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  1. I'll give you my first race recap in forever and then I'll try to say why I've been so absent. If you remember me, you know I'm one for brevity but this one may stretch just a bit. A colleague and friend has been working on getting his fitness back and we do virtual check-ins with FB messages a few mornings a week to report on running and mental health status. A local 5K I've been wanting to do was a "go" for this year and was held last Saturday. it's called the Higgins Lake Sunrise Run and is always around the time of the summer solstice. They run the 5K through the state park and campground and the smell of bacon from so many campsites at 9 am is both incredible and torturous! I promised to run the whole way with him and be his pacer to get him under his goal of 40 minutes and we did! 37:19 across the finish line for him and like a good pacer, I let him through on his own and held back a few steps. He was incredibly grateful. We took a much-needed swim in the lake after the awards were over and it was the perfect cap on a great morning with the running community. A few weeks ago I ran my own 5K time trial on a very, very flat bike path near my house and did it under 30 minutes and was thrilled with myself so I know what I'm capable of and the Sunrise 5K was all about helping a friend get their confidence back. I may run it next year and see if I can place in my AG. My next event is as a volunteer at another local 5K for a festival in mid-July and then I'm registered for a 50K trail race in south-central Tennessee in mid-October with my trail partner, Joy. Going to be a blast of a lady's adventure weekend for us! On to the "why I haven't been around much" topic: My mental health took a nasty nosedive after teetering on a cliff for years and years. I started seeing a therapist and that helped me open my eyes to things I didn't know weren't part of everyone's lives. I never knew what I dealt with was debilitating anxiety, massive mental stress, and deep depression. With the help of my health insurance provider and a great person on the other end, I was connected to a therapist and continued with remote visits during the pandemic. Early this year I "graduated" from regular therapy visits and now only set an appointment when I can't pick an issue apart on my own. I have an incredible nurse practitioner as my primary care physician, and she agreed to try me on Prozac under my suggestion and approval of the therapist. I never knew life could be like this. Relaxed, happy, no short-temper, calm, focused. I had my recheck with my NP on Tuesday and I'm down 32 lbs in 2 years and I may be on some level of anti-depressant for quite a while or forever. I take care of myself; I get solid nutrition, I rest when I need to, I run, I paddle board, I x-c ski all winter, etc. Where am I now? I love my life. I'm so grateful for what I have and what may lie ahead. I'm forever grateful for this group. I have amazing friends just because of the Loop. The end of July I'm set to take off on a covid tested flight via Delta airlines to stay 9 days with "Moose" and "Countess FiFi (Davide and Fiona) in northern Italy. They're going to hike one part of the Dolomites with me and I get to see Davide speak at a race and run it, too! They're helping to have a much-needed mental health break from my husband Chris's chronic spinal arthritis issues and constant medical needs. I've learned a lot the past 2 years and I'm grabbing on every adventure that comes my way (as long as I can afford it!). Be ready for some incredible race pictures from Italy in late July and early August!
    14 points
  2. I signed up for Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 at the end of 2019. Like every other race it was Covid cancelled for 2020. Immediately following my 2 marathons earlier this year (Tidewater at the end of April & Jim Thorpe at the end of May) I found myself on the injured list. I got a calf strain from pushing WAY too hard. I've come to realize I am not someone who can run multiple races hard and come out okay. Sigh. Once my calf got better I hurt my hamstring deadlifting. And then I followed that up with an achilles/plantar fascia issue. To say my running was severely under-trained for this race would be a gross UNDERSTATEMENT! My cycling and swimming however (and CrossFitting) were well trained. My speed on the bike went from approximately 16.5 mph to 18.5 mph and my swimming had nowhere to go but up! LOL! I completed a 2.4 mile swim 3 weeks before IMAC. That swim turned out to be my fastest ever even with my panic attack and my horrible sighting skills. (1:43/100 yds) As race day approached I tried to think about the race and the logistics. If you have never done a Tri before the sheer amount of gear needed is overwhelming! I then started to try to figure out how long the race would take me. 1.2 mile swim - 40 minutes, transition 1 - 5 minutes, 56 mile bike - 3 hours 15 minutes, transition 2 - 5 minutes, 13.1 mile run - 2 hours 10 minutes. Add it all up and that's approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes!! Combine that with having to get to the race at 4:30 am to set up and start at 6:30 am I then realized nutrition would have to also be added into the logistics! I went to packet pick up on Friday before the race. I listened to the pre-race meeting 2 times. I studied my athlete guide. I did NOT want to get penalized. I ended up buying an Ironman cap because the run had no shade. Best purchase ever! I slept fairly well Saturday night and was out the door by 4:15 am. I went and set up all of my gear for transition. Towel, helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes, bike socks, bike jersey that I had prestuffed with food (2 Gu, a Honey Stinger Waffle, a Clif Bar and a homemade peanut butter banana muffin with extra peanut butter), sneakers, handheld with 2 more Gu, Ironman ball cap, bib with pins. Phew! I then went back to my car and ate some oatmeal for breakfast. Before long it was time to put on my wetsuit and goggles to line up for the swim. I placed myself in the 35 - 37 minute swim group and reminded myself to go out calm and smooth. (At AC Tri and the Cedar Island swim I had panic attacks and spent most of my time telling myself to CALM THE F DOWN! Lots of self talk happens when you are under water! Lol) We went out in groups of 5 from a boat ramp. Volunteers were there telling us to be careful. As I walked down the ramp I didn't realize that the ramp wasn't a smooth transition to the ground so I literally fell into the water. The swim went well for the 1st 500 yards. I was calm, cool and collected. Not a panic attack in sight! Yahoo! When we made the turn to swim across the bay all of a sudden it seemed like I couldn't make progress. I looked up to see why there was so much turbulence in the water. There were people standing up and walking! WTF?? The tide was so low that we could stand (and sink into the muck!) I got up and followed my fellow competitors. It was crazy! I was very worried about what might be on the bottom of the bay that we could step on - The race was in Atlantic City after all! -- ditched guns, knives used in homicides?? As we made the turn to head back on the 3rd side of the box I went back to swimming because it was actually faster than walking in the muck. My stroke was something more like pull the water, claw the mud, push the water. Soon enough the water became deep enough just to swim. I finished the swim in 36:32 (1:53/100 m) 10th in my AG Lapped my watch for T1. Felt good enough to run into transition while pulling off my wetsuit. The swim photos of me and everyoneare truly terrible with bay muck covering our faces. I stripped off the wetsuit, pulled on my socks, cycling shoes, bike jersey, helmet and sunglasses. I managed to run/jog out of transition as fast as I could. As I mounted my bike I hit my watch to lap it for the bike portion. My watch showed a screen I've never seen so I tapped it again and now it read T2. Ugh! I didn't panic. I just stopped the Triathlon function on the watch and changed it to the cycling function. Transition 1 actually included 1 "bonus" mile of riding so I still have all of the data recorded for the ride. T1 - 7:03. The bike ride was a loop. We had to ride the loop 2.5 times to complete the 56 mile ride. The wind was out of the southwest at 20-22 mph. Ugh. As soon as I got up onto the Atlantic City Expressway I took my first Gu. I was going to make myself drink and eat. On the forums the day before people were saying they drink up to 4 bottles on 50 mile rides. 😲 I maybe drink 1 bottle. It was around 80* so I knew I needed to stay hydrated. My bike splits were good until my last time coming out of Atlantic City. The wind had picked up and it was a battle. I ate 2 more times - one honey stinger waffle and my pb banana muffin. I skipped all of the on course aid stations. Bike splits per 5 miles -- 19, 19.2, 19.2. 18.2, 18, 18.2, 19.7, 17.6, 17.4, 17.4, 18.6. Overall average pace of 18.4 mph. 13th in my AG We still had a one mile "bonus" to bike back to transition. People were actually slowing down here. I couldn't believe it. I passed so many people who were just cruising in. I dismounted my bike and re-racked it, put on my calf sleeve, running shoes and hat as fast as I could. I grabbed my handheld, hat and bib number and then made a pit stop at the port-a-potties. Even though I still only managed to drink about one bottle on the bike I guess I was well hydrated. I had to pin on my bib number because my race belt broke at my last Tri. T2 - 8:54 (ugh!) I shuffled out of transition for the half mile out and back that we had to do in the festival area before heading down to the boardwalk. My plan for the run was to run 1/2 a mile and walk 30 seconds or so since I was so under-trained. Let me tell you my foot/achilles was killing from step 1! I had no idea if I was going to be able to handle the run. My 1st mile was an 8:47... No idea. As we left Bader field we made a left to head down to the boardwalk. The traffic the race caused that day was epic! The poor police officers were being yelled at by all of the motorists. The first aid station was right before the 2 mile mark. I filled up my handheld with some of the ice and water, but then I didn't get the lid on correctly. It was spilling everywhere! I saw 2 of my friends as I came up on the boardwalk and then quickly I saw one more. The guy behind me said that I knew everyone. I told him it paid to race local! I continued my run/walk strategy and grabbed water/ice and or Gatorade at every rest stop. Mile 2 - 5: 9:20, 9:06, 10:14, 10:07. I took a Gu around mile 4. I was so happy when we made the u turn to start running back north. I saw another friend volunteering around mile 6. She was directing everyone to run out on the fishing pier. Perfect photo op spot! Mile 6 - 7: 9:35, 9:55. We had to go out around the Pier at Caesars (a shopping mall). It was the only shaded spot on the whole course! mile 8 & 9 - 9:36, 10:50. I took a Gu in the shade. When I made the turn to continue north on the boardwalk I saw Nicole and then Cathy and Cathy's friend!!! Cathy drove all the way from CT to see me race! I tossed my handheld to them and continued on with a tiny bit more pep in my step. Mile 10 10:01. I came up to an aid station that was manned with all of my Tri club friends. They cheered for me. Yay! They said the turn around was just ahead so I decided to keep going and grab some water/Gatorade on the way back. The turn around was not right around the corner! It felt forever away! Mile 11 - 10:21. I wasn't going fast but I just kept going happy to be finally headed for the finish line. I tried to pick up my pace as we rounded the Pier at Caesars one final time. Mile 12 & 13 10:00, 9:24. I could hear Cathy and Nicole screaming for me. As I left the boardwalk to run to the finish through the soft sand I tried to go as fast as I could ... which wasn't fast at all! I was so happy to be done! 13.1 - 2:06:54 (9:36 pace). 6th in AG What an epic day! So many good friends helped me make it to race day! I finished with a time of 6:01:57. 7th out of 38 in my AG. 10 minutes out of 4th and 30 minutes out of 3rd. I went into this race not knowing what to expect. I left this race with goals. Heaven help my friends. Lol!
    9 points
  3. Going into Boston I was super nervous about 2 weeks ahead of time. People were setting up trackers and asking me about race plans. Some were making their own predictions. I have never felt so unsure of my marathon training. I was never able to hit 50 miles per week. I hit 40 twice, but quite frankly I had lots of weeks in the 30s. This is not to say that I wasn’t feeling fit because I killed myself subbing in CrossFit, swimming and cycling for the running miles that I felt would lead to injury. About 2 days before Boston I decided to just let all the worry go. I couldn’t do anything about it. I would either have it on race day or not. I felt incredibly peaceful with that mindset. Weird for me. I drove up to Boston on Sunday morning. My cheer squad of Cathy and Nicole were on their way as well. Cathy was driving up from Conneticut and we actually ended up on route 91 at the same time! She saw my yellow Jeep and texted me to get out of the left hand lane. I called her and we ended up talking and driving side by side for the next hour and a half through snow squalls… Cathy came with me to the expo. I decided against buying a Boston jacket - didn’t love the lavender on the ladies and all that was left in men’s were too big. (spoiler alert: I bought one online that night). We sampled the Sam Adams 26.2. Cathy saw a few of the iFIT trainers who were running the marathon. She was totally fan-girling. When Nicole arrived we went to Yards Brewing for dinner. It had the most taps that I have ever seen!! When we got back to my AirBnB I set out my stuff for the next morning and had a somewhat decent nights sleep. Cathy and Nicole arrived the next morning and took me to the buses for the long ride out to the start. They are totally the best and just made everything so easy. The bus ride out to Hopkinton was nice and smooth. I was messaging Carissa and Roger hoping I could see them before they started. In a sea of 30,000 runners it took me less than 3 minutes to find them with Carissa’s stellar directions. After they headed off I got in line for the port-a-potties. I had enough time to use the POP, ditch my warm up clothes and shove the granola bar with peanut butter into my mouth. With a start time of 10:50 I was so confused on how to fuel beforehand because I’d be running through lunch. The march out to the start line was a little over a half mile. It was a little unsettling seeing snipers on top of a nearby roof. Before I knew it we were off….like seriously “Oh! There’s the start line!” I just let my feet carry me. The first part of the race is seriously downhill so tried not to brake and blow up my quads. It was congested though. The weather was interesting. I wasn’t sure how to dress and in the end I think my choice of capris, tank and windbreaker was perfect. The first few miles I was hot! I thought the jacket was a huge mistake. I planned on handing it off to Cathy and Nicole when I saw them on the course. Miles 1-5: 8:57, 8:26, 8:19, 8:10, 8:26 At mile 6 my stupid GI tract let me know a pit stop was needed. Mile 6 - 9:33. I hoped that I was going to be good for the rest of the race. I was alternating water and Gatorade every mile. I took a Gu at mile 4.5, 9, 13.5 and 17.5. I did my run walk strategy of run ~ .7 miles/walk 30 seconds (yes, the whole way). I was feeling really strong. The miles were clicking by. Mile 7-8 were an 8:11 and 8:56. At mile 9 my f’n GI tract was in need of attention again!! Ugh! 10:46. I saw Cathy and Nicole for the first time at mile 11. It was amazing!! They were cheering their heads off. My stomach was still iffy so I gave them a shrug to say I’m not sure I’m going to be able to hold on, but I wasn’t going to give up. Mile 11-13 were 8:31, 9:13, 8:36. As I passed through the half way point I saw I was several minutes under 2 hours. I was pumped because I was starting to feel better. (In 2017 I remember how I felt at the halfway point (awful) and I knew I was having a much better day…even with the GI issues. Miles 14 -16 were 8:53, 8:36 and 8:31. Now start the hills. There are 4 of them. With my run/walk strategy I tried to only take walks on the uphills. If you’ve run Boston you know you are either going up or down. There is hardly anything flat. I gave myself permission in the hill section to take a little longer walk breaks if necessary. The 1st hill hardly fazed me. Mile 17 - 9:15 I saw Cathy and Nicole here. Again I gave them another shrug to say “I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m still feeling good!” The dream team: At mile 18 I sadly needed another pit stop- yup, we are at 3 now. 10:26 My feet were hurting at this point and my stomach was cramping. It was ugly but my feet kept moving. Mile 19-20 - 8:35 & 9:19. When I hit Heartbreak Hill I’ll admit it — it did kind of break my heart. It was so long, but I knew I just had to get over it and then the course would level out a bit. Mile 21 - 10:05. With the hills behind me I set my sights on getting to the Citgo sign. I passed by the college guys handing out the beer. In my mind I thought “not this year boys. I’m on a mission.” Mile 22-23 — 9:04, 8:53 CITGO!! By mile 24 I am not going to lie the bottoms of my feet were screaming and my body just wanted to stop. I saw a lady who was listing to one side. I couldn’t believe that she was still running. I heard someone scream my name around mile 24/25. Turns out it was Jen.M.Yee!! Mile 24-25 -9:27, 9:15. I kept looking for the right on Hereford. I knew when I saw that I would be so close! It took forever to come! Suddenly it was there! Right on Hereford and then a left on Boylston!! I was so grateful to see the finish line!! Cathy and Nicole managed to spot me again!! Mile 26 9:36 and the last .47 8:51. Final time of 3:58:58! Sub 4! I was so happy!! If you are wondering how much time I lost in the POP it looks to be about 6 minutes according to Strava. Ugh. Immediately passing through the finish line I could barely walk! My feet were on fire. My hips didn’t want to bend. I stopped to stretch and told them EMT if I couldn’t get back up to just yank me up. It was a serious concern. I shuffled through the medal, food and heat sheet lines. It seemed to take me forever to get to the family meet up area. It was hard to believe that I could go from running 8 and 9 minute miles to barely being able to walk. The wind was whipping all around. Nicole helped me put on my sweats. As she was helping me with my sweatpants my foot started to cramp. Later that night my hamstring went into a series of cramps at dinner and when I bent over to pick something up my left hip seized up. It was kind of hilarious. I have never cursed so much. Cathy headed home immediately after the race. Seriously the best friends you could ever have. Nicole and I met my son and his wife for dinner. After that Nicole and I went to the 27th Mile party at Fenway and then to Yards Brewery. In the morning we recovered with some donuts and went for a walk around Boston Commons. Before heading out we stopped at Harpoon Brewery for one last celebration. Did I mention my time is a BQ - 6? Same time next year? ….maybe. Only if I can train better. So.much.pain!
    8 points
  4. The past year while being horrendous was also one of my best years. I finally feel like I can be me and not be judged for not fitting into some mold. I feel accepted. In no particular order here are a few of my favorite things: I love lifting and CrossFitting. I love that CrossFit embraces all ages in their advertising. I love doing Murph with my son. I love having fun on my bike with friends. I love that my body is still allowing me to get running PRs! I love that I have some of the best friends in the world. And that they laugh at my stories! I love sharing relationship struggles with a friend. I love sunsets. I love riding the waves with the splash of the surf in my face. I love Goodr sunglasses .... especially when with friends. I love sharing a beverage (or two) with friends. I love dancing. I love my muscles. I love my parents and their unconditional love. I love hiking with views and waterfalls. I love my kids. I love riding on the back of a motorcycle. I love spending time with people who seem to like me .... quirks and all. What are you thankful for this year?
