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  1. 16 points
    Oh goodness, where to start? The New York City Marathon was so much more awesome than I ever imagined, and I’m sure I won’t do justice to the experience here. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try! I left DC on Thursday via Amtrak (my favorite way to travel anywhere on the I-95 corridor), with coffee in my hands and manic excitement in my eyes… I arrived at NY Penn Station around noon, and walked the handful of blocks north to the Port Authority bus terminal, where my mom was due in at 12:30 from MA. We walked another handful of blocks together up to Hell’s Kitchen, where our (definitely illegal but super convenient) AirBnB was located. Checking in was fast and easy, and within a little while we were on the move again, this time south towards the Javits Center where the expo was held (with a quick stop for lunch first; a girl’s gotta eat). Entering the expo was SO EXCITING and a lot less hectic than I’d imagined. We got through security quickly and were free to wander the many, many aisles of NYC-branded running-related goodies. But first, I just had to pose in front of this huge blow-up of one of my favorite race pictures ever: In the small section of the expo not dedicated to blatant consumerism (no judgement; I succumbed) there was a HUGE tabletop map of the marathon course. This this was practically life-size! On Thursday evening, Mom and I went to the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Marathon Pavilion located next to the finish line in Central Park, because I’d reserved us tickets for a screening of the Boston Marathon documentary that was released in April. The Pavilion had the ginormous wall of names of *almost* all the race entrants (sorry Jay-Zee). Thanks to Mom for spotting me! Seeing the movie again was so great, and definitely stoked some fires in my goal-oriented little mind. I think Mom enjoyed seeing it too, as well as getting a preview of what a ridiculous blubbering mess I’m going to be should I ever be lucky enough to qualify for and run Boston. As a special treat, Bill Rodgers was in the house and did a Q&A after the film! He was a bit spacier than I’d expected, and didn’t so much answer questions as reminisce about races of yore… But who can blame him? He’s Bill-freaking-Rodgers and can talk about whatever he wants. On Friday morning, I woke up early-early to go get a fresh bagel at 6:30am. Because, New York City. Then at a more civilized hour, I made my way to the NYRR Run Center to join a marathon-focused running tour of some of the historical sites of Central Park! There were about 20 people in the tour group, and the leader kept the pace to a nice and leisurely 10:15-10:30/mile. While we were hanging out in the Run Center waiting for the tour to depart, guess who walks in. Emma Coburn!! You know, the World Champion and American record-holder steeplechaser. #steeplepeople I didn’t talk to her or anything, but let me tell you, she is just as gorgeous in person as she looks on tv. Anyway, the tour got underway and we made it to the Park! One of the places we stopped for a story was on Cat Hill, so named for this cool bronze statue of a mountain lion-type kitty perched on the side of the road ready to pounce on unsuspecting runners and cyclists. Another place we paused for some stories was at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which was just beautiful: Thankfully it was a nice warm day, because we stopped for stories and pictures about every quarter mile, which would have been torturous had it been cold! One of the last places we stopped was at the marathon finish line, where this guy was hanging out for the weekend: This is Fred Lebow, founder of the NYC Marathon, standing watch over the finish line ready to click off your time on his watch. Normally he lives over at the 90th Street entrance to Central Park, but the NYRR move him over to the finish line for race weekend. I imagine he appreciates the gesture. On Friday afternoon, Mom and I did some wandering around Manhattan. We visited Washington Square Park, walked around Soho, window shopped along 5th Avenue, did some top-notch carb loading… We paid a visit to the finish line in Central Park so Mom could see it (she would be avoiding that insanity on race day): Then on Friday night we had dinner with my cousin and his wife, who live in NYC, and then saw Kinky Boots on Broadway! What an incredibly fun, uplifting show that is!! If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing it! On Saturday, we did some more wandering around the city, because it is just too wonderful not to enjoy! NYC architecture blows me away, whether it’s huge skyscrapers or gorgeous little details that are too easy to miss. On Saturday evening, Mom and I met up with the other Loopsters running the marathon (plus a local one - hi christine.eliz!) for a delicious pasta dinner. After dinner, we managed a group photo in the craziness of Times Square. I needed to be at my bus to the start line by 5:45am the next morning, so we called it a night very early on Saturday. But not before getting Flat Caitlin ready! (wow, three pages in and the race hasn’t even started yet! #sorrynotsorry #doallthethings #yolo) My alarm went of so very early on Sunday, but I bounded out of bed with all the energy I seriously wish I had on speedwork mornings. I left the apartment to walk over to the library where the bus would take me to the start line on Staten Island. It was about a 20-minute walk from the apartment, which I normally wouldn’t recommend at 5:15am, but it was one of those special race experiences because I was accompanied by so many other throwaway clothes-clad runners! As I walked towards the long line of buses, I looked up and saw the Chrysler Building in all its Art Deco glory: Quickly enough, I was settled in on the bus and ready for the hour-ish long drive to Staten Island. I noshed on my bagel and peanut butter, drank some Gatorade, and dozed a bit during the ride. Eventually the sun came up, and shortly thereafter we arrived at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, and I tried to figure out where I was supposed to be in this massive runner village. It was pretty exciting to see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge off in the distance, and know that I’d be running over it so soon! I passed the Dunkin Donuts truck and got my awesome orange and pink fleece hat! It was chilly enough that the warm hat was a nice bonus while sitting around. I found my way to the Orange Village, and settled into a comfy patch of grass near the corral entrances to hang out for the 3ish hours before my wave was called. I ate a bit more of my bagel, as well as a fun-sized Snickers left over from my parents’ Halloween stash (which Mom very nicely brought with her to NYC), and passed some time by reading the race program. There are always so many compelling human stories in a marathon. I laid down on my foil blanket, wrapped snuggly in my throw-away sweats and blanket, and actually managed to fall asleep for about 45 minutes. I awoke abruptly, and lost at least 5 years off my life, when I heard the sound of an explosion seemingly right next to my head! Having just watched the Boston documentary, which prominently featured the 2013 bombing, and given the truck attack that had just occurred in NYC earlier in the week, I was apparently VERY on-edge, and awoke in an absolute panic thinking that something unconscionable had happened. No worries! It was just the first start canon, signaling the beginning of the professional wheelchair division at 8:30. I did not get back to sleep after that… And I jumped every time the cannon subsequently, which it did numerous times before my own start (Achilles handcycle and disabled athletes start, Footlocker Five-Borough Challenge start, professional women’s start, and Wave 1 start). Finally it was time to start my own migration towards my corral (which luckily had portapotties in it since we have to be inside 45 minutes before our start time!). I made it through the three bib checks and into the corral, where I hung out some more and chatted with a woman from Ireland and a man from England. And took a selfie, because why not? FINALLY it got to be almost 10:15, time for Wave 2 to start! The ropes were dropped, and the corrals started moving slowly towards the starting line on the bridge. We got to the staging area just before the bridge, and could hear the announcer introducing the wave. They played “God Bless America” over the loudspeakers, and then Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” which some German guys behind me tried to sing along to, with hilarious results. Being in the middle of this crush of enthusiastic humanity was absolutely electric. And then the cannon sounded again and we were off! It only took me a couple of minutes to cross the start line, and then I was running on top of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge! I think I spent the first two miles just whispering “this is really happening; I’m running the New York City Marathon” to myself. I barely noticed the incline of the first mile on the bridge because I was too busy enjoying the moment and soaking up the view from the bridge, foggy as it was. I tried not to look at my watch too often because pace wasn’t important to me today. I had no time goals for the race, and with so many people around me at all times it wasn’t going to be easy to maintain an even pace anyway. We got off the bridge at Mile 2ish, made a couple of turns, and started up 4th Avenue, which would take through Brooklyn all the way to Mile 8. And this is where the real fun started, and didn’t let up for the next 24 miles. The crowd was absolutely deafening. I thought I was prepared for raucous crowd support, but I had no idea. I’m SO GLAD that I put my name on my shirt for this race, because I felt like a freaking superstar the entire time. There wasn’t a single mile where I didn’t hear multiple people yelling “Go Caitlin! I see you Caitlin!! You got this Caitlin!” at me, and it was AWESOME. A friend of mine happened to be visiting Brooklyn over race weekend and she took this picture of me somewhere along the course. I didn’t see her and certainly didn’t know she was taking a picture, but I had this goofy smile on my face the entire way because it was so much fun! I stayed along the left side of the route so that I could more easily high-five everyone within reach. Tangents be damned. My watch registered a 26.8-mile marathon but it was totally worth it. I kept waiting for the fatigue to set in, or to get annoyed by the constant press of runners around me, or to get to the mental state of just wanting the race to be done with. It never happened. I felt so strong and fresh the whole time, and every new cheer from the crowd and high-five from a group of kids or police or firefighters gave me a new burst of energy. Literally the only stretch of the race where I felt just a little bit tired and cranky was on the Queensboro Bridge from Miles 14.5-16. We were on one half of the lower level of the bridge, so it was narrower than the course had been previously, and created a pretty bad bottleneck that slowed everyone down, and being on the lower level was kind of dark and gloomy. I also had a near-collision with the people next to me when someone who had stepped off the course to the left decided to step back onto the course directly in front of me *at a walk.* #rude But no one fell over and everyone seemed pretty chill given the crowded conditions we were all trying to navigate. I knew that my mom would be near mile 18 at 93rd Street, so that was a good motivator to get through the bridge section and the first couple of miles up First Avenue in Manhattan. I ran over to see her and give her a hug, and hand off the Dunkin Donuts hat that I’d been hanging onto for 18 miles! The crowds in Manhattan were awesome as well, although I think Queens and the Bronx are tied for loudest, rowdiest spectators. The stretch through the Bronx was short but memorable thanks to the enthusiastic support of the crowds. At Mile 21, we reached the Madison Avenue Bridge leading back into Manhattan, and proceeded south on Fifth Avenue. I saw my cousin and his wife at 110th Street, and they’d even made a sign for me, which was such a fun surprise to see at Mile 22.5. I knew that we entered Central Park at 90th Street, so I was counting down the blocks until we go there. There was some uphill along Fifth Avenue, and it gave me a nice mental boost to pass people this late in the race AND going uphill #sorrynotsorry #yougotchicked We entered Central Park at 90th Street, just before Mile 24, and proceeded down the hill we’d run up during my NYRR tour of the park. We exited the park a bit past Mile 25, and ran along Central Park South nearly the whole width of the park. The crowds here were still awesome and loud, despite the fact that it had now been raining for about 3.5 hours and wasn’t the loveliest day to stand outside. I kept passing people here, and made a special effort to pass a dude in a full-length Superman cape. I was determined not to have some big red cape ruin MY finish line photo! We jumped back into the park off Columbus Circle and passed the Mile 26 marker shortly thereafter. I started getting really emotional as I simultaneously pushed towards the finish line and tried to soak up every last second of these final moments of the race. This was my 15th marathon, and the first time that I’ve ever been sad to cross the finish line. Of course I was also super happy with my experience, and completely thrilled to have finished well under the 4-hour mark! Official time: 3:52:16 I got my medal, and immediately stopped to capture the moment. A few minutes later I got to the foil blanket distribution, which was much appreciated because the chilly rain felt a lot less good while hobbling along than it did while running. I had opted for the post-race poncho option rather than bag check. I’d heard such wonderful things about these ponchos that I was pretty excited to get mine! The walk to where the volunteers were handing them out was considerably longer than I’d expected, and it was uphill. #notcool But about 20 minutes after crossing the finish line, a lovely volunteer finally wrapped me in the warm, waterproof, insulated poncho and life was grand. I walked for a few more minutes to wear Mom and I had planned to meet. I saw her waiting for me, and the first thing she said when I reached her was, “SHALANE WON!!!!” My approximate reaction? (thanks to Corc-o-rama for the image) It was such a perfect cherry on top of an already perfect marathon sundae to learn that Shalane finally got her so-well-deserved moment of glory! And knowing that I crossed that very same finish line 90ish minutes later was so cool! On Monday Mom and I had a lovely breakfast at a cute little diner near our AirBnB, and then headed back towards Port Authority and Penn Station to catch our respective transportation home. But first I needed to get my hands on the Marathon Monday edition of the New York Times! I really can’t say enough good things about my New York City Marathon experience. It was impeccably well organized for such a huge event (over 51,000 finishers!), and the people of New York completely floored me with their energy and support through every mile of the race. I’m so thankful that I got to have this experience this year. Marathon #15 is definitely one that I’ll never forget!
  2. 15 points
    Things are coming down to the wire. We had our last completely free weekend and now are faced with a baby shower, birth & CPR classes, picking a pediatrician, going to the police department to make sure the car seat is installed properly, a late Friendsgiving/Festivus celebration and other general holiday things to take up the last remaining weeks. I'm slowing down, too. Walks are still happening but definitely no running. The pressure of gravity is uncomfortable even when stationary so I don't really want to experience it when I'm bouncing all over the place. I did scamper down the driveway to take out the trash and that was okay but no further. We met some new local people our age, R & E, through a mutual friend and both encounters have gone well so I'm crossing my fingers that we can manage to stay in touch. They have a 5 month old baby and a dog and like to go hiking and live about 10min away so really, what's not to like? Even socially resistant DH was getting into it towards the end of the second hangout. The first time we met up was to go on a hike with the puppies and they seemed eager to let me pick the place so I chose a nearby park that is humongous but has a relatively short off leash loop. I still have no idea what constitutes a non-runner's idea of acceptable distance for this kind of thing, a fact DH constantly points out to me ("you said a couple miles... FIVE IS NOT A COUPLE") so I decided to play it safe and used my knuckle on the trail map to roughly check the distance. Just under 2 miles. That's ok, right? We met in the parking lot. I'd met R before and she looks pretty fit; E was no exception - a tall and wide dude who does Crossfit, apparently. We suited up and headed up the hill that begins the loop. Oh right, the hill. The pretty long and kind of steep hill. On the way up E was asking if I'd started feeling more tired or out of breath yet going by his wife's experience just a few months prior. I was saying yeah, kind of, it's not too bad though... and he'd reply something like well, if you ever need to slow down just let us know, it's no biggie. And I know it sounds obnoxious but it really was said in a nice way so I didn't think anything of it. The hill kept climbing and climbing and R and E were both dragging a bit and I was feeling totally fine and had to keep pretending I wasn't waiting for them, like oh look at this interesting tree! off to the side of the trail. E had to stop a few times because the baby carrier was adjusted too low and pressing into his stomach making it hard to breath and I thought, well, I have the same thing but can't adjust it.... We finally got to the top of the hill and settled in to a nice walk on the flat loop part. The dogs loved it. They weren't 100% comfortable letting their dog off leash but we let Chewie off because his legs are too short to let him run full tilt into the leaves and underbrush so he's pretty well confined to the trail. Turns out E works in the medical field so I FINALLY had someone to talk to about biology stuff instead of all this financial jargon the males in our other circle of friends seem to make up every time we hang out. Turns out FI-nance and fuh-NANCE are different terms?? On the way back down the boys & Chewie kept getting further out ahead and I was having a nice time chatting with R but was getting a little anxious as we got further apart. I never liked getting strung out from a group and her dog didn't like it either and kept trying to pull us forward to return to the pack. She'd respond by going slower. Omg. If you've ever run trails with me you know my favorite is the downhills and I'm pretty confident about foot placement. I won't ever rush someone who's concerned about tripping but... !!! Come on woman! We finished the hike up in about 1hr 45min and said goodbyes in the parking lot. The next day I returned and power hiked that thing with Chewie in 57 minutes. I guess that competitive streak is still there... The next hike we picked was with all six of us and a ton easier, more like a woodland stroll. I'd learned my lesson, ha! But honestly it's nice to meet some new people and at least they enjoy that kind of thing. We went over to their place afterwards for lunch and had a great time chatting and getting more comfortable with each other. You know how it is. DH played with the baby on the floor for more than half the time and it was seriously so super cute. <3 Somehow the conversation turned to being in shape for birth and R was saying how she was in pretty good shape and still had a tough time, which made my heart kind of sink. And then that little sneak DH brought up my past ultra experience and their eyes kind of bugged out. I had to explain to them what exactly I'd done (no hundos, please, don't assume THAT! just a couple 50ks) and to me it's really not a big deal because I mean come on, it was like... what, three years ago at this point? But E loudly exclaimed, "Okay, now I don't feel as bad about getting roasted by a 7 month pregnant lady!!" and I couldn't help it and cracked up. So that made me feel a little better. Sigh. I just hope I have enough time/motivation to get back into it after the whole shebang. Gotta get me a jogging stroller! I took Chewie to a nearby beach park to scope out the road/trail and it seems solid enough to navigate a hefty stroller... definitely a possibility.
  3. 14 points
    A few years have passed since I first visited a running store and bought my first running shoes. A few years have passed since I decided to hit the road and run those initial calf-burning, lung-searing miles. A few years have passed since I once again fell in love with the endorphin rush that washed over me in the wake of cooling sweat, thundering heart rate, taut, quivering muscles quieting into total body relaxation (yes, I’m talking about RUNNING here, kids…). You can experience this stuff all over again, though. Find a brand new runner. Someone who said “I’m not a runner!” as recently as a few months ago. Someone who talked about seeing runners on the road with just the slightest hint of amusement under the tone of voice, like… yeah, those people. Someone who joked about being chased if you saw him needing to run. Someone who played all the real sports like baseball, basketball, golf, etc. But maybe that someone starts realizing how much running has been a part of your life, your makeup, your history. The difference it made. The way your eyes shine when you talk about a BQ, a marathon, about training. The way your face becomes a study of resignation and pain when a race that was your goal is a bust… but then the way your face came alive when you accomplished it and could talk about it in terms of victory. How you speak of the things that plagued you before running, and how different it is now. And your friend starts thinking. “Maybe I should start running?” He asked it quietly, suddenly, the almost-always-sad eyes sparking with just a little hope, a shred of motivation. “Do you think it would help me?” I tried hard not to show the surprise that I felt. That was a quick turnaround from “I’m NOT a runner.” But desperate times call for desperate measures. And losing a marriage of 12 years, with all the ongoing pain and conflict and emotional upheavals it brings, along with trying to be a dad to two kids, staying afloat financially, struggling with depression and loneliness, and daily battling the taunting clutches of former alcoholism (4 years clean as of Summer, 2013… not a drop since)… well, those are desperate times. Life gets hard. Nights get long. Everything comes crashing down. Sometimes you just need some solitude and sweat and the wind in your face. Sometimes you need to get physical with the ghosts of your pasts and the demons of your present. Do you think running would help? He asks. Um, YES. I do. It helped when I was alone and desperate, when I wanted to take my own life. It helped when I was trying to process what had happened to me as a child versus what was happening to me becoming a woman. It helped when I hated my body and started starving myself and throwing up. It helped when I went through my first heartbreak, and when my then-best-friend betrayed my confidence and told my secrets to many. It helped when my relationship with my father was practically nonexistent. It helped when people called me “wild”, improper, unladylike, not find-a-husband material, and immodest for my love for the outdoors and my thinly veiled yearning to be free. Yep, even way back then, on the dirt roads, in an ankle length dress, in shoes I had to spray paint black to make them acceptable to my father the Bishop, and in doing something I didn’t even know the proper name for (we called it jogging). And it helped me when I left my culture behind and sought my way through a labyrinth of changes in a strange new world. It helped me beat back depression, leave an eating disorder in my past, learn to respect and love my body, and gain confidence and poise. It helped me learn strength and resilience when I struggled through the dark time of running injury. Running helped. Within a week or two of the initial conversation, I took my friend to his first running store experience. He saw the rows of shoes and the racks of tech gear. He had his gait analyzed. He put on about 7 different pairs of shoes before choosing well (Altra Torins), trying them out on the small track in the store. Then I ran his first 2 miles as a runner with him, just as the winter sun was sinking low and we finished in the shades of dusk. He takes to it comfortably; a relaxed, natural stride. The background in sports shows up and will be a benefit. 8:03 pace for the run and he’s not even gasping. And he likes it. He might run a race sometime. He wants to try trails next summer. He talks about “needing a run” when he’s up against a particular stressful, conflict-filled day. He’s a runner. I made up a beginner’s training plan and emailed it to him, happy to have added another convert to the shared fellowship of finding peace on the open road and secluded trail. Running helps, for sure.
  4. 14 points
    The Rehoboth Half Marathon was the last race on my calendar for 2017 and I had planned to race it. Really, what else can you do with all that left over endurance from marathon training anyway? The weekend started around 2:30 Friday afternoon when I arrived in Rehoboth and met up with Gwen, Carissa and Eric at packet pick up. After a quick stop at the house we made our way to Dog Fish Head to catch up and enjoy some beer. Slowly others trickled into town and we gathered at the house while Chris made lasagna for the pre-race meal. Soon it was time to get some sleep. The alarm went off at 5:00 AM. I dressed and went down to the kitchen where the others were already gorging on bagels on coffee. There’s nothing like the smell of body glide, coffee and nervous perspiration to help get you pumped for a race. We talked about the perfect racing weather and pace goals. Soon it was time to make our way to the start. Caitlin found a super nice house, and we could walk to the start in just a few minutes. It was a chilly 40 degrees but we were so close that I didn’t even need a throwaway. Here we are at the start. After some announcements and the National Anthem the race started. My goal was to beat 1:50 (8:25 pace) so I started with the 1:50 pace group. Sounded convenient. The plan was to run with the 1:50 group and hopefully have enough energy to pick it up for the last mile to finish under 1:50. The Marathon course splits off around 3 miles. The pace was feeling easy when my watch beeped 4 miles. Actually, it felt like the pacer had slowed. He had already announced that he wasn’t looking for a negative split and wasn’t going to come in early at all. Excuse me? That’s really all you need to hear when you’re feeling good - so I dropped him and settled into around an 8:10 pace. The trail section was in great shape this year and was completely dry. The pace felt steady and when I reached asphalt again I knew I was going to beat my goal by a minute or two. Some other runners around me started picking up their pace just before mile 12. I let them go, content to run my own race and beat the goal, happy and healthy. Around mile 12 Chris caught me and said “Come on – let’s go!” I picked it up with her and asked “We’re going to do this now?” “Yeah, let’s go!” So we hit it as hard as we could from mile 12, taking turns yelling at each other to keep pushing. That was the longest 1.1 miles I can remember, but soon enough we were rounding the last corner and we could see the finish line. My watch read 1:47:11 after crossing the finish line, a PR by over 4 minutes! The tracking company email says I ran 1:47:08. After a quick change of clothes several of us went back to cheer for the others who were still on the course. Then it was time to get the party started. The after party is mostly in a large tent at the finish line, but the beer tickets also work at the bar across the street. There isn’t gluten free beer in the tent, but we found GF beer across the street. Soon I was ordering bottles of GF beer across the street and sneaking them out in my pants and back to the tent where we spent most of our time goofing around and dancing. On the third trip I bumped into the RD and had to converse with her for a few minutes with beer in my pants. Fortunately, she didn't notice that I had beer in my pants. The next morning we said our good byes and started traveling home, looking forward to the next time when we can do this all over again. Thanks everyone! This was the best weekend since my last Rehoboth and I have a shiny new PR to chase next year.
  5. 14 points
    Back in 2016 when I trained for the Fresno Marathon in November, I was in the best shape ever and ready to go for sub3...the race came, the weather was perfect and the miles passed by until mile 21 when my hammy had enough for the day....on 2:55 pace, I booked my first DNF, oh well. Fast forward, a 50 miler and a 3:02 training marathon later, I started training for the California International Marathon in August. The training cycle was mixed. Besides moving from Seattle to altitude in Denver, I had some issues with left lower hammy in October. The hammy/knee eventually improved but I missed 2 of the so important MP runs and adjusting to the Denver altitude took about 5-6 weeks. My confidence was boosted when I ran a +20 miler with 15 MP miles 3 weeks before the race, followed by a brisk 14 miler a week later at the same pace as in Seattle with less effort. I tapered well but honestly had no clue what would happen. I mainly put my hopes on the altitude bonus and the fact that I certainly had the training volume. I arrived in Sacramento on Friday afternoon, already on a carb high since my carb loading phase started that morning after a 5 day fat loading phase. I picked up my packet and consumed way too many of these delicious coffee latte cans they gave out at the expo. FWIW, I consumed about the equivalent of 9 espressos on Friday and 12 on Saturday... Later on Friday, I met for a late lunch with Kyan Matz. I got some good sleep from Friday to Saturday and headed to the hamster wheel in the hotel before 6 am....I wasn’t the only or the first one in the gym. No wonder, CIM served as the US Marathon Championships this year and the elites were staying at the same place... I ran 3 miles and finished my workout at 6:11 pace, further giving me a confident boost; maybe this altitude bonus is for real. Later that day, I met Sara, Dan and Donald. As I waited for Dan and Donald to head out for a pizza dinner, I saw Ryan Hall in the lobby. It was kinda funny, while current athletes were stopped for pics, Hall was in the lobby for 30 minutes and nobody cared. Dan, Donald and I got pizza and headed back to the hotel lobby. Dan’s buddy Eric joined us. The guy was blazing fast and ended up winning the Masters category on Sunday in 2:17, punching his 3rd OTQ at age 40. Damn! On Sunday, I got up at 3:30, had my bagel, gel and coffee before getting on the bus at 5:00. Everything was really well organized. I started my race with a 59 year old from Canada. The first 4 miles were strangely easy but I was running at 6:30 - 6:40, I decided to abandon my cautious racing plan to run 2:58-2:59 and just go big. The miles clicked away and I was on 2:53-2:55 pace, passing the half in 1:26 and change. Mile 15 came around and I realized for the first time that sub3 is mine if sh$% didn’t hit the fan. I decided to bank time until mile 20-22 and continued to run on pace...As I approached mile 22, I got super nervous: Would my leg hold up or blow-up again out of the blue like last year? Of course, I started to tire around mile 20 like all people do if you race and gun for a PR but I felt great and nothing hurt. A quick calculation and I realized that I could run 8:00 pace and still come in below 3 hours....Instead of pushing, I took some pace off, still running at sub3 pace for these miles but 15-20 seconds slower than before. The finish ended up more dramatic than expected, in the last curve, my left hipflexor cramped, a few seconds later I was across the finish in 2:55:07. I kneeled down to stretch my hipflexor and couldn’t get up...I tried but it wasn’t meant to be. Two volunteers arrived plus a third with a wheelchair...:”I am not getting into this thing, just put me back on my feet.” The two volunteers helped me to get up and I hobbled off while one volunteer ensured that I don’t hit the pavement in a few feet.. I got my Boston Cream Pie Cupcake from the Whole Foods stand and made my way back to the hotel. The race, while not easy, is fast. The field is usually deep, this year especially. I instantly fell in love with this race, of course the 5 minute PR helps but I really enjoyed the varied course, the supportive crowd and the great organization. I will def. be back.
