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Feeling like a runner again.

Bits and pieces of the long slow road to recovery. No, I'm not 100% yet. Maybe I never will be. Worry about that later. Shoutout to DrWhiskers for suggesting I do my strength work AFTER running. Duh, Dave. I also googled how often I should to them, and it looks like a couple days a week is about right. So much better than boring my skull out every day. I pick Tuesday and Thursday for it. The other four days (M/W/F/S) will be running days, and Sunday (as always) off. Careful, meticulous even, with the after run stretches. No great improvement in how much Louie hurts and he still looks like he belongs on some other guy's leg, but every run feels OK, and if I think back over more than a few weeks, there's definite progress. Fall weather in my neighborhood has descended. Sorry for anyone still suffering. I need this. The cooler weather and my (finally!) increasing endurance gave me confidence to try another 5 miles on Saturday for my long run. After two weeks at the 3 per day plateau, I'm starting to itch for longer stuff. Here's where I go off on a tangent about the joy of floating through double digit miles for one, two or three hours, watching the leaves turn and drift across the paths and sidewalks. Not yet. The numbers need to go up slowly. But five is pretty nice if they feel good. And these certainly did. Mrs. Dave is in Seattle visiting family. I had my 9:00 am duty at the church for clean up, but nothing before, so I waited until the sun was up before starting. The news said it was 45 degrees, but I'm pretty sure it was chillier than that in the neighborhood. I almost wore long sleeves. Almost wore gloves. The first two miles I wished I had, but it wasn't terrible. Heading through the park I saw a bunch of cars off where they start the weekly ParkRun. I've thought about joining them in the years since they started doing this, but a 5K XC run, even though it's free, just never fit into my Saturday morning plans. I'm in no condition to race a 5K right now anyway. Nor am I in the mood. Just give me my five miles. Still digging the new watch. Although, I'm not convinced the VO2max and race predictor calculations are accurate. First mile slow, then ran the way I felt. I have the audible alerts off since I don't want it beeping for every phone call, text or news notice it gets, and I find I often miss the mile splits, since there's only a slight shake. Need to look into if I can have the beep for just the running. Anyway, I did catch #3 and it was 8:39. Not bad. More importantly, I was feeling pretty good, and that hasn't really happened since this whole mess started. I was worried about a crash before the end. While #5 was a little tougher, there wasn't a crash. A good five miles. And the splits were icing on the cake. 9:55, 8:39, 8:39, 8:39 and (wait for it!) 8:39. Yes I did. Not blazing fast, just perfectly consistent. Plan for this week: Add a mile to the M-W-F runs, and six on Saturday. Spent the rest of the day working on a landscaping project in the back. I'm tired of fighting the bushes on the south side of the house. But I need the shade they give in the summer. So, I'm trimming back the grass and putting in brick edging along that side, then covering it all with mulch. Pics coming. And I'm sort of thinking about Glass City next spring. At least a couple of Loopsters will be there. It's close. And I need to get Ohio off my list. Laters!

Dave

Dave

 

Week 7: Trip to Telluride!

A little late in getting this one out… Well, week 7 is over and I haven’t ran since September 8th. I’m trying to remain optimistic that I still have time to get in enough training to run a decent marathon, but it’s fucking hard to keep up. My hopes of completing a full training plan have once again gone down the shitter. Will it ever happen? Who the fuck knows. Now that the fucks are over, let’s hear about what I actually did. Monday: Barbell Strength – I got my lift on and my leg felt fine during this, as it always does. Tuesday: 3000m row and 1000 steps at the Wellness Center after work – Instead of hitting up Planet Fitness for this workout, I just went straight to the WC after work and knocked it out. The WC has a Concept 2 rower which I like much better than the water filled one that my PF has – it feels much more efficient. I did the 3000m row in 13:30 which was a minute and a half faster than last time. I completed the 1000 steps in 14:10 which was almost two minutes faster than the last time. I get that these times really don’t mean anything but it’s something to strive for! Wednesday: REST Thursday: We were leaving for Telluride this day but I wanted to hit up PF before we left. I got a late start so instead of rowing 3000m, I only did 1500m; one can only row for so long before it starts to get old. I still had a decent time but forgot to record it. I stuck with 1000 steps and kept it at either Level 9 or 10 the whole time. I got a good sweat on. I’d planned to do the circuit machines but only did about 7 of them once. There was a sweaty, bandanna man that kept using one of them and left a pool of sweat on and around it. I didn’t even go near that thing. I know those machines probably always have a lot of sweat on them, but I don’t wanna see it! We didn’t leave town until 10am and it was a six hour drive. The drive there was long but beautiful. This spot by Black Canyon always makes for a good photo. The water is SUPER low right now… By the time we got to Telluride and found a campsite, it was time for dinner (ramen and veggies), drinks (Moscow Mules in a plastic cup), and a gorgeous sunset! (Prepare for some picture vomit from here…) My camera sucks for zooming but look at that cutie! It doesn’t get prettier than that, folks… Friday: REST – We took our time when we woke so that we could have breakfast and then head towards town – we hadn’t actually been through Telluride yet. It had been a COLD night sleeping at 12,000′ and it took a bit to thaw out. My hips were also a bit sore from sleeping on the ground, even though I had foam and inflatable pads and the ground was soft. During breakfast (a tasty vegan sausage hash) we were entertained by zippy chipmunks and mini-squirrels, but were being tormented by a Gray Jay that wanted our food! It kept swooping down at us and we had to keep an eye on everything! You can barely see our tent and the car in there… It was a good spot! We went into Telluride so that I could charge my phone and look up other possible places to camp. We hadn’t really thought it through because we went looking for camping spots too close to lunchtime. By the time we had been driving and driving around, we were both getting pretty hangry.  We ended up camping at the Sunshine Campground were it was $20/night – not too bad! We set up our tent and headed back into town for a yummy meal; the meal wasn’t that great and ended up being like $75! When you screw up my noodles, we have a problem. We had to camp on gravel but it was pretty! It isn’t called Sunshine Campground for nothing! This is the drive that lead into it. Saturday: From Pandora Mill to Bridal Veil Falls (BVFs) and up to Black Bear Pass hike – We’d originally thought we’d head back home Saturday evening so that we could have it as a lazy day Sunday, but we’d done so much driving around and not much else! We absolutely couldn’t leave Telluride without a good hike. We decided to do the BVFs hike that was actually on a 4×4 gravel/rocky road. Vehicles could drive up the trail to BVFs (almost 3 miles) but had to stop there. The rest of the trail was one way and could only be driven downhill from the other direction- for GOOD reason it turns out. Creepy house at the top of the falls… There weren’t a whole lot of people out hiking, especially past BVF. Shortly after we’d started up the one-way portion, we came to this really sharp curve where a Jeep was coming down, that was barely wide enough for a vehicle and promptly dropped off the side of the mountain. We decided to stop to let the Jeep come through – plus, we wanted to watch it make that curve! The next mile was pretty gnarly as far as 4x4ing is concerned. I remember reading reviews where folks were annoyed that they had to hike with vehicles passing, but it was entertaining! The vehicles passing by kept asking us, “Are you going the whole way?” We didn’t know what the “whole way” was so we just kept telling people we’d be turning around after 5-6 miles. About 5 miles in, the trail turned back into 2-way (although it seemed like it’d be pretty sketch if someone needed to go the other way) but we weren’t seeing all that many vehicles coming. We saw that we were almost at the top of something so we decided to push forward. At 6.5 miles, we found that we’d reached a false summit and the top of the pass was about a mile more ahead. I didn’t want/need to go any further, so I sat on the edge and had an apple, while W ran to the top of the pass and back. The point where I stopped was 12,500′ We headed back down but didn’t get to see any other vehicles on the way down. We had a good amount of shade on the way up, but not on the way down. Because it had been really chilly when we started, I only put sunscreen on my face and hadn’t brought any extra on the hike. The sun was beating down on us and we both thought we were going to get fried. I had a hooded long-sleeved t-shirt on and tried to keep the hood on as much as possible. I took this pic for my bro who loves 4x4ing and Jeep Cherokees   This was the tame part of the trail, btw. The way back down seemed SO LONG. You could see really far down, but all the switchbacks made the distance seem really deceiving. We’d only brought a liter and a half of water for the both of us and we were running out quick. I was ready to be finished when we hit BVFs again, but we still had almost 3 miles to go! There were tons of people hiking up and back down when we reached the falls, and there were a lot of vehicles driving about as well. The “falls” were a tad underwhelming… haha We FINALLY made it back to the car and just collapsed in the seats. Almost 13 miles, 3600′ of elevation gain, and 5.5 hours later we had a burger and fries afterwards and pizza and drinks for dinner.  Sunday: REST- We woke up at 5:30am, packed up and was heading down the road by 6am. I’d slept in compression socks and kept them on for the drive home. I was expected my shin to be REALLY sore after that hike but it WASN’T! And it never got sore. Thanks for reading! Chris

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

Augusta 70.3 Relay Race Report: Team Thunderstruck!

During #soberJanuary, I went to Jekyll Brewing with a group of friends I'd met through the SFTC (South Forsyth Tri Club) and despite being sober and unsure of my impending injury, I ended up halfway agreeing to do the run portion of the August 70.3 Ironman relay.   Booted in February and March, I was reluctant to commit right away. April and May slipped by unnoticed and by the time I was approached about it again, I was back in the stupid boot. June and July passed with misery and when I started running again, 13.1 miles seemed like it was going to be really, really hard. But since I mumbled something to the effect of that sounds like a fun idea back in January, I sent Rudy the money for the team and hoped for the best.   7 weeks after being cleared to run, I found myself sitting on my front porch waiting for Casey to pick me up at 6:00 a.m. to head to Augusta. Going with a bunch of people who have competed in many, many triathlons was advantageous. They eagerly answered my thousands of questions and I soaked in all the knowledge they dispensed.   I had met Beth at the January event and she was our swimmer, the first event in the race. Every assured me that Doug was incredibly strong on the bike and they were excited that our team had a chance to put up a solid time in the relay category. Truth be told, this put some pressure on me to perform well as despite everyone reminding me it was for fun, I didn't want to let my teammates down.   Doug and I finally met at registration where we picked up our bibs, ankle timer, t-shirts, bags, etc., etc.   Lyndsay coordinated dinner at Savannah River Brewing company where we dined on Moe's and carbo-loaded with a few beers. It was a good way to forget about race nerves for awhile and complain about the impending warm day ahead for all of us toeing the line. I laid out my flat girl at the hotel and got excited about racing in the morning!     Casey and I managed to get to sleep at a reasonable hour and I felt mostly rested when the alarm went off at 5:30. I rode with the group to transition and passed Miranda Carfrae amongst the sea of bikes! I am a big fan of triathlon despite having never raced one myself so I was fangirling pretty hard.   Back at the swim start, I watched the SFTC members slowly make their way towards the dock to start their races. They had a self-seeded start which made it look like a huge group of lemmings just following the crowd into the water.       Once I saw the final club members off, I walked back to the car and tried to cool off and rest a bit before getting my day started. I wanted to take a nap, but I was too excited to race so I just enjoyed putting my legs up and eat my overnight oats (with a banana peel because I forgot a spoon).   Following the tracker, I saw that the first pro male, Tim O'Donnell, was about to be running by so I hopped out of the car and managed to catch him coming through on his first lap. I watched for a few more minutes and then proceeded to get ready to race. I put on pounds of sunblock and Vaseline, changed into my Vaporflys, and told Sam & Kathleen I was going to do a warm-up run to the start.   The goal was to run 15 miles total with 12 at marathon pace in preparation for NYC. I have no idea what marathon pace is right now and coupled with the 90°+ and noon start, I was just ready to hold on for what felt like hard tempo. But, I knew that I would feel better prepared in NYC if I was doing these longer runs as prescribed, so I slowly jogged to the start line.   Having just met Doug the day before, I realized it might be tough to spot him when he came in. So I tried to keep an eye on the relay tent despite all the action happening around me at the bike transition. It was all so interesting - watching some people sprint from their bikes into the run and others taking their time to compose themselves before jogging to the next portion of the race.   Sam and Kathleen made it to the relay tent and they helped fill the time before Doug arrived. Unfortunately, Sam (who had promised to help me keep an eye out for him, oops!) had walked away and I was watching the run start when he came in. I sprung to action and we wasted no time throwing the ankle timer on me. And just like that, I was off!   I told myself to take it easy in the first mile, but I sprang into the race with fresh legs and competitive juices flowing after missing out for 5 months. 99% of the people I was sharing the course with had just swam 1.2 miles and biked 56 miles. I wove in and out of people as I made my way out of the bike transition area and onto the asphalt of the course.   It didn't hit me right away how warm it was. I hit the first mile marker in 7:31 and chastised myself for going out too fast. Oops. In the second mile, I noticed the heat creeping like a dark cloud coming over me. I had bypassed the first aid station so I didn't have to slow down, but now began to look for the next one. I saw someone wearing a SFTC kit and cheered Doug on when I came shoulder to shoulder with him. 7:23   I found sweet relief by pouring a bit of water in both my mouth and over my head. Cups of ice were being handed out and I dumped the entire cup into my sports bra. Then, a cold, damp sponge was handed to me and I stuffed it in the back of my sports bra. As the course rounded the corner to begin the descent down Broad, I was happy to find another aid station and throngs of spectators lining the streets. The crowd pumped me up and I heard Lyndsay and Paige screaming my name as I went through the intersection of Broad & 8th. 7:35   There was a woman standing with a hose along the street spraying runners as they passed by and I made a beeline to get as close as possible for maximum impact. I immediately felt my body temperature drop and bit and chomped up the pavement as I headed to the curve at Sibley. 7:19     At the aid station at Sibley, I grabbed a cup of ice and actually felt reasonably comfortable for a short while. I was hydrated, running well, and in the patches of shade along Broad, things seemed to being well. 7:40     I saw the SFTC group again, the finish line, and then made the turn at 11th to follow the course almost back to the beginning. 7:48   Just past the mile 6 marker, the course split for those making their second lap and those on their way to the finish. Though loop courses can be boring, I now knew exactly what I would be facing once I made my second lap. The stretch back to the start was very exposed and very boring. But I actually felt the best at this point. I had filled my sports bra with ice and grabbed an ice pop from a kid which was actually serving it's best purpose by keeping my hand cold. 7:35   But soon the endorphins started to fade and I started to tell myself I needed to just hold on for the last half. The second lap had even more people and despite my fade, I still was passing a ton of people who had already covered 60+ miles with their bodies that day. I told myself to suck it up as I was only doing the run. 7:58   Once I got to 9, I could visualize running the last section of the Greenway and knew just how much I needed to save in my tank to finish strong. 7:29   My feet started to hurt and I was holding ice in my hands at this point to try to keep everything cool. I was aware that I should have taken a gel at some point, but I also knew that I wasn't fading because of calories. 7:55   It was a slog to get to Sibley and the exposed sections seemed warmer and longer than before. I hated wasting time with just a few miles left in the race, but I also didn't want to have to walk the last mile. 8:01   The final foray down Broad gave me a bit more energy as I visualized getting back to the group at 8th & Broad and then making those final turns to finish. 7:44   At the mile 12 marker, I desperately wanted to turn on the gas and go, but I hardly had anything left in the tank. I stopped looking at my watch and just tried to gauge how much I could push once I got to the final turn. 7:44   Beth was standing on the corner near the finish chute and we cheered as I pumped my arms down the red carpet. Last 0.1 at 7:17.   I am 1/3 of a half Ironman finisher!     Volunteers were asking if everyone was okay as they stumble past the finish line. I was tired and hot, but not in need medical care. In fact, as soon as I grabbed the medals and finishers' hats for me and my teammates, I remembered that I still had a cool down run to do!   Old Carissa would have just said that 14+ was enough, but I am determined to do this training cycle right! So I found my teammates, gave them their bling, and got a photo before heading out for a 15 minute cool down. After my cool down, I headed back to the finishers' area to grab some food and a celebratory beer. Then, I hung out with the SFTC and cheered the other racers as they wrapped up their days. We ended up coming in 5th out of 74 relay teams and my final run time was 1:40:36!   Things I did well: managed the heat with ice and water, kept expectations reasonable given the conditions, did a warm-up and cool down, ate reasonably (see the don'ts for the don'ts) well the day before the race and race morning, had a great time with a relatively new crew of people   Things I could have done better: figured out a way to squeeze in my shakeout run Saturday, drank less beer Saturday, ate 1 less donut on Saturday and Sunday (I ate 1 donut on Saturday and Sunday), taken my gel as planned, walked less and rested more on Saturday   But I'm satisfied with the result. I've run a faster half marathon split in a full marathonso obviously I'm not super excited about my time. But given the conditions and the fact that I was cleared to run 7 weeks ago, I am satisfied.   Next up: Hinson Lake 24 Hour on Saturday! Goal is to run 20-31 miles over the course of 24 hours and eat the pizza while it is hot for once. It will strange to not be competitive, but good for me to watch and cheer on other people looking to reach their big goals.        

