For some of you, I still have a presence here, cuz I like your blog posts and comment when I manage to find something relevant to say. I haven't posted much because there isn't much running-related to post about. If I'm being honest, work and merging my life with someone else's has taken up quite a bit of my time. And Mary Jane has been relatively silent, so there's not much to talk about there.
So it's like, what the heck do I talk about?
Looking back at 2018, I had one big running-related accomplishment and that was getting a 3-4 minute PR in the half marathon. Ever since then, I've wondered how much I can improve on a marathon time. I mean, the one time I did a marathon, I was running with a bad hip and thinking I could never finish one. And then I did, and ever since then I've sort of wondered, can I do better? I suppose that's how it works.
ANYWAY. Lots going on in 2019. A few major expenses are popping up, like, you know, a wedding, so I can't go too crazy. But here are the things I'd like to accomplish in 2019 (both RR and NRR).
1. Get married with minimal sad/frustrated/angry tears. But happy tears are okay.
2. Find the perfect waterproof mascara to successfully manage the crying part. Recommendations welcome!
3. Run another 5K PR in the spring. I took advantage of extreme early bird pricing for a 5K a few weeks before the wedding. Hoping for a 90-ish second PR, which means a lot of work and dedication to healthy eating (not necessarily weight loss, just fueling with good food).
4. Finish two more half marathons. My company participates in the local corporate challenge every year. Usually I do the 5K, but this falls on the same day as the wedding, so I have been considering signing up for the half marathon. A free race? Why not, says I?
5. Submit an audition tape for SURVIVOR. The future hubs and I went to an open casting call earlier this year ( SO FUN), but haven't heard anything. So, I'm committing to submitting a full audition video, cuz why the heck not? And if Jeff Probst doesn't call me, then I'm onto #6
6. Finish another marathon. Probably the last one, cuz #7.
7. Start a family. We are both older, we aren't sure if it's possible to create a family on our own, but we will find out! And yes, I know people with young kids train for and finish marathons ALL THE TIME. But I'm okay with challenging myself with 5Ks and maybe the occasional 6.2 to 13.1-er. Maybe I'll be that lady that wins the geezer age groups at all the local 5Ks! Gonna make that a goal.
8. Work towards being the lady that dominates the geezer age groups.
What is one of your running-related goals and one of your non-running related goals for 2019?
2018 Photo dump:
Hiking in Moab
I'm holding on for dear life; the future hubs is laughing hysterically.
Post-race party at this year's family 5K.
Engagement photos: (by Morgan Miller Photography)
Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (did not do a race report, sorry)
My running has been sucky. Everything in the lower legs has been hurting, so I took an off season after my October race.
But I never wrote about Wineglass. No excuses. My company banned Loopsters at work, and that was usually my lunchtime activity. But I still could have made the effort.
Anyways, Peg and I met in Corning to pace Aubree to a shiny new PR in the half. Unbeknownst to Peg, she was really pacing me. My pacing plan is usually to follow a person or group of people who look like they know what they are doing, then run as hard as I can at the end. So I was the biggest loser of a pacer when Peg asked what I had for a pace in the first mile. I had no idea.
I had never paced anyone before, so it was fun running alongside Aubree as she crushed it despite her repeating that she couldn't do it. The 1:45 group was about a minute in front of us, and we were way ahead of pace. I decided that Peg was a much better pacer than that dude.
A big kick by Aubree and Peg's primal scream finished a sprint down Market Street and more Wineglass Loop magic. 7:00 PR for Aubree.
6 days later was my season ending race. A 6 hour event at the local park. I had never done a fixed time race and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable races I've run. You get a real sense of how the speedy runners suffer just as much as the mid packers. You get to run with people of all abilities as you pass people and get passed. I got 25+ miles on a fun little loop with a few little hills and some rocky paths.
Not much since then. Just trying to get things feeling normal. Starting to ramp things heading toward the 50k in April. For those heading to Jersey on 4/28, you're welcome to stop by for a shakeout the day before.
We're almost to solstice, so it's time to wrap up another year of running.
2018 was a good year, but also a step back year. I set another new old man PR for mileage. I'll go over 1,500 on Saturday for the first time since 1980, and probably finish around 1520 miles. On the other hand, I only ran 7 races. That's the first time I haven't run at least ten since 2006, and down from the 14 or so I ran most of the last eight years. Definitely lost a little bit of the fire to keep getting out there.
In 2018 I was basically focused on two marathons. LA in March went great as I posted a 3:33 and got my 3rd BQ. New York in November was lots of fun too. I was happy to get a 3:46 and enjoy the experience. The rest of the races were basically for fun.
In between and since it's mostly been about managing injuries. Ever since LA, my left knee has been problematic - always annoying, but never so bad that I had to quit. Rest didn't seem to help. Training didn't seem to make it worse. So I managed to do a whole marathon cycle on it. But now it is worse than ever, even after most of a month off. Bleh. Not sure whether to push it with weight training or baby it. I suppose I could get professional advice... Meanwhile I'm signed up for Boston in under 4 months so it's time to start running more miles...Taking it a week at a time for now. I suppose I'll stick with the training plan as long as I can. After April it may be time for a long break...
Meanwhile my right ankle is now bothersome. My right buttock/hamstring still acts up occasionally. And my elbow has been sore for 8 months too. It started hurting after a long day of golfing and pulling a golf cart, and it never got better. Stupid old age. Getting tired of waking up with so many sore spots. But mainly it's the knee. Can't keep it bent (sitting) for too long without needing to straighten it out. Running on it isn't so bad, but it throbs after. So I take Advil.
Anyway, 1500+ miles! Can't be too unhappy. I'm enjoying my running groups and the social aspects. Still feel pretty good after most runs. Plus everything else in life is pretty smooth. Life is good.
Happy Holidays to all my Loop buddies out there. Still so happy we found this place and I can count on a hundred or so people around the country I can drop in on for a run.
Shamrock pricing was going to be going up on December 16 so I really started looking into lodging and flights. Little did I know but VA Beach isn't the easiest place to fly into/near, and since it's a holiday weekend, all the flights are much more pricey than normal - even my trusty Frontier! And even out of DCA! The hotel and flight alone was going to be close, if not over, $500. I'd been trying to win a race entry all week but it would still be too expensive even if I did win. I just can't justify it. I had no idea that would be an issue, probably because all the times I ran there previously, I lived on the east coast and drove. No Shamrock in 2019 - I will have to wait to run that one again when I'm living back east.
Luckily, just days ago, some of the Loopsters were talking about the Novo Nordisk New Jersey 26.2, which takes place on 4/28. I had thought about running this one AND Shamrock, but now this will be my PR goal marathon! That means I get a whole extra month+ to train! I'll always take that. My upcoming two week holiday vacation was really going to throw off my training plan, but now it will only be a week - totally manageable.
In training news, I was worried about my shin going into Rehoboth but I had NO issues! I wasn't really sore after the race either except in the soleus of both legs. I haven't done any cross training this week because of my schedule and I won't be doing much for the rest of the year since I'll be gone! Boohoo! I do plan to upgrade to a Black Card at Planet Fitness just for this month so that I can use the one in my hometown.
Last week's training was pretty uneventful:
Monday - Wednesday: REST - I didn't really want to rest this long but it just happened. I traveled on Monday (a looooong day) and woke up with a cold on Tuesday. I had planned to go to barbell class on Wednesday but I had to work late.
Thursday: Threasy - I needed and wanted some activity so I ran a few mile when I got home. I'd been in a class all day so that was my only option. My soleus were SUPER sore after this run and I was waddling around the house!
Friday - Saturday: Rest aka Lazy - My motivation was pouting all week. It always does the week(s) after Rehoboth. I kept telling myself that I needed to get moving but I didn't listen.
Sunday: Long Run - I left the house planning to run 5-6 miles and ended up running 8, at a 8:59 average pace. I felt really good and wasn't even looking at my watch. If that pace is starting to few like my easy pace, should I really be running that? My shin was a bit sore afterwards so I think that means I need to slow it down. I really should be running long runs no faster than a 9:15 pace. I never thought I'd have to force myself to slow down.
New Jersey 26.2 training starts 12/24 so I'll check back in after that.
Happy Holidays, friends!
First month of marathon training, complete!
Monday: Barbell Strength
Tuesday: PM Spin – I had a REALLY bad day at work. Too many things happening at once sent me into a tizzy, to the point of almost crying. I was really looking forward to spin class after work and knew I was going to push it hard. I started warming up about 10 minutes before class started and then never slowed down once it started. Even during recovery tracks I was pushing it. I ended up with almost 15 miles (I typically average around 13) by the end of class and felt so refreshed afterwards! Exercise does the body SO good.
Wednesday: REST – I hadn’t planned to stay for PM Barbell Strength because I was going to head straight home to pack for Rehoboth. I was going to have a long day on Thursday and knew I wouldn’t have much time to pack. I thought I might get in a few miles, but I’d started noticing my shin, just when walking around again – nothing painful but achy with every step. Ugh. I knew the speed was going to catch up with me but I just couldn’t slow myself down in those moments of feeling amazing. Also, I don’t know why I haven’t been wearing the compression socks that I own, especially on the long runs. Hey, here are these expensive socks I bought that I only need to wear when I’m injured. Come on, Chris! I had definitely planned to wear those for the race on Saturday, and I did.
Friday: TRAVEL – REST (I rested Sunday too, in case you’re keep track)
Saturday: Rehoboth 13.1 – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The Rehoboth House
Although I had a GREAT run, it was mostly uneventful which is why I’ve included the race report into my weekly recap. The trip to Rehoboth was smooth and most of us had dinner together at the house Friday night. We were luck enough to get the same, awesome house as last year. Like last year, I didn’t sleep much Friday night – mostly because I was in a new bed and I just couldn’t shut my brain down. The race started at 7am and I got out of bed around 5:30. I’m never really hungry that early but I forced myself to eat a fig bar – same thing I ate last year that worked really well. The goal was a course PR – anything better than 1:47. The sub-goal was a 13.1 PR – anything better than 1:42.
Road trip from DCA!
It was cold at the start but not unbearable. I was actually surprised that it didn’t feel colder to me. I was expecting upper 20’s there to be much colder than upper 20’s in Colorado. I had on tights, compression socks, a Buff, thin gloves, a thin long-sleeved shirt, and that new thin Nike windbreaker that I blogged about recently. I didn’t overheat in it this time.
I was going to let myself take off fast and just go with it. However, I was surprised when the first mile chimed in at 8:18 – it felt much faster than that. I picked it up. Miles 2-4 came in at 7:55, 7:40, and 7:36. I had really picked up the pace between miles 3 and 4 because I saw some of my buds and wanted to catch them before the half and full split. I was successful and was able to holler at Mr. Bacon and Randy right before they split off.
The tights I was wearing were brand new and I’d just bought them from Athleta. They were the softest tights I’d ever run in and they were amazing. EXCEPT, my effing FlipBelt kept riding up and was all the way up around my abdomen! It was pissing me off so I decided to take it off and carry it. The rest of the way. With my damn iPhone in it (and I didn’t even use it). Ugh. This caused mile 5 to slow to 8:02. Miles 6-7 were 7:50 and 7:56 and I was really proud of the pace I was keeping.
Around mile 8, we enter a park and start running on a dirt trail. I really love this part but didn’t realize how much it slowed me down until I started looking at the splits. I was also feeling the speed by that point and was losing some juice. Mile 8-10 were 8:09, 8:19, and 8:20. I don’t remember which mile this occurred but I got right beside another girl and she let out the biggest burp ever! It made me giggle but she apologized. I let her know that it was impressive and that I appreciated it (and that she didn’t get anything on me). Unfortunately, I didn’t encounter many characters to report on. Besides the incredibly hairy, almost naked man with the Viking hat on… I saw him at the beer tent afterwards and got a pic.
At mile 11, I knew I was going to be exiting the trail soon so I picked it up as much as I could. I also got beside a guy and started chatting with him, who told me he was trying to finish with a sub 8 average pace. That’s where I hoped to be (that became a C goal mid-race) but I was sure I didn’t have it in me. I was giving it all I had without burning out before the finish. He took off ahead of me and I never caught him. Miles 11-13 were 8:07, 8:08, and 8:05. Official finish time: 1:46:01 – COURSE PR!
While the B and C goals would have been cooler, I met my A goal and I am so happy and proud of myself! I have come a LONG way in the last year and a half and I shouldn’t be anything less than proud. Rehoboth continues to be a magical race and is certainly my favorite. Ever. Sorry, Shamrock – at least you’ve got the PRs! Each year I am incredibly inspired and amazed by the performances of my other running buddies. I was able to stand at the finish line and cheer in some of them. Caitlin – who was just shy of a BQ but who got a massive PR instead. Carissa – who’d been in a boot a couple times this and STILL got a BQ. Randy – this guy had a ruptured achilles a year ago and finished the freakin’ marathon! – a 3:33 too! Finally, there’s Mr. Bacon (aka Prom King) who barely trained and still ran a 3:28. If those people can’t inspire you, get the fuck outta here.
I miss Rehoboth already and am already looking forward to going back next year. This time, the goal WILL be a 13.1 PR. Yeah, baby!
I miss you guys already!
Happy Friday! Today is my one year anniversary! No, not THAT anniversary (I’ve been married for 14 years now). It’s the anniversary of that time I ruptured my Achilles tendon in a basketball game. I’m telling you, the injury was life changing.
Ben and I at the hospital. That little elf made me feel much better about it.
So one year later, here we are. I’m back to running. I’m back to marathoning. I’m even back to basketball! I said I’d PR a race within six months of being fully back to running. That didn’t quite happen. I might run a fast 8k today just to get that PR. Anybody know of one?
