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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/08/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Ralston Creek 13.1 – Arvada, CO / Sunday, February 3, 2019 2/12 – Race per month 2019 goal In case you forgot, I have a goal this year of running a race (of any distance) each month of the year! This was my February race. I ran this race in 2014. The weather was pretty awful – cold, snowy, and the trails were pretty treacherous. At least one person had to have gotten injured during that one by slipping on ice. The weather is hit or miss this time of year so, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I actually ended up having to wear the jacket that I brought because the layers I had on weren’t enough – Athlinks says the temp was 26°. However, this year was much different and it was about 47° and sunny at the start! I was in carpis and a thin LS shirt. The race director had reported the day prior that there were only a few icy spots on the course which were pretty negotiable – they even covered up a longer icy portion with carpet! They had eight port-o-potties at the start, which turned out to not be enough. W and I had gotten there about an hour before the start and just sat in the car. I didn’t realize what the PoP situation would be and didn’t need to go until I was ready to go to the start. The line was LONG. There was one single line for all of them, which I think was fine, but it was moving slow – they needed more shitters. I HAD to pee BADLY and there were tons of buildings around, so I had to stand in line. The announcer kept asking any 5K runners to let the halfers go first, since their race didn’t start until 15 minutes later. I got through with THREE minutes to spare! They still started about five minutes late. This one chick had a dog that piercingly barked through all of the announcements and I didn’t hear a thing. When we took off, that dog was raring to go and was pulling her down the road. I can’t see running with a dog for an entire half marathon. This was supposed to be a training run and I was supposed to keep the pace around a 9:20, but I can’t bear to run a half over two hours if I don’t have to. Once I started, the goal was to just go, not TOO fast, but just to go with what felt comfortable. I felt heavy and clunky when we started and wasn’t sure I’d be running under two hours. We ran on a wide road for about half a mile but then turned onto a smaller, standard-sized greenway that can comfortably fit about three-wide. It got really crowded and I was feeling claustrophobic. I got around as many people as I could and finally settled in. I’m #236. I was able to take my headband off after the first couple miles. After a fast-ish first mile at 8:24, I settled into a nice pace: 8:40, 8:46, 8:39, and 8:45 for miles 2-5. Until looking at the elevation profile, I hadn’t realized how much of a uphill the whole first half is, so that makes me even prouder of that pace! After mile 5, we hit a hill that seemed like it would never end. It wasn’t steep but it was long, over half a mile but I didn’t walk once. Mile 6- 9:24. I had to wear my runway Goodr glasses because I forgot my others. I also got a little sunburned on my face. Once I crested the hill, I wanted to try to make up some time because I could see the next and biggest hill coming up in the distance. It was hard to see it from so far away and see all the bright shirts of other runners in the switchbacks. Mile 7- 8:45. I took a run/walk approach to this hill, just as I did during the Mt. Evans ascent, and it really does help. When I was passed by a runner while walking, I’d end up passing them back when I started running again. This hill was about a MILE and I still managed a 10:18. It was basically all downhill after that and I wanted to make up time again. Race Character: “Alice” – I remember first seeing Alice in front of me very early in the race. Once I realized we were going at about the same pace, with her about 5 seconds ahead of me, I thought I’d try to pace off of her. She was very energetic and kept talking to the people she’d pass. She would hoot and holler even when no one was around. She yelled out after almost every mile marker. When we hit the half-way point, and actually at the 10K mark, she yells out, “HALF WAY THERE!” A few seconds later, and with the correction of a guy in front of her, yells out, “OOPS! SORRY! ALMOST HALF-WAY!” We did a bit of leap frogging up the hill, but she settled in again in front of me after it. Mile 9- 8:02. It had heated up by this point and I was getting a little warm. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and my inconsistent training. Miles 10 to 12- 8:28, 8:37, 8:53. I was trying to keep up the pace but was running out of gas. At mile 12, I was just trying to maintain and to keep it under a 9 min pace. I had nothing left in the last mile and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I let two ladies pass me in that last mile, one while I could see the finish line. Mile 13- 9:04. I had nothing left in the tank – just as I like it. I think the course was a bit long because everyone around me had watches going off well before we got to the mile markers. Mine was 0.25 over which isn’t insignificant – that’s a whole lap around the track! I was running the tangents as often as I could. Anywho, my official time was 1:57:00 on the dot. Good and surprisingly enough for 3rd place in the 35-39 age group! I almost didn’t even look at the results because I thought there was just no way I’d place. Alice finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and was in the F45-49 age group : ) We gave each other high-fives in the finish area and I let her know how much she helped me. The wind picked up after the race, and when I got tired of waiting for the awards ceremony, I went up to the table to ask about it and they just gave me an award mug They had awesome breakfast burritos and chocolate chip banana bread in the tents! Race Stats: (2019 vs 2014) Finish Time: 1:57:00 / 1:55:31 in 2014. UGH! I didn’t think I’d ran it that fast in 2014! Overall: 85 of 248 / 127 of 484. WOW! What a drop in participants!! Gender: 21 of 125 / 39 of 282 F35-39: 3 of 21 / F30-34: 11 of 63 Weather: ~50 / ~26 (Athlinks) Yeah, that was five years ago but I always want to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER proud of myself and the effort that I put out. On race day, there is nothing I could have or would have done differently.
  2. 2 points
    And you're still winning in the Best Race Photo competition, so there's that.