Carissa Liebowitz

Carissa Liebowitz

 

FIVE MILES! More on the new watch. Hood to Coast.

So, the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 and I had a good week. Monday through Saturday we ran every day. A couple were short of the planned 3 miles, but that's because the route was a tad short and I'm not in the mood yet to be a stickler for the numbers. 19.71 total. This makes three weeks in a row I've run without a miss. People who lift/ XT regularly know this already, but I'm discovering that weights just before running makes running harder. At least, when you're almost 60 and trying to get back into shape. Also doesn't help that summer was trying it's best to suck the life out of me before fall arrived Saturday. I'm assuming it was personal, anyway. Maybe not. It's the sort of thing you have to keep in mind, though.. Otherwise, you think there's something wrong, like congestive heart failure or cancer or some other health issue that's barely allowed to be discussed lightly these days. My point is, watching my heart rate (which I can actually do now with the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235) zoom up to 180-190 bpm on what was supposed to be an "easy" 2-3 miler, when less than a year ago I was still thinking about a possible BQ ... sort of makes you wonder about all sorts of worst case scenarios. I had a couple of runs that weren't terrible. In one case it was 70 degrees outside instead of 90, so I figured it was just the weather. Except then I had another day that wasn't broiling and it pretty much sucked, so I needed a new theory. Two Saturdays ago I stretched my "long" run to 4 miles. Since it was Saturday and I needed to finish before starting a full day of other stuff, I skipped most of the intense exercises. Surprisingly (😒), it went better than most of my 3 milers had that week. Brings me to this past weekend and after going 3 miles each day instead of 2, I was also planning on trying for 5 on the long one. Got an email on Friday that a divorced woman at church needed some help cleaning up her large yard Saturday morning for an hour. Since I already was committed to cleaning the church at 9, I had to bump my run ahead the extra hour. First dark run in quite a while. I'm no longer fearless about running in the dark. Age has given rise to paranoia about stepping on a rock or the edge of a curb or something, setting back my recovery another who knows how long. So I grabbed one of the knuckle lights I got from Ms Ritz a few years ago and ran one of the better lit routes I know. Fall came that evening, astronomically speaking, but the weather was ready first thing in the morning. You know how sweet 48o tastes after a long hot and humid summer? It's like candy, my friends. With the knee feeling pretty good, I skipped all the normal work before and just ran. Wise? What do I know about wise. No issues with Louie, though, so it must have been an OK idea. Before 6:00 on a Saturday morning, there's not much traffic, automotive or pedestrian. There was one guy I exchanged greetings with twice as our out and backs overlapped, but other than a couple of cars passing, it was nice and quiet. The best part was I was able to run the entire 5 miles without a break. I assume as I get used to the weights and whatever, and obtw just get into shape again, it will be less sucky to run after doing them. I've read that 2-3 days a week is optimal for weight training anyway, so doing those Tuesday and Thursday, with just the lighter stuff the other days isn't cutting any important corners. As they get easy I also assume I'll need to get heavier weights? Since the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 does the heart rate thing, I decided to wear it most of the day to see what it says about that. I also sort of like getting notifications for calls/texts/etc. on my wrist. Didn't think I'd like it, but I do. Funny getting used to wearing a watch again, though. Mrs. Dave asked me once what time it was, and as I reached across the table to get my phone and look, she reminded me that I probably had that info in a handier spot. For the benefit of inquiring minds, I stopped at Home Depot in the afternoon and picked up some grass seed. The back lawn has never recovered from a hot dry spell in early July when we were out of town, so I thought I'd try boosting it now that fall is here, as well as getting some grass over where I cut down the mulberry tree this summer. Also priced out some landscaping material to redo an area along the side and back of the house that I haven't been happy with for a few years, and started clearing that out. Lastly, next week is the registration time for the 2019 Hood to Coast Relay. So far there's 6-7 who've said they want to be part of the team. A team is 12, so if you're still thinking about it, there's room. I considered abandoning the idea, but then figured this is my dream and I'm not going to be swayed by a lack of interest in our now tiny community. I'd prefer to have all Loopsters, but that's not a requirement. And there's still almost a year to put the full team together. Besides, I've missed out on the lottery twice already. There's no guarantee that we'll even get in. Have a great week, everyone.

Dave

Dave

 

Hi. I still run.

Hi. I still run.  After the pretty amazing 13.1 in Utah (and days and miles of hiking), my legs were destroyed, and boy, did I feel it for a few weeks, so I took a little time off. Did some more yoga, did lots of renovation work, mowed the lawn, went to work conferences, and delt with some pretty major life stuff.  Then, I found my wedding dress and the typical, "I want to look as gooooooooooood as possible in this thing" thought rose to my head, and I joined a Beachbody challenge. My running was minimal, essentially a Sunday 4 miler when I had the energy. And then last weekend, I was with the fiancé and was thinking about our future and just said, "I think I'd like to run another marathon before we have kids".  And he said okay. Asked when, I said I didn't know. Spring seems out, as that's when we are getting married and the thought of trying to plan a wedding AND train for that distance seems like too much. Also, I'm totally using this as an excuse to travel and we are already planning a big trip around that time. Fall seems the most practical and not too much of a delay in starting a family.  So, fall. Starting ramping up the mileage & frequency of runs this week, just in time for some cooler mornings. 

eliz83

eliz83

 

an accidental 10k

The 5k was intended, the 10k happened by accident..  This was my only race for the year, the church 5k for IOCC charities. This year the money raised went to the St. Nektarios Fund, which builds schools in Uganda and Kenya. When Fr. Armatas arrived at the last school site, he found the children had already made some thousands of bricks, to build their school with.. 

No-one wanted to stand in front on the start line so I went over and started first, I have no shame. A young Ethiopian passed me first, jogging easily (for him) then a Peruvian. At the 3km mark a young Russian man joined me and we ran together until near the finish. He said 'do you want to sprint for the finish ?' I said no thanks and encouraged him to finish strong. The Ethiopian boy won in about 19min. So, first American ! ha. Well, first American citizen, I'm also an immigrant. 

One of our boy scouts, now an Eagle Scout, finished shortly after me. This is Pericles, known as Percules in the scouts since he's so strong. We decided to jog back around the route to meet up with our families. My wife was walking very fast, trying to keep up with one of the vigorous old ladies who power the church, so was just a km or so back. We went on to find Pericles' mother but never saw her. By that time we were more than halfway around, so decided to just keep going, and ran his first 10k. His mom found me later and said, "I was worried about Pericles for a bit, but then realized you were here, so if he was doing something crazy then he was probably with you so it would be OK."  Not quite sure if that's a compliment or not.. didn't think I was such a wild and crazy Scoutmaster 😉

Here are my times on this race. As a stripling of 50 in 2010, 
2010, 20:31 
2013, 22:30 
2015, 23:37 
2018, 24:47 
I'm running more distance and more speedwork now than I was in 2010, so that doesn't help either. I'm getting slower faster than I can train harder.. 

My friend Carl is a sponsored runner so I've been joining their Thursday evening runs from the Lone Tree Runner's Roost. This is my speedwork, trying to keep up with all the gazelles here. It gets a good turnout usually, many of these folks have ultra trail running habits. In the pic I'm the slow one standing diffidently at the back.. 


  I had hoped to do at least one triathlon this year, but in the event wound up driving #1 son back to college in MN the week before the planned race. I took a couple of days off to fish some trout streams in the Driftless area. Never knew that MN had rainforests and tornados, but experienced both in the course of a not-very-relaxing few days.. came home a bit shattered. It seems to take me weeks to recover from a holiday, anymore.. 
 

doug in co

doug in co

 

Twilight

The sun already set, not below the horizon, but behind the cauliflower clouds, a halo hanging just above the earth. Orange-brown light bled through the thin spots like an iodine stain, and it rimmed the crest with a subtle ember glow. The entrance to my trail shrouded by the gloom. I was late, too late. Helping Eli with his homework, I let the evening slip by. I saw the clock and snapped: “You’re on your own. I need to go run.” Ten minutes later, I stood with my car at the trail-head, contemplating my usual route, wondering what would happen if I ran the woods in the dark. Across the street, another option, an out-and-back winding across a field. I avoid this trail. Too public, too many horses. This night I chanced the field. The horse-back riders probably long gone, heading home for a late dinner and a glass of wine. I started at a trot, my only warm-up. No stretching, no high-knees, just the short drive from my house. My muscles already loose, the temperature hovered close to ninety. Gaining speed as I churned up the half-mile slope leaving the stream-valley that parallels the roadway, thick, watery air caressed my cheeks and arms, comforting, but difficult to breath. My shirt and shorts already clinging with sweat. Out across the field, a dirt path gashed through the end-of-season grass, waist-high, gone to seed, harboring countless rabbits and a family of white-tail deer. The critters bounded away at my intrusion on their evening meal. The twilight deepened as I rounded a farm-house and followed my trail into the woods, worrying a bit about the descending darkness and the knowledge that I was still running away from my car. As I turned to retrace my steps, I pushed up my sleeves and twisted at my shorts trying to reduce the friction of my soaking clothes. My sodden ball-cap, fully saturated, couldn't absorb any more sweat. Rivulets streaked my face and glasses. The rhythm of my feet striking the disappearing trail broke the silence of the twilit dusk. Mid-field, I once again disturbed the grazing deer. They scattered through deep grass and over a decorative wooden fence to perceived safety. Gliding down-hill towards the stream, I shivered. Despite the temperature, my wet clothes sapped my heat. My muscles, tapped of energy, prematurely began to cool. As I recrossed the stream, I walked—unable to see the water and trip-stones clearly in the dark. Back at my car, I realized that night had settled over the park. I had a momentary flash of panic that my family might be worried about my safety. As I returned to my calm, well-lit house, I tried to match my family’s mood—they were in social mode. Eli done with his homework; Sophie taking a break from hers; Susan, her evening responsibilities complete, holding court in a good-natured conversation. Instead, I retreated, alone, to my screened-in porch, quietly drinking a glass of water. More at jefftcann.com

Jeff C.

