Category Archives: Running

Long Run and Weekend Fun

I can’t believe it’s already Sunday! The weekends seem to fly by lately and that’s not ok with me. I live for the weekends! Long runs, hanging with friends, sleeping in and wearing my holiest jeans, excuses to not wash my hair… All my favorite things.

The weekend started off right with manicures for Tiff and I before we celebrated National Margarita Day.

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I must say that I make some dang good margaritas.

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Saturday morning started with a 12.5 mile hilly run for Jas and I. We decided to tackle 2 of our favorite routes combined. We’ve done both routes a number of times but never combined the two loops and let me tell you – it was a challenge!

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But it came with some rewarding views:

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(Image from http://homebuysblog.com because I didn’t carry my phone to take a picture of the gorgeous view)

After our run I made the most killer dinner I have ever made. I’m not the best cook but every once in a while I end up with some winners and this knockoff Cafe Rio salad was a major hit.

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I’ll have the original recipe along with my tweaks up this week. Now Jas and I are settling in to enjoy the rest of our night watching the Oscars and eating leftovers. I hope JLaw wins best actress… I loveeeee her!!

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Filed under marathons, Running, Training

Stupid Foot

So my foot has been numb for a couple weeks now. That’s not normal right?

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Rather than go to someone with a PhD and have them tell me (again) how running is bad for your joints and blah blah blah I decided to just let the people at Roadrunner Sports diagnose me. The guy said it could be a combination of my shoelaces being too tight and landing on my forefoot rather than my midfoot. So I did what he said and took a week off of running to ice and cross train and hopefully get the feeling back. And yes that is a frozen wine bag on my foot in the above picture.

So this past week was spent doing some of this:

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And a little of this:

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And maybe a tiny bit of sulking and temper tantruming on Saturday when my dad and Jason went out on a 10 mile run in perfect weather without me.

So tonight I’m off to run for the first time in a week and I’m pretty freaking excited about it. Wish me luck and pray to the RunGods that I can feel my toes after.

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I Guess it’s Time for a Real Recap

I’ve been slacking in the blogging/Ragnar recapping department this week so I figured it was finally time for me to get on that. All the fun pictures and excitement from last weekend can be found here, but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and not-always-pretty details (I’m so clever, huh?).

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After meeting up with the rest of Van 2 around 7AM, we headed to the first major exchange to await Madison. It was already really warm out when Ashley headed out for her first leg – 8.8 miles. She wasn’t feeling great thanks to the heat, but she knocked out that leg like a total Rockstar before handing off to Linzay.

Linzay was a total champ, covering one of the hilliest legs of the race and it was just about noon when she handed off to me in Corona. By the time I took off on my first leg of 4.9 miles, it was close to 90*. In any other situation, 4.9 miles would be a breeze that I could easily knock out at a 9:30-9:45 pace, but this was far from my normal comfort zone of running in 60-70* weather.

I immediately felt the effects of the heat combined with my lack of actually fueling for this run. I guess half a Krispy Kreme donut and a banana don’t exactly work as well as my normal PB-Toast breakfast. But it was tasty.  My first leg ended up being a sad, slow 11:55 pace for 4.9 miles. I was taking in lots of Nuun but it was so hard to keep drinking as my bottle was downright hot, and hot Strawberry Lemonade doesn’t taste fantastic when you’re running in 90* temps. I felt dizzy and my face was cold which I knew was not a good sign. I also felt SO defeated because I know I am so much better than such a slow (for me) pace. It didn’t help that I got stuck at two horrible stoplights, including one that was almost 4 minutes! The other runners and I were sharing water and spray bottles and it was so great how everyone was working to lift each other’s spirits. I ended up running the last mile and a half with a girl in a tie-dye shirt from Chino Hills but I totally forgot to get her name. She was so nice for sharing her water though!

