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  1. 11 points
    This was not one of my better run races; not by long shot. I’m not really upset by that though. First the basic facts: This was my second Boston and 12th marathon finish. Finish time of 3:28:52 was my third fastest marathon and a minute faster than last year.. My PR from last fall was 3:17:53. Goal for Boston was 3:15. The weather forecasts a week or so before the race was predicting conditions very similar to last year: cold, wet, and significant headwinds. As the race got closer this started to change to warmer temperatures but still wet. The prediction for winds were pretty varied but in the couple of days before looked like it would be a tail wind. I wasn’t too happy about temperatures in 60s but thought that with the cloud cover, some rain and tailwind it might be okay. So what happened with weather? It was actually pretty nice at the start; it felt almost cool, it was cloudy, not much wind. Unfortunately, the temperatures only got warmer and at about the halfway point the sun actually came out. (Note that it did rain later but by that time I was walking from my hotel to a bar to meet my running club buddies.) I picked a pace band at expo for my goal time (3:15). This wasn’t a generic pace band with even splits (7:26) but rather, considered the downhills and uphills of the Boston course. My pacing for the first 15 miles was pretty close. I knew the Newton hills would be hard but was hoping that I could grind through and recover and get back on pace for the last five miles. Unfortunately, I started to struggle mightily on the hills and ended up taking walk breaks on the third hill and on Heartbreak hill (miles 20 and 21). By the time I got to Boston College is was in survival mode and taking a walk break every mile. The upside (?) was that I had plenty of company. I may have been in 3:15 shape but just not in 3:15 shape for a warm Boston day. The decision to go for a significant PR at Boston was certainly bold but I already had a BQ (minus 17 minutes) from the Marine Corps Marathon last fall so I felt like I was playing with house money. The upside of a “nice” spring day was that the spectators were really out in force. I was really in awe of the number of spectators out last year in that miserable weather but this year there were at least 3 times (or more) out there. The singlet I wore to race included the Maryland state flag and I got a lot of cheers for that; it was really nice to hear “Go Maryland!” and “Terps” throughout the day. I probably could feel upset and frustrated about not hitting (or even coming close) to my goal. I’m not. I was last year (which had a similar story) but I think that I so enjoyed the process of training for the race that the race result wasn’t the most important thing. There are a couple truths: you can’t control the weather and the Boston course is tough. I would have loved to have run a PR (or even just decent race). Hopefully, if all goes well this summer, I’ll be toeing the line at the Marine Corps Marathon ready to run a new PR. And next April I’ll be back in Boston.
  2. 10 points
    Allow me to reintroduce myself. I used to post in the old Loop hosted on the Runner's World site. I was known there as Kingcoffee. I used to love posting blogs and reading other peoples blogs and comments. I stopped doing that because my life became so busy that I could barely find the time to run much less write about it. I started my own company and it took up so much of my time that I didn't have any left for much else. I thought that, if I started my own company, I wouldn't have a "job" anymore. I quickly discovered that I had traded my one job for 5. I posted one blog in this new Loop but I wasn't able to get back to it to respond to any comments or questions. I hoped at that point, to become a regular again but my life quickly returned to the hectic world of running the business, sleeping, running and family. I'm six years plus into running my business now and I think there may finally be time to be a regular contributor. With the extra time commitment of running a business, there has been less time for the activity of running as well. My running fitness has declined, partly due to aging but more so due to lack of training. I have been able to run more consistently lately though and I was able to run a faster 5k last year than I have been able to run for quite awhile. With being so busy with work, I wasn't able to sign up for many races since most of them are on Saturdays. I'm the type of runner who mostly runs, in order to be able to race. Luckily, Friday 5k showed up in time to save my running life. What is Friday 5k? So glad you asked. A runner who lives much closer to Dave (you all know Dave), started Friday 5k but he started it on the west side of Michigan because that is where he spends most of his weekends. Friday 5k races take place on prime numbered Fridays beginning in April and ending in September. There is no entry fee and no t-shirts or medals but the races are timed and you can see your results shortly after the race is over. The races are paid for through donations. The only requirement to participate is that you have to become a member but membership is free. There have been numerous different things thrown into Friday 5k's. At first, the races were held at different places and you only found out where the evening before the race. At the end of one season, we were invited to run all ten of that year's 5k's in one day. Most racers only ran a few of those races but I ran all ten of them in one day. There was a little walking in the last 3 races that day but mostly running. Another year, the races all had different names, complete with theme songs and special prizes. One of those races was called the Aim Low 5k. I received a prize, which was a book titled Aim Low. The book is hilarious and yet also poignant. Another one was called the Sunshine Day 5k and we finished the race to a recording of the Brady Bunch singing Sunshine Day. Somewhere there probably still exists a video of me, my son and 2 foster kids skipping toward the finish line to the music. Now the races are all held at the same venue but there continues to be different contests and prizes tossed into the mix throughout the season. For the last 2 years there have been teams. This year there are no more teams but there will be an event where racers start at different times which are based on there previous Friday 5k times and the idea is that everyone will finish close to the same time. Kind of a handicap race. Some of you may wonder why I switched my name from Kingcoffee to Runningthrumymind. The main reason is that I stopped drinking coffee. Also, I intend for most of my blogs to be about the things I think about while I'm running. I do my best thinking when I'm out running. Running, particular my long runs, usually become a form of meditation and my mind goes rambling around while my body rambles down the road, (or trail). I hope some of you find this entertaining and I hope to be able to continue to write these on a regular basis.
  3. 10 points
    The short: I love running marathons! On March 24, I finished the Wichita Chisholm Trail Marathon in 2:57:18 (6:45 average pace), placed 3rd overall female, and extended my sub-3:00 marathon streak to 7 in a row. And as always, I grew as a person during those 26.2 miles. The person who finishes a marathon is never the same person who started it! Official results are here. Requisite clock shot! The long: It's been years since I've trained for a marathon without a specific time goal that my workouts are targeted at and my mind is focused on. After I returned from 8 weeks off with an injury in October-November 2018, I had some rocky training in January and February 2019, and started to wonder if I'd ever get fit or feel strong running again. It seems like some people bounce right back from time off, but that has not been the case for me! I got in 3 solid workouts in March (details coming in my March recap), and a 20 miler and 23 miler; based on of those 5 runs I figured I was in shape to run about 6:45 pace for a marathon, although it sounds kind of ludicrous when I write it like that, because we all that 5 runs does not a solid marathon make! My main goals were to run evenly and by effort, to place as high as I could in the women's field, and to smile while doing it. Race morning brought sunny skies and 45 degrees. I was so pumped to run another marathon I could hardly contain myself and could barely sleep the night before the race due to excitement! From the gun, I had to really restrain myself not to go out too fast, which is actually rare for me. My goal for the first mile was to not run any faster than 6:50, and I hit it in exactly 6:50. That was the only time I looked at my watch during the race. I ran by feel and by the field of runners around me. I used to really micro-manage my splits in races, but I think I'm more successful when I don't monitor them. I was in 4th female from the gun. The leader went out pretty fast (I'd guess under 6:20), and I could see two women running together between the leader and me (I'd guess 6:35 for their first mile). It's hard not to chase when you're running for place and feel so good so early, but I knew it was a bad idea and that if any of them could maintain that pace I couldn't stick with them anyhow, and I wouldn't get the best out of myself if I tried. My top marathon advice: always, always, ALWAYS go out slower than the pace you hope to average. No one ever won a marathon in the first 10K, but many have lost them! After the field thinned out I found myself running with a man, Leroy, who I've done some training with when visiting my parents for holidays. We ran side by side and caught up a little from mile 1 until almost 6. He'd recently dealt with an injury as well, and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the race. Around mile 6 he told me he was going to drop back a bit, and I was eyeing the two ladies in front of me, so I focused on gradually pulling them in. Miles 2-6 were 6:47, 6:54 (incline), 6:46, 6:45, 6:41, and my 10K course split was 42:04. There was a clock on the course at the 10K, so I saw my split but I wasn't sure what pace that was, aside from sub-7:00. With Leroy around mile 5 I was passing quite a few half marathon runners, including the 1:30 pace group, and feeling good. I was dying to reel in the two women in my sights, but told myself to be patient and not accelerate just to catch them so early in the race. I decided to try to pull up on them gradually, and then fall into pace with them. The female leader was so far ahead I didn't think catching her was realistic, so I figured those two were my biggest competition. Miles 7-10 were 6:38, 6:48, 6:41, 6:44. I pulled up with the ladies and a man who'd been running with them (who I had also met at the start through a mutual friend, so I knew he was Victor who was aiming for 2:58). The women asked if I was another half runner, since a couple had just gone by them, and I told them I was in the full as I settled in with them. I recognized one of the women as Jalayne, a friend of my friend Amber. Amber had mentioned Jalayne to me after I ran against Jalayne in the Bill Snyder half last year, and again mentioned that Jalayne was running this marathon. Since I'd only beat her by about 40 seconds at Bill Snyder, I knew she would be tough to beat in this race because I was nowhere nearly as fit currently. I am generally really good at gauging what I have to give, and the pace we were at felt sustainable for 26.2, plus having a group to run with usually helps me run faster. Miles 11-13 were 6:35 (decline), 6:53, 6:50, and my course half split was 1:28:26. Like at the 10K, there was a course clock, so I knew my half split and figured I was on track for a high 2:56 or low 2:57, which I was happy about because as much as I tried to push it out of my mind, I wanted to keep my sub-3:00 streak alive and knew it could go either way in this one! Julie, guy in blue I didn't know was there, Jalayne, me, Victor I nearly died laughing at this picture because all 4 of us look like we are in terrible pain (this was just before the half, so we weren't) Jalayne and I officially introduced ourselves, and I met the other women in the group, Julie. Julie and Jalayne said they had been training together like crazy for 20 weeks for a 2:55 marathon, and learning that wasn't exactly confidence-boosting when I considered that they started their training cycle when I wasn't running at all. But, I was running within myself and hoped I could draw on my mileage and past experience to make up for my shortage of workouts and long long runs. I stayed with Jalayne, Julie, and Victor, and around mile 15 another man named Damien joined us. It was great having a group to run with, especially because the last time I ran a marathon in Wichita it was essentially a time trial from the 10K to the end! Miles 14-18 were 6:41, 6:49, 7:02 (incline), 6:42, 6:37. I could tell that Jalayne and Damien were both feeling really good, and the three of us were pushing the pace a bit, while Julie and Victor didn't seem as perky. Damien pushed ahead slightly just before mile 18, and I told myself to go with him, putting myself into second place female. My family was cheering on the course around that time, and told me that the leader had about 1:30 on me but she looked like she was really hurting. Mile 19 was 6:31 and my course split at 19.1 was 2:08:50 (random, but it was a two lap course of a big rectangle, so it had been the 10K timing mat on the first lap). Damien taking off with me trying to follow around 18 Just before mile 20 we turned west into the wind for the final 10K. On the first lap the wind hadn't been too bad, but it had picked up a lot during the race. The only drawback of straight marathon courses is the potential for long stretches against the wind. I tried to draft off Damien, but he was feeling really good and I couldn't hang on (I later saw on Strava that he ran his final 5 miles between 6:05-6:20 pace and finished in 2:54!). Being out there solo after having others to run with for so long was tough, but I kept reminding myself that anything can happen at the end of the marathon and if the leader was really struggling I might be able to catch her. I also knew that the other women could very well come back for me. Miles 20-22 were 6:45, 6:56, 6:47. Around mile 22-23 I really started to feel my shortage of workouts and really long runs. Around 18-20 I thought I'd have a lot left and really be able to throw down the final 10K, but by 22 I was having much more trouble getting my legs to keep turning over. I think my endurance is really good from all of the easy mileage I ran, but there is certainly a reason you need both mileage and workouts! I knew that keeping on to the finish wouldn't be a problem, but my legs sure wanted to slow down, and the headwind wasn't helping. Spectators kept telling me that I looked stronger than the leader and to "go get her", and at mile 20 I was really working on that, but by mile 23 I was just trying to hang on. Miles 23-25 were 6:53, 6:44, 7:07, although they felt like about 9:00 pace, as per usual at that point in a marathon. Just after I passed 25 I heard someone coming up behind me and just hoped it was a man, because I didn't feel confident about a fast final mile. It wasn't a man, it was Jaylane. She pulled up next to me and we encouraged each other, and then ran side by side for a half mile or so. Her training consistency trumped my "unique" cycle, and as I fought with all I had she pulled away. By the time we were nearing the 26 mile mark, I knew she had me, although I didn't give up because anything can happen. I couldn't will my legs to go any faster but I gave it my all! Mile 26 was 6:58 and my final kick was 6:19. You can barely see me, but I love my parents taking pictures/videos and Albani standing on the course! The announcer called my name as the third female finisher, after announcing Jalayne in second. I stumbled through the finishing chute ecstatic to be comfortably under 3:00 after all I've been through in the past 6 months, but of course wishing I would have had a little more to hold onto 2nd, or a 6:30ish pace final 10K to take over 1st, who finished in 2:55:59. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer than I was! Before the race, one of my friends was considering pacing me (which did not work out), and he asked what pace I thought I'd run. I told him 6:45, and low and behold I ran exactly 6:45 pace per the course! I was almost more excited about my accurate prediction than the actual marathon! Post-race I found my family, was interviewed by the local news station (clip can be seen here - my dad and I are each in it twice!), and attended the overall awards ceremony. Media tent I'd like to thank Goodr sunglasses for hiding my face as much as possible! I had a wonderful experience and plan to write more about the event and my post-race thoughts soon! Not long ago I did not think that I'd be able to run this marathon at all, and even a month ago I sure didn't think I'd be able to run it at 6:45 pace. We make plans, then God makes better ones, right? "Run in such a way as to get the prize." - 1 Corinthians 9:24b Family shot/Albani's distracted I couldn't do any of it without him! My mom bought Albani this shirt & I love it! 3 x sub-3s Official results & course splits It's not every day you cover 30 miles on foot!