All in all, everything feels pretty normal now. It’s even normal enough to run a marathon now, which is what this post is REALLY about! WARNING: It’s gonna be load and detailed. Look away, non-runners. Hehe.
I had plans to run a few days of easy 3-4 milers the week of the race. I ended up running a 1.2 mile run before quitting and another 3 the next day. That was it. My beat up hip/quad were scaring me. I figured the miles weren’t going to get me more ready, but they certainly might have hurt me. Normally, I’d have been FREAKING OUT about skipping a bunch of runs, but not this time. I guess I had a calmness that goes with not trying to qualify for Boston, or PR, or anything really.
Rehoboth Beach is about 6.5 hours away from Lynchburg. I planned on running 2 miles to shake the travel off of my legs, but I had 2 beers instead. I blame the company that I chose to keep.
The morning of the race, I always wake up pretty early. Rehoboth’s start time is 7am and I was up by 5am. This doesn’t seem THAT early but since we had about an 8 minute walk to the starting line and there isn’t much of a crowd to fight through, it was MORE than enough time. I decided to do things a little differently than in the past. Generally I eat something, but I keep it to a minimum. This time around I FEASTED. I had a peanut butter bagel, a banana, a BCAA drink and a cup of “from the hip” coffee (thank you, Mr. Bacon). I figured if God blessed me with an iron gut I should take advantage and load up!
The weather was set to be COLD (like sub 30) so there was much confusion about what to wear. As my running buddies know (mostly YOU, Alissa), I tend to overdress for these occasions. I rolled with shorts with compression socks and a short sleeved shirt with armsleeves. I had a Buff on my head, pirate style to match my pirate shorts. I dressed for mile 20 and not mile 0. I hope you’re proud of me!
I DO wanna be a pirate!
Several of us started out together and then we all sort of branched out and did our things. I ended up running a ton of the time with Mr. Bacon and Carissa. The first few miles were right on pace with my goal, which was to run. I felt very comfortable, other than the nagging discomfort in my quad that I’d been avoiding all week. Amazingly, it wore off after the first 4-5 miles or so. The rest paid off (I think).
Around mile 8, I definitely warmed up and was feeling good. The pace noticeably sped up. At mile 16 I was feeling GREAT. I started the countdown from 10 in my head (I hear that works, Mai) and was thinking about the great 10k that I was going to finish with. Then mile 20 came. I finished up all of the Gu and caffeine I had left (I needed more). Mr. Bacon stayed with me, even though he had more left in the tank. He ran a GREAT race despite being unprepared. I finally talked him into leaving me behind shortly after.
Miles 20-24 were the typical craptastic miles that they always are. I maintained better than I have for some marathons but clearly I slowed down. There were some short walks. Honestly, I was SO HAPPY at this point knowing I was definitely going to finish that my motivation to push through kind of ran out. I mean after all, I ruptured my freakin’ Achilles.
The last couple of miles come back into town and it’s like a little victory parade. I saw several people that had come in from the half and were there to cheer us on and that really helps. I ate some Red Vines (not Twizzlers) that somebody awesome had a bucket of.
I seem to be happy enough. I’ve looked worse.
I saved enough energy to enjoy the amazing beer tent and post-race festivities. Don’t ask me how. I guess you just have to want it badly enough. For dinner I had TWO meals at the same time, a steak wrap and a kid’s chicken tenders with fries. They were like the best chicken tenders I’ve ever had, but there were only TWO. Come on, man!!!
This is my Rehoboth experience in photos.
Sunday morning I gathered myself together and drove six nine hours (thank you, snowstorm) home to Virginia. I was EXHAUSTED but so thankful that I got through the storm and got to see and hug my wife/kids. I really wasn’t sure I’d make it. The roads were SCARY.
I really don’t feel too awful for having run all those miles when I was already not feeling great. I’m going to run tomorrow and see how it feels.
I’ve had faster marathons and I’ve had slower ones, but this one will ALWAYS be special. When we’re young we feel invincible. That feeling doesn’t die until you’re knocked to the ground. Getting back to this makes me feel a little bit invincible again.
I had no horse in the race. I had a BQ for 2020. Even a course PR seemed unlikely given the wobbly weeks leading up to the week.
And truth be told, I just wanted revenge on last year’s race. My only expectation was to feel in a good place mentally for most of the race. Last year, I went out hard, hoping for a new PR. Instead, I succumbed to the demons mid-race and struggled to find that drive until the last 10K.
Rehoboth has been good to me every year though. And I often let the thought trickle into my brain that the worst possible thing that could happen would still mean I’d be surrounded by my favorite internet weirdos in the beer tent when finished.
As we discussed our plans (or lack thereof) on Friday, I said I wanted to find the 3:25 pacer on race morning. Randy, Eric, & Ken all discussed pacing Caitlin and I wavered on helping myself. I didn’t want to put any undue pressure on her to stick with anyone or be unnecessarily distracted.
We left around 6:40 a.m. on race morning for the 7:00 a.m. start - another reason I love this race and the awesome house location Caitlin has secured the past 3 years. The weather was perfect. Cold, no wind, and sunny skies to follow. I was actually okay in my shorts, tank, arm warmers, and throwaway hoodie. Looking around, I didn’t see the 3:25 pacer and ultimately decided that maybe I would just stick with the Loop pacers and see what transpired.
For a short while the pace team ran with John and Abby who were racing the half and then we all kind of got lost in the shuffle until we reached the turnaround. Ken and I ran shoulder to shoulder for awhile, keeping the pace around 8ish and then slowly I started to drop into the 7:50s. I peeled off my hoodie near the first water stop, warmed up with a couple of miles on my legs.
Once we hit the trail portion, I began to play leapfrog with Eric and Randy. I don’t know if any of us were being intentional with our pace swapping, but it was kind of nice to share the work as we worked our way across the trails. Because I was not so focused on a time goal this year, I actually took the time to look around and really soak in the morning, feeling pretty lucky to be doing the thing I love.
The Vaporfly is not a great shoe on the trails so I was relieved to get onto the pavement where I could finally feel some pop in my step. It felt good to be cruising with the gas pedal a few inches away from the redline.
I slowly gapped the pace team for a bit, pulling up closely with a group of runners who were talking and running 7:50s steadily. As we reached the first major turnaround, I looked forward to seeing Loopsters out on the course - though somehow I only managed to see Steve.
As I headed back towards the park, Randy and Eric caught back up with me. It was good to have company again, even if I was just jamming out to my music and letting them jabber at random. We played leapfrog once again and clipped off some 7:30s on the trail section on the way back. Sensing that was a bit too aggressive, too early, I tried to stick to the back of our little pack.
Once we hit the road and headed into town, mile 16 started to swallow runners up. It certainly was wearing on my own legs, but there was no acute pain or distress and I told myself to just stay strong between the ears. Maybe it was Demi Lovato’s “Confident” coming on at the right time, but I started to push a little harder as we crept back to town.
Two runners ahead of me were clearly feeling strong and I kept them in my sights as we passed the finish line area and got wooed at by the Loopster cheer squad. I wasn’t really slowing down at this point, but the 7:50s started to get a little tougher. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I probably had an hour’s worth of running to do. I can run for another hour.
Freshly inspired on the trail section by the first few marathon runners, I just told myself to get to the last turnaround with enough left in the tank to push hard for the final miles. At this point, I wasn’t really sure where any other Loopster marathoners were, but I was super happy to see Jill & Sara all smiles wrapping up their final of the half.
I took my time to grab Gatorade at the last stop before the final turnaround and then rallied to get to that point where I just had to hold on. Checking my watch, I could see that I had a comfortable cushion to stay under 3:30 if I didn’t fall apart.
After tapping the mat at the turnaround, I saw that Eric was maybe 30 - 45 seconds behind me with Randy and Ken not too close behind him. In years past, I have felt pretty strong in the flag section and this time, it would be best described as steady. I wasn’t fading hard, but I also wasn’t speeding up either. Just cruising (and pretending like marathons aren't hard).
I saw Caitlin ahead of the 3:40 group (which at the time I thought was the 3:30 group) and gave her a shout, followed by Steve who looked happy and cruising, and then Angie, who was crushing it!
Coming off the trail and onto the road, I was starting to feel bonkish. My vision narrowed and I began to argue with myself over just getting it done and pushing versus not caring about the time and relaxing. I bypassed the last water stop, trying to maintain my stride and focus on finishing strong.
Past mile 26, I high-fived the cheer squad and saw the finish chute was mostly clear - a great time to execute a jump finish!
3:26:21! 12th female & 3rd in the 35-39 age group. I was handed a heat sheet and a medal and then promptly went behind the bushes near the finish line and puked. Shortly thereafter, I stood at the finish line, waiting for Eric, Randy, Ken, and Caitlin to finish their
races, high-fiving, fist-bumping, and hugging as they came through.
The rest of the day and night included shenanigans as usual - the real reason I go run a marathon in Rehoboth Beach every December.
I've been feeling decidedly media unsocial lately, to the extent that I had thought about not even writing this RR. I guess along with all the other skills I've never developed, I'll never develop the real hermit skills I need to disappear from the Loop or Loopville completely. I'm also pretty much a slave to tradition, and I've been writing about my running long enough now that a race feels incomplete without reliving it here. Not feeling the joy, though, so you aren't likely to find anything especially humorous. But it was a race and I ran it and I'm going to write about it, so grab a cup and settle in for whatever time you can stomach.
After the year that has been 2018 (and I do plan - unenthusiastically perhaps - on recapping this whole disaster of the last 365 days), I wasn't on the fence about returning to the Delaware beaches for the second year in a row. My decision was made late because I wasn't sure about my training, given the lingering pain from Louie's meniscus tear and the surgical repair. Last year it was a foot problem after San Francisco that had me sneaking in to the marathon in Rehoboth. HotPinkSneakers had kept that under wraps until I got there, hoping to repeat the fun of 2012 in the Twin Cities. This time that seemed too obvious.
But, after the slowest and most discouraging build up of my life, by late October I finally felt like maybe I had a half marathon in the old legs. I wanted a good double digit run to be sure, and that hadn't happened yet. Of course I also needed Mrs. Dave's approval of the finances. The house all the Loopsters were staying at was full, so I needed a place to stay off the street. I looked at flying Spirit to Baltimore like last year, then discovered that I had some miles in my Delta account that would let me go DTW to DCA for free. Airbnb had a house at a price not much more than the local hotels. This sort of came together quickly one Sunday evening, and I decided that if all three - fitness, flight, nest - were still available by the end of the week, I was going. I bumped into a neighbor who also runs during the week who told me this was a no brainer. Usually, that's the level of brains I use for decision-making, but I still waited for the weekend. Mostly worried about the knee.
Delta thanked me for being a frequent flyer. I don't consider myself a frequent flyer, although I've done a bunch more in the last two years than ever. Good flight, though, and I was traveling light, with just a backpack.
There were Loopsters at the airport - HPS, zamgirl5, gingersnapMKE - and it was a pretty short wait for RunEatRalph, who was making a long road trip from his place in VA, and had graciously volunteered to let a few of us pile into his wheels. The 2-1/2 hour drive from Reagan to the coast went pretty quickly. That Gingersnap can really talk. I can't, usually, but I said a couple of things that might have contributed. We stopped at a KFC for chicken tenders (Ralph and I were starving). We stopped in some other place for a few groceries for dinner. Once we got to Rehoboth, the rest of Friday was hanging out a little at the Dogfish Head bar, getting settled in the Airbnb with runningplaces9919, then making and eating dinner, and I mostly listened to the bigger and bigger group of Loopsters laughed and joked and I wondered if I was getting too old for this sort of gathering. But the food was excellent.
RP and I called it early and drove the mile to our house. We'd tried a practice run to the Loopster house to see what made sense for race morning - drive or walk. The main bridge was closed, so we couldn't scout the route very well and decided that a drive and park was the safest bet. The little house was perfect for two guys with no intentions to party.
Had trouble sleeping Friday night. Not normally a problem for me, but I was all nerves about the race and the knee and being with Loopsters after a long time. But eventually I dropped off and got a decent night's sleep. We were both up at 5:00. We didn't have the best parking, but it was within reasonable walking distance from the Loop house and the finish line. We gathered with the Loopsters and then walked to the starting line, just a few minutes before the start. Good thing, too, because it was cold. Just under 30o, which is a tough spot. Just on the border of whether to go with multiple layers. In the end, I had double shirts, shorts, double gloves and my trusty old Twin Cities headband. That turned out to be the perfect choice. I was cool most of the morning but never freezing, and never over heated.
Plan for the day: My A goal was 1:45, or 8:00 pace. I was a little scared of that because I hadn't had a decent tempo run and about half of my long intervals were weak on the back end. But I'd done 6 x 800s on Wednesday at almost 3:30, so I thought I'd give it a go. I basically cut my 2014 Marshall plan in half. First 5K easy (8:30, 8:15, 8:15), then a bunch of 8:00's, and hope to have a little left to push for the final 5K. No hills because Rehoboth, so all I had to do was get into a rhythm and it would be great. The plan almost worked.
Mile 1 was OK, at 8:38. I'd lined up behind the 3:40 pace group, forgetting that my slower start should have people passing me early. The first half mile I was seeing sub-8, so I dropped off some, even though I was a little in the way. Etiquette fail. But there were plenty of others slower than me and no one was really blazing the first mile weave, so I didn't feel too bad. Mile 2 was 8:18. Not perfect, but pretty close and no danger signs from the knee or from the ankle, which has been sort of bothering me the last couple of weeks. I haven't mentioned it, hoping it'll go away of course.
