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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/25/2019 in Blog Entries

  1. 8 points
    Remember that the little cold I had the week before last? Well I guess that took more out of me than I thought it did. I still had a little bit of a cough, I still had some stuffiness in my nose, but I felt OK. Anyway, I have a whole list of things it didn't quite go right in Vermont and I'll go through those for whatever they’re worth. Call it making excuses if you will, but when you have a decent training build up you sort of expect to do fairly well on race day. When that doesn't happen there should be a reason why. And in fact I think I have a few reasons excuses. Excuse number one. The weather. Leading up to the race - as is mandatory for runners – I was stalking my weather app pretty religiously several times a day and it looked like it was going to be amazing on the 26th, with temps in the 50s and low 60s, a light breeze, some cloud cover or a lot of cloud cover. Not bad for a spring marathon. Except that all changed a couple of days before the race. Suddenly, it was lows in the 60s, highs in the upper 70s, chance of thunderstorms in the morning and sun by late morning. Lots and lots of sun. I don't know anybody who likes running marathons when it's in the upper 70s with lots of sun. And it turned out that Sunday was exactly as forecasted. Excuse number two. Sub-optimal training. Yeah, I know in my last post I talked about how I had missed a few days here and there, a couple of long runs with the wedding and the funeral, but that I thought overall things had gone fairly well. And they did. In reality, though, that was more positive self talk than truth. I had one high mileage week that went really well, but the other high mileage weeks that I had planned turned out to be average or even below average. You can't fake marathon training. Excuse number three. Ankle injury! I suppose this one gives me license to actually call it a reason as opposed to an excuse. This was completely not my fault. I'm not even sure how it happened. But I'll get to that during the race recap, when I talk about the later miles and what the storm did to a very small part of the course. Excuse number four. Race day logistics. I think everybody knows how cheap I am. This shows up often in the lodging accommodations that I make for race weekends. On this particular weekend, I was at first shocked at the hotel prices in Burlington, VT. After I began looking and seeing what I considered outrageous rates, I was reminded that Burlington is on the shores of Lake Champlain and therefore sort of a tourist destination for many in upstate New York. I also remembered that race weekend was also Memorial Day weekend. And apparently Burlington – and the local hotels – is really popular on Memorial Day weekend. Ever resourceful, I looked for hotels in nearby towns, thinking I could find a much better deal. When I found a Fairfield Inn in Plattsburgh, NY, only 20 miles from Burlington, I jumped all over it. When we arrived at the hotel, and I talked to the desk clerk about getting to Burlington, she said, “Well, you can take the ferry or you can drive around the Lake.” Wait. What? Lake Champlain is a big lake, if you haven’t checked the map. It was not 30 minutes to get to Burlington like I had assumed when the Marriott app said it was 20.9 miles from the hotel. I was an hour and a half ferry ride or an hour and a half drive around the lake. After driving 10 hours from Detroit on Friday, we’d be driving three more hours (round trip) on Saturday, plus driving over the marathon route. The hotel was nice enough to give us a late checkout, and even said they’d extend it later if my race wasn’t going well. Excuse number five. A 45 minute late start. I suppose this should actually be part of Excuse number one, since the delay was for a mandatory starting line evacuation fifteen minutes before the start time, due to a fast-moving thunderstorm. For a while it looked like it was going to miss us completely to the south, but just as the cell hit the New York side of the lake, a big blob of rain peeled off and headed straight for us. Just as we were walking up to the start area, they were announcing the delay. We sat under the awnings of a convenience store across the street, watched a little lightning, heard a little thunder, and tried to stay mostly dry until we were given the all clear. On the plus side, the delay gave me a second chance to use the POP. Finished up with five minutes to spare and had zero issues in the race. After so many Code Abbys on training runs this spring, that was huge. I was also inside during the national anthem, so I was able to stay sitting down. Mrs. Dave was not a fan of the wait. Now, mind you, I’m not complaining. There has been little to no whining at the Schultz house about my monster positive split and 4 hour plus finish time. Sure, I wrote about BQ’ing again. But, seriously, it’s a spring marathon and I’ve learned many times that spring marathons and I don’t get along that well. I like my marathons cold. 30-40o cold. And, hey, since Rehoboth in 2017 I haven’t been able to run one at all, so getting to the starting line healthy and happy – even if I was a little low on mileage – was the real prize. I was already a winner. Flat Dave was ready. Vermont City is billed as a marathon and relay. You can run the marathon, or you can be part of a relay team, with options for two to five runners. If you want to run the half, you have to buddy up. In the past, I’ve sort of hated the relay runners, but I’ve changed my tune on this. Despite having runners passing me from time to time throughout the 26.2 miles, it was nice having lots of folks around the whole way. It also kept the spectators more involved since there was a near constant stream of racers coming by. Normally, by mile 14, it starts to get sort of lonely out there. I’m also a fan of their race course, even though it’s a tough one. It takes you out on three loops and an out-and-back section, all of which pass by the starting area, so your family and friends can see you multiple times without having to navigate street closures and unknown traffic patterns in an unfamiliar city. #1 is a 5K loop through some of the old city neighborhoods. Lots of trees and cool old houses. After that is a 10K out-and-back away from town on a winding parkway. There are three bridges that cross over the road, all with people on them, cheering. Section #3 is another 10K, this time a long loop through a more industrial area, a couple of nice newer neighborhoods to the half way point, and then some parks and rail trails back to downtown. Finally, there’s a ten mile loop that does a couple of pretty active neighborhoods and another park before the last four along a bike path next to the lake. It’s a net 100 foot drop from start to finish, with two ugly hills (each over 100’ in ½ mile) in Miles 9 and 16. The expo is medium sized. Plenty of vendors and sponsor booths. And free pizza for lunch! OK, so let’s race. Mile 1. 9:22. I was running a marathon! I started behind the 4:00 pace group. Figuring for a 9:00+ start. The first mile actually climbed 120 feet, but it didn’t feel that steep. I was fresh, I was happy, it was still cool, I was running as slow as my normal warm up pace. The crowd was enthusiastic, but not so crazy that I missed seeing Mrs. Dave and T-Rex. Big waves because I was running a marathon! I followed the flow, trying not to get anxious and weave past anybody. Mile 2. 8:40. Downhill to Mile 2, but those streets were pretty close quarters and often enough there was a truck or a car that hadn’t been cleared despite the signage that there was no parking that day, forcing us to bunch up to get past. Not as bad as Philly. Mile 3. 8:38. I passed the 4:00 pace group at about two and a half. This mile was kind of fun. There’s a pedestrian mall through the center of town and we ran through it twice. The first time was here in Mile 3, people sitting on both sides, separated from the course by a strip of caution tape, eating breakfast and cheering for us. Mile 4. 8:12. My cheering section was there, right on cue. Starting the out and back section was a steep drop (130’ in ½ mile), and then gentle rolling the rest of the way out. Here we saw the lead wheelchair racers coming back. The roadway tilted dramatically on the curves, which was sort of annoying, but since it wasn’t for long and it alternated from left to right, it wasn’t too bad. Pretty section. Mile 5. 8:28. Out here I was just trying to find a solid rhythm, something I could hold onto for the rest of the first half, then see what I could do in the second. This is where the marathon leaders passed us. About ten guys and then the first woman. Always fun to watch people running fast. Mile 6. 8:28. Same. The 3:45 pace group passed me coming back and I checked the time. I was just about two minutes behind them. Almost exactly where I’d hoped I would be by 10K. Mile 7. 8:23. The turnaround was just after the 10K point. I went wide and took it easy. Sweaty. It was humid. If the sun would stay behind the clouds, it wouldn’t be terrible. Mile 8. 8:32. Solid. Would have been nice to have someone to pace with, but you play the hand you’re dealt. Mile 9. 8:59. What goes down must come up. 130’ in a half mile to get back up to town level. Took it easy and it didn’t hurt. I was just about on pace according to my plan, and Mrs. Dave had gotten the tracking update that had my predicted finish at 3:45. What she said was, “You’re going SO FAST!” Mile 10. 