Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon race recap and TWO YEARS!

Two years ago today I wrote my very first post.
I started this blog to remember my journey to my first half marathon.
I never thought anyone would read anything I would write about running.
I never thought I would meet amazing people through my blog.
I never thought this little blog would lead me at the top of Mount Hood with a group of fantastic women (and some men also!).

I never thought I would be writing a race recap for my 12th half marathon 2 years later.

But here I am doing just that today.

I want to say thank you to everyone who read my posts, to all of you who commented in the last 2 years.  To all of you who have supported me.  To all of you who have become my friends. 

Here I am with a dozen half marathons under my belt.

So RnR Los Angeles....

It was a GREAT race.
I have to say that I was not expecting that race to be so well organized because well...LA  is a busy town.

We left the house at 5:30 am.  Start was 7:30 am.  I thought we would have plenty of time...even with traffic getting in Los Angeles.   I was wrong.   Traffic was pretty bad getting in.  We were stuck at the exit to get to LA Live where Staples Center is and the start was.  Good thing we know our way around a little, we got out of the lane and took the next exit instead of waiting longer.  That was a good move because I read on Facebook that some people got stuck there a really long time and people were even getting out of their car to walk to the start from the freeway!!! Crazy!!!!!

Bill dropped me at the Staples Center and I went looking for the porta potty.   I was expecting long lines....but no...they had plenty and no lines!  I found my corral easily and I just waited.  I saw Tiffany , one of my Hood to Coast teammate! She was in front of me and she snapped that picture while we were waiting:

Skyler Lane from last season of American Idol sang the National Anthem.  I thought she did a great job!

The race started right on time.  They did a great job with the start, going corral by corral and just enough time between each.  At the start, we saw American running legend, Frank Shorter (he is tiny!) on the stage with the race announcers.

I saw Bill and the boys also at the start!

I will not bore you with a mile by mile recap.  I liked the course.  It had a couple loops...one taking us by the finish line around mile 6..that was a little hard mentally.  There were a couple hills...nothing too crazy but one on a bridge going over the LA River that was a bit of a killer at mile 9.  Lot's of people were walking going up.

I decided to start faster than I did for the Long Beach half and see how it goes.
The temperature was not hot but the sun came out early and it felt a lot warmer than it really was.  We had planned that Bill and the kids would be at mile 6 because it is where the course goes by the finish line so that meant no need to move the car to see me on the course.  I had prepared a 2nd handheld with water and salt tablets that Bill was supposed to give me at mile 6.

I did not save any water during the first 6 miles and I used all the salt tablets I had also.  When I got to mile 6 I saw lots of people cheering the runners...I slowed down to look for my family and make sure they could see me.  I was ahead of my normal 10k split but I knew that they were waiting since the start so I thought all was OK with the plan....well it was not.  I did not see them... I kept going of course...thinking maybe they walked a little further to get away from the crowd.  Mile 7 came...still no family.  Then I knew that I would not see them.  I had a little panic....That was a bummer.  And my water bottle was almost empty and no more salt. CRAP CRAP CRAP.

The worst part is....
They were there.

Sitting on the curb...my Ninja and little Obi Wan Kenobi.  I did not see them and they did not see me. :(

First time this happens.  Lesson learned for me though.  I will not rely on seeing them for sure during a race and count on getting new water and salt supply from Bill at mid course.

Good thing this race was so well organized.  All the aid station had plenty of cups with water in them.  All the volunteers were nice.  The support on the course was fantastic also.
I don't use GU but I saw they had plenty of that as well.
Although I am not a huge fan of drinking water from the fire hydrants...I did because I would have been in a lot of trouble without any water for 6 miles in that sun.

I think it was around mile 7 that I saw the leaders going down the last stretch of the course.  I saw Deena Kastor flying by (and wished Bill knew who she was to know to snap a couple pics).  She ended up taking 2nd place in the women div.

So my stomach was not a fan of the race water...I started cramping at mile 10 I think.  I knew that the last part would be easy going down..so I just kept repeating this in my head : "don't panic, don't puke".

I saw the finish

and then....well....a classic Caroline race ending.... dry heaves and puking.

A medic came to me and said my favorite line in these situations: "Are you OK?" All I want to say is "Do I look like I am OK?" but I don't say that because that would not be very nice and I know he just wanted to offer help.

It did not last long and I was OK to just go on and get my medal and all the stuff they had for us at the finish.  They had plenty for the runners:  Smoothie, Chocolate milk, bottled water, bagels, bananas, Marathon bars, Gatorade.  Also the best thing: Cold wet towels! and then a few steps later, dry towels!  I give them an A+ for post race organization.

Medal is nice:

I met with my family without any problems

I also saw Tiffany at the finish line.

As far as my time goes..I did OK. 

