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Grinding it Out

Hello again. I know, I just blooped. But hey, why not. Remember when there used to be twenty new bloops a day? You'd put one up and it would be off the front page in a matter of hours? Well, I just felt like writing again, so here I am. I'm tired and I feel old. Just finished a nine mile run with 4x1 mile intervals and plenty of rest in between. I was by myself running along the beach. It's a run I have done often before. Normally I run the speedy miles in the 6:40-6:55 range. Well, normally meaning in prior years. Today, with my slower recent speed times, I was just hoping to be close to 7:00, maybe 7:15. Well apparently even that was out of reach. After 1.3 miles of warmup, I tried to get my ass in gear, but I found myself at 7:17 pace and dying after 1/4 mile. Ugh. I had to pull back a little just to keep going. Pace dropped and dropped. After 3/4 it was 7:35. I pushed hard the last 1/4 just to get it down to 7:30. Phew. Trotted for 3/4 miles and stopped for water. OK, lets's do another one. It felt a little easier, as it often does once I'm warmed up. Still 7:25 pace felt like as fast as I could go. What the hell? Just no zip in the legs. I feel like my stride may be shorter since I'm tighter and sore. Of course all the miles I'm doing is a good excuse too. I got in a decent groove and pushed the second half and managed a 7:21. OK, well, better... I took a whole mile trot to recover (8:40), plus a stop break in the middle. The third one was OK, and I got to 7:19. But I was tired. I spent the next 3/4 mile debating whether I should just skip the 4th. But I figured I had to get home anyway. Might as well work hard and get it over with quicker. 7:40 pace felt pretty hard, but I worked it down to a 7:27 by the end. Best I could do. Damn. I used to do 7:30s for miles at a time - not that long ago. Oh well. I trotted home. Part of it's getting older. Part is I'm working back into shape and tired from all the miles. Perhaps my bum knee is limiting my form. Maybe some speed will come back. But I'm trying to accept the idea that it's a downhill curve from here. I'm watching my older club mates slow down so I can see my future. Of course they all still kick ass in their age group, and I'm not giving up. Just venting a bit. Still happy to get the nine miles in. Carry on.

BANGLE

BANGLE

 

Gooooooood Morning VietnaauuhhhhAtlantaaaaa!

I have never been a morning person. I don’t understand morning people. I’m not sure I even trust morning people. I don’t think the day should start until 11:30 am. Before that time, my level of motor function is akin to those beetles that get flipped upside down and flop around helplessly unless someone pushes them back over. And my cognitive state is such that it feels like everyone is speaking to me in Portuguese. I don’t speak Portuguese. As a result, I am usually an insufferably irritable asshole until sometime in the early afternoon when sufficient caffeine and calories have been absorbed to transform me into a productive member of society. Still an asshole though, more often than not. It’s kind of my jam. Despite 36 years of this behavior pattern today, for the third time in a week, I woke up and ran before work. Now, because of the contempt I have for my place of employment and the incredible job security I have since my two would-be replacements quit, I rarely show up before 10 am anyway, so this is a somewhat low bar. But even still, I am usually grunting at the coffee pot in my underwear until 8:45 most days, so the fact that I’ve been knocking out 6 and 8 milers by then is something of a miracle.  I’ve honestly tried to become a morning runner roughly 47,316 times before, but it’s never stuck. I can usually slog through some morning runs when I have to travel for work or when it is absolutely imperative to keep up with a training plan, but it’s usually with the same enthusiasm one would reserve for a root canal performed by a proctologist not wearing gloves. And believe me, I’ve tried the “oh just lay your clothes out the night before to save time” or “program your automatic coffee pot before you go to bed” but all that ever results in is me trying to drink coffee out of a sock at 5:30 in the morning.  [Insert seeming non-sequitur which will be used to tie things up in the end here] There’s a medical condition called foreign accent syndrome. Basically, some people who’ve experienced a head injury or trauma or a stroke suddenly sound like they’re speaking with a foreign to them accent. So, someone in Alabama trips and hits their head and suddenly sounds like the Queen of England. Or a person has a stroke in Beijing and then sounds like the McKenzie Brothers. There are even unconfirmed cases of people actually speaking another language after a trauma, which would be fascinating and horrifying if true.  When I bounced out of bed last Friday at 6 am and with no prior planning just decided to do my easy 8 before work, The Wife thought I just didn’t sleep well. I concurred. When I got up at 6 am on Tuesday, my off day, and cheerfully had breakfast with her before she ran she thought I was buttering her up for Valentine’s Day. When I got up Wednesday and ran 8 with her, she was convinced of it. But it wasn’t until I woke HER up to run 6 this morning that she asked if everything was OK. The foreign accent thing popped into my head, so I asked her if one side of my face was drooping. This did not allay her concern, but she also didn’t say it was, so I’m taking that as a no. And after a week of this, I have to say, it is SO nice coming home from work and opening a beer instead of my running drawer. And I’m so much more productive at work, it’s like someone added 4 more hours to the day. So for now I’m just going to, well, run with it. I told The Wife not to worry, that I was fine as long as I didn’t start speaking in Portuguese. The way she looked at me made me wonder if there wasn’t a head injury after all...
 

Gonzo Runner

Gonzo Runner

 

Confronting the fear

Hi. My name is Eliz and I'm afraid to go fast.  I'm your typical Goldilocks character. I like to challenge myself (I go on adventures through the woods and have no problem staying with strangers that I have never met before), but I also like to be comfortable. In my ideal world, the temperature would always be 72 degrees, except when I'm running outside, then it would be about 68 degrees. The perfect shoe has a wide toe and about 1/4 inch of room from where my longest toe ends and the front of the shoe. Dress shoes would look like stilettoes but feel like running shoes. My pillows would always be fluffed just right. MJ would never raise her voice again. I would never burn my tongue when taking a big gulp of coffee.  I want to go fast. I want to be faster, mostly for time's sake. I dream of the day where my easy runs are at least 10 minute miles. But I'm afraid. I'm afraid of pain, I'm afraid that I won't be able to tell searing-giving-your-all 5K pain from legitimate, you should stop running cuz your hip is falling off pain. Perhaps that's the Goldilocks in me, perhaps I have a little paranoia from all those years I ran with an injury that no amount of rest would completely heal, perhaps I just have a really unrealistic expectation of pain. In any case, I've realized the past few years that I am simply afraid to go fast, and it's been hindering my development as a runner.  That's where that Peloton app has been pretty helpful. The coaches (that's what I like to call them, I think their job title is 'instructor') have set paces they tell you to go, which naturally are based on normal ranges for runners. So, on a treadmill, a 4.5 is a power walk, 5.0 is a light jog, 6.0 is a light run, etc. As a good student, I like to do exactly what the coach is asking of me, so I end up going a lot faster than I would normally go. Most of the time, it works and I amaze myself at how well I'm doing and how fast I'm going! There was one run where I got under 9 mm pace (for just a little bit, not average), which normally would seem untouchable to me at the end of a workout. There are other times where I have to remind myself to be humble.  It's exciting. I haven't tested the speed outside - too much snow, or melting snow turned ice or too cold of weather. I am looking forward to see how things work out, though, and I'm really looking forward to that 5K in April. My only hope: that I can be brave enough to go fast and smash that previous PR.    Gratuitous engagement photo (by the great Morgan Miller Photography)    

eliz83

eliz83

 

Questions and thoughts of a seasoned and confused runner

I’ve been thinking about this training plan and marathon business a lot lately, and it’s brought up some interesting thoughts and questions. I’ve been a runner since my junior year of high school (1997) – twenty two years. I’ve run at different capacities during my life: High school cross-country team where I was flying by the seat of my pants and just doing what my coach told me to do. I don’t remember running much outside of practice and meets, so I was just doing it to be on the team. I did really enjoy it and got a taste of competing, but didn’t know what it really meant to be a runner. I graduated in 1999, started going to community college, and became an occasional runner. I’d run around while playing volleyball and softball, and run a couple miles here and there around campus. I joined the Army in 2001 and got out in 2009. This is when I really learned what running was about. Started running faster and longer – loving competing in races. When I became a competitive runner, I did start looking at training plans with the hopes of following one and that it would make me a better/faster runner. It would typically turn into something like a compass – I would refer to it in terms of where I should be, but it wasn’t something that stressed me out. Why does it stress me out so much now and why do I feel the need to follow it 100%? I think there’s at least a few reasons… Moving to Colorado took away my speed and started a downward spiral of getting out of shape. I tried so many things and I just couldn’t get back to where I wanted to be. I thought that by following a training plan it would bring me back. Nope. SO many of you have so much success following training plans and having coaches – some of which also make it look VERY easy to stick to. That would work for me too, right? Nope. I always want to challenge and push myself which I can do now by either trying to get faster or running longer distances. In my mind, to do those things you need to following a relatively strict training plan. Could I do it that way? Nope. If I love running SO much, why can’t I do this? Hang on… Who says a runner has to follow a plan to improve? This is what is always in the forefront of my mind these days. I’ve had so much success in the past just using plans as a compass. By looking back, I can see that success now. Sure they work wonderfully for some people – it’s a proven fact that they can help you improve. They don’t work for everyone and I can attest to that. All it does is add worry and stress and makes me feel like I’m not good enough when I miss a day or two. I now feel that I can still improve if I can just add more consistency and refer to a plan when I need to know around where I should be, mileage wise. Also, why am I feeling the need to still run marathons and beyond? If it’s so hard for me to train for, then why am I doing it? I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, not even myself. I need to cut myself some damn slack and stop trying to up the bar after everything I accomplish. I don’t know when I reached the point of feeling like everything I do (athletically) has to be something amazing or better than the last thing I did. Maybe it’s getting older and closer to 40. Maybe it’s because I spent so long in the Army doing great things and I miss it. Maybe it’s because I took on the ultimate challenge of climbing Denali and it didn’t happen. I’m sure it’s a lot of things. I have to realize that things do change as you get older, and there will come a point when I won’t be hitting PRs anymore (pfffff, haha!), or I might not be able to run longer distances without getting injured along the way. I’m not going to accept any of that right now, but I am going to start cutting myself some damn slack. I am 37, healthy and active, and am so lucky to be able to do the things that I do. I live in a beautiful place with many beautiful things to see and do. I’m going to soak up all of that while I still can and I’m going to enjoy it without stressing about whether I am doing the best I can or not. Being a runner is a big part of me and I need to be whatever kind of runner I want to be. I need to make it my own and not try to follow what others are doing all of the time. For me, running is a hobby and not a job that I’ll ever get paid to do. It’s OK to compete with myself and others, but it needs to be done in a healthier, more realistic way. It’s also OK to try things that others have success with. If it doesn’t work for me, move on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Relentless Forward Progress. Lastly, the days of week-to-week training recaps are over – probably to the relief of many (which is also why not many people will be reading this – thank you to those who have stuck with me). Why write weekly recaps when I have a training log AND Strava that basically do that for me? Moving forward, I hope to write more about thoughts and memorable experiences. And race reports, of course! For now, and hopefully forever, I’m going to stick to the advice of some of you and Just Fucking Run – JFR. JFR, friends.

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

Just gotta make it through February.

