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  1. Yesterday
  2. Looks like your beard froze.
  3. That looks crazy hard - way out of my league. Congratulations!
  4. This actually made me cry. Your spirit is even more amazing than your work ethic.
  5. Ehhh - not a free trip to Bermuda, but it's a free race while in Bermuda!
  6. I'm not sure how easy Land Between the Lakes is to get to, but everyone I know who has done it says it's their favorite race. It's a bit tamer for sure.
  7. Ugh, my heart hurts for you, but I'm also so proud of you. You absolutely have proven that you have 2:45 in you.
  8. Cheers to that!!
  9. I do enjoy both, but an earned cupcake tastes better than a purchased cupcake! I really appreciate races that come up with unique awards. There's a local race (faster than I can place in) that gives out cuckoo clocks and other German handcrafted items, which are awesome! It's just that most of the smaller races that I can place in tend to give out the same pre-made medal and I can't even tell one race from another in my collection now and I can't bring myself to get rid of them either.
  10. I'm shivering just reading this! (Also 70s here in SoCal)
  11. i’ve been back for an hour, and i still can’t feel my fingers. weather is funny. yesterday’s run was 82 degrees, a little on the chilly side, but ok as long as you keep moving. but that was before the Great Arctic Assault of 2019. i suspected things would be bad when i looked out this morning and saw the wind, indicating the beast had roared into town. but icy weather can’t stop me. i’m a runner, dammit. stepping outside, my worst fears were realized. a jarring 75. and with the wind chill, low 70s at best. i considered doing a Dave (treadmill), but i had the racing piñata to draft off, so i gave it a try. the mad dog loop is merciless on a cold, windy day. the trail parallels water, adding to the cold and promising certain death if you fall in trying to stop a softball. don’t ask. to make things worse, my legs were dead. yesterday, garmin said i needed 48 recovery hours. i scoffed. never scoff at a garmin. a few other brave souls were enduring the cold. we gave each other little waves with frostbitten fingers, the camaraderie of true believers. running is supposed to be fun. this is the opposite of fun. sooooo cold. I finally pulled the plug early. west texas boys aren’t built for the cold. i went home and looked for soup, but all we had was a Klondike bar. i hope mo doesn’t notice it’s gone. but what can you do? bundle up, gut it out, dream of 100 degree days to come. and wait to regain the feeling in my fingers.
  12. Ugh! So close. Marathons are so hard when the weather is less than ideal. Congratulations on the PR!
  13. Over the 3 days of racing the total elevation was +4000’. Each day was only 10-14 miles. Big Turtle course looks out of my league with all of that climbing!! LBL looks interesting.
  14. "That was the easy part. The hard part was NOT running for six weeks." - Preach!
  15. Does pacing involve a free trip to Bermuda?? If so, sign us all up!
  16. SIbbetson

    It is what it is

    Hear, hear - I also hate that phrase. Take care!
  17. I would have thought your desert running adventure would have had more elevation change. Not sure what you might consider East Coast, but 2 I'm looking at are the Big Turtle 50 Miler (probably the 50K), or Land Between the Lakes (60K option). I know people who have done both. People love Land Between the Lakes and I've done part of the Big Turtle course. I'm open to other options, though. 😀
  18. Last week
  19. Such a good race. You keep getting better! You needed those drafting guys that they had in the sub2 race. Keep at it because I've already booked my trip to Atlanta and I'd love to cheer you on!
  20. Sounds like a great course! So close to sub 20!! Congratulations!
  21. Sounds amazing!! I can’t even imagine all of that climbing. I think the most I’ve done is 2,000 feet so far. If you do pick a spring east coast ultra let me know which one.
  22. oh man. you’re gonna be a junkie for sure.