8:18. This was the last time I’d be “going so fast.” This mile drops 120 feet in ¾ of a mile. I went with the slope and eased into the next section. A half mile later I was climbing again. Only 100 feet over the next mile, so there was that. Mile 11. 8:55. And then the sun came out. The sun was not my friend that day. It was only a mile and a half on this one section, but it was a straight mile and a half, oriented north-south (we were running south) with the morning sun nearly directly overhead. And that big bright yellow ball of fire might as well have been Kryptonite and I was Superman. I tried to stay positive, hoping that maybe the clouds would come back or that once I got to the top of the next hill I could recover. Or was I just fooling myself? Mile 12. 8:54. Made it to the top of the hill and kept the foot off the gas. Another mile to the half and then we’d see. At least the sun was behind me and would be for most of the next 10 miles. There was intermittent shade along the streets, too. Hopeful. Mile 13. 8:42. This was a nice area with plenty of trees as we wound through the neighborhood. BTW, if you don’t like lots of turns in your marathon (Sara, I’m looking at you), Vermont City is not for you. I counted 54 significant turns – not during the race obviously – ten just in Mile 13. Mile 14. 9:13. There was water right after the half mats and I took a quick walk break, gathering myself for the next nine miles. I passed the half in 1:54, still well on track for my 3:50 C goal. I had in my mind that if I could make it to Mile 22 where the final stretch on the bike path would be easy (haha!). Psychologically, this meant I only had nine miles to survive instead of 13. Mile 15. 9:00. And it almost worked. We spent the next mile on a bike path, near the lake and through a couple of park areas, mostly sheltered by more trees. Surely at this easy pace I could make it to the end. Mile 16. 11:15. Except I apparently forgot about the hill in the first half of Mile 16. It’s on Battery Street, the main thoroughfare between downtown and the lakefront parks. The locals call it Battery Hill. It’s almost exactly a half mile from top to bottom (or in this case, bottom to top). 94 feet. Mrs. Dave and T-Rex were there for me, and I stopped for a few seconds to shed my SPIbelt (now empty), and let them know that the next ten miles were going to be ugly. They were 100% positive. Easy when you aren’t the one dying of heat stroke at Mile 16, I guess. As I headed up the hill I felt my watch buzz, then realized that – like almost always – I’d forgotten to turn off the auto-pause. Oh well, the race was chip timed. Someone would have my accurate time. Not that it was going to be anything to brag about. I asked a guy about half way up the hill if he was responsible for putting that hill there. Not sure he understood what I was asking. Mile 17. 10:32. 17 was one of the few straight miles. Rolling terrain. I started switching my watch to see my heart rate, walking until it dropped back down to 130, then running again. It never got crazy high – close to 180 just once – but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Something to keep my mind occupied anyway. Mile 18. 9:34. 70 feet of down over this one. Half way through we started a couple of weird loops into and through some neighborhoods. The locals were OSOM. Beginning at the first corner, they had water, oranges, and ICE POPS! The sun had been out pretty much since about mile 14 and it was starting to bake. The yellow signs were out. I was soaked head to toe. Nothing I’ve even eaten in my whole life was as cold and refreshing. I had sucked down about two thirds of it (grape), when – BAM! – my ice pop popped out of its plastic wrap and dropped to the ground. I almost cried. Mile 19. 10:16. Out of the neighborhood and then into a park. I was grabbing ice pops every chance I got, which was pretty often. But not often enough. My seat on the struggle bus was secure. Mile 20. 14:47. Passing the Mile 19 flag, we exited a parking lot at the corner of the park into some woods. Remember that thunderstorm from before the start? Just inside those woods, the rain and the several runners ahead of us had turned the path into a black quagmire (I’ve always wanted to use the word “quagmire” in a bloop). Four feet wide, trees close on either side, caution tape designed to keep runners on the path. Except the path was more of a tough mudder obstacle. Most of us went to the left, but it was still rough and slow going. Single file, walking slow for the 50 yards until we spilled out into the next neighborhood on the other side. Such an adventure. I must have stepped wrong on something somewhere in there, because as soon as I started running again, I felt a serious pain in the front of my ankle. WTH? I stooped down and loosened the laces on my shoe, but it was to no effect. I hobbled and limped for several feet, then tried to run again. Nope. Now what do I do? Like always, one foot in front of the other. I loosened the shoe some more. Kept walking, testing a few jogging steps, walking some more. When I told the girls it was going to be ugly, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. More ice pops, lots of walking, some guy with a garden hose. I tried to turn off the auto-pause, since I had nothing else to concentrate on, but couldn’t remember how to do it while I was running. Pretty sure there’s a way. Finally gave up after 2-3 lap resets. This was my Mile 20, and the first half of 21. Mile 21. 12:22. I stopped as I exited the neighborhood and asked a volunteer to borrow her phone so I could text Mrs. Dave to let her know how things were (weren’t) progressing, and suggested she call the hotel. I expected those last 5 miles to take a long, long time. Funny, though, as soon as I handed the phone back and started off again, the pain was gone. Like, really completely gone. Pinched nerve? Whatever, I wasn’t going to complain. At that point I could go back to worrying about the heat and my aching legs. That was also when the yellow signs that they’d been displaying at the water tables were replaced with red ones. Sweet. Mile 22. 11:43. There was one steep little drop, to a sharp left, then another left onto the bike path for the last four miles. I flew down it pretty fast, figuring I had nothing to lose. If I can believe Garmin, my pace down the hill was 7:15. Of course, it was only a couple hundred yards, so it didn’t do me much good either in the grand scheme of things. Mile 23. 10:33. My memory of the elevation for these last four miles was that it was mostly downhill. I expected to gain at least a little boost. It felt like it was uphill the whole way. And the path (and the trees lining it) was just wide enough that the sun had plenty of room to beat down on me. And there were no more ice pops. Mile 24-26. 12:22, 11:35, 11:07. Things were sort of blurry through here. I remember the lake being close by and wondering what 50 degree water would feel like. There was a girl and a guy swapping places with me and I’d catch snippets of conversation. She was from NYC but going to school there. He was local. This was her first marathon. Last .2. 2:08(8:31). This actually was downhill and I tried to come in at least looking strong. Mrs. Dave was trying to get a picture of me, but there were two people right in front of me, so I slowed down enough for the photo op, then sped past them and found the finish line. Not my best marathon. Not my worst. Official time – 4:19:42. A 25 minute positive split. But a finish is a finish. I’ll get another one under four hours some nice, cool, fall morning. Next came the painful walk back up Battery Hill. The same hill. That’s where we were parked. Then the 90 minute drive back to Plattsburgh, a slow shower, and – since T-Rex had work on Monday afternoon – we were on the road home. Yep. I ran a marathon, showered and started driving. Actually, Mrs. Dave was driving. Since we were close to Montreal and I’ve never been to Montreal, it seemed a great idea if we took a little detour north (maybe 30 minutes’ worth) through Quebec. Pcubed has an office there and I thought it would be fun to take a pic of it to show my peeps at work. Except when we got to Montreal, our view was completely blocked by a new bridge being built across the St. Lawrence River. This is the best view I had. And with the related construction detour and an accident on the freeway, my little half hour excursion turned into two hours. We got as far as Toronto and had to call it. Stayed the night there and drove the rest of the way Monday morning. Oh yeah, I drove for a few hours Sunday afternoon and when we stopped at the hotel in Toronto my ankle – the one that caused Mile 20 to be 15 minutes long – was painful and swollen. Guess it was a real thing, despite Miles 21-26 being pain free. It’s better today, finally, but I had to give it a regimen of ibuprofen and ice for a couple of days. Race photos were free to download thanks to a local race sponsor, Kenney Drugs. These four didn’t look too bad, and the finish line photo may be the best race pic I’ve ever taken. Hey, folks, I’ve run another marathon. Most of last year I spent wondering if that would ever happen again. Knee pain. Physical therapy. More PT. Surgery. Recovery. More PT. A painfully slow comeback through the late summer. Next up, #20. Exactly when or where I haven’t decided yet. Due to finances, I may try to stay close to home. Air Force is in Ohio. I still need Ohio. It’s also in September and I don’t know if I want to be ready for a marathon in September. I’d basically need to start training tomorrow. Nope. Maryland, Iowa and Tennessee are the next three closest states.
