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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/29/2017 in all areas

  1. 17 points
    As you're probably aware, Florida is hot. Most of Florida really doesn't have "seasons." Down south they have "my face is melting" and "oh, it'll take me 20 minutes to get a sunburn" as their seasons. Way up here in the panhandle, just south of the Georgia border we actually have something more akin to seasons. It's not like up north, north, though. Our fall basically just means that there's much less humidity and the temps are only gonna reach 85-88. The mornings, though, are quite awesome. we'll get down in the lower 70's. We have 3 DK9s. A short, stocky, blind dachshund; a mutt we were told was lab-border collie mix; and a Great Pyrenees. The GP is a 120 lbs. giant, white, hair-shedding, lovable fluff ball. When we adopted her nearly 11 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting into...I mean, the interwebs explained to us that she wasn't going to be an obedient dog, so we knew that much. But, we didn't think about the mountains of hair she would shed in a week or the fact that afternoon walks in the summer just wouldn't be any fun for her. I've tried to be the dog owner that walks there dogs for a good hour every day (except the little dachshund, and hour of walking for her is roughly the equivalent of you or I running a marathon). I learned during the first year of having the GP that walking her after work in the summer was pretty mean. She didn't lay down and collapse in neighbors yards, but her tongue would become roughly as wide as my wife's Kia Soul as she panted her way through the walk. I decided that subjecting her to that was more akin to punishment than it was enjoyable for her. So, the dog-walking was switched to before work. Ever since, I've been getting up at 5 a.m. to walk the big dogs. I think they've enjoyed not being subjected to the summer heat...and I've learned to love that early morning solitude. For years, the walk was a half mile loop to the west of my house; then, just before the intersection of the street before my street, at a storm drain, we'd turn for a three-quarters of a mile loop to the south. Sometimes, we'd zig-zag up and down a couple of side streets to add a little extra if they were feeling it. The years have gone by and the girls have gotten older. The GP has developed arthritis; and it's slowed her down quite a bit. I talked to her doctor about walking her, and he still wants her walking as much as she wants to. He said to just let her dictate the walks. The lab mix, though, is still strong and happy. Most of the time now, the GP will continue to head towards home; but, sometimes, she'll stop at the storm drain just before the intersection where we've turned onto the south loop for the last decade. She'll either start pulling that direction or she'll just stop and look, apparently longing for the days gone by when she would walk and sniff her way around that loop, before deciding to continue towards the house. On the days that the GP goes home early, the lab mix and I head back out, after dropping the GP off at the house, for a brisk walk on the south loop. This week has seen a return to fall for us. It's been warm, but comfortable, in the afternoons and nowhere near as humid as it has been for the last several months. The mornings have been gorgeous, with a refreshing breeze. The skies have been clear and the stars beautiful. The other day, the GP wanted to turn towards the south but I was in too much of a rush to be able to take the extra time. I stopped, petted her head, and promised that, if she felt like it, I would take her to do that loop before the end of the week. I was sad that I didn't have the time to do that extra loop with her. It was pretty again this morning and I spent most of the loop going to the west looking at the skies, wondering, thoughts wandering, and letting the DK9s walk and sniff 'til their hearts were content. As we made our way back toward the house, we arrived at that storm drain and stopped. She sniffed her usual spot right next to it as I stood and watched. She pulled at the leash, wanting to cross to the south loop and I smiled. The three of us wandered slowly around that loop, I enjoyed the stars and the breeze and they enjoyed walking, sniffing, and just being dogs. When we approached the street that we normally turn on to do our zig zag, the GP gently pulled that direction. I let her slowly, gently lead the way. The first part up that street is a pretty steep uphill, especially for her now. But, she continued to slowly climb it; content with her pace. As we made our way back up our street, she slowed. It wasn't that pained, lumbering slowing down that she does as she nears the end of what she can do for that day. She was dilly-dallying, hoping to extend the time that we could be outside. As I left to come to work, I told my wife that she had done the whole walk. She knows when we're talking about her, and she lifted her head to listen. She smiled a tired, but content smile and laid her head back down on the flloor. It was a good morning.
  2. 16 points
    Hello All! I have to confess, I’ve been a lurker for YEARS (probably somewhere around 2012), and enjoyed every minute of reading about the ups and downs of your running adventures. I lack confidence in my writing ability and meeting new people, but I thought with the new format, I would try to come out of the creepy lurking shadows and at least let you all know that I exist. I was quite crushed when I read that RW was removing the loop, and I’m not much of a “Facebooker,” so that wasn’t going to be an option for me even if I introduced myself before the end. I tried to read a few other blogs about running, but nothing was nearly as interesting as the Loop, and, of course, I felt like I knew all of you…even if none of you had any clue I was reading. I just want to THANK YOU all for the great reading and the motivation over the years, and for driving my desire to get back on the training train treadmill these past couple of months. I found this page by lurking my way over to Dave Shultz’s blog, in an attempt to find any information about PEGLEG’s BQ quest, and it worked! I was hoping and praying for her with every attempt. When I finally found my way over to this forum, and read her race report, tears of joy were streaming down my face! CONGRATULATIONS PEG!!!!! This complete stranger is so happy for you! Now, since I feel like I know so much about all of you, here’s a little information about me: I ran a couple of 5 and 10Ks back in my teenage years while playing a lot of soccer, and I decided that without any additional training, I would run a half marathon. Not the smartest thing I’ve done (not the dumbest either). I managed to finish with minimal walking (ahh to be young), and an EXTREMELY painful week of muscle soreness. However, I was hooked and decided that I would run that race every year. I tortured myself similarly by not training for the next few years. Then, towards the end of college, I decided recreational running was fun, and that year, my time dropped dramatically and the week of pain never occurred. At the time, I was utterly amazed at what a little training could do. The following year, I trained a little more seriously and ran several other races. It was a very emotional run when I first clocked a mile under 8 minutes in the middle of an 8K! With two miles left in the race, let’s just say I learned that crying and breathing at the same time is difficult. I completed my first marathon in 2006, and have since completed 13 more, qualifying for Boston at the 2009 Flying Pig. Unfortunately, at the time, I wasn’t interested in running Boston. I now regret that decision. I fell off the structured training wagon for several years until two months ago because other life is sometimes more important. It feels amazing to be following a training plan again and I hope to set some PRs in the future (and maybe work on getting that BQ again - maybe)! Right now, my A goal is for a 10K under 45 minutes at a race on 11/4/17 <--- I figured putting a goal out there will give me something to blog about in the future. I know it’s blasphemy to some, but now that it is dark at all the times I’m at home, I am an almost 100% gym treadmill runner. I am completely ok with the brain zone-out for an hour or two. It just makes it hard to guess at where you really stand in terms of outdoor speed during training. Since I have had difficulty finding information on this, I'm going to try to include my training treadmill paces, and resulting outdoor race pace, in an attempt to help others that may be looking for this info. I’m sure that’s more than you all care to read and thank you to anyone that read this far! I hope to add to this wonderful community, and like some others in the past have said, I am sure it will be nice to have a place I can geek-out about training and running since it’s just not my DH’s thing. He's a good sport about it, but i can tell he isn't really interested in the amount of detail I want to discuss. P.S. – To all the other lurkers that have made it over here... HI!
  3. 15 points
    I’ve been doing a lot of writing here - for myself mostly because it’s pretty mundane. But maybe someone has a lot of free time on their hands and enjoys sifting through my mess. And my return-to-running training log is here for the spreadsheet lovers. Week 1 - 2 Week 2 - 5.6 Week 3 - 12.4 Week 4 - 18.4 Week 5 - 23.7 Week 6 - 19.5 (10 miles on Monday of Week 7) Week 7 - 39.5 (10 miles from Week 6) Week 8 - 28.2 Week 9 - 26.3 (taper-ish for Augusta 13.1 race) Week 10 - 66.1 (Hinson Lake 24 Hour - lots of walking) Week 11 - 21.0 (reverse taper) Week 12 - 42.6 Week 13 - 38.7 Week 14 - 27.0** projected Week 15 - 39.2** projected race week It’s been years since I’ve felt truly invested in a marathon cycle. The first Boston Marathon I ran in 2015 was likely the last time I truly had a focus on marathon-specific training. After getting into ultras, the specific workouts of road racing were speckled throughout my running, but I relied mostly on mileage and experience to get me feeling confident at the start line of a 26.2 mile race. I am excited! When reflecting (& reading) about how I felt in late March and mid-July, I wish so badly to go back and tell myself it will be okay. Even the time between boots were filled with trepidation. Things weren’t clicking. And if I really reflect back about consistently feeling good about my training, it was late spring of 2017. 18 months is a long time to feel eh about running. Sure, I had some fantastic races and great experiences in those 18 months, but I also remember it just not feeling as good as it does now. I’ll pin the blame on overracing and overtraining, but that doesn’t mean I’d change any course of events. I’d hop in my Delorean and do the exact same thing. Stupid? Maybe. But I am not apologetic about my experiences that led me to today. Back when I was still in the boot, I made a couple of versions of my training plan to get to the start line of the NYC marathon. I gave myself plenty of fluidity in mileage, time frames, and workouts. They were all modified versions of the lowest mileage Pfitzinger plan - the same one I used for Boston 2015. The podiatrist said it would take about 5-6 weeks for things to feel good again. And up to a year of random injury site pain - some real, some phantom. It was hard to navigate the first few weeks because I became anxious with everything that didn’t feel great. And honestly, a lot of things didn’t feel great. Slowly, things started to return to normal. I noticed the first day I stood at the sink and brushing my teeth felt normal. I noticed the first day that I walked across the gym and my stride felt normal. I noticed the first day that I lifted weights and I could bear weight on both legs. I cross-trained between running and walking. I ran paces that were 3-4 minutes slower than my typical training paces. I exercised as much patience as I could stand. And things started to change. I felt stronger and happier. My stride returned to normal. Things were clicking again. Every milestone in the recovery process has seemed almost like the first time I’ve done it. Workouts that I’ve done hundreds of times suddenly gave me butterflies. And I loved having that feeling again! 20 milers were a dime a dozen in 2016 & 2017. But suddenly I had to remember how to do them again! Do I bring gels? Do I bring water? Is it better to do 2 out-and-backs or 1 longer followed by 1 shorter? It was like falling in love with running all over again. And here I am, less than 2 weeks from standing in Staten Island with 50,000 other runners, feeling ready to tackle 26.2 miles.
  4. 15 points
    It was cold, windy, snowing. Perfect conditions for a race, especially one where I told myself beforehand that I would not and should not PR. Two 10-mile loops on the trail in early April is just about where my fitness is right now. This was my kind of bare bones race: No awards, no medals, no shirts. $30. The fire in the fireplace at the start pavilion was enough for me. And lots of food. All you could ask for at the start/finish, and a well supported aid station at the halfway point. God bless those people. Racetime temps were in the mid-20’s, and the 18mph wind made it “feel like” something else. These folks were up on top of the hill, where the wind felt really nice. Somebody made a nice 3d print of the course: The 50 or so in the 50k took off 30 minutes before us, and the 10-milers left a half hour later. I started at the rear of our 25-person 20-miler pack. In my runs on these trails leading up to the race, there was still quite a snow pack on some sections that would have been awful. But we had a good melt during race week, and all the snow was gone. The overnight cold froze the ground up nicely, though, so there wasn’t even any mud. I congratulated the RD on his impeccable timing. Just a nice dusting of snow on the ground, plus whatever was falling during the race made it quite pleasant. The trails in this park are all runnable, but the RD made sure we hit all the hills, and it added up to 1100 ft per loop. Enough to make sure I did my share of walking. There was a perfect mix of roots, rocks, grass, and woodchip running. And no standing water - I finished with dry feet. Let me know if you ever need tips on bib-pinning I ran with a couple others for the first loop, then pushed it a little to finish. I didn’t get too crazy, but made sure I never stopped, ran all flats and downhills, and did my best powerhiking on the ups. Finished in 3:42. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but a finish means I did something over the winter. Next up is a charity 13.1 in June, then a Last One Standing trail challenge shortly after. Keep running 1.2 mile timed loops until you can’t. Also $30. That should be a fun one.
  5. 14 points
    My 2018 running year is off to a great start, and I think it’s time to share my Big Goal with you. Putting it in writing for consumption by an audience other than my mom and a few select friends who have gotten previews is absolutely terrifying for me, but I think it’s the good kind of terrifying. Which is largely how I feel about my goal for 2018 in the first place. In 2018, I want to BQ minus 5 minutes. That will be a 3:30:00 marathon. A PR by 15 minutes and 21 seconds from last October. And I want to do it at Rehoboth in December. Excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes… Ok, I’m back. Like I said, 2018 is off to a great start. I’ve run two 5Ks and a 10K in the first two months of the year, and I have a half-marathon coming up this Sunday. In New Orleans! Yay! When I decided that pursuing a BQ was going to be a real thing this year, and not just something I passively wanted but didn’t do anything in particular to accomplish, I knew I needed to step up my training game. I’ve been following the Hansons Marathon Method training plan for the last couple of years, and have had success with it, but I knew I wasn’t really making the most of it. I talked myself out of about ⅓ of the interval and tempo workouts in any marathon cycle because I didn’t like doing them, and it was easy to come up with reasons why I should just do an easy run instead. I still made improvements in the marathon, and ran them pretty well, but I wasn’t seeing anything like the improvements people were posting about in the Facebook group and I felt like my fitness was plateauing. Just being accountable to myself wasn’t cutting it, so I decided last fall that after Rehoboth 2017 I would sign up for Hansons Coaching Services and bring in reinforcements. Knowing that I was paying someone every month to get the Garmin data from each and every workout seemed like an effective way to make sure that I did each and every workout. Signing up for coaching also meant that my training plan would be customized not just to my running abilities and goals but also to my race plans and travel schedule. Since I’m me, by December 2017 I’d already registered for three marathons, a half-marathon, and a 10-miler for 2018! That is definitely more racing than Hansons recommends with their off-the-shelf training plans, so I was excited about working with a coach who could shape a training plan around the things I already wanted to do, and still aim for the Big Goal in December 2018. And so far, it’s been everything I was hoping for and then some! My coach, Melissa, is awesome and was completely unfazed by both my ambitious (some might say audacious or even flat-out ridiculous) goal and the excessive amount of racing that I like to do each year. I only get 2-3 weeks of workouts at a time, which is VERY helpful for me as I am definitely prone to looking ahead in a training plan and getting all psyched out over the paces and distances in the later weeks. It also allows us to adjust the plan easily if anything comes up, like illness, injury, ridiculous winter weather, or work travel to places where running outside is a no-go. And every time I finish a run, my Garmin data is automatically uploaded to the Final Surge app, where she can see every last detail of my run. Because of that, I haven’t skipped a single run since we started working together in mid-December. That’s HUGE for me. In addition to the added accountability making a difference in my consistency, having a coach tell me how fast I’m supposed to be doing speed and tempo workouts and the races I’ve done so far has been AMAZING for my confidence. For the first few speed workouts she had me do in January, the paces made me look like that bug-eyed emoji face and I was like, “Omg no way can that be my target pace! I can’t run that fast! What is Coach thinking?!?” But you know what happened? I DID run that fast. As part of my ongoing realization that running is so very much a mental game, having Coach prescribe target paces that I thought were beyond my current abilities has made me faster. I might start out a workout with some doubts, but I also tell myself that I have to at least try because Coach told me to. And then I run the first interval or first tempo mile and absolutely nail the target pace and say to myself, “Oh! I CAN do it!” 2018 so far has already been vastly different than it would have been if I hadn’t gotten a coach. One thing that I’ve avoided like the plague has been racing short distances. I’m a marathoner! Why would I race a 5K? Those things hurt! Well, because Coach said I have to. And it turns out that they’re actually kind of fun in a weird, masochistic way. Kind of like speed work, as I’m also discovering. So over MLK Day weekend, I ran my first race of the year: a small 5K along the C&O Canal Towpath out in Maryland that was organized by the DC Road Runners. This was intended to be sort of a benchmark race to see where my fitness was. I’d only been back to normal running for a few weeks after recovering from Rehoboth and had done just one very short speed workout beforehand. My 5K PR from last July was 23:54 (7:43 pace), but since that was set in an evening race in the heat and humidity of the DC summer, I was pretty sure I could beat that time in a small, flat race in January. The only daunting thing (you know, other than the entire idea of racing) was the wicked 20+ mph wind that day! But the race was an out-and-back, so I’d really only have the wind in my face for the second half. I positive split the race like whoa, but that was pretty much inevitable with that wind. I went out a little bit faster than I probably should have, but the first half of the race felt surprisingly good (albeit tailwind-assisted). I finished in 22:56, a PR by 58 seconds! That race was a major confidence booster for me, and I spent the next few weeks ramping up my workouts a bit in preparation for back-to-back race weekends in February. First up: the Love the Run You’re With 5K on February 11th, organized by my favorite LRS Pacers Running. I had hopes of another PR here, but I really should have looked at the course first. I made the mistake of assuming it was flat. It was very not flat: So I gave up on the idea of a PR early in the first mile when I was panting my way up that first hill. But even though my pace was not what I was hoping for, I did manage a lovely negative split for this one: I finished in 23:48, which I’m actually pretty happy with. I didn’t realize until now that it was a faster time than last summer’s PR on a flat course, despite the hills. My coach also helped me realize that with there being so little room for error in a 5K, it’s not necessarily helpful to compare results from different races/different courses at that distance. So for this course, she was really happy with my pacing. The weather was something of an improvement over the January race: low 50s and pouring rain instead of 20s and howling wind. There was a photo booth at the start line, so I hopped over to get my souvenir picture before we started: The following weekend I ran the By George 10K, which was another very small race put on by the Potomac Valley Track Club. It was held down at Hains Point, which anyone who’s run the Marine Corps Marathon or Cherry Blossom 10-Miler will be familiar with. On the plus side, it’s very flat. But it’s sort of the Mt. Washington of DC - whatever weather the city is having, it’s amplified at Hains Point. Luckily on race down, it wasn’t tooooooo windy, so the wind down on the Point was only around 10mph. The 10K course was a double version of the 5K course, which meant a double out-and-back. Not the most interesting course, but that was ok. It was actually kind of fun to get to see the other runners so many times during the race. This was the first 10K I’ve actually raced. My only other time at this distance was the TinkerBell 10K that I ran/walked with my mom in Disneyland in 2014. I was pretty sure I could PR this one! My strategy was to go out at a controlled pace and hold that for the first half, and then see if I could bring it down for the last three miles. My target for the first three miles was 7:40ish, and then I was hoping that I could get down to 7:30 in mile 4 and then closer to 7:20 for the final two miles. I didn’t quite manage that, but I’m still happy with how this race went: The first three miles felt great, though mile 3 was back into the headwind, which I blame for the slight uptick in pace. While miles 4 and 5 weren’t quite as fast as I’d hoped, I was happy to see my pace dropping. But then mile 6 was back into the headwind, and I was spent. I was hoping for a final mile under 7:30, but I’m comfortable with the knowledge that I gave it all I had. And my 47:40 time was good enough for 2nd in my Age Group of 30-39, which earned me an apple pie! Next up: the Rock n Roll New Orleans half-marathon! I was originally planning on running the full, because it was there. But I’m trying to be more strategic this year and think in terms of the long term and the Big Goal. While I have no doubt that I could finish the marathon, I haven’t been running anywhere close to normal marathon training mileage since Rehoboth so it would basically just be a 26.2 mile easy run that would still require a solid couple of weeks to recover from before I could pick up with the intense training again. I decided that there wasn’t really a benefit to running a “fun run” marathon right now, whereas if I dropped to the half, I could race it, because my mileage and workouts have been much more in line with that distance. And I’m discovering that I really like pushing the pace! So that’s what I’m going to do. Based on how the 10K went, I’m planning to target a pace of 7:50-8:00 for the half and hopefully come in right around 1:45:00. This would be a 7ish-minute PR, so it’s definitely a lofty goal! But more importantly, I’m going to really focus on race strategy and pacing rather than a specific pace target. I want to negative split the race and practice being patient in the first half and then picking it up on tired legs. Basically the opposite of how I’ve run almost every race ever. Not-so-coincidentally, 8:00 is the pace that I will need for that 3:30 marathon, so if I can hit it in a half right now, I will feel really good about building up to that for a full by Rehoboth. After this, I have a goal 10-miler in April (the GW Parkway Classic, which I loooooove) where I’ll definitely have a goal time that will probably be informed by how New Orleans goes. Then at the end of April is the inaugural National Women’s Half-Marathon, which will just be for fun and where I’ll be joined by Keep Running Girl AND SLCAthena! And maybe NCAthlete and ASchmid who are coming to the area for a 50K the day before! Then in May I have the craziest part of the year: the 39.3 Challenge at the Maine Coast Marathon. Coach definitely thinks this is nuts. I think it’ll be fun! Plus, I’ll get THREE different mermaid medals! But needless to say, both the half and full that weekend will be run at easy paces! This is the 2nd annual HPS Mother-Daughter birthday weekend race experience; Mom will be running her 3rd half-marathon that Saturday! On September 1st I’m running my first international marathon: the Dingle Marathon in Ireland! I’ve been planning on this race since my first trip to Ireland in fall 2016, but it turned into a family vacation when my mom discovered that there was a half-marathon too and my parents invited themselves along! I’m not complaining though; it’s going to be amazing! But as the coast of the Dingle Peninsula is crazy hilly and this course is not USATF-certified, this will be another “just for fun” marathon rather than a goal race, followed by a week of recovery in Ireland. I know it’s tough, but someone has to do it. I’ll probably (be forced to) do some more short races in the summer and early fall as tune-ups for the REAL marathon training leading up to Rehoboth. After the Dingle Marathon, it’ll be time to get down to serious business! I’m not thinking too much about what that’ll look like yet, but based on the last 10 weeks or so, I have all the faith in the world in my coach’s ability to guide me to my Big Goal. I’m so excited for what this year has in store! #Rehoboth2018 #BQorBust #Chasingtheunicorn (Please tell me when my obsessing over BQing at Rehoboth becomes insufferable and I’ll try to tone it down. Maybe.)