  3. 1 point
    4 more inches of snow yesterday. Hardly the snow emergency they were worried about. A healthy winter blow. I was out on Saturday for the only time last week. No hard and fast rule about when I'll run this winter, but 20 feels like about what it should be, if the wind isn't too strong. It was almost 20 degrees, so I figured that was close enough. Feel free to use the "W" word. I'm prepared to accept it this year. I'm sure I'd feel differently if 2018 hadn't been the kind of year it was. My steps were noticeably lighter and springier than they've been in recent memory. This I'm going to chalk up to doing stairs three times last week. Running on level ground is so much easier than climbing. Funny how that works. Anyway, 6 miles, felt great. Wednesday was National Pie Day. I made a pie Tuesday night so I could enjoy it on the holiday. Used a new crust recipe from a local pie shop I saw on TV. Similar to my old one, but uses sugar and a little more flour. There wasn't a huge difference, but I have a couple of ideas for how it might be better. A coworker's birthday is this week and I promised her a pie, so I'll test them out. I tried Netflix last year and wasn't overly impressed. They sent me a thing for another free month, and I decided to try again. All I've watched so far (I think I have a week left) is Bird Box, which I watched last night. It was so-so. Slight twist on an old theme. The kids were cute. John Malcovich was John Malcovich. Been binging the first season of Manifest with T-Rex. Slightly better than so-so. Everyone is always demanding that someone else "trust me on this." I'm enjoying the new Magnum, PI more. Like the OG, it doesn't take itself too seriously, Hawaii is a great location, and Perdita Weeks is worth just watching. (Although I wish there was another word for her onscreen job than "major domo". Can't get John Hillerman's voice out of my head when she says it, which is very distracting.) Still having the internal treadmill debate. Planet Fitness is 2-1/2 miles from the house and practically on the way home from work. It wasn't even a consideration until the snow started flying. Now, I think about it more and more often as I think about the mileage I had planned on doing, getting ready to start training. I was at 28 miles two weeks ago, right on schedule, hoping to be near 40 by the end of February. 6 last week, not counting the old school stairmaster routine. Seems like I read somewhere that some guy back in the day trained for (and won) Boston by running in place behind the counter of the store where he worked. Chances are good I'll be revamping the plan with a less aggressive build up. So, what's the difference between running up and down the stairs to my basement and running on a treadmill at PF? Other than I don't have to go anywhere and it's free free free free. I am doing the moving as opposed to the track rolling beneath me. I'm getting more elevation this way. No one's watching. It can't be any less mind-numbing. I broke the last treadmill I had at home - anyone remember that? The few times I ran at PF three years ago sort of messed up my hip and derailed my Boston training. Would that have happened anyway? IDK. Makes me shy away from the machine, though, all other things being equal.
  4. 1 point
    January 2019 in Review Total mileage for the month: 262.7 Dec. 31-Jan. 6: 73.7 (2:42 strength training) Jan. 7-13: 76.5 (2:46 strength training) Jan. 14-20: 75.1 (2:29 strength training) Jan. 21-27: 45.7 (1:52 strength training, 2:00 cardio cross-training) Jan. 28-Feb. 3: ?? (3 as of Jan. 31, plus cross-training) Races: Not there yet! Amy makes winter running much better! Workouts: Jan. 1 - 3 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries in 6:12, 6:18, 6:18 (2.1 warm up, 1.3 cool down). This was my first workout on my first official day back working with my coach; clearly he didn't hold back! I left my Garmin account connected to his coaching platform when I was building mileage post-injury, so he knew what I'd been doing, and it was pretty clear that my endurance was solid but my leg turnover/speed was in dire need of help, so this was where we started. The pace range he gave me for these was 6:11-6:18, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to do it but vowed to try. I had to really work to keep the final one in range, but I made it! Afterwards I told him he chose the perfect pace range for my current fitness, because this was challenging but do-able. If I'd have been in charge of my own workouts, I certainly wouldn't have picked mile repeats, and if I did I would have aimed for more like 6:30 pace, so day 1 being coached again showed me that I need to be coached (even though he gave me a workout and double on New Years Day)! Jan. 5 - fast finish long run, described below. Jan. 9 - 6.3 mile 3'2'1' fartlek (recoveries equal to next push, 3.2 warm up, 2.5 cool down). This was supposed to be 6 miles, but who is going to stop in the middle of a push? My push paces were 5:45-6:36, but mostly 6:05-6:15. It was very windy and I blame that for the inconsistency in pacing - the 6:36 was definitely all into the wind and the 5:45 was definitely all out of it! My average pace for all 6.3 miles was 6:50; pre-injury I'd average more like 6:20 on this type of workout, so it was pretty consistent with everything I'm running right now being 30 seconds/mile slower than what I was doing at peak fitness. I am choosing to be thankful for the opportunity to improve rather than upset about being slower, but sometimes not comparing is hard. Jan. 15 - 3 mile tempo (3.3 warm up, 4 cool down) at 6:30 average via 6:27, 6:33, 6:29. I ran with Rebecca, and our Garmins were significantly discrepant (her's said 6:19 average), so I would rather claim that since my goal was 6:18! We have had Garmin discrepancies on that course before, although not by that much and usually mine is the faster one, hah. We had very dense fog for this workout so it was also pretty much like running hard into a dark abyss, because headlamps are rendered nearly useless in fog (mine also iced over because it was 29 degrees!). I gave it my best effort, but it was honestly very disheartening to be unable to maintain the pace I've run for several marathons for a mere 3 miles after being back to running for 7 weeks. Jan. 17 - 4 x 0.15 presses at the beginnings of miles 7-10 within in 10 miler. This is just a tiny get-your-legs-moving/mix-it-up kind of workout, but it always serves as a good reminder that I actually can pick up the pace if I need to. My press paces were 5:54, 5:37 (downhill), 6:01, and 6:20 (uphill). This was run #3 of the month in cold rain, but at 42 degrees and no wind, it was fine, especially after my Jan. 12 long run, detailed below. Jan. 21 - 5 x 1 mile tempos with 0.25 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down) in 6:27, 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, 6:33. I had pretty low expectations for this workout since we were in a wind advisory and the windchill was 2 degrees, and I suppose I met those expectations. I put forth my best effort and was consistent with my splits, which was really all I could have hoped for. When I stopped my Garmin it said I needed 3.5 days to recover, which seemed about right, haha! Doubles on Jan. 1, 7, 14, 21. Strides on Jan. 10, 20, 