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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/14/2019 in all areas

  1. 7 points
    The short: Mother Nature didn't want the Plaza 10K runners to have it easy this year, so she gave us 71 degrees with thunderstorms in the area and a dew point of 68. Historically I haven't raced well in these conditions, so I lined up ready to give it my all and to be thankful for whatever that was, without any specific time or pace expectations. I ran by effort and ignored my watch, and although I had an idea where I was at since the race had a course clock at the 5K mark, I was thrilled to see the finishing clock in the 36s as I came down the final stretch. My official time of 36:52 is 18 seconds off my PR, which I ran in 56 degrees on the same course last year, but it almost felt like a PR because it was much faster than I thought I would run in the weather we had. It is by far the best I've raced anything in temperatures over 70, and it felt so good after a disappointing 5K in similar conditions the previous weekend. My official results are here, and my Strava activity of the race can be seen here. I remembered not to stop my watch for once! On my drive to the race, Psalm 23 popped into my head The long: I had a hard time getting pumped up for this race because of the forecast. I was still feeling discouraged from the Brookhaven 5K, and the weather conditions were shaping up to be nearly identical for this race. I thought my fitness was there, but I didn't feel good about showing it in crap weather - plus optimism and denial hadn't worked the previous weekend! I was at this race solo, so this was my race day pic! However, as always I got excited when I got in the race environment and began warming up. This race is very competitive, so as usual one of my goals was to place as high as I could. My other goals were to get the best out of myself that day, and to not be afraid to hurt. The race started and I settled into the effort level that felt maintainable for 6.2 miles. Several women went out ahead of me, and I began setting my eyes on the ponytail closest to me and working towards it. I latched onto men here and there to help pull me up to the next ponytail. I passed Chander, who I ran most of Grandma's Marathon with, shortly after the mile mark and encouraged her to work her way up with me. The familiar course was comforting, although I caught myself thinking, "I remember how much cooler it was last year" a few times. Mid-race focus I was nearing a woman and feeling strong when we passed the 5K clock in 18:24. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to breathe a sign of relief, since the pace felt hard but it also felt do-able, whereas the previous week I'd been nearly dead after racing a flatter 5K in 18:23. That gave me a nice boost and I accelerated past that women, encouraging her to work with me to catch the two ponytails ahead of us. A couple of my male pace buddies around mile 4 After that point I worked with a couple of men for the second half of the race. The effort was hard but I kept telling myself just to stay with them; they would get me in the 36s. Although I didn't have a time goal when I started the race, I sure had one after I saw my 5K course split, and that was to run something starting with a 36! I knew that wouldn't be an easy task, because the final 2 miles of this course have a lot of uphill and I've always positive split on it. Also, my coach told me that humidity affects us most in the second half of a race, which seems like a good explanation for why I positive split everything in the summer even though in general I consider myself a good negative splitter... I started to hurt really bad with 1.5 miles to go, but I was gaining slightly on a ponytail about 30 seconds ahead and wouldn't let myself give up, just in case! Running near the men helped a lot, but as they sprinted in the final 0.2 I didn't have much left to give - by that point I also knew that I wasn't going to move up or get caught in my female position. As I came down the final stretch, I saw that I was going to make it in the 36s and broke out in a smile! I remembered to not stop my watch right at the line in hopes of getting good finishing photos! The woman who won my age group was from Flagstaff, AZ Post-race, I ran an 8 mile cool down with great company, which has become tradition for this Sunday race that always coincides with marathon training (probably because I am always marathon training, bahaha!)! I felt pretty good on the slow cool down until we climbed a massive steep hill in the final mile, in search of Sharon's car... The race took about 8 photos of us finishing our cool down, hah! The more I reflected on my race, the better I felt about it. The woman who won the race last year in 34:36 ran 35:24 this time for second place, and she is in top shape preparing for the Twin Cities Marathon. Another fast female who ran 35:09 last year finished in 36:09 this year. I finished in front of a women I've never beat before, who ran 36:10 last year and 37:27 this time. Thinking about it that way, I felt that being 18 seconds slower than my 2018 time was perhaps equivalent to a 30-40 second PR, and this was sure a better checkpoint than my race the weekend before! Pretty happy with these grade-adjusted paces except for mile 6 and the final 0.24 - those show I didn't have much left to give! I wish mile 4 was instead mile 6 I wrote about my Plaza 2018 race here and my Plaza 2017 race here. Clearly I need to keep running this race every year, because I have never come away thinking it could have gone any better. I'm thankful I returned for the Plaza 10K magic in 2019. Psalm 23:1: The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want... 23:6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. My course 5K splits were 18:24 and 18:27! Post-race brunch company Hahaha!