  4. 9 points
    People are asking, "How was your race"? How'd you do?" and I have to pause because I don't want to say, "Well, I missed all my goals and ran 4:06" because that really doesn't tell the story. Boston 2019 was a fabulous time, as Boston always is. It is really not about how the race went. It is about soaking in the atmosphere and being part of a running carnival. Walking the streets surrounded by runners in their Boston jackets. Feeling like part of a secret club that you were lucky enough to earn your way into, that has been given control of a major city for the weekend. Sure, much of that is silliness in our heads, but it is palpable nonetheless. So, how'd I do? I did great. I got to run with 26,000 awesome people and get yelled at by 100,000 more. I got to have the same feeling that I did in New York of being a rock star, despite just being a guy jogging down the street at 8 minute pace, and slower. I enjoyed the hell out of it, so, yeah, I met my goal. But I know you want details, so I'll break it down for you. I flew across the country on Friday - a trek that took 14 hours after one flight got diverted and delayed and I missed my connection. But I eventually got to Boston and met up with Carissa and Adam. We rented an Airbnb apartment in an old building within walking distance of the finish line that looked like this. We had the 2nd floor of that corner building. It was basically a studio, with a 2nd bed in a room the size of a closet. But it was fine. It was great to have them to hang out with all weekend. Saturday was a busy day. Carissa ran the BAA 5K so I did a little shakeout run with her and watched the race. Then I hit the expo in the AM and picked up a few souvenirs before we all went to Fenway for the afternoon Red Sox game. It turned out sunny and beautiful and we had front row seats in right field just past the bullpen. Later we met up with Loopsters Ken and Glenn for dinner before finally getting some rest. Sunday was less busy as we mainly just ate and rested. Watched Tiger win the Masters, and Adam introduced me to Game of Thrones. Carissa whipped up a spaghetti dinner for traditional carb-loading. Then we laid out our gear and planned for the race. All week, the forecast had been for rain. First it was cold rain. Later it was warmer rain. And thunderstorms. But as it turned out, the rain came early and was done before race time. Unfortunately we had to walk to the bus at 7:30 while it was pouring down and we got drenched. Shoes and socks were soaked through. Oh well. The smart people wore throw-away shoes and carried their race shoes. Never thought of that. Happy to spend the hour on the bus with this crazy chick. Once we got to Hopkinton it was dry, but the fields were muddy. Not too horrible though. Plenty of time to take care of business. Carissa took off for her wave 2 start and I had a little time to myself. Then the long walk to the start line. I always like that. It's like a little parade where we can shake off the nerves and celebrate being there. Then we get into our corrals and there's a few minutes to converse with strangers that are (mostly) all smiling and excited. Wheeee!!! It's Boston!!! And then we're off. So my plan was just to run at comfortable pace. Not too fast. So I wanted the first two miles over 8, preferably closer to 8:30. Then I figured to settle into a pace about 8:00. Definitely wanted to avoid sub-8s in my usual (futile) quest to not go out too fast. Hoped to get through 16 close to 8 minute pace and then just see what happens after that. And that's basically what happened. I wanted to break 4, because, well, it sounds better! But I also was treating it like an ultra, where time didn't really matter. I gave myself permission (ahead of time) to walk on the uphills and enjoy the journey. And that's what happened! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Everything felt good as we started running. None of the injuries that have irritated me over the previous months even made a peep. Knee fine. Ankle fine. Hammy fine. Feet fine. First two miles were 8:16 and 8:11 as I ran with the crowd and relaxed. Then the splits dropped as we kept going downhill. 7:51, 7:46, 8:06, 7:52, 7:51, 7:57, 7:51, 7:56 through ten miles. I hit ten in almost exactly 80 minutes. I felt good. But not great. Not like I was itching to go faster. Carissa had put my name on my shirt with cut out duct tape letters, so I got to hear people cheering for me for about ten miles before the letters apparently fell off after I was sweating too much. It really helps hearing your name constantly. I also did a lot of high-fiving and smiling at people. The sun came out about this time and it started to warm up. Still felt pretty good through 13 and into Wellesley. 8:02, 7:48, 7:58 and halfway in 1:44:53. Just under 8 minute pace. The Wellesley girls were as loud as ever. I didn't stop for smooches, but I slapped hands with a hundred of them and soaked up the energy. I was feeling the fatigue come on, but I knew I was doing better than last time (2017) when I started bonking by mile 14. I was starting to bargain with myself about when I could take my first walk break. Definitely wanted to get through 16 and a big downhill there. 14-16 were 7:55, 8:14 and 7:49. And then the first of the Newton hills. It's not too steep but it's long. I downshifted and switched to training run mode. I told myself I could run over this first one at least. So I did. Got to 17 in 8:44. But by the time the 2nd hill started in mile 18 I was ready for a break and started to walk. My stomach had been uncomfortable for some time now. I made the mistake of eating THREE Clif bars before the race. Plus a bagel and a banana. And apparently whatever is in those Clif bars was creating some chemical reactions in my innards. So not only were my legs worn out, but I just didn't feel like running because of my belly. I started looking for port-a-potties but there were none about. Walked most of the 2nd hill because I had switched to Ultra mode and just didn't care anymore. Still happy though. Enjoying the people and the experience. Mile 18 was 12:27. I did some running mixed with walking for the next three miles over the rest of Newton. I had mentally checked out and thought about walking it in and it seemed fine. Hell, I've done it before! The upset belly just made the idea of running sound not fun. Mile 19 was 10:46. Finally I found an open p-o-p and went in, but it was a fruitless effort. Still clogged up I guess. I wasted over 2 minutes in there and then headed back out. Mile 20 was 15:20! But then relief came in the form of some eloquent flatulence. I let go with some lengthy tooting (silent, but also deadly), and suddenly felt like running was a much better idea. Grateful for the 20mph breezes (which were mostly behind us (ha)) the brown cloud soon parted. As I reached heartbreak hill in mile 21 I was chatting with another walker and we both decided to run. I made it most of the way up. But I did stop for photos at the top. Mile 21 was 14:00. But it was all downhill from here. Sure I was still sore-legged and spent. But I could run. So I got into a decent trotting pace and the walk breaks started to get farther apart. Mile 22 was 11:19 and I calculated that I wasn't going to break 4:00, but if I could keep moving I could still break my 4:11 disaster from 2017. So I kept moving. Mile 23 was 11:50 and 24 was 10:13! Flying! Seriously these last three miles were this year's highlight. Instead of suffering and shuffling like almost all my marathons, I was running! Albeit slowly. It was a nice surprise after feeling like crap a few miles back. Now on my 3rd Boston I knew the course better and that helped with the visualizing. I knew what was coming up and I kept trucking. Mile 25 was almost all running in 9:45. I knew I had it in the bag now. I was smiling and enjoying the huge crowds. The cloud cover had returned with some cool breezes (cold front) and then it started to rain with about a mile to go. It felt great. I took one last walk break as we dipped under the road before Hereford. And then I ran it all the way in - something I couldn't do the last two times. Mile 26 was 10:35 and the last .46 miles on my Garmin were 8:59 pace! Turning left on Boylston and running those last few blocks in a deafening roar was superfantastic. So much fun. I had my arms up for the finish and then my calf cramped with literally two steps to go. Hence the wince in these pictures. And then the smile. Done! 4:06:32. We'll call it an age-group course record. Hobbled the mile back to our place. The usual glorious shower. No chafing. No blisters. Pretty medal. We all went out to celebrate at the top of the Prudential. 52 stories up for a beautiful view. Life is good.
  5. 7 points
    I'll admit to a little clock watching today, ahead of the next great western adventure. This time tomorrow I'll be on a plane, heading for Seattle to see Big Mac get married. Unlike myself, who's enjoyed watching this beautiful young woman grow up and fill the world with her music and joy, Mrs. Dave has worried and fretted that the day would never come. That may be the biggest difference between the two of us, and maybe why we've stayed together so long. Her believing that I need her to worry about all the details, and me knowing that she's probably right and that there's not likely to be anyone else on the planet willing to do it. But it's happening. Not exactly the way Mrs. Dave would like. She's always had in her mind a hundred things that are important about two people getting married and adjusting those ideas to the ones Mac and her guy have about it. Let's just say there's been some stress while the compromises were reached. But I think we're going to make it. Four more days. Several years ago I was warned that when this day came I was not allowed to even discuss running at the peril of permanent separation. So, my current plans are to take the rest of the week off. This is not ideal for my training schedule, since this is supposed to be the heart of Monster Month, but I figure since I haven't had any injuries/illnesses, I can count this as the unexpected interruption that would normally happen sometime during training. And who knows? Maybe I'll get to sneak in a run or two anyway. Next week will be more travel - sneaking over to see Dad in Idaho - but I ought to be able to put some miles in, if not a full schedule. Plus Idaho Falls is at 4,700 feet, so altitude training! So, two weeks ago things were pretty up and down. Some good runs and some not so good. A couple that started out well and finished poorly. Last week was much better. All good runs. With the sfx scare behind me and the weather getting better and better, I thought about running and not if. Except Wednesday I guess. Chilly and Windy. Like, 30 mph windy. The smart thing to do I've (finally) learned is to go easier against the wind. Besides, a long weekday run is supposed to be at an easy pace., right? Anyway, with the wind I was cruising at 8:15-ish, and 8:45-9:00 against it. No pressure. I could have stayed in the hot shower after for hours. Eight on Thursday wasn't nearly as blustery. 8:30 pace. Friday was the same pretty much, except I found myself accidentally closing in on 8:00 miles in the middle. Had to put the brakes on, since I was either going hard on Saturday or extra long. I didn't really decide that until the next morning when I left. I just wasn't feeling a pikermi effort that day. Instead, I went north, climbed some hills, found some trails and generally had an amazing 14 miles of fun, including a progressively fast three to finish - 8:37, 8:26, 7:48. Yesterday would have been six, but since I'm losing days this week I went 8. Easy out (8:30-40), fun speed coming back (8:06-23). 74 degrees. By far the warmest day this year, but didn't seem to slow me down any. Feeling fit and ready for a good Tempo Tuesday this afternoon. Have yourselves a good week, Loopsters. I know I will.