24. Favorite workout: Weeellllll, I can truthfully say that I was thankful for all of them, but not satisfied with any of them. Long Runs: Jan. 5 - 15.6 miles (7:27) with 3 progressive fast finish miles in 7:05, 6:52, 6:36. We had a great group of 7 for this run, although about everyone was doing different distances. Claudio was kind enough to fast finish with me, even though he kicked my tail on the final hill (without the hill, I'd have been in the 6:20s for my final mile, but even though my lack of fitness showed on the hill it was good for me to fight it). Dying less every week though! Jan. 12 - 18 miles (7:46) in 33 degrees and rain, with a windchill of 22. I learned a lot of things on this run, the most important of which was that I am never running that far in these conditions again! I ran a 5 miler in similar conditions the week before, and finished it toasty and dry, so I thought I would be okay...plus there was really no alternative since it had been the exact same temperate with rain for about 36 hours straight and was supposed to continue the entire day until it changed to snow overnight. I was afraid the roads would be a sheet of ice on Sunday so I didn't want to bump it a day (although in actuality they weren't too terrible and I ran outside the next day), and I couldn't wrap my head around running this on the treadmill. I felt decent for the first 10 miles or so, but during a patch of heavy rain even the awesome rainproof jacket I'd borrowed didn't hold up, so I was just cold, soaked, and carrying what felt like 15 lbs of water in my jacket, tights, socks, and shoes. We ran a big loop course to force us to commit to the distance (my idea, oy.), so there was no choice but to keep plodding along back to my car. On the road back there was a lot of flooding and standing water, so my shoes ended up extremely soaked and heavy (at that point the only alternative routes would have added 2-4 miles to the run, so I ran through the flooding but remembered why we don't run that part of that road when it's rained a lot). My only saving grace was that at the last minute before we started I grabbed plastic grocery bags out of my car's console and put them over my mittens, and with the way I had them tied up and gripped, my hands stayed dry. That is the only reason I didn't stop at 16.2 miles when I passed my car! This run confirmed my suspicions that I would have been among the people who died off at Boston 2018, because I definitely slowed and struggled, and felt like I was shutting down. I was with 3 friends, and Rebecca and Claudio went ahead and ran a beautiful negative split while I dragged my frozen self in. My body definitely isn't made for cold rain. Amy was also with us, and she ran Boston 2018 and said this run was colder but less windy (14 mph wind). I came very close to crying during this run, but at the same time I was sure glad to say I gritted it out and always thankful to run! Jan. 18 - 16.4 miles (7:37). I ran this one a day early to avoid another cold rain/ice/snow fiasco. I told my coach I had PTSD from the previous week's cold rain long run and wasn't doing that again! Missy was kind enough to run most of it with me - I ran about 3 miles, picked her up and we did 10 together, then I ran back home. I started at 4:44 a.m. because I had to be at work a little before 8:00, so it was still pitch dark even when I finished, but I was happy to have it knocked out to reduce weather-related stress! It was actually really nice, around 36 degrees and light wind, which is very warm for that time of day in January in Missouri (last year I had many morning runs in below zero wind chills). Jan. 26 - I skipped this one, because I learned from my September-November injury and the great tendon debacle of 2016. More details to come, but I just knew that if I ran this my peroneal tendon was going to get seriously injured, so I stayed home. I think my body hates winter. Better 5-7 days off now than 8 weeks off later! Favorite long run: I felt the best on the January 5 one! My body kind of went downhill after the Jan. 12 one... 8 degrees & pitch dark Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I started back working with my coach this month. I think my rapid mileage increase post-injury made it clear that I need someone to save me from myself, and my avoidance of workouts in December also showed I needed a push. He gave mile repeats and a double on New Years Day, hah. This article about CIM really illustrates why I wanted to run it in 2018 and hope to return in 2019! I have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, though. I've been feeling discouraged about my paces, but I'm not sure what to do about it except to keep plugging along. I remembered why winter training stresses me out: winter weather uncertainty and my inability to control it! I also think my body responds poorly to winter weather (especially stupid cold morning lows); I recently realized that I have never had a good winter of outside morning running except in 2017, which was a very mild winter. In 2018 I had a serious winter slump (slowed and became worn down - some details here and here but I was relatively quiet about it), in 2016 I got injured, in 2015 I did okay due to running almost all of my weekday runs on the treadmill (manageable since I was typically running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), 2012-2014 I wasn't running much, in 2011 I got injured, and before then I ran mostly at lunch when I was at a different job. Look at that resting heart rate of 32! Average was more like 40. Life events: I have never done a word/phrase of the year before, but one came to me for 2019: "Lead me". I often question whether I'm making the right decisions, and what could be better than focusing on where God leads me? We had a pretty low key month; some weekends we didn't go anywhere except for church (and out running for me). Jon enjoyed cheering for the Chiefs, and Albani watches the games with him because he gives her candy when they score or make a good play. Albani is learning to play the recorder and practices a lot, which is both a good and bad thing! Nature loving on a 62 degree January day! I had some thoughts this month about changing my sport to bowling! Crazy hair day on little notice Her hair is supposed to look like pouring soda We had a snow day on Jan. 30 Recorder practice Books this month: Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld Time Keeper by Mitch Albom Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza Clay Girl by Heather Tucker A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick Theme of the month: Struggling. I came upon these verses at just the right time: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5 I cannot run a 3 mile tempo at the pace I used to run for marathons, my mile repeats are at my goal marathon pace (or slower in bad weather), and my current all-out sprint is maybe my 10K PR pace...but I am sure thankful to be running regardless! At least my mileage is solid. I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong because I really haven't improved in the 10 weeks I've been back to running post-injury... BUT! I am SO THANKFUL to be running! Especially after taking some time off with a little tendon scare from Jan. 26-Jan. 30, which was consistent with the struggling theme.