  23. I guess I’ll try writing a race report. This will be the first race report since I wrote about my first marathon a little over a year ago. Yep - Marshall was my first and I did a second at the end of March this year. It was the Carmel Marathon and it didn’t go as well as Marshall. I went a little more aggressive and blew up around 20 miles like so many do. Enough about that. So not long after Carmel, I decided that I wanted to do a 50K trail race. For years, I’ve been far more into trail running than road running despite the fact that I almost never run on trails. My so-called excuse was that I spend so much time running already that I can’t really justify spending more time driving at least 25 minutes one way to the nearest trail. Trails appeal to me for a lot of reasons. The scenery obviously, but I’m also not ashamed to admit that running long is more interesting to me than running fast. That explains my lack of speed workouts generally, but trails give you the excuse to go slower. You’re supposed to walk the uphills and the technical stuff on trails, right? So I decided that I’d run one of the closest trail 50Ks to where I live. It’s called the Rough Trail 50K and it’s in the Red River Gorge here in Kentucky. How “Rough” could it be, right? I signed up in April and kind of put it in the back of my mind because it was a November race. Sometime early summer, I mentioned to one of my running buddies who does a lot of trail races (he’s done Western States and the Vol State 500K and he’s done Rough Trail twice) that I’d signed up. His response - “You’re making a mistake. You need to do something that’s easier than that one for your first”. A real confidence booster, right? Well he probably had a point. Although I’ve randomly done some trail running, I hadn’t done any in quite awhile and had never done a trail run longer than 10 miles. So one of the ways I started training in late spring was to start limiting my runs to a heart rate lower than 140. When my HR gets to 140, I start walking or at least back off. When it drops below, I start running again. I figured this would mimic the constant shifting from run to walk you do on trails where the terrain is a bit technical and more importantly it would boost my endurance. So basically, all of my running the last 6 months or so has been slow. I’ve not done a single interval, tempo or anything that closely resembles speed. Eventually, I got around to asking my trail running buddy if he would take me out to “the gorge” to do a practice run and show me around a bit. Our schedules finally synced up sometime in August and I headed out for what was essentially my first trail run. (Just throwing in a couple random pictures from the gorge that aren’t me since the race hasn’t posted the photos yet) Well….he’s supposed to be a buddy, but I think he tried to kill me. He basically took me on a section of the course that had most of the big climbs. It was a run that was about 12 miles and it took me 3 hours. And it left me broken. As in, I couldn’t run for 5 days after that because my legs were so sore. And I went out and tried to run every day. I immediately considered dropping down to the 25K option. There was a 10 hour cutoff in the 50K and I’d just managed to only run about a third of it in 3 hours. As it turns out, he is a good friend because that run put the fear of this race in me. I started going out to the gorge anytime I could find someone to go with and I started driving to a more local trail for 10 mile runs on the other weekend day each week (and some Friday afternoons). I upped my road running as well and turned in a 250 mile month in September. The most I’d ever done before that was just under 200. Over 100 of those miles were on trails. I kept it up into October culminating in a 16 mile run that covered the last half of the course and was very similar to that first trail run...only longer. I’d made a lot of progress. I wasn’t even sore the next day and I was able to run. I had one more taper 10 miler on an easier section of the course and the hay was in the barn. I can’t say I was confident, but I felt better about my chances than 2 months prior. I’d essentially run the entire race course at least twice at that point on various runs. But still, I hadn’t had a run longer than 5 and a half hours, and I was figuring at that point I was going to shoot for 8:30 in the race. So I might be 3 hours into uncharted territory. I made a race plan that essentially had me holding myself back for the first 17 miles. That first part has most of the easiest sections whereas the majority of the big climbs were all in those last 14 miles. Two days before the race, a running acquaintance of mine - Marcelo - messaged me and asked if I wanted to carpool. I agreed and I told him that I was aiming for 8:30. He said he was too, so now I had someone to run with as well. Race day was pretty cold. And that’s a good thing for me. It was going to be about 23 at the start and climbing into the 40s. I decided on shorts, calf sleeves, two short sleeve running shirts and a very light jacket with gloves and a buff over my ears. I ended up being comfortable the whole day and never took off the jacket. Don’t worry, I don’t remember many details about the race, so this will wrap up pretty soon. And anyway, running and racing to me is more about the entire journey and not the single day of running/racing. The race started and I was mildly successful at holding myself back during that easier first