(my watch match the mile marker right on the spot as I passed them, that has never happened to me before)

Not my best by far but a lot better than I did in Long Beach.
I am still not 100%.  I did have pain in my groin in the last 4 miles but it was not as bad as it was in LB.  
So overall I am happy with this race. 
I am on my way back from this injury. 
At least I hope I am...!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

RnR Los Angeles Race Expo

Tomorrow is the Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon.

Went to the Expo early this morning.  Alone even though I hate driving to LA.
It's soccer day today so I did not want to have someone late for their game so I went by myself.

I was there at the opening so no wait.
I did a little tour to see all the booths and signed up for all the giveaways...you never know right?!

They had a free photo booth...so I stopped for that of course!!

Brooks was there with lots of nice stuff....so tempting...but I was good....
They had these fun mirrors

Made it back on time for the first game!

Unfortunately the $%$^^& HEAT is back.

I am really frustrated.  It was cool all week.  And now it is an oven again.  It sucks.

Here's  to hoping for a cool morning!

All the best to everyone running the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow! or any other race!!!!!

Wishing you fast happy injury free miles!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


That is the running equation for Caro.

CW + C = FRP

Cooler Weather + Caro = Faster Running Pace.

That works for a lot of people I know.  For me it is like magic.  Like a on/off switch.

I could not ask for better weather than what we had the last couple of days.  Mid 50s and sunny.  No wind.   Just perfect.

Of course it will not last....and by Sunday the temperatures will be back to the high 80s...86 to be exact and of course I have a race that day.....

Lately I have noticed that when asked "How are you doing?"  most people answer "Good" or "Great"...out of habit I think.  It is very rare that people actually say "Not so great actually"...because that is usually followed by an awkward silence because people don't expect anything but "Good".   I think about that because right now my honest answer cannot be good...because that is not correct.    I am dreading people asking me how I am doing because I suck at lying and if I am honest than I'd have to answer the follow up questions...At school, where I am really close friends with any of the parents, I don't really want to discuss my family's business.  I know in a way I make no sense because here I am typing this for all of you to read ...but it is not quite the same with the people I see every day at school... How about you...do you always say "Good" ?

This week is Red Ribbon week at school.  It is a week to bring awareness to "Say no to Drugs and Bullying".  Each day has a theme: Hawaiian, crazy socks, crazy hair, 70s and red white and blue.  It is always really fun for the kids.

Crazy Hair Day was today.  I had two red hair boys! 

Here's Will -the giant- with his classmates.  I never notice how much taller than his friends he is until I see some pictures.  Look at the bottom right one!

Here's Jonathan with his friends.  On the top right those are his 1st grade friends (same age) and top left with the 2nd graders. 

 I finished this book in 2 days

Do you know this story? About the Memphis 3?
Crazy.  I watched the 3 documentaries Paradise Lost also and this story is really unbelievable.

Lastly...How about those Giants?...That is pretty great I think....Right Nelly?!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I passed the 1000 miles mark.
In October.
That is pretty good for me....especially with June and July that were not great mileage months.

Today I went for 9 miles thinking those 9 would put me at 1000..but I wad at exactly 1000 before getting out the door so now I am at 1009!

Going into Taper week.   Next race is in a week, RNR Los Angeles.  Today the weather was PERFECT here....overcast, mid 50s.  I hope to get that on race day..makes a huge difference to not have the sun shining on me.

I have been in a funk since we got the bad news about Bill's job.  Last week he got 2 interviews for positions that are "local"...less than 50 miles away and 1 for a position that would require us moving north of here.  Of course I think getting interviews is good news but I don't want to get my hopes up just yet because there's no offers on the table yet.

I am applying on a part time job at the school district, teacher aid.  Jonathan's teacher wrote me a letter of recommendation.  I have been "working" for her for the last 3 years.  I hope it will help.  This is just 3.5 hours per day and of course comes with no benefits but I could still take care of the boys and earn a small income. 

Congratulations to my ARIZONA Friend EMZ who ran the Grand Canyon R2R yesterday.  That is EPIC.

We got kids team pictures.  The one perk of being the team parent is that I get to be on the picture!! :)

Do you have instagram?

I am there @carotabi!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

8 instead of 10...:( and TV talk

See that red spot on my big toe.  Open cut right by the nail and it hurts.  That is what it looks like today.  Sunday morning it was a lot worst and I had 10 miles on the schedule.
I covered that with some band aid thinking it would all be fine.
I did not make it 1/2 mile before I knew that this was not going to be a fun run.
It was awful, every step was painful...at mile 4 I turned around.
So my long run ended up being just 8.
I thought I would go back out later in the afternoon but I didn't.  I could barely walk for the rest of the day.
I rested Monday and helped at the school.

Today It hurt less.  I triple on the band aid went for 5 miles.  It was a lot better than Sunday.