  6. 7 points
    PreambleI got chosen for the GDR lottery last July while still wearing a boot for my second stress fracture of 2018. I had 9 months to heal, build a base, and train for a race completely out of my wheel house. Sure, I've run longer distances and done a few gnarly trail runs/races, but nothing of this magnitude. It would likely be one of the hardest races I'd run to date and I was excited about doing something really, really tough.I ran a couple of marathons over the fall (NYC, Rehoboth) and decided to team up with a coach to get me ready for the triplicate of GDR, Boston, & Everest. I did track speed sessions during the week to keep my marathon legs intact (and build fitness) and spent many hours on the trails on the weekend. In January, I ran Mountain Mist 50k and felt I executed a strong, patient race. Things were looking great!Then, in late February, my left foot (the one in the boot) started aching again and I sprinkled in a bunch of cross-training so as to not aggravate it. Back to the pool, back on the bike, and back to feeling the giant cloud of doom hanging over my head constantly. In reality, I only took off about 10 running days total in the whole cycle, but I was frustrated that I dealing with this potential nagging injury.I ran the Uwharrie Trail Marathon on March 9th as a last long run and my foot seemed no worse for the wear. My coach eased me back into workouts after I recovered from the race and I was nervously happy that I was going to get to the start in one piece. Then, a freak accident at my first company softball game had me land with my leg hyper-extended and angered my right knee. It was so sore the next day that I was hobbling around the office with an ice pack.But, it seemed to just be tweaked and I was fortunately feeling better within a couple of days. There was still a little lingering soreness when I twisted it a bit, but the acute pain was gone. I jokingly said to my colleagues at work that I would have rather been smacked in the head with a softball then have anything happen to my legs/feet. Lo and behold, I got smacked in the head while warming up for the following week's game. I can't make this shit up.Anyway, I didn't have quite the build up I imagined going into the race. But, I did have the will to finish and the experience of running for long periods of time. Both of which would serve me well in the race.Friday I opted to take Friday off work to sleep in and allow myself plenty of time to pack. I checked and rechecked all my lists and made a game plan of crewing myself on the point-to-point race. I'd start with approximately 12 bars/gels/nut butters, water, Tailwind, and all the required gear (rain jacket, warm head covering, space blanket, whistle, and headlamp with extra batteries). Then, I'd put extra nutrition in my drop bags to pick up at miles 27 and mile 50. I also included a few key items in my mile 50 bag - my Garmin charger and a charging brick and a long-sleeve shirt in case it got cooler as the sun went down (spoiler alert: never needed the shirt). After loading up my car, I made my way to Amicalola Fall State Park for packet pickup and the prerace meeting. While walking up to the lodge, I immediately spotted Keith who gave me the 411 on what to do since I was a newbie to the race. I got my gear inspected, received my race wristband, and then went into the lodge to get my big and other race swag. I went outside on the back patio of the lodge and immediately spotted Chantal. She finished up her dinner and then we took photos with the grim reaper for ultrarunningmemes before the prerace meeting. Photo cred: Keith Gates It was an insanely beautiful night overlooking the mountains and I was feeling really, really grateful to be getting started on this race I had been thinking about for the better part of a year. After the meeting, I dropped my car near the finishing line at the base of the fall and then Chantal graciously drove me to the start line at Vogel State Park where her super amazing parents allowed me to stay with them in their RV. I ate my giant container of pasta on the way and we made it to the park just at sunset. Knowing we were getting up just before 4am, we all turned in early and tried to get some sleep. My super power once again came in handy and I slept for over 6 hours!Saturday Chantal and I got dressed, grabbed breakfast and coffee, and her dad drove us the 1/4 mile or so to the start (conserve the legs!). We said our goodbyes and good lucks and headed to the lodge for our final check-in.Part of the dumbassery of this race is that you have to carry a rusty railroad spike with you the entire race and when you finish, you toss it in a coffin and receive a "clean" spike engraved "Georgia Death Race". At the final check-in, the race director, Sean, gives you a spike, shakes your hand, and wishes you good luck. I wrapped my mandatory rain jacket around my spike and stuffed it in my pack.We headed out to the start line soon thereafter, listened to the prerace speech, and all sang "happy birthday" to Sean. Then, at 5am, it was go time! For just over a half mile or so, the race is on pavement which allows runners to spread out just a little bit before getting on the trail. I ran next to Chantal for a minute or two and then we got separated and she went on ahead of me. I settled into the middle of the pack, telling myself to just be patient in the early miles.The bladder of my hydration pack must have not been sealed and for the first mile a slow trickle of water spread across my pack and then onto my shorts. By the time I was about 2 miles in, my shorts were completely soaking wet. Thankful the weather was nice and I run hot anyway, I was trying to not be completely frustrated by this early-race annoyance.Having run most of the course, I knew what to expect, fortunately or unfortunately. I knew the first few miles would be nice and runnable and then the climb to Coosa would begin. I am a pretty good climber, but with all the vertical throughout the rest of the course, I decided to hang back and just relax. It was a little frustrating to be stuck in the conga line because I was full of race adrenaline, but I knew it would pay off later if I just chilled out.By the time we hit the top of Coosa, the sun was beginning to rise and we were able to turn off our headlamps shortly thereafter. I started talking with a guy from Ohio and gave him a bit of info about what to expect in the following miles. People were already stepping over to the side of the trail to catch their breath on climbs and we weren't even 10 miles into the race.At the first aid station at mile 8.1 (White Oak), I had my water topped off and then quickly got back onto the trail. I was in a good place mentally and running happy with fresh feeling legs and not working too hard. Every 45 minutes, I was diligently eating a gel or a bar and things seemed to be going really well.I came into Mulky Gap (aid station mile 13.5) still feeling good and noticed that Chantal was refilling her bottles! Yay, a friend! Also, Andy was right there with us and our little pack headed off to climb the nastiness of the DRT together. We got to about the third to last climb of the DRT and Chantal urged me to go on. I was still feeling fresh so I decided to take the opportunity to power up the climbs.As I headed down into Skeenah (aid station mile 21.4), I was feeling amazing. My spirits were high and I was surprised at how good I felt considering how dead I felt doing the same run 5 weeks prior, over an hour slower. I gave Shannon a high five and enjoyed seeing all the runners coming back out of Skeenah, everyone shouting "good job" and "good work" as we passed each other. Unexpectedly, Jessica was at Skeenah and I was so excited to see another familiar face! Photo cred: Jessica Brundige The aid station was bit of a cluster and I had to wait to get my bottles refilled. I grabbed a few pickles, a couple of quesadilla slices, and an orange slice. I headed up and out and spent the next few minutes trying to eat and get myself organized again as I walked up out of the gap.I got behind 2 girls in the next section and both of them slowly started to pull away as my spirits waned. I wasn't feeling good mentally any more and found myself in a bit of a rough patch as I covered the next 5.6 miles to Point Bravo. The trail section was really pretty in this part, but I was having a hard time appreciating it because of my crappy mental state.At Point Bravo (aid station mile 27), I had my bottles refilled and then grabbed my drop bag to refill my nutrition supplies. I acted quickly and got out ahead of the girls who were still lingering at the aid station. I ran with a couple of guys in the next section up and out of Point Bravo and then down across the Toccoa Swinging Bridge. I thought the aid station would be at the forest service road just beyond the bridge, but we had to make the climb out of the gap which was a steady up for a few miles. Photo cred: LDaily Photos Once I reached Sapling Gap (aid station mile 31.5), I was thrilled to find out they had ice! It had warmed up and I was getting uncomfortably hot. I stuck a handful of ice down my sports bra and then upon a suggestion by the volunteer, stuck my head inside a 5 gallon bucket full of ice water. It was blissful! They also had sponges and buffs soaking in ice water and I grabbed a cold buff to cool off my neck for the next few miles.After Sapling Gap, there was a fair amount of runnable trail at this point. I was really inclined to just do a bunch of walking, but forced myself to shuffle along and I played leapfrog with a girl for a few miles. I passed her tying her shoe and then she passed me back when I stepped off the side of the trail to pee. Later, I'd pass her back when she stepped off the trail herself. After than, it got particularly lonely until I caught up with a guy coming into the Long Creek aid station (mile 37.1).At Long Creek, I drank a bunch of water and chugged a bit of Coke. I dumped water over my head and then trotted down the next section of forest service road. I actually started to perk up again at this point and found myself on some runnable terrain. The field was pretty spread out at this point, but I used people in my sight to try to either keep up with or catch. It was about 50/50.The forest service road went into Winding Stair Gap and then another big climb awaited. Luckily, I was feeling good again and though I wasn't able to run the climb, I was hard hiking up and managed to pass a few guys on the way to the aid station.At the Winding Stair aid station (43.1), I drank a cup of veggie broth, ate a few bacon pieces, and grabbed a handful of potato chips. Heading down the forest service road, I felt great! My legs were definitely feeling the beating of the long, steep descent, but I was happy to open up and do a bit of running again. Even as I cruised onto the trail section of Jake/Bull, I was still in good spirits. I hadn't seen anyone in miles, but the pink flags along the course let me know that I was still good to go.However, the last mile or so going into Jake/Bull, I was feeling down again and finding my legs in the runnable parts was getting harder and harder. I was looking forward to getting to the aid station and knowing that I was that much closer to the finish. I could hear the PA system from miles away and it was messing with my mind knowing that it was so close, yet so far away. Again, because I run the trails in that area, I knew exactly how far it really was!Sean had set up all kinds of signs in this section and the one that stuck out the most to me was "the word of the day is DNF". I laughed and threw my middle finger at it. I contemplated taking a picture, but then I didn't want to jinx myself! Luckily, someone else did and posted it to FB! Photo cred: Nicole Fleming The volunteers at Jake/Bull (aid station mile 50.1) were amazing. They refilled my bottles, gave me a baggie of bacon and grilled cheese to go, and helped me get my watch on my charger. Plus, since I hadn't seen any humans for miles, I was really happy to see smiling, happy faces. They made sure I topped off my bottles as the next section was over 10 miles without aid. As I headed out of Jake/Bull, I tried to get some of the food down and did a bit of running through the trail section.A trio of guys caught up with me towards the end of the trail and I kept pace with them for a while on the pavement and then they took off running. I popped in an earbud and knew I planned my music crutch perfectly for the next section. I caught back up to the trio of guys and stayed with them through the pavement and then onto the forest service road. However, they had a bit more energy in their legs and left me in their literal dust.I was still rocking the hard hiking though and though I was tired and heavy-legged, I still felt reasonably good pushing myself up towards Nimblewill. There was a sign along the climb that said "1 mile to go to the aid station" and then a half mile later "1/2 mile to go". I was thinking, wow, that always seemed to be much, much longer when I've run this section, but maybe I was actually covering it faster than I thought? However a half mile later, there was another sign that said "haha, it's actually 3 more miles". I couldn't help but laugh because I really should have known better.At some point in the climb, I was thinking it was weird that I hadn't heard my watch beep for a mile marker in awhile. And then I fished around in my pack to discover my watch must have slipped off the charger and was dead. Oops. I got everything working again and missed only about a mile or so.Once I reached the Nimblewill intersection, a couple of volunteers were directing us down the forest service road. They also asked if I had enough water and I was able to get a few more ounces from them. One of my bottles had been a leaky mess all day. On top of my bladder having issues, I had been repeatedly soaked over and over. My legs were sticky with Gatorade and Tailwind and I was chafed a bit on my inner thighs.On the stretch to Nimblewill, I pulled my hat and headlamp back out of my pack and tried to get a bit of running on the flat section into the aid station. It seemed to stretch way more than a mile, but finally, it came into sight.At Nimblewill (aid station mile 61.2), I got some broth and a few more bacon pieces. I really wanted some Mountain Dew, but they didn't have any so I settled for Coke. I topped everything off again and then headed down the next section that connected to the Hike Inn. Luckily (or unluckily), I knew everything else that awaited me after that including 5 or so miles of reasonable single track, the stupid rock-garden-Eastern-Ridge-Trail down, the stupid stairs up, and the stupid Western Rim Trail.I was really wanting to run the single track, but any time it was flat or down, I kept catching my shoes on rocks. And so I would run a few steps and walk. Run a few steps and walk. It was better than just walking, but I was growing more and more frustrated that I couldn't pick my feet up over the rocks. Even in the nice, wide section towards the bottom of the Approach Trail, I couldn't open up. In fact, I stumbled over a rock next to a wooden stair step, rolled my ankle, and toppled to the ground. After a bunch of F-bombs, I scooped myself back up and hobbled towards the Eastern Ridge Trail.The top part of the Eastern Ridge Trail is not really runnable even under the best conditions. It's steep, full of medium-sized rocks (bigger than gravel, smaller than boulders) and in the dark, pretty darn dangerous. I slowly ambled down and decided whatever time I was losing at this point would be okay, because I was going to be finished within the hour. I could hear the cheers of the finish line from this part of the trail and despite feeling exhausted and in pain, I knew I was to do this damn thing!I was feeling woozy and hungry once I got back on the single track and decided to take one last gel. Bad move. It was okay for a few minutes, but then I felt the oh-so-familiar-ultra-vomit rising in my throat. I bent over the side of the trail and dry heaved four times with no results, but felt surprisingly better afterwards?I expected to be scanned at the Visitor's Center, but there was just a table with a couple of coolers. I topped off my water again and then hiked up the path to the falls. There was a volunteer that walked the runners across the parking lot, ensuring we went the right direction. I was dreading the stairs, but also happy that I was so close to being done.Actually, the stairs were not bad. Sure, it was not easy with nearly 70 miles on my legs to climb the 600 steps up to the top of the falls, but I grabbed onto the side rail and used my arms to pull myself up. I didn't even stop to take a breather! It wasn't fast, but I was moving the whole time.At the top of the steps, I caught up with two more runners and we cringed as we hit the steep pavement going down. It was so painful to experience those eccentric contractions in my quadriceps. I walked as quickly as I could and then tried a bit of running once I reached the trail portion. One of the two runners went on ahead of me, seemingly bombing the descents. I watched as his headlamp bobbed down lower and lower and then started to listen for the cheers of him finishing.As I hobbled down the last steep descent, I could hear Sean