half. Well….maybe not so much! I did keep the effort where I felt it needed to be, but I was going quicker than I figured in my planning. At the first aid station at 8 miles, I was already about almost 30 minutes ahead. At mile 13, that was now about 45. I was 50 minutes early at that 17 mile aid station. So I’d pretty much failed in holding myself back, but I was feeling pretty good. So that is where I figured the real race would start. There’s about a 7 miles stretch to the next aid station and it had a lot of climbing - including one of the biggest climbs leading right up to the aid station itself. Marcelo had dropped back around mile 18 and said he'd catch up. I didn't see him again until about mile 25. I ran most of that time alone with nobody passing and nobody to pass. When I got through that section, my cushion was now up to 53 minutes over my plan so I’d basically held even with the plan. I wasn't gaining on it anymore, though and was also starting to feel the miles and hours in my legs and pretty much everywhere else. From that point, there are two other aid stations in fairly short order. I gave back about 10 minutes of my cushion in that stretch as I just really didn’t feel like running on the easy stuff anymore. At the same time, though, I also started thinking about the chance to break 8 hours. By the time I got to the 27 mile aid station, I was feeling a little better. I’d had some food at the previous two and maybe that was working its magic. I also chatted for a second with a running friend who was working the aid station and that gave me a boost. I was a bit disappointed that she didn’t have the shot of Fireball she told me earlier that she’d bring for me (for the record, I don’t like Fireball at all but it was something fun to think about). Or maybe she’d already drank it herself. At that point, the 4 miles left felt doable. Never mind that the longest climb of the race starts at mile 28. (Trail running tip that I learned - At that last aid station, I asked one of the aid station workers to fill one of my bottles with coke. Do not do that. Within about a minute of running, the shaking caused the carbonation to activate and the bite valve popped open and coke started spraying out a little bit. I stopped, took off the cap, chugged half the bottle and poured out the rest.) The last 4 miles was pretty uneventful. Marcelo didn't stop at the aid station and left me on the downhill. I got to the last climb and I worked my way up in the fastest time I’d ever climbed it. I caught and passed Marcelo at the start of the climb. When I got to the top, he was nowhere in sight. At that point, it gets a bit difficult mentally because the climb is over, but you still have to drag yourself along for 2.5 miles on flatter stuff to the finish. I was doing math at that point and figured I should be under 8 hours. But it would be kind of close. I got to mile 30 and then to mile 31 and I still wasn’t quite sure where the finish was. I started wondering if I’d taken a wrong turn. In training, I’d just take the trail back to the parking lot, but the finish was in a slightly different place along a trail I’d not used. As it turns out, Marcelo did actually take a wrong turn at the top of the climb and ended up running an extra half mile. By the time I got to 31.3 miles, I was starting to get nervous about that sub 8. But that’s about the time I spotted the finish line chute about 15 feet above me around a curve. Finish time 7:53:20. I was 60th overall out of the 140 registered. Honestly, it went about as good as it could have. Garmin says it was 6900 feet of elevation gain. Strava says it was somewhere around 6,000. Not sure why they are never closer. The race says 6500, so maybe that’s what it was. It was 2 plus hours longer than I’d ever run. Sure there was a fair amount of walking during the uphills and technical sections, but I never stopped moving forward except to grab food and fill up my water bottles at the 6 aid stations. Nutrition and hydration weren’t ever an issue. I basically drank Tailwind most of the day and had a little bit of aid station food each time to supplement. I think I had a few brownies, some mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a small pickle and some potato chips over the course of the race. There were rumors of grilled cheese sandwiches at the last aid station, but they must have been gone when I got there. I was kind of stiff and sore that evening and more so the next day, but nothing too bad. The day after I went for a 2 mile walk, but I was still a bit too sore to run. So the question in my head now is what next? I’ve considered doing the Atlanta Marathon Loophest next spring, but I’m not sure I want to do another road marathon right now. And the failed spring marathon this year is in my head. Training goes so well in the cold months of winter and then the race ends up being warmer than you’re used to. Fall races seem to be the opposite. I also REALLY enjoyed this race. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be a mistake as my first, I think it was tailor made for me. I’m sure better trail runners than me would disagree, but I thought there was a lot of the course that wasn’t runnable and I kind of liked that. I’ve looked at a couple of spring trail ultras but haven’t pulled the trigger on those either. I’ve got to make up my mind soon because races that I do have to be in cooler months. So that means mid-April or earlier. And that means training starting real soon.