Jeff C.

 

Better late than never - 100 on 100 RR

The Vermont 100 on 100 is my favorite race so you're probably wondering why it's taken 4+ weeks to post a RR.  Me too, but no excuses, right.  In case you're new around here, 100 on 100 is a 100 mile relay race on Route 100 in Vermont.  This was the 4th year a Loop team has entered.  This year was my 3rd time running this relay.  It's such a fun day of running and spending time with friends I don't see often enough.  Throw in the weekend trip to Vermont and it's a getaway, race and mini-Loopfest all rolled into one fun weekend.      100 on 100 fell on the same weekend when I had 18 miles on the calendar so OCrunnergirl wisely "volunteered" me for an 18 mile leg.  Perfect!  I must have hit the tangents because Garmin says it added up to only 17.8 miles, but who's counting.        The weekend started shortly after lunch when I simply could not wait any longer to get the party started.  I left the office to start the drive to Killington, VT where KRG had found a nice roomy condo to rent.  I'm terrified by open spaces, which is how Vermont can be described, but soon enough Siri had guided me to the condo tucked into the side of Killington mountain.  Soon all members of the team arrived and we made our way to a restaurant for dinner and drinks.        The alarm went off way too early the next morning.  We had about an hour drive to Stowe, Vermont where we would check in and start the race.  Apple Pie expertly guided us to Stowe where we checked in and helped him get ready for the first leg.  After that we drove onto Rt. 100 to decorate the van and cheer on our team members.  Here is a pic of the van after some light rain washed away some of the paint.  I don't have the pic after KRG and Jschneid fixed the damage, but here is the partially fixed van.      Jschneid was the next runner.  We made him cross the road and stop to get into a picture at Ben & Jerry's.  He didn't seem to mind and didn't even pause his watch.      Vermont has a lot of mountains and streams.  The obligatory waterfall pic:            For the rest of the day we alternated between running, eating, and cheering for the rest of the team.  About 15 hours later we crossed the finish line where a buffet dinner and beer were waiting.  Nice way to end the day.      The medal was different this year.  I like it.        After eating and drinking we made our way back to the condo where Ben & Jerry's ice cream was waiting.  A few of us stayed up late talking and catching up, but soon exhaustion was too much and everyone made their way to bed.  We went out for a big breakfast the next morning and then left to make the drive back home to reality.  These kinds of weekends go by way too fast.        We're trying to put together 2 teams for next year.  Think about it, but be warned:  You will want to keep coming back.      I'm in taper mode now.  Marathon #5 is 10/7.  Breaking 4:00 has been a barrier for me.  Training was solid for a sub-4 on the last two attempts.  One was slowed by the killer weather at Philly Loopphest 2 and last year was slowed by a back strain.  I feel under trained speed-wise this time but am still shooting for that 3:59.  Now the goal is out there so I'm accountable.  

Slow_Running

Slow_Running

 

Darien 5 Miles - Welcome Back, Baby!

"Hey Christine."
"Yeah?"
"Do you remember those shirts I said we should've made?"
I thought back to our jokes over text message about making shirts with just a big poop emoji. It's for running AND babies! we'd lol-ed. Equally adaptable!
"Yeah."
"Now would be a good time to have them."
I looked back at E over my right shoulder, huffing away behind her jogging stroller with infant car seat adapter, said car seat and said infant both securely attached. I made a face. "Almost there," I said uselessly.   The night before the race was strange. Even though DH made a big deal about me signing up for a 5 miler as my very first race back, I was way more worried about if BL (baby L) was going to be ok. So what if I hadn't run 5 miles yet? So what if I'd been sick for the whole week before? SO WHAT? 5 miles is nothing. 5 miles is...   "Oh-my-god-I'm-dying," I panted as I pushed the 8 million ton stroller up a steep incline. "I wish I trained more."
"I skipped way too many Sunday runs," E agreed. "I only did like, four?"
I stayed silent as I tallied up the Sunday runs I had done in my head. It didn't take very long because I didn't have far to count. The number was, surprise surprise, zero.   BL saw a seagull for the first time and did her little stiff bodied excited noise. She was suspicious about touching the beach sand. There was no porta potty line. All in all, a good pre-race situation. Once it was time to line up, we ambled over to the start and took some photos in Superman poses. Maybe we should warm up, we said, and did some half-hearted squats. E jogged in place. I took selfies with BL. At the start, the RD had a portable microphone and an air horn. "I hope the air horn works!" she said. "I hope it doesn't," E whispered to me.   I started to feel better at mile 3. It was because I was finally warmed up, NOT because the race turned from north back south, toward the water, downhill. Nope, definitely not that. There were a couple intense looking older guys with double strollers who I ignored as they were clearly superhuman mutants... but there was one regular stroller couple who were taking turns pushing it. Cheating, basically. Their son was older and when he saw E and I draw close at a water stop, he said, "Daddy! Go faster so we win! Don't let them win!" You just sealed your fate, kid, I silently scoffed. Only 50 yards ahead of us with a mile and a half to go, we closed the gap.   Stroller Lady heard me breathing (really hard) behind her left shoulder. She turned to look, startled a little bit, and sprinted ahead for a few steps before slowing back down. Ha! I got you now! Her son peered around the edge of the stroller, fear in his eyes.   The requisite child cheer section appeared around the corner. As we approached, I held my hand out for slaps while saying, "Watch-out-watch-out-watch-out!" There's only so much I would be able to do if excitable Timmy decided to jump out in front of me. They were by in a blur. Then, the last water station and we skipped it, duh. It wasn't going to help now.   I really, really wanted to slow down but I could hear the finish line speakers blaring "Another One Bites the Dust," which was honestly a pretty bad song to be playing at a race finish line. I passed DH taking photos, tried to smile, then made the hairpin turn into the parking lot - which took a lot more muscle than I was expecting - and finally done. Gasping. I high-fived E, who was looking way more composed than I felt. "Great job!" she cheered. "Hrnghurrr," I said.   The stroller immediately became a thing to lean on and catch my breath. DH caught up with us and took over for a bit. "How'd you do?" he asked. I showed him my watch. 5 miles in 49:06, just under a 10 minute pace. "Nice," he said. E came over and said she had to go but she had Fridays off for the next few weeks and did we want to run together next week? "The usual time?" I said. "Sure."

tinkbot

tinkbot

Week 6: Diagnosis & Recovery Plan

Monday: Barbell Strength – Since I knew I’d be going in for my PT appointment at 5pm, I took it easy on the legs in class and didn’t do very much weight. I still love this class, minus the folks that are trying to learn to become instructors in it. When they don’t stay to the count they are counting or to the rhythm of the music, it throws me off and is frustrating. You can cause someone to jack themselves up if you’re not careful. I’m sure being an instructor isn’t easy, which is why I’m not one. PT Appointment with Chris: I went to see the owner of the gym that I was recently a member of, who is also a PT. Chris, owns Calibrate Sports Health and is an amazing guy. He previously dry needled and cracked on my back a couple months ago and it has felt really good ever since. He didn’t charge me anything because he said that members always get a free session. He asked me some questions, pressed on and twisted my leg around, and told me that I should look into getting a X-ray. He also put some Rock tape on it to help with some of the inflammation, while not charging me a single thing for any of it. Tuesday: I was so worried that it was going to be something serious and I REALLY wanted to know, so I started calling around at 7am on the way to work. I called the same place that W used when he needed to get one. They had a 9:40am appointment so I grabbed it! I was carpooling with W so I had to drop him off at work and take his car. My phone also had 1% battery when I was leaving his office, so I had to write down the directions so that I could find it! Navigating around Denver, in rush hour traffic, was a bit scary but I didn’t have any issues. I was super early so I found a Starbucks so that I could have some coffee and charge my phone. This place was super efficient and had me in and out in no time. The doctor examined the x-ray, twisted and tapped on my leg, and told me that he thought it was just shin splints/stress reaction, likely partly due to my tight calf and achilles. I was SO RELIEVED to here the news and felt so much better afterwards. The doc said that I could run but would likely need to plateau my miles until it starts to feel better. Kinda cool to see my own bones. They pretty… Wednesday: Yoga Roll Thursday: Follow-up appointment with Chris- Chris was able to fit me in that afternoon and wanted to discuss how to move forward. Amazingly enough, Chris asked that instead of paying him for his services, if Calibrate Sports Health could sponsor me! Huh? Me?! He said that he loved the cool things that I was doing, especially my pursuit of a summit of Denali! He said that he can help keep me tuned up and if I ever have any issues, I can come in to get it fixed. I can also take any of the classes they offer at any time! I feel so honored that he wants to do this and I hope to make him proud! He gave me some Rock tape with Rock Sauce (like Icy Hot but doesn’t effect the adhesion on the tape – smells as bad as Icy Hot though! haha!), a couple pairs of Calibrate Injinji socks, and said that he’d be getting me some Calibrate gear so that I can represent! I’m super excited about this opportunity! Ignore the toes that badly need a pedicure! Friday: REST Saturday: Planet Fitness workout – Luckily, I’ve kept my PF $10/mon membership for emergencies since it’s walking distance from my house. I walked the half a mile there, jumped on the rower and rowed 3000 meters in 15 minutes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but I wanted to keep track for future workouts. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work up a good sweat, but my arms were sweating by the time I was done. Next, I hopped on the Stair Master and climbed 1001 stairs in 16 minutes. I was really breathing hard and felt accomplished when I was done! SCORE! After that, I went to the 30 minute circuit area and did the round of 10 machines (no steps exercises) twice. It really felt like a great workout that I will likely do again next week. I walked the half a mile back home then realized I’d left my keys hanging up in the gym. I walked back to get them and then walked back home, which made a nice 2 mile walk total. Sunday: REST – Chris is working on a training plan for me that will last until Rehoboth. I’m excited to see what he comes up with and I’m ready to get it started. Today (Monday), I am seeing a noticeable different in the pain level. I feel like it’s actually starting to ease off a bit. I haven’t ran since last Saturday and I’m not sure when my first run will be. For the time being, I’m trying to get it to stop hurting while I’m walking. I don’t feel I should run on it until then, and I’ve had others agree as well. Stay tuned! Thanks for reading, Chris

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

New gear. Running! 2:01:39.

After last week I'm starting to get a little excited. Certainly, I'm encouraged. Progress is still slow, but it's at least noticeable now. No more nightmares of being permanently out of action. This week I'm worrying more about getting into shape again. Have to remind myself that I've only been running regularly for two weeks. I'm not even to a point where I can go very far without a walk break. Two miles is the max so far. Getting into fall will help I bet. Had a couple of cooler, dryer days last week and it was pretty sweet. Hey, so let me talk about running for a second. Just a couple of miles at a time, except I did a "long" run on Saturday. Four miles. I've mentioned that running seems to help more than hurt, and doesn't give me any extra pain the next day, so I've fully incorporated running into my daily routine again. That's right ... DAILY. As in, every day (except Sunday). This is going to be a long, slow build up. Two miles per day. This week I plan to extend that to three. Whether I do four again on Saturday or try for five will depend on what three miles a day does to Louie. Of course, this also means that I'm thinking about how soon I can try for marathon training. No schedule yet, but I have a rough idea. Next spring seems reasonable without going through the numbers. I need to get up over 30 miles per week before diving into an actual training plan, so the first thing will be to figure out how long it's going to take me to get there. Right now I'm at 14. This week may be 20 and I'll likely plateau there for 2-3 weeks. Anyway, say November I'm ready for higher mileage. February or March would be the earliest time 26.2 would be wise, depending on what sort of winter we have this year. Suppose I can also go back to Planet Fitness and use their dreadmills in an emergency. Given what snow running just did to the old knees, that could be the smart play. So, those four miles on Saturday. We put T-Rex on the plane for school Thursday morning, so we've got the place to ourselves again. Mrs. Dave was at work that morning, and I woke up early like an old man. Took my time getting ready. Went through the easy portion of my hip exercises (left the weights out) to loosen things up and was pretty happy when there wasn't any pain in the early part of the run. It's been taking up to a half mile before it feels good. No pushing the pace, of course. Ran up over I-275 and out behind the shopping center where Gazelle Sports is. GS is a small retailer based on the west side of MI. Their local store here is two miles from my house, so it's a perfect 4 mile out and back. There's a park-ish area with a fountain and usually some geese and/or ducks. Someday - or so I'm told - there's going to be trails and stuff from there another two miles to the west, all the way down to Hines Park. Perhaps I'll still be here when that happens. The old psych hospital a mile up is finally posted for demolition, so that's progress of a sort. I ran the two miles out with no break, then stopped to catch my breath for a few. Did OK on the way back, but needed a short walk with a half mile to go. Suppose I could have made it the rest of the way in, but in the interested of keeping the pressure low, I walked. Sue me. Helped clean the church building for an hour, then drove to Gazelle for my newest piece of gear. Mrs. Dave OK'd a replacement for Prince Henry back in January for my birthday. I did a bunch of research, then bought a TomTom. I liked it fairly well, but the software (for me anyway) was glitchy and I couldn't get their Help Desk to be much help, so I sent it back. About then I hurt the knee. Didn't see much point in spending the money on a running watch if I wasn't going to run anymore, so I put the whole idea on the back burner. More research and a lowering of the price on the 235 (since everybody wants more features and the 235 doesn't have many), (and, oh btw, I'm running again) turned me back to Garmin and this guy. He needs a name now. Or maybe he's a she? First run with him/her/it will be this afternoon. In case you hadn't noticed, Fall is Saturday. Officially. The forecast for my neighborhood has some good autumnal weather in it, so I'm hoping for a good run as well. Hope everyone who got hit by Florence is OK. So much water. Going to be watching as many of you running fall races as I can, since there are no races on my calendar yet. Speaking of marathons, holy Eliud Kipchoges.