yell "into the water". I hopped into the creek (next to a perfectly good bridge) and threw my hands in the air as I finally stopped moving. Sean gave me a high five, handed me a pint glass, and explained how I was to exchange my dirty railroad spike for the engraved one. I turned to see Deano hanging out at the finish and he started helping me with my gear. Then, Adam and Jeff popped out from the crowd and I was so excited to see him. Dirty, exhausted, and probably reeking of every gross thing, Adam hugged me hard. I had mentioned in passing that it would awesome to have him at the finish, but I wasn't sure if he would make it. I was so elated he did!After exchanging my spike, getting a finish line photo, we wandered over to where I could get my drop bags and food. It. was. done. As we were sitting outside, Chantal's parents walked up and like everything else that just came together, I was able to have Jeff go with her dad to get my gear that they graciously held onto while I ran. We chatted for a bit and then thankfully, Jeff drove my car home while I rode with Adam.Like Mountain Mist, I'm proud of running a patient race. When I checked in at Mulkey Gap, I was the 83rd runner. From then on, I went to 68, 60, 54, 43, 40, 35, and finished 37th overall, 13th female. My final finish time for 71.2 - 74ish miles and 16,000 - 18,000' feet of elevation gain (no one really knows and GPS isn't super accurate) was 18:19:11. Of the 289 people that started the race, only 158 finished! Link to (most of) my splits on Strava here and link to my race checkpoints/final standings here. (Search bib #188).Like a stupid Oscar acceptance speech, I have many, many people to thank to make this race happen. First, my buddy Chantal who also finished the race (!!!), for the many, many training miles, laughs, and methinks the start of lots of future shenanigans. Freaking rockstar way to go over 50 miles and earn your first WS qualifier! Also, her parents deserve major kudos for letting me stay in their RV at Vogel, allowing me extra sleeping time and shuffling my gear from park to park. Chantal didn't lie when she said she had awesome parents! Huge thanks to John for all the weekend miles and adventures on the trails. Sorry for all the mud in your car and bringing the rain every time we ran together. All my friends I've shared miles with over this training cycle (Steve, Roger, Deano, Christy, Stephen, Sarah, Sean, Claire, Chris, Sam, Jeff, the Greenville crew and anyone else!). Extra special thanks to Steve who came from Michigan and Roger who came from Colorado to run some miles with me Georgia! Megan, thank you for your amazing nail art as always. I'm lucky to have you as my talented BFF! Thanks Matt for our daily random texts about nothing and everything - sorry you missed out on dying this year, but I hope you have your own chance to experience the misery in the future. Thanks to my work peeps who don't understand my craziness, but ask about it anyway. Thank you to my coach for believing in me and giving me pep talks throughout this training block. It truly helped me get to the right place mentally when I started the race. Thank you Jeff for coming out to support me at the end of the race and drive my car back home - you're always my favorite asshole. And to my #1 supporter and better half, Adam, thank you for putting up with all of my ridiculous running adventures. You didn't know what you were getting into 15 years ago, but I'm lucky that you are always encouraging of me to continue to push my boundaries. You never let me feel guilty for the many hours away training or racing and I'm forever grateful for you letting me be me.
  7. 6 points
    I really enjoy the Rock the Parkway half marathon, and it's one of the few events I run year after year: 2015, 2017, 2018, and now 2019 (I wanted to run it in 2016 too, but it didn't work out that year)! This year I planned to wait until the last minute to commit to running it, since it was 3 weeks after the Chisholm Trail Marathon and because I wasn't running well enough to be competitive until fairly recently. The marathon went well enough that I thought I could run a half time that would be in contention for a top 5 female finish at Rock the Parkway, and my recovery went very well too, so I was in. It helped that I received an email from the race director inviting me back to build this year's elite field! I didn't taper for this race (78 mile week), but I felt fairly fresh going into it. I figured that I was in shape to run about 1:24 on the hilly course, but initially my main goals were to be competitive and to negative split (having fun is a given!). However, the day before the race I read my 2018 race recap, which reminded me that I'd set a Missouri state record for females age 37 in the race last year, which quickly turned into me looking up the record for age 38. It was 1:24:58, so my secret goal because to beat the record. I thought it would be pretty close, because I was pretty confident I was in 1:24 shape, and perhaps a little arrogant about the accuracy of my race predictions after I'd predicted my marathon pace exactly and also remembered the time I made a marathon pace band that was 2 seconds off my actual finishing time. I knew I wasn't in PR form, but I felt confident I was going to have a good race for my current fitness level, although I don't really know why. My realist husband thought that a 1:25 would be a really good day, but I didn't let that sway my 1:24 feeling. Preview, because I wanted this to be the first photo Race morning came, bringing great racing weather - high-30s and sunny. My friend Jessi and I carpooled over to the race from my sister's house, which is less than a 10 minute drive. Due to a road closure, I had to drive a different route to the race than I usually take, and it threw off my parking plan, so we ended up sitting in a traffic jam of runners' vehicles until I decided to park on a side street that I figured was about a half mile away from the race. We wanted to run at least 2 miles to warm up anyway, so it worked - plus if I'd waited it would have cut into our warm up time. Between the parking fiasco, chatting with Jessi, finding a bathroom, sorting gear, and getting in about a perfect warm up (2.5 miles + strides and drills), I never really even thought about the race. No pressure! On the starting line, I saw two fast women who I knew could currently beat me, Pasca and Raquel. I also knew that Jessi was much more fit than me, but I didn't see anyone else I knew would be faster. I hoped I could take 4th. After the gun, I was immediately in 4th behind those three. There were several men around and in front of me, but no one to settle in with. I made the start photos I'd decided prior to the race that I wasn't going to look at my watch at all. This course is too hilly to run an even pace even if you are watching it, I'd run it mostly without looking last year, plus after my recent marathon went so well with no watch-watching I've become even more committed to not doing it in races. Mile 1 felt like the perfect pace for 13.1 miles at my current fitness. Miles 2 and 3 are pretty much all uphill, and I kept telling myself to be very conservative and hold back on the climb. By then the field had thinned out more and I could see several men I wanted to chase down, but I made myself be patient. I maintained effort through mile 4, then I gave myself permission to up the effort a little bit, because I was getting into a groove and feeling good! This is why you shouldn't run even pace in this race Based on a little almost switch-back turn between miles 5-6, I knew I had a very solid 4th female, and baring disaster it was unlikely I was going to move up or be passed. I wanted to see where my fitness was, so I kept time trialing and pressing ahead, picking off men as I could. Fun note: after the race sorted out in the first couple of miles, I didn't get passed by anyone. This race always makes me a little nervous during miles 6-7, because I can tell there is a lot more downhill than uphill as it rolls through some neighborhoods and by one side of a park. I enjoy the downs, but I know I'll have to run back up them in the next couple of miles. There is a climb in mile 8, and it's funny how that hill seems so much worse some years than others! This year it did not seem too bad, and I continued to pursue and pass men who were ahead of me. Really, the course as a whole seems much more hilly some years than others, and this year it felt less hilly (in 2017 it felt mountainous). Cruising along solo | tucked my gloves into my sports bra around mile 4 Somewhere between miles 8-9, I felt like I had enough gas left in the tank to push a little more for the remaining distance, so I did. I also decided I was going to look at my total time on my watch at the mile 12 mark to know if I'd have a chance at the state record time. This gave me a checkpoint to look forward to before the finish line! Around mile 10, I caught up with a man and encouraged him to push ahead with me. He'd been running pretty steady and it had taken me many miles to gradually pull him in, so I figured we could help each other to a stronger finish. We ran side by side for about 1.5 miles, which was nice after having no one to run with for most of the race. He then fell back a little bit, and I pressed on, feeling strong and frequently thinking, "I feel better here than I ever have at this point", "That hill was much worse 2 years ago", etc. When I hit the mile 12 sign, I took a look at my watch, and I knew I was going to get the record and probably run in the 1:23s, so I pushed to finish it up at fast as I could. I had a side ache during the last mile, which made it seem longer than any other mile of the race, but it's also a fast mile (downhill). It was my first sub-6:00 mile post-injury, in 5:55! Grade adjusted it was only 6:09, but I'm still counting it (although I have since run a sub-6:00 in training at the end of a tempo workout). Miles 11 and 12 were also faster than I'd run any other miles post-injury, at 6:09 and 6:07. My final 5K was 18:48, which I was ecstatic about because I wouldn't have even thought I could run an open 5K in that time right now (and maybe I can't, I need 10 miles at tempo to warm up!). I finished in 1:23:35 with a smile on my face that was even caught in some finishing pictures! Happy finisher! I am smiling & not stopping my watch, but I still managed a weird photo with my gloves tucked under my sports bra strap & weird arm swing...future goals! Splits Splits on left/grade-adjusted splits on right The women's race was pretty anticlimactic competition-wise; the top 4 women were in the same positions from 200 meters in. 5th finished 4:01 behind me, and 3rd was 1:39 ahead of me (although I think she was farther ahead earlier on), so nothing was close. Jessi finished in 2nd in a blazing PR of 1:17:25, and I was so happy for her! For me, getting the age 38 state record was my personal victory, and running faster than I expected was really exciting. Although I was incorrect on my time prediction, I nailed my 4th place female prediction, haha. While I ran faster on this course in 2017 and 2018 (1:23:15 and 1:22:42), my time wasn't drastically slower this year, and my final 5K this year was the fastest final 5K I've ever run here! Although I've run several halves faster than this (I'm not even going to count how many, probably 8+), this almost felt like a PR because it was by far my best performance thus far post-injury. A couple of months ago I couldn't even run a 3 mile tempo in 6:23 pace! The post-injury break-throughs are really sweet. I felt the same way after the Chisholm Trail Marathon (nowhere near a PR but celebration for a post-injury best). I guess that although I've run these paces before, I certainly don't take for granted that I will ever do them again, or even that I'll train or compete again. Throughout the race I thanked God that I was out there racing so many times! Official results are here. My new state record can be seen here. Jessi & I waiting for the awards I ran into my college friend Codi after the race - I hadn't seen her in over 10 years & was so pumped! After the race, Jessi, Raquel (3rd female) and I ran the worst cool down course ever (about 100 ft elevation gain in 0.8 to get to the car). Jessi and I changed our shoes and grabbed jackets from the car, then we all made our way back to the finish line area. The announcer was calling our names and saying we needed to go to the awards stage for awards that were about to start. We cut our cool down short to go to the awards, which we then waited 40 minutes for. The overall awards ceremony was also hilarious because no one was actually watching it. I cheered as loud as I could for Jessi and took pictures of her receiving her trophy, and she did the same for me, but we were each others only fans, haha! We then finished the rest of our cool down mileage holding our trophies, back up the 100 ft climb to the car. Oof! Poorly attended awards ceremony My new coach (more to come about that!) was really optimistic about my performance 3 weeks after a marathon and building towards my next marathon in 10 weeks. I'm excited to keep putting in the work! I'll get to see Jessi's marathon debut in person at Grandma's Marathon in 10 weeks too! "Their trust should be in God, who richly gives all we need for our enjoyment." - 1 Timothy 6:17b
  8. 6 points
    For March, I barely ran just over marathon distance the whole month and only ran six times. But you know what? They were all happy runs! I had definitely thought I’d run more than six times but that’s how it worked out and I’m good with it! I really feel that March was a chill out and reflect month because I certainly did a lot of both. I’ve been taking the barbell and spin classes regularly, and had many dog-walking miles that add up. JFRing + enjoyable classes + dogs = HAPPY PLACE I also chose not to run the 30K that I was signed up for and highly untrained for. Sometimes you really DON’T need to suck it up and tough it out. Since I didn’t run the 30K, I still needed a March race so I signed up for a local 5K that was held on Saturday. Dirt Coffee is a local non-profit coffee shop whose proceeds go towards employee people with autism and providing scholarships to families in need and their caregivers. So grateful that my registration fee went towards that as well!! Friday night, we got about 3″ of snow at our house. When I headed out for the 5K, it was quit chilly but really clear and crisp. The ground and trees were covered in snow, but the roads and greenways were clear – that’s my kind of snow! This was going to be a small race (64 people actually) so I didn’t feel the need to get there too early and even picked up my bib that morning. I parked on the street, right beside a McDonalds, and was able to use their bathroom – SCORE! I had on a thin base-layer top, tights, and my owl earmuffs and felt pretty comfortable. Owl earmuffs! They are unbelievably warm! My goal was to go fast and just try to maintain it. Even though I hadn’t been running much, and certainly not doing any speed work, I knew I could still run a decent race. The trails were completely clear except for under and over bridges; I think the wind had blown while it was snowing because it blew some underneath the bridges – I did have to slow down a tad for those. As usual during races, I was chasing ponytails. I can tell when I can possibly pick someone off so I just focused on that – everything was feeling great! There was one tiny “hill” where I actually passed three ladies. The next one was up ahead and had a GIANT orange puffy jacket on. If you are good enough to run that fast, don’t you know better than to wear a puffy jacket to run in? Even if it were colder, you wouldn’t choose a puffy jacket, right? I passed her just after the turn-around and I could tell she didn’t like that. She passed me back, but only for like 100 yards. I stepped on the gas and never saw her again. The next one I really wanted to pass was running with TWO dogs, but I just couldn’t catch her. I was losing steam and just held on to what I had left. This course was GREAT because, while it was an out and back, you ran beside the Platte river on one side, crossed a bridge, and ran back on the other side; the only part we re-ran was the last quarter mile. I could hear the finish line cheers before I even knew it. 5Ks are tough but MAN they go by fast! Oddly, there was no water at the finish or anywhere on the course – there was coffee though! I didn’t hang around long because I was there by myself and just didn’t want to stick around. The coffee shop was offering a free beer in exchange for your race bib but I like keeping those! Results: My pace was actually 8:07 based on the 3.16 my Garmin recorded. Yessssss! I loved this race because of all the things I’ve already listed but it was also just very simple. No race shirt (thank you!) unless you paid extra for it, and no finisher medal. I do like my medals but I don’t need one for every single race. Race 3/12 for the year, complete! The next day, I ran 6.5 miles at the monthly bRUNch run and had chicken and waffles and a screwdriver afterwards! If you’ll notice, there was at least one ! in every paragraph The NCAthlete in RW Loop writing days use to use a lot of those.... This shit is getttin’ good, folks! JFR friends!