  6. 14 points
    I'm standing with Sarah, hunched into each other against the cold. We're as close to the start as we can get. It's packed full of runners, walkers and run/walkers of all types. Some in groups. Some in costume. Some bundled up and some, like me, barely covered. It's 35* but I'm going for a PR so I'm just in my team jersey and shorts. I wore some heavy duty arm warmers with cuffins but my hands are still freezing. I shiver and Sarah gives me a semi-worried, semi-reproachful look. She's in capris and a LSS with her jersey over it. She's let me know that she doesn't approve of my outfit a few times already. "I'm just going to drop to pace as fast as I can," I tell her, bopping up and down to try to keep the blood flowing. "We'll all meet up at the finish." My sister, also named Sarah, and nephew Dan are behind us somewhere. They are going to run/walk it together. "Yep. I'm not even trying to keep up. I'll see you after," she replies. She's had a tough season. I know she wants to be able to drop me like a bad habit in this race but it's not going to happen today. Next season, if she commits to Put In The Work, she'll be a force to be reckoned with but for now, I have a few seconds per mile on her. We are super supportive of each other and slightly competitive. It's a great mix in a training partner. The gun goes off and, as usual at this race, the first half mile is a mess of weaving through people. You get a lot of walkers and first timers who don't know or don't care how to line up properly. It's annoying but not enough to turn me off to the race. I'm weaving. Bobbing and ducking and trying to find a groove. It isn't until I'm almost at the mile marker that I fall in with a rhythm. I feel good but my lungs are starting to protest. As I come into the second mile, my back and my ribs start to hurt. I know intuitively that this is somehow related to being sick and having asthma symptoms all week but I've never felt this kind of thing before. I'm in pain. I back off a little but just a little because I want this too badly. I hit The Hill at about the halfway point and lose all hope of getting my lungs back under me. I'm trying to hang on. I know this hill much better after the summer. It was my nemesis in my 5K series. I try to take it steady and just focus on moving but as I start to near the top, I start picking off people as they give in to the incline. I refuse to back down to it. I charge the crest. Thankfully we turn downhill and I can make up a few seconds as I come into the three mile marker. I'm starting to feel a little better. It's hard to breathe but the pain is subsiding. I start to put my foot on the gas again. There's some nice downhill here and I intend to use it as much as possible. I try to remember the feeling of necessity from my 5K's here just a few months ago. I think I'm going easier on myself and that annoys me. I try to push just a little more. I hit the four mile mark and I try to assess what I have left. I don't think I can gun it but I think I can hold on. I want this race to be over. I want that finish line. I am angry at myself for already being tired of being uncomfortable. I try to propel myself forward with that. I refuse to make this easier on myself but the edge I'm looking for remains just past the reaches of my will power. I know this last mile intimately. It's my least favorite section of the park because it's the last mile of EVERY race here and I associate it with this feeling of just trying to hang on. I'm trying not to look at my watch. I just want to get there. I start seeing runners doubling back with their medals, already finished. I'm getting close but I'm not there until I hit that last turn. Then I see the finish and steal a glance at my watch. I'm within second of my goal time and I try to find another gear. I am running ugly - face contorted, breathing loud, sweating as I cross the damn line. 42:36 - a :31 PR! It takes me a few minutes to collect myself enough to start worrying about everyone else. The medal feels so sweet on my neck. I take a moment to reflect and to be thankful before turning back to see everyone else in. The gang Double PR's!!! She was nervous. I am SO proud of her!!! My sister and our cheering section. Obligatory race swag pic.
  7. 13 points
    Words cannot describe how it feels to experience the change. The change in my body. The change in my mind. The change in my heart. Reflection is a tricky beast. In the best of times, it can be a happy reminder of experiences to stay optimistic for the future. In the worst of times, it can drag you to places you don’t ever want to revisit. We all have the moments of if I knew then what I knew now… and like to think of how we might appreciate something more or do it differently. But that doesn’t make us who we are today. I often cringe at clichès, but there is some truth in letting our experiences teach us for the future. I wouldn’t be as appreciative because I blissfully was unaware of potential loss. The eternal optimist expects to live long and live full. But that’s not to say we need the light to shine bright all the time. I always thought I was truly joyful in my health, my ability to run race after race without consequence, and never took shortcuts in my training. I didn’t sign up for things that were beyond my ability. I waited until I was physically ready and then, mentally ready. And sometimes I actually wondered aloud how was it possible to have all this good stuff happen to me. It is indeed possible to feel like a poser in your own life. I hate that it often intertwines with Adam and MS because the last thing that he wants is for anyone to feel sorry for him. But these moments of joy and health are not just shaped by my own experiences. They are a life shared with another. Walking from Morton’s back to our hotel in Chicago, draped over his side in my heels, I never knew this memory would stick out in my mind. We shared a bottle of wine, gorged ourselves with enormous steaks, and were in the midst of my to-this-day favorite trips I have ever taken. I flip through my mind and always stumble upon the last night we spent in Yellowstone in a cabin that seemed so far removed from the rest of the world. We might never be able to walk down the incline to view the upper falls again. And I cherish that night that we fell into bed, exhausted from the day and listened to the rainstorm come through with the window open. Even as late as last year when we wandered through thousand-year-old alleys and sipped frothy ales under blindingly blue skies, I didn’t know how much it would seal into my heart. That perfect afternoon of lying across the sofa together, legs entangled while we napped can never be duplicated. And I hold tight to the memory of smelling the crisp Scandinavian air in the middle of May, listening to a carefully cultivated jazz collection while dozing in and out of consciousness. I say all this because we often forget how good things are until we don’t have them. And I choose to reflect happily, feeling lucky that we did what we did when we could. After the Albany marathon last year, when I slipped under 3:15 after finally feeling confident to go for it, I felt on a precipice of immense joy. So I tried to savor all the good occurrences, again feeling like I was a poser in my own life. How could it be possible to be filled with such good? And yet, I feel excited for the same reasons for 2019. Maybe because 2018 has been tough so far. Maybe because I have planning some of this for over a year now. Maybe because I step without caution once again. Maybe because I’m just happy to find my joy again.
  8. 13 points
    Marine Corps Marathon 2017 But there are times in our lives when we need to tilt at windmills, times when the scale of the quest frightens us, focuses us, and motivates us to stretch higher than before. The fact that we’ll more than likely fail is largely the point. (Jonathan Beverly, Runners World) This was my 3rd time running the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and my 8th marathon. Getting a BQ back in January put me in an interesting place for this marathon. I wasn’t worried about my finishing time and that meant I could just race without worrying what would happen if everything went wrong. 17 weeks of training, more miles than I had ever run before, intervals on Tuesdays, long tempos on Thursdays, no injuries. I was ready ….. but how ready? My PR from January was 3:31:25 and I was pretty sure I could go under that. Was a sub 3:20 possible? (Hint – nope) I had a plan, well maybe not so much a plan but maybe a dare – run by feel, run hard and see what happens. Glory or spectacular failure. The local running club offered a bus ride and a hotel conference room near the finish line which worked pretty well – I was able to avoid dealing with the metro system or parking and got to meet a number of other local runners. After being able to relax, use a real bathroom (several times), it was time to walk the 1.5 miles to the start line. The only worry now was about the weather – how warm would it get and how quickly. The start temp was low fifties, not bad but it wouldn’t stay there. The MCM has start corrals but they operate on the honor system – and, unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of honor going on. I lined up between the 3:15 and 3:25 pacers; and after the National Anthem, a V22 Osprey flyover and the other usual start line ceremonies, the cannon fired and we were off. Kind of. It seems like a lot of slower runners decided that they needed a head start and had seeded themselves with the 3 hour marathoners. So the first mile had a lot stutter stepping and weaving; at one point I was on the shoulder of the 3:15 pacer who expressed some frustration over the situation. (I’ve had a lot of races where there is some weaving, but this was at a whole other level.). So after a slow first mile I did the natural thing when I hit the long downhill and made up all of the lost time (not smart but it was fun to turn the legs loose). Finally settling down after the madness of the start, I started to get the reins gathered back in and settled into the race. Knowing the heat to come, I made sure to get a cup of water to drink and another to dump on my head. After romping through the early miles in Virginia it was time to spend a bunch of time in DC. First was Georgetown where I knew Caitlin would be cheering. Resulted in a nice boost in early race morale and my favorite photo from the race (and the one I didn’t have to pay for). 8:00 7:26 7:23 7:06 7:24 After Georgetown, the race took on an out and back up Rock Creek Park. Downside: out and backs mean ugly u-turns. Upside: got to see the race leaders Upside: I really enjoy running in Rock Creek Park. Factoid: Rock Creek Park was the third National Park created by Congress Bonus Factoid: it’s larger than Central Park. 7:22 7:41 7:28 7:27 7:27 After the Park we hit what is, for me, the mentally tough part of the course – East Potomac Park and Haines Point. This part has been a real hard for me in the past. There aren’t any hills; it’s actually dead flat. It’s not that far into the race; Haines Point is the race’s midpoint. I’m not sure what the problem is other than it is a bit lonely and maybe bit boring? Got through it this without having a brain meltdown and felt pretty decent this time. 7:18 7:35 7:28 7:30 7:28 Now the race started get fun as it made lap of the National Mall which is the highlight of the race. Monuments, the Capital, Smithsonian buildings. It was somewhere in this section that I started to the burn in my quads. Since it wasn’t hamstrings or hips (old injury sites) I wasn’t too worried except for just how much the race was going to hurt in the end. By now I was also starting to notice that it was getting warm. 7:28 7:25 7:30 7:23 7:33 And then the race got really hard. This where the course crosses the Potomac on the I 395 bridge. There are some really iconic bridges in DC and isn’t one of them – uphill, highway, no spectators, mile 20. And you’re on it forever. I was hoping to be able to pick the pace after the bridge in Crystal City but it wasn’t happening – for me or anyone else either. I slowed down but there weren’t many people passing me either. The heat caught up to us and the slog was on. 7:38 7:46 7:57 7:41 8:17 The final mile of the race is a slight uphill from the Pentagon toward Arlington finishing with a short and very nasty final hill to finish before the Marine Memorial. The hill hurts but you can see the finish and there are Marines urging you on – finish as strong as you can. 8:17 8:34 – 3:20:55 After shaking hands or fist bumping about 20 young Marine 2LTs after the finish I received my medal, a salute and the race was officially over. I missed my “everything goes great goal” of 3:20 but I made all the important goals and was on pace for most of the race to have crushed the 3:20. · PR (previous was 3:31:25) · BQ (needed 3:40) · Make the top 20 in the Age Group; I finished 9th! · Run aggressively. OK, I may have overdone this one a little bit. A walk through the finish area and I was soon back to the running club’s hotel convention room where I was able to clean up a little, change clothes, get something to eat and catch up with other runners as they finished their races. I finally took the Metro home and spent several days hobbling around – my legs were completely trashed but trashed in a good way. I didn’t break 3:20 and I maybe could have if I had run a little more conservatively but I’m actually happy with how I ran and how the race ended. Age-Graded Score: 71.39% Age-Graded Time: 2:52:13
  9. 13 points
    The first day after I ran 115 miles at Hinson Lake, I slothed like I had never before. My body ached from head to toe and though the brain fog seemed less intense than the prior year, it was still there. I lazed around the house, soaked my feet in an Epsom salt bath, snacked, and rested. I didn't actually feel any hungrier than normal - it is strange how sometimes I feel ravenous after a race and other times, it seems to have no effect. Needless to say, running was out of the question for a few days. I was determined to be a little smarter about recovery this time around. The itch would come soon enough. Last year, I ended up with a couple of weeks of Achilles pain following Hinson Lake probably due large in part to too much, too fast, too soon. It was a beautiful fall day the Wednesday following the race and all the soreness had finally dissipated. I decided to take an easy loop on the trail near the my house. Veeeerrrry easy. It. Was. Incredible. I don't know that I have ever had a run that was so good. I knew I should only do 2 of the 1 mile loops, but I couldn't help myself. I ran 3 loops. If I could bottle that magic and sell it.... But running isn't always magical. And in the runs following that one, they have been somewhere in the 3-6 range on a 1-10 scale. Some better than others and I attribute that mostly to the fact that the weather has been far less hot and humid than 6 weeks ago. But my legs have had no get up and go and an 8:00 minute mile feels like a 7:00 minute mile. I know I should be patient in the recovery process. But I am so anxious to run fast after nearly 5 months of longer and slower. Knowing that I have been sliding more and more into being competitive in races, I needed a fun race. Last year, I ran the Greenville Marathon dressed as a donut large in part to remind myself to keep it fun. So after my friend Matt graciously helped me secure a race entry, I decided to keep it fun again this year. Adam told me he ordered a costume online that I could wear to the race. However, by Thursday night, it still had not arrived so I told him to grab me a Wonder Woman costume at Target. They were sold out of course so I went with my backup. I've been hating all my running shoes lately and ordered a pair from Amazon to arrive Friday. Except I got a notification they were damaged en route to me and were to be reshipped. So...I would be running in my trusty Clifton 1s that are now a half size too small. My feet have grown at least a size and a half in the past 10 years! I ran 1.2 miles on the treadmill Friday night in the costume to make sure I would be reasonably comfortable. The handle was my biggest concern, but my arm swing is weird and short on my right side anyway so it kind of worked out perfectly. I slept like a brick per usual on Friday night and awoke to my Garmin alarm at 4:15 a.m. I put on my race clothes, made a cup of coffee, warmed up some frozen pancakes in the microwave, and was on the road by 4:45 a.m. Traffic was nothing and I arrived to Furman University by 6:30 a.m. Matt and I eventually found each other in the correct parking lot and I jumbled around trying to get my act together. Lots of Vaseline all over my arms and shoulders as well as the usual hot spots. There was a possibility of rain in the forecast and I was determined to not have to toss my costume onto someone's lawn due to chafe. I talked with a few people as I made my way over to the start because wearing a beer stein is a pretty good conversation starter. I was probably the most calm I have ever been at a starting line because I really had zero expectations of anything for the day other than to make it to the finish line. The gun went off and as we began, a safety pin popped open on the right side. Aw, shit. So I struggle to try to run and close a safety pin within the confines of the costume. It took at least 90 seconds before I got the stupid thing shut. I could have stopped to fix it, but I was trying to not be that jerk that stops right in the beginning of the race. I was already being a jerk taking up extra room in my costume. Once I was secured, I spent the next mile catching up to the 4 hour pace group. It was the group I ran with last year and it felt like a reasonable place to be given my current fitness. Once I caught them, I tried to stay towards the back of the pack at first knowing that my personal space area was a bit, um, amplified. As we began to tick off the miles though, I slowly fell in place behind the pacer and eventually talked to her for awhile. The early miles were around Furman and a mix of sidewalk and road. A few college kids were out ringing cowbells and cheering, but it was fairly quiet overall. Once we started running off campus, it got even more quiet. This part of the course was different from last year and I didn't care for it at all. It was through a residential area dotted with huge homes on acres and acres of land. The road wasn't coned off and though I was running with a group, I couldn't help but think about the safety of those who weren't. It wasn't clear what side of the street we were supposed to be on and the road was completely open to traffic. I was feeling reasonably good and nothing was really bothering me which is always a happy thing while running a marathon. I remembered to start taking my Huma gels every 5 miles and a light, misting rain helped to keep things nice and cool. I actually got a little chilly for a bit and was kind of glad that I was wearing a non-breathable polyester costume. The course had a bunch of rolling hills and I was pretty glad that I wasn't going for a PR. Nothing that was crazy, but a far cry from flat. As we neared Furman again, I was looking forward to getting on the much more scenic and tranquil Swamp Rabbit Trail. The pacers switched off at the 13.1 mile mark and the girl pacing, Shannon, was the same one from the pace group last year. It was fun to talk a bit and then I ended up talking to Brooks for about a mile while we led ahead of the 4 hour group. He decided to slow down and remain with Shannon, but I was now kind of set on that slightly faster pace. So I just stayed ahead of the group and decided to do my own thing around mile 17. There were a fair number of cyclists out on the Swamp Rabbit Trail and it was fun to get smiles as they came swooshing by. I was feeling happy and good at this point - a strange feeling in the last 8 miles of a marathon, but I guess I just needed an 18 mile warm up? The water stations towards the end were full of cheering people and it was energizing to run through the crowd. It is hard to sneak by another runner in a beer stein costume so I tried to at the very least say good job as I went past. I ended up talking to about every other person in those final miles, asking them how many marathons they'd done, what their goals were, or how they were feeling. As I headed into the last 10K, I knew I wasn't moving super fast by my own standards, but I felt pretty good all things considering. It was a perfect fall day and a wonderful long run. There were going to be snacks, beer, and football to nap to later. Life was good. I passed a guy on a unicycle who said that is awesome and I said no, you're awesome! I actually laughed out loud when that happened because it just seemed so random that a person riding a unicycle and a person running a marathon in a beer stein costume would pass each other on a Saturday morning. The last mile had a short, but steep hill and I powered up that beast ready to take on the mile 26. Except my shoelace started to come untied as I went flying down the other side and I actually had to stop and tie my shoe with less than a mile to go. Ha! I forgot about all the uphill in the final mile and kept looking around for the entrance to the baseball field. Finally, a volunteer pointed me left and I followed a couple of runners onto the warning track on the first base line. There was a lady ahead of me who I recognized from earlier in the race and though I had a sprint finish in me, I decided to just stay about 15 feet behind her in case they were doing finish photos. Talk about worst photo bomb ever.... Crossing the line, I felt satisfied. It was still a marathon and it was still tough at times. But I felt a sense of relief that I could rise to the challenge after feeling so mopey for weeks. Having fun and running just for the sake of running was exactly what I needed. Splits if you are into that kind of thing: 1 9:02.4 8:55 2 9:07.1 9:06 3 9:01.6 9:01 4 9:04.2 9:00 5 9:01.8 8:57 6 9:10.5 9:09 7 9:00.7 8:53 8 9:08.9 9:03 9 9:06.2 9:06.2 10 9:07.0 9:00 11 9:08.5 9:01 12 8:59.6 8:59.6 13 9:03.2 8:57 14 9:05.1 9:02 15 8:59.7 8:59 16 9:19.8 9:14 17 8:58.1 8:57 18 8:46.8 8:40 19 8:40.8 8:36 20 8:38.3 8:36 21 8:55.2 8:51 22 8:46.5 8:39 23 8:29.4 8:26 24 8:41.3 8:35 25 8:23.3 8:17 26 8:30.9 8:26 27 1:33.1 1:27 Summary 3:53:50 3:53:47 26.21
  10. 12 points
    As you know, I race a lot. 309 road races so far to be exact. And I usually go into a race with a goal time, and a pretty good prediction of what I think I can do. Most times I come out pretty close to what I expect. But having just read this book: Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance I did some thinking about that. Am I running close to predicted times because of my knowledge and experience? Or is my prediction causing me to run that time? For example, if I predict my 5K will be 20:20 instead of 20:50, and then adjust my race strategy for that time, am I more likely to run faster? Despite my experience telling me 20:50 is what I am capable of right now? So this week I ran a Mile race on the track. The last two years I aimed for sub 6 and ran 5:52 and 5:59. This year I had convinced myself, based on many track workouts and runs with slower paces than usual, that sub-6 was out of reach. I was talking about going out at 6:20 pace with a goal of running 6:10-6:15. I considered going out at 6:00 pace to be suicidal. Race day came and one guy said he was running 6:00 pace if anyone wanted to pace off of him. (He was capable of faster). I didn't give it much thought. I would run my race and see how far away the pace group would be. So off we went and I slipped into my usual spot in the group. There was about 30 people racing, from 4:50 pace to 9 minute pace. I glanced at the Garmin after 100m and it said 6:10 pace. Yeah I got this pacing thing down. First lap was 92 and it felt perfect. Hard but manageable. The 6:00 group was about 8 people in a bunch just ahead. I maintained. Lap two I caught a few people who went out too fast. But the group was pulling away from me. I let them because this was plenty hard enough thank you. Second lap 94 for a 3:06 1/2. Lap 3 is about ignoring the pain and pushing hard not to lose momentum. A few people were falling off the pace group and I caught some which helped me stay motivated. Lots of huffing and puffing and grimacing but the end was near now. 93 for lap 3. I still felt OK and tried to find another gear and get everything I could out of the last lap. Not a whole lot left however. I caught one more guy as my legs tied up and riggy kicked in. The last straight was just surviving and trying not to stumble. I think spit was coming off my mouth and my eyes were glazed. Finished at 6:10 for a 91 last lap. So. My splits tell me I maximized my potential. I didn't have an 85 left in me. I gave everything and 6:10 was my best on this day. Or was it? What if I had gone out at 90? Could I have held on and still been able to finish strong? Or would I have died early and fallen off the pack like some of my friends? I was spent at the end. But it wasn't the worst I've ever felt. I'm sure a few more seconds could have been had. Anyway, it's fun to ponder. Still happy with the 72% age-grade. But I'm already planning to assault the mile again maybe in December. This time I will go in telling myself I can do sub-6. The body follows the brain. Back to marathon training...