  2. 5 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.
  3. 2 points
    T-Rex and I left at 3:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday last, hoping to get as far as Peru, and maybe Moline before we stopped for the night. This was a cutback week for me, but I still had a bunch of miles to run. My plan was to try to make it to Cheyenne early enough to find a place where I could do Interval Wednesday that night, then a recovery run Thursday before driving out for the third leg of the trip. I might miss Friday with everything we needed to do moving into the apartment, but an early flight on Saturday would have me home in time for a short long run (10 miles), so I'd get all (or almost all) of the cutback week's mileage done. If you didn't know, any trip in that direction really depends on Chicago area traffic. Ever since we started making these drives to the mountains in 2002, there's been construction in one place or another (usually several places) on I-90/94/80 from Michigan City to Joliet. This time, it looked like clear sailing for once. Just as we were getting confident of a once in a lifetime pass to the prairie, a wave of brake lights appeared. After a mile or so of super slow and go, and looking at the traffic on T's phone, we took an exit and tried for a bypass. It worked! We were able to re-enter I-80 just a couple of miles later beyond the construction zone, and get back on schedule. I remember the early 70s when there was a national speed limit - 55 mph. Not much difference driving across town, but it sure adds up over 1,800 miles. Past Peru, Lasalle, Princeton, Geneseo, Moline. It was still early, so we booked a Clarion in Iowa City for the night and drove on. I love technology. Except when it doesn't work. Despite the confirmation in the app AND the email from Clarion, our reservation wasn't in the system. Not a huge deal, since they had plenty of vacancies, but not at the price I'd gotten, by $50 or so. Not cool, Clarion. Taurus, the desk guy offered to let me have the senior discount (turns out I'm old enough to get it anyway, which was only $5 more, but there was a principle involved, so I called the 800 number and asked what happened to my reservation. He didn't know, either, but it was shown as "cancelled" on his screen (somewhere in India, of course). He agreed to re-book us at my original price and we were set. So, humanity wins this one. Not only did we get to Cheyenne, we went all the way to Laramie before stopping the next day at 5:00. That gave me enough time to run. I swear the Indians are taking over this country. I have four of them on my work team right now. Of course 90% of any Help Line is based there. The guy at the Fairfeild Inn was Indian. Raj. He was extremely pleasant, capable and was excited to tell me a good place to run. Turned out there was a greenbelt just across the highway from the hotel. Her recommended driving there, since the overpass had narrow shoulders and no sidewalks (thanks for nothing, Laramie), but I had a driver with me so it worked out fine. The Laramie River Greenbelt is a great place to run. It's about 5k from end to end, almost completely flat, right next to the river almost the entire way. There's one park about halfway through with picnic tables, play equipment and (fortunately for me because I always need one nowadays), a couple of POPs. I had 5 x 1.5 miles scheduled for this week. The park ended up being a mile into my first interval, so that broke it up a little. I intended to be flexible for this because - I forgot to mention - Laramie is at 7200 feet above sea level. Lack of oxygen does weird things to your brain. My watch beeped at a mile, but I thought it was beeping for the first interval (1.5), so I slowed down to jog for a half. When it beeped again, I took off and it wasn't until it beeped again much sooner than I expected that I realized I'd rested during the last .5 of the first 1.5. Interval #1 had only been 1 mile. I adjusted by extending Interval #2 to 2 miles. Altitude does fun things to your legs, too, btw. That first mile had been 7:49 and felt harder. The next two were 8:02 and felt the same. #3 was a little better at 7:51, but I could tell the last two were going to be a struggle. Despite that, it was cool and the wind was almost cold. And I was hardly sweating at all. Normally, I'd have been soaked by 4 miles out. The greenbelt seemed pretty popular, too, for a Wednesday evening. I probably passed a dozen or more people out walking, biking or walking their dogs during the hour and a half I was out there. The trail was a little more open on the south end, where there's a big loop that's about a mile and a quarter. I ran around it three times and then headed back to the hotel. #4 was 8:06 pace and #5 was 8:00. Not as fast as I'd run this at home, but 7200 feet. Satisfied. Siri directed us to a local Mexican place for