon testing (which we DID 7 yrs ago and it was fine, AND we told them that!) and we have to have the swamp cooler OFF and the windows SHUT for two days. TWO DAYS. Then on Friday they are scoping our sewer. Geez. I feel like I'm getting my own personal colonoscopy, without anesthesia.

The consolations are this: 1) we will (hopefully) soon be moving into our new-to-us home, 2) some friends have been very supportive and understand that it's a stressful time and have pitched in a lot to help, 3) some friends from farther away have been encouraging on Facebook or other ways. Not so consoling: my parents have added to the stress by their critical response to my stress. It's not helpful to call for a listening ear when the result is someone telling you how poorly you are managing the situation. Like I said, it's a raw and vulnerable time, and I am just going to have to surround myself with supportive and helpful people and ignore the negatives. Somehow.


3K fartlek - as mentioned above, I get a gold star for doing this workout at all. Let's just say that after yesterday it's a miracle I got up and went to the track. I did go to bed early, which surely helped. And guess what? The high school track is OPEN again!!!! YAYAYAYAY!

It was warm this morning and humid, as a storm is coming through; 22.8C (73F). I did a slow warm-up (first lap very slow, as I wasn't feeling it) but sped up as I went and did the 1600m with strides in 10:33. My 100m strides felt good in about 32-33s each. I stretched a bit and got going on the fartlek.

It went reasonably well. Here are my times: 2:52.8, 2:53.0, 3:08.9, 2:51.3, 3:09.8, 2:49.3. Total 17:45.0 with ave HR 160, max 173, and 2 min recovery 122 (good!). That's not fast, but at least I'm able to train and despite the stress my HR is not going crazy. My resting HR has been up a bit (54-56 via fitbit) but not alarmingly so. I will keep monitoring it.

Garmin data here. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


Good news - we are now under contract on our house. One step closer to moving :). It's been crazy, and there is still more to come, as the house has to be inspected and negotiations with buyers over what should be fixed follows. Hopefully the buyers will be reasonable people and we will get through all of this with a minimum of stress.


This morning, I did 6K. Portland-to-Coast is this Friday & Saturday, so I am taking it easier this week in preparation. The 6K went fine; I felt much more relaxed than I have because I was less worried about the house business :). I took both dogs, though, and Powder was dragging her feet as usual. I probably would've been 5-10 sec faster per km if not for dragging her part of the way when she got tired. I should quit taking her, but she needs the exercise, so I try to take her on shorter walks.

Total time was 39:20 for 6:33/km with ave HR 143.


Oh, and today was the first day of school. Such cuteness on my FB feed from lots of friends. Here's my kid spam...

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Today was a bit of a slog, but I got through it. It's been a stressful week, and I'm doing everything I can to keep it at bay, but it's just one of those unavoidable things in life: selling a house and buying a new one is stressful. I'm a bit overextended and tired, but I am still doing my workouts as I know they help provide sanity.

I knew by 5K that this one was not going to be pretty, as I was already at 6:32/km and I could feel that I wasn't strong today. But I was determined to finish. I saw a friend at 4.4km, and chatted for a few minutes; went on and at about 7km stopped for a drink at the Liberty Park water fountain, and talked to a couple runners training for their first marathon. They are planning to do Top of Utah! I gave them some insight into the course from my experience, and then went on.

The weather was delightful at least, except for the smoke from all the Western wildfires. It was 17.8C (64F), calm, and clear and sunny.

I finally made it to 14K in 1:33:32 for 6:40/km (yeah...I know...I'm sorry coach...doing my best). Ave HR was 144. I felt OK, other than being a bit tired.

Garmin data here. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5K fartlek

There's still been a lot of stress re: house selling efforts, but I'm mostly handling it pretty well. Mostly. My resting HR has remained at 52-53 which seems decent, so at least that's something. But it's hard having strangers tromp through your house and dealing with all the stuff that comes with selling a house. 

I didn't get enough sleep last night and wasn't feeling much like a workout but I'm glad I did it. Not that it went well, because it didn't really, but because I did feel better after I did it. 

The warm-up was a bit sluggish but not too bad, with a few strides thrown in. I had to do the workout on the road (mostly but not totally flat) because the gym was closed until 4pm for staff training (the U undergrads start next week, so they are preparing), so the indoor track wasn't an option. The outdoor track is close to being ready to use again (a week or two more?) but it is still not an option either. 

I started off and in the first km I knew it wasn't a good day. My first km was 5:51.5 (2:56, 2:56 essentially...) and it didn't get better. But it didn't get much worse, either, which is good. I was supposed to do a 6K fartlek, but when my last km was 3:09 (medium effort) 2:58 (very hard effort on slight uphill) I called it quits. I wasn't discouraged but wanted to be sure not to overdo. Am still feeling fine about things, and just figure that today was an "off" day. I can live with that.