  2. 7 points
    It's 7:02 and I just hopped off my friend's Vespa at the entrance to the park. I run to Lakeside for bib pick up. The lady tells me, "It's 7:04." FuckFuckFuckFuckFuck. The race starts at 7:10 sharp and I'm still a good 10 minute walk from the start line and my left shoe is on wonky. My hair is stupid from squishing my ponytail into the helmet and my hat is in my hand. What does a ten minute walk translate to in running? I find out soon enough when I hear the horn blow and I'm still a few hundred feet away. I stop to retie my shoe and then pick up the pace to the start. I wasn't going to actually race this race. My lungs have been crap. I'm 30 pounds heavier than when I ran this series two years ago. I've been injured all winter. But I'm going faster than I thought I could and feeling okay. The back of the pack is already gone and they are starting to take down the cones at the start as I fly through. I start my watch. 9:05 Huh. I didn't think I could run this pace right now. It feels sustainable. Is this comfortably hard? I don't remember anymore what that feels like. I don't remember what I'm supposed to feel like racing. I wonder if it's my muscles or my mind that are out of practice. This feels good and I decide to try to stick with this pace. So much for not racing. I come up to The Hill and I still feel okay. I'm picking off people at the back and getting picked off by faster people who were late like me. I focus on my effort. This is the hardest part of the race. It's so easy to burn yourself out on this hill and it's only halfway through the first mile. I'm working but I'm not burning. My lungs aren't on fire. I think to myself that I may have just pulled off that whole "equal effort" thing that they are always telling you to do on hills but I never seem to be able to do. I reach the crest and start to gun it on the downhill. I refuse to look at my watch just yet. I don't want to feel like I should be doing anything more or less. I'm working but I'm not burning. I know I used to push it so much more but I just don't feel ready. I don't think I'll be able to keep it going. I'm not there yet. I get to the mile marker and peek. 9:23 Okay. There was The Hill. Shake it off and get back to pace. Mile 2 is some downhill and some rollers. I'm still feeling good and fast. I think I can ride it out at this pace. I glance at my watch 8:50. Holy shit. I haven't seen an 8 on my watch in forever. A little voice whispers that two years ago I was flirting with the 7:50's at this point in the race but I let myself let that go. Those aren't my paces anymore. I haven't put in the work for those paces and I'm so much heavier now. I let myself accept that I am working on both things but neither one is immediate. I hold on and click off the mile at that pace. Mile 3 starts on the big downhill. Here is the best part of the whole park. It's the payoff for The Hill and all the rollers. I fly and I start to get to that edge but I know I don't have the discipline to hold it. I let myself fly while I prepare myself for the next part. It's the worst part of the race. It's flat and wide and there's nothing to look at. I tell myself that I can not hold whatever pace I am at once I get to the flat and I need to be okay with that. I need to know it's coming and not see my slowing pace as a failure. I am on a downhill. I should be going faster here than there. I steal one glance at my watch. 8:19 Oh it feels so amazing to feel my legs move this fast. I let myself just enjoy it while lasts. If I could close my eyes and just feel it, I would. But I get to the bottom and the hard part begins. Every race in this park ends after this section and years of conditioning have taught me to hate it. This is where you hurt. This is where you struggle. This is where you do everything in your power to hold on. This is where your lungs burn and your legs scream and you have a million arguments with yourself to just keep going, keep pushing. I don't think of the distance. I know I'm slowing but I don't look at my watch. I set my eyes on each bend in the road far out in front of me. Three turns to the finish. Two turns to the finish. It's just after that last turn. I hear someone come up behind me and I let them kick past me. Don't chase them. You're not there yet. Just keep this pace. You're doing well. Just hold on. I cross the finish line at 28:18. And I'm so happy and proud of myself. I check my watch again to make sure. My running has been so discouraging lately, I had no idea I could actually push myself. Immediately I know that I'll be back for the rest of the series. Immediately I know that I want to find that edge again between as fast as I can and faster than I should have. Immediately I know I want to remember how to burn.
  3. 7 points
    Here is some music while you read. (And if you like that, you can read this) After 3 marathons in 13 months, I've decided to take it easy for a while. No more marathons until Fall 2020 (probably...); No halves until December. Just some 5Ks and a 10K and running what I feel like. So that means I'll still do track workouts on Wednesdays, because I like to run fast, and long group runs on Saturday, because I like to be social. But nothing longer than maybe 12 miles. And no pressure if I want to skip some days. But I'm feeling fine, with no injury problems, so I'm still running 4-5 days a week, and enjoying it. I'd still like to run a fast 5K, under 21. And my one goal for summer is to run a mile under 6:00 in our August mile race. So I'll be doing the speedwork. I did run a 5K a few weeks ago, and couldn't motivate myself to do a race report. Because it was nothing special really. Same race I do most years. I ran pretty much exactly as I expected. Goal was to be under 7:00 pace, and maybe break 21 (6:45 pace). Plus I had two rivals from my club, Coach Ed and training buddy Bart. As expected, I beat Ed, but couldn't catch Bart. Splits were 6:56, 6:47 and 6:53 for a 21:13. Felt good through 2, but had nothing left to chase down Bart in mile 3 and faded. Here I am finishing up. So, I was pleased but not excited. Work to do. Next race is July 4th on a slightly hillier course, and I'll see if I can go faster. I hope you all enjoy your summer running!
  4. 6 points
    We got a kitten and he is the cutest! We took almost a week to settle on his name: Nugget Theo Ibbetson. "Nugget" from gold nugget (my husband and daughter love the show Gold Rush), and also because it sounds good with our other cat's name, Bandit. Theo because he was named Theodore at the shelter we adopted him from. Scroll down through excessive kitten photos for the running update I'm excited about. I had a monster workout this morning, and it was a success! When I saw it on paper, I wasn't sure I'd be able to hit it, but I knew that if I did it would be a huge confidence boost before Grandma's Marathon. It was also essentially my last chance for a huge confidence boost, and my last chance to make big fitness gains, being 2 weeks out from my race. No pressure! The goal was 6 miles at 6:15 pace, 1 mile at sub-6:00, 5 miles at 6:15, 1 mile at sub-6:00 (with 2 warm up and 3 cool down miles). I have never run a workout like this before, and mainly I was worried about the sub-6:00 mile in the middle. I knew I'd be able to run it because I've regularly been running 6 miles of tempo work at sub-6:00, but I did not know if I'd be able to come back from it and continue at 6:15 for so many more miles. But you never know until you try, so I tried! My splits are below. I ran to 13.11 to see what my half time would be, since I knew it would be faster than my bronchitis half 2 weeks ago. I was right where I wanted or a shade under for most of the workout, but I couldn't quite get down to sub-6:00 on the final mile...darn those 5 seconds! I was still quite happy with this, because I ran my second fastest half marathon ever in a workout, by myself, in 95% humidity, with no aid stations, and certainly with different pacing than I'd have used in an actual race. It was a good reminder not to drop too fast of a mile too early in a race! It was 65 degrees, so about as good as you're going to get in Missouri in June, but the humidity was pretty brutal at 95% and I could squeeze sweat out of my hair and clothing afterward. My friend Rebecca ran a shorter faster workout on the same course I was on, so at some points I got to chase after her, which was helpful. I wore the outfit I plan to wear for Grandma's, although I think will wear my Nike Vaporfly shoes for the race and did this workout in New Balance Zantes. This is the one and only run this year that made me think perhaps my Big Dream Goal is possible at Grandma's, but one is better than none, right?! 2 weeks to go! Our favorite post-long run pose Better together Fast braid for Rebecca, sweat soaked bun for me No stops, because race clocks don't stop!
  5. 6 points
    I ran this about 3 weeks ago and now am just finally writing about it. I awoke to overcast skies, but not so overcast that I was bothered. After all, the weather had been predicted to be sunny that Saturday with a high of 80 degrees. It had been a pretty good training cycle. I survived the early winter months with my discovery of Peloton Digital's on-demand treadmill workouts and surprised myself with how much I was able to push the pace. By the time regular outdoor running was bearable for me, my average easy run pace had slipped into the sub-12's, which was a pleasant surprise. I suppose that is what happens when you take classes where standards are generalized and the trainer has no idea of who you are or what you personally think your limitations are. Always aiming to be the perfect student, I often tried to match what the instructors were suggesting, although as I got more comfortable with myself, I would be more humble in some of those runs. In other runs, especially the outdoor ones, I was less humble. Or perhaps I was simply realistic. This is the advantage to being told to run by perceived effort, rather than a specific pace. More often than not, my perceived effort resulted in a faster pace than I would have otherwise set for myself. I managed two long runs of 10 miles, whereas previously I had only gotten 1 of these in. This was in spite of catching my annual spring cold, and missing nearly an entire week of running due to wedding (!) planning. I've never had a perfect training cycle for any race, but I've never been more pleased with how this one went. The race was set inside a state park, along trails that I regularly ran when I was marathon training. I was pretty excited to run these trails again, as it's been forever since I've ran them. Back to race morning. I found myself among the lots and lots of runners who thought arriving in the car around 6:30 would be plenty of time in advance for a 7AM start. So, when I finally parked around 6:50, I had just enough time to connect with a friend who was also running, wait in line for the porta-potty and then head to the start line. By the time 7AM rolled around, it was starting to noticeably sprinkle, and I was wondering how in the heck this race would go. My friend is considerably faster than me, so we started in our respective pace groups. I found myself falling in step with a group of 3 ladies, one of whom regularly paces half marathons. They were going at a pace that felt comfortable, yet slightly challenging, so I quietly shadowed them and by mile 3 or so, the rain had stopped and I eventually joined their conversation. As each mile ticked off, I checked my watch, pleasantly surprised at how good the reported pace felt. The course was rolling hills and the group was running by feel, not by pace, and I enjoyed this approach, keeping an even effort. Mile 1 - 10:40, Mile 2 - 10:53, Mile 3 - 11:08, Mile 4 - 11:38 The next few miles were one of the tougher sections of the course - with some nasty hills. Hills are the one thing I'm good at though, so while the ladies slowed to a power walk (even effort), I stubbornly bounced up the hill, considering that this may bite me in the ass later. I also figured this meant that eventually, the ladies would catch up with me again. Mile 5 - 11:37, Mile 6 - 11:22, Mile 7 - 11:43 Now, I have to say, the nice thing about corporate challenge races is companies get points both for having participants and for having spirit squads. So, during what may have been a very lonely race, it was filled with people who were cheering and encouraging you on, and that really makes a difference. By Mile 8 or so, the ladies had caught up with me again, and we enjoyed the downhill after all the climbing. I was really enjoying the race, chatting with people I didn't know about anything and everything. By mile 9, it was just me & the pacer (who's name I wish I could remember), as the hills had caught up with others. It was also around this time that I started to recognize that, if I keep this up, I will get a massive PR. Mile 8 - 11:03, Mile 9 - 11:06, Mile 10 - 11:10 As the race continued, we encountered the gradual uphill that had been our initial downhill. In running, what goes down must go back up, and we were paying for those nice, easy miles at the start. My quads were protesting, my hammies asking me 'WTF?' and I was thankful for my new running buddy who was encouraging me to keep my head in the game. About this time, the forecasted rain made its appearance - in full force. We are talking soaked to the bone, water dripping off your elbows and race hat, rain. But, we pushed onward (and upward), climbing to the finish and encouraging other to give it a solid run (neither of us were down for much more) into the finish Mile 11 - 11:03, Mile 12 - 11:41, Mile 13 - 11:26 I stopped my watch, looked down and was instantly happy: 2:26:34. A 5 minute improvement on my unofficial PR and a 7 minute smashing on my official PR. After the race, while it was continuing to rain harder and harder, I stretched and guzzled chocolate milk & water under one of the parks' shelters. When it became evident the rain would not let up any time soon, I slowly started walking to my car. Thanks to the hard work of Mythbusters, I knew it would be pointless to try running to the car, as I would get just as wet. I had brought a clean shirt to change into, but recognizing just how wet I was, I simply took my race shirt off in addition to my sopping socks and shoes, and placed my windshield sunguard on my seat, and drove home half dressed. <-- probably an unnecessary detail, but it's important for me that you know that I was so drenched that I didn't want to keep the wet shirt on or put on a dry shirt. *shrug* Wish I had photos, but sadly, there are none.