  11. 11 points
    I feel like all my posts have been full of dread and woe for months as I complained about aches and pains and slowness. Yet here I am in the midst of Monster Month, with four weeks to race day, and somehow I'm feeling energized and optimistic! Go figure. Shouldn't I be exhausted and sore and negative about now? Well, not so much. Just finished my two biggest weeks, with 54 and 51 miles. And my gimpy ankle has healed up. My balky knee still aches sometimes, but less and less. It seems the prescription for healing was More Miles. Sure I'm sore and achey after my long runs, and getting up off the couch can be difficult. But by the next day I'm able to get back out there relatively unscathed. I guess this training thing works. It helps running in perfect weather conditions. Winter training sure beats summer training. I never overheat, and don't need to worry about hydration. Enjoying the beauty around here is good for the mojo as well. I've had several great runs along the Pacific coast cliffs nearby. There are some great trails there. I got to see a whale as I went by a whale-watching spot. I also enjoyed running with hundreds of butterflies as we are in the middle of a huge butterfly migration at the moment. I can see for hundreds of miles all across the LA basin and to the snow-capped local mountains as I climb over our local hills. It's pretty great. A week ago I did my first 20-miler for this cycle, to close out a 54 mile week. I expected to be tired and just go at whatever pace worked. I ran along the flat coast virtually the whole way and just enjoyed myself. The pace gradually dropped to about 8:10-8:15 for miles 8-19, which was about as good as I had hoped for. I didn't fade until the last mile when I started to wear out. My pace is still slower than a year ago, as it has been on all my runs, but I've accepted that. Just glad to get the miles in. Last Wednesday I repeated my 4x1 mile workout, and I was able to find more speed than a few weeks ago. I managed 7:00, 7:02, 7:00 and 7:16, which beat the 7:20s I ran before. That was encouraging, although still slower than last year. And I had nothing left on the last one. But still, encouraging. Saturday I ran a very hilly 13 with a friend and the pace was decent. Then when I got back to the car I realized I had lost my key somewhere along the way. Phone was locked in the car, and friend was running home. I had little choice but to run the extra 3.8 miles home. But I still felt pretty strong after 13, and it was another beautiful day, and it was all downhill or flat...so I trotted on home and was happy to do it and log more miles. So this week is not too tough, but it finishes with a 21-miler over a huge hill that is my usual pre-marathon litmus test. If I can do that without dying too bad, then I will feel ready. Right now I feel pretty good about it. All systems are go. My Boston goal is just to have fun and break 4, but I'd like to do about 3:45 if all goes well. I know I can run about 8 minute pace for 20 miles. It's all about that last six. Long term, I'm thinking Chicago 2020 may be my next one. So to qualify to skip the lottery I need sub 3:40... So many of my friends are fighting injuries, so I'm just happy to be healthy, and getting another decent marathon done. At my age, I never know when it might be my last. Enjoy your runs. Life is good.
  12. 11 points
    Two weeks ago, I walked outside with one of my colleagues after lunch, and we simultaneously hunched our shoulders to our ears to brace against the cutting wind. “You’re not actually running in this are you?” she asked, cinching her hood tight. At the time, the entirety of the East Coast was more or less frozen solid, and here in D.C., single and negative digits had become the norm. I thought about replying with a phrase one of my running buddies used to say, “The only weather is whether or not you ran.” Instead of sounding like a complete douche to her (though I love the quote), I gave a simple and resigned “yes.” She raised her eyebrows. I like to think that in that look, there is reverence, awe, and admiration – but I know better. What’s behind those looks are skepticism and borderline boredom. I’ve tried to hone my running conversation skills over the years, doling out details in small bits and tuning in for that moment where I’ve crossed into tedium. I can see the glaze form over their eyes, usually about the time I start talking tactics. To be fair, she is genuinely interested, and not one of those, “I only run when I’m being chased, har har har,” people. This time, though, she asked the heaviest and possibly most difficult questions to answer: why? I could have tried to give her a glimpse of the mental and physical toll those frigid ten miles had taken on me that morning, how much I despise the treadmill, or simply say, “Because it was on the schedule”; however, we were cold, and at that moment, I couldn’t articulate just why in god’s name I was out there, so I shrugged, perplexed. That kind of pondering is for long runs. So… It was with this in mind that weekend, when the temps dipped to a “feels like” of -8, that I set out for a 15-miler that Outside columnist Alex Hutchinson would call a “three sock run” – I’ll let you figure out what I pulled the third sock over. When the sun finally rose over the houses, bringing warmth back to my fingers and life back to my spirit, I took a detour in my head away from the task at hand and began to try and answer that weightiest of questions. How to put into words something that to the uninitiated sounded – well – crazy, stupid, worthless? Something that would elicit the narrowing stares that read, “You’ve lost it, man,” or worse, “Who cares?” I first thought of a quote I keep in my phone from author Leslie Jamison, who wrote an excellent piece on the Barkley Marathons that attempts to get at this, “The sheer ferocity of the effort implies that the effort is somehow worth it…The persistence of ‘why’ is the point: the elusive horizon of an unanswerable question.” The why, it came to me, is in the process. The why is finding the limit, your limit. Plumbing the depths of who you are to know just how far and how fast you can go, weather be damned. Heeding the call the way the holy are called to a higher power and sailors are called to the sea. I know there won’t be Olympic medals or sponsorship money. Sure, it’s something to collect your age group trophy and smile at the small crowd lingering for the free swag. Then real life resumes. Work and deadlines come crashing in. But you’ll return to the road, or trail, or track the next day, slipping into the darkness while the rest of the world sleeps because there’s more work to be done. If she, or they, or whomever, could understand all that, intrigued maybe, or incredulous, I would tell them the exact moment that cemented this for me. I was getting ready for Boston 2014 in one of those winters that’s not all that different from this one. My friend and I were 13 miles into what my coach calls a “no champagne, no medal” long run. The kind you grind out – gritty and unglamorous – because it’s what the plan says. It was an out and back 22 miler with an easy 11 upfront and pickups on the back half. There had been nothing “easy” about those first 11, the kind of run that seems against you from the start. The wind battered us and the cold sapped our energy. I tucked in behind my running partner. The trail, a paved bike path, unspooled into eternity and those stretches I swore were uphills on the way out somehow seemed to be tipped skyward again as we came back. A passerby wouldn’t have looked twice because we looked composed (or our faces froze that way). But if they looked behind my sunglasses, they would have seen everything they needed to: the struggle…and also the determination. I steeled myself for the next pick up and eased in. As subtly as the wind shifted directions, my stride opened up, and the chains that bound me before, slackened and dropped to the pavement altogether. The power returned to my legs, pistons churning me forward. I felt invincible. Why was this momentous? I was a different person when I returned to the car after that run than when I left it. I’d had the opportunity to know that I’d been through it and came out whole and stronger on the other side by gritting through the bad to get to the good. I could see the adaptations of my body as it absorbed the strain over the weeks, months, and years, and returned to the proving ground even stronger. You toast the PR but don’t stay happy for too long because, god-willing, there is always more. Spurred by a comment that a fellow runner left me last week, we can revisit the many incarnations of our running selves and in those evolutions, we can pull on that hope to know that we have it in us to continue ascending or pursuing that elusive horizon, wherever and whatever it may be. As I thawed out inside our foyer after my three sock run, unzipping my jacket to see frozen sweat fall to the floor, I thought about one of my favorite George Sheehan quotes, “Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were meant to be.” Finding out who that person is is as good a why as I can find right now.
  13. 10 points
    Allow me to reintroduce myself. I used to post in the old Loop hosted on the Runner's World site. I was known there as Kingcoffee. I used to love posting blogs and reading other peoples blogs and comments. I stopped doing that because my life became so busy that I could barely find the time to run much less write about it. I started my own company and it took up so much of my time that I didn't have any left for much else. I thought that, if I started my own company, I wouldn't have a "job" anymore. I quickly discovered that I had traded my one job for 5. I posted one blog in this new Loop but I wasn't able to get back to it to respond to any comments or questions. I hoped at that point, to become a regular again but my life quickly returned to the hectic world of running the business, sleeping, running and family. I'm six years plus into running my business now and I think there may finally be time to be a regular contributor. With the extra time commitment of running a business, there has been less time for the activity of running as well. My running fitness has declined, partly due to aging but more so due to lack of training. I have been able to run more consistently lately though and I was able to run a faster 5k last year than I have been able to run for quite awhile. With being so busy with work, I wasn't able to sign up for many races since most of them are on Saturdays. I'm the type of runner who mostly runs, in order to be able to race. Luckily, Friday 5k showed up in time to save my running life. What is Friday 5k? So glad you asked. A runner who lives much closer to Dave (you all know Dave), started Friday 5k but he started it on the west side of Michigan because that is where he spends most of his weekends. Friday 5k races take place on prime numbered Fridays beginning in April and ending in September. There is no entry fee and no t-shirts or medals but the races are timed and you can see your results shortly after the race is over. The races are paid for through donations. The only requirement to participate is that you have to become a member but membership is free. There have been numerous different things thrown into Friday 5k's. At first, the races were held at different places and you only found out where the evening before the race. At the end of one season, we were invited to run all ten of that year's 5k's in one day. Most racers only ran a few of those races but I ran all ten of them in one day. There was a little walking in the last 3 races that day but mostly running. Another year, the races all had different names, complete with theme songs and special prizes. One of those races was called the Aim Low 5k. I received a prize, which was a book titled Aim Low. The book is hilarious and yet also poignant. Another one was called the Sunshine Day 5k and we finished the race to a recording of the Brady Bunch singing Sunshine Day. Somewhere there probably still exists a video of me, my son and 2 foster kids skipping toward the finish line to the music. Now the races are all held at the same venue but there continues to be different contests and prizes tossed into the mix throughout the season. For the last 2 years there have been teams. This year there are no more teams but there will be an event where racers start at different times which are based on there previous Friday 5k times and the idea is that everyone will finish close to the same time. Kind of a handicap race. Some of you may wonder why I switched my name from Kingcoffee to Runningthrumymind. The main reason is that I stopped drinking coffee. Also, I intend for most of my blogs to be about the things I think about while I'm running. I do my best thinking when I'm out running. Running, particular my long runs, usually become a form of meditation and my mind goes rambling around while my body rambles down the road, (or trail). I hope some of you find this entertaining and I hope to be able to continue to write these on a regular basis.
  14. 10 points
    Sweet Mags: What in the hell are you doing? Rob: What the hell does it look like I’m doing? I’m blooping. Sweet Mags: Good golly! I haven’t heard you talk about those losers- er I mean Loopsters in like a hot minute. Rob: Well, if you recollect last year was a bust. I ran like 3 miles total last year after screwing up my back. Didn’t even get to go to Rehoboth to spectate in a sparkle skirt cause I was sicker than a dog. Sad times. Sweet Mags: Oh yeah, I remember you whining about that. Well, I know you’re running again because I can smell your clothes. Gosh, I’ll remember the good times when your undies didn’t fill the house with the smell of hot garbage. I mean, I guess you’re in a better mood and less of an asshole now that you’re running again. Rob: Not just running. Also, sleeping and lifting. Sweet Mags: Lifting my turds out of the litter box? Rob: Weights, jerkface. Since December. It’s been a real blessing, Sweet Mags. It’s like all I had to do is get a lot of good sleep, lift weights, eat reasonably and the running came back. Sweet Mags! The running came back. Sweet Mags: Get a hold of yourself!!!!!! Rob: Never! It’s called a runner’s high and I’ll do anything for another hit. Even bench press with the meat heads and go to sleep early. Sweet Mags: You’ve gone mad. Mad! Rob: Anyway, it hasn’t all been good. There was that incident with the HOKAs. Sweet Mags: The marshmallow shoes? Rob: Yep. The shoes some people call hookahs and not in an ironic way. Sweet Mags: They were almost as fugly as your Altras. Rob: Don’t talk about my Altras. That’s a line you do not cross. Sweet Mags: So what was the deal with the marshmallow shoes. Rob: Well, you know I get a good discount at the running store I work at on the weekends. Sweet Mags: Why can’t you work at a pet store and get me discounts? Rob: Cause people who have pets are insane. Sweet Mags: I mean, you have a valid point. Rob: Anyway, I bought a pair of Hoka Bondi. You know cause the damn Clifton 5 is still to narrow for my hobbit foot. One run in and my knee was screaming. Not only that, but I felt like I was going to trip over my feet with every other stride. It was a nightmare. So I took them home and burned them in a sacrifice to the running gods. Sweet Mags: Did you make s’mores out of them? Rob: You know I can’t lie to you. I returned them and exchanged them for Saucony Triumph 5’s. Sweet Mags: That’s my boy Rob: Thankfully, the Saucony got their shit together after the very disappointing 4’s. Sweet Mags: The Triumphs are cool, but you know I’m a barefoot runner. I don’t need to be shod with shoes that are just going to impede my performance. Rob: The barefoot movement died. Sweet Mags: You died! Rob: Shut it! Sweet Mags: I’ve already ran 6 hundos this year. Rob: I’ve ran about thirteen miles in January and about that much in February and I couldn’t be happier. I did my first threasy in over a year tonight! Sweet Mags: What do you want, a cookie? Rob: A couple of eggs and a Greek yogurt would be bomb. Sweet Mags: Greek yogurt tastes like ass. Rob: You should know. Ok dude, I gotta finish this bloop. Go chase your tail. Sweet Mags: Tell the Loopsters they suck. I’m OUT!
  15. 10 points
    Ha ha, no I haven't started running naked. But I'm working out every day. I don't run enough to do a running streak. I think my longest running streak (this century) is 5 days. But I've been trying to work out almost every day; either a run, a bike ride, or a gym workout. Most of the time life interferes once in a while, or I just feel like skipping a day, so I average 5-6 days a week. So I went back and checked for my longest workout streak, and it was 11 days. And I thought I might as well just commit to streaking and maybe go the whole month of May. So starting April 30th I have not missed a day yet, which means I am up to 14 days now with tonight's run making 15. PR! (not counting my youth) Running is going well. My sore butt and hammy finally faded away and is now completely gone. It cost me four weeks of almost no mileage, but I needed that break anyway after the marathon. Now I have four decent weeks under my belt and I'm back to 4 days a week of running. Building up mileage and getting back in shape. I've been to the track a few times to work on speed, but otherwise running 6-8 miles. I will start up on long runs next week with 10 or so. Plenty of time to lay down base before ramping up to marathon training in a few months. I go to the gym once a week, or about every 5 days. There I do mainly upper body and core exercises, but also some leg stuff too. I do circuits through 12 different stations. Three sets, 8-10 reps, very little rest between, so my heart rate stays high and it is a good workout. The other days I do bike rides along the beach. 9-20 miles. I don't work too hard on these usually, but I keep a steady pace. It counts. I figure any exercise that makes me sweat for at least 30 minutes counts for the streak. This Saturday I'm doing a 5K on a fast course. Planning to run sub-7 pace, and see if I can get under 21:00 (6:46 pace). Fun. I've also decided to do the Long Beach Half on October 7th, in case anyone wants to come visit. Our guest rooms have opened up. Life is good.
  16. 10 points
    So picture this - you walk in to your sports chiro's office for your weekly torture session appointment and find him sitting at his desk, feet propped up on his table, sipping a Red Bull and grinning at you like The Cheshire Cat... I kid you not. Dude looked positively giddy. Like - mad scientist giddy. I sorta, kinda wanted to turn right around and run out, but I didn't. I mean - duh - I can't run! But this guy is pulling out all the stops to get me back to it, so I took a deep breath, repeated my 'safe word' in my head and soldiered on in... We went through the normal rundown of how things have felt since last week's session (he's still holding his sacred Red Bull can, feet still propped up on the table) I told him I feel bad because I still don't feel like anything has changed all that much. My feet are certainly not as achy as they have been throughout this entire ordeal, but then again, they're haven't gotten any worse since I started coming to him. He said that that was totally okay - I may not feel like anything is getting better right now, but (again with that mischievous grin) he can. He put the can down, popped out of his chair with a clap of his hands and wiggled his instruments of torture fingers in the air as if he were preparing to play the piano. As he was starting the manipulation on my right foot, he said things are definitely moving around easier and he can feel that the 5th metatarsal bone of my right foot isn't at such a crooked angle any more. I tried to utter something like "yay!", but truth be told, I was gripping the table for dear life. If I had opened my mouth to say anything, I would have sounded like Steve Carell's character in The 40 Year-Old Virgin during the scene where he's getting his chest waxed. So I just tried to keep doing my deep breathing as he dug his thumbs into those little bits of fascia in between the bones in my forefoot. I relaxed a bit as he started moving my toes around and cracking them. The *pop* of each release seemed to tickle him to no end. The left foot manipulation didn't hurt as much, so I could at least hold up my end of conversation and I even managed to ask a few questions about additional things I can do at home. And if it was normal that I had been having some lower back twinges here and there - especially on my right side. Someday I will learn to stop asking questions. For the next 5 or so minutes, I was flipped onto my right side, those damn thumbs were digging into the side of my hip while my leg was simultaneously bent and flexed this way, that way, down, around........... FLIP to the other side, repeat. But that wasn't the end. Oooohhhh no. THEN came the back and neck cracking. I can't even... The flashbacks alone are making my *shudder*. I fully expected to crumble on to the floor in a heap when I put my feet on the ground. But surprisingly enough, when I stood up, I felt like I was 6 feet tall and light as a feather. Go figure. The lower right quadrant of my back still doesn't feel quite right today, but it doesn't feel any worse either. And today is the third day in a row that I haven't felt like I needed to strap my feet with the Kinesio Tape, so I guess that crazy f*cker is right... For now, I'm scheduled in the books to continue these weekly 'happy hours' until Thanksgiving, but still taking it week by week to see how things continue to progress. Once he feels the metatarsal bones are back where they should be, he's thinking of fitting me for inserts as a maintenance tool to keep everything where it should be when I start running again. I smile every time I replay that sentence in my head. WHEN I START RUNNING AGAIN!!! I reminded him that I'll be turning the big five-oh next month and asked if he could fit me for anything else to keep other areas 'where they should be' as well... He gave me a big bear hug and told me to go home and enjoy a glass of wine. So I went home, I popped a Tom Petty CD in to muh stereo (dudes - I don't know about y'all, but am still grieving his loss - along with Bowie and Prince, Tom Petty has been a major contributor to the soundtrack of my life... *sniff* *sniff*), propped up my feet on the coffee table, and sipped my glass of wine with my very own Cheshire Cat grin on my face...