  9. 5 points
    I'm trying to increase the distance of my long runs. I have been trying for quite awhile but I've been rather unsuccessful. A few years ago, something changed and it has taken a long time for me to accept that this is probably the new "normal". I used to read other runner's blogs and wonder why they talked about the pain of running so much. Since I was already a somewhat older runner, (in my forties), and I ran pain free most of the time. I didn't understand why it would be so painful for so many other runners. Not only did I used to be Kingcoffee, I was also the king of no pain. Somewhere around the age of 48, that began to change. I thought it was just a temporary thing. Seven years later, I just might be ready to accept that this is just the way things are going to be. What is the next stage after denial? Today I did the longest run of this year to date, almost 13 miles. It was a struggle for the first 3 miles but then my muscles began to loosen up. By the time I reached my planned stop at a gas station, my legs were really tired. After a 6 minute break a the gas station, I began shuffling along the bike path again. I was thinking, for the third time that i was going to come up short of my goal which was to run for two hours. Twenty minutes later, I found a renewed sense of vigor and picked up the pace. This lasted for 3 or 4 miles and then I began to struggle again, although not as much as before. The second hour was faster paced than the first hour, which is good, I guess. Every run starts off slow now and the first 3 miles are almost always the hardest. This really sucks for racing 5k"s. I try to run at least a mile and a half before a 5k race now, because it takes so long for my legs to loosen up. I always end up passing a lot of people in the second half of a 5k. It feels good but I sure wish I could get started faster and run a faster overall time. Mostly what was running through my mind while I was running today was, this has really become a lot harder to do.
  10. 5 points
    Last week was up and down some. After the good/bad Tempo Tuesday, I had a decent Wednesday (7), then a really good 6 miles on Thursday. There was trouble Thursday, though, because I wasn't running six miles - I was running ten. Just after six I turned into the wind for the ride home and ... BAM! Hit me like a ton of bricks. Back in mile 5 I'd passed a woman on the sidewalk, we waved and smiled. After a quarter mile or so of the struggle bus, she came past me from the other direction. She smiled and waved again, but I think my return was more of a #everythinghurtsandimdying grimace. Yeah, those last four miles sucked the big one. I thought I'd swing past and see how the new train through the woods was going. Turns out they've run a dozer through the woods but haven't made any other progress on creating a path, so it was a total mess from the recent rains. I had to walk for a quarter mile-ish, then finally abandoned the trail for a side road. My white shoes are still white, but they don't look new anymore. Then of course any bad run (even if it's only partly bad) sets the mind up for more bad things. Stepping out of the shower I felt pain along the inside of my left leg. Farther in than where I'd expect shins splints. And I haven't had shin splints since high school. So obviously it had to be a stress fracture, or at least a stress reaction. I googled a couple of things and asked Loopville. I was not encouraged. Mrs. Dave poo-poo-ed my theory. This was actually on Tuesday before the ten miler, and didn't seem to bother me when I was running or walking. In true runner fashion I decided to ignore it and hope it went away. If my Friday (6) and Saturday (15) runs were OK, I was prepared to take it seriously and count myself lucky I hadn't yet registered for Vermont. Getting ready for the six, I took a more careful look at the area and noticed some bruising. When I moved it away from the bone, the flashy part still hurt, but the bone didn't. Not sure if that's an actual medical test, but it made me think this was not a bone issue. The six went well. Fifteen on Saturday gave me 52 for the week and 167 for the month of March. That's the most in almost two years. That Saturday run was decent. I got rained on from miles 5-10, which was also when the wind was in my face and that kind of sucked. This was also opposite of my fourteen miler from two weekends before, when I started slow and finished faster. Partly because of the rain wind in the middle, and partly because the route had more elevation gain on the back half, until the last two miles. But I never felt as dead as I did on Thursday. This was just a good, long run. And with seven weeks to go, I'm feeling pretty confident. If the north Vermont weather at the end of May cooperates, I think I'll be set up for a good marathon in the 3:40-50 range. That's 2020 BQ territory and I'd be pretty happy with that (duh!). 56 miles this week, beginning with five yesterday. Felt tired, from last week I assume. No problem with the leg and the discoloration is fading, so I guess that means no sfx. This weekend was originally going to be my Pikermi tune-up race, but I couldn't find one. Now I'm debating whether to run a hard 13.1 or just have another long run - perhaps a MP test. Next week I'll be losing the back half of the week to the wedding, including a Saturday 16 miler.
  11. 4 points
    The highlight of this trip of course was the wedding, but since there ended up being some interesting adventures besides that, it seems a shame to ignore all of it. There’s a ton of stuff from the last two weeks and just a little running. Feel free to skip whatever you like. A few weeks ago I had nearly reached my limit with Mrs. Dave’s mother of the bride crises. No way could I tell her to just chill the heck out, whether I agreed with her or not. Nor could I bring myself to give Big Mac a stern lecture about doing things her mom’s way. So, I was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. In desperation, I called out the big guns - a couple of very close, very dear friends who I knew would be able to talk her down from the edge of the cliff - and asked them to weigh in on the wisdom of battling over things like the wording of invitations, and also giving assurance, that everything would work out in the end and it would be a lovely, beautiful wedding and everyone who attended would only remember how beautiful the bride was. They came through with flying colors, despite dealing with their own issues because they’re awesome like that. There was still concern over T-Rex’s dress, but that resolved itself with a week to go, so it seemed that we’d survived the worst. Unfortunately, my father-in-law (who was 88 and hadn’t been doing well for several years) took a downturn the week before the wedding, throwing another little monkey wrench into the works. I don’t mean to make light of his condition, but he had developed a pattern of falling into a health crisis for most of the grandchildren’s weddings. One time he tore a muscle trying to unclog the toilet and missed one. That story will live on forever. This time, he experienced severe pain and spent 3 days in the hospital, coming home just a few days before on home hospice. They had found a spot of cancer last year and because of his age and other issues had decided not to treat at the time. This time tests showed it had spread significantly (as expected), and it seemed the end was near. How near, no one could say - days, weeks, months. But, the family soldiered on, caring for him while preparations continued. FIL was not expected to attend, and we had a home nurse called in to be with him, with prayers that he would last at least through the day. True to my word, I did not run from Thursday when we left until Monday following the wedding. I thought about it every day, but never out loud. So proud. One of the early dates the Mac and Ben had was at a tiny hole-in-the-wall Italian place called Zouave near the University of Washington campus. They were walking past it and looked in the door, more out of curiosity than anything. It appeared to be closed, but the owner/chef saw them, asked them in and served them himself. Who does that? Anyway, the night before the wedding they took his parents and us there. It was pretty amazing food. The owner was overjoyed to see them and, after a round of hugs, gave them free dessert and a bottle of wine (which they don’t drink, but it seemed a shame to refuse - they’ll find it an appropriate gift someday I’m sure). Ben pointed out the place on the other side of the restaurant where they’d sat that first time and informed us that it was there when he’d known he was going to marry her. Wedding day came and almost everything went perfectly. Mac left her earrings at her apartment, but the brothers were staying there and brought them in plenty of time. In our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - we’ve been encouraged to use that whole, awkward mouthful - most are more familiar with the term “Mormon” of course), the preferred marriage is performed in our temples. We believe it gives a more permanent (eternal) stamp of divine approval. They’re generally small affairs with 20-40 close family and friends. We were on the high side of that. It was quiet and spiritual, just the way we like it. For the record, I did not cry (much). It had been a rainy morning - normal for April in the PNW - but by the time we went outside, it had stopped and stayed dry the rest of the day. Another little wedding weekend miracle. After a few pictures, the party moved to Anthony’s Pier 66. This place was as ostentatious as Zouave’s was understated. The food was just as good. Instead of a big reception, they had chosen to host a luncheon for the wedding party plus another 30 or so. (The real beauty of this arrangement was the zero amount of responsibility for setup and clean up for the family.) Despite the clouds that were still around, the view of Puget Sound was gorgeous. There was music, childhood slides of the bride and groom. Very relaxed, very casual. We toasted the new Mr. and Mrs. I danced with the bride. I may have cried a little. And then they were gone. They stopped on their way out of town and spent a few minutes with her grandfather, who was still alert enough to say “hello” and wish them a wonderful life. The wedding business properly disposed of, we took Sunday to recoup, look after FIL, and get ready for phase two of this trip. Also, I went for a run. Was going to go for 10, but sort of wanted to get as far as Green Lake. That ended up being an extra mile one way, so it was 12 miles. Missing half of the previous week and expecting to miss at least a couple of days that week, I decided it was fine. The first ten were pretty nice, especially when I picked up a running buddy at about mile 3. We ran to the lake at about 8 minute pace (dropping 100 feet per mile), talking about racing and training and stuff (he’s a tri-athlete but is doing more trail ultras lately). He broke off after that to go home and I climbed the 100 feet per mile back. The last two miles were a challenge. I also fixed the gutters on their house. While on the roof, I saw that the gutters needed a good cleaning. How does one live in Seattle and not take care of your gutters? There was an inch or more of leaves and gunk all the way around. What I’d figured to be a half hour of repair turned into 3 hours of sliding along on my touche, reaching in and tossing handfuls of the stuff onto the ground. There was 40 feet or so of TV cable running along the gutter. I kept wondering why they’d put it there since there wasn’t a TV on that side of the house. When I reached the end of the cable I discovered where they’d previously had an antenna attached to the roof. They had just left the cables there, through at least three changes of cable and satellite dish providers - who knows how many years? I took it down. Phase 2 was a short hop to Boise (uber-cheap tickets on Alaska Airlines) and a rental car to Idaho Falls to visit my dad. He’s 86. Considerable slower than he used to be, but still mentally sharp and as ornery as ever. Originally, this was also for T-Rex to visit with a “friend”. That plan had a hiccup when he announced that he had a serious girlfriend, but the tickets were already bought, so we just shifted the focus to grandpa. She’d also left most of her summer clothing at school before we decided that she needed to stay home this until fall. I had another run the next morning (Wednesday). Nine miles. I considered making it a tempo, but I wasn’t sure about how I’d do at 4,700 feet above sea level, and a couple of miles out it was hilly, so I just ran. It was chilly but with no humidity, shorts and double shirts with gloves was plenty warm. Had some stomach issues in mile 5, desperately enough that I tried stopping at a farm house. I figured at 8:00 am, someone would be up. I guess they much have been already out working because no one answered the door. Tried a couple more over the next mile (houses were all about ¼ mile apart, btw) with no success. No POP, no gas station, no forest, no hotel - literally, no place to go. Luckily, the urge subsided and I was able to make it back unsullied. 