I initially thought I ‘d be running my second leg around midnight, but because of Satan’s Death Legs from Hell (aka all the legs through the boiling hot Inland Empire) we ended up a couple hours behind and I set off for leg 2 at 2:00AM all decked out in my stylish reflective vest, headlamp, reflective BIC Band, some killer knuckle lights (which really made the run way more fun) and about 30 glow sticks.

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This leg went MUCH better. Let me just tell you that running through San Marcos at 2:00AM while strange dogs are barking in the yards around you keeps you VERY motivated to stay as close as possible to the person in front of you.

3.8 miles in 36 minutes. Much more my style.

Luckily, after Elisabeth finished her 2nd leg we had a few hours to get a little sleep. Ashley and Phil live just a couple miles from the final major exchange so they were amazing and let all of us crash their apartment and get a couple hours of rest before we had to be up and running at 8AM. They also let us all use the shower which felt AMAZING after running and sweating and sitting in a van all day. Best shower ever.

I set out for my final leg of 11.1 miles at noon on Saturday and that’s where things went all kinds of wrong. The first 4 miles were ok. I had to stop to pee and my legs were sore and my body felt exhausted but I held a steady 10:30 pace despite the stop and the headwind for the first 3 miles. At mile 5 I saw my team waiting for me, but little did I know I also had the biggest beast of a hill ahead as well. Sharon was amazing and paced me up half the hill and basically talked me down from the “I hate this and I hate myself for doing this” ledge. If it weren’t for her I probably would still be curled up in the fetal position at the bottom of that mountain.

The second half of the hill was… interesting… Basically this was my view for half a mile:

Those would be Ragnar temporary tattoos on his cheeks. Yep. Half a mile. Uphill. Staring at THAT.

I finally made it to the glorious downhill and I was tired but trucking along just fine. I did start to notice that I hadn’t seen any Ragnar signs in a while but I was following closely behind Man-Thong and tons of other runners so I really didn’t think too much of it.

Around miles 8 is where the fun really started. A bunch of runners I had been following about 1/4 a mile behind all of a sudden came running back toward the rest of us yelling that we’d gone over 2 miles out the wrong way. Commence mental breakdown. I was so sore and so tired and so beat up over that damn hill that I just couldn’t hold myself together. I called my team practically in hysterics and told them what happened. Luckily, they swung by and picked me up, fed me some water and goldfish, and got me back to the road where I should have been.

By this point I was verging on tears. I really felt like I’d let them down and I felt HORRIBLE. But they put me backed together and Ashley was the sweetest thing ever and busted out the final 3 miles with me. She pushed bums out of the way, yelled at moms with strollers to move, and pretty much paved the way for me to survive those last few miles. Champ.

13.13 miles – 10:45 pace. Eh.

I was so relieved to hand the wristband off to Erica at that point. She rocked her final leg and Elisabeth held strong to bring us home to the finish line. It was such an amazing feeling to be done! Driving home was exhausting but coming home to my sweet boyfriend with champagne and flowers was so worth it. I definitely broke down a couple times during the week (after plugging in my Garmin and seeing some pretty dismal numbers), but I wouldn’t trade the experience for ANYTHING. We all ran in the heat, we all hit horrible hills and we all had to pull through and tough it out. I am so inspired by the performance of my teammates and I’m working even harder to become a stronger runner so that one day when I do another Ragnar I can feel as proud of all my legs as I did of my 2nd leg this time.

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Seriously how cute are we? That’s after 41 hours awake and only 3 hours asleep BTW.

So in an effort to become a stronger, faster runner I’ve recruited a new running buddy that pushes me a little more:

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We had 2 great runs last week and I think if I keep running with him I can be busting out some consistent sub-9 paces on the reg Winking smile

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No more double-digit mile paces for this girl. Time to get fast. Pinky-proms.

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Filed under J, Ragnar Relay SoCal, Running

It’s Ragnar Time!!

After many, many months of planning, emails, facebook groups, sponsor-seeking and list-making – IT’S FINALLY RAGNAR RELAY WEEKEND!