The I get to mile 3 with a 8:15. No issues. Didn't feel all wonderful or anything, but that kept me from trying to go faster, which was smart. Not that I'm usually smart. I was keeping y eyes open for Loopsters on the course, and saw ocrunnergirl after the turnaround. Just behind of me was a couple of guys, and one of them was a loud-talker. I could tell you all about their jobs and their wives and a bunch of other things except it would not doubt be as excruciating for you to read as it was for me to listen to. Sadly, they were very nearly at my pace and I knew I didn't have it in me to push any more. A woman had something go wrong with her watch about then, and Loud-talker made it his mission to settler her down and mansplain how she'd be OK and she shouldn't let it ruin her race and that everyone else had a watch if she needed to ask where her pace was. She apparently did have it in her because she took off and got as far away as quickly as she could. I hope she finished well. Mile 4 - 8:08.
This is where I figured that discretion would be the better part of valor and not panic about losing those 8 seconds. My effort felt about right. Pushing would only come back to haunt me later. And I hadn't had a sustained effort double digit run in over a year, so I had no confidence I could run down 8-10 seconds per mile for nine more miles. Head down and take it one mile at a time.
That next mile was 8:03. I never felt great the whole morning, btw. The race was a grinder and I just hung in as best I could. Running that 8:03 should have given me a boost, but it barely registered. Back through downtown and past the finish area I started looking for Loopsters again. Corc-o-rama and PearlGirl were spectating and I expected them around there, but missed them I guess. Then as I approached the bridge (taking the sidewalk to avoid the open grating that everyone hates so much), I spied aschmid and slow_running ahead of me. I was gaining on them, but since I wasn't hitting my 8:00s I hadn't planned on seeing them until a little later if at all. I slowed a little to stay with them for a little, but lost them when we turned onto the road that went towards the gravel path The road was open and they had the runners restricted to the bike lane which was barely wide enough for two runners. I went in front and they dropped off. I followed two women running side by side all the way to the path. I didn't have the energy to try swinging out around them, and that would have put me outside the cones unless I put on a good surge which I wasn't prepared to do anyway.
Anyway, with all that, Mile 6 was 7:54. Maybe I'd get a second wind and be able to push that last 5K after all. I haven't really had a chance to run with fuel this year, so I wasn't 100% confident about the Hammer Gel I'd brought with me. Normally I down one half way through a pikermi. The other thing I wasn't sure about was how easy it would be to get to it. The latest version of my C9 shorts don't have the normal pocket at the waist. There's a zippered one in the back. With the sand on the path making my footing sort of dicey, and my energy starting to flag a little, I lost 30 seconds for mile 7. 8:28.
But, after fueling up I just needed to wait for a few minutes to feel rejuvenated, right? Nope. Instead, my stomach decided to treat my heretofore trusty Hammer Gel like a foreign invader. It also happened that I was now behind Loud-talker and his buddy again. Fortunately, they were working harder and not talking as much, but it worried me some. I worried more about getting to the POP at mile 8. And it felt like I'd added ten pounds to each leg. Please get me to mile 8! 8:18.
The POP is at about mile 8-1/2. There was no line! Just a quick stop for business and I'd be good as gold again. Again, nope. I watched the watch that (still) has yet to be named count and count and count, while I tried to make sure there wouldn't be another pit stop when I came back through at Mile 10. One minute. Two minutes. THREE MINUTES! And I was finally on the trail again. So much better. Mile 9 counted out at 10:59, so it would have been one of the best of the day without the stop. The three minute break probably helped my last four and a half miles, I guess. So I'll take that little victory. Somewhere after that I saw NCAthlete coming back the other way. She was working and looking better than I felt (she always looks better than me anyway).
Some people love trails. I don't mind them if I'm not in a hurry. The little path through Ritter Park in Huntington is a Loop-Marshall favorite. Not mine. Nor is this part of Rehoboth. Last year I stopped more times than I can tell you to shake rocks out of my shoes. This time I avoided that somehow (dumb luck), but the top layer was just sandy enough that the footing was a few degrees away from slippery. Added stress I didn't need. I couldn't wait to get off that trail. I saw aschmid as I approached the turnaround. She and Slow_Running had of course passed me while I was in the POP. I called out but she didn't look very happy. Found out later she'd also stopped at the POP, and was on her way to make a second visit. Never did see SR. Mile 10 was 8:11. Not great again, but now I only had a 5K to go. Like I'd been afraid, there wasn't much more I could put into my pace, and I mostly hoped I wouldn't slow down a ton, although that's exactly what I wanted to do. Grind.
Mile 11 - 8:16. These were all supposed to be sub-8:00. Not this day. But I compared it to how it felt, which was more like 9:15, and also reminded myself that most of this year I hadn't been able to run at all. Didn't make me go any faster on that stoopid sandy path, but it kept my mind positive. I was actually running a race again, despite the fact that I really, really wanted to walk for 10-30 seconds. And the trail was ending, which was the best news of all. HoosierJill and SLCAthena were coming onto the trail, having way more fun than I was. My legs were feeling pretty dead, though, even after getting back on the road. 8:11.
On the grates going back over the bridge, which didn't suck nearly as bad as the trail. I was actually passing a few people along here, too. My brain was off and I was mostly making sure I stayed on the route. Would have been bad to get lost. It was at Mile 13 (7:46) that I finally saw Corc and Pearl. They gave me a cheer and I kept up my not-death march. I've felt way worse in races, so this was fine. Not comfortable, but pretty good all things considered. Final .1 (.19 per Garmin) @ 6:56.
Official time 1:50:46 (8:27)
3 mile split - 25:26 (8:25)
9 mile split - 1:17:28 (8:36)
Overall position - 337/1651
Men - 220/562
M 55-59 - 22/82 (just for fun, I would have been 6th in my next year's new AG)
Two miles (6 & 13) @ sub-8:00
Slowest miles - 1 (8:38 - planned) and 9 (8:28 - fumbling with Hammer Gel) (not counting the 10:59 Mile 9, of which 3 were spent stationary)
So, let me consider. First time training specifically for a half marathon. Ran zero miles for much of the year. Training was more or less spotty even after getting through the end of summer. Still getting older. 1:50 was my B-goal, so I can check that off. I'll also give myself an A for effort. Maybe it's just from not racing in so long, but I was never comfortable after the first three miles.
Now for an easy winter. I'll run if I'm not too busy, it isn't too cold and the sidewalks are mostly clear. I can plan a late spring marathon (May?). Maybe something early in the fall and Disney World in January, provided I stay healthy. That's the only bucket race I have left and I'd like to get it done sooner rather than later.
How's this for a race face?
Hey you! With the running injury. You identify so much as a runner that you are currently calling yourself an injured runner to explain your lack of running.
We know that every serious runner has been injured, yet that doesn't make it any easier when you're the injured runner. It's so easy to lose track of how it feels to be sidelined when you're not, no matter how many times you have been before. The hole in your daily life seems ever-present.
This wasn't your plan, and you may never embrace it or even get beyond disdain for it, but it isn't about that. It is about adapting to the new plan. God's plan is better than anything we could dream up, even though it often doesn't feel that way, especially for us Type A planner runners. When our plans don't work out, it's because He has better ones. Trusting that is hard no matter how strong your faith.
But faith also means knowing that tomorrow will be better than today. You'll be back there; never lose that faith. It may not be tomorrow, or the next week or month or even year - or without false re-starts and bumps in the road - but you will get there. Never stop fully believing.
It's okay if your belief falters sometimes though; don't feel guilty if this happens. It's okay to not be positive at all times. It's okay to mourn for the races you're missing. It's okay to be disappointed as the DNSs accumulate.
It's lonely. It's likely many of your closest friends are runners, and you're not seeing them as often since you can't meet to run, plus no one wants to talk about cross-training (including you!). Maybe not running makes you less energetic and social too. It's okay that as you become more and more excited about your friends crushing races, that you become more and more sad that you're not.
Other runners often say, "It's only running," but it's okay to disagree with that. Sure, it IS only running, but it overflows into countless other areas of your life.
People tell you to do the things that you avoid when you're training, but maybe you realize that you don't feel like you miss out on anything at all? You don't want to stay out late or have another glass of wine or go camping or skiing. You want your normal routine and passion back.
People will say "enjoy your well-deserved rest" and "your body needs a break". It's okay to roll your eyes when they turn away. They have the best intentions, but they don't understand.
It's okay to feel bad about how upset you are about not running. It's okay to think, "Who am I to be so distraught over this when so many people have so many bigger problems?" while simultaneously having a breakdown.
Big goals take big risks, and any time you are training for PRs you are riding the line between running your best and getting hurt. Take what you learned about yourself and move forward. Address your weaknesses; this will help your injury recovery plus it will also help your times later.
And finally, keep calling yourself a runner; you still are.
A runner with injury experience
*A couple of posts by others that really spoke to me during my injury can be found here and here.
**I wrote this while was injured, but didn't hit publish until I began running again. I had this fear that I might never run again and then what right did I have to tell anyone else who was injured anything? But I ran a glorious 64.8 miles last week!
I made this face most of the time I was injured
Fun Fact: This website is considered "adult content" at my work. I used to post on the Loop semi-regularly but then IT blocked the site, and well excuses...and here we are.
Quick background: This was my second marathon. My first was Arizona RnR Jan 2018 and I death-marched to a huge 28 min positive split, finishing in 4:38 (temp was 70’s and while I trained well, I did not fuel well).
I’ve been working with Coach K for about 3 years now, since I returned to running after having my son. She’s a friend and coworker so I’m spoiled a bit by talking to her about running almost daily and she’s able to tweak my plan accordingly. She’s had 9:40 as MP for all my workouts since Sept. My goal for the race was first and foremost to have fun and not die like I did at Arizona. Secondly, I thought I might be able to run somewhere in the 9:50-10:00 range but this was never really my focus. CIM had pacers at 4:05 (9:21 pace) and 4:20 (9:55 pace); 4:05 would be too quick so I planned to start with 4:20 and go from there. I will say training went great. No sickness, no injuries, no missed runs, workouts or long runs. And I had a RB for almost all the LRs which was awesome. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the slightly excessive amount of weight I magically gained over Thanksgiving week…
Friday: We flew to Sacramento as soon as my son’s school let out. He started Kindergarten in August and it’s still an adjustment to plan travel around a school schedule. Flight went well and we arrived at our hotel around 8pm. I had booked the hotel months ago so didn’t really remember much about it except it was close to everything. Well, it was a freaking awesome location. Our room faced the park and Capitol building which is where the race would finish. Runners would go right by the front of the hotel (around the 25.8ish point) and my husband could enjoy seeing the elites from the comfort of our room. Saturday’s 5K started right in front of the hotel as well. Walking out the back door of the hotel put you 10 steps from the Expo. Just perfect. Not perfect? The hotel wouldn’t respond to my late checkout requests until we got there. The stars aligned though and they said 1pm would be fine and no charge. OK then. Now I can de-stress (I’m someone who gets very anxious about logistics…). $70 (!!!) for a burger and 2 appetizers at the hotel restaurant and we headed to bed. DS was up 2 hours past his bedtime but was able to keep his shit together ok.
Saturday: I head outside for a 3 mile shakeout around 7am and sweet Jesus it’s freezing! And wet with more rain on the way. Run is beautiful as it’s basically the peak of Fall in Northern CA, all the trees are yellow, red and orange and still have most of their leaves. Coming from dry, brown San Diego, this is just gorgeous. I take it all in and try not to run too fast. Many roads are closed in preparation for the 5K (not starting until 11am) and there are tons of runners out doing a shakeout before the marathon. A runner’s paradise really. I return to the hotel to pick up my family, then we get the most delicious breakfast around the corner (and thankfully, not $70) then head to the Expo right after it opens. Super easy to get the bib and shirt. I buy 2 items of CIM swag, a jacket and t-shirt. This is an amusing/annoying story: it’s pretty busy at the clothes tables so I try the jacket on quickly (over my sweaty running clothes and a thick fleece); there’s a sale tag that says it’s women’s M. Great, this should work. Later, when I get to the hotel, I’ll realize the tag was wrong and it’s a men’s jacket so doesn’t fit awesome. Grrr. I also wanted a T-shirt and in the normal world, I solidly wear a medium but in the running world, I am huge so I ask the girl for a Large. She returns with a medium and XL but they don’t have L. I hold up what she said was the medium and it looks good so I take that. When I return to San Diego, I try on the shirt and think “wow, this is a nice roomy medium for once” Oh no, it’s the XL. So it’ll work but crazy that I need an XL to not have a skin tight belly shirt. Ok sorry, I’m getting lost in the details here.
We spend the afternoon walking around Old Sacramento, then come across an outdoor skating rink near the Sacramento King’s arena on the way back to the hotel. I’m not interested in hurting myself the day before the race but DH and DS have a blast. Pizza for dinner rounds out a nice day in a new city. The guys are in bed before 8pm but I stay up a little making sure everything is good to go.