  17. 10 points
    Yesterday was less than great. Glad I only had 4 miles. Probably because it was over 80o again. Did you see what I just did? Superscripting text - that alone makes this better than the old Loop. After the run I did some lunges - something I figured would be a good idea to help overcome the lack of hills around here. Forget now who posted about it . Right hamstring didn't like it, apparently. Seems a little better today. Hope this doesn't require time off. Not interested in that. Bought a rear stabilizer link on the way home from work. The replacement went OK, but it seems a little shorter than the original. Leaves me with a little nagging in my head that it won't last as long as it should. The last part for the broken mixer came in the mail, so I installed that as well (5 minute job). Didn't work. Mrs. Dave's oral surgery follow up didn't go well. She's very upset - worried about looking like she's from a holler in the Appalachians for the next six months. Worse, I was all wrapped up in the car and the mixer repairs that I forgot to ask her about it and console her properly. (what's wrong with me? I forget everything) Then she asked me if I had the pictures of DS2 and his dog that I promised to take while I was in Louisville over the weekend. Um, that would be, no. (what's wrong with me? I forget everything) This morning she asked me if I wanted the green checkbook or the maroon checkbook. Why do I need any checkbook at all? OMG - the Hood to Coast application has to be postmarked TODAY! (what's wrong with me? I forget everything) Left for work early to drop it off at the post office because I'm sure I'd forget by the time I drove home this afternoon. That put me in the parking lot at work a half hour early. Time to read a little or take a quick catnap. As I'm setting the iPhone alarm, I notice that I'll need to switch the hour from 7 to 6 after I set the minutes. After I wake up at 7:22, I wonder why the alarm never went off. Because it was set to 7:55. That's right, I'd never reset the hour. (what's wrong with me? I forget everything)
  18. 9 points
    I have officially become a Loopster MIA. I’m not even lurking lately *hangs head in shame* both here and on Loopville. To be fair, what used to be the Loop is now like an empty ballroom after a big party… the majority of the people have disappeared for sleep, Uber, bigger parties elsewhere, or waking up on a friend’s couch without pants on, not remembering how they got there. Except for Dave lingering to drink a little more cake and punch and Gwen requesting one more song from the DJ and Sara dancing to it despite having run 3 marathons in the last week... Okay so maybe I lurk a LITTLE here and there… But I don’t run or race much anymore. I have my reasons, some which are sort of excuses and some that are just, well, reasons. First, I spent the summer and fall working toward a new career in prehospital emergency medicine. Took the 5 month class, passed the state and national tests, got the card pronouncing me an EMT. Needless to say, working in my previous job while going to class after work twice a week and every other Saturday plus studying in my free time... not a lot of time for running and racing. It was worth it, though. I applied to and got hired by the city's largest ambulance/paramedic service. After a few weeks of training, I’m now on an ambulance shift as the EMT of a crew (each crew of two on each ambulance consists of one paramedic + one EMT). I’m working nights, 5:30pm to 5:30am, but I actually love that shift and adapted to it well. The 12 hour shifts alternate every other week; 3 shifts one week, 4 shifts the next week. I never work more than 2 or 3 days at a time, with 2 days off inbetween each series of 2-3 consecutive shifts. I only work 7 out of 14 days and average about 44 hours a week which means the shifts are long but the days off are many. I also work every other weekend, which cuts into race opportunities. As for the actual job- I do love it. It’s challenging and stressful sometimes and definitely takes me out of my comfort zone regularly. Like driving the ambulance with a child in the back during a snowstorm. But it is never boring and I am always learning something new and I dig that. My partner is also great to work with; he’s a young paramedic with his sights on med school in the next couple of years. Translate: the little bit that I know and have learned pales beside this kid’s experience and education level. Second, life doesn’t get any slower or less crazy. My kidlets are now 9 and 12 (in a couple weeks), and my son has only about 3 more inches in order to meet my height, which at his current rate of rapid growth might be Christmas. At the latest, St. Pat’s Day. They have sleepovers and playdates and activities to get to… Boy Scouts and band for my son (trumpet) and cross-country for the mini-me and it’s a bit of a whirlwind at this age. Third, I lost my road mojo. I like running with the mini, who has her own Garmin now and usually insists on it being our only method of pace and time so she can dictate pace and call out splits. I try to run a few miles before or after running with her. I like running easy morning or anytime miles with a couple of girlfriends who run. I like occasionally running a leisurely 3-4 miles with Mr. Peg while the kids bike. What I don’t like anymore? Tempos, intervals, and long runs on the road. I know, I know. What the hell happened to me? I don’t know. Just that suddenly speedwork became a toothache ending in a root canal and long runs on asphalt starting feeling like a jury duty mandate or at the very least an invite to Aunt Gertrude’s knitting party. Even easy runs on the same old routes… elevator music. Where the heck was the joie de vivre that running used to pour into me? Turns out it was in the woods. A few weeks ago, I showed up to the Marilla Trail Race in Bradford, PA aka the hairy underbelly of the boondocks. Remote, beautiful, mountain vastness in the middle of an Indian Reservation. Driving to the race, my phone GPS completely lost its wits for the last few miles. I kept mine about me for once and followed cars that fit a gingerly guess at what a runner’s vehicle might look like. Not everyone has the 26.2 sticker, just saying, so consider this a PSA about how useful that is to suburban moms who have been away from Timbuktu for too long... Two of my friends showed up, Steve and Jessie. They are local trail runners who I ran with on my inaugural trail half marathon in September. <That race was only gently rolling and a good beginner course, but with plenty of singletrack to get me acclimated. I went into it dubiously, came out of it happy as a lark, and then wondered in the days after if my renewed excitement over running was just a momentary fluke. Anyway, I’d signed up for Marilla earlier this summer, lured by peer-pressure and promises of post-race beer and BBQ chicken. I cannot resist BBQ. Smoked meats are pure heaven for me, bringing the Germanic/Nordic hunter right out of my northern European blood. Wait, maybe this explains the trail thing, too? Steve and Jessie were there, too, but since I’d run a slower pace that I felt I could do on the previous race, I told them I would stay with them for a couple of miles and then speed up if I felt good. At this point, I’d also acquired my first pair of trail shoes, per the recommendation of Roger the Pied Pacer. And like the fool I can sometimes be, I ran them fresh out of the box without a single mile. Just two laps around my coffee table on the living room shag area rug, pronouncing the shoes “comfy”. (Turns out the shoes were one of the least problematic of any running shoes ever, including no hotspots, no blisters, and not a single tweak or pain over 14 miles in a drizzle. I know, there is a special place in Runner Karma Hell for this kind of benevolence bestowed by the running gods for my audacity idiocy). I could give you the play by play, but the short story is this: after the first 2 miles uphill and around a small mountain, the rest meandered up and down over trails covered in blankets of leaves, the occasional water, some mud, a fine misty drizzle, fall colors like a blanket shrouding everything, and a picture perfect finish around a reservoir and through a covered bridge to the finish. I ran the back half with a big negative split, felt better with every mile, and my heart sang the whole time, okay, maybe just the last 11 miles after that initial 500 foot climb. About 1800 ft of elevation gain total, so still not gnarly by most standards but definitely some climbing for a flatlander. I loved it. I finished 14 miles in 2:24, and was first in my age group. Small race, but thank God for small mercies. And one of my favorite race photos ever! Next up: Joshua Tree Half Marathon, just outside of Joshua Tree National Park in- well, Joshua-freaking-Tree, California. I won’t go into all the hiking and scenery details, but we did plenty of that throughout the whole weekend and I’ll post pics at the end… This trip was with half a dozen or so runners from around here who know each other, run some together, and hang out frequently. We had flown into Las Vegas and prior to traveling farther west for the race, we stayed in a little town in Nevada called Pahrump. Like Pahrump-pa-pum-pum in Little Drummer Boy, not “Par-Hump” like my friend Dan -who is still a 12 year old- insisted on calling it. We visited Death Valley and hiked our butts off. The next day, we went to Joshua Tree and spent more time hiking. Joshua Tree is one of the half marathons in the Vacation Race Series, races with an emphasis on beautiful and unique places in the American West. Probably not one of the most scenic trail races on the list (since it's at night when it's dark) or one with the most elevation but likely one of the most unique. Oh, and the entire course is on sand. !!!!!!!! Our group of 5 (6 after meeting up with another friend who flew in from Colorado) chose to bury our heads in said sand prior to the race and instead of hydrating, getting sleep, and eating properly, we drank freely, hiked extensively, soaked in the hot tub late at night instead of sleeping, and stuffed our faces with junk food and the best Mexican in town 24 hours before the race. When in Rome. This is where the running gods decided the successful new shoe stunt could be properly atoned for. We got to the race in plenty of time to hang out, scout the area, and enjoy the sunset. At home, there was hail and freezing temperatures, but here we were in the middle of the Mojave desert with the sun sliding behind the golden mountains in the distance, enjoying our flip-flops and tank tops in 70 plus degrees. The race had 2000 runners, plus lots of friends and family, and many of them were camped near the race site. The entire race compound had a very Woodstock/Burning Man feel… California definitely has a few more Woodstocky people than northern PA… and there was music, some alcohol here and there, and the occasional slight whiff of cannabis. I think I would have made a good hippie. It got loud and crowded as race time approached. A few clouds decided to appear to make the sunset interesting. We donned our headlamps, wished each other beuno luck, and off we went. So the first mile or so was pretty magical, really. The race area was dazzling with fluorescent lighting plus two thousand runners streaming into the desert, all wearing headlamps. A quarter of the way up the initial incline, I stopped to look back at the ocean of runners behind me. With the red glow of the sinking sun still behind the runners, and the sea of bobbing lights... well, it was stunning. One of those moments you just can’t replicate. All hakuna matata in the desert here… Then the damn incline kept going. And going. Like so. The path went from hard packed sand to less hard packed sand. We were stirring up a fine, silty dust that started raining down on everyone and I now realized why I saw so many runners with a bandanna over their mouths. Not so different from running through snow at home in Erie, just a heckuva lot warmer. There were plenty of runners around at all times, I was never running completely solo. We finally made it to the top of a ridge with the rest of the race consisting of a few more rolling ascents/climbs before a final descent back into the valley. I settled into a slowish pace on the sandiest parts and tried to up the pace on the areas where the sand was packed. We passed the occasional house or cluster of houses up in the hills. I had to wonder what made people want to live out here in the desolation... yet… at the same time I saw the appeal of said desolation. Most folks had their porch lights on and were playing loud music and sitting out watching the runners streaming by. Around mile 8 at one of the highest and most desolate areas, the course passed one ominous looking house with weird lights where a lady was walking around in the yard in the dark, alternating screeching and laughing manically. It took a good 100 yards for the goosebumps to fade from that one. Although I preferred the crazy lady goosebumps to what came next: my stomach revolting. Yes, I know I asked for it. Travel, lots of alcohol, miles and miles on my feet, a huge Mexican meal the night before, junk food… and then I ask my body to run a half marathon on a tough course. It’s a wonder it took until Mile 8 for the gastrointestinal mutiny to begin. The next few miles are a blur of cramps and pain with every jarring step. I stopped at a port a potty twice, but nothing was far enough along to make an exit, just more cramping and distress. So this is the beginning stage of a Code Abby?! I walked a lot of times, but then would start up again determined to not have a completely dismal finish time. Because it was dry and parched and hot, I started pigging out on oranges slices at the aid stations. I took handfuls of them, slurping one at a time and tossing the peels along the trails. Guess what? Fruit doesn’t make GI issues go away AT ALL. I was miserable. There's photographic evidence of my misery. The end eventually came. Every step was jarring the pain and turmoil in my stomach, which was now feeling like a volcano in its last days before eruption. We started the descent into the finish. Unfortunately, about the time I expected I could let loose and maybe gain some time on a nice downhill, the trail got vastly softer. Like beach-sand soft. Oh boy. So even with the descent, which was very pleasant, the soft sand made running difficult. However, with about a mile to go, I had the finish to look forward to. I could see the lights of the race finish area from the top of the ridge, and as I got closer, could hear the usual cacophony of milling runners, music, and race announcers. GI distress is not pleasant, but there was at least one runner having a much worse day than I was. For about a quarter mile, a dude behind me and off to the side of the trail (for obvious reasons) was having the other kind of tummy trouble. Whenever he needed to upchuck, so to speak, he would loudly cuss. So it went like this: “F########ck!” and then … retching. A few seconds of silence, then: “F######ck”, puke, and…. rinse, repeat about 5 times. Kudos to the guy, he kept running tho. We were finally in the homestretch! The lights were bright and the music loud and they announced your name and where you were from coming into the finish. Because my stomach hurt and my ankles were wrecked from the sand and I was tired and ready to be done, I remember thinking, Yeah, you folks, I came ALL THE WAY FROM FREAKING PENNSYLVANIA just to run your freaking sandy, hilly, dusty race!!!! Cue sardonic smile. 2:21 finish time. All the very nice volunteers wrapped in three layers of scarves and mittens and sweatpants handed me a heatsheet and I realized that I was shivering uncontrollably. The temp in the desert had dropped from a pleasant 70*+ at race start to about 45* at the finish. Between the heatsheet, the beautiful medal, and the cup of hot chocolate, I was back to, Awwww, I love the desert and I love California! Best hot chocolate ever. And the medal glows in the dark. I reunited with the ones from our group who finished before me and we waited until everyone finished before wearily trekking back to the comfort and warmth of our beautiful digs. The rest of the weekend was spent doing more of the things we did pre-race: eating, drinking and hiking. And sunset chasing. Photo dump here: Also, I got to meet up with a friend and Loop Legend who was in Palm Springs the same day our group was: BANGLE! He even brought his stunt double aka brother. We got to catch up over food, beer and football... The entire trip was memorable and beautiful and a wonderful experience. The desert is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, with its many faces; its changing landscapes, temperatures, colors. I hope I get to go back someday. Even though the race was challenging and painful at times, I still love the trails and I want more of them.
  19. 9 points
    This past week I got out my hybrid bike and decided to give it a try on the trails next to my house. Years ago I had ridden it on some flatter trails and loved every single minute of it. The trails next to my house are made from an old quarry turned into a "nature preserve." There are pine needle covered trails. Trails that all of a sudden turn to sand traps (ie. Sugar sand, ie. Bikers beware). Flat trails, root covered trails and a few hills to keep things interesting. The 1st night I went out I absolutely had a blast! It was 95*, humid AF (as the kids say) but as I cruised around the single track I could NOT stop smiling. I wrapped up my ride as the sun was setting. Two nights later I convinced my husband to ride with me. After only 1/2 a lap he deemed that was enough. Put his bike away and headed for the showers. Sigh. I couldn't understand why he wasnt as exhilarated as I was?? Last night I asked my son if he wanted to come with me. He's so easy going that I knew he'd say yes. We cruised over to the pit and he set our course with me yelling helpful mom reminders. I'm sure he was eye rolling the whole time. It was awesome. He led me onto trails I hadn't tried yet. I was worried about being able to keep up, but I managed. After 1 lap it was getting darkish but we had time for one more zip around. I took off so I could be in the lead. I was riding the outside rim of the pit so we had a little bit more light. Unfortunately there were a lot of sand spots and loose gravel. I was good until I wasnt. I managed to dodge the sand but my tires slipped on the gravel. Just in case you were wondering I totally screamed like a girl (because I am a girl) as I was going down. The slide of my body - left shoulder, left hip and left shin - was long enough for me to think "that's going to hurt." When I stopped sliding I sat up and tried to shove my sweaty hair out of my face with my gravel covered hands. Not an easy feat. I took a quick assessment. Pretty much just brush burn stinging with the exception of my shoulder. My shoulder felt bruised but not horrible. We quickly put the chain back on my bike and finished the lap even though it would've been shorter to go home. As I was pedaling around I got thinking -- Was the crash something that would stop me from trail riding. I quickly came to the conclusion that I still loved the thrill of the ride. But why? The best answer I can come up with is that this is how I was raised. My parents threw me on skis at 3 years old. The feeling of flying down a ski mountain is exhilarating and can also be scary. On a dime you can be carving out S turns as fast as can be but the minute you catch a tip all control is lost. A few years ago my boys and I were skiing later in the day. The ski patrol was having some sort of training on the slope we chose. I was cruising over the moguls when all of a sudden I caught something and crashed into the most epic snowball ever. It was spectacular. Some people hold back for fear of what might happen. I guess that's not my M.O. I love the thrill of speeding down the mountain, cruising around dirt piles and pouring my heart and sweat into a chest pounding set of crazy intervals. At some point I may need to "act my age" but not yet. So what type of runner/athlete are you? A speed demon, a LSD lover or a mutt/hybrid? BTW: The statement that things always look better in the morning does not apply to road rash.
  20. 9 points
    I’ve been stuck and unhappy for a long time. I love my coworkers, but not my job. It’s boring and pretty much a dead end. It doesn’t pay well (money isn’t everything, but it would sure be nice not to worry if I’ll be able to pay rent/car/food/etc. every month. My running is my outlet, but even that had gotten to be routine and I wasn’t really getting anywhere. My personal life was (and still is) lonely. I’ve always been an introvert and not a social butterfly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get lonesome. That’s the bad, but this isn’t a bloop to complain. I’ve know I need to do something different, but I haven’t even known where to begin. A couple years ago I looked into becoming a registered dietitian but because I graduated more than 10 years ago I would have to retake a bunch of undergrad classes and even if that wasn’t an issue I’d have to go without a full time job (because classes were only available full time) for 2 years at least and probably 3. Not possible. Then I heard an ad for a Master’s Degree in nutrition. While not a RD it would still open up a whole new area of employment that would be a lot more interesting. Could I make it work? Can I? I’m doing it. I start my first classes next month. I’m excited. It’s going to be so interesting and I’m excited to start. I’m a little “scared” too. I’m already busy. How will I fit it in? I haven’t started yet, so I don’t know how, but I will make it work. Some stuff may get cut. Loop time is already pretty low – right now I’m multitasking by writing this at the dealership while the oil gets changed in my car. Almost everyone in the program is also working full time. It’s online, but also a real physical school in the area that has a good reputation. (not worried about it being a scam) I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was. I’m nervous, but I’m really happy about this. I feel myself finally moving forward. Which is scary, but scary like a roller coaster. I know this is something good. I haven’t and won’t leave running behind. I already run in the early morning hours at a time I’d sleep or not do much besides eat breakfast if I wasn’t running. I’m also doing something in running that scares me – Trails! I’ve always been afraid of trails because I’m clumsy. I don’t fall a lot on smooth sidewalks but running over roots and rocks always seemed like more than I wanted to tackle. But now I’m doing it. I am so slow at it! I’ve fallen a bunch of times already and (mildly) sprained my ankle. The little trail I’ve been running is such a nice change of pace. Except for the spiderwebs. Those aren’t so nice. I’ve tried the stick method, but it doesn’t work very well. There is a new scary goal behind this – I’m running a trail half marathon this fall! I suppose it might have been smarter to start with a shorter trail race closer to home, but this half is near where I went to college and I can stay with (and maybe run with) an old friend. I can’t believe I’m doing this either. But my running had gotten stagnant too. No time like the present to try a new challenge, right? A less scary running challenge is to continue to pursue a sub 4:30 marathon. The fact that I’m running the Route 66 marathon as the “World’s Shortest Ultra” might interfere with that being my official time, but since it’s only about 4 blocks extra maybe not. I don’t think I’m there yet. Running is going well overall. Paces are slower than I’d like, but it’s summer so that plays a role. Summer started early with very hot humid weather all through May, June and most of July. But there have been some more nice days lately. Maybe summer will break early since it started early? For right now, the heat and humidity are back. My tempo was a slog this morning. I wanted 9 minute miles for my tempo pace, and only managed around an average of 9:20. It was warm and humid, but I wish I could have gotten closer. I had been running my weekly tempos at the high school track, but classes are about to start and I think early morning football practice has started already, limiting access to the track. It’s better to be on the road anyway, or at least more realistic, but I liked being able to measure out my pace so easily. This morning’s run was a strong indication that running a sub 2 road half next month won’t happen. Sub 2 there was a long shot anyway, it’s a hilly race and early September is likely to be too warm here for optimal speed. But the half was only $35 with all the usual goodies when I signed up so it’s worth it. I expect I’ll be closer to 3 hours on the trail half in October. Added next day – I didn’t get to post this last night, so I’ll add a little about my run this morning. I had a mostly very nice 4 miles on my little trails. That’s most miles I’ve done at once on these trails. There was a lot of running out and doubling back but that’s ok. I can’t beat the convenience even if there probably only about 2 miles total of trail to run. I was surprised when I saw 3-4 deer this morning – it’s a very small bit of woods. I also got bit by a horsefly which was the only not nice part of my run. I was running along when all of the sudden I felt like I was being jabbed in my calf with a needle or a thorn. I looked down and an inch long or longer fly was on my calf sitting surrounded by a spreading spot of blood on my compression sock! Ouch! Ick! Fortunately I didn’t get a huge welt or have it be crazy itchy the rest of today. The fall line up is set. Vine to Wine Half in Greenville, IL September 8th. F*L*A*T*S (But not flat! It takes place in 1000 Hills State Park) trail half near Kirksville, MO October 6th. Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa OK November 18th. Plus starting grad school. I’ve got some big challenges ahead. I’m a little scared, but also very excited. Finally getting some forward motion! Now to share some pics from my little bit of trail... Not a special effect - it really looked like this. Humidity you can see...
  21. 9 points
    Getting a knee operation isn't a big deal anymore. The worst part of this was getting approval for the MRI. We've been through that story already. I was the doc's second surgery scheduled last Wednesday. Mrs. Dave brought me in at 7:30. Paperwork, blah blah blah. In 2018, why do I still have to fill out the same information on twelve different forms? On paper! Whatever happened to carbon copies? Where's the computer/database/cloud efficiency? Anyway. Can someone tell me why I need to be buck naked for them to make two half-inch incisions in my left knee? Or why they need to shave my leg from ankle to upper thigh? The last thing I remember was making fun of the anesthesiologist for failing to get the IV in my left hand. The nurse took over and then I was ready. The next thing I knew, Mrs. Dave was with me in recovery and I was getting dressed to go home. They gave me a bottle of NORCO (Hydrocodone/paracetamol), but I never used any of it. The worst post-op pain I had was in my throat from the tube they stuck down it in case I had trouble with the anesthetic (which I didn't), and Tylenol took enough of the edge off that to let me sleep. On Thursday I worked from home and Friday was back at the office. The hardest part of that was walking from the parking lot to my desk (two round trips since there was a lunch off site for a colleague who's leaving). I was ready to sit around the house after that. Small amount of fraying in the joint, zero arthritis, and a small tear in the medial meniscus (didn't show up on the MRI). Minimal swelling around the knee, and the two incision sites are healing up nicely. Until yesterday I had this weird squishy noise when I bent or extended Louie fully. You could hear it across the room. Squish, squish, gurgle gurgle. It takes weight just fine. There's a little pain/stiffness at the back after sitting with the knee bent for more than a few minutes. I'll ask about that on Thursday at my follow-up appointment. That's also when I should get a date for my first tentative steps at walking/jogging. Maybe this weekend, maybe the weekend after. Of course, we're already talking about the next marathon. I don't see anything sooner than December, and until I actually get back on the roads I'm trying not to think about 2018 at all. Trying hard. One of the stitches came out yesterday morning. One of the knots was undone after my shower. I grabbed the end and the whole thread just pulled out. There was always going to be a little scar there, so nbd. So, my assessment of arthroscopic knee surgery - so far - is, "ho hum."