    8 points
  5. Tomorrow California opens up. I'm calling it VC day (Victory over Covid). It's been 15 months where our lives changed in many, many ways. But this is a running blog, so I'll just focus on that. The biggest change was the loss of in-person racing. I still ran. Even more than normal, actually. Last year was a record high for mileage. With no vacations, no work (I quit uber driving), no going out anywhere, the highlight of my calendar was my running schedule. So I stepped up to 5 days a week and maintained it for most of the last year. There were a few virtual races, but those were really just fast workouts. Without races to look forward to, training got a little bit monotonous. I was avoiding the beach paths because of crowds, and because I didn't want to run with a mask, so the alternate routes on streets were, shall we say, less inspiring. My running group stopped all regular workouts for about a year. Finally, some of us started regrouping on Saturdays for long runs a few months ago. Official group runs just started in May with Long run Saturdays and Monday tempos. The track is still closed but we hope to be back to real speedwork in the next few weeks, now that school is over. It was great to get back to running with friends in the last month. I don't mind running alone, but the group runs are a lot easier to get excited about. And now racing is coming back! The July 4th 5K is on with no restrictions, so I will be out there suffering with a few thousand others just like normal. Later this year I'm excited to do the Chicago marathon in October, a local half marathon in November, and another half in Rehoboth in December. So it feels like a new day is dawning. I'm happy to be healthy and running well (although not as fast as I used to be - damn aging). But I do have one more story to tell from the past year. In February I got a message from a running friend that there was a group she knew looking for volunteer coach/runners. The group is called Strides In Recovery, and they work with recovery centers for people getting over addictions. They set up regular runs to motivate people to stay healthy, set goals, etc. I got set up with a place called Beacon House that has maybe 60 men in various stages of recovery. The running group was 5-10 guys (it varied) and I ran with them every Tuesday. We were training for a half marathon in May. Most of these guys were not athletes and had never run except maybe for other sports or military. They were coming from poverty, from prison, from heroin addictions, you name it - lots of sad stories. But most were dedicated and so, so positive and grateful. We would run 3-4 miles. Some guys would walk about half of it. Some were faster than me, most were slower. But they kept at it and started improving. The runs got longer. They were running 3 days a week and for the last six weeks I joined them on their Saturday long runs as well. Those built up to 12 miles. It was impressive to watch them keep gutting through those long ones. Many were doing 10-12 minute miles but they kept plugging. Sometimes I would hear a little of a life story, like "I used to have a big house like that and a family. Before I drank it all away...". Or The guy who said he was 50, but really only 33 because the 17 years in prison don't count. But usually we just ran or talked running. So we made it to race day. Due to Covid it was just a private unofficial race, 13.1 miles measured by MapMyRun that ran along the Palos Verdes coast and finished at Beacon House. The guys got vanned over to the start, and I met them there along with my fabulous support crew. We were also joined by the Skid Row Marathon group of about 30 runners and a few other friends, so there were maybe 60 runners altogether. Skid Row Marathon is a movie you should watch on Amazon Prime. It is led by a running judge who trains with actual skid row residents in downtown LA. I was pleased and excited to meet the judge and we chatted before the race. My running buddy Bart also joined so I had someone to run with (and race!). I planned to go out conservatively, but I still wanted to throw down a decent time on this hilly course. I also hoped to "inspire" my guys by catching and passing the fast ones. So after a few little speeches, we just started heading on to the course. No start line, no gun, not even a "Go!". Of course I used my Garmin, but there was no official times or places. As expected, most of the guys went out too fast, so I spent the first few miles catching the slower ones and encouraging them as Bart and I went by. "Long way to go! Relax and just run." DW took lots of pictures which we later sent to Beacon House and they printed them out for the guys. Here are Bart and I in mile 3. . I eventually did manage to catch all my guys, the last in mile ten. Forty years of race experience counts for something. I also pulled away from Bart at about mile 9 on a big downhill and managed to beat him by a minute. It was a good hard run. My time was 1:46:27, but it was a little short (I had 12.96 miles). No matter. It was all about seeing all the other guys finish their first half marathon (See photos) We hung around the finish for an hour as everyone got to the finish. It was joyous and inspiring and heart-warming. Three months ago these guys probably couldn't imagine doing 13 miles. But hard work, commitment and dedication got them there. Good lessons for guys going through recovery, and something positive to hang on to. Since then we have restarted the weekly runs and added 6-8 new guys starting from scratch, as well as retaining some of the "veterans". It's a great program that I am proud to be part of.
    8 points
  6. A few incarnations ago, I lived in a little town in the hill country of Tejas. I would meet up every weekend in San Gabriel Park with a couple of other guys to go for the weekly long run. We called ourselves the San Gabriel River Runners, a club that ebbed and flowed, but was basically the three of us. I was an environmentalist left wing zealot journalist save the world vegetarian ultraliberal. One of my companions was an average older working guy. The other owned a rock quarry next to the highway, constantly digging an ever-growing gash in the beautiful countryside. He flew his own plane, drove a Mercedes, was crazy rich. Pretty much everything I hated. But here's the weird thing. On Sunday mornings, he was just another runner. Old shoes, goofy shorts and shirts, enthusiasm for suffering. We would run in the heat and snow and rain, and then go to the little town's only McDonald's for pancakes. He was a genuinely nice guy. We disagreed on some things, but we had that common ground -- the love of running. I never saw him outside of those Sunday morning outings, so to me he was always just a runner. I think that's why runners make the best friends. You start out with something you both believe in and passionately love. It's the perfect common ground to build a relationship on, to find out people can have different beliefs than you without hating them. In a world that has become so divisive and full of hate, running allows a sense of community and love to sneak in through the road less traveled. I think the world would be a better place if we looked a little harder to see what we have in common, and less to see what drives us apart. But then wine seems like a good option also ...
    7 points
  7. A little background on me, I rarely post. About 15 years ago I did 0 exercise. I was in my early 40s and weighed about 250. Then I slowly started eating a little better and adding in light exercise. About 12 years ago I bought a hybrid, and on the maiden voyage, likely a whopping 2 miles, I thought I was going to die. Fast forward to about 5 years ago, I was at about 175, and running my first Mt Washington Hill run, I've done it a total of 4 times, and I use the word run, very liberally. I've also ridden it once. I bought a real road bike in 2012 and recently bought my dream bike. A 2021 Trek Madone, a bit more aggressive than I thought I could ride, but a great bike. Sadly since those days when I went down to 175, I've crept back to 210 (in the pic above - me on the left). I run about 500 miles a year. In January I got my NordicTrack treadmill. The treadmill is great, the iFit software and the 32 inch monitor are amazing. At 57 I find I prefer the cushion of the base of the treadmill over the road. So, where is all this going? I ran one timed 5k once. I road my bike about 15 miles to get to it, changed in the bathroom, and was determined to do it in less than 30 minutes. I did. Today I started a program on the treadmill from Runners World, 8 weeks to a 5k in under 25 minutes. I've done over 50 runs on the treadmill, all have been amazing programs. This one leaves a lot to be desired. Most have a trainer talking you through it, great scenery as you run in fun places across the planet. This one is just a manual workout. A little disappointing. I know for a lot of you, a 25 minute 5k is more like a cool down run, for me, that would be really fast, especially at my current weight. Let's see what the next 8 weeks brings. I'll post an occasional update.
    7 points
  8. I was going to do a 2021 Review, but in the end didn't wanna. Some highlights were: Running a PR mile not on an official course 5 days before my spring marathon -- 6:38/ mile Running a PR and BQ Marathon on April 25th at the Tidewater Striders 26.2 -- 3:48:13. Getting 3rd overall female masters. 1st and 2nd females were young whippersnappers at 42 and 45 years of age respectively. Doing Murph with my son at my gym was probably my favorite highlight of last year ❤️ Murph is a one mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run PR'd my 5k time 2 weeks after the marathon with a time of 22:59 on a windy day at the shore. Conquered my fear of open water swimming with other people. Swam a one mile and a 2.4 mile race. I've found the best way to do this is to repeatedly yell at yourself while you are swimming to CALM THE FUCK DOWN! Seems to help. Competed at Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 in September and nearly broke 6 hours on a super hot and humid day - 6:01:57. Super hard but left me super hungry. _____________ Brings me to the present. After 2 back to back marathons last spring I strained my calf and then jumped right into excessive cycling which led to some heel/achilles' issues. I am FINALLY -- hallelujah! -- getting back into running some good mileage. Last week I managed 40 miles! My build up in mileage was kind of quick so I've been trying to be careful with my pace. A lot of 10:00 miles so far on the treadmill. (I run faster outside, but with all of the snow and ice we've had I don't want to risk falling.) And not to disappoint people who know me I'm still doing all of my other crazy workouts too. Crossfit 4-5 times a week, swimming an hour 1 time per week and biking about an hour a week. A friend has been training me on the bike. He used to race bikes so I'm looking forward to some increasing speeds this spring! 140.8 miles for January Keep moving any way you can!
    6 points
  9. I had this post all worked out for weeks. I was going to title it, “Hell has Frozen Over,” or “The Day Hell Froze Over.” I was going to tell you that this was the happiest day of my life. And it is. But I’m also grieving. This weekend was the emotional equivalent of being a pair of old socks tumbling around the clothes drier. Let me back up, I had it all planned. I bought a ring. Not A ring. I bought THE Ring. I started sneaking off to the jeweler before Thanksgiving and picked up The Ring on Wednesday. Christmas morning, we were going to wake up, I would make coffee, she would be sitting on the couch. The remnants of our Christmas Eve dinner party would still be on the table. Taper candles burned down to stubs. A few forgotten wine glasses lingering by crumpled linen napkins we had bought to try to make it fancy. Champagne I “accidentally” never got around to serving in the fridge. She would open my gift, a photo album slash scrapbook of our two years together. The story of us. Blank pages at the end, a promise for more to come. The last page of pictures would end with my proposal. She’d look up and I would be down on one knee. She would say yes and we’d both cry. That part mostly happened. I did have her open her album on Christmas morning and I was down on one knee at the right time, but she only said yes after we both started crying and the longest 15 seconds of my life had passed. But there was no party for Christmas Eve. The day before, Erika had taken our dog Brady to the vet. He’d been having allergies and kept coughing his furry little head off. His breathing was heavy. We’d been trying to take him for weeks but vets’ offices are overburdened after everyone adopted pets during lockdown last year and we couldn’t get an appointment. So we finally got him in with a new vet out on Long Island. Only it turns out it wasn’t his allergies that had him cough- cough-coughing. His little heart is failing and his lungs have been filling up with fluid. The vet, who seemed fresh out of school, wouldn’t give me a time frame but said the cardiologist will after he has an echo. There was no party and no champagne. It hurt too much and we have to keep him calm and my family is anything but calm. We cried a lot and scolded ourselves for crying while telling each other to just let it out. I’ve been taking the news poorly. I am extremely bonded to Brady and I thought we were still in the middle not near the end. Every moment, Erika has shown what an amazing partner she is. She lets me cry while reminding me that we don’t know anything yet. She holds me while I hold him. She understands that I am losing my mind not knowing if we have a few months or a few years. I know a lot of it is shock. Another thing that wasn’t part of the plan. I sat there on the couch, next to my newly minted fiancée, on Christmas morning. I had just finished opening the presents she gave me. A new cotton bathrobe that I could wear despite the Saharan temperatures of our apartment and fancy perfume that I would never buy myself but would wear every day. I don’t remember the words she said. I don’t remember how she did it. But suddenly she was holding a little box containing the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen and I was squealing. She had bought me a ring - not a ring - The Ring- and had been planning to pop the question herself! My heart is full and my little family is warm. We’ve been going back and forth between excitedly planning our wedding and worriedly caring for Brady. We don’t know what the next few months will be I do know that there is no one I would rather have holding my hand through it. And no one I am more excited to spend my life with.
    6 points
  10. For those of you who are still here, even if you never write anything. You're the reason I keep coming back, regardless of how boring my writing is anymore.
    6 points
  11. Saw PT on Friday. Right side of my hip is out of whack. He moved it around some and gave me some different things to so that should strengthen the area. Going back 2-3 times a week through the end of the year. Said I could try running on it, but I didn't get around to it yesterday. Plus, while the ITB felt better, the hip hurt more than it has in a while - no doubt from the work he did. In any case, I wasn't motivated to try without a day of not hurting first. So, I'll go out tomorrow for a couple and see what happens. What I did do yesterday was begin an IKEA project. We've had the same bedroom furniture for 25-ish years. At the time we bought it, we were in a tight cash situation, so it wasn't much. It was in fact a set of used hotel dressers and nightstands from an outlet place that has since gone out of business. But they served the purpose. In those 25 years I've repaired them several times as parts of the runners or drawers or something else broke along the way. Not to mention the cheap veneer was showing its age. We've looked on and off for over a year now and finally found something we liked that wasn't for people willing to take a second mortgage on their house or in several tax brackets above us. Finished the nightstands and one dresser. Back was sore by the time I was done (that seems to happen more often than it used to), but the hip had settled down, so that was good news. Trying to not feel guilty about having a license plate with "IRUN262" on it. It's been 2 years now since my last marathon, and it's likely to be at least another 5-6 months before I can reasonably expect to run my next. Christmas decorations are up. Most of the presents are bought. This is early for me. I'm usually a "week of" buyer. I'll leave you with a gratuitous cute picture of my grandson. This is Theo.
    6 points
  12. Now that song will be stuck in my head the rest of the day... I'm still alive. I'm here. I'm...well...I'm struggling. Again. Seems like always, lately. A while back, my wife and I decided that we are getting divorced after 24 years of marriage. Not really a surprise...we've been in separate bedrooms for pretty much 4 years now. Our youngest is a junior in high school, and the other two are out of high school. So, yeah...it's time. I guess. I've been working two jobs for over a year now. I'm tired. A lot. But I've found my way back in to theater, which makes me very happy. it's kind of my outlet and my release lately. But man, it takes a lot of time. I need to start running again. Like...really need to. Those that remember me might remember several years ago when I ruptured the tendon that attaches the bicep to the elbow, and the surgery to repair that, followed by my disastrous attempt at the half marathon in Cleveland the following spring. I did one more half marathon after that, and was plagued by injuries that just wouldn't go away. I quit. I just couldn't do it anymore. I was tired and beaten down. I'm still tired. I'm still beaten down. But now I'm also almost back up to the weight I was at when I first started running, and that has me very upset and disappointed with myself. I don't know when I'm going to start...I don't know if I'll start this month, or if I will wait and start after new years eve and become a cliche or not...actually, that's how I did it the first time, so maybe that's not a bad idea. It worked very well last time. And I've missed all of you. I've missed myself. Hopefully I can find myself again.
    6 points
  13. October 2021 in review! Total mileage for the month: 347.1 Sep. 27-Oct. 3: 70.0 Oct. 4-10: 50.5 Oct. 11-17: 90.1 Oct. 18-24: 95.4 Oct. 25-31: 72.9 Tracking/cheering for our Chicago Marathon friends post Sunday run Races: Oct. 3: Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in 2:53:46 for a masters course record, 3rd overall female, 1st masters female, RRCA masters state champion, and overall happiness with everything except the weather. Oct. 16: Garmin Kansas City Half Marathon in 1:24:06 for 2nd overall female/1st masters female on the hilliest half course I've ever run. Lack of daylight is back in full force Workouts: Oct. 12: Fartlek of 4 x 3:00 on/1:30 off/2:00 on/1:00 off/1:00 on/0:30 off. My on paces were 5:36, 5:50, 5:23, 6:03, 6:02, 5:44, 5:58, 5:49, 5:59, 5:50, 6:03, 5:23 in that order. Though this was an effort-based workout, you didn't think I could go without looking at my splits, did you? I don't always workout 8 days post-marathon, and when I do I don't usually feel as good as I did on this one, so I considered it a huge success. Rebecca ran the first half of the workout with me, which of course helped (see also, why I ran the first 3:00 at 5:36 pace), and it was 46 degrees with no wind, which of course REALLY helped! Oct. 20: Mixed system workout of 4 x 1:00 on/1:00 off, 3:00 jog, 4 mile tempo on rolling hills, jog to hill, 4 x 0:30 hill sprints. My 1:00s on at faster than 5k effort were 5:33, 5:43, 5:35, 5:38, my tempo miles were 6:12, 6:12, 6:20, 6:08, and my hill sprints were 5:34, 5:32, 5:27, 5:22. I was feeling the Kansas City Half in my legs on the hills, even with pushing this workout back a day because I didn't feel recovered enough to do it Oct. 19 as originally planned, but it went well enough considering. Oct. 24: 18 miles via 3 easy, 2 tempo (6:21, 6:17), 8 easy, 2 tempo (6:35, 6:34), 3 easy. This workout also got pushed back one day, due to thunderstorms from about 2 a.m. until 4 p.m. on October 23 (I did get a run in the morning of Oct. 23, mostly between storms, but there wasn't actually time for 9 miles let alone 18). I thought it might be a good thing to have an extra easy day between workouts, but this did not go as I'd have liked. I felt like I was running on empty from the start of the first tempo, and it did not get any better, hah. I again blamed the Kansas City half - although a friend pointed out that summer returned for this run (it was around 68 degrees with 100% humidity), so that was likely also a factor. Oct. 27: Fartlek of 2:00/1:30/1:00 (equal duration recoveries) for 6 miles - push paces were 5:35-6:09 and pace for ons and offs together was 6:37 (3.5 warm up, 3 cool down). This wasn't the marathon-specific workout I had originally planned for this day, but after how I felt in my previous 2 workouts I thought this was what I needed. It was extremely windy, which confirmed to me that and effort-based workout was a winner, and it went well enough. Oct. 30: 2 miles at marathon pace-ish on the tail end of a 12 miler turned 13.5 miler in 6:31, 6:25. We ran the Bass Pro half marathon course, which is also half of the Bass Pro marathon course (miles 1-10ish then 24ish to the end) Strides: Oct. 2, 8, 11, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29. Doubles: Oct. 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27. Gloves + short sleeves = perfect workout weather! Long Runs: Oct. 3: The Marathon. Oct. 9: 14.1 miles (7:55), easy aside from 10 x 0:30 pick ups (5:41-6:01) at about the beginning of each mile from 3-12. This was the first day following Milwaukee Lakefront that I felt like I could run a normal amount, which worked out nicely because I hoped to get in 12 miles. It will surprise no one that I got in 14, hah! I then did 11 on Oct. 10. Oct. 16: 20.2 miles, including the Garmin Kansas City Marathon with about 3 miles warm up and 4 cool down. I wanted to get in 20 this day, and figured if I felt great I'd do 22. The hills in the race really took it out of me so 20 it was! Oct. 24: 18.1 miles (7:41) described in workouts above. Casey had to pull me along on this one! Oct. 30: 13.5 miles (7:34) on the Bass Pro Half Marathon course, plus one wrong turn and back to our cars from the finish. I ran with Casey and threw in 2 fast miles towards the end. Oct. 23 monsoon run Running Highlights: I recovered well from my marathon, which I'm thankful for. A couple of my coaching athletes ran marathons at Chicago and Prairie Fire, and though the weather conditions didn't allow them to completely show their fitness, Elise still PRed in Chicago and I expect Colin will be notching a huge PR in the Bass Pro half next weekend. Hoppy Halloween! Life Highlights: My birthday on October 26 began with predawn buttercream, because my running buddies are awesome! Overall it was a normal (work, teaching class, 2 runs, relaxing at home), but good day, reminding me of how many amazing people I have in my life. 8th grade Best way to start the day! Books: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid Troublemaker by Linday Howard Vortex by Catherine Coulter The Hating Game by Sally Thorne Lethal by Sandra Brown Theme for the month: Always learning! I'm doing fine physically, but I am not in race-mode mentally, though I'm not exactly sure why. At some points after Milwaukee I thought I'd try to run in the 2:40s or even try to PR at Bass Pro, but now I've settled on just having blast and aiming for sub-3, 2:59 being fine. Then I will be making myself take a break from running for a week (which I don't want), and taking a break from racing for probably the rest of 2021 (which I do want). I think this season was a little hard on me emotionally because I didn't really have any race times that matched my fitness; race after race I was happy with how I placed but weather conditions didn't line up for me to run the times my workouts showed I was capable of. Perhaps it was great timing for that though, and onto 2022!