Sunday: I sleep just ok, alarm goes off at 4:30 and I’m out the door at 4:40. It’s a 2 min walk to the buses which don’t start loading until 5am. I am near the front so get on one of the first buses, score! We don’t arrive at the Start until 6am. We can stay on the buses which is great to stay warm. It’s probably in the 30’s but I dressed appropriately. I get off the bus to find a POP around 6:10 and am thrilled at what I see: POPs as far as the eye can see! I’ve never seen so many. The first 50 have lines but you just have to go a little farther and there’s no lines. Awesome! I get back on the bus and relax for awhile. Around 6:40, I start getting ready (race starts at 7am) when I realize I should hit the POP once more time. When I hop off the bus there are lots of people everywhere and I freak out that I’ve waited too long! I head to gear check, keeping just my gloves and a throwaway long sleeve, then jog past 100 POPs with lines until I finally get to where there aren’t any. I’m in there while I can hear the national anthem and again freak out a little. I jog back to the start line (there were 2 corrals: one for sub 4 h and one for >4 h) which gives me plenty of time to work my way up to the 4:20 pacers and still have about 10 min to spare. I wore tank, shorts and arm sleeves plus gloves which is perfect. Coach gave me a rundown of the course a few days earlier but I basically forget it all and just remember: hill right after the start, rolling hills, biggest hill at Mile 11, no hills last 8 miles.
I run with the 4:20 group for the first 5K but it’s super annoying. Too many peoplee and I don’t feel like it’s really helping me because I keep slowing myself down. But I don’t want to get cocky and die, then watch them go past me. Screw it, I get in front of the group and then never think about them again. I aim for 9:40-9:50 pace but at the same time, I just keep things relaxed. I only check the watch here or there to make sure I stay out of the 9:20s (mostly). I’m not thinking about how many miles to go, just looking around at the beautiful fall scenery, reading signs, enjoying the atmosphere. Is it bad that I was hungry at Mile 2? I never once hit a hill where I thought “Oh crap, a hill”; just slight inclines that didn’t affect my pace really. To be fair, if this was a 5k, I would be telling a different story probably, but at my MP? I had trained on enough hills that I was barely noticing any of these. Not tons of people along the course but that was ok. It took until Mile 3 before I could feel my fingers and toes from the cold but otherwise, I felt great. I took off my gloves and carried them for maybe 2 miles before tossing them, thinking I was good to go. Oh, was I wrong! For a few miles (maybe around Mile 6?), just my right hand was cold but then both were numb. I put them in my arm pits at one point to warm up…which is how I first realized I was chafing there and it burned. Oops! My hands were getting colder and colder and it was bothering me more and more. Finally, around Mile 10 (maybe?) I picked up a pair of gloves off the street, ignored the fact they were slightly damp and probably covered in snot and wore them. Super gross but it did the trick and my hands weren’t cold again, haha I would end up keeping the gloves for probably an hour before tossing them.
I kept waiting for the biggest hill around Mile 11 but either Coach had mis-remembered (she’s run CIM twice though) or hitting the incline at my MP vs hers makes a big difference because I never found the hill. I wasn’t doing any math about time goals, just clicking off the miles and trying not to be too fast in the first half. I hit the 13.1 mat just as my watch showed 2:06:00 and this was the only time I thought about where I might be for a finish time. “Woah, that’s better than I expected” is all I thought.
Lots of interesting sights along the course including a golden retriever rescue group with a dozen of their cutest members, lots of kids to high five, and plenty of fruit, donuts, beer and tissues (tissues! I haven’t been a cold weather runner in ages and this was a godsend!)
It was around Mile 18 that I was still feeling great except starting to notice my quads being sore. I kept thinking “tomorrow will suck but not today”. I ran through The Wall at Mile 20 feeling strong and in control, but also ready to be done soon. My nutrition was great and I really felt strong for the entire race. I was drinking some water at most of the water stops and taking a Clif Blok energy chew with caffeine at all the odd miles. My only split that didn’t start with a 9 (mile 24) was because I grabbed an orange slice and walked a few steps to eat it. Really for the final 10K, I felt good endurance-wise, but my legs were protesting, feeling pretty stiff and sore.
Right at the Mile 25 marker, my watch display showed “low battery”, OH NO! I never let my watch get that low so I had no idea if that meant it would turn off in 1 minute or 30 minutes. The warning blocked the other numbers on my watch and I was afraid that if I tried to scroll past it, that would use too much battery and it would die even quicker. I know, I’m such a dork. But I didn’t touch any buttons and actually ran a bit faster, hoping I could finish before it died! I only saw my family when I passed our hotel so about 0.3 miles before the finish which was great. I told DH it wasn’t worth the hassle to Uber to earlier spots on the course, I’m used to running alone anyways.
4:13:00 !!! A 25 minute-freaking PR! When I visualized a best case scenario in my head, it was running 4:15 so this was awesome. If I didn’t have “low battery” staring back at me from the watch and realized I needed to run one second faster, I could have but oh well. Super happy with training and execution of this race. For perspective, when I first started working with my coach, I ran a 10K where my goal pace was 9:55 pace and here I am, about 2.5 years later running 26 miles at 9:40 pace. Crazy.
I was slowed down last week by Aunt Flo and I was really pissed that it took away that high that I’d been riding for weeks – I was afraid that it would be gone for good. However, that amazing long run that I had on Sunday brought it back!! And the high lives on…not THAT kind of high though. I’ve been in CO for 5 years now and STILL haven’t tried any gonja – no plans to do so either.
I was surprisingly NOT sore from the swift 13 miles that I ran on Sunday
Monday: Barbell Strength – Do sharks complain about Monday? NO. They’re up early, biting stuff, chasing shit, being scary – reminding everyone they’re a fucking shark. On Mondays, I feel like a shark. A bad ass fucking shark.
Tuesday: This is typically a 2fer day for me, however I think I’m going to have to revamp that. I knew I’d have to make some adjustments with all of this cross-training I’m doing. Since I take the barbell class at lunch on Mondays, I typically make up that long lunch by not taking a lunch on Tuesdays. It’s just not reasonably logistical for me to run and do spin on this day. I haven’t felt like getting up really early to run and I don’t have time to run before or after spin. So, I made a plan to run at lunch on Wednesday and do the barbell class in the evening.
Wednesday 2fer: 4 mile runch – It was 60 degrees during this run! I brought a t-shirt and capris but totally could have run in shorts. I also forgot my sunglasses and it got pretty windy during the second half – there’s no telling what I might have gotten in my eye. The Cherry Creek trail is convenient, but it’s super sketchy and kinda dirty. I haven’t had any pace goals for my shorter runs, other than to just run with what feels comfortable. I’m gettin’ faster y’all! I finished 4.3 miles at an 8:51/mile pace! Aww yeah! Soon, I hope to be able to say goodbye to 9 minute miles for all runs!
There is so much cool artwork to photo on this trail! I’m gonna try to get a new one each time!
Barbell Strength- My biggest reason for taking this class is to build strength from the waist up, so since I ran earlier in the day, I decided to take it easy on the legs during class. This was only the second time I’d taken the class two times in a week and I could definitely tell my muscles were feeling a little fatigued from Monday’s class.
Thursday: Belmar Run Club – I had 5 miles on the schedule and I hadn’t been to run club in a bit (like months), AND I was looking forward to having a burrito and a beer at Rocko’s afterwards. Guy Chris was there, and he usually arrives after we’ve already started. Chris is in his upper 50’s (I think) and is normally pretty fast – we always end up sitting by each other at Rocko’s and chatting. I started running with him and he proceeds to tell me that he’s also been battling shin splints. He ran with me for two laps, and I always run faster than intended when I’m running and talking to someone. I’ve been running primarily flat stuff and this route has a couple hills. By the end of the run, I could feel a sensation in my shin just a little – nothing worrisome but it was noticeable. I need to slow myself down a bit when running a route with hills. However, my plan for now is to only run flat routes, at least until I get stronger. Shamrock is super flat so there’s no need to run any hills right now anyway. I finished the run with an 8:40 average.
Friday: This is an optional rest day so I TOOK it! Gladly
Saturday: Long Run – I had 11 miles on the schedule, but hadn’t really thought about the fact that I was racing a half marathon the next weekend. I’ve been so adamant about sticking to the schedule that I hadn’t thought that it should be a cut-back week. So instead of 11, I ran 8. I didn’t feel like running the trails around my house but I also didn’t want to drive anywhere either. I ended up running around my house anyway and ran dirt trails for the first 2.5 miles, then the rest on pavement. I was trying my best to change it up and add some loops in, but it gets annoying when you get back to your starting point and you still have some to go. Anywho, it was a pretty uneventful run except for the fact that I can’t slow my ass down! I really should have ran this in the low 9 mins/mile and I really thought I was doing that. I ended up with an 8:53 average! GO! GO, Gadget Legs!
I have the Rehoboth 13.1 THIS WEEKEND! Holy cow!! So, I was curious as to how my training now compares with where I was at last year when I somehow ran an 8:11 average for the race.
Last November: 56 miles total for the month / Run paces averaged between 9:20 and 10:17
This November: 65 miles total for the month / Run paces averaged between 8:40 and 9:25
Since I totally don’t want to sandbag what I think I could run this year, is a DISTANCE PR out of the question?? I’m thinking NO! My 13.1 PR is 1:42:08 with a 7:47 average. I’m just going to keep that in the back of my mind while I’m running and just keep the main goal of a course PR in the forefront. I’m VERY excited to see what happens and an RR will follow so you will know as well! Since I know you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting… haha!
Thanks for reading!
I'll spell it how I want.
November 20 - 4 easy
November 21 - 2 x 2400. Quality runs have been all over the place this time. Rust from the injury maybe. Good runs always seem to be followed by bad ones. Tempo from Monday was especially hard, so I had low expectations for this one. Pleasantly surprised with it, though. 6:58 and 7:09.
November 22 - Mrs. Dave decided we were going to Seattle for Thanksgiving. I needed to meet Big Mac's latest (and most probably the last) beau. Traveling on Turkey day is surprisingly affordable as it turns out. And the later you can wait to book, the more affordable it becomes. Anyway, travel and food on Thursday, so no run.
November 23 - Ran down to the beach from the in-laws' house. 8 miles. 4 down and 4 back up. Took it easy by choice and necessity. Cool and windy, a few sprinkles because Seattle. Stopped at the beach for a couple of minutes to watch some kiteboarders. Everyone needs a hobby, I guess.
November 24 - Schedule had ten miles, and twelve next week. Decided to switch that and put the longer one a week farther out from race day. Not sure it mattered a ton, but felt like I was making an informed, intelligent, fact-based decision. Not used to that. South on the Inter-urban trail for 6 and back. Not nearly as steep as Friday, but the same sort of drop on the front half and climb on the return. A slow, grinder kind of run. Cut down the old dead cheery tree in front of the in-laws' house. It had grown over the years and since it didn't involve any power lines, the city wasn't interested in it. It had raised the cul-de-sac's feed from Comcast about 4 feet, though. A good wind storm probably would have sent it down onto someone's car or the neighbor's boat.
November 26 - Rained pretty hard all day, and Mrs. Dave had a long list of things to do before we returned to Detroit. No run. In keeping with the casual 2018 training approach, I didn't mention it while we were doing all the other stuff.
November 27 - Time for another ride on the struggle bus. Supposed to be 8 miles with 6 at tempo. Shooting for 8 minute miles. Miles 1-3 were 8:01, 8:08, and 7:46. So much up and down. It was also too warm, at 54o. Wore gloves and a LS - both were mistakes. Had to break after those first three, but that didn't help as much as I'd hoped. 8:49, 8:41, 8:53 for 4-6. At least the effort was there.
November 28 - Travel day. Going east is always worse with the added three hours from Pacific time. The plane had to return to the gate because they couldn't get the #1 engine started. Fortunately they were able to get it going and we didn't have to change planes. It was after 6pm when we finally got home, so the idea of a run wasn't at all palatable.
November 29 - Moved intervals to Thursday. 4 x 1600 at whatever I could do. Downloaded an old workout from GarminConnect, which turned out to be the wrong one, so had to guess a little with the laps for the third and fourth. 7:27, 7:42, 7:31, 7:34. Not as good as the 2400s from last week, but OK.
November 30 - Six slow ones. Felt sort of tired. Seems like I've heard that story before, too. It was a fair bit colder than I thought, too. Brr.
That made 145 miles for November. Most this year. Puts me at 465 YTD. I'll get to 500 by New Year's. First time since 2010 I haven't broken 1,000 miles.
December 1 - Ten miles. Heard there was a new church family moving in. Their house was exactly five miles from home, so I ran there, helped unload the truck and ran back. Tired coming back. Seeing a pattern. Feel like a wimp, tapering for a half, but three months ago I wasn't running at all. Perspective. I need to do better at managing my expectations.
November 2018 in Review
Total mileage for the month: 114.3 (95 on the AlterG treadmill) -- in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290, August - 357, September - 305, October - 10
Oct. 29-Nov. 4: 5 miles (all AlterG), 14:00 cardio cross-training, 2:40 strength training - which is a lifetime exercise PR week (yay?)
Nov. 5-11: 11 miles (all AlterG), 12:00 cardio cross-training, 2:20 strength training
Nov. 12-18: 36 miles (34 AlterG), 8:25 cardio cross-training, 2:00 strength training
Nov. 19-25: 26.2 (19 AlterG), 7:00 cardio cross-training, 2:15 strength training
Nov. 26-Dec. 2: projected at 51 (31 AlterG), at least 4:00 cardio cross-training, at least 2:20 strength training
Note: If you aren't familiar with the AlterG treadmill, I wrote about the it here, when I strained a tendon in January 2016 and used it during recovery (also the last time I took any time off running!). It is much easier than "real" running, so counting those miles in my weekly mileage felt like cheating, but I covered the distance so I counted it with an *.
Decorating our self-cut Christmas tree/bush in ugly sweaters & cozy pants
Nope. I missed the Bass Pro Marathon, which was slated to be my longest long run before the California International Marathon, as a pacer for a friend aiming for her first sub-3:00. I watched her win the race in 3:08, and watched three women I train with go 1-2-3 in the half. Although I had mixed feelings about going to spectate, I had a wonderful time seeing so many amazing runners who are also amazing people.