  6. 14 points
    After I reported my race time, a friend quickly informed me that I had sandbagged on my goal of this race. I REALLY did but it was completely unintentional! Saturday was a magical day for me and all of the stars aligned perfectly. It was one of those races that you dream of having. Although it wasn’t the best race time of my life, it is definitely on the top. I flew into DCA on Friday, and after a really fun road trip to Rehoboth Beach, I had volunteered to make lasagnas for the 15+ running friends I had waiting at the house we’d all rented! I’d never cooked for that many people and was in a hurry to get them all cooked at a decent hour, as we were some of the last to arrive. I was hoping I’d make enough and that it would all settle well with everyone. It wound up being a success which I’m really thankful for! After chatting with everyone, most of us settled into bed around 10pm. I was sharing a king-sized bed with two other chicas. I wound up only sleeping for 3 hours that night! It wasn’t because I was sharing a bed, because it was huge, but I have the habit of sleeping with background noise (a fan) at home. It was crickets quiet in there and I just couldn’t fall asleep. I finally grabbed my music around 2am which gave me the few hours that I got. I felt like a zombie when I woke up and didn’t want anything to eat. I sipped on a little water and finally had a Nature's Bakery fig bar right before we headed to the start. Those fig bars are amazing, by the way! Sam’s club has them by the case and that’s what I’ve been getting. The case is half blueberry and half raspberry. Our house was perfectly located really close to the start and finish. We left about 15 minutes before the race start so we didn’t have to stand out in the cold for too long. I had on: capris, my Team RWB tee, arm warmers, head-band, thin gloves, and calf-length socks (Stance). I was pretty comfy actually. At the start line I was using my phone and Strava app (follow me here!) to track the run and for some reason, I started it as soon as I heard them start the race. I didn’t even start running for some time after. I didn’t look at my phone one single time during the race, so it didn’t matter anyway. I’ve written it in another post, but I love running “blind” and feel that it has actually helped me run faster in races. I started off fast which I hadn’t intended to do but just kept going with it. I felt like I had slowed it down a little bit after the first couple of miles, but I hadn’t. We went around a round-about at mile 3 and right after, the half and the full split up. I did not feel that I was running that pace! I had heard someone behind me at one point saying they were running 8:20 and I was shocked! I can’t remember exactly, but I think I passed the 1:50 pacer around mile 4 and never saw them again! Miles 1-3: 10:05 (early app start), 8:18, 8:17 Around mile 7, we got on a packed(-ish) gravel trail that most people said they hated. I am a trail girl at heart so I LOVED that part. I think around mile 8, there were flags hanging over the trail. I’m guessing it was flags representing all the states/countriesImage result for thin blue line flag race runners were from. There was also a Thin Blue Line flag hanging, which supports police officers. I raised my hand and brushed it as I went under. I think one of the photographers got a picture of me doing it so I hope to see that later! I also brushed the NC flag as I went under too! Miles 4-8: 7:54, 8:07, 8:12, 7:58, 8:01. WOW!!! At mile 9, we turned around on the trail and headed back. I knew I had been running fast and I was actually waiting to hit the wall. I was certain that it was going to happen, but was doing my best to prevent it. I had decided not to carry a water bottle because I figured I could just use the aid stations. This turned out to be a great idea because they had ice cold Gatorade at each aid station which tasted PERFECT. I had brought one Cliff Shot Blok (citrus) and slowly started eating that around mile 7. I only had one blok each mile until about mile 11. So the only fuel I had the whole race was one packet of Shot Bloks, and a few cups of Gatorade. I did have one cup of water somewhere in there. About mile 11, I was starting to feel the speed I’d been running. It’s kind of a slight uphill from the turnaround until you get out of the trail around mile 12. When I saw the 12 mile marker, I was already proud of what I’d done all race and knew that I wouldn’t be hitting the wall after all! I could feel emotions coming but I didn’t cry. I felt like I did in 2011 and 2012 when I was getting all of my PRs. Even though I knew I wasn’t getting a PR (1:42:xx), because the 1:40 pacer was no where in site, I was overwhelmed with how good this race was going. I still had no clue where I was going to finish but wanted to keep pushing it until the end. Shortly after the 12 mile marker, I hear someone behind me say, “Chris!” I turned around and it was John P! I hadn’t seen him when I went by but he spotted the red, white, and blue I was wearing. I waved for him to come run with me and came right up beside me. I said, “Come on! Let’s go!” So I kicked it a little, which turned out to be a bit early. We still had about 3/4 of a mile to go and I thought I was going to pass out. I started to slow a bit but John kept yelling, “Let’s go! Don’t you slow down on me! Come on!” These are the moments I freaking LOVE. Just when you think you don’t have any more in the tank, someone else motivates you and you just burn everything you can. If it hadn’t been for John, I wouldn’t have finished it quite as hard. Miles 9-13: 8:08, 8:02, 8:02, 7:45, 7:31. Look at those negative splits, BABY!!! Hell yes! Finish time: 1:47:10 / 8:11 pace I gotta tell ya. I really didn’t think I had that in me. I honestly thought my 1:55 goal was a stretch because I just haven’t been doing much speed work in the last month. You can look back at my training on Strava and see that. Maybe the altitude training does help at sea level. Maybe the extended taper I did helped. Or maybe I’m just fucking bad ass. I felt like I was running in someone else’s body again, because I just haven’t had that powerful feeling in so long. I needed this race and that feeling. Man, I needed it so bad. And I got it. I hope to prolong this high as long as possible. I’m 36 years old and I’m still a bad ass bitch. We partied in the beer tent until it shut down, then hung out at a karaoke bar for a while (Randy sang Genie in a Bottle!!), then went to Conch Island and danced until it shut down! It looked so sad when we left yesterday morning… That was the best weekend I’ve had in a while. Great times with great people. Can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for reading, Chris I borrowed this pic… Awesome medal!
  7. 14 points
    That was running and me, for the last 7 weeks or so. It has been years of on again, off again training for marathons. Between and within the ebb and flow of training cycles were all the half marathons, 5ks and 10ks, triathlons, duathlons, bike races, and fun runs with kiddos. Exhaustion, throbbing muscles, poring over data, endless entries in training logs, planning for the next race, speedwork, long runs, weekends of trying to balance life, sleep, and training. I need a break from you, running/racing. I love you. I’ll always want you. But I just need a little space. I don’t think I’ve ever had the luxury of taking an extended break from running. There were so many injuries, ones that I tearfully, impatiently and sometimes angrily waited out. There were brief recovery lulls after races, ones I endured simply because I knew I had to gear up for the next training cycle. Sometimes rest IS a luxury. This time it was. I went to work, came home from work. I cooked comfort food for my family and sometimes had friends over to share. I watched the World Series, football, I kept up with a couple favorite shows. I spent an entire Saturday afternoon and evening doing a local wine tour with my husband and a good friend, Travis, right here in our rich, grape-growing region. 12 wineries altogether- tasting wine and eating food. It was so much fun and we are already planning on doing it again soon. The next day, instead of running off that wine and food, I slept in… went to church with my family… and spent the afternoon crashed in the living room at a friend’s house, watching football. There was Friendsgiving… a collection of young couples and a few single people we are close to within our church and community… at the home of one of our best friends. There could be so much to say about that evening, but I’ll stop short at memorable. What happens at Friendsgiving stays at Friendsgiving. I read books and shopped and spent a lot of time in conversation. I had coffee with a running friend who moved away a few years ago and came back to visit. I also had coffee with one of my closest friends who stopped by on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, just because… and there are not many things in life more comfortable and enriching than talking life and love and struggle and victory at a kitchen table. I spent an evening of laughter with our favorite couple, the kind of couple that we can say literally ANYTHING to and with… and we ate jambalaya and told stories of our wild youth. Okay, our not-so-wild youth and their wild youth. I spent Thanksgiving with my family and my husband’s family, part of the day at each place. I snapped a discreet, rare photo of my 5 brothers, on my cell phone. I was struck, later, in thinking how so much of my life was both shaped and broken by the men seated around the table. I had brothers who were kind and gentle and who still form my criteria when I befriend other men in my life… and then I had brother(s) who broke me in ways that will follow me always and alert me to the kind of men like them. I ate wonderful food. I tasted and drank dozens of different kinds of wine. I hired a friend to take family photos, and got some of them on canvas and prints to put on my walls. I sang in my church choir. I volunteered at the City Mission, making new friends and seeing familiar faces. I celebrated my son’s birthday and hosted a sleepover for a couple of his friends. I worked, too, including applying for and getting hired at a branch (same position, same bank) close to my house which means I will now, starting next week, have a 3 minute commute versus a 25 minute- stretching to 30+ as winter commences- commute. I painted and decorated my daughter’s before-unfinished bedroom, all in pinks and whites… and re-did the décor in parts of my house. Modern farmhouse is my jam. I spent a lot of weekend mornings lazing in bed with my husband instead of rushing off to run, and there is much to be said for that but I am going to leave it unsaid. I LIVED. And you know what? I am the richer for it… restored, relaxed, rejuvenated. You know what else? I didn’t get cranky without running, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t get depressed. I ran a few times, when I really wanted to, and it was glorious, but I never forced it. In the middle of it all, I discovered something powerful. I told my husband, “I never thought I could actually be happy without running, but I can be”. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop running. Just because I can be happy without running doesn’t mean I won’t maybe be a little happier with it. But that knowledge is so freeing, so comforting, so wonderful to me. I think I’ve enslaved myself just a little in the past by thinking I can’t NOT run. Ever. But I can. Doesn’t mean I’m not a runner or don’t want to run, it just means I can stop and breathe and relax and enjoy life and it won’t hurt me as a runner. It might actually help. I am so, so blessed with things that define me outside of running… my husband, my kids, my faith, my job, my home, my friends, my church, my community. And whether I run or now, I am happy. Maybe happier than I’ve ever been. On the flip side of that happy-without-running stuff, I plan to get happy with it, too. I'm excited to get back on the horse after the long break. Tomorrow is going to be an unseasonably warm November day. I’m going to run and I’m expecting to enjoy every step of it.
  8. 14 points
    I'm standing with Sarah, hunched into each other against the cold. We're as close to the start as we can get. It's packed full of runners, walkers and run/walkers of all types. Some in groups. Some in costume. Some bundled up and some, like me, barely covered. It's 35* but I'm going for a PR so I'm just in my team jersey and shorts. I wore some heavy duty arm warmers with cuffins but my hands are still freezing. I shiver and Sarah gives me a semi-worried, semi-reproachful look. She's in capris and a LSS with her jersey over it. She's let me know that she doesn't approve of my outfit a few times already. "I'm just going to drop to pace as fast as I can," I tell her, bopping up and down to try to keep the blood flowing. "We'll all meet up at the finish." My sister, also named Sarah, and nephew Dan are behind us somewhere. They are going to run/walk it together. "Yep. I'm not even trying to keep up. I'll see you after," she replies. She's had a tough season. I know she wants to be able to drop me like a bad habit in this race but it's not going to happen today. Next season, if she commits to Put In The Work, she'll be a force to be reckoned with but for now, I have a few seconds per mile on her. We are super supportive of each other and slightly competitive. It's a great mix in a training partner. The gun goes off and, as usual at this race, the first half mile is a mess of weaving through people. You get a lot of walkers and first timers who don't know or don't care how to line up properly. It's annoying but not enough to turn me off to the race. I'm weaving. Bobbing and ducking and trying to find a groove. It isn't until I'm almost at the mile marker that I fall in with a rhythm. I feel good but my lungs are starting to protest. As I come into the second mile, my back and my ribs start to hurt. I know intuitively that this is somehow related to being sick and having asthma symptoms all week but I've never felt this kind of thing before. I'm in pain. I back off a little but just a little because I want this too badly. I hit The Hill at about the halfway point and lose all hope of getting my lungs back under me. I'm trying to hang on. I know this hill much better after the summer. It was my nemesis in my 5K series. I try to take it steady and just focus on moving but as I start to near the top, I start picking off people as they give in to the incline. I refuse to back down to it. I charge the crest. Thankfully we turn downhill and I can make up a few seconds as I come into the three mile marker. I'm starting to feel a little better. It's hard to breathe but the pain is subsiding. I start to put my foot on the gas again. There's some nice downhill here and I intend to use it as much as possible. I try to remember the feeling of necessity from my 5K's here just a few months ago. I think I'm going easier on myself and that annoys me. I try to push just a little more. I hit the four mile mark and I try to assess what I have left. I don't think I can gun it but I think I can hold on. I want this race to be over. I want that finish line. I am angry at myself for already being tired of being uncomfortable. I try to propel myself forward with that. I refuse to make this easier on myself but the edge I'm looking for remains just past the reaches of my will power. I know this last mile intimately. It's my least favorite section of the park because it's the last mile of EVERY race here and I associate it with this feeling of just trying to hang on. I'm trying not to look at my watch. I just want to get there. I start seeing runners doubling back with their medals, already finished. I'm getting close but I'm not there until I hit that last turn. Then I see the finish and steal a glance at my watch. I'm within second of my goal time and I try to find another gear. I am running ugly - face contorted, breathing loud, sweating as I cross the damn line. 42:36 - a :31 PR! It takes me a few minutes to collect myself enough to start worrying about everyone else. The medal feels so sweet on my neck. I take a moment to reflect and to be thankful before turning back to see everyone else in. The gang Double PR's!!! She was nervous. I am SO proud of her!!! My sister and our cheering section. Obligatory race swag pic.
  9. 13 points
    Marine Corps Marathon 2017 But there are times in our lives when we need to tilt at windmills, times when the scale of the quest frightens us, focuses us, and motivates us to stretch higher than before. The fact that we’ll more than likely fail is largely the point. (Jonathan Beverly, Runners World) This was my 3rd time running the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and my 8th marathon. Getting a BQ back in January put me in an interesting place for this marathon. I wasn’t worried about my finishing time and that meant I could just race without worrying what would happen if everything went wrong. 17 weeks of training, more miles than I had ever run before, intervals on Tuesdays, long tempos on Thursdays, no injuries. I was ready ….. but how ready? My PR from January was 3:31:25 and I was pretty sure I could go under that. Was a sub 3:20 possible? (Hint – nope) I had a plan, well maybe not so much a plan but maybe a dare – run by feel, run hard and see what happens. Glory or spectacular failure. The local running club offered a bus ride and a hotel conference room near the finish line which worked pretty well – I was able to avoid dealing with the metro system or parking and got to meet a number of other local runners. After being able to relax, use a real bathroom (several times), it was time to walk the 1.5 miles to the start line. The only worry now was about the weather – how warm would it get and how quickly. The start temp was low fifties, not bad but it wouldn’t stay there. The MCM has start corrals but they operate on the honor system – and, unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of honor going on. I lined up between the 3:15 and 3:25 pacers; and after the National Anthem, a V22 Osprey flyover and the other usual start line ceremonies, the cannon fired and we were off. Kind of. It seems like a lot of slower runners decided that they needed a head start and had seeded themselves with the 3 hour marathoners. So the first mile had a lot stutter stepping and weaving; at one point I was on the shoulder of the 3:15 pacer who expressed some frustration over the situation. (I’ve had a lot of races where there is some weaving, but this was at a whole other level.). So after a slow first mile I did the natural thing when I hit the long downhill and made up all of the lost time (not smart but it was fun to turn the legs loose). Finally settling down after the madness of the start, I started to get the reins gathered back in and settled into the race. Knowing the heat to come, I made sure to get a cup of water to drink and another to dump on my head. After romping through the early miles in Virginia it was time to spend a bunch of time in DC. First was Georgetown where I knew Caitlin would be cheering. Resulted in a nice boost in early race morale and my favorite photo from the race (and the one I didn’t have to pay for). 8:00 7:26 7:23 7:06 7:24 After Georgetown, the race took on an out and back up Rock Creek Park. Downside: out and backs mean ugly u-turns. Upside: got to see the race leaders Upside: I really enjoy running in Rock Creek Park. Factoid: Rock Creek Park was the third National Park created by Congress Bonus Factoid: it’s larger than Central Park. 7:22 7:41 7:28 7:27 7:27 After the Park we hit what is, for me, the mentally tough part of the course – East Potomac Park and Haines Point. This part has been a real hard for me in the past. There aren’t any hills; it’s actually dead flat. It’s not that far into the race; Haines Point is the race’s midpoint. I’m not sure what the problem is other than it is a bit lonely and maybe bit boring? Got through it this without having a brain meltdown and felt pretty decent this time. 7:18 7:35 7:28 7:30 7:28 Now the race started get fun as it made lap of the National Mall which is the highlight of the race. Monuments, the Capital, Smithsonian buildings. It was somewhere in this section that I started to the burn in my quads. Since it wasn’t hamstrings or hips (old injury sites) I wasn’t too worried except for just how much the race was going to hurt in the end. By now I was also starting to notice that it was getting warm. 7:28 7:25 7:30 7:23 7:33 And then the race got really hard. This where the course crosses the Potomac on the I 395 bridge. There are some really iconic bridges in DC and isn’t one of them – uphill, highway, no spectators, mile 20. And you’re on it forever. I was hoping to be able to pick the pace after the bridge in Crystal City but it wasn’t happening – for me or anyone else either. I slowed down but there weren’t many people passing me either. The heat caught up to us and the slog was on. 7:38 7:46 7:57 7:41 8:17 The final mile of the race is a slight uphill from the Pentagon toward Arlington finishing with a short and very nasty final hill to finish before the Marine Memorial. The hill hurts but you can see the finish and there are Marines urging you on – finish as strong as you can. 8:17 8:34 – 3:20:55 After shaking hands or fist bumping about 20 young Marine 2LTs after the finish I received my medal, a salute and the race was officially over. I missed my “everything goes great goal” of 3:20 but I made all the important goals and was on pace for most of the race to have crushed the 3:20. · PR (previous was 3:31:25) · BQ (needed 3:40) · Make the top 20 in the Age Group; I finished 9th! · Run aggressively. OK, I may have overdone this one a little bit. A walk through the finish area and I was soon back to the running club’s hotel convention room where I was able to clean up a little, change clothes, get something to eat and catch up with other runners as they finished their races. I finally took the Metro home and spent several days hobbling around – my legs were completely trashed but trashed in a good way. I didn’t break 3:20 and I maybe could have if I had run a little more conservatively but I’m actually happy with how I ran and how the race ended. Age-Graded Score: 71.39% Age-Graded Time: 2:52:13
  10. 13 points
    WARNING: the pictures in here are so freaking big they may cause trauma. Couldn't figure out how to make them smaller. I think I need a tutor. *** I ran a double race with NCAthlete (Chris) just before Thanksgiving—the Pumpkin Pie 5K and 10K in Denver. She wrote about it here. Fun fact: the only other time I did a double was with another Loopster – AlliKate. It was on the same course, but the experience was quite different. This time it was cold (not hot). The 5K was first (not second). There was almost no time between races (we had an hour or so last time). And of course, this time there was pie. Lots of pie – which I expected to be mediocre, but was actually very tasty. Anyway … Chris and I stayed in my warm car as long as possible, then jogged about half a mile to the start. Just enough time for a quick selfie before the gun went off. She decided to run the 5K with me. That meant she’d be taking it easy and I would do my best to keep up. I hadn’t been in a race since February and I’ve spent a good chunk of 2017 injured, so I had no goals other than running happy and finishing the whole thing in the 10-minute-mile range. We took off in a crowd, but stayed pretty chill until things cleared out. It was a narrow course with a lot of turns and kids and costumed runners—definitely not the place to get stressed out about pace. We moved along fairly quickly, (by my standards, not hers), chatting most of the time (which means I could have gone faster, but what the heck, it felt like a push to me. Note race face. It looks like I smelled some rancid pie). Sometime in the second mile, I noticed we were doing most of the passing. Of course, as soon as I said it out loud, a couple of groups came storming by us. But we kept picking people off and before long, cruised over the finish line in 28-something, somewhere around a 9:12 pace. A nice surprise for me and a decent warmup for Chris. The next race was scheduled to start in less than 15 minutes and we had to wear a different bib for that event. Those bibs were in our cars—which as I said, were half a mile away. So we made a mad dash for the pie table, grabbed a slab for Chris and hustled to the parking lot. I didn’t even try to run with pie, but was amazed at Chris’ display of speed and dexterity. Once at the car, we changed out shirts and bibs, then set off again, racing back to the start where the 10K runners had already begun to take off. We slipped into the back of the crowd and wished each other well. Determined not to bonk in the second race, I slowed down a bit and tried to keep things a notch above comfortable. I ran pretty evenly, spending most of my time as the passer, not the pass-ee. Saw Chris a couple of times in the out-and-back sections of the course – and saw my nephew too – who is a serious pumpkin pie lover, but only ran the 10K, because, in his words, “I am not insane.” (Who you calling crazy, kid? Love you too). I felt good from beginning to end – and finished in 59-something – 9:35ish pace – which was another nice surprise. By then the sun had warmed things up, so it was fun to hang out for a while, eating pie and catching up with my nephew. I was just about to leave when I heard my name announced – I’d won my age group for the 10K. The prize was a $20 gift card to the local running store. Friends. Family. A healthy body. Pie. Free running stuff. So much to be thankful for!