    6 points
  14. I meant to write more often – I really did…Since I wrote in April I have run a couple in person races and some virtual races. I did an in person 10k that I also counted as a virtual 10k (because to me, virtual races barely count, and it isn’t as though I don’t cover that distance regularly anyway…) The in person 10k was the “Jim Schoemehl Run” to fundraise for ALS research. I also counted this for my virtual Flying Pig 10k, mainly because it was that weekend. I did the 3-way challenge, so as soon as I finished that race I did my 5k. The Sunday of that weekend I ran my half, and got it done before church which is an accomplishment. That was the first weekend in May. The medals came in the mail mid-June, picture included. I’m running with no actual plan right now. 3-5 miles (usually 4 or 5) on weekdays. 8-12 on Saturday. 3-8 on Sundays. One or two days off from running but I cross train or walk on my off days. Overall mileage cycles up and down. It’s mostly hot and very humid so the motivation to do more isn’t there. So in general, my running has been consistent, but not exciting. I also ran another 10k in May. This was the Ferguson Twilight 10k. An evening race, but close to home. I always think about doing it, but I’m not a fan of evening races so I usually don’t. This time I decided I would. I knew a PR was probably out of the question. I ran hard, had fun, and did better than expected by visually latching on to runners a head of me. One lady in a white shirt was a particularly helpful pacer, and I let her know at the end of the race. I had helped her some too, and we exchanged the first post-pandemic (or not so much, thanks Missouri…) high fives we each had. My time was well off my PR, but I feel like the race was solid overall. There was one moment of big running excitement and that came last week. I had always in the past considered signing up for the big local summer mile race – The Macklind Mile. It’s advertised as the fastest (road) mile in St. Louis. So it always seemed like a good place to shoot for a mile PR. But I never felt like I was really in shape to try. Including this year. But after last year when everything was cancelled, I decided to try and do more of these things I’ve been saying “well, maybe next time”. Because, who knows? So I signed up. It was a warm, sticky June morning. Typical. They do this race in waves every year, so there were no changes for COVID (and local restrictions have now been lifted, and despite MO now surging again in cases it’s unlikely they will be reinstated.) The waves were Men’s Competitive, Women’s Competitive, Recreational, Dog Mile, Elite, and Kids ¼ mile dash. Competitive in this case just means eligible for age group and overall awards. You have to apply to be in the Elite wave and it’s limited to 5 or 10 each men and women. No women ran the elite wave this year. The dog mile is really fun to watch and the top 3 this year all broke the course record for dog/person pairs - they were all in the 4:30s. After the men’s wave took off it was 15 minutes until my wave (women’s competitive). I had warmed up, sort of haphazardly. About 2 miles of running with a few surges thrown in but nothing that serious. I lined up at the start and we were off. The race isn’t quite all downhill. The first quarter mile is, but then there is a slight uphill from ¼ to the halfway point. My goal was to PR if possible – time to beat for that was 8:04. Better yet, sub 8. I hadn’t run that fast for more than a ¼ mile in over a year. I wasn’t sure at all if I could, but I was going to try. I was ahead of pace that first ¼ but then as we temporarily went uphill (just a little, when I’m not trying to run gut bustingly fast it would have been no big deal…) I slowed way down and I was off PR pace at the ½ mile mark. But then we had the downhill again and I was able to pick up the pace. I knew I was doing better, but I didn’t know if I could hold on. Besides being downhill, the race is almost without turns, so you can see the finish for a long way before you get there. It seemed like it was never going to come, but as I got closer and stole quick glances at my watch, I could see I just might make it. If didn’t fall down or pass out first…closer, closer, and BEEP…I stopped my watch. I had done it! Not only did I beat my PR, but by about 9 seconds. 7:55! It’s worth noting a similar effort level (though less willingly undertaken) in high school meant around a 10:30 mile…I was and still am pretty excited. Even so, I was 17th in my AG. (Which is too bad, because this race has really cool street signs for the AG awards…) Tomorrow, I’m running a 3k (yes, 3). Usually it’s on the 4th, but since the 4th is a Sunday, the race and parade that follows is on the 5th. I have a shot at an AG award here, but it’s not quite as cool. But it’s still motivating. I’m trying to pick a fall marathon (or even two) and I had wanted to make it a real vacation, but with my current circumstances as they are, I don’t feel like I can plan that. Eventually I will find that job I’m looking for and I’ll be less than 3 months into it by the time that race likely rolls around, so taking multiple days off is unlikely to be a good idea, or even possible. So I have to stay closer to home… On the on-going job search…yes, I am still looking. It’s been frustrating even finding the type of job I want, although as a look, I’m getting a clearer idea of what that is. I had one interview about 6 weeks ago, but it didn’t go well. I learned from it. But I’m disappointed in myself because I could have done better. Oh well, I’ll just take it that it wasn’t the job for me anyway. Flying Pig medals. Post Twilight 10k Men's start for the Macklind Mile. Just before the Women's start So happy with my PR. 7:54 is a lie. Even the watch says 7:54.9 when you actually look at it.
    6 points
  15. Guess who ran this week? I did a mile both Friday after posting and Saturday. Boy, am I out of shape. Not a hundred yards out on that first run I was huffing and puffing. Sucked it up and finished, then remembered that I donated blood earlier in the week. I don't bounce back as quickly from that as I used to, either. Saturday was better. This week I extended to 2 miles per day. For the first 3 I walked a little before turning around, but yesterday kept going all the way. I feel like such a noob. You start wherever you are, though, and that's where I am. Not wearing a watch yet, so am only guessing at 10 minute miles. Pain-wise, I give the leg a B-. The hip seems OK at the pedestrian pace I'm going. What I used to call the upper ITB that I'm now sort of wondering is a femur issue (stress reaction or even a fracture? - may need to ask about x-rays or a bone scan if it continues to linger) is a C. I feel something but it doesn't seem to get worse over the mile or two I've done so far, nor does it bother me the rest of the night. If I can add miles and it stays like this, then I'll accept it as me being old and keep on. Right knee was a little sore after the 2-milers, which may have been either age or the insert that Amanda put in that shoe. I took it out to see if it gets better. The ribs bother me a little when I'm sitting and working, but mostly those are OK now. In another concession to my diabetes diagnosis, we bought a glucose meter on Saturday and I've been doing the finger poke every morning. So far, I've measured a little sweet at 160, 146, 142, 136, 151, and 122. This after taking metformin for two weeks. Giving it another couple of weeks to get down under 100 and then upping the dose. Could be worse, I know. I sure miss pie. And Butterfingers. The new SIL got hired at the post office in Idaho Falls. That means the kids now both have permanent full-time jobs in the same place. So they'll be leaving their little studio and getting a bigger place. Mrs. Dave says this means I'll be making a visit to help them move. Not that they have more than two Civics full of anything to move. I do need to see my dad (he turns 90 this year). We have several items of furniture in the basement she want's me to take with me. Trouble with that is that renting a U-Haul would cost more than just having them buy new stuff. Still working on options for that. Boston coming up. DS2 is running and we'll be there. In fact, we signed up to volunteer at packet pickup Sunday morning. No idea where we'll be exactly, but feel free to come find us. Speaking in church this weekend. Obviously I'll be using analogies based on running marathons.
    5 points
  16. I had my cousins wedding on Friday night. It was the first real event I’ve been to since before the pandemic started. Everyone had to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend and it felt almost normal. The event was at an aquarium so maybe normal isn’t the right word. It was also the first time Erika met my extended family and she seemed to take it in stride. Or at least she hasn’t run away screaming yet. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s a little unsettling how well she seemed to get along with these people… IMG_9148.mp4 Saturday I had the worst hangover of my life! Maybe. Possibly. It was bad. I was sick. Erika woke up with a bad cold (not covid) so the two hour drive home was rough and then we spent the rest of the day dying on the couch. Sunday, I woke up still feeling like death but slightly better. I tried to take her to the doctor but someone had smashed my sideview mirror and I was too scared to drive. I often complain about missing the old New York but sometimes I remember how it was and I am cured of my pining. Sunday night I remembered that I used to call myself a runner and I decided to go out for three miles. Just three miles. I could do three miles, right? I mean, it would be slow and I would feel sorry for myself but I would still feel better about going, right? Oops. Wound up being four of the best miles I’ve run in months. Were they any faster? Nope. Were they any easier? Also nope. But for some reason they just felt damn good and I wanted to keep going. I think I am almost giddy to run again tonight. What were you up to?
    5 points
  17. Hey guys! Long time no see! What's going on around here? This place seems quieter than I remember but I remember mostly my heyday here which, I think was a few years after everyone else's heyday, but it was still pretty damn good. That was back when the world made more sense. I wasn't on Facebook, yet, and Instagram was barely a twinkle in it's daddy's eye. I cherished this place (well not this *exact* place but the old this place) because it seemed to avoid the all of the ills of the internet that literally everywhere else on the internet succumbed. This was where all my friends hung out and I couldn't wait to log on and see what everyone was up to. But then I realized how much I was missing because everyone here was on Facebook and meeting and planning things in Loopville. So I signed up. Hesitantly, at first, and then more actively as time went on. I remember watching Loopville and Facebook kill the Loop and loathing it and yet participating in it as well. You didn't have to come here to see your friends, you could see them, more of them, right from FB. And, you didn't have to make time to bloop or to read a bloop, you could just post something thoughtless and people would comment and it would feel like interaction so the Loop got neglected. Let me just pause to say that Facebook is the Walmart of virtual human connection. It kills smaller platforms while making it so easy to one-stop-shop all your distant connections. It is huge, rich, and evil and too big to fight. Something else happened too. I used to LOVE the denizens of the Loop. I was happy and innocent and felt like I had a community. And I liked it. I liked the people. I loved how connected I felt to people from all over the world, all kinds of people, all ages of people, who I would never have met, talked to, or liked otherwise. And we were all runners and word nerds. Everyone was supportive and positive, or got weeded out pretty damn fast. But then on Facebook I started learning who people really were. I learned too much and I realized how much less I liked so many of them. And that dislike followed me here. And we were already disintegrating as a community but now there were people I would just scroll right past because I had such a bad taste in my mouth about who they were as a person. And I am sure that happened to me as well. And now we find out that was by design and I just can't do it anymore. I'm so sad for the friendships I'll miss out on because I am no longer there but I'm looking forward to all the things I wasn't doing because so much of my time was wasted on FB or Insta. Including this, I hope.
    5 points
  18. Where to start with this? I went to Italy and rubbed elbows with Loopster stars, Davide and Fiona. Basically, they have always let me know if I want to come visit them in Milan, Italy, I could. I did just that 5 years ago and then I grabbed an opening in the pandemic after Italy approved arrivals for tourists and I arrived in northern Italy on July 28th to stay with them until August 6th. We hatched a plan to hike in the Dolomites for a chunk of my visit because I had been wanting to start exploring that area. They were totally game and if you follow either of them on social media you'll know that they are no strangers to having incredible mountain adventures. They are also amazingly generous and kind hosts and fun people to hang out with. It wasn't an ideal time to travel and without their help to get a covid test to return to the USA (despite being vaccinated), I'd probably still be in Italy. A piece of my soul was hoping I'd fail the test just so I could stay another 2 weeks. 😁 I know they were both concerned that a flatlander living at sea level her whole life was going to slow things down incredibly. I'm sure I did but it wasn't too drastic. The humid air was exactly what I deal with all summer in northern Michigan so that didn't phase me and there was altitude but not extremes. I've been running around 20-23 miles a week for the past 6-8 months so I had some decent fitness. I didn't run the trails except to catch up to them after taking pictures but I could have done some of the flat portions if I wanted to. Davide even boosted my confidence one morning when he said how surprised he was by how well I was doing considering I can't hike mountains where I live. 🤩 Here's a simplified run down of the adventures we had in chronological order: Hiked 5 miles to the top of the church steps in Montevecchia, northeast of Milan and had a fun dinner with their friends and laughed a great deal. Here's a view from the top looking over the countryside. Hiked 5 miles to this incredible lake in Courmayeur on the far west corner of Italy and my mouth was hanging open in awe the whole time. Davide and a friend of his were volunteers as course sweepers at a mountain trail race starting in Courmayeur the next day. Hiked 3 miles up part of a mountain with Fiona and her friends and got this picture of me ... sigh... We watched some of the trail racers go buy while taking break at the hiking hut (refugio). Then we got ready for the rest of the adventure to the Dolomites in the northeast part of the country. We stayed at a "unique" Italian tourist hotel in Andalo that left me with hilarious and head shaking memories and not a great deal of sleep but who cares!? August 3rd we hiked trails near Molveno and I covered 14.4 miles and nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain and I could still walk to dinner that night! This day was a "bucket list" type of adventure. Something I dreamed of but never thought I could actually accomplish it in my life. Incredibly challenging and rewarding. (The trail is in that picture below....it's narrow) The next day we got up and moving (and I was barely sore!) and went to the Molveno area again to a different set of trails. Heavy rain was expected later in the day so we were hoping we could beat the worst of it and we did! We covered 10.5 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain on some steep and heavily forested trails. I felt right at home in the forests there. Davide got this downhill action shot of me and Fiona (she's in the green shirt). Poles are indispensable there! I did some stuff on my own and we did some tourist type stuff together but I'm a terrible tourist and I just want to be out in nature and have nothing to do with crowds of people. I did visit Padua near Venice and went to the Botanic Garden there started in 1545 and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Very cool for anyone who is deeply interested in plants. I leave you with pictures of most of the desserts I ate while I was there. I ate a lot of delicious food. Still lost 4 lbs in 10 days, though! Gelato and I have quite a love affair going. Currently my go-to flavors are pistachio and hazelnut. I will say that my absolute pinnacle food moment was the super thick hot chocolate (upper right corner of the picture) that is ubiquitous to the mountain culture and I've seen it on travel shows. It's so thick the bubbles didn't pop when I stirred a little sugar in. Think of it like heavy cream with super dark chocolate melted in. With that, I shall close out this update on what Brenda did on her summer vacation. 😎
    5 points
  19. I had signed up for 2 triathlons in 2020 .... hence I am now signed up for 2 triathlons in 2021. The first one is on 8/7 and is an olympic distance - swim 1 mile, bike 22 miles and run 10k. The other one is a half Ironman - swim 1.2, bike 55, run 13.1. My training has been ALL over the place with the one constant being CrossFit. 😅 Running has been pretty much shut down since Jim Thorpe in May due to a calf strain. I've slowly started adding in a very few miles. Swimming has been pretty good. I'm not the best swimmer but I'm also not the worst. It is pretty darn relaxing! I did my 1st open water swim "race" (ie. just finish) on July 4th. The day was beautiful and I knew many others who were also participating. I am not going to lie I was totally freaked out by so many people running into me and me into them. The first 500' I was literally yelling inside my head "Calm the F down! You are fine!" There is a very fine line between mild panic and hysteria. Hysteria in the water is NOT good! Totally messes with your breathing as you gulp in big mouthfuls of water! LOL I finished the mile swim in 33:33 good enough for 3/9 in my AG. Sighting is still a huge issue for me! As I started to get back to running ever so slightly I decided that it would be a good idea to sign up for a small tri in my local town. I went for the "long" distance tri - 1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 4.5 mile trail run. The registration fee came with a free campsite. I decided that I would spend the night at the county park and that way race morning would be easy peasy and no stress. My friends pretty much thought I was crazy, but I have to tell you despite the 100* temperatures my night was pretty peaceful once I finally fell asleep. I got to catch a sunrise on the lake. My friend N brought me coffee and then we headed to transition to set up my area. Being such a noobie at this I had made a list of things I needed to do race morning. It worked pretty well! Other than the heat race morning was picture perfect! We were sent into the lake 2 by 2 and the buoys were huge so i had no problem with sighting. I swam the 2 laps of the course and exited feeling that I had done okay. 19:32 for the 1/2 mile (1:53/100 yd) N was my official photographer and also helped volunteer at the race. I was told by a triathlete friend that I could ride and run without socks but decided to wear them so i wouldn't get blisters. (I couldn't get blisters because somehow I got talked into being on a team for a 5k run the next day. They needed a female runner to compete. Oy!) I ran to my set up and quickly dried my feet, slapped on my socks, shoes, helmet and sunglasses. Totally forgot to put on my race belt with number, but I had the chip timer on my ankle. I took off on my bike like a banshee. I looked at my watch and it said I was going over 21 mph! I knew I couldn't sustain that so I backed off. The ride course was very nice. Not the smoothest of roads but no major potholes either. I caught some people and got caught by others. Managed 18.3 mph for the 17 miles. Wahoo! My fastest ride ever! I ran my bike into transition and slapped on my sneakers and put on my race belt (better late than never??). Grabbed my handheld and took off at a moderate pace. I knew the run was going to be all about managing the heat and humidity with my pace and breathing. We made 3 loops of the sandy road and park trails. I ran out 3/4 of a mile and then walked 30-45 seconds and then back 3/4 and repeated the walking. I passed many other runners and only got passed by one female. As I came into the finish line I was wheezing so hard from trying to do a little sprint at the end. N pretty much pushed me under some trees to get a little shade. Phew! So f'n hot!! My results were really good! First in my AG and 5th out of 19 females. Someone told me the woman who finished seconds before me is a tri coach. It was a fun day for sure! I drank every beverage that I packed to try to recover for the next day's 5k. I showed up to the 5k not knowing what to expect. I knew with 99% certainty that a PR was off of the table (22:59) and I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be running a 30:00 5k but other than that ?? As the sole female I was kind of freaking out because my time mattered! If I had a bad race I could lose the trophy for the team. The temperatures had dropped a bit overnight so that was nice. As we lined up I debated giving my shirt to someone to hold, but in the end (much to my regret) I kept it on because it had our team's name on it. The gun went off and we all sprinted out like normal. I saw 7:10 pace on my watch and tried to slow a bit. One of the guys in our group passed me (every one else had started up further). I managed to pass him back in the 1st mile. I was running hard but knew a PR was out of the question. I just couldn't let myself quit. We mad a few quick turns to get to the u-turn. Apparently there was a hill in there somewhere. All of my other teammates were talking about it, but I have NO recollection running it. NONE! My pace and elevation chart on Garmin show it, but it didn't even register. (Not sure if i was just in a zone or because at CrossFit we run a mile loop that has a nasty climb so this little bump was nothing more than a blip). The guys were racing really well so I knew I had to stay in the game. The final mile was into the wind. Not very strong but noticeable. One of the guys tried to help run me in for the last 4/10 of a mile. I kind of gave him the hand because I was doing all I could. I had nothing left. finally I crossed the finish line in 24:48. Phew! (The course was .1 long. Apparently the fire department moved the turn around.) I won my AG. We got the Avalon Yacht Club Family Cup for fastest team! (guy in blue next to me ran a 19:13 (3.2). Day before he had run a 18:13.) (Guy in gray ran a 20:17 (3.2)) We are all masters except for the guy on the far left. Faster as a Master!