Dave

Dave

2019 Hood to Coast!

I'll assume everyone who reads this knows about HTC. It's still on my bucket list and I'm going to try again for next year to go. Of course I need eleven other Loopsters to join me. The normal deadline for application is October 3rd, but since we've been rejected before we can be in a special side lottery, with a mail-in application date of October 1st. Reply or send me a note if you want in. Dave. https://hoodtocoastrelay.com/htc/

Dave

Dave

 

Plaza 10K: "I'm either going to have a huge PR or a huge blow up"

The short: When I saw my mile 1 split, the 5K course clock, and my mile 4 split during the Plaza 10K, a thought kept popping into my head:  "I'm either going to kill my PR or blow up so hard".  God blessed me with the former; I ran a PR of 36:34, nearly a minute under my previous road PR from the 2017 Plaza 10K and even under my track PR of 37:09 (I also broke 18:00 for the 5K for the first time during the process).  I thought races like this only happened to other people, and I may never beat this time, so I am going to ride this post-race high so hard! Working on my season goal of smiling in my finishing photos The long: I thought I'd worked my PRs down low enough (in relation to my capability) that I'd be lucky anytime I could shave off a few seconds.  It's always blown my mind to see long-time runners with already fast times drop a lot of time off of a PR, especially when they remark afterwards that they got out there and felt fantastic running faster than they'd expected, so they just kept going and ran a time beyond what they'd dreamed.  I've had some break-through races like this years ago before I was running to my potential (the 2015 Waddell and Reed half was the most memorable one, when I hoped for 1:26:59 and ran 1:24:33), but I thought I was to the point where my margins were thin enough that dropping even 2-3 seconds/mile would be a really good day.  In fact, I went into the Plaza 10K thinking that if I had a really good day I might be able to rival my track PR of 37:09.  I thought if a miracle happened I might hit 36:59 and my big dream goal of breaking 37, but that would be a stretch. Since I ran this race last year, I knew the course and logistics, which is always helpful.  I also had a planned pace partner, my friend Jessi who I trained with as often as I could while she was running for MSU (she now lives in Kansas City).  I seemed to always nail workouts when I ran with her, so I was optimistic that she and I could pull each other through to stronger performances than we'd have alone.  I felt good coming off my performance 6 days previously at the Run for a Child 10K, and I also felt completely recovered from that, despite being in a 73 mile week (I did get 2 short days prior to the race, which helped!).  I knew the women's field as a whole would be very competitive, and when race morning gave us 58 degree temperatures, fast times looked promising. The start seemed much more crowded than this! At the gun, a lot of women took out fast, Jessi included.  I quickly realized that she was used to cross-country and track racing where it's important to establish position early.  I wanted to be with her so we could work together as planned, but I knew that it wasn't smart for me to go out any faster than 6:00 (6:05+ was actually my plan - after Run for a Child especially I wasn't afraid of a slow first mile).  I settled into pace hoping that I would reel her back in before too long.  My first mile was still faster than I'd wanted at 5:57, but the effort felt appropriate so I tried to push any worry out of my mind.  I was moving up in position towards the end of the first mile and the beginning of the second, although at no point during the race did I know or care what place I was in. I pulled up with Jessi towards the end of the mile 2, and settled in stride with her.  I didn't look at my second mile split because I felt like I was running exactly as I should be for a 6.2 mile race.  I didn't want to get discouraged if the pace was slower than I wanted, and I didn't want to get scared if it was faster than I'd expected.  Mile 2 was 5:48 so I'm glad I didn't look because I would have been worried I was going too fast too early.  I have learned to trust that I race best when I race by effort, and I've learned to let go of thinking I need to micro-manage every single split, especially when I'm in a competitive field. Jessi and I said a few words of encouragement to each other and pressed on side-by-side.  Janell was also right in front of us (I mentioned her in my post about Rock the Parkway, where we ran nearly the whole race together before she out-kicked me - she is also training for a 2:45 at CIM and working with the same coach as me!).  We all passed the 5K clock together, and it read 18:08ish, although based on my splits it should have been more like 18:20, which doesn't surprise me because every course mile marker seemed slightly wrong, most of them too soon.  I hadn't looked at my mile 3 Garmin split, and I didn't do the math on our pace, but did tell Jessi, "Well, I just ran a 5K PR".  I felt like I was running within myself, and I felt like I could run that pace for that distance again (usually I don't at the 5K mark of a 10K!)....but at the same time I thought, "This is either going to go really well or really poorly!"  I also kept thinking, "58 degrees is like a performance-enhancing drug!" Jessi & I synchronized running right behind Janell on the Plaza Ditto Mile 4 has a lot of decline in it, so I expected it would be my fastest mile.  I didn't make any conscious moves at any point during this race, because my goal was to get the best 10K I could out of myself and not worry about what anyone else was doing, but Jessi and I had gapped Janell slightly at some point after the 5K, and I started pulling away from Jessi as I accelerated down the decline.  I encouraged her to stick on me, but we separated at that point.  It was almost like Run for a Child was a preview for this race in regards to how I felt; I felt like I kept gaining momentum as the race progressed and I just felt so good.  I also kept reflecting on how much better I felt at every point on the course than I had in 2017!  I looked at my mile 4 split mainly because I figured it would be a confidence boost with the decline, and it was 5:38.  I felt like I had a solid 2.2 more miles in me, but at the same time kept thinking, "I'm either going to get a huge PR or huge blow up!" Around mile 4 Mile 5 goes back up most of the elevation that drops in mile 4, so I expected it to be my slowest mile, although it wasn't.  I was pulling in a couple of men so I focused on them and maintaining my turnover.  I looked at my mile 5 split because I wanted to get some gauge on where I was at overall, and it was 5:52, which was a pleasant surprise!  Strava grade-adjusted it to 5:40 on flat ground.  I also realized that I still didn't have a great gauge on where I was since I hadn't looked at my mile 2 and 3 splits and I wasn't smart enough to look at my total elapsed time, but I felt ready to pound it in with all I had and to see what that got me! It's a nice course, but it's not a track! Mile 6 also has some uphill before some decline to the finish, and I remembered how very long that mile felt the previous year.  I felt strong this time, but also pretty spent, and in hindsight I may have pushed up the incline in mile 5 a little too much.  However, I was also in no man's land during the final mile - I was not going to catch anyone and no one was going to catch me.  I think if I'd been with someone I could have closed at 5:40-5:45, but I pushed as much as I could solo, which was another 5:52 (I didn't look at that split during the race). Once I was close enough to read the finishing clock, it read 36:12, and I knew I was going to be way under 37:00.  I kicked it in with all I had left, which gave me a 5:25 pace final 0.28 on my Garmin and a bright shiny new PR of 36:34, chip time!  One of my season goals is to smile for my finishing pictures, but I think I'd have been glowing in this one even without that game plan.  My previous road PR was 37:30, which I ran last year at this same race, and my track PR is 37:09 so I beat that as well. Finishing with joy As I walked through the finish chute and then enjoyed an 8 mile cool down with great friends (Jessi, Janell, and Michelle from left to right below), it all felt surreal.  I thought 36:59 would be a big stretch, but I certainly never expected to run in the mid-36's - at this 10K or ever!  I also forgot what it was like to run in 58 degrees after a sweltering summer, but I quickly remembered that I like it! I love how we can all race each other while supporting each other 100% This course was certified so it was 6.22 miles, but my watch read 6.28 (at Run for a Child, which is also certified, it said 6.15).  It was more difficult to run the tangents in this one, though, due to a more crowded field.  I've decided if I had to choose I'd rather has a Garmin reading that's a little long than one that's a little short, because I want to know I for sure ran the distance (but right on would still be most preferred).  Can you tell I like data? Garmin splits Because when your Garmin says 5:49, you take a picture! As a whole, GAP was -2/mile on average pace I am riding the post-PR high for all that it's worth!  Like Run for a Child, this was a really nice checkpoint and confidence boost for me.  I'm running pretty much all of the same races this fall that I ran in 2017, so I can see how my fitness compares, and so far so good on my progress!  Being able to maintain the pace I did in this race really shocked me, because I haven't done any real speed work; my training has been strength-focused (tempos, long runs with some fast finishes/pick ups, and mileage).  Really all that I've run at 5:49 pace has been strides and fartleks (and sometimes not even those!).  So add this to my data indicating that speed work is worthless, haha!  Especially because I also ran a 5K PR during this race, with my fastest 5K coming in at 17:55 on my Garmin.  I won't count it as an official PR, but it shows me that I can do it.  My actual 5K PR is 18:18, and 18:17 + 18:17 = 36:34, so this race was a faster pace as a whole as well. I will probably never beat this   This would also be my fastest 2 mile since high school track! Official results are here.  I was 6th overall female and 1st in age group 35-39. Winnings Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. - Proverbs 16:3 The more I give my running to God, the better I feel about it.  That doesn't mean I perform any better or see linear progress - and early 2018 is sure proof of that - but that I know I'm going to be just fine no matter how races and workouts go.  I'm sure thankful for this one, and also for the opportunity to continue to pursue my running dreams.  Next up is the Indy Women's Half Marathon on September 29!

SIbbetson

SIbbetson

 