  11. 12 points
    I almost didn’t go. My leg was a huge question mark. Why go if I’m only going to be able to run 6 miles?? But then Thanksgiving happened which went well until it didn’t. And suddenly I couldn’t get to Rehoboth fast enough. I readied the essentials: Put on my favorite new song!! (I also really love Do Re Mi if you’re wondering) I took the land route all the way around the Delaware River to get to Rehoboth. 50 miles takes 4 hours but I guess if Bangle can come from California I shouldn’t complain 🤭. I arrived at the house and cooled my jets until 2:00 (our official check in time.) It was a beautiful sunny 50* December day. I knew Carissa was in Rehoboth and that RunningEng should be close but alas I found myself alone. Soon people started filtering in. We hit the expo, Dogfish and then back to the house. Loopsters came by the van full. Chris baked us some great lasagna She went above and beyond- vegan, vegetarian, GF and meat and cheese. We are such a needy group! My room mates (Caitlin and Sara) were stressing about their flat girls. What to wear to race in?? Me? I left the 4 sets of running clothes I had brought in my bag. I wasn’t racing so I figured I’d go for whatever I felt like in the morning. I tend to be a very laid back runner race morning. Jay (Carissa’s friend) was stressed that I was eating oatmeal 35 minutes before the race. John was threatening to pin my bib on me if I didn’t get it on by a certain time. Of course that just made me drag my feet more to see John really lose his calm with me! 😏 Love ya, John. We walked over to the start and got a partial group picture. Some did warm up jogs while I stretched the bejeezus out of my hamstring. I said a little prayer that it would hold together and that for once I would be smart. I had no idea if I’d be running 6 miles or 13 or if I’d finish in 2 hours or 2 and a half hours. My loose goals were: a) Don’t blow up my left leg b) Make it to 10 miles c) finish under 2:30 I found Bob and Vanessa in the crowd. It was great to see them. Vanessa is one of the very 1st Loopsters that I met. The horn blew and we were off. The whole race I was taking stock of how my leg felt. I really didn’t worry about my pace. I followed the 4:10 pacer for a bit. I would tuck behind people and go at their speed until it felt too slow and then I went around. I walked the water/Gatorade stops. I managed to high 5 Bangle and Sara, gave shout outs to John and Abby. My hamstring was letting me run. I made it to mile 9 before I felt any twinges. At that point I slowed for a bit before picking it back up. I’m not really sure how this happened but I ran Rehoboth in 2:00:27 after only running 18ish miles a week for the past 6 weeks (and nothing but cross training for the months before that). The after party was just so much fun!! I loved every second of it!! So much dancing and off key singing (well, I was off key). I hope the link works. That night I got to experience the Purple Parrot and the Conch. The next day I woke up feeling fantastic. I slipped on my running stuff while my roommates snoozed. Bee bopped down the stairs and was shocked to see so many Loopsters awake. I tossed out an offer to go running with me. Some sneered, some yawned but Carissa’s friend said that he’d go. We headed out and covered our one mile for streaking purposes. After lunch, ice cream and a walk on the boardwalk it was time to head home. Thanks for the Loop Healing Magic! BTW Did I mention that I KT taped Dave’s leg? That was a little #awkward! 😬
  12. 12 points
    So I tell people I traveled all the way across the country to run a race, and when they ask why, it never seems to make a whole lot of sense. What compels me to fly for six hours across two flights, then get in a van for a three hour tour of beautiful Delaware? I can race 13 miles anywhere. Well, it really comes down to the people. I had some magical memories of this frigid beach town from 2013 and 2015. And when you catch a genie in a bottle, you tend to go back looking for it. 2017 Rehoboth had the same agenda as usual. Show up late, share a huge awesome rented house with tons of favorite loopsters, eat, drink and be merry and throw a race in there too. Then party until they kick us out of multiple venues. I started it off with a red-eye flight, which meant I only slept 1-2 hours Thursday night, and zombied my way through Friday before the Saturday morning race time. The awesome Caitlin picked me up and took care of me as we awaited the others for the party van ride. We arrived to the Rehoboth house about 5PM, where Chris took care of our nutritional needs with some fabulous lasagna. I filled up with a second piece and lots of bread not too long before bedtime. I figured carbo-loading, right? But I needed to catch up on sleep too, so I was soon sacked out, and hardly moved until 6:06AM (that's 3:06 Pacific) when Mr. Bacon woke me, since, you know the race starts at 7... Everybody else was well into their pre-race routine. I managed to get dressed and get out the door about 6:35. But no breakfast. No coffee! And no pooping!! (OK, I tried, but that system had not opened for business yet). So I figured dinner would have to be enough fuel to get me through this one. Walked down to the start. Dumped a layer of clothes and did a half mile jog to warm up a bit, and then settled in to the start with Carissa and Abby who appeared to have goals similar to mine. Goals. Well originally I hoped to beat my 2015 time of 1:37:27. Then I got sick, twice, in the last three weeks and didn't feel the need to go kill myself since I didn't feel 100%. On the other hand, I wasn't sick anymore, my legs were well rested, and the weather was PERFECT. On the other hand, I was sleep-deprived, and I really just came out here for the people... Basically I decided to start conservative and just see how I felt and go with it. First mile close to 8:00, hopefully faster after that. If I felt good I hoped to eventually run 7:30's. Try to break 1:40, which would be three minutes faster than Florida a few weeks ago. That meant a 7:37 pace average. The start was smooth and pace was about 8:11 at first check after about 1/4 mile. Carissa was slipping ahead but I didn't feel I could go with her so I let her go and stayed with Abby. Later in mile one I felt a little more mojified and was picking it up a bit and passing people and saw Carissa wasn't too far ahead. So I threw a mental lasso around her and gradually reeled her in. Pace was 8:05 when I saw her, but once I caught her and hit mile 1 it had dropped to 7:49. Oh, OK then. Of course that meant we were actually moving faster than that. I stayed with C for the next 2+ miles until the marathoners peeled off. We were right behind a guy with "Kick ARS" on his shirt and his friend who matched our pace, so we settled in behind them while passing everyone else. Two and three were 7:36 and 7:35. It felt a little too fast, but not really. It felt good. So much for not racing. This was a good race effort for me, but felt manageable. Either I would hurt later, or maybe it would be a good day. Plus it was fun to run side by side with the legendary Quadracool. We've been buddies for years now, but mostly from afar, so it was great to share some race time, even though we hardly talked the whole time. I absorbed some of her mojo and then she peeled off to do her thing, and I peeled off to do mine. Which meant race harder. The "Kick ARS" guy was in the half so I followed him for a while, but I was feeling good and slowly moved by. I saw the 1:40 pace group up ahead about 100 yards, and decided I WOULD be passing them. It was just a matter of when. Once that was in my head I caught up pretty fast. Mile 4 was 7:26 and mile 5 was 7:25. I was picking off people one by one. Once I caught the 1:40 group of about 15 people I wanted to just stay with them for a while. Race smart and all... But I was comfortable at that 7:25 pace and to stay in rhythm meant that I had to slowly move on by. Which gave me even more adrenaline to stay ahead of them...Mile six was 7:19. Gradually I stopped hearing them behind me and was on my own. But there are always people to chase. One by one I targeted prey and reeled them in. But there was one girl with MildSauce hair who stubbornly stayed about 50 yards ahead of me. I chased her for about 8 miles and never caught her. Never got to thank her for the pull. At one point I thought, maybe that IS Mild Sauce! Sneaking out to Delaware to surprise us! But it wasn't. Too bad. About mile 6, dinner decided to speak up and say hello. That 3 pounds of pasta and bread and cheese was done percolating and ready to be expunged. I was concerned. No way was I stopping unless I absolutely had to. There were potties on the course, so plenty of opportunity, but, no. I was running sub 1:40 pace, and no renegade poop was going to ruin that! But it quickly became #1 in my thoughts. (Or #2!) I was still passing people but I was focusing on my colon too, and it may have tweaked my stride a bit. Plus I was getting tired. Mile 7 slipped to 7:26 (fine) but mile 8 was 7:37 (hmmm). Now we were on the trail in the forest and it got much colder, so I internally whined about that too. And the lump was still there. The sphincter was still not involved in the conversation, but I felt like I had a three pound weight inserted in my belly. I really wanted it gone, and would have stopped if it were a training run, but this is a race, dammit! I got a little adrenaline in mile 9, aiming for the turnaround and seeing the faster runners coming back (including loopster Ken who rocked it!). Nine was 7:26 and I was happy to be back under 7:30, but I was tiring now, and I saw the 1:40 pacer was still not far behind me! I definitely wanted to stay ahead of him. Mile ten was heading back on the cold trail and was the worst mile. My motivation was flagging and my pep was gone. Someone passed me. And then another one. I was cold and uncomfortable and not happy. But I persisted. Miles ten and eleven were both 7:38. I was hanging on but it wasn't easy or fun any more. But at least Mr. Hankey was staying quiet. Mild Sauce's doppelganger was still in sight so I guess she was slowing too. I just wanted to get off of this trail and back in the warm sun and hard asphalt. Once that happened, life was better. I still had some life in my legs after all. At this point I knew I had sub 1:40 if I hung on, and a shot at sub 1:39 with a decent finish. Mile 12 was 7:36, but with only a mile to go I allowed myself to step it up a bit. Reaching a toilet was motivating me to go faster. I started passing people again. It wasn't PR effort, but it felt good to run hard and still finish with a little in the tank. (or a lot, if you get my drift). Mile 13 was 7:21 and a 6:44 pace for the last block got me in at 1:38:56. and I headed straight for the pooper. Sweet, sweet relief. And then it was all fun and games for a day and a half. Had a lot of fun with a bunch of great people. Totally worth it. IMG_1597.MOV
  13. 12 points
    I wrote an excessive amount of detail about this race (links at the end of this post), but here is a short-ish overview! When I chose CIM, I selected it with the express purpose of trying for a 2:45:00 or faster marathon. God placed the dream of achieving an Olympic Trials Qualifying time on my heart, and after an almost painful amount of marathon research I decided that CIM would be my best chance after the qualifying window for the 2020 Trials opened this fall. As race day grew closer, I felt like I was ready for a PR, but not for a 2:45. 2:46-2:47 felt more realistic, and I lamented on this quite a bit during my taper. I ended up deciding to target 2:46:55, 6:22 pace. As marathons always do, once the race began, it took on a personality of it's own. Miles 1-10 were at an average of 6:22 pace - right where I wanted to be. Then something clicked in my head, and for the first time I felt confident that I could run a 2:45:00 after all. I typically hit a stride like this in the marathon, where I feel like I can conquer the world. I start thinking with endorphins, and thoughts like "6:15 is way too fast for that many miles" are replaced with "6:15 seems doable for the rest of the race". Around mile 10, I could hear my husband's advice in my head: "You should try for the 2:45; if you lose it at the end, you lose it at the end...but you'll never get it without trying." I could hear my coach saying, "6:22 is a good starting pace, but don't be afraid to drop the pace as the race progresses." I prayed, "God, please make us strong and brave" ("us" being my friends Jamie, Kris, and I -- full story about the miles I spent with each of them during this race to come). I suddenly believed that I could run the remaining 16 miles of the race at 6:15 pace, which I knew would get me in at just under 2:45. From miles 10-22.5ish I did just that. Each mile that passed I was hitting right around 6:15 pace, with some variation for elevation, and each time I passed a mile marker I just knew I could run the remaining distance at 6:15 pace. A similar thing happened to me at BMO Mesa-Phoenix, when I just knew I had the rest of the race in me at 6:30 pace or better (on the other hand, at Dallas I knew I was going to come up a few miles short). Mile 18 - yep, I've got 8 more miles of 6:15s in me. Mile 19 - yes, I can do 7 more miles of this. Doubt crept in here and there, and I would question if I had enough left, but I just kept running the mile I was in and praying to be brave. When I hit mile 20 in 2:06:10, I believed I could run the final 10K in 38:50, or 6:15 pace. For the first time in this entire training cycle, I fully believed I was ready for a 2:45. I thought of all of the fast finish runs I'd done; I was ready to close with a solid 10K. Then around mile 22.5, my neck started spasming. My legs were still intact, so initially I didn't worry, but tried to tilt it forward and to the sides for some relief. It quickly worsened, and I also became dizzy. I knew it was the benign paroxsymal positional vertigo (BPPV) I'd experienced during my taper, and I knew it was trying to steal my 2:45! I wasn't going to let it take my dream without a fight, but I quickly felt like I was losing the battle. I felt like a puppet, my head pulled back on a string. I couldn't keep my head forward and I couldn't see the road. My peripheral vision was off and I almost felt like I was running into the unknown. I tried to focus on a girl's head in front of me, and kept telling myself "just follow her in, just get in". I didn't see my final 3 mile splits because I couldn't look at my watch, but they weren't nearly good enough for the 2:45 (6:40, 6:46, 7:01 -- I did see mile 23 which was 6:26 for the start of my slow-down). I wasn't sure I was going to make it in at all, so my disappointment with slowing down was replaced with thankfulness to finish. Something is going to give at the end of a marathon, and this was just it for me in this one. I crossed the finish line in 2:47:14, a PR by over 2 minutes on a course that was more difficult than where I ran my 2:49 (you can't earn an OTQ at Phoenix due to the amount of net downhill). I was overcome by so many sensations at once: excruciating pain as I fell to the ground in the finish chute, joy for the PR and to have made it to the finish, and disappointment that after finally feeling like I could run a 2:45 for about 12.5 miles, I was unable to even come close. I finished 65th female in the USATF National Marathon Championships, after not being seeded in the top 100 going in. Could I have run faster had I stayed at 6:20-6:22 pace instead of dropping to 6:15? Most likely; pretty much anytime you slow down at the end of a marathon you're well-trained for it's because you didn't pace within your capacity earlier on, and it's always better to negative split. I may have gotten in at 2:46:30ish, but I still wouldn't have gotten the standard. As much as I hate not having a strong finish, I am glad I took the risk. A marathon PR is always a risk, and this Big Time Goal was a Big Gamble for me. One thing that's changed in addition to my bright shiny new PR is that, for the first time, I feel confident I can run a 2:45. It's going to take everything going right (no BPPV!), but now I know I have it in me. Phoenix was a turning point because I knew I had to try (who is going to run a 2:49 and not try?); CIM was the point that I knew I could do it (who is going to be content with a 2:47 when that 2:45 is right there?!). Just like after my 2:49 at Phoenix, even if I never run a faster marathon, I am really proud that I ran a 2:47. I am thankful God gave me the strength to run it and put people in my life to help me get there. It wasn't that long ago that 6:22.7 pace was my 10K pace, and as Jon told me, I ran 19:49 5Ks for 26.2 miles straight! I have over 2 years to find 134 more seconds. Trying is always going to be intimidating, because it's freakin' 6:17 pace for 26.2 miles! But as at CIM, God will make me brave enough to try. Official results aren't yet posted, presumably since it was the national marathon championships, but my unofficial results are here. This link also has a few race videos and links to several super ridiculous-looking race photos (we will just say that the crazy posture I ran the final few miles in is illustrated well, and I now can't look at them without laughing!). More from CIM: USATF National Championships Panel & Expo Pre-Race Calm & Camaraderie Miles 1-10: Anyone can run a good first 10K Miles 10-22.5: Finding confidence for the first time Miles 22.5-26.2: The beginning of the end Post-Race Tears & Post-Race Planning Marathon Day Fueling
  14. 12 points
    "First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It is run every year on the second Sunday in June. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The stairs and steep trails make it a grueling and treacherous race. And its unique handicapping system has made winners of men and women of all ages." (http://www.dipsea.org/) The Quad Dipsea is a bit easier to get into, but still sells out pretty quickly every year (4 times the fun of the Dipsea?). This year was the 34th running of the Quad Dipsea! This was my second attempt at this race. I started this race a few years ago, only to sprain my ankle and drop after only 7 miles. So there was unfinished business to attend to. My goal was to just finish the race in the 8.5 hours we are given for an official finish. Eight and a half hours for only 28.5 miles sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? The 9200 feet of elevation gain makes things just a tad more interesting... Th The course is beautiful, despite seeing the same sections 4 times! I was having a wonderful time in the first half. I was running well and climbing well. I even blew through a couple aid stations! I got through the first half in 3:28, but I already knew that I was going to slow down in the second half. I was running well, but my climbing legs were woefully under-trained. My climbing grew slower and slower as the race went on. My legs started to cramp and hurt on the steep climbs. I was officially in survival mode, despite being able to run on the descents. On the last lap, I was scared I wasn't going to make it. The climbs hurt, and I had to take breaks going up just to keep my heart rate down. I kept telling myself to take one step at a time. I was still able to drink my Tailwind Mix in my handheld bottle, but nothing was easy at this point. One of the great things about a race like this is the people. Everywhere you go, people are cheering you on. And you get to see everyone racing on the out-and-back course, twice! When you're hurting and suffering, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. You can see pain etched in the faces of many of your fellow runners. It's a reminder to keep fighting, to dig down deep and to keep moving despite the pain. Somewhere in those final miles, I must have found my limit, and ran right past it. "You must do what you don't think you can do." Isn't that one of the reasons why we run ultras? To find the limits we place on ourselves (mentally), and then surpass them? It's a great feeling! Of course, I would've had a better limit if I had trained better! Oh well. Life goes on. I finished the race in 237th place out of 300 finishers, in 7 hours and 53 minutes. The shwag was great (a finisher's patagonia jacket and long sleeve shirt)! I felt sick for hours after the race (even after throwing up). My legs randomly seized up through the night. It was all worth it, because I didn't give up and I finished. I didn't win the race. I just owned it (my own race, that is). Find your limit. Pass it. And don't look back.
  15. 11 points
    Sunday - Post Race The 4:00 sun is low and dark orange. It hovers in the sky, stretching the day a little further as I travel west. Mumford & Sons hums through the speakers. I've traveled this route 4 times before, but this was the first time alone, the first time at dusk. Christmas lights clicked on over front porches, in windows, wrapped haphazardly around trees. They are humble displays, often a mixture of lights and rarely with any semblance of theme. I am content. My heart is full and my body aches. The solace gives me time to thumb through my memory file, smiling as I stumble upon the moments that will stay in my heart. For what good are our lives without the joy of things to reminisce about. Some will remain just mine, selfishly locked inside. But other memories will be retold, embellished with the best tidbits as time wanes. Wednesday - Pre Race I stepped out of the car and put my key in the seat while I fumbled with my hat and headlamp. Then I shut the door. With my key still in the car. Shit. Waving down a stranger in the parking lot to borrow his phone, I managed to get a hold of Adam who thankfully answers weird numbers. He agreed to rescue me in about 35 minutes - plenty of time to run 4 miles. I took off into the night and dropped right into a comfortable sub-8 pace. I pushed a little harder in the second mile, but everything felt good. At the 2ish mile marker, I turned around to head back. About 20 strides in, my hamstring seized quickly, painfully. I stopped dead in my tracks. Gingerly, I hobbled forward with the first fear that Adam would be worried waiting for me. The second fear that I was not going to be running 26.2 miles Saturday. Shit. I hobbled along for a few steps and then tried to run on it very slowly. It was not acute pain like when it happened, but it was definitely sore. My stubbornness overtook any sensibility and I pushed through the last 2 miles back to the car trying to ignore that it was tight. Megan painted my nails that evening while I compressed the hamstring. I tried to become distracted with our conversation, but I was fretting inside. I was hoping that I would wake up and the pain would disappear. Thursday I compressed, iced, elevated all day. The only steps I took were to and from the freezer at work. It was tight and noticeably painful. By the time I got home, the pain seemed to have subsided a bit, but I was far from 100%. Shit. Friday I arrived to Rehoboth first in our group and dropped my car at the house. My hamstring was still wrapped and though I really wanted to go walk along the beach, I decided to keep my walking to a minimum. Dogfish Head was super close to the house so I decided to belly up to the bar for liquid carbs and pizza. I had just about finished my lunch when Ken came and joined me. We caught up and then went to the house where we met up with Gwen & Bacon. At some point, I removed the wrap and my leg actually felt a little better. Soon it was time for packet pickup, a return to Dogfish Head, and then back to house where more Loopsters joined us. Chris went to task as soon as she got there making lasagnas for 15 people. We ate family-style, filling our plates and topping off our calorie stores. As the night began to wind down, people stepped away to lay out their race clothes and began getting ready for bed. Angie, Chris, and I were sharing a king-sized bed. At first, I was concerned about space, but as we climbed in bed, there was actually a ton of room. I was sleeping in the middle and was pretty comfortable in terms of space. But it was too quiet, my hormones/travel/lack of sleep sent my body temperature rising, and I had to pee twice in the night. So I slept like garbage. Saturday By the time I heard people rumbling around after 5 a.m., I decided to get up. The hammy whimpered only a smidge. Maybe I could still run 26.2. I popped a couple of ibuprofen between my bagel and Snickers bar. Bangle and I started walking to the start together. Soon, everyone would join us on the sidewalk for a quick selfie. Bangle, Abby, and I lined up next to each other in the start corral. While I felt stiff from the cold and lack of movement over the past couple of days, I didn't feel the hamstring barking. I didn't dare look at my watch as I wove through the crowd down 1st Street. Bangle and I jockeyed back and forth until we finally came shoulder just shoulder. We made the now familiar turns through town and begin to head north as the sun rose. Running shoulder to shoulder with Bangle was perfect. We helped each other keep the pace honest. I yelled at Ken as he went flying by in the opposite direction and then bid adieu to Bangle as the half marathon split from the full. The course is now on one of the trail sections and I suddenly spot the 3:25 pacer. A group is packed in tight behind him and I methodically inch my way to latch onto the group. For the next few miles, I let him do the work of pacing and while I don't feel great, nothing is inherently wrong either. I shed my gloves and pull down my arm warmers as the temperature begins to rise. Around mile 8, I have a 10 minute stretch where I feel really, really good. I am thinking that while I am far from PR territory, I can definitely still hold on to the pace rather comfortably. I begin to look for bacon, Randy, and Jay as I head down the highway to the turnaround point. I see each of them and wave manically from the other side. We reach the turnaround point and I eye the cups of Dairy Queen with remorse. I followed the pace group down the highway, but the group begins to gain space on me. I keep them within about 20 strides, but I am hanging on to the back of the pack. Every now and then, I feel a small Surge and try to force myself to Rally. It gets hard. I back off my pace and try to get comfortable. As I get close to the 13.1 mark, I start to calculate what I'd need to still BQ, what I'd still need to do to actually go to Boston. Somewhere in the back of my head, I knew I had nine months still to qualify, but I also knew that I wouldn't feel satisfied leaving a 1:41 half marathon split on the table. The pace group slowly crept away until I no longer had them in my sight and my splits slowly crept into the low-to-mid 8s. I was experiencing bonking symptoms and I was just over halfway done with the race. I felt wrecked. I actually stopped and walked for about 30 seconds, fully berating myself. The hamstring was FINE! It was everything else that hurt. I started back into a shuffle and tried to latch on to anyone that was near me. At this point, some Runners had fallen into what I was experiencing, but others came by looking strong and fresh. I tried to keep up with those people as best as possible. Passing on the opposite side of the course, I could see half marathoners on their way to the finish. I started trying to look for friends in the crowd and saw Melissa and Sara as they finished their final mile. Once I got on to the second Trail portion, I was excited to start to see the fastest marathoners come flying by on the other side. Something clicked about a half-mile into the trail portion and all of a sudden, I started to feel good again. Though when I look back on my splits, the pace only dropped by about 10 seconds, at least it was not complete drudgery like it had been for the previous 10 miles. Rob and I waved at each other, followed by bacon and then J. A girl and I had been switching back and forth when she suddenly stopped to walk about 10 steps ahead of me. As I came by I whacked her on the shoulder rather hard with my hand and told her, come on girl, you got this! Half expecting her to be shooting me the bird, I was happily surprised when she came running back and held on next to my shoulder for the next mile or so. I kept my eyes out, looking for Randy on the opposite side. Being a bit taller and wearing an orange headband, I knew he would be pretty easy to spot. My heart fell when I saw him going the same direction as me about a quarter mile ahead near the mile 22. As I reached him, I asked if he had any 9 minute miles left in him to run into the finish with me. The good news is that he smiled as I said that, the bad news is that he declined to follow. There was sense of relief at the turn around. All I had to do was make it to the finish. I remember thinking I would allow myself to look at my watch just passed the mile 23 mark, hoping that it would show 3:10 or less. If that were the case, I knew I could run 3.2 miles in 25 minutes. I kept looking for Caitlin, Angie, and Dave as I made my way down the trail, but somehow missed all three of them. Angie would later tell me that I looked as though I was deep in the pain cave. At that point, it was more just end of marathon pain as I new I was headed to the finish with a respectable time. Far from my best, but still good enough to qualify for Boston. Coming into the last mile, I managed to pass a few people, hovering behind them for a few strides before I made my move. On to 1st Street, over the grated bridge, and into the roundabout, I felt ready to push to the finish. A group of Loopsters who had finished their half marathons were waiting on the right side of the road. I came by with high fives for all and trucked it down the street to make the final right turn. As I would later say, my finish photo shows such joy because I was finished with the pain. Humbled and finished. 3:27:48 With the stupid running part over, I was now free to enjoy the rest of the weekend. There was a lot of beer, ridiculous dancing, terrible singing, and friendships that were made stronger. There was a trip to Dogfish Head between trips to the tent, a balloon dash, sidewalkies, fancy beer in fancy glasses, mango salsa that took me an hour to make, girly shots, arcade basketball, shutting down all the bars, Bulls on Parade, long walks on the boardwalk, and definitely not enough sleep. Reflective, I know the things that were in and out of my control that day. I can control the lack of long road runs, the lack of speed work, and marathon specific training. I can get better sleep 2 nights before the race and the night before. I can front load my nutrition. Later, I saw my hormone- induced spike in resting heart rate - a jump of 10 bpm in 1 day a and probably the worst cramping I've experienced in 5 years. Normally I'm not too affected by this and have run races without noticing, but this was one of those weird anomalies. Not a huge factor, but one to consider. I am not proud of my time, but rather my ability to find the strength to push forward. Ultras have taught me to never worry about the moment I'm in. Top of the world or bottom of the barrel, it will change. So while I was miserable and hating every step at mile 15, it was indeed possible to find another gear.
  16. 11 points
    A few weeks ago I managed to run an 8.1 and a 5 in a span of 48 hours. My friend pointed out that if I added the times together I’d have run a 2:03/2:04 1/2 marathon. What? No. I’d pretty much convinced myself if I came in sub 2:30 I’d be lucky. I checked her math and she was right. After returning from Texas I set out to run 9 miles. I chose one of the routes I trained for Boston on. I don’t know exactly what happened but my feet just went crazy. 7 of the 9 miles were sub 9:00. A pace I haven’t seen since before my whole hamstring ordeal. I could have danced and leaped for joy after that run. I seriously couldn’t believe my lungs were still able to handle sub 9:00s after so many months off. Thank you stairclimbering, rowin, ellipticaling and weightlifting. But you know evil plot twist— my calf blew up after that run. I knew I had issues in the knee area from perhaps the Texas drywall carrying?? So so dumb. I’ve checked everywhere. No one is selling new left legs. So back to the stairclimber and elliptical. Hello, weights. Bailed on my final 10 miles for Rehoboth. If the quote is true that it’s better to be undertrained than overtrained then I’m your perfect poster child. Not a week higher than 18.5 miles. My leg finally calmed itself back down and I’ve had some really great runs the last 10 days. First time back running the bridges to the beach. I was super nervous to run the bridges. Hills and hamstrings aren’t best of friends. Happy to say it was a great run! Today I drove a bit to get to some new trails. They were so much fun! The trails are on the side of a river and constantly keep you going up and down. Some parts were so steep I had to walk down. Whatever happens at a Rehoboth I’m just thankful to be running again.