More snow and cold temps. Ice all over the place. Only one actual run last week - 5 miles that was mostly OK. Did have to run on some crusty grass for a way, then duck into a neighborhood so I could use the street. Three stair sessions, including 45 minutes as my Saturday long run. Another storm coming in tomorrow morning, but it's supposed to turn to rain by afternoon and then the daily highs are going to push 50 by the weekend. Hoping that'll be enough to clear things out and I can safely get outside. First four build up weeks on the plan were supposed to be 30, 35, 37 and 33. What happened was 6, 9, 22 and 5. Seems I'm a tad behind. No worries, really. The stairs seem to be keeping me fit and my 12 week plan is aggressive enough that I can trim a fair amount and still be ready by the end of May. My heart of course wants to attack 3:20 again, but my head knows better. They're likely to be debating things right up until Memorial Day Weekend. Supposed to be at 37 miles this week, with a long run of 12. The first is not happening, but if the weatherman is correct, the second is doable. It'll be a slow 12, but it'll be 12. The Saturday after that is the Snowbuster Pikermi, which will also be slower than I prefer, but we'll see what happens. Not important. I knew this would happen when I decided to take winter off-ish. I knew I'd lose some miles. I'm still going to complain about it, though. That's my right as a runner and a human being. Speaking of the Snowbuster, make sure you have next weekend circled on your calendars. Invite all your runner friends - the more the merrier. Wedding plans continue apace. The kids should have the announcements out this week or next. Mrs. Dave is still having major issues with her lack of control over the process, being unable to find the dress she wants. We got my suit last weekend. Suppose I needed another one anyway. I have a few that don't really fit anymore, so maybe I can convince her they should be donated. The other current crisis is transportation.  We've got T-Rex to agree that she needs to stay home and work on her anxiety this spring, so she'll be with us. In exchange, we plan to make a short trip to Idaho, letting her visit school friends and picking up her warm weather clothes. Major complications for getting there and coming home afterwards, not to mention the expense. Detroit to Seattle, Seattle to Rexburg, Rexburg to Detroit. We're getting uber-creative with flights, car rentals, shuttles, stage coaches, canoes, and trail running. So far, it's all hovering just at or under $2,000. Not sure this is all worth the couple hundred we might save with one plan over the others. Going to be quite the adventure.  

Dave

Dave

 

The Fatigue Chronicles

Ramping up to marathon training tends to make one tired. I know, it's kind of obvious. But, dang, I re-learn it every time. In the two weeks since my 10K race, I've been stepping up. My new schedule is two days on, one day off; Up from running every other day. I plan to stick with that for the rest of marathon training. I laid out my next eight week schedule to get me to the taper, and it looks doable, but there will be fatigue. The week of 2/4: - Monday I rested, since it was the day after my 10K. - Tuesday was 9 miles and boy was I feeling that race! I was having so much trouble breathing, I had to stop and walk up a hill in mile 3. The whole way I was just dragging, but I got it done. - Wednesday was track day. I figured to self-moderate, and with no zip in my legs it was easy. The workout was reasonable - 1200, 1600 and 2000 meters at 5K pace; but I slowed it down to 10K pace of about 7 minutes. Total of 7 miles.  - Thursday rest day, but I went to the gym and did my usual circuit training with 12 stations of upper, lower and core exercises. - Friday was an easy six. STILL tired and sluggish. which was too bad because... - Saturday was long run day. I joined the club for a hilly run in PV. Almost no one showed up to run in the cold rain, but I was rewarded when the rain stopped in the first 5 minutes and it turned out nice. I extended the club run on my own to get to 15, and felt pretty decent! I maintained a solid pace all the way, although the fatigue was definitely mounting the last two miles. By the end I was spent. - Sunday I rested and was glad for a 37-mile week. But I've gotten used to being constantly sore. Heels are starting to hurt in the morning (uh-oh!) Ankles, glutes, back, and of course the knee. The knee just continues to be a pain, but not so bad that it affects my runs. I just groan a lot the rest of the day. Getting out of chairs is hard, let alone getting up from the floor. I feel like an old man a lot. Except on the good runs! Week of 2/11: - Mondays the club does "Monday Night Madness" which involves a long warm up and then a 3.5 mile tempo. Starts are staggered so the fast people chase down the slower ones. This day I just wanted to get in the miles, at a decent pace without pushing too hard. I got sucked into a warmup at close to 8 minutes, and then ran the 3.5 at about 8, with some sections as low as 7:30. Then I still felt good so I maintained it below 8 on the 2.5 mile run home which is normally a cool down. So it ended up being 8.5 miles with the last 7.5 about 8:00, or MGP. Felt surprisingly good despite having just run that hard 15 on Saturday. I guess the training is working... - Tuesday I joined another group for 6.3 miles and again surprisingly felt OK, although I wasn't working too hard. - Wednesday was rest and gym. Then Thursday I did my nine mile route. It was Very windy along the beach and the first three miles were brutal and I felt no zip in my legs. But I kept plugging and survived the rest of the way. Sometimes it feels like you'll never make it the whole way, but you just go one mile at a time, and somehow it gets done. -Friday was an easy six, but man, my legs were tired. Seemed like I couldn't get enough oxygen, just running at 9 minute pace. I had to stop for a breather in mile two. Felt awful. Dragged my ass the whole way. The thought of doing 16 in two days sounded crazy, let alone 26. I started to wonder about this whole marathon thing. But the wife said "You always say that, then you go out and have a good run and come back all excited for the next race." She's smart, this one. After resting Saturday I went out for 16 on Sunday. Dang. She was right. Felt better from the get-go. Clipped along at a decent pace, despite strong winds. Actually got lucky with the wind more behind me than blowing at me. Averaged 8:23 with a bunch of miles close to 8:00. Connected with a runner for three miles and chatted (and later connected with him on Strava). Tired at the end but not incredibly so. So I guess this training thing does work. Finished a 46 mile week. Knee is hanging in there. Confidence building. Six hard weeks to go...

BANGLE

BANGLE

Sweet Mags Farts on a Hoka and I Don't Really Care Cause It's a Dumb Shoe

Sweet Mags: What in the hell are you doing? Rob: What the hell does it look like I’m doing? I’m blooping. Sweet Mags:  Good golly!  I haven’t heard you talk about those losers- er I mean Loopsters in like a hot minute. Rob:  Well, if you recollect last year was a bust.  I ran like 3 miles total last year after screwing up my back. Didn’t even get to go to Rehoboth to spectate in a sparkle skirt cause I was sicker than a dog.  Sad times. Sweet Mags:  Oh yeah, I remember you whining about that.  Well, I know you’re running again because I can smell your clothes.  Gosh, I’ll remember the good times when your undies didn’t fill the house with the smell of hot garbage.  I mean, I guess you’re in a better mood and less of an asshole now that you’re running again. Rob: Not just running. Also, sleeping and lifting. Sweet Mags: Lifting my turds out of the litter box? Rob: Weights, jerkface.   Since December.  It’s been a real blessing, Sweet Mags. It’s like all I had to do is get a lot of good sleep, lift weights, eat reasonably and the running came back.  Sweet Mags! The running came back. Sweet Mags:  Get a hold of yourself!!!!!! Rob:  Never!  It’s called a runner’s high and I’ll do anything for another hit.  Even bench press with the meat heads and go to sleep early. Sweet Mags:  You’ve gone mad.  Mad!  Rob:  Anyway, it hasn’t all been good.  There was that incident with the HOKAs. Sweet Mags: The marshmallow shoes? Rob: Yep.  The shoes some people call hookahs and not in an ironic way.  Sweet Mags:  They were almost as fugly as your Altras. Rob:  Don’t talk about my Altras.  That’s a line you do not cross. Sweet Mags: So what was the deal with the marshmallow shoes. Rob:  Well, you know I get a good discount at the running store I work at on the weekends.  Sweet Mags:  Why can’t you work at a pet store and get me discounts? Rob:  Cause people who have pets are insane. Sweet Mags: I mean, you have a valid point. Rob: Anyway, I bought a pair of Hoka Bondi. You know cause the damn Clifton 5 is still to narrow for my hobbit foot.  One run in and my knee was screaming.  Not only that, but I felt like I was going to trip over my feet with every other stride.  It was a nightmare.  So I took them home and burned them in a sacrifice to the running gods.  Sweet Mags: Did you make s’mores out of them? Rob: You know I can’t lie to you.  I returned them and exchanged them for Saucony Triumph 5’s. Sweet Mags:  That’s my boy Rob: Thankfully, the Saucony got their shit together after the very disappointing 4’s. Sweet Mags:  The Triumphs are cool, but you know I’m a barefoot runner.  I don’t need to be shod with shoes that are just going to impede my performance. Rob:  The barefoot movement died. Sweet Mags:  You died! Rob: Shut it! Sweet Mags: I’ve already ran 6 hundos this year. Rob:  I’ve ran about thirteen miles in January and about that much in February and I couldn’t be happier.  I did my first threasy in over a year tonight! Sweet Mags:  What do you want, a cookie? Rob:  A couple of eggs and a Greek yogurt would be bomb. Sweet Mags: Greek yogurt tastes like ass. Rob:  You should know.  Ok dude, I gotta finish this bloop.  Go chase your tail. Sweet Mags:  Tell the Loopsters they suck.  I’m OUT!        
 

any demons ?

still not running, so have to read about it instead.. turns out I tore up the L knee cartilage while performing a stupid canoe trick last summer, and cartilage doesn't heal. Hm. 



this is a book recommendation, The Happy Runner, by David and Megan Roche. Dave's been one of my imaginary internet friends for some time, so when they came to the LRS Runner's Roost for a book launch, I had to go. If anyone is looking for a coach I can unreservedly recommend their coaching service, SWAP (some work all play) - smart, based on the latest science and research, and compassionate. Dave used to be an environmental defense lawyer, degree from Duke where Megan was a runner. Megan has a medical degree from Stanford. They both have raced on Team USA in mountain running. Also they have the best consultant, Addie dog, 

Here's my dog Artie, I think they must be cousins.. 
The Happy Runner ? as Bob Dylan used to sing, no no no it ain't me babe.. though I prefer the Baez version.  I'm more of the melancholy gloom-based runner, though it is true running brings me considerable happiness.  The book launch was preceded by a run across the Bluffs in the dark, our usual Thursday route. I ran with Laura, a friend of Megan's from school and current SWAP runner. She didn't have a headlamp so relied on mine, which went out. I was very embarrassed. We ran in the dark.. luckily there was a bit of a moon and we didn't twist any ankles. 

David told stories of how they got to be running coaches from law and medicine. He said the first three weeks of law school, his heart rate stayed over 150 constantly. It was only after he met and started running with Megan that he calmed down. 
Megan as a kid used to bolt from primary school, run the 1.5 miles home, staying ahead of the school principal all the way. Her parents wore out their book 'Raising your difficult child'. When David started coaching her competition, she had some issues to work through about that.. ha. 
Addie dog taught them that love and enthusiasm are renewable resources. There were several other SWAP athletes there in support - Ashley Brasovan, Clare Gallagher, Abby Levene. Abby used to be a pro triathlete apparently but I didn't recognize her, though I follow triathlon the way some people do football.  A quick internet stalk revealed her background - Philips Academy, Princeton runner with school 10k record and magna cum laude, CO Boulder masters in environmental journalism. I'm tired just reading about it. 
Clare ran the second fastest women's Leadville 100 ever, behind only the legendary Ann Trason's time. She is just a firecracker, full of energy. After Western States disappointment and injuries last year, started doing lots of environmental activism. She is sponsored by Patagonia who are quite happy to keep sponsoring her even while not running, a good company.
Ashley beat Jordan Hasay to win Footlocker XC in high school, but was injured most of college (Duke). Currently recovering from a fifth femoral stress fracture. Ow.  The Hoka One One shoe rep was there, also a SWAP runner. He used to run X-C at Augsburg College in Minnesota. I was wearing my St. Olaf Swim Team supporter t-neck. He said they used to call St Olaf, Hogwarts, because the campus is so very old-stone-building handsome.  One of the Roost staffers Shannon, also a longtime Roche friend, had suggested adding to their coaching interview a question, "any demons ?" Dave said this completely changed their coaching business and approach.. 

"...If you don’t zoom out now, a running life will do it for you when you least expect it. Whether it’s slowing down with age, getting injured, or simply hitting the wall in a race or training run, being a lifelong runner means making friends with your own fragility. As a 25-year-old, you can get drunk on the trails or roads without a care in the world. But eventually, running makes you sober up rapidly through aging, injury, or weak performances. The morbid truth becomes suddenly apparent—as the high wears off, you realize you’re a sack of bones and gristle, stardust with delusions of grandeur. Your finish line is the same as everyone else’s. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. What does the ultimate finish line have to do with being a happy runner?"
-Excerpt from "The Happy Runner"
 

doug in co

doug in co

 

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

Insanity or hopeful determination? I'm not sure where my repeated tries at properly training for a marathon fits, but I'm over it. Time and time again I fail at this, and each time I still try to convince myself that this is what I really want, and you can do it this time. I'm over stressing week after week that I'm not hitting the numbers. I'm over worrying about whether or not I'm going to get so far behind that I could injure myself if I keep going. I'm over trying to hold this standard over myself week after week. I guess it's just not for me - or at least right now. So, I'm still running the NJ 26.2, but I'm going to get there by doing what I can with the time I have left. After that, I'm done with marathons and anything beyond. Until I can get my shit together, I'm just going to run, workout, and run shorter races. I still have my goal of one race each month, and I plan to do that. This isn't a pity party. This is trying to enjoy what I love doing without stressing out about it anymore.  I'll write when I feel like it.