  22. 9 points
    I checked my watch. Seven minutes to the gun. Perfect. I took off down the Mall toward the Washington Monument for one last strider. Turn, turn, turn, I repeated, reaching top speed, holding it for a moment, then easing off the accelerator and slowing to a walk. A stiff, cold breeze rippled my singlet. This could be a factor, I thought, then pushed it from my head and wove my way through the crowd to my corral. Nervous fingers. Jittery legs. The announcements were static in my head as I ran through my race plan one last time. My coach and I never put a time goal for this tune-up half marathon. Rather, we set a pace range for various sections of the course, which allowed me to just lace up my racing flats and go execute without the pressure of hitting a specific time. We bolted from the starting arch with Constitution Avenue abandoned and stretched out before us. Get out. Get settled, I thought. Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. That wind met me head-on and I did my best to relax into it without forcing the pace and burning through energy early. The course scraped the Lincoln Memorial then turned us down and alongside a choppy Potomac River and under the Kennedy Center. I nailed my first three splits, wanting to be between 5:45 and 5:50, and hitting 5:49, 5:48, 5:47. Mile four’s combination of uphill and headwind backed me off that pace but I recovered for mile five as we headed up Rock Creek Parkway. The pace was on point but the effort felt just south of comfortable. I willed myself to relax, understanding the irony. The course began to bend to the left and rise. “What exactly is going on there?” my coach asked me while we looked at the elevation profile earlier in the week. Having run previous incarnations of this race in the past, I thought I knew the hill to which he referred, but, faced with what lay before me, I knew this was not the same hill. “Your goal is to just get up it, don’t lose ground to anyone, and then take 60-90 seconds of easy running at the top to settle back into your pace from miles 1-5,” he said. Then ominously, “You might run 7:30 up that hill.” Volunteers lined the hill holding American flags. They called encouragement, but my mind blotted out their voices. Up on my toes, I picked my way up the incline and pulled even with another runner. My breath came in rasps now and I could feel the strain in my quads. We rounded the corner together, and I remembered my coach’s words. The other runner tried to take off, where I concentrated on letting the fatigue drain from my legs. My watch beeped 6:30 at the top, prompting one of my friends on Strava to ask later if I had paused for a bathroom break there. Take your minute, I thought. The course shifted downhill and I ironed out my stride. Relative normalcy returned. “Be ready to race at seven,” my coach said. Let’s go. I thought. I caught the runner who had taken off at the top of the hill and went by them easily now. They wouldn’t be the last. I aimed for 5:40-5:35 pace over the last 10K of the race. While I had recovered from the hill, the damage had been done. Fatigue had seeped into my quads and the wind over the first five miles had leeched strength from me. Be calm. Be present, I intoned. The Howard University drums boomed and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, rounding mile eight. I rode the downhills and survived the up, dropping a 5:38 and 5:33, collecting racers as I went. With under 5K to go, I picked up Brian Glanville’s quote from coach Sam Dee in The Olympian, “Be strong in mind as fit in body.” Except in my head it went more like, stronginminstronginmindstronginmind. After a 5:44 at 11, I resigned to just race and forgo looking at my watch, just taking what came over the last two miles. I kept two other runners in sight, though was not able to gain on them, nor were they able to pull away. We ground up one final hill to get to mile 12 and that’s where I really came apart. A stitch gripped my side and somehow manifested itself in my shoulder as well. My right hip flexor tightened. My quads grew heavy. One. More. Mile. I let gravity do the work for me, just trying to turn my legs over in that final mile. RFK stadium rounded into view and I threw whatever I had left in that final .2 miles, furiously pumping my arms and closing with a 5:39. I clicked my watch and saw 1:17:05. Hmm, I thought, unsure how to feel about it. Though we had never put words on a time, I had expected to be faster, and yet, with the exception of a couple of miles, I had been in range. So, what to make of it? There would be time to ponder, but not for long. I took my medal and my water bottle, reset my watch, and began a deliciously slow two-mile cool down. Another race finished. Another checkpoint reached. But nowhere close to done.
  23. 9 points
    I don't even need to post the link for the earworm, right? You're welcome. So, marathon training continues. I'm tired more often than not, but I'm staying on schedule. Everything is hanging together. So I'll just review a bit. Two weeks ago I had my first big week; five runs (my new normal), 46.3 miles, including a hard track workout and a 17 mile long one. Felt pretty good! For the 17 miler, I averaged 8:09 (BQ pace) with the last 13 at 7:59. That helped the confidence! Last week I bumped it to 50.5. But I felt the accumulated fatigue all week. Monday was a tempo run, but the legs were leaden and the usual effort was 20 seconds slower than usual. I practiced restraint and did the "tempo" 3.5 miles at 7:35 pace and just cruised the rest of the 9.2 miles. Tuesday I rested. Wednesday was track day and I joined the group of marathoners who do repeat miles every week. We did five one-mile repeats with one lap of rest in between. I actually felt pretty good and maintained a steady pace. Each one was between 6:44 and 6:47 which is a solid effort but doesn't kill me. After the last one I was energized and felt like I could do more! Good sign! 8 miles total. But Thursday the body was tired. I set out for nine miles on tired legs and that's what I got. Again my pace was 20 seconds slower than usual, but I plugged along and by the end I was comfortable with it. At this point in training I start to feel like the pre-historic Africans from Born to Run - running becomes like breathing. It's just what the body is used to doing so you just keep on going and it's no longer an effort. For all these tired runs, I never finished too exhausted. Weird. I rested Friday and then did a 12-12 double on the weekend. Saturday was the club run in the hills. We chose a trail with several nasty hills and I ran with the coach and a few others. It was a hard effort but I finished feeling strong. The next day felt less strong as I stayed near the beach by myself. The tired legs made the pace slower than usual again - no BQ pace this week - but I was able to keep on trucking and finish the 50 mile week. Luckily my lifestyle allows me to recover and rest much of the day. I've been enjoying mid-day naps almost every day lately. Such a good feeling crawling into bed at 2PM for an hour or two when the body is aching and craving rest. My legs have that tired feeling but no injury soreness is popping up. This week I scheduled another 50. I rested Monday, although I did go to the gym, which I do one day a week. I rotate through 12 stations including upper body, core and legs, so it's not really a rest day. Tuesday I did 10.3, just racking up miles, nothing special. Wednesday was back to the track for mile repeats. I aimed to repeat last week's workout, but the legs were heavier this time. In the first lap of the first one I thought I was running the same effort, 6:50ish, but the watch said 7:15 pace! What?! So I had to push it a bit to get it down under 7. I finished at 6:55 but it felt a lot harder than last week. Ugh, this cumulative fatigue is getting tiresome. But I stuck at it. The next one also felt harder but was 6:51. After that somehow I got used to it and they seemed to get easier. The last three were 6:53, 6:45 and 6:42. I ran each of them with negative splits too, where I start out around 7:00 pace and gradually pick it up. It's the best way to do intervals. By the end my mojo was back and I was feeling pretty confident! But the legs were tired. Thursday morning, just 13 hours later, I went out for eight more and again my pace was a good 20 seconds slower than normal pace. But again, by the last few miles I was feeling pretty OK and had picked up the pace. So I guess I'm getting used to running on tired legs. Which is the whole point of this marathon training. Friday I rest because tomorrow I have 18 (followed by another 7 on Sunday). Then next week I cut back a bit and I have a 10K race. Then four more weeks of heavy mileage. If I can survive all that, I should be ready for a good one. LA marathon, March 18th. "Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through Looking into their eyes I see them running too"
  24. 9 points
    Wanted to post a little something about the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon without being too lengthy since I'm using the phone to do it. This marathon had been in my sights for some time since I last ran it in 2013 when I qualified for Boston here and it became the race i wanted to use to make what i felt was a comeback for me. I did manage two marathons last year which I felt were a success based on where my running health was at the time and the very limited training I did for them. Then this spring I strayed from the Hanson's training plan to try something else mostly just to get a different perspective with the result being a stress fracture of the tibia meaning a DNS for the River Rat Marathon. So now I'm comfortably back with the Hanson's where I belong and it paid off! I trained to run 3:15 for this race mostly because that's what I trained for in 2013 when I ran 3:13:05 in my second marathon, not wanting to give in to the added years. Also not only has it been my plan to go back to Boston 5 years later but to do it as close to what I did the first time. You see I don't like giving in to this age thing! My plan for this race was to stick with the 3:15 pacer, possibly make a small move around mile 18 before the uphill stretch then make another move around mile 24 . The iffy weather forecast turned out to be good conditions with the rain stopping just before the start and the wind not a factor so I was quite content to just settle in with the pacer. My Garmin was measuring the miles short which means it read faster splits than reality so I just basically ignored it right away to keep my mind relaxed by letting the pacer handle all the timing duties. Without doing that I may have finished a little slower . By the time mile 18 came the decision was made to stay with the pacer instead of moving ahead, it just seemed I would need the energy for the hill and didn't want to lose it for the finish. As far as pain was concerned it was just the normal stuff I always get when I run, the sore hamstrings that started around mile 8 but nothing more serious which was my greatest fear. Made it to mile 21 where Dan Tian said he was going to be but wasn't sure which one he was, thought about just shouting his name but with the indecision I was soon past and lost out on the opportunity. Making it up the uphill section in fairly decent condition it was time to make a move if was to be made so at mile 24.5 I moved ahead. It wasn't a big increase but it definitely increased my breathing and it felt like I was maxed out for what I could do the rest of the race! The last half mile at TCM is a pretty good downhill and it was here that out of nowhere the outside of my left knee started barking at me in a very persistent manner. It was the same sharp pain that forced me to run walk the finish in my last marathon but there wasn't far to go and I was able to finish albeit with a limp in my stride. Final time , 3:13:51, third in AG, my goal was met! So much relief in finishing the way I wanted, staying with the plan and even having a small negative split! And now I'm hoping for a chance to see a few of you in Boston 2019!
  25. 8 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 8 points
    Hello again. I know, I just blooped. But hey, why not. Remember when there used to be twenty new bloops a day? You'd put one up and it would be off the front page in a matter of hours? Well, I just felt like writing again, so here I am. I'm tired and I feel old. Just finished a nine mile run with 4x1 mile intervals and plenty of rest in between. I was by myself running along the beach. It's a run I have done often before. Normally I run the speedy miles in the 6:40-6:55 range. Well, normally meaning in prior years. Today, with my slower recent speed times, I was just hoping to be close to 7:00, maybe 7:15. Well apparently even that was out of reach. After 1.3 miles of warmup, I tried to get my ass in gear, but I found myself at 7:17 pace and dying after 1/4 mile. Ugh. I had to pull back a little just to keep going. Pace dropped and dropped. After 3/4 it was 7:35. I pushed hard the last 1/4 just to get it down to 7:30. Phew. Trotted for 3/4 miles and stopped for water. OK, lets's do another one. It felt a little easier, as it often does once I'm warmed up. Still 7:25 pace felt like as fast as I could go. What the hell? Just no zip in the legs. I feel like my stride may be shorter since I'm tighter and sore. Of course all the miles I'm doing is a good excuse too. I got in a decent groove and pushed the second half and managed a 7:21. OK, well, better... I took a whole mile trot to recover (8:40), plus a stop break in the middle. The third one was OK, and I got to 7:19. But I was tired. I spent the next 3/4 mile debating whether I should just skip the 4th. But I figured I had to get home anyway. Might as well work hard and get it over with quicker. 7:40 pace felt pretty hard, but I worked it down to a 7:27 by the end. Best I could do. Damn. I used to do 7:30s for miles at a time - not that long ago. Oh well. I trotted home. Part of it's getting older. Part is I'm working back into shape and tired from all the miles. Perhaps my bum knee is limiting my form. Maybe some speed will come back. But I'm trying to accept the idea that it's a downhill curve from here. I'm watching my older club mates slow down so I can see my future. Of course they all still kick ass in their age group, and I'm not giving up. Just venting a bit. Still happy to get the nine miles in. Carry on.
  28. 8 points
    Hey you! With the running injury. You identify so much as a runner that you are currently calling yourself an injured runner to explain your lack of running. We know that every serious runner has been injured, yet that doesn't make it any easier when you're the injured runner. It's so easy to lose track of how it feels to be sidelined when you're not, no matter how many times you have been before. The hole in your daily life seems ever-present. This wasn't your plan, and you may never embrace it or even get beyond disdain for it, but it isn't about that. It is about adapting to the new plan. God's plan is better than anything we could dream up, even though it often doesn't feel that way, especially for us Type A planner runners. When our plans don't work out, it's because He has better ones. Trusting that is hard no matter how strong your faith. But faith also means knowing that tomorrow will be better than today. You'll be back there; never lose that faith. It may not be tomorrow, or the next week or month or even year - or without false re-starts and bumps in the road - but you will get there. Never stop fully believing. It's okay if your belief falters sometimes though; don't feel guilty if this happens. It's okay to not be positive at all times. It's okay to mourn for the races you're missing. It's okay to be disappointed as the DNSs accumulate. It's lonely. It's likely many of your closest friends are runners, and you're not seeing them as often since you can't meet to run, plus no one wants to talk about cross-training (including you!). Maybe not running makes you less energetic and social too. It's okay that as you become more and more excited about your friends crushing races, that you become more and more sad that you're not. Other runners often say, "It's only running," but it's okay to disagree with that. Sure, it IS only running, but it overflows into countless other areas of your life. People tell you to do the things that you avoid when you're training, but maybe you realize that you don't feel like you miss out on anything at all? You don't want to stay out late or have another glass of wine or go camping or skiing. You want your normal routine and passion back. People will say "enjoy your well-deserved rest" and "your body needs a break". It's okay to roll your eyes when they turn away. They have the best intentions, but they don't understand. It's okay to feel bad about how upset you are about not running. It's okay to think, "Who am I to be so distraught over this when so many people have so many bigger problems?" while simultaneously having a breakdown. Big goals take big risks, and any time you are training for PRs you are riding the line between running your best and getting hurt. Take what you learned about yourself and move forward. Address your weaknesses; this will help your injury recovery plus it will also help your times later. And finally, keep calling yourself a runner; you still are. Signed, A runner with injury experience *A couple of posts by others that really spoke to me during my injury can be found here and here. **I wrote this while was injured, but didn't hit publish until I began running again. I had this fear that I might never run again and then what right did I have to tell anyone else who was injured anything? But I ran a glorious 64.8 miles last week! I made this face most of the time I was injured
  29. 8 points
    First up: no running yet. I did a mile each for three days the week before last. Then I ended PT and called the doc about that MRI. Calling again today because they're supposed to be working on getting me in and it's been a week. Over the last few days it's gotten worse and worse. Wearing the compression sleeve today and that seems to help. Sure that means something, but I don't know what. Looks like I'll be cancelling plans for a fall marathon as well. Urology appointment is tomorrow. That will be the start of what is hopefully nothing interesting - just reaching the end of my insurance deductible for the year. Two: Going to spend the weekend with Connor in Louisville. He didn't mention anything specific, but he did ask me to come. Some days are still hard for him. Yesterday was the anniversary of the founding of Loopville. I put an event on the calendar and asked people to share their Loopster memories. It ended up being mostly pic uploads of various Loopfests and Loopmeets over the past seven years. So much good feeling, friendships and more. So, for today, while I commiserate my current injury, I'll scroll through a few Loopster memories here. In the winter of 2009-2010, a Loopster named Pacheco came up with the term "Pikermi", arguing that the half marathon should have it's own name. Pikermi being a small town in Greece, roughly half way along the modern marathon route from Marathon to the Athens Olympic Stadium. Most Loopsters bought into it. At the time one of us owned a shop that did shirts, so he made some and we bought them. We never did get the term to gain widespread acceptance, and there are only a few of us old timers who still use it every once in a while. Seems sort of a shame. Someone started a regular feature on the Loop we called "Friday at Work." Of course it's also a thing to do something creative with your old racing bibs. Since this is where I keep all of mine, it was easy to combine those two items into this. This must have been a casual Friday at work, as well, guessing from the shirt. Sadly, my newest desk has a very low wall and there's isn't enough room for all my bibs. I only have them back through the 2012 Salt Lake City Marathon. That's the red 898. Fun fact. A woman at that race had number 868, but she pinned it upside down, so all of her race pictures showed up under my name. In 2013, we had a family trip planned to UT in late March. I hadn't decided on a spring marathon that year, but wondered if I could find one to include. As long as we were passing through several states, why not stop in one of them and run a marathon? Eventually, I found this tiny marathon (30 runners) in the tiny town of Reeds Spring in southwest Missouri. Reeds Spring is not too far south of Springfield. It is, in fact, very close to a place called Nixa. Just outside Nixa is the home of my favorite Loopster of all time, musictofeet. We had dinner with her and her cool husband the night before the race, She paced me through the first half and the last three miles of the race, and let me use their shower after, then lunch (and the most amazing apple pie after). How could she not be my favorite? 2014 was my year. The year of Marshall. The year of Hansons training. The year of my most serious attempt at this marathon thing. A summer of intense training, tons and tons of hard miles. It was also a good-sized Loopfest. The night before the group festivities, MinneDan and I started off the carbo-loading effort by grabbing a Little Caesar's and eating it in my room for dinner. We shared race strategy and my hopes for a fast run on Sunday. The Loop world knows how that all turned out. What would Boston have been without Loopsters? I shudder to even think. I don't imagine there'd have been a Dave Boston without the Loop. The advice, encouragement, the near-mandatory positiveness of the community pushed, pulled (and sometimes dragged) me to that crazy day in Huntington, and as a result, Mrs. Dave and I found ourselves around a table full of Loopsters in Beantown, with the most amazing 26.2 miles awaiting me the next day. I could do this all day week. Best get back to work, though. You guys are the best. And if I never run another step, I'll never forget or regret one minute of my time on the Loop, and your friendship is the best reward of all.
  30. 8 points
    Hello! This week’s title isn’t from a song and it isn’t from a movie. It doesn’t matter, BECAUSE I RAN!!!! It was only 4×1 minute intervals, but it was a runner’s high to the nth power! Pure joy. We’ll get to more of that, but I’ll also take the time to recap my week. Thursday night was the home opener for our hometown high A baseball team, the Lynchburg Hillcats. I was very happy to attend the game. I froze my butt off, but there isn’t much prettier than a ball park on a home opener. Friday, I ran 2 miles on an Alter G treadmill. It’s basically a treadmill with an isolated chamber below the waist that pressurizes to “lift you up” and reduce your effective body weight. If you’d like a better description, I posted about it last week (read here). That was a great experience, but I won’t be needing the Alter G anymore. On Saturday, I ran walked the Point of Honor 5k. My good friend and runemy Jeremy walked with me. Jeremy brought donuts, so we ate more than we burned off during the 5k. We stuck to Olympic race-walking rules and never once had both feet off of the ground. Jeremy managed to edge me out by 1 second. I think he meant to do that! The girls dominated, both the race AND the picture. It was really great to be out with the running community of Lynchburg again in a race environment. Walking wasn’t SO bad. Luckily, this might be the only race that I have to walk because….I RAN TODAY. We also went out for a little post race gathering, where there was beer, trash talk and plans for the running future. The tough guy look is for you, Preston Evans. So that covers most of the week, but I saved the best part for last. Today I had a physical therapy appointment and THEY LET ME RUN! I’m using a TruForm treadmill, which unlike most treadmills, doesn’t have a motor. You have to power it yourself like a hamster would. The good part is that it sort of forces you to run more with your glutes and hamstrings. The bad part is that it sort of forces you to run more with your glutes and hamstrings. img_3644 Share 0 0:00 / 0:17 HDEnable HD Quality Enable HD Quality Enable Fullscreen Mode Did I mention that I RAN?! I was allowed 4×1 minute intervals (as I said earlier), but they felt SO GOOD. I really didn’t struggle much at all with the fact that I had a torn achilles. Everything felt very natural. I managed to speed up to around a 7:00 mile pace and it felt great! It’s been 16 weeks, 4 days and now about 19 hours since the injury occurred. I’ve been staying positive and working hard all to build up to today. I’m as happy as I’ve been in a long time. I have so many people to thank (and God too). So many friends (both “real life” and “internet”) have said things to inspire me and to keep me focused. I thank you all so much. I don’t want to get all sappy, but you all mean a lot to me. My physical therapists have been amazing too. They inspired confidence and trust and they have been tough on me when I need it. I’m not done working yet. I have a 5 phase plan that started today and if all goes well, I’ll be through it in 2 weeks. Then I get to really run, but with mileage limitations. Based on today, I KNOW I’m going to crush what’s left to be done and get fully cleared for takeoff. Maybe I’ll see you at the next race.