  17. 10 points
    One thing I forgot to mention about the race: I was wearing my Team RWB shirt and every couple miles, I would hear someone yell, "Eagles!" or "RWB!" It really gave me a nice boost and was great to hear someone shout out at me. Team RWB is really huge and has good representation all over the country. I'm not as active with them as I'd like to be, but hope to do more things with the Denver Chapter in the near future. I haven't ran since the half marathon on Saturday, but I've been enjoying my recovery. I had planned to run last night but having a beer felt more important. It was a good choice. I'm still riding the high of my finish, and don't want it to wear off. Sunday and Monday, my adductor area was quite sore but it feels pretty good now. I didn't feel it at all during the race, which was another GREAT thing. Most of my soreness was in my calves which leads me to believe I wasn't heel striking all that much! The long toe, beside my big toe on my right foot, was pretty sore also. I was thinking that I might lose the toenail but i'm still waiting on that. It's not as sore now, but that doesn't mean it won't fall off. That would be the second time I've lost that nail. Tuesday, I was already feeling pretty darn good! Four days later, I wasn't sore at all. Today, I feel great! I'm ready to get back at it and will be going to my run club tonight. It is super cold out and has the chance of snowing, but I'll have others to motivate me to get out there. And now the race photos... I like the first one because it has John in it!! I was hoping they'd get one of us finishing together! I had no extra energy for a jointed Bangle pump, unfortunately. All of the pics show the pain train face...yikes Thanks for reading, Chris
  18. 10 points
    We all know what fall means: football, a crazy-quilt of leaves, winking jack o’ lanterns, and pumpkin-spiced everything. But to those of us lucky enough to have discovered it in school, fall also means cross country. Cross country is what happened when someone said, “Hey, I’m tired of racing in circles! Let’s run over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house and back.” Cross country is what turns an individual sport into a team effort, with its attendant bonding experiences. I discovered the sport early in high school and continued through my freshman year in college, when money troubles, injury struggles, and priority shifts led to a premature retirement. But the itch never really goes away. And once I started running again, I found myself newly hooked as a spectator. For a few years, Running Buddy Mark and I would make a pilgrimage to Mt. SAC to see the CIF Southern Section meet—that’s the regional qualifier for the California state high school championships. Both of our alma maters were regular contenders, so we’d root them on, check out the next wave of college talent, and then run a workout while we were still pumped up and remembering our old, faster selves. But last year the regional meet got moved to distant, dusty Riverside, so we skipped it. A week later, both the boys’ and girls’ teams from my old school won state championships—but that was even farther away, in Fresno. Clearly, we had to do something this year to get our cross country fix. And that’s when I turned my attention to the college scene. As I freshman, I ran for Willamette University in Oregon, making all-conference in my one and only college season. From time to time I check out their website, just to keep up with the latest, and that’s when I noticed the November 11 entry on their schedule. It read, “NCAA Division 3 West Regional, Pomona College.” Pomona College is only a half-hour down the freeway, and just happens to be in my old hometown of Claremont, California. Running Buddy Mark was game, so off we went. And as a bonus, we decided to run afterward in the same foothills where I trained in high school. The teams were setting up their canopies next to the Pomona College track when we arrived. We quickly spotted the cardinal-and-gold uniforms of Willamette on the sunny side of the field. Situations like this are always a little awkward; do you walk up and say, “Hi, I’m a faded black-and-white photo from the 1973 yearbook?” Or do you just fade into the background and privately call upon your memories? I mean, I’m not sure the Willamette coaches were born when I went to school there. Fortunately, I spotted a gentleman nearby who clearly looked like a parent. Now there’s someone from my own generation! So we walked over and I introduced myself. His name was John, and he had driven up from San Diego to see his son race. The son, Michael, was Willamette’s #2 runner, and had recently finished 4th in the Northwest Conference meet—just as I had. With the ice broken, we also spoke to a couple of assistant coaches, who were at least familiar with my own coach (now deceased), a legend in WU circles. Since I had procured a spare course map from one of the meet officials, John decided to hang with Running Buddy Mark and me as we pinballed among the good vantage points. The men’s race went first. A Pomona-Pitzer runner set a hot pace and quickly began pulling away from the pack. Running Buddy Mark and I marveled at their speed; even at the D3 level, college kids can move. We cheered for Willamette, winners of six straight conference titles and hopeful of a berth in nationals. Unfortunately, it wasn’t their day. Young Michael stayed doggedly in the top 20, with one other Bearcat in front of him. But the rest had fallen too far behind to keep the team in contention. In the end, Willamette finished sixth, leaving Michael to hope for a spot as an individual. He was 18th at 26:06 on the 8K course. Naturally, I did a little math in my head, comparing him to the ghost of my 18-year-old self. That year I ran 26:39 in our conference meet on a hillier course of 5 miles—almost exactly the same distance as an 8K. When age slows you as much as it’s slowed me, such thoughts are comforting. The women ran next, but the Willamette team wasn’t as strong as its male counterpart. One female Bearcat made nationals as an individual, and we had to wait until the next day’s announcements to find out about Michael. After wishing them luck, we got back into the car and headed three miles north to the Claremont Loop. When I ran in high school, we used quite a network of trails and fire roads snaking through the foothills above town. As I recall, none of them were designated as “official” trails—in fact some of them required us to hop fences, trespass, and outrun barking dogs. But in later years, one of those trails was christened “Claremont Hills Wilderness Park,” allowing us to feel rustic and frontiersy even as we availed ourselves of drinking fountains, port-a-potties, and a pay parking lot. I’d heard of this route from various people, including a couple of Loopsters. Alice in Running Land had used it before moving north and getting married. And a long-lost Loopster named LosLondonLaw, who had also grown up in Claremont, had written about it on trips home to see her parents. I didn’t recognize the trail, which was just as well, because I was too trashed to enjoy the homecoming. The first two miles are almost entirely uphill, and it nearly killed us. It’s supposed to be a 5-mile loop, but as we approached the 2-mile mark, I suggested that we turn around unless one of the many hikers could confirm that we were near the summit. One of them finally did, and we pushed on to finish the full loop. Running Buddy Mark said that he felt virtuous for having stuck it out. I was just glad that it was over. Then we went to the Claremont Village for a burger and beer in a restaurant that was really too nice for people in sweaty running clothes. But it was a good morning overall. The next day, we found out that Michael did indeed make nationals as an individual. And that left me with just one more task before completing my cross country fix. The We Run the City race is an annual charity event pitting UCLA against USC in 5K/10K competition. It’s the closest I’ll get to a cross country race, since you get to run for a team. You choose your affiliation upon registering; since I went to grad school at UCLA, I got a blue race shirt. And this time, it was the bad guys who wore cardinal and gold. Since the UCLA campus is fairly hilly, time isn’t much of a factor, and that allows you to focus on the team aspect. I resolved to start at tempo effort, then hope to speed up and pick off as many Trojans as I could. Unfortunately, the worst hill is in the first mile, and it left me struggling to hold pace and cursing the fact that I’d chosen the 10K over the 5K. I tried to maintain form and stay just this side of the puke threshold--which wasn’t hard, because my legs wouldn’t go fast enough to test my lungs or stomach. After an arduous first half, the 5K runners peeled off toward the finish, and the rest of us hardy souls began the second loop. That’s when I got the opportunity I wanted: a young woman in Trojan red, gradually fading back to me. I caught her around the 4-mile mark, but she seemed determined not to let a Bruin pass her. Perfect! We ran stride-for-stride for a while, feeding off the competition. But then, on another hill, she began pulling ahead and I couldn’t respond. And to think that hills used to be my best friends! Fortunately, her surge didn’t last. She began fading again, and when I caught her she couldn’t stay with me. There was a hairpin turnaround at 5 miles, and as I doubled back, I saw that she was well behind me. There was nothing left to do but look for more Trojans, but with the 10K field spread out, there was no one within striking distance. With about a half-mile to go, we made a left turn around Melnitz Hall, where I used to take film school classes. The rest of the way was mostly downhill. I tried to make a run at a Bruin-Trojan couple (it’s more common than you’d think), but they sprinted away from me on the home stretch. I finished in an embarrassing 55:20, but I did manage a negative split and won my age group practically by default. Strangely, I still haven’t found out who won the team competition. But it didn’t matter. I enjoyed a pretty day on a beautiful campus, got a solid workout, and finally felt satisfied that I had my cross country fix.
  19. 10 points
    My first race ever, the one that got me hooked, was my local Turkey Trot in Prospect Park. I've run it every year since even when I couldn't run it and, I know I say this about every race, it's my favorite race of the year. 2011 - My first race. I had been running for about four months. I did a one week "taper" leading up to the race because that's a thing that runners do before a race, right? I wore cotton yoga pants and a new thermal Craft shirt I had bought for the occasion because it was in the 50's and that's cold, right? They messed up the chip timing for the race and had me as 1st Female. I emailed them after I saw that and told them that there was no way that was possible, my time was forty something minutes (this was before my first Garmin and I didn't notice the time because I was still infatuated with the fact that I could run for five whole miles without stopping and that was good enough for me) They apologized and changed my time to 40:00. I was thinking more like 45:00-49:00 but I let it go. 2012 - I already had decided that I kind of wanted to earn that 40:00 someday but I don't remember this race at all. PPTC says I finished in 46:00. 2013 - I had just run my first marathon and I was having an amazing year. I really went for it in this one. I ran it in 43:07. After the traditional post race brunch with mom, I ran my entry for a muskratty thing but it wasn't called muskrat it was something about penguins. 2014 - I had just run my only 50 miler. My legs were perpetually dead. I figured I'd run this one to finish and next year I'd really go for that 40:00. I think my sister and BIL did this one too. Or maybe that was the year before and this year was the year with the penguins? Things like this make me miss the old Loop but that's a'whole'nother bloop. 2015 - I walked it on a ruptured plantar fascia and damaged PTT only I didn't know that's what the problem was just yet. My mom walked it with me. She had wanted to do it ever since my first one. We DFL'd it together. In fact, we had to hustle because they were literally about to unplug the mat as we crossed. 1:35:20 It's okay, next year I'd be back at it, right? 2016 - I was fresh off Philly! My first half back since all the foot stuff happened. I couldn't believe that I was running again! I couldn't believe I had run Philly! I was having the best few months! Oh yeah, I was in a walking boot due to giving myself a stress reaction and I walked it, boot and all, with two of my nephews and my sister. 1:19:17 This year I am coming off arguably the best running year I've ever had. I discovered that speedwork makes you faster! Who knew? But I'm also in the middle of a planned off season and haven't done anything remotely fast in over a month. And I have a terrible cold. I know that this isn't my year to chase down that 40:00 but if I'm feeling much better I may try to shave off some time. If not, my BRB Sarah is running it so I may hang back with her or my nephew and sister Sarah (yes, I have a plethora of Sarahs and Saras in my life) are run/walking it so I may hang with them. Either way, I can no wait to line up on Thursday. I can't wait to get another PPTC Turkey Trot medal to add to the collection and I can't wait to see what this race is going to look like when I'm looking at it from 2018. Happy Thanksgiving, Loop.
  20. 9 points
    My focus this “off season” is to get stronger without getting injured. Of course, every time I make it through a tough workout without dying or getting hurt, I’ve succeeded in starting the muscle rebuilding process, which puts me in a better place to ward off future injuries. Step one is to do some strength work after each run in addition to my everyday rolling/stretching/heel drops. Not too much, just a few exercises daily, rotating between leg day, hip day and arm/shoulders day. Step two is to incorporate hills multiple times per week. I had 8500 feet of elevation gain over 134 miles in November, which I’ll attempt to beat this month. I made a chart: I realize 8500 ft is what Joanna eats as an afternoon snack (or the metric equivalent), but it seems to be helping. It was 50F and sunny on Sunday, so I visited my favorite park to run some trails. I was able to run up all the hills, some multiple times, without stopping. I was unable to do that during my 50k rampup last summer. So getting stronger, which should help the chassis get ready for my spring race, a 20 miler on these very same trails. I also realize the chassis is getting older, and I’m reminded every morning as I quietly try to get ready for the run without waking up the house. I’m careful not to slam doors and turn on lights, but it seems like the snapping, crackling and popping happening in my toes, feet and ankles as I walk across the bedroom echo through the house like every day is July 4. The race plan for 2018 is coming together. It looks like: 1. Trail race in April, 2. Early August half, 3. End of August 50k, and 4. Wineglass half. Still trying to figure out if 5 weeks between a 50k and a half is enough time. I still have a few weeks to mull before the Wineglass fee goes up.
  21. 9 points
    November 2017 in review! Total mileage for the month: 267.7 - the marathon taper really ate some mileage! (in comparison: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271, October - 323) Oct. 30-Nov. 5: 70.2 Nov. 6-12: 80.7 (peak mileage week & my first time to hit 80!) Nov. 13-19: 64.0 Nov. 20-26: 53.3 Nov. 27-Dec. 3: projected at 52ish (26.2 of this being The Big Race!) Races: Nov. 5: Bass Pro Half Marathon in 1:23:53. I adjusted my goal pace to marathon goal pace due to the weather (72*, dew point of 70*, 15-25 mph S wind), and couldn't quite hit that but I got the overall female win! Bass Pro Half - relieved to be finished! The best designed & fitting shirt the race has ever had Workouts: Nov. 7 - 8 x 0.25 hill repeats with jog back downhill recoveries (3ish warm up, 1ish cool down). I did not feel nearly as bad as I expected I would on this one, being 2 days after the Bass Pro half (when I initially saw it on my training schedule I thought, "Whaaaaat?! Whyyyyy?"). Hill repeats are always beasts, and I always huff and puff like crazy on them, but I managed a solid effort, with all of my grade adjusted paces sub-6:00. I ran these back and forth in a "bowl", so did 4 repeats were on one hill and 4 on another. Each of the hills climbs about 100 feet in 0.25 mile, but one starts off steeper then gets more incline-y, and the other is a more constant grade, so I think they both have benefits. It's always somewhat discouraging to have my heart pounding near max when I'm running 7:0X pace, so I'm glad that Strava does GAP to confirm that my effort was there! Nov. 16 - 10 x 800 m with 2:45-2:50 jog recoveries (2.1 warm up, 2 cool down, for 12 total) in: 2:54, 2:54, 2:55, 2:55, 2:56, 2:57, 2:58, 2:58, 2:59, 2:58 (average 2:56) for a really solid regression run, haha! While I couldn't come anywhere near my goal splits for this workout, I finished it. I was proud of myself for not walking away when it became blatantly clear that I was not going to hit any reps in my goal tange or even close. My goal was to start at 2:50 and work down to 2:45, but I simply didn't have it. I sure learned why my coach typically puts an entire week between the 24 miler and this workout; I believe the schedule switch we made in this cycle will be better for my marathon, but it also resulted in me bombing these 800s (although I've also bombed them twice before even being a week removed from the 24, so really it's just tradition at this point!). I never felt like I was running fast, but my legs sure wouldn't move any quicker. Guess I should have run the final repeat in 3:00 to have a perfect positive split, but halfway through my goal became to just keep the rest under 3:00 -- and I sure had to fight for that! I averaged 2:54 on this workout before Phoenix, so this one wasn't hugely horribly worse, but I like to think I'm much more fit now and my marathon goal is bigger now. When I ran this before Phoenix I had a fantastic day; this time around my day was craptastic but I hung on the best I could. Hopefully I can replicate the former type of day on marathon day, but if not at least I now have practice hanging on and rallying for a back-up plan. Nov. 19 - 17 miles with a 5 mile progression, described below. Nov. 23 - 20 x 400 m in 5 sets of 4 reps with 2:00 between reps and 3:00 between sets, 2.1 warm up, 1.5 cool-down for 13.6 total). This workout used to terrify me, but this was the fourth time I've done it (read about the other times here, here, and here), so it's become less scary. It is still a million laps on the track though! My goal split range was 1:23-1:27, and I ran all of them in 1:24-1:26. It was 17* and I had a lot of fumbles with my watch's lap button caused by my thick mittens, so some of my splits are a second or so slow (I remembered when some of the fumbles were and noted them). It was definitely a day I needed someone else to take my splits -- lesson also learned: suffer and wear the gloves if you're going to be pressing the lap button 40 times! My recorded splits were: 1:26.2, 1:26.5, 1:26.8, 1:27.4 (major mitten fumble here so I'm counting it as a 1:26), 1:24.5, 1:24.8, 1:25.3 (fumble), 1:24.5, 1:24.2, 1:24.1, 1:24.4, 1:24.9 (fumble), 1:24.2, 1:24.3, 1:25.1, 1:25.5 (fumble), 1:25.3 (fumble), 1:25.1, 1:25.3, 1:24.6 (fumble) - for an average of 1:25.15, but I am going to say I hit at least 1:24.9 fumble-graded! This was a lifetime best on this workout, improving on my pre-Phoenix average by about 1.3 seconds, even with the mitten-induced timing issues (which for me is A LOT in a 400), in conditions that were not as good this time. It was "feels like" 17*, and I felt like I could run 1:24s all day but I couldn't speed up from there. My core got warm but everything else stayed cold! Maybe I can also get a half of a second subtracted for running in layers of clothing, haha! And my final asterisks are that it was pitch dark and I was running solo. I've usually had this workout 1 week before my marathon (therefore on a weekend when I could run it in daylight), but I asked to do it sooner this cycle because I felt like 1 week was too close to my race, and it takes your body about 9 days to get training gains from a workout; if I'm running these crazy repeats I sure want to reap the benefits on race day! Overall I was happy (but also know I can do better in the future - surprise). While the 400s aren't super fast, the sheer volume of this workout makes it a doozy! During the final reps of this workout, I was telling myself, "Sara, you've got to get that 2:45 so you don't have to run this workout again until 2020," hahaha! November 28 - 2 mile tempo in 6:12, 5:54, 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile tempo in 2:51 (3 warm up, 1.3 cool down). I was a bit faster than I was supposed to be on these after mile 1, and I had a hard time reigning it in. I remembered why people start out too fast when they are rested! This was my first I-feel-fresh workout in quite some time, and the timing of it was impeccable because I was dealing with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (more info on that here), and this run showed me that sub-6:00 could feel relatively easy while I was feeling the dizziness and nausea from that. This was a comfort because I might still be experiencing those symptoms on marathon day, so as odd as it sounds I ended up being glad I felt that way going into this run, because after I ran it well I was no longer worried that the vertigo would hurt my race. I just kept telling myself that there was not anything physically wrong with me and that my inner ear was just playing tricks on my brain. Doubles on Nov. 2, 7, and 9. My doubles disappeared when my taper started! Strides on Nov. 2, 5 (pre-race), 9, and 14. Bootcamp (full body strength workouts) on Nov. 6, 13, 20, plus enough additional strength here and there to hit at minimum 90 minutes of strength work total per week for the first 3 weeks. The week of Nov. 20-26 was my last period of any strength training prior to CIM, although I did some planks during taper just for the sake of routine, Favorite workout: Ummmm...it feels so wrong to pick the 400s, but I'm going to have to go with them since my legs were tired for every other workout! My new visibility gear, since most of my running is at 5:30 a.m.! Long Runs: Nov. 5: 18.2 miles total with the Bass Pro Half Marathon, described here. Better than doing a long tempo on my own! Nov. 12: 24.53 miles (6:50) - The Long One with 21 steady, 3 progressive fast finish, then running to 2:47:56 so that hopefully this was my longest time on feet for the season. I went back and forth on going to 2:47 or 2:48, and ended up just stopping when I noticed I'd hit 24.5. The logistics of this run were harder than the actual run, which is saying something! I figured out a way to start at my house, meet Rebecca at the location we usually start at 3 miles from my house, run a 6 mile loop with her, meet Daniel at the same location, run an 12 mile out-and-back with him, then have 3 miles back to my house, with 1.5 miles of difficult terrain followed by 1.5 miles of flatter terrain for the fast finish portion. I told Daniel that if we do this again I would figure out a way to meet him a mile earlier to avoid the hilly fast finish (the first mile particularly had a lot of uphill/incline)! I also managed to have 4 drink opportunities from 2 bottles with carrying 1 bottle or the other for about 4 miles total - carrying them to drink on the run and to drop at another fluid stop on the planned course. I was proud of myself for coordinating it all, and also proud of my 3 fast finish miles that were 6:35, 6:16, 6:10 (grade adjusted paces of 6:27, 6:14, 6:07 -- my goal paces for them were 6:30, 6:20, 6:10). However, those were hard and did not inspire confidence that I could run a whopping 26.2 miles around that pace. The 21 miles before that felt nice though! The whole run went by super fast, and I didn't feel as run down/depleted after it as I have after some of my other really long ones, possibly because I fueled more before and during. I also never stopped my watch after I started, which meant picking up bottles from wherever while on the run, mainly the ditch. I was prepared to keep my watch going if I had to stop to pee, but luckily I didn't have to go that badly (the key on that seems to be getting up more than 20-30 minutes before starting the run; who knew?). Nov. 19: 17 miles (6:50) with 10 at MGP +40 sec., 5 progression (6:45, 6:39, 6:33, 6:25, 6:19), 2 cool down. The good news was that 17 miles felt short; the bad news was that my progression wasn't as quick as I'd hoped for. I was supposed to do 10 at 7:00ish, and those felt relaxed and great, and then I was to drop about 10 seconds/mile to finish around goal marathon pace -- so 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, although I was hoping to be about 5 seconds under those times. This workout was mediocre; not bad but not stellar, and I just didn't feel like I had the reserves or pop that I usually do on fast finish runs. I was running into a headwind the final 4 miles, and that didn't help either. But at least it wasn't as bad as the 10 x 800 workout three days prior, and I'm chalking it up to feeling the fatigue from my peak mileage week and the 24.5 miler, which immediately followed racing the Bass Pro half (the 10 x 800 workout 3 days before this probably didn't help either!). The taper arrived just in time to avoid over-training! Nov. 26: 11.3 miles (7:42). When I saw this on my schedule, I thought I would have a difficult time stopping at 11, but during the actual run I wanted to stop at 3! I would have swapped this with Nov. 27's shorter run had it been any other week. I was at the worst of my bought with vertigo but did not know what was wrong with me yet. I just knew I was nauseous and dizzy, and with every step I kept thinking about how awful I felt which sure did not help. I finished nearly in tears and told Jon that I wasn't sure I could even run the marathon. More details on this freak occurrence ailment here. Favorite long run: There is no choice but to choose the 24.5 miler. Highlights/thoughts/randomness: Albani attended a USATF Run, Jump, Throw clinic hosted by World Championship silver medalist and Olympian Courtney Frerichs! Courtney is from Nixa, Missouri -- right around the corner from where I live. I stopped drinking coffee on Nov. 11. Caffeine is a confirmed performance-enhancer, and this season I've been consuming it (via nuun energy) before races and key workouts, and certainly do get a boost. Historically I've taken gels with caffeine during marathons (and will again at CIM). If you over-use caffeine, it loses some of its performance enhancing benefits, so I do not have it before most runs. However, I was drinking 1-2 cups of coffee every morning after running, and I love sipping it while getting ready and while driving to work, especially after cold runs! In addition to the coffee, some days I would have a nuun energy (before or after running, depending on the run), and some days a cup of tea or two at work. When I stopped the coffee, I limited myself to one cup of caffeinated tea each morning and nuun energy only before my 10 x 800, 15 mile progression run, and 20 x 400 m workouts, then on Nov. 26 I switched to decaf tea only (e.g., no caffeine between Nov. 26 and now, planned through Dec. 2). It ended up not being difficult at all; I think a bit part of my coffee habit was just wanting a warm drink, and tea fit that bill! Even if this gets me a mere 10 seconds at CIM, it was worth it. I also have plans to pick back up with my morning cup on Dec. 4, but if I feel the caffeine taper was helpful I'll do it again for future goal races. No days off in November = no surprise (my last day off running was June 19). Will I take a day off after CIM now that I'm addicted to this streak? We will see...but if I don't there will be several days of 1 mile total at 9:00 pace for certain. My Kansas City Half award came in the mail, personalized (photo below). The Bass Pro Half proved to be the race that kept on giving, in that I kept getting more and more race photos that I actually liked (most likely because I did not like my finishing time). Albani with Courtney Frerichs Courtney complimented her on her hurdling skills! KC Half award Bass Pro finishing shot (sad about no tape to break though!) Bass Pro just finished (happy to be done!) Covering the 1 on the plaque with my fingers like a pro, hah Non-running life events: Thanksgiving, of course. We chose and cut our Christmas tree from my in-laws farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We also started decorating for Christmas, which seems kind of wrong before December. Albani got bunk beds, after my husband said a few years ago we were never bunking her beds (I've wanted to bunk them since we got them from my brother-in-law, but she had to talk him into it). Give thanks in all circumstances Give thanks with a grateful heart Our Christmas tree (re: her hair - it was windy!) I had to re-string lights on two of these deer Bandit was pleased with the new arrangement too Well, I've been building this foundation for months... The foundation has been built...now onto CIM
  22. 9 points
    I really wish I had pictures for this one, there were some good ones, but my phone has been on the fritz and, well, let's just say the battery dies if I try to do anything cool. So the only pictures I took for this race were a selfie before and a selfie after. But really, I feel like I maybe turned a corner (although it wasn't soon enough to make a difference for the upcoming Rehoboth festivities). Dear Loopsters, we last met after I vanquished the marathon demon. I sacrificed many toenails in that endeavor and it took me way longer to recover than I anticipated was ever possible. I'd originally planned to run the Hot Chocolate 15K. I laid out my flat me and took a picture and posted it on Facebook, and it didn't matter, because the next day I woke up like "who exactly do you think you are and what made you think you were ready to run a half a mile, let alone 9.3 of them, crazy woman?" and I stayed in bed. It was rather embarrassing, and I now have a really nice half zip that I'm pretty sure I never get to wear because I couldn't drag my butt out of bed 3 weeks after a marathon. But I digress. I spent the remainder of October and the first part of November wondering why my legs wouldn't just GO. I'd try to run and stop. I'd pack my running clothes for a work run and stop. I'd attempt to harness some running energy on a weekend and walk most of it. Frankly, I couldn't tell what was actually going on. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure it was a particularly vicious combination of needing to recover, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and lack of a new goal (yes, I know I'm signed up for Rehoboth, but it was never a goal in the same way Chicago was...IDK how to explain it). After briefly wondering if I'd ever run again in November (this is a slight exaggeration, I did some decent run/walking to cover some miles, but I've NEVER had so much of a problem just RUNNING), I finally got it back together for my annual Turkey Trot. It was a lovely day and the race didn't start until 9 am, so I could sleep until 6:30 and still make it with plenty of time. It was also only an 8K and even though I'd barely run since Chicago, I knew I could do an 8K. And I did. It was brilliant. I ran it at an easy 11:17 pace, which frankly was on the fast side of what I thought I had in me. I had a blast, it was sunny, and fun, and even though I thought about walking a few times I was able to mentally defeat that. I'm glad I did, because, guess what? Not only didn't I need to walk, I sped up a bit, and my legs were fine. My lungs were fine. Everything was fine. It was like my Mojo was slowly returning after a year's worth of bad runs that had been laughing at me. I almost laughed aloud as the 8K field met up with the 5K (and walker) field in the last mile because I was so annoyed that all of the walkers were slowing me down. And then I remembered that I had been walking a lot lately, and a week earlier, I would have used that as an excuse to walk, and I didn't. I resolved to run at least one more time during the Thanksgiving break. AND TODAY I RAN!!!!!!!!! I wasn't as far as I would like, it wasn't pretty, but I ran. I ran the whole thing. 8.32 miles around one of my favorite loops. It didn't hurt my legs or my lungs. It was a nice way to clear my head. I have the time for a couple more runs. I'm not sure what they will be. Part of me feels like they should both just be 3ish miles, part of me feels like one would be okay to be a little longer. I am in no way shape or form ready to run a great half marathon at Rehoboth, but I'll finish. I'll likely run 5 or 6 miles, or however long I can, and then run/walk the end. I'll enjoy friends and keep it crazy slow and laugh and have a good time. I don't have a race I care about the time of again until April in DC and Rehoboth is really just a time for me to run with great friends. I've run that 13.1 miles before and I'm looking forward to running it again. I'll likely run it slower this time, but I'm okay with that. I'm just happy to feel like I can love running again. There is something magical about feeling like your mojo is back.