dinner, but it was closed when we got there at 8:00, so we drove around and ate at Qdoba. Next morning I got up early enough to be running at sunrise. Mrs. Dave thought it was a little "extreme" that I was running again, since I'd just run the night before. She thought we should have been driving already. I figured I'd want to spend the evening with my Dad when we got to Idaho. Plus, since we'd made it all the way to Laramie, Thursday's drive was a "short" one - 7 hours. Stopped in Pocatello to get toilet paper at Costco for the apartment. Mrs. Dave is convinced that was worth it. I'm not, but I try to keep harmony as best I can. We did dinner with Dad and called it an early night. Next morning we met with the adviser at CEI (College of Eastern Idaho) about T's status getting into their MA(Medical Assisting) program next fall and then drove the last few miles to Rexburg. Took most of the day to get her settled in, groceries bought, roommates met. Had dinner with my two brothers and their wives, along with Dad who drove up. He took me back to his place after we said goodbye to T-Rex, fingers crossed and prayers said that she'll make it through better than the last time she was here. My flight on Saturday was supposed to leave at 8:30 am. The IF airport isn't usually busy on a Saturday morning, and even when it is, it isn't. Let me back up to 4:15 am, when I was awakened by a text from Mrs. Dave, telling me that my flight was delayed an hour, I was going to miss my connection in Denver and I should try to catch the 5:30 flight. Get up, get dressed, packed, wake up my 86 year old dad and drive across town to the airport in an hour and 15 minutes to "maybe" get on an earlier flight? I didn't think so. This would have been helpful information the night before. I was set up to get texts and app alerts from United, but nothing had come about the delay. It wasn't until I was sitting in the gate area, having been re-booked on a flight out of Denver SIX HOURS later than my original ticket, that I received the messages from the airline. Thanks, United. Maybe they'd figure something out and still get me to Denver in time. That almost happened. We touched down in Denver at 11:35, but the gates were two far away and after taxi-ing the hundred miles between the runway and the terminal, it was almost 11:00 before I watched them pushing the plane - MY PLANE! - away from the gate. So much for getting home early. As it happened, T-Rex's roommate had been delayed out of Detroit and was also stuck in Denver. So we had lunch together and hung out until her flight to IF. Mine left at 5:30 and landed at 10:20. Long day in the airport. Good thing the next day was Sunday, so I took it easy and tried to recover. Because this is the last big week (60 miles!) and then it's taper time. I'm ready for that. And, of course summer decided to come back for an encore this week, making a disaster of a tempo run yesterday. I actually had low expectations. Just was feeling drained, I guess from the travel of last week, but started out decently, with 8-ish miles. But by mile 3 I could tell it wasn't going to happen. Made it through 5 and that was all she wrote. Could barely muster a slow jog for more than a quarter before I'd have to walk. Fall is going to feel SO good, assuming it gets here in time for the race. Someone tell me it's going to be cool in New Hampshire on the 5th. This has been quite the roller coaster of a training schedule.
  4. 1 point
    Thanks. I'm trying to hang on too. Idk... other Liz is a lot of fun...
  5. 1 point
    Yay! Liz is back! All is right in the running world again.
  6. 1 point
    I'm glad running was there for you when you were ready!
  7. 1 point
  8. 1 point
    I've had a lot of those feelings the last few weeks, but that's normal in weeks 12-15 of training. And in summer! Don't even get me started on the heat/humidity. Then, there are other times when I realize that sometimes running is all I have, so I better hang onto it like grim death. Athletic Liz vs. Insomniac Smoker Liz - this is really a no-brainer. 😘
  9. 1 point
    Didn't even look, although I used the men's room, which was helpful.
  10. 1 point
    The thing about running is that it will always be there when you are ready to return!
  11. 1 point
    "Discipline is a muscle and mine was just as soft and flabby as my ass. " Awesome quote, and I'm sure a lot of people can relate. I hear ya. As I get older and sorer, it gets harder to get that good mojo going. But it does show up often enough. So far. Hope the good feelings keep lasting for ya.
  12. 1 point
    Yay! Glad you are loving exercise again! I never thought I’d be a gym rat but I LOVE it!
  13. 1 point
    Hot weather, high dewpoint, no problem. Congratulations, Sara!
  14. 1 point
    You're getting pretty good at this racing thing. 🤣
  15. 1 point
    Sounds like a great outcome to me! Congrats!