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

Announcing the 2019 Snowbuster Festival of Virtual Races!

With Groundhog Day behind us, and with spring beginning it's annual battle with the end of winter (losing so far, at least where I live), it's time for the annual Snowbuster Festival of Races. This is the fifth year, and I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really hoping the Snowbuster will actually bust the snow this year. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky. The thought of more days of weather and slippery conditions keeping me indoors for stairs or that silly cross training stuff is not attractive to me. When I look at the winter that's been 2018-19, I will freely admit that it hasn't been nearly as snowy and cold for as long as most of the recent ones.  It's really only been the last 2-3 weeks that have been bad. Regardless, I have zero tolerance for it. I was over winter before it even started, really. Anyway, the rules are simple. You run a race (organized or not) on the designated weekend. This year, it's March 1-4. Since this was originally a half marathon event, a half marathon race is preferred, but I'll convert anything that's at least 5K. You send me your distance and finish time. You PM me your address (which will not be sold to google, btw). You send me pics that prove you did a little something extra, because this is the Loop and you should be doing something a little weird (other than running a race in winter). I compile the data, convert all distances to a pikermi (13.1 miles)( half marathon), and publish the results. I send finisher awards to your house. Everyone wins. The size and range of age groups depend on how many entrants we get. Invite your friends who aren't here. The more, the merrier, I always say (really, I always say that). We all revel in the joy of running and employ our collective mental power on Mother Nature to GIVE US SPRING! And, hey, if you've never done more than lurk until today, please consider joining us this year. We could use your help. That's pretty much it. Note those dates again. Friday, March 1 - Monday, March 4. As always, I play fast and loose with the rules. If this is a bad weekend for you, run a little earlier or later and I'll make it work. The important thing is that we're running and we're tired of waiting for the snow to go away. I also don't care if you don't have snow. You should be in better shape than those of us in the frozen tundra, so going 13.1 ought to be a piece of cake.   I miss being able to add a line between blocks of text. Since last week, I've run three times, had two strength sessions and ran the basement stairs once. Five miles (Tuesday), five miles (Thursday), six miles (Saturday). On Tuesday, I thought about starting Tempo Tuesday early, but decided I wasn't feeling that ambitious. Thursday I had technology issues. Stopping at a light I realized that I'd forgotten to turn Autopause back on after my last stair session. Trying to mess with the settings during a run always turns out badly. On Friday Mrs. Dave reminded me to get a shingles shot, so I did that on the way home. The tech mentioned that a rare side effect is fatigue. I don't usually get the rare side effects, so I thought nothing about the ten miles I intended to run the next day. Until I started running on Saturday. Bleh. So I went six miles and it was no picnic. Yesterday I wanted to run outside but there had been two inches of snow Sunday night and - true to form - not many walks had been cleared. So I went to the stairs, noticing a significant improvement in my stamina since the last time I did them. This exercise stuff works, kids. What else? We had a dinner invite on Sunday, so we decided to contribute a couple of pies. The list said 5 blueberries, so I grabbed five packages. Apparently the "5" meant 5 cups. Each package has more than that, so I had 9 cups. What to do? I made an extra pie, of course. Also, of course, I got some apples and made an apple pie, too. Pie for dessert, more pie later. Double win. Today'll be XT. Snow/sleet/rain all day. Messy commute into work today.

Dave

Dave

 

Ralston Creek 13.1 Race Report

Ralston Creek 13.1 – Arvada, CO / Sunday, February 3, 2019 2/12 – Race per month 2019 goal In case you forgot, I have a goal this year of running a race (of any distance) each month of the year! This was my February race. I ran this race in 2014. The weather was pretty awful – cold, snowy, and the trails were pretty treacherous. At least one person had to have gotten injured during that one by slipping on ice. The weather is hit or miss this time of year so, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I actually ended up having to wear the jacket that I brought because the layers I had on weren’t enough – Athlinks says the temp was 26°. However, this year was much different and it was about 47° and sunny at the start! I was in carpis and a thin LS shirt. The race director had reported the day prior that there were only a few icy spots on the course which were pretty negotiable – they even covered up a longer icy portion with carpet! They had eight port-o-potties at the start, which turned out to not be enough. W and I had gotten there about an hour before the start and just sat in the car. I didn’t realize what the PoP situation would be and didn’t need to go until I was ready to go to the start. The line was LONG. There was one single line for all of them, which I think was fine, but it was moving slow – they needed more shitters. I HAD to pee BADLY and there were tons of buildings around, so I had to stand in line. The announcer kept asking any 5K runners to let the halfers go first, since their race didn’t start until 15 minutes later. I got through with THREE minutes to spare! They still started about five minutes late. This one chick had a dog that piercingly barked through all of the announcements and I didn’t hear a thing. When we took off, that dog was raring to go and was pulling her down the road. I can’t see running with a dog for an entire half marathon.   This was supposed to be a training run and I was supposed to keep the pace around a 9:20, but I can’t bear to run a half over two hours if I don’t have to. Once I started, the goal was to just go, not TOO fast, but just to go with what felt comfortable. I felt heavy and clunky when we started and wasn’t sure I’d be running under two hours. We ran on a wide road for about half a mile but then turned onto a smaller, standard-sized greenway that can comfortably fit about three-wide. It got really crowded and I was feeling claustrophobic. I got around as many people as I could and finally settled in. I’m #236. I was able to take my headband off after the first couple miles. After a fast-ish first mile at 8:24, I settled into a nice pace: 8:40, 8:46, 8:39, and 8:45 for miles 2-5. Until looking at the elevation profile, I hadn’t realized how much of a uphill the whole first half is, so that makes me even prouder of that pace! After mile 5, we hit a hill that seemed like it would never end. It wasn’t steep but it was long, over half a mile but I didn’t walk once. Mile 6- 9:24. I had to wear my runway Goodr glasses because I forgot my others. I also got a little sunburned on my face. Once I crested the hill, I wanted to try to make up some time because I could see the next and biggest hill coming up in the distance. It was hard to see it from so far away and see all the bright shirts of other runners in the switchbacks. Mile 7- 8:45. I took a run/walk approach to this hill, just as I did during the Mt. Evans ascent, and it really does help. When I was passed by a runner while walking, I’d end up passing them back when I started running again. This hill was about a MILE and I still managed a 10:18. It was basically all downhill after that and I wanted to make up time again. Race Character: “Alice” – I remember first seeing Alice in front of me very early in the race. Once I realized we were going at about the same pace, with her about 5 seconds ahead of me, I thought I’d try to pace off of her. She was very energetic and kept talking to the people she’d pass. She would hoot and holler even when no one was around. She yelled out after almost every mile marker. When we hit the half-way point, and actually at the 10K mark, she yells out, “ HALF WAY THERE!” A few seconds later, and with the correction of a guy in front of her, yells out, “OOPS! SORRY! ALMOST HALF-WAY!” We did a bit of leap frogging up the hill, but she settled in again in front of me after it. Mile 9- 8:02. It had heated up by this point and I was getting a little warm. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and my inconsistent training. Miles 10 to 12- 8:28, 8:37, 8:53. I was trying to keep up the pace but was running out of gas. At mile 12, I was just trying to maintain and to keep it under a 9 min pace. I had nothing left in the last mile and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I let two ladies pass me in that last mile, one while I could see the finish line. Mile 13- 9:04. I had nothing left in the tank – just as I like it. I think the course was a bit long because everyone around me had watches going off well before we got to the mile markers. Mine was 0.25 over which isn’t insignificant – that’s a whole lap around the track! I was running the tangents as often as I could. Anywho, my official time was 1:57:00 on the dot. Good and surprisingly enough for 3rd place in the 35-39 age group! I almost didn’t even look at the results because I thought there was just no way I’d place. Alice finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and was in the F45-49 age group : ) We gave each other high-fives in the finish area and I let her know how much she helped me. The wind picked up after the race, and when I got tired of waiting for the awards ceremony, I went up to the table to ask about it and they just gave me an award mug They had awesome breakfast burritos and chocolate chip banana bread in the tents!   Race Stats: (2019 vs 2014) Finish Time: 1:57:00 / 1:55:31 in 2014. UGH! I didn’t think I’d ran it that fast in 2014! Overall: 85 of 248 / 127 of 484. WOW! What a drop in participants!! Gender: 21 of 125 / 39 of 282 F35-39: 3 of 21 / F30-34: 11 of 63 Weather: ~50 / ~26 (Athlinks) Yeah, that was five years ago but I always want to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER proud of myself and the effort that I put out. On race day, there is nothing I could have or would have done differently.

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

Getting Personal

I was hesitant to write anything about this, and it isn’t about running (until the end) or outdoor adventure, but I just need to write it out. I am 37 years old, married with no kids, and am currently on birth control. But you’re 37, and married, and you don’t have kids yet – why are you on birth control?? I was pregnant once, a LONG time ago, but had a miscarriage. 99.9% of my female relatives and friends either have kids or are pregnant. I can’t tell you how difficult it can sometimes be to be me, at my age, with no kids. I’m past the point of being depressed/upset/angry because I don’t have any yet, and am now in a very comfortable place of it’ll happen when it happens and when we are ready. I am also past the point of getting sad when I’m constantly asked when it’s going to happen or if I even want kids. I’d like to share a “use your fucking head” PSA, in case anyone isn’t aware of what you shouldn’t say to a woman (even if they are a relative or close friend – ESPECIALLY then): Do you have kids? If someone has kids, you’ll likely find out within two minutes of talking to them. Do you want kids? Are you ever going to have kids? Are you trying to have kids? Your clock is ticking/you aren’t getting any younger, so you better hurry up! This may be the worst of them all. YES, I actually have people say that to me. <while holding a baby> You need you one of these. When are you going to have one of these? You won’t look like that after you have kids or You only look like that because you haven’t had kids yet. Enjoy it while you can! Get the fuck out of here. You are so great with kids! You should have one. There are more, many more, but these are the big ones. Just don’t fucking do it. You never know what someone is going through and these words could have a VERY negative impact. If someone wants you to know something like that, they will tell you. I hear that it doesn’t even stop after having a kid because people want to know when you’ll have another one! For fuck’s sake! I decided to go back on the pill last year when I was still on the Denali team. I was that committed at the time to ensuring I’d get up that mountain. This led us to coming to the decision that we’d wait a little bit anyway because I just didn’t feel ready, and there were things I still wanted to do while my body was still in it’s current condition. Plus, we’ve also thought about the fact that there are SO many people in the world already, and so many kids out there who need parents. It’s an incredibly tough life decision – of course those who love kids would like to have one that looks like them and has their traits. I get that our bodies are made for reproduction, but the world doesn’t currently need more people (in my opinion). Now for the main reason of writing this post: When I went in for my appointment to get the BC pills, the doctor told me how risky BC is for women my age (over 35) – something about blood clots. I got the pills but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I’ve been feeling very moody since I’ve been on them but just thought I might be going through an adjustment phase. I wanted to give them some time to see if it’d work itself out. It didn’t. This past week has been the worst yet – terrible mood swings, feeling depressed and emotional for no reason, and getting headaches everyday in the evening. I got home yesterday, with the intention to go out for a run, and started sobbing on the way home – for no reason. I got home and just curled up in bed. I couldn’t even force myself to go run. Enough was enough and I think I finally put the pieces together enough to realize it was the BC pills that was doing this to me. I guess guys go through things, but I just feel that this is an ongoing battle throughout a woman’s whole life. When you have kids, your body and your life is forever changed (not all bad, obviously). If you don’t, people look at you and wonder why and always have to pry. Some days are just harder than others but you learn to roll with the punches. I am very happy with my status as the woman that I currently am. I am healthy, apparently look younger than 37, and I have nieces and nephews (and kitties) that I absolutely adore and can share my love with. I love them all and feel so lucky to be an aunt. I adore kids. I may or may not have kids in the future. They may or may not come out of my vagina. Only time will tell. Well, I went in a whole other direction than just writing about BC pills making me feel so bad that I didn’t want to run, but I think all of this is really good share. There aren’t a whole lot of late-30somethings in my situation. Please be courteous. Think before you speak. Thank you for reading, Chris