  23. 9 points
    “Bro, this $h!t hurts.” The quote above, from a random runner next to me as we ran passed the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday kind of summed it up. I’ve run the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon(which used to just be the first half of the marathon), 3 or 4 times. They’ve recently changed the courses but they still follow the same basic pattern. Start by the Art Museum, through Center City, down along the Delaware River, back thorough Center City, across the Schuylkill River to University City, little bit of Fairmount Park, along the Schuylkill, then finish back by the Art Museum. It was somewhere around Drexel University that I had the rather sudden realization that “today…today is not my day.” I don’t need to give a mile by mile recap. In general, I did what anyone considered the smart thing. I started slow and conservative. I’m nowhere near what I would consider true racing shape, but I could darn well plod my way through a half-marathon. In fact, I very easily made my way through a 14 mile run just 2 weeks ago. It was one of those magical long runs when you finish, and can honestly and truly say, “I could have gone a lot further.” And it’s not the, “well if I was being chased by wolves I could have gone further,” it’s the real thing. The first 7 miles breezed by with nary a complaint from a calve or hamstring, not a cranky hip or sore foot, no tense shoulders, or rumbling stomach. Just smooth, dare I say, easy running. And despite what my wife or friends who claim they were at a 30th birthday party for me…in 2013, I am in fact still the same 28 year old who ran 1:10 at Broad Street (that's 7:00/mile for 10 miles, not trying to even humble brag because I’m not sure I can run 7:00/mile for one mile these days). But I do know (or thought I knew) that I could run about 10:00/mile for 13.1 miles. But, as I looked at the long, but very gentle incline of 33rd Street, my body said it was done. I had to look around for a moment, was I still in a race? Had I zoned out so much I just kept running and now I’m 20 miles outside the city? No, I was right where I was supposed to be, except I hurt. ALL. OVER. It was weird, because I felt like I had energy, I wasn’t crashing from lack of fuel, or breathing heavy. I just hurt. I felt like the Tinman in the Wizard of Oz, all rusty and awkward and have to imagine I looked awful. You know it’s bad when strangers on the sidelines are cheering for you, but it takes on that tone of, “Damn, that poor guy is hurting, I’m going to try to give him a boost” instead of the more generic “WOOOOOOO, GO [insert name on the bib]!” Given the circumstances I started playing the mental games we all play when we need to keep going and something tells you, “Hey! Dummy, you are in a modern city, just get an Uber or something, what’s all this running business about, no one is even chasing you.” I’d walk, then stumble/jog, then walk, then jog, then run, then walk. The miles ticked by slowly, painfully. “I’m at 10, I can make it 3 more miles. Remember that time Hector’s van broke down at 11:30 and you had to be home by 12. That was at least 4 miles. That was hard, this isn’t as hard as that right?” “Oh, wait, now I’m at mile 10, the Garmin is off by like quarter mile.” Kind lady who looked like my former neighbor: “Do you need a Gu or something to give you a little energy?” Me: “I need a lot more than a Gu, but I’m gonna make it.” With about .5 mile to go. I don’t remember if it was a half mile on my watch or on the actual course, I decided that I was going to run the rest of the way, the only way I’m stopping is if the pull me off the course. At times I felt like I was listing to one side like a sinking ship, another time I wasn’t quite sure if I was actual running as much as just trying not fall over forward and catching myself each step. Then I crossed the line, and for some dumb, unknown reason I decided that I was going to jump and tap the banner as went by. I’m 5’6 and can’t jump very high on my best day, and at this moment had legs that feel like jello mixed with fire and that banner had to be 8.5 feet up. And you better believe I smacked that thing like it was the last thing I’d ever do. I’m sure if there’s a picture (and there better be a freaking picture finish line photographers) it will look awkward and awful, but I will still hang it on my wall, because I finished, and it doesn’t matter that it was the second slowest half I ever ran, it doesn’t matter that I missed even the most modest of my time goals, and it doesn’t matter that I had to walk back to my car which was much further than I thought. And it doesn’t even matter that I took the elevator to wrong level of the parking garage and had to walk up a flight of stairs, painful step by painful step trying to hold on to a space blanket that wasn’t keeping me warm like I thought it should and bottle of water and empty broth cup that I also should have thrown away but didn’t because my head was somewhere else, what other explanation could there be for carrying an empty cup for 10 blocks passed a few dozen trash cans. And in the universal law of “well that doesn’t make sense” I’m legitimately more sore from this slow half then I was from any of the marathons I ran. But like my wife said as struggled to get off the couch later that day, “You can thank yourself for being so sore.” She was right too; I am thankful to me for doing it. Even though without a doubt that $h!t HURT!”
  24. 9 points
    Signing up for a race where I could run both the 5K & 10K, AND get pie at the finish was a no-brainer for me. I’ve never run two races in the same day before. I’ve only ever run races two days in a row like, the VA Beach Shamrock Whale challenge – 8K & 26.2. By the way, the VA Beach Shamrock races may just be my favorite races EVER. It’s always so well organized, you’re almost guaranteed a PR, the swag is amazing, I always end up running with good friends, and there’s beer at the finish. All really good stuff! I hope to run there many more times in the future. It’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I was planning to do these races as training runs, so that’s what I did. The course was a 5K loop around City Park, so with both races I ended up running three loops. I had several friends running the race including Carol (CompulsiveRunner)! I met up with her before the 5K started. She and I ran the whole race together. It was nice to be able to run with someone again, as I’m always running/training alone. When we finished the 5K, we had less than 15 minutes to run about a half a mile to our cars, change our bibs, and get back to the start. The two bib thing was kind of annoying but I get it. I grabbed a piece of pie and ran with it back to the car! The crust was sturdy enough to wedge it between the plate and it didn’t get smashed. I shoved a big piece of it in my mouth before I left it in the car to run back to the start. By the time we got back, they had already started the 10K but people were still running through the chute. I felt really good during the 5K, but started to feel every little ache and pain during the 10K. The phantom leg thing, headache, and the bottoms of my feet were feeling like I was running with no shoes on. I didn’t really enjoy the 10K, but I did enjoy my second piece of pie. It’s crazy how runs can go from one extreme to the other in the same week. Euphoric to sub par in a matter of days. Ugh. But as everyone always says, the bad days make the good ones even better. I usually have TERRIBLE race picture, every one of them, and I thought that was the case this time. However, when I went back to save the pictures I wanted, there were two new ones (basically same pic) that I actually like! This one…NOT so much. I look like I’m about to crap my pants. Not this one either… I look like ones of the Blues Brothers. Ok, maybe just the glasses. Thanks for reading, Chris
  25. 8 points
    I think Quadracool’s face was worth the trip. I strolled into Dogfish Head behind Mr. Bacon late Friday afternoon, obviously hoping for a reaction. I love the Loopsters. I love surprises. HotPinkSneakers led the charge on this weekend in Rehoboth Beach, so I had to let her in on it. She was awesome at keeping first my tentative plan, then my actual attendance, a deeply held secret. Bacon was at the house when I rolled in at 4:30 talking to Mrs. Dave about the latest T-Rex crisis, so all we could do was shake hands and smile. It’s been a year since our last face to face at Philly. Bacon’s fast. It’s fun to be in the neighborhood when he races, neatly trimmed beard and incredibly photogenic face. He pretends to hate people like I do. One of us is serious about it. Speaking of the house in Rehoboth, it was a sweet launching pad for a Loopster weekend. I think they’ve gotten a different one every year (can you believe this is my first time there?). Less than a half mile from the starting line and less than a quarter from the finish. Not to mention tons of room and a huge kitchen. Since it’s off season for this little beach town, the price for the dozen or so runners was amazingly affordable. Parking was a little scarce, but I was able to use the sushi place next door’s parking lot for a couple of days before they flagged me for not being a customer. By then there was room in the driveway, so no harm done. This was the second time I’ve dropped in unexpectedly at a Loopfest. Five years ago I hemmed and hawed about going to Twin Cities, and by the time I decided for sure, it seemed like a fun idea to not let anyone know. The only trouble with that was everyone knew I was training and it was an easy guess. Plus, Loopsters are self-professed internet weirdos, and there was more than one who simply looked up Schultz on the TCM registry. I’m not the only Dave Schultz in Livonia, but the other one’s not a runner, so… Bangle asked me outright one day and since I’m not a liar and couldn’t think of a graceful way to sidestep the question, I told him, swearing him to secrecy. Race weekend he blabbed it to everyone he saw, and by the time I showed up Saturday afternoon there may have been 2-3 people who were actually surprised (I’m not bitter though). This time was easier to keep things under wraps. Not quite as many of us are quite as active as we used to be. There was a smaller crowd going. I didn’t tell Bangle. Then there was the whole taking all of August off from running and not sure I’d even be in shape for a marathon by the end of the year. I did drop a hint or two if anyone was paying attention. Ocrunnergirl and aschmid3 connected the dots and looked for me in the race registry. OCRG PM’d me and I asked her not to say anything. So, not a total victory for stealth, but pretty good. By November, my comeback was on schedule. I had a couple of decent 16 milers and my other long runs were good. Speed work wasn’t up to Marshall standards, but I was finishing them and feeling pretty strong, so I paid the extra to get a late entry, found a cheap flight into BWI, a deal on a car for the weekend and had HPS sign me up for a bed in the Loopster house. It would have all been perfect if not for the hamstring going all wonky on me with a week and a half to go. I blame OCRG. In fact, I’ve named this hammy after her and took her with me every step of the 26.2 miles I ran in Delaware for my 18th marathon in 17 states, since I started this silly 50-50 quest in 2009. It was inspiring in a way, although mostly she was a royal pain halfway down from my butt all morning, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Have you noticed how hard it is, now that we’re all social media junkies, to travel without posting selfies and status updates about airports, rental cars, landmarks and restaurants? Until the surprise was fully sprung in Rehoboth, I had to go pretty dark, in case anyone was watching fb/Instagram (and of course they were) for SIX WHOLE HOURS! I’m pathetic. As usual, I’d forgotten to check in to my Southwest flight 24 hours before so I ended up in Group C. The meant my carryon had to be checked. However, since I didn’t have to look for an overhead bin and I knew I wasn’t going to get a window or aisle seat, I grabbed the first one available - second row middle, between a young woman and a fit looking man of about 60 (or so I thought). Turned out, he was 69, has run 3-4 times as many marathons as me and is on the board of the Ann Arbor Track Club. I brought a book to read on the plane because I don’t like talking to strangers, but the hour flight literally flew by (see what I did there?) as we talked about marathons and other running subjects. Thanks to BWI being a smaller, not so busy airport, it was only an extra five minutes at baggage to get it and it was on the way to the rental shuttle. I should also mention that it’s about half the price to fly into versus Reagan in DC. Props to Alamo, btw, for having the most amazingly fast counter I’ve ever seen at a car rental business. Walking out to the cars, I thought about a post I’d seen earlier in the day from QC about getting an upgrade in her rental. That’s happened to me and Mrs. Dave once. And now it’s happened to me again. When I reserved my car, I’d splurged on a mid-size since it was only $5 more for the weekend. The agent gave me this guy, just because. Turns out, this was the same guy who’d given QC her Cherokee upgrade. Winning. I was early enough that I missed traffic getting out of town, and the 2-½ hour trip was actually 2-½ hours. Learned some amazing things about Alexander Hamilton on the way. One weird thing: I have my phone plugged in and sitting next to the infotainment screen in the Equinox and after about an hour it shut down, hot as heck and giving me the “must cool down first” error screen. I stuck it out the window for a minute to cool off, then set it in a different spot for the rest of the drive, which went by without incident. Loopfests are so sweet. Getting to meet with old friends and getting to know new ones that you already sort of know because of the crazy internet thing. I got to add RunEatRalph to my list of Loopsters met. The more I meet and the less I travel the harder that is to do, so thanks for coming, McLuckie. Another newbie was Jay, a friend of QC’s. His price of admission is a bloop here, so stay tuned for that. No idea what his Loopster handle will be. With race morning coming on, things stayed chill for the evening. Mostly we were anxious for NCAthlete to get there, since she was bringing the fixings for what turned out to be a killer lasagna dinner. And the best thing was there was plenty of pasta for seconds. I eat too much. Don’t judge me. I mentioned this last week, but Friday was December 1, which means that Baconator Season has officially started. There was no Baconator weather in Delaware over the weekend, but having the contest’s namesake in the house made up for that little detail. There’s only one Mr. Bacon. QC and running_eng had a contest for the most understated welcome. Aschmid3 and Clark were the last to arrive. Apparently that’s a thing. With race morning looming, the rest of the evening was fairly low key and then people started heading off to bed. I was one of the last because I always get up at 5 and didn’t need an early night. Finished the book I was reading and drifted off in my top bunk, wondering what my stoopid hamstring was going to do between the start and finish. There was no question of a finish - I’m just like that - but what sort of finish? My moderate training pointed to a reasonable 3:50-something and a 2019 60-64 BQ. I’d even thought of asking to draft off of HPS, since she’s the Queen of sub-4 now. In the end, I decided that she didn’t need to be worrying about my sorry old butt and it was even money that this would be a major bust, with lots of walking/limping for up to 6-7 hours. But, no doubt there would be a finish ... of some kind. After breakfast I asked OCRG to use her mad KT taping skills on the hammy, which I have named Gwen, btw. I’ve no experience with this myself, so I assume her job was masterful and gave me the most I could possibly get out of it that day (spoiler: it wasn’t much). I think she was a little uncomfortable working on the back of my leg, especially when it came to attaching the tape at the upper end, so I appreciate her efforts even more. I wasn’t trying to be creepy, honest. And then there was a leisurely stroll down the block and around the corner to the starting line, stopping for a group photo, courtesy of RER’s freakishly long arms (pic shamelessly stolen from the Rehoboth Loopfest facebook page and used by almost everyone already). I made two trips to the bathroom before we left, but apparently the Gatorade I had with breakfast was way more than I needed, and had to make a dash to the POP lines. They moved pretty well, though and I made it to the start area, just ahead of the 4-hour pace group, in time for the start. I’ve stopped having pre-marathon jitters most of the time, and rolled over the mats, counted to three and hit Hal’s start button (at the finish I wait three seconds after crossing the line to turn it off as well - that way I don’t have the silly-looking pic of my grabbing my wrist at the finish that everyone does - fine, I’m weird). And the Great Injured Hamstring Experiment began. If everything went perfectly, my pacing strategy for the first six miles was 9:15, 9:00, 9:00, 9:00, 9:00, 9:00. Assuming that went well, I’d cut down to 8:45s for 7-20 and then see what happened after that. Felt the first little twinge about a half mile in. It wasn’t bad, so I concentrated on staying relaxed, on pace and keeping a smooth stride. It was a delicate balance. Rehoboth has all sorts of turns, which keeps the route interesting, but probably not the best course for Gwen and me at the time. Did I mention I wore brand new shoes for this race? Heresy! I know, but hear me out. As I reached my taper, I noticed some serious wear in my 14th pair of Cumuluses. Naturally, I checked the mileage on them and discovered they were at nearly 400 miles - quite a few more than I normally get out of them (one of only two complaints I have about these shoes - the other is the delicacy of the upper than lets my occasional toe scraping actually tear a hole in it). Repairs have been known to happen for me to get a few more miles. I was going to keep them through the race because of what happened the week before San Francisco, and then last Monday I saw that Asics had a 30% pre-Christmas discount. A quick search showed that my beloved Cumulus 18s were on clearance for $70. Minus the 30%, I got two pair for under $100. How could I call myself a runner and pass that up? Then I rationalized that my foot issues for TSFM stemmed from the insoles, not the new shoes themselves and that if I switched out the new insoles with the Powerstep Pinnacles from the old ones, I’d be fine. Right? Right? Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I wore the shoes around the house on Wednesday and Thursday to and in Rehoboth. I felt pretty confident by that point, but still switched the insoles. And it worked. Zero issues with the new kicks. Back to the race. Mile 1 was right on time at 9:17. Still feeling a small knot at the hamstring, though. Not great, but it was something I could definitely deal with for a few hours. Maybe it would loosen up as the day went on, the sun came up and it got warmer. Mile 2 was 8:45, exactly like I planned. This would probably be OK. Until it wasn’t. 2.18 miles (I checked). One step and - WHAM! - Gwen said she was done with this running garbage. Hopped a couple of steps and pulled over to the side of the road, letting the stream of runners pass by as I walked/hobbled/limped forward. I was going to finish after all. Visions of walking 24 miles through the day flashed through my head and I reassessed. Walking is SO SLOW! While the pain subsided, I tried a gingerly shuffle for a few steps, experimenting with my carriage, stride and landing, searching for a way to go faster than hiking speed. Things would seem semi-OK for a bit, and then another step would result in a flash of pain. After a few starts and stops through miles 3 and 4, I discovered that fully extending my leg was the trigger for the worst of it. By keeping my knee the tiniest bit bent, the hammy would stay calm enough for me to stay at a slow trot. It was going to be a long morning, but I knew at that point that I’d finish not walking, and might even beat my PW of 5:16. At least the weather was nice. Perfect, in fact. Short sleeves with gloves that I’d be casting off sooner or later. At 3 miles the half and full routes separated, and I made my first of many POP stops. This one was in a parking lot a little off the race route. I almost thought the two boxes weren’t for runners they were so far away. But I also figured that speed wasn’t my friend and a little detour was a small price to pay. Had to wait for a minute outside. There was more of that to come, too. The good news was that I was moving at more than a walk. They weren’t the 9:00 miles I’d intended, but at about 11:00, I would surely finish in under 5 hours. With Gwen screaming at my with nearly every step, that would be a significant victory. There was a little loop and then we were into Cape Henlopen State Park. Whenever I found myself focusing on the hammy and how many more long miles were ahead, I’d force myself to ease off the effort, look around and appreciate the beauty of where I was. Earth is a great planet, isn’t it? Right before Mile 4 there’s a sharp left and then the course runs beside Gordon’s Pond. There was a guy beside the trail, not running. He looked like a runner but wasn’t wearing a bib. As I approached, I recognized - Bart Yasso! I’d missed the announcement of his schedule (not that I watch his schedule or anything) and had no idea he’d even be in the state, let alone at Rehoboth and certainly not 4 miles into the race, far from anywhere, all by himself. Since I was in no hurry, I stopped. He smiled and shook my hand. I mentioned briefly that I was hobbled but soldiering through, hamstring and all. He either remembered me from the two other times we’ve met (LoopPhest 2011 and NYCM 2013), or he’s really good at acting like he remembers the millions of runners he meets at races all over the country. So he wished me luck and I shuffled on down the trail. Bart Yasso. smh The next POP was at almost Mile 7. Of course I stopped. Sadly, this stop only had one machine and three other people waiting already. Seven minutes I stood there. No hurry, right? Spent the time talking with my new best friends, including a quadracool lookalike who was five months pregnant, reminding me of tinkbot baking up a little bun of her own as we speak. Those seven minutes actually were a good thing. I don’t recommend standing motionless for such a long time as a normal race tactic, but when I started again, Gwen had actually relaxed quite a bit, and I was able to move along, while not a normal speed or cadence, at a less stilted gait and at nearly ten minute miles. I was much more fatigued than I should have been, though. My altered stride was putting a lot of stress on the quad, the inside of my knee and on the other leg. Didn’t think it would kill me, but it wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve ever been, either. I determined to walk through all the water stops and just keep going. 8-12 were my best/fastest miles of the day, although I hated the course from 9-12, running along a straight section highway next to some subdivisions. I did skip a POP though, so that was another win of sorts. Except for the Dairy Queen after Mile 10. There had just been a water stop, but I still scooped up one of the sample cups of chocolate/vanilla swirl with sprinkles and jammed it into my mouth. I immediately wished I’d taken one with each hand. Imagine how good they would have been on a hot day. Yum. About here was where my altered gait, and the extra effort it took to maintain momentum at the slower pace, really caught up to me. Mile 10 felt like Mile 23, and there was SO MUCH FARTHER TO GO. Mile 12 is when Abby came calling. The Mile 12 POP is directly across the road from the Mile 8-½ POP. Both were occupied with three people ahead of me. The next one was two miles ahead. Even if I’d known that at the time, there was no way I was going two more miles without a stop. So I waited again, several more minutes, did my business and (finally!) began closing in on halfway. 13.1 at Rehoboth may be the most understated halfway point of any of my 18 marathons. The timing mat was there, and a couple of guys keeping an eye on it. Not much else. I passed over at about 2:35 and wished I was done instead of halfway. I’ve always appreciated the tenacity and determination of back of the pack runners, and this day added a few more degrees to the awesome meter for people who spend this long on a marathon course. Once again, I had to remind myself to step outside the pain and pay attention to the beauty around me. It helped, while I was going a mile at a time from there to the end. Pass a mile, listen for the Prince’s beep, walk .05, hobble off on my so-called running for another mile. I wanted to say my brain shut off for the next few miles, but it was all too engaged. There was a guy on the trail with his two sons and their bikes. I asked to borrow one. They declined. Mean. The second half of a race like this is a leap-frogging affair between you and your walk/run mates, and the extra slow runners who just keep going. Every once in awhile the Galloway intervals will match up and you get to talk for a few minutes with a new best friend. There was a group of women I’d been playing that game with almost from Mile 3. They all had matching blue shirts with some writing on them I never did decipher except for a large “RUN”. Passed them for good between 16 and 17. That was when someone said the five hour pace group was just ahead. I couldn’t see them. My mile/.05 routine was still working for me when I came back into town and saw some Loopsters at Mile 18. Gwen, John and someone else I can’t remember. That was a big boost going into the final eight, as was actually seeing the five hour pacer’s sign a hundred yards or so ahead of me. Maybe I’d still catch them. This has a short section where the last half mile of the race passes alongside in the opposite direction. The clock was about 3:30 and of course I remembered what it was like to be finished at that time already, knowing that this time I still had another hour and a half on my feet. I wished to die. Stopped at the POP (of course) at Grove Park. The bridge over the canal was weird. It’s all open grating. Just weird. Then there was some doubling back and forth through town and some housing, then into the other out-and-back section inside the park. I saw HPS, on her way through the pain cave on her way to another sub-4 finish. I’m telling you, that girl is on fire. This trail cost me a few more minutes, stopping I think four times to remove pebbles from my shoes. I always have trouble with pea or smaller sized rocks getting in my shoes when I do trails and I was worried about this for several weeks. The trail was in good shape compared to other years I was told, but that didn’t keep the rocks out. Fortunately, I was able to catch them all early and fish them out while they were still reachable without taking off my shoes, which would have cost me even more time. At Mile 20 I started leap frogging with the five hour pacer. She had 4 runners left with her, and looked all fresh and bouncy. I hated her. Mile 21 (23 on the way back) has a bunch of state flags over the trail. I recognized Michigan and gave a mental thumbs up. They had music there and a guy yelling out names and places. I had hoped this was the turnaround but it was just a tease with the real turnaround another mile ahead. But, hey, I was going to finish. For reals. And I was mostly passing people. A few would catch me back when I had my walk breaks, which I’d extended to .1 at each mile, but then I’d inch by them again later. Still averaging about 11 minutes per mile, too, and stoopid pacer woman wasn’t passing me anymore. Another bonus was that I’d stopped needing to spend time at every single POP. Mile 18 was the last one I saw the inside of. Win. No disrespect intended to my trail running friends, but my feet were overjoyed to find themselves on asphalt again at 24-½. Just one more walk break and I could check Delaware off my list. And the five hour pacer was still behind me. There was a short woman in the neighborhood that I hadn’t been able to shake. She was one of those slow and steady types that I’d pass only to have her overtake me when I walked my .1. I don’t want to say I was annoyed, but I was annoyed. Fine. I’m a bad person. She was there at the end, just a few yards in front of me, and I just could not pass her that last time. So I guess you could say she chicked me, although I think technically she has to come from behind to qualify, right? Across the line, count three, stop Prince Henry. Five hours and six seconds. And I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier to reach the end of a race. There was some kind of uber-long pine needle something that had attached itself to my shoe in the last 20 yards, so I leaned over to pull it off, impressing the guy who had my finisher’s medal with my flexibility and balance. I’d have rather had those other six seconds. I grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk, chugged it down, then tossed it towards a garbage can. I missed badly, and looked over at a couple sitting at the curb, shaking my head. I wasn’t going to be picking up that empty bottle. The woman smiled and walked over to get it. Thank you, ma’am. Ronswansonsstache was in the beer line when I went past the party tent. I said something unintelligible and shuffled back to the house for a shower. I knew the party would still be going when I was cleaned up. And I needed some cleaning up. That was more time on trails than I’ve had in I don’t know how long, and my shuffling gait threw up a lot of dirt and dust along the way. Those are my favorite race sox. Then, it was party time. Of course I’m famous for my party skills. I ate food. I drank some Sprite and some more chocolate milk. I took a couple of photos of Loopsters. I went out with HPS to see the last finisher come in. Mad props. Then I napped. Dinner was at Grotto Pizza. RER and I almost put away one between us. When the real party got going, I stayed at the house, because T-Rex had a concert that was streaming at 9:30. So I won. I stayed up after that to watch Ohio State beat Wisconsin and greet most of the party crowd as they came back. About 3 AM I was awoken by a noise (snoring), and ended up on one of the couches downstairs. It was fine. Sunday was pretty chill. A few went out for walks or short runs. I hobbled around the house a little, being a baby about my hamstring (and the rest of me), and taking more pics. Aschmid3 and Bangle looking energetic. Running_eng relaxing after smoking the Rehoboth Half course. Quadracool being, you know, cool. I had another pic of OCRG, but she liked this one better. NCAthlete and her nearly perfect toes. Balloons pilfered from the race party tent (I had nothing to do with that). Slow_running (who wasn’t very slow, btw) being stationary. My flight out was later in the evening, but I needed to be stationary myself when T-Rex was ready to talk homework, so I left early for BWI and cooled my heels there for awhile. The good news was that quadracool was flying out at the gate next to me, so we had dinner. That let me come down a little easier from the high of the weekend’s Loopfest. Good times. Now back to work and some healing. This hamstring is a thing, and so far it seems like I may need more than my usual two weeks off. Guess my jokes about not running this winter may not be so funny. We’ll see in a couple of weeks. Even today there’s still something wrong down there and the front of my thigh on that side is much more sore than normal after a marathon. I’d like to do a marathon in late spring, and Mrs. Dave and I are still talking about the pikermi in Surf City so she can see our Mission Viejo friends. NYCM is planned for November, but if spring doesn’t go I may do something earlier to BQ for 2019. If I can keep from getting injured. Sigh! I may have to do some of that strength/cross training stuff everyone talks about all the time. Maybe it’s because I just don’t know what to do or how often or how much or anything about it. I know how to run.