Nov. 8 - unstructured 6 mile progression run on the AlterG treadmill at 50% weight, starting at 6:58 pace and finishing at 6:00 pace (6:37 average). This wasn't planned, but this was the first day my leg felt pretty good on the AlterG and I couldn't help myself! Keep in mind that these paces at 50% body weight are much easier than "normal" running, but I figured at least it was practice with faster leg turnover. This was also the first day I felt like there was hope for my injury.
Nov. 14 - 6 mile tempo on the AlterG treadmill (5:40 pace) at 60% weight with 2 miles warm-up and 2 miles cool down, for my first double digit run since I got super injured in Indy! I decided to see if I could fit 10 miles into an hour session on the AlterG and was successful. Again, running on the AlterG is much easier than running outside, so I went by effort, although that is also deceptive because leg turnover, breathing rate, and heart rates don't coincide like they usually would. Afterward I found the table below that says it was about 6:25 effort (which I doubt), but at the very least, this had to be better for my fitness than the elliptical or spin bike!
Nov. 19 - unstructured 9 mile progression run on the AlterG treadmill at 65% weight in 51:40 (5:46 average pace). I didn't plan this one either but just kept cranking the pace down until I was at 12 mph (5:00 pace) for the final half mile. I don't even run strides quite that fast normally, so my legs aren't used to the turnover, but it's so much easier when the machine is supporting 35% of my body weight!
Nov. 28 - 11 mile progression run on the AlterG treadmill at 70% weight in 1:02:50 (5:43 average pace). This is supposed to convert to about 6:25 average pace real running, but after returning to running outside I don't buy that (the AlterG is cheating, for sure, hah). I started at 10 mph and upped the pace by 0.1 each song until I got to an hour of running, then cooled down to 11 miles, making for my longest run on the AlterG ever (yay??). I was working hard by the end so that's what matters I guess. There is a noticeable difference between running at 60% and 70% weight though - and a HUGE difference between 50% and 70%! Moral of the story: don't gain 25 lbs.
Full body strength workouts: I completed my full strength circuit twice per week and also did 10+ minutes of core work more days than not.
None really, but I ran several 10-11 milers on the AlterG. While it's not like running outside, it's better for my training than sitting on the couch! On December 1 I ran 7.2 miles outside and tagged it a "long run." I hope to get back to double digits outside on December 8 as long as my calf still feels 100%!
11 miles at 70%
Yes x 1 million...but less than in October!
The first half of this month was really hard for me. I tried to remain positive, because the fact is that all of us are in need of some type of healing, and if anyone seems like they aren't it's just because we don't see all parts (or even most parts) of anyone else's life. It seems cruel, but this world is quite imperfect. I mourned the loss of my training cycle, my loss of fitness, my weight gain, my energy dip, my mood slump, and everything else that accompanied my injury. I sure need running for stress-relief (I am not sure I could continue long-term in my present job if I could never run again, which also terrified me)! I started and erased many posts about all of this, then I read this post and decided I couldn't say it all any better than she did.
Returning to running at the end of the month was oh-so-sweet! I started back on November 23 (Black Friday) with 3.2 miles, after a false start 2 miler on November 18 that showed me my leg wasn't quite there. I don't even care if I just run 5 miles easy every day for the rest of my life and never PR in anything again; I just need to run! For the first week I alternated running every other day outside with every other day on the AlterG at 70-75% weight.
I have no idea how long it's going to take me to regain the fitness I lost - it does not seem that cross-training and the AlterG helped nearly as much as I'd hoped - but I am thankful for the opportunity to try. I have put CIM 2019 on my race calendar, and have 52 weeks to train for that!
The first weekend of our month was dominated by the Bass Pro Marathon. Albani and I volunteered at the expo all day on Saturday, and then I watched the events on Sunday. The experience had some bitter-sweetness to it since I was supposed to be running in the event, but was overall a positive experience.
We bought a power washer, and also re-did our flower beds. It was far too cold for both!
I went to the MOABA (Missouri Association for Behavior Analysis) conference in St. Louis the third weekend of the month, and returned even more passionate about our science.
Thanksgiving of course. We also cut our Christmas tree from my in-laws farm while in Kansas, and started decorating for Christmas.
Don't you read comic books while volunteering
at race expos?
This booth was a hit - they rotated critters about every hour
We bought these
Always take snacks appliance shopping!
Cousins at Thanksgiving
My dad in his brand new Tesla!
Cutting our Christmas tree
Opting outside - we read our library books
outside on what might be our last warm day
More opting outside (it was 65*)
Mismatched trees are the best!
Loopsters! This isn't running related, but those of you that know my backstory know that I've had to work this year to come back from a major injury. It's sorta running related, I guess. This means a lot to me so I thought I'd share it here. I've been sparing you from my weekly training recaps, but I'm Rehoboth ready!
Happy Friday to all, and to all a Happy Friday! It’s not quite time for a weekly training recap yet and I’m sure you’re all tired of those anyway, but I wanted to post something about how I felt yesterday. I was in a glass case of emotion, as Ron Burgundy might say.
I even have his mustache now. More on that later.
As you may or may not know, my Achilles tendon ruptured on December 14, 2017. You can read about that here, if you like.
It happened playing basketball when I probably shouldn’t have been playing basketball. I had run 2 marathons in 3 weeks and gave myself about 11 days rest (not enough). Both marathons went poorly. I was dealing with soreness in my left calf and had been for at least a month(I tore the right one, ironically).
It happened on a perfectly innocent play. I took a shot and knew right away that it wasn’t going in. I tried to cut left to get past my defender and get my own rebound. As I cut, I felt like the guy guarding me hit me in the back of the leg with a crowbar. I looked up for the foul haha.
I knew pretty quickly by the faces of the other men in the gym and by the pain and “weird softness” that was my right calf that this wasn’t good. That was it for me.
There was surgery 2 days later, followed by lots of time in a boot and lots of time in rehab and we fast forward to 5 months later. I started running again. I knew I’d run. I wasn’t afraid of that. Now basketball on the other hand…
I talked about playing again. Some people asked me, “Are you going to play basketball again?” Other people asked more like, “You’re not going to play basketball again, are you?” Big difference, right?
Well I’m stubborn, so yes I AM going to play basketball again, thank you very much. I changed to a team that I thought could accommodate my middle aged body by allowing me to play less. Last night, that didn’t happen haha.
Yesterday, I was pretty excited about getting back to a competitive sport, until I thought about it. The reality kicked in. My calf felt tight. I hadn’t been moving much laterally. I hadn’t jumped much. I got scared. I was sick to my stomach scared. I don’t like admitting it, but it’s the truth. I showed up to the court where 350 day before I was a changed man. Then we started playing.
The fear melted away. The joy returned. I was still a little nervous, since every move I made felt new to my repaired tendon. As somebody said to me after, “You didn’t play like you were scared.” I played more minutes than I’d intended. We lost 58-55 and I only scored 6 points, but I didn’t care. I’d never played a better game.
I felt this good, minus the money…and the championships.
I thought my first run back from the injury was the best feeling I’d have, but playing basketball again was that times a thousand. I feel more confident that I’ve felt since before the injury happened. I’m smarter now and more aware of the fact that I’m a 40 year old man, but I’m BACK!
Thanks so much for reading all of this. I do it mostly to get my feelings out and to be able to go back and remember things (both to learn from and appreciate), but it’s also great to hear from any of you with advice and encouragement. It’s nice to know somebody out there is paying attention.
Like many runners, fall is my favorite time of year to log miles. Temperatures are friendly, there’s no longer daily thunderstorms and tornado warnings in Atlanta, and with the holidays coming up there are plenty of calories around to fuel runs. Additionally, goal races have passed and there’s no stress to nail workouts or pressure to make it 16 miles instead of 14.5. It’s just fun to crunch leaves and not drown in sweat and have a social life again. Like a Friendsgiving celebration, for instance. Which was two Saturdays ago. The night before the Atlanta Lab Rescue 5k in fact, where I had an age group title to defend. So OK, maybe there was a little pressure. Not wanting to stress over results, I decided to indulge in plenty of spicy Bangladeshi food and Atlanta beer to help temper expectations for the race and keep it fun.
This is a small race (~600 people this year, it’s biggest yet) and it’s only my second year running it, but it’s climbing my list of favorites. First off, dogs. There are literally dozens of dogs at this race, most of them Labrador Retrievers, including mine. Secondly, it benefits a dog rescue organization. Third, there’s a fancy doughnut truck selling freshly made doughnuts and coffee. Fourth, indoor bathrooms with real plumbing. And lastly, it’s small enough and outside the city enough I can actually compete for age group awards which I really have no business winning. Also, dogs. SO MANY DOGS.
We arrived in plenty of time to pick up our bibs (The Wife and The Dog were running together), make a bathroom stop, and jog a warmup mile. That mile revealed some creakiness in a hip and my feet and a little bit of everywhere else, but I wasn’t sure if it was leftover marathon soreness or the six-pack I used to dull the heat of the delicious lamb vindaloo I enjoyed the night before. I made my way over to The Wife in the crowd and tried to do some leg swings and glute activation exercises to stay loose and keep myself occupied. We discussed what kind of doughnuts we wanted and where we’d meet as I eyed up the competition and assessed my chances of repeating a podium finish. It was then that I noticed a woman purposefully walking towards us with a look on her face that suggested a familiarity I should be reciprocating. I began wracking my brain to place who this was until I was jarred back into the moment by her outstretched hand. “Hi, I’m Kelly. You look like you’re gonna win this race!”. Huh. Relieved of my guilt at forgetting an acquaintance, I shook her hand and introduced myself. With unsettling intensity she tells me “I ran the Soldier Marathon yesterday, so I’m a little tired.” Uh-huh. “It’s his first 5k, he’s so excited!” she says, gesturing at her little dog. I tell her how much The Dog loves to run with us and how she loves races, making sure to gesture at The Dog and The Wife standing mere feet away. “So are you a big runner around here? You look pretty fast.” I tell her I run a lot of races in the area and before the last syllable left my lips she says “Well good luck nice meeting you” and disappears back into to the crowd. I turn to The Wife, and we share a puzzled look. Maybe she noticed my activated glutes.
We got the signal to line up at the start and I made my way to the front of the pack, the gangly contingent from the local high school track and XC teams from which the winner would almost certainly emerge on my left, and on my right a couple in their early 60s wearing jeans and at the opposite end of a leash from a small terrier. I chatted with the nice couple while looking over their shoulders to see how many people I could find without acne or jeans who might be age group competition. I didn’t see many who looked to be my age, so despite feeling an age group or two older at the moment, I thought the odds might be in my favor. We got the 30 second warning, the grand marshal (a former rescue dog recently placed by the race’s beneficiaries) ran the ceremonial first 10 yards, and the air horn sent us on our way.
As the pack narrowed from the width of the road to a single file along the tangent line I fell in behind roughly 20 or so runners. The HS kids led the way and I knew the only time I’d be close to most of them again would be as they passed the turn around. I also knew many of those ahead of me would begin dropping as we climbed the long hill that makes up most of the out section of the course, so at this point I just focused on settling into what felt like race pace. After weeks of marathon training opening up my stride and doing some fast running was liberating, and like a frozen bolt wrenched loose my joints finally felt the freedom of movement, the stiffness falling away like flecks of rust with each turn of my stride.
As we turned off the park entry road and onto the main street to begin the long climb I had picked off the over-eager starters and was down to 9 runners ahead of me. I wasn’t really looking at my watch as I had no time goal or expectations, so I just focused on picking off as many people as I could. The closest runner was a girl who looked to be one of the HS contingent. While most of her cohort faded before the first 400, she looked to be running strong. But I could hear her breathing hard on the hill, and knew it was only a matter of time. I focused on my cadence and breathing and passed her not long after passing the first mile in 6:43.
Next up was a guy in a gray shirt. I hadn’t been able to get a good enough look to see how old he was initially, so I had been treating him like competition and tried to quietly sneak up on him before making my move. However as I got closer I noticed his long, loping, effortless stride and seemingly disinterested side to side head bob as he ran. You know the look. All these damn kids make running look so frigging easy, the little bastards. I used the bitterness of lost youth as my fuel to pass him and zeroed in on the next target. The only other runner I could see close enough was a guy I remembered from the start line. He looked roughly my age, had calves the size of my quads, and an orange Clemson shirt. He was moving, but I could see the back of his shirt darkened by sweat and knew he was working harder than I was.
By now the leaders had made the turn around and I started counting. The leader was another damn kid who looked like he was expending the same amount of energy I do chewing soup. Behind him was a guy who looked like an out of shape 50 year old expending enough energy to power a small city. I picked out one other runner who looked about my age, plus Clemson. As he ran by I could see the pain on his face and knew I’d get him on the downhill. I made the turn around and saw no one close behind me, so I decided to risk a little burn out and start to push. Within about a 400 I had halved the gap and gotten close enough that I knew Clemson could hear me behind him. He tried to pick up the pace and shake me, but each time he tried he was unable to hold it and I’d re-close quickly. Garmin signaled mile 2, 6:56 up the hill.
I was still feeling pretty strong at this point, and Clemson and I had pushed each other to gain ground on another runner who happened to also be running the lead dog. I decided to push to pass Clemson now, and see if I could also real in the dog. Just as I was about to swing out and pass, I heard a “GO STEVE!” yell from the other side of the road. It was Kelly, waving and jumping and cheering. I gave her a thumbs up, still a little puzzled, but thankful for the encouragement. Quickly refocusing on the task at hand, I gave myself a few steps to brace for the effort and swung out to pass Clemson. He tried to block me a little bit, but I managed to slip by and did my best to make it look easy. I know my running is as graceful as someone falling down stairs, but in my head during a race I’m Jenny MF-ing Simpson, OK?