    5 points
  20. I had registered for the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race in Washington DC, but was debating on switching to the 5K because I developed bursitis on one of the small toe's of my right foot. After some thought I decided to stay with the 10 mile race, but to do the 10 miles at a comfortable run/walk pace, where I would run for 4 minutes at a 10 min/mile pace followed by a walk for 2 minutes at a 20 min/mile pace. This would have me finishing in about 2 hours, well under the 2:20 time limit and hopefully minimize any soreness to my foot. Me and my wife were staying in Bethesda, MA with my sister and her husband. We came into Bethesda late Friday afternoon . It took us little longer than needed as after we made a stop on the Pennsylvania turnpike for lunch and we then got back on it in the wrong direction where the next exit where we could turn around being 10 miles later. Note, that there is not much notice after you pass though the Pennsylvania Turnpike photo toll booths on choosing your direction and we happened to be in the wrong lane. Friday night we had a nice dinner out with my sister, her husband, and their teenage son. Saturday was the race expo with package pickup, and their son had a rugby tournament. My brother-in-law and nephew went to the tournament and my wife, my sister, and myself headed to the expo early Saturday afternoon. Once we drove into DC the traffic became very slow and congested, at least partly because the Cherry Blossom Festival was also happening. My sister was driving and I was helping her navigate to the National Building Museum where the expo was, and simultaneously trying to located somewhere to park using Spot Hero. As we got near the expo I found a parking garage where we could park for $14 that was only a couple of blocks from the expo. It was a little crazy switching between google maps with the expo location and Spot Hero with the location of parking garage, and ended up making one right turn from the left lane to get to the parking garage. The packet pickup at the expo was very fast and easy. It was a small expo with some booths selling running related merchandise. Afterwards we had lunch near where we parked, headed back to my sister's house where my sister dropped me and my wife off at a church near her for the 5:00 pm mass. As we were walking back from mass to my sisters house my brother-in-law and nephew who were returning from there Rugby tournament saw us and gave us a lift the remaining way back to their house. My nephew's team won 2 out of 3 games with him scoring twice which is called a "Try" in rugby parlance . Since my sister didn't have a TV channel that carried the Duke-NC semi-final basketball game, I was able to log into my cable streaming service on my laptop and watch in bed what ended up being a great game. The Cherry Blossom race organizers had warned participants in emails that parking was going to be difficult Sunday morning for the race and recommended using Spot Hero to make a parking reservation in advance. So I made an advanced parking reservation with Spot Hero that had me parking about a mile from the race start area at the Washington Monument. The plan was that I would drive myself to the race and park, while my wife and sister would later come see me finish the race. Sunday morning at 6:00 am there was not much traffic but I missed a couple of exits before I was able to maneuver back near the location of my Spot Hero parking reservation. Before I got to the location of my parking reservation I notice that the parking spaces on the streets were nearly empty and with parking free on Sunday's in DC found a parking space on the street a little nearer to the to the start than my Spot Hero reservation. I also was able to cancel my Spot Hero reservation while walking to the start area. After using the porta potty and dropping off my stuff at the gear drop I headed to the start corrals. A woman next to me in the corral asked me to take a picture of her with the Washington Monument in the background and we started talking a found out that she was from Bethesda, had previously done some triathlons. For the race I wore my red 2013 Detroit Marathon shirt that said DETROIT on the back, and just as our corral wave started to move forward a young woman indicated that the Detroit Marathon was her favorite marathon and I learned that she had grown up in Royal Oak, MI where I am from. The race was very crowded for me the whole race, probably more so for me since I was back in the race pack, but I received plenty of encouragement with people saying "Go Detroit". The race itself was pretty uneventful for me using my run/walk strategy and I enjoyed running through the Cherry tress along the race course. As it happened my wife and sister arrived at the race finish area before I finished (I had installed the Cherry Blossom race app on my wife's phone so she could track my location during the race), but they didn't see me finish since it was so crowded with runners and they didn't know what I was wearing. I ended up finishing in a little under 2 hours and after the race my foot with the bursitis was somewhat sore, maybe a 2 or 3 out of 10, but it felt pretty good the next day. All in all a very enjoyable race.
    4 points
  21. February 2022 in review! Total mileage for the month: 402.6 Jan. 31-Feb. 6: 101.6 Feb. 7-13: 86.5 Feb. 14-20: 104.2 Feb. 21-27: 109.5 - new weekly mileage PR Feb. 28-March 6: projected at 100-110 S'no problem! Races: Feb. 12: Cabin Fever Reliever 20k in 1:20:08 for 1st overall female, a new 20k state record for age 41, a PR for the coldest I've raced in (5 degree wind chill), and a decent rust-buster. Feb. 19: Run With the Wind 25k as a workout targeting 50k goal pace, in 1:45:37 for 1st overall female, a new 25k state record for age 41, and a lot of humbling in regards to the difficulty of running half the race distance at goal pace during a 104 mile week. This was Feb. 1 but we really wanted to do one more jumping photo - & we are so in sync! Workouts: Feb. 1: 2 x 0.25 hill reps, 4 mile threshold (6:09, 6:10, 6:10, 6:04), 2 x 0.25 hill reps, with about 0.25 jog recoveries in a 13 mile run. I planned to run this workout Feb. 2 but due to 6-12" of snow in the forecast, everyone in my running group worked out a day early. I only had 1 easy day between a huge weekend (20 mile workout Saturday + 18 mile Sunday) so I wasn't sure how it would go, but I ended up feeling strong. The weather was ideal at 45 degrees, which definitely helped. My threshold miles were almost exactly the same as the previous week's, on the same course, but I was solo on them for this workout whereas I had Spencer pulling me along the previous week (plus I was more fatigued for this one), so I was pleased. My hills rep paces were 6:15, 6:12, 6:27, 6:33 (the 2 after the threshold really hurt!), which was the fastest I've run quarter miles on that specific hill by 11 seconds/mile pace, which also made me happy. Feb. 8: 6 x 0.25 hills + 2 mile tempo (6:17, 6:00) straight off hill rep #6. The goals for the hill reps were "hard", to keep them even, and not to ease up on #6. Those splits were all 1:32-1:35 (paces of 6:11-6:24, which Strava grade adjusted to about 5:11-5:24, though that seems awfully generous), and #6 was consistent with my other splits - which I haven't been able to do on this type of workout before. The first mile of the tempo had more incline and the second mile more decline, so the average pace of 6:08 was probably consistent with my effort across the board. The first half mile of the tempo on workouts like this is always spent trying to get my breathing down to tempo mode from hill rep mode, and does not feel the greatest. I know these workouts are beneficial for me! Feb. 16: 6 mile wave tempo alternating 0.5 at threshold/0.5 at 50k pace; half mile paces were: 6:40, 5:56, 6:33, 6:14, 6:38, 6:05, 6:35, 6:08, 6:46, 5:57, 6:38, 5:53. I was aiming for 6:45/6:05 so got a couple of them right, haha! The south wind was 19 mph so it made pace control very challenging on the loop course we did - though the loop course split up the wind so I was never running more than about 0.4 straight into it, which was nice. I'd be running 6:15 pace into the wind, then turn out of it and be running 5:55 at the same effort. It felt good to nail this workout even in those conditions though, and oddly my overall mile splits were pretty even at 6:17, 6:23, 6:21, 6:21, 6:21, 6:16. Feb. 19: Run with the Wind 25k at 50k goal pace - target of 6:45, actual average pace 6:44. This hilly race wasn't the most confidence-inspiring (i.e., 50k pace felt much harder than I expected towards the end and I couldn't have gone much farther at it), but then I remembered that I typically max out at 12-13 miles at MP in training, often with a little break (e.g., 2 x 6 miles at MP), and it always feels exponentially harder than the first 12-13 miles of the actual marathon. I can now confirm that the same is true of running a 25k at 50k goal pace during a 104 mile week! Feb. 23: 2 miles threshold (6:06, 6:09), 4 x 0.5 (3:05, 2:54, 2:57, 3:02), 2 miles threshold (6:08, 6:09), and a new PR for my coldest "feels like" workout, at 0 degrees (14 degrees air temp + bitter north wind). Overall this went better than I expected based on the temperature and residual fatigue from the weekend. My first 0.5 was against the wind, so that is why it was slow (not sure on #4). I was aiming for 2:55 on those, so I wasn't successful, but my threshold was right on. It's harder for me to shift gears during heavy mileage, plus the cold makes it harder to run fast! I kind of felt like just attempting this workout was a victory. I covered my face in Vaseline so I could take my neoprene mask off for the hard running. Feb. 26: 26 miles via 10 easy then 16 with 0:45 pick ups at the beginning of each. The pick ups were planned to be about tempo effort, and ranged anywhere from 5:40 to 7:02 because we were a hilly course (1365 feet of gain), but most were 6:00-6:15. Doubles: Feb. 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28. Winter running vibes #freezingfebruary Long Runs: Feb. 5: 22.3 easy (7:45) that felt fantastic with fabulous company! We had a lot of great conversations on this run, including how our running group would team up during the apocalypse. Colin did all 22 with me, Casey and Spencer did 18, and we had David, Abby, Claudio, and Christian for various distances too! Feb. 6: 15 easy (7:57) that felt surprisingly fantastic. I lifted the previous evening (after the 22 miler) and woke up a bit sore from that, but ended up feeling great. Last year the back-to-back long runs were intimidating, but now they have become normalized. Feb. 12: 20.3 miles, including the Cabin Fever Reliever 20k. Feb. 13: 12 miles (8:10), with some fatigue from Cabin Fever and the low-glycogen cool down that followed it! Feb. 19: 23.2 miles with 2.5 jog, Run with the Wind 25k, 5 jog. We are getting better at death marching after long races, maybe? Feb. 20: 15 miles (8:22) that was one of my least favorite runs of the month, because I had zero pep in my step! Great company made it possible. Feb. 26: 26 miles (7:37) with pick ups described above. I was planning to do 25, as was Colin, but he was a little late to the group run and we did a mile before he arrived, so I decided if I felt good I'd finish with him. Conveniently enough, I'd already been considering doing 26 if I felt good as this run approached, so it all worked out and I felt great! We had 11 people at this group run doing anywhere from 13 to 26. Feb. 27: 16 miles (8:26) for my biggest weekend ever! We kept this one easy enough that I think it could be considered a true recovery run, even though it was 2:15 on feet. I felt immensely better than I did on the Feb. 20 Sunday long run, I think mostly because my during and after run fueling on 2/26 was far superior to on 2/19 (due to the awards ceremony taking a really long time and there being no restaurants in Sarcoxie, I didn't get a full meal until several hours after Run with the Wind). My workout days were 13.2, 11.3, 13.6, and 14.3 so I guess those could also be considered long runs. Boston training 10 on Tuesday Running Highlights: My first two races of 2022 yielded two overall female titles and two state records...nowhere to go but down from here, bahaha! A new weekly mileage PR of 109.5, which improved upon my previous of 106 (I don't remember the tenths). I would have run a monthly mileage PR if February had been 31 days! I was most proud of this mileage because I did it during a crap weather week with my workout in "feels like" 0 and with 4 runs on sleet. Snow. Rebecca trying to make a snow angel in ice cover Life Highlights: We had quite the winter storm hit on February 2-3! By being flexible and running 1.25 runs on the treadmill, I didn't miss anything except some strides. I do okay with easy running in the snow but strides on it don't really work (nor do they work on the treadmill for me!). We then had crazy sleet on February 23-24, but I it was almost like sand so it was fine to run on wearing screw shoes, but made for some slow miles, and a few more missed strides. Albani participated in Science Olympiad which is a pretty great after school activity. She had a competition at MSU on February 26. Morning routines Albani's JROTC uniform Valentines Twosday! Books: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell Interference by Brad Parks Daniel's Running Formula by Jack Daniels Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah No Exit by Taylor Adams Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews Theme for the month: Freezing February! I am extremely thankful for my fantastic running buddies, who make it possible to get out the door every morning in terrible winter weather. I have a lot of pics to share this month! The freak morning when it was 60* but dropped to 30* & sleet by 10:00 a.m. The world will never know who is holding this cake MonYay run crew Farm road distance
    4 points
  22. Another year put to bed. No, not put to bed – killed, slain. Happily relegated to memory where only the good remains. In short, it was another in the years (plural now) of Covid-19. Wearing masks when leaving the house. Not leaving the house very much. Not running much (less than 500 miles) with two major injuries – one in the spring and one in the fall, so yeah, the two best times to be running. If I’m being honest, there was a lot of good in 2021 for me and mine. Continued gas savings from commuting daily from the kitchen to the dining room office. No trying not to doze off in meetings that I have to sit through, only partially invested in the subject. T-Rex finished school, passed her certification exam and got her first job as a medical assistant. She got married. All three of those we had considered miracles just a couple of years ago. Big Mac had a big baby boy. Turns out the hemophilia carrier testing they’d done when she was 10 was wrong – she’s a carrier, and little Theo is a hemophiliac. While that was a bummer, they qualified as part of a study for a bleed prevention medication that will give him more of a normal life than any hemophiliac has ever had – at no cost to them (saving upwards of a million $$). The Conman was informed that his rent was increasing 24%, then after a month of scrambling to find a new place, was informed that he could re-up for another year lease with no increase whatsoever. And, OBTW, here’s an 18% raise at work, you’re welcome. He’s even had a couple of interviews for jobs that would double his current income, as well as keep him eligible for his student loan debt reduction program. No job yet, but progress and experience. Dr. L and his girls are loving the Texas life. He interviewed for a promotion and has the inside track for it (no guarantee or news on that so far, though). We were able to visit in October (a visit that was delayed from May) and re-establish a physical relationship with our three granddaughters. Last visit with Amanda at Team Rehab was on Thursday. She discovered that my right leg is 2 centimeters shorter than my left. This might explain the hip issue. Over the years, compensating for the difference has finally stressed things to the point that I had to stop. Permanently? Probably not, thank heavens. At almost 63 (in two weeks!) and with so many miles on it, I need to give the area some rest (which I’m doing), and maybe a little bit of technical assistance. To start I have an insert that will take up some of the slack on the right side. Once again, fingers crossed, this will let me get back running soon. Maybe never as much or as fast as I’d like, but enough to keep going after the other 30 states I need to do. The last test run I did was crappy. The run itself wasn’t terrible (other than I’m now officially 100% out of shape), but once again the aftermath of pain was unacceptable. I’d also been having residual pain issues after most of the strengthening exercises they’d given me. So I stopped those, too. Just stretching and less of that as well. I walked 6 miles on Wednesday, at it was OK, although my lower back and right knee weren’t 100% on board with it and let me know on Thursday morning that it was a little too much. Mile and a half yesterday – that seems to have been acceptable. Snow coming in this afternoon and tonight and I can still walk in snow so I’ll do some more of that. After I get the blower prepped for clearing things off tomorrow and take down the outside Christmas lights before the storm. I’d done pretty well with my diet for most of the year, getting my a1c down from 6.8 (diabetic) to 6.2 (PRE-diabetic) until December, because of all the holiday treats. I was supposed to get checked again this past week, but didn’t make it. It’s a number that gives an average of the previous three months, and I’m a little scared of where it’s going to be this time. 2022. The only running goal I have is to get running again. Anything beyond that will wait until I’m actually doing that. So I’ll call two more marathons a dream instead of a goal today.