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

Setting my own precedence

From Monday: Most days, running has been going very, very well. I’m hitting paces I dared not to dream possible in some of my workouts and I’m enjoying seeing all the puzzle pieces come together. Had it not been for the injury, I think I would have just expected things to always be linear and smooth in the next phase of buildup. But having that time off really makes me appreciate seeing the ins and outs of a training block. For instance, yesterday (Sunday) was complete garbage on my body. My legs actually felt reasonably good after 4 hours and 3500’ of gain on Saturday. But I just felt ragged yesterday. Out of breath. Heart rate jumping. Just slogging through the run. The crazy puppies and fun humans made it tolerable. And then I think about what I am asking my body to do and it’s pretty miraculous. I asked it to do 2 hard track workouts this week. My 4-minute speed sessions were sub-6 and my 8 minute speed sessions were 6:26 & 6:12. Plus, I ran for 4 hours in the freezing rain on Saturday. So yeah, it’s okay to be tired. That’s what I’m training for. I look back on my very detailed notes and am glad I kept honest throughout the process. Because this past week, I had a flare up of shin soreness and started to panic. Did I re-injure myself? Is this the old injury that hasn’t quite healed? Is this a new injury and I’m doomed? I read and re-read my notes. I see I still had random foot pain almost 10 months after the initial problem. Knocks-on-wood, I haven’t felt ANY foot pain since October. Not a peep. I try to remember the wisdom of the doctor and explaining that it was likely I could feel pain upwards of a year at various intervals and while, yes, it could point to something bad, it often is the bone going through various healing points. Add that to the fact that cold weather and lower barometric pressure causes actual physiological changes, and well, here we are folks. It was after the 2 speed sessions that I felt the most soreness. I did a little bit of rolling with the stick and some self-massage with neuropathy salve. I’m not sure if it did much of anything. But I woke up Saturday raring to go on the trails and it didn’t seem to bother me one bit on Saturday afternoon or evening. Same thing Sunday? It seems odd to me that the force of a combined 32 total minutes of speed work during the week (16 minutes each on Tuesday/Thursday) would be more aggravating that a hilly AF trail run for 4 hours. But maybe not? In any case, it seems to be perfectly fine today. And it’s a rest day so I’m happily giving all my bones, muscles, & joints a break. I’m learning to run my easy runs a little easier. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s part of training. When I think about when it gets hard or I’m starting to waver mentally, I reel it back in with the notion that I can do hard things. I want to do hard things. I want to get uncomfortable. There is a huge difference between actual injury pain and just being uncomfortable. We spend most our lives in comfort. Heating & air-conditioning. Full bellies. Overstuffed chairs. For millennia, we survived as a species without these things. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my creature comforts. But, I do think that there is some merit in the primal feeling of scraping the bottom of your physical ability. When I think about those track sessions that I loathe so much. It’s because they are hard. But they are hard mentally for me. I feel the pain in my legs and lungs and everything says, hey, dummy, just stop. Or slow down. But if I tune out that little negative voice and let my legs do the work, it’s kind of astonishing how much you can push through. I like to think about those Survivor challenges where endurance is the gold standard of winning. If you can do X for the longest, you win. And at what point do you allow your body to give up? Few of us get to where we crawl across the finish line. What can your body do if you think you can do it? It took me over 4 years to go from a 4+ hour marathon to a BQ. And once I broke that barrier, I have had 2 races that I haven’t hit that goal (when I was attempting to). The power of knowing I can is the driving force behind my ability. Every time I notch another hole in that belt, I set my own precedence.  

Extremely early. Very treatable.

So I'm trying to wrap my head around some very surprising news. Just got diagnosed with what my surgeon is calling "extremely early, very treatable" breast cancer. WTF? I have spent my whole life being the healthy one - not just because I exercise consistently, but because my BMI is good; my bloodwork is perfect; my heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol are low. Yes, I have health hubris. This stuff doesn't happen to me. Except it just did. I'm still not sure I believe it. I'll be having surgery in a couple of weeks, followed, most likely, by radiation. So running will have to take a back seat for a little while. I'm expecting to bounce back fast though because that's just the way it's going to be. In other news, I retired in January. (I know, such a cliché … retire and get a diagnosis 10 days later … come on, that's ridiculous). My big goal in retirement is LEARN NEW STUFF, especially stuff I think I'm not interested in. For example, I've spent most of my life "hating" science, so I'm taking a class about the 7 greatest scientific discoveries in history. There's plenty of science to make my head spin, but it also covers the lives of the scientists who made the discoveries - and provides historical, cultural, political and social context. The teacher is great and it's really energizing to jump into something so different. I'm also taking a class called "Learning about the world through documentaries. Each week there's a new topic, a new documentary and interesting discussion. Much more fun than working. Also on the retirement agenda: leading a team from my church that's figuring out how to distribute $100,000 to nonprofits that are serving people who have been marginalized. We received a big gift and plan to put it back out into the universe, but want to do it intentionally and in a way that can help the most people. Very exciting stuff. Again much more fun than working. So, as you can see, I have no time for cancer. Now for the running update. I ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in December. Who runs a marathon in Mississippi? Well, my best friend lives there now, right on the race course. (She always says she lives just outside of New Orleans. That word - "Mississippi" - kind of sticks in your throat). Anyway, it's actually a great race in a beautiful place. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's point to point along the Gulf Coast - 500 ish people - well organized - really beautiful scenery - which you can't tell from this angle. (Gulf is on my right).   I had 21 consistent miles, then endured about 5 miles of suffering. Better than my last marathon where I gave up mentally by mile 19. It was a fun day, even though I didn't do as well as I had hoped. (I took three 5-day trips in November which was peak mileage time, so my training was really off … but I was hoping that sea level would pull me through. It did not). Despite my bonk, I did end the race in style - wearing my friend's mink. (One of her minks, actually ... we are VERY different). So that's my update. Looking forward to setting new goals as soon as this health shizz is behind me. 

T to the Mill-o

This week, anything that may try to work itself into being a sour, lemon head will be promptly turned into lemonade. After getting the past couple weeks frustrations out via tears and sweat, I’m done. Only sweat and silliness from here on out – hence the silly pictures throughout this post. I will say, my neck has felt a bit tweaked since the accident. I have full range of motion and there is no pain, but it constantly feels like I slept on it wrong. Just to be safe, I think I’m going to get it checked out. I don’t want to cause any long-term damage if there’s something I can do now to help it. Monday: Barbell Strength – All the sessions I missed during the holiday break really set me back as far as the weights I was able to do. Before break, I was able to have 10lbs on each side for biceps but am currently only able to do 7.5 on each side. Keep in mind, this class is high repetitions so that might not sound like a lot of weight, but it’s a decent amount when you’redoing lots of reps. I’ll get back there though! Tuesday: Treadmill “5K” – Much to my surprise, I’m enjoying doing some of my runs on a treadmill. I keep my $10 Planet Membership going because it’s so cheap, nice to have when the weather is bad, and is walking distance from the house (but I only walk if it’s really nice out – which means I’m probably not going if it’s nice out). I made sure my Jaybird earbuds were charged, and zoned out to music while I ran. Since I never listen to music when I run outside, it’s an added plus when running on the treadmill. I typically just stare out the window or the reflection of my running legs on the window glass. I did a progression run where I increased a .1 speed each mile. I didn’t touch the incline. Mile 1 – 6.5 or 9:13/mile (after it took some time to get full speed) – 9:18 Mile 2 – 6.6 or 9:03/mile – 9:03 Mile 3 – 6.7 or 8:56/mile – 8:56 Last .2 – 7.5 or 8:00/mile 9:03 average / 28:58 My goal was to run 5K and you’d think, as long as I’ve been running, that I would remember that a 5K is 3.1 miles and not 3.2. I did this two weeks in a row now so it wasn’t a fluke! HA! Wednesday 2fer: Spin – After a long day at work (normal hours – it just draaaaged), it was nice to get on the bike. However, it’d been over a week since I’d been to a class so my butt got sore pretty quick. It’ll be fine after the next class. I think it’s really important to let cycling newbies know that they will be sore until about the 3rd class, otherwise there’s a chance they won’t come back! Spin ended at 5:15 and barbell started at 5:30. This one is even funnier b/c I’m pretty sure that’s a dude in the picture! HA! Barbell – I was obviously a bit tired after spin and had planned for this class to be lighter weights. I basically kept 7.5 on each side the whole class, and didn’t use any weights for the leg portions. The instructor was new and it was her first solo teaching class. It was super rocky but I still give her A for effort. However, I just wasn’t getting enough out of it AND I just don’t think I want to be there until 6:15 every Tuesday night. I likely won’t go to that late class again. Those kind of 2fers sound good until you’re actually doing them. I think I’ll be sticking to Monday barbell, and spin on Wednesday with some extra stuff on my own afterwards – maybe just some pushups and pullups. Thursday: Group Fitness Instructor Info Sesh – I went to find out more about becoming a group fitness instructor. First off, now that I will have to start making car payments every month, it’s really effected some of my goals for the year. I won’t be able to travel as much for races as I wanted I likely won’t be able to sign up for and run a race every month AND I don’t think I can currently afford this course. I mean, I probably could but I want to be smart with my money. The class, which is EVERY Thursday night from February to early May (and you can only miss 2 classes), is $125; the ACE exam that I will have to take after finishing the course is about $300, and a separate spin certification is around $80-$100. There’s a chance I could afford it all, but I need to think in the present. Ultimately, I don’t think I’m going to do it – yet. They will be having another class in the summer which I can reconsider at that time. There’s always the option of becoming spin certified and just teaching elsewhere. I would love that! We’ll see… gotta be smart. Friday: I spent the afternoon at the Nissan dealership (like 4 hours!) and had just planned to look at some options – I ended up purchasing this… 2018 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – 4×4 BABY! Meet Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam)! So many things about the interior reminds me of Bessie which is really nice. Plus, I kept the all-weather mats I had in Bessie and they [mostly] fit! I’m not the biggest fan of black and REALLY wanted blue, but you can’t be toooo picky when buying a used one. I love the name and that song is super catchy and bouncy! Black Betty doesn’t represent any of the supposed things that it did when the song was written (like a whip, a gun, or a vehicle to transport folks to prison), so she’ll make her own meaning! Saturday: This was one of those days that I reallllly needed to run, especially since I’d only ran once in the week and has 13 miles on the schedule as my long run, but I didn’t want to do anything. So I didn’t. Sunday: Long Run – Since I’d only ran once in the week but I really needed to get in some miles, I played it safe and only ran 10. I could tell I’d only ran once because I couldn’t even keep in in the 9:30 pace range. My legs were pissed at me for slacking and didn’t wanna go any faster. 9:48/mile average. Oh man! This tweet that I found totally reminded me of an embarrassing moment I had about 8 years ago! I was running with a new friend, for the first time, and we had left from her house. I wasn’t feeling well most of the run and REALLY needed to shit as we were getting closer to her house. She directed me to the bathroom upstairs so that’s where I did my business. When I flushed the toilet, it wouldn’t flush and overflowed onto the floor!! Yes, my shit went allllll over the floor. Apparently they’d already been having issues with the toilet. She insisted that I leave it and not help her clean it up!  Now that the car-buying and insurance situation is behind me (hopefully!), it is time to move on and take back my weeks. It has been a really difficult two weeks, mostly mentally, but it’s time to get back to it. Let’s do this!