  24. The Short: It's no secret that I went to Indy with the goal of running 2:45:00 or better. I truly felt like my fitness was there, whereas before my past OTQ attempts I've always felt more comfortable with 6:20ish but tried anyway since that is so close to the 6:17 average needed. My pace plan was 6:20 for the first 10K, then 6:15 from there on, dropping lower towards the end if I was up for it - and although I never looked at my watch I averaged 6:19 for the first 10K and 6:14 from there to the half. Mother Nature dealt a brutal south wind, which we turned into around 13.5 miles of the mostly north-south course. I kept telling myself that I was strong enough to run 2:44 even with the wind, but it turns out I wasn't; I finished in a PR of 2:46:08, 68 seconds shy of what I need to be able to run in Atlanta on 2/29/20. God has different plans for me, and I know they are better than mine, but that doesn't lessen my heartbreak over this. Official results are here. My dad's finishing video is here. You can read more about my training cycle and philosophy for this race here. Final stretch The Less Short (truly long is to come, as usual): The elite field at Indy Monumental on 11/9/19 was by far the largest it had ever been, with the timing being great for runners to notch an Olympic Trials Qualifying time, recover, and rebuild towards the Trials on Leap Day 2020. The course is known for being flat and the weather cold, and this year the race had 2:45 pacers and performance bonuses for any athletes hitting the standards. For me another major draw was that it was a drive-able distance away (about 7 hours), and it fit better with my work and family schedules than other race options. While I think the California International Marathon course is faster, I figured less travel stress would even things out. During the week before the race, I talked to a few women about pacing together. I hypothesized that the 2:45 pace group would go out too fast, because pace groups almost always do, especially when you have people amped up about a very specific time standard. I wanted to start at 6:20 for the first 10K, then drop to steady 6:15s for the rest of the race. I hoped I could drop to 6:10 or under for the final 10K, but staying at 6:15 would get me under 2:45:00. My coach trained me for 6:10-6:15 goal pace, so 6:17 wasn't nearly as intimidating as it has been in the past for me. There were 4 other women who expressed interest in the "conservative start 2:45 group" as we called ourselves, and we figured we'd pick some more up along the way. I think nearly every one of the 62 women in the elite field was aiming for 2:45 or under! I'll write another post about the wonderful elite hospitality at this race. Race morning was cold - 28 degrees with a windchill of 19 at the 8 a.m. start. I'd spent most of my season worried that it would be too warm for this race, but it was cold enough I wore a full singlet, arm warmers, an ear warmer headband, and gloves for the whole race. There was also a significant south wind that increased throughout the morning. I started the race calm, confident, and ready to execute, telling myself "you are a sub-2:45 marathoner". I started with 3 of the women I planned to work with, Tawny, Sam, and Stella (we could never find our 4th, Jen, but I later learned she dropped out with a calf injury). Tawny's husband Dustin ran with us and told us every turn in advance, helping us navigate the tangents well. With the size of the event (19,000) and the half and full marathons starting together, the first 5 miles were more crowded than I'm used to, but for the most part I could stride out and keep a steady tempo. Before the race, I'd decided that I would work with my group, use the 2:45 pace group as a gauge, and run by effort. Several people told me that Garmins would be wonky for the first 6-7 miles due to the many long underpasses we ran under and the downtown buildings, so taking manual mile splits was recommended. I decided against doing so because I didn't want to mess with my watch, which was the best decision for me, but I don't have my actual mile splits because of that (only the splits from the course mats). The course had clocks at every mile marker, and while I missed a lot of the markers early on, I saw all of the important check points. The miles rolled by quickly, and I focused on staying relaxed, running the tangents, and working with those around me. Our first elite bottle station was around 10K, and I easily grabbed my Generation UCAN. I started the race with 3 gels in my shorts for peace of mind, so that even if I missed all of my bottles I'd be fine with what I had plus water from the course aid stations. Shortly after the 10K mark, the half marathoners split off and we had more room to run. Power of the pack (pacer is in orange) I can't tell you much about the course, except that it was flat. I just focused and executed. It felt like a pace I could do all day. Our group was solid and the large 2:45 pace group was 30-45 seconds ahead of us. A man running with us kept telling us at each mile marker some rendition of "we're on 2:44:30 pace", and it wasn't until mile 8-10ish that we learned he was one of the 2:45 pacers! He'd gone out more conservatively while the main group with the sign had gone out fast. We all laughed when we collectively figured it out, and I told him, "I thought you were just a very helpful guy...well, you are a very helpful guy, but you're official too!" Our second bottle station was around 20K, and I picked up my nuun energy plus a gel there. I ended up giving half of that bottle to a man running with us, because I really wasn't sweating and didn't need much fluid. Before I knew it we were at the half, in 1:22:05ish. I thought something like, "that was the easiest 1:22 half I've ever run, I feel so fresh, I bet I can run 1:21:50 for the second half and come in at 2:43!" Endorphins were flowing and the power of the pack was real. At some points my hands got numb and cold, but overall my body temperature was ideal. Halfway there The course is a large loop, starting out going north, going a bit west, then coming back