    4 points
  23. Year-end wrap up. A couple of races, a summer of good running/getting out for some miles most days, then a complete loss of fitness/motivation through December. Happens every year. Typically, I get back in the mood to train for something at the end of January, but I feel the call already this year...might be because we hosted Christmas for the first time ever, and everyone in the family brings 50 cookies for 20 people, so at least 100 cookies (no exaggeration) were left here (along with leftover pies and cake). Plus, I wanted to bake a bunch of different kinds cookies with DD, so let's just say the freezer (and my belly) are full of cookies! oh and, working from home (our office closed completely), so no office kitchen to drop them at even. Motivation to get some miles in = feel less guilty eating all of the cookies. Went out for 1.5 miles yesterday. Needed to tell myself "just one mile" to get out the door. Does anyone else get nervous about running when they haven't done it in a few weeks...same feeling as before a race. Nervous about the uncomfortable I guess, but you never regret getting out for a (non-injury) run! The "short" run (plus DH got me the "running dynamics pod" for Christmas - Yay new toys!) got me excited enough to try out a Garmin coach plan with a random target of a half marathon in April (I'll figure a race out later). Today was a "test run" for the program to determine fitness and set up the plan. Went for 2min WU, 5min hard, 2min CD. Just squeaked in 1 mile! Yay! Program set and 3 easy runs 20-30 min set for the rest of the week. Program is interesting in that it sets a range of paces, adapts to how you are doing weekly, and (at least for these first three runs, provides a minimum (20 minutes) and an extra bit (10 min) "if you are feeling good"). Still excited! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes for a wonderful running 2022 to all of you!!
    4 points
  24. November 2021 in review! Total mileage for the month: 256.2 Nov. 1-7: 75.3 Nov. 8-14: 18.4 (I took 5 days off without an injury, believe it or not!) Nov. 15-21: 66.3 Nov. 22-28: 72.6 Nov. 29-Dec. 5: projected at 76 Meeting Des Linden Races: Nov. 7: Bass Pro Marathon in 2:54:26 for 2nd overall female and a new Missouri state marathon record for age 41. I was happy with this based on how I felt going into the race, though it was not really what I wanted. Workouts: Nov. 2: 3 mile tempo (6:09, 6:17, 5:58) on rolling hills (3 warm up, 3 cool down). I tried to notch onto half marathon effort for this one, and was pleasantly surprised to go sub-6 for the final mile, especially because it felt so good. I felt terrible on my last little workout before Milwaukee so it was nice to not repeat that! Nov. 30: 6 miles alternating paces every 0.5 (14.8 miles total on the morning). I paced Abby's wave tempo for a rust-buster workout. My confidence was super low going into this; I was worried I wouldn't be able to do her workout with goal paces of 6:30/7:10. After getting her out too fast (i.e., I'm a crap pacer when I haven't worked out for a month), I was pleasantly surprised with how good those paces felt and I moved to the outside of the loop while she ran the tangents, so I could run a little faster but still help her. About halfway through I decided that I wanted to feel out my own wave tempo paces for the final 2 miles, and since David was running with Abby I felt okay about going ahead at the end. My paces each half-ish mile (I took manual splits so most were not exactly 0.50) were 6:11, 6:58, 6:29, 6:59, 6:31, 7:00, 6:34, 7:03, 5:50, 6:34, 5:53, 6:25, giving me 6.25 miles at 6:31 pace for the whole thing. Since I wasn't even sure I could run 6:30 pace for a half mile before this workout, I was really happy with how it turned out, particularly the sub-6 pushes at the end. This was a great illustration of happiness being reality minus expectations, because this is probably one of my slower workouts of the past several years, but I was absolutely thrilled with it because I expected 6:30 pace to feel like a sprint and it felt like marathon pace. Strides: Nov. 1, 5, 6, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29. Doubles: Nov. 1, 2, 13, 18. #nocluenovember Long Runs: Nov. 7: The Marathon, and 27.7 miles total. Nov. 21: 13 miles (7:41), followed by Rebecca's birthday celebration in the parking lot! Nov. 28: 16.1 easy (7:51), helping Abby to 21 miles as part of her Houston Marathon training. Ten on Thanksgiving Running Highlights: I set a new PR for the most days I've ever taken off running when not injured or super sick, at 5 days after Bass Pro. The only one I actually wanted to take off was day 1, but I haven't taken any real breaks in 2021, and with running a 50k and 3 marathons (plus 6 other long races), I knew at some point I needed to fully recover before I can rebuild stronger. Now that I'm on the other side I can say it was a good idea, but I wasn't in the best mood for those 5 days! I saw Des Linden at Missouri S&T in Rolla with my running group! We did a fun run (the reason for my Nov. 13 double), participated in a VIP meet-and-greet (thanks to Casey knowing the XC coach), and listed to an inspirational speech. 50k training started November 29, 16 weeks out! Des Linden run Rebecca's birthday parking lot party post-run I saved this years ago & it is still true - also applies to the 50k, I know I have a faster one in me in March 🙂 Life Highlights: We spent Thanksgiving with my parents and Jon's parents, and cut our Christmas tree on the Ibbetson farm the following day. Albani made a pie from scratch while I was at work the day before Thanksgiving! She did not get this skill from me. Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Books: Genius the Game by Leopoldo Gout The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah The Light of Luna Park by Addison Armstrong Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand The End of Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel Send for Me by Lauran Fox The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura Themes for the month: The heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and you end up having more.
    4 points
  25. Wonder what it will feel like. I'm not where I was physically or mentally the last time I ran it. Bet it looks different. I'm different. This feels harder than it should. This Loop was home once. They say you can never go home... And yet. The trees have matured, but I still recognize them. The roots are there, holding it all together. The view from the overlook still fills me up. @Keep Running Girl- your bloop about FB and how it killed the Loop (among other things) hit a spot with me. I was never a prolific blooper, but i read just about every one written for a number of years. I just couldn't do the FB thing, and was sad when so many folks left. I'm going to make a point to pop in a bit more, and maybe post some stories. Still running, still battling lower-leg issues, hate Covid in a way only a supply chain professional can, life goes on.
    4 points
  26. Have to believe that. The rest seems to be helping (ever so slowly) the ITB pain when I run. Went out for a walk night before last and tried a few jogging steps, just to see. After 3-4 I could feel it pull a little bit. Keeping an eye on it. Higher up - above the right hip and a little to the rear - things are getting worse. It's not exactly in the spot where I think it must be a kidney stone. Not exactly as painful as the kidney stone I had ten years ago (that's something you don't really forget, believe me). Nor do I have the other symptoms I had when I had that kidney stone. On the last actual run I tried last week I had shooting pain at every step. Obviously not normal. And it's getting worse. Woke up several times last night (mostly from being cold because Mrs. Dave likes to pull all the blankets, but that's not part of this story) and every time I tried to move I'd get a stabbing jolt of pain. Could barely bend over to put on socks this morning. Sitting here in my dining room office it's about a 6 out of 10 if I don't try to move. More if I do. 800mg of Ibuprofen doesn't touch it. So I'll be chatting with the doctor's office when they open up. Thing is, unless something else happens you don't really do anything for a kidney stone. Just manage the pain. Weird how this has sort of progressed slowly over the last two weeks. Now that we've arrived at the end of October, I guess I see any plans for a 2021 marathon slipping away. Although I (sort of) ran Boston with 4 weeks of training, so surely I could finish something before New Year's if I wanted. We'll see what happens.
    4 points
  27. Feels like forever since I ran a race thanks to Covid so I jumped when I had the opportunity to team up for this race. The race consists of a 2 mile running leg, 18 miles on the bike, and another 2 mile running leg. One of my RBs (J) who cycles frequently was interested in teaming up for the race so I was glad to take the running legs. The duathlon is a fund raiser for the group that maintains the Byway. Three other RBs from my LRG were there to volunteer so there were familiar faces around. The race was scheduled to start at 8:30 AM Sunday. I arrived around 7:45 and met J in one of the parking areas The temp was 50 degrees with a chilly wind - much different from the 70+ degree temps over the past 2 weeks, but good for running. We set up in the transition and I ran a few miles to warm up. J is into the local Tri scene and thought we had a good chance to win the teams division. Our optimism didn't last. We saw a local cycling club who calls themselves the Dutch Flyers had sent a team to the race. They're fast. Very fast, just as the name implies. J pointed out our competition. He recognized their cyclist from some Triathlons and knew him to be very fast. There was no way J was going to beat him so I would have to beat their runner to give J a head start on the bike. After a briefing on traffic, road hazards, and transitions it was time to line up. It was so nice to line up with a group of runners again. Around 100 runners were lined up. Soon the horn sounded and off we went. My prerace strategy was to hold back a little on the first leg to save something for the second leg. That strategy wasn't going to work if we were going to beat the Dutch Flyers, so I went out hard. The running route was an out and back with some rolling terrain. 7:15, 7:14. So much for holding back. Apparently our competition didn't send a fast runner because I beat him soundly to give J a 3 minute head start on the bike. We made the transition and J started the cycling leg. J figured he would need around 55 minutes to cover 18 miles on a hilly course. I watched other runners come in and make their transition. It's impressive to see runners who can jump on the bike after running and continue to crush it. After 40 minutes or so I started warming up again with some easy running and mixed in some pickups. Cyclists started arriving back to the transition area so I waited near the timing mat for J. The transition area wasn't policed. The Dutch Flyer rider crossed the mat. Like clockwork, his daughter was right there to peel the Velcro chip strap off his leg and hand it to their runner. All I could think was really, did that just happen? J wasn't kidding when he said the Dutch Flyer rider was fast. J had a 3 minute head start and averaged 19.5 MPH on a hilly, windy course, but this guy caught him and proceeded to finish 1 minute before J. I could do nothing but stand there and watch their runner go as the rider and his daughter laughed thinking they had us now. After that 1 minute which felt like an eternity J pulled in. The 2 of us and our cold sluggish fingers took forever to peel off the Velcro chip strap. As soon as it was in my hand I took off running hoping I could chase down the runner who now had a head start with only 2 miles in this leg. The fast first leg definitely took something out of me. I pushed to the point just before gasping starts. Finally, just before the turn around I came over an incline and saw him about 100 yards in front of me. It was going to take a while to catch him. I hit the turn around just after my watch showed 7:25 for the first mile. I started back on the uphill hoping the incline would slow him down and tried to step on the gas. The incline must have slowed him because I caught him quickly and passed. I knew I had to put some distance between him so I dug deep and tried to draw on anything I had left. The last .5 seemed so long, but soon enough I crossed the finish line with the Dutch Flyer runner still behind me. The other RBs from my LRG were there and were cheering as I finished. 7:20. Crushed it. Beat those Dutch Flyers. Stick to the bike my friends or come bigger. The post race food was provided by 99 Restaurants and was good. I really enjoyed this experience. Not sure if I enjoyed it enough to dust off my bike, but would definitely do the team thing again. I'd like to find another race before Rehoboth. Forgot how much I'd missed the racing scene. Run well my friends.
    4 points
  28. The Short: I ran in what I hope will be my first of many USATF Masters* Championship races! I also hope it is the worst race performance I produce in a competition like this; though I was able to hang on for a 2nd place finish in age group 40-44 and 5th overall female in the race, my time was a huge underperformance in relation to my fitness. I'm sure no one is surprised that it was hot and humid in Iowa on July 24. I went to compete without expecting a fast time, but I didn't expect to suffer as much as I did, finishing in 39:39. I think the heat slowed me down about 2:00, but my performance being equivalent to 37:39 in good weather doesn't really make me feel any better, especially because I couldn't dig to compete like I typically can. I really enjoyed training for this race - the day-to-day training was awesome! - so I'm still glad I did it, but it's going to take some time for my ego to recover from it. *I also learned that although masters division typically begins at age 40, USATF starts it at age 35, so I have missed 5 years of masters championship road racing. My medal was silver but my parents are gold The Long: As part of enjoying being a new masters runner, earlier this year I looked at the USATF masters championship race schedule. As part of being crazy, I love racing 10,000 m on the track and thought doing it at the end of July in Iowa seemed like a great idea! I didn't have a time goal going into this race, because I knew that weather and strategy could be big factors. However, my speed block leading up to the race went well - the best speed block I've ever had actually - and I felt fit and tapered leading into the race. The race day forecast was warmer every time I checked it, and by the time the race began at 8:45 a.m. the heat index was 90* with the sun radiating off the track. I told myself that I die less than most in the heat, shoved ice into the crop and shorts of my new rabbitELITE race kit, and went to the starting line hunting a national masters win. Shorts with the elite logo came a few days later! My heat of the 10,000 m had 4 women's age groups and 2 men's age groups in it, so there was a crowd! My plan was to run the first 2 miles conservatively to try to avoid overheating, then progress the pace downward from there. While I didn't have specific time goals, I thought I was in shape for a 35:59 in ideal weather on a good day with good pacing, so I figured high-36/low-37 in the conditions we had. I have been heat-adjusting my workout goal paces when it's been over 70* and humid, but by only 50-75% of the amount this heat calculator recommends. I came through each of the first 8 laps right around 1:30 (I ran by feel but it's very difficult not to look at the clock when it's a huge display in front of your face each lap), and it didn't feel fast but it also didn't feel good. I told myself I'd feel stronger as the race went on, and to reel in the women ahead of me. At that point I was leading my age group, with two women ahead of me in the 35-39 division. This is pretty much how the entire race felt Around 2 miles I started feeling worse, and a man who'd been running right behind me passed me. I told myself to latch onto him, which I did briefly, but I couldn't maintain contact. By the 5k I really started worrying, but I reminded myself that in most 10ks I've run I've passed the 5k thinking there was no way I could run that again, but I always did, often faster. At some point another woman passed me, and I tried to stay with her even harder than I'd tried to stay with the man, but much like earlier, I just couldn't. Our age groups were on our backs, so I knew she was in 45-49 and I was still leading age 40-44. I knew I was slowing despite my best efforts not to, and at that point my goal became hanging on to win my age division. I still kept telling myself I was going to feel better and speed up, and that everyone else was dying just as much. I was trying to take 1600 m splits on my watch to look at later, but I missed one of them and then started really struggling to remember what lap I was on. My brain felt foggy, my legs wouldn't move, and I just felt gassed. At some point a woman with AG 40-44 on her back passed me and I really tried to hang onto her but my body felt felt shut down and I couldn't respond. The possibility of a national championship slipped away and my goal mostly changed to just making it through, which is not a very inspiring race goal. About to get passed I was lapping people, some multiple times, plus two women and two men lapped me. With the number of people in the race, the officials had their work cut out for them with telling people what lap they were on, and several times they didn't tell me my lap count when I passed. My pace was so off what I'd expected to run and my brain was extremely cloudy, so the best I could do at times was "somewhere between 8 and 10 left" and "either 4 or 5 laps left!" It started to not really matter, as the race began feeling more like a survival thing than a competition. Finishing was a relief, though also a huge disappointment. New rabbit teammate! My official lap splits were: 1:29, 1:31, 1:29, 1:29, 1:30, 1:30, 1:31, 1:30, 1:32, 1:35, 1:36, 1:32, 1:36, 1:39, 1:39, 1:36, 1:35, 1:36, 1:40, 1:40, 1:38, 1:40, 1:40, 1:40, 1:33 (i.e., don't pace like this!). I thought that starting at 6:00 pace was conservative, but clearly it wasn't adequate for me that day. At the end of my 50k, I felt like it was the distance that got to me (not the pace), but in this race it felt completely like the pace! Oddly, 25 laps on the track didn't seem very far. I am really not sure what happened. Yes, 90 degrees and humid (dew point 72*) on a hot track is miserable, but surely that can't account for slowing down 37 seconds/mile from what my workouts indicated I could run; I am also generally really good at knowing what I'll realistically run in races. Most of the field ran about 2:00 slower than their seed times, but I was 3:05 off of mine (my heat calculator also gives me about +20 seconds/mile in the conditions, which is 2:00 - but remember, for hot workouts I've been using only 50-75% of the calculation). All of my track workouts and strength-based workouts this season were faster than when I ran 36:34 on the road, so even in the heat I thought I'd be in the 37s on the track; I also ran a 36:52 on the road in not ideal weather of 71*, dew point 68* when I was at similar fitness to what I am now (though now those conditions seem okay, haha!). I couldn't respond in a competitive situation, plus I felt awful and not at all strong, which I think is what makes this particularly discouraging. There was just nothing there. Maybe it's just time to retire from summer racing! I'm trying not to dwell on this too much, because I am really thankful for the opportunity to compete in this event, and to take home the silver in my age group. I'm thankful my parents came to the race with me, and for the vacationing we got to do along with it. I'm thankful that my training for this race went so well, and that I'm 100% healthy. But this was sure a hit to my confidence! I also had to laugh about it; it was like my body said, "You think an 18:09 5k wasn't good enough, I'll show you a bad race!" Related note: my HR was higher during this 10k than it was during that 5k time trial, showing that I was right about that 5k effort being more like 10k-half effort. This race was a 10k effort, it just wasn't the pace or place I thought that effort would produce! But! During my final tune up workout 4 days before the race, one of my running buddies was on a recovery when I was running a rep, and said "Go, coach!" (I coach several of my training buddies), which was the perfect reminder mid-400 that THAT was really what it's all about. I love running and competing, but that is the selfish piece and surely not the primary reason God gave me a passion for running - though I believe He wants us to be happy, and running certainly makes me that way! I love coaching, cheering for, supporting, and pacing others in this sport, and I really feel in my element when I'm doing those things. I don't think I'll ever be anywhere near content with how this race went, but it doesn't change how much I love running and everything associated with it. Now, onto a 5k, a half, a road 10k, and 26.2 between now and October 3!
    4 points
  29. As usual the summer is racing on by with entirely inadequate time spent in the high country. The first trip of the year went up into the shadow of Mt Evans. I'd planned to drive up and hike down to the lakes until discovering the road is now reservation-only, go to recreation.gov several weeks in advance to make a booking. Good grief. So, it's five miles and 1600ft up and in, from the bottom parking lot. This was full by 7:30am on a Saturday. Made myself a parking spot in a pullout a couple hundred yards away, just a slightly longer run then. I say 'run', what this means is 'go as you please', run when I can, walk when the air gets too thin. Photo opportunities make a good excuse to stop and pant. As always it makes me wonder why I'm wasting my life in a city. Earning my daily crust and raising a family, comes the dutiful response. A bit under an hour for the four miles and 1500ft to the lower lake. Most of a mile and another few hundred feet to the upper lake. Down in Denver it was 95deg, up here at nearly 12 000ft a strong cold wind and 40s, with the sun glowing faintly through the haze. Changed out of the sweaty Tshirt into a dry one and a puffy down jacket, went looking for fish. Around to the inlet, still no fishes. No signs of life at all, no bugs, no weed in water, no rises, no shoreline cruisers. The snow looked good though. Back to the lower lake. Tried a side trail hoping to get to the inlet and got cliffed. Thickets of willow defend the lake. There were a few faint trails through them, most with big moose hoofprints and even some scat. Saw midges as soon as I neared the water under the cliff, as well as weed and other encouraging signs. Here there were fish, pretty cutthroat trout, some in spawning colors and some in ordinary. Last cast before the run out was a bright spawner. Legs aching at this point so I foresaw more of a walk than a run. It went OK though with a couple of stops, once to chat to a couple of climbers walking down with their giant bouldering pads. The climbers are often such nice kids, open faces and clear eyes. I tell you, kids today ! they are alright. Another stop to gawk at a huge moose taking his rest in the willowy creek. I tried a picture but it shows only trees, you'll have to take my word for it. Another good day though as my backpacking e-spirit guide wrote recently, in these hazy hot fiery days we do wonder each time if it's the last journey. Having thoughts of trying the Devil on the Divide 22k, climbs up to the Continental Divide trail, gets to 13 200ft, then rattles down to a parking lot on I-70. My competitive goal will be to not be last..
