Sunday, August 9, 2015

New site!

Run Geek Girl Run has a new home! You can find me at

This has been a long time in coming. I hope you find it new and improved!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Great Race of Agoura 10k

I know I keep saying this, but I have been extremely busy between work, training and social life, so I'm not getting posts up like I want. I ran the LA marathon earlier this month and hope to get a report up on that soon. Last weekend I ran the Great Race of Agoura 10k and wanted to get a quick little report up on that.
The Great Race of Agoura has been on my wish list for a couple years now. Late last year, my cousin and his wife contacted me to let me know they would be running it and invited me to tag along. The cool thing about the Great Race of Agoura is that they have two half marathons taking place on the same day. One of the halves is a trail run and the other is street. I've always wanted to do both for various reasons, but it has never worked in my schedule. When they told me they were doing it, I got pretty excited.
For once, I decided to play it smart. I knew I would most likely be doing the LA marathon, which takes places 13 days before, so instead of doing one of the half marathons, I decided to do the 10k with my cousin. This was his first race and longest run ever! How can I pass that up!
Beautiful scenery!
They picked up my packet the day before, so I can't report much on that, but it sounded like it went relatively smoothly. Race morning we got there an hour early and had no problem getting parking. It was a little bit of a hike to the start line, but nothing too daunting. We got to watch one of the half marathons start and then we lined up for the 10k.
Everything went pretty well. I enjoyed a lot of the course! Lot's of neighborhoods, a tiny bit of trail, some hill work and even horses! Although the horses meant that we had to dodge some horse poop (a new experience for me)! My cousin did awesome and finished smiling, which is always a good sign!
Finish line!
Yay bling!
At the finish there was all kinds of festivities and free food. We got the free pancakes and wandered the expo booths for awhile before calling it a day and heading home. 
The race offered free event photos (all the ones in this report with their name in the corner) which I thought was super cool. The only problem with the race that I noticed, was that a lot of people's times were missing. I think most of them were resolved a week or so later, but it was disappointing for my cousin to not have an official time with everyone else until later.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Santa to the Sea Half Marathon (third time's a charm)

I always look forward to Santa to the Sea half marathon. It has become a Christmas tradition for me and it doesn’t feel like the Christmas season till I’ve run it (it takes place at the beginning of December). Daddio and I ran it together in 2011 as my first half marathon and it’s always felt like a special race. It was also my half marathon PR race until mid 2013.

Beautiful morning, but cold!
 My boyfriend won a free entry for the race and decided, due to a foot injury, to run the 5k. Daddio also wanted to run it, but due to continual injuries, he also opted for the 5k option. I unfortunately didn’t get to the see the 5k race since the half marathon was taking place at the same time, but I got to hear all about it afterwards. Daddio placed first in his age group! Way to go Dad! He won a nice Santa to the Sea sweatshirt. My boyfriend set a new 5k PR! Not bad for two injured dudes!