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I spent the last 2 days packing and repacking until I finally felt satisfied that I had enough without having too much.

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My outfit for each leg (4.9 mi, 3.8 mi, 11.1 mi) is carefully stashed in a Ziploc bag so I can easily toss the sweaty clothes back in a bag and grab my whole next outfit out of a new bag without frantically having to search through the van for another sock or sports bra.

Tonight I’ll be roadtripping down to Orange County with our newest team member Sharon, who was a total lifesaver and joined when we had a last minute opening! And, in less than 24 hours, our So Much Cooler Online 12-man team will be off and running! The Ultra Team has a slightly later start so all of us in van 2 will be meeting up with them Friday morning to decorate the vans.

If anyone wants to follow along (and possibly win some cool giveaways along the route) follow us on Twitter:

#SMCOL

Or:

Van 1
Runner 1: Shannon@hungrygazelle
Runner 2: Becka @squirrelgirl44
Runner 3: Heather @hmgiraffy
Runner 4: Julie @julie16750
Runner 5: Sandy @bicbands
Runner 6: Madison @Borntorun77
Van 2
Runner 7: Ashley @prettyfittie
Runner 8: Linzay @brokerunner
Runner 9: Me! @GTR_Danica
Runner 10: Erica @cajun_runner
Runner 11: Sharon
Runner 12: Elisabeth @ewallerscott

Ultra
SkinnyRunner @skinnyrunnerSR
SarahOUAL @SarahOUaL
HauteRunningMama @hauterunningmama
Margot @FasterBunny
Chiara @lil_yogini
Pam

(Big thanks to Heather for putting together this Twitter list!)

Some more huge THANK YOUs to our sponsors for preventing us from becoming dehydrated or having to run naked:

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RunningSkirts
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BIC Bands

Run Pretty Far (Wait until you see the tanks we’ll be rocking – too cute!)
Hydrated by:
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Nuun
Compressed by:
Aspaeris Pivot Shorts
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Pro Compression Socks
And fueled by:
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GU

And a final GIGANTIC thanks to our 3 (male – poor boys) drivers and our AWESOME volunteers – you guys ROCK!

Holy crap this is really happening. 18 girls, 3 vans, 203.5 miles. This is going to be fun. Or crazy. Or insane. But probably all three.

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Filed under Ragnar Relay SoCal, Running

The Start of a Good Weekend

I just got back from a delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant. The same restaurant I went to last week before the half. The same restaurant where I only ate naan and rice because I was afraid of what it might to do to me when running 13.1 miles the next day.

It was worth the wait. Food coma. Nothing beats girl time with beer and spicy food. And naan. Nothing beats the naan.

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Since I’m delirious from the amount of food I just consumed I just wanted to throw this little gem out there and then I’m going to call it a night:

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Um, what? Where did that 8:40 pace come from? No clue. I was feeling really good though. I guess it’s time to crush another PR next week.

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Seriously. Where did this run come from? I honestly set out to run a 9:30 pace. Who am I?

I hope everyone’s weekend is off to a good start as well! Today is my Friday and my office had vanilla sprinkle donuts this morning so I think it’s safe to say this is going to be a great long weekend!

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Filed under Running, Weekends!

PR’s–Yeah, They’re Nice

Yesterday my Dad and I ran Compete Green’s Half Marathon of the Harbors in Ventura. As you can already tell from the title, I PR’d. But I didn’t just PR. I kicked my previous 2:18 half marathon’s butt.

2:10:04 – 9:55 pace – heck.yes.

I cannot even begin to explain how good it felt to see that 2:10 on the clock when I crossed the finish line.

It felt even better than finding out Adam Levine is back on the market (for my single friends of course, Jas).

I’m still riding the runner’s high today and considering some bigger (maybe twice as big?) races in the near future.

I woke up at the lovely hour of 4AM to down a couple cups of coffee, eat my PB toast and watch “Unwrapped” – Easter Treats” where I learned the first Peep took 27 hours to make by hand.