  6. 4 points
    Vertical Mile Challenge – June 15, 2019 Rocky Face Park | Hiddenite, NC Race 6/12 for 2019 goal! Halfway there! It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything, and that’s because my world has changed quite a bit in the last month. I’m now living back in my home state of North Carolina, and have a lot of time on my hands while I find a job. I haven’t been using all that time to run though. I’ve let the stress of everything (that I’ll write about some time) get to me and haven’t used running as an outlet for it, for some reason. Nonetheless, I was signed up to run the VMC and I wasn’t about to puss out of it – trained or not. An abbreviated version of the history of the race goes like this: In 2011, some dudes wanted to create a race in where you complete 5,280′ of vertical in the shortest distance possible. They happened upon a park that is 15 minutes from where I grew up, and voila! 2.2 mile loops, eight times, for 16 miles and 5,280′ of vert. All aboard the pain train! Jenster is the one that told me about this race. It was only $25 to register and is SO close to where I’m living and grew up. It was such a no brainer! I hadn’t ran in three weeks leading up to the race and finally got in a few runs the week of the race. My niece and nephew are great running motivators and ask me every day if we can go running! Jenster and I The race started at 8am, so I got up at 5:45 so that I could leave by 6:30, get a great parking spot, and pick up my packet. It was a cool morning, and in the upper 50’s when I got there. There were just over 200 people running, which is the biggest group they’ve had thus far. Word is getting out, apparently. There were plenty of PoPs and a bathroom so I even got to use a real toilet! The smaller size of this race was perfect. This shows the bit of pavement we had to run on and the part of the rock that people climb. Not knowing a bit of the course or exactly what to expect, I started in the middle of the pack. We ran for less than a quarter of a mile on pavement and then hit the trail. Right away you could see there were going to be lots of roots – they had spray painted most of them bright orange. It was crowded up until we reached the rock face about half a mile in. I was not warmed up enough before we started the hike uphill. My first start up the hill While it was still cool, you could tell that rock was going to heat up quick – there wasn’t a breeze yet either. The straight uphill portion was at least a half a mile long and felt like it’d never end. I was using the footwork I’d learned while mountaineering in the snow – taking sideways steps so that I didn’t burn up my calves. Others were also using the switchback strategy so as not to go straight up the rock, which I did some as well. There wasn’t a trail so you just made your own way up the rock face. At the top, they had a water only station that was stocked with ice cold water. It tasted like the best water I’d ever had in my life. When you get to the top, you run through the woods briefly and get to another small rock portion, then hit the woods again and start going downhill. There were lots of switchbacks, rocks, and roots. This was a great way to start my NC racing again! I actually missed those roots! Towards the end of the loop, you come to another rocky portion and this is the portion you can see from the parking lot. This is also the portion that people rock climb on. There was a really steep part that was killer on the feet and toes! Just before you get to the start/finish line, there are some rock stairs and then you’re back on the pavement. At the start/finish, there is a bigger aid station with food and other drinks. I didn’t get anything after the first loop and just kept going. I should also note that when I crossed the line, my watch was reading just under 2 miles. Focus! Just after I started the second loop, I tripped and fell. I wasn’t picking my feet up enough, caught my toe on a root and BOOM! It was enough to scrape the skin off the top of my left knee (the knee that ALWAYS takes the hits!) and a little off my other knee too. My left wrist was what I caught myself with so it was a little scraped up as well. I didn’t run nearly enough trails in CO so I’m going to love getting use to it again! NC trails are far better than CO trails, in my opinion. Anywho, I had a few people ask me if I was ok and I gave them a thumbs up. It hurt for maybe a 10th of a mile and then it was fine! Just a flesh wound! I told one of them that I was due for some trail rash. Scraped the skin right off! It wasn’t long before I started seeing people getting treated by medical folks. I was also hearing that they had received a 911 call from someone and were looking for them. Shit was getting real and we were all starting to see and feel the effects of the terrain and heat. I didn’t consume anything besides water until after the third loop, which was a Huma gel and half a banana. When I hit the halfway mark, it was just over two hours and I ate a lot more. I grabbed some Gatorade, a pickle chunk, half a banana, and took a packet of 3 salt tabs. It hadn’t even dawned on me that I should have brought more salt tabs. I was lucky I even had the one pack. This was definitely early on in the race… haha! I had been playing leap frog with several people and kept seeing the same faces. The winner had finished before I even hit the halfway mark. I was also getting lapped by some folks as well. At this point, it was hard to tell who was on what lap and you didn’t really know unless you asked. A lady came up from behind me on the first or second lap and was asking me what model of Altras I was wearing. She said she’d never heard of the Timps and would be looking into getting some. We’d run into each other during all but the last two laps and she’d started calling us the Altra gals. She would pass me on the uphill and I would pass her on the downhill. I even started to “ribbet” when I went by her – haha! That 57 year young lady ended up beating me by 20 minutes! By the way, that’s the farthest I’ve ever run in the Altras and they were great! I’m on the far left I started off fueling well but didn’t continue to. I wasn’t taking in nearly enough when I needed to. I was only drinking a cup of Gatorade and eating half a banana. One of the laps I dipped a potato in salt and ate that – all that salt tastes so gross! The sixth lap was the worst and I was feeling pretty bad by the end of the seventh lap. I had been feeling like I was going to cramp up since the halfway mark, and I was just hoping and praying that it’d hold off – that could be a serious game changer. I even thought about this race possibly being my very first DNF. My back was also getting super tight and I kept having to bend over to stretch it out. However, my brother, sister-in-law, and three kiddos had come out to see me finish! They were there in time to see me start the last lap. I got some food and talked to them for a minute. My nephew and nieces didn’t know what to think about how I looked and that I was scarfing down watermelon, pickles, and banana and drinking Gatorade – all of which I could barely carry over to the bench, haha! By that time, I was averaging 40-45 minute loops so I told them I’d be back in about that amount of time. As soon as I took off for the last loop, I felt re-energized and great! Seeing them was what I needed to finish strong! There was a much smaller field at that point, and I felt like I was way in the back of finishers. I was letting the aid station volunteers know that it’d luckily be the last time I saw them! When I crossed the finish line in 4:46, my family was there to record me finishing. My nephew thought my bloody knee was the coolest and he was getting down really close to look at it. He hugged me and told me he was proud of me, dawwww! It’s over! Race Stats: Starters: 203 | Finishers: 184 | Gender Place: 25/48 | Overall Place: 128/184 Garmin Distance: 16 miles (supposed to be 17.4) | Garmin Vertical: 4,091′ (not 5,280′) I noticed a comment on Strava that the course has been off every year and that everyone always gets the vertical amount that I got. That is WAY off, by more than 1,000′! I wasn’t getting the 2.2 miles per loop either. I thought that I wasn’t getting a good GPS signal. Maybe that’s still true? Surely it wouldn’t be off that much and they still claim it as a vertical mile race…. who knows. Post Race It’s been three days since the race and I have been SORE AF! Getting on and off the toilet is THE WORST. This is certainly in the top of times that I have been the most sore. This time last year I ran the Leadville Heavy Half and I think I was this sore after that as well. I plan to run this race again next year so this will just be the weekend of pain from here on out! I’d love to make this a yearly occurrence! I also plan to get out there and run and hike the course as often as possible. It’s so close! Hopefully I’ll actually be ready for it next year. I haven’t signed up for a July race yet but it will likely be a 5K with my 8 YEAR OLD NEPHEW!! Yaaaaassssss!