Run for a Child 10K: Traditions & Surprises

The short: It's been awhile since I've come down the final stretch of a race to see a finishing time faster than expected with less effort than expected, but it's sure a great feeling!  This was my fourth consecutive year running the Run for a Child 10K, and each year I've run faster there, although I didn't expect to continue that streak this year.  My race plan of "win with the least effort possible" turned into winning overall female by over 5 minutes with a negative split and a 37:55, which was a course PR.  It was one of those races where I felt like I kept gaining momentum and couldn't slow down - and those are rare to come by (I think the last time I felt like this was the Phoenix Marathon).  I was pumped about defending my overall female title from 2017, I was ecstatic to break 38 on the hilly course in warm and humid conditions, but I was most thrilled about just how good I felt doing it!  I guess God knew I needed a little confidence-boost at this point in my training, and I am very thankful for it. The big check photos prop never get old to me Packet pick up; I always travel in compression socks!   The long: I keep going back to the Run for a Child 10K each year; I am picky about races so this is saying something.  I know it's always going to be warm, humid, and hilly, but for some reason I can embrace that for this race, I think because every year is comparable.  My only goal going into the 2018 event was to try to defend my overall female title from 2017.  That fate of that type of goal always depends on who else shows up, but I never stress about it like I sometimes do when I have time and pace goals, because I have no control over the former and a lot of control over the latter.  I have a goal 10K coming up on September 9, so I also went into this one hoping to save my legs for that one.  I'd briefly considered trying to better my 2017 time, but after running an 8 mile tempo that was really rough on me on August 29 (details here), including inducing a little pull in my right hamstring, I decided holding back was a better option.  My husband and I discussed the plan the night before:  try to win while running as slow as possible. The best laid plans, right?  The race went like this: Serious starting line debates with my friend Daniel, who was the male overall winner Mile 1 - As the field spread out after the gun, I positioned myself just behind the fastest women and sat there.  The first 1.25 miles of the race is nearly all uphill, so I always go out slow, but she was slowing from what already felt very conservative, so at about 0.75 I threw the towel in on my plan and pulled into the first female position, moving along with a male who was passing.  I looked at my watch when it beeped splits during this race because that felt right (I hadn't really thought about it beforehand), and mile 1 was 6:32.  It was relaxed, but my main thought was, well, I really don't want to run over 40:00 so I'll just run the least it takes to be in the 39s, which would be in the low 6:20s from there on.  I "knew" at that point that my time would be slower than the past 2 years, and I was fine with that because a win seemed pretty secure even that early, which always makes it easier to relax.  The grade-adjusted pace of that mile was 6:14, so it wasn't as slow as the numbers showed, but it was slower than I'd gone out there previously. Can you see why mile 1 is slow? Mile 2 - I fell in step with a male and I could feel him speeding up.  I thought, well, it's always easier to run with someone so even if he's a little faster than 6:20 it will be an easier effort than running solo the whole race.  The next split was 6:14 and I felt like I was striding out better. Mile 3 - I continued stride for stride with the male, and we were pulling in other men.  I started to pull away a little towards mile 3, and encouraged him to come with me so he would move up in place, but he fell back and I was on my own.  I felt like I was in a good place; putting in effort but still feeling really relaxed.  Mile 3 was 6:08. Mile 4 - I had to smile as I passed the halfway point, because typically in 10Ks I pass the 5K feeling like there is no way I can run that distance again at that pace (even though I always do so I know that feeling is a liar - it occurs in nearly every tempo too), but in this one it seemed like an easy task.  I passed a couple of men and focused on the ones ahead of them.  Mile 4 has a lot of uphill in it and in the past I've always slowed in that mile, so was prepared for that if effort stayed equal.  When I saw my split of 6:10 I knew I was really having a good day.  I then figured I could try to be under 39:00.  In the past I've always been hurting pretty good at the mile 4 point of this race, but this year at every point I passed I kept thinking, "I feel so much better than every other time here", which is always encouraging! Mile 5 - I felt like I was in a great rhythm and the effort was brisk but not dying (usually mile 5 of a 10K feels like dying).  I was running alone but there were two men within striking range, so I decided I'd try to pull them in.  That mile was 6:07.  At that point I was thinking I'd be somewhere around my 2016 and 2017 times (38:43 and 38:19), which was good enough for me! Mile 6 - At this point I decided I'd try to run under 6:00 for the final mile for fun.  I passed one of the men I'd been chasing and kind of just felt like I was barreling in towards the finish.  I didn't look at my watch during or at the end of this mile, but I just knew I was running sub-6:00 (I've finished a lot of tempo runs with the same "sub-6:00 for fun" idea, and although those are on flatter courses I have a pretty good sense for pace).  The split was 5:56. You can tell I'm not falling apart because my arm swing form hasn't gone to crap like usual, haha! Final stretch - I was gaining on the other man, so I decided I'd pretend he was a female and really try to pound it to catch him.  When the clock came into view during my final sprint, I saw it was still in the 37s, and gauged that I could actually make it in under 38, which really surprised me.  At that point it became just me and the clock, and I didn't even know if I beat the man or not until I looked at the photos Jon took (spoiler, I didn't).  My last 0.15 on my Garmin was 5:06 pace.  This course is certified, but my Garmin always reads it a little short, which the OCD in me dislikes but has also happened to me on several other certified courses (Rock the Parkway Half, Rock 'n' Roll Phoenix Half, White River Half, Phoenix Marathon).  I'm not sure if I dislike it more when it reads short or long (yeah, I haven't gotten the newsflash that Garmins aren't perfect and like to think mine is, and it kind of was at CIM and Grandma's)! Eyes on the clock I'm pretty sure I lit up walking through the finish chute, thinking "what just happened?!".  In 2017, I wanted to break 38 on this course and I wanted it to feel like less than an all-out effort (I was kind of demanding in 2017, hah).  But that year I ran a 38:19 with all I had and was disappointed I didn't have more.  I guess I accomplished my 2017 goal 1 year late!  The slow first mile really threw me off on finish time expectations, but I'm glad it worked out how it did, because the pressure of a time goal may have changed the outcome.  I was really excited about my course PR (also my 3rd fastest lifetime 10K), but I just couldn't get over how extremely smooth I felt doing it!  Especially considering how not good I'd felt on my recent tempo run in similar weather.  Race morning was 74* with a dew point of 70*. Official results are here. Garmin splits - course splits would be a shade faster at 6:07 average I love Strava's grade-adjusted pace feature I love that this race does the big check photo prop at the awards!  I also love how we combine it with a fun family weekend (many photos from that below), so this is a tradition I hope we can continue!  There will come a time where I won't run a faster finishing time than the previous year, and I've also made peace with that. Outtake I hope to be running when I'm in my 70s like Dr. Bob! My progression for this race: 2018 - 37:55 and 1st overall female 2017 - 38:19 and 1st overall female, details here 2016 - 38:43 and 3rd overall female, details here 2015 - 40:22 and 3rd overall female (recovering from cryptosporidum so this one set the bar pretty low to start with)   Our traditional moms by the hotel pool selfie Loves Hotel pool = successful trip Shel Silverstein wrote about this spot Jon found a charging station for our Volt Ice cream & Nickelodeon also make any vacation successful The Amazeum was pretty amazing I'm not sure this was the safest children's' activity Never stop exploring or believing!  

SIbbetson

SIbbetson

 

Baby steps.

No wasps this week. Had my last session with Amanda on Thursday. Have to say I was disappointed that what we'd done hadn't made any difference. Not because PT isn't good for anything. I guess being 59 and recovering from surgery just takes more time than I'm comfortable with. No visible reduction in the swelling. Still the same level of pain and the same amount of limping. Gah. Apparently I still have months to go. But, I'm done with the appointments for now. I have an extensive regimen of stretching and (hip) exercises to continue with to go along with my return to regular running. And by "regular" I mean "consistent", not what I'm used to or what I want to do. Good news (?) is that I'm only limited by pain. Weak hips are a documented culprit in many running injuries, so I suppose it makes sense that this is where we're focusing.  So, here's what's happening. Strength (everything is 3 x 10) Back, front and side hip extensions with resistance band. Single-Leg Bridges Clamshells with resistance band. Side steps with resistance band. Single leg deadlifts with weight. Weighted squats Fire hydrant with resistance band. Single leg squat (rear foot on chair). So many dang exercises. BORING! But, either time is passing, or the boring exercises are doing their thing. Yesterday's run was OK. Let's talk running for a second. I noticed that after PT the knee was feeling pretty good, so a couple of weeks ago I had Mrs. Dave or T-Rex drop me off and I'd run/jog/walk home the mile and a half from the rehab center. The first quarter to third of a mile, I'd still feel some pain, but it was on the low side and not in the surgery site. I'd have to walk a little every half mile or so, because I'm just so out of shape. Sucking wind is preferable to feeling a knee injury, though. Last Monday I tried a few exercises and then a couple of miles on my own. Same result. Tuesday I asked Amanda about it and she agreed that if it didn't hurt more than not running, I could keep at it. So I did the same Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I ran home again after the last appointment. And Friday. And Saturday. If you weren't counting, that's six days in a row running. Each one was about the same. Knee hurt for the first 0.3-0.4 mile, I'd run out of steam at about a mile so walked 20-30 yards (and again after another half mile). But there didn't seem to be any lingering issues. No additional swelling, no more pain than normal. In fact, for the rest of the evening the knee would feel better than it had during the day. Next day would hurt, but no more than previously. I complained about having no stamina and all the walking until Mrs. Dave reminded me that I've not been running really since February. Duh. Yesterday was the first day I ran the entire 2 miles. Averaged 9:15 per mile. I even had enough energy to notice the weather (which was overcast and a cool 65 degrees, btw - runner heaven!), the lady walking her two dogs and the guy with the LeBron glasses. The knee has felt better last two days than it has in a long time. Less pain and less limping, even after sitting at the desk for awhile. I consider it a serious step forward. No marathon plans yet, but just like a marathon, one step at a time.

Dave

Dave

 

The grass is always greener

Yesterday was better. I listened to a podcast that talked about sitting all day and biomechanics. It got me thinking even more that I want to blame my desk job for my injury issues. And also for my lackluster runs lately. In any case, I am slowly building up to standing more frequently at work. Much like running, I risk doing more damage of doing too much, too soon. But I’m also anxious to get back to where standing 8 hours a day isn’t a big deal. It would be far easier if I were able to wander around, but I think that is just me wishing for something that I don’t really want. Can’t I have all the physical aspects of retail back, but leave the pesky hours and people drama behind? I’m happy that after my short walk and dynamic warm-up that I did feel a little better. I was a bit worried because it was run #4 in a row. Something I wasn’t even considering doing until 2016. I had been a 4 day a week runner until 2015 which meant usually I would have a rest day every other day or every second day. Rare was the time that I would run 3 times in a row. It’s a balance, that’s for sure. I felt most confident when I was running 5 days a week and 6 seemed to nearing my breaking point. I think I could sustain 6 if I were training for a goal race AND I learned to actually run at a recovery pace. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I am being forced by my own body to run in the mid-8s right now and it feels like a tempo pace much of the time. I’ve had a few days that it seems a little easier and it gives me hope. The niggles of pain still creep up on me and sometimes I get scared when I feel my shin get angry or my foot is tender. Walking is mostly normal and I don’t give it a second thought much anymore, but I do have days that everything seems to be a bit tired and sore. As much as I want to feel healed and strong and ready to roll again, I still have so much more time to get through while that happens. Which is a funny thing. This time. It’s often hurry up and wait. When I was in the boot, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. If I could just run, I would be so happy! And I was incredibly grateful for those first few runs. But now that I’ve settled back in to some degree, I’m restless to feel effortless. And maybe this is the reason we keep training, we keep signing up for races. We only remember the things that were good and block out a lot of what was bad. I’m still trying to find joy in the journey. Yesterday, I came up over the bridge and was so happy that everything seemed to be working much better than the day before. My FF and FT were far happier and it just felt like a much easier effort. I noticed a big puffy white cloud in the sky and broke out into a grin. I laughed at myself when I walked back to the car, sweat burning in my eyes because I couldn’t fathom the additional heat of a hat or buff. I so desperately wished it was cooler and then remembered how much I hate running with a headlamp. A few short miles with the headlamp can be okay on a training run. Heck, even during a race, I seem to deal with is reasonable okay (maybe I’m blocking this out?). But longer training runs with a headlamp are awful. I think when I lose out on the scenery and the footing, I just would rather be a treadmill drone. But winter is indeed coming. As it does every year. And I will be happy for six weeks when the sunlight is still enough in the evenings, but the temperatures (pretty please!) start to drop. And I’m hoping that with the temperatures dropping, I will slowly start to feel stronger again. I’ve got a hefty race schedule over the next 9 months. Augusta Relay 70.3 - 13.1 run leg on 9/23 Hinson Lake 24 - aka-try-to-not-be-a-dumbass on 9/29 New York City Marathon on 11/4 Rehoboth Beach Marathon on 12/8 A 50K+ in January or February 2019 (a requirement for GDR) Georgia Death Race on 3/30/19 Boston Marathon on 4/15/19 Everest Marathon on 5/29/19 I’m both excited and nervous. I’m hoping that I make it to Everest feeling fit and ready and not injured and broken. Obviously Boston will be whatever it is. But I do want to continue my BQ streak and solidify a race time that gets me into 2020. The funny thing is that while I’d love to have a good, strong effort, I’d be thrilled to just have a chance to do it again. I’ve got a year to get it done.

Carissa Liebowitz

Carissa Liebowitz

 