So I got just one long run before my next half marathon.  I am running the Los Angeles Rock n Roll HM.  It is going to be a Halloween race.  The kids are really looking forward to this one.  I wanted to go alone because they will have to get up so early and I feel bad about that but they want to come see the costumes and the bands.  After that one I will get this :
I won a giveaway on Neon Blonde Runner's blog.  This really cute shirt:
I really like it!
TV Talk:
Do you watch a lot of TV?
What do you like this fall?
I watch some.  A lot less than what I used to though!
My favorite shows right now:
1. PARENTHOOD:  If I could watch just one show it would be that one.  It is that good. 
And in the Reality Category...
The Amazing Race and The Voice (just for the interactions between the coaches it is worth watching!)
In all the new ones....well so far I am impressed....I have Nashville on Tivo and it is supposed to be OK...so we will see!

I continue to "work" on my little in home buisiness
I added Digital photo Cards to my list of products.
I made some samples for the Holidays


I just saw that I am 12 miles short of 1000 for 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Even with my less than great summer training.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pacing and Race Pictures

Long Beach Official Race Pictures are out.
I always look at them.
I rarely buy any because their price just make me sick...Seriously they don't want any of us to buy their pictures right?  I mean who do they get? First timers.  That's what I think.  First Marathon.  First Half Marathon (I bought those).  First Relay (I bought that one too). 

Long Beach is a CROWDED race and I thought for sure I would have no picture but I do.
Some are OK actually.  I even have a decent one at the finish line, not my usual puking/dry heaving one!  I have one with my arms up. 

I did not PR that day but this could be a personal best in race pictures...I don't look like I am dying in any of them.

I took 2 running days off after LB.  Monday I volunteered at the school and Tuesday I was a chaperon for a field trip to the theater with Jonathan's class.  I got to ride in the yellow bus....fun times..and Jonathan did not get the memo that I get car sick...guess what seat he picked....yep the very LAST row.   He was so happy I went that it was worth a little nausea :)

Went back to running yesterday and today, 5 and 4 miles. 
I am focusing on starting faster. 
I am terrible at pacing during races.  Really really bad.

If I start at a pace that is close to my 10K pace...I tend to crash at mile 8 and slow down quite a bit.  If I start slow with the intention of picking up the pace after maybe 5 miles or so...I stay at the slower pace and I am not able to turn things around and I often end up crashing before the end also.  In both situations I end up with POSITIVE splits. I ran my faster half marathons when I started "faster" not when I tried to do the "right thing": start slow and finish strong.  I do better with what I call the "banking method"...you know bank some precious minutes early on.  I know this is not how we are supposed to race. 

I want to get better at running LONGER at my "faster" pace.  I would take having nice even splits in my next half marathons over positive splits with the second part being a complete disaster.  I think that once I get to the place where I can keep a- faster than long runs- pace for 13.1 miles then I could work on negative splits.  I will have to learn how to accelerate.  Right now I can only decelerate.

Do you struggle with pacing during races? 

In other news...

It is not HOT this week!!! We even had a storm today! Rain and it is cooler, as in the kids are wearing jeans cooler. I love it!

On the job search for Bill....I wish things were moving faster.  I think about that all the time.  I have a hard time being positive about it and trusting that something "good" will come out of this nightmare.  I am thinking of what I can do.  That is all I think about actually.  I would love to work from home so I could still take care of my kids.  I looked online and a lot of what I see looks like scams.  You know too good to be true kind of thing.  Do you work from home?  What do you do?  Do you have any tips or advices for me? 

For now I am trying to get my little in home business going.  I made flyers and Jonathan's teacher is letting me put them in the kids Friday folders this week.  So grateful for that.  (I ship anywhere so tell all your friends + family and all the strangers you meet!!! )

Monday, October 8, 2012

Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday was the Long Beach Half Marathon.
This was Half Marathon #11 for me and my second time running Long Beach.

Before talking about me let me start with Saturday.

It was the kids race.  That is the best kids race in Southern California! It is FREE.  They give NICE medals.  They are organized.  With bibs and waves by age group.  They have mascots and a race announcer and this year they even had a London 2012 Olympian as a special guest!

The race is 1 mile.  It was Will's second year running this one and Jonathan's first time.
I thought Will would come in the high 9' and Jonathan over 10:00.  I was off.... 

I was near the finish to take pictures and Bill was taking some pictures on the course...he waved to me and I thought this is the signal to get ready for the first one to come shortly...then he waved again...so I got ready...and I saw Jonathan come in....and I thought he had came in before Will...I stayed in my ready to snap a good shot position when Bill came to me and asked what I was doing...I said I was waiting for Will....and he said he passed already!!!!! WHAT? I missed him! That's what happens when you are a bad mom and you under estimate your kids! Turns out the first signal was for "there he is" not get ready!