My average HR was 165 during the workout, which is pretty high; 2 min recovery was 130, also pretty high. I have to keep an eye on this and see where it trends. It's a bit concerning. Stress reduction is needed, so will try to take good care of myself. 

Good news: the scale is moving! I've been tracking carefully with Fitbit and it said 154.0 this morning and it hasn't been that low in at least 18 months. I'm pleased, though I suspect some of that will come back on as water weight in the next day or two. Still, it was 165 this winter, so it's definitely going in the right direction :). 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Yesterday: elliptical and lots of casual walking to and from picking up the kids - from one end of campus to the other; hilly and a good distance.

Today: 10K racewalking. Nice weather!!! It felt cool and fall-like out this morning; 61F (16.1C) and sunny and calm. I brought Sugar along for the walk, and ran into my friends Jude and Andreas while I was out. Stopped to talk with them for a few minutes, then resumed my walk. My legs were a bit tired-ish this morning, but I still was able to walk pretty well, and didn't fall apart at the end.

Total time 1:04:17 for 6:25/km with ave HR 152.

Edited to add: rode my bike to work afterward. Lots of great exercise today!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I'm back.....3K Pacific Association USATF Grand Prix

In brief: trying to sell our home and under contract on another a block away. VERY busy preparing home for sale, so training took a back seat; did 10K last Sunday slowly (6:32/km-ish?) and cross-trained a few days this week but no RW. Drove to Carson City, NV on Saturday with Jim and Stevie Berry (Stevie is a 16yo RWer from Orem, UT, and Jim is his dad) and then raced this morning and drove home. Crazy, as it's a 10-hr drive! But it was fun, and I needed the break getting out of town.

The race was at 6280 feet of altitude, which is 1914m, and is 1930 feet (588m) higher than where I live, which is definitely significant. I felt it, too, especially in the last km (a slow 5:59 with a very high average heart rate of 182 for the last 500m!), and my time was a slowish 17:35.8; but altitude-adjusted via a spreadsheet that Alex Price of the PA-Association came up with, my time was a respectable 17:05.6. Not great, but lots better, and more representative of my training.

Need some sleep so won't upload Garmin data now, but have a few pictures.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


Sunday: rest day

Monday: was supposed to do 6K + 5x200 but mixed up the workouts in my head and woke up a bit late so I cross-trained instead (biking, elliptical). It's been busier than usual around here because we might buy a larger home a block away and we've been crazy looking at homes, talking to realtors, etc. etc. etc.

Today: got up on time and did my 10K, darn it!!! I was to try for 6:10-6:15 pace, but I only managed 6:18. I tried really hard, but just didn't have the legs for it today. I was at 6:15 at 7.5km but then slowed down and just couldn't hold it. However, 6:18 is still pretty good. I left my heart rate monitor chest strap at work so I just had my Fitbit and manual HR counting, but it was mostly in the mid to upper 150s and even low 160s at the end, so I was trying plenty hard. I am obviously feeling the effects of various life stresses upon returning home from vacation, and am working to manage it better, but it's a skill that is going to take some time. Work is insane because we are moving the lab this Friday, and there's a lot of pressure to do experiments because we have two papers under revision. Home is insane because of the whole possible house purchase. But I'm actually holding up pretty well and don't feel too anxious most of the time. I'm trying to stay in the moment and just go with things.

Garmin data here for the 10K.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

learning from mistakes

Yesterday: biked to work (~25 min) plus 40 min elliptical on the way up at the Student Life Center. Then work was crazy; lab move postponed most likely until next Friday because they cannot get the occupancy permit before then as they are running behind schedule. But of course they couldn't be bothered to tell us that until we'd already packed half the lab. Grrrrr.

Last night: had a very nice dinner out with Loren at Fleming's. Drank some wine and ate a bit more than I probably should have. Then stayed up too late watching TV with him. This was all relaxing and excellent and probably OK in itself....but....then the dogs barked a lot last night and I had to get up in the middle of the night to put them downstairs so they'd stop, and I had terrible, restless sleep. My Fitbit said that I was restless/awake for 30 min, and 16 times. I believe it.

Today: I woke up feeling just awful. Decided I'd try to walk anyway. It was ugly...I was to do 15K, but I started out with 6K of hills around SugarHouse Park and I just had nothing in the tank. I was very slow (~6:45) and when I got home I wisely chose to listen to my body and stop. My resting HR was up a bit this morning (probably because of the crappy sleep) and though I am 95% sure the crappy walk was due to poor sleep plus overeating a bit last night (plus the wine?), the 5% uncertainty that maybe it's not just that made me stop. That was a good call. I'm really sleepy now...had to go in to work a bit this morning, and I think I'm going to nap later. My legs feel fine. Will talk it over with my coach and see if I should try to do 15K tomorrow instead, or just stick to the schedule.