Irma Gerd Redux

Today marks one year since the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. I will be running the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic later this week, so thought I'd commemorate by re-sharing the report from the original since it was killed on the old site. If anyone else wants to participate, you're welcome to it. Run 8 (ish? whatever) miles on a treadmill and write about it. Do what you must to spice it up.    First, if Irma Gerd means nothing to you, please read this. The schedule today called for 8 miles easy. The forecast today also called for wind, rain, downed trees, and all manner of apocalyptic blights on the Atlanta metro area thanks to Hurricane Tropical Storm Tropical Depression Irma. Does it still keep its name after it’s no longer a “storm”? Not sure, but now I’m going to have to look into this. Anyway, back to today’s 8 miles. This is my last really big 60+ mile week before Chicago and I didn’t want to start it off all screwed up on miles and workouts, so I was determined to get this one in.  Our forecast was for strong winds and rain starting early in the morning and intensifying until they peaked this evening. I thought about getting up and out early to beat the worst of the weather, but I had calls with overseas colleagues starting very early and realized this probably wasn’t going to happen. So then I decided to try and head out around lunch, but I got hungry and ate without thinking and didn’t have enough time to digest and run before my next call. Crap, I wasn’t going to get to run until the supposed peak of the bad weather. I checked the forecast and saw 20-30 mph winds and rain. So, basically what we had in Philly last year. I started getting ready to go when The Wife (we both worked from home today) looked at me with a raised eyebrow as if to say “and where do you think you’re going?”. And then she asked me where I thought I was going. She repeats herself a lot.  We argued for a little bit, then she put the news on and showed me all the downed power lines and trees and reminded me how bad Atlanta drivers are in foul weather. And they are bad, the slightest mist of a rain and all hell breaks loose on the roadways like a bunch of drunks staggering haphazardly out of a brewery fire. So I resigned myself to hitting the treadmill. It’s not that I hate the treadmill per se. It is a useful training tool, and I have done quite of bit of my marathon pace training runs on the ol’ mill to account for how flat Chicago is and Atlanta isn’t. Repetitive stress on the same muscle groups and all that physiological jazz.  But the idea of doing a slow easy run on the treadmill was as unpleasant as the realization that Honey Boo Boo likely has a larger savings account than I do. Plus, the lights had been flickering all afternoon, and half of my colleagues in the city had already lost power. Atlanta loses power if a blue jay breaks wind in the wrong direction, so I knew it was only a matter of time until our lights went out. If I was going to get in 8 on the mill, I was going to have to hurry. And so, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was born. You’re damn right I’m writing a bloop report about a treadmill training run. In anticipation of the fridge losing juice I started drinking the beer while it was still cold, and I got bored, so you’re getting this bloop. Nobody’s forcing you to read it. Go read about ass chafing if you want.  When I got to the gym, there were two bros taking turns seeing who could grunt and slam weights the loudest, and one girl on an elliptical. I hopped on, hit play on my ancient iPod Touch, waited for the screen to self lock (the manual screen lock button no longer works) and got started. The first song was Rock the Casbah, which was a bit high tempo for a slow warm-up mile but that was the hand fate had dealt me so I went with it. The legs were tired, but not too beat up after the Hansons twin 10er cut back weekend, and quickly found their rhythm. Elliptical girl stopped and started walking over to me which made me panic a bit, until I realized she was simply the only other person in our complex who actually wipes down the equipment and was merely going to the dispenser. Mile 1 -  9:22.  I was loose now and picked up the pace a bit. The gym bros were now done banging weights on the racks (not sure if either of them actually ever did a set or not) and it was time for one of them to do cardio. He ignored the two open treadmills and chose the one right next to me, then craned his neck over so far to see my screen he dripped sweat on my handrail. I offered him a towel, which he declined with a scoff. He then set his machine at what would be a walking pace for even a Galapagos Tortoise and started to, well I think he was trying to run, but jump up with one foot and land on the other, crashing his massive bulk onto the belt with such force my machine shook. And he was still craning over to see my screen. After about a minute of this awkward crashing skipping and staring at my screen he upped his pace to 6.8 mph where I was, stumbled through it for 30 seconds while I pictured him shooting off the back like the rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then stood on the railing for 5 minutes drinking his protein shake and stretching before calling it a day without wiping the machine. I used the perfect beat of INXS’ Devil Inside to focus on my cadence and tried not to laugh lest he squah my skull like a grape. Miles 2 and 3 8:49 and 8:49, and the legs felt positively light. Then one of my all time favorite regulars came into the gym. She jogs to the gym from her apartment every day, hops up on a treadmill, starts it, and stands on the rails while texting for a solid 2-3 minutes. Then she will run for 30-45 seconds, then back on the railings with the belt still running while she does an elaborate stretching routine. And I do mean elaborate, through the course of it her legs will go up onto the screen, then over the handrails, and even out the bottom almost tripping me over on my treadmill. Then 30 seconds more of running, then the stretching thing. Sometimes she’ll get off the 'mill and do a plank or pushups. The Wife and I call her Stretchy Magoo. She usually has the mill run for 3 miles or so, of which she runs maybe an 800, before jogging back to her apartment without wiping the machine. I enjoyed the Ramones' Beat on the Brat and George Harrison’s 1987 hit Got My Mind Set On You on this stretch, and miles 4 and 5 passed in 8:49 and 8:49.  By this point, I was starting to feel a little of the marathon fatigue in the legs, the freshness passing as quickly as it had arrived. So I was thrilled when Black Betty was followed by Jump Around on the iPod. The first has a nice driving guitar riff to keep the turnover up, and the second is my all time party jam. I do a truly awful karaoke rendition of this song after tequila shots which I first discovered way back in the eighth grade at a graduation party. Except back then it was a half shot of tequila we stole from Kristen Phillips’ parents’ liquor cabinet and the song was on Top 40 stations, not Oldies ones. Either way, these powered me through mile 6 in a surprisingly quick 8:49.  A new treadmill neighbor showed up and my playlist luck continued with Going the Distance off the Rocky soundtrack, and then Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison, not Van Halen). I was singing the latter quietly to myself (the former is an instrumental, so not sure why I felt compelled to clarify that) as it’s another frequent karaoke mistake. When I did the little throaty growl Ol’ Roy does, my treadmill neighbor must have heard it because she immediately jerked her head to look at me with an expression of pure horror on her face. I turned to meet her stare, and when I realized she heard me growl without context, I burst into laughter. She didn’t get the joke, and immediately packed up and left without wiping the machine. Mile 7 passed in another 8:49. The distractions and upbeat musical accompaniment had reenergized the legs, and I coasted through the last mile to the strains of Sam the Sham Pharaohs and one of the most ridiculously idiotic and enjoyable songs ever written. I mean, is he counting down in English or Spanish? I don’t care but be consistent man, it’s just sloppy. And Pharaohs didn’t speak Spanish anyway. And the only lyrics I can really make out are Hatty and Matty doing something. Between the historical inaccuracies, language mixing, and lousy uncreative rhyming this song is an indictment of the US education system if I ever saw one. It’s catchy as hell though, and I rode it through the end of mile 8 in 8:49. The treadmill said 8 miles, the Garmin said 8.42, but all I cared about was that I got in the run without so much as a flicker of the lights.  And thus, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was complete. Can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. And I even still have power, so I can post this asinine bloop about running on a treadmill. What a time to be alive. 
 

Gonzo Runner

Gonzo Runner

 

Week 5 Complete

I didn’t talk much about how my shin felt in my race report because I thought I’d save it for here. The pain level is about a 5 – just enough to let me know it’s an issue and not just soreness. I’ve been icing the heck out of it which brings immediate relief and makes it feel less intense afterwards. I felt it during the race, but it was only at about a 3. It hurt like hell once I stopped and the day after, but hasn’t gotten much worse. I still haven’t gone to see my PT but that’s just because I haven’t been able to get an appointment yet. (Paragraph written on 9/4) Monday: REST Tuesday: REST – I probably should have ran a few mile but I wanted to rest more. Wednesday: PiYo (Pilates + Yoga) – I’d planned to do yoga roll, but that instructor was out so someone else filled in for her. I got to the class, fully expecting it to be yoga roll and started getting nervous once I heard it was PiYo. It’s been a long time since I’ve done Pilates, but I don’t remember it including anything that we did. Holy cow y’all… it was not pretty. I am one of the most uncoordinated, tall girls EVER. I wasn’t even coordinated enough to play basketball as a kid! We had to do some combination moves, at a really fast pace, so I was like 3 moves behind every time. I know those classes are good for you but I just get annoyed when I can’t keep up. Plus, I end up not having proper form for a lot of important moves, like lunges and squats. It definitely got my heart-rate up but I probably won’t be doing that again. I just don’t like it. Thank heavens it didn’t include a step… Thursday: 3 x 1600 @ 8:30 – Tuesdays are normally my track days but there is no way I would have pulled that off on Tuesday. I didn’t want to miss a track workout week so I did it this day instead! I set my alarm for 5am, hoping to get out the door before 5:30 – yeah right. I’ve found that I need at least 30 minutes to wake up and get out the door. I did my warm-up mile to the track. It was a blissful 51 degrees and there was humidity in the air from the rain we got the day before. I know you East Coasters are struggling right now, but I enjoy the humidity here since we don’t get much of it. I wore my headlamp to the track and then during my first 1600, which was 8:30 on the dot! After that, I took it off and jogged a lap. I could feel that the second 1600 was going to be faster, but I didn’t want to risk going to slow. The second one was 8:19 – not too bad! I jogged another lap and then started my third 1600. By this time, some high school students came out to run and were doing some warm-ups; two other guys showed up as well. That’s the most people I’ve seen on that track. The third one came in at 8:27. That workout felt great and didn’t feel like a struggle. My calves were still sore from the race, and my shin was hurting but nothing terrible. Woohoo! It wasn’t until I was at work and logging on my training plan, did I realize I hadn’t even done the workout correctly. The pace was supposed to be much faster, which makes total sense now; I had used my tempo pace. Soooo, instead of hill repeats on Tuesday, I’m going to redo this workout properly. If I’m trying to PR, I don’t think I can be skimping on the speedwork. Friday: Yoga – There is only one class (Barre) offered at the gym on Fridays, which I just don’t want to take the day before a long run. I have actually rested every Friday since I started this plan, even though it supposed to be an XT day. Saturday: 13 miles @9:20 – I had high hopes for this run. I was going to run my favorite trail and I was going to take my time getting up and getting out the door. Waiting until 10am to start was a BIG mistake. Even though we’ve had some cooler days, and it’s been very nice in the early morning, it heated up quick. I feel that this run would be best summarized in bullets: I forgot my 50 SPF sunscreen at home and had to use some old 30 SPF that I had in the car. I still got sunburned. I didn’t realize a high school cross-country meet would be going on along the trail, so the first time I had to stop my watch, was to let the pack by. I did get some unintentional cheers from the meet spectators along the trail! Boy, some of those shorts were SHORT on the guys! About mile 3, I had to wait at a light to cross a street and stopped my watch. I forgot to start it and didn’t start it again until the “Power Save Mode 30 secs” chimed at me about a half mile later. Somewhere around mile 5, I came up behind two horseback riders. I passed them on the left, but the horses started running right after and passed me back. THEN they started walking again and I had to pass them, AGAIN. Luckily, I didn’t get kicked in the face or shat on. My legs and brain just weren’t having this run and were fighting with one another the whole time. After I turned around, I remember passing a park that had a bathroom and water fountain. I stopped to use the bathroom, splash water on my face, and refill my bottle. The wind hitting my wet face gave me a short little burst of energy – didn’t last long. I did a lot of run-walking the last few mile. I thought the 13 was never going to end and I just wanted it to be over. I did eat a wild  plum (which I thought were persimmons during my run a couple weeks ago) and a crab apple. There are so many trees along that trail that are LOADED with little plums and apples; I don’t ever remember seeing plums that small. When I was finally done, it was SO HOT. I was walking up to my car and saw a snake in the grass. My overall pace was 10:38. The fabric cooler that I had in my trunk didn’t help keep anything cool. I had some cold squeeze apple sauce packets that I was looking forward too, but they were still good hot. I grubbed on some Chick-Fil-A afterwards. Sunday: REST – I was able to get in touch with my PT and will be seeing him Monday (today). I don’t think it’s shin splints any more because the resting pain intensity is getting worse. Still doesn’t hurt much when I run, which is so puzzling. I’m nervous that it’s something bad. Stay tuned… Also, I got to hang out with these cuties yesterday  That’s Gus (Gus) and Gwen. Thanks for reading, Chris

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

Kamikaze

This past week I got out my hybrid bike and decided to give it a try on the trails next to my house. Years ago I had ridden it on some flatter trails and loved every single minute of it. The trails next to my house are made from an old quarry turned into a "nature preserve." There are pine needle covered trails. Trails that all of a sudden turn to sand traps (ie. Sugar sand, ie. Bikers beware). Flat trails, root covered trails and a few hills to keep things interesting. The 1st night I went out I absolutely had a blast! It was 95*, humid AF  (as the kids say) but as I cruised around the single track I could NOT stop smiling. I wrapped up my ride as the sun was setting. Two nights later I convinced my husband to ride with me. After only 1/2 a lap he deemed that was enough. Put his bike away and headed for the showers. Sigh. I couldn't understand why he wasnt as exhilarated as I was?? Last night I asked my son if he wanted to come with me. He's so easy going that I knew he'd say yes. We cruised over to the pit and he set our course with me yelling helpful mom reminders. I'm sure he was eye rolling the whole time. It was awesome. He led me onto trails I hadn't tried yet. I was worried about being able to keep up, but I managed.  After 1 lap it was getting darkish but we had time for one more zip around. I took off so I could be in  the lead. I was riding the outside rim of the pit so we had a little bit more light. Unfortunately there were a lot of sand spots and loose gravel. I was good until I wasnt. I managed to dodge the sand but my tires slipped on the gravel. Just in case you were wondering I totally screamed like a girl (because I am a girl) as I was going down. The slide of my body - left shoulder, left hip and left shin - was long enough for me to think "that's going to hurt." When I stopped sliding I sat up and tried to shove my sweaty hair out of my face with my gravel covered hands. Not an easy feat. I took a quick assessment.  Pretty much just brush burn stinging with the exception of my shoulder. My shoulder felt bruised but not horrible. We quickly put the chain back on my bike and finished the lap even though it would've been shorter to go home. As I was pedaling around I got thinking -- Was the crash something that would stop me from trail riding. I quickly came to the conclusion that I still loved the thrill of the ride. But why? The best answer I can come up with is that this is how I was raised. My parents threw me on skis at 3 years old. The feeling of flying down a ski mountain is exhilarating and can also be scary. On a dime you can be carving out S turns as fast as can be but the minute you catch a tip all control is lost. A few years ago my boys and I were skiing later in the day. The ski patrol was having some sort of training on the slope we chose. I was cruising over the moguls when all of a sudden I caught something and crashed into the most epic snowball ever. It was spectacular. Some people hold back for fear of what might happen. I guess that's not my M.O. I love the thrill of speeding down the mountain, cruising around dirt piles and pouring my heart and sweat into a chest pounding set of crazy intervals. At some point I may need to "act my age" but not yet. So what type of runner/athlete are you? A speed demon, a LSD lover or a mutt/hybrid? BTW: The statement that things always look better in the morning does not apply to road rash.