    4 points
  30. This is the hardest part. Where you're running enough to know you're running. But not enough to feel good about it. Not long enough or far enough to feel the high, or even feel comfortable. Then there's that nagging hamstring or tight calf that keeps you from pushing the pace at all. You know if you could spend some time at a higher effort, then the easy will actually feel easy. But you've at least learned that lesson, so you keep it slow, constantly monitoring that left leg for signs of distress. Next thing you know, you're in the last half mile and barely remember the run. Hardly had a chance to enjoy running. This is where the first time runner quits. How do runners do this and call it fun? This isn't any fun. At all. Third week of 20 miles per week. Planning 6 tomorrow. No, it isn't fun yet. But I've done this before and I know it's going to be. Although if I'm being honest, I admit I have to remind myself of that every morning, especially in that first mile, when the hammy is sketchiest and the right knee is still cranky. The thought of, "It will get better," alternates with, "I guess my running days are all behind me now." "Which marathon do I train for?" vs. "How do I replace my IRUN262 license plate?" But you keep getting up and getting out and putting in the miles. Even if the first one every day is slow and that knee stings at every step. Even if once or twice you pray for a red light so you can stretch the calf. Runner.
    4 points
  31. The short: I kept saying “it’s not a real race” before the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, but I am also well-aware that when I get into a race I will not run easy! Now, when it’s a sunny 74-80 degrees, the course is very hilly, I'm 3 weeks off a marathon, I am just off a rest phase, and I am 3 days off of a major vacation, that doesn't mean I am going to knock it out of the park, but I'll give it all I've got on the day. That is exactly what I did at Hospital Hill, and I was very happy with my result all-considering. I was first overall female in 1:25:27 and set a new women's course record (it's a relatively new course). I also had a ton of fun in the process; running a race with no time expectations can be very freeing! I came home with a great finishing banner, a lot of joy, and a tan. Overall female results are here. My activity on Strava is here - check out that split variation based on the elevation, hah! My dad's video of the start is here. My dad's video of me breaking the tape at the finish is here. I love when races have & let you keep these finishing banners! Athlinks says it was 87*...maybe in direct sun? The long: I had no desire to run Hospital Hill this year until my friend Andrew started talking about pacing their 1:25 pace group. We both thought that it was odd to offer a 1:25 group because anyone who could run that kind of time on that course in typical Missouri June weather probably didn't need any pacing assistance, and we also agreed that it would be about max for both of us to do it, but if we could get a free entry to pace then we should do it (follow this logic at all?). I knew I could combine the race with a work trip, and my niece's high school graduation ceremony was 36 hours before the race in the same town, so it seemed like a no-brainer that I'd run it if I had a free entry. Andrew ended up getting me that free entry, but with no pacing duties (the 1:25 group was axed), and although I briefly retracted my willingness to run it when we scheduled our family vacation right before the race, I felt fine enough when the time came so I lined up on race morning. Missouri summers are very humid, and I was not yet heat adapted, so I knew race day with temperatures starting at 74 degrees and quickly rising was going to be uncomfortable. The course is very hilly, including the infamous Hospital Hill climb, so I had zero expectations for time; I just wanted to work with Andrew and compete with the other women in the field. My friend Laura was running the race, and I suspected she'd be my main competition (she'd won the race several times before). I knew I'd have to have a good day to beat her, but also figured we could work together. I wasn't in the mindset to throw down an extremely hard effort, but I knew I would if that's what it took. I started off very conservatively, running easier than marathon effort for the first 5k, which included the 160ish ft Hospital Hill Climb. I was with Andrew, his friend Josh, my friend Laura, and a man who wanted to break 1:30. There were a couple of women ahead of us, and it was hard for me not to try to chase them down, but I kept it easy through the 5k then upped the effort a little, thinking, "it's just a 10 mile race". Laura and I moved into the top two female positions around mile 4, and our group of 4 (Andrew, Josh, Laura, me) stayed pretty close, although we approached hills a bit differently. I just aimed to maintain equal effort. I don't race by my watch anymore regardless, but this race is definitely not one to run by split times because the elevation varies so much. Our group chatted and laughed quite a bit and everyone seemed to be enjoying the race. Laura and I got a lot of "go ladies" cheers, and Josh kept chiming in, "and men!" after them. Andrew was very familiar with the course and kept narrating it for us, particularly emphasizing how sucky miles 11-12 were going to be. Josh, Andrew, me The saving grace on the hot sunny day was the amount of shade from large trees on the course. If it had all been in open sun I am pretty sure I would have died! I felt really good and like I was holding back, and around miles 7-8 I felt like others were easing off a little, so around mile 9 I started pushing more, then Josh and I gapped Andrew and Laura. I knew that miles 11-12 were all uphill, then the last mile was downhill, so I gave effort accordingly. I passed several men between mile 10 and the finish, which kept my momentum going. At mile 11 I was definitely ready to get to mile 12 and the downhill, and Josh told me that I had a significant lead so I didn't plan to hammer the end, but the downhill propelled me to a 5:58 final mile. I never felt like I was running that hard during the race, but the heat snuck up on me so I also don't think I could have run really any faster, so I'm glad I didn't try to early on (though mindset probably played into this)! Overall I felt strong but not sharp, which is what I'd expect based on where I'm at right now. Smiling as the announcer stated first female I had a lead cyclist with and around me from when Laura and I took the female lead to the end, and he was great. We kept joking with him that he had to make sure I didn't cut the course. As I was coming down the final stretch I saw him waving frantically at the finish line staff to hold up the overall female finishing banner. It's always so fun to break a tape; I did so with a huge smile on my face and I even remembered not to stop my watch until I was through the line and stopped. The only disadvantage to that was that I didn't capture how fast my finishing sprint was, but we all know I'm not setting any speed records in anything, so... My parents said they announced that I set the female course record (the course has been changed since they used to give prize money), but I haven't found anything official about that anywhere yet. I also completely forgot to pick up my overall award, but I'm pretty happy with the banner. Professional finishing photo sequence Post-finish photos from race officials After I finished some of the race staff took my photo, my parents took pictures, and a race official asked me about the event and how easy the course was to follow (answer: it was great, except the runners behind us who were going out when we were coming back moved over to the shorter route lane of the road, so we ran the longer route going both out and back, which added a little distance). I met back up with Josh and Andrew, who both finished right behind me. Andrew was pleased to hit the 1:25 goal - pre-race we'd hypothesized that 1:25 on that course in the heat was like 1:20 on a good course in good weather, then post-race he determined that temperature calculators like this one give us 14-18 seconds/mile, and the course (based on Strava GAP) gives us 4 seconds/mile, so our performance probably is equivalent to a 1:19-1:20. This premium Strava user finished not far behind me, so you can look at his grade adjusted paces. I have enjoyed running races that I know I won't run super fast in this season though! I love PR-chasing, but it's also a joy to just go compete and do my best given the conditions, without worrying about seconds here and there. I also seem to also be doing well on long races with climbs towards the end (e.g., every single race I have run in 2021 aside from the Squirrel 5k), although I will not select courses like this for PR-chasing. The last mile was nice! My parents took a bunch of pics with this banner while I ran my cool down Aren't they the cutest? This summer I will be doing a little less mileage and a little more speed work before transitioning into marathon training. Speed stuff is not my forte but it will be good for me, and I am hoping to challenge my 5k PR. My next long race (another half) will be August 28, which seems really far away even though it's not, so I'm extra glad I got this one in. I continue to be amazed at the blessings God gives me through running, especially considering that a year ago I was highly skeptical that I would ever run well again. That was probably dramatic, but us runners are likely to defer to that when off running or not performing well, so if you are in that situation, don't stop believing! That time period has made me far less obsessive about times and finding "perfect" races, so I imagine that was part of the blessing in disguise. I've loved every race I've run this year, but a few years ago I don't think I'd have selected any of them! I bought this great top for a 4th of July race, but since I'm not running one I decided to wear it for Hospital Hill!
    4 points
  32. Losing steam. PT continues. Went to Boston to see DS1 run. Met with him and his girls. Helped them navigate the suburbs from Hopkinton to Copley Square. Were able to see him at mile 4 in Ashland, 6-1/2 in Framingham, 9 at Fisk Pond, 10 in Natick, 13 and 16 in Wellesley, 20 in Newton, and 22 at Cleveland Circle. Props for the new tracking app, which let us see if we had time to get where we wanted in time. Obviously, he had the more physically challenging day, but it was pretty stressful getting to all those places with three adults and three kids (aged 7, 9 & 11). Then there's the whole finding your people after the race fun. And parking in downtown Boston on Patriot's Day at the end of the marathon. I was able to meet irl my very first friend on the Loop, SIbbetson. Thirteen years ago she was the first to comment on my very first post. Closest we've come before was when I stopped for a day in Reed Springs, MO for a tiny marathon. Think she was still in Kansas then. We texted Sunday while the family was at the expo and she was eating lunch close by with three of her fast friends. Long time dream fulfilled. Huge snowstorm across New York state the day we were driving back so we took a loop to the south and came home through Pennsylvania, stopping for a quick visit to ...(wait for it!). (Who is that old guy, anyway?) The furnace has been acting up the past few weeks and it was 50o in the house when we got home. Had a guy come look at it. Probably the controls going out. It's 34 years old. So, we got a new one. They came out today to install a special chimney liner needed for high efficiency furnaces in older homes (ours is from 1966). They almost had to call for a mason to tear into the chimney, which would have been who knows how much, but in the end were able to get the liner done as is. Then we noticed water in the basement coming from the dishwasher. Leaky inlet valve. That - fortunately - I can do myself. $20. Four weeks later, we still don't have a dining room table. Can't find anything we really like. There you go.
    3 points
  33. The short: I now have two data points to tell me that the 50k is not "only" 5 more miles than a marathon! Prairie Spirit didn't go quite as I hoped, as I didn't better my debut time or negative split, but I set a Kansas overall female 50k state record and a new Prairie Spirit female course record with a 3:37:06 on the rails to trails gravel course. I loved this training cycle so much, so I stepped up to the starting line feeling like I'd already won. I couldn't execute as I wanted, even though I had great weather, a nice course, fantastic pacing buddies, and the best crew. Thankful but not satisfied...and I am definitely going to run a third 50k now, once I forget how the end of this one felt! Official results are here, including course records. Kansas state records are here (you have to click on 50k after following the link). Top 50k 2022 North American performances are here, and currently I sit at #5. My Strava activity is here. Race photos are here. Awards at the finish The long: I was more intimidated going into this race than going into my first 50k, because I remembered how agonizing the final 4 miles of the race felt last time! I think I benefitted a lot from the ignorance is bliss thing before I'd run a 50k - not only about how the race would feel but also about what performances were good. I ran fast in my debut but I didn't understand the implications until afterward, some not until days or weeks afterward (e.g., I ended up with the 4th best North American/3rd U.S. women's time of 2021 and was under the time standard of 3:35 needed to apply for the 2021 USATF World 50k team). This time I had higher goals and expectations based on all of that, namely to break 3:30, make it into the top 3 women's 2022 times (the U.S. 50k national champs took place a few weeks before this race so there were some fast times to beat), and net a time to apply for the 2023 USATF World team (under 3:33). Conflictingly, I also was really scared of the end-of-the race pain! Colin and I trained for the race together through some pretty brutal winter weather, including the two coldest races either of us had ever run, but race day gave us nearly perfect weather at 32 degrees at the start. The north wind was 8-10 mph by the time we were at midway, meaning we had a headwind from mile 17.3 to the finish, but considering the race was in Kansas I don't think we could have done any better! My biggest fear going into the race had been a 30+ mph headwind for half of the race. Sunrise start Colin and I planned to run together, and Andrew was joining at the mile 17.3 aid station, which was when 50k pacers were allowed. I was confident that Colin and I would be together at 17.3, so I knew I'd have someone to run with the whole time, which was comforting. It was also great knowing that Andrew would be with me during the hardest part of the race with 17.3 fewer miles on his legs than I had on mine! The rails to trails course wasn't very scenic and much like Frisco looked about the same the entire way - also much like Frisco it kind of felt uphill both ways. My race plan was to run the first 5 miles at about 7:00, the next 5 miles at about 6:50, then the next 21.1 [gulp] at 6:40-6:45, hoping to average 6:45ish. I positive split my first 50k and really wanted to negative split this one. I thought my fitness was similar to where it was for Frisco, so I hoped more conservative early pacing would yield an overall faster time. Colin and I were leading the race before mile 1, tailed by two men who we met shortly after. Hans was an experienced ultra runner and Logan was an Ironman triathlete running his first ultra. We bantered, laughed, and worked together for the first 20 miles of the race. At mile 10 I pointed out that we were 1/3 finished but it turned out I was the only one optimistic about that! The miles flew by, and I was trying to keep tabs on where we were so I could execute my fueling plan of a gel every 3 miles, but many times I'd look down and be further along than I thought, which is always a nice surprise. I stayed on my gels well though, and it felt like I was almost constantly taking one. The race required that you carry fluid so I ran with handhelds that I switched out at each manned aid station. The mile 10.8 aid station We picked up pacer Andrew at the turn around, which we ran past because there was just a timing mat on the ground - no cone or sign or other indication. I knew the turn around was supposed to be at that aid station so I asked "where do we turn around?" after we'd run well past the mat, then someone told us "there!" pointing back to the mat. Jon said he was yelling at us to turn around at the mat but we didn't hear him. He also said that aid station wasn't ready for us since runners from the longer distances had been coming through - they started earlier than us and continued on south to their turn arounds, plus they were more apt to stop vs. our turn and burn plan. We probably lost about 10 seconds there, which didn't seem to matter in a 50k but in the end it did (stay tuned!), especially since we'd also run a bit past the ~2 mile turn around for a similar reason. When we turned around, we also turned into a headwind. We went single file: Andrew, Colin, me, Hans, Logan. I was still in a good place but didn't feel like I should drop pace much, so I told Andrew 6:45-6:50 instead of the planned 6:40-6:45. He's a great pacer and also took the wind for us as much as he could. I could tell Logan was struggling to hang onto us, and I'm not exactly sure when he fell off but it was between the turn around and mile 20. He'd been hoping for a sub-3:00 marathon during the race, which would have been a PR for him, so my heart went out to him. Mile 17.3 aid station bottle hand off Hans picked it up around mile 20, and after we clipped through a 6:39 mile I told Colin that he should go with Hans if he wanted to race for the overall win, but I didn't feel ready to pick it up. Colin didn't feel comfortable speeding up either, so we continued at 6:50ish. There was also a fast man who'd started late, so that was an X factor for the guys' placings; the race changed their start times from past years and some people had planned around the old start times so they allowed people to start late and use chip time. Hans knew who the other fast man was and thought he would be the one to beat (spoiler: Hans won, the other man was 2nd, and Colin 3rd). The final manned aid station was at 23.8, and I was looking forward to seeing my family one last time on the course and getting my gel with 100 mg caffeine. My bottle/gel hand off from Jon went seamlessly, as had the first two exchanges, but when I unzipped the pocket of my fresh handheld my gel wasn't in there! I almost asked Andrew to go back for it, but muling was against the rules. I asked Colin if he had an extra gel with caffeine, but he didn't have any with caffeine. I didn't think I needed the gel - I still had one on me to take between there and the finish - but I sure needed the caffeine! I tried to stay positive, and looked forward to seeing our marathon split. Our average pace for the entire race was hovering at 6:52-6:53, so I knew we wouldn't quite be sub-3:00, which was somewhat disappointing but finishing strong was more important to me in this race. I felt like at Frisco I was really concerned about keeping my marathon under 3 and not having any miles over 7:00, which may have hurt me in the final miles there. We passed the marathon in about 3:00:40 on our Garmins, but don't worry, I am not counting that against my sub-3:00 streak since it was in a 50k - although if I was under I'd have counted it, haha! I felt a little better than I had at Frisco at that point in the race, but also not as good as I'd have liked to have felt, meaning I didn't feel confident about finishing strong. Colin began pulling away from me. Before the race I kept telling him that it was going to be just like Run with the Wind, where he pulled away in the final miles at 6:15 while I stayed at 6:45. This time I didn't stay at 6:45, but he did pull away! I stopped looking at my watch at that point and just gave all I had to get in as fast as my legs would carry me. Pain face final stretch I felt okay enough until a bit after mile 28. When my watch beeped 28 I told Andrew, "Only a 5k to go!" but I was losing steam quickly. I kind of knew where we were at since we'd run the opposite direction on the same trail early in the race. I kept willing us to get to the highway crossing, for my watch to beep 29 and 30, to get to the pavement for the final mile. I could see Colin in the distance ahead of me and I also kept willing him to turn left, because I knew when he did it was only about 200 m to the finish from there. In my mind, the last 5k took longer than the first 28 miles, and I gritted it out but it wasn't pretty, and the final mile was all gentle incline which sure didn't help. I was quite thankful to hit the finish line because I was beyond running on empty! My official time was 3:37:06 - the 5th fastest women's time in North America in 2022. The reason those little bits of lost time at the turn arounds mattered? The 4th fastest time is 3:36:58. I'm more frustrated with myself for my slow final mile, but at the time it was all I had. Clock shot Kansas Record 5th in North America in 2022 Prairie Spirit top times After I took a couple of minutes to gather myself while holding onto the building, the race organizers continued to announce information about my race - course record and Kansas state open female record. I knew I'd hit those times because I'd looked them up beforehand; they were my C and D goals for this race (A was sub-3:30, B was PR...but E was finishing of course!). I celebrated with my family and friends, accepted my awards, and vowed to never do that again. But, of course I'll do it again! After all, I just know I've got a faster one in me! The agony of those final few miles and the pain for the remainder of the day will fade away, and I have very much fallen in love with 50k training. I'm still primarily a marathoner and this race was also my longest long run for the 2022 Boston Marathon on April 18, but there's something about those 5 extra miles that, God-willing, I am determined to solve. More race details are here. Miles from Mentor reps The race asked me to pose for a pic by the finish for their social & I wasn't wasn't quite sure what to do, but this is what they got from endophin-me!