  31. 7 points
    I think I might be falling in love with running again. Actually, with exercise in general. So, I guess with me. I'm falling in love with me again. Running has really sucked for a long, long time. And you know how that goes - it sucks, so you listen to excuses to not do it. Then it sucks more, so you avoid it more, and so on. Sprinkle that with back problems every time I started making progress and just life in general. Whatever, I talked about all of that on my last bloop. I kind of knew that I needed to go to the gym to work on my back problem but I found it really hard to actually do. I wanted to want to go to the gym again. I wanted to enjoy my time there. But I just couldn't get it started. I couldn't make myself want it bad enough. Discipline is a muscle and mine was just as soft and flabby as my ass. And running was a struggle. I went from being down to run whenever, for however far and whatever pace my RBs were going, to struggling to keep up, struggling to enjoy myself and struggling to not stop. I missed it and I'd get these little gems here and there - runs that reminded me of how running used to be - before it would go right back to sucking. I honestly thought about leaving running behind. Deciding that it was something I had done while I did it but that time was gone. Maybe I would revert to my old insomniac smoker self. Maybe it was time to box everything up and look for the next phase of life. Then I had a parting of ways with someone and literally that day, that moment, it all came back. All I wanted to do in the whole world was to go for a run. And it felt good. And I went to the gym and it felt like home. There was no more trying and wanting to want, it was like I stepped back into myself. I reverted to my larky athletic self. I feel optimistic about the future again. I don't care so much about pace atm, I just want that feeling. When you’re running and just running and your body is digging it and the endorphins are flowing and the miles are ticking by and all is right in the world.
  32. 7 points
    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 ...
  33. 7 points
    Two weeks ago, it rained Monday through Friday and I was over running in the rain. If you live within a 6 hour radius of Atlanta, you probably feel my pain. So. Over. The. Rain. I took my speed workouts to the treadmill and cranked it up to speeds that were close to what I had been running on the track. I noticed after my Tuesday workout I had a bit of soreness in my foot (the same one that wore a boot last year) and then again after my Thursday workout. I had one of my biggest training runs scheduled that Saturday and went in filled with trepidation. Running had been going so well since last August and I had just a few weeks left before toeing the line at Georgia Death Race, my goal race for the spring. I told Chantal and John I was a bit nervous about my foot as we climbed up and down Coosa and the DRT, but the off and on soreness was manageable and I was relieved when we made it to John's car parked at Skeenah Gap, 6.5 hours and over 7,000' of climbing later. However, the pain intensified through the evening and after texting with my coach, we decided it would be best to give it a few extra days rest. I ran again on Wednesday and it seemed to be okay enough. I finished up the rest of my workouts as planned for the week and ran 2 hours at Sawnee Mountain with Steve, who was visiting from Michigan. That evening, the soreness was back again and I was feeling really frustrated. My coach gave me a pep talk, filled my workout calendar with swimming and cycling, and I tried to keep from panicking. Somehow, the week off of running wasn't too bad and aside from the boredom factor, I was actually feeling good about giving my heart and lungs a good workout, but keeping my foot happy. As it got near to the end of the week, my foot was feeling better, but I was full of nerves wondering if I was going to mess something up by even running a few miles over the weekend. And I was signed up for a trail marathon with over 4,000' of elevation gain. After conferring with my coach, we ultimately decided that I could just do the 5.7 miles out and back in the beginning and pull the plug if it felt terrible or go up to 2 hours and just have a planned DNF. I was actually okay with the planned DNF. I thought I'd have more fear about it (and spoiler alert: maybe I did?), but it actually seemed like it was the right thing to do so I wouldn't ruin the rest of my spring. I stopped early at Hinson this past year and the sun still came up the next day so maybe somewhere in my head, I knew the only person that would even remotely care would be me. Thursday night, my plans came together thanks to Dan and I was going to be riding with him, Gary, and Jeremy on Friday. We all met at my house and Jeremy graciously made the drive to Charlotte in heavy traffic and rain. Everyone agreed on burgers at a place in downtown Charlotte and I wolfed mine down in minutes. Though I wasn't particularly tired, I managed to fall asleep somewhere between 9:30-10 and slept really well. We got to the starting area just after 7:00 a.m., picked up our bibs, and dropped off our food donations. I saw a few familiar faces like David, Jenster, and Laurie and got a few photos with friends before we got started. At the race start, a bunch of people took off down the fire road and I tried to settle into a comfy pace. I didn't have any dog in the fight and wanted to just run some miles without pain. After a week off of running, I felt really, really fresh. My legs were poppy and I felt like while I putting in some effort, I was also super comfortable. I cheered everyone on as we saw each other through the 2.8 mile turnaround and then started chatting with Kent who had been keeping nearly the same pace as me from the beginning. We had a few miles for me to briefly explain I had been contemplating bailing at the first aid station, but I was feeling so good (and pain free!) that I wanted to try to make it the 2 hours instead. We hopped onto the single track at mile 5.7 and I was surprised to find the next section very, very runnable. The miles ticked off and I barely looked at my watch. Kent and I talked about any and everything runners talk about it - races, running, family, jobs, etc. He was keeping the pace conversational and it was exactly what I needed. As we neared the 90 minute mark, I took a moment to try to text my coach to ask what I should do because I was feeling so well that I wanted to run more than 2 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't have any service and I kept checking every 10 minutes or so hoping I could get something to him quick. We came up to the 11.7 mile aid station at almost exactly 2 hours and I let the devil and angel on my shoulder hash it out as we grabbed aid. The smart, good, angelic runner would have dropped at the point and begged off a ride to the start. The dumb, bad, devilish runner prevailed and I guiltily felt like I stepped off the high-rise diving board as I knew this meant I was 99% committed to finish by opting to go on. There would still be a chance to drop at the other aid stations, but I knew it would tough to make that call. The next section to furthest aid station is considered one of the gnarliest. Sasquatch Summit is full of boulders and hand-over-hand climbs and is followed by the Soul Crusher, another gnarly climb with steep grades. I was loving this part of the race and all my vertical training made it seem really, really doable. When we got near the aid station around 17 miles, I was still in great spirits. Jeremy looked surprised to see me still running and gave me a double high-five and Dan, not surprised at all at my dumbassery, also gave me a high-five. I grabbed a pickle and a handful of chips and topped off my soft flask with a mix of Gatorade and water. Kent told me the next section was kind of boring and while I wasn't looking forward to boring, I was happy to be cruising comfortably and not in any pain. We got passed and passed people a fair amount in this section and added another runner to our caravan who is also running GDR (& Western States!), Brett. The three of us navigated to the last aid station together and then took off down the trail, fists full of pickles, Oreos, and chips. The mud was extra sloppy in the final miles, but I have been running in mud all winter. I just plodded right through it and laughed as splattered across my legs. The rain had held off, I was just a few miles from finishing a race I thought I'd DNF, and I was having so much fun just running happy. Even Hallucination Hill didn't phase me. I was just plodding along between Kent and Brett, yapping away and swapping stories (and maybe taking a few selfies). Brett decided to hammer out the last 2ish miles solo and took off towards the finish. Kent and I continued along and though our conversation quieted a bit, we still were in good spirits as we came into the final stretch. Once we saw day hikers and heard whizzing cars on the highway, we knew the finish line was close. I came in with the biggest smile, happy my devilish move paid off and that I could go home with my heart full. I gave Kent a fist bump and then swapped war stories briefly with Gary and Jeremy while we waited for just a short time for Dan to come in. Everyone was happy, exhausted, and caked in mud. The rest of the day sealed the deal on a really fun 32 hours. Some things will have to remain like they do in Vegas, but let's just say I'm never sorry to have another adventure to say remember that one time....
  34. 7 points
    I was hesitant to write anything about this, and it isn’t about running (until the end) or outdoor adventure, but I just need to write it out. I am 37 years old, married with no kids, and am currently on birth control. But you’re 37, and married, and you don’t have kids yet – why are you on birth control?? I was pregnant once, a LONG time ago, but had a miscarriage. 99.9% of my female relatives and friends either have kids or are pregnant. I can’t tell you how difficult it can sometimes be to be me, at my age, with no kids. I’m past the point of being depressed/upset/angry because I don’t have any yet, and am now in a very comfortable place of it’ll happen when it happens and when we are ready. I am also past the point of getting sad when I’m constantly asked when it’s going to happen or if I even want kids. I’d like to share a “use your fucking head” PSA, in case anyone isn’t aware of what you shouldn’t say to a woman (even if they are a relative or close friend – ESPECIALLY then): Do you have kids? If someone has kids, you’ll likely find out within two minutes of talking to them. Do you want kids? Are you ever going to have kids? Are you trying to have kids? Your clock is ticking/you aren’t getting any younger, so you better hurry up! This may be the worst of them all. YES, I actually have people say that to me. <while holding a baby> You need you one of these. When are you going to have one of these? You won’t look like that after you have kids or You only look like that because you haven’t had kids yet. Enjoy it while you can! Get the fuck out of here. You are so great with kids! You should have one. There are more, many more, but these are the big ones. Just don’t fucking do it. You never know what someone is going through and these words could have a VERY negative impact. If someone wants you to know something like that, they will tell you. I hear that it doesn’t even stop after having a kid because people want to know when you’ll have another one! For fuck’s sake! I decided to go back on the pill last year when I was still on the Denali team. I was that committed at the time to ensuring I’d get up that mountain. This led us to coming to the decision that we’d wait a little bit anyway because I just didn’t feel ready, and there were things I still wanted to do while my body was still in it’s current condition. Plus, we’ve also thought about the fact that there are SO many people in the world already, and so many kids out there who need parents. It’s an incredibly tough life decision – of course those who love kids would like to have one that looks like them and has their traits. I get that our bodies are made for reproduction, but the world doesn’t currently need more people (in my opinion). Now for the main reason of writing this post: When I went in for my appointment to get the BC pills, the doctor told me how risky BC is for women my age (over 35) – something about blood clots. I got the pills but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I’ve been feeling very moody since I’ve been on them but just thought I might be going through an adjustment phase. I wanted to give them some time to see if it’d work itself out. It didn’t. This past week has been the worst yet – terrible mood swings, feeling depressed and emotional for no reason, and getting headaches everyday in the evening. I got home yesterday, with the intention to go out for a run, and started sobbing on the way home – for no reason. I got home and just curled up in bed. I couldn’t even force myself to go run. Enough was enough and I think I finally put the pieces together enough to realize it was the BC pills that was doing this to me. I guess guys go through things, but I just feel that this is an ongoing battle throughout a woman’s whole life. When you have kids, your body and your life is forever changed (not all bad, obviously). If you don’t, people look at you and wonder why and always have to pry. Some days are just harder than others but you learn to roll with the punches. I am very happy with my status as the woman that I currently am. I am healthy, apparently look younger than 37, and I have nieces and nephews (and kitties) that I absolutely adore and can share my love with. I love them all and feel so lucky to be an aunt. I adore kids. I may or may not have kids in the future. They may or may not come out of my vagina. Only time will tell. Well, I went in a whole other direction than just writing about BC pills making me feel so bad that I didn’t want to run, but I think all of this is really good share. There aren’t a whole lot of late-30somethings in my situation. Please be courteous. Think before you speak. Thank you for reading, Chris
  35. 7 points
    Hello, hello, hello! Here we are already into the last week of January. Time is flying by, so we’ll probably all be singing Christmas songs again before we know it. I’ve been posting for several weeks about how happy I am to not be training for anything and that I’m enjoying running just to run. Welp, time’s up. At 13 weeks to go until Kentucky Derby, it’s time I start to do a little more than just run for fun. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to treat this race, but I want options. This means I need to get myself up at uncomfortable paces again. The track is SO miserable in the winter so I might not start that up for another month or so, but it’s tempo time! I plan to add a mile or so to a weekly tempo run every couple of weeks. That should get me to a fast half marathon distance by race day! This week in running has been pretty chill for the most part. Chill as in both laid back AND cold. I think I’m starting to figure out how to properly dress. Shut up, weather app. You don’t know anything! Monday was 4 FREEZING miles with running buddy Brooke. The bridges made some awful sounds as we ran across them. Luckily I work with some sharp engineers that came up with some solid explanations. Brooke said it was like the bridges that collapse as you run across them on Super Mario games. We did pick up the pace a bit haha. Tuesday was more cold and more coffee. We didn’t take any pictures though. Step up, Wade and Alissa! This one was another 4 miles. There was talk of a 5th mile, but I just wanted the coffee. I didn’t run at all on Wednesday through Friday, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I got sick (again!) and figured I needed a break. I didn’t take a total break though at least. I managed to work out pretty hard with kettlebells on Wednesday and I played some basketball on Thursday. Friday just ended up being a little too busy. That happens. I wasn’t exactly ALL better. I look awful. Saturday I ran 7 miles. For the first 2 or 3, I felt pretty good! After 5, I started to feel pretty run down (pun intended). Sometimes you think you’re all better after a good night’s sleep, but there’s a little bit of sickness still there. That was this morning. Oh well, I don’t think I broke anything haha. I’ll be working on a training plan over the weekend to ramp up to be ready for the Kentucky Derby Mini. I wish that I was a little more fired up mentally, but I think that’ll happen. It might just take a warm day. Hurry up, Spring!
  36. 7 points
    I ran 2,500 miles last year and only raced once, in March. Okay, well I did a Turkey Trot too, but it was with no bibs or chips, just a timer. I think I was top 5 though. I started 15 or so feet from the line and had to work my way through the crowd as I gained speed. About 100 yards in I had to dodge a little kid (8yr old?) who had sprinted and was now bent over with his hands on his knees huffing and puffing. With 3 more miles to go he was in for a long morning. I continued passing crowds until about half a mile into it and then found folks running around my pace. First mile was a 6:43. Some downhill and extra effort had me passing a few more folks. A younger, college guy started pacing with me and we traded spots some. Some friends of his cheered him as we went by. Some uphll before hitting mile 2 caused him to drop back slightly, but he was on my heels and stayed there on the next downhill into mile 3. Mile 2 was a 6:33. A flat greenway took us back to the finish. I used to mile repeats here when I lived closer to it. I got into that zone and though maybe a sub 20 was possible, but just ran. College guy couldn't keep up. I had seen what I thought was the lead guy not too far out, though I knew I wasn't going to catch him nor the 3 or so folks between us. I crossed the line and I think the clock said 19:something, but my watch read 20:04. I figured the clock was not quite right because I didn't start my watch until I crossed the start line, a few seconds after the go gun. There were no awards or anything after, just water and snacks. My son and a nephew crossed a couple of minutes later. I then jogged back onto the course and caught up with my daughters, nieces and sister-in-law who were in fast dog-walking mode. A good day! I signed up for the local Charlotte marathon which is in November. I haven't had much motivation to start any kind of training yet. However, I have running buddy Tim who is training for Boston, so by default I'm somewhat training for a marthon. My marathon last March got me a BQ, but I was *only* four minutes and 10 seconds under my age requirement. The cutoff was 4:52 under. Oh well, I wasn't dying to go and mainly applied just because of RB signing up. Tim has high hopes and aspirations for Boston. And so far his training is going well. He wants to possibly place in the top 3 for his age group, which at Boston, ain't easy no matter what your age. He is 63 and needs a low or just under 3 hour finish to do that. So, damn! Yesterday (Sunday), he had 18 miles with 10 @ marathon pace (suggested target = 6:50) and wanted me to join. I do not have that speed or endurance, but agreed to start with him and fade accordingly. I did cut back the warm up miles to 5ish though. He didn't. I had mapped out a mostly flat and somewhat downhill 10 miles for the fast miles. That worked out well, but the wind yesterday morning managed to situate itself to be in our faces on all of the uphills. I fell behind as predicted after about 2 miles. I stayed pretty close though through mile 5, then he stayed stronger as I faded a bit more. My goal became to keep the overall under 7 minute pace. My slowest was 7:12, but I finished with a 6:57 average. The last two miles were a gentle downhill plus a tailwind. that helped me keep it under. RB Tim held on for a 6:47 overall! He is inspiring me and this run with him gave me a bit of a confidence boost to work a bit harder and maybe get more motivated.