ocrunnergirl

ocrunnergirl

Sore, flat, broke, but it's going to be ok

The very first sentence of my grad school reading and it's all about why I finally decided to get started... Workouts have been going well until the last couple days where I guess the miles in the heat are catching up with me a bit. I ran a slow 17 on Saturday, which was actually an extra mile but because of the nature of group runs I walked close to a mile anyway. Monday was on the trail and went ok. For the first time in 3 weeks I avoided some nasty plant (stinging nettle I think) that attacked me the previous 2 weeks. Tuesday’s speedwork was right on what it should have been, but Wednesday’s long midweek run of 8 miles was rough. I never felt good and what would normally be my super easy pace felt hard. I tried to go a little faster and just couldn’t. My left calf and foot were complaining, and later after the run my right ankle joined the grumpy chorus.  Today I was supposed to do a tempo run with 2 miles at half marathon pace. I couldn’t get there. I was a minute too slow on each of my tempo miles. Tomorrow is a cross train or rest day. Usually I cross train, but this time I’m taking the day off. I have a half marathon on Saturday – and the remnants of hurricane Gordon are going to make it a wet one. Not exactly looking forward to that, but at least I won’t overheat! No real time goal – I’m not in shape to PR, and I’ve been extra tired and sore this week. I hit almost 40 miles last week, which is a big week for me. (And not even the peak for this training plan). Last month was big, but not huge. Both pairs of shoes I’m wearing are at about 200 miles. They still have miles left in them, but I know that I’ll feel better if I get a newer pair to rotate in. The budget really won’t like that, but injuries cost more. I saw the chiropractor today and because of the high miles, soreness and race he wants to see me again next week. Usually I go once a month. The budget doesn’t like that either. I’ve been using some HSA account money so it’s not quite as bad as it could be, but I don’t have a ton of money there either. You know what else hit my budget? After I ran this morning and got ready for work I sat down in my car, started it and was promptly informed I had low tire pressure. A quick look showed my right rear tire was completely flat with a nail in it. My attempt to change the tire was quickly thwarted by extremely tight lug nuts. Fortunately, my car insurance includes roadside assistance. They actually came really quickly and had the donut tire on in about 5 minutes. I asked the guy how many of those he does a day, and he said 15! No wonder he could do it so fast. I took the car to the repair place and waited and waited and waited. I didn’t have an appointment and there were a lot of people in front of me. Finally they informed me they were working on it, but they couldn’t patch the tire so I had to buy a new one. Budget says ouch again. I made it to work by lunchtime. Good thing I have vacation time… My Master’s Degree classes start this coming week. I’m still nervous about whether I can still do this school thing or not. I finally got my last textbook yesterday. I bought school supplies for the first time in about 13 years last weekend, but I forgot to get some sort of planner. I’ll need it, lots of deadlines to keep track of. I’ve already done a bit of reading today while waiting for my car, but it’s dense stuff. Not sure how much of this I’ll need to know from memory. Once my race is over Saturday I’ll be dedicating time to planning out my studies for the first week. Various trail pics...  

amarie2009

amarie2009

Estes Epic 24K Race Report - Birthday Run!

Estes Epic 24K (~15 miles) – Estes Park, CO September 2, 2018  What better way to celebrate a birthday, which happens to fall within Labor Day Weekend, than by running up and down a mountain?! Last year I did a 10K – this year I thought I’d step it up a notch. The race offered camping at the Estes Park fairgrounds, so I decided to camp and guess who came with us?! Kelli and Jake! We decided to leave around 6:30am on Saturday so that we could get to Estes Park, pick up my packet during the MTB race, then have time to do a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s only about an hour and a half away so we ended up getting there right at 8:30, which happened to be when the MTB race was starting. 8:30am start? Sheesh! They weren’t ready to give me my packet yet so we wandered around and found an alpaca market to check out! They were so cute and fluffy! There weren’t so keen on being petted unless you were feeding them. When I finally got my packet, we decided to go ahead and set up our tents and claim our spot. We kept looking around the fairgrounds for where we’d be camping but only saw RV parking. Nope, that’s where we were supposed to camp also. It was literally in a parking lot with a bunch of RVs. It was not optimal by any means, but it was $30 and on Labor Day weekend; a hotel room would have been MUCH more expensive. We finally got to the park around lunch time and it was PACKED. We waited in line for about 30 minutes to get in, then once in we couldn’t even go to where we wanted to hike; all parking was full and they were turning people around. We found a trail to a waterfall and decided to hike that. I didn’t want to do too much, since I’d be running the next day. It started raining as soon as we got back to the car anyway. We headed to a brewery after, had a couple beers, then I devoured a big bowl of pasta; I think I was lying down in the tent by 10pm. The effing MTB race started at 8:30am on Saturday but they made us start at 6AM on Sunday! I slept decently that night, especially since it was my first time camping out before a race. At one point, an elk was bugling and an owl was hooting! It sounded like they were talking to one another! I rolled out of my sleeping bag at 5am, and took all of my things up to the start line where there were bathrooms (which included showers!).  I told W, Kelli, and Jake not to worry about getting up that early just to see me start. I really didn’t need them to be there, but they did anyway. So sweet! The race was much smaller than I expected (57 total for the 24K and 55K, actually). I really felt bad for them waking up so early just to see me off, especially since there was apparently no spectating spots (they were VERY vague about the course – more about that later). I was in shorts and a t-shirt at the start, and I wasn’t going to even bother with a headlamp. Lots of folks had on arm warmers that was part of the race packet but I hadn’t gotten any (I did later)! It was in the upper 40’s when we started and I was actually quite chilly. There was not much information on the race website about the course. They had a Strava route posted but I didn’t take the time to go through it all. What I didn’t know or expect was that the first 5K was on pavement! The longer I was running on pavement, the more annoyed I was getting. I had started off conservatively, as this was my third mountain race of the year and I knew not to start off too fast. However, that first 5K was pretty flat/gradual uphill; I definitely could have gone out a bit faster. Finally, the pavement ended but we were running on a well-maintained dirt road – not even a fire road. Parts of the road appeared paved at times because it was so packed down. The real “trail” didn’t even begin until about 5 miles in and even then it was fire-road grade. The first big hill was at Mile 5 and they had this sign: See the lady in the pink shirt ahead? Remember her for later… They only had one aid station which was at 5.5 miles. I remember I hadn’t even drank anything until I was coming up on the aid station, and I had gels with me, so I didn’t even need to stop. There was a loop around the halfway point, which I forgot about until I started thinking about where the turnaround would be. Because of the loop, I didn’t get to see who was in front of me, which was probably a good thing anyway. I ran by myself for pretty much the whole race. I played leap-frog with a few folks but we never spoke. I did catch a good view as I was going up that hill I felt like I’d made it to the top (which wasn’t an actual peak) pretty fast and was surprised when I was already heading back down – based off what the time felt like in my head. When you could tell you were going back downhill, there was a tiny little section of single-track which had been carved out by the MTBs the day before – it was really dusty. By the time I knew it, I hit the aid station again (mile 9.5) and topped off my water. I’d barely drank anything and had only taken one Huma gel. At mile 10, I got back into 8:xx min/miles and passed a few people. Again, before I knew it, I was already hitting the pavement and had 5K to go. I kicked it for a couple miles averaging 8:05, 8:04, and 8:40 for miles 11-13. Around mile 13, we were on a straight stretch of pavement where I noticed a van that kept pulling over on the side of the road. I remembered seeing it towards the beginning of the race and at other times, but it hadn’t registered anything in my mind. Turns out, it was following the lady in the pink shirt from my picture above. I’d been running behind this lady, almost the entire race. I remembered her a lot because of how badly she leaned over and looked down while she was running. I remember thinking, Wow that’s really not good for your neck and back. I always make sure to look where I’m running on trails, but I do it with my head up. One time the van stopped, a man got out and I could see him hand her something. Then, after I’d gotten closer, he stopped again and gave her a jacket. He was crewing for her! It’s a freaking 24K for crying out loud! They didn’t say that we couldn’t have a crew, but for something like that it just rubbed me the wrong way. And who needs a jacket a mile from the finish?? I didn’t have any initial goals for the race except to finish. My end goal ended up being to beat the lady in the pink shirt! I was hauling ass on the pavement and I could tell she was slowing down. We were about a half mile from the finish and there was a decent hill we had to go up. I walked a tiny bit at the beginning and then took off. I passed pink-shirt lady and another chick on that hill! Once at the top, we still had a bit to the finish and I didn’t want her to pass me again, so I used the last bit of gas that I had. That last hill was significant enough to clearly show up on the profile! Even though the race was tiny, I still didn’t win an AG award! I was in the top 10 women but there were a ton in my 30-39 age group. I actually ended up finishing 4th (they didn’t take out one of the top 3) in my AG which I’ve done sooooo many times. What a great pal I have made  Overall, the race was great but I just expected something completely different. When you say things like, “This race will rip your legs off.”; when you’re offering prize money for winners AND an actual belt buckle to everyone who finishes, one (I) expects this race to actually be EPIC. Honestly, and not to dog on anyone (the race was well organized, minus the lack of details), this race was a bit laughable when you consider how much it was fluffed up and how they described it. I could see this being a great race for someone who is considering starting mountain racing, or even a first trail race for someone. I believe this was only the second running of this event and I don’t know if they were just trying to get more interest in it or not. Last year they had a total of 53 for both races – only 5 more this year… That sucker is heavy! The swag was really nice which included a credit-card sized bottle opener, a nice pint glass, race-specific arm warmers, and a good long-sleeved t-shirt. The medal is actually a belt buckle, which is nice but… well, you know. I think all of that was just another way to entice people to sign up. I would probably do this race again, but I would certainly have different expectations next time. Since I was finished before 9AM, we got back to our house pretty early. I took a shower, nap, ate, and then we went to a couple breweries to finish celebrating my birthday. I’m so glad to have been able to run a race on my birthday, and to ring in 37 that way! It was a good one! Thanks for reading, Chris

NCAthlete

NCAthlete

 

In the Darkness

For the second time in as many days I was climbing Cardiac Hill at the worst possible time of day. The sun had reached sufficient height in the summer sky to obliterate every shady refuge on the city streets but hadn’t yet been up long enough to burn away the morning humidity. And for the second day in a row I had been too exhausted to drag my tired ass and the useless meat sticks hanging from it down to the river nice and early like I was supposed to. At the top of the hill is a CVS with automatic doors which are triggered every time someone moves past on the sidewalk in what seems like an enormous waste of energy. As I shuffled by them they swung open and I was hit with a gloriously refreshing blast of overly conditioned air, so cold against my baking skin I shivered.  Why was I doing this? I had 8 more miles of this death march to go and it was only going to get hotter and my legs were only going to get heavier. Did God not grant divine inspiration to Willis Carrier so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the fires of damnation here on earth? Who the hell was I to forsake this blessing? I should have turned around at that moment in front of the CVS. Instead I shuffled onward, though unsure of why. I wasn’t wondering why I run, I long ago understood and made peace with the demons that chase me out the door each day. But this training cycle had been a disaster thus far. I hadn’t hit a workout in weeks, my easy runs were getting slower, and I felt broken down instead of built up. I was struggling with why I push myself to, well, struggle.Yes yes I know, I’m running a big marathon coming up and I need to train so I can run it in the nice round number of my choice. But time is relative. In fact, the more you are moving, the slower time passes. I’m not kidding, it’s physics, look it up. So why does the time I run this race matter? You may say “ah, aren’t you trying to qualify for Boston?” And I may well run my qualifying time and get into the race. So what? I’m not going to win, or set a record, or further human achievement in any measurable way. You may say something about joining the annals of our sport’s most prestigious and storied event. But that’s a bit of bullshit, since qualifying standards and rules have changed so many times over the years. In decades past I could have qualified with times I’ve already run, and in others I wouldn’t be close even if I hit my goal this year. There’s that relativity thing again. What about the thrill of competition? I thought about this as I dodged the already over-served hipsters wobbling on the sidewalks waiting for their Sunday brunch tables and $36 avocado toast. Sure I like to compete, but I’m not competitive. My finishing place is going to include a comma, without a doubt. I will be beat by people who trained less and brunched more. I will be beat by people older than me. I will be beat by men and women and children. I will not win any prizes or money, and in fact this endeavor will likely cost me quite a bit of it. Perhaps it’s competing with myself that matters. Bettering what I did the last time out. Squeezing every ounce of potential from the hand of genetic material I was dealt. Being the best possible version of myself. But, if my absolute best is still so far from good, why is it worth the hard work and the pain and suffering? Would it not make me feel worse to have my inadequacies and deficiencies laid so bare for all to see? And I don’t know how valuable it is to invest so much energy to be the best I can be at something which I’m not good at anyway. Abraham Lincoln supposedly loved animals. I don’t think history will lament his unrealized potential in veterinary medicine. Wouldn’t I be doing more for myself or my family or community if I put these hours of training to some other use?  I ran on, envious of the brunch crowd and the people lounging in the park under the shade of giant elms and kids eating popsicles way too early in the morning. I refilled my water bottle while giving the popsicle buying parents some serious judgmental side eye for setting their kid off on the path to diabetes. Is that it? I mean, I know I could get most of the health benefits of running with some easy 6 milers, but did I think I’d get something extra from doing 800s until I puke? Would I have, like, negative diabetes or something? Nevermind, the heat must be getting to me, that’s just fucking stupid. As I wound through the park I ran over a cracked section of pavement that covered the old painted Peachtree Road Race finish line, which had dug its way out of its asphalt grave and begun to show itself again. This conjured images of the numerous races I’ve run on these paths, and I sifted through the memories for a reason why I keep running these damn things. I fondly recalled the high from setting PRs, the sense of accomplishment from completing my first race at a given distance. But I also remembered the weeks and months of skipping social events, not having a life, the aches and pains and constant exhaustion. But I felt close with this one, so I kept digging. I thought of the marathon, of that deep dark place where you’ve used up everything you have and yet still have to find something to burn. Surely there was a higher plane of consciousness attained through this effort that justified the pain. Yes I thought, recalling my marathon experiences, there is something you learn about yourself, some enlightenment obtained through this endeavor. But, would you not have the same experience regardless of how much you train? Couldn’t I prepare with a “just finish” training plan doing a bunch of slow lazy running and still see the writing on the wall? Hell, people less prepared probably suffer more on race day, wouldn’t they therefore reach a higher still level of awareness? And you know what, I’m pretty sure Timothy Leary peddled consciousness expansion for a lot less than I’m putting out for this marathon thing.  
 