    3 points
  34. I received a registration to the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon as a Christmas gift in December, 2019. Two double COVID cancellations led me to finally being able to run it this year! I planned on running it as a training run for Boston 26.2. Boston is in 3.5 weeks and this is scaring the heck out of me! You see training has been going anything but smoothly. I've pretty much been dealing with one nagging injury after another since May of 2021. Calf strain, aggravated hamstrings and calcification on one heel as well as some achilles issues. Ugh. My base running mileage in December was pretty much zero -- tops 10 mpw. I deferred Rehoboth, but then Jenster cancelled at the last minute so I grabbed her bib and fully intended on dropping at the 6 mile mark. Yea, well, I didn't. I started slow and felt really great at mile 6. I was talking to friends and random strangers. Decided to keep going. Once I hit the dirt trail (where most people slow down) I sped up and finished sub 2. This sub 2 let me see that my CrossFit and cycling that I had been doing had kept me in really good shape. I started going to a chiro who has been Graston-ing the sh!t out of my achilles and heel (hurts terribly) and doing some active release on my hamstrings. In mid December I started up with Hal Higdon's advanced marathon plan that I had followed for my BQ marathon. Yeah .... basically 10 mpw to 40 mpw... I've only been able to hit a few of the weeks at prescribed volume. Surprise, surprise. I adapted to running 3 miles Monday, 10 miles Tuesday, 3-5 miles Wednesday, a tiny bit of speed on Thursday, long run Saturday and then swim and cycle on Sunday. I also have been doing CrossFit Monday - Thursday. That schedule worked for the most part until I took part in the CrossFit Open. The CrossFit open is a 3 week online competition -- 2/28-3/14). The top 10% in each AG move on to the next round of competition. I finished in the 84th percentile while managing to keep my running volume going and not getting injured. Win-win! I had a 20 miler scheduled for 3/12. I was still really sore from the CrossFit competition so I pushed the 20 miler to Monday, 3/14 (6 days before Shamrock). I split the run into 2 x 10s. I ran 10 on my treadmill before work and then 10 on the trails after work. It was a slog. Not going to lie. 20 miles at approximately 10:00 pace. So that brings us to Shamrock. I took a 1 day taper ... ie. rest day on Saturday. I planned on running the race with a friend. He wanted to run sub 2. He had raced the 8k the day before and is coming back from injury. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to run a sub 2, but thought I'd give it a go. Found my running group for a picture before the race. Bob and I lined up in corral #2 and both said we wanted to start out easy. The race gun went off and we were on our way. After about a mile I said to Bob that it seemed like we were running much faster than the 9:10 pace on our watches. He agreed and said it felt more like an 8:30. I was so relieved that he felt it was hard too! We agreed to back off a bit, but once I start pushing it is SUPER hard for me to pull it back. I was somewhere in between this is not going to be a good day!! and GAS PEDAL!! As hard as I tried to reign it in I was pulling ahead of Bob. I pulled over to wait at the mile 3 water stop. We chatted a second, but then I was gone. Shoulda hung a sign out "Gone racing!' As much as my mind was telling my legs to slow down, my legs kept pushing. We went through a military base. It seemed like forever! I was keeping my eyes on the lookout for a port a potty. Finally as we exited the military base there was one at mile 9. I dashed in, but probably lost 90 seconds. After that I just picked it up. i would look at my watch and was shocked at the low 8s I was seeing. At mile 10 I just wanted to be done. I thought maybe I'll just walk, but of course that didn't happen. I did let myself walk through the aid stations. As we rounded the corners and were heading into the final mile I just decided to see what I had left. Mile 13 -- 7:53, 13.1 -- 7:41. I have NEVER run a 7:xx in a half marathon. Final time with 30 seconds waiting for friend, 90 second bathroom break, 20 miles on Monday and zero taper -- 1:53:27. So my conundrum -- what the hell pace do I try to run at Boston?? My base mileage is nowhere I would like it to be, but my overall amount of exercise is super high. If I take the 2 minutes off for the bathroom break and waiting for my friend a VDOT calculator says 8:48 -- 3:50:53. Does that seem reasonable? Or 9:09 for a 4:00? I just don't know??
    3 points
  35. Some days I feel like I should switch the title of these to "My Post-Running Life." Did a couple of hour walks on the TM this week. Both OK. Started taking metformin for my blood sugar. Still working out the best time to take it. Common side effect is stomach upset, which I'm having. Yesterday was sunny and beautiful. Seemed like a good afternoon to take my walk outdoors. Didn't count on the wind or how miserable it is to be cold when walking. Funny how I could run and run and run in temps as low as 0F. I bundled up reasonably well, considering it was almost 30. But as soon as I turned the corner and walked into the wind ... yuck. Went another few hundred yards before deciding that my minimum walking temp is much, much higher than my minimum running temp. Came home and did some weights, which I hate. Hip is sore today. Not giving up yet.
    3 points
  36. Can't say I ran this week. Although, it was nice enough on Wednesday that I walked for 3 miles. Doesn't sound like much, but as far as I'm concerned, this year that's progress and progress is a win. Don't know if it's the metformin, but been having serious gut pain lately, especially after eating. Last night we made pizza and I could only eat a few bites before I felt more than full. That's right. Me, who believes the only good pizza is an eaten pizza. A man who regularly eats an entire Little Caesar's in one sitting. If there's pizza to be seen, there's pizza to be eaten. It's a mortal sin to leave pizza on the table. I'm that guy. Couldn't eat another bite. Not as bad today. We have this cute little holiday seat cover that's been showing some wear. A couple of the grommets have disappeared. Last week I decided it was time for a new project and have chosen to replace the little guy. Mrs. Dave decided that I should make one for all the kids. So I have to make 4 more. Until she decides that she wants to give one to someone else. It's coming along fairly well. Ready for the stitching, which will be the hard part. Not my best skill. After a year of coaxing I finally convinced Mrs. Dave to replace her computer. Hers has been a problem child for over a year. Noisy (fan) and so, so slow. She's thanking me now. Going to try another run this afternoon. Maybe a mile. It's scary. Remember when I wrote that anything less than 4 miles was hardly worth the effort. Those were good times. When we did the bedroom a few months ago we found some lamps we liked so much we wanted a set like them for the living room. Only they weren't available anywhere. Until last week when I thought I'd try looking again. Now the living room is done except for the walls because we (I mean Mrs. Dave) can't decide what we want there. They asked me to speak in church next week. Of course, I'm talking about how running marathons are like life. Frankly, because it is and people should understand that. When I do start running again for real, I'll be writing every day again, at least until the finish of my next marathon. Like the old days, except there's no big group of vocal supporters here like the old days. Just a few and you're almost all silent. I forgive you.
    3 points
  37. So amazing. I think that means we're famous too.
    3 points
  38. This past Thursday was a very special holiday for me. It was THE Turkey Trot, the race of the beginning and the ending, my forever benchmark, the only race that I have successfully streaked, and my first love. The Turkey Trot, a four miler held each Thanksgiving morning, was my very first race back in 2011. I never thought I could be a runner before I crossed that finish line. I had started running that July and running (without stopping!!!) for FIVE MILES(!!!) felt like the biggest achievement of my life. I had been reading every book I could get my hands on about running and racing at that point and I showed up guns blazing. I tried my best not to "go out too fast," (what does that mean, how does that feel?) as I read that that was a mistake. I also had read that this is it - showtime - you run as hard as you can and leave nothing on the track. I did my damn best to make both those things true while trying my hardest to tune out everyone else.... while also comparing myself to literally everyone else. (Am I really one of these people? Is that guy wearing a sweater? Why aren't some people wearing shoes?!?!?) Remember 2011? Over the years, this race became a marker for every season and every phase of my life. When I had a good season, I ran it well. When I had a bad season, I ran it poorly. When I was injured or in a boot, I ran or walked it injured or in a boot. The people I talked into running with me were the people who were important to me. Oh and the muskratting! I LOVED muskratting!!! This year I ran it with Erika and our couple friends V & J. J is just starting to run with the goal of running a marathon next year. At almost 10 years younger than me, she is the baby of the group and it felt appropriate that she was running this one too. Something like looking back. Like I said before, it's my 10th* time running this race. This one was the big one. Erika and I stayed together the whole time. She was content to follow my pace and I tried hard not to race it race it. Oddly for us, we didn't talk at all during the race except for the occasional, "Y'ok?" "I'm kay." I could think about how much this one meant to me. *** My 2011 pics are sadly lost to the old Loop. For some reason, I don't seem to have 2018 or 2019 pics but they are probably on instagram even though I am not. *We realized this morning that this is my 11th time running it (10th in person as last year was virtual). The sentimentality of this post might be undue.
    3 points
  39. There’s no punchline. I just needed a title. Bear with me, I haven’t been writing regularly in years and I am a bit out of practice. So I started going to the gym again. It’s in the building next door and usually Erika and I are the only ones there. They have everything I need except for an ab swing and ab twistie machine which I can make do without. The gym is a little easier for me mentally these days. Running is hard. And depressing. I gained a ton of weight and it is slowing me down. So I am constantly struggling and feeling disappointed about my runs. The gym, though, is purely a celebration of my body. It’s time inside myself. Feeling myself move. An experiment. If I do this what muscle is working? Should that be the muscle that is working or is it stepping in for some other muscle that is slacking off? What muscles are weak and need attention? What muscles are strong and good at their job? It is one of the few things that I do and enjoy where I feel completely uncompetitive. Uncompetitive with myself and uncompetitive with others. I just enjoy it. They have all these things that I never used before, as well. Medicine balls, and TRX straps (is that what you call them?) these long weighted bars that I am not sure what their purpose is, and a heavy bag, a tilted bench for crunches on an angle, and another that I am assuming is for preacher curls (but must be for something else too, no?) I am greatly looking forward to figuring them all out, working up to them, and adding them to my routine. For now, I am back to basics - low weight, focus on form. Back to basics seems thematic for me right now… huh…
    3 points
  40. Mr Bacon - loved his writing. How to catch a bird from your fireplace. Shoes, shows, shoes. So funny
    3 points
  41. So much hurt inside all of the circles of my life in the last few years. Would be such a comfort to have a safe haven from that again. A thought: Remind people that a place like this is still here if they want to come.
    3 points
  42. Garbo, if you make me cry like this one more time I may have to put you back in Loop jail.
    3 points
  43. I didn’t mean to go almost 3 months without writing. I’ve been busy but not that busy. There’s been stress, but who doesn’t have that? Somehow, at the end of the day, I just have lacked to motivation to sit down and write. I’m too mentally tired tonight to spend the extra half hour dealing with photographs, even though that is always the best part of my posts. I will add just one as the "feature" photo. Marathon training for Chicago has gone well, though that perpetual goal of 4:30 will remain out of reach. I might have a PR (under 4:43) in me. We’ll see if the weather is good and how much the flat course helps. I’m still a little short on my Team in Training fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – as of this moment I need $135 to hit my minimum and $385 to hit my posted goal. I’ve gotten a lot more than usual on facebook by posting video messages. Shocking, considering I don’t have one of those pretty faces that people can’t resist. (Seriously, my sister as a child could walk down the street at the farmer’s market where we had a booth as a family and people would constantly just give her stuff while I was standing right there – granted she was still a little kid at the time, and I wasn’t, but it was weird…) It stayed hot for a long time, got cool for a couple weeks, before it got really warm again last week. I feel like I should write more about running since that is the what the point of this blog is supposed to be, but it’s mostly been uneventfully smooth. (Which is great) The job search continues, but finally seems to be making progress…I have two jobs where I am in the interview process and would be happy to accept either one. The in person interview I did on Monday went really well, but I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait to hear back. The second job I did a Zoom interview for last week, and now have an in person interview scheduled but not for another two weeks. By then I might have heard from the first job. They are somewhat different, but both health research related, and would both at least somewhat relate to my master’s degree. Speaking of which, last month I got a real in person graduation ceremony exactly a year after it should have happened. (Although I took all of the classes online, even pre-pandemic, the university was local, and I liked the idea of getting a real ceremony. Getting “hooded” for a master’s degree is kind of cool) My household situation has changed, since my sister has gotten engaged, bought a house and moved out of the house we have been sharing. She’d been spending less and less time here anyway, but it’s still lonely and now I have to do all my own cooking again! (She did most of the cooking when she was here). I thought my diet would improve when I started planning the meals again but it hasn’t that much. Maybe once the job thing has settled I’ll have more mental energy to devote to planning meals and eating better… If anyone wants to help make a dent in that $135/$385 (or push me beyond - it all goes to fighting cancer) here's the link to my fundraising page - https://pages.lls.org/tnt/gat/chicago21/ABrinker (But I know everybody's got more places for their money than money to go around...)