  5. 1 point
    Last week's weather mess and polar vortex makes this a short training recap. I've run when it was below zero before, but this winter is not. Although, since I'm not officially training yet, I guess it's not even that. But I did have a run. Saturday was 35 degrees and sunny. Mostly the way was clear. A few spots, plus some of the sidewalk ends had piles. One half mile section was covered, but it had melted to only an inch or so and was pretty even, so no worries. The run itself was pretty great. I hadn't run since the previous Saturday, but I'd been hankering for it. Splits were all wonky of course, but I felt good the whole way, had no issues with the couple of hilly sections in the middle. Strength work and the stairs have done their jobs. Didn't have a definite plan for distance - just a general direction. Weather was so nice I had to shed one of my two shirts for a couple of miles. After I turned into the wind it cooled off so much I had to put it back on. Ended up with nine miles. One side of the bathroom toilet paper holder came loose. Had to tear it out and patch the area. Then I realized I'd measured wrong and had to redo it. When I went to paint the area I discovered that I didn't have any of the original paint left, so had no clue what color I needed. Made my best guess last night, based on the color in the master bedroom, which was the complement to it. Guessed wrong, so now I have to try again or repaint the entire bathroom. Good thing it's a small bathroom. Also, in the bathroom the toilet valve and flapper were having problems so I had to replace both of them. Home Depot is my favorite store. T-Rex's Civic had a headlight go out yesterday, so I added a trip to O'Reilly's for that. Yesterday was a fun little 5 miler up the Target Path. 51 degrees and a little sprinkly. Running in shorts in February is a pretty rare event. Speaking of February, my thoughts turned to the annual Snowbuster Virtual Race Festival. I'm wondering if there's enough interest to hold it this year. It doesn't really fit in my training plan, but I'd certainly be up for a hard-ish 13.1 in a few weeks. Let me know if you're interested and I'll put the wheels in motion. Whining about the Super Bowl all other the place. "Boring!" they all say. I found the game interesting, tense, and exciting, with the outcome in doubt up to the final minute - just how a good football game should be. This one was more about the defense, which I know doesn't appeal to the masses, especially when the expectations are all for scores in the 30's. Frankly, that's what I was geared up for, so it was surprising how it played out. Doesn't make it a bad or a boring game. Now I wonder, is it time to retire the half-time show? I generally like Maroon 5, but (at least on TV) those 15 minutes did absolutely nothing for me. I don't do Spongebob or any rap (certainly I'm too old for those and I freely admit that), so the additions to M5 were subtractions from my point of view. Commercials: Not too many memorable moments (in fact, I'm googling these to talk about). Bud Light-Game of Thrones was at OK, if one knows anything about GoT (I'm reading the books, which are great, and have seen a few clips of the show). I'm just as happy to see the end of "Dilly! Dilly!" T-Mobile texts had a few funnies. My favorite was the NFL 100-year Gala cum football game. Anyway, that's my take. And to all you Brady-haters: don't worry, only 4 more years until he retires.
  6. 1 point
    Things are starting to pick up here in Bangle-land. November and December were about rest and recovery. Then I had a cold the first week of January. But then it was time to get back at it. Because Boston was calling. With only 13 weeks left, I was already behind schedule. But I could just look forward and do my best, so I started picking up the miles, running more often, and laid out a rough schedule to get me up to a long run of 20 and some weeks close to 50 miles. Boston expectations are low, but I'm going to have fun with Quadracool and enjoy the experience. Just hope the body holds up and I don't bonk too spectacularly. So, week of Jan 7 I managed 22, and the next week I was up to 33 with a long run of 13. Phew! That 13 was tough! Proof that I had lost my marathon shape since NY. But the good news was my knee was holding up OK. The rest didn't seem to help it much. Seemed like it hurt worse than ever during Christmas. Yet increasing the miles was no problem. In fact it has been getting gradually less of a problem as I run more. Weird. I have been going to the gym about every 5 days and doing leg extensions and the knee is getting stronger. Definitely progress. So I'm hopeful. Week of Jan 21 I ran 34 including a 14 miler that wasn't quite as bad as the previous week's 13. I also had a speed workout where I felt surprisingly chipper! Knocked out 4x400s with the last two about 85, and then 2x1600 at 6:50 which was not too taxing. Positive vibes! I've also got the chance to run in the rain quite a bit this year as we are having a wet winter. I've been enjoying the novelty of it. Last week was only 31 because I skipped the long run as I tapered for a 10K on Sunday. But I plan for 37 this week and 46 next week with longs of 15 and 16. Feeling pretty dang tired, but I guess that's what I'm supposed to feel during a marathon buildup. So, race report! Sunday was our local Super Bowl Sunday 10K, a race I have now run 24 times. It is less than a mile from home, so I trot down to the start for my warmup. Forecast was for rain, but then it let up so it looked like we would miss it. However a little squall came in 5 minutes before the start and soaked us through. It quit about 15 minutes later, but we were all drenched by then. It was pretty breezy too. But with temps in the low 50s it was fine for running. My goal was to break 45, about 7:15 pace. I also had many club members to race against. The course has a few hills in the first two miles, then is mostly flat, and then rolls for a mile before a nasty hill at 5.5 and a downhill finish. My strategy is to go out easyish (7:30?) through the first two and then start racing. Feeling dead and spent after two miles is no way to run a 10K. So of course I go out a little fast with my clubmates and see a pace under 7 before restraining myself a little. Then coach Ed pulls up to my shoulder and I start running with him because we're rivals you know, and another girl joins us so I run with them for a while, which means I go out too fast. 7:09 for mile 1. Oh well. Not too bad and I'm not hurting yet. By the end of mile 2, Ed and the girl have slipped back and I am alone. My other rival is so far ahead of me I can't see him. I can only hope he fades badly. (Spoiler - he didn't) Mile 2 comes in at 7:30 and I am disappointed because it feels faster and I am pretty darn tired already. Oh well. I keep plugging. Mile 3 is normally the fastest, but there is a pretty good headwind from the South which is NOT helping. I hopefully look at the Garmin, wishing to see something close to 7:00 pace but I see 7:20. Ugh. I start to push a little more, but without a rival to chase, the will is lacking. I come through 3 in 7:23 and say goodbye to my dreams of running under 44. As we turn back to the North in mile 4 the wind fades, but I am searching for a reason to suffer. Or more like, a reason not to just coast it in. Rival is still out of sight. This pace feels harder than it should. Poo. But then another clubmate, M, pops up on my shoulder. This is a guy I should be beating (although he is getting faster lately). So here's my incentive. No way this guy beats me. I start to push more. He hangs tough at my side. We work together. Mile 4 is 7:16. As we go over a few little hills I keep the hammer down, especially on the downhills, and M fades back. I am now feeling the race mojo and accepting the increased breathing rate and associated pain as an acceptable price to pay. Mile 5 is 7:16. Yeah I am still slow, but whatever. I'm going to do my best and push this last mile, because M is NOT going to catch me! I survive the steep hill of death and as soon as I get my breathing somewhat back to normal, I put my foot back on the gas and redline it in. Mile 6 is 7:09 (including the hill at 9:00+ pace) and the final .3 (!!) is 6:20 pace. M does NOT catch me! (He was 8 seconds back) I cross in 45:35, which is a little disappointing. But you know, it's close. It's not too bad. I'm getting older. Blah blah blah. Age grade was 69.4% so that sounds decent. Only good for 10th in my competitive AG. So anyway, back to marathon training. Monday I rested and Tuesday I was still feeling the fatigue as a nine miler felt pretty rough. But the knee is doing pretty well. Feeling pretty positive and ready for eight weeks of training.