  7. 4 points
    Two things I can think of why Monday's tempo went better than awful. The last few years I've needed a couple of days after donating blood to feel back to normal. So I had plans for an easy run instead of Monday's normal tempo. I hydrated more than normal, and it was only 65 degrees again. June has been pretty good that way around here so far. The week before I struggled to average 8:15's for 4 miles. This time it was a smooth 8:04. Tuesday was not bad, either, although there were stomach issues. Fortunately, I ran Kate's Loop again, which passes in front of a friend's house (Kate is their daughter, who's one of the kids in my Sunday School class) and the mom is a stay-at-home, so I knew someone was likely to be there and let me in. Worst case I could have made it to the park, but that would have added mileage to my day and I wasn't really feeling the extra distance. Interval Wednesday I went against my just vow to stay off of the track and went to the track. Since it hadn't rained for a couple of days I thought I'd try the shortcut through the woods. Bad idea. It was really messy and before I could get to the school grounds I had to balance across some fallen trees to stay out of several yards of standing water. There was a deer at the edge of the woods, watching me the whole time. She even stayed around for the workout. School is out for the summer and a crew was out installing new astroturf on the football field. But lanes 4-6 were open, so I used them for the 10 x 400s I was doing. These went OK. Not as fast as 2014, but I'm older now, right? The first 6 were all between 1:48-1:50, #7 was 1:53 and my left hammy started to tickle a tiny bit. So I switched directions, hoping that would take care of it, and it did. The last three were 1:43-1:43-1:42. Getting home was sufficiently difficult that I knew I'd done it about right. When I run this much it's harder to avoid repeating routes, so I've taken to running on different sides of the road and calling it different. Thursday and Friday were out and backs on Seven Mile Road to Hillcrest Street. 8:51/mile on Thursday and 8:40 on Friday. It was dark and blustery on Thursday in addition to being the day after intervals. Saturday I did 8, with 4 at GMP in the middle. I want to spend some quality miles at GMP this summer. I think I've missed that the past few marathons. It was a good day for it, nice and cool (65o) in the morning. I'd like to be about 8:20-30 for these. 8:17, 8:11, 8:23, 8:16. Too fast, and the legs let me know. I don't want to feel quite so beat at the end of the long run. More control. Anyhow, 39 miles for the week, exactly to plan. Quality runs were just about where I hoped they'd be. A very good Week 2. After the run Saturday I helped T-Rex with some homework, watched the final episode of "Good Omens", then did some work on her car. She'd been to the dealer earlier in the week for her (second) airbag recall notice and they did their "courtesy" 99 point (or whatever) inspection, recommending $1,000 worth of work be done on this 2001 Civic with 140K miles on it. I re-checked the things on their list, through out a couple that were obviously no needed, and spent $50 at O'Reilly's to get some new spark plugs and drive belts. Then we switched the plugs and looked for an small oil leak. The belts will have to wait until next weekend. Then dinner at Red Robin. I love the Banzai Burger. For Fathers Day I slept in until 7:00. Since I'd gone to bed early as well, I scored almost 9-1/2 hours of sleep. Nine and a half! Home made pizza, with a new, winner of a crust recipe, and apple pie (of course) for dessert. For gifts, they gave me a new grass trimmer (the old one died in smoke and flames two weeks ago) and a pair of Balega sox. What else does a Dad need? I got ties. Another 40 mile week coming up.
  8. 4 points
    Plenty of people, I'm sure. It takes all kinds to make a world. Relationships are funny things. Sometimes you do things that you wouldn't normally do. Call it compromise. Flexibility. Love. Weakness. With a late spring marathon for 2019, it made so much sense to me that plans for my other marathon this year would involve something in November or even early December. I keep a spreadsheet with several options for different times of the year. I look at it when it's time to pick one. Mrs. Dave's plans are all in her head, so we usually have several discussions about what won't mess up something more important while I settle on a target. I know, "What could be more important than my next marathon?" I don't get it myself, but there are a lot of things in this world I don't understand. Anyway, there are races from September (way too early) to November I was looking at. I was thinking late October or November. That was going to give me a week or two off, then a few weeks to get my running legs back under me, then I'd start my 18 week training plan. Mrs. Dave had a better idea, which turned out to be early or mid October. The first weekend, in fact. There went my time off. Marathon training started last week on Monday. I had one week off. I'm OK with it. After so much time off last year, and a modest training cycle leading up to Vermont, I was sort of itching to see if the knee (and everything else) would hold up. Week 1 was a success. The more ambitious schedule has me back to Tempo Mondays and Interval Wednesdays, with easy (tired) miles on the other days. It worked before, so we'll see if I can recapture the magic for another serious attempt at Boston. Oh yeah, the race. I'm still concentrating on the New England states, just in case I move west again before I finish. This time's it's going to be the 27th Annual NH Marathon in the bustling metropolis of Bristol (pop. 3,054) on Saturday, October 5. There were 158 entries last year. The winner ran 2:49. The winner of my new 60-69 AG ran 4:06. Not super excited about the elevation in the first half, but if I can survive that I should be set for a good strong negative split. It's worth a try. Entry is only $70. So, first week of training went fairly well. Finished all the miles anyway. Monday's tempo was in the 8:15 range. 4 miles, 6 total. Wednesday's intervals (Global Running Day!) were 3 x 1200 @ 7:15. It was 82o so not very comfortable. But the pace was certainly good, so I'll take that as a win. The other days were all 8:45-9:00, feeling tired from the speedwork, just like it's supposed to. 37 miles total, exactly to plan. Yesterday Mrs. Dave and I donated blood. That will likely have an effect on today's tempo. This may turn out to just be an easy (slow) run. At least temps are only in the 60's, so I don't have to battle the elements as well. So it begins.