I felt good enough passing Clemson, and he faded quickly enough, that I decided to go all in on the pace. I saw The Wife approach on the out and then saw The Dog almost take out a half a dozen runners when she saw me and gave her a passing pat on the head while The Wife confirmed “7th”. I used the last of the downhill to try and gain as much ground on the lead dog as I could, and had made up maybe half of the 200 meter gap as we turned back onto the park access road. The course covers some small rollers on this final stretch, and for the rest of the way he’d pull away a little on the ups and I’d close a little on the downs. I realized I wasn’t going to catch him, and also heard spectators yelling to someone not that far behind me so I focused on maintaining a steady clip to hold off Clemson or whoever was trying to kick. By now though this was no small task. I was suddenly very aware of my raspy desperate breathing, burning legs, and what felt like the memory of every step of the NYC Marathon manifesting on the aching soles of my feet. I watched a spectator who had been gleefully cheering the lead dog ahead of me slow her claps as I came into view and her smile faded into the kind of pitiful look one gives fresh roadkill.
Mile 3 was announced as a 6:28 effort, and the last tenth nearly matched it at a 6:25 pace. I ended up with a 20:48, which was enough to hold off Clemson (who was in a younger age group) for 7th place overall but not enough to beat out the out of shape 50-something looking guy I saw earlier (who was actually 38). After spending my cool down mile wondering what my complete lack of understanding of what 35-39 looks like says about my own appearance, I picked up my age group silver, got cornered by Kelly again, and met up with The Wife and Dog for hot coffee and doughnuts.
There is joy again in my running. Not from times or place or anything other than running for the sake of running. Running to feel the cold air burn the back of my throat and my eyes water from the biting wind. To have control of the pain again, and not feel compelled to push too far in pursuit of an ultimately unimportant goal that is knowingly beyond reach. It’s fun to feel alive again.
At some point on one of the canoe trips this summer, tweaked the L knee MCL. It was mildly painful but didn't stop me from doing anything. However it's been five months now and it has not healed at all despite my best efforts at icing/stretching/strengthening exercises. Same continuous mild pain, worse the day after a run to the point of limping some days. So now going to try stopping running for a bit, most displeasing. I suppose at some point I'll have to actually go to the doctor 😉 but he'll just tell me to rest and ice it.
We warmed up for Thanksgiving the previous weekend, at a friend's cabin in the shadow of Mt Princeton. Jeff deep-fried a turkey in peanut oil. This is my favorite way to cook a turkey I think. Not only does it taste good, but the bonfire is fun .. ha.
Me on L. The good part about drinking beer in the snow, is that it never gets warm..
For Thanksgiving itself we hosted, and cheated by getting a turkey breast from Costco, also the stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes. We were going to make a salad but had only romaine lettuce, threw it out and just carbo-loaded.
I was supposed to take the dog hunting in Wyoming on Friday but the forecast was for winds 45mph, gusting to 60mph. At those wind speeds the pheasants get up out of the grass and are blown into the next county before anyone can react. Instead I took the poor dog for a walk in the snow up in the forest, where we found out-of-hunting-season turkey tracks.
Artie wanted to track 'em down and was confused that I didn't want to..
It was a good walk (me) run (him) anyhow.
Several of my friends from the local Runners Roost Thursday night run, won their age groups at the turkey trot. My pace would have placed me top 20 (only 20 altogether) in my AG.. ah well.
Now for lots of swimming and weight room work, one day the MCL will be well..
Monday: Spin – Since it was fall break on campus, the group fitness schedule was all different for classes. Instead of doing barbell this day, I took Kelli’s spin class at lunch. What a great way to spend lunch! I was so sweaty by the time we finished and I got in 13.6 miles!
Tuesday: Barbell Strength – Aunt Flo came for a visit and left me feeling like I was going to shit myself all day. I was supposed to run and do the barbell class this day but I pushed the run to Wednesday. I did make it through barbell without soiling myself – SUCCESS! Kelli rode to work with me and stayed for the class too!
On the way home, Kelli was talking about her 2019 goals (NOT resolutions) and that she wanted to focus on getting stronger. Soooo, I kinda agreed to do a 2019 challenge with her. More on that after we figure out all of the details!
Wednesday: REST – Instead of running after work, I went home and had a beer instead. I really need to work on handling my Aunt Flo weeks much better – it always seems to sideline me.
Thursday: Mt. Morrison Thanksgiving Day hike – Kelli and I had talked about maybe doing a Turkey Trot but we decided to do something more challenging and FREE. Mt. Morrison is super close to both of us and our hubbies came along as well.
That’s Mt. Evans back there covered in snow
We were at the trail head by 8am and finished before lunch – 2000′ of gain in under 2 miles! It’s a pretty tough but great hike – this hike is very deceptive. I haven’t been hiking much lately – taking a much needed break from that. We spent Thanksgiving with Kelli and her husband and had a delicious vegetarian meal.
We ended up dressing alike I told her that she was starting to freak me out with how much she reminds me of Erin!
Friday: Lazy – I didn’t do anything this day. The holiday week/schedule and Aunt Flo threw me for the whole first part of the week BUT I made up for it in a good way – keep reading. I was determined to get in those 4 miles so I hoped that I’d do it Saturday. This also meant pushing my long run to Sunday, which worked out perfectly because the weather was supposed to be crappy on Saturday.
Saturday: 4.7 miles – The mountains were going to get pounded with snow and there was a chance we were going to get a little. However, it was beautiful in the morning and there was a blue bird sky. I had bought some new Goodr glasses and a super thin Nike windproof jacket on Black Friday at my Local Running Store ( LRS), and I wanted to try out the jacket (which, by the way, I paid WAY too much for at the LRS, but at least I was supporting them. But I just saw that I could have gotten it for HALF of what I paid. I did get 20% off though. C’est la vie.). I thought it was much colder out than it was and I got SUPER hot. I even had on fleece lined tights! Yowza!
I somehow made it 4.5 miles before I took the jacket off. I hadn’t been looking at my watch so I ended up running 4.7 before I realized I’d gone over 4. I started walking and used the last hill as a cool-down walk – I was glad to not have to run the hill anyway. I managed an 8:59 pace! It did get REALLY windy in the afternoon and snowed a bit overnight.
I like this jacket! I wish it had zippers in the arm-pits but it’s comfy and easily packable.
Sunday: 13.1 mile long run – You know you’re a life-time runner when you’ve been running for 20 years, and you still get butterflies thinking about a solo, 13 mile training run. It was mainly nervous butterflies because I wasn’t sure how my shin was going to handle this longest distance since September 8th. I didn’t have any trouble pooping twice before I took off. You’re welcome.
I jumped in my car and headed to Writers Vista Park via the Highline Canal- my favorite, local trail to run on. It is also the location of the last time I ran 13 miles. I knew this dirt trail would be great to run on since it had snowed a tiny bit overnight, and I wouldn’t have to worry about slipping. It was colder than Saturday but I didn’t want to over heat again. I brought the jacket again but decided to just run in a thin long-sleeved shirt. The training plan called for 13 miles at a 9:35 pace – the paces are just a reference point that are adjustable. I took off and waited to see what pace I would settle into.
The trail was just lightly dusted with snow.
The first mile was a 9:13 which was reasonable, but then I just kept hitting 8s! I felt so good and strong and I just wanted to go with it. I knew it was a little risky, since it’s only my second long run of training, but sometimes you just gotta go with it. Why slow down if you don’t have to?? The only thing I don’t like about this trail are the many street crossings there are – and, if you do an out and back, you have to cross the streets twice. The lights are really long and can leave you hanging for a bit. The only outliers (in 9 min range) I had were because of those stoopid crossings. I know it doesn’t really matter, but still. I brought two Huma gels and had some Skratch in my water bottle – I REALLY like Huma gels. I didn’t drink much and only took one gel around the 6 mile mark. I definitely started feeling the speed in the last two miles. However, I wanted to keep pushing it so that I’d have a great finish time. My hips got a little tight but not what I expected! I finished the 13.1 (of course I had to do the 0.1) in 1:56:28 and felt like I’d just ran a race! It was great to push it during a training run!
So consistent for the most part! Even those last four miles!
This run gave me such a confidence boost and made me feel at ease that my shin is probably healed 100% now. I’d rather err on the side of caution a times though, just in case. I’m ready to start a new week and get back to my routine. I missed a lot of cross-training last week due to it being fall break on campus. Let’s do this!
I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy, and safe holiday. Christmas is just around the corner! Rehoboth 13.1 NEXT weekend!
Thanks for reading, friends
I just might be getting back to running. As I type I am stopping frequently to knock on wood, cross myself, eat raw garlic, etc. - whatever will prevent me from jinxing myself.
The new wide Hoka Gaviotas have greatly improved my foot's quality of life, especially with the help some of you gave me with lacing strategies. The combination of Lydiard and crossover lacing , and then heel lock lacing seems to be doing the trick. Early last week I did a trial two minutes on the treadmill, just to see if it hurt and how I recovered. Apparently I survived, because the next day I was at it again, doing a whole whopping four minutes, in one minute run/one minute walk intervals. Two days later I did nine one minute intervals... I told you this was a slow return. Not only was I really cautious about the injury, and worried about my new gait, but my fitness was, and is, pretty lousy. My daily half-hour on the stationary bike hasn't done much to get me in running shape.
An outing to the park resulted in 12 minutes actual running, and then this past Tuesday, 14, all the running intervals at about an 11 minute pace. I dusted off my Garmin, looked at my splits, and determined that I could "run" a 5K if I did about 18 1:00/1:30 run/walk intervals. And so I Turkey-Trotted.
I set the Garmin for run/walk alerts and ruthlessly followed my plan. Did it in 17 intervals, not 18. This particular race was my very last one, three years ago, before I got injured, so it was rough being there and being unable to really run, but I focused on the positive. I was there, my time was "only" ten minutes longer than three years ago, I was actually a bit quicker than my Tuesday trial run, it was my first run back on pavement. My toe was only slightly annoyed with me by the end, and I wore the evil orthotics the rest of the day to give it a break. Seemed to work.
I have ordered an extra pair of the Hokas - thank goodness for the Running Warehouse pikermi discount! The new model hits stores December 1st so the old ones are almost unavailable now in the wide width. I may like the new model, but you know how it is - there's that fear they'll mess up a great shoe by redesigning it. I've never had a new model that was an actual improvement on the old.
I still have issues - the surgical ankle still swells a bit, even though surgery was two years ago. And running in the rocker soles is very different. I was a forefoot striker before, but now that is the thing that I am supposed to avoid. Running this way tightens up my calves, and I also find it to be very noisy. Or maybe that's just the shoes, or the extra weight I have acquired from not running.
Regardless, I still hope to prove wrong the many, and I mean many, people who've told me I should just give up the idea of running. I know you all understand! No dancing banana yet...but maybe a toe-tapping grape.
I thought I'd attempt a race report for my first marathon. I'm not the writer many of you all are and this turned out to be waaaay longer than I thought it would be. Don't read it after a big Thanksgiving dinner or you're likely to be asleep before the race even starts!
Like lots of people, I started running mostly as a way to lose a little weight. It worked well for that, and after a few months of doing it, it became more about the running than the weight loss.
I believe every one of my runs for at least the first 6 months were 3 miles on a treadmill at the gym. I just kept trying to do those 3 miles faster and faster which I now know to be stupid and I'm lucky I didn't injure myself.
I've never been super into racing, but eventually I did a few 5Ks and a 10K toward the end of that year and the first part of the following year. I couldn't even fathom going more than a 10K on a run. Part of that was mental, but the other part was that I'm a super heavy sweater. As in, you've probably not seen someone who sweats like I do. Just ask Dave if you think I'm kidding Anyway, that presented a challenge in terms of trying to figure out how to hydrate properly and how much nutrition I would need as I started to go longer.
Despite that, I was very slowly but surely increasing my miles and starting to do runs that were longer than 6. I did 1000 miles that second year, 1200 the following, 1500+ the next year and 2000+ in 2017. Somewhere in there I built up to actually running 15-16 miles on a single run and I did 3 official half marathons. I had also joined a local running group and did the group runs with them.
But...I still hadn't done a marathon. Really, I still hadn't even run close to 20 miles. By last fall, I finally decided that I should give one a shot.
Well, the training went fairly well until it didn't. I developed Achilles tendinities somewhere around Feb. 1 of this year. I blame too many treadmill runs on snowy days with the belt set at an incline. The race was supposed to be March 31. I rested. It lingered. Eventually I went to a doctor and PT and started doing a bunch of exercises and stretches that I'm still doing today. I got back up to speed after a couple of months, but it was too late to run that marathon.
So I did easy runs for a few months the first part of this year and then decided I wanted to give the marathon another shot. I picked Marshall University. One of the biggest reasons I chose that one was that it was in November. For me to have any shot of finishing, it has to be weather that's cooler than 60 and probably needs to be low humidity, too. I'd also read a lot of nice things on the Loop about Marshall. It's also only 2 hours away.
I started my plan - the same one as before with some modifications (no treadmill!!) - in early July. And my training just sucked. We had one of the hottest, wettest, most humid summers in recent history. And by "summer" I mean it lasted until early October. Runs that were supposed to be easy all ended up with me completely spent like I'd done a hard workout. Most of the time, I couldn't go much past 5 miles without fading to having nothing left in the tank. After awhile, I didn't even attempt the tempo and interval day each week because I knew I couldn't do it.