  7. 1 point
    I love that race for two reasons: 1. The first half is so challenging, you really feel like a badass when you get to the top of that last hill 2. That banana bread with chocolate chips at the finish line. You gotta be in shape for that one, though … maybe next year.
  8. 1 point
    Yeesh that elevation profile! People like Alice need to switch to decaf. Yes I know I'm a curmudgeon.
  9. 1 point
    That Alice is a real self-motivator. Killer hills.
  10. 1 point
    Congrats on a great race! Love that pic of you with the mountains in the background.
  11. 1 point
    The Park’s hours officially extend to 11pm, but it may as well be closed by the time I turn onto the paved trail along its perimeter. It’s dark, and while the polar vortex has yet to reach this far south the 37 degree temperature has the same effect on Atlantans that -50 has on Minnesotans. I pass a few people walking dogs or using the pathway as a cut through on their walks home from work, but I know as I leave the perimeter and venture deeper into the Park, I will be alone. My pace quickens at the thought. As the path winds its way into the Park’s interior, the noise of the city fades. I run along the edge of The Meadow, a wide grass field at the southeastern corner, and look west towards the Midtown skyline. There are few lights in the Park and a gust of cold wind has my eyes tearing just enough to make the bright windows of the high rises dot the black horizon like an earthbound star field. I know they are actually the offices of clients or colleagues and homes where people are enduring the mundanities of life: making dinner, paying bills, negotiating how many more bites of dinner are needed to earn dessert. But for now all that may as well be as distant as the stars. This is my time in the quiet darkness of the Park. I make my way deeper into the Park, past the urban garden and near the dog runs, and the isolation becomes almost a physical sensation. The sudden absence of people, noise, light, and even somehow the cold wind leaves a palpable sort of empty white noise hanging in the air. It’s just me and the trail. I weave my way along the path and it suddenly smells like I’m in the middle of a pine forest. I decide if I’m having a stroke no one will find me until morning and at least I’ll be going out happy, but then I see the source of the smell. It dawns on me that the piles of fresh mulch were just a month ago Christmas trees, and images of revelry under colorful lights and tinsel and mistletoe flashed through my mind. What didn’t was the argument between the cousin who whipped out his red hat at dinner and sat next to the cousin who dressed up as Rachel Maddow for Halloween. Or the aunt who asked her gay nephew if the holy water burned his fingers as they walked into midnight mass. Or the arguments over money or not calling enough or when are you having kids. Those were all ground away by the wood chippers; the lingering scent was too light to carry the weight of those memories to these depths of the Park. I looped around the Active Oval, the gravel 800 meter-ish track which rings the usually packed soccer and softball fields. By now my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and I could clearly see the freezing puddles which in the day I am too distracted to avoid. I listened to the rhythm of my breathing and the jazzy percussion of my footfalls crunching along the track and how it, instead of the din of the fields, echoed off the stone stairs as I ran by. It’s a strange feeling to be so isolated in such an expansive place. You expect there to be people, to feel the buzz of activity all around you. You expect to be surrounded by all those things that are part of modern life, and then feel liberated by what you can see and hear and think in their absence. Tonight it is my Park. All the noises, all the thoughts, all the actions that fill this vast place are mine and mine alone. By me, and for me. The blaring horn of the car running the red light and barreling into the same crosswalk I was using to reenter the city shattered my peace so abruptly I thought I might get the bends. The driver had the gall to scream at me for flipping them off as I stood there blocking their transgression, my profane gesture apparently more offensive to them than vehicular manslaughter. But hey, the world is full of idiots and assholes. Sometimes I’m even one of them. Most days I can deal with it just fine. When I can’t, I know I have the Park.