Since my favorite cheerleader was sitting this one out (and sleeping in) I had to resort to a Myspace-era self portrait for race morning.

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All set for #3 and rocking my SkinnyRunner shirt and white sparkle BIC Band

I really enjoyed this race. The course was flat and fast. I started out really strong and my legs felt nice and warmed up from last week’s race. I was shocked to look down and see I was hitting well below my 10-minute mile goal pace right off the bat.

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The course was an out and back from Ventura Harbor to Channel Islands with great views of the ocean and million dollar beach homes. The first couple miles do pass by a sewage refinery so if you have a sensitive nose that could be a problem.

We hit the halfway point and turned back and that’s when I hit the wall. Not the mental runner’s wall, the actual physical wall of wind. Holy smokes was it windy. I literally felt like I was pushing through an air tunnel at some points. The last half of my splits definitely reflect the change in conditions:

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I forgot to hit stop on my Garmin until a few seconds after I came through the finish so I wasn’t sure of my actual time until the results were posted today. But now it’s official:

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Now the only problem is I’m going to have to set a new goal. Sub-2 half marathon? It could happen.

All in all, I would absolutely recommend the Half Marathon of the Harbors. It was definitely a small race (only about 500 runners), but it was well organized. They had water and Gatorade about every 2 miles and they handed out gels at the halfway point and again at about mile 9 or 10. The volunteers were great and although there wasn’t a ton of crowd support until the finish, all the volunteers and police made sure to cheer on the runners. Also, the yells of “Don’t Stop!” whenever people saw my shirt were super helpful. How could I be caught walking while wearing that? I couldn’t. Embarrassing.

If anyone is looking for a flat, fast and well-run small race then check out Compete Green! They have a ton of different events that sound really fun and they put in a lot of effort to make everything environmentally friendly – from using no paper goods to advertise to using plastic cups at the aid stations (that volunteers pick up and recycle after!) they really put on a great race that everyone can feel great about. Love that!

So here’s to finishing half #3! I’ve got the annual Gator Run 5k in a couple weeks followed by Ragnar SoCal in just under 3 weeks! It’s going to be an exciting month! I hope your April is off to just as a great of a start!

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Filed under Half Marathons, Races, Running

PRO Compression Review

The awesome people at PRO Compression hooked up Team So Much Cooler Online with their marathon compression socks for the upcoming Ragnar Relay. I had a perfect opportunity to test these babies out after Saturday’s half and I’m excited to say that I think I’m hooked.

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You can read all the scientific benefits of the PRO Compression Socks here, but I’m going to give you my personal opinion for your viewing (reading?) pleasure.

After my first 5k ever back in 2009, I couldn’t flex my calves for a week. I also wore crappy shoes and all cotton – loser. I knew after Saturday’s hilly half I was going to need to  go into serious recovery mode if I didn’t want to run Sunday’s upcoming half looking like this:

When I got home the first thing I did was throw on my PRO Compression socks and start icing my knees and calves. I wore them all day on Sunday too while walking around the mall with my sister and when I woke up this morning, by hamstrings were still tight from the hills and my back was sore from trying to move a 574lb piece of furniture, but my calves felt good as new.

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Stretching my quads while wearing my little sausage casings from Heaven.

These socks are truly going to be amazing during the Ragnar Race when I’ll be covering over 15 miles over 3 different legs. I also plan to race in them on Sunday so I’ll be sure to post a review as to how they hold up while running, but so far I give them a 9/10. The only thing I would change is they are super long. Like, I can pull them over my knees and at 5’6” I’ve got a few inches on some of my teammates so I feel like they must be wearing them as thigh-highs.

Overall, I would say if you are looking for some great, comfortable compression socks that work (and come in fun colors) make sure to check out PRO Compression. They have a wide range of different socks and both pairs I’ve tried have been beyond comfortable and reasonably priced  compared to other brands I’ve seen.

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Filed under Running