  16. 1 point
    I was the official tagger alonger at this year’s 100 on 100 this past weekend a few weeks ago. It’s really hard to describe and I always sucked at writing about Loopmeets so I’ll just tell you a bit about it. This year the team was fivestarks, Apple Pie, the incorrectly named Slow Running and Pat representing the OG, and Gonzo Runner and Paige bringing in some fresh (and very fast) blood. Fivestarks had made arrangements to pick Gonzo Runner up from Newark Airport on her way to Vermont. She graciously offered to let me start my tagging along there. It was a nice ride up. I love hanging out with these two and usually catch about half the NJ references. I haven't seen Gwen since the NJ half and Steve since Peachtree last year so there was a lot of catching up. I was supposed to be studying a little on the drive (more on that later) but I wound up chatting with the two of them with my book open on my lap the whole way up. You would too if you had been there. I’ll briefly recap race day but for the most part if you weren’t there, it’s your own fault for missing it. Wake up early. Drive. Hop out of the van to cheer. Drive. Hop out of the van to cheer. Snacks. Drive. Cheer. POP stop. Repeat until well into the night. Of course, along the way, everyone is joking around and having fun. I found out that I am incredibly bad at recognizing our runners from far away. I also found out that Paige, who is married to Pat, is crazy fast and completely fearless. She stayed out running during an electrical storm that had us all hiding in the van and, I suspect, other teams packing it in for the day. My favorite part of the day happened at night when fivestarks suggested that I run the last leg with her. I haven’t run in weeks because my back went out again and, on a good day, I’m a lot slower than her so I was a little nervous. Plus I was in very retired running shoes and a bra bra not a sports bra. BUT how many times would I be able to run through the backroads of Vermont in the pitch black with fivestarks? (Okay, technically the answer is probably annually but hush) So after a bit of finessing of the situation and deciding that I was not a bandit – I was a pacer – ignoring the fact that that pace is slower, we were off. Two things – Gwen is really fun to run with, she kept us on a nice clip without it ever feeling too hard or making me feel like I was holding her back. And it was dark. Like pitch black. It was kind of fun on the uphills because getting to the top would be a happy surprise. The downhills were fun too until I’d shine my headlamp out to take a peek and then get intimidated by how steep the hill was. I’m going to abruptly leave off there because I have more to tell about. Edit: I am captaining the 2020 team and I have to admit that after a few years of doing this with various people on the team, it really sucks that there are only six spots. I know we say this every year, but can't we have two teams? Please? Maybe a 12 person van with two runners out at once? Or two mini vans but our runners run together so we can still all mix in together? I'm just saying... So, I am studying to take my GMAT so I can start my masters this spring. I’m excited and scared and I’ll probably have to rent out my place and live someplace cheaper while I’m doing it. That part sucks but I am looking forward to a change of pace. I pretty much have to relearn algebra and geometry and even a lot of basic math for the test. It’s taking all of my time just keeping up with my prep class so I am going to defer NYC this year. I was behind on training anyway because of my back and don’t feel like I have anything to prove by gutting it out again this year. Edit: I was really happy about this decision until I was helping my RB strategize meeting up with her people at the finish, etc. Now I'm a little sad that I won't be running it but not sad enough to want to go into it undertrained. Am I soft? Maybe but I'd rather not kill myself trying to finish and then have to come back mentally and physically in time for Atlanta. So, I'm just going to focus on Atlanta. I have some more plans as far as school goes but I don’t want to say anything about it yet. Speaking of training. I just haven't had it since 2017. I really need to just commit myself and BE CONSISTENT but between injury, life, depression, weight gain, weight loss, falling off the smoking wagon, depression, getting back on the wagon, trying to maintain actual real life relationships with other human beings, and all the other things, I just haven't had a good season. I know that those are all just excuses but it doesn't help me get past that either, ya know? Sometimes I look back and remember 2017 fondly - waking up before dawn every day, running while the sun came up, that feeling of being on top of things, of accomplishing things, seeing my paces drop, seeing speedwork and hill work and running on dead legs pay off, and I think about how much I want to be back there. But then... I think that that was all I had then. Running could be the most important thing because it was everything. Do I really want to be back there? Really? But if not that then what?
  17. 1 point
    Eyes forward, KRG. Plenty of good times (running and otherwise) ahead.
  18. 1 point
    Sounds so fun! Running will always be there, in whatever capacity is best for you at different times. It always lets you come back!
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