    3 points
  44. Mrs. Dave is in a facebook group that I am not. Couple of weeks ago she saw a post about a Ragnar team that had a runner drop out at the last minute and did anyone know someone who might want to go. Ragnars have always looked fun to me, but outside of the Loopsters I don't really have any running friends. Maybe I should get out more. It's never really fit into my marathon plans, so I don't know that I'd have done one anyway. Although, being uber-susceptible to peer pressure, if someone had asked before I likely would have said, "Take my money," and joined whether it was a good idea or not. I'd had a good couple of weeks of running while we were visiting the new grandson, but still hadn't made any definite fall race plans, so it seemed like I'd be able to do three legs of a Ragnar with no problem. Thought about it for a couple of days, then told her to pass my interest back to the team captain, if he was still looking. He messaged me the next day and said I was on the team. This was Sunday evening. The day after that I went out in 81o and 90% humidity and rode the struggle bus for 4 miles before Gallowaying another 2 miles home. Tuesday was roughly the same conditions and roughly the same result. Had me questioning most of my life choices at that point. But by then I'd Venmo'ed Russell the money, so I was committed. So many times in my life I should have been committed, so why change? Wednesday I felt fairly crappy still after the two rotten days of running so I just rested and packed (and mowed the lawn). Ragnar does publish a thorough list of things you need for their events, and that alleviated a fair amount of stress getting ready. I only needed to buy a reflective vest and a tail light, and borrow an air mattress. Apparently Russell has been organizing two teams from church to run the Michigan Road Ragnar for all six years it's been held (minus last year, of course). They rent four vans to avoiding overcrowding in transportation, stay in hotels both the night before and the night of the relay so there's no sleeping on the ground or crashing in the vans. Costs a little more, but after seeing other teams doing it dirty and getting rained on and/or frozen, everyone considers it worth it. Ragnar Road Michigan runs 190-ish miles from Muskegon to Traverse City, much of it along the shore of Lake Michigan. Beautiful scenery and cooling lake breezes. We all met at a Park and Ride in Ann Arbor, then drove in the vans to Whitehall, a little place just north of Muskegon, for the night. Turns out that I already knew several of the runners from various church functions over the years, so I wasn't the loner I expected to be. I called age privilege, which scored me one of the two beds in the room. Then after dinner it was straight to sleep, with a long 30 hours coming up the next morning. I was runner #3, which gave me legs 3, 15, and 27. Our first leg was Ethan, a freakishly tall guy who's prepping for the Baltimore Marathon this year. It's pretty dark at 7:00 AM Haven't mentioned the weather yet. It was perfect for Van#1. At start time it was around 50o with almost no wind. Ethan cruised through the first leg and handed off to Alex in second place. Not that place had anything to do with anything. Maybe it's normal or maybe this was just because they were short handed because Covid, but we were only allowed to over achieve our expected times by an hour at four designated exchanges. If we came in too fast, they'd hold our team up for two hours to put us back on schedule. We spent most of the day trying to go slow enough to avoid the hold. That was fine as far as I was concerned. I'd originally submitted a 10K pace of 7:30 per mile since I'd run a few miles at the end of my workouts near that. Approaching the whole thing as a race that seemed the way to go. After the two crappy runs at the beginning of the week, I'd re-submitted at 8:00 per mile and hoped I'd be able to be in the neighborhood and not embarrass myself. My first leg was 4.1 miles. I was warming up when I heard someone start yelling my name. Oops. So I raced across the parking lot and met Alex just in time to get the bracelet. And of course I'd forgotten to get my watch going early and since I was still thinking, "race," I couldn't very well wait for the satellites to find us. It took almost a quarter miles before it did. But I was finally running and not feeling terrible and while there were only a couple of runners in front of me, I thought I might be able to reel them in, and hoped I wouldn't get passed myself. Mile 1 (from the time I got a satellite lock) was just under 8:00. Felt like I could go 4 miles that fast but not faster. Also made me worry that it wasn't going to be doable for my other two legs - but I'll get to that in a minute. Mile 2 was 7:53, and I'd passed two people and saw another kind of far out there so didn't know if I could catch him/her. With that decision left for later I just tried to keep from dying. Mile 3 was 7:57. Not bad. Since I'd started measuring late I knew the last mile was going to be short, but I also saw that I was gaining on that other runner - some of the time. She (by this point I could tell it was a woman) wasn't holding a steady pace. Sometimes I'd make visible progress closing the gap and at other times not. There wasn't much left in the tank, but I pressed as much as I dared. Got within 10 or so yards and she put on another surge, and I thought I'd lose her. Then she backed off again and I passed. Not exactly with authority, but at least steadily. She must have lost it right after because she finished a good 50 yards back. Mile 4 (.89 to be accurate) was 6:49, or 7:40 pace. So there was a little bit - not a ton - in the tank for that last mile. I was beat, though. Final time 30:39 for 3.89 miles/7:53 avg pace. While that first leg was almost exactly what I'd submitted, there was also no way in hell I would be able to run 8 minute pace for legs 2 or 3, both of which were 6.7 miles and both of which had much more elevation than those first 4 miles. The good news was that there was time for lunch and some rest before my second leg. We ate at a small diner out in the middle of nowhere. Not middle of Wyoming or Montana nowhere, but pretty nowhere for Michigan. The food was good but I regret having the pulled pork sandwich, because it stayed with me for far too long, including throughout the second leg. I also regretted A. not resting more, and B. not warming up, before my second leg. We were almost an hour ahead of schedule, so there was no rush to get going, but instead of jogging lightly and making sure I was loose to start going, I stood around and wondered several times if I ought to go use the POPs one more time before I ran again, then took off right behind another running, foolishly expecting that I'd pass her right away for another "kill." BTW, I've decided I don't like the dark imagery of "killing" other runners in these things. There should be something more friendly. At any rate, after just a few steps I was sucking wind and my right IT Band was not happy, so there was no killing to be had. I was lucky to keep from falling way behind. Since we were ahead of plan, I had selflessly agreed to run this leg at 9:00 pace. Good thing, since I knew immediately that I wouldn't be going much faster. And of course less than a mile in I heard from Abby. The instructions were VERY clear about relieving ourselves along the course. I had zero confidence in making it 5-1/2 more miles. Panic rose. I may have prayed. I rounded a wide bend in the road and saw a park and baseball field on the other side of the road - AND A POP!!! Disaster averted. I had passed a couple of slower runners in that first mile and two of them went by while I was engaged. Didn't care. Back on the road, I saw that the first mile (including 80 feet of climb in the last quarter) had been 9:08, just like I planned. The next two were a little fast. 8:32 and 8:35, although they felt slower. The ITB wasn't getting any worse, and that was helpful. This was the prettiest section that I ran on, between two little beach towns. No view of the lake, but the road was quiet and winding and tree-lined. Really nice and peaceful. Mile 4 had some rolling hills. 9:28, so I was tracking pretty close to the 9:00 pace I was looking for, and if I'm being honest was about as good as I was going to get. Passed a few other runners. Mile 5 was 8:52 and Mile 6 was 9:03. Finished the last .7 in 6:20 (8:59 pace). Total 59:58/8:57mm. Just like I'd promised. This is where I give mad props to Russell for planning the hotel for the night. Monster storms rolled in about 10:00 PM and lasted through the night. We felt sorry for the two Van 2's because they had to run through all of it. We were warm and dry and quiet on soft mattresses. Really glad I was in Van 1. I showered, skipped dinner (still had that pulled pork in my system) and crashed hard. 2:00 AM was awfully early, but I did get almost 4 hours of sleep, despite my ITB hurting like the dickens. How would I be able to run at all tomorrow, let alone another 6.7? We woke up to no power in the hotel as a big section of town was knocked off the grid by the storm, but at least it had mostly stopped by the time we started our third legs running at 4:00 AM. My run was at about 5:00 and still pitch dark. The ITB had settled to a minor irritant, so I was happy about that. Oh yeah, this 6.7 miles started flat, then climbed 300 feet in less than half a mile. We were still flirting with a timing hold, so slow was better than fast, thank goodness. There was no giddyup in these old legs by then. 9:34 for the first mile, then 10:15 as I started the hill. I walked up 2/3 of it. And I'd do it again. There was nothing to see since it was so dark, but I'm sure it was pretty. Actually walked most of the way with Josh, a young guy who I remembered passing in Leg #2 the day before. But my running pace was better than his, so he dropped off when we reached the top. The ride down was just steep enough to not be fun. 12:40 for mile 3. There was a Ragnar sign at Mile that said, "Soak in the view." I can only guess what sick bastard decided to put that there when this leg was being done at 5:30 in the morning and sunrise still two hours away. 8:54 across the top and then 8:17 coming down the north side. I saw a couple of flashing tail lights ahead in the distance, but there was no way I was catching anyone else that morning. 9:06 and then 5:13 (8:45mm) for the last .7. Total for Leg 3 - 1:03:58/9:42 avg. Just like that, I was done. My body was grateful, but I think my mind wanted another run. After we got into the van to go to the next exchange point, I crashed on the seat and don't remember anything until the two exchanges after that. Body won. I think I saw another handoff, but I can't be sure. We passed off to Van #2 and went to find breakfast. Eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes. I was hungry. Then, to Traverse City to meet the rest of our team and Van #1 from the other team, and wait for the Van #2's to finish. Not a bad weekend. The crew from Van#1 Saints on the Run, Team #1 A team called the "Barbies" left these girls on several of the other teams' vans. Naked. I thought that wasn't appropriate for a church related van, so I dug into my supplies and gave her an outfit to be proud of. Ragnar bucket list item checked off. Does this replace the Hood to Coast I've been wanting to do since forever? Maybe. Of course if I get invited to fill out a HTC team I'll probably go, but I'll have to think about the expense, etc. before I try to lead another effort to get into that lottery again. As for now, I had one so-so run yesterday - felt super heavy and slow and awkward - and the ITB was killing last night and this morning. Got it to settle down with the roller and some heat but the rest of the day my lower right back has been killing. No run today. We'll see about tomorrow tomorrow. Not very encouraging about a marathon still this year, but I'm nothing if not an optimist.
    3 points
  45. The short: I nabbed my best ever overall placing with what was by far my slowest time at this race, with 2nd overall female in 38:15. Due to various factors (the heat, peak marathon training, seeing two friends suffer devastating losses in the days before the race), my expectations for the race were not high. In retrospect, I am quite happy with the place and quite meh about the time. Results are here. My Strava activity is here. Better together The long: I continued my hot weather racing streak at the Plaza 10k, with no clouds in the sky and 80 degrees on race morning. Because the race fell 3 weeks before my season goal marathon, I planned to train right through it, and the forecast made me confident that was the right decision (i.e., I won't run a fast time at 80 degrees no matter how rested I am). The week before the race I had workouts that never felt good but that I hit my paces on, which is typical for me in the throes of marathon training, and a few days before the race I saw 104 miles on my rolling 7. I don't think racing without a taper necessarily hurts my performance, but I certainly don't feel as fresh; I just grit it out when feeling tired like I do in a lot of workouts during marathon training! Before things went downhill in the days leading up to the race, my goal was to place as high as I could. The best I'd ever placed at the race previously was 6th overall female. I also hoped to win overall masters female, and to break the Missouri age 40 state record of 38:04. Race morning I warmed up with friends and tried to enjoy the moment, but had a really hard time getting my head in the game. In the few days prior to the race, I had a friend who lost her son unexpectedly and another friend who lost her husband, so it was difficult to place importance on the race. My heart wasn't in the race, it was with them. Race instinct took over to some degree, and I slowly upped the effort. Like every Kansas City race, this isn't an even split course, though this is the flattest course I run in that area with about 170 feet of elevation gain. Mile 2 was 6:03 and mile 3 6:11, though as usual I didn't look at my watch during the race. Typically this race has a clock at the 5k but this year they didn't have a clock or timing mat, which I missed! Sometime around the halfway point, Chandler and I pulled away from Amy. I felt confident that I could hold onto 1 and 2 with Chandler; I had no pep but the pace also didn't feel that hard, and I knew Amy had to be feeling a lot worse than I was to let us gap her.I saw several fast Kansas City women on the starting line, and knew they would push me in the race. From the gun a woman I didn't know was ahead for the first half mile or so, then me and the ladies I was running with (Chandler and Amy) passed into the top 3 female positions. I knew both Chandler and Amy were talented runners, and I was hopeful for a top 3 finish because our start felt very conservative (6:13 on the flat first mile) and no other women were around. Running with Chandler is always a pleasure! I really enjoyed sharing most of this race and most of Rock the Parkway with her. She is kind, positive, and helps me get the best out of myself. With where I was mentally and emotionally for this one, running with a friend beside me was extra helpful. Mile 4 is downhill and usually my favorite mile of this race, but this year they were doing road construction in that area and it was all rivety. It was not ideal terrain for Next % shoes, that's for sure! My friend Andrew, who went out faster than me, hopped up on the sidewalk for a moment to avoid the crappy road, and I considered following him but it cut a corner off the course slightly so I didn't because I sure wasn't getting disqualified in my one chance of a top 2 finish at this event! He realized the situation soon and jumped back on the I'm-going-to-twist-an-ankle road, and shortly after that Chandler and I passed him. I encouraged him to go with us, but his faster start had caught up with him a bit. My 4th mile was 5:51. Laughing at Brent around mile 4 Mile 5 goes back up the incline the course goes down in mile 4, on the opposite side of the divided road. Some years I have loathed that climb, but it was okay this time, possibly because I was running so much slower than I ever have at this race! The split was 6:13, which is about even effort to our other miles with the elevation gain. Chandler and I were still side-by-side. Shortly after we passed mile 4, there was an aid station on the side I was on. She mentioned she was going to get a water, telling me because she was going to have to cross either right in front of or behind me to grab it. I told her I'd grab it for her since it was on my side. I picked up a bottle and passed it to her, and it was caught on camera. Despite the shot being unflattering of me, I absolutely love it! Team work makes the dream work! We passed mile 5 together, and right after Chandler began pulling away. I tried to stay with her but I didn't have any get up and go. She gradually extended her lead, and I tried not to give up but my heart really wasn't in it and I settled to some degree. If I'd kept at it mentally, she'd have still gotten me, but not by as much - she finished 15 seconds ahead of me and my last mile was 6:02 and final kick 5:45 pace. Clock shot I ended up finishing in 38:15 gun time. They didn't give chip times to the overall winners (i.e., results have chip and gun time as the same, since that is how overall prizes are awarded), but I figured since I started between Christian and Andrew, whose chip times were -10 seconds and -12 seconds respectively, my chip time would have been 38:04 (tying the state record). State records go by gun time so gun time is all that matters there, but of course that would happen to me! Much like in the half marathon, I know I can run significantly faster than the record time, but I cannot do it in 80 degrees. Post-race fist bump caught on film After the race, I headed out on the Trolley Trail for 11 more miles, which is too long to call a cool down. I felt fine running very easy, and finished up my final 20+ mile day before my next marathon. Andrew accompanied me for the whole addendum as part of his Chicago Marathon training, which was quite helpful. I'm not sure what the future holds for my next race or for everything else in life, but I know who holds the future! God's plan often doesn't make sense to us on earth, but it's always best. Miles from Mentor Splits
    3 points
  46. 22km (14 miles or so) and 3400ft of climbing, followed by descent again. This was the high point of my day.. I knew this was going to be hard, but it was still harder than expected, more like a marathon effort than a half. Took me 3hr 53min which is longer than any marathon I've (yet) run. To be fair if I did run a marathon now it would be in the 4h30 region. Not much running in the previous months as I'd been nursing a bad knee which my physical therapist told me not to run on. The first commandment of running injury recovery is, Always Listen to your Physical Therapist - you shall have no other desires but what they say.. A bit of swimming since the other physical therapist had fixed the biceps tendonitis, and a good bit of MTB riding on gravel trails with plenty climbing, thought it would be enough. Ha no. Yes, I had two PTs, one for biceps another for knee. Reminds me of the old joke, 'Trust people ? Trust people ?! you sound just like my other psychologist'. Start at the bottom of Jones Pass, near the Henderson mine. Here they mine molybdenum and they're always recruiting, molyjobs.com posters all around the race site even. 2200 feet over 4 miles to the first aid station, cut off at two hours. I think I ran about 200yds total in those 4 miles, the rest was a determined steady plod at maximum HR while panting heartily. Here's the Alltrails.com picture from the top of the pass where the aid station is. We started away down in the woods somewhere. A failure to read the topo map accurately brought a fine surprise, OK we're up the pass now, but there's still a thousand feet to climb along the Continental Divide trail to that high point. More plods, with occasional jogs. This pic from the race photographer @jordanchapell sums it up - a young woman leaping swiftly down the trail behind me, me firmly earthbound grinding along. Views were terrific. The winds howled over the Divide. When unpinning the number later, I found the winds whipping it around had actually bent the safety pins nearly open. Here's a pic I took at one point while panting on the side of the trail, trying to calm my heart down as it tried to leap out of my chest. Runners all across the horizon, a real highwayman's farewell.. Most of this was runnable if you had working legs, which I did not. It seems I overcooked the climb. Staggered on and out to the turnaround above Herman Gulch to get my bib punched. The volunteer asked if I was OK, must have been looking a bit ragged. Assured him I had a flask of Coca-Cola and two Honey Stingers left, I'd be fine. Another race photographer @sohboyum shows the start of the downhill section. I did break from a walk into a sort of wobbling lurch but you can't tell it from the picture.. One of the volunteers said, "it's all downhill from here !" Replied, "even if that's not true I'm going to believe it - lie to me, please". ;-) Lumped and bumped down the rocks and roots of Herman Gulch, passing day hikers who most politely stepped off the trail for us sweaty plodders. The finish at 22k was also the aid station for the 50k runners. I watched them come in and leave again, legs trembling with fatigue. I could not have left again. A bus, masked, back to the Empire ballfield where the food and beer awaited. Sat down and stuck in the chair until they called my name. Turns out I'd won my AG by default, being the only one. (art by idigoddpairings) Now the proud owner of a genuine Norwegian cowbell, made of genuine brass rifle shell casings from the Norwegian military. What a great prize. Beer by Tommyknocker brewery in Idaho Springs, excellent. Drank two without feeling a thing. Said farewell to my table acquaintances, and went up the road to find a little creek for a bit of fishing. Once I get out of the house I like to get full value from the excursion. Too tired to fish effectively and left soon for a nap, still did get a bit of a lower-leg soak in the cold water and a couple pretty miniatures of trout.
    3 points
  47. 26 miles last week. On schedule for 28 this week. The 4 milers are all going well. No issues with the calf, hamstring or Achilles on the left. Looks as though that little nagger is behind me for now. Being better about my stretching and doing a little leg work during those exciting work meetings a few times a week. Baby steps. The old tendinosis below the right knee hurts some, but gets better as I go along. It's more of a little sting than anything and rest does it no good, so... Sunrise is creeping towards 7:00 am, so it's been twilight for the last couple of weeks when I start. Soon I'll be switching back to afternoon so I can see where I'm going. I'll miss startling the neighborhood deer. There's usually a few out foraging just before dawn. Last weekend was a six mile Saturday. First one of those in about 6 weeks. The last time I ran 8 miles was on the treadmill in early February. Even better, I'm actually looking forward to it. In the spring, while I was building a little mileage, none of the runs felt good and I was just ready to be done every single time. Lately I've been working but staying within my self-imposed limits. Sure, tired at the end of the runs, but not beat up, and feeling like I had another mile or even two left if I wanted. The Saturday six was a stretch, but I was probably going a little too fast. Like always. Now I can start talking about a 2021 marathon again. Have to see where a slow mileage ramp puts me. And of course see what covid's doing in the fall. Most of the big races are on, but I'm not planning a big city race. But with 30 states to choose from, I ought to be able to find something. But first, tomorrow. Eight miles is long enough for a story, so maybe I'll be able to think of something interesting to say about it. A few years ago my oldest son recommended I watch The Office. At the time I wasn't interested in adding another show to my regular list. Ran into some reruns on Comedy Central and decided to watch it all from the first episode. I'm sort of hooked into a binge on it. The "cringe humor" is purposefully terrible, but it's like a freeway accident. I can't stop watching.
    3 points
  48. Pretty big, anyway. It was 11 weeks ago tomorrow that I came up lame with my Achilles tendon hurting. I'll continue to blame the Cumulus. It was either a factory second (thus the clearance pricing from Asics?) or a lemon or maybe it was just sitting in a warehouse for too long. They were never right from the first mile. I had hoped they just needed some break in or that the change from the Rincons was more dramatic than I expected. Either way, it was the DL for who knew how long. With the wedding and the floor project taking so much time I suppose it was a good time to be injured if any time can be considered good. Many thanks to LurkerinChief for coming out of lurkdom to give me a cross-massage suggestion. It did just what they promised - hurt a ton when I started working on it, then got better to longer I worked it. Even more thanks to Run2BFit, who linked me with the eccentric heel drops. I must admit to being a little skeptical about trying to stretch the are that was injured. But it did more to my lower calf, releasing pressure on the Achilles and making a huge difference in just a few days. I was thinking that Monday I'd try a run, but ended up waiting until yesterday. Did a few more drops to get the calf as loose as possible, then mentally crossed my fingers as I made my way down the driveway and across the street. Nothing other than what I've come to expect from 62+ year old bones and muscles and tendons. I'm out of shape now, of course. There was a guy who passed me about a half mile out. I let him. Funny, he got about 20 yards ahead pretty quickly and stayed there. Didn't think I was going any faster, but what do I know? Went out for a mile in 10 minutes and then came back in 9. A little DOMS this morning. Everything else seems good. Running again and it's feels so good.
    3 points
  49. Woke up this morning, determined to be more diligent in my efforts to fix this Achilles. Did a little more stretching while we were in Idaho for the wedding. Twice a day most days. Didn't see see much improvement, and of course getting more and more discouraged. Knowing that I'm going to need a new pair of shoes when I (hopefully) start again. Not even going to complain about starting from ground zero. Running is running, after all. But what's the point of spending $100+ on running shoes if I can't run? We had a really tight connection in Houston on the flight home. Walking quickly down the concourse was pretty painful. No chance of running even a few steps. I'll never run again. That was the thought, anyway. Can't seem to help that my mind goes there all the time. This morning, I thought (like most days) I really needed to stretch more, maybe suck it up and get some PT, do the cross massaging, etc. Reached down to do a little pull .... nothing. No pain, no tightness, no sore spot. Nada. I'll be using my old Hokas for the first week, then ordering a new pair if all goes well. Still plenty of time for a fall marathon. Ready to paint the baseboard trim. Then I can install it and the floor project will be officially done. Next up will be a new light for the front lawn. We have no street lights in the neighborhood, so these are important. Our old gas one gave out long ago and I've had a solar powered one for several years. But it's old tech and our front lawn gets almost no sun since we have a huge maple next to the street. Not much light. So it'll get an upgrade to a wired fixture, which will involve digging a small trench to bury an electrical line to the post. Got those crazy kids married last weekend.
    3 points
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