Monday, April 29, 2013

A Great Group Ride

Saturday, we went on a group training ride for the Tour de Cure. Our goal was to ride about 70-75 miles. There are 7 of us who will be riding together for the 100-mile Tour ride, and we all were able to meet up for the ride. This was the first time I have ridden with seven people -- my previous max was 4. I have to say, almost doubling the number of riders together was pretty awesome!

I was thinking that training or cycling in a group is probably like doing a group training run.

A few reasons to train (for anything, really) with a partner:
1. When you train with someone who is a little better or faster than you, it can really push you to improve your pace. Training with a partner can be a good change of pace from training alone.There are benefits to training alone too, but it can be good to mix things up.
2. Training with a partner provides you with someone (or a few people!) to talk to. This always help make the workout fly by!
3. A training partner provides you with someone to be accountable to. If you set a meeting time and place, it is harder to back out.

For cycling in particular, other riders can really help you! If you form a drafting line, you take turns up front doing the brunt of the work. When you are in the back, you have some rest time before it is your turn to pull again.

Edited to add: A number of readers have mentioned that riding in a group is also much safer because you are more likely to be seen by drivers. Good point!

I was super nervous going out for this ride because there were a few riders with us who were much more experienced or just naturally faster. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up. But, I ended up being able to stay with the group for most of the ride. Sweet!

We made one wrong turn somewhere along the way, I think, so we ended up going about 68-70 miles, but we still hit all the hills. I did a lot better at them this time than a few weeks ago. It's amazing what a rest day can do! We also finished a much longer ride at a faster pace than I usually go. I was so excited!

I wish I had a few photos of the scenery on this ride. It was so beautiful! Sunny. Rolling green hills.

 Here's one from a couple weeks ago just for fun.

This training ride made me so excited for the Tour this coming weekend! I know we are going to have a blast.

Do you train often with friends? Most of the time, I do my runs alone, but Ryan and I like to bike together. As I said here though, it was awesome to ride with more people! Ryan and I help get each other out for our runs and keep each other accountable -- even if we don't actually run together.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Taking a Much Needed Rest Day

In the last three days, I've worked my legs pretty hard. Here were my workouts:

Tuesday: speed (on the treadmill) Warmup. 2x400, 2x800. Repeat. Cooldown.
            Note: I used my 10k time to estimate new speed workout paces. They are TOUGH!
Wednesday: P90x legs and back
            For some reason, this workout always crushes my legs, even if I do lighter weights. At least I know I'm strengthening those muscles for my runs and rides!
Thursday: spin
See? My legs have really been working hard! Yesterday morning, my legs were already feeling sore from the two previous days. By the time spin was over, I knew I'd really be feeling it this morning! So today, I'm going to be listening to my body and taking a rest day.

This weekend I will be doing a 70 mile bike ride to get in one last push before the Tour de Cure. I can't believe it is already coming up next weekend! Resting today is also important so I'm ready to put in those long miles on the bike tomorrow.

{One of my favorite photos of Ryan from last year's Tour training}

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I can't wait to read all the recaps next week!

If anyone is interested in donating to the American diabetes Association, and supporting my ride in the Tour de Cure, please visit my donation page here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Capital City Classic 10K: Race Recap

Last week I last minute signed up for a 10k for Sunday morning -- the Capital City Classic. After learning I made it on the Nuun Hood to Coast team, I wanted to have a more up to date 10k time, since the last time I ran one was a year ago. In fact, it was this same race last year!

So, Sunday morning I got up bright and early for the race. The temperatures were going to be warm, and race start wasn't until 8:00am, so I made sure to wear lightweight clothing. (Check out this post for a few other tips for hot weather running)

We arrived at the start area about 7:15am, and everything seemed very organized. Not too many people were around yet. We still had to pick up our bibs, so I did that right away without any issues. The organization that runs the race (Change of Pace Foundation) had blue and yellow ribbons out you could wear in honor of Boston.

Afterward, I got in the bathroom line.  Good thing I did right away because the lines got crazy long! In fact, they actually pushed back the start time by 5 minutes to help ensure not as many people missed the start. I am sure there were still people in line though when we got going. Next year, I suggest more portapoties than just 20!

Before the race started at 8:05am, we had a moment of silence for Boston. I apprecited that the race organizers really did a good job of recognizing the events in Boston both with this moment of silence and the ribbons.

{pre-race with my Run for Boston ribbons}

The race had a 5k, 10k and 10 mile options and all 3 races started together. Because of that the beginning of the race was a little crowded, but it didn't seem to be an issue. The first half of the course was nice and flat, running a small loop along the Sacramento River and into Old Sacramento.

Miles 1-3: 7:50, 7:53, 7:43

The second half of the course was a little tougher -- again still mostly flat, but it had a few sections of gravel, one spot to run between big boulders and some running on a boardwalk. It also had a couple steep but short inclines and declines on those gravel sections. I was nervous running down the gravel! Luckily, no falling occurred! There was also one spot where it was a little unclear which way the 10k and 10 mile runners were supposed to go, but the volunteer helped point it out at the last second.