  26. 8 points
    I have a confession to make. I haven't run a good half marathon in over 2 years. Even my last Rehoboth wasn't great. Admittedly, it was faster than the 2015 iteration, but 2015 felt...stale. I ran walked from mile 6 on, I felt undertrained, I felt like I didn't have any stamina in me... I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself. Again. Sorry about that, it seems to be a thing I just do when blooping. There was a moment earlier this year when I was going to run the full marathon at Rehoboth. See, I was drinking one night and pissed off that I thought I hadn't gotten into Chicago (newsflash: I had) and I started drunkenly ranting in Loopville about it, and the verdict came back: Rehoboth! And then there was a time I realized I'd gotten into Chicago and I thought I might actually be able to run the fulls at both Chicago and Rehoboth (newsflash: I didn't) because the races were months away and I had seen some training plans that would allow me to do both...even though I'd never done that before. As the summer wore on and my training kind of sucked, I audibled and decided that I'd run the full at Chicago and the half at Rehoboth. I regret literally nothing about this decision. I initially expected very little from this race. It took me way longer to recover from Chicago than I thought it would, although I was cautiously optimistic about 2 good runs Thanksgiving week. I just didn't really think that a bad marathon training cycle, a bad marathon, bad runs since that race and 2 good runs a week before the next race longer than 5 miles was a formula for success. In retrospect I underestimated a few things, specifically how much tenacity I'd gained during my horrible, awful, no good, marathon training cycle and the mental strength I'd gained. It turns out both of those things matter a lot more than I thought they did. As I packed the day before the race, I was pretty sure I had a 2:40 in me if everything was good. My goal was to beat the speedy full marathon runners and get to the after party in time to enjoy a lot of beer. I had a really early flight (6:54 departure from O'Hare, which is about 45 minutes from my apartment with no traffic) so I really needed to be up by about 3:45 to be sure I could get out of the house by 4:15 and get to the airport on time. I was worried enough about this that I mentioned it on Facebook, so like you do when you're worried about something, I stayed on the phone with an ex until 12:30 am just to keep things interesting. I woke up utterly shocked at 4:45 am having totally overslept my alarm and somehow managed to get 90% of my shit together, take a quick shower, and be sort of human as I raced downstairs, ordered an Uber and prayed that I wasn't going to miss my flight. I did not miss my flight and was on my way to Detroit to catch my connection. Loop magic: 1 Reality: 1. In Detroit reality decided to test me, so the handle that lets you pull your suitcase behind you in a fairly effortless fashion broke off my carry-on. I then carried my bag 29 gates to my connection. But when I got on that flight, it turned out I had a row to myself, and I decided that even though reality was really testing me loop magic was clearly in full effect. Loop magic: 2 Reality: 2.
  27. 8 points
    I was waiting on my professional photos from this race to post this, but 2 weeks later I've decided I might be waiting until my next race so here it is! This race was November 5, and I am now 2 weeks out from my big goal race marathon at CIM. The Short: Based on the crap weather (72*, dew point of 70*, 15-25 mph south wind), my goal for this race shifted from aiming for a solid time to running it at goal marathon pace (6:17). I also cut out the small taper for it, running 70 miles for the week instead of the planned 61, because there wasn't any reason to sacrifice marathon training volume when there was no chance at a fast half. My goal that stayed constant was to get the overall female win, and I accomplished that one despite not being able to quite hit goal marathon pace (I averaged 6:20 pace...but let me tell you, 6:20 sure felt like 6:05 pace!). However, I loved the hometown event and ran with a smile on my face the entire race! God doesn't always give us what we want (such as nice race weather), but He always gives us what we need (perhaps the way things turned out will be more beneficial for The Big Goal). The best part about the race was that two of the ladies I train with took the 2nd and 3rd overall spots, effectively giving our group the 1-2-3 sweep! Oh, and Albani's shirt was also a hit, and she couldn't have worn it in cooler temperatures. But her dad gives her junk food while her mom races! The Long: I included this half in my race schedule because it's local, the organizers do a fantastic job, and it was 4 weeks out from my goal marathon so I thought it would be a good checkpoint -- also because my coach recommended that I not run the Bass Pro full marathon as a B race like I usually do. The course isn't fast because it has one million turns, the final 2 miles up inclines, and the field at my pace is always very thin/nonexistent, but those cons are usually balanced out by nearly perfect weather and by it being a hometown race (typical routines, no travel, sleeping in my own bed, eating at home). But, alas, the 40*/sunny/light wind combination we usually get for this race was not to be in 2017! Instead, it was 72* with a dew point of 70* (i.e., painfully humid) with 15-25 mph south winds. Midwest weather is predictably unpredictable, but our high of 83* on this day set an all-time record, so it's usually not quite this extreme in November. I knew I couldn't run a PR or anywhere near it in those conditions, because anytime the dew point is in the 70s my performance nosedives. I've read that humidity that high reduces your VO2 max, and based on how my races go in those conditions I fully believe it (not where I originally read it, but it is mentioned here and here so I did not make this up!). Pre-race my goals shifted from gunning for a fast time to mainly working for the win and running around goal marathon pace. I also ran 70 miles during race week, so I figured to some degree this could simulate the second half of a marathon. Race morning I woke up in my own bed after the time change (meaning an extra hour in bed!), headed to the race with my husband and daughter, and warmed up with my dear friend Missy. It felt more like a workout day than a race, and I felt no pressure. I hoped to keep my pace between 6:15-6:20, and I knew I shouldn't bank on a negative split because the course started off working its way north (tailwind) and finished working back south (headwind), plus the beginning has more decline and the end has more incline. After the gun I found myself in first female position for the half (the first female in the full was just ahead of me, but I know her and knew she was running the full...she is also my coach's wife and he was running with her!). This seemed like a great sign for me, because I was running around 6:20 pace. There were a handful of men around too. The half and full courses split just after the 1 mile mark, and I saw 3 men in front of me. I also got a female lead cyclist at that point, and despite my experience with having a lead female cyclist without actually leading in Kansas City two weeks prior, I trusted that I was leading this time since it was a much easier gauge in less of a crowd and complete daylight. Around 2.5 The race itself was pretty uneventful, while at the same time very enjoyable -- the awesome local race feeling! I locked into the effort that felt sustainable for 13.1 and ran familiar streets. I drove the course twice the week before this race to prevent any re-occurrences of The Bass Pro Wrong Turn Incident of 2016. I thought driving the course beforehand helped me run the course tangents, but sometimes I couldn't run the tangents due to cars parked on the side of the road, aid stations, or huge mile marker signs blocking the path; however, I thought I did a much better job than my watch indicated. I later learned that the current half course isn't certified anyway, so perhaps I did do a better job with tangents than my watch showed. There are two certifications on the USATF website for the event, but neither is the course we ran (see here and here for the certified ones), also making me not feel so bad about missing the Missouri State road racing record for age 37 (1:23:11), since it wouldn't have counted anyway. Nor would a PR have really counted had I run one, so maybe I can even say I dodged a bullet there (just being optimistic)! Excuse the tangent - pun intended. My pacing was very consistent when considered with the elevation and headwind/tailwind situation, so even though I wasn't running my fastest I thought I did really well at zeroing in on the effort I could sustain for a half in these conditions. I got to see my husband and daughter around 2.5 and 9.5, something that I don't get to do in non-local halves. Elevation I really enjoyed all of the amazing spectators and volunteers out on the course. Many took the time to shout "First female!", "Girl power!", etc. as I passed. I am so thankful for our amazing running community! Around the 15K, I heard one spectator say to another, "Wow, she looks so strong and fast", and that made my day. I ran with a smile plastered on my face the whole race. It's such a fun race to win. Even though I never felt stellar, I loved being out there and having the opportunity to race locally and see so many people I knew. My lead cyclist was awesome, and I asked him to let me draft off him going south, but we could never quite work it out -- I think it's difficult to maintain consistent 6:20 pace on a bike, because that's very slow cycling. Around 9.5 - running into the wind & trying to draft I have often struggled with the last 2 miles on this course, but I got a boost from my friend Danielle cheering around mile 11 and a man passing me a bit before mile 12 (he went on to beat me but I hung with him until the last half mile or so). It felt great to hear the race announcer mispronouncing my name as the overall female winner for the half Running happy around 11.5! I look like I'm haulin' here (although I was not necessarily) Sweet finish stretch Clock shot I then got to see two amazing ladies I train with come in 2nd and 3rd overall females! I was so proud of them and that our group dominated this one. I will also add that I know they are both in 1:25-1:26 shape and that this race did not show anyone's true fitness level (the overall male has run 1:12 recently). Official results can be found here, and a news article about the race here. After the race (and an I'm-dehydrated-and-starving cool down to make it an 18 mile day), I enjoyed socializing with our amazing running community. Albani and I also volunteered at the expo the day before the race and enjoyed plenty of that there too. Runners really are the best people! Future marathon pacer Missy's daughter Emma ran a 5K PR with Danielle's help! Awards Results Splits that reflect the headwind/tailwind miles well (7-10 headwind) Although it would have been nice to have a confidence-boosting speedy half going into CIM, maybe I got more benefits from skipping tapering for this race and the heat training adaptations that I hope occurred from it (in a timely coincidence, I read this blog post regarding the benefits of heat training the day before the race). On one hand, I think if I want to run a marathon at 6:17 pace, I ought to be able to hit a half at that pace under any circumstances, but on the other hand I averaged 6:10 pace for a 10K on Labor Day in similar weather, and then managed 6:07 pace for half a few weeks later with decent weather, so I haven't lost faith. And, I ran far better at Bass Pro than I did at Dam to Dam, so I guess I can call this my 70* dew point PR! Hopefully this also means that I'm due some really, really nice weather at CIM! I know that God will give me what I need, even if it isn't what I want, then too.
  28. 7 points
    A belated two-fer race report. I knew I was going to like this race. We had gotten a flyer about the Atlanta Lab Rescue’s 5K, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, in a swag bag for some other race we’d run this year, and signed up to help support a good local cause. It was a 9am start, which I like because fuck mornings. There was going to be a coffee and doughnut truck parked at the start/finish line. And, of course, there would be dozens of dogs. They were already just a beer truck shy of perfection, but then I checked past years’ results and realized it wasn’t a particularly fast field. Most of the races I run are either huge fields or attended by the local Track Club’s elite team, so I’ve never even sniffed an age group award. Well, that’s not entirely true, I came in second in a small race in NJ a few years back but they only gave awards to the winners. But I’m not really fast enough to be winning anything anyway and I’m in a competitive age group, so I usually focus my post race revelry around the beer tent, not the podium. But while perusing the past results I realized that my usual 5K times would have placed in my age group, and a small PR could have easily been competitive overall. This now went from a “feel good” race to a competitive one. At least, it did in my head. The Wife was planning to jog/walk the race with The Dog, so I did a solo warm-up mile while she avoided saying hi to the people attached to the dogs attached to the butts The Dog was smelling. It was a beautiful morning to run, temps in the 40s with a light wind. But I was struggling to get going. I had only done one or two short interval sessions since Chicago, and the lungs were definitely feeling strained as I tried some strides at the end of my warm-up. I knew after months of marathon training and a mostly speedless few weeks I wasn’t in peak 5K shape, but was still hoping to see some residual benefits of the marathon cycle. I backed off PR hopes and lined up at the front of the small pack at the start line and hoped to stay close to the leaders for at least a little bit. The official starter was a three-legged senior dog who had a little cart his back half sat in to let him run. He was going to get a small head start then duck off to the side to continue his race once we all went by. Seeing how happy he was as we all cheered him on and he got to lead the way made the mass of dog lovers all a little misty eyed, and we all looked for distractions that didn’t involve eye contact. I used this time to scope out the competition and assess my chances at any kind of podium finish. There were a lot of people who looked to be about my age, so I started sorting them by apparel. There were a bunch in sweat pants and wool beanies who I didn’t consider competition. There were a few others who looked fit and were wearing tights, but their shoes were the off-model ones (like New Balance 270 or Nike Solarknit) sold by running brands at big-box stores like Costco or Sports Authority, and look as though they had 9,483 miles on them. So I dismissed them as gym bros or crossfitters. I continued in this manner until I’d whittled it down to 3-4 people who looked to be my age, were dressed appropriately, and had racing flats or at least legit running shoes on. I wasn’t feeling great after my lackluster warm-up, but was hoping for some of that race day mojo to start pumping once the horn went off. Once it did, there was the usual rush of people sprinting out to get into position, and a group of roughly 25 runners broke away and stretched out into a mostly single file line. I worked my way into a slot near the middle of this pack and tried to settle into race pace. The course was an out and back consisting of a straight shot up, over, and down a hill for a half mile or so, then a left turn and another straight stretch along the main road until the turn around. I was guessing a fair number of the people ahead of me would start fading and falling back before long, so my plan was to keep a steady rhythm and let them come back to me while staying as close as possible to those I perceived to be the real competition. As we made our left onto the main road and headed out to the turnaround, I realized the entire out was uphill. Because I’m a masochist I smiled when I saw this, and since I’m also a sadist I planned on using it to break the people ahead of me. My usual strategy in short races is to sneak up on and then charge past people backing off on an uphill, and either demoralize them by how effortlessly I fly by or goad them into giving chase and running my race instead of theirs. I always back off slightly at the crest, partly to regroup and partly to give my mark a glimmer of hope. Then I take off on the downhill, running almost out of control and breaking my pursuer. Because all of my usual running routes have elevation charts like sine waves (well, one’s closer to a cosine, but I doubt Hipparchus or Fourier is going to read this and dispute me), I’m well adapted to rolling terrain and this strategy usually works. I’m typically closer to the middle of the pack though and the hills aren’t usually a mile long, so I wasn’t sure it’d work this time. Nevertheless I made my way up to the first target and took advantage of the music he was blasting (I heard it from his earbuds 10 yards back) to stealthily sneak in behind him. I caught my breath for a moment, and then swung out and put the pedal down to decisively pass him, causing his head to jerk up and breathing to stutter when I popped into his field of vision. I watched in the shadows at my side as he fell back even as I eased off a bit, and then began slowly moving up to reel in the next target. I repeated this a few more times, and combined with the “out too fast” crowd fading away it wasn’t long until I could only see a handful of runners ahead of me. Barring a burn out there was only one of them I thought was close enough for me to catch, so I tried to maintain and recover a little bit on the last of the uphill out stretch, then planned to make a push after the turnaround. Then I heard footsteps behind me. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed a couple pulling up right behind me. From my quick scope, they both passed the “do they look fast enough to worry” test, so I checked my Garmin and realized I had backed off more than I thought. The combination of the long climb, energy expended passing people, and lack of speedwork had me working harder than I’d have liked, but I tried to pick it up again and hold them off as long as I could. I managed to get my two pursuers to fall in behind and draft off me for a bit, and as an unintended consequence of my push I had caught the runner ahead of me. I used the turnaround to slingshot past him, patted myself on the back when I realized he looked about my age, and tried to ride the downhill as close to the edge of out of control as I could. Then I heard the footsteps again. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the woman who I had managed to hold off on the uphill passing me on the down. It was a strong move, and I didn’t know if I could cover it, but I tried to just keep her within striking distance. I could see the people still on the outbound side and knew that we were pulling away from our closest pursuers, and the leaders were far enough ahead that I knew we weren’t catching them. So I focused on keeping the woman ahead of me as close as I could without crashing and letting myself get caught. I tried to count the runners ahead of us, and made out 4 men and 1 other woman. I knew the overall leader looked like he was 16 (and lazily jogging, the little bastard), and recognized one of the guys as one of the runners I’d pegged as competition. I couldn’t make out the other 2 men and tried to calculate the odds that they were both 35-39, but was it was becoming a lot of work to maintain pace and I just resolved to not let myself get passed. As we entered the final stretch, I alternated between trying to push and reel in the woman ahead of me and checking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being reeled in myself. My lungs felt like dried out elastic that had lost its stretch, my legs were pumping pure acid, and I had snot dripping into my mustache. Ah, the sensory stimuli of the 5K. I crossed the line in 21:10, which is only a few seconds off my PR, but about 30 seconds slower than the last half of my most recent 10K. As I caught my breath and muttered mild unpleasantries over my time, I counted the other finishers and confirmed I had come in 6th overall, which is by far the best result I’ve had in any competitive endeavor since the Pinewood Derby (which I absolutely OWNED). The woman who I had chased the entire second half came over and we congratulated each other on a well run race while she waited for her boyfriend to finish. The Wife and The Dog trotted in just as I was finishing my cool-down, and while she got in line at the doughnut truck I checked the official results. The guy I swore was my age was actually 45, and after a moment of debating whether he looked good for his age or I looked bad for mine I checked the other men who’d finished ahead of me, and none of them were in my age group. So...did...did I win? We stuck around for the awards eating doughnuts and petting dogs and then picking dog hairs out of our mouths until the announcements started, and they confirmed I’d won my age group. The emcee making announcements and handing out awards was a little taken back when I walked up, and I realized why once I saw the pictures. After a moment of staring blankly at me and mumbling something about not having any change I told him my name and they snapped back into action and handed me my award and took my picture, which I’m sure won’t make the cut for next year’s promotional pictures. On Thanksgiving every year, the Track Club holds a half marathon and 5K. Neither The Wife or I thought we’d be in shape to race a half and cook Thanksgiving dinner, so we opted for the 5K. I had initially planned on racing, but after the hard effort just a few days before I decided an all out 5K effort probably wasn’t the best idea. The Wife was itching to race however, so I agreed to pace her on a PR attempt. The first ⅔ of this race is almost entirely uphill, but there's a long, fast downhill finish. Which happens to be in front of the old Turner Field, which served as the Olympic Stadium in 1996. This means that the final stretch is not only downhill, but also passes under arches covered in Olympic rings and a mock-up of the Olympic torch. An inspiring finish chute to say the least. But we had to get there first. After a disappointing Chicago result, The Wife was a little mentally scarred and started to back off every time things got uncomfortable, fearing an impending blowout. This is in direct contrast to my racing mindset, which is “if we haven’t blown up yet, keep pushing”. I knew this wouldn’t work for her, so I tried distractions and pointing out things to take her mind off a potential crash and burn. Like the woman ahead of us in the Kona shirt and size XXXXS tights which were somehow still too big and made it abundantly clear she was running commando. Or the pre-teen boy running behind her and tripping over his jaw while he stared. We got through the first 2 miles slightly behind PR pace, but The Wife was looking pretty gassed. I tried subtly pulling ahead to see if she’d follow, but I could tell from her ragged breathing there wasn’t much left in the tank. The Wife isn’t big on mantras or upbeat encouragement, so I didn’t bother trying that. She’s stubborn as hell and has an incredible pain threshold which you’d think would be great for racing, she sometimes just forgets to tap into that. So I decided to try and coax her down that path. Finish line in sight downhill through the Olympic arches, I turned to her and asked how she felt. She gave me an odd side-eye and said nothing. So I leaned in and said “Do you want to feel like you did after Chicago, or Philly, or Publix, or do you want to feel good after this?” She looked at me again from under a furrowed brow, and suddenly found another gear. I could barely keep up with her kick, and she ended up with a ~20 second PR. She's as tough as they come, she just forgets that sometimes. We got home in time to catch Alice’s Restaurant Massacree at noon while I seasoned and prepped my turkey, stuffing, and Thanksgiving trimmings. The rambling spoken word/ folk ballad/ satirical protest song is always my “it’s officially Thanksgiving” moment, and we spent the rest of the day cooking, watching football, eating a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and watching whatever the Giants call that thing they did in the night game. That performance made me glad I picked up an extra bottle of that Russian River zinfandel. Since then, the running has been uneven. But not non-existent. Training for my spring half starts after the new year, so until then I’m just trying not to drink myself to death. At least wine is good for your heart, right?
  29. 7 points
    Summer is my favorite time to run. Shorts, sports bra and some sneakers. I never have to push myself out the door dreading the cold. As you all know I missed the whole summer of running. I try very hard not to get caught up in the "poor me" syndrome. I may wallow for a bit about how much something stinks at the moment, but then I try to find ways to work around my current problem. This summer I became the queen of working around my hamstring injury. I was told by the PTs to "just rest" or work on my upper body. Pfffftttttt to the rest. Stairclimbing, rowing, ellipticaling, and weights became my go to workouts. I built biceps all summer long. My friends, my kids and I had already completed a Sprint (3-5 miles) and a Super (8-10 miles) Spartan race. We needed one last race to complete our Trifecta medals -- the Beast (13-15 miles). We chose the Central Florida Beast this past weekend. As luck would have it the weather went from 80* down to 50* the day of the race. Boo! This race had some of the obstacles that I've never been able to complete - tyrolean rope, monkey bars, twister. It was time to test my newly built biceps! N, C and I were running together. My son and daughter ran their own race. We jumped the hay bales, overwalls and the over, under, through obstacle. Jumped and shimmied over the hurdles that are 4 ft in the air. The barbed wire in this race was so low and so long!! Poor C who has bad knees and is tall had to do the whole thing on her back! The bucket brigade was fun. I got the guy in front of me singing the "Sound Off - 1, 2, 3 , 4" song. Good thing he knew it better than me! Climbed the 8 foot wall and ran to the bender obstacle! I love this obstacle!! It's like a jungle gym that is 4 foot in the air. You climb up underneath and then have to pull yourself up and over the top and climb back down the other side. It takes some bravery and muscle to pull yourself up from underneath and over the top. Love it. Luckily I don't tend to think of the what-if I fell! Immediately following this was the tyrolean rope. Last time I tried this it hurt my achilles so bad! This time I wasn't sure what it would mean for my hamstring. I shimmied under that thing and worked my way all the way across the rope! It never felt so good to ring the bell. (Obviously not me) The plate drag was up next. C is a beast at the heavy drags and lifts. I pulled mine across and was able to pull it back to its start position. A major win for my hammy! Twister is a relatively new obstacle. I tried it once and only made it 1/2 way through. This time it was child's play! I ran around and high fived a bunch of strangers!! I love that you can be so random with people and they will play along!(obviously not me) The log carry and z walls were no problem. Climbing walls still is hard for me so I had a bit of help getting to the climbable portion of the Stairway to Sparta. There were 2 sandbag carries. One through the water because we wouldn't want to have dry shoes. The monkey bars are uneven. When I've tried to do them before I couldn't make the transition upward. This time they were so easy I couldn't believe I'd ever had problems with them before! We were running some and walking a lot because N has knee issues. She had meniscus surgery 18 months ago and still gets swelling when she runs. The spear throw is just a stupid obstacle! Never have made it once in the 5 Spartans that I have done. Gah! Totally failed Olympus this time. I made it 1/2 way this past summer but I couldn't get any traction with my feet. Boo! (not me) The rings were up next! Love the rings! It's like you are a child on the play ground again! You like the guys oxygen restriction mask? I left mine at home.... I got to the end and didn't generate enough swing to get up to the bell. I swung back and forth like 5 times trying to hit the bell! I finally yelled for N to come over and help me! #Teamwork! In retrospect if I had just re-gripped the ring behind me I could've gained more momentum! LOL! The rolling mud hills were next. These were seriously slippery and disgusting. But don't worry! We got cleaned off by going under the dunk walls! Brrrr!!!! Ridiculous!! It was so slippery that we had to crawl out of the silly pit! thank goodness we only had another 2 miles to go now that we were completely soaked and cold! Scaled the slip wall and lifted the atlas ball. Everything was so slippery that this was the first time I had to roll the Atlas ball up my leg instead of just picking it up. At the vertical cargo net we saw a guy carry a paralyzed man over the net! I couldn't believe how dangerous it looked. By now the dirt was grinding into my hands. It was super painful getting over the top. I was pretty sure the rope climb was going to be a no go. We ran through some enchanted forests and came out to the rope. C & N call this my event because I'm the only one of us who can do it. I rinsed my hands off as well as I could with the water from my water bottle that I had been carrying for 12+ miles. Gripped the rope and shimmied right up that thing like it was the first obstacle! Boo yah!!! We ran off to the herc hoist. Pulled those sand bags all the way up. Scrambled over the A-frame and dashed for the finish line! I may have broken out into a spontaneous dance to the club music that the DJ was playing. C & N were unimpressed. I'm sure my kids were trying to pretend that they didn't know me. A guy passed by and commented on my mad dance skillz!! We quickly changed and took some finishing line pictures. My kids had a fantastic race! We went back to the house and cleaned up. Ate like champs! The next day we corrupted my sons girlfriend! She ran her first Spartan Sprint and loved it! We cheered like maniacs! C, N, my daughter and I all completed our 1st Trifectas! My son did 2 Trifectas this year! Such a great time! And I'm so happy that I didn't sit around this summer and do nothing because of my silly hammy. If one road is blocked try going a different way. It just might be fun!
  30. 7 points
    @Cliff - nice Christmas lights for the site! I figured I'd sneak this in before the more exciting Rehoboth and CIM race reports come in. Last week's miles went pretty well. I planned on about 7 easy miles for Saturday morning, but a friend posted that he needed 10 miles. We started at 5:30, chatted the whole way, and I hardly even looked at my watch. We ran them faster than I would have on my own with a 8:09 average. My Sunday plan was for 15 miles, but I agreed to run my RB's 18 miles. We again started at 5:30am, so no sleeping in this past weekend. Same guy from Saturday joined in too along with a couple of other guys. Running Buddy Tim and I picked it up a bit for the last 4 miles to get a few in the 7:30 or under range. I ended up with 65 miles total, about 7 more than the plan had. I feel good so far and want to try maintaining that or even a bit more. It gets tricky fitting in much more though. The easiest way to add miles would be to run on Monday, but I like having that off for now. I did add to the Saturday's recovery miles and could probably do the same on Thursday. But I would have to get up before 4am to get more than 11 or 12 on weekday mornings, and I just don't think I want to go there yet. I may consider doing a lunch run as the temps get cooler. I don't have a shower at work, but if I did some easy miles in 40F I probably wouldn't even get sweaty and could use baby wipes if needed. I don't believe I mentioned the birthday present my daughter asked for when she turned 14 a couple of weeks ago. About a month before her birthday she started asking if she could have a pet rat. She had been doing some research on them and told us how they can be trained and like to get out to play. But of course you can't get just one because they get lonely. My wife found a breeder and picked out two brothers. The day before we went to get them the breeder messaged us to ask if we wanted a third from the same litter because someone else had backed out. And that's how we have Theodore, Amos and Mack. I only have a photo of one of them on my phone. My wife and kids get them out a couple of times a day. Amos (I think). Me preparing for Thanksgiving dinner (after a 15 mile run of course). Our oldest cat, Purna, and my daughter's stuffed elephant like naps too. Cotton loves the Christmas lights. Random ornaments.