Dad and Aldous getting ready for some 5k action
My race started out cold! Since Daddio needed to get to the start of his race, I got dropped off at the start of mine an hour early. I didn’t want to deal with a drop bag, so I left my sweats and jacket in the car (stupid idea). It took just a few minutes of standing in shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt for the cold to really set in. Apparently it was 36°, a little cold for a southern Cali girl!
I’d been saying all year that I was aiming to PR at this race, but I’d just set two new PR’s in my last two half marathons and I didn’t think I had another one in me. My boyfriend told me that I was race faced the week before and I probably was! I didn’t know how I managed to set my last PR and wasn’t sure I’d be able to break it anytime soon.
I did a little warm up and then lined up at the start. I stood in the sub two hour section feeling optimistic. The race started and as usual I dodged walkers who had lined up in the front. Things were crowded and the road was torn up due to work, so everyone was being careful of their steps. Thankfully at this race, people get spread out pretty early on.
I felt rough right from the start. You know, some days running feels amazing and other days it is work. This race was work every step of the way. I had planned on doing intervals of 14 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking starting at mile 5, but I started it up at mile 3 instead. Like last time, I didn’t carry water, so I had some quick stops at aid stations.
I enjoyed the spectators, the decorations, high fives and the abundant amount of holiday costumes. I believe there were even more runners in costume this year than in the past! I played Christmas music on my headphones and stayed pretty focused. I was working hard, but not hurting.
Since I’ve run this race two other times, I know the course pretty well. I know a lot of the twists and turns and when an aid station is coming up. Strategically, this makes for a great PR race, since I can plan where to stop and predict if I can skip an aid station. The route is basically flat except for a couple overpasses, so I can plan my walk breaks to take place on the hills or at the aid stations.
Around mile 6, I chatted with a guy that caught me walking up an overpass. He joked about how we had been playing tag for the majority of the race and seemed curious why I was intervaling. Some people are completely against intervaling races, I personally have no problem with it. Eventually I would like to move away from it, but right now I am having more success setting long distance PR’s intervaling then I am when I run flat out. It is hard to be seen walking, but I do what I have to in order to get the best results. When I started pulling away, the guy called after me “See you next mile”, but he never caught up to me again!
A mile and a half from the finish, my boyfriend joined me. I was excited to see a familiar face and he got to experience a different side of me. I can sometimes get a little intense at the end of the race and I admit that I got a little cranky with him when he asked innocent questions. My brain function was pretty low at that point and my tank was almost on empty, but I was on course for another decent sized PR. I think I mostly kept mumbling about needing to keep the pace.
Aldous to the rescue!
Finish line smile or grimace...
The hardest thing about Santa to the Sea Half Marathon is that you can hear the finish line from over a mile away. It makes you want to push through, but it also seems like you will never get there! Eventually I did get there, setting a new half marathon PR of 1:54:17! Daddio and Mom were at the finish, ready to congratulate me and my boyfriend pulled out air freshener bling for the three of us that had run. It was a really fun morning!
Two pieces of bling!
I always recommend this race and will continue to do so! Santa to the Sea is a wonderful Christmas themed race and it is always a lot of fun! I’m already signed up for 2014! Since this post is coming up late, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a safe New Year!

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolution 5k

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and are off and ‘running’ with their New Year resolutions! I started the new year exactly how I wanted too…. setting a new 5k PR! I ran the Santa Barbara New Year’s Resolution 5k bright and early on the 1st. I ran this race two years ago, with Daddio and really loved it even though I had a rough run. This year went much better and did not disappoint!

I set out with the crowd at an intimidating pace (intimidating for me!). I held an 8:04 average pace for the first mile. It was hurting, but nothing like the Thanksgiving 4 Miler. I backed off around mile 2, only hitting an average pace of 8:15. At that point, I had half convinced myself that I was out there ‘just for fun’ and that any good pace would beat my previously held PR. The size of the crowd also had me convinced that I wouldn’t be able to place in my age group.

Can't beat Santa Barbara running!
During mile three, I saw my boyfriend who was all decked out in his biking gear and had his camera up and ready for some pictures of me. He followed me to the finish, stopping to take several pictures of me (I’m a spoiled girl). I picked up the pace and averaged 8:01 for the mile. With about a quarter of a mile to go, I saw one of my boyfriend’s running friends ahead of me, and I picked up speed. She was looking strong and the distance between us was daunting, but I knew she was close to my age and probably in my age group, so I grabbed on to the budding motivation.

I caught her right at the finishing stretch. I hesitated just a second, feeling a little guilty about blowing by her, but my competitive nature won out and I finished strong. I finished with the time of 25:02, beating my previous PR by 1 minute, 22 seconds and surprisingly placing 4th in my age group. And it’s a good thing I did push past! She ended up signing up for the 2014 Grand Prix season and she is in my age group for the season! Bring on the competition! It will be fun to run against someone I know this year.