Will: 8:24 
Jonathan: 9:06

The start: Will in red shirt, Jonathan behind in orange, can barely see him

Olympian 400 hurdles silver medalist: Lashinda Demus

Long Beach kids race #InstaFrame

Long Beach Kids 1 mile race  Will 8:24 and Jo 9:06

After that Bill took the boys out for pizza and I went to the Expo.
I saw my Hood to Coast Teammate and newly TEAM OISELLE MEMBER Sarah there:

Long Beach Expo thank you @sarahoual husband for the pic! #nuunhtc

We stayed in Long Beach Saturday night.  With everything that is going on with my family it was a little strange for me to stay but we did because we had pre paid the room when I signed up for the race.

This is what Long Beach looked like on Saturday night:

Sunset in long beach #longbeachmarathon

The Race:

I knew I was not ready.  My mileage was not where it should be to do well for that distance.  I lost a lot of fitness-speed-endurance over the summer because of my injury.  I am still injured.  I am exhausted because of what is going on with Bill's job.  I have not slept more than 3 hrs straight since the day we got the news (09-24).  Are those excuses...well you can say yes to that...I think in this case those are reasons or just facts.  It is what it is.  OK so I wanted to finish and not end up in the ER like last year.  And if possible no personal worst.

I got up at 4:30 am.  The hotel had a free shuttle to the start so that was nice.  No need to walk the extra 2 miles...or pay a cab...or get my family up.  I got to start before 6 am.  My wave was 7:15 so I had plenty of time.  I saw the start of the bike race and met Rebekah and her dad (my weekends running buddies). 

My plan was to start slow and not follow anyone who would go faster than my plan.  I also wanted to be good with hydration and taking a few calories and also salt. I was not going to fall apart like last year.  I can say that I was pretty good with that.  The weather was a lot warmer than what I thought it would be and in the end it did cause me some trouble.  

I started feeling the pain in my groin around mile 5.  It was a real bummer because I was doing good with the pace I wanted to keep and with everything else.  I had to walk there.  This was hard on the mental part of the race.  We passed a spot where we could see the Queen Mary and lots of people stopped to take pictures...I tried to take some with my phone and wasted some time there...to end up with no picture to show...huge fail....

At mile 7 I saw Bill and the kids.  Big lift for my spirit!  To see my little guys running towards me.  I can see on the pictures that it made other people smile... that has to be a good thing! (I am in the flower skirt and black top)

One of my favorite race picture for sure
My boys running to meet me  during the race #runlb

Long beach half marathon @nuunhydration #runlb

The second part of the race was hard.  Hot and hard.  I was in pain and I walked a lot.
There is not much to add to that.  I did the best I could with the situation.  I went in dry heaves once at mile 11 and that was it for that.  I think because I walked more than usual, I did not have bad GI problems like I always do.

At mile 10 ish a really great surprise!  Heather was there with her friend and they had a  table with NUUN and pretzels and signs for the people they came to support.  How awesome is that?!  Pretty awesome!  It gave me a boost!  I was not in a good place at that point. (photo from her blog: see blue sign on the left...THANK YOU HEATHER!!!!!!!!!!!)

Mile 11, I texted my NUUN HTC teammate and friend Harmony.  Her family is in THE fight.  The fight against cancer.  I texted her that I am running the last 2 for her husband who is at war with cancer right now.  Please send prayers and good thoughts their way.

And so I finished. 
Not a PR. 
Not a PW. 
No ER. 
All in one piece but in a lot of pain.

I have a lot of work to do.
Speed work.
Continue the PT program at home to get that darn groin better.

The medals:


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Returning to LB and need a little help please

Half Marathon Day is coming up ....so so fast....
I am not ready.

I ran yesterday and today..5 and 4 miles.  I was planning on going out tomorrow also but now...I think I changed my mind and will take 2 days of rest before the race.

My groin is not happy.   I want it to be very happy Sunday morning.  So I will be good and I will rest tomorrow AND Saturday.

I am not chasing any PR but I do want to do better than last year.  I want to enjoy this race.  Long Beach is the first half marathon that I do for the second time.  It will be my 11th half marathon.  I am hoping to make it to mile 10 before feeling the pain...mile 13.1 would be ideal of course!!!

The boys are running the kids race on Saturday.  It is their favorite one to run.  It is 1 mile!

I am trying to start a small in home business.
I have to do SOMETHING.
I am thinking of things I could do.
Returning to the kind of job I used to have before having my kids is not realistic.  I left over 8 years ago.  It was a job "in a men's world", long hours, very stressful.  I have been out for too long...and the truth is I would probably not hire me ON PAPER.

I am looking at what I would need to do to maybe teach FRENCH...or translate...something like that.

For now though I am trying this in home business:

Can I ask you a favor? Can you take a minute and go like my new facebook page please...
It is HERE and thank you!
For runners:

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