I was running out of ideas as I ran out of the park and back up Peachtree Street. I passed the churches filling and emptying with worshipers. Perhaps this was the why? I grew up in an old-school fire and brimstone Catholic family, maybe I push myself through pain and exhaustion to satisfy some deeply ingrained Judeo-Christian belief that there will be salvation through suffering. Maybe ladder intervals were my attempt at self-flagellation. Mile repeats were my penance for, well, everything. Maybe I have such deep seated guilt and self loathing I need to punish myself every single day to feel worthy of even my morning coffee. This, I didn’t have an immediate rebuttal for. Not that I necessarily believe the path to eternal salvation is Yasso 800s, but I couldn’t shake the idea that I am punishing myself for something. Am I really that fragile, that broken?  I turned down my street and climbed the last hill before home and I felt more lost than when I had started. But, I was still running. And Monday, I got out and ran again. And Tuesday, I struggled to not quite complete yet another interval workout. But I tried. I still didn’t know why, but I did. I’m sitting here now on my off day with a cocktail still trying to figure it out. The taste of the cheese and crackers and the whiskey I’m washing it down with take me back a few years. For a while, this was my daily routine. Tonight, I’m having 3 because it was a hairy eyed bitch of a day and then I’m going to bed. Back then, I wouldn’t really count. Or go to bed, for that matter. I’d start when I got home and finish when I passed out on the couch, The Wife usually waking me up in the middle of the night and dragging me to bed.  Maybe it’s all of these things. Maybe it matters to train and push because I can, and I very nearly got to a point I couldn’t. Maybe it matters that I get to Boston because of how far it will mean I’ve come. Maybe I’m atoning for years of being a lousy husband and son and friend, if a good patron of the distilled arts. Maybe the uncertainty and suffering and exhaustion is just to keep me too tired to tilt the bottle enough to do any real damage. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever know. We love how running is so often a metaphor for life, but rarely in this vein. The uncertainty and lack of purpose and wondering what the hell the point is and whether or not any of this is worth it or making any difference at all and wondering why you shouldn’t just give up. The ugly side of it all. What I do know is that at this point, the pain provides some comfort in its familiarity; it’s become part of life’s rhythm. And as long as I stay with it, there’s an illusion of control. I’m making this choice. I’m inflicting this pain, I know why it hurts, and I decide when it ends. Maybe it doesn’t make a bit of difference anywhere outside my own head. But maybe I need that. Or maybe I just need to spend time in the dark places so I appreciate the lighter ones. Tempo run Thursday. Haven’t been able to finish one strong in weeks. But scared shitless not to try.
 

Gonzo Runner

Gonzo Runner

 

Of course I ran.

A couple of times anyway. A couple of miles each. Louis seems to feel best just after PT, so last week when T-Rex needed my car at the same time I had her drop me off at Team Rehab and ran home from there. It's a little over a mile and a half. I had to walk twice because I'm so out of shape, but it was enough to officially call it a run. There was no watch or phone and I didn't record it anywhere. The pain I've been having wasn't any worse than before. I need some kind of movement or it's like the whole inside of the left leg tightens up and pulls on the tendons. EXCEPT ... those muscles don't seem to be tight at all. I'm normally a pretty limber guy, especially for a runner, and I've no issues with any of my normal stretches, or any of the ones Amanda has given me. Any ideas, Loopsters? That was Monday. Did it again on Wednesday. On Friday, I ran two miles with one walk break. Saturday was OK but hurt on my walk. Sunday and Monday it was sore. Monday night I decided to wear a sleeve on it. Big mistake. Kept it on at work and it was the most pain I've been in since before surgery. Took it off after lunch and it was better. Not good, but better. Talked to Amanda about it. She's not sure what to do. Tomorrow is my last day and I don't know that I've made any progress. The exercises they've given me are beneficial, I suppose, but there isn't anything that I'm doing now that I couldn't do when I first came in. And still the pain. So, since it seems that running isn't painful and doesn't seem to increase my pain, we're going to try that. I ran two yesterday, will do another couple today and see what two days in a row do. Maybe I just need to run more. Another visit with the doc? Friday afternoon I went into the yard to trim the trees. Just a few of the lower sagging limbs to give the grass underneath a little light. Did the pear tree. Did the cherry. Then I moved to the Japanese maple at the corner of the house. Cut one tiny little branch. Heard a loud buzzing in my ears and felt something brushing around my head. Swatted at what I figured was a big fly. It didn't scare, but came at me even more aggressively. Uh-oh. That got my heart rate up right away. Where did this clown come from and what was he so mad about? We often have bees - honeys and bumbles - around, pollinating the flowers, but they pretty much leave us alone if we don't mess with them. Anyway, I swatted at him again, and again. Still he came. Then he had company. Then I felt the stings. Left arm, right arm. I'd knocked my glasses off my face and had run to the patio, where I imagined I'd be out of range. Nope. There was still at least one trying for an opening. Mrs. Dave heard what were apparently my little girl screams and was trying to open the door. I'd come from around the garage side of the house and the back door was still locked. One of those sliding doors (Did you know they call them "door walls" in Michigan? Weird, I know.) with a second lock near the floor. That took precious seconds while my enemy penetrated my defenses and jabbed me in the neck. B@$#@&D!! The door finally opened after what seemed to me 3-4 hours and I tumbled onto the family room carpet. Mrs. Dave saw the attacker still on my neck, brushed him off and stomped him. The first casualty. I had three stings. The one on the back of my neck, one above the left elbow on the inside of my bicep, and another a couple of inches above the right wrist. Lucky there were only those, I guess. Put some ice on them and then realized that my glasses were still outside, no doubt on the grass where I'd been trimming branches. Seemed to me that the 30-40 feet between the patio and the area where I'd been attacked was far enough that I could go have a look and even avoid the flyers while I retrieved them. Nope. I only made a few steps off the patio when I heard and saw something at me. It was like he'd been waiting for me. And he was huge. He looked like a crow, I swear. It was big and black and headed directly AT MY FACE! I tried to duck but it was too late - or maybe just in time. He hit me right below my left eye near the bridge of my nose. The sting was instant, although I did get some satisfaction from making him the second casualty of the skirmish. Back inside. We could see my glasses on the ground, half way between the cherry and the maple. We could also see this, about ten feet in the air, with who knew how many big black fliers circling menacingly around my ladder and both trees.   Oh. Freaking. Em. Freaking. Gee. So much for trimming the trees this weekend. Interesting (not going to say "funny" here), I'd spent the previous two days watering the grass, mowing and digging out another tree stump in the back yard, some of that work exactly there under that thing with no idea that this mammoth-sized bug condo was hanging just a few feet above me. I'm not one to interfere with the creatures of this world. I know they have vital functions to perform in the circle of life and deserve to live out their existence free from the depredations of man. But this is my back yard. There are billions of acres on the planet far enough away from humanity for wasps to build nests and do whatever it is they do. Not in my house. And they came at me first. There are only a couple of options for this type of campaign. I had what I thought was a full can of wasp killer from another nest that I'd had in the front yard a few years ago. That one was near the sidewalk and I had concern for the neighborhood kids who walked nearby. It seemed pretty easy as I remembered it. But if they were patrolling the whole yard, how was I going to get at them? The instructions said to wait for dusk when they were the least active. But my glasses! I waited for several hours, wearing my contact lenses that I usually only use for running nowadays. Every time I looked through the window they still seemed pretty excited. Later that afternoon I thunderstorm came through and that seemed to settle them down. I sprayed at them from an upstairs window, but maybe because of the age of the can or maybe I'd partially emptied it on that other nest, it only gave me a few seconds before petering out. So off to The Home Depot for reinforcements. I was able to give them a decent soaking, but it wasn't as thorough as I'd remembered doing the last time. You' supposed to wait until the next day to make sure you catch any stragglers who might have been away from home when you sprayed the first time. So I stayed inside until Saturday morning, then went out to check. I guess I expected to see a pile of carcasses on the ground under the tree. What I found was big black bugs flying in and out and around the football-sized thing hanging in the air. Not dead. Not crazy and swarming all over like the day before, but definitely not dead. They must be made of harder stuff. Anyway, since the bugs insisted on surviving, I decided to get a bigger gun. Back to HD where I bought the biggest gun I could find. That's right - PRO. I was now a professional killer. What's that you say? Chemical weapons were banned by the 1925 Geneva Convention? The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention ban (signed by 165 countries) prohibits the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. Sue me. This time the stream was strong and solid. I soaked the nest from two sides, then went upstairs and gave it another shot from above. I let it soak through the day and checked it again after work, PT and my run on Tuesday. This time - like an attack by the Dread Pirate Roberts - there were no survivors. The war is over. I won.

Dave

Dave

 

Predicting Times

As you know, I race a lot. 309 road races so far to be exact. And I usually go into a race with a goal time, and a pretty good prediction of what I think I can do. Most times I come out pretty close to what I expect. But having just read this book:         Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance   I did some thinking about that.  Am I running close to predicted times because of my knowledge and experience? Or is my prediction causing me to run that time? For example, if I predict my 5K will be 20:20 instead of 20:50, and then adjust my race strategy for that time, am I more likely to run faster? Despite my experience telling me 20:50 is what I am capable of right now?   So this week I ran a Mile race on the track. The last two years I aimed for sub 6 and ran 5:52 and 5:59. This year I had convinced myself, based on many track workouts and runs with slower paces than usual, that sub-6 was out of reach. I was talking about going out at 6:20 pace with a goal of running 6:10-6:15. I considered going out at 6:00 pace to be suicidal. Race day came and one guy said he was running 6:00 pace if anyone wanted to pace off of him. (He was capable of faster).  I didn't give it much thought. I would run my race and see how far away the pace group would be. So off we went and I slipped into my usual spot in the group. There was about 30 people racing, from 4:50 pace to 9 minute pace. I glanced at the Garmin after 100m and it said 6:10 pace. Yeah I got this pacing thing down. First lap was 92 and it felt perfect. Hard but manageable. The 6:00 group was about 8 people in a bunch just ahead. I maintained. Lap two I caught a few people who went out too fast. But the group was pulling away from me. I let them because this was plenty hard enough thank you. Second lap 94 for a 3:06 1/2. Lap 3 is about ignoring the pain and pushing hard not to lose momentum. A few people were falling off the pace group and I caught some which helped me stay motivated. Lots of huffing and puffing and grimacing but the end was near now. 93 for lap 3. I still felt OK and tried to find another gear and get everything I could out of the last lap. Not a whole lot left however. I caught one more guy as my legs tied up and riggy kicked in. The last straight was just surviving and trying not to stumble. I think spit was coming off my mouth and my eyes were glazed. Finished at 6:10 for a 91 last lap. So. My splits tell me I maximized my potential. I didn't have an 85 left in me. I gave everything and 6:10 was my best on this day. Or was it? What if I had gone out at 90? Could I have held on and still been able to finish strong? Or would I have died early and fallen off the pack like some of my friends? I was spent at the end. But it wasn't the worst I've ever felt. I'm sure a few more seconds could have been had. Anyway, it's fun to ponder. Still happy with the 72% age-grade. But I'm already planning to assault the mile again maybe in December. This time I will go in telling myself I can do sub-6. The body follows the brain. Back to marathon training...  

BANGLE

BANGLE

 

Week 4 Complete: Shin Splints?

I started not feeling well last Thursday after my sweltering run-club run, and didn’t start feeling better until Tuesday. I’m sure the heat and running in the smokey haze didn’t help, but it turns out that Aunt Flo came for a visit a week early; that explains not feeling well. Also, my right shin has been hurting quite a bit in the last week and I was hoping it was something that would just go away. The intensity has been getting worse and worse, and I’ve been worried it could be something bad. I haven’t gone to see a PT yet, because from the symptoms I’m having, I think it may just be shin splints. Monday: I ended up staying home sick this day. I’d had a headache for three days and it just wasn’t letting up. I stayed on the couch, catching up on OITNB. Tuesday: I felt much better this day and was supposed to run hills. I decided to run after work because the high was only going to be 73. However, my shin hurt all day and I decided to just rest another day. I also started putting ice on it, which made it feel better when I woke up Wednesday morning. Wednesday: Barbell Strength- I sat down with my morning coffee and iced my shin some more. Since I missed my favorite cross-training class on Monday, I stayed after work to go to the class. There was a different instructor for this class and she kicked my ass! Thursday – Saturday: Ugh, I rested all these days. My shin wasn’t getting any better, and I knew I’d be running the race on Sunday, no matter what. I just wanted to ensure I’d be toeing the start line on my birthday. I iced it twice a day every day, and I think that has helped. Sunday: I’m writing up a race report for my race, which will be posted soon. Spoiler: It went well  Thanks for reading, Chris

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