I survived!
Daddio and I sharing some smiles after the race.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Barbara Thanksgiving 4 Miler

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’ve been crazy busy with Christmas events that I haven’t even had a chance to blog about it! Thanksgiving morning I woke up bright and early to run the Santa Barbara Thanksgiving race, which is our version of a Turkey Trot. This race had a lot of issues last year, but I couldn’t help but be excited about it. A new Turkey Trot was being held downtown, but I decided to support the local one that has been held on Thanksgiving for years!

Cute race t-shirt (although it is cotton)
After the crowds of last year, I was happy that they offered packet pick-up the day before and the course was changed from the out and back of the year before, to a large loop that they had done in the past. It seemed like they learned from their mistakes and were eager to make up for them!
I wanted to get in a couple miles before the race, so I decided to jog to the starting line which made for a great warm-up. I passed other people on their way to the race and even got some … possibly sarcastic cheers. I knew I had a PR in me, I really did, but I didn’t know if mentally I did. I PRed at my last 4 miler on tired legs and a half hearted effort, but the pain of the last few miles of my PR half marathon was still very fresh in my mind and making me anxious.
Good turn out!
Daddio had acted like he was going to let me fly this one solo, but sure enough, there he was at the starting line to cheer me on. It’s amazing how much support he gives me! A girl couldn’t ask for a better father!
Turkey hat! I had people checking Targets all over for one of these!
For once, I started near the front of the crowd… mostly by accident. I didn’t realize the person sending us off was about to say “READY… SET… GO!” until it was too late. Ends up, we started almost five minutes early, so a lot of people were scrambling to get into place (the only complaint I heard all day!). I started with the crowd, hitting about an 8:12 pace. It felt fast and I was worried it was too fast, but I was also hungry for that shiny PR. What had caused anxiety before the race, felt like uncontrollable desire the second I heard magical word “GO”.
I held 8:12 for the first two miles and was starting to question my sanity. Instead of focusing on the effort I was exerting, I started focusing on catching whatever ladies that I could see. I didn’t count how many I passed… that would have been too much for my over taxed brain, but I passed a lot and managed to only let one get passed me in the last mile. I finished mile three at an 8:09 pace and I felt like I was ready to throw in the towel! It hurt so much and a mile is a long way to go when your heart feels like it’s jumping out of your chest.
I said a prayer of thanksgiving. Thanking God that I had the ability to run when so many people didn’t and that I was running faster than I ever thought I could. My focus returned and I zeroed in on the next person ahead of me. I finished the last mile with a 7:53 pace, setting a new PR for the 4 miler with an overall time of 32:28!
Coming up on the finish!
Daddio was there to greet me at the finish and walk with me as my heart rate dropped. Studying my Garmin data later that day, I learned that I was at or above my max heart rate for the majority of the race. Yeah… that hurts.
I ate doughnuts and animal cracks hanging out to find out my age group placement, and was happy and disappointed to find out I placed 16th out of 101. Yay, awe moment. And to show how lazy I am, I took Daddio up on a ride home instead of running the two miles back as I had originally planned. 
Happy holidays everyone!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Marla Runyan Half Marathon

If you didn’t already know, I am a huge race promo code shopper! Some people clip coupons and I browse for discount races. It’s rare for me to pay full price for a race and often I’ll run a race just because I got it for a good price. This last race I ran was one of those! Earlier this month, I ran the Marla Runyan Half Marathon that benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo. Thanks to Groupon, I got this race for $30 when the regular price was over $60. An added bonus to running this race is that it is part of the Gold Coast Run Series, which puts me two races closer to receiving the jacket!

As per usual, I went into this race with the mentality that it would be a training race. I did just about everything wrong if I had planned on racing it. I didn’t taper until I realized halfway through the week that I was tired and tried a halfhearted taper (I’ve been hitting some high mileage). I went out with friends the night before the race and ran around a maize maze followed by gorging ourselves on Yogurtland (yum yogurt)! I slept terribly because my bro was having a going away party/thing (they didn’t consider it a party) that didn’t end up finishing until 3:30am. But none of that mattered, because I was just going to run it as a training run.