  31. 7 points
    Ever since RW shut down The Loop, I've been a bit salty about blogging. I was already annoyed that I had lost some of my early work that I really loved (including the "Inside Eliz83's Head" series and the post where I wrote from my GPS watch's perspective), not to mention I never saved any of Bacon's blogs so I really can't publish my dream book that is basically just all of his blogs printed and neatly bound in a colorful cover. If you never got to read a Bacon blog, I offer my most sincere condolences. I thought about doing an RR from last week's Turkey Trot, but I never remember races in the great detail that many of you do, so I just did a quick RR on Instagram: I ran it with my siblings so we took a few run selfies. The race was at the Sac County Fairgrounds in Sac City, Iowa, which is also home of the World's Largest Popcorn Ball. We were really excited to see it. Like Peg, I've been taking a bit of a break from running. I've felt all over the place, in that spot where I sort of want to go hard but not really, it's getting dark outside, actually maybe I'll just watch another episode of Drop Dead Diva, cuz I really want to know what happens next. You know that spot. I have been there, hard core. So, I've just been doing bodyweight workouts at home (thanks, Daily Burn), trying new recipes out of Run Fast, Eat Slow and thinking about goals for next year. Evidently, those goals include a half marathon in Utah, cuz I just signed up for that yesterday. I hate half marathons, but this one includes a belt buckle, beautiful scenery and a young Brad Pitt lookalike (although, honestly, the only Brad Pitt I ever "got" was Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt, otherwise I don't understand the obsession with him), and a girlfriend's weekend all tied up into it, so fine, I'll train for another 13.1. It will be my first in 5 years. The last one was a trail half that kicked my ass. I'm sure it will suck be awesome. I'd like to get at least 2 other states ticked off the 50 state + DC list (and Canada and Mexico), so we will see if that happens. It depends on the timing of a few work trips. I can't decide if it's time for another marathon or if I want to see how much I can knock off the 5K PR. There are good reasons for both. I'll probably wait to see how I feel during 13.1 training. If you are looking for a fun human interest/still running related Instagram or Strava account to follow, I recommend Colin McCourt. He's a former British pro runner, who retired, gained weight and then took on a bet with his buddies that he could run a sub-16 5K by the end of this year or get the names of 17 of his friends tattooed on him. He accomplished that goal a month early, and now "season 2" is a sub-2:30 marathon, based on votes from his followers. I voted for a sub-30 10K but I'll still follow this journey. I'm not salty like that.
  32. 7 points
    The biggest problem with being slow in a race is kids. Or more specifically, The Kid. In my extensive clinical research, I have found there is something in the kid mentality that results in an endless series of fartleks in races, with me being the telephone pole the kid is sprinting past, only to apply the brakes as soon as he is in front of me. Saturday's race went something like this. I am trotting along. Kid is behind me. Kid kicks it into overdrive. Kid sprints past me. Kid comes to complete halt 3 feet in front of me. I pass Kid. Three minutes later, Kid sprints past me. Stops again. I slam on brakes. Repeat as necessary. I get it. He's a kid. And I don't mind it once. Or 75 times. But this was CONSTANT. Entering an impassable singletrack? Kid sprints by and stops. Rocky uphill? Sprint. Stop. Scree-infested screeching downhill? Little blur of yellow goes by and then slams on the brakes. To make matters worse, he was wearing a neon yellow shirt that doesn't exactly blend in with the desert environment. I instituted a workaround in which I kept right behind Mo, so that I would slam into HER from behind instead of the Kid. But she snapped at the 2 mile mark, sprinting away and leaving the two of us to our own devices. Sadly I had no devices. Note to self: always run with a corkscrew in the future. Sprint stop curse sprint stop curse sprint stop curse. And then we finished. The Kid was met by his dad, so I was unable to follow through with the plan I had concocted during the race involving Tempe Town Lake, a large anchor and a handwritten note that said "try sprinting NOW, Kid." I went home, the Kid lived to annoy another day, and that was that. Until now. Mo has this theory that your phone picks up conversations and caters advertising to it. I have been skeptical up till now, when this New Balance ad appeared on my Instagramaphone. They're New Balance shoes. They're orange, apparently meant for Turkey Trots. On the right shoe are baseball cleats, useful when The Kid is "accidentally tripped" and you step on him repeatedly. The left shoe is a smooth sole, which can be shown to race officials as proof that no, it wasn't YOU who spiked the Kid. Likely an unfortunate jumping cholla incident. Possibly sprinkling salt on the wound would help. Always buy shoes specifically for the event. I love this. Thanks, New Balance. See you at the next race, Kid ...
  33. 6 points
    Not the weather around here, though. Maybe a little bit of snow next Wednesday. Well, it's Thursday afternoon and I'm leaving town again this weekend. I'm also not running this week. I had hoped I'd be able to jump back on the train Monday and go six miles, but the hamstring, despite being in a compression wrap, said, "Not today, buddy!" It took it about a mile before he started really protesting, so I had to slow down some more to make it home before walking became mandatory. Sucks being injured, but at least there's no pressure. Do I need to just take the whole winter off? Speaking of winter, Baconator Season officially starts tomorrow, if you haven't been paying attention. Normally, I post a big announcement, including all the rules and scoring system, but I'm just not feeling it right now (where's my mojo? maybe it's just not cold enough yet), so we're having a "soft" opening this year, unless the masses get all excited and there are a ton of questions about it. Finally (!) picked up Mrs. Dave's CR-V from the body shop on Tuesday. Took a week longer than expected, as I may have mentioned last time, resulting in the creative loading job to get Connor's desk from here to KY. She's so happy. There was a small piece in the trunk that wasn't quite 100%, so I made them order a new one and am waiting until that comes to pay them my deductible. They're making out like bandits on this job, so I don't feel bad making them take care of it. Put up the inside Christmas decorations last night. It seems sort of muted without any kids in the house. I finished in record time and wondered what used to take so long - it used to seem like it took a lot longer anyway. While I was hanging the ornaments on the tree Spectrum called, trying to get me to re-install the cable and landline. Without the "bundle" I'm paying more for just my internet, and she kept trying to tell me how much I'd save on it if I bundled again. She had a hard time grasping the, "I don't really watch TV anymore and no one calls my home phone except telemarketers," message. "But you'll save $40 on your internet!" "But I'll be paying $50 more than I'm paying now and I don't want TV and phone. I DON'T WANT THEM. Thank you." This morning I finished my latest book, Magician, by Raymond Feist. It was published in 1982, and was a cross between Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time, but without the superb prose and masterful story telling. That sounds a little harsh. It was a decent book and the story was imaginative enough. Just not great. Finished listening to American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham and started Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton yesterday. The musical made this one pretty popular at the library so I've had to wait awhile to get it. Jackson (7th president) was quite a character. One of those larger than life hero/anti-hero figures, depending on the subject and (even more) depending on who you were talking to. He was able to hold off the Civil War for 30 years, survived two assassination attempts. His wife died after he was elected to his first term and he left Tennessee a week after burying her. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, some more ice for the hammy tonight. I may try some KT tape (isn't that redundant?), at ocrunnergirl's suggestion. I was just kidding about taking the winter off. That's silly.
  34. 6 points
    The last 24 hours have given me a few of minutes to revisit The Loop. It has been fun to read the stories to see what people have been up to. The lurking made me a bit guilty for not submitting anything so here are some thoughts on things since I last posted. Baconator- Being in Maine, I'm glad we'll still be able to share our weather-related challenges, a measurement of the most dedicated or foolish among us. Running in Maine, it is close to my heart. The weather has been kind thus far, but I've begun my daily peek at the forecast for the Dec. 9 Millinocket Marathon and Half. I'm signed up for the Half. For those that don't know, the race was created to try to boost the economy in a Northern Maine community hit hard by a mill closing. It was frigid cold at last year's race, where there were 700 runners or so. This year more than 2,000 are registered. On a cold December day when there might not typically be a visitor, us runners will be in town to feed the economy. We all warm up from it. Current forecast calls for a high of 31 degrees and 1-3 inches of awesome snow! Which is better than last year's single digit wind chill! The downside will be the view of Mt. Katahdin might be blocked by clouds. The race is FREE, but runners are invited to give to local charities, and spend money in town. RR- Turkey Trot. It has been an interesting year of running. Tremendously excited to have run Boston for the first time and perhaps the last. Not proud of my time but everything else was incredible and the rest of that story is a different blog. Speaking of blogs, I need to circle back to a blog from last December or January. I don't remember which. In it I made the strategic decision to avoid a race in order to move up an age group (50-59) for my racing club. The obvious thinking was that I would be faster than those "old guys." Guess what? I wasn't before and I wasn't this year either. Took me all year to realize it. Moving forward, I'll be working on seeing if there's a way to be faster at 51 or dealing with how to come to grips with being slower. Which brings us back to the Trot. The local high school runs the Turkey Trot. It's sponsored by the sophomore class, of which my son is a member. He worked really hard on the race, which from the days working up to race day, looked a bit scattered, but was fine on race day. All the volunteers did great. The race is a little out and back 3 miler. The forecast was for 40s to low 50s, chance of rain in the morning. No problem race is at 1. I got there early only to be directed by my son to the pre-registration line. I picked up my timing chip and my wife's registration and shirt. She was skipping the race due to her illness, an asthma challenge she has been fighting for months. I had our stuff and returned to the car. It had started raining, but it was still about an hour before the race. From looking at the radar on my phone, the Fun Run kids would be drenched at 12:30 but we would be dry at 1. I would later see photos of the Fun Run. The series of pictures starts with a young girl taking a face plant at the start on the wet road. It looked nasty. There were a series of pictures of her falling to the ground, seemingly in slow motion. I felt for her. The next photo showed the same girl crossing the finish line, then all the other kids finishing. She had won the race. Tough cookie. As I returned from a quick warm-up, I met one of my age-group nemeses. He is new to the running circles, actually returning to the circuit. He has beaten me in all the short races this year but I still like him. We talked about the weather and I assured him I had seen radar and we would be fine. Well, I saw him again at the start line, and as the rain fell from the skies and he wiped his smartphone, he said, "what radar were you looking at?" Apparently, the wrong one. Luckily for us, by Maine standards it was a warm rain. He mentioned that he was running Millinocket too, and was trying to stretch his mileage. We agreed to meet after the race to add on some miles. Stupidly, I think I might have said I'll wait for you. I didn't even mean it. I went out a little fast, 6:15. The middle mile has a little hill which slowed me to 6:44. At the turn I could see how far away I was from the age group leaders, which is to say, mostly out of reach. The good news was I was breathing hard enough that I wasn't worried about any pain in my legs. Last mile was 6:33. I reeled one person in with a half-mile to go but the next runner was just too far ahead to motivate me. He ended up being in my AG but 10 seconds was too far in the final stretch into the wind. Anyway, the gentleman I spoke to at the start won the age group. I was fifth in the age group, 29th overall 19:47. My AG friend waited for me so that was cool, and we did 3 more to cool down. The added bonus was we both qualified for turkeys as parents of students, and because he won the age group I took the turkey in the parent group! Yay food! Then I kind of ruined it by looking at my previous Trot results, only to prove that I was getting slower with age. Father time remains undefeated. I think my next running goal is to figure out dealing with being slower or get faster. Not sure what will happen, but I have a hunch I won't be faster. But if I can stay healthy, I'll enjoy the journey.
  35. 6 points
    I’ve been looking for motivation as we head into the worst part of the running year for me. Holiday parties with too much food, tins of cookies, seemingly every gift consisting of beer or whiskey, or something used to drink beer or whiskey. What does it say about me? Does every person who gets me a gift think, “Eureka! I know what that lush needs…more booze!” And you know when someone gives you a bottle of whiskey, you have to go through the ritual of opening it, pouring a few glasses and sharing it with them. It’s fun. But it has its downsides. Because there’s nothing like the feeling the next morning of that alarm going off, the sun hasn’t even thought about coming up, frost on the grass, wind blowing through the leafless trees and thinking…am supposed to run today, as your head hits the pillow again. So what is a runner to do in such a case. Well for me it went something like this: Surprisingly, to me at least, was that the longest streak of consecutive days running I’ve ever had was just 13 days. From January 26-Feburary 7, 2012. Aren’t online training logs the best, I didn’t even need to look it up, it just tells me. That’s not even 2 weeks in a row. Now we all know that days off are good, rest is good, we need rest. But who really wants to take a day off? Run is awesome…most of the time. So why not get rid of the whole question? If I’m streaking, I’m always supposed to run today. Every year, RunnersWorld does their holiday streak, and this year I’m in. Their streak began Thanksgiving and is set to end on New Year’s Day. Mine began the day before Thanksgiving, because I felt like running that day. The RW rule is 1 mile a day…and that’s about it. But I need a little more than that, so here are the rules of my personal streak: · A minimum of 2 miles or 20 minutes, whichever comes first · No speedwork…or at least no planned speedwork · No long runs longer than an hour or so · I can’t run the exact same route 2 days in a row · All treadmill runs in my own basement must be shirtless (the extra heater makes it hot) · If there is snow on the ground, the run must end with a snow angel. · If the temperature is below 10o the run MUST be outside · Any run that passes the high school must involve at least one lap around the track. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if you are going to do something dumb and possible unsafe, it should at least be fun. But, don’t tell my son that rule though. That kid is fearless and he seems to think dumb and unsafe is inherently fun. For example, seeing if he can jump from the ottoman, over his sister, and to the couch on the other side of the room. Spoiler alert: He can’t, and now I can’t get dressed in the morning at the same time as my wife if the kids are eating breakfast. *P.S.- If you are looking to buy me a Christmas gift, I prefer bourbon, but I'd never kick a nice scotch out of bed either.
  36. 6 points
    I think my best answers are: ...worked late, completed my second run of the day, then helped my daughter with homework, prepared and ate dinner, and did other random things at home, then quickly it was 9:00 p.m. I went to bed wearing the clothes I'd run in, and then the next morning I woke up and ran in them again! ...almost ran 3 times in a day. I had a double, and ran my second run at lunch, but all of my days were running together and I forgot I'd run it. I got dressed to run after work, and then saw my lunch run laundry and double checked Strava to ensure that I was in fact done for the day! But in the end this was winning, because I just slept in my running clothing and ran in it the next morning (clean this time!). Clearly I am most likely to make tired errors on double days that result in sleeping in running clothing! What's your fill in the blank? Disclaimer: I actually felt fantastic overall throughout this marathon training cycle (and the three before it). If you are constantly tired and worn down with beaten up legs during any training cycle, you are probably over-training (I did this a lot prior to working with a coach).
  37. 5 points
    Where's Chris? Not at ton has been going on lately. I had planned to jump right back into a training plan right after Rehoboth, but I haven't. I've just been running when I feel like it and I like that! Last Thursday, I finally made it back to my run club. It was a Toys for Tots collection night so I ran over to the toy store just across the street, and grabbed a blingy dinosaur. McGruff and some police officers were there to collect the toys. I am really loving this run club because they do lots of good things for the community, and there are always lots of great new people to meet. As soon as we started running, it started snowing pretty hard. I didn't have a headlamp so I had to stick with someone who did. I ended up running much faster than I intended so it kicked my ass. I was able to hang though! After running two loops of the usual route, we got back to Runner's Roost where they always do a raffle. If you run, you get a ticket. I won a Saucony hat! After that, we always head to Rocko's Cantina for tacos and beer. I'll be going tonight for the ugly sweatshirt run! Isn't it cute?! Monday, I ran five miles after work on the Bear Creek Greenway, just behind my house. As usual, I didn't wear a headlamp and I didn't almost get hit by a bike this time. About a mile and a half into the run, which runs along the Bear Creek and a sewage system, I started smelling these wretched fumes. It smelled like a cross between pain thinner and dead ass. It was really strong and was making me nauseous. I had to smell it for a whole mile, and then turn around and smell it more. The pluses of that run were seeing a small herd of grazing deer, and hearing owl hoots in the woods. Tuesday, we had a high of 69 degrees! I was able to run while it was still light out so I donned shorts and a t-shirt and hit the trails behind the house. I haven't been running on the trails much since it gets dark so early/light so late. I've been saving trail runs for the weekends. I haven't pulled the trigger on joining my old HIIT gym again yet, and now I'm not sure I will. I found out that my coach left which is 70% of the reason I liked that gym. They also changed the name so I'm not sure what's going on there. However, I haven't seen another gym like this and I really love the hour-long HIIT workouts. They are super intense! The first Denali training is a month away, and I'm pretty excited to get the first one out of the way just so that I have more information on what exactly will be happening. That's it for now. Thanks for reading, Chris
  38. 5 points
    I’m in the midst of training for my first marathon: RNR Arizona. My last bloop was almost a month ago (!) and I had just run 16 miles for the first time. Life and training have been quite busy since then so I figured I'd share a snapshot of some of the workouts in the past few weeks: Week 15: 43 miles 5x1200s at 10K (8:50) pace on the track. I like running easy, I have grown to like tempo and longer intervals, but I still struggle with faster paced workouts. I usually run solo all the time but I’ve found that its very helpful to head to the track for the speed workouts…not just because it’s faster and easier to pace but because there are other people there! The UCSD track is super close to my work so it makes things pretty easy: drive to work at 530am, run to track, run at track, run back to work, shower and I’m at my desk by 7:30am. I am by far the slowest runner out there but I’ve come to terms with that. 17 mile LR: this went as well as possible! I was tired and ready to be done but nothing hurt, I didn’t need to walk, and only some minor chafing. This took me exactly 3 hours at 10:35 pace. Week 16: 37 miles Cutback week which was good since we headed to Vegas for Thanksgiving. Our family lives 3000 miles away on the East Coast so with several days off, we wanted to go somewhere fun that wasn’t too far away. We chose to fly this time even though the drive doesn’t seem like it’s too far (5ish hours on a good day). But on a holiday weekend, the drive quickly tests the strength of your marriage. Coach had a 2 hour long run on the schedule. Knowing that GPS would be sporadic, I appreciated a time vs mileage requirement. DH was a little worried about my safety running on the Strip but I agreed to only daylight running. We were staying at Planet Hollywood so basically the middle of the Strip. I left the hotel when the sun came up not sure how I’d get to 12-13 miles but ready for an adventure! I ended up running north to the Stratosphere then all the way south to the Luxor. And the people watching did not disappoint! I saw enough other runners and police presence to never feel too unsafe, except maybe around the Stratosphere. Not a good vibe there and I ran faster than planned. Saw people sleeping/passed out in all sorts of questionable areas, saw a pantsless “lady”, was offered cocaine, and tried to avoid multiple domestic disputes/assaults. On the positive, I felt like I ran around the globe, seeing the Statue of Libery, the Eiffel Tower, pyramids, Venetian canals, waterfalls and of course, Elvis. Garmin and Strava disagreed on the total mileage but it was 13 miles, +/- 0.4 miles. I also realized that I didn’t see a single dog, yay! The entire area is a giant cigarette cloud but at least you aren’t going to get bit by a dog or step in dog poop (although, I’m pretty sure I stepped around human poop in several areas). One of DS’s favorite parts of Vegas is that there are escalators everywhere to cross the main streets. While running, this wasn’t as annoying as I anticipated although it was tricky to avoid going into the casinos at some points. I ended up running 3 of the 4 mornings that we were there so quite the success. At the top of the High Roller (Ferris Wheel) Seeing a piece of my Pennsylvania heritage Taking a 4.5-year old to Vegas was actually pretty fun. We brought him when he was 18 months old and had religious nut jobs yelling at us about being terrible parents but none of that this time. Lots of interesting things to see everywhere we went. Our hotel room faced the Bellagio fountains so that kept him very entertained when we were in the room. I’d say the worst part, besides people smoking EVERYWHERE, was seeing people dressed up as some Disney character, but hey, this isn’t Disneyland. The destitute characters would remove their heads whenever they needed another cigarette, in full view of the crowds. DS seeing the homeless man inside the crappy Mickey costume sparked a lot of sad questions. Week 17: 35 miles 2 x 2 mi at HMP: This scared me when I saw it on the schedule since I haven’t been running HMP at all but I killed it! 9:17/9:10/9:14/9:13 paces and I felt awesome. 18 mile LR: This was supposed to be 8 easy, 8 at MP, then 2 easy. Work was quite stressful this week due to a looming presentation to global bigwigs. Friday, all sorts of crap happened at work which led to me going home Friday night feeling sick to my stomach. I barely ate dinner and knew that 18 miles the next morning were going to suck. I stopped to walk at mile 2. No matter what music I put on, I couldn’t stop thinking about work nonsense and my HR would shoot super high. Crazy how much stress affects your health. Some people are able to use the stress/anger to fuel their run; I am not that person. I barely made it through the easy 8, stopping to walk every mile to try and get the HR to calm down. I ran 1 mile at MP and then decided this wasn’t happening so my new goal was to get time on my feet; basically walk/run as long as 18 miles running would have taken (about 3:10). I made it to 14.2 miles total, walking the entire last mile. Here is a benefit to having my Coach also be a colleague. She was going through the same stress disaster with her project at work so understood everything. No worries! One bad run, even though it was a LR and a workout wasn’t going to ruin everything. A few days later, after the presentation was over and some serious debriefing with my team, the stress is gone and running is going great again. Week 18: 44 miles 8x800s in 4:20 (8:40 pace): All but the first one was 4:11-4:16 so this was a great workout for me. It’s the first time at the track that I didn’t at least think about skipping an interval and thought I could actually do more. Coach thought about giving me 10x800 but it’s really hard to get much more than 8 miles before work. 20 mile LR: After missing the MP miles the previous week, Coach was debating between giving me 20 easy or 17-18 with MP miles. She let me choose and since I have no time goals for the marathon, I felt getting the 20 miler was better. Plus I have a HM this coming Saturday where I plan to go for the PR—some tough work ahead. This run actually went really well! I was mentally over it around 16 miles but my body was fine. Tired but no issues. Fueling went great. Ended with 10:31 overall pace. All my long runs start with temps in the low 60’s (before 7am) but are approaching 80 degrees in full sun hours later when I’m done. I’m hoping this prepares me for whatever weather Phoenix will have in January. Plus, as you may have seen on the news, California has had super dry weather this past week. After some crazy fires broke out here on Thursday, I wondered if I’d even be able to do the 20 miler outside due to poor air quality but thankfully, I’m about 30 min from the worst fire and the air seemed ok. However, when humidity is like 7% and it’s 80 degrees, my mouth is constantly dry and even drinking every mile seems like not enough. Thank you Costco for selling Gatorade by the bushel! I spent the afternoon being lazy and then had my work holiday party Saturday evening. 5 hours in mostly comfortable heels, a few too many drinks and being awake 3-4 hours later than normal did not lead to a easy recovery run the next morning. Oh, I still dragged myself out there but nothing was easy. I would have pushed it to the afternoon but turned out DS had a birthday party to attend. And the birthday party? At an ice rink. So I finished off the weekend with some ice skating cross training and successfully did not hurt myself. 5 weeks to go!
  39. 5 points
    Thought I'd torn my calf muscle in August and stopped running to do rehab, prehab, stretching and strengthening, none of which had any effect by the end of October. A doctor friend at church mentioned he'd had endless calf muscle pulls and tears, all of which turned out to be caused by a back problem and the sciatic nerve malfunctioning. My sciatica has been going on since 2006 approximately, so I tend to just ignore that pain among the many others, which perhaps is not sensible. Next step was to foam roll everything every day and lie upon the Sacro Wedgy, which is about as much fun as it sounds. On the plus side, it did give my wife a good laugh. The foam roller found a very painful spot under the piriformis muscle, hm how interesting. I'm working my way through the back catalog of old Bond movies on Amazon Prime, in 20-minute episodes, while doing my time on the Wedgy each evening.. Connery, Craig, Moore, Brosnan, Dalton is my ranking. The older Connery has an elder-statesman look but the young Connery is a rogue and a scamp. Barbara Bach, married to Ringo Starr for the last several decades, is my favorite Bond girl.. A month of this reduced the sciatica pains considerably though the calf still aches and twitches a bit, thought it time to essay a run. The first run was slow but alright, no sudden cramps or pains. The second run was on a cold day, upper 20s, which provoked a very unpleasant asthma attack. After the last major attack I'd been on steroids for a week and had some wonderful swim workouts Powered by Prednisone. It's amazing how much easier it is when able to breathe. Some tightness and wheezing had been creeping up in the last few weeks. Luckily this attack didn't end in the ER, was able to control it with assorted inhalers and pills. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 60s, hoping for an uneventful run/walk.. In other news the '98 minivan finally developed enough ailments that I wasn't prepared to fix it anymore. Hope this doesn't give my wife any ideas.. 280 000 miles, two bad inner CV joints, one bad oxygen sensor on the rear manifold, and an overdue timing belt change - all that adds up to about $2000 in mechanic fees, or several months of weekends for me. Gave it away to IOCC and started looking around. My older boy was sad, he used to call the van the Green Hornet, I don't want to know what he and his friends got up to in it. They believed the van was haunted.. when Ian used to drive it to school, they'd all go to lunch driving in the van, apparently it was always warm in there even in the depths of Denver winter. At least once the van made the run from school to Voodoo Donuts downtown and back, forty miles of traffic in a lunch hour.. hm. It was a good old van.
  40. 5 points
    Need something to pass the time while you wait for weekend RR from DE to be posted? Not only are the Christmas lights @Cliff hung on the sight pretty- you can also break them with your mouse! I KNOW, RIGHT???? Procrastinating in PA...