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

Those were the days.

4 more inches of snow yesterday. Hardly the snow emergency they were worried about. A healthy winter blow. I was out on Saturday for the only time last week. No hard and fast rule about when I'll run this winter, but 20 feels like about what it should be, if the wind isn't too strong. It was almost 20 degrees, so I figured that was close enough. Feel free to use the "W" word. I'm prepared to accept it this year. I'm sure I'd feel differently if 2018 hadn't been the kind of year it was. My steps were noticeably lighter and springier than they've been in recent memory. This I'm going to chalk up to doing stairs three times last week. Running on level ground is so much easier than climbing. Funny how that works. Anyway, 6 miles, felt great. Wednesday was National Pie Day. I made a pie Tuesday night so I could enjoy it on the holiday. Used a new crust recipe from a local pie shop I saw on TV. Similar to my old one, but uses sugar and a little more flour. There wasn't a huge difference, but I have a couple of ideas for how it might be better. A coworker's birthday is this week and I promised her a pie, so I'll test them out. I tried Netflix last year and wasn't overly impressed. They sent me a thing for another free month, and I decided to try again. All I've watched so far (I think I have a week left) is Bird Box, which I watched last night. It was so-so. Slight twist on an old theme. The kids were cute. John Malcovich was John Malcovich. Been binging the first season of Manifest with T-Rex. Slightly better than so-so. Everyone is always demanding that someone else "trust me on this." I'm enjoying the new Magnum, PI more. Like the OG, it doesn't take itself too seriously, Hawaii is a great location, and Perdita Weeks is worth just watching. (Although I wish there was another word for her onscreen job than "major domo". Can't get John Hillerman's voice out of my head when she says it, which is very distracting.) Still having the internal treadmill debate. Planet Fitness is 2-1/2 miles from the house and practically on the way home from work. It wasn't even a consideration until the snow started flying. Now, I think about it more and more often as I think about the mileage I had planned on doing, getting ready to start training. I was at 28 miles two weeks ago, right on schedule, hoping to be near 40 by the end of February. 6 last week, not counting the old school stairmaster routine.  Seems like I read somewhere that some guy back in the day trained for (and won) Boston by running in place behind the counter of the store where he worked. Chances are good I'll be revamping the plan with a less aggressive build up. So, what's the difference between running up and down the stairs to my basement and running on a treadmill at PF? Other than I don't have to go anywhere and it's free free free free. I am doing the moving as opposed to the track rolling beneath me. I'm getting more elevation this way. No one's watching. It can't be any less mind-numbing. I broke the last treadmill I had at home - anyone remember that? The few times I ran at PF three years ago sort of messed up my hip and derailed my Boston training. Would that have happened anyway? IDK. Makes me shy away from the machine, though, all other things being equal.

Dave

Dave

 

Embracing the Struggle: January in Review

January 2019 in Review Total mileage for the month: 262.7 Dec. 31-Jan. 6:  73.7 (2:42 strength training) Jan. 7-13:  76.5 (2:46 strength training) Jan. 14-20:  75.1 (2:29 strength training) Jan. 21-27: 45.7 (1:52 strength training, 2:00 cardio cross-training) Jan. 28-Feb. 3: ?? (3 as of Jan. 31, plus cross-training) Races: Not there yet! Amy makes winter running much better! Workouts: Jan. 1 - 3 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries in 6:12, 6:18, 6:18 (2.1 warm up, 1.3 cool down).  This was my first workout on my first official day back working with my coach; clearly he didn't hold back!  I left my Garmin account connected to his coaching platform when I was building mileage post-injury, so he knew what I'd been doing, and it was pretty clear that my endurance was solid but my leg turnover/speed was in dire need of help, so this was where we started.  The pace range he gave me for these was 6:11-6:18, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to do it but vowed to try.  I had to really work to keep the final one in range, but I made it!  Afterwards I told him he chose the perfect pace range for my current fitness, because this was challenging but do-able.  If I'd have been in charge of my own workouts, I certainly wouldn't have picked mile repeats, and if I did I would have aimed for more like 6:30 pace, so day 1 being coached again showed me that I need to be coached (even though he gave me a workout and double on New Years Day)! Jan. 5 - fast finish long run, described below. Jan. 9 - 6.3 mile 3'2'1' fartlek (recoveries equal to next push, 3.2 warm up, 2.5 cool down).  This was supposed to be 6 miles, but who is going to stop in the middle of a push?  My push paces were 5:45-6:36, but mostly 6:05-6:15.  It was very windy and I blame that for the inconsistency in pacing - the 6:36 was definitely all into the wind and the 5:45 was definitely all out of it!  My average pace for all 6.3 miles was 6:50; pre-injury I'd average more like 6:20 on this type of workout, so it was pretty consistent with everything I'm running right now being 30 seconds/mile slower than what I was doing at peak fitness.  I am choosing to be thankful for the opportunity to improve rather than upset about being slower, but sometimes not comparing is hard. Jan. 15 - 3 mile tempo (3.3 warm up, 4 cool down) at 6:30 average via 6:27, 6:33, 6:29. I ran with Rebecca, and our Garmins were significantly discrepant (her's said 6:19 average), so I would rather claim that since my goal was 6:18!  We have had Garmin discrepancies on that course before, although not by that much and usually mine is the faster one, hah. We had very dense fog for this workout so it was also pretty much like running hard into a dark abyss, because headlamps are rendered nearly useless in fog (mine also iced over because it was 29 degrees!).  I gave it my best effort, but it was honestly very disheartening to be unable to maintain the pace I've run for several marathons for a mere 3 miles after being back to running for 7 weeks.  Jan. 17 - 4 x 0.15 presses at the beginnings of miles 7-10 within in 10 miler.  This is just a tiny get-your-legs-moving/mix-it-up kind of workout, but it always serves as a good reminder that I actually can pick up the pace if I need to.  My press paces were 5:54, 5:37 (downhill), 6:01, and 6:20 (uphill).  This was run #3 of the month in cold rain, but at 42 degrees and no wind, it was fine, especially after my Jan. 12 long run, detailed below. Jan. 21 - 5 x 1 mile tempos with 0.25 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down) in 6:27, 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, 6:33.  I had pretty low expectations for this workout since we were in a wind advisory and the windchill was 2 degrees, and I suppose I met those expectations.  I put forth my best effort and was consistent with my splits, which was really all I could have hoped for.  When I stopped my Garmin it said I needed 3.5 days to recover, which seemed about right, haha! Doubles on Jan. 1, 7, 14, 21. Strides on Jan. 10, 20, 24. Favorite workout:  Weeellllll, I can truthfully say that I was thankful for all of them, but not satisfied with any of them.   Long Runs: Jan. 5 - 15.6 miles (7:27) with 3 progressive fast finish miles in 7:05, 6:52, 6:36.  We had a great group of 7 for this run, although about everyone was doing different distances.  Claudio was kind enough to fast finish with me, even though he kicked my tail on the final hill (without the hill, I'd have been in the 6:20s for my final mile, but even though my lack of fitness showed on the hill it was good for me to fight it).  Dying less every week though! Jan. 12 - 18 miles (7:46) in 33 degrees and rain, with a windchill of 22.  I learned a lot of things on this run, the most important of which was that I am never running that far in these conditions again!  I ran a 5 miler in similar conditions the week before, and finished it toasty and dry, so I thought I would be okay...plus there was really no alternative since it had been the exact same temperate with rain for about 36 hours straight and was supposed to continue the entire day until it changed to snow overnight.  I was afraid the roads would be a sheet of ice on Sunday so I didn't want to bump it a day (although in actuality they weren't too terrible and I ran outside the next day), and I couldn't wrap my head around running this on the treadmill.  I felt decent for the first 10 miles or so, but during a patch of heavy rain even the awesome rainproof jacket I'd borrowed didn't hold up, so I was just cold, soaked, and carrying what felt like 15 lbs of water in my jacket, tights, socks, and shoes.  We ran a big loop course to force us to commit to the distance (my idea, oy.), so there was no choice but to keep plodding along back to my car.  On the road back there was a lot of flooding and standing water, so my shoes ended up extremely soaked and heavy (at that point the only alternative routes would have added 2-4 miles to the run, so I ran through the flooding but remembered why we don't run that part of that road when it's rained a lot).  My only saving grace was that at the last minute before we started I grabbed plastic grocery bags out of my car's console and put them over my mittens, and with the way I had them tied up and gripped, my hands stayed dry.  That is the only reason I didn't stop at 16.2 miles when I passed my car! This run confirmed my suspicions that I would have been among the people who died off at Boston 2018, because I definitely slowed and struggled, and felt like I was shutting down.  I was with 3 friends, and Rebecca and Claudio went ahead and ran a beautiful negative split while I dragged my frozen self in.  My body definitely isn't made for cold rain.  Amy was also with us, and she ran Boston 2018 and said this run was colder but less windy (14 mph wind).  I came very close to crying during this run, but at the same time I was sure glad to say I gritted it out and always thankful to run! Jan. 18 - 16.4 miles (7:37).  I ran this one a day early to avoid another cold rain/ice/snow fiasco.  I told my coach I had PTSD from the previous week's cold rain long run and wasn't doing that again!  Missy was kind enough to run most of it with me - I ran about 3 miles, picked her up and we did 10 together, then I ran back home.  I started at 4:44 a.m. because I had to be at work a little before 8:00, so it was still pitch dark even when I finished, but I was happy to have it knocked out to reduce weather-related stress!  It was actually really nice, around 36 degrees and light wind, which is very warm for that time of day in January in Missouri (last year I had many morning runs in below zero wind chills). Jan. 26 - I skipped this one, because I learned from my September-November injury and the great tendon debacle of 2016.  More details to come, but I just knew that if I ran this my peroneal tendon was going to get seriously injured, so I stayed home.  I think my body hates winter.  Better 5-7 days off now than 8 weeks off later! Favorite long run:  I felt the best on the January 5 one!  My body kind of went downhill after the Jan. 12 one... 8 degrees & pitch dark Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I started back working with my coach this month.  I think my rapid mileage increase post-injury made it clear that I need someone to save me from myself, and my avoidance of workouts in December also showed I needed a push.  He gave mile repeats and a double on New Years Day, hah. This article about CIM really illustrates why I wanted to run it in 2018 and hope to return in 2019!  I have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, though. I've been feeling discouraged about my paces, but I'm not sure what to do about it except to keep plugging along. I remembered why winter training stresses me out: winter weather uncertainty and my inability to control it!  I also think my body responds poorly to winter weather (especially stupid cold morning lows); I recently realized that I have never had a good winter of outside morning running except in 2017, which was a very mild winter.  In 2018 I had a serious winter slump (slowed and became worn down - some details here and here but I was relatively quiet about it), in 2016 I got injured, in 2015 I did okay due to running almost all of my weekday runs on the treadmill (manageable since I was typically running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), 2012-2014 I wasn't running much, in 2011 I got injured, and before then I ran mostly at lunch when I was at a different job. Look at that resting heart rate of 32!  Average was more like 40. Life events: I have never done a word/phrase of the year before, but one came to me for 2019: "Lead me".  I often question whether I'm making the right decisions, and what could be better than focusing on where God leads me?  We had a pretty low key month; some weekends we didn't go anywhere except for church (and out running for me).  Jon enjoyed cheering for the Chiefs, and Albani watches the games with him because he gives her candy when they score or make a good play.  Albani is learning to play the recorder and practices a lot, which is both a good and bad thing! Nature loving on a 62 degree January day! I had some thoughts this month about changing my sport to bowling! Crazy hair day on little notice Her hair is supposed to look like pouring soda We had a snow day on Jan. 30 Recorder practice
Books this month: Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld Time Keeper by Mitch Albom Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza Clay Girl by Heather Tucker A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick Theme of the month: Struggling.  I came upon these verses at just the right time: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5 I cannot run a 3 mile tempo at the pace I used to run for marathons, my mile repeats are at my goal marathon pace (or slower in bad weather), and my current all-out sprint is maybe my 10K PR pace...but I am sure thankful to be running regardless!  At least my mileage is solid.  I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong because I really haven't improved in the 10 weeks I've been back to running post-injury...  BUT!  I am SO THANKFUL to be running!  Especially after taking some time off with a little tendon scare from Jan. 26-Jan. 30, which was consistent with the struggling theme.