  37. 7 points
    Happy New Year, Friends! I hope your year is off to a great start – I know mine is! I was all over the place in 2018 and I feel like I’d need to write a novel to recap it. I went back to see if I’d actually laid out any goals for the year and I didn’t. My main focus was getting ready for Denali, and we know how that ended, but we also know how much good came out of it. 2018 Stats: I didn’t do the best job at keeping my training log going all year, which has become a new 2019 goal. I’m pretty good at logging everything on Strava but I’m not sure how accurate that really is. It said my longest run was 18 miles but it somehow forgot about the 50K I did – but here is what Strava says: Days Active – 142 Most Active Month – June Total Miles – 723.6 Total Running Miles – 522 185 Hours 62,124 Elevation Gain Races – 9: NFEC D.C. 50K, Colfax 13.1, Mt. Evans Ascent, Leadville Heavy Half, GTIS 13.1, Estes Epic, Veterans Day 5K, Pumpkin Pie 5K & 10K, and Rehoboth 13.1. Those are some pretty darn good races! No wonder I ended up getting shin splints! 2017 wasn’t the best numbers year, but it was my comeback year. I’ll always love 2017. Much more consistent in 2018! After I withdrew from the Denali team, I thought I had something to prove to myself. I was certainly wanting to make some big moves with some very aggressive goals – like Marathon Maniacs and building up to run a 100 miler. How can I go from training to climb Denali to anything less awesome? I’m an open book and not afraid to change goals that I’ve already made public. While those goals are completely realistic for me, I don’t think it’s the right time for them yet. I need to focus on getting as healthy and strong as I can, while also getting there the smartest way possible (I keep saying that, I get it). I’ve never allowed myself to train properly, so I should definitely get that tuned in first. One of my best-good friends (as Forrest would say), Kelli, is a fitness instructor at our awesome sauce wellness center. She has been trying to talk me into becoming one as well. I’ve been afraid of the time commitment and worried that it would get in the way of other things. However, the more classes I take, I’m really starting to think that I could do it. When I was deployed in Afghanistan, the only thing to do outside of work was to workout and run. When I wasn’t running, I was on a spin bike with playlists that I pre-made just for spinning. I even thought back then that I’d make a good spin instructor. I’ve worked out for a long time, and even took a weigh lifting class in community college WAY BACK, so I’m familiar with lots of different exercises. Soooo… in February, I will start the ACE (American Council on Exercise) program to become a fitness instructor! I think it lasts about FOUR months! I will be attending an info sesh pretty soon and will have more details. The classes I will likely teach are spin (which I will have to get separately certified for), barbell strength, and HIIT. I’m super excited about this! This will allow me to learn a lot, workout A LOT, and become a smarter athlete! While I do want to focus on getting strong, I am still a runner (duh). Yesterday, I registered for the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon which is the last weekend of April! I’d initially had a goal of marathon PRing but I’m not sure I’m officially going for that anymore. I’m already two weeks behind on the start of training – but if I keep training smartly, it may happen on it’s own! I just want to have a happy and healthy marathon. Once I accomplish happy and healthy, then I can start setting time goals. Things I want to do in 2019: Become a Fitness Instructor Work on pushups and pullups – I like to be able to do 50 and 10 correct form/full range Climb more 14ers in the summer Run a happy and healthy NJ Marathon 13.1 PR at Rehoboth (of COURSE I’ve already signed up!) I am still just as fired up as I was months ago, but now I’m ready to focus that fire in the right places. I’m excited about all the places and adventures that I know 2019 will bring! I’ll see some of you lovelies along the way! Best wishes to you all for your own happy and healthy 2019!! Thanks for reading friends, Chris
  38. 7 points
    August 2018 in review Total mileage for the month: 357.7 (in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290). This was my highest mileage month ever! What's funny, though, is that I only beat May's total because I ran my long run a day early, on August 31 instead of September 1. I never look at my mileage total until after my last run of the month (that should be clear from my March mileage, hah!), but I had to laugh when I realized my PR month only happened because of moving that long run. Cheers! July 30-August 5: 74.0 August 5-12: 77.1 August 13-19: 80.3 August 20-26: 85.1 (second highest mileage week ever!) August 27-Sep. 2: projected at 75 My goal is to pick her up for first day of school photos through college! Races: Nada...August seems to be a training month for me! I have races planned for September 3, 9, and 29 (B goal race), October 6 and 20, November 4, and December 2 (A goal race), and am excited to roll into those! Workouts: August 1: 4 mile tempo in 24:10 (6:02 average via 6:07, 6:07, 6:00, 5:54), 3.1 warm up, 3.1 cool down. It was 56* for this run, which is quite unlike August in Missouri! My prescribed pace range was 6:00-6:18, and if it had been a more typical hot and humid August morning I'd have probably needed the top of it. I felt strong throughout this one and was happy with how it went, although not surprisingly I wished I'd have averaged 3 seconds/mile faster. I wish I could find someone to run tempos with me, because I will always run faster with someone pushing. August 4: 13 miles with 3 miles progressive fast finish (6:54 for all 13; final 3 in 6:37, 6:27, 6:23). I felt great on this run, except for during the last half mile up an incline that left me gasping for air. I've fast finished runs on this route many times, and sometimes I can rock it up that hill, but this run was not one of those times! I ran with Claudio and Paul for 10, but they didn't pick it up with me at the end. Claudio was supposed to run 15, but he was tired and was going to stop with me at 13, so I volunteered to run 2 extra miles so he would get it done, therefore I ended up running 15 miles total this day, but the final 2 were slower (7:29 pace) and we stopped for water at 13. August 8: 3 x 2 mile repeats in 11:44 (5:50, 5:53), 11:54 (5:56, 5:58), 11:51 (5:57, 5:54), with 0.5 jog recoveries and 2.6 warm up and 1.8 cool down. My goal pace range for this workout was 5:45-6:00, which I thought was completely unrealistic (particularly given that it was 69* with a dew point of 68*), but I decided I would try to hang onto 5:59 pace and see what happened. Lucky for me, Ben volunteered to run with me for portions of each rep as a way to ease himself back into speed work. He did from 0.0-1.0 of the first rep, from about 0.3-1.3 of the second rep, and from about 0.4-1.9 of the final rep (his plan was 1 mile of each rep, but on the last one while I was dying I told him it would be super helpful if he'd do 1.5 miles with me, and he was gracious enough to do so). I would not have hit these times running by myself, especially on the final rep. I read somewhere that running with someone or in a group helps you run 5-10 seconds/mile faster, and I think that is certainly accurate. I had to dig really deep at the end and I was proud of myself for keeping the pedal on the gas when it got very uncomfortable. August 13: Mini-speed of 30"/30" during mile 4 of my second run of the day. I managed to screw up this workout in my Garmin, so it was rotating 30 seconds/30 seconds/cool down to lap press instead of 30 seconds/30 seconds. My first 2 pushes got messed up because of this, but then the remainder of them were 5:48, 5:49, 5:36, 5:24, 5:30 paces, which isn't very fast for such short pushes, but I can barely get going in 30 seconds I guess! I think the main objective of this workout is getting in a little faster running on tired legs (I ran 10.3 miles in the morning then ran this at lunch). August 15: 6 mile tempo in 36:33 (6:05 average via 6:09, 6:09, 6:05, 6:06, 6:05, 5:57), 2.2 warm up, 2.4 cool down. I woke up to a torrential downpour this morning, Ben decided not to join me due to that monsoon, and my weather app told me that there were lightening strikes within 0.6-1.8 miles of my house at 5:20 a.m. I mostly resigned myself to pushing this workout back a day and just getting out for easy miles in the pouring rain once the lightning moved away, but by 5:50 a.m. the storm had almost completely passed, just leaving heavy air in it's place (a dew point of 70*, air temp of 71*, meaning 98% humidity). I knew it would be difficult to run as strong in these conditions as I'd done in my August 1 tempo, but I'd also had a really good workout the previous week in heavy humidity, so I held out hope that there was a chance. Although this wasn't the fastest 6 mile tempo I've done, I was happy with my even pacing and ability to push through the humidity and uncertainty about whether or not the workout would happen that morning (uncertainty is certainly not my strong suit!). As per every tempo I ever run, for the first 2 miles I felt like I could never sustain the pace for much more than 2 miles, then I got into a groove for the remainder, felt fatigue in the second to last mile, then found a little kick in the final mile. This is pretty much my goal pace for my fall half marathon (it takes 6:06 to break 1:20), and on one hand I was happy to hit it alone in humidity, but it also made me wonder how I am ever supposed to run that pace for over twice as far! No workouts the week of August 20-26, but I had a solid midweek long run (11.2 miles at 6:52 average). Ben joined me for the final 6 miles and we ended up running faster than I'd planned (6:36 average for those 6), which was a nice confidence boost because while I would certainly not call that pace easy, it was conversational. I guess since I'm training to run a marathon 19 seconds/mile faster than that, I should hope it doesn't feel too hard, but in my head I think 6:30 pace is much harder than it actually is, if that makes sense. August 29: 8 mile tempo in 50:11 (6:16 average via 6:16, 6:17, 6:12, 6:16, 6:18, 6:18, 6:20, 6:11, 2.2 warm up, 2.0 cool down. This one was a grind! My goal pace range was 6:03-6:18, and my coach, my husband, and common sense tell me that bad weather days are what the top of the pace range is for, but I really struggle with accepting that. It was 74* with a dew point of 72* and 92% humidity which is pretty miserable, and there were storms around, including one that rolled through mid-run, bringing some wind and moderate rain but no reprieve in the heat and humidity. BUT, I'd also nailed a couple of workouts in conditions that were almost as bad recently (see 6 mile tempo and 2 x 3 mile repeats above), so I wanted to think I could nail this one too, ideally hitting 6:06 average pace (goal half pace). Maybe it wasn't the weather and it was the mileage on my legs or just not my day, but I started at the top of the pace range hoping to work down, but with each passing mile it became more and more clear that I was going to have to really work just to hang on to the top of the range. I looked at my watch far more than I typically do during tempos, because when I ran what felt like tempo pace I was at 6:20-6:30 pace, and I just kept forcing it down ("just get it to 6:18!" was my self-talk). 6:15 sure felt like 6:00 pace! The workout ended up being really hard on my body, I think because I forced the pace so much. When I've raced in weather like this - such as at Bass Pro Half 2017 and Dam to Dam 2017 - I have always run slower than I thought I was in shape for (and suffered more doing it!), so really 6:16+ probably is what I'd aim for in a half marathon in this weather, but I sure wanted the confidence boost of hitting a faster pace. Plus, my marathon goal pace is 6:17, so having 6:16 feel so hard for 8 miles was not confidence-inspiring. I feel like I missed my chance to "prove" to myself I'm ready for a half PR, but I did my best and paced evenly, so I am trying to be okay with the outcome. Last season almost no workout I ever did indicated I could race the times I ran, so there is also that to cling to! Doubles on August 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, and 29 -- yes, doubles increased with a vengeance this month! I ran 4 doubles in 1 week for the first time ever; they were all 3.X milers so just easing into the frequency. I also had two weeks with 3 doubles, which I'd done before then but only twice (2 has been my usual number of doubles per week until now). I've grown to really like running them, but sometimes they are a pain logistically, so I have mixed feelings about 4 a week. Strides on August 2, 21, and 23, and a few before most workouts (those are usually fartlek-style at the end of my warm ups). Full body strength workouts - I completed my full strength circuit twice per week and also did 5-10 minutes of core work more days than not. I split up my strength work a little more than I have been; with my work schedule and increasing doubles, it became harder to fit in my weekday full strength workout, which takes about an hour total (some of it is drills). Some weeks I'd do something like 20 minutes of it on Tuesday, 20 minutes of it on Wednesday, and 20 minutes of it on Thursday - and often those 20 minutes would be split into 10 minutes after my morning run and 10 minutes after my second run. On a "good" week I'd do it all on Wednesdays, with half after my morning run and half after my second run, but I think that only happened once this month. I always do the full workout on Saturdays all at once, either immediately following my long run or later in the afternoon. I used to drop strength training when it became harder to fit in, but it's more manageable when I break it up so I'll continue to do it that way until I win the lottery and switch to working part time (I do enjoy my job, but running a lot of miles would sure be easier with 4 hour work days!). Favorite workout: It's hard to beat a solid tempo run in 56 degrees in August (the 4 miler), and since I'm still reeling from the muggy 8 mile tempo I choose that one (even though I definitely exceeded expectations on the 3 x 2 mile workout). Long Runs: August 4: 15 miles (13 at 6:54 + 2 to help a friend), described in workouts. I was excited to see a 6:5X average! August 11: 15.1 miles (6:52). This one showed me that the previous week's 6:5X average long run wasn't just a fluke! I ran with Marshall and Kim, which gave me a little push and made the miles fly by! We saw a lot of people out running on the trails in Springfield; I think fall marathon training is in full force around here, which is great to see. August 18: 14.3 miles (6:54). I felt great on this one after mile 1! Why is the first mile always so hard while also being so slow in comparision?! I started this with Paul, Ben, and Claudio, with everyone running different distances. We dropped Paul off at 6, Ben off at 10, and Claudio at 12. I finished feeling strong and very hungry. My appetite seemed to notice the increasing mileage this week! August 25: 15.2 miles (7:00) with Casey and Rebecca on our favorite 15 mile rectangle of farm roads! It was stiflingly humid and I ended up wishing I'd have carried or dropped fluids, but other than that it was a nice run with wonderful company and conversation. August 31: 15.2 miles (7:11) on a Friday morning before work. I wasn't quite as fresh as usual for this one since I didn't have my "rest day" the day before (my coach calls my 4-5 mile Fridays rest days), but I still felt really good and it felt like one of the shortest 15 milers I've ever done! I ran 3.4 miles to meet Rebecca, ran 7.4 miles with Rebecca, then dropped her back off at her car and ran home plus a little more to get to 15. I think splitting it up like that made it go by really quickly, and also with running higher mileage like I have been it seems like I run 10-16 miles every day, so 15 is just a normal day instead of a long run at this point. I am clearly becoming more crazy! Favorite long run: I really don't have one this month; they were all pretty similar in distance and feel, and all with great training partners! A beautiful humid morning on beautiful farm roads with Ben & Casey (Missy was the photographer while running!) Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I am still streaking - every day since January 27! Part of me wishes I hadn't taken time off after the Houston Marathon, since without those 5 days off I'd have a streak of about 15 months at this point, but I needed that time, and I guess I can at least say I've run 360 of the past 365 days. If all goes as planned, I will build to my lifetime highest mileage week and highest weekly average this marathon cycle. Before this month, I'd run weekly mileage in the 80s four times, and all of those were with 20-24 mile long runs. August 13-19 I did it with a 14 mile long run, and August 20-26 with a 15 mile long run. I set three weekly mileage PRs during my Grandma's build (the end one currently stands at 86.7, with all 3 detailed here). I averaged 70.3 mpw in the 18 weeks prior to Grandma's 2018, and 67.4 mpw in the 18 weeks prior to CIM 2017. The week of July 30-August 5 marked the start of the 18 weeks leading up to CIM 2018, so my average for the first 5 weeks of the build already exceeds my previous averages (coming in at 78.3), and I will be going up from here, although not drastically. The week of August 20-26 is now my second highest mileage week ever, and it was 14 weeks out from my goal marathon. I figure this more aggressive training is either going to go really well or really poorly, haha! But taking no chances means wasting your dreams, right?! I had a hard time "letting go" of building up in mileage the week of August 27-September 2, which is a cut-back week. I can see how people get into over-training and excessive exercising, because I started feeling like I should be running in the 80s again. This is why I don't train myself! The week of September 3-9 will be in the 70s as well, since I am racing two 10Ks within a 6-day span (also maybe not my brightest idea, but I did it last year too). Life events: I got a new car! I'd been resisting the inevitable for awhile, driving my little 2006 Honda Civic more miles than my husband thought I should, but it broke down the day before we left on vacation and the needed repairs would have cost more than it was worth. My husband has been dying to buy a Chevy Volt, and that's what we did! I can drive to and from work every day (about 30 miles round trip) and then some without using any gas. It will go around 55 miles on a charge and then it switches to gas. We attended our local running club's yearly picnic, where Albani and I both won cute club tech shirts, and all 3 of us won nice running socks (I got all 3 pairs though, because they were my size and no one else's). My parents and niece visited us for some Branson activities before school resumed. My niece is almost 16 and just got her driver's permit, which I can't quite wrap my head around! School resumed, with Albani tackling the 5th grade! We went in for a hair trim for Albani before school started, and initially she planned on just getting it shaped up, but once her stylist began cutting she decided she wanted it shorter and shorter until we returned to a bob. I wish we'd have planned this better, because she had enough hair that it could have been donated to Locks of Love. Her hair looks great long or short, and she takes great care of it, so I am fine with whichever style she chooses but I could tell her stylist didn't want her to cut it all off. Albani said that her new haircut saves her 10 minutes in the morning, which is not untrue. I also returned to school, teaching one class in the ABA Masters program at Missouri State, on Tuesday evenings. I was published in my local running club's August newsletter - article here. Bidding our 2006 Honda goodbye in Alabama (Jon & Albani made this into a father-daughter trip) Hello, 2018 Chevy Volt Proud owners I won the contest for the oldest race t-shirt with this gem of my dad's from 1981! My parents, niece, and daughter loved Samson at the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson (they went on a Tuesday afternoon so I was at work) Pre-Samson Cousin card game Our matching OMRR shirts Stocking up on books, showing the OMRR shirt & a "before" hair cut photo After hair cut! This doesn't do the amount of hair on the floor justice We did some landscape shopping this month First day of 5th grade First day of school Bandit asks for it The second day of school is under-rated! My first day of school (teaching at MSU) I made a race website photo!
  39. 7 points
    Wow. I’m not sure where to start with this week. Well, it actually started off really well and I felt strong. I was sore from the half marathon on Saturday, but I felt good and ready to knock out another week. Monday: Barbell Strength class – If you’ve ever taken BodyPump, it’s the same thing. You have a very light weight barbell, choose whatever weights you want to use, and a step. The step is for lying back on when we do chest presses and other things. I love this class because it’s low weight/high reps and you basically keep going until muscle burnout. I was sore in all the right places after this and it will be my weekly Monday cross training. Tuesday: Hill Repeats – I decided to run after work and to run on the 0.3mi hill behind my house. Storms were brewing and I hoped I might actually get rained on. However, Colorado rain showers are hardly ever friendly and this was no exception. I got in four repeats, when I’d planned on six, before the lightning got too close. I headed back home feeling good about the four that I’d done. Shortly after I got in the house, it started pouring and then started hailing ping pong sized hail. Luckily, my car was unharmed but I think it’s just a matter of time before it gets dinged up. Wednesday: Yoga Roll – I was pretty sore in my calves by this day so the thought of foam rolling AND yoga sounded amazing. The rolling hurt, but hurt good; we did that before we started yoga, then the yoga was a simple flow. It was a great class to take on my lunch break. Thursday: 4 mile Tempo (@8:30)– This is where the week turned for the worse. The whole week had been really busy at work, as school starts on the 20th (today!) and folks were in a panic to finish things before the semester started. I’d handled it pretty well but the stress had caught up to me and showed in my run. Some other reasoning (excuses) for this also included that I was still pretty sore from the half, and that the route wasn’t as flat as I’d like for a tempo. Either way, I missed the mark. Actual: 4 miles (6 total) @8:45 Friday: REST- Was supposed to be a cross training day, but since I didn’t take the optional rest day on Wednesday, I chose it on this day. I had a 12 miler planned the next day and wanted the extra rest. Saturday: 12 miles @ 9:35– I can keep a 9:35 pace easy, right? Not on this day at least. I started off nicely, but by the halfway mark, I just wasn’t feeling it. I could still feel the soreness in my calves but I could have ran through it, keeping pace. For some reason, the first walk break I took brought on a lot of emotions. I usually like to get out a good cry after a stressful week, but hadn’t done that yet. My body was forcing me to do it right then. I didn’t cry a ton, but enough. I walked almost all of the last four miles, which made me regret the extra mile I did for the out-and-back so that I’d have a cool down mile at the end. I obviously didn’t hit the pace but I got the miles in. I feel like that’s the most important part in the beginning of a training cycle. I still ended up with the long run munchies (yay!) so I was eating a little bit of everything the rest of the day. Sunday: Rest Day aka Spectating for DH in the Pikes Peak marathon and writing this blog. This race was DH’s first big race since having surgery last year. He did great and I’m so proud of him. He even finished in the top 50 which is SO impressive! I did get to see Dakota Jones win the men’s race and set a downhill speed record! Also, Megan Kimmel won for the ladies and set a new women’s course PR! I will say, it was hard to start the week on such a high from my stellar finish in the 13.1, and then to end it on such a low. However, it’s the lows that make us better athletes. It’s the lows that keep us in check. It’s the lows that makes us push harder for the highs. When we get those highs, we have to milk them for all they are worth, for as long as we can. Reach high for the sky, my friends. As I raise my green machine smoothie to that blue bird sky, cheers to a better week! Thanks for reading, Chris
  40. 7 points
    I had a couple of weeks there when I ran a couple of miles. Walked/jogged, really, but the distinction isn't so important right now. The point it, I felt like I was making progress. In case you're keeping score like I am, I'm into another two weeks of who knows how many with no running. After being encouraged by the doc that this was just some inflammation in the ACL, I figured the shot and another week of rest would do it. Didn't. I'd call things maybe 80% better. Most of the time it's not bad. Sometimes it's even good. Then I'll stand up from a chair and the first step is pretty excruciating. Sort of like PF of the knee. Takes quite a while before it feels OK again. So I'm going to sign up for the extra PT and I hope they can get me back the rest of the way. I'm just so afraid that this pain is a sign that there's still something damaged in there and that I'm going to do something to make it worse. I trust the Amazing Amanda, though, so if she says I need more PT and less rest, that'll be good enough for me. Finished painting, doing the laundry room last weekend. I did want to do the stairs to the basement as well, since it still has the old yellow, but I ran out of paint. Don't think I have time now until after this coming week with the kids all coming home. Mrs. Dave will probably have something else on my agenda the next two days. Anyway, that's all I got.
  41. 7 points
    Good morning! I hope you all had an excellent 4th of July, whether you were celebrating Independence Day or not. Last week, I decided that I was ready to give racing a try and signed up for the local Percival’s Island 5 miler. It’s flat, fast and fun. If you’re just now tuning in, I ruptured my Achilles tendon way back in December and worked long and hard to get to this point. I got back to running at around 16 weeks and made up my mind that I was just going to ENJOY running instead of being so damn goal oriented. I’ve mainly been a social runner and taking it easy, but the more I’ve been running, the more natural it’s starting to feel and the more I feel myself wanting to pick the pace up a little. I really miss racing for the competition and the camaraderie too, so combine that with feeling good and there you have it. I haven’t been doing much running while holding anything close to race paces, so I felt like I needed to “feel it out” with a fast run a couple of days before the race. Public Runemy #1 Robbie was a willing partner to help me out. We ran 2 hard miles sandwiched between 2 easy miles. They were around a 7:00 mile pace and to be honest they felt harder than I remember them feeling. The tricky part is that it’s HOT (you may have heard). It’s hard to tell if the struggle is how out of shape I am or how miserably swampy the weather is. I think it’s both, really. I was so nervous the night before the race. I had so much doubt and even some fear. It’s hard to forget the complete shock of a ruptured Achilles. The thought that one wrong move can cause such damage is tough to shake. Sure, the injury was a freak accident in a way, but there was a clear path to set it up to fail. The morning of the race, I felt better. Friends help. People told me what I needed to hear. Seeing and chatting with other runners got me relaxed. I remembered that there’s no pressure at all for me to do well. I’m doing well just by running again. Off we went in the sweltering, suffocating heat. I started out a bit too fast (surprise!) but got settled in after a quarter mile. I felt alive! For 2 miles, I held a 7:00 pace. Then came reality. Mile 3 was over 30 seconds slower, but felt no easier. The wheels were falling off. My unreasonable optimism sometimes causes me trouble. How could I think that after struggling through 8 miles last Saturday at an easy pace I’d be able to get through 5 miles at race pace?! Dummy. Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain what I’d started, I lost the drive to push through. I slowed down. I walked. I got passed by several runners that knew how to pace properly. Crap. Mile 4: 8:31 Definitely some pain in that face. With less then a mile to go, I got passed by two more guys that looked about my age. I finally drew a line and decided not to let them beat me. I picked up quite a bit the last half mile and left those two guys behind me with a 7:46 mile 5, finishing strongly back at my 7:00 pace that I started with. I ended up finishing 33rd overall and 4th (I hate that) in my age group. So there’s a video of the finish, which is pretty cool. My finish is tainted somewhat by the guy PUKING AT THE FINISH LINE, just before I come in. I wish I’d given that much effort. I’d feel better about myself. I was pretty drained after the race…so I hydrated with some of the red, white and blue ribbon. This race was good for me. I now know my current limits and I know that I don’t like them. I will change them. Anybody else race yesterday? How’d it go?
  42. 7 points
    Hi! Since I have a separate blog, is it easier for you to just click the link to this blog so that the pictures aren't screwed up?? Let's try it... please leave comments below after you read it, if you wish. If this way is annoying, please tell me! dirtandasphalt.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/leadville-heavy-half-race-report/ Or click here Thanks for reading! Chris
  43. 7 points
    5:30am. 57 degrees. It is dark, but the wet streets reflect the house and street lights. With my hat, headphones, t-shirt, phone in armband, watch, shorts, socks and shoes, I run. Feeling my way through the darkness Guided by a beating heart I can't tell where the journey will end But I know where to start - from "Wake Me Up" by Avicii Great lyrics to start a pre-dawn run. So sad when somebody passes at such a young age. After a mile and a half loop, I stop at the house to avert a Code Abby. I don't try to compete with Shalane. I ditch the shirt and walk back outside. The rain has resumed. My neighborhood offers a good variety of hills and my plan is to sample a couple of them. The first one is gentle, but challenging, and almost two-thirds of a mile long. One-quarter mile up is plenty far. Times three. I use my shorts to wipe the rain drops off my watch and glance at my pace. I'm a bit surprised to see 6:37 midway through the first climb. After the third climb, I mosey jog over to the next street which has a steeper, but shorter climb. The sky was lightening as day began to break. Three more should be enough for today. The cool rain continued, and my fingers felt slightly cold on the downhill recovery. I again feel sorry for the Boston heroes that ran for hours in much colder rain. Hill repeats are a matter of will power. Ninety seconds of lifting the knee higher than usual. Ninety seconds of pushing off faster than usual. Ninety seconds of oxygen deprivation. And ninety seconds of where will this hill end? With the second set of three complete, I round off the total to six miles on my way home. I am awake now, guided by a racing heart rate. Time to get on with the day and continue the journey, wherever it may end.