8:30-8:45 pace for most of it, despite the door knocking and the wind in my face on the way back. A little slower than most of my runs lately. Not bad. Here’s a thing about small town Idaho. Half of T’s clothes were in storage at her dorm, the other half was at my brother’s house. I called him on our way (about a half hour from Dad’s) to make sure someone would be home. “Um, no. we’re in Utah this week.” I asked him if there was a way to get into the house to get the clothes. “Just open the door. It’s open.” 250 miles away. For a week. “It’s open.” Anyway, about halfway between Dad’s and Rexburg, Mrs. Dave’s phone rang. Her dad had passed away just then. It was not a shock, like I mentioned before. His illness and dementia had been difficult for the family for several years, as it was for him. There was sadness of course, but also relief, and peace. Ever practical, Mrs. Dave took a few minutes to discuss and arrange with her mother and sister, then urged us to keep going with our plans. There was much more than I’ve put down here, but this is enough for now. T-Rex had done a great job putting her things together and it was a piece of cake getting what we wanted out and into our extra suitcase. We bought a few things for dinner later (Dad doesn’t cook much) and dropped her off to visit with the boy (the same one - officially now “just a friend”). We grabbed a sandwich while Mrs. Dave continued her discussions with her family about arrangements for their dad. The funeral wouldn’t be until the 27th, so we would finish our trip, go home to Michigan and then return for it. Next morning (Thursday) I went into town. I’ve always headed west and up into the hills before from Dad’s house, but I was still worried about the altitude and since I’d spent the previous morning climbing wanted to have a break. Was hoping to get to the downtown are, but by five miles I wasn’t quite there. Next trip to Idaho maybe. The advantage of running through miles of retail is plenty of opportunity to stop and evacuate, which I needed at mile 4. Having to pit stop on what seems like every single run is annoying. 8:20-8:35. Last year Dad bought a 1986 Olds 442. He’s pretty proud of it. As far as I’m concerned, the 80s-90s muscle cars are overrated, but we all went for a ride a spent an hour at the Idaho Potato Museum. Did you know the average American eats 120 pounds of potatoes a year? Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers in her hair? Neither did I. Another thing about small town Idaho is that airlines aren’t very keen on flying there. Hence the Seattle-Boise and rental car arrangement. Flying directly to IF would have been crazy expensive. Our other reasonable option was flying to SLC and renting the car from there - about the same distance from IF as Boise. Anyway, the flight home from Boise was at 6:00 AM, so we drove the four hours that night, snoozed at a rest stop outside of town and got to the airport just after they opened for the day (BOI is not a 24 hour operation). Fun times with a 3 hour layover in Denver, getting into Detroit at 5:00 PM. Skipped the Friday run after traveling all day, and got up on Saturday to an all day rain forecast. This was technically a cutback week, but after missing my long run on the wedding day I wanted to get 16. But I didn’t want to run in the rain. Airplanes are germ carriers as well as people carriers and I’d just spent a long day in two that were half full of crying babies and toddlers traveling to grandma’s house for Easter. Plus remember I’ve decided not to run in bad weather this year. But it wasn’t raining yet, so I decided to break the 16 into 3 legs from the house like I used to do when I wasn’t sure I could run 16 miles all at once. 5-5-6 was the plan. Once I got going, though, 5 seemed a little short, so I went 6. Started slow, stopped (of course!) at a gas station at mile 3, finished the first leg in 52 minutes (8:40 avg). Windy, but no rain yet. Grabbed a Hammer Gel and a couple of swallows of G at the house. Those first 6 went so well I decided to do 6 for the second leg as well, thinking that if it started raining, I’d have at least 12 miles instead of 10-11. Leg 2 was 51:22 (8:34 avg). Still no rain. Felt a little creaky starting the last leg but worked it out in the first half mile and felt pretty good until the final mile, which sort of sucked. 34:12 (8:33 avg). So, the total for the 16 miles was 2:17:34, an average of 8:36 per mile. I’ve had 3:45-ish in my head lately as my target for Vermont, and this is easily in line with that. 3:45 is a 8:35 pace. Makes me wonder if I should shave another 5-10 minutes or so from that. Didn’t do much the rest of the day. Or the next. Got away with that because it was Easter Sunday. Work had a community service activity scheduled Monday, which was better than actually working. I helped assemble some new shelving for their records storage room. Destroying the old shelves was the more fun part. After that we reorganized another storage room and took a crap-ton of stuff to the dumpster. 6 easy miles in the afternoon (8:29 avg). Felt tired. Then Tempo Tuesday. This was 9 miles total with 7 at tempo pace, whatever that is. I like to think it’s near 7:30, but realistically I’m happy with 7:45. I also picked one of the more difficult routes, west into the wind and a steady climb on the way out, which would leave me gassed for the second half. I was actually kind of worried about it. 7:48, 8:11, 7:56, 8:01, 7:34, 7:43, 7:40. So, 7 miles at 7:50. Not stellar, but all things considered, close enough for this week. I’m OK with it. Today Garmin has my V02 Max at 50 and the race predictor has me with a 20:50 5K, 43:12 10K, 1:35:40 half and a 3:19 marathon. Haha. OK, time for some pics. First, the wedding. My 100% unbiased opinion is that Mac is the most adorable bride in history. These are just a few that I took with my old iPhone5. Sisters! Oh, and then there’s this from the Potato Museum. The story goes that a Hollywood columnist once said that Marilyn Monroe would look sexy even dressed in a potato sack. So her publicist had the brilliant idea to prove it. Sixty years later, I think they were right.
  12. 4 points
  13. 4 points
    ...there will be more epic bloops. Today, though, there's an encouraging update on marathon training and that's good enough for me. For the first time in 2019, I've been able to run every single workout on every single day that I planned. Running the stairs and the band/weight workouts were OK, but ... running! Running is so, so much better. I know - I'm preaching to the choir here. Anyway, 45 miles planned, 45 miles completed. The only small compromise was the abbreviated Tuesday Tempo - 4 miles @ pace instead of 5. Wednesday through Friday were 7 - 8 - 6, all good runs. There was rain on Wednesday and driving home I was going to bail, but it had almost stopped by the time I got there, so I grabbed a hat and soldiered out. Not cold enough to make it miserable, nor warm enough to make it fun. Friday's run was interrupted with a potty stop with about 1-1/2 to go. Which reminds me that I discovered a new pitstop during that 14 miler from the weekend. There's a trio of big office buildings next to a nice restaurant (one of those with a menu I can't afford). I tried the door on the one closest to the bike path, and it was open. And so was the bathroom. On a Saturday morning! There were only two cars in the lot, so it looks like this is a place I can count on most days. A few more cars in the lot on a Friday afternoon, but I was still able to waltz right in and do my business. With the late winter weather, last week was my highest mileage week in over a year, even though on paper it was a cutback week. Long run was 10 miles. JFR'd it, and since I felt pretty OSOM that meant the last few miles were fast-ish. 7-9 were all under 8 minutes. If I can string a few more of those together at the end of a long long run, Vermont could be a good day. There isn't too much around here in the trails department, but I stumbled into one on Monday. It goes between a couple of neighborhoods a couple of miles from here. Before I've cut out and gone to some more streets, but this time I kept going and ended up with almost a mile of trail out and back. Fun. This brings me to Tempo Tuesday again. 8 total with 6 @ pace. Since the longest I've gone this fast was 4 miles, I wasn't sold on running 7:30 for these. Turned out to be less than stellar - 7:34, 7:39, 7:50 (freeway overpass), 7:32, 7:43, 7:47. So, I ran out of gas on those last two. Would have served me better to have chilled the pace just a tad there at the beginning. Close enough, I guess, with 7-1/2 weeks still to go. Cold rain all day for Saturday. May have to switch the long run to Friday.
  14. 4 points
    This was written in October 2018 while I was building my running base after having a baby in July 2018. My feet ache…I think I need new running and/or walking shoes. Sometimes I qualify as a stereotypical girl, I find any excuse to buy new shoes…they just typically tend to be running shoes. Although…I do enjoy a nice colorful pump. Oh, and don’t get me started on knee-high boots. They’re the only reason I’m happy for fall, to start wearing those again. But running shoes, definitely running shoes, are my largest expense, and I haven’t purchased a new pair in over 15 months. My shoe size didn’t change during pregnancy, which I was warned might happen, but I believe my bone structure might have changed slightly, and/or my feet still are not used to carrying extra weight while running or walking fast. Every time I stand up my feet hurt, and it takes a few steps for the achiness to go away. Not sure what that’s about, but since I am still about 20% heavier than I was pre-pregnancy, I think that may be the cause…or it’s the shoes. Really, I just want an excuse to buy new shoes. I’m trying to train smart by only running every other day, or so, and I’ve been increasing a half a mile per run each week. I started with one mile runs and am now up to three mile runs…If you do the math, you’d realize that the increase was faster than my plan. I jumped from 2 miles to 3 miles between last week and this week. But back to the shoes, did I mention I want to buy new ones? I guess I will gradually rotate a new style in every once in awhile to attempt to avoid changing anything too abruptly. As you can probably tell I am trying to be cautious to avoid injury. Although, now that running is starting to feel easier, I’m (probably) dumbly stating to increase distance at a much faster rate than I originally planned. I’ll stay at 3 mile runs for a while now though. I think 10 miles per week is a pretty good goal for now. I might start to throw some speedwork in there if my feet cooperate, which brings me back to the shoes…time to shop and hope that they help with the foot achiness. 😊 2019 UPDATE- I got new shoes! I switched from Asics/Brooks/Adidas to all Suacony and my feet have been much happier- I also lost 15-20 pounds and took a break in December, but I’ll give the credit to the shoes! 😊 It's always the shoes😉
  15. 3 points
    2019 Goal: 12 races in 12 months It’s April and I thought I’d check in on my running goal for the year. I’ve run 3/12 races so far – one each month – and my next one is this weekend! This has turned into my only big goal for 2019 – the only other one that remains is PRing at the Rehoboth half marathon. I’m excited about this calendar! It’s not a complete calendar yet but I’m getting close! Here’s what it looks like: January: Resolve 10K (CO) – DONE! Fun run with Kelli and Amy! February: Ralston Creek 13.1 (CO) – DONE! 1st in the 35-39 Age Group! March: Dig Deep 5K Dirt Coffee (CO) – DONE! I was supposed to run the Behind the Rocks 30K but I [smartly] backed out. Since this is the second time I’ve signed up for and not ran this race, I won’t be registering again – I believe in signs from the universe! The DD5K was a great little race! April: New Jersey Half Marathon (NJ) – Registered! So excited for this one! To JFR and to hang out with some running friends in the NJ/NYC area! I might try to keep up with Abby…we’ll see. Race report will be posted next week. May: Colorado Women’s Classic 10 miler (CO) – Planning to register on Monday! I love 10 milers and I haven’t done one in a while. I also have never ran a women’s race either, and I think it’s time! Another thing that really reels me in is this description: “SO MUCH FOOD in the expo. No, seriously, SOOO MUCH FOOD…vegan, paleo, gluten free, sweet & sugary, carbs, proteins, electrolytes, dairy, fruit…..SO.VERY.MUCH.FOOD. I am hoping to meet up with some Oiselle Team Volee birds at this race since I’ll be going by myself. Oh yeah, I joined Team Volee! I should probably write about that sometime… June: Vertical Mile Challenge (NC) – Registered! This race is 15 minutes from where my family lives AND one of my best good running pals (Jenster) will be there, so I feel like this is a no-brainer. HOWEVER, I will be running eight 2.2 mile loops, totaling 16 miles, AND a vertical mile of elevation gain! It’s gonna hurt, but BRING ON THE PAIN! Oh, and it was $25! July: OPEN August: OPEN September: Hinson Lake 24 Hour (NC) – Waitlisted. This race is certainly a perfect atmosphere for JFRing, and I’ll have a lot of friends to cheer on! October: Runner’s World Festival (PA) – Registered! I’ll be doing the Grand Slam which is a 3.8 trail race on Friday, a 5K AND 10K on Saturday, and a 13.1 on Sunday! Who doesn’t want to run 26.2 within three days?! Since I won’t be running it in a single day, it won’t mess up my plans to JFR. I miiiiight know some other cool kids doing this one too November: OPEN December: Rehoboth Beach 13.1 (DE) – Registered (duh)! The open months will likely have to be a local race unless I happen to be traveling somewhere where I can also run a race. I won’t be able to travel quite as much as I had wanted since I’ve picked up a car payment again. Three open months out of the 12 isn’t bad though! If you have any races to suggest for the open months, let’s hear it!!