I pretty much did my long runs at very slow pace to failure early in the morning. For me, 70 degrees with 95% humidity isn't much better than 90 degrees with 60% humidity. I got in a fair number of tough 12 milers and one very slow 18 miler that had a lot of walking. I had wanted my weekly mileage to average in the high 40s for the duration of the plan, but I was only at mid 30s.
Somewhere around the first of Oct., I was going to do a 17 miler on yet another 70 degree, high humidity morning. I managed to only do 8 until I ran completely out of gas. And the pace was SLOW. It was one month out from the race and I couldn't go further than 8 miles. At that point, I figured the race was going to be a disaster.
Then the weather finally broke. A week after that awful run, it was 45 degrees and low humidity and I did a 20 miler at the pace that I decided to attempt for the race (just under 9:00). But that was a typical run where I stopped my watch when I stopped to get a drink, etc., so the following week I did another 20 miler at the same pace without stopping the watch. It went fairly well, although miles 19 and 20 started to get a little tough. Those two weeks I did 50 and 54 miles which were my highest mileage weeks ever. I started to have a little more optimism, although I really needed it to be cool for the race.
The taper went fine. I probably had too many miles in my plan for those last two weeks and, with a little encouragement from running buddies, I cut some of it back. Last two weeks were 31 miles and 17 miles (before the race). Most of those miles were very easy paces, though.
Marshall is on a Sunday, but there's no same day packet pick-up so I had to drive to Huntington the day before. My father offered to drive me, so I took him up on that. My wife was planning to come up on race day.
At Packet Pick-up
Packet pick-up went fine. We went back to the hotel to watch the University of Kentucky football game against Georgia. That didn't go very well. After that, we went out for dinner and I settled on one local craft beer, burger and fries. I'd also been drinking tons of water, Gatorade and Pedialyte for the last couple of day. The forecast for the next day was supposed to be about 42 degrees and climbing into the low to mid 50s by the end of the race. Perfect!
I didn't sleep real well that night, but every time I woke up, I drank more Gatorade. Maybe that's why I woke up so much.
The race start was 7AM, so I was up about 5:00. I had a couple of protein bars and drank more Pedialyte.
I looked at the weather and it was actually 38 degrees. Even better! I had planned to wear only shorts and a short sleeve shirt, but I briefly considered going to the long sleeve. I'm glad I didn't!
In terms of goals for the race, I actually feel as if I SHOULD have been be able to do 3:45 comfortably if training had gone well. Of course, I really had no idea having not done one before. And I'd also never gone more than 21 miles in any run. So I decided I would shoot for 3:55. Plan was to keep it just under 9:00 for the first 20 miles and see if I had more in the tank at that point. My real goal was to not blow up and end up walking a bunch the last several miles.
Drove to the race and sat in the car waiting until closer to start. Made one trip inside the stadium to use the restroom. I ate some Gatorade chews about 10 minutes before the race and stripped down to shorts and shirt. I made my way over to the start and nudged my way into the crowd.
Just before the start.
My nutrition plan was a 24 oz bottle of Tailwind that I would sip until mile 7 or so. After that, it would be an electrolyte pill every 5 miles, followed by a Gu or Sport Beans the next mile. I'd take in water or Gatorade at most of the water stops after my bottle ran out.
The race begin and I slowly made my way into the crowd and the first mile. I started back further than I should have, but didn't want to push my way in too far at the start. The 4:00 pacer was somewhere ahead of me and I crossed the line about 30 seconds or so after the cannon went off.
I caught up with two women from my running group in the first mile and chatted with them for about a minute and eased ahead. First two miles were at 8:54.4 exactly. Both of them. Right on plan. Waved at my father around mile 2 or 3 near the stadium and turned East. I caught up to the 4:00 pacer around mile 4 or 5 and went past eventually. Next three miles were 8:55, 8:54 and 8:52. My pacing is the thing I'm most proud of for the race.
At that point, I saw another woman from my running group up ahead. I caught her at the next water stop when she slowed for a drink. She was originally going to shoot for 3:55 in this race. I thought maybe we'd just run it together, but two weeks before the race she said she didn't think she'd trained well enough for that. I ran with her for almost a mile, but she was going slower at that point and I moved ahead. That mile was 9:07 due to being distracted talking to her and some uphill. That was the only mile in the first 20 that wasn't between 8:52 and 8:58 other than an 8:49 at the mid-point near the stadium.
After mile 6, we head into the park to run on the crushed gravel trail. Despite being scenic, this was my least favorite part of the course for two reasons. One, there were mud puddles in the middle of the path and you had to run into the grass to get around them. I'll bet there were at least a dozen of those spots. Two, little bits of gravel got in my shoes both times I ran this path. They always shifted to where they weren't bothering me after awhile, but I didn't relish the thought of having to take off my shoe at some point to get them out.
The rest of the first loop was pretty uneventful after that. I liked the long, slight downhill following the park. There was a place where the road goes under an overpass and so the downhill is short but pretty steep and the uphill on the other side is about the same. Other than that, the course really is fairly flat.
Toward the end of the first loop, they turn you into the campus for a bit. As I was nearing the end of the campus section, I saw my father again standing on the edge of the sidewalk. It had warmed up enough that I handed him my gloves after he snapped a picture of me coming down the path.
Out of the campus, I turned right and began the second half of the race. The first half was 1:57:05.
The second loop was much of the same except a lot less people running near me. I spotted one of the first two club members as she was approaching the finish of the half and high fived her.
I continued to just keep the same pace going very evenly through mile 20. At that point I was supposed to decide if I wanted to pick it up. The decision was easy, I didn't While I didn't feel at all out of energy or like I was going to hit the wall, my legs were getting fairly sore and stiff.
At mile 18, I broke out some sport beans while I was in the park. They really just seemed like a pain to eat at that point. I prefer them to Gus in training, but the Gus were a lot easier to deal with during the race. They will be my go to moving forward.
After the park and more of that pesky gravel and the mud spots, I knew that underpass was coming up. Instead of worrying about the uphill, I decided to use it as a reward. I was going to walk up that part to hopefully stretch out my legs. I was still pretty much on pace although mile 21 was 9:05 and mile 23 was 9:09. I walked that uphill and set off again.
At around mile 23, it would have been time for another pack of the sport beans, but I was over them and decided to skip.
I knew I was running the tangents well and was only about .05 long at each mile marker. I decided I would walk again at 24.25 for just a few seconds to stretch my legs again and that would leave only 2 miles to the finish. When I got to that point, I decided to just keep going. Mile 24 had been 8:55, but mile 25 ended up being my slowest of the day at 9:17. I decided I'd do the quick walk break at 25.25 instead and that would only leave a mile. The rest of the miles were all in the same range as the rest of the race.
Just as I was approaching the mile 25 sign, I heard my wife shouting my name. She had walked about a mile from the start to see me come in. She was very encouraging, but the only thing I said back to her was "I'm walking for a bit at 25.25". She ended up jogging on the sidewalk on the other side of the road along with me for about a half mile or so to where the split to go through the campus occurred.
As I turned onto that campus path, they handed me a flower for the Marshall Memorial. I really didn't know what to do with it. Also at that point, the sidewalk is a fairly short, but decent uphill and I walked it until I got to the top.
Going through campus, there were a couple of women directing me to put the flower on the memorial, which was a little ways off the path. They also offerred to do it for me. I promptly handed it to them and said "I only have so many more steps in me".
Exited campus and had a short bit on the street before entering the stadium. I thought you actually turned in at the first corner, but was told to continue on to the far corner. As you go into the stadium, you go down a fairly steep ramp. My legs wouldn't bend that way, so I walk/shuffled down it and onto the turf and started running again.
I took the football the guy tossed me and made the quick up and back on the field. I pretended to throw it to my wife and father as I was nearing the finish and the caught that on camera.
I crossed the finish and it was over. I had completed my first marathon. Final time was 3:54:59, so basically one second from what I was going for.
It was a 50 second positive split, but I'll take it. I was in the top 40% of finishers, top 50% of males, and top 40% of male masters. But get this, I was in the bottom 50% of my age group! If the numbers are right, almost 15% of the entire field of the marathon were in my gender age group. Not sure how that is possible.
Overall, I'm pretty pleased. I didn't blow up. My pace was psychotically even. I don't think I could have done it much faster although I might have left a minute or two on the table.
The next day, I wasn't too sore to go up and down the stairs at work. I did take one day off of running and then attempted a short run on Tuesday. That wasn't happening, but I did a 2 mile run the following day and have been ramping up ever since.
I start my new plan for the Carmel Marathon 2019 on the Monday after Thanksgiving!
Race report and the upcoming holiday put me off my blooping schedule. That and another thing I'll get to in a minute.
I'll start off by noting that the added four miles I was planning for after the race didn't happen. Mrs. Dave had a few things she wanted done and by the time I got home from the race it seemed better to get busy with those than make her wait another hour. I did run hard, so I guess it was a fair trade for ten easy miles.
Then there was last week. To sum up, it was 38 miles. Returning again to the theme of 2018, that's the most I've done in a single week since last December. I was pretty tired by the end of it. Running more miles makes a body more tired in my experience. But, it's what I like, so I'm willing to be tired.
Monday: Tempo Time. Seven miles total. Tempo miles - 8:18, 8:03, 8:03, 7:54, 7:56. After the first 1-1/2 it was mostly a gentle down slope, which is my favorite. 41 degrees - also my favorite. Every day now I get to wear shorts I think it may be my last run of the winter without tights.
Tuesday: Easy 4 and strength work (pretty sure I didn't skip this day - too long ago to remember for sure). Windy and cold.
Wednesday: This is where the race and everything else caught up to me. 6 miles with 3 x 1600. In was in the zone I wanted, but it was really hard. 7:30, 7:35, 7:39. Normally the first repeat is the slowest, while I get a sense of how things are on a day. This time I was just more and more gassed. Really wanted to skip the last one.
Thursday: Snowed lightly most of the day, leaving me a half inch of cold, wet, slush everywhere. Not a good running surface. Really slow, but that was what I needed anyway. Really slow. Four miles felt like four-ever. Ugh.
Friday: Seven miles easy. Heart rate on the YTBNW went all weird in mile 6. At least I'm assuming it was the watch. Jumped from about 150, where it was for all of the run until that point, to 170 bpm from one step to the next. Stayed there for almost the entire mile, then dropped almost as suddenly back to 150. When I took my shoes off I noticed a bright white spot under the ball of my foot. Gum? No, it was the next layer of the outer sole. I've NEVER worn through that part of the tread before on a pair of shoes. Fortunately, last winter there was a sale at asics.com where I'd bought two pair of my Cumuluses for the price of one. Wore them around the house and on a few shopping stops that evening and they were good to go for Saturday's long run.
Saturday: Another distance marker. Eleven miles. (insert repeat of 2018 theme here) Of course by then I was feeling even more worn down. Splits were kind of all over the place - 8:45-9:25. It was 41o again, but for some reason it didn't feel like shorts weather. One of those runs where you just keep your head down and put one foot in front of the other because there's no other way to get home. Started snowing lightly about half way in. Beautiful and peaceful. Tried to enjoy it as much as I could, considered how lousy I felt.
We're in a spot where holidays can be a little strange. It's just the two of us most of the time, and the kids are far enough flung that it's not practical to expect them to all gather back at the old homestead. This year we're heading to Seattle, but wanted to see Connor. He has to work on Black Friday so we invited him and a few friends over Saturday for an early celebration, with turkey and all the other traditional eats. There was pie. I was hoping for a nap after that long run, but dinner pre-empted me. Long day. Long week.
Monday: This was supposed to be a repeat of last week's seven with five tempo. I was tired before I even started. Ran an easier route but that didn't help much. 7:52, 7:56, 7:47, 8:01, 8:00. Now that I write down and look at the numbers, I guess it was pretty close. Sure felt harder, though, especially those last two. So I guess that was a good one after all.
The real problem last week was my mental state. Found out I'd hurt someone's feelings. I try not to do that, but like everyone I have my days. I forget that the world is mostly made up of other people (do the math - me=1, other people=7.7 billion) and their ideas, plans, feelings, etc. are just as valid and important as mine. Part of it was projecting what I would want in a situation and assuming they would want the same thing. Part of it was just thinking selfishly. Neither of these events were very recent, so the hurt was compounded by the passage of time without an appropriate apology. Let me also be clear that this is not a plea for sympathy. I messed this up. I was the bad guy. Writing this just helps me process my mistake. Please don't leave any, "You're a good guy, Dave," comments. That's not what this if for. If you want to take something out of this, just remember that we need to be nicer to each other. Sometimes that takes just a little more thought, a little effort, maybe a little sacrifice. Making another's life a little better (or at least not making it worse) should be worth whatever trouble you go to do that.
Week 1!! Yeah baby, YEAH! I’ll tell ya… lately I feel like I’ve been walking around with the Austin Power grin – minus the gnarly teeth. I’ve never felt this empowered, motivated, strong, and unstoppable before. I’m gonna keep riding this high for as long as possible.
Monday: Travel/Rest Day – I was coming back from Arizona and it was a long day, so this ended up being a rest day. I did, again, take the stairs and walk as much as possible in the airports.
Tuesday 2fer: Kelli and I decided it would be a good idea to carpool on Tuesdays since we live really close together and will both be staying for her PM spin class! Spin was great as always, but I was the only one there! I feel bad that no one else showed up but we still had a great class! I told her she could still practice her routine with me. We turned the bikes towards the windows so we could both look out over Denver. The Wellness Center just started offering spin so I don’t think the word has spread enough yet. 45 minutes later, I took off outside for threasy. It was dark already and it gets really sketchy around campus after dark – it is in the heart of downtown Denver, after all. I decided to just run around the sidewalks of campus and just zig-zagged past my work building, the library, and other school buildings. When I reached 1.5 miles, I just turned around and went back. Easy peasy.