  12. 1 point
    Well, I guess I've missed a few weeks... (I have no idea how to control the picture size) January 14-20 Monday 10.1 miles in 1:17 After the hard long run on the previous Saturday I was expecting my legs to feel like garbage, was pleasantly surprised after 3-4 miles to find my legs feeling good and stride was smooth. As I've been doing on all my easy days lately I ran by HR and made sure to keep my HR under 150. Happy with where my easy paces lately, starting to feel really fit. Tuesday 3.2 mile WU in 28:12 + 4.2 miles of 16 x 400 with 1:15 rests + 3 mile CD in 23:42 It was very cold at the start in the 20's, ran very easy to warm up for 3 miles followed by 4 strides to wake my legs up. Leg speed workouts are usually a bit tough for me because I dont keep up with turnover, especially during marathon training. Was happy to be able to consistently hit the 400's in the 81-84 second range with 1:!5 rests. At times I felt like I was dragging but was still hitting 5:30 pace so I kept going. The middle reps were a mental struggle when it still feels like you have forever to go but your legs arent really that tired yet. I was able to finish out strong with an 80 second last rep. I did a longer cooldown than usual of 3 miles to get some extra mileage on the day since there wasnt much for volume in the workout. Wednesday 8.4 miles in 1:10 Cold and very tired today. Didn't sleep much last night, work has been pretty crazy and I also was firing someone this morning so might have had some extra anxiety which kept me up. Thursday 10.1 miles in just under 1:20 Feeling better today but HRV score was pretty low so I kept it extra easy pace-wise. However, I ended up running a mile longer than I thought I would when I headed out. Normatec at the gym - 20 minutes Friday 3 mile WU in 23:34 + 8 mile Tempo in 49:06 + 2 mile CD in 15:45 A little chilly out today in the 30's and windy so over dressed for my warm up a bit to get... warmed up. Wore trainers and felt pretty good, changed into vaporflys and shed some clothing to be lighter for the tempo. I focused on starting out slower and being patient in the tempo before setting down into about HMP. I ran on rolling hills and progressed nicely. Was able to finish with a fast mile and still wasn't digging all that deep. Very happy with the effort, continuing to feel very strong and fit. Was tired after, not destroyed which is just right. Reflected in my log about how I used to hate and struggle at tempos and today felt great. Interesting I split 18:49 and 38:15 for 5K/10K respectively. Changed back into trainers and did a short cooldown. Saturday 8.1 miles in just under 1:05 Rainy and cold outside so I used the treadmill. Was probably a good thing since I always run super slow on the TM because I hate it. Watched tv and slogged through a decent recovery run. Legs felt good after sleeping in some recovery compression socks last night. Sunday 17.1 miles in 2:20 we had a winter storm roll through saturday night and the roads were not plowed and looked pretty dangerous. Slogged through an easy long run, ended up going a little shorter than I wanted but the time was about right so whatever, this sucked. 77.3 miles total for the week. 2 great workouts, a sub-par long run but good time on my feet and volume continues to build. January 21-27 Monday 9.3 miles in 1:18 A pipe burst at work and flooded my floor and a few below it so I ended up working from home and let my son stay home with me from daycare. This meant running on the TM and running easy. Wasn't too upset about it since it was a feels like close to 0 today. Tuesday 10.6 miles in 1:22 Eased into this run and progressed as I went, especially once I got past the ice stretches on the bike path. Felt good today but made sure I didn't do anything crazy before a workout tomorrow. Wednesday 3 mile WU in 22:01 + 10 x 800 w/ 1:30 rests + 3 mile CD in 24:22 Did this workout on the TM due to the ice, made it easy to run consistent paces on the reps. First 6 @ 5:33 pace, 7-9 @ 5:30 and last @ 5:27. Felt pretty good for most of it, started grinding on reps 8-9 and had to focus and push to hit the last. This was a great workout, the short reps were challenging. Probably could have gone shorter but would have been hurting pretty bad by the end. 45 minutes of strength work in the PM Thursday 7.6 miles in 1:02 very cold today and windy. My right foot was sore from either running on the TM, the strength work last night or both. Went a little short today because I was running slow and there was ice everywhere. Probably needed a short day anyways though so nothing to worry about. Friday 8.1 miles in 1:08 another feels like of 1 day so opted to be a baby and run on the TM. I rationalized it as helping to keep it a very easy day ahead of a big long run on Saturday. Heart rate was super low today, probably a result of getting to bed real early last night. Felt good. Saturday 21 miles in 2:23:08 (16 @ 90-95% MP) 3 miles to warm up followed by 16 continuous shooting for something in the 6:30-6:40 range. Legs were heavy to start so was ok easing into the steady state miles. Did this run on a big rolling hill section that has destroyed my legs on harder runs in past cycles and they handled it well. In the back half of the 16 workout I came upon some kind of training group that provided good motivation but also made me speed up a bit to catch and pass them a few times (oops). Last few miles were tough but nothing too crazy like having to go to the well. Great workout, wont have another of these for 3 weeks now. Sunday 10.37 miles in 1:21:40 Ran with a friend on his long run. He's training for a half so he was only doing 10 so I decided to go with him through some parks and on hills. HR was again very low on this run even at decent paces. 78.6 miles total for the week. Another two really good workouts this week, 4 weeks done and continuing to have a strong cycle. January 28- February 3 Monday 10.1 miles in 1:19 Very tired today from the big weekend of 31+ miles. Ran very easy by heart rate and didnt look at pace. Accumulated fatigue is here people, I am so tired. Marathon training. Tuesday 8.37 miles in 1:06 feels like of 0 outside and nasty headwinds, couldn't feel my legs. Felt pretty sluggish waking up this morning anyways so the cold temps encouraged me to go shorter today because I was miserable. Wednesday 3 mile WU in 24:41 + 4 x 2 miles w/ 1:30 rests + 2 mile CD in 17:34 Treadmill run, too cold / icy / windy outside to do a good workout. Typical TM warm up of 2 miles easy with 1:00 surges in the 3rd mile. Ran the first rep @ 5:55 pace, next two at 5:50 and split the last rep at 5:50 for 1 mile and 5:45 for the last. Felt really good during this whole workout, never had to push very hard to maintain pace and the short rests weren't an issue. Re-watched this past Berlin marathon where Kipchoge set the WR during the workout which provided good extra motivation. Great workout. Thursday 9.35 miles in 1:20:30 Easy run on the TM, it was too icy outside to get a good run in. Left knee started bothering me on this run from a very tight quad/IT band. Stretched it out briefly and finished then rolled the living sh*t out of it a few times the rest of the day. Was thinking it would be fine but always super paranoid