  16. 3 points
    silent but deadly. I desperately hope there is a blog out there somewhere about the awful fart another Boston runner 'ran' into.
  17. 3 points
    I love this post! I love that you still enjoyed your race and are proud of it, even if you didn't hit your goals. I must say, you are BRAVE for risking a shart out there, but I know that had to have felt great! HAHA! Eating THREE Clif bars AND the other stuff was definitely risky. Thanks for the report and sharing your race! Well done Bangle!
  18. 3 points
    I love your attitude about the process of training for the race. I think the race is the icing on the cake and the training is the cake. Sure icing can be awesome, but cake is pretty good too and you get to eat a lot more of it. The conditions -weather, etc. - make it so that there's no guarantee that the icing will be all that great anyway. I really enjoy following your training on Strava. I'm in awe of the work you put in on a daily basis.
  19. 3 points
    Next time one of those beasts tries to push you off track, tell them to go talk to your 62 year old running buddy. 😎
  20. 3 points
    March 2019 in Review Total mileage for the month: 320.4 Feb. 25-March 3: 90.3 (2:40 strength training) March 4-10: 86.2 (2:37 strength training) March 11-17: 77.7 (2:21 strength training) March 18-24: 71.3 (1:01 strength training) March 25-March 31: 50.2 (1:37 strength training) Matching March! Races: March 24: Chisholm Trail Marathon in 2:57:18 for 3rd overall female - because why not bust the rust with a full marathon after 6 months of not racing?! I was this excited before the marathon! Workouts: March 6: 5 mile tempo at 6:23 via 6:28, 6:25, 6:24, 6:26, 6:15 (3 warm up, 4 cool down). I figured if this workout went really well I could start at 6:30 and finish at 6:15, so I was pleased to do nearly just that! It was 11 degrees, which is colder than I'd prefer for a workout, but the wind was almost nonexistent, which helped a lot. Although I want to work back down to running my tempos 20+ seconds/mile faster than this, this was the best workout I'd had since my injury in September (a streak which continued through my other March workouts). March 10: 12 miles at marathon effort at 6:41 via 6:56, 6:49, 6:44, 6:40, 6:44, 6:44, 6:41, 6:44, 6:43, 6:35, 6:33, 6:20 (3 warm up, 3.3 cool down). Since this was my only long run workout, I really needed it to go well, and it did! The 6:20 final fast mile was certainly harder than marathon effort - but I was stoked to be able to throw that in there. I still felt pretty good afterward, and my cool down miles ended up being faster than expected (7:19 with a quick drink stop, 6:56, 6:52) and my average pace for all 18.3 was 6:56. I was super tempted to run 20 miles instead of stopping at my car at 18.3, but I didn't want to over-cook myself 2 weeks out from the marathon so I restrained myself. It was really nice to feel good enough to want to do that though! March 13: Progressive split tempos of 4-3-2-1 miles with 0.5 recoveries (1 warm up, 0.6 cool down). My splits were were 6:39, 6:40, 6:35, 6:33 / 6:37, 6:27, 6:30 / 6:22, 6:22 / 6:13. Since it takes about 10 days to get gains from a workout, this was my last real effort before Chisholm Trail and I wanted to make it count! I'd set my goal paces at 6:45, 6:35, 6:25, 6:15 for the 4 portions, but since we were in a wind advisory on workout morning I figured I'd have to adjust. Once I got going, though, I felt really strong and ended up exceeding those goal times (averages of 6:37, 6:31, 6:22, 6:13)! The 4 mile and 3 mile repeats felt brisk but comfortable. It's funny how 6:30-6:40 felt like a pace I could sustain for quite awhile, but dropping a little from that for the 6:22s and 6:13 was pushing a lot more. All in all, I was pleased with this solo workout in 20+ mph wind (I ran a 0.8 mile loop course so it split up the wind at least). I typically would run a much longer warm up and cool down for any workout (I need a 2 mile warm up minimum!), but the total volume of this as I did it was already 13.1 miles and I didn't think I needed to be running any farther than that 10 days out from my marathon. It would have been a better workout to do within a long run, but I didn't have any more of those left! March 19: A little final tune up of 3 x 1 mile at marathon goal pace (6:41, 6:38, 6:40), 0.5 mile faster (6:01) with 0.5 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down). I ran this on gentle rolling hills to make myself focus on effort and not my watch. I was trying to stay between 6:40-6:45 on the miles, so I was very close. As per always, marathon pace felt awkward; I always want to either speed up to tempo pace or slow down to over 7:00, because it's not easy but it's not hard. I will never understand those people who say their marathon pace feels easy and run it or faster all of the time in training - I will never run mine in training without purposely targeting it! The faster half mile was the fastest I've run on anything except strides in about 6 months, so yay. Doubles on March 6, 7, 11, 14, 18. Strides on March 1, 9, 12, 18, 22, 23. Favorite workout: Both of the long ones - March 10 and March 13! Baby Peck is joining us for runs now! Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, it was again pitch dark when we finished our runs for awhile Sunrise miles at the end of the month! Long Runs: March 2: 23.2 miles (7:23). I was thrilled with how strong I felt on this run (more about it here). I ran by feel without looking at my watch, and was pleasantly surprised to see that my final 5 miles were 6:50-7:04 pace, which I figured was about my current marathon pace (I revised that to 6:45 after my March 10 workout). It's nice when your longest long run of your training cycle is also your fastest paced up to that point! I ran with Claudio and Rebecca (plus Jack for the first 8), and the miles went by very quickly. I drank both nuun energy and Generation Ucan before the run, and had nuun energy and one Accel gel during, which all sat flawlessly in my stomach and are all part of my race day nutrition (on race day day I eat breakfast 3 hours before also, and I take 3 Accel gels during a marathon). March 10: 18.3 miles (6:56), described in workouts above. March 16: 12.2 miles (7:25). I ran the first 3 miles with Amy, then the rest solo. I tried to run the final mile at marathon pace by feel, but it ended up being 6:26, so I guess I felt good, because that was faster than my current marathon pace! March 24: 27.6 miles via the Chisholm Trail Marathon (6:45 for 26.2) plus a little warm up and cool down. March 30: 12 miles (7:24), in a final blast of winter with Rebecca and Claudio. We had to start late due to thunderstorms, then the temperature dropped throughout the run and it was ridiculously windy. I felt good for being 6 days off a a marathon but knew I shouldn't push it, and this distance worked out well since that is what they were doing with their marathon tapers. Favorite long run: The 23.2 was fantastic! The marathon wins the favorite race category, clearly. :-) We approve of 23 milers Smile if you ran 23 miles! On March 16, Amy ran 22 & I ran a measly 12 Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I hit my first official 90 mile week on a Monday through Sunday week! I'd been hitting 90+ on the rolling 7 throughout that week, with a best of 93.5, but the Monday through Sunday total felt a little more official. I front-loaded the week slightly since we were supposed to have a snowpocalypse on Sunday, but I was able to run outside, albeit in a snowstorm, on Sunday morning. The winter weather didn't stop me from finishing the 90 mile week, but it did stop me from running any farther that day than I needed to get to 90 (6 miles)! The week was easier than most weeks I'd run in the 80s since I only ran 3 miles of it hard! I ran double digit runs on the treadmill two days in a row due to windchills below zero, on March 4 and 5. I can't believe I did this either! After some really bad weather runs wore me down in January, I decided I wasn't going out when it was below zero. I learned that I don't mind the treadmill when I go to my friend Amy's workout room while she does the elliptical next to me and we chat the whole time! People told me that fitness comes back in waves; often you don't see a linear decline in paces but suddenly things improve dramatically. I didn't believe that until it happened! I averaged 6:41 pace for 12 miles on March 10 during an 18 mile long run (then ran two 6:5X miles during my cool down), when not long before I could barely hold that pace for 3 miles. My March 13 workout was also a huge jump from anything I'd run in recent months, and in retrospect was probably overly ambitious to attempt, but I did it. I then ran a marathon at 6:45 pace when less than two months before I couldn't even average 6:30 on mile repeats. Although I hope to build from here, I was so thankful to have these break-throughs, and am thankful to be feeling SO.MUCH.BETTER. Maybe my body just hates winter! Post-marathon insomnia struck again; I couldn't sleep on Sunday night at all. I worked on Monday, and didn't feel as bad as I expected to. I recovered well from my marathon; I was a bit sore in my quads and hamstrings for two days after the race, then I was back to feeling pretty good by Thursday. I had a work trip a few days post-marathon that left me tired, but we had a lazy weekend March 30-31, which was nice! Rolling 7 day mileage PR I pulled out my screw shoes for a March 3 snowstorm run! I am often angered by how unhelpful this is; even after I ran a 2:57 marathon with it, it still predicted I could run a 2:40 marathon... Life events: Albani had spring pictures at school. Albani had spring break from March 11-15 (right after daylight savings time started, which I think is brilliant on the school's part). She and Jon visited my in-laws, and the Tulsa zoo with cousins. We started many seeds for our garden, and did a lot of transplanting. We had a great family weekend in conjunction with the Chisholm Trail Marathon, with my parents, sister, niece, and nephew. My 16-year-old niece ran my shake out run and strides with me the day before the marathon! School picture day Backwards night at Awana Art After my pre-marathon shake run Balloon animals at the marathon expo Cousin love Sister love Books this month: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold After Anna by Lisa Scottoline Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley Feared by Lisa Scottoline Joy School by Elizabeth Berg I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, & GPS Technology by Caroline Paul Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg Theme of the month: Giving myself grace. I have certainly learned that I can't force fitness or any certain paces, but that doesn't mean I still don't get mad at myself about that inability at times. In February I stopped trying workouts because I wasn't enjoying them and they felt terrible. This month I had the itch to get back into them, and I was nice enough to myself to celebrate each improvement instead of comparing to where I used to be. I went into Chisholm Trail knowing it wouldn't be anywhere near a PR, but ready to celebrate whatever the marathon brought! After the race, I didn't allow myself to be upset about narrowly missing 2nd place and not being able to reel in 1st, because I truly gave all I had that day and no one can do more than that!