Wednesday: PM Barbell Strength – I really upped my weights and pushed myself this time. I love seeing the quick progress I’m making in this class. Those guns are startin’ to pop again!
Thursday: This week had been a busy one. I’d been playing catch-up from being gone and was working extra to make up for being out on Monday (my work lets me do flex time!). So I hadn’t been taking lunches, and I’d also been cat sitting all week. My plan was to drive to the kitties and run by their house, but once I got there the cats sucked me into playing with them. So I had a beer instead and decided I’d run on Friday.
Cherry Creek Trail
Friday 2fer: I got up at 5:15am so that I could make a 6:30am GT 45 class. It was something new that I wanted to try out at the Wellness Center, and Kelli was going too! It had similarities to the Functional Fitness class that I use to take at Calibrate. One thing we did that I think lead to some hamstring soreness (more on that later) were kettlebell deadlifts – I hadn’t done those in a while. After work, I changed in my office and headed out to the Cherry Creek Trail for four easy, urban miles. I certainly won’t run that route in the dark because there are too many creepy bridges to cross under.
Saturday: Denver Pumpkin Pie Double (5K & 10K) – I had 10 miles on the training plan so this worked out perfectly! I love the idea of doing races as training runs because it does force me to push myself a bit harder than I normally would. I did this race last year and also ran the double. I remember it being cold but sunny last year. This year it was cold and misty and it was trying hard to snow. It is so much colder out here when there is humidity in the air. I rode to the race with Kelli and then we met up with a bunch of her fellow Wellness Center fitness instructors and friends. I also ran into Carol without even trying to find her! It was funny because we both had on really bright-colored tops. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture together this time. I saw a few folks from my run club as well.
Kelli and I planned to run the 5K at an easy-ish pace, and we did. It was pretty congested throughout most of the run as we wound through City Park. I had 45 minutes from the time the 5K started to finish, get my piece of pie, run back to the car and then back to the start. We finished the 5K in almost 30 minutes and I had it in my head that since the 5K started at 8:45 that the 10K would start at 9:45 (when in fact it started at 9:30). I did the same thing last year and ended up sprinting to the finish!
I decided to only get one piece this year
I was using a PoP when they started the 10K. I didn’t really care but I did end up in the back and had to weave my way through lots of people. I really had planned to run the 10K at about the same pace as we did the 5K, but I really think it takes me about 3 miles sometimes to warm up. I held a sub-9 pace the whole time and it felt really good. I’ve been feeling so strong lately when I run faster. It’s so weird that the sub-9 pace felt easier than the mid-9. The race was a 5K loop so I ended up doing the same loop three times. I was over it by the last one and was starting to feel tired during the last mile. I finished both halves of the 10K faster than we ran the 5K! My finish time was 54:43, an 8:40 pace. My confidence keeps building that I will get that course PR at Rehoboth in a few weeks! After the race, we went to Syrup where I ordered “The Kitchen Sink”. I thought it was called that because it had so many different things in it but it was also a GINORMOUS plate of food – and it wasn’t that great. I also got an Irish coffee which I now realize I don’t like. Blek.
HOT DAMN! There was a biscuit on the bottom that I never got to.
Sunday: Rest/Cook all the food – We are having a bake-off today in the office so I decided to make all three of the Superhero Muffins in Shalane’s new cookbook! They all turned out delicious. I’ll let you know if I win
Look how pretty they turned out! These are GREAT for breakfast and freeze really well.
Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!
Wouldn't you know the first really, really cold day of the fall was the same day as this race.
This used to be the annual fun run for the high school where the boys competed. I've made it a regular thing for me whenever it didn't interfere too much with a big race I might be training for. This year it only interfered a little bit and while Rehoboth will be fun, it's not a race I'm keying on at all. My schedule had eight miles for Saturday, so of course I could run a fast-ish 5K in the middle of it.
Dropped in the night before for my shirt and bib. On the way out there was a guy I recognized. One of Connor's old running mates, heading in for his gear. There would be a few more of their class at the race. Rick Austin was their track and field coach. The race was renamed in his honor after he unexpectedly died last fall. He was my age. Makes you think.
The 9:30 start gave me plenty of time to sleep in, wake up, eat and do a few other things before driving the 5 miles to the start. I could have run a few miles but I'm not really motivated right now. I supposed I should also admit that after Wednesday's intervals my left calf was slightly unhappy, so part of it was not wanting it to blow up before the 5K. Always better to blow up during a 5K, not before.
It's a small race, too, which means I didn't have to show up early for parking or anything other than time for an easy mile to warm up. Where I am in training (and my latest comeback) right now, I expected (hoped?) to run just under 8 minute pace. If I could do that for the first two miles, then I'd see if there was anything in the tank for number 3. My warm up overlapped the national anthem, so I missed that. I might have felt badly about that if it hadn't also been 30 degrees. I was wearing tights, double shirts, double gloves, and a headband. My ears didn't used to get so cold. I used to have hair that covered them most of the time.
The start was an air horn. There was a false start when the starter was testing it out. "No! Wait!" "OK, now." The course isn't designed to be a burner, the first turn is 90 degree right at about five yards past the starting line. I was about 3-4 rows back, although it wasn't packed at all. Lots of walkers and they were all in the back (halleluiah!). It's 30 or so yards to the street when we made another 90 degree right ... onto the sidewalk. This race will have to be reconfigured if they start to get a big turnout. The next half mile is on the sidewalk. I checked my pace as we headed past the American Legion building. 7:10! Not what I had in mind. My tempo run on Monday had been about 8:00, which is why I'd planned that pace for the day. 7:10 was way out there. In the past, I'd have figured this was my pace and then just tried to hang on as best I could. These days I'm so much wiser and conservative in my racing (NOT!), but I did pull back a little to what seemed more appropriate. Something I thought I could maintain for a couple of more miles.
I looked ahead and thought I counted a dozen or so runners ahead of me. About what I figured, based on the competition in previous years. I decided top ten was my target for the day, but with 2-1/2 miles to go, there wasn't too much to base that on. But it's good to have a goal, right? Making the next turn put us on a nearly half mile section of road that was fortunately not too busy on a Saturday morning. There's no sidewalk on this road and they had us on the right side of it, with the traffic if there had been any. No real issues with it except the dusting of snow we had, on top of the leaves that were on the ground made for some slippery footing. I took advantage of the no traffic thing and ran in the car lane. I passed one guy a little younger than me I thought, and then one of the high school kids. I'll call him Big Hair because he had a huge mess of it. He was also a pretty loud strider, too, because I could hear him close behind me most of the race. Guess that helped keep me focused.
Mile 1 came in at 7:24. Faster than I'd expected, but it felt about right so I tried to hold the pace there. They had a table with water set up shortly after that but it didn't look like anyone ahead of me had taken any. I'm always a little surprised with 5K water stops. Someone later said all the cups were iced over. Brr.
This is a twisty sort of race course, through the neighborhood streets. 100% flat, which is nice for me anyway. No hills and only two days of speed work in my training so far. I could hear Big Hair behind me and the students watching the course were cheering for him, but his steps seemed to be farther back, so I didn't check. I was still feeling pretty strong, too. Mile 2 was 7:25.
Usually the second mile in a 5K is the longest (seems like), but this time it was #3. I've done this race 3-4 times or more. You'd think I would know the course by now. Anyway, there was some zigging and zagging. I passed another guy - 30-ish AG - and felt that old familiar dead leg feeling. The legs wanted to slow down, but I made them wait ... as much as I could. At 2.75 miles there's another 90 left onto the school grounds. My sons' XC coach was there. He gave me a low five and told me I still had the Master's title. Before getting to the track for the final 300, there was a section of construction with soft dirt and then some grass behind the locker rooms. That piece turned out to be my slowest part. I was afraid the younger guys behind me would put on a kick that I wouldn't be able to match and I'd lose my spot. Ahead of me was the first female. I wasn't going to catch her.
Mile 3 was 7:31. Pretty sure I lost those 5 seconds on the dirt and grass, so splits for the day were just about even. Tough to do in a 5K. Official finish time - 22:47.1. 11th place overall and first runner over 50. So there's an AG win.
Normally I stick around this one for the awards, which take forever since they wait for all the walkers and then do 20-30 AGs, but Mrs. Dave had lots of plans for the afternoon, so I booked it home.
Not a great day, but very satisfying for a few reasons. First, those solid, even splits. Faster than I thought I'd be. The AG win of course. The calf, which had been bugging me since Wednesday was 100% quiet. (it's been a worry off and on since then, so I'm trying to be careful now). And Louie, the aggravated knee, was a model joint.
So, on to Rehoboth.
Last week was a great week of pre-training and the only day I took off was Thursday because I was traveling to Arizona to see my BFF! I only ran at total of 6.5 miles the whole week but I got in a whole lot of cross-training, a great 5K, and some quality time with Erin!
Monday (11/5), I took my usual barbell lunch class. I’ve started adding more weight and can certainly tell a difference! I didn’t want to add too much too soon, because I don’t want to screw anything up. I’m all about being a smart athlete these days, and I have nothing to prove to anyone.
There’s a step under there that we lay on…
Tuesday, I was going to run but just ended up doing Kelli’s spin class only. I looooooooove spinning again!
We get a cool view of the city from the studio! I’ll get to see the sun rise in the Friday AM class!
Wednesday, I ran hill repeats since I didn’t run the day before. I hadn’t ran any hill repeats since the shin splints started and I was curious as to how it would feel. I ran them faster than I normally would and I started feeling my shin. It wasn’t excruciating but it didn’t feel good. However, it wasn’t sore afterwards and I haven’t felt it anymore, especially when I was running fast on Saturday – more on that later. This has been the weirdest “injury” ever.
Thursday, I was traveling to Yuma, AZ to see Erin! I took stairs instead of escalators (when possible) and walked as much as I could to. When I got to Arizona, I went to Erin’s gym to watch her teach her kids Crossfit class. They were so cute and eager to learn, and I also ran and skipped around with them all.
I HAD to stop for In-n-Out, doi.
Friday, I took a Crossfit class that Erin was teaching. The session itself was an hour long but the actual workout had a max time of 16 minutes. We had to do a 21 calorie row, 15 tricep dips (supposed to be with rings but…PFFFF yeah right! I certainly modified mine), and a 400 meter run. It was 3 rounds for time and you were supposed to be done before 16 minutes elapsed. I did it in 14:30, with my modified dips. Whew! Deceptive! I didn’t puke though!
Saturday, was the City of Yuma Turkey Trot 5K/10K, which is part of a series their Parks & Rec is having throughout the year – Erin is doing the series. This was the first race of the series and runs through March, because it gets hot as FUCK there in the summer. They basically have summer and fall there – that’s about it. The weather was perfect and the wind had finally settled down for the first time since I’d been there. People were FREEZING in the lower 60 temp! It’s easy to want to make fun of that but I can’t imagine having to live in 120 degrees in the summer….
I told Erin that I’d likely see her at the finish since she’d planned to run about 23 minutes. I hadn’t been running anything faster than mid-8s and really didn’t think I’d be able to hold anything in the 7m/m range. Well… I honestly never intend to sandbag my times but it ALWAYS happens when I get to sea level! I never know what I’m going to run or how I’m going to feel. We started and I told myself that I’d just go with how I felt. Well, I felt good – really good. I started off with what I felt was conservative. I didn’t look at my watch until the first mile chimed at 8:02. Oh wow! In CO, an 8:30 pace feels like work. The course was an out and back so I was able to see who was in front of me when we turned around a half mile later. I could see that there weren’t many ladies in front of me and Erin was reachable. Race Chris just can’t help but to chase the pony tails! So that is what I did.
The local RWB chapter snapped a photo of me!
Folks around me were slowing down and I just kept speeding up – Mile two chimed at 7:50 and I still felt great and not winded at all. Right after the two mile marker, I caught up to Erin. I’d planned to just stick with her but felt I had more in the tank, so I took off. I didn’t hear a peep out of my shin and everything else felt so good. I forget how fast 5K fly by, especially on a super flat course. The elevation gain was 11 feet! HAHA! Mile three chimed in at 7:47 and I crossed the finish line at 24:34. That’s a negative split race, BABY! I was 2nd in the 30-39 AG, Erin was 3rd. I was 4th female overall and Erin was 5th!
It isn’t a goofy pic if it doesn’t have a million side chins, haha!
This race really gave me a confidence boost for Rehoboth and makes me hopeful that I can run a course PR.
Sunday, Erin and I took the kids to Telegraph Pass. Her son had never hiked very far so we hadn’t planned to go to the top (5 mile RT), but he made it four miles!! Go O! I’m happy for Erin that they actually have some mountains to climb out there in BFE!
That girl can do pull-ups with Ro on her back! BEAST!
Thanks for reading!
They set right where I left them 3 weeks ago.
I have had no reason to use them since then.
The cold grey that covers my life has now moved in, in full.
I have hopes that I will once again get the chance to use them soon.
But the decisions I have made in the past have put me here today.
I know that the glow of relief I need will return some day.
Until that day comes, they will stay put, but not forgotten.
Oh, I suppose that there is a chance of 2 or 3 bright moments that will show up.
I look forward to those few short times.
There is little that I can do about it in the meantime.
Come March next year, things will be better.
I look forward to having the need to putting them back on.
My Sunglasses! 😁🤦♂️
Winter is long and dark here in Wisconsin.