about issues cropping up and staying during training. Friday 9.3 miles in just under 1:18 easy run on the TM before a doctor appointment and work. My left quad / IT band / whatever is still tight but knee is not bothering me anymore so rolling must be working. The ice/snow on the roads forcing me to run on the TM is probably a blessing in disguise right now because it's forcing me to run extra easy on the TM which helps with recovery for sure. My HRV has been all over the place this week so glad I have a lot of easy days before my next workout (next Wednesday). Saturday 16 miles in 1:59:26 Ran with a guy from out of town. Had some ice issues a few times but was able to cruise for the most part after my legs warmed up about 4-5 miles in. This guy is shooting for a sub-3 marathon but doesnt run much for milesage so his legs were far fresher than mine. He wanted to run the last few miles at his marathon pace (6:52) which I was fine with and then we ended up running a mile close to 6:00 pace (NOT his marathon pace) and I said F*** this I'm running easy. My legs were way too heavy to do that and I'm not sabotaging my training. This is why I hate running with other people too much. Sunday 8.1 miles in 1:02 Beautiful weather today, close to 50 degrees. Got to run in shorts and a light long sleeve shirt, which was amazing. Legs were a little heavy but felt pretty good overall. Got to focus on and clean up my stride mechanics which get a little wonky when I run too much on the TM. Ended up cruising along pretty well but kept an eye on HR to make sure I was staying in the easy zone. Forced myself to not go too long to recover. 1:00 strength work 74.6 miles total for the week. One very good workout and one missed as a result of moving my schedule around to account for the weather. Honestly, I dont know that I could have handled another session this week, even with it being a lighter fartlek. Keeping mileage high but getting more easy days in this week should help get ready for next Wednesday's 10 mile tempo. I am 1/3 through my cycle with 10 weeks to go until we toe the line in Hopkinton. Feeling very optimistic lately but we're still far enough out that I know it can turn quickly if I'm not careful. Thanks for reading, hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping up. Happy training.
  13. 1 point
    Pre-race After conferring with my coach weeks ago, we decided that the Mountain Mist 50k would be the best option for me to meet the required qualification for the Georgia Death Race - a 50k trail race in the last calendar year. The elevation and technicality would be a great tune-up and a chance for me to test gear and nutrition. Though I could have driven the 3.5 hour drive, gaining an hour crossing into Central Time, I opted to camp overnight at Monte Sano State Park. I left work at 2pm Friday to make it in time before sunset and was treated to a very beautiful drive through the tiny mountain towns of northwest Georgia/northeast Alabama. At the park, I went straight to the camp host to check in and got both a dinner recommendation and directions to the race start (more on that later). I blindly picked the camp site online and chose a spot that was nearest to the restrooms. My good fortune meant I was treated to a beautiful view of Huntsville and I arrived just at sunset. I made a quick call to Adam and then changed into running gear for a 2 mile shakeout run around the campground. I watched the big orange thing dip below the horizon and then headed out to packet pickup (at the lodge) and to grab dinner. I was a little worried about the camp host's recommendation at first. I had asked for a place that served pizza and beer and he asked if Italian would be okay. He explained they didn't really have many items with red sauce and yeah, they have some beer. I was picturing loads of fettuccine alfredo with goopy white cream sauce and reminded of when Michael Scott carbo-loads before the "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure"5K and promptly vomits. But, the pizza was seriously some of the best I have ever had and the beer selection, while not vast, was a nicely culled collection of local favorites (re: Huntsville IPAs) and national specialties (Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout). I always like to err on the side of being really full before a race, especially an ultra, so I loaded up on a donut hole-esque dessert. Also, I just like donuts. I stopped at a gas station on the way back to fill up my tank, get some cold brew coffee, and a back-up muffin in case there was some tragedy with my overnight oats. Back at camp, I settled into my 0° rated sleeping bag (Everest testing), read a little of David Goggins "Can't Hurt Me", and fell asleep before 10pm. The sleeping bag was beyond warm enough in the 20°-ish degree weather. I actually woke up at one point and had to crawl out of it because I was too warm. The alarm went off at 6:20am and while I was cozy, I was also ready to get the show going. I changed in the warm bathroom and ate my oats. Just after 7am, I headed to the race start. I double-checked the map and walked about 5 minutes before I realized the trail was not terribly discernible in the winter and panicked that I might be late to the race. I turned around and decided to take my chances to drive up to the lodge. Again, I totally lucked out and parked just outside the entrance on the side of the road with just enough time to stand around and get cold before the start. Race morning I lined up in the first third of the pack behind the start line. In reading race reports and talking to runners who had raced it, I knew the first 20 miles were pretty runnable and the last 11 or so were tough. This was supposed to be a training run of sorts (though we all know I'm competitive so it's not like I wasn't going to give it my best effort) and I really wanted to just stay relaxed as much as possible. The first mile was pavement and I was far from warmed up. Everything felt stiff and stagnant and I was annoyed that despite taking it relatively easy, it felt awkward. We hit the fire road and things started to get a little better with softer footing and I tried to just stay with the little packs around me, only passing if necessary in this point. I didn't want to get stuck too far behind once we got to the single track. People were not really talking much around me at this point, which in retrospect, I guess I was closer to the front of the pack than I thought initially. By the time we reached the single track section and through the first aid station at mile 6.7, I just tried to stay as comfortable as possible. Any time I thought I wanted to pass someone, I gave it an extra minute or two. It's so easy to push in the beginning, but I didn't want to feel like garbage at the end. The course in this section was moderately muddy - bad in some sections, but there was definitely very runnable spots and I did feel like we did a lot of downhill running. There was some switching around of people at the aid stations as some people stopped for a bit longer. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, a single pretzel, and kept right on moving. At this point, I was behind 3 females who were bombing the downhills pretty efficiently and I decided to stay in tow. Once we got into the section I would dub the "Power Line Field", I was relaxed and just enjoying listening to their chatter back and forth about various things. Once we reached the first climb, dubbed "K2", one of the girls jetted up ahead and while I was tempted to pursue her, I knew it was too early to get caught up in competition. I knew my skills lied in power hiking ups and I'd wait until the final 2 climbs to put on the afterburners. We still had 20+ miles to go. At the 11.9 mile aid station, I grabbed a cup of Mello Yello and filled up my water flask. I went trotting off down the trail and a few minutes past the aid station, full on Supermanned going up a tiny hill. Apparently I hit the ground with enough impact that runners in both directions asked if I was okay. Yes, yes, just a little blood mixed with hurt pride. My bib completely ripped off and I had to take a few extra seconds to pin it back on. But, once I was back on the trail, I started to feel great! It was like the fall had woken me up. The next section had a short little climb that led up to a section called "Stone Cuts". Giant slabs of stone with a trail that meanders through them. Runners had to squeeze through narrow cuts and limbo underneath low cave-like areas. It was really, really cool and despite the slowdown, it was pretty awesome to be "running" through natural wonders. From prior race reports, I learned that if you doubled your time at he mile 17 aid station, that would be the approximate time you could expect for the race. I came in just shy of 3 hours and was then just hoping to hold onto 6 hours. I was feeling a bit peppier in the next section and happy that there was finally a break to run without being so bunched up for a bit. There was a swift little descent full of rocks and then a bunch of muddy trail at the bottom before reaching the aid station just past mile 20. I was tempted to take a shot of Fireball at this aid station, but nothing was going inherently good or bad so I decided to stay with the status quo of Mello Yellow. The next section was the infamous Railroad Trail, a rocky nightmare of a trail. The only saving grace is that it was relatively flat for a couple of miles, but it seems as though I couldn't get much more speed because the footing was terrible. I got behind a group of guys who were talking like it was the first few miles of the race and let them lead the pack up the Bluffline Trail and the ridiculousness of the Waterline Trail. It is in this section that you use all 4 points of contact to hoist yourself over slippery rocks along a waterfall. Fortunately, I was still feeling spry at this point and my flexibility is fairly decent so I had no trouble with this section. I was laughing at how crazy it was, but I was actually having fun bouldering over rocks. Check out the runners in the top right of the photo below! Photo credit: Andy Highsmith At the top of the climb (sweet relief!), I took off down the Bluffline Trail and started to try to make up some time. I wasn't moving super fast, but I was passing a bunch of runners who had gassed out near the 24-25 mile mark. Once we reached the next descent, I started running with John and he nicely explained the final sections and what to expect. The mud was incredibly thick in the flattish section near the water and my tired legs were exhausted by the repeated pull of the muck. I was actually grateful for the climb as it was drier and I could actually gain footing. We didn't even stop at the last aid station and I noted there was 1.6 miles to go. Glancing at my watch, I saw it was about 5:40:XX. If the aid station sign was correct, I could still slip under 6 hours. Luckily, the trail was pretty flat and runnable at this point and while I didn't have a sense of how far we were, I started to see more hikers out walking their dogs - a sure sign we were closer to the trailhead. John was dealing with a side stitch and urged me to go on when stopped to walk. I stayed with him the first time and we started running again, but then I heeded his advice when stopped again and pushed for the finish solo. I heard the music of the finish line first and then I spotted the arch as I came around the final bend. I crossed in 5:55:42 according to Garmin. I stepped off to the side and waited to see John finish, giving him a huge high five as he also made it under 6 hours. Eventually, I headed indoors for the warmth and to grab my finisher's slate and age group award, a backpack. Takeaways: Food/Hydration: B Throughout the race, I ate 2 RX bars, 2 Spring energy gels, and a GU that I picked up from an aid station. I had 1 pretzel rod, 1 Oreo, and an orange slice. My hydration was mostly water, but I also took 1 cup of Gatorade and 2 cups of Mello Yello. The cooler weather made hydration a bit trickier and I think I should carry something with a bit of electrolytes like Nuun or Tailwind for GDR. I was definitely cramping post-race and it took a couple of cups of Sprite and food for it to stop. Also, I could have done a better job hydrating the day before. I avoided it because of the road trip and I think I started the day a bit dehydrated. Gear: C My bladder in my Camelpack was not secured in some sort of way so I was slowly leaking water for the first couple of miles in the beginning of the race. I think I didn't have the cap seal on flush and it sloshed out from the top. I still was able to drink from it through about 10-12 miles, but then it was just extra weight. I think I'd prefer to just rely on flasks as they are easier to fill. Plus, for some reason, the hose across my chest was SO ANNOYING. To be fair, I kept thinking it was good that my hose was annoying me and not physical pain. But I am going to have to mitigate those minor annoyances. Half capris were a good choice, probably should have just done a t-shirt and arm warmers. I really only needed gloves for the first couple of miles. Hoka Torrents proved successful on the mud, rocks, and gnarly trail. I have zero blisters and my Swiftwick socks were a great choice - despite me blowing a hole through the toe of one of them. Physical Training: A I'm officially in week 5 of my coached training and because this was a training race, I didn't have a true taper. In fact, I just came off my biggest true mileage week in over a year and ran 5 days leading up to the race, including a speed session on Tuesday. So while I am bit disappointed in my time for the race (I was hoping for 5:30 or so), I have to keep in perspective that I was not running on fresh legs and this was not the goal race. I ran a really patient race and fortunately felt the best at the end. Mental Training: A+ I never hit really high highs or really low lows in this race. The points that I wasn't feeling great really were just when I wasn't pushing on the gas pedal. And while I do love the endorphin rush of the high highs, I think it's actually better that things were just really steady-eddy. The course and the conditions of the trail could have beat me up, but I kept telling myself when it got tough that I like doing hard things.
  14. 1 point
    Good stuff! But maybe learn to share? Geez.
  15. 1 point
    I was all calm and serene there for a minute.
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