  21. 3 points
    My brother, Kevin, has three amazing kids: Kolby (8), Kortney (6), and Kacey (2). I am extremely close with them and treat them like they are my own kids. From what I can tell, they absolutely adore me as well and it is such a great feeling. Not only do I always want to be their “cool” aunt but I also want to be their favorite aunt (I have four others to compete with and I’m also the oldest!). Even though I’m older than their other aunts and I’m older than their dad, they think I’m a teenager. It’s the cutest! When it isn’t cute is when they want me to constantly run around the yard with them, jump on the trampoline, and play hide-and-go-seek. Like I can handle all that anymore! Haha! At least they want me to do all those things with them. Among our favorite things to do together (with the two oldest, for now) is run hill repeats on the road right outside my brother’s house. The next best thing is playing at the creek when it’s warm enough. I have a history with that little stretch of road. When I was a kid, it was gravel. We would go to the top of the hill and FLY down on our bikes. Then, when we got to the bottom, we’d use those sweet breaks that bikes use to have using the pedals to slide along the gravel. Are there still bikes with those breaks? However, sometimes we would wreck and that is where most* of the scars on my legs/knees came from. I’d come in the house crying with blood running down my legs and bits of gravel protruding from the wounds. I had a love/hate relationship with hydrogen peroxide. I thought it was cool how it’d turn white and bubble up when you poured it in a wound. BUT, we all know what it feels like. OUCH. *The biggest scar I have on one of my legs came from when I played on a softball team when I was stationed in England. Some of the infields of certain fields would be completely grass. I was stoopid enough to try to slide for a base on one of those grassy fields and it took the skin COMPLETELY off my leg in about a 6″x 3″ patch! It took forever to heal and I had to sleep with my leg outside the covers for months. It looked SO GROSS before it healed. Fortunately for you all, I’m not sure where that picture is anymore. You can barely see the scar anymore because it’s faded quite a bit. At some point they put some kind of tar on the road but it wasn’t completely a hard-top. Then they eventually paved it – it looks like a normal road nowadays. That view use to look much different, including the garden and fruit trees that use to be in the yard! Even though I played some sports in school, my brother never did. He has always been very athletic, but my mom couldn’t afford for us to do sports. I think now that he has kids, my brother wants to ensure they have every opportunity to be as involved in sports as they want to be. I don’t know how he does it sometimes. Kolby is in baseball, football, and wrestling; Kortney plays t-ball and cheers. I have a feeling that Kortney will get into cheering and just do that eventually. Kolby is a rock star. He is good and usually the best on his team – in EVERY sport! He just started wrestling this year and was undefeated! I’m bummed I didn’t get to see any matches and I never get to watch his games – I do make it to practices, occasionally. Kolby and Kevin That’s Kortney with her glove up. She’s gonna be tall like me! Kolby LOVES to run with me and always begs me to let him run with me when I’m back home. I was there all of last week and he ran hill repeats with me. I had it in my head that I would do eight repeats and didn’t care what mileage that was. Kolby started out with me and was right beside me most of the time. At times, he would take a quick break at the top of the hill but would catch up to me on the downhill. On the start of one of the inclines, Kolby shouts, “Aunt Lulu*! I think I broke my rib! It hurts really bad – but I can press in on it and it stops hurting!” *My grandfather use to call me Lulu which led to everyone else in my mom’s family calling me Lulu. I’m not sure where he got it from. I love it when the kids call me it because before they are able to correctly pronounce it, it comes out Wuwu. My uncle and cousin call me Ruru so it has many pronunciations, haha! My mom’s family is big on nicknames and I love it. My mom is Chock (and we like to say Chock-a-locka), brother is Urkel (yes, after Steve Urkel because he use to make the, “Did I do that?” impressions and pull his pants up! You’re welcome, Kev!), and my uncle is Beezle. I have no clue where some of these names came from but I love it. It made me smile just typing that out. Back to Kolby – poor thing had a side stitch! I had to explain to him what that was and that they would come and go AND it wouldn’t’ be the last one he’d ever have. Although I felt really bad for him, it was the cutest thing. Throughout, I kept telling him, “You’ve done a mile!” “There’s two miles!” When we finished the eight repeats, I told him what a great job he had done and that we almost ran three miles! Kolby then says, “Almost three miles? How much more do we need to get to three miles? Can we do that?” I was amazed and so proud that he wanted to keep going, so up the hill we went! He was breathing heavy, his cheeks bright red (I think that runs in the family!), and he was wanting water, but he was so proud of running THREE WHOLE MILES! He ran into the house telling everyone what he’d done and then told some kids at school about it the next day. I’m gonna have to get that kid to run a race with me sometime soon! Muhuhahahahaaaa….. <hamster wheel is turning> These kids are going to be great athletes and it’s going to be a blast to see it happen. I hope there comes a time in the near future that I can be at their games. Hopefully they also think of me as their aunt that loves sports and running, and will come to me for advice. It’s gonna be fun!
  22. 2 points
    https://ocrunnergirl.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/last-squatch-standing/
  23. 2 points
    The marathon is so much a microcosm of life. Even if things aren’t going to plan, you can (and should) still enjoy the heck out of it.
  24. 2 points
    Funny how the things I'll remember most about this weekend have very little to do with the actual running and everything to do with making memories with a really good friend. 💕 Congrats on another (!!) Boston finish and sweet revenge on that 2017 race.
  25. 2 points
    Awesome work Ken! I love the phrase "playing with house money". I might steal that one myself. Your training is super inspiring (sorrynotsorry for all my 🔥🔥 🔥 comments) and it's pretty amazing when a course PR and another BQ is the B goal.
  26. 2 points
    Boston will (pardon the expression) break your heart just about every time you come into it with high expectations. And in one way or another, weather always seems to be working against you. But I guess that's one reason this race is so epic. Nice job battling through!
  27. 2 points
    to me, you'll always be the king.
  28. 2 points
    I am learning to love three mile runs again. Let's try to meet up one of these days for a short race. I'll be doing my radiation next week, then attempting to get back in decent shape.
  29. 1 point
    Sounds like a great calendar year. See you Friday!
  30. 1 point
    This many races would make my head spin.
  31. 1 point
  32. 1 point
    I think one of the reasons it seemed slow to me is that I was comparing it to my my returns in my 20s and to my 23-year-old friend's post-injury path, haha!
  33. 1 point
    I love your pictures!
  34. 1 point
    That's a really great result! Congrats on the record!
  35. 1 point
    I was never into golf growing up. I always thought it was the most boring sport on earth. I've actually never liked watching sports that I wasn't good at playing myself - golf (love now), tennis (love now), and basketball (that one I still can't watch) mainly. However, the last few years, I've started paying attention to golf and tennis. I actually really like watching golf on Sundays and I can even name quite a few players! I know little history about any of the players, but I'm learning. I learned a LOT about Tiger Woods this weekend, and all that he has gone through over the last decade+. Wow. Bless that man for all that he has accomplished, all that he has dealt with and overcome, and for what he did on Sunday. He isn't perfect, just like the rest of us, but he is an amazing athlete! And unlike Lance Armstrong, I can over look some of the unpleasantries. While I have/will never compete with the elites, win any titles, or anything huge in running, I feel that I can somewhat relate to Tiger - it certainly brought up some feelings. I have those feelings of never again being as fast as I want to be, being able to run marathons/ultras again, or that I'll never be that pumped up, super motivated, happy runner again. Age. Fear. Doubt. Other People. Uncertainty. Lots of beasts out there trying to keep me off track. At least I know there is always hope out there. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, you can do anything you want. I have always known that. It takes hard work and determination though, that which I currently lack the will for. But that will not always be the case. I will find myself again. Congratulations Tiger!
  36. 1 point
    You are such a rock star! Congrats on setting a new state AG race record.
  37. 1 point
    Great summary, and I particularly liked the first two paragraphs. For those of us who are aging past even our second prime (if such a thing exists), it's a constant struggle to find the joy in running and racing, however we can. But it is possible, and you seem to have found it, at least in Boston in 2019. P.S. You just started Game of Thrones? You have a lot of catching up to do!
  38. 1 point
    For a long time I also didn't think I could race without looking at my watch, but since I worked up the guts to try it I love it! Effort-based running is so nice, particularly if you're good at zeroing in on what you have to give for your race distance and maintaining even effort. There is no getting upset or pushing too hard too early if your splits are slower than you'd like, and also no freaking out and holding yourself back from a PR if you're running faster than planned. Let me know if you try it! A tempo run is a good place to experiment.
  39. 1 point
    Looks like you're in fine form! At the end of a 78-mile week... Sheesh. Way to crush that "time trial" with no competition.
  40. 1 point
    Congrats on finishing another Boston! The pics look like it was warm weather. Well done.
  41. 1 point
    Great run! That temperature and humidity is hard anytime, but it's even worse when you've been training through the super cold winter. Great attitude also!
  42. 1 point
    Way to go, Ken! I believe those splits might mirror mine from 2 years ago (the ups and downs not pace because you are WAY faster). The course is so much tougher than I ever thought. Congratulations on a new course PR!
  43. 1 point
    That sure does sound a lot like my race. And attitude. The sun (and humidity) certainly changed things. But Boston is always great. Glad we got to meet up. Way to gut it out and score a good time. And kick my ass again.
  44. 1 point
    Right there with you. First mile I'm barely moving. Plus recovery is much worse than before. Seems like I'm always hurting in multiple places. Oh well.
  45. 1 point
    I feel like all my posts have been full of dread and woe for months as I complained about aches and pains and slowness. Yet here I am in the midst of Monster Month, with four weeks to race day, and somehow I'm feeling energized and optimistic! Go figure. Shouldn't I be exhausted and sore and negative about now? Well, not so much. Just finished my two biggest weeks, with 54 and 51 miles. And my gimpy ankle has healed up. My balky knee still aches sometimes, but less and less. It seems the prescription for healing was More Miles. Sure I'm sore and achey after my long runs, and getting up off the couch can be difficult. But by the next day I'm able to get back out there relatively unscathed. I guess this training thing works. It helps running in perfect weather conditions. Winter training sure beats summer training. I never overheat, and don't need to worry about hydration. Enjoying the beauty around here is good for the mojo as well. I've had several great runs along the Pacific coast cliffs nearby. There are some great trails there. I got to see a whale as I went by a whale-watching spot. I also enjoyed running with hundreds of butterflies as we are in the middle of a huge butterfly migration at the moment. I can see for hundreds of miles all across the LA basin and to the snow-capped local mountains as I climb over our local hills. It's pretty great. A week ago I did my first 20-miler for this cycle, to close out a 54 mile week. I expected to be tired and just go at whatever pace worked. I ran along the flat coast virtually the whole way and just enjoyed myself. The pace gradually dropped to about 8:10-8:15 for miles 8-19, which was about as good as I had hoped for. I didn't fade until the last mile when I started to wear out. My pace is still slower than a year ago, as it has been on all my runs, but I've accepted that. Just glad to get the miles in. Last Wednesday I repeated my 4x1 mile workout, and I was able to find more speed than a few weeks ago. I managed 7:00, 7:02, 7:00 and 7:16, which beat the 7:20s I ran before. That was encouraging, although still slower than last year. And I had nothing left on the last one. But still, encouraging. Saturday I ran a very hilly 13 with a friend and the pace was decent. Then when I got back to the car I realized I had lost my key somewhere along the way. Phone was locked in the car, and friend was running home. I had little choice but to run the extra 3.8 miles home. But I still felt pretty strong after 13, and it was another beautiful day, and it was all downhill or flat...so I trotted on home and was happy to do it and log more miles. So this week is not too tough, but it finishes with a 21-miler over a huge hill that is my usual pre-marathon litmus test. If I can do that without dying too bad, then I will feel ready. Right now I feel pretty good about it. All systems are go. My Boston goal is just to have fun and break 4, but I'd like to do about 3:45 if all goes well. I know I can run about 8 minute pace for 20 miles. It's all about that last six. Long term, I'm thinking Chicago 2020 may be my next one. So to qualify to skip the lottery I need sub 3:40... So many of my friends are fighting injuries, so I'm just happy to be healthy, and getting another decent marathon done. At my age, I never know when it might be my last. Enjoy your runs. Life is good.
  46. 1 point
    I'm sure you will be under 4 and 3:40 is likely if you've tapered (which I neglected to do before running Boston).
  47. 1 point
    Can't imagine the energy and creativity required to organize all those 5Ks. Very cool to have someone like that in your running world. Best of luck with your business.
  48. 1 point
    Yes, like a 50k except that we got a break between each one since they were at different locations and we had to drive from one to another. We also had to wait while our race director went out to re-mark the courses which means he also ran all 10 of them in one day. I'm sure you have been in some races with him, Dave, since he lives in White Lake MI.
  49. 1 point
    That's a whole lot of creativity. Glad to see you back. Now, let me get this straight - 10 5Ks at once - like, a 50K? Intriguing.
  50. 1 point
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