  9. 3 points
    May 2019 in Review Total mileage for the month: 345.8 April 29-May 5: 87.6 (2:11 strength training) May 6-12: 66.8 (2:00 strength training) - planned cut-back week that I disliked May 13-19: 94.3 (2:18 strength training) - new weekly mileage PR May 20-26: 80.7 (0:55 strength training) - I had bronchitis, & started antibiotics on May 23 May 27-June 2: 70.1 (2:03 strength training) The end of long sleeve running was quickly follow by the beginning of oppressive humidity in May Races: May 25: Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon in 1:23:31 for 1st overall female and a bronchitis PR. I changed my goals for this race after being diagnosed with bronchitis and starting on antibiotics and an inhaler 2 days before it. I was disappointed that I was unable to go for a real PR, but I was very thankful that I was able to run the race at all and that I got to break the tape! It was 71 degrees and humid at the start, and climbed to about 80 by the finish, so even if I hadn't been sick I wouldn't have run wonderfully in those conditions. Any day God gives me the opportunity to run and to race is a good day, though! The end of long sleeve running, take 2 Take 3...when you show up in gloves when your friends show up in sports bras or tank tops (it was 48 degrees)! Workouts: May 4: Long run workout of 3 warm up, 1.5 mile tempo (5:58, 2:59), 2:00 recovery, 1.5 mile tempo (6:00, 3:02), 8 miles easy, 2.5 mile tempo (5:59, 6:00, 2:57), 3.5 cool down (7:12 average for all 20.2). I'd never done a workout like this before, but I can really see the value of it! I think fast finish long runs are the most "bang for your buck" that you'll ever get out of a few fast miles, and this was a similar concept with the addition of the tempos early to put some junk in my legs. My tempo pace has been creeping down recently, and my coach told me to target 5:58-6:08 for this one. I felt pretty good about hitting 6:08, but once I got started I was really pleased with how good staying right around 6:00 felt. Rebecca ran 15.25 miles of this run with me (meaning she stopped after 1 mile of the final tempo), which was really nice and also helped me start out a little faster due to her college miler speed. I was pleased that I was able to finish strong, and ended up feeling like this was a break-through workout since I averaged 6:09-6:10 on my best tempos in April. I have actually never fast finished a long run quite as fast as I ran the final tempo during this workout, but I think keeping the easy miles really easy (mostly in the 7:40s) helped with that, so it is probably not really comparable to what I've done before (e.g., I wouldn't have finished as fast had I run the easy miles at 7:15). May 7: 4 x 1.5 mile tempos in 5:58, 2:56 / 6:00, 2:59 / 5:59, 2:56 / 5:57, 2:56 with 2:00 recoveries (2.6 warm up, 2.1 cool down). I was super excited for this workout, and it did not disappoint! My tempo goal range was again 5:58-6:08, but when I came through the first mile in 5:58 feeling super strong I decided I was going to try to sit at faster end of the range for entirety of the workout. Usually the first mile of any tempo is the hardest part for me, so when the first mile feels good I know I'm going to have a good day (alternatively, if the first mile feels bad that just seems normal and I'm not discouraged since I typically get into a groove after a couple of miles). My first sub-6:00 mile post-injury came on April 13 at the end of the Rock the Parkway half, and just 3 weeks prior to this workout I was amazed that I was suddenly averaging around 6:10 on my tempos (after a few months of struggling to run 6:30s), so to average sub-6:00 on this one and to feel excellent doing it was extremely satisfying. May 14: 2 x 3.1 mile tempos with 2:00 recovery in 18:32 (6:02, 6:01, 5:54, 0:34) and 18:27 (6:00, 5:58, 5:52, 0:37 - the final 0.1 was uphill!), 3.1 warm up, 1.6 cool down. After aborting my workout on May 11 (explained below under long runs), I needed this to go well, and it did! Three weeks prior to this, I ran 2 x 3.25 tempos with 1 mile recovery between, and averaged 6:09 pace, so it was very encouraging to run a similar workout faster (5:58 average) with a much shorter recovery on the same course. Initially I thought if I ran these two 5Ks back-to-back it would be a 36:59 10K - but then I realized that I programmed them into my Garmin as 3.10 instead of 3.11, whomp whomp (every 0.01 counts and breaking 37:00 in the 10K requires 5:57 pace!). I felt a tiny bit depleted from my stomach issues on May 10-11 and had a minor side ache on my cool down, but I think I was 95%. What's really crazy is that my heart rate was lower running sub-6:00 pace during this workout than it was running 6:25ish on May 11 in very similar weather conditions - I like looking at this metric because it's evidence that my body was off on May 11 and it wasn't that I wasn't pushing enough. May 21: 6.2 easy, 6 x 1 mile tempos with 1:00 recoveries in 5:53, 5:52, 6:03, 6:11, 6:16, 6:19 (6:05 average), 2.2 cool down. Kind of like my May 4 workout, I'd never done one quite like this before. 6 mile is a long warm up and 1:00 is a short recovery! I have never nailed a workout 3 days after a 24 miler (usually I don't even try for 4 days and I've never nailed those either) - and this one was no different. My target time was 5:55, and I felt fine enough on the first 2 repeats (I also had company on only the first 2 repeats, as Rebecca did an abbreviated version of this workout with me). On the third I was sure reaching but couldn't manage to hit my time, and then I was just holding on and telling myself to at least hit MGP. There was certainly walking on those 1:00 recoveries too. Although I would have liked to hit this workout, I wasn't at all surprised that I didn't so soon after my 24, and my allergies were causing wheezing and coughing this whole week (editor's note: it was actually bronchitis, diagnosed on May 23). I felt like I got great practice running on dead legs though! May 29: 3 easy, 5K tempo in 6:15, 6:14, 6:08, 0:38/5:48 pace for the 0.11, 4 easy, 2.5 mile tempo in 6:16, 6:18, 2:58, 2.5 easy. This was a monster workout and I really liked it, but I wasn't back to 100% in my bronchitis recovery yet and was still wheezing somewhat. Much like the Bill Snyder half, I didn't feel awful, but I just didn't feel full strength. I thought at best I might be able to hit the slower end of my tempo range (5:58-6:08), and I couldn't quite do that, but I was happy enough to run pretty evenly. Our bodies know effort, not pace, and 6:00ish effort just got me 6:12ish pace on this one! It did not help that it was oppressively humid (68 degrees, dew point 65 degrees), so also much like my May 25 race, it was difficult to know how much my illness hurt my performance vs. how much the weather hurt it, but I sure know neither helped! Amy and Rebecca joined me for the 4 miles easy in the middle, which was a nice breath of fresh air during the workout. Doubles on May 1, 2, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 21, 22, 23, 30 Strides on May 22, 24, 31 Surges on May 2, 8, 16 Days off running: May 9 and 27 - I have a day off about every 21 days now, which has been a change but I'm adapting. Mainly I had to get past the effect it has on my weekly mileage every third week! I actually asked for the day off on the 27th, because I was feeling sick and very weak - my run on the 26th felt terrible, and I have finally learned that a day off can save things, after failing to take one prior to my last injury. Favorite workout: I loved the workouts on May 4, 7, and 14, so it's a 3-way tie! I loved the workouts I ran on May 21 and 29 too, but I didn't nail those. It was a month of fun workouts. A bright sunshiny Sunday The logo on my shirt pretty much sums up all of our workout planning conversations 2018 Grandma's Marathon shirt for workout inspiration! Long Runs: May 4: 20.2 mile workout, described above. May 11: 20 miles (7:17). This long run was supposed to contain 2 x 6 miles at marathon goal pace (6:20 for the first 6, 6:15 for the second 6), but it wasn't my day. I'd been excited and confident about this workout all week, especially after my tempo workout on May 7 went so well. I was traveling for work Thursday and Friday, and on Thursday evening I had some Thai take-out that didn't sit right with me. I was awake a lot with a gurgling stomach overnight, and on Friday morning I cut my run short after stopping twice to dry heave. I didn't eat breakfast on Friday, and ate very little throughout the day due to feeling barfy. Friday night I had a normal dinner and felt fine, so I thought I would be okay. Saturday I woke up to pouring rain at 45 degrees, so waited for it to pass, which didn't happen until 10:30 a.m., 5 hours after I'd planned to run. I took the opportunity to practice my pre-race nutrition that has worked flawlessly for me in 7 marathons and more halves than that. I felt fine on my 3 mile warm-up, but once I dropped the pace to MGP my stomach agony returned. I gutted through the first 2 miles just slightly off pace (both were 6:23 but felt like about 5:50), then during mile 3 the pain became stabbing and affected my posture. I decided to finish that mile and then try to walk for a minute to re-group and finish the workout. My third pace mile was 6:28, and after my minute of walking I ran about a half mile more around 6:40 pace before deciding to save it for another day. My stomach was mostly okay after I backed off the pace, and I ended up finishing the 20 miles just fine. Conveniently I was running with Missy, who is a nurse practitioner, and she said that because at faster paces more blood is drawn away from the stomach, this occurrence made sense. In the past I'd have been devastated to terminate a key workout like this, but in the end I was thankful to run 20 miles on a terrible day faster than I'd run 20 miles on a good day just 6-8 weeks before -- not to mention extremely thankful to be out there. Any day I can run is a good day and every run is a good run! I want another go at the workout, and I learned that pushing it back a day would have been wiser than trying it like I did, but it wasn't a wasted day. My coach assured me that I would get to run it another time, although she wouldn't let me run in on May 14. :-) May 18: 24 miles (7:12), a.k.a., the Big One! I didn't have a workout in this run, but I did hope to finish faster than I started, which was successful. We had a great long run group for this run, with Missy, Rebecca, Ben, Claudio, Eric, Derek, and me, with most of the group doing 12-17 miles. Derek ran the entire 24 miles (he is training for a 50 miler!), although he eased off a little in the final 6 so I was alone for those. The miles really flew by with great company! It was warm and humid (71 degrees, dew point 63), but that didn't bother me as I expected it to - probably because it wasn't a workout. I drank quite a bit of water and took one gel. May 25: 19.2, with 3.1 warm up, the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon, and 3 cool down. Favorite long run: The 24, always the 24. I ran my 24 in my rainbow socks! Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I started "overdressing Wednesdays" to help with heat adaptation. I also started stretching in the steam room after running when I ran with groups starting at the YMCA, which was only three times, but something. It rained a lot this month! And by the end of the month, hot temperatures and oppressive humidity arrived. I am thankful we did not have any harmful flooding like many other areas did, though. I improved my weekly mileage PR to 94.3 - and don't think I didn't consider how easy it would have been to add 5.7 more miles! #restraint Life events: A tornado hit really close to home (within a half mile of our house) overnight on April 30. We lost power during the storm but didn't know nearly how bad it hit until the next day. On my run on May 1, I had to run a different course than I'd planned due to road closures and flooding. I ran east from my house, and it just looked like a thunderstorm had come through, with some small fallen branches. Then when I tried to drive west to go to work, I couldn't get through any of the roads due to the amount of destruction. I saw many homes that were damaged and destroyed, large trees that were pulled up by their roots, and fences that were annihilated. On May 3 I even saw a canoe in a tree during my run through one of the worst areas! No one suffered more than minor injuries in the storm, amazingly and thankfully. God sure protected us; we did not have any damage to our home. Albani completed another year in Awana and received her Awana awards - we love Awana! We celebrated Mother's Day with a mostly lazy Sunday (just a run, church, and time at home). Albani completed 5th grade! Her school district begins middle school in 6th grade, which she is much more ready for than I am. We made the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon into a family fun weekend - it was also a 4 day weekend, because I took Friday off work and Monday was Memorial Day. My sister-in-law also ran the race, and both of our families spent both Friday and Saturday nights in Manhattan (photos from the trip in my race recap). Our garden started producing and we harvested a lot of spinach, strawberries, and sugar snap peas (photos coming in my May cravings post). Tornado damage It looked like a war zone This house was decimated while the guest house was left standing More tornado damage Awana awards & treats New pineapple sunglasses Easter candy, haha! Rainy pillow fort Saturday Mother's Day Mother's Day after church pic Great socks Last day of school! I can still pick her up! Albani took the initiative to fix this display that had blown over in the wind on Memorial Day, which warmed my heart Books this month: An Unacceptable Death by Barbara Seranella Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom The Road Home by Richard Paul Evans (this is the final book in the Broken Road series I recommend reading the trilogy in order - I read the other two in 2018 but this one wasn't released until spring 2019) Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Okay Fine Whatever by Courtenay Hameister Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand All the Wrong Places by Joy Fielding A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson Theme of the month: Resilience, inspired by this post -- or #musclemay - photos below...