SIbbetson

SIbbetson

 

Super Bowl LIII. Snowbuster?

Last week's weather mess and polar vortex makes this a short training recap. I've run when it was below zero before, but this winter is not. Although, since I'm not officially training yet, I guess it's not even that. But I did have a run. Saturday was 35 degrees and sunny. Mostly the way was clear. A few spots, plus some of the sidewalk ends had piles. One half mile section was covered, but it had melted to only an inch or so and was pretty even, so no worries. The run itself was pretty great. I hadn't run since the previous Saturday, but I'd been hankering for it. Splits were all wonky of course, but I felt good the whole way, had no issues with the couple of hilly sections in the middle. Strength work and the stairs have done their jobs. Didn't have a definite plan for distance - just a general direction. Weather was so nice I had to shed one of my two shirts for a couple of miles. After I turned into the wind it cooled off so much I had to put it back on. Ended up with nine miles. One side of the bathroom toilet paper holder came loose. Had to tear it out and patch the area. Then I realized I'd measured wrong and had to redo it. When I went to paint the area I discovered that I didn't have any of the original paint left, so had no clue what color I needed. Made my best guess last night, based on the color in the master bedroom, which was the complement to it. Guessed wrong, so now I have to try again or repaint the entire bathroom. Good thing it's a small bathroom. Also, in the bathroom the toilet valve and flapper were having problems so I had to replace both of them. Home Depot is my favorite store. T-Rex's Civic had a headlight go out yesterday, so I added a trip to O'Reilly's for that. Yesterday was a fun little 5 miler up the Target Path. 51 degrees and a little sprinkly. Running in shorts in February is a pretty rare event. Speaking of February, my thoughts turned to the annual Snowbuster Virtual Race Festival. I'm wondering if there's enough interest to hold it this year. It doesn't really fit in my training plan, but I'd certainly be up for a hard-ish 13.1 in a few weeks. Let me know if you're interested and I'll put the wheels in motion. Whining about the Super Bowl all other the place. "Boring!" they all say.  I found the game interesting, tense, and exciting, with the outcome in doubt up to the final minute - just how a good football game should be. This one was more about the defense, which I know doesn't appeal to the masses, especially when the expectations are all for scores in the 30's. Frankly, that's what I was geared up for, so it was surprising how it played out. Doesn't make it a bad or a boring game. Now I wonder, is it time to retire the half-time show? I generally like Maroon 5, but (at least on TV) those 15 minutes did absolutely nothing for me. I don't do Spongebob or any rap (certainly I'm too old for those and I freely admit that), so the additions to M5 were subtractions from my point of view. Commercials: Not too many memorable moments (in fact, I'm googling these to talk about). Bud Light-Game of Thrones was at OK, if one knows anything about GoT (I'm reading the books, which are great, and have seen a few clips of the show). I'm just as happy to see the end of "Dilly! Dilly!" T-Mobile texts had a few funnies. My favorite was the NFL 100-year Gala cum football game. Anyway, that's my take. And to all you Brady-haters: don't worry, only 4 more years until he retires.

Dave

Dave

Back in the Race

Things are starting to pick up here in Bangle-land. November and December were about rest and recovery. Then I had a cold the first week of January. But then it was time to get back at it. Because Boston was calling. With only 13 weeks left, I was already behind schedule. But I could just look forward and do my best, so I started picking up the miles, running more often, and laid out a rough schedule to get me up to a long run of 20 and some weeks close to 50 miles. Boston expectations are low, but I'm going to have fun with Quadracool and enjoy the experience. Just hope the body holds up and I don't bonk too spectacularly.  So, week of Jan 7 I managed 22, and the next week I was up to 33 with a long run of 13. Phew! That 13 was tough! Proof that I had lost my marathon shape since NY. But the good news was my knee was holding up OK. The rest didn't seem to help it much. Seemed like it hurt worse than ever during Christmas. Yet increasing the miles was no problem. In fact it has been getting gradually less of a problem as I run more. Weird. I have been going to the gym about every 5 days and doing leg extensions and the knee is getting stronger. Definitely progress. So I'm hopeful. Week of Jan 21 I ran 34 including a 14 miler that wasn't quite as bad as the previous week's 13. I also had a speed workout where I felt surprisingly chipper! Knocked out 4x400s with the last two about 85, and then 2x1600 at 6:50 which was not too taxing. Positive vibes! I've also got the chance to run in the rain quite a bit this year as we are having a wet winter. I've been enjoying the novelty of it.  Last week was only 31 because I skipped the long run as I tapered for a 10K on Sunday. But I plan for 37 this week and 46 next week with longs of 15 and 16. Feeling pretty dang tired, but I guess that's what I'm supposed to feel during a marathon buildup. So, race report! Sunday was our local Super Bowl Sunday 10K, a race I have now run 24 times. It is less than a mile from home, so I trot down to the start for my warmup. Forecast was for rain, but then it let up so it looked like we would miss it. However a little squall came in 5 minutes before the start and soaked us through. It quit about 15 minutes later, but we were all drenched by then. It was pretty breezy too. But with temps in the low 50s it was fine for running. My goal was to break 45, about 7:15 pace. I also had many club members to race against. The course has a few hills in the first two miles, then is mostly flat, and then rolls for a mile before a nasty hill at 5.5 and a downhill finish. My strategy is to go out easyish (7:30?) through the first two and then start racing. Feeling dead and spent after two miles is no way to run a 10K. So of course I go out a little fast with my clubmates and see a pace under 7 before restraining myself a little. Then coach Ed pulls up to my shoulder and I start running with him because we're rivals you know, and another girl joins us so I run with them for a while, which means I go out too fast. 7:09 for mile 1. Oh well. Not too bad and I'm not hurting yet. By the end of mile 2, Ed and the girl have slipped back and I am alone. My other rival is so far ahead of me I can't see him. I can only hope he fades badly. (Spoiler - he didn't) Mile 2 comes in at 7:30 and I am disappointed because it feels faster and I am pretty darn tired already. Oh well. I keep plugging. Mile 3 is normally the fastest, but there is a pretty good headwind from the South which is NOT helping. I hopefully look at the Garmin, wishing to see something close to 7:00 pace but I see 7:20. Ugh. I start to push a little more, but without a rival to chase, the will is lacking. I come through 3 in 7:23 and say goodbye to my dreams of running under 44. As we turn back to the North in mile 4 the wind fades, but I am searching for a reason to suffer. Or more like, a reason not to just coast it in. Rival is still out of sight. This pace feels harder than it should. Poo. But then another clubmate, M, pops up on my shoulder. This is a guy I should be beating (although he is getting faster lately). So here's my incentive. No way this guy beats me. I start to push more. He hangs tough at my side. We work together. Mile 4 is 7:16. As we go over a few little hills I keep the hammer down, especially on the downhills, and M fades back. I am now feeling the race mojo and accepting the increased breathing rate and associated pain as an acceptable price to pay. Mile 5 is 7:16. Yeah I am still slow, but whatever. I'm going to do my best and push this last mile, because M is NOT going to catch me! I survive the steep hill of death and as soon as I get my breathing somewhat back to normal, I put my foot back on the gas and redline it in. Mile 6 is 7:09 (including the hill at 9:00+ pace) and the final .3 (!!) is 6:20 pace. M does NOT catch me! (He was 8 seconds back) I cross in 45:35, which is a little disappointing. But you know, it's close. It's not too bad. I'm getting older. Blah blah blah. Age grade was 69.4% so that sounds decent. Only good for 10th in my competitive AG.   So anyway, back to marathon training. Monday I rested and Tuesday I was still feeling the fatigue as a nine miler felt pretty rough. But the knee is doing pretty well. Feeling pretty positive and ready for eight weeks of training.

BANGLE

BANGLE

 

The Park

The Park’s hours officially extend to 11pm, but it may as well be closed by the time I turn onto the paved trail along its perimeter. It’s dark, and while the polar vortex has yet to reach this far south the 37 degree temperature has the same effect on Atlantans that -50 has on Minnesotans. I pass a few people walking dogs or using the pathway as a cut through on their walks home from work, but I know as I leave the perimeter and venture deeper into the Park, I will be alone. My pace quickens at the thought. As the path winds its way into the Park’s interior, the noise of the city fades. I run along the edge of The Meadow, a wide grass field at the southeastern corner, and look west towards the Midtown skyline. There are few lights in the Park and a gust of cold wind has my eyes tearing just enough to make the bright windows of the high rises dot the black horizon like an earthbound star field. I know they are actually the offices of clients or colleagues and homes where people are enduring the mundanities of life: making dinner, paying bills, negotiating how many more bites of dinner are needed to earn dessert. But for now all that may as well be as distant as the stars. This is my time in the quiet darkness of the Park.  I make my way deeper into the Park, past the urban garden and near the dog runs, and the isolation becomes almost a physical sensation. The sudden absence of people, noise, light, and even somehow the cold wind leaves a palpable sort of empty white noise hanging in the air. It’s just me and the trail. I weave my way along the path and it suddenly smells like I’m in the middle of a pine forest. I decide if I’m having a stroke no one will find me until morning and at least I’ll be going out happy, but then I see the source of the smell. It dawns on me that the piles of fresh mulch were just a month ago Christmas trees, and images of revelry under colorful lights and tinsel and mistletoe flashed through my mind. What didn’t was the argument between the cousin who whipped out his red hat at dinner and sat next to the cousin who dressed up as Rachel Maddow for Halloween. Or the aunt who asked her gay nephew if the holy water burned his fingers as they walked into midnight mass. Or the arguments over money or not calling enough or when are you having kids. Those were all ground away by the wood chippers; the lingering scent was too light to carry the weight of those memories to these depths of the Park.  I looped around the Active Oval, the gravel 800 meter-ish track which rings the usually packed soccer and softball fields. By now my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and I could clearly see the freezing puddles which in the day I am too distracted to avoid. I listened to the rhythm of my breathing and the jazzy percussion of my footfalls crunching along the track and how it, instead of the din of the fields, echoed off the stone stairs as I ran by. It’s a strange feeling to be so isolated in such an expansive place. You expect there to be people, to feel the buzz of activity all around you. You expect to be surrounded by all those things that are part of modern life, and then feel liberated by what you can see and hear and think in their absence. Tonight it is my Park. All the noises, all the thoughts, all the actions that fill this vast place are mine and mine alone. By me, and for me.  The blaring horn of the car running the red light and barreling into the same crosswalk I was using to reenter the city shattered my peace so abruptly I thought I might get the bends. The driver had the gall to scream at me for flipping them off as I stood there blocking their transgression, my profane gesture apparently more offensive to them than vehicular manslaughter. But hey, the world is full of idiots and assholes. Sometimes I’m even one of them. Most days I can deal with it just fine. When I can’t, I know I have the Park. 
 