south. Around mile 13.5 we turned south and into the wind. The 18+ mph headwind was tough, but I tried to draft off others and not stress about it since I couldn't do anything to change it. I was planning to take my second gel with my 30K bottle, but around mile 17 I decided I was ready for some calories and used one from my shorts pocket. Our group had slowly been both losing and picking up people, and between 17-18 it really dismantled and I never saw the 2:45 pacer who'd been with us again (the pacers were planned to run to mile 20 so I assume he stopped there). I'd been following just behind Tawny for several miles, and she looked so strong. I kept telling myself to just stay with her and we were going to do it together. At mile 18, she abruptly slowed. I went past her, encouraging her to come with me (I later learned she suffered with a lot of cramping in the final 8 miles). I felt like a million bucks at 18, and was comparing how I felt to that point in the Phoenix Marathon in my head ("only 8 miles to go - I'm doing this!"). At mile 20, I thought about how much better I felt at that point than at 20 in Grandma's Marathon, with almost exactly the same 20 mile split (2:05:3X). I felt confident that on my fourth try, I could actually do this thing. The wind was relentless, but I just kept telling myself that I was strong enough to do it anyway. Doubt creeped in at times, but I pushed it away - positive thinking is so powerful and is something I think I have down. I didn't run with anyone from 18 on; I was blowing past people who were struggling, and people who were finishing at 6:00 pace were blowing past me. I slowly sucked down the gel I'd pulled off my 30K bottle between 18-22ish, mainly for the caffeine boost and distraction. At mile 22 I told myself that there were only 3 miles left, since the last mile takes care of itself. I was feeling fatigued and started pulling out every mental trick in my play book: running the mile I was in, looking ahead and pretending a rope was pulling me towards the next person ahead of me, thinking about my dad and Jon at the finish line, thinking about how I wanted to give my dad a plane ticket to Atlanta for his birthday, remembering my whys, and thinking about what felt good instead of what hurt (my hamstrings were screaming but my calves and quads felt strong). I had Hebrews 12:1 written on my arm, and for a good portion of the final miles I just repeated "Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:1" over and over to myself. My arm sleeves covered this, but I knew it was there I got to 23 knowing I had to keep moving. I threw every ounce of energy I had in me into fighting the wind. The long straight stretch running south to the finish was something I'd looked forward to from the course map (no turns! lock in and go!), but in reality it was the worst part of the race. I did everything I could think of to make it feel better; I pushed down my arm sleeves and pulled my ear warmer off my head. I told myself that the man passing me was 2:44:50 and I had to go with him. I tried to latch on to anyone who passed me. I used the energy of the crowd. I told myself that I was a sub-2:45 marathoner. At the mile 24 clock, I got worried. By my shaky (but distracting!) math I needed to run 6:10-6:15 for the final 2.2 to make it, and I was struggling. Before the race, I'd had grand plans to finish the final 10K at 6:05-6:10, but I didn't have it in me. The wind just ate me up, and I was too worn down to pick up my pace; instead I was slowing. People all around were yelling at the women coming by, "You can get the 2:45, but you've gotta move! You've gotta move now!" I kept trading off positions with another women I'd run much of the race with (and who is pictured below finishing steps behind me), and a man was running on the sidewalk encouraging her, "Amy, no one closes like you, you can do this!" I pretended he was talking to me and I fought to stay with her. I fought with everything I had, but when I saw the mile 25 clock I knew it would take a miracle, or a 5:45ish final 1.2 miles. I refused to give up, but all I had was a 6:43 final mile and only a 6:42 pace final 0.24 (this is how I truly know I physically gave it all - I could not pick it up at all at the end; generally we have a little extra gear because our minds are stopping us but our bodies have a little left in reserve). I passed the mile 26 clock around 2:44:50, knowing that I had only fit 26 miles into the time I needed to fit 26.2 into, and it stung so hard. I ran with all my heart for the final 0.2, although my heart was a little broken at that point. However, I crossed the line joyfully and thankfully in a PR of 2:46:08. 68 seconds away, but 66 seconds closer than I've ever been before. Clock shot The obvious is that I gained a PR from this race. I bettered my previous marathon best, which I ran in perfect weather on a net downhill course at CIM, on a flat loop course in brutal cold wind. I gained a greater appreciation for training and the every day process during this training cycle; that was the best part. I gained new friendships and bonds with amazing women. I gained the guts to go for it on an imperfect day; previously I always thought everything had to be just right to even try, but now I think I'm strong enough that things just need to be pretty good, and that's a big step. So many people told me that my race was a sub-2:45 performance, and I truly believe it was, but the USATF doesn't wind-grade times, so... Sometimes I feel like a broken record saying that I'm going to keep trying, but after my fourth try for it at Indy, I know even more that a 2:45:00 is in me. Should've adjusted the arm sleeves & headband, but was barely able to function! Stay tuned for more race details! "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. - Hebrews 12:1
  25. Keep Running Girl

    Must. Keep. Writing.

    Come meet you for sure! Let me know far enough in advance and I'll probably run too!
  26. eliz83

    RR- Dragon Run 5K-9/28/19

    Great race! Here's to a much better November for the both of us.
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