  10. 3 points
    The short: I readjusted my goals for this race after being diagnosed with bronchitis about 44 hours before it. I knew I wouldn't be able to run the PR I'd hoped for while wheezing and taking antibiotics, plus it ended up being 72-80 degrees and 90% humidity during the race. I hoped I could go for the overall female win, and I was able to accomplish that with a 1:23:32 half marathon, which bettered my previous on-antibiotics-PR of 1:28 -- you've gotta take the PRs you can get, right?! I was happy with this for the circumstances, but, as I think I've said many times, I'll be back to chase that real PR! The long: I ran this race last year, and it again fell 4 weeks before Grandma's Marathon, so I thought it was the perfect checkpoint to see how my fitness stacked up to where I was at last year at this point in time. Just like last year, I planned to train through the race (no taper), but I also hoped to go for a PR and to run about 2 minutes faster than I'd run at the 2018 event. A week before the race, I was feeling strong and hopeful since I'd been hitting solid tempo workouts just under 6:00 pace running alone. 6 days before the race, I started wheezing, especially when laying down. I had a slight cough and minor congestion, but no other symptoms. I didn't feel sick and wasn't weak. Since I felt fine, I was sure it was just allergies and continued on with my week. 4 days before the race, I had a sub-par workout, but I blamed it on being just a few days off of a 24 miler; I have never nailed a workout soon after a 24 miler. 3 days before the race, I started getting more concerned, because although I still felt fine, my wheezing wasn't going anywhere. 2 days before the race, I want to the doctor and was diagnosed with bronchitis and started on Z-pack antibiotics and an Albuterol inhaler. I asked my doctor about racing, and she said if I felt up for it I would probably be okay run it, considering I'd been training normally all week. Since we had two days of family fun planned in Manhattan along with the race, I decided to go ahead and run it, but I also knew my performance wouldn't be my best. I had an outside kernel of hope that I'd wake up race morning miraculously cured, but, alas, that did not come to fruition. At least there was no pressure! Race morning ended up being very steamy, already 70 degrees with a dew point of 68 when I left my phone with Jon just before 5:30 a.m. He dropped me off for the buses that drove us to the start of the point-to-point course. I felt somewhat weak on my 3 mile warm-up, but not terrible. I reasoned that if I ran a mediocre workout on Tuesday while wheezing, I could run a mediocre race. My coach had mentioned trying to run it at marathon goal pace, but that seemed a little ambitious, so I decided I would mainly try to place as high as I could and just see how I felt once I got going. The temperature was rising quickly, and the sun was out in full force for the 7:00 a.m. start. As we were off, I found myself in third overall female position, but the two women in front of me had been standing with the 1:30 pacer on the starting line, so I wondered if they were going out too fast. One of them fell back fairly quickly, and I decided I'd pace behind the other who remained. She looked like a fast runner - I hate when people surmise running ability based on looks, but she had great form and was running smoothly, in addition to being lean and muscular. We were running in the 6:20s, and I thought that was probably reasonable for me for the conditions (I was planning to aim for 6:00-6:05 healthy and in good weather). But I also didn't feel very strong and was coughing, so I had several moments where I worried I was getting in over my head by sticking with her. By mile 3, my doubts faded when I began to feel better and she began to slow significantly enough that I decided to go on around her. From about 3-10, I felt pretty decent, although still coughing sporadically, and I focused on pulling in men in front of me. I didn't look at my watch after the first 3 miles, plus splits in this race aren't that meaningful due to the elevation - miles 1 and 6 have major drops, miles 11 and 12 have climbs, and the rest has some gentle inclines and declines but is mostly flat. I took water at every aid station, usually two cups, and sipped some before pouring the rest on me. I also took a gel, sucking it down slowly between about miles 5-8. I usually don't take gels during halves, but antibiotics seem to make my blood sugar low and I thought it would help with that, plus some more practice running hard with them in my stomach before my marathon can't hurt. Around mile 9 I passed a friend of a friend who I'd been planning to pace with for a 1:18-1:19 before my bronchitis debacle, and he said the heat was really getting to him. In the final 5K, I was also getting very hot and the two climbs that didn't seem that bad last year felt like mountains. Whenever I'm not at 100% strength, I seem to struggle much more on uphills than I do on flats. I'd passed a man around mile 10 who was fading worse than I was, and the next man was out of reach, plus from spectator's comments I knew I had the female win secured, so with all of these factors together I had a hard time pushing. Really the whole race, I never felt like I was running all-out, but I also felt like I sure couldn't run any faster! Not my best pacing, even grade-adjusted I was happy to see the stadium in the final mile, and managed a finishing kick as I ran in to finish on the 50 yard line. The finish on the turf was a great touch that was new this year for the race. The announcer was extremely enthusiastic and announced that I was the first female finisher, and I came through with a smile on my face. It is always fun to win a race! As I walked to find my family, many people stopped to tell me congrats, which was very sweet. Several minutes later, I realized that they were showing all finishers coming in on the stadium's Jumbotron - another nice touch! I screenshotted this one from my finishing video! I swear I was smiling! The official results are here; scroll down for my finishing video, which might be the only video of myself running that I have ever liked! Editor's note: the announcer pronounced my last name wrong, it's a short I (I'm of course used to this but trying not to perpetuate it, hah). The famed K-State football coach Bill Snyder presented the awards, and my sister-in-law graciously took my plaque to him for an autograph after the ceremony when she got her medal signed. After I received my award, I was interviewed by a reporter from a Manhattan newspaper (I haven't been able to find the story online) and congratulated by a lady I'd talked to on the bus who exclaimed, "Why didn't you tell me you were an elite?!" Haha! Albani played with her cousins on the bounce houses on the infield and enjoyed meeting Willie the Wildcat. With Bill Snyder My sis-in-law finished 13.1 & corralled 4 young children all weekend! Stats, including the sweltering temperature My time was almost identical to what I ran at Rock the Parkway 6 weeks prior (1:23:35 there), so one thing the race showed me was how much fitness I've gained in 6 weeks. Conditions were perfect for Rock the Parkway, while quite imperfect for this one; basically, I was happy with my performance under the circumstances but I was unhappy with the circumstances! But, I don't have a good race-time gauge on where I'm at fitness-wise now, which scares me going into a marathon. A few days after the race, I realized that I ran a little slower (1:23:53) in a half marathon under similar steamy weather conditions (without bronchitis!) 4 weeks before I ran my 2:47:14 marathon, so that is encouraging. I will also never forget the death march that was the Dam to Dam half marathon, where I ran a 1:26:19 in similar hot and humid weather while healthy. I knew that I wouldn't race my best being sick, but what I didn't consider beforehand was how much running hard would take out of me. I am sure the temperature and the non-stop day of family activities afterward didn't help (I walked over 6 miles on top of the 19 I'd run), but I felt awfully weak the next 2 days, for the first time feeling like I truly had bronchitis. Based on lessons learned from my last injury, I even took a day off running to recover. Would I recommend racing when sick to others? Probably not. Would I do it again? Probably so... After the race we had a fun family weekend in Manhattan as planned! A few of my favorite photos: K-State tour My niece Violet by an agricultural building Garden tour with Albani & my niece Ivy Insect Zoo at K-State It's difficult to get a good photo of 5 children! K-State water display Hotel pool is always winning Up close & personal with a kookaburra Butterfly area This kangaroo has a baby in her pouch This guy was tapping on the glass by the kids Zoo entrance This is how we all felt at the end of this trip!