Gonzo Runner

Gonzo Runner

 

Boston - Weeks 3-5

Well, I guess I've missed a few weeks... (I have no idea how to control the picture size) January 14-20 Monday 10.1 miles in 1:17 After the hard long run on the previous Saturday I was expecting my legs to feel like garbage, was pleasantly surprised after 3-4 miles to find my legs feeling good and stride was smooth. As I've been doing on all my easy days lately I ran by HR and made sure to keep my HR under 150. Happy with where my easy paces lately, starting to feel really fit.  Tuesday 3.2 mile WU in 28:12 + 4.2 miles of 16 x 400 with 1:15 rests + 3 mile CD in 23:42 It was very cold at the start in the 20's, ran very easy to warm up for 3 miles followed by 4 strides to wake my legs up. Leg speed workouts are usually a bit tough for me because I dont keep up with turnover, especially during marathon training. Was happy to be able to consistently hit the 400's in the 81-84 second range with 1:!5 rests. At times I felt like I was dragging but was still hitting 5:30 pace so I kept going. The middle reps were a mental struggle when it still feels like you have forever to go but your legs arent really that tired yet. I was able to finish out strong with an 80 second last rep. I did a longer cooldown than usual of 3 miles to get some extra mileage on the day since there wasnt much for volume in the workout.  Wednesday 8.4 miles in 1:10 Cold and very tired today. Didn't sleep much last night, work has been pretty crazy and I also was firing someone this morning so might have had some extra anxiety which kept me up.  Thursday 10.1 miles in just under 1:20 Feeling better today but HRV score was pretty low so I kept it extra easy pace-wise. However, I ended up running a mile longer than I thought I would when I headed out.  Normatec at the gym - 20 minutes Friday 3 mile WU in 23:34 + 8 mile Tempo in 49:06 + 2 mile CD in 15:45 A little chilly out today in the 30's and windy so over dressed for my warm up a bit to get... warmed up. Wore trainers and felt pretty good, changed into vaporflys and shed some clothing to be lighter for the tempo. I focused on starting out slower and being patient in the tempo before setting down into about HMP. I ran on rolling hills and progressed nicely. Was able to finish with a fast mile and still wasn't digging all that deep. Very happy with the effort, continuing to feel very strong and fit. Was tired after, not destroyed which is just right. Reflected in my log about how I used to hate and struggle at tempos and today felt great. Interesting I split 18:49 and 38:15 for 5K/10K respectively. Changed back into trainers and did a short cooldown.   Saturday 8.1 miles in just under 1:05 Rainy and cold outside so I used the treadmill. Was probably a good thing since I always run super slow on the TM because I hate it. Watched tv and slogged through a decent recovery run. Legs felt good after sleeping in some recovery compression socks last night. Sunday 17.1 miles in 2:20 we had a winter storm roll through saturday night and the roads were not plowed and looked pretty dangerous. Slogged through an easy long run, ended up going a little shorter than I wanted but the time was about right so whatever, this sucked. 77.3 miles total for the week. 2 great workouts, a sub-par long run but good time on my feet and volume continues to build.  January 21-27 Monday 9.3 miles in 1:18 A pipe burst at work and flooded my floor and a few below it so I ended up working from home and let my son stay home with me from daycare. This meant running on the TM and running easy. Wasn't too upset about it since it was a feels like close to 0 today. Tuesday 10.6 miles in 1:22 Eased into this run and progressed as I went, especially once I got past the ice stretches on the bike path. Felt good today but made sure I didn't do anything crazy before a workout tomorrow.  Wednesday 3 mile WU in 22:01 + 10 x 800 w/ 1:30 rests + 3 mile CD in 24:22 Did this workout on the TM due to the ice, made it easy to run consistent paces on the reps. First 6 @ 5:33 pace, 7-9 @ 5:30 and last @ 5:27. Felt pretty good for most of it, started grinding on reps 8-9 and had to focus and push to hit the last. This was a great workout, the short reps were challenging. Probably could have gone shorter but would have been hurting pretty bad by the end.  45 minutes of strength work in the PM Thursday 7.6 miles in 1:02 very cold today and windy. My right foot was sore from either running on the TM, the strength work last night or both. Went a little short today because I was running slow and there was ice everywhere. Probably needed a short day anyways though so nothing to worry about.  Friday 8.1 miles in 1:08  another feels like of 1 day so opted to be a baby and run on the TM. I rationalized it as helping to keep it a very easy day ahead of a big long run on Saturday. Heart rate was super low today, probably a result of getting to bed real early last night. Felt good.  Saturday 21 miles in 2:23:08 (16 @ 90-95% MP) 3 miles to warm up followed by 16 continuous shooting for something in the 6:30-6:40 range. Legs were heavy to start so was ok easing into the steady state miles. Did this run on a big rolling hill section that has destroyed my legs on harder runs in past cycles and they handled it well. In the back half of the 16 workout I came upon some kind of training group that provided good motivation but also made me speed up a bit to catch and pass them a few times (oops). Last few miles were tough but nothing too crazy like having to go to the well. Great workout, wont have another of these for 3 weeks now.  Sunday 10.37 miles in 1:21:40 Ran with a friend on his long run. He's training for a halfso he was only doing 10 so I decided to go with him through some parks and on hills. HR was again very low on this run even at decent paces.  78.6 miles total for the week. Another two really good workouts this week, 4 weeks done and continuing to have a strong cycle.    January 28- February 3 Monday 10.1 miles in 1:19 Very tired today from the big weekend of 31+ miles. Ran very easy by heart rate and didnt look at pace. Accumulated fatigue is here people, I am so tired. Marathon training.  Tuesday 8.37 miles in 1:06 feels like of 0 outside and nasty headwinds, couldn't feel my legs. Felt pretty sluggish waking up this morning anyways so the cold temps encouraged me to go shorter today because I was miserable.  Wednesday 3 mile WU in 24:41 + 4 x 2 miles w/ 1:30 rests + 2 mile CD in 17:34 Treadmill run, too cold / icy / windy outside to do a good workout. Typical TM warm up of 2 miles easy with 1:00 surges in the 3rd mile. Ran the first rep @ 5:55 pace, next two at 5:50 and split the last rep at 5:50 for 1 mile and 5:45 for the last. Felt really good during this whole workout, never had to push very hard to maintain pace and the short rests weren't an issue. Re-watched this past Berlin marathon where Kipchoge set the WR during the workout which provided good extra motivation. Great workout. Thursday 9.35 miles in 1:20:30  Easy run on the TM, it was too icy outside to get a good run in. Left knee started bothering me on this run from a very tight quad/IT band. Stretched it out briefly and finished then rolled the living sh*t out of it a few times the rest of the day. Was thinking it would be fine but always super paranoid about issues cropping up and staying during training.  Friday 9.3 miles in just under 1:18 easy run on the TM before a doctor appointment and work. My left quad / IT band / whatever is still tight but knee is not bothering me anymore so rolling must be working. The ice/snow on the roads forcing me to run on the TM is probably a blessing in disguise right now because it's forcing me to run extra easy on the TM which helps with recovery for sure. My HRV has been all over the place this week so glad I have a lot of easy days before my next workout (next Wednesday).  Saturday 16 miles in 1:59:26 Ran with a guy from out of town. Had some ice issues a few times but was able to cruise for the most part after my legs warmed up about 4-5 miles in. This guy is shooting for a sub-3 marathon but doesnt run much for milesage so his legs were far fresher than mine. He wanted to run the last few miles at his marathon pace (6:52) which I was fine with and then we ended up running a mile close to 6:00 pace (NOT his marathon pace) and I said F*** this I'm running easy. My legs were way too heavy to do that and I'm not sabotaging my training. This is why I hate running with other people too much.  Sunday 8.1 miles in 1:02 Beautiful weather today, close to 50 degrees. Got to run in shorts and a light long sleeve shirt, which was amazing. Legs were a little heavy but felt pretty good overall. Got to focus on and clean up my stride mechanics which get a little wonky when I run too much on the TM. Ended up cruising along pretty well but kept an eye on HR to make sure I was staying in the easy zone. Forced myself to not go too long to recover. 1:00 strength work 74.6 miles total for the week. One very good workout and one missed as a result of moving my schedule around to account for the weather. Honestly, I dont know that I could have handled another session this week, even with it being a lighter fartlek. Keeping mileage high but getting more easy days in this week should help get ready for next Wednesday's 10 mile tempo. I am 1/3 through my cycle with 10 weeks to go until we toe the line in Hopkinton. Feeling very optimistic lately but we're still far enough out that I know it can turn quickly if I'm not careful.  Thanks for reading, hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping up. Happy training. 

Stephen

Stephen

 

She's Got the Rhythm

If you can name the song/artist I picked my title from, MAJOR kudos… I have this CD and use to wear it out in my teens! The artist is one of my all-time favorites. I promptly had to play this song on my iTunes when I wrote it in the title, then kept playing other songs – it’s been a while! This is my kitty, Gwen (Gwenie Poo). She was NOT impressed with the Super Bowl last night. Now that the car wrecking/buying shite is behind me, and I no longer feel like a raging bitch, I can get back to focusing on training and get back into a rhythm. While I was trying not to give myself a hard time about slacking the last couple weeks (considering everything that was going on), I did anyway. Each day I felt guilty about not sticking to the training plan. Yes, I have fallen a bit behind, but I will still run 26.2 at the end of April. If I don’t have any more setbacks, I still have a decent amount of training left and can possible still put up a great time. Anywho… Monday: I took a personal day at work because this was actually the day I was picking up Black Betty (bam-ba-lam). I waited around all day for the call to go to the dealership, but it ended up being 3:30 before they were ready. I decided to take a rest day since I ran my long run the day before. I did hate to miss Barbell. Tuesday: Treadmill Progression – Since I haven’t been running consistently, I haven’t been doing much speed work. However, I have been on the treadmill more than normal lately because of the weather. I am STILL liking the treadmill (I’ll never say loving). As long as I have some tunes and my Jaybirds, I’m good. This time I was planning to run 4 miles, with the same progression as the workout last week. It ended up being: 9:13, 9:03, 8:56, and 8:48. I liked it. Next week, I’d like to start at 9:03 and work my way down from there. I’m just kinda doing my own thing when it comes to speedwork. Wednesday: Spin with Coach Kelli – I always look forward to spin because I get on it and just go. I’m typically at least 10 RPMs over the range the instructors say that we should be in. Kelli teaches on Wednesdays and I love working out with her! She is definitely perfect for being a group fitness instructor, and she constantly keeps me motivated. I started spinning 15 minutes before class started which gave me an hour – I got in 14.3 miles. This is the view I had from the studio while spinning! Thursday: Matrix Treadmill PCT run! I had a busy Thursday planned and was needing to leave work at 2pm for an appointment that typically takes about three hours. AND THEN I needed to ensure that I was able to feed and walk my friend’s dog by 6pm (more on that in a minute!). I knew I’d be strapped for time and would absolutely need to get up early and run if I was going to get it done. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night and was awake off and on from 2:30AM. I didn’t get to the wellness center and start running until about 6:30. I’d never run on a treadmill at the WC before and they have the Matrix ones. It lets you pick a workout and a place to run, and then you get to virtually run the course. I chose the PCT! I will say that I’m not sure I liked it all that much. Choosing a trail run wasn’t smart because I kept wanting to jump over rocks and felt myself leaning/shifting a bit in switchbacks! The workout was great though because it had some incline changes. I like not having to adjust the incline and also actually using incline on the t-mill; I’ve been keeping it at 0 on my other runs. I kept the pace on 9:13 the whole time until the last mile when I bumped it up to 9:03. Considering the inclines, it was a good pace! I had a 30 minute limit set and ended up with just over 3.2 miles. My friend has asked me if I will walk and feed her dog a few nights a week. Patches (Patch, Patchy Poo) is a very sweet dog and I love being around him. She adopted him when she was doing some volunteer work over in the Bahamas years ago. He’s such a good and smart boy and can be walked without a leash – he also stops when we need to cross a street and waits for me! Can I keep him? Haha! Anyway, I’m very excited about being able to see him each week and earn a little extra money in the process – it’s much needed right now! He doesn’t like his picture taken as I can never get a good one of his face! Ha! Friday:  Threasy – While those in the North are freezing their jibblies off, it has finally been pretty nice here and melted a lot of the snow pack. I’ve been hoping to bump up my runs to four a week instead of three since I’m behind in my training. The fourth day would just be threasy and that’s what I did. Amy and I runched! Runch is THE BEST! I absolutely love using my lunch break to run outside, especially when it is gorgeous out. We ran around our usual group loop which takes us by Elitch Gardens, the LoDo REI, the Broncos stadium, and runs along the Platte River. It’s really a great loop and is perfectly three miles. Happy sighhhhhh Saturday: Hot Power Fusion Yoga – I thought about using this as a rest day, but I was really feeling motivated with how the week went and for my race the next day. I ensured I wouldn’t be dehydrated for race day by pounding lots of water this day. I always feel so refreshed after sweating buckets in this class. Namaste. Sunday: Ralston Creek  13.1 – Race Report to follow! I had a fantastically productive week, in regarding to training! It felt so good! January Re-Cap It was a bit of a rough month and start to the year, but maybe I just got all the shitty shit out of the way early in the year? One can hope. Running miles: 60 Not as much as I should have ran but it’s not bad! Higher than December but 5 miles shy of November’s total. Should only go up from here! Spinning miles: 50 (Nice!) Races: 1 – Resolution 5K New trucks: 1