Maize mazes are cool... but creepy!
 I tried to talk Daddio out of going with me because I didn’t want him to lose a morning of sleep to wait for me to finish a training run, but he insisted on tagging along (my Dad is awesome). So we left the house a 5am to get down to Camarillo for the race. This race had the option of getting your packet race morning and I took advantage of that. So we got down there in the dark, I got my packet and we huddled in the warm car till race time.

About ten minutes from the race start, I followed a group of sleep deprived runners as we tried to find the starting line. We were soon directed by a voice from above (bullhorn?) and we found the starting balloon arch that was still being pumped up as it lay on the ground. Surprisingly, the race only started a few minutes late.

Ready for my training race!
We set out in the cold foggy morning and I set myself a decent pace. My goal for my last race of the year (Santa to the Sea Half Marathon) is to break the two hour barrier. So I started my pace around a nine minute per mile. I wanted to see how well I could hold it over the long distance (again, just a training race). It felt good! The morning was chilly and the other runners were quiet. All I heard in the beginning was a horde of feet hitting the ground, one of my favorite sounds.

Watched the sun rise as we ran
 For the first time in a while, I didn’t carry my own water, instead deciding to rely on the water stations. I rarely do this, but I needed the practice and once again, this race was just training. The volunteers were amazing and the police traffic control was wonderful. Everyone seemed so happy to be out there helping! There were plenty of aid stations and several even had gels! My only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint, just a suggestion, is don’t place the trash cans right by where the runners get cups, place them down the street about twenty feet. I hate throwing cups on the ground, so I stopped to drink each time I needed water (I know, I’m weirdly considerate like that). Also don’t use plastic cups, runners can’t fold those for quicker drinking as they run. Otherwise, awesome job!

This race was a very weaving out and back, so I got to see the lead runner as he passed. I cheered him on and he actually smiled and thanked me. Usually the person in the lead is so focused that they don’t acknowledge the cheers of others. That was a pretty cool moment.

Lead guy picture taken by Daddio at the beginning of the race.
Same mile markers as last month's race!
I was trying out some longer intervals during this race, running for fourteen minutes and walking for one. Even with this, I was holding a great pace around 9:10 per mile. I have to hit a 9:09 per mile to hit the two hour barrier. I was feeling so good around mile six and seven that I started picking up the pace, trying to get my pace where it needed to be. Slowly the pace starting dropping and by the time I got to mile ten it was around an average of 9:06. At this point, I was thinking “Wow, I can do this right now, why wait two months!” so I decided to hammer on.

Miles eleven and twelve were when things started to unravel. To that point, I felt like I was flying, everything was just cruising along and the pace was easy to hit. These two miles it turned into work! My feet started hurting due to a bad taping idea I was trying out that ended up causes massive blisters and my hips started to feel tight and sore. I just kept telling myself that I was almost there and tried to distract myself by talking to each runner I passed, because guess what, I was passing a lot of people (crazy, this doesn’t happen to me). Anywhere past eleven is where you start seeing people losing steam and slowing down. I like to dib it the zombie zone, this is the time in the race I get most chatty (got to love endorphins!). And this time I was gaining speed!

The last mile was brutal. I was now around an overall average pace of 9:04, so I knew I was going to make it unless I fell down dead. My Garmin had been right on at every mile marker, so I knew it was accurate. Each step was hard, but also exciting! I wanted to tell every person I passed what I was about to achieve! As the finish came into view, I passed the last person that was between me and my goal. Shortly after, I hit the thirteen mile marker and my Garmin was off by a tenth of a mile! I was about to have a heart attack! What if I didn’t make it that last tenth in time! What if I missed a sub two hour time by mere seconds! Thankfully what was left of my exhausted brain kicked in and reminded me that I could finish a tenth of a mile in less than two minutes. I decided to jog it in…. which lasted about a second before I heard Daddio yell “Now sprint!” so that’s what I did.