  11. 3 points
    As a Mother’s Day present from my Mom, she offered to watch DD while I ran a 5K race in Cape May, NJ – a 2.5 hour drive for her. (DH had a horrible work schedule for the past month or so and has been stuck working weekends). I really wanted to see how fast I could run a 5K with my current training. I haven’t tried to race a 5K in almost two years. For that last race I finished in 21:43, which was good enough for 2nd in my age group and a cupcake from the local bakery (still my favorite prize ever)! My goal was to beat that time, and possibly be under 21 minutes. I chose the Great Cape May Footrace mainly because it is a certified course, but also because it is a combined 5K/10K, and the 10K gives out prize money, which makes the 5K less competitive, and just for fun I wanted a shot at placing overall in a race. Looking at the past results, my goal time would have been first last year, but there was bad weather last year, and you never know who is going to show up for a race, so i didn't want to get my hopes too high. Race morning, I got up nice and early, packed DD up and drove the 1.5 hours down to Cape May. We got there at 6:40 for the 8am start. Upon arrival, I had a PoP emergency. My Mom wouldn't arrive for another 20 minute, so wasn’t sure what to do with DD. Quick decision - I strapped her into her front carrier and took her into the PoP with me. Luckily, it was very clean and hadn’t been used yet (that I could tell). DD LOVED being in the "little blue room" and wanted to touch EVERYTHING! HA! I took care of my business and managed to keep DD from getting her hands on too much – Success! Weird, but a success, racing always makes for “fun” experiences! We crossed the street, picked up my number and met my Mom at 7am. My Mom and I walk, a lot, it’s just what we do. So, we strapped DD into her stroller and took a walk down the promenade. After a two-mile walk, we were back to the start, and I ran a few strides in an adjacent parking lot. Everyone in both the 5K and 10K gathered, and I was standing next to one of my favorite run-bloggers (outside of the loop of course), Fueled by Lolz/Hollie (she is much faster than me and was running the 10K - see fast people go for the prize money! 😀). We chatted for a few seconds – she is super friendly. They played the National Anthem, reviewed both courses, and we were off with a shouted “GO.” So very different, and just as fun, from the high-production starts of Run Disney. We ran about 100 yards before a quick right turn off the street along the beach and into the neighborhood house-lined street. This road consisted of the first of the two hills on the course (about 10 feet elevation gain). I took off a little fast but settled in to a “hard but I think I can maintain” pace. I could see four women in front of me, including my new friend – GO HOLLIE! I tried to hang with her and mile one ticked off in 6:27. I passed one of the women as we made our way back to the road along the beach. We stayed on this road for 1.5 miles. A woman passed me here, at about mile 1.2 in the race. We passed the start/finish at about the halfway point in the race. I waved at my Mom and DD as we passed, a nice little distraction, but the super suck of a 5K was really setting in now. I took a quick look at my watch expecting to be close to mile 2, and it read 1.65 – ugh. However, the woman that passed me wasn’t pulling away, so I just focused on keeping her close. Mile 2 came in at 6:43, and I noticed that the woman was fading and I was closing the gap. I passed her just before the 5K turnaround around mile 2.15. The turnaround was the first point that you could see who was running each race. Thrilled, I saw all three of the women ahead of me continue straight! I made the turn and headed for home, so happy to not be running 10K! I saw the woman I just passed was also in the 5K, and I was struggling hard now. Right after the turn was the second approximately 10-foot hill to get onto the elevated promenade. I was worried I was going to catch my foot on the steep incline and fall on my face. Thankfully, this did not happen. I pushed as hard as I could the last mile, with only two thoughts, try to run under 7 minutes for all three miles, and try not to get caught. I wasn’t about to glance back to see where woman #2 was, but since I was fading, I felt the pressure behind me. The finish line is in sight for about half a mile. It is such a tease, as it doesn’t seem to get closer with each step. The “6 mile” sign for the 10K felt so painful since I thought it was the “3 mile” sign, but then realized I still had 0.2 miles left not 0.1. Soul-crushing in a 5K - HA! Mile 3 6:54. I could see the race official yelling “1st woman” when I was about 50 yards from the finish, and they stretched the banner across the line. I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I raise my hands, and hit it with my stomach/chest? Are they going to lift it over my head, and my raised hands would catch on it? Crap, I never had to think about this before. With the last three steps I decided to raise my hands up. The banner wrapped around my stomach in a wonderful hug – one of the best feelings EVER! I won a race!!!! I can’t believe I won a race!! The second woman faded more than I did and finished about 25 seconds behind me. After catching my breath, and suppressing the vomit, we congratulated each other. My time was 21:08, not under 21, but significantly better than my last 5K, so yay! I picked DD up and gave her the biggest sweaty hug. 😍 She’s the best training partner and helped me get so much stronger than I thought possible! It was a beautiful morning, so we took a long walk all around town looking at the beautiful houses, strolled on the beach, and went back for the award ceremony. I picked up a cool-looking clear medal, and an engraved beer glass that I have since used for all my drinking- both beer and water! 😊 My new friend Hollie, although not thrilled with her pace, was 2nd in the 10K – Congrats to her in the much harder race!! I was much happier running only half the distance! 😀 I was hoping for a picture of the finish line, but sadly, I haven't been able to find one, even though there were a bunch of people taking pictures.
  12. 1 point
    The traffic girl on the morning news is always crying for the weatherman to forecast afternoon highs in the 80s. What's wrong with her? End of Week 3. Feels like I'm starting to settle in to a nice training rhythm. Hitting all the miles, dialing in on GMP better. This is how it's supposed to work. Forty miles total. Tempo Monday - Cloudy. 71o. No wind. Four miles that I ought to be able to run at 8:00-ish easy. And I probably could have, except I started out at 7:36. I've also learned over the years that once I start, it's hard to slow down. I guess that's why I need all these weeks to try and get it right before race day. That also would explain why it's so common to crap out before reaching the end of a marathon. Anyway, 7:46 followed by 7:48, and then I was dead. So I walked a couple hundred yards, wondering what to do about the rest of the workout. Then I ran 7:32, showing I likely could have muscled through another mile at 8:00-ish and it would have been a good day instead of a failed tempo. Maybe I'll remember that this week. Tuesday Recovery - Cloudy. 76o. Nice breeze. Averaged just about 9:00, faster on the front end than the back due to the wind and the slight downhill on the way out. Felt sort of OK, which is about what I expect the day after a tempo that was harder than it was supposed to be. Wednesday Intervals - Clouds and sun. 79o (ick!). Moderate wind. Was going to do these 6 x 800s on the track, but when I got there and saw the crew working on the new turf, I also saw some other official-looking guy who informed me that the track was closed for the construction. The crew was there last week, but this guy wasn't. So I pretended I wasn't planning on running there anyway and talked to him about how it was good there were added two lanes to the track as well and that I was happy to do my workout on the streets. Does that make me a liar? So, half a dozen half miles at 7:24, 7:19, 7:25, 7:32, 7:28, 7:15. Eventually those should be down under 7:00 pace, but this is good for now. At least I finished them all on schedule, unlike Monday. Thursday Recovery - Rain and 64o. Windy. Felt better than Tuesday, no doubt because the temp was more runner friendly. I said rain but it was pretty mild. I wore my hat but didn't really need it. 6 miles @9:00. Friday Miles - Sunny. 78o. Breezy. Much better, despite the heat. 8:40 average for 6 miles. Saturday Pace Run - Sunny. 65o. Almost calm. Nothing like an early morning run. By early I mean about 7:00 AM. Sun's up by then, but it's still nice and cool. Couple of easy miles followed by 4 at something close to GMP, but without stress. If that's slower than GMP, so be it. Should be 8:30, plus or minus. 8:24, 8:27, 8:20. 8:12, 8:29 (so I did an extra - sue me). Not perfect, but in the neighborhood, and I felt strong so it worked. Spent the rest of the morning working on T-Rex's new fan belts. The power steering one was easy, but the A/C and alternator was a pain. The adjustment was too well hidden to get any leverage on it by hand, and no room for tools. So I spent two hours trading between a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a tie rod end puller, rotating it a quarter-turn each time until I could get the new belt on (after I just cut off the old one). As always, I saved over $100 and I have more time than money, so ...
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