  41. 5 points
    If you aren't going to be at Rehoboth this weekend, I feel for you. You're gonna miss some good stuff! As far as my goal goes for this race, I didn't have one other than running it sub-2 hours. After some checking, I haven't done that since 2014. I ran a 2:04 at Rehoboth last year, so I definitely hope to beat that. However, after having an exciting 100 mile month for October, I only have 56 mile (10 runs) this whole month. Not only have I still been having that weird phantom leg pain in my right quad, I'm having some discomfort in the adductor area of my right leg - right in the crease of my right leg and my "lady area". W just had surgery on his so it makes me really nervous. Anywho, I'm gonna run and have fun this weekend! Can't wait to see some of you! Stay tuned for an RR and pictures! Thanks for reading, Chris
  42. 5 points
    How many miles is too many? I'm kind of itching for more at the moment, but not so much when my alarm chimes at 4a.m. Last week, number 2 of 18 of marathon training, called for 55 miles total. Yes, this is just ramping up. The long run was to be 16 with 8 at marathon pace. But running buddy had 22 on his plan and wanted to incorporate an organized half marathon course preview. With a couple of extra days off for Thanksgiving, I figured I could move my schedule around a bit to accommodate. Mon - no run / weights @ gym / bike to work Tue - 8 miles with some strided / bike to work / weights @ gym Wed - easy 6.25 / bike to work Thu - 6.5 mile warm-up; 8 @ 6:41 pace; 1.2 cool down / eat! Fri - no run / no bike / some shopping Sat - 22 with RB (8:15 avg pace) Sun - easy 5 Total = 57 The marathon pace miles were probably too fast. I had thought I would go for 9 @ 6:40 pace which comes to one hour or 9 miles per hour. I did that before, but by mile 5 or so my heart rate was getting pretty high (87% of Heart Rate Reserve) and I decided 8 miles was good enough. I did pick a pretty flat road for an out and back which I know helped quite a bit. The Pfitzinger plan that I'm using has regular "medium long" runs on weekdays ranging from 11 to 15 miles. I found that anything over 12 is tough in that I have to get up earlier than I'm comfortable with (4am is bad enough!) and afterward I feel too run down for going to work, especially biking to work. *IF* I can average 8 minute miles for 12 miles it still takes more than 1.5 hours plus any pit stops. So I'll cut those down if necessary and possibly make up the miles on other days. This week's plan with possible adjustments: Mon - no run / weights @ gym / bike to work Tue - 11 miles / bike to work / (may go to gym tonight) Wed - 12 miles / bike to work Thu - easy 5 / bike to work Fri - 9 with 4 tempo (may do 10 w/ 5) / bike to work Sat - easy 5 (may do 7) / weights @ gym Sun - 15 miles (probably do 18 with RB) Total = ~60 Weather here has been decent - actually really nice during the day, but cold in the mornings at about 30F. Thanksgiving with the wife and kids was nice. We stayed home that day, but did get out for some Black Friday sales. The kids needed shoes and some warmer clothes so we found some good sales for that.
  43. 5 points
    That's right. Four (count 'em - 1, 2, 3, 4!) ouches in one bloop. BTW, did you know that Chrome's spellcheck doesn't recognize the plural of "ouch?" Ouch #1 Because Wednesday is interval day, I threw a few 800 repeats into the six miles I had planned for last week. I'm not especially fast right now, which is OK, but some hard effort a couple of times a week is good. What wasn't good was the tug I felt in my left hamstring about halfway through the second 800. I slowed to a dangerous jog for a few hundred yards, then walked some before mostly walking home. This did save me the normal test of finding time to get some runs in while traveling since I wasn't going to be doing any running for a few days. I don't think it's very bad, so ta couple of days off are probably all I need. Not running sucks, you know? Ouch #2 We've had an old desk in the basement for I don't know how many years. It's not a beautiful desk or an heirloom or anything. It's just been down there because it was in one of the kids' bedrooms forever and as we've transitioned all of those to guest rooms, it found a new home downstairs. Mostly it served as a place to store an old TV that we don't use anymore, either. Connor was moving apartments last weekend, and with no better offers and knowing he could use some emotional support for his first Thanksgiving alone, we trekked to Louisville for the holiday. There was a wrinkle thrown in by the body shop doing the repair on Mrs. Dave's CR-V. They weren't done on Wednesday afternoon, so little Abby was pressed into service as the transport vehicle. Not such a problem for the two of us, but bringing any bits and pieces of help - like a new desk for the office/2nd bedroom - that posed a challenge. Trunk's too small. There's a pass-through with both sides of the rear seat, but the trunk opening is also too small, unless we could bend the wood. Nope. I spend quite a while, thinking, lifting, turning, sliding and otherwise trying to get that desk into Abby before finding a way. Eventually, it was nestled more or less securely in the back seat. You read that correctly - the back seat of a 2003 Honda Civic coupe. I don't know if I can even explain how I did it, but it was there and the rest of the packing was a snap in comparison. However, while I'd thought about putting the work gloves on before I started the operation, I hadn't actually done it, and sometime during the job one of the desk corners tore a sizable chunk of skin partway off my right pinky. Here's a recommendation. If you need to be somewhere for Thanksgiving, 4 AM is the best time for driving. Never have we ever made such good time through Toledo and Cincinnati. In fact, it may be safe to say that no one has ever done it. First we met at the new apartment and unloaded the desk. It was easier to unload since I knew how to do it, plus Connor helped. The place isn't bad as lower end apartments go, and since he'll only be there while he finishes his masters program and doesn't need to impress anyone, he and his little pup Ollie should be right at home. They're on the second floor, though, so moving was going to take some energy. Anyway, Thanksgiving dinner was courtesy of Cracker Barrel this year. Eating out on Turkey Day was a first for all of us, but it's apparently quite a thing. The restaurant looked like Walmart at 5 AM on Black Friday. Fortunately, we arrived a few minutes before the real crowds descended for turkey dinners and that little triangle peg game they have there - the one where you checkers jump one peg at a time until you can't jump anymore (I got it down to two pegs, but Connor mastered it in one try). Then it was back to the old apartment for football and packing. He had a couple of friends coming Saturday morning to help load the truck and we needed to be ready. There's nothing ruder in my opinion to ask people to help load your moving truck and not being fully packed when they get there. While the Lions were playing, I disassembles a few things, and packed some boxes. By evening the Lions and Cowboys had lost and we were as done as we could be without some more boxes, so we called it a day and went to see Thor: Ragnorok. More light-hearted than I expected, but plenty of sci-fi action and a fun film. Ouch #3 I still feel pretty good about getting through the move with only one small cut on the top of my left thumb, and almost no blood. Usually I make a red mess of things. We'd gotten up early and gone to Home Depot for the other boxes we needed, and I was proud that I'd estimated perfectly the number and sizes. End of packing, end of boxes. Be impressed. U-Haul has a new thing where you can get your truck without going to a counter - very helpful if you need to to it outside of business hours. Unfortunately, I learned that a local ID is required. Pretty sure that tidbit wasn't included in any of the agreements I signed (and for once I actually read them). Fortunately, the place was open and the guy inside was very helpful and got us moving in good time. Connor and I muscled his washer and dryer in, then made a good start on the boxes before the help came and worked with the heavier furniture for a couple of hours. I'd also picked the perfect size truck (17 footer); there was no trouble getting everything in and not much wasted space. Oh yeah, this old apartment was also on the second floor. At the new place, we weren't sure about help with unloading. In his shyness or pride or whatever, Connor hadn't made arrangements for anyone to meet us at that end. While Mrs. Dave appealed to Providence, Connor made a phone call to the local Mormon missionaries, who just happened to be close by and just happened to have exactly two hours without plans for the day. It would have been a long, long day without them, I can tell you. One small scratch on my thumb. The floor plan of the apartment created one little problem. Connor's couch wouldn't fit in the front door. But it was old and ratty and Mrs. Dave had been trying to convince him to toss it, so this was a sign from heaven that the couch's days had passed, so we set out it next to the complex's big dumpster. Either someone will claim it, or he'll put it on top of the dumpster load to be picked up later. This meant he needed a couch, though, so we made a quick trip to Walmart for a futon. That's more of a single guy's piece of furniture anyway. And we still had the U-Haul, which made it easy to get. Ouch #4 By evening we had the living room, bathroom, laundry and most of the kitchen settled, except the kitchen had much less shelf and counter space. As I reached up to put something in a cabinet over the sink, I felt a sharp pain in my upper back. This is the same spot that I had trouble with for years until I found Amanda, the PT with the amazing hands, last year. I could barely breathe for a few minutes, and today it's still bothering me. Hoping it'll continue to settle down as time goes on and I don't have to go back, mostly because we still haven't met our deductible this year. $$$$ But now I felt the need to add one more piece to the apartment. Something where the microwave could sit and not be halfway over the sink maybe. There were a couple of false starts but the next morning we finally found a nice kitchen cart at Big Lots within the budget that was also within the amount of floor space we had to work with. So, he's got some more boxes to empty in the bedroom but that can be worked on over time. I was happy to get home last night with no more wounds. My facebook feed this morning showed an Asics cyber Monday deal of 30% off. Found my shoes clearance priced for $69, $48 after the sale. So I bought two pairs. We'll see this afternoon if the hammy (and now the back) will let me run a few miles. Probably skip the Monday tempo and just go easy.
  44. 5 points
    I guess things were going too smoothly this year, so November decided to be a nasty bugger. The plan was to keep ramping up the miles while throwing in three races. And to race them hard. Well, the first race turned out warm and windy and I got shingles two days before. So I didn't really race it. Still it turned out alright, and the shingles seemed to fade pretty fast. The pain never got too bad and was gone after a week. The week after the race I missed a run due to unforeseen schedule conflicts, and when I did run, I was still tired, from the race or the shingles, who knows. So I skipped another run and only got 17 miles for the week. Oh well, no big deal. The next week was Thanksgiving week. DW and the kid had the whole week off, so we went out to Palm Springs for Monday-Wednesday. With a full schedule and no real desire to run around a desert condo community, I took the three days off, looking forward to a Thursday turkey trot well rested. But then I got a cold on Monday, which quickly moved into my sinuses and ears. It probably didn't help my ears that I took the tram to 8,000 feet, and then swam in the pool. One horrible night of fevers, earaches and nightmares, and I skipped my golf game on Tuesday to sleep in. Wednesday I felt a little better and golfed before coming home, but the ears were still plugged up, and I had other symptoms, so I grudgingly decided to skip the turkey trot. It was a sad DNS, because it is a Thanksgiving tradition, and I hoped to include the kid this year. But she's still mainly a pain, and I didn't feel like dragging her out of bed. She never committed to running it, and I was tired of asking. I had hoped to break 20 for the three miles and race my track buddy, but being sick, I couldn't have done well, and the option of jog/walking with a petulant teen (maybe) sounded more stressful than fun. So I skipped it and hoped to rest and heal. Well, now it is Sunday and I've done lots of resting but the healing is not happening too fast. I ran 7 on Friday and felt OK, but not great. Today I managed ten, but didn't have my usual pep, just grinded it out. So another week of 17. Not exactly the 35-40 I was planning. Ears are still plugged, but getting better. The cough is lightening up. Hoping to feel better soon. Because Thursday night I fly to DC to join the annual Rehoboth Loop Extravaganza. We have a great group going again this year and it should be fun. Looks like I'll be abandoning any goals to race hard again. My original plan to get a Rehoboth PR of 1:37 are probably dead. Right now I'm only hoping to run conservatively, finish strong and break 1:40. But things can change. Maybe I'll just help pace somebody. And if all goes well, I can still get back on track for marathon training in December. All in all, I can't complain too much. Sickness is quicker to get over than injury, and my legs feel great! And I got to spend a few days in the desert (where it was 90). Life is good.
  45. 5 points
    A long time ago… The four of us huddle in the dorm room, lights low, a single candle burns on the coffee table. The candle sits in a mountain of wax covering what was simply a Budweiser bottle just a few hours ago. Each of us digs at the candle, at the wax-mound with glowing hot paperclips. Heat the paperclip in the flickering flame, sculpt the wax; heat, sculpt, repeat. We’re stoned silly. And profoundly drunk—yet hyper-aware, attuned to our surroundings. Deafening music rattles the room. Screaming guitars, pounding bass. Each note dissected and analyzed. Our sharpened senses register the smallest nuances—the pulse, the electricity in the room. Our dilated pupils catch the slightest movements. All except for the half-full bottle of beer sharing a bookshelf with the stereo speaker. Ever-so-slowly, the bottle has vibrated its way to the edge of the shelf. It teeters. Eight eyes snap to attention, watching. The bottle tips, plunges to the carpeted floor. It hits just beyond parallel, spits out a splash of beer and bounces up straight. It lands squarely upright and sticks the landing. A small fizz of foam escapes from the neck. But barely enough to dampen the carpet. We dissolve into laughter. A half an hour later, it’s obvious the trip has climaxed. We begin the long process of sobering up. Wait. This story is about the other LSD. Runner’s LSD—Long, Slow Distance. The last time I ran fast was a year ago—during the first loop of the two-loop Big Elk Trail Marathon. I was well trained, fit, properly tapered, and mentally prepared. I attacked the first half—a brisk pace, everything according to plan. But then the heat picked up, and it picked me apart. The temperature took control. The second loop was more of a jog… or a walk. I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered. It took me weeks to get my legs back. By then, I’d settled into a plodding jog—sixty to ninety seconds off my pre-marathon pace. My running program stalled for the summer. Maintenance mode: one run per week. Out at sunrise each Saturday, the grass drenched with dew, pockets of chill still in the air, I’d jog off for an hours-long run. Slower and slower each week. Months later, for my October birthday, I checked an item off my bucket-list. I knocked out a 50K. Running at a pace I could sustain all day, I did just that: I ran all day—or most of it. My languid pace reinforced by achievement. That slightly sore heel I ignored all summer finally stepped from the shadows. Plantar fasciitis—a hobbling case. I took a break from running. Nothing until March, almost: In November, I ran my favorite season-ender. A rocky, hilly 15K in the foothills of the Appalachians. When the gun went off, the small crowd raced away from me. The men, the women, the seniors, even the children, they all set a pace I couldn’t match. Historically, I’m a mid-packer, occasionally an age-group winner. For the first time in my life, I lost a race. I came in last. My winter break is over. My foot is mostly healed, but I’m limiting my distance anyway. I’m capping my runs around five miles right now. When I started up again, I vowed to use this cautious, low-mileage period to work on speed. I planned to push my pace back down to a respectable clip. I’m not trying to win races, but I set myself a clear goal: don’t lose again. In the two months since I restarted running, I’ve focused on a couple of primary workouts. Tempo runs and hill repeats. These are my favorite ‘hard’ runs. Speedwork? No—I figured I’d put that off for a while. Here’s what I found: The running I’ve enjoyed the most this year is when I’m grinding up a long, relentless hill. As it turns out, I like running slowly. It relaxes me. I enjoy my runs more when I jog. I don’t mind running hard—many of my hills are tiring even to walk—I just don’t seem to like running fast anymore. My long, slow distance runs throughout last summer left me feeling peaceful, happy, maybe even intoxicated. I didn’t notice because I wasn’t paying attention. I gave up drug use decades ago, but I only quit drinking last year. Alcohol was an addiction that weighed heavily on me. There was no joy in it, it no longer relaxed me. Alcohol became something to fret over—it stressed me out. And a few months later, without realizing it, I replaced alcohol with distance—long, slow distance. My new drug. I won’t say that I’m done trying to push my pace; I might even attempt to train-up for another age-group medal someday. But for now, I’m done beating myself up over LSD. It’s become my favorite way to get a buzz.
  46. 5 points
    Hello everyone! I wrote this post a little over a week ago and posted it in my non-Loop blog runeatralph.wordpress.com. If you’ve been reading there, you might know that I ran the Richmond Marathon, which I trained hard for 16 weeks to prepare for with the hopes of a Boston Marathon Qualifier. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out the way that I’d hoped or planned for. That’s the tough thing about marathons, really. You can do it all right up until race day and just not have it. I didn’t have it. I was supposed to run with MC, but we never met up at the start. I ended up spotting her about 50 yards ahead of me, pacing like a metronome. When I spotted her, I decided that I needed to run my own race and didn’t want to expend the effort of chasing her down until later in the race. That time never came. She ended up running the goal time and doing an amazing job. I’m happy for her and proud of her. As you can see above, I started out right on pace (a little fast, actually) and things seemed to be moving right along. The weather was just right (uncomfortably cold to start out). My watch wouldn’t get a GPS signal. Several of us had that problem. It could be because thousands of us were trying all at the same time. That led me to try to run my first few miles by feel. They were fast, and that led to a 10k time that was more aggressive than I wanted to be. Even with that, I felt fairly relaxed. I don’t think I had quite the lung capacity that I normally have, which could have been the cold weather but it also was a bit of residual effect from being sick all week. Up until race day, I was popping Vitamin C like a crazy person while chugging tea and taking those little dissolving zinc cold therapy pills all in a last ditch effort to get well. Around mile 11 is when I started to notice something bad. My left achilles tendon. It wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was noticeably unlike my right achilles tendon. Here’s the worst part…there were signs. For weeks, I’d been complaining about a tight left side from my calf down. It was nagging, but I ran through it. Basketball made it worse, but I kept playing anyway. I stretched it out every once in a while, but not enough. My wife even did her best to suggest that I do more to take care of it, but I just assumed everything would be fine just like it always is. I’ll bet I can look back at my training posts and I mentioned the issue at least once. As I crossed the half-marathon marker, the discomfort became a stabbing pain. It was the kind of stabbing pain that a normal person can’t (and shouldn’t) run through. I had to stop. I rubbed it and stretched it. I got going again. The pain subsided for a bit and I was cautiously optimistic that maybe things would be ok. As I got back up to speed, I realized that I was going to have trouble getting any sort of push. I tried to change up my stride to more of a shuffle with less need for pushing off. I got that going for a bit, but I knew that eventually that wasn’t going to cut it. For the first time in all of my running, I considered a DNF (Did Not Finish). The thoughts came before mile 18 where my brother in law and lovely wife were waiting for me. At that point, they knew something was wrong based on the time I came in. I tried not to cry when I told them that something had gone wrong with my achilles. I wanted a hug. I grabbed a drink and went on my way. I had decided to go ahead and finish. I spent the next 8 miles shuffling when I could with lots of walking in between. I stopped caring. I had some beer at around mile 20. It was the WORST beer I’ve ever consumed. Some abomination called Sprint Light. It made me smile though. After that, I spent the next 6 miles feeling pain and shame. I tried to tell myself that this stuff happens, but that didn’t make it any easier to swallow it. Lots of people tried to encourage me onward and I appreciated it, but I hated it too. As I came closer to the finish, I was talked into jogging it in to finish strong. As I jogged in and heard the crowd, I stopped being sad. I even managed to smile when running buddy and fellow Hill City Harrier Robbie took a pic of me coming in. I wish I had a good story to tell about Richmond. They took some good pictures and if things had gone well, I’d buy them. Here are a couple that really show the optimism of the early race and the pain of the 2nd half. It’s all in the eyebrows. This isn’t much of a race report, but I also want to say how much I love Richmond and the race. It truly is the friendliest marathon. I can’t blame anything about the race at all. They do an amazing job. Check out the awesome SWAG we got. I only wish I didn’t have to associate it with failure. I want to say thank you to every single one of you that have read, or commented, or anything. So many of you have shared encouragement, or wisdom, or just a laugh. It’s all been appreciated, believe me. I tried to think of all of you as I struggled through. It makes me smile. It brings me inspiration and motivation. I also want to say congrats to others who got their BQs, or their PRs, or whatever goals they had in mind. It takes courage to set goals (and tell people about them) and strength and determination to meet them. I’m proud of all of you. Now if you’ll excuse me, Rehoboth is in 3 (now less than 2) weeks. I need to get ready…
  47. 4 points
    Apparently it’s snowing in NJ. Ha! Don’t care! I’m in Florida waiting for the rest of my Spartan team mates to descend. Topping off my carbs like any good runner. I ran for coffee this morning. Dave my Pain in the Ass hamstring is not altogether happy. (Fair is fair, Dave. Lol) We are fun running the Spartan Beast tomorrow. 13-15 miles of obstacles so we can complete our Trifecta. The house I’m at is one we own with friends in Kissimmee, FL. I’ve pretty much decided it would be perfect for a Loopfest. It has 4 bedrooms with sleeping for at least 10 Loopsters. Anyone Loopfest Orlando? I’m not much of a Disney Race fan but if we could find a race next fall or winter I could block the house for our dates. Let’s get working on this! I had a bit of a sign-up-a-thon the other morning. Apparently I feel my hamstring is ready? But perhaps my brain is just being optimistic. 3/25 Philly Love Run 4/22 Drake Relay 1/2 Marathon (Iowa) 5/20 Run for the Red Half (Poconos, PA) If anyone wasn’t to join me for any of those let me know. For Run for the Red I own a condo in the Poconos 10 minutes from the start. Great net downhill. If you’re looking for a great BQ course or NYCMQ course this is a good one. My Rehoboth pictures turned out interesting. Ha! The finish line ones show how happy I was to be able to run 13.1! Can you tell I’m thinking about my leg every.single.minute?? Did I just run 13.1?? Now if I could just do some speed work I’d be positively giddy! AROO! #sorrynotsorry in Spartan mode!
  48. 4 points
    Back in the old days, I hated turkey trots because they were just a bunch of people who dressed up in costume to have fun and didn't particularly care about the race. These days, I love turkey trots because they're just a bunch of people who dress up in costume to have fun and don't particularly care about the race. Life is all about perspective ...
  49. 4 points
    I got my feet On the ground And I don’t go To sleep to dream — the prophet fiona — Mo always says dreams are supposed to mean something. I’m still trying to figure out last night’s. I’m running on a treadmill. There’s a guy on the TM next to me also running. He stops, and there is much hoopla (note to self: must say "hoopla" more in casual conversation. In the unlikely event you ever have a casual conversation). A TV crew swoops in; confetti drops. He says he has broken the World Record For Going From 20 MPH To Zero on a Treadmill. Everyone seems to be quite excited about this. I am befuddled, and I am not one drawn easily to befuddlement. How is this even a record? Had someone gone from 19 mph to zero previously, leaving this as the 4-minute mile of the treadmill set? The holy grail? Run away? It's only a bunny! Why would this feat have not been apparent transpiring on the treadmill next to me? How the heck do you even get a TM up to 20 mph in the first place? This means the guy is capable of running at 3-minute mile pace? And if so, what’s the big deal? You unplug the machine and it stops. Why is there a world record for stopping? And what’s the deal with Guinness anyhow? It’s not even made in Texas. I, being a fearless investigative reporter at heart, stop to question him, but by that time he’s gone. And then I wake up. Why did this dream randomly pop up in my brain? What am I trying to tell myself? I have no idea. Maybe my obsession with how slow I’ve become? I’m not sure how that would apply, but I suppose dreams do come from somewhere. Or Amazon. I assume Bezos has bought dreams by now. Last night, I walked 3 miles in the dark around downtown Mesa. They kicked the homeless guys out of the Subway patio, forcing them to the next block over, so it felt a little safer. But there was one stretch next to the old Trib that is super dark. Too late, I saw a guy standing up in the shadows a few yards in front of me. Yikes. I felt the surge of adrenaline, veered left and shifted into high gear to get away, and … nothing. I STILL couldn’t run. I couldn’t run if my life depended on it. It isn’t just a saying; it’s a reality show coming this way Friday nights on cable access. Is cable access still a thing? Is it all in my head? If so, my head wants to be killed by a homeless guy on First Avenue. My head is weird. That’s the goal of the Year of Fleshman. 40:13 is now the time to beat. I have this goal. 20 miles a week. Doesn’t have to be fast. Miles is miles. Push a little, recover a little, let things flow. Every few weeks, a $35 time trial to see if there’s any progress. Plus, I’ll never have to wash shirts again. Just wear a race shirt for a week and toss it. Genius. One glimmer of hope: Last night’s course is near the Mormon Temple, so while I waited for Mo to finish off her pot (that Mo loves her pot), I wandered over to see the lights. They have an insanely spectacular light display. You basically walk through the massive grounds basking in the 80-degree winter wonderland while dodging well-meaning missionaries who have the joint staked out in search of lost souls. Speaking of lost souls, please let me know if you come across my left New Balance 1400v4. I found I still had enough in the tank after 3 miles to elude two earnest young men hot in my pursuit. So there’s that. (disclaimer: I’m not certain either was named Ernest. And I have only the utmost respect for the religion of the late Dave Schultz, may he rest in peace, or Michigan, whichever comes first.) This week I leave behind the frivolity of the turkey trot for a Serious Race, the Jingle all the Way 5K. It rhymes AND offers jingle bells for your shoes. I’m almost certain this is how Prefontaine started out. AND as I recall, he suddenly went from 20 to zero. Hmmm …. Will I get faster over the year? If I train consistently and push in races, science would say yes. If I stay the same, or get slower, then science would say I’m screwed. I guess I’ll find out. I have never gone 20 mph. But I haven’t hit zero yet either. Here’s to something in between. Prefontaine, eh? I should really grow a mustache someday … Advertisements
  50. 4 points
    Is there a need for all the categories? When I look at the joint, I want to see the latest posts. I never go on to look at specific categories. "hmmmmm. Wonder if anyone has posted about blah blah today?" I just look to see what's up. I'm sure anyone who posts here regularly knows the pain of posting a glorious post, only to be knocked off by someone posting in the same category two minutes later. Yes, you can still see the headlines in the list, but it becomes much harder to find. Is it possible to ditch the categories altogether and just go back to a chronological listing of everything like we had at the old joint? Then I could just scroll down and easily see everything. Example: my dumb muskrat post on nov. 7 is still on the first screen (I CAN'T KILL IT OUT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T EDIT POSTS AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS DAMMIT!!!!!) while any post in rambling is lucky to last half a day. That seems silly. Having the newest posts on the first page might attract more occasional viewers, giving the rightful impression of how much new stuff there is. If you were a casual viewer, you wouldn't realize there might be 5 posts about 5k/10K race reports filed in the last 10 minutes, they're just kicked off by the newest one. Seems like the topic thing is a fine idea for forums, but isn't really what the Loop is about. The Loop is people, and not pigeonholed topics. I can't imagine anyone using this place to say "hmmmm. wonder if anyone has posted about injuries today?" It's more "hmmmm. wonder what everyone is up to, regardless of topic?" There are generally a handful of posts each day. Listing them without category would allow them all to show up. I don't even know if it's possible to do that. It would just make me happy. And isn't that what we're all on the planet for? p.s. example the one i'm filing in, gear, hasn't been used since speet's initial trial post back in the mid-1980s. and yet that post has been on the front page since. Speaking of gear, I like the Garmin 235 a lot. I guess the HRM isn't great for sudden bursts of speed, but it gives a fairly accurate read and saves you the torture of the dreaded changing of that stupid battery in the chest strap.
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