The finish line! It felt teasingly far away!

Final sprint!
 I crossed the finish at full sprint, stopped my watch and threw my hands up in the air. I’ll admit, I shed a tear or two and stumbled over to get my timing chip removed and to receive my medal. I kind of stumbled around trying to figure out what to do with myself next until a wonderful volunteer approached me and pointed me to the water and the after race goody tables.

What an after race spread! There was water, sports drinks, cookies, croissants and chocolate dipped strawberries to name a few. I reached the large plate of cookies and stared. The server asked me which type of cookie I wanted… I think I may have mumbled something incoherent, because even I didn’t know what I was saying at that point. I couldn’t figure out what kind of cookie I wanted! I finally just said “something from the middle”, since apparently I couldn’t say sugar cookie. It went just as smoothly when I was offered a croissant and I called it bread.

So excited that I took a picture!
Daddio took a paparazzi style picture of me stuffing croissant in my face before I spotted him. He congratulated me excitedly and pointed out that I had just shaved another four minutes off my half marathon PR. He pointed me to the beer area where the results were being posted on TV screens. I quickly weaved my way over to find out my official finish time of 1:58:33 and to my complete surprise I discovered that I finished third in my age group!

My Dad, the only paparazzi I have

Please ignore the boob sweet, this geek girl worked hard.
Note to self: never wear this shirt to a race again!
We hung out till the award announcements and I exuberantly ran up to receive my $20 gift card to Tri Running and my blue plastic cup. So once again, I proved that I’m terrible at just running these as “training runs”.

Marla Runyan Half marathon is an awesome race, but I might be slightly bias now!

My cup that proves I'm a winner... or something...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Feeling Fantastic!

I’ve been having a couple of really great running months lately and have been achieving a lot of new personal records. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stay injury free for more than four months!

This last week, I finished my first thirty mile training week. It doesn’t sound like much, but that is huge to me. I’m always excited when I get back up into the 20’s and I’ve gotten extremely close to the 30’s before, finishing one week with 29 back in 2011, but have never made it till now! I’m probably in the best running shape of my life and have so much further I want to go! I'm just now starting to believe that another marathon may just be in my future!

I have made a lot of changes to my training this year and they seem to be paying off. I slowed my increases down to a painfully slow progression, but my body seems to be handling it much better. Some people may be able to follow the 10 percent rule (increase your weekly mileage by 10 percent from the previous week), but my body couldn’t handle it. Last year was dominated by injuries where this year I only experienced a few minor problems.

Another change that I have made was incorporating some treadmill runs into my schedule. I added these just over a year ago after recovering from a stress fracture. I’m not sure just how beneficial these runs have been, but the dramatic decrease in injuries speaks for itself. I also invested in a pair of Hokas. I never wanted to pay more than $100 on a pair of shoes, but these are well worth it! I bought these back in May when I was struggling with some pain in my left foot that disappeared as soon as I started doing all my high mileage in these shoes (I still run my shorter runs in Nike Vomeros). I've run 240 miles in these babies and they still feel fantastic!

The Doctor says it best!
Last month I started calorie counting and food tracking which I’ve never done while trying to increase my mileage. The first two weeks were rough, but these last two weeks have been fantastic! I’ve dropped more than six pounds and been having some awesome long runs. I’m an idiot when it comes to nutrition, so I’m always learning something new. I usually have a natural cycle of one awesome week of training followed by the next week of fatigued training. As of today I’m just entering my third week of energetic runs. It’s too early to tell if this is diet related, but I have high hopes!

If you are plagued by running injuries, switch things up, try something new. I have no doubt that you can be a runner, you just need to find what works for you.