  44. 7 points
    After much contemplation and some investigation, I have a plan for my running in 2018. I listened to a podcast from "Another Mother Runner" and they talked about racing and weight loss and can the two co-exist. Basically, no. Your body and mind are ideally suited for just one major task at a time. This year, my sole focus is weight loss. I'm not interested in what my per mile paces are. I'm simply going to put in 5 days a week of running and I'll get in at least 30 minutes minimum per run and put a longer run in there somewhere. I have a goal of 10 Crossfit sessions per month and daily body weight exercises of 8-20 minutes each with a fitness app I have. Combine that with the best darn nutrition I can consistently consume and tracking my food consumption in My Fitness Pal and I think the weight will slowly keep sliding off. I'm down 3.4 lbs since December 29th. Basically, 1 lb per week thus far. Fair progress considering several life factors I have going on. I ran this morning despite a ridiculous pain between my shoulder blades (fixed by my chiro after lunch) and feeling like the tin man after a rain - so clunky. It was 47F at 6 am. I was NOT missing out on that opportunity. Tomorrow the high is around 10F. Mother Nature has bi-polar tendencies so far this new year. A few different times on my early morning runs I pass an elderly blind man and I always walk with him for a minute and say hello because he can't see me and I worry about scaring the crap out of him. This morning he was coming up to the main road through town when I was and I asked if he'd like help crossing since we weren't at a crosswalk. He was on a straight line to the famous bakery in town for coffee and sweets with a buddy I learned. I can't imagine being blind and crossing where he did but he said he waits for no sounds of traffic and goes for it. He has a reflective vest and his white cane and apparently nerves of steel. Luckily, it's a small, fairly quiet town and you can hear logging trucks from a fair distance away. We chatted and then I gave him the word we were clear to cross safely which we did and parted ways. He thanked me and wished me a good run. It's a great reminder of how easy my life is despite my grumblings. I can cross streets, drive a car, and basically live a perfectly independent life and think nothing of it normally. On my way back home, I passed by the bakery and he was eating a donut. It looked delicious. But if you read paragraph 1 you'll know donuts are NOT part of the plan! And I have a birthday coming and need to save calories for some champagne and pizza (my favorite foods).
  45. 7 points
    Ever since RW shut down The Loop, I've been a bit salty about blogging. I was already annoyed that I had lost some of my early work that I really loved (including the "Inside Eliz83's Head" series and the post where I wrote from my GPS watch's perspective), not to mention I never saved any of Bacon's blogs so I really can't publish my dream book that is basically just all of his blogs printed and neatly bound in a colorful cover. If you never got to read a Bacon blog, I offer my most sincere condolences. I thought about doing an RR from last week's Turkey Trot, but I never remember races in the great detail that many of you do, so I just did a quick RR on Instagram: I ran it with my siblings so we took a few run selfies. The race was at the Sac County Fairgrounds in Sac City, Iowa, which is also home of the World's Largest Popcorn Ball. We were really excited to see it. Like Peg, I've been taking a bit of a break from running. I've felt all over the place, in that spot where I sort of want to go hard but not really, it's getting dark outside, actually maybe I'll just watch another episode of Drop Dead Diva, cuz I really want to know what happens next. You know that spot. I have been there, hard core. So, I've just been doing bodyweight workouts at home (thanks, Daily Burn), trying new recipes out of Run Fast, Eat Slow and thinking about goals for next year. Evidently, those goals include a half marathon in Utah, cuz I just signed up for that yesterday. I hate half marathons, but this one includes a belt buckle, beautiful scenery and a young Brad Pitt lookalike (although, honestly, the only Brad Pitt I ever "got" was Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt, otherwise I don't understand the obsession with him), and a girlfriend's weekend all tied up into it, so fine, I'll train for another 13.1. It will be my first in 5 years. The last one was a trail half that kicked my ass. I'm sure it will suck be awesome. I'd like to get at least 2 other states ticked off the 50 state + DC list (and Canada and Mexico), so we will see if that happens. It depends on the timing of a few work trips. I can't decide if it's time for another marathon or if I want to see how much I can knock off the 5K PR. There are good reasons for both. I'll probably wait to see how I feel during 13.1 training. If you are looking for a fun human interest/still running related Instagram or Strava account to follow, I recommend Colin McCourt. He's a former British pro runner, who retired, gained weight and then took on a bet with his buddies that he could run a sub-16 5K by the end of this year or get the names of 17 of his friends tattooed on him. He accomplished that goal a month early, and now "season 2" is a sub-2:30 marathon, based on votes from his followers. I voted for a sub-30 10K but I'll still follow this journey. I'm not salty like that.
  46. 6 points
    Hey there Loopsters! Hope you all had a good holiday and are excited for what 2020 has in store for us. 2019 was a good year for me in a lot of regards. I changed jobs and as a result, am in a much better work environment. I like what I do now, feel appreciated, and have much less stress. Can't ask for much more than that, right? Because I have more time - and more importantly, because I've been healthy - I had my strongest running year in a while. On Saturday, I went over 700 total miles for the year! Much better than the 504 miles in 2018 or the 223 miles in 2017, and a little better than the 630 miles in 2016. My high was 1,117 miles in 2014 so I have something to shoot for in the coming year. I made some progress this year getting faster. In the first few months of 2019, my average pace for all distances was 10:15 to 10:20 per mile. I track it by month and it goes up and down based on the length of runs in each month. By the end of the year, I was down just below 10:00 pace. In fact, every one of my runs in December was at 9:59 pace or below! So that was pretty cool and made me feel good. Being an engineer, I obviously like the numbers that I keep track of, but the best thing about this year is the amount of joy running brought me. After a few rough injury-plagued years, running has been so much fun for me this year. Lots of runs where I finished with a smile. Lots of runs where I was really glad I ran. And even those runs where I had no energy, I was content that I was able to run as far as I did. I look forward to 2020 as a continuation of the progress I've made this year. I'm picking out a few half marathons to do. My wife is talking about starting to run (she's a biker, not a runner) so that would be awesome to do some running with her. I expect my pace to continue to drop. And my total miles to increase. Sounds pretty good. So bring on 2020!
  47. 6 points
    I really enjoy the Rock the Parkway half marathon, and it's one of the few events I run year after year: 2015, 2017, 2018, and now 2019 (I wanted to run it in 2016 too, but it didn't work out that year)! This year I planned to wait until the last minute to commit to running it, since it was 3 weeks after the Chisholm Trail Marathon and because I wasn't running well enough to be competitive until fairly recently. The marathon went well enough that I thought I could run a half time that would be in contention for a top 5 female finish at Rock the Parkway, and my recovery went very well too, so I was in. It helped that I received an email from the race director inviting me back to build this year's elite field! I didn't taper for this race (78 mile week), but I felt fairly fresh going into it. I figured that I was in shape to run about 1:24 on the hilly course, but initially my main goals were to be competitive and to negative split (having fun is a given!). However, the day before the race I read my 2018 race recap, which reminded me that I'd set a Missouri state record for females age 37 in the race last year, which quickly turned into me looking up the record for age 38. It was 1:24:58, so my secret goal because to beat the record. I thought it would be pretty close, because I was pretty confident I was in 1:24 shape, and perhaps a little arrogant about the accuracy of my race predictions after I'd predicted my marathon pace exactly and also remembered the time I made a marathon pace band that was 2 seconds off my actual finishing time. I knew I wasn't in PR form, but I felt confident I was going to have a good race for my current fitness level, although I don't really know why. My realist husband thought that a 1:25 would be a really good day, but I didn't let that sway my 1:24 feeling. Preview, because I wanted this to be the first photo Race morning came, bringing great racing weather - high-30s and sunny. My friend Jessi and I carpooled over to the race from my sister's house, which is less than a 10 minute drive. Due to a road closure, I had to drive a different route to the race than I usually take, and it threw off my parking plan, so we ended up sitting in a traffic jam of runners' vehicles until I decided to park on a side street that I figured was about a half mile away from the race. We wanted to run at least 2 miles to warm up anyway, so it worked - plus if I'd waited it would have cut into our warm up time. Between the parking fiasco, chatting with Jessi, finding a bathroom, sorting gear, and getting in about a perfect warm up (2.5 miles + strides and drills), I never really even thought about the race. No pressure! On the starting line, I saw two fast women who I knew could currently beat me, Pasca and Raquel. I also knew that Jessi was much more fit than me, but I didn't see anyone else I knew would be faster. I hoped I could take 4th. After the gun, I was immediately in 4th behind those three. There were several men around and in front of me, but no one to settle in with. I made the start photos I'd decided prior to the race that I wasn't going to look at my watch at all. This course is too hilly to run an even pace even if you are watching it, I'd run it mostly without looking last year, plus after my recent marathon went so well with no watch-watching I've become even more committed to not doing it in races. Mile 1 felt like the perfect pace for 13.1 miles at my current fitness. Miles 2 and 3 are pretty much all uphill, and I kept telling myself to be very conservative and hold back on the climb. By then the field had thinned out more and I could see several men I wanted to chase down, but I made myself be patient. I maintained effort through mile 4, then I gave myself permission to up the effort a little bit, because I was getting into a groove and feeling good! This is why you shouldn't run even pace in this race Based on a little almost switch-back turn between miles 5-6, I knew I had a very solid 4th female, and baring disaster it was unlikely I was going to move up or be passed. I wanted to see where my fitness was, so I kept time trialing and pressing ahead, picking off men as I could. Fun note: after the race sorted out in the first couple of miles, I didn't get passed by anyone. This race always makes me a little nervous during miles 6-7, because I can tell there is a lot more downhill than uphill as it rolls through some neighborhoods and by one side of a park. I enjoy the downs, but I know I'll have to run back up them in the next couple of miles. There is a climb in mile 8, and it's funny how that hill seems so much worse some years than others! This year it did not seem too bad, and I continued to pursue and pass men who were ahead of me. Really, the course as a whole seems much more hilly some years than others, and this year it felt less hilly (in 2017 it felt mountainous). Cruising along solo | tucked my gloves into my sports bra around mile 4 Somewhere between miles 8-9, I felt like I had enough gas left in the tank to push a little more for the remaining distance, so I did. I also decided I was going to look at my total time on my watch at the mile 12 mark to know if I'd have a chance at the state record time. This gave me a checkpoint to look forward to before the finish line! Around mile 10, I caught up with a man and encouraged him to push ahead with me. He'd been running pretty steady and it had taken me many miles to gradually pull him in, so I figured we could help each other to a stronger finish. We ran side by side for about 1.5 miles, which was nice after having no one to run with for most of the race. He then fell back a little bit, and I pressed on, feeling strong and frequently thinking, "I feel better here than I ever have at this point", "That hill was much worse 2 years ago", etc. When I hit the mile 12 sign, I took a look at my watch, and I knew I was going to get the record and probably run in the 1:23s, so I pushed to finish it up at fast as I could. I had a side ache during the last mile, which made it seem longer than any other mile of the race, but it's also a fast mile (downhill). It was my first sub-6:00 mile post-injury, in 5:55! Grade adjusted it was only 6:09, but I'm still counting it (although I have since run a sub-6:00 in training at the end of a tempo workout). Miles 11 and 12 were also faster than I'd run any other miles post-injury, at 6:09 and 6:07. My final 5K was 18:48, which I was ecstatic about because I wouldn't have even thought I could run an open 5K in that time right now (and maybe I can't, I need 10 miles at tempo to warm up!). I finished in 1:23:35 with a smile on my face that was even caught in some finishing pictures! Happy finisher! I am smiling & not stopping my watch, but I still managed a weird photo with my gloves tucked under my sports bra strap & weird arm swing...future goals! Splits Splits on left/grade-adjusted splits on right The women's race was pretty anticlimactic competition-wise; the top 4 women were in the same positions from 200 meters in. 5th finished 4:01 behind me, and 3rd was 1:39 ahead of me (although I think she was farther ahead earlier on), so nothing was close. Jessi finished in 2nd in a blazing PR of 1:17:25, and I was so happy for her! For me, getting the age 38 state record was my personal victory, and running faster than I expected was really exciting. Although I was incorrect on my time prediction, I nailed my 4th place female prediction, haha. While I ran faster on this course in 2017 and 2018 (1:23:15 and 1:22:42), my time wasn't drastically slower this year, and my final 5K this year was the fastest final 5K I've ever run here! Although I've run several halves faster than this (I'm not even going to count how many, probably 8+), this almost felt like a PR because it was by far my best performance thus far post-injury. A couple of months ago I couldn't even run a 3 mile tempo in 6:23 pace! The post-injury break-throughs are really sweet. I felt the same way after the Chisholm Trail Marathon (nowhere near a PR but celebration for a post-injury best). I guess that although I've run these paces before, I certainly don't take for granted that I will ever do them again, or even that I'll train or compete again. Throughout the race I thanked God that I was out there racing so many times! Official results are here. My new state record can be seen here. Jessi & I waiting for the awards I ran into my college friend Codi after the race - I hadn't seen her in over 10 years & was so pumped! After the race, Jessi, Raquel (3rd female) and I ran the worst cool down course ever (about 100 ft elevation gain in 0.8 to get to the car). Jessi and I changed our shoes and grabbed jackets from the car, then we all made our way back to the finish line area. The announcer was calling our names and saying we needed to go to the awards stage for awards that were about to start. We cut our cool down short to go to the awards, which we then waited 40 minutes for. The overall awards ceremony was also hilarious because no one was actually watching it. I cheered as loud as I could for Jessi and took pictures of her receiving her trophy, and she did the same for me, but we were each others only fans, haha! We then finished the rest of our cool down mileage holding our trophies, back up the 100 ft climb to the car. Oof! Poorly attended awards ceremony My new coach (more to come about that!) was really optimistic about my performance 3 weeks after a marathon and building towards my next marathon in 10 weeks. I'm excited to keep putting in the work! I'll get to see Jessi's marathon debut in person at Grandma's Marathon in 10 weeks too! "Their trust should be in God, who richly gives all we need for our enjoyment." - 1 Timothy 6:17b
  48. 6 points
    For March, I barely ran just over marathon distance the whole month and only ran six times. But you know what? They were all happy runs! I had definitely thought I’d run more than six times but that’s how it worked out and I’m good with it! I really feel that March was a chill out and reflect month because I certainly did a lot of both. I’ve been taking the barbell and spin classes regularly, and had many dog-walking miles that add up. JFRing + enjoyable classes + dogs = HAPPY PLACE I also chose not to run the 30K that I was signed up for and highly untrained for. Sometimes you really DON’T need to suck it up and tough it out. Since I didn’t run the 30K, I still needed a March race so I signed up for a local 5K that was held on Saturday. Dirt Coffee is a local non-profit coffee shop whose proceeds go towards employee people with autism and providing scholarships to families in need and their caregivers. So grateful that my registration fee went towards that as well!! Friday night, we got about 3″ of snow at our house. When I headed out for the 5K, it was quit chilly but really clear and crisp. The ground and trees were covered in snow, but the roads and greenways were clear – that’s my kind of snow! This was going to be a small race (64 people actually) so I didn’t feel the need to get there too early and even picked up my bib that morning. I parked on the street, right beside a McDonalds, and was able to use their bathroom – SCORE! I had on a thin base-layer top, tights, and my owl earmuffs and felt pretty comfortable. Owl earmuffs! They are unbelievably warm! My goal was to go fast and just try to maintain it. Even though I hadn’t been running much, and certainly not doing any speed work, I knew I could still run a decent race. The trails were completely clear except for under and over bridges; I think the wind had blown while it was snowing because it blew some underneath the bridges – I did have to slow down a tad for those. As usual during races, I was chasing ponytails. I can tell when I can possibly pick someone off so I just focused on that – everything was feeling great! There was one tiny “hill” where I actually passed three ladies. The next one was up ahead and had a GIANT orange puffy jacket on. If you are good enough to run that fast, don’t you know better than to wear a puffy jacket to run in? Even if it were colder, you wouldn’t choose a puffy jacket, right? I passed her just after the turn-around and I could tell she didn’t like that. She passed me back, but only for like 100 yards. I stepped on the gas and never saw her again. The next one I really wanted to pass was running with TWO dogs, but I just couldn’t catch her. I was losing steam and just held on to what I had left. This course was GREAT because, while it was an out and back, you ran beside the Platte river on one side, crossed a bridge, and ran back on the other side; the only part we re-ran was the last quarter mile. I could hear the finish line cheers before I even knew it. 5Ks are tough but MAN they go by fast! Oddly, there was no water at the finish or anywhere on the course – there was coffee though! I didn’t hang around long because I was there by myself and just didn’t want to stick around. The coffee shop was offering a free beer in exchange for your race bib but I like keeping those! Results: My pace was actually 8:07 based on the 3.16 my Garmin recorded. Yessssss! I loved this race because of all the things I’ve already listed but it was also just very simple. No race shirt (thank you!) unless you paid extra for it, and no finisher medal. I do like my medals but I don’t need one for every single race. Race 3/12 for the year, complete! The next day, I ran 6.5 miles at the monthly bRUNch run and had chicken and waffles and a screwdriver afterwards! If you’ll notice, there was at least one ! in every paragraph The NCAthlete in RW Loop writing days use to use a lot of those.... This shit is getttin’ good, folks! JFR friends!
  49. 6 points
    Hi. My name is Eliz and I'm afraid to go fast. I'm your typical Goldilocks character. I like to challenge myself (I go on adventures through the woods and have no problem staying with strangers that I have never met before), but I also like to be comfortable. In my ideal world, the temperature would always be 72 degrees, except when I'm running outside, then it would be about 68 degrees. The perfect shoe has a wide toe and about 1/4 inch of room from where my longest toe ends and the front of the shoe. Dress shoes would look like stilettoes but feel like running shoes. My pillows would always be fluffed just right. MJ would never raise her voice again. I would never burn my tongue when taking a big gulp of coffee. I want to go fast. I want to be faster, mostly for time's sake. I dream of the day where my easy runs are at least 10 minute miles. But I'm afraid. I'm afraid of pain, I'm afraid that I won't be able to tell searing-giving-your-all 5K pain from legitimate, you should stop running cuz your hip is falling off pain. Perhaps that's the Goldilocks in me, perhaps I have a little paranoia from all those years I ran with an injury that no amount of rest would completely heal, perhaps I just have a really unrealistic expectation of pain. In any case, I've realized the past few years that I am simply afraid to go fast, and it's been hindering my development as a runner. That's where that Peloton app has been pretty helpful. The coaches (that's what I like to call them, I think their job title is 'instructor') have set paces they tell you to go, which naturally are based on normal ranges for runners. So, on a treadmill, a 4.5 is a power walk, 5.0 is a light jog, 6.0 is a light run, etc. As a good student, I like to do exactly what the coach is asking of me, so I end up going a lot faster than I would normally go. Most of the time, it works and I amaze myself at how well I'm doing and how fast I'm going! There was one run where I got under 9 mm pace (for just a little bit, not average), which normally would seem untouchable to me at the end of a workout. There are other times where I have to remind myself to be humble. It's exciting. I haven't tested the speed outside - too much snow, or melting snow turned ice or too cold of weather. I am looking forward to see how things work out, though, and I'm really looking forward to that 5K in April. My only hope: that I can be brave enough to go fast and smash that previous PR. Gratuitous engagement photo (by the great Morgan Miller Photography)
  50. 6 points
    This wasn’t my best race. I never intended to PR, but I was hoping to maintain a somewhat decent pace (for me). It didn’t happen. My legs felt heavy the whole time. I did do a weight workout on Thursday which absolutely contributed to that but shouldn’t have made me feel as bad as I did. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever felt, but I just didn’t have much in me. Besides that, my left arch hurt a little, and my right shoe is still pushing on my inside heel bone for a still unknown reason. At mile 8 I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish because that particular problem was so bad. After a couple of tries on adjusting the shoe it was enough better to keep going, but my shoe was now sort of loose…I never lost the shoe, so it worked ok. The weather was perfect though, cool and bright. Not much in the way of spring flowers just yet, but we’re close. A few warm spots probably have daffodils blooming but I didn’t see any. I started out with a group of Team in Training runners before we all spread out. John (who also ran the Austin marathon) ran the first 6 miles with me, but he is running another marathon in Hawaii next week and stopped at that point. The race photographer Doug always takes pictures of TNT runs. The first time around I didn’t get my “trademark” thumbs up out (and he called me on it too), but I was ready the second time when he caught me early in the second loop. Ironically, I actually felt worse at that point because of the shoe problem, but I wanted at least one good race photo. First loop with John (mile 1ish) Second loop solo (mile 7ish) Reflective finisher's photo at my car It was just a slow day for me. I finished the 13.1 right at the visitor’s center of Forest Park and was even given a bottle of water by a group promoting their fundraising for GO St. Louis. (The Little Bit Foundation) Then I took my finisher’s photo at my car and drove home. This was my last race as a 34-year-old. Monday is my birthday. New age group. Yay? I don’t believe the 35-39 AG is any less competitive. Two slightly different loops (see the difference on the right, plus a little out and back to finish up) Official time from mapmyrun Next Saturday I’m running the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day run. Always a fun race, but very crowded as well. I think I’m aiming for a 9 or below pace. If I can do that and it feels super easy (unlikely, but you never know), I may consider a moon shot of going sub 2 at GO STL half in April. More realistically I am planning on aiming for under 2:10. That’s a big difference, but I need this race to tell me what I might be able to do right now.
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