Miles 4-finish: 7:45, 7:42, 7:37, 7:14 pace for last 0.2

By the end of the race, I was getting pretty warm, and was working hard to keep up the pace. I was hoping I'd be able to keep pretty close to my pace at the Running of the Elk race -- and I did! I'm also excited I was able to get a slight negative split. Not going out too fast is something I have been trying to focus on.

Official finish time: 48:20. (7:47/mi pace)

Good enough in this little local race for 2nd place in my age group and 5th overall woman! Sweet!! This is nearly 45 seconds per mile faster for me than this same race last year. I'm so excited by this improvement!

{Ryan and I celebrating our 2nd place age group finishes!}

The 10-miler runners were given finishers medals, but there was also an optional participation medal to purchase if you did the 5k or 10k. Ryan bought one to include on his medal rack, but we also ended up both bringing home Age Group Awards medals too. Change of Pace does a great job on their medals -- and this race was no exception. Check them out!

 {medals with the women's tech tee}

{participation medal and award winner medal}

I always think it is fun when a race gives out a good medal -- something earned and to be proud of. I have decided every time I run a good race, it just makes me want to sign up and do another one! I'm already looking forward to my next race in May.

There are a lot of races between last weekend and this weekend. Did you race last weekend? What's next on your race calendar?

Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Heatin' Up!

Last weekend the weather was amazing. It made for perfect temperatures for an evening run with Ana (remember, she's training for her first marathon!) on Saturday, and a long bike ride mid-day with Ryan on Sunday. Seriously, how can you beat sunny and 75 degree days?!

The forcasted weather for this coming weekend though is going to be HOT. Check it out:

When the temperatures rise, it is important to be careful as you engage in outdoor activities. Here are some of my tips for running in warmer weather:

Exercise early in the morning or after sunset. These times of day it can sometimes be hard to see runners though, so be sure to use caution -- wear lights, light colored and reflective clothing. In humid areas, it can stay hot for a little while after sunset, so find the coolest parts of the day where you live.

Adjusting your training schedule for cooler days if possible. Sometimes this isn't really possible to do, but if you have a little wiggle room, move around your training plan to do your longer or harder runs on a day that has cooler temperatures.

Run in the shade or on a trail where you aren't in direct sunlight. Reducing the direct impact of the sun can help you stay cooler. 

Wear sunscreen! This, of course, goes not just for the hot times of the year, but we always need another reminder. Help keep your skin safe from harmful rays!

Watch out for increased chafing! I find it especially important to wear anti-chafe cream when the weather heats up and I'm sweating more. My worst chafing experience was at a race in the middle of the summer!

Drink lots of water and also replace your electrolytes (Nuun or Gatorade, for example). Be sure you are hydrated before you go out, and also rehydrate when you return. Try wearing a hydration belt or carry handheld bottle.  If you will be out for a long time and you don't want to carry water with you, you could plan ahead and leave water along your route, plan for water fountains, or pass by your house/car for a sip every few miles. Here's an in-depth article from Runner's World all about hydration.

Slow your pace while your body adapts to a big change in temperature. Running in hotter weather can be more taxing on your body while it adjusts to temperature change. Slowing down your pace until you are more used to it can help keep you from pushing too hard.

Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that is wicking, and wear a hat. Try to avoid cotton, both for your clothing and hats. Material that is wicking can keep you cooler. I also prefer to wear a visor over a hat to keep from trapping in the heat. Dumping water on your head and neck, and wetting your hat can also cool your body down.

Finally, be aware of the signs of heat stroke:  dizzy, nauseated, have the chills, or cease to sweat. If you notice you are having these signs, STOP RUNNING, find shade, and drink water or a fluid replacement drink. If temperatures are really extreme, be okay with taking your workout indoors. Run on the treadmill or get in some cross-training or strength training for a day.

Do you have any other tips to beat the heat?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rockin' HTC

Yesterday morning I found out that I was chosen to be a part of the Nuun Hood-to-Coast team!!

When I applied a few weeks ago, I was not confident I would be chosen after seeing so many other hilarious and awesome application videos.

I am already looking forward to running my first relay! I have heard so many awesome things about Hood-to Coast!

Besides the running, I am SO excited to make some new friends!!!

Check out this list of other amazing women who will also be running:
Kimberly - Healthy Strides
Jolene - Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run
Megan - Meg Runner Girl
Lisa - Run Wiki
Mallory - Run Eat Run Eat
Leslie - Triathlete Treats
Holly - Leaps of Faith
Kara - Welcome to Karadise
Jesica - runladylike
Catey - Random Thoughts from the Zoo
Lisa - Lisa Runs for Cupcakes
Sarah - Run Far Girl
Meghan - Shoe Stories
Devon - Dev on Running
Karen - Reason to Play
Andrea - the MF Dre
Jenny - We Wander and Ponder
Lindsay - Twisted Running
Hannah - Fit Girl Happy Girl
Holly - Fashionable Miles
Melissa - Melissa Runs

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to run, and I'm thankful to have been chosen. Thank you Nuun!

Anyone run Hood-to Coast before? What's the best leg to run?
If you haven't, which would you choose?
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