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

QC Returns to the Trails: Mountain Mist 50K Race Report

Pre-race After conferring with my coach weeks ago, we decided that the Mountain Mist 50k would be the best option for me to meet the required qualification for the Georgia Death Race - a 50k trail race in the last calendar year. The elevation and technicality would be a great tune-up and a chance for me to test gear and nutrition.    Though I could have driven the 3.5 hour drive, gaining an hour crossing into Central Time, I opted to camp overnight at Monte Sano State Park. I left work at 2pm Friday to make it in time before sunset and was treated to a very beautiful drive through the tiny mountain towns of northwest Georgia/northeast Alabama. At the park, I went straight to the camp host to check in and got both a dinner recommendation and directions to the race start (more on that later).   I blindly picked the camp site online and chose a spot that was nearest to the restrooms. My good fortune meant I was treated to a beautiful view of Huntsville and I arrived just at sunset. I made a quick call to Adam and then changed into running gear for a 2 mile shakeout run around the campground. I watched the big orange thing dip below the horizon and then headed out to packet pickup (at the lodge) and to grab dinner.     I was a little worried about the camp host's recommendation at first. I had asked for a place that served pizza and beer and he asked if Italian would be okay. He explained they didn't really have many items with red sauce and yeah, they have some beer. I was picturing loads of fettuccine alfredo with goopy white cream sauce and reminded of when Michael Scott carbo-loads before the "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure"5K and promptly vomits.    But, the pizza was seriously some of the best I have ever had and the beer selection, while not vast, was a nicely culled collection of local favorites (re: Huntsville IPAs) and national specialties (Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout). I always like to err on the side of being really full before a race, especially an ultra, so I loaded up on a donut hole-esque dessert. Also, I just like donuts.   I stopped at a gas station on the way back to fill up my tank, get some cold brew coffee, and a back-up muffin in case there was some tragedy with my overnight oats. Back at camp, I settled into my 0° rated sleeping bag (Everest testing), read a little of David Goggins "Can't Hurt Me", and fell asleep before 10pm. The sleeping bag was beyond warm enough in the 20°-ish degree weather. I actually woke up at one point and had to crawl out of it because I was too warm.    The alarm went off at 6:20am and while I was cozy, I was also ready to get the show going. I changed in the warm bathroom and ate my oats. Just after 7am, I headed to the race start. I double-checked the map and walked about 5 minutes before I realized the trail was not terribly discernible in the winter and panicked that I might be late to the race. I turned around and decided to take my chances to drive up to the lodge. Again, I totally lucked out and parked just outside the entrance on the side of the road with just enough time to stand around and get cold before the start.   Race morning I lined up in the first third of the pack behind the start line. In reading race reports and talking to runners who had raced it, I knew the first 20 miles were pretty runnable and the last 11 or so were tough. This was supposed to be a training run of sorts (though we all know I'm competitive so it's not like I wasn't going to give it my best effort) and I really wanted to just stay relaxed as much as possible.     The first mile was pavement and I was far from warmed up. Everything felt stiff and stagnant and I was annoyed that despite taking it relatively easy, it felt awkward. We hit the fire road and things started to get a little better with softer footing and I tried to just stay with the little packs around me, only passing if necessary in this point. I didn't want to get stuck too far behind once we got to the single track.      People were not really talking much around me at this point, which in retrospect, I guess I was closer to the front of the pack than I thought initially. By the time we reached the single track section and through the first aid station at mile 6.7, I just tried to stay as comfortable as possible. Any time I thought I wanted to pass someone, I gave it an extra minute or two. It's so easy to push in the beginning, but I didn't want to feel like garbage at the end. The course in this section was moderately muddy - bad in some sections, but there was definitely very runnable spots and I did feel like we did a lot of downhill running.   There was some switching around of people at the aid stations as some people stopped for a bit longer. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, a single pretzel, and kept right on moving. At this point, I was behind 3 females who were bombing the downhills pretty efficiently and I decided to stay in tow.  Once we got into the section I would dub the "Power Line Field", I was relaxed and just enjoying listening to their chatter back and forth about various things.   Once we reached the first climb, dubbed "K2", one of the girls jetted up ahead and while I was tempted to pursue her, I knew it was too early to get caught up in competition. I knew my skills lied in power hiking ups and I'd wait until the final 2 climbs to put on the afterburners. We still had 20+ miles to go.    At the 11.9 mile aid station, I grabbed a cup of Mello Yello and filled up my water flask. I went trotting off down the trail and a few minutes past the aid station, full on Supermanned going up a tiny hill. Apparently I hit the ground with enough impact that runners in both directions asked if I was okay. Yes, yes, just a little blood mixed with hurt pride. My bib completely ripped off and I had to take a few extra seconds to pin it back on. But, once I was back on the trail, I started to feel great! It was like the fall had woken me up.    The next section had a short little climb that led up to a section called "Stone Cuts". Giant slabs of stone with a trail that meanders through them. Runners had to squeeze through narrow cuts and limbo underneath low cave-like areas. It was really, really cool and despite the slowdown, it was pretty awesome to be "running" through natural wonders.    From prior race reports, I learned that if you doubled your time at he mile 17 aid station, that would be the approximate time you could expect for the race. I came in just shy of 3 hours and was then just hoping to hold onto 6 hours. I was feeling a bit peppier in the next section and happy that there was finally a break to run without being so bunched up for a bit. There was a swift little descent full of rocks and then a bunch of muddy trail at the bottom before reaching the aid station just past mile 20. I was tempted to take a shot of Fireball at this aid station, but nothing was going inherently good or bad so I decided to stay with the status quo of Mello Yellow.     The next section was the infamous Railroad Trail, a rocky nightmare of a trail. The only saving grace is that it was relatively flat for a couple of miles, but it seems as though I couldn't get much more speed because the footing was terrible. I got behind a group of guys who were talking like it was the first few miles of the race and let them lead the pack up the Bluffline Trail and the ridiculousness of the Waterline Trail. It is in this section that you use all 4 points of contact to hoist yourself over slippery rocks along a waterfall. Fortunately, I was still feeling spry at this point and my flexibility is fairly decent so I had no trouble with this section. I was laughing at how crazy it was, but I was actually having fun bouldering over rocks. Check out the runners in the top right of the photo below! Photo credit: Andy Highsmith                 At the top of the climb (sweet relief!), I took off down the Bluffline Trail and started to try to make up some time. I wasn't moving super fast, but I was passing a bunch of runners who had gassed out near the 24-25 mile mark. Once we reached the next descent, I started running with John and he nicely explained the final sections and what to expect. The mud was incredibly thick in the flattish section near the water and my tired legs were exhausted by the repeated pull of the muck. I was actually grateful for the climb as it was drier and I could actually gain footing.   We didn't even stop at the last aid station and I noted there was 1.6 miles to go. Glancing at my watch, I saw it was about 5:40:XX. If the aid station sign was correct, I could still slip under 6 hours. Luckily, the trail was pretty flat and runnable at this point and while I didn't have a sense of how far we were, I started to see more hikers out walking their dogs - a sure sign we were closer to the trailhead. John was dealing with a side stitch and urged me to go on when stopped to walk. I stayed with him the first time and we started running again, but then I heeded his advice when stopped again and pushed for the finish solo.    I heard the music of the finish line first and then I spotted the arch as I came around the final bend. I crossed in 5:55:42 according to Garmin. I stepped off to the side and waited to see John finish, giving him a huge high five as he also made it under 6 hours. Eventually, I headed indoors for the warmth and to grab my finisher's slate and age group award, a backpack.                Takeaways:   Food/Hydration: B Throughout the race, I ate 2 RX bars, 2 Spring energy gels, and a GU that I picked up from an aid station. I had 1 pretzel rod, 1 Oreo, and an orange slice. My hydration was mostly water, but I also took 1 cup of Gatorade and 2 cups of Mello Yello. The cooler weather made hydration a bit trickier and I think I should carry something with a bit of electrolytes like Nuun or Tailwind for GDR. I was definitely cramping post-race and it took a couple of cups of Sprite and food for it to stop. Also, I could have done a better job hydrating the day before. I avoided it because of the road trip and I think I started the day a bit dehydrated.   Gear: C My bladder in my Camelpack was not secured in some sort of way so I was slowly leaking water for the first couple of miles in the beginning of the race. I think I didn't have the cap seal on flush and it sloshed out from the top. I still was able to drink from it through about 10-12 miles, but then it was just extra weight. I think I'd prefer to just rely on flasks as they are easier to fill. Plus, for some reason, the hose across my chest was SO ANNOYING. To be fair, I kept thinking it was good that my hose was annoying me and not physical pain. But I am going to have to mitigate those minor annoyances.   Half capris were a good choice, probably should have just done a t-shirt and arm warmers. I really only needed gloves for the first couple of miles.    Hoka Torrents proved successful on the mud, rocks, and gnarly trail. I have zero blisters and my Swiftwick socks were a great choice - despite me blowing a hole through the toe of one of them.   Physical Training: A I'm officially in week 5 of my coached training and because this was a training race, I didn't have a true taper. In fact, I just came off my biggest true mileage week in over a year and ran 5 days leading up to the race, including a speed session on Tuesday. So while I am bit disappointed in my time for the race (I was hoping for 5:30 or so), I have to keep in perspective that I was not running on fresh legs and this was not the goal race. I ran a really patient race and fortunately felt the best at the end.   Mental Training: A+ I never hit really high highs or really low lows in this race. The points that I wasn't feeling great really were just when I wasn't pushing on the gas pedal. And while I do love the endorphin rush of the high highs, I think it's actually better that things were just really steady-eddy. The course and the conditions of the trail could have beat me up, but I kept telling myself when it got tough that I like doing hard things.       

Playtime is Over, Son.

Hello, hello, hello! Here we are already into the last week of January. Time is flying by, so we’ll probably all be singing Christmas songs again before we know it. I’ve been posting for several weeks about how happy I am to not be training for anything and that I’m enjoying running just to run. Welp, time’s up. At 13 weeks to go until Kentucky Derby, it’s time I start to do a little more than just run for fun. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to treat this race, but I want options. This means I need to get myself up at uncomfortable paces again. The track is SO miserable in the winter so I might not start that up for another month or so, but it’s tempo time! I plan to add a mile or so to a weekly tempo run every couple of weeks. That should get me to a fast half marathon distance by race day! This week in running has been pretty chill for the most part. Chill as in both laid back AND cold. I think I’m starting to figure out how to properly dress. Shut up, weather app. You don’t know anything! Monday was 4 FREEZING miles with running buddy Brooke. The bridges made some awful sounds as we ran across them. Luckily I work with some sharp engineers that came up with some solid explanations. Brooke said it was like the bridges that collapse as you run across them on Super Mario games. We did pick up the pace a bit haha. Tuesday was more cold and more coffee. We didn’t take any pictures though. Step up, Wade and Alissa! This one was another 4 miles. There was talk of a 5th mile, but I just wanted the coffee. I didn’t run at all on Wednesday through Friday, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I got sick (again!) and figured I needed a break. I didn’t take a total break though at least. I managed to work out pretty hard with kettlebells on Wednesday and I played some basketball on Thursday. Friday just ended up being a little too busy. That happens. I wasn’t exactly ALL better. I look awful. Saturday I ran 7 miles. For the first 2 or 3, I felt pretty good! After 5, I started to feel pretty run down (pun intended). Sometimes you think you’re all better after a good night’s sleep, but there’s a little bit of sickness still there. That was this morning. Oh well, I don’t think I broke anything haha. I’ll be working on a training plan over the weekend to ramp up to be ready for the Kentucky Derby Mini. I wish that I was a little more fired up mentally, but I think that’ll happen. It might just take a warm day. Hurry up, Spring!

RunEatRalph

RunEatRalph

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